Our No. 14 has performed a brilliant, euphoria-building, fast-foot dance in lifting each of his three major trophies won as captain of Liverpool over the past year or so.
It would be expected that this one, the first league championship in 30 years, would necessitate the biggest shuffle of all—but a knee injury sustained against Brighton has probably ended that hope.
Klopp acknowledged Henderson as a “great” captain of the club and said he was delighted the job had already been made before he arrived at the club—but the No. 14 won’t be on the pitch at Chelsea, when the Reds will receive the trophy.
Regarding the actual trophy lift itself, Klopp was asked about how Liverpool would ensure Henderson could have the involvement he deserves, with the skipper not able to be on the pitch for the match.
“We don’t know yet but we will do everything possible to do it the right way,” he told the media.
“Hendo will be there and wear the match kit and everything will be fine.
“He deserves exactly to be in that spot in that moment.
“If he had to have surgery and would have been in hospital it would have been difficult. But he’s not, rehab starts immediately he will fine in a few weeks and train again, play again.
“So we’ll find a solution where we show respect to what he did. All the other boys want that, want him to be there.
“One of the first things I heard after we won the league, Virg told Hendo ‘you can do the shuffle again!’—I’m not sure he can do the shuffle but that’s the smallest problem of all!”
A couple of potential solutions have already presented themself, with one being Henderson coming on as a late sub in the match, effectively not involving himself in play but being on the pitch for the final whistle.
Alternatively, he could simply join in with the rest of the squad, with players such as Adam Lallana and Joel Matip similarly likely to be outside of the matchday 20, but having played their own roles in the season.
Either way, the hard work which counts toward the title has come across the last 34 matches (and counting), not just in that last minute of the game against Chelsea.
Hendo has been a driving force for consistency and leadership, and there can be no denying now his status as an iconic skipper in the club’s history: A European Cup and League Championship-winning captain of Liverpool FC.
Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp sympathised with Dean Smith after a contentious video assistant referee call went against Aston Villa on Thursday and claimed the system “should really find the right decision”.
Villa fell behind against Manchester United from a penalty which was awarded after Bruno Fernandes stepped into Ezri Konsa and went down inside the area when trying to turn on the ball.
Referee Jon Moss pointed to the spot and the decision was controversially backed up by VAR official Graham Scott, even though the United man appeared to be the one who fouled Konsa.
That was not the only debatable VAR decision of the day, with Tottenham denied a spot-kick despite Joshua King appearing to push Harry Kane in the box, while Southampton were given a penalty against Everton when James Ward-Prowse looked to be already falling into Andre Gomes before any contact was made.
On each of the three occasions, the VAR official went with the on-field call and Klopp questioned why it was so complicated for such decisions to be overturned when they seemed “obvious” to him.
Speaking at his pre-match press conference ahead of the Premier League champions’ clash with Burnley, Klopp said: “I think it was a week ago, Jose (Mourinho) in his after-match interview said the decision is made by the guy in the studio. Now we have a situation where on one matchday three decisions should have been different.
“I can 100 per cent understand that Dean Smith is really struggling to accept what happened last night.
“I don’t know how it can happen, to be honest. It’s not about who makes the decision, whether it’s two people or three people, in the end it’s just about getting the right decision.
“What I don’t understand is that overruling is so complicated, that it must be a ‘clear and obvious’ misjudgement. I thought they were all obvious, but you’d have to ask the refs why they still stuck to the decision.
“It’s obviously difficult, but last night I didn’t think it was too difficult! It is obviously not right and not good.
“I really would like to think that in the end three people watch it, they should really find the right decision in the end.”
Jurgen Klopp’s Reds romped to the title and, with no other silverware available, are looking to end the league campaign in record-breaking fashion.
Liverpool need three wins from their remaining four fixtures to surpass Manchester City’s record points total of 100 set in 2017/18 and boast a 100 per cent record at Anfield heading into their penultimate home match.
Asked if the trip to Merseyside is less intimidating without fans there, Burnley boss Dyche said: “No, not necessarily. I mean, you’ve still got very good players in front of you – top players, in fact, some of them.
“They look hungry to me. They look like they want to achieve other markers in the season.
“I think it is obviously more so when there’s a full house there, but I’m saying it’s still not an easy task, whether it’s a full house there or not.
“I mean, Man City had that a real edge to them when we played them and a real sharpness to them in their game.
“I can’t presuppose anything other than Liverpool will be ready to play.”
“I think it’s highly unlikely with Ben, almost impossible with Lowton and Corky – they won’t be figuring,” Dyche said,
“Barnsey I doubt it. He is back on the grass, which is really pleasing but we’ve got to be careful with him of course.”
Liverpool are revelling in having won yet another three points and today’s headlines focus on the players’ performances, the potential for summer deals and a potential change in the curtain-raiser.Changes ahead for Community Shield
Liverpool will be in the Community Shield once more to start the 2020/21 season…if it goes ahead at all.
There is still an element of uncertainty over dates for the start of next term, but if the Wembley fixture is played, Liverpool will be there as league champions.
Their opponent, however, may be changed. Usually, we’d play the FA Cup winners—fine if it’s Chelsea or Arsenal. But if either Manchester club wins the trophy and they reach their respective European finals, the dates could clash.
In that case, the Times reports that the Reds may instead face the Championship winners.
West Brom are currently top, two points ahead of Leeds, but the latter have a game in hand. Brentford are third, though likely too far off the pace now to take top spot.
The report also suggests that the FA may use the occasion to test-run getting fans back inside stadiums for games for the first time since the coronavirus lockdown.Thiago keen on Premier League switch
It seems that the Thiago talk has died down over the last day or two!
The Reds are still linked with the Bayern Munich midfielder, but those accounts suggesting contact had been made or that a deal was imminent have all gone extremely quiet.
James Pearce of the Athletic confirms that the Reds have had “no contact” with the Bundesliga club over a move and that it’s currently “unlikely” a deal will go ahead.
But Thiago does want a switch.
It’s further reported he is keen on moving to the Premier League and with just one year left on his contract, £30 million is the guide price to snare him.Evidence of our success
On and off the pitch, Liverpool are the undisputed team to mimic right now.Quickfire LFC news
Sheffield United are interested in signing Norwich City’s attacking midfielder Todd Cantwell this summer when the Canaries are relegated.
Sounds ok so far, doesn’t it?
So let’s see what price tag the Star are giving Cantwell with this ‘exclusive‘ inside story.
Ten million?! Think the Blades might just have a bit of competition if that’s the going rate for a Cantwell – or have they put most of his value on Godfrey for some reason?!Tweet of the day
Neco Williams is a positional rival for Trent now, technically. So it’s superb to hear the No. 66 speak so well about how high the Welshman could go.
"With the right attitude, which he's got, he's got the potential to be a world-class player"
— BBC 5 Live Sport (@5liveSport) July 9, 2020What we’re reading
The story on BBC Sport of the anti-racism demonstration in MLS as the games returned and the players took a stand—for eight minutes and 46 seconds.
And this incredible story by Jack Lang on the Athletic, about Bernio Verhagen: the non-playing professional who conned multiple teams into signing him up and is now in prison in Denmark.Worth watching tonight
Bournemouth vs Spurs at 6pm. Athletic vs Sevilla in LaLiga at 9.
Liverpool became the fastest side to record 30 league wins in the history of English football on Wednesday night, and did so against a Brighton side who deserve credit.
Three points gained and more records broken. This time, a record that was set only two years ago, by our prime contemporary rival; this time, a record that was expected to last for a considerable amount of time.
As I said the other day, breaking records is a nice side-effect to success, without being all that important when it comes to the bigger picture of collecting trophies of substance.
Even Jurgen Klopp has made similar noises in how chasing the points record isn’t all that important to him. I’m sure he’d like it if it were to happen, but if it doesn’t, so what?
We set out to be Premier League champions and here we are, Premier League champions. I even like the concept which Klopp floated that we won’t be setting our stall out next season to defend our title, but to win a new one instead.
All. The. Right. Noises.
I like this newly acquired record from Wednesday evening, though, as it will rankle with Pep Guardiola and his players. It is the type of occurrence that will make that itch we plant under their skin more incessant.
It isn’t the record that is so important, more the dig in the ribs it provides.
Once it became evident that Alisson was in all-black, this game was over as a genuine contest. He should always wear all-black.
A 3-1 victory in which a bold Brighton side couldn’t have been more generous in the buildup to what were two excellent early goals.
Very swiftly, the hosts were punished again, for having the temerity of trying to play the ball out of defence. Henderson’s strike was beautiful.
In a season of magical moments, Firmino’s restraint and Henderson’s finish at Brighton will sit comfortably alongside a myriad of other moments that will flash across the mind, on the cold winter nights of January, to warm the soul.
I’m glad it seems that Brighton will be staying up.
At nine points clear of the relegation zone, with only four to play, it should now be a matter of when they secure Premier League football for next season, rather than if.
Without intending to be condescending, Brighton showed a huge amount of composure in not allowing those two early blows to alter the way they approached the game.
It would have been far easier for them to curl up into a ball, in the hope that Liverpool wouldn’t pick on them any more than they already had. Many other teams have found themselves in such a position and opted to defend what they had at 2-0 down.
Being expansive is a gamble for a team like Brighton. Sometimes it can pay off, but at other times there is a costly price to be paid.
Norwich took an idealist’s approach to their campaign, after sweeping all before them in the Championship last season, only to bomb resoundingly in the top division.
Eddie Howe’s Bournemouth are in great risk of following the Canaries out of the Premier League, having preached an aesthetically pleasing ethos for much of their five-year residency in the top flight.
In such circumstances, Brighton’s take on matters is nothing but admirable. They have claimed the mid-range Premier League mantle that once took Swansea City to League Cup success and one of their managers to the Liverpool job.
I wish them well and hope that they kick on for a higher placing in 2020/21.
After the opening exchanges and gifts were presented, by the time Brighton pulled their goal back it felt like it had been coming for some time.
Brighton began the second half in a similar frame of mind. It gave Liverpool food for thought, they adapted and wrestled back the initiative, from opponents that posed a puzzle for Klopp and his players to solve.
Henderson’s injury aside, it was a very satisfying night down in Sussex.
Williams will benefit from a start, despite being opted out at half-time. Virgil van Dijk offered his marvellous brand of calm authority. At one point, he diffused a long looping ball by heading it to himself.
Van Dijk essentially deals in the defensive version of Cruyff turns. It is an emotional experience to watch him in action.
Keita’s performance was arguably his best yet in a Liverpool shirt. Now, if only he can string together a run of injury-free seasons, then big, big things would be ahead for him.
It is all about turning that promise into a lasting presence.
Firmino was majestically whimsical and Salah is hungry for a splurge of goals to end the season—as he likes a Golden Boot, does our Mo. Sadio Mane just wanted to play.
Among Klopp’s first signings as Reds manager, Matip is one of 15 players to go on to hit 100 appearances during his time in charge, as part of the core of his group.
While he may not be first-choice starter at the back, largely owing to his inconsistent fitness, the No. 32 remains a key player within the squad, and this season serves as an outlier as the only campaign in which he has played fewer than 30 times.
The 28-year-old signed a new five-year contract with Liverpool back in October, keeping him with the club until at least 2024, which is a sign of both his and his manager’s commitment.
And speaking to the Westfalenpost, Matip described Klopp as “second to none worldwide,” in a testimony to his belief in his coach.
“He has a great team and a great approach that every single player tries to internalize,” he said.
“His intense style of football, giving the opponent no space to breathe, is special.
“I don’t know how he does it, it remains his secret. But the fact is that his teams are ready to walk through fire for him.
“He manages to create a very special atmosphere in the team and make it clear that you can only be successful if you subscribe to the big picture.
“He planted this mentality in the minds of the players, fans and the whole club and thus created a great unity.
“He is an exceptional coach who is second to none worldwide.”
It is no surprise to hear this, but this praise is always welcome, with there being few, if any, players who have not embraced Klopp’s approach.
His infectious personality is the same whether on camera or not, and this is how he and his staff have been able to lead Liverpool back to the top of the Premier League.
That Matip holds him in such high regard is encouraging, as though later in the interview he admits he would be open to a return to Schalke in the future, it is clear he understands the importance of the squad to Klopp.
His praise for the manager crystallises how he has been able to transform the Reds’ fortunes over the past five years.
And with the players ready to “walk through fire” for him, it would be no surprise for this success to continue in 2020/21.
Two early goals and it looked like it would be a stroll on the south coast, but Brighton are a decent side and made Liverpool work for their 30th Premier League win of the season.Brighton 1-3 Liverpool
Premier League (34), Amex Stadium
July 8, 2020
Goals: Trossard 45′; Salah 6′, 76′, Henderson 8′Unwanted record avoided as Mo leads the way
With Liverpool breaking records left, right and centre, we were surprisingly on the cusp of a record we didn’t want. After four defeats and a draw from the last five away games – and not a single goal to show in those five games – it was a welcome sight to see the boys navigate a tricky fixture and bring the three points home.
It was by no means plain sailing, with Brighton playing some eye-catching stuff, just like they did in the return fixture at Anfield, but once again that man Mohamed Salah played a huge part in yet another victory.
Two more goals, yet another assist, and he caused Brighton problems throughout. In 116 Premier League games he now has 75 goals and 28 assists – and will be a little disappointed it isn’t more as he tormented Brighton till the final whistle, desperate for his hat-trick and a goal that would’ve taken him closer to that golden boot again.Neco makes his mark in unfamiliar territory
If making your full debut for the Premier League Champions isn’t difficult enough, being played as a right-footed left-back only adds to the pressure.
It was a mixed bag from the young Welshman, but with the good far outweighing the naïve.
On 19 minutes a brilliant last-gasp challenge prevented an almost certain goal, keeping the 2-0 lead intact. He showed his attacking prowess with a superb step-over and cross a minute later at the other end.
He was caught out a couple of times in his own half, both times bailed out by the captain, but that’s all just part of the learning. All in all, a very promising debut and the lad has a bright future. Klopp sensibly took him off at half time as he was on a yellow card.
It was interesting that Klopp used him at left-back as Williams proving capable there would provide a very effective in-house solution to an area of that squad that needs depth adding to.The Ox conumdrum
There was a shot of Ox leaving the pitch at half time, shaking his head, looking despondent. For most of his career, managers have shuffled him from position to position, with him never really making any one position his own. The last couple of games seem to encapsulate that, subbed on the hour in both.
Anonymous against Villa in midfield, he really didn’t look like he knew exactly where – or how – to play across the front three, starting in place of Sadio Mane on the left.
He often seems caught in two minds between his midfield instincts and attempting to fulfil a forward role he’s not quite accustomed to.
Ox is often praised for his versatility and ability to play in several positions. Unfortunately, I think his game, and his ability to nail down a first-choice spot, suffers because of it.
Like Williams, Ox being capable as a backup to Mane would provide another effective option in the squad, but on this showing it perhaps isn’t the best option.Keita presses and impresses
This was another glimpse of the Naby Keita we paid a premium for – our record club signing when he was signed. He’d shown signs of his better form in the game against Villa and continued it into this game.
Within 13 minutes he’d stolen the ball, got himself another assist, and drove right through the heart of the Brighton defence setting up Mo Salah for a decent chance.
That’s now two assists in two games and a classy, dynamic performance against the Seagulls. He was pickpocketing Brighton at will, a skill that seems instinctive to him.
A fully fit, fully firing Keita is another of those ‘we already have them in the squad’ players Klopp has hinted about lately.
Maybe he’s been hearing about them Thiago rumours…The Rolls Royce Van Dijk
It’s become rather easy to take this Rolls Royce of a player for granted such is the ongoing quality of his performance. While the defence has shown signs of rustiness since the return, Van Dijk has been a colossus.
After a blip against City, where none of the back five covered themselves in glory, he’s right back to his best.
He was absolutely superb here with one or two moments having you shaking your head at just how he does it.
With the Brighton forward putting pressure on him chasing a ball over the top, he calmly nods it forward, clips it over his head, and calmly walks away with the ball. The striker was simply bamboozled.
The best centre half – if not the best player – on the planet.
Jordan Henderson will be sent for a scan on his knee following a collision which forced his withdrawal in the win against Brighton on Wednesday night.
With a little over 10 minutes remaining of the game and with Liverpool comfortably positioned at 3-1, Henderson was caught in an awkward challenge.
The collision with the Brighton player saw the captain’s knee bear the brunt of their shoulder with direct impact and he was withdrawn from proceedings, with James Milner taking his place.
With just four games remaining in the season, Henderson’s availability is now under doubt as Jurgen Klopp conceded after the game that while the severity at this stage is unknown, it “will not be nothing.”
“I don’t know how serious it is,” Klopp told reporters. “I don’t know, honestly. I didn’t see it back on the pitch, but I know that it will not be nothing.
“That’s how it is, but we have to wait. I cannot say more. I have had press since the game is over, so I have no idea how he left the dressing room.”
The 30-year-old skipper was one of the Reds’ brightest sparks on the south coast, netting his fourth goal of the season in what was his 350th career outing in the top-flight but will now return to Merseyside with the squad before undergoing further tests.
But with just two weeks until Liverpool are to be officially awarded the Premier League trophy at Anfield, Henderson could well miss out on the game itself against Chelsea itself and instead be forced to join the celebrations from his place in the stands – no John Terry mentions please!
While it will be a blow to both him and Liverpool with the obvious hope that it is nothing long-term, the glass half full view is it will open up a spot for the likes of Naby Keita and Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain to show their worth in the coming games.
Hopefully the injury isn’t serious enough to affect the Hendo trophy shuffle!
Liverpool turned their fortunes on the road around after putting three beyond Brighton, ending a run of five away games without a goal and moving the Reds to 92 points after 34 games.
It all came to be after an emphatic start on the south coast which saw Naby Keita‘s pressure acts unlock Brighton for both Mohamed Salah and Jordan Henderson to find the net, with the former adding his second to secure the win in the second half.
The Seagulls proved to be no walkover, however, having pulled one back on the cusp of half-time as they continued to probe throughout.
And Klopp was pleased with how his side found the solutions to unlock Brighton for a “deserved win.”
“Difficult game, good opponent, deserved win, job well done,” Klopp told reporters in his post-match press conference.
“I think we started well and finished well but left the door open during the middle but only because Brighton were really good.
“They played really good football, took some risks in their formation and some of their counter-attacks were frightening and we had to block twice in the box and in the end we concede the goal.
“I said at half time, it’s a good game, both sides, but we have to adjust a few things and make a few things better and they will not score again.”
The sour point of the night, however, was the knee injury to Jordan Henderson who is set for a scan back on Merseyside with Klopp conceding he doesn’t “know how serious it is” but it “will not be nothing” – throwing his participation for the remainder of the season in doubt.
Lallana signed a short-term extension to his contract with the Reds to ensure he remains at Anfield for the remainder of the current campaign, but after that will depart.
Leaving at the end of July, Lallana is then expected to join Leicester on a free transfer, reuniting with the manager who brought him to Liverpool back in 2014, Brendan Rodgers.
Both parties agreed when the 32-year-old put pen to paper last month that he would not block the pathway for those with long-term futures with the Reds, and Curtis Jones has since scored his first Premier League goal for the club.
This will remain the approach taken in the remaining five games, with Klopp telling reporters ahead of the clash with Brighton that Lallana is now only a break-glass option.
“It’s clear that Adam will leave the club in the summer, and for now, if you ask me about it, I already miss everything about him, and he’s still here,” he said.
“He’s an outstanding player, he’s one of the most influential players on a training quality that I ever had in my life, he’s an incredible professional.
“But now we have a difficult situation, and we respect that a lot. Everything with Adam is sorted, let me say it like this.
“He’s top fit, he’s in training, everything is fine, but yes, the future is his future.
“And if we need his help on the pitch, we can get it, he’s there and trains 100 percent, but as long as we don’t need it, he will just train.
“That’s the normal thing. I think there were a lot of discussions about players with ending contracts, here it was not even a discussion, it was clear we would extend Adam’s contract and he wanted to do that as well.
“But we will not put any risk on his future or whatever, that’s absolutely clear.
“He is one of the most important players of the time since I am here, so I wish him only the best for the future.
“From my point of view, he is already a legend here, so he can now start becoming a legend somewhere else from next season on.”
This week brings their first long-distance trip since the coronavirus pandemic forced a three-month break in the campaign, with Liverpool travelling 215 miles to Brighton.
Klopp and his players have already made the flight down south, with the manager explaining before the Wednesday night kickoff that this was the best way forward amid a “tough” schedule.
“When we heard about the fixtures it was tough. It’s tough for everybody, but if you get your fixtures you don’t look at where the others play and stuff like this,” he said.
“Each day that you have more rest between games makes the main difference.
“Now this is the third game with always three days, three days, three days, so between the games is only two days.
“You know around Boxing Day when we played pretty much every 48 hours after the last game, it makes absolutely no sense and will never make sense.
“I stick to the opinion that that’s a crime. But three days is kind of OK.
“The next game is a problem and the next day after that is a problem, from an intensity point of view. Now [we are] travelling on top of that.
“We didn’t know when we got the fixtures how the country would be in that time, but still we had to plan.
“I think now we’ve found a hotel where we can sleep overnight. We had to make a decision on if we should go on the matchday, but Brighton is not around the corner, especially the airport.
“So we decided to do it like we would in the middle of the season and fly there today, train tomorrow morning and all that stuff.
“It should be OK, but then, of course, coming back in the middle of the night and playing a few hours later again against Burnley.
“So it’s not easier for them or easier for us, it’s just tough for all of us. The logistics are really difficult.
“In and around the stadiums meanwhile, I think is really good, everybody is used to everything we can deal with the situation.
“So far the dressing rooms were brilliant, how all the other teams set it up, so that’s all OK.
“It’s different, and I pretty much can’t wait until it is like it was before, but it’s absolutely OK.”
There’s a poor recent away run for Liverpool to rectify when they face Brighton in their latest Premier League fixture on Wednesday night.Brighton vs. Liverpool
Wednesday, July 8, 2020 – 8.15pm (BST)
Premier League (34)
Referee: Craig Pawson
Liverpool are back on the road, heading to the south coast on Tuesday and staying in a hotel overnight before they seek to secure their 30th win of what has been a landslide Premier League season.
The Reds were far from their best against Aston Villa but continued to find a way to keep the points tally ticking over as they stretched their formidable run at Anfield to 57 games unbeaten, the last 24 of which have ended in wins.
However, it is a different story away from home for Jurgen Klopp‘s Reds on recent away days as they have failed to win any of their last five in all competitions, losing four.
It’s a run of results which has seen Liverpool fail to even register a goal, their worst streak since Graeme Souness oversaw eight away fixtures without scoring in 1992.
The only points dropped in this remarkable league season have been on the road and they will be aiming to rectify their record against a Brighton side who have now all but safely secured their topflight status for 2020/21.
The Seagulls currently find themselves nine points above the drop zone with five games remaining to alleviate the pressure of uncertainty.
Liverpool should be confident of ending their poor record away from Anfield and have recent history behind them in meetings against Brighton having won all five meetings since their promotion to the Premier League.Team News
With just three days between Liverpool’s last game and their meeting with the Seagulls, there is another chance for rotation to inject fresh legs and avoid further injuries.
Andy Robertson had suffered a dead calf late in the win against Aston Villa but declared himself “good to go”, but form and rest could determine his place in the XI.
His likely replacement in James Milner, meanwhile, is set to be available after missing out over the weekend after “feeling something” in a muscle prior to the game, a setback which follows on from his hamstring strain sustained against Everton.
And continuing the theme in defence, Dejan Lovren is to miss his third consecutive game with a muscle injury of his own, leaving Klopp without another senior centre-back option once more.
There will also be many who hope to see the club’s youngsters provided with another opportunity to feature either from the off or from the bench following on from Curtis Jones netting his maiden Premier League goal.
Possible Brighton XI: Ryan; Lamptey, Duffy, Dunk, Burn; Mooy, Propper, Bissouma, Trossard; Maupay, ConnollyLast 5 Away to Brighton (All Competitions)
Won 1-0 – January 2019 (Salah pen)
Won 5-1 – December 2017 (Murray pen; Can, Firmino x2, Coutinho, Dunk OG)
Won 2-1 – September 2011 (Barnes pen; Bellamy, Kuyt)
Won 3-2 (AET) – January 1991 (Small, Byrne; McMahon x2, Rush)
Lost 2-0 – January 1984 (Ryan, Connor)
Capacity: 30,750Did You Know?
Liverpool are just one goalscorer away from setting a new club record for the most players hitting the net in one league season.
When Curtis Jones struck to double the Reds’ lead against Aston Villa he became the 17th different player to score for the club in 2019/20, a record matched only by seasons 1911/12 and 2015/16.
It leaves Klopp’s side just five games to find the 18th goalscorer to see another record tumble in their wake, and there are only five obvious possibilities – one of whom is currently sidelined.
Can Liverpool break their away duck at Brighton and also see a new record established?Form
Liverpool – Last five results (all competitions)
Brighton – Last five results (all competitions)
Speaking in his pre-match press conference, Klopp stressed the need for his chargers to be ready for a Brighton side “full of confidence”:
“We play Brighton now. I’m not 100 percent sure if they are still fighting for staying in the league or they already feel secure, which is possible as well.
“They are a really good football team, I really think what they did over the last year is really incredible.
“A relegation battle last year and implementing a new style, proper football style. It’s interesting and my colleague [Graham Potter] is doing a really good job.
“Since lockdown, they changed their approach a little bit and they went for results. We don’t know exactly what we will face, a team in a good run and pretty much full of confidence. We need to be ready for that.”TV & Liveblog Info
Brighton vs. Liverpool will be shown live in the UK on Sky Sports Main Event and Sky Sports Premier League, with coverage starting at 8pm (BST) ahead of the 8.15pm kickoff.
Chris Williams will be keeping you up to date with all the action and providing his usual non-bias take on This Is Anfield’s matchday liveblog, starting from 7.30pm (BST).
Curtis Jones‘ perfect weekend has further cemented the belief that he can take up an important role at Liverpool, which could solve a number of problems this summer.
By his own admission, Jones will have exceeded his expectations for the season.
Speaking at the start of pre-season, the teenager simply laid out his objective for the campaign as to “get some minutes” in the Premier League.
Just under a year on, and he has become the club’s youngest-ever captain, scored the winner in a Merseyside derby, the decisive penalty to knock Arsenal out of the League Cup and has now netted his first league goal.
His strike in the 2-0 win over Aston Villa at Anfield was symbolic; the Reds’ first home game since being crowned champions, Jones gave another promising glimpse into the future.
He was only on the field for eight minutes, including injury time, but he made sure to maximise every second he was afforded, as Klopp acknowledged.
“He came on, the first situation he had was a shot, then he was involved in a foul,” the boss recalled in his post-match press conference.
“I think he had pretty much everything apart from a card in a really short period of time, and then he scored a goal. The goal he deserves.”
Jones’ half-volley beyond Pepe Reina—a player he will have grown up watching, having debuted for the Reds when the midfielder was just four years old—came less than 24 hours after the club announced his new five-year contract.
And the grip Jordan Henderson locked him in as he celebrated showed the esteem he is held in at Liverpool, with James Milner, Andy Robertson and Gini Wijnaldum among those to congratulate him on social media.
Klopp told Jones to take the game “by the scruff of the neck,” and that he was trusted to, and then able to, is testament to the progress he has made this season.
Taking over from Naby Keita in the middle of the park, the 19-year-old supported the front three of Sadio Mane, Mo Salah and Roberto Firmino, with his express instruction to get on the ball and make things happen.
Up against a similar Villa side to that which pummelled his academy colleagues in the League Cup at the end of 2019, Jones looked at home in midfield.
His natural physique, standing at over six foot, allows him to match up to more senior opponents, but it is his unwavering confidence that gives him the platform to dazzle, and the drive to make it 2-0 late on.
The stutter that accompanies his post-match interviews belies the conviction of a player who knows he has the quality to make it at a club like Liverpool.
Jones knows it, Klopp knows it and the Kop are growing to embrace it—but importantly, that does not manifest itself into the perceived arrogance that allegedly prompted Everton to turn him down as a six-year-old.
“Plenty of young players have the skills,” Klopp explained on the announcement of a deal that will keep Jones at Anfield until at least 2025.
“It’s about more than that if you want to achieve potential, and Curtis is showing it.”
The manager praised his “super attitude,” and this was echoed as academy director Alex Inglethorpe spoke to the Times‘ Paul Joyce, saying “there is a new level of maturity that I have seen in Curtis this season.”
It is no longer about simply picking up the ball and trying out the flicks, tricks and dribbles that made him such an attractive player at an early age, with Jones now accepting that there must be a lot more to his game to make it under Klopp.
Inglethorpe highlighted the Liverpool under-19s’ 7-0 thrashing of Napoli in the UEFA Youth League back in November as a marquee moment for Jones, who scored a hat-trick that day but was also “ruthless” in setting the tone for his team-mates.
Giving him the captain’s armband at youth level has helped that, instilling a sense of responsibility that also aided Harry Wilson‘s step up to the senior stage, but so too has the advice of professionals like Milner and Henderson.
One of the most influential figures in the dressing room at Anfield will leave next month, and while Jones will no doubt miss a role model like Adam Lallana, he will also be licking his lips at the opportunity his departure presents.
Fitness issues notwithstanding, it is notable that Lallana has not been involved in a matchday squad since signing a new short-term deal with Liverpool ahead of the Premier League restart.
Lallana’s extension was designed to reward the 32-year-old for his service and the important role he played in the Reds’ resurgence under Klopp, but it came on the proviso that he would not be blocking the next generation.
Jones filled the No. 8 role against Villa, and that is arguably where he is most comfortable, but like Lallana—and particularly a young Lallana—he is capable of operating in a number of positions.
Midfield may be where he sees the most action as he makes his breakthrough, but much of his recent years in the academy have been spent on the left wing.
With Divock Origi again flattering to deceive in his latest outing, it could be that Jones’ flexibility allows him to usurp the Belgian in the pecking order in attack.
He has, after all, only scored two fewer goals than Origi so far this season, with three in nine appearances, despite playing 863 fewer minutes.
Klopp has repeatedly stressed that the young players in his squad will not be given games for the sake of it, but only if they are ready and if the situation dictates it—and Jones’ cameo against Villa proved he is ready.
Ahead of a transfer window that could see Klopp tweak his squad with a handful of additions, but also one that he has already admitted would benefit from “creating our transfers internally,” the way in which his No. 48 has stepped up is timely.
The last time Liverpool won the European Cup, in 2005, their foundation was built on the quality and influence of two local lads in Steven Gerrard and Jamie Carragher.
Now, with No. 6 and No. 19 in tow as Klopp forges a dynasty, perhaps Jones is prepared to join Trent Alexander-Arnold to ensure there are, once again, two Scousers in our team.
Sadio Mane was showered with praise and described as “a fabulous player” with “nothing to dislike” after yet another game-changing goal over the weekend.
Liverpool lacked attacking penetration for much of the proceedings against relegation-threatened Aston Villa until Liverpool’s No. 10 once again rose to the fore.
Mane has netted 16 Premier League goals across 15 games in 2019/20, all of which have ended in a Liverpool win.
Importantly, five were to open the scoring, two were the only goals of the game and a further two have been to seal a victory for Jurgen Klopp‘s Reds – a man for the big moment.
Since signing for Liverpool in 2016, Mane has made 165 appearances with a return of 79 goals and 34 assists across all competitions, where his goal-scoring contributions and all-round game have proven key to catapulting the Reds to the top of club football.
In yet another consistent campaign, Mane’s name has regularly been thrown in the ring to succeed teammate Virgil van Dijk in clinching the Player of the Year award.
And Graeme Souness is the latest to echo the views of many when running the rule over what Mane offers to Liverpool each and every matchday.
“He’d be the last one I’d want to lose. He’s 28 years old, fantastic attitude, he’s a warrior and it would be far easier to say what he hasn’t got, and I can’t tell you what he hasn’t got,” Souness told Sky Sports.
“He’s spot on with his attitude, aggressive, will not be bullied. I think if you were really aggressive to the others, not so much Firmino [but] Salah you could maybe discourage if the rules were slightly more flexible, but nothing discourages this guy.
“You could see he could deal with the English game [at Southampton] but then again it’s making the jump from Southampton, with all due respect, to a club that’s on the world stage where every game you play it could be the other team’s cup final.
“You don’t get easy games if you’re a Liverpool player. Everyone wants to go to war with you, everyone wants to take you on and everyone wants to beat you, you’re a scalp.
“You don’t know how players will react until you get them in and he’s grown, he’s relished every challenge that comes his way and generally wins every challenge that comes his way.
“He’s a fabulous player, there is nothing to dislike about him. He’s smiley, open and you want to work with people like that.
“I don’t think you’d have to say very much to him in terms of ‘train harder today’ or on match day ‘make sure you’re at it’ – I think it’s inbred in him. I think he’d be an absolute dream to work with.”
Mane’s incredible levels of consistency have now seen him score 20 goals, across all competitions, for three successive seasons following his effort against Villa on Sunday.
The joint Golden Boot winner from last season is currently fifth in this season’s race for the gong, five behind leader Jamie Vardy (21) and just one behind fellow Red Mohamed Salah (17).
As Souness alluded to, Mane is an embodiment of a Klopp team and at 28 years of age is at the peak of his powers, ones which have been key in propelling the club to their world, European and Premier League titles.
Liverpool’s lead is 23 points again at the top of the league! Today we have the match reaction, the rumours and the latest on Thiago Alcantara.Third Polish goalkeeper joins Reds ranks
Liverpool have completed the signing of 16-year-old goalkeeper Fabian Mrozek.
The Polish stopper was on trial with the Reds last year but had to wait until turning 16 to join, and will become the third stopper on the club’s books from the country along with Kamil Grabara and Jakub Ojrzynski.
He joins from the FC Wroclaw Academy and spent time training with the first team last year.
Mrozek will go into the U18s squad for 2020/21 and compete with the likes of Oscar Kelly and Ojrzynski for game time, with Vitezslav Jaros and Ben Winterbottom the U23s stoppers.Elliott joins Jones in committing future to Reds
Two enormous talents, two brand new contracts.
Curtis Jones signed a new deal with the Reds over the weekend and then scored at Anfield against Aston Villa straight away afterwards – an ideal way to celebrate, really.
So now we can expect Harvey Elliott to do the same against Brighton in midweek, correct?!
The right-sided forward has signed his first professional deal with the Reds, now that he has turned 17, and joins several other seniors and youngsters in committing their futures to Anfield for years to come.
We have a fantastic squad, but these two have a great chance of being the next wave of talent to keep the trophy haul going—and both Elliott himself and Jurgen Klopp are extremely excited about what lies ahead.Thiago watch
Finances and circumstances dictate that the Reds won’t be linked with an in-his-prime, big-name player like Thiago too often this summer, so while we are, we’re keeping a close eye on fans’ investigations, journalists’ suggestions and more! If you can’t see the tweets below, click here.
#LFC insiders suggest it’ll be a quiet summer, Thiago is far from a typical FSG signing, and midfield isn’t the area most in need of reinforcement. But will Klopp be able to resist a player he has so long admired for such a cut-price fee?https://t.co/pPzuLquk7K
— David Lynch (@LynchStandard) July 6, 2020
?Thiago’s press officer has recently followed our CEO on Twitter. pic.twitter.com/vxzL4vYMg3
— The Anfield Talk* (@TheAnfieldTalk) July 5, 2020
Thiago's departure is almost certain as he wants to leave Bayern.
— Anfield Hour (@AnfieldHour) July 5, 2020
If Liverpool don't sign Thiago we are finished. I can't see us winning the league next season by more than 15 points without him. Finished.
— Ian Mc (@McGlynnimino) July 6, 2020Senior moments
It wasn’t the most glorious of performances, but Liverpool found a way to win against Aston Villa and several players were notable for their impact even when below their best.Quickfire LFC news
An Express “exclusive” (yes!) says Juventus and Paris Saint-Germain want to fight it out for Hector Bellerin this summer.
That’s the Bellerin with three years left on his deal, who is just back from 12 months out injured and who is currently struggling to keep his place ahead of Cedric Soares. In an Arsenal defence.
That’ll be a no, then.Tweet of the day
Tonight’s result means Man City’s maximum possible points tally for this season is 81.
Liverpool reached 82 before lockdown #asterisk
— Andrew Beasley (@BassTunedToRed) July 5, 2020What we’re reading
Sean Ingle looks into why there are so few Asian players at top clubs, for the Guardian.
And Sam Tighe ranks the best players since football returned behind closed doors, for Bleacher Report.Worth watching tonight
Spurs vs Everton in the Premier League. 8pm on Sky Sports Premier League. Or on Sky Sports Main Event if you’re a soulless denizen of the underworld who wants to listen to fake crowd chantings at weird moments.
Herbie Kane is set to return to Liverpool after suffering a season-ending hamstring injury, but the loanee could rejoin Hull for the long term if their manager gets his wish.
The 21-year-old was forced off after just 28 minutes in Hull’s 2-1 victory over Middlesbrough on Thursday night, having opened the scoring with his second free-kick in a week.
He then missed Sunday’s 4-2 defeat at West Brom, which leaves the Tigers a point off the relegation zone, and speaking after the game, Grant McCann confirmed he would miss the remainder of the campaign.
“It’s not a nice one for him,” the manager said. “We’re gutted for Herbie because he’s had no luck since coming here.”
Kane is in his second spell working for McCann, having shone on loan at Doncaster last season, but now faces an uncertain future with Hull still fighting the drop.
He has proved he is capable of performing in the Championship—if, as is expected, not at Liverpool—and that should be his priority in the next transfer window.
If Hull stay up, however, McCann has openly admitted he would be eager to keep Kane at the KC, and preferably on a permanent basis, as he revealed after the weekend’s loss.
“We’d love to have him back with us next season,” he said.
“He’s everything that we need and everything that I like in a player—with his energy and bravery. He can score goals and he’s calm on the ball as well.
“We’d love to keep him here next year—and possibly longer if we could.”
Beyond their possible relegation to League One, Hull are facing financial difficulties in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic, with McCann conceding in June that it had “hit us massively.”
It is difficult to give any player assurances, then, but if they are able to stay up and can broker a deal, it could be a beneficial situation for all parties.
With Jordan Henderson, Gini Wijnaldum, Fabinho, Naby Keita, Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain, James Milner and now Curtis Jones—and possibly even Thiago Alcantara if rumours are to be believed—Klopp’s midfield ranks are well-stocked.
Joining Hull, and staying with a manager who is eager to nurture his development, could be the right step forward for Kane at 21.
Liverpool returned to winning ways and move one step closer to securing an all-time record as they notched a 2-0 victory over Aston Villa.
As champions do, the Reds got the job done despite being far from their best. A result which moves Jurgen Klopp‘s side to 89 points with five games remaining.
Nevertheless, it was the first win as Premier League champions and keeps a number records within Liverpool’s grasp moving into the final run of fixtures.
There is little downtime between the final whistle at Anfield and the first whistle at Brighton, but here are five key stats which emerged from the Reds’ latest victory.Salah’s Century Behind Only Shearer
The Egyptian king has been nothing short of a revelation since landing on Merseyside in 2017, finding the goal with ease both directly and indirectly.
In 147 total appearances for the club, Salah has notched an incredible 92 goals and 39 assists, the latest of which has seen him enter the century club in the Premier League.
When Liverpool’s No. 11 met Andy Robertson‘s cross and laid off a header into the path of Jones, who duly dispatched the ball into the back of the net, Salah reached 100 goal involvements in the English top-flight.
Two goals and an assist came wearing a Chelsea shirt on 13 occasions, but the rest were for Klopp’s Reds – with 71 goals and 26 assists in 103 appearances.
Together it accounts for 100 goal involvements in 116 appearances, a tally secured in a time only surpassed by the great Alan Shearer – who hit 100 in 100:
100 – Thanks to @curtisjr_10's finish, @MoSalah has reached 100 @premierleague goal involvements in his 116th appearance in the competition (73 goals, 27 assists), with only Alan Shearer (100 apps) managing to do so at a quicker rate than the Egyptian. Kings. #LIVAVL pic.twitter.com/nuTYx6YSZi
— OptaJoe (@OptaJoe) July 5, 2020
It’s an astonishing return and yet another nod to his quality and instincts in and around the goal.Reds on Cusp of New Record
Talking about Salah and his involvement in goals, Liverpool moved one step closer to securing another all-time record after the No. 11 teed up Jones.
When the 19-year-old saw his effort nestle into the back of the net it not only secured the winning result and saw him notch his first top-flight goal, but it also meant he became the 17th different goalscorer for Liverpool in the Premier League this season.
No other Liverpool campaign in the first division has exceeded 17 different scorers, with both the 1911/12 and 2015/16 season sharing the club record, as per Liverpool’s club statistician Ged Rea:
— Ged Rea (@ged0407) July 5, 2020
It makes for positive reading as Liverpool are not just reliant on the formidable front three in finding a route to goal, making them a dual threat from anywhere on the pitch.
It is that very dynamism which has seen them become champions and now only one more player who has yet to score this season in the league needs to strike before the 38-game campaign ends to set a new record.
It was another day to remember for Mane as he opened the scoring to set Liverpool on the road to yet another victory.
He will now forever hold the title as being the first Red to score with the Reds as champions with his 16th league goal in 30 appearances in 2019/20, which also coincided with his 50th at Anfield in all competitions.
The speedster has taken his game to yet another level this season and is rightly in contention for being crowned Player of the Year, with his levels of consistency bordering on frightening as his strike off the underside of the post was his 20th in all competitions – a total he has reached in each of his last three campaigns.
But these feats coming to be against Villa should not have come as a surprise as he has prior with the Midlands side, as he has now had a direct hand in eight goals in his last five league appearances against them – six goals and two assists.
Mane, the man of the moment.Fortress Anfield x 57
Another game on home soil, another win and another rise in the number of matches Liverpool have gone unbeaten at Anfield.
Villa’s visit coincided with the first home league game since officially being crowned champions and despite the visitors’ best efforts, there was only ever going to be one result – even though the Reds made hard work of it.
But the 2-0 win means Klopp’s men are now unbeaten in 57 home league games, winning the last 24 in a row.
An impressive feat any way you look at it but even more so when you consider Everton currently have the second-longest unbeaten home run, which stretches just nine matches.
The narratives and words which emerged post-City’ win last Thursday now appear somewhat overzealous as you don’t accumulate such a commanding advantage by being anything other than utterly dominant.
And it is been that way almost since the start of the season, from a five-point Liverpool advantage after five games to 17 at the 20-game mark and now 23 with five games left, as The Tactical Times perfectly pointed out:
The Liverpool – Man City gap.
Game 5: 5 points
10: 6 points
15: 11 points
20: 17 points
25: 22 points
33: 23 points
Death by consistency. Man City haven't won 4 consecutive games this season (Liverpool 18). Their longest unbeaten run is 5 (Liverpool 27).
— The Tactical Times (@Tactical_Times) July 6, 2020
Man City, when does the new season start again?
But having recovered from his injury problems over a three-month break, the Brazilian has returned to top form between the sticks, keeping three clean sheets from four games since the restart.
It can almost go unnoticed at times how influential Alisson is, but Jurgen Klopp has been eager to praise his No. 1 for keeping Liverpool in games in recent weeks, and Robertson did similar after Sunday’s win over Villa.
“We never take Ali for granted and he’s the best goalkeeper in the world by a country mile,” the left-back told the club’s official website.
“Even when he’s not got a lot to do, he still stays alert when balls are in behind and he’s clearing the ball.
“Sometimes people who just come and watch maybe forget about that stuff and easily can take him for granted—but we definitely don’t.
“He’s a fantastic ‘keeper, he’s a fantastic person and he made a couple of big saves today.
“That’s what he’s there for and what he gets paid for I suppose, but when he does that, it gives us confidence.
“We have all the confidence in the world in him.”
Alisson could become the first goalkeeper to win back-to-back Golden Glove awards since Joe Hart in 2013 if he beats off competition from Nick Pope, Ederson and Kasper Schmeichel to record the most clean sheets in the Premier League.
The last Liverpool goalkeeper to win the award was Pepe Reina, who kept the most shutouts in three consecutive seasons from 2005/06 to 2007/08.
The Reds’ No. 1 is currently tied with Pope on 13, which is remarkable considering he has made just 24 appearances in the top flight this season, with the Burnley ‘keeper featuring 33 times.
His restricted outings means he is unable to beat last season’s record of 21 clean sheets, but there remain five more on offer including a home clash with the Clarets on July 11.
With the title already won, Liverpool can look to end the season in the best possible fashion, and for Alisson, that would come with winning the Golven Glove once more.
* Video via Sky Sports; geographic restrictions may apply.Liverpool 2-0 Aston Villa
Premier League (33), Anfield
July 5, 2020
Goals: Mane 71′, Jones 89′
Liverpool headed into a Premier League clash off the back of a defeat for just the second time as they welcomed an Aston Villa side fighting for their survival in the topflight.
Jurgen Klopp made just three changes to his starting lineup, while the afternoon also paved the way for an Anfield return for Pepe Reina who started in between the sticks for Villa.
And it was a first-half few will elect to give a second viewing with just one shot on target apiece, with Liverpool down on their trademark intensity and a clinical edge once again absent.
The skipper injected much-needed impetus moving forward, and after 70 long minutes with little to see Reds rise to their feet, Trent Alexander-Arnold, Naby Keita and Sadio Mane combined for a rare moment of quality.
The latter then dispatched his effort into the roof of the net in what was his 50th goal at Anfield for Liverpool in all competitions.
It capped off an otherwise lacklustre affair, with Alisson then pulling out a brilliant reaction save late on from Jack Grealish to secure his 13th clean sheet of the league campaign.
After making it 24 successive wins at Anfield and 57 unbeaten, all attention will now turn to the meeting against Brighton on Wednesday.
It was far from entertaining, but Liverpool clocked up another three points in their pursuit of a record Premier League points total, overcoming Aston Villa at Anfield.Liverpool 2-0 Aston Villa
Premier League (33), Anfield
July 5, 2020
Goals: Mane 71′, Jones 89′Main man Mane
Before the lockdown, the talk around the potential player of the year was much about Jordan Henderson, who was viewed as the favourite for the Players’ Player of the year.
But for the best player, Liverpool supporters would have largely voted Sadio Mane as their player of the year.
The Reds’ No.10 was the one seeking to provide the impetus in an extremely flat first half, often playing the role of both left attacker and central attacker given Divock Origi‘s lack of quality.
And it was Mane who provided the breakthrough goal, finishing past Pepe Reina to claim his 20th goal of the season in all competitions.
There’s been many who have contributed to Liverpool’s title success this season, but perhaps none more so than Mane – the player who assisted and scored in the absolutely vital late win away to Villa in November.What does Divock do?
The only eye-catching part of Divock Origi‘s showing was his new hairstyle.
But in 63 minutes on the pitch, Origi offered very, very little. No shots, no dribbes, absolutely nothing of note. If this was a chance to stake a claim to remain at Anfield this summer, he failed. If it was a chance to catch the eye of a watching manager, it failed miserably.
On a day when Rhian Brewster netted again for Swansea City, Origi’s time at Anfield looks another step closer to being over. We all know why Klopp wanted Timo Werner this summer, and this showing further underlined that.
Quality depth in attack beyond the front three is absolutely essential this summer. A cult hero due to his Champions League heroics last season, but nowhere near the quality required.Midfield creativity
Speaking of signings, the name of Bayern Munich midfielder Thiago has been on the lips of supporters this last 48 hours and this game pointed at why his creativity may well be something Klopp would like to add to his team.
It was an opportunity for Naby Keita and Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain, but the latter in particular struggled to make an impact. Oxlade did try some clipped balls over the top, something Thiago is known for, but they failed to come off.
Keita did more and it was his nice pass in that provided the assist for Mane’s opener.Subs win prizes
One of the benefits of the temporary five-sub rule is the ability to make three subs in one showing, safe in the knowledge that you can still make further changes if an injury occurs.
That’s exactly what Klopp did on the hour, replacing the ineffective trio of Origi, Oxlade and Fabinho with Henderson, Wijaldum and Firmino.
It means that the game can be changed from the bench quite effectively and it was nice to see it pay dividends here.
That triple sub was then followed up by Curtis Jones‘ late cameo and first league goal in the final minute.Rotation ahead
It was a surprise to see both Trent Alexander-Arnold and Andy Robertson start and with two further games this week it’s likely each will be rotated in one of those fixtures at Brighton and at home to Burnley.
Neco Williams was on the bench again so perhaps Brighton on Wednesday is ideal for his first league start, while James Milner should be back to full fitness to allow Robertson a rest in one of those fixtures.
Jones had a good sub showing the day after signing a new long-term contract, needing two more appearances now to qualify for a Premier League winners medal. We could see the Scouser get his first league start in the coming weeks.
Klopp made just three changes for this starting lineup and we should probably expect more than that in these two coming fixtures.
Four wins from the final five games are required to beat the record Premier League points total.