Virgil van Dijk admits he’s been showing Andy Robertson and Trent Alexander-Arnold some tough love this season in an attempt to encourage them to improve even further.
The centre-back has described the duo’s form so far this campaign as ‘outstanding’, but believes they’re both capable of becoming even better.
Van Dijk told Liverpoolfc.com with a smile: “They are having outstanding seasons and I am always a bit hard on them because I want them to do very well, like Robbo always says in the media! But I am enjoying every bit of it, seeing them perform like this.
“They are fantastic players, full of confidence and they should be full of confidence because they’re performing at such a high level. I said to Robbo the other day that he needs to get some goals as well to be even better, but that’s just me wanting to push him to improve even more!
“That’s something I like, to push him – and Trent the same.”
Robertson and Alexander-Arnold claimed an assist apiece for Van Dijk’s recent double against Watford at Anfield.
Afterwards, footage of Van Dijk playfully shoving Robertson as they celebrated the Reds’ fifth goal went viral among supporters.
“I saw that as well! It’s just me and him always joking,” the Netherlands captain laughed.
“We have a great understanding and it’s always great to play with him. He can help me, I can help him, and that’s how we all work together, especially at the back. In the end, we do it all together.”
A collective effort is something Van Dijk is always eager to talk up.
Liverpool are currently on a run of five clean sheets in all competitions – while Alisson Becker has kept an astonishing 17 in his 29 league appearances since arriving at the club last summer.
That's why, therefore, Van Dijk feels the praise for such a statistic should be shared around.
“100 per cent [it’s a collective effort],” the No.4 stated. “Robbo is having a fantastic season, Trent has been amazing and Joel has come in for the last few games and been playing very well.
“It’s very important that everyone is getting to their best level, especially for the last nine games.
“It’s obviously very important, especially with the games we have left and the situation we’re in, it’s good to have something to build on.
“Sometimes things are tough for everyone, so it is good to have defensively stability and hopefully we can keep that going until the end of the season – and even into next season.”
Liverpool will aim to stretch their current shut-out sequence to six matches when Burnley visit Anfield on Sunday.
Does Van Dijk feel such defensive stability provides the rest of the team with confidence?
“Hopefully,” he replied. “That should be the case, but we have to keep doing it.
“We’ve had five clean sheets on the bounce with the Bayern game as well and we hope to keep it going. That’s the way forward. Other than that, we have to keep working and hopefully keep winning games as well.”
Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain is set to figure as Liverpool U23s visit Derby County in Premier League 2 on Friday - and you can watch the game live on LFCTV and LFCTV GO from 1.30pm GMT.
The midfielder is set to take a significant step on his road to full fitness by playing for 45 minutes in the fixture following Jürgen Klopp's confirmation of his involvement on Thursday afternoon.
Nat Phillips will also play a part for the first time since sustaining an ankle injury back in November.
Kick-off at the Rams' training centre is scheduled for 2pm, but our coverage begins half an hour earlier when Rob Jones will be joined by former Reds Chris Kirkland and Dominic Matteo.
Jürgen Klopp's pre-match press conference will take place on Friday - join us at Melwood from 10am GMT.
The boss is set to preview Liverpool's clash with Burnley at Anfield this morning, and you can watch his briefing live and in full right here.
Return to this page shortly before 10am to tune in via YouTube.
Daniel Sturridge admits the return to training of Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain has provided everyone within the Liverpool squad with a huge boost.
The Liverpool midfielder sustained a knee ligament injury in the Champions League semi-final tie with AS Roma at Anfield last April and only rejoined first-team sessions during February's training camp in Marbella.
But now the 25-year-old is set to ramp up his rehabilitation with a run out in the U23s’ fixture with Derby County on Friday - and Sturridge admits it's great to see his teammate making such positive progress in his comeback.
"He's been missed," Sturridge said on the latest episode of LFC Later. "I love that guy!
"He's been through a big injury, which is difficult to return from. But it's his dedication, his hardwork that he has put in on the training pitch.
"The banter he brings to the boys, to the group, the lads, I love being around him, so it's great to see him back out there and to see him so sharp as well.
"He's been really sharp out there and he doesn't seem as though he has been injured. It's great to have him back."
Watch Sturridge star on the latest episode of LFC Later at 9pm GMT on Thursday on LFCTV or catch up on demand on LFCTV GO. Click here to sign up to either service>>
Jürgen Klopp has confirmed Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain is set to take a significant step on his road back to full fitness by participating in Liverpool U23s’ fixture with Derby County on Friday afternoon.
The midfielder will feature for Neil Critchley’s side at the Rams’ training centre in what will be his first appearance since sustaining a knee ligament injury in the Champions League semi-final tie with AS Roma at Anfield last April.
Fans will be able to watch the game live on LFCTV and LFCTV GO, with kick off set for 2pm GMT. Click here to sign up now in order to tune in.
“The plan is to give him some match time” Klopp told Liverpoolfc.com as he confirmed Oxlade-Chamberlain’s involvement.
“All that we saw so far in training looks really good, it looks really exciting, but we all know it is a massive difference between each training session you have and playing a proper game.
“It’s not about the opponent, it’s about judging situations, a bigger pitch, higher intensity, a different concentration level. The preparation for a match is different to a normal training session, so players after a long period [out] need to get used to that.
“There is absolutely no expectation on the game [for him] apart from go through it, tick that box, come back and go on training again. It doesn’t say anything about him 'being ready for five days later' or whatever, it is just a first – and very, very important – step. As I said, in training Ox is back but now we have to make sure we really prepare him for the rest of his career and the rest of this season.”
Oxlade-Chamberlain is likely to figure for 45 minutes against Derby, along with Nat Phillips, who will also be returning to action for the first time since undergoing surgery for an ankle injury sustained in November.
Klopp continued: “Probably it will be 45 minutes and that’s absolutely OK. It is a bit difficult for Critch when the manager tells you to make a change at half-time, but it’s nice for Ox.
“Nat Phillips will play for the first time I think as well after not as long, but a long enough period, so that’s all good. Rhian [Brewster] is on the way back, so it’s really positive, and Joe [Gomez] is close.”
Despite the importance of the milestone Oxlade-Chamberlain will reach on Friday, Klopp outlined why Liverpool will continue to err on the side of caution with his fitness.
The manager added it is unlikely the No.21 will be considered for any involvement at first-team level until after the forthcoming international break at the earliest.
“The boys worked really hard and a lot with him in rehab, but you cannot do it like it is a normal football game,” Klopp said. “The intensity cannot be that high or you kill a player then. He needs matches and as many as possible, but we are in the middle of the season and will not say now, ‘You need six or seven matches until you are ready.’
“It is about getting him the experience again on the pitch, getting him back in this one and then using him minute-by-minute on the pitch. As long as all the other players are fit and stuff like that, we will have to see who can help the team more when he is finally back. In the moment, he looks brilliant, everything is really, really good. Now let’s play football.
“What people make of that, he should not care. I don’t care if people then say, ‘Why is he not playing?’ and stuff like that. Come on! I am happy people didn’t ask after one session if he could play at the weekend! He’s had a couple of sessions and now he has a first game and that’s really cool.
“I am really excited about it, but he was so long out that having him in training is already a massive difference. Now having him back on the pitch is the next step, but you cannot make that only step back onto the pitch and then you are the same as before.
“Let’s see how he reacts, how he feels and all that stuff. But it is not in the plans, there is nothing to think about before the international break, but this game, maybe another game and having a bit longer and then having the international break, which from now is around three weeks I think, so then let’s see.”
Watch Oxlade-Chamberlain figure for LFC U23s v Derby live on LFCTV and LFCTV GO from 1.30pm GMT. Click here for details on how to tune in.
Virgil van Dijk’s status as a front-runner for all manner of end-of-season awards was enhanced by his imperious form in February.
The centre-back was named Liverpool’s Standard Chartered Player of the Month on Thursday - 72 hours after he won the PFA Fans’ Player of the Month prize.
His four appearances in February elicited three clean sheets, two goals and lofty praise from a teammate and an illustrious predecessor in the No.4 shirt he now calls his own.
“For me, he's the best centre-back just now in the world,” was Andy Robertson’s assessment after Van Dijk capped the Reds’ 5-0 win over Watford last week with a late headed double.
Earlier in February, Sami Hyypia labelled the Netherlands captain ‘an ultimate centre-back’.
“It is very difficult to find a weakness... it would be a pleasure to play alongside him he is so good,” said the Champions League-winning defender.
That aforementioned victory over the Hornets followed successive Premier League shutouts against Bournemouth and Manchester United, and Robertson believes Van Dijk should be crowned PFA Player of the Year by his peers.
“If the season ended tonight, I would give him it personally,” the left-back stated following the Watford game.
The man himself, though, is more interested in coming out on top in a gripping Premier League title race.
“I want to focus on achieving something special, which this club hasn’t done for 29 years, and if either myself or any other players are involved in picking up individual awards, that’s great,” Van Dijk told FourFourTwo magazine.
“Winning the league makes you feel even more proud of yourself and the team. It’s a sign of the hard work you’ve put in over a whole season.
“That motivates you. Winning the Premier League title puts you in the history books forever and makes you a legend. That’s why you play football. You want to become a legend.”
Liverpool have released the following ticket notice regarding the forthcoming charity game between the LFC Legends and a Republic or Ireland XI, in aid of the Seán Cox Rehabilitation Trust.
The fixture will be played at the Aviva Stadium, Dublin on Friday April 12, kick off 7.45pm.
Tickets are available online now via Ticketmaster.
We have also received a small allocation for supporters wishing to purchase in person at the ticket office at Anfield, or by telephoning 0151 264 2500. They are priced as follows:
Premium adults: £52
Category A adults: £43 (juniors £9)
Category B adults: £26 (juniors £9)
*Junior tickets must be purchased with adult tickets. Tickets are available to purchase at a ratio of 2:1 and will be available in the advertised family areas.
They will be available from 8.15am Friday March 8 until 5pm Friday March 29.
Supporters can purchase up to a maximum of six tickets per person per transaction during the above sales. There is no guarantee that tickets will be available to all who apply.
For our opening times, please click here.
Supporters who require wheelchair accessible tickets, please telephone Ticketmaster directly on 00353 818 903 001, option 2.
Further details regarding the match can be found here.
For more information on Seán’s story, or to donate to the campaign, visit www.supportsean.com.
Paul Glatzel outlined his aim to win three trophies this season after captaining Liverpool to a 5-1 FA Youth Cup quarter-final victory over Bury.
Prolific striker Glatzel netted twice - his 25th and 26th goals of the season - as the young Reds booked a last-four tie with Watford in style at Gigg Lane on Wednesday.
Barry Lewtas’ side also currently top the U18 Premier League North, while the club’s U19s travel to Croatia to take on Dinamo Zagreb in the first knockout round of the UEFA Youth League next week.
And Glatzel’s ambition is to end the campaign having played his part in winning a treble.
“Definitely it adds something to it,” the forward told Liverpoolfc.com of the excitement around his team’s run to the Youth Cup semis.
“We do want to win the league but we want to win every competition we’re in, especially this competition. It’s one of the biggest and we just need to keep going.
“We are looking forward to every round as it comes, but we have to take every game as it comes. We’ve done that and it’s a great competition. We want to go all the way.”
Testing weather conditions and an awkward playing surface, along with home advantage for their opponents, meant an impressive Liverpool display was required to earn Wednesday’s emphatic result.
Glatzel continued: “I’d say it was a professional performance. It’s a tough place to come to, the conditions were against us, their fans are here.
“It was a tough game but we pulled through, got the win today and the performance was there so we’re just looking forward to the next round now.”
The 18-year-old’s typically-clinical finish opened the scoring early on at Gigg Lane, with his second of the evening arriving via a predatory header in the opening stages of the second half.
Glatzel then passed up a chance to complete his hat-trick late on when he squared to strike partner Bobby Duncan instead of shooting while one-on-one with Bury’s goalkeeper - an act of selflessness labelled ‘probably the most pleasing part of the night’ by Lewtas.
“Obviously I’m happy with my two goals but it’s about the team, especially in this competition,” the skipper said.
“We want to go as far as we can and we’ve done that today. We just need to keep going and we’ve got a good tie to look forward to in the next round.”
Virgil van Dijk was today named the Standard Chartered Player of the Month for February.
The centre-back pipped Sadio Mane and Mohamed Salah to clinch the prize for a second time this season after helping Liverpool keep clean sheets in three of his four appearances, as well as chipping in with two goals.
Upon being presented with the award at Melwood on Thursday, Van Dijk told Liverpoolfc.com: “It’s always special to recognition from the fans, but as I've said before, without all of my teammates and the staff, I wouldn’t be able to perform like this. All credit goes to them as well.
“100 per cent [it’s about the collective]. It was a bit of a tough month for everyone, we didn’t get the wins that we wanted, but we kept clean sheets and kept it tight - all of us together, defensively. We were a little unlucky offensively, so that was February for us.”
After completing the 90 minutes in Liverpool’s 1-1 draw at West Ham United at the start of February, Van Dijk and his teammates secured shut-outs against Bournemouth, Manchester United and Watford.
The Netherlands captain has tallied 35 appearances in all competitions so far this season, but added: “I feel good.
“It’s been a tough year so far with a lot of games, but I am enjoying every bit of it and we are in a race – a special race – for the title with Manchester City, who are having an outstanding season as well. I am enjoying it, I feel good.”
Van Dijk headed in two late goals in Liverpool’s 5-0 win over Watford.
Offensive play is something the No.4 ackowledges he has been working on at Melwood as he aims to increase his threat in opposition penalty boxes.
“The goals were an extra bonus,” Van Dijk said. “It had been a while, especially at home where I didn’t score after my goal against Everyone on my debut.
“To get two goals was great stuff. I have been working on it and it’s something I need to keep working on. It’s always good to have things to improve.”
Standard Chartered Player of the Month winners 2018-19
August: Virgil van Dijk
September: Daniel Sturridge
October: Mohamed Salah
November: Trent Alexander-Arnold
December: Mohamed Salah
January: Sadio Mane
February: Virgil van Dijk
Liverpool FC will celebrate World Book Day by hosting two events for local children.
As part of its Premier League Primary Stars programme, LFC Foundation will run a pop-up bookshop, alongside the National Literacy Trust, ahead of the Reds’ game against Burnley on Sunday.
Children’s books, provided by WHSmith, will be on offer for just £1 at the stall, which will be located in the Family Zone at Anfield before kick-off.
Five hundred local pupils will also head to Anfield later this month for LFC’s Author Day, hosted by Red Neighbours and LFC Foundation alongside renowned children’s author Ben Lyttleton and illustrator Spike Gerrell - creators of the Football School book series.
Aimed at children in years three-six, the literacy event will also include assemblies and workshops covering biology, maths, geography, drama and zoology.
Football School’s educational books use the power of the sport to encourage reluctant readers to develop a love of reading and a curiosity of the world.
LFC Foundation project lead, Dave McParland, said: “Helping children to learn about the positives of reading, and how it can help them in many areas of their lives, is really important.
“Proven benefits of reading for pleasure include improved educational performance, self-confidence, well-being and social mobility, as well as having a positive impact on their vocabulary and imaginative thinking.”
World Book Day takes place today - Thursday March 7 - in more than 100 countries and aims to encourage children to explore the pleasures and benefits of books and reading.
Liverpool booked their place in the semi-finals of the FA Youth Cup in convincing fashion on Wednesday - watch highlights of their 5-1 win over Bury via LFCTV GO now.
Paul Glatzel netted twice, with Jake Cain, Rhys Williams and Bobby Duncan also getting on the scoresheet at Gigg Lane, as the young Reds progressed to a home tie with Watford in the last four.
LFCTV GO subscribers can watch the best of the quarter-final action above. Need to sign up? Click here to do so.
Caoimhin Kelleher has been named in Republic of Ireland's squad ahead of their upcoming Euro 2020 qualifiers versus Gibraltar and Georgia.
The Liverpool goalkeeper was included in Mick McCarthy's provisional 38-man party for the games later this month on Thursday.
Kelleher will also be part of his country's U21 squad for their match against Luxembourg on March 24, with McCarthy then having the option to draft the 20-year-old into the senior set-up for the clash with Georgia two days later.
Barry Lewtas highlighted the unselfishness of Paul Glatzel after Liverpool's captain laid on the final goal for Bobby Duncan during Wednesday's 5-1 win over Bury in the FA Youth Cup quarter-final.
Glatzel has earlier netted twice but, when finding himself clean through late on at Gigg Lane, opted to square for Duncan to slot in rather than going for his hat-trick.
Jake Cain and Rhys Williams were also on the mark as the young Reds sealed a home last-four clash with Watford.
Read on for Lewtas’ verdict on his team’s display, the selflessness of Glatzel and the possibility of facing the Hornets at Anfield...
On Liverpool's performance...
I’m really pleased with the boys. We knew it'd be a tough game. Every tie we've had we've probably been the team that has been expected to win and expected to play a certain way. I thought Bury played well tonight to be fair. It was a really good occasion in front of a lively crowd and a lively pitch as well. It was a job well done tonight.
On a good learning curve for the players with the expectation of being the favourites versus Bury…
We say it time and time again, with being the club we are we expect to be this far in the competition. As these games come in with the demand and the expectation we’ve got to learn to cope with it, and I thought we did a good job out there. When Bury had an extended time with the ball I thought we were well organised and once we found our rhythm our passing was good.
On the final goal...
That’s probably the most pleasing part of the night and it kind of sums up what we are about. Paul is through on goal, one-v-one with the goalkeeper on a hat-trick and he squares it to Bobby to score. That epitomises some of the stuff we have been talking about with the boys internally about playing for the team. That was really evident out there and I’m really proud of that moment. I thought Paul was first class.
On Cain finding the net after pressing and taking advantage of a defensive mistake...
We got one against Stoke City last week through Leighton Clarkson and Eddie Tagseth did it against Blackburn, and now Jake tonight. We talk a lot about trying to press that central player, especially when he has his back to goal. That’s the third one in three games. I thought Jake’s pressing was brilliant, really good in and out of possession.
On the possibility of playing the semi-final at Anfield…
Hopefully it will be Anfield. That would be a great occasion for the boys, so fingers crossed.
On the physical demands of challenging for honours on three fronts during the run-in…
We’ve got a good squad. A few players will have been disappointed to not have made the squad tonight or started the game, but it will be about some of them picking up the baton on Saturday and a huge league game away at Derby County. Then we go to Zagreb for the Youth League last 16 tie on Tuesday. Every game has something on it but what’s exciting is there is something on it for every member of our group now. It makes my job more difficult selection wise, but it’s a nice problem to have.
Liverpool advanced to the FA Youth Cup semi-finals with an emphatic 5-1 win over Bury at Gigg Lane.
A home tie with Watford awaits the young Reds in the last four after Paul Glatzel’s 25th and 26th goals of a prolific season were supplemented by strikes by Jake Cain, Rhys Williams and Bobby Duncan to see off their quarter-final hosts on Wednesday night.
Fine link-up between Duncan and captain Glatzel manufactured the opener with 16 minutes on the clock, before Cain capitalised on a defensive error to make it 2-0 in the closing moments of the first half.
Glatzel’s second of the evening - a close-range header from Leighton Clarkson’s clipped cross - arrived early in the second period as Barry Lewtas’ free-scoring side threatened to pull away, but it was Bury who scored next through Joseph Adams’ excellent first-time finish.
Any chance of a comeback from the hosts was extinguished with 17 minutes remaining, though, when Williams found space in the area following a corner and fired in.
And Duncan’s late fifth, enabled by unselfish work by his strike partner Glatzel, ensured Liverpool marched on in ruthless fashion.
With Gigg Lane’s well-worn playing surface a hindrance to fluent football, the early stages of the tie were scrappy and bitty.
A sign Liverpool were beginning to adjust to the testing conditions arrived nine minutes in, however, when Abdi Sharif dug out a cross from the right byline and Duncan attempted a spectacular bicycle kick that was blocked.
And, soon after, a glimpse of Duncan and Glatzel’s acute understanding brought about the first goal.
The former dropped deep to pick up possession, shimmied his way past two opponents and released the latter with an expertly-weighted through-ball.
Glatzel’s first touch simultaneously took his marker out of the equation and put him clean through on James Holden, and his second - an unerring low drive that passed through the Bury goalkeeper’s legs - put his team ahead.
Holden was equal to Duncan’s snap-shot as the young Reds went in search of a quick second, but Sam Allardyce’s under-hit returned pass left his 'keeper stranded on the stroke of half-time.
Cain was the beneficiary of the defender’s mistake, the No.8 seizing the loose ball and slotting in to double Liverpool’s lead in the last meaningful action of the first period.
The visitors’ ever-growing dominance was further reflected on the scoreboard when Glatzel nodded in his sixth Youth Cup goal of the campaign in the opening minutes of the second half.
Bury were then given a glimmer of hope when their skipper Adams beat Vitezslav Jaros with a powerful, rising effort in the 66th minute, although Liverpool quickly re-established control and only an impressive save by Holden prevented Cain from doubling his tally.
But, from the resulting corner, Holden couldn’t prevent Williams’ deflected shot from finding the net.
Callum Hulme rattled Jaros’ crossbar with a superb free-kick as the home team sought an unlikely route back into the game, but Duncan would have the final say four minutes from time.
Glatzel eschewed the opportunity to complete his hat-trick as he bore down on Holden, instead selflessly squaring for the No.10 to roll his 25th goal of 2018-19 into an empty net and seal a last-four meeting with Watford.
Liverpool: Jaros, Walls, R Williams, Boyes, Larouci, Clarkson (N Williams, 78), Sharif, Dixon-Bonner (Tagseth, 78), Cain, Duncan (O’Rourke, 87), Glatzel.
Unused substitutes: Kelly, Ritaccio, O’Rourke.
Fast-paced passing drills featured in Liverpool's Wednesday workout - go behind the scenes at Melwood with the latest edition of Inside Training.
The Reds' sights are set on Sunday's meeting with Burnley at Anfield and their latest preparations for that game included rapid-fire, intense passing practice.
Watch exclusive footage of Wednesday's session, which began with the squad singing 'happy birthday' to Simon Mignolet, in the video above.
Liverpool have asked RB Leipzig to be kept informed regarding Timo Werner, as the situation surrounding the Germany striker’s future continues to get messy.
Werner, 23, has angered his current club by agreeing terms over a deal with Bayern Munich - despite no talks between the two clubs.
The striker’s agent, Karlheinz Förster, has negotiated a deal with the Bundesliga champions, with Werner seemingly deciding that his future is best served at the Allianz Arena.
Werner’s contract expires with RBL in 2020, but they have no intention of allowing him to run down his deal and depart on a free in 16 months time.
And they are angry that Werner’s camp have made the apparent decision to force a move this summer.
RBL sporting director Ralf Rangnick insisted last week: "A possible agreement is impossible for 2019 [right now]. We would have to agree, and we are not.
"Nobody has approached us from Bayern. There will not be a case like Leon Goretzka and Robert Lewandowski between us and Timo Werner.
"This option does not exist and we do not need to talk about this scenario.”
Red Bull supremo Dietrich Mateschitz has also stated that Werner "will certainly not be cheap” and has slapped a €60million price tag on his head.
But with no talks having taken place between the two clubs, and Robert Lewandowski set to sign a contract extension in Bavaria - ensuring he remains Die Roten’s first choice No.9 - Werner faces being left in limbo this summer.
Lewandowski, 30, has come to terms over a deal until 2023, which will see him continue in Werner's preferred position.
If no deal with Bayern is forthcoming, that threat either leaves Werner on the outside looking in for 12 months, or forces him into a move elsewhere.
And according to SportBild, Liverpool have contacted RBL to 'signal their interest’, as they look to be kept up to date with the player’s situation.
Jurgen Klopp is a long-time admirer of Werner, while Liverpool have a good relationship with RBL following the deal to sign Naby Keita.
Keita last month hinted that he would advise the striker to move to Anfield.
"It’s clear: should he move, then I’ll ask Timo to join us here at Liverpool,” said the midfielder.
Source: Daily Mirror
This story has been reproduced from the media. It does not necessarily represent the position of Liverpool Football Club.
Liverpool were continuing preparations for their return to action this weekend when Burnley visit Anfield with a Wednesday morning training session.
The Reds are aiming to return to winning ways against the Clarets on Sunday after being held to a goalless draw by Everton in the Merseyside derby at Goodison Park last time out.
Jürgen Klopp and his backroom staff led the workout at the club's training complex - and our photographer was on hand to snap the drills, which you can see in our gallery below.
Check out the full LFC training range and buy your own by clicking here.
Photos by John and Andrew Powell
The prospect of lifting a trophy for Liverpool and making supporters ‘proud’ acts as added motivation for Sadio Mane, the No.10 has explained.
As the Reds head into the final quarter of 2018-19 aiming for success on two fronts, the forward has outlined his ambition of bringing silverware to Anfield and rewarding fans for their backing.
Mane told World Soccer recently: “I can’t wait to lift a trophy with Liverpool.
“I know the fans are desperate for us to win the Premier League. It would be an amazing moment for the club. It has been far too long for a team the size of Liverpool. We believe we are heading in the right direction, but there are obviously some very tough rivals. [Manchester] City were unbelievable last season and are very strong again, but why not? We are going to keep pushing and try to make everyone who loves the club very proud.”
He added: “The results have been there but we know we could have done more with some of our performances. In many ways, this is good for the club. We are very competitive but know there is even more to come, for sure.
“The season is long, so we were always calm about it. In many ways, the team is stronger and we have produced some very mature performances. We work hard every day to be at our best and hopefully we will hit our top form when it really matters most.”
Mane underlined the impact Jürgen Klopp has made on Liverpool’s development since his arrival at the club, enabling the team to challenge for the game’s top honours.
“He’s one of the best coaches in the world, but I think one of his secrets is that he is just an incredible person,” he said.
“He is someone who is very close to the players. We have a strong bond with him and he just has a way of inspiring you with his passion. All the boys love him and so do the fans. We are all improving and progressing under him. He is amazing for the club.”
Watch every goal scored by Liverpool during their ongoing FA Youth Cup campaign in our free video.
Barry Lewtas' side travel to Gigg Lane for a quarter-final tie with Bury on Wednesday evening.
In order to reach the last eight, the young Reds beat Portsmouth, Accrington Stanley and Wigan Athletic.
Nine goals were netted in the process of securing those wins - and all of those strikes can be watched in the above compilation.
Barry Lewtas insists his high-flying Liverpool U18s will not underestimate the threat of Bury when they travel to Gigg Lane for the FA Youth Cup quarter-final tonight.
After overcoming the challenge of Portsmouth, Accrington Stanley and Wigan Athletic on home soil, the young Reds are set to play their first away game in the competition.
A semi-final tie with Watford awaits the winners - and Lewtas is demanding his side don’t drop their high level of performance so far this term as they aim to progress.
If you want to go to Gigg Lane and support the young Reds, kick-off is at 7pm GMT. Admission is £5 for adults and £3 concessions in the East Stand.
We will have delayed coverage of the tie on Thursday on LFCTV and LFCTV GO.
Read on for Lewtas’ thoughts on the exciting season so far, squad strength and tonight’s tie at Bury…
On the 7-2 win over Blackburn Rovers on Saturday to stay top of the U18s Premier League…
The scoreline shows a comprehensive win but it didn’t look like it was going to be that in the first 10 minutes of the first half and the same for the first 10 minutes of the second half. We started sloppily but credit to them as they started both halves strongly. I thought we showed good ability to wrestle the momentum back our way and get control of the game, we scored some excellent goals and we finished the game very strongly.
On the squad strength highlighted by Saturday’s emphatic victory despite several changes in personnel…
It was great. We have got a nice sized squad and we have got boys who have been waiting patiently for their chance; we’ve said to them when you do get it it’s important that you perform to the best of your ability. On Saturday there was a number of pleasing performances and it keeps the boys who have been maybe seen as regulars on their toes as well.
On a potential selection headache for Wednesday night…
On the outside you would describe it as a nice position to have but when you are on the inside and you have to make the decisions it makes it a bit more difficult. We’ve got a strong squad and we’ve got a number of big games coming up, so if boys are not selected to contribute on Wednesday I’m sure their contribution will be valued in another important game.
On the FA Youth Cup quarter-final away at Bury…
I’ve said to the boys in all of the competitions we have been involved in, as hard as we’ve worked to get to the quarter-final Bury have worked just as hard. We will certainly need to match their enthusiasm and we will need to be at our best. We’ll need to start the game well and whatever pressure they put on us we’ll need to withstand that and then try and impose the way we want to play and dictate the game.
On a good run of performances in the FA Youth Cup so far…
The boys have done ever so well so far. The Portsmouth game was one where they put us under pressure, they pressed us high and got two goals back before we showed some real good character to score the winner late on. Accrington Stanley could have scored really early on in the game, which might have made it a bit different. I knew how tough a game Wigan Athletic was going to be and it proved to be that way. We scored two excellent goals early on through Paul Glatzel and Bobby Duncan and that was probably the difference between the two teams on the night.
On his message to the players ahead of Wednesday’s tie…
We will need to start a lot better than what we did on Saturday that’s for sure! Listen, without downplaying it, every round for us is like being in a cup final. If you are sloppy, take your eye off the ball and don’t perform you will be out of this competition. As much as people will suggest this is a cup final for Bury, this is a cup final for us as well. We’ve been in a number of cup competitions this season and we’ve tried to treat every game as a cup final and that seems to have worked so far. We want to be in the semi-finals and we have to perform. There will be no complacency and we will certainly not be taking Bury for granted.