Trent Alexander-Arnold has detailed the immense determination running through the Liverpool team to put things right after a difficult run of form.
The Reds are out to return to winning ways when they travel to Tottenham Hotspur on Thursday night and end a five-game sequence without victory in the Premier League.
Taking responsibility for recent results, the squad are now totally fixated on claiming the three points on offer in the capital.
Liverpoolfc.com caught up with Alexander-Arnold to preview the Spurs encounter – read on to see what he had to say.
We’re obviously in a difficult run at the moment but how much work is going on behind the scenes to turn things around?
A lot. We've set such high standards for each other and ourselves over the last two, three years, so I think it becomes a bit of an expectation from everyone around us – and even ourselves really – to maintain them. So when things aren't really going as we want them to then it's probably magnified and probably looked into a lot more than what other teams would be. But that's just down to ourselves and we know we're not getting the points that we want or that we need. So we've been looking at that and I think it's just about getting back into our rhythm at the end of the day. The sooner we do that the better. But we have been looking at it and we've been trying to improve without trying to overthink it and just get back to what was working best for us the last few years.
Have you and the squad taken this rough patch personally?
The only people we have to blame and to really put anything on is ourselves. At the end of the day, it's down to us to go out there and get the three points and get wins. We haven't been able to do that the last few games, so there's no-one else to blame other than ourselves. But we can't be too critical. I think in a few of the games we've had the chances to score, we should've got a few more points I think. But that's football – you don't get the results that you want every game. We've tried not to look into it too much and get ourselves down but we know that there's things that we need to work on.
You pulled a win out late on against Spurs at Anfield just over a month ago. That means you don’t have to look far for an example as to the rewards of always fighting and believing...
Of course. That's probably one of the best games we've had all season. Tough opposition, I think when we play each other it's always a good game. We're excited to go head to head again in a few days and see what happens. We'll have a game-plan, the intention is to get all three points, and if we can carry it out the way we want to then I'm sure we will.
How will you and the team approach the game at Spurs then?
We went there last year, scored a goal, were able to keep a clean sheet and win 1-0 and come away with a win. That's something we'll be looking to do again. We don't really care what score it is, we just want the three points. Whether it be 4-3 or 1-0, it doesn't make a difference to us. We want to make sure we get the three points. That's what's most important to us. I think if our mentality and performance is right on the day then we've got a good chance of doing that.
Liverpool are closing in on the signing of Derby youngster Kaide Gordon and a deal could be completed as early as Tuesday.
The 16-year-old will join Liverpool for a fee that could reach £3m and is expected to link up with the academy side.
Manchester United were also keen on Gordon, a forward who can play through the middle or out wide, but look to have been beaten by their great rivals.
Gordon made his senior debut for Derby against Birmingham in the Championship last month, after which Rams boss Wayne Rooney said: "I brought Kaide up with the first team initially to train with us for a week to see how he reacted to it, and he was one of the best trainers.Sunday 31st January 4:00pm Kick off 4:30pm
"I kept him with us for a couple of weeks and he's been training at the same level - if not to a better level - than a lot of the other [first-team] players."3:07 Deloitte Sports Business group director Tim Bridge explains why Liverpool are now among the top five clubs of the Deloitte Football Money League as they moved fifth in the list behind fourth-placed Manchester United
Gordon could be one of a number of Derby academy products to leave the club during the January transfer window as they bid to raise funds.
A delay in the protracted takeover of the club by Sheikh Khaled's Derventio Holdings has meant Derby remain in a difficult financial situation.
There are serious doubts over whether the purchase of the club will be completed, despite a deal for owner Mel Morris to sell the Rams to billionaire Sheikh Khaled being reached in November.
Derby have been under a transfer embargo and their first-team players were only paid their December wages this week.Follow the January transfer window with Sky Sports
The winter transfer window is open until Monday, February 1 at 11pm.
Follow all the news and analysis on Sky Sports News and across Sky Sports' digital platforms, including our dedicated Transfer Centre blog.
Jordan Henderson was one of a number of footballers to discuss online abuse with the UK Government ahead of a bill to hold social media platforms to account.
While the passion and loyalty of fans underpin football and sport around the world, there also exists a dark underbelly of threats and abuse across social media.
Cyber-bullying and abuse have risen in prominence in the modern age, with those in the public arena targeted for the smallest of mistakes, primarily by anonymous accounts.
Social media has offered a grey area in the law as to how to tackle online threats and abuse, but an Online Harms Bill is to be presented before UK parliament this year.
The bill will require social media companies to treat online abuse the same as discrimination on the streets and in the stands, and it was a key talking point in an online round table as part of a series of ‘Future of Football’ discussions.
Henderson was present alongside the likes of Aston Villa’s Tyrone Mings, Watford‘s Troy Deeney and Liverpool Women’s Rinsola Babajide in the discussions with Culture Secretary Oliver Dowden and Sports Minister Nigel Huddleston.
They each shared their experience with online abuse and those faced by their teammates across the men’s and women’s game, and the Liverpool captain was “pleased” with the response from the government in an area of such importance.
“The meeting was very important,” Henderson said, via the Telegraph. “I’m pleased that those with power and authority to enact change realise the seriousness of the abuse towards players.”
With various stories shared by current and former players, Dowden insisted his resolve to enact change has been “strengthened” to ensure there is greater accountability in the eyes of the law.
“Their input today has strengthened my resolve to bring in new laws to ensure there is much greater accountability from the social media platforms for dealing with such problems,” Dowden said.
It is certainly a step in the right direction as abuse of any kind cannot be tolerated and one welcomed by the players union.
One instance of abuse late last year close to home saw Neco Williams black out his Twitter account after being subjected to unnecessary and ugly criticism after a League Cup outing, prompting Pepijn Lijnders to respond strongly with a message of his own.
“The only thing I can say is that abuse is wrong, whether it is on social media or on the street. It’s wrong,” he said back in 2020.
“Second, you are not a Liverpool supporter if you don’t support.”
Venue – Tottenham Hotspur Stadium, London
Referee – Martin Atkinson
Date & Time – Thursday, January 28th @ 20:00
Current Odds – Spurs 11/5, Draw 13/5, Liverpool 6/5
Eight big games in the next four and a half weeks for Liverpool. The Reds are stuck in a rut but they are battling with everything they have to get out of this. We saw evidence of that at Old Trafford on Sunday. The confidence going forward was on display. Liverpool are going to have to play their way back into form. There isn’t time for anything else during such a hectic schedule. Don’t write this season off just yet, though, Reds. This story still has quite a few twists that it’s yet to reveal.FORM
Spurs are unbeaten in seven games across all competitions. Their last league defeat came at home to Leicester City (2-0) just days after Liverpool had beaten them 2-1 at Anfield in December.
Jose Mourinho is doing a solid job this season, however. His men are fifth in the league, just one point behind The Reds with a game in hand.
Spurs won 3-1 at Sheffield United in their last league fixture. The goals came from Serge Aurier, Harry Kane and Tanguy Ndombélé.
Let’s get this over with quickly, shall we?
Liverpool haven’t won a league game since their record-breaking 7-0 win at Crystal Palace in December. Jérgen Klopp’s side has a 1-3-3 record in their most recent seven games in all competitions. The lone victory was in the FA Cup against Aston Villa’s youth players. The Reds went out of that same competition on Sunday, losing 3-2 to rivals Manchester United.
Liverpool’s last Premier League goal was on December 27th when Sadio Mané put them ahead in the 1-1 draw at Anfield against West Brom.TEAM NEWS
Spurs Team News
Jose Mourinho is without Giovani Lo Celso for Thursday’s game while the trio of Serge Aurier, Dele Alli and Matt Doherty will all face late fitness tests this week.
Mourinho has used three at the back on the odd occasion this season but he’s likely to stick with 4-2-3-1 for this game with Harry Kane leading the line for the hosts.
Heung-Min Son is always a thorn in Liverpool’s side so he will have to be managed carefully by Trent Alexander-Arnold and Joël Matip.
Liverpool Team News
Liverpool are still missing Virgil van Dijk, Joe Gomez, Kostas Tsimikas, Naby Keïta and Diogo Jota.
Jordan Henderson will undergo a fitness test this week after missing the last two games for The Reds with a muscle injury.
Joël Matip should be available for selection after returning in Liverpool’s defeat to Burnley on last week. Jürgen Klopp did not risk playing the centre-half in the FA Cup game with Manchester United on Sunday.
With Henderson possibly not going to be at full match fitness, James Milner could make a second consecutive start after playing the full 90 minutes at Old Trafford.
I expect the midfield trio to be Thiago Alcântara, James Milner and Gini Wijnaldum.
Matip will partner Fabinho in central defence while Trent Alexander-Arnold and Andy Robertson continue at right-back and left-back respectively.
Klopp probably will stick with his strongest front three, bringing Sadio Mané back into the starting eleven.PREDICTED LINEUPS
Spurs XI (4-2-3-1) – Lloris; Doherty, Alderweireld, Dier, Davies; Højbjerg, Winks; Bergwijn, Ndombélé, Son; Kane
Liverpool XI (4-3-3) – Alisson; Alexander-Arnold, Matip, Fabinho, Robertson; Wijnaldum, Thiago, Milner; Salah, Firmino, ManéWHEN THEY LAST MET
Liverpool won 2-1 when the sides met at Anfield in mid-December. Heung-Min Son cancelled out Mohamed Salah’s opening goal only for Roberto Firmino to pop up with a brilliant, powerful header to win the game in the 90th minute for The Reds.
Last season, Liverpool won 1-0 away to Spurs thanks to another goal from Firmino.
Jürgen Klopp’s men have won six consecutive games against Spurs in all competitions, including the Champions League final in Madrid in June 2019. Spurs haven’t beaten The Reds since that 4-1 horror show at Wembley in October 2017.PREDICTION
SPURS 1 – 1 LIVERPOOL
It’s difficult to predict a Liverpool win these days, such is the bad run of form The Reds find themselves in. There were certainly signs of improvement in the 3-2 defeat at Old Trafford on Sunday. If they can keep creating chances as they did, more and more goals will follow. However, for now, I think a draw is the most likely result in London this Thursday night.
Belgium winger Jeremy Doku has revealed he turned down a move to Liverpool last summer due to the step up to the Premier League coming “too soon” in his career.
Doku has long been a target for the Reds, and if reports are to be believed, there have been a number of approaches for the 18-year-old over the years.
He is believed to have rejected the chance to move to Merseyside in 2018, despite talks with Jurgen Klopp, while another offer came last summer, after his first full season with the Anderlecht first team.
This is claimed to have come in the final weeks of the transfer window, only for Doku to eventually join Ligue 1 side Rennes in October, in a deal worth over £23 million.
After six goals and seven assists in 37 games for Anderlecht, Doku has assisted twice in 21 outings for Rennes, making 16 starts so far including four in the Champions League.
It may be vindication for his decision to reject Liverpool, then, as he explained in an interview with Het Nieuwsblad that it would have been “too soon” to make such a step up.
“I did a lot of research first, wrote down all the positive points and only then did I make a decision,” he explained, when put to him that Rennes are not at the Reds’ level.
“I knew that I first wanted to make an intermediate step. Going to a top club now would be too soon.
“I still have a lot to learn and Rennes is the ideal place for that.
“They play the Champions League, it’s a good team that plays in a good league. You feel that there is a difference in level with Belgium.
“There’s also more famous and better players. Memphis Depay, Houssem Aouar, Angel Di Maria. These are men you will not meet in the Jupiler Pro League.”
The Reds had already completed the deal to sign Diogo Jota from Wolves when Doku swapped Anderlecht for Rennes, but given his age it is likely the Belgian was considered one for the future.
This does raise the prospect of renewed interest in the future, as with the youngster describing his new club as “an intermediate step” it is clear he is hoping to move on eventually.
Rennes are currently fifth in Ligue 1, nine points off the top two, with PSG and Lille both picking up 45 so far, and Julien Stephan’s side are making great progress.
Doku has started nine of the last 10 league games, and believes he is “becoming more flexible” due to being deployed on the right wing, rather than his favoured left.
“I feel that I have taken steps in several areas,” continued.
“In the past, for example, I was often good on the left, but it was a bit harder to do my thing on the right.
“At Rennes I often play on the right flank. And OK, it is still not my favourite position, but I do feel that I am becoming more flexible.”
An 18-year-old winger playing regularly in one of Europe’s top five leagues and the Champions League, capable of playing on either flank, certainly resembles the profile of a player Liverpool would target.
If he can continue to hone his craft in France, and in particular improve his numbers, it would be no surprise to see him ultimately join the Reds in the future.
With Jota already signed and Harvey Elliott making great strides on loan at Blackburn, the wheels are already in motion – but perhaps Doku could ultimately join them.
Reds can take advantage of the LFC Winter Sale and get up to 70 per cent off selected LFC and Nike products.
The sale has been extended and will now end on February 28, 2021.
You can browse the offers by clicking here.
The coronavirus pandemic will end up costing Europe’s top clubs around €2 billion, according to forecasts from Deloitte.
The finance firm’s annual Football Money League shows that the top 20 revenue-generating clubs lost around €1.1bn (£975m) during the 2019/20 season due to factors including the lack of spectators and effect on broadcast income.
Some of the latter will be made up in the 2020/21 accounts, along with deferred prize money for many clubs, but the ongoing effects of the virus see the drop in revenue projected to reach €2bn (£1.75bn) between the 20 clubs.
Tim Bridge of Deloitte’s Sports Business Group told the PA news agency: “We usually release our money league and talk about the growth in revenue but of course football is not immune to the COVID-19 pandemic.
“The revenue that’s been missed out on is driven by the lack of fans in the stadium, the lack of interaction on a matchday – fans spending in the club shop and buying food and drink – and there is an element that relates to revenue that broadcasters have either clawed back (or deferred) to next year.
“There is an element of the 2019/20 season being played in the 2020/21 financial year, so there’s a rollover of a certain element of revenue, but for this season the matchday revenue is the most significant hit for the clubs.
“The commercial revenue has so far held up. I think many people were concerned that in the short term there would be an immediate shock from sponsors pulling out or unable to pay their bills but at the moment these biggest clubs have been able to hold up their commercial value.”
That commercial performance helps Real Madrid close within £100,000 behind Barcelona, who suffered a 15 percent drop in revenue to £627.1m (€715.1m), as the rival clubs retained the top two places in the Money League.
Manchester United are the highest-ranked of seven Premier League clubs in the top 20 but have fallen behind Champions League winners Bayern Munich to fourth place on £509m, down 19 percent or £118.1m on the 2018/19 season.
Bridge added: “In Germany they managed to complete the season prior to the end of June so the vast majority of revenue was recognised within the correct financial year.
“That has contributed but of course on-pitch Bayern Munich had a fantastic season, competing in the Champions League compared to Manchester United who were competing in the Europa League, so there would likely have been a closing of that gap anyway.”
The Toffees were one of only two clubs in the top 20, along with newcomers Zenit St Petersburg, to actually post improved revenues compared to 12 months previously – but it is their neighbours across Stanley Park who Bridge expects to thrive in years to come.
He said: “A club such as Liverpool, who’ve made a concerted effort to engage with fans using digital and social media channels – that may well have created new revenue-generating opportunities and may mean they’ve gained a competitive advantage.”
West Ham dropped out of the top 20 along with Roma – but it is clubs much further down the pecking order, in the lower leagues, who will suffer most from reduced incomes.
Bridge said: “Matchday revenue for these biggest clubs is their smallest proportion whereas the further down the system you go, the bigger that proportion is.
“The loss of fans is really felt most acutely by those clubs further down the system. That’s why the support packages that have been talked about are absolutely essential to the future of these clubs.”Top 10 Revenue in World Football, 2019/20
* You can view the full Deloitte report here.
Liverpool have reportedly received a boost in their hopes to sign French superstar Kylian Mbappe with Real Madrid struggling to put a deal together.
The Reds have been strongly linked with PSG striker Mbappe for years as he considers his future in Ligue 1.
La Liga giants Real are also believed to be keen to sign Mbappe, who is widely regarded as one of the best strikers in the world right now.
Full story: Mirror
This story has been reproduced from the media. It does not necessarily represent the position of Liverpool Football Club.
Liverpool have reportedly received a boost in their hopes to sign French superstar Kylian Mbappe with Real Madrid struggling to put a deal together.
The Reds have been strongly linked with PSG striker Mbappe for years as he considers his future in Ligue 1.
La Liga giants Real are also believed to be keen to sign Mbappe, who is widely regarded as one of the best strikers in the world right now.
Full story: Mirror
This story has been reproduced from the media. It does not necessarily represent the position of Liverpool Football Club.
Liverpool have ranked among the top five clubs of the Deloitte Football Money League for the first time in almost 20 years.
The Money League charted the financial performances of the highest revenue-generating clubs during the disrupted 2019-20 season.
Barcelona top the list ahead of La Liga holders Real Madrid and Champions League winners Bayern Munich, with Manchester United in fourth ahead of Premier League champions Liverpool.
Deloitte noted Liverpool's on-pitch success contributed towards lifting them up from seventh in 2018-19, and placing them in the top five for the first time since the 2001-02 season.
Manchester City are sixth in the list, with Premier League clubs Tottenham (ninth), Arsenal (11th) and Everton (17th) also in the top 20.
Overall, the top 20 clubs saw a revenue decline of 12 per cent compared to 2018-19 due to a drop in broadcast revenue and fall in matchday revenue.Liverpool's return to top five explained
Speaking to Sky Sports News, Tim Bridge, director of Deloitte Sports Business Group, said moving towards a "digital model" had helped Liverpool place fifth - on top of their Premier League success.
"The on-pitch success is a massive factor," Bridge said. "Building on winning the Champions League and then taking the Premier League crown for the first time has had a significant impact. They have moved significantly towards a more digital model, and have been doing for a number of years.
"That has benefitted them in comparison to others during the pandemic, because they are able to engage with their fans in a way others probably had to pay catch-up."
But Bridge warned that rankings "may have been different" had the timings of fixtures worked out differently.
Liverpool played both their Champions League last-16 ties in one financial year while Manchester City (due to covid) straddled two financial years.
"But with those placings, take a little bit of care because with the timings of the fixtures they were able to generate more revenue ahead of Manchester City," said Bridge.
"Had timings been a little bit different, those rankings may have been different."Man Utd's largest revenue decrease
United saw the largest year-on-year decline among the top 20 clubs in the Money League, with Bridge highlighting their lack of Champions League football as a contributing factor.
Bridge said: "The reason for the decrease is predominantly driven by the pandemic, as you can imagine Manchester United with a huge fanbase generate significant amounts of revenue every time they play at Old Trafford.
"They are going to be impacted in a more significant way than many other clubs. Of course, last year they didn't have Champions League football either, so the revenue differential from competing in the Europa League compared to the Champions League had a significant impact on the numbers.
"But caution is needed. With Bayern Munich moving ahead of them, they were able to complete their domestic season in the timeframe, so the numbers for Bayern represent a full year of domestic football, whereas for United they are curtailed."Why Everton saw a revenue increase
Everton, along with Russian club Zenit, were the only two clubs in the top 20 to see an increase in revenue compared to 2018-19.
"For anybody who has seen Everton's plans around the new stadium, and the investment into the playing squad, they've got an ambitious owner who's looking to take strides forward," Bridge said.
"When a new owner comes in we talk about an investment cycle, and often it requires significant investment on the pitch in order to then drive future commercial revenues, and what Everton have been able to do is secure some long-term partnerships.
"A new shirt sponsorship with Cazoo and the deal with Hummel, but there is a significant deal within their commercial portfolio in respect of the future naming rights of their stadium with USM. That is the driving factor behind the commercial increase."
Football isn’t an exact science, success comes and goes and it is important to savour the good times when they come your way.
The last three years have been an incredible journey for Liverpool FC; bouncing back from the painful defeat in a Champions League final to win it the following season, followed up with a first league title in 30 years and the European Super and World Club Cups. An incredible 197 points in the Premier League over 24 months which at any other time would have secured back to back titles.
The consistency has been incredible. This team really have been mentality monsters.
But at some point there was always going to be a dip, it is incredibly hard to keep up that level year-on-year. But it is important to look at the context of a drop-off, what are the reasons? Are they signs of deeper issues at the club or are they just a moment in time?
Although this is a tough moment for Liverpool, there are plenty of reasons to believe that a multitude of factors have combined to derail a team that at its best has proven its credentials as one of the worlds best.
There are a number of things to think about with a cool head; even if we don’t reach our heights and expectations this season, logic points to this poor run being a moment in time and not a sharp decline.The strangest of times
The pandemic has affected football in so many ways, both financially and emotionally. But both of those things are being very keenly felt at Anfield.
Let’s start with the finances. One of the key strengths of FSG has been financial discipline and one of the reasons they have achieved that is by building a recruitment team that has become one of the world’s best at player trading.
The FSG model is all about smart trading: selling players at a peak price and bringing in new replacements with a high ceiling at a better value. The investment in the playing squad has more of a focus on reward. Once players become great, they are rewarded very well which is reflected in our wage bill being £310 million and one of the highest in the world.
Our current squad has a paper value that is probably circa £1 billion. It has been brilliantly constructed and put together without the need to spend heavily on marquee signings year on year.
The financial impact of the pandemic on football has been severe, at Liverpool the loss of matchday revenue leaves £100 million black hole in the club’s finances. To put that into context, the wage-to-revenue ratio pre-Covid was around 55% – so out of every pound the club earns 55p goes on wages.
Take away matchday revenue that squeezes that ratio even further leaving less flex for transfer fees.
Under FSG the club has always looked long terms and strategically. The £50 million investment in a new training complex at Kirkby is a commitment to the club growing its own talent.
In usual circumstances, the club would be able to better react to things that happen in a season, like injuries. But these are not usual circumstances, and decisions need to be pragmatic.A broken system
Any club that loses both of its first choice centre backs to serious injury is going to struggle at times. When you take into account that the ‘Klopp system’ heavily relies on a high line and pace at centre back, and the quarterback-esque passing of Van Dijk, it is clear that the game plan has had to change.
One of the factors that Klopp and the owners need to consider when thinking about any new signing is that both of those players will be back, and first choice next season. As good a player as Joel Matip is, his injury record makes him a fourth choice. Fabinho has been an absolute revelation at centre back and has been as good as anyone in the league in that role this season. Trying to find a player with the right profile isn’t easy in this market.
One of the consequences of Fabinho dropping back is that we’ve lost a huge part of our midfield. In the past three years Fabinho has been easily one of the best in the world in his position, and has been a key part of Liverpool’s system.
With injuries to key players, Klopp has had to try and improvise. It isn’t just Gomez and Van Dijk we’ve lost: Allisson, Thiago, Diogo Jota, Naby Keita, Matip, Trent Alexander-Arnold and Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain have all had prolonged periods out of the team and some are still working way back to full form and fitness.
Under Klopp the system has always been the star in the team. It is a well-oiled machine. But this has been a freak period where injuries have broken it. But there is absolutely no reason to believe once key players are back to full fitness, the system will lift us back to the level we have come to expect.Mental fatigue
Another factor to consider is the emotional impact of the pandemic and its effect on our mentality. There are few people in football that feed off the emotion more than Jurgen Klopp, and he will be feeling the lack of supporters more than anybody. Strangely some teams are benefitting from the lack of fans in grounds, as away results are showing. But, not at Liverpool.
Klopp’s entire game plan is built around intensity and emotion. And without fans in the ground the game is almost soulless. It is almost impossible to generate that high energy and levels of intensity without the crowd.
Since the restart the players have looked mentally fatigued. The high press of the front three has dropped off a cliff. It is no coincidence that Roberto Firmino’s best form this season came in December when fans were allowed back for a brief period.
Our rivals will say this is just an excuse, but its more than that. It is clear that we are collectively suffering from the lack of emotion in games. And until fans return, we need to find a way to generate that intensity and energy in a different way.A moment in time
When you look at all of the factors in play, it is clear that this poor run is a moment in time and that’s all. It isn’t a sign of a club in decline or deep-rooted issues. All of the things that got Liverpool back to the very top of world football are still there. They’ve just been disrupted by a global pandemic and some hideous luck.
There is no doubt that signing a centre-back in January would help this season. The lack of options is causing the team to lack balance and confidence, and the lack of experience is leading to too many mistakes. When something is so obvious it becomes very difficult to understand or justify why the owners do not act.
But there are a huge amount of unknowns; nobody knows if we’ve tried to sign a defender, if we can find anybody available at the right price or profile, what the plan for the summer is or the impact of COVID on the club’s ability to spend. The easiest thing in the world is to shout about signing a player – the hardest thing is executing it whilst balancing lots of different factors.
The leadership at the club aren’t stupid, they will see the same issues and risks we all see right now. It is not in FSG’s interests for the club to take a step backwards. But only they see the bigger picture at the club, and have to make decisions based on that, however odd they might seem to all of us.
It isn’t just injuries that have impacted Liverpool this season, it feels as though every single 50/50 decision and VAR call has gone against us. The old wives tale that decisions even themselves out over the course of a season will hopefully reverse that trend in the next few months.
Over the past ten years, FSG have rebuilt Liverpool on solid foundations. There is a world-class infrastructure at the club from the training ground, stadium and structure. In Michael Edwards, Jurgen Klopp and Mike Gordon we have the three architects of one of the greatest teams we’ve ever seen at Anfield.
There will be challenges in the short term without question. And Edwards is going to need to focus on some of those as early as the summer with big decisions needed around trading some key players as they reach 30. I fully expect our front three to look different next season.
But when you look at everything the club has achieved over the past three years, there should be plenty of credit in the bank that the right decisions will be made.
You can’t control results or luck in football, but what you can do is make sure you have the right foundations in play to deliver success. And at Liverpool, those foundations remain rock solid.Coming back stronger
The immediate priority for everybody at Liverpool is to emerge from this period as quickly as possible. There is too much quality in the team for it to become a slump. The players need to lift themselves and get back to enjoying football again. The difficulty when you are the best is you play with a level of expectation weighing you down.
In this strangest of seasons there will be a lot of twists and turns yet. The season is only halfway through and a good run can transform the feeling and outlook in three or four games.
Right now players and fans need to take things game by game. Talk of the title or top four needs to be parked and just focus on one game at a time. That’s what won us the title last season.
The key thing, whatever happens, this season is to keep a cool head, this is a season like no other in history, it is important to stay united.
I’ll shamelessly quote Joe Biden who said ‘There is nothing we can’t achieve when we do it together’ – that’s what got us back on our perch and it’ll be what keeps us there.
Liverpool have to make a quick recovery after their FA Cup exit at the weekend, with a game against Spurs on Thursday. Here are Monday’s rumours and news headlines.Reds make ‘contact’ with Sokratis – but no move
Liverpool have not simply closed their eyes and crossed their fingers when it comes to the problems this season at centre-back.
While there’s still an expectation we won’t sign a big-name defender this window on account of the finances involved, that doesn’t definitely mean nobody will arrive.
Reports on Monday say the club contacted Klopp’s former Dortmund defender Sokratis, who has been released on a free from Arsenal.
We didn’t go beyond checking on his situation – but it’s indicative that all routes are being followed up on and a shorter-term solution could yet be in the offing.
Remain patient in the final week or so and we might just get a new body in.That moment you pick Lindelof…over Van Dijk
Former Southampton striker Charlie Austin has been talking about a time when he and Virgil van Dijk were chatting about a potential Saints departure for the big defender – and Virgil told him that Manchester United were keen.
Austin says there’s no certainty Van Dijk would have gone anyway, as he wanted to move to Liverpool by then, but United made the first move when relationships broke down between the Reds and Saints that summer – and opted for someone else.
While he hasn’t been a complete disaster, he certainly isn’t a confidence-inspiring heartbeat of the defence and has lost his place more than once through uncertain performances. Virgil, meanwhile, has established himself as the best centre-back in world football and has won several major honours with the Reds after signing at Anfield six months later.
At least they got the first two letters of the first name the same.Reaction to cup defeat
Out the cup, out the title race for now at least. How will our reaction look on Thursday?Quickfire LFC news
Newcastle are bringing in a coach to help Steve Bruce. We’re sure Graeme Jones is very good and all, but what’s the point?
The Magpies are hopeless under Bruce, lack ambition, attacking intent or style and everybody knows Bruce will be booted sooner or later.Tweet of the day
?? No player has registered more assists than Harvey Elliott in the Championship this season, with 8
? Liverpool fans keeping tabs on the teenager… pic.twitter.com/eSCpVZZjNt
— WhoScored.com (@WhoScored) January 25, 2021Worth watching tonight
Giant-killing? Extra time? Knacker Spurs out three days before our game? Any of the three will be fine as Wycombe host Mourinho’s side in the FA Cup at 7:45pm.
With the Reds losing another game and needing a route back to winning ways, Steven Scragg identifies how this season bears some similarities with yesteryear.
It’s all gone a bit 2016/17.
A week and a half earlier, six days before Christmas, we’d gone to Goodison Park, where Sadio Mane had snatched the only goal of the game, four minutes into injury time, forever interlinking Liverpool’s delirious supporters to the musical works of Shakin’ Stevens.
As 2017 loomed large, it was greeted with bated breath, minds running wild over just what this fast-emerging new Liverpool of Jurgen Klopp’s might be capable of, by May.
Over the course of the first two months of 2017, we won just one league game, and we exited the FA Cup in the fourth round. It wasn’t until early March that we rediscovered our mojo, going on to lose just once in our last 12 games, to secure Champions League football for the following season, by a narrow margin.
The sense of déjà vu is palpable.Drop-offs and shrugs
If the 16/17 winter switch-off were to be translatable to 20/21, then we’ve another three or four weeks of patchy form to go, before we work it out of our system.
On the plus side, we’d be in imperious form for the last three months of the season. Using these calculations, a seventh European Cup will soon be ours…Ahem.
Losing to Manchester United should never be shrugged off as a non-event, but there are some mitigating circumstances to this one, and I can honestly say that the loss to Burnley last Thursday was a much bigger body blow to absorb.
At Old Trafford, we lost an open game that could just as easily dropped our way at 2-2.
Our shortfalls in central defence were clear to see, with a cluster of free headers allowed to be met. The first goal we conceded was an impressive sucker punch, while Rhys Williams should have cut out the ball that led to the second.
For the third goal, Alisson Becker shouldn’t be beaten on his side by a free-kick which is situated left of centre, whether you agree with that free-kick being given or not.
Added to the yellow card he forced upon Fabinho in the first half, fresh off the back of giving away the penalty that handed Burnley the victory on Thursday night, and our usually impeccable goalkeeper isn’t quite himself at the moment.
This is something you can currently level at several Liverpool players.Even so…
On the opposite side of the coin, Mo Salah shouldn’t have been on the losing side and his first goal was magnificent. That feint by James Milner in the build-up to the second would also have been worth the admission fee, had we been allowed to pay one.
Conjecture obviously raged over the strength of the line-up Klopp fielded. He’s damned if he does, and damned if he doesn’t in this respect. This time, given we need to play ourselves back into form, I felt it was the right thing to do.
At this point in time, for Liverpool, it is all about putting one foot in front of the other; at this point in time, for Liverpool, it is all about rebuilding a confidence that we have allowed to slip through our fingers. You can’t do that, if you take the senior players out of the firing range.Form and fortunes
Ultimately, it was another loss.
The oddity about this downturn in form is that there was no obvious point of impact. Had it been something borne of Aston Villa putting seven past us in October, or within the immediate slipstream of losing Virgil van Dijk, then it would be a more understandable occurrence.
What can happen, in testing times, is that a collective can temporarily meet the problem head-on, before suffering a delayed dip. A form of post-traumatic disorder can kick in. They defy logic and gravity, then belatedly hit a wall.
An extreme example of this came when our late manager Gerard Houllier was taken ill in 2001. The response of the squad, under the caretaker stewardship of Phil Thompson, was to become the first English team to win away to Dynamo Kyiv, and not lose a league game for two months, before hitting a nine-game wall between December and January where we won just once.
The mind works in mysterious ways, and for a long time this season, between mid-October and mid-December, the psychological stresses that Liverpool were projecting – or lack of them to be more accurate – didn’t really match the body blows that had been received.
It was akin to a boxer being hit repetitively to the ribs, only to smile back at his assailant, and provocatively stick his chin out, as if to suggest none of the punches hurt, and that his opponent needed to hit harder.
Amid this, Jose Mourinho is the last man you want to see, but there he will be on Thursday night, armed with a meticulously calculated plan in order to down us.
In ordinary circumstances, Klopp and his players are more than capable of meeting that challenge and overcoming it. It all just depends upon how we deal in our responses.
On Sunday, we didn’t respond well enough to the setbacks, and interspersed this with flashes of our true self; on Thursday, we need to tilt the balance back towards there being more of our true self, and less in the way of negative responses to setbacks.
We will work our way through this impasse, but it won’t come without battling for it.
Our betting expert Jones Knows is back with some midweek prediction action.Crystal Palace vs West Ham, Tuesday 6pm
"Don't listen to him, this muppet gets us wrong every week," tweeted one Hammers fan on social media.
He has a point.
Is it time to put faith in the improving Hammers?
This muppet took on David Moyes' side in their last two against Burnley and West Brom and my fingers were well and truly burnt. Are they really capable of a top-eight finish though? If they get there it will be based around being very disciplined at the back. In their last four Premier League games, they've shipped just one goal - a metric backed up by expected goals data of just 1.94. It's Manchester City levels of rearguard action.
Moyes' men rarely make mistakes or get pulled out of position. The ever-improving Declan Rice leads by example in that regard.
However, Palace will have Wilfried Zaha back for this one, they've lost all three matches without him this season. He gives them a crucial out-ball.
That was on show in the corresponding meeting between these two in December that finished 1-1 with Palace perhaps unfortunate not to take maximum points as Sebastian Haller turned into Didier Drogba for a split-second which was enough time to score a one-in-a-million overhead kick.
This one will be nitty. It'll be gritty. It's most likely to be a draw.
Muppets never learn do they?
JONES KNOWS PREDICTS: 1-1 (5/1 with Sky Bet)Newcastle vs Leeds, Tuesday 6pm
No matter what Steve Bruce will have you believe, Newcastle have been embarrassing in their last three matches.
No goals scored, an average of just nine touches in the opposition box per match and 1.6 shots on target per match. I'm always keen to treat a negative narrative like the one surrounding Newcastle with caution but in this case the toxicity towards their performance levels are fully justified. I've never seen a Premier League team so comfortable at 2-0 up than Aston Villa were on Saturday. The lack of endeavour, bite and spark in midfield for the Toon was jaw-dropping.
The end must near for Bruce on Tyneside if things continue in the same vein. The underlying numbers and performance data is now catching up with him. And, the last thing they need right now is a team like Leeds on their doorstep, full of energy, full of forward-thinking players.
And the money has come for a Leeds away win with the 10/11 with Sky Bet offer much shorter than late last week. I'm not one to get too carried away with an odds-on price, but this one is a real tempter.
Admittedly, Leeds were off-colour in a big way in their defeat to Brighton, sinking well below their usual average for shots, sprints and tackles. I'm willing to treat that blip in isolation as the influence of Kalvin Phillips' direct passing from deep was missing due to his suspension. He's back for this one and likely to run the show.
Marcelo Bielsa's boys scored five from a whopping 25 shots on goal in the fixture between these two at Elland Road. It would be a footballing travesty if Bruce gets the better of Bielsa here.
For those that love watching beauty overcoming the beast, this simply needs to be an away win. For football's sake.
JONES KNOWS PREDICTS: 0-3 (12/1 with Sky Bet)
ALSO LOOK OUT FOR: Leeds to win, over 2.5 goals and Leeds to have 14 or more shots on goal (11/4 with Sky Bet - bet here!)West Brom vs Manchester City, Tuesday 8pm
An open title race you say? Have you not seen Manchester City play recently? Liverpool's stumbles have seen even more confidence pile into Pep Guardiola's men in the betting markets.
They are now as short as 4/11 to win their third title in the last four seasons. It's theirs to lose.
Since losing to Spurs in November, City have conceded just two goals in 10 games, winning seven of those to nil. West Brom were actually one of the two teams to break through the City barricades in Slaven Bilic's final game in charge and although Sam Allardyce has given the Baggies at least a glimmer of survival hope, this fixture has a predictable look to it.
"We could play out of our skins, but still lose, so the games against Fulham and Sheffield United will be huge for us," Allardyce said in his pre-match press conference. Not exactly inspiring is it?
One of the biggest mysteries of this bonkers season is how City's slick full-back Joao Cancelo has just one assist to his name in the Premier League. He has created 27 chances for his team-mates - the same as James Rodriguez at Everton. That smart build-up play has generated an expected assist figure of 3.45, highlighting the high-quality supply he is producing. To put that into some context, Harry Kane has an expected assist figure of just 1.89 assists this season but has a ludicrously efficient 11 assists to his name.
Cancelo's influence off the bench in the FA Cup comeback at Cheltenham showcased just what an important player he is for Pep Guardiola right now, setting up Phil Foden for the all-important equaliser.
Unfortunately for punting purposes, the traders at Sky Bet are seemingly well versed with Cancelo's chance creation powers, pricing him up at just 2/1 to grab an assist. There are bigger prices available in the betting jungle.
He can play a big part in another win without conceding for Manchester City.
JONES KNOWS PREDICTS: 0-2 (6/1 with Sky Bet)Southampton vs Arsenal, Tuesday 8pm
These two teams meet for the third time in just over a month, so, theoretically, predicting an outcome should be a doddle, no?
Southampton have edged the two encounters with an aggregate score of 2-1 which does make an argument for them being overpriced as the supposed outsiders for this one at 21/10. But making assumptions like that using just the bare result on such a small sample size is the quickest way to skintsville. With a deeper overall assessment of both sides, a low scoring draw seems the most likely result between two evenly-matched teams.
I'm expecting the influence of a fully-fit Thomas Partey to have a massive impact on Arsenal's results over the next few months. He gives them a forceful ball-carrying option through the middle and possesses all the tools to be one of the best all-round midfielders in the Premier League - that was on show in the 1-0 win over Manchester United in November. When he's back at full-throttle, Arsenal have a player to take them up the table.Image: Thomas Partey is 2/1 to have a shot on target from outside the box
He's also a player that isn't afraid of shooting from range, which makes him very interesting in Sky Bet player shot markets. He's averaging 1.48 shots a game so far in his brief Arsenal career, a figure which is similar to his numbers at Atletico Madrid. He's 2/1 for a shot on target on Tuesday - a price certainly worth a look.
JONES KNOWS PREDICTS: 1-1 (5/1 with Sky Bet)
ALSO LOOK OUT FOR: Thomas Partey to have a shot on target from outside the box (2/1 with Sky Bet)Burnley vs Aston Villa, Wednesday 6pm
If you're going to get a result at Burnley, your two centre-backs need to stand strong. And, in Tyrone Mings and Ezri Konsa, Villa have two excellent defenders that relish a battle and defend their box with great authority. They've been part of a back four that has registered nine clean sheets this term. If those two maintain their performance levels for this encounter, Villa should carry more than enough attacking threat to make the 11/10 on an away win with Sky Bet a winning price.
In the reverse fixture Burnley somehow got out of Villa Park with a 0-0 draw despite Villa registering 27 shots on their goal - the second-highest shot count posted by one team in a game this season. Dean Smith's side attack with such confidence, trickery and ruthlessness that it's really difficult to see how Burnley will keep a clean sheet. One goal should do it.
JONES KNOWS PREDICTS: 0-1 (6/1 with Sky Bet)Chelsea vs Wolves, Wednesday 6pm
Wolves can't catch a break. This fixture will have looked a lot more appealing to Nuno Espirito Santo on Monday morning than it does now. Instead of travelling to a confidence-drained, stuttering Chelsea side that looked under-motivated with Frank Lampard in charge, it's now a completely different scenario. Chelsea, you'd assume, will now be fully charged to impress their new boss Thomas Tuchel.
Timo Werner could hardly trap or pass the ball properly against Luton. Wolves will get to see the probable transformation into Diego Maradona up close on Wednesday night.
A change of boss in the dugout is always a difficult one to analyse from a betting view in the immediate aftermath. Tuchel is famed for his aggressive and tactically astute style but working on assumptions without using evidence is not a path to profit. I'll be sitting back and watching with interest to see what Tuchel does with an undoubtedly richly talented, yet out of form, squad of players.
What we do know is that Wolves are in toothless mood in the final third. Recording just one shot on target against Chorley from the sixth tier of the English football pyramid in the FA Cup took pragmatic football to another level. A Chelsea win to nil makes sense, but it's predicted with absolutely no confidence whatsoever.
JONES KNOWS PREDICTS: 2-0 (6/1 with Sky Bet)Brighton vs Fulham, Wednesday 7.30pm
Even my eyebrows were raised reading our alternative Premier League table according to Opta's Expected Goals model on Monday morning. Brighton are the kings of underperforming in accordance to their performance data but it was striking to see them sitting in fifth place in that xG table. As our stats man Matt Cheetham pointed out, based on how many times they have created significantly better chances than their opponents, Graham Potter might have been expected to have double their current points total.
Yet, they remain just five points above the drop zone and still they don't pass the test with the eye to suggest they are in a false position despite the staggering metrics. In both boxes Potter's team are flaky. A win for Fulham here would open up the dog-fight at the bottom, however, they have a touch of the Potters themselves. Scott Parker plays an easy-on-the-eye style but creating clear chances remains a problem - as does their ability to concede at crucial times in matches.
This clash looks a classic case of both teams taking a point, something that has occurred 14 times in matches involving these two this season, including in the reverse fixture at Craven Cottage.
JONES KNOWS PREDICTS: 1-1 (5/1 with Sky Bet)Manchester United vs Sheffield United, Wednesday 8pm
I'm keen to get Sheffield United on my side for this one. Chris Wilder has found a formula that is generating progressive football once again - it's a shame it's come 10 games too late.
Trusting the Blades in the match result market looks too risky though as terrible finishing and defending their box properly will surely hold them back at Old Trafford. You can get 10/11 with Sky Bet on Wilder's boys with a +2 goal head start on the handicap, meaning you'll cop a return if they win, draw or lose by one goal. That makes perfect sense in what is likely to be a tougher assignment than many foresee for this Manchester United side.
However, I'm happy to invest in the shots market for this one. With the Blades now full of confidence again, their attacking patterns involving their wide players and midfield are flowing. This is yielding good territory and efforts at goal. In their last four games they have registered 67 shots at goal, averaging 16.75 per 90 minutes. Yes, two of those were against lower-league opposition in the FA Cup but they managed 16 in their clash with Tottenham.
Ole Gunnar Solskjaer's side play in a progressive style that leaves them open to attacks on their goal, as showcased by facing 229 shots against this season - the seventh highest in the Premier League. They are happy to leave the back door open.
Depending on your style of punting, Sheffield United to have nine or more shots (5/6 with Sky Bet), 10 or more (11/8) or - for the brave souls - 13 or more (11/2) is an angle to get involved with.
JONES KNOWS PREDICTS: 2-1 (13/2 with Sky Bet)
ALSO LOOK OUT FOR: Sheffield United to have nine or more shots (5/6 with Sky Bet)Everton vs Leicester, Wednesday 8pm
A game to get excited about this one.
Leicester were excellent in their 2-0 win over Chelsea but had Frank Lampard to thank for that. His arrogant decision to set out his team to dominate possession, allowing Leicester to find space on the counter-attack, showed huge tactical naivety.
Carlo Ancelotti is too shrewd to fall into that trap.
As he's done in recent weeks - and in the 2-0 win at Leicester - he will set up to play compact with no space in behind. Everton will allow Leicester to dominate the ball and look to take advantage of any set-piece situations - it's an area they excel at and may prove the difference in this one.Image: Carlo Ancelotti masterclass on the cards?
Only Chelsea have scored more goals from set-pieces than Everton this season, including the second goal in that win at the King Power and they scored twice from corners in their FA Cup win over Sheffield Wednesday. Leicester have shipped 10 goals from set-pieces, too, and Dominic Calvert-Lewin, Yerry Mina and Michael Keane are all huge threats. Home win.
JONES KNOWS PREDICTS: 1-0 (6/1 with Sky Bet)Tottenham vs Liverpool, Thursday 8pm
Whenever Liverpool trade at odds-against in a Premier League match, my eyes light up.
Yes, four Premier League games without a goal does sound the alarm bells that perhaps we've seen the peak of Jurgen Klopp's Liverpool tenure and it's downhill from here. That is easily argued though, especially when looking at Liverpool's attacking metrics in their four-game goalless run. Klopp's men have lacked fluidity in the final third, granted, but the most important factor is that they're still getting into the areas that have made them such a force. Amazingly, they've registered 72 shots in those four games - only Manchester City have had more - and posted an expected goals figure of 5.72. All that is missing is the final finish. I'd be stunned if the goalless run continues in this one.
Even in defence, Liverpool aren't allowing many chances to the opposition. In that four-game run they've only faced 29 shots on their goal, just two more than Manchester City.
That equates to me that despite their alarming drop-off in results, the metrics bring forward the argument that fine margins aren't falling their way. If they stick to the process, then it's bound to turn. A price for an away win, which would normally be trading at 8/11, can be snapped up at 6/5. It's hard to ignore.
JONES KNOWS PREDICTS: 0-2 (7/1 with Sky Bet)
Liverpool Football Club will mark Holocaust Memorial Day 2021 this week with a range of activities taking place across the club.
Holocaust Memorial Day, which takes place on Wednesday January 27, is the anniversary of the liberation of Auschwitz-Birkenau, the largest Nazi extermination camp, and remembers the six million Jews murdered during the Holocaust, alongside millions of other people killed under Nazi persecution and in genocide around the world.
The theme for Holocaust Memorial Day 2021 is ‘be the light in the darkness’, which encourages reflection on the ways individuals and communities resisted the darkness to ‘be the light’ before, during and after genocide.
LFC is supporting the Holocaust Memorial Day Trust’s national moment – ‘Light the Darkness’ – which invites households across the United Kingdom to light candles and safely place them in their windows at 8pm on Wednesday, to remember victims of genocide and unite against prejudice.
Reds captain Jordan Henderson will feature in HMDT’s ‘Light the Darkness’ campaign video alongside other Premier League footballers to encourage fans to show their support. The video will be available to view here on Liverpoolfc.com, the club’s social media channels and LFCTV.
The club is also hosting virtual talks with Holocaust survivors for its staff and players, which will be supported by a range of online educational resources.
In addition, the Academy’s U18s will also be sharing their experiences of visiting Auschwitz-Birkenau in Poland as part of their learning and personal development, as well as taking part in a virtual educational talk with Holocaust survivors.
Lynne Stockton Howard, senior vice-president, HR at Liverpool FC, said: “It’s really important for us as a club to mark Holocaust Memorial Day and remember the millions of people who have so tragically lost their lives across the world as result of persecution and genocide.
“As part of our Red Together strategy, which encompasses the club’s commitment to equality, diversity and inclusion, we adopted the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance’s working definition of antisemitism in November last year.
“The adoption of the IHRA’s definition not only reflects the club’s ethos and values but also demonstrates our ambition to continue to strive to make LFC as inclusive as possible and a place where everyone feels welcome and accepted.”