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Liverpool edge closer to CL last 16

Thu, 02/11/2017 - 01:20
By Michael Hincks

Last Updated: 02/11/17 8:28am

Emre Can scored a delightful second as Liverpool moved one point clear at the top of Group EEmre Can scored a delightful second as Liverpool moved one point clear at the top of Group E Emre Can scored a delightful second as Liverpool moved one point clear at the top of Group E

Liverpool moved one point clear at the top of their Champions League group following a 3-0 victory over Maribor at Anfield.

Maribor were a far cry from the side that shipped seven against Liverpool a fortnight ago as they frustrated the hosts in a goalless first half.

However, Mohamed Salah's flick (49) broke the deadlock, and while Liverpool's penalty woes continued when James Milner saw his penalty saved, Emre Can put the game beyond doubt (64) with a delightful finish.

Daniel Sturridge came off the bench to slam home a third (90), and Liverpool now know that victory over Sevilla - who beat Spartak Moscow 2-1 to move second - on November 21 will book their place in the knockout stages with a game to spare.

Player ratings

Liverpool: Karius (6), Alexander-Arnold (7), Matip (6), Klavan (6), Moreno (7), Can (8), Milner (8), Wijnaldum (6), Salah (8), Oxlade-Chamberlain (7), Firmino (7)

Subs: Henderson (6), Sturridge (7), Grujic (6)

Maribor: Handanovic (8), Billong (8), Rajcevic (7), Suler (6), Milec (7), Pihler (5), Kabha (6), Viler (6), Bohar (6), Hotic (6), Mesanovic (5)

Subs: Tavares (6), Bajde (6), Ahmedi (6)

Man of the match: Emre Can

Following Liverpool's 7-0 win over Maribor a fortnight ago, there were high expectations for a repeat performance at Anfield, but the visitors kept Jurgen Klopp's men at bay early on.

Georginio Wijnaldum hobbled off after appearing to roll his ankle in the first halfGeorginio Wijnaldum hobbled off after appearing to roll his ankle in the first half Georginio Wijnaldum hobbled off after appearing to roll his ankle in the first half

Despite recording 83.5% possession in the first half, Liverpool could only direct two on target, and the closest they came to breaking the deadlock was when Jasmin Handanovic tipped Roberto Firmino's heavily-deflected effort onto the bar.

Four minutes after the break however, relief erupted around Anfield as Salah turned home Trent Alexander-Arnold's cross.

Philippe Coutinho and Dejan Lovren did not return for Liverpool. Loris Karius, Trent Alexander-Arnold, Emre Can and Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain all came into the starting XI.

One blip for Liverpool was the sight of another missed penalty. After Firmino was tugged to the ground, Milner stepped up following Salah's miss on the weekend, but ended up seeing his spot-kick well saved by Handanovic.

Liverpool did double their lead through Can, who played a neat one-two with Milner before curling one into the bottom corner from the edge of the area.

Sturridge was only a late introduction, but he got his first Champions League goal for Liverpool when slamming one past Handanovic from Alberto Moreno's cross.

Daniel Sturridge made it three late on for LiverpoolDaniel Sturridge made it three late on for Liverpool Daniel Sturridge made it three late on for Liverpool Opta stats
  • Liverpool have kept four clean sheets in their last five games in all competitions, after managing none in the seven games before that.
  • Maribor are without a win in their last 15 Champions League games (D5 L10).
  • Mohamed Salah has registered 13 goal involvements in all competitions for Liverpool this season (10 goals, 3 assists), more than any other player for the Reds.
  • Liverpool have failed to score with five of their last seven penalties in all competitions, including each of their last three.
Man of the match - Emre Can

Emre Can commanded the game along with James Milner, and it was the two who linked up beautifully for the German's 64th-minute strike.

Emre Can put in a commanding performance and topped it off with a goalEmre Can put in a commanding performance and topped it off with a goal Emre Can put in a commanding performance and topped it off with a goal

The duo mopped up everything Maribor had to offer, with Can making more tackles (four) than any other player on the pitch.

It leaves Klopp with a welcome headache in midfield having opted for the 23-year-old over Henderson, though Can will likely retain his place against West Ham after an injury to Georginio Wijnaldum.

The managerLiverpool boss Jurgen Klopp has ruled Philippe Coutinho out of Saturday's trip to West Ham Liverpool boss Jurgen Klopp has ruled Philippe Coutinho out of Saturday's trip to West Ham

Jurgen Klopp: "It was a similar situation to the Huddersfield game - an even more defensive side.

"We did the same things wrong, wrong positions, not enough balls in behind. We didn't create enough - that may be the summary of it.

"They changed completely their usual style. The start was good, we had a few good moments. We had to adjust in the second half and the boys did really well and decided the game, that's it."

What's next?

Liverpool face West Ham in the Premier League's evening kick-off on Saturday as they look to close the gap on the top five.

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Liverpool 3-0 Maribor recap

Wed, 01/11/2017 - 18:02

LIVERPOOL 0-0 MARIBOR

And there's the half-time whistle, which is met by cheers from the Maribor fans, and no surprise either as it has been a marked improvement from their showing two weeks ago.

In truth, Handanovic has been called into action just once, and it was a quality stop to deny Firmino's heavily deflected effort.

45 minutes down, 45 to go - Liverpool need to up their game after the break.

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Liverpool v Maribor preview

Tue, 31/10/2017 - 19:00

Last Updated: 31/10/17 10:43pm

Jurgen Klopp says he will not rotate his sideJurgen Klopp says he will not rotate his side Jurgen Klopp says he will not rotate his side

Jurgen Klopp is not planning on rotating his Liverpool side when they face Maribor in the Champions League on Wednesday.

The Reds are top of Group E on five points after thrashing the Slovenian side 7-0 in the reverse fixture.

They have several injury concerns for the game this week, but Klopp said: "I never take risks with the line-up. If a player plays, we expect him to be at 100 per cent.

"I don't think about rotation, I think about who I can line up.

"I don't think we have to rest players - we will not. I will have a look at who is fit and when I know that then I'll make the line-up. It's not about rotation, it's about who gives me the best impression."

Liverpool's win over Maribor is one of only two victories in all competitions in the last month.

Liverpool beat Maribor 7-0 in the reverse fixtureLiverpool beat Maribor 7-0 in the reverse fixture Liverpool beat Maribor 7-0 in the reverse fixture

However, they could put themselves in a strong position in a congested group if they beat Maribor again on Wednesday.

"If we win it 1-0, I'm fine," said Klopp. "We want three points, a clean sheet and a better position.

"I can imagine a lot of people after results like this [winning 7-0], but respect is a big problem. We know how strong they can be."

"We have to use the little advantage of being the home team, using the crowd, being spot on again. We did so well in Maribor at the end it looked like a big difference but it was only because of our start. We have to do that again."

Maribor have won both their domestic league matches since losing to Liverpool.

Watch: Liverpool 3-0 Huddersfield Watch: Liverpool 3-0 Huddersfield Team news

Philippe Coutinho and Dejan Lovren look set to miss out for Liverpool after not training on Tuesday evening due to abductor and groin injuries respectively.

Defenders Alberto Moreno (cramp) and Joe Gomez (knock) both trained after overcoming issues from the weekend while Loris Karius will start in goal.

However, the hosts will still be without the likes of Nathaniel Clyne (back), Adam Lallana (thigh) and Sadio Mane (hamstring).

James Milner says he didn't enjoy playing at left-back for Liverpool and is pleased to have returned to midfield James Milner says he didn't enjoy playing at left-back for Liverpool and is pleased to have returned to midfield Opta stats

Maribor have won only one of their nine games against England opposition in all competitions (D2 L6), a 2-1 win against Wigan Athletic in the 2013/14 Europa League group stages. They have also never kept a clean sheet in those nine games.

Liverpool's victory over Maribor in the previous round was the biggest away win by an English club away from home in European competition since Arsenal defeated Standard Liège 7-0 in the Cup Winners' Cup back in November 1993.

In fact, that result equalled the biggest margin of victory by an away team in the Champions League era - level with MSK Zilina 0-7 Marseille (Nov 2010) and BATE Borisov 0-7 Shakhtar Donetsk (Oct 2014).

Liverpool come into this match enjoying an 11-game unbeaten run in the group stages (W3 D8, Champions League and Europa League).

Maribor are currently enduring a 14-game winless run in the Champions League (D5 L9) and have only managed to score one goal across their last four outings in the competition.

Charlie's prediction

Can Liverpool really put to bed the questions over their home form in terms of scoring goals and being solid at the back? This is where they can really build some momentum.

A win looks a certainty and after the weekend I'd give every player who has been on the fringes, the likes of Ben Woodburn, Emre Can and Daniel Sturridge the chance to come in, with six or seven changes.

They should still be way too good to worry about this team and I see nothing other than a comfortable home win.

Charlie predicts: 3-0 and Sturridge to score first (12/1 with Sky Bet)

Betting

Liverpool are Sky Bet's shortest-priced favourites of the week at just 1/25 to see off 33/1 shots Maribor, who are 14/1 just to hold out for a draw. Jurgen Klopp's men are now also odds-on to win Group E and 22/1 to go on and lift the trophy. Roberto Firmino, Daniel Sturridge and Mohamed Salah share favouritism at 11/4 apiece in the first goalscorer betting, with all visiting players 20/1 or bigger to break the deadlock.

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Klopp unsure on Coutinho and Lovren

Tue, 31/10/2017 - 18:00
By Rory O'Callaghan

Last Updated: 31/10/17 5:17pm

Jurgen Klopp is unsure if either Philippe Coutinho or Dejan Lovren will be fit to face Maribor Jurgen Klopp is unsure if either Philippe Coutinho or Dejan Lovren will be fit to face Maribor

Jurgen Klopp admits he is still unsure if Philippe Coutinho or Dejan Lovren will recover from injury in time for Liverpool's match against Maribor in the Champions League on Wednesday after both sat out training on Tuesday.

Coutinho missed Liverpool's 3-0 win over Huddersfield with a thigh injury, while Lovren was ruled out of the match shortly before kick-off after also sustaining a thigh problem during the warm-up.

Both players were missing when the squad convened for an open training session at Melwood on Tuesday evening. They were assessed by club medical staff when they arrived and were deemed unfit to train with the group, according to Sky sources..

The Reds, who are top of Group E on goal difference, face Maribor at Anfield on Wednesday and Klopp admits he will wait to the last possible moment to choose his squad for the match.

Jurgen Klopp says he will wait to see if Coutinho or Dejan Lovren can play against MariborJurgen Klopp says he will wait to see if Coutinho or Dejan Lovren can play against Maribor Jurgen Klopp says he will wait to see if Coutinho or Dejan Lovren can play against Maribor

When asked to provide an update on Coutinho and Lovren's availability earlier in the day, Klopp replied: "I'm not 100 per cent sure.

"Both of them are much better but will they be OK for tomorrow night? I'm not sure in this moment so we will have to see.

"We have another [training] session at five and we will see who will be involved then. That would then give us at least an opportunity.

Lovren also sustained a thigh injury during the pre-match warm-up against the TerriersLovren also sustained a thigh injury during the pre-match warm-up against the Terriers Lovren also sustained a thigh injury during the pre-match warm-up against the Terriers

"If they do not train it does not mean, especially in Dejan's case, immediately that he cannot play because it will be three days [since he last played]. If he could train tomorrow morning that would be enough.

"I don't know exactly. We had a few things after the game. Roberto [Firmino] had a little bit of cramp, Joe [Gomez] felt a little bit, so we were really careful the last few days.

"Tonight and especially tomorrow will be the first time I really think of the line-up and know 100 per cent who is available."

Liverpool moved top of their Champions League group earlier this month courtesy of a 7-0 win over Maribor in Slovenia.

Klopp insists he will resist the urge to rotate his squad for the reverse fixture at Anfield, but could be forced into making changes depending on the fitness of his squad.

Liverpool are top of their Champions League group on goal differenceLiverpool are top of their Champions League group on goal difference Liverpool are top of their Champions League group on goal difference

"I never take risks with the line-up," said Klopp. "If the player is playing then we expect him at 100 per cent. If you feel a bruise or a little knock that's not a problem but when muscles are inflamed we never take a risk.

"I don't think about rotation. I think about a 100 per cent spot on team tomorrow night. That is all. When I think about the line-up, the last game has an influence but the next game never has an influence.

"We will line up tomorrow with our strongest side."

Klopp also confirmed that Sadio Mane and Adam Lallana are progressing well in their rehabilitation from injury.

Klopp has revealed Sadio Mane is on schedule in his recovery from a hamstring injuryKlopp has revealed Sadio Mane is on schedule in his recovery from a hamstring injury Klopp has revealed Sadio Mane is on schedule in his recovery from a hamstring injury

"It looks good," said Klopp. "Sadio had this morning kind of a clearing session before he comes back to training. We will have to see how he reacts.

"Adam will be part of team training during the international break. We need to see. That means both of them are in a good way but not good enough to be involved tomorrow or at the weekend at West Ham."

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Will a PL club win the CL?

Tue, 31/10/2017 - 10:50
By Nick Wright

Last Updated: 31/10/17 7:51am

Antonio Conte celebrates Chelsea's 2-1 win over Atletico Madrid Antonio Conte celebrates Chelsea's 2-1 win over Atletico Madrid Antonio Conte celebrates Chelsea's 2-1 win over Atletico Madrid

​​​​​​​Premier League sides have started strongly in the Champions League, so are they genuine contenders again? We take a look.

In the five years since Didier Drogba swept home the decisive penalty in Chelsea's famous Champions League final victory over Bayern Munich at the Allianz Arena in 2012, it is fair to say Premier League sides have taken a back seat at Europe's top table.

While Bayern Munich, Real Madrid and Barcelona have all celebrated success in Europe's elite knockout competition during that time, their English counterparts have not even come close. Semi-final appearances from Premier League sides have dropped from eight between 2008 and 2012, to two between 2013 and 2017.

It has been a fallow period, but as this year's competition gets back underway this week, there is a renewed sense of optimism surrounding the Premier League's representatives. Chelsea, Manchester United, Manchester City and Liverpool all sit top of their respective groups. Tottenham share the Group H lead with Real Madrid.

Between them, they are yet to taste defeat in 15 games. There have been 11 wins and four draws, with 44 goals scored and just 11 conceded. There is a long way to go, of course, but at the same stage of last season's competition, Manchester City had been thrashed 4-0 by Barcelona and Tottenham were already struggling.

We're now back at a point where Chelsea, Tottenham, Manchester United and Manchester City are actually doing what they should be doing. They are conceding fewer goals - a lot fewer goals.

Gary Neville

It's quite the turnaround. The Premier League is on course to have five representatives in the Champions League knockout stages for the first time in its history, and according to Sky Sports pundit Gary Neville, the most significant factor in the improvement is clear.

"The reason our Champions League performances have been so poor in recent years is because our teams can't defend," he said on Monday Night Football. "We're now back at a point where Chelsea, Tottenham, Manchester United and Manchester City are actually doing what they should be doing. They are conceding fewer goals - a lot fewer goals."

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It's borne out in the stats. The Premier League's top four sides have conceded considerably fewer goals after 10 games of the domestic season than in any of the previous five (27). And as Neville points out, it's down to the men in the dugout. "What we're now starting to see is the influence of these managers," he added.

The current top four have conceded just 27 Premier League goals so farThe current top four have conceded just 27 Premier League goals so far The current top four have conceded just 27 Premier League goals so far

Pep Guardiola, Jose Mourinho and Mauricio Pochettino are enjoying the benefits of stability this season. And together with Antonio Conte, the man behind Chelsea's title success in 2016/17, they are raising the game in the Premier League in terms of tactical nous and defensive organisation.

Recent evidence suggests it has translated to the Champions League, where English clubs boast a superior defensive record to any of the previous five seasons, with an average of just 0.7 goals conceded per game in the group stage so far. There have been compelling case studies along the way.

The first came at Wanda Metropolitano stadium at the end of September, when Chelsea came from behind to clinch a memorable 2-1 victory over Atletico Madrid. Diego Simeone's formidable side are one of the toughest to beat in Europe, but Conte's men delivered the kind of away performance that seemed beyond English sides a few years ago.

Tottenham clinched a 1-1 draw against Real Madrid at the BernabeuTottenham clinched a 1-1 draw against Real Madrid at the Bernabeu Tottenham clinched a 1-1 draw against Real Madrid at the Bernabeu

Three weeks later, it was Tottenham's turn. Pochettino took a patched-up side to the Bernabeu and went toe to toe with the European champions. Their fearless performance helped them to a famous 1-1 draw, but they could easily have taken all three points if it wasn't for Keylor Navas' heroics in goal.

We will find out more about their prospects in the upcoming round of fixtures, with Chelsea and Manchester City travelling to Roma and Napoli respectively and Tottenham hosting Real Madrid at Wembley. They are daunting tests. Come through them unscathed and there will be more cause for tentative optimism.

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Charlie's European predictions

Mon, 30/10/2017 - 19:20
Charlie Nicholas

Football Expert

Last Updated: 31/10/17 8:21am

Charlie Nicholas previews this week's Champions League actionCharlie Nicholas previews this week's Champions League action Charlie Nicholas previews this week's Champions League action

Charlie Nicholas provides us with his latest round of Champions League predictions, backing Tottenham to beat Real Madrid if Harry Kane is fit.

The Soccer Saturday pundit is also tipping Manchester United to get the win which could secure their progress, although he thinks fellow group leaders Manchester City and Chelsea will be held to draws.

Liverpool are expected to boost their chances of progressing when they host rank outsiders Maribor, while Charlie's former club Celtic need to beat Bayern Munich to keep their chances of progressing alive.

Here is what he is predicting for the six clashes...

Manchester United v Benfica (Tuesday, 7.45pm)

Will Jose Mourinho make an attacking ploy in this one I wonder? He's probably smirking right now because everybody is having a pop at him and he's got four points from two big games in the Premier League.

Benfica were poor in the first leg and Mourinho will probably bring in Anthony Martial, because of his winner against Spurs, and Juan Mata as well. They'll hopefully be more expansive than their recent displays.

Romelu Lukaku is without a goal in five gamesRomelu Lukaku is without a goal in five games Romelu Lukaku is without a goal in five games

They're all but through already but I think he'll play Romelu Lukaku because he needs a goal, and I think Mata will be out to prove a point as well.

Charlie predicts: 2-0 and Mata to score first (25/1 with Sky Bet)

Roma v Chelsea (Tuesday, 7.45pm)

I thought Chelsea were a bit fortunate to get a draw in the reverse fixture and I do feel there is some awkwardness in this Chelsea team at the moment.

The defence is the real concern and Antonio Conte is not happy with them, while I don't know what has happened to Alvaro Morata. He doesn't look fit and I don't know whether he's concerned his hamstring won't let him sprint.

Chelsea did get a great result at Atletico Madrid and are a better counter-attacking side than at dominating games, so I can't split them again.

Charlie predicts: 1-1 and Willian to score first (60/1 with Sky Bet)

Celtic v Bayern Munich (Tuesday, 7.45pm)

I'll be watching this one in the Soccer Special studio. I genuinely expect it to be much closer than the reverse tie in terms of performance and result.

Celtic were heavily beaten in Bavaria last time outCeltic were heavily beaten in Bavaria last time out Celtic were heavily beaten in Bavaria last time out

Celtic don't have the players to sit in and defend so the concern is, as always in Europe, that they'll come out and get picked off.

Thiago was excellent in the reverse fixture and must be considered one of the top midfielders in the world right now, while their full-backs were also superb with their pressing game.

However, Thomas Muller and Robert Lewandowski being ruled out is a leveller and it says it all that we're scratching around to work out who will lead the line. I suspect it could be Kingsley Coman and I suspect it could be a narrow heartbreak for Celtic.

Charlie predicts: 1-2 and Coman to score first (35/1 with Sky Bet)

Tottenham v Real Madrid (Wednesday, 7.45pm)

I would think Harry Kane would be very keen to play this but I would think it would be one hell of a risk. Hamstrings take a long time to settle down fully, even if he does feel fit to play.

Harry Kane will be looking to shrug off injury before Wednesday's clashHarry Kane will be looking to shrug off injury before Wednesday's clash Harry Kane will be looking to shrug off injury before Wednesday's clash

Mauricio Pochettino will be desperate to play him but he is a strong enough character to think his side are virtually through and if there's any doubt then it is not worth it.

Real Madrid had a shocking result losing to Girona on Sunday and if Kane is fully fit then they are there for the taking. They look all over the place and looking to blame each other, with Sergio Ramos likely to be up to his old tricks and Cristiano Ronaldo unhappy with the physical treatment he'll get from Tottenham's defence.

Charlie predicts: 2-1 and Kane to score first (30/1 with Sky Bet)

Napoli v Manchester City (Wednesday, 7.45pm)

I tell you what, if they win this then Manchester City deserve to be among the favourites to win the Champions League. The two Madrid sides have gone backwards, Barcelona aren't exactly flying, so City are right up there.

However, this is a really tough game. It's a hostile atmosphere in Napoli and they have a great mentality, although City are dangerous on the counter-attack, so I'll go for a high-scoring draw.

Charlie predicts: 2-2 Aguero to score first (35/1 with Sky Bet)

Pep Guardiola's Manchester City are flying both domestically and in EuropePep Guardiola's Manchester City are flying both domestically and in Europe Pep Guardiola's Manchester City are flying both domestically and in Europe Liverpool v Maribor (Wednesday, 7.45pm)

Can Liverpool really put to bed the questions over their home form in terms of scoring goals and being solid at the back? This is where they can really build some momentum.

A win looks a certainty and after the weekend I'd give every player who has been on the fringes, the likes of Ben Woodburn, Emre Can and Daniel Sturridge the chance to come in, with six or seven changes.

They should still be way too good to worry about this team and I see nothing other than a comfortable home win.

Charlie predicts: 3-0 and Sturridge to score first (12/1 with Sky Bet)

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Klopp: Reds good enough to be top

Mon, 30/10/2017 - 15:20

Last Updated: 30/10/17 2:22pm

Jurgen Klopp still believes his side could finish top of the leagueJurgen Klopp still believes his side could finish top of the league Jurgen Klopp still believes his side could finish top of the league

Jurgen Klopp believes Liverpool are "good enough to be top" but has warned his side they need to find more consistency to achieve this goal.

Liverpool beat Huddersfield 3-0 on Saturday to pick up their first Premier League victory since September and move sixth but are 12 points behind current table-toppers Manchester City

The Reds went top of the league last year in early November, however, after being usurped from that position at the end of that month, they failed to regain that position.

"The problem is that here the moment things don't work out, we get compared with the past," Klopp said.

Liverpool 3-0 Huddersfield Liverpool 3-0 Huddersfield

"What you said before the season is immediately the truth: we need to fix the defence etc. Yeah, but it's the middle of the season! We can only fix it on the training pitch.

"How could I talk about it? The only thing the people around do is weaken the players by saying, 'You are not good enough.' It's a little bit of a problem.

"We all have problems. That's how it is - apart from Manchester City obviously at the moment. At the moment they are the best team in the league.

"Do I still think it's possible [to be top]? Yes, 100 per cent. But I know too it takes time. That's it. The boys are good enough."

Klopp has faith in his Liverpool sideKlopp has faith in his Liverpool side Klopp has faith in his Liverpool side

Reflecting on the last 12 months, Klopp said: "Top of the table was a wonderful moment, we played wonderful football - and we've played sometimes wonderful football this season too. But we need to be lucky too.

"We haven't had too much luck so far, that's the truth. But you cannot ask for luck. You cannot say, 'Where's the luck?' You have to work until the luck happens.

"Yes, we were ahead of schedule [going top] - that is clear. But everything could have happened from this point: no injuries, bah, bah, bah.

"We are able to perform on the highest level. But now we have to find consistency."

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Matip: Klopp didn’t hold back

Mon, 30/10/2017 - 03:20

Last Updated: 30/10/17 1:16am

Jurgen Klopp was very direct with his criticism, says Joel Matip Jurgen Klopp was very direct with his criticism, says Joel Matip Jurgen Klopp was very direct with his criticism, says Joel Matip

Joel Matip says a verbal volley from boss Jurgen Klopp was central to Liverpool putting in a solid defensive performance in the 3-0 win over Huddersfield.

A woeful 4-1 loss at Tottenham left the Reds without a win in three league matches prior to Saturday's victory over the Terriers.

Goalkeeper Simon Mignolet and centre-back Dejan Lovren came in for most scrutiny at Wembley but Matip said collectively all the players - himself included - had to look at their performance after Klopp's harsh words.

"Against Tottenham me and the rest of the team made mistakes and we got criticised. This is what it means to be at a big club, to be a professional footballer," he said.

"A lot of people are looking, they are waiting, and if we don't perform we expect them to do this.

Matip admits he made a number of mistakes against TottenhamMatip admits he made a number of mistakes against Tottenham Matip admits he made a number of mistakes against Tottenham

"Of course it is tough. Are the criticisms always deserved? I don't know, maybe.

"We know we had a lot of problems. I made a lot of problems, I was at fault, I made a number of mistakes, and of course I am not happy.

"We know we did it wrong and he (Klopp) didn't hold back, he said it directly.

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"You have to speak about these things directly, honestly, and that is what he did.

"He said it was not good enough - he spoke very honestly about the things that have to change, very directly, but after this he said we carry on and try to prepare for the next game."

Simon Mignolet says he is strong enough to handle criticismSimon Mignolet says he is strong enough to handle criticism Simon Mignolet says he is strong enough to handle criticism

Mignolet kept Liverpool's fourth clean sheet in five home matches in Saturday's 3-0 win against Huddersfield but the Belgian knows he can only keep his critics at bay for so long.

"I don't need anyone telling me when I have had a good or a bad game, I know that myself," he said.

"It is just about staying calm, not getting carried away with what is said because that is part and parcel of playing for Liverpool - you have to deal with it as it's not going to change.

"I didn't have much to do [against Huddersfield] so it wasn't like I was going to help the team but at the same time sometimes you can crumble underneath the pressure.

"That is not going to happen to me."

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Sturridge hopes goal 'repaid' Klopp

Sun, 29/10/2017 - 15:07
By Richard Cooke

Last Updated: 29/10/17 12:51pm

Daniel Sturridge is hoping for a regular place in Liverpool's team after scoring in the 3-0 win against HuddersfieldDaniel Sturridge is hoping for a regular place in Liverpool's team after scoring in the 3-0 win against Huddersfield Daniel Sturridge is hoping for a regular place in Liverpool's team after scoring in the 3-0 win against Huddersfield

Liverpool striker Daniel Sturridge is hoping his performance against Huddersfield will help him become a regular in the team.

The England international scored the first goal in the 3-0 win at Anfield, bringing his tally for Liverpool to 62 in 130 games and making it 100 career goals.

Sturridge, who started for only the fourth time this season, has been hampered by a series of injuries in the last three years but he believes he is now fitter than ever and is set on persuading Jurgen Klopp to give him a run in the side.

Sturridge believes he is fitter than ever after recovering from a number of injuries Sturridge believes he is fitter than ever after recovering from a number of injuries Sturridge believes he is fitter than ever after recovering from a number of injuries

Speaking to liverpoolfc.com, he said: "It's (about) getting that rhythm, that flow. For myself, I feel like I'm best when I'm like that playing regularly.

"But the manager picks the team and I'll never cause any issues or problems in the camp because he's the boss, I have a lot of respect for him and for his decisions.

"When I go onto the pitch it's important for me to show what I can do. It doesn't matter how many minutes you get, you've got to put your best foot forward and show what you can do for the team.

"I'm grateful for his faith in me (on Saturday) and hopefully I've repaid him with the goal."

Sturridge had not remembered he was due to bring up his career century since last scoring against Arsenal in August.

"I didn't even think about that, I completely forgot," he added. "Hopefully I'll be able to score another 100 before my career is over."

Liverpool's win was a quick response to the 4-1 defeat at Tottenham last weekend and it was their fourth clean sheet at home this season.

Jurgen Klopp gave his defence a second chance against HuddersfieldJurgen Klopp gave his defence a second chance against Huddersfield Jurgen Klopp gave his defence a second chance against Huddersfield

Klopp had planned to give the same back four and goalkeeper a chance to redeem themselves for their performance at Wembley, but Dejan Lovren was injured in the warm-up and replaced by Ragnar Klavan.

"I thought it made sense, it was the only reason why we did it," said Klopp of his decision to name the same back five.

"If something doesn't work you can change everything or you can stick to what you did before.I was convinced before the Tottenham game that these boys are the right ones and I will not change after one very bad performance, so I am not that confused."

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Klopp: Reds response 'outstanding'

Sat, 28/10/2017 - 21:20
By Michael Hincks

Last Updated: 28/10/17 8:01pm

Jurgen Klopp was delighted after Liverpool bounced back with a comfortable 3-0 win over Huddersfield following their heavy defeat to Tottenham Jurgen Klopp was delighted after Liverpool bounced back with a comfortable 3-0 win over Huddersfield following their heavy defeat to Tottenham

Jurgen Klopp hailed the "outstanding" second-half performance of his Liverpool side as they beat Huddersfield 3-0 at Anfield on Saturday.

Huddersfield kept the hosts at bay in the first half with Jonas Lossl saving Mohamed Salah's penalty in the 42nd minute.

However, the floodgates opened after Daniel Sturridge netted five minutes into the second half, with goals from Roberto Firmino and Georginio Wijnaldum following.

Liverpool's superb second 45 saw them move up to sixth in the table, in what was their first Premier League win since September.

"It was easy to fix the mistakes for the second half," Klopp told Sky Sports. "We showed the boys that their positioning needs to be different, and immediately we had the opportunities.

"I don't think the first goal was lucky because we forced it. We were in the right positions and played the right pass.

Liverpool 3-0 Huddersfield Liverpool 3-0 Huddersfield

"The second goal, usually when you hear Liverpool and goal from a set-piece it's the other way round. But today we scored one.

"Third goal, fantastic. It was nice play from Wijnaldum, so there's a lot of good things today, especially the reaction in the second half, which was outstanding.

"The boys really deserve that. We needed it, and now we have it."

Liverpool took the lead when Sturridge latched onto Tommy Smith's header to net his 100th club career goal.

Firmino and Wijnaldum extended Liverpool's advantage as Huddersfield's defence became stretched, though the visitors offered little by way of attack.

Simon Mignolet did not have a single save to make in the Liverpool goal, bringing up a much-needed clean sheet after their defence made headlines for the wrong reasons last weekend against Tottenham.

Liverpool goalkeeper Simon Mignolet did not have a save to make against HuddersfieldLiverpool goalkeeper Simon Mignolet did not have a save to make against Huddersfield Liverpool goalkeeper Simon Mignolet did not have a save to make against Huddersfield

Klopp admitted their stuttering start was perhaps down to the desire not to make mistakes, more than it was to push for an opener.

"To get back on track, you have to control the game and that's what we did in the first half," Klopp added.

"It was not the most exciting half of football. For sure we were a little bit stiff, that's true. We were not in the right positions or with enough players in decisive areas.

"We had too many players behind the ball, which showed their readiness to protect, as it was very important for us to not show any weaknesses in defence."

Liverpool defender Dejan Lovren was injured in the warm-up and replaced by Ragnar KlavanLiverpool defender Dejan Lovren was injured in the warm-up and replaced by Ragnar Klavan Liverpool defender Dejan Lovren was injured in the warm-up and replaced by Ragnar Klavan

Klopp also praised Ragnar Klavan, who deputised for Dejan Lovren after the Liverpool defender was injured in the warm-up.

"It was not too cool, but at least we had one player in the backhand. It was pretty much the last second with the last ball he played, that's really unlucky and not good for us," Klopp said.

"You saw Ragnar needed a little bit of time, he had five minutes or so to warm up, but then in the second half he was really good."

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Liverpool cruise past Huddersfield

Sat, 28/10/2017 - 19:10
By Michael Hincks

Last Updated: 29/10/17 7:56am

FT Liverpool 3 - 0 Huddersfield FT Liverpool 3 - 0 Huddersfield

Daniel Sturridge's 100th club career goal helped Liverpool return to winning ways in the Premier League with a comfortable 3-0 victory over Huddersfield.

Mohamed Salah saw his first-half penalty saved by Jonas Lossl (42) as a defensive Huddersfield side frustrated the hosts, who were without Philippe Coutinho at Anfield.

However, Sturridge capitalised on a Tommy Smith error (50) to steer Liverpool towards their first league victory since September.

Liverpool turned on the style as the Huddersfield defence opened up, and Roberto Firmino's header (58) and a superb Georginio Wijnaldum strike (75) ultimately put the game beyond the visitors.

Player ratings

Liverpool: Mignolet (6), Gomez (6), Klavan (6), Matip (6), Moreno (6), Milner (8), Henderson (7), Wijnaldum (8), Salah (8), Sturridge (7), Firmino (8)

Subs: Oxlade-Chamberlain (6), Can (6), Solanke (6)

Huddersfield: Lossl (7), Smith (4), Schindler (6), Zanka (7), Lowe (6), Hogg (6), Williams (6), Mooy (6), La Parra (5), Ince (6), Depoitre (6)

Subs: Kachunga (6), Mounie (6), Hadergjonaj (6)

Man of the match: James Milner

In a clash which pitted Jurgen Klopp against old friend David Wagner for the first time, it was the latter who set up his Huddersfield side to sit back and let Liverpool attack, but the hosts struggled to find an early breakthrough as Lossl saved easily from Salah and James Milner.

Jurgen Klopp got one over old friend David Wagner in their first meeting as managersJurgen Klopp got one over old friend David Wagner in their first meeting as managers Jurgen Klopp got one over old friend David Wagner in their first meeting as managers

Tommy Smith's tug on the shirt of Firmino then handed Salah the opportunity to score from the spot, but Lossl guessed correctly to keep out the Egypt international's penalty.

The rebound did fall kindly for Liverpool captain Jordan Henderson, but he saw his volley skim the post as a relieved Huddersfield side went into the break all-square.

Philippe Coutinho (adductor) was ruled out, Emre Can dropped to the bench and Dejan Lovren was injured in the warm-up. In came Daniel Sturridge, Georginio Wijnaldum and Ragnar Klavan for Liverpool.

For Huddersfield, Rajiv van La Parra started in place of Elias Kachunga, who was only fit enough to be named among the substitutes.

However, it took Liverpool just five minutes to break the deadlock in the second half, with Sturridge latching onto a poor header from Smith before looping the ball beyond Lossl to score his second goal of the season.

Daniel Sturridge has scored the 100th goal of his club career:
6 gls – Man C (32 apps)
24 – Chelsea (96)
8 – Bolton (12)
62 – L'pool (130) pic.twitter.com/Ta6mktTOro

— Sky Sports Statto (@SkySportsStatto) October 28, 2017

The hosts went two clear just before the hour-mark when Firmino raced to the near post to head in from Milner's cross.

Wijnaldum rounded off the victory with 15 minutes to go, taking a couple of touches inside the area before rifling his effort into the top corner.

The game proved to be a much-needed quiet afternoon for Liverpool's defence, with goalkeeper Simon Mignolet not tested once.

Opta stats
  • Liverpool have lost only one of their last 43 Premier League home games against newly-promoted sides (W33 D9).
  • Huddersfield have failed to score in four consecutive away league games for the first time since October 2007, when they were in the third tier (5 games in that run).
  • No side has missed more Premier League penalties than Liverpool (34, level with Arsenal).
  • Salah has registered 12 goal involvements in all competitions for Liverpool this season (9 goals, 3 assists), more than any other player for the Reds.
Georginio Wijnaldum of Liverpool celebrates scoring his side's third goal with Emre CanGeorginio Wijnaldum of Liverpool celebrates scoring his side's third goal with Emre Can Georginio Wijnaldum of Liverpool celebrates scoring his side's third goal with Emre Can Pundit's view - Paul MersonPaul Merson suggested Liverpool were very comfortable in their 3-0 win over Huddersfield at Anfield and praised the fans for sticking with the side during the first-half display. Paul Merson suggested Liverpool were very comfortable in their 3-0 win over Huddersfield at Anfield and praised the fans for sticking with the side during the first-half display.

"It was a walk in the park. David Wagner said 'this is an easy game for me, I know what we have to do'. Well they just went there, laid down and waited for Liverpool to win. I've never seen anything like it, they beat Man United last week, why not go and have a go?

"We were just saying how bad Liverpool are at the back, Klavan came in for Lovren and you just think they should have had a go, take the game to Liverpool and create chances but they only had one shot! Not good enough.

"As soon as Liverpool go a goal up they become the Harlem Globetrotters. Everyone wanted the ball and it could have been 4,5 or 6. It was probably the easiest game they'll have all season."

The managers

Jurgen Klopp: "I don't think the first goal was lucky because we forced it. We were in the right positions and played the right pass.

"The second goal, usually when you hear Liverpool and goal from a set-piece it's the other way round. But today we scored one.

After their heavy 4-1 defeat to Tottenham last time out, Liverpool bounced back with a comfortable 3-0 win over Huddersfield. After their heavy 4-1 defeat to Tottenham last time out, Liverpool bounced back with a comfortable 3-0 win over Huddersfield.

"Third goal, fantastic. It was nice play from Wijnaldum, so there's a lot of good things today, especially the reaction in the second half, which was outstanding.

"The boys really deserve that. We needed it, and now we have it."

David Wagner: "In the end, it was a deserved defeat. But for me, the idea of our game worked until we conceded a very unlucky first goal.

"We did not have the best position to defend the long ball and we gave the assist for the first goal, and then conceded the second from a corner.

"Until the first goal, I haven't seen Anfield as quiet as it was today."

Huddersfield Town boss David Wagner was pleased with his players performances against Liverpool but they couldn't maintain their defensive displays throughout and Wagner admits that they deserved to lose in the end. Huddersfield Town boss David Wagner was pleased with his players performances against Liverpool but they couldn't maintain their defensive displays throughout and Wagner admits that they deserved to lose in the end. Man of the match - James Milner

Liverpool's forwards burst into life in the second half, but it was James Milner who put in a tireless performance throughout.

The midfielder got one assist to his name for Liverpool's second goal, and recorded twice as many key passes (four) as any other player. He also made the most tackles (five) on the pitch as Liverpool's central three allowed their defence to enjoy a quiet afternoon.

A typical all-round performance from the 31-year-old.

What's next?

Liverpool are in Champions League action at home to Maribor on Wednesday before they travel to West Ham in the late Saturday kick-off next week. Huddersfield meanwhile host West Brom next Saturday in a 3pm kick-off.

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Categories: LFC NEWS

Liverpool v Huddersfield preview

Sat, 28/10/2017 - 09:10

Last Updated: 28/10/17 7:42am

Philippe Coutinho is touch and go for Liverpool's game against HuddersfieldPhilippe Coutinho is touch and go for Liverpool's game against Huddersfield Philippe Coutinho is touch and go for Liverpool's game against Huddersfield

Philippe Coutinho is a major doubt for Liverpool as they welcome Huddersfield to Anfield in the Premier League on Saturday.

The Brazilian is carrying an abductor problem, and Jurgen Klopp said that a decision would be made on his inclusion after training on Friday.

"Last week he had back problems. It settled with treatment, he was fit for the game, this week he had an abductor problem, it's not clear so far if he's out tomorrow. We'll make the decision after training today. He didn't train yesterday," he told a pre-match press conference.

The Reds will be looking to bounce back from a 4-1 defeat to Tottenham in the Premier League last weekend, but will face a Huddersfield side who inflicted Manchester United's first loss of the season with a 2-1 victory in their previous game.

We look ahead to Saturday's Premier League action, featuring Man Utd's clash with Tottenham Hotspur and Chelsea's trip to Bournemouth We look ahead to Saturday's Premier League action, featuring Man Utd's clash with Tottenham Hotspur and Chelsea's trip to Bournemouth

The Anfield clash will mark the first league meeting between the two teams since a top-flight clash in February 1972 - in which Liverpool ran out 1-0 winners - as well as the first competitive meeting between good friends Klopp and David Wagner.

Team news

Alongside Coutinho, Klopp must decide whether to stick with Dejan Lovren in defence after his performance against Tottenham, but Sadio Mane, Adam Lallana and Nathaniel Clyne remain sidelined.

However, some good news for Liverpool fans is that Mane and Lallana should be back in action after the international break.

Tottenham 4-1 Liverpool Tottenham 4-1 Liverpool

Huddersfield forward Collin Quaner is back in contention, having been sidelined since the middle of last month with a calf injury.

Fellow forward Elias Kachunga is also available after recovering from a back problem sustained in last week's win against Man Utd. Kasey Palmer (hamstring), Michael Hefele (Achilles) and Jon Gorenc Stankovic (knee) are still out.

Opta stats

Huddersfield are winless in all competitions versus Liverpool in 10 matches (D3 L7), a run stretching back to 1960.

Liverpool have lost only one of their last 42 Premier League home games against newly-promoted sides, losing 1-2 vs Blackpool in October 2010 (W32 D9 L1) and are unbeaten in each of the last 19.

Huddersfield 2-1 Man Utd Huddersfield 2-1 Man Utd

Only three newly promoted sides have previously defeated both Liverpool and Manchester United in the same Premier League season; Bolton Wanderers in 2001-02, Manchester City in 2002-03 and Portsmouth in 2003-04 - Huddersfield could become the first side to do within the same month.

Liverpool have conceded 16 goals so far this season; their highest total after nine top-flight games since the 1964-65 campaign (20).

Aaron Mooy has had a hand in 10 league goals for Huddersfield in 2017 (four goals, six assists - including play-offs); four more than any other player.

Huddersfield head coach David Wagner reveals what happened on Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp's stag do in a documentary aired on Sky Sports Premier League Huddersfield head coach David Wagner reveals what happened on Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp's stag do in a documentary aired on Sky Sports Premier League

Mohamed Salah has scored five goals in his first nine Premier League appearances for Liverpool, level with Dirk Kuyt (5) and only fewer than Robbie Fowler at this stage of his Liverpool career in the competition (6).

Simon Mignolet has made more errors leading to opposition goals (13) than any other Premier League player since his debut for Liverpool in August 2013.

Merson's prediction

I know Liverpool have struggled in these types of matches but they should win and Huddersfield's style of press may help them.

They usually press high and that would suit Mohamed Salah, Philippe Coutinho and the rest. Premier League teams can pop it around you and all of a sudden that opens up space for the Liverpool forwards.

Liverpool are out to bounce back after defeat to TottenhamLiverpool are out to bounce back after defeat to Tottenham Liverpool are out to bounce back after defeat to Tottenham

If David Wagner changes it up and sticks with the half-press they used against United then it could be a different story. They waited until United got to the halfway line and then rushed in. They did well and that would frustrate Liverpool.

I just think as the game goes on Jurgen Klopp has too many star players.

Paul predicts: 2-0 (Sky Bet odds 5/1)

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Betting

Liverpool are 2/9 to get back to winning ways when they host Huddersfield on Saturday afternoon.

The Terriers are 12/1 to add Liverpool to Manchester United on their list of scalps, while it's 5/1 to end all square. Daniel Sturridge and Roberto Firmino are both 3/1 in the first goalscorer betting while it's double-figure prices and up for Huddersfield with Steve Mounie considered the likeliest deadlock-breaker at 10/1.

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Klopp backs Lovren to bounce back

Fri, 27/10/2017 - 18:00
By Alice Piper

Last Updated: 27/10/17 5:06pm

Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp has defended Dejan Lovren, saying footballers are 'still human beings' Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp has defended Dejan Lovren, saying footballers are 'still human beings'

Jurgen Klopp is confident Dejan Lovren will recover from last weekend's woes, but admits his Liverpool side "have to defend better" as they prepare to host Huddersfield on Saturday.

The Croatia defender had a game to forget in Liverpool's last league outing - a 4-1 defeat to Tottenham - as he was at fault for Spurs' first two goals inside the opening 12 minutes, before he was substituted after 31 minutes.

Following the defeat, Lovren altered his Instagram profile by removing 'LFC' from his bio, changing his profile picture to blank and disabling a number of comments on his posts.

"Social media is difficult enough to handle, I would say," said Klopp. "That's why I'm not part of it. I have no idea why people are doing it, to be honest.

"Everything is okay. Dejan had a good training week. You'll see what we will do for tomorrow, for the game line-up-wise.

"It's not about the last game - in general, it's about the next game and what we think will be the best line-up, that's all.

Tottenham exploited Liverpool's defensive frailties to triumph at WembleyTottenham exploited Liverpool's defensive frailties to triumph at Wembley Tottenham exploited Liverpool's defensive frailties to triumph at Wembley

"We had a normal week and of course it was not the nicest week of Dejan's life but, at the end, it's only football.

"People don't become a better or worse person after making a mistake in a football game."

Klopp added: "I don't wish for one of you for your mistakes to be discussed in public. You cannot even imagine or have any idea how it feels. In the first case, they're still human beings.

"Watching an accident, people standing around with smart phones instead of helping - I'm not this kind of person.

"If I think about Dejan, I have as much or more positive than I can think of negative things.

Lovren struggled to contain in-form Harry KaneLovren struggled to contain in-form Harry Kane Lovren struggled to contain in-form Harry Kane

"He is a player of Liverpool and that is how I treat him, as a member of this family. It's clear that I help him if I have to help him."

Klopp comes up against close friend David Wagner when Liverpool welcome Huddersfield, in what will be the first time the pair have met competitively as managers.

The Terriers travel to Merseyside off the back of a famous 2-1 victory over Manchester United and sit just one point behind Liverpool in the Premier League table.

In contrast, Liverpool have just one win in six and have conceded seven goals from their last four league games.

"I didn't ask him how he will line up, he didn't ask me," Klopp said of Wagner.

Jurgen Klopp takes on 'best friend' David Wagner when Liverpool play Huddersfield this weekendJurgen Klopp takes on 'best friend' David Wagner when Liverpool play Huddersfield this weekend Jurgen Klopp takes on 'best friend' David Wagner when Liverpool play Huddersfield this weekend

"We have to do different things differently. We have to defend better than we did. That's easy, because we defended not well.

"We need to be confident again. We need to be brave. We need to be really hard and we are ready for the game.

"Our friendship will last for the rest of our lives, whatever happens in this game.

"I want to win that game and that means we have to beat Huddersfield. That's it and I know him well enough that he feels exactly the same."

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Klopp and Wagner: Hearts and Mainz

Thu, 26/10/2017 - 18:10
By Richard Morgan & Guy Havord

Last Updated: 26/10/17 6:22pm

Liverpool boss Jurgen Klopp (left) and his Huddersfield counterpart David Wagner go head to head at Anfield this weekendLiverpool boss Jurgen Klopp (left) and his Huddersfield counterpart David Wagner go head to head at Anfield this weekend Liverpool boss Jurgen Klopp (left) and his Huddersfield counterpart David Wagner go head to head at Anfield this weekend

Twenty-six years after meeting, Jurgen Klopp and David Wagner come face to face in the dugout for the first time in a competitive game at Anfield this weekend.

Back in 1991, two young German second division players met for the first time at Mainz 05 to start a friendship that would last till this day, although neither could imagine that one day there would be a framed picture of them together in the manager's office at Liverpool FC.

"Somebody, I do not know how it happened, put us together in a room and that was the start of a lifelong friendship," said Klopp in a documentary on the duo to be shown on the Sky Sports Premier League channel on Thursday night at 7pm.

Technically average, endurance average, but because of his attitude, he ran more than he usually did

David Wagner on Jurgen Klopp the player

"It is like family, so we understand each other as brothers and it feels like this as it is that long.

"He was not very consistent, even if he does not want to hear it! A big talent, but not every day! He was very a young player when he came from Eintracht Frankfurt to Mainz, a very skilled boy, very quick, a good striker."

Wagner, meanwhile, remembers Klopp as "quick, strong in the air with a great attitude. Technically average, endurance average, but because of his attitude he ran more than he usually did, but he was a leader."

Wagner left for top-flight side Schalke, where he won the 1997 Uefa Cup, while at the same time Klopp and Mainz were finishing fourth in the German second division, although he would never play in the Bundesliga.

Hearts & Mainz: Klopp & Wagner

October 26, 2017, 7:00pm

Live on

"Every friendship develops with time and then it develops a trust and belief in each other," Wagner said. "We had such a strong base in the first four years, so even when I was at Schalke and he was in Mainz, we always stayed in contact."

One of the biggest influences on Klopp's career was Wolfgang Frank, a coach who played a high-tempo style of football and a back four at a time that Germany was obsessed with sweepers.

But after he left Mainz for a second time in 2000, the club went through three coaches in under a year. Bravely, they then turned to their 34-year-old defender.

"It was a big surprise I came a manager to everybody," Klopp recalls. "I did my badges and finished my studies during my playing career. I was the youth coach at Eintracht Frankfurt very early when I was 20, 21.

David Wagner (right) and Klopp will be in opposite dugouts at Anfield on SaturdayDavid Wagner (right) and Klopp will be in opposite dugouts at Anfield on Saturday David Wagner (right) and Klopp will be in opposite dugouts at Anfield on Saturday

"And I had the fantastic situation where the club thought I could do it immediately."

While Klopp was enjoying life as Mainz manager, his best mate was quitting football altogether.

"I was 30, 31, I played the last two seasons before in Bundesliga 3 and I was no longer hungry and greedy to play as a professional," Wagner said. "I thought I have to be more outside of this football family."

Klopp was having his own agonies as Mainz coach, twice getting the exciting team to the brink of a first-ever top-flight promotion, but twice they were denied on the final day of the season.

Huddersfield head coach David Wagner reveals what happened on Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp's stag do in a documentary aired on Sky Sports Premier League Huddersfield head coach David Wagner reveals what happened on Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp's stag do in a documentary aired on Sky Sports Premier League

In 2004, however, Maniz were at last promoted and the relationship between the pair was now so close that when Klopp got married, he asked his big buddy to be best man.

Wagner brought Klopp and the stag party to Mainz city centre.

"In Germany, we have a Christmas market and in Mainz, they have one of the biggest Christmas markets in Germany," Wagner remembers.

"We put Santa Claus masks on us and there were 25 Santa Clauses, because Jurgen was not able to go in the Christmas market as a normal person. But everybody recognised that here was a group to join Klopp to celebrate!"

Klopp was celebrating again after keeping Mainz in the top division for two more seasons, despite the odds. But after relegation and just missing out on promotion, it was time for change.

Jurgen Klopp guided Dortmund to back-to-back league titles in 2011 and 2012Jurgen Klopp guided Dortmund to back-to-back league titles in 2011 and 2012 Jurgen Klopp guided Dortmund to back-to-back league titles in 2011 and 2012

Klopp was off to awaken one of the Bundesliga giants and at Borussia Dortmund, he would link up again with Wagner.

Dortmund were one of the great names of German football, but when Klopp arrived there in 2006, they were not in good health, sitting 13th in the Bundesliga.

Playing at full gas, though, Klopp produced a young, vibrant side that was thrilling to watch.

"The first season, we were supposed to go to Europe, but only missed it by an inch," said Neven Subotic, who played under Klopp at both Mainz and then Dortmund.

"The next year, we went to Europe and the year after that we won the championship. So it was just a rocket ride to the top."

I like heavy metal. I love it when I read after the game that we ran more that the opponent

Jurgen Klopp

Klopp had put Dortmund back on top in Germany.

"I like heavy metal more," he said. "I love it when I read after the game that we ran more that the opponent. I like this. If somebody tell me after the game that you ran 11km more than the other team, that is good. I do not like winning with 80 per cent."

This young, charismatic coach was becoming one of the most famous men in Germany and the man who was never good enough to play in the Bundesliga was now king of the Bundesliga.

It would get even better as Klopp was to be joined at the club's training ground on a daily basis by his best man after Wagner decided he too wanted a crack at football management.

"When he came to Dortmund, it was not my idea", Klopp said. "I would have loved to work together with him, but I never brought a friend in before."

Jurgen Klopp celebrates after beating Real  in the 2013 Champions League semi-finalJurgen Klopp celebrates after beating Real  in the 2013 Champions League semi-final Jurgen Klopp celebrates after beating Real in the 2013 Champions League semi-final

There was no stopping Dortmund, who won the Bundesliga in 2011 and 2012. The next season, they produced some memorable Champions League displays, including an incredible semi-final win over Real Madrid.

However, they would lose the final to Bayern Munich at Wembley. Key players then left, ironically to the Bavarians, whose massive financial superiority over Dortmund began to take its toll as they claimed three Bundesligas in a row.

Klopp announced he was leaving the Westfalenstadion, with the German eventually joining Liverpool in October 2015.

It was thought Wagner would follow Klopp to Anfield, but the next month he moved to Huddersfield.

"There are no truth in these rumours," insists Wagner. "This was totally independent from Jurgen's decision to go to England and go to Liverpool."

David Wagner joined Huddersfield in November 2015David Wagner joined Huddersfield in November 2015 David Wagner joined Huddersfield in November 2015

Wembley was again to prove an unhappy hunting ground for Klopp as Liverpool lost the League Cup final on penalties to Man City in February 2016, while Wagner was just happy to finish 19th in the Championship.

Last season, though, would prove the most significant in Wagner's football career as he guided the Terriers to the play-off final at the home of football.

"I was in the South of France at a friends' house and we watched it on television," said Klopp of May's clash between Huddersfield and Reading.

"He asked me if I wanted to come, but I feel a little bit sorry for him as I really think he is big and strong enough, and what he has achieved so far is big enough, so nobody has to mention he is best man of Klopp.'

"I did not want to come in the stadium and have one camera on me and see how I react when he should be, or his team, in the middle of all interest.

"So I did not want to play this part and we watched it and I was nervous like hell. And afterwards, Ulla [Sandrock, Klopp's wife] sent him a video of me crying like a baby when it happened, the final penalty, as I could not stop."

Watch Huddersfield's winning penalty in the Championship play-off final as Christopher Schindler slotted home to net the club £170m and promotion to the Premier League Watch Huddersfield's winning penalty in the Championship play-off final as Christopher Schindler slotted home to net the club £170m and promotion to the Premier League

And now, more than a quarter of a century after they met for the first time at Mainz, the duo are rival managers in the English Premier League.

"Nobody expected it, even when I joined Huddersfield," Wagner said. "We met already in friendlies when he joined us here at the John Smith's Stadium once and we played one friendly behind closed doors in Melwood.

"But this now, Anfield, he in one dugout, I in one dugout, this will be strange for sure."

What happens, though, if there is a last-minute winner on Saturday afternoon?

"If we score the winner, I will celebrate for sure," said Wagner. "And I know he will celebrate as well if he scores the winner!"

His best mate agrees, saying: "And on this day, we will do everything to beat Huddersfield, for sure. And after that, we will have a talk like it is always."

Watch 'Hearts and Mainz: Klopp & Wagner' on the Sky Sports Premier League channel on Thursday at 7pm, 9pm, 11pm and midnight

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'Liverpool must stick with Klopp'

Thu, 26/10/2017 - 14:30
Graeme Souness

Football Expert & Columnist

Last Updated: 26/10/17 4:35pm

Graeme Souness admits he would 'sign up right now' if someone offered him a top-four finish for Liverpool this season Graeme Souness admits he would 'sign up right now' if someone offered him a top-four finish for Liverpool this season

Graeme Souness says Liverpool "have to stick with Jurgen Klopp", adding he would take a top-four finish if offered to him now.

Liverpool currently sit ninth in the Premier League table following just one win from their last six matches.

Klopp's position as manager has come into question with Liverpool 12 points behind league leaders Manchester City and Souness said the best his former club can hope for is finishing in the top four.

Jurgen Klopp's side have conceded 16 goals in the Premier League this seasonJurgen Klopp's side have conceded 16 goals in the Premier League this season Jurgen Klopp's side have conceded 16 goals in the Premier League this season

Speaking on Premier League Daily, Souness said: "If someone would guarantee me a top-four finish for Liverpool, I would sign up right now if I was the Liverpool manager.

"They are in fits and starts. With the element of doubt surrounding [Philippe] Coutinho and their vulnerability at the back, I would take top four right now.

"Liverpool have to stick with Klopp too. He is a good fit for Liverpool. He is a passionate man, wears his heart on his sleeve and Liverpool are that sort of club to give him time."

Liverpool were thrashed 4-1 by Tottenham on Sunday, after Klopp's side earned a comprehensive 7-0 win over Maribor in the Champions League.

Souness believed Klopp's side would have come into their clash with Spurs in a confident mood following their success in Europe, but Liverpool's ongoing defensive problems continued at Wembley.

Liverpool were beaten 4-1 by Tottenham at Wembley on SundayLiverpool were beaten 4-1 by Tottenham at Wembley on Sunday Liverpool were beaten 4-1 by Tottenham at Wembley on Sunday

He added: "The football has been fab, but you look at last weekend at Wembley and they were 2-0 down inside 10 minutes.

"They still had the ball and the chances, but were well beaten. They are not taking their chances. I was hoping after the Maribor result, there would be more belief that they can score those chances, but at Wembley, Dejan Lovren made too many mistakes and all that confidence from midweek disappeared.

"If you are leaking goals as they are, it doesn't matter what football you play because you can't outscore teams. You have to defend properly. You would be far better to be tight and not play attractive football and just nick a game."

Souness also hopes Liverpool can still pursue a deal for Southampton's Virgil van Dijk as they aim to solve their issues in defence.

The Netherlands international was heavily linked with a move to Anfield in the summer, and Souness feels Klopp will go back in for Van Dijk in January.

Virgil van Dijk was a target for Liverpool in the summerVirgil van Dijk was a target for Liverpool in the summer Virgil van Dijk was a target for Liverpool in the summer

"The manager put all his eggs in one basket with Virgil van Dijk and I like him as a player, and if he had gone to Liverpool he could have made the difference," added Souness.

"One player makes the difference in my opinion. Jurgen Klopp has kept his powder dry. As a manager, when you can't get your first target do you go and spend on your second, third, fourth choice?

"For Liverpool supporters, they will be hoping they can get Van Dijk at Christmas time or beyond."

The new book by Graeme Souness, 'Football: My Life, My Passion', is out now.

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Premier League build-up LIVE!

Thu, 26/10/2017 - 12:14

'CITY THE FORM TEAM IN EUROPE' 

Tony Pulis admits he will have to take a different tactical approach when they face a "special" Manchester City side tomorrow... 

"They’re most probably the form team in Europe, not just England. The performances they’ve put in, the goals they’re scoring, it’s going to be a real, real tough game. 

"He [Pep Guardiola] has got what he wants and he’s starting to show what a fantastic coach he is. 

"We’re approaching it a bit different to normal. I’m going to say how. They’ve been special this year. The people coming to the ground tomorrow will watch a very, very good team and I mean a very, very good team."

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Liverpool-bound Keita sees red again

Thu, 26/10/2017 - 10:10
By James Dale

Last Updated: 26/10/17 8:15am

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Liverpool 3-0 Huddersfield recap

Wed, 25/10/2017 - 20:27

LIVERPOOL 3-0 HUDDERSFIELD

FT: All over at Anfield and Liverpool have returned to winning ways after three Premier League games without victory.

Following a Salah penalty which was saved, it was Sturridge who sent the hosts on their way in the second half with his 100th club goal of his career.

Firmino and Wijnaldum both got in on the act, in what was a very impressive second 45 from the hosts.

Highlights here from 5.15pm!

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Woodburn signs new Liverpool deal

Wed, 25/10/2017 - 19:15
By Nick Lustig

Last Updated: 25/10/17 6:39pm

Liverpool have secured Ben Woodburn to a new long-term dealLiverpool have secured Ben Woodburn to a new long-term deal Liverpool have secured Ben Woodburn to a new long-term deal

Ben Woodburn has pledged his future to Liverpool by signing a new long-term contract at the club.

The 18-year-old forward, who made his senior debut last season against Sunderland, signed the deal at Melwood on Wednesday after agreeing fresh terms with Liverpool.

Woodburn became Liverpool's youngest ever scorer when he netted in the Carabao Cup win over Leeds last campaign and also notched a goal on his international debut for Wales in September.

"It's an unbelievable feeling to sign a new contract with Liverpool," Woodburn told Liverpoolfc.com.

"This is the club I want to stay at and be here as long as possible. When I was told, all I wanted to do was sign the contract.

Woodburn marked his Wales debut with a wonderful strike shortly against Austria Woodburn marked his Wales debut with a wonderful strike shortly against Austria

"It feels good. Now I just want to carry on and hopefully show the manager what I can do."

Woodburn has so far featured only once this season - a 2-0 Carabao Cup defeat to Leicester in September - but remains determined to force himself back into Jurgen Klopp's starting XI.

Woodburn added: "I think there is loads of room for improvement. I've just got to keep working and trying in training every day and hopefully I will improve.

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"Defending and maybe getting a few more goals [are what I want to improve]. Just trying to come in with the first team and play like a first-team player.

"But I think I've grown as a player and matured physically and technically, and grown in confidence.

"For the rest of this season, my aim is just to carry on, try to play as many games for the U19s and first team. Hopefully I will get some more appearances for the first team and progress in the U19s Champions League."

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'Liverpool don't want to defend'

Tue, 24/10/2017 - 12:00

Last Updated: 24/10/17 4:35pm

Liverpool's defending is once again under the spotlightLiverpool's defending is once again under the spotlight Liverpool's defending is once again under the spotlight

Liverpool do not look like they want to defend and lack the pride it takes to be defenders, says Bournemouth goalkeeper Asmir Begovic.

The Reds' backline was once again called into question at the weekend when they lost 4-1 to Tottenham in the Premier League, with two of the goals coming in the opening 12 minutes.

They came under fire from Bosnia-Herzegovina international Begovic, who was on Monday night's episode of The Debate, and he was scathing of their defensive efforts.

"I think for Liverpool it is a combination of things: communication, positioning and the desire to defend is lacking for Liverpool," the Bournemouth stopper said.

"They don't look organised, they don't look like they want to defend. I look at some of their players and the first thing is how good they can be on the ball, how they can pass and go forward and how the full backs can attack and join in. I don't think their first thought is defending.

Tottenham 4-1 Liverpool Tottenham 4-1 Liverpool

"I think as a unit they look all over the place and there could be many reasons. Confidence once again is low and there are people making bad decisions so it seems to be a bit of a mess.

"They are not doing the basics of defending and I don't think they have the pride it takes to be a defender.

"I don't think it's one thing, I think it's them as a unit. I don't think they're working together and there's a lack of continuity with the centre-back pairings and the full-backs, I don't think changing the goalkeepers is helping.

Liverpool's familiar problems

Individual errors, conceding from set-pieces and a goalkeeper mistake... Liverpool's defeat to Spurs had a familiar feel.

"I don't think it is one particular player or one particular thing but everything in that defensive area is going wrong. I'm not sure how much time they spend on it or if they're being coached.

"I think generally, in football, the basics of defending are going out of the game and people are not learning them as much."

Begovic was joined on The Debate by journalist Jonathan Northcroft, who believes that manager Jurgen Klopp will now start to truly see the defensive problems in his side after the German said he could have done better himself while wearing trainers.

Tottenham 4-1 Liverpool Tottenham 4-1 Liverpool

"I've been to previous press conferences and he's almost laughed at journalists for asking about the defending, almost as if it's a stupid question and we don't understand what's going on," the The Sunday Times' football correspondent added.

"He wasn't a Germany international, he was a Mainz reserve defender for half of his career so he wasn't a brilliant defender do for him to say he could do better is pretty damning.

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"I think this probably has to be the moment for Klopp where he fixes what other people can see. It has been puzzling asking him about this and him rejecting the idea that anything is wrong.

"I think the supporters have enjoyed that. He is still hugely popular but Liverpool fans have been wondering why he couldn't see what they could see and I think that would have gone down well in the stands if not in the dressing room."

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