That Divock Origi underlined his importance to Liverpool with another decisive Merseyside derby contribution delighted Jürgen Klopp.
The Belgian marked his first Premier League start since October with a brilliant first-half brace as Everton were defeated 5-2 at Anfield on Wednesday, leading the boss to speak in glowing terms about his No.27 ahead of the weekend trip to Bournemouth.
“Div is unbelievably important for us,” Klopp said.
“We knew it before but Div needs a good feeling, needs to be in a confident mood and then everybody knows what he is able to do. If you compare him with other players in our squad then they are all different, they all have different qualities and very often we used other three players up front, but Div was always so important for us.
“Then it’s really nice as well that he can show his importance in a game like this, which was obviously very important for all of us. Scoring these kinds of goals showed extra class, they were exceptional.
“Both goals, at the end it looks easy. The first goal, it was a sensational pass from Sadio of course, but making these two steps between the centre-halves and the goalie - that’s what a striker has to do actually, to see the opportunity and then use it. In the end it was not the most difficult finish but still a job to do.
“The other one was just a world-class goal, I don’t see that very often. It was a good ball by Dejan but not easy to control I would say, that then shows his technical abilities: shooting, he scored goals for us from all different angles, coming from the left wing, cutting inside, shooting into the far corner, so all different kind of goals.”
Origi’s selection was one of five changes Klopp made to his starting line-up for the derby, with fellow goalscorer Xherdan Shaqiri, Adam Lallana and James Milner also coming in alongside Adrian for the suspended Alisson Becker.
And the manager explained that what he had seen in training, as well as the necessity to bring in fresh legs amid a packed fixture schedule, led him to make that decision.
“That was a really good team that we sent on the pitch, to be honest, so I was not one second in doubt about the quality of the players,” Klopp stated.
“But of course you cannot be sure if you don’t play week in and week out with the same group of players how it will be timing-wise, rhythm-wise.
“Shape-wise I was pretty sure because that’s what the boys showed in training and these boys who came in, they have a lot of training even in our busy schedule because we have the starting line-up that plays most of the time, they don’t train really. We play the game, we recover, we have a minus-one session with set-pieces and stuff like that and then play again.
“But the other guys, they have two sessions in between these games and in these sessions I could see that they are all in a really good shape. That was the main reason for making the changes, apart from that we had to do it, because of the situation we are all in, because of the busy schedule.
“Of course you never know 100 per cent and I was really, really happy and pleased that the boys showed up. That was a very important sign, a massive sign for us. But it was for one game and now we have to show it again tomorrow.”
Klopp went on to indicate that he will again make alterations at Bournemouth in order to ensure his side are able to play with the requisite intensity.
He continued: “We have to see who we can use, especially when it’s three days between two games - Wednesday-Saturday is always a massive challenge and we have to be sensible and sensitive in the same moment with the decision-making about the line-up because Bournemouth will be really demanding, they will ask for everything.
“We have to again be really spot on, intense, all that stuff. They are not happy with their situation so we need a good intensity in that game again. That’s what we try to make sure with the line-up, but then still the boys have to do the job and hopefully they can do it.”
Jürgen Klopp responded to Lionel Messi’s praise for Sadio Mane’s form by stating his belief the Liverpool forward is capable of reaching even greater heights.
The 27-year-old finished in fourth place in the voting for the Ballon d’Or earlier this week after another stellar year for the Reds.
And prize-winner Messi afterwards described it as a ‘shame’ Mane had not finished higher in the final standings, with the Barcelona star having selected him as his Player of the Year in the FIFA Best awards earlier this season.
Asked during his pre-Bournemouth press conference whether he felt Mane’s standing was potentially underappreciated within the game, Klopp said: “Internally, of course not, but in the world of football I am not sure.
“Look, the first three in the Ballon d’Or was Messi, Van Dijk, Cristiano and then Sadio, that’s a nice row and having two players there shows a lot.
“Mo was fifth, Ali was seventh, so we obviously played a good season and that’s what they had to respect and obviously did.
“Sadio is in incredible shape. He was always, since the first day he was in, an incredibly important player. I can still remember his first goal, the Arsenal goal, running down the line, cutting inside and then with the next step, the left foot in the far corner. It was an incredible goal and I can still remember it with all the other goals he scored since then.
“He’s made big steps each year and he is in a very good way.
“Somebody showed me [Franco] Baresi was really positive about Virgil van Dijk – one of the biggest defenders I can remember, so that’s kind of like being crowned by the king.
“And for an offensive player, when Messi says something like this [it is the same].
“Sadio in the game against Barcelona at home, he was quite impressive, it looked like we had three of him on the pitch. He kept that shape, that’s really good and if stays healthy, he will have an incredible career in front of him.
“I think he can climb in that table, Ballon d’Or-wise, but then some other people make the decisions and not even Lionel Messi can decide that.
“He is in a very, very good way and I’m really happy for him.”
Jürgen Klopp is in contention to win the Premier League Manager of the Month accolade for November.
The boss guided Liverpool to victories in each of their four league outings over the course of the month to retain their spot at the summit of the table.
Aston Villa, Manchester City, Crystal Palace and Brighton and Hove Albion were all defeated during November, helping the Reds establish an eight-point lead.
Klopp has already been awarded the prize twice this season – for August and September – and has won it on three other occasions.
He will face competition from Nuno Espirito Santo (Wolverhampton Wanderers), Brendan Rodgers (Leicester City) and Chris Wilder (Sheffield United) this time around.
Fans can vote to help Klopp win the award by clicking here.
Last Updated: 06/12/19 6:01pm1:14 Jurgen Klopp has told Liverpool supporters to expect more squad rotation as the club continue a packed December schedule away at Bournemouth on Saturday Jurgen Klopp has told Liverpool supporters to expect more squad rotation as the club continue a packed December schedule away at Bournemouth on Saturday
Jurgen Klopp says he must be "sensible and sensitive" with Liverpool's squad selection during their packed end-of-year schedule.
The Reds began an extremely busy December with a 5-2 victory over local rivals Everton on Wednesday, with Klopp springing a surprise by omitting both Mohamed Salah and Roberto Firmino.
Liverpool's trip to Bournemouth on Saturday begins a run of a minimum of seven matches in 22 days, including a trip to Qatar for the Club World Cup.
Asked how his players deal with being rested, Klopp said: "In this moment you need a smart squad, people with half a brain at least.
"I cannot explain things properly all the time, they have to understand it without me telling them. Thank God we have that.Mohamed Salah and Roberto Firmino were both rested for the Merseyside Derby
"I don't make decisions out of the blue, there are always reasons and the boys understand them.
"There is no time for rest and to think about the situation, but we have to try.
"When you are a football supporter you have your 'best 11' and you want them to play all the time but it is not FIFA or Playstation.
"We have to do these kind of changes. If we have the opportunity, we will do it."Xherdan Shaqiri scored against Everton in his first Premier League start since January
Xherdan Shaqiri was handed a first Premier League start since January 30 in the win over Everton, and Klopp was delighted with his goalscoring contribution.
"Shaq (Xherdan Shaqiri) was injured twice and it takes time to come back," Klopp said. "During that situation the team are winning pretty much all the games and if he doesn't get frustrated that he isn't playing then that's not smart. That is how it is in football.
"I don't expect perfection from the moment you come on the pitch but I expect the desire to show you are good enough and Shaq did that.Divock Origi was brought in as one of five changes for the win over Everton
"That was a really good team we sent on the pitch [against Everton]. I was never in doubt about their quality.
"The boys that came on have a lot of training and a busy schedule. You never know 100 per cent, but I was really happy with the way the boys turned up.
"That was only one game and we have to show the same again tomorrow [against Bournemouth]. We have only 3 days between the games so we have to be sensible and sensitive about the line-up again."Klopp not listening to Christmas No.1 record Klopp is paying no attention to Liverpool's previous record of faltering after being top at Christmas
Victory over Bournemouth will guarantee Liverpool are top at Christmas for the fourth time in the last 11 seasons.
They are the only side to have failed to convert that position into a title triumph during that period, but Klopp is not concerning himself with statistics.
"I have told you often enough and can tell you again that I am really not interested in these numbers, stats or history," he said.
"That is part of the deal when you are in a good position. There are a lot of people who celebrate already and a lot who worry still.3:00 FREE TO WATCH: Highlights from Liverpool's win against Everton in the Premier League FREE TO WATCH: Highlights from Liverpool's win against Everton in the Premier League
"I don't listen to either of them to be honest. We want to try and win at Bournemouth, what that means for Christmas does not bother me.
"We know we are in a really difficult situation with the games coming up but we accepted that long ago.
"Now we have to deal with it. We are positive in this moment but we need to be lucky with the players staying healthy. These are things that worry us more than who is top at Christmas."Klopp on Messi's Mane praise
Earlier this week, Ballon d'Or winner Lionel Messi said it was a "shame" that Sadio Mane had not finished higher than fourth place in the standings.
The Barcelona forward selected Mane as his Player of the Year in the FIFA Best awards earlier this season, and Klopp believes the Senegal international still has an "incredible career" ahead of him.0:38 Jurgen Klopp responds to Lionel Messi's praise of Sadio Mane, suggesting he can improve on his fourth-place finish in the Ballon d’Or Jurgen Klopp responds to Lionel Messi's praise of Sadio Mane, suggesting he can improve on his fourth-place finish in the Ballon d’Or
"The first three in the Ballon d'Or was Messi, [Virgil] Van Dijk, Cristiano [Ronaldo] and then Sadio, that's a nice row and having two players there shows a lot," Klopp said.
"Sadio is in incredible shape. He was always, since the first day he was in, an incredibly important player.
"Somebody showed me [Franco] Baresi was really positive about Virgil van Dijk - one of the biggest defenders I can remember, so that's kind of like being crowned by the king.
"And for an offensive player, when Messi says something like this [it is the same].
"Sadio in the game against Barcelona at home [last season], he was quite impressive, it looked like we had three of him on the pitch.
"He kept that shape, that's really good and if stays healthy, he will have an incredible career in front of him. I think he can climb in that table, Ballon d'Or-wise."Sign up for Sky Sports in minutes
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Sadio Mane has been nominated for the Premier League Player of the Month award for November.
The forward scored three goals and claimed one assist to help Liverpool to victories in all four of their league outings during the month.
Mane began November by scoring a dramatic 94th-minute winner at Aston Villa, just moments after teeing up Andy Robertson for the Reds’ equaliser in the 2-1 success.
He was also on target in the victories over Manchester City and Crystal Palace as Jürgen Klopp’s side ended the month eight points clear at the division’s summit.
The 27-year-old has won the prize on two previous occasions – August 2017 and March 2019.
Mane faces competition from Dele Alli and Son Heung-min (Tottenham Hotspur), Raul Jimenez (Wolverhampton Wanderers), Lys Mousset (Sheffield United) and Caglar Soyuncu and Jamie Vardy (Leicester City) this time around.
Fans can cast their vote for the Liverpool No.10 by clicking here.
Liverpool were magnificent in attack, which was all the more impressive given the number of changes Klopp made.
Up next is a trip to Dean Court this weekend, as the Reds look to continue their record of dropping just two points all season.
With the match almost upon us, we spoke to Neil Grover (@AFCBNG) to get his thoughts on both sides’ seasons so far and Saturday’s clash.Bournemouth are 14th in the Premier League – how has the season been to date?
A real rollercoaster ride!
Bournemouth are currently very much on a downward spiral, though, which has to be considered a concern.
We have just one win in our last 10 matches, which came against Man United, and we need to buck up our ideas sooner rather than later.
Only two points above the relegation zone is not a position we wanted to be in at this stage of the season.Is Eddie Howe still the man to lead the Cherries?
In short, yes.
There is not a single manager, realistic or otherwise, that I would want at the helm instead of Eddie Howe.
He has very much earned the faith that the club have showed in him—now is the time to really show that we are still backing the right horse.Which players have stood out most this season?
Aaron Ramsdale has been the standout performer in my eyes—nobody else has caught the eye anywhere near as much.
He is a future England goalkeeper in the making, mark my words.
Diego Rico also deserves a shout for the upturn in fortunes that he has enjoyed this season.How has Harry Wilson fared on loan from Liverpool?
Harry Wilson is an odd one.
He has been deadly from free-kicks but has struggled to be a multi-dimensional player at times—something that was aimed at him at Derby last season.
Wilson offers little on the defensive side, which is a surprise considering he has worked under Jurgen Klopp.
My gut feeling is that he is not ready for the jump to a ‘big six’ club yet.Any who have struggled?
Ryan Fraser has looked a shadow of the player who got the second-most assists in the Premier League last season, offering far less in any aspect of his play.
It will be interesting to see how his contract plays out over the next few months.
How do you rate Liverpool’s start to the season?
Liverpool have come out this year firing on all cylinders and look to be fairly unstoppable currently.
It will be very interesting to see how the upcoming fixture pileup affects the team.
If the Reds get through this period with a good lead, I think you will be lifting the trophy in May.Who do you fear most for the Reds on Saturday?
Anyone with two legs!
In all seriousness, though, we looked at a loss against 10-man Crystal Palace on Tuesday night, so facing Liverpool has us understandably worried.
I’m not sure how they will fare against an in-form Liverpool team, but I cannot see it being pretty.Where will the key battles take place?
Our defence has improved greatly recently, particularly down the flanks, which is vital with this match on the horizon.
It will be interesting to see how we react from Tuesday, but our full-backs must handle the threat that comes from several Liverpool players out wide.
Bournemouth 1-3 Liverpool.
Vote now to choose which strike from 2012 advances to the final of Liverpool's Goal of the Decade competition.
Liverpoolfc.com is hosting a series of polls to determine which goal from each of the last 10 years should progress to a decisive vote - the winner of which will be crowned the Reds' Goal of the Decade.
We've compiled shortlists of 10 for each year. Watch the options for 2012, then vote for your favourite below.
Liverpool have been predicted to make “a couple of big signings” in the near future, with the upcoming kit deal with Nike prompting major speculation.
It was a decision that attracted scrutiny, and criticism from some, but it has paid off so far as a settled group top the Premier League with an eight-point lead over second-placed Leicester.
Five changes—including the introductions of goalscorers Divock Origi and Xherdan Shaqiri—allowed for a 5-2 thrashing of Everton in midweek, and Jurgen Klopp appears to be preparing for a rotational approach this winter.
There are still calls for new additions, of course, and in an interview with LFC4Ar, the Mirror‘s Liverpool correspondent David Maddock tipped the Reds to do so.
“I believe there will be a couple of big signings, maybe one in January and another in the summer,” Maddock speculated.
“But I don’t think superstar signings, they will stick with the model of finding players aged between 19 and 24, with potential to get better.
“They’d still cost a lot of money though, because they want players from leagues where the stats mean something.”
Maddock rejected claims Liverpool could pursue Genk midfielder Sander Berge, while on the subject of Kylian Mbappe he said he “doubts it could happen.”
Two others who are regularly touted are Borussia Dortmund winger Jadon Sancho and Lyon midfielder Houssem Aouar, the latter whom Maddock has linked the Reds with in the past.
“Aouar is a wonderful player and Liverpool will have him on the radar, absolutely no doubt,” he continued.
“[He is] one of those young players who still have potential to grow. But everyone knows about him, so there will be competition.”
There is a sense of bet-hedging in this case, and it should be stressed that Maddock’s opinions may be influenced by a throwaway line from Klopp in a recent press conference on how difficult it is to sign players in the summer, as well as January.
The manager was simply stating that, with the differing deadlines across Europe, clubs in England face a period of uncertainty which, due to its nature, is not the case in January.
Maddock also claims that “Nike would want a high-profile signings to coincide with their new deal,” but that seems questionable, as Liverpool are unlikely to base their plans on the hypothetical demands of a kit manufacturer.
Nevertheless, the prospect of a January signing is an intriguing one, particularly as Sancho is seemingly pushing for a move away from Dortmund on the turn of the year.
Comedian John Bishop has announced an incredible night of stand-up comedy at Liverpool's M&S Bank Arena on March 15, 2020 to raise money for the Seán Cox Rehabilitation Trust.
Tickets go on sale at 10am GMT on Monday December 9.
Bishop will be joined on stage by a fantastic comedy line-up* including Jo Brand, Jo Caulfield, Neil Fitzmaurice, Jason Manford, Andrew Maxwell, Adam Rowe and Paul Smith – and more comedy names will be announced in the coming weeks.
The Seán Cox Rehabilitation Trust was set up to raise money to fund the future rehabilitation of lifelong Liverpool fan Seán Cox from Dunboyne, who was left with life-changing injuries following an unprovoked attack outside Anfield in April 2018.
After almost 18 months of treatment in Ireland, the father of three is currently undergoing an initial 12-week rehabilitation programme in the north of England at a specialist neurological facility which focuses on developing speech and movement.
“Seán Cox was just like any other football fan – an ordinary man on his way to watch his team playing a big game. Then this brutal attack happened and changed his life forever,” said Bishop.
“It could have been any of us. So we’re using laughter to support this very brave man. We’ve put together a brilliant line-up of comedians – with more names to be added over the coming weeks – to help raise money for Seán’s ongoing rehabilitation.
“This is a great Christmas present, so please book your tickets now and join us in Liverpool on March 15 as we support Seán and his family.”
Tickets will be available here, priced £42-67 including booking fee.
*Line-up is subject to change.
Xherdan Shaqiri is looking forward to playing a significant part in Liverpool’s season having spent most of 2019 watching from the sidelines.
The Switzerland international made his first Premier League start since January—and his first start in any match since the 4-0 Champions League semi-final second leg comeback against Barcelona in May—in the 5-2 Merseyside derby victory on Wednesday.
Shaqiri fell out of favour with Jurgen Klopp in the second half of last season, making just 10 appearances from the turn of the year, and a calf injury in the first few months of this campaign restricted him to just 25 minutes of action.
However, with the manager looking to rest key players, Shaqiri was one of five changes against Everton and he responded with a goal.
“I think for everyone it’s good to come back, for me especially when I’ve been injured for a few weeks,” he said.
“I’ve been injured [but] thank God I don’t have knee problems or something. I had some muscle problems so I just needed a few weeks to recover well.
“I worked very hard in training and when I was injured with the physios and the fitness coaches to come back.
“Everybody knows that it’s a busy period now with a lot of games coming up, [so] I’m very happy to be back. I’m feeling fresh, feeling good, and I think you saw that.
“I’m ready, I think the coach saw that too in training. I trained very well and he gave me the chance and I think I played very well.
“At the end of the day it’s important to win games with my team, we won it as a team, and obviously when I can contribute it’s always good. Let’s hope for more games.”