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Goalscorer Matip satisfied with a 'good step'

Sat, 22/09/2018 - 20:20

Joel Matip assessed his first start of the season as a ‘good step’ after scoring during Liverpool’s 3-0 win over Southampton.

The centre-back came in to the Reds’ side for Saturday’s Premier League match at Anfield, starting alongside Virgil van Dijk at the heart of Jürgen Klopp’s defence as Joe Gomez was named among the substitutes.

An assured defensive display was supplemented by Matip’s first home goal as a Liverpool player, as he guided a towering header from Trent Alexander-Arnold’s corner past Alex McCarthy to put the hosts 2-0 up in the first half.

Matip, who played the full 90 minutes, said post-match that he understood why Klopp had elected to partner Van Dijk and Gomez in each of the Reds’ previous six outings this season, all of which ended in victory.

However, the 27-year-old is hoping to get more minutes under his belt with Liverpool now to face Chelsea twice, Napoli and Manchester City during an 11-day spell that starts with a Carabao Cup tie against against Maurizio Sarri’s men on Wednesday.

Virgil van Dijk injury update>> 

“They [Van Dijk and Gomez] played the whole season well and there was no reason to change,” Matip told Liverpoolfc.com

“I was injured and still needed some time to get in and to be on a good level, but I am on a good way and this was a good step.

“I still need some time but I am on a good way and we have a lot of games, a lot of players, so I hope that I can also play a few games more.”

Despite the fact Klopp’s side set a new club record of seven-straight wins at the start of a campaign on Saturday, Matip saw room for improvement in terms of their performance.

He continued: “Today we had a few problems but we can still increase. We are on a good way and if we win everything is fine, but we know we have to get better and I am still positive.”

Klopp explains Shaqiri substitution and assesses the 3-0 win>>

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Jürgen Klopp explains Shaqiri substitution

Sat, 22/09/2018 - 20:08

Jürgen Klopp has explained the thinking behind his tactical approach to Liverpool's 3-0 victory over Southampton, which set a new club record.

Never before have the Reds won each of their opening seven fixtures in a season – a feat they achieved on Saturday as an own goal by Wesley Hoedt was added to by Joel Matip and Mohamed Salah.

Klopp had altered his attacking personnel and system at the outset of the Premier League clash but changed it at half-time, when James Milner replaced Xherdan Shaqiri.

After the game, the manager opened up on those decisions and reflected on a display that further extended Liverpool’s outstanding start to 2018-19.

Read on for a summary of his post-match press conference…

On the game…

It was good but you saw it needed to be because Southampton were not bad, they played good football. I had an idea and it didn’t work out 100 per cent. We changed system obviously to bring Shaq in a comfortable position. We wanted to make it a bit more difficult for Southampton to be really prepared for what we do. We knew the two tall boys in the centre would play so we thought to bring Mo there. Offensively, it was really good; defensively, we obviously weren’t used to it. We had the session yesterday and it was very strange – we couldn’t really go out because the real bad weather was over the city at our training time. We had around about 30 minutes with set-pieces included, which is very important because Southampton are really good with set-pieces. That we did that obviously helped because all three goals were around set-pieces.

On the other hand, that’s why I made the change. I said to Shaq at half-time that I had never brought a player off after such an influential time without an injury. He is not injured. But I wanted to control the game and go back to our normal formation. And that helped, we really controlled it. But still Southampton had their moments, they didn’t have big chances but they had their moments. We wanted to avoid that they could come through one or two times too often. We wanted to score of course; we were a bit unlucky in one or the other situations. It was probably offside with Mo. The first half with Mo was a bit unlucky with a nice situation, a good ball from Joel Matip. All round it was a good performance, very controlled in the second half and that’s how it should be.

On Shaqiri’s performance and the half-time change…

It was not easy, to be honest. It’s my job to sometimes deliver news nobody wants to hear. That’s how it was at half-time but he is a fantastic boy. I explained it to him so it’s no problem. Usually I don’t explain substitutions at half-time but I thought it made sense. It’s just good to have him; the free-kick was outstanding. That’s good. The whole team was not used to what we did today. As a new player, usually you struggle most but he didn’t – he tried everything. The only problem was defensively. Offensively, it was a good idea but, how I said, we have to work on that more often. But he was good and I liked it.

On the three first-half goals allowing for the switch…

That’s true but we would have done the same with 2-0, to be honest. That was the plan. We saw that we had a few problems. In the week you could see Gini Wijnaldum, good game but really hard now; Hendo’s second game in a row; Millie came on and I don’t think if you ask him that it felt like spring or something. It was hard work for him as well. Making six or seven changes today was never an option, we had to go through that game. That’s why I said it is the most important game. A few weeks ago you all told me there were very tough weeks and nobody thought about Southampton – that made the game a real challenge, apart from the quality of Southampton anyway. So, it’s a good sign that the team gave today again, scoring three, making set-pieces a proper threat is cool because they always help and defensively it was just good. All three centre-halves played fantastically, both full-backs played really well. All the others had to work really hard. I think it was another deserved three points.

On whether he’s surprised by Liverpool’s seven-game winning run…

Yes. I lost one time in my life seven games in a row and that felt different, to be honest. But then we won game No.8 5-0, which was very cool! Yes, it’s a surprise because of course you cannot expect it, but all performances we showed so far were at least good enough to win the games. All the different challenges with the different styles of the opponent, the boys were there. They were really in the situation and in the different games, so that’s good. But now the next one is coming on Wednesday and then coming again on Saturday and then again on the Wednesday. That’s now a really short week we have and then the period ends with a nice game against Man City! It will be tough, but for all of us, so that’s absolutely OK. It is better to win these games than draw them or lose them, but I am really sure we are mature enough to understand it in the right way.

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Liverpool 3-0 Southampton: Five talking points

Sat, 22/09/2018 - 19:43

History was made at Anfield on Saturday as Liverpool beat Southampton 3-0.

First-half strikes by Joel Matip and Mohamed Salah, both of which followed Wesley Hoedt’s 10th-minute own goal, ensured Jürgen Klopp’s side made it seven wins from seven matches so far this season - a feat never achieved before in the club’s exalted 126 years of existence.

Here are five talking points on the action in L4…

7-0-0

Tuesday’s thrilling midweek victory over Paris Saint-Germain saw the Reds’ current vintage equal the club’s previous best start to a campaign.

That was set way back in 1961-62, when Bill Shankly’s team won their opening six matches en route to being crowned champions of the Second Division.

Fifty-seven years on, that record was surpassed - leaving the 50,000 or so Liverpool fans present at Anfield on Saturday September 22, 2018, able to say they witnessed a landmark moment.

Shining Shaqiri

Klopp said before the game that Shaqiri’s ‘time will come’ in reference to the Swiss making his first start for Liverpool.

Well, that time was Saturday - and Shaqiri was bright as he flitted across the pitch from his starting position at the apex of the Reds’ midfield three throughout an impressive first half.

It was the 26-year-old’s enterprise that forced the opening goal, as he collected a perfectly-weighted pass from Sadio Mane down the inside-left channel before cutting in and shooting powerfully at goal.

Shaqiri’s attempt struck Shane Long before deflecting off Hoedt and into the net to give the hosts the early goal they craved. 

And he played a huge part in Salah’s strike on the stroke of half-time, too, as his curling free-kick from 25 yards crashed down off the underside of the crossbar, allowing the No.11 to race in and poke home the rebound.

Shaqiri was replaced by James Milner at the break, with Klopp explaining post-match that his decision was made for for tactical reasons.

"I said to Shaq at half-time that I had never brought a player off after such an influential time without an injury," said the boss.

"It was not easy, to be honest. It’s my job to sometimes deliver news nobody wants to hear. That’s how it was at half-time but he is a fantastic boy."

Goal Matip 

As a centre-back, Matip’s primary concern is keeping goals out at one end rather than scoring them at the other.

On the day of his first start of the season, though, he did both - helping Liverpool keep a clean sheet while also netting their second with a fine, arcing header from Trent Alexander-Arnold’s corner.

Matip led the way for the Reds in terms of regaining possession, which he did 11 times throughout the 90 minutes. The Cameroonian’s three interceptions were a team-high figure, too, as were his 112 passes.

Matip satisfied a with 'good step'>>

A new twist on a classic formula

Regular watchers of Liverpool will know that positional interchanging between Roberto Firmino, Mane and Salah is nothing new.

The Reds’ front three generally start games in the same areas of the pitch, though - with Firmino central, Mane left and Salah right - before fluidly switching throughout.

However, there was a noticeable change to that tried-and-tested formula in the first half on Saturday, as Salah began the game as Liverpool’s central striker with Firmino on the left and Mane on the right.

Klopp’s tactical tweak paid dividends, too, with Salah failing to convert two chances earned via slick interplay with Firmino before burying his third opportunity in first-half stoppage time.

The new approach was stuck to rigidly in the opening 45 minutes, with the normal service of free-flowing flexibility between the trio resuming after the interval.

Another Anfield shutout

Liverpool started the season by recording three successive clean sheets, before conceding four times in subsequent victories over Leicester City, Tottenham Hotspur and PSG.

So, a first shutout since the 1-0 win over Brighton and Hove Albion on August 25 will have pleased Klopp.

That it took Southampton until the 91st minute to register a shot on target - when Alisson Becker palmed away Charlie Austin’s attempt - is also plus point to take from a comfortable afternoon’s work for the Premier League leaders.

Klopp’s side have now kept seven consecutive clean sheets in home Premier League games, with Michail Antonio the last visiting player to score at Anfield in the top flight. That goal came in a 4-1 defeat for West Ham United back in February.

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LIVE: Liverpool v Southampton - follow the build up

Sat, 22/09/2018 - 12:10

Team news

Among the topics Klopp covered in his press conference was Roberto Firmino's fitness.

And it was good news on Liverpool's No.9, who is ready to start after being a substitute - a match-winning one at that - against PSG on Tuesday due to the eye injury he sustained at Wembley last week.

Daniel Sturridge scored and impressed against PSG and is in contention to start, while Klopp has assured Xherdan Shaqiri that his 'time will come' as the forward awaits his full Reds debut.

Dejan Lovren, Adam Lallana and Divock Origi are unavailable, though, while Dominic Solanke returned to training on Friday following a concussion.

For Southampton, top scorer Danny Ings is ineligible due to the terms of the initial loan agreement that took him from Anfield to St Mary's last month.

Manolo Gabbiadini is also a doubt due to a hamstring issue.

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Klopp on when Shaqiri will make full LFC debut

Sat, 22/09/2018 - 11:40

Jürgen Klopp has assured Xherdan Shaqiri that his ‘time will come’ as the forward awaits his full Liverpool debut.

Switzerland international Shaqiri has been restricted to three substitute appearances against West Ham United, Leicester City and Paris Saint-Germain so far this season.

However, Klopp acknowledged that the 26-year-old is pushing for his first start for the club ahead of Saturday’s meeting with Southampton at Anfield.

“He is very positive, not only from the performances but as a guy in the dressing room. Everyone loves Shaq, that is how it is - and without playing plenty of minutes,” the boss said.

“That is more my mistake than his. He has done everything to play. I made different decisions but his time will come, that is for sure.”

Liverpool v Southampton: Team news>>

This weekend’s game against the Saints is the Reds’ seventh of the campaign.

The previous six have all ended in victory, with Klopp citing ‘greed’, ‘aggression’ and, latterly, ‘reinvented defensive skills’ as key factors behind their perfect results to date in 2018-19.

“We don’t feel that [momentum] to be honest because we play, analyse, prepare; play, analyse, prepare and that is it,” the manager stated.

“Maybe it’s because all the jobs are so difficult. There is no game where we have thought: ‘Thank God we have played them.’ None of the results we have this season would have been possible without the greed you have seen or without the aggression you see. No chance.

“We didn’t win anything so far - not in the past and not this season - so let’s use the momentum and create a new momentum. We really want to be the ugliest team to play against. That is the plan, and to do it with good football players. 

“The best news I have had in the last two weeks is how we have changed or reinvented again our defensive skills. We didn’t need them too much in the first few games. It was not that we didn’t have to defend but they were different games. 

“Against Tottenham and Paris I loved how we did it. We still played good football and that was a really big step in the season so far.”

Klopp: Southampton game is all that matters to us>>

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Henderson: We're delighted Ings can't play today

Sat, 22/09/2018 - 09:00

Danny Ings isn’t eligible to face Liverpool at Anfield today due to the terms of his Southampton loan – and Jordan Henderson has explained why he sees it as good news for the Reds.

The striker moved to St Mary’s initially on a season-long deal on August’s transfer deadline day before the move becomes permanent next summer.

It means Ings will be forced to sit out a reunion with Liverpool this afternoon and Henderson feels it’s a boost for Jürgen Klopp’s side’s ambitions of clinching three points.

The captain wrote in his column for ‘This is Anfield’: “There’s no hiding the fact that we’re delighted Danny can’t play against us today at Anfield because for the first season of his move he’s on loan. I don’t mean that with any negativity – we’re delighted because we know his class better than most.

“When people in the game talk about Danny it’s always with positivity, but it’s quite often focused on what a great person he is and how fantastic his attitude is. Both of those things are correct – he is someone you fall in love with when you spend time with him and his courage and spirit is contagious. But people should not ignore his ability and talent. He is technically superb and extremely clever.

“Danny’s Liverpool story didn’t materialise as he ultimately would have hoped, but when he told us he was going to leave during the summer window and join Southampton it was always going to be a case of starting a new story and kicking on.

“Like everyone in our dressing room I was chuffed Danny got the move he wanted. I’ve been lucky enough to represent my home town team previously so I know what it means. Southampton is Danny’s home – it is his club and it means every goal he scores and every point he helps to win will mean even more.

“It’s been brilliant seeing him hit the ground running and making an immediate impact. There’s no doubt that he’s going to score goals and become a big hero and there will be no bigger cheers for every goal he bags than in our dressing room.”

Pick up your copy of 'This is Anfield' at the stadium this afternoon, or subscribe online by clicking here.

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Liverpool FC launches new partnership with TigerWit

Mon, 17/09/2018 - 10:58

Liverpool FC has welcomed UK-headquartered global financial technology company TigerWit Limited as its new official online foreign exchange trading partner.

The global partnership will focus on driving forward technological development throughout the UK, Europe and Asia, where the Reds have vast numbers of fans, providing TigerWit with a high-profile opportunity to increase its brand recognition and visibility and drive downloads of its innovative new trading app, developed with blockchain-based settlement technology.

It will also benefit from club hospitality and matchday sponsorship as it uses the partnership to raise brand awareness in its target markets.

First-team players Naby Keita, Alisson Becker and Georginio Wijnaldum will feature in a TV commercial which is due to launch today.

Billy Hogan, managing director and chief commercial officer at LFC, said: “We are very happy to add TigerWit as our newest club partner and our official online foreign exchange trading partner.

“Our worldwide following will generate global exposure for TigerWit, whilst their core markets of the UK, Europe and Asia each have tremendous numbers of Liverpool FC supporters.

“Through this new partnership with TigerWit, we look forward to marketing activations, which help offer our fans activities and experiences to bring them even closer to the club.”

TigerWit CEO, Tim Hughes, said: “Today is a proud day for TigerWit, we are launching our innovative blockchain-based trading app and partnering with Liverpool FC.

“TigerWit believes in a market that does not discriminate or play favourites. We have developed a pioneering blockchain-based settlement system that instils trust by delivering greater security and process efficiency. Trading should be, and can be, more transparent and fair for all traders, regardless of experience or the size of their account.”

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Watch Klopp's pre-PSG press conference live

Mon, 17/09/2018 - 08:00

Jürgen Klopp will hold his first Champions League press conference of the season at Anfield on Monday - watch it live and free from 2pm BST.

The Liverpool boss is to address the media ahead of his side's Group C opener against Paris Saint-Germain on Tuesday.

You can watch Klopp's briefing in full via our official YouTube channel. Simply return to this page at 2pm BST to tune in.

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FaceTime, friendship and a phenom - LFC quotes of the week

Sun, 16/09/2018 - 18:23

A congratulatory call, a friendship test and a phenom feature in our latest weekly round-up of LFC quotes...

“When I saw Robbo was made captain of Scotland, I was very happy for him. I FaceTimed him and congratulated him! It’s something special - not only for yourself, but also for your family - and the hard work you’ve put in since day one. It’s very special.”

Netherlands captain Virgil van Dijk reveals how he sent his best wishes to Andy Robertson after his Liverpool teammate was appointed Scotland's new skipper.

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“It can’t be Alicia Keys!” 

The words of an incredulous Trent Alexander-Arnold during the latest edition of 'Bezzies', which he starred in alongside Jordan Henderson.

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“Some of the football we’ve been playing over the past year or so, if not longer, is right up there with the best teams I’ve ever been involved in really - if not the best.”

Captain Henderson, meanwhile, feels the Reds can take the 'final step' by winning silverware this season.

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“Playing in the Premier League can be difficult, but I am very motivated to play here, not just for myself and my teammates, but for the club. Everybody around me has been very supportive towards me so I am certainly giving everything I can to get settled into the team quickly.”

Naby Keita outlines his ambitions to get into the groove of being a Liverpool player as quickly as possible.

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“Let me say, it was the best game of the season for us for sure.”

Saturday's 2-1 victory over Tottenham Hotspur at Wembley left Jürgen Klopp satisfied.

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“It was just a scare, my eye is ok and so am I. Thank you for all the support and see you soon #YNWA”

Roberto Firmino, who scored against Spurs before being forced off with an eye injury, allays any fears of serious damage on Instagram.

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“Solid day at Wembley with the phenom @trentarnold98. Sky's the limit my man!”

NBA superstar Stephen Curry receives his very own Liverpool shirt from Alexander-Arnold following the win over Tottenham.

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“We know that Anfield is one of the toughest trips in Europe... it will be a big test for us.”

Paris Saint-Germain boss Thomas Tuchel looks ahead to Tuesday's Champions League Group C opener at Anfield.

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Stats: Alexander-Arnold set for Liverpool milestone

Fri, 14/09/2018 - 19:00

Trent Alexander-Arnold will reach the milestone of 50 senior appearances for Liverpool if he features against Tottenham Hotspur at Wembley on Saturday.

The 19-year-old is set to reach his half-century against the side he made his first-team debut for the Reds against back in October 2016 in a League Cup tie at Anfield.

Read on for more facts and stats ahead of the game, courtesy of Ged Rea…

The teams have met 52 times in the Premier League, with Liverpool winning 23, drawing 15 and losing 14. Home and away, the Reds have lost one of the last 11.

Of the 26 visits to Tottenham in the Premier League era, Liverpool have won seven, losing 12 and drawing seven.

In the last dozen league meetings home and away, the Reds have failed to score only once. That came in Jürgen Klopp's first game as Liverpool manager in October 2015 - a goalless draw.

Our biggest ever victory at Tottenham came in December 2013 when we won 5-0. Of the 18 players involved that day, only Simon Mignolet and Jordan Henderson are still at Anfield. 

The next goal scored by either team will be the 150th in Premier League meetings. Indeed, this fixture has seen more goals scored in Premier League games involving Liverpool than any other, with Arsenal next (147).

The Reds have netted 88 Premier League goals against Tottenham. Only against Newcastle (91) have we scored more.

Mohamed Salah could become only the second Liverpool player to score in three successive league games against Tottenham in the Premier League era - Luis Suarez in 2014 being the other.

Sadio Mane is two goals short of recording 50 in the Premier League - with 21 coming in a Southampton shirt.

Mane could become only the second Liverpool player in the Premier League era to score in the Reds’ opening three away league games of a campaign. The only man to do so thus far is Daniel Sturridge, who did so in the club's first four of the 2013-14 season.

In the last 31 games that Salah, Mane and Roberto Firmino have all started for the Reds they have bagged 65 between them.

It will be Liverpool’s 38th competitive fixture at Wembley - they have won 18 and lost 13 of those and are two goals short of recording 50 in those games.

Our last competitive win at the national stadium came in 2012 when we defeated Everton 2-1 in the semi-final of the FA Cup.

Under Klopp, Liverpool have lost two of their last 12 league games in London - both last season, to Tottenham and Chelsea.

2018-19 2018-19

A clean sheet at Wembley will mean the Reds have conceded just one goal in their opening five league fixtures. This will equal their best start at the same stage, set in 1977-78.  

In our last 25 matches in league and cup, the Reds have kept 14 clean sheets.

Only three times have Liverpool won their opening three away league games of a campaign since returning to the top-flight in 1962. Those years were 1969, 1978 and latterly in 1990.

At Wembley, Spurs have won 14 of their 20 league games, drawing four and losing just twice - to Chelsea and Manchester City.

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Barnes to sign DVDs at Anfield store next week

Fri, 14/09/2018 - 17:17

Liverpool legend John Barnes will be at the official club store at Anfield to meet fans and sign copies of new DVD 'Poetry in Motion' next week.

The former Reds midfielder, who scored 108 goals in 407 appearances for the club, will be available for one hour between 11am and 12pm on Saturday September 22 ahead of the Premier League clash with Southampton.

Barnes will sign editions of the DVD, which celebrates his unforgettable career, for as many fans as possible for 60 minutes on a first come, first served basis.

Click here to buy ‘Poetry in Motion’ from our online store now.

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Neil Redfearn leaves Liverpool FC Women

Fri, 14/09/2018 - 16:58

Neil Redfearn has left his role as head coach of Liverpool FC Women, having resigned with immediate effect.

The club would like to thank Neil for his work in rebuilding the squad ahead of the 2018-19 season and wish him the best of luck for the future.

Former Liverpool goalkeeper Chris Kirkland, who joined the Women's backroom team as goalkeeping coach in the summer, will take charge of the side as caretaker-manager, supported by assistant manager Vicky Jepson.

The focus of the coaching staff and players is now on Sunday's Continental Tyres Cup fixture against Durham Women FC.

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Friday - 10.30am BST: Watch Klopp's Spurs preview

Thu, 13/09/2018 - 18:25

Jürgen Klopp will hold his pre-Tottenham Hotspur press conference from 10.30am BST on Friday – and you can watch it live and free with us.

Liverpool return to Premier League action on Saturday with a trip to Wembley to face Mauricio Pochettino’s men in the lunchtime kick-off.

See everything Klopp has to say about the fixture, the latest team news and more Reds-related topics by watching our live stream from Melwood.

Just return to this page at 10.30am to access the free coverage below.

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'It can't be Alicia Keys!' - Hendo and Trent star in 'Bezzies'

Thu, 13/09/2018 - 18:02

They've spent a lot of time together for both club and country over the past 12 months - but just how well do Jordan Henderson and Trent Alexander-Arnold know each other?

The England duo’s friendship was put to the test in the latest edition of ‘Bezzies’ as we put a number of questions to them – with a hilarious outcome.

We find out whether Henderson’s favourite musician is Drake, Alicia Keys or Elvis Presley, while it’s revealed which of Virgil van Dijk, Sadio Mane or Xherdan Shaqiri would be the teammate Alexander-Arnold would least like to be trapped in a lift with.

Watch this entertaining edition of ‘Bezzies’ in our free video below.

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Gallery: Internationals return as Liverpool get set for Spurs

Thu, 13/09/2018 - 17:15

Liverpool's international contingent were all back at Melwood as Jürgen Klopp's squad trained on Thursday ahead of the weekend clash with Tottenham Hotspur.

Alisson Becker, Fabinho and Roberto Firmino rejoined their Reds teammates after returning from Brazil duty in the United States.

The resumption of club football brings a big game for Liverpool in the form of a trip to Wembley to face Spurs.

See how Klopp's men are preparing for Saturday's Premier League showdown with our latest gallery from training below.

Like the training kit worn by the manager and players? Click here to check out the range and get your own>>

Photos by John and Andrew Powell

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Trials begin for LFC Foundation's PL Kicks development squad

Tue, 11/09/2018 - 18:01

LFC Foundation, the club’s official charity, is running a series of trials for its Premier League (PL) Kicks football under 18s development squad.

Aimed at young males aged 15 to 18 in the Liverpool city region, the trials offer the chance for local players to become part of the exclusive PL Kicks team and play in prestige nationwide fixtures against other PL community clubs.

Successful players will have access to weekly training sessions at Anfield Sports and Community Centre (ASCC), professional coaching from FA qualified LFC Foundation staff, the opportunity for further progression, plus FA qualifications and links to semi-professional teams in the local area.  

Trials are scheduled every Wednesday for the remainder of September at the ASCC: 

  • Wednesday September 12, 6pm
  • Wednesday September 19, 6pm
  • Wednesday September 26, 6pm

For more information or to book a trial, please contact 0151 432 5689 or 07874777995.

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Fan Forum update on Supporter Charter and Anfield area

Tue, 11/09/2018 - 16:57

Supporters attending the latest fans forum have been provided with an update on proposals for a new Supporter Charter as part of an ongoing review of Liverpool Football Club’s sanctions procedures.

The Stadium Fans Forum, which took place ahead of the recent home game against Brighton & Hove Albion, was attended by eight forum members and three representatives from the club. The meeting lasted for approximately 90 minutes.

With the issue of the residential area around Anfield also on the agenda, local councillor Ian Byrne was also invited to address the forum.

Supporter Charter

A review of the Supporter Charter, which was prompted by a number of incidents in which fans had been ejected from the stadium last season, is being headed by chief operating officer Andy Hughes who presented forum members with an overview of the work that has been done to date.

“We knew we had some issues with the process and as a result we have been working over the summer to make the improvements we feel are necessary to make it fit for purpose,” he said. “This has included consulting with James McKenna from Spirit Shankly whose input has been really helpful and we have also sought guidance from the Independent Football Ombudsman who, again, has provided us with assistance.

“As a result of this we have been able to produce a first draft of what will eventually become the new Supporter Charter but I can also report that we have already enacted a couple of changes simply because it was clearly the right thing to do.

“Firstly, we have moved away from suspensions pending investigations. Now, there is a clear process which involves an investigation being conducted and the outcome of that investigation being put before a panel before any sanctions are triggered.

“The second step would then follow if required, affording the supporter access to an appeals process with an appeal, if desired, being heard by different staff. If the supporter still is not satisfied after those two steps, a third is then made available in the form of an appeal to the Independent Football Ombudsman.

“As I said, these improvements have already been implemented because it made absolute sense to do so rather than persevering with the process which was previously in place but changes can still be made subject to consultation.”

Club senior solicitor Neil Morgan then explained some of the background behind the proposals. “At the heart of what we are doing is a determination to allow people to put their case forward before we start applying any sanctions,” he said.

“I have met with the Independent Football Ombudsman on a couple of occasions and he has asked us to make it clear in the process that supporters also have the right to appeal to him and we are, of course, more than happy to do so.”

Forum member Goronwy Brooks was then given the opportunity to present any concerns held by Spirit Of Shankly (SOS), the supporters’ trust. Referring specifically to sanctions relating to misuse of tickets, he said: “There is a clear need for the club to promote its own ticket transfer system more in order to allow supporters the chance to transfer tickets without risk.

“It would also be fairer if, rather than punishing a supporter who has made a single honest mistake with regards to tickets, the club focused instead on repeat offenders. There needs to be a way of differentiating between the two.”

Andy Hughes responded: “Without going into too much detail because it wouldn’t be right or fair to refer to individual cases, what I can say is that there has been a significant drop in negative feedback since we switched to the new way of working. It does seem to have had a big impact but I certainly take on board the points Goronwy has made.”

Forum member Frank Chart then asked if it was possible for a supporter to appeal both the decision and the sanction with Neil Morgan confirming that would be possible in both cases. He also asked if the club would be willing to add an independent party to the appeals panel. “We have discussed that possibility internally and it is somewhere we would like to get to,” Neil Morgan confirmed.

Forum member Jayne Page said: “I’ve noticed that supporters are given 14 days to appeal and I can’t help thinking that in some cases this won’t be sufficient. If you are on holiday for two weeks it would definitely be a problem, so can the 14 days be extended if necessary?”

Neil Morgan responded: “The correspondence will be in the form of both letter and email so if someone is on holiday they can certainly email us to ask for a delay and we will look to be reasonable in all such cases.”

Jayne Page added: “If the ombudsman asks for a case to be reconsidered, who at the club would do that? Would it not make sense for fresh eyes rather than having the same individuals involved who have already considered the case?” Andy Hughes replied: “I would agree. That is a good suggestion and it would make sense to go down this route.”

There was a consensus among the forum members that the Supporters Charter should be presented as a matrix rather than a chart before being signed off and made available to supporters. Neil Morgan agreed to take that suggestion on board as part of the ongoing process with a commitment to report back to the stadium forum once the review is at its next stage.

The Anfield area

In light of a number of issues raised by residents living in the vicinity of the stadium at Anfield, head of operations Simon Smith opened up a discussion on the matter by detailing some of the problems that residents face on matchdays.

He said: “I have attended some residents forums and the feedback about matchdays is not particularly positive to say the least. There are issues involving litter, car parking and a lot of the kind of problems that you would associate with big crowds but there are also concerns about people actually urinating in gardens and even reports of drug taking off bins.

“Clearly, none of this is acceptable and that is the message that is coming back louder and louder from residents and understandably so. As a club, we are determined to be as good a neighbour as we possibly can to those who live close to the stadium, which means we are just as determined to do whatever we can to make the situation better.

“We have already made some changes in this respect. For example, we have increased the number of portaloos from six to 36 with those stationed in the fan park remaining open until an hour after games have finished. Also, an additional 14-17 parking attendants will be operational on a match day and we have introduced a litter picking team which will cover the streets around the stadium for two hours post match.

“The purpose of putting this issue on the agenda is to see if there are ways that we can work together – club, residents and supporters – to make match days a more pleasant experience for residents.”

Speaking as both an Anfield resident and a local councillor, Ian Byrne outlined the relevant issues and spoke of the need for a collective effort to resolve them. “I suppose it’s logical, if certainly not acceptable, that these kind of problems have got worse as attendances have increased, meaning greater numbers of people are brought into the area on a matchday.

“I attend a lot of residents’ meetings and people are telling us that they are sick of it now. In the past, the relationship with the club has been really poor and, although things have definitely improved in this respect with the work being done by Red Neighbours, it’s clear to me that there is an urgent need for a grassroots supporters campaign to sort this problem out once and for all.

“As far as I’m concerned, the message is quite simple – if you visit Anfield as a supporter you have to respect the community and respect the area. Nothing else is acceptable. If it comes from the grassroots, from the supporters themselves and those who represent them, it is such a powerful message and people will be much more responsive to it than if it comes direct from the club.

“I know that the club cares about this and so it should, but we need to find a way of making a lasting difference because it simply isn’t right that people who live around the stadium have to put up with these problems. As a stadium, Anfield is a special place for all of us but the area is also a special place, especially for those of us who live here, and it deserves to be respected like anywhere else.”

Asked by Frank Chart whether the problems were worse before or after games, Ian Byrne responded: “It is both, either side of the game. What I would say is that not all of this is malicious by any means. It is more thoughtlessness than anything else which is why I think we need a campaign that is built around raising awareness of basic stuff like where toilets are located.

“Once the level of awareness is raised it then becomes more about self-policing. Again, the message is straightforward – support Liverpool, support the area.”

Goronwy Brooks suggested introducing signs informing supporters of where and how far away toilets are, while Ian Byrne suggested a poster campaign backed by supporters’ representatives would be a positive step. With regard to the latter, forum chair Tony Barrett highlighted a trade union poster campaign which had been used to great effect in London, suggesting a similar approach could be taken in and around Anfield.

Concluding the discussion, Simon Smith said: “What we have got here is a starting point for a collaborative approach. There have been some good suggestions and the information that Ian provided highlights why this is an urgent concern for the club and also why we want to resolve these problems for the sake of local residents. There is already a great deal of work taking place on this front but it is extremely helpful to have this kind of input from supporters because it is only by working together that we will make the kind of impact that is obviously required.” 

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Inside Training: Lively small-sided game at Melwood

Tue, 11/09/2018 - 16:45

For those not on international duty, there was a double training session at Melwood on Monday - and our camera was on hand to capture the best of the action in a small-sided afternoon game.

Senior players James Milner, Daniel Sturridge, Joel Matip, Nathaniel Clyne and Alberto Moreno were joined by some of their younger counterparts for the drills at the club's West Derby base.

Watch the best of the workout in our video below. Need a subscription? Sign up here.

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Hospitality packages on sale for Reds' CL home games

Tue, 11/09/2018 - 16:42

Liverpool’s Champions League campaign kicks off with a mouth-watering Anfield clash with Paris Saint-Germain next week – and hospitality packages are on sale for all three home group-stage games now.

Don’t miss your chance to be inside the stadium for what’s sure to be another European night to remember as the Reds tackle the French champions next Tuesday night.

You can also secure your place at Anfield for the subsequent matches with Red Star Belgrade and Napoli.

We have on and off-site packages available, all of which include a ticket for the game.

To see our range of offers for each fixture and to purchase, click here.

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Must watch: Jürgen Klopp's Celtic Park teamtalk

Tue, 11/09/2018 - 15:00

Jürgen Klopp took charge of a James Milner XI in Saturday's 3-3 draw with a Stiliyan Petrov XI in A Match for Cancer at Celtic Park - and now you can watch his hilarious pre-match teamtalk.

Addressing his squad ahead of the game, the Liverpool manager offered up some instructions to the assembled players... with tongue very much firmly in cheek!

Enjoy Klopp's pre-match chat to the players in our free video below now.

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