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Updated: 7 hours 3 min ago

Confirmed: Liverpool's 23-man squad for Barcelona tie

Tue, 04/30/2019 - 14:59

Roberto Firmino has been included in Liverpool's 23-man squad for the Champions League trip to Barcelona.

The Brazil striker missed the Reds’ victory over Huddersfield Town on Friday night due to a slight muscle strain, but has travelled to Spain for the first leg of the semi-final tie.

Fabinho was among the players who departed Liverpool’s John Lennon airport on Tuesday afternoon after he too missed the last fixture following a clash of heads at Cardiff City.

Rhian Brewster has also been included in the squad for the contest at Camp Nou.

Liverpool squad for Barcelona: Fabinho, Van Dijk, Wijnaldum, Lovren, Milner, Keita, Firmino, Mane, Salah, Gomez, Alisson, Henderson, Sturridge, Moreno, Oxlade-Chamberlain, Mignolet, Shaqiri, Brewster, Robertson, Origi, Matip, Kelleher, Alexander-Arnold.

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45 Melwood photos: Reds train before Barca trip

Tue, 04/30/2019 - 14:36

Liverpool trained at Melwood on Tuesday prior to heading to Barcelona for the first leg of their Champions League semi-final tie.

Check out our gallery of 45 images of the Reds' session below.

Check out the full LFC training range and buy your own by clicking here.  

Photos by John and Andrew Powell

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Inside Anfield: A fresh look at LFC 5-0 Huddersfield

Tue, 04/30/2019 - 14:22

Inside Anfield offers a different perspective on Liverpool's superb 5-0 victory over Huddersfield Town.

The Reds made it 10 wins in a row in all competitions by beating Jan Siewert's side in comprehensive fashion last Friday night.

And, as usual, LFCTV GO's cameras were granted exclusive access to areas of the ground including the players' tunnel before, during and after the 90 minutes to capture the story of the game from a fresh angle.

Watch the latest edition of Inside Anfield above.

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Match report: Bearne goal earns U18s' win over City

Tue, 04/30/2019 - 13:03

Liverpool U18s followed up their FA Youth Cup final win by overcoming Manchester City again with a 1-0 league victory on Tuesday.

Jack Bearne struck early on at the Etihad Campus to ensure the young Reds overcame the Blues for the second time in the space of five days. 

Victory means Barry Lewtas’ team sit three points adrift of U18 Premier League North leaders Derby County - who completed their season by beating Wolverhampton Wanderers 6-0 at the weekend - ahead of their last game of the campaign against Middlesbrough on Saturday.

However, the young Rams’ superior goal difference makes a turnaround at the top unlikely, with Liverpool already guaranteed to finish second in the division.

The visitors - playing with three central defenders and Neco Williams and Yasser Larouci as wing-backs - started on the front foot and City goalkeeper Cieran Slicker had already made two saves to deny Luis Longstaff and Larouci before Bearne’s 12th-minute opener.

Bobby Duncan set up the forward with a fine through-ball, and he subsequently rounded Slicker and slotted home his fourth goal of the campaign.

Bearne forced Slicker into action again midway through the half after he’d cut inside from the left flank, before City’s ‘keeper stopped Duncan’s goal-bound effort following a neat turn by Liverpool’s No.10.

City, though, ended the first half strongly. 

Keyendrah Simmonds’ shot from range went narrowly wide of Vitezslav Jaros’ goal, and nobody was on hand to convert Noah Ohio’s dangerous low cross two minutes before a break that came at the right time for the young Reds.

It was Liverpool who seized back control of proceedings immediately after the interval, however.

Slicker bested Duncan in a one-on-one created by Matteo Ritaccio’s excellent pass, and the ‘keeper prevented Bearne from doubling his tally on the hour mark after he’d escaped his defender with a brilliant turn.

The chances kept coming for Lewtas’ side, too, with substitute Abdi Sharif having an effort cleared off the line and Bearne rattling the post late on, but one goal proved enough to secure an impressive win.

Liverpool U18s: Jaros, N. Williams, R. Williams, Savage, Boyes, Larouci, Ritaccio (Sharif, 64), Dixon-Bonner (Clarkson, 52), Bearne, Longstaff, Duncan (O’Rourke, 86).

Unused substitutes: Winterbottom, Brookwell.

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Niamh Fahey named PFA Community Champion

Tue, 04/30/2019 - 11:30

Liverpool FC Women defender Niamh Fahey has been presented with the Professional Footballers Association’s Community Champion Award.

The award aims to raise awareness of the support PFA members provide to their club's community initiatives throughout the season.

Fahey was recognised for attending multiple events over the course of the season, notably appearing alongside manager Vicky Jepson at a local girls high school to provide a training session for budding footballers and assisting GCSE students with their coursework.

On receiving the award, Ireland international Fahey said: “I’m delighted to accept this award for PFA Community Champion on behalf of the team. I’m very honoured and I’m looking forward to continuing the work again next year.”

Jepson added: “Niamh is a fantastic role model to many young people in our community and has attended many events this season, sharing her football journey to inspire the next generation.

“Due to Niamh being such a fun character, young people look up to her and find it easy to engage with Niamh at the sessions and events she has attended.”

Liverpool FC Women play their final game of the 2018-19 season against Everton Ladies at Prenton Park on Saturday, May 11.

Tickets are available now from £2.50. 

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Interview: Pellegrino labels Barcelona v Liverpool tie '50-50'

Tue, 04/30/2019 - 10:00

Mauricio Pellegrino briefly donned the shirts of both Liverpool and Barcelona during his 16-year playing career - but it's his exploits in management that provide the most recent relevance with his former clubs.

The Argentinian is currently the man in charge at CD Leganes in Spain. Back in September, just a matter of months after taking the job, he guided the La Liga side to a shock 2-1 victory over Barcelona.

Meanwhile, he spent last season in the Premier League at Southampton, facing Jürgen Klopp's Liverpool twice and falling to defeat on both occasions.

So, there's an obvious question that springs to mind prior to the first leg of the Champions League semi-final between the Reds and the Blaugrana: Which opposing frontline kept him up at night the most?

"Not too many teams in the world have got the many talents of Liverpool and Barcelona. I cannot chose one of them, I cannot!" Pellegrino tells Liverpoolfc.com.

"Lionel Messi and Luis Suarez, for example, are players that in one action can kill the game. Liverpool have got Mohamed Salah, Roberto Firmino or Sadio Mane - and it's the same! It's difficult to analyse the match."

The last-four tie gets underway at Camp Nou on Wednesday evening.

Barcelona head into it having secured the league title with three matches to spare after a 1-0 victory over Levante at the weekend.

And locally, the build-up to the Liverpool meeting involves stressing the need for Ernesto Valverde's side to be successful in front of their own supporters once again.

Pellegrino, of course, is familiar with the mystique of Liverpool and European competitions.

The former central defender became a Red midway through the Champions League-winning 2004-05 season, making 13 appearances. He would then return to the club in 2008 as part of Rafael Benitez's coaching staff.

[embedded content]

Inside Porto | Reds ease into semi-finals

"The perception right now is that Barcelona has to do their job here," Pellegrino, speaking over the telephone from Leganes, a city on the outskirts of Madrid, says.

"The people know that Liverpool at home, in Anfield, is really strong. This is the perception of the people in general.

"Barcelona usually play in the same way in both [legs] but Liverpool maybe play in another level in Anfield."

With a trip to Sevilla on Friday to prepare for, Pellegrino will be forced to watch the Camp Nou encounter on the television.

Regardless, the tactical battles that will arise during a match between two of the best teams in Europe at this moment are ones that should excite him and other coaches greatly.

"It's really difficult to predict the result right now. When both sides are really good, the small details will determine the result," he outlines.

"I imagine that Liverpool usually like to be really aggressive in the high pressure. But it's something that Barcelona is really good at - trying to attract the teams by moving the ball in their own pitch.

"Liverpool have to be patient, don't go too high too much because they are really good [when they] break the first line.

"[Marc-Andre] Ter Stegen is really good, [Gerard] Pique, [Clement] Lenglet, Jordi Alba, [Sergi] Roberto, [Nelson] Semedo, they are players who have played for many, many years in the same way and they don't have the fear to take a risk.

"But at the same time, when they [Liverpool] regain high, they have got the chance to score.

"For me, it will be fun to see if Liverpool are able to recover the game in the opposite half and if Barcelona are able to break the first pressure of Liverpool."

On the matter of who will emerge victors to reach the Madrid final, Pellegrino's answer is similar to the question posed at the start of the interview.

"The game is 50-50," he concludes. "Because both teams are really good with different profile of players, different styles.

"Both the teams have got the same chance now."

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LFC Foundation and Joie Baby team up to deliver dedicated SEN programme

Tue, 04/30/2019 - 10:00

Pupils from Millstead Primary School, a special educational needs (SEN) school based in Liverpool, received a surprise when Jason McAteer paid them a visit to help deliver a sports session with a difference.

Thirty children, aged between six and 10 years old, joined Jason for some fun coaching and activity sessions specifically developed to help them better interact with their surroundings, such as throwing and catching exercises with sensory balls, target practice, and knocking skittles over.

As part of LFC Foundation’s Respect 4 All programme, the club’s official family partner, Joie Baby, has teamed up with the club’s official charity to deliver weekly SEN sports and activity sessions for children and young people with complex and additional needs.

The programme will see experienced coaches from LFC Foundation deliver dedicated sessions at Millstead for three hours a week to remove potential barriers that can exist regarding accessibility to sport for children with complex needs and disabilities.

At the end of the sessions, McAteer had another surprise up his sleeve for the children, when he presented them all with a selection of gifts to help them remember their special day.

Matt Parish, director of LFC Foundation, said: “Respect4All is a fantastic programme which offers tailored sessions with specialist coaches to provide local children and young people with fun, engaging classes which really bring out their personalities and help them to develop new skills.

“We’re incredibly pleased to have the support of Joie Baby, which will help us deliver these dedicated sessions to more pupils at Millstead Primary School. Joie really embraces and promotes family values, echoing perfectly the philosophy of Liverpool Football Club, so it’s great to have them on board.”

David Welsh, managing director at Joie, said: “We’re passionate about bringing joy to families, whether through our products or brilliant initiatives such as this.

“Sport is a powerful way to help these children interact with their surroundings and develop new skills. We’re excited to see the impact of the sessions and continue to support the club in delivering them to the children at Millstead Primary School.”

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Your chance to join the LFC team

Tue, 04/30/2019 - 09:45

Liverpool FC is launching its recruitment drive for the 2019-20 season.

The club is actively looking to fill a wide range of roles across several different departments throughout Anfield stadium - ranging from bar and waiting staff, retail catering, chefs of all levels, as well as hosts and back of house stores porters.

At LFC, you’ll be embracing the club’s great service philosophy and creating fantastic memories for our fans.

The recruitment team are holding weekly drop-in sessions every Wednesday from May 15 to June 12, between 3pm and 6pm, where people can come along for an informal chat and find out more about the roles on offer.

The sessions will be held in the Main Stand at Anfield (enter via the matchday staff and media entrance).

To view opportunities at Anfield for next season and to apply, please visit jobsatlfc.com. Alternatively, please call 0151 264 2070.

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Van Dijk on Champions League progress: 'I'm not surprised'

Tue, 04/30/2019 - 09:20

That Liverpool are competing in the latter stages of the Champions League once again comes as little surprise to Virgil van Dijk.

The first leg of a last-four tie against FC Barcelona at Camp Nou awaits Van Dijk and his teammates on Wednesday, with the Reds just 180 minutes away from reaching the final for a second year in succession.

Bayern Munich and FC Porto have been dispatched in ultimately-comprehensive style so far in the knockout stages and, while acknowledging the scale of the challenge posed by Lionel Messi and co, Van Dijk believes Liverpool belong in such company.

“I see what we have, I see the players we have, I see the management and the way we play football so it is not really a big surprise,” said the newly-crowned PFA Players’ Player of the Year.

“But you still have do it and we have to do it on Wednesday as well. It is going to be unbelievably tough.

“You need to be ready for problems and we will be and hopefully we can get a good result or a result we can take with us back to Anfield and we are going to try everything to go through to the final.”

When asked specifically about the task of shackling Messi, the Netherlands captain stated that a collective effort will be required.

“I think he is the best player in the world, I have said that before,” Van Dijk continued.

“But you see how we play, how we defend, we don’t defend one-vs-one, we defend all together and we attack all together as well so we will see, we will be ready.

“It is not only him, the whole team has a lot of quality and we will prepare well and that is what we are going to do.

“We have also a very good team so we can compete there as well so it is not like we are going there for a holiday or something.”

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'We're like Tom and Jerry!' - Salah and Lovren star in Bezzies

Tue, 04/30/2019 - 09:00

Their closeness is clear to see on social media - but does getting an Instagram 'like' off Mohamed Salah really give Dejan Lovren a buzz?

Find out in the latest episode of Bezzies, which provides a hilarious insight into a friendship that has blossomed since the Egyptian joined Liverpool in the summer of 2017.

What does Salah remember about Lovren's famous goal against Borussia Dortmund? What's the forward's worst habit? And will Lovren sing the Kop's 'Mo Salah' song for the camera?

For the answers to these questions much more, click play below...

[embedded content]

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Robertson on facing Messi: 'We all need to be prepared'

Tue, 04/30/2019 - 08:00

The fact Andy Robertson is set to duel with the player widely regarded as the best to ever grace the game of football doesn't mean the Liverpool left-back will alter his preparations.

If selected on Wednesday night, the Scot will be responsible for defending the right side of FC Barcelona's attack - the area of the pitch a certain Lionel Messi usually lines up - during the first leg of a Champions League semi-final.

But the quality and unpredictability of the five-time Ballon d'Or winner means all 11 of Jürgen Klopp's men need to be alert at Camp Nou, Robertson insists.

He told UEFA: "I don’t think you have to prepare any differently from any other game.

"Of course, you’re playing against a better player than you usually would... he’s the best player in the world. You can maybe watch clips, although I don’t know if that would help, mind you!

CL, 2018-19 CL, 2018-19

“But I think we all need to be prepared because he drifts all over the pitch. You watch him, and sometimes he’s back in the centre-half spot, picking up the ball from deep and things like that, so he’ll start on the right but I’m prepared for him not to stay out there. But I know he’ll be running at us at times, and it’s all about how we defend it.

“We need to defend in packs, but the problem is that it’s not just him. If you keep him quiet, then you’ve got [Philippe] Coutinho, who we all know well, you’ve got [Luis] Suarez and people like that who can cause you problems, so it’s not about keeping one man quiet, it’s about keeping the whole team quiet, and that’ll be the hardest thing for us.”

Just 180 minutes of football potentially separate the Reds from Madrid and, therefore, another appearance in the final of the Champions League.

Robertson and his teammates have channeled the disappointment of last season's defeat to Real Madrid to inspire another charge in Europe's premier club competition, along with a Premier League title challenge.

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Highlights | Reds beat Porto in CL quarters

"It’d be huge. Last year was unbelievable for us, to get to the final and to beat Roma the way that we did and everything that went along with it," the 25-year-old said.

"We know how good a feeling it was getting to the final, how exciting the end of the season was and everything leading up to the final, and we want to be back there again.

"Of course we had the disappointment in Kiev, but we’ve used that to our advantage this season.

"A lot of teams might shy away from that and not have as good a season because of the knock-on effect, but I think we’ve done the complete opposite. That was our benchmark and we’ve taken it to a new level this season.

"Whether we end up with a trophy or not is yet to be seen, but the way our season has gone so far has been very positive.

"Getting to another final would be huge, it would be a massive honour, but we know how hard the challenge is going to be.

"Then we can think about everything else that goes along with it, because Madrid’s a lot easier to get to than Kiev!"

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Watch live: Liverpool train ahead of Barcelona tie

Tue, 04/30/2019 - 07:30

Liverpool will train at Melwood before travelling to Barcelona on Tuesday - watch part of their session live on Facebook.

The Reds' session prior to their Champions League semi-final first leg is scheduled to begin at 11.45am BST.

Head to Facebook.com/LiverpoolFC then to check in on their preparations for the tie at Camp Nou.

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Live from Camp Nou: Watch Klopp's pre-Barca press conference

Tue, 04/30/2019 - 07:00

Watch live as Jürgen Klopp and a member of his squad preview Liverpool's Champions League semi-final first leg against FC Barcelona.

Camp Nou will host the boss and his player's pre-match press conference from 7pm BST on Tuesday.

We'll be streaming their briefing live and in full via our official YouTube channel, so return to this page shortly before the start time to tune in.

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Six-year-old wins Mighty Red car design competition

Mon, 04/29/2019 - 15:30

A local girl has won a global competition to help design Mighty Red’s new official club car.

The new-look car was unveiled to young winner, Grace, on her sixth birthday as she was picked up for a special ride-to-school experience.

Grace - along with her mum, dad and brother - was collected from her home in Everton and driven to St Margaret’s Primary School, where she was greeted by the club’s official mascot. Mighty Red also stayed for a special assembly with Grace’s year group and showed off his Super Movers dance, the 'Liverpool Bounce'.

As part of her prize, Grace was sent a personalised message from Reds full-back Trent Alexander-Arnold, who congratulated her on her winning design. She was also presented with a time-lapse that showed her artwork being transformed onto Mighty Red's car.

Grace’s parents, Emma and Jon, said: “Thank you to Mighty Red and LFC for everything, we have loved every minute of this experience and you’ve helped create memories for a lifetime.”

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Why Barcelona v Liverpool was once delayed for EastEnders

Mon, 04/29/2019 - 15:00

Barcelona v Liverpool – as appealing a football match as you can see anywhere around the world.

Supporters of both teams, as well as neutral fans intrigued by what could happen at Camp Nou on Wednesday night, will be counting down the hours until the much-anticipated 8pm BST kick-off in their Champions League semi-final first leg.

Such was the case when the sides were set to meet in Catalunya at the same stage of the 2000-01 UEFA Cup on April 5, 2001.

But on that evening, as the tie between Liverpool and Barcelona was about to begin, another – altogether different – storyline was reaching a tense conclusion.

Steven Gerrard, Michael Owen, Rivaldo, Pep Guardiola and co would have to wait.

The reason? EastEnders.

“The BBC has negotiated a delayed kick-off for a European football match so viewers can find out who shot EastEnders’ Phil Mitchell without missing any of the football action,” it was announced in an article on the eve of the fixture.

The start of the match in Spain would be delayed until 8.15pm to allow viewers to enjoy both an extended episode of the UK soap opera – discovering Mitchell’s assailant after a five-week whodunnit – and then the whole game live from Camp Nou.

Some effortless link-play from Lineker here on the night the BBC inexplicably managed to *persuade UEFA to delay th… https://t.co/h9bRbxR0Ko

— FootballCliches (Adam Hurrey) 18th Apr 10:44

“We asked both sides nicely and they agreed to start later because of EastEnders,” said BBC Sport spokesman Mike Hales.

“It is a well-known programme so the Spanish realise it was important for the BBC.”

When the football finally got under way, Gerard Houllier’s Liverpool secured a goalless draw against Barcelona before beating the La Liga giants at Anfield a fortnight later en route to lifting the UEFA Cup as part of an historic treble.

This Wednesday’s match of course remains an 8pm kick-off.

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Have your say: What was Liverpool's April Goal of the Month?

Mon, 04/29/2019 - 13:30

What was Liverpool's best goal in April? It's time for you to decide by voting in our monthly poll.

We've whittled down an array of fine strikes scored by the Reds' first team, Academy sides and Women's team to a shortlist of 10.

Watch the contenders again above, then cast your vote for April's Goal of the Month below.

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Barcelona v Liverpool: Three key battles

Mon, 04/29/2019 - 13:00

Liverpool and FC Barcelona will kick off their mouth-watering Champions League semi-final at the iconic Camp Nou on Wednesday night.

In their first meeting since 2007, the newly-crowned La Liga title-holders will host Jürgen Klopp’s Reds – the runners-up in last season’s competition.

Here are three key battles to anticipate in the first leg…

Lionel Messi v Andy Robertson

Long established as one of the finest players in football history, Lionel Messi comes into the clash with Liverpool having scored the goal that sealed Barcelona’s latest La Liga title triumph on Saturday – his 10th with the Spanish club.

The Argentinian leads the Champions League scoring charts this season with 10 strikes, including two in the 3-0 win over Manchester United at Camp Nou earlier this month that ensured his side’s progress to the semi-finals.

Typically stationed to the right of a three-man forward line by coach Ernesto Valverde, alongside former Reds Luis Suarez and Philippe Coutinho, the No.10 is certain to drift across the pitch in search of the space he craves to create in.

Lionel Messi's heat map in quarter-final second leg against Manchester United

“They have an unbelievable front three and attacking threat, and of course they’ve got the best player in the world, in my opinion,” said Andy Robertson, who is likely to line up directly opposite Messi.

“We all need to be prepared because he drifts all over the pitch. You watch him, and sometimes he’s back in the centre-half spot, picking up the ball from deep and things like that.

“So he’ll start on the right but I’m prepared for him not to stay out there. But I know he’ll be running at us at times, and it’s all about how we defend it. We need to defend in packs.”

After increasing his assist tally for the campaign to 13 with two during last Friday’s victory over Huddersfield Town, left-back Robertson will equally seek to impact the first leg in an attacking sense.

10 - Andrew Robertson is just the third defender to assist at least 10 goals in a single Premier League season, aft… https://t.co/AT78afzTX9

— OptaJoe (OptaJoe) 26th Apr 19:27

The Scot, who started all but one of Liverpool’s knockout matches en route to the final a year ago, has covered 88km in his nine Champions League appearances this term.

And if he can contribute to keeping Messi quiet – the Barcelona forward failed to score in his two previous meetings with the Reds, in 2007 – it may go a long way to securing a positive result in Spain.

Sergio Busquets v Jordan Henderson

Given the fluid nature of both sides’ midfields, Sergio Busquets and Jordan Henderson may or may not come into head-to-head confrontation during the tie at Camp Nou.

Instead, this battle may be fought on the basis of how much influence either man can exert on his team’s performance from his respective position.

Busquets, a three-time Champions League winner, tops the Barcelona rankings for passes attempted (834) and completed (783) in the competition this season and has covered a greater distance (101.7km) than any of his teammates.

Disrupting the Spaniard’s metronomic control in the middle of the park will be high on the Liverpool agenda and Henderson’s energy and commitment could be pivotal to that plan.

Used in a more advanced position this month, the No.14 chalked up another excellent assist against Huddersfield with a pinpoint cross into Sadio Mane.

It was the fourth time Henderson has created a goal in his past six games in all competitions, having also scored himself at Southampton at the beginning of April.

Jordi Alba v Mohamed Salah

Mohamed Salah has hit a rich vein of form at exactly the right time for Liverpool.

His double past Huddersfield made it five goals in the last six games for the Egyptian while also registering a club record – Salah’s 69 for the Reds in total is the most any player has notched in their first 100 matches.

And the No.11 is set for an intriguing battle of attrition at Camp Nou on Wednesday when he goes up against Spain left-back Jordi Alba, now in his seventh season at Barcelona.

Smart in possession and always keen to break forward and support attacks, no teammate can better his four assists in the Champions League this term and the 30-year-old has also chipped in with one goal.

The chief source of crosses for Valverde’s men with 25 in the tournament, stifling Alba’s creative side and testing his defensive resolve will be priorities for Salah.

Only Steven Gerrard (30) has scored more goals for Liverpool in the Champions League than Salah, who has racked up 15 since joining the Reds in 2017.

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Andy Robertson named PFA Community Champion

Mon, 04/29/2019 - 12:00

Liverpool defender Andy Robertson has been presented with the Professional Footballers Association’s Community Champion Award.

The award aims to raise awareness of the support PFA members provide to their club’s community initiatives throughout the season.

Robertson was recognised for his ongoing support of Liverpool's work in the local community - in particular his backing of the Fans Supporting Foodbanks collections facilitated by Red Neighbours.

Forbes Duff, corporate social responsibility manager at LFC, said: “Andy has made a huge difference to our Fans Supporting Foodbanks collections this season.

“He has not only taken the time to understand how the North Liverpool Foodbank operates and the role it plays in the local community, but he has really got behind the fan appeals and made a massive impact on the number of donations.”

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Andy first visited North Liverpool Foodbank back in November to learn more about the community’s growing reliance upon foodbank parcels and the invaluable work of the centre’s volunteers. His visit was captured by LFCTV and a video appeal was created encouraging fans to make donations when attending matches at Anfield.

The Reds’ next home fixture, a matter of days after the video aired, saw the club receive a record-breaking 2.2 tonnes of Foodbank donations, which equated to 5,690 meals and provided 632 people in crisis with three-day emergency food parcels.

John Hudson, PFA’s director of corporate social responsibility, said: "The PFA believes that players who make that extra effort and contribution during the season should be recognised for their support and involvement in the local community.

"The award will hopefully raise awareness of the great contribution and importance many of our members attach to their roles off the pitch. We would like to offer our congratulations to Andy Robertson on receiving this season’s 2018-19 PFA Community Champion Award."

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Ajax star discusses price tag amid Liverpool speculation

Mon, 04/29/2019 - 11:45

Matthijs De Ligt believes he will be sold for less than the £65million paid by Barcelona for Ajax team-mate Frenkie De Jong.

The Catalan giants have already tied up a deal for midfielder De Jong while defender De Ligt is also expected to depart in the summer after helping the Dutch giants to the Champions League semi-final.

The centre-back has been linked to Liverpool in recent months after declaring himself open to the possibility of a move to Merseyside to play alongside Holland team-mate and Reds colossus Virgil van Dijk.

"Will I be more expensive than Frenkie? I don’t think so, no,” De Ligt, 19, said during a Q&A interview.

"Normally teams spend more money on midfield players than defenders.

"I really don’t know.

“It’s up to Ajax - it’s not something that I decide. We shall see.”

Barcelona are reportedly in the market to sign De Ligt while Bayern Munich are also believed to be thinking of making a bid.

De Ligt added: “I haven’t made a decision [on my future] yet, so I don’t know.

“I am only focused on the last games of the season for now.

“We still have a lot to play for so let’s finish this season in a good way.”

Source: Liverpool Echo

This story has been reproduced from the media. It does not necessarily represent the position of Liverpool Football Club.

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A quick guide to Barcelona for LFC fans

Mon, 04/29/2019 - 10:00

With thousands of Liverpool supporters travelling to Barcelona for the Champions League semi-final first leg at Camp Nou on Wednesday, we've put together a quick guide for your trip to the capital of Catalunya.

Located on the Balearic coast, with the Serra de Collserola mountains as a backdrop, Spain's second-largest city is as beautiful as it is vibrant and there's plenty for travelling Reds to experience ahead of a 9pm (local time) kick-off.

GETTING THERE...

You can easily travel the 14km from Barcelona-El Prat Airport to the city centre by train or metro; however, the Aerobus is the fastest option.

The service operates from both airport terminals, T1 and T2, and a single ticket to Placa de Catalunya, in the heart of city, costs around €5.90. You can buy tickets here or from one of the machines on location.

But the most cost-effective way to reach the centre and travel onwards is to catch the RENFE train, which runs every 30 minutes from the airport to connect with Barcelona's metro network at Sants, Passeig de Gracia or Clot terminals.

A T10 ticket, which can be purchased at the RENFE train station, or any metro station, costs €10.20 and allows 10 journeys on the city's public transport system within Zone 1, which includes the airport, city centre and Camp Nou.

The L9 Sud Metro line also runs from T1 and T2 and connects to Barcelona's subway system but you will need a special airport metro ticket, costing €4.60, for this particular line and is not included in the T10 ticket.

EATING AND DRINKING...

There are plenty of bars and restaurants in the streets surrounding Placa de Catalunya, but a 10-minute walk south along La Rambla is the magnificent La Boqueria food market - one of the largest in Europe.

The market sells a vast array of produce, which you can sample and take away, but also houses a variety of bars and restaurants that use the fresh food on hand to create some of Barcelona's most beloved dishes and tapas.

Each region tends to have its own specialty and in Catalunya Bombas is one of the most popular. It's essentially a largish potato croquette served with two different sauces: a spicy red salsa and a garlic allioli. Purported to have been invented at restaurant La Cova Fumada, on Calle Baluard, during the Spanish Civil War, it is now widespread.

With Barcelona situated on the coast, seafood also plays a large role in cuisine and esqueixada de bacalla is one of the most popular dishes. A salad made with shredded cod, peppers, onions, olives, tomatoes and a romesco sauce, it is widely available but La Vinateria del Call, in the Gothic Quarter, is considered one of the best places to eat it.

For a meat option, why not try the multitude of hams and cured cuts on offer, or dive into a Fricando stew.

In terms of liquid refreshment, Catalunya is home to three major breweries: Estrella, San Miguel and Moritz. If you are drinking draught beer then the latter is a great option and the Moritz Barcelona Brewery in the central Sant Antoni district is a popular destination for a freshly brewed beer and a bite to eat.

With the neighbouring Penedes wine region just a few miles away too, Cava - the Spanish equivalent of French Champaign - is also prevalent in the city. It might be fitting to indulge a celebratory glass or two if the result at Camp Nou goes the right way.

SIGHTSEEING...

Las Ramblas is the place most visitors make a beeline for after arriving in the city. Comprising La Rambla and its surrounding streets, the 1.2km promenade runs from Placa de Catalunya to the Columbus Monument at the waterfront and cuts right through the heart of the city.

The largely pedestrianised boulevard is dotted with shops, bars, restaurants, street performers and works of art - including a mosaic by famous painter Joan Miro right in the middle of the street - and provides a lively snapshot of Barcelona life.

A bustling hub from morning until after midnight, Las Ramblas is also a natural place to begin a night on the town.

The No.1 tourist attraction in Barcelona is the giant basilica La Sagrada Familia, designed by master architect Antonio Gaudi. A short metro ride from Las Ramblas, the ornate and beautiful building has been under construction since 1882 and is only expected to be completed in 2026. 

You can easily view the outside from the street, but you'll need to buy a ticket (at a range of prices) to see the stunning interior and climb one of the towers for a spectacular vista of the city.

Impressive comparison of the #SagradaFamília in 2016 and 2019 https://t.co/qX52d1Rg14

— sagradafamilia (La Sagrada Família) 12th Apr 09:57

However, Barcelona is peppered with Gaudi's work and a brilliant alternative to La Sagrada Familia is Park Guell, near the Lesseps or Vallcarca metro stops, which is home to some of his most fantastical sculpture and architecture.

Declared a World Heritage Site by UNESCO in 1984, Gaudi's gatehouse to the public park is a nod to Hansel and Gretel, while there are also palm-shaped pillars, mosaic facades, sculptures and a colourful Komodo oversees your journey up the Escalinata del Dragon (Dragon's Steps) to great views of Barcelona. The park is essentially an open-air Gaudi gallery.

If climbing up hills and steps is not really your thing then maybe a more relaxed visit to one of the city's beaches is more your style.

Platja de la Barceloneta, serviced by the L4 metro line, is probably the most popular with its beach restaurants and bars and there's more on offer in the shadow of the iconic W hotel too. If taking in Las Ramblas, Barceloneta beach is about a 20-minute walk from the end, just around the marina.

From the nearby port, you could take the Barcelona cable car (a return ticket is about €11) up Montjuic mountain, or alternatively hop on the funicular service, which would be included in your T10 ticket, at the Paral·lel metro station to ascend.

At the top, you can enjoy 360º views of Barcelona from Montjuic Castle, take in the National Museum of Catalan Art, the Grec Theather Gardens and watch a music and light water show at the Magic Fountain.

AT THE STADIUM...

The 99,354-capacity Camp Nou is about five kilometres west of Placa de Catalunya in the Les Corts district and is served by L3 metro line stations Palau Reial and Les Corts, plus L5 metro line stations Badal and Collblanc.

Opened in 1957, the two-tier stadium was expanded to three tiers for the 1982 World Cup and has undergone a series of minor renovations since. There are plenty of places to eat and drink in the surrounding neighbourhood but the best options are back in the city, which is only a 25-minute journey away.

The ground also houses the club museum which is open seven days a week but closes at 3pm on matchday and the day before a game. Regular stadium tours are not available on those days, but specially-tailored matchday tours are available on a limited basis at €99. More details here.

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