Liverpool make three changes for today’s Premier League fixture with Aston Villa at Anfield.
Naby Keita, Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain and Divock Origi come into the starting line-up for the champions, with Jordan Henderson, Georginio Wijnaldum and Roberto Firmino making way.
James Milner misses out due to a tight muscle, but Xherdan Shaqiri returns on the substitutes’ bench.
Liverpool: Alisson, Alexander-Arnold, Gomez, Van Dijk, Robertson, Fabinho, Keita, Oxlade-Chamberlain, Mane, Salah, Origi.
Subs: Adrian, Wijnaldum, Firmino, Henderson, Minamino, Shaqiri, Jones, Elliott, Williams.
Jürgen Klopp wants his Liverpool players to prove just how important today's encounter with Aston Villa is by delivering a fighting and spirited display at Anfield.
The Reds have, of course, already secured the Premier League title but are now looking to respond to the defeat at Manchester City in midweek.
Dean Smith’s Villa, meanwhile, currently sit in the relegation zone in the standings, with Klopp very aware of how determined they’ll be to pick up valuable points this afternoon.
Speaking exclusively to Liverpoolfc.com’s new Match Centre from the team hotel, the boss said: "That's the situation for most of the teams we play now, Aston Villa and then we play Brighton – maybe not exactly the same situation since yesterday but fighting for the league can finish the relegation battle for them on Wednesday.
"Today, Aston Villa, a massive game for them but we want to show that it's a massive game for us as well. It's a home game.
"We just want to perform, that's how it is, that's how it looked. In this case, because the result was bad, yes, the boys want to have a different result.
"For that we have to do the right things in the right moment for 95 minutes or so.
"It will be tough because Aston Villa, of course, has real quality, result-wise they struggled a bit and that's why they have 27 points.
"But they are under pressure and we will feel that. They will fight with all they have, for sure."
Take a look at our collection of interesting facts and figures ahead of Liverpool's Premier League encounter with Aston Villa this afternoon.
The Reds welcome Dean Smith’s side to Anfield for the 4.30pm BST kick-off as they look to immediately respond to the defeat away at Manchester City.
Check out various pre-match stats, courtesy of club statistician Ged Rea, below…
Liverpool require two goals to record 300 in all games at Anfield under Jürgen Klopp. This will be game No.127.
Sadio Mane is one goal short of recording 50 at Anfield for the Reds in all competitions and has scored five goals in his five Premier League appearances against Villa – four with Southampton adding to this season’s winner at Villa Park.
Liverpool have scored more league goals in their history (325) against Villa than they have against any other team.
Mohamed Salah has scored 15 goals in his 15 Anfield Premier League appearances this season. He has found the back of the net in all six of Liverpool’s home league games in this calendar year.
Since 1981, the last 33 clashes on Merseyside at Anfield have produced only one goalless draw – in March 2000.
The Reds have dropped just four points out of the last possible 108 at Anfield in the league (34 wins and two draws).
James Milner has scored in both his Liverpool appearances against former club Villa.
Liverpool have never lost successive league games under Klopp. The last time they were defeated in back-to-back top-flight matches was in September 2015 (at home to West Ham United and away at Manchester United).
Jordan Henderson has paid special tribute to three key figures in his Liverpool career that helped him on his journey towards becoming the club’s first ever Premier League-winning captain.
Henderson became a Red when he joined Sir Kenny Dalglish’s side in the summer of 2011, proving to be the start of a very special journey with the club.
Another significant landmark during his time on Merseyside arrived in July 2015 when Brendan Rodgers appointed the midfielder as first-team captain to replace the departed Steven Gerrard.
And Henderson has used his programme notes for today’s clash with Aston Villa to thank that particular trio as he takes time to reflect on his nine seasons at Anfield.
The No.14 writes: “I could fill the entire programme listing people I am grateful to and, by the way, none more so than all my current teammates, the gaffer, his direct staff and the unreal club staff, who we don’t get to see as much of. But there are three people whose contribution to me personally here at Liverpool I want to highlight and thank.
“Firstly, Sir Kenny Dalglish. One of the things that set me off on the night we won it was seeing Kenny on TV immediately after and how emotional he was. Along with Damien Comolli, to whom I will also be forever grateful, Kenny is the reason I got the opportunity to play for this amazing club.
“I can still remember, clear as day, the first conversation we had and the first meeting we had. I still remember those first training sessions.
“Sir Kenny taught me how special this club is and that when you are privileged to represent it on the pitch, you carry a great responsibility. I loved every minute of playing for Sir Kenny and he taught me more than I can explain in words.
“The gaffer said that Kenny is our ‘soul’ and that is such a great description. To know he is in the stands supporting us – home and away – drives us on as a team. When he is on our plane coming back from away games, every player wants to shake his hand.
“I can never repay what he did for me, but I hope the joy we have bought him on the pitch, in the last few seasons especially, has gone some way to show the gratitude he deserves.
“Secondly, is Brendan Rodgers. I think on the outside Brendan probably isn’t given the credit he deserves for the role he played in our journey as a club. But I know on the inside, from people who know and understand, it’s hugely appreciated. You only have to listen to our gaffer now speak.
“When Jürgen says one of the biggest things that attracted him to come to Liverpool in the first place was because it was an outstanding team, in great shape, you realise how important Brendan was.
“He made me captain and it was a brave choice. I was young still and I’m sure he could have picked other candidates who were more experienced. Whatever he saw in me that made him think I was worthy of that honour I don’t know, but I couldn’t be more thankful.
“Again, Brendan is a person who invested a lot of time and energy into me as a professional and I learned so much from him and his staff at the time.
“Thirdly, is Steven Gerrard. It’s impossible to sum up the importance of Stevie to the modern Liverpool and what we are achieving together now. If you speak to every player in our dressing room – from the oldest to the youngest – they’ll all tell you that following in the footsteps of Steven Gerrard was a massive factor in wanting to sign for this club. It was for me, and I was lucky to play alongside him for club and country.
“Looking back now, as a player, you cannot get any better education than being in the same team as Stevie. Everything about him was inspirational.
“Again, turning to the gaffer’s words, this Liverpool was ‘built on Stevie’s legs’ and Stevie’s shoulders. He is the benchmark for any player coming to this club today. The way he handled pressure. The way he protected the team and the club. The way he led and the example he set. The quality he had. Wow.
“When we won the Champions League in Madrid and we went back to the team hotel for the party, someone told me Stevie was in the room. It took me ages to find him, because he was tucked away in a corner. He told me it was because it was the current players’ night and he was there as a supporter, feeling privileged to see the lads celebrate.
“That sums him up, but whether Stevie likes it or not – for so many of us in this current team – his contribution to what we have achieved can’t be underestimated. He set the standards we all work day in and day out to reach. His values and his example drives so many of us on. The club we have today – with the support and the backing – is because of him.”
Pick up your copy of the official LFC matchday programme by clicking here.
Jürgen Klopp has explained how his players can reflect on the success they have delivered to Liverpool while at the same time retaining that intense hunger to secure more silverware.
Klopp’s Reds ended a 30-year wait last week by delivering the Premier League title to Anfield, having already made history by winning the Champions League, FIFA Club World Cup and UEFA Super Cup.
But with six matches to go in the 2019-20 campaign, the boss views each one as an opportunity for the squad to improve further.
In his programme notes for today’s encounter with Aston Villa, he writes: “Of course this is the first column I have written since we were confirmed champions. I will go into this more ahead of the final home game, because I think it is important to emphasise the need for focus on what we still have ahead of us.
“One of our defining features, as a team, has been to embody the spirit of the line in the supporters’ song Allez Allez Allez when they declare, 'We’re never gonna stop'. I love everything about that line.
“This team has embraced that mentality. We have achieved much together but we cannot press the pause button for even one moment. It is important to savour and enjoy the special moments. It is not allowed that we don’t recognise these shared experiences.
“But it is possible, if you have the mindset, to do both: enjoy the 'now' but be in a hungry and greedy mood for more in the future.
“I keep getting asked about ‘dynasty’ and ‘dominance’ and I really don’t like it. One headline since we came back wrongly suggested it was our plan to build a dynasty. I never said this and never would.
“If we remain humble, as individuals, as a team and as a club, we can achieve so much more together. And being humble isn’t about not celebrating. Trust me. I am a big fan of celebrating like crazy.
“Humility is about how you approach your work. For me it’s about recognising that I need to improve as a coach and a leader and find ways to be better. For my players it is about being prepared to work even harder than you have before.
“Titles don’t make players better. Their day-to-day work does that. Their attitude does that, their ability to be humble and accept they are not perfect and can be better.
“And for our fans it’s about recognising that their role will always be critical to everything we do and they need to keep being our energy source.”
Pick up your copy of the official LFC matchday programme by clicking here.
Jurgen Klopp is prepared for the “obvious bullshit” from the English press if his Liverpool side fail to start next season’s title defence as strongly as they won it.
The Reds are Premier League champions for the first time, but this is not the first league title Klopp has won in his career.
He led Borussia Dortmund to their first Bundesliga triumph in nine years when they won the German top flight in 2010/11, and then retained it the following season.
It was a spell that put Klopp on the map in terms of Europe’s best coaches, furnished by a run to the Champions League final the following season, and should help him steel his Liverpool side for their own defence.
Not that he sees it that way, instead preferring to set next season’s objective as “attacking” the title, but either way, speaking ahead of Sunday’s visit of Aston Villa, he was questioned on his experience of back-to-back successes.
“Look, sometimes in life you need to have the problem first, before you can find the solution for it,” he said, when asked if there would be an issue motivating his champions.
“Preparing solutions constantly for problems you will never have makes no sense.
“We didn’t do anything differently. We lost a player, I think Nuri Sahin at least that year, and brought in Ilkay Gundogan, who was obviously not a bad replacement.
“So we didn’t do anything different, but what we did do is just trained hard, we were positive about our future.
“We didn’t expect to [just] win the league again, because there was no chance. There was a big competitor, there was Bayern Munich, and usually if you beat them they strike back with all they have. That’s not different here.
“After five matchdays [in 2011/12], I’m pretty sure we were seventh in the league, and your colleagues in Germany were throwing at us with all they found.
“Like ‘lost focus’, ‘not greedy enough any more’, ‘still celebrating’, all the obvious bullshit.
“Then we won a game away at Mainz, 1-0, with a really scruffy goal, a 50-yard shot that rolled through all the legs, and we knew in that moment that was, for us, the step in that season.
“We were not bad in the beginning, we just did not get the results. That can happen in football.
“From that moment on, this team from Dortmund broke all the records so far in Germany, 81 points in the end, not losing for 23 games or something like that.
“We were really in it, because we were still good, and the boys were 100 percent in it.
“And we would have had a chance the year after, but then the team looked completely different. That’s how it is.
“You don’t have to change, you have to do the good things and improve the not-so-good things. That’s what you have to do all the time.
“It’s not important what you won last year, it’s all about what you maybe can win next year.
“We never felt that we have to win the league to show the world we are still ‘on it’, because there’s a competition, all the other teams can improve.
“It was a great season [for Dortmund], but for moments it didn’t look like it and everybody started directly criticising.
“So I’m prepared for all the things you will say about us if the next season doesn’t start as it should start.
“But as long as I see in the eyes of my boys that they are ready, that will have absolutely no influence on what we will do.”
This Liverpool side is undoubtedly stronger than the Dortmund side that won consecutive Bundesliga titles under Klopp’s charge, and the manager himself will attest that he is an improved leader.
“I don’t expect perfection from my players. I want to play the next season as good as possible, that’s what I expect,” he continued.
“If you can be very successful—first, second or whatever—by losing five games, I would be surprised. Or six, seven, eight games like City, I would be surprised.
“But if that’s possible, I would take that—after the season, not around these five, six, seven, eight games!
“I don’t know exactly how it will be, when I look at the league now, I see so many teams who are really improving in this moment.
“It’s a difficult time, so we don’t know who takes risks with transfers, who doesn’t do that, all this kind of stuff. We will see that.
“We will make sure we are ready for a proper competition and a proper challenge, that’s what I can expect, and not that we either become champions from winning 38 games or I’m not happy anymore.
“The situation is like the situation is, we have to make the best of it and that is what we will do.
“These boys are exceptional characters, and I don’t even doubt them 100 percent. I trust them 100 percent.
“They are not perfect, and they make a lot of mistakes and sometimes they are more disguised than in other moments, but in the end they always strike back.
“Since I’ve known them, they’ve always improved, they’ve always struck back, they always understand, they are always thoughtful, they think about the stuff.
“So we go. What we get for it, we never knew before and we will not know next year.
“That’s why I said we will not defend the title, we will attack the next one, without knowing if we get it.”
Young attacking midfielder Curtis Jones has been rewarded for a season of enormous progress with a new long-term contract at Liverpool.
The 19-year-old is tipped by many in the local media to play a far more prominent role next year, but he has already started making significant impacts when given the chance.
He said at the time it was a “proud moment” which was “topped off” by the memorable win, and has made nine appearances all told at first-team level under Jurgen Klopp.
Jones’ new contract is reported to be a five-year deal by several media outlets.
Capable of playing as an attacking midfielder or on the left side of the front three, Jones should see more game time next season with the departure of Adam Lallana, along with a potential exit for Xherdan Shaqiri.
After signing his new deal, Jones told the club website:
“For me, as everyone knows, it’s massive.
“It’s my boyhood club and it’s the whole of my family’s club as well, so for me it’s huge.
“I think the environment and stuff is all positive and keeps me as positive as I can. Of course, we’re working with a great manager and around the best team in the world, so for me it was easy and [I’m] extremely proud.”
“We want our young players to achieve their maximum and a big part of that is keeping the focus on their journey and not just a destination. You have to make sure their development is constant, otherwise you are failing them.
“I could not be more pleased or proud to see how he has blossomed. Super attitude – brilliant application – and a really important member of this squad now.”
Jones has eight appearances to his name this season in all competitions, with five starts in domestic cups. He’s been on the bench for the last two Premier League games and is expected to get opportunities in the remaining six games of the season.
He needs three more league appearances to officially qualify for a Premier League winner’s medal.
The thought of making history and being forever remembered by Liverpool supporters is something that fuels Curtis Jones every single day.
The 19-year-old Scouser has committed his future to his boyhood club by signing a new long-term contract after an impressive 2019-20 season on an individual level.
Having become the youngest player to ever captain the Reds in a fixture and scored a memorable winning goal in a Merseyside derby at Anfield, the No.48 is determined to deliver many more special moments after inking his latest deal.
Watch our chat with the Academy product in full via LFCTV GO now, or read on below for a transcript…
Curtis, congratulations on your new deal. Another proud moment for you...
Yeah, definitely. It's come around quick. I think it was only a year to 10 months when I first signed my other one. But I've done well and I'm proud to have got another one. It was an easy thing for me to be able to put pen to paper and try and get it done as quick as possible. I'm very proud.
How made up are you to commit your future to your boyhood club?
For me, as everyone knows, it's massive. As you said then, it's my boyhood club and it's the whole of my family's club as well. For me it's huge. I think the environment and stuff is all positive and keeps me as positive as I can. Of course we're working with a great manager and around the best team in the world, so for me it was easy and [I'm] extremely proud.
You must be delighted to see all your hard work and progression has paid off in resulting in this new deal...
Of course. I think for any of the young lads, including myself, you come in here and we work hard every day. The manager and the team have got that faith and belief in us. The opportunities that we've got have been huge throughout the whole of the season. I think I've took my chance well and it's repaid me in a great way.
Do you want to tell us a bit about the work you’ve been doing to help with your development?
It's a perfect environment. I've got great boys around that help me every day – Hendo, Millie, Lallana, Fabinho, the whole of the team is perfect for me to watch every day in training. But to be involved with them, you pick up so many things and the detail in what they do and they do everything perfect – their professionalism around the place, it's perfect. So I'm picking up all that and taking it into my game and to me as a person. It's paying off right.
It's been an incredible season for you so far with so many memorable moments. Have you had chance to soak it all up yet?
I haven't, no, because I think the boys are doing very well and the games are coming as quick as possible. I don't want to sit there and try and put it all on me because I think without the boys and the coaching staff around, I wouldn't have got those opportunities and wouldn't have been able to live that dream I've had. I need to give credit to the boys and the rest of the coaching staff most definitely.
When you look back on your career a long, long time in the future, do you think this season will turn out to be a pivotal one?
Yeah, definitely. As I said before, I'm just a young lad and I'm in the world's best team, definitely. The things I'm picking up every single day and the people that I'm learning from will definitely benefit me in the future.
What's it like for a local lad like yourself to be doing all this? A bit surreal I'd imagine...
Of course, it's a dream. As a young lad growing up who loved football, it was always my dream to come here and spend the whole of my career here. I'm here to make history at the club and try and be a legend at the club and want to be remembered by the whole of the fans throughout the whole time that LFC lasts.
You've had so many good moments in your young career already. You've had that taste, so how determined are you for more and potentially better ones?
Everybody knows me, I'm a confident boy, but now I've got to be patient and wait until the time's right and wait until the manager and his staff think it's right to put me in, which I know they will because I know the belief that they've got in me and I know they're perfect people to be around at the moment I am now in my career. As I always say, any time that I'm called upon and any position that I get put on in, I'll always give 100 per cent. As I said before, I'm here to make history at the club.
And there's no better place for you to be than here at Melwood on a daily basis, is there?
I came in at the same age as what Harvey is now and him coming in, you can already see how well that he's fit in and how confident he is. But the same is for me and Neco, Ki-Jana and the rest of the young lads that are in there now, it's perfect. You come in and you're made welcome every single day. But, of course, the boys expect a lot from you because you're so young but you're up here for a reason. Of course there's a lot asked but that pays off for you in the future. I think the changing room is perfect and the team that I've got around us now at the minute is absolutely perfect.
What are your hopes for the future then after penning this new deal?
Once I sign, I don't really think about that. I just want to go out on the pitch and be the best I can and show everybody the player that I'm going to be in the future. As soon as I signed now, I'm straight back out there, 100 per cent work again. As I said before, I'm looking forward to the opportunities that the manager and the rest of the staff will be giving.
The manager obviously has such faith in young talent and has talked about wanting young players to make the step up to become established first-teamers. How determined are you to take him up on that offer?
It's huge. Not only is it a dream but whenever I'm challenged, I love a challenge, especially now with the team that I'm in. I'm battling every day to try and get in the team or be on the bench or be around the squad. Every opportunity that I get I'll definitely be taking it with both hands and giving it the best shot that I've got. That's what I think I've done in the games that I've played in.
But you have to earn those opportunities, don't you?
Definitely. Everybody knows now that the team we're trying to get in is the best team in the world, the players that are in there are world class. For me, I've got to be 100 per cent focused and give it 100 per cent every single day that I'm in here and keep doing my extra [work] that I'm doing around training.
Curtis Jones described the 'perfect environment' that exists at Melwood to enable him - and other young players - to develop after he signed a new contract with Liverpool on Saturday.
The 19-year-old put his signature on the deal at Melwood in the latest milestone in what's been a breakthrough campaign on a personal level.
Moments after he put pen to paper, Jones spoke exclusively to Liverpoolfc.com to offer his instant reaction to the news.
LFCTV GO subscribers can watch our interview in full above now.
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Curtis Jones put pen to paper on a new long-term contract with Liverpool on Saturday morning - and our photographer was on hand to capture the moment he recommitted to his boyhood club.
The playmaker inked the fresh terms at Melwood after a watershed campaign with the Reds' first team.
Browse through a selection of photos from Jones' signing below.
Photos by Andrew Powell