Without further ado…
Why have we made such a mess of VAR? And how do we fix it? — John H
VAR isn’t the problem. It’s 100 per cent down to the people using it and running it.
It felt like things were getting better at the start of this season. The interpretation had been too petty, but there was a higher tolerance towards tackling and handballs, which was an improvement, but what we’ve seen over the last month has been dreadful. There have been some laughable decisions.
The penalty in Manchester City’s favour against Wolverhampton Wanderers was diabolical — it was never a handball by Joao Moutinho. The non-penalty when Newcastle United’s Ryan Fraser was upended by Ederson was equally bizarre, featuring an experienced referee in Martin Atkinson. If he couldn’t spot it — and he was in a good position — then the VAR had to.
And then there were those big incidents in the 2-2 draw between
Plymouth had already been to Sheffield Wednesday in the FA Cup first round, and a 3-0 win in the replay meant they would go to Rochdale next. To compound matters, both matches were selected by ITV to be televised at 12:15pm on a Sunday.
A usually lively minibus trip was replaced by the sound of a dozen Plymouth fans trying, and failing, to catch up on their sleep. A quiz went round in a forlorn attempt to muster some enthusiasm, but Barker says, “the driver said he had never known it to be so quiet.”
A month later another group of supporters had set off from the south west long before dawn because their game had been moved for TV. This time, it was Bournemouth at Middlesbrough. As the Sky Sports commentary referenced the six-plus hour journey north, a banner was held aloft in the away end. “636 miles, 12.30 kick-off, all fans deserve better” it read. The frustration was clear.
It was a similar story for Newcastle fans when their team’s match at Arsenal was picked for the early Saturday slot in the Premier League in November. With engineering works on the East Coast Mainline extending journeys and Storm Arwen battering the country, many of those who made the trip by train missed kick-off.
Manchester City face a Friday-night trip to Swindon Town in the FA Cup third round to be broadcast on ITV,
Merry Christmas, Reds! If you’re winding down or just looking for a few minutes to yourself, we’ve got a quiz for you to do just that.
Whether your day is only just getting started or you are hours deep into the day, we at This Is Anfield wish you a very Merry Christmas and happy holidays.
It’s been another tough year but now is the time to sit back, relax and eat a few too many servings of Turkey or Christmas pudding!
But it’s also time for you to take on the TIA Christmas quiz, this one is all about finals under the one and only Jurgen Klopp so all questions only pertain to his time at the helm.12 questions, how will you get on? Want more quizzes? Try these!
Jurgen Klopp has provided his annual Christmas message to Liverpool supporters, offering his usual charismatic manner, humour and compassion.
Addressing supporters in his Christmas letter, Klopp writes:
“Unfortunately, it is a fact there will be some reading these words who have lost someone due to the pandemic in the last year. Whether you are part of the Liverpool family or a supporter or another club – or even if you’re not a football follower – you are in our thoughts and prayers.”
The boss, as ever, pays tribute the Hillsborough families, and reveals how he met with Andrew Devine before his passing this year:
“Today and every day our thoughts are with the families and friends of those who lost their lives at Hillsborough and the survivors. You are our daily inspiration because of the courage, strength and resilience you have shown.”
There’s also tributes to those former players we lost in 2021, including Ian St John, Roger Hunt, Ray Kennedy, Louis Bimpson, Tommy Leishman and Phil Chisnall, as well as Gerry Marsden.
“It was taken after the game and we had 10,000 supporters back at Anfield. It shows Nat Phillips and Rhys Williams applauding the fans in front of the Kop, both of them with bruises and cuts to their faces.
For me, that image captured best what those boys achieved. We showed a real Liverpool spirit and, honestly, I could not be any more proud.”
Finally, in paying tribute to Liverpool supporters directly, he writes:
“My thanks goes to our incredible supporters. Having you back inside a full Anfield is without any question the absolute highlight of my year.
“After the game with Leicester the other night, I gave an interview in which I said how much I loved being a part of this incredible club because of how special it is, because of how much we all mean to each other. Really, I meant every word – and perhaps if I was a native English speaker, I could have said it better.
“But one of the main reasons that makes this club so special, so different, is you. We saw the impact of not having you inside Anfield or with us at away games or in Europe and we felt it. Believe me, we all felt it.
“Wednesday night’s game was the perfect example of the power of Anfield, why it must be a place every opponent hates to play. Without your support, the boys’ comeback would have been much more difficult. But we did it and we did it together.”
Sentiments echoed by every Red in return, Jurgen.
Looking to the future, Klopp writes:
“I am excited about what the next 12 months will hold for us as a collective and with you behind this group of players. I have complete confidence we will have many memorable occasions and more success together.
“Each and every day I get to look these boys in the eyes, I get to see their talent and desire in training. I know they have absolute fire inside them to create more special memories with you.”
And finally, Klopp gives his own mini team talk:
“Today, my team talk for you is this: show those you love and care about what they mean to you, enjoy your time with them because it’s precious, reach out to those who you can’t be with in person using the technology we have and take a moment to remember those who’ve sadly left us.
“However you choose to mark today, however you choose to celebrate, I wish you and your families health, happiness, peace and love.”
Merry Christmas to everyone from This Is Anfield.
Watch Jürgen Klopp's Christmas message now.
The boss recently sat down at the AXA Training Centre to record a special festive message for all Liverpool supporters.
And you can watch the video in full below.
Today’s football managers regularly complain about hectic football schedules and fixture congestion, particularly in December. However, the English game has a long tradition of ploughing on through the winter months.
In the 1950s, it was not uncommon to go to the match on Christmas Day, and then again on Boxing Day if you fancied it. Liverpool played many games on Christmas Day during this period, with the last of them coming on 25 December 1957.
It would prove to be the start of a remarkable 24-hour period that would see the Reds play Grimsby Town twice in 24 hours. As we will see, the Lincolnshire team would ruin Kopite Christmas dinners, but there’d be revenge aplenty on Boxing Day.
1957 was another momentous year in world history. Britain lost one Conservative Prime Minister, Anthony Eden, over his inability to maintain control of a canal in Egypt, and replaced him with another who proceeded to lecture a sceptical Party and the public that they had “never had it so good.” This, despite a fire at the Winscale nuclear power plant threatening the population with radiation poisoning.
In Liverpool, two lads called John and Paul met at a village fete in the suburb of Woolton. They went on to form a band with two other local lads, and they did quite well. Meanwhile, the City Council was planning to flood the Welsh town of Capel Celyn so that it could build a reservoir. And at Aintree racecourse, in the north of the city, Stirling Moss was winning the British Grand Prix.
Liverpool Football Club were beginning another decade of decline. Ten years earlier, they had won their first league title in 24 years, only to be relegated in 1954. They were now plying their trade in the second tier of English football.
Bill Shankly was managing Huddersfield Town and the directors at Anfield were still casting admiring glances in his direction. Eventually, Liverpool’s faithful support would do too, as popular former player Phil Taylor struggled to lift the Reds from their post-war slumbers.
The problem for Liverpool in the 1957/58 season was their away record. By Christmas Day 1957 the Reds had gone 12 games unbeaten (a run of 18 in total, stretching back to January). Their home form had seen them climb to the top of the table, but they had already suffered five defeats on their travels, and they were about to taste their sixth. Their troubles on their travels would see them miss out on promotion for yet another season.
The press would attribute Liverpool’s home dominance to the support they received from the Anfield crowd. Previewing the 4-3 victory over Bristol City on 21 December 1957, Evening Express reporter Jack Rowe claimed that teams visiting Anfield had suggested that “the Anfield roar is worth a goal start,” for Liverpool.
Unfortunately, on Christmas Day, as the Reds made the journey to 8th-placed Grimsby Town for the first of two games against the Mariners in 24 hours, very few Liverpudlians would travel with them for an 11 am kick off at Blundell Park.
A crowd of 17,000 turned out in the frost to see the home team run out 3-1 winners.
The Reds had fought valiantly in the first half, holding the home side 1-1 thanks to a goal from Welsh striker Tony Rowley. He played 69 games for Liverpool, scoring 39 times but would leave Liverpool in 1958.
Two goals in the second half Jeff Whitefoot and Jimmy Fell would see the Reds vanquished on the road yet again.
They’d barely have time to lick their wounds though and as their blood boiled on the trip back to Liverpool, the men in red would be harbouring thoughts of revenge. Their opportunity would arrive just over 24 hours later, on Boxing Day 1957.
There could be no talk of squad rotation here, nor of playing the youth. This was the era of no substitutes, so there wouldn’t even be the opportunity to drag off a weary player midway through the game. Liverpool would simply have to go again.
Ten of the players who lined up against Grimsby Town on Christmas Day would face them again on Boxing Day. The only change saw debutante Bobby Murdoch replace the injured Jimmy Melia.
Liverpool-born Melia was a schoolboy international who hailed from the Scotland Road area of the city. He was one of 11 children and had five brothers and five sisters. Jimmy played 286 time for the Reds, scoring 79 times. He would go on to help Liverpool into the top flight and would earn a First Division winners medal in 1964. A hugely popular local hero, he would have been a huge miss.
His replacement, Murdoch, was a less celebrated local lad. Bobby was born in Garston and played just 19 times for the Reds, scoring seven times.
However, this game would belong to a Liverpool Football Club icon and club captain, Billy Liddell.
Born in Dunfermline, Scotland in 1922, Liddell joined Liverpool in 1938. The club would pay £200 for his services.
Robbed of what would surely have been his best years by the outbreak of World War II, Liddell went on to establish himself as one of the club’s greatest and most influential players. He made over 500 appearances for the Reds, played in the 1950 FA Cup defeat to Arsenal and scored 228 goals. His one league title, obtained in the 1946/47 campaign, seems scant reward for his talent and service.
Thanks to Liddell, the Reds raced into the lead in the first half. He notched the first in the sixth minute and then converted a penalty in the 24th. Grimsby fought back, with goals from Gerry Priestly and Ron Rafferty. But with that tremendous home support, the Reds would not be denied.
A huge crowd of 47,776 filled Anfield to the rafters and the roar of the Kop would have been heard in the streets around the ground. It would have deafened and bewildered the visitors and it would have driven the Liverpool players on.
In the 75th minute, Tony McNamara – another local lad who had also played for Everton in the First Division – scored what would prove to be the winning goal. McNamara had only been a Liverpool player for two weeks, having joined the Reds from Goodison Park for £10,000 and making his debut against Fulham on the 13th December.
His goal against Grimsby on Boxing Day would be his third in four games. It would also be his last for the club.
In all he managed three goals in just 10 appearances, mysteriously leaving for Crewe Alexandra the following summer. He also held the distinction of being the first player to have competed in all four divisions of English football.
Two days later the Reds would suffer a 6-1 drubbing away to Cardiff City at Ninian Park. It would be the beginning of yet another slump that would end their dream of the championship and promotion for another year. They would however remain unbeaten at home for the remainder of the season, finishing in fourth place.
Phil Taylor would leave the club two years later. That Scottish guy whom was managing Huddersfield Town would take his place. He did quite well.
* A version of this article was first published on December 25, 2019.
Jürgen Klopp has penned a special letter to Liverpool fans around the world to mark Christmas Day.
As always, I want to wish Liverpool supporters around the world a very happy and peaceful Christmas – and I hope that wherever in the world you are reading these words, you and your loved ones are safe and healthy.
One year ago when I wrote this letter, I spoke about the impact the pandemic had on all of our lives, both as professionals but more importantly as human beings. Twelve months later, it continues to have a huge effect on us all, but we should also recognise that lots of positive steps have been taken in 2021 towards what we hope will be a brighter future for everyone.
Again, this last year has taught us the greatest lesson possible about the things that matter most in life and how important it is to be grateful for them.
As I write today, we are again gripped by the latest ‘wave’ of the pandemic and nobody can predict what will happen in the coming weeks, months or even days, but one thing is clear for me – we’re stronger if we face it together.
I have gone on record many times about my respect, admiration and gratitude for the frontline workers here in the UK and all over the world who have put us first before their own health and safety.
These guys are the real heroes and even though we are now into the 21st month of the pandemic, we must never forget what they have done – and what they continue to do – for you, me and everybody else.
Unfortunately, it is a fact there will be some reading these words who have lost someone due to the pandemic in the last year. Whether you are part of the Liverpool family or a supporter or another club – or even if you’re not a football follower – you are in our thoughts and prayers.
Of course, today and every day our thoughts are with the families and friends of those who lost their lives at Hillsborough and the survivors. You are our daily inspiration because of the courage, strength and resilience you have shown.
Sadly, during 2021 we lost Andrew Stanley Devine who became the 97th supporter to die as a result of Hillsborough. As I mentioned at the time when he passed away, I did not know him well but I had the absolute privilege of meeting him on a few occasions when he came to Melwood for a visit and to Anfield for games. Andrew definitely made a lasting impact upon us for his incredible courage and fight.
It was an honour for me to spend some time with him and he, his family and his friends are in my thoughts today, 100 per cent.
Unfortunately, some other members of the Liverpool FC family have also left us during the last year and our thoughts are with the family and friends of Ian St John, Roger Hunt, Ray Kennedy, Louis Bimpson, Tommy Leishman and Phil Chisnall, as well as Gerry Marsden.
As a group of players and staff, we also had our own personal difficult moments away from football. Some of them you may know, others you will not, but in these tough times we showed what a close group we are.
As always in life, together stronger.
I see that in the work that’s done via the LFC Foundation, Red Neighbours and the various programmes to help the local community around Liverpool. I see it in the unbelievable work Fans Supporting Foodbanks does – wow, my respect for what you guys do is the highest it could possibly be.
Similarly, I would like to have a word on Alder Hey. Sadly, for the second year running we could not visit, but again we were able to try to bring some joy to some poorly children via video calls. I send a big hug and all my love to the patients and their families, as well as the world-class staff who work there.
On the pitch, it is true there were parts of 2021 that were very difficult for football reasons, particularly in the first few months of the year. We had more than our fair share of long-term injuries and we struggled for consistency and form.
But I have to say once again, the way the boys pulled it together and went 10 games unbeaten to take us back into the Champions League remains one of my absolute proudest moments as a manager.
There is a photo stuck in my mind of the final day of last season. It was taken after the game and we had 10,000 supporters back at Anfield. It shows Nat Phillips and Rhys Williams applauding the fans in front of the Kop, both of them with bruises and cuts to their faces.
For me, that image captured best what those boys achieved. We showed a real Liverpool spirit and, honestly, I could not be any more proud.
Of course, this season, the boys are flying once again and showing everybody why I am the luckiest man in the world to be able to call myself their manager. Working with them every day is a pleasure.
The same goes for the staff here at the AXA Training Centre. Really, the commitment and sacrifices they make to try to do their absolute maximum for Liverpool FC is absolutely remarkable. They all work together, each contributing in their own areas, with one common goal: to make us the best we can be. I love it.
I’d also like to say thanks and show appreciation for the many other LFC staff who work so hard each and every day for this club across the different sites. The success of the team isn’t just about what happens in Kirkby, you make a contribution towards it too. Thank you from us all.
And lastly, my thanks goes to our incredible supporters. Having you back inside a full Anfield is without any question the absolute highlight of my year.
After the game with Leicester the other night, I gave an interview in which I said how much I loved being a part of this incredible club because of how special it is, because of how much we all mean to each other. Really, I meant every word – and perhaps if I was a native English speaker, I could have said it better.
But one of the main reasons that makes this club so special, so different, is you. We saw the impact of not having you inside Anfield or with us at away games or in Europe and we felt it. Believe me, we all felt it.
Wednesday night’s game was the perfect example of the power of Anfield, why it must be a place every opponent hates to play. Without your support, the boys’ comeback would have been much more difficult. But we did it and we did it together.
As I mentioned earlier, nobody knows what the immediate future will bring, but I can promise you that we never have, and never will, take having a full Anfield for granted.
From the bottom of my heart and all of my players and staff, thank you for your commitment, sacrifice, support, love and patience over the last 12 months.
I am excited about what the next 12 months will hold for us as a collective and with you behind this group of players. I have complete confidence we will have many memorable occasions and more success together.
Each and every day I get to look these boys in the eyes, I get to see their talent and desire in training. I know they have absolute fire inside them to create more special memories with you.
I’d like to finish off where I started. We are living in historical times because of this pandemic and I am sure many of you reading this are in a similar position to me in that the events of the last nearly two years have made absolutely clear what is really important in life.
Recently, I saw a remarkable video from the club regarding a young man named Ethan, who donated bone marrow to help save the life of a girl named Libbie. Really, if you have not seen this video, watch it now. I am not ashamed to say it made me emotional.
But the reason I mention this is because it showed what we can achieve together. How being there for someone else can be the most important thing you ever do.
So today, my team talk for you is this: show those you love and care about what they mean to you, enjoy your time with them because it’s precious, reach out to those who you can’t be with in person using the technology we have and take a moment to remember those who’ve sadly left us.
However you choose to mark today, however you choose to celebrate, I wish you and your families health, happiness, peace and love.
All my love,
Daniel Sturridge has taken to social media to refute claims he failed to pay a reward for the safe return of his missing dog.
It comes after a Los Angeles court ordered the former Liverpool striker to pay local musician Foster Washington 30,085 US dollars (£22,400) for finding the lost pet.
The Pomeranian, named Lucci, was stolen from a house in Los Angeles in 2019 with Sturridge pleading for the safe return and offering a reward on social media in July 2019.
Lucci was subsequently found by local musician Washington who shared pictures on social media and helped reunite the pair.
However, court documents have since revealed a default judgment was given against Sturridge after a claim was made the reward was not received.
Sturridge denies the allegations though, claiming others are 'trying to benefit for their own personal gain' and the reward has already been paid to the rightful recipient.
Just to let you know the truth on xmas!
I met a young boy who found my dog and paid him a reward which he was delighted with as was I to get my dog back because he was stolen. I took photos with him and we have videos and audio of everything that happened when Lucci was returned.
Sturridge wrote: "Just to let you know the truth on xmas!
"I met a young boy who found my dog and paid him a reward which he was delighted with as was I to get my dog back because he was stolen.
"I took photos with him and we have videos and audio of everything that happened when Lucci was returned."
"On Christmas Day to have to relive the events of a robbery is shameful.
"Other people are trying to benefit for their own personal gain. Thank you to the young boy once again. This was 2 1/2 years ago and a crazy 24hrs. I'm very grateful Lucci is back with our family. Love to all."
On Christmas Day to have to relive the events of a robbery is shameful. Other people are trying to benefit for their own personal gain. Thank you to the young boy once again. This was 2 1/2 years ago and a crazy 24hrs. I’m very grateful lucci is back with our family. Love to all.— Daniel Sturridge (@DanielSturridge) December 25, 2021
Meanwhile, the claimant Washington, whose rapper name is Killa Fame, has been pursuing the case for over a year and said he feels "let down" by Sturridge.
"Hopefully he pays up and doesn't try to appeal it," he told PA. "I'm excited about it, I've been fighting this case for over a year, I can't believe it's over. When we found the dog I thought my life was going to be better."
In October Sturridge signed for Perth Glory on a free transfer, 19 months after he left Turkish side Trabzonspor.
The 32-year-old former England striker had been out of the game since March 2020 after being handed a four-month ban for breaching the FA's gambling regulations.
On December 17 Sturridge put a message on Twitter to say the squad would have to spend 14 days in hotel quarantine in Brisbane after a team-mate got coronavirus.
Representatives for Sturridge have been contacted for comment.
Liverpool players might be able to indulge in a mince pie tomorrow with the rest of us, given there’s now no game on Boxing Day. And a Ribena for Milner maybe?Reds trio return to training after Covid
Latest Liverpool FC news
Latest Premier League chat
In the festive spirit ?? pic.twitter.com/ujHXCL33DV
— Liverpool FC (@LFC) December 24, 2021
Tonight you should ideally be with the family and panicking about how much stuff you have left to buy/wrap/prepare to eat. Merry Christmas!
Sadio Mane, Edouard Mendy and Kalidou Koulibaly have been named in the Senegal squad for the Africa Cup of Nations.
Liverpool forward Mane, the reigning African Footballer of the Year, will be key to Senegal's hopes of winning a first continental title after finishing runners-up at the last edition in Egypt in 2019.
Coach Aliou Cisse has selected 27 players for the tournament in Cameroon, including captain Koulibaly of Napoli and Watford's Ismaila Sarr, despite their recent injury problems.Image: Kalidou Koulibaly has been included despite recent injury problems
The 30-year-old Koulibaly suffered a thigh strain at the start of the month in Serie A with Napoli and had been ruled out for December, putting his participation at a third successive Africa Cup of Nations in doubt.
Sarr has not played since hurting his knee in Watford's 4-1 win over Manchester United last month, and was expected to be sidelined until February.Image: Chelsea's Edouard Mendy will represent Senegal at AFCON
But Cisse has taken a chance on both recovering before for the tournament, where Senegal start their Group B campaign against Zimbabwe in Bafoussam on January 10. They also take on Guinea and Malawi in the opening round.
Cisse also selected Crystal Palace's Chiekhou Kouyate and Leicester's Nampalys Mendy from the Premier League.Image: Ismaila Sarr has not played since November due to injury
Paris Saint-Germain duo Idrissa Gana Gueye - previously of Everton - and Abdou Diallo are among the other notable inclusions, along with Cagliari's Keita Balde.Senegal's full squad for AFCON
Goalkeepers: Seny Dieng (Queens Park Rangers), Alfred Gomis (Stade Rennes), Edouard Mendy (Chelsea)
Defenders: Fode Ballo-Toure (AC Milan), Saliou Ciss (Nancy), Pape Abou Cisse (Olympiakos), Abdou Diallo (Paris Saint-Germain), Kalidou Koulibaly (Napoli), Cheikhou Kouyate (Crystal Palace), Ibrahima Mbaye (Bologna), Bouna Sarr (Bayern Munich), Abdoulaye Seck (Antwerp)
Midfielders: Idrissa Gana Gueye (Paris Saint-Germain), Pape Gueye (Olympique Marseille), Joseph Lopy (Socahux), Mamadou Loum (Deportivo Alaves), Nampalys Mendy (Leicester City), Moustapha Name (Paris FC), Pape Matar Sarr (Metz)
Forwards: Keita Balde (Cagliari), Boulaye Dia (Villarreal), Famara Diedhiou (Alanayspor), Habib Diallo (Racing Strasbourg), Bamba Dieng (Olympique Marseille), Sadio Mane (Liverpool), Ismaila Sarr (Watford), Mame Baba Thiam (Kayserispor).
Van Dijk, Fabinho and Jones all tested positive for Covid prior to the Newcastle clash on December 16, with government guidelines stipulating a seven-day quarantine.
The trio were then required to provide negative lateral flow tests on the sixth and seventh days of their self-isolation, which were on Wednesday and Thursday.
With none of their results returning positive, and no symptoms shown, they were then given the all-clear to return to Kirkby for training.
They were part of the group put through exercises on Christmas Eve, with Liverpool now able to extend their preparations for the trip to Leicester on December 28.
Due to a rise in cases in the Leeds squad, the Boxing Day clash at Anfield has now been postponed, at least allowing Klopp and his players more time to train for a second consecutive meeting with the Foxes.
In the festive spirit ?? pic.twitter.com/ujHXCL33DV
— Liverpool FC (@LFC) December 24, 2021
Ahead of Christmas Day, the first team posed for a photo on the pitch at Kirkby, with Van Dijk, Fabinho and Jones all present.
Jones could be given more time to get back up to speed, having not featured for Liverpool since the 2-2 draw with Brighton on October 30 due to an eye injury and then Covid.
Thiago remains absent, with his quarantine due to end on Boxing Day, while there was no sign of Joe Gomez, Naby Keita, James Milner or the injured quartet of Harvey Elliott, Divock Origi, Nat Phillips and Adrian.
However, there is an ongoing chance of players testing positive for Covid upon their arrival at the training ground, with negative lateral flow tests required before entry is granted.
Either way, Liverpool will consider the return of Van Dijk, Fabinho and Jones as a major boost, with no delay in their comeback due to the emergence of symptoms.Liverpool squad in Christmas Eve training
Goalkeepers: Alisson, Kelleher, Pitaluga, Davies
Defenders: Van Dijk, Matip, Konate, Alexander-Arnold, Robertson, Tsimikas, Williams, Beck
Midfielders: Henderson, Fabinho, Oxlade-Chamberlain, Jones, Morton
Forwards: Salah, Mane, Firmino, Jota, Minamino
Liverpool's men's squad got into the festive spirit by posing for their pre-Christmas photo before Friday's training session.
As is tradition, the Reds took time out ahead of their Christmas Eve workout to put on Santa hats and pose for the camera.
See for yourself below.
It seems almost unanimous among Premier League managers that the festive schedule is not feasible for players, particularly given the current situation with COVID-19.
On Friday morning, Everton vs. Burnley became the third Boxing Day fixture to be called off due to a rise in cases, with Liverpool’s clash with Leeds also postponed as a result of a lack of personnel for the visitors.
Certain parties remain dubious when it comes to the reporting of cases, with Leeds claiming five positive tests among players and staff, which combined with their injury problems led to their application to push the game back.
Maddock reports that the Liverpool boss made a “passionate presentation” in which he described the traditional schedule of games played on both Boxing Day and December 28 as “inhumane.”
It is claimed that Klopp also insisted: “Clubs must be completely transparent relating to Covid cases, offering full information to the Premier League and to opponents, allowing preparation and planning, and also appropriate safety measures to be implemented.”
Premier League managers are also seeking a return of the five-sub rule for top-flight games, in order to allow them to manage the fitness of their players more sensibly.
However, speaking after the meeting, Tottenham manager Conte – who, like Klopp, wants the League Cup semi-finals to be cut to one leg rather than two – described the Premier League‘s standpoint as a “wall.”
“If I have to be honest, it was a meeting where we tried to speak and some coaches tried to speak, to ask about solutions but I think everything was [already] decided,” he said, according to the Guardian.
“It was a wall. For this reason, I prefer not [to] go into the discussion.”
Conte agreed that the meeting was a waste of time, adding: “When you have a wall in front of you, you can speak and ask for what you want, but every decision was taken.”
This would suggest that, though games continue to be called off, the Premier League will maintain their fixture list as intended.
However, it remains to be seen if leeway could be found when it comes to allowing managers to make five substitutions during a game, rather than three.
As Jurgen Klopp has repeatedly stressed, it would be difficult to sign a player capable of breaking into this Liverpool side, such is the quality in every position.
Alexander-Arnold’s place as one of the world’s best right-backs is the perfect example, with Klopp now presiding over a difficult situation in keeping Neco Williams happy as his understudy.
“De Bruyne, because I admire him a lot,” he said.
“As a player, his vision, his technique, his accuracy. Outstanding player, the assists and chances he creates are frightening.
“Son, again, an outstanding player. The speed, finishing, composure.”
Liverpool’s No. 66 was also questioned on which players in the squad who would be highest-rated on FIFA in five years’ time.
“Of who’s in and around the first team now, I would say Harvey [Elliott],” Alexander-Arnold said.
“But if it’s someone who’s academy-based, then I’d say Kaide [Gordon]. Both have got massive, massive bags of potential.”
While De Bruyne is a no-brainer, it is interesting that Alexander-Arnold would pick out a player like Son, particularly given the array of attacking talent in the Premier League.
But there is cause to believe that the Spurs striker would be the best fit, and though it is now unlikely he would make the move, the club’s interest in Son goes back as far as 2012.