Sadio Mane was helped off the field in tears after he was booed by his own supporters in Senegal’s 1-0 victory over Equatorial Guinea on Saturday.
Mane was among eight Liverpool players in action for their national teams as the weekend kicked off, but his 90 minutes on the field were bittersweet.
The 26-year-old, who is yet to score in the Africa Cup of Nations qualifying campaign, is under considerable pressure as Senegal’s talisman.
This came to the fore as they secured a win in Bata, when he missed a gilt-edged opportunity late on and was subsequently jeered by travelling fans, with the game decided by Luis Meseguer’s own goal.
Later in the evening, Andy Robertson started for Scotland in their UEFA Nations League clash with Albania in Shkoder.
Wearing the captain’s armband, the left-back played 90 minutes as Alex McLeish’s side won 4-0 at the Loro Borici Stadium through goals from Ryan Fraser, Steven Fletcher and a James Forrest brace.
Scotland will face Israel in Glasgow on Tuesday night, meaning Robertson will be among the last of Jurgen Klopp‘s squad to report back to Melwood.
Curtis Jones should return sooner, with the England U18s’ last game coming against Belgium on Monday afternoon.
On Saturday, he played 34 minutes off the bench as the Young Lions beat the Republic of Ireland 3-1 in Spain, with Tyreece John-Jules’s brace and a goal from Folarin Balogun enough to seal the win.
Jones’ fellow first-team youngster Rafa Camacho started as the Portugal U19s sealed a 5-1 win over Armenia.
The teenager came off with 25 minutes left to play as goals from Daniel Silva, Luis Lopes, Rodrigo Fernandes, Bernardo Sousa and Diogo Bras made light work of the hosts.
Elsewhere, both Neco Williams and Morgan Boyes started as the Wales U19s took another step towards the European Championship with a 2-1 win over Sweden.
Williams made a vital clearance in the six-yard box and Boyes hit the post in a strong performance from the academy duo.
Tom Clayton came off the bench as the Scotland U19s thrashed San Marino 5-0, playing the whole of the second half in a very comfortable win.
And finally, Edvard Tagseth was also introduced at the interval as the Norway U18s sealed a 1-0 friendly victory over China.
Sunday brings another big day for the Liverpool internationals, with England in action against Croatia in the UEFA Nations League at Wembley.
Joe Gomez returned to training on Saturday and should feature after missing the 3-0 win over the USA due to a precaution, while Trent Alexander-Arnold, Jordan Henderson and Dejan Lovren could also play.
And Naby Keita can help book Guinea’s place at the Africa Cup of Nations as they take on the Ivory Coast in his hometown of Conakry.
Marko Grujic was among the Liverpool loanees in action this week, despite most leagues taking a break for international qualifiers and friendlies.
The Serbian has been sidelined since September after suffering ankle ligament damage, but was back in training at the start of November.
Though he is yet to make his comeback for the Hertha Berlin first team, he took part in a friendly against 2. Bundesliga side Aue on Thursday.
Grujic started alongside the likes of Karim Rekik, Per Ciljan Skjelbred, Salomon Kalou and Davie Selke in a 1-1 draw that saw Pascal Kopke cancel out Florian Kruger’s opener.
The Liverpool midfielder played an hour, before being replaced by Sidney Friede, with manager Pal Dardai telling herthabsc.de that he saw Grujic visibly “lack playing practice.”
“The test was important for our rhythm and a good load, we had a lot of chances, but unfortunately we did not use them consistently enough,” Dardai said.
“We saw Marko Grujic lack playing practice but we will build him up step by step.”
Hertha are next in action at home to Hoffenheim in the Bundesliga next weekend, and Grujic could feature as a substitute as his recovery continues.
Elsewhere, Herbie Kane played the full 90 minutes as Doncaster Rovers sealed a late 2-1 victory over Wimbledon in League One on Saturday.
This was Kane’s 20th appearance for his loan club, and as his role under Grant McCann grows increasingly key he was again subjected to a rough approach from the visitors.
After escaping a shocking challenge from Matt Challoner to score twice in Rovers’ 2-2 draw at Chorley the previous weekend, he took to Twitter after their latest win to joke about his treatment:
Great 3 points!? anyone got any spare legs???
— Herbie kane (@herbiekane) November 17, 2018
While it is difficult to see this as a positive, this is a testament to Kane’s reputation, as his excellent spell with Doncaster rolls on.
Corey Whelan also started and played the full 90 minutes at right-back as Crewe Alexandra beat Tranmere Rovers 3-2 in League Two, with Shamal George an unused substitute for the visitors.
Finally, ex-Liverpool youngster Sam Hart was withdrawn after 79 minutes as Rochdale lost 3-2 to Shrewsbury, with Connor Randall still absent as he works his way back from a fractured cheekbone.
The brothers of Liverpool fan Sean Cox have thanked the city’s people for their “unbelievable” support after he suffered life-changing injuries at Anfield in April.
Sean and Martin Cox were heading to the stadium for the Reds’ Champions League semi-final tie against Roma when they were attacked by away supporters.
The father of three was left with injuries that required him to be placed into an induced coma, though he has now returned to his native Ireland.
But still needing long-term treatment which could span years, a GoFundMe page was set up in order to provide support for Cox and his family, raising over £350,000 to date.
Sizeable donations have come from Roma and their chairman Jim Pallotta, Jurgen Klopp, Peter Moore, Michael Edwards, Christian Purslow, David Meyler and Seamus Coleman.
Supporters’ clubs from as far as Phoenix and Edmonton have also contributed heavily, while a host of fundraisers were held throughout the recent 4-1 win over Cardiff City.
We are really pleased to welcome Martin and Peter Cox to Liverpool today.
They wanted to come and say thanks to those in the city who have supported Sean and continue to do so. pic.twitter.com/RepB8CRsyh
— Spirit of Shankly (@spiritofshankly) November 17, 2018
And speaking to the Liverpool Echo as they returned to the city to receive the £60,000 raised that day from Spirit of Shankly’s Ste Monaghan, Martin and Peter Cox hailed the support their family has received.
“The support has been massive, absolutely massive,” Peter said.
“When you are down and you see what the people of Liverpool are doing for you, especially the Spirit of Shankly, it’s just unbelievable.
“The bucket collection that day, seeing the clips of Liverpool people—women, men, children—taking their own time out in the cold for my brother, it’s unbelievable.
“The generosity is overwhelming, it really is and we can’t thank them enough.”
Martin explained that Cox’s condition was “gradually getting better,” but said that it had been “very tough” for their family, describing the attack as “surreal, horrific [and] life changing.”
He added that Cox was recently able to “pick up a cup by himself unaided” for the first time, and that he is working his way back to eating properly.
Their time in hospital alongside him has been, understandably, very difficult, and particularly while he was initially being treated in the Walton Centre in Liverpool.
But Martin said that small gestures from those in the city—including taxi drivers who drove them back to their hotel and refused a fare—helped them through.
“The first month he spent in the Walton Centre and we were travelling over to see him, taxi drivers, just ordinary people, were giving their fares,” he recalled.
“They were going out for a night’s work on a Monday or a Tuesday when things are quiet and they would pick us up from the hospital and bring us back to the hotel.
“They would say ‘sorry for asking, are you related to the guy who was attacked?’. We would say yes and they would say ‘it’s OK, you don’t have to give us the fare’.
“We would be like ‘come on, this is your living’. It’s the little things like that.”
Martin concluded: “It’s true what they say—You’ll Never Walk Alone. The people of Liverpool have proved that.”
To make a donation to support Sean or to share the GoFundMe page, click here.
This Is Anfield spoke to siblings Tony and Helen Chan about Liverpool’s touching response after the Hong Kong Red was diagnosed with a brain tumour in 2017.
“There are more important things in life than football.”
Words spoken by Jurgen Klopp, and while they ring true, the very nature of supporting a club extends beyond just the 90 minutes on the field—as it can offer solace and a support system like no other.
For Tony Chan, who was diagnosed with a brain tumour prior to Liverpool’s pre-season tour of Hong Kong in the summer of 2017, it was just that.
The lifelong Red missed the visit of Klopp’s men as he focused all his efforts on his recovery and while football had to take a backseat, his sister, Helen, and Liverpool Football Club were not going to allow the visit to pass Tony by.
He was sent well wishes from a number of the club’s legends and a signed shirt from the first team.
This Is Anfield spoke to Tony and Helen, members of Hong Kong’s Expatriate Supporters club, about their incredible story and the heartwarming gesture from the Liverpool family.“When you hear the words brain tumour, you just don’t know what to think…”
Tony was born and raised in the United Kingdom and has been a Liverpool fan from a very early age, so the rare chance to see the club in action following his move overseas was grasped at every opportunity.
However, in 2017 his life was turned upside-down after scans revealed he had a brain tumour and his sister, Helen, who was guided expertly into following the Reds by Tony, explained:
“Whenever Liverpool come over, which they hadn’t in about 10 years, my brother always gets tickets to watch the matches, and for anything that involved them he was there.
“This time round straight away my brother bought tickets for the games and all the activities.
“But, a couple of weeks before they came over he was rushed into hospital and they found a huge brain tumour, and then obviously he couldn’t take part in Liverpool’s visit.
“And when you hear the words brain tumour, you just don’t know what to think.”
It was a serious health scare which came out of the blue, and detailing how it all unfolded Tony said:
“In June 2017 I was at work and went out for lunch with one of my colleagues, and after we ordered our food we were just having a chat about football and for some reason as I was talking I started slurring and it felt like the world was slowing down.
“I then blacked out and the next thing I know some people are lifting me up and putting me in an ambulance. My friends had said I had a seizure which I’ve never had before in my life, so that was a bit crazy.
“I then went to the nearest hospital and had a quick scan, a few minutes later they told me I had a tumour on the brain.
“It was a meningioma on the right-hand side at the front of my brain and it caused a lot of pressure on my head and that is why I had the seizure.
“Luckily, we found out later after a few more tests that it was benign.
“I was in hospital and my sister and brother came to visit me, and I remember telling them I was gutted because I had tickets to see Liverpool in Hong Kong at that time, but I had to sell them straight away as my health had to come first.
“I had a six-hour surgery and it went very well—my head was killing me, but they said they had removed as much as they could.
“After that I just felt really blessed, and really happy to be honest, that I didn’t die.
“I’ve got two kids and my youngest at the time was only about seven or eight months old and all that was flashing by me—and when they say life flashes by it really did.
“I thought about my past leading up to now, so I was really thankful that everything went well.”“It was the best surprise…”
With Tony still recovering in hospital Helen set out to do whatever she could to bring Liverpool to her brother while they were in town.
And while she did not expect the extent of the club’s support on top of her own efforts, it was a gesture which was treasured by the pair.
“We mentioned him to the club through the supporters’ group and they arranged a signed shirt by the team to give to him as he couldn’t make it,” Helen said.
“Unfortunately, he couldn’t go and collect it himself, but it was really nice of them. I didn’t expect it.
“One surprise I did was just a little thing I did with my friends and family and I had asked if they could take pictures holding a note wishing him well.
“So I printed a few and Ian Rush, Robbie Fowler, John Barnes and Sami Hyypia all signed it and took a picture, which I then put in a book for my brother.”
Tony, meanwhile, said: “While I was recovering in the hospital my sister came by and surprised me as she got all my friends and the Hong Kong Expat supporters’ group to sign a ‘get well soon’ card.
“Somehow, she even got some Liverpool legends to sign the card and I was given a photograph of them signing the card and everyone sent lovely messages.
“It gave me more strength to carry on and to recover and it just felt so good, especially seeing the real Liverpool Legends in the photos as well, knowing they actually took time out to write me a message, it was just unbelievable.
“And then to surprise me later on while I was recovering after I went home—I had to take about two or three months off work—my sister came to see how I was, and she gave me a bag with the official Liverpool badge emblazoned on it.
“I opened it up and it was the best surprise. It was a signed Liverpool shirt from all the current players and that was the closest thing that brought me to tears—it was a really nice surprise.
“Salah had just joined as well so his signature was on it and it is something I will keep forever.
“After a few weeks out of hospital I had enough strength to go watch one game with my sister at the supporters’ club, and I needed to go and thank everyone for helping me recover.
“As soon as I walked into the bar they were all cheering and it felt great and gave me more strength.
“I think it was the whole mentality of You’ll Never Walk Alone, and it was really alive at that time. I’ve been with the HK supporters’ group since 2004 when I first moved over. We are just like another family.”
Tony is now well and truly on the road to a full recovery: “Today I’m still OK. I haven’t had any more seizures, I’m off my medication and the doctor says I can start drinking again in moderation.”
Thanks again to Tony and Helen for sharing their story. You’ll Never Walk Alone.
It’s clear there is no love lost between Ramos and the Liverpool squad, with Dejan Lovren particularly confrontational after Croatia’s 3-2 win over Spain on Thursday.
Lovren took to Instagram in the wake of his nation’s last-minute victory to goad his opposite number, referring to Ramos’ elbow to Loris Karius in May.
On duty with the Netherlands squad, Van Dijk spoke to De Telegraaf about the Spaniard’s impact on the final, and interestingly gave his honest assessment of him as a player.
“Ramos is not the best. He’s a great player and I respect what he has achieved, but he is not my type of central defender,” he said.
“Ramos’ team-mate at Real Madrid, Raphael Varane, is my favourite. An excellent defender, young and has already won a lot.
“Myself, I don’t like to defend in the way Ramos does. I try to avoid the situations he gets into, and don’t even try to make slide tackles.”
Van Dijk and Ramos are clearly very different centre-backs, with Liverpool’s No. 4 more measured in his approach, but they, along with Varane, are widely regarded as among the world’s best.
What does set the Real Madrid pair apart from Van Dijk at this stage is silverware, with their triumph in the Champions League final adding another honour to their book.
Ramos’ influence loomed large over that 3-1 win for Real, most notably as he caused Karius a concussion and a shoulder injury to Salah that saw the Egyptian forced off on the half-hour.
While Lovren is seemingly adamant these were intentional, Van Dijk was more reserved in his stance—though he was emphatic on how it changed the game.
“I do not know if it was on purpose, but mentally something changed for Real Madrid when Salah was substituted,” he continued.
“Suddenly Marcelo, Benzema and Ronaldo all focussed on our young right-back Trent Alexander-Arnold and left the entire right side open.
“With Salah they would never have dared to do that. In any case, the competition would have been different.”
Van Dijk added that he “still thinks about that night,” and encouragingly insists defeat in Kyiv spurs him on to strive for success this time out.
“I hope to once again stand on that podium and be on the right side of the score,” he said.
“If not, that night in Kyiv will always continue to hurt.”
The Reds steamrolled their opponents last term in a 4-3-3 system, but this time out the manager has opted for a more controlled approach.
This has seen him alternate between that formation and a new-look 4-2-3-1, with the latter typically seeing Firmino deployed in the No. 10 role with Salah moving up front.
It is questionable whether this gets the best out of two players who scored 71 goals between them in their previous roles in 2017/18.
But this seems to be the approach Klopp will keep faith in, and reacting to a series of polls on the This is Anfield accounts on Facebook and Twitter, Liverpool fans were largely agreed.
Of the 18,200 supporters to vote on Facebook, 79 percent deemed Salah to be at his best on the right wing, with this also backed by 81 percent of 7,866 voters on Twitter.
Interestingly, many voting for Salah to return to the flanks argued that this should largely be due to Firmino’s lack of efficiency in the No. 10, with Eamonn Hutchinson writing that “having him up front is killing” the Brazilian.
And unsurprisingly, a majority deemed Firmino’s best position to be as a No. 9, with 74 percent of 14,200 voters on Facebook and 79 percent of 4,015 on Twitter in agreement.
“One of the best false nines in the world,” Adam James Smith attested. “So underrated. The heartbeat of our attack.”
Daniel Lee suggested Xherdan Shaqiri should move into his role in the 4-2-3-1, writing “if Shaq is being treated and rewarded like he should be, then he would be a starting 10 and Bobby does what he does best as a high-pressing 9.”
However, Lutendo Ragimana argued that Klopp could be reverting to the role that saw Firmino make his name at Hoffenheim, describing him as “a natural No. 10.”
“I’d rather he played No. 10 and we bought in a clinical striker,” wrote Ste Foston, looking to the transfer market.
“We need some creativity behind the front three and Bobby is smart enough for it.”
Klopp is unlikely to make any signings in January, with the manager widely expected to enjoy a quiet winter window, and this could see him stick with Firmino and Salah in their new roles.
Of course, the manager’s view is the most important, and it remains early days for the 4-2-3-1, but it’s clear supporters aren’t wholly convinced so far.
Now in his third loan spell away from Liverpool, Harry Wilson is shining at Derby County this season, with the winger taking up an expected new role.
Many expected Wilson to take up a squad role under Jurgen Klopp this campaign, but the decision was made early into pre-season that he would spend another term away from Merseyside.
Under new management in Frank Lampard, the Rams announced a double signing in mid-July, with Wilson presented alongside Chelsea midfielder Mason Mount.
This has proved some of the best business the promotion hopefuls made in the summer, scoring nine and assisting four between them so far, with Wilson netting four and laying on two in 14 games.
The Welshman signed a new five-year contract with Liverpool before heading out, and with Klopp heaping praise on him in October there is a big possibility he will feature next season.
But how can Wilson’s progress with Derby influence his future at Anfield, and is he ready for the Premier League?
I think the feeling was that we’d signed a very good player.
I doubt that this would have been the consensus without his successful spell at Hull last season but with the amount of competition for his signature it was deemed as a bit of a coup.He’s clearly a popular figure at Pride Park, but how important has he been?
He’s becoming more important as the weeks go by.
Injury disrupted the start of his season but as the weeks and games have gone by he’s begun to make more of an impact on the side.
It’s fair to say that he’s one of the first names on the team sheet at the moment and he’s certainly getting game time at Pride Park.What role has he played under Lampard so far?
His role has changed over the season.
Initially he started out on the flanks but soon got injured which disrupted his start.
He then came back into the side with an injury to Craig Bryson meaning that there was a spot free in the centre and over the past few weeks he’s played there alongside Mason Mount with Tom Huddlestone holding.
Going forward this has really suited him, he’s found pockets of space behind the opponents’ midfield and has been able to impact games from there.
It’ll be interesting to see where he plays for the remainder of the season but he’s a good option in midfield.We’ve all seen those free-kicks, but what else has stood out from Wilson?
His movement and balance are really good.
He has a low centre of gravity and with his ability to carry the ball well he’s been really effective in transition from defence to attack.
He links up well with Mount as well. Good players respond well to other good players and the two are striking up a good partnership.
They both live together, which probably helps on some level as well.This is the second time he’s shone in the Championship – but is he good enough for Liverpool?
That’s a tough question.
If he can maintain his good form for the remainder of the season and stay fit then a spell in the Premier League is obviously the next step.
The more likely scenario is that he spends another season out on loan for a side in the Premier League.
With the level that Liverpool are now operating at, it seems difficult to see him breaking into their squad, but he’s responded to every challenge that’s been thrown at him so far so who knows?
New documentary ‘Make Us Dream’ gives a revealing insight behind the 17-year Liverpool career of Steven Gerrard. Chris Williams was the premiere on Thursday night.
“Football is not about turning up and playing, it’s about dealing with everything that comes with it.”
Steven Gerrard’s own words as he narrates a remarkable career against the backdrop of iconic scenes from 18 years in football—all but one of them in red.
This is not a ‘feel-good movie’. The journey taken is a dark one that reflects the highest of highs while also probing into the ex-Liverpool captain’s lowest of lows.
Although, at the end, there is a feeling that Gerrard has unfinished business at Liverpool—a destiny that will eventually lead him back to the hallowed turf at Anfield.
His story is one of total commitment to a club he joined at eight years old, but it closely charts just how close the Huyton-born superstar came to joining Chelsea.
Liverpool’s standoffish approach almost deprived them of his services, but ultimately it was his personal bond to the club that kept him in red for another 10 years.
What is intriguing is Gerrard’s personal journey. From a working-class estate in Liverpool’s suburbs to a Champions League winner, all laid bare for the viewer.
Even more insightful is the now-38-year-old’s quest for a Premier League winner’s medal and ‘Make Us Dream’ approaches this head on. It doesn’t shy away from any angle or incident.
Just how close Gerrard came to joining Chelsea in the summer of 2005 is well known; what isn’t—or wasn’t wide knowledge until now—was the view from the player’s side.
How the lure of Jose Mourinho was ultimately undone by a conversation in which Paul Gerrard, his father, convinced him that he’d never be loved like he was at Liverpool and that “these (Liverpool fans) were his people.”
Gerrard himself spoke on the aftermath of the ‘almost’ move:
“Nine out of 10 people might argue I would have made more money, won more trophies. But them people are not me.
“They’re not in my city and they don’t have that connection with my club. That’s why I’m the one in 10.”
Rafa Benitez doesn’t feature in the film for long, but his cameo opens up what Liverpool was like under his leadership, and how the players—especially Gerrard—coped with his coldness.
It did open up a question to those watching of how Gerrard would have fared under a manager like Jurgen Klopp; a true man-manager.
But for all the craving of nurture the Liverpool No. 8 longed for, there was a feeling that the distance shown by Benitez only fuelled his captain to be better—to drive him forward and show everyone just what he was capable of.
One of the underlying themes throughout the film was Gerrard’s burning personal mission to lift Liverpool back to the top, at a time when the club looked incapable of challenging off the field during the tenure of Hicks and Gillett.
How the expectation within him—and that of the fans—became an almost unbearable burden that drove Gerrard to take his body to the absolute limit.
Encapsulated in its fullness are the hours before that fateful game against Chelsea in 2014, where the Liverpool captain asked for an epidural—as well as a volley of painkillers to see him through.
There is no avoidance or skirting around the ‘slip’ or the run-in to the season that almost delivered Gerrard his most-wanted possession.
It is presented in all its infamy and especially how it left the player empty. “He didn’t speak afterwards,” wife Alex remarked.
As dark as ‘Make Us Dream’ gets it is filled with joyful moments, and not just Istanbul.
There is the coming of age surrounded by friends such as Jamie Carragher and Michael Owen as well as early nostalgic glimpses of Gerrard’s talent.
Tearing through the midfield as a tender teen, home videos capture the ability that eventually went on to inspire thousands on the terraces and countless more millions around the world.
‘Make Us Dream’ will be available on Amazon Prime from November 23.
Kenny Dalglish reflected on the ‘humbling’ experience of being knighted on Friday, as the King became a Sir at a ceremony at Buckingham Palace.
Dalglish’s honour was announced back in June, with the 67-year-old acknowledged for his services to football, charity and the city of Liverpool.
This was part of the Queen’s Birthday Honours, and Dalglish received his knighthood from Prince Charles on Friday morning.
Beyond his considerable achievements on the field with the Reds, the King was recognised for his immense support for both the Hillsborough families and The Marina Dalglish Appeal.
With the latter, he has helped raise over £10 million towards improving cancer care across Merseyside.
And in the aftermath of the Hillsborough disaster in 1989, Dalglish became a pillar for those who lost loved ones, helping in the long battle to bring justice to the 96.
Speaking to ITV on Friday, Dalglish paid tribute to the Hillsborough families, and explained how he was left feeling “humble” after being honoured.
“They also stood beside us many, many times,” he said.
“We only did for them what I would expect you to do for somebody.
“They helped us on many occasions, unfortunately it was in better circumstances, maybe during a game, so when their time came it was not much to ask, that we could turn into being the supporter.
“It just came naturally to everybody. We never did it for any outside accolades. We did it because we thought it was right.”
Author Kazuo Ishiguro and Professor Simon Schama were among those also knighted, while Professor Mary Beard and actress Emma Thompson received a damehood.
Bournemouth striker Jermaine Defoe, Kick It Out chief executive Roisin Wood and director of child protection in sport Anne Tiivas were all honoured with OBEs.
Speaking to Open Goal, Robertson has revealed the superb text message he received from Klopp upon learning he had been named Scotland’s new captain:
“I text him saying ‘just so you know I’m getting the captaincy’. It was just out of respect because I didn’t want him finding out off of someone else.
“I said ‘thanks very much for all you’ve done, I’m going to be Scotland captain, I hope it can be a success’ all that sort of stuff.
“And then he just text back in big capital letters ‘You are the real Scottish Braveheart now’!
“I gave him a thumb emoji and he gave me the wee dance emoji. Brilliant.”
This just sums up the brilliance of Klopp and his man-management skills.Moreno Wants Liverpool Exit
Moreno has only managed one start for the Reds in 2018/19, and just three appearances in total, with Robertson the undisputed first-choice left-back.
At 26, the Spaniard needs to be featuring more regularly, with a return to Sevilla mooted in recent weeks.
However, Philippe Coutinho would reportedly like to see him at Barcelona, while Atletico Madrid and Villarreal are also said to be interested.Barcelona Chief Hints at Dembele Stay
Ousmane Dembele may have been linked with a switch Liverpool in January, along with a host of other clubs, but his future may still lie with Barcelona.
The club’s general manager, Pep Segura, has told La Cadena SER that improvements are required from the player, but he is going nowhere:
“There is no problem with Dembele. He is very young and has never had to make an effort like the one he is doing now to adapt to Barca’s game.
“We recognise that it is hard for him and he also recognises it, but we’re working to change this situation as quickly as possible.
“Yes, we had a meeting, just like I met with three other representatives, but it’s normal, it’s part of my job, they’re natural things.”
Not too much should be read into these comments, given the recent reports suggesting he will leave, and it will be interesting to see how things develop.Wijnaldum Says Winning is Everything
Gini Wijnaldum is not getting too carried away with Liverpool’s excellent defensive record this season, with results the most important thing.
“It is good to hear, of course, but we are not playing for statistics—we are playing to win games and at the end of the season, we hope we can win something,” Wijnaldum told LiverpoolFC.com.
“Of course it is something good when you don’t concede goals because that makes it easier to win games and also suggests that we have defended well but I think you also need a little bit of luck.
“We saw that when we played against Man City and they had the penalty near the end but put it over the bar.”Trent’s Star Showing Highlighted
Trent Alexander-Arnold enjoyed a night to remember for England on Thursday, scoring his first-ever senior goal for his country.
Not only that, the 20-year-old was given the Man of the Match award in the Three Lions’ 3-0 win over the USA, with post-match statistics outlining his influence.
According to WhoScored, Alexander-Arnold produced two key passes and made five tackles and two clearances, as well as enjoying 111 touches—more than any other England player.
The youngster has been going through a slight dip in form for Liverpool this season, so this will hopefully have done him the world of good.
Liverpool clocked up their 200th European Cup match this month, but which memorable games stand out from the rest?
The Reds are the most successful English side in the history of the competition, winning ‘Big Ears’ five times between 1977 and 2005.
Jurgen Klopp‘s current crop came agonisingly close to sealing number six earlier this year, but current evidence suggests it may not be that far away.
Liverpool have become synonymous with both the European Cup and the Champions League, with the former becoming the latter back in 1992.
They dominated in both the late 1970s and early 1980s, although its format was easier in comparison to the modern day, meaning the Reds’ recent achievements have arguably been greater at times.
After a long sit down, scrolling through the annals of history, here’s how we rank the Reds’ 20 best games in the history of Europe’s premier club competition, excluding finals themselves.20. Liverpool 3-0 Anderlecht – European Cup First Round, First Leg (1964)
A meeting with Anderlecht in 1964 kicks off our countdown—significant because it was the first time Liverpool wore all-red in a game.
Speaking about how it came about, Ian St John said:
“(Bill) Shankly thought the colour scheme would carry psychological impact — red for danger, red for power. He came into the dressing room one day and threw a pair of red shorts to Ronnie Yeats.
‘Get into those shorts and let’s see how you look,’ he said. ‘Christ, Ronnie, you look awesome, terrifying. You look 7ft tall.’ ‘Why not go the whole hog, boss?’ I suggested. ‘Why not wear red socks? Let’s go out all in red.’
“Shankly approved and an iconic kit was born.”
Liverpool were also excellent in the second round clash, of course—their first-ever ‘proper’ European fixture—with St John, Roger Hunt and Ron Yeats getting the goals.
Liverpool: Lawrence, Lawler, Yeats, Milne, Byrne, Callaghan, Stevenson, Smith, Thompson, Hunt, St. John.19. Liverpool 8-0 Besiktas – Champions League Group Stage, Matchday 4 (2007)
This remains the biggest winning margin in Champions League history, with Besiktas humiliated at Anfield 11 years ago.
There was no stopping Rafa Benitez’s side that night, with Yossi Benayoun registering a hat-trick, Peter Crouch bagging a brace and the scoring relentless throughout.
The Reds needed a response after no wins in the first three group games, and they certainly got one against the Turkish side.
Liverpool: Reina, Arbeloa, Hyypia, Carragher, Aurelio, Benayoun, Mascherano, Gerrard, Riise, Voronin, Crouch.18. Liverpool 2-0 Roma – Champions League Second Group Stage, Matchday 6 (2002)
Gerard Houllier returned to the touchline after life-saving heart surgery, in what was an emotionally charged night at Anfield in 2002.
A 2-0 victory, inspired by goals from Jari Litmanen and Emile Heskey, saw Liverpool reach the quarter-finals, having progressed from the second group phase at the expense of the Serie A giants.
The Reds would crash out to Bayer Leverkusen in the next round—the crippling defeat in Germany in the second-leg was never going to be on this list!
Liverpool: Dudek, Xavier, Henchoz, Hyypia, Carragher, Smicer, Gerrard, Murphy, Riise, Litmanen, Heskey.
17. Marseille 0-4 Liverpool – Champions League Group Stage, Matchday 6 (2007)
Liverpool were under huge pressure when they headed to Marseille for their final group game in 2007/08, needing a win to reach the last 16.
Benitez’s men showed their mettle and produced a brilliant team performance, though, with Fernando Torres’ solo effort the real highlight.
Liverpool: Reina, Arbeloa, Carragher, Hyypia, Riise, Kewell, Mascherano, Gerrard, Benayoun, Kuyt, Torres.
16. Bayern Munich 1-1 Liverpool – European Cup Semi-Final, Second Leg (1981)
This semi-final second leg against Bayern Munich is famous for Howard Gayle’s influential cameo from the bench, amid scenes of racial abuse from the stands.
Having drawn in the first leg on Merseyside, Bayern fancied their chances of progressing, even handing out directions to Paris ahead of the game—the location of the final.
Ray Kennedy scored late on, in what remains one of Liverpool’s most important away goals of all time, and Karl-Heinz Rummenigge’s equaliser proved irrelevant.
Alan Kennedy’s solitary strike in the final against Real Madrid secured European Cup number three.
Liverpool: Clemence, Neal, Hansen, Money, Irwin, Lee, Souness, McDermott, Kennedy, Dalglish, Johnson.15. Liverpool 3-0 Borussia Monchengladbach – European Cup Semi-Final, Second Leg (1978)
Another classic from the past, Liverpool’s win over Borussia Monchengladbach in 1978 is regarded as one of their best home performances in the European Cup.
A 2-1 loss in the first leg gave Bob Paisley’s holders work to do at Anfield, but Ray Kennedy, Kenny Dalglish and Jimmy Case scored to earn the Reds a place in the final at Wembley.
Dalglish then did the rest against Club Brugge!
Liverpool: Clemence, Neal, Smith, Thompson, Hughes, Case, McDermott, Souness, Kennedy, Heighway, Dalglish.14. Liverpool 5-2 Roma – Champions League Semi-Final, First Leg (2018)
The first entry from last season’s unforgettable road to Kyiv, Liverpool were unplayable for an hour in the semi-final at home to Roma.
To be quite so dominant in such a big game—Klopp’s men were 5-0 up after 69 minutes—was an astonishing effort and Mohamed Salah was the world’s most in-form player at that point, torturing his former club.
Two sloppy late goals may have taken a tiny gloss off the result, preventing it from being even higher on this list, but it was a special night, regardless.
Liverpool: Karius, Alexander-Arnold, Lovren, Van Dijk, Robertson, Henderson, Milner, Oxlade-Chamberlain, Salah, Mane, Firmino.13. Benfica 1-4 Liverpool – European Cup Quarter-Final, Second Leg (1984)
Back in 1984, an Ian Rush goal had given Liverpool a 1-0 advantage against Benfica, as they made the trip to Portugal.
The Merseysiders clinched a superb 4-1 win at a tough venue, however, in a result that reverberated around Europe.
Rush again got on the scoresheet, in a season that brought him 47 goals, with Ronnie Whelan scoring twice and Craig Johnston also getting in on the act.
Joe Fagan’s side then defeated Dinamo Bucharest in the semi-finals and saw off Roma on penalties at their own ground, the Stadio Olimpico.
Liverpool: Grobbelaar, Neal, Hansen, Lawrenson, Kennedy, Lee, Whelan, Souness, Johnston, Dalglish, Rush.12. Barcelona 1-2 Liverpool – Champions League Last-16, First Leg (2007)
A match that will forever be known as, “the one where Bellamy did that golf club celebration”—a long-lost Friends episode, perhaps?
Liverpool came up against a fantastic Barcelona team that featured Ronaldinho, Deco and a young lad called Lionel Messi…and turned them over in their own backyard.
Deco’s header made prospects look bleak initially, but the visitors recovered impressively at Camp Nou, with John Arne Riise and Craig Bellamy both netting either side of half-time.
Barca may have won 1-0 in the return leg, but Liverpool prevailed on away goals to reach the 2006/07 quarter-finals, before eventually succumbing to AC Milan in Athens.
Liverpool: Reina, Arbeloa, Carragher, Agger, Riise, Finnan, Sissoko, Alonso, Gerrard, Bellamy, Kuyt.11. Real Madrid 0-1 Liverpool – Champions League Last-16, First Leg (2009)
Remember when Benayoun suddenly decided to be world class during the second half of the 2008/09 season?
Liverpool made the daunting trip to the Santiago Bernabeu to face Real Madrid in 2009, but they came away with one of the best wins of Benitez’s tenure.
Benayoun, of all people, headed home the only goal of the game, putting his side in pole position to reach yet another Champions League quarter-final.
More on the second leg later…
Liverpool: Reina, Arbeloa, Skrtel, Carragher, Aurelio, Benayoun, Alonso, Mascherano, Riera, Torres, Kuyt.10. Juventus 0-0 Liverpool – Champions League Quarter-Final, Second Leg (2005)
If Klopp’s Liverpool are all about attacking brilliance, Benitez’s were prided on organisation and unbridled levels of spirit.
That was never on display more than away to Juventus in 2005, as they desperately tried to hold on to their 2-1 lead from Anfield.
Without Steven Gerrard, the Reds defended for their lives and secured the most precious of goalless draws, sparking wild scenes of celebration at the final whistle.
That Juventus side were better than the Milan outfit Liverpool beat in Istanbul, winning Serie A that season, which sums up what an achievement it was to defeat them over 180 minutes.
Liverpool: Dudek, Finnan, Hyypia, Carragher, Traore, Nunez, Biscan, Alonso, Riise, Luis Garcia, Baros.9. Liverpool 3-1 Inter Milan – European Cup Semi-Final, First Leg (1965)
A legendary match in Reds history, Bill Shankly’s Reds had reached the European Cup semis, with Inter Milan standing between them and the final.
Anfield witnessed one its great occasions, with the 3-1 victory richly deserved, thanks to goals from Roger Hunt, Ian Callaghan and Ian St. John.
Unfortunately, a 3-0 loss in the second leg was a bleak moment, ending Liverpool’s dream, but it took nothing away from the display that preceded it.
Liverpool: Lawrence, Lawler, Yeats, Stevenson, Moran, Callaghan, Smith, Thompson, Strong, Hunt, St. John.8. Liverpool 4-2 Arsenal – Champions League Quarter-Final, Second Leg (2008)
The Gunners were breathtaking in the opening 20 minutes, with Abou Diaby deservedly opening the scoring, but the Reds stayed in the contest.
Sami Hyypia scored a bullet header, Torres almost burst the Anfield net, Emmanuel Adebayor scored and missed a sitter, Gerrard scored a nerveless late penalty and Ryan Babel put the icing on the cake.
Dramatic is an understatement.
Liverpool: Reina, Carragher, Skrtel, Hyypia, Aurelio, Gerrard, Alonso, Mascherano, Kuyt, Torres, Crouch.7. Liverpool 4-0 Real Madrid – Champions League Last-16, Second Leg (2009)
Benayoun’s aforementioned header had put Liverpool in charge of their tie with Madrid, but their world-class team was one that merited respect.
They were powerless to do anything about a truly magnificent Reds display, however, at a time when no player in the world was more influential than Gerrard.
The legendary skipper scored twice, while Torres was also on fire against the team he grew up loathing as an Atletico Madrid fan.
That 2008/09 team was something else—it was such a shame that they couldn’t go all the way, eventually losing 7-5 on aggregate to Chelsea in the last four.
Liverpool: Reina, Arbeloa, Skrtel, Carragher, Aurelio, Alonso, Mascherano, Kuyt, Gerrard, Babel, Torres.6. Liverpool 1-0 Chelsea – Champions League Semi-Final, Second Leg (2007)
Few evenings on Merseyside have been more nerve-shredding than this semi-final encounter with Chelsea, at a time when there was genuine hatred between the two clubs.
The Blues were hellbent on revenge after their 2005 loss and their 1-0 advantage from the first leg made it an uphill challenge for Liverpool.
Daniel Agger levelled the tie with a cute effort, though, before the dreaded penalties were required to separate the two rivals.
Dirk Kuyt, so often the man for the big occasion, scored the winning spot-kick to send the Reds off to Athens.
Liverpool: Reina, Finnan, Carragher, Agger, Riise, Pennant, Gerrard, Mascherano, Zenden, Kuyt, Crouch.5. Liverpool 3-0 Man City – Champions League Quarter-Final, First Leg (2018)
It’s not often you get to see Liverpool produce a perfect performance, but that was the case earlier this year when Man City came to town.
Many fancied Pep Guardiola’s team to prevail, given their Premier League dominance, but they were blown away by 11 heroes in Red.
A 2-1 victory in Manchester in the return fixture sealed an unthinkable 5-1 aggregate triumph.
Liverpool: Karius, Alexander-Arnold, Lovren, Van Dijk, Robertson, Henderson, Milner, Oxlade-Chamberlain, Salah, Mane, Firmino.4. Liverpool 2-1 Juventus – Champions League Quarter-Final, First Leg (2005)
Liverpool love being the underdogs in Europe and they were strong outsiders when Juventus came to town in 2005.
It was a night when Luis Garcia scored one of the best European goals in Anfield history, with Hyypia also volleying home with the accuracy of a top striker.
A young Scott Carson may have allowed Fabio Cannavaro’s header to creep through his fingers to make for the nervy aforementioned second leg, but the Reds held on heroically.
It was an evening when we really started to believe that the impossible was possible.
Liverpool: Carson, Finnan, Carragher, Hyypia, Traore, Luis Garcia, Gerrard, Biscan, Riise, Le Tallec, Baros.3. Liverpool 3-1 Olympiakos – Champions League Group Stage, Matchday 6 (2004)
“Mellor, lovely cushioned header, for Gerrrrrrrrrraaaaaarrrrrrd!”
Martin Tyler’s legendary commentary will always remind us of the night Gerrard went from being a wonderful young player to a world-class talent.
Only a 1-0 win or a victory by two clear goals against Olympiakos would see Liverpool reach the last 16, so Rivaldo’s free-kick before half-time was a devastating blow.
Florent Sinama-Pongolle and Neil Mellor, two limited strikers who have become part of Reds folklore because of this one night, both scored off the bench before Gerrard’s late stunner in front of the Kop.
Without that strike, there would be no Istanbul.
Liverpool: Kirkland, Finnan, Carragher, Hyypia, Traore, Nunez, Alonso, Gerrard, Riise, Kewell, Baros.2. Liverpool 3-1 St Etienne – European Cup Quarter-Final, Second Leg (1977)
David Fairclough was a good player with a reputation for being a useful substitute, but one moment against St. Etienne has made him a Reds legend forever.
An unforgettable evening at Anfield in the European Cup quarter-final, second leg, saw the hosts 2-1 up late on, knowing one more goal would take them through.
Cue Fairclough, who was introduced as a 74th-minute sub and scored late in the day, leading to some of the wildest scenes ever captured at Anfield.
Two months later, Liverpool were crowned champions of Europe for the first time.
Liverpool: Clemence, Neal, Smith, Hughes, Jones, Callaghan, Case, Kennedy, Heighway, Toshack, Keegan.1. Liverpool 1-0 Chelsea – Champions League Semi-Final, Second Leg (2005)
It just had to be number one, didn’t it?
The atmosphere, the tension, the rivalry, the controversy: Liverpool’s semi-final, second leg clash with Chelsea in 2005 had everything.
Anfield has arguably never been louder than when Garcia’s early goal was adjudged to have crossed the line, before a horrendous remaining 85 minutes or so took place.
Eidur Gudjohnson’s last-gasp miss remains one of the most heart-stopping moments in the history of Liverpool Football Club, but Benitez’s side held on against Jose Mourinho’s arrogant Premier League champions.
The greatest final of all beckoned.
Liverpool: Dudek, Finnan, Carragher, Hyypia, Traore, Hamann, Biscan, Luis Garcia, Riise, Gerrard, Baros.
Trent Alexander-Arnold netted his first-ever senior international goal as England beat USA 3-0 on Thursday night.
The Three Lions took on rumoured Reds target Christian Pulisic and his American colleagues at Wembley, in what almost felt more like a testimonial, with Wayne Rooney returning to the international fold one final time.
Gareth Southgate looked to have one eye on Sunday’s UEFA Nations League clash with Croatia, given the nature of his starting lineup.
Alexander-Arnold’s inclusion was indicative of that, with the Liverpool youngster nominally behind Tottenham‘s Kieran Tripper in the right-back pecking order.
The 20-year-old has not been at the top of his game for the Reds this season, so this was a chance for him to gain some confidence.
Jesse Lingard curled England into a 1-0 lead, before a memorable moment in the increasingly productive career of Alexander-Arnold arrived.
ENGLAND 2-0 USA
The Three Lions are flying as Alexander-Arnold adds to Jesse Lingard's opening goal.
— Sky Sports Football (@SkyFootball) November 15, 2018
The youngster fired home a superb finish from a tight angle, wheeling away with joy after achieving his latest milestone.
It meant Alexander-Arnold is the youngest Reds player to score for England since Michael Owen registered against Luxembourg in September 1999.
— England (@England) November 15, 2018
Henderson was introduced along with Rooney early in the second half, enjoying a solid run-out as he continues his return to full fitness.
Debutant Callum Wilson rounded off the win on a comfortable night, but from a Liverpool perspective, the evening belonged to Alexander-Arnold, who was given the Man of the Match award.
Attention now turns to the UEFA Nations League clash with Croatia, with the English Reds contingent likely to come up against club team-mate Dejan Lovren.
Meanwhile, Dominic Solanke enjoyed a starring role for England’s U21s, scoring both of his country’s goals in a 2-1 friendly win away to Italy U21s.
James Nalton dives into another key community aspect of football around Liverpool city, one which some might not be familiar with.
Liverpool Homeless Football Club are one of many independent initiatives around the city which use football to help the local community.
They are a not-for-profit community interest company which has operated successfully across the regional and national homeless sector since 2007.
CEO of Liverpool Homeless Football Club, John Finnigan, was part of the Routes out of Rough Sleeping task group which produced a report in 2017, documenting the causes of homelessness and the daily issues faced by homeless people in the city of Liverpool.
It found that rough sleepers were often detached from the systems and procedures which would provide them with support, leading to poor physical and mental health, and a number of obstacles which prevented them from finding somewhere to live.
However, it also found that the City and region supported rough sleepers, despite a lack of help from the government at national level.
“We found that the city is doing well in supporting rough sleepers, and found much evidence of success and good practice—sometimes despite national Government policy which is actually creating unnecessary rough sleeping.”
Problems such as lack of exercise, poor mental health and loneliness are just some of the issues which the football club helps homeless people overcome.
We spoke to John to get more insight into the work they’re doing in the region, and the activities they provide for homeless people in order to improve their way of life.How did Liverpool Homeless Football Club come about?
Liverpool Homeless Football Club is an award-winning, FA chartered football club which helps people of Merseyside who struggle with homelessness, drug addiction, domestic abuse, mental health issues, personal issues and a great deal more.
Set up in 2007 by a group of support workers from various homeless hostels across Liverpool, the club soon became a Merseyside club working across the five boroughs and 24 homeless hostels.
Our organisation’s motto is “more than just football” and we aim to provide positive experiences for homeless men and women across Merseyside.
We offer them the chance to build their confidence and self-esteem, develop team building and social skills and improve their overall health and well-being.
Many of our participants are the victims of family breakdowns, domestic abuse, alcohol and substance misuse, or young people leaving the care system.
Their situations result in them becoming depressed, isolated, and stigmatised.
We use football as a tool for personal development, managing anti-social behaviour and eventually helping them to become positive members of the community.
In addition, we provide opportunities for vulnerable people to be included within the local community, making new social networks and offering them support with training and volunteer opportunities.
Our participants are encouraged to attend weekly training sessions and play competitive football matches.
We use football as a means of engagement and at each training session and match day, local support groups are invited to set up stalls and offer advice and guidance for housing and accommodation, alcohol and substance misuse, mental health issues and health checks.
We also provide a healthy, nutritious meal for all participants.What would you say are Liverpool Homeless FC’s biggest achievements, or the aspects of which the organisation is most proud?
Our biggest achievement is the 4,000 members we have supported over the last 11 years.
Everyone at the club is proud of our achievements, on and off the pitch, and our growing army of volunteers is passionate and dedicated to supporting some of the most vulnerable groups in society.
Our hard work has not gone unnoticed and over the years and we have been awarded a number of accolades which are proudly displayed in our trophy cabinet.
These awards are recognition that we are taking the right steps towards our desired goal of tackling homelessness.
I feel the city is a forward-thinking one, always at the forefront of creative thinking and risk-taking, and this gives the city the edge on new initiatives.Have there been any links with the city’s football clubs?
Unfortunately, we haven’t had any support from either Liverpool or Everton; this might be as they both have their own foundations and charities which they support.
We have, however, been supported by AFC Liverpool, who have supported our Easter egg and Christmas toy appeals, as well as giving three players the opportunity to sign for their first team.
The Premier League has confirmed that next summer’s transfer window will once again shut before the opening league game of the season, unlike most of Europe.
Most of the major European leagues continue to place their deadline around August 31, but England’s top flight opted to switch for the current campaign.
Instead, the window shut on August 9, a day before the campaign kicked off.
While it meant clubs could focus entirely on heading into the season with the squad they had already put together, there was still the danger of overseas clubs unsettling players before their own deadline shut—with no possibility of replacing them if they departed.
Still, it avoided the summer-long pursuits which harmed the likes of Philippe Coutinho at Liverpool and Virgil van Dijk at Southampton, neither who featured heavily early in the season before eventual mid-campaign switches.
Regardless, it was put to the vote for Premier League clubs to decide if they wanted to repeat the early closure for next season—and they did exactly that, with a 14-5 majority.
The 20th club, who voted neither in favour nor against the change, was not named.
At least 14 of the 20 clubs must vote on a proposal for change to come into effect.
Only the pursuit of Nabil Fekir dragged on, though that was owing to medical reasons, which eventually scuppered a move.
The Premier League has agreed to pay its outgoing boss Richard Scudamore a leaving gift of £5million in recognition of his “outstanding work”.
In a statement, the league said the golden handshake was made by its audit and remuneration committee and “supported and endorsed by the clubs”, whose bosses were in London on Thursday for a Premier League shareholders’ meeting.
The money will be paid over three years and will depend on the 59-year-old agreeing to a “comprehensive set of non-compete clauses” in terms of the roles he takes on in the future.
He has also agreed to remain available to his successor Susanna Dinnage “in an advisory capacity”.
The statement added that the farewell bonus was “in recognition of the outstanding work Richard has carried out over the last 19 years” and the league would like to put on record its thanks for his “exceptional contribution to the success of the league”.
Reaction to this payment beyond league boardrooms, however, is likely to be very different.
First proposed by Chelsea chairman Bruce Buck, a close ally of Scudamore’s and the chairman of the audit and remuneration committee, the idea has been widely criticised by fans, the Football Supporters’ Federation calling it “hugely unpopular”.
Including bonuses, he has earned more than £26million for running the Premier League since 1999, and the £5million leaving gift is in addition to his final bonus for negotiating the most recent set of broadcast deals.
That said, Scudamore has been paid considerably less than the bosses of the leading sports leagues in the United States and has turned down previous offers to earn more money elsewhere, most notably when he rejected the chance to run the global sports agency IMG a decade ago.
Defenders of the gift will also point to the fact that the payments are contingent on him being available as a consultant and a contractual commitment that he cannot take his expertise to a potential rival.
All that, however, is unlikely to placate fans’ groups, who have already complained that clubs routinely tell them they cannot find the money needed for cheaper tickets, subsidised travel or community projects but appear to have come up with £250,000 each for Scudamore, who has already been paid well for his work.
FIFA 19 fever has already gripped plenty of gamers as they look to play as the Reds—but some stats on Liverpool players’ attributes are bafflingly low.
Well, he’s not going to be overly happy with the new version, either—his pace has dropped again this term, according to the producers.
That said, there are other players whose stats might well cause an amount of incredulity and frustration, particularly when compared to team-mates or Premier League rivals.
All attributes have a maximum rating of 99.Roberto Firmino
Think of Roberto Firmino. What comes to mind? Chief among his traits have to be his work rate and what he brings to the attack beyond merely in-the-box finishing.
A typical moment of class from the Brazilian might see him closing down an opponent, winning back possession—then immediately pinging a 25-yard pass through the defence, freeing one of his attacking team-mates to run in on goal.
Which makes three of his attributes in particular rather eye-catching…and not in a good way.
His standing tackle rating is just 64, while interceptions is rated even lower, at 58.
Even Firmino’s long pass rating is on the low side at 75.
While we’re on the subject, one rating of Sturridge’s which should be higher is the same: a long pass rating of 62 doesn’t do him justice.Joe Gomez
Unfortunately, it tends to be the case that young players’ ratings are a year behind: by the time they’ve shown they’ve taken a huge step forward in the current campaign, the game is already released.
In FIFA 19, certain areas of the game will see Gomez’s stats improved with special release cards, but his ‘normal’ stats are scandalously low for a defender of his ability.
His interceptions are rated at 77, an area he has shone in at the back this term, while he’s also supremely confident in possession.
Which makes the trio of ball control (68), dribbling (67) and composure (65) rather galling to see.Naby Keita
As with Firmino, think of a typical moment of Naby Keita action: he’ll help win back possession, then surge forward to set up a counter-attack.
We haven’t seen him at his consistent best in a Liverpool shirt yet, but there have been enough hints to prove what he’s good at.
As a ball-winning midfielder, then, it’s rather absurd to see him weigh in with a stand tackle rating of 62 and his strength capped at 58.
Finally, and most unbelievably, Keita’s sprint speed rating is 60.
Joel Matip‘s is 69.Trent Alexander-Arnold
Trent Alexander-Arnold faces some of the same issues as Gomez in that he is maturing and improving quicker than game stats can be updated.
We can’t have too many complaints at his individual statistics as a result, but one or two still look on the low side considering what he shows on a regular basis.
As a regular set-piece taker for club and country, his free kick accuracy rating of 74 is surely due a bump.
And ball control of 72, really? There aren’t too many players in the top flight with a better first touch and ability to manipulate the ball under pressure, certainly not in his position.Xherdan Shaqiri
Look at that photo. Look at those calves. Arguably, FIFA stats don’t go high enough to calculate Xherdan Shaqiri‘s true strength levels, but still…73?
We’re yet to see him knocked off the ball this year and his upper-body power is as impressive as the girth of those sock-stretchers he calls legs.
After the weekend and his superbly taken goal, there’s also a case to be made for upping both his volleys (76) and his finishing (71).
And the final word goes to James Milner: surely his penalties should be up in the 90s, not a meagre 83!
We round up the latest Liverpool news and transfer rumours on Wednesday, with transfer news and interviews aplenty.
England face USA at Wembley on Thursday night, with Liverpool supporters able to take a look at rumoured transfer target Christian Pulisic.
The Borussia Dortmund youngster admits moving to the Premier League appeals one day, but has played down any links with the Reds.
“As you can see, we are having a great year at Dortmund and I am enjoying every moment of that.
“Then when the time comes for me to talk in the breaks about my future, then that is when those things happen. Reading these articles, I tend to stay away from that stuff. I know it is going to be there but it is not my priority.”“No Change” In Robbo Contract Talks
He adds that no talks are planned “over the course of this season,” although that is no slight against the player himself.
Chances are a contract extension will come his way next summer, having enjoyed a magnificent 12 months for the Reds, maturing into one of Europe’s best left-backs.
Alberto Moreno is set to leave at the end of 2018/19, with youngster Adam Lewis in line to be promoted from Liverpool’s U23s, having shone this season.Gerrard On Change In Character
Steven Gerrard always wore his heart on his sleeve as a player, but the Liverpool legend says he has changed since trading captaincy for management.
“I have to be aware I must control my emotions a lot more,” Gerrard told the Daily Mail.
“It’s not about me now. It was about me when I played. Now the challenge is to get a group as right as I can, using my journey and experiences to help them.
“Looking back, I didn’t hide it well, did I?
“But that’s me. You could see the pure ecstasy when I was at the top end of the dream. But the low moments? I’m not one who could put on the poker face. I never have been.”
Gerrard was speaking ahead of the release of Make Us Dream, a much-anticipated biopic about his life that opens in cinemas on Thursday.Van Dijk Unaffected By Criticism
“No, it does not bother me at all.
“There are times when I am less sharp. I work on that and I get help from coaches and fellow players. It happens to many players, but it’s about whether those moments are punished.”
For a player as faultless as Van Dijk it’s not often that negativity will come his way anyway, with the Dutchman arguably the world’s best centre-back on current form.
The 27-year-old also spoke about whether Liverpool would ever consider signing highly rated Netherlands defensive partner Matthijs De Ligt, to which he merely said: “He will be on the list, because they have enough scouts at the club.”Kovacic’s Light-Hearted Dig At Lovren
Speaking to 24 Sata, the Croatian cheekily dismissed the Reds’ title chances.
“Liverpool will not be England champion. Why? Well because they have Dejan Lovren.”
It is clearly nothing more than a sly dig at his international colleague, with the pair excelling together in the summer, as Croatia reached the World Cup final.
Ironically, some Liverpool fans may actually agree with Kovacic’s assessment!
Jurgen Klopp has moved Liverpool gradually toward a 4-2-3-1 system this season, but says it’s all about the players, not the system.
The Reds were famed for their front three last season as they tore defences to shreds all over Europe, but the 4-3-3 has been phased out somewhat this term.
It’s not an entirely new switch, as the boss says, and he’s keen to point out that flexibility is key and changing tactical approaches are simply about giving the players the platform to perform.
“We played [4-2-3-1] from time to time, we didn’t only play it at the beginning when I came in.
“We played it last year, I think we played it in the last game. We played different systems.
“But I don’t think too much about things like that, I’m always in the situation. I use my experience with only what I can remember – I don’t go through my papers and think, ‘What did we do in that situation?’
“I’m pretty sure we played a diamond because I played it always when I had the opportunity to do it, bringing in two strikers and stuff like that.
“Our system, when we play with all three up front, is something like a diamond; it can be a 4-5-1, it can be a 4-3-3.”
The diamond variation of the Reds’ 4-3-3 was seen earlier this term, with Firmino deeper than his partners in attack, but—aside from at Arsenal—it’s the double-pivot midfield which has been on show recently.
Klopp, though, reiterates that the players are more important and he simply gives them areas to operate in.
“Of course, 4-2-3-1—4-4-1-1 I’d prefer in most situations to name it—is a good system.
“But it’s never about the system, it’s all about the players.
“My job is to bring the players into the best position where they can help the team most with the things they can do.
“If I can do it with the system, I do it, but it’s not that we go through the week and be very creative with things like that because, in the end, the players need to play [on instinct].
“If I need an hour or two to explain what I want from them, maybe I have got them [in the mind] but I don’t get them deeper. That’s the problem.
“Don’t make football more complicated than it is; the game has enough demands for the players that we don’t need a manager who asks more questions.”
The boss also spoke about how he feels intensity before matches, but not pressure, and how he dismisses the notion of other peoples’ comments affecting him.
An extremely forceful-minded coach, Klopp is absolute in his belief that a successful team is all about enabling those on the pitch in the best way possible.
For Liverpool, this season and going forward, it seems that will be by lining up in the 4-2-3-1 more often than not. Or, perhaps we should say, in a 4-4-1-1.
The FA are set to make a proposal to the 20 Premier League clubs that would limit the number of foreign players in a first-team squad after Brexit.
With the Government blindly moving forward with their plans to leave the EU, businesses big and small are left to grapple with the implications of the fallout.
According to Martyn Ziegler, their proposal is to drop the limit of foreign players in a first-team squad from 17 to 12.
This would not come into action until at least 2020, and would require the 20 clubs to agree, but if they don’t it is claimed they could face a “nightmare ‘no-deal’ scenario” instead.
In this event, “all EU players would have to fulfil the same criteria that non-EU players do now in order to get a work permit,” which include a player’s international caps, transfer fee and wages.
Liverpool are one of nine clubs to have at least 16 foreign players named in their first-team squad.Liverpool’s Non-Homegrown First-Team Players
Goalkeepers: Alisson, Mignolet, Karius
Defenders: Van Dijk, Lovren, Matip, Robertson, Moreno
Midfielders: Keita, Fabinho, Wijnaldum
Forwards: Salah, Mane, Firmino, Shaqiri, Origi
“The FA has been determined that Brexit should be used as an opportunity to increase the proportion of English players in the Premier League without affecting clubs’ ability to bring in top-quality overseas stars,” Ziegler adds.
“Even before the Brexit referendum Greg Dyke, then the FA chairman, was looking at ways to reduce the number of what he referred to as ‘an awful lot of bog-standard foreign players’.”
The emphasis, therefore, would be on the development of ‘homegrown’ players.
This would, however, include those from overseas who have played three years of academy football in England between the ages of 16 and 21.
Their places in the squad could be taken by academy talents, with the prospect of Adam Lewis replacing Moreno, for example, growing more feasible.
But the issues moving forward would be more severe, as the FA’s plans would enhance the ‘premium’ on homegrown players.
The prospect of selling one key foreign player—say, Sadio Mane—to make room for another is perhaps the most troubling, and would likely affect those sides at the top end significantly.
The Reds returned to winning ways at home to Fulham last time out, in what was a much-needed victory before the final break of the year.
Speaking after that game the manager explained how he would “always want them to stay here” rather than turn out for their national teams, but added he was “happy that most of them have only one game.”
While supporters await the trip of Vicarage Road on November 24 there are, at least, plenty of opportunities to see the Reds in action elsewhere.
Here’s how to watch Liverpool’s internationals on TV this month.Fixtures & TV Info
Joe Gomez, Trent Alexander-Arnold, Jordan Henderson (England)
– USA (H), Friendly – Thursday, Nov 15 – 8pm, Sky One/Sky Sports Main Event
– Croatia (H), UEFA Nations League – Sunday, Nov 18 – 2pm, Sky Sports Football
Xherdan Shaqiri (Switzerland)
– Qatar (H), Friendly – Wednesday, Nov 14 – 6pm, Sky Sports Football
– Belgium (H), UEFA Nations League – Sunday, Nov 18 – 7.45pm, Sky Sports Football
Mohamed Salah (Egypt)
– Tunisia (H), AFCON Qualifier – Friday, Nov 16 – 4pm, Not on UK TV
Sadio Mane (Senegal)
– Equatorial Guinea (A), AFCON Qualifier – Saturday, Nov 17 – 3pm, Not on UK TV
Naby Keita (Guinea)
– Ivory Coast (H), AFCON Qualifier – Sunday, Nov 18 – 5pm, Not on UK TV
Andy Robertson (Scotland)
– Albania (A), UEFA Nations League – Saturday, Nov 17 – 7.45pm, Sky Sports Main Event
– Israel (H), UEFA Nations League – Tuesday, Nov 20 – 7.45pm, Sky Sports Main Event
Dejan Lovren (Croatia)
– Spain (H), UEFA Nations League – Thursday, Nov 15 – 7.45pm, Sky Sports Mix
– England (A), UEFA Nations League – Sunday, Nov 18 – 2pm, Sky Sports Football
Simon Mignolet (Belgium)
– Iceland (H), UEFA Nations League – Thursday, Nov 15 – 7.45pm, Sky Sports Mix
– Switzerland (A), UEFA Nations League – Sunday, Nov 18 – 7.45pm, Sky Sports Football
Caoimhin Kelleher (Ireland)
– Northern Ireland (H), Friendly – Thursday, Nov 15 – 7.45pm, Sky Sports Football
– Denmark (A), UEFA Nations League – Monday, Nov 19 – 7.45pm, Sky Sports Main Event
Harry Wilson, Ben Woodburn (Wales)
– Denmark (H), UEFA Nations League – Friday, Nov 16 – 7.45pm, Sky Sports Football/S4C
– Albania (A), UEFA Nations League – Tuesday, Nov 20 – 7pm, Sky Sports Football/S4C
Liam Millar (Canada)
– St Kitts & Nevis (A), CONCACAF Qualifier – Monday, Nov 19 – 12am, Not on UK TV
Dominic Solanke (England U21s)
– Italy (A), Friendly – Thursday, Nov 15 – 5.30pm, BT Sport 1
– Denmark (A), Friendly – Wednesday, Nov 21 – 5pm, BT Sport 1
Kamil Grabara (Poland U21s)
– Portugal (H), Euro U21 Qualifier – Friday, Nov 16 – 5pm, Not on UK TV
– Portugal (A), Euro U21 Qualifier – Tuesday, Nov 20 – 5pm, Not on UK TV
Adam Lewis (England U20s)
– Germany (H), U20 Elite League – Friday, Nov 19 – 7pm, Not on UK TV
George Johnston (Scotland U20s)
– Turkey (N), Friendly – Saturday, Nov 20 – TBC, Not on UK TV
Neco Williams, Morgan Boyes (Wales U19s)
– Scotland (H), U19 Euro Qualifier – Wednesday, Nov 14 – 5pm, Not on UK TV
– Sweden (H), U19 Euro Qualifier – Saturday, Nov 17 – 3pm, Not on UK TV
– San Marino (H), U19 Euro Qualifier – Tuesday, Nov 20 – 3pm, Not on UK TV
Tom Clayton (Scotland U19s)
– Wales (A), U19 Euro Qualifier – Wednesday, Nov 14 – 5pm, Not on UK TV
– San Marino (N), U19 Euro Qualifier – Saturday, Nov 17 – 2pm, Not on UK TV
– Sweden (N), U19 Euro Qualifier – Tuesday, Nov 20 – 3pm, Not on UK TV
Rafa Camacho (Portugal U19s)
– Germany (N), Friendly – Wednesday, Nov 14 – 1pm, Not on UK TV
– Armenia (A), Friendly – Saturday, Nov 17 – 10am, Not on UK TV
– Netherlands (N), Friendly – Tuesday, Nov 20 – 1pm, Not on UK TV
Curtis Jones (England U18s)
– Netherlands (N), Friendly – Thursday, Nov 15 – 5pm, Not on UK TV
– Ireland (N), Friendly – Saturday, Nov 17 – 1pm, Not on UK TV
– Belgium (N), Friendly – Monday, Nov 19 – 4pm, Not on UK TV
Vitezslav Jaros (Czech Republic U18s)
– Italy (A), Friendly – Friday, Nov 16 – 1pm, Not on UK TV
– Austria (H), Friendly – Monday, Nov 19 – 6pm, Not on UK TV
Edvard Tagseth (Norway U18s)
– Spain (A), Friendly – Wednesday, Nov 14 – 1pm, Not on UK TV
– China (N), Friendly – Saturday, Nov 17 – 4.30pm, Not on UK TV
* All times GMT, TV info based on UK schedule.