Ovie Ejaria's stunning goal for Liverpool U23s during last week's 2-1 win over Newcastle United came as no surprise to Neil Critchley and his coaching staff.
After combining beautifully with Liam Millar, the midfielder jinked his way past an away defender and rounding the goalkeeper, before slotting home the winner in the Premier League International Cup tie, as the young Reds came from a goal down to beat Peter Beardsley’s side.
Ejaria, who turns 20 on Saturday, made his first-team debut last season, and after helping England U20s win the World Cup alongside the likes of Dominic Solanke and Sheyi Ojo in the summer, is hoping to make a big impression once again this term.
Asked what he and his staff thought of Ejaria’s solo effort, Critchley told Liverpoolfc.com: "We were not surprised... but just surprised he doesn't do it more often because he shows it pretty much every day in training.
"He has these real 'wow' moments which just make you smile because it’s brilliant to watch. We are on at Ovie all of the time to try and produce more of that and get closer to their goal, get more goals and assists.
"That will make more people stand up and take a bit more notice of him because sometimes you can under the radar a little bit even with the ability that he’s got, but Ovie is a top player.
"He has played in our first team, which shows you what our manager thinks of him, and I’m sure he will get back there again.”
Rhian Brewster also made a return to action against Newcastle following his role in helping England U17s win the World Cup.
On the same night Steve Cooper’s squad were being paraded around Wembley ahead of the senior friendly international with Germany, the 17-year-old forward instead chose to play for the U23s and get back to his day-to-day job.
Critchley added: "It was nice to see Rhian back and get him back involved with us.
“He had a smile on his face, he was bubbly and I was pleased with his workrate and attitude.
“I think he wanted to make a point to everyone that he was still the same hardworking and humble boy he was before he went away with England.
“Rhian just loves playing for this football club and loves playing football.
“When I spoke to him [about the England U17 squad being invited to Wembley] it was a very short conversation and he said, 'no there’s a game and I’m playing'. That was the end of that conversation.
“I thought he would say that because that’s the type of boy he is.”
All attention now turns to Saturday night’s Premier League 2 top-of-the table clash with Everton in the mini-derby, with kick-off set for 7pm GMT at Prenton Park.
Liverpool are two points ahead of the Blues in the division and Critchley is hoping his side can continue their excellent form.
The young Reds, who did the double over their neighbours last season, have won 10 of their 13 fixtures in all competitions, scoring 31 times in the process.
Critchley said: "We are looking forward to playing on a Saturday night under the floodlights at Prenton Park.
"It's a different time to what we would normally play, but sometimes you have to move the games around to work around the different schedules you have.
"It's a really exciting game in prospect with us first and Everton in second place so it's one we are really looking forward to.
"The derbies are always important games but just because of where we are in the league there’s that little bit extra about this game, but it’s not going to decide the league on Saturday and it’s not a season defining game by any means, but it’s one where both teams want to win.
"We won't approach this game any different to what we would do a normal Premier League 2 game, and hopefully we can come out on top.
"Everton have some got some really good young players but so have we. It's great to play in these games because you want to pit yourself against the best players and challenge yourselves.
"It's an exciting game in prospect and we can’t wait until 7pm on Saturday night."
Watch the mini-derby live on LFCTV on Saturday night. Click here to find out more.
If you would like to attend the game at Prenton Park admission is free for season ticket holders and LFC Members simply by showing your card, otherwise it's just £3 for adults and £1 for children on the gate.
Liverpool U23s host Everton in Premier League 2 on Saturday night - and you can watch the match live on LFCTV and LFCTV GO from 6.30pm GMT.
Neil Critchley's table toppers are just two points ahead of the Blues in the division and it makes for an intriguing encounter.
Kick-off at Prenton Park is at 7pm, but you can join Claire Rourke alongside former Reds stopper Chris Kirkland for our live coverage from 6.30pm.
To subscribe to either LFCTV or LFCTV GO, click here.
Mohamed Salah, who is the quickest LFC player to reach a goal tally of 12 since the 2001-02 season, will be hoping his fine form continues this Saturday against Southampton.
Find out more about the Reds' head-to-head record against Southampton – and more of the most interesting pre-match facts, courtesy of club statistician Ged Rea – by reading on…
The two teams have met 84 times in total, with Liverpool winning 39, drawing 21 and losing 24.
Liverpool’s biggest Premier League victory came in January 1999 when they beat Southampton 7-1 at Anfield.
The Reds have failed to score in only seven of the 53 meetings with the Saints at Anfield in all competitions.
Salah has reached 12 goals in a season for the club quicker than any other Reds player since Michael Owen in 2001-02, who also scored his 11th and 12th goal on November 4. Only Sergio Aguero and Harry Kane (eight each) have netted more in the top-flight during this campaign, with one more than the Reds' forward.
Robbie Fowler is the only Liverpool player to score league hat-tricks against Southampton - doing so twice, both at Anfield, in October 1993 and January 1999.
Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain began his career with Southampton, playing 43 times and scoring 10 goals. When making his debut for the club in March 2010 he became the Saints' second youngest ever player after Theo Walcott, aged 16 years 199 days.
Joel Matip could make his 50th appearance for Liverpool in league and cup competitions.
Liverpool have conceded one top-flight goal at home this season - to Burnley.
The Reds have kept clean sheets in six of the last seven home Premier League games.
Liverpool have scored 18 goals in their last five games and 10 times in the last three.
The last three league goals scored by Southampton at Anfield (since 2003) have been scored by current Liverpool players - Dejan Lovren (2013), Nathaniel Clyne (2014) and Sadio Mane (2015).
Saints manager, Mauricio Pellegrino, played 13 times for Liverpool during a spell with the club in 2005. His second game was a 2-0 defeat at Southampton.
Jordan Henderson believes many of Liverpool’s international players have returned to Melwood with ‘a spring in their step’ after a productive period with their countries.
The captain is certain the Reds can capitalise on such confidence when they take to the field against Southampton this afternoon after several members of the squad enjoyed positive results over the last fortnight while on duty for their nations.
Writing in his column in ‘This is Anfield’, Henderson said: “It probably felt to some people that the international break came at a bad time for us. Coming off the back off three wins, scoring 10 goals and only conceding one, everyone at Liverpool was probably ready to play again on the Sunday morning after West Ham.
“But there’ll be plenty of our lads coming back from the break with a spring in their step, because for the players there were some really good moments during the last fortnight.”
Two such players who enjoyed a fruitful international break were Joe Gomez and Dominic Solanke, who won their first caps for England’s senior team.
Henderson added: “I know the entire dressing room was made-up for Joe Gomez and Dom Solanke for both making their senior England debuts.
“Joe’s story is well-known at Liverpool and the admiration we all have for the journey he’s been on in the last two years is second-to-none.
“In no way is this full England selection the end of that journey, though – it’s just the beginning. Joe won’t think he’s cracked it now – he’ll think he’ll have to work even harder. That’s what’s got him to this point and it’s why we all admire him so much.
“Likewise Dom Solanke. The supporters have only had glimpses of Dom on the pitch so far because of the incredible talent we have at that end of the field, and no doubt he’ll continue to be patient.
“But we see him every day in training and it was no surprise to me that the senior England team were keen to get him involved.”
Pick up your copy of 'This is Anfield' at the stadium this afternoon, or subscribe online by clicking here.
Jürgen Klopp insists Liverpool’s form prior to the international break will count for nothing come kick off against Southampton this afternoon.
The Reds signed off ahead of the recess with three consecutive victories as Huddersfield Town, Maribor and West Ham United were defeated.
However, as they prepare to resume duties today, Klopp has explained why that run won’t have any bearing on the outcome of the encounter with the Saints.
He wrote in ‘This is Anfield’: “We come into the game today in very good form, but after an international break it always feels the needle returns to the start of the record.
“That is our attitude in preparing for today. The previous results were very nice but irrelevant come kick-off today. We start again and we need to be ready.
“Mauricio [Pellegrino] knows this place well, having played here under Rafa [Benitez], but the stadium has changed a little since then. We give him personally a warm welcome as a returning friend. He has great coaching experience across Europe and is yet another example of Southampton making a very smart decision when appointing someone to lead their team.
“He is already making Southampton a superbly organised side and one of the toughest to beat in the division. They will make life very hard for us today – we must be ready for this. Also, I know from experience many of these Southampton players know what it is like to win at Anfield. They will use this experience today and we must be patient.
“Finally, I want, ahead of this game, to thank our supporters for the role they played in helping us find again our stride in recent results. The backing at Anfield for the Huddersfield and Maribor games – and away in London for West Ham – was brilliant and undoubtedly lifted the players.
“To know you are with us, regardless of circumstances, means so much. Everyone who cares about Liverpool inside Anfield today knows we have a job to do if we want the result. Hopefully we, the team, can perform to the level of our supporters.
“If we do, we will be in a good place, I am sure.”
Pick up your copy of 'This is Anfield' at the stadium this afternoon, or subscribe online by clicking here.
Liverpool vs. Southampton
Saturday, November 18, 2017 — 3pm (GMT)
Referee: Mike Jones
In recent years, this has become a fixture full of needle, with Liverpool’s constant nabbing of Southampton‘s best players irking the South Coast club. The Virgil van Dijk saga in the summer has only added fuel to the fire.
This weekend, the two sides do battle at Anfield, with Saints suffering just one defeat against the Reds in their last seven meetings.
It is no surprise to see Jurgen Klopp‘s side go into the game as strong favourites, however, with signs of things finally clicking into gear this season.
The 4-1 victory away to West Ham before the international break was Liverpool’s third win in a row, and there has been a more measured, pragmatic approach on show since the defeat to Tottenham last month.
On top of this, key players are all returning to full fitness, meaning Klopp could field his most potent attacking line-up possible on Saturday.
When the Reds click in the final third they can be genuinely unplayable, and Van Dijk and his teammates will hopefully be tested to the hilt.
Southampton remain a slick side in their own right, though, with a nucleus of individuals who have played together for a number of years.
They have players who can hurt teams, from the pace and trickery of Sofiane Boufal and Nathan Redmond to the finishing ability of Manolo Gabbiadini.
Former Liverpool player and coach Mauricio Pellegrino has made an okay start to life as manager at St Mary’s, but just nine goals in 11 Premier League games is a disappointing attacking output.
The hosts should have too much quality for their 13th-placed opponents, but an early goal for a well-drilled Saints outfit could make for a long afternoon.
Momentum is huge in football – dropped points would undo so much of the recent hard work by Klopp and his players.
Last meeting: Liverpool 0-0 Southampton
The injury news is arguably as positive as it has been at any point during Klopp’s tenure so far.
Nathaniel Clyne is now the only player sidelined, although unfortunately, the right-back will be out until 2018 following back surgery.
Adam Lallana is expected to be named in the squad to face his former club, but there’s no chance of him starting the game.
Whatever the team is, the substitutes’ bench looks set to be one of Liverpool’s strongest in years.
Liverpool host Southampton at Anfield for the 43rd time on Saturday, having won 26 of the previous 42 home games between the Reds and Saints.
Saints’ defensive record against Reds
Last season the teams played out 2 goalless draws in the Premier League – the first such time since 2008-09 against Stoke that both Liverpool’s meetings against the same club had failed to produce a goal.
The teams met four times in total, including twice in the Semi-Final of the League Cup – the Saints won each cup game 1-0.
Last season was the first since 1999-2000 that both league meetings ended in a draw.
The last 2 league clashes at Anfield between the clubs have ended in stalemate. There has never been 3 in a row on this ground.
ADVERTISINGGoals galore before!
The next goal scored will be the 100th in their Premier League clashes and the 50th in that time at Anfield.
Liverpool have failed to score in only 7 of the 53 meetings with the Saints at Anfield in all competitions.
Only 3 of the 53 Anfield clashes in all competitions have failed to produce a goal – league meetings in February 1992, May 2000 and last season.Klopp’s Saints record
He has defeated the Saints once in 7 clashes – a 6-1 League Cup win at St. Mary’s in December 2015.
Mane played 75 times for the Saints, scoring 25 times, including 21 goals in 67 league appearances.
For the Reds he has 16 goals in 39 league and cup games. He scored 4 goals in 4 appearances against the Reds.
Daniel Sturridge has scored 11 goals for the Reds as a substitute. Only David Fairclough (18) and Ryan Babel (12) have come off the bench to score more.
Sturridge has scored more league goals as a sub (8) than any other Liverpool player in history.
Jürgen Klopp will have the luxury of an almost fully fit squad to choose from when Southampton visit Anfield on Saturday afternoon.
Nathaniel Clyne will miss out on a meeting with his former club after undergoing minor back surgery earlier this week, but most of the remainder of the Reds' squad have been given a clean bill of health.
Adam Lallana could make his return after overcoming the thigh injury that has kept him sidelined since pre-season, while Jordan Henderson is fit again after recovering from a thigh issue of his own.
Philippe Coutinho is also ready after coming through the international break unscathed, but Sadio Mane will be assessed after feeling an old injury while with Senegal and subsequently returning to Melwood early.
As for the visitors, they will be unable to call on summer signing Mario Lemina, who is still out of action due to an ankle injury picked up in training earlier this month.
Saints boss Mauricio Pellegrino said: "[He] was training well, much better than before. But he will not be ready to play Saturday.
"We look at his problem three weeks ago and he's improved a lot [since then]. But it is too soon to put him on the pitch."
French defender Jeremy Pied is also out with a knock but Pellegrino has no other injury concerns ahead of the trip to Anfield.
Last Updated: 17/11/17 10:23pmAlex Oxlade-Chamberlain is ready to push on at Liverpool Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain is ready to push on at Liverpool
Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain is ready to push on at Liverpool after admitting he has had to adapt to a change in management style following his move from Arsenal.
Liverpool host Southampton at Anfield on Saturday afternoon with Oxlade-Chamberlain hoping to pick up where he left off prior to the international break, against his former club.
The 24-year-old marked his first Premier League start for Liverpool with a goal in the 4-1 win over West Ham, helping Jurgen Klopp's side to a third straight victory in all competitions, and Oxlade-Chamberlain believes he has now adapted to life on Merseyside.
"It's been a change for me," he exclusively told Sky Sports. "You want to come to a new club and hit the ground running straightaway and maybe I didn't do that as quickly as I would have liked.
"Obviously, competition for places is really high here, as I expected, but you're always eager to be playing straightaway and starting as many games as possible.The versatile midfielder has had to wait for opportunities at Liverpool
"That hasn't been the case as much but I've learnt a lot and I feel like I've adapted well to the requirements of the manager, the coaches and the boys as well.
"But it's been a good integration into this team, and I'm happy with the way it's gone. It's just important now that I push on. I learned a big change in the style of play under a new manager.
"Arsene [Wenger] is a great manager and he's proved that for many years. His philosophy and style of play is based on the 'Arsenal way' of playing, with his passing game, which is brilliant and works very well for him.
"Jurgen is very demanding and he makes clear to us our roles and responsibilities, and the intensity that he wants out of us."
Oxlade-Chamberlain joined Liverpool for £35m after expressing a desire to play more in his preferred position of central midfield, having spent six seasons at the Emirates.
He has had to bide his time for opportunities from the start under Klopp, with nine of his 12 appearances coming from off the bench.
With just 255 Premier League minutes under his belt so far this term for his new club, England manager Gareth Southgate opted against selecting Oxlade-Chamberlain for the friendlies against Germany and Brazil.
But having been forced to watch the draws at Wembley, Oxlade-Chamberlain is determined to fight his way back into contention in the build-up to a hectic Christmas schedule.Oxlade-Chamberlain was left out of the recent England squad
"My focus is mainly getting my head down here at Liverpool, and producing the performances here to deserve England call-ups," he added. "I understand that we're all under that pressure all the time so that's what I'm focused on, just staying in the fold this season for England.
"Obviously with it being a World Cup year, it's important to be a part of as many England squads as you can be, so that's my task going forward. I need to be creating goals, and scoring goals as an attacking player."
Liverpool are three points adrift of fourth-placed Chelsea heading into the weekend's action, and Klopp can pick from a fully-fit squad after Adam Lallana returned to the fold following a three-month lay-off with a thigh injury.The 24-year-old's final game for Arsenal came against Liverpool in August
Dejan Lovren and Sadio Mane are also in contention to face their former club, and Oxlade-Chamberlain anticipates a stiff challenge from Mauricio Pellegrino's men.
He said: "It's always a special game for me, playing against Southampton. They always seem to do really well when I play against them, they always seem to be Barcelona on the day, but they're a great side with a great set-up.
"I haven't seen too much of what they're like under the new manager, but I'm sure they're going to be a tough side. We're all expecting a tough game, and we'll be right up for it."Play Super 6
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Liverpool U18s play their first league game in almost a month when they travel to Middlesbrough on Saturday morning.
Steven Gerrard's side are unbeaten in the division so far this season and will hope to continue their fine form on Teeside.
The U18s last played in the league on October 21 when they enjoyed a thumping 5-2 win over West Bromwich Albion in Kirkby.
Read on for all the details you need about the fixture...
Where is the game being played? The match is at Rockliffe Park, with kick-off set for 11am GMT.
How can I watch the game? We will have extended highlights available on LFCTV and LFCTV GO on Monday. Click here for details on how to sign up now.
Last meeting: Back in September the young Reds beat Middlesbrough 4-3 at the Kirkby Academy in the Premier League U18 Cup, with Liam Millar netting a hat-trick.
Liverpool FC held an exclusive event at Anfield this week to mark the unveiling of the unique Dream Scene artwork commemorating the club’s 125th anniversary.
Attended by LFC legends John Barnes, Ian Callaghan and Roger Hunt, as well as representatives of the Shankly, Paisley and Raisbeck families, the event saw international sports artist Jamie Cooper reveal the special image that brings together 20 important figures from throughout the Reds’ history.
Special guests - invited through the club’s Red Neighbours programme - included 95-year-old Pure LFC kit launch star, Charlie Gallagher; members of local charity, the League of Welldoers; and a number of competition winners.
Young Red Joseph Thurston, who won a competition to appear in the Dream Scene alongside key figures from LFC’s past and present, was also on hand to help reveal the image with artist Jamie.
The painting will remain on display in the club’s Anfield store from now until the end of the season, and Jamie will be there from 11am to 1pm to discuss the painting with fans ahead of the game against Southampton on Saturday November 18.
A range of Dream Scene canvases and lithograph prints are available to purchase online and in club stores now - the Dream Scene lithograph is available in all club stores and the online store, while the canvases will be available in the Anfield and Liverpool ONE stores and online.
Click the image below to expand. Head to our online store for more details or to purchase a Dream Scene print.