Liverpool U23s' match against Brighton & Hove Albion has been postponed.
The Premier League 2 game was scheduled to take place at the Academy on Friday but has been called off due to a frozen pitch.
Rearranged fixture details will be confirmed on Liverpoolfc.com in due course.
Mohamed Salah has clinched a fifth consecutive Liverpool Goal of the Month award this season for his counter-attack strike at West Ham United in January.
The Egyptian sealed a stunning breakaway by the Reds at London Stadium when he perfectly controlled Xherdan Shaqiri’s looping pass into the box and deftly finished for his second goal of a 3-1 win in the Premier League.
The clinical move received the most votes in our Goal of the Month poll here on Liverpoolfc.com, maintaining Salah’s run of winning the prize every month so far this term.
Indeed, the No.11 took second and third place too on this occasion, for his opening goal against West Ham and sublime dink at Manchester United respectively.
Trent Alexander-Arnold’s driven hit against Tottenham Hotspur was fourth and Georginio Wijnaldum’s conversion past the Hammers was fifth.
LFC Goal of the Month winners 2020-21
September: Mohamed Salah (v Leeds United)
October: Mohamed Salah (v Everton)
November: Mohamed Salah (v Atalanta BC)
December: Mohamed Salah (v Crystal Palace)
January: Mohamed Salah (v West Ham United)
The football world came together in support of Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp after news emerged on Wednesday that his mother had passed away in January.
The boss is a universally respected figure in the game, for his outgoing personality and emphasis on his players’ well-being as much for his expertise in the job.
Klopp has often been seen in press conferences or interviews displaying compassion towards others, whether they have anything to do with Liverpool or not, and that has been repaid to him from many corners.
Our boss paid tribute to his late mother and the club Twitter account issued a simple statement of support, representative as being from the supporters and the club as a whole.
On the pitch, Liverpool have plenty of rivals, but off it, those same opponents largely came together to send messages of support and well-wishing to Klopp.
?? Heartfelt condolences to Jürgen and his family, from everyone at United. https://t.co/1L7o2uHCHy
— Manchester United (@ManUtd) February 10, 2021
Everyone at City sends our thoughts and condolences to Jürgen and family ? https://t.co/i8yIIXGNVc
— Manchester City (@ManCity) February 10, 2021
Sending strength and support to Jurgen and all of the Klopp family at this difficult time, from all at Arsenal ??
Unser Herzliches Beileid und Mitgefühl zum Tode Jürgen Klopp’s Mutter.
— FC Barcelona (@FCBarcelona) February 10, 2021
Our thoughts are with you, Kloppo! ?? https://t.co/2MGe7Mt3aK
— Mainz 05 English (@Mainz05en) February 10, 2021
Our thoughts and condolences are with you, Jürgen ?
— Tottenham Hotspur (@SpursOfficial) February 10, 2021
We would like to send our love to Jürgen Klopp and his family during these difficult times.
— Atlético de Madrid (@atletienglish) February 10, 2021
Our thoughts are with you, Jürgen ??
— West Ham United (@WestHam) February 10, 2021
Everyone at Wolves offers our thoughts and sympathies to Jurgen and his loved ones. ?
— Wolves (@Wolves) February 10, 2021
You’re in our thoughts, Jürgen. ?
— Fulham Football Club (@FulhamFC) February 10, 2021
Condolences. My thoughts are with you ??
— Raheem Sterling (@sterling7) February 10, 2021
These were by no means all of the messages of condolences sent and it’s indicative of the standing that Klopp has in the game that so many opponents, former clubs and even simple admirers stood beside him.
There were also countless thousands of messages of support from everyday fans of other clubs, many of whom shared their own stories of loss in recent times.
The world of football isn’t always a place of togetherness – in some ways that’s what makes it so exciting to be a part of, with competitive rivalry – but when it really counts, it has also shown an ability to show a respectful and sensitive side.
Our thoughts remain with Jurgen and all the supporters who have similarly suffered, be they fans of Liverpool or other clubs.
Former Liverpool playmaker Philippe Coutinho continues to have a tough time at Barcelona and reports have been mixed over whether there’s more money to come.
The Brazilian left in 2018 for the Camp Nou club in a deal worth up to €145 million, with various add-ons making up that total.
Part of those add-ons come from total appearances, paid at staggered intervals, which were interrupted when Coutinho went on loan to Bayern Munich. There he won the Champions League, scoring against and beating Barca along the way, before he resumed his Camp Nou career for 2020/21.
He has played 14 times this season for the Catalan outfit and is currently out until March with an injury – but upon his return, he won’t be considered for selection.
That’s according to local Catalan media outlet Onze, who say Barca’s priority is to save, not spend, as they are facing financial ruin.
The next payment, they say, is due in seven appearances, which would trigger another €5 million payment – but this has been reported in different fashion elsewhere.
Clearly, there are crossed wires somewhere, and as far as Liverpool’s finances go it appears certain they have received all or nearly all the money which was negotiated by Michael Edwards.
The Sport version of events has been widely dismissed by subsequent reports and it appeared that, after Barcelona reached the quarter-finals of the Champions League last season, there was just one final appearance-based payments to be made.
Most accounts suggested it was a payment every 15 games he featured in, meaning the 90-game marker would be the sixth and final batch.
In fairly typical fashion to sum up both his and Barcelona’s fortunes since the transfer, Coutinho’s 90th appearance for the club was a 24-minute outing in a 1-1 draw with Eibar.
Coutinho has yet to play in 2021, Barcelona have revealed debts of around €1 billion and a restructuring of the entire club is likely to take place this year, starting with the upcoming presidential elections.
Generous fans have given Liverpool FC’s official charity a £10,000 boost by supporting its annual Foundation Day.
LFC Foundation creates life-changing opportunities for children and young people and their families across the Liverpool City Region and beyond.
Foundation Day, now in its sixth year, is an opportunity to showcase the positive impact of the charity’s work in the local community and around the world.
This year’s Foundation Day was celebrated at last Sunday's Premier League game between the Reds and Manchester City at Anfield. Jürgen Klopp's squad wore LFC Foundation-branded warm-up tops and there was a special edition Foundation Day matchday programme.
Fans were invited to support by donating £5 to a dedicated LFC Foundation Day online Just Giving page, and via an online eBay auction for the chance to own a piece of LFC memorabilia.
During the COVID-19 pandemic, the need for support from the Foundation has been stronger than ever before.
Over the last 12 months, the club’s surrounding communities have needed an extra helping hand with food provision, reducing social isolation and the promotion of physical and mental wellbeing.
The £10,000 raised through Foundation Day will be used towards the 'Unity Is Strength' community response to the pandemic - a package of support services and activities to directly address the most immediate issues facing communities. The initiative is delivered by Liverpool FC, its community team Red Neighbours and LFC Foundation.
Four key areas of response work being tackled by the Foundation during the pandemic include food poverty, social isolation, physical and mental wellbeing and volunteering. The charity is also running its weekly schedule of community programmes, which continue virtually and in person when possible.
Matt Parish, LFC Foundation director, said: “Foundation Day is a real highlight in our fundraising calendar. It gives us an incredible platform to shine the spotlight on the club's charity and the real difference it continues to make at grassroots level. A big thank you to fans, both at home and further afield, who have supported this year’s special day.
“The last 12 months have been a real challenge, but we continue to strive to adapt our programmes to make the most impact in our communities. As the club’s official charity, we do things 'the Liverpool way', always striving to uphold the club’s values of ambition, unity, dignity, and commitment.”
Liverpool FC Women were in training on Wednesday as they prepare for their next FA Women's Championship fixture.
The Reds host Coventry United Ladies at Prenton Park in a 2pm GMT kick-off this Sunday.
After a 2-2 draw with Charlton Athletic last time out, LFC Women will be aiming to register their first win of 2021.
Take a look at their ongoing preparations for the visit of Coventry in our gallery below...
Photos by John Powell
Liverpool have been ordered to pay Fulham a record compensation fee for a 16-year-old following Harvey Elliott's transfer to the club in 2019.
Once add-on clauses are met, Fulham could receive a fee in the region of £4m and have also inserted a substantial sell on clause, understood to be 20 per cent.
The west London club said in a statement they were "very pleased" with the outcome made by the Professional Football Compensation Committee.
A decision has been made regarding the compensation due to Fulham following Harvey Elliott's move to Liverpool.
The award is a record amount for a 16-year-old and, in the circumstances, Fulham is very pleased and thanks the PFCC for its careful consideration of our case.#FFC— Fulham Football Club (@FulhamFC) February 10, 2021
Liverpool are set to pay an initial £1.5m for Elliott, plus £2.8m in contingent amounts dependent on the player's performance.
A club statement read: "Liverpool Football Club respects the outcome of the PFCC's fair and thorough process in this matter.
"We would like to thank the panel for their time and diligence in reaching a decision.
"We now look forward to welcoming Harvey back from his loan spell with Blackburn Rovers in the summer and helping him continue to build towards a long and successful career at Anfield."Image: Harvey Elliott is currently on loan at Blackburn and has scored four goals and provided eight assists in 22 Championship appearances
Liverpool signed Elliott as a 16-year-old in the summer of 2019 but the two clubs could not agree on a compensation fee and the transfer had to be referred to a tribunal.
The Premier League champions had reportedly offered around £750,000 for Elliott, while Fulham wanted around £8m for the highly-rated winger.
For Fulham to receive the full compensation fee, it is believed Elliott would have to make over 100 appearances for Liverpool and be capped at senior level by England.
Elliott is currently on a season-long loan at Championship club Blackburn Rovers, where has scored four goals and provided eight assists in 22 appearances.
He has also made nine appearances for Liverpool since joining the club and holds the record for being the youngest ever Premier League player, having made his debut for Fulham in 2019 at just 16 years and 30 days old.
Vitezslav Jaros' loan move to the Irish Premier Division was the culmination of three Academy transfers designed to create pathways for each goalkeeper involved.
Liverpool stopper Jaros sealed a switch to St Patrick’s Athletic last week, where he will spend the duration of a league season that begins next month and runs until November.
The Czech, an FA Youth Cup winner with the Reds two years ago, is expected to gain invaluable experience in senior professional football during his stay at Richmond Park.
Jaros will be working with St Pat’s goalkeeping coach Pat Jennings Jr. – son of the Northern Ireland great of the same name – in an environment chosen especially to aid his progress arc.
With a regular schedule of fixtures to rely upon, the 19-year-old can be challenged and improved in the kind of competitive arena youth football cannot match.
“He needs exactly that,” U23s goalkeeping coach Mark Morris told Liverpoolfc.com. “Any sort of goalkeeper, they need to find a rhythm playing.
“There’s no substitute for playing. We can do all the training sessions we want and if you’re not playing regular football then it doesn’t really matter.
“So, for me, it’s a great opportunity – and for the club it’s a great opportunity – for him to go out there, find the rhythm, play in some men’s football where it counts.
“There’s three points at the end of the day and there’s people in the dressing room next to you who have got bills to pay and mortgages to pay on the fact of three points. So it’s real football.”
Jaros penned a new long-term contract with Liverpool last summer and was named on the first-team bench for three Champions League matches during the first half of 2020-21.
He will take the next step in his career when St Pat’s kick off their new campaign with a trip to the reigning Irish Premier Division champions, Shamrock Rovers, on March 19.
That switch was preceded by an in and an out in the Academy goalkeeping ranks.
Ben Winterbottom’s desire to grasp a chance offered by Championship side Brentford brought an end to his two years in Kirkby last month.
The former Blackburn Rovers ‘keeper originally joined the Reds in the spring of 2019 to fulfil a role that has become a reliable catalyst for further opportunities.
“Ben came in originally from Blackburn as a training ‘keeper,” explained Morris. “What we have at the club, we like to have ‘keepers in and around every session, basically to get the session running as it should run, for realism and everything.
“So for the last three or four years, maybe five years, we’ve carried one or two training ‘keepers.”
The niche position has consistently been mutually beneficial to both player and club, with previous incumbents Andy Firth, Lawrence Vigouroux and Kai McKenzie-Lyle now representing Glasgow Rangers, Leyton Orient and Cambridge United respectively.
Winterbottom’s own avenue arrived in the form of a move to Brentford’s B Team, with the gratitude and well wishes of everyone he worked with at Liverpool.
“It’s a sort of little gap that these lads come in, they are free transfers that are coming to us, they get decent training but their standards are raised because of the players they are training with,” continued Morris.
“They are training at a high standard – they have to – so they have managed to go on and do bigger and better things.
“The opportunity came for Ben to go and play. His games were very limited at Liverpool; he knew where he was, he knew his role. We have got boys we have brought in, like Kuba [Ojrzynski], like Vit, like Marcelo [Pitaluga], who would play before Ben. And he knew the situation.
“A fantastic kid, never missed a day’s training, rolled himself out, got frustrated at times – which is only right, nobody likes to just train all week, they want to play – but he knew his position.
“But when the opportunity came and he came and spoke to me and spoke to the club, first and foremost if it was right for the club then we wouldn’t stand in his way.”
Winterbottom’s departure opened up a vacancy that has now been filled by Northern Ireland U21 international Liam Hughes.
Hughes made his senior league debut for Portadown at the age of 15, before joining Dungannon Swifts and then Glasgow Celtic in February 2018.
In addition to his Liverpool duties, Morris serves as U19s goalkeeping coach for Northern Ireland and it was in those sessions that he crossed paths with Hughes.
“I knew of him, I knew he fits the profile of what we’re looking for in terms of a training ‘keeper – and somebody who if we needed to play, could play,” he said.
“And I knew he was available, so everything luckily slotted into place. Once Ben had gone and we knew he’d gone, Liam slotted into that place.
“It has worked out well for everyone. Vit will obviously go now and play games, where he wasn’t guaranteed – he would get games at our place but he wasn’t guaranteed games every week.
“Ben can go and push his career on; he is part of the B Team there, he is training with the first team at Brentford, he’ll play B Team games, again which we couldn’t guarantee him. He’s gone to further his career.
“Liam was basically back in Northern Ireland waiting to go on trial at places and see what he could get.
“The personality we wanted to come in and train is a tricky one; they have to know the reason they’re coming in and not be knocking on our door after two or three months saying, ‘I’m not playing.’
“You’re going to improve because of the calibre of the players you’re training with. And the proof of the pudding is the lads that have come into that sort of position previously. There’s four or five kids that have come into that slot, progressed and have gone on and now got professional careers.”
Liverpool Football Club can confirm the decision taken by the Professional Football Compensation Committee regarding the registration of Harvey Elliott.
The PFCC tribunal set a guaranteed compensation fee of £1.5 million, plus £2.8 million in contingent amounts dependent on player performance.
The club has given the following response: “Liverpool Football Club respects the outcome of the PFCC’s fair and thorough process in this matter.
“We would like to thank the panel for their time and diligence in reaching a decision.
“We now look forward to welcoming Harvey back from his loan spell with Blackburn Rovers in the summer and helping him continue to build towards a long and successful career at Anfield.”
Gini Wijnaldum, despite his undeniable importance at Liverpool, is due to leave on the expiry of his contract in July, leaving a big task in signing his replacement.
The role Wijnaldum plays in Jurgen Klopp‘s midfield is subtle in its brilliance, but perhaps the most crucial aspect of his game during his time at Anfield has been his endurance.
Only three Liverpool players currently reside in the top 10 in terms of appearances throughout Klopp’s career as a manager, with James Milner and Roberto Firmino joining Wijnaldum among the throng of Dortmund stalwarts.
That Wijnaldum is invariably up there when it comes to minutes played every season highlights the blow it will be to the Reds when he departs.
But he and the club he has called home since 2016 find themselves at an impasse in their talks over a new deal – the player after the salary and contract length deserving of his stature, but Liverpool wary of ceding to the latter as he turns 31 this year.
At this point, Wijnaldum is expected to depart on a free transfer at the end of the campaign, with Barcelona the favourites to seal one of the best Bosman deals in recent memory, and the Reds are in need of a replacement.
So who could they look to? Here are 10 midfielders who could be targeted as Wijnaldum’s successor.Yves Bissouma
Liverpool’s regard for Bissouma has been well-documented, and back in December the midfielder’s agent even claimed they – along with Man United, Monaco and two clubs from LaLiga – held “significant interest” in his client.
Brighton manager Graham Potter has himself conceded that “the best Bissouma can play in the Champions League” which, while not an indication that he is heading for the exit, is an admission that his No. 8 belongs in a tier above the Seagulls.
Bissouma is a roving, aggressive midfielder with the ability to dribble past challenges and a preference for give-and-goes in the middle of the park, and while he is not particularly influential in attack, he performs a key role.
It remains to be seen how Brighton will value the Malian, but this summer will see him into the final two years of his contract and this could put Liverpool in a strong position in negotiations.Piotr Zielinski
On to the first of the alternatives from back in 2016, and a player who appeared destined for Merseyside until Udinese rejected a £12 million offer to allow Napoli to swoop in.
Zielinski was long-courted by the Reds during a two-season loan at Empoli, and has built on his impressive displays as a youngster in Serie A to become a key player for Napoli and Poland.
A potent dribbler and a creative, clinical passer, Zielinski serves as a driving force in midfield, and five years on from Liverpool’s initial interest, he has honed his pressing game at Stadio San Paolo.
The Pole signed a new long-term deal with Napoli in 2020, which may complicate negotiations, but it will be interesting to see if Klopp returns for a former target.Denis Zakaria
Club: Borussia Monchengladbach
A natural all-rounder in midfield, Zakaria is nearing the end of his time with Gladbach and has been persistently linked with Liverpool, with the majority of those reports coming from Germany.
It is easy to see why the Reds would be interested, as having only turned 24 in November, the Swiss has already played 186 senior games at club level and another 28 for his country, and is capable in a variety of roles in the middle of the park.
Well-built and standing at 6’2″, Zakaria would add a physical presence to the Liverpool midfield, and while possibly taking up Wijnaldum’s duties could also cover in the No. 6 role and even centre-back if required.
Zakaria is a tough tackler, a strong dribbler and is safe but progressive with his use of the ball, and entering the final year of his contract this summer may be available for a bargain fee.Fabian Ruiz
Ruiz is an interesting option, and while like Zielinski is in a strong position at Napoli, the fact he is within two years of the end of his contract by this season’s end could see the Spain international consider his options.
Previously a winger, Ruiz has adapted to a central midfield role in Naples, but is able to utilise his attacking instincts in a more all-round approach.
Another 6’2″ midfielder, the 24-year-old is press-resistant and is able to dribble his way out of danger, and while he is not as defensive-minded as Wijnaldum at Liverpool, has an element of snide to his game that could suit the position.
The Reds have been linked in the past and it is understandable why, as Ruiz has the technical and physical quality to adapt to the Premier League and, in particular, Klopp’s system.Renato Sanches
Sanches is one of the more interesting names touted with a move to Merseyside as Wijnaldum’s time draws to an end, with the Portuguese’s career having been a curious one so far.
But he is now much-changed from the player who floundered on loan at Swansea in 2017/18, and now 23 is a hardworking, dynamic, possession-hungry option in midfield.
There are many ways in which Sanches’ game resembles that of Wijnaldum, such as his ability to shield the ball and work for the team, but he is arguably more effective than the Dutchman moving into the final third.
Lille’s fragile financial situation could aid Liverpool’s pursuit if they do opt for Sanches, and given his youth and experience he would be a fine addition to the squad.Youri Tielemans
While unlikely in its execution, a Liverpool move for Tielemans would be a sensational one, with the Belgian one of the top performers in the Premier League.
Tielemans has developed into a metronomic presence in midfield, capable of setting the tempo for Leicester and driving them from box-to-box, while being a threat outside the area in particular too.
Brendan Rodgers has already entrusted the young midfielder with the captain’s armband this season, and though the Foxes are undoubtedly a top-eight side now, it could be argued that a step up is now warranted.
Leicester are currently in talks with their No. 8 regarding a new contract, though, which would price Liverpool out of any move if he commits his future to the King Power.Mahmoud Dahoud
Like Zielinski, Dahoud was on the Reds’ radar as they weighed up midfield targets prior to Wijnaldum’s arrival, but unlike the Pole, it has been a frustrating spell with the club he joined instead.
Since joining Dortmund from Gladbach in 2017, Dahoud has played just 81 times for the Bundesliga club, of which only 44 have come as a starter, despite being largely available throughout.
There is still a promising talent in the 25-year-old, however, as a game-changer when on form, and a player who can carry the ball through midfield in the blink of an eye.
But he would represent something of a project for Klopp, five years after spurning Liverpool, with work to be done on his decision-making and positional play if he were to belatedly arrive at Anfield.Houssem Aouar
Aouar is a player who has been reported as a long-term target for Liverpool’s recruitment staff, owing to his immense potential and the fact he operates below the top echelon of European clubs.
It has been an on-and-off season for the young Frenchman so far, but he has still produced three goals and three assists in 19 games in Ligue 1, remaining a key player for Lyon as a No. 8 or No. 10.
His profile is not quite the same as Wijnaldum’s, but Aouar is adept at dribbling and shielding the ball and making an impact further forward, while there is clear scope to nurture his game.
There are likely to be a number of clubs pursuing Aouar’s signature if he does leave Lyon in the summer, but he is a midfield gem worth tracking as a potential successor to Wijnaldum.Declan Rice
Club: West Ham
A solid defensive midfielder who is also comfortable at centre-back, Rice is underutilised in terms of moving the ball out from the engine room, and can develop beyond his current safety-first approach while stepping in as an immediate replacement for Wijnaldum.
Like Tielemans, it could take a blockbuster fee to snatch him from another Premier League club, particularly as the Hammers have an option to extend his contract by a further year to 2025.
But with it likely that the 22-year-old pushes for an exit if his ambitions are not met in east London, Liverpool could be a platform for the England international to reach his potential.Curtis Jones
A number of other candidates popped up during the search, including three from Ligue 1 in Maxime Lopez (Marseille), Eduardo Camavinga (Rennes) and Rafinha (PSG), but another possibility has emerged closer to home.
Jones’ rise through the academy ranks at Liverpool came with him largely being deployed either on the wing or as an advanced midfielder, but as he has settled into the first team he has displayed qualities more akin to an all-rounder.
Most notably he is the Reds’ safest passer, completing 93 percent of his attempts in the Premier League so far this season, while he also ranks highly in terms of tackles, interceptions, dribbles and presses.
Furthermore, his durability has seen him as the only player named in every matchday squad across all competitions, and he has featured in a variety of roles, namely as both No. 6 and No. 8.
Liverpool signed Wijnaldum as a 25-year-old attacking midfielder and converted him into one of world football’s most press-resistant box-to-box players – perhaps the same could be applied to Jones, who has scope to be an even more expansive option too.
Liverpool are to pay up to £4.3 million to Fulham for the transfer of Harvey Elliott after a tribunal reached its decision, a year-and-a-half on from his move.
The Reds signed then 16-year-old Elliott back in the summer of 2019, but after the two clubs failed to agree a fee for the starlet it was sent to a tribunal.
Such a move is taken for players under the age of 24 who have reached the end of their contract and the two sides could not sign off on a compensation fee to suit all parties.
Elliott, meanwhile, was not a professional player at the time due to his age but his high ceiling ensured the two clubs were poles apart in their demands.
The teenager had already made his first-team debut for Fulham prior to his switch to Anfield, making three appearances for the Cottagers – the second of which him the Premier League‘s youngest-ever player at 16 years and 30 days old.
It was reported that Fulham were demanding in the region of £8 million while Liverpool were in the £750,000 value mark – and they have now settled for a maximum fee of £4.3 million.
The breakdown provided by the Times‘ Paul Joyce will see the Reds pay an initial sum of £1.2m, which will be followed up by £500,000 when he signs two professional contracts and further additions based on first-team appearances.
And Fulham have a sell-on clause of 20 percent for the youngster who has now demanded the highest fee decided at the tribunal for a teenager.
The fee is to represent his value at the time of his move back in 2019 as opposed to the steps forward he has made since his switch, which includes signing a professional deal with the Reds and making nine senior Liverpool appearances and 23 for Blackburn on loan to date.
It ensures the ruling has proved to be a bargain price for the Reds.
The now 17-year-old has lit up the Championship and has blossomed with regular football at Ewood Park, scoring four goals and setting up another eight as he looks to help push the Rovers into the playoff places.
In fact, no player has amassed more assists than Elliott in England’s second division, with Reading’s Michael Olise a joint leader.
Liverpool supporters are well aware of the Reds’ current woes, but where do fans of some other Premier League clubs think the issues lie?
Sunday’s 4-1 defeat at home to Man City was the lowest moment yet in 2020/21, as Liverpool’s hopes of retaining the title were effectively ended.
The question is: what has gone so wrong for the champions this season? Is it injuries, form, fatigue or something more deep-rooted?
We got in touch with a number of fans and writers from other Premier League teams to get their thoughts on the matter – here’s what they had to say.“Nothing has fallen for the Reds…”
KADEEM SIMMONDS (@KadeemSimmonds) – MAN UNITED
There’s an element of luck when it comes to winning titles. Players staying fit, the late goals, players hitting out-of-this-world form at the right time – everything has to come together perfectly.
There’s no shame in Liverpool’s season, they’ve just had long-term injuries to key players in key positions, and tired legs after more than two years of non-stop heavy-metal football.
That’s been the issue, nothing has fallen for the Reds.
Klopp could have rotated better in the last six months, but it was always going to be a tough ask retaining the title during a global pandemic and with the entire squad being jaded.
From the outside, it looks like Liverpool have lost that burst of energy needed to compete on three fronts this season.“Ludicrous injuries to key players…”
MATTY LONG (@Matty_Long) – ARSENAL
The issue probably lies in mental and physical fatigue.
It was always going to be tough to repeat the trick on a shorter turnaround, and without the sort of psychological bookend to a season that should have come in the form of a trophy parade and a couple of months away.
I’m sure the players are willing, but they must be a bit jaded by the empty stands and constant football, without getting to share in their successes with the fans.
Add to that the ludicrous injuries to key players and contrast with a team like Man City, who are so flush with options that they can casually rotate at the back without any real detriment to their starting XI.
There may be other soft factors at play, but I don’t think you need to dig too deep to see why Liverpool aren’t reaching the same outrageous levels as before.“A perfect storm of problems…”
DAVE BLACK (@cm9798) – NEWCASTLE
It’s almost been a perfect storm of problems for Klopp and Liverpool to deal with.
It goes without saying that losing Virgil van Dijk and Joe Gomez was always going to be a problem, but I actually think the defensive replacements have acquitted themselves well – until Sunday at least.
It’s more that two of the first-choice midfielders have ended up filling in that has been the problem.
Fabinho plays a big part in pressing the opposition to win the ball back and without him in midfield it seems a lot easier for teams to get at that makeshift defence.
Add to that a dip in form for the front three and no fans to be that ’12th man’ and it’s actually a surprise it took this long into the season for a blip to occur.
Results around the Premier League have been fairly erratic during this period of no fans and I think it’s easy to forget that after the initial break last season, Liverpool had to do relatively little to get over the line and results were actually pretty average – not that they needed to be anything other than that.
City have found a formula that works in these conditions, but they are better equipped than most teams in the world.
Get out of the season with a top-four finish and hopefully everything will be back to normal by August.“Time for a No. 9 change…”
CHARLIE SMITH (@CharlieSmith118) – LEEDS
I think it’s a combination of constant injuries and not being able to thrive off the Anfield crowd.
Of course, every team is in the same boat, but it seems to be affecting Liverpool the most.
The influence of Roberto Firmino, or lack thereof, appears to be noticeable, too. He’s never been a striker to get you 20 or more league goals, but his all-round game seems to have dipped.
Time for a No. 9 change, perhaps?“Stagnant and short of ideas…”
RICHARD BRERETON (@RichardBrer) – SOUTHAMPTON
Liverpool have obviously been badly affected by injuries and this goes some way to explaining the poor form.
I think that a bigger factor has been their activity in the transfer market, though.
This decision feels incredibly naive, considering the prior injury records of Matip and Gomez – it’s staggering to think that a team trying to retain the title didn’t foresee this becoming an issue.
Thiago is a good player, but he has been unfortunate with injury and illness. That, coupled with the need to play midfielders in defence, has left the midfield looking stagnant and short of ideas.
Klopp seems to have shown loyalty to past players, and while that is admirable, it has ultimately compromised the Reds’ attacking quality.“The manager should possibly have rotated more…”
ROB GUEST (@RobGuesty) – TOTTENHAM
I think the intensity Klopp wants his Liverpool side to play with has played a part in their poor form this campaign.
Constantly wanting his players to press and run all day was always going to take its toll at some point and that looks to be the case right now.
Injuries to key players have certainly not helped the side since the start of the season, while the manager should possibly have rotated more to ensure his key men remain fresh, rather than constantly playing them.
I also think the hammering away to Aston Villa has had a big impact on the side – it now appears that many clubs know how to approach a game against Liverpool and frustrate them.“Welcome to a bit of normality…”
ROBBIE SCOTCHER (@RobbieScotcher) – CRYSTAL PALACE
Firstly, there didn’t seem much wrong when you thrashed us 7-0, so writing anything that could be up with Liverpool shows what a basket case of a season this is and how the media overreact.
Every winning streak comes to an end and Liverpool have been unplayable for about three years.
Lose your best players and the team suffers. Play midfielders in defence then you’re sometimes going to get beat, especially against the league leaders in this kind of form.
It’s obvious that the balance of the team is off, due to injuries. Everyone can see that. Maybe it’s the last season for this squad and there will be some changes this summer, but Van Dijk will come back.
You’ll never stop the debate about whether Firmino is finished or not, but he’s not.
This is what football is like for the rest of us.
Living in London, I’m surrounded by fans of other clubs – mainly Man United – but all my Arsenal, Chelsea, Spurs, West Ham and Southampton mates claim to be robbed by VAR, hate playing Burnley and support a team that may have you tweeting ‘I LOVE MY FOOTBALL CLUB’ one week and avoiding Match of the Day the next.
Welcome to a bit of normality, Liverpool FC. I’m sure it won’t be for long.“Subconscious complacency and a lessening of determination…”
MATT JONES (@MattJFootball) – EVERTON
As much as the injuries are hard to overlook, there is a feeling of this team simply reaching the summit of the mountain.
After pouring everything into the last couple of seasons and achieving practically everything, it would only be natural for a subconscious complacency and a lessening of determination to take hold.
The manager is clearly agitated and there seem to be a few lads down on themselves. Maybe they just need to start trying to have some fun with it all again?
That might be challenging when the mindset has been all about winning in recent seasons, but it feels like getting some joy back might best pave the way to a top-four finish.
Go behind the scenes of Liverpool's initial preparations for the clash with Leicester City in the latest instalment of Inside Training.
The Reds were back at work at the AXA Training Centre on Wednesday afternoon as they prepare to face the Foxes in the Premier League.
There were competitive keepy-up and rondo exercises as our cameras filmed the opening stages of the workout.
LFCTV GO subscribers can see the footage above.
App users should tap here to watch.