Anfield Index.com

Subscribe to Anfield Index.com feed Anfield Index.com
Articles about Liverpool FC and its' players
Updated: 6 hours 51 min ago

Swansea City v Liverpool Preview - Can Reds continue to rise in Wales?

19 hours 55 min ago
The Details

Venue – Liberty Stadium, Swansea

Referee – Neil Swarbrick

Date & Time – Monday, January 22nd @ 20:00 GMT

Current Odds – Swansea 17/2, Draw 17/4, Liverpool 3/10

Form Swansea Form

Since Carlos Carvalhal’s arrival, Swansea have slowly gone about making themselves more difficult to beat. A more congested midfield line is how Carvalhal has tried to shore things up at the back. They played a 532 in the 2-0 home defeat to Spurs, so it is hard to know what shape Carvalhal will decide on for Monday night’s game.

Liverpool Form

Liverpool are flying. The Reds are the form team in England at the moment. Coutinho has gone but Virgil van Dijk has arrived, scoring the late winner in a cup derby game at the Kop end to announce himself. Also, the remaining attacking contingent at Anfield took it upon themselves to show that Liverpool are still a force to be reckoned with in the win over City, last Sunday. Oxlade-Chamberlain was fantastic in that game, as was Bobby Firmino. Andy Robertson has been getting better and better, keeping an in-form Raheem Sterling quiet in the last game, too.

Team News Swansea Team News

Wilfried Bony is pushing for a starting place after playing and scoring the winner against Wolves in the FA Cup replay on Wednesday night. Tammy Abraham is still carrying a slight knock too, so it’s unclear if he will be available for selection. Kyle Naughton is back after suspension and should take the right-back spot in place of the injured Angel Rangel. Renato Sanches and Mike van der Hoorn are due to face late fitness tests to see if they can be selected.

Swansea have lined up in a 442 shape in recent games with Carvalhal looking to steady things at the back first and then work from there.

Swansea have no suspensions for this game.

Swansea’s Top 3 Rated Players this season (WhoScored.com)

  1. L. Fabianksi  ————–  6.93
  2. K. Naughton  ————-  6.91
  3. J. Ayew  ——————-  6.79
Liverpool Team News

Loris Karius has been confirmed as Klopp’s current “number one” pick. Virgil van Dijk, Daniel Sturridge, and Alberto Moreno are due to face fitness tests before the game on Monday so Klopp can then decide on his matchday squad. Indeed, rumours are gaining traction about Sturridge possibly moving to Sevilla or Internazionale on a loan deal but as of now, he’s still a Red.

Henderson and Clyne are unavailable for Monday night.

Liverpool have no suspensions for this game.

Liverpool’s Top 3 Rated Players this season (WhoScored.com)

  1. M. Salah  ——————–  7.72
  2. R. Firmino  ——————  7.42
  3. T. Alexander-Arnold  ——-  7.31
Predicted XIs

Swansea XI (4-4-2) – Fabianski; Naughton, Fernandez(c), Mawson, Olsson; Dyer, Clucas, Fer, Carroll; Bony, Ayew

Liverpool XI (4-3-3) – Karius; Gomez, Matip, Klavan, Robertson; Can(c), Lallana, Oxlade-Chamberlain; Salah, Firmino, Mané

When they last met

Liverpool beat Swansea 5-0 at Anfield on Boxing Day. That was the start of the five-game winning streak the Reds are currently on in the league. Last season, Swansea won 3-2 at Anfield but Liverpool won the earlier game at the Liberty Stadium, 2-1. Leroy Fer gave Swansea an early lead that day but Firmino equalised after half-time and James Milner won all three points for the Reds with a late penalty.

Prediction

Swansea 0 – 2 Liverpool

Carlos Carvalhal has his work cut out for him at Swansea as they remain rooted to the bottom of the table. Liverpool have been excellent as of late and this season they have been extremely impressive away to the lower teams. I can’t see any other result occurring other than a Liverpool victory.

** Please note – “xA” in the Form Stats tables symbolises “expected goals against”, NOT “expected assists”

Categories: LFC NEWS

Observations as Liverpool and City produce a Classic!

Mon, 15/01/2018 - 21:57

Liverpool and Manchester City went hammer and tongs throughout the 90 minutes as Liverpool edged the 7 goal thriller in a game which was once again one of the best advertisements for the Premier League as a whole. Liverpool thus break City’s lossless streak this season. My key observations are below:

Liverpool end the week on a sweet note

Liverpool’s week off the field had not gone particularly well, especially post Coutinho’s sale to Barcelona. The Reds were linked to scores of players including  ‘one who shall not be named,’ but to no avail. The day started with Leipzig confirming that Keita would be staying in Germany for the whole season. In this backdrop, Klopp and the fans needed this win to re-affirm the belief that indeed ‘all is well.’

Pressing causes Passing mishaps

Liverpool started fast and strong as they usually do and were aided by an early goal. But Liverpool’s intensity did not drop at all, with the front 3 doing an admirable job pressing, and cutting the passing channels for City. It was expected that this would drop in the second half, but it did not and their tireless effort were duly rewarded with a goal for each of the front three. Each goal required a different finish, but all were aided by one common theme; desire.

Chamberlain steps up to the plate

Chamberlain’s importance had been growing in his Liverpool’s fledgeling career, and he once again showed why he should play in the midfield, and only in the midfield. His early goal was what one would want from a box-to-box midfielder; from winning the ball, driving with the ball and an arrowed finish into the bottom corner. He was really aggressive throughout the game and must be a sure shot starter going forward.

Robertson shines once again

Robertson has shown the fruits of playing regularly, as his form has also been consistently good. He defended extremely well on most occasions, undaunted by the form of Sterling. He cut out potential crosses early and was always ready to attack and be a provider on the overlap whenever Liverpool counter-attacked. He provided the moment of the match apart from the goals, with his tireless pressing from one opponent to another, forcing a mistake from City; a microcosm to the whole game.

Age and potential are no longer excuses

Another game, another aerial ball from wide areas, and yes you guessed it right; another mistake from Gomez. This time the youngster misjudged the flight of the ball allowing Sane to coast into the danger area. A sequence of mistakes means that this is now a glaring weakness which we can expect the opposition to exploit. His potential and age can no longer serve as an excuse.

The same applies to Karius. Fans have demanded that Karius play after a series of mistakes from Mignolet. Klopp seemed to suggest that this was Karius’ position to lose and unfortunately he did not cover himself in glory. A keeper getting beaten on an acute angle shot on his near post is never a good sign.

We have seen what a series of games have done to players like Chamberlain and Robertson, but have also seen that it has not done any good for a player like Gomez. Which alley will Karius head down?

Categories: LFC NEWS

Liverpool 4-3 Man City: Reds Defeat City In 7 Goal Thriller

Mon, 15/01/2018 - 21:57

Liverpool: Karius, Gomez, Lovren, Matip, Robertson, Can, Wijnaldum, Ox, Salah, Mane, Firmino. 

Man City: Ederson, Delph, Otamendi, Stones, Walker, Fernandinho, Gundogan, De Bruyne, Sterling, Sane, Aguero.

Match Report

And breathe…

Liverpool were in a rampant mood on Sunday afternoon as they handed Manchester City their first Premier League defeat of the season in a thrilling 4-3 contest.

The Reds got off to the best possible start when Oxlade-Chamberlain’s long-range effort found it’s way into the far post, marking his third of the campaign – a record that means the Englishman has scored as many goals in his last 20 league games for Liverpool than in his last 71 for Arsenal. This was the latest evidence of the marked improvement Ox has made since joining the Merseyside outfit, with his pace, power and determination on and off the ball instrumental in the opening forty-five.

Despite being the much better side throughout the first-half, Liverpool  were once again undone by poor defending as City equalised before the interval. Walker’s cross-field ball found Leroy Sane on the left-hand flank, and with Joe Gomez caught by the flight of the ball, the German forward was able to wriggle his way into the box and hammer home at Karius’ near-post. In truth, he should have done far, far better with the shot as Liverpool’s hard work was needlessly undone.

Yet, Klopp’s side came out in rampant mode for the second-half, turning on the style to inflict real damage on the runaway league leaders. Within a period of eight minutes, Liverpool inflicted more damage on Pep Guardiola’s side than anyone has managed all season, with the remains of the ‘Fab Four’ showing their class to deadly effect. The first of the three quick-fire goals came from Firmino, who cleverly out muscled John Stones before scooping the ball deliciously over the head of Ederson and into the net. Just two minutes later and it was 3-1 to The Reds. Some brilliant pressing from Salah saw Liverpool win the ball back high up the pitch, with the Egyptian slotting it through to Sadio Mane on the edge of the box. On his weaker foot, Mane delivered a brilliant shot to deceive Ederson at the near post and ensure Liverpool’s dominance was reflected via the scoreboard.

High pressing was a feature of Liverpool’s afternoon, providing the source of the goal for the fourth. Quickly hunted down by Klopp’s side, Ederson’s clearance fell straight to the feet of Mohamed Salah who made the ‘keeper pay for his mistake with another delightful finish. That takes Salah’s tally up to 24 goals for the season and with plenty of games left to play, the Egyptian shows no signs of slowing down.

4-1 and cruising, it seemed as though Liverpool were going to ride out a comfortable result in style. Wrong.

In typical Liverpool fashion, things took a nervy turn when Bernardo Silva pulled one back for the away side with six minutes left on the clock. Ilkay Gundogan’s injury time goal to make it 4-3 ensured a sense of unease within the Anfield crowd as the clock wound down. Luckily for The Reds, Aguero’s header right at the death found it’s way into the side netting to ensure Liverpool held on for a huge three points.

4-1 up in the final ten minutes before allowing the opposition to pull it back to 4-3, no one will ever say that this team isn’t one of the most entertaining in the Premier League. The ruthless attack was on hand to capitalise on Chelsea’s goalless draw with Leicester as the post-Coutinho Reds got off to a memorable start.

Categories: LFC NEWS

Liverpool v Manchester City Preview - Key Battles

Sun, 14/01/2018 - 20:48

After what seems like forever, Liverpool have had a whole week between two games, and the break couldn’t have come at a better time than in the lead-up to a game against Manchester City, who have made a mockery of the Premier League this season.

City have only dropped points twice this season but come into this game having not won at Anfield since 2003. For Jurgen Klopp’s Reds, it has been an eventful week with a dream Virgil van Dijk debut knocking out Everton, followed by Philippe Coutinho’s departure to Barcelona.

Liverpool come into this game unbeaten in 17 across competitions, and the Reds face the most unenviable task in the Premier League if they are to stretch their unbeaten run.

Mo Salah, Alberto Moreno and Daniel Sturridge were back in training this week, with Jordan Henderson and Nathaniel Clyne the only long-term absentees for the Reds.

Gabriel Jesus will miss out for City, but depth is the least of the concerns in the City ranks at the moment.

Here are some key individual battles that will decide the outcome of the game.

EMRE CAN v KEVIN DE BRUYNE

There might have been a debate a week ago, but with the events of the last week, it has now become hard to argue that De Bruyne isn’t the best playmaker in the Premier League.

He’s had an unbelievable season so far and is only going from strength to strength. He has 6 goals and 9 assists in the Premier League this season, but that doesn’t begin to describe the impact he has had on the City side.

The Reds know that if they provide De Bruyne the space to pick out a pass, he will hurt them. The responsibility to shackle De Bruyne will lie on the shoulders of Can, in the continued absence of Henderson.

Emre Can has split opinion with his performances this season, and rightly so, but over the festive period, he put in a massive shift for the side, playing the most minutes in the last month among the Liverpool players.

Towards the end of that period, in games against Leicester and Burnley, he covered massive distances and the intensity was there from the first minute to last.

The big German will know that he cannot afford even a moment’s rest on Sunday evening. Can’s work will be made difficult by the interchangeability of the City attackers. De Bruyne will drift out wide, but Can cannot afford to track him out wide because someone else would have taken the space vacated by De Bruyne’s run.

It will be important for Emre Can to stay disciplined and control spaces, allowing De Bruyne lesser room to manoeuvre. That way, he will be able to shackle the Belgian to an extent.

MO SALAH v FABIAN DELPH

Salah has had a two good week since his brace won the Reds the game against Leicester in the last game of 2017. Salah, like the rest of this team, will not have happy memories of facing City, after events at the Etihad Stadium earlier this season.

Salah was guilty of missing a couple of gilt-edged chances before Sadio Mane was sent off on that day. The result may not have been any different had those gone in, but those missed opportunities meant that the Reds were left to rue their worst loss in a long time.

But in recent months, finding the net has not been as big an issue. The Egyptian has 23 goals this season, and with 11 more goals in the second half of the season, he will overtake the number of goals Fernando Torres scored in his first season at Anfield.

In Delph, Pep Guardiola has found an able lieutenant to take the place of the injured Benjamin Mendy, who ripped Liverpool to shreds earlier this season. But the Englishman has shown that he has the potential to make an error or two, as he showed in the game against Manchester United last month.

Liverpool’s attacking route will not be too complicated. City play a high defensive line, and they will look to use the pace of Sadio Mane and Salah at every given opportunity. Delph not being a left-back, Salah could use his lack of positional awareness while making those runs.

The timing of Salah’s runs will be crucial because when he gets a clear route in behind a defence, there are very few players in the world who can stop him.

VIRGIL VAN DIJK v SERGIO AGUERO

van Dijk comes into the game on the back of a Merseyside Derby that he made his own with a late winner at the Kop End, on his debut for the club.

As far as Premier League debuts go, they don’t come any harder than having to face a striker of the pedigree of Aguero. Aguero doesn’t yet have a goal at Anfield, compared to scoring at least once every time he has faced the Reds at the Etihad.

Aguero has the Most Premier League goals in head-to-heads between the ‘Big Six’ since August 2011, having scored 35 goals in 53 games. The man for the big occasion, indeed.

For van Dijk, the evening will once again be as much about his own performance as it will be about how he can bring his defensive partners along with him.

Joel Matip will, in all likelihood, start alongside him at the back, and the Cameroonian has not had the best season individually.

Liverpool need all 4 at the back, and the goalkeeper, to be on the same page because of the rounded threat that City do carry.

5 good individual performances will have to be backed up by them being a cohesive unit, and for that, the Reds need a leader at the back. van Dijk showed in the derby that he is ready to take up that mantle, visibly berating Loris Karius and Matip more than once.

It promises to be a cracker under the lights at Anfield, and for the Reds, it is an opportunity to inflict more damage on the best team in the land, in what has been City’s graveyard for 15 years now.

Categories: LFC NEWS

Liverpool v Manchester City Preview - The Ultimate Test for Reds at Anfield

Fri, 12/01/2018 - 05:26
The Details

Venue – Anfield, Liverpool

Referee – Andre Marriner

Date & Time – Sunday, January 14th @ 16:00 GMT

Current Odds – Liverpool 2/1, Draw 11/4, Manchester City 23/20

Form Liverpool Form

Liverpool have been in very impressive form since mid-December. More importantly, it has been noticed by many, the Reds seem to be developing a bit of “steel” about them. Against Leicester, Liverpool came from behind to grab the win. In the Burnley game, Sean Dyche’s men delivered the perfect sucker-punch with a late equaliser. Liverpool did not drop their heads, though. They continued to believe and push forward and were rewarded with Klavan’s late winner. The same could be said for the derby win. Up jumped our new talisman and etched himself into the Liverpool history books.

Manchester City Form

How do I summarise City’s form this season? They have been exceptional, simply blowing away 95% of the teams in front of them. One defeat in 33 games this season tells it’s own story. Also, it’s worth pointing out, that defeat was in a “meaningless” Champions League group game against Shakhtar. City had already sealed their place at the top of the group when that game took place.

Guardiola seems intent on blowing all existing records out of the water as City stride towards an unprecedented quadruple. Crystal Palace managed to put the only blemish on their recent record, bringing a halt to their 18-game winning streak in the league. Palace managed to hold City to a 0-0 home draw on New Year’s Eve.

Team News Liverpool Team News

Coutinho’s gone. Let’s move on.

Alberto Moreno is nearing a return to full training so another couple of weeks should be enough for him to get back into contention. However, Andy Robertson has grasped his opportunity at left-back with both hands and Moreno will find it tough to edge his way back into the starting eleven.

With more and more rumours surfacing about Nathaniel Clyne it will be interesting to see any future developments. Personally, I wish him well and hope he hasn’t ruined his career with some silly mistakes. The official line, however, is that he is still injured and is not going to be fit for at least another month or two.

Sturridge isn’t expected to be available for Sunday and Jordan Henderson’s condition is touch and go. There is good news, though, regarding Mo Salah. Although it will be close, Salah is thought to be available for selection.

Liverpool do not have any suspensions for this game.

Liverpool’s Top 3 Rated Players this season (WhoScored.com)

  1. M. Salah  ——————–  7.67
  2. R. Firmino  ——————  7.40
  3. T. Alexander-Arnold  ——-  7.31
Manchester City Team News

City managed to get through their Carabao Cup semi-final tie with Bristol City unscathed, injury-wise. Gabriel Jesus and Benjamin Mendy are still out through injury but Vincent Kompany is pushing for a place on Sunday.

City do not have any suspensions for this game.

Manchester City’s Top 3 Rated Players this season (WhoScored.com)

  1. K. De Bruyne  —————  7.92
  2. S. Aguero  ——————-  7.72
  3. D. Silva  ———————  7.58
Predicted XIs

Liverpool XI (4-3-3) – Mignolet(c); Gomez, Matip, van Dijk, Robertson; Can, Lallana, Oxlade-Chamberlain; Salah, Firmino, Mané

Manchester City XI (4-3-3) – Ederson; Walker, Stones, Otamendi, Delph; De Bruyne, Fernandinho, Silva(c); Sterling, Aguero, Sané

When they last met

The last meeting between the two sides ended in humiliation for Klopp and his men. City ran out 5-0 winners after a first-half sending off for Sadio Mané. The last meeting at Anfield was just over a year ago, the day Wijnaldum rose highest to head home the only goal after a cross from Lallana.

Prediction

Liverpool 2 – 2 Manchester City

Liverpool have not lost against City at Anfield since 2003. However, this City is a different animal than any previous version they have faced. It should be a cracking encounter and the Reds will want to get some kind of payback for the 5-0 drubbing at the Etihad in September. It’s time for the midfield to step up and show that they can do a job in the place of the departing Coutinho.

** Please note – “xA” in the Form Stats tables symbolises “expected goals against”, NOT “expected assists”

Categories: LFC NEWS

Observations as a Virgil Van Strike beats Everton

Sat, 06/01/2018 - 23:45

TELL YER MA, YER MA,

TO WIPE AWAY ALL YOUR TEARS,

NO TROPHIES FOR 20 YEARS,

TELL YEAR MA, YER MA.

Thanks to big Virgil Van Dijk, Liverpool fans will be able to sing that for another year yet.

It was touch and go at times, especially when the Reds spontaneously combusted defensively to let Gylfi Sigurdsson level up, but in the end, a combination of James Milner’s penalty spot talent and Van Dijk’s aerial prowess mean that the Reds beat the Blues and progress through as they rightly should.

VVD!

Where else to start? Virgil Van Dijk. Seventy-five million pounds and an absolute bargain there. What a fantastic debut, even minus the winner.

Stronger than an ox in every duel against Dominic Calvert-Lewin, not the toughest striker he’ll face in a Liverpool shirt but one swatted aside with sheer ruthlessness. No mistakes, nothing to give the referee a decision about.

An absolute tower in the air but good with the ball at feet, there were one or two 10 yard passes to set Liverpool away in midfield that offered a glimpse of what we can expect in that department.

But minus the good defending, the good passing and the general lovely guy he is, there was the winner.

Not perfect goalkeeping from Jordan Pickford, but Van Dijk has to be there. Bigger than our lads, bigger than theirs. The biggest of them all for the biggest header, the biggest goal.

Welcome to Anfield, Virgil “I had more shots on target than Everton on debut,” Van Dijk.

Praise for Andy Robertson

Possibly Andrew Robertson’s best performance in a Liverpool shirt so far, and a great night for it.

Was always going to be given a tough test by Yannick Bolasie, Liverpool’s kryptonite, and it looked like he might have a long evening based on the first 15 minutes.

However, Robertson stood up to the challenge and went for it full throttle, a high-octane display full of commitment. So many good tackles, on Bolasie and others, that stopped a fairly dangerous Everton side from getting a sniff.

There’d been talk when Moreno got injured that Robertson was going to have to step up his game after an underwhelming start to life in a Liverpool shirt, and he certainly has.

Captain Emre?

Many heads will have rolled at the soon to be departing Emre Can being handed the armband when James Milner trotted off, but I don’t see the problem with it, especially given Coutinho has worn it on multiple occasions this season.

Can performed well again. His almost hulk like strength was hard to miss and, despite some poor moments in possession, he never looked troubled by what Everton had to offer.

I’ve seen some blaming him for the goal, from what I saw Sigurdsson’s getting there ahead of him anyway. It could have been stopped far before the ball got to the boot of the Icelander.

Can has looked especially impressive in the latter minutes of games lately and did so again today, taking the mature route of charging the ball into the corner late on, somehow quicker than those around him despite playing more minutes than most of the Liverpool players over this festive break.

Toffees back on the hook

After Liverpool so wastefully let Everton off the hook in the league game at Anfield, the boys from across the park were back on it tonight.

It looked for a while as if they’d shake free once more, with Sigurdsson’s equaliser sending the away end crazy. Ha at them.

In storms Van Dijk, in storms the ball into the net, and in storms Jurgen Klopp to put the Blues back on the hook, a 16th Merseyside Derby without loss for the tricky Reds.

Happy weekend, all!

Looking for the best audio content on Virgil van Dijk? Listen to Paul Dalglish & Jan Molby talk about the defender, listen to the journalist Jeremy Wilson discuss on Media Matters give the inside story on how the transfer came about and listen to fan media content all about the player himself! There’s much more with Post Match shows, the best stats show in Under Pressure and monthly interviews with Liverpool FC legends! Try it for FREE for 7 days today by joining AI:PRO!
Join AI PRO for the best audio content on Liverpool FC!

Categories: LFC NEWS

Liverpool v Everton Preview - Allardyce to aim for Cup Snorefest?

Fri, 05/01/2018 - 19:20
The Details

Venue – Anfield, Liverpool

Referee – Robert Madley

Date & Time – Friday, January 5th @ 19:55 GMT

Current Odds – Liverpool 2/5, Draw 7/2, Everton 13/2

Form Liverpool Form

It’s now 16 games undefeated in all competitions for Liverpool, the best run Klopp has enjoyed since his arrival on Merseyside. They have won 11 and drawn 5 since the 4-1 hammering suffered against Spurs. It’s been a great run after a difficult couple of months in September and October. This includes an 80% win rate in the last five games with the last two victories over Leicester and Burnley being the most impressive in terms of character. Liverpool came from behind to beat the Foxes after Vardy’s early strike while Burnley’s late equaliser on Monday would have been enough to knock the wind out of most teams. However, they kept going and Oxlade-Chamberlain’s free-kick was met by the pure desire of Lovren’s leap and header and Klavan made sure of it at the back post.

“Character” became a joke term around Liverpool due to Rodgers’ overuse of the word in the wrong situations. Yet, we find ourselves now with a Liverpool team who are at fault for losing the highest amount of points from winning positions in the league. Liverpool have been lacking a mix of character and game-management or game intelligence. That’s why the Burnley result was huge. I, like many of you, was very surprised to see Liverpool bounce back with a winner in such a short space of time. That took character.

Everton Form

Since Allardyce’s arrival, he has somewhat steadied the ship for the Toffees. However, the last two games have seen poor performances from the men in blue. Defeat at Bournemouth was followed by a “roll over and die” display at home to United on Monday. Allardyce was always fond of handing the three points over to Fergie’s United and it seems he’s planning on keeping that tradition going.

Friday night will most likely be an attempted carbon copy of the recent league draw at Anfield. Allardyce will be going for more of the same so it will be another chance for Klopp to fine-tune Liverpool’s tactics against a low-block setup.

Team News Liverpool Team News

Clyne is unavailable until February with a back injury. Moreno (ankle) is still out and will be for another couple of weeks, at least. Jordan Henderson is out with his hamstring injury and Mo Salah isn’t expected to be available for selection for another couple of weeks due to his groin strain.

The transfer window has brought along a new phantom-injury for Phil Coutinho, too. I’m not going to have a go at the little magician. He’s been fantastic this season for Liverpool, probably playing the best football of his career. I will support him when he leaves for Barca, too. I just hope that doesn’t happen EVER!! until next season.

Daniel Sturridge is still lacking in match fitness but this cup tie could be the ideal opportunity for the striker to get some game minutes under his bench.

New signing, Virgil van Dijk, is available for the Reds but it’s unclear when Klopp intends to give him his first start. Personally, I think van Dijk will start on Friday.

Liverpool have no suspensions for this game.

Liverpool’s Top 3 Rated Players this season (WhoScored.com)

  1. P. Coutinho  ————-  8.03
  2. M. Salah  —————–  7.67
  3. R. Firmino  ————–  7.40
Everton Team News

Everton’s long-term injury list contains the names of Stekelenburg, Leighton Baines, Seamus Coleman, Funes Mori, and Ross Barkley. Idrissa Gueye is also a slight doubt for this game after picking up a slight knock.

Jonjoe Kenny should continue his impressive season at right-back in Coleman’s absence. Young sensation, Calvert-Lewin, will be up front ahead of the creative trio of Sigurdsson, Rooney, and Aaron Lennon. James McCarthy got some minutes against United on Monday and will be pushing to start at Anfield.

Everton have no suspensions for this game.

Everton’s Top 3 Rated Players this season (WhoScored.com)

  1. Jonjoe Kenny  —————  7.01
  2. Cuco Martina  —————  6.97
  3. Mason Holgate  ————-  6.95
Predicted XIs

Liverpool XI (4-3-3) – Karius; Alexander-Arnold, van Dijk, Klavan, Robertson; Milner(c), Lallana, Oxlade-Chamberlain; Mané, Solanke, Firmino

Everton XI (4-2-3-1) – Pickford; Kenny, Keane, Jagielka, Martina; Gueye, McCarthy; Lennon, Rooney(c), Sigurdsson; Calvert-Lewin

When they last met

Back in mid-December, Everton managed to sneak a point in Allardyce’s first Merseyside derby when Rooney scored a late penalty after the Reds had dominated the game but failed to take their chances. The last time the teams met in the FA Cup was the Wembley semi-final in April 2012. Jelavic gave Everton a first-half lead in that game but Suarez equalised after the break and Andy Carroll scored the late winner. In the 08/09 season under Rafa, Everton knocked Liverpool out in a 4th round replay at Goodison Park. Dan Gosling popped up with a 118th-minute winner that night!

Prediction

Liverpool 2 – 1 Everton

Klopp will rotate his side, again. However, after the impressive win at Burnley with a weakened team, we are beginning to see the gradual improvement in Liverpool’s strength-in-depth. Klopp made seven changes for the game at Turf Moor after coming from behind to beat Leicester 48 hours previously. That’s why I’m confident of the win on Friday, no matter what kind of changes Klopp makes.

** Please note – “xGA” in the Form Stats tables symbolises “expected goals against”

Categories: LFC NEWS

A Different Kind Of Win At "Tough" Moor - Burnley 1 Liverpool 2

Wed, 03/01/2018 - 08:25

You can keep your 7-0s. That was my type of game.

Don’t get me wrong, I love a pasting, particularly if it looks on the cards from the outset. I was at the famous 9-0 game against Crystal Palace in 1989 and though it was ‘only’ 3-0 at halftime there was a sense that this side were there for a merciless beating. The whole ground knew that Palace would want to get off the pitch as soon as possible such was the supremacy of the red machine. To be honest, they got away with nine.

But, this sort of game – and the one at Leicester – will always warm the cockles more. That was old school.

Turf Moor is a horrible ground. That’s not a bad thing. It’s not designed for comfort. It’s designed to make travelling teams and supporters feel that the worst afternoon of their lives is about to happen. Add a biblical storm, the coldest month of the year, Sean Dyche and a side who look like they think sunlight is a bit soft and it’s exactly what the Reds didn’t want.

The schedule didn’t help. Which genius thought that two games in two days was a good idea? Whoever it was I suspect that they’re odds-on to win some sort of National Sadism Award now. Leicester and Burnley? Two sides which are happy to run you all over the pitch and elbow you into submission? Played while the bruises are still fresh? Yeah, thanks for that.

I see Spurs got another day of rest though.

Tough. The Reds dug deeper – deeper than we’ve dug in years – and pulled out six points when most of us would have seen four as a decent return.

Leicester was hard enough. After all, it was hardly an ideal start. A silly goal conceded early followed by 87 minutes of back-breaking labour trying to put it right. We all know that this Liverpool side likes an early goal to sort its head out before it goes on and cuffs the opposition so Vardy’s strike looked like the writing on the wall.   Luckily though, the lads weren’t having it. We still haven’t lost at Anfield since Allardyce brought his Palace side here back in April and we weren’t going to relent to the Foxes. Enter a genius with a beard.

Liverpool had to get their shirts dirty and dig out a result against people like Wes Morgan who, though talented, aren’t averse to playing alehouse football when the mood is upon them. That was a character win as we had little chance to take the points on quality alone.

So the short hop to Burnley was particularly unwelcomed. We had to rest the majority of the ‘Fab Four’ and try Solanke once more along with the freshly returned (and massively missed) Adam Lallana. Adam may have a baffling array of hairstyles these days, but he’s a nightmare to play against. His close control is often remarked upon, but not his sheer bravery when it comes to decision making. He wants his forwards to make the run which seems silly but ends up being beautiful. Sadly, Dom Solanke isn’t at the level to make them yet so the first half was a frustrating one.

A word here about Burnley. It’s easy to look at the club and absence of riches and suppose that they’ve obtained their points purely by long ball and elbows, but that’s about as hard a working side as Liverpool can hope to meet this season. True, they’re never going to rival City in the free-flowing football stakes, but they press everyone at every available opportunity. Sadio’s goal was impossible to defend and I suspect tiredness and a bit of panic led to us winning two headers from Chamberlain’s free kick so they can consider themselves hard done by.

Burnley are where they are on merit. A really strong side with a tremendous attitude and one which very nearly took four points off us and United over the festive period.

But back to Liverpool. Sometimes you can only win games by attitude alone and to be a goal down so early to Leicester and then concede so late at Burnley (another Gomez mistake, I fear. He’ll have better days) and still come out with two wins is a phenomenal return. Ten points from twelve over Christmas is not to be sniffed at. Bloody Arsenal.

This was a characteristic of Liverpool’s final six or so games last season when the squad was paper thin and looked tired. Encounters at Vicarage Road and the Britannia could not be won by playing pretty triangles until Watford and Stoke gave up. No, we had to fight and fight and fight. The fact that we can do that this early in the season is a huge plus for Jurgen’s men. We knuckled down and beat them at their own game.

Yes, give me two hard wins than one hammering.

Anyway, we get a whole four days off before the next game. Gawd bless you, Mr Scrooge.

I’ll take a 7-0 for that one though rather than a narrow hard-fought win.

I mean, let’s not be stupid.

Listen to Liverpool FC legends like Jan Molby and Peter Beardsley as well as the best tactical and statistical analysis on Liverpool FC exclusively on AnfieldIndex Pro! Subscribe Now!
Categories: LFC NEWS

Observations as Liverpool Edge Past Burnley in a Last Minute Thriller

Wed, 03/01/2018 - 08:25

Liverpool and Burnley woke up from their first-half slumber to produce a thrilling second half, and it was The Reds who walked away with all of the points scoring as late a goal as any thrillseeking supporter could hope for.

The key observations from the game below:

That First Half

Watching Paint Dry. Reading yesterday’s newspaper. Washing an already ironed shirt. The first half. List the most pointless things one can recollect. Liverpool made seven changes, with a new look attack and it was apparent as they struggled to link up with each other. Lallana was making his first start of the season, while Mané was hoping to recollect a bit of his threatening form. The first half was bereft of any moment worth discussing though as it ended in a stalemate.

Too Soon for Dom?

Big Dom got the chance to lead the line once more for Liverpool, but unfortunately, it did not go well for the World Cup winner. A couple of potential opportunities were let down due to his poor first touch, and in general seemed to struggle to exert influence on the game. One thing though, the youngster did not let his head drop and kept trying until the last minute.

Mané seizes the initiative

Considering the fact that 3 out of the ‘Fab 4’ were out of the starting line up today, Mane was the cynosure of all eyes today. His form had been iffy coming into the game compared to his exhilarating form of last season. The first half only affirmed that narrative. But Mané showed his brilliance with his first touch making something out of a nothing cross and rifled his finish into the top corner. A big opening goal in a tight contest

Perseverance Pays

Liverpool yet again conceded a late goal off a cross, as Gomez was late to react at the back post (Not for the first time, nor the second time…). We have seen such sequences unfurl in front of us before as the game meanders into a draw. Luckily for Liverpool, today was not the same. Liverpool kept trying until the last minute and Can’s run won Liverpool the free kick. The rest, as they say, is history (Literally, as Klavan became the first Estonian to score in the Premier League). Six points from two games in 48 hours must be something which even Klopp might not have budgeted for.

Listen to Liverpool FC legends like Jan Molby and Peter Beardsley as well as the best tactical and statistical analysis on Liverpool FC exclusively on AnfieldIndex Pro! Subscribe Now!
Categories: LFC NEWS

Burnley v Liverpool Preview - Turf Moor Test for the Reds

Sun, 31/12/2017 - 20:02
The Details

Venue – Turf Moor, Burnley

Referee – Roger East

Date & Time – Monday, January 1st @ 15:00 GMT

Current Odds – Burnley 7/1, Draw 3/1, Liverpool 9/20

Form Burnley Form

Burnley’s form, of late, has been a little bit meh when compared to the start they made. However, that doesn’t take away from the job Sean Dyche has done with Burnley. This season they are punching far above their weight and Dyche is a very underrated manager in the current Premier League.

Burnley were within touching distance of a memorable victory at Old Trafford on Boxing Day but Mourinho’s men clawed it back from two goals down. Burnley’s last home game was a disappointing 0-3 defeat against Spurs. They’ve kept three clean sheets in their last five games, including the draw at Huddersfield on Saturday where they kept David Wagner’s team to an impressively low xG of 0.05 for the game!

Liverpool Form

Liverpool have enjoyed a relatively successful festive period with the home draws against Everton and West Brom the only real “low” points. Of course, there was also the fact the Reds let a two-goal lead slip at the Emirates against Arsenal but there have been impressive wins against Bournemouth and Swansea as well as a come-from-behind win against Leicester in what was an extremely professional performance at Anfield on Saturday.

Team News Burnley Team News

Robbie Brady, Tom Heaton, Tarkowski and Ward are all out for Burnley while Chris Wood is still a doubt with a knee injury. Nick Pope has proved a very impressive replacement for the injured Tom Heaton in the Burnley goals. They’ve kept the same starting eleven in their last two games and I expect Dyche to keep it the same on Monday.

Burnley have no suspensions for this game.

Burnley’s Top 3 Rated Players this season (WhoScored.com)

  1. J. Tarkowski  ——–    7.4
  2. B. Mee  —————    7.17
  3. N. Pope  ————–    7.11
Liverpool Team News

Clyne is unavailable until February with a back injury. Jordan Henderson misses out with a thigh injury he picked up in the early stages of the game at Arsenal while Moreno’s ankle injury is expected to keep him out for another couple of weeks, at least. Daniel Sturridge is lacking match fitness after missing out on the last couple of games because of a tight hamstring while Grujic has a wrist injury that could keep him from a place on the bench. Oxlade-Chamberlain and Solanke may be awarded starting places to replace Mané and rest Firmino.

Liverpool have no suspensions for this game.

Liverpool’s Top 3 Rated Players this season (WhoScored.com)

  1. P. Coutinho  ———-    8.03
  2. M. Salah  ————–    7.67
  3. R. Firmino  ————    7.46
Predicted XIs

Burnley XI (4-4-1-1) – Pope; Bardsley, Long, Mee(c), Taylor; Gudmundsson, Defour, Cork, Arfield; Hendrick; Barnes

Liverpool XI (4-3-3) – Karius; Alexander-Arnold, Matip, Lovren, Robertson; Can(c), Oxlade-Chamberlain, Lallana; Salah, Solanke, Coutinho

When they last met

Burnley won this fixture 2-0 last time out, putting an early dent in the Reds’ hopes for the season. Liverpool could only manage a 1-1 draw in the reverse fixture back in September.

Prediction

Burnley 1 – 1 Liverpool

I think Turf Moor is going to be a very difficult place for the Reds to visit on New Years Day. Both teams will be tired with their second outing in 48 hours but Liverpool may well have to adopt a different approach to cope with Burnley as well as their accumulated fatigue. I think a draw is a very probable result and knowing Burnley, it won’t be a high-scoring game.

It will be interesting to see what Klopp has learned from last season’s experience at Turf Moor. We know what to expect from Dyche. It’s up to Jurgen to spring the surprises.

** Please note – “xA” in the Form Stats tables symbolises “expected goals against”, NOT “expected assists”

Listen to Liverpool FC legends like Jan Molby and Peter Beardsley as well as the best tactical and statistical analysis on Liverpool FC exclusively on AnfieldIndex Pro! Subscribe Now!
Categories: LFC NEWS

Observations as Liverpool Come Back From Behind Against Foxes

Sun, 31/12/2017 - 20:02

Liverpool came back from behind to win 2-1 with Leicester on Saturday after a blunder from Joel Matip saw Jamie Vardy put the visitors in front after just three minutes. Klopp’s side responded well though, moving the ball around nicely and creating several chances for the in-form Mo Salah.

It seemed to be an off-day for the Egyptian after he failed to convert two great opportunities before returning to his usual free scoring self in the second-half. Sadio Mané delivered an exquisite back-heeled through-ball to free Salah in the box, with the forward showing good strength to brush off his man and level the scores.

Liverpool continued to push for a winner as the second-half wore on and got their just rewards in the final 15 minutes of the game with none other than Mo Salah notching yet another important goal for The Reds to take his tally to 23 goals in all competitions.

Here are the observations from the match.

Karius gets the call

There were more than a few surprised faces when Klopp opted for Simon Mignolet against Swansea, with the Belgian making a series of blunders in the 3-3 draw with Arsenal that cost his team dearly. Karius and Ward must have been wondering what in the world they’d have to do to get a chance in between the sticks as the manager retained faith in the heavily criticised Mignolet.

Yet, Loris Karius got the call here, performing well when called into action by the Leicester attack. Albeit not that often given Liverpool’s dominant possession statistics, the German showed good speed to come off his line to deny Vardy before the referee deemed the striker to be offside.

It remains to be seen whether this was simply a mixing of the pack by Jurgen Klopp or if Karius may yet see more game time come his way with questions continue to surround Mignolet’s quality to be the club’s No.1.

Van Dijk in attendance to watch defensive blunders first-hand

Liverpool finally got their man after months and months of negotiations with Southampton, signing Van Dijk for a world-record fee of £75million in midweek. The Dutch defender was in attendance to watch the match including a woeful blunder at the back from Joel Matip. Just three minutes into the match, Karius played the ball out to Matip, who sold Can desperately short. That allowed Iborra to pick out a pass to Mahrez with Vardy easily tapping the ball into the net to put the hosts on the back foot.

VVD reaction to that defensive error says it all… pic.twitter.com/uUi2x7TW37

— MoLFC (@MoLFC_) December 30, 2017

While Liverpool did come back to get all three points from the tie, it served as further evidence of why the club spent the big bucks to bring Van Dijk to the club in January. An authoritative figure at the heart of the back-four, the hope will be that the Dutchman can help rid of such poor individual errors.

Where would Liverpool be without Mo Salah?

I really am running out of superlatives to describe Mohamed Salah. His class rang true once more, with his movement and flair proving too much for the Leicester back-four. Sadio Mané provided a beautiful assist for his first goal of the day, back-heeling it into his path to set him free on goal. From then, there would only be one outcome.

Salah’s second was another moment of true quality, rolling away from Maguire with ease from 20 yards out before showing great strength to shove off his man and find the bottom corner at a tight angle. That’s 23 goals in all competitions for the Egyptian, equally the club record for goals before the new year set by Roger Hunt.

Scoring more goals this season than eight Premier League clubs (Palace, Burnley, Brighton, Swansea, WBA, Huddersfield, Southampton and Newcastle), it’s fair to say Mohamed Salah has made an astounding impact at Liverpool. £37 million was a real coup.

Listen to Liverpool FC legends like Jan Molby and Peter Beardsley as well as the best tactical and statistical analysis on Liverpool FC exclusively on AnfieldIndex Pro! Subscribe Now!
Categories: LFC NEWS

Key Stats from Liverpool 2-1 Leicester

Sun, 31/12/2017 - 20:02

Liverpool ground out a terrific 2-1 win over Leicester, with Mo Salah once again the goalscoring difference. But what were the key stats from Liverpool’s big win?

Salah’s Goalscoring Insanity

Mohamed Salah is Liverpool's joint-tenth top scorer in a calendar year in the PL era.
He didn't play until 12th August. pic.twitter.com/PsgFJHqQK0

— Andrew Beasley (@BassTunedToRed) December 30, 2017

Mo Salah is an incredible forward, scoring insane amounts of goals. With 17 league goals in 1597 minutes in the Premier League, Salah is scoring a goal every 94 minutes, just about one a game. And then there’s the stat above, which contextualises just how incredible Salah’s run of form has been, and on current form he could well eclipse even Suarez’s goalscoring record for Liverpool.

When the dust has settled on Salah’s season, he might well end up being not just signing of the season, but the best signing Liverpool have made in years, if not decades.

The M Factor 

Whilst Salah’s goalscoring feats are important, they wouldn’t have been possible without the support of Sadio Mane and James Milner, who both were excellent and Liverpool’s primary creative forces. Both players created three chances, and both of them nabbed an assist. Mane created two big chances for Salah, managing an xA of 0.87, whilst Milner also created a big chance, with an xA of 0.57. Both players were very good, and both assists were well deserved. If Salah was the man deserving two goals today, these two were the men to assist him.

Emre Lays His Claim

I’ve talked about Emre Can in the defensive midfield role a few times in recent weeks, but he really is making the role his own, and laying down a come and get me claim to Europe’s elite clubs. Five tackles, three clearances, two interceptions, four aerial duel wins, Emre was once again Liverpool’s best player off the ball. He contributed on the ball too, but for all the talk of him lowering the tempo of Liverpool’s midfield, Liverpool’s tempo was good today with him pulling the strings from deep.

The Bogeyman Beaten

Liverpool have lost three times to Leicester under Jurgen Klopp, the most wins any side has secured against Klopp’s Reds. Moreover, until today Klopp had never beaten Puel in a game, with the Frenchman frustrating Liverpool last season. This was Liverpool’s first come from behind win of the season too, and only their third league win by a single goal. Two of those three have now come against Leicester. This was the sort of game that even a few weeks ago, Liverpool would draw 1-1. Now they’re turning games like this into wins, slowly but surely.

Listen to Liverpool FC legends like Jan Molby and Peter Beardsley as well as the best tactical and statistical analysis on Liverpool FC exclusively on AnfieldIndex Pro! Subscribe Now!
Categories: LFC NEWS

Liverpool v Leicester Preview - Key Battles

Fri, 29/12/2017 - 15:45

Alright, it’s time for the euphoria to die down. Liverpool have got Virgil van Dijk, but now, it is time to focus on more important business – racking up the Premier League points and keep ourselves firmly in the race for the Premier League top four.

Leicester City are the next visitors to Anfield, as the Reds look to end 2017 on a winning note, before heading to Burnley on New Year’s Day.

Leicester have resurrected their season under new manager Claude Puel, but come into the game on the back of a 2-1 defeat at Watford, with a Kasper Schmeichel own goal condemning the Foxes to defeat. Liverpool, on the other hand, handed cellar dwellers Swansea a hiding on Boxing Day, to extend their unbeaten run across all competitions – the Reds are unbeaten since losing to Tottenham Hotspur in October.

Drawing at Anfield has been a repeated theme in the Reds’ season so far, and it has ensured Liverpool aren’t higher in the table than they actually are.

Jordan Henderson is ruled out of action until February, meaning Klopp has one option less, when it comes to his rotation.

Here are the key battles that will decide the outcome of the game.

SADIO MANE v CHRISTIAN FUCHS

Mane will definitely come back into the Liverpool side having sat out the game against Swansea, and it is an ideal opportunity to prove that his form is no worry for Klopp and Liverpool.

Since the derby earlier this month, Mane has looked a little bit off the boil though. He has made questionable decisions in games, and it looks like he isn’t operating at full throttle.

However, it is reassuring that he has been getting into goalscoring positions and would have had a few more goals to his name had he made the right decisions in those instances.

His form should be the least of Liverpool’s concerns though, only because he’s still been involved in the thick of Liverpool’s attacking play even if he hasn’t been netting the goals. That is just a confidence thing, and he just needs one moment to turn this supposed bad form around, because his overall play has not been a concern just yet.

It is very likely that all of the Fab 4 won’t start, and in that case, it will only put more responsibility on Mane’s shoulders. Mo Salah might well be rested, meaning Mane will be able to operate from the right wing position that he played with aplomb, for all of last season.

Fuchs didn’t play the game against Watford, and he will be aiming to use his experience to shackle Mane and play on his lack of confidence. The Austrian isn’t the quickest across the turf, so it will be important that Liverpool are able to get Mane playing on his shoulder and releasing balls in behind the Leicester defence.

JOEL MATIP v JAMIE VARDY

Vardy has scored in each of his last 4 appearances against Liverpool, and while some of his goals have been gifted to him, some have been scorchers.

The Reds have certainly been charitable to him very often, but that is what Matip will look to stop on Saturday. It will be one of the last games for Matip as the “leader” of the back four, with van Dijk almost certain to take over that mantle once he starts playing in January.

Having just returned from injury, Matip could not have hoped for a much easier way to get himself back than the game against Swansea, as the Welsh club barely threatened Simon Mignolet’s goal.

It will be important that Matip and the others around him do not switch off for even a second. With Vardy’s pace, the counter-attack is only one pass away, which means that Liverpool’s defensive line cannot afford even a momentary lapse.

Both Joe Gomez and Andy Robertson have, at times, been guilty of dropping one step too deep and playing everyone onside. Such mistakes will be fatal against someone of Vardy’s calibre.

Riyad Mahrez has found his touch for the Foxes again, and if the Reds can block off Mahrez’s route to Vardy, that is half the job done, but for that, it is important that the entire defensive unit is in sync with each other.

That is where it will be important that Matip is loud and vocal, to get everyone on the same page to nullify Vardy. Otherwise, another goal against his favourite opponents might not be too difficult for him.

He will also be looking to make amends for his missed penalty that cost Leicester two points when the two sides faced off at the King Power Stadium earlier this season.

GINI WIJNALDUM v WILFRED NDIDI

Wijnaldum didn’t have a great game against Swansea, but as usual, he covered a lot of ground. At times, he also carried the ball a fair distance up the pitch, albeit without really having anything significant at the end of the run.

Given the amount of stick Jordan Henderson and Emre Can seem to be receiving, it is surprising that Wijnaldum’s average form has not come under the radar a little more, but with Henderson ruled out and Wijnaldum having not started against Arsenal last Friday, it is highly likely that he will start again against one of the most promising young lights of the Premier League.

Ndidi really has got all the ingredients to be a top-class midfielder and is the one that Puel looks to, to pull the strings in their midfield. So one can be assured that Wijnaldum is not going to have an easy outing.

One glaring flaw in Wijnaldum’s game is how little he seems to be involved in the play – in terms of passes and touches, which are consistently low. For a midfielder, the first thing to do is to make yourself available for others to play simple passes to you, and he doesn’t seem to be doing that enough.

But, with the game at Anfield, history would suggest that he has a better chance of actually having an impact on the game. He’s been in the Premier League for 27 months now, and still does not have a goal away from home – one of the most curious stats I’ve ever seen in the Premier League.

With his fellow Dutchman touted to be in the stands on Saturday, there is just that little-added incentive for Wijnaldum to end 2017 with a strong performance, the likes of which have been few and far between so far this season.

Wijnaldum ended 2016 at Anfield with a winner against Manchester City. An encore would not be a bad way to end 2017.

Listen to Liverpool FC legends like Jan Molby and Peter Beardsley as well as the best tactical and statistical analysis on Liverpool FC exclusively on AnfieldIndex Pro! Subscribe Now!
Categories: LFC NEWS

Liverpool v Leicester City Preview - The First of Two Tough Games in a Row for Klopp's Men

Fri, 29/12/2017 - 15:45
The Details

Venue – Anfield, Liverpool

Referee – Neil Swarbrick

Date & Time – Saturday, December 30th @ 15:00 GMT

Current Odds – Liverpool 2/7, Draw 9/2, Leicester 17/2

Form Liverpool Form

Liverpool got back to winning ways against Swansea on Boxing Day. A comfortable first-half performance was improved upon after the break when the Reds extended their one-goal lead to run out 5-0 victors in the end.

Looking at the xG stats below, we can see that the Reds should have won all of their three recent drawn games, as well. Arsenal should have been dead and buried before they were allowed to mount their comeback while West Brom and Everton just about managed to deny the Reds all three points at Anfield through a mixture of luck and bodies behind the ball. But that’s to be expected these days, especially when opponents come to Anfield. It’s up to our defence to have the concentration levels to do the basics when called upon and our attack needs to create when facing teams who deploy a low block.

Leicester City Form

Leicester are in a poor run of form at the moment. Though, to be fair, two of their last three games were against the top two in the league. They lost 2-1 to Manchester City in the Carabao Cup while they achieved a creditable 2-2 home draw against United in the league when Harry Maguire equalised with the last kick of the game. Watford beat them 2-1 on Boxing Day after a Kasper Schmeichel error. Before the City game, Leicester had probably their worst result of the season, losing 3-0 at home to Crystal Palace. Strange, when you consider this came immediately after a hugely impressive 4-1 victory for the Foxes at Southampton three days previously.

Team News Liverpool Team News

Clyne is unavailable until February with a back injury. Jordan Henderson misses out with a thigh injury he picked up in the early stages of the game at Arsenal last Friday. Moreno (ankle) is still out and will be for another couple of weeks, at least. Daniel Sturridge is lacking match fitness after missing out on the last couple of games because of a tight hamstring while Grujic has a wrist injury that could keep him from a place on the bench. Milner and Solanke may be awarded starting places to rest Coutinho and Firmino.

Liverpool have no suspensions for this game.

Liverpool’s Top 3 Rated Players this season (WhoScored.com)

  1. P. Coutinho ————  8.07
  2. M. Salah —————-  7.66
  3. R. Firmino ————–  7.48
Leicester City Team News

Leicester are still without Robert Huth and Matty James while Danny Simpson is also a doubt for this game. Dragovic is the likely candidate to replace Simpson at right-back. Riyad Mahrez will slot into the attacking-midfield role behind Vardy who will be the lone fox-in-the-box. Vardy has scored six goals in his seven games against Liverpool, more than he’s scored against any other team in his career. He managed one of those goals at Anfield (in three appearances there) and that was in the 4-1 defeat last season.

Leicester have no suspensions for this game.

Leicester’s Top 3 Rated Players this season (WhoScored.com)

  1. R. Mahrez ————–  7.18
  2. H. Maguire ————-  7.18
  3. W. Ndidi —————-  7.06
Predicted XIs

Liverpool XI (4-3-3) – Mignolet; Gomez, Matip, Klavan, Robertson; Can, Milner(c), Oxlade-Chamberlain; Salah, Solanke, Mané

Leicester City XI (4-4-1-1) – Schmeichel; Dragovic, Morgan(c), Maguire, Fuchs; Albrighton, Ndidi, Iborra, Gray; Mahrez, Vardy

When they last met

Liverpool won 3-2 at the King Power Stadium in September with goals from Salah, Coutinho and Henderson. That was just four days after they were dumped out of the Carabao Cup at the same venue, going down 2-0 to the Foxes.

Their last encounter at Anfield was the 4-1 hammering the Reds dished out in the first game in front of the newly-expanded Main Stand back in September of last year.

Prediction

Liverpool 3 – 1 Leicester City

This won’t be an easy game by any stretch of the imagination. However, with Liverpool’s free-scoring form and Leicester’s recent defensive frailties, it’s hard to predict any other outcome than a Liverpool win. The Reds are normally a good bet for a clean sheet in their home games (they have the best home defensive record in the PL, 3 conceded in 10 games) but I think Vardy will grab his usual goal against Liverpool on Saturday. At the other end, Liverpool should have enough to make it a tough afternoon for Morgan, Maguire, Schmeichel and friends.

** Please note – “xA” in the Form Stats tables symbolises “expected goals against”, NOT “expected assists”

Listen to Liverpool FC legends like Jan Molby and Peter Beardsley as well as the best tactical and statistical analysis on Liverpool FC exclusively on AnfieldIndex Pro! Subscribe Now!
Categories: LFC NEWS

Liverpool seal £75m Virgil Van Dijk deal

Thu, 28/12/2017 - 10:36

Virgil Van Dijk will become a Liverpool player when the January transfer window opens, the Reds confirmed today.

A deal has been agreed with Southampton to sign the player for a fee that the Saints claim to be a world record for a defender, Liverpool paying in the region of 75 million pounds to put an end to a very long winded transfer saga.

Another transfer from the South Coast to Merseyside, Van Dijk following the likes of Sadio Mane, Dejan Lovren, Nathaniel Clyne, Rickie Lambert and Adam Lallana by making the switch, but this one is perhaps the most anticipated.

Liverpool have been screaming for a blockbuster centre-back ever since Daniel Agger and Jamie Carragher dropped from their primes, with the likes of Lovren, Martin Skrtel and Ragnar Klavan becoming little more than comedic figures in recent years.

Van Dijk is expected to come in and partner Joel Matip, perhaps not solving all the defensive issues but certainly helping cutting out the errors.

By paying a world record fee for a defender, Liverpool have of course smashed their own transfer record for the third time within a year following deals for Mohamed Salah and Naby Keita.

Fans have been screaming for Fenway Sports Group to put money down on the first team ever since they took over and maybe those shouts are beginning to be noted, Liverpool beating Manchester City and Chelsea to the signing of one of the Premier League’s top talents.

Ex-Red Jamie Carragher greeted the news on Twitter, noting that Van Dijk was quicker, better in the air and more composed than he was.

Van Dijk himself commented on the move on his Instagram page.

“Delighted and honoured to have agreed to become a Liverpool player. Today is a proud day for me and my family as I join one of the biggest clubs in world football. I can’t wait to pull on the famous shirt for the first time in front of the Kop, I’ll give everything I have to help this great club achieve something special in the years to come.

“I’m looking forward to meeting my new team mates and getting started.”

We can’t wait for you to get started either, Virgil!

A huge deal for Liverpool, especially given they’ve got one over fellow big-guns Chelsea and Manchester City, who were dogged in their pursuit of the Dutchman.

Few will expect him to come in and solve all the defensive issues instantly, nor should they.

But, it’s definitely fair to get excited over a huge upgrade at centre-back, one we’ve waited for and one Liverpool fans certainly deserve given the amount of calamitous defending that’s been seen this season, let alone in recent years!

No pressure, big man!

Listen to Liverpool FC legends like Jan Molby and Peter Beardsley as well as the best tactical and statistical analysis on Liverpool FC exclusively on AnfieldIndex Pro! Subscribe Now!
Categories: LFC NEWS

Liverpool Surge To 5-0 Victory Against The Swans

Wed, 27/12/2017 - 07:31

Location: Anfield

Liverpool: Mignolet; Alexander-Arnold, Matip, Klavan, Robertson; Can, Wijnaldum, Chamberlain, Coutinho, Salah, Firmino

Swansea: Fabianski, Naughton, Fernandez, Mawson, Olsson, Routledge, Fer, Mesa, Carroll, Ayew, McBurnie.

Match Report

James Milner’s post-match comments rang true for Liverpool in the aftermath of their 3-3 draw with Arsenal last Friday, with the midfielder claiming that the side needed to ‘be more boring’ and close out games. It seemed like his teammates had certainly taken on-board such remarks for the opening first-forty five, with Liverpool showing far less attacking verve and inventiveness than we’ve come to expect of them. Sitting off the Swansea players, it was hard to ascertain whether this was a change in tactics by Klopp or the result of Christmas Day festivities.

The first-half was blessed with one moment of stunning quality, though, as captain Philippe Coutinho combined neatly with Mohamed Salah to put the home side in the lead. Producing a goal we’ve seen the Brazilian pull off time and time again, Coutinho curled the ball into the top-right hand corner to give the Swans ‘keeper no chance.

19 goals and 10 assists for Coutinho in 28 games.

— DaveOCKOP (@DaveOCKOP) December 26, 2017

His international compatriot, Bobby Firmino, had a brilliant chance to double the scores just before the interval after Oxlade-Chamberlain’s press won the ball back for the Reds. Salah played in Firmino, only for the forward to skew his shot wide of the target and raise anxiety over whether Liverpool were going to be made to rue their missed chances at home once more.

The second-half saw the return of the real Liverpool though as Klopp’s side produced the goods, reflecting their dominance on the score-line. Coutinho was the mastermind of it all, delivering an inch-perfect free-kick to find Roberto Firmino at the far post. Making the most of this chance, the Brazilian volleyed the ball into the net from close range to make it 2-0.

That’s when the screw really turned. Trent Alexander-Arnold capped another bright performance at right-back with a goal not dissimilar to Jon Flanagan’s famous scorcher against Spurs.

Gerrard-esque from the young Scouser…#lfcpic.twitter.com/qps7PPivlc

— Liverpool Gifs (@lfcgif) December 26, 2017

The ball dropped invitingly on the edge of the area with the 19-year-old showing far more desire to beat Ayew to the ball and let fly. I’m sure Nathanial Clyne will be looking on with a worried expression as Trent continues to showcase what he can offer in the final third for The Reds.

Back came Bobby Firmino with another goal in the 65th minute, notching his 16th goal of the season in all competitions – four better than his tally for the entirety of the 2016/17 campaign. Although overshadowed by the brilliance of Salah and Coutinho, there can be no denying his importance to this Liverpool side.

As if Christmas couldn’t get any better for us Reds fans, Oxlade-Chamberlain soon made it 5-0. Albeit benefiting from some schoolboy defending from the Swansea back-four, the former-Arsenal man rifled in a delicious shot at close range as he continues to prove himself a more than valuable commodity at Anfield. Those who doubted him sure have gone quiet…

The result sees Liverpool close the gap on rivals Manchester United, who dropped points at home to Burnley earlier on in the day.

Next up is a visit from Leicester City on Saturday afternoon. Here’s to hoping we see some more goals flooding in for The Reds.

Listen to Liverpool FC legends like Jan Molby and Peter Beardsley as well as the best tactical and statistical analysis on Liverpool FC exclusively on AnfieldIndex Pro! Subscribe Now!
Categories: LFC NEWS

Liverpool v Swansea City Preview - Key Battles

Tue, 26/12/2017 - 04:26

After a bizarre night at the Emirates when Liverpool oscillated between the exhilarating and the exasperating, it is back to Anfield on Boxing Day, as the Reds welcome bottom-placed Swansea City in a game they should be hoping to take three points from.

Liverpool’s familiar problems with the goalkeeper and the defence resurfaced in five terrible second-half minutes that saw the Reds concede three goals, arguably all of which were avoidable.

Swansea’s season appeared to take a turn for the better when they got their first win in almost three months against West Brom, but they haven’t won their three games since, and have also seen manager Paul Clement get the boot. Leon Britton will continue to hold the reins for them as they look to heap more Anfield misery for Jurgen Klopp’s side, who have drawn more Premier League games at home than they have won.

Skipper Jordan Henderson is ruled out, but that aside, the Reds have a clean bill of health aside from the long-term absentees – Alberto Moreno and Nathaniel Clyne – and the rotation could come into full force as the Reds play their second in a run of four games in ten days.

Here are the key individual battles that could decide the outcome of the game.

MOHAMED SALAH v MARTIN OLSSON

The King of Egypt. Need we say any more about Salah at this stage? 21 goals in the season so far, and there is half of it still to go. He had among his more forgettable displays in a red shirt at the Emirates, but he still ended the night with a goal and a “fake” assist.

His pace, his power, his shooting, his strength to hold defenders off and more importantly, his understanding with the rest of the Liverpool attackers, mean that Olsson will have his task cut out. The Swede will have happy memories of Anfield, as he was one of the Swans’ best performers in their shock 3-2 win earlier this year.

For Salah though, he has shown that no reputation fazes him, and he has also shown that if anything, he has induced fear into oppositions, rather than the other way around.

Needless to say, he will be the man the Reds look to for goal-scoring inspiration, and that is a position that most teams in the world would want to find themselves in, at this stage.

There was a notion a few weeks ago that the Reds were becoming over-dependent on Salah but that has been emphatically put to bed in the last few games. But it is no secret that Salah’s pace is now the preferred weapon of choice, so it is important for Jurgen Klopp that his big summer acquisition spreads some more cheer on Merseyside on Boxing Day.

ROBERTO FIRMINO v ALFIE MAWSON

We need a 20-goal-a-season striker. Firmino is not a no. 9. 2017-18 has given us responses to both. No, and no. Firmino is the most important player in this system, and he has the numbers to back up the fact his end-product has considerably improved this season as well.

Mawson arrived in the Premier League with a bang and had a stellar season for the Swans last term, but much like the whole team, his form too has tapered off.

Swansea’s problems this season have been more at the other end of the pitch, with as many as 11 other sides having conceded more goals than them this season, but confidence is low and that can never be a good sign for any team before facing an attack as potent as the Reds’.

Firmino was sensational against Arsenal, with the intensity, the pressing, the passing, all on point. Salah’s goal in that game just typified the importance of Firmino being in that no. 9 role.

His movement and understanding of when and where to vacate spaces for the quicker men to run in to has been one of the striking features of his play, and that goal exemplified that, along with his ridiculously good ability to see a killer pass.

Swansea are likely to sit deep and be well organised, with the intention being to hit Liverpool on the break. That kind of a system needs strong centre-halves, and on their day, both Mawson and Federico Fernandez can prove to be that. With the relegation dogfight being a little more crowded this season, it is time for the Swans to start picking up some points, and Anfield won’t be a bad place to start for the team, and for Mawson to kickstart his season.

RAGNAR KLAVAN v TAMMY ABRAHAM

Abraham has blown hot and cold for Swansea since his loan move from Chelsea, with his promise enough for Gareth Southgate to give him an England debut last month.

But in the stage that Swansea are in, just potential is not good enough. The goals have got to come from somewhere to kickstart the Swans’ season. They have only scored 11 goals in 19 games, the lowest in the Premier League.

For Klavan, he is in the middle of what you could call a purple patch. He’s barely put a foot wrong since coming into the side after Joel Matip’s injury, and his demeanour on the pitch has shown that he is playing with confidence.

Klavan and Dejan Lovren both played well for most of the game against Arsenal, and seem to be developing an understanding between themselves, but they will hope that the overall number of individual errors the Reds are committing is reduced.

It is no good defending well for 85 out of 90 minutes when it all collapses for 5 minutes as it did at the Emirates. That is going to be a challenge for both Klavan and Lovren, especially if Matip doesn’t come back any sooner.

Playing 4 games in 10 days is a challenge, even for a centre-back, and physical tiredness could often lead to lapses in concentration and poor decision-making.

One can only hope that Klavan rides on the confidence of strong recent performances and ensures that the man behind him – whoever it is – doesn’t have much work to do, because there hasn’t been much from the man between the sticks to inspire confidence for Reds fans.

Listen to Liverpool FC legends like Jan Molby and Peter Beardsley as well as the best tactical and statistical analysis on Liverpool FC exclusively on AnfieldIndex Pro! Subscribe Now!
Categories: LFC NEWS