LFC NEWS

Thiago provides update from isolation as Liverpool return date nears

ThisIsAnfield.com - Fri, 12/24/2021 - 10:30

Thiago is one of four Liverpool players currently in isolation after testing positive for COVID-19, and the midfielder has provided an update ahead of Christmas.

Following positive tests for Virgil van Dijk, Fabinho and Curtis Jones, Thiago was ruled out of action prior to the 2-2 draw with Tottenham.

Jurgen Klopp has revealed that Thiago‘s case emerged on December 18, which given the new seven-day isolation rules in the UK, should see him come out of quarantine on Boxing Day.

There is a chance he could be involved for the clash with Leicester on December 28, though it seems more likely a comeback will be targeted at Chelsea on January 2.

More important at this time of year, though, is Thiago‘s time with his family, and at present, he is spending his isolation away from wife Julia Vigas and their two children.

It is unclear whether Thiago will be spending Christmas Day with his wife and children, but Thursday saw him give an update from a video call:

Covid times ??????? #StaySafe ? pic.twitter.com/6NWDEFt4Ir

Thiago Alcantara (@Thiago6) December 23, 2021

The 30-year-old has been experimenting with his facial hair during isolation, sporting a new moustache, while he gave a clear message as he told his followers to “stay safe.”

Thiago has struggled with injury again this season, with a calf problem ruling him out of nine games, and now he is suffering from COVID-19 for the second time.

But when he has been on the pitch, the midfielder has produced an excellent run of form, establishing himself as a first choice for Jurgen Klopp after starting the campaign behind Harvey Elliott.

His involvement against Chelsea in the New Year could be vital, as Liverpool look to continue their push for the title.

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Why Boxing Day postponement is both good and bad news for Liverpool

ThisIsAnfield.com - Fri, 12/24/2021 - 10:00

Liverpool’s Boxing Day clash with Leeds has been postponed due to a lack of personnel for the visitors, which could have knock-on effects for the title contenders.

Following the euphoria of the comeback victory over Leicester in the League Cup, the Reds were looking to head into their festive games on a high.

Fighting from 3-1 down to win 5-4 on penalties was the perfect tonic after a strange start to the night at Anfield, in a game that stuck out horribly in the fixture list.

Up next, the visit of Leeds, who have won only five of their 21 games in all competitions this season, including three straight defeats to Chelsea, Man City and Arsenal over the past fortnight.

Though it is rarely so in the Premier League, it was set up to be a comfortable afternoon for the Reds.

 Leeds United's manager Marcelo Bielsa during the FA Premier League match between Leeds United FC and Liverpool FC at Elland Road. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

However, five new COVID-19 cases among the Leeds first-team players and staff, coupled with injury issues for the likes of Kalvin Phillips, Patrick Bamford and Pascal Struijk, has led to the postponement of the fixture.

It is claimed that Leeds do not have enough players to fulfil the requirements, which stipulate one goalkeeper and 13 outfielders as sufficient.

The timing of Leeds‘ successful plea to the Premier League is, putting it lightly, convenient, particularly given there is no transparency when it comes to who has tested positive.

Though safety is paramount following a swift rise in cases due to the Omicron variant, for supporters, it sacrifices a Boxing Day tradition.

For Liverpool, meanwhile, it presents both good and bad news for the weeks ahead.

Bad news: Robbo out vs. Chelsea

 Liverpool's Andy Robertson is shown a red card and sent off by referee Paul Tierney during the FA Premier League match between Tottenham Hotspur FC and Liverpool FC at the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

Firstly, removing the Leeds game from their fixture list – albeit temporarily – means Andy Robertson‘s three-match suspension will now include the trip to Chelsea on January 2.

The left-back was due to return for that all-important title clash, but now the onus is on Kostas Tsimikas to perform in his stead.

It is certainly not a nightmare situation, with Tsimikas proving himself a more-than-capable deputy for the Scot, but Robertson is arguably the world’s best left-back and prior to his red card at Tottenham was showcasing exactly why he is considered that.

Jurgen Klopp is now likely to call upon the services of 19-year-old Owen Beck as a regular squad member over Christmas, to ensure Tsimikas remains in peak shape throughout.

But while the postponement is a setback when it comes to Robertson, it could be a boost as Liverpool await the return of Virgil van Dijk, Fabinho and Curtis Jones.

Good news: Van Dijk, Fabinho & Jones back next game

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

With the UK government cutting the mandatory isolation period after positive tests from 10 days to seven – provided lateral flow tests return negative and no symptoms are shown – the trio are due out of isolation on Christmas Eve.

Now Liverpool won’t be playing on Boxing Day, training can continue to allow Van Dijk, Fabinho and Jones further time to get back up to speed ahead of the clash at Leicester on December 28.

There is every chance, now, that Van Dijk and Fabinho can be recalled to the starting lineup, which eases the strain on Klopp’s centre-back and midfield ranks – with Thiago also due to return.

For Jones, too, it gives a better opportunity to make up for lost time after a difficult two months out with an eye injury and then COVID-19.

The biggest issue, however, is when Leeds‘ trip to Anfield will be rescheduled for.

Potentially bad news: Another game during AFCON?

 Liverpool's manager Jürgen Klopp during the pre-match warm-up before the FA Premier League match between Everton FC and Liverpool FC, the 239th Merseyside Derby, at Goodison Park. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

As it stands, the Premier League is set to take a winter break from January 24 to February 7, to allow players and staff much-needed downtime after the festive period.

Liverpool will play Crystal Palace on January 23, before taking two weeks off ahead of their return at home to Leicester on February 10.

But with the schedule even tighter due to the World Cup taking place midway through next season, there is every chance fixtures are pushed back to that free weekend of January 29/30 to ensure the calendar plays out.

If that is the case, that would not only deprive Klopp and his squad time to recharge, as intended, but would also see a clutch of key players unavailable for another game.

 Action Images via Reuters/Lee Smith)

Mohamed Salah, Sadio Mane and Naby Keita are due to depart for the Africa Cup of Nations next month, with the tournament kicking off on January 9 and concluding on February 6.

Their participation already rules Salah, Mane and Keita out of both legs of the League Cup semi-final against Arsenal, along with the FA Cup third-round tie against Shrewsbury and Premier League clashes with Brentford and Palace.

Add the Leeds game into that period, and the trio could be absent for another crucial game as Liverpool fight for silverware on four fronts.

On top of that, delays in the international calendar last season mean nations in CONMEBOL and AFC will play World Cup qualifiers during the Premier League‘s winter break.

 Liverpool's Roberto Firmino celebrates after scoring the fifth goal, his second of the game, with team-mate Fabio Henrique Tavares 'Fabinho' (L) during the UEFA Champions League Group B Matchday 2 game between FC Porto and Liverpool FC at the Estádio do Dragão. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

That includes Brazil and Japan, meaning Roberto Firmino, Fabinho, Alisson and Takumi Minamino are already in action over the weekend slot that could be considered for the Leeds fixture.

Of course, Liverpool could make a similar argument to Leeds to avoid this issue, as they would be missing at least seven senior players, of which five are first-choice starters, during that period.

But things never seem to be straightforward when it comes to Klopp’s Reds, and all supporters can do now is keep faith and hope for the best.

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Liverpool transfer mailbag: Coutinho loan highly unlikely – and everyone knows what the biggest ‘signing’ would be…

the Athletic - Fri, 12/24/2021 - 04:55
A defensive injury crisis last January left Liverpool with no option but to enter the transfer market.

Jurgen Klopp brought in Ozan Kabak on loan from Schalke and fellow centre-back Ben Davies on a permanent deal from Preston North End.

What can supporters expect this time around? We asked for your questions before the January window opening and here’s a selection of them on potential incomings and outgoings at Anfield.

Whisper it very quietly but what about signing Philippe Coutinho on loan? (Oscar W)

I can’t see it. Even if Barcelona were willing to sanction it, the loan fee and the wages would be massive. Plus the way Coutinho secured that move away from Anfield in January 2018 left a sour taste. Liverpool have flourished and been very successful without him. Their style has evolved. They don’t need Coutinho. In fact, barring an injury crisis or a change of heart, I’m not expecting Liverpool to add anyone to their squad during the January window. Klopp seems happy with what he’s got and senior club sources have indicated that incomings are unlikely.

It will depend on who comes looking for our players. Nathaniel Phillips, Divock Origi and Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain may be sought after… (Scott W)

I’m expecting Phillips to leave. Liverpool have placed a £15 million price tag on him. He wants to play more regularly and Klopp won’t stand in his way if a suitable bid comes in. There’s already been plenty of interest from Premier League clubs.

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Liverpool deliver Leicester City Tories their comeuppance

ThisIsAnfield.com - Thu, 12/23/2021 - 18:00
You can tell that Jurgen Klopp still doesn’t know what to make of the League Cup, but he can’t resist a fight. There was much to love about Liverpool’s slapping down of the Leicester City Tories on Wednesday night.

This was one which procured us two extra games in January, just when we could really do without them, but when Diogo Jota dispatched the decisive penalty it was more about the eye-of-the-storm meaning, rather than the future workload and potential for lifting a first domestic knockout cup for a decade.

A pick n mix line-up and an initially unsatisfactory malfunction in assistance from experienced heads to the kids, and we found ourselves 2-0 down in under 15 minutes, Jamie Vardy skidding around the Anfield turf on his knees like a kid at the Christmas school disco after too many Wham bars. James Maddison would later do likewise, after ‘scuffing’ one in from distance. A magnificently struck effort to be fair.

Anfield was eventually roused by the irksomeness of the travelling Leicester supporters and their increasingly repetitive politically right-wing-leaning jibes and outmoded songs about starvation. In essence, it was the away section’s insistence of being a complete and utter set of bad Tories that proved the turning point of a game that Klopp’s side could easily have allowed to peter out into another meek League Cup exit.

 Liverpool players react as Diogo Jota scores the decisive penalty in the shoot-out after the Football League Cup Quarter-Final match between Liverpool FC and Leicester City FC at Anfield. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

Liverpool had lifted themselves from the canvass once already when Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain had drilled in a fine finish to bring us to 2-1, but it was the halftime changes that proved pivotal.

Conor Bradley, Billy Koumetio and Tyler Morton were all withdrawn at the interval after 45 minutes of varying degrees of over-impetuosity, and misadventure, to be replaced by Ibrahima Konaté, James Milner, and Naby Keïta, alterations that levelled the playing field against what was as full fat a Leicester team as Brendan Rodgers was able to name.

Like Tottenham at the weekend, Leicester’s players had been denied a game for ten days, and it isn’t outlandish to suggest that if they had played at Goodison three days earlier, as they were scheduled to do, then their line-up would not have been as strong as it was.

Nor would Leicester have been quite so energy-infused during an opening period where they could have scored five, arriving as they did as a team having tasted FA Cup success seven months ago, and clearly eager for another trip to Wembley.

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But then came the second-half response, a fightback that was a bit like when that laidback no-nonsense fella sat at the bar temporarily steps away from his pint to put a gang of teenagers straight over them being a set of arses with the glass collector, and their insistence of sticking some hardcore rave on the jukebox before returning to his barstool to tell the barman never to skim an Erdinger.

Tellingly, it genuinely didn’t really matter that the prize on offer was a domestic cup semi-final, it was all about kicking the chair out from under an obnoxious visitor, and Liverpool did it in the most delightfully painful of ways.

It was a second half of big performances, with Jota on a mission, Keïta again imposing himself magnificently, inclusive of provoking Maddison into a yellow card when nutmegging him, Milner upsetting precious East Midland sensibilities, and Takumi Minamino putting in his best shift yet in a Liverpool shirt, provider of Liverpool’s second goal and the dispatcher of that glorious 95th-minute equaliser.

 Liverpool's Takumi Minamino celebrates after scoring the third goal to level the score at 3-3 in the 96th minute during the Football League Cup Quarter-Final match between Liverpool FC and Leicester City FC at Anfield. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

This was an evening that Minamino can hopefully push on from, something that would have been better facilitated had he been able to tuck away the decisive spot-kick.

There is a fine player locked within Minamino, but the problem is unlocking him on a more regular basis. You must be a strong character to thrive under Klopp, and that is the hardest part for him.

Over-exposed during regulation play at times, Caoimhin Kelleher stepped up to be the ultimate hero of the resultant penalty shootout, while it was left to Jota to put the top hat on proceedings, a man who seemed to channel the mood of the home crowd perfectly.

A nod also needs to be made to Bobby Firmino, who provided the comedy moment of the evening when prompting Kasper Schmeichel’s head to fall off over him dicking around with his spot-kick, despite the Leicester goalkeeper having been dicking around on his line himself.

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

A warm hug of a finale, I was also a big fan of Jota chanting along with “F**k the Tories”, just as I was of Neco Williams skidding past the Leicester supporters on his knees in celebration. Nobody delivers comeuppance quite like the Reds.

This one was all about marrying the theory of sacrificing a game of football of perceived lesser value to others on a crowded landscape of fixtures, with a desire not to let pantomime villains prosper on our watch. It was a game that can only have added spice to the Premier League encounter at the King Power next Tuesday.

And that’s now next up after Leeds United’s Boxing Day trip was postponed. Liverpool’s mantra has always been ‘one game at a time’, and for multiple reasons, it is an ethos that resonates as much today as it ever has.

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Diaz January deal ‘unacceptable’ & Leeds game off – Liverpool FC Roundup

ThisIsAnfield.com - Thu, 12/23/2021 - 17:43

Liverpool would have been already preparing for another game on Boxing Day – but that fixture is off and so too is a rumoured transfer plan for next month.

Reds to wait until summer for Diaz?

Porto’s Luis Diaz has been widely and heavily linked with an Anfield move, but so far it’s all overseas media who have been speculating about it.

There’s no local or concrete from the most reputable journalists – and that’s still the same case even when factoring in the latest reports.

A report in FourFourTwo repeats claims from elsewhere that he’s one of our top targets for 2022, while The Transfer Window podcast says Porto fans and management see a mid-season switch for him as “unacceptable”.

The Reds have funds and will spend if they can, but “come back in summer” is the message from Porto.

If you believe that kind of thing.

Headline acts

 Liverpool's Andy Robertson walks off past manager Jürgen Klopp after being shown a red card and sent off during the FA Premier League match between Tottenham Hotspur FC and Liverpool FC at the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

Latest Liverpool FC news

 Liverpool's Diogo Jota celebrates after scoring his side's second goal during the Football League Cup Quarter-Final match between Liverpool FC and Leicester City FC at Anfield. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

Latest Premier League chat

 Dortmund's Erling Haaland celebrates after the match.

  • Dele Alli and Matt Doherty are headed for the Spurs exit as Tony Conte looks to add a new wing-back. Reckon he’ll go for Victor Moses again?!
  • Erling Haaland will have his wages doubled as Borussia Dortmund go all East17 on us and ask him to stay another day, or indeed another year
  • Sead Kolasinac is today’s “oh, is he still there?” rumour as it emerges Watford want to sign him from Arsenal
Tweet of the day and match of the night

The Diogo Jota appreciation train has been leaving the station on a regular basis of late.

Liverpool fans, whenever yet another Michael Edwards transfer master stroke works out. pic.twitter.com/CPe6AlUqfE

— NotoriousL19* (@lubomerkov) December 23, 2021

Tonight’s late fixture is Porto vs Benfica in the Portuguese Cup! Good opportunity to take a high-pressure stakes look at Mr. Diaz. 8:45pm KO.

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Jordan Henderson and Alisson share “get boosted” message

ThisIsAnfield.com - Thu, 12/23/2021 - 16:25

Jurgen Klopp has been at the forefront of vaccine talks and this time around the message comes from Jordan Henderson and Alisson to “get boosted now.”

The Liverpool manager has consistently spoken sense on everything pertaining to the Covid vaccine, not shy in sharing his views on sensitive topics.

“Yes, I know about football having spent my entire life in the game. And my view on the vaccination isn’t from my own imagination,” Klopp recently said.

“That’s the point – I listen to experts. People who are smarter than I ever could be have come to the rescue of society by creating this for the world.”

Klopp’s squad have followed his lead by getting both jabs and now “most of the players have got the booster.”

And the message to protect yourself and those around you is clear from Henderson, ambassador for the NHS Charities Together, and Alisson, World Health Organisation Goodwill ambassador.

Get the booster to help keep you and your loved ones safe against COVID@LFC | #PL pic.twitter.com/6KUJ2Sb4Nv

Premier League (@premierleague) December 23, 2021

“Getting a booster is the best possible defence against COVID for you and your family,” Henderson said. “Booster vaccinations are now available for adults aged 18 and over [in the UK].”

And Alisson added: “Help keep everyone safe and join me and get boosted now.”

It’s a simple message but an important one. Get vaccinated, get boosted.

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Liverpool vs Leeds, Wolves vs Watford off due to Covid cases

Liverpool FC on Sky Sports - Thu, 12/23/2021 - 12:55

The Liverpool vs Leeds and Wolves vs Watford Premier League matches on Boxing Day have been postponed due to Covid-19 cases

Both matches were due to be played on Sunday at 12.30pm but were postponed following requests from Leeds and Watford.

The Premier League board met on Thursday morning and agreed to the requests that were made by both of the visiting sides for the affected games.

A Premier League statement read: "Following postponement requests from Leeds United and Watford FC as a result of COVID-19, the Premier League board met this morning and regrettably agreed to call off the two affected clubs' Boxing Day fixtures. The two games are Wolverhampton Wanderers versus Watford FC and Liverpool FC against Leeds United, both due to be played on Sunday at 12:30pm.

"The board today was able to make its decisions in advance of Boxing Day to give clarity to clubs and their supporters. We apologise for the inconvenience and disruption caused to those fans' festive plans.

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Aston Villa boss Steven Gerrard says there are concerns about player welfare from both a Covid-19 perspective and the risk of player burnout because of too much football.

"The league is aware that the decision to postpone these two matches will disappoint supporters and understands their frustrations at a special time of year when fans look forward to attending and watching football games. The league aims to provide as much clarity as possible, but unfortunately postponements sometimes have to be made at short notice, as safety is the priority. The league will endeavour to keep supporters updated if games become at risk on a matchday.

"The board concluded that Leeds United will not be able to fulfil their fixture this weekend due to the number of players with COVID-19, injuries and illness. The club's training ground has also been closed after consultation with the UK Health Security Agency and the Premier League.

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Brighton boss Graham Potter says Jordan Henderson's comments around player welfare are worth paying attention to amid concern over both Covid-19 and football related burnout.

"Watford FC continue to have an insufficient number of players to field a team after their game against Crystal Palace FC last Saturday was postponed following a COVID-19 outbreak. Due to players coming out of isolation, it is fully expected Watford will be available for their fixture on Tuesday 28 December, against West Ham United.

"The board assesses applications to postpone matches on a case-by-case basis, based on existing rules and adapted COVID-19 postponement guidance introduced to clubs in light of the new Omicron variant. The board will assess a number of factors, including the ability of a club to field a team; the status, severity and potential impact of the COVID-19 outbreak at the club; and the ability of the players to safely prepare for and play the match.

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Newcastle head coach Eddie Howe says his club will follow the correct Covid guidelines laid out to them rather than consider politics.

"The board must also consider the wider risks to the opposition and other people the club representatives may come into contact with.

"While recognising a number of clubs are experiencing COVID-19 outbreaks, it is the clubs' and the league's collective intention to continue the current fixture schedule where safely possible.

"The health and wellbeing of all concerned remains our priority and the league will continue to monitor and reflect public health guidance, always proceeding with caution. In light of the recent rise in COVID-19 cases across the country, the Premier League has reintroduced Emergency Measures. These include protocols such as more frequent testing, wearing face coverings while indoors, observing social distancing and limiting treatment time."

Postponements are not limited to the Premier League, with Preston's game with Sheffield United in the Championship the latest in a growing line of EFL games to fall.

What are the Premier League rules around postponements?

The 2021/22 Premier League handbook includes Covid protocols, and states the Premier League's board will "only permit the rearrangement or postponement of a league match in exceptional circumstances".

The board make calls on a case-by-case basis, and by way of guidance the Premier League says permission for a postponement will not be granted if a club have 14 or more players from their squad list available.

Which Premier League games have been called off?

Brighton vs Tottenham - Sunday December 12, Premier League

Brentford vs Man Utd - Tuesday December 14, Premier League

Burnley vs Watford - Wednesday December 15, Premier League

Leicester vs Tottenham - Thursday December 16, Premier League

Man Utd vs Brighton - Saturday December 18, Premier League

Southampton vs Brentford - Saturday December 18, Premier League

Watford vs Crystal Palace - Saturday December 18, Premier League

West Ham vs Norwich - Saturday December 18, Premier League

Aston Villa vs Burnley - Saturday December 18, Premier League

Everton vs Leicester - Sunday December 19, Premier League

Liverpool vs Leeds - Sunday December 26, Premier League

Wolves vs Watford - Sunday December 26, Premier League

SPFL chief: We cannot delay any more games

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SPFL CEO Neil Doncaster discusses why the winter break was brought forward, the financial support needed from the Government and why no more games can be postponed in January.

SPFL chief executive Neil Doncaster has warned there is no more room to manoeuvre after the winter break was brought forward in light of new restrictions for sporting events in Scotland.

Ten of the 12 Premiership clubs had voted in favour of starting the winter break immediately after the Scottish Government limited crowds at outdoor events to 500 for a period of up to three weeks.

However, that proposal was ruled out by the Scottish Professional Football League board as there was simply not enough space in an already congested fixture calendar.

Instead, Boxing Day games will go ahead as planned in front of limited crowds with the fixtures from December 29 and January 2-3 put back to January 17-18 and February 1-2 respectively.

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Sky Sports News reporter Luke Shanley explains the new changes after the SPFL decided to bring forward the winter break for the Premiership.

Although Doncaster was pleased a compromise was able to be reached, he issued a warning that should restrictions be extended clubs would have to prepare for the prospect of playing further games with limited crowds.

"It's been a bad week for Scottish football in terms of the restrictions but a good week in terms of the democratic process and the league being able to respond to clubs' requests," Doncaster told Sky Sports News.

"There was an overwhelming view there should be postponements with the majority of clubs wanting to postpone all three festive fixtures. But we only have two available slots prior to the league split so the compromise of playing on Boxing Day but postponing the December 29 and New Year's games was the right approach to take.

"We know it causes difficulties with congestion but the responsible thing from the Board was to listen to the majority and respond. I'm pleased with the compromise put forward, but it now means there's no further room to delay games - we've used the two available slots that exist and there simply isn't any more space."

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Categories: LFC NEWS

Liverpool v Leeds United postponed

LiverpoolFC.TV - Thu, 12/23/2021 - 12:00

Liverpool FC can confirm the fixture with Leeds United at Anfield on December 26 has been postponed.

The Boxing Day encounter will be rescheduled after the Premier League ruled it was unable to go ahead following the number of positive COVID-19 cases within the Leeds squad.

Information for supporters who were due to attend the game, as well as its revised date, will be made available via Liverpoolfc.com in due course.

Tickets purchased for this match will remain valid for the new fixture date. The club will email all supporters who have purchased a ticket with details on refunds for those unable to attend the rescheduled date. Please don’t contact fan services on this matter.

Liverpool FC would like to thank fans of both clubs for their understanding as we continue to navigate through this challenging period.

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Liverpool v Leeds United postponed

LiverpoolFC TV - Thu, 12/23/2021 - 12:00
Liverpool FC can confirm the fixture with Leeds United at Anfield on December 26 has been postponed.
Categories: LFC NEWS

Liverpool fans loved Diogo Jota’s celebrations in front of Leicester away end

ThisIsAnfield.com - Thu, 12/23/2021 - 10:42

Liverpool’s comeback victory over Leicester in the League Cup came with a vengeful edge, with Diogo Jota goading the away fans after their behaviour throughout.

Three days before Christmas, after likely the most difficult two years in many of their lifetimes, Leicester fans spent much of their League Cup quarter-final singing ‘feed the Scousers’.

When they weren’t, there were choruses of the Steven Gerrard chant, sung while the manager responsible for that 2-0 loss to Chelsea in 2014 was in their own dugout.

Chants about poverty are nothing new at Anfield, but they certainly brought the Liverpool supporters into life on Wednesday night, producing one of the most ferocious atmospheres seen during Jurgen Klopp‘s reign.

The players responded with a stunning fightback to draw 3-3 in normal time and then win 5-4 on penalties, while a suspiciously strong Leicester lineup time-wasted and play-acted.

Liverpool players mob goalkeeper Caoimhín Kelleher after he made two saves in the penalty shoot-out to take them through to the semi-final ? ? pic.twitter.com/vnhDqZKpLe

— Football Daily (@footballdaily) December 22, 2021

Something clearly got to Diogo Jota, scorer of the Reds’ second goal and the winning spot-kick, as after he clinched victory, he tore over to the away supporters.

Some of the shithousery after that penalty shootout love it haha, pulled my fucking neck out celebrating Taki’s equaliser as well, up the reds ?? #LFC #LFCfamily pic.twitter.com/robnuSXtKs

— Jacob (@AllAboutTheMane) December 22, 2021

Pumping his fists in defiance, the striker was then joined by Neco Williams, sliding on his knees towards the Anfield Road End and raising his arms as the rest of the squad swarmed Caoimhin Kelleher.

I filmed this whenthe Anfield -crowd were nail biting before Jota’s decisive penalty. And the explosion of feelings after he scored@ViaplayFotball @LFC pic.twitter.com/GmyjQ7BN1y

— Jan Aage Fjørtoft ???? ?? (@JanAageFjortoft) December 22, 2021

They were brilliant scenes which fit the spirit of the night, as Liverpool came back from the brink and sealed a semi-final place.

I hope you enjoyed that as much as me ?
Merry Christmas Reds ? pic.twitter.com/ORgZsXTq93

— Diogo Jota (@DiogoJota18) December 23, 2021

Watching on, Liverpool fans took to social media to praise Jota for his celebrations:

Loved Jota giving it the big one to the morons in their end after the winner.

Support foodbanks and fuck anyone who thinks poverty or kids going hungry is a laughing matter. pic.twitter.com/sMjW0W30Lx

— The Anfield Wrap (@TheAnfieldWrap) December 22, 2021

Diogo Jota has the biggest balls in the league. FACT.

1.) Kasper Schmeichel trying to shithouse and make Jota walk for the penalty. Jota ignores it, ref has to go and collect it.

2.) Jota twats one in the bottom corner.

3.) Celebrates in front of the Leicester fans.

Love him. pic.twitter.com/ryYSVPDRgj

— Jay (@ScouseSocialism) December 22, 2021

Fuck I love Jota

Schmeichel dropped the ball in front of him wanting Jota to come up to him to collect the ball but Jota just stood on the penalty spot.

In the end the ref had to go and get the ball. ?

Then gave it large to the Leicester fans ??

— Darren Brodie (@brodobaggins5) December 22, 2021

Some venom in Diogo Jota's celebrations with the penalty (you might not get to see one of the camera angles before the watershed) but no question his intensity was transformative for Liverpool. An absolutely outstanding signing.

— Dominic King (@DominicKing_DM) December 22, 2021

Jota's celebration here ? https://t.co/dUtiOKPNeb

— Jack Sear (@JackSear) December 22, 2021

HAHHAAHA Jota is such a shithouse man, he got the Suarez and robbo gene ??

— Eden (@theKloppEnd_) December 22, 2021

Really really good sticking it to their end by Jota btw pic.twitter.com/27RAa79LCu

— Craig Hannan (@C_Hannan7) December 22, 2021

Jota is a certified comrade and he fucking hates the feed the scousers chants as much as the rest of us https://t.co/Q2WFVTrLQr

— Anfield Fix ?? (@AnfieldFix) December 22, 2021

I’ve not seen a Liverpool player celebrate so exuberantly in front of Leicester City fans since Robbie Fowler ‘adjusted his jockstrap’ at Filbert Street on Boxing Day 1994 #LIVLEI #LFC pic.twitter.com/V2e7fh0sU5

— Chris Mac (@chrismackop) December 22, 2021

Jota’s goal on Wednesday night was his 12th of the season, putting him only one behind his total for the previous campaign and bringing his overall tally to 25 in 52 games for Liverpool.

It was a remarkable impact from the No. 20, who sparked the Reds to action alongside the likes of Williams, Roberto Firmino, Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain and Naby Keita, and his celebrations showed he completely gets it.

Feed the Scousers? Feed the Jota and he will score.

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Rockin’ around Fortress Anfield! Christmas comes early for “unbelievable” Liverpool

ThisIsAnfield.com - Thu, 12/23/2021 - 09:53

Jurgen Klopp fell in love with his team all over again and the sentiment was shared within the squad after their persistence paid off to reach the League Cup semi-final.

For many, the first half panned out as many had expected after seeing the two lineups, with Liverpool turning to youngsters amid 10 changes and Leicester going strong.

The scoreboard read 3-1 at halftime in favour of the Foxes but a triple change turned the game on its head and the Reds simply needed to convert their pressure into chances and goals.

Thanks to Diogo Jota and Takumi Minamino, they did just that and then it was Caoimhin Kelleher who seized his moment in the penalty shootout to twice deny Leicester.

Anfield was rocking for a cup tie that had everything and it was a lesson in never giving up.

“Like we always show, we never give up and always keep going until the end and like you saw, we got that goal at the end again because we never stopped believing and the crowd just kept pushing us on,” Kelleher told LFCTV post-match.

Jurgen Klopp’s side beat Leicester (Mike Egerton/PA)

The likes of Virgil van Dijk, Thiago, Andy Robertson and Adrian all lauded their teammates after watching on from home and the spirit in the squad was well and truly alive.

And it was a night to remember for Owen Beck, Conor Bradley and Billy Koumetio on what was a thrilling night of firsts for the trio:

The power of Anfield took centre stage and made for a memorable occasion for all involved and it was not lost on Minamino and James Milner just how special the group and the ground are:

And the fighting mentality to never give up was rightly celebrated by Jordan Henderson, Neco Williams and Ibrahima Konate as the Reds got their rewards:

There were two eye-catching performances from Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain and Naby Keita on the night and it’s safe to say they enjoyed the contest after both successfully converting in the shootout:

And what a lovely early Christmas present it was, with Kostas Tsimikas and Jota all too happy to spread festive joy for Reds everywhere:

The good times keep rolling for Liverpool and we can all agree with Klopp on this:

“These boys, I loved them before but I fell in love again. It’s just incredible.”

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“This is Klopp’s Liverpool” – Media hail “extraordinary” comeback over Leicester

ThisIsAnfield.com - Thu, 12/23/2021 - 09:00

The watching media were left stunned by a riveting League Cup quarter-final clash between Liverpool and Leicester, as the Reds prevailed in dramatic fashion.

What is it with this club and drama?

Liverpool produced another great Anfield night on Wednesday, progressing to the semi-finals after a penalty shootout win over the Foxes.

That only tells half of the story, though, as the Reds recovered from 2-0 and 3-1 deficits, taking the game to spot-kicks after Takumi Minamino‘s last-gasp equaliser made it 3-3.

Here’s a look at how the media reacted to Liverpool’s victory.

An incredible game was lauded by the masses…

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

Goal‘s Neil Jones was in no doubt that this is a competition to treasure:

“Who says Jurgen Klopp doesn’t care about this competition? The Reds boss’ relationship with the League Cup has been mixed, but his celebrations at the end, those familiar fist pumps in front of the Kop and the megawatt smile, told their own story. This meant something. This felt good.

[…]

“It should be tasty when these sides meet again in the Premier League on Tuesday. This will have hurt Leicester, and in particular their manager. Brendan Rodgers, who knows better than anyone that you are never safe at Anfield.

“Liverpool march on, to a semi-final meeting with Arsenal next month. Unexpected, perhaps, but welcome nonetheless.

“Who doesn’t love the Carabao Cup eh?”

Chris Bascombe of the Telegraph was similarly in awe of a special occasion:

“For once, Jurgen Klopp will be ecstatic to have a hectic January.

“Even by Liverpool’s standards during the Klopp era, this was one of the more extraordinary comeback victories. They secured their Carabao Cup semi-final spot in a penalty shoot-out over Leicester City. That barely tells the story.

[…]

“If this is one of the last games before we go back into lockdown, it is typical of this stadium to bow out in style.”

Samuel Meade of the Mirror felt there was an “inevitability” about Liverpool’s second-half comeback:

“There’s something about Liverpool chasing down a lead in front of Anfield under the lights. Whether it is Barcelona in 2019 or Leicester City in 2021, the air of inevitability appears the same.

“The Reds have themselves a mountain to climb a half-time, needing two goals to force the game beyond 90 minutes.

“True to form though, they dominated the second 45 minutes with the Anfield crowd continuing to provide a tune that roared their team on.

“A much-changed side without many of the club’s big hitters still fed off the atmosphere and Jota’s strike meant they had real hope.

“And then, right on cue, with stoppage time winding down, Minamino finished past Kasper Schmeichel to take us to penalties, where the Reds completed the job.”

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

The Mail‘s Ian Ladyman thought it was match that embodied “Klopp’s Liverpool”:

“On the touchline, Jurgen Klopp must have loved this.

“The Liverpool manager has been vocal about the challenges presented by a demandingly relentless fixture schedule.

“For this game – so far down his list of priorities he will have struggled to locate it – Klopp selected a team that was to some degree there to be beaten. A debutant at centre half. A young full-back on the right wing. Half a dozen superstars left at home.

“But as he watched his side reel in Leicester by sheer force of will in the second half before downing them in a penalty shoot-out, Klopp will taken just as much satisfaction as he would from just about anything else this season.

“For this is the culture he has created. Do not lie down. Do not lose. This is a club with his name written right through it. This is Klopp’s Liverpool.”

The Anfield Wrap‘s Neil Atkinson revelled in the joys of the “worst timed game in history,” and took aim at Leicester fans who spent 90 minutes singing about poverty:

“The worst timed game in history, the League Cup quarter final with Christmas on the horizon, with a to-do list long as your arm, with a pandemic banging on, becomes a reminder of all that is good about this thing of ours. The ghost of big games past, big games present and big games yet to come.

“They just delight you.

[…]

“Feed The Scousers, by the way? We feast tonight on your broken dreams you absolute frigging ghouls. Enjoy the trip back to Leicester where the streets are paved with gold.”

Klopp’s half-time changes made all the difference…

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

This Is Anfield praised the decision to swiftly bring on senior players:

“No messing about at the break from the boss. The three least-experienced players off, three seniors on, one in each line of the team: Milner, Jota and Konate for Bradley, Koumetio and Morton.

“The difference was twofold: better positional and passing work from Liverpool, but also Leicester quite visibly bricking it once we started to play at speed and the Anfield roar cranked up.

“For about 10 minutes before Jota’s goal went in it was an absolute wall of noise behind the goal and another of red pressure in front of it, with Ox, Keita (what a penalty!), Firmino and Jota all non-stop involved in winning the ball, using the ball.

“The constant crying from the Foxes over every marginally questionable decision from that point on only highlighted their wilting and weary nature, and beautifully led to no fewer than six minutes added on.

“Taki’s goal time? About five minutes and 10 seconds past the 90.”

 Liverpool's captain Jordan Henderson is replaced by substitute Naby Keita during the Football League Cup Quarter-Final match between Liverpool FC and Leicester City FC at Anfield. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

Ladyman said the half-time alterations ruthlessly exposed a Leicester side picking up injuries and running out of steam:

“Klopp sent on the cavalry – well, some of it – at half-time and then Leicester lost players to injury. Caglar Soyuncu was injured tackling Firmino while Ricardo Pereira also went off. Rodgers shuffled to a back three and took Dewsbury-Hall off to help with that. At a stroke, Leicester’s impetus was gone and from then on it was all Liverpool.

“Jota scored from Minamino’s pass in the 67th minute only for Leicester to hang on heroically. Kasper Schmeichel saved astonishingly from Naby Keita’s deflected drive only to be beaten at the death after Wilfried Ndidi – playing as an emergency centre half all night – misjudged a Milner cross to afford Minamino some space he did not waste.

“For sure, Leicester’s injury problems cut them off at their knees here. Not all teams would have taken advantage, though. Liverpool, whoever wears the shirt, rarely need asking twice.”

A couple of Liverpool players received special attention…

 Liverpool's Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain during the Football League Cup Quarter-Final match between Liverpool FC and Leicester City FC at Anfield. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

Jones heaped praise on both Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain and Naby Keita, both of whom were superb:

“Oxlade-Chamberlain stood out, bristling with energy and intent, determined to take responsibility whenever possible. He took his goal superbly, passed the ball well and with purpose, and can be happy with his night’s work.

“So too Roberto Firmino, who got through 90 minutes for the first time in nearly two months and Naby Keita, a second-half substitute for Jordan Henderson. The Guinea international was outstanding, driving with the ball, linking the play and providing one of the moments of the night with a nutmeg on the increasingly-frustrated Maddison.

“Good signs, indeed, for Klopp, who needs as many players firing as possible as the fixtures pile up and the presence of coronavirus continues to loom large.

“In this kind of form, Keita and Oxlade-Chamberlain represent a perfect Christmas present.”

TIA hailed a brilliant Oxlade-Chamberlain performance, keeping up his good recent form:

“One man was repeatedly driving the Reds forward at 0-0, 1-0, 2-0. He was in midfield, but he wasn’t wearing the armband – it was Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain.

“He was in great form not too long ago and can probably feel hard done by to have been taken out of the league XI, but here he was again, proactive, effective in the final third and aggressive in his ball-winning.

“Second half he started off with a bursting run into the area at one end, then a double tackle and interception in his own box to stop a dangerous attack.

“Another control and pass in the leadup to Firmino’s chance was excellent, a shot from the edge of the box went close and a dribble past four inside the area was to push the Reds’ attempts for an equaliser.

“Scored a good pen, too. He was the best player on the park in red once again.”

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Stand-in for Salah and Alexander-Arnold in same game but Neco Williams still shone

the Athletic - Thu, 12/23/2021 - 07:49
When Diogo Jota scored Liverpool’s winning penalty in the League Cup quarter-final shootout against Leicester City, his team-mates naturally raced towards him to celebrate.

They jumped around Jota and embraced goalkeeper Caoimhin Kelleher, who had saved two spot kicks. As the team huddled together at the Anfield Road end, Neco Williams was not yet a part of this joyful melee. He was busy doing a knee slide in front of the travelling fans — using up what was surely the last in his energy reserves.

It had been a busy night on the right for Williams who started at right wing — Mohamed Salah’s usual position — before being ushered to right-back in the second half with Liverpool 3-1 down. Deputising for Salah and Trent Alexander-Arnold on the same night, tough gig.

Speaking in November, Jurgen Klopp questioned whether right-back was indeed the 20-year-old’s natural position.

“I’m not sure if right-back really is (his) natural position, but then (if it is) there’s Trent Alexander-Arnold,” Klopp said.

Williams has a difficult gig. Not only does he have to fight it out for a place with Alexander-Arnold but against Leicester he was being asked to occupy Salah’s half spaces.

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Carabao Cup hits & misses: Conte effect continues

Liverpool FC on Sky Sports - Wed, 12/22/2021 - 23:30
The Conte effect continues at Spurs

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Highlights of the Carabao Cup quarter-final clash between Tottenham and West Ham

Against Liverpool it was Dele Alli and Harry Winks who were the latest players showing the impact of Antonio Conte's arrival at Tottenham. Against West Ham, goalscorers Lucas Moura and Steven Bergwijn underlined their renaissance under the Italian as Spurs triumphed 2-1.

They were not alone - Harry Kane, Oliver Skipp and Hugo Lloris were among several other Spurs players to catch the eye in a frantic, fun pre-Christmas London derby - and that is testament to the coaching quality of the new Tottenham boss.

The draw for the final four of the Carabao Cup will spark reminders of how formidable his Chelsea team were in their Premier League title win. While Spurs are still some way off that level, the signs of improvement are clearly there now for this Tottenham team.

Tottenham's resurgence under Antonio Conte continued as they reached the Carabao Cup semi-finals Image: Tottenham's resurgence under Antonio Conte continued as they reached the Carabao Cup semi-finals

They are rejuvenated and reinvigorated from the sullen days under Nuno Espirito Santo, they are playing with energy and desire and showing resolve too, by bouncing back from West Ham's quick equaliser and then holding out under pressure in the latter stages.

They will need plenty of all of the above when they face Chelsea across two legs in January if they are to match last season's run to the final of this competition. But while Wembley is just a couple of games away, the bigger picture is becoming a positive one in north London.
Peter Smith

Too much, too young?

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Highlights of the Carabao Cup quarter-final match between Liverpool and Leicester

There was plenty to like about Liverpool's performance against Leicester. But even holding their own in open play before half-time, they could have been 4-1 down.

Jurgen Klopp's triple substitution at the break, bringing off three of the young guns who had started the Carabao Cup quarter-final, made a statement. Not that they had disgraced the shirt, but together their combined youthful mistakes proved too much against a largely experienced opposing line-up.

In the second half the pressure from the home side, with Diogo Jota, James Milner and Ibrahima Konate, was relentless. Even had Jota not given Liverpool hope midway through the second period, or Milner not set up Takumi Minamino to equalise in the final minute, it would have been the right call.

Klopp has never been averse to blood youth into the Liverpool squad. Trent Alexander-Arnold and Curtis Jones are the most prominent examples, but Neco Williams and Caoimhin Kelleher, among others, have also spent plenty of time in the first-team dressing room.

These young guns will make mistakes. That's not to say 'you can't win anything with kids' - that's never turned out well - but with Kelleher, Williams, Billy Koumetio, Tyler Morton and Conor Bradley all on the pitch at once, it presented a problem against quality opposition.

Fitness and a packed schedule played a part in Klopp's selection and the half-time change should not be looked at as a snub.

If these guys are back playing U23 football at the weekend, they will be all the better for having faced Jamie Vardy, James Maddison and Youri Tielemans in one evening.
Ron Walker

Tuchel finds winning blend, eventually

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Highlights of the Carabao Cup quarter-final clash between Brentford and Chelsea

In the end it took five changes from Thomas Tuchel before they found the breakthrough at Brentford.

The German had handed senior debuts to Jude Soonsup-Bell (17), Xavier Simons and Harvey Vale (both 18), while also giving Saul Niguez and Ross Barkley further chances to impress in midfield and attack respectively.

The breakthrough did not come, however, until all three teenagers and Barkley were removed. N'Golo Kante provided the spark as he set Reece James on his way to cross for Pontus Jansson's own goal, and Christian Pulisic won the penalty which Jorginho converted.

Tuchel has made it clear he is running short of options as his side continues to fight on all fronts. Some sympathy with the three debutants, particularly for Soonsup-Bell who was somewhat ruthlessly withdrawn at half-time. But the others have not done much to suggest they are ready for a Premier League start any time soon.

Chelsea fans will look and wonder why Conor Gallagher is at Crystal Palace while Barkley remains at Stamford Bridge. And Saul has a lot more to do to prove he should not be booked onto the first flight back to Madrid on January 1.
Simeon Gholam

Nketiah provides Arteta with food for thought

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Highlights of the Carabao Cup quarter-final match between Arsenal and Sunderland

It may have been against League One opposition, but with Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang still out in the cold, Eddie Nketiah did himself no harm with his lethal performance in front of goal for Arsenal on Tuesday night.

Three clinical, instinctive finishes would certainly have provided food for thought for Mikel Arteta ahead of a busy run of fixtures during the winter. The Gunners boss made it clear he wanted Nketiah to stay at the club, as he continues to be linked with a move away, while the striker himself made it clear in his post-match interview that he is desperate for more minutes.

Unfortunately for him, Arsenal are in great nick right now, and Gabriel Martinelli's recent resurgence seems to have closed the door on at least one spot in their Premier League attack. Still, all Nketiah can do is keep performing when called upon, and he will hope he has done enough to be seen in action again before the semi-final in early January.

"Eddie does what he does in training every day, he put the ball in the net," Arteta told Sky Sports after the game. "I think I've been very consistent with what I think about him, how much we like him and his contribution for us every time he plays is top.

"I want [him to stay], but he just wants more minutes. It's difficult to go against that, but as a club and personally I really want him to stay here. That's what we are trying to do, he's our player and a really important part of the squad."
Simeon Gholam

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Penalty shootout joy! Best photos as Liverpool make it an Anfield night to remember

ThisIsAnfield.com - Wed, 12/22/2021 - 22:48

Enjoy that, Reds? There’s a certain satisfaction from pulling the rug out from under
a side intent on time-wasting and that’s exactly what Liverpool did against Leicester.

Changes always beckoned for Liverpool on Wednesday night amid Covid cases, a hectic schedule just gone and with more to come.

It led to 10 changes on the night to make up an XI that was considerably under strength when compared to Leicester, who had kept things tight-lipped after two postponed games.

The match didn’t start on the best of notes as Jamie Vary struck twice within a four-minute spell and while Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain would peg one back, half-time would see Leicester lead 3-1.

And that’s where the fun started.

 Liverpool's Diogo Jota scores his side's second goal during the Football League Cup Quarter-Final match between Liverpool FC and Leicester City FC at Anfield. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

 Liverpool's Diogo Jota celebrates after scoring his side's second goal during the Football League Cup Quarter-Final match between Liverpool FC and Leicester City FC at Anfield. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

With Ibrahima Konate, James Milner and Diogo Jota thrown onto the pitch, there was only one team on the charge and the latter got Liverpool back into it before Takumi Minamino took the game to penalties at the death.

 Liverpool's Takumi Minamino celebrates after scoring the third goal to level the score at 3-3 in the 96th minute during the Football League Cup Quarter-Final match between Liverpool FC and Leicester City FC at Anfield. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

The Anfield Road End then went on to witness two Caoimhin Kelleher saves and five successful penalty conversions and the scenes were nothing short of glorious.

Just take it all in!

 Liverpool players react to a penalty save in the shoot-out during the Football League Cup Quarter-Final match between Liverpool FC and Leicester City FC at Anfield. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

 Liverpool players react as Diogo Jota scores the decisive penalty in the shoot-out after the Football League Cup Quarter-Final match between Liverpool FC and Leicester City FC at Anfield. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

 Liverpool players react as Diogo Jota scores the decisive penalty in the shoot-out after the Football League Cup Quarter-Final match between Liverpool FC and Leicester City FC at Anfield. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

Look at those faces! But how about Jota giving it to the Leicester fans…

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

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

You really love to see it, it’s moments like these that make football what it is.

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

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

A two-legged semi-final against Arsenal now awaits early next month and this team deserve it, it’s been one for the squad.

 Liverpool's goalkeeper Caoimhin Kelleher is embraced by goalkeeping coach John Achterberg after the penalty shoot-out during the Football League Cup Quarter-Final match between Liverpool FC and Leicester City FC at Anfield. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

A night to remember and now to push on for the final. Up the Reds!

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Liverpool 3-3 Leicester (5-4 on pens): Player Ratings

ThisIsAnfield.com - Wed, 12/22/2021 - 22:31

There were mixed performances in a dramatic and entertaining quarter-final which saw Liverpool go through to the semis on penalties, at the expense of Leicester.

Liverpool 3-3 Leicester (5-4 on pens)

League Cup Quarter-Final, Anfield
December 22, 2021

Goals: Oxlade-Chamberlain 19′, Jota 68′, Minamino 90+5′; Vardy 9′ 13′, Maddison 33′

Caoimhin Kelleher – 8 (out of 10)

Made a brilliant save from Thomas in the shootout and also saved well from Bertrand, playing a vital role as Liverpool progressed.

In the game itself, he made a good save from Daka early on and got a hand to Vardy’s shot for the opener but not enough. Maybe could have used his feet but that goal wasn’t on him at all.

Nice collection from Daka’s deflected effort and a strong save from Vardy even though the striker fouled Morton.

Questions will be asked after he was beaten down the middle from distance by Maddison, but it was one of those hit with power and loop we’ve seen many ‘keepers fail to deal with in the past.

 Liverpool's goalkeeper Caoimhin Kelleher is embraced by goalkeeping coach John Achterberg after the penalty shoot-out during the Football League Cup Quarter-Final match between Liverpool FC and Leicester City FC at Anfield. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

Also made a good save from Dewsbury-Hall on what was a busy night for the Irishman during which he looked comfortable sweeping up.

Rounded it off with those penalty saves in front of the away fans, and didn’t even need any of the gamesmanship shown by his opposite number, Kasper Schmeichel.

Conor Bradley – 6

Had a shot towards the end of the first half, cutting inside onto his left but the strike was fairly easy for Schmeichel in the end.

It was an encouraging sign, but he was unable to build on it as he was subbed at half-time.

Joe Gomez – 6

Gave the ball away leading directly to a Vardy chance but the striker’s shot hit the post and Gomez was able to clear up.

Doesn’t yet appear assertive enough to lead a defence in the absence of other senior players.

 Liverpool's Billy Koumetio during the Football League Cup Quarter-Final match between Liverpool FC and Leicester City FC at Anfield. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

Billy Koumetio – 5

Let Vardy get in behind him for the opener.

Displays some really good and varied passing – long switches and low passes into the feet of forwards – but can be complacent on the ball.

Was caught out in the first half leading to a Vardy chance that was eventually sorted by Morton.

He and Gomez didn’t work as a pairing at all, but that wasn’t all the Frenchman’s fault.

Kostas Tsimikas – 7

Some nice work in the buildup to Oxlade-Chamberlain goal and was always on hand to send in a cross.

Couldn’t get back to Vardy for Leicester‘s second. Some sloppy buildup play didn’t help the general feeling of security down the left-hand side of defence, and didn’t help the teenage centre-back alongside him.

Was on hand to deliver some good crosses as usual, and tidied his game up as it went on, as many did.

Gets extra marks for having a go at the linesman when subbed off with 10 to go.

 Liverpool's Tyler Morton during the Football League Cup Quarter-Final match between Liverpool FC and Leicester City FC at Anfield. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

Tyler Morton – 6

Picked up another early booking as was the case against Newcastle, which isn’t ideal in his position against quick forwards and clever midfielders.

Covered very well to thwart Vardy after Koumetio’s error, winning a foul.

Jordan Henderson – 5

Subbed off in the second half having had little impact on the game.

A decent runout having been under the weather recently, which probably played a part in his average display.

 Liverpool's Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain during the Football League Cup Quarter-Final match between Liverpool FC and Leicester City FC at Anfield. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain – 8 (Man of the Match)

Was the senior player who tried to drive this young team forward the most. Often this worked, sometimes it didn’t, but the intent was important.

Finished his goal nicely but sent a couple of other shots off target later on.

Was somehow still running with the same intensity in added time. Another impressive shift from the revived English midfielder.

 Liverpool's Neco Williams during the Football League Cup Quarter-Final match between Liverpool FC and Leicester City FC at Anfield. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

Neco Williams – 7

Played well on the right in a late cameo against Preston, but didn’t look quite as useful in the position tonight.

Looked better later on when dropping to a full-back role, though he didn’t seem any less attacking.

Roberto Firmino – 7

Some nice moments to entertain the crowd and make things stick up front.

Was composed when called up to set up Oxlade-Chamberlain.

 Liverpool's Takumi Minamino scores the third goal to level the score at 3-3 in the 96th minute during the Football League Cup Quarter-Final match between Liverpool FC and Leicester City FC at Anfield. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

Takumi Minamino – 8

A brilliant take and finish to level the scores in injury time in front of the Kop.

Had an early shot wide and blazed over from Firmno’s pass later in the first half.

Improved in the second half once more senior players were on the pitch alongside him, playing a nice ball to set up Firmino, but the Brazilian’s shot was blocked.

Got his assist in the end after a really neat touch through to Jota, and got his goal in dramatic fashion.

Hit the bar with his penalty but it didn’t matter.

Substitutes

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

James Milner (on for Morton, 46′) – 7

Nice ball in to assist the equaliser and offered good support for the players around him in the second half.

Ibrahima Konate (on for Koumetio, 46′) – 8

In the main, he offered composure where Koumetio couldn’t and settled the rest of the team as a result.

There was one shaky moment but his mere presence was too much for Vardy. Maybe he can give Koumetio some pointers.

Diogo Jota (on for Bradley, 46′) – 8

A glanced a header across goal showed his intent, and he was on hand to slot home Minamino’s pass.

Headed Keita’s shot straight at Schmeichel – anywhere else it would have been a goal at that pace.

Netted the winning penalty with calmness and conviction.

 Liverpool's captain Jordan Henderson is replaced by substitute Naby Keita during the Football League Cup Quarter-Final match between Liverpool FC and Leicester City FC at Anfield. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

Naby Keita (on for Henderson, 59′) – 8

A contender for Man of the Match solely for his nutmeg on Maddison. Seemed to enjoy his second-half cameo, and stepped up as a leader by example.

Owen Beck (on for Tsimikas, 80′) – 6

Some encouraging moments from the promising left-back.

Subs not used: Pitaluga, Quansah, Gordon, Woltman

Jurgen Klopp – 8

 Liverpool's manager Jürgen Klopp celebrates after the FA Premier League match between Liverpool FC and Aston Villa FC at Anfield. Liverpool won 1-0. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

It was a much-changed lineup from the German in contrast to Brendan Rodgers, who picked a strong Leicester XI.

Klopp chose to leave Mohamed Salah and Sadio Mane out of the squad altogether while Virgil van Dijk, Fabinho, Curtis Jones and Thiago were still in isolation following positive Covid tests.

Made three changes at half-time, and all of his subs worked well and the team were all over Leicester once Rodgers switched to a back three.

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“Heroes young & old” for Liverpool as fans revel in demise of ‘shameless time wasters’

ThisIsAnfield.com - Wed, 12/22/2021 - 22:18

Liverpool came from behind in a thrilling cup tie to send Leicester packing and Jurgen Klopp‘s Reds into the League Cup semi-final, and Reds thoroughly enjoyed the victory.

Liverpool 3-3 Leicester (5-4 on penalties)

League Cup Quarter-Final, Anfield
December 22, 2021

Goals: Oxlade-Chamberlain 19’, Jota 68’, Minamino 90+5’; Vardy 9’, 13’, Maddison 34’

While Leicester’s team was shrouded in mystery after two postponed games, it was clear that rotation was the order of the day for Liverpool.

The unfamiliarity and rustiness of the XI made for plenty of errors and Jamie Vardy cashed in and James Maddison added another.

Senior faces would make it more of a contest in the second half and Diogo Jota injected renewed belief to make it a real cup tie, with Takumi Minamino then taking it to penalties at the death.

Hearts were in mouths but two saves from Caoimhin Kelleher and five penalty conversions sealed a win that looked out of reach early in the first half and it left Reds overjoyed:

It’s fair to say Reds loved that result…

Up the penalty shoot-out Reds

— Jack Gill (@jacklfcgill) December 22, 2021

Hahahaha that was absolutely mental!

Never ended up caring so much about a game I had little interest in.

Off you go, you horrible, nasty Leicester fans.

— Henry Jackson (@HenryJackson87) December 22, 2021

SUCK ON THAT LEICESTER YOU FAKE COVID PRICKS!!! GO ON ANOTHER HOLIDAY! #LIVLEI

— Couch Nish (@CouchNish) December 22, 2021

What the actual fuck?

This club…

— Steven Kelly (@SteKelly198586) December 22, 2021

Teams shamelessly time wasting only to go on and lose the game may be my favourite thing ever.

— Leanne Prescott (@_lfcleanne) December 22, 2021

Say no more. Well done boys!! Semi Final next ? https://t.co/G7miZF94Ph

— Virgil van Dijk (@VirgilvDijk) December 22, 2021

Liverpool through on pens after trailing 3-1.

Hard to find words that sum that up. Heroes young and old.

This is Liverpool. https://t.co/357GEzXD4d

— Jim Boardman (@JimBoardman) December 22, 2021

Not the most important competition for #LFC. But against the odds this team delivers again. This was a HUGE game for a Leicester team who’d had weeks to prepare and get injuries sorted. Klopp puts out a team nobody thinks can win but… we win. Mentality monsters.

— Si Steers (@sisteers) December 22, 2021

The Anfield atmosphere was widely appreciated…

Tell you what, I know the competition doesn’t mean as much, but I’ve been to all of the big Klopp Anfield nights and this atmosphere is RIGHT up there.

— Ben Kelly (@bkelly776) December 22, 2021

Crowd has been absolutely immense tonight. Immense.

— Red (@TaintlessRed) December 22, 2021

No matter what happens in the penalties, can we take a moment to appreciate this Anfield crowd? It's been absolutely electric! You'd swear this was a European tie. #CarabaoCup

— Amith Gosai (@AMG133) December 22, 2021

Don't care if we go out. That was a brilliant second half. Anfield absolutely superb tonight ?? Never beaten ?

— Cathal OL ????? (@IrishRED05) December 22, 2021

Tonight was an advert for why supporters have to be in the ground. Football is soulless without it, almost hollow. That Anfield crowd was sensational and clearly made a difference.

— Rory Greenfield (@RoryGreenfield) December 22, 2021

A brilliant cup tie ?? You can’t deny there is something special about Anfield #LFC @Carabao_Cup

— Seema Jaswal (@seemajaswal) December 22, 2021

Anfield atmosphere has been unreal tonight ???

— Liam ? (@LiamLFCButler) December 22, 2021

Unbelievable atmosphere that tonight. Never let this sport go behind closed doors again ?

— Dan Clubbe (@dan_clubbe) December 22, 2021

This team squad stadium never ceases to amaze me!!Their Character was immense,and that Anfield SPIRIT was there to be seen.Never give up?ynwa

— John Aldridge (@Realaldo474) December 22, 2021

And there were plenty of positives to revel in…

that was all the more excellent with the equaliser coming over 5 mins into stoppage time which were pretty much all as a result of leicester's constant, incessant time-wasting. visibly wilted as that half went on.

keita, konate, williams, oxlade-chamberlain were utterly immense.

— Karl Matchett (@karlmatchett) December 22, 2021

All the subs made a big difference. Konate made us far more secure in defence, Milner using his experience, Jota a constant threat and Keita was brilliant picking up the ball and probing and creating. Young Beck won't ever forget his late cameo to rest Tsimikas' legs.

— Red (@TaintlessRed) December 22, 2021

Keita was absolutely immense when he came on and changed the game. Konate, Milner and Jota boss but special mention for Naby. #LFC

— Graeme Kelly (@GraemeKelly1) December 22, 2021

“This teams mentality is ridiculous. Never give up.”

Jon Gates on Facebook.

Konate coming on and boxing it so Leicester couldn’t be arsed attacking anymore

— Mike Kearney (@MikeKearney1) December 22, 2021

Major shades of the Arsenal 5-5 there. Game looked beyond us on a couple of occasions, but we battle back with a last-minute equaliser and win the shoot-out courtesy of some Kelleher heroics. And once again you're left wondering how we've managed to get through ?

— David Comerford (@Dave_Comerford) December 22, 2021

That was way more enjoyable than I expected it to be, What an incredible prospect Kelleher is. And some great performances in second half, particularly Keita.

— Paul Grech (@paul_grech) December 22, 2021

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Categories: LFC NEWS

Liverpool beat Leicester on pens; face Arsenal in semis

Liverpool FC on Sky Sports - Wed, 12/22/2021 - 22:00

Liverpool mounted a stunning last-minute comeback before beating Leicester on penalties after a 3-3 draw to reach the semi-finals of the Carabao Cup at Anfield.

The Reds, with 10 changes from the side which drew at Tottenham on Sunday, were cut apart at will before half-time with Jamie Vardy on target twice in four minutes (9, 13) and denied a hat-trick by the width of the post.

An Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain strike kept Liverpool in the game early on (19) before James Maddison's 25-yard stunner restored the Foxes' two-goal advantage (33).

Three half-time changes turned the balance of the game in the hosts' favour with Diogo Jota, James Milner and Ibrahima Konate introduced, and midway through the second period Jota's smart finish gave the Reds hope from Takumi Minamino's perfect tee-up.

Another 20 minutes of incessant Liverpool pressure appeared insufficient to keep their cup dream alive - until Minamino pulled them level in the fifth minute of second-half stoppage time to take the tie to penalties.

Takumi Minamino is the first Liverpool player to score in three successive League Cup games since Vladimir Smicer in 2003 Image: Takumi Minamino is the first Liverpool player to score in three successive League Cup games since Vladimir Smicer in 2003

After six perfect spot-kicks, Luke Thomas' tame effort was kept out by Caoimhin Kelleher, but with the chance to send the Reds through Minamino blasted the hosts' fifth penalty against the bar.

After Kelleher again leapt to deny Ryan Bertrand, Jota made no mistake in sudden death, sending Liverpool into the last four to face Arsenal and leaving Leicester to ponder how victory slipped from their grasp.

Liverpool leave it late to reach final four

Despite a young Liverpool side, including Tyler Morton, Neco Williams, Billy Koumetio and Conor Bradley, looking comfortable early on, the hosts found themselves 2-0 down in the blink of an eye with a pair of goals which owed something to youthful naivety.

First, Koumetio left Vardy space on the right of the box to fire in from a narrow angle past Kelleher's despairing dive, then Bradley was caught up the pitch as Leicester countered down the left, with Thomas' ball finding Patson Daka, whose cross was buried by the veteran forward.

A breathless opening continued as Oxlade-Chamberlain buried Roberto Firmino's clever lay-off, but the hopes of a recovery took a dent when Maddison fired a wonderful 25-yard effort into the top of the net which was past Kelleher before he had time to react.

Moments later Vardy could have put the result beyond doubt from a Leicester counter following a poor Joe Gomez pass into midfield, but he struck the base of the far post with Kelleher again beaten.

Jamie Vardy celebrates scoring for Leicester vs Liverpool Image: Leicester top scorer Jamie Vardy added another double to his collection at Anfield

Jurgen Klopp's half-time trio of changes had the desired effect from the restart as Liverpool upped the tempo and, Kiernan Dewsbury-Hall's 20-yard curler aside, were untroubled at the back after the break.

It took 22 minutes for them to find a way back into the match when Minamino turned Wilfred Ndidi and found Jota to fire past Kasper Schmeichel from just inside the area, and though the pressure continued, it appeared any hope of a leveller may be beyond the hosts.

That was until the fifth of six minutes of second-half injury-time - when Ndidi allowed Milner's ball to bounce over him and reach Minamino, who controlled it well before his composed finish sent the tie to penalties.

Thomas' poor spot-kick appeared to be the moment which would finally seal the turnaround in Liverpool's favour when Kelleher dived to deny him, but Minamino then shot against the woodwork from 12 yards to deny himself the plaudits for the second time on the night.

Bertrand gave Liverpool a second chance to seal their progression with another poor penalty and this time Jota took full advantage, burying the ball in the far corner to set up a semi-final date with Arsenal in the new year.

What the managers said...

Liverpool boss Jurgen Klopp praised second-choice goalkeeper and shoot-out hero Caoimhin Kelleher for 'saving our life', saying: "It is not the first time he was part of these spectacular games.

"Against Arsenal (the 2019 5-5 League Cup draw which Liverpool won on penalties) it was similar but this a step forward and he saved our life. He was really helpful tonight."

Liverpool's reward for their comeback win over Leicester is a two-legged semi-final against Arsenal, but Klopp insists he would rather it was a one-off clash to help ease the strain on his players amid the busy fixture schedule and the rise in Covid cases.

 Wednesday December 22, 2021. Image: Jurgen Klopp celebrates with Caoimhin Kelleher at full time

"I think it would be better with one game absolutely, but obviously what I say is not too important," Klopp said. "If there are two games, then we will play two games. But it would be helpful if there was only one, true.

"The draw has us at Arsenal. I'm fine with that, we play there and see who is better and go for it.

"I don't just speak about player welfare this year, I have been speaking about it for six years or maybe longer. If the things I say would help more, I would say it much more often. But it doesn't help.

"The only thing I do with these messages is I create headlines. They never arrive at the right places.

"Tomorrow (Thursday) we have a meeting at 4pm but it's with the Premier League and not with the EFL (English Football League) - I'm not sure if they are involved or not.

"I said it before, I would prefer only one semi-final. But I can't see any kind of changes actually."

 Wednesday December 22, 2021. Image: Brendan Rodgers said he was 'so disappointed for the players' that they failed to hold onto their lead

Leicester boss Brendan Rodgers: "You saw in the second half the injuries we picked up, we had to change the structure of the team.

"First half we were excellent and looked a real threat. To come to Anfield and score three goals, we really should have got four or five.

"Defensively you know you are going to have to suffer at times with the quality they have. In the second half we threw everything at it and it just looked at the end we were going to get through.

"To concede in the 95th minute, I was so disappointed for the players, they put so much into the game."

What's next?

Liverpool will be back in action on Boxing Day when they host Leeds at Anfield; kick-off 12.30pm. Leicester travel to Man City on Sunday; kick-off 3pm.

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