We went into this one having overcome standoffs with the Brazilian FA and FIFA over the right for Alisson Becker and Fabinho to take part, while Naby Keita was rendered available only after being airlifted from the midst of a coup d’état.
Brazil stamped their foot, FIFA listened and pondered and a power dance-off then took place. Call me a cynic here, but this was nothing more than Nike being outraged that their flagship international football shirts weren’t being worn during the international break by many of the highest-profile players the nation has to offer.
Football not in the name of sport, but as product placement.
The problem for Nike is that what they really needed on Sunday afternoon was for some of the highest-profile players Liverpool have to offer to be wearing a ‘swoosh’ on their flagship club football shirts.
Football not in the name of sport, but as product placement.
Finally, Liverpool’s uneasy union with Nike has come up with something positive.
As preparations for a trip to West Yorkshire go, they proved to be a bit ‘out there’.
Suddenly, Leeds have become one of the most interesting concepts in the English game. Purveyors of a bold brand of football that is fast and skilful. Hugely watchable, they have morphed into a favourite of football hipsters everywhere. This has been disorientating for those of us that have lived in other eras during which Leeds have swung from brutal to agricultural and back again.
Don’t get me wrong, some past visages of Leeds have also been able to play the ball very well too, even the Don Revie version. They just as likely play the player as they would the ball, however. Even Brian Clough called them out for it.
A polarising football club. While part of me is happy to see them back at English football’s top table, another part of me isn’t so sure if it will be all that bothered if they do succumb to the much mooted ‘second season syndrome’.
Very much a real thing after a first season back, in which adrenalin can take a newly promoted team a long way, there is often a lull in the second season which can be fatal to hopes of a prolonged stay in the Premier League. Sheffield United were the latest victims of this phenomenon.
Talking of victims, some of the Leeds faithful completely embarrassed themselves with words chanted, while others were wonderful in their reactions to the stricken Elliott as the teenager was removed from the pitch on a stretcher and into a presumably elongated road to recovery.
A particularly galling loss, Elliott was on the brink of being replaced by Jordan Henderson when he sustained his injury. It was a needless challenge more than anything. Out of proportion with its situation and positioning on the pitch.
Much has been spoken in disapproval of the new refereeing mantra to allow games to flow. I am by no means an apologist for referees, but on this one, they are damned if they do and damned if they don’t. I’m not against the spirit of the concept of a freer-flowing game though, although I think ignoring injury causing challenges should not be part of the shortcuts to a less fragmented game, no matter if they are generated by malice or chance.
On this occasion, it was blatantly clear that Elliott was in significant trouble. Football is a physical game; football happens and injuries will occur, some of them very serious ones. It is within the nature of the game, but there are better things football can do to tighten itself up when it comes to the flow of the game than waving aside players when they are crumpled to the turf with their foot pointing in the entirely wrong direction.
Elliott has started the season with a rich degree of maturity which has allowed Jurgen Klopp to ease Thiago and Jordan Henderson back after their involvements with Euro 2020(21). In recent seasons, this type of job — a massively crucial one — has fallen to James Milner.
We should be bouncing away from Sunday in at least a glass half full mood with a 3-0 victory, all be it one that could/should have been double that amount, against a team who offered us generous helpings of space yet shifted the ball around impressively when they could gain possession of it.
Sadio Mane was stunningly profligate yet again although, hopefully, the goal he did eventually get will break the floodgates. He wasn’t alone in missing opportunities that seemed nailed on goals, however.
As the old saying goes, it’s a bigger worry not to create chances than it is to miss the ones you do create. There is sleight of hand within this saying, though. If we are going to have any chance to reclaim the Premier League title then we are going to need to be far more ruthless in front of goal.
Yet, there was much to love about Sunday. Joel Matip was magnificent, his part in the opening goal the stuff of all self-respecting playmakers. Thiago was displaying his football as art, Fabinho was both destructor and constructor, while Henderson was pinging some stunning passes from deep during the final third of the afternoon. Trent Alexander-Arnold simply continued to embarrass a nation that doesn’t want to or perhaps doesn’t have the intelligence to get what he’s all about.
Onward we move, without Elliott for now, and into a reunion with AC Milan on Wednesday evening. Up the Reds.
Importantly it came thanks to an impressive performance on the pitch, with Liverpool carving out chance after chance to ultimately see the scoreboard flatter the home side.
– Trent Alexander-Arnold has created 20 chances in the league so far this season – 7 more than the next best in Jack Grealish and Salah (13).
– Salah is the 30th player to reach 100 Premier League goals – and he is only the second African to reach the milestone, following in the footsteps of Didier Drogba.
– Liverpool‘s 14-match unbeaten league run is currently the longest in the division (W11, D3). The last defeat was against Fulham in March.
– Fabinho scored his first goal away from Anfield, his fourth overall for the club.
– Jota created more chances than any other player from either side during the game, with 6.
– Trent’s assist for Salah was his 35th in the Premier League, only Cesc Fabregas, Wayne Rooney and Ryan Giggs hit that figure at a younger age.
These Reds are something else!
How did the chant at Elland Road go…”The Reds have got no money, but we’ll still win the league.”
With youth and very little previous history with injury, Harvey Elliott‘s recovery from an ankle dislocation has two early boosts, but all will depend on the extent of further damage.
Elliott had to be stretchered off the field at Elland Road on Sunday after a challenge from Pascal Struijk saw his left ankle bear the wait, where it ultimately was dislocated.
Those attending to the 18-year-old on the field were able to put his ankle back in place before he was taken to Leeds General Infirmary, where he was later discharged and now awaits surgery.
Jurgen Klopp was emotional when speaking of the injury post-match and his recovery timeline will now rest on how much damage was sustained to the area around his ankle.
He is in the best possible shape to bounce back from the horrible injury, but physiotherapist Dr. Rajpal Brar explains how his return date can only be determined once the extent of the injury is known – with many factors in play.
“The injury has been confirmed as an ankle dislocation, which almost always involves an ankle fracture as well as potential ligament and cartilage damage,” Dr Raj said on his YouTube channel3CB Performance.
“The player is scheduled for surgery on Tuesday to further stabilise the ankle along with addressing any other damage.
“The full severity of the injury, in particular, the extent of ligament and fracture damage will determine Elliott’s return timeline.
“For example, Everton‘s Andre Gomes had minimal ligament damage and returned to training in 86 days, whereas Leicester’s Wesley Fofana will miss six-plus months due to severe ligament damage and a fractured fibula.
“Physically, the key for Elliott will be maintaining range of motion and then building up strength and fitness levels.
“At just 18 years of age, time is on Harvey’s side and he has minimal previous injury history and limited wear on his body. Both of which will help in recovery.”
The mental battle will be another hurdle to overcome, but Elliott has already nodded to the overwhelming support he has and will continue to receive from Liverpool‘s “incredible support network.”
Further to that, sportsinjuryexplained on Instagram provided some tentative return timeframes dependent on possible outcomes from the injury.
A dislocation with no fracture would see an absence of three to four months, a fracture with dislocation up to six months and any further extensive damage or setbacks would push beyond the six-month mark.
But the point to hang on to from Dr Raj is that “Although ankle dislocation-fractures look bad, they typically have good outcomes in terms of healing and return to play and performance, unless there’s nerve damage or further complications.”
Jamie Redknapp has produced a rarely correct assessment of Thiago, with many in the media failing to see what the Spaniard brings to the side in the last year.
The Reds were exceptional at times in their 3-0 victory at Elland Road o Sunday, comprehensively outplaying a Leeds side considered dangerous opponents.
Thiago was arguably as good as anyone, however, dictating the pace of the game, biting into tackles and playing a part in two of the Reds’ goals.
Not only did the 30-year-old complete 89 percent of his passes and register an assist, but he also played two key passes, won six of his seven duels and three-quarters of his tackles.
The Spaniard has been used as a scapegoat at times, with some claiming he doesn’t suit Klopp’s team and many lazily claiming he ‘slows down play.’
But Redknapp delivered a staunch defence of Thiago on Sky Sports on Sunday:
? "When Liverpool go on a bad run, people say he slows the play up, he can't handle the intensity, absolute garbage! This guy is one of the best technicians you will see in world football."
Jamie Redknapp calls out the criticisms that Thiago received last season pic.twitter.com/xC6QEG2WQ5
— Football Daily (@footballdaily) September 12, 2021
“This guy is one of the best technicians you’ll see in world football don’t matter what kind of pressure you put him under, he’s never panicked.
“He relaxes on the ball. There was a lot of times (on Sunday) where he was in good positions to help out the defence.
“He is incredible to watch and it did my head in last year listening to people who don’t understand the midfield role. How to keep the ball, what to do, how to be in the right position. how to show quality, how to set people up for chances.
“It’s because people are always looking for a scapegoat. Someone to say it’s their fault. he is brilliant and that’s why Jurgen Klopp played him today.
“It would have been easy to go with Keita or Henderson and try and outrun this Leeds side. He realised you need a brain. You need someone that’s gonna show composure, be relaxed on the ball and play to a red shirt. that’s’ what he does.”
Redknapp is spot on in his assessment, with Thiago so harshly judged for much of his time at Anfield to date.
There have been clear mitigating circumstances surrounding some of his struggles, but with Liverpool now firing on all cylinders, he looks fit, fresh and ready to go up another level.
It’s also easy to forget that Thiago was arguably the Reds’ best player in the final 10 games of last season, during which time they won eight and drew two of those matches.
Blaming Thiago for any shortcomings has become a lazy narrative and it is refreshing to see a high-profile pundit shoot it down.
With Harvey Elliot now set for a lengthy spell on the sidelines, Thiago‘s influence and availability will become even more important.
A deadline day move for 20-year-old Williams ensured he had to wait to take to the field in the colours of Swansea City, but he did so at the first opportunity on the return from the international break.
Russell Martin continued with his back-five, and Williams was deployed on the left of the centre-back trio, next to Ryan Bennett and Kyle Naughton, for Hull’s visit to the Liberty Stadium.
“Rhys Williams settled in brilliantly, he played like he had been here for a long time,” Martin would explain post-match after the 20-year-old helped keep a clean sheet in the 0-0 draw, impressing with a number of diagonal balls as Swansea dominated possession and territory.
Elsewhere in the Championship, Ojo was named in the XI for Millwall as they faced league leaders West Brom, replacing the injured Benik Afobe to line up on the left of the attack.
The 24-year-old got off to a slow start with his new team against a physical Baggies outfit, but it was one he would slowly grow into, most notably after Millwall got back on level terms in the 55th minute.
But an opportunity to clinch victory off his boot would be snuffed by Sam Johnstone as he allowed his intentions to be known as he bared down on goal after refusing to give up on the play, he would be withdrawn after 80 minutes.
“It was a tough game for Sheyi,” manager Gary Rowett said. It’s a game of second balls, a game of fighting.”
To finish off the action in the English second division, Sepp van den Berg continued his attempts to add to his goal tally as Preston’s right-wing-back, but his early strike would fly over the crossbar to keep his total at two.
He would be asked questions defensively before the match settled into a back-and-forth encounter that would also end 0-0.
The draw theme would continue for Ben Woodburn in Scotland, with the youngster featuring for 71 minutes as Hearts were held against Hibernian.
It was not without Woodburn’s best efforts, however, with the youngster heavily involved in the final third throughout, showing an eye for a pass but was guilty of one or two over hit deliveries.
And we was denied what would have been a brilliant assist after threading the ball through the defence at an angle, only for Mackay-Steven to see his effort saved.
Finally, there was a second clean sheet of the season for Jakub Ojrzynski, while Luis Longstaff made his Scottish League One debut as a 65th-minute substitute for Queen’s Park, in you guessed it…a 0-0 draw.Liverpool Loan Watch Roundup
Elliott was stretchered off just after the hour mark in Liverpool‘s 3-0 win at Elland Road, having landed harshly on his ankle following a challenge from Pascal Struijk.
The 18-year-old was immediately taken to Leeds General Infirmary where he received treatment for the rest of the evening, being discharged before 9pm.
It had been hoped, then, that Elliott’s injury was not as bad as feared, however a statement from the club has now revealed that the midfielder will require surgery:
“The 18-year-old was stretchered from the field at Elland Road after sustaining the injury in a challenge midway through the second half.
“Elliott will be required to undergo surgery in the coming days and the club will offer a further update on his prognosis in due course.
According to The Athletic‘s James Pearce, Elliott’s operation is likely to take place on Tuesday, which would suggest any timeframe for his recovery will not be set until late next week.
The teenager has already taken to Instagram to mark the “road to recovery,” while a photo of a young boy with his match-worn shirt and boot has gone viral, with Elliott having gifted them to the child in the hospital bed next to him.
It will be a long rehabilitation process for Elliott after his surgery, with it likely that he misses a period of many months, with even the most optimistic return being around Christmas-time.
Harvey Elliott could be forgiven for being in his own head after a horror ankle injury, but while in hospital he still made another’s day after gifting his shirt and boot.
Jurgen Klopp was emotional as he addressed the match post-match press after witnessing the horror injury, while his teammates too were quick to send him their well wishes.
But after arriving at the hospital in Leeds, Elliott found himself next to a young footballer who had broken his arm earlier in the day and what came next was a touch of class from the youngster.
As circulated around social media, Elliott gifted his shirt from the game and one of his boots to the young lad, who is “buzzing now.”
It’s an incredible act at a time when his short-term goals with Liverpool were thrown into disarray having so clearly earned the trust of his manager.
And the gesture captured the attention of fans, who were quick to commend Elliott’s actions, and it was not just Reds who had words to share:
The definition of class. This kid has a heart of gold. So mature for his age! ?? pic.twitter.com/8zDnyxH6G7
— Paul Lloyd (@Lloydy_2020) September 12, 2021
— Andy McGurk (@AndyMcGurk) September 12, 2021
Not a fan of Leeds or Liverpool fans or players. But don't like anyone injured. This is a nice touch. Speedy recovery to the lad and Elliott. pic.twitter.com/TIvwtYeTy7
— Danny Murphy (@elmurf5) September 12, 2021
Class by Harvey Elliott of Liverpool. The poor lads season is over before its begun yet he makes this young lads world by this gesture!
— Huddersfield Town Family ??????? ? ?? ? (@htafc_family) September 12, 2021
Unbelievable ???????? pic.twitter.com/vfUW3PxunV
— 6startravel (@6startravel1) September 12, 2021
Pure class https://t.co/obHjMM4Olq
— Billy Liddell (@Liddellpool) September 12, 2021
I really, really want Harvey Elliott to become a Liverpool legend.
He absolutely gets the football club and you can already see that fans identify with him. https://t.co/XKHOQiBVYK
— ReviewFootball (@ReviewFootball) September 12, 2021
Anything like this is what the game is about. Class act, from a great young player. Hope it’s a quick recovery for Elliott https://t.co/Gy956FJqYl
— Owen Williams (@OwenW5) September 12, 2021
He’s just class through and through Harvey Elliott isn’t he.
Probably the worst experience in his career so far and he’s still thinking of others. https://t.co/wDuMiNy6CV
— Dan Reilly (@DanReilly92) September 12, 2021
It’s a class touch at a time when he could be forgiven for only thinking of himself, but that he didn’t shows the character Elliott is.
He had already endeared himself to fans, but this is another nod to the person behind the player.
The club has since confirmed the teenager has now been discharged from hospital, but will require surgery on his ankle in the coming days.
Now, let’s hope for a swift and trouble-free recovery for Elliott.
Here are four key things the boss told the media and supporters in his press conference:
[embedded content]1. All we can do is wait on Elliott scans
The 18-year-old went straight to hospital after being stretchered off the field at Elland Road, where Klopp went on to say it was a dislocation of his ankle.
A horror injury but one that means all Liverpool can do is wait and see what the damage is.
“Harvey Elliott is in hospital, a bad ankle injury for sure. It looked like it was dislocated, the medical department put it back. Massive pain, shock for him, for us and we don’t know more.
“We have to wait for further examinations, scans.”
It’ll certainly be months on the sidelines but all our thoughts are with Harvey.2. A “really good game” from his boys
“I’m not interested in the form we were in when we won the title, I’m interested in the best possible shape we can have now,” Klopp said.
“We played a really good game today!”3. Lots of shots but Klopp wants clear cut chances
“We should have had more clear cut chances, we had a lot of shots but we should have had more clear cut chances.”
But a lot of goals went begging and the conversion rate is certainly a key area for improvement and the next chance to do just that is against AC Milan on Wednesday.4. Elliott challenge not due to refs letting the game flow
And, finally, Klopp was firm in his stance that he wanted his view on challenges and referees now letting the game ‘flow’ to be separate from the tackle on Elliott.
“I don’t think the situation today had anything to do with it,” Klopp explained after his previous comments on player welfare after the Burnley game.
He went on to say on the changes: “The problem with letting the game flow is that players naturally now try to use that, it’s a normal thing. Players don’t want to injure each other they just want to go in hard, proper challenges.
“The main problem last season was the game didn’t flow enough, then I saw a completely different season!”
Premier League 2, Lamex Stadium
September 11, 2021
Goals: Devine 32′ 81′; Gordon 4′
The young Reds were back in action this weekend after a two-week break for internationals, with a trip to Stevenage to take on Spurs.
Barry Lewtas made three changes from the 1-1 draw with Brighton before deadline day, as Conor Bradley, James Norris and Sheyi Ojo dropped out and Tony Gallacher, Dominic Corness and Mateusz Musialowski came in.
It took Liverpool just four minutes to take the lead, and it was a move straight out of the first-team playbook, as Billy Koumetio‘s long, diagonal pass from centre-back found Gordon on the right wing.
The 16-year-old dropped his shoulder, cut inside and, evading the attentions of his marker, fired beyond Joshua Oluwayemi with his left foot.
It was Gordon’s second goal in three games for the academy so far this season – along with an assist – and there was a striking resemblance to Salah’s trademark efforts moving in from the right.
Liverpool will be delighted with the youngster’s progress as he reaches the six-month mark since his move from Derby in February, with a long-term role in the senior side on the horizon.
Though expectations should remain low, it would be no surprise if Gordon is being nurtured as the eventual replacement for Salah – provided his development goes as planned – following Curtis Jones and Harvey Elliott into Jurgen Klopp‘s side.
Gordon’s goal was a mere consolation for the young Reds, however, as a brace from Alfie Devine either side of half-time sealed a 2-1 victory for Tottenham.
The afternoon marked a return to action for Morgan Boyes, absent for the first month of the season as speculation mounted over his future, while the likes of Musialowski, Corness and James Norris continued to make headway at U23s level.
Liverpool U23s: Pitaluga; Gallacher, Clayton, Koumetio (Wilson 85′), Beck; Corness (Boyes 55′), Morton; Gordon, Musialowski (Norris 55′), Woltman; Bearne
Subs not used: Hughes
Next match: Leeds (H) – Premier League 2 – Sunday, September 19, 2pm (BST)
Questions have been asked about the decision not to reinforce the forward line this summer with January’s African Nations Cup denying the Reds the services of their Egypt and Senegal internationals for potentially a month.
With Divock Origi so out of form and favour it could leave Klopp’s side short-handed come the turn of the year, but the German said the solution could not always be found in the transfer market.
“We knew it (Salah and Mane’s absences), we have to deal with it and we will deal with it. How? We will see in January,” said the manager.
“People now say we have to sign two strikers with the same quality of Sadio and Mo.
“That cannot be a solution as we cannot do that, so we have to find a solution for that in January.”
Klopp’s short-term focus, however, has been on preparing his side for the high-intensity challenge posed by Leeds as he gets ready for his first experience of a fan-filled Elland Road.
Both matches last season against Marcelo Bielsa’s side were tough encounters; the Reds prevailing in a thrilling 4-3 opening-day home victory against the Premier League newcomers before being held to a 1-1 draw in the run-in which looked to have dented their top-four hopes.
Klopp has been working on a plan to combat Leeds’ pressure game but with so little time to do so with the full squad because of the international break, he knows they may have to rely on their own quality to get a result.
“We had – with some players now – a week’s time to prepare for it and some only came back training on Thursday so we have two sessions where we can probably prepare for it,” Klopp told liverpoolfc.com.
“The game itself is already tricky. We saw in the last two games against them, my first time playing against Leeds, it was really exciting.
“They have a specific way of playing the game with strict man-marking idea defending, very flexible and very brave, very dynamic in possession.
“Against Leeds (it’s) high intense, they go for it. They are good in possession, I think, so far, second or third in possession.
“It’s a really good team and we have to be at our best to get something there.
“They don’t have the points yet they want to have but they for sure think they have a good chance against us. But they didn’t play us yet this season.
“We are hopefully good, as good as we can, and then we are difficult to play. When we are difficult to play, we have a chance to win – and that’s what we try.”
Liverpool are unbeaten in their last eight league meetings (five wins, three draws) but, prior to last season, they had not met in the top flight since 2004.
At Elland Road they are unbeaten in their last half-dozen trips in all competitions but home advantage could play a significant part as the ground hosts one of the ‘Big Six’ in front of a full crowd for the first time since their return to the Premier League.
“Everyone tells me the atmosphere must be really outstanding so I’m really looking forward to it,” added Klopp.
“Millie knows it from both perspectives; not sure, maybe not. Not sure if he played there with another Premier League team. Who knows? But he can tell us how it is and he will tell us.
“We are Liverpool and that means everybody expects us to win each game.”
The last two Elland Road meetings in the league have finished all square and not since 1930 has there been a third successive league draw at Leeds (in a sequence of four).Reds on a roll
Liverpool are unbeaten in the last 13 league games (10 wins, three draws) since the home defeat to Fulham last March.
They have gone eight away league games without defeat since the 3-1 loss at Leicester in February.Still searching for No. 100
29 players have previously reached a century of goals in the Premier League era.
Liverpool‘s No. 11 has scored 16 goals in his last 20 away games in all competitions.
Diogo Jota has scored six goals for the Reds in his last six away appearances in the league.Elland Road is no place for the 6…
None of the ‘big-6’ managed to win at Elland Road in the league last season – five of them drew with the exception of Tottenham who lost 3-1.
Marcelo Bielsa – at the age of 66, is the Premier League’s oldest current manager. He has overseen 71 victories in 133 league games in charge.
Patrick Bamford was the club’s leading scorer last season with 17 goals – all in the league.
Only Harry Kane, Salah and Bruno Fernandes scored more in the top-flight. He has scored 18 goals in 41 Premier League appearances for the club.
They have conceded half of their eight league goals in this campaign between the 46th and 60th minutes.This Season’s Scorers
Leeds: Harrison 2, Ayling 1, Bamford 1, Klich 1, Phillips 1, Raphinha 1
Liverpool: Jota 2, Salah 2, Firmino 1, Mane 1
* Stats courtesy of LFC statistician Ged Rea (@ged0407).
The term ‘net spend’ has closely followed the Reds under the ownership of FSG, with a sell-to-buy strategy meaning that Liverpool have been more conservative in the market than others.
Now, losses stemming from the pandemic – estimated to be around £152 million – do not make for a cash-fluid Liverpool, who instead focused their attentions on tying down their key players while the likes of Chelsea, Man United and Man City spent big this summer.
Ibrahima Konate was the sole arrival, much to the frustration of many, but Klopp once again reiterated that this was what he signed up for and therefore not the issue many see it as.
“No, I’m not surprised [Man United signed Ronaldo], I was surprised, but it was a personal thing, that Cristiano left Juve because I didn’t know that will happen,” Klopp said.
“Clubs do business. My problem is obviously my English because from time to time I obviously annoy other managers without wanting to.
“I’m not interested, why should I? I say something, I think it’s right and then a few days later I hear a response from somebody and think, ‘Eh? Why is he on his toes?’
“I honestly could not care less what other clubs are doing.
“In a few weeks I am six years here, I signed up for this way when I arrived here.
“In that time, we were quite successful, not the most successful in the world but quite successful. We won a couple of trophies, exactly with that way.
“In all the transfer windows it is the same. And it’s always the same that we then get asked ‘why you don’t do that.’
“We thought it makes sense that we sign up our squad in the moment and we did that.
“That is not as spectacular as all the rest but I cannot change that because you cannot do a transfer just to for the circus.
“But other clubs signed players, fine. Now we will play them and we will see what we can do.”
The conviction of his words spoke more about the constant question of Liverpool‘s transfers, or lack thereof, rather than at the situation itself.
Roberto Firmino has made a positive step in his recovery from a hamstring injury by returning to light training this week.
The No. 9 was an early substitute against Chelsea before the international break after grimacing in discomfort on the cusp of half-time.
Jurgen Klopp had hoped it would not be “too big of a problem” and subsequent scans would show just that.
But Firmino’s return to light training is a welcome step two weeks on from the point of injury, with The Athletic’s James Pearce reporting the No. 9 has started jogging outside at Kirkby in addition to some ball work.
With a long season ahead, a realistic target for a return could be against Brentford on September 25, which would be four weeks after the hamstring issue was sustained.
That would mean the 29-year-old would be in contention for the games against Porto and Man City, both of which precede another international break in October.
With Takumi Minamino also sidelined, Mohamed Salah, Sadio Mane and Diogo Jota will continue to lead the line for Klopp’s side in the short-term, with mass changes only expected at Norwich in the League Cup on September 21.
The ninth memorial golf day in honour of the late Anne Williams, who valiantly campaigned for justice after the Hillsborough disaster, is to take place next week and will raise valuable funds for charity.
Williams lost her son Kevin to the tragedy in Sheffield in 1989 and was a courageous campaigner as she dedicated her life to challenging the verdict and evidence of the inquest.
She would earn the nickname of the Iron Lady in her tireless fight for justice for the 97, before passing away following a battle with cancer in 2013, three years before the 97 were deemed to have been unlawfully killed.
And in her memory, the annual memorial golf day is to return for the ninth time after the pandemic postponed the event last year.
It continues on the fine tradition of raising valuable funds for local charities, and Liverpool Sunflowers provides a range of support services to help people following a diagnosis of cancer, or other life-changing illnesses.
Over 70 golfers will compete on the day for a variety of prizes on a day that honours the memory of Williams.
“The event goes from strength to strength and has surpassed all expectations again this year, we’re really looking forward to another brilliant day and night in memory of a truly special lady,” Ste Martin, part of the organising team told the Liverpool Echo.
The goal of raising £1,000 for Liverpool Sunflowers has already been reached, but there is still plenty of time to see the figure grow for an incredible cause.
The end of the September international break heralds the return of an intense three-games-a-week calendar, one Jurgen Klopp is eagerly looking forward to.
Marcelo Bielsa’s side are the first of three opponents in the space of just six days, with AC Milan and Crystal Palace both to visit Anfield.
Four games are then to follow in the subsequent 15 days – making it seven matches in just 21 days, ensuring it is all systems go for Liverpool as Champions League and League Cup action get up and running.
For the manager, it is a period that will see expectations of his side remain high but it is a position the Reds demand of themselves and it’s time to embrace the challenge for what it is.
It will “absolutely” require the depth of Liverpool‘s squad, but this is what Klopp’s team have prepared themselves for.
“And how you know, we are Liverpool and that means everybody expects us to win each game,” Klopp told reporters.
“It’s not about, ‘Here we can a little bit…’ We will use each source, each leg we have and we’ll try to be as successful as possible.
“I’m actually looking forward to it. It’s now really long enough – we had a long summer, we had a long pre-season, now we had these three games with always a week between.
“Now, come on, we are used to the rhythm of playing every three days.
“We wanted [and] we were so happy to qualify for the Champions League – now it starts, so all good.”
While Anfield will provide a welcome boost throughout, Liverpool will be on the road for much of the next month before the October international break.
It adds another layer of complexity to a taxing period, but as Klopp rightly noted, this is exactly what “we wanted.”
The 19-year-old swapped Anfield for the Molineux in a £13.5 million deal that for all intents and purposes was a makeweight in Diogo Jota going the other way.
Nelson Semedo has proved stiff competition at right-back under both Nuno Espirito Santo and Bruno Lage, but his chances have been greater than at Liverpool and it’s the speed of progress that saw him seek a move.
“I didn’t expect anything like that when I just signed with the club, by any means,” Hoever told Voetbal International.
“That I would make my debut within six months, while before that, I played my matches in the Under-17s at Ajax. That all happened very quickly.
“That is also difficult because, after that, it doesn’t go so fast.”
Hoever made his debut for the Reds at just 16, making him the fifth-youngest player to have made an appearance in club history, but just three more games in domestic cups would follow.
And just 20 months later he would no longer be a Red, a decision that was made with a similar reason for his departure from Ajax to Liverpool in 2018.
“That went too slowly for me,” Hoever continued. “I hadn’t thought about the first one at all; I wanted to go to the Under-19 as soon as possible.
“I was surprised that I was offered a contract from Ajax because I had the feeling for some time that I was not appreciated how I thought I should be appreciated.
“The fact that I made my debut in Liverpool six months later also says that I was at least ready for the Under-19 of Ajax, I think.”
A highly-rated versatile defender, Hoever certainly looks to have a bright future ahead of him and one cannot begrudge his desire not to see his career stagnate.
In the end, his move was one that helped facilitate Jota’s move – making it a win-win situation with the No. 20 having more than proven his worth with 15 goals in 33 games.
Jurgen Klopp continues to be frustrated by the lack of club, player and management involvement over significant decisions in the game, including international exploits.
Despite serious concerns over player welfare and at a time when the pandemic is still very much ongoing, the players are the ones who are being forced to take the brunt of the punishment.
Whether Alisson and Fabinho are free to play remained unknown by Friday afternoon, even after one of Brazil’s games had to be cancelled and in the knowledge that a 10-day quarantine would be enforced on their return to the UK.
Klopp remains bemused by the absurdity of the situation and the various international rules that need to be currently navigated.
“When the discussions came up before this last international break were with all clubs in Europe, and they all had the same opinion,” Klopp told reporters.
“But they didn’t have all the same problems.
“Because Brazil is for sure a red-list country for England, but it is not a red-list for Germany and I don’t think it is for France, so it’s not the same problem.
“But a problem, in general, is that we are not involved in all these kinds of decisions.
“We will see now, probably all footballers say we don’t need a World Cup every two years but it might happen anyway!
“So it’s like ‘okay, why did you ask if you are not interested in the opinion.’
“So it was not the same problem for all leagues because Brazil is not for all countries on the red-list, like England is, by the way, is for Brazil as well.
“But it’s funny enough because a Brazilian player can go to Brazil, I think, [from England] and would not have to be quarantined but an Argentinian player who is going to Brazil from England has to quarantine.
“Interesting! That’s why they cancelled the game, I don’t get this kind of thing but it is how it is.”
The manager did not hide his thoughts on the matter as he spoke to the press, having also taking aim at FIFA, but wanted to stress that any ban for his players cannot be used as an excuse at Leeds.
“My personal opinion in nobody should be banned because there is no solution for us to get around that,” Klopp added on the Brazil situation.
“In the game between Brazil and Argentina, because the Argentinian players came to Brazil and were in the last 10-14 days in England they should have quarantined there.
“So as long as all the countries use their own rules we will not get out of that.
“If they cannot play, we will go [to Leeds] and will not use it as an excuse and use our best players. It’s not right.”
The Reds remain unbeaten after the opening three games, with Leeds next up – who have yet to collect their first three points of the new campaign.
The last visit to Elland Road was one marred by the Super League chaos and many had questioned if the 1-1 draw would mean anything by season’s end.
Now, there is no uncertainty and Klopp’s men will need to find their rhythm without delay against a well-drilled Marcelo Bielsa outfit in what is the first game of six in the space of 16 days.
Injuries and a ban for his two Brazilians means Klopp has a few problems to solve at Elland Road.Team news
The latest team news ahead of Liverpool‘s trip to Leeds is as follows:Liverpool’s XI vs. Leeds IF Brazilians allowed
A lot will hinge on the conclusion of the ban for the Brazilians, with two key players in limbo and time swiftly not on Liverpool‘s side.
It would see the Reds lineup like this in west Yorkshire:
If the five-day ban remains in place for our No. 1 and No. 3, however, Klopp will need to shuffle his pack to cover their absence against an energetic Leeds:
It would see Klopp send out his side like this:
Kelleher; Alexander-Arnold, Matip, Van Dijk, Robertson; Henderson, Thiago, Elliott; Salah, Mane, Jota
It’s a bewildering position Liverpool find themselves in as they are at the mercy of the Brazilian FA standing down or those in air-conditioned offices making sure common sense prevails.
The Reds will be greeted by an electric atmosphere and it is important a busy month of action starts off on the right note, so politics will need to be put to one side and a Sunday afternoon ending with a victory.
Liverpool are preparing for a Sunday afternoon showdown with Leeds United, the backdrop of which remains a ridiculous international break with players forced to sit out the match.Jurgen Klopp takes aim at Fifa again
The boss has never been one to mince his words, nor hide his utter disdain for the lack of attention to players’ welfare shown by the game’s governing bodies.
Klopp has reiterated his stance that Fifa simply “don’t care” about the players and insisted finances remain the only factor Fifa take into account.
His press conference also took aim at the absolute nonsense around the Brazilian players not being allowed to feature (so far!) this weekend and how footballers are the ones being punished.
Here we listed the six key points Klopp discussed, often in passionate terms.End of the internationals
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Does anyone else believe that Klopp and current squad can get numbers 20 and 7 in the bag? I 100% do …
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Tonight’s the return of domestic action. Birmingham vs Derby, anyway. Or Lorient vs Lille? Or just get ready for a busy weekend.
Jurgen Klopp has rightly voiced his strong opposition to the lack of player welfare from football’s governing bodies, saying they “just don’t care” as the priority lays elsewhere.
With the voices surrounding the World Cup moving to a two-year cycle instead of four growing louder each day, the welfare of players continues to take a backseat.
But Klopp is once again fighting in their corner, slamming the “relentless calendar” that sees international players fail to have any time away from the game when they only have one body to see out their career.
It’s left the Liverpool manager crying out for common ground between all confederations with players, who are the “most important ingredients of this wonderful game,” to be at the heart of reforms instead of money.
As always, the boss hits the nail on the head in his passionate response to a schedule that is increasingly getting out of hand in a discussion that is borne from the Brazil fiasco.
“There’s not another physical sport with such a relentless calendar, certainly not a more physical sport,” Klopp told reporters.
“There are more demanding sports in the world, like athletics and marathons but they don’t run 20, 30 or 40 a year and other physical sports don’t have this calendar.
“We all know why it’s happening, whatever people say that it is about giving different countries the opportunity, that’s why there are more teams in the World Cup, for example, but in the end it’s all about money, that’s how it is.
“That’s fine. We do it because not because of money but because we love it, but of course we get lots of money as well.
“But in the end at some point, somebody has to start understanding that without the players, the most important ingredients of this wonderful game, we cannot play it, that’s how it is.
“Whoever thinks it’s more important than the players, is it FIFA, UEFA, the chairmen, the sporting directors, the managers – nobody is more important than the players!
“Imagine if it would be the case that every two years there is a World Cup, then we can be 100% sure that every two years there is a European Championship as well.
“That means for top class plays they just play every year a big tournament. Every year.
“In a physical and very demanding sport an explanation from people out there, in forums, is ‘but they earn that much’. That has nothing to do with it because that’s one body they have.
“All things that came up in the last few years as the new ideas or a reform were always about more games. I read that today [Gianni] Infantino said there were too many meaningless football games, if so don’t play it.
“But if you only have competition, like Nations League, when all managers are under pressure that’s really, really difficult.
“With only competition, there is never time for a pre-season with the key players of the squad. They can never prepare for the season they have to play without a break.
“That’s not right, in the long-term for sure not.
“We spoke about it very often, I always say the same but it’s obviously not important what I say because nobody listens.
“For example, nobody thought about the players when they decided that [Brazil’s] last game of three was Friday morning UK time at 1.30am and the next game could have been Saturday.
“They don’t care, they just don’t care. It’s only one main interest and all the rest is not interesting.
“There must be a point when FIFA, UEFA and other confederations start thinking about the game and not only about their benefit. I’m already 54 and I’m not sure I’ll be alive when that happens.”
Well said, Jurgen.