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Updated: 3 hours 50 min ago

Premier League set to introduce concussion substitutes next season

4 hours 14 min ago

The Premier League are preparing to introduce concussion substitutes from the start of the 2020/21 season amid increasing concerns for player safety.


The debate around head injuries in football and how to handle such incidents remain prevalent as studies continue to show lasting and debilitating effects.

One of which showed footballers were three and a half times more likely to die of degenerative brain disease than the general population.

Football has been heavily scrutinised for its approach to head injuries across the world, and how to best change the laws to facilitate concussion substitutes is high on the agenda for the International Football Association Board in February.

Various systems are set to be recommended on a trial basis and according to the Daily Mail, the Premier League are “keen to be at the forefront of any experiments involving concussion subs” starting from next season.

 Liverpool's Mohamed Salah lies down injured during the FA Premier League match between Newcastle United FC and Liverpool FC at St. James' Park. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

IFAB will appoint a panel of medical experts who will present their findings over how football can best introduce concussion substitute protocols.

Early suggestions are two different methods are being considered, the first would see a player suspected of suffering from concussion to be removed and not allowed to return.

That player would then be replaced but the change would not count towards the permitted three substitutions.

Alternatively, an approach similar to rugby union and the AFL would see the player replaced and taken into the dressing room for a 10-15 minute assessment by the club doctor.

They will be able to return if they are deemed medically fit to do so, but if not the substitution would become permanent.

Following the meeting early next year, the Premier League will weigh up their options from IFAB’s findings before entering into discussions with each of the 20 clubs and holding a vote.

 Liverpool's goalkeeper Loris Karius looks dejected after gifting Real Madrid the opening goal during the UEFA Champions League Final match between Real Madrid CF and Liverpool FC at the NSC Olimpiyskiy. (Pic by Peter Powell/Propaganda)

A more conservative approach would be a welcome and sensible change, but despite the international players’ union lobbying for independent doctors to assess concussion incidents at every game, IFAB are currently not considering this course of action.

This will likely see the debate rage on surrounding the rules potentially being used for tactical gain, but a player’s health has to be the priority and taken seriously – unlike the aftermath of Loris Karius‘ diagnosis following the Champions League final in 2018.

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Categories: LFC NEWS

Champions League exit would not help title bid – Klopp

Mon, 12/09/2019 - 22:41

Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp refuses to entertain the thought a Champions League exit will enhance their bid for a first domestic title in 30 years.


The Reds currently top the Premier League by eight points from Leicester and a massive 14 points from defending champions Manchester City.

However, their European crown could be under threat against Red Bull Salzburg on Tuesday and, if they do not secure a point in Austria, they will face the prospect of dropping into the Europa League.

There is an argument, should that happen, Klopp could then write off the competition and play a second-string side in order to concentrate on the Premier League.

“Can we go out of the Champions League and the Europa League?” Klopp said, pointing out exit from the Champions League would not rid them of European football.

When it was suggested to him he could field a team of youngsters in the Europa League, he added: “Ahh! In the last 32, or 64. Whatever? Yeah interesting.

“So, we are not part of these thoughts obviously. We are really ambitious in that tournament – no really.

 Liverpool's Joe Gomez (L) tackles FC Salzburg's Patson Daka during the UEFA Champions League Group E match between Liverpool FC and FC Salzburg at Anfield. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

“So yeah, actually we want to go until the end again – we have nothing better to do in the middle of May or whenever the final is played.

“That was cool (last season) and we want to do it again. Absolutely nothing else is on our mind.

“But we know (it is) step-by-step. Tomorrow is really difficult and we have to be ready for that.”

An injury scare to Dejan Lovren at Bournemouth on Saturday threatened to leave Klopp with just two fit central defenders in Virgil Van Dijk and Joe Gomez, but the Croatia international has been passed fit and travelled with the squad.

With Joel Matip still out for at least another two weeks, having been sidelined since October 20, Klopp was asked whether he had considered bringing in reinforcements in January.

 Liverpool's Fabio Henrique Tavares 'Fabinho' goes off injured during the UEFA Champions League Group E match between Liverpool FC and SSC Napoli at Anfield. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

“How can you be short of centre-halves when you have four centre-halves plus Fabinho? Only Fabinho is injured, Matip is injured and Dejan Lovren had a problem yeah.

“But Lovren is not injured. It was a little bit of cramp, and it was the right moment to take him off, but it is cool, everybody is fine.

“We will not sign a centre-half because of injuries – that is the world outside who thinks we are short and we have to do it. But afterwards we would have six centre-halves and that wouldn’t make a lot of sense.

“And you need quality. You can’t have just somebody – I am somebody, I am tall, not quick but I look like a centre-half at least.”

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Jurgen Klopp confident Liverpool can handle pressure to keep Champions League hopes on track

Mon, 12/09/2019 - 21:15

Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp is confident his players can handle “the most intense period of their lives” to keep their Champions League and Premier League title ambitions on track.


The club are currently in the middle of a run of eight matches in 26 days in December.

Klopp’s side, top of the table domestically, need a point against Red Bull Salzburg in Austria to progress to the knockout stages in Europe on Tuesday but anything less will likely mean an unthinkable drop into the Europa League for the defending champions.

Also looming on the horizon is a week-long trip to Doha for the Club World Cup, which also comes in the same week as a Carabao Cup quarter-final at Aston Villa for which Klopp has had to assign to the youth team.

Asked whether his players could handle the physical demands he said: “No I don’t expect drops (in fitness and intensity) and if they happen I will prepare the solution then.

“Yes it is difficult but there is a job to do. We don’t ask for excuses, we know our schedule. We know where we have to go.

“We played three days ago (at Bournemouth) a tough game, six days ago a very tough game (against Everton).

 Liverpool's Mohamed Salah (#11) celebrates scoring the third goal with team-mates during the FA Premier League match between AFC Bournemouth and Liverpool FC at the Vitality Stadium. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

“We play in another in four days a very tough game (against Watford) and then we fly to Qatar.

“We don’t expect drops, we don’t accept drops; not just me the boys as well.

“We ask ourselves for the highest concentration. Then we will see what we get for it.

“We are a group which is in the most intense period of our lives and we will try to enjoy it.

“It is difficult, no doubt about that, but that is nothing that can stop us.”

One thing they may have to do is stop a free-scoring Salzburg side which has found the net 16 times already.

Only by Bayern Munich (21) and Tottenham (17) have scored more and they also have Erling Braut Haaland, son of former Leeds and Manchester City midfielder Alf-Inge, whose eight goals in the competition – bettered only by Bayern Munich’s Robert Lewandowski’s 10 – have contributed to a tally of 28 in just 21 appearances.

 Liverpool's manager Jürgen Klopp during a training session at Melwood Training Ground ahead of the UEFA Champions League Group E match between FC Salzburg and Liverpool FC. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

The hosts have to win to progress and so they will attack Klopp’s side but the Reds boss believes their recent experience, having got to the last two finals, winning one, and the way they have qualified in the last two seasons from their final group match will stand them in good stead.

“It’s not that I expect us to go through, it’s just I expect us to play the best game we can play,” he said.

“Salzburg has to win against Liverpool; it’s possible because it’s football, I like that, but we are there. We are not a typical Champions League winner (of) last year or finalist of two years before.

“We are still ambitious like crazy, we will go for everything, we will run for our lives – that’s what we are, plus playing football.

“It’s not that we come here and think that we have to dominate Salzburg, we will fight in each challenge, 100 per cent.”

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Key notes ahead of Salzburg & Klopp’s big boost for Jones – Monday’s Liverpool FC News

Mon, 12/09/2019 - 16:20

Liverpool travel to Austria next for our final Champions League group game; here’s all the build-up plus the other news regarding the Reds.


Gini back, Lovren fit, Reds ready for Salzburg

All the focus very quickly moved away from an easy weekend win, and straight on to our next game: a crucial tie at Salzburg.

Jurgen Klopp‘s press conference is this evening—all the coverage will be here on This Is Anfield from 6:30pm—but even before that we have news after the pre-game training session.

Adam Lallana trained alone, but Gini Wijnaldum and Dejan Lovren returned—check out the best photos here.

The squad to travel to Austria was confirmed shortly afterward and Curtis Jones has been retained after his league debut at the weekend.

Meanwhile, here’s the latest on our opponents and Salzburg’s weekend win.

Fan zone details for Doha

Doha, Qatar (Photo by Sergi Reboredo/Sipa USA)

Heading to Qatar to cheer on the Reds at the Club World Cup? FIFA have confirmed plans for a Fan Zone in Doha, a free-to-enter zone running from 9 to 21 December.

It will be at the Doha Sports Park, next to the Doha Golf Club, and will be open from 2pm to midnight each day—where fans can take advantage of local and international cuisine, live matches being shown on the big screens and plenty of music.

The likes of Jamie Webster, Space, the Tea Street Band and others will feature from 18-21 December—while the Reds are in action, essentially—and more details on the fan zone can be found here.

Just don’t wear your lucky, non-approved, betting company-sponsored underwear, as you know what FIFA are like with that sort of thing.

Keep an eye on the short-term and the long

Liverpool's Georginio Wijnaldum celebrates scoring his side's fifth goal of the game with team-mate Andrew Robertson during the Premier League match at Anfield, Liverpool. ( Richard Sellers/PA Wire/PA Images)

Yes, our focus is and must be on Tuesday’s big game. But Liverpool’s quest for trophies and dominance is ongoing and never-ending, so we must look further afield, too.

Curtis Jones earning his rewards

 Liverpool's Curtis Jones celebrates after the FA Premier League match between AFC Bournemouth and Liverpool FC at the Vitality Stadium. Liverpool won 3-0. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

Curtis Jones made his Premier League debut at the weekend, coming on for Andy Robbo in the final 15 minutes of the win at Bournemouth. He would have had about five minutes more, mind, but for the Reds’ fantastic ability to retain possession for ages at a time.

The boss was happy with the teenager’s contribution, but stressed that it was a tactical decision because of what Jones can offer, rather than a throwaway appearance to get him on the gametime ladder.

“It was his third time in the squad, so then I thought it makes sense to bring him on.

“But it was not a present, I have to say. It’s his development. We want to show respect for that and we appreciate that.

“Then you need a player and today we were without Adam and Gini here. We thought we need a midfielder because we want to rest Robbo a little bit, so move Millie there. That’s then a good choice.”

Hopefully there’s plenty more action ahead for a player who looks the part both technically and tactically.

Quickfire LFC news

 Liverpool's Luis Suarez celebrates scoring the fourth goal against Stoke City, with team-mate Daniel Sturridge, during the Premiership match at the Britannia Stadium. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

  • In the search for the Reds’ goal of the decade, the corker-strewn year of 2013 is up for vote today. How do you choose between all those Sturridge and Suarez goals?! (LiverpoolFC.com)
  • Former Netherlands manager Danny Blind says Sadio Mane is the perfect modern player, comparing him to Cristiano Ronaldo for technical and physical traits (Mirror)
  • Bobby Duncan’s agent was very loud over the summer. So loud in fact that Saif Rubie landed himself a £10k fine and a ban from acting as an intermediary (Jacob Steinberg)
  • And the Reds have officially made the best-ever start to a league season in England, eclipsing Chelsea 05/06 and Man City 18/19 after 16 games (Mail)
Around the Prem

 FC Bayern Munich's head coach Niko Kova? reacts during the UEFA Champions League Round of 16 1st Leg match between Liverpool FC and FC Bayern M¸nchen at Anfield. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

  • Pep Guardiola says maybe City “need to accept” they can’t compete with the top teams anymore and must “improve”. Does “improve” include another £400 million spending spree, by any chance? (BBC Sport)
  • Everton fans are being investigated by the police, Kick It Out and their own club after reports of homophobic chants aimed at Chelsea fans (BBC Sport)
  • Aston Villa want to sign Pedro from Chelsea in January, in a rare rumour which would make sense for all three parties (Telegraph)
  • And ex-Bayern boss Niko Kovac wants to take over at Arsenal and will be watching the Gunners on Monday night against West Ham. Standby for Tuesday headlines saying he’s changed his mind (Goal)
Stupid rumour of the day

Arsenal have discovered the route to success and ending their abysmal defensive record: sign Chris Smalling!

The Mirror reckons the Gunners have decided that the memories of nearly a decade of average performances in the Premier League have been wiped out by five months doing well in Serie A with Roma.

Then again, it’s Arsenal—they might be right…

Tweet of the day

Next up on our Goal of the Decade list, it's 2013… ???

Get voting! ?

— Liverpool FC (@LFC) December 9, 2019

What we’re reading

On the Guardian, the circumstances and the fallout around Russia being banned from international sport – including the 2022 World Cup.

And on the Athletic by Rafa Honigstein, a look at how it’s Borussia Moenchengladbach who are sounding the message that Bayern Munich’s Bundesliga stranglehold is over.

Worth watching tonight

Premier League, West Ham vs. Arsenal at 8pm. One manager under pressure, one caretaker manager in a battle to win a job.

LFC Retro Collection Released

Liverpool have unveiled their new Retro Collection of nostalgic track jackets and shirts.

Featuring remakes of kits of the 1980s and 1990s, the likes of Mohamed Salah, Fabinho and Divock Origi were on hand to model the new range.

* Click here to see the full Liverpool FC Retro Collection and order in time for Christmas.


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— This Is Anfield (@thisisanfield) December 9, 2019


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Reds’ Champions League defence on the line – Salzburg vs. Liverpool Preview

Mon, 12/09/2019 - 09:51

Liverpool face a potentially nervy trip to Salzburg on Tuesday evening, with defeat likely to see them eliminated from the Champions League.


Salzburg vs. Liverpool

Tuesday, December 10, 2019 – 5.55pm (GMT)
Red Bull Arena
Champions League Group Stage (6)
Referee: Danny Makkelie (NL)

Saturday’s 3-0 win at Bournemouth was one of the Reds’ most comfortable outings of the season to date, on a day when they pulled 14 points clear of Man City.

After struggling to hit top gear for a while, in terms of performances, there are signs that Jurgen Klopp‘s men are starting to click.

Salzburg await in midweek, in what could be a tricky Champions League night for the reigning European champions.

Defeat for the visitors, as well as Napoli presumably winning at home to Genk, would mean Liverpool crash out at the first hurdle.

Salzburg showed what a threat they can be in the return fixture at Anfield, with the Reds’ 4-3 victory extremely hard-earned.

 FC Salzburg's Takumi Minamino (L) celebrates scoring the second goal with team-mate Dal Varesanovic during the UEFA Champions League Group E match between Liverpool FC and FC Salzburg at Anfield. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

Jesse Marsch’s side have the ability to cause Liverpool big problems on Tuesday, especially with man-of-the-moment Erling Braut Haaland leading the line.

The 19-year-old has already scored 28 goals this season and Liverpool are one of a host of clubs linked with a move for him.

This Liverpool team are still the most feared in club football at the moment, however, and they should have too much for their opponents.

Confidence is high and the thought of going out this early in the competition is not a pleasant one.

It is likely to be an evening that has its scares, but Liverpool should progress to the knockout rounds.

Team News

 Liverpool's Dejan Lovren shakes hands with manager Jürgen Klopp as he is substituted for Trent Alexander-Arnold during the FA Premier League match between AFC Bournemouth and Liverpool FC at the Vitality Stadium. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

Dejan Lovren limped out of the win at Bournemouth with cramp and he is likely to miss Tuesday’s game.

Joel Matip and Fabinho also remain sidelined, with the pair not expected to return to the fold until some time after Christmas.

Adam Lallana is another who isn’t expected to feature, having missed the weekend action.

Trent Alexander-Arnold will come back in at right-back and Lovren’s absence means Joe Gomez will partner Virgil van Dijk at centre-back.

Gini Wijnaldum is fit again after being ruled out against Bournemouth, meaning the Dutchman should return to the starting lineup.

James Milner is the most likely to make way, especially after Naby Keita enjoyed such a productive afternoon at Bournemouth.

Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain is also a midfield option, however.

Sadio Mane is set for a recall after earning a richly deserved breather at the weekend, joining Mohamed Salah and Roberto Firmino in attack.

Salzburg are without Alexander Walke, Antoine Bernede, Patrick Farkas and Sekou Koita.

Red Bull Arena

23.04.2011, Red Bull Arena, Salzburg, AUT, 1. FBL, Red Bull Salzburg vs FC Wacker Innsbruck, im Bild Feature, Langzeitbelichtung der Red Bull Arena, Wals Siezenheim, nach dem Spiel, Lichtstimmung // Long-term exposure of the Red Bull Arena, Wals Siezenheim, after the game after the Austrian Bundesliga Match, Red Bull Salzburg vs FC Wacker Innsbruck, at the Red Bull Arena, Salzburg, 23/04/2011, EXPA Pictures © 2011, PhotoCredit: EXPA/ J. Feichter

Address: Stadionstraße 2/3, 5071, Austria

Capacity: 31,895

Did You Know?

 Liverpool's goalkeeper Adrián San Miguel del Castillo looks dejected as a penalty is awarded to SSC Napoli during the UEFA Champions League Group E match between SSC Napoli and Liverpool FC at the Studio San Paolo. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

Ahead of the game, it is worth remembering that Liverpool’s Achilles heel in recent times has been away games in the Champions League.

The Reds have only won two of their eight away group stage matches in the competition under Klopp, both of which came against relative minnows in Maribor and Genk.

Liverpool have still enjoyed some impressive wins on their travels in the knockout stages, in fairness, but it has still been a noticeable issue.

They must be switched on from the off against Salzburg, or risk getting themselves into a sticky situation.

Form

 Liverpool's Mohamed Salah (#11) celebrates scoring the third goal with team-mates during the FA Premier League match between AFC Bournemouth and Liverpool FC at the Vitality Stadium. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

Salzburg – Last five results (all competitions)

Won 5-1 vs. Swarovski Tirol
Drew 1-1 vs. Admira
Won 4-1 vs. Genk
Drew 2-2 vs. St. Polten
Won 3-0 vs. Wolfsberger AC

Liverpool – Last five results (all competitions)

Won 3-0 vs. Bournemouth
Won 5-2 vs. Everton
Won 2-1 vs. Brighton
Drew 1-1 vs. Napoli
Won 2-1 vs. Crystal Palace

TV & Live Blog Info

 Liverpool's manager Jürgen Klopp before the UEFA Champions League Group E match between Liverpool FC and SSC Napoli at Anfield. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

Salzburg vs. Liverpool is live on BT Sport 3 from 5.15pm (GMT), with kickoff at 5.55pm.

Don’t make the error of thinking it’s the usual later Champions League start time!

Ben Twelves is in charge of This is Anfield’s live blog from 5.10pm, hopefully guiding you through another Reds victory.

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Categories: LFC NEWS

Liverpool to visit China next summer, but no Asian pre-season tour

Mon, 12/09/2019 - 09:01

Liverpool’s visit to Asia next summer will consist of just one match in China and not a full pre-season tour, it is reported.


The Reds didn’t visit the continent last summer, with Jurgen Klopp having been disappointed after the trip to Hong Kong in 2017 was beset by problems due to waterlogged pitches.

That meant Klopp requested a return to America last summer, rather than alternating between heading west and east as has been the norm for the club over recent history.

So with a new kit deal with Nike also in the pipeline and their massive distribution in Asia, the club decided to grant Klopp’s wish and delay their return to the continent.

It’s now reported, by the Athletic‘s David Ornstein, that Liverpool will only play one game though rather than a full pre-season ‘tour’.

Klopp is said to be keen to ensure most of the pre-season is spent in Europe, and owners FSG are to grant that wish.

Liverpool have spent increasingly less time on vast pre-season tours under Klopp, with training camps instead taking place in Europe, including in Germany and France in the last two summers.

That could mean taking part in the Audi Cup in Munich, as the Reds did in summer 2017, basing themselves at nearby Rottach-Egern.

What’s pleasing is to see the owners and decision-makers at the club put football before business decisions and granting Klopp these wishes, however disappointing that may be for fans in Asia.

 Liverpool's manager Jürgen Klopp arrives with his team at the Ritz-Carlton Hotel in Kowloon, Hong Kong, ahead of the Premier League Asia Trophy 2017. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

Speaking in Hong Kong after monsoon-like conditions had greeted the players on their arrival, Klopp said: “I’m a football manager, I’m interested in the game, I’m interested in the quality of the game and different things have influence on the quality.”

The Reds played two games in the PL Asia Cup, on a pitch that then-Sunderland boss Paulo di Canio had described as a “killer pitch” and had seen Jan Vertonghen suffer ankle ligament damage in waterlogged conditions.

Liverpool also played in torrential rain against a Thai All-Stars side in 2015 in Bangkok.

As things stand, Liverpool cannot launch their new Nike kits until after June 30, due to the New Balance deal not ending until then, so a launch of a kit in China seems highly likely.

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Grujic’s midfield masterclass & Ojo’s cup final disappointment – Liverpool FC Loan Watch

Mon, 12/09/2019 - 08:31

Marko Grujic produced a midfield masterclass with a goal and assist at Hertha Berlin, while Sheyi Ojo suffered a painful cup final defeat at Rangers.


Gametime took a downturn this week for Jurgen Klopp’s borrowed Reds, as only six loanees featured.

Despite that limited match action there was no shortage of talking points, as those who played experienced severely contrasting fortunes on a dramatic weekend.

There was a stunning display from Grujic and an agonizing cup final loss for Ojo, while the season came to a successful end for one Red.

Here’s the full lowdown on all the action, starting with that star performance.

Grujic produced a midfield masterclass…

 According to the regulations of the DFL Deutsche Fu?ball Liga and the DFB Deutscher Fu?ball-Bund it is prohibited to use or have used photos taken in the stadium and/or the match in the form of sequence pictures and/or video-like photo sequences.) Photo: Matthias Balk/dpa

Grujic is wasting no time in proving his worth to new boss Jurgen Klinsmann, who was denied his first win as Hertha were held to a 2-2 draw at Frankfurt on Friday night.

In that stalemate Grujic was the star of the show, as he scored one and assisted another to ensure his side took a point back to the German capital.

The assist came first and it was a brilliant piece of play.

Out on the left flank after breaking from midfield, Grujic produced a delightful, one-touch reverse flick through his marker’s legs to release Dodi Lukebakio who put Hertha 1-0 up.

HE'S DONE ITTTTT!! ?

Marko #Grujic with the second!! ?

(63') #SGEBSC #hahohe 0-2 pic.twitter.com/atZiwor3S0

— Hertha Berlin (@HerthaBSC_EN) December 6, 2019

Grujic himself then doubled the lead on 63 minutes with a real poacher’s effort – converting from close range from Dedryck Boyata’s ball across the face of goal.

It was a man-of-the-match performance from the Serbian, who now has three goals and two assists from 15 appearances this season.

Such contributions will ensure he continues to play a key role as Hertha undertake a new era with Klinsmann at the helm.

There was cup final disappointment for Ojo…

Sheyi Ojo of Rangers during the Scottish Premier League match between Hearts and Rangers at Tynecastle Park on 20 October, 2019 in Edinburgh, Scotland. (Photo by Ewan Bootman/NurPhoto)

Sunday’s mouth-watering Scottish League Cup final against Celtic presented the ideal chance for Ojo’s Rangers to prove they are back to the force of old.

At a rain-soaked Hampden Park, the Gers missed that opportunity, falling to a 1-0 defeat to their arch-rivals who snatched victory from a game Steven Gerrard’s side dominated.

It made for a day of double-disappointment for Ojo, who was denied the chance to play his part as he watched on from the bench for the duration.

Given how several of Rangers’ attacking players underperformed when it mattered most on the big stage, it may be a move the Reds legend regrets in hindsight.

Ojo – and his teammates – will have to move on swiftly and attempt to bounce back by overhauling their rivals to emerge victorious from the season-long title race.

The season came to an end for one Red…

Apollon Limassol's Rodrigues Allan - Martin Rickett/EMPICS Sport

Brazil’s Serie A campaign drew to a close on Sunday night, thus bringing to an end Allan Rodrigues‘ season with Fluminense.

Injury forced the Brazilian midfielder to miss his side’s last two games, including the final day 2-1 victory against Corinthians.

That win signed off what has been a long, hard-fought campaign for Fluminense, who produced a late season surge to finish in 14th place and comfortably avoid relegation.

Allan made 36 appearances in total and posted a solitary assist, and this spell back on home soil has unquestionably been the most rewarding of his senior career to date.

Given how it has seemingly been a successful move for both sides, chances are we now see that deal made permanent.

A mixed bag for the remaining Reds…

Goalkeeper Loris Karius of Besiktas during the Turkish Superlig Match between Bursaspor and Besiktas at Buyuksehir Belediye Stadium in Bursa , Turkey on September 02 , 2018 (Seskimphoto/Imago/PA Images)

Five more loanees joined Grujic in enjoying game time but there was only one who tasted victory.

Loris Karius and his Besiktas team are flying currently, and the German helped his side record a sixth successive win in all competitions with a dramatic 3-2 victory at Kasimpasa.

Elsewhere in the goalkeeper’s union, Kamil Grabara‘s run without a clean sheet in the Championship extended to five games after Huddersfield suffered a 2-0 derby-day loss to Leeds.

North of the border, Liam Millar had an unsuccessful return to Kilmarnock’s starting XI, with the Canadian unable to notch his first goal since September as Killie lost 3-0 at Livingston.

Back in Europe, Taiwo Awoniyi enjoyed a rare outing at Mainz 05 with a welcome extended run-out.

The Nigerian played 45 minutes as his side went down 2-1 to Augsburg, and he couldn’t mark his return with a goal.

Finally, it was another rewarding week at Kidderminster for Rhys Williams, who competed back-to-back full games – first drawing 1-1 against Gateshead before a 3-1 loss to Boston.

Liverpool’s Loanees This Weekend

Kidderminster Harriers' Rhys Williams (Barrington Coombs/EMPICS Sport)

  • Marko Grujic (Hertha Berlin) – 90 mins vs. Eintracht Frankfurt, goal & assist
  • Kamil Grabara (Huddersfield) – 90 mins vs. Leeds
  • Liam Millar (Kilmarnock) – 78 mins vs. Livingston
  • Taiwo Awoniyi (Mainz 05) – 45 mins vs. Augsburg
  • Rhys Williams (Kidderminster) – 90 mins vs. Boston
  • Loris Karius (Besiktas) – 90 mins vs. Kasimpasa
  • Nat Phillips (Stuttgart) – To play on Monday night vs. Nurnberg

Injured: Ovie Ejaria, Ben Woodburn
Ineligible: Harry Wilson
Not in action: Sheyi Ojo, Allan Rodrigues, Anderson Arroyo

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Categories: LFC NEWS

Keita’s quality never in doubt, and Jurgen Klopp pleased to give Mane a rest

Sun, 12/08/2019 - 23:10

Liverpool boss Jurgen Klopp insists he has never doubted the quality of £52.7million midfielder Naby Keita.


Keita, who arrived at Anfield to much fanfare in the summer of 2018, has been reduced to a peripheral figure and played a limited role in last season’s Champions League success and the club’s current 33-game Premier League unbeaten run.

The Guinea international gave a reminder of his ability with a goal and an assist on his first top-flight start of the campaign in Saturday’s 3-0 win at Bournemouth.

Reds boss Klopp, who has reassured the 24-year-old about his lack of first-team opportunities, admits the relentless form of his league leaders and a series of tight matches have made it difficult to give him minutes.

“Naby had injuries, the team is in really good shape, so then do you change?,” said Klopp.

“We are not flying, it’s not like we won all of the games 4-0, or 5-0, so we had to bring on a player who helps us with defending set-pieces.

“Then Naby is sitting outside thinking, ‘why don’t I play?’ I get all that.

“So we stayed in contact, we talked and we spoke a lot about it.

“But in the end of course a player needs to have this evidence that the manager still believes in you. I was never in doubt about that.

“It was just unlucky and in life you need luck always. He started (his Liverpool career) really well – everybody forgot that – then got injured. And again we had two really good seasons.

“(I was) never in doubt about his quality.”

Former RB Leipzig player Keita doubled Liverpool’s advantage at the Vitality Stadium and then slipped in Mohamed Salah for the third after Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain opened the scoring.

Liverpool last lost a league game back in early January but, despite building a sizeable points advantage over Leicester and Manchester City at the top of the table, Klopp is not getting carried away.

The comfortable nature of the south coast success meant Klopp was afforded the luxury of giving breathers to unused substitutes Divock Origi – who scored twice in Wednesday’s Merseyside derby win over Everton – and Sadio Mane ahead of Tuesday’s crunch European clash with RB Salzburg.

Klopp also gave midfielders Adam Lallana and Georgino Wijnaldum the weekend off because of minor injury concerns.

He believes resting and rotating his players will be key to successfully negotiating a hectic December schedule and competing in five different competitions.

 Liverpool's manager Jürgen Klopp celebrates after the FA Premier League match between AFC Bournemouth and Liverpool FC at the Vitality Stadium. Liverpool won 3-0. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

“It was wonderful – maybe the best thing of the (Bournemouth) game – we didn’t have to use Sadio Mane,” said the German, whose team must avoid defeat in Austria to reach the Champions League knockout stages.

“He was the all-time (ever-present) player in the last couple of weeks, so he could stay outside, Divock outside.

“The people were shouting for Divock Origi, I get that, I loved the performance of Divock Origi (against Everton) but bringing him on to say thank you or whatever, we have so many games.

“We will see how we start on Tuesday. I have no clue about that now.

“But (on Saturday) we could give at least one or two – plus Gini (Wijnaldum), plus Adam – kind of a rest, and hopefully they are all fit again on Tuesday and then we make a new decision.”

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Free-scoring Salzburg warm up for Liverpool’s visit with resounding victory

Sun, 12/08/2019 - 18:00

Salzburg continue to fire on all cylinders ahead of Liverpool’s visit for the decisive Champions League tie on Tuesday.


While Jurgen Klopp‘s side notched another league victory over Bournemouth on Saturday, the Reds’ Group E counterparts similarly swept aside WSG Wattens to the tune of 5-1.

Salzburg’s convincing victory over the weekend was their 13th in 17 games, a result which ensures they remain atop of the Austrian Bundesliga with a two-point buffer over LASK.

The Austrian outfit headed into the clash with WSG Wattens off the back of two score draws in the league, with a convincing 4-1 win over Genk in the Champions League sandwiched in the middle.

But having scored in every game this season, Salzburg would continue to see their attacking prowess come to the fore, with Patson Daka, Masaya Okugawa, Andreas Ulmer, Erling Braut Haaland and Takumi Minamino – the latter two of whom both found the net at Anfield – all on the scoresheet.

Despite the Reds’ upcoming visit, Salzburg fielded a strong starting XI as Jesse Marsch had few injuries to consider as his side cruised to their third win in five games across all competitions.

In fact, their outing was one which ensured they have now scored three or more goals in seven of their last 12 games – a run of form which has also seen them concede 12, a welcome record for the Reds.

Haaland, who has attracted interest from the likes of Borussia Dortmund and Man United, has been a key contributor to Salzburg’s formidable form in front of goal having notched 10 goals and one assist in his last 10 appearances.

Moreover, the 19-year-old has been prolific in the Champions League this season and sits behind only Robert Lewandowski in the standings with eight goals to his name.

 Liverpool's captain Jordan Henderson during the UEFA Champions League Group E match between Liverpool FC and FC Salzburg at Anfield. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

And ahead of Liverpool’s visit, Marsch has instructed his side to play with all of their “confidence” as they no longer possess the element of surprise.

“We are excited but calm, the energy and concentration are optimal, we can not surprise [them], they understand our football,” he said.

“But if we get our best performance, we have a good chance, we have to play with all our confidence.”

But Liverpool head to Austria with a clear agenda, as avoiding defeat will ensure the Reds safely secure their passage to the last 16.

It will be anything but straightforward, however, as Salzburg have tasted defeat just twice this season by a single goal – against both Liverpool and Napoli – and will have nothing to lose on Tuesday as they currently sit third in Group E, three points adrift of Liverpool at the top.

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Liverpool Women end barren run in front of goal in draw against West Ham

Sun, 12/08/2019 - 15:59

Liverpool FC Women finally found an avenue to goal to rescue a point in a 1-1 draw with West Ham on Sunday.


Liverpool FC Women 1-1 West Ham Women

Women’s Super League, Prenton Park
December 8, 2019

Goals: Charles 77′; Leon 5′

Vicky Jepson’s side made a return to home soil after back to back trips to members of the top three in Arsenal and Man City, both of which saw the Reds fall to narrow 1-0 defeats.

And Liverpool Women made a change at both ends of the field for the Hammers’ visit, with Fran Kitching taking up the role in between the sticks while Ashley Hodson was given the nod to lead the line as the Reds remained on the search for their first league goal in open play.

A feat which would prove successful and offer a timely boost to Liverpool’s bid to move up the table.

Having taken confidence from their recent outings, despite the final scoreline, Liverpool Women started brightly as they looked to mount early pressure on the visitors by peppering the face of goal.

But the Reds found their first mistake in possession punished as West Ham quickly transitioned to the opposite flank after capitalising on Becky Jane’s loose pass, with Adriana Leon’s first-time strike evading the wrong-footed Kitching with just five minutes gone.

 Liverpool's Melissa Lawley during a friendly match between Liverpool FC Women and Metropolitan Conference All Stars at Jordan Field at the Harvard Stadium on day seven of the club's pre-season tour of America. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

Liverpool would continue to flirt with danger at the back as West Ham seized the ascendency after their opener, as the Reds’ inability to find the end product in the final third continued to be a source of frustration.

With Melissa Lawley’s breakaway from a West Ham corner let down by a wayward pass to an onrushing Hodson who was in acres of space, before Niamh Charles’ brilliant interception on the halfway line came to nothing as her final product failed to test the ‘keeper.

The start of the second half required a number of desperate interventions from both Kitching and her fellow defenders to keep within striking distance.

And just when it seemed as though the Reds were handed a lifeline after Rhiannon Roberts was impeded in the area midway through the term, Lawley dragged her spot-kick wide.

 Liverpool's Rhiannon Roberts during a friendly match between Liverpool FC Women and Metropolitan Conference All Stars at Jordan Field at the Harvard Stadium on day seven of the club's pre-season tour of America. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

To their credit, Liverpool Women failed to let their heads drop and Lawley would soon find her redemption as the Reds finally found the route to goal when her driving strike from a tight angle took a deflection before finding Charles near the goal line.

It was all Liverpool as the clock moved closer to the 90 minute mark, but the score failed to be added to – ensuring the Reds picked up their second point of the season, where Jepson and Co. will hope their shackles in front of goal have well and truly been unlocked.

TIA Woman of the Match: Rhiannon Roberts

Liverpool Women: Kitching; Robe, Fahey, Bradley-Auckland, Jane; Roberts, Bailey, Linnett (Murray 82′); Lawley, Charles (Sweetman-Kirk 86′), Hodson (Babajide 67′)

Subs not used: Preuss, Rodgers, Kearns

Next game: Durham (H) – WSL Cup – Wednesday, December 11, 6.30pm (GMT)

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‘I forgot how it feels’ – Klopp eager for more clean sheets after Bournemouth shutout

Sun, 12/08/2019 - 10:33

Jurgen Klopp says Liverpool’s first clean sheet in 14 games created a buzz in the dressing room and has challenged his players to repeat the trick to reach the Champions League knockout stages.


The in-form Reds ruthlessly tightened their grip on top spot by making it 33 Premier League games unbeaten with Saturday’s convincing 3-0 success at struggling Bournemouth.

Goals from Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain, Naby Keita and Mohamed Salah earned another important victory, which was built on the club’s first shutout since September 28.

European champions Liverpool must on Tuesday avoid defeat at RB Leipzig to guarantee progress to the Champions League last 16 and manager Klopp is eager for another solid defensive display.

“I forgot actually how it feels, to be honest. It’s great, we should have that more often,” Klopp said of not conceding.

 Liverpool's Virgil van Dijk (L) celebrates with team-mate Joe Gomez after the FA Premier League match between AFC Bournemouth and Liverpool FC at the Vitality Stadium. Liverpool won 3-0. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

“For the boys, that was the most used word in the dressing room when I came in, ‘clean sheet, clean sheet, clean sheet’.

“Obviously everybody was desperate for that and now we have it, so let’s have it more often.

“The next game where a clean sheet would be useful is already around the corner, against Salzburg on Tuesday. It feels good.”

The clean sheet coincided with first-choice goalkeeper Alisson Becker’s return from a one-match suspension, although he did not have a save to make against a team which has now suffered five successive defeats and sits a point above the drop zone.

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Keita “class” as “imperious” Reds show invincibles traits – Media on Bournemouth 0-3 Liverpool

Sun, 12/08/2019 - 09:04

The media were impressed by how Liverpool cruised to a 3-0 win at Bournemouth and praised Jurgen Klopp’s rotation and Naby Keita’s performance.


Klopp’s Red Machine churned out a 15th win in 16 league games to further extend the lead at the top of the Premier League table.

Another slick attacking display saw three excellent goals scored, as Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain, Naby Keita and Mohamed Salah ensured the three points returned to Merseyside.

This is what the media made of a routine victory at Dean Court.

Reporters were impressed with how Liverpool made victory so routine…

 Liverpool's Mohamed Salah (#11) celebrates scoring the third goal with team-mates during the FA Premier League match between AFC Bournemouth and Liverpool FC at the Vitality Stadium. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

The BBC’s Emma Sanders assessed that the routine nature of the win was most welcome after some nervy victories, and thinks the “dominance” of the display will have pleased Klopp:

Saturday’s victory at the Vitality was so routine – though the early loss of Ake to injury weakened an already struggling Bournemouth back four.

But the Reds played with a swagger and a dominance which would have surely pleased manager Jurgen Klopp greatly.

The Telegraph’s Jim White wrote a comical line on how Liverpool were so comfortable that Klopp’s side could have played in slippers:

As the rest of the Premier League huffs and puffs in their wash, they are not so much marching on as embarking on a Christmas cruise.

Because this was not just another win for Jurgen Klopp’s points-gathering machine, at times it was so comfortable it appeared as if his players were wearing slippers.

ESPN’s James Capps thought winning with a rotated team was the perfect type of victory ahead of the vital Champions League clash against Salzburg:

With a crucial Champions League game against FC Salzburg just three days away, a simple win with an under-strength team was just the ticket.

Meanwhile, the Mirror’s John Cross is seeing signs that Liverpool can become the new “invincibles”, noting how the Reds’ “air of superiority” makes them look unbeatable:

But every time they go to a ground, they arrive with a wonderful belief that they will not be beaten. When Arsenal did it in 2004 under Arsene Wenger, teams would say they were beaten before kick-off such was their air of superiority.

This Liverpool team has the same feel. You actually cannot see them losing this season. With that sort of confidence, you cannot see anyone beating them. Because they’re beaten before kick-off.

Members of the media were once again full of praise for Klopp’s squad management…

 Liverpool's manager Jürgen Klopp celebrates after the FA Premier League match between AFC Bournemouth and Liverpool FC at the Vitality Stadium. Liverpool won 3-0. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

Capps was impressed with how Liverpool maintained the performance level despite another batch of changes being made:

Despite Jurgen Klopp opting to rest the likes of Sadio Mane and Trent Alexander-Arnold, this was an imperious performance that was full of quality.

Writing for Goal.com, Neil Jones thinks Liverpool’s performance level has improved as a direct result of Klopp freshening up his starting XI:

It didn’t affect Liverpool. If anything, they looked better than they have in recent weeks.

[…]

Those that came in looked like they’d been playing every week.

The Mirror’s Neil Moxley explained how the competitiveness in the squad for starting XI places is spurring the Reds on and helping maintain the performance level:

To be honest, at this stage of the season Klopp can rotate a roulette wheel with the squad numbers and use a game of chance to choose his starting XI – and the result will still be the same.

[…]

As far as the players are concerned, they know also in that dressing-room that should their standards drop off, that they will not be immune to the axe.

 Liverpool's Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain celebrates scoring the first goal during the FA Premier League match between AFC Bournemouth and Liverpool FC at the Vitality Stadium. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

Cross commented on how the “unshakeable belief” Klopp has in his squad has rubbed off on the players:

But the loudest was “The Reds Are Top Of the League” and surely nothing can stop them now because they go into every game with unshakeable belief that they will win.

It’s a wonderful feeling to have and should carry them to their first title in 30 years.

Discussing the players who have benefitted from Klopp’s approach, the Guardian’s Ben Fisher noted how Salah looks “reinvigorated”, which inspired the Egyptian to act as the architect behind the win:

An irresistible performance by a reinvigorated Mohamed Salah, who Klopp declared is again firing at 100%, proved the catalyst as Liverpool extended their unbeaten league record to 33 games.

The media applauded another excellent squad effort, singling out Keita in particular…

 Liverpool's Naby Keita (L) celebrates scoring the second goal with team-mate Mohamed Salah during the FA Premier League match between AFC Bournemouth and Liverpool FC at the Vitality Stadium. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

Jones praised the way the whole squad is contributing currently, and provided some great numbers of the goal share so far this season:

Both Oxlade-Chamberlain and Keita decorated their performances with goals, smartly-taken ones too.

Liverpool have now had 16 different goalscorers in the Premier League this season. The club record, set in 1911-12 and 2015-16, is 17.

Cross waxed-lyrical on Keita’s performance, assessing that it was an exciting demonstration of the “player Liverpool hoped they were signing”:

But perhaps most impressive was Naby Keita as he really took his chance with Fabinho currently out injured.

Keita has struggled at times to fulfil expectations since joining Liverpool but, on this evidence, he is ready to seize his opportunity. A goal, assist and bags of energy. This was the player Liverpool hoped they were signing.

The Liverpool Echo’s Ian Doyle wrote how Keita “oozed class” and showed the different dimension he adds to the midfield:

Keita oozed class, his touch confident from the start, gliding across the Vitality Stadium turf and always looking to move possession forward.

[…]

The Guinean has always offered a different dimension to the midfield. The problem has been a lack of fitness and self-belief to justify his talent. This outing surely bolstered both.

 Liverpool's Curtis Jones during the FA Premier League match between AFC Bournemouth and Liverpool FC at the Vitality Stadium. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

Echo colleague Theo Squires thought it was a performance boasting plenty of promise and stated that the No.8 now needs to build on it to launch his Anfield career:

With a goal and an assist under his belt, he’ll return to Merseyside happy, guaranteed a hug from his manager and with fans satisfied to see the Naby Keita they believed their club were signing.

[…]

But, by taking a step in the right direction, it could prove to be a decisive one. Now player, manager and fans alike will all be hoping it isn’t just a case of Keita’s latest false dawn.

Finally, the Mail’s Daniel Matthews thought Curtis Jones’ late cameo was a real positive and a nice added bonus for Klopp on a great afternoon:

Their march goes on and the performances of Keita – in his first start of the season – and substitute Curtis Jones will give Klopp particularly satisfaction.

As their to-do list continues to pile up, he will need every member of his squad if they are to make this early advantage count.

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Jones’ dream debut & Reds’ seaside joy after “another big win on the road”

Sun, 12/08/2019 - 08:00

There was plenty to celebrate for Liverpool players as they scored three and kept a clean sheet at Bournemouth on Saturday.


The Reds made the trip to the south coast with a 15th league win firmly in their sights, where they came up against a Bournemouth outfit without a win in their last four.

And while Jurgen Klopp’s side have been one for the dramatics in recent weeks, the Reds instead cruised to a comfortable 3-0 victory this time around as the decision to rotate the side again reaped its rewards.

The boss made seven changes to the side who clinched an emphatic 5-2 win over Everton last time out.

And both Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain and Naby Keita took the chance to shine as they each finished off two stunning passages of play to see the Reds take a two goal advantage into the break.

The Reds would continue to flex their muscles in the second half and inflict further misery on the Cherries, as Mohamed Salah found the scoresheet for the fifth consecutive time against the hosts as Liverpool successfully shut up shop to notch a rare clean sheet and another three points.

 Liverpool's captain Jordan Henderson, wearingf a rainbow coloured armband, during the FA Premier League match between AFC Bournemouth and Liverpool FC at the Vitality Stadium. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

For Jordan Henderson, who spoke to LFCTV after the final whistle, it was a win which the team walked away from “delighted” as they shone both offensively and defensively:

“It was a professional performance and a very solid performance. Overall, we are delighted with that.

“Offensively, I thought we were very good, we kept the ball for large periods of the game and we defended really well as well, so overall we are really pleased.”

Similarly, Oxlade-Chamberlain lauded the Reds’ “professional” performance and revealed how deep the desire was from the team was to control the game and walk away with a clean sheet.

 Liverpool's Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain celebrates scoring the first goal during the FA Premier League match between AFC Bournemouth and Liverpool FC at the Vitality Stadium. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

Andy Robertson and James Milner led the charge as Liverpool squeezed Bournemouth into submission and made it “difficult” for the hosts to find a way back into proceedings:

“Robbo and Millie were probably shouting at me for the last 30 minutes to just make sure we keep the clean sheet…to make sure we kept it tight and be professional and not getting carried away going forward all the time.

“So, like Hendo said, it was really professional from start to finish really and I think it was probably the main thing we needed to improve on.

“In weeks gone by, we have gone 2-0 up and we just haven’t controlled the game well enough and we’ve made it difficult.

“Today, we learned from that and it was a really professional performance and some really top performances from all the boys.”

After the game, players swiftly took to Instagram to share their joy at picking up another three points to take their tally to 46 after 16 games.

For Curtis Jones, it was also an afternoon which saw his dream come true as he made his Premier League debut – a moment which left him both “proud” and thankful:

Andy Robertson was not shy to hide that he and the team ‘love a day out to the seaside’, while Trent Alexander-Arnold commended Oxlade-Chamberlain’s goal and subsequent celebration:

It was a “solid” and “strong” performance rightfully worth celebrating for Milner and Henderson:

The opening goal scorers in Oxlade-Chamberlain and Keita, similarly, lavished praise on their teammates as “another big win on the road” was secured:

And for Virgil van Dijk and Joe Gomez, the first clean sheet in 14 games was duly celebrated as they quickly turned their attention to the crucial European tie with Salzburg on Tuesday:

The Reds’ 15th win of the campaign stretches their unbeaten run in the league to 33 games, a result which increases their lead over Man City to 14 points and 11 over Leicester – who play on Sunday.

Klopp’s men, however, will now turn their attention to Champions League action where Liverpool can secure their place in the last 16 with a win or draw at Salzburg.

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“They wanted to be really loud, but…” – Jurgen Klopp lauds Liverpool’s energy-saving tactics

Sat, 12/07/2019 - 18:51

Jurgen Klopp hailed a “professional and mature” performance after Liverpool continued their relentless march to a first title in 30 years with a comfortable 3-0 win at struggling Bournemouth.


Goals from Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain, Naby Keita and Mohamed Salah in a devastating 19-minute spell either side of half-time saw the Reds make it 33 Premier League games unbeaten to move 11 points clear at the top of the table.

Bournemouth’s cause was not helped by a hamstring injury to key defender Nathan Ake moments before Oxlade-Chamberlain’s opener, while Cherries striker Callum Wilson limped off in the second half on a miserable afternoon for Eddie Howe’s out-of-form hosts.

With a commanding three-goal lead after 54 minutes, Klopp was afforded the luxury of not taking unnecessary risks as he negotiates a packed December fixture list and interest in five different competitions.

Asked if it was a perfect day, the Liverpool boss replied: “Yeah, it was, 100 percent.

“I really feel for [Howe] because you can lose against us, obviously that can happen, but losing Ake and Wilson in the same game is of course a major blow.

“We scored wonderful goals, we had more chances, did really well, were really uncomfortable to play [against].

“From 3-0 on we controlled the game absolutely and nothing really happened anymore.

“The players didn’t like it too much, they wanted to be really loud in these moments, but I didn’t want to see any unnecessary risk.

“It was maybe not the most exciting but necessary. It was an absolutely super performance, super individual performances and the team performance was just really mature and professional, just what we needed.”

 Liverpool's Mohamed Salah (#11) celebrates scoring the third goal with team-mates during the FA Premier League match between AFC Bournemouth and Liverpool FC at the Vitality Stadium. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

Klopp made seven changes at the Vitality Stadium following the emphatic midweek Merseyside derby win.

The German opted to give Sadio Mane a well-earned rest on the bench, while Divock Origi was also given a breather following his heroics against Everton as the Reds cantered to a first clean sheet in 14 games, without conceding an attempt on target.

The only sour note on the south coast came when defender Dejan Lovren had to be replaced by Trent Alexander-Arnold in the 40th minute.

Klopp, who was also without Georginio Wijnaldum and Adam Lallana because of minor issues, does not believe the Croatian’s injury to be severe ahead of Tuesday’s crucial Champions League clash with Red Bull Salzburg.

“You don’t always know exactly but it looks not too serious, it looks like a bit of cramp,” Klopp said of Lovren.

“It’s similar to Gini Wijnaldum and Adam Lallana, not serious but serious enough to keep them out.

“We have two days to make sure that they can go again. I don’t know 100 percent.”

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Watch Jurgen Klopp’s post-match press conference – Bournemouth 0-3 Liverpool

Sat, 12/07/2019 - 18:36

Jurgen Klopp praised his side for their maturity in controlling the lead as they surged to a 3-0 victory at Bournemouth on Saturday.

[embedded content]

The Reds were faced with a tough task at Dean Court until Nathan Ake’s hamstring injury late in the first half, with Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain breaking the deadlock soon after.

That set in motion a free-flowing performance from the visitors, with Naby Keita and Mohamed Salah adding to the goals and Liverpool settling for three points and a rare clean sheet.

Energy-preservation was a key topic for Klopp in his post-match press conference, as he praised his players for seeing the game out.

“We had so many games now we had to chase until the last second,” he told reporters at Dean Court.

“When you have this really rare comfortable situation when you’re 3-0 up you really should control the game.”

The manager also praised a number of individual performances, with Keita, Salah and Joe Gomez singled out, while he added that the key positive was “especially how we controlled it from midfield.”

 Liverpool's goalkeeper Alisson Becker celebrates with manager Jürgen Klopp after the FA Premier League match between AFC Bournemouth and Liverpool FC at the Vitality Stadium. Liverpool won 3-0. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

A first clean sheet in 14 games, and over two months, was obviously a focus for the squad.

Klopp revealed: “For the boys the most-used word in the dressing room was ‘clean sheet, clean sheet, clean sheet’. The next game it would be useful!”

That next game is a Champions League decider at Salzburg on Tuesday night, but there is no indication yet whether Dejan Lovren will be fit to feature following his first-half injury.

However, Klopp was optimistic over his fitness, with the initial diagnosis being “a little cramp.”

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The best photos as Liverpool cruise past Bournemouth

Sat, 12/07/2019 - 18:23

A much rotated Liverpool made light work of a despondent Bournemouth, with the Reds cruising to a 3-0 victory on the south coast.


There’s nothing like a brisk walk along the seaside to wake you up on a cold afternoon, and that is exactly what Jurgen Klopp‘s men experienced Saturday afternoon.

It was a game in which Liverpool managed over 1000 touches of the ball, forcing their opponents into 35 clearances – absolute total dominance, the only surprise was that the scoreline wasn’t more than the three eventually reached.

However, it was the first time in nine Premier League games that the Reds have kept a clean sheet – more important than goals scored perhaps for Klopp, who mentioned the stat post-match.

 Liverpool's goalkeeper Alisson Becker celebrates with manager Jürgen Klopp after the FA Premier League match between AFC Bournemouth and Liverpool FC at the Vitality Stadium. Liverpool won 3-0. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

At the business end of the pitch, Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain picked up his first goal of the league season after a neat pass from Jordan Henderson.

The Liverpool captain’s searching ball landed on Oxlade-Chamberlain’s toe and the midfielder poked it home.

 Liverpool's Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain celebrates scoring the first goal during the FA Premier League match between AFC Bournemouth and Liverpool FC at the Vitality Stadium. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

 Liverpool's Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain celebrates scoring the first goal during the FA Premier League match between AFC Bournemouth and Liverpool FC at the Vitality Stadium. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

One soon became two, and it was from another rotated into the side – Naby Keita. A clever one-two with Salah saw the Guinean start and finish a move of real class, and of course, there were smiles all around.

 Liverpool's Naby Keita celebrates scoring the second goal during the FA Premier League match between AFC Bournemouth and Liverpool FC at the Vitality Stadium. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

 Liverpool's Naby Keita celebrates scoring the second goal during the FA Premier League match between AFC Bournemouth and Liverpool FC at the Vitality Stadium. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

 Liverpool's Naby Keita (L) celebrates scoring the second goal with team-mate Mohamed Salah during the FA Premier League match between AFC Bournemouth and Liverpool FC at the Vitality Stadium. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

Keita then turned provider, for Mohamed Salah – who slipped in Liverpool’s third.

The Egyptian has now scored in all five of his Premier League games against Bournemouth (seven goals in total), the only side he’s got a 100 per cent record against in the competition.

 Liverpool's Mohamed Salah scores the third goal during the FA Premier League match between AFC Bournemouth and Liverpool FC at the Vitality Stadium. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

 Liverpool's Mohamed Salah (L) celebrates scoring the third goal with team-mate Virgil van Dijk during the FA Premier League match between AFC Bournemouth and Liverpool FC at the Vitality Stadium. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

 Liverpool's Mohamed Salah (#11) celebrates scoring the third goal with team-mates during the FA Premier League match between AFC Bournemouth and Liverpool FC at the Vitality Stadium. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

Liverpool could have had plenty more if they wanted, instead the Reds just calmly stroked the ball around – making their hosts work hard to try and get at least one touch.

With the game all but won, Klopp gave a debut to Curtis Jones. The one time U9 now had a Premier League game under his young belt, and he didn’t look out of place. Almost grabbing a fourth, but his volley just cleared the Bournemouth bar.

 Liverpool's Curtis Jones celebrates after the FA Premier League match between AFC Bournemouth and Liverpool FC at the Vitality Stadium. Liverpool won 3-0. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

The only sour note, an injury to Dejan Lovren in the first half – however, it looks to have been just a spot of cramp.

It was the perfect result prior to a tricky match midweek in Salzburg, a game the Reds must win (or at least draw) should they wish to make the Champions League round of 16.

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Liverpool’s boycott of the S*n leads to rejection of England game at Anfield

Sat, 12/07/2019 - 09:36

Anfield is not being considered for England’s Euro 2020 warmup against Romania in June due to Liverpool’s ban on S*n journalists.


The FA announced the friendly clash on June 7 without a venue as, with Wembley unavailable, Gareth Southgate is pushing for a northern stadium.

But with journalists from the S*n not permitted at Anfield, the Mail report that the Reds’ ground is not being considered, despite a host of others already being fully booked.

Old Trafford and the Etihad are already hosting events, while Goodison Park is “unsuitable due to its dated facilities and access issues,” which leaves St James’ Park as the most viable option.

The Mail add that Liverpool are “unwilling to alter their position,” which stems from the S*n’s treatment of supporters in the aftermath of the Hillsborough disaster.

Hillsborough match commander David Duckenfield received a not guilty verdict at his retrial last month, and ‘Justice for the 96’ rang out across Anfield during the first six minutes of Wednesday night’s Merseyside derby.

The Kop was laden with banners, one reading “injustice anywhere threatens justice everywhere” and another, spanning the divide between home and away fans, “all Scousers know the truth.”

 A banner stretching between the Everton and Liverpool supporters "All Scousers Know the Truth, Justice for the 96" before the FA Premier League match between Liverpool FC and Everton FC, the 234th Merseyside Derby, at Anfield. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

Liverpool’s matchday programme was dedicated to the 96, while a mosaic was organised in their honour, held up by fans prior to kickoff.

Anfield has not hosted an England game since the 2-1 win over Uruguay in 2006, and there appear to be no plans for that to change any time soon.

It is a credit to the club that that is the case, as their hardline stance over the S*n, and the memories of the 96, are significantly more important.

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Mohamed Salah given the perfect setting for his Premier League century

Sat, 12/07/2019 - 07:00

Mohamed Salah could make his 100th appearance in the Premier League today, and will do so against a Bournemouth side he has punished before.


Perfect Setting for Salah’s Century

Mo Salah has scored for Liverpool in four successive games against Bournemouth—the only Reds player in history to do so.

His hat-trick here last season was the first ever by any Liverpool player against Bournemouth in the league.

The Egyptian has scored six goals against Eddie Howe’s men in just four appearances.

He could make the 100th Premier League appearance of his career, the first 13 of which came with Chelsea.

Guaranteed Goals

Liverpool's Georginio Wijnaldum scores his side's second goal of the game during the Premier League match at Anfield, Liverpool. ( Peter Byrne/PA Wire/PA Images)

Bournemouth have conceded on average three goals per game in the last seven encounters.

The Reds have scored 37 goals in their 15 league games this season—it equals their Premier League best, set in 2016/17.

Liverpool have won each of the last 30 games in which they have scored the first goal, including the penalty shootout victory over Arsenal in the League Cup.

The Reds are unbeaten in league and cup in the last 44 games (41 wins, three draws) when scoring the first goal since losing to Chelsea at Anfield in the League Cup last season.

Dean Court Anomaly

Liverpool's Loris Karius looks on dejected after his mistake gives Bournemouth's their fourth goal during the Premier League match at the Vitality Stadium, London. Picture date December 4th, 2016 Pic David Klein/Sportimage via PA Images

The Reds have lost one of the 15 meetings between the clubs in all competitions, winning 11.

In the eight previous meetings at Dean Court, Liverpool have won five with two draws and a defeat.

When losing in 2016 Liverpool conceded more goals in 37 minutes (four) than they have in all the other seven visits to Bournemouth put together (three).

The teams have met only eight times in the league (all in the Premier League) with the Reds winning six, drawing one and losing the other.

Liverpool have done the double over the Cherries in three of the four league campaigns in which they have met.

3 O’Clock Blackout

This will be the first time since May 2007 that Liverpool will have kicked off at 3pm on a third successive Saturday.

Absent King

 Joshua King during the FA Premier League match between AFC Bournemouth and Arsenal FC at the Vitality Stadium. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

Bournemouth have not scored in any of the last four meetings with Liverpool, home and away.

The last player to do was Josh King with an 87th-minute equaliser at Anfield in April 2017.

King, with two, is the only Bournemouth player to score more than once against Liverpool in the club’s history, while Simon Francis has played most games for his club against the Reds (10).

The Norwegian is set to miss this game through injury.

Ex-Reds and Klopp’s Loanee

 AFC Bournemouth's Jordon Ibe is replaced by substitute Dominic Solanke during the FA Premier League match between Liverpool FC and AFC Bournemouth at Anfield. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

Jordon Ibe played 58 times for Liverpool scoring four times. In the league he netted once in 41 appearances.

Dominic Solanke scored once in 27 games for Liverpool before joining Bournemouth for £19 million last January.

Harry Wilson has scored six goals in his 14 league appearances this season. He is ineligible to play today against his parent club.

This Season’s Scorers

 Liverpool's Sadio Mané celebrates scoring the fourth goal during the FA Premier League match between Liverpool FC and Everton FC, the 234th Merseyside Derby, at Anfield. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

Bournemouth: H.Wilson 6, C.Wilson 5, King 3, Ake 1, Fraser 1, Mepham 1, S.Cook 1

Liverpool: Mane 13, Salah 9, Origi 5, Firmino 4, Oxlade-Chamberlain 4, Milner 3, Van Dijk 3, Wijnaldum 3, own goals 3, Matip 2, Robertson 2, Alexander-Arnold 1, Fabinho 1, Henderson 1, Hoever 1, Lallana 1, Lovren 1, Shaqiri 1

* Stats courtesy of LFC statistician Ged Rea (@ged0407).

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Reds head to happy hunting ground in Dean Court – Bournemouth vs. Liverpool Preview

Fri, 12/06/2019 - 18:43

Liverpool head to Bournemouth looking for a third consecutive win at Dean Court, as they aim to hold their lead at the top of the Premier League.


Bournemouth vs. Liverpool

Saturday, December 7, 2019 – 3pm (GMT)
Dean Court
Premier League (16)
Referee: Chris Kavanagh

Following a trio of unconvincing results, the Reds enjoyed the rout they had long been threatening as a much-changed side thrashed Everton 5-2 on Wednesday night.

Three days after, and they are back on the road for a trip to the south coast, taking on a Bournemouth side who, like the Blues, are struggling this campaign.

Eddie Howe has overseen just four wins in the league, with four of the Cherries’ seven defeats coming in the last four games.

However, their most recent victory came with an impressive showing at home to Man United, and Howe will be clinging to this as he hopes to inspire Bournemouth to become the first side to take three points from Liverpool.

With many of his big names rested, though, Jurgen Klopp will be confident of another positive result as the Reds set the pace at the top of the table.

Team News

 Liverpool's goalkeeper Alisson Becker during the FA Premier League match between Liverpool FC and Manchester City FC at Anfield. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

There are no new injury problems for Liverpool, with Joel Matip (knee) and Fabinho (ankle) the only first-team regulars sidelined.

Klopp did, however, indicate that there were “little concerns” within his squad after the Merseyside derby, which could impact his planned lineup for the weekend.

The manager is likely to make more changes, having opted for five in midweek, with Alisson set to return after his suspension, and Jordan Henderson, Roberto Firmino and Mohamed Salah almost guaranteed to start too.

Joe Gomez, Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain and Naby Keita are all options if Klopp opts to reshuffle further.

Bournemouth will be without the ineligible Harry Wilson, while Steve Cook (wrist), Adam Smith (ankle) and Josh King (hamstring) are ruled out with injury.

Possible Bournemouth XI: Ramsdale; Francis, Mepham, Ake, Rico; Danjuma, Billing, Lerma, Fraser; Solanke, Wilson

Last 5 Away to Bournemouth (All Competitions)

 Liverpool's Mohamed Salah celebrates scoring the third goal with team-mates during the FA Premier League match between Liverpool FC and AFC Bournemouth at Anfield. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

Won 3-1 – December 2014 (Gosling; Sterling x2, Markovic)
Won 2-1 – April 2016 (King; Firmino, Sturridge)
Lost 4-3 – December 2016 (Wilson, Fraser, Cook, Ake; Mane, Origi, Can)
Won 4-0 – December 2017 (Coutinho, Lovren, Salah, Firmino)
Won 4-0 – December 2018 (Salah x3, Cook OG)

Dean Court

 A general view of Bournemouth's Dean Court Stadium before the FA Premier League match against Liverpool. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

Capacity: 11,360

Away fans’ pubs: The best bet for away fans is to head into the centre of town before the match. The stadium is about three miles from it and there are plenty of buses and taxis to get you to the ground.

This will give you a much bigger variety of bars and pubs to suit any taste.

A piece of advice for the visiting fan: My standard advice would be to make a weekend of it. Bournemouth is known as a tourist haven for a reason.

Information courtesy of Neil Grover (@AFCBNG).

Did You Know?

 Liverpool's Andy Robertson celebrates scoring the third goal with team-mates during the FA Premier League match between AFC Bournemouth and Liverpool FC at the Vitality Stadium. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

Despite Liverpool’s 4-3 loss back in 2016 depicting Dean Court as a difficult stadium to visit, only two current Premier League sides boast a worse home record against the Reds.

Klopp’s side have won on three of their four visits to Boscombe, for a win ratio of 75 percent.

This is equal to their record on trips to Norwich (75%), albeit based on half the amount of games, and behind only Burnley (83.3%) and Brighton (100%).

Liverpool have also scored more league goals at Dean Court than at any other stadium during Klopp’s reign as manager, with 13.

Form

Liverpool's Xherdan Shaqiri (left) celebrates scoring his side's second goal of the game with team-mate Adam Lallana during the Premier League match at Anfield, Liverpool.

Liverpool – Last five results (all competitions)

Won 5-2 vs. Everton
Won 2-1 vs. Brighton
Drew 1-1 vs. Napoli
Won 2-1 vs. Crystal Palace
Won 3-1 vs. Man City

Bournemouth – Last five results (all competitions)

Lost 1-0 vs. Crystal Palace
Lost 3-2 vs. Tottenham
Lost 2-1 vs. Wolves
Lost 2-1 vs. Newcastle
Won 1-0 vs. Man United

Klopp’s View

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Speaking at Melwood on Friday, Klopp expressed his relief that Wilson was unable to play against his parent club, and assessed the loanee’s progress so far:

“Oh, Harry. I’m happy, to be honest, that he cannot play against us!

“Each free-kick is a proper, proper threat. But we were never in doubt about Harry’s shooting abilities, his skills in that part of the game are incredible. World class for sure.

“But Harry is at Bournemouth to improve all the rest of his game as well. So being involved, being decisive, being between the lines, using the speed and all that stuff.

“He makes big steps, so that’s really important.

“Now [Bournemouth are] not in the best run but even there he scored two goals in the game before the last game [against Tottenham]—nice goals, as well.”

TV & Liveblog Info

 A television camera blocks the view of photographers during the FA Premier League match between Tottenham Hotspur FC and Liverpool FC at Wembley Stadium. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

Bournemouth vs. Liverpool is not on TV in the UK, with the Saturday 3pm kickoff the last of the Reds’ games to not be broadcast in 2019.

This Is Anfield’s Chris Williams will be providing updates, analysis and our usual biased view on our matchday liveblog, however, kicking off from 2.15pm.

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Jurgen Klopp backs Sadio Mane to challenge for Ballon d’Or in future

Fri, 12/06/2019 - 18:42

Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp believes forward Sadio Mane can challenge Lionel Messi for the Ballon d’Or in years to come.


The Senegal international has been in sensational form in 2019 and actually won Messi’s vote in FIFA’s Best awards in September.

However, he finished fourth in the Ballon d’Or stakes behind the Barcelona forward, team-mate Virgil Van Dijk and Cristiano Ronaldo.

Messi said it was “a shame” Mane finished fourth but Klopp does not expect that to be the case for much longer.

“The first three in the Ballon d’Or was Messi, Van Dijk, Cristiano and then Sadio. That’s a nice row. Having two players there shows a lot,” said the Reds boss.

“Mo was fifth and Alisson was seventh. We obviously played a good season and they had to respect that.

“Sadio is in incredible shape. Since the first day he came in he has been an incredibly important player.

“I can still remember his first goal, the Arsenal goal: running down the line, cutting inside and with the next step left-foot into the far corner.

“An incredible goal. And each year he made big steps and is in a good way.

 Liverpools Sadio Mané celebrates scoring the fourth goal during the FA Premier League match between Liverpool FC and Everton FC, the 234th Merseyside Derby, at Anfield. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

“For an offensive player when Messi says something like this… Sadio, especially against Barcelona at home, was very impressive, it was like we had three of him on the pitch.

“If he stays healthy he will have an incredible career in front of him and I think he can climb in that Ballon d’Or table.

“But then some other people make decisions – not even Lionel Messi can decide that.”

Mane is Liverpool’s top scorer this season with 13 and at times was unplayable in the midweek Merseyside derby win over Everton which restored their eight-point lead at the top of the table.

Victory at Bournemouth, who have lost the last four, guarantees Klopp’s side are top at Christmas.

The Reds have been top on December 25 three times previously but remain the only club never to have gone on and won the Premier League from that position.

“I’ve told you often enough I am really not interested in these numbers and this history but that is part of the deal when you are in a good position,” said the manager.

“There are a lot of people who celebrate already, a lot of people who worry still and a lot of people who hope that you will still fail.

“I don’t listen to any of them. What that means for Christmas I never thought about.

“We need to be lucky that players stay fit and healthy. These are all things which worry us much more than who will be first at Christmas and what it means.”

Liverpool’s December programme has been complicated by their involvement in the Club World Cup, which will see them play two matches in Qatar later this month – the first 24 hours after a Carabao Cup quarter-final against Aston Villa.

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Weeks of speculation were ended when the designated 23-man squad travelling to Doha was published this week, naming all his first-team players plus youngsters Rhian Brewster, Harvey Elliott, Curtis Jones and Neco Williams.

There is an outside chance Liverpool will try to field that youthful quartet in the Carabao Cup and then immediately fly them to Qatar to sit on the bench for their Club World Cup semi-final.

But Klopp said “not for one second” did he consider splitting the squad and leaving some senior players behind for the League Cup side, which will be managed by Under-23 boss Neil Critchley.

“We had to do it like this. I think it’s a really nice opportunity for the younger players to face that (Villa). I know everybody thinks ‘no chance’ but football is a wonderful game,” he said.

“There was absolutely no chance to do it differently, in the moment when it was clear when it would be played and all the other dates were absolutely not possible for us to play it later.

“At the end we will not suffer because of it. That’s not possible. If somebody thought I should have done it differently, I cannot change that.”

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