Liverpool forward Mo Salah and Formula One world champion Lewis Hamilton were among the winners at the 2021 Laureus World Sports Awards.
The awards, which were hosted in Seville but staged in a digital format amid coronavirus and travel restrictions, highlighted professional sportspeople who used their position to make a powerful impact on societal issues over the last 12 months and illustrated the tirelessness of some professionals during the global pandemic.
Liverpool and Egypt's Salah was honoured with the Sporting Inspiration Award following his support for charitable causes and commitment to fighting social injustice during the last few years. He is active in regeneration projects in Nagrig, his hometown where the majority of the people there live in poverty.
The 28-year-old, who is second in the Premier League top scorers chart and helped Liverpool towards the title last season, is a powerful advocate of women's equality in the Middle East and has been named by Time magazine as one of the 100 most influential people in the world.
Upon receiving his award, Salah dedicated the accolade to sports fans around the globe and those who have endured a "difficult" past 12 months.
He said: "I'm very proud to have been chosen by the Laureus Academy for this Sporting Inspiration Award.
"2020 was a very difficult year, on so many levels and for so many people around the world. Some of us were kept away from our family and friends, and others even lost loved ones. We need to learn from this experience, support one another, and do our best to look ahead.
"Many times, football players win awards and automatically thank our fans. This time, I will dedicate this award not only to our fans but to all the other sports fans around the world.
"This past year has been a very harsh reminder of the fact that sport, including football, is nothing without fans. Everyone in the world of sport can be replaced, fans cannot. I will end on that note. Once again, thank you very much."0:49 Lewis Hamilton has urged people to keep fighting for positive change and to continue combating racial injustice after he picked up the Athlete Advocate of the Year Award at the Laureus World Sports Awards
Lewis Hamilton, who won a seventh F1 world title during 2020, was named Laureus Athlete Advocate of the Year Award following his consistent outspoken support for fighting racial injustice.
He wore a 'Black Lives Matter' race helmet and black race suit as well as taking a knee at each Grand Prix last season, while the Mercedes-AMG Petronas cars were painted in black livery as a statement of the team's commitment to diversity.
Hamilton picked up an honour for the second year in a row after being named joint Sportsman of the Year alongside Lionel Messi in 2020 and said of his latest personal achievement: "A huge thank you to the Laureus World Sports Academy for presenting me with this incredible award.
"This past year has been incredibly difficult for so many, but it has also been heartening to see the power of our collective voices spark new conversations and change.Image: Hamilton was vocal in his support for the Black Lives Matter movement over the past year
"The impact of each and every one of you who have stood up, is so inspiring, so I want to thank you. Please keep fighting, keep shining your light.
"The global rising to address the longstanding issue of systemic racism and inequality in our society has been monumental, but we must continue to fight. We must all see ourselves as responsible for making positive change in our world, and hold ourselves accountable, so that the promises of last year turn into action.
"I truly believe that together, we will get there, and so I stand with you as we push forwards. I'm sending you all love and positivity, stay safe. Thank you."
Rafael Nadal won the Sportsman of the Year Award after his 13th French Open win which brought him level on 20 career Grand Slams with Roger Federer, and Naomi Osaka, who won the US Open for the second time, took the Sportswoman of the Year Award.
In a powerful gesture, Osaka wore different facemasks at each of her matches at Flushing Meadows which showed the names of Americans who had died as a result of racial injustice in the country.Image: Naomi Osaka wore face masks bearing the names of black victims of police violence and racial profiling during the US Open
The tennis star, ranked No 2 in the world, said: "Regarding my activism on the court, I think it is important to use my voice, because for me I feel like I often hold back a lot and worry about what people think of me, but you know if you have a platform it is very important you use it.
"Looking ahead my main hopes for the future would be just to have helped or impacted as many people as I could and, hopefully be a better person."
Elsewhere, World Team of the Year was picked up by Bayern Munich after the Bavarian giants won the Champions League, DFB-Pokal, and the Bundesliga title under head coach Hansi Flick in a formidable 2019/20 season.Image: Patrick Mahomes won the Super Bowl for Kansas City Chiefs aged 24 in 2020
Patrick Mahomes took the World Breakthrough of the Year after leading Kansas City Chiefs in 2020 to their first Super Bowl appearance and win in 50 years.
The 25-year-old was at the forefront of a group of NFL stars who petitioned the league to look into its conduct and attitudes to racism and political protest. The Chiefs' No 15 also supports 15 community children's projects with his foundation '15 and the Mahomies'.Full list of winners
World Sportsman of the Year Award: Rafael Nadal
World Sportswoman of the Year Award: Naomi Osaka
World Team of the Year Award: Bayern Munich
World Breakthrough of the Year Award: Patrick Mahomes
World Comeback of the Year Award: Max Parrot
Sport for Good Award: KICKFORMORE by KICKFAIR
Lifetime Achievement Award: Billie Jean King
Athlete Advocate of the Year Award: Lewis Hamilton
Sporting Inspiration Award: Mohamed Salah
Sporting Moment of the Year Award: Chris Nikic
The Laureus World Sports Awards were held in Seville on Thursday evening (May 6) in a 'virtual' format as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. For more information, please visit www.laureus.com
Liverpool U18s will play their FA Youth Cup semi-final against Ipswich Town on Wednesday May 12, with kick-off scheduled for 6pm BST.
Portman Road will host the fixture, which will be broadcast live by BT Sport. LFCTV will also provide full match coverage on delay.
Marc Bridge-Wilkinson’s side reached the last four after a 3-1 victory over Arsenal at Anfield last week, while Ipswich defeated Sheffield United 3-2 after extra-time.
The Reds had previously defeated Sutton United, Manchester United and Leicester City on their way to the quarter-finals.
The winner of next week’s tie will face Aston Villa or West Bromwich Albion in the final.
Southampton will be looking to heap yet more Anfield misery on the Reds this weekend, but they have endured struggles of their own this season.
You might be planning on enjoying a drink or a takeaway on Saturday night, but Jurgen Klopp and his players can’t!
Liverpool host a Saints side who have suffered a similarly dispiriting campaign to the Premier League champions, with injuries and form hampering them both.
For the Reds, this is a must-win match in the top-four race following two weeks since that gut-wrenching late draw with Newcastle.
So good for the first quarter of the season and then so unbelievably bad.
We topped the Premier League having played some genuinely delightful stuff, but injuries struck, and a threadbare squad coupled with a lagging academy no longer brimming with talent, such a crisis would always dismantle us.
That being said, though, the slide has been inexcusable – Saints are rock-bottom of the 2021 form table having conceded significantly more goals than Sheffield United.
As such, we deserve to be where we are. We’re very fortunate that the three teams in the relegation zone have been as poor as they have been.Is Hasenhuttl still the man to take Saints forward?
Ralph Hasenhuttl’s certainly not as unanimously loved by the fans as he was three or four months ago.
Another 9-0, some peculiar tactical decisions, late substitutions and an unacceptably bad period have all contributed towards some doubts among the Saints faithful.
It’s probably now a 65/35 split when it comes to the fans who want him in and those who want him out. I don’t think he’s doing a good job at the moment, but he’s not exactly been given the tools to succeed.
We shouldn’t be quite so low in the table, given the strength of our usual starting lineup, but the injury situation and dismal January transfer window have left him with a really tough task.
I understand why fans have lost patience, but I don’t think there’s a viable candidate who would surpass what he has achieved at the club thus far.
We are in a far better state now, even in a difficult time, than we were before Hasenhuttl.
We need a big summer, and he needs more quality at his disposal – that would be the case with any manager here.Who have been Saints’ three best players this season?
The outstanding player has been James Ward-Prowse. He’s played every single minute and has contributed with eight goals and six assists.
He’s gone from strength to strength under Hasenhuttl and has been exceptional in front of the back four.
Everyone knows how good he is from set-pieces, but he deserves an awful lot more credit for his all-around game. There aren’t many more balanced, effective midfielders in the league.
Kyle Walker-Peters deserves a mention, too – £12 million is proving to be a real snip.
He’s brilliant going forward and displays such excellent control and guile whenever he plays, while he’s also ironed out a lot of the defensive frailties he demonstrated last year. We are a totally different team with him in it.
The third-best, for me, is Jannik Vestergaard.
He was pretty disastrous in his first two seasons here, but he’s been a player reborn this term, prompting interest from Tottenham and others across Europe.
His passing is immaculate and his decision-making has drastically improved. He gets my pick for third here, but Stuart Armstrong, Oriol Romeu and Che Adams also deserve mentions.Have any individuals been poor?
Pretty much everyone apart from Ward-Prowse has had at least a couple of nightmares this term, in all honesty.
Nathan Redmond and Ryan Bertrand haven’t been too great this season, while the likes of Jan Bednarek, Alex McCarthy and Theo Walcott have dipped after really strong starts to the campaign.
I don’t think anyone has been absolutely terrible, but the collective collapses in second halves this season have led us to where we are.Switching our attention to Liverpool, why do you think they have struggled?
The long-term injuries to the centre-backs, primarily.
Fabinho moving out of midfield prevented Liverpool from really sustaining attacks, even if he was near-enough world-class at the back, such is his quality.
I think you are so much better with him sitting in front of the central defenders, whoever they may be.
Nevertheless, it’s undeniable that Liverpool have underachieved. The Premier League campaign has been a bit of a car crash and the away performance at Real Madrid was really bad.
Klopp’s got a few things wrong, but the board could and should have backed him with a bit more in January. I think it’s a culmination of issues that will need resolving in the summer.Do you think they will secure a top-four finish?
I’d say it’s a little unlikely now.
The fixtures are favourable enough, but then again, it’s the Fulhams, Newcastles and Burnleys that Liverpool have struggled with this season!
I think Leicester and Chelsea will be the two that join the Manchester clubs, but it’s still tight.
There’s no margin for error now and Liverpool will probably need to win every remaining game to usurp those currently in the reckoning.Looking ahead to Saturday, who do you fear most for the Reds?
Always Mohamed Salah.
Liverpool have plenty of players who can hurt us, but Salah is the talisman. He’s an elite forward and an all-time Premier League great who deserves far more credit than he currently receives.
We don’t have a natural, fit left-back at the moment, unless Bertrand is a surprise inclusion in the lineup on Saturday, so he could be up against one of Mohammed Salisu or Jack Stephens, both of whom are centre-backs.
It’s a big opportunity for Salah to add to his tally.Where do you see the key battles taking place?
Probably on the wings. Salah against Stephens or Salisu could get ugly, even if both of them have been reasonable when utilised at left-back in the past couple of games.
Mane has been way off it this season, but Walker-Peters bursts forward and leaves a lot of space in behind, which draws Bednarek out of position.
That could be something that our former winger exploits.Finally, hit us with your prediction…
Liverpool’s struggles against teams lower down the table, particularly at home, should provide a cause for optimism.
But this is such a big game, and without Danny Ings and Oriol Romeu, it’s hard to see Saints outdoing the Reds on Saturday.
A draw is possible, but it might be a case of trying to stay in the game for as long as possible.
I can see a 1-1, perhaps similar to the Newcastle draw you had a couple of weeks back, but 2-1 to Liverpool is what I’m predicting.
Former Liverpool and Newcastle United manager Rafael Benitez says he wants his next job to be in the Premier League - after being endorsed as a candidate for the vacant Spurs job by Peter Crouch.
The ex-England striker said: "In terms of Tottenham, it wouldn't be the worst shout. He's proven at the highest level, his CV is superb - there are worse candidates, for sure."
Former player Ryan Mason will remain in temporary charge at Tottenham for the remainder of the season, with Leicester boss Brendan Rodgers already publicly ruling himself out of the running for the role and Erik ten Hag signing a one-year contract extension with Ajax until 2023 on Friday.
Benitez is available after leaving Chinese Super League club Dalian Professional by mutual consent in January, still resides in Liverpool and keeps very close tabs on English football.1:31 Sky Sports News reporter Jamie Weir recently revealed Leicester boss Brendan Rodgers has no interest in the vacant managerial job at Tottenham
"I moved to China because there were no top sides here, so I needed to keep competing and doing my job," Benitez told Sky Sports News' Inside Football.
"But at the moment I'm quite keen to stay in England, in Liverpool. I'm watching every Premier League game and sometimes Championship games so that I'm always ready.
"The priority is England, the Premier League, my family is here and I like the style of football here. I will try to be ready here.
"I am watching the Serie A because it is a good league for me but there, in France, in Germany, in Portugal, I don't see too many options in these countries to have a project where you can develop players and make the team more competitive."
Icardi has never been the most industrious of strikers, but it was telling that in one of the biggest games of his career, he could not will himself to drop deep and tackle one of the best passers in Europe. By the time City scored their second goal of the game, a scintillating counter-attack finished by Riyad Mahrez, the gap in
The season is nearing its end for Liverpool but there are still a number of loose ends to tie up and questions fans are sure to have on the tip of their tongue.
The Reds are currently experiencing a rare 14-day break between games without international exploits or winter breaks due to the postponement of the clash at Man United.
It has left Jurgen Klopp with the luxury of taking to the training pitches with his full contingent of players, an opportunity that will not have been lost on him.
The break comes before a busy run of five games in 21 days to close out the 2020/21 season, where there is still everything to play for.
And with fans on their way back, schedule changes, European football on the line and key players still working their way back to fitness, here are some of the questions Liverpool fans are asking.How is European qualification shaping up?
Firstly, Liverpool are seven points off Chelsea (4th) and nine behind Leicester (3rd) with a game in hand.
A fifth-place finish would secure a Europa League spot as will sixth place dependent on the winner of the FA Cup, while it is expected that the qualifying place for the Conference League will be passed down to the team who finish in seventh.
At this stage, the Reds are on a trajectory for the new third-tier European competition.When is the Man United game to take place?
After a number of days without an update following a fan protest which postponed the original fixture, Liverpool’s trip to Man United is now to take place on Thursday May 13, with kickoff at 8.15pm (BST).
The schedule is a lot tighter for United, who will play Aston Villa on May 9 and Leicester on May 11 before hosting Liverpool – meaning three games in five days.
And if you’re questioning when this season will finally come to a close, it is May 23.Will we see Van Dijk again this season?
The most likely answer to that is no, unfortunately.
The hope had been that his recovery from an ACL would allow for a late appearance at the backend of the campaign, but Klopp explained at the start of the month that “He’s not in team training yet and will not be in the next weeks.”
It comes as the Euros draw closer, but while the Dutchman is building up his fitness and making big steps with dynamic running exercises, there can be no rushing the process.
There is only just over two weeks left in Liverpool’s campaign and with no under-23s games scheduled, match fitness will be expected to have to wait until pre-season and it would be a big risk to roll the dice for the Euros.
The straightforward answer is up to 10,000 for the final two fixtures of the campaign – but no away fans will be granted access.
But for grounds with a capacity of less than 40,000, only 25 percent of the stadium can be occupied by fans – meaning the Reds’ match at Turf Moor should see under 6,000 fans present.
With the schedule shifted back to accommodate for the UK’s next step out of lockdown, all clubs will be able to welcome fans through the turnstiles.
The window will open for Premier League clubs on Wednesday June 9, 2021 and will run for a total of 12 weeks.
It will close on August 31 at 11pm, in line with the rest of Europe, which comes two weeks after the opening weekend of the 2021/22 season.
With the Euros starting on June 11, clubs are able to push through deals prior to the start of the tournament – unlike others in Europe who are to see their window open on July 1.
The Reds are expected to add Ibrahima Konate to the fold and are to be on the hunt for midfield and forward additions, while a number of players on the fringe could also be bid farewell.
Further reductions have been made to the Nike sale – save big on selected LFC Nike kit, training and lifestyle.
Shop now here and check out LFC Retail’s top 10 picks from the Nike sale below.
The sale ends on May 30.
LFC Nike Men's Home Stadium Jersey 20-21 - was £69.95, now £25
LFC Nike Men's Coaches Collection Grey Strike Drill Top – was £59.95, now £25
LFC Nike Men's Black Tech Pack Hoodie – was £104.95, now £75
LFC Nike Junior Black Pre-Match Top – was £44.95, now £15
LFC Nike Junior Home Stadium Jersey 20-21 – was £54.95, now £20
LFC Nike Men's Crimson Laser Strike Drill Top – was £59.95, now £20
LFC Nike Junior Third Stadium Jersey 20-21 – was £54.95, now £20
LFC Nike Junior Dark Grey Strike Tracksuit – was £89.95, now £35
LFC Nike Junior Crimson Laser Strike Training Top – was £34.95, now £10
LFC Nike Men's Red Anthem Jacket – was £69.95, now £35
The career of Henderson has been anything but smooth sailing having constantly battled criticism for both his talent and leadership after stepping to the role vacated by Steven Gerrard.
But there is no doubting the No. 14 has thrived with the responsibility and has proven many wrong on the way to leading the Reds to four major trophies in recent years.
He is a role model to countless players and he has left a sizeable impression on a teammate 12 years his junior, with Elliott lauding the Liverpool captain and his many qualities when speaking to the Counter Attack podcast.
“I don’t think anyone appreciates him as much as they should. Henderson is an absolute legend on and off of the pitch, I can’t say enough about him. He’s just a top captain,” Elliott said.
“He’s everything you’d want in a captain, he’s a leader on the pitch, he’s a leader off the pitch.
“He doesn’t do it for the reaction, he does it because he wants to do it, he wants to have an effect on things, he wants to put things in line and show that everyone can be on the same page and just bring people up with him.
“Like everyone else, ever since I first walked through the door at Liverpool, he greeted me well.
“He’s always taken me under his wing, he’s always been there if I needed a kick up the arse, always onto me working hard in training and always wanting me to be the best possible version of myself. I can’t say enough about him and enough nice things.
“He’s a great captain and a great player, he’s someone I look up to a lot, obviously him and Steven Gerrard as well, he’s like a clone of Steven Gerrard really, he’s just a legend.”
For some, they may just be glowing words, but it is a nod to the importance of senior figures for those coming up in the ranks and the impression even the smallest of gestures can have.
And Elliott is looking to have Henderson in his ear regularly next season as he aims to break into the first team and seize his opportunity after a loan spell with Blackburn, which will finish with over 40 appearances and a return of 11 assists and six goals.
“Next season I am going to go back thinking I can get in the team,” Elliott continued. “I have had this experience and feel ready, and have 50 appearances under my belt, which is a lot for a teenager.
“I feel 100 percent confident I can go in and challenge. I’m looking forward to the fight and showing to people I am a different player and ready to play if called upon.
“It’s not going to be given to me, I need to work hard and train and if I get my chance, I have to take it.”
Rylee Foster has been voted Liverpool FC Women’s Standard Chartered Player of the Month for April.
The Canadian goalkeeper kept clean sheets in both of her appearances in the FA Women’s Championship during the month.
A shutout against Lewes Women at Prenton Park was followed by a dramatic, match-winning performance against Sheffield United in a game which effectively secured a third-place finish for the Reds.
Foster faced two penalties during the Sheffield United contest, with the first from Katie Wilkinson clipping the outside of the post.
With the Reds ahead through Amalie Thestrup’s opener, the 22-year-old was then called upon to maintain the win in injury time when the hosts were awarded another spot-kick.
Foster flung herself low to her left to turn away Jade Pennock’s effort before throwing herself into a flurry of legs to bravely block the rebound as well.
The heroics came at a cost as the player was left concussed and forced to leave the game on a stretcher.
Foster told Liverpoolfc.com: “It was my chance to make my statement. I wasn’t nervous, I know I’m good on penalties and had a good feeling about it.
“I just think of it as what we do in training with lots of close-range drills. For me it comes down to a combination of instinct, athleticism and training.
“We have the stats on penalties and they’re helpful but I don’t like to rely on them too much.”
So, what does Foster remember of that heroic second save?
“You’re always working on the recovery save, the second save, in training,” she said. “So I didn’t even think about getting hurt, my hands were going to go wherever the ball was. To concede from the rebound would have felt insulting – ridiculous almost – to me.
“I think I was coherent after but pretty foggy. I looked down and the ground was moving. I remember getting on the stretcher and it felt like I was on a boat.
“It all got a bit grey in the locker room but a big shoutout to the medical team who looked after me. I always felt I was in great hands, everything was done so quickly and professionally.”
Foster also paid tribute to the players in front of her who allowed her to make her spectacular, late contribution.
She continued: “It’s the 10 in front doing their jobs which allowed me that opportunity. I actually had a pretty quiet afternoon against Sheffield and wasn’t called on much. Then I was needed in that big moment.”
Foster had to miss LFC Women’s final league game against London City Lionesses on Sunday, but is now back to full health and enjoying getting back to her exercises again.
With Canada in lockdown, she is staying in Liverpool post-season and hoping for a call-up to the next senior Canadian international camp in June after taking part in the last two. The Tokyo Olympics later in the summer also remains tantalisingly on the horizon.
Sharing time with Rachael Laws in goal, it’s been an impressive season from Foster, who signed a new long-term contract with the Reds earlier this year.
“I made the decision to just make the most of my opportunities, to keep my consistency and make sure I was ready any time I was called upon,” Foster said.
“Making my full debut in the cup win over Man United meant a lot to me and my family.
“I always want to raise the bar, to move the team forward, to share my learning. I want to win trophies with this side and to get us into the Champions League in the future.”
Liverpool are now one of three football clubs to be tied to RedBird Capital, with their growing investment portfolio potentially opening a number of doors for the Reds.
At the end of March, Fenway Sports Group confirmed they had sold a £533 million stake of their company to RedBird Capital, equating to 10 percent.
Liverpool’s owners said the deal would “enhance our ability to pursue future growth opportunities in a more accelerated way,” with the investment allowing for stability for the club during a time of financial hardship.
But away from the balance sheets at Anfield and the stadium expansion, the ties to RedBird Capital are ones that could create links to other clubs akin to the Red Bull model of Salzburg, New York and Leipzig and the City group.
RedBird had already acquired an 85 percent stake in Ligue 2’s Toulouse last year before investing in FSG and ultimately Liverpool, while their latest venture takes them to Malaga.
The Spanish outfit currently plies their trade in the second division and have seen a minority stake of 600 shares acquired by RedBird with a view of a future capital increase, as per AS.
And it is this growing network of clubs that could create opportunities for signing and loaning out young players for the Reds, with RedBird now FSG’s third-largest shareholder.
This could also extend to pre-season and friendly arrangements, ones which could extend to a number of other clubs should their portfolio continue to grow.
Of most interest would be in the player department in regards to getting around the new Brexit regulations that now prevents English clubs from signing those under the age of 18.
Partner, or feeder, clubs in the EU could help get them around those rules by securing youngsters on their behalf. In this case, Toulouse or Malaga would land a player and hold on to them until such a time they are eligible to move to Liverpool with a work permit.
On the other side of the coin, handing first-team experience to those youngsters already on the books with a loan spell at a partner club is another way to take advantage of such connections.
It is early days for the growing portfolio at RedBird, but each investment could very well prove beneficial for Liverpool moving forward on and off the field.
LFC Lotto winner Lyn Leach has expressed her delight at scooping a jackpot of £1,000.
Lyn, who lives in Cumbria but is originally from Anfield, has been playing for a year and encourages other fans to play and support the charity lottery.
The LFC Lotto draw takes place every Anfield matchday and gives fans the opportunity to win a cash prize or Reds memorabilia as runners-up prizes. It raises funds to support the vital work of LFC Foundation, the club's official charity.
Lyn said: "I was amazed to see my numbers come up, I'm never that lucky. I play because it's a charity lottery and the money raised helps to support the great work of the LFC Foundation. Winning is a massive bonus as you know you're just helping by playing, it's a lovely boost and I'm delighted."
The draw was from Liverpool's match against RB Leipzig on Wednesday March 10, which was played in Budapest but classed as a home game.
Lifelong Reds supporter Lyn, a retired lab technician, moved to Cumbria more than 20 years ago. She added: "I grew up in Anfield and you could hear the roar of the crowd on matchdays, it was infectious. I'm a big fan of our manager Jürgen Klopp and Virgil van Dijk, but my all-time favourite players are Ian Callaghan, Tommy Smith and Brian Hall."
Lyn has split the winnings with her two sons and is planning to use her share to treat herself and her husband on their first post-COVID holiday.
"I will definitely continue to play," she said. "Winning is a nice bonus but the main thing is knowing the money is going to a brilliant cause. My message to fellow fans is sign up and play. Just give it a go, I did and won – you may be lucky too."
Each LFC Lotto draw, the overall figure is split equally between the jackpot winner and LFC Foundation to help fund its adult health programmes. Projects which benefit include the Military Veterans scheme, which supports ex-military men and women adapt and integrate back into civilian life through the power of football.
A £5 play gives fans five chances to win. The LFC Lotto is open to UK fans only and players must be aged 18 or over.
As the Liverpool manager and his players waited in their Manchester hotel for updates, the teamsheet was submitted for a contest that Klopp’s men simply had to win in order to keep their fading hopes of Champions League qualification alive.
The return to fitness of centre-back Nathaniel Phillips after a hamstring problem enabled Klopp to restore Fabinho to the holding midfield role where he’s most influential. Interestingly, the Brazilian would have had Thiago and James Milner for company against Manchester United as Liverpool reverted to a 4-3-3.
Ralph Hasenhuttl’s side were exploring the possibility of landing then-19-year-old defender Neco Williams on loan until the end of the season.
Although that deal did not make it past initial talks, the Premier League champions offered up Minamino.
Given he had played for Red Bull Salzburg, he was familiar with the system deployed on the south coast by Hasenhuttl, who joined Southampton from RB Leipzig. It turned out to be a no-brainer for Southampton. A strange deal, yes, but one that generated excitement.