LFC NEWS

Grobbelaar, Salah & the Spion Kop – Liverpool’s African influence

ThisIsAnfield.com - Sat, 06/29/2019 - 19:00

Three Liverpool players are at the Africa Cup of Nations; a fourth has just played a big role in winning the Champions League final. The club’s long association with the continent spans decades and is represented both on and off the pitch.


It’s a common sight: a headline, a photo or a comparison pits Egyptian forward Mohamed Salah and Senegalese attacker Sadio Mane together.

Given they play on opposite sides of a fantastic and fearsome Liverpool attack, it’s not a big surprise. They are a huge part of this team under Jurgen Klopp, keys to both the chances of winning and the tactical approach, and they have legions of admirers both on Merseyside and in their home countries.

Now seen as two of the probable stars at the 2019 AFCON and two definite stars of elite-level European football, it’s no surprise if there’s an elevated level of interest in their club’s exploits at present.

 Liverpool's Mohamed Salah (right) celebrates with Sadio Mane only to see his goal disallowed during the FA Premier League match between Liverpool FC and Southampton FC at Anfield. (Pic by Jon Super/Propaganda)

Liverpool’s links with Africa go back far further than the current squad, though, and the current squad’s links go deeper than just that duo.

Naby Keita is also at the AFCON with Guinea, while Joel Matip won 27 caps with Cameroon before opting to focus solely on his club career. Then there’s Joe Gomez, who has a Gambian father, and Divock Origi, who has a Kenyan father—also a footballer, in his time.

All are only following a well-trodden path before them, though, with several notable names in Liverpool’s history also hailing from the continent.

Following in footsteps

Gordon Hodgson, Liverpool

The first African player to ever feature for the Reds was Arthur Riley, who joined way back in 1925. In fact, he was the first foreign player to represent Liverpool, and his story is as intriguing as his career.

Part of a touring South African team who played around the UK the year before he joined—beating Liverpool 5-2 in the process—Riley impressed in goal and was signed as cover for the great Elisha Scott.

Eventually, he usurped Scott and was first-choice for much of the 1930s, playing over 300 games for Liverpool in total.

Alongside Riley in that touring team and also signed soon afterward was one of the most notable names in Liverpool history: Gordon Hodgson (pictured above), the Reds’ third-highest goalscorer of all time.

Yes, only Ian Rush and Roger Hunt plundered more than Hodgson wearing the Liverbird on their chest, and although Hodgson played three games for England he was also a South Africa international. 241 goals: more than Gerrard, Liddell, Fowler, Dalglish. 17 hat-tricks: more than anybody in a Liverpool shirt, ever.

After him came others, equally excellent, also playing a massive role in the team of the time.

Berry Nieuwenhuys, Liverpool - Barratts/S&G and Barratts/EMPICS Sport

Berry Nieuwenhuys (above) was a 1930s winger who was, in fact, scouted on home soil by the aforementioned Arthur Riley’s father; soon after he was playing for the Reds and scored in the Merseyside derby on just his second appearance. He went on to feature more than 250 times.

Then there was Craig Johnston; Australian parents, an England U21 international…but born in Johannesburg.

And perhaps the biggest, or most influential, African in Liverpool’s player history: legendary goalkeeper Bruce Grobbelaar.

More than 650 games for Liverpool, six league titles, three FA Cups, three consecutive League Cups and the 1984 European Cup—Brucie was as iconic as they come.

Liverpool's Bruce Grobbelaar and Michael Robinson celebrate with the European Cup, 1984. (Picture by Peter Robinson EMPICS Sport)

Whether he’s remembered for his acrobatic reflex saves, his willingness to berate team-mates or opponents alike, his occasional on-pitch errors or his infamous ‘spaghetti legs’ performance in the penalty shoot-out of the ’84 final.

If some players have stories, Grobbelaar has had a life worthy of a modern-day series on Netflix, such has been the variance—from National Service fighting in jungles in Rhodesia, to international action with Zimbabwe, to tackling a pitch invader, allegations of match-fixing and his harrowing account of the Hillsborough disaster.

Off-field impact

 Liverpool supporters on the Spion Kop before the Premiership match against Manchester City at Anfield. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

Of course, it’s not just about the players; the following of this football club never is.

One of the most famous aspects of Liverpool FC isn’t even a person: it’s the Spion Kop, the majestic stand which has provided the backdrop for many a song, many a comeback, many a memorable celebration.

The Boer War in South Africa and a battle atop a hill named Spioenkop is where it all started, with a regiment of the British Army which hailed Lancashire, even from Liverpool itself.

There are countless other occasions and memories, linking Liverpool with Africa, with Africans.

A trip to South Africa in 1994 saw the Reds squad meet Nelson Mandela, as well as playing Kaizer Chiefs and Cape Town Spurs.

 Life-long Liverpool FC supporter and newly elected President of the Republic of South Africa Nelson Mandela meet the Liverpool players during the United Bank Soccer Festival friendly match at Ellis Park Stadium. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)..Back row L-R: Andrew Harris, coach Ronnie Moran, Iain Brunskill, Steve Nicol, Nigel Clough, Neil Ruddock, president of South Africa Nelson Mandela, Ashley Neal, Phil Charnock, David James, Michael Thomas, physio Max Thompson, John Barnes. Front row L-R: Rob Jones, Don Hutchinson, Lee Jones, coach Sammy Lee, manager Roy Evans.

A quick check on the club website today reveals no fewer than 14 official supporters clubs, spanning from Dakar to Lagos, Rwanda to Seychelles, Uganda to Egypt.

The club is a global one, and so is the following, and it’s no less passionate, meaningful or real for the supporters there than anywhere else—as the post-Champions League final celebrations attest to.

I love this. A group of African #LFC fans decided to make their own victory parade, driving a replica trophy from Tunisia to the tip of South Africa through 9 countries including Mali, Nigeria and Cameroon. pic.twitter.com/ZJmFODBzj2

— Nik Postinger (@nikpostinger) June 17, 2019

All over the world, fans gathered to rejoice in a sixth European Cup only earlier this month; the competition was based in Europe but these celebrations were seen in Kenya, Rwanda and Egypt, as well as all other points of the compass.

A GoingGlobal study revealed a big following of Liverpool in the north and east of continental Africa in particular, with Morocco, Algeria, Egypt and Ethiopia—and Senegal in the west—all ranking in the top 20 countries for Liverpool-supporting popularity.

It can’t always be positive…

 Liverpool's Salif Diao in action against Norwich City during the Premiership match at Carrow Road. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

Of course, as is always the case throughout any aspect of a football club’s lifespan…not everything goes to plan.

For a Grobbelaar or Salah, there remains the other side of the coin.

Gerard Houllier’s attempts to add a touch of African elegance to his Liverpool team didn’t go to plan, with Salif Diao sadly lacking in the required class, and El-Hadji Diouf lacking class in an altogether different, and more contemptible, sense.

Then there’s the oft referred to striker whenever conversations of “worst signings” come about: Sean Dundee, a German B international, but another Liverpool player born in South Africa.

 Liverpool's Victor Moses in action against Crystal Palace during the Premiership match at Anfield. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

There are even examples of those who never pulled on a first-team shirt for Liverpool hailing from or being of African heritage: Godwin Antwi, a Ghanian-Spanish defender signed by Rafa Benitez and Carl Medjani, a French-Algerian who joined under Houllier.

Victor Moses (Nigeria), Oussama Assaidi, Nabil El-Zhar (both Morocco) and Rigobert Song (Cameroon) never really impressed at Anfield but all have played international football for African nations, while Mark Gonzalez was a Chile international but, like Grobbelaar and Dundee, was born in Durban.

Modern winners

 Liverpool's Mohamed Sissoko in action against Aston Villa during the Premiership match at Villa Park. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

Still, for all those nearly-men and never-men who have trained and played at one time or another, it’s indisputable that even in the modern, post-Bruce Grobbelaar (still the last title-winning goalkeeper for Liverpool, by the way) era, many African players have been important and impressive.

In a football world which is ever-more accessible all over the world, when clubs are attempting to connect with supporters and similarly leverage that support by attracting global sponsorships, it’s also undeniable that having local heroes means lots more local attention.

Under Rafa, the Spanish population offered the Reds their support. When Luis Suarez and Seb Coates played, Uruguayans would follow Liverpool. Now, with Keita, Salah, Matip and Mane, it’s natural that Africans tune in with frequency, especially when they are fighting for the biggest of honours.

And beforehand came others: Kolo Toure, a short-term but influential Ivorian. Momo Sissoko, a Malian who was part of Liverpool’s ‘best midfield in the world,’ at least according to the Kop’s song. Titi Camara, a Guinean striker who won over Kopites with his skill and heart, particularly on the day he scored after his father had passed away.

 Liverpool's Djimi Traore celebrates after beating AC Milan on penalties during the UEFA Champions League Final at the Ataturk Olympic Stadium, Istanbul. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

Finally, let us not forget, Djimi Traore; maligned and ridiculed at times, yet a European Cup winner in the end. French-born, but Malian at international level, and a left-back who played almost 150 times for the Reds and very much played his part in that 2005 success.

Salah and Co. have continued that run, making it three European Cup wins in a row where an African has been part of the successful Reds team.

 Liverpool's Naby Keita (C) celebrates scoring the first goal, in the first minute, with team-mates Mohamed Salah (L) and Sadio Mane (R) during the FA Premier League match between Liverpool FC and Huddersfield Town AFC at Anfield. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

Each of Matip, Mane and Salah played this most recent final in Madrid; Keita was injured, but more than played his part earlier in the competition, most notably against Porto. Next season, all four will be key.

From the Kop to the Cups, the association between Africa and Liverpool is long and varied and shows no signs of slowing down.

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“Focused on winning the Premier League” – Liverpool owner’s message for new season

ThisIsAnfield.com - Sat, 06/29/2019 - 17:53

Liverpool will turn their full attention to ending what will be a 30-year wait for a league title next season after becoming European champions for a sixth time, according to owner John Henry.


The Reds lost only one Premier League game last season but were pipped to the crown by a single point by Manchester City in a title race extraordinary for the consistency of the two contenders.

Lifting the Champions League trophy in Madrid made up for any disappointment, but Henry knows Liverpool fans are now desperate to enjoy domestic supremacy for the first time since 1990.

“To me winning in Europe is bigger than winning in England but I think it’s true the fans want it,” Henry told PA. “I know we’re going to be focused on winning the Premier League next year.”

Henry, in London to watch his Boston Red Sox face the New York Yankees in the first regular-season Major League Baseball games to be played in the UK, remained tight-lipped on any further transfer activity following the signing of teenage defender Sepp Van Den Berg.

 Liverpool's manager Jürgen Klopp is embraced by owner John W Henry following a 2-0 victory in the UEFA Champions League Final match between Tottenham Hotspur FC and Liverpool FC at the Estadio Metropolitano. (Pic by Paul Greenwood/Propaganda)

“We need to get healthy,” he said when asked about ways to strengthen the squad. “We need AOC (Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain) back, we need a healthy (Adam) Lallana.

“It’s not up to me but I would guess we will see more of Divock (Origi) next year. I think he brings something special, he comes with power and speed and brings in scoring.

“I feel really good about next year.”

While the title race may have ended in disappointment, Henry said his team had every reason to be proud of their season.

“Our guys gave it their all from the first day of the season to the last,” he said. “It’s a long season, they played up to their capabilities and just gave so much effort.

“It didn’t matter who the opponent was, they out-ran every opponent and I felt they deserved to walk away with a trophy.

“We walked away with the biggest one so I’m very happy.”

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Steven Gerrard reveals inspiration from Liverpool's Champions League win

LiverpoolFC.TV - Sat, 06/29/2019 - 16:00

The sight of Jürgen Klopp celebrating Liverpool's Champions League triumph in Madrid has given Steven Gerrard an extra thirst for silverware as a manager.

The current Rangers boss was in attendance at Estadio Metropolitano on June 1 to watch the Reds beat Tottenham Hotspur and earn the club its sixth European Cup.

Now heading into his second season in senior management, Gerrard is determined to have his own celebrations in the upcoming campaign.

The former midfielder said: “I think as a young manager you try and be a sponge from all the top managers when you watch them on the sidelines, watch them do interviews or you meet them.

“It’s no different with Jürgen for me. You try to take in all of the good things from them. He has been very helpful to me.

“A lot of the stuff I will keep private, but any questions or any bit of advice, he helps me out.

“Being there and seeing it, you look at the Liverpool fans. Emotionally it brought back a lot of memories of my own from being a Liverpool player.

“When the dust settles, I am thinking, ‘OK, I would love that to be us at Rangers’. I would love to be watching my players celebrate.

“I was looking at Jürgen, looking at his players celebrate, and I would love nothing better than to do that in 12 months’ time, or sooner if we get the opportunity in a few months’ time with the League Cup.”

The 39-year-old was also made up to see Jordan Henderson follow in his footsteps to become the fifth Liverpool captain to raise Ol' Big Ears aloft.

[embedded content]

“How could I be jealous of Jordan lifting the trophy? He’s my mate,” Gerrard added.

“I am tight with Jordan and we played together for many years with Liverpool and England.

“I was delighted for him and it was so deserved, there is no better professional than Jordan.

“You get out of this game what you put in, so if you go on that then he certainly deserves it."

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Steven Gerrard reveals inspiration from Liverpool's Champions League win

LiverpoolFC TV - Sat, 06/29/2019 - 16:00
The sight of Jürgen Klopp celebrating Liverpool's Champions League triumph in Madrid has given Steven Gerrard an extra thirst for silverware as a manager.
Categories: LFC NEWS

Nicolas Pepe picks between Liverpool, Inter Milan and PSG transfers

HEAD NEWS - Sat, 06/29/2019 - 15:30

Liverpool target Nicolas Pepe is hoping to join Paris Saint-Germain despite links to the Reds and Inter Milan, reports say.

Liverpool are among the clubs keen to sign Pepe this transfer window, with the Ivory Coast international enjoying a stunning campaign with Lille.

The 24-year-old scored 23 goals from 41 appearances as the club finished second in the table.

Liverpool have been tipped to lure Pepe to Anfield this transfer window, despite Jürgen Klopp’s side already having Mohamed Salah, Roberto Firmino and Sadio Mane in attack.

And L’Equipe say that the Reds are still in the running to sign Pepe this summer.

However, Pepe is reportedly hoping PSG join the bidding despite Inter Milan also being one of the clubs keen on a transfer.

He wants the Ligue 1 giants to ‘position themselves’ and appears keen to make the move to the Parc des Princes.

With Neymar’s future uncertain, Thomas Tuchel’s side could make a move for Pepe and make him their replacement for the Brazil international.

Neymar wants to rejoin Barcelona, two years after leaving the Nou Camp in a world-record £200million transfer.

But whether he’s granted his wish is something only time will tell.

Source: Daily Express

This story has been reproduced from the media. It does not necessarily represent the position of Liverpool Football Club.

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Nicolas Pepe picks between Liverpool, Inter Milan and PSG transfers

LiverpoolFC.TV - Sat, 06/29/2019 - 15:30

Liverpool target Nicolas Pepe is hoping to join Paris Saint-Germain despite links to the Reds and Inter Milan, reports say.

Liverpool are among the clubs keen to sign Pepe this transfer window, with the Ivory Coast international enjoying a stunning campaign with Lille.

The 24-year-old scored 23 goals from 41 appearances as the club finished second in the table.

Liverpool have been tipped to lure Pepe to Anfield this transfer window, despite Jürgen Klopp’s side already having Mohamed Salah, Roberto Firmino and Sadio Mane in attack.

And L’Equipe say that the Reds are still in the running to sign Pepe this summer.

However, Pepe is reportedly hoping PSG join the bidding despite Inter Milan also being one of the clubs keen on a transfer.

He wants the Ligue 1 giants to ‘position themselves’ and appears keen to make the move to the Parc des Princes.

With Neymar’s future uncertain, Thomas Tuchel’s side could make a move for Pepe and make him their replacement for the Brazil international.

Neymar wants to rejoin Barcelona, two years after leaving the Nou Camp in a world-record £200million transfer.

But whether he’s granted his wish is something only time will tell.

Source: Daily Express

This story has been reproduced from the media. It does not necessarily represent the position of Liverpool Football Club.

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Nicolas Pepe picks between Liverpool, Inter Milan and PSG transfers

LiverpoolFC TV - Sat, 06/29/2019 - 15:30
Liverpool target Nicolas Pepe is hoping to join Paris Saint-Germain despite links to the Reds and Inter Milan, reports say.
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Fabinho singles out Roberto Firmino as “perfect” forward for Liverpool

ThisIsAnfield.com - Sat, 06/29/2019 - 14:23

Fabinho has showered praise on his “irreplaceable” teammate Roberto Firmino having labelled him the “perfect” player for Liverpool’s attack.


Since Jurgen Klopp‘s arrival on Merseyside Firmino has seen his star rise having quickly established himself as an integral component of Liverpool’s style of play.

The role of the 27-year-old is widely appreciated by those in and around the club, but the subtle parts of his game which cannot always be reflected in a list of statistics ensures he often flies under the radar from those outside Anfield.

Mohamed Salah and Sadio Mane‘s feats in front of goal means they are often the ones who dominate the headlines, but a large part of their success must be credited to Firmino’s unselfish nature and his remarkable football IQ.

The fact that it is near on impossible for Liverpool to find a forward who could replicate what he offers the team only shows how influential he is in and around the final third.

 Liverpool's Roberto Firmino celebrates scoring the second goal during the UEFA Champions League Quarter-Final 1st Leg match between Liverpool FC and FC Porto at Anfield. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

And Fabinho, his teammate for both club and country, described him as the “perfect” man to lead Liverpool’s line when speaking on Brazilian podcast Hoje Sim, after having first revealed Firmino as Brazil’s shyest player.

“At Liverpool he is the perfect player there for that position. Because he’s a smart guy, a guy who helps a lot in the build-up,” he said.

“A guy that from time to time I see him on the side recovering balls. I say, ‘Thanks, Firmino, cheers for the help!’.

“And with our characteristic of the two open players, he helps a lot because he scores goals and gives players the ball to score goals as well.

“And Klopp says that an irreplaceable player for him is Firmino.”

Fabinho made the move to Anfield in the summer of 2018 and while he had crossed paths with Firmino on the international stage, it obviously did not take long for the midfielder to recognise his teammate’s unique qualities and unparalleled work rate.

“And I’m going to talk about my vision: I’ve always liked him a lot, but when you follow him every day, you realise that the guy is different. The guy is very good,” he added.

Fabinho was surprisingly omitted from Tite’s squad for the Copa Ameria after emerging as a key member in Liverpool’s midfield on the way to being crowned European Champions.

Firmino and fellow Liverpool teammate Alisson, however, have both featured in all of Brazil’s games on their journey to the semi-final, where a showdown with Argentina now awaits.

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Naby Keita disputes claim of latest injury blow – as Liverpool rule him “fine”

ThisIsAnfield.com - Sat, 06/29/2019 - 13:19

Naby Keita has insisted he is “fine” after being given the all-clear from a Liverpool doctor following another injury scare on international duty.


Keita’s involvement for Guinea in the African Cup of Nations had been under the microscope after an adductor injury suffered against Barcelona at the Nou Camp in May ruled him out of the Reds’ last four games of the season.

Jurgen Klopp had suggested the extent of the injury could see the midfielder sidelined for at least two months, but Guinea had only one plan for their star player.

His international manager, Paul Put, “put a lot of pressure” on the Reds to ensure he was sent on his way in a timely fashion, irrespective of his injury prognosis.

Keita played in the last half-hour of Guinea’s 2-2 draw with Madagascar in their opening game before being withdrawn with 71 minutes on the clock the next time out after being heavily targeted by Nigeria.

The encounter left Keita with shin and thigh injuries which left his availability for Guinea’s final group game against Burundi on Sunday under serious doubt.

 Liverpool's Naby Keita during the UEFA Champions League Quarter-Final 1st Leg match between Liverpool FC and FC Porto at Anfield. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

However, the Reds’ No. 8 has looked to dismiss claims of another serious injury blow as he revealed a Liverpool doctor has assured him he is “fine.”

“A Liverpool doctor consulted me yesterday, I was fine, I’m not going to say I’m sure I’ll play tomorrow, we have a workout just now [and] after the coach decides,” he said.

It’s positive news for all parties, but Keita’s words come as yet another instalment in what has been a poorly handled situation.

The midfielder has battled numerous injuries and knocks throughout his first season with Liverpool and he should not be rushed back into action regardless of Guinea’s AFCON fate.

Keita, himself, will undoubtedly be eager to help his nation progress into the knockout stages but he needs to be carefully managed as to not pick up further injuries which could impact his ability to have an influence for both club and country next season.

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Virgil van Dijk explains how he stays calm as you like

LiverpoolFC.TV - Sat, 06/29/2019 - 13:00

Virgil van Dijk has explained his mindset before stepping out onto the pitch that ensures he stays cool, calm and collected for Liverpool.

The centre-half, who arrived to the Reds from Southampton in January 2018, sees no benefit to carrying pre-match nerves, instead opting to look forward to the opportunity to showcase his talents.

It's an approach that has paid dividends collectively and individually, with the 2019 PFA Players' Player of the Year a key component in Liverpool's Champions League triumph.

[embedded content]

Speaking to Unisport, the 27-year-old said: "My mentality comes from what I’ve experienced over the years.

“I think I’ve been working hard for every step of the way. I’ve never had an easy route to where I am.

"I always made sure that I had to keep working hard, stay humble. That makes me where I am right now and just keep working hard.

“I think in games you need to turn nervous feelings to more excitement anyway, otherwise you’re going to limit your ability to play.

“You’re going to put it in your head that you don’t want to make mistakes and normally then you’re going to make mistakes.

"So the thing is, when I play games I just want to go out there, show everything that I’ve got and have no regrets after the game.

“Anyone these days can have their opinions, but not a lot matters to me – other than the people around me, my team and family and friends.”

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Virgil van Dijk explains how he stays calm as you like

LiverpoolFC TV - Sat, 06/29/2019 - 13:00
Virgil van Dijk has explained his mindset before stepping out onto the pitch that ensures he stays cool, calm and collected for Liverpool.
Categories: LFC NEWS

Virgil van Dijk’s rise to the top shaped by his formative years “playing on the streets”

ThisIsAnfield.com - Sat, 06/29/2019 - 11:49

Virgil van Dijk has credited his time “playing on the streets” for helping him develop into the elite, ‘calm as you like’, defender he is today.


Since arriving on Merseyside Van Dijk’s influence over the Reds speaks for itself having played an instrumental role in solidifying the back-line and helping to clinch Liverpool’s sixth European crown.

And the Dutch defender catapulted himself into Ballon d’Or contention after an imperious 2018/19 season which saw him crowned PFA Players’ Player of the Year and the Premier League Player of the Season.

His rise to the top has seen him ply his trade with Groningen, Celtic and Southampton prior to his arrival at Anfield, but it was his time “playing on the streets” which helped lay the foundations for the player he is today.

[embedded content]

“I’ve benefited a lot from defending one-on-one by playing on the streets,” Van Dijk revealed.

“I played a lot of five-a-side games when I was younger, and I loved to attack as well at that point and so you got a bit of a feeling of how attackers might think in certain situations.

“Obviously, that comes with experience as well during my professional career.”

Van Dijk’s defensive prowess was on show on numerous occasions last season with his expert defending of a two-on-one situation against Spurs’ Moussa Sissoko and Son Heung-min the obvious example.

So Liverpool fans can be grateful for his childhood experiences which helped mould him into the player we see today.

 Liverpool's Virgil van Dijk (L) and Tottenham Hotspur's Harry Kane during the UEFA Champions League Final match between Tottenham Hotspur FC and Liverpool FC at the Estadio Metropolitano. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

The video, released by UniSport, provides an interesting insight into his mentality and digs further into why he is “never nervous.”

“My mentality comes from what I’ve experienced over the years,” he said.

“I think I’ve been working hard every step of the way. I’ve never had an easy route to where I am, I’ve always made sure that I had to keep working hard, stay humble and that makes me who I am right now.

“I think in games you need to turn nervous feelings to more excitement otherwise you’re going to limit your ability to play.

“You’re going to put it in your head that you don’t want to make mistakes and normally then you’re going to make mistakes.

“When I play games I just want to go out there show everything I’ve got and have no regrets after the game.

“Anyone these days can have their opinions but not a lot matters to me other than my team and family and friends.”

 Liverpool's Virgil van Dijk celebrates scoring the fifth goal, his second of the game, during the FA Premier League match between Liverpool FC and Watford FC at Anfield. (Pic by Paul Greenwood/Propaganda)

Van Dijk’s presence in the heart of defence saw Liverpool keep a stunning 21 clean sheets in the Premier League last season, but it was his improved influence in the forward third which also proved vital.

The 27-year-old scored six and set up a further four in what was a career-best return, but despite being widely regarded as one of the football’s elite he is not resting on his laurels.

“As a defender, you always like to contribute whether it is with clean sheets, obviously that’s the most important thing, but if you can contribute with a goal that is always a good thing,” he said.

“If you look at me personally, I’m pretty tall and I should be dangerous in attacking corners, free-kicks so I’m working on it.

“It’s not easy because normally I’m marked by the strongest header of the opponent but I’m trying my best, and that’s the only thing you can do.”

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What's on: This week's LFC community events

LiverpoolFC.TV - Sat, 06/29/2019 - 11:00

Check out a schedule of local community events planned by the LFC Foundation and Red Neighbours teams in the coming week.

For more information on these activities, and the work of the two organisations, follow @LFCFoundation and @Red_Neighbours on Twitter or click here.

Monday July 1

Premier League Girls Football session

Woodchurch High School Sports Complex - 6pm-7pm (age 13+)

Premier League Kicks sessions 

Walton Hall Park - 7pm-8pm (age 11-17)

Respect 4 - Ability Counts / PAN Disability Football session

Anfield Sports and Community Centre - 6pm-7pm (age 5-12), 7pm-8pm (age 13+)

Open Goals

Springfield Park and Garden - 4pm-6pm (age 5+ and parents)

Tuesday July 2

Junior Netball session

Anfield Sports and Community Centre - 5pm-6pm (age 7-12)

Premier League Kicks session

Toxteth Firefit Hub - 5.30pm-6.30pm (age 8-13), 6.30pm-7.30pm (age 14-19)

Respect 4 All - Severe Learning Disability Football sessions

Anfield Sports and Community Centre - 6pm-7pm (age 5-16), 7pm-8pm (age 17+)

Red Neighbours Walking Football

Anfield Sports and Community Centre - 3pm-4pm

Open Goals

Seaforth in Bowersdale Park (meet at Bowersdale Resource Centre) - 5pm-6pm (age 5+ and parents)

Wednesday July 3    

Mini Kicks session

Anfield Sports and Community Centre - 4pm-6pm (age 4-6)

Premier League Kicks sessions

Anfield Sports and Community Centre - 5pm-6pm (age 7-11), 6pm-7pm (age 12-17)

Wildcat Girls Football session

Anfield Sports and Community Centre - 5pm-6pm (age 5-7)

Open Goals

Crosby in Coronation Park (meet at Alchemy Crosby Youth & Community Centre) - 4.30pm-5.30pm (age 5+ and parents)

Thursday July 4          

Premier League Kicks sessions

Wavertree Sports Park - 5pm-6pm (age 8-13), 6pm-7pm (age 14-17)
Gateacre School - 6pm-7pm (age 8-11), 7pm-8pm (age 12-16)
Anfield Sports and Community Centre - 8pm-10pm (age 13+)

Respect 4 All - Inclusion Football session (Beginner / Open Disability)

Anfield Sports and Community Centre - 6pm-7pm (age 5-8)

Respect 4 All - Physical Impairment Inclusion Football session

Anfield Sports and Community Centre - 7pm-8pm (age 8+)

Military Veterans

Goals Liverpool North, Bootle - 5pm-7.30pm

Open Goals

Jubilee Sports Bank, Kensington - 4pm-6pm (age 5+ and parents)

Friday July 5

Premier League Kicks sessions

Wavertree Sports Park - 6pm-8pm (age 14-19)
Croxteth Health & Wellbeing Centre - 6pm-8pm (age 11-17)
Kirkby Leisure Centre - 5pm-6pm (age 8-13), 6pm-7pm (age 14-17)
Netherton Activity Centre - 6pm-7pm (age 8-11), 7pm-8pm (age 12-19)

Respect 4 All - Wheelchair / Powerchair Football sessions 

Anfield Sports and Community Centre - 6pm-7pm (age 5-8), 7pm-8pm (age 17+)

Red Neighbours Walking Football

Anfield Sports and Community Centre - 11am-12pm

Red Neighbours Walking Netball

Anfield Sports and Community Centre - 11.30am-12.30pm

Open Goals

Rice Lane Recreation Ground - 4pm-6pm (age 5+ and parents)

Saturday July 6    

Respect 4 All - Inclusion Football sessions (Disability)

Woodchurch High Sports Complex - 10.30am-11.30am (SLD Child 5+), 11.30am-12.30pm (PAN age 12+), 12.30pm-1.30pm (SLD adults 16+)

Open Goals

Stanley Park (meet at Isla Gladstone) - 11am-12.30pm (age 5+ and parents)
Newsham Park - 11am-12.30pm (age 5+ and parents)
Norris Green Park (meet by playground) - 1.30pm-3pm (age 5+ and parents)
Crown Park, Edge Hill - 1pm-2.30pm (age 5+ and parents)
Garston Park  - 3pm-5pm (age 5+ and parents)

Sunday July 7  

Open Goals    

Walton Hall Park - 1pm-2pm (age 5+ and parents)
Belle Vale Park - 1pm-2pm (age 5+ and parents)
Doric Park - 11am-12pm (age 5+ and parents)

Military Veterans

LFC Academy - 3pm-4.30pm

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Categories: LFC NEWS

What's on: This week's LFC community events

LiverpoolFC TV - Sat, 06/29/2019 - 11:00
Check out a schedule of local community events planned by the LFC Foundation and Red Neighbours teams in the coming week.
Categories: LFC NEWS

Liverpool’s Player of the Year Award winners over the last 18 years

ThisIsAnfield.com - Sat, 06/29/2019 - 10:24

From Sami Hyypia to Virgil van Dijk, Liverpool have had a wealth of talent be crowned as the club’s Player of the Season over the last 18 seasons.


Throughout Liverpool’s illustrious 127-year history the club has borne witness to a star-studded list of players who have donned the red shirt across the country and in Europe.

From the likes of Kenny Dalglish, Ian Rush, Ray Clemence and John Barnes to Steven Gerrard, Luis Suarez, Jamie Carragher and Virgil van Dijk – the list is endless.

Some players left you speechless as their ability defied all logic, while others earned admiration for their consistency, commitment or loyalty – the Reds have had it all.

Over the last 18 years Liverpool have seen various players rise to prominence with each turn of the tide; so much so that 13 different players have been crowned as Liverpool’s Player of the Year during that time.

 Liverpool's Mohamed Salah celebrates scoring the first goal with team-mate Virgil van Dijk (right) during the FA Premier League match between Liverpool FC and Brighton & Hove Albion FC at Anfield. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

Van Dijk was the latest Red to be handed the honour after an imperious 2018/19 season which saw him add a Champions League winners medal alongside his PFA Players’ Player of the Year and Premier League Player of the Season awards.

The Dutchman has proven indispensable to Jurgen Klopp’s side having been at the centre of the Reds’ exponential rise since his arrival at Anfield in January 2018, for a fee which now looks like daylight robbery.

The emphatic nature of his performances saw him end a six-season stranglehold on Liverpool’s annual award from those who ply their trade in the forward half.

In the year preceding Van Dijk’s accolade, Mohamed Salah (2017/18), Sadio Mane (2016/17), Philippe Coutinho (2014/15, 2015/16) and Suarez (2012/13, 2013/14) all took home the prize.

The former, of course, remain an integral part of the Reds’ present-day success, and neither took long to settle into their new surroundings as their first full season on Merseyside was capped off in style.

From a wildcard signing to an irreplaceable member of the attacking trio, Mane’s first season return of 13 goals and eight assists quickly set the scene for what he had in store for the Liverpool faithful.

 Liverpool's Philippe Coutinho Correia celebrates scoring the fourth goal against Hull City with team-mate Sadio Mane during the FA Premier League match at Anfield. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

Meanwhile, Salah returned to the English top-flight like a man possessed as he broke records like nobody’s business in a campaign which reaped 44 goals and 16 assists in 52 appearances. A tally which rightly catapulted him into the discussion for the Ballon d’Or.

Interestingly, what separates their wins from Coutinho’s back-to-back triumph is that the duo were the standouts within a squad littered with talent, whereas the Brazilian was largely the undisputed star in the side.

Following Suarez’s departure in 2014, after a stunning 31-goal season which took Liverpool to the cusp of a league title, Coutinho shouldered much of the responsibility of being the man to make things happen.

He took the expectation in his stride having scored 20 goals and set up a further 13 across both the 2014/15 and 2015/16 seasons, but in large part Liverpool appeared to be a one-man team until Klopp took the reins.

And two different trajectories awaited both the player and the club.

Winding back the years even further to the end of Gerrard Houllier’s time at Liverpool and the peak of Rafa Benitez’s reign saw a prolific trio dominate the award season.

Gerrard (2003/04, 2005/06, 2006/07, 2008/09), Carragher (2004/05) and Fernando Torres (2007/08) were each the focal point at different stages throughout a six-year spell.

Carragher was transformed into an elite centre-back under Benitez’s tutelage, while the former Liverpool captain’s quartet of awards came at a time when he was instrumental in the Reds’ European Cup and FA Cup triumph, and a regular in the PFA and UEFA’s Team of the Year.

The vision, the leadership and the inability to know when to stop, Gerrard ticked every box.

He was consistently dominant in midfield and his attacking instincts saw him create a prolific and telepathic partnership with Torres from the off.

The Spaniard could strike fear into any defensive line such was his breath-taking ability, and his instantaneous connection with Gerrard saw him hit the ground running at Anfield in emphatic fashion having netted 33 goals in 2007/08.

Two players who hit their prime together and established a magical partnership which ended all too soon, but is still revered at the club to this day.

 Liverpool's Sami Hyypia celebrates scoring the equaliser with team-mate Martin Skrtel against Arsenal during the UEFA Champions League Quarter-Final 2nd Leg match at Anfield. (Photo by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

A number of other notable names to win the award included the likes of Pepe Reina, a reliable performer during what was a turbulent 2009/10 season marred by off-field drama with the owners, and Lucas Leiva who saw his remarkable consistency rewarded in season 2010/11.

And centre-back duo Sami Hyypia (2001/02) and Martin Skrtel (2011/12) clinched the title 10-years apart having been key to Liverpool’s UEFA Super Cup and League Cup triumph respectively.

The make up of the Reds’ list of winners over the last 18 years has seen a relatively even spread of contributors from across the pitch, as five defensive players, three midfielders and five attackers have all been bestowed with the honour.

Liverpool Player of the Year Winners

Liverpool Player of the Year Awards on May 19, 2015 in Liverpool, England.

2001/02: Sami Hyypia
2002/03: Danny Murphy
2003/04: Steven Gerrard
2004/05: Jamie Carragher
2005/06: Steven Gerrard
2006/07: Steven Gerrard
2007/08: Fernando Torres
2008/09: Steven Gerrard
2009/10: Pepe Reina
2010/11: Lucas Leiva
2011/12: Martin Skrtel
2012/13: Luis Suarez
2013/14: Luis Suarez
2014/15: Philippe Coutinho
2015/16: Philippe Coutinho
2016/17: Sadio Mane
2017/18: Mohamed Salah
2018/19: Virgil van Dijk

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The view from Egypt: 'When Salah plays for LFC, the country stops to watch'

LiverpoolFC.TV - Sat, 06/29/2019 - 09:00

After ending his second season as a Liverpool player with a Champions League medal around his neck, Mohamed Salah is currently striving for another major honour - the Africa Cup of Nations.

Having finished as runners-up two years ago in Gabon, Egypt are hoping to go one better this time around as the host nation, and have made an impressive start with the Reds' No.11 at the fore.

Ahmad Yousef, a journalist for Egyptian sports website KingFut.com, is in Cairo to cover the tournament and spoke to Liverpoolfc.com to discuss Salah’s performances, Egypt’s chances and more…

Egypt are through to the last 16 of AFCON 2019 after winning their first two fixtures in Group A. How far are the seven-time winners expected to progress?

Egypt are expected to go far. Their 90 million fans have high expectations of the players, especially on home soil, with Egypt only losing three competitive matches at home in the last 15 years. The fans are in high spirits after the two wins and will expect Egypt to go deep into the tournament. As for the manager [former Mexico and Atletico Madrid boss] Javier Aguirre, he has set his sights on reaching the final and winning the competition. He has stated that if he doesn’t reach the final he has not completed his job.

Mohamed Salah scored one and set up another in Egypt's 2-0 victory over DR Congo in Cairo on Wednesday - how has he performed so far?

We are starting to see glimpses of his brilliance. Salah has been involved in two of Egypt’s three goals so far, and his fantastic finish against DR Congo was a real sign of confidence from last season’s Premier League top scorer.

What kind of tactical system does Javier Aguirre favour and what role does Salah play in it - out wide, up front...?

Salah has been deployed on the right-hand side of the front three, playing alongside Marwan Mohsen and highly-rated starlet ‘Trezeguet’. As you would expect, Egypt’s opponents have been targeting Salah, doubling up on him and not giving him any space or time. This has allowed Salah’s teammates, especially Trezeguet, to get more of the ball and cause trouble. That is exactly what happened for Egypt’s second goal against DR Congo, where Trezeguet picked the ball up, drove forward and assisted Salah elegantly. Egypt’s new manager Aguirre plays more attacking football compared to the previous manager at last year’s World Cup, Héctor Cuper, which has suited Salah.

As the reigning African Footballer of the Year and one of the biggest names in world football at present, how much focus is there on Salah as an individual?

Mohamed Salah, without a doubt, is the star of Egypt and the African footballing world at the moment. He is the poster boy in Egypt, appearing on adverts everywhere in the country. Salah has shown as an individual that he can cope with pressure, and he demonstrated that when he scored his penalty in the Champions League final. Especially in the early stages there will be little pressure, simply because he has played at the highest level before and he is someone who copes with pressure so well. Let’s not forget the penalty he scored two years ago [in the 95th minute of a qualifier against DR Congo] that sent Egypt to the World Cup for the first time in 28 years.

What would it mean to Egypt to win an eighth Africa Cup of Nations on home soil after missing the 2012/13/15 tournaments and finishing as runners-up in 2017?

It would mean the world to the fans. Egypt is a football-mad country and when the team plays well the entire nation’s mood is very good. It was a huge disappointment not to qualify between 2010 and 2017, but Egypt showed in the last edition that they are still an African powerhouse by reaching the final. Winning it for the eighth time would add more pride to the Egyptian people, who already boast about having seven titles, more than any other country.

How was Liverpool's Champions League final victory over Tottenham Hotspur - and Salah's integral role in it - perceived back in Egypt?

It was huge for Egyptian fans, they have waited a long time to see an Egyptian win such a major trophy and it was even more special that he scored in the final after last year’s disappointment in Kiev. He became the first Egyptian to do so and will always be remembered for that in his homeland.

[embedded content]

Is it fair to say Liverpool have a much larger fan base in Egypt than they did before Salah arrived from Roma two years ago?

Liverpool have always had a large fan base in Egypt since before Mohamed Salah; however, since he joined it has definitely increased. Many Egyptian fans have followed him around from his time at Chelsea to Roma and now to Liverpool. When Mo plays for Liverpool, the country stops to watch at cafes, bars and in their homes. The Champions League final was aired everywhere with many sporting clubs putting up large screens for his devout followers.

Senegal are one of the other strongly fancied sides at the tournament. How likely is a meeting between Salah's Pharaohs and Sadio Mane's Teranga Lions later in the competition, and who would be the favourites?

With the competition being opened up to 24 teams this year there is a chance for four third-place teams to qualify for the last 16. This complicates the potential outcomes but if Egypt and Senegal both top their groups, they could meet in the semi-final. This will be a huge game, with Senegal having the better side on paper but Egypt having the home advantage, and I believe that will be what edges Egypt over the line if the Pharaohs do come up against Senegal. Regardless, Sadie Mane is very well regarded in Egypt and Egyptian fans will not want to face him!

What do Egyptian fans hope to see Salah achieve in his career at Liverpool from next season onwards?

Egyptian fans now want more - they want the Premier League title AND the Ballon d’Or! If Mo can help Liverpool to the Premier League it would help his cause towards being awarded the Ballon d’Or. Egyptian fans still believe Salah still has a lot more to offer as he continues to develop.

What kind of cultural impact does Salah have on everyday life for football-loving Egyptians?

Egyptians are very proud of Mo’s influence on and off the pitch and how he hasn’t forgotten about his Egyptian culture and religion whilst playing abroad. He has made Egyptians feel proud of their heritage and culture, which has had a huge effect on everyone’s day-to-day well-being. In a way, he has reinstilled pride back into the Egyptian people after a tough number of years.

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The view from Egypt: 'When Salah plays for LFC, the country stops to watch'

LiverpoolFC TV - Sat, 06/29/2019 - 09:00
After ending his second season as a Liverpool player with a Champions League medal around his neck, Mohamed Salah is currently striving for another major honour - the Africa Cup of Nations.
Categories: LFC NEWS

More than a footballer: The incredible impact of Mohamed Salah in Egypt

ThisIsAnfield.com - Fri, 06/28/2019 - 19:00

Mohamed Salah‘s rise to the elite has earned him admirers around the world, but it’s in his native Egypt where his influence is truly astounding.


Throughout Salah’s two seasons on Merseyside we have grown accustomed to watching him as he marauds down the wing, rustles the back of the net and forms one part of a prolific attacking trio.

He has captivated the imaginations of millions of fans worldwide and more often than not he has you precariously perched at the edge of your seat.

And while his footballing feats have rightly earned him widespread admiration, for many Salah is more than just a footballer.

Egypt’s Humble Hero

Mohamed Salah, 11

The 27-year-old grew up over 3,700 miles away from Liverpool in Nagrig, a small rural village in the Gharbia district of Egypt.

He would endure a nine-hour roundtrip five days a week for years to play football in Cairo before he was allocated accommodation from what would be his first professional club, Al Mokawloon.

The Egyptian outfit would hand Salah his senior debut in the Egyptian Premier League in May 2010, and a rapid rise to prominence would soon follow.

Swiss side Basel came calling in 2012 before spending time with Chelsea, Florentina and Roma prior to his arrival in Liverpool – all of which occurred within a five year time period.

It’s been an exponential rise which has seen Salah become a hero and a source of motivation for all generations in Egypt.

From murals which are seemingly adorned on every corner, to his image on billboards, shopping bags, traditional decorative lanterns, mugs and countless other items, Salah’s presence is felt everywhere in Egypt.

Nothing beats street art for me, especially when it’s Salah on a building in Egypt ? pic.twitter.com/uR8hykhVq4

— ?????? (@MaebyKate) June 18, 2019

“People don’t just love Mo, they adore him,” Khalid Yousif, president of Liverpool’s Egypt Supporters Club, told This Is Anfield.

“His influence is massive. It’s just unbelievable. His humility, dedication and his good deeds towards the poor have made him one of the most popular and lovable public figures in the country.

“Posters, photos and murals are everywhere: cafes, coffee shops, malls and streets – basically anywhere you go!”

The scale of admiration for which Salah is held-in in his native country is mind-blowing when you also consider that he has streets, schools and community centres named in his honour.

Where even a reported 1.7 million Egyptian voters spoiled their ballot papers for the presidential election by writing Salah’s name in 2018.

But it comes as little surprise when you delve into the level of his contributions to the city and country which have shaped who he is.

Mohamed Salah, Egypt, National ( Chris Ricco/BackpagePix/Sports Inc/PA Images)

Salah’s helped pay for an Egyptian child’s medical fees, a school for girls, a sewage treatment plant, a medical centre and an ambulance station in his hometown, while also paying for the construction of an all-weather football pitch at a school where he once studied.

And these are just the things which have been publicised.

But importantly he has also been a key figure in anti-drug and anti-smoking campaigns across the country, which Yousif feels only showcases his ever-growing level of influence.

“People look at him as a hero, kids see him as a role model. Doing commercials for fighting against drugs and upping the awareness for the younger generations has only increased his status as a role model for them,” Yousif explained.

“The elders see him as their own kid and they pray for him. The middle-aged see him as their brother or close friend, and the young ones see him as their older brother.”

For a player who has seen the level of expectation on his shoulders rise exponentially following his senior international debut at just 19-years-old, Salah takes it all in his stride.

He currently harbours the dreams of a nation as Egypt play host in the African Cup of Nations, a tournament which sees Salah’s side positioned as favourites, and there’s no doubting the eyes of the country will be cast in his direction as they look to pick up their first title since 2010.

But his humble nature ensures he’s a man who doesn’t seek out the spotlight but one who the spotlight consistently finds such is his impact and influence, both on and off the field.

 

A New Sea of Red

 Liverpool's Mohamed Salah celebrates scoring the third goal during the FA Premier League match between Liverpool FC and Southampton FC at Anfield. (Pic by Jon Super/Propaganda)

Salah has always been held in high regard in Egypt but his move to Liverpool offered the Reds their first glimpse at just how much power and pull he has, not only in his homeland but the surrounding areas.

“The moment we signed Mohamed, straight away we looked at our social media platforms and you could look at IP addresses and immediately see [a spike in followers], in particular from Egypt,” Peter Moore, Liverpool’s CEO, revealed.

“But there is a pan-Arabian pride from all people in the Middle East, regardless of whether you are Egyptian. We saw Jordan, and we obviously saw the UAE.

“It breaks down some of the barriers in this region when it’s an Arab player that is playing, and not only playing but arguably one of the best players in the world and scoring goals for fun.”

And the initial spike in online interactions was just the start.

You can only imagine the pride of everyone in Egypt for @MoSalah got to see it to believe it. @LFC game was on in every bar, cafe, shop & restaurant. I repeatedly declined a plastic bag in the local shop but was proudly given this to carry my chewing gum back to the hotel with pic.twitter.com/zBUlOd2LMa

— HAYLEY MCQUEEN (@HayleyMcQueen) January 12, 2019

As Salah’s star continues to rise on Merseyside following a 71-goal return over two seasons, Liverpool’s presence on the ground in Egypt has increased with it.

The man affectionately coined the ‘Egyptian King’ has risen to the top echelon of players around the world with those in Egypt watching on, as they always have throughout his career.

But a new wave of red has descended across the nation as the red of their national strip has been met with an influx of the red of Liverpool.

“I can tell you that the numbers keep increasing by the day since he joined Liverpool. Kids of all ages walk down the streets wearing the club’s jersey,” Yousif said.

“More and more people are not only attached to Mo but now they know who Klopp is, they love Bobby’s celebrations and so on.”

The pride in Salah’s achievements is interwoven in a desire for the Reds to succeed, and it means you wouldn’t find it hard to find a screen to watch Liverpool’s games around the country as bars, cafes, shops and restaurants are full of people tuning in.

 A Liverpool supporter's flag featuring Mohamed Salah during the FA Premier League match between Liverpool FC and West Ham United FC at Anfield. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

Salah has weaved his way into the lives of millions of people and acts as a beacon of hope as he has shown dreams can come true.

He is a European champion, been crowned PFA Players’ Player of the Year, Premier League Player of the Season, twice named African Footballer of the Year and has two Golden Boots, among countless other awards, to his name all in the time since he made the move to Anfield.

“To have an Egyptian, one of our own, achieving these things is something unbelievable, it makes us really proud of him,” Yousif said.

To think one player has such vast reach and power is simply incredible, but gone are the days where one’s influence is limited to 90 minutes of football.

And it is safe to say Salah is more than just a footballer, especially to those in Egypt.

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Transfer Talk: How Ndombele fits at Spurs

Liverpool FC on Sky Sports - Fri, 06/28/2019 - 16:38

Last Updated: 28/06/19 11:26pm

Tottenham are aiming to complete a club-record deal for Lyon midfielder Tanguy Ndombele Tottenham are aiming to complete a club-record deal for Lyon midfielder Tanguy Ndombele Tottenham are aiming to complete a club-record deal for Lyon midfielder Tanguy Ndombele

The Transfer Talk podcast is back with another episode as the summer transfer window hots up.

Host Adam Leventhal is joined in studio by Sky Sports News reporter Dharmesh Sheth and Sky Sports football writer Nick Wright to discuss all the latest moves in the market.

As Tottenham close in on the club-record signing of Lyon midfielder Tanguy Ndombele as well as the addition of Leeds winger Jack Clarke, the panel examine the impact the pair could have at Spurs next season.

Listen to the latest episode of the Transfer Talk podcast: How Ndombele fits at Spurs

Despite being under a transfer ban, Chelsea are closing in on the signing of Real Madrid midfielder Mateo Kovacic. Dharmesh explains all on that deal and where things stand on Frank Lampard's expected return to Stamford Bridge.

Sky Sports News north-west reporter Ben Ransom joins the show to provide an updates on Manchester City's pursuits of Leicester defender Harry Maguire and Atletico Madrid defensive midfielder Rodri.

With Benfica's highly-rated attacking midfielder Joao Felix set for Atletico Madrid, Portuguese football expert Felipe Dias shares his knowledge of the deal as well as providing insight into what the future may hold for Premier League target Bruno Fernandes.

Finally, the panel discuss where Manchester United manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer may look to strengthen next after clinching a deal to sign Aaron Wan-Bissaka from Crystal Palace.

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Frustrating Keita claim & how PSG kit deal could affect Reds – Friday’s Liverpool FC News Roundup

ThisIsAnfield.com - Fri, 06/28/2019 - 16:31

We round up the latest Liverpool news and transfer rumours on Friday, as Naby Keita‘s fitness issues prove frustrating.


Today’s Main Headlines Journalist Makes Keita Claim

 Liverpool's Naby Keita lines-up before the UEFA Champions League Group C match between S.S.C. Napoli and Liverpool FC at Stadio San Paolo. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

The injury curse has struck Keita once again, with the midfielder picking up two knocks in Guinea’s Africa Cup of Nations defeat to Nigeria on Wednesday.

Shin and thigh issues will see the 24-year-old miss his country’s clash with Burundi on Sunday, leading to fresh questions surrounding him being rushed back after an adductor injury.

Taking to Twitter, journalist Alpha Balde claimed that Keita was only rested for one day when he met up with his team-mates—something that was seemingly asking for trouble:

“Naby had a partial rupture in his adductor. He had to observe three months of rest advised by [Liverpool].

“He did not [do so, due to] the pressure of [Guinea].

“Except for the day of his arrival, he has never been spared in training [at AFCON].”

It is a reckless approach, to say the least, and Keita now appears to have suffered from the consequences of being thrown in too soon.

A penny for Jurgen Klopp‘s thoughts, even if the injuries end up being unrelated to the one suffered against Barcelona on May 1.

PSG’s Record Kit Deal Could Aid Reds

 Paris Saint-Germain's Kylian Mbappé during the UEFA Champions League Round of 16 1st Leg match between Manchester United FC and Paris Saint-Germain at Old Trafford. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

Paris Saint-Germain have announced a club-record kit deal with Nike lasting until 2032, which will reportedly earn them £53 million a year.

They have been backed by Nike for the last 30 years, but this is the most lucrative deal they have ever struck.

In terms of current kit deals, only Barcelona (£100m), Real Madrid (£98m), Man United (£75m) and Man City (£65m) earn more per season.

Incidentally, Nike are one of several manufacturers Liverpool are in talks with regarding a new deal of their own, along with Adidas and New Balance.

The Reds are aiming to generate around £75 million a season—a figure they will believe is merited, given their new-found status as European champions—and PSG’s improved deal could aid negotiations.

Liverpool’s kit will continue to be sponsored by New Balance until their current contract expires in May 2020.

Grujic Returning to Germany

 Annegret Hilse/dpa - IMPORTANT NOTE: In accordance with the requirements of the DFL Deutsche Fu?ball Liga or the DFB Deutscher Fu?ball-Bund, it is prohibited to use or have used photographs taken in the stadium and/or the match in the form of sequence images and/or video-like photo sequences.

Marko Grujic enjoyed a superb season on loan at Hertha Berlin in 2018/19, even leading to head coach Pal Dardai calling him “by far the best midfielder” at the club in the last 20 years.

Despite his quality, the Serb will not be brought back to Liverpool ahead of next season, with a return to the Bundesliga on the cards.

According to ESPN, Hertha are being rivalled by Werder Bremen and Eintracht Frankfurt to sign the 23-year-old on loan.

A lack of European football could work against Hertha and Bremen, but Frankfurt have qualified for the Europa League playoffs.

Exciting young Bremen boss Florian Kohfeldt is represented by the same agency as Klopp, however, which could put them in a strong position.

Grujic still looks to have a Liverpool future—his contract runs until the summer of 2023—but the Reds are currently well-stocked in that area.

Fairclough’s Praise for Origi

 Liverpool's goal-scorer Divock Origi kisses the trophy after the UEFA Champions League Final match between Tottenham Hotspur FC and Liverpool FC at the Estadio Metropolitano. Liverpool won 2-0 to win their sixth European Cup. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

David Fairclough knows a thing or two about influential cameos from the bench, earning him the nickname ‘Supersub’ during his Liverpool days.

Clear comparisons can be drawn between the former Reds striker and Divock Origi, who starred last season scoring huge goals, including one in the Champions League final.

Speaking to the Mirror, Fairclough lauded the Belgian for turning his Liverpool career around, discussing his own early struggles at Anfield:

“Credit to Origi, he was virtually in the wilderness. He worked his way back into the squad and certainly the goal against Everton gave him a massive boost.

“I was in that position myself some years ago when I thought my Liverpool career was over, but then I came back in and scored, and that one goal can be an amazing lift.

“I’d been out for over a year. I’d been out on loan and I then scored against Norwich in a League Cup tie [after coming on as sub for Mark Lawrenson] and it got me back into the group.

“I had come back from Canada and it looked like I was finished at Liverpool, but I came on against Norwich and scored and that got me back into the squad.

“That shows that you can do it and that things can change.”

A new contract offer is on the table if Origi wants it, but the 24-year-old is still weighing up his future—and it could be he desires more regular football elsewhere.

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