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Updated: 41 min 57 sec ago

Robbo: Eight games to go and it will be exciting

Sun, 03/10/2019 - 15:52

Andy Robertson looked ahead to Liverpool's final eight Premier League games with excitement after their attitude earned a hard-fought 4-2 win against Burnley.

The Reds reduced the deficit to leaders Manchester City to a single point again courtesy of doubles by Roberto Firmino and Sadio Mane at Anfield on Sunday.

The intensity of the battle for the title seems likely to go down to the wire but Robertson believes Liverpool’s character – evidenced by the response to an early concession to the Clarets – is well suited to the challenge.

“It’s another game down, eight to go. It’s going to be exciting one way or another,” the Scotland captain told Liverpoolfc.com.

“I’ve said in all the interviews I’ve done, we need to give 100 per cent in every single game and whether it gets us a trophy or it doesn’t, we need to deal with that.

“The position we’re in now, one point behind with eight games to go, if we perform like that – especially with our attitude – then it’ll stand us in good stead.

“We’ve got some tough games coming up but we look forward to the chase and hopefully we can push them all the way.”

Ashley Westwood’s sixth-minute goal direct from a corner tested Liverpool’s resolve and the response was exactly as Jürgen Klopp would have wished.

The Reds were 2-1 up by the half-hour mark and added two more in the second period to ensure a victory Robertson felt was clinched as a result of the players’ hard yards.

“The work-rate from all of us was brilliant, our counter-press to get the ball quickly and our reactions to poor passes or chances missed,” said the left-back.

“We reacted well and we looked positive, that’s what we needed to get better at. We did that. We kept going and we were ruthless when the chances came.”

Next up, however, is the second leg of the Champions League last-16 tie with Bayern Munich – which is 0-0 after the first meeting – at the Bundesliga giants’ Allianz Arena on Wednesday night.

Asked if Liverpool go to Germany with confidence of progressing, Robertson replied: “Yes, of course – we have to.

“Last season we were good away from home in the Champions League, we caused teams problems and that’s what we need to do again.

“It will probably be a different game, they’ll need to come out a bit more, their fans will demand they try to create.

“It’s all about trying to keep them out first and foremost and then hopefully we can take the chances we get and do enough to get through.”

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Liverpool 4-2 Burnley: Jürgen Klopp's reaction

Sun, 03/10/2019 - 15:11

Jürgen Klopp revelled in a ‘brilliant result’ after Liverpool came from behind to beat Burnley 4-2 and move back to within one point of Manchester City at the top of the Premier League.

Roberto Firmino and Sadio Mane each scored a brace at Anfield as the Reds responded to Ashley Westwood’s controversial early opener direct from a corner in emphatic fashion.

Johann Gudmundsson’s injury-time strike briefly made it 3-2, but Mane wrapped up a vital victory with his 50th goal for the club soon after.

Read on for a summary of Klopp’s post-match press conference…

On his reaction to the result and Liverpool’s performance…

It was a good game. A difficult game but a good game. We all know it is always difficult against Burnley for different reasons – and today there were a few more circumstances together that made it even more difficult. One of them was the early goal we conceded; usually it would have been disallowed if Andre [Marriner] has a better view of it, I don’t know exactly. I saw in the first moment it was a foul and now I have seen pictures you cannot treat the goalie like this, it should not happen, but they scored. The good thing was it was early, six minutes, so enough time to react, enough time to turn it around and that’s what we did. We had the ball pretty much all of the time, we created, I think we had 23 shots or something like that versus three, two of which were in. Wonderful play for [our] first goal, a little one-two in the box, Mo presses it through, Bobby easy goal. The second one, Adam Lallana fantastic counter-pressing block, Sadio could finish it off. The third one I think would have been a penalty but Bobby is there again. Then, of course, they scored the next one; I think it was a foul but there were more serious fouls in the history of football. We have to react better. I haven’t seen it back, but while the ball bounced in our box, Crouchy was now on the pitch and I think he was involved somehow, nobody could defend the ball really well and they scored a second. It becomes a bit tricky all of a sudden, but the boys reacted well, scored a fantastic fourth goal – really nice. I think if Sadio goes down it is again [a penalty]. It was good, 4-2, brilliant result. We knew it is really difficult against Burnley, it always is for us but most of the time we could win [the games] – and we always felt the work we did. That’s how it should be, all good.

On the importance of referees getting decisions correct in the final part of the season…

It is very [important] but it wouldn’t make sense if I put now more pressure. The last part of the season is the decisive part of the season, for all of us it is the same. I have always said, to win something, you always need to have a bit of luck. I think if Andre Marriner had a better view of the situation he probably would have whistled it, I think, you have to ask him – or if he thinks it is completely fine like that, I don’t know. It is always influential, but it doesn’t help if we now put more pressure on [them]. I think they try everything to whistle in the right way… There will be other tricky situations until the season is finished and we have to make sure we do enough in the right way so it’s not too influential for us.

On Adam Lallana’s performance…

We had a long training week and a lot of sessions, and I said at the beginning of the week it is possible to show up. You don’t have to say that because anyway it is clear, but maybe in the situation when you play a lot of times with 12, 13, 14 players, it’s important that the boys know it and Adam used that. Not only Adam, but Adam especially, so in the end it was clear that if he could play like he trained then he would help us a lot and that’s exactly how it happened today. We all know it, he’s always good on the ball and all that stuff, he is as well a pretty aggressive boy so the counter-press situation [ahead of Mane’s first goal] is a game-changer. It was a brilliant thing in that moment – it didn’t look really promising until Adam jumped in that situation. So well done, well deserved is all the praise for today. I’m really happy for him.

On the importance of scoring four goals in the first of three vital games in seven days…

Today it was important. We scored two weeks ago five goals and then we didn’t score against Everton and everybody asked me about offensive or more offensive line-ups. I think next time if we don’t score you will ask that again. That’s how it is, of course four goals are very important [but] what has that got to do with the Bayern game? I don’t think it’s easy to score there four. We have no problem with confidence. We did not have problems with confidence after the Everton game. You don’t have to think that all that you write has an influence on us – it’s not like that, most of the things are not interesting to us, that’s the truth. So you make a big fuss when we score five and we are the best attacking side in the world, then we scored nil and we have an offensive problem. Today, for me Mo Salah was the best player on the pitch and he did not score. I’m not sure that you will see that in a lot of ratings, because he’s a striker and didn’t score so then you make of it what you want. But we have no problem with confidence. We are in a good moment, I said that before. But that means we need all the players, we need to have them fit and on the pitch and stuff like that. We have again little injuries, Millie was not able to be involved today, Dejan was not planned to be involved today but he was on the bench after training only twice but we had nobody else – well, the kids, but they played for the U23s. So, just do the job and that’s what the boys did all the time, not always with the result we wished for but that’s probably the most you can say about everybody in the league. We have to only make sure we stay in a really interesting competition at the top of the table. Our message for today is that nobody gets rid of us if we play as we played today, because we had the perfect mixture of fighting the opponent, fighting the circumstances and playing football. That was really good, I liked it.

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Adam Lallana: I just want to contribute

Sun, 03/10/2019 - 14:45

Adam Lallana is determined to contribute for Liverpool in the run-in after an influential display in Sunday's 4-2 victory over Burnley at Anfield.

The No.20 came back into the starting XI for the Premier League clash, which the Reds ultimately won through braces by Roberto Firmino and Sadio Mane.

Lallana played a key role in the first two goals, with the hosts having fallen behind to Ashley Westwood’s opener, and provided an industrious presence in the centre of the pitch.

And he wants to maintain that level as Jürgen Klopp’s side continue to compete for success in the Premier League and Champions League.

“It has been a difficult 18 months to two years for me with injuries, but hopefully that’s behind me now,” Lallana told BT Sport post-match.

“I just want to keep working hard and contribute to what will be an exciting end to the season.

“It helps when you can be fit consistently, I’ve not had that over the last couple of years. It was a good game and I enjoyed being out there.”

The Clarets kept the game alive until stoppage-time, briefly reducing the deficit to one goal when Johann Gudmundsson struck to make it 3-2.

But Liverpool immediately netted again through Mane to ensure the gap to Manchester City at the top of the table was restored to one point.

“Burnley made it very difficult for us and obviously got an early goal,” reflected Lallana.

“All we’ve got to do is concentrate on ourselves and win games. City won yesterday, so it was our job today to put in a professional performance.

“Burnley didn’t make it easy, and we might not have made it easy for ourselves at the end, but Sadio finished it off.”

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Liverpool 4-2 Burnley: Five talking points

Sun, 03/10/2019 - 14:17

Roberto Firmino and Sadio Mane scored doubles as Liverpool battled to a 4-2 victory over Burnley to maintain their pursuit at the top of the Premier League.

Jürgen Klopp’s team showed determination to recover from an early deficit and gain a lead in the first half that they then consolidated after the interval.

Here are five talking points from Anfield…

A Reds response

Manchester City’s victory over Watford on Saturday evening – which opened up a four-point lead at the Premier League summit – meant Liverpool knew a response was necessary against Sean Dyche’s Burnley.

Yet, with just six minutes on the clock, responding in the game rather than the title race was the sole focus as Ashley Westwood’s corner from the left sailed straight into the opposite side of the goal.

Alisson Becker was aggrieved by the manner in which he was blocked in his area but the referee’s decision was made and the complexion of the hosts’ task suddenly changed.

They rose to the challenge, however, hauling themselves back in front before the game was 30 minutes old and ensuring three crucial points with the third and fourth goals in the second half.

Lallana’s important influence

Having secured a start in this game by virtue of a level of performance in training this week that Klopp described as ‘exceptional’ pre-match, Adam Lallana was an integral contributor here.

In addition to his surety of touch and prodigious work ethic, the midfielder played a key role in the two goals that turned around the scoreline in the first half.

It was his angled pass to the right wing that served up a chance for Mohamed Salah to attack the full-back, with help from Georginio Wijnaldum, and square for Firmino to haul Liverpool level on 19 minutes.

His role in the second goal was even more impressive – Lallana charged down Phil Bardsley with a sliding block that skewed the ball back into the box and ultimately the path of Mane, who swept a curler around Burnley goalkeeper Tom Heaton.

A standing ovation greeted him when he left the pitch in the 76th minute.

‘… and he will score’

Firmino’s first goal of the game – and 10th of the Premier League season – was one of the more straightforward of his Reds career, the efforts of his teammates leaving the 27-year-old with little to do on the goalline.

But the tap-in, which he later followed up with a similarly comfortable strike at the Kop end, maintained a proud record for the Brazilian in his fourth season with the club.

Firmino has reached double figures in each of his Premier League campaigns so far – a feat that stands as the best of its kind for Liverpool in the competition.

He has now been directly involved in 100 goals under Klopp (63 goals, 37 assists), more than any other player in the same period.

All three of Klopp’s regular forward trio, meanwhile, have scored 10 or more times in the division this term, combining for a total of 44 with eight matches still to play.

Mane extends Anfield run

Mane’s excellent curled finish a minute shy of the half-hour mark put Liverpool in front and also established the No.10 in an elite club of Reds goalscorers.

He is only the fifth man to have found the net in six consecutive Premier League matches at Anfield, emulating Michael Owen, Salah, Luis Suarez and Fernando Torres.

Torres lays claim to the longest streak of the group, having netted in eight in a row, though Mane can of course continue to aim to match the Spaniard when Klopp’s side return to their home stadium against Tottenham Hotspur on March 31.

His stoppage-time second, the forward’s personal-best 16th Premier League goal of the season, also brought up the milestone of 50 for the club since he joined in the summer of 2016.

The race continues

And so it is as you were in the tussle for the Premier League title.

Liverpool’s hard-fought victory over the Clarets reduced City’s lead at the top back to a single point with eight fixtures remaining of the 2018-19 season.

Klopp’s men will now turn their focus to the second leg of their Champions League tie with Bayern Munich on Wednesday night, before travelling to Fulham in the league next weekend.

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Report: Firmino and Mane doubles down Burnley at Anfield

Sun, 03/10/2019 - 13:55

Liverpool narrowed the gap at the top of the Premier League table to one point after beating Burnley 4-2 at Anfield on Sunday.

The Reds fell behind after six minutes of play when Ashley Westwood’s corner from the left flew straight in, though Alisson Becker felt he was unfairly impeded by James Tarkowski.

Roberto Firmino equalised on 19 minutes, however, with Tom Heaton and Tarkowski failing to deal with a Mohamed Salah cross, allowing the Brazilian to tap in from close range.

Soon after, Sadio Mane fired the hosts into the lead when he rasped a loose ball into the corner with aplomb after Salah had been challenged by Charlie Taylor.

Firmino slotted in a third in the 67th minute, but Burnley reduced the arrears in stoppage-time through substitute Johann Berg Gudmundsson.

Nevertheless, Mane slotted in Liverpool’s fourth soon after, ensuring they reduced the points deficit at the summit with eight games left to play.

The standings…

The team news…

Liverpool made two changes as Adam Lallana and Firmino came in for Jordan Henderson and Divock Origi. Dejan Lovren was named among the substitutes after returning to fitness.

The first half…

With Manchester City having moved four points in front at the top by virtue of a 3-1 win over Watford on Saturday evening, Liverpool kicked off aiming close the gap on their fellow title challengers.

However, just six minutes had elapsed when Burnley stunned Anfield by taking the lead, with Westwood’s corner sailing straight in from the left.

Alisson and his teammates were left furious by the decision to allow the goal to stand, with the goalkeeper feeling he’d been prevented from jumping by Tarkowski. He received a booking for his protestations.

Liverpool’s response saw Firmino have an effort deflected narrowly over before Mane guided a header off target from Trent Alexander-Arnold’s centre.

But the Reds did draw level in the 19th minute. Salah and Wijnaldum opened up their opponents with a one-two that sent the former speeding towards the touchline. Heaton and Tarkowski got in each other’s way as they tried to deal with the delivery, allowing Firmino to tap in.

Jürgen Klopp’s side then took the lead as Mane notched for a sixth successive home league game. It owed much to Lallana’s outstanding charging down of Phil Bardsley’s attempted clearance, with the ball breaking initially for Salah and then Mane, who netted unerringly to send his team in ahead at the break.

The second half…

Liverpool set about looking to make certain of maximum points in the opening exchanges of the second period, with Salah clipping over the bar and Firmino seeing a cross-turned-shot evade the bottom corner by inches.

Just after the hour, Mane and Wijnaldum both attempted to reach an Andy Robertson delivery unsuccessfully as Burnley began to mount some sustained pressure; however, their spirts were dashed in the 67th minute.

Heaton’s goal kick only succeeded in finding Salah, who strode through on goal but was challenged by the recovering Taylor. Nevertheless, Firmino was on hand to nudge home.

With just under 15 minutes remaining, Lallana was withdrawn to a standing ovation after an outstanding performance. Naby Keita was his replacement, with Jordan Henderson having earlier taken the place of Georginio Wijnaldum.

The captain went close to adding goal number four, seeing a drive from an angle clatter against the challenge of Ben Mee on the edge of the six-yard box, before Mane touched Alexander-Arnold’s cross against the crossbar on the slide.

Salah was then thwarted by a flying one-handed save from Heaton, but Gudmundsson gave cause for concern when he stabbed in Burnley’s second in stoppage-time.

However, there was still time for Mane to round Heaton and roll in the Reds’ fourth to make sure they successfully closed the gap on City at the summit.

The stats...

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Listen live: Free commentary on Liverpool v Burnley

Sun, 03/10/2019 - 11:50
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Jürgen Klopp on Adam Lallana start v Burnley

Sun, 03/10/2019 - 11:04

Adam Lallana's 'exceptional' levels in training this week earned the Liverpool midfielder a start in the Premier League meeting with Burnley.

The No.20 comes into the XI, as does Roberto Firmino, as Jürgen Klopp makes just two changes from the goalless draw against Everton last weekend.

Asked for the thinking behind naming Lallana in his line-up, the manager told BT Sport: “We had a complete training week and actually that’s how it is.

“If you have five sessions a week, everybody can show up and Adam was exceptional during the week. So, in a situation where you think a little bit how you can adjust one or two things, it’s smart.

“He trained well for a while already but this week was especially well – that’s the reason why he starts.”

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Team news: Confirmed Liverpool line-up v Burnley

Sun, 03/10/2019 - 10:59

Liverpool make two changes for today's Premier League clash with Burnley as Roberto Firmino and Adam Lallana start at Anfield.

The pair are brought into the line-up in place of Divock Origi and Jordan Henderson, who drop to the bench for the 12pm GMT kick-off.

Dejan Lovren is fit to take a place among the substitutes.

Liverpool: Alisson, Alexander-Arnold, Matip, Van Dijk, Robertson, Fabinho, Wijnaldum, Lallana, Mane, Salah, Firmino.

Substitutes: Mignolet, Lovren, Henderson, Keita, Shaqiri, Origi, Sturridge.

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LIVE: Liverpool v Burnley - follow the build-up

Sun, 03/10/2019 - 07:13

Klopp's assessment of Burnley

The manager explained his respect for the Clarets as he spoke to the media on Friday, stressing the need for the Reds to produce their highest level to ensure a successful result.

"It's not that they have the majority of possession in the games usually, so that means we need to create, we need to have ideas, we need to be in a very lively way but patient as well - that's the challenge for all these games," said the boss.

"Historically, against Burnley it was always difficult because they have a really high motivation level always, they are really fighting, they never give up.

"I don't think they have a lot of high results when they lose, they always stay in the game. When you have to make the analysis and watch the last three or four games, you have to say 'respect'."

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Henderson: The bar is set high here, but we wouldn't want it any other way

Sun, 03/10/2019 - 06:00

Jordan Henderson feels the 'pressure' of being involved in the Premier League title race can be used as a positive for Liverpool.

The Reds return to action when Burnley visit Anfield this afternoon – and they’ll be aiming to bounce back to winning ways following last weekend’s goalless draw at Goodison Park with Everton.

And Henderson believes the squad enjoy the challenge of trying to meet the expectations that have been placed upon them this season as they chase success in the Premier League and Champions League.

He wrote in his column for the official matchday programme: “It has been quite telling that in our last two away matches we’ve left the pitch on an opponents’ home turf, having restricted them to barely any chances and no goals, and yet they’ve been delighted with the result at full-time.

“To be quite clear, when you play for Liverpool a draw, even away from home against really tough opposition, isn’t an ambition. We play to win at all times and we expect of ourselves to win.

“However, that sort of reaction does demonstrate where we currently are as a team and as a club – back among the very elite.

“It’s true that the bar at Liverpool is higher than at most other clubs in the world. That’s the way it is, but we all embrace it. The players love it, we love how much it matters.

“Let’s put it this way: does anyone think we’d want it any other way than going toe-for-toe in the title race at this stage of the season and still with it all to play for in the Champions League? That’s what as players we all strive for – it’s something every footballer wants to be involved in.

“It feels like the word ‘pressure’ has been everywhere since August, but I really can’t get my head around the idea of pressure being a negative. I think back to the 2013-14 season when we were competing at the top of the table come the business end of the campaign. I think back to last season’s Champions League campaign and going to really difficult places with advantages from the first leg to defend. I never found the pressure of any of that negative – the opposite, in fact.

“There’s too much focus on ‘pressure’ being a negative in sport. There’ll be people in this stadium today – many people – who know what real pressure is in their lives. Our team bus drives past the foodbank collection point on our way to Anfield for home games. That’s real pressure.

“I think it’s important that, as a team and as a club, we realise just how good we are now and just how positive our situation is. And that’s not to say we’ve cracked it because we absolutely haven’t. We haven’t cracked anything yet, but we are a really good football team whose attitude is: how can we be even better?”

Pick up your copy of the official LFC matchday programme at the stadium today, or subscribe online by clicking here.

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Klopp: Burnley's desire for points will be just as great as our own

Sun, 03/10/2019 - 05:00

Jürgen Klopp believes Liverpool will face a Burnley side equally determined to clinch three points when the teams meet at Anfield this afternoon.

The Reds are aiming to return to winning ways following the draw against Everton at Goodison Park last weekend, but the manager expects the Clarets to be just as hungry for victory as his own team.

He wrote in his column for the official matchday programme: “We arrive into this game on the back of a hard-fought draw at our local rivals Everton. I felt on the day, and the analysis after confirmed, that in terms of chances we created nearly all the ones of significance during the game. We dominated and played some really good football, so I am really pleased with the players for the determination and the quality they showed.

“During seasons of success there will always be matches where the performance deserves more than the final result and I think Sunday at Goodison was one of those. The players gave everything and were mature in how they managed the game.

“It is clear that each and every game between now and the campaign ending will be exactly the same, as I think each team in this division is fighting for something.

“Take today as the perfect example. Burnley are in a healthy position in the table but still require points and therefore will have as much desire as we do for a result.

“In football you never play in isolation – the opponent is just as motivated. I don’t think you achieve just because you want something more; to assume you want something more than the person you compete against is as complacent as it is presumptuous.

“Burnley are a side that reflects their manager. They are fierce and committed, confident in themselves – they are astute. They will come to make life as uncomfortable as possible for us, but they come with the intention to win and we know this. We know to win the game we must work harder than our opponent – this is a given for us.

2018-19 2018-19

“Burnley have big motivation, but as always our motivation is at its maximum. We need to marry our quality with our determination – this is the critical equation. I know we want to achieve for our club and our supporters with everything we have, but to do that we need more than just raw desire. We need to be ready and we need to be smart. We need to make sure we react in the right way to situations, be it during matches or more generally.

“I see in our team that they relish this run-in and they relish everything that comes with it. They look at our situation and see opportunity. The attitude is: this is cool, let’s attack it.

“To achieve in the Premier League is so hard – so, so hard – but it’s that intensity that makes it so rewarding. We enjoy being in this battle because it matters. It sets the pulses racing because it matters.”

Pick up your copy of the official LFC matchday programme at the stadium today, or subscribe online by clicking here.

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Stats: Robertson set for LFC milestone against Burnley

Sat, 03/09/2019 - 23:58

Liverpool full-back Andy Robertson could reach a landmark for the club in Sunday's clash with Burnley.

The Scotland international, who turns 25 on Monday, will make his 50th top-flight appearance for the Reds if selected at Anfield.

Only three Scottish players have previously achieved the tally for Liverpool in the Premier League era - Dominic Matteo (127), Steve Nicol (67) and Gary McAllister (55).

For more need-to-know pre-match facts and figures, courtesy of club statistician Ged Rea, read on...

[embedded content]

Liverpool have won seven of their nine Premier League fixtures against Burnley, with one draw and one loss.

The Reds have scored 19 goals in those nine games, conceding just six times.

There has been just one goalless draw at Anfield in 41 league meetings with the Clarets - that came in December 1920.

The Reds have kept five shutouts in a row in all competitions for the first time since December 2006. They last recorded a sixth in succession in December 2005 - a run which was extended to 11.

Liverpool goalkeeper Alisson Becker has kept 17 clean sheets in the top flight this season - nine at Anfield - and goes into this weekend's round of fixtures three ahead of Manchester City's Ederson in the race for the Golden Glove.

Mohamed Salah is one goal away from scoring 50 in the Premier League in fewer games than any other player in Liverpool history.

If selected, this would be his 66th game and the record is currently held by Fernando Torres (72 matches).

A goal against Burnley would also see Salah equal the Premier League record for reaching 50 in the fewest matches. The 66-game benchmark was set by Alan Shearer with Blackburn Rovers in the 1990s.

Sadio Mane has now scored in Liverpool's last five home league games - only the eighth occasion a Reds player has achieved the feat in the Premier League. 

Should he score against Burnley he will join Michael Owen on six in a row, with only Luis Suarez and Salah (seven each) and Torres (eight) having a longer sequence.   

Two strikes against the Clarets would bring up 50 LFC goals for the Senegalese forward.

Premier League 2018-19 Premier League 2018-19

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Alisson: 'Big secret' to our defensive record is teamwork

Sat, 03/09/2019 - 21:59

The 'big secret' Alisson Becker credits for Liverpool's formidable defensive record this season is simple: teamwork.

In his debut campaign in the Premier League, the Brazil international has posted 17 clean sheets in 29 outings and helped to establish the Reds as the hardest team to score against in the division so far.

Praise has been consistent for Alisson and the defenders in front of him – from the manager, teammates, fans and pundits.

But the man himself cites the efforts of the entire team, starting with the work ethic of the forwards, as the crucial factor in such impressive statistics.

“The big secret of our defence is that the whole team works together,” Alisson explains in the new edition of the official Liverpool FC magazine.

“It’s not just about the backline, it’s not just about the midfield – even the attackers will come back, like Firmino, to defend inside our own area. Mane sacrifices a lot to help with the marking. Salah helps with pressing, which starts way up top. If we fail up top, then we’ll have problems at the back. When something goes wrong, we all stay focused.

“We have our objective clearly in front of us, which is to win the game. With a clean sheet, we are one step closer to winning.”

[embedded content]

Liverpool remain locked in a battle with Manchester City to clinch the Premier League title.

Nine matches, beginning with Sunday’s visit of Burnley to Anfield, are left for the Reds to accrue enough points to re-take the lead from Pep Guardiola’s reigning champions.

Alisson has faith the Reds can achieve their ambition but the goalkeeper believes that a well-worn cliché is truly the best way to confront the run-in.

“Our approach is the same. We take things game by game without worrying about what our opponents are doing,” he added.

“Everyone wants to win this league but at Liverpool our concern is only on winning games and not dropping points. We don’t think about Manchester City or Tottenham, we think about ourselves. We only think about what we can do and how things are moving forward.

“Of course, we believe that we can win the league. We’ve shown this season that we can be good enough and we’re going to keep working hard to show this in the games that are still to come.”

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The view from Burnley: 'We will look to frustrate you'

Sat, 03/09/2019 - 20:00

Liverpool host Burnley at Anfield on Sunday looking to get back to winning ways following last weekend's Merseyside derby draw.

Jürgen Klopp's men were held 0-0 at Goodison Park and now sit second in the Premier League table. 

Liverpool won 3-1 at Burnley in early December but the Clarets' form has improved since a Boxing Day defeat by Everton.

Sean Dyche's side were joint-bottom when the Reds visited Turf Moor, but an eight-game unbeaten streak following the reverse to the Blues has helped them move five points clear of danger heading into this weekend.

Burnley have, though, lost their last two top-flight fixtures to Newcastle United and Crystal Palace - so what can we expect from the visitors at Anfield?

We spoke to Burnley fan and host of Clarets podcast No Nay Never, Natalie Bromley (@Natalie_Bromley) to find out...

How has Dyche turned things around since December?

The Boxing Day fixture against Everton (which we lost 5-1) was both a low point and a turning point in our season. We struggled that day and did not perform anywhere near the level we know we can. 

It is hard to pinpoint precisely what the difference has been. Much has been said about the impact Tom Heaton's return has had, and whilst that feels harsh on Joe Hart, I think there is some truth in it. 

Dyche himself admitted he had tried everything apart from changing 'keepers and having our captain back in the starting line-up seemed to boost the players' morale and hearten the fans. 

We also found that battling spirit again after Everton. I don't think for one minute that a Dyche side can ever be complacent, but perhaps that defeat shocked the players into realising that we were in a struggle and that the 'strong jaw' we are famous for had to be found.

What are Clarets fans' expectations for the final nine games of the campaign? Are you now looking up the table rather than down?

I think the expectation is that we will probably survive, but no-one is getting carried away just yet and we still have one eye looking down the table.

We were ecstatic after the Spurs win, but that was followed by back-to-back defeats against relegation rivals Palace and Newcastle. Things suddenly felt a little uneasy again. 

That said, coming into this game we sit five points clear of Cardiff in 18th, with them still to play. The fixtures were not kind to us for the last four games of the season (Chelsea, Manchester City, Everton and Arsenal) so we really could do with having points on the board before that run-in. 

We are capable of getting nine points from our last nine games and if we do, Cardiff would need 15 from nine to finish above us. And Southampton and Brighton are still in the mix too. It is going to be an exciting finish to the season for the neutral.

How important has the Ashley Barnes and Chris Wood strike partnership been?

Much more important than I realised at the start of the season. I am guilty of being unconvinced in the past about this particular partnership; for me, they were too similar in style and I wanted a combination of a smaller, quicker No.10 playing off either one of them. 

How wrong was I? They now have 16 Premier League goals between them and next highest scorer is James Tarkowski with three! Only Sergio Aguero has out-scored Barnes in 2019.

They have a fantastic understanding and Barnes is such a fan favourite. His journey has been phenomenal; brought into the team in the 2014 Championship promotion season (as emergency cover for the injured Danny Ings and Sam Vokes), he struggled to find flair and finesse, with some questioning whether he was of Championship quality.

His technical improvement has been immense, and I would love nothing more than for Gareth Southgate to give him an England nod.

Which player should Reds fans keep an eye on at Anfield?

Dwight McNeil. Last season's Youth Player of the Year has burst into the first team in 2019 and has no intention of losing his place in the starting line-up. He is a joy to watch.

Also, I expect us to pull out another amazing goalkeeper performance, as is standard these days at Anfield.

What have you made of Liverpool this season?

I honestly didn't think anyone could come close to this Man City side, but you have done it and are taking the title race right to the wire. 

It has felt like everything has fallen into place this year, with improvements made where they were needed and the whole team pulling in the same direction. These players look like they believe they can be champions - that really shouldn't be underestimated. 

If the worst happens and City take the title you will have made them work so hard for it, which no other team managed last year. And you have shown you can recover from disappointment and come back even stronger.

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Which one LFC player would you like to see in a Burnley shirt?

Virgil van Dijk. Alongside Ben Mee. Can you imagine? What a partnership.

How do you expect Burnley to line up? 

And Peter Crouch to come off the bench on the 80th minute to head in the winner.

Which areas do you think the teams will try to exploit in each other?

We will sit tight for as long as possible and defend as stubbornly as we can. The aim will be to stay in the game, then try to take any chances that come our way. We will want to frustrate you, make you nervous and make poor decisions in a panic to win the game.

I think you will try to exploit that by pressuring a very deep defensive line and scoring early; the way to beat Burnley is to not let us go a goal ahead and Klopp will know that. 

What is your match prediction?

Burnley to win 2-1. You have to back your own boys, right?

Premier League 2018-19 Premier League 2018-19

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Henderson: You have to enjoy this pressure

Sat, 03/09/2019 - 16:58

The pressure that comes with the opportunity to battle for a Premier League title has to be enjoyed by Liverpool, according to Jordan Henderson.

The Reds are locked in pursuit of English football’s top prize with Manchester City, a single point separating the teams after the 29 games before this weekend’s round of fixtures.

Henderson and co were held to goalless stalemates at Manchester United and Everton either side of a 5-0 rout of Watford last week, which allowed City to move top.

But the Liverpool captain dismissed any suggestion that the intensity of their mission is affecting the players – in fact, he insisted the situation is one that simply has to be relished.

“There’s pressure playing for Liverpool but that’s why you come, that’s what you want, you want to play for the biggest clubs in the world, play in big games and enjoy them,” he told Premier League Productions ahead of Sunday’s clash with Burnley.

“That’s what we enjoy as players, I’m sure when we can’t play anymore that’s what we’ll miss. So you’ve got to make the most of it.

“We’ve said we want to give everything we can from now until the end of the season. Pressure to win one of the biggest titles in Europe has got to be enjoyable. When you’re fighting relegation and things like that, that’s a different type of pressure.

“This is a good pressure for the team and one we have to enjoy the process of.”

The consistency shown by Jürgen Klopp’s side this term, with still only one defeat suffered in the Premier League, reflects the latest stage of their progress under the German.

And while Henderson believes Liverpool have moved up a level from last season, development in itself is not enough to satisfy the England international.

“You always want to improve as a team, of course. You always want to get better and better. And I think we have improved since last season,” he added.

“But when you get into these situations you want to go and win it, of course. For us as a team, we are in a position where we just want to give everything until the end of the season and hopefully win as many games as we can to win the league.

“It’s not easy, it’s tough – the Premier League is hard. Nothing will come easy for us, we know that. We’ve just got to keep going and keep working.

“The future is exciting at this football club when I look at the dressing room, the manager, the fans and everyone surrounding it. I feel we are only a short time away from that trophy we haven’t had in a while – and that will come.”

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Missing Men: Burnley 2009

Sat, 03/09/2019 - 15:59

Yossi Benayoun scored a hat-trick as Liverpool beat Premier League new boys Burnley 4-0 at Anfield in September 2009, but can you name the rest of the starting XI from that day?

Rafael Benitez's Reds went into the game after two wins and two defeats in their opening four league games of the season - but there were to be no slip-ups against the Clarets, with Benayoun weaving his way through the visitors’ defence to fire them in front after 27 minutes at Anfield.

The Israel international had a hand in the second goal as Dirk Kuyt prodded in his half-saved shot and then Benayoun put the Reds in complete control on the hour - tapping in to make it 3-0 after being teed up by Steven Gerrard.

Reds skipper Gerrard was denied a goal himself by a series of saves from Brian Jensen and also saw an effort strike the woodwork.

Then, with eight minutes to go, Benayoun completed the scoring when he beat the offside trap and kept his nerve to slot past Jensen.

And in doing so, he became the first ever Liverpool player to score hat-tricks in the Premier League, FA Cup and Champions League. 

Benayoun took the match ball, but who else made up the starting XI for the victory over Burnley? Can you fill in the Missing Men below?

Click the Next button below to reveal the Missing Men...

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Match report: U18s beaten by Derby in top-of-the-table clash

Sat, 03/09/2019 - 14:06

Liverpool U18s were leapfrogged at the top of the table as a result of Derby County's 3-1 win in their U18 Premier League North meeting on Saturday.

The young Reds had rallied after falling behind to Jason Knight’s ninth-minute opener, with Bobby Duncan netting an equaliser early in the second half.

But a late double by Morgan Whittaker condemned Barry Lewtas’ side to a rare defeat and saw Derby overhaul Liverpool in the standings on goal difference.

Derby immediately got on the front foot in the game and could have opened the scoring within three minutes, but the unmarked Lee Buchanan directed his header from inside the box wide.

The home side did produce a breakthrough soon after, though.

Tyree Wilson’s pace took him past Liverpool right-back Neco Williams on the wing and his assist into the area found Knight, who took advantage of space to coolly control the ball and drive it low into Dan Atherton’s net.

Fidel O’Rourke, captaining Lewtas’ charges, went close to a rapid response but saw his chipped effort from Abdi Sharif’s ball over the top saved well by Sam French.

It was a sign of things to come, with Derby’s last line of defence offering stubborn resistance to the Reds’ eager search for an equaliser.

After Knight squandered the chance to convert a second goal from a misplaced clearance, French thwarted the visitors in a succession of opportunities.

The Derby stopper kept out Sharif’s hit from distance and later attempt from a set-piece, having palmed over Leighton Clarkson’s 30-yard free-kick in between times, to preserve the hosts’ lead at the interval.

But a leveller was coming – and it arrived three minutes into the second half.

Sharif’s defence-splitting pass freed Neco Williams on the right flank and the defender’s pinpoint cross set up centre-forward Duncan to claim his 26th goal of the season.

With the knowledge that victory would double their points advantage over Derby in U18 Premier League North, the young Reds pressed to complete a turnaround.

And only another outstanding stop by French denied them a minute before the hour mark, Elijah Dixon-Bonner’s strike from Yasser Larouci’s pull-back thwarted.

Lewtas called for Paul Glatzel and the reformation of his lethal partnership alongside Duncan with a quarter of the match remaining, and the pair soon combined to release Clarkson, whose ambitions were halted by a last-ditch tackle.

But, instead, Derby moved up a gear in the closing stages and a quickfire double deflated Liverpool.

The respite brought by Atherton’s brilliant save to deny Callum Minkley at close range was cruelly brief – two minutes later, Whittaker fired a finish beyond the goalkeeper when a set-piece was uncleared.

And the Derby No.7 increased his side’s advantage with 77 on the clock, a free-kick from the edge of the area sent through the wall and home for 3-1.

French added further salt to the wounds by pushing Clarkson’s curler from a set-piece against the post and away, ensuring the home side claimed victory and leadership of the division with a game in hand.

Liverpool U18s: Atherton, N. Williams (Walls, 69), Larouci, R. Williams, Boyes, Ritaccio (Longstaff, 76), Sharif, Clarkson, O’Rourke (Glatzel, 64), Duncan, Dixon-Bonner.

Unused substitutes: Jaros, Cain.

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'I'm so happy with 45 minutes - now I want full fitness'

Sat, 03/09/2019 - 13:58

Nathaniel Phillips was delighted to clock up 45 minutes on his return for Liverpool U23s in a 3-1 win over Derby County on Friday afternoon.

The 21-year-old centre-back, who had been sidelined since November following ankle surgery, started the Premier League 2 game for the young Reds.

Phillips joined England international Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain in making a return to action at Derby's Training Centre - and was pleased with his comeback.

"I'm really happy to have got 45 minutes under my belt," the defender told Liverpoolfc.com.

"It was important for me and I enjoyed myself out there, I'm so happy. I just want to get as fit as possible now and get back to full fitness."

Neil Critchley's side made a return to winning ways courtesy of two goals from Curtis Jones and another by Rafael Camacho.

Phillips felt it was a deserved victory for the young Reds.

"I thought the lads did well," he said. "It was a decent performance and wasn't an easy game, it never is against Derby.

"I thought we executed our game plan well and took the points home.

"We pressed them really well and always looked like we were going to score. I thought we played well as a team throughout."

Watch: Extended highlights of the 3-1 win

Phillips also welcomed the return of Oxlade-Chamberlain, who played 40 minutes of the match in his first action after an 11-month absence.

"I was really happy to see him back and getting some minutes," he said.

"I thought he played well and showed his class. We are all really happy to see him getting some minutes."

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Bishops take on Red Neighbours' walking football team

Sat, 03/09/2019 - 13:00

A team of bishops from across the north west visited Liverpool for a special match against Red Neighbours' walking football team on Friday.

The bishops travelled to Anfield Sports and Community Centre to go head-to-head with a Red Neighbours squad that included LFC legends Ian Callaghan and Roy Evans.

Led by Red Neighbours team member Bill Bygroves, the morning consisted of a high-tempo warm-up with stretching, followed by a series of dribbling drills and competitive games.

“It’s been a while since I’ve played football, but I’ve really enjoyed it today,” said Evans. “It’s great to see so many people here. You can see how much these sessions mean to the local men who come each week.”

After the final whistle, the teams headed inside for a cup of tea, a slice of cake and a catch-up – and there was even the chance for the bishops to have their photo taken with the prestigious Champions League trophy.

The bishop of Sherwood, Tony Porter, said: “What a great experience. The Red Neighbours team have made us feel extremely welcome and we’ve enjoyed a great game of football.

“A massive thanks to Red Neighbours for organising the event and getting everyone together.”

Walking football supports two key areas of Red Neighbours’ focus: support for the elderly community and encouraging a physically active community.

Sessions are held at Anfield Sports and Community Centre every Tuesday from 3pm to 4pm and every Friday from 11am to 12pm.

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Robbo: The lads feel the difference Anfield can make

Sat, 03/09/2019 - 11:58

Liverpool fans can give the team a very real advantage in their remaining five Premier League home games, insists Andy Robertson.

The Reds will host Burnley on Sunday and then face Tottenham Hotspur, Chelsea, Huddersfield Town and Wolverhampton Wanderers at Anfield as they aim to win the title race with Manchester City.

Players and supporters alike have highlighted the influence of the atmospheres generated during the emphatic victories over Bournemouth and Watford in the past two home league fixtures.

And with three crucial points on offer in a midday kick-off with the Clarets, left-back Robertson opened up on exactly how the crowd can impact the action on the pitch – particularly for daytime encounters.

Reflecting on the Bournemouth clash, he told The Anfield Wrap: “After the game, all the lads knew it made a big difference, even from when we were going out to warm up. There were a lot more fans in the ground than usual.

“It’s a special atmosphere regardless but when we play against Manchester United or Everton, or in the Champions League, of course it’s a bit easier to create a special atmosphere.

“But it’s probably the games on Saturday at three o’clock where we maybe need it the most. We all pulled together in that game.

“We’ve only got nine games and half of them will be at home, so if we can create an atmosphere that makes even a small difference to the lads then it will stand us in good stead.

“Of course, it’s up to us to respond to that, which we did brilliantly against Bournemouth. It might not always be the case in games for one reason or another. But we responded well to it and it made a difference in that game. I thought the Watford game was really good as well; the early goal obviously helped.

“We’ve only got five home games left and if we can even get a slight advantage – which, playing at home, we should – why not try it?”

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