LFC NEWS

Liverpool rue lack of killer touch: The stats that show Reds’ lack of ruthlessness in front of goal

ThisIsAnfield.com - Wed, 20/09/2017 - 20:10

They have again struggled in his absence since his red card against Manchester City, though he did play 83 minutes against Sevilla before beginning his domestic suspension.

Mane has scored three Premier League goals this season from 10 shots, and his recent absence is a significant factor in Liverpool’s struggles in front of goal.

PHILIPPE COUTINHO

As Mane disappeared from the line-up temporarily, Coutinho re-emerged following his protracted summer transfer saga. Liverpool’s numbers since then have shown the good and the bad of the Brazil playmaker’s game.

Coutinho vs Burnley

His creative influence has been apparent, helping Liverpool pile up 35 shots against Burnley and another 21 against Leicester.

His own share of those shots, though, demonstrates his penchant for low-percentage efforts from long range.

Of 11 Coutinho strikes, mostly from outside the penalty area, only two have been on target – in keeping with a career record in the Premier League that sees only 31 per cent of his shots hitting the target and 7.5 per cent finding the net.

THE ‘FALSE NINE’

Klopp typically sets his team up without a traditional out-and-out frontman, with Roberto Firmino wearing the number nine shirt this season but operating in the continental-style “false nine” position.

 Liverpool's Roberto Firmino dances as he celebrates scoring the first equalising goal during the UEFA Champions League Group E match between Liverpool and Sevilla at Anfield. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

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Firmino has at least scored during the four games in question, in the Champions League clash with Sevilla, though he also missed a penalty in that match and has hit the target with just two of his seven shots.

Liverpool’s one established senior spearhead, Daniel Sturridge, has again been in and out of the team this season and his only appearance in the recent games was against Burnley, where three of his seven shots were on target.

Youngster Dominic Solanke, meanwhile, featured against Burnley and started against Leicester but has failed to hit the target in eight attempts.

‘WHY IS HE SHOOTING?’

Even allowing for the lack of a main striker, Liverpool’s shot distribution looks odd – holding midfielder Emre Can is alongside Coutinho on a team-high 11 attempts in the last four games.

 Liverpool's Emre Can looks dejected as his side lose 5-0 during the FA Premier League match between Manchester City and Liverpool at the City of Manchester Stadium. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

Can’s bicycle kick against Watford last season was the Premier League‘s goal of the season but he has only 10 for the club having begun his fourth season at Anfield and has worked the goalkeeper with only three of his 11 shots going back to the City match.

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Mohamed Salah has 10 – with six on target and two goals – but eight of the 87 shots have been shared between full-backs Alberto Moreno, Andy Robertson and Trent Alexander-Arnold with a further three from James Milner, another deep-lying midfielder who played much of last season at left-back.

Categories: LFC NEWS

'I've craved the feeling' - Danny Ings on his first-team return

LiverpoolFC.TV - Wed, 20/09/2017 - 19:30

A positive for Liverpool on an otherwise frustrating night at Leicester City on Tuesday was the return to first-team action of Danny Ings after an 11-month absence.

Little under a year after the striker suffered the second serious knee injury of his Reds career, Ings took a huge step in his rehabilitation as a second-half substitute at King Power Stadium.

Collectively, it was an evening to forget for the club as Jürgen Klopp’s team were eliminated from the Carabao Cup at the third-round stage by a 2-0 defeat to the Foxes.

There was a silver lining for Ings on a personal level, however, with his appearance from the bench the culmination of months of hard work and mental strength in recovery.

“It was mixed emotions really,” he told Liverpoolfc.com. “You want to get the win and you want it to be the perfect night, getting minutes after the long road to recovery, but it wasn’t our night in the end.

“But on a personal note, it’s great to be back part of it, being around the lads and getting used to travelling away. It was good to be back and hopefully I can build on that.”

Ings had previously played five games and scored one goal for the U23s as Neil Critchley’s side have made a perfect start to their Premier League 2 campaign.

The Englishman has been grateful for the opportunity to build up match sharpness with the in-form young Reds, but admitted nothing compares to senior competitive football.

“Being with the U23s is great for me because after such a long time out it’s the perfect platform to build your fitness up in and get used to your surroundings on the pitch,” he said.

“Critch and all the staff and players down there have been great in helping me try to get to my best again.

“It’s a different scenario when you’re playing first-team football – the stadium’s full, you’ve got the atmosphere, you’ve got the adrenaline going through your body. To get that feeling back was probably the biggest thing for me because it’s what I’ve been craving for such a long time.

“Even though it was such a short spell on the pitch and we didn’t get the result, it was a positive in the steps I’m taking on a personal level.”

After two years of dreadful luck, Ings has no intention of looking too far ahead.

Instead, the 25-year-old is focused on putting himself in the finest shape possible to be of benefit to Klopp’s charges for the rest of the season.

He added: “It’s such a serious injury so you’ve got to take it day by day without setting too high expectations at this stage. It’s about getting fit and getting to the best that I can be.

“Once I feel like I’m at my best again, I’ll build on that. I think last year I probably put a bit too much pressure on myself to try and impress everybody straight away when I knew it was going to be a difficult road after overcoming a serious injury.

“This time, I want to do as well as I can for the team, for the club – but I’ve got to make sure I’m focused on getting in the best shape I can be in order to do so.”

Categories: LFC NEWS

'I've craved the feeling' - Danny Ings on his first-team return

LiverpoolFC TV - Wed, 20/09/2017 - 19:30
A positive for Liverpool on an otherwise frustrating night at Leicester City on Tuesday was the return to first-team action of Danny Ings after an 11-month absence.
Categories: LFC NEWS

Philippe Coutinho and Roberto Firmino named in Brazil squad for October qualifiers

ThisIsAnfield.com - Wed, 20/09/2017 - 18:29

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Liverpool duo Philippe Coutinho and Roberto Firmino have once again been named in Tite’s Brazil squad, ahead of October’s World Cup qualifiers.


The Selecao take on Bolivia (October 5) and Chile (October 11) as they round off their qualifying campaign despite already having booked their place in Russia for 2018.

Tite has led Brazil to 11 wins, four draws and a single loss in the CONMEBOL group so far, and he will be looking for his side to continue their emphatic form.

While Bolivia have nothing left to play for, Chile still need to secure points to ensure their qualification for next summer’s tournament.

This guarantees a competitive clash in Sao Paulo next month, and both Coutinho and Firmino can be expected to feature.

Coutinho has been involved in every Brazil squad since the start of 2016, while his Reds team-mate has now established himself following Tite’s appointment 15 months ago.

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Providing a useful alternative to Man City striker Gabriel Jesus, Firmino can hope for another productive international break, having started in last month’s 1-1 draw with Colombia.

The 25-year-old had been in every Liverpool starting lineup for the campaign until Tuesday night’s 2-0 loss to Leicester City in the League Cup third round, highlighting his importance to Jurgen Klopp.

And after a public flirtation with Barcelona, resulting in three failed bids from the Spanish club, Coutinho is now looking to reintegrate and work his way back to full fitness.

 Liverpool's Philippe Coutinho Correia during the Football League Cup 3rd Round match between Leicester City and Liverpool at the King Power Stadium. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

The hope will be that Coutinho and Firmino sit out of the clash with Bolivia, however, with the altitude in La Paz particularly draining.

Given Brazil are already qualified for the World Cup, Tite could shuffle his pack and include the likes of Fred, Diego Ribas and Diego Tardelli instead.

Coutinho and Firmino returned from the September international break on a private jet alongside City duo Jesus and Ederson, and Chelsea winger Willian, ensuring they made it back in good time.

This will likely be the case next month, too, as Klopp prepares his side for a home clash with Man United on October 14.

Before the international break, however, they will be required for upcoming clashes with Leicester (September 23), Spartak Moscow (September 26) and Newcastle United (October 1).

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Anger mismanagement: Liverpool’s repetitive failings and change for changes sake?

ThisIsAnfield.com - Wed, 20/09/2017 - 16:26

Early round League Cup games, are almost like international breaks. It’s football, but not as we know it. There is something vaguely unsettling about these games, no matter the outcome.

CHANGE FOR CHANGE SAKE

That said, eight changes to the starting line-up from Saturday against Burnley is stomach turning.

 Liverpool's manager Jürgen Klopp argues with the fourth official during the Football League Cup 3rd Round match between Leicester City and Liverpool at the King Power Stadium. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

The line-up against Burnley itself had seven changes from the team which had faced Sevilla last week. While there is the concept of rotation, we’ve gone for an extreme revolving door policy of late.

Yes, we have a lot of games to face, but the levels of change which have gone on to the team in the last few games haven’t helped our current situation. In certain parts of the pitch, we now need game-to-game continuity. It’s the only way we can possibly locate some cohesion.

Out of the League Cup, we’ve trimmed a handful of potential midweek fixtures from our ‘to do list’. Ragnar Klavan shouldn’t be anywhere near the pitch now. He wasn’t cataclysmically culpable in this one, but, for better, or worse, we need to play Joel Matip and Dejan Lovren game-in, game-out until January.

It’s our only hope of creating anything close to resembling cohesion in defence. If the individual parts are malfunctioning when being rotated in, and out of the side week-in, week-out, then they will only have a chance of improving if they are offered a degree of stability and continuity.

Unless there is a major injury epidemic, Danny Ward, Jon Flanagan, Marko Grujic, Danny Ings, and possibly Ben Woodburn aren’t going to figure again this side of the January transfer window opening.

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Some of that is for the best, while in other cases, it’s a massive shame. Ward deserves another go at some point, while Woodburn has also lost a source of valuable first team acclimatisation opportunities.

POSITIVES?

Not many. Ward could do nothing to stop either of the goals. He came to collect the ball, when the need arose, and he should be considered a genuine contender for Simon Mignolet’s place in the side.

 Liverpool's goalkeeper Danny Ward during the Football League Cup 3rd Round match between Leicester City and Liverpool at the King Power Stadium. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

We dominated the first half and had it not been for profligacy, then we perhaps win the game. The removal of Philippe Coutinho changed the complexion of the evening, in what was another questionable substitution by Jurgen Klopp. Either play him or don’t. 45 minutes gained us nothing.

Joe Gomez should leap-frog Klavan as the ‘next in line’ centre back. He may yet offer us a more cost-effective option there in the long-term. While if Klopp is tempted to go with three central defenders, then Gomez must be the choice.

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Andrew Robertson looked the part again.

Ings looked effusive from the bench. Highly unlikely to happen, but maybe it’s worth trying him in the role of ‘impact sub’ in the Premier League.

Dominic Solanke continues to put himself in the right positions. Goals will come.

WORRYING PATTERNS

 Liverpool's Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain looks dejected as his side lose 2-0 during the Football League Cup 3rd Round match between Leicester City and Liverpool at the King Power Stadium. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain was pretty awful on his full debut. Shocking at set-pieces, and habitually gave possession away. From his shoulders slumped final days at Arsenal, to his second-half introduction on an unforgiving day at Man City, there is cartoon rain cloud following him everywhere. This will take time to shake.

Jordan Henderson continues to shrink. We need leadership, and he isn’t supplying it. I’m a Henderson fan, I backed him from the beginning, and he will rise again, yet we need someone to step up and lead us into the strong winds we currently face.

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These are character building, and character shattering times. He needs to decide which way to go. We are reaching a fork in the road, but there are no obvious candidates to take the role on, should Henderson’s character shatter.

WHAT ARE WE LOOKING TO ACHIEVE?

Collectively, beggars can’t be choosers. By the end of this season, it will be six years since we last won a trophy, yet we also have a bigger picture to look at. Essentially, Liverpool FC would be better off if the League Cup became extinct.

I don’t say that lightly. Some of the very best days I’ve had following Liverpool at home and abroad, have come from the League Cup. The lack of respect clubs show toward it is painful to see. We might be the most successful team in its history, but we might well be better off without the League Cup permanently.

Premier League and Champions League. The first half of our season is now clearly defined. Stay in touch with the leaders domestically, and do enough to ensure we have Champions League football in the spring.

Rest assured, despite the continuing conundrums, despite the omnipresent ponderables, the mist will clear before too long, and when we start to fly again, we will need there to be horizons to chase.

The anger you’re feeling is natural, but it’s also potentially destructive. The deep breath I suggested after the draw with Burnley still applies now.

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Categories: LFC NEWS

Philippe Coutinho shortlisted for FIFA FIFPro World11

LiverpoolFC TV - Wed, 20/09/2017 - 15:23
Philippe Coutinho has been shortlisted for the FIFA FIFPro World11 for 2017.
Categories: LFC NEWS

Philippe Coutinho shortlisted for FIFA FIFPro World11

LiverpoolFC.TV - Wed, 20/09/2017 - 15:23

Philippe Coutinho has been shortlisted for the FIFA FIFPro World11 for 2017.

The Liverpool attacker is one of 55 players – comprised of five goalkeepers, 20 defenders, 15 midfielders and 15 strikers – nominated to feature in the line-up.

Taking into account performances during the 2016-17 season, the best XI in a 4-3-3 formation will be decided by the votes of more than 24,000 professional footballers around the world.

Coutinho was the Reds’ top scorer last term, bagging 13 Premier League goals as Jürgen Klopp’s side secured Champions League qualification with a top-four finish.

The FIFA FIFPro World11 will be announced on Monday October 23.

Categories: LFC NEWS

'Klopp has big problem at Liverpool'

Liverpool FC on Sky Sports - Wed, 20/09/2017 - 13:30

Last Updated: 20/09/17 5:24pm

Alan McInally says Liverpool boss Jurgen Klopp must feel 'utterly deflated' after his side dominated Leicester but still lost 2-0

Jurgen Klopp has a big problem at Liverpool after his team were beaten 2-0 at Leicester in the Carabao Cup on Tuesday, says Alan McInally.

Liverpool dominated possession and shots on target during the match, but were knocked out of the competition as goals from Shinji Okazaki and Islam Slimani secured Leicester's passage to the last 16.

Speaking on Sky Sports News on Wednesday, McInally said: "Liverpool have a problem putting the ball in the back of the net.

"Complete and utter dominance they had in the first half but they can't put teams away. It's a big problem for him (Klopp).

Shinji Okazaki celebrates after firing the Foxes in frontShinji Okazaki celebrates after firing the Foxes in front Shinji Okazaki celebrates after firing the Foxes in front

"I said at the time, he must be utterly deflated, Jurgen Klopp. Your team can look so good but go in at half-time 0-0.

"And when he substituted Philippe Coutinho at half-time, Liverpool didn't look anywhere near as threatening.

"He had an opportunity with the transfer window to strengthen the football team."

But McInally believes there is still light at the end of the tunnel for Klopp, whose side are without a win since beating Arsenal 4-0 in August.

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"Danny Ings was on the bench last night and he came on in the second half," said McInally. "Once Ings gets his fitness, he might make a difference and they are definitely missing (suspended) Sadio Mane - that's massive."

He added: "And I don't think they are ruthless enough in the final third. They have to be as ruthless as Man City and Man Utd in scoring goals.

"The amount of chances they had and the possession they had, when they go in at half-time, they probably thought 'we'll still win this'."

Another guest on Sky Sports News, Shay Given, highlighted Liverpool's defensive issues, with the Reds conceding 10 goals in their last four games.

Liverpool's failure to sign Virgil van Dijk during the summer is proving costly for Jurgen Klopp, says Sky Sports pundit Shay Given

The former Newcastle, Manchester City and Stoke goalkeeper said: "It was well-documented they wanted to sign Virgil van Dijk in the summer but didn't.

"But you would have thought a club the size of Liverpool would have had a plan B.

"There should be another centre-half in Europe, or the world, they could have got because it's clear from the goals, from last season and this season, they are conceding and even Klopp says he's sick of the same goals week-in, week-out.

"But now they'll have to work on it on the training ground, as there is no magic wand. The window's closed and there's no Van Dijk.

"They'll have to be more dominant (in defence). Someone will have to step up. No one seems to take control of the situation."

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Categories: LFC NEWS

Watch live LFC training from Melwood

LiverpoolFC TV - Wed, 20/09/2017 - 13:03
Watch live coverage from Liverpool's training session on Wednesday afternoon via our official Facebook page and here on Liverpoolfc.com.
Categories: LFC NEWS

Watch live LFC training from Melwood

LiverpoolFC.TV - Wed, 20/09/2017 - 13:03

Watch live coverage from Liverpool's training session on Wednesday afternoon via our official Facebook page and here on Liverpoolfc.com.

The Reds return to Melwood to begin preparations for their second meeting with Leicester City of the week – in the Premier League this Saturday evening.

See how Jürgen Klopp’s charges start their work towards a strong response following Tuesday’s Carabao Cup defeat against the Foxes in our stream from the training ground.

Tune in from around 2.15pm BST by clicking here to visit the official Liverpool FC Facebook page or accessing the free LFCTV GO feed below…

Categories: LFC NEWS

Watch live LFC training from Melwood at 2pm BST

LiverpoolFC TV - Wed, 20/09/2017 - 13:03
Watch live coverage from Liverpool's training session on Wednesday afternoon via our official Facebook page and here on Liverpoolfc.com.
Categories: LFC NEWS

Watch live LFC training from Melwood at 2pm BST

LiverpoolFC.TV - Wed, 20/09/2017 - 13:03

Watch live coverage from Liverpool's training session on Wednesday afternoon via our official Facebook page and here on Liverpoolfc.com.

The Reds return to Melwood to begin preparations for their second meeting with Leicester City of the week – in the Premier League this Saturday evening.

See how Jürgen Klopp’s charges start their work towards a strong response following Tuesday’s Carabao Cup defeat against the Foxes in our stream from the training ground.

Tune in from around 2pm BST by clicking here to visit the official Liverpool FC Facebook page or accessing the free LFCTV GO feed below…

Categories: LFC NEWS

Why League Cup exit is bad news for these 6 Liverpool players

ThisIsAnfield.com - Wed, 20/09/2017 - 13:00
Lack of playing time & final bows

 Liverpool's goalkeeper Danny Ward during the Football League Cup 3rd Round match between Leicester City and Liverpool at the King Power Stadium. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

The best thing going for England’s second-biggest domestic cup, aside from actually winning it, is that it allows youngsters and back-up players an opportunity for playing time.

With the Premier League and Champions League always likely to see Klopp field his key men – arguably the FA Cup as well, to a lesser extent – it is also a competition ideal for ensuring a freshness within the squad.

Tuesday’s defeat suddenly deprives individuals of an opportunity this season, and you have to wonder how much they will feature.

Danny Ward enjoyed a confident night between the sticks, but is Klopp really going to use him at all now, apart from in the FA Cup? It seems very unlikely with Simon Mignolet and Loris Karius around, even though he did impress.

It’s tough on the Welshman, who could have been loaned out in the summer but will now not play again until January.

Marko Grujic is another who has struggled for playing time ever since joining Liverpool, and that looks set to be the case again now.

With Can, Jordan Henderson, Gini Wijnaldum and Philippe Coutinho all stronger options in midfield, and Adam Lallana on the verge of a return, it is hard to see where he can make an impact in the coming months.

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 Liverpool's Marko Grujic in action against Tranmere Rovers during a preseason friendly match at Prenton Park. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

Ben Woodburn is one of the most exciting youngsters we have seen at Anfield since Steven Gerrard burst onto the scene, but he is unlikely to get first-team exposure any time soon.

At 17, it is still a risk throwing him into league and European fixtures, which means he will feature predominantly for the Under-23s this season.

And what about Jon Flanagan and Danny Ings? Have they played their final matches for the Reds? They certainly won’t be back in any squad anytime soon.

 Liverpool's Jon Flanagan looks dejected as his side lose 2-0 during the Football League Cup 3rd Round match between Leicester City and Liverpool at the King Power Stadium. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

Flanagan looked horrendously off the pace against Leicester, and with all due respect to a very likeable player, the thought of him playing in a more high-profile match is worrying.

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Ings made a very pleasing return to first-team action in the second-half, following horrendous luck with back-to-back cruciate ligament injuries.

He has more chance of playing a part than Flanagan, but Firmino, Daniel Sturridge and Dominic Solanke are all comfortably ahead of him in the pecking order.

Spare a thought for Lazar Markovic, too, who has to go down as one of the most forgotten Liverpool players in recent memory.

He was on the substitutes’ bench on Tuesday, but it is clear he has no future on Merseyside. He, like a number of others, will now be counting down the days to January hoping for a loan move.

The way in which the Leicester defeat has impacted on some players is the biggest downside to exiting the League Cup, and you have to feel some sympathy for them given that they performed well and the more established players were the ones who failed to produce, again.

Categories: LFC NEWS

Grujic: We need to reproduce first-half performance on Saturday

LiverpoolFC TV - Wed, 20/09/2017 - 12:05
Marko Grujic expects Liverpool to exact revenge on Leicester City when the sides meet again this weekend should they reproduce their first-half performance during Tuesday evening's League Cup defeat.
Categories: LFC NEWS

Grujic: We need to reproduce first-half performance on Saturday

LiverpoolFC.TV - Wed, 20/09/2017 - 12:05

Marko Grujic expects Liverpool to exact revenge on Leicester City when the sides meet again this weekend should they reproduce their first-half performance during Tuesday evening's League Cup defeat.

Jürgen Klopp's side were the dominant force in the first 45 minutes at the King Power Stadium but some dogged defending from the Foxes ensured the scores remained level at the break.

The value of that defensive showing became evident in the second period as the much-improved hosts netted through Shinji Okazaki and Islam Slimani to claim a place in the fourth round.

Reflecting on the game, Grujic told Liverpoolfc.com: "We played very well first half, created a lot of chances, but we didn't score unluckily for us. 

"We kept trying to do the same in the second half but, again, set-pieces [cost us]; a throw-in, we weren't in a good position and Leicester scored a really nice goal."

The Serbian midfielder, who played 90 minutes in his first start of the season, is now focused on Liverpool getting even when they return to the same venue for a Premier League contest on Saturday.

He added: "We have to not let our heads drop and focus on Saturday - the same pitch, the same opponent - we have to concentrate on the Premier League and the other cups.

"If we play again the same way as in the first half today and be more concentrated and score some chances, we will win on Saturday.

"It's a good thing for us, we create a lot. But we need to concentrate and score."

Categories: LFC NEWS

Continued problems in both boxes raises questions on Klopp’s methods – Media on Leicester 2-0 Liverpool

ThisIsAnfield.com - Wed, 20/09/2017 - 11:42

 Liverpool's Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain looks dejected after missing a chance during the Football League Cup 3rd Round match between Leicester City and Liverpool at the King Power Stadium. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

On this, the Guardian’s Stuart James wrote:

The Carabao Cup is anything but a priority for Klopp, especially given the demands of the Champions League, but it still felt alarming to see Liverpool, for whom Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain made his first start since joining from Arsenal, inexplicably lose their way in the second half.

ESPN’s Dave Usher labelled the manner of the Reds’ exit “not acceptable”

A side that hasn’t won silverware for five years cannot afford to turn its nose up at any trophy, and going out with a whimper like this is simply not acceptable. The second-half performance was abject.

Writing for Goal.com, Melissa Reddy bemoaned Liverpool’s failings at both ends:

Again, the story centres around a lack of excellence in both boxes, with the Reds boss admitting he was “sick” by the way his side continue to concede goals that can be avoided.

Disagreeing with Klopp’s recent assessment, the Liverpool Echo’s James Pearce believes a lack of defensive quality, rather than concentration, is costing the Reds:

Klopp is adamant it’s about lapses in concentration rather than a lack of quality but the evidence increasingly suggests otherwise.

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[…]

Klopp’s faith in the personnel he opted to stick by this summer simply isn’t being repaid with performances on the field.

However, This Is Anfield’s Karl Matchett found a ray of light in the promising partnership between Andy Robertson and Philippe Coutinho:

Back into the starting lineup, Robertson showcased his big strengths on the ball by delivering cross after cross into dangerous zones, at least one of which really should have resulted in a goal.

Coutinho was constantly wandering infield, linking play and looking to get his usual long-range shots at goal, leaving space for his overlapping left-back to exploit—and that’s exactly what Robertson was happy to do.

After seeing Liverpool fall foul of the same problems once again, reporters were heavily critical of Klopp for failing to spark improvement – with some journalists now questioning the German’s methods.

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 Liverpool's manager Jürgen Klopp reacts after TSG 1899 Hoffenheim's first goal during the UEFA Champions League Play-Off 2nd Leg match between Liverpool and TSG 1899 Hoffenheim at Anfield. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

The Telegraph’s Sam Wallace wrote:

This was Klopp’s team’s fourth successive game without a victory, and while defeat in the Carabao Cup third round is not the season’s worst outcome for Liverpool it does pose uncomfortable questions about the recruitment and gameplan so early in the season.

The Independent’s Evan Bartlett thought Klopp’s selection of senior players smacked of a man feeling the pressure:

Did Jurgen Klopp really want to win the Carabao Cup? Or was he trying to use Tuesday night’s third-round game to try and play his side into some sort of form after three consecutive drab results?

Either way the German was clearly feeling the heat when he named the likes of Jordan Henderson, Coutinho and Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain in a relatively strong starting XI.

The BBC’s Alex Bysouth felt the decision to substitute Coutinho changed the game:

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Coutinho, having returned to the Liverpool side for the 1-1 draw with Burnley on Saturday, was by far the best player on the pitch in the first half as he sauntered between the lines to dictate the tempo of the Reds’ attacks.

[…]

But Liverpool boss Jurgen Klopp opted to replace Coutinho with Ben Woodburn at the break and, despite some impressive running from the 17-year-old Wales international, Liverpool lost their flow.

ESPN’s Mark Ogden criticised Klopp for failing to improve Liverpool defensively at any time during his tenure:

Klopp may be “sick” of seeing his team concede such goals but as a former defender, when will he do something about it?

[…]

But Liverpool simply cannot defend properly and that is down to Klopp’s tactics, selection and recruitment.

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And Ogden was also critical of Klopp’s recruitment, assessing the German hasn’t made enough signings in the areas most in need:

Quite simply, he has not recruited the commanding centre-half and dominant midfielder that Liverpool have required for years, instead spending on the likes of Salah and Mane: both have been astute buys but arguably not as important as the missing links in the defensive half of the team.

And Ogden later gave clear indication on what he feels Liverpool need:

A defensive leader in the mould of van Dijk would bring organisation and leadership to the back line, just as a more dynamic midfielder than Jordan Henderson would inspire those around him and provide a more solid shield for the defenders.

Pearce believes it’s vital Klopp quickly restores belief before the mini-slump turns into something worse:

The Reds’ post-international break blip is in danger of becoming something much more serious. Klopp has to earn his corn by quickly repairing battered belief and instilling greater organisation.

The media offered mixed views on individual performances, with Robertson and Dominic Solanke earning praise but criticism coming for plenty of others – including Alex-Oxlade Chamberlain.

 Liverpool's Andy Robertson during the Football League Cup 3rd Round match between Leicester City and Liverpool at the King Power Stadium. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

Bartlett felt Robertson showed why he should be first choice at left-back:

Tonight he showed exactly why he deserves an extended run in the team, finding lots of joy going forward and whipping several wonderful deliveries in that his teammates really should have finished off, particularly early on.

The Mirror’s Joe Mewis was among those to see potential in Solanke:

Tonight saw Dominic Solanke make his first-ever start in senior English domestic football and, while he was a willing runner and hard worker, sometimes struggled to impose himself on the Leicester defence.

[…]

There’s no denying his potential though and every minute he gets under his belt will serve Liverpool well in the future.

The Liverpool Echo’s Ian Doyle praised Joe Gomez for proving himself an adequate centre-back option:

In the first half in particular, Gomez was excellent, his strength underlined early on when, after losing out to Islam Slimani, he swiftly outmuscled the Leicester striker to regain possession.

[…]

If there’s one positive to be taken from the evening, it’s that Gomez has now become a centre-back option.

This Is Anfield’s James Nalton was impressed with Danny Ward, and feels the keeper presented a case to be No.1:

Catching crosses, coming out of his area to clear up loose balls and distributing the ball quickly enough to please even the most impatient fan—it was a good performance from a goalkeeper who has an argument to be No. 1 for both club and country.

 Liverpool's Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain during the Football League Cup 3rd Round match between Leicester City and Liverpool at the King Power Stadium. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

However, Doyle questioned Oxlade-Chamberlain’s fitness:

Oxlade-Chamberlain, so keen to impress, was guilty of overdoing it with the flicks and tricks, a disappointing display hampered by poor decision-making and, perhaps most alarmingly, the fact he didn’t look anywhere near as in shape as his team-mates.

Usher was unimpressed with Jordan Henderson, criticising the captain’s lack of leadership:

Nowhere near good enough from the captain. Didn’t do anything to drive his team on, was sloppy with some of his passing and was nowhere to be seen for Leicester’s opening goal. When Liverpool needed leadership, he offered none.

And finally, This Is Anfield’s Henry Jackson thought Jon Flanagan showed he is no longer good enough for Liverpool:

The 24-year-old started at right-back as Klopp rotated his squad, but he was nowhere near good enough in all facets of his play.

On the ball, he looked a long way short of top quality, and his pace and attacking thrust was non-existent.

Categories: LFC NEWS

Jurgen Klopp explains Philippe Coutinho’s half-time substitution

ThisIsAnfield.com - Wed, 20/09/2017 - 11:28

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Liverpool boss Jurgen Klopp defended his decision to substitute Philippe Coutinho but admitted he has been left feeling “sick” by the Reds after their League Cup exit at Leicester.


The Foxes dumped Liverpool out in the third round after Shinji Okazaki and Islam Slimani scored to clinch a 2-0 win at the King Power Stadium on Tuesday.

It came after the visitors dominated the first half as Coutinho, Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain and Dominic Solanke missed fine chances.

Coutinho was withdrawn at the break as he builds fitness after an interrupted opening to the season, where Liverpool rejected several bids from Barcelona.

It upset Liverpool’s momentum but Klopp insisted the Brazil international was always down to come off.

“That was the plan before the game. He needs match time but it was not the plan to let him play again 60 or 70 or 80 minutes,” said Klopp.

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“Forty five is the limit. We need to get him fit but we cannot push him through.”

But Klopp insisted he was fed up after Liverpool let Leicester off the hook and hit out at their defending.

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“After the first goal you saw the heads from Leicester went up, that was a bigger difference. The game changes in moments like this, you have the chance to do it by yourself or sometimes you are on the wrong side and that’s how it is.

“But that we concede like this, that makes me really, really sick.

“We are still a good football team, I see it, but unfortunately it doesn’t feel (like that) at the moment because it’s a cup competition.

“We wanted to go into the next round and nobody is interested who plays the better in the first half.”

Liverpool return to the King Power Stadium in the Premier League on Saturday and Klopp said he will forget about Tuesday’s defeat.

“I lost more games in my life and in the morning I am fine but yes, we will come back, and I will be in better shape,” he said.

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Leicester boss Craig Shakespeare added: “I was delighted to get in at half-time and then delighted to see Coutinho had gone off which was one of the main contributions to us.”


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Liverpool loanee Divock Origi nets his first goal for Wolfsburg

ThisIsAnfield.com - Wed, 20/09/2017 - 10:54

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In his third game on loan with Wolfsburg, and his first under a new manager, Divock Origi scored his first Bundesliga goal on Tuesday night.


Origi made his third consecutive start for the Lower Saxony outfit against Werder Bremen, as Martin Schmidt kicked off his reign at the Volkswagen Arena.

The Swiss manager took over from the departing Andries Jonker on Monday, sparking fears of the regime change affecting Origi’s opportunities while on loan.

But the Belgian led the line in Schmidt’s inaugural starting lineup at Wolfsburg, with Paul-Georges Ntep, Daniel Didavi and Yunus Malli supporting in a 4-2-3-1 setup.

With Mario Gomez ruled out with an ankle injury, and Wolfsburg’s reserve options being 20-year-old Landry Dimata and 18-year-old Victor Osimhen, the pressure is on Origi to perform.

And it took the on-loan Reds striker just 28 minutes to put his side ahead against Bremen, racing onto Ntep’s sweeping cross to convert from close range.

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Origi played the full 90 minutes, and will have been disappointed to not find the back of the net again.

Only Malli (five) fired more shots on goal than the 22-year-old (four), and no player found the target more than Origi (three).

Unfortunately, Bremen equalised in the second half through Fin Bartels, with Origi yet to taste victory with his loan club.

 Liverpool's substitute Divock Origi during the FA Premier League match between Watford and Liverpool at Vicarage Road. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

Origi joined Wolfsburg in search of a “new challenge,” with a view to returning to the fold for Liverpool in the future.

“I see the chance for me to develop further here,” he said at the beginning of September.

“I like football, so I know the Bundesliga and Wolfsburg. I love this competition and I am really looking forward to playing in the Bundesliga.”

With draws against Bremen and Hannover 96, and a 1-0 loss to VfL Stuttgart, the German top flight has already presented Origi with a series of challenges.

Most importantly, perhaps, is the task of ensuring he remains a key part of Schmidt’s plans, with the former Mainz 05 manager a major proponent of hard work and fast-paced attacks.

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Given his upbringing under Jurgen Klopp, this should be a simple transition for Origi—and, arguably, a better primer for his future at Anfield.

Breaking his Bundesliga duck will be hugely encouraging, too, and Wolfsburg’s No. 14 can now target a continued run of goals as he looks to push his side up the table under Schmidt.


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#LFCinIndia: Liverpool FC to attend PL Live Bengaluru

LiverpoolFC TV - Wed, 20/09/2017 - 10:30
Liverpool FC has today confirmed it will be attending the official Premier League Live (PL Live) event in Bengaluru, hosting an interactive LFC experience.
Categories: LFC NEWS

#LFCinIndia: Liverpool FC to attend PL Live Bengaluru

LiverpoolFC.TV - Wed, 20/09/2017 - 10:30

Liverpool FC has today confirmed it will be attending the official Premier League Live (PL Live) event in Bengaluru, hosting an interactive LFC experience.

The free event designed for fans of all ages will take place at KTPO, Whitefield, Bengaluru from October 14 to 15, where supporters will be able to meet club legend John Barnes and enjoy fun activities in the LFC tent.

The Reds will be hosting a number of unique opportunities for Indian fans to get involved with the club and sample the Anfield experience in and around the two-day event, including LFC International Academy coaching clinics for local young supporters, exclusive competitions to win a host of exclusive LFC prizes and opportunities to have a photo taken against iconic Anfield backdrops.

Fans will also be able to watch Liverpool v Manchester United, on a giant screen at the event on Saturday October 14 at 5.30pm, surrounded by fellow passionate supporters.

Other activities at Premier League Live will include:

  • Live entertainment – live screening of five Premier League matches and local music acts and DJs.
  • Premier League 360 – through Virtual Reality headsets fans can experience the excitement of a Premier League matchday. From arriving at the stadium to the players stepping onto the pitch to the roar of the crowds.
  • The Kick Lab – fans can measure their kicking speed and accuracy and compare with Premier League players.
  • Striker Sprint – invites fans to sprint the length of a specially-made track, avoiding obstacles to finish in the fastest time possible.
  • Premier League Trophy Tour – an immersive zone that gives fans an educational and entertaining Premier League experience and the opportunity for a photo with the Premier League trophy.
  • My Premier League – photo booths that will create your own personalised Topps playing card.
  • Shirt names and numbers – fans can bring their club shirt to be printed with a Premier League player’s name for free.

Fans should pre-register for Premier League Live Bengaluru at www.premierleague.com/pllive and admission on the day will be on a first come, first served basis.

For further detail on Liverpool FC activities, please visit https://tinyurl.com/yc3d8lnv.

Categories: LFC NEWS

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