Ben Winterbottom has signed his first professional contract with Liverpool FC.
The goalkeeper joined the Academy last year after impressing on several occasions against the Reds for his former team Blackburn Rovers.
The 18-year-old – who turns 19 next week – started last season in the U18s but was turning out for the U23s by September.
Winterbottom's debut in Premier League 2 was a memorable one, making a spectacular penalty save against Derby County.
He was also part of the U19 team which secured top spot in their UEFA Youth League group and the U21 team that took on Football League opposition in the group stages of the Leasing.com Trophy.
In December, Winterbottom was on the bench for the first team as a youthful side took on Aston Villa in the quarter-final of the Carabao Cup.
Liverpool FC has submitted a planning application to Knowsley Metropolitan Borough Council for the installation of state-of-the-art fencing at its new training ground in Kirkby.
Now that the Reds’ new training facility is nearing completion, assessments to monitor the environmental conditions and performance of the new training pitches have taken place. The assessments are the final part of the development programme to ensure that the new facility offers the optimum conditions for first-team training.
The proposed plans submitted to Knowsley Metropolitan Borough Council include a translucent mesh fence that will provide further protection from any adverse weather conditions to the pitches and with minimal visual impact to the site’s neighbours. The mesh fence is woven to provide 50 per cent visibility, and will sit within the site, behind the newly planted perimeter bund and associated landscaping which will largely screen it from view.
The system is similar to the ball-stop fencing used at Melwood and will enhance the existing protection further whilst improving the environmental conditions around the pitches to replicate match conditions.
This bespoke system is expected to provide optimal conditions for training even on the windiest of days, setting a new benchmark for environmental conditions at training grounds.
If approved, the proposed works will be due to complete at the end of the summer when the building works will be completed.
Liverpool are revelling in having won yet another three points and today’s headlines focus on the players’ performances, the potential for summer deals and a potential change in the curtain-raiser.Changes ahead for Community Shield
Liverpool will be in the Community Shield once more to start the 2020/21 season…if it goes ahead at all.
There is still an element of uncertainty over dates for the start of next term, but if the Wembley fixture is played, Liverpool will be there as league champions.
Their opponent, however, may be changed. Usually, we’d play the FA Cup winners—fine if it’s Chelsea or Arsenal. But if either Manchester club wins the trophy and they reach their respective European finals, the dates could clash.
In that case, the Times reports that the Reds may instead face the Championship winners.
West Brom are currently top, two points ahead of Leeds, but the latter have a game in hand. Brentford are third, though likely too far off the pace now to take top spot.
The report also suggests that the FA may use the occasion to test-run getting fans back inside stadiums for games for the first time since the coronavirus lockdown.Thiago keen on Premier League switch
It seems that the Thiago talk has died down over the last day or two!
The Reds are still linked with the Bayern Munich midfielder, but those accounts suggesting contact had been made or that a deal was imminent have all gone extremely quiet.
James Pearce of the Athletic confirms that the Reds have had “no contact” with the Bundesliga club over a move and that it’s currently “unlikely” a deal will go ahead.
But Thiago does want a switch.
It’s further reported he is keen on moving to the Premier League and with just one year left on his contract, £30 million is the guide price to snare him.Evidence of our success
On and off the pitch, Liverpool are the undisputed team to mimic right now.Quickfire LFC news
Sheffield United are interested in signing Norwich City’s attacking midfielder Todd Cantwell this summer when the Canaries are relegated.
Sounds ok so far, doesn’t it?
So let’s see what price tag the Star are giving Cantwell with this ‘exclusive‘ inside story.
Ten million?! Think the Blades might just have a bit of competition if that’s the going rate for a Cantwell – or have they put most of his value on Godfrey for some reason?!Tweet of the day
Neco Williams is a positional rival for Trent now, technically. So it’s superb to hear the No. 66 speak so well about how high the Welshman could go.
"With the right attitude, which he's got, he's got the potential to be a world-class player"
— BBC 5 Live Sport (@5liveSport) July 9, 2020What we’re reading
The story on BBC Sport of the anti-racism demonstration in MLS as the games returned and the players took a stand—for eight minutes and 46 seconds.
And this incredible story by Jack Lang on the Athletic, about Bernio Verhagen: the non-playing professional who conned multiple teams into signing him up and is now in prison in Denmark.Worth watching tonight
Bournemouth vs Spurs at 6pm. Athletic vs Sevilla in LaLiga at 9.
Team news, stats and prediction ahead of Liverpool vs Burnley in the Premier League on Saturday (kick-off 3pm).Team news 1:44 Ahead of matchweek 35 in the Premier League, we take a look at some of the stats surrounding the upcoming fixtures
Liverpool captain Jordan Henderson's season has been ended by a knee injury and he will not play against Burnley on Saturday.
The England midfielder was forced off late in Wednesday's win over Brighton and scans have revealed damage to the left knee which will sideline him for a few weeks.
Defender Dejan Lovren returns after missing the last three matches with a knock.
Burnley have no fresh injury concerns for Saturday's trip to Anfield.
Ashley Barnes (hernia), Ben Mee (thigh) and Matt Lowton (foot) remain absent for Sean Dyche's men.
Jack Cork is another out and the Burnley boss says it looks like the midfielder's ankle issue will require surgery.More on this story How to follow
Keep up-to-date with our dedicated live blog, as well as highlights published on the Sky Sports digital platforms and the Sky Sports Football YouTube channel shortly after full-time.Charlie's prediction
Burnley squeezed into the threat of Europe again with a great result at West Ham. They were fortunate enough to get a draw with Sheffield United but dug their heels in and picked up a point in the end when they were in front.
James Tarkowski's tackle was a red and it was not VAR's fault, it was the referee who got it wrong on that occasion. Despite the fact Ben Mee has been missing, Burnley have still done well without him. You can get at them though.
In terms of Liverpool, Sadio Mane got a rest and Roberto Firmino looks back to his bright self. Mohamed Salah was back in the goals. It will keep them on their toes, and even the normal starting line-up will be itching to start - Jordan Henderson could be out, so Nabi Keita may get a run, and Georginio Wijnaldum is always a threat.
No matter which full-backs Jurgen Klopp puts in, Liverpool will be dangerous. He could put Neco Williams in, but I always think he is tempted to put an extra few in, but because of the record everyone says he is going for, he may not.
I do not think it is that important to them, and this result will put them on track to beat it, but I think Klopp is caught in between. Does he go with the youngsters or does he go for the points total? The reality is that Curtis Jones scored last week and Takumi Minamino could still get game-time too, but I see Liverpool being fairly comfortable here.
CHARLIE PREDICTS: 2-0 (6/1 with Sky Bet)Opta stats
The Premier League 2019/20 season will provisionally restart on Wednesday June 17 and Sky, the UK's leading football broadcaster, will make 25 games available 'free to air' - including Everton vs Liverpool on the first full weekend back - for everyone in the UK to enjoy.
Sky Sports will show 64 live Premier League games when the season resumes. In addition to the 39 matches already scheduled to be broadcast exclusively live on Sky Sports before the coronavirus interruption, 25 more matches will be available on both Sky Sports Premier League and Sky's free-to-air Pick channel, allowing the whole nation to be part of the return of live sport.
To celebrate the return of the Premier League, Sky Sports will also launch a host of innovative new features and updates to give fans an even more immersive experience and share the moments live with family and friends on virtual platforms.
Liverpool became the fastest side to record 30 league wins in the history of English football on Wednesday night, and did so against a Brighton side who deserve credit.
Three points gained and more records broken. This time, a record that was set only two years ago, by our prime contemporary rival; this time, a record that was expected to last for a considerable amount of time.
As I said the other day, breaking records is a nice side-effect to success, without being all that important when it comes to the bigger picture of collecting trophies of substance.
Even Jurgen Klopp has made similar noises in how chasing the points record isn’t all that important to him. I’m sure he’d like it if it were to happen, but if it doesn’t, so what?
We set out to be Premier League champions and here we are, Premier League champions. I even like the concept which Klopp floated that we won’t be setting our stall out next season to defend our title, but to win a new one instead.
All. The. Right. Noises.
I like this newly acquired record from Wednesday evening, though, as it will rankle with Pep Guardiola and his players. It is the type of occurrence that will make that itch we plant under their skin more incessant.
It isn’t the record that is so important, more the dig in the ribs it provides.
Once it became evident that Alisson was in all-black, this game was over as a genuine contest. He should always wear all-black.
A 3-1 victory in which a bold Brighton side couldn’t have been more generous in the buildup to what were two excellent early goals.
Very swiftly, the hosts were punished again, for having the temerity of trying to play the ball out of defence. Henderson’s strike was beautiful.
In a season of magical moments, Firmino’s restraint and Henderson’s finish at Brighton will sit comfortably alongside a myriad of other moments that will flash across the mind, on the cold winter nights of January, to warm the soul.
I’m glad it seems that Brighton will be staying up.
At nine points clear of the relegation zone, with only four to play, it should now be a matter of when they secure Premier League football for next season, rather than if.
Without intending to be condescending, Brighton showed a huge amount of composure in not allowing those two early blows to alter the way they approached the game.
It would have been far easier for them to curl up into a ball, in the hope that Liverpool wouldn’t pick on them any more than they already had. Many other teams have found themselves in such a position and opted to defend what they had at 2-0 down.
Being expansive is a gamble for a team like Brighton. Sometimes it can pay off, but at other times there is a costly price to be paid.
Norwich took an idealist’s approach to their campaign, after sweeping all before them in the Championship last season, only to bomb resoundingly in the top division.
Eddie Howe’s Bournemouth are in great risk of following the Canaries out of the Premier League, having preached an aesthetically pleasing ethos for much of their five-year residency in the top flight.
In such circumstances, Brighton’s take on matters is nothing but admirable. They have claimed the mid-range Premier League mantle that once took Swansea City to League Cup success and one of their managers to the Liverpool job.
I wish them well and hope that they kick on for a higher placing in 2020/21.
After the opening exchanges and gifts were presented, by the time Brighton pulled their goal back it felt like it had been coming for some time.
Brighton began the second half in a similar frame of mind. It gave Liverpool food for thought, they adapted and wrestled back the initiative, from opponents that posed a puzzle for Klopp and his players to solve.
Henderson’s injury aside, it was a very satisfying night down in Sussex.
Williams will benefit from a start, despite being opted out at half-time. Virgil van Dijk offered his marvellous brand of calm authority. At one point, he diffused a long looping ball by heading it to himself.
Van Dijk essentially deals in the defensive version of Cruyff turns. It is an emotional experience to watch him in action.
Keita’s performance was arguably his best yet in a Liverpool shirt. Now, if only he can string together a run of injury-free seasons, then big, big things would be ahead for him.
It is all about turning that promise into a lasting presence.
Firmino was majestically whimsical and Salah is hungry for a splurge of goals to end the season—as he likes a Golden Boot, does our Mo. Sadio Mane just wanted to play.
Among Klopp’s first signings as Reds manager, Matip is one of 15 players to go on to hit 100 appearances during his time in charge, as part of the core of his group.
While he may not be first-choice starter at the back, largely owing to his inconsistent fitness, the No. 32 remains a key player within the squad, and this season serves as an outlier as the only campaign in which he has played fewer than 30 times.
The 28-year-old signed a new five-year contract with Liverpool back in October, keeping him with the club until at least 2024, which is a sign of both his and his manager’s commitment.
And speaking to the Westfalenpost, Matip described Klopp as “second to none worldwide,” in a testimony to his belief in his coach.
“He has a great team and a great approach that every single player tries to internalize,” he said.
“His intense style of football, giving the opponent no space to breathe, is special.
“I don’t know how he does it, it remains his secret. But the fact is that his teams are ready to walk through fire for him.
“He manages to create a very special atmosphere in the team and make it clear that you can only be successful if you subscribe to the big picture.
“He planted this mentality in the minds of the players, fans and the whole club and thus created a great unity.
“He is an exceptional coach who is second to none worldwide.”
It is no surprise to hear this, but this praise is always welcome, with there being few, if any, players who have not embraced Klopp’s approach.
His infectious personality is the same whether on camera or not, and this is how he and his staff have been able to lead Liverpool back to the top of the Premier League.
That Matip holds him in such high regard is encouraging, as though later in the interview he admits he would be open to a return to Schalke in the future, it is clear he understands the importance of the squad to Klopp.
His praise for the manager crystallises how he has been able to transform the Reds’ fortunes over the past five years.
And with the players ready to “walk through fire” for him, it would be no surprise for this success to continue in 2020/21.
Fifteen-year-old Liverpool fan Luke, from Huyton, has attended LFC Foundation’s Premier League Kicks sessions at Anfield Sports Community Centre for over two years.
Over the course of lockdown, the LFC Foundation has hosted a variety of FIFA 20 experiences on both PlayStation and Xbox consoles for their participants who regularly attend their PL Kicks Sessions.
Luke participated in every experience provided by the Reds’ official charity, blowing the competition away in a series of impressive performances.
The young Red also competed on a national level through the Premier League Stay At Home Cup, representing the LFC Foundation against other club community foundations across the country.
In his age group, Luke defeated the opposition to become this year’s champion.
Speaking of his success and time spent in lockdown, Luke said: “Winning the semi-final of the PL Tournament was my favourite moment as this was my most difficult fixture.
“I also liked that we could see the Foundations’ league table after every round of matches, so that I could check my league position against my mates.
“It felt really good to win the Premier League competition. It's good to compete with the best.”
Luke has also been successful on the pitch during his time in the Kicks programme, making the jump to the U15s development team and representing LFC Foundation in multiple football fixtures and tournaments up and down the country.
Earlier this year, the youngster also took part in the Foundation's Kicks Football+ activities during the half-term holidays, a scheme giving Kicks participants the opportunity to take part in a variety of educational and key life-skills activities with local community partners.
Luke and his friends were chosen based on their behaviour, attendance, and merit over the course of their time on the Kicks programme, learning various new life skills from fire safety to nutritional cooking.
Tony Cosgrove, Premier League Kicks manager, said: "I'm really impressed and proud of Luke's achievements and his obvious gaming ability, but even more so about the way he conducted himself throughout all of the Foundation's recent FIFA opportunities.
“He demonstrated a high level of sportsmanship throughout without boasting about his achievements.
“He was a great advocate for our PL Kicks programme and the LFC Foundation. To claim the national prize in his age category was an incredible accomplishment and I would like to pass on my congratulations to him.”
With the intentions of identifying where the LFC Foundation can improve for the future, the charity provided participants with a feedback opportunity following the competition’s conclusion.
All participants who responded said that they wanted to participate in more FIFA events run by the LFC Foundation in the future and reported that they would recommend the FIFA league, tournament or festivals to their friends.
An average score of 4.56 out of five was recorded from the survey as nine participants (47 per cent of all those who took part) chose to rate their overall experience with the LFC Foundation. A full breakdown of the feedback report is available here.
"It was great to see that the participants had enjoyed the variety of FIFA opportunities we provided throughout lockdown,” said Tony.
“We now know that there is an appetite for Kicks participation beyond our football sessions and we look forward to providing more chances for a greater number of our participants, taking this data on board to improve what we do.”
Following the coronavirus outbreak, the LFC Foundation had to put their schools and community activities on hold in adherence with government guidelines and social distancing measures.
Instead through virtual sessions, the Foundation was able continue its engagement with participants left housebound and unable to take part in their weekly LFC Foundation activities.
To find out more about the activities on offer at the LFC Foundation, click here.
Liverpool became the quickest team in Premier League history to win 30 games in a season with a 3-1 win over Brighton at the Amex Stadium.
A brace from Golden Boot chasing Mohamed Salah as well as a Jordan Henderson screamer was enough to seal the win for the Reds — who handed Neco Williams a debut at left back — despite a far from vintage performance against a brave Brighton outfit.
Liverpool roared into an early lead, with a goal straight from the Jurgen Klopp tactical textbook.
Pressing the Brighton back four, Naby Keita — sniffing out a poor first touch — pilfered the ball and fed Salah a pass and the Egyptian sumptuously curled a left footed shot past Mat Ryan from just inside the box.
The second goal was long coming in what was a barnstorming opening eight minutes from the Reds. And, once again, the goal arrived from the visitors pressing, with Salah assisting Henderson’s brilliantly hit strike from outside the box. The captain won the ball back in midfield and this allowed Keita to find Salah with a pass. The number 11 ran at the Brighton rearguard and found Henderson whose first time hit left Ryan with no chance.
To their credit, the hosts kept playing their usual, progressive game and dominated the final 25 minutes of the half.
Impressive young full back Tariq Lamptey was the Seagulls main outball, and the former Chelsea player began to give debutant Williams — playing out of position at left back — a tough time. It was through this route that Brighton pulled a goal back on the stroke of half time.
Lamptey’s searching cross found Leonardo Trossard and the Belgian expertly fired a first time half volley past Alisson for a richly deserved goal for Brighton. The visiting Reds, whose intensity dropped visibly after the 20th minute, would have been glad to have gone into the interval with their lead intact.
The second half saw Brighton continue their attacking approach, but it was the Reds who had the best opportunity ten minutes in. Keita, the standout player til that point, played an incisive pass in behind for Salah. The Egyptian coasted past Dan Burn in the box but, in the motion of cutting onto his left foot, his shot was blocked.
The Seagulls continued to probe and spurned a big chance when Burn volleyed across the face of goal, but no one in blue and white gambled and Georginio Wijnaldum proceeded to clear his lines. With the tide of momentum against his team, Klopp elected for a double change — the third in total after Andy Robertson replaced Williams at half time — with Fabinho and Sadio Mané replacing Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain and Keita respectively. The change almost bore instant fruit when Fabinho’s raking pass sent Salah behind, but the leading scorer had his attempted cross to Mané deflected behind.
After absorbing pressure, Liverpool struck for their third with fifteen minutes left. A deflected Henderson shot drifted agonisingly wide of goal, but, from the resulting corner, the Reds killed the game. Robertson’s inswinger was met by Salah’s header at the near post and the ball powered into the bottom cornet.
The visitors almost had their fourth when birthday boy Virgil van Dijk headed a free-kick across goal to his compatriot, but Wijnaldum nodded over.
Itching for his hat-trick, Salah kept pushing but was denied by a Ryan save and when he headed a Robertson cross over.
Liverpool team: Alisson; Alexander Arnold, Gomez, Van Dijk, Williams; Henderson, Keita, Wijnaldum; Salah, Firmino, Oxlade Chamberlain.
Replacements: Fabinho for Keita, Mane for Oxlade Chamberlain, Milner for Henderson, Minamino for Firmino, Robertson for Williams.
[unable to retrieve full-text content]Watch extended highlights and exclusive reaction after Liverpool's 3-1 win at Brighton and Hove Albion on LFCTV GO now.