Last Updated: 05/04/20 3:02pmFirmino has endured contrasting fortunes at home this season
From their record-breaking points haul to the forward who cannot score at Anfield, we pick out five stats you may not have known about Liverpool's 2019/20 season.Possession is nine-tenths of the law
This is not that surprising given Jurgen Klopp teams are built around the concept of Gegenpressing, but the Premier League leaders have won possession on 194 occasions the final third so far this season.
And that is a whopping 32 more times than any other side in the Premier League.
In fact, one of the enduring images of the Reds in this campaign - or any since the German arrived at Anfield - is that of them stealing the ball back from the opposition, before breaking forward at pace like the Red Arrows.Virgil's human after all Van Dijk has been dribbled past six times already this season
It was one of the most eye-catching stats from last season - that Liverpool centre-back Virgil van Dijk had not been dribbled past during the entire 38-game Premier League campaign.
Well, it seems the imposing Netherlands international is human after all given that this season has seen him dribbled past on six occasions.Sloppy Reds
Surprisingly for a team currently walking away with the Premier League having lost just once all season and with the best defensive record in the top flight, Liverpool have actually made 19 errors that have directly led to shots.
In fact, only relegation-threatened Aston Villa and Tottenham have worse records in this field.Record breakers
Before the shutdown, Liverpool had managed to rack up a ridiculous 82 points after 29 games of the campaign, meaning Klopp's men had dropped just five points all season long.
To put those numbers into context, that points haul means Liverpool have the best record at this stage of a season in the history of Europe's top five leagues.Bobby's contrasting home fortunes Firmino has laid on six league goals at Anfield this campaign, while failing to score
It has been a strange campaign at Anfield for Liverpool forward Firmino - on the one hand, the Brazilian has struggled horribly in front of goal in the league, having 48 shots without finding the back of the net.
At the same time, however, Firmino has also contributed six assists at Anfield, a total bettered only by team-mate Trent Alexander Arnold and Manchester City midfielder Kevin De Bruyne.Explore more Liverpool stats
Use the interactive widget below to explore more Liverpool stats from the 2019/20 season - from passing to shooting to discipline... just hit the tabs. And then delve into each player's individual numbers using the drop-down option in the second widget.Join Sky Bet Club and track your progress towards a £5 free Bet
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Negotiations among the PFA continue regarding the demand for a 30 percent wage cut or deferral, with chief executive Gordon Taylor doubling down after health secretary Matt Hancock’s latest comments.
Hancock has maintained his bizarre stance that Premier League footballers should be “playing their part” but not, his aversion to questioning would suggest, billionaire business owners—including those who run the clubs themselves.
Taylor told the Telegraph that the players are “not stupid” and will require “complete due diligence” from their clubs to ensure the funds are going to the right places.
The same furore does not exist over managers, however, which has allowed a more comfortable discussion between the figureheads of the 20 clubs.
Both Eddie Howe and Graham Potter have already taken voluntary wage cuts, and the Mail reports that Klopp, along with David Moyes, has “privately indicated” that he is ready to do the same.
This follows his compassionate message on the outbreak of coronavirus last month, when he told fans “if it’s a choice between football and the good of the wider society, it’s no contest.”
“Yes, I am the manager of this team and club and therefore carry a leadership responsibility with regards to our future on the pitch,” he continued.
“But I think in the present moment, with so many people around our city, the region, the country and the world facing anxiety and uncertainty, it would be entirely wrong to speak about anything other than advising people to follow expert advice and look after themselves and each other.”
It is perhaps an indictment of the clamour for footballers—and footballers only—to “play their part” that managers are not part of the political discussion, but it is positive nonetheless that the LMA are advising their members.
Klopp has been consistently supportive of charity endeavours, and upon receiving the FIFA Men’s Coach of the Year award in September revealed he had become the first manager to join the Common Goal initiative.
The German pledged one percent of his annual salary, as is the norm with Common Goal, to disadvantaged young people around the world.
After the Premier League recently acknowledged that the season will not resume at their originally scheduled date of May 1, the plan appears to be to return in June.
The league’s statement following their latest meeting on Friday was rightly ambiguous, with the priority being public safety over the resumption of the campaign.
Only when it is safe to do so will football make its comeback, and that could be months into the future as the likelihood of an extended lockdown in the UK increases.
It is claimed there is a “tentative agreement,” with the government expected to “sanction games under strict guidelines,” though this remains contingent on if “the situation improves as expected.”
These guidelines would include, as previously discussed, all games to be played behind closed doors, with players avoiding as much contact off the pitch as possible—with the prospect of ‘quarantine hotels’ already mooted.
And interestingly, Maddock claims the Premier League are exploring the possibility of showing games on terrestrial TV to incentivise the ‘stay at home’ instruction.
He adds that players could, then, return to some form of traditional training next month, with fixtures being fulfilled in June described as a “very real prospect.”
This is a welcome update, and perhaps a realistic one given the timelines predicted over the peak of coronavirus but, as ever, there remains a huge caveat of ‘if’.
The Premier League can only return in June if the situation has improved sufficiently, and there can be no forcing the matter if the pandemic is yet to reach its peak in the UK.
Hope is fuelling these stories, and the discussions between Premier League and government, rather than any definitive ruling on coronavirus and football.
The first of Robbie Fowler's 183 goals for Liverpool offered a tantalising glimpse of what was to come.
Aged just 18, Fowler showcased the predatory instincts and flawless ball-striking ability that Reds fans would become accustomed to in a League Cup second-round tie against Fulham in September 1993.
The No.23 darted away from his marker to meet Don Hutchison's searching cross with a clean half-volley that flew high into the net.
Watch for yourself below.
Steven Gerrard displayed his ruthlessness from the spot on this day in 2014 when he converted two penalties to secure a 2-1 victory at West Ham United in the Premier League.
The former Reds captain had the invaluable ability to consistently find the back of the net from 12 yards out, along with a number of other players in the club's history.
As such, we've dug through the record books to rank Liverpool's most prolific penalty takers...
1. Steven Gerrard – 47 penalties scored
No player has scored more times for Liverpool from the spot than Gerrard. Nerves of steel and a technique to boot, the midfielder netted his first against Birmingham City in 2003 and his last versus Tottenham Hotspur more than 11 years later. He explained: "You pick your spot, don't change your mind on the run-up, make sure you get really good contact on the ball and try to be as accurate as you can."
2. Jan Molby – 42 penalties scored
"My technique was to wait for the goalkeeper to move one way, and then stick the ball the other side." It was all so simple for the Great Dane. Staggeringly, Molby missed just three penalties in a Liverpool shirt. He also netted a hat-trick of them in a single game at Coventry City in 1986 during a League Cup tie.
3. Phil Neal – 38 penalties scored
The first Liverpool player to ever score a penalty within the 90 minutes of a European Cup final. Neal, the club's most decorated player and a full-back by trade, put the finishing touches on the 3-1 win over Borussia Moenchengladbach in Rome back in 1977.
4. Billy Liddell – 34 penalties scored
Two minutes after scoring his first penalty for Liverpool against Middlesbrough, Liddell took another but ended up missing. However, that proved to be a rarity throughout the striker's goal-littered career.
5. Tommy Smith – 22 penalties scored
The Anfield Iron more than gladly took responsibility from the penalty spot, despite his status as a defender.
6. Robbie Fowler – 20 penalties scored
Fowler's most famous spot-kick is probably one that he didn't want and had saved. In 1997 away at Arsenal, Liverpool were awarded a penalty when goalkeeper David Seaman was adjudged to have brought down Fowler inside the box. Rather sportingly, Fowler insisted to the referee that no foul had occurred and would later be commended by UEFA for such a gesture. With the decision already made, though, Fowler stepped up but saw his effort palmed away by Seaman. Fortunately for Liverpool, Jason McAteer converted the rebound in a 2-1 victory.
7. James Milner – 19 penalties scored
The current vice-captain keeps climbing this list, having scored three penalties in 2019-20. "The rule for us is Millie is the taker," Jürgen Klopp said of the team's penalty-taking hierarchy. The No.7 has only missed twice in his five seasons at Anfield.
8. John Aldridge – 17 penalties scored
The Scouse striker's final goal for his boyhood club came from the spot during the 9-0 home win over Crystal Palace in September 1989.
=9. Terry McDermott (pictured) and Gordon Hodgson – 16 penalties scored
All 16 of McDermott's converted penalties came in the latter half (November 1978 to February 1982) of his near-eight-year Liverpool career. South African-born Hodgson, meanwhile, netted 241 goals in total between 1926 and 1935 as a Red.
In the wake of Fenway Sports Group’s decision to furlough many of Liverpool’s non-playing staff using a government scheme, Jeff Goulding puts the club and its values under the microscope.
My initial response to a statement issued by Liverpool Football Club on Saturday, in which they declared that they would be paying staff 100 percent of their wages, while discussing wage reductions with players and carrying on activities in the community, was to welcome it.
To be honest, I was busy, only scanned what was a sufficiently woolly release for me to miss the central point: that they would be using the government’s furlough scheme to pay 80 percent of some workers’ wages, while topping up that up to 100 percent from their own coffers.
Once I realised this, it was hard not to share the anger of others and to escape the sense that Liverpool had become no different from the likes of Mike Ashley, Daniel Levy and Richard Branson; rich men who could easily afford to pay their workers during a crisis, but who instead chose to ask the government to do it.
Such moves are rightly judged as examples of opportunism, and even profiting from a crisis. To see our club do it is jarring, especially when we have been constantly fed the line ‘We Are Liverpool. This Means More.’. The idea of the football club and its supporters as a family or community is one that appeals to our sensibilities, of course.
Liverpool as a city, at least in the last 50 years, has developed a broadly left-wing identity, as evidenced by the complete annihilation of the Conservative Party on the council, and the fact that all of its MPs represent the Labour Party. You can, of course, still find the odd working-class Tory in Liverpool today. The point is we know where they live and they tend to keep quiet.
The owners of our football club are acutely aware of this, and clearly they have sought align their marketing strategies and corporate identity with ours. They’re helped in this by the club’s association with powerful socialist figures like Bill Shankly.
In the 1960s, Shankly rebuilt the footballing side of Liverpool FC using broadly socialist principles. He argued that the only way to achieve success was through collective effort and sharing out the rewards. He was right then, and I believe his principles hold true today. However, whenever he wanted a player, he would have to fight tooth and nail to persuade the men with the capital to part with some of it.
Liverpool Football Club was and still is a business, no matter what Peter Moore or anybody else suggests. In 2019, the club’s CEO said this: “The success of Liverpool Football Club is based on socialism. Bill Shankly, a Scottish socialist, built our foundations. Today too, when we speak about business questions, we ask ourselves: what would Shankly have done? What would Bill have said in this situation?”
Did Mr Moore believe this when he said it? Maybe. But it doesn’t surprise me that the socialist ideals of Shankly would have limited influence over the need to maintain profit and reduce costs.
In truth, what we have at best is an uneasy accommodation between the two philosophies at Liverpool. On the one hand we have the club’s very visible support for local foodbanks and charities, its vision and strategy to market the club as a family and appeal to the collectivist identity of its supporters. On the other, we have its unsuccessful attempts to monopolise the word ‘Liverpool’ and hike ticket prices to £77.
In each of those cases, the club stepped back from the precipice—not because of a conversion to Marxism or Corbynism, but because it would have hurt the business to proceed. They calculated that on balance it was better to take a short-term hit for a greater return later.
Many of the objections to the club’s most recent move have been based on this argument. People like Jamie Carragher have suggested, correctly, that using government subsidy destroys the goodwill built up as a result of Jurgen Klopp‘s obvious and genuine compassion and magnanimity in the wake of the suspension of the Premier League.
In other words, it hurts the image of the club and, by definition, the business.
Meanwhile, others are angered that the club has betrayed its values and rendered itself just another corporate entity driven by the profit motive. My fear is more along the lines that—despite the public facade—it always has been.
It is hard, even impossible to justify an organisation managing the level of turnover Liverpool does making use of government aid to pay any of its workers. At least it is if your principles are based on, as Shankly put it, “everybody working hard to achieve our goals, and everybody sharing in the rewards at the end of the day.” However, for those concerned mainly with maximising their capital, this clearly makes perfect sense.
Therein lies the dichotomy. Either a football club is a community asset run in the interests of its people, which is how many of us like to see ours, or it is a business run for profit. Can it really be both? I’m not sure it can. As long as it is the latter, we will continue to see these kinds of missteps. The club will always find itself clashing with the values of its supporters.
Does the latest controversy make me angry? Well, yes. But I am in no way surprised by it. For that to be the case, I would have had to expect something different in the first place. I would have had to have believed the idea that my club was being run by socialists. I never have. Why would I when my experience has taught me the opposite?
Why would we need groups like Spirit of Shankly to defend our interests, if our club was a community cooperative? Why would David Moores have sold it to a couple of hucksters straight out of the 1980s ‘greed is good’ paradigm if he wasn’t primarily driven by getting the best return on his investment? And why would the club attempt to monopolise the name of our city if it was solely driven by the interests of the community? You see my point?
I’ve always been realistic about what motivates the ownership of our club, and am fairly sure it’s not the common ownership of the means of production distribution and exchange. I, on the other hand, see our club very differently. I believe it should belong to its people and be run in their interests. If that is ever to be achieved, we have to understand that there is a fundamental difference between the two models and a mixture of the two is doomed to failure.
People are right to be angry at the club and to voice that anger as they see fit. But we should also be seeing the bigger picture and the inherent contradictions being opened up everywhere by this pandemic. The virus has done more to expose what’s wrong with the way our lives and economies have been run than any political movement in my lifetime. There is no sphere of life that isn’t touched by it, and no glaring inadequacy left hidden. COVID-19 has challenged so many long-held assumptions that it’s becoming hard to keep up.
Only months ago we were being told by our politicians that there was such a thing as “low-value people” and that anyone earning less than £25k a year was unskilled and therefore undesirable. Today, we can’t live without these people. We were led to believe that the market could solve all our problems and was more efficient than state intervention. Today, the government is having to intervene on a scale that Lenin would have been proud of. Well, almost.
We were also once assured that there was no magic money tree. Not only has one now been located, its fruits appear to be plentiful.
And in football we are seeing more than ever before that the business is not run in the interests of the people, but in the interests of sponsors, advertisers and broadcasters, because it is they who pay the bills. It may still be a beautiful game—it really must be given how much I miss it—but it definitely does not belong to us. It should, but it doesn’t.
However, by venting our rage solely on the mismanagement of football, we may be helping out those who would rather we were looking elsewhere right now. Anywhere but at the glaring deficiencies of the people running our country. The people who, despite having a head start on other countries, delayed and dallied, while flirting with disastrous ideas like ‘herd immunity’. The people who have cut our public services to the bone, leaving absolutely no slack in the system capable of dealing with this public health emergency.
When Matt Hancock aimed both barrels at Premier League footballers recently, accusing them of not showing leadership, I believe that’s exactly what he was trying to do. Distract us, shift the blame and the focus. Yet his party’s ideology has always been based on self-enrichment and to hell with the rest. I am yet to see a cabinet minister take a voluntary pay cut or the owners of Fortune 500 companies being told to show some leadership.
It’s interesting that with the current furore over LFC’s furlough faux pas, few of us are focusing our attention on this form of rank governmental hypocrisy. Of course, I am not advancing conspiracy theories here, just suggesting that all of this is undoubtedly convenient for Hancock and his ilk.
Meanwhile for the furloughed workers at Anfield, there will doubtless be relief that they will receive 100 percent of their wage and not the 80 percent their Spurs counterparts will get. That remains the bottom line, no matter how poorly the club have acted in this matter. It is to be hoped that, just as they have previously with other misjudgements, they will move quickly to put it right.
If there is to be any positive legacy at the end of this public health nightmare, then it has to be that there can be no return to the status quo. Everything must now be questioned, and where necessary things have to change.
That is as true about about the government, the economy and society in general as it is about football.
After 15 years as Bill Shankly’s right-hand man, Bob Paisley was a reluctant successor but his feats at the helm are one of legend.
Bob Paisley joined the Reds’ playing ranks in 1939, would serve in the Second World War and then return to help clinch the First Division title in 1947.
A future in management awaited when he hung up his boots in 1954, but he would first re-join the ranks as a physiotherapist before stepping into the role of reserve team coach and then subsequently first-team trainer.
The arrival of Bill Shankly in 1959 would forever alter Liverpool Football Club and with it, the trajectory of Paisley’s career, as his role as assistant manager would then steer him into the hot seat upon Shankly’s retirement in 1974.
Paisley had been “happy to play second fiddle” to the Scot and was resistant to succeed Shankly, following his shock retirement announcement, after 15 successful years which returned three league titles, two FA Cups and a UEFA Cup.
Former Liverpool chief executive Peter Robinson even admitted that “the chairman, directors and I had to gang up on him,” in order for him to assume the position.
Ray Clemence provided this insight into the words the humble genius would later utter:
“I’ll never forget him standing in the dressing room in the summer of 1974 on the first day of pre-season training and telling us: ‘Shanks has gone and they’re giving me the job even though I didn’t really want it. But we must try to carry on what he’s started.’”
And that they did.
An introvert and not one for the spotlight, Paisley was content to let others take centre-stage and let the achievements speak for themselves as he continued to hone his craft without any prying eyes.
But the demands of the press would now require him to step out of the shadows in a multitude of ways, and the enormity of what lay ahead was not lost:
“It’s like being given the Queen Elizabeth to steer in a force 10 gale,” Paisley had confessed to the press.
On July 26, 1974, Paisley was officially ushered into the manager’s position at Anfield, 35 years after first joining the club.
It was no secret that Shankly’s success would be a tough act to follow, and his first season as manager would end without silverware, but it would be the first and last time in the eight seasons which followed.
The Reds’ domination would extend not only to English football but Europe too as Paisley and his men would secure the European Cup, not once but an unparalleled three times.
He became the first man to manage three European Cup-winning sides, and would later be joined by both Carlo Ancelotti and Zinedine Zidane, who matched the feat in 2014 and 2018 respectively.
In addition to Paisley’s expert knowledge of the game, his ability to identify and pick players from obscurity became a hallmark of his management career.
The likes of Kenny Dalglish, Alan Hansen, Graeme Souness, Ian Rush, Alan Kennedy, Ronnie Whelan and Mark Lawrenson all signed for the Reds during his time at the helm, and each would etch their place in Liverpool folklore in one way or another.
And after nine seasons as manager, Paisley would bid farewell with six First Division titles, three European Cups, one UEFA Cup, one UEFA Super Cup, three League Cups and six Charity Shields.
Once his time at the helm came to an end in 1983, Paisley had loyally served Liverpool Football Club for 44 years.
He would then continue his association with the club as a director and would arm Kenny Dalglish with a wealth of knowledge when he took over as manager in 1985.
Despite having faced the all-mighty task of being the man to directly step into the position vacated by Shankly, Paisley would go on to become a legend in his own right, with Dalglish aptly saying, “there will never be another like him.”
A motivator and a humble genius, and one whose achievements see him rightly regarded as the best and most successful manager in English football.
And a name forever synonymous with Liverpool Football Club.
UEFA president Aleksander Ceferin says playing behind closed doors is a better option than scrapping the season, but warned the Champions League and Europa League could be abandoned if coronavirus restrictions remain into September.
European football’s club competitions are indefinitely postponed, with the finals of both competitions called off and no new dates allocated due to the escalating COVID-19 pandemic.
Ceferin welcomes the idea of playing in front of empty stands if measures continue to restrict movement, although conceded that there will have to be cut-off date.
“The fact is that we really don’t know much,” the president of European football’s governing body told ZDF Sportstudio.
“We are waiting for the development of this terrible situation in the world, and mainly in Europe.
“Football isn’t the same without fans. But it is definitely better to play with fans than without fans.
“The thing is, football is absolutely not the same without spectators.
“But it is still better to play the game behind closed doors and have it on TV, which is what the people need and want because it brings positive energy to their homes, than not playing at all.
“That’s what the people want, that brings positive energy, and it will be July or August. We can’t play it out in September or October.”
Pushed on whether the season could be abandoned totally, Ceferin said: “If the authorities do not allow us to play, then we cannot play.”
The coronavirus pandemic has given UEFA plenty of work over recent weeks, with Financial Fair Play one of the matters that needs looking at.
Asked whether UEFA is considering postponing FFP for a year as proposed in Germany, Ceferin said: “It’s definitely one of the possibilities.
“We have to be flexible because the clubs are in deep financial problems. They cannot perform the FFP now.
“For now, we are postponing it to see how the season goes, but we can decide either way. We are also looking at the German option.”
Liverpool’s decision to utilise a government scheme to furlough staff amid the coronavirus pandemic has left the club “not feeling like a family,” says one employee.
The club announced on Saturday that they had furloughed non-playing staff through the government’s emergency funding, with 80 percent of their wages covered by the scheme.
Liverpool will pay the remaining 20 percent to ensure those given temporary leave are not out of pocket, but the decision has been widely criticised.
Due to the club’s turnover, and their billionaire owners, it has been deemed irresponsible to drawn upon funds when not necessarily required, with Jamie Carragher taking to Twitter to voice his concern:
Jurgen Klopp showed compassion for all at the start of this pandemic, senior players heavily involved in @premierleague players taking wage cuts. Then all that respect & goodwill is lost, poor this @LFC https://t.co/9bE8Rw1veE
— Jamie Carragher (@Carra23) April 4, 2020
And speaking to BBC Sport in the wake of their furlough, one unnamed employee has condemned the club for going against their principles as a ‘family club’.
“The club call their staff their family—I’m not feeling like a family member,” they explain.
“Why is a club that turns over [millions of pounds] using a government scheme for its staff, when other businesses are more in need of it?
“I feel disappointed and I’m feeling that this government scheme could be used by businesses in trouble.”
They added that their disappointment was magnified “especially after Everton said they were not doing it,” with the Blues so far not following the likes of Liverpool, Tottenham and Newcastle in furloughing staff.
“We remain determined to protect our people, their jobs and our business,” it read, “whilst at the same time doing what we can to support our wider community at this most challenging time for everybody.”
There are, of course, question marks over City’s own virtue in this pandemic, but with the focus on Liverpool it is clearly disappointing that the club have opted for this course of action.
The hope is that the owners make a U-turn in their decision, with it certainly not too late to do so, for the sake of their own reputation among staff, supporters and the local community.
Liverpool took another significant step on the road to Champions League glory with a 2-1 win over Juventus at Anfield on this day in 2005.
Outstanding first-half goals from Sami Hyypia and Luis Garcia on a memorable European occasion set the Reds up for what would be a 2-1 victory on the night and on aggregate.
Can you remember the starting XI selected by Rafael Benitez in the quarter-final first leg?
Test your memory in the quiz below or click Next at the bottom of the page to reveal the Missing Men...
To celebrate World Autism Week 2020 (March 30 to April 5), the LFC Foundation wanted to highlight one of its many fantastic participants, Amy Courtenay.
Amy, 16, attends the LFC Foundation’s Kicks Inclusion programme every weekend at Woodchurch Leisure Centre on the Wirral.
For over eight years, Amy has been attending the sessions, which focus on ability and not disability, and through her continued participation she has developed her skills and confidence.
Amy, who attends a local SEN school with some of the participants from the Kicks Inclusion session, is an avid football fan and is a season ticket holder at Tranmere Rovers.
Amy and some of the female participants had the opportunity to help out at the LFC Women versus Everton Women game at the end of last season.
Amy, who has autism along with a chromosome impairment, could not participate if it wasn’t for her super mum, Helen. Helen is a massive advocate of the LFC Foundation and also loves to catch up with the staff and the other parents and guardians over a coffee.
Everyone at the LFC Foundation is so proud of you Amy – well done and keep up the hard work.
Our next compilation of every Liverpool Premier League goal in a single season looks at the 70 strikes in the 1995-96 campaign.
We're currently looking back on the Reds' hauls in each Premier League season, with new videos released every Saturday and Sunday.
Robbie Fowler found the back of the net 28 times in the league in this particular term - check out his goals and all the others scored in the YouTube video below…