Mohamed Salah WILL play for Egypt this international break

ThisIsAnfield.com - Sat, 09/04/2021 - 12:39

Mohamed Salah has joined up with the Egypt squad for their World Cup qualifier in Gabon on Sunday, having seen his initial call-up blocked by Liverpool.

Liverpool, in line with the majority of the Premier League, denied requests for Salah, Alisson, Fabinho and Roberto Firmino to travel for international duty this month due to quarantine concerns.

If the quartet had travelled to red-listed Egypt, Brazil and Chile, they would then have been required to isolate for 10 days upon their return to the UK, according to government guidelines.

However, with Gabon in the country’s amber list for travel, Salah has now linked up with his national team for a game that kicks off in Franceville on Sunday night.

A statement from the Egyptian FA has confirmed the forward’s arrival to training ahead of the World Cup qualifier, in a big boost to Hossam El Badry’s side as they can now rely on their captain’s involvement.

It will be disappointing for Liverpool, of course, with fans hoping that Salah would miss both qualifiers and therefore be well rested ahead of a busy month.

 Liverpool's Mohamed Salah during the FA Premier League match between Liverpool FC and Chelsea FC at Anfield. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

The Reds play Leeds, AC Milan, Crystal Palace, Norwich, Brentford and Porto in the space of 17 days, and with Takumi Minamino joining Firmino on the injury list this week, Jurgen Klopp is short on attacking options.

Salah will start alongside Sadio Mane and Diogo Jota in most of those games, after an excellent start to the campaign that has seen him score twice and assist twice in three appearances.

He is likely to return to Merseyside from Gabon at the start of next week, with plenty of time still to prepare for the trip to Elland Road on September 12.

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Categories: LFC NEWS

Liverpool winger accepts need to “step up” after latest loan deal

ThisIsAnfield.com - Sat, 09/04/2021 - 10:45

Liverpool winger Sheyi Ojo wants to take more responsibility upon joining Millwall on loan, admitting that “a lot of players and managers” have urged him to do so before.

Ojo was expected to depart Anfield on a permanent basis over the summer, with clubs in Greece, Belgium and Germany interested and a £5 million valuation set.

But that price tag seems to have proved prohibitive, and with no money in the Championship, the 24-year-old was left to head out on the seventh loan of his career on deadline day.

He joined Gary Rowett’s Millwall, and after a campaign in and out of the side with Cardiff last time out, Ojo has accepted that he must “really kick on” this season.

“I’ve played quite a few games already, but this season I think it’s time for me really kick on now and show what I can really do, step up and be the difference,” he told millwallfc.co.uk.

“A lot of players and managers have said that about me in the past and I feel like it’s time to really step into that light, be difference and help Millwall in the best way that I can.”

On his move, he added: “It was crazy for me, it was my first deadline-day moment.

“But at the end of the day, the most important thing is to play football and that’s obviously why I decided to come here.

“I’m really excited for the upcoming season and hopefully it will be a good challenge.”

In assessing his hopes for the season ahead, Ojo looked as far as next summer, with the hope that his time at the Den would put him in a “strong position” to “move on.”

“Just to try and be the difference as much as I can, try to help my team-mates and show everyone what I can really do on a consistent level,” he said of his aims for 2021/22.

“I feel like that would put me in a strong position hopefully next season to go back to Liverpool and sort of move on from there.”

While Ojo’s words could be misinterpreted as a desire to “move on” from Liverpool, the reality is that he will be required to in order to find a permanent home as a first-team player.

And wis time at Millwall could – as with recent stints with Rangers and Cardiff – give him a platform to prove he is worthy of a long-term starting role at a Championship club.

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Takumi Minamino suffers injury concern on international duty with Japan

ThisIsAnfield.com - Sat, 09/04/2021 - 10:08

Takumi Minamino has withdrawn from the Japan squad with an unspecified injury, which will undoubtedly lead to concerns for Liverpool after Roberto Firmino‘s hamstring blow.

Minamino was an unused substitute throughout Thursday’s 1-0 defeat to Oman, with Hajime Moriyasu likely saving him for the World Cup qualifier against China next week.

But the 26-year-old has not made the trip to Doha and will instead return to Merseyside to be assessed by Liverpool‘s medical staff.

The Japanese FA confirmed in a statement on Saturday that Minamino “has been withdrawn from the team due to an injury,” though the nature and severity of the issue is as yet unclear.

It is not the first time the forward has left the Japan squad early this year, having pulled out of duty over the summer to focus on pre-season commitments with Liverpool.

However, it would appear that, this time, Minamino will require time on the sidelines, which comes on the back of a hamstring injury to Firmino in the 1-1 draw with Chelsea last time out.

 Liverpool's Roberto Firmino is substituted during the FA Premier League match between Liverpool FC and Chelsea FC at Anfield. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

Firmino is not expected to miss a long period, but will likely miss the upcoming clashes with Leeds and AC Milan, with Diogo Jota due to start in his place.

Having both Firmino and Minamino unavailable reduces Jurgen Klopp‘s options significantly – particularly given the decision not to sign another striker before Tuesday’s transfer deadline.

Minamino is, ostensibly, Liverpool‘s primary backup option beyond the regular four starters in attack in Firmino, Jota, Mohamed Salah and Sadio Mane, with Divock Origi and Harvey Elliott the only other natural forwards in the squad.

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'We aim as high as possible this season' - Thiago Alcantara

LiverpoolFC TV - Sat, 09/04/2021 - 08:58
Thiago Alcantara is putting no limit on the scale of Liverpool’s ambitions this season.
Categories: LFC NEWS

This is what football sounds like

the Athletic - Sat, 09/04/2021 - 06:10
What does football sound like? Why even ask the question? Football is a roar. It is chanting and singing, clamour and yelling, except that for 18 months or so, there was nothing. The crowd was absent and their noise a deception. Songs were a button pressed in a studio. Football was your front room, the television clicking, your laptop snapping closed, glasses and plates clearing. Football was silence and football withered.

Real football sounds like people, with their foibles and their frailties and their cussing. It sounds like a lad in the row ahead of you, this one-liner lad with his prayer and his mantra who, to some internal rhythm, repeats, “Ball in! Ball in! Ball in!” At its best, the din is too loud to discern. It enters every orifice, fills every cavity and for those tiny, missing nanoseconds, becomes everything you know.

Real football is back and if you listen, truly listen, you remember how much we consume through sound, how much our game craves it. The programme seller’s call, burgers sizzling, a police horse’s snicker, the clack of the turnstile, our shoes clumping, the howl and growl and slashing piss of the pub. Around all that, an incessant chatter, the buffeting breakers of reverberation.

Late in August, The Athletic attended a couple of Newcastle United home games, making a stab at watching through our ears (if that can make sense). On these specific days, there are snatches of north-east dialect and songs — “How man, gan on son, Oooh me lads,” — but most of this stuff is universal. It could be your club, your team, your city, your pint glasses touching, your roiling waves.

From the journey there to the journey back, football possesses an aural anatomy including and beyond what you witness in the stadium. Writing about it is not straightforward, but what follows is an attempt.

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Fans don’t want legacy clubs dominating or state-funded clubs, so can football ever be happy?

the Athletic - Sat, 09/04/2021 - 05:15
OK, so let me get this straight.

We don’t want blue-blood clubs, like Liverpool and Manchester United, dominating for decades at a time and we are deeply suspicious of how enthusiastically these aristocrats embraced financial fair play (aka, Operation Drawbridge). When it comes to winners, we want to spread it around a bit — we like disruption.

But we do not want these new challengers to be funded by oligarchs or sovereign wealth funds — unless it is our club, then it is completely fine — and we are not too keen on American investors coming over here and expecting to make some money.

Is that right?

If it is, many of you are going to be disappointed. But you will not be the only ones.

“State-backed clubs are as dangerous to the football ecosystem as the Super League,” tweeted La Liga boss Javier Tebas this week.

“We were critical of the Super League because it destroys European football and we are just as critical of Paris Saint-Germain. Covid losses +300m (euros); TV revenue -40 per cent; and +500m in salaries? Unsustainable.”

By Tebas’s standards, this was mild criticism — he accused Paris Saint-Germain of “pissing in the swimming pool” after the French club bought Neymar from Barcelona in 2017 — but his underlying point remains the same: How can he persuade his clubs to live within their means when the footballing subsidiary of the Qatar Investment Authority keeps poaching their best players?

It is a difficult circle to square, for him and the rest of us.

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Superman pose, power and mindfulness: Examining Salah’s Liverpool penalties

the Athletic - Sat, 09/04/2021 - 04:31
Mohamed Salah always seems to be on his way towards breaking one record or another.

The Liverpool forward’s next Premier League goal, for example, will be his 100th in the competition.

But Salah becoming the 30th member of the “100 Club”, as he will likely do in the coming weeks, is not our focus here. Instead, it is his penalty-taking record.

Of the 15 penalties he has taken in the Premier League since signing from Roma in the summer of 2017, the Egyptian has missed just one. And that was his first, against Huddersfield Town at Anfield that October, when he was denied by Jonas Lossl in the first half of a match Liverpool went on to win 3-0.

Since then, he has gone on an impressive run of scoring every penalty he has taken for the club in all competitions. That is 17 in total. You would be hard-pressed to find a player with a better accumulative record.

Salah’s 14th consecutive penalty scored in the league came against his former club Chelsea at Anfield last weekend. It puts him joint-second on the list of longest penalty-scoring runs in the Premier League.

The 29-year-old is now level with Alan Shearer and Leighton Baines.

Scoring his next spot-kick will see him surpass the two former England internationals, but Salah has his work cut out to chase down Southampton legend Matt Le Tissier’s incredible return of 23 in a row.

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Time passes, but Liverpool will always have the joyous disbelief of Istanbul

ThisIsAnfield.com - Fri, 09/03/2021 - 18:00

Author Les Jackson centres his writing around the pillars of family, friends and football and offers a reflection of the happier times with a personal recollection of the Miracle that was Istanbul.

An extract from ‘A Life Well Red: A memoir edged in black – a true story of family, friends & football, of joy and tragedy‘.

We’ll always have it

We booked a flight plus a night’s accommodation with one of the myriad of companies offering such packages, which would see us leaving Liverpool’s John Lennon airport early on the morning of the match and staying in a hotel a few minutes from Taksim Square after the game, returning home the following day. It was far from cheap, but it meant I could work the two days before the game, an important consideration given my self-employed status. From the start of match week, tales and footage of Liverpool supporters in Istanbul, particularly around Taksim Square, which had been identified as an official congregating area for Reds fans, flooded our numerous fan forums and told of days and nights of non-stop joyous revelry. Wednesday couldn’t come soon enough for me and Tom.

In fact, Tom couldn’t sleep the night before the game (I managed forty winks), and we set off at some ungodly early hour. Peter Kenyon, Chelsea’s CEO and former CEO of Manchester United -– more than enough black marks there for him to be held forever in low esteem by any self-respecting Liverpool fan –- owned a Cheshire mansion about five minutes’ drive from us and on our route to the airport. I must belatedly apologise to any residents of the sleepy Somerford and Brereton Heath area on the A54 who may have been awakened by my childishly joyous and exaggerated use of the car horn as we sped past his home in the darkness. Pointlessly as well as he was already in Istanbul as a guest of UEFA. But in my defence, at 46 years of age, I was feeling like a kid at Christmas again.

 Liverpool fans during the UEFA Champions League Final Liverpool against AC Milan at the Ataturk Olympic Stadium, Istanbul. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

Left at home behind us were San, Dan & Liv. They were all invited to watch the game at the Glovers’, along with the Nash’s, the Kemballs’ and the Byrnes (and maybe one or two others). Liv, 12 years old at the time, happily grabbed the opportunity, and it was a surprise to no one when San politely declined it. Dan, being the dutiful son he has always been, opted to watch the game with his mum. And that’s where they stayed until the final whistle.

In the fifteen-plus years since, the tale of the ‘Miracle of Istanbul’ has been recounted countless times, millions of words written covering the occasion, the build-up and the outcome. Istanbul, the great historic metropolis which straddles two continents; Taksim Square before and after the game; gridlocked traffic on the way to the Ataturk Stadium; a sea of yellow taxis and free buses; the biblical traipse across a barren landscape to a stadium seemingly built in the middle of nowhere; Milan fans outnumbered four or five to one. It’s all been brilliantly captured elsewhere, so I won’t attempt to force my inferior version upon you. But the story of the game itself surely deserves one more retelling.

We got in the ground about 45 minutes before kick-off, the organisation outside the stadium best described as chaotic. Not so much a queue as a crowd of fans with very few stadium officials, one of whom took my ticket, tore off the stub, then returned the ticket to me. The crowd shifted before I managed to proceed and when I eventually showed my ticket again to the same official, he appeared aghast that my ticket had no stub.

 Liverpool's Jerzy Dudek is beaten by AC Milan's Hernan Crespo for the third goal during the UEFA Champions League Final at the Ataturk Olympic Stadium, Istanbul. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

Having come this far and got this close, I was in no mood to be denied entry and told him so in as many words. Whether he understood what I’d said, or simply took stock of my demeanour was unclear but, brooking no further argument, a few seconds later I was in the ground with Tom. The atmosphere was bubbling nicely, the Milan fans impressively choreographed at the opposite end of the stadium, the Liverpool fans impressively off-the-cuff.

When I say the opposite end of the stadium, I refer to their proximity to me and Tom. The length of the stadium away. It soon became apparent that apart from that end of the stadium, the rest of it was populated almost entirely with Liverpool fans. As the teams took to the field to a cacophony of tribal rivalry, the uniqueness and enormity of the occasion really hit home, the feeling of utter privilege at simply being there almost tangible. Twenty years after our last such final, Liverpool were back at European football’s top table.

That feeling lasted for as long as it took Milan to take the lead, less than a minute into the ninety. The captains shook hands, the game kicked off and Milan scored. In echoes of the start of the second half of the 1990 FA Cup semi-final against Crystal Palace, Liverpool had kicked off and immediately ceded possession. Seconds later, Milan’s left-back and captain Paolo Maldini, hardly noted for his goal-scoring prowess, powered home Andrea Pirlo’s precise cross from a free-kick. We still had 89 minutes to respond of course, but Milan’s strong pre-game favourite tag was already looking well deserved. By half-time, it looked like a no-brainer.

 Liverpool's Steven Gerrard looks dejected as AC Milan score the third goal during the UEFA Champions League Final at the Ataturk Olympic Stadium, Istanbul. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

Two further goals from striker Hernan Crespo, a world-class striker on loan from Liverpool’s semi-final victims Chelsea, in the six minutes before the break, appeared to have made a difficult task nigh on impossible. In truth, as well as Milan had played, sitting off Liverpool and hitting us on the break each time we courteously returned the ball to them, Liverpool showed all the signs of suffering from stage fright. We’d had plenty of possession but little cutting edge and no midfield shield to speak of for our vulnerable defence either.

As the whistle blew for half-time, a minute after Crespo’s second goal, jubilation poured from the Milan fans behind the goal defended, poorly, by Liverpool. Our end of the ground could best be described as deflated. Tom was almost inconsolable, his phone pinging incessantly with messages from the UK. Given where we lived, hardly any of his mates were Liverpool fans so I can only imagine that most of the texts he was receiving at this juncture would be far from supportive, indeed mocking in nature. I spent the first few minutes of the break trying to persuade him to put this down to experience, that we’d be back. I didn’t believe a word of what I was telling him mind you, and I’m pretty sure neither did he.

“What a shit day” was his only response.

 Liverpool's Vladimir Smicer celebrates scoring the second goal against AC Milan with his team mate Jamie Carragher during the UEFA Champions League Final at the Ataturk Olympic Stadium, Istanbul. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

As the start of the second half neared a few wags started singing “we’re gonna win 4-3”, a prospect so outrageously unlikely that most of us genuinely laughed. It was followed by a rendition of ‘You’ll Never Walk Alone’ which started as a murmur, almost mournfully, but was soon picked up by others in our support, the sound building until it became a crescendo of defiance. Personally, I was hoping for an improved showing in the second half, but not much more. Let’s at least save some face.

Almost from the kick-off, Liverpool’s keeper Jerzy Dudek was forced to make a fine save from Milan’s other world-class striker Andrei Shevchenko – himself destined for Chelsea 12 months down the line – tipping the ball round the post from a well-struck free kick and, just for a moment, with Milan seemingly picking up where they’d left off at half-time, an embarrassing repeat of the first half, maybe a record-breaking cup final scoreline defeat, seemed an all too real possibility. Tom’s ‘shit’ day was in danger of becoming all our worst nightmares. Less than 15 minutes later, it was promising to be our finest hour.

Spanish journalist Guillem Balague has written a book about this, Rafa’s first season, called ‘A Season on The Brink’. I highly recommend it. Between pages 142 and 143, an insert of glossy colour photographs is included, all related to the Champions League final, the first one of which is a full page shot of the scoreboard behind a section of our fans. Look closely, and you may spot me and Tom towards the bottom right-hand corner of the picture. On the other hand, you won’t have to look too hard to find the most important pieces of information it presents. Fifty-one minutes and fifty-six seconds of the scheduled 90 minutes have been played, and AC Milan still lead Liverpool 3-0. There must be about 200-300 fans in the picture, each face telling its own similar story, and it’s not a happy one.

 Liverpool's Steven Gerrard celebrates scoring the first come-back goal against AC Milan during the UEFA Champions League Final at the Ataturk Olympic Stadium, Istanbul. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

About two minutes after that snap was taken, captain and talisman Steven Gerrard craned and twisted to score with a well-directed header from a John Arne Riise cross. Probably no more than a consolation, but at least my hope of a face-saving second half performance was alive and well. A modicum of pride might yet be restored. Certainly, a few of those faces in the crowd had a bit more of a smile on them.

Two minutes further on and I was blurting out “Back in it”, after Vladimir Smicer, a first-half substitute for the injured Harry Kewell, had taken a short sideways pass from Didi Hamann, a half-time substitute for the injured Steve Finnan, and found the bottom left-hand corner of the net from outside the penalty area (though at the time I was convinced Luis Garcia had scored the goal). Face-saving was dropping down the agenda now. With more than half-an-hour to get an equaliser and, who knows, even win it, we had grander aspirations.

Less than five minutes later, that agenda was in the bin. The Spanish referee, who had waived away our claims for a penalty in the first half, seconds before Milan’s second goal, pointed to the spot after Milan’s Gennaro Gattuso fouled Gerrard as he was running through on goal. With Gerrard about to shoot, the Italian clipped his heels and could consider himself fortunate not to be sent off.

Xabi Alonso stepped up to take the first penalty of his professional career, but was thwarted by a fine save from the Brazilian giant Dida in Milan’s goal. As the ball spilled back out, a fan behind me needlessly pointed out that he’d “missed it”, superfluous information that might have triggered an unprintable response from me given my immediate sense of deflation, a sense that a spell had been broken, if Xabi hadn’t followed up a split second later by slamming the rebound into the roof of the net.


Three-quarters of the ground exploded into a frenzy of joyous disbelief.

Back home, as I would find out later, San’s own joy was tempered (though only slightly I’m sure) by her annoyance at Milan Baros half-strangling Alonso in wild celebration. Unbelievably, we were level, all thoughts of hitherto certain acute embarrassment extinguished. Magic spell still in force, optimism reignited. Whatever happened now, we’d still be able to hold our heads up. Not that that was uppermost in my thoughts at the time. Or those of any Liverpool fan I’d have thought. Now we wanted to go on and win it. A couple of minutes later Dida saved a dipping long-range effort from Riise, and the spell was broken at last.

Liverpool's Steven Gerrard scores Liverpool's first goal, Istanbul, 2005 Final (Rebecca Naden/PA Archive/PA Images)

I don’t recall another attempt on target from Liverpool, certainly not one worthy of the name. From having nothing to lose at the start of the second half such was our dire position, now everything was on the line. That sense was everywhere, on the pitch as well as in the stands. It was however accompanied with a new doggedness, a sense of determination and resolve to go the distance. Milan reasserted their dominance but were kept at bay by a resolute defensive performance, with scouser Jamie Carragher excelling throughout, ably assisted by fellow centre back Sammy Hyypia and joined by Gerrard, switching from his marauding attacking midfield brief at the start of the second half to put in a sterling stint at right-back when needed in extra time.

And it was much needed. Once extra time had started, it was clear Liverpool were pretty much spent as an attacking force. The fans did what we could, keeping the noise levels up, willing the team on, our raw support all we had to offer. With three minutes of the 120 left, for once Gerrard was unable to prevent a deep cross from Serginho, one of the Milan substitutes. It was a superb cross which dissected the Liverpool centre backs and found Shevchenko moving onto it, unmarked just outside the six-yard box with only Dudek to beat. Behind the goal, as the cross arced onto the Ukrainian’s forehead, the previous 117 minutes of the game flashed before my eyes.

We’d played our part in one of the great European finals, saved our reputation, restored our pride. Hands would be shaken, hugs shared, and a fully deserved lap of honour trudged by our gallant losers and acknowledged by fans of both sides. The journey home would probably be a lot less onerous than it was looking like at half time. But ultimately trophy-less. Pride at our comeback from a hopeless position notwithstanding, the sense of impending loss – for that surely was imminent – was difficult to bear.

 AC Milan's Andriy Shevchenko holds his head in his hands as his shot is saved by Liverpool goalkeeper Jerzy Dudek during the UEFA Champions League Final at the Ataturk Olympic Stadium, Istanbul. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

Shevchenko nodded downwards, the ball pitching just in front of Jerzy and giving him a chance to save which, though still difficult, he probably shouldn’t have had. He managed to parry the ball but only straight back to Shevchenko, who surely couldn’t miss the rebound. Miraculously, and it did feel like a miracle from my vantage point, a split second after the ball left the striker’s foot, Dudek’s hand reflexively reached up from his prone position and deflected it over the bar.

In that moment, as those with Milan tendencies held heads in hands as one, and the rest of us eventually exhaled our shared relief, I told myself we’d won it. I never voiced that opinion, not even a whisper to Tom standing next to me, but if ever a sign was given that was surely it. A few minutes later the referee’s whistle signalled the end of extra time. Penalties it was.
A quirk of the game was that all six goals had been scored in the same goal, directly in front of the Milan fans, as far away from where me and Tom stood as it was possible to be. So naturally, the penalties would be taken at that same end.

 Liverpool players embrace to watch the penalty shoot-out against AC Milan during the UEFA Champions League Final at the Ataturk Olympic Stadium, Istanbul. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

My conviction that Shevchenko’s miss was a sure sign our name was on the trophy did little to calm my nerves as we prepared for the penalty shoot-out, however. What did help was Milan, going first, missing their first two spot-kicks taken by Serginho and Pirlo, and Liverpool scoring both theirs, through Hamann and Cissé.

2-0 and looking good.

Milan’s third penalty, struck home by former Newcastle player Jon Dahl Tomasson, was their first success of the night, and was immediately followed by Liverpool’s first failure, Riise the culprit, victim of another fine penalty save by Dida. The nerves were back, and I screamed my frustration at the Norwegian, much to Tom’s amusement.

 Liverpool's Vladimir Smicer celebrates scoring the fourth penalty against AC Milan as Dida looks dejected during the UEFA Champions League Final at the Ataturk Olympic Stadium, Istanbul. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

2-1. Still promising but the irony of Milan possibly staging their own penalty shoot-out comeback was not lost on me. The nerves cranked up another level.

The Brazilian Kaka was up next for Milan and netted with aplomb to level the scores, though they’d taken one more penalty than us. The noise level had hardly abated since the shoot-out started, and when Smicer then converted his, the sense of anticipation soared off the scales.

3-2. With both teams having taken four of their five penalties, the moment of truth was potentially seconds away. Shevchenko now needed to score to keep Milan in it.

I doubt there were many in the crowd of 72,000 who expected that the Ballon d’Or winner, Milan legend and widely regarded world superstar, who had scored the deciding penalty in Milan’s shoot-out victory over Juventus to lift the same trophy two years earlier, would do anything other than score from the spot, thereby ensuring that Liverpool’s Steven Gerrard would need to convert his penalty, his team’s fifth, to complete a remarkable turnaround.

 Liverpool's Jerzy Dudek saves the last penalty to win the European Cup against AC Milan during the UEFA Champions League Final at the Ataturk Olympic Stadium, Istanbul. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

Maybe one or two Milan fans, shaken by their reverse in fortunes during the game and now considering the consequences of ultimate failure when they returned home, would have watched him place the ball on the spot with some little dread. I certainly had no doubt he would score. Even as he scuffed his effort directly down the middle, I envisioned Dudek diving to one side and the ball nestling in the net.

It didn’t happen. Jerzy stood his ground and saved the admittedly dismal effort.

All over. Liverpool 3-2 winners on penalties and Champions of Europe for the fifth time after one of the most remarkable finals ever.

Pandemonium ensued. On the pitch, the Liverpool players celebrated, many of them seemingly in a daze. In the stands, Liverpool fans laughed and cried, sang and danced and acclaimed their heroes. Me and Tom hugged each other, and anyone else within hugging distance. The Milan fans silently left. There wasn’t much else for them to do. I know there were fireworks at the end as we collected the Cup because I’ve seen them on the recordings since. I don’t recall them at all at the stadium.

Liverpool's Steven Gerrard (l) and Jamie Carragher celebrate with the trophy

Back home, San and Dan celebrated in the street as the Glover household emptied to meet them halfway.

As we left the ground, now well into the morning after the day the game had kicked off, the quietness was eerie. It had been a very long and tiring day, especially for those of us who’d travelled on the day of the game, and the game was as emotionally draining as any I’d experienced. A surreal end to a surreal journey. In a good way.

I’ve watched the game many times since, the emotion of the occasion receding slightly as time passes, but always there just below the surface.

Me and Tom and Istanbul. I’ll always have that.

This is an extract from ‘A Life Well Red: A memoir edged in black – a true story of family, friends & football, of joy and tragedy‘ – available to buy now

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Categories: LFC NEWS

No Origi interest & absurdly early 2022 rumours begin – Liverpool FC Roundup

ThisIsAnfield.com - Fri, 09/03/2021 - 17:53

Liverpool are still over another week away from the next game! An eternity at this early stage of the season. Still, we have the infamous 2022 rebuild to look forward to…

No Origi interest from Turkey

Yesterday’s rumours suggested Divock Origi might be off in the next week, with Turkish sides keen to sign him as their transfer window goes on longer.

But today’s reports say that’s absolutely not the case and he’s staying this season. Origi hasn’t started since January, hasn’t played since Leipzig and hasn’t looked interested since about 2020, but with no bids from Turkey or anywhere else, he’ll be a part of Jurgen Klopp‘s squad once more.

He’s yet to feature this season, perhaps on the off-chance that he was set to move, but we can probably expect him to feature in the coming weeks as the matches resume thick and fast.

Origi is fifth-choice at best right now for the three attacking roles, and it’s up to him to at least displace Taki Minamimo for a spot on the larger bench this term.

Squad plans and transfer talk

 Liverpool's Nathaniel Phillips during a pre-season friendly match between Liverpool FC and Hertha BSC at the Tivoli Stadion. Liverpool lost 4-3. (Pic by Jürgen Faichter/Propaganda)

  • Carlos Soler is the first official rumour for next summer! Dreadful source in Spain for it, and a fairly dreadful rumour too given he has consistently said he intends to stay and help the team rebuild
Latest Liverpool FC news

 Liverpool's Rhys Williams during the final FA Premier League match between Liverpool FC and Crystal Palace FC at Anfield. Liverpool won 2-0 and finished 3rd in the table. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

Latest Premier League chat

 England's Declan Rice during the UEFA Euro 2020 Championship Quarter-final match between Ukraine and England at Olimpico Stadium on July 03, 2021 in Rome, Italy. (Photo by Chris Ricco - UEFA)

  • Serge Aurier is apparently an undercover agent keen to cause mayhem: after tearing up his Spurs contract, he wants to sign for Arsenal. That’s just to make them even more of a shambles, right?
  • Erling Haaland will cost Chelsea over £800,000 a week in wages if they want him next year. Can we have a whip around on the Kop every game this term to maybe raise enough to get him on loan for a couple of weeks?
Tweet of the day and match of the night

You’re not allowed to pick someone beginning with M…

So, if Milner leaves next season, who gets Number 7 do you think? Would love to see Jota get it. Or Harvey?

— Jay ?????? (@ScouseSocialism) September 3, 2021

Tonight? Ghana vs Ethiopia for African World Cup qualifiers. Spain vs Russia for U21 Euro qualifiers. St. Pat’s vs Longford if you want some domestic action with a Liverpool player – Jaros is the No1 on loan in Ireland for St. Pat’s!

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Rhys Williams out to build on “once-in-a-lifetime experience” with Swansea

ThisIsAnfield.com - Fri, 09/03/2021 - 17:00

Rhys Williams unexpectedly become an important piece of Jurgen Klopp‘s defensive puzzle last season and the 20-year-old is now eager to showcase his ability in the Championship.

The centre-back was thrust out of anonymity and into the spotlight last season as he answered the call following an injury crisis like no other.

By doing so, Williams would make 19 appearances throughout 2020/21, which included debuts in both the Premier League and Champions League, as he helped clinch an unlikely third-place finish.

With Liverpool‘s senior contingent back up and running, Williams would shift down the pecking order and in order to continue his development, a loan move was the sensible decision.

Swansea was the destination after he penned a new contract at Anfield to 2026, and now Williams is keen to show all he has learned on the Championship stage while embracing the new challenge and lessons coming his way.

“I was keen to come here, it was one of the places I wanted to come to because of the football they play,” Williams told Swansea’s official website.

“I believe it will stand me in good stead for next season.

 Liverpool's Rhys Williams (R) celebrates with manager Jürgen Klopp after the FA Premier League match between Liverpool FC and Southampton FC at Anfield. Liverpool won 2-0. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

“Obviously last season was important for me. No one could have been prepared for last season, especially me, with all the injuries suffered by centre-backs.

“The last five games of last season were described as five finals so I knew if I could do something good there, I would have put myself in good stead.

“It was a once-in-a-lifetime experience and I hope I can take what I learned and show that here. I have played against some good players, and every game comes with a different challenge, so I hope that shows in my time here.

“I am looking for regular football and I hope I can find that here at Swansea.”

He joins Rhian Brewster as the latest Red to make a temporary move to south Wales, and while goals may not be as free-flowing from the defender, Williams is not short on motivation to prove himself.

“If I get anywhere near as many goals as Rhian did that would be a miracle,” the defender added with a laugh.

 Liverpool's Rhys Williams forms a defensive wall during the FA Cup 4th Round match between Manchester United FC and Liverpool FC at Old Trafford. Manchester United won 3-2. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

“But I hope I can make the same impact because he did brilliantly when he came here.

“It’s also been a big influence for me to see some of my friends like Neco Williams and Curtis Jones go straight into the first team at Liverpool, it made me think I wanted a piece of that.

“Then it was seeing the calibre of players I would hopefully one day play alongside, that’s been a big motivation for me to try and get to that level.”

The 20-year-old will hope to feature for Swansea on their return from the international break, with Hull the visitors.

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Georgia Walters joins Liverpool FC Women

LiverpoolFC.TV - Fri, 09/03/2021 - 15:06

Liverpool FC Women can confirm that Georgia Walters has joined the club on a non-contract basis.

The Wales international forward played for Blackburn Rovers Ladies in the FA Women’s Championship last season, scoring five goals.

Walters spent much of pre-season with the Reds and has now earned herself a spot in Matt Beard's squad.

Beard said: “Georgia played in a number of our pre-season games and did well.

“She offers something different to the centre-forwards we’ve got at the club. She’s got a lot of experience as well and we’ll just see what happens from here.”

Walters will be a part of the Liverpool squad that travels to Watford for Saturday's Championship match at Vicarage Road.

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Georgia Walters joins Liverpool FC Women

LiverpoolFC TV - Fri, 09/03/2021 - 15:06
Liverpool FC Women can confirm that Georgia Walters has joined the club on a non-contract basis.
Categories: LFC NEWS

Carragher says Liverpool walking fitness tightrope with lack of forward depth

ThisIsAnfield.com - Fri, 09/03/2021 - 13:26

Jamie Carragher believes Liverpool’s forward line could struggle if they pick up injuries and was disappointed not to see the Reds recruit any attackers in the transfer window.

Jurgen Klopp brought in just one summer signing in the form of centre-back Ibrahima Konate for a reported £36 million, compared to their title rivals who all splashed out around £100 million to strengthen their squads.

Xherdan Shaqiri sealed a permanent move to Lyon while 2020-21 ever-present midfielder Georginio Wijnaldum exited Anfield to sign for Paris St Germain, and the prospect of Sadio Mane and Mohamed Salah going to the African Nations Cup in January could spell danger.

Carragher told the PA news agency: “I’m disappointed Liverpool haven’t got an attacker in, I must say.

“I do think Liverpool are short in the attack and they will have to keep everybody fit, which is nigh on impossible really. I do think they will struggle but they’re very robust, Liverpool’s front three.

 Liverpool's Roberto Firmino (R) celebrates with team-mate Mohamed Salah after scoring the second goal during the FA Premier League match between Norwich City FC and Liverpool FC at Carrow Road. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

“Mane and maybe Salah away for the Africa Cup of Nations at some stage, I’m not sure how many games they’ll miss but I do think that was something to miss for Liverpool.”

Amidst the question marks surrounding their transfer window, the 2019-20 Premier League champions have made a bright start to life this season having won their opening two games against Norwich and Burnley and shared the spoils in a 1-1 draw against fellow title contenders Chelsea at Anfield last week.

Despite not spending much, Liverpool have seen a number of players come back from injury with Virgil Van Dijk making his return alongside fellow centre-back Joe Gomez and midfielder Jordan Henderson, who missed large parts of last campaign.

Asked whether the Merseyside club may have similar misfortune in attacking positions as they did in defence last season, the 43-year-old said: “They’ve got (Divock) Origi there and (Takumi) Minamino but I basically wanted someone who was better than them to come in to the club.

“You know whether it’s the owners, if it’s something to do with the pandemic, finances are tight and you know with no one going out we couldn’t bring anyone in.

 Liverpool's manager Jürgen Klopp (C) with Roberto Firmino (L) and Diogo Jota (R) during the pre-match warm-up before the FA Premier League match between Liverpool FC and Newcastle United FC at Anfield. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

“(Diogo) Jota is there as well and he was a big miss for Liverpool last season, he missed about four months with a knee injury.

Carragher, who had plenty of battles with Manchester City during his playing days, will be back at the Etihad Stadium in the Soccer Aid for UNICEF celebrity charity match on Saturday and will be on a team which includes fellow Sky pundit Gary Neville, Paul Scholes, Wayne Rooney and Jamie Redknapp amongst others.

The former England and Liverpool defender said: “It’s going to be good to get the boots back on, it’s a great game that brings lots of different people together.

“I may even tackle Gary Neville, and he’s on my team! Someone’s got to get him at some stage so I’ll let the Rest of the World try and if someone hasn’t got him, I’ll make it my duty for the day.”

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Liverpool fans call out Gary Neville after comments that “something’s not right” at Anfield

ThisIsAnfield.com - Fri, 09/03/2021 - 12:43

Gary Neville’s comments about Jurgen Klopp and that “something’s not right” at Liverpool has been met with raised eyebrows by some supporters.

Klopp was not wrong when he said “Neville has an opinion on absolutely everything” and the manager is the subject of his musings once more following a quiet transfer window.

It’s no secret that fans had hoped to see greater investment in the squad, but it did not eventuate and Liverpool will push on with what they have in their pursuit of silverware.

Liverpool are unbeaten in their last 13 games in the league and have started this season as strong as one could hope, but there is seemingly something “missing”, something that will not see Liverpool finish above Man United so says Neville.

“I was at the game on Saturday, Liverpool vs. Chelsea, and I said after the game – sometimes you can’t put your finger on it [but] something’s not right,” told the Webby & O’Neill Youtube channel.

“Not bad. There’s no massive spirit issue, or the manager falling out with players. Nothing like that. But there is something just missing.

 Liverpool's manager Jürgen Klopp (L) and first-team development coach Pepijn Lijnders during a pre-season friendly match between Liverpool FC and Athletic Club de Bilbao at Anfield. The game ended in a 1-1 draw. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

“I remember going three years ago and thinking ‘[United] are in trouble’. Two years ago thinking, ‘we are in serious trouble’.

“[Jurgen Klopp’s] not got that money [to improve the side]. He’s having to deal with a team who are a good team, but look like the team that needed a boost.

“There are no massive problems at Liverpool. I’m not saying it is broken. Not by any stretch of the imagination.

“But I don’t think they have got the momentum with them at this moment. They are just plateauing. I’m not sure Liverpool can get to first. I don’t think they will get above [United] this year.”

It’s a little too early for that prediction, don’t you think? Especially when you consider Neville said Man United will “probably win the league before Liverpool” before the 2019/20 season.

For many, it’s just a case of stirring the pot and trying to unsettle the mood around Liverpool:

Gary Neville: "Klopp doesn't seem himself at the moment. In interviews he [was] just a joy. He is a little bit narked by something. Something is bugging him."

Is it me or does it feel like Neville's constantly trying to disrupt the mood around Liverpool? He's a massive snide.

— Henry Jackson (@HenryJackson87) September 2, 2021

Gary Neville started out as a very good pundit. If Liverpool had stayed in their lane (in his mind) then he would have stayed that way. Our success has rattled him and he's constantly talking about us, trying to cause division and upheaval.

— Mattias (@MafisenLFC) September 2, 2021

Gary Neville chatting wham about Liverpool. Loving Utd again now isn’t he after him crying over the super cup and how much he was let down. Up the skint reds ???

— Grant Evans (@GrantEvans1992) September 2, 2021

Whenever Neville says something about Liverpool the opposite happens.

— DilzLFC 19times (@DilzLFC) September 2, 2021

Gary Neville talks about Liverpool more than he does his own club. It’s weird.

— NB (@bard4lfc) September 2, 2021

Ok, now I feel lot better about Liverpool. If Neville says we are bad we're heading in the right direction.

This is the guy who said United will win the league before Liverpool, in 2019 of all years,?.

— Red Maverick (@powerhouseSG) September 2, 2021

I admire Gary Neville trying to create problems at Liverpool that aren’t there https://t.co/FSpOQNCAiQ

— Nathan (@_Nathanshapland) September 2, 2021

Unlike some of our fans, Gary Neville is genuinely worried about Liverpool this season. That’s why he’s out here gobbing off about us again. He doesn’t want to face the humiliation of seeing United spend over £100m and still finish behind us.

— Floyd (@TheFNundy) September 3, 2021

Neville can allow Liverpool to consume his thoughts but it’s a little premature to be casting shadows over a team who have helped set the standards in the league over the last few seasons.

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LFC Women v Bristol City: Tickets on sale now

LiverpoolFC.TV - Fri, 09/03/2021 - 11:30

Tickets are now on sale for Liverpool FC Women’s second home game of the season against Bristol City Women.

The FA Women’s Championship fixture kicks off at 2pm BST on Sunday September 12 at Prenton Park.

Bristol played in the Women’s Super League last season and Reds boss Matt Beard spent the second half of the campaign as interim manager there. 

It will also be a reunion for Liverpool players Carla Humphrey, Jasmine Matthews and Yana Daniels, who all joined from Bristol in the summer.

Tickets for the game are on sale now, priced £6.50 for adults and £4 for concessions. Wheelchair access can also be booked.

Get your tickets for the game here>>

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LFC Women v Bristol City: Tickets on sale now

LiverpoolFC TV - Fri, 09/03/2021 - 11:30
Tickets are now on sale for Liverpool FC Women’s second home game of the season against Bristol City Women.
Categories: LFC NEWS

Istanbul heartbreak sees AC Milan runner-up call for “revenge” at Liverpool

ThisIsAnfield.com - Fri, 09/03/2021 - 11:09

For the first time in their shared history, Liverpool and AC Milan will meet outside of a European final, with Anfield playing host to a game where “revenge” is on the mind.

With 13 European Cups between them, AC Milan and Liverpool are two of the most successful clubs in the competition’s history, with one trophy apiece in final meetings.

And they will meet for the first time since the 2007 final on September 15, with Anfield playing host to the first game of the Champions League group stage this season.

But it is the events of Istanbul that have not have been forgotten in a hurry for either club, with the famous comeback on May 25, 2005 having forever been etched into Liverpool folklore.

There’s a different feeling for those on the Italian side of the encounter, including Hernan Crespo who scored a double at the Ataturk Stadium that many thought spelled game over for the Reds.

And having not been part of the 2007 Champions League-winning side, with just one season spent at the club, he has urged Milan to get “revenge” for that night in Istanbul that is still very much an “open wound.”

“It’s still an open wound for me, Liverpool-Milan is the first game Champions League game this season, and you already know what it means to me,” Crespo told La Gazzetta dello Sport.

 Liverpool's Steven Gerrard lifts the European Cup after beating AC Milan on penalties during the UEFA Champions League Final at the Ataturk Olympic Stadium, Istanbul. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

“I had scored a brace in the first half, I have never forgotten that night and even though Milan already beat Liverpool in the 2007 final, I’m asking Pioli’s men to beat them at Anfield, get the revenge for me and show who Milan are.”

It will be a night where fans make their return for a European clash, with the last time coming in March 2020 in the final pre-pandemic game against Atletico Madrid.

It will make for a raucous full house at Anfield in what is an important game to take three points from, with games against Atletico Madrid and Porto to follow.

This will be the first time Milan have appeared in the Champions League since the 2013/14 season, making it a much-anticipated clash.

But Jurgen Klopp‘s side will look to ensure it is memorable for all the wrong reasons and in turn deny Crespo the revenge he longs for.

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'I've got every faith we’ll be up there challenging this season'

LiverpoolFC TV - Fri, 09/03/2021 - 11:00
Matt Beard has reiterated his faith in his new-look Liverpool FC Women squad and firmly believes his team will bounce back strongly following their narrow loss to London City Lionesses.
Categories: LFC NEWS

Vote now: Who was LFC's Men's Player of the Month in August?

LiverpoolFC.TV - Fri, 09/03/2021 - 10:30

Cast your vote for Liverpool's Standard Chartered Men's Player of the Month in August now.

The Reds kicked off their 2021-22 campaign by collecting seven points from three Premier League matches, with wins over Norwich City and Burnley followed by a 1-1 draw with Chelsea last weekend.

Jürgen Klopp used 18 players in those fixtures – but who was the team’s star man?

Have your say via the poll below and stay logged on to Liverpoolfc.com to find out the winner of the prize soon.

App users should tap here to vote.

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Vote now: Who was LFC's Men's Player of the Month in August?

LiverpoolFC TV - Fri, 09/03/2021 - 10:30
Cast your vote for Liverpool's Standard Chartered Men's Player of the Month in August now.
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