LFC NEWS

'We'll be raring to go come 8pm' - Andy Robertson previews Ajax tie

LiverpoolFC.TV - Tue, 12/01/2020 - 10:10

The prospect of securing a spot in the last 16 of the Champions League with a game to spare leaves Andy Robertson and Liverpool determined to seize such a rare opportunity.

The Reds head into the Group D encounter with AFC Ajax tonight aware avoiding defeat would confirm their place in the knockout rounds of the competition. 

It means a draw against the Eredivisie outfit will be good enough for Jürgen Klopp's side, though that information won't be on their minds when they take to the field. 

Read on as Liverpoolfc.com caught up with Robertson ahead of the 8pm GMT kick-off...

Andy, the start of another intense week for Liverpool – two home games, starting with Ajax…

It's relentless just now, we've got games thick and fast but we look forward to the games – especially here, there is no better place to play. So a really tough test on Tuesday against Ajax. We know what's at stake, we know if we win we are into the last 16, which would be a really big step for us and that is our main focus just now. We have enough time in the week to look ahead to Wolves, but Ajax are full of confidence just now and they have picked up some really good results since we last played them and they will come here with confidence. But it's up to us to be at our best and we believe if we are then hopefully that will be good enough to get us the three points.

Even a draw would be good enough to send you through, but the mentality of this team is always to try to win the game, isn't it?

We've never done that and we've always gone into games looking for wins. I don't think we'd know how to set up for a draw and not many teams play just for a 0-0. So, every team goes out there and tries to win and we are definitely no different, Ajax will be no different. So we'll go out there and we'll give it our all, give 100 per cent. It's been another quick turnaround but we'll be raring to go come 8pm on Tuesday night and hopefully we can get it done and be in the last 16 with a game to spare, which we've not done since I've been here and it's always been down to the last game. So it would be nice to change that and hopefully be comfortably into the last 16.

That game in the Netherlands, even though you won it 1-0, it was such a crazy, open game with so many chances at either end of the field…

It feels a long time ago with the number of games we've played since then, but it was an incredible game, a lot of chances. They had a couple of big ones and we had quite a few big ones and I can't believe it only finished 1-0, to be honest with you! But we were delighted with that and that was a great way to start off the campaign. So it's a good moment for us to go and try to finish the group, try to finish top and get qualified. Whether it will be a similar game or not, only time will tell, but we'll prepare for all outcomes and situations. And if we turn up at our best, I believe we can be good enough to win this game.

How intense is it this year, given the group stages are very different to how it's been before and you are playing every week?

Obviously in normal times before COVID, the Champions League was played every two to three weeks and you kind of got a breather in between, but it's every single week this season and it's constant and quite quick, of course. I can't believe we are talking about being nearly in the last 16 already as it feels like it was only two to three weeks ago we just started it! Look, we've got a tough group and a group full of quality. We've seen that from all of the teams and if we can get the win and seal our last-16 place then it will be massive for us because it's no secret: we want to go all the way in this tournament and we want to go far in it again. But the first step is to get through the group and we can make that step on Tuesday night and that's what's going to be in the forefront of our minds.

Watch: Jürgen Klopp's pre-Ajax press conference

Of course, this will be your final home game fully behind closed doors before you can get some fans back at Anfield, which will be amazing...

Of course. We've missed the fans in here. Since COVID, we've made so many memories in here, like the Crystal Palace game, the Chelsea game and even good games this season, like 4-3 against Leeds United. But you just wish that Anfield was full. I know on Sunday it's not going to be full, but it will be great to just have 2,000 back in. Just to have people who are here to watch you and are as excited as you are to play and everything that goes along with it. So I'm really looking forward to it and I hope it's the first positive step towards getting this place full again and hopefully it's not long until we have everyone back in because we've certainly missed them and football is not the same without fans, so I really hope we can have a full Anfield soon. But Sunday is a definite start and I look forward to welcoming in the lucky 2,000 into Anfield.

The injuries in the backline have seen a lot of youngsters come in and get opportunities, like Neco Williams…

Neco is a great lad and a great player. With Trent's injury and things like that, he has been thrown in and Neco and all the young lads have stepped up and need to step up further. We are pushing Neco, we are pushing Curtis and we are pushing Nat, Rhys and all of them. The young lads – it's been clear – we will be needing them this season. It's clear that with the injuries that we've got and the hectic schedule we've got, the whole squad is going to be needed. They are a big part of the squad. Neco, Curtis, Rhys, Nat, we are trying to push them all the way and get them to improve every day and they are making huge strides. 

I think Neco has come in for unfair criticism but, look, unfortunately that is the nature of the beast. It's going to happen when you do make one mistake or whatever it is. But Neco is a confident lad and the way he has played for Wales in the previous international breaks has been unbelievable and he shows promise and he shows glimpses of it. It's just about him getting that complete performance. I believe it's coming and I believe it's close because he's full of quality and he's full of passion. You can see that the way he flies into tackles and stuff. He's a great player with great quality and through Trent's injury he's got quite a few opportunities and he's done well. He knows he can do better and that's why we will try to push him and he'll try to push himself. All the young lads are the same. They've got a lot of improvements to make but where they are at the moment is a real good place and that's why all of them are heavily involved in our squad right now.

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'We'll be raring to go come 8pm' - Andy Robertson previews Ajax tie

LiverpoolFC TV - Tue, 12/01/2020 - 10:10
The prospect of securing a spot in the last 16 of the Champions League with a game to spare leaves Andy Robertson and Liverpool determined to seize such a rare opportunity.
Categories: LFC NEWS

Jordan Henderson: We've got a platform, now let's build on it

LiverpoolFC.TV - Tue, 12/01/2020 - 09:05

Jordan Henderson wants Liverpool to replicate last season by building on a solid foundation throughout the winter months.

The Reds have arrived in December well placed both domestically and in Europe after navigating their way through a condensed autumn schedule despite suffering numerous injuries. 

And Henderson has urged Jürgen Klopp’s squad to push on in a similar manner to 12 months ago, when they successfully juggled commitments in the Premier League, Champions League and FIFA Club World Cup.

In his notes for tonight’s official matchday programme, the captain writes: “Now that we have given ourselves a platform, we have to build on it. At this stage of last season we were in a similar position and we went on to make it count. That’s the challenge again this time around.

“It’s one thing having a decent autumn, but only if you push on through winter - when the games come thicker and faster than ever - do you have a chance of making the most of spring. 

“A lot has been said about the schedule and, without wanting to reopen the debate, it’s fair to say that this season’s is tougher than ever. But it is what it is and our job as players is to try to clear every obstacle that is placed in our way.  

“No-one is going to do us any favours and we’re not looking for any, so the best thing that we can do is stick to our mantra of taking one game at a time and being as competitive as we can be no matter who our opponents might be. 

“That won’t be easy tonight. Ajax are a top side and with their history and heritage they will relish coming to Anfield, especially with there being so much still to play for in a group that is every bit as tough as I’d expected it to be.  

“People will look at the fact that we won in Amsterdam and make us favourites but, as Atalanta showed last week, football is rarely that straightforward. I know from my own experience at Liverpool that whenever we lose a game we want to put that right by showing what we’re capable of. I have no doubt whatsoever that Ajax will approach this game with exactly the same mindset. 

“There’s a banner that gets displayed on the Kop sometimes and I love it because of its simplicity. It just says ‘Liverpool FC: European Royalty’ and is one of many things that makes me incredibly proud to captain this club.  

“One of the reasons for that pride is because that statement puts us alongside clubs like Ajax who have made such a contribution to football in Europe over the years. They have our admiration and our respect and I hope that tonight’s game lives up to the best standards of both clubs.”

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Jordan Henderson: We've got a platform, now let's build on it

LiverpoolFC TV - Tue, 12/01/2020 - 09:05
Jordan Henderson wants Liverpool to replicate last season by building on a solid foundation throughout the winter months.
Categories: LFC NEWS

Pre-Ajax stats: Permutations, December form and Dutch opposition

LiverpoolFC.TV - Tue, 12/01/2020 - 08:35

Liverpool require a point from tonight's clash with AFC Ajax to guarantee a place in the Champions League knockout stages.

With four matchdays completed in Group D, the Reds lead the section by two points, with Ajax and Atalanta BC tied on seven and FC Midtjylland now eliminated.

Avoid defeat at Anfield this evening and Jürgen Klopp’s men will secure their spot in the last 16 for a fourth successive season, with a draw enough due to their head-to-head record against Ajax and Atalanta.

For more pre-match facts and figures, courtesy of LFC statistician Ged Rea, read on…

Liverpool’s next goal at Anfield in the Champions League will be their 50th under Klopp. Mohamed Salah has scored the most of those so far with 13.

The Reds have never lost to Dutch opposition at Anfield, winning five and drawing two in seven encounters. They played out a 2-2 with Ajax in 1966.

Overall, the club is unbeaten in the last 14 matches against Dutch opponents, since the 5-1 defeat by tonight’s visitors in Amsterdam in 1966.

Klopp has won all three of his previous meetings with Ajax – the first two while in charge of Borussia Dortmund.

Watch Jürgen Klopp's pre-Ajax press conference

Liverpool have lost just one of their last 30 games played during the month of December, with the single defeat at Aston Villa in last season’s Carabao Cup quarter-final.

A victory this evening would be the Reds’ fourth in the group and equal their best ever tally.

Diogo Jota scored two hat-tricks in Europe for Wolverhampton Wanderers last season and has one for Liverpool during this group phase.

The last Reds player to score two European hat-tricks in the same season was Dean Saunders in the UEFA Cup in 1991-92. The last to achieve the feat in the European Cup was Graeme Souness in 1980-81.

Ajax are unbeaten in their last 17 away games in all stages of this competition, winning eight, and have scored at least twice in eight of their last nine away Champions League ties.

They are the only team ever to score more than four goals against Liverpool in a European fixture. In 1966 they were 4-0 up at half-time and 5-0 up in the 90th minute before winning 5-1.

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Pre-Ajax stats: Permutations, December form and Dutch opposition

LiverpoolFC TV - Tue, 12/01/2020 - 08:35
Liverpool require a point from tonight's clash with AFC Ajax to guarantee a place in the Champions League knockout stages.
Categories: LFC NEWS

'I have a heart in both clubs' - Jari Litmanen on Liverpool v Ajax

LiverpoolFC.TV - Tue, 12/01/2020 - 08:30

While Liverpool and AFC Ajax fans will be biting fingernails and poring over permutations when the two clubs meet in a crucial Champions League tie tonight, Jari Litmanen can sit back safe in the knowledge he won’t lose.

One of a curiously small group of players to have represented both teams, the Finn has supported the Reds since being mesmerised by the likes of Kevin Keegan and Kenny Dalglish as a child in the 1970s and, of course, enjoyed an 18-month spell at Anfield himself two decades ago.

His career highs came in the colours of the famous Dutch side, however.

Litmanen played in two European Cup finals with Ajax, helping the Amsterdam outfit lift the trophy with a 1-0 defeat of AC Milan in 1995 and then scoring in the final as they were beaten by Juventus on penalties a year later.

Litmanen lifts the European Cup with Ajax in 1995

Across two spells at Ajax, the graceful forward racked up 133 goals to establish an enduring legacy at a club not short of revered figures – especially in the attacking department.

With a foot therefore in both camps, the 49-year-old intends to watch this evening’s contest with the same relaxed enthusiasm he has felt as the Reds and Ajax returned to the top echelons of the European game in recent seasons.

“I grew up with Liverpool and I was a fan of the club,” Litmanen told Liverpoolfc.com. “I became an Ajax fan in ’92 when I joined the club, and I started to know the people and the tradition and the culture.

“I joined in ’92 a team that had just won the UEFA Cup and three years later we won a Champions League. A year later we lost the Champions League final. It felt like it’s quite normal over there. Now people have realised that 25 years ago was the last time to be in the final – actually the final in ’96 but victory in the final was ’95. It feels now, for me but all other people, that was something special. At that time it felt quite normal.

“Of course, I have a heart in both clubs for different reasons. I grew up with Liverpool and I played my best years at Ajax. So, I follow them both and I’m happy for both clubs at the moment how it goes.

“Liverpool were the [Premier League] champions last year, the first time in 30 years – we have waited quite a long time for that! And a year earlier, the Champions League final in Madrid – and by the way, I was there as well – was of course something special.

“Two years ago, Ajax did very well in the Champions League. It was really, really close that Ajax were also in the final, it was only a matter of some minutes. That was a really special year. Last year, they did good as well but in the last game they needed a draw and they didn’t get it, so they didn’t go through to the knockouts.

“I’m happy for Ajax, I’m happy for Liverpool how it goes at the moment.”

Group D is delicately poised ahead of what is only the fourth competitive clash between the Reds and De Godenzonen despite their rich European histories.

Liverpool’s home defeat by Atalanta BC last Wednesday meant a bunching of the top three in the section, though they nevertheless know a draw or win tonight will book a place in the last 16.

If Jürgen Klopp’s charges can clinch qualification, it would represent a fourth successive appearance in the tournament’s knockout stages for the 2019 winners.

Litmanen is a long-time admirer of Klopp’s philosophy, having observed his methods since the German’s time at the helm of Borussia Dortmund, and has been delighted to see his approach pay off at Anfield too.

“I followed him already when he was in Germany at Borussia Dortmund. Actually, he has been really, really good at both of those clubs,” said the man who netted nine goals in 43 games for the club.

“He has changed a lot. Dortmund had their own problems in a financial way and also in a football way, they were not the Dortmund we were used to. Dortmund couldn’t compete with Bayern Munich but with Klopp, for several years they were even a couple of times the champions of Germany. With Klopp, Dortmund became a big club and a big team again in Germany.

“Actually, that last step happened also with Liverpool. Liverpool had all the time a good team and good players but Klopp did that last step. When I heard that Klopp was going to Liverpool I was quite confident he would do a good job, just based on what I saw and what I followed at Dortmund.

“He has given some energy to the team and the players. He likes them to be active all the time and that happened at Dortmund and that has happened at Liverpool. I like that kind of football, where the whole team, all the players, want to be active and try to have control of a game. There is something happening all the time and that’s what I love.”

Mohamed Salah, Sadio Mane and Roberto Firmino have become the club’s joint-second, fifth and joint-sixth most prolific scorers in European competition respectively during Klopp’s tenure.

Litmanen appreciates the individual talents of each of the three attackers as well as their ability to combine forces, which has been integral to his former team’s recent trophy haul.

“Salah, Mane and Firmino, it’s really nice to look at them playing,” he said. “They all can pass the ball, they all can hold the ball, they all have enough speed to run forward. It looks like they love to play together with each other.

“They are a little bit different kind of players. Firmino is really important for Mane and Salah by holding the ball, giving the pass and even creating some spaces for those wing players because those wing players are really quick without the ball and with the ball.

“So, it’s really difficult to defend against those three guys because they are doing a little bit different things, but they seem to love to play together.”

Liverpool’s narrow 1-0 victory in Amsterdam back on matchday one aided the early command Klopp’s men established in Group D with three wins in a row.

Liverpool celebrate the own goal that gave them victory at Ajax on matchday one

But Ajax journey to Merseyside having won seven and drawn one of their eight fixtures in all competitions since that night – a run including a 13-0 result in the Eredivisie.

Whatever happens, events at Anfield this evening will significantly affect the complexion of the section and what will be required when the final round of ties are played next week.

Personally, Litmanen views the encounter through the prism of his wish for both of his old sides to qualify for the last 16, given his shared allegiance.

“Of course, it’s an important game for both,” he assessed. “Liverpool have nine points now after losing to Atalanta last time and are No.1 in the group. With winning they are sure of going through as No.1 or No.2.

“For Ajax, it’s of course even more important because now they are equal on points with Atalanta. Two games to go, Ajax are playing away against Liverpool and at home against Atalanta.

“I think a draw would be ideal for both [to have the chance to progress]. If you win, it’s great. But if you have a draw, that’s ideal. Both teams don’t want to lose that game.

“Even by losing, Liverpool still have a chance with their game in hand. But a draw would still be good for both. Neither Liverpool or Ajax want to lose this game.”

Read the second part of our exclusive interview with Jari Litmanen on Liverpoolfc.com on Thursday, as he reflects on his love for the Reds and his time at Anfield.

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'I have a heart in both clubs' - Jari Litmanen on Liverpool v Ajax

LiverpoolFC TV - Tue, 12/01/2020 - 08:30
"I'm really peaceful in my heart on matters of football!"
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Jürgen Klopp: We have to be ready for another proper battle

LiverpoolFC TV - Tue, 12/01/2020 - 08:15
Jürgen Klopp anticipates another ‘proper battle’ with AFC Ajax tonight, with the fact Champions League Group D remains in the balance coming as no surprise to the boss.
Categories: LFC NEWS

Reds race to Anfield half-century under Klopp with equal-best tally on the line

ThisIsAnfield.com - Tue, 12/01/2020 - 07:00

Jurgen Klopp are looking to continue their December success by notching a win over Ajax to equal their best ever tally in the Champions League group stage.

Liverpool have lost one of their last 30 matches played during the month of December and that was the youngsters defeat at Aston Villa in last season’s Carabao Cup.

And the Atalanta defeat was the first time that Liverpool had lost at Anfield by more than one goal under Jurgen Klopp in 137 matches.

A win this evening will see the Reds record a fourth win in the group to equal their best ever tally.

Wanted and Unwanted Records

 Liverpool's Diogo Jota celebrates after scoring the first goal with team-mate Mohamed Salah (L) during the UEFA Champions League Group D match between Atalanta BC and Liverpool FC at the Stadio di Bergamo. (Pic by Simone Arveda/Propaganda)

In the home defeat to Atalanta Liverpool were the first team to name three British teenagers in their starting XI for a Champions League match since Arsenal, who selected four, against Olympiakos in 2009.

The Reds next goal will be their 50th at Anfield in Europe’s major competition under Jurgen Klopp. Mo Salah has netted the most with 13, Roberto Firmino has nine with 14 different Reds players finding the net.

Liverpool last failed to score in back to back Champions League games in the 2014/15 group stage (in a sequence of three).

The last time they did not score in consecutive games in Europe at Anfield was in 2005/06 when they drew 0-0 with Real Betis in the group and lost to Benfica in the Round of 16.

Permutations

 Liverpool's goalkeeper Alisson Becker and his team-mates line-up before the UEFA Champions League Group D match between Liverpool FC and Atalanta BC at Anfield. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

A point from this game will be enough to guarantee Liverpool’s qualification for the knockout stages as should they complete the group level on points with Ajax or Atalanta they would come out on top on the head to head.

Four points from the remaining two fixtures will guarantee that Liverpool will progress as group winners, where they are aiming to qualify for the Champions League knockout stages for the time 10th time.

Dutch Luck

 Liverpool's manager Jürgen Klopp during the pre-match warm-up before the opening UEFA Champions League Group D match between AFC Ajax and Liverpool FC at the Johan Cruijff ArenA. (Pic by Orange Pictures via Propaganda)

Liverpool have never lost to Dutch opposition at Anfield, winning five and drawing two out of seven encounters.

The draws came with Ajax (2-2) in 1966 and 0-0 against Utrecht in the 2010/11 Europa League group stage.

Unbeaten in the last 14 games against Dutch opponents since the 5-1 defeat to Ajax in 1965.

Matchday one made it three successive clean sheets against Dutch clubs for the Reds, although they have scored only one goal themselves in those fixtures – and that an own goal.

England fortunes Ajax

AMSTERDAM , 18-10-2020 , JohanCruyff Arena , Dutch Eredivisie, Season 2019-2020 , Ajax - SC Heerenveen , Ajax player Dusan Tadic celebrating the 2-0 (Photo by Pro Shots/Sipa USA)

Ajax have scored at least twice in eight of their last nine away Champions League fixtures and in their last five away games in league and cup this season they have scored 25 times.

In all competitions they have conceded two goals in their last five matches.

They were unbeaten in all three group Champions League games away from home last season.

They also remain unbeaten in the last four visits to England since losing at Aston Villa in the 2008/09 UEFA Cup.

And they remain the only team ever to score more than four goals against Liverpool in a European game. In 1966, they were 4-0 up at half-time and 5-0 up in the 90th minute before winning 5-1.

This Season’s Scorers

 Liverpool's Diogo Jota (L) celebrates with team-mates James Milner (C) and Takumi Minamino (R) after scoring the first goal during the FA Premier League match between Brighton & Hove Albion FC and Liverpool FC at the AMEX Stadium. The game was played behind closed doors due to the UK government’s social distancing laws during the Coronavirus COVID-19 Pandemic. (Pic by Propaganda)

Liverpool: Salah 10, Jota 9, Mané 5, Minamino 3, Firmino 2, Jones 2, Grujic 1, Origi 1, Robertson 1, Shaqiri 1, van Dijk 1, own goals 2.

Ajax: Tadic 9, Traore 8, Antony 5, Klaassen 5, Labyad 4, Promes 4, Ekkelenkamp 3, Huntelaar 2, Martinez 2, Neres 2, Blind 1, Brobbey 1, Gravenberch 1, Kudus 1, Mazraoui 1.

* Statistics courtesy of LFC statistician Ged Rea (@ged0407).

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Liverpool vs Ajax preview: Matip returns

Liverpool FC on Sky Sports - Mon, 11/30/2020 - 20:30

Team news and stats ahead of Liverpool vs Ajax in the Champions League group stage on Tuesday (kick-off 8pm).

Team news

Liverpool defender Joel Matip returns to the squad after being rested for Saturday's draw at Brighton.

Manager Jurgen Klopp had hoped midfielder Naby Keita might be back from a hamstring injury but he did not train with the squad on Monday evening.

Midfielder James Milner (hamstring) is the latest player to be added to an injury list which includes Virgil van Dijk, Joe Gomez, Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain and Thiago Alcantara (all knee), Trent Alexander-Arnold (calf) and Xherdan Shaqiri (muscle).

Jordan Henderson's late goal was disallowed for offside upon VAR review 1:30 Liverpool midfielder Thiago Alcantara's recovery from a knee injury sustained in the Merseyside derby in October will take a few more weeks, says Jurgen Klopp

Ajax are set to be without Daley Blind after the former Manchester United defender sustained a hamstring injury against Midtjylland last week.

Meanwhile, Mohammed Kudus is a long-term absentee for the Dutch side after requiring surgery on the knee injury he picked up against Liverpool on matchday one.

Who needs what?

Liverpool will go through to the last 16 if they avoid defeat. The Reds will be confirmed as group winners if they beat Ajax and Atalanta do not beat Midtjylland.

How to follow

Follow Liverpool vs Ajax with our dedicated live blog across Sky Sports' digital platforms and on Gillette Soccer Special, live on Sky Sports News and Sky Sports Premier League from 7pm.

David Luiz sported a bloodied head bandage during the game against Wolves 1:02 Klopp says it makes sense to introduce concussion substitutes in football Opta stats
  • This will be the fourth meeting between Liverpool and Ajax in European competition, with the previous three ending in an Ajax win, a draw and a Liverpool win.
  • Ajax have only played away at Liverpool in the European Cup/UEFA Champions League once previously, with the two sides playing out a 2-2 draw in the second leg of a Last 16 tie in 1966-67 (Ajax won 7-3 on aggregate).
  • Since losing their first ever game against a Dutch team in European competition (1-5 v Ajax in December 1966), Liverpool have gone unbeaten in 14 subsequent games against teams from the Netherlands (W9 D5).
  • Ajax haven't lost any of their last five away games against English sides in the UEFA Champions League (W1 D4), with the most recent such trip being an entertaining 4-4 draw against Chelsea in November 2019.
  • Liverpool's defeat against Atalanta ended a run of eight consecutive games without defeat in the group stage of the UEFA Champions League (W7 D1), while the Reds have only once previously lost consecutive group stage games in the competition under Jürgen Klopp (in November 2018).
  • Ajax are unbeaten in their last 11 away games in the UEFA Champions League (W7 D4); their longest run away from home in the competition since between September 1994 and March 1997 (14 games - W10 D4).
  • Since the start of the 2017-18 season, Liverpool's Mohamed Salah is one of only four players to have scored 20+ goals in the UEFA Champions League (21), along with Robert Lewandowski (31), Cristiano Ronaldo (26) and Lionel Messi (24).
  • Ajax's Dusan Tadic has created the joint-most chances following ball carries in the UEFA Champions League this season (6 - level with Jadon Sancho and Kinglsey Coman), while no player has made more carries resulting in assists (2 - level with Juan Cuadrado and Joshua Kimmich).
Pitch to Post Weekend Review podcast

Download the Sky Sports Pitch to Post Podcast on Apple | Spotify

Having been left in the cold, how exactly has Jose Mourinho transformed Tanguy Ndombele into one of Tottenham's most key players?

Jasper Taylor is joined by Ben Ransom and Gerard Brand in the latest Pitch to Post Review show to discuss just that (07:55), as well as Eric Dier's form as he ditches the 'versatility' tag. Spurs are top, but what happens if opponents out-Jose Jose? (13:48)

We also discuss Man Utd's dramatic 3-2 win over Southampton thanks to super sub Edinson Cavani (22:16), and ask: where would Ole Gunnar Solskjaer's side be if they played the entire season away from home? Answer: probably better off.

In the Regional Review, Alan Myers joins us to talk all things Everton in their season of two halves so far (36:04), and in the Treatment Table we round up the latest injury news, and join Jurgen Klopp in getting stuck into the five-sub debate (47:18).

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Liverpool to play Aston Villa in FA Cup third round

ThisIsAnfield.com - Mon, 11/30/2020 - 19:25

Liverpool have yet again been drawn against a fellow Premier League side in the FA Cup third round and will play away to Aston Villa.

The match will, of course, be talked up as an opportunity to avenge the 7-2 defeat at Villa Park earlier in the Premier League season.

Third-round ties are scheduled to be played across the weekend of Saturday January 9 and Sunday January 10 and, with no replays in this season’s tournament, will be decided by extra-time and penalties where required.

It is the fourth season in a row where Jurgen Klopp‘s side have faced a fellow Premier League side in the FA Cup third round, having played Everton (twice) and Wolves in the previous seasons.

The two seasons before that, they faced Premier League sides in the fourth round (Wolves again, and West Ham).

Liverpool exited the FA Cup at the fifth round last season with a 2-0 defeat to Chelsea – the furthest the club have got in the competition under Jurgen Klopp.

The Reds last won the FA Cup in 2006, under Rafa Benitez’s management.

Full Third Round Draw

Huddersfield Town vs Plymouth Argyle
Southampton vs Shrewsbury
Chorley vs Derby County
Marine vs Tottenham
Wolves vs Crystal Palace
Stockport County vs West Ham
Oldham Athletic vs AFC Bournemouth
Manchester United vs Watford
Stevenage vs Swansea City
Everton vs Rotherham United
Nottingham Forest vs Cardiff City
Arsenal vs Newcastle United
Barnsley vs Tranmere Rovers
Bristol Rovers vs Sheffield United
Canvey Island/Boreham Wood vs Millwall
Blackburn Rovers vs Doncaster Rovers
Stoke City vs Leicester City
Wycombe Wanderers vs Preston North End
Crawley Town vs Leeds United
Burnley vs MK Dons
Bristol City vs Portsmouth
QPR vs Fulham
Aston Villa vs Liverpool
Brentford vs Middlesbrough
Manchester City vs Birmingham City
Luton Town vs Reading
Chelsea vs Morecambe
Exeter City vs Sheffield Wednesday
Norwich City vs Coventry City
Blackpool vs West Brom
Newport County vs Brighton
Cheltenham Town vs Mansfield Town

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Liverpool to face Aston Villa in FA Cup third round

LiverpoolFC.TV - Mon, 11/30/2020 - 19:25

Liverpool will face Aston Villa away from home in the FA Cup third round.

The Reds were paired with the Midlands club during Monday evening’s draw for the next stage, with ties scheduled to be played across the weekend of January 9/10, 2021.

Full fixture details will be announced on Liverpoolfc.com in due course.

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Liverpool to face Aston Villa in FA Cup third round

LiverpoolFC TV - Mon, 11/30/2020 - 19:25
Liverpool will face Aston Villa away from home in the FA Cup third round.
Categories: LFC NEWS

Another chance for Reds to progress in Champions League – Liverpool vs. Ajax Preview

ThisIsAnfield.com - Mon, 11/30/2020 - 19:00

Liverpool host Ajax in the Champions League on Tuesday evening, with a draw or win taking them into the competition’s knockout rounds.

Liverpool vs. Ajax

Tuesday, December 1, 2020 – 8pm (GMT)
Anfield
Champions League (5)
Referee: Tobias Stieler (GER)

It hasn’t been an ideal week for the Merseysiders, who have suffered the rare experience of going two matches without a win.

Their 2-0 defeat at home to Atalanta was followed up by a 1-1 draw away to Brighton on Saturday, with late penalty frustration coming Liverpool’s way at the Amex Stadium.

Injuries continue to hamper the Reds’ charge in the Premier League and Champions League, but they still find themselves in a strong position in both competitions.

Ajax head to Anfield in midweek in a rich vein of form, but they face one of the biggest tests in European football.

 Liverpool's manager Jürgen Klopp during the pre-match warm-up before the opening UEFA Champions League Group D match between AFC Ajax and Liverpool FC at the Johan Cruijff ArenA. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

Jurgen Klopp‘s men know that even a draw will guarantee a place in the last-16, and achieving that feat will allow for a weaker team to be used away to Midtjylland next Wednesday.

The reverse fixture in the Netherlands suggests Liverpool will be tested, however, with Nicolas Tagliafico’s own goal the only difference between the two sides.

A stronger team will be played than the one Klopp picked against Atalanta, though, so the hosts are clear favourites going into the game.

Victory doesn’t need to be achieved in pretty fashion – Tuesday is just all about getting the job done.

Team News

 Liverpool's James Milner is treated for an injury during the FA Premier League match between Brighton & Hove Albion FC and Liverpool FC at the AMEX Stadium. The game was played behind closed doors due to the UK government’s social distancing laws during the Coronavirus COVID-19 Pandemic. (Pic by Propaganda)

Liverpool’s injuries keeping racking up, with James Milner the latest player to enter the treatment room.

The 34-year-old picked up a hamstring issue at Brighton, meaning he is likely to be out for an extended period of time.

Virgil van Dijk and Joe Gomez are out for many months with knee injuries, while Trent Alexander-Arnold, Thiago and Naby Keita are also key absentees.

Klopp is also having to make do without Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain and Xherdan Shaqiri, highlighting how unfortunate the Reds have been so far this season.

Jordan Henderson is expected to start, however, with the skipper’s return a huge boost after playing in the second half against Brighton.

 Liverpool’s Joel Matip during the FA Premier League match between Everton FC and Liverpool FC, the 237th Merseyside Derby, at Goodison Park. The game was played behind closed doors due to the UK government’s social distancing laws during the Coronavirus COVID-19 Pandemic. The game ended in a 2-2 draw. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

Joel Matip will also hopefully return to the fold after being rested over the weekend, partnering the in-form Fabinho at centre-back.

It will be interesting to see if Klopp starts all four of Diogo Jota, Mohamed Salah, Sadio Mane and Roberto Firmino, especially with a lack of midfield options at his disposal.

A 4-2-3-1 formation is possible in that respect, although it may be that the Liverpool boss leaves one of the quartet out, allowing for rotation.

Daley Blind could be out for Ajax with a hamstring injury, while Mohammed Kudus is definitely missing.

The Dutch giants may start exciting young forward Antony, having missed the corresponding clash with the Reds last month.

Ajax

Ajax captain Dusan Tadic believes his side would have performed better than Tottenham against Liverpool in the 2019 Champions League final (Adam Davy/PA)

Since Liverpool left the Johan Cruyff Arena with all three points, their opponents have been in unstoppable form, suggesting Tuesday will be no easy assignment.

Remarkably, Erik ten Hag’s side followed up their defeat to the Reds with a sensational 13-0 win at VVV-Venlo – yes, you read that correctly!

A respectable 2-2 draw away to Atalanta came next in Group D, before Fortuna Sittard were thumped 5-2 in the Eredivisie.

Midtjylland were seen off twice in the Champions League, during which time there have also been comprehensive league wins against Utrecht (0-3), Heracles (5-0) and FC Emmen (0-5).

Did You Know?

 Liverpool's Diogo Jota celebrates after scoring the first goal during the FA Premier League match between Brighton & Hove Albion FC and Liverpool FC at the AMEX Stadium. The game was played behind closed doors due to the UK government’s social distancing laws during the Coronavirus COVID-19 Pandemic. (Pic by Propaganda)

Jota has made a fantastic start to life at Liverpool since joining from Wolves, scoring nine times in just 14 appearances.

To sum up the Portuguese’s brilliance, he has only scored one goal fewer in open play than Salah and Mane combined (10) this season, with the Liverpool duo scoring five apiece.

Salah has scored five penalties on top of that, meaning he is narrowly the Reds’ leading goalscorer this season over Jota.

Having come in as a possible deputy to the front-three, the 23-year-old has to be a regular starter on current form.

Form

 Liverpool's Diogo Jota scores the first goal during the FA Premier League match between Brighton & Hove Albion FC and Liverpool FC at the AMEX Stadium. The game was played behind closed doors due to the UK government’s social distancing laws during the Coronavirus COVID-19 Pandemic. (Pic by Propaganda)

Liverpool – Last five results (all competitions)

Drew 1-1 vs. Brighton
Lost 2-0 vs. Atalanta
Won 3-0 vs. Leicester
Drew 1-1 vs. Man City
Won 5-0 vs. Atalanta

Ajax – Last five results (all competitions)

Won 5-0 vs. FC Emmen
Won 3-1 vs. Midtjylland
Won 5-0 vs. Heracles
Won 3-0 vs. Utrecht
Won 2-1 vs. Midtjylland

Klopp’s View

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Speaking to the press on Monday afternoon, Klopp admitted he expects a big test at Anfield:

“Yeah, why should I not expect a close game? Ajax Amsterdam is a really good side and since our game is flying pretty much through the league.

“Big results, clear top of the table, very talented, some players coming back – these kind of things. Yes, I expect a close game.”

TV & Liveblog Info

 A general view of Anfield from the Spion Kop before the UEFA Champions League Group D match between Liverpool FC and FC Midtjylland at Anfield. Liverpool won 2-0. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

Liverpool vs. Ajax is live in the UK on BT Sport 2, with coverage starting at 7pm (GMT) and kickoff at 8pm.

Chris Williams is tasked with guiding you through the action on This Is Anfield’s matchday live blog, keeping you company from 7.15pm.

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Liverpool v Ajax: Team news

LiverpoolFC.TV - Mon, 11/30/2020 - 19:00

Jürgen Klopp does not expect any of Liverpool’s injury absentees to be ready to face AFC Ajax on Tuesday.

The Reds will host the Dutch club at Anfield and the boss offered an update on the condition of his squad ahead of the Champions League contest.

After stating that Thiago Alcantara remains ‘a few weeks’ away from a return, Klopp was asked for the latest on Trent Alexander-Arnold, Naby Keita and Xherdan Shaqiri.

Watch Jürgen Klopp's pre-Ajax press conference

“They are all getting closer to being back, [but] not close enough for tomorrow, I think,” he said on Monday. “With Naby we have to check there still, but with the other two, they will not be ready.

“Trent looks quite good, but nobody gave me the green light for tonight so he will not be in it [training]. He hasn’t trained with the team and stuff like this.

“I saw him today on the pitch doing his rehab stuff outside, so that looks already good, but I cannot decide when this rehab stuff is finished. I take the players only in the moment when I get the green light and that didn't happen yet.

“But from my rather experienced eye, from what I saw today, it will not be that long anymore with Trent.”

Jordan Henderson came through his 45-minute run-out against Brighton & Hove Albion unscathed, but James Milner is sidelined due to the hamstring issue he sustained at the Amex Stadium.

Furthermore, Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain is continuing his recovery from a knee injury.

Ajax, meanwhile, named a 21-man squad for trip to Merseyside and included Daley Blind, Noussair Mazraoui and Ryan Gravenberch.

Blind missed the weekend's 5-0 win over FC Emmen, while Mazraoui and Gravenberch were forced off in the second half with minor issues.

Attacking midfielder Mohammed Kudus remains sidelined with the knee injury he sustained in October's 1-0 defeat to Liverpool.

During his pre-match press conference, boss Erik ten Hag said: "We'll have some more training but, as it looks, they look to be in good fitness. 

"We have in-shape guys with us. Everybody is on board. We'll have training in a minute and then draw our own conclusions."

Last match

Brighton 1-1 Liverpool (November 28): Alisson, N Williams, Phillips, Fabinho, Robertson, Wijnaldum, Milner, Minamino, Salah, Jota, Firmino.

Emmen 0-5 Ajax (November 28): Onana, Mazraoui, Schuurs, Martinez, Klaiber, Labyad, Gravenberch, Klaassen, Antony, Tadic, Traore.

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Categories: LFC NEWS

Liverpool v Ajax: Team news

LiverpoolFC TV - Mon, 11/30/2020 - 19:00
Jürgen Klopp does not expect any of Liverpool’s injury absentees to be ready to face AFC Ajax on Tuesday.
Categories: LFC NEWS

Photo gallery: Reds prepare for Ajax showdown at AXA Training Centre

LiverpoolFC.TV - Mon, 11/30/2020 - 18:18

Check in on Liverpool's preparations for their Champions League encounter against AFC Ajax with our photo gallery from Monday afternoon's training session.

The Reds performed a workout at the AXA Training Centre under the watchful eye of Jürgen Klopp and his coaching staff ahead of the Group D meeting with the Eredivisie side.

Take a look at our collection of images from it below... 

Photos by Andrew Powell

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