Liverpool will harness the positive energy of a Merseyside derby when they welcome Everton to Anfield later today, Jürgen Klopp has explained.
The Reds take on the Blues in the FA Cup third-round tie this afternoon – and the manager is anticipating a keenly-fought contest.
Particularly as Everton have been in fine form in recent weeks following the appointment of Carlo Ancelotti as manager, whom Klopp shares a close relationship with.
The Liverpool boss wrote in his column for the official matchday programme: “Carlo being back in the English game is so cool for the competitions and even cooler for Everton. I’m not sure if I’m doing either of us any favours by saying this, but in football terms I really do consider him a friend. Such an amazing person and just so generous in spirit and personality.
“He’s won all there is to win, as a player and coach and yet remains chilled and humble. He is a benchmark for those of us working in the game today on how to conduct yourself. His impact at Everton is already being felt – we can see this from our analysis. He has been clever in picking up on the positivity of approach injected by Duncan Ferguson.
“Everton are always a difficult opponent for us because of the positive emotion they bring into this derby game. Under Carlo, with his experience, I think they have become even more dangerous.
“But to be honest, I love this. I think it adds to the occasion. My players have just as much desire and belief going into this game. We want to win it with all we have. We see the game as opportunity. We know what our supporters expect. No Liverpool side can ever have less desire than the opponent – this is not allowed.
“We go into this game today with complete confidence in our ability. We always focus on our own strengths while respecting the opponents. We will be on the front foot. We will channel the intensity to benefit our own approach. We will take all the positive energy this unique fixture brings.
“Our supporters will know their importance also. There is no team talk required for the Kop on days like this. They know their job. We will give all we have to make this an occasion to enjoy.”
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Liverpool host Everton in the FA Cup third round on Sunday, with kick-off at Anfield scheduled for 4.01pm GMT.
The match will be shown live on BBC One in the UK.
Extended highlights will be available on LFCTV GO from 12pm on Monday.
For Reds fans outside of the UK, global TV listings for the game can be found here.
Sunday, January 5, 2020 – 4.01pm (GMT)
FA Cup Third Round
Referee: Jonathan Moss
Liverpool head into the affair full of confidence and momentum having won their previous 10 games across all competitions, excluding the League Cup tie over Aston Villa, a run of form which sees the Reds hold a 13 point lead atop of the Premier League table.
A change in competition is set to see a change in personnel, however, with Klopp set to turn to a number of fringe and younger players after a demanding festive schedule and a host of injuries to key players.
And while vast changes are expected, any meeting with the Toffees is a must-win and the Anfield faithful will be eager to see more misery piled on the Blues on Sunday.
Carlo Ancelotti is now at the helm for Everton and has overseen two wins from his opening three games, where the old rivals are expected to field their strongest possible side.
Under Klopp, Liverpool have progressed beyond the third round of the competition three times, but have never made it beyond the fourth round – and regardless of personnel, you would not put it beyond the Reds to change that this season.
Moreover, it is important to note that VAR will be in operation for the meeting while kick-off is scheduled for a minute later than usual as part of the FA’s ‘Heads Up’ campaign to encourage fans to take a minute to think about their mental health.Team News
After a relentless festive fixture schedule, Klopp is set to take the opportunity to ring in the changes as he looks to give regular members of his first-team a timely rest.
Speaking ahead of the game, the boss insisted he would not be making decisions on the emotion of the tie rather what is “sensible” for his team “because of the situation and not because of the opponent.”
The latter has started running after over six weeks on the sidelines with an ankle injury, while the final prognosis on Keita’s groin injury sustained in the warm-up ahead of the win over Sheffield United is yet to be determined.
There is, however, set to be a debut for Liverpool’s newest addition in Takumi Minamino, with the Japan international now cleared for action after missing out against the Blades.
He is set to be joined by the likes of Adrian, Adam Lallana, James Milner and Divock Origi as the senior faces in the side, while Harvey Elliott, Rhian Brewster, Curtis Jones, Neco Williams and Nathaniel Phillips are all set to feature.
A decision will need to be made over whether any of the two fit senior centre-backs in Joe Gomez and Virgil van Dijk are risked, while the trident of Mohamed Salah, Sadio Mane and Roberto Firmino are expected to only feature from the bench – if at all.
The visitors, meanwhile, will remain without Alex Iwobi while Ancelotti will be forced to wait and see if the likes of Morgan Schneiderlin, Yerry Mina and Fabian Delph will pass as fit for the clash.Last 5 at home to Everton (All Competitions)
Won 5-2 – December 2019 (Origi x2, Shaqiri, Mane, Wijnaldum; Keane, Richarlison)
Won 1-0 – December 2018 (Origi)
Won 2-1 – January 2018 (Milner, Van Dijk; Sigurdsson)
Drew 1-1 – December 2017 (Salah; Rooney)
Won 3-1 – April 2017 (Mane, Coutinho, Origi; Pennington)
The Reds have won 11 of those meetings and have lost seven, where Everton‘s last five outings away at Liverpool in the FA Cup have resulted in four draws – with the lastest match won 2-1 by Klopp’s side in January 2018.
And Liverpool are set to have a good omen on their side, with Origi set to feature once more where he will look to inflict further misery on the Blues having scored in all four home games against the visitors in recent times.Form
Liverpool – Last five results (all competitions)
Won 2-0 vs. Sheffield United
Won 1-0 vs. Wolves
Won 4-0 vs. Leicester
Won 1-0 vs. Flamengo
Won 2-1 vs. Monterrey
Everton – Last five results (all competitions)
Speaking in his pre-match press conference, the boss vented his frustration at the pile up of fixtures which could increase should either Liverpool or Everton fail to emerge as victors:
“A journalist told me yesterday, ‘oh, the end of the festive period, what do you make of it?’…which festive period is over?
“We play in three days, four days later, five days later again—what is over, really? Whatever happens tomorrow, you can win or draw, unfortunately, and lose.
“People told me a couple of times I wouldn’t respect the competition. It’s not true, but everybody is allowed to have their own opinion.
“My first job is to respect the players, my absolute No. 1 job.
“I see them every day and I have to make a decision whether it’s allowed to bring them in again or not. That’s it.”TV & Liveblog Info
Henry Jackson will be at the helm on This Is Anfield’s matchday liveblog, keeping you entertained and in the know with updates on all the action, starting from 3.15pm.
Liverpool turn their attentions to the FA Cup this weekend as neighbours Everton make the short trip to Anfield for Sunday's third-round clash.
Virgil van Dijk scored a late winner on his debut when the clubs last met in the competition - a 2-1 home triumph for the Reds on January 5, 2018.
Carlo Ancelotti is now in charge of the Blues and will face Jürgen Klopp's men in the fourth game of his Everton tenure.
So, what can we expect from the Italian's new side on Sunday? We caught up with Adam Partington (@PartAdam), from Everton website GrandOldTeam, to find out...
How has the appointment of Carlo Ancelotti gone down with the fans?
We're over the moon. Not only because Ancelotti is a top manager, but also because many people thought that it just wasn't realistic for Everton to try to obtain his services. We have had a lot of false dawns down the years, but I sense the fanbase doesn't want to get too carried away. I'm personally quite confident that Ancelotti can achieve some good things during his time at Goodison Park.
What is the Italian doing differently?
We certainly play with a bit more intent now. Although it seemed like the lads ran out of energy against Manchester City on Wednesday, our intensity has improved! Under Duncan Ferguson and Carlo, we're more inclined to get the ball forward quickly and we look more dangerous.
Have there been any changes or evolution to Everton's tactics?
In terms of personnel, Djibril Sidibe has been deployed as a right midfielder to re-accommodate Seamus Coleman and this worked superbly well against Burnley on Boxing Day, but not so well against Manchester City. It's still very early.
Is there a player who has particularly been given a new lease of life under the manager?
Dominic Calvert-Lewin seems to have taken well to life under both Duncan and Carlo. The new manager has spoken quite highly of Calvert-Lewin and that must give a young striker a lot of confidence. Although the defeat at City was disappointing, it's been interesting to read and hear comments from the players. It sounds like the entire squad has been lifted by Ancelotti's introduction.
What are the expectations for the rest of the season?
I think a top-half finish should be the least we expect. It was a poor start to the season, but the league is so tight! It's about being competitive again and creating a platform for next season.
Three games in, Ancelotti has two wins and one loss, so how's confidence heading into the clash at Anfield?
We could have won every game 6-0 since the derby at the start of December and I'd still not be overtly confident about Sunday. As well as being our rivals, Liverpool are our bogey team. Historically, we rarely win at Anfield, so it's even harder when you consider the strength of Liverpool's current side! But it's a cup match and we're desperate for silverware so I want us to have a good go.
Which key player battle are you most looking forward to seeing?
I'm intrigued to see if our forwards can cause Virgil van Dijk and whoever partners him an issue. As mentioned above, Calvert-Lewin is starting to excel so maybe this game can be known as the 'Calvert-Lewin derby' in the future.
How do you expect Everton to line up?
I assume we won't see too many changes. I'm not sure if Ancelotti will stick with the Sidibe experiment for this one, given how much Liverpool can cause issues from the wings. We're at the end of a very tough period and this game is a big challenge, whoever Liverpool deploy.
How Everton lined up against Manchester City
I'd expect Richarlison and Calvert-Lewin to lead the Everton line.
What is your prediction for the game?
Everton to sneak a 2-1 victory with a late winner from Yerry Mina.
He was there for a couple of TV media assignments, but between filming sat down with me on the red benches in the studio where ‘LFC Later’ is filmed to have a chat for the official Liverpool vs. Everton matchday programme. So I teed up the following question.
He laughed and responded immediately with “I don’t know why this is!” before thinking about it a little. “I feel like it is just very big moments for me. I thrive off the energy in the good games, the big games, but this doesn’t mean I will score in every derby!”
Doesn’t it, Divock?
Six days later, with just six minutes on the clock, Sadio Mane slipped a pass through. Origi darted between Michael Keane and Yerry Mina, touched the ball past Jordan Pickford – who was in the biggest no man’s land since Jurassic Park – and rolled the ball into the net. Another Anfield derby, another Origi goal. And there was more to come.
Xherdan Shaqiri, from another Mane pass, and Keane exchanged goals before Dejan Lovren turned into Franco Baresi and played a guided long-range pass that took out all 10 of Everton‘s outfield players.
Origi, whilst on the run, allowed the ball to drop over his shoulder before killing it with the kind of touch that makes you wonder if working with Thierry Henry, when he was assistant manager of Belgium for a couple of years, has rubbed off on him.
Pickford started to wander into Isla Nublar again but hadn’t got further than the edge of his six-yard box when Origi lifted the ball over his outstretched arms to make it 3-1 right in front of the visiting Bluenoses, who have now seen their team concede 21 goals in their last eight trips across Stanley Park following the Reds’ 5-2 win.
To put that into further gloriously enjoyable perspective, Everton conceded 15 goals at Anfield in the 1970s, 16 in the 1980s and 17 in the 1990s. Jurgen Klopp‘s Liverpool have scored 16 past them at Anfield since 2016 and Origi has netted five of those 16 goals.
It’s not quite up there with Ian’s Rush’s 25 goals against the Blues, or Steven Gerrard’s 10 for that matter, but Origi is now just a hat-trick away from being Liverpool’s all-time joint third leading goalscorer against Everton.
Which is quite remarkable when you consider that Origi is: a) 24, b) has appeared in just six Merseyside derbies and c) has only completed 90 minutes on 20 occasions during his entire 123-game Reds’ career.
He hasn’t even played 90 minutes in any of his six Merseyside derbies with his appearances lasting for 53, 82, 34, six, 63 and 73 minutes respectively. Which means Origi averages a goal every 62 minutes when playing against Everton – so is clearly due another one on Sunday.
It suggests that Origi is a big-game impact player, something Barcelona can also testify to, and Liverpool may well need him to shoulder the goalscoring responsibility against Everton again if, as seems likely, Klopp makes wholesale changes to his team.
I’ve always been a little uneasy about fielding weakened teams in the FA Cup and the way the best domestic cup competition in the world has been devalued.
96 Reds were unlawfully killed at Hillsborough in 1989 because they went to watch their team play in an FA Cup semi-final. Try telling their families, or the survivors of that dreadful day, that the FA Cup doesn’t matter. But at the same time, it is an undeniable fact that the competition has lost its lustre (for numerous reasons) and has slipped down the priorities list for even many lower-league clubs.
Given Liverpool’s current position in the Premier League, the number of injuries, the crazy fixture schedule (and don’t miss Klopp’s programme notes on this matter – it’s fair to say they’ll be agenda-setting) and Champions League football to come next month then I can fully see why the manager is planning to make a lot of changes.
But we’re talking about a Merseyside derby here against an Everton team that hasn’t beaten Liverpool for a decade and last won at Anfield in 1999 when Klopp was still playing for Mainz 05.
The FA Cup is also their last hope of ending a trophy drought that stretches all the way back to 1995 so the thought of their 7,900 supporters celebrating an Anfield victory like they’ve won the Premier League, European Cup, World Cup, Olympic Games and Strictly Come Dancing instead of Liverpool officially condemning them to a quarter-of-a-century of abject failure isn’t particularly appealing.
Losing 5-0 at Aston Villa in the League Cup quarter-final after fielding a team of toddlers was easy to swat aside, but we will never, ever, ever hear the end of it if Everton beat the European and World champions at Anfield, irrespective of Liverpool’s starting XI.
History remembers scorelines, not weakened teams, and the only acceptable result on a Merseyside derby day at Anfield is a Liverpool win. Thankfully, the Reds will have a talisman up front who knows what it takes to beat the Blues.
Divock Origi, it’s over to you. Again…
Chris McLoughlin writes for This Is Anfield each week; he’s also senior writer for the Official LFC Matchday Programme and LFC Magazine. You can order both here.
A Layton Stewart double paved the way for Liverpool U18s to open their 2020 account with all three points over Blackburn Rovers.
U18 Premier League, Kirkby
January 4, 2020
Goals: Stewart 54′, pen 73′, O’Rourke 78′
The turn of the new year paved the way for a return to league action for Barry Lewtas’ side, where pegging back the deficit from leaders Man City was high on the agenda to start off the second half of the season.
The young Reds, however, were made younger against 10th placed Blackburn, with personnel distributed across the ranks with the U23s playing on Sunday in addition to a host of academy players set to feature in the first team squad in the FA Cup clash against Everton.
It presented an opportunity for Luca Stephenson to make his debut for the U18s, with the 16-year-old midfielder later joined by fellow debutant Abel Rodriques late in the piece.
With a plethora of new faces playing as a unit for the first time, it came as little surprise to see the U18s require time to gel and find their groove.
Lewtas’ side, however, were dominant on and off the ball throughout, with Layton Stewart proving to be the greatest threat in attack.
He forced Blackburn’s ‘keeper into a number of brilliant saves, with a curled effort towards the top corner the closest the Reds came to breaking the deadlock before the break, with Tyler Morton and skipper Fidel O’Rourke both asking questions of Jordan Eastham from close range.
At the back, Remi Savage thwarted a number of promising Blackburn attacks with timely blocks while Conor Bradley was a livewire at right-back to ensure there was similarly no way through for the visitors.
After the break, both sides emerged with a clear intent to increase the tempo and ask more questions of those in between the sticks.
And while O’Rourke had the first opportunity for the Reds minutes after the restart only to fire his effort wide of the upright from close range, a blistering counter-attack, not too dissimilar from that seen from the senior side, saw the U18s take the lead.
Harvey Davies had pulled off a number of brilliant saves in quick succession as the Reds struggled to clear, only for the resulting corner to see Stewart become the benefactor after Blackburn’s ‘keeper and centre-back collided to see the striker roll the ball into an empty net.
With fellow stopper Jakub Ojrzynski having made his return to training after injury, Davies did his chances of keeping his place in the side no harm at Kirkby.
Meanwhile, at the other end of the field Stewart, Morton and O’Rourke turned on the style to hit Blackburn for two – with the former finding the goal from the spot after Morton had been impeded after a sumptuous turn in the box.
The goalscorer then turned provider for his strike partner, after a brilliant through ball from Morton found the onrushing Stewart who unselfishly fed the ball across the box for O’Rourke to tap in the third of what was a comfortable afternoon for Lewtas’ side.
TIA Man of the Match: Layton Stewart
Liverpool U18s: Davies; Bradley, Quansah, Savage, Beck; Balagizi, Stephenson, Morton, Woltman (Wilson 84′); O’Rouke (Rodriques 90′), Stewart
Subs not used: Hewitson, Chambers, Mabaya
A Layton Stewart double helped Liverpool U18s open 2020 with an excellent 3-0 victory over Blackburn Rovers at the Kirkby Academy on Saturday afternoon.
Stewart netted his 11th and 12th goal of the season in the U18s Premier League North fixture as part of a convincing display from Barry Lewtas' side.
The Reds No.9 opened the scoring from close range in 54th minute before grabbing his second from the penalty spot midway through the second half.
He then turned provider to deliver the assist for Fidel O'Rourke's 79th-minute finish that made sure of the three points.
A dominant first-half showing didn't produce the lead the hosts deserved due to two fine interventions from Blackburn goalkeeper Jordan Eastham.
The first came in the 17th minute when Layton Stewart's cutback was met with Max Woltman's sweeping finish. However, Eastham got down low to keep the effort out.
Then in the latter part of the half, Stewart searched for the top corner with a curler from the edge of the box as Eastham produced an acrobatic stop to tip it over for a corner.
The opening stages of the second period saw chances presented for both sides, with Liverpool finally making their dominance count.
Stopper Harvey Davies produced a brilliant outstretched save to prevent Blackburn's Sam Durrant from scoring. And from the resulting corner kick, a Liverpool clearance provided Stewart with space to run into.
Eastham came charging out of his goal but ended up colliding with his defender, leaving Stewart free to convert into an empty net.
Blackburn thought they had netted an equaliser seven minutes later when Luke Brennan headed in, but the flag was raised for offside.
But the Reds doubled their advantage with 17 minutes remaining via the penalty spot. A classy turn from Tyler Morton resulted in him being brought down inside the area, with the referee pointing to the spot.
Stewart assumed responsibilities and secured a double when his spot-kick struck the post and went in.
A third soon followed when Morton fizzed an impressive reverse pass into Stewart, who was on a hat-trick. However, instead of firing a shot towards goal, Stewart unselfishly squared for his forward partner O'Rourke to finish off the well-worked move.
Liverpool U18s: Davies, Bradley, Quansah, Savage, Beck, Balagizi, Stephenson, Morton, Stewart, O’Rourke (Rodriques, 90), Woltman (Wilson, 84).
Unused substitutes: Hewitson, Chambers, Mabaya.
Despite being a die-hard Evertonian and possessing a ticket in the home end for Sunday's Merseyside derby, Michael Cullen is expecting the warmest of welcomes.
The 55-year-old – fittingly known as Speedo Mick – is taking a short break from his fundraising mission to walk the length of Britain in a pair of swimming briefs to attend the FA Cup third-round encounter.
Mick is more than halfway towards his target of £100,000 for community projects for disadvantaged young people by making the 1,000-mile walk from John O'Groats to Land's End.
So cold so windy. #Speedomick #1000mile #charitywalk in me #Shreddies #Johnogroats to #Landsend Make sure you put a… https://t.co/nLQEPLmNOi— speedomick (speedomick) 2nd Jan 12:58
After making an appeal for a ticket to attend the cup tie, the Everton fan was given one from the club's Red Neighbours allocation.
"I'm an Evertonian and I want Liverpool to lose every game. But some things transcend football and this type of stuff should do," Mick told Liverpoolfc.com during his walk. "This just seems to bring fans together.
"It's not just Liverpool fans but loads of other fans across the country. They just get the quirkiness and they love it.
"But the Liverpool fans have been fantastic because there is a massive rivalry there and they've set it aside for little old me in a pair of knickers! It's what the city is about.
"They've shown me a load of love and donated thousands of pounds. The Liverpool fans have been doing this since I started. I hope we win but the fans are fab.
"I think [I'm] about 20 rows back. I'm hoping Jürgen will pop along and stick a tenner in my knickers! You never know, he might do if he gets to hear about it."
Mick's trek started last month and is set to last around seven weeks as he expects to walk close to a marathon a day in just Everton-themed trunks.
Observing the stunning sights of the Lake District during this interview, Mick is fuelled by support in order to continue with his brutal challenge.
"It's been really difficult and it's taxing me big time. It taxes you physically, mentally and emotionally," he added. "I'm really, really tired and I'm setting the alarm for six o'clock and getting up at 7.30am.
"It's been a massive struggle but everyone from Liverpool and around the country has been willing me on. It's made a massive difference.
"If no-one was watching, I'd have put my coat on and gone home. But because I'm getting all the support and encouragement to carry on, that's exactly what's happening. It's thanks to them."
Buoyed by the arrival of Carlo Ancelotti as manager, Mick is optimistic about the Blues landing a win over their local rivals.
He states: "We're eternally hoping we're going to beat you. Just from footballing terms, I just think this might be the day!
"We've got Ancelotti in charge and the players are responding to Duncan's stuff. We're looking up now, aren't we?
"I'm excited about the football. I'm going to be coming to Liverpool in the midst of all this madness and whirlwind publicity about me doing this crazy walk in a pair of bloomers."
You can donate to Speedo Mick's walk by clicking here.
Last Updated: 04/01/20 1:16pmJurgen Klopp (L) and Carlo Ancelotti (R) have a healthy respect for one another
Carlo Ancelotti has revealed he lost out to Jurgen Klopp in the race to become Liverpool manager in 2015, and admits the club's owners made the right decision in picking the German.
Following Brendan Rodgers' sacking in October, 2015, Ancelotti held talks about succeeding him, before Liverpool opted to hire Klopp.
Two months later, it was announced Ancelotti was to succeed Pep Guardiola at Bayern Munich at the conclusion of the 2015/16 season.
"It was after [I left] Real Madrid, I had a chat with the owner," Ancelotti said.
"They were looking for a new manager but I think they made a right choice with Jurgen. He is doing fantastic work at Liverpool, so well done."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
Ancelotti is the only coach to beat a side managed by Klopp this season. He guided Napoli to a 2-0 Champions League victory against the European champions in September. His side also beat Liverpool last season and earned a draw at Anfield in November.
However, despite his recent success against them, Ancelotti knows Everton must produce a "perfect" performance if they are to win at Anfield for the first time since 1999 when they play in the FA Cup third round on Sunday.
"Jurgen is my friend, we have a good relationship and I had the luck to beat him last season as well, although they won the competition," Ancelotti said.2:46 FREE TO WATCH: Highlights from Manchester City's win against Everton in the Premier League FREE TO WATCH: Highlights from Manchester City's win against Everton in the Premier League
"At Napoli it was the same, we were able to do a great performance because to beat Liverpool you have to do a great performance, a normal performance is not enough.
"Everything has to be perfect. You must work hard, sacrifice, show intensity - to beat them your game has to be complete.
"You cannot defend for 90 minutes and we do not want to defend for 90 minutes. We want to have the possibility to play our football."1:09 Liverpool manager 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 will 'respect' the FA Cup, but says the threat of a replay is 'absolutely incredible'
Though Klopp and Ancelotti are rivals on the pitch, they enjoy a good relationship off it and Klopp joked on Friday about inviting the Italian to a party at his house now both are living in Liverpool.
Ancelotti has a glittering CV, having won the Champions League three as a manager with AC Milan and Real Madrid, and it is clear Klopp believes convincing him to come to Goodison Park is a big coup for Everton.
"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."New Year, same Super 6!
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Before Liverpool FC Women return to action on Sunday, you can now choose your Standard Chartered Player of the Month for December.
After a narrow loss at Manchester City, Vicky Jepson's team played out 1-1 draws with West Ham United and Chelsea in the Women's Super League, either side of a 3-1 Continental Cup victory over Durham.
Seventeen players featured across the four fixtures - and you can choose the star performer below...