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'We did everything to keep Coutinho'

Sat, 06/01/2018 - 22:40

Last Updated: 06/01/18 8:01pm

Jurgen Klopp says Liverpool did everything in their power to keep Philippe CoutinhoJurgen Klopp says Liverpool did everything in their power to keep Philippe Coutinho Jurgen Klopp says Liverpool did everything in their power to keep Philippe Coutinho

Jurgen Klopp insists Liverpool did all they could to persuade Philippe Coutinho to stay Anfield.

Liverpool have confirmed the Brazil international will move to Barcelona in a deal understood to be worth £146m, which was agreed after several weeks of discussions.

Coutinho was the subject of three failed bids from Barcelona in the summer, the largest of which was worth £113m, and he handed in a transfer request in an attempt to force a move but was unsuccessful.

LISTEN: Transfer Talk podcast

Listen to the latest Transfer Talk podcast where Ross Barkley's move to Chelsea and Philippe Coutinho's future were among the topics discussed.

And despite Liverpool's best efforts, Coutinho has now got his move but Klopp insists his squad is strong enough to withstand the departure of the 25-year-old.

Klopp told Liverpoolfc.com: "It is no secret that Philippe has wanted this move to happen since July, when Barcelona first made their interest known.

Coutinho is expected to complete a medical with Barcelona on MondayCoutinho is expected to complete a medical with Barcelona on Monday Coutinho is expected to complete a medical with Barcelona on Monday

"Philippe was insistent with me, the owners and even his team-mates this was a move he was desperate to make happen.

"Despite that, we managed to keep the player here beyond the summer window, hoping that we would be able to persuade him to stay and be part of what we are looking to do.

"I can tell the Liverpool supporters that we, as a club, have done everything within our means to convince Philippe that remaining part of LFC was as attractive as moving to Spain, but he is 100 per cent certain his future - and that of his family - belongs at Barcelona. It is his dream and I am now convinced there is nothing left at our disposal to change his mind.

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"I have been here long enough now to know in the history of Liverpool, key players have left before - but the club always goes on. You cannot transfer the heart and soul of Liverpool Football Club, although I am sure there are many clubs who would like to buy it.

"I have so much belief in the talent we have here already and even more faith, together with our owners, that we will make continued investment into the playing squad, which will allow more growth and more improvement."

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Categories: LFC NEWS

Liverpool agree Coutinho sale

Sat, 06/01/2018 - 22:00
Clubs issue statements over £146m deal, with Coutinho set to sign Barca contract until summer 2023

Last Updated: 06/01/18 10:28pm

Watch the Sky Sports News report as Barcelona agree to sign Liverpool's Philippe Coutinho in a deal worth £146m Watch the Sky Sports News report as Barcelona agree to sign Liverpool's Philippe Coutinho in a deal worth £146m

Liverpool have announced a deal has been agreed for Philippe Coutinho to join Barcelona this month, for a fee Sky Sports News understands to be £146m.

Sky Sports News reported earlier on Saturday evening that discussions between the two clubs had been underway for several weeks, both the fee and payment schedules had been agreed and a deal was close.

Now both clubs have announced the deal, with Coutinho taking off on a private jet for Barcelona in the last hour before the transfer was confirmed, and a medical expected to be carried out on Monday.

Barcelona say that the Brazilian will sign a five-and-a-half-year contract, with a buyout clause of 400m Euros (£354.6m).

We understand the player will stay in a Barcelona hotel overnight and will attend their match versus Levante on Sunday, live on Sky Sports, ahead of the medical the following day.

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A Liverpool statement on the club's website said: "Liverpool FC can confirm Philippe Coutinho will be leaving the club after a transfer agreement was reached with FC Barcelona, subject to medical and agreement of personal terms.

"The player now has permission to complete the usual formalities to conclude the transfer immediately."

LISTEN: Transfer Talk podcast

Listen to the latest Transfer Talk podcast where Ross Barkley's switch to Chelsea and Barcelona's move for Philippe Coutinho were discussed.

A Barcelona statement said: "FC Barcelona and Liverpool FC have reached an agreement for the transfer of Philippe Coutinho.

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"The player will sign a contract for the remainder of the season and five more, and will have a buyout clause of 400 million euros.

"In the next hours we will inform you of the details of the player's arrival and presentation."

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The 25-year-old did not travel with the Liverpool squad for a warm-weather training camp in Dubai and did not play in either of their fixtures after the transfer window opened in January because of a minor thigh problem.

The Brazilian was the subject of three failed bids from Barcelona in the summer, the largest of which was worth £113m, and he handed in a transfer request in an attempt to force a move but was unsuccessful.

Coutinho will be reunited with Luis Suarez at BarcelonaCoutinho will be reunited with Luis Suarez at Barcelona Coutinho will be reunited with Luis Suarez at Barcelona

Coutinho, who joined Liverpool for £8.5m from Inter Milan in 2013, made 20 appearances in all competitions for the Anfield side this season, scoring 12 goals.

The deal is the latest coup for Coutinho's agent Kia Joorabchian, who has agreed a host of huge deals for his clients including Carlos Tevez, Oscar, David Luiz, Marquinhos, Tiemoue Bakayoko and Willian.

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Van Dijk nets debut derby winner

Sat, 06/01/2018 - 00:50

Last Updated: 05/01/18 10:15pm

Virgil van Dijk celebrates scoring Liverpool's winnerVirgil van Dijk celebrates scoring Liverpool's winner Virgil van Dijk celebrates scoring Liverpool's winner

Virgil van Dijk scored a dramatic late winner on his Liverpool debut to secure a 2-1 win over Merseyside rivals Everton in the third round of the FA Cup.

The £75m defender headed home in the 85th minute to a thunderous ovation around Anfield as Liverpool extended their unbeaten derby run to 16 matches.

James Milner had given Liverpool the lead in the 35th minute when he converted from the penalty spot after Mason Holgate fouled Adam Lallana.

Player ratings

Liverpool: Karius (6), Gomez (7), Van Dijk (8), Matip (6), Robertson (7), Milner (7), Can (6), Oxlade-Chamberlain (6), Lallana (5), Mane (6), Firmino (6)

Subs: Alexander-Arnold (5), Wijnaldum (5), Solanke (5)

Everton: Pickford (5), Kenny (6), Holgate (5), Jagielka (7), Martina (6), McCarthy (5), Schneiderlin (6), Sigurdsson (7), Bolasie (7), Rooney (4), Calvert-Lewin (5)

Subs: Lookman (6), Davies (5), Niasse (5)

Man of the match: Virgil van Dijk

Everton, who announced the signing of Cenk Tosun at half-time, levelled after a brilliant counter-attack was finished by Gylfi Sigurdsson in the 67th minute, but Van Dijk stole the show with his late winner.

The goal was Van Dijk's first in any competition since scoring in last season's FA Cup third round for Southampton, and starts to repay the huge transfer fee that Liverpool paid for the defender this month.

While the Reds dominated the Premier League meeting between these sides a month ago, on this occasion Everton showed more ambition and matched their hosts in an even first half.

Still, there was little goalmouth action at either end, with Milner going closest when he volleyed wide in the 26th minute from Joe Gomez's crossfield pass.

Roberto Firmino (R) and Mason Holgate clashedRoberto Firmino (R) and Mason Holgate clashed Roberto Firmino (R) and Mason Holgate clashed

It was Milner who broke the deadlock from the penalty spot after Holgate was penalised for grabbing Lallana.

Holgate was involved in another flashpoint towards the end of the first half when he shoved Roberto Firmino into the stands and the pair both reacted angrily.

Van Dijk made his Liverpool debut while Mane started despite being in Ghana yesterday for the African Player of the Year awards. Salah and Coutinho were not in the squad. Sigurdsson, Jagielka, Kenny, Calvert-Lewin and McCarthy came into the Everton XI after their defeat to Manchester United.

Liverpool took more control of the game after half-time but Joe Gomez and Van Dijk both missed good headed chances.

And, just as they were a month ago, it looked like the Reds might rue their missed chances as Sigurdsson finished off a swift counter from a corner with a composed finish from the edge of the box.

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Opta stats
  • Liverpool are now unbeaten in 16 matches against Merseyside rivals Everton (W8 D8) - their longest ever unbeaten run against them.
  • Everton were unbeaten in their first seven matches under Sam Allardyce (W4 D3) but they've lost each of their last three, scoring just two goals in their last five matches.
  • James Milner has scored 11 of his 13 penalties for Liverpool in all competitions - though he had failed to score with his previous two efforts before tonight.
  • Milner has scored three goals in his last two FA Cup third round matches, also scoring twice for Man City against Sheffield Wednesday in January 2015.
  • All four of Gylfi Sigurdsson's goals against Liverpool have been scored at Anfield, with two in the FA Cup (also for Reading in January 2010).
Man of the match - Virgil van Dijk

Who else? Should have scored before he did when he headed at Jordan Pickford from close range, but made no mistake second time around as he nodded the winner down the middle of the goal.

He also looked composed and comfortable in possession and largely kept Dominic Calvert-Lewin quiet. An impressive debut all round.

What's next?

Liverpool return to Premier League action on Sunday, January 14 when they host Manchester City, live on Sky Sports. Everton travel to Tottenham on Saturday, January 13.

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'Barca hope for Coutinho within week'

Fri, 05/01/2018 - 17:40
Guillem Balague

Spanish Football Expert & Columnist @GuillemBalague

Last Updated: 05/01/18 10:58pm

Guillem Balague says Barcelona want Philippe Coutinho signed within a weekGuillem Balague says Barcelona want Philippe Coutinho signed within a week Guillem Balague says Barcelona want Philippe Coutinho signed within a week

Barcelona and Liverpool are currently negotiating a fee for Philippe Coutinho, and the Spanish side would like to sign him within the next week, Guillem Balague said on Friday.

Barca had three bids for Coutinho rejected by Liverpool in the summer, the largest of which was worth £113m, but Balague says the La Liga leaders will go "as far as it takes" to get the Brazilian, and are preparing a bid of £133m (£97.5m up front plus £35.5m in add-ons).

Coutinho missed the trip to Burnley on New Year's Day, and will also miss Friday's Merseyside derby in the FA Cup with a thigh injury.

The Brazilian's future may be resolved by the end of the monthThe Brazilian's future may be resolved by the end of the month The Brazilian's future may be resolved by the end of the month

Balague says Barcelona are under pressure from their players to get the deal done in January, and that waiting until the summer will only benefit Liverpool.

"Discussions between clubs are taking place about the price right now. I think contracts are being written. The figure Liverpool will start considering is 150m euros (£133m), and Barcelona will be willing to pay even more as they want this to happen. Barcelona will want to announce it next week.

LISTEN: Transfer Talk podcast

Listen to the latest Transfer Talk podcast where Ross Barkley's move to Chelsea and Philippe Coutinho's Liverpool future were among the topics discussed.

"Barcelona will go as far as it takes to bring Coutinho now. The squad are putting pressure for that to happen - it is the kind of quality the team needs to keep winning titles.

"Both Coutinho and Barcelona want this sorted now. They don't consider the possibility of agreeing now for the summer. That scenario only benefits Liverpool, it doesn't benefit Barcelona or Coutinho."

Liverpool stood firm on the Coutinho saga in the summerLiverpool stood firm on the Coutinho saga in the summer Liverpool stood firm on the Coutinho saga in the summer

Liverpool stood firm on the Coutinho saga in the summer, but the form of Mo Salah this season may have eased their concerns about squad depth and quality.

Balague says the only stumbling block to the deal going through would be whether Jurgen Klopp wants to keep Coutinho until the summer, but the Spanish football expert sees little to be gained from that.

Jurgen Klopp was typically coy when answering questions about Coutinho's situation Jurgen Klopp was typically coy when answering questions about Coutinho's situation

"Eventually Liverpool will have to decide if they sell him now or in the summer, but that could be used to press Barcelona to pay even more than 150m euros.

"I think Liverpool would seriously consider a sale of around 150m but Barcelona are so desperate that in a way they would be willing to pay more. The only stumbling block perhaps, although I'm not so sure how big a stumbling block this is, is that it will be Klopp who will decide whether he goes now or in the summer."

Although Coutinho would be unable to play in the Champions League for Barcelona, Balague says the early deal would allow Andres Iniesta to be rested, and also gives Coutinho time to settle into the side and into a specific role.

Signing Coutinho now would allow the likes of Andres Iniesta to be rested ahead of Champions League knockout gamesSigning Coutinho now would allow the likes of Andres Iniesta to be rested ahead of Champions League knockout games Signing Coutinho now would allow the likes of Andres Iniesta to be rested ahead of Champions League knockout games

"Why the rush? Coutinho can play in the Iniesta role, and they can rest him for the Champions League games. Neymar hasn't been properly replaced, there are weaknesses in the side, and it gives Coutinho time to adapt to the side, and the team to adapt to him.

"I feel at Barcelona that they don't feel Coutinho is the kind of midfielder who can play in front of Sergio Busquets just yet, and that he is more a forward, but he could be converted into more of a midfielder if he gets more work without the ball."

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Who had the best Christmas?

Fri, 05/01/2018 - 01:40
By Peter Smith

Last Updated: 04/01/18 10:45pm

Harry Kane scored a hat-trick in Spurs' Boxing Day win over SouthamptonHarry Kane scored a hat-trick in Spurs' Boxing Day win over Southampton Harry Kane scored a hat-trick in Spurs' Boxing Day win over Southampton

Mauricio Pochettino may have been disappointed with a 1-1 draw at home to West Ham on Thursday - but no team won more points than his Tottenham side over the Christmas period.

Pochettino's men had won their first three fixtures over the Christmas and New Year period, defeating Burnley, Southampton and Swansea, but had to settle for a point against their local rivals.

That point was West Ham's fifth from their last four games - a return boss David Moyes will be happy with after taking charge in November with the club in the relegation zone.

Liverpool have also had a good run of form since they kicked off the festive football with a 3-3 draw at Arsenal on Friday 22 December, beating Swansea, Leicester and Burnley.

Watch highlights of Tottenham 1-1 West Ham, the final game of the festive fixturesWatch highlights of Tottenham 1-1 West Ham, the final game of the festive fixtures To watch Premier League action on your mobile now download the Football Score Centre on iPhone or Android

Despite seeing their record-breaking winning streak come to an end with a draw against Crystal Palace, Manchester City have matched Tottenham and Liverpool's haul of 10 points from their past four games to maintain their commanding lead at the top of the Premier League.

Of the 'Big Six', Arsenal and Manchester United have come away with the fewest points, adding just six to their tally.

This season's surprise package, Burnley, have had one of the toughest Christmas schedules, and defeats to Spurs and Liverpool and draws at Manchester United and Huddersfield means they have the joint-fewest points from their past four games.

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West Brom, Everton and Southampton also managed just two points, after being unable to deliver their supporters much Christmas cheer.

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Salah named African Player of the Year

Fri, 05/01/2018 - 01:00

Last Updated: 04/01/18 10:00pm

Mohamed Salah has been named African Player of the Year.Mohamed Salah has been named African Player of the Year. Mohamed Salah has been named African Player of the Year.

Mohamed Salah has been named 2017 African Player of the Year at the Confederation of African Football awards gala in Accra, Ghana.

The Egypt international beat Senegal forward and Liverpool team-mate Sadio Mane and Borussia Dortmund and Gabon striker Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang to the award.

Salah had a sensational year for both club and country in 2017.

He scored 10 goals for Roma between January and May before signing for Liverpool last summer.

He settled immediately at Anfield and has been in unstoppable form for Jurgen Klopp's men, with 24 goals in all competitions.

Liverpool 2-1 Leicester Liverpool 2-1 Leicester

He also scored both goals in Egypt's 2-1 win over Congo in World Cup qualifying, the second a 94th-minute penalty which secured Egypt's place in the finals for the first time since 1990.

"I think we have a good national team and we did very well in the Africa Cup and qualification for World Cup," said Salah before the awards ceremony.

"We deserved that, everyone saw that and I am very happy and very excited for the World Cup and I am very sure we are going to do something special at the World Cup."

Salah scored the goal that took Egypt to the World  CupSalah scored the goal that took Egypt to the World  Cup Salah scored the goal that took Egypt to the World Cup

Both Salah and Mane attended the gala in Accra despite it being held just 24 hours before Liverpool's FA Cup third round tie against Everton.

Jurgen Klopp today revealed that Salah would miss the derby through injury but he had already given his blessing for the pair to make the 6,600-mile round trip.

"It is not a problem, we have everything organised," said the Liverpool manager earlier this week.

Liverpool 2-1 Leicester Liverpool 2-1 Leicester

"We have two of the three best African players in our squad. We have to show them respect.

"We are going to sleep in a hotel the night before the match, they are going to sleep on a plane. That is the only difference.

"It is just a sign of respect. I know it. I had Aubameyang at Dortmund and there is nothing more important than to go there."

Salah is the second consecutive Premier League player to win the award following Leicester's Riyad Mahrez.

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Charlie predicts FA Cup upsets

Thu, 04/01/2018 - 21:20
Charlie Nicholas

Football Expert

Last Updated: 04/01/18 8:37pm

Charlie Nicholas is expecting upsets in the FA Cup third roundCharlie Nicholas is expecting upsets in the FA Cup third round Charlie Nicholas is expecting upsets in the FA Cup third round

Charlie Nicholas provides us with his predictions for the FA Cup third round and explains which Premier League clubs are likely to suffer losses.

Charlie does not see any of this season's favourites crashing out of the competition at the first hurdle, but he is anticipating struggles for several top-flight sides, while tipping a Sky Bet League One side to cause an upset.

Here is what the Soccer Saturday pundit is predicting for some of the weekend's tighter ties, plus his bankers of the round...

Premier League pain

Newcastle v Luton

After a great result at Stoke I'm expecting Rafael Benitez to make changes given it has only put Newcastle two points above the drop zone. He's not got a big squad and they don't score a lot of goals, so the idea of a comfortable afternoon is foreign for the St James' Park faithful.

In contrast all we hear with Luton is they're scoring four or five. They also have their problems defensively and will come to attack so I'm going for them to get a replay here in what is a really awkward one for Newcastle right now.

Charlie predicts: 2-2 (16/1 with Sky Bet)

Wolves v Swansea

I'm not surprised Wolves are favourites here. Carlos Carvalhal doesn't really know his players and he's been brought in with the directive of fighting relegation, so I would expect him to mix things up.

Wolves have got bags of goals in them and are that far clear in the Sky Bet Championship that they can have a real go here, so I'm backing them to win this one comfortably.

Charlie predicts: 2-0 (6/1 with Sky Bet)

Fulham v Southampton

I think this could be the final game for Mauricio Pellegrino. The only player he's lost is Virgil van Dijk so there are no real excuses for how disappointing Southampton have been.

Manolo Gabbiadini doesn't look like he knows what the manager wants from him and I think they'd take Ronald Koeman back in a heartbeat, although I'm not sure the fans would be happy with that.

Charlie predicts: 2-1 (9/1 with Sky Bet)

Potential banana skins

Carlisle v Sheffield Wednesday

Carlisle will be smelling blood here as Sheffield Wednesday just look like they've gone into meltdown.

Their players collapsed when they lost the derby, they've never recovered from it and they have no idea who is in their best XI. It will be cold and windy and Keith Curle will have the Cumbrians pumped up for it.

Charlie predicts: 2-1 (12/1 with Sky Bet)

Coventry v Stoke

Coventry could certainly do with the finances from winning this, but I just think with the anger within Mark Hughes he won't be letting anybody rest.

He made his changes at Chelsea, which backfired, and I think if he does that again and they lose here that will be him done. The FA Cup has never been a priority for them but suddenly it is a huge game and I think they'll grind out a win.

Charlie predicts: 2-1 (14/1 with Sky Bet)

Shrewsbury v West Ham

This is difficult for West Ham because this is the last thing they need after their back-to-back games and the lack of numbers David Moyes is down to.

It could be a troubling day for them and you worry whether they'll able to match their hosts' energy after tough games on Tuesday and Thursday.

Charlie predicts: 1-2 (15/2 with Sky Bet)

Nottingham Forest v Arsenal

I am concerned about Arsenal here. Alexis Sanchez, Mesut Ozil, Jack Wilshere and Alexandre Lacazette won't play but the real concern is that defence. Per Mertesacker will come back in because Calum Chambers is absolutely broken.

I'd still expect Arsenal to progress with Danny Welbeck and Theo Walcott good enough and experienced enough to get them through what looks a very awkward clash.

Charlie predicts: 2-3 (22/1 with Sky Bet)

Home bankers

Liverpool v Everton

Liverpool struggled to break down Everton without Philippe Coutinho last time they met in the Premier League - and they're also going to be without leading scorer Mohamed Salah.

However, Sam Allardyce will make changes and I think, other than his two key men missing, Jurgen Klopp will play a strong side so I don't see the match panning out the same.

Charlie predicts: 2-0 (11/2 with Sky Bet)

Manchester United v Derby

These are two clubs in similar positions in their respective leagues with very different levels of interest in this competition. Jose Mourinho's hunger for trophies is irrepressible and he knows if he lands a couple more then nobody can have a go at him.

Derby might not want to lose momentum by getting a thumping here but promotion is the solitary objective for them this season and they'll be more interested in next weekend's trip to Birmingham.

Charlie predicts: 2-0 (4/1 with Sky Bet)

Manchester City v Burnley

Burnley made just one change to their team over the New Year and that last-gasp defeat to Liverpool must have knocked the stuffing out of them, so the last thing they need is a trip Manchester City.

Pep Guardiola can rotate again and still have enough quality, so I can only see the juggernaut rolling on here.

Charlie predicts: 3-0 (6/1 with Sky Bet)

Tottenham v AFC Wimbledon

One of Tottenham's biggest problems this season is opposition sides raising their levels for the trip to Wembley but, while it will be a great away day for the fans, it is one hell of a bridge to gap for a side sitting just outside the Sky Bet League One relegation places.

Mauricio Pochettino will make changes but has options to do so with several players coming back from injuries and they've certainly had their critics for the way they crashed out of the Carabao Cup, so I can't see anything other than an emphatic home win here.

Charlie predicts: 5-0 (12/1 with Sky Bet)

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Liverpool 2-1 Everton recap

Thu, 04/01/2018 - 14:05

GOAL! LIVERPOOL 1-1 EVERTON (Sigurdsson 67)

What. A. Counter.

This is superb from Everton as they break from a Liverpool corner, with Bolasie playing it on for Lookman, who cuts inside and then passes forward for Jagielka - what is he doing up there inside the Liverpool box?

Jagielka keeps his composure, doesn't shoot and instead pulls it back to Sigurdsson on the edge of the box to slot a perfectly-placed shot into the bottom corner.

The blue end of Anfield goes wild.

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WATCH: Van Dijk trains with Reds

Wed, 03/01/2018 - 18:58
By Andrew Dickson

Last Updated: 03/01/18 7:57pm

Dutch defender Virgil van Dijk trained with his new Liverpool team-mates for the first time on Wednesday. Pictures courtesy of LFCTV. Dutch defender Virgil van Dijk trained with his new Liverpool team-mates for the first time on Wednesday. Pictures courtesy of LFCTV.

Virgil van Dijk has trained with his new Liverpool team-mates for the first time since he completed his £75m move to Anfield.

The Dutchman - the world's most expensive defender as a result of his switch from Southampton - met up with the club's manager Jurgen Klopp during the session at Melwood.

He was later put through his paces by Liverpool's coaches as the squad prepared for this Friday's FA Cup third round tie against Merseyside rivals Everton.

Former Celtic defender van Dijk will compete with the likes of Dejan Lovren, Ragnar Klavan, Joel Matip and Joe Gomez for a regular place in Klopp's starting XI.

The 26-year-old described his transfer to Liverpool as "the perfect match" when he completed his move from St Mary's on New Year's Day.

Van Dijk has described his move to Liverpool from Southampton as Van Dijk has described his move to Liverpool from Southampton as Van Dijk has described his move to Liverpool from Southampton as "the perfect match"

He said: "With the history at the club and everything around it - even the training ground and stuff - it is just a perfect, perfect match for me, and for my family as well.

"Obviously there is a lot of money being paid, but I can't do anything about that money. It's only the market.

"The only thing I can do is just work hard, do the good things and be 100 per cent every day. That's what I definitely want to do - and I am going to do."

Van Dijk has signed a long-term contract with the club and will wear the number four shirt during his stay with the former European champions.

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'Can won't leave in January'

Wed, 03/01/2018 - 17:57
By Sky Sports News

Last Updated: 03/01/18 7:56pm

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'Reds soften Coutinho stance'

Wed, 03/01/2018 - 13:50
Guillem Balague

Spanish Football Expert & Columnist @GuillemBalague

Last Updated: 03/01/18 3:30pm

Guillem Balague has the latest on Philippe Coutinho's situation at Liverpool, and believes a move to Barcelona could be close Guillem Balague has the latest on Philippe Coutinho's situation at Liverpool, and believes a move to Barcelona could be close

Liverpool have softened their stance and are now open to the option of selling Philippe Coutinho in January, according to Guillem Balague.

Barcelona had three bids for Coutinho rejected by Liverpool in the summer, the largest of which was worth £113m, but Balague says the La Liga leaders are now preparing a bid of £133m (£97.5m up front plus £35.5m in add-ons).

LISTEN: Transfer Talk podcast

Click here to listen to the latest Transfer Talk podcast where Liverpool's deal for Virgil van Dijk and the futures of Eden Hazard, Thibaut Courtois and Alexis Sanchez were discussed.

The Brazilian missed the trip to Burnley on New Year's Day, and may also be left out of the Merseyside derby in the FA Cup on Friday night.

Sky Sports' Spanish football expert Balague says Liverpool's stance has now changed, and they are now open to any possibility, with the least likely seeing the 25-year-old sign a new deal at Anfield.

"Things have changed. As you know in the summer Barcelona made three offers for Coutinho, and they are preparing another bigger one, 110m euros plus 40m euros add-on fees.

Liverpool rejected three bids for Coutinho in the summerLiverpool rejected three bids for Coutinho in the summer Liverpool rejected three bids for Coutinho in the summer

"They are preparing it, they haven't sent it yet to Liverpool. But I think everybody is under the impression that Liverpool have softened their stance, and are willing to listen.

"They haven't necessarily put a price on Coutinho, but they are thinking: 'How about if we sold him now?' Or, 'how about agreeing a departure in the summer'.

"All of the possibilities are on the table, but perhaps the most unlikely one is Coutinho renewing his Liverpool contract.

"That is different from Liverpool's stance in the summer. Liverpool cannot say anything yet because a new offer has not arrived, it is being prepared. It will arrive.

Barcelona will move for Antoine Griezmann in the summer, says BalagueBarcelona will move for Antoine Griezmann in the summer, says Balague Barcelona will move for Antoine Griezmann in the summer, says Balague

"Something that is not new is that Coutinho would like to leave now."

Liverpool stood firm on the situation with Coutinho in the summer, but Balague now says the board see little to be gained from keeping a player against his will, and that money is not the main reason for selling up.

"Even after splashing out £75m on Virgil van Dijk, Liverpool aren't desperate for the money," adds Balague.

"After taking a firm stance on any Coutinho bids last summer, perhaps there is an acceptance within the boardroom that there is little to be gained by keeping him against his will, hence adopting a less belligerent stance.

"But before they let him go they need the right fee for him and they will try to bring a replacement. Maybe [Naby] Keita arriving early? In any case, all the possibilities are being considered."

Jurgen Klopp says he 'couldn't be less interested' in Nike mistakenly advertising Barcelona shirts on their website featuring Coutinho's name Jurgen Klopp says he 'couldn't be less interested' in Nike mistakenly advertising Barcelona shirts on their website featuring Coutinho's name

Balague also says the timing of the move in January would allow Coutinho space to settle into life at the Nou Camp, and despite leading La Liga by nine points, Balague says there are clear weaknesses in Ernesto Valverde's side, with Atletico Madrid's Antoine Griezmann their other main target.

"It has a lot to do with the time it takes for a new player to adapt to a new situation and a new team. What is quite clear is that Barcelona have decided to reinforce the squad, and to reinforce the first XI.

"They want Griezmann, and they want Coutinho, with Coutinho coming now and if not, in the summer. They will try for Griezmann in the summer, and the buy-out clause will be 100m euros.

"To do that, they need to get rid of around eight players. You look at the stats and think: 'Barcelona are already doing well!' but there are weaknesses, everybody realises that. The team is getting old, and they need new blood."

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Lallana: I've come back strong

Wed, 03/01/2018 - 01:41
By PA Sport

Last Updated: 02/01/18 10:51pm

Adam Lallana hopes to play a big role in the second half of Liverpool's seasonAdam Lallana hopes to play a big role in the second half of Liverpool's season Adam Lallana hopes to play a big role in the second half of Liverpool's season

Liverpool midfielder Adam Lallana hopes his injury nightmare is finally over after making his long-awaited first start of the season.

The England international played 86 minutes of the 2-1 New Year's Day win at Burnley after recovering from a thigh strain.

Lallana sustained the injury in a pre-season friendly against Atletico Madrid in August and - after a setback in his recovery - returned to action in the draw at home to Chelsea in late November.

Sign in to watch highlights of Liverpool's 2-1 win at Burnley Sign in to watch highlights of Liverpool's 2-1 win at Burnley

"It tests different parts of you mentally but I feel that I have learned so much from being injured, different parts of the game," said the 29-year-old.

"I have come back strong. I had a couple of little setbacks, a minor blister and then a tight muscle but that is what happens.

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"Maybe it is credit to the manager over the last few games, holding me back. I had good training sessions but I am back now.

"I have lasted a game after being out for four, five months and I am in good shape."

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Lallana is now looking to play a greater part in the second half of the season as Liverpool look to maintain their 16-match unbeaten run, which includes Jurgen Klopp's longest unbeaten Premier League stretch [13].

A year ago, January was when an unlikely title bid foundered after the team failed to record a league win in the month, but this year things already look different.

"We are in amongst the top four, in the last 16 of the Champions League," added Lallana.

It has been frustrating for me watching from the sidelines but it is great to see how much we have improved.

Adam Lallana

"There are so many great games to look forward to, like the FA Cup [at home to Everton on Friday].

"I'm absolutely delighted to be back and part of a winning team again.

"To concede as we did [in the 87th minute at Burnley] and then go up the other end and get our goal from a set-piece shows the steps we have made moving forward.

"It has been frustrating for me watching from the sidelines but it is great to see how much we have improved.

"To be a part of it again is a great feeling."

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Flanagan pleads guilty to assault

Tue, 02/01/2018 - 17:50
By PA Sport

Last Updated: 02/01/18 3:12pm

Jon Flanagan pictured arriving at Liverpool Magistrates' CourtJon Flanagan pictured arriving at Liverpool Magistrates' Court Jon Flanagan pictured arriving at Liverpool Magistrates' Court

Jon Flanagan has pleaded guilty to assaulting his girlfriend in Liverpool city centre on December 22.

The Liverpool defender appeared at Liverpool Magistrates' Court on Tuesday accused of assaulting Rachael Wall.

Flanagan, 25, was charged following an incident on Duke Street at around 3.20am on Friday, December 22.

The case was adjourned to January 17 when Flanagan will be sentenced.

The court heard he had been seen on CCTV assaulting his partner, who he has been in a relationship with for 18 months.

Lionel Greig, defending, said the victim had not provided a statement and there had been no previous instances of domestic violence in their relationship.

He said both parties were under the influence of alcohol at the time of the incident.

District Judge Wendy Lloyd said she had been given a breakdown of the CCTV, which showed Flanagan assaulting his partner on "several occasions" and kicking her at one point.

She told Flanagan, who wore a black suit and tie, he would face a community penalty.

She said: "I need to be reassured that these circumstances will never be repeated again."

Flanagan was given unconditional bail.

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Mane, Salah to fly to Ghana before derby

Tue, 02/01/2018 - 09:32
Klopp: "If it had been a matchday, they wouldn't have asked. We sleep in a hotel, they sleep in a plane. That is all the difference."

Last Updated: 02/01/18 7:38am

Jurgen Klopp reveals Sadio Mane and Mohamed Salah will attend the Confederation of African Football's player of the year awards ceremony, which takes place 24 hours before Friday's FA Cup Merseyside derby Jurgen Klopp reveals Sadio Mane and Mohamed Salah will attend the Confederation of African Football's player of the year awards ceremony, which takes place 24 hours before Friday's FA Cup Merseyside derby

Sadio Mane and Mohamed Salah will fly to Ghana 24 hours before Liverpool host Everton in the FA Cup on Friday in order to attend the Confederation of African Football's (CAF) player of the year award, with Jurgen Klopp's "respect".

Mane, on the three-man shortlist for the annual award alongside his Reds team-mate Salah and Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, scored the opening goal in Liverpool's last-gasp 2-1 victory at Burnley on New Year's Day, while Salah was absent from the squad at Turf Moor with a groin injury.

Klopp described Senegal international Mane, given a standing ovation in the dressing room for his moment "pure class" against the Clarets, as "unbelievably important" - but the former Southampton player will have a quick turnaround if he is to feature at Anfield in the third-round meeting.

Salah and Mane are on a three-man shortlist for the annual African Footballer of the Year awardSalah and Mane are on a three-man shortlist for the annual African Footballer of the Year award Salah and Mane are on a three-man shortlist for the annual African Footballer of the Year award

"We have everything organised," Klopp said in his post-match press conference.

"We have two of the three best African players in our squad. We have to show them respect.

Klopp says Liverpool deserved to beat Burnley and was pleased with the team's attitude in difficult conditions Klopp says Liverpool deserved to beat Burnley and was pleased with the team's attitude in difficult conditions

"If it had been a matchday, they wouldn't have asked. We sleep in a hotel, they sleep in a plane. That is all the difference."

Salah has scored 17 Premier League goals this season since his summer arrival from Roma and Klopp insisted his availability for the FA Cup fixture would not be affected by his attendance at Thursday's awards ceremony.

WATCH: Burnley 1-2 Liverpool

Watch highlights as Ragnar Klavan was Liverpool's match-winner at Burnley with a header in injury-time to secure a 2-1 victory.

"If Mo is not fit, it will not be for that (travelling)," Klopp added. "For our side, it is just a sign of respect.

"I had (Pierre-Emerick) Aubameyang (at Borussia Dortmund) and there is nothing more important than to go there."

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Klopp: Mane got standing ovation

Mon, 01/01/2018 - 21:20

Last Updated: 01/01/18 6:29pm

Liverpool boss Jurgen Klopp says his side deserved to beat Burnley and was pleased with the team's attitude Liverpool boss Jurgen Klopp says his side deserved to beat Burnley and was pleased with the team's attitude

Jurgen Klopp says Liverpool players gave Sadio Mane a standing ovation after his moment of "pure class" against Burnley.

Mane broke the deadlock at Turf Moor in the 61st minute when he controlled well and then fired in a shot from just inside the box.

While the goal did not turn out to be the winner as Ragnar Klavan scored in injury-time to secure a 2-1 victory, Klopp revealed the Liverpool players still recognised Mane's moment of quality.

"We came into the dressing room and the whole team got up and gave him big hands," he told Sky Sports. "It's not the easiest time in this moment, it's not fluent, but scoring that goal shows pure class, so I am really happy about that."

Speaking in his post-match press conference, Klopp added that Mane is "unbelievably important" for Liverpool.

 Burnley 1-2 Liverpool Burnley 1-2 Liverpool To watch Premier League action on your mobile now download the Football Score Centre on iPhone or Android

"In so many moments he is strong, quick, so many things. And in the other moments where it doesn't click, he scores a goal like this and it is like 'wow'," he said.

"He came into the dressing room and the whole team got up and gave him a hand, because they know. He will be back on top.

"He has made steps. We need him, we need him so much for all the things that are coming. I am happy because I had a lot of players with moments where it wasn't clicking and they never scored. Sadio still scores, and that's really cool!"

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Reflecting on the game, which saw Burnley equalise in the 88th minute before Klavan scored a late winner, Klopp said: "Very difficult. These fixtures are really difficult and the boys did brilliantly attitude wise. It was windy, rainy and an ugly to play opponent. Burnley are doing well.

"Over the 90 minutes, with all respect to Burnley and the performance and the season they are having, it was a deserved three points. I am really happy about the attitude we showed and that we did get the three points."

Liverpool were without both Phillipe Coutinho and Mohamed Salah for the match due to injuries, while Roberto Firmino started on the bench.

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Klavan snatches late Liverpool win

Mon, 01/01/2018 - 20:00
By James Walker-Roberts

Last Updated: 01/01/18 6:47pm

Burnley 1-2 LiverpoolBurnley 1-2 Liverpool To watch Premier League action on your mobile now download the Football Score Centre on iPhone or Android

Ragnar Klavan scored an injury-time winner to earn Liverpool a hard-fought 2-1 victory against Burnley on New Year's Day.

With Mohamed Salah and Phillipe Coutinho both not in the Liverpool squad, it was Sadio Mane who broke the deadlock for the visitors in the 61st minute at Turf Moor with a fine strike.

Johann Gudmundsson looked to have grabbed a point for Burnley when he replied in the 88th minute, but Klavan headed in the decisive goal deep into injury-time.

Player ratings

Burnley: Pope (6), Bardsley (6), Tarkowski (6), Mee (7), Taylor (6), Gudmundsson (7), Defour (6), Cork (6), Arfield (6), Hendrick (6), Barnes (6)

Subs: Vokes (6), Wells (5)

Liverpool: Mignolet (6), Alexander-Arnold (6), Lovren (7), Klavan (7), Gomez (6), Oxlade-Chamberlain (6), Can (6), Wijnaldum (6), Mane (7), Solanke (6), Lallana (7)

Subs: Milner (5), Firmino (5), Matip (5)

Man of the match: Dejan Lovren

The win stretches Liverpool's unbeaten run in all competitions to 16 matches, while Burnley have now not won in five games in the Premier League.

With the rain teeming down, chances were few and far between in the first half. Burnley's Ashley Barnes fired wide in the eighth minute from inside the box, while Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain went closest for Liverpool when he saw a shot pushed away by Clarets 'keeper Nick Pope.

Klavan scores Liverpool's winner Klavan scores Liverpool's winner Klavan scores Liverpool's winner

Having not had much of the ball in the opening 25 minutes, the home side grew into the half and Scott Arfield shot just past the post in the 38th minute.

Both sides continued to struggle to create clear chances in the second half, but Mane put Liverpool ahead in the 61st minute with a brilliant goal, controlling well and drilling a shot past Pope from just inside the box.

Pope then saved well from Trent Alexander-Arnold and Oxlade-Chamberlain while Barnes volleyed narrowly wide at the other end.

Tarkowski replaced Long for Burnley, while Liverpool made seven changes. Van Dijk was not available despite completing his transfer from Southampton on the day, and Salah and Coutinho missed out with injury. Mignolet returned in goal in place of Karius and Lallana made his first start of the season.

Burnley threw on Sam Vokes and Nahki Wells in a bid to snatch an equaliser and it was the former who flicked on a cross for Gudmundsson to finish at the back post with a stooping header.

That looked as though it would be enough to ensure a draw, until Dejan Lovren headed a free-kick goalwards in the 94th minute and Klavan headed in almost on the line.

Opta stats
  • Liverpool have now gone 16 games unbeaten in all competitions (W11 D5), their outright longest run under manager Jurgen Klopp.
  • Burnley have conceded more goals in their last two fixtures at Turf Moor in the Premier League (five) than they did in in their first nine of the season (three).
  • Johan Berg Gudmundsson has been directly involved in six Premier League goals this season, at least two more than any other player for Burnley.
  • Sadio Mane has had a hand in five goals in his last four Premier League games away from Anfield (two goals, three assists), as many as his previous 15 combined.
  • Ragnar Klavan scored his first Premier League goal for Liverpool in his 34th appearance in the competition; it was the first goal by an Estonian in Premier league history.
The managers

Sean Dyche: "I thought we had done enough to earn another point. We're so frustrated with a soft goal right at the end but impressed with the mentality: superb physically, tactically very good - particularly defensively - and there is so much to be pleased with. But we're left with that horrible feeling."

Burnley boss Sean Dyche was frustrated with the late defeat Burnley boss Sean Dyche was frustrated with the late defeat

Jurgen Klopp on Sadio Mane: "He came into the dressing room and the whole team got up and gave him a hand, because they know. He will be back on top. He has made steps. We need him, we need him so much for all the things that are coming. I am happy because I had a lot of players with moments where it wasn't clicking and they never scored. Sadio still scores, and that's really cool!"

Liverpool boss Jurgen Klopp said his side deserved to beat Burnley Liverpool boss Jurgen Klopp said his side deserved to beat Burnley Man of the match - Dejan Lovren

On the day that Liverpool sealed the £75m signing of Virgil van Dijk, it was perhaps fitting that it was their oft-maligned centre-backs who combined to score the winner.

While Klavan got the final touch, it was laid on a plate for him by Lovren, who rose well to flick on a free-kick. Lovren was also solid in defence for Liverpool, winning 15 aerial duels - six more than any of his team-mates - and making 10 clearances.

What's next? Liverpool host Merseyside rivals Everton in the third round of the FA Cup on Friday before facing Manchester City in the Premier League on Sunday, January 14, live on Sky Sports. Burnley travel to Manchester City on Saturday in the FA Cup and then go to Crystal Palace in the Premier League on January 13. Liverpool vs Man City

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Premier League goals & reaction

Mon, 01/01/2018 - 14:15

'PLAYERS LET HUGHES DOWN'

Neil Mellor was in the studio watching Newcastle beat Stoke and he was not impressed with the Potters' effort throughout the game...

"The players let Hughes down for about 80 minutes. It wasn't until the last 10 minutes when there was a little more urgency and they had a go because they needed to chase the game. In the first half they were really poor, they were flat, they didn't create. 

"It was only the last 10 minutes when they were launching the ball into the box looking for Crouch and little knock-downs, which is where they got the joy from. Stoke just couldn't open them up. 

"He gambled making the changes against Chelsea, made them again for this game, you think they are going to be fresh and there will be a reaction, but there just wasn't. And at half-time they were fortunate to be 0-0 because they should have been behind. In the second half, for large spells they were second best.

"In all fairness to Mark Hughes. There was ball played out to Shaqiri, maybe five yards in front of him, and he didn't want to know. He let the ball go and the fans straight away got onto his case and Hughes recognised that and brought him off straight away, as if to say 'I'm not having that. I've got to have players out there who can fight and try and win this game' and the fans appreciated that."

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Nike advertise Coutinho Barca shirt

Sun, 31/12/2017 - 20:10

Last Updated: 31/12/17 5:30pm

Philippe Coutinho was a target for Barcelona last summerPhilippe Coutinho was a target for Barcelona last summer Philippe Coutinho was a target for Barcelona last summer

An apparent advertising error by Nike has fuelled speculation that Philippe Coutinho could leave Liverpool for Barcelona in the January transfer window.

The sportswear giant, who manufacture Barcelona's kit, advertised a Barca shirt on their website with the Brazil international midfielder's name on it.

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Headlined "Where the magic happens", the page, which has since been taken down, continued with the message: "Philippe Coutinho is ready to light up Camp Nou. Get your 2017/18 FC Barcelona kit with the Magician's name on it"?

Coutinho is sponsored by Nike and wears their boots.

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He handed in a transfer request in August after Barcelona had a bid for him rejected, but the Reds then turned down a further two offers.

The current La Liga leaders submitted three offers for Coutinho last summer, the largest of which was valued at £113m, but Liverpool owners Fenway Sports Group publicly stated the 25-year-old was not for sale.

Coutinho missed the start of the season with a back problem but has been in outstanding form recently, scoring seven goals in his last eight games.

Sky Sports News have requested a comment from Nike on this story and are awaiting a response.

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'Coutinho to Barca is possible'

Sun, 31/12/2017 - 17:53

Last Updated: 31/12/17 5:34pm

Philippe Coutinho continues to be linked with a Barcelona movePhilippe Coutinho continues to be linked with a Barcelona move Philippe Coutinho continues to be linked with a Barcelona move

The Daily Telegraph's Chief Football Correspondent Jason Burt has told Sunday Supplement he thinks it is "possible" that Barcelona could sign Philippe Coutinho in the January transfer window.

The La Liga side made a series of offers for the Brazilian last summer, the last one worth over £100m, but Liverpool managed to retain the 25-year-old.

However, Coutinho continues to be linked with Barca and it was reported on Sunday that the Nike website had offered Barcelona shirts with the player's name on the back for sale - before later removing the listing.

Liverpool's capture of Mo Salah has proved to be the signing of the season, according to Don Hutchison Liverpool's capture of Mo Salah has proved to be the signing of the season, according to Don Hutchison

And Burt thinks Liverpool have so many options in attack at the moment that a Coutinho sale might be more palatable to their fans than it would have been last summer.

Asked if he thought Barca would sign Coutinho, Burt said: "I think it is possible in this window.

"Obviously Liverpool won't want to let him go, but what's interesting with Coutinho is that the story has slightly shifted.

Liverpool 2-1 Leicester Liverpool 2-1 Leicester

"Last summer, it was 'there is no way we can let him go', but Liverpool are slightly different now and not so dependent on him.

"Look at the way Mo Salah has been playing, Sadio Mane is back, Roberto Firmino is playing fantastically well, and Adam Lallana is going to come back into the team.

Jason Burt thinks Virgil van Dijk is the answer to defensive issues currently plaguing Jurgen Klopp's side Jason Burt thinks Virgil van Dijk is the answer to defensive issues currently plaguing Jurgen Klopp's side

"There's interest in Thomas Lemar [of Monaco], Naby Keita's coming in, and people are wondering if Liverpool are as dependant on Coutinho as they thought they were. I think the fans almost feel that a little bit as well.

"I still think it would be a mistake to let him go in this window because, why now? But the problem is, when will Barcelona come calling again?

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"There was a fear from his camp last summer that it was now or never, but I think they might come back again this summer.

"I think they are still interested in him but they can wait.

"I think it probably will still happen, I'm not quite sure when, and I think Liverpool and their fans will accept it a bit more now than they did last summer, which vindicates their decision to hang onto him until now."

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Burnley v Liverpool preview

Sun, 31/12/2017 - 16:40

Last Updated: 31/12/17 7:28pm

Mohamed Salah is a doubt for Liverpool after picking up an injuryMohamed Salah is a doubt for Liverpool after picking up an injury Mohamed Salah is a doubt for Liverpool after picking up an injury

Mohamed Salah is a doubt for Liverpool's trip to Turf Moor as they take on Burnley in the Premier League on New Year's Day.

Liverpool's current leading scorer limped off in Saturday's 2-1 win against Leicester after scoring both goals, with manager Jurgen Klopp set to assess his fitness ahead of the game.

"I don't know in this moment exactly (what it is) but he was limping. That's never a good sign, to be honest," said the Liverpool boss. "We have to see what his problem was. We will see what he can do for the next game.

Watch a preview of the Premier League fixtures on New Year's Day including Everton v Man United and Brighton v Bournemouth Watch a preview of the Premier League fixtures on New Year's Day including Everton v Man United and Brighton v Bournemouth

"For me it is the most strange situation. It is the third time this year (playing twice in three days) and people think 'Wow, how will you do that?'.

"The good news is Burnley had to play Saturday as well. I don't think they got the point (in the goalless draw against Huddersfield) without running so they have the same thing to do and that is then fair play."

Burnley have been one of the surprises of the season, currently sitting in seventh place on 34 points, and will be looking to get back to winning ways after two successive draws, including a goalless meeting with Huddersfield on Saturday.

Liverpool 2-1 Leicester Liverpool 2-1 Leicester

"The goal still, is to build on last season," said manager Sean Dyche. "Now we're doing that, obviously, but we've got to physically do that.

"So when you get that goal achieved, whenever that day comes when we get the same points or more, hopefully, then how do you move forward from there? Then we'll reassess."

Team news

Although Salah could be sidelined, Simon Mignolet will return at Turf Moor as Klopp continues to rotate his goalkeepers with the manager confirming he would make at least one change.

Defender Alberto Moreno (ankle) could be fit for Friday's Merseyside derby FA Cup tie but as the transfer window does not open until the day of the game, new signing Virgil van Dijk cannot be registered in time to play.

James Tarkowski will be available for Burnley on New Year's DayJames Tarkowski will be available for Burnley on New Year's Day James Tarkowski will be available for Burnley on New Year's Day

Burnley defender James Tarkowski returns from a ban. The player has served a three-game suspension and the Clarets must decide whether to recall him to the starting line-up or retain Kevin Long and Ben Mee in central defence.

Left-back Stephen Ward (knee) and striker Chris Wood (leg) remain doubtful, while Robbie Brady (knee) and Tom Heaton (shoulder) are long-term absentees.

Opta stats

Burnley won this exact fixture 2-0 last season - they haven't beaten Liverpool at home in consecutive league games since March 1967.

Liverpool suffered that defeat in August 2016 despite having 80.4 per cent possession - the highest for a losing side in a Premier League game since 2003-04.

Huddersfield 0-0 Burnley Huddersfield 0-0 Burnley

Burnley are unbeaten in their last four league games played on New Year's Day (W3 D1), with these games producing a total of 19 goals (F12 A7).

Liverpool have won only one of their last seven away league games played on January 1st (D3 L3), beating Ipswich 2-1 in 1994.

The Clarets conceded three goals in their last home Premier League match against Spurs - as many as they'd conceded in their previous nine at Turf Moor this season.

Salah's season in stats

The amazing numbers behind Mohamed Salah's season and why the goals are likely to keep coming.

Liverpool have gone 15 games in all competitions without defeat (W10 D5) - their joint-longest unbeaten run under Jurgen Klopp (also a 15-game run ending in November 2016).

Burnley have won each of their last six home league matches played on a Monday since losing 3-1 to Chelsea at Turf Moor in August 2014.

Liverpool have played 18 matches in January in all competitions since Jurgen Klopp took charge - they have only won four (D7 L7), with two of those against League Two opposition in the FA Cup (Exeter City and Plymouth Argyle).

Merson's prediction

What a player Mohamed Salah is, and he will be a miss if he's out for Liverpool because the running he does off the ball is as good as anybody I have seen for a long time. But I still think Liverpool will win this game.

Liverpool's new record signing Virgil van Dijk has visited Anfield ahead of Saturday's game against Leicester Liverpool's new record signing Virgil van Dijk has visited Anfield ahead of Saturday's game against Leicester

Burnley are a bit of a funny team recently. I saw them get dismantled by Tottenham and then score twice at Manchester United and then draw at Huddersfield.

Virgil Van Dijk is a good signing for Liverpool. He is a footballing centre-half which is what they need. People look at Liverpool and say how do they find it hard to break teams down when they have those attacking players, but it's not just about them, it's about the players who give them the ball.

Jordan Henderson isn't really going to put the ball through the eye of a needle and neither are Emre Can or James Milner or Georginio Wijnaldum. Now when they play at home against 10 men behind the ball it gives you another option of a centre-half coming out which is so hard to play against.

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You look back in 1996 when Matthias Sammer played in a sweeper system for Germany. I know Liverpool won't play that way but it's so hard to pick that person up if they are comfortable coming out with the ball. They won't get it straight away, but if they can get it so Can drops back into centre-half when Van Dijk goes forward, then they will be a massive force.

PAUL PREDICTS: 0-2 (11/2 with Sky Bet)

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