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Match report: Liverpool U21s beaten by Wigan in EFL Trophy opener

Tue, 09/22/2020 - 20:55

Liverpool U21s suffered a 6-1 defeat away at Wigan Athletic in their EFL Trophy opener on Tuesday night.

Leighton Clarkson had given the young Reds a one-goal lead prior to half-time before their League One opposition went on to stage a second-half comeback. 

Goals from Kal Naismith, Joe Garner and braces from Charlie Jolley and Ollie Crankshaw ultimately secured the three points for the hosts. 

Liverpool will look to respond in their next Northern Group D fixture when they travel to Tranmere Rovers next Tuesday.  

Surviving an early scare as Wigan hit the post, Barry Lewtas' charges took control of the first-half proceedings. 

Jack Bearne and Liam Millar went close to opening the scoring during the first period before the deserved opener finally arrived in the 44th minute. 

Good play from Millar on the left saw him put the ball across the face of goal, with Clarkson arriving at the back post at the right moment to convert.

But Wigan returned from the interval rejuvenated and turned the contest around completely by the hour mark. 

It was level moments after the restart when substitute Naismith rose highest on a corner before he then turned provider by supplying the cross for Jolley's header.

They added a third six minutes later when Tom Clayton headed a lofted ball over the onrushing Kelleher, allowing Jolley to tap into an empty net.

And to complete the game's scoring, Crankshaw netted with a drilled finish and header, with a Garner penalty sandwiched in between.

Liverpool U21s: Kelleher, Sharif, Savage, Clayton, Beck, Cain (Balagizi, 84), Clarkson, Woodburn, Bearne (Dixon-Bonner, 64), Longstaff (O’Rourke, 84), Millar. 

Unused substitutes: Jaros, Quansah, Bradley.

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Video: Behind the scenes of Thiago Alcantara's LFC signing day

Tue, 09/22/2020 - 19:00

Thiago Alcantara became a Liverpool player as he signed a long-term deal at Anfield last Friday – and you can now go behind the scenes of the midfielder's first day with the club.

The Spain international wrapped up his transfer from FC Bayern Munich before posing for his unveiling images, recording messages to the supporters and speaking exclusively to Liverpoolfc.com on location at his new home stadium.

And there was his instantly-iconic ‘How are we?’ delivery, too, as Thiago soaked up the excitement and anticipation surrounding his arrival among the fans.

Take a look at how the No.6’s opening day at the Reds unfolded below…

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Tom Hill injury update

Tue, 09/22/2020 - 14:00

LFC Academy midfielder Tom Hill has undergone a successful operation on Tuesday after sustaining a knee injury in training.

The 17-year-old made significant progress last season, going from his U18s debut in August to a first-team debut in the quarter-final of the Carabao Cup in December.

His box-to-box style saw him net nine goals and helped him secure his first professional contract with the club earlier this year.

No timescale has been set for Hill's return and he will undergo a period of rehabilitation with the Academy's medical staff.

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Luca Stephenson signs first professional contract with Liverpool FC

Tue, 09/22/2020 - 12:59

Luca Stephenson has signed his first professional contract with Liverpool FC.

The midfielder, who turned 17 last week, joined the Reds at U15 level from his hometown club Sunderland.

Stephenson made his debut with the U18 squad last year as an U16 player and has begun this season as part of Marc Bridge-Wilkinson’s U18s group.

A combative and creative presence in the middle of the park, Stephenson’s versatility also allows him to play wider on the flanks. 

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Watch: Inside Chelsea - the story of Liverpool's 2-0 victory

Tue, 09/22/2020 - 11:40

Take an alternative look at Liverpool's 2-0 victory at Stamford Bridge with our behind-the-scenes footage in Inside Chelsea.

Sadio Mane’s second-half double and Alisson Becker’s penalty save ensured three more points for the Premier League champions in the capital.

There was a Reds debut for new signing Thiago Alcantara, too, and you can see the story of a satisfying afternoon from inside the stadium in the video below…

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Liverpool 'in regular contact with Kylian Mbappe over stunning move to Anfield'

Tue, 09/22/2020 - 10:05

Liverpool are reportedly in regular contact with Kylian Mbappe over a summer move in 2021 - but the Reds face competition from Real Madrid.

Mbappe has two years left on his Paris Saint-Germain contract and there is no indication he will sign a new deal with the French champions any time soon despite ongoing negotiations.

According to French outlet L'Equipe, Jürgen Klopp's side are keeping an eye on the forward's situation with Real also hoping to lure him away from the Ligue 1 side. 

Full story: Daily Mail

This story has been reproduced from the media. It does not necessarily represent the position of Liverpool Football Club.

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'EFL Trophy games can test the boys in different ways'

Tue, 09/22/2020 - 09:15

Barry Lewtas believes the EFL Trophy can be of great benefit to his Liverpool side this season.

An U21s squad will represent the Reds against Wigan Athletic in their first group game of the competition tonight.

The behind-closed-doors fixture will be played at the DW Stadium, with kick-off set for 7pm BST.

Lewtas' charges are also set to meet Tranmere Rovers and Port Vale in the section, with teams facing each other once only.

As an invited club from the Premier League, Liverpool are scheduled to play all of their group matches away from home.

The winners and runners-up in each pool for both the northern and southern sections will progress to the last 32, with the tournament then undertaking a knockout format.

Lewtas is certain the challenge of competing with more senior players is one his young players need in their continuing development.

"We are really looking forward to it, it's a competition [where] we will be playing against first teams with a few young boys in, but it will certainly be against a team driven by the first-team manager," he told Liverpoolfc.com.

"There are rules and regulations around a certain number of first-team players playing in this competition, so for us we want to try to test the boys and stretch them in different ways.

"We just feel this competition is one that can do that for us."

At U23 level, Lewtas' charges have started the season with mixed results – a 1-0 victory over Everton in the mini-derby was followed by last Friday night's unfortunate 2-1 loss at Derby County.

"From a performance point of view we haven't been perfect but we've been good and been very good in moments as well against Everton and Derby County," he added.

"Obviously we were disappointed with the result against Derby and disappointed with a few moments in the game which we felt swung it in their favour, but in terms of the overall performances and trying to plot our way through a season we are happy where we are.

"We know there is plenty of room for improvement but the level of football we are trying to play at the moment is really good."

With Manchester United to come in Premier League 2 on Friday night, this represents a challenging week for the Reds youngsters, but Lewtas insists they are embracing it.

He said: "It's a tough start with three games in a week with Wigan, Manchester United and then Tranmere Rovers but this is how we want to test the boys."

Lewtas actually began his Academy coaching career at Wigan, guiding their youngsters aged 10 to 13 at their Centre of Excellence in 2013.

"It was a long time ago but it was kind of where it all started for me so I've got really fond memories and really good times, so I always enjoy playing against Wigan and it's exciting for the lads to get to play at the DW Stadium," he said.

"If Wigan do use a few of their younger lads there will probably be a few who were involved at Liverpool early on in their Academy career, so there might be a few lads we know and a few familiar faces, but each game we take as it comes and we are really excited to be involved in it."

Due to competition rules, extended highlights will be made available to watch on LFCTV and LFCTV GO on Wednesday afternoon.

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Alisson Becker explains penalty save against Chelsea

Tue, 09/22/2020 - 09:00

Alisson Becker credited the work of Liverpool's goalkeeping department for his penalty save in Sunday's 2-0 win at Chelsea.

With the Reds two goals to the good against 10 men in the second half of the Premier League showdown at Stamford Bridge, the hosts had a chance to halve their deficit when Thiago Alcantara was judged to have tripped Timo Werner in the box.

Jorginho had converted each of his eight previous spot-kicks for the Blues before stepping up to face Alisson – but the latter won the duel, correctly diving to his left to palm away the effort and preserve a clean sheet.

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The Brazilian’s roar of celebration after making the save reflected his satisfaction that the processes of the goalkeeping team had paid off.

“I think in the Premier League this was the third penalty I had the chance to try to save,” the No.1 told Liverpoolfc.com.

“I’m really happy because in the Community Shield we lost on penalties. When the goalie doesn’t save any penalties you stay a little bit down and then you think, ‘I could do more, I could do it differently.’

“But the secret is to keep on going, to know that you are in a good direction, in the right direction, working hard and we did it together – me, John [Achterberg], Jack [Robinson], and all the video team who help us a lot.

“Also with the rebound, Millie and Virg did really well and I think they showed confidence in me that I would save the penalty.

“But we don’t need to talk about the penalty or other saves, we need to talk about the team, how we played so good here. And we have also many things to improve for the rest of the season.”

Liverpool were in the ascendancy during a first half that concluded with Andreas Christensen being sent off for denying Sadio Mane a goalscoring opportunity.

Within nine minutes of the restart, Mane had struck twice to set the reigning champions on course for three more points after beating Leeds United 4-3 on the opening day.

“This is perfect: three points, a clean sheet, something that we chase also,” said Alisson. “Not only the three points, it’s something [a clean sheet] that I think a long time we didn’t get. This season it’s the first time, so it’s good for the confidence of the team.

“But always it’s a massive win against Chelsea away. We know how hard it is, I don’t need to tell you, but we did a really good job.”

Injuries to Joe Gomez and Joel Matip forced a defensive reshuffle for Jürgen Klopp, who deployed Fabinho in central defence alongside Virgil van Dijk.

The midfielder was ‘outstanding’ according to Van Dijk as he consistently snuffed out Chelsea’s attacking threats and put his own side on the front foot.

Alisson concurred that his compatriot was the standout performer on the day.

“He was a monster this afternoon! Unbelievable, but it’s what I expect of him,” he said of Fabinho.

“If it’s a surprise for you I would be surprised, because he is a top player. Anywhere he played, from No.6 or centre-back, he always does his best and his quality permits him to play in different positions.

“He’s a really smart player on movements and also one-v-ones. That was needed against Werner, against [Kai] Havertz and the other players with really good quality, so I congratulate him as he was in my opinion Man of the Match.”

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LFC museum launches the Boom Room exhibition

Mon, 09/21/2020 - 14:00

Liverpool FC’s museum has launched a new exhibition celebrating the incredible achievements of the Reds’ 2019-20 squad.

The Boom Room, which will be housed in the Anfield museum from September 21, tells the epic story of Jürgen Klopp’s team throughout the record-breaking season which led them to their first league win in 30 years. 

Fans will also be able to see all four of the club’s most recent pieces of silverware on display together for the first time – as the Premier League, 2018-19 UEFA Champions League, UEFA Super Cup and FIFA Club World Cup trophies form a new display in the Kop Bar. 

A must-see for all Reds fans, the Boom Room exhibition pays homage to the players, staff and fans who contributed to making the Premier League dream a reality, showcasing players’ personalities as well as the squad’s world-class footballing talent. 

Including key items donated by the first-team squad, manager and backroom staff, the exhibition is a memorable celebration which encapsulates the enthusiasm, pride and excitement of an historic season. 

Highlights include the kit worn by captain Jordan Henderson, Klopp’s training tracksuit, match-worn boots from key games and a signed, unopened bottle of beer from the trophy lift night at Anfield.  

The Boot Room replaces the existing Steven Gerrard exhibition, with key items from that collection relocated to a new display within the museum.

Liverpool FC’s museum and stadium tour is open daily from 10am to 5pm, with late-night admission to the museum available 5pm-6.30pm from Tuesday September 22. 

Access to the trophy exhibition will be available as part of any paid visit to the museum or stadium tour daily throughout October. 

For more information or to book your visit, click here. Please note, all visits must be booked in advance.

Liverpool FC’s museum and stadium tour continues to provide a safe and enjoyable experience for guests in line with social distancing and industry guidelines.

Extensive health and safety measures have been implemented to ensure visitor safety. Capacity is limited to allow visitors to maintain social distancing, alongside the installation of hand-sanitiser stations and the addition of enhanced cleaning regimes.

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Reds start the season with record-breaking kit sales

Mon, 09/21/2020 - 13:30

Liverpool FC has registered record-breaking sales for the start of the season for all three of its new Nike jerseys - home, away and third kit.

The 2020-21 home and away shirts have seen significant sales numbers since their launch in August, while the third kit – which was launched on general sale last week – has achieved record sales across the online store compared to previous third kits.

When the Reds’ home kit was revealed for the first time on Saturday August 1, the club’s online store experienced its most popular day, with traffic to the site and purchases made significantly higher than ever before.

Brand new this season, the club also launched the Nike Express lifestyle collection along with the training kit, which also saw huge sales across online platforms, breaking records based on previous years.

Working alongside Red Neighbours – the club’s local community programme – LFC is donating 100 home kits to young people in the Anfield area who have made a difference to their local community during lockdown.

The youngsters have been carefully selected by teachers from the 25 schools based near Anfield, local community leaders and the Red Neighbours team for the fantastic contribution they have made to support others in the local area during these challenging times.

Mike Cox, senior vice president, merchandising at Liverpool FC, said: “We have seen record-breaking sales of kit again as we start the new season; even higher than the sales we saw during the start of our previously most successful season last year. This exceeds our own high expectations and shows how our support continues to grow, particularly as our success on the pitch continues.

“Of course, this hugely significant demand has caused some operational complexities for us as we continue to operate under COVID-19 conditions, and it has also meant that we have sold out of some key home kit sizes. However, we’re working very closely with Nike on this and expect to receive a re-stock in October. We thank our supporters for their support and patience.”

For more information, please visit store.liverpoolfc.com.

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'It's always good to start the season with a hat-trick!'

Mon, 09/21/2020 - 13:00

Hard work on the training pitch paid off for Layton Stewart as he bagged a classy hat-trick for Liverpool U18s on Saturday.

The 18-year-old was in clinical mood against Stoke City at the Academy and struck twice in the opening 45 minutes, with a precise, dinked finish followed by a cool penalty.

The pick of the bunch was his third after the break, however.

Collecting the ball outside the Stoke area, Stewart weighed up a curler into the far right corner and superbly achieved his objective to seal the personal treble.

Watch: U18s 5-0 Stoke in 90 seconds

And it was a case of practice makes perfect.

“I’ve done a lot of work in training with the likes of Bridgey [Marc Bridge-Wilkinson] and Alex [Inglethorpe], we’ve been doing it on different days. I tried it today and luckily enough it came off for me,” he told Liverpoolfc.com post-match.

“It’s always good to start the season with a hat-trick and it was a good team performance from the boys, you can’t take anything away from that.

“Of course, good to get on the scoresheet and get my first hat-trick.”

The 5-0 victory over Stoke represented Liverpool U18s’ first taste of competitive action since March 3 – one relished by Stewart and his teammates.

“It’s good to get back playing,” added the striker.

“Some lads [are] coming in from different countries and they have adapted well, and the players coming up have adapted well to the game. It’s very good to get back out there and get some minutes in our legs.”

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Wigan v Liverpool U21s: Kick-off change

Mon, 09/21/2020 - 12:00

Liverpool U21s' EFL Trophy tie away at Wigan Athletic on Tuesday night will now kick off at 7pm BST.

Supporters are reminded this is a behind-closed-doors fixture at the DW Stadium.

Barry Lewtas' charges will also face Tranmere Rovers and Port Vale in Group D of the northern section of the competition, which sees teams play each other once only.

Due to competition rules, extended highlights will be made available to watch on LFCTV and LFCTV GO on Wednesday afternoon.

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Jürgen Klopp issues Joel Matip and Joe Gomez fitness update

Mon, 09/21/2020 - 11:00

Jürgen Klopp has provided a further update on the fitness of Liverpool defenders Joel Matip and Joe Gomez.

The pair missed Sunday's 2-0 victory at Chelsea due to injury, with Fabinho deputising at centre-half to partner Virgil van Dijk. 

Asked about the condition of Gomez and Matip post-match, the Reds boss told Liverpoolfc.com: "Joe actually should be fine.

"It was not now really a big one but we have to see. We should be fine Monday already. 

"With Joel, it could be slightly different. It's not the worst thing in the world but a few weeks, a couple of weeks. Probably after the international break he will be ready again. So we have to see. It's not cool. 

"It's crazy, in one day 'bam bam' but we have Fabinho and he played an exceptional game, so that was really, really nice."

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Chelsea 0-2 Liverpool: Media reaction

Mon, 09/21/2020 - 09:45

Sadio Mane struck the goals and Thiago Alcantara made his Liverpool debut as the Reds beat Chelsea 2-0 at Stamford Bridge on Sunday.

After the hosts were reduced to 10 men on the stroke of half-time - Andreas Christensen dismissed for hauling down Mane - the No.10 netted twice in four minutes early in the second half.

Alisson Becker also saved a penalty from Jorginho to add a clean sheet to an excellent afternoon for Jürgen Klopp's side.

Here is what the media made of the game...

Neil Jones, Goal.com

If ever a goal could sum up a player, this was it. Mane's pass was poor. A giveaway. He was not happy with himself. So what did he do? Stand and sulk? Look around for a teammate to blame? Not a bit of it. Liverpool's Senegalese star is not wired that way. Instead, Mane hared after the ball, following it as Kurt Zouma rolled it back to Kepa Arrizabalaga in the Chelsea goal. Kepa's intention to pass out was good, but Mane read it, stretching out a foot to intercept, then firing the loose ball into the unguarded net with the goalkeeper scrambling. Two-nil Liverpool. Game, set, match. It took Mane only 10 minutes, either side of half-time, to bend this game to his will. His first goal was a gem, created by lovely slick interplay between Salah and Firmino, with the latter's cross headed powerfully past Kepa by Mane, whose movement in the box was too much for Chelsea right-back Reece James. Four minutes later came Kepa's howler. You do not relax or take risks with Mane around.

Ian Doyle, Liverpool Echo

Thiago instantly demonstrated why the initial £20million the Premier League champions have paid for his services has been lauded as a steal. Anyone who witnessed Bayern Munich bludgeon their way to Champions League success last season, or watched him in action for Spain, will have known what to expect. Thiago isn't one to stand on ceremony. With such a solid first touch and range of vision, the ball isn't at his feet for long, fed to a teammate with metronomic accuracy. No sooner does he have it, then it's gone. There is an effortless ease to his play and, like all good players, when he wants time in possession, he appears able to instinctively find it. And talk about accurate. Thiago completed more passes – 75 – than any other Chelsea player managed during the entire match. And since such Premier League statistics started to be compiled in 2003, it's the most made by any player who has been on the pitch a maximum of 45 minutes.

John Cross, Daily Mirror

The big question all summer has been whether Liverpool can retain their title. They delivered the answer in the most emphatic fashion at Stamford Bridge with a ruthless, clinical and brilliant victory which shows they are still the team to beat. Mane scored two remarkable goals to carry on his unstoppable title-winning form from last season but it also highlighted the value of re-energising the squad. Thiago Alcantara was a half time substitute and the £20m midfielder showed his quality. The Spain midfielder was magnificent as he was always in space to receive the ball, pick a pass and give another dimension to Jurgen Klopp's side. He looked like an orchestra conducting a symphony.

Barney Ronay, The Guardian

There has been a temptation to worry away at this Liverpool team. The start of the season was marked by vague talk about front-three dependence, driven not by any diminishing powers but by the sheer volume of football played by that well-seasoned Mo-Mané-Bobby front three. There is something a little counterintuitive about this. Liverpool's front three do play a lot. They play a lot because – let's be quite clear – they're brutally, relentlessly good. There is a kind of paradox to this. The Premier League is a notoriously reactive place. Opponents learn your strengths, find ways to mitigate and diminish them. So what's going on here? It's been three seasons, chaps, and they're still doing pretty much the same thing, still moving the same way, still combining in the same patterns. Mané in particular was brilliant at Stamford Bridge. At times this felt like a Mané highlights reel, or a Mané instructional video included with your brand new Sadio Mané. Then there was the finish for the opening goal, albeit this was a moment that highlighted above all the sublime, deceptively simple interplay between that attacking trident. If Salah doesn't get you, or Firmino, or Mané, then Salah‑Firmino-Mané probably will.

This story has been reproduced from the media. It does not necessarily represent the position of Liverpool Football Club.

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Watch: Every touch of Thiago Alcantara's Liverpool debut

Mon, 09/21/2020 - 09:14

Thiago Alcantara enjoyed an eye-catching debut for Liverpool on Sunday as he played 45 minutes of the 2-0 win at Chelsea.

Fresh from sealing his long-term deal with the Reds two days earlier, the Spain midfielder was sent on for Jordan Henderson at the halfway point of the Premier League clash.

Thiago took 88 touches and completed 75 passes during his time on the pitch – the latter identified as a record by Opta since their data collection began.

75 - Half-time substitute Thiago completed more passes (75) than any Chelsea player managed in the entire match. Si… https://t.co/QanYOHVbND

— OptaJoe (OptaJoe) 20th Sep 17:25

See every touch by Liverpool’s new No.6 at Stamford Bridge in the LFCTV GO compilation above.

App users should tap here to watch the video.

Enjoy this clip and all the action from Chelsea 0-2 Liverpool on LFCTV GO now. Use code 2021GOFREE to start a free one-month trial – this can be cancelled at any time.

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Virgil van Dijk: I told Fabinho he was my Man of the Match

Mon, 09/21/2020 - 08:30

Virgil van Dijk hailed what he considered a Man of the Match display by Fabinho after the Brazilian deputised at centre-back against Chelsea.

With Joe Gomez and Joel Matip ruled out of Sunday’s Premier League clash at Stamford Bridge, Fabinho dropped into central defence alongside Van Dijk.

He turned in a typically composed performance to help the Reds on their way to a 2-0 victory over the Blues – and Van Dijk paid tribute to his teammate post-match.

“Outstanding,” the Dutchman told Liverpoolfc.com of Fabinho, who topped his side’s totals for tackles (four), interceptions (four) and possession gains (12) on the day.

“I just told him as well I think he was Man of the Match. To keep out a striker like [Timo] Werner and don’t let him score, overall he was outstanding.

“Everyone knows how good he is but it shows also that we need everyone. We are a bit unlucky with the injuries now but we’ll need everyone back because it’s such a long season.”

Liverpool had been on the front foot for much of a goalless opening half in London and their pursuit of a breakthrough was aided by the red card to Andreas Christensen a minute before the interval.

Their extra man swiftly told in the second period, with Sadio Mane scoring twice in four minutes – though the Reds did require Alisson Becker to save a Jorginho penalty late on.

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Van Dijk described the win as ‘massive’.

“It was always going to be tough, no matter the circumstances, no matter how they play or who was playing,” said the No.4.

“It was a good performance overall. It’s not nice to give a penalty away and it was bit unlucky from Thiago [Alcantara], I think. But overall we dominated.

“Obviously the red card helps a little bit, we can’t deny that, but even before that we created moments of danger and we were very concentrated and very ready to get the good result.”

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Chelsea 0-2 LFC: Watch goals, highlights and reaction now

Sun, 09/20/2020 - 23:59

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Watch the goals, extended highlights and exclusive reaction from Liverpool's 2-0 win at Chelsea on LFCTV GO now.
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Sadio Mane reaction: Chelsea victory and Thiago's debut

Sun, 09/20/2020 - 18:59

Sadio Mane felt Liverpool were worthy winners as his second-half brace earned a 2-0 victory over Chelsea on Sunday afternoon.

The Senegal international struck twice in four minutes after the break at Stamford Bridge – and had also been fouled in the incident that saw Andreas Christensen sent off on 44 minutes – to give the Reds maximum points in the Premier League.

Post-match, Mane reflected on the details of the win with Sky Sports and offered a glowing assessment of the 45-minute debut for new signing Thiago Alcantara…

On his own positive influence on the game…

Obviously it was a top game, to be honest. It was a top game. Especially in the first half, we found it very difficult to create chances and I think when they got the red card, it made it easier. The second half, we created many chances and finally we scored two goals. I think today we deserved to win.

On the incident that led to Christensen’s red card and the pass from Jordan Henderson…

Yeah, it was a great ball from him. A great player. I know him, I know at that moment the only choice he has to do is to put the ball in and he is very good at it. So, I try to make the runs and he put the ball in front of me. When he made a foul I knew it was a red card, I even told him: ‘My friend, it’s a red card.’ After, the referee gave him a red card; so, lucky for us.

On the anger at giving the ball away that motivated his closing down for the second goal…

Yeah, sure, these kinds of things are always what we try on the training pitch. When he got the ball, I knew it will be difficult for him to have an option, the only choice was to shoot it. So I was in front of him and he tried to pass it. Unluckily for him, he made a mistake. Lucky for me and I scored a second goal for my team.

On the debut of Thiago…

75 - Half-time substitute Thiago completed more passes (75) than any Chelsea player managed in the entire match. Si… https://t.co/QanYOHVbND

— OptaJoe (OptaJoe) 20th Sep 17:25

Not only me, all the world knows what he is capable of doing. He is one of the best players in the world, so we are lucky to have Thiago in our team. And I think today he showed that he is a great player.

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Match report: Sadio Mane double defeats Chelsea at the Bridge

Sun, 09/20/2020 - 18:26

Sadio Mane scored both goals as Liverpool made it two wins out of two this season by beating 10-man Chelsea 2-0 in the Premier League at Stamford Bridge.

In the closing moments of a first half the Reds had the better of, Andreas Christensen denied Mane a clear goalscoring opportunity and was dismissed.

And Jürgen Klopp’s men quickly made their numerical advantage show on the scoreboard when the sides returned, with Mane heading in a first and pouncing on Kepa Arrizabalaga’s error for a second moments later.

Alisson Becker had to stop a Jorginho penalty 15 minutes from time to prevent any hope of a Chelsea comeback – and Liverpool eased home to maintain their winning start to 2020-21.

Team news

Klopp made one, enforced change to his XI from last weekend, with Fabinho brought in at centre-half in the absence of the injured Joe Gomez and Joel Matip.

Thiago Alcantara was among the substitutes after completing his move to Liverpool on Friday, while fellow new signing Kostas Tsimikas took a place on the bench too.

First half

Liverpool started on the front foot in the opening 10 minutes, pressing high and enjoying greater possession, and those early stages set a tone for much of the first half at Stamford Bridge.

Their first real opportunity came from a fortuitous spin of the ball, though.

Jordan Henderson’s block challenge on Reece James in midfield sent it careering out towards Mohamed Salah on the right edge of the box and the Reds No.11 took the chance to carry it around the oncoming Kepa.

But his attempted square for Roberto Firmino to tap in from yards out was foiled by the recovering Christensen.

Fabinho adeptly snuffed out a threatening Timo Werner surge at the edge of the area before the Chelsea forward nudged a low, bobbling shot wide of the right post from 20 yards.

A crisp Liverpool attack that saw Trent Alexander-Arnold’s sweeping cross pick out Salah inside the box and the latter drive a pass across goal did not end with a teammate capitalising.

From a similar Henderson delivery into the left channel, Andy Robertson was in space to line up a first-time strike – but the left-back hit the ball into the ground and off target.

The half would ultimately conclude without an indent on the scoresheet but not before the complexion of the contest was altered significantly by a red card.

Collecting Alisson’s roll out, Henderson spotted – and brilliantly engineered – a straight pass over the top to marry with Mane’s run off the left, and Christensen wrestled the No.10 to the ground as he was primed to run on goal.

Having initially shown Christensen a yellow card, referee Paul Tierney reviewed the incident via VAR and judged the foul worthy of a sending-off.

Second half

Thiago replaced Henderson at the outset of the second half, making his Liverpool debut just two days after sealing his permanent switch from Bayern Munich.

And the visitors produced the desired breakthrough within five minutes of the restart.

Lovely approach work by Firmino and Salah at the right corner of the Chelsea area released the former near the byline and his excellent cross was beautifully angled inside the left post by the head of Mane.

It was soon 2-0.

Mane’s determined closing down of Kepa reaped rewards when he managed to block the Blues goalkeeper’s attempted play out, allowing the Liverpool man to swipe home a finish on the turn.

Georginio Wijnaldum was denied a third by the feet of Kepa when he tried to rifle a low hit into the net from the right, while Mason Mount was inches over with a curler from range at the other end.

The Reds’ comfort was ruffled when Thiago was penalised for clipping Werner inside the box as the Chelsea man dribbled in off the flank, but Alisson went the correct way and palmed Jorginho’s spot-kick away.

Alisson had to repel a dangerous Tammy Abraham effort, too, but Klopp’s charges saw out the remainder to make it a maximum six points in the Premier League.

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Joel Matip and Joe Gomez injury update

Sun, 09/20/2020 - 16:12

Jürgen Klopp has provided further detail on the absence of Joe Gomez and Joel Matip at Stamford Bridge on Sunday.

The centre-backs were ruled out of the Premier League clash with Chelsea due to minor injury issues, with Fabinho therefore partnering Virgil van Dijk in defence.

Asked what led to Gomez and Matip being sidelined, Klopp told Sky Sports: “Not a lot, but enough.

“So, Joe is not a real concern – it’s probably only today. Same with Billy [Koumetio].

“With Joel, we have to see – it could take a few days longer. [It’s] muscle. After injuries that’s how it is. He looked perfect in the pre-season since he trained. But now he got a little problem and we have to react, so that’s how it is. That’s why we start how we start.”

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