Last Updated: 03/01/20 3:25pm1:09 Jurgen Klopp insists he will 'respect' the FA Cup, but says the threat of a replay is 'absolutely incredible' Jurgen Klopp insists he will 'respect' the FA Cup, but says the threat of a replay is 'absolutely incredible'
Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp insists he does respect the FA Cup but his priority has to be the well-being of his players.
Klopp has only 12 fit senior outfield players plus new signing Takumi Minamino, who is set for his debut, for Sunday's Merseyside derby third-round tie at home to Everton.1:09 Liverpool boss Jurgen Klopp says new signing Takumi Minamino will provide the team with multiple options, but insists he will need time to adapt Liverpool boss Jurgen Klopp says new signing Takumi Minamino will provide the team with multiple options, but insists he will need time to adapt
It leaves him with few options to rest players but such has been the workload on them he does not know which will be available to him at the weekend.
"People told me already a couple of times that I wouldn't respect the cup competitions. It's just not true. Everybody is allowed to have an opinion but my first job is to respect the players," he said.Liverpool suffered a rare defeat when they were beaten at Napoli in Septamber
"That is absolutely my number one job - I see them every day.
"I've got to decide if it's allowed to play them again. It looks like the federations around want to make it more tricky.
"How can you look at a situation like Newcastle [against Leicester earlier this week] - losing four players in one game - and not think 'this is crazy'."0:42 Liverpool boss Jurgen Klopp wished old friend Carlo Ancelotti luck when he took the reins at Merseyside rivals Everton Liverpool boss Jurgen Klopp wished old friend Carlo Ancelotti luck when he took the reins at Merseyside rivals Everton Ancelotti is 'one of the smartest people I've met'
Sunday's game at Anfield gives Klopp a chance to renew acquaintances with Everton counterpart Carlo Ancelotti with whom he enjoys a very cordial relationship.
Everton brought in Ancelotti after sacking Marco Silva, and the Italian is one of just three managers (along with Pep Guardiola and Dean Smith) to have beaten Liverpool this season, having guided Napoli to an impressive 2-0 win over the Reds in the Champions League group stage.1:58 Carlo Ancelotti will put his Everton transfer plans on hold until after Sunday's FA Cup third-round match against Liverpool Carlo Ancelotti will put his Everton transfer plans on hold until after Sunday's FA Cup third-round match against Liverpool
Klopp expects Ancelotti to thrive at Goodison Park and says the 60-year-old is an inspirational figure who will already have undoubtedly given the Everton players a huge lift.
"Carlo Ancelotti is one of the smartest people I have ever met and he wouldn't have taken job if he didn't have a good squad or is convinced that the Everton squad is good," Klopp said.
"It is a really, really good squad [at Everton]. They have made a lot of investments in the transfer market in the last few years.
"It didn't work out for some reasons, but the combination of a good manager and a good squad can help in football.
"Carlo is somebody who can lift the group in the moment when he enters the room. You heard his press conference this morning - I'm sure you left his press conference in a better mood than when you came!"New Year, same Super 6!
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Watch Jürgen Klopp's pre-Merseyside derby press conference live with us from 1.30pm GMT on Friday.
The boss will address the media at Melwood ahead of Sunday's FA Cup third-round tie with Everton at Anfield.
Tune in to Klopp's press conference via our live YouTube stream by returning to this page shortly before the start time.
Watch Sadio Mane's match-clinching strike against Sheffield United in our free video from Thursday night's 2-0 win at Anfield.
The No.10 beat the goalkeeper at the second attempt at the Kop end after breaking away and completing a clever one-two with fellow goalscorer Mohamed Salah, as the Reds got 2020 under way with yet another Premier League victory.
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It was one of the most convincing 2-0 victories you’re likely to see, and Liverpool saw off one of the Premier League‘s standout sides.
Premier League, Anfield
January 2, 2020
Goals: Salah 4′, Mane 64′Complete control
Liverpool finished this game having enjoyed 75 percent possession. There was a period in the first half where it seemed almost impossible for Sheffield United to get the ball, and there were a couple of chances for the Reds to double their tally during this time having taken an early lead.
In the game against Leicester, widely considered one of the best performances of Liverpool’s season so far, the three starting midfielders all clocked a pass success rate of over 90 per cent.
Here, five players completed more than 100 passes, while six (Van Dijk, Gomez, Robertson, Wijnaldum, Henderson and Milner) finished the game with a pass success higher than 90 percent.
Liverpool's back four plus Henderson each made more than 100 passes in that game #LIVSHU
— James Nalton (@JDNalton) January 2, 2020
Liverpool also made more passes in this game than any team has in the Premier League era.
Deserving of his own midfield related TIA Talking Point ™ is Jordan Henderson.
He was once a player who once looked like he was filling in as a No. 6, doing a job he wasn’t really suited to while Liverpool waited forever to sign a Javier Mascherano replacement, eventually doing so in the shape of Fabinho.
He’s now a player who looks comfortable in the position, picking passes to team-mates in all directions.
His improvement might be down to his use throughout 2019 in a more advanced position, where passing needs to be more urgent and a midfielder needs to have a better picture of everything around them.
He has retained this alertness and willingness to play the more difficult passes in the deeper role and has improved defensively, too.
One of the most important aspects of this position is to recycle the ball and keep things ticking over, but quickly.
The previous version of Henderson the No.6 appeared to be keeping it safe, but also emerging from games with pass success between 70 and 85 percent, which wasn’t good enough.
Now, he’s regularly registering more than 90 percent success, and here he finished the game having made four key passes, with only Robertson managing more.Diamond
Firmino often gets labelled a false 9 when in truth he’s just a complete forward, but this 4-4-2 diamond system is probably the closest he gets to meeting the false 9 definition.
This works against a back three as he is able to try to pull the central defender of the three out of the line, leaving the other two isolated one on one with Salah and Mane.
Firmino roamed between the middle centre-back John Egan and the deepest midfielder Oliver Norwood, and was always available to receive the ball as a result.
When Robertson crossed to Salah for the opening goal, the Egyptian was in the centre-forward position, able to get in front of the left-sided centre-back, Jack O’Connell.
The Brazilian should have done better with a couple of opportunities he had to play in more advanced team-mates, and it could be argued that he was the worst of a very good bunch, but positionally he was important.
It would be no surprise to see Minamino in this position at some point later in the season.Clean sheet sequence
At the beginning of the season, Liverpool struggled to keep clean sheets despite their dominance and winningness.
They have now registered five clean sheets in five Premier League games, after just two in their first fifteen games.
Monterrey were the last side to score against Liverpool in all competitions, while Everton were the last to do so in the league.
It’s some turnaround, and is testament to how this side defend a unit. It also bodes well for the partnership of Van Dijk and Gomez in front of Alisson, who himself was called upon on a number of occasions to make important saves and diffuse potentially dangerous situations.
There was also a bit of luck as Oliver McBurnie spurned a great chance, but this balances out some of the unfortunate moments earlier in the season.Minamino in the frame, but Keita injury limits rotation options
This was the strongest team Klopp could have picked given the players available to him, but it will be interesting to see how much he rotates in the next game.
For periods of this game Liverpool were cruising, resting on the ball and conserving energy, but the number of games they have played recently will begin to take its toll.
James Milner replaced Naby Keita at the last minute after the Guinean picked up a groin injury in the warm-up, and there will be a concern if he and Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain are out at the same time for a prolonged period of time.
Centre-back Nathaniel Phillips was an unused substitute after returning from a loan spell with Stuttgart, and is yet to make his first-team debut for the club.
Klopp has said he will need all of his squad at some point, and we might now have reached that point.
Liverpool re-established their 13-point lead at the top of the Premier League—having gone a year unbeaten after the 2-0 victory over Sheffield United—but it came at a cost.
The Reds lost midfielder Naby Keita to a groin injury in the warmup which leaves Jurgen Klopp with just 12 senior outfield players, plus new signing Takumi Minamino, and a number of youth teamers—three of whom were on the bench against the Blades—for Sunday’s Merseyside derby FA Cup tie at home to Everton.
Liverpool have played 33 matches so far this season, 11 of which have come in the last 30 days, and it is beginning to take its toll on the league leaders—who equalled the best start to a season by any top-flight team with their 19th victory in 20 games.
“I don’t know exactly what he has, it was his groin, but I can say he won’t be involved against Everton,” said Klopp.
“That makes it 12 senior players we have, plus the kids. That’s not cool.
“I have no clue how it happened, I think it was the last shot during the warmup, he came in limping.
“Everybody who has played football has had this kind of injury, it’s not nice. It’s painful. I don’t know how long it will take, but he won’t be ready for Sunday.”
An early goal from Mohamed Salah was backed up by one from Sadio Mane midway through the second half in a match which was at times looked laboured despite Liverpool racking up the most passes—874—they have ever made in a Premier League match.
“There is space for improvement. How you deal with it in the headlines I couldn’t care less. We don’t see it as a threat for other teams. For us, it’s important that we just care about us,” Klopp added.
“We can do things better and we have to. But I saw some things tonight that we did better than the last game, for example.
“There was no party after the game. It’s really an intense period of the year, so it’s not like somebody wants to go out tonight and have a few drinks, they’re all happy when they’re in bed—so am I, by the way.
“The players know they want to do better. But for tonight, our performance was as good as anything. It was just really good. That makes me quite happy.”
United never got close to their best and their manager Chris Wilder admits they got off lightly with a 2-0 defeat.
“From our point of view I was disappointed because I don’t think we laid a glove on them. I think the scoreline flattered us,” he said.
“I thought Dean Henderson was the difference between it being three, four or five.
“When you come here you have to try to get a foothold in the game and we couldn’t have got off to a worse start. It gave them a big lift and then I thought it was comfortable for Liverpool.
“If there is ever an example for young players—and our players—as to why they are world champions, why they are European champions and look like being Premier League winners as well it is the basic stuff they had to do tonight which they did miles better than us.
“We had to do that a lot better tonight than we did to stand a chance.”
Keita was forced out of the starting lineup after he picked up the issue warming up at Anfield, with James Milner taking his place in the side and Neco Williams on the bench.
Having found a strong run of form of late, it is a bitter setback for Keita, and Klopp described it as “not too cool” as he confirmed he would not be considered for the third-round tie.
“I don’t know exactly what he has, it was the groin, but I can say already that he will not be involved against Everton,” he told This Is Anfield in his post-match press conference.
“That makes it 12 adult players that we have, plus the kids. That’s not cool, we cannot change it any more.
“No clue how it happened, I think it was the last shot in warming up when he felt something. He came in and was limping.
“Everybody who has played football has had this kind of injury, and that’s not nice, it’s painful.
“I don’t know exactly what it is, or how long it will take, but I can say already he will not be ready for Sunday.”
Klopp is expected to make a host of changes for the FA Cup this weekend, with the priority being the Premier League, but while he conceded he would call upon “fresh legs,” he gave no indication of the extent of his rotation.
“What I will not do is tell Carlo Ancelotti the lineup tonight,” he said.
“But I will do what I think is right. Some things I can decide by myself—I will—and some things the medical department will tell me.
“So that means I don’t know in this moment what the lineup will be, but it will be the best possible for us in this moment.
“For this game, as you can imagine, I’m pretty sure that Carlo will not make a lot of changes—having the opportunity to win at Anfield, which didn’t happen for a few years, that’s another big chance.
“But we will have fresh legs, and what we need is support, because the only advantage—they played yesterday, we played today—is Anfield.
“We need support from the first second, and we will see how it will be.
“But it was a tough game tonight, and we have to make sure that we make the right decisions.”
Liverpool are waiting to discover the extent of an injury Naby Keita sustained prior to the 2-0 win over Sheffield United, but Jürgen Klopp has confirmed he will not be available to face Everton this weekend.
The midfielder was named in the starting line-up for the encounter with the Blades, but suffered a groin problem while preparing for kick off in the pre-match warm-up and was replaced by James Milner in the XI.
Keita will now undergo further assessment with the club’s medical team to determine the severity of the issue, but Klopp has ruled him out of Sunday’s FA Cup third-round fixture with the Blues.
The manager said: “I don't know exactly what he has – it was the groin - but I can say already he will not be involved against Everton.
“That makes it 12 adult players we have [available], plus the kids, so that's not cool, but we cannot change it.
“I have no clue how it happened, I think it was the last shot in the warm-up when he felt something. He came in [the dressing room] and was limping.
“Everybody who has played football has had this kind of injury and it’s not nice, it’s painful. I don't know exactly what it is or how long it will take, but I can say already he will not be ready for Sunday.”
Liverpool kicked off 2020 with a win as goals from Mohamed Salah and Sadio Mane secured a 2-0 result against Sheffield United at Anfield.
Salah’s fourth-minute strike gave the Premier League leaders a perfect start to the New Year, but their general dominance of the contest did not yield another until midway through the second half.
Mane provided it, beating Dean Henderson at the second attempt to bank a 19th victory from 20 league games for Jürgen Klopp’s team this season.
They therefore restored a 13-point advantage at the top of the Premier League, having played one game fewer than closest rivals Leicester City and Manchester City.
Klopp’s teamsheet showed one change from Sunday’s win over Wolverhampton Wanderers as Naby Keita replaced Adam Lallana in central midfield.
But a late change after the warm-up saw Keita withdraw and James Milner take his spot in the starting XI. Nathaniel Phillips was among the substitutes following his return from a loan at Stuttgart.
The wait for a first goal in 2020 did not last long. Four minutes, to be precise.
Virgil van Dijk’s lofted pass down the left flank released Andy Robertson, who, aided by the slip of George Baldock, had time and space to guide a cross into the middle for Salah to tuck past Henderson.
David McGoldrick drew a careful save from Alisson Becker – making his 50th Premier League appearance – soon after play was restarted, his half-volley from the edge of the box well struck.
Henderson then produced an outstanding stop at the other end; Salah’s first-time, rising sweep from Jordan Henderson’s clever clip into the box was on course for the roof of the net until the United No.1’s fingertips pushed the ball over.
Georginio Wijnaldum aimed for the same region of the goal with 19 on the clock but was narrowly off target after exchanging passes with Mane and stepping inside John Fleck in the area.
Another Henderson save denied Liverpool a second on the half-hour.
From Trent Alexander-Arnold’s knock over the top, Mane cutely flicked the ball back into a supporting run from Salah and the Egyptian’s strike on the run was punched away by the Blades ‘keeper.
Despite the hosts’ ascendancy for the most part, United’s threat on the counter was apparent – and Van Dijk had to time a tackle perfectly on Lys Mousset to quell an attack that saw the visitors outnumber the Reds in the final minute of the half.
After a slow start to the second half, Roberto Firmino went direct with a thumping curler from the left edge of the box that whistled inches wide of the far post.
Next, with an hour gone, Salah hit the opposite frame of the United goal.
The forward’s attempted cross into the middle for Van Dijk evaded the Reds man and the defence, drifted against the left post and was scooped away off the goalline by Henderson.
Pressure finally told four minutes later, though.
Mane stretched his legs in the left channel and lofted a pass into the ‘D’ which Salah controlled and rolled back into the area for his teammate’s run. Henderson blocked the first shot but was helpless to prevent Mane from firing in the rebound and establishing a cushion.
With the tension eased, the Reds went after more goals; Firmino’s close-range chance was deflected away yards out, Salah’s driven follow-up palmed wide, and Mane’s blast beaten out on the other side.
But 2-0 was enough for Liverpool to pass their latest Premier League examination – Alisson catching a late chance for Oliver McBurnie on the goalline – as Klopp’s men continue to set a relentless pace at the summit.
Last Updated: 03/01/20 5:55am2:59 FREE TO WATCH: Highlights from Liverpool's win over Sheffield United in the Premier League FREE TO WATCH: Highlights from Liverpool's win over Sheffield United in the Premier League
Liverpool restored their 13-point lead at the top of the Premier League with a 2-0 victory over Sheffield United that guarantees Jurgen Klopp's side an unbeaten calendar year in the top flight.
The runaway leaders last lost a league game at champions Manchester City on January 3, 2019, but Sheffield United's hopes of ending that run were extinguished by goals in either half by Mohamed Salah and Sadio Mane.
An imperious performance secured Liverpool's 19th victory of the season and stretched their unbeaten run in the Premier League to 37 games - 12 short of Arsenal's 49-game record - as the Reds marched on towards a first league title in 30 years.
The Blades, meanwhile, remain eighth in the table, seven points adrift from the top four after slipping to back-to-back league defeats for the first time since the opening two games of last season's Championship.Player ratings
Liverpool: Alisson (6), Alexander-Arnold (7), Gomez (7), Van Dijk (7), Robertson (8), Henderson (7), Wijnaldum (7), Milner (7), Salah (8), Firmino (6), Mane (8).
Subs: Origi (6), Lallana (n/a), Elliott (n/a).
Sheffield Utd: Henderson (7), Basham (7), Egan (6), O’Connell (6), Baldock (5), Lundstram (6), Norwood (5), Fleck (6), Stevens (6), Mousset (5), McGoldrick (5).
Subs: McBurnie (4), Sharp (6), Besic (6).
Man of the Match: Sadio ManeHow Liverpool sealed unbeaten year
Liverpool were forced into a late change after Naby Keita injured himself in the warm-up, but it was going to take more than that to derail the Reds. James Milner slotted straight into the starting line-up and, within four minutes of kick-off, the hosts had the lead.
An unfortunate slip from full-back George Baldock allowed Virgil van Dijk's searching diagonal to reach Andrew Robertson in behind the advanced Sheffield United defence, and the Scot crossed for the unmarked Salah to slot his 13th goal of the season.
Sheffield United's game plan may have gone out of the window no sooner after the game had started, but Chris Wilder's side rallied and could have been level within four minutes of that setback as John Lundstram's volley flashed wide before David McGoldrick stung Alisson Becker's palms with a rasping volley.
But from there on it was all Liverpool, who were denied a spectacular second on 11 minutes when Salah's fierce drive was tipped over the bar by goalkeeper Dean Henderson.Mohamed Salah slotted Liverpool into a fourth-minute lead
Henderson, whose goalkeeping howler gifted Liverpool victory in September's reverse fixture, was on a one-man crusade to prevent the Reds from stretching further clear before the break as Salah's drive on the half hour was punched clear.
You have to go back to December 2009 for the last time Liverpool lost a home league game after leading at half-time, and the Reds were in no mood to buck a trend that had spanned three decades as their dominance continued after the break.
Liverpool should have had a third within two minutes of the restart but Robertson's inviting delivery into the box somehow evaded Van Dijk and Mane.Sadio Mane celebrates doubling Liverpool's lead
Liverpool went even closer on the hour as time stood still in the Sheffield United area. Salah's in-swinging cross cannoned against the post, rolled agonisingly across the goal line and into the arms of a relieved Henderson, who gathered before further damage could be inflicted.
But, four minutes later, the Blades' defences were breached for a second time. Alisson launched Liverpool away on a devastating counter which ended with Mane playing a one-two with Salah to get through on goal where he rifled a rebound into the roof of the net after Henderson had saved his initial effort.
Henderson denied Salah a second with a smothering save on 69 minutes before a gilt-edged miss from Oli McBurnie summed up a frustrating outing for Sheffield United at the end of the gruelling festive schedule.
58 - Liverpool have accumulated 58 points from their 20 Premier League games this season; in English top-flight history, only Manchester City in 2017-18 (also 58) have had as many points at this stage of a campaign (assuming three points for a win all-time). Rolling. pic.twitter.com/NiTiYK4q5r— OptaJoe (@OptaJoe) January 2, 2020 Stats: Liverpool march on
Sky Sports' Nick Wright:
'Klopp has repeatedly ruled out the possibility of replicating Arsenal's Invincibles but the comparisons are inevitable when Liverpool continue to produce performances and results of such a relentlessly high level.
'The Reds are actually averaging more points per game than the Invincibles. They are scoring more goals and conceding fewer. So could they go on and match them?'
Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp: "We played in the exact way you have to play against Sheffield United. I don't think there were a lot of game like this against Sheffield United in the last year. That was the best thing the boys did, they didn't let them get anything out of the game, which is really difficult. It's an intense period of the year but in terms of an overall performance it was as good as anything, really, really good. That makes me happy."1:02 Jurgen Klopp admits it's an 'intense period' and that his Liverpool players - and himself - will be happy to be in bed following another win in the Premier League. Jurgen Klopp admits it's an 'intense period' and that his Liverpool players - and himself - will be happy to be in bed following another win in the Premier League.
Sheffield United boss Chris Wilder: "You just look at the appetite and the desire of everybody around the football club, it's got a feeling of a relentlessness about them and the supporters as well, the way they drive their players on. They realise what a huge, important season it is and a fantastic position they're in. It'd be a very brave man to bet against them being the champions of this division."Man of the Match - Sadio Mane
25 - Sadio Mané has scored 25 Premier League goals at Anfield since the start of last season - across the top five European leagues, the only two players with more at a specific venue are Lionel Messi (29 at the Camp Nou) and Kylian Mbappé (27 at the Parc des Princes). Guardian. pic.twitter.com/VN89M6DCpd— OptaJoe (@OptaJoe) January 2, 2020
Sadio Mane's goal was his 100th goal involvement for Liverpool in his 151st appearance in all competitions for the club (74 goals, 26 assists). Mane has scored 25 Premier League goals at Anfield since the start of last season.What's next?
The third round of the FA Cup sees Liverpool host Merseyside rivals Everton on Sunday at 4.01pm, while Sheffield United host non-league Fylde earlier that day at 2.01pm.New Year, same Super 6!
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