Stoke City are on the verge of relegation to the Championship, and confidence is almost non-existent going into the game.
The Reds host the Potters on Saturday lunchtime, with points still required to secure a top-four finish this season.
For Stoke, only a win will realistically do, as their battle to avoid the drop becomes more desperate as each week passes.
The meeting is sandwiched between Liverpool’s Champions League semi-final clashes with Roma, which may give the visitors hope, but getting a result will still be a tall order.
While, in theory, three wins could keep us up, we’re not winning against you lot.Where has it all gone wrong this season, having been a solid top flight team for a number of years?
That’s a big question.
There have been a series of failures on and off the pitch. Poor recruitment in the transfer market, terrible tactics and a general lack of ambition have done us this season, but this has been coming for the last two and a half years.
We held onto Mark Hughes for far, far too long, despite him having completely lost whatever it was that made him a success.
We then replaced him with Paul Lambert, who has since proven to be far from good enough.
Two bad managers, coupled with the complete lack of any quality up front, meant we simply weren’t able to hold our heads above water.Who have been Stoke’s three best players this season, and why? To refresh your memory, in November you went with Xherdan Shaqiri, Jack Butland and Ryan Shawcross.
Xherdan Shaqiri, Joe Allen and Mortiz Bauer.
Shaqiri has arguably single-handedly prevented us from ‘doing a Derby’—the Rams got the lowest-ever Premier League points tally (11) in 07/08—and is the only true quality we have in the attacking positions.
Allen has run himself into the ground every game, and Bauer has been a very handy addition.
It speaks volumes that Bauer, a January signing who is currently being played out of position, has made this list.Any who have been particularly poor?
Saido Berahino, Jese, Eric Choupo-Moting, Kevin Wimmer, Charlie Adam, Mame Biram Diouf, Ramadan Sobhi, Erik Pieters, Glen Johnson, Ibrahim Afellay, Darren Fletcher and Peter Crouch.
Some of the above tried and just weren’t good enough, some of them have ability but haven’t worked hard enough, and some are just absolute wankers.
A lot of people may object to me putting the likes of Sobhi and Crouch—they do genuinely care and give their all—in the same sentence as Jese and Berahino, but the disappointments on the pitch have been varied and many.Nice to hear Joe Allen is doing well; he became a very popular player at Anfield. Do you see him leaving if the Potters are relegated?
He will almost certainly be off this summer, being one of the few to come away with any credit.
His tenacity and boundless energy puts his teammates to shame a lot of the time, and I suspect he will probably win our Player of the Season (although my vote would go to Shaqiri).
Fans love a player who gives his all.What have you made of Liverpool’s season?
You’ve done alright, haven’t you?
After the sale of Philippe Coutinho it helped you persist with a settled front three, and you’ve used that to pretty devastating effect.
Add one or two major signings and you’re a title contender next season.
You’re always capable of throwing away points against teams like West Brom, though.Do you think the Reds will win the Champions League?
You’re in with as good a chance as anyone.
I honestly couldn’t call it, but if you made me put money on it, I would lean towards Bayern Munich.If you could pick one Reds player who you think would improve Stoke the most, who would it be?
It’s Salah. He has scored nearly as many as we have as a team this season.Looking ahead to Saturday, where will the key battles take place?
This won’t be a battle, this will be a peaceful occupation of the Stoke City penalty area.Finally, hit me with your prediction…..
Liverpool score early and then carry on scoring until they get bored.
Liverpool 5-0 Stoke.
Liverpool Football Club's on-demand online video service – LFCTV GO – has today officially relaunched with a fresh look and new features.
It remains the only place for all your Reds’ video needs, including exclusive player and manager interviews, behind-the-scenes content from Melwood and match footage and highlights – but with even more.
You can now watch while you browse and turn on cinema mode to enhance your LFCTV GO experience.
Plus, we have added content streams and new categorisation of clips so you can find the videos you love, easier.
New subscribers to LFCTV GO will also receive one month free – just in time for the crucial season run-in.
Terms and conditions apply.
It has been a season of patience and learning for Ben Woodburn, but the talented teenager could end up playing a role for the Reds in the biggest game of all.
A Liverpool goalscorer at 17, an international player the same year. Woodburn’s rise was fast and impressive, but this year has been one of having to bide his time.
For the majority of the campaign, Woodburn has featured for the U23s and Steven Gerrard’s U19s in the UEFA Youth League.
In the latter competition, he skippered the Reds through to the quarter-finals, scoring twice along the way.
For a young player trying to make the breakthrough, being in the squad and then not being in the squad can feel like a backward step.
It doesn’t have to be at all, of course; situations can demand the inclusion of a player for a period of weeks, before he reverts back to his planned progress with the younger players.
Alternately, as is Woodburn’s case, regularly training with seniors is as important as getting competitive first-team minutes.
He was on the bench at the Etihad recently for the second leg of the quarter-finals, and has been an unused sub three times in the league this season.
His only appearance, though, came in the EFL Cup defeat at Leicester.
Further first-team football was a possibility in January, with Championship clubs including Sunderland interested in a loan, but that didn’t pan out either.
It was Klopp’s decision to keep Woodburn around, and his choice looks set to be vindicated.Klopp’s decisions
The boss was, early on, quite vocal about not wanting all the young hopefuls at the club to go out on loan.
He wanted to cultivate a spirit, show them his way of playing, have them available for first-team efforts when required.
That view has certainly been relaxed somewhat, with the Reds seeing over a dozen players out on temporary deals this term, but there’s still a group in place to call upon.
A loan has to be a thought-out move, not a ‘send them anywhere to play’ manoeuvre. Some will work out, others will not. The contrasting fortunes in England’s second tier for Harry Wilson and Ryan Kent attest to that.
But for others, being the next in line as available youth prospects is an exciting, and potentially rewarding, place to be.
Conor Masterson would likely not have been on the lips of fans to feature in squads this season, yet has done. Curtis Jones is another, and he could go directly up against Woodburn for a single place.Seizing the moment
Klopp has repeatedly spoken about promoting young players: “It’s not about giving them the chance, but that they have to be ready to take the chance when it’s there.”
The emphasis, clearly, is on the players to prove they merit further involvement, just as it should be for senior players.
Now is Woodburn’s chance.
Whether it comes against Stoke or in Rome, or even afterward, whether from the bench or the start, in midfield or as a forward, he has to be ready.
A performance, aggressive and impressive and technically suited to the level the first team are at, will not be ignored.
Trent Alexander-Arnold is the best proof of that; he’s earned his place and he’s kept it.
Woodburn has already shown he can show flashes of real brilliance, already highlighted his traits and ability to learn.
With signings expected over summer in both midfield and attacking lines, this is a pivotal moment for him: will be be called upon more frequently next term, or have to again face a development phase of patience and progress?
Either way, Woodburn looks capable of having a big future with Liverpool.
But the final weeks of this campaign could push forward when that future really takes off.
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Watch: Milner v Lallana in LFC quiz showdown
The latest update also features 20 additional topic cards to unlock and be quizzed on, meaning there are now 160 available to collect.
The app is FREE to download and play, and is available on iOS and Android devices worldwide.
Liverpool beat AS Roma 5-2 in a thrilling Champions League semi-final first leg at Anfield on Tuesday night as Jürgen Klopp's swashbuckling side continued to break records.
Mohamed Salah, Roberto Firmino and Sadio Mane were all on the scoresheet with landmark goals to help the Reds become the first team in the competition's history to have three players score eight or more times in a single campaign.
Klopp hailed his side's 'all-inclusive football' after the match, but it was a performance full of individual brilliance, too. We've picked out five great stats that tell the tale of an incredible night...
Firmino hits LFC half-century and UCL landmark
Reds striker Firmino scored a tap-in and a thumping header at Anfield to equal a Champions League record and rack up 50 Liverpool goals in typical style.
The forward notched his half-century in 139 appearances, but 27 of those goals were scored in just 49 games this term, following his pre-season switch from a No.11 to No.9.
In Europe, his contribution has been particularly sensational; Firmino has moved level with Inter Milan's Adriano as the fastest player to 10 Champions League goals.
The Brazilian's haul has arrived in his debut season in the competition and he joins the likes of Alessandro Del Piero, Rivaldo, Kaka, Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo as one of just 15 players to score 10 or more goals in a single campaign.
Salah reeling in Rush
Steven Gerrard labelled Mohamed Salah 'the best player on the planet right now' after his two goals and two assists inspired Liverpool to victory against Roma.
The Egyptian's pair of breathtaking strikes at Anfield took his tally for the season to an incredible 43 goals. And, while Gerrard's claim could be considered a matter for debate, Salah's standing in the LFC record books is not.
Having reached 40 goals quicker than any other player in the history of the club, the 25-year-old has now moved into second place on the Reds' all-time list for goals scored in a single campaign.
With potentially five games left to play this season - should Liverpool reach the Champions League final - Ian Rush's club record of 47 could well be within reach.
Salah averages 0.91 goals per game for the Reds and, if he continued at that rate, he would reach 48.
Front three top of the tree
With Mane also finding the net against Roma, Liverpool's front three all scored in the same game for the eighth time this season and conquered world football in the process.
Mane (18), Firmino (27) and Salah (43) have scored 88 of the Reds' 125 goals in all competitions this season and are now the most prolific triumvirate across the globe.
The trio can also claim 40 assists between them, with Firmino on 16, Salah 15 and Mane providing the final pass on nine occasions.
Milner is king of assists
But it was James Milner who set a new Champions League record for assists in a single season when he teed up Firmino to register his ninth of the current campaign.
The LFC No.7 delivered the corner for his teammate to head home the Reds' fifth goal and moved clear of Wayne Rooney and Neymar at the top of the standings.
Milner averages an assist every 77 minutes, while Rooney turned provider every 96 minutes and Neymar every 100 minutes.
Goals, goals, goals
Having already set a new record for the most goals scored by an English team in a single Champions League campaign, Klopp's Reds are now launching an assault on the all-time leaderboard.
The five goals plundered against Roma took this season's tally to 38 - 10 more than any other side in the competition this term - and moved them up to third in the overall standings behind Real Madrid and Barcelona.
With at least one game still to play in Europe's flagship competition - two if they reach the final in Kiev - the Reds could yet overhaul Real's tally of 41 goals during their 13-game run to the 2013-14 final.
That would set a new record under the Champions League's current format, with Barcelona's milestone of 45 goals in a season coming during a 16-game run to the semi-finals in 1999-00.
Mohamed Salah is elevating himself into the realms of football’s elite with his consistently outstanding performances, Dejan Lovren feels.
Liverpool forward Salah produced yet another irresistible display on Tuesday, as he scored twice himself before setting up goals for Sadio Mane and Roberto Firmino in the Reds’ resounding 5-2 victory over AS Roma.
Following that Champions League semi-final first leg at Anfield, the prolific Egyptian now boasts 43 goals and 15 assists in just 47 appearances for his club this season.
That record, his teammate and friend Lovren believes, proves Salah deserves to be bracketed among the very best players in the world.
“Mo is becoming a superstar,” the centre-back said.
“It looks easy what he does, but it is very difficult. I don’t want to put any extra pressure on him and maybe this is not the right time, but if he continues like that he has every right to be regarded as one of the best three in the world at the end of the year.
“When people talk about [Cristiano] Ronaldo and [Lionel] Messi they should also talk about Salah. He deserves it, he deserves to be mentioned for the Ballon d’Or.
“At the start of the season I didn’t know he could do this, but you see how he is working, how he wants the ball, he is just a different player to what he was.
“I think our style helps him a lot. He didn’t play that way for Basel or Chelsea or Roma, but the way we can find him suits him perfectly. The most important thing now is for him to stay injury free. If he can do that, anything is possible.”
Salah’s double, along with Mane’s strike and a brace from Firmino, saw Jürgen Klopp’s team surge into a five-goal lead over Roma earlier this week.
The Serie A side struck back, though, and late goals from Edin Dzeko and Diego Perotti mean they retain hope of reaching next month’s Champions League final in Kiev at Liverpool’s expense.
However, Lovren thinks the Reds can finish the job amid what he expects to be a ‘crazy’ atmosphere at Stadio Olimpico.
“I am still confident that we can score there,” the No.6 stated.
“We had so many chances, they are really open, they are a team that likes to play and that is good for us.
“They now need to score. It will be a crazy atmosphere but we played in one similar at Man City and we know what we need to do if we score quite early I think it will be a quite different.
“We just need to learn from our previous mistakes, the last 15 minutes we were tired. We have to be more controlling of the game. That is where we need to improve.
“There are many reasons behind it maybe fatigue, maybe different players, there are many reasons why but like I said I am pretty confident for the next leg.”
Trent Alexander-Arnold has conceded that the loss of Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain to injury for the remainder of the season comes as 'a massive blow' to Liverpool.
But the young defender is keen to use that disappointment as inspiration to finish the job against AS Roma next week and secure a place in the Champions League final.
It was confirmed on Wednesday that Oxlade-Chamberlain will miss the run-in and this summer's World Cup having sustained knee ligament damage during the Reds' 5-2 victory over Eusebio Di Francesco's team.
On the news, Alexander-Arnold told the Liverpool Echo: "It's a massive blow, he is a huge player for us.
"Obviously we are all gutted for him and we will be looking to secure a place in the final for him and the other injured lads.
"He’s a top-quality player and his performances in recent weeks have shown that. We are a close-knit group and we’ve shown that on the pitch: we run for each other and tackle for each other and we back each other to the end."
Despite the convincing nature of the result, the full-time whistle at Anfield on Tuesday was greeted by measured celebrations from the Liverpool players and coaching staff.
And that is because Jürgen Klopp and co know they still have a big test ahead in the return leg at the Stadio Olimpico, according to Alexander-Arnold.
"It was just that the job's not done, to be fair," he added. "You can't get too excited and you can't get yourself down.
"If the scoreline was the other way round we'd still think we'd have a chance going through, so that's the way we look at it.
"We've got to think they're still looking to go through to the final as well, so it's all the play for going to Rome.
"Barcelona were three goals up after the home tie (in the quarter-final against Roma) and you cannot count your opponent out, especially when we have seen ourselves they can do special things at their place – we’ll have that in the back of our mind.
"But we’ll just focus on ourselves knowing maybe scoring a couple of goals there will finish the game off."
The Scouser also expressed regret over the concession of two late goals that he believes have given Roma hope of turning things around.
"We are still happy scoring five goals but conceding two at home we’re not happy with as it still gives them a chance," he continued.
"Why did it happen? I think it was a concentration thing in the end. Last 15 minutes, 5-0 up, it’s hard to keep your concentration and that is something the lads will learn from. We know the tie is not finished until the final whistle.
"We have to go there and finish the job off. The manager will make sure we have the gameplan right and we will go there and try to execute it and finish it off. We know it won’t be easy."
Last Updated: 26/04/18 9:25am
Craig Bellamy has backed Liverpool to mount a serious challenge for Manchester City's Premier League title next season.
Third-placed Liverpool currently sit 19 points behind the champions City in the league, but the Merseysiders inflicted one of their two league defeats and knocked them out of the Champions League with an emphatic 5-1 quarter-final aggregate victory.
Bellamy acknowledges Pep Guardiola will strengthen his squad this summer but believes the additions Jurgen Klopp will make could propel Liverpool to a first league title since 1990.
"I believe Liverpool are one or two players away from mounting a charge on this incredible Manchester City team," he told The Debate.
"The scary thing about it is City will get better too. This season has been that incredible but are they going to reach the same points tally they got this year?
"It'll be difficult to do that next year - all the teams are going to strengthen, the finances allow them to.
"Liverpool aren't going to be selling anyone, they've got Keita coming in, maybe a new goalkeeper, and with a couple of players they're a team who could win a Championship.
"If Guardiola throws anything tactically [at Klopp], this guy can deal with it."Jurgen Klopp holds the head-to-head advantage over Pep Guardiola
Having knocked City out of the Champions League, Liverpool put a foot in the final with an imperious 5-2 semi-final victory over Roma.
The run towards the final has evoked memories of Klopp's tenure at Borussia Dortmund, which saw his loosen Bayern Munich stranglehold on the Bundesliga and reach the Champions League final in 2013.
"Liverpool have established a certain way of playing, which Klopp does," Bellamy added. "He did it at Dortmund in a dominant Bayern Munich period.Liverpool vs Stoke
April 28, 2018, 11:30am
"That's why Liverpool brought him in, you can see what he'd done at Dortmund and it's going that way at Liverpool.
"If they get to the Champions League final, which I expect them to do, I could see them winning that game. It's great on confidence for Liverpool.
"But look at one or two of the players where they are weak, and everyone knows they need to tighten up a bit because going forward, they can live with anyone."
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Mohamed Salah's outstanding performance during Liverpool's 5-2 win over AS Roma has earned him a nomination for the Champions League Player of the Week award.
The Egyptian scored twice in the first half at Anfield before laying on goals for Sadio Mane and Roberto Firmino in the second as the Reds secured a three-goal aggregate lead in the first leg of their semi-final tie.
Salah's contributions to the victory have now been recognised by UEFA in the form of another award nomination, with the winner decided by fans in an online vote.
The 25-year-old is up against Real Madrid full-back Marcelo for the gong after the Brazilian shone in his side's 2-1 win over Bayern Munich.
'Joey Ate the Frog's Legs, Made the Swiss Roll, Now He's Munching Gladbach' – so read the most legendary banner in football history.
It was created by Liverpool supporters Phil Downey and Jimmy Cummings and it paid homage to cult hero of the Kop Joey Jones, and the part he played in Liverpool’s run to the 1977 European Cup final.
Unfurled at the Stadio Olimpico in Rome on the night of the final, it has since become part of Liverpudlian folklore; one of the most enduring symbols of a truly momentous occasion.
May 25, 1977 was also the night when a mass of red and white chequered flags illuminated the Liverpool end of the ground. It was an amazing sight that set a precedent for future big games.
Previous finals involving Liverpool had been colourful occasions too but it was always scarves more than flags and banners that had been the obvious way of showing support for the team.
Flag making has since become almost an art form where Liverpool supporters are concerned and they’re no longer just confined to finals.
The Kop is now awash with them every matchday and there’s even a dedicated group (Spion Kop 1906) who co-ordinate much of the display.
These modern flags and banners come in all shapes and sizes. Some are handmade in the old-fashioned way, others are more professionally produced. They can be political, humorous, cryptic or just plain simple. They send out different messages and serve a variety of purposes; whether that is to immortalise heroes and hail past achievements, honour the club’s current stars and inspire them to new glory, fight the cause for particular campaigns or to just poke fun at the opposition.
It doesn’t matter where in the world the Reds play; if Liverpool players are on the pitch, there will be an impressive and diverse show of flags and banners in the stands.
This excerpt is taken from the LFC 125 Anniversary Book – Archives Collection.
The stunning keepsake captures the club’s rich history through world-class photography, star player profiles, rare artwork and iconic, lift-out memorabilia including full-size replica medals, Joe Fagan’s pre-match notes from the 1984 European Cup final, and Celtic’s agreement for the sale of Kenny Dalglish.
Click here to get your copy now.
Today marks the second anniversary of a landmark day in the long battle for justice for the 96 children, women and men who lost their lives at Hillsborough.
On April 26, 2016 – after more than two years of proceedings at Birchwood Park in Warrington – the longest-running inquest in UK legal history came to a hugely significant conclusion.
A jury of six women and three men returned determinations of unlawful killing in the case of each and every one of the victims of the tragedy on April 15, 1989.
The powerful verdicts, which also stated that fans played no part in causing the disaster, arrived more than 27 years after the tragic events at the FA Cup semi-final between Liverpool and Nottingham Forest.
They followed almost three decades of courage, determination and resilience from the families, survivors and campaigners, who refused to accept anything but truth and justice on behalf of their loved ones.
The emotional outpouring inside and outside the court on that spring afternoon two years ago was matched in the city of Liverpool the next evening, when thousands came together for a special civic event at St George’s Hall.
The LFCTV short film below tells the story of that landmark day.