It's Alex Inglethorpe's metaphor and it strikes a chord.
Liverpool’s Academy director is talking about Ki-Jana Hoever - and you already know the headline facts about him, of course. He is a 16-year-old boy with a place in the Reds’ history books.
In replacing Dejan Lovren early on in Monday’s FA Cup third-round meeting with Wolverhampton Wanderers, Hoever became the club’s third-youngest debutant and their youngest ever in that competition.
The Netherlands youth international was just 16 years and 354 days old when he performed with remarkable surety and confidence in central defence during a testing tie that ultimately ended in a narrow defeat.
“Ki-Jana played really good,” was Jürgen Klopp’s assessment when he spoke to Liverpoolfc.com post-match at Molineux.
“A bit wild: a few times we had to tell him ‘don’t run there, don’t run there’, but you saw a really confident boy. Physically he has to improve, he has to grow in the best way, so that’s cool.”
Breathtakingly fast progress has characterised Hoever’s nascent Liverpool career.
Since arriving on Merseyside from Ajax last September, the Amsterdam-born youngster has represented the club’s U18, U19 and U23 teams with distinction.
A promotion to train regularly at Melwood followed and, post-Wolves, Klopp’s senior side can be added to that list, too.
“I think that he’s an outstanding talent,” began Inglethorpe’s considered analysis, during a recent conversation with Liverpoolfc.com at the Academy.
“The thing that surprises me about him is not just how good a footballer he is, but what a good person he is. He’s highly competitive, he doesn’t like losing.
“He has potential, he has serious potential, and his rate of progression I suppose after pre-season hasn’t surprised me because he’s someone that it was very, very clear from very, very early on had an awful lot of the pieces that you would need to become a top player.
“A lot of the pieces of the jigsaw puzzle are in the box and I guess we just have to put them together. He’s a very exciting prospect.”
Which of those pieces piques Inglethorpe’s intrigue most, though?
“I think he’s driven but at the same time very level-headed,” came the response.
“He carries himself ever so well, he’s got confidence around him and real belief in what he’s doing. OK, yes he can play, he’s technically very good and physically very good, but it’s how he thinks that has drawn me in.
“I like the attributes he shows in terms of his mental capacity, that’s what I like. That’s the bit that interests me at the minute.”
Lovren’s misfortune at Molineux saw Hoever thrust into first-team action at centre-back.
He is, however, equally adept at right-back, and Inglethorpe believes it is too early to say with certainty where his long-term future lies positionally.
“I think a lot will depend on how he develops physically,” the Academy director continued.
“He’s got a lot more to come, you can see that he’s not done physically yet. But I think a lot of that will depend on where he plays in terms of the height he gets to and how he fills out in time.
“He’s someone at the minute that, in the older age groups, is likely to play on the side of the pitch, yet in his own age group plays more centrally. But time will tell.”
Not yet 17 years of age, time is clearly something Hoever has in abundance.
“He’s young, he’s a baby,” Inglethorpe nodded.
“He’s got a long way to go and a lot to do, but he’s making nice progress at the minute. I think we have to be realistic in terms of our expectations of him, but he’s made a lovely start to his time at Liverpool and I hope I get the opportunity to work with him for many more years yet.”
Highly regarded midfielder Ben Woodburn has made an early return to Liverpool from his frustrating loan spell with Sheffield United.
Woodburn joined the Blades on a season-long deal in August, and exclaimed his delight at the opportunity to test himself in the Championship.
Effectively replacing good friend and Wales team-mate David Brooks, he was widely expected to thrive under Chris Wilder at Bramall Lane, with a key role earmarked for the 19-year-old.
This didn’t transpire, with Woodburn making eight appearances for United in five months and playing the same number of minutes in the English second tier as he did in two outings for the Liverpool U23s in Premier League 2 (154).
His last game for Wilder’s side came with a 10-minute cameo against Nottingham Forest in November, during a three-month period that saw him included in the matchday squad just twice.
And according to Goal‘s Neil Jones, Woodburn is now back in Liverpool and “will not be returning to Yorkshire,” with the Liverpool Echo‘s Paul Gorst adding that the club are “not planning to formally announce” the end of his deal.
The Blades announced his replacement last month as they signed Kieran Dowell on a half-season loan from Everton.
Wilder explained that United “tried to sign Kieran in the summer when David Brooks left,” suggesting Liverpool’s youngest-ever goalscorer was not their first-choice target.
Now returning to Merseyside, Woodburn becomes the second Reds academy player to see their loan cut short this term, following Ovie Ejaria‘s exit from Rangers earlier in December.
Last season, Ryan Kent saw his temporary move to Freiburg terminated in January, highlighting the difficulties in mapping out successful loans.
It remains to be seen whether Woodburn will now join up with Jurgen Klopp‘s first team, head out on another loan or remain at the academy.
But Jones reports that Blackburn, Brentford and Hull have already enquired over a deal for the second half of the season.
Having barely played competitive football for 18 months now, this could be a pivotal month ahead of the Welshman.
Last Updated: 09/01/19 9:14pm0:32 Gary McAllister is predicting an extremely close Premier League title race Gary McAllister is predicting an extremely close Premier League title race
Gary McAllister expects Liverpool to push Manchester City "right to the wire" in the Premier League title race, despite his former club's recent dip in form.
Liverpool's hopes of an unbeaten league season were ended by City at the Etihad last week as Pep Guardiola's side reduced the gap at the top to four points.
An FA Cup third-round defeat at Wolves followed for Liverpool on Monday, albeit with Jurgen Klopp choosing to send out a weakened line-up.Man City vs Wolves
January 14, 2019, 7:00pm
"Losing to City, I'm not going to say it was a surprise," said McAllister, who spent two seasons with Liverpool. "I thought it was a fantastic game - watching the level of quality from both teams. It could have gone either way.
"Then there's a disappointing result against Wolves in the cup, but Liverpool go to Brighton at the weekend and they have to get that run again.2:56 Highlights from Manchester City's win over Liverpool in the Premier League Highlights from Manchester City's win over Liverpool in the Premier League
"I think it's going to go right to the wire. What I can see is both City and Liverpool going on big extended runs again. I just see it's difficult for teams to beat them."Manchester City closed the gap at the top of the Premier League with their 2-1 win over Liverpool
Liverpool resume their quest for a first league title since 1990 when they travel to Brighton on Saturday and have the opportunity to restore a seven-point advantage.
City do not return to league action until Monday night, when they host Wolves, live on Sky Sports.Play Super 6
Predict 6 correct scores for your chance to win £250K.
Six Liverpool first-team squad members are looking increasingly likely to leave the club, with no new contract despite being in the final 18 months, or less, of their current deal.
Jurgen Klopp has done stellar work in the transfer market since becoming Reds boss in October 2015, having inherited an average squad from Brendan Rodgers.
While there are many individuals who will be key to the Klopp revolution at Anfield, a number of players are expendable and nearing the end of their contracts.
Klopp is ruthless when it comes to disposing of dead wood, so numerous outgoings are to be expected in the near future.
Here are the six Liverpool players who won’t at Anfield in 18 months’ time, at the latest.Joel Matip (contract expires: June 2020)
Joel Matip looked like a superb signing in the early months of his time at Liverpool, cutting a classy figure in the late summer of 2016.
However, a mix of injuries and unconvincing form have seen him struggle to ever fully convince in the two years since, with his timid style often proving frustrating.
While Matip is fine as a squad player for the time being, his persistent injury problems are an issue and the Reds can sign a more reliable back-up.
Still only 27, they could get a reasonable fee for his services this summer, a year before his current deal runs out.
If he could stay fit regularly there would be no great issue keeping hold of him, but as current evidence proves, that isn’t going to happen.Alberto Moreno (contract expires: June 2019)
Few players have earned more criticism during the Klopp era than Alberto Moreno, whose infectious personality is not enough to hide his deficiencies as a footballer.
The Spaniard has proven to be a shaky defensive presence far too often during his four years on Merseyside and he will not be awarded a new contract this summer.
Unfortunately, he will be allowed to leave on a free transfer, which is a blow when you consider Liverpool could still demand a relatively healthy fee for him.
Moreno won’t be a loss when his time is up, despite overly harsh negative press at times, with Adam Lewis a potential new deputy to Andy Robertson.
He was never good enough, sadly.James Milner (contract expires: June 2020)
When James Milner joined Liverpool in the summer of 2015, the general consensus was that he was coming in as little more than an experienced squad player.
The veteran has been an excellent signing, though, becoming a key man at times and putting in some superb performances in a central midfield role.
At 33, it is clear that Milner is very much in the twilight of his career and his Reds deal expires in the summer of 2020.
As handy a player as Miner is to have around, there is little sense in offering a player of his age a new contract, with younger options available.
A return to a newly-promoted Leeds United side next season, captaining his boyhood club on their return to the Premier League? Sounds about right.Adam Lallana (contract expires: June 2020)
Few players in recent times have flattered to deceive quite as much in a Liverpool shirt as Adam Lallana.
An aesthetically-pleasing footballer with undeniable quality, the 30-year-old’s constant fitness issues have been a major problem.
That is only getting worse, with Lallana making just six starts since the beginning of last season, and the team has moved on without him.
He will have turned 32 by the time his contract runs out in 18 months – the likelihood is he moves on this year, with the Reds at least earning something for him.
Lallana may benefit from a move back to the south coast. Here’s looking at you, Bournemouth…Daniel Sturridge (contract expires: June 2019)
Such is his unique talent, it is tough to watch the modern-day version of Daniel Sturridge at times.
He is a shadow of the player that looked so fresh and creative alongside Luis Suarez in 2013/14, at a time when few strikers in Europe were better.
Injuries have now robbed Sturridge of his pace and dynamism, and while sporadic moments of magic still arrive from time to time – the late equaliser at Chelsea, for example – he no longer offers enough.
The Englishman is another who will not be given a new contract when his current one finishes in June, bringing an end to six and a half up-and-down years at the club.
Sturridge has never been an archetypal ‘Klopp player’ and his powers are diminishing all the time.Divock Origi (contract expires: June 2020)
That famous last-minute winner will forever hold a special place in our hearts for Origi, but he is not even close to being good enough moving forward.
The Belgian has never quite been the same since picking up a serious ankle injury near the end of the 2016/17 season and his future lies elsewhere.
At just 23 still, the Reds should be able to receive a sizeable fee for Origi’s services this summer – one they will accept.
* You can also add Nathaniel Clyne (2020), Connor Randall and Lazar Markovic (both 2019) to the list – their exits are more than a given at the end of the season – and selling all of these individuals would free up funds for more suited players.
Check in on Liverpool's preparations for the Premier League clash with Brighton and Hove Albion in our latest training gallery from Melwood.
The Reds will look to bounce back on the south coast this weekend following consecutive defeats so far in 2019.
Our photographer was at their latest session ahead of the trip, on Wednesday afternoon, to provide the snaps below.
Photos by John Powell
We round up the latest Liverpool news and transfer rumours on Wednesday, as preparations continue for the weekend trip to Brighton.
Alisson has revealed Liverpool’s history as a key reason for joining them last summer, having made the £65 million switch from Roma.
“I chose Liverpool for the same reasons I went to Roma when I left Brazil. I thought this would be the best move for my career.
“I’ve also admired Liverpool’s history. This is a club with five European Cups in their trophy cabinet. I really wanted to be part of that history.
“I came very close to winning the competition with Roma and I’m working hard to make it happen now with Liverpool.
“What’s life if not fighting for your dreams? I dream of winning the Champions League.”
The Liverpool youngster looked set to be joining Sporting CP on loan, possibly for 18 months, with a €25 million permanent move even mooted.
The report states that Klopp and Camacho will sit down on Wednesday to discuss the situation, however, with a potential U-turn on the cards.
Klopp is thought to have been impressed with what he saw at Molineux, leading to this possible change in stance.Lallana Won’t Leave in January
Adam Lallana has been tipped to join Fenerbahce in the January transfer window, with his first-team chances at Liverpool looking increasingly bleak.
That rumour has been swiftly denied by Sport Witness, who claim that the 30-year-old will remain at Anfield beyond this month.
A summer exit looks a certainty, however, with Liverpool moving on significantly as a team while Lallana has stood still.
Letting him leave in January makes little sense, though, regardless of his fitness issues.Wilson Injured for Leeds Clash
Frank Lampard’s side face a daunting trip to Marcelo Bielsa’s league leaders and could have to make do without arguably their key man.
Wilson has been suffering with a hip problem of late and his chances of being involved appear slim at this point.
Lampard said: “He has been training with the physio today and because of his influence, of course, I will wait to see as long as I can that he may be able to take part.
“But I won’t take a risk if he feels he is not up for a game that is going to be a taxing game on the legs.”
The 21-year-old has been a revelation at Derby this season, scoring 10 times, many of which have been Goal of the Season contenders.Youth Cup Date Confirmed
The date of Liverpool’s clash with Accrington Stanley in the FA Youth Cup fourth round has been confirmed.
The two teams will meet at St Helens’ Totally Wicked Stadium on Monday, January 21, with kickoff at 7pm (GMT).
Tickets will cost just £3 for adults and £1 for concessions, while Reds season-ticket holders and members can get in for free.
The Reds are looking to win the FA Youth Cup for the first time since 2007, when they defeated Man United on penalties in the two-legged final.
Venue – Amex Stadium, Brighton
Referee – Kevin Friend
Date & Time – Saturday, January 12th @ 15:00
Current Odds – Brighton 8/1, Draw 9/2, Liverpool 3/10Form Brighton Form
After a three-game losing streak during December, Brighton are now undefeated in their last four matches in all competitions. Those games include an impressive win at Bournemouth in the FA Cup last weekend as well as taking four points from home games with Everton and Arsenal (1-0 and 1-1).
Liverpool have lost their last two games. However, to put those results into context, they deserved more at the home of Manchester City where they lost 5-0 last season and a young team went out of the FA Cup on Monday night. Which, to be honest, probably didn’t upset Jurgen Klopp too much.
The City defeat was Liverpool’s first loss in the league this season. Now they need to get right back up on that horse and get back to winning ways at Brighton. It’s not going to be easy but no-one ever said winning a league title is meant to be a doddle.
Team News Brighton Team News
Jose Izquierdo is Brighton’s only main injury concern and he will not be available for this fixture.
Left-back, Bernardo, is also carrying a slight knock but should be back in action in time for Saturday’s game.
Otherwise, Chris Hughton has a full squad to choose from. The former Irish international defender will most likely stick with the 4-4-1-1 shape with Pascal Gross playing just behind the frontman, Glenn Murray.
Shane Duffy and Lewis Dunk will be the central-defensive partnership with Martin Montoya and Bernardo (if fit) in each full-back role.Liverpool Team News
The Reds have an ever-lengthening injury-list with Dejan Lovren and Adam Lallana the latest names to be added to it.
Joe Gomez and Joel Matip are still out so Klopp will be forced to play Fabinho at centre-half with 16-year-old Ki-Jana Hoever most likely getting another place on the bench after his impressive debut against Wolves on Monday night.
Virgil van Dijk was reportedly ill during the week but is expected to be fit for the trip to Brighton while Jordan Henderson should also be fully recovered from his recent knock.
I expect James Milner to be on the bench with Henderson and Gini Wijnaldum forming the two-man base in the midfield. This could also mean a start for Xherdan Shaqiri with Naby Keita also demoted to a substitute’s role again.Predicted XIs
Brighton XI (4-4-1-1) – Button; Montoya, Duffy, Dunk(c), Bernardo; March, Stephens, Propper, Locadia; Gross; Murray
Liverpool XI (4-2-3-1) – Alisson; Alexander-Arnold, Fabinho, Van Dijk(c), Robertson; Henderson, Wijnaldum; Shaqiri, Firmino, Mané; Salah
When they last met
Liverpool won 1-0 at Anfield earlier in the season with a first-half goal from Salah the only difference between the sides. Brighton are certainly a much tougher opposition than they were last season. Liverpool won 4-0 at home and 5-1 away to The Seagulls in 2017/18.
Liverpool’s defence at the Amex Stadium for that 5-1 win consisted of a three-man backline with Emre Can and Gini Wijnaldum flanking Dejan Lovren who was the only recognisable centre-half in the team. This time around, Klopp is facing a similar issue with Van Dijk the only natural first-team centre-back who is fit.Prediction
Brighton 1 – 3 Liverpool
This is going to be one hell of a tough game for The Reds. But I have to remain optimistic. It remains to be seen if the two defeats to City and Wolves will have taken some of the wind out of Liverpool’s sails. Will some nagging doubts have crept in? I hope not. It was a much-weakened lineup at Molineux in the FA Cup and the result at City was very unlucky with Liverpool deserving at least a draw from that game.
I’m nervous but think Liverpool will push on with another win at Brighton to set us up for a full-on tilt at the title for the rest of the season.
** Please note – “xGA” in the Form Stats tables symbolises “expected goals against” **
**All xG stats courtesy of Understat.com and FiveThirtyEight.com
Bayern Munich winger Arjen Robben believes Liverpool were the “worst possible draw” for his side in this season’s Champions League round of 16.
The Reds host Bayern in the first leg of their knockout clash at Anfield on February 19, having scraped through Group C despite losses to Napoli, Red Star and Paris Saint-Germain.
Their fragility in Europe this season ensured the draw for the last 16 was a difficult one for Jurgen Klopp‘s side, and certainly a familiar one for the manager, who made his name at Borussia Dortmund.
But after reaching the final last year, Liverpool can still be confident of progressing to the quarter-finals at Bayern’s expense.
And speaking at a press conference on Tuesday, Robben described it as their “worst possible draw,” but insisted Bayern are still hopeful of victory.
“Liverpool are doing well again, just like last year when they made it to the final, and I also see them as a favourite for the Champions League victory this season,” he explained.
“For us, it was perhaps the worst possible draw, but it’s going to be a great challenge, we have to look at ourselves, keep working hard and improve ourselves.
“If we have a good day and play the way we want, I’m sure we’ll make it very difficult for Liverpool.”
One player who won’t be available for the first leg is Robben’s compatriot Virgil van Dijk, with suspension ruling the Dutchman out after picking up three yellow cards in the group stage.
Robben, who retired from Netherlands duty in 2017 having played alongside Van Dijk four times, gave his take on Liverpool’s No. 4, refraining from hyperbole but highlighting “great strides” as fellow alumni of FC Groningen.
“I do not know if he is the best defender in the world, but other people are allowed to judge that,” he said.
“But I’m happy for him. He has made big strides lately, just look where he comes from.
“He has grown as a player, but also as a personality, I am happy for him, where he is at the moment.
“He is a key player at a gigantic club, and he is the captain of the Dutch national team. He deserves all the compliments.”
The 34-year-old missed Bayern’s last six games before the winter break through injury but has remained a regular starter this season, and will no doubt welcome Van Dijk’s absence if he returns to action for the first leg.
Liverpool's FA Youth Cup fourth-round tie with Accrington Stanley will be played on Monday January 21.
The game, to be held at the Totally Wicked Stadium in St Helens, is set for a 7pm GMT kick-off.
Tickets will be priced at £3 for adults and £1 for concessions, with entry free for LFC season ticket holders and Members.
Nairobi has been confirmed as the next stop for LFC World presented by Standard Chartered.
The free two-day fan experience will see the creation of an LFC World Hub, which will be open from 11am to 7pm at St Mary's School in Kenya's capital on February 23 and 24, 2019.
LFC fans in Kenya will be able to enjoy a whole host of activities for all ages and meet Reds legends John Barnes, Sami Hyypia and Vladimir Smicer.
Now in its third season, LFC World presented by Standard Chartered has already visited nine countries across the globe, bringing a truly authentic LFC experience to thousands of Reds.
Hyypia said: "For Reds in Kenya, LFC World Nairobi is the place to be. We know not all our fans can make it to Anfield, so this is our way of bringing Anfield closer to them. We can't wait to meet everyone, it's going to be a fantastic weekend."
Within the Hub, fans will be able to have their very own taste of Anfield with recreations of iconic landmarks such as the Shankly Gates, the This Is Anfield sign and LFC World's very own version of the home dressing room, where fans can sit under the shirts of Mohamed Salah, Sadio Mane, Naby Keita and Roberto Firmino.
Supporters also have the opportunity to have their photo taken with one of the most iconic pieces of silverware in world football: the Champions League trophy.
There will be lots of fun activities for fans to take part in throughout the event, and special prizes and giveaways provided by presenting partner Standard Chartered Bank and other event partners, including Western Union and Carlsberg.
Not only can supporters take part in all these free activities, but they can also enjoy a free-to-attend viewing party on Sunday February 24 at the LFC World Hub, where they can watch Jürgen Klopp's team take on Manchester United.
Live on-stage activity with Hyypia, Barnes and Smicer is set to start at 3pm, with kick-off at 5.05pm local time.
Lamin Manjang, CEO of Standard Chartered Bank Kenya, said: "In Kenya, we have celebrated this partnership since 2013 when we launched the first five-a-side football tournament, 'The Road to Anfield'.
"Through this partnership, we have rolled out several brand awareness activities across Asia, Africa and the Middle East. As a bank that puts clients at the centre of everything that we do, it is our commitment to provide only the best experiences to our clients.
"I believe bringing LFC legends, the interactive experience from one of the world's best football clubs and soccer clinics targeting young budding talents would be the perfect testament of our commitment."
Fans wishing to attend the event will need to register online for their free tickets: https://www.liverpoolfc.com/lfcworld/nairobi
More information on LFC World presented by Standard Chartered can be found here.
Joining Fabinho at the heart of defence, it was set up as a difficult night for the Dutchman, and it got worse as Raul Jimenez put Wolves in front in the first half after a mistake from Milner.
But while Nuno Espirito Santo’s side progressed to the fourth round, Hoever emerged with credit after a strong display that saw him find his feet defensively and showcase the more progressive elements of his game.
One burst from the back, beating three players before setting up a Liverpool counter, particularly caught the eye, and showed the teenager’s confidence.
Providing Hoever with support throughout—arguably to their detriment—Milner, the oldest player in Jurgen Klopp‘s squad, assessed the contribution of the youngest player, along with fellow debutants Rafa Camacho and Curtis Jones.
“I think it’s good for the young boys to come in and get that experience,” he told the Evening Standard.
“It’s not good to taste defeat but you normally learn more in a defeat than you do in a win.
“I think you’ve got to look at those boys and say how well they’ve done.
“Ki coming on after a minute and playing like he did [was] absolutely outstanding.
“He’s going to be a top, top player you can see that straight away [with] his temperament [and] he’s comfortable on the ball.”
Milner is right to highlight Hoever’s ability on the ball as a key attribute, as he has shown in his early months in the academy since his summer move from Ajax.
One of his first involvements at Wolves was a direct, vertical pass from defence into midfield, similar to Joe Gomez and Joel Matip‘s approach in possession—one which suits Liverpool’s style perfectly.
He is able to operate as both a right- and left-sided centre-back, and also at right-back, which should give him a better opportunity of establishing himself under Klopp.
That may be in the long-term future, however, as though Hoever made his mark at Molineux, he should not be expected to be relied upon as a regular option this season.
But he could be in the squad for Saturday’s trip to Brighton in the Premier League, with Lovren, Gomez and Matip all injured and Fabinho expected to partner Virgil van Dijk, leaving a space on the substitutes’ bench.
Data and Analysis @datasmith101Watch Tottenham vs Manchester United live on Sky Sports Premier League from 4.15pm on Sunday
Last Updated: 09/01/19 2:44pm
Manchester United midfielder Paul Pogba has topped the Power Rankings chart for a second week running.
The World Cup winner has hit form under interim manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer and retained his place at the summit after a 2-0 win at Newcastle last week.
Team-mate Marcus Rashford also kept his top-10 standing after doubling United's lead in the 80th minute at St James' Park.
Harry Kane (No 2) drew level at the top of the Premier League goalscoring chart after firing Spurs ahead within three minutes in a 3-0 win at Cardiff, with Christian Eriksen (No 3) and Heung-Min Son (No 4) getting on the scoresheet.Tottenham vs Man Utd
January 13, 2019, 4:15pm
Leicester's Ricardo Pereira (No 5) continued to impress during a 1-0 win at Everton, while Roberto Firmino (No 6) was Liverpool's sole representative in the top 10 after briefly restoring parity in a 2-1 defeat at Manchester City.Ricardo Pereira has produced a string of top performances for Leicester
Watford striker Troy Deeney (No 8) struck twice in a 3-3 draw at Bournemouth, while Eden Hazard (No 9) created four chances during a goalless stalemate with Southampton to leapfrog Salah by just 350 points atop the season chart.
The Power Rankings methodology reflects a player's performance by awarding points for 34 different stats.Play Fantasy Football
Why not add Paul Pogba to your team?
Below, we present the in-form chart based on performances over the past five Premier League matchdays (with greater weight placed on recent games), your club's top points scorer and the season accumulative chart.Tottenham v Man Utd
See Spurs and Man Utd go head to head on Sky Sports Premier League.
The Sky Sports Power Rankings will be updated every week during the season, so be sure to keep an eye on the big movers...
If reading on skysports.com, comment below to get involved in the debate, but please adhere to our House Rules. If you wish to report any comment, simply click on the down arrow next to the offending comment and click 'Report'.Play Super 6
Predict 6 correct scores for your chance to win £250K.
James Milner wants Liverpool to do their talking on the pitch as they aim to respond to a 'blip' so far in 2019.
The Reds have suffered back-to-back defeats since the beginning of January, losing 2-1 to both Manchester City and Wolverhampton Wanderers.
The latter result, at Molineux on Monday night, saw Liverpool eliminated from the FA Cup in the third round.
Milner is confident the downturn in form will be short-lived but accepted the responsibility is with the players to guarantee that with actions rather than words.
“We have to make sure we bounce back and look at where we can get better,” said the vice-captain, with a trip to Brighton and Hove Albion up next this Saturday.
“You’re never going to go a full season without having blips. I think at the start of this season we weren’t playing our best but we were getting results.
“[It’s] back-to-back defeats now, which really isn’t good enough for us, but you have blips in a season. It’s about how you respond.
“I think you’ve seen the character in the squad in the last few years, and the players we have, to know we will bounce back.
“We have to show that, though. It’s easy saying it in an interview, we have to do it on the pitch at the weekend.
“The games keep coming thick and fast and hopefully we can get a few of the injured lads back as well.”
Liverpool fell behind to Wolves when Milner was caught in possession near the halfway line and Raul Jimenez raced away to sweep a finish past Simon Mignolet.
Divock Origi’s thump brought the Reds level six minutes into the second half, but Ruben Neves thrashed in what proved to be the winner moments later.
“When you’re a team like us, with the players we have, you want to win every single game,” said Milner.
“We’re disappointed to not win and go through. We want to progress in every game we play.
“There were changes but we all train together all the time. I think we just didn’t get going really, didn’t get the passing going, just weren’t quite at our level.
“It was always going to be a tough game; they’re a good team, well organised. It’s not an easy place to come, we knew that from the game a few weeks back.
“I should have done better. The pitch all night was a bit tricky and balls were a bit lively, but it’s the same for both teams.
“It wasn’t as easy to get the passing going in those tight areas as we would have liked, but it was my mistake for the first goal and it cost us ultimately. Without that maybe it’s 1-1 and we get a replay.”
Jürgen Klopp made nine changes to his starting XI at Molineux, with Rafael Camacho and Curtis Jones handed senior debuts.
An early injury to Dejan Lovren then enforced another switch – meaning a first appearance for defender Ki-Jana Hoever 11 days before his 17th birthday.
And Milner, who captained the team on the night, praised the recruit from Ajax for the way he handled the occasion amid difficult circumstances.
“On the plus side, I think it’s good for the young boys to come in and get that experience,” the midfielder added.
“It’s not good to taste defeat but you normally learn more in a defeat than you do in a win.
“Ki coming on and playing like he did was absolutely outstanding. He’s going to be a top, top player – you can see that straight away. His temperament, he’s comfortable on the ball.
“Rafa and Curtis as well, it was tough because it wasn’t the easiest game to get on the ball and get the passing going and get Curtis into the game as much with his dribbling, but you get those games, especially in the FA Cup.”
LFC Foundation is encouraging new members to join its football and multi-sports programmes.
Sessions take place throughout the week across Liverpool city region and there are activities suitable for all ages and abilities, including those with complex and additional needs.
Find out more about the available programmes below:
Premier League Kicks
LFC Foundation delivers over 18 Kicks Football sessions every week, for children and young people aged seven to 19, in nine of the most high-need areas across the Liverpool City region.
The free-to-attend sessions are run by FA Qualified coaches and utilise the power of the LFC Crest to increase sports participation and improve the health and wellbeing of children in our community.
Respect 4 All
Respect 4 All is the LFC Foundation’s Inclusion project, providing free weekly multi-sports and physical activity sessions for children and young people with complex and additional needs across the Liverpool City region.
Aiming to remove potential barriers that can exist regarding accessibility to sport for disabled people, the sessions are fun, relaxed and offer a great opportunity for both participants and parents to come together, make new friends, learn new skills and share experiences.
Open Goals sessions are delivered by qualified LFC Foundation coaches, supported by Liverpool John Moores University volunteers and are designed to bring families and communities together in local parks to socalise and get active.
The fun-filled games and activities are suitable for everyone aged five years and over and are inclusive to all abilities and additional needs. Pre-registration is not required - everyone is invited to just turn up and play.
LFC Foundation’s Military Vets’ free football sessions give participants the chance to increase their physical activity and exercise levels, whilst improving their mental wellbeing through the formation of new friendships with like-minded people.
Through the provision of weekly football sessions at both the Liverpool FC Academy and Netherton Goals, and national football tournaments, the LFC Foundation seek to recapture the ‘spirit of service’ and comradeship that is so powerful amongst ex-military personnel and often lost on their return from service.
For more information - including session times and dates - download the latest PL Kicks, Respect 4 All and Open Goals timetables here.