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Key Stats As Liverpool Beat Wolves...But Finish SecondLiverpool 2 Wolves 0 - Reds On Top for...

Mon, 05/13/2019 - 12:02

Liverpool did everything they could, but fell just short, as a 2-0 win over Wolves on the final day of the season wasn’t enough for them to take home the Premier League title. So what were the key stats from a slightly anti-climactic final day of the season?

Trent Flies Again

It’s fitting that the season ends with a Trent Alexander-Arnold assist, taking him for 12 to the year, the most ever by a Premier League defender. Trent was excellent again today, assisting Mané’s second goal but it was his deflected cross that also set up the first. With three key passes, three out of three tackles, 0.23 xA and managing a great defensive block too, this was a solid all-round game for Trent, who was unlucky not to end up with more than one assist.

It would be unfair though not to also mention Andy Robertson, the only LFC player to create a big chance in this game with his cross to Gini, and who finishes on 11 assists for the season. Trent and Robbo have made an incredible team, and deserve so much shared credit.

Main Man Mané Strikes Again

Speaking of sharing… Sadio Mané scored both of Liverpool’s goals on the final day to take his final tally for the season to 22, allowing him to share the Premier League Golden Boot with teammate Mo Salah and Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang.

Sadio has scored 14 goals in his last 16 games, including 12 in his last nine games at Anfield. He’s also now the Premier League’s joint highest headed scorer with six, despite being only five foot nine.

Terrific Season Comes To An End

And so an absolutely terrific Premier League season comes to an end with Liverpool managing to go the entire season unbeaten at Anfield for the second season running – the first time since 1978/9 and 79/80 that they’ve accomplished that feat. Conceding just 22 goals in the process, the least any Liverpool team have conceded in the Premier League era, and winning 30 games, the joint most in LFC history.

But It’s Not Enough…

I hate to finish on negative stats, but sadly, the ultimate definition of this Premier League season is that Liverpool didn’t get over the line in the title race. That means that for the third time in a row that the Premier League title race has gone down to the final day, Manchester City have had to win to win the league and have done just that.

More depressingly, Liverpool are now the third team in PL history to be leading the league at Christmas but not win the league, after Liverpool in 08-09 and Liverpool in 13-14.

It’s official. We are actually cursed.

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Categories: LFC NEWS

Liverpool v Wolves Preview - One final step which *might* bring gloryLiverpool 4-0 Barcelona: Who...

Sat, 05/11/2019 - 04:57
The Details

Venue – Anfield, Liverpool

Referee – Martin Atkinson

Date & Time – Sunday, May 12th @ 15:00

Current Odds – Liverpool 1/3, Draw 9/2, Wolves 13/2

Form Liverpool Form

This Liverpool team continues to amaze us.

During the week, Klopp’s mighty Redmen defied all the odds to knock Barcelona out of the Champions League and set up another final – this time against Spurs in Madrid.

Domestically, The Reds have still not given up the fight for a first league title in 29 years, however. Divock Origi’s late goal at Newcastle on Saturday meant the race is going right until the final day.

City then beat Leicester on Monday night, keeping matters in their own hands as a result.

Liverpool should do their part on Sunday, taking all three points against Wolves. Whether that turns out to be enough – we’ll have to wait and see.

Wolves Form

Wolves are on a three-game winning run at the moment and have secured their seventh-place finish in the Premier League – a fantastic achievement having just returned to top-flight football this season.

Nuno’s side also just missed out on an FA Cup final appearance against Manchester City – losing 3-2 to Watford after extra-time in the semi-finals.

Team News Liverpool Team News

Mohamed Salah and Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain are expected to be fit and available for selection on Sunday.

Jurgen Klopp has other injury concerns, though. Andy Robertson, Roberto Firmino and Adam Lallana may all miss out.

Last week, it was confirmed that Naby Keita’s season is over after picking up an injury in Liverpool’s Champions League tie at the Camp Nou.

James Milner will revert to the left-back role in Robertson’s absence. Joe Gomez will most likely remain on the bench with Trent Alexander-Arnold’s creativity and attacking prowess down the right a necessity on Sunday.

Gini Wijnaldum will return to the starting lineup after his midweek heroics against Barcelona.

Divock Origi should start in attack alongside Salah and Sadio Mané.

Wolves Team News

Wolves have no current injury problems and no players suspended this weekend.

Nuno has stuck with a 3-5-2 formation this season and it’s hard to see him change his approach on Sunday.

Predicted Lineups

Liverpool XI (4-3-3) – Alisson; Alexander-Arnold, Matip, Van Dijk, Milner; Fabinho, Henderson(c), Wijnaldum; Salah, Origi, Mané

Wolves XI (3-5-2) – Patricio; Bennett, Coady(c), Boly; Doherty, Dendoncker, Moutinho, Neves, Jonny; Jimenez, Jota

When they last met

Wolves won 2-1 on their last visit to Anfield in the FA Cup fourth round back in January 2017. Conor Coady and Matt Doherty are the only remaining Wolves players from their starting eleven that day.

This season, Wolves knocked Liverpool out of the FA Cup again. This time it was the third round and the game was at Molineux. Raul Jimenez and Ruben Neves scored the goals either side of a great Divock Origi strike for The Reds.

In December, Liverpool won 2-0 at Molineux in the Premier League with goals from Mohamed Salah and Virgil van Dijk.

Prediction

Liverpool 2 – 0 Wolves

Could there be anything worse to happen on Sunday than Brighton actually taking points off Manchester City but Liverpool also failing to beat Wolves? I think many of us Reds fans would struggle to cope with such a scenario.

However, I think Liverpool will dominate proceedings on Sunday. Wolves are a very good team now and Nuno Espirito Santo has a promising career ahead of him, however, The Reds are better and they should make their superiority pay over 90 minutes on Sunday.

** Please note – “xGA” in the Form Stats tables symbolises “expected goals against” **

**All xG stats courtesy of Understat.com and FiveThirtyEight.com

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Categories: LFC NEWS

Liverpool 4-0 Barcelona: Who was man of the match?Liverpool 4 Barcelona 0 - What happened?...

Thu, 05/09/2019 - 03:11

There are truly no words so soon after the greatest European night in Anfield’s history, but I’ll try to find some.

This was a depleted Liverpool side – no Mohamed Salah, no Roberto Firmino and, after halftime, no Andrew Robertson – but each and every man in red wrote themselves into footballing folklore.

Never has there been such an embarrassment of riches in the MOTM discussion.

Alisson Becker kept us in the competition with his remarkable sprawling save against Napoli way back in December, and he rescued his side once again with a series of top-drawer stops.

The Brazilian proved equal to everything Lionel Messi and Luis Suarez threw at him, producing the kind of big moments which set the best ‘keepers apart.

Barcelona had Liverpool on the ropes at times, but Virgil van Dijk and Joel Matip put up a stern and ultimately unbreakable resistance. Both players came up with vital interventions. Special mention to Matip, who was impressive even in defeat last week and who is really looking right at home alongside the best centre-half in the world. He truly has been the unsung hero this season.

And what about Trent Alexander-Arnold? The lad who was just six years old watching Istanbul played a critical part in the Reds’ greatest European feat since. It was his pure ingenuity which caught out Barca and presented Divock Origi with a golden opportunity to score the decisive goal. On top of that, he exhibited incredible maturity in his work at the other end of the pitch. The best night of his career so far, without question.

Andrew Robertson was typically valiant in his 45 minutes on the pitch but when he was forced off, James Milner, as he literally always does, stepped up to the plate. Never before has a player offered such a guarantee of solidity in so many different roles.

Another who produced a heroic display was Fabinho, handed the almighty task of shielding the back four from the visitors’ petrifying advances. Visibly at least, no player was as emboldened by the sizzling Anfield atmosphere. Jurgen Klopp always calls for his players to be angry, and tonight Fabinho was at boiling point, oozing passion and desire. He truly embodied the never-say-die attitude which carried the team to a miracle, and for that he is receiving plenty of warranted acclaim.

Captain’s performance barely covers it for Jordan Henderson, who gave everything and then some, as he shook off a nasty-looking injury to lead Liverpool to the final. It really isn’t an exaggeration to say he was Gerrard-esque, and that is mark is how far he has come this season. Henderson has found another level in the searing heat of battle and looks to be in the process of transforming his Liverpool career.

Georginio Wijnaldum completes the trio with a decidedly unexpected but vital contribution. A lack of goals has been the main mark against his name in the last couple of years, but tonight he decided to bag two, first by positioning himself in the perfect area and second by powering a wonderful header past Ter Stegen. He grabbed the game by the scruff of the neck, and was gloriously tigerish in possession as Liverpool sought to wind down the clock in the dying stages. A monumental performance.

Even Xherdan Shaqiri, who aside from a delightful lofted pass into Mané had had a wretched first half, was able to come up with the goods. He teed up Wijnaldum with an excellent cross, his second crucial assist in the space of four days. The end product took its coming, but the work-rate was phenomenal throughout.

Sadio Mané was the man to whom Liverpool looked to conjure up the magic in the absence of Salah and Firmino, and though he wasn’t on the scoresheet, his application was exemplary. As always, he made himself an absolute nightmare to deal with and tracked back not simply out of duty, but with a real enthusiasm.

But man of the match, in my mind, ultimately has to go to Divock Origi. He epitomised this Liverpool performance. It wasn’t actually about quality tonight, it was about wanting it so much more than Barcelona, and extracting every possible yard from your weary legs.

Origi injected genuine belief into the optimism surrounding Anfield when he was on hand to open the scoring after just seven minutes. It was a case of right place, right time. Barca nerves promptly began to jangle.

And then he got the goal which settled it. It would have been oh so easy to send that bouncing ball into the stand, but Origi expertly steered it into the top corner as the defenders around him watched on, shellshocked.

I personally have been a consistent critic of Origi, but it’s impossible to slander him when you reflect on his contribution this season. His goals against Everton and Newcastle may not have been the finest, but they kept Liverpool in the title race. And his strikes here may have set Liverpool on course for glory when agony beckoned.

To an extent, it wasn’t about replacing Firmino. Origi has an altogether different role – make life difficult for the opposition defenders, and grab your chances when they come. In that respect, this was a flawless effort.

He has without doubt earned another season at Anfield, and depending, perhaps, on what transpires in Madrid in June 1, he has written himself into the club’s illustrious history books.

But it must be stressed that it’s a team of heroes. Liverpool will probably miss out on the title by one hellish point this weekend, and whatever happens tomorrow they will have to navigate their way past a team who has conquered a member of the European elite to win this competition. Yet this night, this pinch-yourself-it’s-really-happening-night, simply compels us to look upon this sensational team with immense pride, and a heartfelt adoration.

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Categories: LFC NEWS

Liverpool v Barcelona Match Preview - Mission impossible?Newcastle 2 Liverpool 3 - Rafa's Red Carpet...

Wed, 05/08/2019 - 03:05
The Details

 Champions League

Venue – Anfield, Liverpool

Referee – Cuneyt Cakir (Tur)

Date & Time – Tuesday, May 7th 2019 @ 20:00

Current Odds – Liverpool 6/4, Draw 11/4, Barcelona 9/5

Form Liverpool Form

Liverpool got straight back to winning ways with their hard-fought victory over Newcastle United on Saturday night. Unfortunately, the game saw Mohamed Salah suffer a bad head injury after a clash with Newcastle goalkeeper, Martin Dubravka, late in the game.

Last week’s defeat at Camp Nou was Liverpool’s first loss in 19 matches and ended a 10-game winning streak for The Reds in all competitions.

Barcelona Form

Ernesto Valverde put out a second-string team for Barcelona’s trip to Celta Vigo on Saturday. Unsurprisingly, they lost 2-0 but had already tied up the LaLiga title the week before that.

As a result, the Barcelona first-team will be fit and raring to go when they take to the Anfield pitch on Tuesday.

Team News Liverpool Team News

It’s been the worst few days possible, injury-wise, for Liverpool. Klopp confirmed on Monday that both Mohamed Salah and Roberto Firmino were not going to be available for selection at Anfield on Tuesday night.

Salah suffered a bad concussion in The Reds’ 3-2 win at Newcastle on Saturday and the hope is that he will be back to face Wolves in Liverpool’s final Premier League game of the season on Sunday. It’s hoped that Firmino will also make it back in time for that game.

Further reports on Monday revealed that both Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain and Virgil van Dijk also missed Liverpool’s training session during the day due to injury. It remains to be seen just how serious an issue either player was suffering from.

With Salah and Firmino ruled out, I think Sadio Mané will be tasked with the central attacking role while Divock Origi could start wide left. Xherdan Shaqiri could be Salah’s replacement on the right side of The Reds’ front three.

In midfield, I think Klopp will go with James Milner’s experience again. Fabinho, Jordan Henderson and Milner is my predicted midfield trio.

Trent Alexander-Arnold will most likely return at right-back with Joel Matip taking his central defensive role back alongside Van Dijk, who will hopefully be passed fit in time.

Barcelona Team News

Barcelona are without Ousmane Dembele who has been ruled out with injury. Other than that, the Catalan club will have a very fit and fresh starting eleven after putting a reserve side out for their 2-0 LaLiga defeat at Celta Vigo on Saturday.

I think Nelson Semedo might start at right back in place of Sergi Roberto with Arturo Vidal possibly holding onto his starting place in midfield.

Up front, Valverde will most likely go with Lionel Messi, Luis Suarez and Philippe Coutinho.

Predicted Lineups

Liverpool XI (4-3-3) – Alisson; Alexander-Arnold, Matip, Van Dijk, Robertson; Fabinho, Henderson(c), Milner; Shaqiri, Mané, Origi

Barcelona XI (4-4-2) – Ter Stegen; Semedo, Pique, Lenglet, Alba; Rakitic, Busquets, Vidal; Messi(c), Suarez, Coutinho

When they last met

Barcelona ran out 3-0 winners at Camp Nou last Wednesday night in a game where Liverpool was the most imposing team for large parts of the 90 minutes.

The magic of Lionel Messi was the difference between the sides as The Reds were made to pay for not taking their own chances in front of goal.

Prediction

Liverpool 2 – 2 Barcelona

Even before the latest injuries to Mohamed Salah, Roberto Firmino and possibly Virgil van Dijk, I felt Liverpool would do well to beat Barcelona by one goal at the most.

With the confirmation that both Salah and Firmino are out, it feels like this might well be the end of the road in this season’s Champions Leagues for Jurgen Klopp’s Redmen.

I’ll still hold out hope as long as Messi and co are kept at bay at Anfield and an early goal for Liverpool would certainly change everything. However, when predicting a scoreline with my head rather than my heart, I have to go with a score draw, leading to Barcelona’s relatively comfortable progression to the final in Madrid.

** Please note – “xGA” on the Form Stats Tables symbolises “expected goals against”

All xG stats courtesy of Understat.com and/or FiveThirtyEight.com

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Categories: LFC NEWS

Newcastle 2 Liverpool 3 - Rafa's Red Carpet Left Much To Be DesiredNewcastle United v Liverpool...

Sun, 05/05/2019 - 02:07

When the time comes, you’ll be down in the crypts. They’re the safest place to be.

We’ll put you in the crypt, where it’s safest.

Rafa will roll out the red carpet for Liverpool.

Newcastle will be on the beach.

Geordies want Liverpool to win.

Yeah, I think we’ve learned this week not to trust long-running, repetitive narratives.

Just a casual stroll up to Tyneside without Bobby Firmino, Naby Keita or Joel Matip with the Premier League title still in the balance. Bobby Firmino was held out due to ongoing fitness issues, exacerbated by his cameo against Barcelona. The sturdy false-nine has broken down at the pointy end of the season after coming into form lately and being a reliable presence all season. Daniel Sturridge started in Firmino’s place and had looked good the previous weekend with his hold-up play, though his shooting boots are still missing.

Dejan Lovren was inserted into the lineup just for grins with Joe Gomez back healthy and Joel Matip edging towards a “world class” conversation based on his 2019 performances.

Rhian Brewster trained in the warm-ups and Oxlade-Chamberlain was on the sub’s bench as several Reds are coming back from injuries while others are headed to the training room at an awkward time.

As the match kicked off, Javi Manquillo put a high boot in on Sadio Mané, ending any thoughts that this was going to be a walk-through. Yet, while Newcastle were certainly up for it, The Reds got on the scoreboard early. Man marking from Rafa Benitez? Who woulda thought? Trent Alexander-Arnold put in a gorgeous ball for Virgil van Dijk who beat half of the Newcastle squad and ended up with a free-header for 0-1. The assist made it 10 on the season for the young right-back.

The celebrations didn’t last long though as a chaotic series of events with the rejiggered back-line gave up a would-be goal that Trent elbowed off of the line, dropping his appendage on the ball like Macho Man Randy Savage. Could have been a red. In a parallel universe, it would have been a penalty and a sending off, but fortunately for The Reds play only stopped after Atsu equalized off of the rebound with Alisson helpless to stop either shot.

Dejan Lovren wasn’t alone, but he was certainly involved in the mess. It’s quite a call to play Lovren in a match with these kinds of stakes for the manager, but Klopp seems to silence doubters at just about every time of asking.

Ayoze Perez struck a sweet ball around Van Dijk that stopped hearts as it hit the post, but back at the other end, Mo Salah was there to finish a sweet movement from Sturridge and Trent Alexander-Arnold. A stiff back-heel from Sturridge from the corner found Trent who fired in yet another perfect cross for a Mo Salah volley, 1-2.

OK, Newcastle. Great job putting up a fight there, we can coast the rest of the way, right? This didn’t look like a typical Liverpool with key pieces missing and Newcastle didn’t look like they wanted any part of a coronation.

Salomon Rondon had been battling Liverpool’s back four all night, and at 54’ it paid dividends. A corner initially defended, then conceded from a Rondon volley from the edge of the box. It was a flashback to a recent era we all thought was dead and buried. But the dead can’t come back… right?

Working for another dramatic, Mo Salah was chasing an overhead ball into the box. As the ball came in, Salah was pushed to his right as Dubravka rushed out and the Egyptian’s head got caught between the two. The collision was such that Mo Salah’s writhing movements were actually a welcome sign. After a long period on the pitch and clearly in tears, either from the injury, the circumstance or a bit of both, Liverpool’s staff stretchered him off with The Reds chances looking in serious doubt. At 73’ the league was in serious jeopardy and with Mo Salah out with at least a concussion, what chance would we have against Barcelona in a few days?

Divock Origi came on for Salah and James Milner replaced Dejan Lovren shortly after as The Reds chased the match. The team looked seriously disjointed with an unfamiliar mix of players and desperate circumstances. As supporters looked for signs of leadership or some kind of magic the team was flailing, but as injury time approached, Big Div delivered. A free kick from Shaqiri to the head of Origi and in reality it just skimmed the Belgian’s locks and found Lascelles head for the final ricochet into the net. 2-3 Liverpool.

After Salah’s injury and several attempts to waste time from Newcastle players, 8 minutes was added on. It felt like a solid half an hour as Liverpool seem unable to do anything to waste time themselves, and with mostly attacking players on the pitch it was an adventure to say the least.

Absolute credit to the boys for getting this done and taking the title chase to the final day at the very least, but this was not an encouraging performance against a team that’s been battling relegation for large portions of the season. Club captain Jordan Henderson and veteran striker Daniel Sturridge didn’t come through, especially in the closing minutes with gilt edge chances and what does that say about what we can expect in the remaining matches?

Either way. Stay out of those crypts. We go again.

Up The Improbable Reds!

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Categories: LFC NEWS

Player Ratings as the GOAT chews up Liverpool in BarcelonaBarcelona v Liverpool Preview - Reds need...

Thu, 05/02/2019 - 22:52

Football is a game decided by moments. The Champions League is a competition decided by key moments. Unfortunately, they didn’t go Liverpool’s way tonight.

I’m disappointed to lose 3-0, but little else. Not pissed at the officials, annoyed at Klopp, angry at a player. Liverpool went to the Nou Camp and created chances kept Messi quiet (in open play) and forced Valverde into what was essentially an 8-2 formation for times during the second half.

However, the greatest player of our time still had his way. Barcelona’s first goal is without him, crafted exceptionally by Alba and finished sublimely by a name we all know so well. The second strike, the one that rocks Liverpool after an exceptional spell, is pure luck. Nothing else. Don’t try and blame people, sometimes the opposition get the bounces.

After that, the Messi show kicks in. A 30-yard free-kick followed up by a counter-attacking blitz that saw the Reds leave with their tails between their legs. On another night, it may have been so different. Here are your player ratings.

Klopp’s defensive gamble fails

Alisson Becker (6): What can you say? Spreads himself well but Suarez’s finish is elite, is then undone by a spot of luck and a laser-guided free-kick. Makes a few good saves aside from that, especially when Barca were countering at will at 3-0 up.

Joe Gomez (6): I was surprised that he was brought in. Regardless of the reasoning, he hadn’t started a game since December. Was Barcelona away the time to do it? Looked okay at the back but Barcelona scored from their left side so you can’t claim ‘it worked’ and then we miss out on so much going forward.

Joel Matip (7): It’s rare that he outshines Virgil but tonight was one of those nights. Was targeted by Suarez and dealt with him fairly well, didn’t give much away and played some nice passes.

Virgil van Dijk (6): I don’t think the big man did much wrong, the game just slipped away from Liverpool and in turn, away from the defence. Exceptional recovery speed to catch up with Alba from a late Barcelona break. I’m not blaming him or Matip for the first, it’s just superb football.

Andy Robertson (7): Think he comes out with the most credit defensively but his attacking let the Reds down on occasion. Too many flat crosses, a shadow of what he was delivering on Friday night.

Milner struggles

Fabinho (7): I’m all about this lad. Wins tackle after tackle, a key part of Liverpool keeping Messi quiet until 70+ minutes. So many times you think the ball has evaded him and a long leg goes out to clasp it back.

James Milner (5): Brought in for his experience and showed it, unfortunately, he represented that experience by chasing shadows for the majority. Should probably score one. Lovely bit of snide on Messi though.

Naby Keita (6): Started brightly, shame his groin went.

The chances, the chances!

Mohamed Salah (6): Bloody hell, Mo. I want to give you an 8. Had a couple of the Barcelona defence on toast repeatedly but misses the chance of the game to bring us back into the tie at 3-1.

Georginio Wijnaldum (5): Yeah, not a false nine. Actually, think when he dropped deeper into more of an attacking midfield role he linked stuff nicely but any further up and he just looked lost. Not really his fault.

Sadio Mane (6): Should maybe get a penalty, should maybe score a goal. Is definitely fast.

Substitutes

Jordan Henderson (5): Oh my god if he just cushions it properly to Wijnaldum we’re having a different conversation. Think he missed an open goal with a header, but I can’t be sure. In his defence, it’s hard to come on so early into a game of that tempo.

Roberto Firmino (N/A): Should have been introduced at 1-0.

Divock Origi (N/A): “Origi down the left, comes inside and curls one… into the nearest man.”

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Categories: LFC NEWS

Barcelona v Liverpool Preview - Reds need to tame Messi to get anything from Camp NouObservations as...

Mon, 04/29/2019 - 17:28
The Details

 Champions League

Venue – Camp Nou, Barcelona

Date & Time – Tuesday, May 1st 2019 @ 20:00

Current Odds – Barcelona 8/11, Draw 3/1, Liverpool 10/3

Form

Barcelona Form

Barcelona clinched the LaLiga title on Saturday with a 1-0 win at home to Levante. Fittingly, it was the incredible Lionel Messi who scored the winner to give them their second league championship in a row.

Ernesto Valverde’s men have won their last four matches and conceded just one goal in their last seven games.

Liverpool Form

Liverpool have now won their last ten games in all competitions – a feat last achieved at the club in 2006.

The Reds have only conceded one goal in their last five games, scoring 15 in the same period.

Liverpool have scored 29 goals in this 10-game winning streak, conceding eight goals.

With Manchester City seemingly storming to another Premier League title victory, it’s possible that Champions League success is Liverpool’s greatest hope of silverware this season. In this kind of form, Barcelona certainly won’t have it easy against The Reds.

Team News

Barcelona Team News

Ernesto Valverde has no new injury worries heading into Wednesday night’s fixture. The Barcelona boss has stuck with the 4-3-3 shape this season with Lionel Messi and Luis Suarez leading the attack while the other former Red, Philippe Coutinho, cutting in from the left.

Arthur and Ivan Rakitic will most likely be in midfield along with Sergio Busquets.

Liverpool Team News

Jurgen Klopp and his backroom team will be carrying out late fitness tests on Roberto Firmino, Fabinho and Adam Lallana before Wednesday’s game in Spain.

The Reds have no long-term injury concerns at the moment. There are no Liverpool players suspended for this game.

I think Klopp will opt for a midfield trio of Fabinho, Jordan Henderson and the experienced James Milner.

Joel Matip should return in central defence beside Virgil van Dijk after being rested for the win over Huddersfield on Friday night.

Predicted Lineups

Barcelona XI (4-3-3) – Ter Stegen; Roberto, Pique, Lenglet, Alba; Rakitic, Busquets, Arthur; Messi(c), Suarez, Coutinho

Liverpool XI (4-3-3) – Alisson; Alexander-Arnold, Matip, Van Dijk, Robertson; Fabinho, Henderson(c), Milner; Salah, Firmino, Mané

When they last met

Liverpool and Barcelona have not met since The Reds knocked the Catalan club out at the last-sixteen stage of the 2006/07 UEFA Champions League.

Craig Bellamy and John Arne Riise scored as Liverpool won 2-1 at the Camp Nou in the first leg. Deco had given Barcelona an early lead in that game.

In the second leg at Anfield, Eidur Gudjohnsen gave Barcelona the lead after 75 minutes. Frank Rijkaard’s team won 1-0 but went out on away goals with the score level at 2-2 on aggregate.

Lionel Messi is the only remaining player on either team from those 2006/07 encounters.

Prediction

Barcelona 1 – 1 Liverpool

I may have to eat my words in a few days time but I’m strangely confident of Liverpool’s chances of progressing past Barcelona and into their second consecutive Champions League final.

Wednesday night’s game is sure to be exciting and I think a score draw is a likely result.

** Please note – “xGA” on the Form Stats Tables symbolises “expected goals against”

All xG stats courtesy of Understat.com and/or FiveThirtyEight.com

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Observations as Liverpool slot 5 past HuddersfieldKey Stats As Reds Take Apart The TerriersMatch...

Sat, 04/27/2019 - 14:25

The Liverpool attack was in full flow as Liverpool scored five goals without reply to pile the pressure back on Manchester City. Mané and Salah got a brace each after a club record early goal from Keita. Below are the key talking points.

The weaponry from wide

The full backs were yet again in full flow with Robertson chipping in with 2 goals, taking him to a record equalling 11 assists in the league.Arnold chipped in with an assist of his own, taking the total number of assists from the 2 full-backs to an incredible 24 through the season in all competitions. On the basis of these numbers and performances, their recognition in the PFA team of the year is most deserving.

The Mané-Salah Golden Boot mini league

Salah and Mané started the day with 19 and 18 goals in the league respectively. Mané equalled Salah at 19 with the easiest of headers laid on the plate from Robertson. With his dinked finish, Salah moved to 20 and one ahead, and his simple tap in moved him 2 clear at 21, when Mané pulled one back to halve the difference. It almost seemed like a mini competition was going on between the attackers, but yet both were happy to see each other goal. Salah became the first Liverpool player to score 20 goals in the league for 2 consecutive seasons after Luis Suarez. Their meeting couldn’t come at a more appropriate time.

Keita growing into his role

It has been quite a tough debut season for Keita, especially with the fee paid and the hype surrounding him. He seems to have settled in a bit better now, with his recent goals contributing towards it. He scored within 14 seconds from kick off, with his initial press helping Liverpool winning the ball, and he was in the right position to slot the ball in. With Henderson relishing his attacking role once again, the Keita-Henderson axis with Fabinho behind them has immense potential.

European Focus

Liverpool have done all they can to maintain pressure on City in the league, but the focus now shifts to the massive semi-final ahead at Barcelona. Klopp chose to play Salah and Mané for 90 minutes today, preferring them to be in rhythm and scoring form over resting them. Fabinho and Firmino were clearly not  risked , considering the semi-final ahead. With Liverpool in cruise control by half time, Liverpool could afford not to stretch themselves and preserve what they could for the showdown on Wednesday.

The wait ends at 367

Klopp as part of the squad announcement joked that they were not quite sure what to call Chamberlain as in the squad. Though it was a joke, it re-emphasised how long AOC had been away and what the team had missed; the driving force at midfield. He could have indeed made it a dream comeback only to be denied by a block after some neat footwork and control. Though his contributions on the pitch are going to be limited, his presence in the dressing room is definitely going to keep the spirits high in this home stretch.

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Liverpool v Huddersfield Town Preview - No time for complacency in title raceLiverpool vs...

Thu, 04/25/2019 - 14:09
The Details

Venue – Anfield, Liverpool

Referee – Kevin Friend

Date & Time – Friday, April 26th @ 20:00

Current Odds – Liverpool 1/14, Draw 10/1, Huddersfield Town 25/1

Form Liverpool Form

Liverpool have now won their last 9 games in all competitions. Form is not a problem. Playing an already relegated Huddersfield Town team, Liverpool should be looking at all three points come 10pm on Friday.

Three clean sheets in their last four games, makes for good reading for the defence, too. With potentially six games remaining this season in the Premier League and Champions League combined, there’s sure to be plenty more drama ahead of us yet.

Huddersfield Town Form

Huddersfield have lost 20 of their last 22 league games and sit at the bottom of the table with just 14 points and 3 wins from 35 games this season.

If they were to cause Liverpool any problems on Friday night, it would be one of the upsets of the season.

Team News Liverpool Team News

Dejan Lovren, Adam Lallana and Fabinho will all face late fitness tests before Friday night’s game. Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain is now listed as being fit and available but the medical staff will have to make a call on whether it is worth risking The Ox in any games before the end of the season.

Joe Gomez is still regaining his match fitness so I expect Joel Matip to remain in central defence alongside Virgil van Dijk.

I think Fabinho, Jordan Henderson and Naby Keita will be the midfield trio with the usual men leading the line in attack.

Huddersfield Town Team News

Huddersfield will be without Laurent Depoitre and Abdelhamid Sabiri while Adama Diakhaby is also a doubt for this game.

The Terriers are usually lined out in a 4-4-1-1 shape since Jan Siewert took the reins. It should be the same setup from them on Friday night at Anfield.

Predicted Lineups

Liverpool XI (4-3-3) – Alisson; Alexander-Arnold, Matip, Van Dijk, Robertson; Fabinho, Henderson(c), Keita; Salah, Firmino, Mané

Huddersfield Town XI (4-4-1-1) – Lossl; Smith, Schindler(c), Kongolo, Durm; Kachunga, Bacuna, Hogg, Mbenza; Mooy; Mounié

When they last met

A first-half strike from Mohamed Salah was the only difference between the sides when they met at the John Smith’s Stadium in October.

Liverpool won 3-0 at Anfield in this fixture last season with second-half goals from Daniel Sturridge, Bobby Firmino and Gini Wijnaldum after Salah had missed a first-half penalty.

Prediction

Liverpool 3 – 0 Huddersfield Town

Huddersfield will make it as difficult as possible for The Reds but the gulf in class should tell in the end. Even if it’s 0-0 at half-time, I still feel Liverpool could rack up three second-half goals to put the game to bed.

** Please note – “xGA” in the Form Stats tables symbolises “expected goals against” **

**All xG stats courtesy of Understat.com and FiveThirtyEight.com

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Liverpool vs Huddersfield Preview - Potential Key BattlesKey Stats As Reds Power Past CardiffCardiff...

Wed, 04/24/2019 - 13:57

Liverpool have three games left in their Premier League season and are bang in the thick of it, with three wins putting them on the brink of a historic Premier League title win. And whilst many have already assumed that the first of these wins will come at home to relegated Huddersfield, it would be foolish to write off the Terriers, who gave Liverpool a good game earlier in the season where Mo Salah scored the only goal. So what are some potential key battles ahead of this critical fixture?

Roberto Firmino vs Terence Kongolo

Bobby Firmino is an integral part of this Liverpool attack and has been on hot form since the return from the international break. He scored in both games last season against Huddersfield, an important part of the Reds’ two 3-0 wins, but only played for 13 minutes in the reverse fixture earlier this season, where the Reds looked absolutely disjointed and sloppy, notching only 0.66 xG, compared to their PL average of 2.08, with Huddersfield’s average xGA 1.74. No Bobby, clearly no party, but if he starts against Huddersfield on Friday night, he will make a huge impact.

As for Kongolo, he’ll probably be the man closest to dealing with Firmino, although the way Bobby plays makes it extremely unlikely he’ll be involved in a direct one-on-one match-up with anyone. Nevertheless, Kongolo is a core component of Huddersfield’s defence and will need to step up in a huge way to stop Bobby and Liverpool.

Naby Keita vs Jon Gorenc Stankovic 

Along the same lines, Keita has become an absolutely vital part of Liverpool’s midfield over the last few weeks. His consistent ability to generate space in the final third and take defenders out of the game really brings something to Klopp’s side that hasn’t always been there this season, and he’s starting to be able to do so without sacrificing the level of control that is vital for the way Klopp’s team stifle teams at 1-0 and 2-0. Whether or not Keita starts against Barcelona might well dictate whether he plays in this game, but I suspect it’s more likely he starts in this one than at the Camp Nou.

Stankovic hasn’t been first choice for Huddersfield all season, but is now getting a regular run of games in defensive midfield and is going to be a player who may well be tasked with dealing with Liverpool’s attacking midfield options. It’s not just about containing Keita, but being aggressive and getting in his face, stopping him from dictating the game. Which is easier said than done.

Gini Wijnaldum vs Aaron Mooy

Mooy is probably Huddersfield’s best player, certainly their most creative one, a vibrant and occasionally explosive central midfielder who is more than talented enough to play consistently in the Premier League – probably one who will leave Huddersfield in the summer.

If Huddersfield are going to trouble Liverpool, this man will have to play a huge part in that, and that’s why Gini – who in the absence of Fabinho will likely continue in the defensive midfield role, will be crucial. Controlling the game and the opposition is Gini’s wheelhouse, and bullying Mooy will be his most important contribution to the game – unless he scores from another clever corner routine that is.

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