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Updated: 20 min 52 sec ago

Gareth Bale: Real Madrid's loss could be Liverpool's gain says Paul Ince

32 min 49 sec ago
Paul Ince believes Bale must join a club where he can play regularly

Real Madrid forward Gareth Bale would be a "perfect fit" for Liverpool, says the club's former midfielder Paul Ince.

Bale, 30, is "very close to leaving" Real according to manager Zinedine Zidane, who has been called "a disgrace" by the Wales forward's agent.

Ince says Bale should "re-invent himself" and play regular football rather than pursue high wages with a move to the Chinese Super League.

"My opinion is if Liverpool can afford him, he should go there," said Ince.

In a debate over Bale's future on BBC Radio 5 Live's Monday Night Club, Ince and former Liverpool midfielder Don Hutchison said Zidane will win a power struggle at Madrid and force the former Tottenham player into a move.

"Liverpool's front three haven't had much rest before the season - Mohamed Salah, Roberto Firmino and Sadio Mane have played all over the summer," added 51-year-old Ince, who played 81 times for Liverpool between 1997 and 1999.

"Bale can play right, left or central. If I was looking at a team if they could afford him, it would be Liverpool. He needs to re-invent himself as a player and play football week in, week out.

"He would have to take a massive wage drop. It can't be about money for Bale. He has to go to a team who can win things. Liverpool are European champions and they want to make a massive challenge in the league again.

"Who else could afford him? Man City maybe, Man United and I don't think Tottenham would be the right club. I would like to see him at Liverpool. He still has four or five years left. I think he'd be a perfect fit."

'Only one winner in power struggle'

Bale has been linked with Manchester United, Tottenham, German champions Bayern Munich and a move to the Chinese Super League, where he could earn a reported £1m a week.

Zidane, meanwhile, has been linked with moves for United's Paul Pogba and Tottenham's Christian Eriksen.

"It's a poker hand where Zidane is trying to move him out," said Hutchison, 48. "Zidane wants money to bring in other players. It's a power struggle but there will only be one winner - Zidane. So Bale has to find somewhere he wants to play.

"For Gareth, he has to go to somewhere where he is at the elite level and China is not in my opinion.

"We have all been there. I remember being at West Ham in my second spell. I had two years on my contract and West Ham got relegated. They had to get rid of big earners and it was clear at boardroom level they wanted me off the books.

"I was getting divorced at the time and had two years on the deal. They said they'd give me 50% of my wages to go on a free and play football. I said I was staying and they literally gave it a week and said we will give you 70%. I said it wasn't money and said I literally can't afford to move as I was getting divorced."

'Personal pride can come into play'

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Bale has scored 102 goals in 231 games for Real during six seasons in which he has won the Champions League four times, La Liga and the Copa Del Rey.

Despite that success, Zidane has said it will be "best for everyone" if he leaves, a move Ince believes is "quite disrespectful".

"There are ways of doing it the right way and showing him respect," said Ince. "What Bale has done is phenomenal.

"I was at Manchester United for six years, had just signed a four-year contract and Sir Alex Ferguson tells me they have accepted a bid from Inter Milan.

"I was happy in Manchester and didn't want to go. I hadn't thought of leaving. Sir Alex said they needed the money for the training ground and they had Nicky Butt coming through. I just felt when a club doesn't want you they don't want you. So I went of my own accord.

"When I went to Liverpool, Gerard Houllier forced me out and it was more a personal pride that if someone doesn't want you at the club I thought I'm not here to force my way back, I'll go and find someone who wants me."

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Virgil van Dijk: Liverpool defender says Ballon d'Or would be 'big honour'

1 hour 5 min ago
Virgil van Dijk

Liverpool defender Virgil van Dijk says winning the Ballon d'Or would be "a big honour" but he can still get better.

Van Dijk, 28, is one of the favourites to win the award for the world's best player after being instrumental in Liverpool's Champions League victory and Premier League title challenge.

"If I am rewarded for the season I had last year that would be unbelievable and I would be so proud," he said.

"But I feel there is still more to come. I can get more out of me."

Van Dijk has been an integral part of Jurgen Klopp's side's improvement since joining from Southampton for £75m - a world-record fee for a defender - in January 2018.

He won last season's Professional Footballers' Association Player of the Year award and was also named the BBC Sport website's player of the year.

But the Netherlands captain says he is a harsh critic of his own game and will demand more from himself this season to try to win more trophies.

"Obviously, it is a big honour to be named as one of the favourites to win such a prestigious award but what can I do? I just get on with playing," he told BBC Sport.

"I am very hard on myself. I know the slightest loss of concentration, the slightest mistake will be punished. I try to limit it as much as possible.

"I have always been very critical of myself and I like the people around me to be critical too. And they are, the manager is as well, which is a good thing.

"I have improved since I joined Liverpool. Last year I am very satisfied with the fact that I played so many games on a consistent level, I am very proud of that fact. On a critical part I could have done more on attacking set-pieces, been more dangerous. It is not easy, I try to work on it.

"I feel there is still more to come. That comes from playing games. In my position it is all about experience as well. Playing games, staying fit, and that will hopefully bring success for the team."

Liverpool are fighting on seven fronts this season - including a December trip to Qatar for the Club World Cup - and such is Manchester City's form over the past two years that Van Dijk believes Liverpool may need to match their record haul of 97 points from last term to challenge for a first Premier League title again.

"You have to do a similar number again, look at City they are a fantastic team," he said.

"Every Liverpool fan dreams of the Premier League. Everyone is waiting for it. We were so close last year, unfortunately it didn't happen but the only thing we can do is go for it.

"There are so many games. Our December period is a madness, basically.

"Last season we lost only one game, we did everything we could but City were just a little bit better than us.

"We have to respect that as well. We are going to try and do even better than last year."

Liverpool conclude a three-match tour of the United States on Wednesday, when they face Sporting Lisbon at New York's Yankee Stadium.

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Liverpool 1-2 Sevilla: Yasser Larouci escapes serious injury after red-card tackle

14 hours 33 min ago
Yasser Larouci lies on the floor as Joris Gnagon is sent off

Liverpool boss Jurgen Klopp was thankful teenage left-back Yasser Larouci did not appear to be seriously injured after being "hit full throttle" by Sevilla defender Joris Gnagon's horrendous red-card tackle on a hot-headed night in sweltering Boston.

Sevilla were annoyed that Larouci played on when one of their players was down, but there can be no excuse for Gnagon's frustrated kick, which launched 18-year-old Larouci into the air and led to him being carried off on a stretcher.

"It is much too early in the season to create headlines by saying the things I think about the situation," Klopp said after the game, which Liverpool lost 2-1.

The German manager was watching his words, but midfielder James Milner described the challenge - for which Gnagon has apologised - as a "disgrace".

"Was it too much? I thought so, yes," Milner told LFCTV.

"We know it's only a friendly, but you don't see many red cards in friendlies, do you? You don't normally see too many tackles like that."

Sevilla midfielder Ever Banega could also have been sent off in the first half of a feisty friendly for catching Harry Wilson with an elbow.

Former Manchester City forward Nolito had curled Sevilla in front before Liverpool's Champions League hero Divock Origi thrilled a 35,654 crowd with an equaliser.

Liverpool fielded a whole new XI after the break, with the predictable impact on the flow of the game - but after Gnagon's dismissal, the La Liga side still found a late winner through substitute Alejandro Pozo.

'He hit him full throttle'

On another brutally hot evening on the east coast of the United States - with temperatures at 34C at kick-off - Klopp ended a fiery first half by exchanging words with Sevilla's former Spain boss Julen Lopetegui.

Banega had already gone in hard on at least one occasion when he brought the opening period to an end by flattening Wilson with the second of two swinging arms. He would surely have seen red as well on another night.

There were more spiky challenges from both sides in a 15-minute spell at the end of the first half, before Gnagon swiped into the shins of Larouci, who later got on the team bus using crutches and with a brace on his leg.

"It looks like Larouci was lucky but we have to wait. He hit him full throttle. Harry got a knock on his cheekbone and his eye so that was not too cool," Klopp added.

"In general, I don't like overly hard games. The challenge is there to win the ball, that's the only reason. There are rules. I don't want to say anything specific about this game because there will be headlines. I want to have a holiday in Spain again."

Yasser Larouci pictured on a stretcher 'I apologise for an odious act'

Klopp said that there was no need for Sevilla to apologise, but after the game Gnagon did just that, calling his challenge "an odious act", while the La Liga side tweeted that they wish Larouci "a full and fast recovery".

Lopetegui said "it was possibly a red card", adding that his 22-year-old French defender was "very worried because he knows it is a bad tackle and not a good decision".

Klopp insisted he "hates losing", even in a friendly where he was still without his first-choice front three and goalkeeper, among "seven or eight" missing personnel.

The European champions had started the game well, with right-back Trent Alexander-Arnold marking his first start of pre-season by creating a chance for Ben Woodburn, while Origi had an effort well saved by former Fulham keeper Sergio Rico.

But Sevilla then grew into the game, with former Newcastle forward Luuk de Jong wasting two free headers before Jesus Navas found his former City team-mate Nolito to curl home.

Andy Lonergan, a 35-year-old goalkeeper who most recently turned out for Rochdale against Scunthorpe in front of 3,361 people, then saved brilliantly from De Jong before Origi blasted in from a corner to level.

The game appeared to be petering out into a draw when Pozo kept his feet well to dance around second-half keeper Simon Mignolet and slot home the winner for the 10 men.

Liverpool head to New York and another tough game against Sporting Lisbon on Wednesday, and face Manchester City in the Community Shield in 13 days' time.

"I can blame nobody for our opponents because I planned the pre-season," Klopp said.

"It's pretty rare that we play the best football on the first matchday, but we want results - and that is what we are working on."

Full teams

Liverpool: Lonergan (Mignolet), Alexander-Arnold (Hoever), Phillips (Gomez), Van Dijk (Lovren), Robertson (Larouci (Duncan), Wijnaldum (Milner), Henderson (Fabinho), Oxlade-Chamberlain (Jones), Woodburn (Kent), Wilson (Lewis), Origi (Brewster).

Subs: Mignolet, Atherton, Fabinho, Lovren, Milner, Gomez, Brewster, Matip, Kent, Lewis, Jones, Hoever, Duncan, Larouci.

Sevilla: Rico (Vaclik), Navas (Corchia), Carrico (Kounde), Carlos (Kjaer (Wober)), Reguilon (Escudero), Banega (Vazquez), Jordan (Ben Yedder), Fernando (Oliver), Ocampos (Gnagon), De Jong (Munir), Nolito (Dabbur (Pozo)).

Subs: Diaz, Vaclik, Munir, Vazquez, Ben Yedder, Gnagon, Dabour, Kjaer, Wober, Kounde, Pozo, Alonso, Escudero, Corchia, Jimenez, Torres.

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Liverpool & Man City: Could Reds' attacking absences derail Premier League bid?

Sat, 07/20/2019 - 14:48
Liverpool trio Roberto Firmino, Mohamed Salah and Sadio Mane

Liverpool and Manchester City recorded two of the three highest points totals in Premier League history last season, with both teams' attacking players essential parts of their success.

City scored a record 169 goals in all competitions, with seven players reaching double figures. the Reds were also a potent force, but only three of their squad scored more than seven goals.

The 2019-20 season is only a matter of weeks away - the two teams meet in the Community Shield at Wembley on 4 August - and the Premier League is again expected to be dominated by last term's top two.

But while City boast a depth of attacking talent like few others, Liverpool relied heavily last season on Mohamed Salah, Sadio Mane and Roberto Firmino - all of whom are absent from their pre-season tour of the United States because of their international exploits this summer.

Does that lack of rest and preparation time leave the Reds at a disadvantage? And do they need a plan B?

A summer off? Forget about it

Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp has already suggested he will have to manage the return of his front three through the opening weeks of the season - a concern, surely, given that the Reds lost only once in 2018-19 and still did not win the league.

Mane's season only finished on Friday, when Senegal lost 1-0 to Algeria in the Africa Cup of Nations final, 363 days after he began his pre-season training for the 2018-19 campaign.

That's just 16 days before the Community Shield, while the European champions then have three games in nine days - including their opening Premier League match against Norwich and a Uefa Super Cup final against Europa League winners Chelsea - all of which Mane could miss.

Salah was also involved in Afcon with Egypt, while Firmino helped Brazil win the Copa America.

City, who will be aiming for a third straight league title, also have absentees from their pre-season tour of the Far East. Gabriel Jesus was alongside Firmino for Brazil, Sergio Aguero was also involved in the Copa America and Riyad Mahrez was on Afcon duty with Algeria - but their squad depth means forwards Raheem Sterling, Bernardo Silva and Leroy Sane have already played friendly matches.

"I don't want to sound like a moaner, but Mane's season has been 13 months long," said Klopp.

"Have you ever heard of a year with 13 months in it? We need to see how we deal with it. The Brazilians finished the season on an absolute high winning two trophies. For Mo it was slightly different, but I'm constantly in contact with him and all three of them are fine.

"We have important games to come and we know pretty much which players are available. Hopefully we can go through this period without any injuries and let's prepare the group we have around for the first couple of games. Then Sadio should be in as well and fresh enough to go again."

Are Liverpool more reliant on their attackers than Man City?

In a word, yes.

The inevitable consequence of boasting one of world football's deadliest attacking trios is that you want to play them whenever possible.

While City manager Pep Guardiola had the luxury of rotating his first-choice forward line of Sterling, Aguero and Bernardo Silva last season - bringing in the likes of Mahrez, Sane, Jesus and Phil Foden - Klopp only tinkered with his forward line when he absolutely had to.

The Reds depended heavily on Salah, Mane and Firmino, with the trio contributing 63% of their Premier League goals. The figure for City's first-choice front three was much lower, at 47%.

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And there must be a concern that a heavy workload last season, plus their summer matches, means Liverpool's key players could be at risk of burnout this term.

Mane, for instance, racked up 4,306 minutes of club football last season. Only 18 outfield players in Europe's top five leagues played more in all competitions - Salah being one of them (4,337).

The Senegalese played a further 944 minutes of international football in 10 games since August 2018.

Mane and Salah played more minutes than any City forward last season, despite Guardiola's side still being involved in four competitions until 18 April, when they were knocked out of the Champions League by Tottenham.

City's busiest attacker was Sterling, who clocked up 4,096 minutes, but the most games he played in a row was 10 - a stark contrast to Salah's run of 50 consecutive appearances. City also had six forwards who played more than 2,000 minutes. Liverpool only had three, who were all way over the 3,000 mark.

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Firmino may have played almost 1,000 fewer minutes than team-mate Mane but he was still more active than City's main striker Aguero. The Brazilian added a further 500 minutes of international football at the Copa America this summer, too.

Since August 2017, Salah has played 8,457 minutes for the Reds - ranking him ninth in Europe's top five leagues for minutes played in that period.

Most minutes by outfield players in all competitions among Europe's top five leagues since August 20171. Cesar Azpilicueta (Chelsea) - 9,5916. Ivan Rakitic (Barcelona) - 8,5032. Gerard Pique (Barcelona) - 8,8247. Sergio Busquets (Barcelona) - 8,4973. Saul (Atletico Madrid) - 8,6658. Lionel Messi (Barcelona) - 8,4924. Luis Suarez (Barcelona) - 8,5729. Mohamed Salah (Liverpool) - 8,4575. Jordi Alba (Barcelona) - 8,51110. Marcelo (Real Madrid) - 8,416

He started all but one of the 38 Premier League games last season, coming on as a substitute against Burnley in December, while Mane missed just two matches, starting 35.

Firmino was involved in 34 games, including 31 from the start, while back-up striker Divock Origi managed just 673 minutes in all competitions.

Liverpool's front three played 12,047 minutes between them. The only game in which at least two of the three did not start was against Barcelona in the second leg of the Champions League semi-final.

City's trio of Aguero, Sterling and Silva played a lower total of 11,489 minutes, despite the domestic treble winners being involved in seven more games in the 2018-19 season (City - 60, Liverpool - 53).

Guardiola's ability to rotate his squad was helped by the signing of Mahrez last summer - the Algerian bought from Leicester for £60m despite the fact City had just become the first Premier League team to reach 100 points.

Mahrez was the only City player in action for more than 10 consecutive games last season.

So what is Liverpool's plan B? Divock Origi in action for Liverpool against Borussia Dortmund

BBC Sport's Tom Rostance at Notre Dame Stadium, Indiana

With first-choice front three Salah, Mane and Firmino all missing this US trip, the 3-2 defeat by Borussia Dortmund on Friday was a chance to see Klopp's back-up options. Or maybe the back-ups to the back-up options, given Xherdan Shaqiri is absent with a calf injury and Adam Lallana sat out the match with a dead leg.

Harry Wilson, who scored 18 goals on loan at Derby last season, started along with Ryan Kent, who impressed at Steven Gerrard's Rangers in 2018-19. Champions League hero Origi played through the middle.

Wilson was the pick - he linked up well with Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain in a fine early counter-attack which saw Kent denied at the far post by Dortmund keeper Marwin Hitz when he should have scored.

Wilson was then also denied when he tried to lob the keeper, before the two combined to equalise. Fabinho's pass was dummied by Kent, Wilson took a touch and steered coolly into the far corner.

The duo combined again before half-time, Wilson finding Kent, who went around the keeper but couldn't get a shot away.

Origi earned himself a new long-term deal with some legendary cameos on the way to Champions League glory and will surely start the season, but the question is who will be alongside him?

Could it be Rhian Brewster? The youngster, who former Liverpool player Jason McAteer told gleeful Reds fans before the game reminded him "a bit of Ian Rush, a bit of Robbie Fowler", took his penalty brilliantly for his fourth goal in this pre-season, but was quiet apart from that in his half hour.

While this was a long way from the team that lined up in crucial games towards the end of last season, the potential absence of key players early in the season means places are up for grabs.

We will find out if anyone can press more of a claim to take one of them when Liverpool face Sevilla on Sunday.

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Liverpool 2-3 Borussia Dortmund: Jurgen Klopp 'learns nothing' from pre-season defeat

Sat, 07/20/2019 - 06:54
Rhian Brewster

Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp called his side's pre-season loss to his former club Borussia Dortmund "an important session" but said he learned nothing from the defeat in Indiana.

Harry Wilson and Rhian Brewster scored for the European champions but goals from Paco Alcacer, Thomas Delaney and Jacob Bruun Larsen were enough for Dortmund to take a deserved 3-2 win at the University of Notre Dame.

The game was played in stifling temperatures of 33C - in a ground hosting its first football match.

Just two of the side who started the Champions League final played for the first hour against a strong Dortmund XI, but Klopp tried to take positives from the first game of a three-match trip to the US.

"You could see that Dortmund are a step further in their preparations but there was a lot of good things for us as well," he said.

"How we conceded goals was a lack of organisation, but it is very difficult to have that at this stage.

"Really I learned nothing. But it is difficult when the ball isn't rolling. It was a tough night for both teams - it was really warm.

"I don't like what I see in a game in pre-season very often but there is always a reason for it. I am not over the moon with our performance but I know there is lots to come."

Wilson pick of the bunch

Liverpool are without their first-choice front three in the US as Mohamed Salah, Sadio Mane and Roberto Firmino bring arduous international summers to an end.

Without them - and the injured Xherdan Shaqiri - Klopp started last season's cameo hero Divock Origi flanked by Harry Wilson and Ryan Kent, who both shone on loan last season.

Wilson, 22, scored 18 times while playing under Frank Lampard at Derby and will probably be back out on loan again by the time the transfer window closes, but showed calm in front of goal when he ran on to Fabinho's excellent pass to equalise.

Kent helped make the goal with a fine dummy, but should already have scored when his shot was well saved by Marwin Hitz.

Brewster, 19, was one of 10 planned changes on the hour mark and scored his fourth goal of pre-season with an emphatic penalty late on.

Soft goals in South Bend

A second-string Liverpool defence looking understandably rusty at times as they conceded goals early in each half.

Nathaniel Clyne's very pre-season attempt to clear a third-minute cross allowed Alcacer to smash the opener past Simon Mignolet, and Dortmund - who made nine changes at half-time - then scored two quick goals after the restart.

New signing Thorgan Hazard crossed for Delaney to tap in after a corner was not dealt with, and Larsen then finished sharply from a Marius Wolf cross after teenage left-back Yasser Larouci was caught on the ball.

Other than that academy product Larouci, born in Algeria but also qualified to play for France, was sharp enough, with Klopp praising him for dealing with "one of the biggest talents in world football" in the shape of the largely anonymous English forward Jadon Sancho during the first half.

Reds light up red-hot Indiana

An excessive heat warning had been declared in Northern Indiana, and after a baking hot day temperatures in South Bend were still touching 33C at kick-off.

That had not stopped the bulk of a 40,361 crowd from turning up four hours before kick-off to 'tailgate' - loudly sing, eat and drink in the car parks outside the impressive Notre Dame Stadium.

The ground was just over half full, but those who had shelled out between $50 and $600 (£40-£480) for a ticket - and another $60 to park the car - made plenty of noise throughout what one fan told me was "the biggest thing to hit town since Garth Brooks".

The tour now moves on to Boston and a game against Sevilla on Sunday, before ending in New York and Sporting Lisbon on Wednesday.

Liverpool: Mignolet, Clyne (Alexander-Arnold), Matip (Lovren), Gomez (Van Dijk), Larouci (Robertson), Fabinho (Henderson), Milner (Wijnaldum), Oxlade-Chamberlain (Lewis), Wilson (Jones), Kent (Woodburn), Origi (Brewster).

Subs: Lonergan, Atherton, Van Dijk, Wijnaldum, Lovren, Henderson, Brewster, Robertson, Lewis, Phillips, Jones, Hoever, Woodburn, Alexander-Arnold.

Dortmund: Hitz, Piszczek (Morey), Toprak (Balerdi), Hummels (Pherai), Guerreiro (Schulz), Weigl (Witsel), Reyna (Bruun Larsen), Brandt (Delaney), Sancho (Reus), Gotze (Wolf), Alcacer (Hazard)

Subs: Delaney, Reus, Schulz, Balerdi, Philipp, Morey, Hazard, Wolf, Witsel, Bruun Larsen, Pherai, Oelschlagel

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Liverpool captain Jordan Henderson hungry for more trophies

Thu, 07/18/2019 - 21:04
Liverpool

Liverpool captain Jordan Henderson says the European champions are determined to "keep making history" by winning more major trophies.

The Reds are in the United States for a pre-season tour which sees them face Borussia Dortmund on Friday.

And Henderson says securing the European Cup trophy for the sixth time in the club's history has made the players desperate for more silverware.

"It's given us a taste of success and we want more of that." he said.

Liverpool

"We have shown that we can win a major trophy and we want to keep making history for this club and this team. We are very confident we can do that."

It is less than two months since Henderson lifted the Champions League trophy but with the Community Shield against Manchester City kicking off their season on 4 August Henderson knows that there is much work to do to get up to speed.

Liverpool's first-choice front three of Mo Salah, Sadio Mane and Roberto Firmino are all absent from the US trip after rigorous international summers - with Mane set to play in the African Nations Cup final on Friday for Senegal.

"We have shown in the last few years that we are always getting better. We just want to continue on that path," Henderson added.

"The experiences of the Champions League and the Premier League last year can help us this season.

"Football changes quickly, you can only focus on what's in front of you. We will never forget what happened in Madrid [when Liverpool lost the 2018 Champions league final against Real Madrid] but we can use that in the right way. We want to achieve more as a team and be as successful as we can be.

"We are capable of competing on all fronts in every competition we are in. The manager may want to bring players in but, if not, we have a fantastic squad of players who are hungry and can keep us on track.

"We have to keep learning from the manager and I'm sure if we do that there will be more success stories to tell in the future."

England midfielders Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain and Adam Lallana should both feature against Dortmund after missing large parts of last season through injury, with Lallana being used in a deeper role similar to that played by Jorginho at Chelsea last season so far in pre-season.

'Manchester City are the big favourites again'

Klopp, who called the Dortmund game at Notre Dame Stadium in Indiana Liverpool's "first proper test of pre-season", says that he is not worried about trying to match last season's remarkable points total in the Premier League.

Liverpool lost just once on their way to 97 points but were pipped by Manchester City.

"It makes no sense to compare seasons," he said.

"If we lose two games this year instead of one - but win the other 36, we will have more points. You just have to be there at the end of the season and then the best team wins.

"It would be great if we can be around Manchester City again. It is already clear that they are the big favourites again, no problem with that.

"They wouldn't have 98 points if we hadn't been around, we wouldn't have got 97 if they weren't around."

Klopp says he does not yet know when Mane will return to the club after his Afcon exploits, but will have to manage the return of his front three through the first few weeks of the season.

"I don't want to look like a moaner but Sadio Mane's season finishes tomorrow night," he said.

"That is difficult, 13 months long. We have to prepare him for the season, hopefully we can get through this period without any injuries, that would be really cool."

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Liverpool: Kamil Grabara signs new deal then joins Huddersfield on loan

Mon, 07/15/2019 - 20:31
Kamil Grabar in action for Poland at the European Under-21 Championships

Liverpool goalkeeper Kamil Grabara has signed a new contract with the European champions before immediately joining Huddersfield on a season-long loan.

The 20-year-old agreed a new "long-term" deal with the Reds, who he joined in 2016 from Polish side Ruch Chorzow.

Grabara is yet to make a first-team appearance for Liverpool and spent time on loan with AGF Aarhus in the Danish top flight last season.

He featured for Poland at the European Under-21 Championships.

Find all the latest football transfers on our dedicated page.

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Bradford City v Liverpool play in front of 24,343 in aid of Stephen Darby Foundation

Mon, 07/15/2019 - 10:51
Sell-out crowd of nearly 25,000 at Valley Parade

A sell-out crowd saw European champions Liverpool beat Bradford in a match to raise funds for the Motor Neurone Disease charity set up by former Reds and Bantams defender Stephen Darby.

The 30-year-old launched the Darby Rimmer MND Foundation along with Chris Rimmer after retiring last September.

Darby gave an emotional speech before the game, which Liverpool won 3-1.

England Women's captain Steph Houghton, Darby's wife, was one of 24,343 in attendance at Valley Parade.

Darby came through the youth ranks at Liverpool and played 239 times for the Bantams between 2012 and 2017, but was forced to retire from football in September after being diagnosed with the disease.

Liverpool boss Jurgen Klopp told the Liverpool website: "If you play one game for Liverpool's first team or 400, it doesn't matter - you are one of us."

The highest crowd at Valley Parade since the ground reopened in 1986 saw two James Milner goals and a Rhian Brewster strike put Liverpool 3-0 up before Eoin Doyle netted from the penalty spot for the home side in the second half.

Bradford boss Gary Bowyer told BBC Radio Leeds it was an "unbelievable day".

"It shows the measure of support for Stephen Darby Chris Rimmer and the foundation," he said.

"It's been massive and we have raised lots of awareness."

MND is a degenerative condition that affects how nerves in the brain and spinal cord function. There is currently no cure.

England Women's captain Steph Houghton and Stephen Darby James Milner, Harry Wilson and Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain Stephen Darby Gary Bowyer (left) and Jurgen Klopp

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EFL Trophy draw: Manchester United & Liverpool U21 sides discover opponents

Fri, 07/12/2019 - 13:12
Brett Pitman

The 16 invited under-21 sides - including Manchester United and Liverpool - have discovered who they will play in the group stage of the 2019-20 EFL Trophy.

The pair, along with Aston Villa, have entered the competition for the first time, joining the 48 clubs from League One and League Two.

United are in Northern Group H with Doncaster, Rotherham and Lincoln.

Liverpool will face Accrington, Oldham and Fleetwood in Northern Group B.

The top two teams in each group will progress to the knockout stage, which remains regionalised until the quarter-finals.

The final, won by Portsmouth last season, will take place on Sunday, 5 April 2020 at Wembley.

Liverpool striker Rhian Brewster Northern groups

A: Grimsby Town, Scunthorpe United, Sunderland, Leicester City U21

B: Accrington Stanley, Oldham Athletic, Fleetwood Town, Liverpool U21

C: Bury, Salford City, Tranmere Rovers, Aston Villa U21

D: Port Vale, Shrewsbury Town, Macclesfield Town, Newcastle United U21

E: Crewe Alexandra, Burton Albion, Mansfield Town, Everton U21

F: Bolton Wanderers, Bradford City, Rochdale, Manchester City U21

G: Blackpool, Carlisle United, Morecambe, Wolverhampton Wanderers U21

H: Doncaster Rovers, Rotherham United, Lincoln City, Manchester United U21

Southern groups

A: Gillingham, Colchester United, Ipswich Town, Tottenham Hotspur U21

B: Crawley Town, Portsmouth, Oxford United, Norwich City U21

C: Leyton Orient, AFC Wimbledon, Southend United, Brighton & Hove Albion U21

D: Coventry City, Forest Green Rovers, Walsall, Southampton U21

E: Exeter City, Cheltenham Town, Newport County, West Ham United U21

F: Swindon Town, Bristol Rovers, Plymouth Argyle, Chelsea U21

G: Stevenage, MK Dons, Wycombe Wanderers, Fulham U21

H: Peterborough United, Cambridge United, Northampton Town, Arsenal U21

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Peter Crouch retires: Ex-England, Liverpool, Tottenham & Burnley striker ends career

Fri, 07/12/2019 - 11:39

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Former England striker Peter Crouch has ended his playing career aged 38 after more than 21 years as a professional.

The former Portsmouth, Aston Villa, Liverpool and Stoke striker was out of contract at Burnley in June.

Crouch played for a total of 11 clubs and earned 42 England caps.

"If you told me at 17 I'd play in World Cups, get to a Champions League final, win the FA Cup and get 100 Premier League goals, I would have avoided you at all costs," Crouch wrote on Twitter.

"It's been an absolute dream come true. Our wonderful game has given me everything. I'm so thankful to everyone who helped me get there and helped me stay there for so long."

Crouch gained notoriety for his trademark 'robot' goal celebration

Crouch said his decision to retire arrived "after a lot of deliberation".

Having started his career at Tottenham, he had spells on loan at Dulwich Hamlet and IFK Hassleholm before moving to Queens Park Rangers.

He then moved to Portsmouth, Aston Villa, Norwich on loan, Southampton, Liverpool, Portsmouth again, Tottenham, Stoke and Burnley.

He scored 108 goals in 468 Premier League appearances and won the FA Cup in 2005-06 with Liverpool and played in the Champions League final in 2007 as part of Rafael Benitez's side.

Crouch admitted the prospect of retirement was "scary" and writing in the Daily Mail added: "To go from being a regular starter to someone whose role is limited to 10 or 15 minutes off the bench has been hard to accept.

"I will be 39 in January but I am physically fit and could have carried on. What I didn't want to be was someone who was thrown on to have balls smashed up to them."

The 6ft 7in striker, who scored 22 times for England, was more adept with his feet than his head despite his stature - scenario he demonstrated with eye-catching volleys for both Stoke and Liverpool.

His trademark 'robot' celebration gained him notoriety and later in his career he was part of the successful 'That Peter Crouch Podcast'.

More to follow.

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Divock Origi: Liverpool striker signs long-term contract

Wed, 07/10/2019 - 18:04
Divock Origi

Striker Divock Origi has signed a new long-term contract with Liverpool after helping them win the Champions League.

The Reds paid £10m to sign the Belgium international, 24, from Lille in 2014 on a five-year deal.

Origi was loaned out to Wolfsburg for the 2017-18 season but returned to have a big impact at the end of last term.

After scoring twice against Barcelona in the Champions League semi-finals, he claimed the goal which clinched a 2-0 win over Tottenham in the final.

More to follow.

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Barcelona fountain-push football fan banned from matches

Wed, 07/10/2019 - 13:05

A football fan who pushed a man into a fountain in Barcelona has been banned from attending matches for three years.

Anthony Mullen, 57, had "targeted and humiliated" the Spanish man before Liverpool's Champions League semi-final in May, police said.

He was also found to have pulled down the trousers of a steward near Anfield stadium the following week.

Mullen, of Livingstone Drive North, Aigburth, was handed the banning order at South Sefton Magistrates Court.

His actions in the Placa Reial area of the Catalan capital were captured in videos posted on social media, while others were seen laughing and taunting.

'Innocent men humiliated'

At the time, Liverpool FC said such behaviour was "clearly totally unacceptable and will not be tolerated".

Mullen also pulled down the trousers of a steward when Liverpool played Wolverhampton Wanderers in a home match later the same month.

Supt Paul White, of Merseyside Police, described the incidents as "shocking" and said "two innocent men" had been "targeted and humiliated" by Mullen.

He thanked fans for their help in identifying Mullen and said the force did not want the "mindless acts of a few" to reflect on the football club and city.

The ban also prevents Mullen from being within two miles of Anfield before and after matches, and from travelling to cities when Liverpool play away fixtures.

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Alberto Moreno: Villarreal sign former Liverpool defender

Tue, 07/09/2019 - 17:56
Alberto Moreno holding the Champions League trophy

Villarreal have signed former Liverpool defender Alberto Moreno on a free transfer.

Moreno, 27, has signed a five-year contract with the Spanish side.

The defender, who has been capped four times by Spain, was released by Liverpool last month after five seasons at Anfield.

He played 141 times for the club, having signed from Sevilla in August 2014.

Moreno was first-choice left-back left for two seasons but lost his place to James Milner and then Andy Robertson and made just five appearances in all competitions last season.

He was among the substitutes as Jurgen Klopp's side beat Tottenham in the Champions League final in Madrid last month to lift the trophy for a sixth time.

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Harvey Elliott to Liverpool: Can you name the Premier League's youngest players?

Tue, 07/09/2019 - 08:47
Harvey Elliott

Liverpool look set to sign Fulham midfielder Harvey Elliott - who last season became the youngest Premier League player when he came on as a substitute for the Cottagers against Wolves in May.

Elliott made his first appearance aged just 16 years and 30 days to end a record that had stood for 12 years, but can you name the next 10 youngest players in Premier League history?

Can you name the youngest players to feature in the Premier league?How to play

Score: 0 / 1003:00 Disable TimerStart quizYou scored 0/10Share your score with your friends!Facebook Twitter WhatsApp Copy and share link

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Harvey Elliott: Liverpool set to sign Fulham teenager

Mon, 07/08/2019 - 15:37
Harvey Elliott

Liverpool are poised to beat Real Madrid and Paris St-Germain to the signature of Fulham's teenage midfielder Harvey Elliott.

Elliott became the youngest player to feature in the Premier League when he came on as a substitute against Wolverhampton Wanderers in May, aged just 16 years and 30 days.

He cannot turn professional until his 17th birthday next April, but it is understood he will reject a scholarship at Craven Cottage and move to the Champions League winners.

If, as expected, Liverpool win the race to sign Elliott, they will have to negotiate a compensation package with Fulham as the England Under-17 international is regarded as a highly prized prospect.

Elliott, who also attracted attention from Arsenal and Manchester City, will become the second emerging talent to join Liverpool this summer after 17-year-old Dutch defender Sepp van den Berg moved from PEC Zwolle.

Liverpool paid an initial £1.3m for Van den Berg, which could rise to a maximum of £4.4m depending on add-ons.

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Liverpool, Arsenal, Tottenham and Chelsea fans seek Uefa final changes

Fri, 07/05/2019 - 20:28
Celebrating Liverpool fans holding up scarves and banners

Fan groups from Liverpool, Arsenal, Chelsea and Tottenham have called for support from Europe to demand Uefa improve access to major finals.

The four clubs contested the Champions League and Europa League finals last season but issues around ticket prices and travel prompted heavy criticism.

The fan groups hope their six-point proposal wins approval by Football Supporters Europe (FSE) on Saturday.

FSE represents fans across Europe and can take the proposals to Uefa.

Liverpool's Spirit of Shankly Supporters' Union, Arsenal Supporters' Trust, Tottenham Hotspur Supporters' Trust and Chelsea Supporters Trust believe support from FSE is vital in trying to create change.

The groups say "supporters deserve much better when the finals are played".

What are the six proposals?
  • Allocations: 80% of the total number of tickets for the finals should be made available to the supporters of the two competing teams (40% each) with the remaining 20% to be for sponsors, the football family, key stakeholders and a small general sale or ballot.
  • Affordability: Pricing for the finals should be fair and affordable, with at least 45% of general admission tickets priced at the lowest category of 70 euros (2019 prices). There could be a stretch pricing policy so there is a choice for fans.
  • Capacity: Only stadiums with sufficiently large capacities should be selected. This would allow more tickets to be made available for the fans of both teams as well as the football family. It is proposed the ideal capacity for a Champions League final is in the region of 75,000 or greater, and for the Europa League final in the region of 55,000 or greater.
  • Accessibility and facilities: Any stadium considered must have the highest standards on accessibility for people with disabilities including travel access to the stadium. Any stadium considered must also have sufficient food and drink outlets and washrooms for all supporters, the ability to operate an e-ticketing system and not have been subject to a Uefa charge for treatment of fans or crowd management within the last 24 months at the time of selection.
  • Infrastructure: Final venues should be cities with excellent transport links, including capacity to deal with many additional charter flights and, ideally, good rail links to other cities and airports within reasonable travel distance. There should also be bed space capacity to deal with an extremely high number of visitors.
  • Equality: Host countries should apply no discrimination of any kind to any player or to supporters who wish to travel to the final. Countries staging finals should guarantee to abide by a human rights and equality policy that includes ensuring no discrimination or restriction on entry is applied to any player or supporter.

Liverpool secured a Champions League final win over Tottenham in Madrid on 1 June, while Chelsea claimed the Europa League with victory over Arsenal in Baku, Azerbaijan, on 29 May.

In the build-up to the finals, supporters' groups told BBC Sport they would raise issues fans were facing early in the next season rather than wait to see how teams reaching the finals in 2019-20 were treated.

Liverpool and Tottenham were given 33,286 of the 68,000 tickets for the Madrid final, with tickets appearing on resale website Stubhub priced from 3,450 euros (£3,012).

Arsenal and Chelsea shared just 12,000 of 68,700 seats for their final, with fans highly critical of the logistical difficulties involved with getting to Baku.

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Danny Ings: Southampton sign Liverpool striker for £20m

Mon, 07/01/2019 - 17:01
Danny Ings

Striker Danny Ings has completed his £20m move from Liverpool to Southampton.

The former Burnley forward joined the Saints on a season-long loan deal in August 2018 and they were committed to making the switch permanent on 1 July.

Ings, 26, scored seven goals in 24 games for the south coast side as they finished 16th in the Premier League.

The England international had joined Liverpool from Burnley for £8m in 2015 and scored three goals for the Reds.

Burnley will get 20% of the profit Liverpool made on the sale, meaning they are set to receive £2.3m.

Ings played for Southampton's academy but was released at the age of 10 and subsequently joined Bournemouth.

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Marko Grujic: Liverpool midfielder returns to Hertha Berlin on season-long loan

Mon, 07/01/2019 - 11:01
Marko Grujic

Liverpool midfielder Marko Grujic has completed a season-long loan move to Bundesliga side Hertha Berlin.

The 23-year-old Serb impressed on loan at Hertha last term.

He has agreed to move back despite late interest from Brighton and Hove Albion and Atalanta in Italy.

Liverpool will receive a £2m loan fee plus £500,000 in potential bonuses. Hertha will pay his wages and there is also a penalty structure in the deal to guard against a lack of game time.

Pal Dardai, who was coach at Hertha last season, described Grujic as "by the far the best midfielder I've seen in my time at the club" - which covered 22 years including time as a player and on the coaching staff.

Dardai has been replaced by Croatian Ante Covic but Grujic is happy Hertha is the best place for him to continue his career before returning to Anfield.

Grujic is very much in Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp's thoughts and the plan is for him to be an important part of Liverpool's squad for the 2020-21 season.

Klopp has been impressed by Grujic's maturity and attitude as well his decision to stay at Hertha despite interest from elsewhere. He believes the club provides the ideal platform for the youngster.

Grujic also had a successful loan spell at Cardiff City, who were desperate to keep him after his time in south Wales.

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Wimbledon 2019: Kyle Edmund visits Liverpool for a behind-the-scenes tour

Fri, 06/28/2019 - 06:21

British number one Kyle Edmund gets an access-all-areas pass to see European champions Liverpool at work before he competes at Wimbledon.

The Liverpool fan meets Jurgen Klopp, Jordan Henderson and many more on a special behind-the-scenes tour with BBC Sport's David Ornstein.

Read more: I'm living dream as British number one - Edmund

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Dietmar Hamann: Ex-Liverpool midfielder pleads not guilty to assault charge

Thu, 06/27/2019 - 07:50
Former Liverpool and Germany midfielder Dietmar Hamann

Former Germany and Liverpool midfielder Dietmar Hamann has pleaded not guilty after being charged with common assault in Australia.

The 45-year-old, who did not appear in court, allegedly assaulted his partner in the early hours of 21 June and was released on bail last week.

The case was adjourned until 12 December after his lawyer entered the not guilty plea in Sydney on Thursday.

Hamann, who won 59 caps for Germany, remains subject to bail conditions.

A member of Liverpool's 2005 Champions League winning side during a seven-year stay, Hamann has been in Australia on an extended holiday since 2018.

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