Paul Glatzel is one of those who could benefit from the suspension of the campaign as the Liverpool youngster nears a return from a season-long ACL injury.
The 19-year-old has been sidelined since the first friendly of pre-season, having damaged his ACL in the 6-0 win over Tranmere Rovers, five minutes after his role in Bobby Duncan’s goal.
It has been a frustrating season for the striker, who scored 29 goals in 34 games for the academy in 2018/19, but one offered a glimmer of optimism as he was called up to the first-team setup on a full-time basis.
He has been undergoing his rehabilitation at Melwood, rather than Kirkby, but for now is restricted to his home as with the rest of the UK.
Speaking to LiverpoolFC.com via video link, Glatzel revealed that he is “basically at the end of his rehab” and that by now he was “meant to be back training,” which is certainly a positive sign for when the campaign eventually resumes.
“I should have been back around now but obviously with what is going on it’s not possible at the moment,” he explained.
“So I’m just making sure I do my fitness stuff I’ve been sent from the club and just waiting for all this to take its course and then be back on the pitch when we’re allowed.”
Rather than join the first team for their training sessions on Zoom, Glatzel is spending this period as part of the under-23s group, with the squad all connecting at 9.30am every day.
The work he is able to do at home is no doubt restricted, but the extended time off could benefit the youngster as he eyes a return to the field before the season’s delayed end.
“I’d hope to be able to get a few training sessions in pretty soon when we come back,” he added.
“I’ll probably have to do a little bit more rehab and then hopefully get back into training. Then wait and see what happens.
“Hopefully I can get a few minutes but I’ll just have to see what happens and focus on getting back to full fitness.”
Glatzel’s initial target was a comeback in time for next pre-season, which could still be more realistic after a “tough” time out that has seen him look to Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain for inspiration.
“The injury I’ve had has been a long injury, I’ve not kicked a ball since the start of pre-season,” he said.
“It has been a tough one to take because I was doing quite well before that. I’ve just got to make sure I get my sessions in and be patient because time is a healer in this sense.
“I just need to wait for my injury to be sorted and to heal properly so that when I come back the risk of me getting injured again is much, much lower and I can just focus on my football again.”
The key for Glatzel is that when he is fit again he should be part of Klopp’s senior squad preparing for 2020/21, and a long time on the sidelines can at least steel him for a renewed effort to break through.
But for now, with both of his parents working for the NHS, he has joined the calls to stress: “You just need to be prepared to stay at home for as long as it takes, to make sure fewer people are affected.”
Mainz are among the clubs to have returned to training under social distancing measures in Germany, with Liverpool’s Taiwo Awoniyi explaining its positive impact.
Football has been suspended across the majority of Europe during the coronavirus pandemic, but the Bundesliga is closer to resumption than many other leagues.
Clubs in the German top flight reported back for training last week but on a limited basis, with players required to maintain social distancing and sessions based around non-contact areas of the game.
Pictures emerged from Bayern Munich’s training ground to highlight how this is being put into place, and now Awoniyi has provided further context.
Awoniyi joined Jurgen Klopp‘s former club Mainz on a season-long loan last summer, and though he has made just six appearances for the 15th-placed side is still part of Achim Beierlorzer’s squad.
The Nigerian told Omasports that he “can’t believe” it has been possible to resume training on a non-contact basis, and that “it feels good because we all can feel the ball again.”
“The Germans have always been professional and the training has been more like passing drills,” he explained.
“We are keeping social distance, nobody is touching each other and everything is under strict conditions.
“The monitoring is strict, and those drills don’t need contact.
“It feels good because we all can feel the ball again—and everyone can be safe in the end, which is most important for us.
“Everyone has been indoors for a while and it’s same everywhere around the world. We have to follow the instructions we are given.
“At Mainz, the way everything is being conducted has shown how Germans are and how professional they are as a club.
“It was a good training session for everyone. I can’t believe we can play football without contact.”
The DFL have proposed that the Bundesliga returns in early May, with games played behind closed doors, and a successful returning to social-distanced training is a step in the right direction.
“We are happy about it but we will be more glad when everything comes back to normal, when the whole virus is gone and I pray everything returns to normal for everyone,” Awoniyi continued.
“Kudos to the medical staff. For us, we have to stay safe at home and on the pitch, but it feels good to touch the ball again.
“I hope everything will be back to normal for everyone in the end.”
The Bundesliga is set to serve as blueprint for other European leagues to follow, and though the Premier League is more likely to reconvene later, clubs in England are expected to take a similar approach.
Awoniyi’s comments highlight the positive effect it can have on the morale of players, which could be particularly key in the Premier League due to the ridiculous pressure they have been put under by the government.
To simply “touch the ball again” and be able to rejoin their team-mates—albeit under strict guidelines—could be a big development for people effectively relied upon as a vital source of entertainment during a turbulent time.
The FA have ratified their decision to end Steps 3 to 7 of the National League system and expunge all results for 2019/20, effectively ending one Liverpool loanee’s season.
It had been previously announced towards the end of March that the FA intended to conclude the campaign early for leagues from Step 3 down, due to the coronavirus pandemic.
And after a vote by the FA Council, this has now been ratified, with no champions, promotion or relegation determined as all results have been wiped off.
The ruling was said to be “overwhelmingly in favour of ratifying the decision” and is described as the “most appropriate way” to act following the suspension of football in England.
A total of 92 leagues have been prematurely ended, therefore, with Step 3 comprised of the Northern Premier League‘s Premier Division, the Southern League’s Central and South Divisions and the Isthmian League’s Premier Division.
Step 4 includes the Northern Premier League‘s Division One North West, which has been home to Liverpool loanee Dan Atherton since the January transfer window.
Atherton took over duties from Shamal George as Marine FC’s on-loan Reds ‘keeper at the start of the year, and impressed as No. 1 in Crosby.
Though a popular figure at the academy, competition for places from the likes of Vitezslav Jaros, Ben Winterbottom and Jakub Ojrzynski saw the 20-year-old play just four times for the under-23s in the first half of the campaign.
The decision to expunge the majority of the National League system has been met with widespread criticism, with Geoff Thompson, chairman of South Shields FC in the Northern Premier League‘s Premier Division, confirming he was planning legal action.
Meanwhile, Kate Osborne, Labour MP for Jarrow, Tyne and Wear said she was “extremely disappointed” as “the season could have quite easily been reconvened when the pandemic had finished.”
Atherton’s time at Marine was designed to aid his progress at a crucial stage, providing him with first-team experience in a physically demanding league.
Now he will be required to reassess on his arrival back at Liverpool, with a big summer ahead.
With two games to spare, Liverpool’s 18th, and most recent, league title arrived as an era of dominance came to a close at the conclusion of the 1989/90 season.
After 35 games in the topflight, Liverpool were leading the pack and needed just four points from their last three games to secure the title.
The Reds had stuttered throughout the season and offered up a multitude of opportunities for their rivals to capitalise, but having failed to do so the impetus remained with Kenny Dalglish’s side.
“They have not, this season, been consistently as convincing as they were in 1988,” The Times had assessed after Liverpool closed in on the title with three games remaining.
“Then, they finished out on their own, nine points clear of the runners-up, Manchester United, and 17 points above Forest in third place. Now, they are still in Aston Villa’s sights.”
But by the time Queens Park Rangers arrived at Anfield on April 28, 1990, the Reds needed only to better the result of Aston Villa, who were facing Norwich, to secure the league title.
And while “teams no longer come to Anfield with legs and minds of jelly,” as the formidable aura surrounding the Reds started to crack, the know-how to see the job through remained second-nature.
Re-winding back to the start of the season, Liverpool’s strong start saw them go eight games unbeaten, which included a 9-0 win over Crystal Palace, to sit undefeated at the top of the table.
Two points separated them from fourth-placed Everton and Arsenal sat just one behind in second place before a run of four defeats and three wins in the subsequent seven games followed, resulting in Liverpool dropping to third place in the space of just over 30 days.
The Reds’ invincibility was given its sternest test and provided a small glimpse into how Liverpool’s empire was slowly falling to its knees.
The last defeat in that run, where Liverpool would lose just once more in the league in their remaining 23 games, came against Sheffield Wednesday – but the result was of secondary importance on an emotionally-charged afternoon.
From that point on, the Reds would win 12 and draw seven until the title-decider against QPR, but they would show signs of vulnerability and fragility along the way which, unbeknownst at the time, would signal the start of the end.
But on April 28, 1990, Liverpool would be given a chance to clinch the title with two games to spare. Aston Villa had played a game more and needed to beat Norwich to keep their title hopes alive, with the Reds needing only to better the result of their rivals to clinch No. 18.
And it was anything but straightforward. QPR had taken the lead through Roy Wegerle after just 14 minutes to put the party on hold.
But the ever-reliable Ian Rush and John Barnes would both strike to see Liverpool win 2-1 and with the Villa game ending four minutes after the final whistle at Anfield, the Reds would be forced to wait to see if they had won the league or would have to wait until Derby’s visit.
And while the players were on the pitch, news filtered through that Villa had been held to a 3-3 draw, ensuring the 10th title in 15 seasons was secured.
Both Alan Hansen and Kenny Dalglish were bullish of Liverpool’s achievements after the game, with the captain saying: “The team’s had its critics, but we have had only one league defeat since November, and that’s one hell of a run.”
Dalglish, on the other hand, said: “We won the title because we have been the best team this season and not because Norwich held Aston Villa to a draw. If someone wants to help along the way we are grateful but we don’t expect it.”
Liverpool would be presented with the trophy after their 1-0 win over Derby in the penultimate game of the season, with their final match coming away at Coventry City.
And while Hansen would at the time claim that “this squad is so good it could keep going for another 20 years,” the opposite was true as the club would fall from the top and fail to return for a further three decades.
It was a silent decline which would creep up slowly throughout the 1990s, but with an ageing squad and Dalglish’s shock resignation to follow, the familiar, and almost annual, reunion with the league title would soon be spoken of in past tense and a new generation would only hear the stories second-hand.
Wolves captain Conor Coady called for the finger-pointing to stop and everybody to come together after the launch of the #PlayersTogether initiative raising vital funds for the NHS during the coronavirus crisis.
As the country continues to grapple with the awful Covid-19 situation, footballers found themselves in the crossfire and facing accusations over a supposed lack of support.
Health Secretary Matt Hancock called on players to do more and doubled down on that assertion on Sunday, despite news filtering out that top-flight captains were working on a joint fund.
#PlayersTogether was launched on Wednesday, with a flood of social media messages outlining the group’s aims of raising funds for NHS charities and distributing them “where they are needed most” in partnership with NHS Charities Together.
Coady has been working with all other Premier League captains to get the initiative to this point, with the Wolves skipper saying footballers were always going to do their bit during this terrible time.
— Jordan Henderson (@JHenderson) April 8, 2020
“Footballers are good people,” Coady told the PA news agency.
“There’s lots of good people within football and (this is) something where everybody wants to try and make a difference as much as possible
“Now, we’ve got to that point where we can do that at the minute, so we want to try and help the right people at the right times, to make sure that people are getting the best possible care. It’s a horrible, horrible time we’re in.
“It’s about everybody coming together, not trying to point fingers at certain people within the world and trying to say they’re not doing enough.
“I think it is important we come together. No matter what people do, that we come together because the time we’re in now is absolutely horrible.”
Coady praised “absolutely brilliant” Liverpool captain Jordan Henderson for driving an initiative that has been the works for “quite a while”.
The Wolves captain feels the difficulties in getting the right support and outcomes were perhaps underestimated, with the players knowing it would be stronger if “everybody was doing it and looking in the same direction.”
“We understand, as human beings as well as footballers, how tragic it is at the minute,” Coady said. “It’s a horrible time.
“It was not a hard thing at all. Jordan was brilliant in terms of setting up and taking the initiative and moving forward with it and then getting in contact with everybody.
“As soon as he did, everybody was on board straight away.
“So it’s a brilliant, brilliant thing that he’s set up and something that’ll affect a lot of people.”
Premier League clubs may be heading for a return to training by mid-May, judging by current projections and a letter sent out to EFL clubs.
Football League sides have been sent a letter by EFL chairman, and former Liverpool chief executive, Rick Parry.
In it, Parry details the prospective plan for a return to action, if social and health measures allow it.
At present, the “working assumption” is that the remaining matches of 2019/20 will be played out behind closed doors across a timespan of 56 days over the summer—and the letter advised clubs not to expect to return to training before 16 May.
Those timescales are dependent on the country lifting lockdown measures when safe to do so, and would vary slightly for the Premier League.
The 56 days includes play-off matches, which aren’t needed in the top flight, which has just nine games to play for the majority of sides.
If that timescale holds true, and the Premier League follow the same approximate plan as the EFL, a two-to-three-week period of training to gear up for the remainder of the season might be expected, with games actually taking place in June and July.
Liverpool need just two more wins to secure the Premier League title, though other eventualities such as relegation and European spots have far longer still to run before outcomes are decided.
The mutual admiration between the manager and his squad is always clear to see, with the players going to the ends of the earth to produce the performance levels the coach demands.
In turn, he defends them to the hilt, encourages them to be the best they can be and has given them the platform to be successful at the very top of the game.
It takes a special kind of manager to bring all parts of the team together in this way, and the Reds’ African duo have explained exactly why Jurgen’s approach works so well, and which parts particularly won their respect.
“He is somebody that is full of life, he is somebody who makes us all responsible as players, which is very important for a player on the field,” said Mane in an interview with the club magazine.
“He is a coach who knows how to handle you off the field, too. Sometimes he can be hard with his players, but it’s for positive reasons and that’s helped us a lot on the field. It is quite impressive, in fact, if you got to know him to understand all of that.”
Keita agreed that it’s about the approachable and personable nature of Klopp’s own character which is vital, with communication and trust all-important.
“He’s always there to explain things to you, such as if you haven’t played the best in a game, which is hard for coaches to do.
“He communicates with us all equally and that’s what I really like about him. During training he will stop you and give you advice and explanations.
“He is a coach that gives you confidence and he is the motivating factor before a match, but you’ve also got to be motivated on the field.
“He’s always there for his players, he’s almost like a best friend but he’s a coach who can communicate with all his players.”
As well as the message being delivered right, it’s the responsibility and trust that Klopp places in his players which allows the squad to thrive, which isn’t limited to when the whistle blows for kick-off.
“I believe it’s the fact that he makes you responsible on and off the field,” continued Mane.
“I think that football is in the head but then you’ve got to transfer that to the body. He’s always there to be able to give you confidence. Overall for a player it’s all about confidence.”
Keita added that the responsibility and growth Klopp places such emphasis on is part of a player improving, which is always expected at a club like Liverpool.
“That’s coaching and he sees everything. I think I have now improved a lot, apart from my injuries which have kept me out of several matches. He’s somebody who communicates a lot and a coach who explains everything to all his players.”
It’s not just a direct ‘do this’ approach from Jurgen, it’s a complete explanation of how, and importantly, why.
The full buy-in from his players, from the way of playing to the levels of behaviour expected from them, is a core part of how the squad has grown and developed, and it’s clear that the squad respects that approach as much as they benefit from it.
Andy Robertson took to Instagram to answer fans’ questions on a range of topics and, as usual, the Scot brought his hilarious A-game to the fore with his responses.
The Liverpool left-back is known as one of the most entertaining members of the squad thanks to a brand of cheekiness and non-stop sense of humour.
He’s a hit with the supporters for his character just as much as his ability on the football pitch, and his latest discussion on social media was much the same as usual: open, informative, funny and not afraid to take a sly dig or two at a team-mate!
Answering fans on his Insta story, Robbo covered everything from his sport outside football to the team-mate he’s missing most.
One interesting insight was how much the No. 26 shirt has come to mean to him, despite it not really being a factor when he originally took it at Dundee United, while he also revealed that he was a fair golf player in a couple of answers.
Battered Mars bars—a thing in Scotland and basically nowhere else on the planet—get a mention, while his late header against Aston Villa, an equaliser before the Reds then went and won the game even later on, gets the nod as his goal of the season.
Onto the more team-mate oriented questions, the players at the opposite ends of the scale in the Robbo Awards were Trent Alexander-Arnold and Roberto Firmino; while the Brazilian was picked as most skilful in the squad, his fellow full-back was named worst singer!
The real star though remains James Milner, who is Robertson’s banter king of the squad and who he says—tongue-in-cheek, presumably—is the “first thing I think about when I wake up and the last thing I think about before I go to bed!”
Proper team-mate goals.
Elsewhere, King Kenny Dalglish gets his all-star Liverpool five-a-side team alongside Steven Gerrard, Xabi Alonso, Alan Hansen and Ray Clemence, while Roberto Carlos is the best left-back ever in Robbo’s eyes and when asked where else he’d play if not in that same position, the Scot picks the bench!
We think that’s harsh – there’s always a spot in the side for someone with as much industry, heart and willingness to clout other teams’ star players on the head as our No. 26 has!
There’s always maths involved in football, and we have put together a quiz for the Kop Kids which mixes the love of Liverpool with some education.
From looking at a league table to calculating a player’s total goals over a number of seasons, we often apply maths into football without even knowing it.
And here we’ve looked to make maths a bit more interesting, with Liverpool the central theme throughout.
You’ll need to have some knowledge of the current team’s squad numbers, Premier League games, goals and the trophies the Reds have won—and paper and pencil could prove handy.Give your brain a maths workout with these 10 questions! MORE ACTIVITIES FOR KIDS:
Premier League players have joined forces to create an initiative which aims to raise funds for NHS charities during the coronavirus pandemic and distribute them “where they are needed most”.
Top-flight stars came under fire after some clubs placed non-playing staff on the Government’s furlough scheme, with health secretary Matt Hancock last week calling for Premier League players to take a pay cut.
Premier League clubs proposed wage deductions or deferrals of around 30 per cent to mitigate the financial impact of the crisis but talks over the weekend with the Professional Footballers’ Association did not reach a resolution.
But England captain Harry Kane was among a number of professionals to tweet out a statement about an initiative called, perhaps a little pointedly, #PlayersTogether, which has partnered with NHS Charities Together (NHSCT).
— Jordan Henderson (@JHenderson) April 8, 2020
A statement from the group said: “Over the course of the last week we, as a group of Premier League players, have held numerous talks together with the vision of creating a contribution fund that can be used to distribute money to where it’s needed most in this COVID-19 crisis; helping those fighting for us on the NHS frontline as well as other key areas of need.
“This is a critical time for our country and for our NHS, and we are determined to help in any way that we can.
“We can confirm that after extensive conversations between a huge number of players from all Premier League clubs we have created our own collective player initiative, #PlayersTogether, and have partnered with NHS Charities Together (NHSCT) in order to assist them in generating and distributing funds quickly and efficiently to where they are needed most.”
Hancock’s criticism during last Thursday’s daily briefing heightened the issue about players taking salary reductions but he praised the players’ announcement on Wednesday night.
“Warmly welcome this big-hearted decision from so many Premier League footballers to create #PlayersTogether to support NHS Charities. You are playing your part,” Hancock wrote on Twitter.
Former England players Gary Lineker and Gary Neville took to the social networking website to congratulate the players for an initiative the statement said was “separate to any other club and league conversations”.
A PFA statement last Saturday claimed the Premier League’s suggested cut would amount to £500million, meaning the Government would lose out on around £200million in tax contributions and “would be detrimental to our NHS”.
— Christian (@Christianjw92) April 8, 2020
The #PlayersTogether statement continued: “The contributions that this initiative will generate will help NHSCT quickly grant funds to the front line to support in a number of ways, including to help enhance the well-being of NHS Staff, volunteers and patients impacted by COVID-19 as well as helping them in their work supporting many other critical areas of need, both now and in the longer term.
“#PlayersTogether is about we, as players, collaborating together to create a voluntary initiative, separate to any other club and league conversations, that can help get much needed funds to those that need it right now. To try and help, along with so many others in the country, make a real difference.”
Ellie Orton, chief executive of NHS Charities Together, praised the “amazing message of support to the NHS” from Premier League players.
In a statement on NHS Charities Together’s official Twitter account, she said: “It is a fantastic initiative from the Premier League players that will raise vital funds for our appeal but will also inspire many others to give donations as well.
“It will make a huge difference to us to have the players on board and sends an amazing message of support to the NHS staff and volunteers working so tirelessly to save lives and keep friends and families safe and well.
“I can’t wait to start working with the players to look at where their support can make the biggest difference, so thank you to them for coming together like this, we are really excited by the possibilities it creates for the appeal.”
Manchester United and England striker Marcus Rashford admitted the last week has been an arduous process.
He told BT Sport: “It has been tough. I think from the beginning we knew what we wanted but getting it to this stage has been difficult.
“From our part (at United) Harry Maguire has played a huge part in communicating the information between the players and really letting us have our say and reporting it back to the authorities. That is the best way to do it.
“It wasn’t easy so credit to the people that played a big part in that. We want to help in the best way possible and getting money to the right places is a massive thing.
“It took a long time and a lot of conversations between the players and we came to the decision that this was the best way to do it and the club supported us. Everyone is happy.”
As well as contributing towards #PlayersTogether, Rashford has been working with charity FareShare to help ensure children who are missing out on free school meals due to school closures get fed.
The venture has enjoyed huge success, with some of Britain’s biggest supermarkets donating to the cause.
Rashford said: “It is phenomenal and I probably didn’t expect that much of a good turnout when I started it but I just wanted to help out and play my part, because 10 years ago I would have been in that position.”
The season has been postponed “until it is safe to resume” having halted with Liverpool 25 points clear at the top of the table.
Mane has impressed this campaign, netting 14 goals to put the Reds on the brink of their first English league title for 30 years.
“I don’t feel like a champion yet. I want to win on the pitch and get the trophy.
“But with the situation, people around the world losing family members…it’s my dream—but if it’s not the case, it’s part of life.”
On manager Klopp, the forward told talkSPORT: “From day one, when I came to Liverpool, he has always been positive with all the players.
“I’ve never seen anyone in my life as positive as him.”
On captain Henderson, Mane added: “He’s played a big part in our success this year and he’s been incredible.
“For his defending ways, for his attacking ways…he’s been really, really good this year for us.
“He’s a very good leader with very good confidence.”
Kevin Keegan’s departure left a hole few thought could be filled, but a Scot by the name of Kenny Dalglish would swiftly ascend the throne and make Liverpool’s No. 7 his own.
One of Liverpool’s pin-up boys who made the No. 7 shirt his own left Reds reeling as he announced he was to try his luck abroad during the 1976/77 season.
Liverpool’s superstar striker had given a season’s notice of his intentions at a time when it was unheard of for English players to make the move to the continent.
Keegan was not just any player, however, he was an attacking force to be reckoned with and was integral to the club’s trophy-laden spell from 1971 to 1977.
In 1971, Bill Shankly had brought Keegan to Liverpool from the Fourth Division for a fee of £35,000 after being impressed by his work rate, fitness and tenacity, describing the acquisition as “robbery with violence.”
A born winner who had embedded himself into Liverpool hearts, which is why his £500,000 move to Bundesliga’s Hamburg had been met with widespread disdain and anger.
Despite his popularity dipping, Keegan’s commitment to Liverpool in 1976/77 was unwavering as he proved key in ending the long-awaited title at the European Cup, ensuring his 323-game career at Anfield ended on the greatest of highs.
But while Keegan would tie up his time at Anfield with the games most prestigious club honour, the Reds were facing what many had tipped to be an impossible task: replacing him.
Liverpool had been left with an empty throne, but Bob Paisley had an eye for identifying talent and his next move would lay the foundations for another era of unparalleled dominance.
Call it fate or divine intervention, but the man chosen to fill Keegan’s boots would go on to create a story of legend, and that man was Kenneth Dalglish.
A household name at Celtic after 204 appearances, 112 goals and nine titles, Kenny would demand a British record fee of £440,000.
The deal was agreed after “secret talks” on the evening of August 9, 1977, after two weeks of intensive negotiations which ended with Paisley and chairman John Smith driving to Moffat, 30 miles outside Glasgow.
They booked into a hotel under assumed names and before the night was out, Dalglish was a Red.
“This really was the offer I could not refuse,” Dalglish said before he had left Glasgow for Anfield.
“There was no way I could turn down such a fabulous offer although I am very sad to be leaving Celtic. But I am happy to be going to such a great club as Liverpool.”
His move had shocked many, including Shankly, who was left in disbelief that Celtic had allowed their star player to move on:
“I would have moved heaven and earth to keep him. I would rather have quit and got out of the game altogether than sold a player of his brilliance.”
If few knew the quality of player Liverpool had acquired, they did by now after both Paisley and Shankly rang in the endorsements.
And they needn’t wait long for a glimpse of what was on the horizon, as a debut in the FA Charity Shield at Wembley against Man United, which saw the spoils shared, was followed up by a goal on his league debut at Middlesborough a week later.
His Anfield bow and introduction to the home faithful followed against Newcastle United, and in Kenny’s words:
“My Anfield debut came against Newcastle, who counted Tommy Craig, amongst their number. I had grown up with Wee Tam, playing Glasgow Schools, Scottish Schools and Scottish Youth with him.
“Before kick-off, I found Tam looking up at the sign that declares ‘This Is Anfield’. ‘How are you?’, he asked.
“‘I’m all right, I think’, I told Tam, ‘but you see that sign there? It’s supposed to frighten the opposition. I’m terrified by it and it’s my home ground.’
“Fortunately the game worked out well…The goal was at the Kop end and I nearly finished up in amongst them.
“Their appreciation was magnificent. It really touched me. That was the start of the relationship between the Kop and me. It was a special relationship, hard to articulate how strong the bond was. We would share great success in England and Europe.”
It was a rollercoaster first season at Liverpool, as Brian Clough’s Nottingham Forest would finish atop of the league table after having already inflicted defeat on the Reds in the League Cup final.
Kenny would score in the 6-0 thumping of Kevin Keegan’s Hamburg in the European Super Cup final, but his greatest night was yet to come as he scored the winner against Club Brugge at Wembley to clinch Liverpool’s second successive European Cup.
There was a new king in town, one who was blessed with expert vision, movement, a simply delightful goal celebration and selflessness which instantly endeared him to all those around him.
Kenny would play for Liverpool for 13 illustrious years, netting 172 goals in 515 appearances as he helped guide the Reds to six league titles, three European Cups, four League Cups and an FA Cup.
Two stints in the manager’s position would further cement his status as a Liverpool legend, one which has physically manifested to having the Centenary Stand officially renamed in his honour.
Kenny Dalglish: A king among men.
Liverpool have been regularly linked with Leeds’ on-loan Brighton centre-back Ben White this season, and it is claimed they scout him at “almost every game.”
White joined the Whites on a season-long deal in July, and has so far made 40 appearances for Marcelo Bielsa’s side, playing every minute of every game in the Championship.
He has been one of the standout players in the English second tier, with his strong defensive approach and composed ball-playing ability lending himself perfectly to Bielsa’s system.
The 22-year-old is on the books with Brighton, and signed a one-year contract extension prior to his switch to Elland Road, with the Seagulls earmarking him for a future role at the AMEX.
However, Liverpool have long held an interest in White, and in November, The Athletic’s Phil Hay claimed they were “genuinely interested” in the youngster, with Brighton valuing him at £20 million.
This likely comes with Dejan Lovren due to depart at the end of the season, with the Croatian set to seek regular first-team football and the club likely to cash in before his deal expires in 2021.
And according to Sky Sports’ Gary Weaver, Reds scout Andy O’Brien has watched White in “almost every single game” this season.
O’Brien joined Liverpool in 2015, having previously played for Leeds—his boyhood club—for two seasons towards the end of a playing career that also took in spells with Bradford, Newcastle and Bolton.
A former centre-back, he would be well-placed to advise the club on whether to firm up their interest in White, and already played a key role in the signing of Nat Phillips in 2016.
White would likely arrive to take a place higher in the pecking order than Phillips, with the possible departure of Lovren ensuring Jurgen Klopp will need a replacement at first-team level.
He is of a similar profile to Joe Gomez, with both most comfortable on the right of the centre-back pairing and adept at bringing the ball out from the back.
Under Biesla, he has also filled in as a holding midfielder at times this season, and this flexibility could endear him to Klopp further, with the manager favouring versatile players.
If he is available for £20 million, White could be a relative bargain for the Reds, particularly as Lovren is likely to command a fee of around £15 million if he leaves.
Much remains up in the air at this stage, with football suspended and the transfer window set to be pushed back, but it is certainly intriguing how often White is mentioned as a target for Liverpool.
Jose Mourinho and members of his Tottenham squad appear to have flouted social distancing rules to train in public during the UK’s coronavirus lockdown.
The public are still instructed to stay in their homes unless necessary, and though the government has been expected to review their advice on April 16, this is now likely to be postponed.
One of the rules of the lockdown is that one form of exercise a day, along or with members of your household, is permitted, which has clearly proved an issue throughout the UK during a spring heatwave.
And on Tuesday, Mourinho was pictured on Hadley Common in north London, leading a training session along with Spurs midfielder Tanguy Ndombele and two others, while wearing his purple club tracksuit.
The same day saw Ryan Sessegnon and Davinson Sanchez running alongside one another, while Serge Aurier shared a video of himself doing similar on his Instagram story.
There are no issues with training in public—and according to the Guardian, Mourinho is “adamant distancing was respected during his session on the common”—but it is highly questionable all parties live in the same household.
The situation is said to have “aggravated the hierarchy at Spurs,” forcing the club to release a statement stressing that “all of our players have been reminded to respect social distancing when exercising outdoors.”
Given it follows high-profile—and decidedly less virtuous—incidents of the likes of Kyle Walker and Jack Grealish flouting lockdown measures, it is hugely disappointing.
Such news would not typically find its home on a Liverpool website, but in this climate all transgressions could have an impact on the resumption of the Premier League.
One of the most likely scenarios with the return of top-flight football is that players and staff will stay in ‘quarantine hotels’ while fixtures are played out over a shorter space of time, possibly at neutral venues.
This would reduce the risk of spreading the coronavirus while the Premier League calendar runs on, allowing significant financial commitments to be fulfilled.
However, to do so would be contingent on all parties involved being tested and cleared of the virus before doing so, and any complications could delay a return to play, with a two-week isolation period advised if symptoms are shown.
There is no guaranteed means of avoiding contracting the virus while undergoing permitted tasks in public, but obviously the less contact with others the better.
At best Mourinho’s public training session was irresponsible, and it is baffling that a London common was deemed appropriate given the proliferation of camera phones and social media culture.
Cult heroes, every club has them and Liverpool is no different, but which fiercely loved Red are you?
Over the years, a host of players have won the hearts of Liverpool fans around the world thanks to their passion, loyalty and work rate, among other qualities.
A cult figure is typically one whose talent is not the determining factor for their revered status, it is rather the intangible aspects which endear them to those around them.
Some are fan favourites from the minute they walk through the doors at Anfield, and others require a culmination of moments or even until the end of their time at the club.
And in this quiz, you can find out which Liverpool cult hero you are.Cult heroes past and present, but which one are you?
A day heralded as ‘The Miracle of Istanbul’, and a day where Liverpool completed the “greatest comeback in sport” to secure their fifth European Cup.
“We had the best defenders in the world in that team. Our back four was Cafu, Jaap Stam, Alessandro Nesta and Paolo Maldini but we still let in three goals in six minutes.
“Something amazing happened that can’t be explained,” Kaka would later divulge, still unable to put his finger on the events which transpired on that night in Istanbul.
The Champions League campaign leading up to the final on May 25, 2005, was remarkable in itself, having overcome Grazer AK to first qualify, Monaco, Deportivo and Olympiakos in the group stages and then Bayer Leverkusen, Juventus and Chelsea in the knockouts.
And while there were moments of magic and disbelief throughout that run, no one would be prepared for what was to come in the showpiece.
The Reds had arrived in Turkey in their numbers, descending on the Ataturk Stadium by any means necessary, and the unwavering support on display left Dutch legend Johan Cruyf in awe:
“I sat there watching the Liverpool fans and they sent shivers down my spine. A mass of 40,000 people became one force behind their team. That’s something not many teams have. For that, I admire Liverpool more than anything.”
There was a distinct charge of anticipation in the air prior to kick-off, with the Reds making their first appearance in the European Cup final since 1985 – a season after when number four returned to Anfield.
But Liverpool were the underdogs and they were lining up against a formidable AC Milan outfit led by Carlo Ancelotti, which had legendary names listed in every department, from Maldini, Andrea Pirlo and Kaka to Andriy Shevchenko and Hernan Crespo.
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Liverpool didn’t have the weight of pressure on their shoulders, but they would soon face a reality which both stunned and left them reeling.
Within 53 seconds of the first whistle, Liverpool were behind and shell shocked as Maldini edged his side into the lead and with the Italians vastly superior to their counterparts, they were three goals to the good by half-time.
AC Milan’s name looked destined to be etched on the trophy before the night was out, and after Harry Kewell and Steve Finnan were both forced out of the game, the Reds’ fortunes looked bleak as damage limitation became the priority in what was a hectic half-time interval.
Meanwhile, in the stands, You’ll Never Walk Alone reverberated through the stadium as the Reds sent out a statement, a poignant one at that as Liverpool’s 20-year wait for European glory looked destined to be prolonged.
But what transpired next defied all logic. Didi Hamann’s introduction proved key as Steven Gerrard was provided the license to attack and a glancing header would trigger a comeback to be revered.
Just six minutes after Gerrard’s goal, widely considered as nothing but a consolation, rustled the back of the net in the 54th minute, the Reds were level as Vladimir Smicer, in his last game for the club, and Xabi Alonso scored to spark mass celebrations as the improbable soon turned possible.
Remarkably, no more goals would be scored and extra-time would follow, where Gerrard was moved to right-back, Jamie Carragher battled on with cramp and Jerzy Dudek sensationally denied Shevchenko from close range.
And after a topsy-turvy 120 minutes the final was to be decided from 12-yards where Liverpool would sensationally prevail 3-2, on a night which was a testament to the teams’ character as they completed “the greatest comeback in sport anywhere in the world.”
The European Cup had returned to Liverpool for the fifth time in a game which had to be seen to be believed, and, incredibly, where all 11 goals scored came at one end of the pitch.
And you could be forgiven for being left in a state of shock, as even Rafa Benitez admitted to as much after the game: “My problem is that I don’t have words to express the things that I feel at this moment.”
It was a miracle, but one which was made possible because of the tenacious and never-say-die attitude which flowed through Benitez’s team, who are forever immortalised in the club’s history books.
A new generation were finally provided with the taste of success on the grandest stage that those before them had readily experienced, as dreams came true for players and fans alike.
“As captain of that team, there was no prouder man on the planet that night,” Gerrard would later recall.
“By a country mile it was the best night of my career. It was a surreal evening and a surreal game of football and still now it is difficult to describe what happened that night.”
In Istanbul, we won it five times.
FIFA has approved the extension of player contracts until seasons are able to finish and the movement of transfer windows in response the coronavirus pandemic.
With football brought to a shuddering halt by COVID-19, the sport’s world governing body has been consulting with different stakeholders through a task force chaired by FIFA vice-president Vittorio Montagliani.
Clubs, players, leagues, national associations and confederations were all represented on the task force led by the chairman of the FIFA Football Stakeholders Committee, working on recommendations and guidelines to address practical issues brought about by the coronavirus crisis.
The Bureau of the FIFA Council endorsed a set of principles unanimously agreed upon by the task force on Tuesday, with contracts and transfer windows key topics.
“The COVID-19 pandemic has clearly changed all the factual circumstances around football for this season,” FIFA president Gianni Infantino said.
“So, FIFA, together with the stakeholders, has come up with some practical ideas and proposals to tackle these new circumstances.
“Whilst this will not solve each and every problem, it should serve to bring a measure of stability and clarity to football for the foreseeable future.
“We hope that this collaborative effort, under the leadership of FIFA, can provide a positive example of how football can come together and show unity, solidarity and a spirit of compromise in order to face the challenging times ahead.”
Contracts covering the 2019/20 season in England are set to expire on June 30, 2020, but FIFA has now said “it is proposed that contracts be extended until such time that the season does actually end”.
In addition, deals due to come into force in the next campaign would be “delayed until the next season actually does start” – for example, Ajax’s Hakim Ziyech’s summer move to Chelsea would fall under that.
But there are questions as to what happens if a player does not want to adhere with those principles, so too clubs looking to offload players at the end of their contract.
Transfer windows are also changing this summer, with FIFA saying “it is necessary to adjust the normal regulatory position to the new factual circumstances” when it comes to player movement.
A statement from the governing body read: “Accordingly, FIFA will be flexible and will allow the relevant transfer windows to be moved so they fall between the end of the old season and the start of the new season.
“At the same time, FIFA will try to ensure, where possible, an overall level of coordination and will also bear in mind the need to protect the regularity, integrity and proper functioning of competitions, so that the sporting results of any competition are not unfairly disrupted.”
FIFA has also looked at football employment agreements during this crisis and “strongly encourages clubs and players to work together to find agreements and solutions during the period when football is suspended”.
English football stakeholders are currently at loggerheads over player remuneration during the enforced suspension and the sport’s world governing body says decisions are primarily up to relevant parties at national level.
But FIFA has recommended “looking at all aspects of each situation in an even handed manner, including what Government measures are there to support clubs and players, whether pay should be deferred or reduced and what insurance coverage may exist”.
The governing body said: “If parties cannot agree and, as a consequence, cases come to FIFA, the factors to be examined will include the following: whether there was a genuine attempt by the club to reach agreement with the players; what the economic situation of the club is; the proportionality of any adjustment to player contracts; the net income position of players after any contract adjustment; and whether players have been treated equally or not.
“In this way, FIFA hopes that it will be able to find solutions that are fair and balanced for both sides.”
Everyone must “step up and share the pain” inflicted on football by the coronavirus pandemic, Football Association chairman Greg Clarke has said.
Clarke’s comments come as talks continue between Premier League and English Football League clubs and the players’ union the Professional Footballers’ Association over player wage deferrals and cuts.
The FA announced on Monday that its top earners were taking a 30 percent pay cut, with other members of senior management taking a 15 percent cut.
Clarke told the FA Council on Tuesday: “Football faces economic challenges beyond the wildest imagination of those who run it.
“The pandemic will be followed by its economic consequences and all business sectors will suffer.
“We face the danger of losing clubs and leagues as finances collapse. Many communities could lose the clubs at their heart with little chance of resurrection.
“In the face of this unprecedented adversity, all the stakeholders within the game from players, fans, clubs, owners and administrators need to step up and share the pain to keep the game alive.”
Premier League clubs agreed last Friday that it would consult with players over conditional reductions and deferrals up to 30 percent to offset the potential and actual losses caused by the pandemic.
The EFL is also negotiating with the PFA for what is understood to be an even higher percentage of deferral. The PFA wants each club’s need to make the savings to be assessed on an individual basis.
Two EFL clubs—Sunderland and Crewe—announced on Tuesday that they were furloughing playing staff. Businesses can place employees whose jobs have been affected by the pandemic on furlough leave, and claim 80 percent of their salaries up to a maximum of £2,500 a month via the Government’s coronavirus job retention scheme.
Sunderland said in a statement they had “no intention” of asking players or coaching staff to defer wages or accept a cut, and were committed to ensuring all staff were paid in full by topping up salaries.
Liverpool and Tottenham, the Premier League’s two most profitable clubs in 2018/19, attracted widespread criticism for their furloughing of non-playing staff, though Liverpool have since performed a U-turn.
Former Crystal Palace chairman Simon Jordan insists their actions were in order to force the hand of the players, who “need to shift their backsides.”
“The basic principle behind this is the two most profitable football clubs in English football, Tottenham and Liverpool, are the two clubs who have gone out and made a stance,” Jordan told talkSPORT.
“I don’t understand why Liverpool fans are not more angry with their players not coming to the fore and taking a pay cut.
“The leverage which was being bought by this furlough, Liverpool don’t need £400,000 of savings from furlough, what Liverpool and Tottenham did it for is because they want to leverage the players because the players are not doing what they should be doing, despite the assertions of people, they have done nothing in four weeks.”
But PFA chief executive Gordon Taylor says Premier League players have “agreed to play their part” in helping clubs manage the financial fallout.
The stalemate has seen the players receive widespread criticism, with Health Secretary Matt Hancock calling for them to take a cut.
“They’ve all agreed to play their part,” Taylor told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme, adding that players are “responsible enough” to know wages are a major factor in any club’s expenditure.
“We’ve been consistent with what we’ve said from the beginning and the fact is the players feel quite aggrieved that the Secretary of State for Health should put them in a corner without looking.
“They’re not self-employed, they make massive contributions to the Treasury and they’ve also quite logically felt that if they don’t get that money, if a third is deferred or a third is cut, then the Treasury is £200 million a year worse off and that could be going towards the national health and will be needed.”
Manchester United manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer also defended players, saying they were an “easy target.”
He told Sky Sports News: “It’s unfair to call on any individual or footballers as a group because I already know players do a great amount of work in the community, and players are doing a lot to help in this situation.”
The worst financial hit would come if the 2019/20 season cannot be completed, because broadcasters would look to be reimbursed for rights to matches that did not go ahead.
Clarke said everyone in the English professional game remained committed to doing that, but admitted it may not be possible.
“We are committed to finishing the professional football season as this resolves the issues of promotion and relegation together with title winners on merit,” he added.
“However, we may not be able to finish the season as football is not our priority, human life is, and we will do as the Government directs as the pandemic unfolds.”
Despite Germany still being in lockdown, Bayern Munich have returned to limited training at Sabener Strasse, providing an example for clubs like Liverpool.
The German public have been restricted to their homes since mid-March, with Bavaria the first state to instruct their citizens to remain indoors due to the coronavirus pandemic.
Football had already been suspended by then, with the Bundesliga calling games off on March 13, just hours before Fortuna Dusseldorf’s home clash with Paderborn.
Bayern’s last game was a 2-0 win over Augsburg on March 8, but on Monday became one of the first sides to return to their training ground for work, along with Paderborn, Borussia Monchengladbach and Wolfsburg.
Hans-Dieter Flick’s squad were restricted to small groups, with the session including running and shooting drills and technical work, with players keeping two metres apart to follow social distancing rules.
The club have confirmed “all hygiene measures were strictly observed in order to slow the spread of coronavirus” as they operated “in line with government policy.”
“It was certainly a very unusual feeling holding a training session in small groups today, but it was also nice to see the boys in person again,” Manuel Neuer explained after training.
“I’d like to thank the club and all the helpers who have made it possible for us to complete football-specific training on the pitch again during these difficult times.”
While these are still clearly exceptional circumstances, and Bayern are yet to find out when they can return to full training or, indeed, fulfil their remaining fixtures, it is a step forward.
Furthermore, it serves as an example to other leagues and clubs of how training could resume while social distancing measures are still in place.
It has been mooted that the Premier League could return in June, with squads back in training next month, and it is likely sessions would begin in a similar fashion to Bayern.
For now, Liverpool have been holding group training via Zoom, with players connecting from home as they follow routines set by Andreas Kornmayer, overseen by the likes of Jurgen Klopp and Pepijn Lijnders.
After Cristiano Ronaldo set the record in Nike’s #LivingRoomCup challenge, Liverpool teenager Harvey Elliott surpassed the Juventus forward in an impressive feat.
Ronaldo is unarguably one of the most freakishly fit athletes on the planet, which has fuelled his remarkable career that has seen him win six league titles, five Champions Leagues, the Euros and countless individual honours.
But when he laid out the challenge as part of the #LivingRoomCup, he may not have expected to have been beaten by a 17-year-old on Merseyside.
Elliott may have faced the disappointment of celebrating his 17th birthday in isolation on Saturday, but he can take the small victory of breaking Ronaldo’s record at home.
Ronaldo managed 142 toe-touch reps in 45 seconds, which Elliott just broke with 146.
To potentially highlight how strong Elliott’s effort was, Xherdan Shaqiri attempted the challenge via his Instagram story and managed just 80 reps.
Elsewhere, Gini Wijnaldum posted his home workout routine, as the Liverpool squad maintain their fitness with group and individual sessions ahead of a hopeful return to action:
Dejan Lovren showed his skills with a two-minute keepy-ups video, displaying a clean first touch to round it off:
Virgil van Dijk is clearly missing Melwood, as he wrote “can’t wait to be back out there” as he shared a clip of him teeing up Jurgen Klopp for a Peter Kay-style hoof into the netting, high and wide of the goal:
And at the weekend, Mohamed Salah was joined by his daughter for a training session in his garden—including using her as a weight for squats:
Liverpool were set to announce a new three-year contract for Elliott on the winger’s 17th birthday, but this appears to have been delayed by the coronavirus pandemic.
It could be that the news breaks in the coming days, but more important matters have taken priority at this stage—along with the club’s U-turn on a much-criticised decision to furlough non-playing staff.
Elliott’s new deal will keep him at the club until 2023, with his terms the longest a player of his age can sign.
The club are yet to agree a fee with Fulham following his move from Craven Cottage last summer, as though his contract had expired with the Championship side they are eligible for compensation for their role in his development.
It is likely that this will be determined at a tribunal, though Fulham are believed to have asked for around £7 million.