Curtis Jones dedicated his goal against Sheffield United to Alisson and the Becker family.
Alisson missed Sunday’s 2-0 win on compassionate grounds following the tragic death of his father leading Jones, who opened the scoring at Bramall Lane, to tell Sky Sports: “I think it’s been a difficult time for myself and the rest of the team but I’m happy that I got on the scoresheet and I’d like to take this time to say that this goal is for Ali’s dad, actually. May he rest in peace and if Ali sees this, this is for you, bro.
“He’s a strong lad. He’s a big part of the team, of course. He’s not here today but we miss him for sure and I’d like to take this time and dedicate my goal to him and his dad and the rest of his family.”
Jones’ fine finish arrived three minutes into the second half after a first period during which Blades goalkeeper Aaron Ramsdale had produced five impressive saves to frustrate the Reds.
Kean Bryan’s own goal, which saw the defender deflect Roberto Firmino’s shot in, made it two shortly after the hour to ensure the champions got back to winning ways in the Premier League.
“All in all it was a good team performance and I’m happy that we came away with the three points. We go again,” Jones added.
“We’ve had good games but we haven’t scored as many goals as we would like. But today it was a good example of us putting it all together. It was a good performance, I’m happy that I’ve scored and I’m happy for Bobby and the rest of the team.”
Jürgen Klopp expects to have Fabinho and Alisson Becker available for Thursday’s Anfield encounter with Chelsea, while he is also hopeful on Diogo Jota’s chances of returning.
Fabinho has resumed full training after a muscle injury had kept him out of Liverpool’s last four outings, while Alisson was absent from the Reds’ 2-0 win over Sheffield United on Sunday evening on compassionate grounds following the passing of his father earlier this week.
Jota, meanwhile, had been set to be included in the squad for the first time since December 9 after a knee issue; however, the forward took ill at the team hotel overnight and was ruled out of the contest.
Asked whether the trio would come back into contention for Chelsea’s visit to Merseyside, Klopp said: “Alisson and Fabinho, I’m pretty sure [will be available].
“With Diogo, he was with us in the hotel, but he got sick overnight and we had to send him home. It depends how quick he will recover, obviously.
“He was in the squad and as I said before, he trained with the team and it all looked really good but unfortunately he got sick overnight. I think he will be available, but I don’t know.”
Adrian and Nathaniel Phillips start for Liverpool in this evening’s Premier League clash with Sheffield United.
With Alisson Becker absent on compassionate grounds, Adrian begins in goal at Bramall Lane.
Phillips, meanwhile, is the only other change the Reds make from last weekend’s Merseyside derby as he replaces the injured Jordan Henderson.
James Milner is back on the bench after returning to fitness as well as Academy goalkeepers Jakub Ojrzynski and Liam Hughes.
Diogo Jota doesn’t make the matchday squad due to illness.
Liverpool: Adrian, Alexander-Arnold, Phillips, Kabak, Robertson, Wijnaldum, Jones, Thiago, Mane, Salah, Firmino.
Subs: Ojrzynski, Hughes, Milner, Keita, Oxlade-Chamberlain, Shaqiri, Origi, R. Williams, N. Williams.
Liverpool FC Women claimed an impressive first win of 2021 by beating London Bees 3-0 in their FA Women's Championship meeting on Sunday.
Becky Jane punctuated the Reds’ attacking beginning to the clash at Prenton Park with a back-post finish that was the difference between the sides in the first half.
The visitors went close on several occasions in the second period, hitting the woodwork too, but late efforts from Ceri Holland and substitute Amy Rodgers gave the hosts victory.
Liverpool started with intent, moving the ball forward at every opportunity and Jane – deployed in an advanced position on the right flank – was at the heart of their early progress.
The game was only three minutes old when she tucked a pass in behind for Kirsty Linnett to run through. The forward had options as she bore down on goal and chose to square into the box, where the Bees cut the ball out.
Next time around, in the ninth minute, the Reds made sure.
On this occasion they fashioned the chance via the left wing, Linnett slipping a pass into the run of Ashley Hodson, who drove to the touchline and delivered into the middle for Jane to force in a low strike.
The visitors went close to hitting back immediately, though Sophie Quirk’s low effort from 20 yards out was dragged wide of the left post.
Liverpool nevertheless remained in the ascendancy and a clever spin by Linnett at the edge of the area allowed her to feed a pass into the run of Rhiannon Roberts. But the latter’s shot was too close to the goalkeeper.
Bees stopper Sarah Quantrill was later forced into more arduous work, reacting to tip over Missy Bo Kearns’ rising drive from Jane’s lay-up.
Meikayla Moore glanced a header wide from the resulting corner and the sides headed into the half-time break with the score still 1-0.
It was a different story when play restarted for the second half as the Bees created a series of chances to restore parity.
First, a ball ran for Lauren Pickett inside the box and Rachael Laws had to leap from her line to vitally block her finish at close range.
Two minutes later a corner kick from the left found Amelia Hazard at the back post and her header down towards goal was stopped by Laws.
LFC Women interim manager Amber Whiteley made a triple change a little after the hour mark, introducing Rachel Furness, Melissa Lawley and Rodgers to aid the search for a second goal.
It was the away side who again threatened next, though.
A neat passing move saw the ball eventually spread out to Quirk high on the left flank and her cross-shot looped down onto the crossbar before bouncing away.
Furness sent a stooping header off target from a corner as the Reds responded – and they then secured the points with two goals in the space of six minutes.
On 74, Liverpool built out from the back and Furness’ flick-on in the middle of the park unlocked space for Holland to exchange passes with Lawley, step forward and cushion a strike beyond Quantrill.
Rodgers swiftly added her name to the scoresheet, too, accurately sweeping home from the edge of the box to confirm an encouraging result for Whiteley’s charges.
LFC Women: Laws, Roberts, Moore, Fahey, Hinds, Jane (Lawley, 62), Bailey (Brough, 87), Holland, Kearns (Rodgers, 62), Hodson, Linnett (Furness, 62).
Unused substitutes: Heeps, Robe, Thestrup, Parry.
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The young Reds were in clinical mood at the Academy on Saturday and clinched three points with two goals in either half.
Pinpoint finishes from Layton Stewart and Ben Woodburn sandwiched a Jake Cain double either side of the interval.
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Sheffield United forward David McGoldrick recognises that the Liverpool side who he considers the “best team” he’s ever played against have seen their jigsaw unfold due to injury.
Jurgen Klopp has overseen a dramatic rise and transformation at Liverpool since his arrival more than five years ago, turning nearly men into a relentless force.
Consistency was at the heart of the Reds’ success in the Premier League last season, as was an unwavering relentlessness that McGoldrick even likened to a team of “robots.”
But the side that travels to meet Sheffield United today is a much-changed one from the side who broke countless records as they rampaged to the title.
A long list of injuries has been at the heart of Liverpool’s woes and the Blades’ striker was quick to acknowledge the domino effect that the absence of key players can have on performances and results.
“It sums it up [the craziness of the league with Liverpool’s recent results]. It’s crazy, you would never have thought that playing against them last year and how strong they were,” McGoldrick told Sheffield United’s club website.
“I think they were the best team I’ve ever played against, I thought they were unbelievable.
“It was like robots at times and then a few injuries and this is what happens.
“Injuries are key, we’re missing key players and they’re missing key players and when that happens, a piece of the jigsaw unfolds and things like this happen.”
Chris Wilder’s side are no strangers to a long injury list themselves, with his first-choice back three unavailable tonight in addition to potentially being unable to name a full complement of players on the bench.
McGoldrick’s assessment is an honest one and while he may fancy his chances against a makeshift Liverpool backline this time around, he knows the Reds still pose a threat in attack – and his eyes are on Sadio Mane.
“I just remember playing against [Mane] last year and he was a robot. He was working hard, skipping by people, he was strong,” he added.
“He was just a joy, not to play against because I couldn’t get near him, to see.
“Obviously, Salah’s goal record speaks for itself and if you wanted the goals you’d go for him [as a strike partner], but as an all-round player Mane really stands out for me.”
Referee Lee Mason has been replaced as fourth official for Sunday's match between Sheffield United and Liverpool due to injury.
Mason will be replaced at Bramall Lane by John Brooks, with Jonathan Moss refereeing Sunday night's game, live on Sky Sports.
The Professional Game Match Officials Limited (PGMOL) has confirmed to Sky Sports News that Mason picked up an injury while officiating Saturday's game between West Brom and Brighton, during which Mason was involved in controversially disallowing a Brighton goal.Sunday 28th February 7:00pm Kick off 7:15pm
In the incident, Brighton defender Lewis Dunk curled in a quick free-kick from the edge of the penalty area. Referee Mason blew his whistle - before quickly blowing again - but in between, Dunk had taken a quick free-kick and scored while Sam Johnstone was still lining up his wall.
Mason appeared to rule the goal out straight away but after Brighton's players surrounded him to complain, the referee eventually gave the goal - only to finally reverse his decision after a chaotic few minutes and pull the game back for the visitors to retake their initial free-kick.2:49 Lewis Dunk described the controversial moment Lee Mason disallowed a free-kick that Brighton had scored despite blowing his whistle as 'embarrassing and horrendous'.
After the game, Dunk described Mason's decision as "embarrassing and horrendous" and claimed the referee lost control of the game.Dermot: Mason lost focus
Dermot Gallagher on Sky Sports News:0:54 Mason 'lost focus' during his decision to initially award Brighton a goal against West Brom before later disallowing it, says former Premier League referee Dermot Gallagher.
"I've been in situations in games where I've lost focus for a little while. I think that's the key thing: Lee has lost focus here.
"He's tried to regain it, he's realised, but he's lost a little bit of concentration, and he's not quite in that zone for making accurate decisions.
"He should never have had the free-kick taken in the first place, but having done that, he's then got to follow the process through. He's quickly realised, and quite rightly blown a second time to stop that, to control it, but the ball has entered the net.3:15 FREE TO WATCH: Highlights from West Brom’s win over Brighton in the Premier League
"It's at that point the VAR has told him that the ball has not entered the net before the whistle, so therefore the goal doesn't stand.
"The fact he's gone across to the bench has given him that thinking time, created that time for him to get his thoughts and himself together, so that when he goes back, he's in a better frame of mind to restart that situation."Stelling: This is a shambles
Dunk's disallowed goal was slammed as a "shameful, disgraceful piece of nonsense" by Jeff Stelling.
The Soccer Saturday host was in disbelief as Paul Merson described events at The Hawthorns.
"This is a shambles. Lee Mason, what have you done?" Stelling questioned, as the Soccer Saturday team watched on.
"VAR has given no goal and now he is going to look at the screen. This is a total, utter, shameful, disgraceful, piece of nonsense!
"This is the dream team of Lee Mason and Simon Hooper, who is the VAR at the moment. You could not make this up."
Merson added: "I've never seen anything like this. He's completely out of control."
The Egyptian has been one of the main topics of discussion regarding potential departures at Anfield in the near future, with his own comments only adding fuel to the fire.
Salah had praised “top clubs” Real Madrid and Barcelona in an interview with the Spanish press late last year, teams who remain linked with the 28-year-old.
And with a journalist recently throwing a wild claim out that Salah is not happy at Liverpool, his importance to the team was looked to once more in England.
Salah himself has not shown any signs of restlessness, in fact, the opposite with a recent promise to fans and Klopp praised his winger and the hope for a long stay on Merseyside.
“He’s very important, it’s a bit awkward when I have to praise my own players, which I like to do, to be honest, but I think in Mo’s case the numbers speak for themselves,” Klopp told reporters.
“But Mo is not only a goalscorer. He has developed football-wise as well, he is a very, very important player for us.
“And hopefully he will be that for a long, long time, of course.”
The 28-year-old is contracted at Anfield until 2023 which leaves Liverpool in the driving seat regarding his immediate future, but few signs internally suggest it is a concern.
While the season has been tough-going, Salah has been a shining light with 24 goals and four assists in 35 appearances – a tally that has seen him nestle into joint-13th in the club’s all-time goalscorers list.
He sits level with Ian St John having taken his total to 118 goals in 187 appearances, an incredible return that has played a key role in the Reds’ recent success.
Salah is one who sits in the underappreciated category outside the club’s walls, and sometimes even within them, but as the boss noted, his numbers really do speak for themselves.
Andy Robertson is in no doubt that “not one” team in world football would be able to navigate Liverpool’s injury pile-up which has led to 18 different centre-back partnerships to date.
The Reds have been dealt blow after blow this season as injury has besieged the squad and taken with it all three senior centre-backs they started the season with.
It has led to the likes of Nat Phillips, Rhys Williams, Fabinho, Jordan Henderson, Billy Koumetio and most recently Ozan Kabak to slot in and form part of Liverpool’s 18 different centre-back combinations to date.
And the instability in addition to blooding inexperienced players into the system has put a lot of pressure on Robertson’s shoulders with roles and responsibilities continually changing.
“If you tell any team in world football that they’re going to have 18 different partnerships in a season at centre-back, no team in the world deals with that, not one,” Robertson told Sky Sports.
“Usually we have, for instance, Virg who’s very vocal, we have Joey Gomez that leads by example, and Joel who leads by example. We’ve had Fabinho, Hendo.
“But now we’ve got Nat Phillips, who obviously wasn’t here last season, he was out on loan. We’ve got (Ozan) Kabak who’s a young lad who’s just come in. We’ve got Ben Davies, who’s been signed from a Championship club and needs to take time and big Rhys (Williams), of course.
“All of them are relatively inexperienced and it’s trying to help them, but also trying to help the team by focusing on yourself.”
“It’s been tough for me personally but it’s part and parcel of it.
“I’m probably the leader at the back, I’m probably the most vocal at the back now and it’s just trying to make sure that we do as well as we can and we try to keep as many clean sheets as we can because that’s the only way we’re going to win games.”
No one could have expected the turns this season would take for Liverpool off the back of their title success, but the Scot is not wrong in his view that the absence of so many key figures could be easily overcome by any team in the world.
The knock-on effect has been just as profound throughout the entire squad, not just in defence, and it would be foolish to overlook when passing judgement on the Reds this season.