Liverpool U23s take on West Ham United in Premier League 2 on Monday night - a match you can watch exclusively live on LFCTV and LFCTV GO.
Neil Critchley’s charges have won their opening four Premier League 2 fixtures to top the table.
Here is everything you need to know ahead of their latest outing...
Where is the game being played? The match is at the Chigwell Construction Stadium, home of Dagenham and Redbridge FC, with kick-off set for 7pm BST.
Previous encounters: The Hammers won promotion back to Premier League 2 Division 1 this season, after beating Peter Beardsley’s Newcastle United in the play-off promotion final last term.
The last meeting between the teams at this level was March 2016 when West Ham beat the Reds 3-2 in the semi-final of the Premier League Cup, an encounter that saw Martin Skrtel sent off.
The last league meeting at this level was March 2015, when the young Reds thrashed the Hammers 5-0 at Chester, with Ryan McLaughlin (two), Kevin Stewart, Cameron Brannagan and Sergi Canos on the mark.
View from the manager, Neil Critchley
“This is a challenge for us playing two games in the space of five days this week but this is what we want for the boys. The boys are at the age now where they are expected to perform well in every single game and we want a games programme that nearly replicates the first team. Hopefully if these boys one day get the opportunity to play for Liverpool then you are expected to play over 40 games a season, probably closer to 50 or 60 sometimes. West Ham got promoted last season to Premier League 2 Division One and they are always difficult to play against. They have made a good start themselves so we are expecting it to be a physical challenge. We are top of the league and everyone wants to try and beat us but we want our run to continue for as long as possible, but we know it is going to be an extremely difficult game on Monday night.”
View from the player, Nathaniel Phillips
“We have started the season really well and we can’t wait to play every game that’s coming up. We had a really good pre-season and we’ve managed to form a decent chemistry together as a group. I’m really enjoying playing alongside Lloyd Jones and our partnership at centre-half is going well. We didn’t play too much last season together because Lloyd was on loan, but things have gone well so far and we want to keep that going. It’s great to have Harry Wilson back in the team. He brought a lot of goals to the side last season and helped us out massively.”
A lot has been made of Phillipe Coutinho’s return to the Liverpool side, following what has been a turbulent summer for our talismanic Brazilian. Coutinho eventually made his first start of the season against Burnley, as Liverpool were held to a frustrating 1-1 draw but whilst a lot of people have talked about what Coutinho brings to the table in an attacking sense, not so much has been said about how Coutinho could be a crucial element in shoring up Liverpool’s messy defence.
Now that’s not to say that off the ball Coutinho adds more defensively than Georginio Wijnaldum, although that’s definitely true. The general point that I’m making is not necessarily about defensive work off the ball, but defensive work on the ball.
One of Liverpool’s big defensive issues is a lack of control. With twenty minutes to go against Sevilla, and the Reds in control, they weren’t able to kill the game. They didn’t have anyone who could dictate the pace of the game, take the game and put it under their thumb. And whilst that hasn’t necessarily been Coutinho’s natural game when he’s been playing out on the left wing, he’s been more of a metronome when playing in the middle of the park, and he’s more than capable of playing that role.
Against Burnley, Coutinho had 97 touches, the second most in the Liverpool team, and made 73 passes, at an 82% accuracy. Whilst these stats are not Coutinho’s best and not quite where Liverpool will want him to be, coupled with 79 passes and 94 touches for Emre Can, it meant that Liverpool could dominate the midfield and control possession – resulting in the Reds having over 70% of possession.
This meant that Burnley’s chances were limited – the Clarets having just five shots and an xG of comfortably below one goal. Of course there remained huge question marks over the defence, but it’s also unfortunate for the Reds that Burnley took the one real chance that they were given, especially given that it wasn’t a particularly easy one.
Whilst the Burnley game isn’t necessarily the emblematic example of what Liverpool should be doing going forwards, it does betray a truth that the opposition can’t score goals without the ball. If Liverpool have more of the ball, it’s difficult for their opponents to consistently pressure a defence that looks leaky at the best of times.
But what Coutinho brings is more than just better possession of the ball. Liverpool have an inherent inability to close down games, which stems from a lack of calm and control. Coutinho is a figure who instils calm and is able to control a midfield in a way that Henderson and Can are not. He is the sort of player who can take 100 touches, make 100 passes, dictate play, keep possession ticking.
He can drop deep and offer a passing option, allowing the likes of Klavan and Matip an easy out ball under pressure, to avoid putting their team in trouble, or he can drive through a midfield to put the pressure back on the opposition. Whilst Coutinho’s tackling game isn’t necessarily strong, he’s also a good presser of the ball and can win it back high up the field.
The underlying point is that Liverpool have been crying out for a midfield general. Someone who can marshal the play, control the tempo of the game and shut down the opposition. Whilst Coutinho isn’t like Emre Can, who will disrupt the opposition tempo and consistently win the ball back, he is the kind of midfielder who can dictate the game, and keep the pressure off the defence.
Can is one player whose skillset compliments Coutinho’s quite well, which we saw against Burnley. The midfield looks more balanced with the pair playing together, and although Coutinho isn’t in a position to wholly relinquish Liverpool’s defensive issues, as Lovren and Klavan only need one opportunity to make a huge mess, he can in general improve Liverpool’s defensive play.
So we all know that bringing Coutinho into Liverpool’s midfield will improve our attacking play and give us an extra option, given that Phil is one of our best players. But maybe his reintroduction will also stop the Reds conceding quite as many goals.
Once hailed the ‘Scouse Cafu’ for his solid season in 2013/14, in which he played Left Back for the majority of the season, Jon Flanagan now finds himself Liverpool’s fourth choice Right Back. He earned himself a call-up to England’s World Cup team for his terrific campaign, albeit he only made an appearance coming off the bench in a warm-up friendly against Ecuador.
Just how has he found himself become so low in the pecking order?
Through no fault of his own, Flanno gathered two successive injuries which put him out for the 2014/15 season and the first half of the 2015/16 season. It was quite the misfortune giving his performances throughout the memorable season of 2013/14.
When he returned, Flanagan reminded the fans exactly why he had taken to their hearts. Raheem Sterling’s first return to Anfield wearing a sky blue shirt was welcomed with a crunching tackle from Flanno in the first minute that left Sterling in a heap on the floor, to Anfield’s pleasure. This is what every single fan in the stands and sat at home wanted and Flanagan, the boyhood Red on the pitch, carried out his duties as a player and as a fan. Winning the ball back and pummelling through a former ally and now a foe.
Despite being a crowd favourite, he was sent on-loan last season to newly promoted Burnley to regain his fitness and seek regular playing time to do this. Flanagan dwelled on whether this was the right choice and ultimately, he left for a year. Flanagan couldn’t capture his form there and only made 6 league appearances (half of them coming on as a substitute) and 3 appearances in the FA Cup.
Jon Flanagan played in every single pre-season match during the summer, although he never stood out as a star performer. Therefore, going into the season he found himself fourth choice Right Back. With Nathaniel Clyne injured for the foreseeable future, Trent Alexander-Arnold and the newly appointed England U21s captain, Joe Gomez, have been the favoured two choices in the Right Back position, with Flanagan nowhere to be seen near the starting 11.
With his injury problem seemingly not an issue for this moment in time, Flanagan knows now is his chance to make an impression in training. He will know more than anyone else if he is to save his Liverpool career then he needs to make a name for himself once again like he did four years ago.
The depth we have in this position will help especially with our Champions League campaign this year. Flanagan has not found himself surplus to requirements as such, hence there has not been any particular interest reported around the 24-year-old during the recent transfer window.
However, Joe Gomez could be used as a centre half this season too, meaning Flanagan would move up the ranks.
Also, Trent Alexander-Arnold could be utilised as more of an attacking option later on in the season giving his displays so far this season have illustrated how he is attacking minded and his defensive game needs work on. That being said, for an 18-year-old he has plenty of time to improve and it is expected that no player this young is the finished product. TAA has found himself playing central midfield in his days at the academy which shows his versatility. If there was an injury or suspension crisis in the midfield, Klopp would be foolish to rule him out. If this was to occur, cue Jon Flanagan to slot into the first 11.
At this moment in time, Flanno will presumably be used in the league cup and FA cup games. Nothing is to say that he won’t be used in the league if there is a big Champions league game coming up in the next few days or vice-versa.
On the other side of the defence, new signing Andy Robertson looks set to be the main man for the job. Alberto Moreno offers cover but it is without a doubt his defensive game is lacklustre as he finds himself out of position far too often. Flanagan has proved he can play on each flank of the defensive line. This makes him a good tool in the box, and it could possibly be an explanation as to why Klopp hasn’t moved him on this season.
That being said, this could be Flanno’s last throw of the dice before his ship sails out of the River Mersey.
This was always going to be a difficult game, especially considering Burnley’s solid away form this season. It ended up as a stalemate, with Liverpool dropping two points.
The key takeaways –Team News
Klopp was expected to ring in the changes for the game vs Burnley, and he confirmed the same during his pre-match press conference. So it was not surprising to see the number of changes, but the intriguing aspects were the return of Coutinho and a start for Sturridge. With Burnley showing the template of playing Liverpool last season, it was interesting to note the Coutinho and Sturridge combination as Liverpool needed to maximise whatever chances they would get. The other interesting aspect was the recall of Robertson with the re-emergence of Moreno.Abject Defending as usual
Another simple clearance missed by a centre-back, this time from Klavan which led to the opening goal. More worrying was the ease with which Ben Mee got his head onto two successive corners only to be denied by Matip and Mignolet in quick succession. The defence continues to be the biggest weakness and the constant rotation in the backline does not look to be helping matters.Liverpool and the Long Ball
The game was always going to be about how Liverpool would break down the organized Burnley defence. Resorting to long balls deep from defence or midfield would not have been the top-most option, but that is what Liverpool resorted to. The move looks to have been well researched/trained as the team got into great positions more than once, and it was ultimately a punt from Can that Salah expertly controlled and put it at the back of the net.Can as #6
Emre Can was deployed as the deepest midfielder as Henderson was given the day off. Fair to say he did have a mixed day as he had spells of solid play coupled with sloppy passing and positioning. More than once, he gave the ball away in dangerous areas and absolutely failed to track Arfield for Burnley’s goal.Mo can’t stop scoring
Incredulous as it may sound, there was actually a discussion on social media about Mo Salah and whether he should be dropped. That finish answered it loud and clear. Yet again, Salah was a constant menace throughout the game and ended up as Liverpool’s best player yet again.Liverpool not having the luck
Liverpool did not have the rub of the green this afternoon with a clear shout of penalty on Salah late on the second half and Solanke turning his shot off the bar. It was yet again one of those days where the last bit of execution coupled with fortune was missing.
Competition: Premier League
September has been a sobering month for Liverpool fans. Gone are the exuberant days of August and with them, our care-free attitude to just enjoying our Redmen attacking, scoring, and attacking again. September has opened our eyes to those defensive concerns which we knew were always there. In August, we were able to sweep those matters under the proverbial rug. September, however, seems to be that better friend. Unlike August, she won’t let you ignore your problems, pretending they’re not there. No, September calls attention to what you don’t want to see, asking for a full-blown intervention to be held. The challenge is in listening, though. Will September’s warning cries be heard?Teams
Liverpool lineup – Mignolet, Alexander-Arnold, Matip, Klavan, Robertson, Can, Milner(c), Coutinho, Salah, Sturridge, Firmino
Subs: Karius, Lovren, Moreno, Henderson, Wijnaldum, Oxlade-Chamberlain, Solanke
Burnley lineup – Pope, Lowton, Tarkowski, Mee(c), Ward, Defour, Cork, Gudmundsson, Arfield, Brady, Wood
Subs: Legzdins, Long, Bardsley, Westwood, Walters, Barnes, VokesThe Action
Liverpool got down to business straight away this afternoon. Sturridge had the first shot on goal, an effort from around the penalty spot that was partially blocked by the defence. Nick Pope, deputising for the injured Tom Heaton, was grateful to get his first touch of the ball.
Andy Robertson was offering a great outlet on the left and his deliveries were causing early concerns for the Burnley defence.
There seemed to still be some early defensive nerves on the Liverpool side, remnants from the 2-2 draw with Sevilla. Joel Matip was looking shaky and was caught out in possession by Chris Wood.
Alexander-Arnold had a left-footed shot drag wide of the right-hand post in the 8th minute. Salah had a strong claim for a penalty in the 17th minute after Matip had strode forward from defence and put the wide-man through. Salah’s claims fell on deaf ears on this occasion.
In the 21st minute, Coutinho played a short ball back to Sturridge who then played in a deep cross to the back post where Salah got his head to it but could only put it over.
Burnley began to threaten shortly afterwards. A low cross from the left in the 26th minute was brilliantly dealt with by Andy Robertson who prevented Wood getting on the end of it.
However, a minute later and Chris Wood was involved in creating the opening goal. Robbie Brady won his header out wide against Alexander-Arnold and then Klavan and Matip failed to cope with Chris Wood. Wood’s knockdown made it to Arfield who finished it first time with his right foot. Mignolet could not do anything about it. 0-1.
The Reds made amends almost immediately. Emre Can played a great ball over the top which Salah got on the end of. Salah controlled it well and got his low shot away which Nick Pope couldn’t stop.
Liverpool looked good again after the equaliser and were once again camped in the Burnley half right up until the break. Indeed, Sturridge almost gave the Reds the lead in the 42nd minute when Coutinho played him in on the left. Sturridge’s strike hit the side-netting just outside the near post.
There was still time for Salah and Sturridge to manage another shot apiece but again, Pope was equal to both of them.
Half-time: Liverpool 1 – 1 Burnley
It was more of the same in the second half. Liverpool pushed and pushed but Burnley were as resilient as ever. There never seemed to be too much trouble on the break from Burnley, either, as they lacked any real pace in their midfield and attack.
Between the 55th and 61st minutes, Can, Milner, Sturridge, and Robertson all had shots on goal. Two were saved while Milner and Robertson saw their efforts go harmlessly wide.
Unfortunately for Liverpool, Nick Pope was in inspired form today.
In the 73rd minute, Klavan made a vital interception at the other end as Arfield tried to play Chris Wood into the box. Matip and Klavan had to combine on a couple of occasions to deny Burnley during this short spell.
Oxlade-Chamberlain replaced Firmino in the 79th minute and Solanke replaced Coutinho a minute later. Klopp was leaving it late before making any changes, again.
Solanke had a glancing header go wide after a good cross from Alexander-Arnold. Solanke really got stuck in after coming on and worked hard both going forward and coming back.
A minute later and it was Alexander-Arnold’s turn to be on the end of a cross. Milner did well on the left and chipped the ball in for the right-back to catch it with his left foot at the back post. Again, Pope was there to deny him.
In the 85th minute, Alexander-Arnold and Salah combined on the right-hand side of Burnley’s area. Salah looked to be clearly taken down in the box but Roger East didn’t give the penalty. The ball stayed in play and made its way into Solanke who had to try to pull the ball back from behind him in the six-yard box. His somewhat acrobatic effort crashed against the underside of the bar and down. Burnley scrambled it clear. It just wasn’t going to go in again for Liverpool.
Emre Can had one more shot on goal. His curling strike from outside the box seemed to be going wide, but just for good measure, Pope saved that one, too.
That was how it ended. September continues its tough love policy with Liverpool.Final Score: Liverpool 1 – 1 Burnley
James Milner looks slightly better in the centre of the park than he has done in recent seasons, and even though he still isn’t the answer to any problems in this area, his extra experience at full back seems to have encouraged him to cover defensively where other players might not.
The manager was reluctant to use or trust players in his squad so much last season, but this time around he has a lot of options, despite Salah being the only real improvement to the starting eleven.
The team had 35 shots against Burnley and some of their buildup play was very good, but they struggled to convert chances – something that the rotation wasn’t to blame.Who comes in?
If Dominic Solanke is to get a start, it might make sense to have him up top with a partner. Salah looks like he could be a good foil for a bigger striker, and some of his movement off the shoulder of defenders when he drifts in from his current wide area suggests he could thrive in a more central role.
But given that the Egyptian has played more minutes than most so far this season, the best option to give Solanke his start against Leicester in the League Cup would be to pair him with Daniel Sturridge, who has only appeared sporadically so far this season.
Solanke is similar to Firmino in that he could play a number of attacking roles either leading the line or supporting from midfield, but a dual threat of him and Sturridge up top might be the best option.
With Sadio Mane suspended and Salah likely to be rested, the team will be lacking in wide areas, so the best solution to all of this would be to play a 4-4-2 diamond.
Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain will surely get his first start on Tuesday night, in the midfield if it is indeed a diamond, or in one of wide areas in the front three it Klopp keeps with 4-3-3.
An exciting move would be giving Ben Woodburn a start. The Welsh wonderkid played as a No 10 for Steven Gerrard’s under-19 side in the UEFA Youth League against Sevilla, so could be ideal for the role.
The Reds’ Under-23s are in action on Monday night, so Woodburn’s inclusion or not there will tell us whether he’s in Klopp’s squad for Tuesday.
Marko Grujic should come into the side in midfield, and he’s a player who will be looking to push on and challenge for a spot in the first team, especially as he will have seen some of the below par performances from Georginio Wijnaldum so far this season.
The alternative would be to stick with the 4-3-3 and introduce Harry Wilson or Lazar Markovic on the wings. It might be an exciting proposition to see two players who are yet to feature prominently under Klopp, and a good performance from one of them could help to solve problems which could arise later in the season if one or both of Mane and Salah are out of the side for any length of time.At the back?!
With Matip having played every minute so far, he will need resting at some point and the League Cup seems the only logical place for that to happen.
That almost certainly means a centre-back pairing of Klavan and Lovren.
Joe Gomez could start there, but he’ll be needed on Saturday at right-back as Trent Alexander-Arnold will have to start in Moscow next Tuesday due to Gomez’s suspension. Klopp has explained, rightly, how it isn’t wise to play either of them in consecutive games in the same week.
With more time between the games in Moscow and Newcastle (Tuesday – Sunday), Klopp could play strong sides in each of those, but it would be a big ask to play a similar XI in the Leicester league game and those two, so changes will be required somewhere.
Whether all the changes required can produce fully functioning units within the chosen system remains to be seen. There was evidence against Burnley that new players can come into the side and perform, but the system may require some extra tweaking to get the best from them.
After these four away days, it’s an international break, with the first game back being at home to Man United. This run over the next fortnight will define how we feel going into that one.
Jürgen Klopp will preview Liverpool's Carabao Cup clash with Leicester City at Melwood on Monday - and you can watch the boss' press conference live and free here from 1pm BST.
Klopp's media briefing ahead of the tie will be streamed on the club's official YouTube channel and can be viewed via the embedded video below.
The third-round clash takes place at the King Power Stadium on Tuesday evening (7.45pm BST kick-off).
Gini Wijnaldum believes Liverpool's summer signings Mohamed Salah and Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain have improved the squad in two vital areas: pace and strength in depth.
Salah, who sealed a move to Anfield from AS Roma in July, has taken his impressive pre-season form into the new campaign, scoring five goals in his first eight appearances for the club.
But the manner in which the Egyptian has settled into the squad is just as pleasing for Wijnaldum.
The Dutchman told Liverpoolfc.com: "[He brings] a lot of pace and speed! He is technical.
"He is not only a guy who scores goals but is also a team player, trying to defend with the team and trying to let other players score.
"He’s a great signing for Liverpool and he is also a good person.
"He has settled in really quick because he is a person who socialises with other players and loves to speak with other players, which makes it easier for him and for us to accept him."
In contrast, Oxlade-Chamberlain has been restricted to just two substitute outings for the Reds so far, having only joined from Arsenal on deadline day.
However, he was notably bright during a short cameo against Burnley last weekend, and Wijnaldum believes the No.21's versatility will prove crucial as the season progresses.
"The same as Mo – he is also really fast. He is a good team player, a player who can play in different positions," he added.
"That makes it easier for the manager and for us as a team; if something happens in a game you have a few players who can play more positions. That can help us as a team."
Of course, the addition of two new players puts extra pressure on Wijnaldum as he looks to secure a place in Jürgen Klopp's starting XI.
But the 26-year-old welcomes the competition.
He explained: "It helps me to be a better player because if you train with better players and play with better players, it automatically makes you a better player.
"That helps me personally but also the team. We have to realise we are playing for Liverpool, a big club and a club that will always sign big players and good players.
"You’ll always have to compete for your space but you have to be happy that you have to compete, because that means you have a good squad and play for a good team."
Liverpool U23s take on West Ham United in Premier League 2 at Dagenham and Redbridge FC on Monday - and you can watch the match live on LFCTV and LFCTV GO from 6.30pm BST.
Neil Critchley's side have won their opening four games in Premier League 2, and the young Reds will hope to continue their excellent form against the Hammers.
For the best build-up, join Rob Jones alongside former Liverpool striker Neil Mellor from 6.30pm.
For more information about subscribing to either LFCTV or LFCTV GO, click here.
Liverpool legends don’t come tougher than the ‘Anfield Iron’.
Widely recognised as one of the game's hardest-ever players, Smith’s reputation goes before him – as anyone unfortunate enough to have been on the receiving end of one of his bone-crunching tackles would no doubt testify.
Bill Shankly once claimed that his centre-half “wasn’t born, he was quarried” but, contrary to the claims of his critics, Smith was not your archetypal clogger.
Over 600 first-team appearances for the Reds and a glittering array of winners medals are ample proof of that fact.
As a defender who possessed determination, power and raw aggression in equal abundance, not to mention a lot more skill than he was given credit for, he was a key figure during Liverpool’s reign of supremacy in the 60s and 70s.
A former Anfield apprentice, he skippered the club to league and UEFA Cup glory in 1973 and famously headed home the second goal in Rome four years later.
Click through our 50 Men Who Made LFC countdown below
Danny Ings is ready to continue his positive progress from long-term injury after being withdrawn as a precaution with Liverpool U23s last weekend.
The striker was taken off during the first half of Neil Critchley’s side’s clash with Manchester City at Prenton Park, purely as a safety measure.
But Ings has resumed training with the first team during the past week and will hope to gain minutes in the coming days as the U23s travel to West Ham United on Monday night and the senior Reds face Leicester City in the Carabao Cup.
“We would be delighted to have him but if we don’t get him and he’s not with us then maybe that means he’s involved with the first team, which would be fantastic as well,” Critchley told Liverpoolfc.com.
“If we can help him and get Danny closer to the first team and back on that pitch at Anfield then we will be delighted to assist him in that because he’s been fantastic since he’s been with us.
“He’s a credit to the profession and everyone wants the best for him.
“He came off last Sunday but that was just a precaution. He’s been back training this week and if we get him we’ll be delighted, but if not he might possibly be involved with the first team against Leicester, which would give him a big lift as well.”
Ings has featured in five competitive games for the U23s so far in 2017-18, scoring once, as he builds up match fitness following the second long-term knee injury that sidelined him last season.
Liverpool could be the subject of a fly-on-the-wall documentary, with streaming giants Netflix and Amazon Prime both making approaches.
Five years after the notorious, and somewhat reputation-damaging, Being: Liverpool, the Reds have been asked to allow TV cameras behind the scenes again.
As the popularity of modern football grows worldwide, the demand for a more intimate approach has grown too.
And according to a report, this has seen both Netflix and Amazon look to corner a lucrative market with a view to producing an access-all-areas documentary.
This would follow in the footsteps of similar programming focusing on NFL in the United States, with the Premier League seemingly the target.
Man United, however, have already ruled themselves out, acknowledging the benefits of producing and, crucially, editing a similar package in-house.
The report speculates that “as current TV rights deals would make documentary filming more problematic once the season gets under way,” any coverage would likely focus on pre-season.
This immediately conjures memories of Being: Liverpool, which saw Fox Soccer follow Brendan Rodgers’ preparations for the 2012/13 campaign in a six-part series.
It famously included a training-ground dressing down from the Ulsterman for Raheem Sterling, which brought unwelcome focus on the teenager.
Elsewhere, it revealed an interesting tactic from Rodgers in motivating his squad ahead of the season, claiming he had three names in envelopes “who will let us down this year.”
The documentary did Rodgers no favours, depicting the manager as akin to The Office‘s David Brent, and detracting from a largely productive summer.
While it was clear Rodgers was not averse to TV cameras, whether Jurgen Klopp would be receptive to such an idea is questionable.
The German has been critical of the commercial aspect of Liverpool’s pre-season schedule, preferring to focus on the development of his side in training.
More: Documentary, TV
More from This Is Anfield Fan Comments
“If your goal is to be a professional footballer or to be a coach, or whatever walk of life you want to walk down, you have to be obsessed to achieve that target.”
Gerrard went on to explain the importance of having an education while trying to crack it in the game, in order to have another option if things don’t go to plan.
“I was lucky because I went through the process and played for Liverpool and England, but unfortunately that doesn’t happen to every kid,” he added.
“A lot of kids give up when they get that knockback at maybe 15, 16, 17, maybe 18 years of age, and they fall out of the love with the game.
“They don’t want to go into college or education and they give up on their lives.
“This (college) gives a wonderful opportunity to anyone to further their education, get back involved in the game or go and get a different life experience abroad.
“I wish this was in place for my friends, because only three or four became professional out of 15, so the other 12 gave up.
“It’s a very, very difficult profession to get to the top in.
“I always did my school work and college, because I used to say to myself, “what if I don’t become a professional footballer”.
“You need to earn money, you need to provide for your family somewhere down the line, so if you can get the best education you can while you’re setting out on your other goals, it can only be of help if you need to fall back on it.”
Last Updated: 17/09/17 7:46pmLoris Karius and Simon Mignolet are battling for the Liverpool jersey
Who should be Liverpool’s first-choice goalkeeper and why is Jurgen Klopp rotating? We take a look...
For the fourth match in a row Jurgen Klopp made a change in the Liverpool goal for the 1-1 draw against Burnley as he continued his policy of rotating between Simon Mignolet and Loris Karius. While it has become common to use different goalkeepers in different competitions, Klopp's selections have not been quite that rigid.Liverpool held by Burnley
Liverpool's frustrating week continued as Burnley battled hard for a well-deserved 1-1 draw at Anfield.
Karius was brought in for the big Premier League game at home to Arsenal. "Simon is rested, that is all," Klopp explained. "He won the race and was really strong for us but we need the other two boys also. For a goalkeeper it's a different intensity. He is in the stadium, we had no argument and I told him a rest makes sense. He didn't want to have to rest."
Karius kept a clean sheet, albeit an unconvincing one, in that 4-0 victory over the Gunners but Mignolet returned for the 5-0 defeat at Manchester City. The Belgian was back out of the team for Liverpool's return to the Champions League in the 2-2 draw against Sevilla but he was recalled once more for the next fixture against Burnley.Jurgen Klopp was angry with aspects of Liverpool’s performance against Burnley
While it was a disappointing draw, Mignolet made a number of good saves, denying Ben Mee a winner inside the final 10 minutes at Anfield. As Klopp suggested when recalling Karius against Arsenal, it is Mignolet who has won the battle to be first choice. But that does not mean he will be the one playing in the Carabao Cup tie against Leicester on Tuesday.
"I did it and I will do it again," said Klopp of his changes. "Simon Mignolet is No 1. At the end of the season he will have played 85 to 87 per cent of games. We need strong goalkeepers and every year we cannot find a new No 2 or No 3. We have young goalkeepers at the best age and all are ready to play so we have to use this situation for the good of the club."Mignolet had better statistics than Karius in the 2016/17 season
Even so, it seems apparent given Klopp's initial decision to give Karius a run in the Liverpool goal last season that he had hoped it would be his compatriot who would make the position his own. Unfortunately for Klopp, despite Karius arriving from the Bundesliga with a fine reputation, that initial period proved a steep learning curve for the player.
Karius did boast the better save percentage from outside the box last season (88.9%) - an indication of the talent and athleticism that Liverpool identified when bringing him in from Klopp's former club Mainz. However, his decision-making abilities came under scrutiny as he struggled to command his area and was guilty of sloppy mistakes.Leicester vs Liverpool
September 19, 2017, 7:30pm
Karius made more errors leading to goals in his 10 appearances last season than Mignolet made in his 28 matches. Those errors even cost Liverpool valuable points in back-to-back games against Bournemouth and West Ham. He also made more mistakes in sweeping up behind his defence and came off his line to deal with things less often than his rival, making fewer catches and punches.
Given that Karius is five years younger than his goalkeeping rival, there is time for the balance of power to shift again. Danny Ward will also be pushing hard for a place having impressed in Huddersfield's promotion-winning campaign last season. Whether any of them can satisfy supporters that they are the one to take the team forwards remains to be seen.Tuesday's Super 6
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