The collective mentality around the dressing room and on the terraces gives Jordan Henderson belief Liverpool will continue to challenge for top honours for seasons to come.
The Reds go into this evening’s Premier League clash with Huddersfield Town aiming to return back to the summit of the division, before contesting the first leg of the Champions League semi-final against FC Barcelona next week.
Writing in his column for the official matchday programme, Henderson said: “It feels like we’ve been talking about scenarios for the end of the season since August. I’ve honestly not known a season like it. Essentially, since the opening weeks of the campaign, there has been speculation and comment on what every result means for what can be achieved this season.
“How many wins will it take? How many points do you need? How many points do your opponents need to drop and where might that happen?
“Clearly, with just a handful of games to go, that talk has ramped up to a point where, on the outside, it feels like discussions about what might or might not happen are going on 24/7. But, as you’ll have heard nearly every player in our squad say repeatedly when asked, it isn’t something that has consumed us.
“We haven’t lost an ounce of focus. Don’t get me wrong; all of us are living and breathing every second of this. We absolutely love it and we are completely focused on it.We love the pressure, the intensity and the focus. This is what every single one of us wants every single season – to have these pressures at this point of the season.
“Someone told me that a supporter had said playing Champions League games that kick off in daylight is what Liverpool supporters want all the time because it means you’re playing these games at the end of April and May, which is the business end. We’ve done that two seasons running and how we’re handling this as a group of players is what gives me the hope for the years to come that we can be a force season after season.
“When I look around our dressing room I see a group of players who could be together for years and years, if we all want that. The best way of describing our current situation is that the overriding feeling is opportunity and that goes for everyone connected with the club – from the dressing room to the terraces.
“It’s anticipation rather than desperation. We’re acting like a club that ‘belongs’ at this level but not in an arrogant way. I think that’s been a key part of our growth as a club and it’s why everyone should be relishing and embracing the pressure of the remaining weeks of the season.
“You’ll have seen James Milner’s celebration after scoring the penalty at Cardiff. He was taking the mickey out of himself for being the most senior player age-wise in the dressing room, but look at how Millie plays and how much energy he has. He can keep playing at this level for years and years, the way he looks after himself. I’ve only seen him get quicker, fitter and stronger during his time here – and again that says everything about our squad and the commitment from everyone in it.
“It’s difficult to talk about the long-term when you’re fighting for what we are in this moment, but I do think it’s relevant to the current mood of calm focus we have as an entire club.
“Our supporters are clearly loving every moment and, like with us players, I only see joy and belief in them at the moment. I don’t see anything other than us all living the moment and I think that’s a big part of our growth. The fear and desperation isn’t there any more. No one here thinks we’ve cracked it, but the support we are getting shows total belief.
“There’s also patience. Collectively we know we don’t need to be 1-0 up after 10 minutes because we have the quality to score at any time. So, if we go in at half-time goalless, or fall behind in a game, we’re still fully convinced we can go on and win it. The supporters know every single player is giving all they have every time they take to the pitch. For most of the season giving our all has been enough to get the result we wanted. That’s why we’re in this really positive situation now.”
Pick up your copy of the official LFC matchday programme at the stadium tonight, or subscribe online by clicking here.
Jürgen Klopp isn’t anticipating anything other than a ‘big fight’ in order for Liverpool to clinch victory over Huddersfield Town at Anfield tonight.
The Terriers sit bottom of the Premier League table, with relegation already confirmed, while the Reds are aiming to return to the top of the division’s summit.
However, Klopp insists anything his team get this evening will need to be hard earned.
The manager wrote in his column for official matchday programme: “What is abundantly clear coming into this game is that we will have a big fight on our hands this evening to get the result we need. If the last few weeks and months has taught us anything, it’s that to achieve what we want we must always be prepared to go and take it – absolutely nothing will be handed to us.
"You only need to think about the competitive games at Fulham, Southampton and Cardiff to realise that to win games in the Premier League you need to be at your very best for 90-plus minutes or you fall short. Nothing less than your everything will do.
"We have been very blessed that our players have displayed the attitude required. They completely understand what is needed. You do not get into the position we are in now without recognising that.
"I feel very blessed to have this group. Huddersfield have had a tough campaign admittedly, but within that they have shown the fight and spirit that helped them achieve the amazing success they enjoyed in the past three years.
"Anyone who underestimates their quality only needs to think back to the game when we faced them at their home earlier in the season. I didn’t hide it on the night and don’t hide from it now – we were extremely fortunate to leave with the win. They were brilliant that night and deserved something in terms of points.
“I have been in their position before in my career, where you have to accept dropping back before looking to take strides forward again and therefore I know that matches such as tonight’s presents a wonderful opportunity for them to make a statement.
“We must have more hunger and more desire than them and work even harder – it’s that simple. Our supporters and our team are so in tune now with what we require I do not need to give reminders or cautionary team talks to either about complacency, patience or the need to react positively to setbacks in games. Our club – the entire club – has grown together so we have the perfect mentality of respect for the opposition, while having complete faith and belief in ourselves and what we do.
“At Porto and Cardiff I spoke before and after the games about the journey we are on together and how taking joy from it is so important. As a team we only focus on what is directly ahead of us, in terms of the next fixture. We don’t get distracted by speculation and hyperbole on the outside.
“We don’t get distracted by what others are doing – they have their path and we have ours. But we love the fact our supporters can squeeze all the positivity there is from our current situation. Reaching your destination is always the most important part of any journey and for us as a team we will never lose sight of the importance of delivering.
“But if you don’t or can’t enjoy the journey to it, then it isn’t as special when you finally arrive. Some journeys take longer, some have diversions and bumps in the road. I believe the journeys that have the most importance can be the most difficult to make. Regardless, these moments should only be about enjoyment for our fans. Soak up the enjoyment of the ride. For us, the team, it is about working and performance and focus. We are the ones with the job to do, this is our mindset.
“Ask yourself what motivates these boys to fight and battle as they have all season? It is to win for the supporters. If Anfield was empty every week, or devoid of passion and energy it wouldn’t feel the same. So the supporters must never dial down the joy or the anticipation. The pressure we feel is only positive – the pressure we feel brings more energy not less.”
Pick up your copy of the official LFC matchday programme at the stadium tonight, or subscribe online by clicking here.
Barry Lewtas admitted he only watched one penalty during the shootout that saw Liverpool U18s beat Manchester City to clinch the FA Youth Cup trophy.
Paul Glatzel scored the decisive spot-kick in a 5-3 victory for the young Reds on Thursday night after Bobby Duncan's late long-range strike forced extra-time at City's Academy Stadium to cancel out Nabil Touaizi's first-half opener.
Lewtas saluted the resilience of his side as they secured the club its first triumph in the prestigious youth competition since 2007.
Read on for the manager's post-match reaction...
On his thoughts about the game...
It seems a long time ago since it kicked off! I thought Manchester City were excellent in the first half. I could pick holes in our performance, but I'd be doing them a disservice. I thought they were excellent. They were probably the first team who have played through us like that, I thought they were really good and well organised.
I thought in the second half we just got closer to them. We tweaked a few things, we wanted to make the boys feel a bit more comfortable being out of possession. But when we got it, we had to keep the ball better and I think we did in the second half. Obviously we got the goal and from there on in it was survival of the fittest - injury time, penalties. That's the way it goes.
On the challenge of the final...
We were in Dallas a week ago and we did only have two days to prepare for the game itself. Obviously the travel and [all that] is in the back of your mind, you're playing against a top team. It's tough - you come here, they've got the flags out. But it was an away game, so I think to come here and play the way we did is a credit to the lads.
On having confidence that Duncan or Glatzel would produce a moment of quality to equalise...
I think you do. They've scored so many goals. You always think if a chance drops or they shoot then yes. That's probably the short answer without me waffling. You always think they've got a chance. He [Duncan] has struck one. We trained with the balls this week, they do move and we said that to the boys. The 'keeper is a little unfortunate but with them two you've always got a chance.
On what it was like watching the penalties from the sideline...
I'm going to be honest, I watched one and then I didn't watch any of the others. The lads can tell me where they put it, they can say what they want. I'm not one for penalties, so in the end Scott [Mason, U18s performance analyst] tells me they were crackers. As long as they hit the net, I was fine. It was really good.
On the efforts of his players since he took over from Steven Gerrard in the summer...
They've been brilliant since day one when I started working with them and probably met them as 14-year-olds and, for some of them, even younger. They've never given me anything less than that. Even when times have got tough as well, they've always dug in. I'm proud of them and made up.
Liverpool U18s valiantly fought from a goal behind against Manchester City‘s U18s to win the FA Youth Cup final 5-3 on penalties.
FA Youth Cup Final, City Academy Stadium
April 25, 2019
Goals: Touazi 45+2′; Duncan 86′
After successfully navigating six rounds of action, Barry Lewtas’ side booked their place in the showpiece final alongside Manchester City.
The young Reds made the trip to Manchester with the aim of securing Liverpool’s fourth FA Youth Cup—and the first since 2007.
Just one change was made to the team that secured a 2-1 win over Watford in the semi-final, with keeper Vitezslav Jaros returning from injury in place of Luca Ashby-Hammond, an emergency loanee from Fulham.
Liverpool were forced to weather the storm early on as City’s pressure penned the young Reds in their own half, with Jaros forced to make a vital save from close range in the opening minute.
Despite having been required to defend deep with the home side dominating possession, the young Reds soon gained a foothold and had several scoring opportunities of their own.
Yasser Larouci saw his deflected strike tipped over the crossbar, while Jake Cain had his effort cleared off the goalline after pouncing on a misplaced pass in the penalty area.
Larouci was a stand-out performer in a cagey first half, having stood up to the task as the home side funnelled a large majority of their attacks to the left side of Liverpool’s back line.
The high press deployed by the Reds ensured City were continually asked questions, but breakdowns in possession in the middle of the park saw Liverpool’s forwards starved of the ball for much of the opening term.
But just as the half-time break was within sight, City landed a body blow in stoppage time as Nabil Touaizi found the back of the net with a first-time finish from close range.
After the interval, the young Reds were immediately on the front foot as they pushed forward for an equaliser.
In a reversal of the opening half, it was Liverpool who were dictating play and forcing City to defend, with strikes from both Leighton Clarkson and Abdi Sharif in quick succession requiring the intervention of the goalkeeper.
Cain was a key instigator in the Reds’ forward impetus which saw Paul Glatzel start to have an influence on proceedings after a quiet first 45, but an equaliser still remained elusive for Liverpool.
But just as City’s stubborn defence looked as though they had come through unscathed, Bobby Duncan burst into life to haunt his former side as he saw his 30-yard effort spilled by the City keeper into the back of the net, just four minutes from time.
Duncan’s 32nd goal of the season forced extra time, and it soon became a battle of attrition, as the effects of the relentless 90 minutes which came before ensured the 30 minutes ended with few clear-cut chances at either end.
It meant the game was to be decided on penalties and the young Reds showed nerves of steel as Neco Williams, Elijah Dixon-Bonner, Sharif, Bearne and Glatzel all buried their spot-kicks to hand Liverpool a memorable victory.
The win sees Liverpool’s U18s secure a prestigious piece of silverware, but their season is far from over as they still maintain hope of finishing first in the U18 Premier League and securing an incredible double.
TIA Man of the Match: Yasser Larouci
Liverpool U18s: Jaros; N. Williams, R. Williams, Boyes, Larouci; Clarkson (Longstaff 78′), Sharif, Dixon-Bonner; Cain (Bearne 101′), Glatzel, Duncan.
Subs not used: O’Rourke, Kelly, Savage.
Liverpool host already-relegated Huddersfield on Friday evening, in what on paper represents their most straightforward Premier League game of the season so far.
Friday, April 26, 2019 – 8pm (BST)
Referee: Kevin Friend
The Reds have been in wonderful form of late, winning nine matches in a row in all competitions and managing to stay in touch with an unstoppable Man City side.
Hoping for a favour from Man United on Wednesday night always felt like wishful thinking and so it proved, with City returning to the top of the table after a 2-0 victory.
It means Liverpool are one point adrift of the champions ahead of the visit of Huddersfield, who are now simply playing for pride.
The Terriers have suffered a horrible campaign, picking up just 14 points from 35 matches—an enormous 74 points fewer than Jurgen Klopp‘s side.
Without tempting fate, this should be one of Liverpool’s most straightforward outings of 2018/19, with their quality vastly superior and the importance of the game far greater for the Reds than for their opponents.
Stranger things have happened though, and the Reds must remain switched-on and professional in a game they will dominate possession-wise.
There is even the small chance of goal difference playing a part in the title race, which could be at the back of Klopp’s mind.
Three points are essential at Anfield, and while changes may be made with the trip to Barcelona to come on Wednesday, those who take to the field should come through proceedings successfully.
Ten wins on the bounce would be some achievement at such a pressurised point in the season; all Liverpool can do is keep chipping away and hoping for an unlikely error from City.
This fixture last season: Liverpool 3-0 HuddersfieldTeam News
Fabinho remains a fitness concern for Klopp after leaving the pitch with a head injury at Cardiff, but the Brazilian may still be available for selection.
The German may again have one eye on Barcelona with regard to his selections, not that Huddersfield should be taken lightly.
Huddersfield boss Jan Siewert’s only definite absentee is Abdelhamid Sabiri, but there are question marks surrounding the fitness of Isaac Mbenza, Laurent Depoitre, Adama Diakhaby, Demeaco Duhaney and Aaron Rowe.Last 5 Meetings with Huddersfield (All Competitions)
Won 1-0 (a) – October 2018 (Salah)
Won 3-0 (a) – January 2018 (Can, Firmino, Salah pen)
Won 3-0 (h) – October 2017 (Sturridge, Firmino, Wijnaldum)
Won 2-0 (a) – December 1999 (Camara, Matteo)
Won 1-0 (a) – February 1972 (Whitham)
It is now over two years since Liverpool last lost at Anfield in the Premier League.
That was a 2-1 defeat to Crystal Palace on April 23, 2017, which threatened to derail their top-four challenge at the time, but ultimately didn’t.
Since then, the Reds have played 38 times at home in the league, winning 28 of those matches and drawing the other 10.
Klopp promised to turn Anfield into a fortress again and he has delivered emphatically.Form
Liverpool – Last five results (all competitions)
Huddersfield – Last five results (all competitions)
Speaking at Melwood on Thursday, Klopp insisted Liverpool would show Huddersfield respect, with a strong team expected:
“We knew if we win our next two games, then the decision will be made on the last match day and that’s pretty special, but for that, we have to win the next two and first we have to win against Huddersfield. That’s what we concentrate on.
“This would probably be the last game that I overthink anything. The situation they are in, the things people think about the game, it’s already enough of bad preparation.
“I will not push that wrong mindset with a strange lineup or whatever, no chance.
“We have enough time to recover after the last game and before the next game. Barcelona has nothing to do with Friday night.”Live Blog & TV Info
Liverpool vs. Huddersfield is live on Sky Sports Main Event from 7pm (BST), with kickoff at 8pm.
Chris Williams is in charge of This is Anfield’s matchday live blog from 7.15pm, keeping you entertained before proceedings and providing regular updates throughout the game.
Dejan Lovren could return for Liverpool’s meeting with Huddersfield Town, but Jürgen Klopp will not make sweeping changes to his team ahead of their trip to Barcelona.
Illness precluded Lovren from being part of the Reds’ squad for last Wednesday’s win at Porto, with the centre-back also missing the victory over Cardiff City at the weekend.
The No.6 is expected to be back for Friday’s game against Jan Siewert’s side, though Klopp is less sure when it comes to the availability of Fabinho and Adam Lallana.
Fabinho was substituted at the Cardiff City Stadium after sustaining a knock to the head, while a muscle issue has sidelined Lallana for Liverpool’s last five matches.
“All a bit questionable, we don’t know exactly in the moment. We will have to see today,” the boss said on Thursday regarding the trio’s fitness.
“We gave them all a proper rest. Dejan trained yesterday so that’s OK probably and the other two we will see.”
On Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain, Klopp continued: “Ox trained, all good.”
The clash with already-relegated Huddersfield comes five days before a visit to Camp Nou for the Champions League semi-final first leg.
That tie, however, is not the manager’s priority at present with his focus instead on the opportunity to return to the top of the Premier League.
Klopp stated: “We had enough time to recover after the last game, we have enough time to recover for the next game. Barcelona has nothing to do with the game on Friday night.”
Huddersfield, meanwhile, could welcome Adama Diakhaby back after a hamstring injury, although Siewert is wary of risking the forward.
“He’s a sprinter and with a sprinter you have to be careful that the injuries don’t come back,” the Terriers’ boss warned.
Siewert also confirmed that Philip Billing and Karlan Grant are in contention, but striker Laurent Depoitre (foot) and goalkeeper Ben Hamer (knock) will not feature at Anfield.
Friday’s fixture will see Siewert pit his wits against compatriot and fellow former Borussia Dortmund man Klopp for the first time, with the 36-year-old having left his role as coach of BVB’s second string to take over at the John Smith’s Stadium in January.
“Obviously Jürgen is a fantastic manager and one of the best in the world. Although I’ve never met him, he’s a great guy and everybody realises what he’s doing with Liverpool,” Siewert said.
“Of course we had a look at what he did and the way he influenced the German way of playing and at Dortmund. It was for me a big part of my coaching career.”
Last time out
Cardiff City 0-2 Liverpool (April 21): Alisson, Alexander-Arnold, Matip, Van Dijk, Robertson, Wijnaldum, Henderson, Keita, Mane, Salah, Firmino.
Huddersfield 1-2 Watford (April 20): Lossl, Smith, Schindler, Kongolo, Durm, Hogg, Bacuna, Kachunga, Mbenza, Mooy, Mounie.
Jurgen Klopp should conduct some light rotation to his Liverpool team against Huddersfield, with changes likely to come in defence and midfield.
All the Reds can do now is continue winning to pressurise Man City into a slip, and victory against the Terriers is crucial to keep the heat on.
Friday night’s clash against the Championship-bound outfit marks the start of a relentless run-in for the Reds consisting of five games in just 17 days.
That tough schedule in the push for silverware—and with the semi-final first-leg at Barcelona coming next—should see Klopp make changes.
A close to full-strength lineup still looks set to feature though and this is how we think Liverpool’s starting XI could look.Team News & Possible Changes
Once again a near-full squad is at Klopp’s disposal, aided by a couple of injury boosts.
Dejan Lovren has returned to training after illness and should return to the matchday fold.
Fabinho has also trained after being forced off at Cardiff with a head injury, suggesting he should be fit to play.
The Brazilian will be assessed ahead of kickoff though, as will Adam Lallana who has been struggling with a muscle problem.
After a midweek trip to New York, Mohamed Salah is said to be fighting fit having re-joined training on Thursday.
Most of the team picks itself but light rotation could be conducted with changes most likely to come in defence and midfield.
Joe Gomez, as well as fit-again Lovren, offer the options to enter defence.
James Milner is in contention to start after his goalscoring impact at Cardiff and could enter into midfield or even at left-back.
Friday’s game against already-relegated opponents presents Liverpool’s ‘easiest’ of the remaining five fixtures.
So it would seem the ideal moment for Klopp to rotate more than usual and rest several key men ahead of the Barcelona first-leg and four tougher games to come.
There would be no better chance to preserve Virgil van Dijk or hand a couple of the front three a rest with the Reds still boasting enough quality to get past Huddersfield.
Despite the fact Klopp will have one eye on Wednesday’s Nou Camp trip, such changes seem improbable.
We are more likely to see a close to full-strength side play, with switches coming in defence and midfield.
It’s the perfect game to reintroduce Gomez from the off after successive sub outings, allowing Alexander-Arnold a welcome break after 11 consecutive starts.
Fabinho dropped to the bench at Cardiff before being forced off minutes after entering.
Despite there being no margin for error in the title hunt, Klopp will be thinking ahead to Wednesday’s tie.
Liverpool will need an impeccable defensive display in Barcelona, and this could lead to a bigger reshuffle at the back on Friday night.
Van Dijk and Joel Matip will surely be the centre-back partnership in Spain, so Lovren could enter to keep the Cameroonian fresh, given the No.4 is undroppable.
Full-backs are of course integral to Liverpool’s play and Klopp could give Robertson a chance to recharge and put Milner in his place.
Meanwhile, Wijnaldum could keep his place after scoring at Cardiff and could move back to his usual role alongside Henderson, with Keita dropping out.
Time is running out for Liverpool in the quest for title glory, but all the Reds can do is keep winning, apply maximum pressure and hope City eventually crack.
Key to that is taking another three points against Huddersfield, and even if Klopp does make changes as suggested, the Reds have more than enough to get the job done.
Data and Analysis @datasmith101Manchester United lost 2-0 to Manchester City on Wednesday
Last Updated: 25/04/19 9:00pm
Manchester United have conceded more goals than any other top-six side, but is there a transfer target of Virgil van Dijk's calibre who could solve their defensive woes?
United suffered their seventh defeat in nine games in the 2-0 defeat to Manchester City on Wednesday - highlighting defensive frailties that were flagged by former boss Jose Mourinho at the start of this season.
Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has promised a summer rebuild and is likely to start where his predecessor left off - looking to draft a world-class central defender who can have a similar impact to that of Van Dijk at Liverpool.
"He needs to get some players in. Proper defenders," former United captain Roy Keane told Sky Sports.We have a rebuilding job. It started with coaches, players and of course one or two additions in the summer.
Ole Gunnar Solskjaer
Van Dijk joined Liverpool for £75m in January last year and has transformed the club's solidity at the back - helping his side concede a league-low 20 goals and keep a league-high 19 clean sheets during their title charge.
So which centre-backs in Europe's top leagues could transform United's rearguard with a similar impact? We take a look at a range of options with the help of the data scientists at Football Whispers...Jonathan Tah ranks identically to Matthias Ginter The top suitable targets Jeff's giving away up to £750K
That's 3 rounds & 3 changes to win Jeff's cash this Easter weekendMatthijs de Ligt
Ajax captain Matthijs de Ligt partners Van Dijk with the Netherlands, although the 19-year-old is in demand and linked with a blockbuster move to join team-mate Frenkie de Jong at Barcelona.
The teenager was awarded last year's Golden Boy award - given by sports journalists to the most impressive youngster in Europe - and has helped guide his side to the Champions League semi-finals.
Having already racked up 15 senior caps for his country, he has only missed three games in all competitions this season and played almost every minute of every game.
His stats suggest remarkable likenesses to Van Dijk, matching the Liverpool captain for tackles, interceptions, passing accuracy and aerial duels won.Raphael Varane
Varane has been at Real Madrid for eight years now but has reportedly told team-mates he will be leaving the Bernabeu this summer and has been linked with a move to Old Trafford.
While his fitness may be a concern, having missed a quarter of Real's games over the past six seasons with numerous injuries, the France international is also contracted with Madrid until 2022 - so the price tag could negate interest.
However, Varane offers top-level experience at domestic and international levels, while his stats are on par with Van Dijk - despite being less likely to build possession from the back in Madrid's system.Keane: Solskjaer's priority has to be the defence
"Unless you have a decent 'keeper and a decent back four, you start there. In terms of foundations, trophies, competing at the top. I've been saying it for a few years at United. Everyone is talking about midfielders and attacking players, first and foremost you get your back five sorted out or else there is a long way back.
"I'd be shocked if they were anywhere near the top next year. That's got to be the target if you're involved at Manchester United. When you think about when we were playing and in the 80s you look at Liverpool. Would you have said Liverpool would go 30 years without winning the league? You'd think you'd need locking up.
"The years soon go by and unless there is improvement, we'll be having the same conversation if you invite me back next year. They won't get the chance to go forward as a club.
"I hope and pray Ole does well. He's a good guy and if he's winning matches you have a chance, if he's losing he'll be under pressure. It doesn't matter whether he was a big favourite or not, he has to win football games. But he's got to be given some sort of a chance and that is getting a few players into the club that he wants, because clearly he wants a few out."Daniele Rugani
Juventus centre-back Daniele Rugani would appear to be a transfer target within reach, having been linked with a move to Chelsea in January and reportedly being frustrated by a lack of game time in Turin.
However, the 24-year-old has featured more frequently recently in Massimiliano Allegri's side and played in both ties during their 3-2 aggregate defeat to Ajax in the Champions League quarter-finals.
The Italy international matches Van Dijk across a raft of stats but attempts fewer tackles and passes, while winning half as many aerial duels.Jonathan Tah
Jonathan Tah has been a regular starter for Bayer Leverkusen since moving to the club four years ago, but has recently been linked with Barcelona and a plethora of Premier League clubs.
The 23-year-old made his senior debut for Germany against England three years ago but has only managed to rack up four more appearances for Joachim Low's side since.
However, Tah's stats are only marginally inferior to Van Dijk's, while, at 6ft 5in tall, his tendency to venture forwards - winning aerials in midfield and providing attacking threat - may also interest United.Benoit Badiashile
According to the Football Whispers boffins, Badiashile has the most similar playing persona as Van Dijk - representing France at every level from U16s through to U19s - having graduated from the Monaco youth team this season.
He has gained considerable experience this term, starting 18 out of the past 21 games in Ligue 1 - missing one through suspension and being benched twice recently - and made two appearances in the Champions League.
Like Van Dijk, the teenager marshals a similar, left-of-centre area and makes more tackles and interceptions per 90 minutes than Liverpool's captain - as well as matching his 6ft 4in frame.
Use our interactive team selector below to choose your combined XI and then share your line-ups on social media and @SkySportsPL.
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Divock Origi visited an Anfield school on Wednesday to hand over free match tickets to local pupils.
The Liverpool striker personally delivered 11 tickets for Friday’s Premier League fixture against Huddersfield Town to pupils at Whitefield Primary School in L6.
Origi then met with youngsters from years five and six before posing for photos with each year group.
The free tickets for schools scheme, which gave more than 1,000 pupils the opportunity to attend matches at Anfield last season, provides local schools with 55 tickets for every Premier League home game.
Twenty-one primary schools and four high schools in the L4, L5 and L6 postcodes will benefit from the initiative throughout the 2018-19 campaign as part of Red Neighbours’ focus on creating memorable experiences for young people.
Glatzel aiming for glory
U18s captain Paul Glatzel is available for tonight's match again after injury and, having scored eight goals en route to the final, is determined to make history for the club.
"It would mean a lot. At the start of the season, we looked at the FA Youth Cup as one of the trophies we would like to win," the striker told Liverpoolfc.com.
"It's a big trophy and it's got a lot of tradition behind it. We've heard around the Academy that a Liverpool team hasn't won it for quite a long time, so we've got a great opportunity to change that.
"There's been a lot of great performances and a lot of hard work that's gone in throughout the season and throughout the journey in the FA Youth Cup.
"We do deserve to be there and we just want to go one step further now and have something to show for it."