Seeing a potential comeback victory snatched away by Charlton Athletic soured Ashley Hodson's impactful return for Liverpool FC Women on Sunday.
The Reds responded to a one-goal deficit in the FA Women's Championship clash with an improved second-half display that saw them establish a 2-1 lead in the wintry conditions.
Rachel Furness had brought her side level with a back-post finish, before substitute Ceri Holland marked her debut with what seemed to be a winner two minutes from time.
Charlton were awarded a last-gasp penalty, however, and converted it to grab a share of the spoils in dramatic fashion.
Hodson, who was introduced on the hour mark to play her first minutes of 2021 following a hamstring injury sustained in December, created both Liverpool strikes with crosses from the right flank.
But the final outcome meant mixed emotions for the No.14.
"We are obviously disappointed to have conceded in the 90th minute, especially after coming back from 1-0 down in the second half, and to concede the late penalty was gutting, and we are all disappointed," said Hodson.
"We didn't let our heads drop at half-time and it was just about being patient and keep it going.
"We knew chances were going to come and it was just about taking them in the end and we felt we did that, but it was just disappointing to concede again so late on.
"It was great to be back playing again and we were all delighted to see Ceri score on her debut.
"Hopefully I can push on now and stay injury-free and help the team get as many points as we can."
LFC Women return to Prenton Park this Sunday as they host Coventry United in a game you can watch live on LFCTV at 2pm GMT.
Hodson insists the team are working hard for each other and remains confident their next win is just around the corner under interim boss Amber Whiteley.
"We just need to keep going," she added.
"We are building and we've got a really good foundation here now. We are building something really good with Amber and it's just about keeping going and putting the things that she is telling us to do to practice, which I feel we are doing on the pitch.
"We kept the ball really well and we dominated large parts of the game and it was just frustrating we couldn't get the three points."
A willingness to work hard every day in training, listen to advice and put it into practice on the field has underpinned Liverpool U18s' encouraging season so far, according to manager Marc Bridge-Wilkinson.
The young Reds sit second in the U18 Premier League North table and face Stoke City away from home this afternoon - a game you can watch live on LFCTV and LFCTV GO from 1.55pm GMT.
Last weekend, an experimental U18s side had a break from their league programme and recorded a 5-3 win over Bolton Wanderers in a friendly at the Academy.
U16 players Pharell Williams and Iwan Roberts joined Oakley Cannonier and Layton Stewart, who netted twice, on the scoresheet.
Ahead of their trip to Stoke, we caught up with Bridge-Wilkinson to discuss the progress of his young players this term, captain Jarell Quansah signing his first professional deal, and more...
On an encouraging display in Saturday's friendly with Bolton…
It was a really good day. It gave us an opportunity to see some of the younger U16 players play at this level. These lads have been training with us for probably a month so it was great to give them some minutes. It was great to see Pharell and Iwan score. It was nice to see the two centre-forwards arriving in the area at the right time and they got their goals.
On the return to action of midfielder Melkamu Frauendorf and centre-back Lee Jonas after injury…
It was really important that Mel got 65 to 70 minutes in his tank. He looked good. He was quick, he was sharp as he ever was. It was also great to see Lee back with us. It was brilliant to see him get 45 minutes and hopefully he will get more and more minutes for us now.
On the previous league game when the Reds were unfortunate to lose 4-2 away to Manchester City as the home side scored two late goals…
We played quite well. I wouldn't say we were the best team and I wouldn't say they were either. We both had moments and when we got it back to 2-2 we were on top at that point. We were then unfortunate when Terence Miles, our centre-half, got an injury and he was off the pitch when they made it 3-2. It's difficult to take sometimes but that's football.
On today's visit to Stoke…
We are looking forward to it. It's been a long time in coming because it was called off earlier in the year due to the weather, so we are looking forward to it. We played Stoke City at the start of the season and they made it hard for us, to be fair, and the 5-0 scoreline probably didn't reflect the game itself. We did create chances, we did have moments, but they did try to make it really tough so we are expecting the same again from them.
On Dominic Corness scoring two goals direct from corners in that previous clash with Stoke…
We've been telling Dom this week to practise them again to see if he can score! It's unheard of really and it doesn't happen very often and we all enjoyed it. This is going to be a tough game, though, so we've all got to be at our best.
On seeing some encouraging signs from his team so far in 2020-21…
The lads have been brilliant. There's no concerns in terms of their application, attitude, the character they show week in, week out in training as well as the games. They have been fantastic so it has been really good so far and hopefully that will continue.
On Quansah signing his first professional contract and captaining the U18s this season…
It was a great moment for him and his family as well. Jarell has been at the Academy for a very long time now and we have plenty of boys who have been here since they were five or six! It's really nice to seem them come through all the way from pre-Academy to being professional footballers at Liverpool. Jarell is a really good character. He's lively within the group, he leads and the example he sets on and off the pitch is very good, so he leads by the example that he sets. He's becoming more vocal, which is something in the position he's playing in he needs to be. Part of him wearing the captain's armband is I am expecting him to try to talk more on and off the pitch. Jarell is a great character. His family are really grounded and we are really pleased to see the progression that he is making.
Liverpool U18s visit Stoke City in the U18 Premier League North this afternoon – watch the game live on LFCTV and LFCTV GO from 1.55pm GMT.
Kick-off at Clayton Wood training complex is scheduled for 2pm and you can see all the action with our single-camera coverage.
Liverpool made it three consecutive home Premier League defeats with a 4-1 reversal to Manchester City Anfield.
A brace from Ilkay Gundogan — who also missed a penalty — and strikes from Raheem Sterling and Phil Foden sealed the win for City, while Mohamed Salah’s penalty only counted as a consolation in the end.
The Reds looked devoid of energy and it manifested itself into mistakes with Alisson — usually so assured — culpable for three of the visitors’ goals.
The defeat will put paid to Liverpool’s admittedly slim hopes of retaining their league title with the focus now being on securing Champions League football after a damaging defeat.
The opening of the game was cagey, with both teams paying respect to the attacking capabilities of their opposition and a lot of the passing was safe and conservative.
The Reds funnelled a lot of their play down the left-hand-side and it was through a move constructed down this flank that they created their best chance of the half. Andrew Robertson’s teasing cross was met by the head of Sadio Mane from ten yards out but the Senegalese winger forced it over the bar when he could have perhaps done better.
City rallied and dusted themselves down and began to exert themselves more on the game in an attacking sense. A neat move saw Sterling run into the box and drive at Fabinho. The English winger jinked inside and the Brazilian was unfortunate that he clipped the City attacker with his trailing leg and referee Michael Oliver pointed to the spot for the penalty.
Gundogan stepped up, but — like Riyad Mahrez in the 2018/19 season — skied his penalty over the bar and the same sighed a breath of relief and headed into the break at 0-0.
The away team began the second half with renewed vigour and they had the games opening goal not long after the interval. Gundogan made amends for his penalty miss as he put the finishing touches to Sterling’s cross. Liverpool stood off City and allowed the England winger to waltz into the box and pull a ball back for Foden to strike. Alisson saved the initial attempt but the German international was on hand to slide in the equaliser.
To the credit, the home team turned the screw in terms of getting a levelling goal. Trent Alexander Arnold’s wondrous ball found Curtis Jones just outside the box and the academy graduate’s first touch took him into the box and his low shot — which looked destined for goal — was blocked by John Stones and went behind for a corner.
Emboldened, Liverpool pushed on again and their efforts yielded a penalty when Ruben Dias felled Salah in the box after the Egyptian raced onto Alexander Arnold’s clipped ball into the channel and then took advantage of the Portuguese international’s poor first touch by running in on goal. Dias pulled the shirt of the Reds’ number 11 and the penalty decision was clear.
Salah studied himself and walloped the spot-kick home to tie the teams at 1-1, which was perhaps fortuitous for the hosts.
From there on in, though, City took full control of the game and they capitalised upon it with three more goals. Gundogan first slid a finish in off the underside of the bar from Foden’s cross. Alisson’s awful kick gave the visitors possession in the Reds’ box and they punished them with a slick combination that lead to the goal.
More gaffes from the Brazilian were to follow when another slack clearance saw the ball land at Bernardo Silva’s feet and the Portuguese midfielder dinked a clipped ball over the Brazilian’s head for Sterling to head into an empty net. It was a series of uncharacteristically poor moments from the world-class number 1 and it was to get worse.
Foden, arguably the best performer of the evening, rounded out the scoring when his powerful, left-footed drive beat Alisson at his near post to make the score 4-1. A chastening defeat for Liverpool, who now have to regather and focus on Champions League qualification.
Liverpool team: Alisson; Alexander Arnold, Fabinho, Henderson, Robertson; Wijnaldum, Thiago, Jones; Salah, Firmino, Mane.
Replacements: Xherdan Shaqiri for Thiago, James Milner for Jones, Kostas Tsimikas for Robertson.
Subs not used: Adrian, Kabak, Phillips, Williams, Oxlade Chamberlain, Origi.
Liverpool's progress under Jurgen Klopp has been marked by key signings at each stage. After the defending Premier League champions slipped 10 points behind Manchester City with a 4-1 defeat to Pep Guardiola's table-toppers, Jamie Carragher explained why and where they must strengthen now.
Sunday's defeat at Anfield - Liverpool's third home loss in the league in a row - led to Klopp saying afterwards finishing in the top four was now his side's "main target" this season, with their Premier League crown appearing to slip out of their grasp.
However, while Carragher believes his former club will come back strongly next season, he says Liverpool will also need some key additions in the summer transfer window to boost a first XI which has remained largely unchanged since the 2018 Champions League final defeat to Real Madrid in Kiev.
"Initially, when Jurgen Klopp came in, Liverpool were a team who were sixth or seventh," Carragher said on Monday Night Football.
"His first summer he brought in three players - Joel Matip, Georginio Wijnaldum, and Sadio Mane. That then took them into the Champions League.
"Over the next 12 months he then brought in Mohamed Salah in the summer, Virgil van Dijk in the January and Alisson on the back of the 2018 Champions League final. That then took them on again, to the Champions League win and the title.3:10 FREE TO WATCH: Highlights from Manchester City's win at Liverpool in the Premier League
"I think Liverpool are back at that stage where they need those three players to come in again to give them that jolt."
Carragher highlighted the high proportion of Premier League minutes Klopp's preferred XI have played since that Champions League final in 2018 and believes the drop-off we have seen from Liverpool this season could be attributed to mental and physical fatigue for a group of players who have played so often over that period.Image: There has been little change to Liverpool's starting XI since the 2018 Champions League final, with those players playing a large proportion of the Premier League minutes since then
"We're talking about intensity and Liverpool maybe dropping off and looking a little bit jaded physically - and how similar this [2018 Champions League final] team is to what Liverpool have today," Carragher said.
"That back four, it's still the same two full-backs, Van Dijk when he's fit plays. Dejan Lovren has moved on but Matip would have played that final if he was fit, and Joe Gomez was at the club.
"The midfield two is still Wijnaldum and Jordan Henderson, first choice, and James Milner has played the last four or five games as well. That's the one area where Liverpool did bring someone in, it was Fabinho. So we are talking about one player [coming in].
"And then you've got the front three.
"It's still the same team that's been together for three years.Image: Five of the 11 Premier League players who have played the most matches across all competitions since August 2018 are Liverpool players
"When you look at the percentage of Premier League minutes played from August 2018, this is a team that have gone to the well for three years and produced unbelievable moments, trophies for this club. And that's why I find it a little bit hard to be too critical of what I'm seeing at the minute.
"This is not an attitude thing. This is not a team who think, 'We've won the league, we've made it'. They just haven't stopped for three years. That's why I say they need a little bit of help."The three positions where Liverpool need a boost
Carragher argued Klopp could not have managed his players' workload much better than he has, simply because he does not have the depth in reverse to rest and rotate his starting XI.
Instead, the Sky Sports pundit picked out the three key positions Liverpool must now strengthen to kick on again.
"People say, 'Well, Jurgen doesn't rotate'. Liverpool haven't got the quality of squad and back up of other clubs. Liverpool wouldn't have won the trophies they have done over the last two or three years if he'd rotated.
"I still think they will be back - but they need three players.
"They need a centre-back - maybe he's joined now in Ozan Kabak - they need someone to replace Wijnaldum, and they need someone in the front three.
"And I'm not talking about players on the bench. I'm talking about players to come into the team like Matip, Wijnaldum, and Mane did, like Salah, Van Dijk, and Alisson. That's what Liverpool need."
Liverpool’s latest defeat has left them staring at a fork in the road, so could it be time for Jurgen Klopp to make some bold decisions?
On the plus side, our mission for the remainder of the season is now a highly defined one.
Sunday’s numbing defeat to Man City has presented Liverpool with a fork in the road. While Jurgen Klopp issues a battle cry to go for it in the Champions League, the more realistic task is to ensure a top-four finish in the Premier League in order to secure European football for next season.
It simply isn’t a time for bombastic proclamations of one last shot at success; it is a time for doing the basics right.
Everything about the second half on Sunday should ring alarm bells.
From Alisson’s aberrations to Fabinho’s body language at centre back, to Andy Robertson’s lack of decisiveness in venturing forward and the punishing nature of how the fourth goal stemmed from his side of defence. It was all quite stark on a day when we were outmanoeuvred in midfield and ineffective in the final third.
The manner in which we unravelled was stunning; this was a game that represented our last chance to maintain any hope of clawing our way back into the title race.
After a first half of shadow boxing in which we gifted the visitors a missed penalty, just as we were enjoying our best period of the game, we failed to heed the warning.
It was a penalty that by the letter of the law was just, yet one that was also ‘procured’. More importantly, it should have acted as the fuse for us to blast off into the rest of the game.
Even in the second half, having conceded early, we were given two further get out of jail free cards in the shapes of a ‘procured’ penalty of our own and a disallowed effort from John Stones.
Despite the regular invites to make more out of the game than we were really entitled to, we showed no intentions of taking up the opportunities given to us.
In a game of such magnitude to our stuttering season, it was effectively the categoric concession of a league title we fought so hard to obtain.
Of course, there are various reasons in how it has come to this.
These aren’t suddenly bad players, but while the injuries have made a clear difference I think even a fully armed and operational Liverpool might have struggled with itself this season.
In truth, Liverpool haven’t been themselves ever since they emerged from the first lockdown.
Even when we were on that decent run of results after the trials and tribulations of conceding seven at Villa Park and losing the services of Virgil van Dijk at Goodison, it always felt that we were picking up those wins while idling in third gear.
When you look further back to those final few games of last season, once we’d got over the finish line, we suffered a hammering at Manchester City, failed to break down Burnley at Anfield and lost at Arsenal.
We were still impressive at times but we had become more sporadic in our application of fine football. It came in fits and starts, no better encapsulated within 90 minutes of football than during that mad 5-3 against Chelsea on the night we lifted the Premier League trophy.
Liverpool aren’t alone in struggling to find consistency in this most unfathomable of seasons.
City have now found their stride but have done so after a slow start with a more measured, almost pragmatic approach after their own early-season issues, back when Leicester City were sticking five past them in their own backyard.
Over in Salford, Man United have at varying points of the season been considered to be in crisis, an outsider to be drawn into a relegation battle, on the brink of sacking their manager when dispatched from the Champions League, yet also contenders for the Premier League title and in with a shout of domestic cup success – all built upon a questionable defence and a goalkeeper lacking confidence.
Arsenal didn’t build on their FA Cup success, with escalating pressure mounting on Mikel Arteta when overseeing a poor spell during which they were roundly ridiculed by a set of Tottenham supporters whose team were at the top of the Premier League. Both clubs are now contemplating a potential midtable finish.
Season 2020/21 is essentially a footballing version of an egg and spoon race. Most of the usual suspects have, at least on the exterior, looked the part at one stage or another only to drop their egg and see other competitors cruise past.
For Liverpool, it isn’t about winning the race anymore. It is all about correcting themselves as swiftly as possible.
What is for certain is that if we freeze then we will suffer more days like these because many teams have got their heads around our approach of ‘more of the same’.
Although I’m not normally an advocate of us having a blank midweek, on this occasion we might benefit from a week scrawling new plans on the drawing board and implementing them on our training pitches.
What wouldn’t go amiss, at least for a game or two, would be the reuniting of Henderson, Fabinho and Gini Wijnaldum in midfield, maybe even going three at the back or giving Trent Alexander-Arnold a game in midfield.
We need something that makes our own players think as much as we need something that makes our opponents think.
The Reds were fighting for victory over City when two mistakes from Alisson turned the tide of the game, handing Ilkay Gundogan and Raheem Sterling goals to make it 3-1.
It was an uncharacteristic evening for Alisson, who returned to the side after missing the previous game through illness, and not one that has changed perceptions of the Brazilian.
Certainly not within the dressing room, as Wijnaldum reflected on the situation in his post-match interview with LFCTV.
“When you play football, you always know that everyone can make mistakes,” the midfielder said.
“If you look at the whole season, I don’t know how many players made a mistake, and if you look at the other side, he’s saved us so much.
“It will always happen that a goalkeeper makes mistakes, and we were just trying to fix it in the game.
“We were more disappointed that we couldn’t change it around for him, because if you look since he’s here, how many times he’s saved us, he won trophies for us.
“It’s difficult that we couldn’t change it around for him.”
Wijnaldum’s claim that Liverpool were trying to right Alisson‘s wrongs on the pitch is indicative of the spirit within Klopp’s squad, and that will be required as they look to revive their fortunes.
The Reds have taken just nine points from their last nine games in the Premier League – which is relegation form – but the Dutchman insists they “will not give up” as they aim for a top-four finish.
“That’s what we will try to do,” he said, when asked about using the squad’s experience and togetherness to work through their issues.
“We know it’s difficult, this season, the situations we have to deal with, but we will not give up.
“We’ll just continue with what we’re doing and try to win games.”
Liverpool are clearly switching their objectives after another Premier League defeat at the weekend, while the rumour mill decides to power on as relentlessly as ever.Portuguese winger in our sights
If you haven’t heard of Pedro Goncalves before, well, it’s probably because he usually goes by the name of Pote.
The Sporting CP winger has been tearing it up this season in the Liga NOS and the Reds are apparently keen, with Record saying we’ve been in touch constantly and even made an approach in January with a view to a future move.
The release clause on him is €60 million and they aren’t keen to lower the price, as they have to pay a 50 per cent sell-on clause to his former side Famalicao.
One to watch for summer, perhaps.Mbappe to follow Neymar?
Have to love the rumour mill. Last week, Mbappe was off to Liverpool because PSG want Messi, can’t afford him and Neymar and the French boy wonder, and Real Madrid can’t afford any of them.
This week? Well, Mbappe is staying, obviously.
That’s because he told France Football that “great players were made to play together” – and they are taking that as a hint that he’ll follow suit, with Neymar reportedly close to a contract extension with PSG.
Mbappe has a year left on his contract come the summer, so a renegotiation or an exit will certainly happen. Between now and then, expect more contradictions in the gossip columns.All about the top four again
Time to acknowledge that our priority now is to rediscover form not for a title challenge, but to ensure Champions League action next season.Quickfire LFC news
Roy Keane has been spouting incoherent drivel which doesn’t stand up to the most basic of scrutiny, regarding the Reds’ attempted title defence.
All too easy to forget what happens on bad days, or in bad seasons, when you’re in a comfy chair in a warm studio, isn’t it Roy?Tweet of the day
“It’s easy to believe when it’s going well.”
A powerful message from Jürgen Klopp. pic.twitter.com/ZqREFshSDE
— Liverpool FC (@LFC) February 8, 2021Worth watching tonight
A Covid-ravaged Atletico Madrid take on a Celta Vigo side in worse form than the Reds! LaLigaTV, 8pm.
Gary Neville says Liverpool looked "absolutely mentally and physically drained" in losing to a Man City side who he believes will be crowned Premier League champions.
The Reds were thrashed 4-1 at Anfield in a third consecutive home defeat on Sunday night - the first time a defending top-flight champion has done so in more than 60 years - as their near four-year unbeaten run on home soil was left a distant memory.
With 23 games played, Liverpool now sit 27 points behind where they were at this point last season, have dropped 16 points from their last eight games and are closer to Arsenal in 10th than to leaders Manchester City.
Speaking on the Gary Neville Podcast, Neville said the toll of a three-year spell where Liverpool reached two Champions League finals and enjoyed two exceptional league campaigns was starting to show.
"How many times have we come here and seen Liverpool out of the blocks, ferocious in that first half an hour? I think City had planned for that, and it didn't come," he said.2:51 Following the 4-1 defeat to Manchester City at Anfield in the Premier League, Roy Keane described Liverpool as 'bad champions' and suggested they are making too many excuses for poor performances this season.
"Liverpool are, at this moment in time, nowhere near the team that has been absolutely exceptional for three years. I was light on Manchester City last year when they had that year off, having had three exceptional years of performance, and I'm going to be light on Liverpool this year.
"You can't go every single year, particularly for four years, it's inconceivable with these players, the same players, a lot of the time out on the pitch. There's going to be a dip at some point - and we're seeing the dip. It's an alarming dip because they've been so exceptional, and they're here at this moment in time.
"I don't think it's a desire issue - they just looked drained, absolutely mentally and physically drained. Like they've been run to the end.3:10 FREE TO WATCH: Highlights from Manchester City's win at Liverpool in the Premier League.
"This is a place where they've been invincible for so long, and just never seen Liverpool anything other than positive here I mean, even going back to when we were winning the league at Manchester United, and you'd come here, they were always positive, they're always front foot, and they're just really tentative."
Liverpool have played a noticeably less direct style this season, dropping their long passes per game by more than 10 per cent and almost halving the number of through-balls attempted.
Neville puts that change down to the confidence and conviction which played such a part in their incredible title charge in 2019/20 falling away this season, and not just personnel changes from the last campaign.
"They are playing extra passes and not being direct with their passing. That will point towards Thiago but it's not just him, I think generally the players are being safer.
"Liverpool over the past three years have been breath-taking and they played with risk. The direct passing is not there. The risk is not there. The running isn't there. And things aren't falling for them. A number of things can happen all at once, injuries, it being a strange season, and it feels like a perfect storm in terms of what is happening at Liverpool.Image: Liverpool
"I don't see it as a massive concern. Some will say that they are 'one-season wonders' but that's not the right time to say these things. Liverpool have been great for three years and they need to reset in the next few months and go again.
"That's what Man City did last year. City were awful last season [compared] to the standards [they] set themselves, but they're now coming back to it, they've got a new motivated group they have found something with without a centre-forward."'City will be champions' 1:09 Micah Richards was full of superlatives for Phil Foden’s performance against Liverpool and the former Manchester City player believes the title is now City’s to lose.
Manchester City now top the Premier League table by five points, with a game in hand on second-placed Manchester United. They have won 10 of their last league games, conceding just two goals in the process.
On the back of their most comprehensive win of the season at Anfield, Neville pinpointed where he felt their campaign had turned on its head and left him believing they would regain the title Liverpool took from them last July.
"We have [seen the champions]," he said. "I keep going back to that Chelsea game, because that's where it felt like it all started.
"Up until that point there were many questions that Manchester City had to answer. I said that Pep Guardiola, early on in the season, looked bored. At Old Trafford, the performance from Manchester City was so disappointing, because you've seen them play with such great skill and quality, and then they just seemed so boring that day.
"You looked at Pep on the touchline and he looked like he had just lost a little bit of his mojo, that he wasn't there.
"And then that day against Chelsea - you just thought it was almost like a light came on and the performance was really good. And they're playing without De Bruyne here, by the way, they're playing without Aguero.
"So that to me just needs putting into perspective; we did talk about Liverpool's injury problems, we know they've got problems at centre-back, their two most prominent midfield players are playing there, so that's difficult. But City have got players missing as well, Kyle Walker has been an influential player and hasn't played here.
"For me, we have seen the champions. Guardiola is an exceptional coach, and he's doing it here again today with a team that is partly makeshift, without a centre-forward."
Following his surprise move to Southampton on deadline day, it took Minamino just 30 minutes to get his name on the scoresheet as he begins his loan at St Mary’s.
Unfortunately, the 26-year-old’s powerful left-footed strike amounted to nothing as the Saints suffered a 3-2 loss to a Newcastle side that ended the game with nine men due to a red card and an injury.
But it serves as a strong start for Minamino, who left Liverpool in search of the regular top-flight football that Jurgen Klopp hopes will revitalise his career before returning to Anfield next summer.
Anything you can do, I can do better! ??
Southampton are right back in it after Minamino gets HIS debut goal for the Saints! ?
It's all happening at St. James' Park… pic.twitter.com/pQUzxCx1jh
— Football on BT Sport (@btsportfootball) February 6, 2021
“It’s always good when you come in and immediately score. It was a fantastic goal, I think,” Ralph Hasenhuttl told reporters after the game.
Hasenhuttl added that “he showed in some other movements also that he can help us in the 10 position,” with the Japan international having started in the left supporting role in Southampton‘s 4-2-2-2 formation.
Minamino could keep his place in the Saints’ side on Thursday night, for a trip to Wolves in the FA Cup fifth round, as he looks to find his feet in English football.
It was a first start for Wilson under Mick McCarthy, having been demoted to the bench for the previous draws with Barnsley and Millwall while Ojo took advantage, and the Wales international looked to have taken his new manager’s challenge to “impress” on board.
Lining up in the No. 10 role – with Ojo again up front alongside Kieffer Moore – Wilson laid on the first goal at Ashton Gate with a brilliant free-kick from the right, nodded in by Curtis Nelson.
Ojo then set up the result-clincher as, after picking up the ball from Moore on the right, the 23-year-old faded a brilliant cross in for his strike partner to head home.
Liam Millar was the third Reds loanee to tally an assist, with the Charlton winger driving forward on the left flank and, after evading three Rochdale defenders, played it to Chuks Aneke who turned and fired home in a 2-0 win.
It was less positive for Harvey Elliott in the Championship, with the 17-year-old effectively playing up front for Blackburn in their 1-0 loss to QPR.
The 17-year-old, who played the full 90 minutes but only created one chance, reflected on a poignant occasion at Loftus Road after the game, having been a mascot during QPR’s 3-2 win over Liverpool in 2012:
Sepp van den Berg also made his debut as a 72nd-minute substitute in Preston’s 2-1 loss to Rotherham – with a start for fellow new arrival Liam Lindsay suggesting he is not yet first choice – while Adam Lewis came on in stoppage time as Plymouth drew 2-2 with Portsmouth.
In Denmark, Kamil Grabara made it two consecutive clean sheets as AGF Aarhus sealed a 1-0 win over Lyngby, while Taiwo Awoniyi endured a frustrating afternoon in Germany as Union Berlin lost 1-0 at Mainz.
Finally, Anderson Arroyo played the full 90 minutes in Salamanca’s 1-0 victory at Racing Ferrol.Liverpool Loan Watch Roundup
Liverpool were left to rue a number of costly errors in their 4-1 defeat at the hands of Man City but there is no time to let heads drop with a number of battles on the horizon.
The start of 2021 has not been one to remember for the Reds with their blistering performances of the year previous non-existent as the season continues to take its toll.
From confidence and consistency to fatigue and a cutting edge, Liverpool have been off the pace and have the results to prove it after three wins in the last 11 games across all competitions.
Jordan Henderson featured at centre-back once again for what many will be the last time, and his disappointment was evident but, as ever, he was quick to reset focus onto a valuable training week before the trip to Leicester.
“Yeah, very disappointed with the result, of course. The end result I didn’t really think reflected the performance, to be honest,” the captain told the club’s official website.
“But [we] made mistakes in the wrong moment and we got punished.
“It’s hard to take now but in football, you’ve got to move on quickly. We’ve got a full week to get it out of our system, train properly – which we haven’t had for a while.
“So we need to use it the best we can this week to get prepared for a tough game against Leicester.”
The defeat ensures Liverpool are now 10 points adrift of league leaders City but there was no need to entertain any title talk for Henderson as the one game at a time mantra holds strong.
“I remember last season you kept asking me when we were top of the league – we don’t look at the league, now especially,” Henderson added.
“You concentrate on the next game and just try to win every single game you can, like we always do whether that’s when you’re on top or you’re fourth or fifth or whatever it is.
“You’ve just got to concentrate on the next game and put in performances as much as we can.”
With little to celebrate after the full-time whistle, it was quiet on the social media front from the Reds but both the skipper and Trent Alexander-Arnold had important messages.
The former stressed that “this is a time we need to stick together” and vowed that “we will give everything to change our current situation,” while Trent acknowledged there are “no excuses”:
It’s Leicester up next, a side that sits three points ahead in third position heading into Saturday’s meeting, ensuring a victory would see the Reds leapfrog Brendan Rodgers’ side.
With the targets for the campaign having shifted, it is vitally important to take points off a team with similar goals while also starting to rediscover some confidence.
Liverpool will learn the fee they will have to pay Fulham for midfielder Harvey Elliott when a tribunal takes place on Tuesday.
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 has had to be referred to a tribunal.
A tribunal is sometimes needed to determine a fee when player who is under 24 has moved between clubs at the end of his contract, and the two sides are unable to agree on compensation.
The Premier League champions are reported to have offered around £750,000 for Elliott, while Fulham are seeking around £8m for the highly-rated winger.3:10 FREE TO WATCH: Highlights from Manchester City's win at Liverpool in the Premier League
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.
A 4-1 loss at Anfield left Klopp’s side 10 points behind the current leaders, who have played one match fewer, and their hopes of winning the Premier League again look remote.
Liverpool are now looking over their shoulder as the race for Champions League qualification becomes their priority. Chelsea and West Ham are only a point behind with Everton, who have two matches in hand, just three back.
“We knew that from the beginning of the season. You have to fight for the Champions League,” said Klopp.
“Three or four years ago we were in that spot pretty much all season and then Chelsea started chasing us.
“Whoever is in front of us, we will chase them, definitely. I saw a lot of good stuff [against City], a really good football game where I didn’t see the points difference.
“I saw a really good football team in red shirts.”
Unfortunately for Klopp two uncharacteristic passing errors from goalkeeper Alisson Becker swung the game City’s way when it had been evenly poised at 1-1 after Mohamed Salah’s penalty, his 22nd goal of the season, had cancelled out Ilkay Gundogan’s opener early in the second half.
The Brazil international’s errant passing saw him give the ball first to Phil Foden and then Bernardo Silva, resulting in another goal for Gundogan and Raheem Sterling’s first at Anfield since leaving in 2015.
Foden blasted home a fourth late on to consign Liverpool to a third successive home league defeat for the first time since 1963.
“He is obviously very disappointed and was like ‘not today, not today’,” added Klopp.
“But that’s the problem with mistakes, you can’t decide when you make them. You have to learn from them.
“In a game when you have such a good moment these two goals were a killer. That’s OK as he saved our lives I don’t know how often
“He is absolutely a world-class goalie. Something went wrong but we have to take that.”
City’s win, their first at Anfield since 2003 and only their second in 34 visits, also brought up a 14th in a row in all competitions, equalling the all-time record by an English top-flight side set by Preston (ending in 1892) and Arsenal (ending in 1987).
Manager Pep Guardiola was more focused on the immediate three points it gave them which extended their advantage at the top to five over Manchester United.
“What was important was the three points. Of course I am so proud for the guys,” said the City boss, whose side did not suffer from Gundogan’s first-half penalty miss with the score at 0-0.
“I said before, I’m not a guy who predicts the future of the table and in February five points is nothing. That is all I can say.
“I’m grateful and happy for this victory but tomorrow it is feet on the grass and it’s Swansea [in the FA Cup in midweek].”
Georginio Wijnaldum stressed the Liverpool squad's support for Alisson Becker and determination to battle through a difficult period, after Sunday's defeat against Manchester City.
The Reds were beaten 4-1 by the Premier League leaders at Anfield, where Ilkay Gundogan and Mohamed Salah initially traded goals in the second half.
A pair of uncharacteristically misplaced passes from Alisson led to City striking twice in a three-minute period to re-establish an advantage that was later increased by Phil Foden.
Reflecting on the disappointment of the outcome, Wijnaldum underlined Alisson’s importance to the club and reiterated the players will not stop working to produce an upturn in form.
“Yes, of course, that’s what we will try to do,” the No.5 told Liverpoolfc.com when asked if the Reds will redouble their efforts for the fixtures ahead.
“We know it’s difficult this season, the situations we have to deal [with]. But we will not give up, we’ll continue what we are doing and try to win games.”
He said: “When you play football, you always know everyone can make a mistake. If you look at the whole season, I don’t know how many players made a mistake.
“And if you look at the other side, he [Alisson] saved us so much. It will always happen that a goalkeeper makes a mistake. You just try to fix it in the game.
“We were more disappointed that we couldn’t change it around for him because if you look at since he was here how many times he saved us – he won trophies for us – it’s difficult that we couldn’t change it around for him.”