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Updated: 11 hours 48 min ago

Time for “big statement” Liverpool win at notoriously tough Old Trafford

Sat, 10/23/2021 - 14:30

It’s no secret that the margin for error in the Premier League is slim and there would be no better time for Liverpool to make a “big statement” and reverse their fortunes at Old Trafford.

It’s one of the biggest days on the calendar but the Reds have won only three times at the home of Man United since 2005, a tally that needs adding to on Sunday.

Jurgen Klopp‘s side heads into the clash off the back of a 21-game unbeaten streak while United have not won any of their last three league matches.

But form often means nothing in encounters such as these and that Liverpool could record back-to-back league victories at Old Trafford for the first time since 2002 speaks volumes of the fact.

Jamie Carragher can attest to finding little enjoyment from the short trip on the M62 but a second win in as many seasons could prove decisive to the Reds’ season ambitions.

There have already been two draws against fellow ‘big six’ members Man City and Chelsea and avoiding a third and instead taking all three points on Sunday will prove to be “a really big statement.”

“If Liverpool want to win the league, they’ll have to start winning games against the other so-called ‘big six’ or ‘top four’,” Carragher told Sky Sports.

 Liverpool's Roberto Firmino celebrates after scoring the third goal, his second of the game, during the FA Premier League match between Manchester United FC and Liverpool FC at Old Trafford. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

“This is their third opportunity so I think it would be a really big statement if Liverpool could go to Old Trafford and win for that reason.

“Whether last season gives the Liverpool players that bit of confidence to go to Old Trafford, but for me, it’s a completely different proposition and Liverpool have found it difficult historically really.

Man United at home against Liverpool notoriously, going back 10 or 15 years, they’ve had Liverpool’s number in the fixture.

“Liverpool have found it really difficult to win at Old Trafford and going back a long time, even the great Liverpool teams, it’s always been a venue Liverpool have struggled at.

“We had a little spell of winning there under Gerard Houllier, but there hasn’t been too much since that really.

“From Liverpool’s point of view, they’ll want to put in a good performance, but I think they’ve got to start winning at Old Trafford.

“This would be the third game Liverpool have played this season against a rival, and they haven’t won any of the other two.”

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The trip last season ended in a 4-2 win, the first under Klopp’s reign, but the challenge will be different once more with the return of fans and Liverpool need to rise to the occasion.

They’ve been guilty of not doing so in the past but with a four-point lead over United heading into the clash, Liverpool cannot let them off easily when it is all there for the taking.

As Carragher alluded to, there are only so many points one can drop on route to the title and avoiding doing so at Old Trafford would be significant to say the least.

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Free-scoring Liverpool need to “defend at absolute highest level” vs. Man United

Sat, 10/23/2021 - 13:12

Liverpool boss Jurgen Klopp believes Mohamed Salah shares the same level of professionalism as Cristiano Ronaldo and can emulate the Portuguese’s longevity – and will improve his chances of doing so if he signs a new contract at Anfield.

Klopp this week hailed Salah as the best player in the world on current form as his side prepare to take on rivals Manchester United at Old Trafford on Sunday.

Salah will go head-to-head with five-time Ballon d’Or winner Ronaldo, who is seven years his senior, and who, along with Lionel Messi, has dominated the debate about who is the world’s best for the past 15 years.

Klopp was reluctant to make comparisons between the two players but insisted they share the same professionalism and dedication to their craft – with more still to come from Salah.

Asked if Salah, 29, could play into and beyond his mid-30s like Ronaldo, he said: “You need luck, because things can happen, but I think the professionalism of both is the one thing you can compare, 100 per cent. It is probably the same.

“Mo is incredibly professional. He is really the first one in and very often the last out of all the players.

“He is constantly interested in all the things he can do and has to do to keep or improve the standard. I think he still has a lot to give.

“Why should we compare? Obviously, both are world-class players. Even though Ronaldo’s left foot is not bad, I would say Mo’s left foot is probably better.

“Cristiano may be better in the air and his right foot is probably better.

“Speed-wise, both are pretty quick and desperate to score goals but I’ve never really thought about that. I’m not too interested in comparing, sorry.”

Klopp added that Salah – who has scored 137 goals in 214 appearances for Liverpool since joining the club in the summer of 2017 – should extend his contract, which currently runs until 2023.

“It helps him for sure and the team he is playing for then as well – and I hope it is us!” said the Liverpool boss.

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Klopp will have been encouraged to hear that Salah has said he wants to remain at Anfield for the rest of his career.

He told Sky Sports News: “It doesn’t depend on me, but if you asked me, I would love to stay until the last day of my football (career).

“But I can’t say much about that, it’s not in my hands. It depends on what the club wants. It doesn’t depend on me.

“At the moment, I can’t see myself ever playing against Liverpool. That would make me sad.”

While much of the attention on Sunday will be on Salah and Ronaldo, Klopp put the focus on his team’s defending against what he described as the “absolutely ridiculous” quality of United’s attack.

Liverpool have scored 36 times in all competitions so far this season, with at least three goals in eight of their last nine matches.

 Liverpool's Joel Matip celebrates after the UEFA Champions League Group B Matchday 3 game between Club Atlético de Madrid and Liverpool FC at the Estadio Metropolitano. Liverpool won 3-2. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

But Klopp believes it is at the opposite end of the pitch where the Reds must excel in order to combat the threats of Ronaldo, Mason Greenwood, Edinson Cavani and Bruno Fernandes et al.

“I really don’t think it’s very likely we will score three goals at United, but we never – before a game – think more about scoring then we do about defending,” said Klopp.

“So for us, it’s 100 per cent clear that to get in the game, to stay in the game and to win the game at United you have to defend at your absolute highest level.

“If we didn’t defend well at United I don’t know a reason why we would even get on the coach and go there because the quality they have offensively is absolutely ridiculous.”

Curtis Jones should be back in contention on Sunday but fellow midfielder Thiago Alcantara will remain on the sidelines.

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Mo Salah’s contract talks at a ‘stalemate’ with demands for over £400k-a-week

Sat, 10/23/2021 - 09:30

Mohamed Salah has made it known that he would “love to stay” at Liverpool until the end of his career, but negotiations with his representatives have “reached a stalemate” over a new contract.

The 29-year-old has found another gear this season, with his 12 goals in 10 appearances also supplemented by his defensive and pressing work, which has helped the Reds remain unbeaten.

Salah’s formidable form has thrust him into the position of the current world’s best in the minds of many but the underlying talk centres around a new contract.

He is tied to Liverpool until 2023 and the club have opened talks over a new deal, but a figure has yet to be agreed upon between the two camps with the Reds knowing they will need to make Salah the highest-paid player in club history.

And according to The Times‘ Paul Joyce, “negotiations have reached a stalemate” with Salah’s agent Ramy Abbas believed to be “seeking more than £400,000 a week” for the No. 11.

This would catapult Salah above the Premier League‘s current top earners Kevin De Bruyne and Cristiano Ronaldo, who earn around £385,000 per week.

 Liverpool's Mohamed Salah celebrates after scoring the winning third goal, from a penalty-kick, to makes the score 2-3 during the UEFA Champions League Group B Matchday 3 game between Club Atlético de Madrid and Liverpool FC at the Estadio Metropolitano. Liverpool won 3-2. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

Reassuringly, Salah has made it clear that he is eager to see out his career at Anfield and could never see himself playing against the Reds.

“It doesn’t depend on me, but if you asked me I would love to stay until the last day of my football (career),” Salah told Sky Sports.

“But I can’t say much about that, it’s not in my hands. It depends on what the club wants. It doesn’t depend on me.

“At the moment, I can’t see myself ever playing against Liverpool. That would make me sad.”

There’s a distance to bridge between the two parties and the club will need to break its wage structure to make the new contract happen, but they cannot sit around on it for too long.

Salah is an important piece of the jigsaw for Liverpool and Jurgen Klopp and his professionalism could make it so that is the case for a long time yet, but that will depend on finding a middle ground during contract talks.

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Can you name every Liverpool player to score at Old Trafford since 2000?

Sat, 10/23/2021 - 07:02

It has not been happy hunting at Old Trafford in recent years but the trip down the M62 has had its moments. The task here is to recall every Red to have scored at Man United since 2000.

Are you up to the challenge?

Since the turn of the millennium, Liverpool have made the trip to visit Man United on 26 different occasions across all competitions, with only six ending in a victory.

In that time, a total of 15 different Reds have etched their name on the scoresheet at the home of their rivals.

There’s no doubt a few of these will stand out in your memory so the task here is to name the Reds as quickly as possible.

Time to name the 15 goalscorers…GO! Want more quizzes? Try these!

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Jurgen Klopp expects Mo Salah to play for years – but coy on contract talks

Fri, 10/22/2021 - 22:30

Jurgen Klopp knows he has been “blessed with incredible players” and Mohamed Salah is one such figure who has the capabilities of playing on for many years to come, but will it be with Liverpool?

While the Reds handed out fresh contracts to six key figures throughout the summer, Salah was a notable absentee and talks have only heightened over his future since.

The 29-year-old is contracted until 2023 but is awaiting a bumper new deal to reflect his status not only in the Liverpool side but in world football, but the Reds’ strict wage structure would need to be broken to do so.

It has made any advancements slow going and the ice has not been broken as of yet despite Klopp being convinced that Salah can perform at his current level, or better, well into his thirties.

One only needs to look at Cristiano Ronaldo for an example of what is possible and Klopp spoke of the professionalism shared between the Man United man and Salah as one thing you can compare between the two.

“You need luck, injuries can happen but I think the professionalism of both is probably the one thing you can compare 100 percent, or say is the same,” Klopp told reporters.

 Liverpool's Mohamed Salah celebrates after scoring the second goal during the FA Premier League match between Liverpool FC and Crystal Palace FC at Anfield. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

“Mo is incredibly professional, he is really the first one in and very, very often the last out of all the players.

“Constantly interested in all the things he can do, has to do to improve or to keep the [same] standard.

“I think he still has a lot to give, 100 percent.”

But when pressed on if that is a significant factor in a new long and significant financial investment into Salah, Klopp was coy, to say the least.

“It helps him for sure and the team he is playing for then as well. Let’s hope it is us,” Klopp said.

With 137 goals in 214 appearances for Liverpool and with the promise of his peak to continue on for some years yet, a lucrative contract will be a no-brainer for Reds.

Time remains on Liverpool’s side but the noise will only grow louder the longer no new signature is penned.

Meanwhile, Salah himself has told Sky Sports that he wants to remain at Liverpool for the rest of his playing career, saying:

“It doesn’t depend on me, but if you asked me I would love to stay until the last day of my football (career),” Salah told Sky Sports.

“But I can’t say much about that, it’s not in my hands. It depends on what the club wants. It doesn’t depend on me.

“At the moment, I can’t see myself ever playing against Liverpool. That would make me sad.”

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Mohamed Salah says he’d “love to stay” at Liverpool – but future “not in my hands”

Fri, 10/22/2021 - 20:23

Mohamed Salah says he wants to stay with Liverpool for the rest of his playing career.

The 29-year-old’s current deal at Anfield expires in the summer of 2023 and Liverpool are anxious to finalise negotiations over a new long-term contract.

“It doesn’t depend on me, but if you asked me I would love to stay until the last day of my football (career),” Salah told Sky Sports.

“But I can’t say much about that, it’s not in my hands. It depends on what the club wants. It doesn’t depend on me.

“At the moment, I can’t see myself ever playing against Liverpool. That would make me sad.

“It’s hard. I don’t want to talk about it, but it would make me really sad and at the moment I don’t see myself playing against Liverpool, but let’s see what will happen in the future.”

 Liverpool's Mohamed Salah celebrates after scoring the second goal during the FA Premier League match between Liverpool FC and Manchester City FC at Anfield. The game ended in a 2-2 draw. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

Salah has been in sparkling form for Jurgen Klopp’s side this season, scoring his 11th and 12th goals in 11 appearances in all competitions in the midweek Champions League win against Atletico Madrid.

The Egypt international became the fastest player to score 100 goals for Liverpool in September and is the fifth-fastest to score 100 Premier League goals (162 matches).

He has scored in all of his last nine matches and his recent efforts against Manchester City and Watford are considered early contenders for goal of the season.

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10 key things to know ahead of Man United vs. Liverpool – with 19-year wait on the line

Fri, 10/22/2021 - 19:00

Liverpool and Man United lock horns once again on Sunday afternoon, with Old Trafford hosting a must-watch clash, and a win would represent the first back-to-back league win at their ground since 2002.

The Reds are second in the table going into the game, but victory this weekend would open up a seven-point advantage over United.

Here are 10 things to know ahead of the match.

1. Ole on the ropes

 Manchester United's manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer before the FA Premier League match between Burnley FC and Manchester United FC at Turf Moor. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

United might keep winning games in unconvincing fashion, but there is no doubt that Ole Gunnar Solskjaer is battling to keep his job.

Despite all the money spent in the summer, with Cristiano Ronaldo, Jadon Sancho and Raphael Varane brought in, Liverpool’s rivals have looked distinctly average.

They sit sixth in the table having only won half of their eight matches, despite not yet facing any of the so-called ‘big six’.

Defeat on Sunday would further crank up the heat on Solskjaer.

2. Ronaldo’s predictable start

 Manchester United's Cristiano Ronaldo during the FA Premier League match between Manchester United FC and Everton FC at Old Trafford. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

Ronaldo’s return to Old Trafford was understandably huge, but there has been a predictability about his first few months back in Manchester.

At 36, he isn’t the force he once was, and too often, United’s attack has looked disjointed and in need of more legs.

That being said, Ronaldo has stood tall and scored two big Champions League winners against Villarreal and Atalanta, notching six in eight appearances overall.

The Portuguese loves the big stage and it doesn’t get much bigger than Liverpool vs. United.

3. Who’s out for Liverpool?

 Liverpool's Thiago Alcantara during the FA Premier League match between Leeds United FC and Liverpool FC at Elland Road. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

As was the case last season, what was meant to be a short injury absence is frustratingly turning into a longer one for Thiago.

The Spaniard is still out with a calf problem which is a big blow, considering his poise and calm in the middle of the park could have been invaluable on Sunday.

Thiago and Harvey Elliott are the only absentees, however, with Curtis Jones back in the fold after recovering from injury.

Naby Keita drew too much harsh criticism in midweek and it could be that he gets the nod in midfield over the returning Jones.

Predicted Liverpool XI: Alisson; Trent, Matip, Van Dijk, Robertson; Fabinho, Henderson, Keita; Salah, Mane, Firmino.

4. How will United line-up?

 Manchester United's captain Bruno Fernandes during the FA Premier League match between Manchester United FC and Everton FC at Old Trafford. The game ended in a 1-1 draw. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

Solskjaer has been guilty of playing the biggest attacking names and simply hoping they bail him out, but that won’t work against Liverpool.

United need a balanced team or the Reds could run riot, meaning Fred and Scott McTominay are likely to start in central midfield.

Varane is still out injured so Victor Lindelof will play alongside Harry Maguire, while Mason Greenwood, Ronaldo and Bruno Fernandes all look like certain starters, despite a fitness cloud over the latter.

Predicted Man United XI: De Gea; Wan-Bissaka, Lindelof, Maguire, Shaw; Fred, McTominay, Fernandes; Greenwood, Rashford, Ronaldo.

5. Liverpool’s Old Trafford struggles

 Manchester United's Marcus Rashford scores the first goal during the FA Premier League match between Manchester United FC and Liverpool FC at Old Trafford. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

Jurgen Klopp‘s side may have won 4-2 away to United back in May, but it came in front of no fans, so does it really count?

The truth is that Liverpool have toiled at Old Trafford for too long now, winning on just one other occasion since the 4-1 win back in 2009 (a 3-0 victory in 2014).

Even the brilliant Klopp, who it is always hard to fault, has been guilty of overseeing limp showings there, with the occasion sometimes getting to the Reds.

It would be infuriating if they let United off the hook this weekend.

6. Klopp ends penalty debate

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Speaking on Friday, Klopp drew a line under Solskjaer’s claims that the German has influenced referees by commenting about United getting penalties:

“Nothing really to say about that. In between what I said and what Ole said what he said, they had five penalties and we had two,” Klopp told reporters.

“We all know, come on, that we cannot influence refs with things like that.

“But having the amount of penalties that United had before that was quite exceptional. They’re good, they go in the box and they have these kind of situations.

“But we have them as well and got not even a similar amount of penalties. That’s just facts, who cares, it’s done and nothing else to say about it.”

Spot on.

7. Salah vs. Ronaldo

 Liverpool's Mohamed Salah celebrates after scoring the winning third goal, from a penalty-kick, to makes the score 2-3 during the UEFA Champions League Group B Matchday 3 game between Club Atlético de Madrid and Liverpool FC at the Estadio Metropolitano. Liverpool won 3-2. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

Mohamed Salah is surely the world’s best player on current form, producing miraculous moments of individual brilliance this season.

The build-up for Sunday’s game is predictably going to see the Egyptian superstar compared with Ronaldo, but Klopp was typically coy and fair about it:

“Why should we compare Salah and Ronaldo? Obviously, both are world-class players.

“I would say Ronaldo’s left foot is not that bad but I would Mo’s left foot is probably better. Cristiano is slightly better in the air and the right foot is slightly better.

“Both pretty quick and desperate to score goals, but I never really thought properly about that.”

One thing’s for sure: both Salah and Ronaldo have big egos, in a healthy way, and they will be desperate to outdo each other on Sunday.

8. Did You Know?

 Liverpool's Sadio Mané looks dejected after missing a chance during the FA Premier League match between Leeds United FC and Liverpool FC at Elland Road. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

Sadio Mane has been in much-improved form this season, but he has often struggled to make an impact against United down the years.

The 29-year-old has scored just once in eight Liverpool appearances against them – the opener in the 3-1 win at Anfield in 2018/19 – and he has never netted at Old Trafford for any team.

Not only that, but Mane hasn’t registered a Reds assist against United, highlighting how well they have coped with him.

Sunday would be a perfect time to change those statistics.

9. Manchester’s Anthony Taylor!

 Referee Anthony Taylor awards the opening goal to Liverpool after a VAR review during the FA Premier League match between Liverpool FC and Wolverhampton Wanderers FC at Anfield. (Pic by Richard Roberts/Propaganda)

Why couldn’t it just be Michael Oliver?

Anthony Taylor is the referee for Sunday’s match – the fact that he is from Manchester once again makes it a baffling appointment.

On the plus side, he did take charge of last season’s aforementioned 4-2 victory at Old Trafford.

10. “And it’s live”…

 Former Liverpool player Jamie Carragher and former Manchester United player Gary Neville working for Sky Sports before the FA Premier League match between Wolverhampton Wanderers FC and Liverpool FC at Molineux Stadium. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

Sunday’s match is live on Sky Sports Main Event and Sky Sports Premier League from 4pm (BST), with kickoff at 4.30pm.

That means plenty of on-screen tussling between Jamie Carragher and Gary Neville, both of whom could be on commentary with Martin Tyler.

Our matchday live blog is available from 3.45pm, with Henry Jackson tasked with both keeping you entertained and battling his shredded nerves.

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Jones returns ahead of Man United & Gravenberch ‘followed’ by Reds – Liverpool FC Roundup

Fri, 10/22/2021 - 17:53

Liverpool are preparing for a huge game against Man United this weekend so most of the news focus is there – but there’s always a rumour or two as well!

Dutch midfielder to replace a Dutch midfielder?

Jurgen Klopp has consistently said we don’t need to directly replace Gini Wijnaldum, so naturally we’re still linked with a whole load of centre mids.

That said, we wouldn’t be complaining if we signed this one: Ajax’s Ryan Gravenberch.

The talented youngster is linked with the Reds by Dutch outfit Soccerlens, who say he’s “closely followed” by the Reds as well as Juventus.

Ajax want to renew his deal, which expires in 18 months, and we may make a move beforehand to keep that price down.

Ready for United

 Liverpool's Curtis Jones during the FA Premier League match between Liverpool FC and Crystal Palace FC at Anfield. Liverpool won 3-0. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

Latest Liverpool FC news

 Liverpool's Mohamed Salah celebrates after scoring the third goal, from a penalty-kick, to makes the score 2-3 during the UEFA Champions League Group B Matchday 3 game between Club Atlético de Madrid and Liverpool FC at the Estadio Metropolitano. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

  • And Steven Gerrard is holding firm on his answer amid more rumours he could be set to move from Rangers to Newcastle as the new boss
Latest Premier League chat

 Arsenal's manager Mikel Arteta pictured before the FA Premier League match between Burnley FC and Arsenal FC at Turf Moor. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

  • Erling Haaland will ask for £600k a week wages if he moves to the Premier League, or roughly the interest earned by Newcastle’s ownership group every three and a half seconds
  • Donny van de Beek wants to leave Man United, presumably because he last played in about February, but he won’t head back to former club Ajax
  • Mikel Arteta was worried Emile Smith Rowe would leave Arsenal this summer, which is always a nice positive sign when the boss realises a player is out of the depth of his team
Tweet of the day and match of the night

Any chance @LFC can send this guy to AFCON ?? @JamesPearceLFC #LFC pic.twitter.com/RTvEhNJ6sz

— James Pearce’s Massive Pecker (@PearcesPecker2) October 21, 2021

Tonight it’s Arsenal vs Aston Villa and a match which feels like it gets played about 12 times a season? Apparently it doesn’t, but…

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Why Man United’s surprise key figure is vital to thwarting Liverpool

Fri, 10/22/2021 - 07:00

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer is badly in need of a win against Liverpool this weekend, but do Man United fans believe that will happen?

The Reds go into Sunday’s game with a four-point advantage over their biggest rivals, well aware that victory would deliver a crushing blow to their Premier League title hopes.

Jurgen Klopp‘s men are in impressive form at the moment, not suffering defeat since way back in April, so they will fancy their chances.

Too many of Liverpool’s performances at Old Trafford have been disappointing under Klopp, though, and that needs to change this weekend.

Ahead of the game, we spoke to the always-fair Kadeem Simmonds (@KadeemSimmonds) to hear about United’s struggles, Solskjaer’s future and much more.

How would you assess Man United’s start to the season?

 Manchester United's captain Bruno Fernandes during the FA Premier League match between Manchester United FC and Everton FC at Old Trafford. The game ended in a 1-1 draw. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

It’s October, it’s been a less than ideal start given United have yet to play any of the title challengers.

On paper, given United’s aims, they should be sitting on six wins and two draws – United winning eight of eight is a very tough ask.

The defeats to Aston Villa and Leicester mean that while they aren’t out of the title race, they have left themselves very little room for error from now until May.

How positive has Ronaldo’s impact been?

 Manchester United's Cristiano Ronaldo during the FA Premier League match between Manchester United FC and Everton FC at Old Trafford. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

Off the field, it’s been amazing. The atmosphere in the crowd has been excellent and there was a real sense that with Cristiano Ronaldo leading the side, United had enough to win the league and make a serious challenge for the Champions League.

It’s clear that United’s game plan hasn’t adapted to cater for Ronaldo’s playing style, however, and because of that, he’s had a negative impact on the pitch over the last few games, despite the winner on Wednesday night.

It’s awful to sit on the fence but I think it’s fair to say that the answer is somewhere down the middle.

Is it time for Solskjaer to go?

 Manchester United's manager Ole Gunnar Solskjær applauds the supporters after the Football League Cup 3rd Round match between Manchester United FC and West Ham United FC at Old Trafford. West Ham United won 1-0. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

Not to push the question down the line but if Ole Gunnar Solskjaer can come out the next three Premier League games with six points minimum and secure safe passage out of the Champions League group stage then he at least ‘deserves’ the rest of the season.

I’m not for firing a manager in October with the team five points off the top, but I can understand those who feel that the start of the season has been less than ideal.

I’m sure Solskjaer and the rest of the team will admit that.

If there was an outstanding candidate on the market who could step in tomorrow – I believe Antonio Conte and Zinedine Zidane both have their flaws – then I may be more leaning towards making a replacement.

I do believe he has taken this team as far as he can, but if things click, there is all the talent in the team to suggest that they ‘surprise’ everyone and win the league.

Who do you see as United’s three most important players?

 Manchester United's Paul Pogba, with dyed blue and white hair, during a pre-season friendly match between Manchester United FC and Everton FC at Old Trafford. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

Not a popular choice but Paul Pogba is at the top of my list. His ability to make passes others can’t see can change the way this team plays.

I know he’s been inconsistent and has slowed down since the start of the season in terms of assists, but nobody else has stepped up and is it just a coincidence that his downturn in form coincided with United’s?

It’s awful when David de Gea is important as it means the defence has disappeared, but he looks back to his best.

If United are to get anything from the game against Liverpool and beyond, the chances are he will need to be on his A-Game for 90 minutes.

While people will see Bruno Fernandes or Cristiano Ronaldo as more important, for me the third player is Luke Shaw.

He will need to keep not just one of Sadio Mane or Mohamed Salah quiet but also Trent Alexander-Arnold while providing a service to Ronaldo and the other United attackers.

Switching our attention to Liverpool, how are you assessing their title chances?

 Liverpool's Sadio Mané celebrates with team-mates after scoring the first goal, his 100th Premier League goal, during the FA Premier League match between Watford FC and Liverpool FC at Vicarage Road. Liverpool won 5-0. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

It’s hard to look past Liverpool as genuine title contenders, meaning the only way to win the league is to finish above them.

Again, it may only be October but they look like the team to beat and even though they will slow down at some point, by then they could open up a fairly decent gap between them and the team in second and third.

Looking ahead to Sunday’s game, which Red do you fear most?

 Liverpool's Mohamed Salah celebrates after scoring the fourth goal, the eighth consecutive game he's scored in, during the FA Premier League match between Watford FC and Liverpool FC at Vicarage Road. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

Usually, I come on here and say Mane, as Salah usually has a quiet game against United.

But in his current form, it’s hard to not mention him as the player I, and other United fans, fear the most.

Even with a fully fit team and defence, Salah looks unstoppable and unplayable and his performance against Watford shows that he can hurt you not just in the box but from deep.

Where do you see the key battles taking place?

 Liverpool's Sadio Mané during the UEFA Champions League Group B Matchday 3 game between Club Atlético de Madrid and Liverpool FC at the Estadio Metropolitano. Liverpool won 3-2. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

If we assume United start Fred and Scott McTominay in midfield, the battle for me is still Liverpool’s front-three against the back-four, or five, Solskjaer picks.

If the defence can keep Liverpool’s attack quiet, United stand a chance of winning the game.

They can’t allow Mane, Salah and Roberto Firmino to get into the game and put the match beyond United.

Finally, hit us with your prediction…

 Liverpool's manager Jürgen Klopp laughs during a training session at the AXA Training Centre ahead of the UEFA Champions League Group B Matchday 3 game between Club Atlético de Madrid and Liverpool FC. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

I can only see a Liverpool win, which probably means Solskjaer will find a way to get a result when the odds are stacked against him.

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Jurgen Klopp’s Reds edge closer to breaking 39-year-old Bob Paisley record

Thu, 10/21/2021 - 19:00

Liverpool’s relentless start to the season has already seen them rewrite the record books and more are in their sights, with the trip to Man United another test of their capabilities.

The Reds’ strong opening to the 2021/22 season continued at Atletico Madrid in mid-week having passed their latest test after the Spanish outfit pegged back their two-goal lead.

Mohamed Salah was on hand with the decisive goal once more to not only move Liverpool five points clear at the top of their Champions League group, but it also made sure that the unbeaten streak rolled on.

Despite their challenges and the external doubts of their credentials, Jurgen Klopp‘s side have not suffered a loss since April 6 when they travelled to Real Madrid 198 days ago.

In that time, Liverpool have contested 21 games across all competitions and have emerged unscathed with a record of 15 victories and six draws, with just 17 goals conceded.

The club’s next best run was over 32 years ago when Kenny Dalglish oversaw a 24-game unbeaten streak in 1989, which heartbreakingly ended against Arsenal on the final day to deny the Reds a league title.

 Liverpool's Mohamed Salah celebrates with team-mates after scoring the first goal, scoring in his ninth consecutive game, during the UEFA Champions League Group B Matchday 3 game between Club Atlético de Madrid and Liverpool FC at the Estadio Metropolitano. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

A similar streak was recorded in 1987/88 while in 1982 Bob Paisley’s men went 25 games unbeaten, leaving the current Liverpool squad with five more games to surpass the feat.

But there is absolutely no guarantee despite the Reds’ fine run of form with the next run of fixtures to see Klopp’s men meet Man United, Preston, Brighton, Atletico Madrid and West Ham.

The sparsity of such unbeaten streaks only goes to show the difficulty of putting together such a run when competing on a number of fronts, but it is a testament to the quality that is in the current ranks.

Add that to the fact that the Reds have scored three or more goals in their last eight away games and you have a recipe for success, which Man United, Preston and West Ham should all be wary of.

But irrespective of if and for how long Klopp’s men extend their run, they have laid down an early marker and signalled their intent domestically and on the continent.

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Reds made Ansu Fati ‘offer’ & Adeyemi ‘honoured’ by interest – Liverpool FC Roundup

Thu, 10/21/2021 - 17:46

Liverpool are keen on a new forward according to today’s rumours – and of course there’s a look ahead to a massive weekend game at Man United.

Reds among trio to make Ansu Fati “offer”

Ansu Fati has signed a new contract with Barcelona, with the teenage superstar now having a one billion euro buyout clause in his long-term deal.

But the Catalan club had to move quickly to agree a deal, according to reports from COPE reporter Helena Condis, as three big clubs wanted to take advantage of him having only a few months left on his previous contract and Barca’s financial predicament.

Liverpool, Man United and PSG all offered more than double the salary on offer at the Camp Nou, it’s claimed, through intermediaries with Ansu’s agent.

He’s locked down now, though, so we can safely put this rumour-or-report behind us and seek out other additions to the world’s best front line.

Forward-thinking

 Liverpool's Sadio Mané during the FA Premier League match between Watford FC and Liverpool FC at Vicarage Road. Liverpool won 5-0. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

Latest Liverpool FC news

 Liverpool's Mohamed Salah during the FA Premier League match between Liverpool FC and Crystal Palace FC at Anfield. Liverpool won 3-0. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

Latest Premier League chat

 Manchester United's captain Bruno Fernandes during the FA Premier League match between Manchester United FC and Everton FC at Old Trafford. The game ended in a 1-1 draw. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

  • Ousmane Dembele is set to become the figurehead of Newcastle splashing out on failed deals when they give him £400,000 a week to test out fancy new physio tables
  • Dusan Vlahovic‘s virtual tour of all of Europe now takes him to Man City, where he’s just the 204th striker to be linked since they didn’t get Kane or Ronaldo
  • Bruno Fernandes threatened to hand in a transfer request over Man United‘s Super League involvement. How do you reckon he would have enjoyed playing for West Ham? Or would it have been Valencia? Perhaps Fiorentina? Hmmm…
Tweet of the day and match of the night

Any minute now, Ole…

After 105 PL games at their current clubs:

Klopp at Liverpool: 196 points
Solskjær at Man Utd: 194 points

Klopp then lost just one of his next 66 games in the Premier League – the turning point. Can Ole Gunnar Solskjær do the same?

Read more ?? https://t.co/UMd85k9XFA pic.twitter.com/Dl7hy0plED

— The Analyst (@OptaAnalyst) October 21, 2021

Tonight’s late games are Europa. You can watch it if you want, but Disney Plus probably has something more interesting.

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Categories: LFC NEWS

“We should talk about that” – Sadio Mane’s underrated 100-goal milestone

Thu, 10/21/2021 - 17:20

Sadio Mane became only the 30th player in Premier League history to hit the 100-goal milestone with his strike at Watford, but there is a sense he remains underrated.

Since arriving at Liverpool in 2016, Mane has been a consistent and instrumental piece in the jigsaw for Jurgen Klopp with 103 goals in 229 appearances across all competitions.

It sees him currently placed 17th in the club’s all-time top goalscorers list with the promise of further moves up the table.

The No. 10 has not been as electric in recent years as the toll of non-stop football made itself known but the winger remains an invaluable asset for Liverpool.

“If you look at Watford, Sadio scored his 100th Premier League goal – and we should talk about that a little bit more in my opinion,” Virgil van Dijk said of his teammate last week.

“It’s not something that is normal.”

? for the ???

Congrats from all of us, @MoSalah ?? pic.twitter.com/ha2s31eNgM

— Liverpool FC (@LFC) September 13, 2021

And Virgil would be right. Only 30 players in the Premier League‘s 29-year history have reached the 100-goal tally, which Mane accomplished at Watford.

However, the milestone was not as celebrated as Mohamed Salah‘s, who hit the century mark on September 12, and received a ‘100’ Liverpool shirt for his accomplishment a day later.

Mane’s may be on back order but the wait or absence of a similar token is a nod to how much the Senegalese winger can be under-rated with his quiet nature often seeing him fly under the radar.

“That doesn’t happen for a lot of players. He’s a world-class player as well. It’s incredible how good he is,” is how Klopp surmised the milestone but in a team of superstars, notably next to Salah, he can be quickly moved out of the spotlight.

He is certainly worthy of equal acclaim but he has yet to receive the team token for his efforts in the Premier League or surpassing a century of goals for Liverpool, but hopefully, it’s only a matter of time.

[embedded content]

A relentless presser, chance creator and capable target man, Mane ticks a number of boxes for Liverpool and it’s why he has been a huge success under the tutelage of Klopp.

Mane’s career is certainly one to celebrate with over 400 senior appearances across three different leagues and a total of 175 goals and he is still just 29 years of age.

As always, there is room to improve but the No. 10 has carved out quite the legacy for himself.

Salah and Mane are now among eight ex-Reds in the Premier League‘s 100-goal list having joined Peter Crouch, Emile Heskey, Steven Gerrard, Nicolas Anelka, Robbie Keane, Michael Owen and Robbie Fowler.

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Liverpool to finally wear new away kit for first time vs. Man United

Thu, 10/21/2021 - 07:00

Liverpool are set to finally debut their new Nike away kit during this Sunday’s Premier League clash with Man United, wearing ecru for the first time since 1997.

The Reds travel to Old Trafford this weekend looking for another big win, having seen off Atletico Madrid to the tune of 3-2 in the Champions League in midweek.

After a 5-0 trashing of Watford last time out in the league, Liverpool sit second in the table, a point behind leaders Chelsea as the only side yet to taste defeat.

United, meanwhile, are sixth and have not won any of their last three league games, with concern setting in at Old Trafford as Cristiano Ronaldo struggles to adapt to Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s desperate system.

Buoyed by a 3-2 comeback over Atalanta, however, they will have home advantage – though given the Reds have scored three or more goals in every away game so far this season, that may not be a factor to cling to.

Despite their success on the road, Jurgen Klopp‘s side are yet to even wear their away kit this season, instead wearing the home kit for 10 games and the third kit twice.

That will change this weekend, though, with Liverpool set to debut the ecru away kit for their trip along the M62.

 Roberto Firmino models the new Liverpool FC Nike away kit for the 2021/22 season. (© Liverpool FC)

It will be just under a month later than when the Reds wore their away strip for the first time last season, with the hyper turquoise given its first outing against Lincoln in the League Cup in September 2020.

The under-23s and under-18s have already worn the ecru away kit in their recent clashes with United, though.

The U18s also wore it in the 3-3 draw with Nottingham Forest and the women’s side wore it against Coventry United and Sheffield United.

So far, the only time the first team have attempted to wear their away kit for a fixture was in the pre-season clash with Bologna in Evian, with a kit clash leading to a mix of home shirt and away shorts and socks.

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WandaVision: How Atletico pantomime prepares Liverpool for Old Trafford

Wed, 10/20/2021 - 18:00
Ahead of a high-profile trip to Man United in the Premier League, Liverpool warmed up with a high-profile 3-2 win over Atletico Madrid in the Champions League

Diego Simeone isn’t the most complex of characters, but he is an unremittingly antagonistic one.

With such consistency of antisocial hostility, if ever a man was more perfectly suited to managing Chelsea, then I’ve yet to notice them.

Simeone rubs many observers up the wrong way, however I can’t help but admire the fella.

Besides, who are we, as Liverpool supporters, to suggest that there is a certain level of decorum that should be adhered to on the touchline by football managers?

Granted, running off down the tunnel at full-time after a loss, refusing to shake hands with his counterpart, and accentuating how large he considers his own testicles to be is a bit questionable, like.

Yet, despite these foibles, inclusive of sometimes striking the image of the living touchline embodiment of Alan Pardew, how can you not like a man who so comprehensively did David Beckham up like the proverbial small oily fish, with accompanying pat of butter.

 Club Atlético de Madrid's head coach Diego Simeone reacts during the UEFA Champions League Group B Matchday 3 game between Club Atlético de Madrid and Liverpool FC at the Estadio Metropolitano. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

What Simeone has done with Atletico Madrid is remarkable.

A big club they might be, but within a long-standing hegemony of Barcelona and Real Madrid, with Simeone’s side the only other LaLiga champions (twice at that) since a certain Rafa Benitez led Valencia to the title 17 years ago, then you must applaud what he has done with what once was one of European football’s most notoriously dysfunctional clubs.

Simeone has spent a decade in charge of a club that used to sack managers at a rate that Watford could only dream of, during the tumultuous presidency of Jesus Gil – a man who dispensed with 39 managers while he presided across a 16-year era in which Simeone was a double-winning player in 1995/96.

That particular success prompted Gil to take to the streets of Madrid in celebration, riding atop an elephant, only for Atletico to spectacularly hit the self-destruct button in sliding to an incredulous relegation just four years later.

Since his arrival in December 2011, Simeone has delivered two league titles, two Europa Leagues, one Copa del Rey, and various other trinkets, as well as having taken Atletico to two Champions League finals – one which they came to within seconds of winning, the other denied them in a penalty shootout.

 Club Atlético de Madrid's Antoine Griezmann (R) celebrates after scoring his side's first goal during the UEFA Champions League Group B Matchday 3 game between Club Atlético de Madrid and Liverpool FC at the Estadio Metropolitano. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

It is a testament to the force of his personality, that when Simeone is brought up in most footballing conversations, the first thing people mention is that he’s quite the pantomime villain.

His achievements are either secondary or not even considered at all.

What is comforting about Simeone is that you know exactly what you are going to be getting yourself into: a street fight that does not employ the Marquess of Queensbury rules. There is a guarantee of rancour.

We now have a fortnight in which to prepare for the rematch, during which our next task is a sedate trip to Old Trafford, where the threat to harmony could be as likely to come from protests outside the ground as it is from Man United’s players on the pitch.

Liverpool simultaneously dealt well and badly with the challenge handed to them at the Wanda Metropolitano, the venue that will always be ‘number six’.

 Liverpool's Mohamed Salah celebrates with team-mates after scoring the first goal, scoring in his ninth consecutive game, during the UEFA Champions League Group B Matchday 3 game between Club Atlético de Madrid and Liverpool FC at the Estadio Metropolitano. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

Only one change was made by Jurgen Klopp to the team that deconstructed Watford at Vicarage Road on Saturday. Alisson returned for Caoimhin Kelleher, and Liverpool shot into an early 2-0 lead that in itself felt unsettling.

This was all a little too simple, and even Luis Suarez had only been named on the bench. It felt like an ambush was awaiting around some shadowy unconsidered corner, one of those occasions where the silence is as scary as the altercation.

Sure enough, by half-time the scoreline was 2-2, and had it not been for the agility of Alisson, then we would have been trailing at the interval.

This was football within the style of ‘Marvellous’ Marvin Haglar and Thomas ‘The Hitman’ Hearns swinging haymakers at one another in the centre of the ring, until one or the other fell over.

For readers of a younger hue, think Tyson Fury vs. Deontay Wilder.

Ambition, style and determination were joined in the mix by a lack of defensive discipline and midfield fortitude. An open-door policy was in full swing and both teams took advantage.

Mohamed Salah continued to operate as if filming a footballing version of The Matrix, and Antoine Griezmann suddenly remembered he was Antoine Griezmann.

 Liverpool's Naby Keita (L) celebrates after scoring the second goal with team-mate Trent Alexander-Arnold (R) during the UEFA Champions League Group B Matchday 3 game between Club Atlético de Madrid and Liverpool FC at the Estadio Metropolitano. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

Salah went on another mad one to procure the opening goal, a goal that was at one point apportioned to James Milner, while Naby Keita hit a spectacular second, on an evening when he struggled generally.

Our Naby was hooked at half-time, to be replaced by the surprisingly omitted Fabinho. He will have infinitely better games on days when he doesn’t make the scoresheet.

It’s fair to say that he doesn’t do tap-ins, does our Naby.

It was almost as if Liverpool’s players were knocked into a stunned stasis, glancing around at one another for reassurance that this was actually correct and permissible. Where was the expected bludgeoning assault?

Oh, here it is…xB we could class it as. Expected bludgeoning.

A dirty win is how Klopp embraced it. The perfect synopsis. And he is absolutely correct that dirty wins can be therapeutic.

 Liverpool's goalkeeper Alisson Becker complains to referee Szymon Marciniak after a penalty is awarded to Club Atlético de Madrid during the UEFA Champions League Group B Matchday 3 game between Club Atlético de Madrid and Liverpool FC at the Estadio Metropolitano. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

It will rankle with Simeone and Atletico, so much so that they might well come to Anfield in two weeks’ time with a red mist descending, which could be their undoing.

Griezmann’s red card, early in the second half, altered the landscape – but only marginally. Still Atletico came, in search of a winner, rather than sitting back to accept one point.

Diogo Jota was brought into play, from where he gained and almost gave away a penalty. Salah dispatched, while VAR spared us the concept of Suarez equalising.

Three games and three wins from the 2021/22 Champions League group of death, one point from our remaining three likely sees us through.

There is a good chance we would still go through to the knockout stages even if we lost our three remaining games, gifted as we are with a five-point lead and a set of opponents that will probably insist upon taking points from one another.

 Christian Bertrand/Alamy Live News)

Our trip to the Wanda Metropolitano was of huge value in terms of our Champions League campaign, but it was also the perfect dress rehearsal for Sunday.

Another encounter that will undoubtedly throw out many varying shapes; another game in which Klopp’s opposite number will be hoping to utilise the pantomime of the occasion.

We stomped our way through Simeone’s minefield, and emerged with a WandaVision.

While you’re here…my trilogy ending book on the glory days of the European Cup is now available to purchase. You’d be mad not to indulge.

Order ‘The Undisputed Champions of Europe’ here.

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Surprise link with former Red & Klopp on Keita call – Liverpool FC Roundup

Wed, 10/20/2021 - 17:59

Liverpool beat Atletico Madrid but the reaction has been varied for such a fantastic result – such is the price of being the best!

Liverpool hinted as Sterling suitors

Raheem Sterling doesn’t tend to get a good reception when he returns to play at Anfield with Man City.

But that hasn’t stopped Christian Falk, of SportBild, saying that the Reds are one of the few teams who have both the interest and the financial means to sign him next summer.

Sterling raised eyebrows with comments that he’s prepared to move as he’s no longer a first choice for Pep Guardiola.

But it’s still a stretch to think Liverpool would do business with City to bring him back, given his price tag.

Reds react to win over Atleti

 Christian Bertrand/Alamy Live News

Latest Liverpool FC news

 Christian Bertrand/Alamy Live News

Latest Premier League chat

 Belgium's Youri Tielemans during the UEFA Nations League Group Stage League A Group 2 match between England and Belgium at Den Dreef. Belgium won 2-0. (Pic by Jeroen Meuwsen/Orange Pictures via Propaganda)

  • Mason Mount is set to become one of Chelsea‘s highest-paid players in the squad with a new deal – no doubt meaning they’ll only be linked with 25 players who can play his position in January
  • Youri Tielemans is being wooed by Brendan Rodgers with all those caressing words and promises as Leicester look to trick him into signing a new deal
  • Neto is on West Ham‘s wanted list for the summer as he’s on a free, they’re doing well and it’s pretty easy to make up that kind or rumour which might get some clicks and nobody will remember or care about it a few months later
Tweet of the day and match of the night

Everton & Man United fans are delightfully sharing that clip of Robbo getting wrecked and it’s dead funny to me because usually you’d want clips that ended in a loss or at least an error for a goal but instead it’s just…a random funny moment in a win taking us top of the group.

— Mari Lewis (@MariCLewis) October 20, 2021

Let’s watch the other Champions League games tonight!

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Return of away days bring flashes of old brilliance: A Liverpool fan in Madrid

Wed, 10/20/2021 - 16:00
There are certain cities in football that just resonate with a specific team. Madrid, for Liverpool, is one of these special locations.

The Spanish capital and the Wanda Metropolitano will always have a place in the hearts of Reds across the world, whether they made the pilgrimage to the 2019 Champions League final or not.

Familiar streets, sights, scents and the same boozer where a nondescript stranger bought you a pint as a “toast to Divock.”

But Madrid isn’t purely about the nostalgic feelings of glorious yesteryear, it’s very much the here and now.

Since Jurgen took his merry men to Spain just over two years ago to compete in the showpiece finale, Liverpool arrived not only as contenders but firm favourites.

European football, at the pinnacle moment of the competition, and with all the expectance of becoming champions. It was the doubters to believers formula the German had preached since day one.

Liverpool have been back twice since, with Tuesday evening the latest instalment in a love affair with a city which produces special moments.

Madrid has now become synonymous with Liverpool’s European success of the modern era, and the club’s standing among the elite.

Arriving in the winding streets of the Puerto del Sol district of Madrid in the days prior to the match, it became immediately clear this proud city was ready and willing to host once again.

Though with everywhere right now, a covid-scarred landscape remains. Travel is of course more difficult, accommodation regulations are fast becoming a minefield and the swathes of tapas bars dotted across street corners now reveal a blur of mask-clad faces.

None of this, however, stopped the noise or adulation of the European away day. The Reds on tour, once again.

In the aftermath of Liverpool’s 2019 win, Atletico Madrid’s official social media account scored some nifty kudos points by tweeting out a picture of the Wanda and declaring that the Reds will always have a second European home.

It was classy stuff and worked a treat. Many parallels have been drawn between Liverpool and Atleti down the years, as the two clubs with fanatical fanbases waged war on the superpowers of their respective domestic leagues, often falling way short in the process.

Atletico trailed Real Madrid and Barcelona much in the same way that the Reds lacked behind United, Chelsea and Arsenal.

Yet just as with Atleti, Liverpool believed and firmly knew that at some point, some time soon, the perch would be climbed back upon.

 Liverpool players celebrate with their fans following the UEFA Champions League Final between Tottenham Hotspur and Liverpool at Estadio Wanda Metropolitano on June 01, 2019 in Madrid, Spain. (Photo by Matthew Lewis - UEFA/UEFA via Getty Images)

In many ways the meeting of the two clubs this week was a unified celebration of those many years of struggle. Atletico hosted the match as reigning Spanish champions, while the trophy cabinet at Anfield has of course very recently hosted Premier League and Champions League honours.

Liverpool’s miraculous surge to a third-place finish last season to retain European football in its elite form, despite a half depleted side of academy offshoots and makeshift loanees, was very much vindicated here at the Wanda beneath a piercing full moon.

Hat tips must go to the likes of Nat Phillips, Rhys Williams and Ozan Kabak as the Reds reacquainted themselves with blissful Spanish surroundings and set to work in ruthless fashion.
Earlier in the day, Liverpool fans and loyal Atleti followers had sat side by side in the city’s famous Plaza Mayor.

All four corners of Madrid’s historically significant square had boasted Kopites in various levels of high spirits. No animosity between either set of supporters, just a happy acceptance at being two of the best sides in the competition.

Not the first time this city has been red. pic.twitter.com/CQO7vQntIB

— Danny Gallagher (@Danny7Gallagher) October 19, 2021

Platters upon platters of glazed Iberian ham were whisked from table to table, never too far away from several follow-up pints. This is football properly returning as the world continues to come to terms with the new post-covid normal, and by god it’s nice to see. It’s been badly needed.

As chants bounced off the walls, paying homage to the majority of the current squad before stretching back to a few topical niche classics, Luis Garcia and his faithful Sangria, and Maxi Rodriguez running down the wing, one specific anthem made a cheerful, sun-baked square of football supporters momentarily unite as one.

 Atlético de Madrid's Fernando Torres during the Audi Cup 2017 match between Club S.S.C. Napoli and Atlético de Madrid at the Allianz Arena. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

A chorus of the classic Fernando Torres anthem, eulogising about “Liverpool’s number nine” was met with rapturous applause from all locals; fans, dog-walkers and bartenders alike.

The baby-faced boy from this very city may have hugely divided opinion at both clubs when he left for pastures new, but the symbol of hope he offered to both Liverpool and Atletico during his respective stints provided a nice reminder of how far the two clubs have come.

Neither now boast a blind, hopeful reliance on one star prodigy. The two sides are solid and now have proven winning pedigree. Travelling up to the Wanda, however, it became clear just how feared Klopp’s men are.

Metro conversation, in a friendly Spanish-English Spanglish hybrid, soon pointed out that many home fans would take a point off the Reds and run for the hills. Liverpool aren’t ‘the team to beat’ in Group B… they are the team to hopefully take something from.

Atleti knew this, even in their own backyard. Diego Simeone would have known it as well, and he’ll soon realise snubbing Klopp on the touchline will never go down as a good look. But that’s a yarn for another day.

In the end it was Liverpool, with flashes of vibrant yellow, serving up another thrilling European night. Sure, it wasn’t the best performance and a hearty sprinkling of VAR intervention served to keep the neutrals happy, even if the travelling Kop locked away in the upper reaches of the Wanda didn’t have much clue as to what was going on.

 Christian Bertrand/Alamy Live News)

Yet still the chants sounded, rolling down the tiers of what is one of Europe’s most dazzlingly impressive football stadiums, and out onto the pitch where a Liverpool side humming with confidence just knew it was going to get the job done.

Three games, nine points, giants of Italy, Portugal and Spain dispatched. The job is by no means done, but it’s hugely impressive stuff from a side who were written off at the start of the season… remember that?

Now back to domestic affairs and the small matter of United away on Sunday. Another small chapter in Madrid concluded for the Reds but for now… or at least before this looming flight back home, another round of tapas and a pint for Jurgen’s gritty battlers. Who knows what this season is bringing.

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Jurgen Klopp: “The dirty 3 points are very often the most important”

Wed, 10/20/2021 - 09:15

Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp took great satisfaction in “three dirty points” after a wild 3-2 Champions League win over 10-man Atletico Madrid in the Wanda Metropolitano.

Having taken an early 2-0 lead through Mohamed Salah and Naby Keita, Klopp’s side were pegged back by an Antoine Griezmann double before half-time.

Griezmann was sent off after the break to give Liverpool a numerical advantage and Salah’s penalty put them ahead with 12 minutes to go.

But it still required a reversal of his decision to award Atletico a spot-kick by referee Daniel Siebert after reviewing the pitchside monitor for the visitors to make it three wins from three in Group B.

“We still had to defend with all we had because even with 10 men they were quite intense to play,” said Klopp.

“But the dirty three points are very often the most important, and they were dirty tonight of course.

[embedded content]

“It was not our best football but we got them and that’s a big step.

“When these two teams face each other then some drama I would say is guaranteed. Both teams are proper fighting units, are used to fighting for the things they want to reach.

“The story of the game is a special one because you don’t very often go 2-0 up against Atletico after 13 minutes.

“The human brain can be your biggest enemy. We misunderstood that situation completely: we wanted to control the game in the wrong way, we played in the wrong spaces and obviously gave two cheap goals away.

“I told the boys at half-time, it’s really positive because we know much more now than we knew before the game about them, we just have to use the right spaces.

“That’s what we tried to do, but then obviously the game got even more dramatic because of the decisions and the things that happened.”

 Liverpool's manager Jürgen Klopp celebrates with Virgil van Dijk celebrates after the UEFA Champions League Group B Matchday 3 game between Club Atlético de Madrid and Liverpool FC at the Estadio Metropolitano. Liverpool won 3-2. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

Victory not only gave Liverpool a five-point lead in their group, with them able to secure qualification next time out at home to Atletico, but extended their unbeaten run to 21 matches in all competitions, their longest sequence without defeat since a run of 24 from January to May 1989.

Salah’s two goals took him to 31 in the Champions League for the club, passing Steven Gerrard’s record to become the Reds’ leading scorer in Europe’s premier competition.

By taking his tally to 12 in 11 matches the Egypt international also set another record, becoming the first Liverpool player to score in nine consecutive matches.

Griezmann’s sending-off and the overturned penalty were the final straw for Atleti boss Diego Simeone, who ran down the tunnel at the end without shaking hands – much to Klopp’s initial annoyance.

However, by the time he arrived at his post-match press conference the German had a more rounded view of the incident.

“I wanted to shake his and, he was running off. I could have turned around but I was as emotional as he was,” said Klopp.

“I don’t think he did anything wrong and I am not overly happy with my reaction but that’s not too bad as well.

“We didn’t speak during the game but we were calm in most situations in a very intense game.

“But next time we see each other, we will definitely shake hands.”

 Club Atlético de Madrid's Antoine Griezmann walks off after being shown a red card and sent off during the UEFA Champions League Group B Matchday 3 game between Club Atlético de Madrid and Liverpool FC at the Estadio Metropolitano. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

Simeone saw enough in the performance to take some positives from the game but that did not take away the pain of defeat.

“I’m not happy, because I’m happy when I win, even if I play badly,” he said.

“We had clear chances against Liverpool. I don’t know if Liverpool have defended like this before.”

On the game’s contentious incidents which got him so animated on the touchline, he added: “On the field I can get angry, complain, but I accept the decisions.

“I don’t think [Griezmann’s red card] hurt us. The referee did very well.”

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Media hail “epic” Liverpool victory: “A win away at Atletico is a win to be treasured”

Wed, 10/20/2021 - 08:30

Liverpool won 3-2 away to Atletico Madrid on Tuesday night, with the watching media wowed by a thrilling contest in Spain.

In truth, the Reds didn’t play well for much of the game, but they came away with three precious points against a spiky Atletico side.

Mohamed Salah scored twice for the visitors, including the match-winning penalty, while Naby Keita thundered home a superb volley.

There was so much to discuss once the final whistle had blown, with the eventual scoreline not telling the whole story.

Here’s a look at how the media reacted to Liverpool’s victory.

Some tried to get their heads around the madness of it all…

 Liverpool's Mohamed Salah celebrates with team-mates after scoring the first goal, scoring in his ninth consecutive game, during the UEFA Champions League Group B Matchday 3 game between Club Atlético de Madrid and Liverpool FC at the Estadio Metropolitano. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

Goal‘s Neil Jones was left hugely entertained by what he saw:

“Where do you even begin with this, other than to say ‘wow’?

“Liverpool have been involved in some Champions League classics down the years, but this was a new one. They do not usually happen in the group stage, do they?

“There were times when this felt more like the second leg of a semi-final. The intensity, the madness, the suspense and the emotion felt here belongs on the biggest of stages.

“It was high drama, and then some.”

The Guardian‘s Sid Lowe was another who drunk in the action:

Jurgen Klopp had said that it wasn’t likely that Liverpool would score three at the Wanda Metropolitano, but in the end that is exactly what they had to do.

“With 15 minutes to go on a wild, fun and unexpectedly open night, Mo Salah stood on the penalty spot, handed the chance to deliver victory for Liverpool. Two-up inside 20 minutes, it was now 2-2, and nothing was certain any more. Except of course the Egyptian who stepped up and coolly slotted what would prove the winner.

“Not that a Liverpool win seemed certain even then, Atletico almost immediately having a penalty of their own given to them and then taken away again, Luis Suarez left lamenting that he would not get the opportunity Salah had.

“Atletico were left lamenting a comeback that would prove incomplete, their hugely impressive attempt at resurrection ultimately cut short by a red card for Antoine Griezmann. Defeated, at the end there was exhaustion and applause from the home fans, plus whistles for the referee. There was also a huge roar from the visiting supporters.”

Sam Wallace of the Telegraph felt it was one of the great Champions League group stage matches:

“An epic game for its mistakes as much as its moments of brilliance and yet in the end there was a familiar story for the age: it was won for Liverpool by the irrepressible Mohamed Salah.

“Yet even the man himself would have to admit that was only half the tale as this great clash of European stylists – the pragmatic, forceful Atletico and their expansive passing visitors – gave us one of the great games of the Champions League group stages.

[…]

“A win away at Atletico is a win to be treasured – no matter how chaotic the circumstances.”

Others praised Klopp’s substitutions and claimed there were disappointing aspects to the display…

 Liverpool's manager Jürgen Klopp celebrates with Virgil van Dijk celebrates after the UEFA Champions League Group B Matchday 3 game between Club Atlético de Madrid and Liverpool FC at the Estadio Metropolitano. Liverpool won 3-2. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

Freddie Keighley of the Mirror felt Fabinho‘s half-time introduction was key:

“Klopp has frustrated Liverpool fans in the past with his reluctance to make changes at half-time or early in the second half.

“But the German manager did not dawdle against Atletico Madrid.

“Addressing his side’s poor defensive display in the first 45 minutes, Klopp introduced Fabinho in place of Naby Keita at half-time.

“Then, sensing Atletico were there to be got at, he threw on Diogo Jota and Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain shortly after the hour mark as the Reds looked to make the man advantage count.”

The Independent‘s Jamie Braidwood was unimpressed with Liverpool’s defending on the night:

“While Jurgen Klopp would have snatched your hand off for an away win at Atletico Madrid, he would have been frustrated by some elements of his side’s performance. Liverpool’s display, like the match as a whole, had everything, some good, some bad, and a little bit of ugly.

[…]

Virgil van Dijk and Joel Matip were exposed and it took several big saves from Alisson to bail them out, and even then they found themselves heading into the break level.

“By that point, Liverpool had lost their momentum in attack and they even struggled to rediscover it when up against 10 men following Griezmann’s red card.

“The second half was more reminiscent of Liverpool’s previous visit to Atletico two seasons ago, in which they were frustrated in a 1-0 first-leg defeat, but they were rescued by Salah’s late penalty – awarded after a baffling challenge from Hermoso on Jota.

“And it wasn’t finished there, as Jota then went close to conceding a penalty at the other end. Liverpool got away with it, which rather summed up their performance on a crazy evening in the Champions League.”

 Liverpool's Naby Keita during the UEFA Champions League Group B Matchday 3 game between Club Atlético de Madrid and Liverpool FC at the Estadio Metropolitano. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

Dominic King of the Mail admits there are still question marks surrounding Keita, following a hit-and-miss outing:

“Keita’s 45 minutes in the Wanda Metropolitano were a snapshot of his Liverpool career as a whole. The good was very good but the rest of it didn’t reach the required standards – not by a long way.

“Liverpool were well in control of this tussle but Atletico were allowed a route back in when Keita was too weak and too slow to react to a short corner, allowing Thomas Lemar – another player who Klopp wanted to sign in 2017 – to dance along the touchline and cause havoc.

“His pressing wasn’t good enough in the moments before Atletico equalised and the cheapness of the concession had Liverpool’s players shaking their heads. Salah, for one, stood with his hands on his hips on the halfway line, barely able to conceal his unhappiness that 2-0 had become 2-2.”

As is the norm these days, the remarkable Salah earned plenty of column inches…

 Liverpool's Mohamed Salah celebrates after scoring the third goal, from a penalty-kick, to makes the score 2-3 during the UEFA Champions League Group B Matchday 3 game between Club Atlético de Madrid and Liverpool FC at the Estadio Metropolitano. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

This Is Anfield hailed the world’s best player on current form:

“That is now nine successive matches in which the irrepressible Mohamed Salah has found the back of the net – no other LFC player had ever managed that feat before.

“It’s 11 goals in that run, plus a couple of assists, and his ongoing durability, reliability and absolute insistence that he must find the net is both a huge relief for the Reds and hugely impressive to keep watching.

[…]

“Now Liverpool’s all-time leading goalscorer in the Champions League. The absolute King.”

Braidwood also couldn’t speak highly enough of Salah:

Mohamed Salah was again the Liverpool hero and made history by scoring in a ninth match in a row, and it was notable that he still proved to be the difference despite a quiet display in Madrid.

“While defending against Salah is one of the toughest assignments in football at the moment, it was a task made much harder for Atletico by the way they started the match.

“With Diego Simeone sticking with the 3-5-2 formation he has predominantly used in La Liga this season, the Atletico manager made the surprising decision to start Yannick Carrasco up against the in-from Salah over the more conventional full-back Renan Lodi.

“When Salah was able to cut inside Carrasco and fire a deflected shot past Oblak, it looked as if the forward was going to have a field day. In the end, with two goals to his name, he did.”

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Categories: LFC NEWS

Klopp admits difficulty with Atletico lineup – and explains Naby Keita sub

Wed, 10/20/2021 - 07:45

Jurgen Klopp has admitted he faced a number of problems in deciding on his starting lineup for Liverpool’s 3-2 win at Atletico Madrid, due to their tight turnaround.

After a 5-0 victory away to Watford on Saturday, Klopp made just one change to his starting XI for the return to the Champions League.

Alisson replaced Caoimhin Kelleher, with all 10 outfield players from the win at Vicarage Road retained as a dramatic game unfolded at the Wanda Metropolitano.

Mohamed Salah and Naby Keita scored early, but the Guinean was then culpable as Atletico fought back with two goals from Antoine Griezmann, with the No. 8 substituted at the break.

Fabinho came on for Keita and, aided by a red card for Griezmann, Liverpool sealed the three points through Salah’s penalty, making it 21 games unbeaten.

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The game came three days after an early kickoff, which came on the back of a busy international break, with Klopp explaining his difficulty in putting together the right lineup.

“The period we are in is really intense. Would I choose exactly the same lineup again [if I could go back]? Not sure,” he told reporters.

“But we had so many things to consider, like who is playing, who didn’t play, who played where.

“I think in the end we had a couple too many players on the pitch who played all the games for their national teams [and the] last Premier League game.

“So there’s never only one reason for the things. My boys want always, that’s what I love most about them.

“And if they can’t in moments, it’s most of the time my fault.

“But tonight we fought through it, and that’s nice. Experience helped a little bit – but not too much tonight!”

 Liverpool's Naby Keita scores the second goal during the UEFA Champions League Group B Matchday 3 game between Club Atlético de Madrid and Liverpool FC at the Estadio Metropolitano. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

Keita, Salah, Andy Robertson and Sadio Mane were among the busiest through the international break, and an obvious change for Sunday’s trip to Man United would be to shuffle the Guinean out of the side.

Given he was without Curtis Jones in Madrid, Klopp’s hands were tied to an extent, but it is clear he would have started Fabinho in hindsight.

However, Klopp was at pains to stress that Keita was not at fault, simply insisting that the 26-year-old suffered due to being overworked in recent weeks.

“First and foremost, it was nothing to do with Naby,” he insisted.

“We just had to defend the right side a bit better. The gaps were too big. But Naby scored a goal and stuff like this.

“I spoke already to him. It’s really important to me that nobody thinks that we played the first half, or the second part of the first half, because of Naby – not at all.

“He’s in really good shape, but he played three games for Guinea, and the last Premier League game 90 minutes, so 45 minutes I think was absolutely right.”

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Categories: LFC NEWS

LIVE: Atletico vs. Liverpool – Follow the Reds’ Champions League clash here!

Tue, 10/19/2021 - 19:15

It’s another big Champions League night as Liverpool face Atletico Madrid, aiming to collect their first away win against the Spaniards. We’re live to bring you the latest!

Kickoff at Wanda Metropolitano Stadium is 8pm (UK), the referee is Daniel Siebert (GER).

Tonight’s blog is run by Joanna Durkan, get involved by Tweeting @thisisanfield, @JoannaDurkan_ & in the comments below.

Teams

Atletico: Oblak; Trippier, Felipe, Kondogbia, Hermoso, Carrasco; Koke, Lemar, De Paul; Felix, Griezmann

Subs: Lecomte, Gimenez, Lodi, Vrsaljko, Llorente, Herrera, Suarez, Correa, Cunha

Liverpool: Alisson; Trent, Matip, Van Dijk, Robertson; Henderson, Milner, Keita; Salah, Mane, Firmino

Subs: Adrian, Kelleher, Konate, Gomez, Phillips, Tsimikas, Williams, Fabinho, Oxlade-Chamberlain, Minamino, Jota, Origi

Our coverage updates automatically below:

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