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Arsenal vs Liverpool on Sky: Xhaka suspended for second leg

Wed, 01/19/2022 - 15:45

Team news and stats ahead of Arsenal vs Liverpool in the Carabao Cup semi-final, second leg on Thursday; kick-off 7.45pm.

Team news

Arsenal midfielder Granit Xhaka is suspended for Thursday's Carabao Cup semi-final second leg at home to Liverpool following his red card during last week's 0-0 draw between the teams at Anfield.

The Gunners were forced to postpone Sunday's derby with Tottenham due to a number of players being unavailable and boss Mikel Arteta admitted they still have "issues" ahead of the Emirates clash.

He was coy over team selection on Wednesday but will definitely be without Thomas Partey, Mohamed Elneny, Nicolas Pepe and Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, while several other squad members need to be assessed over knocks or Covid-19 concerns.

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Liverpool assistant manager Pep Lijnders says they are not reliant on Mohamed Salah and Sadio Mane to score goals with the pair away on international duty at the Africa Cup of Nations

Liverpool's Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain has been ruled out of facing his former club after suffering an ankle injury in Sunday's 3-0 win over Brentford.

Reds assistant manager Pep Lijnders said the problem is not serious and the 28-year-old is hopeful of returning in time for Sunday's trip to Crystal Palace.

Divock Origi and Thiago Alcantara will both remain sidelined until next month, while the match comes too soon for Harvey Elliott despite his return to training.

How to follow Thursday 20th January 7:00pm Kick off 7:45pm Sky Sports Main Event HD Sky Sports Main Event HD

Arsenal vs Liverpool is live on Sky Sports Football and Main Event from 7pm; kick-off 7.45pm. Sky Sports customers can watch in-game clips in the live match blog on the Sky Sports website and app. Highlights will also be published on the Sky Sports digital platforms and the Sky Sports Football YouTube channel shortly after the final whistle.

What happened in the first leg?

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Highlights from the Carabao Cup semi-final first leg between Liverpool and Arsenal Opta stats
  • Arsenal have won just one of their last 17 matches against Liverpool in all competitions (D8 L8) and have failed to score in their last four against the Reds, having only failed to score in four of their previous 50 games against them.
  • Liverpool have reached more League Cup finals than any other team (12) but have lost the second leg of each of their last three semi-finals in the competition, losing 1-0 each time in 2014-15 vs Chelsea, 2015-16 vs Stoke and 2016-17 vs Southampton.
  • Arsenal have never lost a home League Cup match against Liverpool (W3 D3), with the last meeting between the sides at the Emirates in the competition finishing 2-1 to the Gunners in October 2009.
  • Under Jürgen Klopp, Liverpool have scored more goals against Arsenal in all competitions (43) than they have vs any other opponent.
  • The first leg between Arsenal and Liverpool was goalless at Anfield, only the second time in the last 17 seasons the first leg of a League Cup semi-final ended 0-0. In that instance in 2017-18, Arsenal drew 0-0 away at Chelsea before winning 2-1 at home in the second leg to reach the final.
  • Liverpool have won more away matches in the League Cup than any other team in the competition's history (56) and have won eight of their 11 on the road under Jurgen Klopp (L3), including their last three in a row.
  • Arsenal striker Eddie Nketiah has scored seven goals in five League Cup appearances at the Emirates, averaging a goal every 46 minutes at the stadium in the competition, and is Arsenal's leading scorer at the Emirates in the League Cup.

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Categories: LFC NEWS

Premier League postponements: What's going on?

Mon, 01/17/2022 - 16:00

A total of 20 Premier League matches have been called off for Covid-19 related reasons this season, with the league and some clubs taking criticism in recent weeks. Why has it got to this stage, and does something need to change?

What's causing the controversy?

The credibility of certain matches has been called into question throughout the season, dating back to Arsenal's opening-night defeat to Brentford back in August when Mikel Arteta said he was "surprised" the game was allowed to go ahead despite four positive Covid-19 cases in his squad.

Fast forward five months, the Gunners got their wish against Tottenham on Sunday with the north London derby postponed with barely 24 hours' notice following an official request and accompanying press release from Arsenal, in which the club blamed injuries, Covid-19 and AFCON international duty for their appeal to call the game off.

Spurs were less sympathetic, and in a statement of their own said they were "extremely surprised" the request had been granted and that the league was facing the "unintended consequences" of its Covid policy.

Arsenal are far from the first, and unlikely to be the last, team to seek a postponement this season, however. Others have been criticised, while, conversely, some teams have turned on the Premier League after seeing their own requests turned down.

The rescheduling of the north London derby brings the total number of games called off due to coronavirus to 20 across the season. Several of those have been given the chop at only a few hours' notice, in some cases leaving fans out of pocket and facing long journeys home, such as Watford's postponed game at Burnley in December, which was called off less than three hours ahead of kick-off.

It already risks creating a fixture backlog in the second half of the season and further accusations of teams requesting postponements out of desire, rather than necessity - so does anything need to change?

What is the Premier League's stance on Covid postponements?

Since the start of the season, the Premier League has operated on the basis that, in its own words: "where a club cannot field 13 outfield players and a goalkeeper either from its squad list or its appropriately experienced U21 players, the match will be postponed".

That has seen a number of requests turned down as a result - with Tottenham, Chelsea and Brighton among those denied by the officiating Premier League board, made up of chairman Gary Hoffman, CEO Richard Masters and non-executive directors Kevin Beeston, Mai Fyfield and Dharmash Mistry.

Premier League guidance in full

"The Board will consider the following principal factors when making a decision:

1) The impact of COVID-19 infections on a club’s squad, as well as injuries, illness and those isolating, and the number of players available on the squad list and any Under-21 players with appropriate experience. Where a club cannot field 13 outfield players and a goalkeeper either from its squad list or its appropriately experienced Under-21 players, the match will be postponed.

2) The status of any COVID-19 outbreak within a club, including the number of individuals affected, the sequence and source of infections and their proximity to the match in question.

3) A club’s ability to safely prepare its players in the lead-up to a match.

4) Medical advice as to whether there is any unacceptable risk to the health and safety of players and staff by playing the match.

5) Any advice from UK Health Security Agency and other public bodies.

6) Any other exceptional circumstances."

However, successful requests have caused controversy more than once - in the run-up to the north London derby Arsenal had reduced their squad size by allowing two players out on loan, and earlier in the week Burnley had also been criticised for successfully requesting the postponement of their fixture with Leicester only days after selling Chris Wood to Newcastle.

Before Christmas, there were calls for a 'circuit-breaker' break in fixtures with the Omicron variant leading to a rapid rise in case numbers, but these were rejected by the Premier League with Sky Sports reporting most wanted to continue playing. Despite conversations about Covid policy, no new guidance was announced, and The Times reported this weekend that remains the Premier League's policy in the immediate future.

Nev and Carra: Teams should be forced to play

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Gary Neville and Jamie Carragher have their say on whether Premier League clubs should be allowed to call matches off due to Covid, injuries and the Africa Cup of Nations

Gary Neville says the Premier League must force teams to fulfil their fixtures after Arsenal requested to postpone Sunday's north London derby, while Jamie Carragher believes clubs are taking advantage of the coronavirus pandemic.

"I honestly believe that all teams, not just in the Premier League but the EFL now, must be made to play their fixtures," said Neville.

"If it was purely down to Covid in extraordinary circumstances where there was 10 or 15 players out, but we're now talking about teams for the last few weeks where there's no doubt they've been calling games off based upon whether they think they've got the best squad or team to win a game. It's got to stop.

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Speaking on Super Sunday, Micah Richards and Robbie Keane discuss whether the north London derby between Arsenal and Tottenham should have ben postponed by the Premier League

"That's not a dig at Arsenal - I should've spoken about this three or four weeks ago. Manchester United and other teams have got 30 to 40 players in their squad - I'm not having they can't get 13 to 16 players together."

Carragher added: "No other league in Europe is doing this, certainly not in those big leagues. Bayern Munich played a 16-year-old in their last game and that tells you exactly where they are. Why can't we do that? Why can't the young players be given an opportunity in these circumstances?

"Everyone's in the same boat and I'm exactly with Gary. If it's an outbreak of Covid and it's decimated the squad I can understand that, but players being in the AFCON tournament and just normal injuries, that's got nothing to do with it.

"You've got U23 squads and younger players, and this is an opportunity where they can get a chance."

What have the managers said?

Managers have come out on either side of the fence with regards to the situation. West Ham boss David Moyes told a press conference last week he felt managers had to "trust that the Premier League are doing things correctly", while Chelsea boss Thomas Tuchel said he would be "very angry" if it came out that rival clubs were using the system to make up for players lost to injury.

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Thomas Tuchel says he will be 'very angry' if Covid rules are being abused by other clubs after Chelsea were told they had to play a match when they felt they were stretched during the Christmas fixtures.

Southampton boss Ralph Hasenhuttl, whose side have seen games pushed back twice for Covid postponements, said people "cannot be surprised people are walking through when [the Premier League] have opened the door" on calling games off, and that "new signings should not be allowed to play in rescheduled games".

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Ralph Hasenhuttl says the Premier League has 'opened the door' to Covid rules being twisted

Pep Guardiola expressed his own desire that Manchester City's game with Chelsea, played on Saturday lunchtime, should go ahead regardless of his side's Covid situation, saying: "We try to play, if we have 11 or 12, we play. We have Cole Palmer, we have James McAtee and others who can play. We never ask [to postpone] because we have enough players."

Which Premier League games have been called off?

Brighton vs Tottenham - Sunday December 12, Premier League

Brentford vs Man Utd - Tuesday December 14, Premier League (now January 19, 8pm)

Burnley vs Watford - Wednesday December 15, Premier League (now January 18, 7.30pm)

Leicester vs Tottenham - Thursday December 16, Premier League (now January 19, 7.30pm)

Man Utd vs Brighton - Saturday December 18, Premier League

Southampton vs Brentford - Saturday December 18; Southampton won re-arranged game 4-1 on Tuesday January 11

Watford vs Crystal Palace - Saturday December 18

West Ham vs Norwich - Saturday December 18; West Ham won re-arranged game 2-0 on Wednesday January 12

Aston Villa vs Burnley - Saturday December 18, Premier League

Everton vs Leicester - Sunday December 19, Premier League

Liverpool vs Leeds - Sunday December 26, Premier League

Wolves vs Watford - Sunday December 26, Premier League

Burnley vs Everton - Sunday December 26, Premier League

Leeds vs Aston Villa - Tuesday December 28, Premier League

Arsenal vs Wolves - Tuesday December 28, Premier League

Everton vs Newcastle - Thursday December 30, Premier League

Leicester vs Norwich - Saturday January 1, Premier League

Southampton vs Newcastle - Sunday January 2, Premier League

Everton vs Leicester - Tuesday January 11 (as above, this game had already previously been postponed from its original Sunday December 19 date)

Burnley vs Leicester - Saturday January 15, Premier League

Tottenham vs Arsenal - Sunday January 16, Premier League

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Categories: LFC NEWS

Liverpool beat Brentford to go second

Sun, 01/16/2022 - 15:55

Liverpool moved up to second place in the Premier League table with a routine 3-0 win over Brentford at Anfield on Sunday, thanks to goals from Fabinho, Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain and Takumi Minamino.  

Manchester City's win over now third-placed Chelsea on Saturday underlined the defending champions' dominance in the title race but Liverpool ensured they finished the weekend how they started it, 11 points behind City with a game in hand and a trip to the Etihad still to come.

Their faint hopes of catching Pep Guardiola's side continue thanks to a first win in four games in the Premier League, with Fabinho's back-post header from a corner a minute before half-time, Oxlade-Chamberlain's diving effort in front of The Kop on 69 minutes and a gift for birthday boy Minamino (77) sealing the points.

Bryan Mbeumo had almost bent in an equaliser for Brentford on 58 minutes but was just falling away as he hit his shot after turning Joel Matip and, after Diogo Jota had hit the post and been denied by a super save from Alvaro Fernandez, Liverpool finally finished off the contest.

"I knew before that the game Brentford would be a tough one," said Jurgen Klopp afterwards. "It was a tough one and that's why I'm so happy we did well. We have to find ways to break opponents down and today we did that particularly well and I'm really happy about that."

Team news
  • Curtis Jones and Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain came into the Liverpool team in place of James Milner and Takumi Minamino, with Naby Keita, Mohamed Salah and Sadio Mane still away at AFCON.
  • Brentford made one change, with Rico Henry replacing Sergi Canos at left wing-back.

Fabinho's opener was nothing less than the home side deserved after putting Brentford under sustained pressure for most of the first half and forcing Fernandez into a brilliant stop from Virgil van Dijk after Jota and Trent Alexander-Arnold sent efforts over the bar early on.

Fabinho salutes the fans after giving Liverpool the lead against Brentford Image: Fabinho salutes the fans after giving Liverpool the lead against Brentford

The visitors appeared to have weathered the storm well and, with the help of some loose passes from Alexander-Arnold and Matip, caused some problems of their own as the half wore on, with Vitaly Janelt and Ivan Toney shooting off target.

Player ratings

Liverpool: Alisson (7), Alexander-Arnold (7), Van Dijk (7), Matip (7), Robertson (7), Jones (7), Fabinho (8), Henderson (7), Jota (7), Firmino (7), Oxlade-Chamberlain (8).

Subs: Minamino (7), Milner (6), Gordon (N/A)

Brentford: Fernandez (6), Ajer (6), Jansson (7), Pinnock (6), Roerslev (5), Baptiste (5), Norgaard (6), Janelt (5), Henry (5), Mbeumo (6), Toney (6).

Subs: Canos (5), Wissa (5), Jensen (5)

Man of the match: Fabino (Liverpool)

But Brentford's first league game away at Liverpool since 1946 was destined to end in defeat when Oxlade-Chamberlain met Andy Robertson's superb cross.

Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain celebrates after scoring in front of The Kop - AP Photo-Jon Super Image: Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain celebrates after scoring in front of The Kop

Frustratingly for the midfielder, he was forced off with an injury soon after but a poor pass out from Fernandez allowed Roberto Firmino to pounce and tee up Minamino - 27 today - for a simple third meaning that, despite the absences of key men Sadio Mane and Mohamed Salah, Liverpool just about keep City in sight.

As for Brentford, who finally recorded a shot on target in second-half stoppage time, this was their fourth defeat in five league games - and could have been heavier had Minamino finished a late chance - but they remain 10 points clear of the relegation zone, sitting in 14th place.

No Salah, no Mane, no problem: Klopp pleased with attacking play in 350th game in charge

Jurgen Klopp had repeatedly been asked about the absence of Mohamed Salah and Sadio Mane, away at the Africa Cup of Nations along with Naby Keita, in the wake of Liverpool's failure to break down the 10 men of Arsenal in Thursday's Carabao Cup semi-final first leg. He was more comfortable discussing the issue after seeing his side put three past Brentford without two of their star attackers.

"[The 3-0 win] is really helpful, to calm these discussions down," he said. "I understand the question and thoughts behind it but for us it makes no sense because they're not here - like others with injuries - and we don't want to talk constantly about the boys who aren't in.

"We have to find ways to break opponents down. Today we did that particularly well and I'm really happy about that."

Liverpool among the goals again

Liverpool are the top scorers in this season’s Premier League, netting 55 goals – the most they have ever scored in their first 21 league matches from the start of a top-flight campaign.

Klopp also described himself as "happy" to have reached the milestone of 350 games in charge of Liverpool.

In that time he has won the Premier League and the Champions League - but he insisted he still has plenty more to achieve at Anfield.

"When I look back at the pictures [of when I joined in October, 2015] I look completely different so obviously it was quite an intense time since then! You invest a lot here," he laughed.

350 up for Klopp

In Jurgen Klopp's 350 games in charge of Liverpool, he has won 210, drawn 81 and lost 59. That gives him a win percentage of 60%.

"But each little thing you do is really worth it because of the size of this club and how emotional the club is and how big the club is and how close we are to each other. It becomes family. You don't get an opportunity very often [to stay at a club a long time as a manager], I'm lucky I've had that happen a couple of times.

"I'm really happy about the story we're writing but in my opinion we're far away from finishing the book so we have to keep writing."

On the title race, he added: "We don't have to convince anybody outside. If they want to believe, they can believe. I think people are with us; they want to enjoy the ride and go for it as much as we can. We will try otherwise we have nothing to do."

Frank proud of Brentford display; rues conceding set-piece goal

Brentford boss Thomas Frank was pleased with his side's performance at Liverpool and says the display gives them encouragement for the second half of their campaign.

"I think we were unbelievable first half," he said. "We kept Liverpool very quiet. Of course they're one of the best teams in the world, one of the best teams in the Premier League competing for the title, but in open play we gave nothing away.

"It was in corners they were dangerous from and we had these opportunities you need to take if you're playing at Anfield. If we go to half-time 0-0 it's a different story. We knew if we wanted to get points here we can't compete on a set-piece.

"Second half, still brave, still front-footed, good chance for Mbeumo but what a cross, what a finish [for Liverpool's second goal]. That finished the game off.

"What I will take from this is the first half performance, that will give us a lot of hope for the rest of the season."

Man of the match: Fabinho finds the net again Fabinho celebrates scoring Liverpool's opener against Brentford Image: Fabinho celebrates scoring Liverpool's opener against Brentford

Another goal for Fabinho! He's now scored three goals across his last three appearances - and that's as many goals as he had scored in his previous 127 games for Liverpool.

It's some purple patch by his standards and his close-range header got his side up and running on Sunday, eventually giving Liverpool the breakthrough at the end of a dominant first half.

But it wasn't just about his goal - this was a fine all-round performance from Fabinho in the centre of the park. He led Liverpool's stats for passing accuracy among starters, chances created, duels won, aerial duels won and interceptions.

Basically, this was a performance which demonstrated why he's so important to this team. He may not always grab the headlines - although he will do if he keeps up this scoring run...

Analysis: Liverpool find the goals to keep City in sight

It may have been the weekend when Chelsea's Premier League title hopes were ended but Liverpool - despite the absences of Mohamed Salah and Sadio Mane - are still just about hanging in there after finding the goals without their star forwards to see off Brentford.

Fabinho headed in "helpfully", as Jurgen Klopp put it, from a set-piece at the end of a first half Liverpool had dominated before Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain's diving header and a gift of a goal for Takumi Minamino saw them home.

That win means they finish the weekend how they started it: 11 points behind City with a game in hand and a trip to the Etihad to come, although they are up to second in the table now.

It's a distant second and it is still going to take a remarkable swing for City to throw it away from here. But the point stands that if Liverpool win their game in hand and then beat City away from home at the start of April, theoretically Pep Guardiola's side will have to defend a five-point gap through to the final day.

That would give City relatively little room for error. But of course, that scenario depends on Liverpool being perfect from here on in themselves.

With the demands of this season - injuries, illnesses, absences - and the fixture congestion compounded by cup competitions to come, that will surely be too tall a task. But Liverpool at least showed on Sunday they can win well without two of their main men. It's kept them in the hunt… for now.

What's next?

Liverpool are back in action on Thursday in the second leg of their Carabao Cup semi-final with Arsenal, live on Sky Sports Football from 7pm; kick-off 7.45pm. Brentford host Manchester United in the Premier League on Wednesday at 8pm.

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Categories: LFC NEWS

Hits and misses: Leeds show rivals how show can go on

Sun, 01/16/2022 - 10:30
Note to Arsenal: Leeds have got talent

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FREE TO WATCH: Highlights from Leeds' win over West Ham

With the North London derby called off, it has been another weekend in the Premier League soured by last-minute postponements to disrupt plans for supporters invested in attending matches - but Leeds are getting on with it.

During Sunday's 3-2 win at West Ham, Marcelo Bielsa named 15-year-old Archie Gray on the bench. His first appearance was during the 4-1 home defeat to Arsenal last month, a game which perhaps ought not to have gone ahead when you consider the cancellations that have taken place since.

But a sign of Leeds' resilience and acceptance of the current landscape was that Gray was back among the nine substitutes to be part of a victory not only for Leeds but for football. Hat-trick hero Jack Harrison highlighted how Leeds had once more shown immense character to ensure their threadbare squad would not be used as an excuse.

"We have been really unfortunate with injuries but against adversity, we always work hard," he said. "The young lads have done that coming in and shown their talent. It has been good to come through a tough period."

Speaking after this thrilling victory, Graeme Souness told Sky Sports: "When you asked about Arsenal and if the game should have been called off, what does that say about Leeds? Look at their bench. Look at their age. What a message that sends out to the rest of the Premier League."

Leeds players celebrate Jack Harrison's second goal against West Ham Image: Leeds players celebrate Jack Harrison's second goal against West Ham

Leeds became the first team in Premier League history to hand eight teenagers their debuts in a single season - Crysencio Summerville, Charlie Cresswell, Joe Gelhardt, Cody Drameh, Stuart McKinstry, Sam Greenwood, Lewis Bate and Leo Hjelde.

Bate was one of the first-half substitutes at the London Stadium, with the 19-year-old subsequently replaced in the second period as Leeds looked to see out the win.

"Brave is the word that best defines the team today," Bielsa said. "There is a rule to ask for the cancellation of a game, and we didn't meet the criteria sufficiently for the suspension of the game."

"It was a triumph for the players - each one of them did things that indicated a big desire to win. The three forwards complimented themselves in a very harmonious way.

15-year-old Archie Gray was named on the Leeds bench Image: 15-year-old Archie Gray was named on the Leeds bench

"Raphinha improved James and Harrison with his balls, and Harrison scored three goals which exempts me from having to further comment. It gets complicated because players come back and then we lose others. We will see how we can solve it. Patrick Bamford could be an option [for the next game], but also after a long period of inactivity and slightly less chance Jamie Shackleton and Tyler Roberts."

Leeds have constantly had to adapt to adversity this season, and they are doing it within games now. In that sense, they have created an advantage over their counterparts, knowing how to absorb the blows to emerge victorious.

It is certainly something other clubs could learn from.
Ben Grounds

No Salah, no Mane but Liverpool find the goals to keep City just about in sight

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FREE TO WATCH: Highlights from Liverpool's win over Brentford

It may have been the weekend when Chelsea's Premier League title hopes were ended but Liverpool - despite the absences of Mohamed Salah and Sadio Mane - are still just about hanging in there after finding the goals without their star forwards to see off Brentford.

Fabinho headed in "helpfully", as Jurgen Klopp put it, from a set-piece at the end of a first half Liverpool had dominated before Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain's diving header and a gift of a goal for Takumi Minamino saw them home.

That win means they finish the weekend how they started it: 11 points behind City with a game in hand and a trip to the Etihad to come, although they are up to second in the table now.

It's a distant second and it is still going to take a remarkable swing for City to throw it away from here. But the point stands that if Liverpool win their game in hand and then beat City away from home at the start of April, theoretically Pep Guardiola's side will have to defend a five-point gap through to the final day.

That would give City relatively little room for error. But of course, that scenario depends on Liverpool being perfect from here on in themselves.

With the demands of this season - injuries, illnesses, absences - and the fixture congestion compounded by cup competitions to come, that will surely be too tall a task. But Liverpool at least showed on Sunday they can win well without two of their main men. It's kept them in the hunt… for now.

Why can't Newcastle see out a victory?

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FREE TO WATCH: Highlights from Newcastle's draw with Watford

Ahead of Saturday's crucial relegation battle with Watford, there was a buzz of anticipation around St James' Park. Chris Wood was making his debut - a £25m replacement for the injured Callum Wilson - and this was a must-win game. Banners and flags were flown in an impressive pre-match showing.

And for an hour, Newcastle responded in kind. They dominated the first half, and four minutes after the break, a superb strike from Allan Saint-Maximin saw Newcastle ahead.

Perhaps it was nerves, anxiety or the need to protect a lead, but the hosts began to sit back and invite the pressure. Watford's best chances all came after the 60th minute - including the vital equaliser with mere minutes to play that made a draw feel like a defeat for Newcastle.

Eddie Howe's side have now dropped a huge 21 points from winning positions this season and conceded 11 goals in the final 15 minutes of Premier League games. Newcastle continue to find themselves in this cycle, and it promoted loud booing from the home fans at full-time.

It all begs the question - just why can't Newcastle see out a victory?

Eddie Howe gave his thoughts: "I think it's psychological. There was a thought to protect what we had. It was early in the game, we lost our attacking threat in the match and that should never be the case with so long to go.

"I think that's linked to confidence and now having won as many games as we would have liked in a long period of time. The only way to build that is to get over the line and win. We did that against Burnley recently and I hoped that would have been an improvement in that phase of our play.

"But today, we didn't get over the line and I hope it doesn't lead to mental scars for the players. I'm sure it won't because we will go into the game and analyse it and review and do some work to try and change it."

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Eddie Howe was clearly disappointed Newcastle conceded a late equaliser in the 1-1 draw against Watford and he feels they have missed a huge opportunity to gain points against a relegation rival

Whatever the case may be, it's a worryingly frequent trend. Alongside this, Newcastle only had one shot on target over the entire 90 minutes - Saint-Maximin's goal - and only two in the second half overall.

Newcastle remain with just one Premier League victory this season, and joint-second league-high of nine draws. Each game gets bigger as the season continues, but when there could be only a few points or even goal difference in it, they need to start improving both tallies to stand a chance.

Otherwise, a return to the Championship increasingly beckons.
Charlotte Marsh

Man City have raised the bar

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FREE TO WATCH: Highlights from Manchester City's win over Chelsea

It was first versus second but it didn't really look like that. Chelsea defended well and limited Manchester City to only a handful of chances but City were dominant throughout, barely gave their visitors a look-in at the other end, and won through some individual brilliance from Kevin De Bruyne.

It was almost a repeat of their victory at Stamford Bridge in September and, after completing the double over Chelsea, the 13-point gap between City and their nearest challengers is huge. It's only January, after all.

Liverpool could close that chasm if they win their games in hand, and they still have to go to the Etihad themselves, but a turnaround now looks highly unlikely.

City are setting incredible standards right now - and it's no surprise others are struggling to keep up. They have the best attacking numbers and the best defensive record, too.

The 15-game winning streak they put together over the winter period last season took them to the title and seemed unrepeatable but they're up to 12 wins on the spin now and motoring away from their rivals again.

Manchester City Image: Manchester City are in unstoppable form and are cantering towards the Premier League title

When other teams have faltered during this busy festive period, City have just kept on winning. Pep Guardiola said his side were facing an "emergency" of injuries, illness and suspensions at the start of December. Fast forward a month and a half and they're on course to finish the season with over 95 points.

No striker? No problem. A disrupted pre-season - City were the last Premier League club to return to the training ground - may have affected some performances earlier in the campaign, but they're in their groove now.

Of course, the resources and depth of quality Guardiola can call on is substantial. But the relentless nature of this City team, and the way they've adapted to challenges they've faced, is down to mentality and coaching.

A fourth Premier League title in five seasons seems a near-certainty now for a team and manager who have raised the bar.
Peter Smith

Toothless Chelsea surrender title chances Romelu Lukaku's effort is saved by Ederson Image: Romelu Lukaku's effort is saved by Ederson

It was only ever the faintest of chances, but Chelsea kissed goodbye to it at the Etihad Stadium.

Nothing other than a victory would suffice if the prospect of the European champions reeling the runaway leaders, and champions of England, Manchester City back into a title race was to materialise.

The foundation was there for Chelsea to resurrect their title challenge. A steely and resilient defensive display, marshalled by the evergreen Thiago Silva, weathered the constant Manchester City bombardment, but Thomas Tuchel's side were found woefully wanting at the business end of the pitch.

For the first time in the German's reign at the club, Chelsea failed to register an attempt on goal in the first half of a Premier League game, as a front three of Romelu Lukaku, Hakim Ziyech and Christian Pulisic failed to gel. By the end of the 90 minutes, Ederson would only be called into action once in the City goal.

Tuchel believed his side's defensive efforts merited a point but the same could not be said of his attackers.

"We had zero touches in the box [in the first half]. That was a big problem, the performance of the front players," he conceded. "That was down to a lack of precision, timing, and composure. We can do much, much better and we need to do better."

Tuchel's brutal assessment was followed by a similarly blunt response to whether Chelsea could still win the Premier League. "We will never give up, but if City keeps on winning every game, nobody can catch them."

On Saturday's showing, Chelsea don't have the firepower to capitalise on a slip-up from City, however unlikely that might be.
Jack Wilkinson

Where does the blame lie at Everton? Abdoulaye Doucoure and Jordan Pickford at full time Image: Abdoulaye Doucoure and Jordan Pickford at full time

It is a question that remains hard to pinpoint, but for many of those who headed back to Merseyside having made their longest away trip of the season, it is clear where the buck stops.

Everton are in freefall and this unhappy marriage with under-fire former Liverpool manager Rafael Benitez reached its nadir at Carrow Road.

This was the club's first away defeat against a team starting the day bottom of the Premier League table since May 2004, having been unbeaten in 17 such occasions coming into the game.

Benitez is running out of time and excuses. Dominic Calvert-Lewin was back in the side following his most recent relapse while Richarlison did have an impact off the bench, but the damage had already been done.

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After losing at Norwich, Rafa Benitez said he was confident he could turn Everton's season around - but he was sacked on Sunday

As has so often been the case during this miserable run of one win in 13 league games.

The 2-1 loss to Norwich continued an abysmal record for Everton of conceding the first goal in 16 of their 22 games in all competitions this season, including each of their last nine games.

Against the league's bottom side, who had conceded the first goal in 16 games themselves this term, Benitez watched his players ship twice before they staged any form of response. For Evertonians, and for Benitez, it feels like Groundhog Day.

He may never be quite as irate as the club's supporters at the current situation, but the players must also take accountability.

Everton fans express their feelings towards Benitez Image: Everton fans express their feelings towards Benitez

After all, both of Norwich's goals were of Everton's own making, with Michael Keane's own goal coming 92 seconds before Ben Godfrey's poor pass contributed to Adam Idah making it two.

Benitez said: "We didn't start the game badly in terms of control, but afterwards we made the same mistakes. We made a couple of mistakes in a few minutes, we conceded two goals and gave ourselves a mountain to climb again."

Everton have won just 19 points from their 19 league games this season - only twice previously have they had fewer at this stage of a Premier League campaign. Senior members of the squad must come forward and lead by example, but calls for Benitez to be relieved of his duties will now intensify.
Ben Grounds

Elanga shows what Man Utd have been missing

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FREE TO WATCH: Highlights from Aston Villa's draw with Manchester United in the Premier League

"Manchester United have always had wingers that can sprint in behind defenders," noted Jamie Redknapp in the aftermath of United's 2-2 draw with Aston Villa. He was speaking regarding the performance of 19-year-old Antony Elanga, who was given a surprise start by Ralf Rangnick at Villa Park.

Elanga was preferred to £73m signing Jadon Sancho and put in a performance full of pace, direct running and unwavering enthusiasm - all attributes we have yet to see from Sancho in a Manchester United. His first start of the season in the Premier League coincided with United's best performance under Rangnick - for 80 minutes anyway.

United were given a boost by the impact of Anthony Elanga Image: United were given a boost by the impact of Anthony Elanga

Of course, Sancho is a completely different type of player who likes the ball to feet and when at his best can cause havoc with his creative play. But with his confidence at rock bottom, giving a start to someone like Elanga who likes to run, run and run some more was a smart move by the new United manager. His ability to stretch the game gave United a fantastic platform to build from and Bruno Fernandes' opening goal stemmed from an attack down Elanga's side.

"He did well and had two great opportunities to score but he showed what I expected of him and why I decided to play him from the start," said Rangnick.

He may have cost the club £73m but Sancho has a massive challenge in front of him now to convince the manager to give him the starting shirt. It's Elanga's for the time being.
Lewis Jones

Idah gives Norwich extra dimension

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FREE TO WATCH: Highlights from Norwich City's win over Everton

Norwich manager Dean Smith said he hoped his side have "turned a corner" following this hard-fought third Premier League victory over the season. Everton always had the look of a side that were there for the taking, but the Canaries had only scored eight goals in their opening 20 league games.

To put that into context, it was the joint fewest goals by any side after 20 games of a top-flight season, alongside the Leicester team of the 1977/78 campaign. Just as in their previous term in the Premier League two years ago, there has been an over-reliance on Teemu Pukki to provide the ammunition, but Smith was rewarded for his bold approach on Saturday.

Josh Sargent was recalled and forced Keane's mistake for the opener while Adam Idah showed fine composure to notch his first Premier League on his 27th appearance in the competition to double Norwich's lead in what proved to be the match-winner.

Smith said: "I wanted him to follow up his positive performance on Wednesday [in the 2-0 defeat to West Ham] with another positive one today and he did that. We've got a few players who have potential like Adam, and it's our job to help them fulfil that potential."

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Dean Smith says the togetherness was there within the team as Norwich beat Everton to record their first Premier League victory since November

Overall, it was Idah's first league goal since May 2021, when he scored in Norwich's final game of their promotion season in the Championship against Barnsley.

"Ourselves and Adam are still finding out what type of player he is. He's a lad who has got an awful lot of potential, he's physically strong and he's just starting to learn how to use his body but I thought he did really well using it. He's got a great touch, he can finish. His first Premier League goal was certainly deserved."

Norwich are yet to strengthen their squad this window but in Idah, they may just have the necessary firepower to help stage an unlikely escape when many critics had already written them off.
Ben Grounds

Ward-Prowse closing in on Beckham free-kick record

Southampton may have seen their five-match unbeaten run come to an end at Molineux on Saturday afternoon after a 3-1 loss to Wolves, however, the visitors did score the best goal of the game after yet another in the now long list of sensational James Ward-Prowse direct free kicks.

With the scoreline 2-0 to the hosts and Southampton seemingly beaten, up stepped Ward-Prowse to curl a sumptuous free-kick up and over the wall and into the top righthand corner of the net from fully 35 yards out, with Wolves' previously unbeatable goalkeeper Jose Sa rooted to his line.

No 'keeper in the world would have got near Ward-Prowse's effort, given the shot's accuracy and speed, although we should no longer be surprised at the Saints skipper's prowess from dead-ball situations.

In fact, Saturday was the England international's 12th direct free-kick goal in the Premier League, a haul bettered only by David Beckham (18), with his manager Ralph Hasenhuttl even claiming it was the best he had ever seen from the player, which is quite some statement given his body of work.
Richard Morgan

Time for Brighton to move on a striker?

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Free to watch: Highlights from Brighton's 1-1 draw against Crystal Palace

If only it was a game of xG. Yet again, Brighton have dominated a game without winning it. They have started showing signs they can find the back of the net this season, and their new-found Midas touch launched them into the European places earlier in the season.

But they still have not grasped how to routinely turn territorial dominance into goals. Neal Maupay, often criticised for his wasteful finishing, barely had a chance to prove that wrong and instead it was Jakub Moder, Leandro Trossard and Danny Welbeck who shared the burden of creating another evening of near misses.

It was almost in the script that Palace should score from their first shot on target, showing Brighton exactly how it is done as teams have been doing to Graham Potter's side ever since he walked into the door.

They have such great control over 80 per cent of the pitch, but the final 20 per cent, the clincher, is still beyond them. The January window is almost midway through, and if the Seagulls are serious about turning their nice play into points for the rest of the season, it is time to act.

This was the sixth time this season they have had an xG of more than double their opponents' - but on the scoreline, six is also the amount of games they have managed to win all season.

Despite a tough night for Crystal Palace, the teamsheet may be the real winner for them. At an average age of 25 years and 31 days, their 11 starters represented the Eagles' youngest Premier League line-up since Iain Dowie managed them to a 2-2 draw against West Brom in February 2005.

Andy Johnson was one of the scorers that day - and he turns 41 next month. Steve Parish's vision to rejuvenate one of the Premier League's eldest squads is going swimmingly.
Ron Walker

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Liverpool vs Brentford preview: Canos set for Bees return

Fri, 01/14/2022 - 16:30

Team news, stats and prediction ahead of Liverpool vs Brentford in the Premier League on Sunday; kick-off 2pm.

Team news

Liverpool striker Divock Origi has returned to light training but is not in contention for Sunday's visit of Brentford. The Belgium international has been out for five weeks with a knee injury but is closing in on a return.

Jurgen Klopp will select from the same squad which failed to score against 10-man Arsenal in Thursday's goalless Carabao Cup semi-final first leg.

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A look at some of the key statistics ahead of Matchweek 22 in the Premier League

Brentford's Sergi Canos will be fit to face his former club after a recent hamstring issue, and fellow wing-back Rico Henry could also return on the opposite left flank.

Henry has not played since December 22 due to a thigh injury but Brentford remain without a handful of other key personnel.

Goalkeeper David Raya (knee), Charlie Goode (hamstring), Mathias Jorgensen (thigh), Julian Jeanvier (knee) and Josh Dasilva (hip) remain on the treatment table, while Frank Onyeka is away with Nigeria at the Africa Cup of Nations.

How to follow

Follow Liverpool vs Brentford in our dedicated live match blog. Highlights will also be published on the Sky Sports digital platforms and the Sky Sports Football YouTube channel shortly after full-time.

Last time out...

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FREE TO WATCH: Highlights from Chelsea's draw against Liverpool in the Premier League

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FREE TO WATCH: Highlights from Southampton's 4-1 win against Brentford in the Premier League Opta stats
  • This is the first time Liverpool are hosting Brentford in any competition since March 1989, a 4-0 win in an FA Cup quarter-final tie. They last hosted the Bees in a league match back in October 1946, winning 1-0.
  • Brentford have lost their last five away games against Liverpool in all competitions by an aggregate score of 12-1, with their last win against the Reds at Anfield coming back in November 1937 (4-3).
  • Only one of the last 17 teams playing at Anfield in the Premier League for the first time have won (D5 L11), with Blackpool winning 2-1 in October 2010. 12 of those sides have failed to score, including each of the last three: Bournemouth (0-1), Huddersfield (0-3) and Brighton (0-4).
  • Following a six-game winning run in November/December, Liverpool are winless in their last three Premier League games (D2 L1), giving away a lead in both of those draws. However, at home the Reds are unbeaten in 13 in the Premier League (W9 D4), winning each of the last four in a row.
  • Liverpool have lost their first home league game in just one of the last 16 calendar years (W9 D6), going down 3-2 against Swansea City in 2017.
  • Half of Liverpool's Premier League draws (3/6), defeats (1/2) and goals conceded (9/18) have come in games played on Sundays this season, despite the Reds playing just six of their 20 games so far on this day.
Premier League Preview: Will Spurs or Arsenal win north London derby? | Chelsea's last chance at Man City | Bowen's brilliance at West Ham

In the latest Essential Football Podcast, host Alice Piper is joined by Nick Wright, Charlotte Marsh, and Peter Smith to preview this weekend's Premier League action. Plus we hear from Sky Sports pundit Alan Smith ahead of the north London derby.

PART ONE | Alan Smith delivers his north London derby verdict ahead of Arsenal's trip to Tottenham and explains why the midfield battle will be key after the Gunners' tiring battle with 10 men at Liverpool on Thursday.

PART TWO | It's first vs second in the Premier League on Saturday when Manchester City host Chelsea. Is this the London club's last chance to stay in touch with leaders City? And could a win for Thomas Tuchel's side open the door for Liverpool, too? Plus we look ahead to Philippe Coutinho's Aston Villa debut, with Steven Gerrard's men facing an out-of-sorts Man Utd for the second time in a week.

PART THREE | Jarrod Bowen is in fine form and we take a look at the numbers behind his recent purple patch and discuss how it is driving West Ham back into the top-four race after their dip in December. Ahead of their match with Leeds we also examine how injuries have made life tough for Marcelo Bielsa this season. And finally, will Brighton or Crystal Palace come out on top in their rivalry showdown on Friday night?

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Klopp: We miss Salah and Mane but must get through this period

Fri, 01/14/2022 - 12:00

Jurgen Klopp admits Mohamed Salah and Sadio Mane's absences are affecting Liverpool, but has urged his side to "get through this together".

Salah and Mane - along with Naby Keita - are currently at the Africa Cup of Nations (AFCON) and, with the final scheduled for February 6, Liverpool could be without them for several more weeks.

While Liverpool's first match without the trio was a comfortable FA Cup victory against League One side Shrewsbury, Salah and Mane's absence was clearly felt during the 0-0 home draw against Arsenal - who played with 10 men for the majority of the match - on Thursday.

Speaking ahead of Liverpool's Premier League fixture against Brentford on Sunday, Klopp insisted Liverpool should have been able to break down the Gunners even without Salah and Mane, but he conceded his side are missing the talismanic duo.

Asked if he had concerns over his side's chances without the pair, Klopp said: "The only way we can avoid these kind of questions is by scoring.

"The situation is clear: they are not here and they are world-class players. Do we miss them? Yes, but it's not about who is not here, but about how we can do better.

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Jurgen Klopp insists he has no concerns about Mohamed Salah's contract situation and is confident the forward will commit his future to the club

"The start was really good, we caused Arsenal a lot of problems, we pressed the right spaces, we created enough and then the red card happened. You have to break down a really low block, and that's the most difficult thing. We couldn't do that last night.

"We were not good enough in moments, but we can do better and that's what we will do."

Which fixtures could Salah, Mane and Keita miss?
  • Brentford (H), Premier League, January 16
  • Arsenal (A), Carabao Cup, January 20, live on Sky Sports
  • Crystal Palace (A), Premier League, January 23, live on Sky Sports
  • Cardiff (H), FA Cup, February 6

Despite facing 10 men for over an hour and having nearly 80 per cent of the possession against Arsenal, Liverpool managed just one shot on target as the Gunners sat in and successfully protected their goal.

It led to questions about whether the speed of Salah and Mane coming in from the wings and getting behind defences would be a particularly pertinent loss during their time at AFCON, but Klopp believed those queries were missing the point.

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Highlights from the Carabao Cup semi-final first leg between Liverpool and Arsenal

"There's absolutely nothing bad to say about Sadio and Mo," said Klopp. "Outstanding players. Naby I would say is one of the best midfielders I ever saw. But they are not here.

"Last night we didn't miss speed - that was not our problem. They were so deep, where do we want to run? Over the touchline, into the stands? There was no space.

"There are so many things we can do - counter-pressing, winning the ball back - that's not about pace. We have to play against deep formations, in between the lines.

"Quick thinking is much more important than quick running. Yes, Mo, Sadio and Naby can think quick but they are not here.

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Jamie Carragher says Mohamed Salah's Liverpool contract needs to be sorted 'sooner rather than later' and admits the club's owners will not be forgiven if he is allowed to go

"It was crystal clear that we would sit here today after we draw 0-0 against 10 men and the only thing you would have in your mind is Sadio and Mo. But that's not a solution, it's only part of a problem. We are here to find solutions.

"Last night we were not perfect but maybe we are closer to our usual standard in the next game and we can win. We have to get through different periods in a season. This is our period now - let's get through this together."

'Big drop-off without Salah & Mane'

Speaking to Sky Sports following Liverpool's disappointing stalemate with Arsenal, Jamie Carragher claimed the drastic drop-off without Salah and Mane will give Liverpool's upcoming opponents room for optimism.

"That has been the thing about Liverpool: they have had a great 13 or 14 players they can really rely on," Carragher said.

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Paul Merson and Jamie Carragher admit that Liverpool are not the same side without attacking duo Mohamed Salah and Sadio Mane

"What's brilliant about Salah and Mane is not just their ability but the fact they are never injured. They play every single game.

"With Brentford at the weekend, the return leg [against Arsenal], and a Premier League game at (Crystal) Palace, opposition will be looking at Liverpool without Salah and Mane and thinking there is a big drop-off."

Sky Sports pundit Paul Merson added: "The biggest worry tonight if I were a Liverpool fan? Salah and Mane. If they play tonight, it's a different story.

"You can take two players out of Manchester City's team, doesn't really make a difference. Take two out of Chelsea, not really. Take two out of Liverpool, it's completely different."

Follow Liverpool with Sky Sports

Follow every Liverpool game in the Premier League this season with our live blogs on the Sky Sports website and app, and watch match highlights for free shortly after full-time.

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Categories: LFC NEWS

Ten-man Arsenal hold Liverpool after Xhaka red

Thu, 01/13/2022 - 21:30

Arsenal held Liverpool to a battling goalless draw despite Granit Xhaka's early red card in the first leg of their Carabao Cup semi-final.

With the tie finally getting under way seven days after its original date, following last week's postponement, Xhaka managed to last just 24 minutes at Anfield before being sent off for a reckless last-man challenge on Diogo Jota.

But thanks to a brilliant defensive display, and a somewhat underwhelming Liverpool performance, Arsenal will have a real spring in their step ahead of the second leg at the Emirates Stadium in seven days.

Xhaka red card 'a ridiculous challenge'

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Granit Xhaka receives a straight red card for a reckless last-man challenge on Diogo Jota and referee Michael Oliver has no option but to send the Arsenal midfielder off. Granit Xhaka's Instagram apology after his red card against Liverpool Image: Granit Xhaka's Instagram apology after his red card against Liverpool

One long pass from Andy Robertson found the run of Jota, and as he tried to race into the box he was caught by Xhaka with a high boot to his chest. It was reckless, and Oliver had no choice but to send him off.

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Jamie Carragher says Granit Xhaka fully deserved to be sent off following his 'ridiculous' challenge on Diogo Jota in the Carabao Cup clash between Liverpool and Arsenal.

Jamie Carragher on Sky Sports Football:

"Xhaka did what Xhaka does. He makes an absolutely ridiculous challenge when Jota still has so much to do.

"The way he has taken him out and with the force he does it. There's no doubt it's a red card."

Team news
  • Jurgen Klopp named as strong a side as he feasibly could, with Roberto Firmino and Takumi Minamino coming into attack for the absent pair of Mo Salah and Sadio Mane.
  • Mikel Arteta handed a further start to Eddie Nketiah up front, while Cedric Soares played at right-back. Martin Odegaard missed out after testing positive for Covid.
Liverpool labour

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Liverpool's best chance of the game goes begging! It falls for Takumi Minamino, who has an empty goal at his mercy, but he blazes into The Kop from eight yards out.

Most inside Anfield would have expected an onslaught from the moment of Xhaka's dismissal. But without Mo Salah and Sadio Mane there was a worrying lack of incision in Liverpool's attacks. Opportunities created were few and far between, and Aaron Ramsdale was rarely tested in the Arsenal goal. Takumi Minamino and Roberto Firmino struggled to have much of an impact in their place.

One of the few clear chances after the red card probably fell to Arsenal on 72 minutes, as Alexandre Lacazette and Kieran Tierney combined before the latter found Bukayo Saka in the box, but he was denied by the quick thinking of Alisson - as he raced off his line to prevent him converting.

There was time for Liverpool to snatch the win on 90 minutes, but Minamino somehow conspired to blaze over the bar and into the Kop with the goal at his mercy.

Klopp: We didn't do enough

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Jurgen Klopp admits his Liverpool side struggled in their 0-0 draw against Arsenal.

Liverpool boss Jurgen Klopp: "For obvious reasons we had to change the line-up tonight. I really liked the way we started in the game. I saw absolutely everything I wanted to see in the beginning - we were front-footed in the right moments, and started the game like we wanted to start.

"Then after the red card we were playing against a low block, and against the most finely-tuned teams it's difficult. On top of that we made a few wrong decisions and looked rushed. It's a typical situation, you go to try and win something and in a second it can turn into a situation where you can lose.

"But we couldn't create enough for the situation we were in against 10 men. That's clear enough. But again this is a cup competition. It's a two-leg semi-final, it's half-time. At 0-0 Arsenal might be in a slightly better position, but we don't think this tie is over for us."

Arteta: We showed fight

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Arsenal boss Mikael Arteta said Granit Xhaka's sending off made his tactics against Liverpool a lot more complicated.

Arsenal boss Mikel Arteta: "We certainly rebelled against the situation, which I expect from the players. I think they showed great fight, determination, attitude, brotherhood. You could see the emotion they were playing with. They never gave up.

"It's extremely difficult to do it in this ground against this opponent. Credit to the boys. It's just the first leg but to do what we've done today, I think they deserve a lot of credit for that.

"I don't know if [the sending off] inspired them but we certainly took the fight. I said to them before the game that you have to have a certain attitude to play in this ground. In difficult moments, you have to act, but you can't be overreacting because then it becomes really complicated. I think the boys did that extremely well in certain moments. We played the game that we had to play, which is not our game, but we managed to do it."

Analysis: Carra surprised by Klopp's slow response

Jamie Carragher on Sky Sports Football:

"I was convinced Jurgen Klopp would make a change [at half-time] and I can't believe they came out with the same XI. Not that anything wasn't working in the first half but Arsenal are down to 10 men and you've got a very workmanlike midfield. The first substitution was for James Milner on the hour. It had to be made at half-time.

"It's probably the only thing I can question Jurgen Klopp about at times. Does he make substitutions early enough? And I just think when that sending off happens there's a good 15 or 20 minutes before half-time to speak to your assistant - 'how are we going to go about this in the second half?' There's a chance to get your team in and make that change, be more on the front foot and give the instructions to the players. But Liverpool still didn't do enough in that last half an hour with the extra attacking players on. I just thought it was really strange they didn't make that change."

Analysis: Arsenal comfortable but deserve credit

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Paul Merson and Jamie Carragher admit that Liverpool are not the same side without attacking duo Mohamed Salah and Sadio Mane.

Paul Merson on Sky Sports Football:

"There is so much credit for Arsenal coming out of this game, you have to say that. To play as long as they did with 10 men, and to restrict Liverpool to minimal chances, Arsenal were very comfortable. It was all about attitude.

"Liverpool made it easy for Arsenal, but credit where credit is due. I've been a critic of Arsenal's defence over the years and how they can capitulate in certain games, but today they stood up, every single one of them.

"Arteta got them in at half-time, set them up, and they all worked. Everybody had to put a shift in and they all worked their socks off. The players and manager should be proud."

Man of the Match: Ben White

"There's so much fight in this team and it showed today," White told Sky Sports. "We dug deep and got the result we needed.

"The boys did well today. It's hard enough to come here with 11 men, to get one sent off straight away is not good, but it was a superb performance. We were confident coming here and we'll give it our all in the next game."

Carabao Cup schedule Thursday 20th January 7:00pm Kick off 7:45pm Sky Sports Football Sky Sports Football
  • Second leg takes place at the Emirates Stadium next Thursday, January 20. Live on Sky Sports Football from 7pm; kick-off 7.45pm.
  • The winners of this tie face Chelsea in the final at Wembley on Sunday, February 27
What's next for Liverpool and Arsenal? Sunday 16th January 4:00pm Kick off 4:30pm Sky Sports Premier League Sky Sports Premier League

Ahead of next week's second leg both sides are back in Premier League action on Sunday. Liverpool host Brentford in a 2pm kick-off, while Arsenal head to Tottenham for a huge north London derby, live on Sky Sports Premier League from 4pm; Kick-off 4.30pm.

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Klopp: Salah contract talks 'in a good place'

Wed, 01/12/2022 - 12:28

Jurgen Klopp says he knows Mohamed Salah wants to stay at Liverpool, insisting contract negotiations with the Egyptian are in a good place.

Salah said in an interview published by GQ this week that he is "not asking for crazy stuff" in contract talks, as he reiterated that it is up to Liverpool to decide his future.

The forward, whose contract at Anfield runs out in the summer of 2023, has stated he wants to stay at Liverpool but the two parties are yet to come to an agreement over a new deal.

"Nowadays it's dangerous with these interviews when you don't speak to the player himself," Klopp said ahead of Thursday's Carabao Cup visit of Arsenal, live on Sky Sports.

"I know Mo wants to stay, we want Mo to stay. These things take time, but I think all of it is in a good place. I'm very positive about it. The fans are not as nervous as you (the media) are.

"They know the club pretty long, they know the people dealing with the different things here pretty long, so I think it is enough reason to be positive.

"But as long as it is not done, we can't say anything about it. Good conversations, that's what I can say.

"There are so many things you have to do in these negotiations. There is a third party, the agent in there as well, but there is nothing to worry about, it is a normal process.

"No one has to worry. It is just the situation. He has a contract here this season and the next season. Really, all fine. It's not done - that's why we didn't get this news - but we have talks.

Thursday 13th January 7:00pm Kick off 7:45pm Sky Sports Football HD Sky Sports Football HD

"That is just the situation, but all fine. He's a world-class player, great boy, done great stuff for Liverpool and we want to keep him."

Klopp said he also sees no reason why the forward, currently away at the Africa Cup of Nations, cannot remain at the top level well into his mid-30s like Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo.

"His character, his determination, it's the way he trains. His attitude, his work-rate is incredible, first in, last out, doing the right stuff.

"You can do some not-so-good things when you are in training and in the gym for a long time but he knows his body, he knows what to do and he is listening to the experts here.

"He tries to improve all the time. He works so hard for the situation he is in now and he will not waste it by doing less."

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Mohamed Salah has insisted he wants to stay at Liverpool, but has put the onus on the club to get the deal done What factors are at play in Salah negotiations?

Sky Sports News reporter Vinny O'Connor, who covers the club closely, explains the situation…

First and foremost this is not just about money. Salah is still ambitious, with his hunger to win undiminished.

At some point, this is a Liverpool squad that will need refreshing. Roberto Firmino is now 30 years of age, Sadio Mane is 29, Jordan Henderson is 31, Thiago Alcantara is 30, Virgil van Dijk is 30, and Fabinho is 28.

Salah will want to see that there's a continued commitment from the club to add quality to what they have got, with the intention of maintaining Liverpool's ability to challenge for titles.

Salah is now an all-time Liverpool great as a Premier League and Champions League winner.

So, in terms of the wage he can command, his market value is as high as it has ever been.

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Our moment of the round in the Premier League is Mohamed Salah's strike versus Chelsea. The Egyptian forward scored his 150th goal in English football to help Liverpool to a 2-2 draw at Stamford Bridge

He's been labelled as the best player in the world on current form, yet currently, he's reportedly the fifth highest-paid footballer globally.

He was the top earner at Liverpool until Van Dijk signed his new contract. Now the figures being talked about around a new deal are in the region of £300,000 a week.

Salah's current contract expires in 2023. It makes sense, at the age of 29, with this being potentially the biggest contract of his career, that he would want a deal that reflects his status in the game.

Salah wants to stay

At the same time, he wants to stay at Liverpool. He told Sky Sports in October he would like to spend the rest of his career at the club.

"If you ask me, I would love to stay until the last day of my football career, but I can't say much about that - it's not in my hands. It depends on what the club want, not on me," he said.

He has a strong relationship with Jurgen Klopp and he's settled in the Liverpool dressing room.

Even when linked with Barcelona, while flattered, he said he's happy at Liverpool and at the moment prefers to stay in the Premier League as it is the strongest league in the world.

But there was a broad hint in that Sky Sports interview he needs to feel the love from the Liverpool hierarchy and he followed that up in an interview with Egypt's MBC Masr.

Salah reiterated while he wants to extend his Anfield contract, Liverpool's owners have an issue to solve.

"Your financial value shows how much the club appreciates you and that they are ready to do anything for you to stay," he said.

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Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp previously said he was relaxed about Mohamed Salah's contract negotiations, insisting 'what we all want is clear'

When Jurgen Klopp was asked about this he responded: "Extending a contract with a player like Mo is not something where you meet for a cup of tea and find an agreement. That's completely normal.

"Mo is fine, I am fine. What we all want is clear and things like this need time."

There is goodwill on both sides to reach an agreement on a new contract.

Ideally, Liverpool would like to get this done before it gets to the stage where Salah goes into the final year of his current deal without securing his future beyond that.

Finding the right figure

From the club's perspective, they need to find the magic figure that confirms Salah's status among the elite of world football, while being mindful of their wage structure and not upsetting that.

They are also operating in a transfer market where the financial clout of Real Madrid and Barcelona has been drastically reduced, which in turn, reduces the chances of pushing up a potential transfer fee as high as possible if it looks as though an agreement is not going to be reached.

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Spanish football journalist Alvaro Montero says Ousmane Dembele is likely to leave Barcelona as a free agent this summer and has been linked with a number of Premier League clubs.

At the same time, with Salah's contract running down, there is potential in the future for clubs to better the wage offer coming from Liverpool if it gets to the stage where he's likely to be available on a free transfer.

Michael Edwards has got so much right in his time as the club's sporting director, especially when it comes to tough negotiations.

Before he leaves in the summer, securing Salah's long-term future at the club could be his biggest success of his time at Anfield.

Follow the January transfer window with Sky Sports

Who will be on the move in January?

The January transfer window opens on Saturday January 1, 2022 and closes at 11pm on Monday January 31.

Keep up-to-date with all the latest transfer news and rumours in our dedicated Transfer Centre blog on Sky Sports' digital platforms. You can also catch up with the ins, outs and analysis on Sky Sports News.

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Liverpool vs Arsenal LIVE!

Tue, 01/11/2022 - 16:39

FTFull Time AETAfter Extra Time LIVEThis is a live match. ETExtra Time HTHalf Time

Liverpool vs Arsenal. Carabao Cup Semi-Final.

7:45pm, Thursday 13th January 2022.

Anfield.

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Liverpool vs Arsenal preview: Alexander-Arnold & Alisson back

Tue, 01/11/2022 - 16:26

Team news, stats and how to watch ahead of Liverpool vs Arsenal in the first leg of the Carabao Cup semi-finals on Thursday; kick-off 7.45pm.

Team news

Liverpool defender Trent Alexander-Arnold and goalkeeper Alisson Becker have returned to training after Covid absences and will rejoin the squad for the Carabao Cup semi-final first-leg at home to Arsenal.

Midfielder Thiago Alcantara (hip) and striker Divock Origi (knee) remain absent, as do Africa Cup of Nations trio Mohamed Salah, Sadio Mane and Naby Keita.

Left-back Andy Robertson has overcome a knock sustained at the weekend so manager Jurgen Klopp has a strong squad from which to choose.

Arsenal could be without a number of key players for the trip to Anfield.

Granit Xhaka (Covid) will be assessed ahead of the game, as will Emile Smith Rowe (groin) and Takehiro Tomiyasu (calf).

Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, Nicolas Pepe, Mohamed Elneny and Thomas Partey are all with their respective countries at the Africa Cup of Nations.

How to follow

Liverpool vs Arsenal is live on Sky Sports Football from 7pm on Thursday; kick-off 7.45pm. Sky Sports customers can watch in-game clips in the live match blog on the Sky Sports website and app. Highlights will also be published on the Sky Sports digital platforms and the Sky Sports Football YouTube channel shortly after the final whistle.

Thursday 13th January 7:00pm Kick off 7:45pm Sky Sports Football HD Sky Sports Football HD Last time out...

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FREE TO WATCH: Highlights from Chelsea's draw against Liverpool

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FREE TO WATCH: Highlights from Manchester City's win against Arsenal Opta stats
  • This is the 13th different League Cup tie between Arsenal and Liverpool, with each side winning/progressing six times each in the previous 12. It's the most played fixture in the history of the competition.
  • This is the third consecutive season Arsenal and Liverpool have met in the League Cup, with both sides progressing once each via penalties (Liverpool in 2019-20, Arsenal in 2020-21). It's the first time two top-flight clubs have met in three consecutive campaigns in the competition since Coventry vs Nottingham Forest between 1988-89 and 1990-91.
  • The last five League Cup meetings between Arsenal and Liverpool have produced a total of 28 goals, despite the fourth round tie last season finishing 0-0.
  • Liverpool have lost just one of their eight home games against Arsenal in the League Cup (W4 D3), going down 6-3 in January 2007 with Julio Baptista scoring four times for the Gunners.
  • Under Jürgen Klopp, Liverpool have scored more goals against Arsenal in all competitions (43) than they have vs any other opponent.
  • Arsenal have progressed from three of their past four League Cup semi-final ties. However, no side have been eliminated at this stage of the competition more often than the Gunners (7, level with Man Utd, Spurs and West Ham).
  • Liverpool have only been eliminated from five of their 17 League Cup semi-final ties. However, two of those have been in their last three appearances at this stage, falling to Chelsea in 2014-15 and Southampton in 2016-17.
  • Arsenal are the highest scorers in this season's EFL Cup with 16 goals, while no player has scored more in this season's competition than Gunners striker Eddie Nketiah (5). Indeed, Nketiah has scored 10 goals in nine appearances in the competition overall, scoring once on average every 66 minutes.
  • Liverpool's Takumi Minamino has scored six goals in his five appearances in the League Cup, netting once every 75 minutes on average in the competition. However, the only game in which the Japanese forward failed to find the net was against Arsenal last season.
  • Diogo Jota has scored five goals in his last seven appearances against Arsenal in all competitions, with four of those strikes coming in his four games against them for Liverpool.

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Salah on Liverpool contract talks: 'I'm not asking for crazy stuff'

Tue, 01/11/2022 - 10:28

Mohamed Salah says he is "not asking for crazy stuff" in contract talks, as he reiterated that it is up to Liverpool to decide his future.

Salah, whose deal at Anfield runs out in the summer of 2023, has publicly stated on multiple occasions that he wants to stay at Liverpool.

But the two parties are yet to come to an agreement over new terms for the Premier League's top scorer, who is currently representing Egypt at the Africa Cup of Nations.

Thursday 13th January 7:00pm Kick off 7:45pm Sky Sports Football HD Sky Sports Football HD

"I want to stay, but it's not in my hands. It's in their hands," Salah told GQ. "They know what I want. I'm not asking for crazy stuff."

Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp told Sky Sports last month that the club are having "really good conversations" with Salah over a new deal.

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FREE TO WATCH: Highlights from Chelsea's draw against Liverpool in the Premier League.

But Salah gives the impression that there is still a hurdle to overcome in negotiations as he seeks reward for playing a leading role in Liverpool's Champions League and Premier League-winning campaigns.

He added: "The thing is, when you ask for something, and they show you they can give you something [they should] because they appreciate what you did for the club.

"I've been here for my fifth year now. I know the club very well. I love the fans. The fans love me. But with the administration, they have [been] told the situation. It's in their hands."

What factors are at play in Salah negotiations?

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Jurgen Klopp says everyone is relaxed about Salah's contract negotiations, insisting 'what we all want is clear'

Sky Sports News reporter Vinny O'Connor, who covers the club closely, explains the situation…

First and foremost this is not just about money. Salah is still ambitious, with his hunger to win undiminished.

At some point, this is a Liverpool squad that will need refreshing. Roberto Firmino is now 30 years of age, Sadio Mane is 29, Jordan Henderson is 31, Thiago Alcantara is 30, Virgil van Dijk is 30, and Fabinho is 28.

Salah will want to see that there's a continued commitment from the club to add quality to what they have got, with the intention of maintaining Liverpool's ability to challenge for titles.

Salah is now an all-time Liverpool great as a Premier League and Champions League winner.

So, in terms of the wage he can command, his market value is as high as it has ever been.

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Mohamed Salah scores his 150th goal in English football to help Liverpool to a 2-2 draw against Chelsea

He's been labelled as the best player in the world on current form, yet currently, he's reportedly the fifth highest-paid footballer globally.

He was the top earner at Liverpool until Van Dijk signed his new contract. Now the figures being talked about around a new deal are in the region of £300,000 a week.

Salah's current contract expires in 2023. It makes sense, at the age of 29, with this being potentially the biggest contract of his career, that he would want a deal that reflects his status in the game.

Salah wants to stay

At the same time, he wants to stay at Liverpool. He told Sky Sports in October he would like to spend the rest of his career at the club.

"If you ask me, I would love to stay until the last day of my football career, but I can't say much about that - it's not in my hands. It depends on what the club want, not on me," he said.

He has a strong relationship with Jurgen Klopp and he's settled in the Liverpool dressing room.

Even when linked with Barcelona, while flattered, he said he's happy at Liverpool and at the moment prefers to stay in the Premier League as it is the strongest league in the world.

But there was a broad hint in that Sky Sports interview he needs to feel the love from the Liverpool hierarchy and he followed that up in an interview with Egypt's MBC Masr.

GRAPHIC

Salah reiterated while he wants to extend his Anfield contract, Liverpool's owners have an issue to solve.

"Your financial value shows how much the club appreciates you and that they are ready to do anything for you to stay," he said.

When Jurgen Klopp was asked about this he responded: "Extending a contract with a player like Mo is not something where you meet for a cup of tea and find an agreement. That's completely normal.

"Mo is fine, I am fine. What we all want is clear and things like this need time."

There is goodwill on both sides to reach an agreement on a new contract.

Ideally, Liverpool would like to get this done before it gets to the stage where Salah goes into the final year of his current deal without securing his future beyond that.

Finding the right figure

From the club's perspective, they need to find the magic figure that confirms Salah's status among the elite of world football, while being mindful of their wage structure and not upsetting that.

They are also operating in a transfer market where the financial clout of Real Madrid and Barcelona has been drastically reduced, which in turn, reduces the chances of pushing up a potential transfer fee as high as possible if it looks as though an agreement is not going to be reached.

At the same time, with Salah's contract running down, there is potential in the future for clubs to better the wage offer coming from Liverpool if it gets to the stage where he's likely to be available on a free transfer.

Michael Edwards has got so much right in his time as the club's sporting director, especially when it comes to tough negotiations.

Before he leaves in the summer, securing Salah's long-term future at the club could be his biggest success of his time at Anfield.

Follow the January transfer window with Sky Sports

Who will be on the move in January?

The January transfer window opens on Saturday January 1, 2022 and closes at 11pm on Monday January 31.

Keep up-to-date with all the latest transfer news and rumours in our dedicated Transfer Centre blog on Sky Sports' digital platforms. You can also catch up with the ins, outs and analysis on Sky Sports News.

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'Vile and offensive' - Shrewsbury condemn alleged Hillsborough chants

Mon, 01/10/2022 - 12:40

Shrewsbury Town have condemned a small number of their fans for allegedly singing "vile and offensive" chants in Liverpool on Sunday.

Videos have emerged on social media appearing to show a group of Town fans singing a song about the 1989 Hillsborough disaster which caused the deaths of 97 Liverpool supporters.

Shrewsbury, who were beaten 4-1 in Sunday's FA Cup third-round tie at Anfield, are investigating to help police identify the individuals involved.

The League One club said in a statement: "Shrewsbury Town Football Club is disgusted and appalled to see and hear the reports on social media about the vile and offensive chanting and behaviour of a very small minority of our 'supporters' yesterday.

"These people do not represent our club in any way shape or form and we are liaising with West Mercia Police to try and identify those responsible who will in turn liaise with Merseyside Police.

"If any supporters have any information that might assist us in identifying those responsible, they can contact the club confidentially and we will use the information as part of our investigations with the police authorities."

'Ban them for life'

Shrewsbury goalkeeper Harry Burgoyne was appalled by the alleged chanting and has called for action to be taken against those involved.

In a post on social media, responding to the video circulating, Burgoyne wrote: "As for these Shrewsbury fans!

"Should be ashamed of yourselves. Liverpool showed nothing but respect today. Shocking absolutely shocking! Out them and ban them for life!"

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Klopp eases Thiago fears - 'He's not out for season'

Sun, 01/09/2022 - 17:53

Jurgen Klopp has dismissed concerns Thiago Alcantara could be ruled out for the season after the Liverpool midfielder was absent for Sunday's FA Cup win over Shrewsbury.

The Spain international was left out of Liverpool's squad as a Fabinho double and goals from Kaide Gordon and Roberto Firmino sealed a 4-1 victory over Shrewsbury in the third round at Anfield.

Thiago has not played since a 3-1 Premier League home win over Newcastle on December 16 after suffering a hip injury.

But Klopp eased any fears the 30-year-old would be sidelined for another lengthy spell, revealing he is set to begin his rehab on Monday.

Asked about Thiago's return date, the Liverpool manager said: "No, neither March nor the end of the season in my mind, It's something around the hip, that's the situation.

"He needs time now. He didn't train this week but we expect him to be back to do rehab stuff from tomorrow on and then we will see.

Liverpool's Roberto Firmino celebrates scoring their side's third goal of the game Image: Liverpool brushed aside Shrewsbury on Sunday to reach the FA Cup fourth round

"It is not that he is out until the end of the season, not at all."

Liverpool's midfield options have been limited as Naby Keita is involved in the Africa Cup of Nations with Guinea and Harvey Elliott continues his recovery from an ankle injury.

However, the Reds has been boosted by Curtis Jones' return against Chelsea last week after an eye injury and Covid-19 ruled the 20-year-old out of the previous 13 fixtures.

Klopp himself returned to the Liverpool dugout on Sunday after recovering from Covid-19.

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Gordon sets Liverpool on way to Shrewsbury win

Sun, 01/09/2022 - 16:15

Seventeen-year-old Kaide Gordon became Liverpool's youngest FA Cup goalscorer as he set Jurgen Klopp's side on the way to a comfortable 4-1 third-round victory at home to Shrewsbury.

The League One visitors had threatened an upset when, having had just 15 per cent possession, they took a 27th-minute lead through Daniel Udoh.

However, Gordon, who at 17 years and 96 days also became Liverpool's second-youngest all-time goalscorer after Ben Woodburn, soon restored order.

Fabinho's penalty put the Reds in front just before half-time and substitute Roberto Firmino's backheel and another Fabinho strike in added time sealed their progress.

But it was the quality of Gordon's goal at the Kop end which stood out as the youngster, an initial £1m signing from Derby a year ago, scored on only his second appearance.

The way in which he controlled the cross into a crowded area from Conor Bradley - another of the five academy players in the starting line-up - and had the composure to turn his body and pick a spot beyond goalkeeper Marko Marosi, belied his inexperience.

Liverpool's Roberto Firmino celebrates scoring their side's third goal of the game Image: Liverpool's Roberto Firmino celebrates scoring the Reds' third goal of the game

Had such a goal been scored by Mohamed Salah or Sadio Mane, both on Africa Cup of Nations duty, it would have rightly drawn fulsome praise for its execution and the youngster deservedly received a standing ovation when he was replaced 10 minutes from time having grown in confidence.

Fabinho sending Marosi the wrong way from the spot, after Ethan Ebanks-Landell's strange handball when challenged by Virgil van Dijk, provided the base from which to control the rest of the game.

But it took them 44 minutes to get to that position as the early stages were heavy on possession but lacking in any genuine threat for a much-changed side which had been put together after a Covid outbreak had forced a 48-hour closure of the first-team's training complex.

Liverpool's young quintet made up half the outfield complement with Bradley, Gordon, Elijah Dixon-Bonner, Max Woltman and Tyler Morton having 15 Liverpool senior appearances between them - the latter accounting for seven of those.

Van Dijk (14) was the team's top scorer with the front six players boasting just 12 goals, all scored by midfielders Curtis Jones or Fabinho, between them.

It did not point towards a particularly high-scoring affair so the presence of three first-team regulars in the back four - with Klopp also back on the touchline after his isolation period - offered some degree of security.

Gordon forced the first save of the game, cutting in from the right to make Marosi dive low at his near post but it was the visitors - beaten by a youthful side here in a replay in 2020 - who struck first having weathered almost half an hour of not having the ball.

Nathanael Ogbeta found space on the left to cross to the near post where Ibrahima Konate watched it sail past him for Udoh, an injury doubt before the game, to fire home.

Eight minutes later Gordon found the net and the dynamic changed, although goalkeeper Caoimhin Kelleher was required to save Ryan Bowman's close-range header to maintain the lead going into the interval.

Marosi's point-blank block from Dixon-Bonner early in the second half kept the tie alive but Liverpool were able to bring on Takumi Minamino and Firmino, scorer of his first Anfield goal in 13 months, to consolidate matters.

What's next?

Liverpool host Arsenal in the first leg of their Carabao Cup semi-final on Thursday (7.45pm), in a game you can see live on Sky Sports Football, while Shrewsbury travel to Crewe on Saturday (3pm).

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Liverpool 'hoping' Klopp back on touchline vs Shrewsbury

Sat, 01/08/2022 - 14:37

Liverpool are hoping Jurgen Klopp is back in the dugout for Sunday's home FA Cup tie against Shrewsbury Town.

Klopp's assistant coach Peter Krawietz was speaking at Saturday's news conference in place of his boss, who has been isolating after testing positive for coronavirus ahead of last Sunday's 2-2 draw at Chelsea.

Liverpool's squad has been decimated by Covid this week, forcing Thursday's Carabao Cup semi-final first leg against Arsenal to be postponed and their training ground to be shut down.

As things stand, Sunday's match at Anfield against the League One side will go ahead, but Liverpool will have to wait for Klopp to test negative before getting confirmation he will be on the touchline.

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With Liverpool's EFL Cup game against Arsenal being postponed, reporter Vinny O'Connor looks at the potential knock-on effect for the team and their fixture congestion

"We hope so of course," Krawietz said when asked if Klopp would be back.

"He is well so far, he feels fine, but of course the regulations are how they are, and he has to do tests as well. We hope he will be fine to be in tomorrow, yes."

Liverpool recall unnamed loan player

Krawietz also revealed an unnamed player had been recalled from his loan spell ahead of Sunday's game and said defender Joel Matip is back in training after recovering from Covid.

"Yes, we have one loan player back and he will probably join the squad tomorrow," said the Liverpool assistant boss.

"Of course we are searching for options for this game and for this squad nearly everywhere. We found enough players to build a team.

"I can't talk about names. Please understand my situation, I can't talk about that. Joel Matip joined training yesterday again, but we have to see whether he is available or not."

Could Liverpool make signings this month?

Krawietz says the club may "react" with signings in this January transfer window due to the impact of coronavirus and the Africa Cup of Nations (AFCON) on their squad.

As well as Thursday's postponement, Liverpool have also lost Mohamed Salah, Naby Keita and Sadio Mane with AFCON getting underway on Sunday - live on Sky Sports

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The Transfer Show's Dharmesh Sheth reports Divock Origi is wanted by three Italian clubs, but would prefer to stay in the Premier League

Asked about their January transfer plans, Krawietz said: "This is a long-term decision, we take the situation like it is. We always try to do our best.

"We knew about the AFCON situation for a few months, and hopefully they are successful in this tournament.

"The Covid situation is like it is, if it's necessary to react in the transfer market it's a club decision, but we have to discuss that."

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Liverpool transfer rumours: Danjuma to Anfield?

Sat, 01/08/2022 - 10:50

Wrapping up the Liverpool transfer news, rumours and gossip in the 2022 January window.

Who have Liverpool been linked with?

Liverpool and Manchester United look set to miss out on Kingsley Coman, with the winger set to sign a lucrative new contract at Bayern Munich (Daily Mail, January 8)

Liverpool are close to clinching an estimated £60m deal for Porto star Luis Diaz (The Sun, January 6); Liverpool have reportedly identified Porto winger Luis Diaz as a potential target to solve their Africa Cup of Nations crisis in January (Daily Mail, December 23).

Borussia Dortmund star Erling Haaland has reportedly been told by his club that he must decide his future by the end of January as speculation continues (Daily Mail, January 5); Liverpool could pip their rivals to the £64m signing of Erling Haaland with Mohamed Salah reportedly demanding the club bring him to Anfield (Daily Star, December 23).

Liverpool and AC Milan have scouted £4m-rated Olympiakos midfielder Aguibou Camara (The Sun, January 4).

Liverpool boss Jurgen Klopp is reportedly keen on signing Real Madrid outcast Eden Hazard in January - but the Anfield board are not convinced (The Sun, January 3).

Liverpool are continuing to look into the possibility of signing Leeds forward Raphinha but believe the deal might be too complicated for January completion (Daily Express, January 3); Liverpool are reportedly interested in signing West Ham winger Jarrod Bowen, Raphinha and Napoli's Fabian Ruiz (The Sun, December 27); Liverpool are monitoring West Ham forward Bowen and Leeds winger Raphinha as future transfer targets, according to reports (Daily Mail, December 10); Bayern Munich are stepping up their interest in Leeds star Raphinha to rival Liverpool (The Sun, December 28).

Manchester United and Liverpool are interested in Leeds youngster Charlie Cresswell (Daily Mirror, January 3).

Liverpool are considering a move for Villarreal star Arnaut Danjuma in the January transfer window (Daily Mail, January 8); Liverpool are continuing to look into the possibility of signing Danjuma but believe the deal might be too complicated for January completion (Daily Express, January 3); Liverpool may have to wait until next summer to land Danjuma (The Sun, December 27).

Sergej Milinkovic-Savic is 'almost certain' to leave Lazio by the summer, amid his rift with Maurizio Sarri, having been previously linked with the likes of Manchester United, Liverpool and Real Madrid (The Sun, December 21).

Inter Milan have reportedly made it clear to their Champions League last-16 opponents Liverpool that Lautaro Martinez is not for sale, while warning the Reds that several other European giants are also interested in the Argentine international forward (Daily Express, December 15).

Liverpool have been handed a major blow in their race to sign Karim Adeyemi in the transfer window after the Red Bull Salzburg striker's latest comments (Daily Mirror, December 13).

Liverpool lead the race to sign Jude Bellingham next summer and hope to exploit their Premier League rivals' obsession with Borussia Dortmund team-mate Erling Haaland (Daily Mirror, December 8).

The latest players linked with a Liverpool exit

Divock Origi's representatives have been approached by three Italian clubs regarding a pre-contract agreement this month. Origi's preference, however, is to stay in England, meaning either a Premier League club would have to pay money this month - or take him as a free agent in the summer when his contract runs out. The Belgium international may wait until the summer to fully assess his options. (Sky Sports, January 6)

Liverpool could allow defenders Neco Williams and Nat Phillips to leave the club in this January's transfer window (Sky Sports, January 5); Phillips is ready for a move away from Liverpool in January - if the Anfield club receive an acceptable offer, which is believed to be in the region of £15m. Liverpool have already rejected a £7m bid from an unnamed Premier League side (Sky Sports, December 5); Liverpool could allow Williams to leave the club in this January's transfer window, with the 20-year-old very conscious of his place in the Wales team (Sky Sports, December 5).

Real Madrid are monitoring Liverpool defender Joe Gomez ahead of a potential move next summer (Daily Mail, December 22); Aston Villa have submitted a proposal to Liverpool to sign centre-back Gomez, according to reports (Daily Express, December 20); Aston Villa manager Steven Gerrard has made a defender his priority and could raid his former club Liverpool for Gomez (Daily Mirror, November 28).

West Ham are ready to make a move for Liverpool's deputy striker Divock Origi in January (Sunday Express, December 19); Origi is said to be at the centre of a transfer tussle between Serie A sides AC Milan and Atalanta (The Sun, December 14).

Mohamed Salah has reiterated his desire to stay at Liverpool and urged the club to solve the contract impasse that has alerted Barcelona (Daily Mail, December 6).

Confirmed Liverpool signings

No signings

Confirmed Liverpool departures

No departures

Follow the January transfer window with Sky Sports

Who will be on the move in January?

The January transfer window opens on Saturday January 1, 2022 and closes at 11pm on Monday January 31.

Keep up-to-date with all the latest transfer news and rumours in our dedicated Transfer Centre blog on Sky Sports' digital platforms. You can also catch up with the ins, outs and analysis on Sky Sports News.

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FA Cup third round overall preview: Foxes begin defence

Fri, 01/07/2022 - 15:15

Team news, match stats and how to follow ahead of a bumper weekend of FA Cup third round action as Premier League clubs enter the competition.

Selected Saturday third-round tiesKick Off 12.30pm: Burnley vs Huddersfield

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FREE TO WATCH: Highlights from Leeds United's win against Burnley

Team news: Burnley boss Sean Dyche will be absent for Saturday's FA Cup third-round clash with Huddersfield at Turf Moor as he isolates after testing positive for coronavirus.

In addition, Clarets assistant manager Ian Woan, overseeing things while Dyche is away, on Thursday said he believed there were four new positive cases within the playing staff.

A pair who had already been missing after positive tests are goalkeeper Nick Pope and midfielder Josh Brownhill - while Pope had not returned to training on Thursday, Brownhill was described by Woan as a "possibility" for Saturday's tie.

Johann Berg Gudmundsson is a doubt due to an injury sustained in Sunday's 3-1 Premier League loss at Leeds, and Maxwel Cornet (Africa Cup of Nations duty with Ivory Coast), Ashley Barnes (injury) and Connor Roberts (non-coronavirus-related infection) are all definitely unavailable.

Huddersfield have Aaron Rowe ruled out due to a positive Covid-19 test.

But boss Carlos Corberan is set to be back in the dugout after missing the 0-0 Championship draw at Blackburn on January 2 for the same reason.

There could be returns to action for skipper Jonathan Hogg and Naby Sarr, who have been recovering from knee and back issues respectively.

It remains to be seen if there is any involvement for Danny Ward after he went off only 15 minutes into the 1-0 win at Nottingham Forest on December 30 after complaining of breathing problems and feeling unwell, then missed the Blackburn game.

Key stat: This will be the first FA Cup meeting between Burnley and Huddersfield Town since January 1972, a 1-0 victory for the Terriers.

Kick-Off 12.45pm: Millwall vs Crystal Palace

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Highlights of the Sky Bet Championship game between Bristol City and Millwall.

Team news: Millwall will have to check on the fitness of Jed Wallace ahead of Saturday's FA Cup showdown with local rivals Crystal Palace.

The five-goal hitman, who is out of contract at the end of the season and has been linked with a move during the January transfer window, has not featured since December 11 due to a thigh injury but returned to training this week and could be involved for the third-round tie.

Lions boss Gary Rowett confirmed on Thursday back-up goalkeeper George Long will start while Maikel Kieftenbeld, Ben Thompson, George Saville and Connor Mahoney may be part of the squad following recent absences.

Daniel Ballard (knee), Ryan Leonard (ankle), Danny McNamara and Mason Bennett (both illness) look set to miss out while Murray Wallace could also be sidelined, with his partner due to give birth on Saturday.

Crystal Palace will be boosted for the trip across south London by the return of Conor Gallagher, who had sat out the last two matches due to an unspecified issue.

The Chelsea loanee returned to training this week and could start at the Den, with manager Patrick Vieira insisting on Friday he will put out his "best team" against the Sky Bet Championship side.

Palace will be without a number of key personnel though, with Cheikhou Kouyate, Jordan Ayew and Wilfried Zaha away at the Africa Cup of Nations.

Vice-captain James McArthur is also still unavailable due to a hamstring injury sustained in November.

Key stat: Millwall and Crystal Palace last met in the FA Cup in the 1984-85 campaign, with the Lions winning a third-round replay 2-1 at Selhurst Park.

Kick Off 3pm: Leicester vs Watford

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FREE TO WATCH: Highlights from Tottenham's win against Watford

Team news: Jamie Vardy and Jonny Evans have been ruled out until March and April respectively to add to Leicester's injury woes ahead of the FA Cup game with Watford.

The pair have hamstring injuries and Evans has undergone surgery to fix his problem.

The hosts will also be without the injured Patson Daka, Ryan Bertrand, Ricardo Pereira, James Justin, Wesley Fofana and Caglar Soyuncu.

Boubakary Soumare, Filip Benkovic and Luke Thomas are out while Kiernan Dewsbury-Hall is struggling with a calf problem and Timothy Castagne is a doubt. Kelechi Iheanacho, Daniel Amartey and Nampalys Mendy are at the Africa Cup of Nations with Nigeria, Ghana and Senegal respectively.

Watford have a doubt over Nigerian forward Emmanuel Dennis, who was taken off at half-time against Tottenham as a precaution after taking a kick to his ankle and is unlikely to be risked at the King Power Stadium.

Midfielder Imran Louza, forward Ismaila Sarr and defenders Adam Masina and William Troost-Ekong are all away with their national teams at the Africa Cup of Nations.

New signings Hassane Kamara and Brazilian defender Samir are being assessed on Friday before a decision is made on whether they will be in line to make a debut.

Goalkeeper Ben Foster (groin) is closing in on a return, while Christian Kabasele (calf) and Kiko Femenia (hamstring) are also stepping up their recovery. Midfielder Kwadwo Baah (ankle), Peter Etebo (quad) and Nicolas Nkoulou (hamstring) are long-term absentees.

Key stat: Leicester last faced Watford in the FA Cup in February 1982 in a fifth-round clash, winning 2-0 at Filbert Street.

Kick Off 3pm: Newcastle vs Cambridge

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Highlights of the Sky Bet League One match between Cambridge and Portsmouth.

Team news: Newcastle will head into Saturday's FA Cup third-round tie against League One Cambridge with Covid-19 still having an impact on their squad.

The Magpies' Premier League fixtures against Everton and Southampton were postponed because of an outbreak within the camp and while he did not identify the players involved - defender Ciaran Clark and midfielders Joe Willock and Matt Ritchie were missing from the squad for the 1-1 draw with Manchester United on December 27 - head coach Eddie Howe has admitted there will be absences once again this weekend.

New signing Kieran Trippier could be included for the first time, but striker Callum Wilson is due to undergo a further scan to determine the extent of his calf injury, while midfielder Isaac Hayden is expected to be sidelined for 10 weeks after undergoing knee surgery.

Full-back Jamal Lewis (hamstring) and central defender Federico Fernandez (thigh) are working their way back to full fitness and Paul Dummett (calf) is also closing in on a return.

Cambridge will be without winger Sam Smith through suspension.

The 23-year-old was sent off for a second bookable offence during Monday's 0-0 league draw with Portsmouth and will serve a one-match ban as a result, with Jack Lankester and Harvey Knibbs among those who could replace him.

Head coach Mark Bonner has indicated he will otherwise have a similar squad available as he had for the Pompey game, which was the club's first since December 18 because of coronavirus.

Few members of Bonner's squad have played at St James' Park previously with the notable exception of 39-year-old former Norwich midfielder Wes Hoolahan.

Key stat: This is the first ever FA Cup meeting between Newcastle and Cambridge, and first in any competition since April 1993 - a 3-0 win for the Magpies in the second tier.

Kick Off 3pm: Port Vale vs Brentford

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FREE TO WATCH: Highlights from Brentford's win against Aston Villa

Team news: To follow

Key stat: Having progressed against Southampton in 1993-94 and then Everton in 1995-96, Port Vale have been eliminated from their last seven FA Cup ties against Premier League opposition.

Kick Off 3pm: West Brom vs Brighton

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Highlights of the Sky Bet Championship match between West Brom and Cardiff.

Team news: West Brom manager Valerien Ismael will be forced to make at least five changes to his squad for the FA Cup third-round tie at home to Premier League side Brighton.

Goalkeeper Sam Johnstone and midfielder Alex Mowatt are suspended after they were sent off against Cardiff last Sunday. Semi Ajayi has gone on international duty with Nigeria, and loan duo Matthew Clarke and Jayson Molumby are unable to play against their parent club.

Ismael said "one or two" of the younger, fringe members of his squad could expect to be included.

Daryl Dike, signed at the start of the month from Orlando City, is being prepared to make his Albion debut against QPR on January 15 and is not expected to feature against the Seagulls, but Matt Phillips could feature after recovering from a hamstring injury.

Brighton defender Adam Webster is likely to miss the visit to The Hawthorns.

The centre-back, who played the full 90 minutes in last Sunday's 3-2 Premier League win at Everton, is suffering from fatigue.

Seagulls captain Lewis Dunk remains sidelined by a knee injury and Mali midfielder Yves Bissouma is unavailable due to his participation in the Africa Cup of Nations.

Danny Welbeck could make his first start since returning from a three-month injury absence but fellow forwards Jurgen Locadia and Aaron Connolly were this week allowed to leave the club.

Key stat: West Brom remained unbeaten in their two Premier League games against Brighton last season, drawing 1-1 away and winning 1-0 at the Hawthorns.

Kick Off 5.30pm: Chelsea vs Chesterfield

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FREE TO WATCH: Highlights from Chelsea's draw against Liverpool

Team news: Andreas Christensen could return after back trouble to ease Chelsea's defensive issues in Saturday's FA Cup third-round clash with non-league Chesterfield.

Thiago Silva and N'Golo Kante will continue Covid isolation, while Trevoh Chalobah (thigh), Ben Chilwell (knee) and Reece James (hamstring) remain out of action.

Cesar Azpilicueta avoided any injury in the midweek win over Tottenham, while Kai Havertz will be available despite a painful broken finger.

Youngsters Harvey Vale and Lewis Hall should be involved again, though boss Thomas Tuchel will still aim to field a strong starting line-up.

Chesterfield boss James Rowe has a number of selection issues to deal with ahead of the trip to Stamford Bridge.

Tyrone Williams is cup-tied after being involved in an earlier round of the competition for Solihull, which is likely to open up a place in the team for Fraser Kerr.

Irish defender Gavin Gunning could miss out after being taken off as a precaution with fatigue in the New Year's Day win over King's Lynn, having returned to the team following a broken nose. Jamie Grimes is poised to deputise if Gunning misses out.

Jack Clarke has learned that the ruptured hamstring he suffered in the league match against Halifax on December 28 will keep him out for nine months, while Laurence Maguire is also out.

Key stat: Chelsea haven't faced Chesterfield in the FA Cup since the 1949-50 season, winning 3-0 in a fifth-round replay after a 1-1 draw.

Kick Off 5.30pm: Hull vs Everton

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FREE TO WATCH: Highlights from Brighton's win against Everton

Team news: Hull manager Grant McCann welcomes back three players for the FA Cup third-round tie with Everton but will have to do without several more because of injury at the MKM Stadium on Saturday.

Tom Huddlestone, Matt Ingram and Will Jarvis are back in the squad as the Tigers look to knock out their Premier League opponents.

McCann revealed forward Josh Magennis would miss the Everton game because of a hamstring injury but could return against Stoke in the Championship eight days later.

But the Tigers are without Mallik Wilks (foot) who faces two months on the sidelines and Callum Elder (groin) who is out for three weeks.

Everton could have new signings Vitalii Mykolenko and Nathan Patterson on duty at Hull after both joined the Goodison Park club this week. Ukraine left-back Mykolenko joined from Dynamo Kiev and right-back Patterson signed from Scottish champions Rangers.

Manager Rafael Benitez is looking to forward Dominic Calvert-Lewin to fire the Toffees to success but he will have to wait for him to resume his partnership with Richarlison.

The Brazilian remains on the injury list along with Yerry Mina, Andros Townsend and Tom Davies.

Key stat: Hull City last faced Everton in the FA Cup back in 1963-64, in the third round. The Toffees won 2-1 in a replay.

Kick Off 5.30pm: Swansea vs Southampton

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Highlights of the Sky Bet Championship match between Swansea and Nottingham Forest.

Team news: Swansea boss Russell Martin hopes to have a number of players back from Covid-related absences for Saturday's FA Cup third-round tie with Southampton.

The Swans have not played since December 11 after seeing Sky Bet Championship games against QPR, Millwall, Luton and Fulham postponed.

Martin will still have some absentees due to health and safety protocols around returning to training and playing.

City this week lost the services of loanee Ethan Laird after he was recalled by parent club Manchester United and then joined Bournemouth on a temporary basis.

Southampton have seven players unavailable for the trip to Wales.

Forward Che Adams and defender Kyle Walker-Peters have been ruled out by positive coronavirus cases, along with youngster Thierry Small.

Defender Mohammed Salisu is banned and Saints boss Ralph Hasenhuttl is also missing Tino Livramento (knee) and Will Smallbone (calf).

Mali winger Moussa Djenepo is on international duty at the Africa Cup of Nations.

Key stat: Southampton have won seven of their last 10 meetings with Swansea (D1 L2), most recently a 1-0 away win in May 2018 in the Premier League.

Saturday's other FA Cup tiesSelected Sunday third-round tiesKick-Off 2pm: Charlton Athletic vs Norwich

Team news: Charlton will not be able to play on-loan defender Akin Famewo in Sunday's FA Cup third-round tie against Premier League Norwich.

The 23-year-old centre-back is not available to face his parent club under the terms of his season-long loan deal.

Top-scorer Jayden Stockley has been sent to visit a specialist over a hip problem which has kept him out since before Christmas.

Jonathan Leko scored a last-minute header to secure a 1-0 EFL Trophy win over Milton Keynes and send the Addicks into the quarter-finals, so could retain his place in attack.

Norwich, bottom of the Premier League, have not played since December 28 following a Covid-19 outbreak which saw the trip to Leicester on New Year's Day postponed.

Several players are expected to be back in contention, with captain Grant Hanley (shoulder), forward Milot Rashica (groin) and goalkeeper Tim Krul (coronavirus) among those set to return to training with the squad.

Midfielder Todd Cantwell, subject of transfer speculation during the January window, could be handed a start, but Lukas Rupp (hamstring), Mathias Normann (pelvis) and defender Andrew Omobamidele (back) remain sidelined.

Defender Bali Mumba has joined Peterborough on loan until the end of the season while 19-year-old forward Tyrese Omotoye will spend the rest of the campaign at Carlisle.

Key stat: Charlton Athletic and Norwich City have only met in the FA Cup once before, a third-round tie in 2008-09 that the Addicks won 1-0 in a replay after a 1-1 draw at the Valley.

Kick-Off 2pm: Liverpool vs Shrewsbury Town

Team news: A Covid-19 outbreak which caused the shut-down of first-team training for 48 hours will impact the side Liverpool put out at home to Shrewsbury in the third round of the FA Cup.

It was likely a number of fringe players would have featured regardless but with only the academy sides able to train over the last couple of days, the reliance on youngsters is likely to be greater.

That means the likes of Conor Bradley, Tyler Morton, Owen Beck, Kaide Gordon, Max Woltman and Harvey Blair will come into consideration, providing they are not affected by Covid.

First-teamers Thiago Alcantara (hip) and Divock Origi (knee) have been out for a couple of weeks and are unlikely to be risked but Takumi Minamino could come back after injury.

Shrewsbury's Daniel Udoh will be given until the last moment to prove his fitness.

The nine-goal striker limped out of last Sunday's 1-0 win over Sheffield Wednesday with a hamstring injury.

Fellow forward Tom Bloxham returns from a three-match suspension.

On-loan players Sam Cosgrove and Khanya Leshabela are available while newest temporary addition Saikou Janneh, from Bristol City, could make his debut.

Key stat: Liverpool have faced Shrewsbury in the FA Cup in two previous campaigns, eliminating the Shrews in the fourth round in both 1995-96 and 2019-20, the latter after a replay.

Kick-off 2pm: Tottenham vs Morecambe

Team news: Tottenham will be without Son Heung-min for the visit of League One Morecambe.

The South Korean picked up a muscle injury against Chelsea in midweek and is out for the remainder of Spurs' January fixtures.

Harry Kane will be rested as Antonio Conte looks set to give his fringe players a run.

A couple of unnamed players could still miss out with Covid-19 while Cristian Romero, Ryan Sessegnon and Steven Bergwijn are also set to be absent.

Morecambe could hand debuts to Jacob Bedeau and Trevor Carson.

Central defender Bedeau has arrived on loan from Burnley for the rest of the season while experienced goalkeeper Carson has signed from Dundee United for the same period.

Jake McPake will not be involved, though, as he has returned to parent club Rangers after playing seven times in the first half of the season.

Boss Stephen Robinson is returning to the club where he came through the ranks and represented the first team twice in the 1990s.

Key stat: This is the first ever competitive meeting between Tottenham and Morecambe - Spurs have progressed past each of their last 20 FA Cup ties against sides from the third tier or lower since losing 2-1 at Port Vale in January 1988.

Kick-off 2pm: West Ham vs Leeds

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FREE TO WATCH: Highlights from West Ham's win against Crystal Palace

Team news: West Ham are still without injured defenders Kurt Zouma and Angelo Ogbonna for the visit of Leeds.

Full-back Aaron Creswell could miss out again due to a back problem.

Boss David Moyes also confirmed there are "one or two" Covid cases in the Hammers camp.

Alphonse Areola could replace Lukasz Fabianski in goal as he has in the previous cup competitions.

Leeds have suffered a fresh injury setback ahead of the trip south with Joe Gelhardt joining the already-long list of those in the treatment room.

Marcelo Bielsa is hoping that Patrick Bamford, back from a hamstring problem, is ready to start after Tyler Roberts hobbled off in last weekend's win over Burnley before Gelhardt hurt his ankle in training on Thursday.

Bielsa estimated that both players face three weeks out.

They join Leeds' lengthy injury list, with Liam Cooper, Kalvin Phillips, Rodrigo, Pascal Struijk, Charlie Cresswell and Jamie Shackleton already ruled out.

Key stat: Leeds have lost their last three meetings with West Ham in all competitions, more than they had in their previous 28 against them beforehand (W18 D8 L2).

Kick-Off 2pm: Wolves vs Sheffield United

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FREE TO WATCH: Highlights from Manchester United's defeat to Wolves

Team news: Wolves boss Bruno Lage is expected to make some changes for their FA Cup tie against Sheffield United.

John Ruddy is likely to deputise for Jose Sa in goal while the likes of Ki-Jana Hoever and Fabio Silva could also be handed rare starting places. Rayan Ait-Nouri is fit again after a groin problem and the French defender could get his first outing for a month on Sunday.

Lage, a former assistant manager at Sheffield Wednesday, may not make too many changes, however, with his team having played only once since December 19.

Hwang Hee-chan (hamstring), Willy Boly (calf), Jonny Castro Otto (knee), Yerson Mosquera (hamstring) and Pedro Neto (knee) remain out.

Sheffield United will be without 11 players due to injury and coronavirus issues.

The Blades have not had a game since December 20 and boss Paul Heckingbottom did not name the players affected, although Robin Olsen is known to be an absentee.

Morgan Gibbs-White, on loan from Wolves, would have been eligible to play against his parent club but the midfielder is nursing a knee injury.

Rhian Brewster resumed training this week after an absence with a hamstring issue and the striker should be involved in the third-round tie.

Key stat: Wolves are looking to win three consecutive games against Sheffield United in all competitions for the first time since February 1966, the third game of which was in the FA Cup.

Kick-Off 5.10pm: Nottingham Forest vs Arsenal

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FREE TO WATCH: Highlights from Manchester City's win against Arsenal

Team news: To follow

Key stat: This is the fifth FA Cup meeting between Nottingham Forest and Arsenal, with both sides progressing twice each - Forest in 1987-88 and 2017-18, and Arsenal in 1978-79 and 1992-93.

Sunday's other FA Cup ties

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Salah, Kerr on FIFA Player of the Year shortlists

Fri, 01/07/2022 - 14:35

Liverpool forward Mohamed Salah has been shortlisted for The Best FIFA Men's Player of the Year award, while Chelsea's Sam Kerr is up for the Women's award.

The Egypt star is currently with his national team preparing for the Africa Cup of Nations but has been nominated after a blistering start to the season at club level.

Salah is the Premier League's top goalscorer so far this season, with 16 to his name, and is arguably in the best form of his life.

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Some of Mohamed Salah's best goals from his time in the Premier League

Bayern Munich striker Robert Lewandowski and Paris St Germain's Lionel Messi are the other two names on the shortlist, which was announced by FIFA on Friday afternoon.

The award is voted for by a jury made up of current men's national team coaches and captains, one specialist journalist from each territory represented by a national team and fans registered on FIFA.com.

Lionel Messi Image: Lionel Messi is also shortlisted, alongside Robert Lewandowski

Lewandowski enjoyed another spectacular year at club level for Bayern, scoring a Bundesliga record 41 goals in the 2020-21 season to eclipse the previous best total set by Gerd Muller in the 1971-72 campaign.

Messi finally ended his wait for major international silverware in 2021 as he helped Argentina to win the Copa America. It was an emotional year for Messi, who left Barcelona for PSG last summer after more than 20 years at the Spanish club.

Kerr shortlisted for Women's award Sam Kerr signed a new deal with Chelsea this week until summer 2024 Image: Sam Kerr has been shortlisted for the Women's award

Chelsea forward Sam Kerr made the women's player of the year shortlist.

The Australian helped the Blues retain the Women's Super League title in 2021 and reach the Champions League final. She also scored twice in the 3-0 win over Arsenal in the Women's FA Cup final last month.

Barcelona and Spain team-mates Jennifer Hermoso and Alexia Putellas were the other names on the women's shortlist.

The award winners will be announced in a virtual ceremony on January 17.

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Origi wanted by three Italian clubs | Striker prefers PL move

Thu, 01/06/2022 - 18:00

Liverpool striker Divock Origi's representatives have been approached by three Italian clubs regarding a pre-contract agreement this month.

Origi's preference, however, is to stay in England, meaning either a Premier League club would have to pay money this month - or take him as a free agent in the summer when his contract runs out.

The Belgium international may wait until the summer to fully assess his options.

Origi's contract could automatically be extended by a year depending on the number of Premier League starts he makes this season - as yet he has featured only off the bench as a substitute.

PA - Jurgen Klopp with Divock Origi Image: Jrgen Klopp has described Origi as 'one of the best finishers I have ever seen'

It is believed he would cost less than £10m if Liverpool were to sell him this month.

Origi has come close to leaving Liverpool before, and even spent a season on loan in Germany at Wolfsburg, but has yet to find a suitable club away from Anfield.

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The Transfer Show's Dharmesh Sheth and Kaveh Solhekol round up the latest transfer news from all 20 Premier League clubs.

Last month after the 26-year-old came off the bench to score a stoppage-time winner at Wolves, Liverpool boss Jurgen Klopp heaped praise on Origi and suggested he would be happy for the striker to find a new club.

"(Origi) is an incredible striker and for different reasons he did not play that often, but I hope one day he finds a manager that plays him more than I do," Klopp said, after Origi made his 100th Liverpool appearance.

"He's one of the best finishers I've ever seen in my life. In this great team, with our (front) three, he doesn't play all the time but he is a very positive boy, loves the club, wants to contribute and he did in an incredible way."

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FREE TO WATCH: Highlights from Liverpool's win against Wolves in the Premier League 'One to keep an eye on this month'

Sky Sports News' Dharmesh Sheth:

"At the moment, Divock Origi is injured and he has got a performance option in his contract.

"So, basically, he runs out of contract in the summer. If he makes a certain number of starts for Liverpool in the Premier League, then that would trigger a one-year option in his contract. How many games has he started in the Premier League this season? Zero.

"Now, there are three Italian clubs who have approached Origi's representatives. Remember, they don't have to go through Liverpool because a foreign club can sign him on a pre-contract agreement in January. However, Origi's preference is to stay in the Premier League.

"Two things would have to happen if he was to stay in England. One, a Premier League club would have to come up with money in this transfer window to buy him or they would have to wait until the summer when he becomes a free agent.

"I wonder, with that in mind, if Origi does get good offers from foreign clubs in this January transfer window whether he might just, rather like Antonio Rudiger, and take a step back and say: 'I'm going to assess all of my options because they might be Premier League options come the summer.'

"Origi is definitely one to keep an eye on this month."

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Follow every Liverpool game in the Premier League this season with our live blogs on the Sky Sports website and app, and watch match highlights for free shortly after full-time.

Want the Liverpool latest? Bookmark our Liverpool news page, check out Liverpool's fixtures and Liverpool's latest results, watch Liverpool goals and video, keep track of the Premier League table and see which Liverpool games are coming up live on Sky Sports.

Get all this and more - including notifications sent straight to your phone - by downloading the Sky Sports Scores app and setting Liverpool as your favourite team.

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Follow the January transfer window with Sky Sports

Who will be on the move in January?

The January transfer window opens on Saturday January 1, 2022 and closes at 11pm on Monday January 31.

Keep up-to-date with all the latest transfer news and rumours in our dedicated Transfer Centre blog on Sky Sports' digital platforms. You can also catch up with the ins, outs and analysis on Sky Sports News.

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Forest, Arsenal searching for opener LIVE!

Thu, 01/06/2022 - 13:44

FTFull Time AETAfter Extra Time LIVEThis is a live match. ETExtra Time HTHalf Time

Nottingham Forest vs Arsenal. The FA Cup Third Round.

5:10pm, Sunday 9th January 2022.

The City Ground.

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