Liverpool maintained their eleven point at the top of the Premier League with a 3-0 victory over Bournemouth at The Vitality Stadium.
Goals from Alex Oxlade Chamberlain, Naby Keita and Mohamed Salah sufficed for the much changed European Champions who kept their first clean sheet in what feels like an age.
Jurgen Klopp made seven changes from the team that won the Merseyside derby midweek, with Salah, Oxlade Chamberlain, Keita, Jordan Henderson, Joe Gomez, Alisson and Roberto Firmino all returning for the Reds.
Such a raft of changes was always going to engender a lack of fluency and the opening thirty minutes were quite unremarkable for both sides, with Salah shooting tamely at Ben Ramsdale the only talking point of any note.
Gradually, though, Liverpool were beginning to turn the screw and their pressure paid dividends on the 35 minute mark.
A weapon the Klopp’s team regularly used versus Everton was the long ball over the top of the defence, and this approach bore fruit again this afternoon.
Henderson, reminiscent of a quarter back picking out a wide receiver, floated a brilliant pass over the top of the retreating Bournemouth defence for Oxlade Chamberlain to touch in. Legitimate questions could be asked over Ramsdale’s positioning, but the pass and the reactions from Chamberlain — whose left wing berth had seen on the games periphery — were both of the highest calibre.
Now firmly in the box seat, with Keita — making his first Premier League start of the season — instrumental, Liverpool soon add a second. The Guinean linked wonderfully with Salah, receiving a back heel from the Egyptian in the box, before cooly, with the outside of his foot, firing past Ramsdale.
The half was going swimmingly for the league leaders, but the substitution of Dejan Lovren with what appeared to be an injury is a cause of concern, especially given the injuries to Joel Matip and Fabinho, the other centre half options.
Gomez, who was performing admirably at right back, switched to centre half and Trent Alexander Arnold slotted in at full back as Liverpool held their 2-0 lead at the break.
The 2-0 deficit took much of the life from the Cherries — who lost both Nathan Ake and Callum Wilson to hamstring injuries — and the Reds ran roughshod over the ravaged hosts.
Salah and Keita had been showing the signs of a nascent on pitch understanding and both Africans, in the mirror opposite of the second goal, once again linked up to supply a goal.
A wayward pass from substitute Jack Simpson fell to Keita and the Guinean gracefully slipped a pass behind the Bournemouth defence. The through ball was tuned perfectly to the movement of Salah and the Egyptian delicately slipped the ball past Ramsdale for the killer 3-0 goal.
The intensity of the game flatlined from there on in and the feeling was that the Anfield side could have added more goals to their tally if the mood had struck them.
Instead, with the key Salzburg Champions League game on the horizon, energy preservation was the call for the final 20 or second minutes.
Young academy product, Curtis Jones, was given his debut when he replaced Andrew Robertson, with the Scot earning a seldom enjoyed rest for the final 15 minutes.
Showing excellent ball retention, the still unbeaten Reds saw out the game with the foremost of comfort in a performance fitting of European Champions.
After an opening to the season that included many narrow wins, this was Liverpool at their best and the gulf in class between them and Eddie Howe’s men was gaping.
Going forward, Klopp will no doubt be pleased that Salah looked back to his best and that Keita showed all of the class that convinced the club to part with over 50M to seal his signature.
Liverpool team: Alisson, Gomez, Lovren, Van Dijk, Robertson; Henderson, Keita, Milner; Salah, Firmino, Oxlade Chamberlain.
Substitutions: Alexander Arnold for Lovren, Jones for Robertson, Shaqiri for Oxlade Chamberlain.
Subs not used: Adrian, Elliott, Origi, Mane.
Venue – Vitality Stadium, Bournemouth
Referee – Chris Kavanagh
Date & Time – Saturday, December 7th @ 15:00
Current Odds – Bournemouth 6/1, Draw 15/4, Liverpool 4/9
Strap yourselves in for an insanely busy December for Liverpool. Even as fans, it seems there’s a lot to keep up with this month. Imagine how the players feel. A fantastic 5-2 trouncing of Everton on Wednesday has everyone buzzing. Time to keep the form going and not get complacent.FORM
Bournemouth have just one win in 10 in all competitions, losing their last four Premier League matches. Eddie Howe’s side has slipped to 12th in the table as a result of this dip.
They will improve in the second half of the season and go on to achieve mid-table safety at least. Let’s hope they don’t have an upturn in form just yet.
43 points from a possible 45 in the Premier League. That’s 14 wins and 1 draw in Liverpool’s opening 15 games of the season. Phenomenal. The team has also now gone a club-record 32 top-flight games unbeaten. Jurgen Klopp has formed a team for the ages. Don’t doubt it. You’ll very rarely see this class of side again, anywhere.
Wednesday night’s win over Everton was with a much-changed starting lineup as The Reds face into a very demanding winter schedule. It worked and, importantly, it showed the strength-in-depth is actually there.
The next month will go a long way to deciding Liverpool’s season. Let’s start with another three points at Bournemouth on Saturday.TEAM NEWS
Bournemouth Team News
Eddie Howe will be without Steve Cook, Charlie Daniels, Lloyd Kelly, Andrew Surman, David Brooks, Junior Stanislas and Josh King, all through injury.
Harry Wilson will be ineligible for this game as Liverpool is his parent club.
Defender Adam Smith faces a late fitness test to see if he is available for selection.
Howe’s Bournemouth has lined up in 4-4-2, 4-4-1-1 and 4-5-1 formations in recent months. It will probably be a 4-5-1 they go with for Saturday’s game.
Liverpool will need to keep Ryan Fraser quiet while Callum Wilson will give Virgil van Dijk and co plenty to think about.
Liverpool Team News
Alisson returns for Liverpool after missing the 5-2 derby victory through suspension.
Joel Matip, Fabinho and Nathaniel Clyne are all injured for this clash. Fabinho and Clyne won’t be back until the new year. Matip should be back in the next few weeks.
Klopp needs to rotate his starting lineup throughout December due to the hectic schedule facing The Reds.
The back four should be the same as those who started against Everton. However, in midfield, it could be a different trio of Jordan Henderson, Naby Keita and Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain.
Mohamed Salah, Roberto Firmino and Divock Origi is my pick for the front three to start at Bournemouth.PREDICTED LINEUPS
Bournemouth XI (4-5-1) – Ramsdale; Smith, Mepham, Ake, Rico; Groeneveld, Cook, Lerma, Billing, Fraser; Wilson
Liverpool XI (4-3-3) – Alisson; Alexander-Arnold, Lovren, Van Dijk, Robertson; Henderson, Keita, Oxlade-Chamberlain; Salah, Firmino, OrigiWHEN THEY LAST MET
Liverpool have won the last four meetings between the two sides with an aggregate score of 14-0 in those games. Mohamed Salah has bagged six goals in that time against Bournemouth.
The last two games at the Vitality Stadium were 4-0 wins for Liverpool. A Salah hat-trick and a Steve Cook own-goal did the damage on the south coast last season.PREDICTION
BOURNEMOUTH 1 – 3 LIVERPOOL
I think Jurgen Klopp’s midweek rotation against Everton will reap further rewards here. Mohamed Salah and Roberto Firmino will be chomping at the bit. A punt on Salah to score two or more goals OR Salah and Firmino both to score. I still can’t back The Reds to keep a clean sheet but they should win this game by two goals, at least.
Liverpool restored their lead at the top of the Premier League table to eight points with a 5-2 Merseyside win over Everton at Anfield.
A brace from Divock Origi and further goals from Sadio Mane, Georginio Wijnaldum and Xherdan Shaqiri gave the much changed Reds the win in a flowing game of football. The victory was the 100th in the Premier League reign of Jurgen Klopp in his 159th game as the manager of the European Champions.
Everton, tactically braver than in recent trips to Anfield, notched goals through Michael Keane and Richarlison but were blown away by the intensity of the European Champions. On another night, the scoreline could have easily read 6/7-2 with the hosts guilty of missing ample good chances.
Klopp elected to shuffle his pack and his team selection saw several changes from the victory over Brighton last time out. In came Adrian for the suspended Alisson as well as Adam Lallana, Origi, Shaqiri and James Milner, with Mane the only regular member of the famous front three starting.
There was no lack of synergy, however, as the Reds exploded into — and into the lead — life on the six minute mark.
A rapid counter attack saw Andy Robertson find Mane and the Senegalese, with all the skill and vision of a playmaker, delicately slid Origi in behind Everton’s defence. Not panicking, the Belgian rounded Jordan Pickford and finished into an empty net to complete a beautifully crafted goal.
The role of creator was clearly one Mane enjoyed and he turned provider again soon after, this time for Shaqiri. A brilliant weighted, arching pass from the forward found the Swiss international’s outside to in run and he caressed the ball past Pickford for 2-0.
The visitors, who the pre match speculation suggested the result would have a baring on their manager, Marco Silva, future, began pressing for a goal back and it arrived in the twenty first minute. Reacting well in the box from a second phase off a set piece, England international Michael Keane finished well over Adrian to claw Everton back into the game.
The Blues bubble was burst ten minutes later, however, when Origi completed his brace with when he finished with aplomb after being sent behind from a long ball from the back. A recurring feature of Liverpool’s play all night was their centre halves, Dejan Lovren and Virgil van Dijk, looking to play long passes over the top of Everton’s backline and this approach bore fruit for the Belgian’s second goal.
Lovren’s accurate pass from distance was brilliantly controlled by the forward who then, as cool as ice, lifted it over Pickford for 3-1.
The deluge of goals continued, though, and the Goodison Park men were next up. After Milner lost the ball in midfield, Everton broke and Lucas Digne’s accurate cross was nodded in by Richarlison to provide hope for their first Anfield win since 1999 at 3-2.
The first half goals weren’t down there and Mane, shifting from creator to scorer, netted next. Trent Alexander Arnold, in a counter attack from an Everton corner, powerfully ran from just outside his own box to Everton’s. With both Shaqiri and Mane as options with the Blues exposed, the England international picked out Liverpool’s number 10 and, left footed, Mane beautifully curled past Pickford from just outside the box.
Klopp’s half time team talk clearly worked as the Reds, switching to a 4231, managed the game much better and ceded very little in terms of chances.
Henderson, a late substitute, should have had two assists if it wasn’t for unusual profligacy for Mane who missed two on on one chances, one after brilliantly plucking a high ball from mid air and setting himself up to shoot wide.
Another substitute, Firmino, did bag an assist, though, as he found Georginio Wijnaldum in the box after brilliantly skipping past Mason Holgate on the left flank. The Dutchman calmly toe poked into the bottom right corner at the Kop end to tie up yet another derby victory.
Liverpool team: Adrian; Alexander Arnold, Lovren, van Dijk, Robertson; Wijnaldum, Lallana, Milner; Mane, Origi, Shaqiri.
Substitutions: Henderson for Lallana, Gomez for Alexander Arnold, Firmino for Origi.
Subs not used: Keita, Kelleher, Oxlade Chamberlain, Salah.
Venue – Anfield, Liverpool
Referee – Mike Dean
Date & Time – Wednesday, December 4th @ 20:15
Current Odds – Liverpool 4/11, Draw 4/1, Everton 15/2
Anfield, under the lights, the Merseyside derby, a few beers beforehand. The place is going to be rocking. Let’s hope we can paint the town red after the full-time whistle.Form
Liverpool are 8 points clear of Leicester City at the top of the Premier League table. Manchester City are a further three points behind Leicester.
The Reds opened up this hugely impressive lead by winning 13 of their opening 14 games, only dropping points in the 1-1 draw at Old Trafford in October. They have already beaten Chelsea away and Arsenal, Spurs, Manchester City and Leicester at Anfield.
Last Saturday, they again ground out the required result against Brighton. Hopefully, they can get a more straightforward three points against Everton on Wednesday.
Everton are currently 17th in the Premier League and, if things don’t improve soon, they will be dragged into a relegation battle in the second half of the season.
However, I feel change is afoot at Goodison Park, whether it’s for the best remains to be seen. My belief is that Marco Silva will be dismissed after Wednesday night’s derby. I think the decision has already been made in the background to get rid of Silva. The delay is because they don’t fancy tasking a newly-hired boss with the trip to Anfield for his first game.
With a record that is now worse than Ronald Koeman’s before him, Marco Silva knows he is on borrowed time. There has been much talk of David Moyes returning to the club so watch this space.
On Sunday, Everton almost helped Liverpool by taking points off Leicester City. A late winner from Kelechi Iheanacho gave Brendan Rodgers’ side the win, though.Team news
Liverpool Team News
Alisson is suspended for this game after his red card against Brighton on Saturday. He will be available for selection again at the weekend as it is only a one-game ban.
Joel Matip and Fabinho are both out through injury. Matip should be fully fit soon but it could be mid-December. Fabinho is reported to be out until the new year.
I think Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain will start his second game in a row. ‘The Ox’ was unfortunate to be the player sacrificed for Adrian’s introduction after Alisson’s red card against Brighton on Saturday.
Everton Team News
Everton have a few players out through injury. Seamus Coleman, Andre Gomes and Jean-Philippe Gbamin are all missing. Fabian Delph and Theo Walcott are both serious doubts while Beni Baningime will face a late fitness test.
The Toffees do not have any players suspended for this game.
Silva normally sets his side out in a 4-2-3-1 formation. It should be the same at Anfield.Predicted lineups
Liverpool XI (4-3-3) – Adrian; Alexander-Arnold, Lovren, Van Dijk, Robertson; Wijnaldum, Henderson, Oxlade-Chamberlain; Salah, Firmino, Mané
Everton XI (4-2-3-1) – Pickford; Sidibe, Keane, Mina, Digne; Davies, Schneiderlin; Iwobi, Sigurdsson, Richarlison; Calvert-LewinWhen they last met
Everton haven’t scored against Liverpool in their last three games and they haven’t actually won at Anfield since 1999.
Last season, it was the glorious 96th-minute winner from Divock Origi which separated the sides – cue Jurgen Klopp running onto the Anfield turf to celebrate with Alisson in the middle of the pitch. Fantastic memories.
The teams drew 0-0 at Goodison Park when they last met in March.Prediction
LIVERPOOL 2 – 1 EVERTON
It’s hard to predict any other scoreline these days. Eight of their wins in all competitions this season have been by a 2-1 score. Surprisingly, Manchester City is the only team Liverpool have beaten by more than one goal since September.
Wednesday night, Anfield will be rocking. It won’t be easy and Everton never roll over for The Reds but Liverpool should get the three points.
I’m getting mighty tired of these nail-biters. One regular day of Barclays, that’s all I ask for. Right now, it doesn’t look as if it will happen. Despite that, with Leicester still to play, the Reds are a massive 11 points clear at the top of the Premier League with 14 games played. Despite the best efforts of Alisson and Martin Atkinson, we held on to clinch another 3 points.
It was a real moment of madness from our Brazilian number 1. Up until that point he had been very solid, with just one notable misplaced pass after a slip. However, following a long ball played in behind our defence, he took it upon himself to rush out of his box and, while in no man’s land, had no option but to concede a goal or take the red card. He elected to choose the latter option and handled outside his area, preventing a clear goalscoring opportunity.
Onto the defenders and some of the blame for the goal has to be placed on their shoulders as, when 2-0 up and in control, a simple hoof up the field should not cause so much trouble. Aside from the Alisson red card situation, though, the backline was assured. Brighton created very few chances and, despite it being nervy towards the end, they never really looked like scoring (unless they were gifted a goal by the referee). Trent Alexander-Arnold showed his class in an attacking sense once again as he assisted both goals – one from a corner and the other from a wide free kick. Incredibly, they were both nodded home by yet another defender, Virgil van Dijk. It felt like quite a while since the big Dutchman’s last goal and then he pops up with 2 in the space of 6 minutes.
The less said about the midfield, the better. The absence of Fabinho was always going to be felt, but this performance in the middle of the park was very disappointing. Jordan Henderson in particular appeared to struggle. I think we had all hoped that we’d seen the last of the captain in the number 6 role, however that was not the case. In the coming weeks without Fabinho, Wijnaldum simply has to play deepest and, if Henderson is going to feature, he must be one of the more advanced midfielders.
The attack struggled to make too much of an impact. Sadio Mané was the most dangerous of the three by far, pulling off a number of driving runs from deep to get us up the pitch and into promising positions. Salah is clearly still feeling the effects of that horror tackle from Hamza Choudhury a number of weeks back, while Roberto Firmino was far from his usual self.
Man of the Match was a pretty easy choice this week, I’m giving it to Virgil van Dijk. He was defensively sound throughout and also proved to be the match-winner with 2 goals in the first half.
Venue – Anfield, Liverpool
Referee – Martin Atkinson
Date & Time – Saturday, November 30th @ 15:00
Current Odds – Liverpool 9/50, Draw 6/1, Brighton 14/1
Yes, Wednesday night was disappointing. But it’s a return to Premier League action on Saturday as Brighton travel to Merseyside. Time to put the smiles back on the faces of the Anfield faithful.Form
Liverpool struggled to a 1-1 draw with Napoli on Wednesday night in the Champions League. Though the reaction on social media after the game was bordering on hysterical from the fair-weather fans (or the clueless ones – you pick), there still needs to be a significant improvement from Jurgen Klopp’s side as they enter a hectic December fixture schedule.
There would be no better way to put that under-par performance to bed than beating Brighton comfortably at Anfield on Saturday afternoon. Do that and Liverpool will at least maintain an 8-point lead ahead of Leicester City at the top of the Premier League table.
Graham Potter can be relatively happy with the job he has done so far for Brighton. After a very worrying start to the season, his side now sits a very respectable 12th-position, just three points off Sheffield United who are 6th.
They have lost their last two games although they were away to Manchester United and home to second-placed Leicester City.
With Arsenal away to follow this game, Brighton could be looking at four straight defeats. Let’s hope it’s at three after Saturday’s game anyway.Team news
Liverpool Team News
Fabinho picked up an ankle injury against Napoli but the Brazilian midfielder was already set to miss the Brighton game due to suspension anyway.
Joel Matip is out through injury while Naby Keita and Harvey Elliott will face late fitness tests to determine if they are available to make the matchday squad.
Trent Alexander-Arnold should regain his starting berth at right-back in place of Joe Gomez. Dejan Lovren will continue in central defence with Virgil van Dijk while Andrew Robertson will be at left-back.
In Fabinho’s absence, I think Gini Wijnaldum will get the nod at the base of Liverpool’s midfield with Jordan Henderson and Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain ahead of him.
The front three should be Mohamed Salah, Roberto Firmino and Sadio Mané.
Brighton Team News
Graham Potter will be missing Jose Izquierdo due to the knee issue which has kept the midfielder out for some time now.
Bernardo and Aaron Connolly are both doubtful and will face late fitness tests before the trip to Anfield.
Last time out, Potter set Brighton up with a three-man defence against Leicester but up until then, The Seagulls were generally lining out in a 4-4-2 shape. It’s doubtful that they will try a three-man backline against Liverpool’s attack so expect a 4-4-2 formation from the visitors.Predicted lineups
Liverpool XI (4-3-3) – Alisson; Alexander-Arnold, Lovren, Van Dijk, Robertson; Wijnaldum, Henderson, Oxlade-Chamberlain; Salah, Firmino, Mané
Brighton XI (4-3-3) – Ryan; Montoya, Dunk, Duffy, Burn; Alzate, Propper, Stephens, Trossard; Maupay, ConnollyWhen they last met
Liverpool took six points from Brighton last season albeit in two difficult fixtures. Jurgen Klopp’s Redmen won both games 1-0. The Anfield meeting was settled by a Mohamed Salah strike in the first half.Prediction
LIVERPOOL 2 – 0 BRIGHTON
Liverpool struggled to get out of second gear on Wednesday night although, under Carlo Ancelotti, Napoli were extremely well set up, defensively. Brighton will pose a different kind of question to The Reds. I expect Liverpool to have all the answers they need, however, winning by at least two goals.
Liverpool will have most likely have to win their matchday 6 trip to Salzburg in order to top their Champions League after being frustrated 1-1 by Napoli at Anfield tonight.
A Dejan Lovren header from a corner equalised an early Dries Mertens strike, but Liverpool produced an atypically meek European home performance and missed a chance to win their group with a match to spare.
Jurgen Klopp elected to make three changes from the victory over Crystal Palace, with Alex Oxlade Chamberlain being replaced with Mohamed Salah and Joe Gomez and James Milner coming in for Trent Alexander Arnold and Georginio Wijnaldum respectively.
Many fans worried about the selected midfield — Fabinho, Milner and Henderson — and their ability to create opportunities. These fears would have escalated when Fabinho, after becoming the meat in a sandwich when Dejan Lovren tussled with Hirving Lozano, was replaced by Wijnaldum with what appeared to be a knee injury.
With the Brazilian off and shorn of the creative abilities of Alexander Arnold, Liverpool contrived to produce an anaemic performance. Slow, ponderous and lacking intensity the European Champions after 21 minutes, albeit with a massive helping hand from the referee, Carlos del Cerro.
Jumping for the ball with Virgil van Dijk, Mertens — on second inspection — elbows the Dutchman in the ribs and takes him out of the game, as he fell to the ground in pain. From the next phase, taking advantage of the poor defensive alignment of Lovren and Andy Robertson, Giovanni Di Lorenzo sent the Belgian forward in behind with a clipped pass. Mertens, who VAR confirmed was onside, then fired past Alisson with aplomb.
The home team can rightly feel aggrieved with the goal being allowed to stand, but their performance didn’t warrant them being level even if Napoli weren’t exactly ripping up trees themselves.
With the midfield not showing between the lines for the ball, much of the Reds attacks were funnelled down the left hand flank with Sadio Mane, Milner and Roberto Firmino all attempting to prize open the stodgy Italians.
Mane came close on several occasions to providing the final ball, but his efforts were thwarted by last ditch blocks as the half time whistle sounded with the players, Jurgen Klopp and the Anfield faithful all visibly frustrated.The fare wasn’t much better in the opening ten minutes of the second half, but the reds almost scored, despite this.
Henderson’s floating cross — more a hit and hope than incisive creativity — was spilled by Alex Meret and Napoli had Kalidou Koulibaly to thank for saving them a conceded goal with the Senegalese giant clearing Firmino’s effort off the line.The introduction of Oxlade Chamberlain — who replaced Gomez with Henderson going to right back — provided a hitherto unseen spark and drive.
In the minutes following the Englishman’s introduction, Salah worked Meret and Firmino ought to have done better from his angled cross, as he headed wide. Finally, Liverpool were giving their fans something to get excited by.The hosts were turning the screw and mounting the pressure and it bore fruit after 63.
Milner’s out swinging corner was powerfully headed into the left hand corner by Lovren at the Kop end.The Yorkshireman’s assist was one of his last actions of the game as he was soon replaced by Alexander Arnold, with Klopp clearly looking to add invention to a team high on effort but low on ingenuity. The Reds pushed and probed, but the deep sitting Italians sat deep and absorbed pressure, throwing the gauntlet down to Liverpool to create; a job they failed in. Any ideas of resting players away to Salzburg in matchday 6 have fallen by the wayside and the European Champions will almost certainly have to win — given the likelihood Napoli beat Genk — to win their group. Liverpool team: Alisson; Gomez, Lovren, van Dijk, Robertson; Fabinho, Henderson, Milner; Salah, Firmino, Mane. Substitutions: Wijnaldum for Fabinho, Oxlade Chamberlain for Gomez, Alexander Arnold for Milner. Subs not used: Adrian, Lallana, Origi, Shaqiri.
Venue – Anfield, Liverpool
Referee – Carlos del Cerro Grande (ESP)
Date & Time – Wednesday, November 27th 2019 @ 20:00
Current Odds – Liverpool 2/5, Draw 15/4, Napoli 13/2
It’s time for another massive night of European football action under the lights at Anfield. We like those, don’t we?Form
Liverpool have won all seven games since they drew away to Manchester United back in October (one of those ‘wins’ came via a penalty shootout against Arsenal after a 5-5 draw in the Carabao Cup).
The Reds just keep grinding out result after result and their form has given them an 8-point lead over Leicester City at the top of the Premier League. A win against Napoli would guarantee that Jurgen Klopp’s Redmen progress to the last-sixteen as they look to defend their trophy.
Napoli are without a win in their previous six games. They haven’t tasted victory since they picked up three points away to Red Bull Salzburg over a month ago. Since then, they have drawn five and lost one in all competitions.
This dip has seen Carlo Ancelotti’s team fall to a very poor seventh-place in Serie A, already 15 points behind leaders Juventus.
A win at Anfield, however, would put them through to the knockout stages of the Champions League and could prove to be the kickstart they need to get back to the performance levels they are capable of.Team News
Liverpool Team News
Joel Matip is not back to full fitness yet. He is the only member of The Reds’ registered Champions League squad that is out of this game.
Xherdan Shaqiri is still working his way back to full fitness but could feature in the matchday squad.
After Saturday’s hard-fought win at Selhurst Park against Crystal Palace, I wouldn’t be surprised if Jurgen Klopp rotated the midfield trio. James Milner and Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain could start in place of Jordan Henderson and Gini Wijnaldum. Oxlade-Chamberlain played just over an hour as part of the front three on Saturday. He could start in his more preferred midfield role against Napoli.
Mohamed Salah was rested for the Crystal Palace game so he will almost certainly start in this fixture.
Joe Gomez might be given the chance to partner Virgil van Dijk at the heart of the back four in place of Dejan Lovren.
Napoli Team News
Kevin Malcuit, Lorenzo Insigne and Arkadiusz Milik are all reported to be out of this week’s game. Mario Rui faces a late fitness test for Carlo Ancelotti’s side too.
Ancelotti likes to set his Napoli team up in a very old-school 4-4-2 formation and that isn’t likely to change on Wednesday night.
Napoli have no players suspended for this match.Predicted Lineups
Liverpool XI (4-3-3) – Alisson; Alexander-Arnold, Gomez, Van Dijk, Robertson; Fabinho, Milner, Oxlade-Chamberlain; Salah, Firmino, Mané
Napoli XI (4-4-2) – Meret; Lorenzo, Manolas, Koulibaly, Rui; Callejon, Allan, Ruiz, Zielinski; Mertens, LozanoWhen they last met
Napoli won 2-0 in Naples earlier in the group. Last season, Napoli won their home game 1-0 against The Reds. However, a Mohamed Salah goal at Anfield gave Liverpool the three points they needed to qualify for the last-sixteen as Jurgen Klopp’s side continued on the road to lift the club’s sixth European Cup in Madrid.Prediction
Liverpool 1 – 1 Napoli
Napoli have won two of the last three competitive meetings between the two sides under Carlo Ancelotti. The Italian boss seems to have the measure of Jurgen Klopp, tactically, in the head-to-head fixtures so far. Therefore, I think it will be another very tight encounter on Wednesday and Liverpool may well have to settle for a point.
Goals from Sadio Mané and Roberto Firmino saw Liverpool maintain their 8 point lead at the top of the Premier League table with a 2-1 win away to Crystal Palace.
In a performance of professionalism rather than poetry, Firmin0 — after Mané had given the lead and Christian Benteke equalised — gave the table toppers yet another late win with a goal scored with just 8 minutes remaining.
With Mohamed Salah on the bench and Alex Oxlade Chamberlain starting in his place, the European Champions — as is typical in the first game back after an international break — started sluggishly, with both of their full backs, so often the source of creativity, looking laboured.
A misfired Alexander Arnold clearance ended up becoming a through ball for Palace. Townsend, collecting the shank, found Kouyate and his cross was narrowly stabbed wide by Jordan Ayew.
Liverpool came close themselves moments later. A trademark clipped Fabinho pass found the arching run of Sadio Mané inside the box. The Senegalese wingers touch was slightly too heavy, however, and Guaita — quick off his line — smothered the opportunity.
The Reds were struggling to make any attacking inroads, with the midfield shying from offering an option between the lines and all attacking impetus delegated to the full backs.
Palace thought they had taken the lead on the cusp of half time. Softly, Wilfried Zaha went down from a challenge Alexander Arnold should have never made. From the resultant free kick, James Tomkins nodded in. From the VAR review, however, Ayew clearly pushed Dejan Lovren in the box and the goal was correctly ruled out.
The half time whistle blew at 0-0, with the hosts the much happier of the teams.
Liverpool started the second half better and their midfield began to assert themselves.
Jordan Henderson’s through ball released Mané through the heart of the Palace defence, but rapid former Southampton man dragged his shot wide of the right hand post.
Mané made the most of his next opportunity, however, just a few moments later.
Robertson’s clipped cross, aimed at Firmino, fell nicely in the box and the Senegal winger brilliantly improvised to stab past Guaita to give the visitors the lead.
Roy Hodgson’s home team, with Zaha a particular outball, pressed for an equaliser but couldn’t manufacture any good chances with Van Dijk and Lovren solid.
There was far more incision to Liverpool’s play as the match wore on and Firmino ought to have made it 2-0 on the hour. A neat move involving Robertson prized open the Palace defence and the Brazilian found himself clean through. Bearing down on goal, the number 9 opted for a toe poked finish and Guaita pushed it wide.
1-0 is a scoreline fraught with danger and the Eagles were always in the game with the score so tight. Jeffrey Schlupp forced a save from Alisson with a shot from distance and, another sub, Christian Benteke, came close with an acrobatic volley that went side of the right hand post.
Encouraged by their near misses, the hosts snatched an equaliser with 8 minutes remaining.
Benteke’s run from the left saw the Belgian square across goal and the panic in the Liverpool box was taken advantage of by Zaha who finished low into the bottom left corner. On balance, it was a deserved leveller for the home team but there would be a sting in the tail.
As is customary this season, Liverpool scored late. An Alexander Arnold corner caused a milieu in the Palace box and, after several attempted clearances, the ball broke to Firmino who poked home from 6 yards.
There was late pressure to contend with as the home team threw caution to the wind. Andros Townsend’s cross from a second phase off a corner found Zaha. Unmarked and with time in the box, the Ivorian blazed an excellent opportunity over the bar.
Committing men forward, Palace were exposed on the break and Georginio Wijnaldum should have scored when Mané slipped him in but his shot was tame.
It was the last chance of the game as Liverpool held on the the win in a game where the result was better than the performance.
Liverpool team: Alisson; Alexander Arnold, Lovren, van Dijk, Robertson; Fabinho, Henderson, Wijnaldum; Mané, Firmino, Oxlade Chamberlain.
Substitutions: Milner for Henderson, Gomez for Firmino, Origi for Oxlade Chamberlain.
Subs not used: Adrian, Keita, Lallana, Salah.
Venue – Selhurst Park, London
Referee – Kevin Friend
Date & Time – Saturday, November 23rd @ 15:00
Current Odds – Crystal Palace 6/1, Draw 7/2, Liverpool 2/5
While Selhurst Park has been a happy hunting ground in the last couple of years for Liverpool, fans only need to think back as far as 2014 to remember how dreams can be ruined in South London. Don’t take anything for granted until the points have been well-and-truly won.FORM
Crystal Palace Form
After a decent start to the 2019/20 campaign, Crystal Palace have now gone four games without a league win, slipping to 12th in the process. However, with only four points separating 5th place from 16th, Roy Hodgson knows another couple of victories will get his side right back up into the top half of the table, possibly pushing for a top-six finish.
Form? Liverpool have lost just one of their last 51 Premier League fixtures, drawing 7 and winning the other 43 games. It’s simply unheard of in English football. The Reds have won six on the trot in all competitions since drawing 1-1 with United at Old Trafford in October.
Just before the international break, Jurgen Klopp’s Redmen beat Manchester City 3-1 at Anfield to take a 9-point lead over Pep Guardiola’s side at the top of the table. They are 8 points clear of Leicester City and Chelsea.TEAM NEWS
Crystal Palace Team News
Joel Ward is a major doubt for Saturday’s game after picking up a recent groin injury. Wilfried Zaha is nursing an ankle problem but I expect him to make Palace’s starting eleven for this game.
Crystal Palace have no players suspended for this game.
Roy Hodgson has been deploying his team in a 4-5-1 shape in recent weeks with the hope of congesting the midfield more and not allowing teams to play through them so easily. With the pace of Townsend and Zaha on the wings, that is how Palace attempt to get support up to Jordan Ayew in attack.
Former Reds defender Martin Kelly is likely to feature at right-back in place of the injured Joel Ward.
Liverpool Team News
Mohamed Salah, Joel Matip and Nathaniel Clyne are all out of this game through injury. Salah and Matip should be fit to return to action in the next couple of weeks. Clyne is out until February at least.
Xherdan Shaqiri, Jordan Henderson, Joe Gomez and Andrew Robertson are all expected to be available for selection this weekend.
I think Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain could be given a start at Selhurst Park on Saturday. Gini Wijnaldum played a lot of football over this break, culminating in his hat-trick scoring performance on Tuesday night in the Netherlands’ 5-0 win over Holland. Wijnaldum could be on the bench for some recovery time on Saturday giving Oxlade-Chamberlain the chance to show what he can do in his place.
Divock Origi should replace Salah up front with Sadio Mané switching to the right, allowing Origi to play on the left.PREDICTED LINEUPS
Crystal Palace XI (4-5-1) – Guaita; Kelly, Tomkins, Cahill, Van Aanholt; Townsend, Kouyate, Milivojevic, McArthur, Zaha; Ayew
Liverpool XI (4-3-3) – Alisson; Alexander-Arnold, Lovren, Van Dijk, Robertson; Fabinho, Henderson, Oxlade-Chamberlain; Mané, Firmino, OrigiWHEN THEY LAST MET
Liverpool have won the last four Premier League clashes between the two sides with Palace’s last victory against The Reds coming at Anfield in April 2017.
The last time Crystal Palace beat Liverpool at Selhurst Park was a 3-1 win in November 2014. Rickie Lambert gave Liverpool an early lead but goals from Dwight Gayle, Joe Ledley and Mile Jedinak gave The Eagles all three points.
Last season, Liverpool won 2-0 at Palace with goals from James Milner (penalty) and Sadio Mané.PREDICTION
Crystal Palace 1 – 3 Liverpool
It’s always a little bit hard to predict how teams will fare when returning to action after an international break. Liverpool only managed a sluggish 1-1 draw at Old Trafford after the October break. It’s important The Reds hit the ground running again domestically as they can build on that fantastic 3-1 win over Manchester City last time out.
Palace are without a win in four and I expect Liverpool to take all three points on Saturday.