Premier League Cup, Kirkby
January 20, 2019
Goals: Virtue 61′; Edwards 22′
Neil Critchley made four changes from the 1-1 draw with Brighton the previous weekend, as Shamal George, Conor Masterson, Matty Virtue and Lazar Markovic came in for Caoimhin Kelleher, Ki-Jana Hoever, Connor Randall and Rafa Camacho.
An opportunity for the likes of Markovic, Pedro Chirivella and Corey Whelan to put themselves in the shop window, this clash was also a landmark for youngster Brookwell, who was named on the substitutes’ bench.
A difficult start at Kirkby saw Masterson at fault as he misjudged a bouncing ball to allow Kyle Edwards through, with a shimmy from the 20-year-old beating George Johnston and allowing him to fire past George to give West Brom the lead.
It was the Curtis Jones show as the young Reds pushed for an equaliser, with the 17-year-old constantly demanding the ball as they adopted a patient approach reminiscent of the first team.
Liverpool lost another central figure before half-time as Liam Millar was forced off with a suspected thigh injury, with Glen McAuley taking his place for his 10th substitute appearance for the U23s this season.
McAuley endeavoured up front as the first half drew to a close, but struggled for clear support as Markovic in particular failed to impress.
The U23s were dealt another blow as Jones didn’t emerge for the second half after picking up a knock before the break, with Juanma taking his place and Adam Lewis shifting over to the right wing.
Despite losing their biggest spark, the young Reds were much-improved on their return to the field, with McAuley, Lewis and Markovic all testing West Brom goalkeeper Brad House.
An error from House ultimately led to the equaliser, with a poor kick out from the back only finding Virtue, who marked his return from ankle injury with a brilliant lobbed goal from 40 yards out.
The game opened up afterwards as both sides pushed for a winner, and Lewis thought he had secured one for Liverpool only to see his strike ruled out for offside.
Brookwell replaced Virtue with 10 minutes to play to become the third 16-year-old to play for the U23s already this season, after Hoever and Fidel O’Rourke, but he was unable to taste victory on his debut.
TIA Man of the Match: Adam Lewis
Referee: Daniel Middleton
Liverpool U23s: George; Whelan, Masterson, Johnston, Lewis; Chirivella, Virtue (Brookwell 79′), Christie-Davies; Markovic, Jones (Juanma 46′), Millar (McAuley 37′)
Subs not used: McKenzie-Lyle
Next Match: Swansea (H) – Premier League International Cup – Thursday, January 24, 7pm (GMT)
Virgil van Dijk has revealed the help Liverpool legend Kenny Dalglish has given him since joining the club, and how it inspires him to make history at Anfield.
Van Dijk has now played a full 38 games in the Premier League for the Reds, and in last weekend’s 1-0 win over Brighton made his 50th appearance for the club in all competitions.
The Dutchman’s impact has been incredible, playing a key role in transforming the fortunes of Jurgen Klopp‘s defence and spearheading a title charge this season.
Unlike many other new signings under Klopp, Van Dijk slotted in and performed immediately, debuting four days after officially joining Liverpool and missing only five games since.
He has attributed the role of Dalglish, now serving as a director for the Reds, to helping him settle and instilling the ethos required to become a legendary figure at Anfield.
“Kenny Dalglish gave me his mobile number in the very beginning and told me to ring him at any time,” he revealed.
“It is unbelievable when he sometimes sends me messages before games. That is what Liverpool is about.
“Like most clubs, Liverpool have some private boxes for players available. I have my own box for my family here. To get there, you have to walk through the boardroom.
“On matchdays, that is like walking in a museum. Almost every Liverpool legend is present. I just love to hear all the stories from the guys who used to play for this magical club.
“When you have meant something to this club, they will never forget you. You are Liverpool forever.”
It is great to hear how Dalglish, now 67, is still a big influence behind the scenes at Liverpool, having been so crucial to their success over the years as a player and manager.
Furthermore, it is something Dalglish is not obliged to do, highlighting his lasting connection with the Reds that maintains the desire to contribute in any way possible.
Van Dijk certainly has a long way to go before he can be considered a legend on Merseyside, but he is clearly aware of what is required to do so.
Liverpool marked what would have been the 100th birthday of Bob Paisley at Anfield on Saturday.
Some games are so ‘out there’ that it feels like they should be reclassified as ‘full moon games’.
Fortunately, full moon games are worth six points when it comes to the battle of the mind.
This win will hurt those who harbour designs of catching us in the final straight of the Premier League title race; a list of title rivals that is increasingly looking like it now has only one name upon it.Stumble and Fall
As Chelsea continue to stumble, as Tottenham continue to struggle for a missing ingredient or two while fretting over their injured ‘national treasure’, the field of viable champions begins to definitively thin out.
We’ve been on the opposite side of this coin many times before over the last 29 years.
Just within reaching distance of the team at the top of the tree, when you witness them being ‘gifted’ a large slice of luck, be that an outrageous deflection, a contentious refereeing decision, or an undeserved victory when they are clearly on an off-day.
When you are in this position, and it is your turn to go out on to the pitch 24 hours later, it puts added pressure on you to win your own game, even if that is a game you are roundly expected to win.
It almost becomes a thankless task, simply to maintain the status quo in which you approached the weekend. It chips away at the soul; it begins to erode hope. You question your capabilities.
You make your own luck when you are a team in the ascendancy, however. You must be there, with attacking intent, to provoke that deflection from an opponent who is throwing himself across a shot in desperation.
You need to be attacking with great speed for the officials to miss a ball making contact with a hand during a frenzied build-up to a goal.
There will also be times where the luck goes against us though. Like the ball making contact with Andros Townsend’s arm shortly before Crystal Palace scored the opening goal in this game.
It’s all about how you respond to the harsh knocks. When the sky is the limit, you brush these knocks aside and bludgeon on to claim the points on offer.Man Flu
Man flu has descended. On only two other occasions have I felt as ill at a football match as I did on Saturday.
One was at Molineux against Wolves around 15 years ago, when I was in attendance for a lesser-spotted Bruno Cheyrou goal, during a dispiriting 1-1 draw.
The other was at Newcastle United one Christmas, in blizzard conditions, on a night when for most of the journey up to St James’ Park we were led to believe the game would be postponed.
Sat at Anfield on Saturday, almost zombified due to illness and stupefied by the near ludicrous nature of the game unfolding before my very eyes, I was also sat next to one of those people who nervously bounce their leg up and down.
You know what I mean by that don’t you?
Heel raised from the ground, while using their toes like a springboard. Done quickly enough, with both legs, then they can end up looking like they’re riding an imaginary bike.
Anything other than a win and I’d have sneezed all over him.
A cluster of five Liverpool players surrounding James McArthur. It made the pitch big for Palace once he managed to evade being dispossessed of the ball.
It was Palace’s first attack of the game, but it was a clever one. We provided the space for the opportunity, but they still had to take advantage of it.
Wilfried Zaha easily circumnavigated James Milner for the first goal.
We had been sleepwalking up until the half-hour mark but we had seemed to be wrestling the control of the game before Palace rudely obtained the lead.Salah Fell Over
When moral indignation kicks in over attacking players trying to ‘cultivate’ a decision in the penalty area, football drifts into pantomime villain mode.
The dark arts of defenders in trying to stop attackers go unconsidered. It’s all about the ‘flashpoint’ when player hits floor. The bigger running battle is ignored.
Football could do with greater honesty across the board, but it will never happen because it is a competitive environment. Salah will be vilified more than an entire club will be for distorting the laws of FFP.
Proportion is generally in low supply when it comes to views of football. Villainy is in the eye of the beholder.
Bernard Sheridan went to his first game in 1923. He saw Elisha Scott play. How mad is that?
Put us through many more like this one and I don’t think many of us will be matching Bernard’s 104 years.
Yes, luck was involved in the equaliser for 1-1. Defensive panic, a pronounced deflection from Virgil van Dijk.
While from the distance of my spec in the Upper Main Stand, it looked like Salah toe-ended the ball past Julian Speroni, according to Danny Murphy, it was instead an intelligent finish with the outside of his foot.
Either way, at this point in time of the Premier League title race, who cares what the thinking, intent or aesthetic qualities were? The fact that the ball went over the line was more than enough to provoke my joy and relief.
A frustrating first half had left me demanding, but not necessarily expecting, an early goal at the start of the second half.
I’d mused with my dad shortly before the restart that if Palace curled up into a ball, then we would find it difficult to break them down.
Not allowing them the time to get into their rut was an ingenious move.
Within eight minutes of the restart we had sprinted into a 2-1 lead. With the aid of another deflection, Bobby Firmino scored.
That song of his is nothing but glorious.
But we were careless to concede the equaliser for 2-2.Milner’s Busy Afternoon
Milner was given a torrid time by Zaha, yet he played a pivotal part in our third goal, another goal that benefited from an aberration of the mind of a Palace player; this time Speroni was startlingly culpable.
If we do win the title, then we will owe a huge amount of thanks to goalkeepers freezing beneath the shadow of the Kop. Banners of thanks to Speroni and Jordan Pickford will be a must.
Milner is no right-back, certainly not against someone a fast as Zaha. I felt we would have been better served by swapping Milner and Fabinho around.
Sent off, Milner knew he was going as soon as he launched into the challenge.
Jordan Henderson had played well, but his pass meant Milner was always half a second behind the ball. That said, the pass was intended for Firmino.
It was the goal that gave us the scope to concede one more. Three league goals shipped at Anfield on one afternoon, when we had previously only conceded three all season.
The moon was indeed full.Aided and Abetted
Roy Hodgson, another to have recently aided and abetted us in our title challenge by leading Palace to victory at Man City, was bitterly disappointed.
We have 60 points with 15 games to go. We are 13 points better off than we were at this stage last season, 15 goals better off in terms of goal difference.
Another ‘winter break’ now presents itself and this is where we can see the ups of the downs of being out of the League Cup and the FA Cup, as those behind us are stretched in four different directions.
Come back energised and focused though, because Leicester will be afforded the same amount of time to regroup too.
Liverpool had to come from behind and hold their nerve with 10 men as they beat Crystal Palace to go seven points clear at the top again.
Premier League, Anfield
January 19, 2019
Goals: Salah 46′, 75′, Firmino 53′, Mane 90+3′; Townsend 34′, Tomkins 65′, Meyer 90+5′
Sent off: Milner 88′The occasional problem with the press
Not many sides manage to breach the back line of Liverpool, these days. It’s absolutely right that the Reds make opponents work hard for any big chances—but it has to also be acknowledged that, sometimes, goals are simply very well constructed.
The Reds’ press from the front is one of the most talked-about tactical aspects of the league, never mind just of Jurgen Klopp‘s team.
But on this occasion, against Palace, an extra-aggressive version of it didn’t work—and left the Reds wide open.
Five or six attackers attempted to win the ball back outside the Palace box, but the control and angles they found on their passes should be applauded. One further pass meant Liverpool’s entire midfield was bypassed, and only a few touches later it was 1-0 to Palace.
Minor points can be noted—Joel Matip a little deeper than the rest, Fabinho a little deep before closing the space, Alisson‘s side-step—which might have prevented the goal in the end, but sometimes it’s just a very good goal.
The response, then, becomes all-important…Second-half blitz
…And the response, when it came, was emphatic.
Keep the faith, follow the pattern, remain patient… up the tempo.
That would likely have been the thought process of most Liverpool fans and the message of Klopp in the dressing room at half time, and the Reds certainly came out all guns blazing after the restart.
Mo Salah‘s inventive, and frankly ridiculous, finish just a few seconds into the second half not only levelled the scoreline, it also served to fire up the crowd and perhaps remind the Reds themselves of how quickly they can play, how good they can be.
Palace, like most teams, couldn’t live with Liverpool once they resumed the quick passing, the one-twos, the intricate angles of their own to dominate possession and shift around the defence.
Roberto Firmino scored seven minutes later to complete a quickfire turnaround and put all the pressure back on Palace’s side, forcing them to abandon the 10-man defensive line if they wanted anything out of the game.
Later, that same incredible mentality and capacity to rebound from setbacks was on show twice more, as the Reds scored a go-ahead third and then a fourth after going down to 10 men.Right-back back-and-forth
Trent Alexander-Arnold might have a new deal to his name, but he remains sidelined through injury. Despite Klopp suggesting he was close to returning, he’s not there yet.
The opening goal came from that side, with Zaha stripping the veteran midfielder for pace, but for much of the first half and certainly in the second after the Reds went ahead, Zaha targeted Milner at every opportunity.
It didn’t take much for the Palace winger to get free, given the disparity in acceleration and the vast space he had to operate in, but Klopp did have options to change the one-vs.-one approach.
Klopp stuck with Milner though—and massive credit goes to the versatile No. 7 for his part in the Reds’ resurgence.
More than once he kept moves going when it would be easy to give up on an overhit pass, a seeming dead-end when surrounded by defenders or when few options were available to pass to.
Key among that effort was his reaching a diagonal ball and putting over any kind of cross at all—spilled by ‘keeper Julian Speroni and touched in by Salah for 3-2.
But that’s not all: Milner’s up-and-down game was compounded by two yellow cards, for two fouls on Zaha. The Reds had to thus see out the final minutes with 10 men and, if Trent doesn’t recover in the next 11 days, Klopp will have to decide on a new option for right-back against Leicester at the end of the month.Magic, magnificent, monstrous Mohamed Salah
What more can we say about the Egyptian king? A great team’s top goalscorer must not just continuously find the net, but do so when the need is most dire.
A goal down and then hauled back level, with less than 20 minutes to play, means both his goals against Palace check that particular box.
An instinctive finish to level and then the determination to reach the ball first to put the Reds back in front highlight not just his confidence, but his single-mindedness and now natural inclination to do whatever is necessary to score.
It’s 50 goals for the Reds already, in just 72 games—the same numbers as Fernando Torres posted, despite not being a true No. 9 for anywhere near all of those appearances.
A superb strike rate for a superb player.Well-deserved rest and another step to glory
It was, for a good few minutes between 3-2 and Milner’s red card, extremely nerve-wracking.
Sadio Mane‘s late fourth was met by wild relief and jubilation—and just as quickly by conceding another unhelpful goal to Max Meyer.
Sometimes, though, games simply have to be won by whatever means necessary, and that was the case here as the Reds got over the line by sheer willforce, it seemed.
Heading to Dubai now for a well-earned break means, hopefully, some players should recover from injuries and knocks—Fabinho‘s late exit is another worry to contend with—and some tactical work can be done too, as well as fitness.
The players will reconvene at Anfield at the end of the month to face Leicester City, where the aim will be to record a quite incredible 20th league win from 24 matches.
Top of the table, seven clear again and the pressure, for now, is back on Man City.
Liverpool’s dramatic 4-3 win over Palace on Saturday was one which extended their lead atop of the table to seven points, but it was also a rare occasion whereby the Reds were behind at half-time.
Only on four occasions this season have Liverpool found themselves in a losing position at the break league games this season, three of which they went on to collect at least a point.
The fifth time, and only the second at Anfield, arose after Andros Townsend hit the back of the net with a well-executed counter-attack to give the Eagles a lead at the interval.
The Egyptian’s goal proved the catalyst in securing another invaluable three points as despite the Eagles going on to equalise through James Tomkins, Salah’s 50th Premier League goal and Sadio Mane‘s strike proved to be enough.
And after the game Salah revealed how the squad discussed the need to be “mentally strong” during the break in order to turn their fortunes around.
“We expected before the game that the game was going to be very difficult.
“First half they played well and they played well also [in the] second half but they were staying [close] to the box and it was a tough game. But in the end the most important thing for us is the result and we had a good result.
“We conceded three goals, it’s hard a little bit but we have to accept it. This is football and we have to live with that.
“We talked to each other [at half-time] that we had to be strong mentally because this is a tough time.
“This is the most important time for us, when you are struggling you have to be strong in mind, so we talked together and the manager also gave us information and we played well and we deserved the game.”
It was a sentiment echoed by Klopp in his post-match press conference, as he revealed he encouraged his side to “stay positive” and not lose their “nerve”.
“I told the boys most importantly we have to stay positive and we are not allowed to lose [our] nerve, there is no reason for it, nothing happened.
“We have to improve a few things and do a few things again and again, and of course we have to protect – especially the left wing extremely well and we need to be there and to win the ball back there.
“And the boys did it. You always need a bit of luck in football but it was not too necessary and the boys deserved these three points in a very difficult game.”
The Reds will now head to Dubai for a warm-weather training camp as an 11-day spell without a game now awaits before Leicester’s visit to Anfield on January 30.
Since his arrival on Merseyside in 2017, Salah has dominated scoreboards up and down the country, and his prowess in front of goal reached another milestone on Saturday.
Palace’s visit to Anfield signalled the Reds’ 19th league win of the campaign in dramatic fashion, and it also brought up Salah’s 50th goal of his Premier League career.
It is a return which arrives after just 72 games, the fourth-quickest in history, behind only Andy Cole (65), Alan Shearer (66) and Ruud van Nistelrooy (68).
Two of those came as a member of Chelsea‘s 2013/14 squad, but 48 have rustled the back of the net as a Red and his latest two against the Eagles were pivotal in mounting a successful comeback.
The Egyptian has earned praise from around the footballing world as his star shows no signs of stopping, and Klopp was no different as he lauded Salah’s “outstanding” tally in his post-match press conference.
“It’s an exceptional achievement from a world class player, that’s how it is,” he told reporters.
“I think he’s made a few steps in the last couple of months in the right direction.
“Wow. It’s an outstanding number. I heard the names of the other players who have done it a little bit quicker; Alan Shearer, Ruud van Nistelrooy and Andy Cole—good strikers as well!
“Maybe he would have scored more and earlier if I wouldn’t have played him that often on the right wing, so my fault.
“But no, not bad, and it’s helped us a lot and the boys know that.
“It’s a typical win-win situation. He benefits off the style of play with the other boys and the boys benefit, of course, from his scoring desire so that’s cool.”
Salah’s double against Palace brought his tally to 16 in the league this season, and 19 across all competitions—a return which undoubtedly proves he is no one-season wonder, as some outside the club suggested.
After three games on the road, and for the first time this year, Liverpool are finally back at Anfield. Crystal Palace are the visitors—we’re live to bring you the latest.
Kickoff at Anfield is 3pm (GMT), the referee is Jon Moss.
Subs: Mignolet, Moreno, Camacho, Lallana, Shaqiri, Sturridge, Origi
Crystal Palace: Speroni; Wan-Bissaka, Tomkins, Sakho, Van Aanholt; Milivojevic, McArthur, Kouyate; Townsend, Zaha, Ayew
Subs: Tupper, Dann, Kelly, Schlupp, Meyer, Wickham, Benteke
Our coverage updates automatically below:
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The Reds are set for their first home clash of 2019, with Roy Hodgson’s Eagles their latest opponents in a much less congested run in January.
After overcoming a busy festive period, defeats to Man City in the league and Wolves in the FA Cup were followed by a hard-fought victory at Brighton last time out, maintaining a four-point lead at the top.
With City to play Huddersfield later in the weekend, victory over Palace could extend that to seven, at least temporarily, and ahead of an 11-day break and a training camp in Dubai, Klopp has named a strong side.
“Naby trained outstandingly well, so I like to show I see something like that,” the manager told LiverpoolFC.com of the Guinean’s inclusion.
Substitutes: Mignolet, Moreno, Camacho, Lallana, Shaqiri, Sturridge, Origi
Crystal Palace: Speroni; Wan-Bissaka, Tomkins, Sakho, Van Aanholt; Milivojevic, McArthur, Kouyate; Townsend, Zaha, Ayew
Substitutes: Tupper, Dann, Kelly, Schlupp, Meyer, Wickham, Benteke
The Reds can go seven points clear at the top of the table with a victory over Roy Hodgson’s side, putting pressure on rivals Man City, who travel to Huddersfield on Sunday.
Though this fixture heralded their last defeat in the league at Anfield, Jurgen Klopp stressed before the game that there is no comparison to be made, saying “I’m more interested in the progress we still have to make.”
Klopp could be rightly confident after a hard-fought 1-0 win at Brighton last time out, and with Trent Alexander-Arnold potentially making a surprise return from injury his selection could be very strong.
Every point counts in the title race this season, so can Liverpool triumph over another side out of the top six?
Check This Is Anfield for the latest team news ahead of the match.
You can also follow the game by downloading the This is Anfield app, including lineups, live coverage and all the reaction and analysis.
The match gets underway at 3pm (GMT)—or 10am in New York, 7am in Los Angeles, 2am (Sunday) in Sydney, 7pm in Dubai and 6pm in Nairobi.UK Viewers
Liverpool vs. Crystal Palace is not on TV for UK viewers, but This Is Anfield will have live updates of the clash throughout the afternoon.
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Supporters can find the Reds’ 23rd league clash of the season on the following channels worldwide:
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You can follow the action with us by downloading the This Is Anfield app for free.
Saturday, January 19, 2019 – 3pm (GMT)
Referee: Jon Moss
Next up is the visit of a Palace side arguably better than their current 14th place suggests, as an outstanding win at the Etihad last month showed.
Palace are the last team to have won at Anfield in the Premier League, almost two years ago in April 2017.
The Eagles are capable of causing the big sides trouble on their day, with an inability to beat lesser teams often their downfall.
Roy Hodgson returns to Anfield with Liverpool on another level compared to the state he left them in eight years ago, and he will want to silence his previous employers.
The Reds go into the game as clear favourites, despite the counter-attacking threat Palace pose, with maximum points still taken from non-top-six sides in 2018/19.
It is a staggering statistic that should still be intact by 5pm on Saturday, but Liverpool will have to be switched on to prevail.
The match will also see Liverpool mark the 100th birthday of iconic manager Bob Paisley, with a pre-match mosaic to be followed by former players on the pitch at half-time.
This fixture last season: Liverpool 1-0 Crystal PalaceTeam News
Trent Alexander-Arnold is a surprise potential starter, having recovered from a knee problem far quicker than originally anticipated.
Klopp may be tempted to retain Fabinho at centre-back, however, following impressive back-to-back showings from the Brazilian.
James Milner is the favourite to start at right-back if Alexander-Arnold doesn’t feature.
Naby Keita is an option, too, as the Guinean searches for form after an underwhelming start to his Liverpool career.
The Eagles are without goalkeeping pair Wayne Hennessey and Vicente Guaita both injured, meaning 39-year-old club legend Julian Speroni will start.
Hodgson is also without Pape Souare, who is Palace’s only confirmed outfield absentee, while Christian Benteke could get his first start since September.Last 5 at Home to Crystal Palace (All Competitions)
Won 1-0 – August 2017 (Mane)
Lost 2-1 – April 2017 (Coutinho; Benteke x2)
Lost 2-1 – November 2015 (Coutinho; Bolasie, Dann)
Lost 3-1 – May 2015 (Lallana; Puncheon, Zaha, Murray)
Won 3-1 – October 2013 (Suarez, Sturridge, Gerrard; Gayle)
Former Liverpool striker Benteke could lead the line on Saturday afternoon, as he looks to improve upon an already crazy statistic.
The Belgian has scored more goals at Anfield as an opposition player (5) than he did during his one season with the Reds in 2015/16 (4).
Benteke netted three times during his Aston Villa days, before his double for Palace in April 2017 earned them a 2-1 win – the last time the Reds lost at home in the Premier League.Form
Liverpool – Last five results (all competitions)
Crystal Palace – Last five results (all competitions)
Speaking at Melwood on Friday, Klopp praised the improved Anfield atmosphere in the last few years and discussed the threat Palace will pose:
“Was it Palace when I felt lonely (in November 2015)? Because nobody thought we could change the game.
“The boys have produced a few nice home performances since then, so it’s a completely different atmosphere, which is really cool.
“It helps massively. If there’s an atmosphere you have to use it and that’s what the boys did.
“Crystal Palace are really strong – I don’t know a lot of teams in Europe with a front-line with the quality of players: (Andros) Townsend, (Wilfried) Zaha and (Christian) Benteke, or (Jordan) Ayew, or whoever.
“They’re a proper team.”TV & Live Blog Info
Once again, Liverpool are playing at 3pm (GMT) on a Saturday, meaning it cannot be screened live in the UK.
Chris Williams is on-hand to talk you through the action on our matchday live blog, though, with minute-by-minute updates during the game.
The Reds host Roy Hodgson’s Palace in the knowledge that another victory will ensure at least a four-point buffer is maintained atop of the Premier League table with 15 games of the season remaining.
They return to Anfield off the back of a 1-0 win over Brighton last time out—which ended a two-game losing streak but also raised a number of fitness concerns.
Although the end of the Palace game signals the start of an 11-day break before the Reds’ meeting with Leicester, with injuries to consider Klopp could look to err on the side of caution.
While the crux of Liverpool’s side is likely to remain unchanged, the fixture does leave the manager with decisions to make when finalising his starting lineup.Team News
Klopp delivered unexpected injury news during his pre-match press conference.
Trent Alexander-Arnold had been expected to miss up to four weeks of action after picking up a knee injury during the win at Brighton, but Klopp revealed he is “really close” to being in contention to start.
While it remains to be seen whether he will risk the young right-back, the news comes as a major boost as it suggests his return could come against Leicester at the latest.
Gini Wijnaldum, on the other hand, also requires a late fitness test after picking up a knock on the south coast, but having featured in all but one of Liverpool’s Premier League games to date he could be handed a break.
The core of the team who returned Liverpool to the winning list against the Seagulls are all set to remain in the starting lineup, with Alexander-Arnold and Wijnaldum the likely absentees.
The absence of the former will see the Reds turn to Mr. Versatile himself Milner to line up at right-back, while the remainder of the defence moves closer to returning to full strength.
The 4-2-3-1 formation, which has become a favoured system at Anfield, could also see Shaqiri retain his starting position and again leave Keita on the fringes, with the Reds potentially lining up like this:
If Alexander-Arnold proves his fitness, however, Klopp could opt for a return to a 4-3-3 formation and hand Keita another opportunity to stake his claim for a more regular role in the side.
The Guinean’s inclusion would likely see Shaqiri move onto the bench to act as an impact sub later in proceedings should Palace succeed in frustrating Klopp’s side in the final third.
After returning to winning ways in the Premier League at Brighton, the Reds again have the opportunity to put pressure on their closest rivals and ensure at least a four-point gap is maintained heading into matchday 24.
Both lineups are more than capable of achieving the desired result, but only time will tell how Klopp opts to handle his squad’s latest fitness concerns.
The ‘Spygate’ row surrounding Leeds United manager Marcelo Bielsa has dominated the headlines in the last week, after he admitted to spying on opponents’ training sessions in order to gain an advantage.
Jurgen Klopp was asked about it during his pre-Palace press conference on Friday, giving a typically honest assessment of the situation, saying: “He is an outstanding coach and role model for so many: when I came I didn’t see 51 games of Derby.
“I respect him a lot but that’s not how it should be. In the last couple of sessions only a few people should see. That’s how it should be.”
Liverpool installed privacy “curtains” at Melwood during Brendan Rodgers’ time at the club, and Klopp was quick to point out that is exactly what they’re for.
“The last two sessions (before a match), we use the curtains,” he explained. “You train then the set pieces and the players who are available for the weekend – the information everybody wants.”
While much of the outrage has been hyperbolic – some have called for Bielsa to be sacked – Klopp is spot on, as usual.“No rush” on Hoever’s Contract
The defender celebrates his 17th birthday today – the age at which a professional deal can be awarded – but the report states that the club are in “no rush” to nail him down.
Klopp spoke about the situation at Melwood on Friday, saying:
“You turn 17, life should be really cool. Everything will be fine.
“Contracts are no concern at the moment.”
Liverpool rate Hoever extremely highly, however, and both the Reds and the player see his long-term future at Anfield.Fabinho Hopes Monaco Success is Beneficial
Fabinho is expected to start against Palace at the weekend, whether that be at centre-back or in his preferred midfield role.
The Brazilian won Ligue 1 with Monaco in 2016/17 and he hopes to take that winning mentality with him into the business end of this season, as Liverpool look to seal Premier League glory.
“We won the league; I think it helped me for the future, as is the case now.
“We have to take things game by game. Our next ‘final’ is against Crystal Palace and we really have to treat this game as if it were a final.
“There’s still a long way to go, it’s a long league season, so we have to keep calm, take things game by game and keep going.”Wilson Staying at Derby
There had been some fears from the Championship outfit that the 21-year-old may return to Liverpool this month, with a release clause in his contract allowing to Reds to recall him.
That won’t be happening, though, with Frank Lampard no doubt a relieved man, as his Rams side look to earn promotion to the Premier League.
Wilson has been one of the Championship’s star performers this season, scoring nine league goals, the vast majority of which have been Goal of the Season contenders.Van Aanholt Relishing Salah Test
Palace left-back Patrick van Aanholt may not come in direct contact too often with Mohamed Salah on Saturday, should the Liverpool man lead the line in a 4-2-3-1 formation.
He is still excited about facing the Egyptian, though, telling Sky Sports it is always good to be tested against world-class talent:
“I always want to play against the best and Salah is one of the best in the league/
“It’s my time to shut him down and make sure he doesn’t score or play well.
“If we can beat Liverpool like we beat City then I’ll be very happy. As well as the front three, they have (Xherdan) Shaqiri and (Daniel) Sturridge so it’s going to be hard but we’re capable of doing it.
“We did it against Man City so why can’t we do it again?”
Van Aanholt’s forays forward could be a key outlet for Palace at Anfield, as he attempts to dovetail with Wilfried Zaha down the left flank.Speroni to Start for Palace
Roy Hodgson has confirmed that 39-year-old goalkeeping veteran Julian Speroni will start for the Eagles at Anfield, having not featured for over a year.
“Speroni is likely to start. He’s a good goalkeeper so we’re much more fortunate than many clubs to have a goalkeeper of his quality and experience as third choice,” Hodgson told reporters.
“We’ve got a man who’s played over 400 times for Palace and he’s in very good shape.”
Both Vicente Guaita and Wayne Hennessey are out injured, forcing the former Liverpool manager to play the Premier League‘s oldest player.
Will he have a blinder, on what could be his last-ever game for Palace, or will he prove it is time to hang up his boots?Significant Law Change
According to the Times, “the biggest change to the handball law for 80 years” is set to be introduced.
While only deliberate handballs are currently deemed an offence, the new rule will see accidental ones penalised, too, should the ball be goal-bound.
The International Football Association Board (Ifab) is expected to announce the change at a meeting in March.
What are your thoughts on the change? A good move, or making life tougher for referees?New Open Goals Venue Added
LFC Foundation, Liverpool’s official charity, has revealed that another venue has been added to its Open Goals programme.
Garston will become the 10th location across the city from January 19, providing free games and activities for locals, in particular young families.
The initiative is led by coaches, and volunteers from Liverpool John Moores University, and is “designed to bring families and communities together in local parks to socialise and get active.”
More information on Open Goals can be found here.
Robertson has signed an improved deal that will keep him on Merseyside until at least 2024, following the likes of Roberto Firmino, Sadio Mane, Mohamed Salah and Joe Gomez in committing their future to the club.
Reflecting on the news of Robertson’s contract, Klopp told reporters at Melwood on Friday that it was a reward for both his quality on the pitch and his character off it.
“I’m very happy about it, that’s really cool,” he said.
“Especially with the very special story of Robbo, I still love it, and the improvement and development of him is outstanding.
“Nobody could imagine that exactly. We were all hoping it would be like this, but could we expect it? I don’t think so.
“That’s brilliant, and it’s nice to have this boy around. He’s not only a fantastic player, but an even better person.
“I improve my Scottish a little bit with him, which helps with all conversations with Kenny Dalglish! It’s still ‘different’ with Kenny, the language he’s speaking.
“In general, it’s a very good sign, an opportunity to extend contracts early.
“This team, if we can keep these boys together, there’s a really good age group, in the middle of development. That’s really good news for Liverpool.
“These 17, 18, 19 players, plus the really young boys, that’s the squad of the future. It should be like this.
“It’s investment, and the club gave us the opportunity to do it, so really nice.”
The side that lost to the Eagles back in 2017 is a far cry from that which will line up this weekend, but Klopp explained that he has no interest in comparisons—only the future.
“Always making the next steps is absolutely interesting,” he continued.
“Is it always possible? I’m not sure. But we will still try it.
“Where we will be in two or three years, I have no idea, but so far it’s like how I said with these players all signing long-term contracts.
“It’s good, because the age group is good. This season will not finish our development, that’s good.
“It doesn’t look like we’ll lose any key players, they all look like they are really here with all they have.
“Enjoying it here, with the other boys, in the stadium, at the training ground.
“That’s another thing, we build a new training ground—not that we don’t like Melwood, actually we love Melwood. But that’s another step in the future.
“That’s all good, but the progress we make so far, I’m really not interested in.
“I only go for the progress we still have to make. There’s a lot to do, and how I see it a lot to come, and hopefully everybody can see that.”
Brewster, who has been out of action since the start of 2018, and Oxlade-Chamberlain, ruled out following a serious knee injury suffered against Roma in April, have kept each other company throughout their rehabilitation.
But the timescale on their recoveries is not the same, with the 25-year-old much closer to a return to full training—as Klopp excitedly revealed in December.
Initially, Brewster expected to be back in action over Christmas, but speaking at Melwood on Friday, the manager provided a less optimistic take on his ankle and knee problems.
“Not as far as he wants to be for sure, but I saw him in the last hour, he was outside training,” he said.
“His running looks much better since he had this other little surgery.
“He’s in a good way, but that will take time unfortunately.
“It’s no problem here. He has the time, and I would say we don’t have to think about him before pre-season.
“But he’s in a good really way, and the boy’s in a good mood on top of that.
“We see him here every day. Nice fella, and he’s really integrated into the team.
“So far he couldn’t show that on the pitch, but our opinion about him will not change.
“We have to wait for him a little bit longer, but that’s sometimes how life is.”
As Klopp stresses, there should be no expectation on Brewster, even when he is brought back into the fold—as at just 18 he is yet to even make his debut for the first team.
Oxlade-Chamberlain, however, is already considered a key player at Anfield, and though such a long spell on the sidelines should also temper projections of his role this season, Klopp believes he will be back before May.
“He’s closer than Rhian,” he explained.
“He’s on a very good way, but that will still take [time]. Last time I put a bit of pressure on the medical department!
“When I see him running, or when I see him moving with the ball and all that stuff, what he’s doing already, that looks really good.
“Promising, close to a return. But he’s so long out—April, what a situation against Rome.
“But it will be fine. It looks completely without any problems in the moment, no swellings anymore, stuff like that.
“So he can really work already on his fitness issues, which he obviously has after a long time.”
Klopp added, with a knowing smile: “I think we will see him this season.”
Alexander-Arnold was expected to be rule out for up to month with a knee injury picked up in the warmup of last weekend’s 1-0 win over Brighton.
He played the full 90 minutes regardless, and afterwards this decision looked to have backfired, as doubts emerged over his involvement in the next four Premier League games.
But speaking ahead of Palace’s trip to Anfield, Klopp provided a positive update on the fitness of both Alexander-Arnold and Gini Wijnaldum, who was also reportedly struggling with a knee injury.Klopp’s Injury Update
“So Gini and Trent, we will decide day by day,” he told reporters at Melwood.
“That’s how it is, of course not cool. The exceptional part of that story is they both played 90 minutes [at Brighton].
“And I think the whole world saw what happened to Trent. What a boy! Unbelievable.
“We played that game and afterwards got the information, obviously he had pain.
“Nothing happened during the game, all stable, all good, it was just what happened before the game.
“Adrenaline is obviously an interesting thing, it gives you the opportunity to do more than you expect.
“We will see, for both for sure will be really close for tomorrow.
“I don’t want to close any doors before anybody tells me to close that door.”
“Dejan is much better than he was, but that’s a muscle thing and needs time,” he added.
“I’m pretty sure he can be involved again against Leicester [on January 30].
“Adam trained yesterday, and the day before yesterday, so should be in contention.
“We have to see, wait for the session today, to see how he reacted to two tough sessions.
“Joe, no. Improving, improving, improving. We hope it will be quick from now, but don’t know exactly.
“Joel has trained for 10 days now, completely normal, which is good.”
Liverpool defender Andy Robertson wants to follow his new five-year contract with trophies after admitting extending his stay at the club was a “no-brainer”.
The Scotland captain took little time in agreeing a new long-term deal just 18 months after arriving for £8million from relegated Hull.
And, after following the example of Mohamed Salah, Sadio Mane, Roberto Firmino and Joe Gomez, who have all signed new contracts in the last six months, Robertson now wants to bring silverware to Anfield, with the Reds currently top of the Premier League by four points and in the last 16 of the Champions League.
“I hope to achieve success as a team over the course of this new deal,” he told liverpoolfc.com
“This club demands trophies and too long has probably passed without trophies.
“So I hope to help bring another couple of trophies to this club and help push in that direction because the fans demand it and the club demands it, so that’s what we aim to give.
“We came close (reaching the Europa League and League Cup finals in 2016 and Champions League final last year) but it’s about taking that next step and hopefully getting a winner’s medal around your neck, whatever competition it is.
“That is the main aim for us.
“As soon as the club came to me, it was a no-brainer for me – I want to stay here, so as soon as they put an offer on the table it was signed as quickly as that.
“It was a pretty easy contract for me and I’m sure for the club as well. We both agreed very quickly, that’s why it’s been done so quickly.”
Robertson had a slow start to his Liverpool career, with manager Jurgen Klopp giving the 24-year-old time to adapt to a new way of working.
However, since establishing himself as the regular left-back in December 2017 the Scot is now one of the first names on the team sheet after a string of impressive performances.
In what turned out to be Jose Mourinho’s last match as Manchester United manager, the 3-1 defeat at Anfield, the Portuguese made a point of singling out the defender.
“I am still tired just looking at Robertson. He makes 100-metre sprints every minute, absolutely incredible,” he said in his post-match press conference.
Robertson, however, believes he has plenty more to give.
“I am still young enough at 24 that I hope my best is still to come, that I can get better at the things that maybe are a small weakness or whatever,” he added.
“It’s about improving on them every day and the things you think are strengths, to try to get better at.
“I feel as if I have done that – this season I have already got more assists than last season, which is massive for me because I wanted to give more in attack and make my final ball a bit better.
“This season I feel it has been better, but it can still improve. As a defence we’ve improved and of course, defensively, I feel as if I have improved under that.
“I am happy with that side of the game as well, getting better and better and I hope there is still a lot more to come.”
Klopp is delighted to have wrapped up a deal so quickly.
“I think of all the contract renewals I have been involved with, this one was done in almost record time,” he said.
“He might be from Glasgow originally, but everything about him screams Liverpool.
“It has been fantastic to see him grow, develop and improve.
“Everyone knows about his personality, on and off the pitch, but maybe we are guilty at times of overlooking his quality.”
Andy Robertson has joined the ranks of players at Liverpool who have signed new deal, putting pen to paper on a five-year contract on Thursday.
The left-back has quickly become a fan favourite on account of his all-action style, his great delivery in the final third and his willingness to fight for the cause.
Considering he wasn’t even in the team on a regular basis as little as 15 months ago, his meteoric rise has been incredible.
Now seen as one of the best left-backs, certainly in the Premier League and likely much further afield, Robertson should only go from strength to strength as he remains at Liverpool for the long term.
Even with just 56 games under his belt at the club so far, he already has a highlight reel which would put most seasoned veterans to shame; here’s a look back at five of his greatest moments so far.Manic Man City press
He might not have started the season in the team, but by the time an unbeaten Man City visited Anfield last January, Robertson was an indispensable starter.
Perhaps his most iconic moment to-date came against in the Premier League encounter, with the Reds working hard to stay 4-1 up and City trying to control possession in the Liverpool half of the pitch—but they reckoned without Robertson’s work rate and stamina.
The No. 26 embarked on a quite breathtaking lone press, closing down no less than five players including City’s goalkeeper.
In the end, City were fortunate to escape with a free-kick but Robertson had gained the Reds about 60 yards and they went on to win the match.Huge tackle in the Champions League final
A big part of the Reds’ surge through Europe, Robertson lined up in the Champions League final last term.
His story of going from the Scottish lower leagues to the pinnacle of European football is an incredible one, but it’s easy to see how it happened with his determination and team work.
Those traits were fully on show in a key moment in the final, with Real 2-1 up and the Reds pushing for an equaliser—allowing Cristiano Ronaldo to break through space into the box.
He might have thought he was about to score, but Robertson produced a quite magnificent recovery tackle to keep the Reds in the game.First goal in Red
Despite being offensive-minded in his play and regularly getting forward to good effect, Robertson’s primary role in attack is that of a supporting player.
Thus far he hasn’t been in a position to score too often, though he might have done better on a couple of occasions this term.
His first, and so far only, goal for Liverpool came on the final day of last season, smashing home a left-footed effort from close range after a close was deflected his way.
The celebrations which ensued showcased his feeling for the team and it’s little surprise he’s become such a fan favourite.Running rings around United
Liverpool absolutely blitzed Man United at Anfield earlier this season, running out 3-1 winners but, in reality, being the far superior side on the day when the scoreline didn’t do justice to the gap between the teams.
Robertson was a stand-out performer yet again on that occasion and his tireless approach was highlighted after the final whistle.
It wasn’t a team-mate or even Jurgen Klopp who brought it up, though, but opposing manager Jose Mourinho.
“I am still tired just looking at Robertson!” United’s now-sacked boss said at the time. “He makes 100-metre sprints per minute, absolutely incredible, and these are qualities.”
Just another great performance from our left-back.Latest assist giving lead over Trent
The Reds might have lost 2-1 at Man City at the start of the year, but they remain clear at the top and their approach on the day showed there is very little between the sides.
Indeed, Liverpool’s goal to initially equalise was a majestic creation, of which Robertson provided the final pass: a perfectly weighted, first-time ball across the face of goal, for Roberto Firmino to head home.
That was Robertson’s fourth league assist of the season—putting him back ahead of Trent Alexander-Arnold, on three.
The two full-backs have a friendly, but competitive, bet going on who can create the most goals for the Reds this term, and it’s the Scottish international captain who currently has the lead!
Andy Robertson has penned a new five-year deal at Liverpool and supporters have been left delighted with the news.
Robertson’s new-and-improved contract was announced on Thursday evening, keeping him at Anfield until 2024.
One of the most popular Reds players both on and off the pitch, the 24-year-old has been a revelation since joining from Hull City in the summer of 2017.
The left-back is performing at a superb level currently, with very few better in his position in Europe, both in a defensive and attacking sense.
Liverpool are sorting new deals at such a refreshing rate, highlighting the slick manner in which the club is operating right now.
Reds fans took to social media to provide their thoughts on Robertson’s deal – here’s a round up of the best reaction.Fans (and players!) were delighted that the deal was announced and felt Robertson fully deserves the extension
— Simon Mignolet (@SMignolet) January 17, 2019
Andy Robertson new 5 year deal – get in! Few players who deserved it more. Feels good to tie him down long-term on satisfying terms for him. From a LB at Hull to one of the top LB’s in the world, what a journey he’s had in just 1,5 years.
— Maxi (@MaaxiAngelo) January 17, 2019
Singing this all night then… pic.twitter.com/25wkcfMo9R
— The Redmen TV (@TheRedmenTV) January 17, 2019
There was never a danger of losing Robertson, but it’s great news that he’s staying.
— John O'Sullivan (@NotoriousJOS) January 17, 2019
— Gazzzzaaaa ???????? (@SwanyThaRed) January 17, 2019
Yes! @andrewrobertso5!!! Made my day you signing a new contract. Cheers ?
— Fran Riddle (@Fran_Riddle) January 17, 2019
“Excellent stuff. We have become so so good at handling player contracts and transfers now.” – Eleven in the TIA comments section.
“F***ing awesome. Absolutely deserved. YNWA” – Milo_Red4ever in the TIA comments section.His place in the Reds’ miserly defence was praised and he deserves as much credit as the others for a revival in fortunes at the back
No surprise that Andy Robertson is being rewarded for his consistent brilliance and vital contribution to #LFC’s stingy defence with a new five-year contract. Superb for the player, who has been a revelation off the field as well, and for the club.
— Melissa Reddy (@MelissaReddy_) January 17, 2019
What was once a hugely problematic position for Liverpool now one of real strength for the foreseeable future. Thoroughly deserved reward for Andy Robertson whose form has been outstanding.
— Leanne Prescott (@_lfcleanne) January 17, 2019
“Looking like the best left back to wear the red shirt and we’ve had a few good ones over the years” – Billy Lawton on Facebook.All that’s left to see now is: Just how good can Robbo get?!
Who would have thought this young Scottish braveheart would have been one of the best LB’s to this day who has just signed a 5 year contract for Liverpool – @andrewrobertso5 ?#LFC ? pic.twitter.com/NcJtToDhKB
— AH (@KIoppology1) January 17, 2019
Andy Robertson: "As soon as the club came to me, it was a no-brainer – I want to stay here, so as soon as they put an offer on the table it was signed as quickly as that!"
Massive boost. Go win us the title now Robbo lad!
— RF9 ?? (@SambaRole) January 17, 2019
“Best left back in the world” – Philip Hyland on Facebook.
— Danny Gallagher (@Danny7Gallagher) January 17, 2019
This puts a massive smile on my face. Absolutely deserved. Working Class Hero and Best Left Back in the world pic.twitter.com/kRyqyyIB2I
— LFC Stanley House (@LFCStanleyHouse) January 17, 2019
Liverpool have made some incredible signings of late – but what of those the Reds originally aimed for, but never got over the line?
There was a time when the Reds appeared unable to get all of their first-choice targets in the transfer market. Of course, Anfield will always hold an appeal, but it wasn’t necessarily a players’ first choice.
Now it is once again, more often than not.
But there are also so many rumours, so many sure-fire deals being prepared, that fans could be forgiven for wondering why the squad hasn’t been 200-men strong during some campaigns.
Sometimes those rumours, however recurring or filled with conviction they are, remain simply wide of the mark.
Here’s a best XI—and a few more—of the strongest-linked players with the Reds across the past few years who are still playing elsewhere in the Premier League now.Goalkeeper: Mat Ryan (Brighton)
The Reds seemed to be linked with roughly three thousand goalkeepers in the years covering Simon Mignolet‘s tenure and the uncertainty over Loris Karius‘ performances, a far cry from the settled reigns of Pepe Reina or those before him.
One who was frequently linked was Australian No. 1 Mat Ryan, who has proven an extremely able Premier League-standard goalkeeper.
He would have been a fine signing for the Reds—but certainly not one to take the team up levels in the way Alisson has done.
Alternatives: Michel Vorm, Jordan Pickford, Joe HartFull-backs: Martin Montoya (Brighton) and Ben Chilwell (Leicester)
Montoya was long-linked with a Reds switch while still at Barcelona, starting way back in the Glen Johnson era of right-backs.
That switch (along with Cristian Tello, Isaac Cuenca and whichever other fringe Barca man you care to recall) never looked like really happening—but the same can’t be said for left-back Chilwell.
He was clearly one of the first picks for the club and for Klopp, in the search which eventually led to Andy Robertson joining. A great decision, all told, but Chilwell is sure to go on and be a top performer himself.
Alternatives: Ryan Sessegnon, Ryan BertrandCentre-backs: Davinson Sanchez (Spurs) and Yerry Mina (Everton)
If there have been lots of goalkeepers linked down the past decade, how many centre-backs have been?!
The uncertainty around the position and the defensive malaise in general lasted far too long at Anfield, but that has all been changed by Virgil van Dijk‘s arrival.
Davinson Sanchez and Yerry Mina were both strongly linked with the Reds over the past couple of years, and both are extremely good Premier League defenders.
As a partnership they’d rarely be beaten for pace or in the air…so a bit like Jurgen’s first-choice pairing earlier this season, then, with Van Dijk and Joe Gomez.
Alternatives: Jamaal Lascelles, Phil Jones, James TarkowskiCentral midfield: Ruben Neves (Wolves) and Mo Diame (Newcastle)
A complete contrast in Premier League timelines with our midfield duo: Ruben Neves could yet end up at Liverpool with his next move, as the rumours haven’t disappeared completely.
The stylish Portuguese man knocked the Reds out of the FA Cup only recently, and has shown every sign of being a top-class performer for years.
As for Diame, he was originally linked under Benitez and was seen as a ‘guaranteed’ transfer signing while at West Ham, where he had a £3.5 million release clause.
It was particularly perplexing as he was often described as the “holding midfielder” Liverpool needed—despite not being a holding midfielder.
Alternatives: Abdoulaye Doucoure, James Ward-Prowse, Jean-Michel SeriWide attackers: Henrikh Mkhitaryan (Arsenal) and Riyad Mahrez (Man City)
Take your pick here, but two names in particular stand out in the wide areas which the Reds have watched and wanted.
Perhaps the asking price was too steep for Mahrez, or perhaps his age went against him, but there’s no questioning the role he played in Leicester’s title-winning season and his ability on the ball.
Once upon a time he could have been perfect for the Reds—now we’re well past his level.
Alternatives: Max Meyer, Moussa Sissoko, Demarai Gray, Willian, David BrooksAttacking midfield: Christian Eriksen (Spurs)
Academic studies suggest there were more Eriksen-to-Liverpool stories between 2011-13 than all other transfer rumours combined.
It seemed inevitable, only a matter of time…yet doubts lingered, largely on the Dane’s consistency, creativity in the biggest of games and whether he would offer enough goals from the No. 10 role.
He’s been utterly magic at Spurs and would have graced any top team for the past couple of years—and he’s still only 26, by the way.
Alternatives: James Maddison, Aaron Ramsey, Will HughesStriker: Alexandre Lacazette (Arsenal)
Like Eriksen, it seemed Lacazette had done everything but the fabled ‘Melwood lean’ pose at one time, but nobody pulled the trigger on the then-Lyon striker.
In the end there can be no complaints about the direction Liverpool’s forward line has taken, of course, but the one-in-two scorer in Ligue 1 didn’t quite seem to convince that he could become truly elite.
He has scored at a rate of around one every 2.5 games since moving to Arsenal, so perhaps those concerns were well-founded, despite him clearly being a dangerous striker.
Alternative: Connor WickhamLiverpool in the market
The market is a mixed bag at the best of times, but Liverpool have, without question, been one of the best over the last couple of years.
There’s a clear plan and identity to prospective targets now and, particularly with regard to young talents who can make the step up, it seems the scouting is entirely on-point.
Not every case of interest can come off. Not every target can join, always. Circumstances at the time of the transfer and the context of the current squad has to play a part.
But look at the younger, home-grown players the Reds have targeted in particular: Sessegnon. Brooks. Lascelles. Even, of course, our own Robertson.
They have all shone in the top flight, all look more than capable of taking another step up in class and consistency.
Robertson (and Gomez) will be the gold standards going forward, but the process of talent identification is very much on the right path at Anfield.
The late former Liverpool manager Bob Paisley will be remembered on Saturday afternoon, as the date of what would be his 100th birthday approaches.
Paisley is one of the most influential and iconic figures in Reds history, following an unrivalled spell of managerial dominance at Anfield during the club’s glory years.
He won three European Cups during his nine years in charge between 1974 and 1983, as well as six First Division titles.
Paisley sadly passed away at the age of 77 back in 1996, but as his milestone birthday draws nearer – he was born on January 23, 1919 – Liverpool have revealed plans to commemorate the occasion.
Volunteers are still being urged to help lay the pieces of the mosaic on Friday.
The club have stated that there will be a “special edition of the matchday programme featuring a rare photograph of the great man in his playing days on the cover.”
A period of applause will take place to remember both Paisley and former winger Peter Thompson, who sadly passed away on New Year’s Eve.
The Daily Mail‘s Ian Herbert has also confirmed that a gathering of Paisley’s former players will take to the turf at half-time, including Graeme Souness, while his family will also be in attendance.
This will follow the occasion of when Bill Shankly’s 100th birthday was celebrated back in September 2013, when the Reds hosted rivals Man United.
A mosaic was then, too, held up out of respect for the Scot, another legendary Anfield individual who laid the foundations for his former assistant Paisley to continue to build on.
Anfield’s history is littered with influential Scottish characters, a trait which endures to this day with the Scotland national team captain, Andy Robertson, a key figure in the modern-day Liverpool team.
The honouring of Paisley—which will also include an animated story of his life as well as the matchday programme feature—is a fitting tribute to Liverpool’s most successful manager of all time, as Liverpool aim to deliver a performance the ‘Quiet Genius’ would have been proud of.
Read our interview with Liverpool’s mosaic creator Andrew Knott here.