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Liverpool FC News, Opinion, Transfer Rumours and Discussion
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Mohamed Salah the latest Liverpool player to pull out of international duty

Tue, 11/12/2019 - 18:56

Mohamed Salah has withdrawn from the Egypt squad to take on Kenya and Comoros this month after a scan on his ongoing ankle injury.


Liverpool’s No. 11 joined up with his national team at the start of the week despite fears over a recurring problem in his left ankle.

Salah took another blow during the 3-1 win over Man City on Sunday, but played on and insisted on joining up with his Egypt team-mates ahead of their Africa Cup of Nations qualifiers.

But after scans at the Pharaohs camp, he has been deemed unfit to feature in the games scheduled for Thursday and Monday, as confirmed by the Egyptian FA on Tuesday.

It remains to be seen whether Salah will be fit for the trip to Crystal Palace on November 23, though his absence from either qualifier this month should at least improve his chances.

This comes after the forward missed the October break to further rehab his injury, which he suffered at the hands of Leicester’s Hamza Choudhury at the beginning of last month.

Salah follows Andy Robertson, Harvey Elliott and Caoimhin Kelleher in pulling out of international duty, while Xherdan Shaqiri missed out for Switzerland due to injury and Dejan Lovren is suspended for Croatia.

There have been concerns over Salah’s form so far this season, but he has already scored nine and assisted five in 17 games, and produced an outstanding performance against City.

The hope will be that he is able to use this 10-day break to recover and return to the fold against Palace.


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Gomez-Sterling row & Robertson injury concern – Tuesday’s Liverpool FC News

Tue, 11/12/2019 - 17:00

Liverpool’s first team have departed on international duty, but if anything they’ve been in the news even more on Tuesday – on both sides of the border.


There’s a lot to be said for composure

Winning the game wasn’t enough. Going nine points clear of Man City, and eight clear at the top, wasn’t enough.

Those mean old folks at Liverpool had to keep rubbing City’s noses in it, didn’t they? On the net, no doubt in the streets, and definitely on international duty with England – where Raheem Sterling has almost been binned from the squad for all-but-attacking Joe Gomez.

The City man has apologised, but won’t be in England’s squad for Thursday’s match, for his part in the row with Gomez who suffered a cut to the face.

There’s no doubt Liverpool got under the City players’ collective skin at the weekend and, on a wider note, is that a specific improvement under Jurgen Klopp?

Early worries against Palace

 Liverpool's Andy Robertson during a training session at Melwood Training Ground ahead of the UEFA Champions League Group E match between KRC Genk and Liverpool FC. (Pic by Paul Greenwood/Propaganda)

It’s getting difficult to know exactly who is the player we’d least like to be without for any particular fixture, these days.

Yes, we want Virgil in…and Mane…and Fabinho and Alisson and Bobby…oh, and we can’t be without those full-backs, either.

Well, we might be against Palace. Andy Robertson is out of Scotland’s utterly pointless qualifiers-they-can’t-qualify-with, which initially sounded like a significantly impressive case of cannotbearseditis.

But as it turns out there’s an ankle injury for the Scottish skipper.

James Milner might be turned to, then, when we face Roy Hodgson and his merry men in two weeks’ time.

Harvey Elliott is also out and there are concerns over Mo Salah‘s own ankle, too.

As they head off around the world…

 BRAZIL VS. PERU - Firmino and Alisson celebrate title after the match between Brazil and Peru, valid for the Copa America 2019 final, held this Sunday (07) at the Maracan„ Stadium in Rio de Janeiro, RJ. (Photo by Nayra Halm/Fotoarena/Sipa USA)

Two or three injuries to worry about already, then, but there are plenty more Reds in action over the coming couple of weeks.

European qualifiers, friendlies in far-flung places and a whole load of youth prospects are in action – and we’ve got everything you need to track the progress of every Liverpool player.

Quickfire LFC news

 Liverpool's Virgil van Dijk applauds the travelling supporters after the FA Premier League match between Manchester United FC and Liverpool FC at Old Trafford. The game ended in a 1-1 draw. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

Around the Prem

 Arsenal's manager Unai Emery during the FA Premier League match between Liverpool FC and Arsenal FC at Anfield. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

  • Arsenal boss Unai Emery is not having a good evening, with the news that he has six games to save his job (FourFourTwo)
  • Man City will react to dropping to fourth place by going on another £100 million spending spree in January (Mail Online)
  • Blue Sh- sorry, Everton, striker Moise Keane was left out of their weekend game for disciplinary reasons, not for playing terribly (Echo)
  • And a photo has emerged detailing how much Chelsea players will be fined if they break squad rules, including being late for training (£20,000), missing community duties (£5,000), being late for meetings (£500 per minute) and more (football.london)
Stupid story of the day

Remember the rumour from yesterday suggesting the Reds were interested in Ryan Fraser? Well, the Express have run a “how Liverpool would line up if they sign Fraser” piece.

Now, we know what you’re thinking: exactly the same as we did at the weekend, because there’s not a chance in hell he makes our XI. But no, they’ve gone for something rather different – Klopp dropping a midfielder to accommodate him as a No. 10.

Right. Can definitely see that happening, then.

Tweet of the day

"Pep Guardiola is coming!" ?

Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp was left confused when a reporter asked him if he had spoken to the Manchester City boss at a UEFA coaches' conference…? pic.twitter.com/En6OFiWNef

— Sky Sports Premier League (@SkySportsPL) November 12, 2019

What we’re reading

Leicester are lighting up the Premier League and the Independent‘s Vithushan Ehantharajah has taken a look at Jamie Vardy’s changed approach.

Worth watching tonight

Czech Republic take on England in a Women’s international friendly at 7:15pm.

Would-be Liverpool striker Taiwo Awoniyi, on loan at Mainz, is playing for Nigeria U23s at 6pm.

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Liverpool players embrace with Sean Cox in superb Inside Anfield video

Tue, 11/12/2019 - 16:01

The latest edition of Inside Anfield has been released, and it’s one of the most touching episodes so far.

[embedded content]

Liverpool supporters can’t get enough post-Man City content this week, as they revel in the Reds being eight points clear at the top of the Premier League.

Inside Anfield is something that has become a must-watch in recent times, documenting before, during and after behind-the-scenes footage on a matchday.

Although there is much to love about the latest edition, filmed during Sunday’s 3-1 win over Man City, the most memorable aspect comes towards the end.

Recovering Liverpool supporter Sean Cox was a special guest at Anfield, returning to the ground for the first time since suffering life-threatening injuries in 2018, having been attacked by Roma supporters.

Sean and his family were given a great reception by the home crowd, with his wife Martina speaking on the pitch at half-time.

Once the match was over and Liverpool could celebrate a potentially season-defining win, the Irishman was filmed meeting a few of his heroes.

Trent Alexander-Arnold, Joe Gomez and Jordan Henderson all shake his hand and give him a hug, which is a lovely moment.

Sean also has a warm conversation with Mohamed Salah, as Liverpool’s players show precisely why they are considered the Reds’ most likeable in generations.

The rest of the video is memorable in a different way, with the atmosphere at Anfield electric, as Jurgen Klopp‘s side outplay and defeat the Premier League champions.

Salah’s breathtaking team goal sums up everything that makes this team such a joy to watch, on a day when Liverpool more than outlined their title credentials.

It is those images of the players and Sean embracing that will live longest in the memory, though – it’s great that he was able to be present for such a massive victory.

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Virgil van Dijk talks Klopp, Ballon d’Or & winning the Champions League

Tue, 11/12/2019 - 15:33

Virgil van Dijk has given a wide-ranging and interesting interview with Goal.com, in recognition of him winning their best player award.


The website’s annual Goal 50 award is given to the best player in the world as decided by their journalists around the world.

Van Dijk landed top spot in the men’s half of the 50 this year – American international legend Megan Rapinoe won the women’s award – ahead of Lionel Messi and Mohamed Salah, who were second and third respectively.

Other Liverpool players in the top 25 included Sadio Mane (fifth), Alisson (seventh), Trent Alexander-Arnold (15th), Roberto Firmino (17th) and Andy Robertson (23rd).

To commemorate winning, Van Dijk spoke to Goal about his career to date, from his debut in his home nation to his moves to Celtic, the Premier League and ultimately Liverpool.

Featuring messages from former managers and team-mates, a video interview saw Van Dijk explain how he learned from each phase of his career, culminating in his current status as the world’s finest defender, a Champions League winner and a Ballon d’Or candidate.

 Liverpool's Virgil van Dijk lifts the trophy after the UEFA Champions League Final match between Tottenham Hotspur FC and Liverpool FC at the Estadio Metropolitano. Liverpool won 2-0 to win their sixth European Cup. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

Regarding his move to the Reds and what has happened since, Van Dijk was clear about being delighted with life at Liverpool.

“I made the decision based on many things. My feeling is always the most important and Liverpool were the strongest in multiple factors. I’ve been here almost two years now and so far so good!

“In football you can never know what happens in the future but I’m very happy I made the decision to come here and hopefully it’ll always be good.

“I wasn’t expecting to be in the Champions League final straight away if I’m absolutely honest. To be there was something very special.

“What I felt before the final in Madrid is that I don’t want to do the guard of honour, getting your silver medal; that feeling [from Kyiv] is the worst you can have at the time. I thought about it before the game and thought ‘We have to get that trophy no matter what’.

“Not a lot of players in their career win the Champions League and we actually did it. We’ll be remembered in Liverpool history for that.”

[embedded content]

Virgil has certainly made an enormous difference to the Liverpool defence and the team overall.

His influence has been felt almost from day one, and he has become not just a leader at Liverpool, but one of the best defenders on the planet.

The No. 4 also discussed the likes of Jurgen Klopp, his Kop tune – “What a song!” – and team-mates Gini Wijnaldum and Trent Alexander-Arnold.

Van Dijk acknowledges he’s fortunate in his timing, playing for Liverpool under Klopp as we head back to the top, and also captaining the Netherlands as they rebound in a big way. Here’s to plenty more seasons with Virgil as our centre-half!

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System changes and “a little bit of luck” outsmart Pep – Tactical analysis of Liverpool 3-1 Man City

Mon, 11/11/2019 - 18:00

Liverpool’s 3-1 win over Man City saw Jurgen Klopp adapt his formation, and with “a little bit of luck” kept up his record against Pep Guardiola.


As Liverpool saw off the defending champions at Anfield the headlines focused on decisions, the use (or not) of the VAR, and Guardiola’s touchline gesticulating.

Away from this pantomime, it was an absorbing game of football in which both teams created chances and tried to outwit the other tactically.

After the game, Guardiola admitted that he had watched a lot of games at Anfield and seen many teams struggle, but he wanted his own team to play their game.

Despite having won every domestic trophy available to them last season, defeating Liverpool playing their football is the next step in their development.

He usually speaks with nothing but respect for Liverpool—his Mane jibe last week being a rare exception, and it was jumped on accordingly. They are his biggest rival, his biggest challenge, and Guardiola likes a challenge.

Liverpool are seen as an obsession for the former Barcelona and Bayern boss, but why wouldn’t he study his biggest challenge and the manager he has the worst record against in his managerial career, by far?

 Manchester City's Bernardo Silva (R) and Liverpool's Virgil van Dijk during the FA Premier League match between Liverpool FC and Manchester City FC at Anfield. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

Even with Ederson and Aymeric Laporte out, this was not a weak Man City side. They had three defenders on the bench which cost more than Liverpool’s back four.

Everything other than the goalkeeper and left centre-back was the first-choice XI.

Klopp wasn’t fooled by talk of City being underdogs and set his own team up accordingly. He used three formations in the game—a 4-3-3 in the first half before switching at half-time.

“We changed the system to 4-4-1-1 at half-time, changed back late in the game to 4-5-1,” he said.

“I liked the game, I loved the atmosphere. It was incredible, the people were just amazing, and against an outstandingly strong opponent.”

Early Intensity

 Liverpool's Virgil van Dijk l;' and Manchester City's José Ángel Esmorís Tasende 'Angeliño' during the FA Premier League match between Liverpool FC and Manchester City FC at Anfield. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

The game kicked off with some high-intensity play from both sides, as each tried to impose their game on the other.

Liverpool and City fans have become used to watching opposition teams (with a few honourable exceptions) defend deep and set a challenge to break them down, and much of their work will be based around facing such teams.

But this game is an entirely different proposition for both managers.

Man City set up in a 4-2-2-2/4-2-4 with pairings of Rodri and Ilkay Gundogan, Raheem Sterling and Bernardo, and Kevin De Bruyne and Sergio Aguero.

For Liverpool, it was a 4-3-3 to start with, but Jordan Henderson was the most advanced midfielder, playing a role not too different to that which De Bruyne usually plays for City.

Liverpool Man City tactics 11-19 Klopp Guardiola

Klopp then made the switches he referred to in his press conference, with the third goal coming from the advanced Henderson down the right.

The captain regularly found space down that channel due to City playing with a two in midfield rather than a three, and he even managed to reach the byline before crossing for Mane to head home.

Liverpool tired after this and forced Klopp into a number of changes.

“I had to suffer in moments because of the way City play, but I would say until around the 75th minute when they scored the goal, we could control [the game] in some way,” said Klopp.

“But after that, we saw immediately, when our legs got a bit tired, I don’t know how many balls rolled through our six-yard box then to the far post area.

“It doesn’t feel too good, you always think there must be a blue player, but there wasn’t. You need in moments a little bit of luck. After 3-1 they had a lot of momentum and we had heavy legs.”

The average positions (below, via Whoscored) are misleading given there were a number of formation changes from Klopp, but what they do indicate is how advanced Henderson (No. 14) was.

Klopp withdrew Henderson after the City goal (he did have the sub lined up beforehand but wasn’t able to get the referee to stop the game, even when the ball went out of play).

He made a number of changes in an attempt to stop the City momentum, and the game finished with Trent Alexander-Arnold ahead of Joe Gomez on the right, Mane up front, and a midfield five containing James Milner and Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain.

According to the expected goals data, Man City’s biggest chance came from Angelino’s cross to Kyle Walker with five minutes to go, as shown by the big yellow blob on the left on the graphic below from Understat.

But this was much more difficult than the xG suggests, as the right-back was stretching to get anything on the cross at all, moving at pace and out of control.

liverpool man city xg 11-2019

Some of Aguero’s chances down the left channel looked better than the xG is giving credit for, and overall this was a game of fast, attacking football in which Liverpool took their chances and City didn’t.

This at least backs up Guardiola’s insistence of trying to play this way against Liverpool but doesn’t change the fact that Klopp still has the upper hand in their battles since the pair have been in England.

Guardiola on how to beat Liverpool

[embedded content]

“All the time we come here Jurgen says I adapt to him, but we played with incredible personality,” Guardiola told reporters after the game.

“I know tomorrow’s table [will show] a nine-point [gap], but to grow as a club, as players, to make the next step after back-to-back Premier League titles, is to do that in these kinds of places, playing the way we play.

“They are incredibly strong in set-pieces. When you sit back and defend in the box they open with Alexander-Arnold and Robertson starting to make the crosses, and when they arrive with not just Mane, Salah, and Firmino, but Henderson arriving at the right tempo, and Wijnaldum for second balls.

“It’s almost impossible to live with that situation—and again, and cross again. When you are able to get back in that position they have incredible backwards. When you are attacking, every mistake you make [can be punished] in transition.

“The biggest quality of Jurgen’s throughout his career is doing this kind of situation.

 Manchester City's head coach Pep Guardiola reacts during the FA Premier League match between Liverpool FC and Manchester City FC at Anfield. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

“You decide before you play [them]. You can spend 90 minutes sat back there, waiting for crosses, crosses, crosses, crosses; waiting [to make] one-counter attack or two counter-attacks, and if you are lucky, get something from both.

“Or try to play the game, to create chances that we created today. We decide to do it in that way because it’s the way we won two Premier Leagues in a row and seven titles in two or three seasons.

“People say they like to watch Manchester City play football, sometimes playing at home against some teams, [but] the difficulty is coming here and doing it.

“I watch a lot of games and the teams who come here to play know how difficult it is.”

Notes from the Press Box

 Liverpool's Sadio Mané is all smiles as he shakes hands with Manchester City's head coach Pep Guardiola, who had accused him of being a diver, after the FA Premier League match between Liverpool FC and Manchester City FC at Anfield. Liverpool won 3-1. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

  • De Bruyne pressing high
    City matched Liverpool in most areas but tried to use De Bruyne to give them the advantage. The Belgian attempted 13 crosses in the game, more than any other player.
  • De Bruyne set-pieces looked dangerous, but and Liverpool tried to play them offside every time
    It looked like something City had targeted. On one occasion De Bruyne passed to Gundogan rather than hitting first-time himself, to try to confuse the defensive line. Sterling put a header wide from one De Bruyne free-kick, but the linesman appeared to tell Virgil van Dijk it would have been given offside.
  • Angelino played the Robertson role rather than joining the midfield as City’s full-backs have in the past
    He assisted City’s goal, created that ‘big chance’ for Walker, and his 100 actions in the game were more than any other player. More evidence that Guardiola wants his full-backs to be more like Liverpool’s.
  • Mane is still Liverpool’s best target man
    And probably their best player.

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Salah injury concern and City match fall-out – Monday’s Liverpool FC News

Mon, 11/11/2019 - 17:20

Liverpool fans are enjoying being eight points clear at the top as we head into the international break; the aftermath of the win over Man City means the Reds are everywhere in the news on Monday.


An enjoyable lead, but it’s not over yet

The big message coming out of Anfield today is that it’s simply business as usual: beating Man City does not mean the title is wrapped up.

Few Liverpool fans would be so foolish as to voice any such opinions anyway, especially after the way we lost out in 13/14, but both Jurgen Klopp and Virgil van Dijk have been vocal about maintaining focus.

The Dutch defender has pointed to our ridiculous upcoming run of games, while the boss has reminded those in the media who want to get carried away that it’s still only November – an absurdly early time for title claims.

Salah injury concerns

 Liverpool's Mohamed Salah during the FA Premier League match between Liverpool FC and Manchester City FC at Anfield. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

Mo Salah put in a much-improved performance and scored what turned out to be the game-winning goal at Anfield, but he also took a very heavy tackle on his already damaged ankle.

Thankfully, the Egyptian forward continued playing, but ESPN suggest that there are those within the Reds camp who are significantly concerned about the problem flaring up again.

Mo is off on international duty this week; it has been nice having him left out of the last couple of squads, but that was never going to last forever.

A cynic might suggest the headlines are nothing more than titles for clicks, now that Salah is back among the goals – surely he’d be kept back at Melwood if there was any substance to re-injury claims?

Match catch-up

 Liverpool's Fabio Henrique Tavares 'Fabinho' shoots during the FA Premier League match between Liverpool FC and Manchester City FC at Anfield. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

If there’s one problem with Sunday evening games, it’s that the following day when all the reaction comes out, people have to work or study. Infuriating, really.

Fear not – we’ve got you sorted so you don’t miss a thing:

Big news for Hoever

 Liverpool's Ki-Jana Hoever (L) celebrates scoring the second goal during the Football League Cup 3rd Round match between MK Dons FC and Liverpool FC at Stadium MK. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

Ki-Jana Hoever is at the U17 World Cup right now with the Netherlands – and his side, after a dreadful start to the competition, are now through to the semi-finals.

Hoever did a fair Trent Alexander-Arnold impression, too: playing from right-back and scoring a brilliant solo goal, which you can check out here – as well as why he’ll miss the semis and when the potential final is.

Elsewhere in the “young hopefuls” category, two on-loan players scored this weekend. Loris Karius kept a clean sheet and a handful of others were involved, too.

Quickfire LFC news

 Liverpool's manager Jürgen Klopp during the pre-match warm-up before the FA Premier League match between Liverpool FC and Manchester City FC at Anfield. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

  • Vincent Kompany says he’s confused about Liverpool’s opener being given and brings up every possible complaint about why basically anything else should have been awarded instead.
  • The Telegraph have a report on how Liverpool essentially use “missile tracking software” for player data and how the brains at Melwood, including Ian Graham, create models to help with scouting, match preparation and more.
  • And finally, TalkSPORT report that Liverpool are trying to arrange a swap deal in January for Bournemouth‘s Ryan Fraser, with Harry Wilson joining the Cherries permanently. Fraser is out of contract in the summer. James Pearce has already negated the potential move, saying talk of discussions are a load of tosh.
Around the Prem

West Ham manager Manuel Pellegrini (David Davies/PA Wire/PA Images)

  • Newcastle are in takeover discussions once more, with a Mexican consortium talking matters over with the universally loved Mike Ashley (The Athletic)
  • West Ham will give Manuel Pellegrini more time to turn around the Hammers’ desperate form (BBC Sport)
  • Liverpool’s League Cup opponents Aston Villa are down to their third-choice ‘keeper, after one was injured in training and another in the match this weekend. Now, if the same just happens in the other ten positions, we’ll be about equal for the quarter-final…(Sky Sports)
  • And Pep Guardiola will not face any disciplinary action from the FA for his theatrics towards the officials at Anfield on Sunday, because the memes and gifs will last an eternity and that’s punishment enough (BBC Sport)
Tweet of the day

?? pic.twitter.com/MJRke1Bd4Q

— Liverpool FC (@LFC) November 11, 2019

Stupid transfer story of the day

The Mirror‘s Jake Polden has managed to turn Klopp talking to Salah and Kevin de Bruyne in the Anfield corridors after the match into a “sparks wild transfer rumour” headline. Yes, wild is one word for it. We can think of another one though…

What we’re reading

Two good pieces for your football-world reading today:

Nicky Bandini of the Guardian extolls the exciting, aggressive brilliance of Serie A surprise side Cagliari, led by Radja Nainggolan’s thunderous midfield play.

And for the Athletic, Adam Crafton and Matt Slater give an insight into what the life of a referee is really like, on and off the pitch.

Worth watching tonight

It’s the start of international week, so not much – but if you’re keen on youth football and watching the stars of tomorrow, the U17 World Cup continues with Spain vs. France at 7:30pm (UK).

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Jurgen Klopp not concerned with being “first on the moon” at Club World Cup

Mon, 11/11/2019 - 14:44

Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp insists he feels no pressure to win the Club World Cup.


In the wake of their 3-1 victory over Manchester City which opened up an eight-point lead at the top of the Premier League, Pep Guardiola hailed the Reds as “the best team in the world right now.”

Liverpool will get the chance to prove that—and lift a trophy they have never won before—in Qatar next month.

However, Klopp is not concerned about being the man to bring home that particular piece of silverware for the first time.

“I didn’t think about that. I’m not someone who has to be the first on the moon or the first winning the World Cup with Liverpool, but when we are there then we will try with all we have,” he told FIFA.com.

“I don’t feel any pressure. I see it as an absolute opportunity as you don’t often have the chance to play for it.

“You have to win the Champions League [to qualify] as the European team, so that already makes it special.”

 Liverpool's players during a training session at Melwood Training Ground ahead of the UEFA Champions League Group E match between KRC Genk and Liverpool FC. (Pic by Paul Greenwood/Propaganda) Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain, Curtis Jons

Liverpool’s participation in Doha has caused more than its fair share of problems with the club faced with fielding two separate sides on two different continents within 24 hours of each other as they also have a League Cup quarter-final to play.

With the club in pole position to secure their first league title in 30 years everything else seems to be taking a back seat but Klopp said when they go to Qatar—a trip which will give their domestic rivals a chance to reduce their advantage while they are away—they will be focused on the task in hand.

“When we go there, we will be prepared and looking forward to it,” added Klopp.

“The boys want to play it, so it will be very interesting, and it will feel big for us, 100 percent.”

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Is this Liverpool’s defining moment? – 5 talking points from the Premier League weekend

Mon, 11/11/2019 - 05:00

Liverpool’s thrilling 3-1 win against Manchester City lifted them eight points clear at the top of the Premier League.


City’s third league defeat of the season leaves them nine points behind in fourth place, while Leicester registered their fourth straight league win on Saturday to climb second with victory over Arsenal.

Chelsea also maintained their top-four challenge by extending their winning run to six, while Manchester United are up to seventh after Sunday’s home win against Brighton.

Here, the PA news agency looks at five things we learned from this weekend’s action.

Is this Liverpool’s defining moment?

Liverpool's Fabinho (right) celebrates scoring his side's first goal of the game during the Premier League match at Anfield, Liverpool. (PA Images)

Liverpool took a mighty step towards the Premier League title.

It is only November and only 12 games have been played, but they moved nine points clear of Manchester City after dismantling the reigning champions 3-1 at Anfield and few will be betting against Jurgen Klopp’s side going on to end their 30-year wait for the domestic crown.

Liverpool let slip a big lead over City last season, but it appears inconceivable they could do so again this time around.

They have dropped only two points this season, while their last league defeat was against Pep Guardiola’s side in January.

Yet more VAR controversy

 Manchester City's Sergio Agüero complains to referee Michael Oliver after Liverpool's opening goal during the FA Premier League match between Liverpool FC and Manchester City FC at Anfield. Liverpool won 3-1. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

VAR took centre stage again in the biggest game of the season so far.

Liverpool’s thrilling win was marred by more uncertainty as it upheld referee Michael Oliver’s decision not to award City a penalty when the ball appeared to hit Trent Alexander-Arnold’s hand moments before Fabinho crashed home the opening goal from 25 yards.

Oliver opted not to consult the pitch-side monitor and there were plenty watching who felt if he had, he would have ruled out the goal and awarded Pep Guardiola’s side a penalty.

Foxes hit the heights

 Leicester City's James Maddison celebrates scoring the first equalising goal with team-mate Ayoze Pérez during the FA Premier League match between Liverpool FC and Leicester City FC at Anfield. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

Leicester boss Brendan Rodgers played down talk of his side’s title challenge after they had out-played Arsenal, with goals from Jamie Vardy—his 11th league goal of the season—and James Maddison lifting them up to second, above Chelsea on goal difference.

Rodgers insisted his sole focus was on the Foxes’ performance levels, but if these can be maintained there is no doubt title favourites Liverpool will be looking over their shoulders.

The 2016 champions heaped more pressure on under-fire Gunners boss Unai Emery, whose side’s winless Premier League run stretched to four matches.

Who’s laughing at Blades now?

 Sheffield United's manager Chris Wilder celebrates his side's victory after the FA Premier League match between Everton FC and Sheffield United FC at Goodison Park. Sheffield United won 2-0. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

Sheffield United showed they can mix it with the Premier League’s big guns with another impressive display in their 1-1 draw at Tottenham.

Blades boss Chris Wilder said after George Baldock had cancelled out Son Heung-min’s second-half opener that his side had been ridiculed at the start of the season after winning promotion back to the top flight for the first time since 2007.

But they have drawn at both Chelsea and Tottenham, have beaten Arsenal and won at Everton.

They sit fifth in the table, above Arsenal and Manchester United, and no-one is laughing at them now.

Clouds lift at Old Trafford

 Manchester United's manager Ole Gunnar Solskjær during the FA Premier League match between Manchester United FC and Liverpool FC at Old Trafford. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

United’s comfortable 3-1 win against Brighton helped maintain the air of optimism that has descended on Old Trafford in recent weeks.

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s side could have won by a much bigger margin, but the performances of Fred, Marcus Rashford and teenage defender Brandon Williams, on his full Premier League debut, will have kept United’s fans in good heart.

Their side have won five of their last six games in all competitions and have moved up to seventh, their highest position in two months, while the only negative was the injury sustained by midfielder Scott McTominay.

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Salah returns to form as Reds beat every approach – 5 talking points from Liverpool 3-1 Man City

Sun, 11/10/2019 - 21:00

Liverpool took an almighty step forward in their search to win the league with a 3-1 win over Man City at Anfield.


Liverpool 3-1 Man City

Premier League, Anfield
November 10, 2019

Goals: Fabinho 6′, Salah 13′, Mane 50′; B Silva 77′

CLINICAL!

 Liverpool's Sadio Mané celebrates scoring the third goal during the FA Premier League match between Liverpool FC and Manchester City FC at Anfield. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

City settled better with the passing, but Liverpool’s own combination play was based on piercing the heart of their opponents at every opportunity.

Twice in the opening quarter of an hour, the Reds attacked with quick passes down the sides. Twice it ended in goals.

Second half: same story. City had the ball early on, a couple of crosses and set pieces… then Liverpool fashioned one superb build-up, back-to-front, Jordan Henderson sent over a brilliant cross and Sadio Mane headed the third.

City had more shots across the course of the game, but many were speculative, poor quality or wild – the Reds had more shots on target and certainly made the far better use of their chances.

Applause at the back

 Manchester City's Raheem Sterling points after hitting out at Liverpool's Trent Alexander-Arnold during the FA Premier League match between Liverpool FC and Manchester City FC at Anfield. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

It was the away side who had more possession in the first half, but they edged it rather than dominated: 54 to 46 per cent.

Against that slight majority, though, was Liverpool’s relentless work rate. A constantly tilting defence, a non-stop shifting midfield, the excellent organisation of the attack which pressed as a trio at every opportunity – this was like an extended training ground exercises…but with so much more riding on getting it right.

Gini Wijnaldum was superb with his balance of ball-winning and ball-protecting, but special note has to go to the right side of Liverpool’s defence in that first half.

At times either of Trent Alexander-Arnold and Dejan Lovren have either been targetted by opponents or simply lacking in defensive execution, but the first 45 minutes they were just about spot-on: furiously concentrated, on the front foot, holding up play at least or outright winning the ball back when they could.

Full marks a and then a few more for Lovren’s second-half block on Raheem Sterling, too.

Every single player put in an almighty shift, made every challenge they needed to, and deservedly won the game.

Salah’s timely return to form

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

It’s not an exaggeration to say Mo Salah has been outright poor over the last few weeks, having little impact in build-up play and missing his shooting boots.

What a game to pick to rediscover form and confidence.

He was one of the constant outlets, he ran Angelino ragged, his dribbling was on-point in tight areas… and he beautifully headed home the second goal.

The pace was there, the willingness to beat players, the work rate – all of it. Add together his match ratings from his last three or four games, and it’s probably about what he deserves for this game.

We could identify the greatness from pretty much every player on the pitch, but one other does deserve a mention for a big-game step-up: Gini Wijnaldum. Sometimes he goes missing, but this is the type of fixture he’s a must-have for.

Utterly brilliant.

Winning the two battles

 Liverpool's Virgil van Dijk (R) challenges for a header with Manchester City's Kevin De Bruyne during the FA Premier League match between Liverpool FC and Manchester City FC at Anfield. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

How could this match be approached by either side, searching for the win?

They could either dominate physically, looking to overpower the other, or they could look to control the ball and dominate possession.

Liverpool won it both ways.

City had the ball first half as mentioned, but created nowhere near enough clear chances and the Reds battered them with transitional play, acceleration through spaces and physically bullying City on the second balls and 50-50s.

In the second half, Liverpool scored that early third – then embarked on their own long stretch of possession play, keeping City chasing shadows and running down their energy levels on largely pointless endeavours.

Yes, City scored one and yes, it was a more nervous-feeling last ten minutes than it needed to be, but that’s what big-game emotion is about.

Overall, across this 90 minutes (and these first 12 games), Liverpool were a much better side than Man City.

International break and EIGHT points clear

 Liverpool's manager Jürgen Klopp reacts during the FA Premier League match between Liverpool FC and Manchester City FC at Anfield. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

Winning was a big deal for any number of reasons, but most surprising might be that it didn’t just put Liverpool nine points clear of the reigning champions, but also three places clear.

City’s other poor results this season, dropping points against Norwich and Wolves for example, means they’re down to fourth for the duration of the international break, with Leicester and Chelsea the two sides closest to Jurgen’s Reds.

Once again, most of the squad will be off on long-distance jaunts, flying to all corners for qualifiers, friendlies or training get-togethers, while Klopp and his reduced squad embark on a little more fitness and technical work of their own.

It should be a very, very pleasant international break as a Liverpool fan.

The gap at the top, for this or any other stage of the season, is massive – but the big winter test is to come.

The rest of November sees us face Palace, Napoli and Brighton… and then it’s a mammoth 11 games in 31 days to take us into the new year. By then, we’ll really know what this unbelievably good start to the season has earned us.

For now, it’s another job extremely well done, and a deserved two-week break from the stresses of the 90 minutes for the supporters!

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“That’s crazy” – Jurgen Klopp savours 9-point lead over Man City but title is not won yet

Sun, 11/10/2019 - 20:56

Jurgen Klopp admitted he could hardly believe his Liverpool side had opened up a nine-point lead over champions Manchester City.


Klopp’s Premier League leaders beat City 3-1 in the clash of the two title favourites at Anfield on Sunday.

But the German claimed it was far too early in the season for such an advantage to be significant and the pressures of the title race were yet to come.

Klopp said: “Today we were completely focused on this game and not the situation in the table and how many points we are ahead of City. That’s crazy.

“Nine points ahead of City—you cannot imagine that something like this would happen.

“But it’s not important because who wants to be first in November? You want to be first in May. It’s only November.

“The pressure is not there yet. It will come, but at the moment it’s just opportunity and go for it and do the work, throw in all you have and let’s see what happens.

“We don’t feel any pressure, to be 100 percent honest. Nine points is a positive but there’s a long way to go.

“People will 100 percent say, and have said already, that from now on Liverpool can only lose it.

“That’s a very negative approach but we don’t care, I can promise you that we don’t care.”

 Liverpool's Mohamed Salah (#11) celebrates scoring the first goal with team-mates during the FA Premier League match between Liverpool FC and Manchester City FC at Anfield. Liverpool won 3-1. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

Liverpool took a firm grip on the game with two goals in the opening 13 minutes but there was controversy over the first.

The ball struck Trent Alexander-Arnold’s hand in the Liverpool penalty area but nothing was given and the hosts broke upfield to score through Fabinho.

There was a further penalty shout for handball against Alexander-Arnold late in the game but, again, City were denied.

Klopp said: “I haven’t seen the penalty incident in the first half before Fabinho scored so I can’t say anything about, but I’ve heard it was first handball by Bernardo Silva, I don’t know.

“I can imagine it’s not a situation Pep [Guardiola] is really pleased with. That’s normal.

“But the reaction we showed, 22 seconds later we were in front of their goal and Fabinho with his stunner brings us the 1-0 lead.”

[embedded content]

Mohamed Salah added Liverpool’s second and Sadio Mane grabbed the third after the break before Bernardo Silva struck a City consolation.

Klopp felt Liverpool’s intensity early on proved decisive.

He said: “At the beginning it was wild. It was great, pressing and pressing, not a lot of clear balls in behind.

“You could sense it was really important for both teams. They were both ready to put a proper shift in. They did.

“We scored two incredible goals, had to suffer in moments because of the way City play, but until around the 75th minute we could control it.

“After they made it 3-1 they had momentum and we had heavy legs and you need a little bit of luck.”

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Liverpool 3-1 Man City: Reds prevail in performance of champions

Sun, 11/10/2019 - 18:23

Liverpool matched the lofty expectations of the biggest game of the season so far, producing a formidable display to put Man City to the sword for 3-1.


Liverpool 3-1 Man City

Premier League (12), Anfield
November 10, 2019

Goals

Fabinho 6′ (assist – none)
Salah 13′ (assist – Robertson)
Mane 51′ (assist – Henderson)
B.Silva 78′

Despite City’s concerns of another unsavoury welcome at Anfield, Sunday’s clash opened up in the vein Jurgen Klopp called for in the buildup, with a raucous atmosphere heralding kickoff.

Both sides rose to the occasion, too, with City looking to pin Liverpool back and Klopp’s defence beginning shakily, but at the other end they were clinical.

Fabinho broke the deadlock after just six minutes, with the No. 6 blasting a long-range effort beyond stand-in goalkeeper Claudio Bravo after a shout for handball against Trent Alexander-Arnold in the Reds’ box.

Alexander-Arnold kicked off the move for the second soon after, with the right-back producing a stunning, wrong-footed cross-field pass to Andy Robertson, whose brilliant deep cross from the left was headed in by Mohamed Salah.

There was a big scare as Salah required treatment on his ankle following a tangle with Fernandinho, but fortunately the No. 11 recovered and almost produced a fine finish from outside the box which would have capped a perfect first half.

HT: Liverpool 2-0 Man City

 Manchester City's Raheem Sterling points after hitting out at Liverpool's Trent Alexander-Arnold during the FA Premier League match between Liverpool FC and Manchester City FC at Anfield. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

Liverpool made their visitors wait as they emerged late from the tunnel for the second half, but there certainly wasn’t any complacency as they started strong, with Sadio Mane heading home a third from Jordan Henderson‘s stellar cross.

That was clearly a mental blow for City, as their passes in the final third became increasingly sloppy and both Raheem Sterling and Sergio Aguero dallied and were repeatedly run down by an industrious Reds midfield.

The Kop roared Liverpool on throughout, serving their purpose as the 12th man against a City side which continually seemed like they were down to 10.

Unfortunately the pursuit of a first Anfield clean sheet of the captain was denied again, as Bernardo Silva scored a consolation effort which left Klopp raging after a foul on Fabinho in the buildup.

Klopp looked to shut up shop and further stymie the persistent Sterling by sending on Joe Gomez, and the Reds were able to hold on for a famous, vital victory to go eight points clear of second-placed Leicester.

TIA Man of the Match: Fabinho

Referee: Michael Oliver

Liverpool: Alisson; Alexander-Arnold, Lovren, Van Dijk, Robertson; Fabinho, Henderson (Milner 61′), Wijnaldum; Salah (Gomez 87′), Mane, Firmino (Oxlade-Chamberlain 79′)

Subs not used: Adrian, Lallana, Keita, Origi

Man City: Bravo; Walker, Stones, Fernandinho, Angelino; Rodrigo, Gundogan, De Bruyne; Bernardo, Sterling, Aguero (Jesus 71′)

Subs not used: Carson, Otamendi, Cancelo, Silva, Foden, Mahrez

Next Match: Crystal Palace (A) – Premier League – Saturday, Nov 23, 3pm (GMT)

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Liverpool 3-1 Man City – As it happened

Sun, 11/10/2019 - 15:45

Liverpool host Man City at Anfield on an afternoon that could have title permutations come May. We’re live to bring you the latest.


Kickoff at Anfield is 4.30pm (UK), the referee is Michael Oliver.

Chris Williams is running this afternoon’s blog, get involved by Tweeting @thisisanfield, @Chris78Williams or use the comments section below.

Teams

Liverpool: Alisson, Alexander-Arnold, Lovren, van Dijk, Robertson, Fabinho, Henderson, Wijnaldum, Salah, Mane, Firmino

Subs: Adrian, Gomez, Milner, Lallana, Keita, Oxlade-Chamberlain, Origi

Man City: Bravo, Walker, Stones, Fernandinho, Angelino, Rodrigo, Gundogan, De Bruyne, Bernardo, Sterling, Aguero

Subs: Carson, Jesus, Silva, Mahrez, Cancelo, Otamendi, Foden

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Confirmed Liverpool lineup vs. Man City: Henderson returns as Ox starts on bench

Sun, 11/10/2019 - 15:32

Jurgen Klopp has named Jordan Henderson in his starting lineup as they take on Man City in the Premier League this afternoon, in a huge clash at Anfield.


Three points over City would push the Reds a long way towards the title, and the pressure is on the hosts after failing to win either of their meetings last season.

A loss and a draw undermined a record-breaking campaign for Klopp’s side, finishing just a point behind City, but so far this season Liverpool are in a much stronger position.

Six points clear at the top, the Reds can extend this to nine with victory on home soil, and Klopp has named his tried-and-trusted lineup in order to do so.

Alisson starts behind a back four of Trent Alexander-Arnold, Dejan Lovren, Virgil van Dijk and Andy Robertson, with the left-back returning after a rare substitute role in midweek.

In midfield, Fabinho makes his first league start for Liverpool against City, having been limited to just 33 minutes in the two meetings in 2018/19.

The Brazilian—who scored in Monaco’s 3-1 victory over Pep Guardiola’s side in the Champions League in 2017—is joined by Jordan Henderson and Gini Wijnaldum.

And restored in attack are Mohamed Salah, Sadio Mane and Roberto Firmino, with the latter duo coming off the bench in Tuesday night’s 2-1 win over Genk.

On the substitutes’ bench are the likes of Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain, Adam Lallana and Naby Keita.

Meanwhile, Ederson misses out for City as Claudio Bravo starts in goal and Scott Carson takes his place on the bench.

Liverpool: Alisson; Alexander-Arnold, Lovren, Van Dijk, Robertson; Fabinho, Henderson, Wijnaldum; Salah, Mane, Firmino

Substitutes: Adrian, Gomez, Milner, Lallana, Keita, Oxlade-Chamberlain, Origi

Man City: Bravo; Walker, Stones, Fernandinho, Angelino; Rodrigo, Gundogan, De Bruyne; Bernardo, Sterling, Aguero

Substitutes: Carson, Otamendi, Cancelo, Silva, Foden, Mahrez, Jesus

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Gerrard, Ronaldinho, De Bruyne: The quotes that show Liverpool vs. Man City has become the league’s biggest game

Sat, 11/09/2019 - 18:49

Liverpool face Man City at Anfield on Sunday afternoon and this has become the fixture of the Premier League, with everyone wanting a say.


There might be longer rivalries. There might be clubs with a greater worldwide fanbase than Man City bring to the table.

But success and silverware means Liverpool against Manchester City has become the defining fixture of this particular Premier League era.

And, as a result, everybody wants to give their thoughts on everything to do with the game: players, surroundings, league standings and title chances.

The sheer volume of personalities and the amount of column inches involved prove that this is the game to watch, the one which can’t be missed, the one which everyone will be tuning into – or, in some cases, even playing in.

 Manchester City's Bernardo Silva (L) and Liverpool's Fabio Henrique Tavares 'Fabinho' after the FA Premier League match between Manchester City FC and Liverpool FC at the Etihad Stadium. Manchester City won 2-1. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

On the Liverpool side of the build-up, Fabinho is taking the optimistic view of a win and what it might represent.

“It’s always good to go away on international duty on the back of a win. It gives us peace of mind while we are away from the club for a while on international duty. It would be fantastic and exceptional to open up a nine-point gap between us and other teams, but it will be a difficult game.

“We’ve been working hard for this game and we’re doing everything we can so that we come into this game in the best possible condition.”

On the opposite side of the divide, Man City midfielder Kevin de Bruyne has acknowledged the lure and appeal of playing at Anfield.

“If you are somebody who wants to compete for titles and win, these are the games you want to play

“I like Anfield, I like it a lot. I love people being on you, being noisy, that is what it’s all about. I love the passion of football.

“Lately, a lot of new things have been introduced in football, but I still love things how they were in the old days – people shout and get their team forward. That is something that I learned in Germany, because fans are so behind their team.

“The home players probably get a little bit more [from the Anfield atmosphere] but even if it’s against you, you are at the top of the world, playing the best level. That is what you want.

“You fight your whole lifetime to be here. That’s the appreciation you get for working as a young child and getting here.”

 Ian Rutherford/PA Wire. EDITORIAL USE ONLY

Ex-players aren’t exempt from the excitement. Former captain Steven Gerrard has a match of his own on Sunday, managing Rangers at Livingston – but still wants to catch the action.

“We’ve been on the back of our coach driver actually because there’s something wrong with the Sky feed – he best have it right for Sunday because I want to try and catch the second half!

“We’ll do everything we can to get it on that’s for sure. What a game that will be.”

Gerrard’s vice-skipper during his playing days, Jamie Carragher, has also gotten involved in light-hearted fashion.

An exchange with Gary Neville reveals the lengths Carra would be prepared to go to, to ensure the Reds won the title this season.

“Lose both Merseyside derbies?”
“Yes. Not a problem.”
“Lose to Man United at Anfield?”
“Yes, no problem.”
“Spar one round with [boxer] Anthony Joshua?”
“Yes…I’d just keep on the move!”
“I’d love to see that…I might let Liverpool win the league to see you spar with Anthony Joshua! Go on I’m A Celebrity, Get Me Out Of Here?”
“Who with? It’s the people on there, there’s some annoying people! They probably wouldn’t like me…I’d do it, yeah. But I’d want the same money as Harry Redknapp!”
“Let Gary Neville punch you in the face?”
“Yeah but I’d punch you back!”

 FC Barcelona's Ronaldinho take a free-kick against Arsenal during the UEFA Champions League Final at the Stade de France. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

It doesn’t stop with those who have anything to do with the two teams, either. Famous players and former players have had their say, notably Ronaldinho, giving his thoughts on each of the six Brazilians who play in either squad.

“[Alisson] is so calm, so strong and technically so good. A great goalkeeper for Brazil and Liverpool.

“I have the utmost respect for [Fabinho] because he is still quite young but has achieved a lot playing for many clubs in Brazil and in Europe. A champion with Liverpool and a very important player for them, too.

“Firmino has become a very experienced and valued player for Brazil. This is also the case for Liverpool. A world-class forward who always gives everything he has. Plays football with a big smile – I like this.”

And just to underline that everyone wants a say, even those who have absolutely nothing to do with football want to get involved – as the thoughts of City fan Noel Gallagher attest to.

“In general, if Liverpool don’t win it this season, they will never win it. We’re a little bit wounded and we’ve won it twice in a row. If Liverpool don’t win, some of their players might get tapped up by somebody else.

“Saying that, if Liverpool win, I think it’s over. If we were nine points clear of them, I would be thinking they won’t catch us.”

Elsewhere, every journalist and major media outlet has run a litany of opinion pieces, from the Totally Football Show’s podcast, to the Independent‘s tactical analysis and the Athletic‘s look at how the two sides battle each other for everything, on and off the pitch.

Everyone hopes that the match lives up to the hype as a spectacle—but for Liverpool fans, the result will be the only defining factor which matters.

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Mind games, fortress Anfield and the midfield – 5 key questions ahead of Liverpool vs. Man City

Sat, 11/09/2019 - 16:00

Liverpool will face their biggest test of the Premier League season to date on Sunday, but will the midfield selection have a bearing on the result and can history repeat itself?


A date long pencilled in the diary is now upon us. The Reds’ meeting with the greatest threat to their Premier League ambitions arrives at Anfield six points adrift.

Pep Guardiola’s Manchester City outfit have laid down the marker to which Liverpool have strived to reach in recent years, and now the two sides meet once more looking to boost their own chances of success while simultaneously hoping to derail the others.

Victory for the Reds would extend their lead over Guardiola’s side to nine points, where a win for Leicester and Chelsea would see City drop to third.

A chance to lay down a statement of intent and land a body blow now awaits Liverpool, but there are number of questions to consider around the fixture.

Who will slot into midfield?

For a number of years now Klopp has had to reconsider and re-evaluate his starting midfield, a subject which has also proven to be a point of contention across the fanbase.

The ‘tried and trusted’ contingent often comprises a combination of Fabinho, Jordan Henderson, Gini Wijnaldum and James Milner.

Three of the four have been rotated heavily through the middle of the park as the manager often looks to the quartet in the biggest of moments, which included both Champions League finals.

The caveat to that is Liverpool have been without an attacking midfielder to call upon with any regularity as Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain and Naby Keita have both had to contend with injuries, while the latter has also taken time to adjust to his new surroundings.

Now, however, the Reds’ No. 15 is well and truly in the motions of returning to the peak of his powers while Keita is similarly accruing more minutes on the park after an early-season setback.

For Klopp, this means he has a number of potential options and combinations at his disposal as he considers who will start alongside Fabinho, the sole automatic starter at the base of midfield.

 Liverpool's manager Jürgen Klopp has an animated conversation with Adam Lallana (L) and Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain (R) during the pre-match warm-up before the Football League Cup 4th Round match between Liverpool FC and Arsenal FC at Anfield. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

The Brazilian failed to start in either league matchup with City last season but this time around he is the key man acting as the tempo-setter, enforcer and creative weapon.

Invariably it leaves six players vying for two positions, if you were to also consider Adam Lallana, but it’s a safe bet to suggest Wijnaldum will occupy one of the places having been heavily relied upon by the German throughout his stay at Anfield.

With Milner, Keita and Lallana likely to be named as substitutes for the clash, with the former acting as a reliable experienced head if needed late in the piece, it leaves Oxlade-Chamberlain and Henderson.

The skipper has struggled to get going in recent weeks and would represent a conservative approach, whereas Oxlade-Chamberlain would be the bold, “brave” move Klopp hinted at in his pre-match press conference.

With City’s injury woes stacking up, primarily in their defensive third, handing the No. 15 the reigns would add valuable forward impetus and allow the Reds to engage the press higher up the field and take advantage of the half-spaces in and around the position Ilkay Gundogan is likely to take up.

As is often the case, the game is likely to be won in the middle of the park and with the Anfield faithful behind them a more adventurous combination could prove too much for City.

Will Guardiola take a defensive approach again?

 Manchester City's manager Pep Guardiola before the FA Premier League match between Burnley FC and Manchester City FC at Turf Moor. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

In the respective fixture last season, Guardiola set out his team to be as compact as possible in both the attacking and defensive phases of play.

The visitors sat ten men behind the ball and waited patiently to pounce on an error or squeeze Liverpool into an area whereby the potential risk of a press was minimised.

In possession, instead of unleashing both full-backs higher up the field Guardiola opted for his right-back, in this case, Kyle Walker to hold back and create a back three, while a double pivot was also present in midfield.

At the time, after seven matchdays, the two teams were level on 19 points with City edging the goal differential to sit atop of the table.

 Liverpool's captain Jordan Henderson (L) and Manchester City's Riyad Mahrez after during the FA Premier League match between Liverpool FC and Manchester City FC at Anfield. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

The conservative and purposeful change in approach was one which Klopp felt was the “biggest show of respect” he, or one of his teams, had ever received.

Guardiola’s decision almost paid dividends with all three points, only for Riyad Mahrez to sky his late penalty effort over the crossbar, but this time around City need to make up ground having found themselves six points adrift.

A mirrored performance this time around could be a clear indication of his view on the title race: leave with a point at Anfield and the belief that the Reds will inevitably drop points elsewhere, where a chance to replicate a win at the Etihad in April will see them edge the head to head.

But whether Guardiola opts to apply the handbrake or not, Liverpool will be more acutely aware of the potential plans up his sleeve and can plan accordingly.

Is it mind games or will Ederson in fact be absent?

 Manchester City's goalkeeper Ederson Moraes reacts during the FA Premier League match between Manchester City and Burnley at the City of Manchester Stadium. (Pic by Peter Powell/Propaganda)

The Spaniard is not one to shy away from pre-match mind games having readily engaged in a war of words or making assertations over the availability of particular players.

City were long set to be without Aymeric Laporte, Rodri, Oleksandr Zinchenko, David Silva and Leroy Sane for the trip to Anfield, with Ederson throwing Guardiola another potential headache after being withdrawn at half-time in the 1-1 draw with Atalanta in midweek.

Guardiola was coy on the details of the Brazilian’s injury and the potential timeframe of his absence on Friday having backed Claudio Bravo, who was shown a red card at Atalanta to see Kyle Walker finish the game in goal, to take the mantle without a hitch.

For Klopp and Co. however, they have heard similar tales already this season when Man United said David de Gea was unable to feature at Old Trafford due to injury before he did in fact start.

Ederson is an integral member of City’s team, with his distribution a key asset in initiating attacks and they will no doubt miss his presence should he, as Guardiola suggests, fail to recover in time.

But, as aforementioned, mind games are certainly not out of the realm of possibility with Guardiola and the Reds will need to plan for the possibility of Ederson starting.

Fortress Anfield to continue causing City headaches?

 Liverpool supporters on the Spion Kop with a banner "Champions of Europe" during the UEFA Champions League Group E match between Liverpool FC and FC Salzburg at Anfield. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

You can feel it now, the nerves, the anticipation but most of all the fire in the belly to see Liverpool keep their foot on City’s throat and hand them a decisive blow to their title hopes.

The visitors will be left with no doubt that the crowd will be out for blood once they step over the white line at Anfield, a feral atmosphere which would make any side sit up, take notice and even crumble – as they have done so before.

While in no mood to see similar scenes of the bus welcome in 2018, Klopp had no hesitation in encouraging everyone in “the stadium to be in absolutely top shape” even “the guys who sell the hot dogs.”

A call to arms that will no doubt be answered as the Reds continue in their quest to end the wait without a league title.

 Liverpool supporters welcome the Villarreal CF team coach to the stadium with smoke bombs before the UEFA Europa League Semi-Final 2nd Leg match against Villarreal CF at Anfield. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

While recent results in the form of the Community Shield and the meeting at the Etihad in January did not go Liverpool’s way, visits to Anfield have failed to go City’s as they have not left the red half of Merseyside with three points in the league since 2003.

It is a run of 16 games which is extended to 18 if you were to include the Reds’ 3-0 Champions League quarter-final win in 2018 and the 2-2 League Cup semi-final draw in 2012.

It’s safe to say it has not been a happy hunting ground for City, and with the Reds having stretched their unbeaten streak in the league on their home turf to 45 coupled with the fierce atmosphere lying in wait, it will take an almighty effort to overturn such a record.

How many points are enough?

 Liverpool's Virgil van Dijk (L), Dejan Lovren (R) and Manchester City's Sergio Aguero (C) during the FA Premier League match between Manchester City FC and Liverpool FC at the Etihad Stadium. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

Liverpool took just one of an available six against City last term and ended the season one point adrift of the title winners.

Crossing one’s fingers and praying for other teams to do the job you could not, as we did so often towards the back end of the season, is not a position we need get reacquainted with.

With only two opportunities to directly have a hand in the fate of our closest rival, four points across the two meetings is non-negotiable.

While a draw at Anfield would ensure such a task remained possible while maintaining our current six-point buffer, the inability to take advantage of City’s current position and injury woes could later come back to bite us.

The next opportunity to inflict damage is five months down the track with the games remaining then in the single digits.

A victory on Sunday would not only take us closer to that goal but it could have lasting repercussions for how Guardiola approaches the rest of the season should the Reds remain on their current trajectory.

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Clarkson impresses despite hammering for Liverpool U18s in 9-goal game

Sat, 11/09/2019 - 13:19

Liverpool U18s were brutally hammered away to West Brom on Saturday, with a 6-3 scoreline serving as a harsh lesson to be learned.


West Brom U18s 6-3 Liverpool U18s

U18 Premier League, Palm Training Ground
9 November, 2019

Goals: Malcolm 10′ 16′ 32′ 33′, Gilbert 23′, Ojrzynski OG 39′; Woltman 45′ 87′, Bradley 66′

An inexperienced U18s side were put to the sword in the first half, but manager Barry Lewtas might take heart that his players’ heads didn’t drop.

The Baggies put six past the Reds in 40 minutes, through a combination of defensive errors and good technical ability of their own.

Liverpool went into the match in second place in the table, six points ahead of West Brom, which made the scoreline all the more surprising – but the young Reds failed to deal with the conditions and were noticeably smaller in physical stature than the home players.

Despite the continued setbacks, which included four goals from Jovan Malcolm and a corner being palmed into his own net by Jakub Ojrzynski, Liverpool kept trying to play their own game and eventually created a couple of chances near the end of the half.

The last of those led to a debut goal; Leighton Clarkson crossed, Tom Hill sent a diving header past the keeper onto the post and 16-year-old Max Woltman tapped home from a yard or two out.

Northern Irish 16-year-old Conor Bradley, at the break, and Wirral-born 16-year-old Shaun Wilson, on the hour, both came on as subs, highlighting the youthful nature of Saturday’s squad.

The Reds had to fend off a few early attacks from the home team, who hit the bar and forced Ojrzynski into a good save, but again gradually worked their way into the occasion.

Clarkson again showed his vision and passing range to set up the Reds’ second goal, which was well finished by Bradley with a side-footed effort into the far corner.

The midfielder has impressed this season at U18 and U19 level, training at Melwood at times, and Clarkson was even rewarded with a place on the bench for the senior side against Arsenal in the League Cup.

The Baggies hit the crossbar again as Ojrzynski continued an uncertain performance, but between Clarkson, Bradley, Wilson and Woltman, Liverpool’s response was a spirited one, which should impress the Academy coaches.

Woltman netted his second of the day late on after combining with fellow sub Dominic Corness, to at least put a bit of respectability on Liverpool’s side of the scoreline and press his claim for future involvement.

TIA Man of the Match: Leighton Clarkson

Liverpool U18s: Ojrzynski, Beck (Bradley 46′), Savage, Koumetio, Walls (Wilson 59′), Norris, Cain, Clarkson, Hill, Woltman, Morton (Corness 82′).

Subs: Quansah, Davies.

Next game: Southampton (away) – Premier League U18 Cup – Sat, Nov 23 (11am)

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Firmino explains Liverpool’s approach & key factor to overcoming Man City

Sat, 11/09/2019 - 10:51

Roberto Firmino has looked ahead to the crunch with Man City and says that Liverpool must be careful, but play the game to win.


The Brazilian forward will be one of the key figures for Jurgen Klopp‘s side, returning to the starting lineup after being only a late sub in midweek against Genk.

Having started the season in sparkling form before a more recent drop-off, fans will hope Firmino hits the heights he’s capable of in this all-important fixture.

The Reds have a six-point lead at the top of the table, but it doesn’t mean there’s room to carelessly give up points, says the No. 9.

“It’s an important match, like all the others. It ends up being more special because it is the two teams fighting for the top of the table.

“It is a big game between two big teams that are fighting for the top. We have to be careful not to give the opponents many chances. Of course it is a match worth six points, and we have to do our best: defend well and play good football.”

 Liverpool's Roberto Firmino (R) and Manchester City's Aymeric Laporte during the FA Premier League match between Liverpool FC and Manchester City FC at Anfield. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

The forward also spoke about how the rivalry between the teams is a motivational factor, with both meeting each other since Jurgen Klopp came to the club in the Community Shield, in big European matches and even in a domestic cup final—as well as the Premier League clashes like this weekend.

“Of course, it is special. It motivates us a bit more,” he told Premier League Productions.

“And, of course, with the years the rivalry has grown more, and in this match it will not be different. I hope it will be a great game and that we can do our best.”

There is one factor – aside from being clear at the top – which weighs heavily in Liverpool’s favour this time around: Anfield.

 Liverpool's Mohamed Salah celebrates scoring the first goal with team-mates Roberto Firmino and Andy Robertson during the UEFA Champions League Quarter-Final 1st Leg match between Liverpool FC and Manchester City FC at Anfield. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

Against City, as with most big matches, the home support can make the ground an intimidating cauldron for away sides to perform in, pushing those in Red to give their all.

It has worked well on many memorable occasions down the years, including against City, and Firmino hopes for the same again on Sunday.

“We already had good experiences here against City, in the Champions League and in the Premier League also, last year.

“I hope our fans can be that extra player and that they can support us during the whole match. On the pitch, we will try to do our best and of course perform really well and win the match.”

Heading into the next international break nine points clear would be an incredible boost for the Reds, as they seek to end their long wait for a 19th league title success.

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Pep Guardiola’s strange Liverpool obsession and how Jurgen Klopp rises above it

Fri, 11/08/2019 - 17:00

Liverpool take on Man City on Sunday in a clash between two sides with the same ambitions, but also two managers with very different approaches.


I’ve no idea if Man City‘s team coach has curtains on board, but if you see one near the front twitching as it snakes down Anfield Road on Sunday then that’s where Pep Guardiola is sat.

When it comes to Liverpool FC, the Man City manager is a classic curtain-twitcher; a voyeur who spends his time watching the Reds and fretting about them. He just can’t help himself.

In March 2018, with the Amazon Prime cameras filming, he was pacing around the away dressing room at Goodison Park while his players warmed up on the pitch before a crucial Premier League game.

Perhaps Guardiola was suffering from a touch of Evertonianism—in incurable affliction that sees suffers obsess about ‘the red shite’—due to his surroundings, but it was Liverpool Football Club that was occupying the City manager’s mind.

“The forwards for Liverpool are so good,” he mused in Spanish. “Sorry?” replied a surprised member of staff. “Those three up front. They scare me. They’re dangerous. I have a feeling that Salah will play as striker.”

 Liverpool's Mohamed Salah celebrates scoring the first goal with team-mates Roberto Firmino and Andy Robertson during the UEFA Champions League Quarter-Final 1st Leg match between Liverpool FC and Manchester City FC at Anfield. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

What followed was a detailed tactical discussion about the positioning of Salah and Firmino, and if City’s full-backs could cope with Liverpool’s full-backs, in Everton‘s dressing room, a full four days before Guardiola’s side were due at Anfield for the first leg of the Champions League quarter-final.

So much for the cliched ‘one game at a time, we only focus on what’s in front of us’ soundbites, eh?

It didn’t do them much good, either. City were 3-0 down by half-time—Salah, Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain and Sadio Mane doing the damage in the opening 31 minutes—and just for good measure the Reds beat them 2-1 in the second leg at the Etihad too.

Since then, Guardiola has regularly chuntered away about Liverpool.

Sometimes he praises us, calling the Reds one of “the best two sides I’ve faced” last season and “an opponent who are unstoppable” last month, but now that his team are due at Anfield the focus has changed.

 Manchester City's head coach Pep Guardiola reacts during the UEFA Champions League Group C match between Manchester City FC and GNK Dinamo Zagreb at the City of Manchester Stadium. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

After City came back to beat Southampton 2-1 last weekend, Guardiola was asked by Match of the Day if he knew what had happened with Liverpool at Villa Park (for once both sides played at 3pm on a Saturday).

“I’m sure the players knew on the pitch with what was happening in the stadium,” said the interviewer. “Everybody seemed to be tuned with what was happening in the Aston Villa-Liverpool game as well. How aware where you with what was happening elsewhere?”

“No, it is not our business,” he began to reply, trying to feign indifference before the true Guardiola emerged one second later.

“We arrive in the locker room and it was 1-1 and after 2-1, and it has happened many times, what Liverpool has done, in the last years.

“It is because he is a special talent. Sometimes he is diving, sometimes it is this talent to score incredible goals in the last minute.”

Hang on a minute there Josep old boy, nobody asked you about Sadio Mane.

 Liverpool's Sadio Mane (R) celebrates scoring the second goal with team-mate Roberto Firmino (L) during the FA Premier League match between Liverpool FC and Newcastle United FC at Anfield. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

Yet in the blink of an eye he went from saying Liverpool’s result is “not our business” to magically knowing who scored the winning goal and, in a pure stroke of coincidence, set the agenda to diving on a day when Mane just happened to be (harshly) booked for simulation. What luck!

He can pretend all he likes not to care, but it wouldn’t surprise me if Guardiola had sent a staff member to Villa Park to watch the Reds and was getting a live commentary on a hidden earpiece.

Either that or he subscribed to our goal alerts on his phone.

Guardiola blatantly knew exactly what had happened at Villa Park as soon as it happened and swiftly scrambled to use it to kick off some pre-match mind games, directed towards referee Michael Oliver, eight days before he was due at Anfield and with a Champions League match in Italy to play first.

In another coincidence, Mane is Liverpool’s in-form forward and leading goalscorer this season, plus a member of the front three that “scare” the less-than-subtle City manager.

 Liverpool's Manager Jürgen Klopp and Manchester City's Manager Manager Pep Guardiola after the FA Premier League match at the City of Manchester Stadium. (Pic by Gavin Trafford/Propaganda)

You don’t need x-ray specs to see through him, although I fully expect them to be introduced by VAR to rule goals out for an offside malleus or incus.

Last season it was Salah getting targeted with the ‘diving’ jibes because teams couldn’t stop him, now Guardiola is trying the same tactic on Mane; chuck some mud, hope it sticks.

It’s the same with the sensationalised ‘City fear new bus attack’ headlines that emerged on Friday following a social media post calling for Liverpool supporters to greet our team bus (there was no mention of theirs) on Anfield Road before the game.

Inevitably that was spun to focus on the incident before the 2018 Champions League game at Anfield when the City bus was inexcusably struck with flying objects, whereas every other incident-free coach greeting on the Annie Road (including the one before Liverpool vs. City during the 2013/14 Premier League title run-in) was conveniently ignored.

 Liverpool supporters hold up European Cups to mark their six European Cup titles before the FA Premier League match between Manchester United FC and Liverpool FC at Old Trafford. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

Again, the message from Manchester—even if it’s subliminal—is clear: ‘Look what City are up against at Anfield, Liverpool supporters are hooligans and their players are cheats’.

Victims of it all, anyone?

Of course this means that photographers and journalist will now be lining Anfield Road themselves on Sunday looking for the slightest bit of hostility.

If anyone dressed in red as much as farts within 20 foot of the City coach we’ll all be reading ‘Guardiola gassed’ headlines to fit the narrative.

Thankfully, Jurgen Klopp responded brilliantly to Guardiola’s obsessive tendencies with his “I promise not to mention tactical fouls,” quip, a verbal counter-attack of the highest order.

He also accused Guardiola of being fixated with the Reds without using that particular F word.

 Liverpool's manager Jürgen Klopp during the pre-match warm-up before the FA Premier League match between Liverpool FC and Tottenham Hotspur FC at Anfield. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

“When I came into the interview after the game [at Villa] I really had no clue what the other Premier League results were. That is the truth,” he said.

“I didn’t ask anybody, It was 45 minutes after the game when I heard the results of the other games.

“When I come into the dressing room I don’t say: ’What’s the result of the other games?’. I had to speak to players, I had to speak to a lot of people and then I went into interviews. I didn’t think for one second about the other games.

“Then, after the interviews: ‘how did the other teams play?’. Then someone told me City won in the 86th minute and all this happened. I don’t understand these types of things. My brain is not big enough to think about another team as well.”

It’s that type of attitude from the Liverpool manager that convinces me that both he and his players will brush aside all of Guardiola’s pre-match posturing to focus on what they have to do on Sunday; namely, get stuck into and win a match that isn’t a title decider, but will have a significant bearing on the 2019/20 Premier League title race outcome.

 Manchester City's manager Pep Guardiola reacts during the FA Premier League match between Liverpool FC and Manchester City FC at Anfield. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

Whatever happens, on and off the pitch, it won’t stop Pep Guardiola from talking about Liverpool afterwards.

His Anfield obsession is ingrained and will remain for as long as the Reds are a threat to his aims and ambitions. Which means it will never, ever go away.

Chris McLoughlin writes for This Is Anfield each week; he’s also senior writer for the Official LFC Matchday Programme and LFC Magazine. You can order both here.

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Henderson’s turning point & Salah’s sensible approach – Friday’s Liverpool FC News Roundup

Fri, 11/08/2019 - 16:35

We round up the latest Liverpool news and transfer rumours on Friday, as Jurgen Klopp holds his pre-Man City press conference.


Today’s Main Headlines Henderson on his Career Turning Point

 Liverpool's captain Jordan Henderson celebrates at the final whistle during the FA Premier League match between Liverpool FC and Tottenham Hotspur FC at Anfield. Liverpool won 2-1. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

Jordan Henderson was nearly sold to Fulham back in 2012, as part of a swap deal for Clint Dempsey, just a year after he had moved to Anfield from Sunderland.

Reflecting on his decision to turn down an exit, Henderson described it as a “turning point” in his career:

“That was a crucial period in my career. Not only my Liverpool career but my career in general.

“I thought that moment was big, and it was a tough moment, but one that I feel helped me, looking back now.

“I don’t know what would have happened if I didn’t have that moment. It was tough at the time but thankfully it worked out okay in the end.

“To be fair to Brendan [Rodgers], he was brilliant with me after that point; he helped me grow as a player and as a person, and I really matured under him.

“It was a blessing in disguise really.”

Henderson will never be without his detractors, but he has forged an impressive career since almost moving to Craven Cottage.

He replaced Steven Gerrard as Liverpool skipper and lifted the Champions League trophy last season—captaining the Reds to Premier League glory would arguably ensure legendary status.

Salah’s Sensible Approach to Title Talk

 Liverpool's Mohamed Salah during the FA Premier League match between Liverpool FC and Leicester City FC at Anfield. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

Mohamed Salah hasn’t been at his unplayable best this season, but he has still contributed eight goals in 16 appearances, as well as registering five assists.

The Egyptian will be a key figure when Liverpool and City lock horns on Sunday, in the biggest game of 2019/20 so far.

In an interview with Sky Sports, Salah has played down the Reds’ six-point advantage in the title race, saying nothing will be decided this weekend:

“They were talking about that [title race] in December last year when we were six or seven points ahead saying it was over.

“It’s not over, it’s three games. If you have a bad period you can be in trouble again.

“Even if we win it’s still a long way, it’s only November and way too early to talk about the Premier League.”

It is a wonderful opportunity for Liverpool to pull nine points ahead of their rivals, but things won’t truly take shape until the second half of the campaign.

City Concerned About Repeat of Bus ‘Attack’

 Liverpool supporters give a warm welcome to the team buses as they arrive before the UEFA Champions League Quarter-Final 1st Leg match between Liverpool FC and Manchester City FC at Anfield. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

City’s team bus was infamously pelted with bottles by a minority of Liverpool supporters back in 2018, prior to the Champions League quarter-final first leg at Anfield.

It became an incident that was ultimately exaggerated by City, although those guilty of throwing objects were rightly lambasted.

The Guardian are now reporting that the champions “have sought assurances from Liverpool of a safe passage to Anfield” this weekend.

They are believed to be concerned that a repeat of 2018 could happen, with the two clubs in “constant dialogue” regarding the issue.

Klopp said in his pre-match press conference: “All of us have to make sure that something like this will never happen again.”

Brewster Called Up by England U21s

 Liverpool's Rhian Brewster warms up ahead of the UEFA Youth League Group E match between Liverpool FC Under-19's and KRC Genk Under-19's at the Liverpool Academy. (Pic by Laura Malkin/Propaganda)

Rhian Brewster has been called up for England under-21s duty, as he continues to push forward in his career.

The 19-year-old will hope to start for the Young Lions in their U21 Euro qualifiers away to Albania (Nov 15) and the Netherlands (Nov 19) this month.

Bizarrely, there is no place for Curtis Jones in any of England’s youth squads, despite an excellent start to the season.

The under-19s have had to cut their squad down from 23 players to 20, and while that may justify Jones’ exclusion slightly more, it is still a baffling omission.

However, James Norris, James Balagizi and Harvey Elliott have been named in the under-17s squad to face Denmark (Nov 15) and Czech Republic (Nov 19).

Reds Face Spurs in FA Youth Cup

 Liverpool's captain Paul Glatzel celebrates with the trophy after the FA Youth Cup Final match between Manchester City FC and Liverpool FC at the Academy Stadium. Liverpool won 5-4 on penalties after a 1-1 extra-time draw. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

Liverpool’s U18s clinched FA Youth Cup glory last season, beating City on penalties in a tense final.

The young Reds will be looking to retain their crown in 2019/20, and could win the competition back-to-back for only the second time in the club’s history.

Their third round opponents have been revealed, with Barry Lewtas’ side facing a trip to Tottenham.

The tie has to be played before December 14, but the official date and kickoff time is yet to be confirmed.

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Jurgen Klopp calls for “brave” Liverpool in “bigger and bigger” rivalry with Man City

Fri, 11/08/2019 - 15:51

Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp believes the growing rivalry between them and Manchester City is proof his side are a genuine threat to their next opponents.


The Reds hold a six-point lead over City ahead of Sunday’s visit to Anfield and, although Klopp rates Pep Guardiola as “the best manager in the world,” he believes the teams are on an equal footing.

“I think it’s getting bigger and bigger. I am here for four years, what can I say about traditions?” said the German, whose side lost out by a point in last season’s thrilling title race.

“We live in the now and obviously Man City is a pretty good football team and that means of course there is a rivalry.

“Thank God there is a rivalry as that means we are in a not bad place as well.

“In the last nearly two years it feels like each game we played was the most decisive of the season. There is not one where anyone said ‘you can lose that’.

“Nothing changes, you cannot make games bigger than they are already. It is already a very important game and you cannot make it more important.”

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Liverpool’s advantage is such that a draw would probably suit Klopp more than Guardiola, who even when the sides were level on points for the same fixture last October adopted a more conservative approach.

However, Klopp admits if his players even begin to entertain any defensive or negative thoughts they will be punished.

“You cannot be only offensive but if you are not brave against Man City you have no chance, not even for a point,” he added.

“You have to create, your positioning must be nearly perfect, protection must be perfect, [you should have] different ideas.

“You have to try to adapt to the things your opponent is doing usually and make sure they cannot do that and that can lead to other things.”

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