Dirk Kuyt rues not becoming a Premier League champion with Liverpool but believes Jürgen Klopp's side have everything required to get over the line this season.
Kuyt came closest to winning the top flight as a Red during the 2008-09 campaign, when Manchester United pipped Rafael Benitez's team to the title.
But now, as Liverpool currently find themselves eight points clear at the summit, Kuyt is hopeful the current crop of players can go all the way.
The Dutchman told Liverpoolfc.com: "We were very close to success. We just missed a small detail to go one step further.
"With the likes of Stevie and Carra, Mascherano, Torres and many other very good players, we just missed a little something.
"If you see the build-up of the team of Klopp, you see it progressing every time and it looks like it’s now coming to success also in the Premier League. We were a particular team like that, only we couldn’t go one step further at that time.
"Hopefully this team will do it because, in my opinion, this team now on the pitch is even better than ours.”
Liverpool's quest to finish in first place takes them to Old Trafford on Sunday in a high-profile showdown with Manchester United.
Kuyt played starring roles in famous victories over the Reds’ arch-rivals during his Anfield career and hopes the champions of Europe can secure another this weekend.
"You can always feel the rivalry between Liverpool and United," the 39-year-old added.
"We know the derby, Liverpool and Everton, is a massive game for the people in Liverpool. But Liverpool-United or United-Liverpool is one of the biggest games in England and I always loved to play in them, we had many good results back in the day.
"For me, the highs were the hat-trick against United and also a late winner in the FA Cup. I always really enjoyed those kinds of games.
“I always look forward to watching the game because it’s an absolute joy to watch Liverpool at the moment. These are special games and make you just a little bit more excited than the other games.”
To lay everything out on the table from the start, here, any talk of Liverpool having won the Premier League title already this season is absolutely absurd. You can certainly lose the title in the first eight games. But with only 21% of the season completed, there’s no chance you can win it in that time.
Last season, the Reds led Manchester City by seven points at the turn of the year, lost just one game all season, accumulated the third-highest points tally ever in the Premier League – and yet still lost the title to City on the final day of the season.
All three of those points need not be reiterated throughout this season. It’s a new campaign and, although a near identical squad, Liverpool are a different beast this season due to the heartbreak of last season’s title race.
There was talk during the summer that last season’s agonizing title race with Guardiola’s City would deflate Jurgen Klopp’s men given the sheer brilliance and relentless winning of the Manchester club. However, with eight games gone this season, Liverpool have seemingly learnt a lot from last season – even if there’s very little to learn with only one loss in 2018/19.
One major difference that has been present already this season is the concept of the Reds adopting a ‘game-by-game’ mentality. Almost as if they treat each game as a knockout fixture. They approach games with that relentless trait Manchester City had at times towards the back end of last season. It’s a tactic that refuses to be beaten.
This approach has been seen throughout this season, most notably against Sheffield United and, most recently, against Leicester City. The Reds are yet to blow teams away this season, but it’s the points tally that wins you titles, not goal difference – see Liverpool 13/14 for that very point.
Winning a league title doesn’t consist of 4-0, 5-1 and, even, 8-0 wins. League titles are built on resilience and willingness to dig to the deepest of depths to get over the line. Liverpool’s 2-1 win against Leicester City showed that perfectly, with Sadio Mané refusing to give up on what seemed like a lost cause before winning a penalty in the dying minutes.
Against Sheffield United, too, a hopeful strike from Gini Wijnaldum was fumbled by Blades ‘keeper Dean Henderson to give the Reds a crucial 0-1 win. Sometimes it’s that slice of luck you need, coupled with talent and determination, to win a league title – Vincent Kompany’s astonishing strike towards the end of last season, for example.
If last season is anything to go by, this will be another monumental title race – one that goes right down to the wire. Expect that to happen, despite City’s early falters. They are a team who will keep pushing and pushing right to their last breath.
For Liverpool, though, a game-by-game mentality suits them down to the ground. Their knockout style of football took them to success in Madrid last season as they clinched their sixth UEFA Champions League title. Such a run showcased them at their very best with a relentless work ethic matched with skill and brilliance. The Miracle of Anfield – that incredible 4-0 comeback win over Barcelona – tells you all you need to know about the mental resilience of this group of players.
A relentless gegenpressing style of play matches this mentality perfectly, with opposing sides forced to go toe-to-toe with the Reds if they are to match them at their very best. As shown against Leicester last weekend, that style of play can lead to exhilarating games of football. But, ultimately, Liverpool come out on top 95% of the time – if not 100% of the time as shown so far this season.
Whilst Liverpool play some of the best football in Europe at the moment, there is an acute awareness amongst fans, pundits and the club, that this won’t be the case every week. Therefore, there is a need for character and resilience that will get you through games when the Reds aren’t at their best – they arguably have the best squad for those moments.
If you look throughout this Liverpool side, there are very few players who have instantly rose to the top of world football. They’ve all had to work their way to where they are now through grit and determination.
Virgil van Dijk crafted his trade at Celtic and Southampton over five years before a £75million move to Anfield; Andrew Robertson was signed by Klopp after being relegated with Hull City in 2017, Xherdan Shaqiri likewise with Stoke City in 2018; Mohamed Salah failed in his first stint in the Premier League with Chelsea; and, James Milner was deemed surplus to requirements at Manchester City in 2015, look at his importance to a title-contending side now.
The list could go on, with nearly all of Liverpool’s squad having fought against adversity. Important, though, is the inescapable fact that the Reds will be faced with title race noise every day until the end of the season.
Several pundits have said that this is Liverpool’s title to lose now, which is an unhelpful tag given the unpredictable nature of Premier League football. A loss or two will open the title race wide open again, and that can’t be ruled out with 30 games to go.
For Klopp, this means continuing with a game-by-game mentality that keeps the squad composed and focus on the most important game: the next one. Remaining focused on the here and now is an absolute must for the Reds in a world of excessive media pressure.
With 30 games to go, Liverpool are just over 20% through their season which means plenty can still happen in the world’s most unpredictable league.
For Klopp and his men, this means continuing with their successful recipe of grit, determination and resilience to do everything they can to get over the line in the season’s most important match: the next one.
Liverpool journalist Chris McLoughlin tells the story of how the Reds’ players went from spectators at the Nou Camp, to thrashing Barcelona 4-0 en-route to becoming European Champions.
I knew that Luis Suarez was planning to leave Liverpool FC before he had even made his debut for the club. It’s not what you want to hear when the Reds have just paid £22.8 million to sign a player, but it was the truth.
Suarez arrived at Anfield on Sir Kenny Dalglish’s watch on the last day of January 2011. He’d been with Ajax for four years, scoring over 100 goals, but was serving a seven-match suspension for biting PSV’s Otman Bakkal on the shoulder. Ajax decided it was time to cash in. Liverpool paid up.
I was editing and writing The Kop Magazine at the time and contributing to LFC Magazine, the old weekly publication that ran from 2002-2012. As part of our research into the Uruguayan’s background, a colleague spoke to a Dutch journalist and some of the coaches who had worked with Suarez at Groningen, his first European club.
They all said the same thing, albeit off the record; he wants to play for Barcelona. Liverpool is a career move, just like Ajax was. His aim is Spain.
It’s well documented now as to why that was. His wife Sofia had moved to Barca from Uruguay as a teenager with her parents. They remained in Spain so it was where the Suarez family wanted to settle and bring up their kids.
On the plus side, if Suarez was to get his dream move to Camp Nou he’d have to perform at the highest level for Liverpool FC to catch their attention. Which is precisely what he did.
Disciplinary issues and the related £40,000,001 Arsenal transfer debacle aside, Suarez gave his all in a red shirt. He didn’t miss a single game through injury – not one – and his win-at-all-costs attitude and desire to score was the same whether Liverpool were playing Exeter or Everton.
Suarez’ Liverpool career culminated with him leading the failed Premier League title bid in 2013/14, scoring 31 goals in 31 games and playing some of the best football ever produced by an individual player.
And then he left for Barcelona. Which completely fucked Liverpool up in 2014/15 as he wasn’t replaced. And ultimately triggered a chain of events that led to what we have now; Jürgen Klopp and the European Cup.
It would be over a year before Klopp became Liverpool manager, but El Pistolero fired the starting gun.– – – – –
I first became aware of Jürgen Klopp in 2010/11. His young Borussia Dortmund team had seemingly come from nowhere to challenge and ultimately win their first Bundesliga title since 2002. There was a lot to like.
They were the youngest ever German side to be champions. They played high-octane football. They scored goals. They harried opponents. And the first thing their manager had done when appointed at the Westfalenstadion back in 2008 was to not stop the injury-prone Philipp Degen signing for Liverpool on a free transfer. Clearly he was a good judge of player.
Part of the reason I also saw a fair bit of BVB that season was I was scouring the European leagues to write about strikers who could potentially replace Liverpool’s want-away centre-forward Fernando Torres.
Robert Lewandowski scored nine goals for Borussia Dortmund that season, but it was Paraguay international striker Lucas Barrios I liked the look of. Klopp had bought him for less than £4 million from Colo-Colo in 2009 and turned him into a goalscoring machine, netting 23 goals in 2009/10 and 21 en-route to the title in 2010/11.
Big, strong and very effective in the penalty area, I thought the 26-year-old would be ideal for what Liverpool needed at the time and the word from Germany was that Dortmund would want between £9-£11 million for his services. Damien Comolli didn’t agree. He paid £35 million for Andy Carroll instead, although nobody can argue with the £22.8 million deal for Suarez.
The upshot of that rather convoluted tale of transfer talk is that I continued to follow Klopp’s Dortmund over the years that followed and came to the conclusion that he had the potential to be the next manager of Liverpool, but with the Reds progressing nicely under Brendan Rodgers we didn’t need a new manager. Then Suarez left in 2014 and the house of cards came tumbling down.
On 15th April 2015, the 26th anniversary of the Hillsborough disaster, Borussia Dortmund announced that, after seven years in charge, Klopp would step down as manager. They’d had a poor season – even being bottom of the Bundesliga in February 2015 – but it was still something of a shock that he was to leave.
“I always said in that moment where I believe I am not the perfect coach anymore for this extraordinary club I will say so,” he announced. “I really think the decision is the right one. This club deserves to be coached from the 100% right manager.”
Four days later Liverpool played the worst Aston Villa side I’ve ever seen in the FA Cup semi-final at Wembley. It was a gimme, an easy passage to the final. Liverpool lost 2-1 on a day when Emre Can played in four different positions, Lazar Markovic was substituted at half-time for a club-record fourth time in one season, and his replacement, Mario Balotelli, was our best player.
Bringing Glen Johnson on for Joe Allen, and waiting until the 90th minute to replace Alberto Moreno with Rickie Lambert, backed up my long-held opinion that Brendan Rodgers was incapable of positively changing a game from the bench. It encapsulated a shambolic, embarrassing day in what had become a dreadfully depressing season.
I walked out of Wembley that grim evening with my mind made up. Rodgers had to go, Liverpool need to see if they can get Klopp. So I put the Borussia Dortmund manager on the front cover of the next edition of The Kop Magazine and wrote a 3,789-word article on the managerial situation which – and I’ve paraphrased here – included the following.
“If you’re after a complete history into the life and times of 47-year-old Jürgen Norbert Klopp and a 5,000-word tactical analysis of his 14-year managerial career with Mainz 05 and Borussia Dortmund then you’re barking up die falschen baum.
“But this is a unique opportunity. A rare situation in that a manager who has unequivocally proved that he can turn a sleeping giant into a trophy-winning machine, despite being in direct competition with arguably the strongest Bayern Munich side since they won three European Cups between 1974 and 1976 (who was it that ended Bayern’s run of success again?), is available.
“What if Klopp fancied it? What if he was prepared to jib off the Champions League clubs who are courting him and accept one of the biggest challenges in world football?
“What if he thought he could be the man who finally ends the 25-year wait to make English football’s most successful club champions again? What if he thought he could end up even more revered than he is in Dortmund?
“What if FSG – who aren’t shy of sacking managers – decided to abandon the Rodgers project and offer Klopp the Kop job knowing he’s highly unlikely to be available in 12 months’ time should another disappointing campaign follow?
“Sometimes you’ve got to be brave. Foresee that something might not work out as you’d hoped and act decisively to see if you can and improve things.
“Cards on the table. Hands on hearts. It feels like Aston Villa 2 Liverpool 1 was a watershed moment for Brendan Rodgers. A turning point. A line in the sand that makes it feels legitimate – indeed necessary – to see who else is out there. To establish if the credible alternative option out there could be a man who galvanizes our club. Who makes things better. Who lifts us back up to where we believe we belong.
“Are Brendan Rodgers’ Liverpool still on their way to glory? Or does ‘we are the famous, the famous Klopites’ have a nicer ring to it? Over to you, John W Henry. If you don’t ask you don’t get…”
I then, as I did every month in the 15 years I edited The Kop, sent a copy of it to the manager of Liverpool Football Club. I never did hear back from Rodgers – not once – but I wasn’t the only one thinking the same way.
“To have a charismatic figurehead managing the club again with the vast majority of supporters buying into him would be no bad thing,” concluded an article about Klopp on The Anfield Wrap. While an Anfield Rap lead vocalist was also on board.
“If Liverpool are to get back to where they belong in English football, they need to be ruthless,” said Steve McMahon. “That’s why they must go all out to bring in Jürgen Klopp as manager. There is no doubt that Klopp, given the chance, would bring silverware to Merseyside.”
What none of us knew at the time was that Klopp didn’t just want a break, he wanted to take the whole of the 2015/16 season off. A family holiday to the Caribbean was planned, an educational trip to the USA to see how coaches in other sports operate was scheduled. He was even trying to to get tickets for Superbowl 50 in Santa Clara, California, in February 2016.
He certainly wasn’t planning to take charge of Liverpool FC, but in October 2016, after a hardly surprising poor start to the season, Rodgers was sacked and Klopp was offered the opportunity.– – – – –
To this day I still don’t know if Fenway Sports Group got lucky, or if they shrewdly waited until they thought they could get Klopp before sacking Rodgers. I’ve heard stories that suggest both, but let’s just say spending £93 million in the summer of 2015 on Christian Benteke, Roberto Firmino, Nathaniel Clyne, Danny Ings and Joe Gomez wasn’t the behaviour of a club not backing their manager, even if most (but not all) of those players were signed by the transfer committee.
Rodgers should have been long gone. Sixth in the Premier League, a 6-1 defeat at Stoke and allowing his trusted coaches Colin Pascoe and Mike Marsh to be sacrificial scapegoats to save his own arse were all good enough reasons, never mind that FA Cup defeat to Aston Villa.
Yet he stayed at Liverpool and Klopp got on with his life away from football until a 1-1 draw with Everton at Goodison Park on 4th October left the Reds 10th in the Premier League, with a -2 goal-difference, going into the October international break. Rodgers met the Spanish archer that night, Klopp got the call to take over. Thank fuck he said yes.
“I’m a football romantic,” he admitted during an interview with Sky Sports in early 2018. “I like these stories. I’m confident, but not as confident maybe as other managers, thinking this club will call, that club will call. A lot of clubs called and I said ‘No, no chance, I need to make a break now’.
“I knew always and even my wife knew, if Liverpool is calling, I go. That’s really difficult to explain. Yes, there was interest from Manchester United one year or one year-and-a-half before, but it didn’t feel right. I couldn’t say in these times Manchester is not my club, it didn’t feel right. That’s how it was.
“When Liverpool called, I had no chance. It was actually too early for my plans. I said, ‘Wow, come on!’ But then coming here and feeling the spirit immediately, it was just, for me, a match in heaven.
“The club would have found another manager, and I would have found another job — maybe an easier job. But I liked this club before I came here. It wasn’t a big decision for me. It was the only club that could have broken up my holiday.
“I had enough offers, I was saying, ‘No, no, sorry, not now…’, and then came Liverpool. And I know how this sounds, and what people will say, but I fell in love. I felt responsible really quickly. It’s like if you are in my inner circle, my family, my friends. I felt Liverpool was both: family and friends.”
Even in this month’s FourFourTwo magazine, in a chat with John Bishop, his sense of belonging at Liverpool remains evident.
“I knew Liverpool had this incredible history of winning trophies both in Europe and at home. To be honest with you, I really wanted to bring that glory back to the club. It was clear to me that the heart of the club was brilliant; it was like a garden that needed a bit of work to bring the flowers back again.
“I really wanted the job. I can’t explain why, but it felt right. I knew that if they came for me, I’d really want to do it. I only hoped it would be at the right time, because I needed a holiday after managing Mainz and Dortmund. In the end I had four months off.”
A lot has been said and written during the last four years, not least around the recent fourth anniversary of his appointment, about how Jürgen Klopp brought that glory back to the club. It can be symbolised by referring back to Luis Suarez.
In December 2016, following a 4-3 defeat at Bournemouth after the Reds had led 3-1, Klopp took his players to Spain for warm(er) weather training. They had a free midweek, having failed to qualify to play European football after finishing 8th in the Premier League, behind Southampton and West Ham. Leicester City were champions of England.
As part of that trip, Klopp, his staff and players went to the Camp Nou to watch Barcelona play Borussia Moenchengladbach in the Champions League. Inevitably they were spotted by the cameras and their images, including Lucas taking a photo on a smartphone which had a Lucas cover on it, were beamed around the world. Social media piss-taking followed. ‘It’s the only Champions League football Liverpool will see under Klopp’ was an open goal.
Klopp, of course, knew what would be said, but that trip served a purpose. It reminded the players what they were missing out on. What they were striving to achieve. Barca won 4-0 and did so by leaving Suarez on the bench for the entire game. Liverpool went home and drew with West Ham.
In May 2019, Barcelona’s players were at Anfield to watch Jürgen Klopp’s Liverpool thrash them 4-0 to reach the final of the Champions League, although ironically they weren’t watching Trent Alexander-Arnold closely enough from a corner for Divock Origi‘s decisive goal.
It had taken Klopp two-and-a-half years to transform Liverpool from a team watching Barcelona beat a team 4-0 in the Champions League into a side capable of beating Barcelona 4-0 to reach a Champions League final. And they did so without Mo Salah and Bobby Firmino.
That Suarez, whose departure from Liverpool removed the foundation the Rodgers era was built upon and paved the way for Jürgen Klopp’s arrival, was on the Anfield pitch that night, looking utterly perplexed at his side’s capitulation, was beautifully symbolic.
The Liverpool Luis Suarez left was a team built around him. The Liverpool we have now is a team built by Jürgen Klopp. That’s the difference.
* Chris McLoughlin writes for This Is Anfield each week; he’s also senior writer for the Official LFC Matchday Programme and LFC Magazine. You can order both here.
Ahead of Sunday's meeting, LFCTV is premiering a brand new documentary examining the rivalry between Liverpool and Manchester United - and you can watch it on demand now via LFCTV GO.
Us and Them, presented by actor Robbie O’Neill, gives an unbiased take on the fixture’s history ahead of the latest instalment at Old Trafford this weekend.
The 30-minute feature includes opinion from lifelong fans from both sides of the divide, including Mani of The Stone Roses and Primal Scream fame.
Us and Them examines everything that unites and divides two of the world’s most famous cities; from society and politics to fashion and music via football.
You can watch the documentary on demand now via LFCTV GO by clicking play on the video below. Sign up now and receive one month free.
Alternatively, Us and Them will be screened on LFCTV regularly ahead of the game. Visit www.liverpoolfc.com/watch for further details.
We round up the latest Liverpool news and transfer rumours on Tuesday, as attention turns to the weekend clash with Man United.
Roberto Firmino finally seems to be earning the plaudits he has deserved for years, with the wider footballing public acknowledging his brilliance.
For many, though, the Brazilian’s genius has never been in doubt – one of which is former Hoffenheim teammate Anthony Modeste.
Speaking to France Football, via Sport Witness, Modeste went as far as to describe Firmino as a “phenomenon”, saying he has never played alongside a better footballer:
“He’s a phenomenon. He’s the best player I’ve played with. It was so impressive, that agility he had with the ball in his feet.
“That ability to dribble past people. In training, he could take the ball, go past everyone and score. Sometimes, I’d just stop and admire.
“Soon after my arrival, I told some friends there was a phenomenon in the team, that they needed to come see him in training. He did incredible things.”
Firmino will he a huge figure at Old Trafford on Sunday afternoon – his presence was sorely missed there last season, when he limped off with a first-half ankle injury.Reds Quartet Nominated for Awards
Liverpool have four representatives at the the 2019 Northwest Football Awards, following another spectacular 12 months at Anfield.
Trent Alexander-Arnold is looking to win back-to-back Rising Star of the Year awards, after he enjoyed another year to treasure.
Meanwhile, Liverpool FC Women pair Sophie Bradley-Auckland and Amy Rodgers are nominated for the Women’s Player of the Year and Women’s Rising Star of the Year awards respectively.
It’s not a bad time to be a Red.Heartbreak Helped Liverpool, claims Trent
Alexander-Arnold believes those disappointments have only aided the Reds, however, and that they are now reaping the rewards.
“We’ve really bounced back from there and got to where we are now and where we are as a team.
“The biggest example of that is probably the fact that we lost the Champions League final the season before and were able to use that as motivation to get back there and win it the next season.
“It’s something a lot of teams aren’t capable of, but we’ve showed that we are and we’re able to get better from disappointment.”
Liverpool have matured into a winning machine, and painful as the low points were at the time, the Reds have only grown from those experiences.Van der Sar’s Reds Transfer Claim
It turns out the Dutchman could have become a Red, however.
In an interview with t-online, Van der Sar revealed he opted to move to Fulham over Liverpool back in 2001, prior to joining United:
“I had two options and could have transferred to Liverpool or Dortmund.
“Both clubs hesitated a bit, so in the end I chose Fulham.”
Liverpool didn’t do too badly in goal in the end, with Jerzy Dudek and Pepe Reina key figures during that period, but Van der Sar would still have been an upgrade.Klopp’s Wonderful Charity Donation
Klopp may be considered one of the top two managers in world football currently, but he is also known for his loving personality.
That has once again been on show, with the Liverpool Echo reporting that the Reds boss gave £10,000 of his own money to a children’s charity.
Joy is Round, which is run by Hout Bay United Football Community in South Africa, “aims to promote and raise funds for community football through the sale of balls and art, made from old clothing and other materials.”
Liverpool couldn’t ask for a more ideal man to be in charge.
Liverpool were in training at Melwood on Tuesday morning as preparations for the weekend trip to Manchester United continued - and you can go behind the scenes of the session in the latest episode of Inside Training.
Joel Matip and Alisson Becker were among the players in the workout as they continue to make their way back to full fitness following respective injuries.
Our cameras were granted exclusive access to the drills, which you can view above now.
The Reds went into the international break top of the table and with a 100 per cent league record, but also with a fair few injury concerns.
In addition, Klopp and his coaches welcomed back two more faces to the fold: Centre-back Joel Matip, who had missed the last two games with injury, and midfielder Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain, who sat out the win over the Foxes.
The latter has had a stop-start time of matters this season, which is to be expected after coming back from a long-term injury, though his latest absence had nothing to do with any recurrence—it was reported as a head injury from training.
Matip, though, has been a constantly impressive performer at the heart of the defence and, though Liverpool beat both Salzburg and Leicester in his absence, it can be expected that he returns to the side against Man United.
Lovren played twice over the international break for Croatia, but Gomez was sub twice for England.
With the quartet back in training, it leaves just Xherdan Shaqiri as the only senior not yet back involved with the first team.
Herbie Kane and Yasser Larouci were also in action with the seniors, as the Reds prepare for the all-important trip to Old Trafford.
Joel Matip and Alisson Becker were among the players training at Melwood on Tuesday morning as Liverpool continued to gear up for the weekend trip to Manchester United.
The pair joined the teammates for the day’s first workout, with a second session scheduled for the afternoon.
The Reds are preparing to return to action this Sunday when they visit Old Trafford in the Premier League encounter.
You can see the latest photos of how they’re shaping up in our gallery below.
Photos by Nick Taylor
Last Updated: 15/10/19 3:22pmAlisson returned to full training with Liverpool ahead of their trip to Old Trafford
Liverpool have received a double injury boost with the return of Alisson Becker and Joel Matip to training ahead of Sunday's game at Manchester United.
Brazilian goalkeeper Alisson has been out of action since being forced off in the 39th minute of the 4-1 win over Norwich at Anfield on the opening day of the season.
The calf injury has seen summer signing Adrian deputise, with Jurgen Klopp's side currently unbeaten in the league heading into the Old Trafford encounter, live on Sky Sports Premier League.
Alisson returned to full training at Melwood on Tuesday, alongside defender Matip who has also recovered from a knock.
Matip picked up the injury during the 1-0 win at Sheffield United on September 28 and missed Liverpool's meetings with FC Salzburg and Leicester City.Joel Matip has also recovered from a knock ahead of Sunday's game
Meanwhile, Mohamed Salah trained separately the rest of the Liverpool squad as he aims to recover from the ankle injury sustained against Leicester City before the international break.Man Utd vs Liverpool
October 20, 2019, 3:00pm
Live onHow to watch Manchester United vs Liverpool
Watch Manchester United vs Liverpool live on Super Sunday from 3pm on Sky Sports Premier League; Kick-off 4.30pm.
Sky Sports customers can watch in-game clips in the live match blog on the Sky Sports website and app. Highlights will also be published on the Sky Sports digital platforms and the Sky Sports Football YouTube channel shortly after the final whistle.Soccer Saturday Super 6
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Joel Matip resumed training at Melwood on Tuesday morning after recovering from a knock sustained prior to the international break.
The issue, picked up during the 1-0 win at Sheffield United on September 28, ruled the centre-back out of the Reds' meetings with FC Salzburg and Leicester City.
However, Matip took part in this morning's session alongside his teammates as Jürgen Klopp's side get ready for Sunday's trip to Old Trafford to take on Manchester United.
Alisson Becker also trained with Liverpool's goalkeepers as he closes in on a return to action following a calf injury.
Ben Woodburn is currently enjoying a productive loan spell in League One with Oxford, but his future is still all about Liverpool in his own eyes.
The young attacker turns 20 today, Tuesday, marking the end of him being often referred to as a ‘talented teenager’ or similar.
He made history by becoming the Reds’ youngest-ever goalscorer, but since then has struggled to really assert his quality and show his best form on a regular basis, be it with Liverpool or elsewhere.
Because he made an impact so early, the tendency is to think of him as having stalled—but he feels there’s lots more to come and that having to be patient was an inevitability as Liverpool impressed, as he told Mail Online’s Joe Bernstein.
“I feel proud about that goal and becoming Liverpool’s youngest scorer but I don’t want people to just remember me for that moment. I want to push on and do other things, and bigger things,” he said.
“I had to accept at Liverpool with players like Salah and Sadio Mane, you are likely to be dropping down to the Under 23s. I tried to push on in my own way.
Last season, Woodburn went on loan to Sheffield United in a bid to earn regular senior game time, but after a decent start quickly found himself out of the picture. That move was cut short halfway through the season, but matters didn’t improve overly once back at Liverpool.
Now having gone to Oxford, one tier down, he is again showing his talents—at least until a broken foot, sustained last week, curtailed that progress for now.
Time remains on his side, though, and he points to other players who have struggled to make the grade at the same age—before going on to achieve great things just a few years later.
“Last season was tough. I wasn’t playing at Sheffield United but couldn’t complain because they were doing really well and won promotion
“I have learned so much at Oxford this season, knowing I am able to play 90 minutes and keep fighting for the team. I have taken a lot of kicks and heavy tackles and shown I’m not lightweight.
“I feel like I have had so much experience and yet I am still only young and learning. Watching someone like Serge Gnabry develop is a big help.
“He has shown you can push through if you keep working hard and hopefully I can do something like he’s done.”
A goalscorer at full international level already with Wales, and a player of enormous promise for several seasons already, Woodburn has his eyes on the main prize: an eventual return to first-team football at Anfield.
Interestingly, though, while he made his breakthrough as a forward, he has since been used in a variety of roles and seems to intimate that his best traits lend him to playing a support act, rather than being a main source of goals.
“I think my eyes are always going to be set on playing at Liverpool. That is my main goal, that is who I grew up supporting and have been for years.
“I’d probably say I am more of a creator but I think I will score goals as well. I’ve hit the post four or five times, I know they will go in if I carry on getting in the right positions.
“I’ve been doing the right amount of gym work. Glutes, hamstrings, calves. You don’t want to be a body builder but you do want to be strong, fast and nimble.”
A return to full fitness and a season of regular action behind him, and Woodburn’s early 20s could yet prove the making of him.
As he rightly points out, 23-year-old compatriot Harry Wilson is only just now making his own mark in the Premier League, so time remains on Woodburn’s side and at Liverpool, at least, there is a manager who will always give talented youths—even if they are no longer teens—the chance they deserve.
Jürgen Klopp had an announcement to make on stage at the Teatro alla Scala opera house in Milan last month.
The Liverpool manager was there to receive The Best FIFA Men’s Coach award in recognition of his success with the club during the 2018-19 season.
But the German also used his own moment of personal glory to express something he believed more worthy of the global audience’s attention.
From that day forward he would be a part of Common Goal, the movement which has seen a host of famous football figures pledge one per cent of their income to non-governmental organisations which harness the power of the game to enact positive societal change across the world.
“I want to use this stage to say one thing: this is an individual prize, I don’t 100 per cent understand individual prizes but I get it because I’m here for a lot of people,” Klopp stated.
“We are all on the really good side of life obviously, that’s why we are here. But there are people out there that have not exactly the same situation and I’m really proud and happy that I can announce from today on I’m a member of the Common Goal family.”
Our boss ❤️ #TheBest | #FIFAFootballAwards https://t.co/vwo5P0hURm— LFC (Liverpool FC) 23rd Sep 19:02
The Liverpool boss rubbed shoulders with many of football’s biggest stars at La Scala, but his meeting with a man with whom he shares a nationality and a Christian name, two hours before the ceremony began, was perhaps more significant.
“It was a conversation we had before,” says Common Goal CEO Jürgen Griesbeck over the phone from the organisation’s headquarters in Berlin.
“We had come together in terms of Jürgen joining Common Goal, and were a month or two away from the fact, but we obviously didn’t know if he would win the award and have the opportunity of an acceptance speech.
“We met for the first time on the day, two hours or so before the event. At the end of the day, Jürgen is very spontaneous – it needs to flow, it needs to fit in with what he feels like saying. So it was uncertain until the last moments, but then he felt like saying it, and we were very proud in that moment.”
Willkommen Jürgen Klopp!! #TheBest FIFA Men's Coach☑️ New #CommonGoal Member☑️ https://t.co/mifD9KjDmd— CommonGoalOrg (Common Goal) 23rd Sep 18:55
Griesbeck has been dedicated to using football as a tool for wider good for 25 years now, ever since the 1994 murder of Colombia international defender Andres Escobar, whom he knew personally.
As a young PhD student living in Medellin, he immediately quit his studies and started a youth project titled Football For Peace, aimed at stemming the violence which was claiming 5,000 young lives a year in the city at the time.
Over the years, his projects multiplied and diversified, leading to him forming streetfootballworld – now a network of more than 130 organisations, including Common Goal – in 2002.
Common Goal has gone from strength to strength since it was given life by co-founders Griesbeck and Manchester United midfielder Juan Mata in August 2017, with star players from both men’s and women’s football, managers, UEFA president Aleksander Ceferin and even an entire club – FC Nordsjaelland of the Danish Superliga – making the one per cent pledge during that time.
Even so, welcoming the involvement of the man who leads the reigning European champions, and someone whose personality and sense of humour have always enabled him to transcend tribal rivalries, is a significant coup for the project – as evidenced by the fact Common Goal’s website crashed on the night the announcement was made.
“We are incubating Common Goal out of Germany, and we have followed Jürgen for many years,” continues Griesbeck, who grew up just a few kilometres away from Klopp’s hometown of Glatten in south-west Germany.
“We’re at the beginning now, we’ve just completed the first two years, and it’s very much about the leadership and inspiration provided by those who have joined the movement. The financial contribution almost becomes of secondary importance; it’s part of the mechanism obviously but the real game-changer will only be when we get to more of a systemic embedding of the one per cent within the industry.
“When Jürgen moved to Liverpool it was so big for us as Germans, having seen him at FSV Mainz and Borussia Dortmund. It was probably the club where he needed to go, their values aligned and that personality of his would be able to unleash itself in that environment.
“We have always been fans of his, not just because of how he has his teams play football, but because of who he is as a person. That was a conscious thing, and we have been working on it for quite some time with his representatives, who also represent one of the other coaches we work with, Julian Nagelsmann.
“So that was the effort on our side, to tell them that, when the moment is right, Jürgen would be a very good fit for Common Goal in this early stage, because of the values he stands for.
“And on the other side I think Jürgen was following Mats Hummels and Shinji Kagawa joining, former players of his at Dortmund. I think from early on he felt attracted by the idea but the everyday workload at LFC didn’t allow it to happen. It happened when it needed to happen and I think it was quite a magical moment when he used that stage to do exactly what I mentioned – inspire and lead. It was awesome.”
“We should not forget what it was like when we had real problems. This bubble we live in is not the real world.” J… https://t.co/Cltb7BzOH4— TPT_Global (Players' Tribune Global) 24th Sep 11:30
Common Goal members have been making some serious waves in the world of football of late.
Megan Rapinoe captained the USA to victory and won the Golden Boot at the 2019 Women’s World Cup; Nagelsmann’s Leipzig are just two points off the top of the Bundesliga; and Serge Gnabry recently scored four of Bayern Munich’s goals in their 7-2 Champions League win at Tottenham Hotspur.
Griesbeck described those successes as ‘a manifestation of the fact that performance on the field and purpose off the field can really go nicely together’.
The funds raised by Common Goal go towards causes as varied as conflict resolution in Colombia and raising awareness of HIV/AIDS in Nigeria, and are also being put to good use in the UK, where a number of organisations are linked to streetfootballworld, including Street League, a sport for employment charity whose Liverpool branch operates out of Anfield Sports and Community Centre.
“This is only the start,” remarked Klopp after Liverpool’s European Cup triumph in Madrid four months ago, and like his namesake, Griesbeck has some big goals for the future, and a sense that the achievements of the past few years are merely a beginning.
“It’s all a development over time,” concludes the 54-year-old, who is currently enjoying seeing the club he supports, SC Freiburg, sit fourth in the Bundesliga.
“We are not into developing organisations or building important brands or earning a lot more money, what drives us has always been, and continues to be, impact. We started to get a good understanding in Colombia of how football can generate massive change in a community, and our goal became the attempt to build a sustainable and resilient bridge between the commercial development of football and football as a driver for social change.
“I don’t know if this project is the most impactful so far, it’s just the next step we need to do in order to get to where we want to be, which is maximising the power of football for good.”
Liverpool FC have released the following ticket details for the Champions League tie against KRC Genk at Anfield on Tuesday November 5, kick-off 8pm GMT.
The entire stadium will be ticketed, and prices are varied depending on seat location.
Over 65s: £9*-£44
Young adults: £9*-£29.50
Juniors: £9 (within the advertised family sections)
*Local general sale price
For a full breakdown of the pricing structure for this game, please click here.
Official LFC hospitality
Please call 0151 264 2222 for details, or buy online.
Supporters enrolled into the Auto Cup Scheme
Season ticket holders and Members registered in the Auto Cup Scheme MUST NOT purchase a ticket for this fixture.
Auto Cup payments are currently being processed and the processing of payments will end on Wednesday October 16.
Click here for specific details including stadium access, prices and what to do if your payment fails.
Important change to stadium access on matchday: Season ticket holders not sitting in their usual Premier League seat for this fixture will have their season ticket card activated for entry to the stadium, paper tickets will not be issued.
Click here for details.
All other supporters
The below sales will take place online only:
Priority rights holders: From 9.15am on Thursday October 17. For eligibility details, please click here.
Sales will then take place in the following order...
Season ticket holders who recorded FC Salzburg from 1pm on Thursday October 17.
Important change to stadium access on matchday: Season ticket holders not sitting in their usual Premier League seat for this fixture will have their season ticket card activated for entry to the stadium, paper tickets will not be issued.
Members who recorded FC Salzburg: From 8.15am on Friday October 18.
Tickets will be subject to availability on a first come, first served basis, and a queuing system will be in place.
Should any tickets remain, the club will provide further sale updates here. In the event there are further sales, tickets will be available to season ticket holders who have recorded one of the following UEFA Champions League home fixtures during season 2018-19, followed by Members who have recorded one of the following UEFA Champions League home fixtures during season 2018-19:
FC Barcelona, FC Porto, Bayern Munich, Napoli, Red Star Belgrade, Paris Saint-Germain.
The local general sale will take place from 8.15am on Wednesday October 30.
The club reserves the right to change any sale to a controlled sale if given advice from the police or other relevant authorities.
For stadium access information, click here.
For general information, click here.