Jacob Lawton is a talented 16-year-old footballer from Belle Vale, Liverpool, who has been attending LFC Foundation’s Premier League Kicks football sessions in Anfield for the past three years.
Premier League Kicks - delivered by LFC Foundation - is a flagship community programme, which works closely with young people and authorities in their local area to deliver free sports sessions and workshops.
Jacob joins in on the action every Wednesday evening at Anfield Sports and Community Centre, training with the PL Kicks Representative team - a squad he made the leap to this season after impressing LFC Foundation coaches.
For what started out as a socialising opportunity, Jacob’s participation has now become a steady constant, as he began to realise just how many opportunities can come from being involved in the LFC Foundation's PL Kicks Programme.
"It made me focus on football in a different way," says Jacob.
"I initially started attending the project for a bit of fun with friends but listening to the coaches and their inspiring career journeys, like going to work in North America, have been really inspirational.
“It’s made me think about my own career path and the possibilities of becoming a coach myself or even a physiotherapist."
As well as providing a platform to socialise, the PL Kicks programme offers opportunities and support for young people to achieve their full potential, while creating stronger, safer and more inclusive communities.
Neil Walsh, LFC Foundation coach, said: "We've guided Jacob through the Kicks Representative Team, but in that time, he himself has become a real role model and one that his fellow teammates look up to.
“Throughout the years, Jacob has improved his skills as a footballer, while maturing as a teenager and focusing on planning out his career aspirations, one that he envisages will be in sports.
“Looking at him playing, he's enjoying himself, with a big smile on his face. That’s the key for me. That's what Kicks is all about."
Jacob has competed on a national level with LFC Foundation, representing Liverpool FC in numerous PL Kicks Regional League fixtures across the North West.
Last year, the Representative Team were edged out on penalties in the semi-finals of the PL Kicks Cup, a tournament which hosted hundreds of teams across the top English football leagues.
Following his success in the PL Kicks programme, Jacob will now go on to make his mark in the Robbie Fowler Education and Football Academy (FEFA) this September– a football program with an outstanding academic curriculum designed to prepare youngsters for their next career step.
PL Kicks Manager, Tony Cosgrove, has also witnessed the progression that Jacob has made, both on and off the field.
He says: “He was a bit apprehensive at first. He didn’t know many of the participants at our sessions, and a lot of the boys were a little bit older and physically stronger than him. But he never showed any fear and quickly gained confidence through playing.
“He won't mind me saying this, but he's a bit of a ‘Jack the lad’ character. He's very likeable and we knew straight from the start he had something special about him."
Beyond the football, Tony also noted one of the challenges that youngsters looking to join up can face.
He said: "One of the biggest successes in this story was actually getting Jacob to the session in Anfield. He made the decision to leave his local area, at an age group where postcodes can often be a barrier. I think the future is really bright for Jacob."
In response to the coronavirus pandemic, LFC Foundation made the decision to postpone its Kicks programme, as well as all other community and school sessions delivered, to adhere to government guidelines and social distancing rules.
For more information relating to the LFC Foundation’s PL Kicks sessions, click here.
Kalidou Koulibaly has provided an update on his future plans, insisting he is focussed on his defensive duties with Napoli and even hinting that he could retire at the club.
The news will come as a blow to his host of Premier League suitors, with Liverpool, Manchester United and Manchester City all linked with the Senegal centre-back.
Koulibaly is one of Europe's highest-rated defenders and his future has been the subject of great speculation since he won the Serie A Best Defender award last season.
Full story: Mirror
This story has been reproduced from the media. It does not necessarily represent the position of Liverpool Football Club.
Sophie Bradley-Auckland has confirmed that she will not be returning to duty with Liverpool FC Women for now, while sharing an insight into her life away from the pitch as a key worker during the COVID-19 pandemic.
The Reds captain works in her family-run care home in Nottingham, with the last few months proving particularly challenging.
In an exclusive chat with Liverpoolfc.com, Bradley-Auckland discussed what being a frontline worker has entailed and explained why she has had to put her football career on hold.
"Unfortunately with the current situation it’s made me have to make a decision, one that’s been awful and I’ve actually lost sleep about it. The fact is that I can’t return to Liverpool until a risk isn’t posed on the care home," she explained.
Read on for the full interview...
Sophie, could you just tell us what the past few months have been like for you?
The past few months have been really difficult. I think it’s been challenging for everyone, not only myself and my current situation at the care home, but it’s been challenging for everyone across the whole of the world. We are hoping there’s a bit of light at the end of the tunnel. At the minute it’s quite hard to see that, especially in the job that I’m doing. But yeah, it’s just been tough, something we never thought we’d probably experience, but [we’re] just taking each day as it comes and I guess my personality is just to hit things front on and that’s all I’ve been doing.
Just remind us of your life away from the football pitch…
As well as being a Liverpool footballer, I’m also the manager of Edenhurst care home in Nottingham. It’s a family-run business that’s been in the family for many, many years. It was originally run by my nan and grandad and then my mum and dad took over. I took over three years ago and began the role of working alongside my dad. It might be longer than that actually as it was when I had my third operation on my knee and thought I was never going to go back to football, so I stepped in to take over my dad’s role as such and then last year I became the manager jointly with my dad. I think it’s always been a part of my life. I was brought up in looking after people around the care home, likewise with my brother and sister. My little girl Macie is doing exactly the same so it’s very family run and we just care for the elderly.
Tell us how the COVID-19 pandemic has impacted Edenhurst…
With the outbreak of coronavirus, I think it was new to everybody. Me, my husband and my dad spoke early on to close the care home down early, which we are so grateful that we did. I think it’s really benefitted us and long may that continue, touch wood. We’ve got 24 people to look after but now we’ve got 24 very vulnerable people because of the virus, which is spreading very quickly and the people we look after, it would be very dangerous if any of them were to catch it, so I guess it’s made our job role even more important than before. So, like I say, we closed down early but we have to understand we have many residents who live with us who have got dementia, so now they are not able to see their family and friends. We’ve really supported them and it’s all good for technology these days so we can still do video calls. We’ve had window visits, a lot of them have had birthdays over this period, we’ve had Mother’s Day and Father’s Day, two very special times of the year to celebrate, especially for the residents we look after, the elderly people. So, it’s just been a strange time but the best thing about it is they are all so happy. We’ve kept them up to date with everything that is happening every single day. Not a lot has changed in the care home with activities to keep everybody occupied. The only thing that’s not been [the same] is actually seeing their family and friends and giving them a cuddle right up close, and I think that’s something they’ve probably all missed but hopefully that’s not too far around the corner.
Is that the biggest challenge you’ve faced, that lack of interaction that the residents haven’t been able to have?
A lot of it, I think we have probably noticed more than they have. A lot of the residents that we care for do have dementia so some of them might not remember when their family last visited anyway, but for us to see that they are not being able to visit, to speak to their family and friends - we keep saying at the minute we are not able to make it safe for you to come in. And all of our visitors have all been so supportive of everything that we’ve done. Our most important thing is the health and safety of the residents that we look after. Hopefully the doors will open soon but we’ve had lots of parties. We celebrated VE Day. We’ve had quite a few garden parties with the weather being so nice. So it’s been really nice and, like I say, we are all family that live in there anyway. There’s a big feel for that around and everyone who is in there, they’ve got their friends in there and they are used to all gathering in the communal areas and having a laugh and a joke. None of that changes. It’s so important for myself and all the staff to turn up every day with a smile on our faces and to make sure that when we leave we’ve made at least one of them happy - but it’s usually all of them!
In terms of your daily routine, could you give us an idea of what you are having to do in terms of keeping the home safe?
I guess my day always starts in the gym in my garage before I even go to work. For me the fitness side is so important as well and that’s my mental getaway where I can just focus on whatever session that I’ve got planned. The first thing I do is me and Macie go into the gym, Macie usually watches my phone and has her milk and I go on the treadmill or the bike, do my weights, just to give me that little boost before I go because I find it harder to train after work especially when it’s been quite long days as well. So that’s how my day starts and that could be any time in the morning, depending on what time I need to go in. The PPE has changed massively. So, we’ve all been used to wearing gloves and aprons but now we’ve got the masks, we’ve got the goggles, and turning up to work we have a protocol in place so that we get changed when we get to work and we’ve changed one of the rooms to a treatment room. We’ve got a staff room where people can get changed so we can stop everything coming in as much as possible. Touch wood, I’m very superstitious so, so far so good. We’ve now got testing in place so we’ve been testing residents and staff. That will now change to staff being tested weekly and residents monthly. And that’s a massive ask you know. It’s not nice having to go round and doing all the testing but it’s very reassuring for us, for the residents and also for their families as well and it’s something that we have to stay on top of. But it’s very time consuming. It takes a long time to go through all of the testing because of the paperwork. Then I guess that’s my main role at the care home, a lot of it is the paperwork side of it and my dad is very hands on. He loves doing all of the care and I chip in with that, especially over this period. Everyone has had to be good at everything really, to all chip in and help each other out. A lot has changed but the main thing is to still keep the residents happy and I think as long as we can do that every single day and stay happy and healthy then we can walk out of the door with a smile on our faces that we’ve done our job.
This is a tough question as nobody really knows the answer, but how do you plan for the future or see the next six to 12 months looking like?
It’s a hard one at the minute and we kind of take it day by day. I know the whole country has been going into the next phase of lockdown and different phases of opening different businesses, people going back to work and schools. For us it’s different. We’ve got a lot of people that live with us who are very vulnerable, so at the minute we are still in lockdown so friends and family can’t come to visit inside the care home. However, we are planning for the next step. We’ve been having the care home sanitised monthly by a company that Liverpool FC use actually. They organised to sanitise my home and straight away I was like, ‘Perfect, this will be great’, another precaution and bring them into the care home. Anything that we can do to protect everyone that’s living there and staff that are working there we’ll jump at, but we are working to look at the next phase because we understand that it’s very important to see your family and friends face up and eventually have contact as well. But if we’ve ever had anyone that’s towards end-of-life we have put things on so that family can come and see them because I think that’s really important, and that’s something different for us in a care home compared to a hospital. In a hospital I know you can’t go but in a care home we’ve made changes where possible to make people be able to come.
And so far, the home has remained COVID-free?
Yes. We’ve done all the testing, staff and residents, and they’ve all come back negative. So, that’s all we can ask for but it’s awful because every time I send it off ... my heart when I’m opening the emails to see and check that it’s negative, it’s just awful. It’s just a strange situation to be in. I always say running a care home is very stressful in its normal days but it’s even more stressful at the minute. If my husband Dougie goes to work before me I’m texting him 'Is everybody OK?' and there’s lots of added pressure I suppose just because we want everyone to be safe.
How does that process work in terms of trying to keep on top of numbers and testing, is it daily you are having to send the emails?
Well, we didn’t get the testing until later on and I know that’s been all over the news. We haven’t had the testing too long ago and in the last month we’ve tested twice. But we will now get that monthly. We just go round, it’s me and my dad. We go round and we swab every single resident and you have to do it in a way that there’s no cross contamination, you are changing your PPE every time in between every time, there’s lot and lots of different protocols that we are having to follow to make sure that it’s safe and the result is accurate as well. But it’s me and my dad that work together and it’s quite nice actually, I’ve always been a daddy’s girl I suppose, and even now working in the care home every day I'm with him. I’ve got Macie as well so me and Dougie have been having to swap when we go to work. Tonight at 8pm I go and pick the night staff up to bring the night staff to work. I drop the evening staff home. We really want to stop as much as possible our staff having to get public transport just because there’s an added risk in doing so, and we have been doing that since the lockdown began in March. So, between me, my dad and Dougie we just take it in turns who’s turn it is tonight to do that.
The amazing work you are doing is obviously having an effect on the other side of your life, football. Just tell us how it has impacted that?
I guess it’s made me have to make a decision. So, I was only able to come and play for Liverpool because I was able to continue with my role within the care home. Unfortunately with the current situation it’s made me have to make a decision, one that’s been awful and I’ve actually lost sleep about it. The fact is that I can’t return to Liverpool until a risk isn’t posed on the care home. My happiness - and that’s what I call playing football, which is my happiness, is something that I love to do - isn’t worth somebody’s life and that is what it is as well. It is actually risking somebody’s life. I have a duty of care. Like I’ve said, I’ve got 24 residents, actually 24 other members of my family I would call them, and I would never want to pose any further risk on them than what’s already there.
In your discussions with Vicky Jepson, is that one of the things that you’ve talked about - the fact that you won’t be returning to Liverpool for the foreseeable future?
Yes. So I rang Vicky and it actually came at such terrible timing because we had just found out that the FA had actually relegated us. I had this holding on my shoulders and I needed to tell Vicky now and we need that conversation. I’m still a Red. I will be back at Liverpool but unfortunately at this moment in time it’s not possible for me to come, so I think it’s very much up in the air. Vicky straight away was like, ‘When will you be back?' And I was like, ‘I don’t know.' I don’t think anybody knows because this virus is so unique, it’s something that’s not happened before and none of us are aware of what’s going to happen next. So, unfortunately all I’m holding onto is that I’ll be back. Like I said before, my training continues before I go to work and I’ll always be fit and ready to come back whenever that risk is not there on the care home.
How tough a decision was that for you to make?
Awful, it was really hard. I suppose three years ago when I lost all of my football contracts due to a knee injury and I ended up having three years out with my injury, I’ve got back playing and [been] having the time of my life. Liverpool has been so supportive with me having Macie and also the care home. Then now it’s been taken out of my hands again. It’s been really tough but I know I’ve got the backing of my family, I know Vicky and Adam [Greaves-Smith] are so supportive and Emma and all the rest of the staff. They trust in me to keep fit and to be ready to go again, but I don’t feel like I’m ready to retire just yet. Considering all the injuries I’ve had, I was loving being back playing and I was playing pretty well. So I’m ready whenever I can to get back, but it was awful, I’m not going to lie and say it was an easy decision. It was one that was quite emotional as well but unfortunately it’s been taken out of my hands and when it comes down to it, the care home is my priority as well as my family as well.
Have you spoken to any of your teammates at Liverpool?
Yes, I spoke to all of the girls. We had a Zoom call and I spoke to them all to announce that until the risk isn’t there then I won’t be returning. I don’t think some of them could believe it. I think it’s very hard sometimes and before I was the same as my focus was football, football, football! And now I’ve got a job as well, my focus has to change slightly. So I think it was probably a little bit of a shock. I think some would have probably gathered that I wouldn’t be coming back yet and for others it was probably a shock. It’s tough because I feel like I’m letting everybody down but I’ll be back. That’s all I keep telling myself and hopefully this doesn’t go on too long and I’ll be back and I can get the team where they belong - in the Women’s Super League.
Do you have a message for Reds supporters?
Firstly I’d like to apologise for the fact I’m not going to be back. The care home at the minute does take priority, but I would like to say to you all just stick behind the girls and good things are coming. Every setback leads to a comeback and I think we have a great squad and great management in place to make sure the girls are back in the league where I say we belong next year. But stick by the girls and hopefully I’ll see you all soon.
Fabinho insists Liverpool will give their all in the final three fixtures of the campaign as they still have their sights set on the Premier League's points record.
The Reds were held at Anfield for the first time in the top flight this season on Saturday when Burnley left with a 1-1 draw.
The Brazilian – who played a lovely assist for Andy Robertson's opener in the first half – was satisfied with most aspects of that performance, but left frustrated by missed chances and a number of fine saves from opposing goalkeeper Nick Pope.
The champions need three victories to eclipse Manchester City’s record tally of 100 set in 2018 and their next opportunity to continue that pursuit arrives on Wednesday evening when they travel to Arsenal.
Read on for Fabinho’s Burnley verdict in our post-match interview...
Fab, so many good things about that performance, was the only thing missing the three points?
Yes, I think in general we played a very good game. We created very good chances to score, their ‘keeper Pope made very good saves as well. The intensity was good so unfortunately the result is not a win but we keep going.
Burnley are so well organised – how difficult is it to try and find a way through them to create chances?
It’s hard to play against a team like Burnley because they have very good things like [being] very strong on set-pieces and we know we had to have very good concentration. It’s like this but you have to find the spaces to try always but today was not our best day maybe.
You played a big part in the goal for Andy Robertson, just talk us through it from your perspective…
When I received the ball I had a good position to try this pass for Robbo and the other players. I’m happy to give the assist for Robbo but his movement was very good as well.
Alongside you in midfield for the first time in the Premier League was young Curtis Jones. Do you see huge potential in him?
Of course. Curtis is a very talented player. We have a lot of confidence in him. He played a very good game today and he almost scored twice. He works every day very hard with us and he has a lot of personality. We have a lot of confidence in him.
How big a desire is it now to finish the season with three straight wins and get yourself over 100 points and finish things in style?
Always when we go out onto the pitch, we go to win. We don’t look at the opponent, we just go to try to do our best with intensity and technical play. So we go into these three final games to win.
[unable to retrieve full-text content]Watch extended highlights and exclusive reaction after Liverpool's 1-1 draw with Burnley at Anfield on LFCTV GO now.
Enjoy Andy Robertson's sublime headed goal against Burnley from a unique perspective in our free TrueView clip.
The left-back put Liverpool ahead at Anfield on Saturday by guiding Fabinho's delightful pass beyond Nick Pope.
A Jay Rodriguez equaliser denied the champions a 25th consecutive home win in the Premier League, but Robertson's goal was a moment to savour.
TrueView enables you to watch the header from the No.26's point of view - take a look above.
App users should click here to access the video.
Jürgen Klopp was pleased with certain aspects of Liverpool's performance in Saturday's 1-1 draw with Burnley but rued missed opportunities throughout.
The Reds dropped points at Anfield for the first time in 2019-20 in what was their penultimate home game of the campaign as they were held by the Clarets.
Andy Robertson’s fine header had put the champions in front just after the half-hour mark and only a string of outstanding saves from visiting ‘keeper Nick Pope prevented them from enhancing their advantage.
But Burnley drew level midway through the second period when Jay Rodriguez cracked the ball into the bottom corner after a free-kick had dropped invitingly for him inside the area.
Both teams had opportunities to win it, with Johann Berg Gudmundsson rattling Alisson Becker’s crossbar and Mohamed Salah having a late strike stopped by Pope.
Read on for a summary of what the manager told his post-match press conference at Anfield…
On his thoughts on the performance...
Good performance in most parts of the game. There were moments when it was like Liverpool against Nick Pope. I think it's the biggest challenge in football to play against a team which is that well organised and create against a team that is that well organised and has such an outstanding attitude like Burnley has. But we created super chances but there was one guy who wanted to deny us and that was Nick Pope. That was then the problem pretty much of the game because for different reasons this result left the door open for Burnley. It was always clear they had corners where Ali was really under pressure from three or four players around. Then free-kicks on top of that, not too much but some. It was clear they want to have these situations. When they had them it was always a threat. Apart from that, how I said, we really did well, we should have scored more but we didn’t do that. I'm fine with the performance for 80 minutes, I would say. More than fine because it was probably one of the best games we played against Burnley but we didn’t score and that’s why we only got a point.
On certain refereeing decisions during the game...
I didn’t speak about the Andy Robertson situation because in the game I didn't see it, I saw it after the game. Look, I spoke about the goalkeeper situations. I feel like we've lost the game. We didn’t, I know that and maybe it’s not the best moment then to talk about these things. It would be good [if] you win 4-0 and then you could talk to the ref about that – and I would have. But that's a problem. But how can you let it happen that a goalie constantly when a corner comes in is that three players are allowed to block him? That's just not how it should be. But for the ref it was obviously not a foul or not a problem and that’s why he didn’t whistle in these situations. That's what I told him. It had no influence on the result, how I realised later.
On the displays of Curtis Jones and Neco Williams...
Look, for a player with the creativity and the technical skills of Curtis, it's a good game to play. If the boys around him create these moments where Curtis can then really use these skills – turn, good orientation – our style of play suits him so that he can really be quite impressive, I know that. A lot of steps to go for him obviously. But it was a good game, that’s true. It's much more difficult for Neco to play on that side against a team who is pretty much there for counter-attacks and set-pieces, but he did really well as well. It was good, just good. How I said, the game was a really good game and they were all responsible for that. But in the end, it was just a draw and I cannot really deny that it feels completely like we've lost the game because we should have scored more often. But we didn’t but that’s our fault and nobody else’s fault. That's why it's 1-1.
Disappointed to not get all 3pts but we keep going !❤️ #ynwa @LFC https://t.co/5CBaVTWnO6— necowilliams01 (Neco Williams) 11th Jul 17:10
On Roberto Firmino not scoring at Anfield in the Premier League this season...
It cannot become a psychological problem because Bobby played today an outstanding game and we don't judge him. So I hope he will not read your newspaper if you make a story of it because we just don’t think about it. It's not important who scores. We need Bobby for other things, we need Bobby in exactly the spaces where he was today, we need him as a link-up for all the other things. We only have chances in other positions because Bobby plays the way he plays. And he will score, there is absolutely no doubt about it. We are not worried at all about that because he played an outstanding game today and was involved in so many decisive situations. In the end, nobody really scored apart from Robbo with a header, which is pretty exceptional. It will not become a problem.
On Andy Robertson’s performance after starting on the bench in midweek…
It helps. Millie was not available as well so thank god Neco is now here and made big steps in training so we can give the boys this kind of rest. Robbo came on in the last game already and made a massive difference, [so] there were 45 minutes pretty much which we saved him. That was really good and today was really good as well. Neco is now here and we can make these kind of decisions and it’s good.
On what Liverpool’s young players need to do to improve…
Nothing, just train with us and get used to different situations. It’s not that we now have to say, ‘OK, the left foot is weak’ and stuff like this – it is not about that, it is just getting used to the situations and the different situations in a Premier League football game, the intensity. In the moment if they make a mistake then it’s like, ‘OK, but they are still young’ and that’s all true – and [they are] human beings, which makes it even more tricky. So it’s all of these things, just to gain stability and be always there when you have to. It’s not that they have to make incredibly big steps. The best thing is if you would have the experience of a 35-year-old player in the legs of a 20-year-old player. That is perfect because at 35 years you have seen so many different situations on the pitch, you have experienced so many different moments that it doesn’t get you anymore, it is just normal. So yes, it was totally intense today and Burnley wanted to go for free-kicks and stuff like this, corners and all these things. We were constantly active, constantly in attacking situations, so how to deal with these situations and how to use spaces, you learn that while you are training with outstandingly good football players. That’s exactly what they will do. Then it’s up to them, that’s how it is. Who makes the best impression will get the first line-up shirt, it was always like this and will stay like this.
On whether it is difficult to blood young players when the stakes are so high…
I’m not sure it’s about how high the stakes are, it’s about how ready are the boys. I have never made that comparison, that we play for everything and that’s why you need to be in a specific age. There are no old and young players there are only good and not-so-good players – and I hope we have only good players, or even exceptional players. Who is in our squad should be ready to play. That’s why he is in the squad, the age is only only one [piece] of information from 500 other [pieces of] information. The problem is not with young players but generally with players is that the team is really good and as long as we show the attitude like we did today again, then it is just difficult to have 40 games in a row. Young players have so much time on their hands that they really can improve and don’t have the pressure - especially not from us. If they use the time, then the future is beautiful for them.
Andy Robertson has explained the thought process behind his stunning header that put Liverpool ahead against Burnley.
The Premier League champions took the lead at Anfield on Saturday thanks to Robertson’s expertly-taken finish from a trademark, lofted Fabinho pass, although Jay Rodriguez would later cancel the left-back’s effort out to deny the Reds a 25th successive home victory in the top flight.
An uncharacteristic lack of collective ruthlessness throughout the 90 minutes left Robertson frustrated with the end result, but the Scotland captain was satisfied with his second headed goal of the season following that unforgettable late drama at Villa Park in November.
“In my whole professional career I’d not scored a header and this season seems to be me and headers!” Robertson told Liverpoolfc.com with a smile.
“It was a good ball by Fab and I just thought if I can guide it over the far post then I had a chance and luckily it proved that way and it went in. I always prefer to score goals when it’s towards three points, but we’ll take the point and we’re already champions.”
Read on for our full post-match interview with the No.26…
Big Virgil’s reaction says it all!! Enjoyed the goal but disappointed not to get the 3 points! https://t.co/UM3Q7bvNjL— andrewrobertso5 (Andy Robertson) 11th Jul 16:47
Andy, is it fair to say you’ve played worse than that and won this season?
Yeah, 100 per cent. I thought, especially first half and then the start of the second, probably up to about 60 or 70 minutes, I thought we were excellent [in] the way we moved it about. I thought the only thing that you could say for us is that we didn’t take our chances and when you play against a team like Burnley, they grow in confidence as it stays 1-0. They feel as if they can nick a draw – one set-piece or one ball into the box and they fancy themselves and unfortunately that happened. We’ve definitely played worse this season and picked up all three points, so we can’t argue too much about the performance apart from the finishing in front of goal. But Burnley, credit to them. Burnley are a fantastic team, I really enjoy seeing what they do. The manager’s great, the squad’s great and that’s why they’re in the top 10 of this league. It’s not easy for them and consistently, year on year, they stay in the league and now they’re fighting for Europe. Credit to them, they took their chance [and] could have probably nicked it at the end when they hit the bar and they’re a good team. We’re frustrated at ourselves, but a draw, it is what it is.
Do you maybe lose a bit of ruthlessness when you’re so dominant in a game because you expect the chances to keep coming?
We did that today, yeah, but that’s the worst thing we can do. If we lose our ruthless streak then we don’t become champions. We’ve been ruthless all season - times when people thought we were down and out, like against Villa, we come back and we win. When we’re 1-0 up, we go and make it two and three and four, and that’s why we’ve been ahead of the rest so far this season. That’s why the points tally has been so big, because nobody else has been as ruthless as us. Today we maybe did lose that a little bit and that’s the worst thing we can do because every chance we need to treat as our last and we need to try and take it because if we’d done that, we could probably have been two or three-nil up at half-time and I think we’d have got all three points with that. So, we need to keep going, we need to keep creating the chances and hopefully when it falls to all of us in the next game and the games after then we’ll be more clinical in front of goal.
The desire and motivation was evident again today, though, despite the fact the league is already won…
Some people outside have said, ‘Is the desire there?’, but they obviously don’t know these lads or the manager very well because when you put on this badge, when you put on this shirt, it carries a responsibility. Yeah, against [Manchester] City we got beat but that can happen to any team and our application wasn’t wrong. Our application hasn’t been wrong in any game, we went into every game as if we’ve not been champions; we’ve prepared properly, we’ve played properly. Today, we could easily be sitting here [at] three or four-nil, three or four-one, and we’ve won the game comfortably. Football, it is what it is. We’ve not had many games like today where we’ve not took our chances and not been clinical and that’s why we’re so far ahead, because the teams below us have. We take the positives that maybe this performance came after we are champions rather than during the season, but we never like dropping points, especially at home, and now we need to rectify it.
Jürgen Klopp saluted the development of Jordan Henderson the person and footballer on the five-year anniversary of him becoming Liverpool captain.
The No.14 succeeded Steven Gerrard in the role back in 2015 and has since lifted the Champions League, FIFA Club World Cup and UEFA Super Cup with the armband on for the Reds.
A knee injury will prevent Henderson from appearing in the remaining four fixtures of this season, but Klopp insists it won't stop him from raising the Premier League trophy aloft at the end of the campaign.
Read on below as the boss discussed the skipper and more at a press conference ahead of Saturday's fixture with Burnley...
❤️ https://t.co/z4xXcwW66Z— JHenderson (Jordan Henderson) 10th Jul 12:53
On Henderson's five years as Liverpool captain...
He's the only captain I had here at Liverpool and I'm overly happy that this decision was made before I came in. It's cool. How it always is in life, people have to grow in new roles. He had to do that and it was the most difficult job you could have, honestly, because in whatever manner the person who is doing the job after Stevie, it would always be difficult. But Hendo grew in that role. Meanwhile, he's probably a role model for the next generation of Liverpool skippers. Absolutely great. Nice to be part of this development really. He became a man age-wise and he became a really proper captain, that's exactly how it should be. On top of that, he improved. He was always a good player but made big steps in his game as well and that's while you are massively under pressure from outside expectations and stuff like this. That's a pretty interesting achievement, I have to say, and it's not easy to do. He did. So after his career when he looks back, there are a lot of reasons why he should be really proud.
On the skipper lifting the Premier League trophy...
We know since yesterday that the injury is not as serious as we really thought. It was a big relief because, for what he played in the last years now, he deserves being in that spot in that moment. But life is like [how] life is. If he would have had surgery, would've been in hospital and stuff like this, then it would have been difficult. But now he's not, so no surgery needed, rehab starts immediately, he will be fine in a few weeks and will train again and play again. We will find a solution that we show the respect for what he did. But all the other boys around, they all want that, by the way. They all want him to be there and that was one of the first things I heard after we won the league, I think Virg told him, 'You can do the shuffle again.' I'm not sure if he's able to do the shuffle but that's probably the smallest problem of all.
On how useful individual accolades are for certain members of his squad...
Look, if Ali wins the Golden Glove, that means we have obviously how many games with a clean sheet, which would really help us as a team. If we provide the winner of the Golden Boot, that means we have a lot of goals. So that helps absolutely. My players don't need individual targets to be highest motivated, but they don't disturb. They are absolutely rather helpful than anything else. But in the end, it's all about winning a football game. If it would be different, I would tell them it's not OK. But in the end, it's always first and foremost about winning a football game and not about the other stuff. But it's nice when you can win both.
They are numbers described as 'really exceptional' by Jürgen Klopp, but Liverpool's front three themselves want more.
Mohamed Salah's brace in midweek brought up an astounding landmark for Klopp's renowned forward trio.
The Egyptian, Sadio Mane and Roberto Firmino have scored a combined total of 250 goals in all competitions for the Reds across three seasons.
So, what next?
"I think our target is another 250 again and more trophies with Liverpool," Mane tells Liverpoolfc.com via video link.
"I think it's just unbelievable. It's not easy to play in England and score this [amount] of goals. It's just incredible because there are so many good teams and strong defenders, so it's not easy.
"We always try to work harder and harder to get better and better to do the best for the team.
"Playing alongside these two, even me and you, I think we can both play alongside these two great players.
"So you just need to be fit and then you play alongside them because they make everything easier for me and you!"
Modesty aside, Mane has himself hit incredible heights on a personal level, too.
His finish last weekend against Aston Villa meant he's now netted at least 20 goals in his past three seasons at Liverpool.
Such personal development and the team's success has the 2016 arrival feeling in a privileged position.
"Well, I couldn't be more happy, proud to be a Liverpool player," he says. "For sure it has been a great season, a great four years for me.
"I'm really happy to be alongside my teammates, staff, everything. I'm just happy and proud to be here.
"I think as a player I'm still learning, I never stop learning and you can see me and all of the boys have been developed a lot. We are really, really happy about it.
"At the same time, we never stop working harder because it has always been a dream for me to play and always getting better and better – especially to score more goals, more assists for my team and to win trophies.
"Honestly, I think it has been most special for me and my teammates. After 30 years of waiting [for] the fans, I still don't believe it. But we did it and I think it's just so special.
"We are really happy and we are really proud after 30 years to be the players who win the [Premier League] trophy with Liverpool Football Club. Hopefully more and more to come."
Though already Premier League champions, Mane and his teammates are still out to deliver even more history for the club.
With four matches remaining in the season, the Reds have their sights on setting the Premier League points record.
Their task of eclipsing Manchester City's tally of 100 in 2017-18 continues on Saturday afternoon when Burnley arrive at Anfield.
On that particular objective, Mane continues: "We can see if we win the four games, we're going to be the first ever team to collect this kind of [points total] in a single season.
"Records in football are always there to be broken. So if we have a chance to do it, never hesitate. It's our target for sure.
"Without making pressure [for] ourselves, we try to take it game by game because it's going to be a tough game.
"Difficult game but we're going to try to take it game by game and try to win all of them if possible."
But the Reds must do so without their influential captain Jordan Henderson, who is set to be sidelined for the remainder of the campaign with a knee injury.
"Sadly it's a complicated moment for the team and for him because we love to have Hendo in the squad," Mane finishes.
"He's a great person out of the pitch and on the pitch he's also a great leader. He's always been there for his team, giving 100 per cent every single game.
"For sure we would love to have him but, like I always say, it's part of football and now we're also going to be here for him morally to support and be positive with him.
"I think, for sure, he will come back stronger as soon as possible."
Liverpool are without Jordan Henderson for their penultimate home game of 2019-20 when Burnley visit Anfield on Saturday.
The captain sustained a knee injury during the midweek victory at Brighton & Hove Albion that will rule him out of the final four matches of the campaign; however, no surgery is required on the issue.
“Hendo is actually really the best possible of all the bad news,” Jürgen Klopp told his pre-match press conference on Friday. “It is a knee injury, but no surgery needed.
“He will not play anymore in the latter stage of this season but I am pretty positive he will start with us the new season.”
Elsewhere, the champions are set to welcome Dejan Lovren back into the matchday squad after the defender resumed full training following a muscle issue.
Joel Matip is Liverpool’s only other confirmed absentee, while in attack, Mohamed Salah needs one goal to become the first Liverpool player since Roger Hunt in 1965-66 – and only the fourth in club history – to reach 20 league goals in three successive seasons.
Meanwhile, Burnley have reported no fresh fitness concerns ahead of their trip to Anfield.
Jack Cork (ankle), Ben Mee (thigh), Matt Lowton (foot) and Ashley Barnes (hernia) are sidelined for the Clarets, but Chris Wood is in contention to start after substitute appearances in their last two outings.
Johann Berg Gudmundsson and Robbie Brady are also available for Burnley.
Sean Dyche said: "We are limited to the changes we can feel we can make to start because I don't feel the young lads are necessarily ready to start but they might come on.
"Woody has a better chance. Johann and Robbie we have to be a bit delicate with because they haven't had a lot of football whereas Woody, until the shutdown, was up and running.
"He has a better chance than the others but we have got to get the others slowly but surely involved and we will be looking to do that.”
Burnley journey to Anfield on the back of a 1-0 win at West Ham United in midweek and occupy 10th position in the Premier League table.
“We are in good form,” Dyche added. “It will take maximum performance, focus and game understanding and hopefully they will have a quieter day because when they turn up it is very difficult.
“Even with the power of the players and the manager they have got it is very difficult to win the Premier League.
“It is difficult to win titles or get promotions. I have absolute respect for the manner and style in which they have achieved it.”
Brighton 1-3 Liverpool (July 8): Alisson, Alexander-Arnold, Gomez, Van Dijk, Williams, Henderson, Wijnaldum, Keita, Oxlade-Chamberlain, Salah, Firmino.
West Ham 0-1 Burnley (July 8): Pope, Bardsley, Long, Tarkowski, Taylor, Westwood, Brownhill, Pieters, McNeil, Vydra, Rodriguez.
Jürgen Klopp believes Liverpool’s ability to share goals across the side is a major asset and is required to enjoy success as a club.
Curtis Jones became the champions' 17th different Premier League scorer of the campaign last weekend, equalling a club record previously set in 1911-12 and 2015-16.
Speaking at his press conference to preview Saturday’s showdown with Burnley, Klopp heaped praised on Liverpool’s potent front three - who reached a collective landmark of 250 goals for the Reds in Wednesday’s 3-1 win versus Brighton and Hove Albion - but described the importance of other players chipping in within the final third.
Read on for the boss' thoughts on that, the challenge the Clarets will pose and his respect for Sean Dyche...
On goals being shared throughout the team...
That’s good and how it should be. Nobody, especially the way we play, says, ‘You are not allowed to score; you have to always stay there’. OK, the centre-halves are not often involved in offensive action, apart from set-pieces, for the final situation. It’s good, it’s exactly how it should be. If you want to be successful, the goals need to come from everywhere, pretty much. That helps us, of course. Curtis did it. Two days ago, I heard now that the three up-front were involved in 250 goals since we worked together, and that’s a great number as well. It’s good that we all score, but it’s very good that the three up-front score - especially often. That helps in all the games, but especially in the very tight games. That’s it.
We face a team with a brilliant attitude. What Sean Dyche is doing there is absolutely exceptional. I know they have some injuries, which is always difficult, especially in a period where you play every three days. On top of that, I’m not 100 per cent aware of it, but I think I heard of some contract issues when players are not available anymore. They have a pretty small squad together and [are] playing every three days so I have so much respect for the results they got. It’s really, really good. We will face a team with a brilliant attitude, with a really, really good set-up, good defending; there will be a lot of fights for second balls. That’s clear. Set-pieces will be a massive thing in this game and they will fight for everything, how Sean Dyche teams always do, since I’m in England, at least. I’ve known him for four-and-a-half years now. We need to be ready again.
I have [respect]. I came to the country and manage Liverpool; you go to a place like Burnley and they fight with all they have. It’s not nice. We are both pretty animated at the pitch and very emotional, I would say, on the sidelines. I can imagine that people maybe think we don’t have the best relationship, but we don’t really have a relationship because we meet only a couple of times a year. The more and more I learn about this league and how competitive this league is before you even know it, but you only really know it when you feel it. I couldn’t respect more what he’s doing, that’s the truth. How he sets it up, how competitive they are every year and now, again, they have 40-something points and will probably have more than 50. That’s incredibly difficult, with the injuries and the setbacks you get over a year, it’s incredibly difficult. He’s doing an incredible job, honestly. During the lockdown we had some Zoom calls and he seems to be a good guy. What can I say? That’s all.
Jürgen Klopp today confirmed Jordan Henderson is set to miss Liverpool’s final four fixtures of the season due to a knee injury, but is optimistic he will be ready for the start of next campaign.
The captain sustained the issue in the final stages of the champions’ 3-1 win at Brighton & Hove Albion on Wednesday night.
A scan has revealed the extent of the problem and that Henderson will miss the concluding matches of 2019-20; however, Klopp admitted the news is as good as the Reds could have hoped for.
Elsewhere, Dejan Lovren has resumed full training and could come into contention for Saturday’s fixture with Burnley at Anfield.
More to follow…
Ben Winterbottom has signed his first professional contract with Liverpool FC.
The goalkeeper joined the Academy last year after impressing on several occasions against the Reds for his former team Blackburn Rovers.
The 18-year-old – who turns 19 next week – started last season in the U18s but was turning out for the U23s by September.
Winterbottom's debut in Premier League 2 was a memorable one, making a spectacular penalty save against Derby County.
He was also part of the U19 team which secured top spot in their UEFA Youth League group and the U21 team that took on Football League opposition in the group stages of the Leasing.com Trophy.
In December, Winterbottom was on the bench for the first team as a youthful side took on Aston Villa in the quarter-final of the Carabao Cup.
Liverpool FC has submitted a planning application to Knowsley Metropolitan Borough Council for the installation of state-of-the-art fencing at its new training ground in Kirkby.
Now that the Reds’ new training facility is nearing completion, assessments to monitor the environmental conditions and performance of the new training pitches have taken place. The assessments are the final part of the development programme to ensure that the new facility offers the optimum conditions for first-team training.
The proposed plans submitted to Knowsley Metropolitan Borough Council include a translucent mesh fence that will provide further protection from any adverse weather conditions to the pitches and with minimal visual impact to the site’s neighbours. The mesh fence is woven to provide 50 per cent visibility, and will sit within the site, behind the newly planted perimeter bund and associated landscaping which will largely screen it from view.
The system is similar to the ball-stop fencing used at Melwood and will enhance the existing protection further whilst improving the environmental conditions around the pitches to replicate match conditions.
This bespoke system is expected to provide optimal conditions for training even on the windiest of days, setting a new benchmark for environmental conditions at training grounds.
If approved, the proposed works will be due to complete at the end of the summer when the building works will be completed.
Fifteen-year-old Liverpool fan Luke, from Huyton, has attended LFC Foundation’s Premier League Kicks sessions at Anfield Sports Community Centre for over two years.
Over the course of lockdown, the LFC Foundation has hosted a variety of FIFA 20 experiences on both PlayStation and Xbox consoles for their participants who regularly attend their PL Kicks Sessions.
Luke participated in every experience provided by the Reds’ official charity, blowing the competition away in a series of impressive performances.
The young Red also competed on a national level through the Premier League Stay At Home Cup, representing the LFC Foundation against other club community foundations across the country.
In his age group, Luke defeated the opposition to become this year’s champion.
Speaking of his success and time spent in lockdown, Luke said: “Winning the semi-final of the PL Tournament was my favourite moment as this was my most difficult fixture.
“I also liked that we could see the Foundations’ league table after every round of matches, so that I could check my league position against my mates.
“It felt really good to win the Premier League competition. It's good to compete with the best.”
Luke has also been successful on the pitch during his time in the Kicks programme, making the jump to the U15s development team and representing LFC Foundation in multiple football fixtures and tournaments up and down the country.
Earlier this year, the youngster also took part in the Foundation's Kicks Football+ activities during the half-term holidays, a scheme giving Kicks participants the opportunity to take part in a variety of educational and key life-skills activities with local community partners.
Luke and his friends were chosen based on their behaviour, attendance, and merit over the course of their time on the Kicks programme, learning various new life skills from fire safety to nutritional cooking.
Tony Cosgrove, Premier League Kicks manager, said: "I'm really impressed and proud of Luke's achievements and his obvious gaming ability, but even more so about the way he conducted himself throughout all of the Foundation's recent FIFA opportunities.
“He demonstrated a high level of sportsmanship throughout without boasting about his achievements.
“He was a great advocate for our PL Kicks programme and the LFC Foundation. To claim the national prize in his age category was an incredible accomplishment and I would like to pass on my congratulations to him.”
With the intentions of identifying where the LFC Foundation can improve for the future, the charity provided participants with a feedback opportunity following the competition’s conclusion.
All participants who responded said that they wanted to participate in more FIFA events run by the LFC Foundation in the future and reported that they would recommend the FIFA league, tournament or festivals to their friends.
An average score of 4.56 out of five was recorded from the survey as nine participants (47 per cent of all those who took part) chose to rate their overall experience with the LFC Foundation. A full breakdown of the feedback report is available here.
"It was great to see that the participants had enjoyed the variety of FIFA opportunities we provided throughout lockdown,” said Tony.
“We now know that there is an appetite for Kicks participation beyond our football sessions and we look forward to providing more chances for a greater number of our participants, taking this data on board to improve what we do.”
Following the coronavirus outbreak, the LFC Foundation had to put their schools and community activities on hold in adherence with government guidelines and social distancing measures.
Instead through virtual sessions, the Foundation was able continue its engagement with participants left housebound and unable to take part in their weekly LFC Foundation activities.
To find out more about the activities on offer at the LFC Foundation, click here.
[unable to retrieve full-text content]Watch extended highlights and exclusive reaction after Liverpool's 3-1 win at Brighton and Hove Albion on LFCTV GO now.
Liverpool must wait to discover the extent of the injury Jordan Henderson sustained during Wednesday’s 3-1 win over Brighton and Hove Albion.
The captain, who had earlier put the Premier League champions 2-0 up with a fine long-range strike, was forced off late on at the Amex Stadium.
Jürgen Klopp said post-match: “I don’t know [how serious it is], I don’t know, honestly. I didn’t see the situation back on the pitch, but I know that it will not be nothing, probably. That’s how it is, but we have to wait. I cannot say more.”
When asked if Henderson is on crutches, the boss replied: “I have had press since the game is over, so I have no idea how he left the dressing room.”