Liverpool have confirmed they will wear the golden Badge of FIFA World Champions in the Premier League against Wolves at Anfield on Sunday.
In normal circumstances, the Reds will only be allowed to display their badge, won after their World Club Cup triumph in Qatar this month, in UEFA Champions League games.
But an appeal was made to the Premier League to see the Reds wear the emblem for their first game back at Anfield—and the club have been successful in this regard.
It means fans can get an early look at the Reds wearing evidence of their latest triumph, a victory which was effectively two-and-a-half years in the making—from a top-four finish in 17/18, to winning the Champions League in 18/19 and winning the Club World Cup itself against Flamengo on 21 December.
Thereafter, it will be in European fixtures that the Badge is displayed.
With Champions League games not resuming until late February, it would otherwise be some time before the Reds would be able to proudly show off their latest addition to the famous kit.
Liverpool can wear the badge for a full year, per FIFA’s statement:
“As per the usage guidelines, the winning team can wear the FIFA World Champions Badge from the day it becomes champions up to and including the final of the next edition of the tournament,” UEFA told the club.
“The badge may only be used on the current official [first] team playing shirts.
“That means that the FIFA World Champions Badge may not be used on previous [or] historical versions of the team shirts, training jerseys, tracksuits, training tops or any other products.”
The Reds must successfully retain the Champions League trophy this season if they want a shot at winning back-to-back Club World Cups—but the big prize on offer right now is the domestic league title, where the Reds have opened up a 13-point lead before the turn of the year.
The Reds put themselves in an incredibly strong position with a 4-0 win over Leicester on Boxing Day, further widening the gap between first and second.
That 13-point gap could have been shortened, though, had Man City won their own festive fixture against Wolves on Friday night—but failed to take the points despite being two goals up in the second half.
An early set-back for Pep Guardiola’s team saw goalkeeper Ederson sent-off inside 12 minutes, and that proved a pivotal moment in the outcome.
Raheem Sterling had the chance to score from the penalty spot after VAR encouraged a change in the ref’s initial decision, but Rui Patricio saved—only for a re-take to be ordered.
Patricio once more saved from Sterling—but this time the ex-Red put in the rebound.
Despite plenty of Wolves possession and pressure for the rest of the first half, Sterling doubled City’s lead soon after the break and it looked as though City would be leapfrogging Leicester into second—but an Adama Traore-inspired comeback turned everything around.
Adama netted the first himself, driving forward through the centre before unleashing a low rocket which flew in off the post, before providing the assist for an equaliser with less than 10 minutes remaining.
Benjamin Mendy gave the ball away in a terrible area, trying to outmuscle Traore of all people, and his low cross was turned in by Raul Jimenez.
And it got worse for City—better for Liverpool—in stoppage time, as Irish wingback Matt Doherty slalomed his way through the defence and beat Claudio Bravo with a low finish.
The Reds thus remain 13 clear of Leicester and 14 clear of Man City—with a game in hand on both.
Jurgen Klopp‘s men now face Wolves at Anfield on Sunday, while City will face an in-form Sheffield United without the suspended Ederson.
Liverpool opened up a thirteen point lead at the top of the Premier League table with a 4-0 way away to second placed Leicester City.
A brace from Roberto Firmino, a James Milner penalty and a Trent Alexander Arnold goal crowned a performance of complete dominance, with the Reds imperiously lording over Brendan Rodgers’ Foxes.
After travelling back from Club World Cup commitments in Doha, there was a school of thought that the European Champions — who had to endure extra time in their final victory over Flamengo — would show visible signs of being jaded and could struggle against a Leicester team with 12 wins from their opening 18 Premier League games.
Right from the get go, though, Liverpool showed the gulf in class between the two teams and launched wave after wave of attack.
Only the final ball was lacking as Jurgen Klopp’s team completely neutralised the hosts with the high lined defence of Virgil van Dijk and Joe Gomez allowing the Reds to station themselves high up the pitch. The coordinated pressing of midfield trio Jordan Henderson, Naby Keita and Georginio Wijnaldum hemmed Leicester in their own territory and prevented any service to danger man Jamie Vardy.
With complete dominion of the ball, it felt like an inevitability that the table toppers would open the scoring and their moment arrived on the half hour mark.
From the second phase of a set piece from the left hand side, Alexander Arnold beautifully delivered a cross into the path of Firmino and the Brazilian powerfully nodded a header low and past the despairing Kasper Schmeichel. Such was the quality of the assist, if Firmino had missed the ball then Mohamed Salah, who was just in front of his strike partner, would likely have scored.
1-0 almost became 2-0 when Salah, released by a brilliant slaloming dribble and pass by Keita, rounded Schmeichel but was foiled by an increasingly narrowing angle and hit the side netting. The whistle to end the half sounded with the Reds holding their singular goal lead, a fact which represented the only down side in a half of excellence.
The second half began in similar fashion; Liverpool probing and in the ascendancy in terms of possession and territory but it took until the 70th minute for these efforts to be rewarded in the form of a goal.
A whipped Alexander Arnold struck the arm of Turkish centre half Çağlar Söyüncü in the box — who impressed throughout, despite being on the end of a humbling defeat — and referee Michael Oliver had no hesitation in pointing to the spot.
Substitute James Milner, with his first touch of the game, then calmly dinked the spot kick down the middle of the goal to open up a deserved two goal lead for the visitors.
Two goals became three when Firmino, assisted by Alexander Arnold, delicately curled a shot into the top right corner after a beautifully crafted team goal. The ball was worked wide, through Milner and Firmino, to Alexander Arnold and the academy graduates fizzed cross picked out the Brazilian in the box. Evading the attention of Wilfred Ndidi and Ricardo Pereira, the number 9 composed himself after a cushioning first touch before lifting the ball past Schmeichel.
With the bedraggled hosts now flagging and demoralised, Liverpool added their fourth goal and no player was more deserving of it than Alexander Arnold.
A surging Sadio Mane run through the heart of the Leicester defence had the hosts back peddling and the Senegalese forward found Alexander Arnold with a pass just outside the box and with a strike reminiscent of Steven Gerrard in his pomp, the young Scouser emphatically found the bottom left corner.
With two assists and a goal, the 21 year old was the standout player as the Reds held on to their clean sheet — their fifth in six games — and claimed what could be a huge win come next May.
Liverpool team: Alisson; Alexander Arnold, Gomez, Van Dijk, Robertson; Henderson, Keita, Wijnaldum; Salah, Firmino, Mane.
Substitutions: Origi for Salah, Lallana for Henderson, Milner for Keita.
Subs not used: Adrian, Williams. Shaqiri, Jones