A culture of avoiding the blame with officials is leaving players in “limbo” after wrong decisions are made, says Liverpool defender Andy Robertson.
The left-back felt he should have had a clear penalty at the weekend, with a Burnley challenge on him at Anfield not given by the on-pitch referee and then also not overturned by the VAR.
It follows a similar pattern of abysmal decisions around the Premier League over the past week, with Spurs notably denied a penalty and Man United handed one which clearly shouldn’t have been, as the league acknowledged three calls in as many days were all incorrect.
Robbo has now voiced an opinion that many have felt for some time: the officials are passing on the responsibility to each other for the big calls—the refs don’t make the tough calls as they know VAR is there, but VAR doesn’t overturn them either out of respect for their colleagues or to avoid making the call themselves.
And, as a result, decisions are wrong, game after game.
“Over the last week, for me there has been four or five decisions that I think should have gone the other away, and I think many footballing people think they should have gone the other way too,” said Robbo, who scored the Reds’ goal in the 1-1 weekend draw.
“I believe that the referees are relying on VAR, but then VAR isn’t overturning any decisions, so we are stuck in limbo. I’d prefer not to have it and just let the referee call it. If the referee called it, you’d say ‘OK, he’s seen it differently’.
“But the fact we have about 40 cameras and 40 different angles, I believe the decisions should be right.”
The Scotland captain reveals the ref told him after the game why he hadn’t awarded the penalty initially, which the left-back appreciated, but there still remains the fact it should have been changed after, in Robbo’s mind.
“Fair play to him [explaining] but I still thought he was in the wrong and that it was a penalty.
“That’s what we believe VAR was brought in to do [to change the decision]. For me, how that’s not a penalty, I still scratch my head over it.”
The Reds will be frustrated at having lost their chance of a 100 per cent home record for the season with the draw, but in the wider matter of elite-level football, everyone is frustrated at the continuing poor decisions which the technology was supposed to eradicate.
Liverpool are preparing to visit Arsenal on Wednesday night, but are Gunners supporters confident of inflicting a rare defeat on the Reds?
Liverpool’s hopes of winning every home Premier League game this season went up in smoke in the process and a response is needed in midweek.
Ahead of the match, we spoke to Emirates regular Faisal Khan (@fkhanage) to get his opinion on both sides’ seasons and how Wednesday’s clash could unfold.How would you assess Arsenal’s season overall?
Bearing in mind that I am writing this immediately after our defeat at Tottenham, my wounds are raw.
Our season overall? Abysmal. It’s our worst Premier League campaign in more than 20 years. It’s painful.
We will be lucky to finish in the top half of the league come the end of this season and it will be a campaign I will be glad to see the back of.
We do have Man City to look forward to at Wembley, though. Gulp.Is Arteta the man to bring the good days back?
I think so and I hope so.
The biggest mistake the club made, over and above appointing Unai Emery, was not sacking him sooner. We waited until after the November international break and this has cost us dearly.
In Mikel Arteta, we have the model professional. He is intelligent, calm, charming and handsome. Being an ex-player gives him a lot of kudos and time from the Arsenal faithful.
Many have been critical of his lack of experience, but we are such a shambles at the moment we may as well see how this goes.
He needs time, money and loyal players. Our play has vastly improved, which fills me with great optimism for the future.
I completely trust the process.Is a title push completely out of the question next year?
No. We’re miles behind. We have so much deadwood to shift and we are in desperate need of four or five proven players.
It’s a long road back.Who have been Arsenal’s best and worst performers this season?
Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, obviously. I dread to think where we would be without his goals.
Bernd Leno has been outstanding between the sticks, and whilst the injury at Brighton has been dreadful for him, Emiliano Martinez, our No. 2, has shown that he is a perfectly adequate replacement.
I absolutely love Kieran Tierney, though. What a lad. If he can demonstrate his fitness in the coming few months, he is surely a contender to be captain in the future.
It’s so tempting to just list out the names of our worst players—it’s hard to decide an order.
By position, Hector Bellerin has blown hot and cold, Shkodran Mustafi, David Luiz and Sead Kolasinac are trash with such low concentration levels and general football ability.
Matteo Guendouzi, whilst talented, is a Big-time Charlie and I think Arsenal are looking to offload him this summer.
As for Mesut Ozil, has anyone seen him?
I was hoping for a bigger impact from Nicolas Pepe as a £72 million signing, but he has struggled at times.
Man, my wounds. Why did I volunteer for this?Where does this Liverpool side rank among the best you’ve seen?
Liverpool have had an incredible 18 to 24 months. Phenomenal, really.
They are certainly up there as one of the greatest set of champions, but I’m not sure they pip Man United’s treble-winners or our Invincibles, though.
How sad that one of our highlights of the season was celebrating Watford’s win over you.Looking ahead to Wednesday, who do you fear most for the Reds?
With a back three of Mustafi, Luiz and Kolasinac, I fear your front three.
I am desperately hoping that Jurgen Klopp feels sorry for us and rotates heavily, but I think he wants maximum points.
I would say your best player has been Fabinho. If you revisit my season prediction for you, I tipped him as the one who would be your main man this year. What a fabulous signing. I wish we had him.
And Jordan Henderson, what a lad. I never thought he had it in him. He is not the best footballer, but what a leader of men.
I’m even tempted to rank him as a better captain than Steven Gerrard.Where do you see the key battles taking place?
Sadly, the only battles will be your forwards against Martinez. How long we can keep you out for will be telling. It could get nasty.
I would like to see how Trent Alexander-Arnold does against Tierney, but otherwise, slim pickings.Finally, hit us with your prediction…
Yikes. My heart says win but that’s insane. I will say 2-2 at best, but my head says 3-1 to Liverpool.
No matter who you are; no matter what you have achieved, football will always have a propensity to bite you now and then.
After 60 minutes of outstanding movement, where a string of goalscoring chances were created by Liverpool at home to Burnley, we paid the price for only managing to take one of the multitude of opportunities we conjured up. Nick Pope enjoying the performance of his season.Get Some Rest Pam, You Look Tired
This was like one of those Jason Bourne-style flashbacks to an era when we used to partake in a half dozen or so league games like this every season.
It maybe shows just how far Liverpool have come, that frustration doesn’t feel part and parcel of our weekly expectations anymore, so when it does arise it feels like a familiar, yet distant concept.
It maybe shows just how far Burnley have come, that they didn’t wilt within the initial 60-minute onslaught, before contesting what was a very different final 30, in which they came the closest to finding a winner when rattling Alisson’s crossbar.
In a congested battle for European qualification, Sean Dyche’s team are still in with a shout. Both Arsenal and Chelsea also have much to play for in the next two, so maybe this one against Burnley can represent a timely slap across the face if Jurgen Klopp and his players are to break through the 100-point barrier.
In the absence of Jordan Henderson, this one offered the first of what will be four experimental midfield combinations.
While a fully fit Henderson does sit out the occasional game here and there, it always makes a defined difference when it is known he won’t be there well in advance.
This is what made the first hour so reassuring, as Henderson’s presence wasn’t missed. Curtis Jones was fluid in his movement, both of the ball and himself and collectively the midfield played its part in carving Burnley open again and again.
What was missed was that element of drive and stubbornness that on another day would have ensured we got over the line for the three points.Nobody Told Me There’d be Days Like These
You can also throw into the mix, that it was simply ‘one of those days’.
Liverpool aren’t immune to luck taking against them and while they might well be the champions, there is no god-given right to win every game.
An indicator of how Liverpool have dominated the Premier League this season is that rivals can only celebrate the small hiccups.
Take it as a compliment.
It is also wonderful to see that neither Klopp nor his players take the loss of points gracefully. If Liverpool don’t win, it is brooded upon.
Reasons are sought as to why a win wasn’t obtained, while the potential elimination of repetitive mistakes are discussed and the improvements of any perceived shortcomings are thoroughly investigated.
This is a sign of a Liverpool that is still evolving and Jones and Neco Williams starting the game was an example of this.
The most emphatic title winners of all time, yet Klopp is unwilling to stand still. In this respect, Jones and Williams represent a future that they are ready for today.Live Wood?
Nathaniel Clyne, not yet 30 and capable of being a fine first-choice right-back for many Premier League teams, a man capable of being a back-up right-back for the bigger teams, is swept away because of the promise and long-term benefits of the 19-year-old Williams.
Adam Lallana is informed that, for his own benefit, he’d be better off looking for regular football elsewhere, because in Jones, here is a player that could star in a Liverpool shirt for more than a decade to come and is ready to serve in the here and now.
Evolving football teams tend to work on a conveyor belt process when it comes to the composition of their squads. For each new player that emerges from the womb, or is brought in from elsewhere, it means that somebody else has dropped off the other end and rolled out of the exit door.
We used to work in the term ‘dead wood’ when it came to the assessment of the players that we would move on, or at least hoped to move on.
Klopp has long since ended that era.
Now, we look at the players we move on as being good players, players that are useful to other clubs, players that bring in some impressive transfer fees. The money we’ve made off Bournemouth for instance, in recent seasons, has been quite stunning.
One of the side-effects of success is that your bit-part contributors increase in value, as they have been witnesses of glory.
Everton’s last great vintage was partly powered by players who had been backing dancers at Anfield: Kevin Sheedy, Dave Watson and Alan Harper all served Howard Kendall well, having struggled to find their way at Anfield.
They were brilliant by process of the connection to Europe’s best team. Thus, other teams signed them in the hope that some magic was as transferable, as the carbon lifeform of player was.
A draw at home to Burnley or not reaching 100 points changes none of this. When it comes to this Liverpool, Rome wasn’t built in a day and it will take more than a draw at home to a decent team to see it crumble.No Need for Schisms
There seems to have been a vague schism between some Liverpool supporters between using these last few belated games of 2019/20 to either chase records in the here and now or to use them as building blocks to be launching ourselves into next season and beyond.
Here’s an idea though, they can be used to serve both purposes.
It has been a memorable season for a host of Liverpool’s academy players having earned the opportunity to step up into the first team across a number of competitions.
Appearances which have paved the way for the latter to receive a Premier League winners’ medal, while the former requires just one more appearance from the final three games to follow suit.
The duo have proven their worth at every turn while gaining invaluable experience, and while the Reds dropped points against Burnley on Sunday, they were once again the bright sparks to emerge from the afternoon.
Williams had deputised in place of Robertson at Brighton before switching to his natural flank against Burnley and his ability to compete for either full-back role has been welcomed by Liverpool’s No. 26.
But he did not stop at lauding the 19-year-old as he joined a long list of senior players to give Jones a ringing endorsement.
“They have been great all season and have been pushing the lads in their positions,” Robertson told BBC Sport after Saturday’s game.
“I thought Neco was brilliant and I try to help him whenever I can as a full-back.
“Curtis [Jones] has all the confidence and all the ability in the world and he showed that in times today. Hopefully, he has a big career at Liverpool.”
Robertson’s words come following Jordan Henderson‘s glowing review of Liverpool’s No. 48, who “really can achieve anything he wants” should he keep his “attitude of making sure improvement and learning is his number one focus.”
Jones was recently rewarded with a new five-year contract and is the ideal environment to continue his growth, with opportunities to play available amid injuries and departures and unparalleled access to work alongside a world, European and English title-winning team each and every day.
A squad which includes Fabinho, and the Brazilian was quick to corroborate Robertson’s words – with confidence key on both sides.
“He played a very good game today and he almost scored twice. We know he works hard every day with us and he’s ready.
“He has a lot of personality, and we have confidence in him.”
With Jurgen Klopp having opened the door for youngsters to step up and make their mark, Jones has already made the first step and the next few years are sure to to be an entertaining and intriguing journey.
Liverpool were left to rue their wastefulness in front of goal as they were pegged back by Burnley at Anfield, leaving plenty to discuss post-match.
The Reds had started the clash the like a house on fire, with wave after wave of attack threatening to break the dam wall only for Burnley‘s Nick Pope and some wayward finishing to say otherwise.
Andy Robertson‘s bullet header mid-way through the first half deserved to be one which provided the platform for a victory but after Jurgen Klopp‘s side missed a flurry of chances, the visitors seized theirs.
Jay Rodriguez found the net with 20 minutes on the clock remaining to leave Liverpool desperately searching for the winner to notch their 18th league win at Anfield this season, but it never came.
Here, This Is Anfield duo Joanna Durkan (@JoannaDurkan_) and Matt Ladson (@mattladson) are joined by John O’Sullivan (@NotoriousJOS) to discuss the highs and lows from Liverpool’s draw and if Roberto Firmino should be adding more goals to his game.The good…
JOHN: Firstly, Jones, in his first Premier League start, impressed. His decision making wasn’t always impeccable, but what young players is? His confidence on the ball and proclivity to shoot often augurs well for the future. With further experience, he’s sure to be a star.
He’s something typecast as a Javier Mascherano style ball-winner – which is in no way a bad thing – but he’s so much more. His assist for Robertson, which is reminiscent to the ones he supplied for Mane against Manchester United last season and Salah against Crystal Palace a few weeks ago, highlights what a brilliant passing game the former Monaco linchpin also possesses.
That dinked, perfectly weighted, chipped pass is steadily becoming his trademark.
And speaking of Robertson, after a few dodgy showings after the season’s resumption, he was back to his barnstorming best today.
His header, which evokes memories of Sami Hyypia in his pomp, was brilliantly taken. His energy and incision up the left, traits so badly missed when he doesn’t play, was a threat all game. On another day, he would have had assists to add to his goal.
MATT: I was fortunate to be at Anfield as part of my work for FourFourTwo magazine and it was good to be back exactly four months after my last visit for the Atletico game. It was, though, very odd and certainly not the same experience.
Strangely, I think the experience of watching from home with the artificial crowd noise creates more of a ‘spectacle’ than being inside such a quiet stadium. But one thing that was apparent was just how vocal Virgil van Dijk is, constantly shouting at the players especially early on.
Good from a player perspective was Jones, who didn’t look out of place and really looked to get involved, I thought it was a superb decision to play him and he fully took the opportunity – even if he did miss three good chances to score.
The other good, unfortunately, was Nick Pope. He’s easily England’s best goalkeeper. Just not a fan of his time-wasting tactics.
JOANNA: Hard to disagree with anything the guys have said there in relation to Jones, he just oozes confidence and it was clear he wanted to be on the ball at every opportunity.
While the scoreboard clearly failed to reflect it, I thought our interplay early on was some of our best since the restart but we just lacked that final touch and, at times, a stroke of luck with the bounce of the ball.
And I don’t there is anything such as showering too much praise on Fabinho. The vision, game intelligence and ability to make the tackle and pick the pass was on show once more and it’s a welcome sight to see him hit the levels he did prior to his injury, he’s a key cog in the machine.The bad…
JOHN: The refereeing. With all the spot-kicks awarded to Man United recently, there has been a lot of Reds fans ruing their luck with referees.
With only five league penalties this season, their qualms are understandable and five penalties should’ve been six when Robertson was upended in the box by Gudmundsson and nothing was given, nor was VAR consulted.
And Burnley almost stole a win when Gudmundsson later hit the bar, but was clearly fouled beforehand.
On an individual level, this game was another where Wijnaldum was ineffective and his recent showings – bar the Palace game – will hardly win him leverage in his contract negotiations.
Against deep defending teams, you need your midfield to step up in the creativity stakes and Wijnaldum didn’t.
MATT: I thought we got frustrated after their equaliser and took too many wild shots, but we should have had it wrapped up way earlier than that anyway.
Jones had three chances, Salah had numerous including one superb chance, Firmino off the post… it was ‘one of them days’.
Salah is the only one of the front three who hasn’t been rested/rotated out in recent games, presumably to give him the chance to get the golden boot, but I actually think not starting him and letting him come on as sub in the final 20 minutes would increase that chance and do him a favour.
And I agree that the ref was bad, whoever he was.
JOANNA: It goes without saying, the finishing – most notably from Salah.
As Matt noted, we seemed to throw patience out of the window when chasing the win late on and resorted to speculative shots which allowed Burnley to time waste.
It really just was not our day in front of goal, although we could have done without the ‘offside’ decision which led to their goal as we were in fact onside – not to mention a host of other questionable calls throughout.
And I won’t lie, I’m slightly frustrated that it all means we can’t attempt to end the season with 19 home wins.Bobby’s Anfield drought continues, should he be scoring more goals?
JOHN: Firmino is only ostensibly a forward, with his function more resembling that of an attacking midfielder, so to judge him through the prism of a forward is harsh.
Nevertheless, his finishing has been poor of late and he’s not immune to criticism – in a similar vein to Wijnaldum – and he, more than most, would benefit from competition.
Hopefully, Takumi Minamino can step up and ease the burden on him.
MATT: Yes, he should probably be scoring more goals, but honestly, it’s just a freak statistic from this season. In his best goalscoring season we finished fourth, this season we won the league. One of those is far more important than the other.
Bobby is the system and we’ve seen that underlined when Minamino and Origi have attempted – and especially in Origi’s case, failed – to do the job as No.9 in recent weeks.
That said, I feel he could benefit from having better backup so I really hope Minamino can kick on next season… and a winner against Chelsea for Bobby would be nice!
JOANNA: Both John and Matt have hit the nail on the head there, Bobby makes the team tick in a way which those who simply look at the goal and assist column cannot comprehend.
We’ve excelled at sharing the load this season with 17 different goalscorers in the top-flight, and, as ever, he has been central to our ever-evolving dynamism and his absence is felt whenever he is not on the pitch.
But that isn’t to say he isn’t capable of more or of finishing the chances which do come his way, but competition for his place and in turn a more effective rotation player, which we hope Minamino can step up to be, will no doubt benefit both him and the team.
Our No. 14 has performed a brilliant, euphoria-building, fast-foot dance in lifting each of his three major trophies won as captain of Liverpool over the past year or so.
It would be expected that this one, the first league championship in 30 years, would necessitate the biggest shuffle of all—but a knee injury sustained against Brighton has probably ended that hope.
Klopp acknowledged Henderson as a “great” captain of the club and said he was delighted the job had already been made before he arrived at the club—but the No. 14 won’t be on the pitch at Chelsea, when the Reds will receive the trophy.
Regarding the actual trophy lift itself, Klopp was asked about how Liverpool would ensure Henderson could have the involvement he deserves, with the skipper not able to be on the pitch for the match.
“We don’t know yet but we will do everything possible to do it the right way,” he told the media.
“Hendo will be there and wear the match kit and everything will be fine.
“He deserves exactly to be in that spot in that moment.
“If he had to have surgery and would have been in hospital it would have been difficult. But he’s not, rehab starts immediately he will fine in a few weeks and train again, play again.
“So we’ll find a solution where we show respect to what he did. All the other boys want that, want him to be there.
“One of the first things I heard after we won the league, Virg told Hendo ‘you can do the shuffle again!’—I’m not sure he can do the shuffle but that’s the smallest problem of all!”
A couple of potential solutions have already presented themself, with one being Henderson coming on as a late sub in the match, effectively not involving himself in play but being on the pitch for the final whistle.
Alternatively, he could simply join in with the rest of the squad, with players such as Adam Lallana and Joel Matip similarly likely to be outside of the matchday 20, but having played their own roles in the season.
Either way, the hard work which counts toward the title has come across the last 34 matches (and counting), not just in that last minute of the game against Chelsea.
Hendo has been a driving force for consistency and leadership, and there can be no denying now his status as an iconic skipper in the club’s history: A European Cup and League Championship-winning captain of Liverpool FC.
Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp sympathised with Dean Smith after a contentious video assistant referee call went against Aston Villa on Thursday and claimed the system “should really find the right decision”.
Villa fell behind against Manchester United from a penalty which was awarded after Bruno Fernandes stepped into Ezri Konsa and went down inside the area when trying to turn on the ball.
Referee Jon Moss pointed to the spot and the decision was controversially backed up by VAR official Graham Scott, even though the United man appeared to be the one who fouled Konsa.
That was not the only debatable VAR decision of the day, with Tottenham denied a spot-kick despite Joshua King appearing to push Harry Kane in the box, while Southampton were given a penalty against Everton when James Ward-Prowse looked to be already falling into Andre Gomes before any contact was made.
On each of the three occasions, the VAR official went with the on-field call and Klopp questioned why it was so complicated for such decisions to be overturned when they seemed “obvious” to him.
Speaking at his pre-match press conference ahead of the Premier League champions’ clash with Burnley, Klopp said: “I think it was a week ago, Jose (Mourinho) in his after-match interview said the decision is made by the guy in the studio. Now we have a situation where on one matchday three decisions should have been different.
“I can 100 per cent understand that Dean Smith is really struggling to accept what happened last night.
“I don’t know how it can happen, to be honest. It’s not about who makes the decision, whether it’s two people or three people, in the end it’s just about getting the right decision.
“What I don’t understand is that overruling is so complicated, that it must be a ‘clear and obvious’ misjudgement. I thought they were all obvious, but you’d have to ask the refs why they still stuck to the decision.
“It’s obviously difficult, but last night I didn’t think it was too difficult! It is obviously not right and not good.
“I really would like to think that in the end three people watch it, they should really find the right decision in the end.”
Jurgen Klopp’s Reds romped to the title and, with no other silverware available, are looking to end the league campaign in record-breaking fashion.
Liverpool need three wins from their remaining four fixtures to surpass Manchester City’s record points total of 100 set in 2017/18 and boast a 100 per cent record at Anfield heading into their penultimate home match.
Asked if the trip to Merseyside is less intimidating without fans there, Burnley boss Dyche said: “No, not necessarily. I mean, you’ve still got very good players in front of you – top players, in fact, some of them.
“They look hungry to me. They look like they want to achieve other markers in the season.
“I think it is obviously more so when there’s a full house there, but I’m saying it’s still not an easy task, whether it’s a full house there or not.
“I mean, Man City had that a real edge to them when we played them and a real sharpness to them in their game.
“I can’t presuppose anything other than Liverpool will be ready to play.”
“I think it’s highly unlikely with Ben, almost impossible with Lowton and Corky – they won’t be figuring,” Dyche said,
“Barnsey I doubt it. He is back on the grass, which is really pleasing but we’ve got to be careful with him of course.”
Liverpool are revelling in having won yet another three points and today’s headlines focus on the players’ performances, the potential for summer deals and a potential change in the curtain-raiser.Changes ahead for Community Shield
Liverpool will be in the Community Shield once more to start the 2020/21 season…if it goes ahead at all.
There is still an element of uncertainty over dates for the start of next term, but if the Wembley fixture is played, Liverpool will be there as league champions.
Their opponent, however, may be changed. Usually, we’d play the FA Cup winners—fine if it’s Chelsea or Arsenal. But if either Manchester club wins the trophy and they reach their respective European finals, the dates could clash.
In that case, the Times reports that the Reds may instead face the Championship winners.
West Brom are currently top, two points ahead of Leeds, but the latter have a game in hand. Brentford are third, though likely too far off the pace now to take top spot.
The report also suggests that the FA may use the occasion to test-run getting fans back inside stadiums for games for the first time since the coronavirus lockdown.Thiago keen on Premier League switch
It seems that the Thiago talk has died down over the last day or two!
The Reds are still linked with the Bayern Munich midfielder, but those accounts suggesting contact had been made or that a deal was imminent have all gone extremely quiet.
James Pearce of the Athletic confirms that the Reds have had “no contact” with the Bundesliga club over a move and that it’s currently “unlikely” a deal will go ahead.
But Thiago does want a switch.
It’s further reported he is keen on moving to the Premier League and with just one year left on his contract, £30 million is the guide price to snare him.Evidence of our success
On and off the pitch, Liverpool are the undisputed team to mimic right now.Quickfire LFC news
Sheffield United are interested in signing Norwich City’s attacking midfielder Todd Cantwell this summer when the Canaries are relegated.
Sounds ok so far, doesn’t it?
So let’s see what price tag the Star are giving Cantwell with this ‘exclusive‘ inside story.
Ten million?! Think the Blades might just have a bit of competition if that’s the going rate for a Cantwell – or have they put most of his value on Godfrey for some reason?!Tweet of the day
Neco Williams is a positional rival for Trent now, technically. So it’s superb to hear the No. 66 speak so well about how high the Welshman could go.
"With the right attitude, which he's got, he's got the potential to be a world-class player"
— BBC 5 Live Sport (@5liveSport) July 9, 2020What we’re reading
The story on BBC Sport of the anti-racism demonstration in MLS as the games returned and the players took a stand—for eight minutes and 46 seconds.
And this incredible story by Jack Lang on the Athletic, about Bernio Verhagen: the non-playing professional who conned multiple teams into signing him up and is now in prison in Denmark.Worth watching tonight
Bournemouth vs Spurs at 6pm. Athletic vs Sevilla in LaLiga at 9.
Liverpool became the fastest side to record 30 league wins in the history of English football on Wednesday night, and did so against a Brighton side who deserve credit.
Three points gained and more records broken. This time, a record that was set only two years ago, by our prime contemporary rival; this time, a record that was expected to last for a considerable amount of time.
As I said the other day, breaking records is a nice side-effect to success, without being all that important when it comes to the bigger picture of collecting trophies of substance.
Even Jurgen Klopp has made similar noises in how chasing the points record isn’t all that important to him. I’m sure he’d like it if it were to happen, but if it doesn’t, so what?
We set out to be Premier League champions and here we are, Premier League champions. I even like the concept which Klopp floated that we won’t be setting our stall out next season to defend our title, but to win a new one instead.
All. The. Right. Noises.
I like this newly acquired record from Wednesday evening, though, as it will rankle with Pep Guardiola and his players. It is the type of occurrence that will make that itch we plant under their skin more incessant.
It isn’t the record that is so important, more the dig in the ribs it provides.
Once it became evident that Alisson was in all-black, this game was over as a genuine contest. He should always wear all-black.
A 3-1 victory in which a bold Brighton side couldn’t have been more generous in the buildup to what were two excellent early goals.
Very swiftly, the hosts were punished again, for having the temerity of trying to play the ball out of defence. Henderson’s strike was beautiful.
In a season of magical moments, Firmino’s restraint and Henderson’s finish at Brighton will sit comfortably alongside a myriad of other moments that will flash across the mind, on the cold winter nights of January, to warm the soul.
I’m glad it seems that Brighton will be staying up.
At nine points clear of the relegation zone, with only four to play, it should now be a matter of when they secure Premier League football for next season, rather than if.
Without intending to be condescending, Brighton showed a huge amount of composure in not allowing those two early blows to alter the way they approached the game.
It would have been far easier for them to curl up into a ball, in the hope that Liverpool wouldn’t pick on them any more than they already had. Many other teams have found themselves in such a position and opted to defend what they had at 2-0 down.
Being expansive is a gamble for a team like Brighton. Sometimes it can pay off, but at other times there is a costly price to be paid.
Norwich took an idealist’s approach to their campaign, after sweeping all before them in the Championship last season, only to bomb resoundingly in the top division.
Eddie Howe’s Bournemouth are in great risk of following the Canaries out of the Premier League, having preached an aesthetically pleasing ethos for much of their five-year residency in the top flight.
In such circumstances, Brighton’s take on matters is nothing but admirable. They have claimed the mid-range Premier League mantle that once took Swansea City to League Cup success and one of their managers to the Liverpool job.
I wish them well and hope that they kick on for a higher placing in 2020/21.
After the opening exchanges and gifts were presented, by the time Brighton pulled their goal back it felt like it had been coming for some time.
Brighton began the second half in a similar frame of mind. It gave Liverpool food for thought, they adapted and wrestled back the initiative, from opponents that posed a puzzle for Klopp and his players to solve.
Henderson’s injury aside, it was a very satisfying night down in Sussex.
Williams will benefit from a start, despite being opted out at half-time. Virgil van Dijk offered his marvellous brand of calm authority. At one point, he diffused a long looping ball by heading it to himself.
Van Dijk essentially deals in the defensive version of Cruyff turns. It is an emotional experience to watch him in action.
Keita’s performance was arguably his best yet in a Liverpool shirt. Now, if only he can string together a run of injury-free seasons, then big, big things would be ahead for him.
It is all about turning that promise into a lasting presence.
Firmino was majestically whimsical and Salah is hungry for a splurge of goals to end the season—as he likes a Golden Boot, does our Mo. Sadio Mane just wanted to play.
Among Klopp’s first signings as Reds manager, Matip is one of 15 players to go on to hit 100 appearances during his time in charge, as part of the core of his group.
While he may not be first-choice starter at the back, largely owing to his inconsistent fitness, the No. 32 remains a key player within the squad, and this season serves as an outlier as the only campaign in which he has played fewer than 30 times.
The 28-year-old signed a new five-year contract with Liverpool back in October, keeping him with the club until at least 2024, which is a sign of both his and his manager’s commitment.
And speaking to the Westfalenpost, Matip described Klopp as “second to none worldwide,” in a testimony to his belief in his coach.
“He has a great team and a great approach that every single player tries to internalize,” he said.
“His intense style of football, giving the opponent no space to breathe, is special.
“I don’t know how he does it, it remains his secret. But the fact is that his teams are ready to walk through fire for him.
“He manages to create a very special atmosphere in the team and make it clear that you can only be successful if you subscribe to the big picture.
“He planted this mentality in the minds of the players, fans and the whole club and thus created a great unity.
“He is an exceptional coach who is second to none worldwide.”
It is no surprise to hear this, but this praise is always welcome, with there being few, if any, players who have not embraced Klopp’s approach.
His infectious personality is the same whether on camera or not, and this is how he and his staff have been able to lead Liverpool back to the top of the Premier League.
That Matip holds him in such high regard is encouraging, as though later in the interview he admits he would be open to a return to Schalke in the future, it is clear he understands the importance of the squad to Klopp.
His praise for the manager crystallises how he has been able to transform the Reds’ fortunes over the past five years.
And with the players ready to “walk through fire” for him, it would be no surprise for this success to continue in 2020/21.
Two early goals and it looked like it would be a stroll on the south coast, but Brighton are a decent side and made Liverpool work for their 30th Premier League win of the season.Brighton 1-3 Liverpool
Premier League (34), Amex Stadium
July 8, 2020
Goals: Trossard 45′; Salah 6′, 76′, Henderson 8′Unwanted record avoided as Mo leads the way
With Liverpool breaking records left, right and centre, we were surprisingly on the cusp of a record we didn’t want. After four defeats and a draw from the last five away games – and not a single goal to show in those five games – it was a welcome sight to see the boys navigate a tricky fixture and bring the three points home.
It was by no means plain sailing, with Brighton playing some eye-catching stuff, just like they did in the return fixture at Anfield, but once again that man Mohamed Salah played a huge part in yet another victory.
Two more goals, yet another assist, and he caused Brighton problems throughout. In 116 Premier League games he now has 75 goals and 28 assists – and will be a little disappointed it isn’t more as he tormented Brighton till the final whistle, desperate for his hat-trick and a goal that would’ve taken him closer to that golden boot again.Neco makes his mark in unfamiliar territory
If making your full debut for the Premier League Champions isn’t difficult enough, being played as a right-footed left-back only adds to the pressure.
It was a mixed bag from the young Welshman, but with the good far outweighing the naïve.
On 19 minutes a brilliant last-gasp challenge prevented an almost certain goal, keeping the 2-0 lead intact. He showed his attacking prowess with a superb step-over and cross a minute later at the other end.
He was caught out a couple of times in his own half, both times bailed out by the captain, but that’s all just part of the learning. All in all, a very promising debut and the lad has a bright future. Klopp sensibly took him off at half time as he was on a yellow card.
It was interesting that Klopp used him at left-back as Williams proving capable there would provide a very effective in-house solution to an area of that squad that needs depth adding to.The Ox conumdrum
There was a shot of Ox leaving the pitch at half time, shaking his head, looking despondent. For most of his career, managers have shuffled him from position to position, with him never really making any one position his own. The last couple of games seem to encapsulate that, subbed on the hour in both.
Anonymous against Villa in midfield, he really didn’t look like he knew exactly where – or how – to play across the front three, starting in place of Sadio Mane on the left.
He often seems caught in two minds between his midfield instincts and attempting to fulfil a forward role he’s not quite accustomed to.
Ox is often praised for his versatility and ability to play in several positions. Unfortunately, I think his game, and his ability to nail down a first-choice spot, suffers because of it.
Like Williams, Ox being capable as a backup to Mane would provide another effective option in the squad, but on this showing it perhaps isn’t the best option.Keita presses and impresses
This was another glimpse of the Naby Keita we paid a premium for – our record club signing when he was signed. He’d shown signs of his better form in the game against Villa and continued it into this game.
Within 13 minutes he’d stolen the ball, got himself another assist, and drove right through the heart of the Brighton defence setting up Mo Salah for a decent chance.
That’s now two assists in two games and a classy, dynamic performance against the Seagulls. He was pickpocketing Brighton at will, a skill that seems instinctive to him.
A fully fit, fully firing Keita is another of those ‘we already have them in the squad’ players Klopp has hinted about lately.
Maybe he’s been hearing about them Thiago rumours…The Rolls Royce Van Dijk
It’s become rather easy to take this Rolls Royce of a player for granted such is the ongoing quality of his performance. While the defence has shown signs of rustiness since the return, Van Dijk has been a colossus.
After a blip against City, where none of the back five covered themselves in glory, he’s right back to his best.
He was absolutely superb here with one or two moments having you shaking your head at just how he does it.
With the Brighton forward putting pressure on him chasing a ball over the top, he calmly nods it forward, clips it over his head, and calmly walks away with the ball. The striker was simply bamboozled.
The best centre half – if not the best player – on the planet.
Jordan Henderson will be sent for a scan on his knee following a collision which forced his withdrawal in the win against Brighton on Wednesday night.
With a little over 10 minutes remaining of the game and with Liverpool comfortably positioned at 3-1, Henderson was caught in an awkward challenge.
The collision with the Brighton player saw the captain’s knee bear the brunt of their shoulder with direct impact and he was withdrawn from proceedings, with James Milner taking his place.
With just four games remaining in the season, Henderson’s availability is now under doubt as Jurgen Klopp conceded after the game that while the severity at this stage is unknown, it “will not be nothing.”
“I don’t know how serious it is,” Klopp told reporters. “I don’t know, honestly. I didn’t see it back on the pitch, but I know that it will not be nothing.
“That’s how it is, but we have to wait. I cannot say more. I have had press since the game is over, so I have no idea how he left the dressing room.”
The 30-year-old skipper was one of the Reds’ brightest sparks on the south coast, netting his fourth goal of the season in what was his 350th career outing in the top-flight but will now return to Merseyside with the squad before undergoing further tests.
But with just two weeks until Liverpool are to be officially awarded the Premier League trophy at Anfield, Henderson could well miss out on the game itself against Chelsea itself and instead be forced to join the celebrations from his place in the stands – no John Terry mentions please!
While it will be a blow to both him and Liverpool with the obvious hope that it is nothing long-term, the glass half full view is it will open up a spot for the likes of Naby Keita and Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain to show their worth in the coming games.
Hopefully the injury isn’t serious enough to affect the Hendo trophy shuffle!
Liverpool turned their fortunes on the road around after putting three beyond Brighton, ending a run of five away games without a goal and moving the Reds to 92 points after 34 games.
It all came to be after an emphatic start on the south coast which saw Naby Keita‘s pressure acts unlock Brighton for both Mohamed Salah and Jordan Henderson to find the net, with the former adding his second to secure the win in the second half.
The Seagulls proved to be no walkover, however, having pulled one back on the cusp of half-time as they continued to probe throughout.
And Klopp was pleased with how his side found the solutions to unlock Brighton for a “deserved win.”
“Difficult game, good opponent, deserved win, job well done,” Klopp told reporters in his post-match press conference.
“I think we started well and finished well but left the door open during the middle but only because Brighton were really good.
“They played really good football, took some risks in their formation and some of their counter-attacks were frightening and we had to block twice in the box and in the end we concede the goal.
“I said at half time, it’s a good game, both sides, but we have to adjust a few things and make a few things better and they will not score again.”
The sour point of the night, however, was the knee injury to Jordan Henderson who is set for a scan back on Merseyside with Klopp conceding he doesn’t “know how serious it is” but it “will not be nothing” – throwing his participation for the remainder of the season in doubt.
Lallana signed a short-term extension to his contract with the Reds to ensure he remains at Anfield for the remainder of the current campaign, but after that will depart.
Leaving at the end of July, Lallana is then expected to join Leicester on a free transfer, reuniting with the manager who brought him to Liverpool back in 2014, Brendan Rodgers.
Both parties agreed when the 32-year-old put pen to paper last month that he would not block the pathway for those with long-term futures with the Reds, and Curtis Jones has since scored his first Premier League goal for the club.
This will remain the approach taken in the remaining five games, with Klopp telling reporters ahead of the clash with Brighton that Lallana is now only a break-glass option.
“It’s clear that Adam will leave the club in the summer, and for now, if you ask me about it, I already miss everything about him, and he’s still here,” he said.
“He’s an outstanding player, he’s one of the most influential players on a training quality that I ever had in my life, he’s an incredible professional.
“But now we have a difficult situation, and we respect that a lot. Everything with Adam is sorted, let me say it like this.
“He’s top fit, he’s in training, everything is fine, but yes, the future is his future.
“And if we need his help on the pitch, we can get it, he’s there and trains 100 percent, but as long as we don’t need it, he will just train.
“That’s the normal thing. I think there were a lot of discussions about players with ending contracts, here it was not even a discussion, it was clear we would extend Adam’s contract and he wanted to do that as well.
“But we will not put any risk on his future or whatever, that’s absolutely clear.
“He is one of the most important players of the time since I am here, so I wish him only the best for the future.
“From my point of view, he is already a legend here, so he can now start becoming a legend somewhere else from next season on.”
This week brings their first long-distance trip since the coronavirus pandemic forced a three-month break in the campaign, with Liverpool travelling 215 miles to Brighton.
Klopp and his players have already made the flight down south, with the manager explaining before the Wednesday night kickoff that this was the best way forward amid a “tough” schedule.
“When we heard about the fixtures it was tough. It’s tough for everybody, but if you get your fixtures you don’t look at where the others play and stuff like this,” he said.
“Each day that you have more rest between games makes the main difference.
“Now this is the third game with always three days, three days, three days, so between the games is only two days.
“You know around Boxing Day when we played pretty much every 48 hours after the last game, it makes absolutely no sense and will never make sense.
“I stick to the opinion that that’s a crime. But three days is kind of OK.
“The next game is a problem and the next day after that is a problem, from an intensity point of view. Now [we are] travelling on top of that.
“We didn’t know when we got the fixtures how the country would be in that time, but still we had to plan.
“I think now we’ve found a hotel where we can sleep overnight. We had to make a decision on if we should go on the matchday, but Brighton is not around the corner, especially the airport.
“So we decided to do it like we would in the middle of the season and fly there today, train tomorrow morning and all that stuff.
“It should be OK, but then, of course, coming back in the middle of the night and playing a few hours later again against Burnley.
“So it’s not easier for them or easier for us, it’s just tough for all of us. The logistics are really difficult.
“In and around the stadiums meanwhile, I think is really good, everybody is used to everything we can deal with the situation.
“So far the dressing rooms were brilliant, how all the other teams set it up, so that’s all OK.
“It’s different, and I pretty much can’t wait until it is like it was before, but it’s absolutely OK.”
There’s a poor recent away run for Liverpool to rectify when they face Brighton in their latest Premier League fixture on Wednesday night.Brighton vs. Liverpool
Wednesday, July 8, 2020 – 8.15pm (BST)
Premier League (34)
Referee: Craig Pawson
Liverpool are back on the road, heading to the south coast on Tuesday and staying in a hotel overnight before they seek to secure their 30th win of what has been a landslide Premier League season.
The Reds were far from their best against Aston Villa but continued to find a way to keep the points tally ticking over as they stretched their formidable run at Anfield to 57 games unbeaten, the last 24 of which have ended in wins.
However, it is a different story away from home for Jurgen Klopp‘s Reds on recent away days as they have failed to win any of their last five in all competitions, losing four.
It’s a run of results which has seen Liverpool fail to even register a goal, their worst streak since Graeme Souness oversaw eight away fixtures without scoring in 1992.
The only points dropped in this remarkable league season have been on the road and they will be aiming to rectify their record against a Brighton side who have now all but safely secured their topflight status for 2020/21.
The Seagulls currently find themselves nine points above the drop zone with five games remaining to alleviate the pressure of uncertainty.
Liverpool should be confident of ending their poor record away from Anfield and have recent history behind them in meetings against Brighton having won all five meetings since their promotion to the Premier League.Team News
With just three days between Liverpool’s last game and their meeting with the Seagulls, there is another chance for rotation to inject fresh legs and avoid further injuries.
Andy Robertson had suffered a dead calf late in the win against Aston Villa but declared himself “good to go”, but form and rest could determine his place in the XI.
His likely replacement in James Milner, meanwhile, is set to be available after missing out over the weekend after “feeling something” in a muscle prior to the game, a setback which follows on from his hamstring strain sustained against Everton.
And continuing the theme in defence, Dejan Lovren is to miss his third consecutive game with a muscle injury of his own, leaving Klopp without another senior centre-back option once more.
There will also be many who hope to see the club’s youngsters provided with another opportunity to feature either from the off or from the bench following on from Curtis Jones netting his maiden Premier League goal.
Possible Brighton XI: Ryan; Lamptey, Duffy, Dunk, Burn; Mooy, Propper, Bissouma, Trossard; Maupay, ConnollyLast 5 Away to Brighton (All Competitions)
Won 1-0 – January 2019 (Salah pen)
Won 5-1 – December 2017 (Murray pen; Can, Firmino x2, Coutinho, Dunk OG)
Won 2-1 – September 2011 (Barnes pen; Bellamy, Kuyt)
Won 3-2 (AET) – January 1991 (Small, Byrne; McMahon x2, Rush)
Lost 2-0 – January 1984 (Ryan, Connor)
Capacity: 30,750Did You Know?
Liverpool are just one goalscorer away from setting a new club record for the most players hitting the net in one league season.
When Curtis Jones struck to double the Reds’ lead against Aston Villa he became the 17th different player to score for the club in 2019/20, a record matched only by seasons 1911/12 and 2015/16.
It leaves Klopp’s side just five games to find the 18th goalscorer to see another record tumble in their wake, and there are only five obvious possibilities – one of whom is currently sidelined.
Can Liverpool break their away duck at Brighton and also see a new record established?Form
Liverpool – Last five results (all competitions)
Brighton – Last five results (all competitions)
Speaking in his pre-match press conference, Klopp stressed the need for his chargers to be ready for a Brighton side “full of confidence”:
“We play Brighton now. I’m not 100 percent sure if they are still fighting for staying in the league or they already feel secure, which is possible as well.
“They are a really good football team, I really think what they did over the last year is really incredible.
“A relegation battle last year and implementing a new style, proper football style. It’s interesting and my colleague [Graham Potter] is doing a really good job.
“Since lockdown, they changed their approach a little bit and they went for results. We don’t know exactly what we will face, a team in a good run and pretty much full of confidence. We need to be ready for that.”TV & Liveblog Info
Brighton vs. Liverpool will be shown live in the UK on Sky Sports Main Event and Sky Sports Premier League, with coverage starting at 8pm (BST) ahead of the 8.15pm kickoff.
Chris Williams will be keeping you up to date with all the action and providing his usual non-bias take on This Is Anfield’s matchday liveblog, starting from 7.30pm (BST).
Curtis Jones‘ perfect weekend has further cemented the belief that he can take up an important role at Liverpool, which could solve a number of problems this summer.
By his own admission, Jones will have exceeded his expectations for the season.
Speaking at the start of pre-season, the teenager simply laid out his objective for the campaign as to “get some minutes” in the Premier League.
Just under a year on, and he has become the club’s youngest-ever captain, scored the winner in a Merseyside derby, the decisive penalty to knock Arsenal out of the League Cup and has now netted his first league goal.
His strike in the 2-0 win over Aston Villa at Anfield was symbolic; the Reds’ first home game since being crowned champions, Jones gave another promising glimpse into the future.
He was only on the field for eight minutes, including injury time, but he made sure to maximise every second he was afforded, as Klopp acknowledged.
“He came on, the first situation he had was a shot, then he was involved in a foul,” the boss recalled in his post-match press conference.
“I think he had pretty much everything apart from a card in a really short period of time, and then he scored a goal. The goal he deserves.”
Jones’ half-volley beyond Pepe Reina—a player he will have grown up watching, having debuted for the Reds when the midfielder was just four years old—came less than 24 hours after the club announced his new five-year contract.
And the grip Jordan Henderson locked him in as he celebrated showed the esteem he is held in at Liverpool, with James Milner, Andy Robertson and Gini Wijnaldum among those to congratulate him on social media.
Klopp told Jones to take the game “by the scruff of the neck,” and that he was trusted to, and then able to, is testament to the progress he has made this season.
Taking over from Naby Keita in the middle of the park, the 19-year-old supported the front three of Sadio Mane, Mo Salah and Roberto Firmino, with his express instruction to get on the ball and make things happen.
Up against a similar Villa side to that which pummelled his academy colleagues in the League Cup at the end of 2019, Jones looked at home in midfield.
His natural physique, standing at over six foot, allows him to match up to more senior opponents, but it is his unwavering confidence that gives him the platform to dazzle, and the drive to make it 2-0 late on.
The stutter that accompanies his post-match interviews belies the conviction of a player who knows he has the quality to make it at a club like Liverpool.
Jones knows it, Klopp knows it and the Kop are growing to embrace it—but importantly, that does not manifest itself into the perceived arrogance that allegedly prompted Everton to turn him down as a six-year-old.
“Plenty of young players have the skills,” Klopp explained on the announcement of a deal that will keep Jones at Anfield until at least 2025.
“It’s about more than that if you want to achieve potential, and Curtis is showing it.”
The manager praised his “super attitude,” and this was echoed as academy director Alex Inglethorpe spoke to the Times‘ Paul Joyce, saying “there is a new level of maturity that I have seen in Curtis this season.”
It is no longer about simply picking up the ball and trying out the flicks, tricks and dribbles that made him such an attractive player at an early age, with Jones now accepting that there must be a lot more to his game to make it under Klopp.
Inglethorpe highlighted the Liverpool under-19s’ 7-0 thrashing of Napoli in the UEFA Youth League back in November as a marquee moment for Jones, who scored a hat-trick that day but was also “ruthless” in setting the tone for his team-mates.
Giving him the captain’s armband at youth level has helped that, instilling a sense of responsibility that also aided Harry Wilson‘s step up to the senior stage, but so too has the advice of professionals like Milner and Henderson.
One of the most influential figures in the dressing room at Anfield will leave next month, and while Jones will no doubt miss a role model like Adam Lallana, he will also be licking his lips at the opportunity his departure presents.
Fitness issues notwithstanding, it is notable that Lallana has not been involved in a matchday squad since signing a new short-term deal with Liverpool ahead of the Premier League restart.
Lallana’s extension was designed to reward the 32-year-old for his service and the important role he played in the Reds’ resurgence under Klopp, but it came on the proviso that he would not be blocking the next generation.
Jones filled the No. 8 role against Villa, and that is arguably where he is most comfortable, but like Lallana—and particularly a young Lallana—he is capable of operating in a number of positions.
Midfield may be where he sees the most action as he makes his breakthrough, but much of his recent years in the academy have been spent on the left wing.
With Divock Origi again flattering to deceive in his latest outing, it could be that Jones’ flexibility allows him to usurp the Belgian in the pecking order in attack.
He has, after all, only scored two fewer goals than Origi so far this season, with three in nine appearances, despite playing 863 fewer minutes.
Klopp has repeatedly stressed that the young players in his squad will not be given games for the sake of it, but only if they are ready and if the situation dictates it—and Jones’ cameo against Villa proved he is ready.
Ahead of a transfer window that could see Klopp tweak his squad with a handful of additions, but also one that he has already admitted would benefit from “creating our transfers internally,” the way in which his No. 48 has stepped up is timely.
The last time Liverpool won the European Cup, in 2005, their foundation was built on the quality and influence of two local lads in Steven Gerrard and Jamie Carragher.
Now, with No. 6 and No. 19 in tow as Klopp forges a dynasty, perhaps Jones is prepared to join Trent Alexander-Arnold to ensure there are, once again, two Scousers in our team.
Sadio Mane was showered with praise and described as “a fabulous player” with “nothing to dislike” after yet another game-changing goal over the weekend.
Liverpool lacked attacking penetration for much of the proceedings against relegation-threatened Aston Villa until Liverpool’s No. 10 once again rose to the fore.
Mane has netted 16 Premier League goals across 15 games in 2019/20, all of which have ended in a Liverpool win.
Importantly, five were to open the scoring, two were the only goals of the game and a further two have been to seal a victory for Jurgen Klopp‘s Reds – a man for the big moment.
Since signing for Liverpool in 2016, Mane has made 165 appearances with a return of 79 goals and 34 assists across all competitions, where his goal-scoring contributions and all-round game have proven key to catapulting the Reds to the top of club football.
In yet another consistent campaign, Mane’s name has regularly been thrown in the ring to succeed teammate Virgil van Dijk in clinching the Player of the Year award.
And Graeme Souness is the latest to echo the views of many when running the rule over what Mane offers to Liverpool each and every matchday.
“He’d be the last one I’d want to lose. He’s 28 years old, fantastic attitude, he’s a warrior and it would be far easier to say what he hasn’t got, and I can’t tell you what he hasn’t got,” Souness told Sky Sports.
“He’s spot on with his attitude, aggressive, will not be bullied. I think if you were really aggressive to the others, not so much Firmino [but] Salah you could maybe discourage if the rules were slightly more flexible, but nothing discourages this guy.
“You could see he could deal with the English game [at Southampton] but then again it’s making the jump from Southampton, with all due respect, to a club that’s on the world stage where every game you play it could be the other team’s cup final.
“You don’t get easy games if you’re a Liverpool player. Everyone wants to go to war with you, everyone wants to take you on and everyone wants to beat you, you’re a scalp.
“You don’t know how players will react until you get them in and he’s grown, he’s relished every challenge that comes his way and generally wins every challenge that comes his way.
“He’s a fabulous player, there is nothing to dislike about him. He’s smiley, open and you want to work with people like that.
“I don’t think you’d have to say very much to him in terms of ‘train harder today’ or on match day ‘make sure you’re at it’ – I think it’s inbred in him. I think he’d be an absolute dream to work with.”
Mane’s incredible levels of consistency have now seen him score 20 goals, across all competitions, for three successive seasons following his effort against Villa on Sunday.
The joint Golden Boot winner from last season is currently fifth in this season’s race for the gong, five behind leader Jamie Vardy (21) and just one behind fellow Red Mohamed Salah (17).
As Souness alluded to, Mane is an embodiment of a Klopp team and at 28 years of age is at the peak of his powers, ones which have been key in propelling the club to their world, European and Premier League titles.
Liverpool’s lead is 23 points again at the top of the league! Today we have the match reaction, the rumours and the latest on Thiago Alcantara.Third Polish goalkeeper joins Reds ranks
Liverpool have completed the signing of 16-year-old goalkeeper Fabian Mrozek.
The Polish stopper was on trial with the Reds last year but had to wait until turning 16 to join, and will become the third stopper on the club’s books from the country along with Kamil Grabara and Jakub Ojrzynski.
He joins from the FC Wroclaw Academy and spent time training with the first team last year.
Mrozek will go into the U18s squad for 2020/21 and compete with the likes of Oscar Kelly and Ojrzynski for game time, with Vitezslav Jaros and Ben Winterbottom the U23s stoppers.Elliott joins Jones in committing future to Reds
Two enormous talents, two brand new contracts.
Curtis Jones signed a new deal with the Reds over the weekend and then scored at Anfield against Aston Villa straight away afterwards – an ideal way to celebrate, really.
So now we can expect Harvey Elliott to do the same against Brighton in midweek, correct?!
The right-sided forward has signed his first professional deal with the Reds, now that he has turned 17, and joins several other seniors and youngsters in committing their futures to Anfield for years to come.
We have a fantastic squad, but these two have a great chance of being the next wave of talent to keep the trophy haul going—and both Elliott himself and Jurgen Klopp are extremely excited about what lies ahead.Thiago watch
Finances and circumstances dictate that the Reds won’t be linked with an in-his-prime, big-name player like Thiago too often this summer, so while we are, we’re keeping a close eye on fans’ investigations, journalists’ suggestions and more! If you can’t see the tweets below, click here.
#LFC insiders suggest it’ll be a quiet summer, Thiago is far from a typical FSG signing, and midfield isn’t the area most in need of reinforcement. But will Klopp be able to resist a player he has so long admired for such a cut-price fee?https://t.co/pPzuLquk7K
— David Lynch (@LynchStandard) July 6, 2020
?Thiago’s press officer has recently followed our CEO on Twitter. pic.twitter.com/vxzL4vYMg3
— The Anfield Talk* (@TheAnfieldTalk) July 5, 2020
Thiago's departure is almost certain as he wants to leave Bayern.
— Anfield Hour (@AnfieldHour) July 5, 2020
If Liverpool don't sign Thiago we are finished. I can't see us winning the league next season by more than 15 points without him. Finished.
— Ian Mc (@McGlynnimino) July 6, 2020Senior moments
It wasn’t the most glorious of performances, but Liverpool found a way to win against Aston Villa and several players were notable for their impact even when below their best.Quickfire LFC news
An Express “exclusive” (yes!) says Juventus and Paris Saint-Germain want to fight it out for Hector Bellerin this summer.
That’s the Bellerin with three years left on his deal, who is just back from 12 months out injured and who is currently struggling to keep his place ahead of Cedric Soares. In an Arsenal defence.
That’ll be a no, then.Tweet of the day
Tonight’s result means Man City’s maximum possible points tally for this season is 81.
Liverpool reached 82 before lockdown #asterisk
— Andrew Beasley (@BassTunedToRed) July 5, 2020What we’re reading
Sean Ingle looks into why there are so few Asian players at top clubs, for the Guardian.
And Sam Tighe ranks the best players since football returned behind closed doors, for Bleacher Report.Worth watching tonight
Spurs vs Everton in the Premier League. 8pm on Sky Sports Premier League. Or on Sky Sports Main Event if you’re a soulless denizen of the underworld who wants to listen to fake crowd chantings at weird moments.