LFC NEWS

Surprise Origi Juve links & 4 Reds out for Chelsea – Liverpool FC Roundup

ThisIsAnfield.com - Fri, 12/31/2021 - 17:59

Liverpool and the rest of the world head into 2022 tonight – and we finish this year in familiar fashion, with absences and dodgy transfer rumours!

Origi off to Juve?!

We are sometimes told to take transfer links with a pinch of salt. We suggest this one you take with the entire salt mill!

Divock Origi is on the watchlist for Juventus and they have made the “first steps” in prepping a January bid for him, say Gazzetta.

Weirdly, they say they only want him as an additional attacking option if Alvaro Morata stays – he’s wanted by Barcelona – and that they might look elsewhere if Morata leaves.

It’s all very odd and doesn’t make a whole lot of sense, but there you go.

Injuries, Covid…the usual

 Liverpool's Thiago Alcantara during the FA Premier League match between Wolverhampton Wanderers FC and Liverpool FC at Molineux Stadium. Liverpool won 1-0. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

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 Matthias Ginter of Germany, goalkeeper Manuel Neuer of Germany during the UEFA Nations League match between Spain and Germany at Estadio La Cartuja de Sevilla. (Photo by Pablo Morano/Orange Pictures via Propaganda)

  • The Reds are linked with a free transfer move from ‘Gladbach but it’s not Denis Zakaria – instead it’s central defender Matthias Ginter
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Sven Botman of Lille OSC runs with the ball during the UEFA Europa League Group H stage match between LOSC Lille and AC Sparta Praha at Stade Pierre Mauroy on December 3, 2020 in Lille, France. Photo by ABACAPRESS.COM

  • Sven Botman is on the wanted list for Newcastle’s rebuild, a year after he was heavily linked with the Reds. Sad downgrade that, though maybe not as bad as Kabak’s situation…
  • Alexander Isak is one of the strikers Arsenal are looking at as they look to finally become a relevant side again
Video of the day and event of the night

A worthy half an hour of your time! Link here for every LFC goal in 2022.

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Klopp on a glad goodbye to 2021 and a crucial Chelsea trip

Liverpool FC on Sky Sports - Fri, 12/31/2021 - 17:00

"Even the masks are sick of it!"

There's laughter around the media room and from the other end of the Zoom call as Jurgen Klopp holds up his face mask by a broken ear strap, with his trademark grin on his face.

It's the final day of 2021 and the Liverpool manager is more than happy to move into next year and towards a time when Covid restrictions can finally be dropped.

The hectic festive fixture schedule has not allowed much time for reminiscing on the past 12 months but, for Klopp, that suits him fine.

"No, I didn't have a proper look back, but I saw a few [highlight reels] of 2021 and for convenience tried to find some positives in 2021 - and it was tricky," he says laughing.

"I'm happy it's over pretty much.

"I know it's Sir Alex Ferguson's birthday today, so happy birthday Sir Alex, it's a big one. And my assistant Pete Krawietz turns 50 today, so another big football brain has an important birthday. So that's more in my mind when I think about celebrations.

"We all hope for a better 2022."

The past 12 months have hardly been disastrous for Liverpool. Indeed, they saw one of the club's all-time iconic moments, when Alisson became the first goalkeeper to score for them, with his 95th-minute goal against West Brom helping to secure third place and Champions League qualification.

But by the high standards Liverpool have set in recent seasons, there have been frustrations at the start and end of the year, with injuries in early 2021 derailing the team before dropped points in the past two Premier League games - amid injuries, illnesses and postponements - made a title challenge in this campaign significantly tougher.

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FREE TO WATCH: Highlights from Leicester’s win against Liverpool in the Premier League.

"Qualifying for the Champions League was for us an absolute highlight and the way we did it but the year started off with an awful injury crisis and you don't want to have that on top of all the corona things around," said Klopp. "It was a really tough time.

"We made it somehow happen and we needed the goal from our goalkeeper and that was a massive highlight, no doubt about it. A very good pre-season, we played an absolutely OK season so far, that's absolutely true but with all the things around it's just tricky.

"You arrive in the morning and you never know who you have available the next morning. It's not cool. That's why I said: the year was not a catastrophe but it's not one I'll remember for ages.

The new normal is better than the other normal in Covid but there's still space for improvement towards the real normal. I can't wait for that. Jurgen Klopp

"The new normal is better than the other normal in Covid but there's still space for improvement towards the real normal, I can't wait for that."

As for resolutions, Klopp doesn't have many in particular. "I think I should make a diet again," he laughs. But really the focus is on the short term right now. And it has to be, with a trip to Chelsea on Sunday.

After recent results for both sides, it feels like a pivotal moment in the season.

It is perhaps a mark of how high Liverpool and Manchester City have raised the bar in title races these days that the 20th game of a campaign could be decisive. But that's the situation the two challengers to City's crown find themselves in.

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Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp says he is expecting a 'reaction' from his team at Chelsea on Sunday, following their defeat to Leicester on Tuesday.

For the winner, there will still be some hope of catching Pep Guardiola's side. For the loser, the defending champions are likely to be too far ahead.

"City are flying," accepts Klopp. "Before the Leicester game, we were in a perfect position, only three points behind City, which, with the season they've played, is incredible.

"Our start to this year, 2021, was massively difficult, and to find a way back into your normal performances and maybe improve them was a massive improvement.

"But one of us can put pressure on City, the winner can… the loser I don't know. We will see that later on. We will not give up just because we lost our game against Leicester. We will try everything, 100 per cent. There are a lot of games to come.

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"City didn't have a proper 'down' in 2021. Their 110 points in a calendar year is quite impressive, I have to say!

"But in the end it's a football game and the only way you can win is if you really want to play it, fancy the challenge, be annoying if necessary, be fluid if possible, play your best football and, if you give it a try, you have a chance. But the opponents are Chelsea and they are a really good team as well."

For Klopp, Liverpool's defeat to Leicester could even prove to be a good motivational tool for his players.

"We have to fight through it," he said. "Leicester gave us a good example: however hard it is, if you put a proper shift in there's a chance. It was pretty inspiring: Let's give it a go."

Klopp may be tired of 2021 - but his energy and enthusiasm for the challenges which lie ahead remain as electric as ever.

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PL predictions: Arsenal can dent Man City title charge

Liverpool FC on Sky Sports - Fri, 12/31/2021 - 16:53

Fresh from some midweek winners, Jones Knows takes aim at the Premier League matches this weekend and thinks Arsenal can end Man City's winning run.

Any midweek winners for Jones Knows?
  • Leicester to beat Liverpool at 13/2
  • Brighton +2 handicap & 10+ shots at 4/1
  • Chelsea to draw 1-1 with Brighton 10/1
  • Lucas Moura to have a shot on target at 11/10
  • Crystal Palace to win to nil vs Norwich at 5/4
  • Wins for Man City, Palace & West Ham
Arsenal vs Manchester City, Saturday 12.30

There never really is the 'perfect' time to play Manchester City but for Arsenal, this might be close to it.

Yes, City are in irresistible form, winning the last 10 in the Premier League but Arsenal are flowing nicely too, especially at home. They are unbeaten in 11 home games in all competitions, winning 10 of those and it's their expert defensive axis that continues to impress me. Since the Ben White, Gabriel and Aaron Ramsdale brick wall was formed, Arsenal have still not conceded a goal before the 38th minute in those 16 fixtures.

Only City have kept more clean sheets than Arsenal (9) since the trio have played together in the win over Norwich.

With Arsenal coming in the fresher team having not played since Boxing Day, the case for them to make this competitive is a strong one. I'd not put anyone off having a stab at the Arsenal double chance at 6/4 with Sky Bet, but I'm taking a more cautious route and backing them with a +2 goal start so they can win, draw or lose by one for us to land.

In their last 18 away days against top-eight sides, Man City have only won four times by more than one goal. It's a job-done mentality rather than an all-conquering one for Pep Guardiola in these types of tricky games.

I'm happy to throw in the game to be a card friendly affair in order to boost the price, too. These two teams are notoriously well behaved in their matches. In 2021, only West Ham have seen less yellow cards given to their opponents than Arsenal (50) and Man City (53) when assessing ever-present Premier League teams. It makes the under 50+ booking points very appealing at 4/6 with Sky Bet so I'm happy to sprinkle a bit of that across a nice 100/30 same-game multi-bet priced up by Sky Bet.

SCORE PREDICTION: 1-1

BETTING ANGLE: Arsenal +2 handicap, under 3.5 goals & under 50+ booking points (100/30 with Sky Bet)

Watford vs Tottenham, Saturday 3pm

I had to do a double glance at the Premier League table to make sure Watford weren't in the relegation zone. Yes, they really aren't.

They surely can't keep their heads above water for much longer defending in the same manner. Claudio Ranieri's team have lost their last five Premier League games, conceding 15 goals along the way. In fact, since Ranieri took charge their average of 2.5 goals conceded per-match is the second-worst defensive record across all of Europe's top five leagues, with only Bundesliga basement boys SpVgg Greuther Fürth posting a leakier return (3.00).

The hapless Hornets also remain without a clean sheet this season - only Bordeaux in Ligue 1 have also failed to keep a clean sheet across those aforementioned leagues. Tottenham should find chances easy to come by in what looks an away win.

One Spurs attacker that remains overpriced in array of markets is Lucas Moura, who is revelling playing with freedom in a swashbuckling attack with Harry Kane and Heung-Min Son. The Brazilian is being encouraged to play in more central areas, posting five shots on goal - including registering a goal against Crystal Palace - and three shots on goal, all on target, in just 28 minutes of action in the draw with Southampton. The Evens for him to register a shot on target in this game rates as a very strong wager against such timid opposition. And I'd recommend doubling him up in a shots double with Michael Keane for Everton against Brighton on Sunday at 3/1.

SCORE PREDICTION: 0-2

BETTING ANGLE: Lucas Moura to have a shot on target (Evens with Sky Bet)

Crystal Palace vs West Ham, Saturday 5.30pm, live on Sky Sports Crystal Palace vs West Ham Image: Crystal Palace vs West Ham, live on Sky Sports

Selhurst Park is one ground that absolutely can make a huge difference for a home team. Palace have lost just one of their 10 home matches this season, however, that record is perhaps a little skewed as they have yet to face any of the current top six in south London.

West Ham are the first of that sextet to visit and are slight favourites for the away win at 6/5 with Sky Bet which does look a little short to me. Then again, the 23/10 on a Palace win doesn't interest me either as the Hammers are very strong against lower-ranked opposition and will be a massive threat from set-pieces.

I'm expecting a game full of incident, so both teams to score, something that has occurred in all nine of their last fixtures between these two, is an obvious runner at 8/13 with Sky Bet. I'd go a little further than that and combine my fancy for a draw with both teams to score at 100/30 with Sky Bet.

It's most certainly remains a wise tactic to keep on nobbling at Declan Rice's odds to score from outside the box. He's fired six shots on target in his last 10 fixtures and should be on free-kick duties while Aaron Cresswell remains out. Remember, there was a goal from outside the box from Rice in the win at Aston Villa and he went close with an off-target attempt in the draw with Burnley. Quotes of 20/1 are worth playing for him to score from range as is the 9/2 for him to have a shot on target from outside the box.

SCORE PREDICTION: 2-2

BETTING ANGLE: Declan Rice to score from outside the box (20/1 with Sky Bet)

Live: SNF

Saturday 1st January 5:00pm Sky Sports Premier League HD Sky Sports Premier League HD Brentford vs Aston Villa, Sunday 2pm, live on Sky Sports - PLAY SUPER 6 HERE!

Aston Villa have become one of the meanest defences in the Premier League since Steven Gerrard took charge.

It's providing them with a fantastic base to work with in terms of getting positive results. Since the arrival of Gerrard in November, Villa have won four of their seven Premier League games with all three defeats coming against Liverpool, Chelsea and Manchester City. In those four wins against Brighton, Crystal Palace, Norwich and Leicester they have averaged an expected goals against figure of 0.7 per game and faced an average of just 8.2 shots per game. Of course, it's a small sample size but that's a defensive record that puts them on par with Manchester City. The early signs are very positive for the future for Gerrard and his new club.

Meanwhile, Brentford are a robust side at home that don't offer up many chances to their opposition, as Manchester City found out as they created just 1.04 expected goals against the Bees - the lowest total they've posted on the road this season. To have played City, Chelsea, Liverpool and Arsenal at home this season and to have the sixth-best home expected goals against output is a serious achievement for a newly-promoted side.

When you factor in both defences, a low scoring affair should be on the cards. Villa perhaps have that extra bit of quality in the final third so I've taken them to edge it.

SCORE PREDICTION: 0-1

BETTING ANGLE: Aston Villa to win and under 2.5 goals (4/1 with Sky Bet)

Everton vs Brighton, Sunday 2pm - PLAY SUPER 6 HERE!

I can't have Brighton in this one at 11/8 with Sky Bet, especially if Dominic Calvert-Lewin is fit to play. He can be the difference-maker on his return bringing with him a 50 per cent win rate when he plays against 21 per cent when he's missing.

Brighton don't have someone of his ruthlessness or power in the final third which will continue to hold them back at putting together consistent winning runs. They have also won just one of their last 13 Premier League games, albeit drawing nine of those.

Brighton were remarkably impressive at Stamford Bridge in midweek but one area where they struggled was their inability to defend set-pieces. That probably stems from Lewis Dunk being missing. Over their last five fixtures, Brighton have shipped 5.2 shots per game from set-pieces, the third-highest average of all Premier League teams during that period.

With him still in the treatment room, Everton should be confident of getting plenty of joy from those areas.

My eyes have been drawn to the 10/11 on Michael Keane having one or more shots at goal. The Everton centre-back carries a big threat when venturing forward and has fired a shot in 12 of his 17 appearances this season.

SCORE PREDICTION: 2-1

BETTING ANGLE: Michael Keane to have 1+ shots (10/11 with Sky Bet)

Leeds vs Burnley, Sunday 2pm - PLAY SUPER 6 HERE!

Bring your hard hats. If you like your football rough, ready and full of fouls then this is right up your street. The importance of this match won't be lost on both sets of players and the atmosphere inside Elland Road is likely to light the touch paper. Unlike other teams who could drop into a relegation scrap, the Leeds fans look ready to muck in with their team. They are behind the manager and seem very united after a wave of injuries has decimated their squad, none more so than to Kalvin Phillips, who looks set to be out until March. A seismic blow to their hopes of climbing the table.

Burnley will be arriving with three points on their mind, too. A win for them would draw Leeds right into the mix. The match prices look about right to me with Leeds rightly favoured at Evens and Burnley at 13/5. If you're pushing me, I'll play the draw and go hunting in the cards market.

The reverse fixture at Turf Moor between these two produced seven cards and with the explosive atmosphere predicted, referee Kevin Friend may have his hands full. Leeds sit top of the most yellow cards awarded table this season (50) but also have drawn the most yellow cards from the opposition in 2021 (88). Unsurprisingly, their fixtures this season have averaged more cards than any other team. The game to produce 50+ booking points at odds-against should do the business.

SCORE PREDICTION: 1-1

BETTING ANGLE: 50+ booking points (11/10 with Sky Bet)

Chelsea vs Liverpool, Sunday 4.30pm, live on Sky Sports Chelsea vs Liverpool Image: Chelsea vs Liverpool, live on Sky Sports

I'm all over a Liverpool away win at 11/8 with Sky Bet.

My tendency in these 'monster' encounters between two title capable winning teams is to go searching for value for the game to be a low-scoring, tactical affair. Not this time. Even at this stage of the season draws are no use for both in their pursuit of Manchester City. Three points or nothing has to be the method of attack.

This game has the hallmarks of a classic, involving plenty of goalmouth action and shots - and on the basis of what I've seen from Chelsea in the past few weeks, most of the attacks will be steamrolling in their direction.

Whether it would be fitness issues or just a general lack of confidence in the camp, they are miles away from their early-season performance levels. The way in which Brighton cut through their midfield time-after-time on Wednesday will have got Jurgen Klopp licking his lips as will have the lack of chances created from open play from the Blues. Remember, this is a Chelsea team that against Arsenal on the second week of the season created 18 chances from open play in one fixture. Such is their current malaise, they have created a total of 18 chances from open play in their last three fixtures combined against Brighton, Aston Villa and Wolves.

Liverpool haven't got that problem. Yes, they head to Stamford Bridge on the back of a defeat to Leicester but it's not a time to panic for them. The attacking process remains frighteningly good, averaging just over 2.5 expected goals per 90 minutes in their last eight fixtures. Chelsea have kept just one clean sheet in their last eight Premier League games. It's hard to see them improving that record against the rampant Reds forward line.

With the expected match scenario being one of high tempo, goals and draws being no good to either team, the match shots market is also worth a visit. Liverpool are averaging 19.5 shots per 90 minutes this season and I'd expect them to hit just below that number in this one as Chelsea are shipping more shots on their goal than earlier this season.

Brighton managed 18 in midweek, Leeds hit 12 and Watford 14. With Tuchel's team unlikely to be allowed to sit back by the home crowd, they'll be flying forward and should also be relied on to get shots away. That makes the shots lines with Sky Bet very appealing with 27+ (11/10), 29+ (15/8) and 31+ (3/1) worth a nibble.

SCORE PREDICTION: 1-3

BETTING ANGLE: Liverpool to win and 28+ total match shots (5/1 with Sky Bet)

Manchester United vs Wolves prediction to follow

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3 good, 3 bad: Liverpool’s half season report card for 2021/22

ThisIsAnfield.com - Fri, 12/31/2021 - 16:30

Liverpool have reached the midway point of the 2021/22 campaign and already we’ve had plenty of positives and a couple of negatives to look back on as we close out the year.

The Reds made a great start to the Premier League campaign and remain in the title hunt, even if the last outing of 2021 ended on a fairly sour note.

In Europe, it’s full steam ahead and a trip back to Milan to look forward to, while our domestic cup run situation looks better this year than it has for a fair few campaigns, too.

Here’s a look back over the opening five months of the season and the best and worst of what we’ve seen so far…

3 half-season highs…

 Liverpool's Mohamed Salah celebrates with team-mate Virgil van Dijk after scoring the third goal, the first of his hat-trick, during the FA Premier League match between Manchester United FC and Liverpool FC at Old Trafford. Liverpool won 5-0. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

Beating our rivals is great. Absolutely battering them and leaving them humiliated in their own stadiums, though, was utterly euphoric.

The Reds went to Old Trafford in October and basically serve Ole Gunnar Solskjaer his exit notice, putting five past Man United in a performance which mere words cannot explain or express the absolute dominance, casual insolence and even, towards the end, impatient irrelevance to just get on with the next proper challenge which was on show.

Liverpool absolutely wiped the floor with United, four up by the break and five by 50 minutes, before showing some form of self-preserving mercy to just toy with their hosts for the rest of the game.

Everton must have been dreading the same treatment when we were two up inside 20 minutes at Goodison Park five weeks later, and while it was a different kind of game overall, Jurgen Klopp‘s side still flexed their muscles and proved – by an absolute league – far too good for their neighbours.

Nine goals combined meant fans of both teams were streaming out early, unable to stomach more of the Reds’ brilliance – and they’ve both got to visit Anfield later this season!

 Liverpool's manager Jürgen Klopp celebrates with Virgil van Dijk celebrates after the UEFA Champions League Group B Matchday 3 game between Club Atlético de Madrid and Liverpool FC at the Estadio Metropolitano. Liverpool won 3-2. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

On a more over-arching consistency view, winning all six Champions League games during the group stage was not only a show of brilliance, but also a record-setting run.

No Premier League club had achieved that feat before and winning twice against each of AC Milan, Porto and Atletico Madrid was a very worthy way to do it.

Some of those wins came in very different ways of course, and by different margins, but we were comfortably the best side regardless.

Plus we got to see a Nat Phillips drag-back inside his own penalty box in the San Siro.

 Liverpool's players celebrate with Diogo Jota celebrates after scoring the decisive penalty in the shoot-out after the Football League Cup Quarter-Final match between Liverpool FC and Leicester City FC at Anfield. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

For more of a ‘moment’ and a cacophony of noise, it’s hard to look past the recent League Cup win over Leicester for a big Anfield occasion.

The way the side was roared on was exceptional – as was the way they responded having been 2-0 and 3-1 down.

A second-half fightback culminated in Taki Minamino’s last-minute, stoppage-time equaliser after all of the Foxes’ play-acting, time-wasting and complaining led to a massive amount of injury time.

Penalties, Kelleher, Jota, madness. Brilliant.

3 half-season lows…

 Liverpool's Roberto Firmino applauds the travelling supporters after the FA Premier League match between Leicester City FC and Liverpool FC at the King Power Stadium. Leicester City won 1-0. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

Well, if we’re taking the Leicester win as a positive, the Leicester defeat is probably the biggest low of the campaign.

Much has been made of the comments from the opposition, the chants from their fans and the lineup and style of play they employed against each of Man City and then ourselves…but there’s still nobody to blame but Liverpool for that loss.

The most dismal showing of the season right when we should have ended the year on a bigger high, hurting our title bid in the process.

We’ll have to bounce back in the new year!

We are fortunate – and acknowledging of the fact – that as Reds fans, there haven’t been too many negatives to take during the first half of 2021/22.

 Liverpool's Harvey Elliott receives treatment for an ankle injury before being carried off during the FA Premier League match between Leeds United FC and Liverpool FC at Elland Road. Liverpool won 3-0. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

But early on we certainly had a big one: a really bad injury to Harvey Elliott, just as he was looking strong and set with his place in the team, as a massive plus at the start of the season.

He’s well on the road to recovery, but will need time and patience to get back to that level again.

And finally, the defeat to West Ham was our first of the season, a scatty defensive performance that proved costly and can’t be repeated too often.

They were in-form, pushing for the top four and had a very settled side, all true, but we’ve had such good results against them (and everyone else) that any defeat stung at that time.

Onward to 2022, then, and fewer of these already-few negative moments hopefully!

Overall grade: A-

Champions League? Won every game. League Cup? Won every game.

The only real disappointment so far is too many draws in the league (only one team in the top nine have drawn more than the Reds). The draw against Brighton, plus defeats to West Ham and Leicester, have been the only real blots on the copybook.

We need to cut out the draws in the second half of the season – where an almost perfect campaign is required if Man City are somehow to be overhauled.

If not, focus on winning Number 7 in St. Petersburg, and a domestic cup or two would be nice…

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Chelsea vs Liverpool on Sky: James misses out

Liverpool FC on Sky Sports - Fri, 12/31/2021 - 15:50

Team news, stats and prediction ahead of Chelsea vs Liverpool in the Premier League on January 2; kick-off 4.30pm.

Team news

Chelsea defender Reece James's hamstring injury will hand the Blues a major wing-back problem in Sunday's Premier League clash with Liverpool.

The England right wing-back faces an extended spell on the sidelines after damaging his hamstring in Wednesday's 1-1 Premier League draw with Brighton.

Chelsea were already without left wing-back Ben Chilwell, who is out for the season with knee trouble, but Thiago Silva and Timo Werner trained fully on Friday.

Liverpool have had three unnamed players test positive for Covid.

Midfielder Thiago Alcantara (hip) and forward Takumi Minamino, who has only just returned to light training after a muscle injury, will not make the trip to Stamford Bridge.

Goalkeeper Alisson Becker and forward Roberto Firmino were absent from training on Thursday while left-back Andy Robertson completes his three-match ban so Kostas Tsimikas will deputise again.

How to follow

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Sunday 2nd January 4:00pm Sky Sports Premier League HD Sky Sports Premier League HD

Chelsea vs Liverpool is live on Sky Sports Premier League from 4pm; kick-off 4.30pm. Sky Sports customers can watch in-game clips in the live match blog on the Sky Sports website and app. Highlights will also be published on the Sky Sports digital platforms and the Sky Sports Football YouTube channel shortly after the final whistle.

Jones Knows predicts...

I'm all over a Liverpool away win at 11/8 with Sky Bet.

My tendency in these 'monster' encounters between two title capable winning teams is to go searching for value for the game to be a low-scoring, tactical affair. Not this time. Even at this stage of the season draws are no use for both in their pursuit of Manchester City. Three points or nothing has to be the method of attack.

This game has the hallmarks of a classic, involving plenty of goalmouth action and shots - and on the basis of what I've seen from Chelsea in the past few weeks, most of the attacks will be steamrolling in their direction.

Whether it would be fitness issues or just a general lack of confidence in the camp, they are miles away from their early-season performance levels. The way in which Brighton cut through their midfield time-after-time on Wednesday will have got Jurgen Klopp licking his lips as will have the lack of chances created from open play from the Blues. Remember, this is a Chelsea team that against Arsenal on the second week of the season created 18 chances from open play in one fixture. Such is their current malaise, they have created a total of 18 chances from open play in their last three fixtures combined against Brighton, Aston Villa and Wolves.

Liverpool haven't got that problem. Yes, they head to Stamford Bridge on the back of a defeat to Leicester but it's not a time to panic for them. The attacking process remains frighteningly good, averaging just over 2.5 expected goals per 90 minutes in their last eight fixtures. Chelsea have kept just one clean sheet in their last eight Premier League games. It's hard to see them improving that record against the rampant Reds forward line.

With the expected match scenario being one of high tempo, goals and draws being no good to either team, the match shots market is also worth a visit. Liverpool are averaging 19.5 shots per 90 minutes this season and I'd expect them to hit just below that number in this one as Chelsea are shipping more shots on their goal than earlier this season.

Brighton managed 18 in midweek, Leeds hit 12 and Watford 14. With Tuchel's team unlikely to be allowed to sit back by the home crowd, they'll be flying forward and should also be relied on to get shots away. That makes the shots lines with Sky Bet very appealing with 27+ (11/10), 29+ (15/8) and 31+ (3/1) worth a nibble.

SCORE PREDICTION: 1-3

BETTING ANGLE: Liverpool to win and 28+ total match shots (5/1 with Sky Bet)

Last time out...

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FREE TO WATCH: Highlights from Chelsea’s draw with Brighton in the Premier League.

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FREE TO WATCH: Highlights from Leicester’s win against Liverpool in the Premier League. Opta stats

● After losing four consecutive Premier League games against Liverpool between 2019 and 2020, Chelsea are unbeaten in their last two against the Reds (W1 D1), though both of these games have come at Anfield.

● Liverpool have won their last two Premier League away games against Chelsea - only one visiting team has won three consecutively at Stamford Bridge in the competition, with Blackburn Rovers doing so between 1993-94 and 1995-96.

● The away side won just 12.5% of the first 32 Premier League meetings between Chelsea and Liverpool (W4 D7 L21). Since then, the visiting team has won 41% of the 27 games between the sides (W11 D8 L8).

● Liverpool are winless in their three Premier League games in London this season (D2 L1), with the Reds conceding as many goals in these games as they had in their previous 12 visits to the capital in the competition (8).

● Since a 4-1 win at Manchester United in March 2009, Liverpool are winless in six games against reigning European champions in all competitions (D3 L3). All three of their draws in that time have come against Chelsea.

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Categories: LFC NEWS

Video: Watch every goal Liverpool scored in 2021

LiverpoolFC.TV - Fri, 12/31/2021 - 15:00

Watch every goal Liverpool scored in the calendar year of 2021 in our free compilation.

The Reds plundered 117 strikes in all competitions from January to December as they recovered to secure third place in the Premier League and Champions League qualification at the end of last season, before fighting across three fronts during the first half of the current campaign.

Enjoy each and every one of them again in the video below.

[embedded content]

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Video: Watch every goal Liverpool scored in 2021

LiverpoolFC TV - Fri, 12/31/2021 - 15:00
Watch every goal Liverpool scored in the calendar year of 2021 in our free compilation.
Categories: LFC NEWS

4 things from Klopp’s press conference – could Liverpool postpone Chelsea trip?

ThisIsAnfield.com - Fri, 12/31/2021 - 13:49

Jurgen Klopp brought bad news during his pre-Chelsea press conference on Friday, with three new Covid cases and another injury for Thiago. Happy New Year, indeed.

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Here are four key things from Klopp’s Q&A at Kirkby…

3 new Covid cases…

 Liverpool's manager Jürgen Klopp, wearing a face mask, before the FA Premier League match between Everton FC and Liverpool FC, the 239th Merseyside Derby, at Goodison Park. Liverpool won 4-1. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

After Alisson and Roberto Firmino missed Liverpool’s training session on Thursday, Klopp confirmed that three first-team players have tested positive for COVID-19.

Though the manager did not name those ruled out ahead of PCR tests, it seems likely that the Brazilian duo are among those to miss the next seven days.

Klopp also revealed that there are “a few more in the staff” who have tested positive, as cases rises for Liverpool.

“You will see on Sunday when you see the teamsheet,” he said, “It’s pretty clear who is affected.”

Could the game be called off?

 Liverpool supporters during the FA Cup 5th Round match between Chelsea FC and Liverpool FC at Stamford Bridge. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

With three senior players out with Covid, Andy Robertson suspended and a host of other injuries, there could be cause for Liverpool to apply for a postponement of their trip to Stamford Bridge.

Klopp does not expect that at this stage, though he did say: “We don’t know how it will look in a few hours.”

“It feels like a lottery, when you stand there and wait for the result,” he added.

“It was now pretty much day by day always one case, today now another one and we have to wait.

“The boys are not even in yet, so we have to wait.”

A new injury for Thiago

 Liverpool's Thiago Alcantara limps off with an injury during the FA Premier League match between Liverpool FC and Crystal Palace FC at Anfield. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

One player who is confirmed to be missing on Sunday is Thiago, who joins Takumi Minamino on the injury list with an unknown hip problem.

“Taki is probably closer. Taki is running outside, Thiago not yet. It means for him it might take a bit longer,” Klopp explained.

“It’s a hip issue, which we actually have no idea where it’s coming from, so we have to be a little bit patient with that.”

More woe for Thiago, then, while Robertson (suspended), Divock Origi (knee), Nat Phillips (cheekbone) and Harvey Elliott (ankle) also sit out.

Jones’ timely return

 Liverpool's Curtis Jones during the FA Premier League match between Manchester United FC and Liverpool FC at Old Trafford. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

However, while Klopp faces the absence of Thiago paired with the imminent departure of Naby Keita to the Africa Cup of Nations, he is boosted by the availability of Curtis Jones.

Jones has not featured since the 2-2 draw with Brighton on October 30, but was back on the bench on Tuesday night after an eye injury and Covid isolation.

“[After] being out for a while, nothing keeps you fresher than a game in the right moment, then games in the right moment,” he said.

“Because then you have a game, you have proper intensity, then you have recovery and all these kinds of things.”

He added: “But yes, it’s cool to have him back, especially with the Thiago situation and the Naby situation from [Monday] on.

“Very important for us, really happy. He looks good.”

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Categories: LFC NEWS

Thiago suffers new hip injury – “no idea” on severity

ThisIsAnfield.com - Fri, 12/31/2021 - 13:19

Jurgen Klopp has revealed that Thiago is suffering with a hip injury following his brief return to training on Boxing Day, ruling him out of the trip to Chelsea.

Thiago has not featured for Liverpool since the 3-1 win over Newcastle on December 16, with a positive COVID-19 test forcing him into seven-day isolation.

The midfielder then reported back for the Reds’ Boxing Day session at Kirkby, only to miss the away clash with Leicester on Tuesday night, with the club reporting “minor muscle tightness.”

He was joined on the treatment table by Takumi Minamino, following his heroics in the League Cup, and neither will be fit for Stamford Bridge.

Speaking in his pre-match press conference, Klopp explained that Thiago is suffering with a hip problem, with “no idea” as to its severity at this stage.

“Taki is probably closer. Taki is running outside, Thiago not yet,” he said.

“It means for him it might take a bit longer.

“It’s a hip issue, which we actually have no idea where it’s coming from, so we have to be a little bit patient with that.”

 Liverpool's Thiago Alcantara during the FA Premier League match between Liverpool FC and Newcastle United FC at Anfield. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

The timing of Thiago‘s injury is not particularly helpful, given three, as-yet-unnamed first-team players have tested positive for Covid this week and Naby Keita will soon depart for the Africa Cup of Nations.

While Klopp is well-stocked in midfield, he could be without Thiago, Keita and Harvey Elliott for much of January, leaving Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain, James Milner and Curtis Jones battling for a spot alongside Fabinho and Jordan Henderson.

Furthermore, the manager will be missing Mohamed Salah and Sadio Mane during the tournament in Cameroon, and along with Minamino, squad players Divock Origi and Nat Phillips are also sidelined.

Andy Robertson will see out the final game of his three-match suspension on Sunday, with Klopp certainly short of options for a vital clash.

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Categories: LFC NEWS

Jürgen Klopp on suspected new COVID-19 positive tests and injury update

LiverpoolFC.TV - Fri, 12/31/2021 - 12:54

Jürgen Klopp reported three new suspected positive COVID-19 tests among Liverpool’s playing squad.

The boss confirmed the news during his pre-Chelsea press conference on Friday afternoon as the Reds prepare to visit Stamford Bridge on Sunday.

Klopp said: “We have three new COVID cases in the team and a few more in the staff, so it’s not so cool in the moment.

“I’m not [able to reveal the names] because we still have to make the whole processes, getting a proper PCR and all these kind of things, but you will see the day after tomorrow on the teamsheet. It will be pretty clear then who is affected or infected.”

Asked whether the situation could force Liverpool to seek a postponement of the fixture at Chelsea, Klopp replied: “Not yet, but we don’t know.

“We never had this kind of proper outbreak where 10, 15, 20 players had it, for us it’s more every day another one. Staff happens now more and more often, so as I said before it feels like a lottery in the morning when you stand there and you wait for the result. It was now pretty much day by day always one case – today another one.

“We have to wait, the boys are not even in yet, so we have to wait. In this moment, probably not but we don’t know how it will look in a few hours.”

Elsewhere, Liverpool will continue to be without Thiago Alcantara and Takumi Minamino for the journey to London.

The duo were absent from the midweek clash with Leicester City due to muscle soreness.

“I would say Taki is probably closer, he is running outside,” said Klopp. “Thiago, not yet. It means for him, it might take a little bit longer. It’s a hip issue which we don’t have an idea where it’s coming from, so we have to be a little bit patient with that.”

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Categories: LFC NEWS

Jürgen Klopp on suspected new COVID-19 positive tests and injury update

LiverpoolFC TV - Fri, 12/31/2021 - 12:54
Jürgen Klopp reported three new suspected positive COVID-19 tests among Liverpool’s playing squad.
Categories: LFC NEWS

Liverpool have 3 more first-team players out with Covid

ThisIsAnfield.com - Fri, 12/31/2021 - 12:53

Jurgen Klopp has revealed that three first-team players have tested positive for covid ahead of Liverpool’s trip to Chelsea and that it will be clear who they are when the team is announced.

The Reds head to Stamford Bridge on Sunday, but it is unclear who will be able to take to the pitch for the first game of 2022.

Speaking in his pre-match press conference on Friday, Klopp revealed that he could be without three senior players after two positive tests on Thursday and another the following morning.

“We have three new Covid cases in the team and a few more in the staff,” he told reporters.

Klopp refused to confirm the players who had returned positive tests, as they await “a proper PCR,” but it was telling that Alisson and Roberto Firmino missed training on Thursday.

They could be the two players who tested positive that morning, with the third case unknown at this point.

He added: “You will see on Sunday when you see the teamsheet it’s pretty clear who is affected.”

 Liverpool's Roberto Firmino during a training session at the AXA Training Centre ahead of the UEFA Champions League Group B Matchday 2 game between FC Porto and Liverpool FC. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

Furthermore, Liverpool will still be without Thiago and Takumi Minamino, with the latter “probably closer” to a return than Klopp’s No. 6.

Andy Robertson is also suspended, but despite a drop in numbers available for the game, Klopp is still hopeful there will be no need to postpone.

“Not yet, but we don’t know,” he said.

“We’ve never had this proper outbreak, where 10, 15, 20 players have it. For us it’s more every day another one, staff now happens more and more often.

“So it feels like a lottery, when you stand there and wait for the result.

“It was now pretty much day by day always one case, today now another one and we have to wait.

“The boys are not even in yet, so we have to wait. In this moment, probably not, but we don’t know how it will look in a few hours.”

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Categories: LFC NEWS

The Premiership Years: How ITV stole football from Match of the Day – and started a war with Cilla Black

the Athletic - Fri, 12/31/2021 - 05:15
It had already been a historically lucrative day for the Premier League and there were still two envelopes left on Richard Scudamore’s desk, at the offices of law firm DLA in central London.

It was June 2000 and Scudamore was overseeing his first domestic TV rights auction. He had brought in David Kogan to run the process and they had succeeded in making more money for the league than ever before: £1.1 billion from Sky Sports for the live rights and £328 million for pay-per-view from NTL. The only issue left to settle was the weekly highlights show.

The BBC had been showing Match of the Day since the 1960s, and the show had featured highlights of the Premier League on a Saturday night since the competition’s inception in 1992. When Scudamore opened their envelope he saw that they had offered £40 million per year, double what they had previously been paying. But when he then examined ITV’s bid, he saw it was more than half as much again. £61 million per year, £183 million in total. The Premier League knew ITV was serious, but no one had expected this.

Scudamore looked across the room at Kogan and told him that the Saturday highlights programme would be leaving the BBC for ITV.

“You have got to be fucking joking,” Kogan replied. “Who’s going to phone Greg Dyke?”

It was the start of a new millennium and British football broadcasting was in a state of flux.

Richard Scudamore had taken over as Premier League chief executive in November 1999, and one of his priorities was to make more money from the next cycle of TV rights. Scudamore wanted some expert advice so started looking for a new media rights advisor, eventually bringing in Kogan and his company Reel Enterprises.

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Categories: LFC NEWS

Liverpool’s 2021: Salah’s stormer, Alisson’s header and eyeing another title under Klopp

the Athletic - Fri, 12/31/2021 - 04:45
Liverpool entered 2021 fighting it out at the top of the table and are ending it doing the same thing.

However, the toll of losing Virgil van Dijk, Joe Gomez and Joel Matip to long-term injuries would soon catch up with them at the end of last season — as would the absences of Thiago and Diogo Jota to name just a couple.

Liverpool’s sluggish struggles dominated the early part of the year as they lost six games on the bounce at Anfield.

It would have been a season to forget had Liverpool not mounted the fightback of all fightbacks. They went from eighth position in mid-March to finish third in the table and secure Champions League qualification.

At times this season, Liverpool have looked the best they have ever been under Jurgen Klopp. They still have eyes placed on all four prizes this season, although dropped points towards the end of 2021 means they now have a tough task to overcome runaway leaders Manchester City in the Premier League.

Best player

Mohamed Salah, obviously.

In this calendar year Salah has scored 36 goals for Liverpool and registered 11 assists.

He is not just Liverpool’s best player but, as many have declared, the best player in the world right now.

Best moment of the year

Without a doubt, it was Alisson’s winning goal against West Bromwich Albion in the dying seconds of the match.

Goalkeepers rarely ever score and no goalkeeper had ever scored competitively for Liverpool until that perfect header. It helped keep Liverpool on course as they fought their way into a Champions League spot.

It was not just a moment that Liverpool fans will cherish but for Alisson a moment of joy after a painful year. The Brazil goalkeeper’s father, Jose Becker, passed away in tragic circumstances in February. This goal, which he dedicated to Jose, was a hugely poignant and emotional moment.

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Liverpool half-season player ratings: Grading 2021/22 so far

ThisIsAnfield.com - Thu, 12/30/2021 - 18:00

Midway through the season, Liverpool find themselves third in the Premier League and into the Champions League‘s last 16. So who has shone and who has struggled so far?

Nineteen league games played, with clashes with Inter Milan, Arsenal and Shrewsbury to come in the next stages of the Champions League, League Cup and FA Cup.

It has been a strong start to the season so far, though an eight-point gap between Liverpool and Man City shows there is work to be done.

With half the campaign gone, here we’ve given every Reds player a mark out of 10 based on their performances.

We’re including all players who have made five or more Premier League starts – so there’s work to do for the likes of Joe Gomez, Curtis Jones, Divock Origi, Takumi Minamino and any youngsters for positive levels of involvement.

The one caveat here is that Origi has two goals in just 38 league minutes this term – hopefully he keeps that up upon his return from injury!

Alisson – 8 (out of 10)

Some magic performances and enormous saves, but also one or two costly individual errors. Cut those out and he’s the best in the world.

Trent Alexander-Arnold – 8

Didn’t start the season too well but he has been untouchable at times. Double figures for assists this term already.

 Liverpool's Virgil van Dijk celebrates after scoring the fourth goal during the FA Premier League match between Liverpool FC and Southampton FC at Anfield. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

Virgil van Dijk – 8

How good was it to see him back in August?

Naturally took some games to hit his stride, but got very close to top gear surprisingly quickly.

We’ll need him at his 9-or-10 best in 2022 though.

Ibrahima Konate – 7

Has had to be patient, but we’ve already seen several glimpses of a fantastic defender. Against United and Leicester he was great.

 Liverpool's Joel Matip during the FA Premier League match between Norwich City FC and Liverpool FC at Carrow Road. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

Joel Matip – 8

An odd campaign so far, maybe?

There have been games Matip has been our best centre-back, and others – like Brentford and West Ham – where he has looked shaky.

Overall good, but we know there’s more to come. Pleasing fitness levels so far!

Andy Robertson – 7

One who maybe needed a bit of time after the Euros to find peak form and fitness, but Robbo had come back strongly before his recent suspension.

 Liverpool's Kostas Tsimikas during the FA Premier League match between Liverpool FC and Arsenal FC at Anfield. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

Kostas Tsimikas – 7

After a tough debut campaign, Kostas has become a fan favourite this year. Rampaging, rapid, really fun to watch.

Fabinho – 8

Makes the team so much better when he’s on top form, though like Van Dijk he has needed time to hit top gear at stages.

James Milner – 6

Nothing surprising about what our veteran has offered us: pretty reliable, filled in where needed, mostly a sub. Nothing standout or utterly poor.

 Liverpool's captain Jordan Henderson during the FA Premier League match between Wolverhampton Wanderers FC and Liverpool FC at Molineux Stadium. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

Jordan Henderson – 6

How to judge the captain’s season so far? He seems to be about an 8/10 some weeks, 4/10 the others.

Two recent games against Leicester were the latter but before that he had some really strong showings, most notably in the derby.

He’ll expect more of that from himself in the new year.

Thiago – 8

Quite simply, the Reds were at their most crushing and relentless this term when Thiago has been fit and firing.

Some unbelievably good showings but, again, not enough of them.

 Liverpool's Naby Keita celebrates with team-mate Trent Alexander-Arnold (R)after scoring the second goal during the UEFA Champions League Group B Matchday 3 game between Club Atlético de Madrid and Liverpool FC at the Estadio Metropolitano. Liverpool won 3-2. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

Naby Keita – 7

Another who still needs consistency in the centre, be it fitness-related or with impact. Some genuinely top-drawer showings along with the usual fragmented availability.

Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain – 7

Already a far better campaign than last year, playing a lot more.

We’ve seen Ox at his best with surging runs, but also seen him in roles that don’t suit as much.

 Liverpool's Mohamed Salah celebrates after scoring the second goal during the FA Premier League match between Liverpool FC and Crystal Palace FC at Anfield. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

Mohamed Salah – 9

Other than a marginal dropoff over the last two or three weeks, he was about an 11 out of 10 for ages.

Utterly, utterly brilliant. Some world-class solo goals and a continual world-class strike rate.

Sadio Mane – 7

Hit and miss, perhaps?

Seems to have periods in games where everything goes through him and he’s key to our plan, then goes very quiet later on.

Hasn’t scored in a while but only five non-Liverpool players have more league goals than him, so do with that what you will.

 Liverpool's Diogo Jota celebrates after scoring the fourth goal during the FA Premier League match between Everton FC and Liverpool FC, the 239th Merseyside Derby, at Goodison Park. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

Diogo Jota – 8

The total inverse to Mane: is a real ‘moments’ player, and absolutely makes the most of those moments.

Works hard and fights for the cause, is ridiculously good in the air and a plunderer of goals when we need them.

Roberto Firmino – 8

Think Jota has been goal-crazy this year? Bobby is still outscoring him on a game-time basis.

Was so clinical early on this term, probably not sustainable but still had a great start alongside the usual endeavour and tactical importance.

Long injury absence, so we’ll see how fast he regains form in January.

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Categories: LFC NEWS

Reds make ‘offer’ to Kessie & Thiago a Chelsea doubt – Liverpool FC Roundup

ThisIsAnfield.com - Thu, 12/30/2021 - 17:59

Liverpool players and fans are now in a holding pattern: waiting for the new year, waiting for the next game, waiting to see who is fit and waiting to see who might sign!

Reds present “interesting offer” to Milan midfielder

Frank Kessie on a free transfer, anyone?

The AC star is set to depart in the summer after the expiration of his contract, it seems, and the Reds have been on-and-off linked with him for around a year.

Now Italian outlet Ansa are reporting that the Reds have made a move to entice him to move to Anfield, giving him a “very interesting offer” which Milan cannot hope to match.

Technically, we’re still a few days away from the player being able to talk to or agree a move to other clubs – but when has that small detail ever stopped rumours or indeed agents, hey?!

Training, transfers and titles

 Denis Zakaria of Switzerland inspects the pitch prior to the UEFA Euro 2020 Championship Quarter-final match between Switzerland and Spain at Saint Petersburg Stadium on July 02, 2021 in Saint Petersburg, Russia. (Photo by Joosep Martinson - UEFA)

Latest Liverpool FC news

 Liverpool's Xherdan Shaqiri during the pre-match warm-up before the FA Premier League match between Liverpool FC and Burnley FC at Anfield. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

Latest Premier League chat

 Club Atlético de Madrid's Kieran Trippier during the UEFA Champions League Group B Matchday 3 game between Club Atlético de Madrid and Liverpool FC at the Estadio Metropolitano. Liverpool won 3-2. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

  • Kieran Trippier is the unlikely face of the new Newcastle era, apparently. He’s the top target to solve all their woes, along with another striker
  • Theo Hernandez is the man Chelsea want at left-back with Chilwell injured, but Milan want £50m for him. Stick Ross Barkley there instead!
Tweet of the day and match of the night

The art of pressing incredibly, by Liverpool Football Club.

Some numbers on the high pressing in the Premier League 2021/2022, Liverpool unsurprisingly at top in every single way. pic.twitter.com/yHsC1zLD7M

— Marcus Bring (@MarcusBr22) December 29, 2021

Tonight it’s Man United vs Burnley for the final Premier League game of 2021. 0-0 or 1-1, do we reckon?

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Diogo Jota on closing the gap, Chelsea target and moments of 2021

LiverpoolFC TV - Thu, 12/30/2021 - 16:48
Diogo Jota has set his sights on a winning start to 2022 as Liverpool seek to reduce their deficit at the top of the Premier League table.
Categories: LFC NEWS

Diogo Jota on closing the gap, Chelsea target and moments of 2021

LiverpoolFC.TV - Thu, 12/30/2021 - 16:48

Diogo Jota has set his sights on a winning start to 2022 as Liverpool seek to reduce their deficit at the top of the Premier League table.

After the 1-0 defeat against Leicester City on Tuesday night, the Reds now trail leaders Manchester City by nine points with a game in hand – the postponed Boxing Day meeting with Leeds United.

But with half of the league campaign still to be played and the squad aware of the necessity to prevent repeats of their loss at King Power Stadium, Jota insists everything will be given to close that gap, beginning with Sunday’s trip to Chelsea.

“There are still a lot of games. Obviously there is a gap now between us and them,” the Portugal international told Liverpoolfc.com. “We know there is that gap but we also know we are able to close that gap and that’s the plan.

“But we need to avoid what happened against Leicester because if we keep doing the things we did in that game, it’s going to be hard for us. We know that. So it’s up to us to recover from that game, regroup and go again – because we are able to.”

Read on for the rest of our pre-match interview with the Premier League’s second-top scorer as he reflects on his and Liverpool’s form during 2021, assesses this weekend’s opponents, and reveals his favourite moment of the year…

You’ve had a couple of days now to reflect on the result at Leicester. The manager said you just weren’t yourselves. How do you look back on it now?

I think it’s the truth. I think everyone felt it: we were not like ourselves, we were not getting that momentum we often do. Although we had our chances to open the scoring – if we did that, the game changes, like we know. I think that was the missing part. After they scored their goal, the crowd was really up, the players were doing that extra effort and everything got harder for us and we couldn’t get the equaliser. For me, the key moment was that first goal, that could change everything. But, like I said, we were not really ourselves, we missed those chances. We have nothing to blame, just now recover, regroup and go again.

Looking back on 2021 as a whole, how pleased are you with your form and the team’s form overall? There were 16 goals for you and that’s despite you missing the first two-and-a-half months…

Yeah, the year didn’t start well, especially for me – I started the year injured. But I kind of finished strong with the team and we did a good effort in the last third of the season to finish in the top four. We got Champions League. We are in every competition. Obviously we have this gap now [to City in the table] but it’s still possible. So I think, in the end, it was a good year with all the circumstances. Now I just hope 2022 can be even better.

Any favourite football moment for you of the year, either for yourself or the team?

For the team, I could say Alisson’s goal [against West Bromwich Albion in May]. The header was obviously an incredible moment and incredibly important. For me, there were many moments – always when I’m on the scoresheet it’s a special moment. So every single moment was special, I cannot say one.

Next up it’s Chelsea this weekend. Is the size and importance of this game helpful after a defeat in trying to bounce back quickly?

It is what it is, we cannot pick who we are playing next. We know it’s Chelsea away. We drew with them at home, we know it’s not going to be easy. We both want to close that gap but we know at least one of us is going to be even further back. So, it’s a great game, a big game. We need to be at our best – I know if we do that we are able to win the game there.

They have drawn three of their last four in the league and are dealing with some injury issues, but how difficult and challenging a side are they to play against?

We know even against 10 [men] how difficult it was for us to create chances [in the game at Anfield earlier this season]. I think that’s their main thing, they don’t allow the opponent many chances. They have their injuries, but we have had ours as well, we have had our COVID cases as well, like theirs. Whoever is going to be on the pitch, 11 against 11, it will be very tough for everyone involved and a very intense game. It will be a proper Premier League game. We want to start the year well and the only way is to win the game at Stamford Bridge.

Chelsea normally line up with a back three. As a forward, does that change the way you play, in terms of the positions you take up or your preparations to face a three rather than a four?

Yeah, the opponent, whichever system they play always influences the gaps we try to find. It’s always hard when we are not sure how they’re going to play. Chelsea, we are not 100 per cent because we can never be that, but we know they’re going to play with three. So it’s up to us to know the spaces they leave and try to take advantage. It’s always hard when you’re not sure how they’re going to play, so that’s good.

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Categories: LFC NEWS

Inside Training: Robbo's screamer, 'that's football!' and more

LiverpoolFC TV - Thu, 12/30/2021 - 16:37
Go behind the scenes of Liverpool's pre-Chelsea session on Thursday with Inside Training.
Categories: LFC NEWS

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