The 26-year-old’s settling-in period at Anfield has been anything but smooth sailing, with a pandemic, loan switch and competition for places making a breakthrough tough going.
In his 31 appearances to date, Minamino has offered glimpses of the player Reds knew him to be while at Salzburg; an intelligent mover, confident finisher and playmaker.
Liverpool saw some of it throughout pre-season, having scored three goals in five appearances, but he has since only been an unused substitute on five occasions.
On the whole, it just has not happened for him so far, but he is considered a “long-term project” by Jurgen Klopp and it was reiterated by his assistant manager Pepijn Lijnders.
Fronting the media in place of the German ahead of the League Cup tie, Lijnders spoke highly of the Japan international and his potential – with time needed to unlock it.
“Taki had a really good pre-season and I think it was really important for him after going to Southampton,” Lijnders said.
“What was a good decision at the time is that he came back and had a complete pre-season with us, training-wise.
“He made an impact in the pre-season, we were really enthusiastic about him and then he had a small issue, with the national team, but he is back now.
“He was not 100 percent fit because he came back early but now he is good to go.
“We are really happy he is part of our team. Jurgen said, ‘Wow, the amount of times Taki is one vs one against the goalkeeper!’
“And I said, ‘It shows that you don’t need super, super speed to go one vs one with the goalkeeper’.
“He’s a very natural, intelligent mover. That’s what we need.
“He has good timings to move in behind, good combination play when the players are close to him so he can only become better.
“That’s what we like. That’s why we brought him in at the time, we saw the potential, not the end product.”
Here’s our match preview with 10 key things you need to know ahead of the game…1. Norwich are in bad form!
It hasn’t panned out that way so far, however, with the Canaries still without a point five matches into the season.
Daniel Farke has a huge job on his hands turning his team’s fortunes around – frankly, the League Cup is the least of their worries.2. Kabak to face Reds?
Ozan Kabak was an underrated performer for the Reds last season, joining on loan from Schalke and helping them seal an unlikely top-four finish.
Klopp opted to sign Ibrahima Konate instead of purchasing the Turk permanently, though, so he went in search for a new club.
It could be that Farke puts the 21-year-old up against his former Liverpool teammates on Tuesday night, as he looks to show Klopp that he was wrong not to retain his services.3. Changes expected for Reds
The matches continue to come thick and fast for Liverpool, but this is an opportunity for Klopp to give key figures the night off.
Conor Bradley could be in line to start at right-back, and 16-year-old Kaide Gordon could also get his first senior start. The young duo were left out of Sunday’s under-23s match in preparation for Tuesday.
Can Liverpool not just have a game when a player doesn’t go off injured? It feels like it’s happened in every match for about a year!
The 16-year-old looks a player of frightening potential and Pep Lijnders waxed lyrical over him in Monday’s press conference:
“He has fire in each moment he touches the ball. I saw him in pre-season and called Jurgen and said: ‘Wow, we have a new player!”
Liverpool predominantly field much-weakened starting lineups and it has led to very little success in the competitions.
In fact, the Merseysiders have only got past the fourth round of the League Cup once in the past four seasons.
While the Reds’ success in the League Cup has taken a big backstep in the last decade or so, they have enjoyed many great days in the competition.
In fact, they and City have won the competition a record eight times overall.
Liverpool won it four times in a row between 1981 and 1984, three of which were during the glory days under Bob Paisley.
They then lifted the trophy in 1995, following a Steve McManaman-inspired win over Bolton, before seeing off Birmingham in the 2001 final, on their way to a cup treble under Gerard Houllier.
Man United were beaten two years later, with Steven Gerrard and Michael Owen finding the net, and Liverpool triumphed over Cardiff on penalties in 2012, no thanks to a horrendous spot-kick from Charlie Adam.8. Did You Know?
The Canaries haven’t actually tasted victory against the Reds since way back in April 1994, in what was just the second season of the Premier League.
Incidentally, that was the final game in front of the standing Kop, as Jeremy Goss’ strike killed the mood and earned Norwich a 1-0 win.
That means it’s 15 games and counting undefeated in the fixture for Liverpool, with victory coming their way in nine of the last 10 meetings.9. A new referee to ‘enjoy’
It has been confirmed that Darren England will take charge of the match and will also officiate a Liverpool game for the first time.
Will he feel the wrath of Klopp on Tuesday?10. TV Info
Tuesday’s match is being shown live on Sky Sports Main Event and Sky Sports Football from 7.30pm (BST), with kickoff at 7.45pm.
There is also the option of joining us on our matchday live blog, with Henry Jackson in charge of keeping you entertained from 7.15pm.
Come on you Reds!
Apparently our reluctance to do business this past summer has only accelerated talk that we’ll be spending in force next summer.
AC Milan’s Franck Kessie remains a player we’re keen on according to some of the less-reputable Italian outlets, though the fact his contract is up next summer will probably mean he’s at least on the Reds’ radar.
Over in Spain, meanwhile, it’s Erling Haaland we’re keen on: Mundo Deportivo say we’re following the “footsteps” of the Dortmund striker and keen to beat Barcelona, Real Madrid and every other team on the face of the planet to land him next summer.
There’s no doubt he’d be an incredible signing for the Reds and Jurgen Klopp has already spoken about his talents – but there will be an almighty fight for his signature.Back to Carrow Rad
Latest Liverpool FC news
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Agree with the theory or will you be hoping the champions of Europe stumble domestically?
I think any Liverpool fan should be wanting Chelsea to beat City on Saturday. Just my opinion.
Of course Chelsea look stronger currently, but we should be wanting City as far adrift as possible, given their potential for long winning runs later in the season.
— Henry Jackson (@HenryJackson87) September 20, 2021
Tonight you may watch Barcelona vs Granada (8pm) or Udinese vs Napoli (7.45pm). Nothing else is valid.
Here are five things Liverpool‘s assistant manager told the media and supporters in his press conference on Monday:
[embedded content]1. Time to “attack” the League Cup
But it remains “an important competition, despite what people are saying” for Lijnders, Klopp and co. with the club yet to add a domestic cup to the tally under the German.
“We want to introduce new players and second, we have this group of players inside our building who won so much, but to become proper legends you need national cups as well so we want to attack them!”2. One name confirmed to start
Rotation will be the word once more, but you can write Curtis Jones‘ name in the XI with a permanent marker as he is guaranteed a start.
Lijnders confirmed as much for what will be Jones’ 50th game for Liverpool, a milestone that will see him come full circle as “it all started with these kinds of games.”
The Spaniard will miss at least the next two games with scans on his calf yet to determine the severity of his injury, while the game is too soon for Trent and Williams.
Firmino is to return to “parts of team training” on Monday before stepping up his recovery.
The most poignant note from Lijnders on the situation was that “In one week we lose two really influential midfielders, that’s the bad thing.”4. The next in line to inspire the whole academy
Having long been instrumental in acting as the bridge between the academy and the first team, Lijnders’ excitement for the club’s future stars is infectious, to say the least.
“He’s a typical Liverpool Football Club winger, in my opinion. He has goals, speed and we really like him and we are really happy he is with us!”
As are we, and there is a lot more where Gordon came from.
“I’m excited about our academy, there are so many talents! Diamonds! So many special players. There are so many who cannot wait to take their step up.
“Young players never let you down, they never do and they never will.”5. Reds have a “beast in terms of physics” in their midst
Klopp was equally full of praise post-match but knows there are still “harsh lessons” to come and Lijnders echoed the sentiment and nodded to the famous settling-in period needed at Anfield.
“Robbo said it to him: All of us need time to adapt to our style. Virgil is probably one of the only ones who came in but he still needed to adapt,” Lijnders explained.
“He’s a beast in terms of physics! He can catch so many players, strong in the air, has a really good build-up so strong offensively as well. But he’s still so young.”
Kaide Gordon more than caught the eye during his spell with the first team in pre-season and he has assistant manager Pepijn Lijnders speaking glowingly of his talent.
The 16-year-old only arrived at Liverpool in January but had a long list of admirers that spoke volumes of the talent he possesses.
A versatile forward, Gordon assimilated to life at Liverpool first with the academy before being drafted into the first team’s pre-season plans, going on to play 194 minutes across five games.
His place in the squad came thanks to his show of “fire” in training that caught the attention of non-other than Lijnders, who immediately got Jurgen Klopp on the line to tell him: “‘Wow, we have a new player here!'”
“Before pre-season we always make sure our biggest talents they start a week earlier than we start so they start with the U23s training,” Lijnders told reporters on Monday.
“I went to the U23s training and I see one player and he has fire in each moment he touched the ball and he always passes players like they’re not standing there.
“So I called Jurgen immediately and ‘Wow, we have a new player here!’
“We took all these young players to pre-season and when you know you have a good player around you is when the senior players start taking care of this young player.
“So when you see James Milner speaking with Kaide, Trent becoming a proper mentor and when you see they invite him to sit at the table.
“And all of our boys invited him in our group and that made it good for him, how to adapt to our team and to our style.
“What you see a lot with these kind of wingers is they can outplay, they can combine and he has a goal in him – he has this natural ability to be in the box, between the goalposts to score.
“Not many talents have this. They may have the dribbling skills but they don’t have this desire to shoot, to come into the box, to score.
“He’s a typical Liverpool Football Club winger, in my opinion. He has goals, speed and we really like him and we are really happy he is with us!”
Expectation will rightly remain carefully managed, but the excitement at what Gordon can offer in the future is clear to see – with the youngster in line to be the next to inspire a “whole academy.”
“I am excited about our academy, there are so many talents! Diamonds! So many special players who just who cannot wait to make their step up,” Lijnders added on the club’s youth pathway.
“It’s so important we keep doing this because with one player we push, we inspire a whole academy so we have to keep this pathway.
“Young players will never let you down, never! They never did and they never will.”
Right-back Conor Bradley could also be in line for his debut against Norwich on Tuesday night.
The No. 6 was a casualty in the Reds’ 3-0 win over Crystal Palace on Saturday, with a calf complaint forcing his substitution in the 62nd minute before he hobbled down the injury tunnel.
Jurgen Klopp was left hoping it was not “too serious” in the immediate aftermath and now assistant manager Pep Lijnders has confirmed he will be unavailable for the next two games.
The final scan results are yet to be confirmed meaning the two-game absence is on the short-term spectrum, meaning Liverpool have lost two “influential” midfielders in the space of one week.
“Thiago, how the gaffer said after the game, it was a calf injury. I can’t say now how long it will take but definitely not tomorrow and not at the weekend,” Lijnders told the club’s official website.
“Let’s get the scan results back and we have a proper diagnosis. A shame as well because he was taking the game by the hand, he was a proper playmaker in my opinion. A shame that we miss him.
“In one week we lose two really influential midfielders, that’s the bad thing.”
“It was not easy because these guys – it says a lot about our group anyway – they want to play everything, [even] if they feel a bit shaky or ill. But he took the responsibility,” Lijnders added.
“That’s Trent, there are no symptoms – no COVID symptoms. We test regardless. He should be fine in a few days but Norwich comes too early.
Firmino will return to “parts of team training” on Monday in a welcome boost for the weeks to come, with the Reds still to contest three games in the space of eight days after the trip to Carrow Road.
Neco Williams is “progressing really well” from his respective injury, but he too is not ready for Norwich, meaning the likes of Milner, Joe Gomez and Conor Bradley are in the running for a right-back berth.
It was a significant goal for the No. 10 – not only his 100th for Liverpool, but also a record-breaking effort in finding the back of the net in nine consecutive meetings with Palace.
In hitting his century, Mane joined an exclusive list of legendary Reds goalscorers, equalling Kevin Keegan’s tally for the club.
Only 18 players have scored 100 or more goals during their time at Anfield, with Mane the second of two in Jurgen Klopp‘s current squad.
Rush is Liverpool‘s all-time leading goalscorer with 346 – a feat that is unlikely to ever be improved on – while Roger Hunt (285), Gordon Hodgson (241), Billy Liddell (281) and Gerrard (186) make up the rest of the top five.
Salah (130) broke into the top 10 with his goal against Palace, leapfrogging Sam Raybould (also 130) by virtue of having played fewer games.
According to Opta’s Michael Reid, Mane is the 10th-fastest to score 100 goals for Liverpool, having done so in 224 games – 19 fewer than Sir Kenny Dalglish.
Sadio Mané has become the 18th player to score 100 competitive goals for Liverpool – and gets himself into the top 10 for fastest to reach the landmark, just ahead of Kenny Dalglish! #LFC #LIVCRY pic.twitter.com/dIavumYkmh
— Michael Reid (@michael_reid11) September 18, 2021
Incredibly, only Gerrard, Mane, Salah and Michael Owen have become centurions exclusively in the Premier League era, with Klopp remarking on a shorter shelf-life for players at any particular club in modern times.
“I am really happy for him he could reach it, a massive achievement in the glorious history of this club that only 18 players scored 100 goals,” the manager said.
“Nowadays players are not normally as long at clubs so I am really happy I could work so long with him.”Liverpool players to score 100 goals or more
Premier League 2, Kirkby
September 19, 2021
Goals: Gelhardt 12′ 62′, Miller 45+1′, Struijk 59′
It was a disappointing afternoon for Barry Lewtas’ U23s as they slumped to a 4-0 home defeat to last season’s Premier League 2 champions Leeds, thanks to a fantastic solo performance for Joe Gelhardt.
Having been victorious in just one of their opening four league fixtures so far this season, the young Reds will be thoroughly disheartened with their showing on Sunday afternoon.
As the academy opened their doors to plenty of fans for the first time in just over 15 months, many arrived hoping to catch a glimpse of the Reds’ newest hotshot, Kaide Gordon.
Gordon has more than made his mark at youth level this season, as he has fired in two goals in four league games, one of which came in the mini-Merseyside derby last month.
Lewtas’ side struggled from the first whistle as most of the opening 10 minutes were played inside their half, with the hosts forced to compactly guard their box.
It seemed that Liverpool had survived Leeds’ early onslaught as they began to string some passes of their own together in the hope of working their way up to Kristoffer Klaesson between the Whites’ sticks.
James Norris had the home side’s first effort on target as he fancied his chances from 25 yards out, but the effort was all too comfortable for Klaesson.
The Reds then fell behind when they sloppily gave the ball away in the middle of the park as they attempted to form an attack.
And it looked like it would be a fairly routine defensive reset for Lewtas’ side, but that was until Joe Gelhardt, who was lurking just inside the Liverpool half, picked his head up and audaciously chipped Marcelo Pitaluga from 45 yards out.
Liverpool reacted fairly well to going behind early, as they looked to push the Whites back in the hope of letting the game unfold in their half.
However, this time the defender made his presence felt with the ball on the ground as he threaded a perfectly weighted line-breaking ball to onrushing midfielder Tyler Morton, who nearly caught Klaesson out with a delightful lob of his own.
However, Liverpool failed to make their brief dominance count as Amari Miller doubled the away side’s lead just before the interval after a pinpoint drag-back from Gelhardt.
Morgan Boyes and Elijah Dixon-Bonner were introduced during the interval as Tyler Morton and Dominic Corness made way.
However, Lewtas’ changes didn’t yield the desired effects as senior defender Struijk rose highest to power a header past Pitaluga early into the second half to all but settle the game.
Having said that, the away side didn’t stop there as Gelhardt grabbed his second and Leeds’ fourth just minutes later with another unbelievable finish – this time picking the ball up from 35 yards out and curling it into the top corner, leaving Pitaluga helpless in his scramble to tip it behind.
The young Reds’ disastrous afternoon was perfectly encapsulated when Musialowski found himself on the end of a penalty-box scramble with the ball breaking kindly to him, and with just the ‘keeper to beat, the Polish forward somehow poked his effort wide.
Despite the scoreline, Pitaluga made some excellent stops to keep the margin at four. No more notably than his penalty save 10 minutes from time to deny the fantastic Gelhardt from claiming the match ball.
After being brought down by Boyes, the striker dusted himself down to take the spot-kick. However, Liverpool’s Brazilian was equal to it as he dived to his left to palm it away.
Liverpool U23s: Pitaluga; Gallacher, Clayton, Koumetio, Beck; Norris, Corness (Boyes 46′), Morton (Dixon-Bonner 46′); Musialowski, Bearne, Woltman
Subs not used: Hughes, Wilson
Next match: Chelsea (A) – Premier League 2 – Friday, September 24, 7pm (BST)
Crystal Palace might have swapped the inherently pragmatic Roy Hodgson for the invincible Patrick Vieira, but, at Anfield on Saturday, it was a very definitive case of the more things change, the more they stay the same.
On the way to the ground, I got into one of those wonderful conversations with an absolute stranger, which predominantly focused upon the dangers that Palace potentially posed.
It was the perfect preparation for what was to come.
It was as if Vieira at least partially sent his team out with the instructions to forget everything he had told them since his arrival at Selhurst Park, and instead to just go out there and Hodgson the hell out of the game.
Disingenuous an accusation to a degree, it was the visitors who made the early running, perhaps emboldened by the concept of trying to take advantage of a completely altered back four in comparison to the one which had faced AC Milan on Wednesday evening.
In the early exchanges, Wilfried Zaha almost looped a fortuitous effort up and over Alisson, only for our grizzly bear of a goalkeeper to heroically paw the ball across the face of his left-hand post, as if it were a beehive, and he was in search of honey.
Put him back in his black kit on a far more regular basis and the title will be ours by Easter.
An entire change of back four from the one that faced Milan on Wednesday was a bold move by Klopp, and Alisson’s stop from Zaha was the first of a collection of crucial saves and interventions, which acted as the foundation for a comfortable win in numerical terms, if not in a sensory term.
This was a satisfying win, the type of win upon which seasons of substance are built. Winning league titles isn’t entirely about those days when everything clicks into place perfectly, as they are also dictated by mastering the days when the air is turbulent.
These are mechanical bull games, where you hold on tightly at the start, before eventually enjoying the ride. They are wins that make an imprint on ourselves and our rivals.
By and large, there seems to be a noticeable collective determination about Liverpool during the early weeks of the new campaign, and if this formative pace is to be kept then it will be near on impossible for others to live with.
Football seasons are living, breathing entities, which fluctuate constantly.
Every game, every week, every month brings with it both ups and downs, positives and negatives, and the team that finishes at the top will be the one that balances all the key factors and rolls the most effortlessly with the punches it absorbs.
For Liverpool, this currently means dislocated ankles, calf strains, hamstrings and illness. One player’s misfortune is an opportunity for somebody else, however. Those who come in are desperate to be part of the team. There is no let-up.
Yet, this does not mean that everybody hits peak form simultaneously.
Diogo Jota laboured through this one, as he did against Milan. A player who is excellent when on the crest of a wave, Jota still needs to master the concept of contributing more during games in which goals are elusive.
It isn’t simply down to one glaring miss, Jota is currently drifting to the periphery of games in a manner that Sadio Mane, Mohamed Salah and Roberto Firmino don’t when they are suffering in front of goal.
Mane has suffered more than his fair share of struggles across the last year, but now seems to be bubbling towards his best again.
Throughout that time, he never shrunk as a presence in the team, and Saturday marked the rich reward of his 100th Liverpool goal, something that is a testament to his strength of personality, as much as it is his outrageous footballing talents.
Having been preferred to Firmino as the season began, when coupled to the Brazilian’s injury and playing in a couple of World Cup qualifiers for Portugal, it has meant Jota has been very much front and centre so far this season, when the last one was considerably fragmented.
A bright start with goals against Norwich and Burnley has petered out a little. Hopefully, he will sit out the League Cup trip to Carrow Road on Tuesday night. For him to play every game has been a big ask, and it is beginning to affect him.
Ibrahima Konate made his debut in this one, and he did enough to suggest there is a fine central defender there. It still didn’t mean that Joel Matip’s presence wasn’t missed. Liverpool are infinitely more fun when Matip plays.
James Milner stole the show, however.
It’s like watching Jason Bourne in a Liverpool shirt. Called from the shadows to perform all the dark arts, as and when they are required, Milner plays as if focused on avenging the death of a succession of loved ones.
He brutally yet efficiently takes inferior opponents down, before limping away to perform surgery on himself, and then sneaking into Tangier under a false passport, in a bid to find out more about covert black ops projects that resulted in the assassination of his father.
He won’t rest until the Premier League is won once again.
Newly promoted balloons are there to be burst though, and Liverpool should go to west London armed with a pin.
The Reds were made to fight early on, as a well-organised Palace threatened Alisson on a number of occasions, but eventually came through with the victory.
With Jurgen Klopp having made four changes in midweek and six more against Palace, it was a productive afternoon for the Reds.
HENRY: On the whole, it has to go down as an impressive debut for Konate, who rarely looked out of place against awkward opponents.
Was he perfect? No. But he looks like a centre-back who has all the ingredients to become a truly formidable player over time, and a long-term key man.
He dealt well with the physical threat of both Benteke and Edouard, and his pace came in handy at times, which is such a key attribute for any centre-back.
Without his own lightning speed, Van Dijk wouldn’t be close to the same player, for example.
There is clearly a rawness to Konate that we are going to have to accept – jumping into tackles, getting caught out of position and so on – so I don’t think he will be a regular starter for the time being. He is only 22, after all.
This was a promising start, though.
JACK: I agree with Henry that the quality is clearly there, though I feel Konate is a work in progress at present.
As it stands, he should remain fourth-choice centre-back, but these outings alongside Van Dijk and likely Matip will serve him well as he adjusts to the system at Liverpool.
What I particularly liked about his debut was how he remained patient in challenges with Benteke and Zaha, both of whom offer very different threats, without resorting to rash challenges.
My biggest gripe, though, is his use of the ball – we saw it throughout pre-season, too, with Konate seemingly too eager to impress in possession.
Klopp described the game as a “harsh lesson” for life in the Premier League, and Konate will no doubt benefit.How important has Mane been?
HENRY: Mane’s a funny one. I think it’s now easy to forget just how great he has been for Liverpool, because of last season’s woes and the manner in which Salah is now the undisputed star attacker.
I still think Mane is well short of his best, but there are signs that he is getting there.
Most of his game is good but his final decision is so poor and erratic too often. Then again, he’s still getting goals and his numbers remain good compared to most.
He just needs to stop losing his head in the key moments and all will be fine – he is too good not to recover fully and remind everyone how special he is.
JACK: There is certainly a case for Mane being the most important signing of the Klopp era, having been the forward to kickstart the rise in qualifying for the Champions League.
Henry has touched upon the struggle he has faced over the past year-and-a-half, and it is clear that Mane is perhaps not the player he once was.
However, put him up against most other Premier League strikers and he would still be one of the best, with three goals in six games so far this season a testament to his enduring quality.And who comes in vs. Norwich?
HENRY: Put simply, I really couldn’t care less about the League Cup. It’s a trophy, yes, but it really doesn’t gauge a team’s success whatsoever.
For that reason, I would like to think many changes will be made at Norwich all over the pitch.
Takumi Minamino and Divock Origi should also come in and I would personally be terrified if any genuine key players started. It would be great to see youngster Kaide Gordon given a chance at some point, too.
If Liverpool win, great. If not, so be it. I fully respect that many won’t feel this way, though, and that I may well be in the minority.
Like Henry, I’d go with almost wholesale changes, with Kelleher, Phillips, Gomez, Jones, Oxlade-Chamberlain, Minamino and Origi all certainties to start.
Klopp’s rotation against Palace would suggest that the likes of Andy Robertson and Joel Matip could come in, though, and it always seems to be the case that Liverpool go stronger than expected in these games.
It could be a good opportunity for the likes of Jones and Oxlade-Chamberlain, who have been utility players so far this season.
Salah scored his 130th goal for the Reds in Saturday’s 3-0 victory over Crystal Palace, overtaking Sam Raybould to become the Reds’ 10th-highest scorer of all time.
It is a remarkable achievement for the 29-year-old – the only non-British player in the top 10 – and underlines his importance to Jurgen Klopp‘s side.
Over the weekend, Salah’s former team-mate, Micah Richards, explained how the forward would discuss his desire to play for Liverpool during their time together at Fiorentina, suggesting he should end his career at Anfield if possible.
And as talks continue over a contract extension, the No. 11 has acknowledged supporters for their role in his incredible form:
You, the fans, keep me going. You give me more strength than I think you’ll ever know. pic.twitter.com/HgNx8YbTtS
The hope is that Salah will sign a new long-term deal with Liverpool that could see him move ahead of the likes of Kenny Dalglish, Robbie Fowler and Steven Gerrard into the top five.
It could be one of the most important decisions in the club’s recent history, with the Egyptian poised to cement himself as a legendary figure.
His latest goal came in a convincing win over a Palace side who threatened throughout, with Klopp having made six changes to his lineup from the midweek victory over AC Milan.
The veteran started, and impressed, at right-back after Trent Alexander-Arnold pulled out due to illness on Saturday morning, with Milner joking in an interview with LFCTV that the No. 66 had a bout of “Zaha-itis”:
“Trent’s definitely going to get some ribbing for that. A bit of Zaha-itis or something like that!
“It was probably two, three hours before the game, really, [when I found out].
“But that’s what we’re prepared for, that’s why we train as a team together. The training is done so anyone’s ready at any time.
“That’s my job when I’m needed, to be ready.”
Well done boys! +3?? pic.twitter.com/TlA7tCi5TD
It could be, even, that none of those who started against Palace are retained for that clash, with freshness required throughout a busy run for Liverpool.
Williams, who joined Swansea on a season-long loan on deadline day, made his second appearance for the Championship club as they fought back from 3-0 down to seal a point.
It was a memorable afternoon for the 20-year-old centre-back as Jamie Paterson, Oliver Ntcham and Joel Piroe scored in the second half, but not wholly for the right reasons.
In a statement on Saturday evening, Swansea confirmed an allegation of racist abuse towards Williams from a Luton supporter in the closing stages of the draw:
“Towards the end of today’s Championship fixture against Luton Town at Kenilworth Road, an allegation of racial abuse was made over comments made towards Swansea City’s Rhys Williams from a home spectator.
“An official report was filed with the match official, Tony Harrington, and Bedfordshire Police at full-time.
“Swansea City condemns racism and abuse of all kinds because it has no place within football or any walk of life.”
Swansea revealed that Bedfordshire Police were investigating the incident, with both Liverpool and the player’s loan club providing support in the aftermath.
“Rhys has the full backing of everyone at the football club,” Swansea added.
“We are in dialogue with his parent club Liverpool with regards to ensuring the player has all the support he needs.”
Manager Russell Martin has described the situation as “disgusting” and “repulsive,” while Luton reiterated their “zero tolerance policy on discrimination of any kind,” vowing those responsible “will not be welcome back at Kenilworth Road.”
Premier League, Anfield
September 18, 2020
Goals: Mane 43′, Salah 78′, Keita 89′Konate debut
The rotation of the defence continued which meant Ibrahima Konate was handed his Reds debut.
There are fewer, if any, more imposing centre-back pairings than Konate and Van Dijk, and it looks like we may get to see this pairing at least a handful of times this season.
Konate showed his strength in a shoulder-to-shoulder battle with Wilfried Zaha. The Ivorian tumbled to the ground in the area in a moment which was more good defending than a penalty claim.
It was a similar outcome in a one-on-one battle with Christian Benteke, forcing a corner and giving the Belgian little space to work with.
There were rare uncertain moments, such as one error that saw him rushing back to cover against Zaha, but he showed he’s more than capable of catching quick attackers on the break — something he also demonstrated against Palace’s new signing and man of the moment, Odsonne Edouard, late in the game.Full back rotation
The rotation of the full-backs revealed a little more of how Jurgen Klopp will make use of his squad this season.
It would have been difficult to have accommodated a new right-back as well as James Milner, and it was always likely the experienced Englishman would get his games at right-back given the midfield options when everyone is fit.
This then means backup is necessary on the left, and Kostas Tsimikas looks to have settled into Klopp’s system as a like-for-like backup for Robertson after a quiet first season with the club.
There was a scare early on when Zaha got ahead of Milner to an awkward ball, but Alisson saved any blushes by turning the ball onto the post.
Milner went on to do well against Zaha, though, using his experience with some textbook defending even with the obvious gulf in speed. On the other side, Tsimikas’ corners set up both goals.
They peppered the Palace goal with 25 shots in total with an impressive ten on target.
It could have been even more had they not been wasteful at times in the first half when they failed to take opportunities to create chances. Mane launching the ball straight to Vicente Guaita when Salah would have been through with a more simple, composed choice of pass, for example.
His first-half goal was also his ninth in successive appearances against Palace, and his tenth in total against this opposition.
It hadn’t been his best performance up until that point, but as was the case in the game against Leeds, the Senegalese is regularly in the right place at the right time, and that was the case for this goal.On heavy rotation
Rotation seems to be a theme at the moment with Klopp using the players available to him in an attempt to manage workloads and prevent the type of injury crisis that occurred last season.
There could be opportunities for some of the players who featured in the UEFA Youth League squad against AC Milan last week.
Liverpool haven’t done well in the domestic cup competitions under Klopp, but these competitions remain a chance for squad players to get more games. They should be motivated enough to take it and help the club progress.
It has been a difficult year for Mane, by his own admission, but throughout a run of poor form the No. 10 has forged on admirably.
The 29-year-old began Saturday’s clash with Palace with a series of rushed moves and fluffed passes, but soon found momentum as he hit the back of the net before half-time.
Since joining Liverpool in 2016, Mane has now scored 100 goals in 224 appearances, becoming only the 18th player to hit a century in the club’s 129-year history.
Sadio Mané has become the 18th player to score 100 competitive goals for Liverpool – and gets himself into the top 10 for fastest to reach the landmark, just ahead of Kenny Dalglish! #LFC #LIVCRY pic.twitter.com/dIavumYkmh
— Michael Reid (@michael_reid11) September 18, 2021
With his 100th goal, the Senegalese has drawn level with Keegan in the Reds’ all-time scorers list, having done so in 99 fewer games than the legendary forward.
At a rate of 2.24 games per goal, Mane is the ninth-most productive goalscorer in Liverpool‘s top 20, and at only 30 goals short of Salah and Sam Raybould, could hope to break into the top 10 before his time with the club is up.
Remarkably, Mane also set a Premier League record with his latest strike at Anfield, surpassing the achievement of Van Persie in the process.
Mane has now scored in nine consecutive appearances against Palace, the longest run of any player in the history of the current English top flight against any one opponent.
Van Persie held the record having scored eight times in a row against Stoke, but the Dutchman has seen his feat surpassed by a player who also netted the Premier League‘s fastest hat-trick.
Sadio Mané has scored in nine consecutive league appearances against Crystal Palace – that's two more straight games than any Liverpool player has managed against a single opponent in the club's league history. #LFC #LIVCRY pic.twitter.com/bNukOmWEgM
— Michael Reid (@michael_reid11) September 18, 2021
Speaking to BBC Sport after the victory over Palace, Mane joked that he would love to play Patrick Vieira’s side every week.
“I am lucky to score so many goals against Palace. The most important thing was the three points,” he said.
“Right place, right time. I am lucky. And happy. Thank you to all the fans, club and staff. Without them I am nothing.
“I would love to play against Crystal Palace. I am lucky. It would be great to play them every single weekend. In my head, I am always thinking it is possible. I will keep trying and trying and trying.”
Here are five key things from the manager’s post-match press conference on Saturday:
[embedded content]1. “Most hard-fought 3-0 win”
Palace were not without their chances and Alisson was made to work at Anfield, leading Klopp to praise his side for digging in.
“I told the boys after the game this was one of the most hard-fought 3-0 wins I ever saw, we had to give it absolutely everything.
“Today we were not brilliant, but we were good. And accepted the battle Crystal Palace were here for and that’s why I’m really happy about the performance.”2. Keita’s goal the standout!
It was certainly a jaw-dropper and the boss agreed, saying: “Naby Keita scored the most wonderful goal of all three.”
More of where that came from, Naby lad.3. The rotation had to happen
A total of six changes were made on Saturday following the exploits of mid-week and it was a must for Klopp during what is an incredibly taxing period.
Trent Alexander-Arnold was an unforeseen one, leading to an entirely new backline that saw behind a midfield trio who had previously started one game together.
“We had to do the changes, that was clear. After breakfast, Trent didn’t feel right. I actually planned to start him but Milly did an incredible job.
“The whole last line all of sudden never played together, on top of that, the midfield only played together once before.”
The rotated-Reds are alright!4. Fingers crossed for Thiago
The sight of Thiago hobbling down the tunnel was the sour point of the day, with the manager confirming he “felt his calf and we hope it is not too serious.”
It would be an untimely blow just one week after fellow midfield option Harvey Elliott sustained a long-term injury.
But there are no concerns for Trent and Joel Matip, with the right-back to recover from illness and the No. 32 simply rested after five successive starts.5. “A lot more to come from” Konate after debut
It was a solid debut from the young Frenchman, settling in alongside a much-changed defensive line.
Klopp was full of praise but was quick to point out that this is only the start for his young defender.
“We all saw what kind of potential the boy has, it’s incredible. Physicality, technique and game understanding is all there.
“But the Premier League teaches you harsh lessons and Palace was a good example. There’s a lot more to come.”
“We have to be sensible,” Klopp explained after the game, specifically noting the need to reshuffle his centre-backs throughout a busy run.
Substitutes: Kelleher, Gomez, Phillips, Robertson, Jones, Keita, Oxlade-Chamberlain, Minamino, Origi
Crystal Palace: Guaita; Ward, Guehi, Andersen, Mitchell; Kouyate, McArthur, Gallagher; Ayew, Benteke, Zaha
Substitutes: Butland, Tomkins, Kelly, Clyne, Riedewald, Hughes, Milivojevic, Olise, Edouard
Premier League Cup, Kirkby
September 18, 2021
Goals: Cannonier 11′ 36′ 68′; Raymond 50′, Ola-Adebomi 71′
After a stop-start season with the Reds’ under-18s last time out, Cannonier has stepped up convincingly as Marc Bridge-Wilkinson’s first-choice striker for 2021/22.
The 17-year-old – known as the ball-boy that helped tee up Divock Origi‘s decisive strike against Barcelona in 2019 – signed his first professional contract with the club in July.
Since then, he hasn’t looked back, with Saturday bringing his second hat-trick of the season to see his tally to nine goals in four games for the U18s so far.
This treble came in the Premier League Cup, with the young Reds hosting Palace three days after victory over AC Milan in the UEFA Youth League, with eight changes made to that under-19s side.
Cannonier was among those brought in, and it took the teenager just 11 minutes to find the back of the net, firing home after a smart interchange with Melkamu Frauendorf.
Palace had chances to equalise, most notably through Jadan Raymond, but Liverpool‘s quality shone through and Cannonier had made it 2-0 before the break as he followed Stefan Bajcetic’s shot and converted on the rebound.
Raymond did grab one back after half-time, however, heading home to reduce the deficit, only for Cannonier to complete his hat-trick with 22 minutes to play.
He won the match ball after some brilliant work from the relentless James Balagizi, who nicked the ball high up the pitch and, driving his side on, laid it across to Cannonier to make it 3-1.
The No. 9 should have had another late on, but after taking the ball past the onrushing goalkeeper he was brought down outside the box for a free-kick.
Another header saw Palace’s Ademola Ola-Adebomi bring the lead down to a solitary goal, but that was enough to seal victory for Liverpool – their third in four unbeaten games so far this season.
Much of their success is down to the predatory instincts of Cannonier, whose record in the box will soon ensure he is known for more than a small role in one of the Reds’ greatest Champions League comebacks.
Liverpool U18s: Mrozek; Mabaya (Pilling 61′), Miles, Bajcetic, Chambers; Stephenson, Frauendorf, Balagizi; Clark, Blair, Cannonier
Subs not used: Davies, Omoruyi, Davidson, Roberts
Next match: Derby (H) – U18 Premier League – Tuesday, September 21, 7pm (BST)
The Reds had a mid-week to remember in the Champions League, with the comeback win over AC Milan keeping the spring in their step during what is a taxing run of games.
Once a bogey side, Klopp’s men have won the last eight meetings between the two teams and they’ll be intent on making it nine from nine this afternoon.
Check This Is Anfield for the latest team news ahead of the match.
You can also follow the game by downloading the This is Anfield app, including lineups, live coverage and all the reaction and analysis.
The match gets underway at 3pm (BST) – or 10am in New York, 7am in Los Angeles, midnight in Sydney, 6pm in Dubai and 5pm in Nairobi.UK Viewers
Check our Rest of the World TV guide below for a list of TV broadcasters showing the match live.
[embedded content]Rest of the World
Supporters can find the Reds’ Premier League game at Anfield on the following channels worldwide:
SuperSport 4 Digitalb, beIN SPORTS CONNECT, beIN Sports Premium 1, beIN Sports English, SuperSport Premier League ROA, SuperSport MaXimo 1, DStv Now, Star+, ESPN Sur, RUSH, Optus Sport, Sky Sport 1/HD, A Spor, Sky Go, Star Sports Select HD1, Play Sports, Play Sports 2, SportKlub 1 Serbia, GUIGO, ESPN Brasil, Watch ESPN Brasil, NOW NET e Claro, Astro Go, Diema Sport 2, Play Diema Xtra, DAZN, PPTV Sport China, Migu, QQ Sports Live, iQiyi, ESPN2 Colombia, Sky HD, Sportklub 1 Croatia, Cytavision Sports 3, Cytavision on the Go, DIGI GO, Premier Sport, Viaplay Denmark, TV3+ HD, TV3 Sport, V Sport Premium, V Sport Jalkapallo, Elisa Viihde Viaplay, Sky Ticket, Cosmote Sport 3 HD, 620 Now Premier League TV, Now Player, 621 Now Premier League 1, Digi Sport 1, Hotstar VIP, Star Sports Select 1, JioTV, Mola TV App, mola.tv, Mola TV, Premier Sports ROI 1, Premier Player HD, Sport 2, SKY Go Italia, NOW TV, Sky Sport Football, Setanta Sports Kazakhstan, SPOTV ON, IPKO TVim, Astro Go, Astro Supersport, GO TV Anywhere, TSN2 Malta, Blue To Go Video Everywhere, Ziggo Sport 14, Ziggo Sport Select, Spark Sport, SuperSport Premier League Nigeria, MaxTV Go, TV2 Sport Premium, TV 2 Play, Premier FOOTBALL, Eurosport Player Romania, Eurosport Romania, Okko Sport, mio Stadium 106, Sportklub 3 Slovenia, DStv App, SuperSport Premier League, Viaplay Sweden, True Premier Football HD 1, True Premier Football HD 2, S Sport+, A Spor, Peacock, SiriusXM FC, K+PM
You can follow all the action today and throughout the 2021/22 season with us by downloading the This is Anfield app for iPhone and Android for free.
The Reds won an unforgettable Champions League clash with AC Milan midweek, but attention now returns to league action.
Here’s our match preview with 10 key things you need to know ahead of the game…1. Palace make solid start under Vieira
With former Reds disaster area Roy Hodgson retiring at the end of last season, Arsenal legend Patrick Vieira was drafted in as Palace’s new manager.
There has been plenty of promise in the last two matches, however, with a 2-2 draw away to in-form West Ham an impressive result.
A 3-0 victory over Tottenham last Saturday was even more impressive, however, suggesting things are starting to click for Palace.2. Edouard one to watch
Much of the focus may have been on Cristiano Ronaldo’s second debut for Man United last weekend, but Palace saw their own attacking hero emerge on his first appearance.
Odsonne Edouard secured a late-summer move to Selhurst Park from Celtic, having scored an impressive 86 goals in 179 appearances for the Scottish giants.
The Frenchman was introduced as a second-half substitute against Spurs and swiftly netted a brace inside eight minutes, suggesting he could be a top-class signing.
Liverpool beware…3. Who’s missing out for Liverpool?
There are no new injury concerns for Jurgen Klopp, but that’s not to say there aren’t absentees for the Palace game.
In terms of selection, Klopp could opt to bring Virgil van Dijk, Thiago and Sadio Mane back into the team after they were all rested on Wednesday, while Divock Origi is touch and go after cramp forced his exit in mid-week.4. Debut for Konate?
The risk of playing Matip three times in six days means he could be left out on Saturday, potentially paving the way for Ibrahima Konate‘s debut.
The youngster has had to bide his time to date, not getting a single minute of action, but Klopp may consider playing him and the Dutchman together.
Liverpool‘s transfer activity has been so quiet in recent times that it would be nice to see a debutant in action!5. Palace’s starting XI could be…
Palace aren’t playing in Europe this season, so they are afforded the luxury of often having week-long breaks between matches.
That means Vieira could decide to field a very similar starting lineup to the one that won convincingly at home to Spurs.
New centre-back duo Joachim Anderson and Marc Gueye are expected to start again, having been praised by Palace fan Alex Jonesin our opposition Q&A this week.
Youngster Conor Gallagher has had an excellent start to the season on loan from Chelsea and will likely play, while Eoudard could make his first start in place of ex-Red Christian Benteke.
Potential Crystal Palace XI: Guaita; Ward, Anderson, Gueye, Mitchell; Kouyate, McArthur, Gallagher; Ayew, Zaha, Edouard.6. Eagles’ past success against Reds
While Liverpool have been dominant against Palace in recent years – they have won the last eight meetings – there is often an undercurrent of pessimism that exists when the fixture arrives.
That’s because of the PTSD that remains from results in the past, whether it be the excruciating 3-3 draw in 2013/14 or the loss at Anfield on Steven Gerrard’s final home game for Liverpool.
It has, admittedly, been a while since Palace threatened to cause an upset, but they are a team who always seem capable of raising their game at Anfield.
A narrow 4-3 win for Liverpool in the title-winning season is proof of that.7. Madley takes charge
Unlike last year, when the world seemed to be against them, the Reds have not yet been undone by poor refereeing this season.
The hope is that that remains the case after Saturday’s game and the relatively unknown Andy Madley will take charge of proceedings.
This will be the first Liverpool game he has officiated in the Premier League, having refereed the 1-0 FA Cup win over Shrewsbury in 2019/20 and the penalty shootout triumph over Carlisle in the League Cup in 2015/16.
Frankly, his performance can’t be any worse than many of those we’ve seen at Anfield down the years.8. Did you know?
On current form, there is no doubt that Van Dijk and Matip is Liverpool‘s strongest pairing at the back.
The duo have looked imperious so far this season, conceding just once together and allowing the Reds to control matches.
In fact, Van Dijk and Matip are unbeaten in their last 34 league matches as a partnership, outlining how formidable they have been alongside one another.
Their only defeat was in their first game together away to Swansea way back in January 2018, but they haven’t looked back since.
It may be that Klopp again breaks up the Van Dijk-Matip axis against Palace, but there will be few complaints if he plays both.9. “Sadio looks really good!”
The No. 10 has been far from prolific so far but his build-up work and the number of chances he creates has certainly caused no issue for Klopp.
“Sadio looks really good, he looks really sharp,” the manager said.
“I know we talk about these things when a striker misses some chances, but that he has the amount of chances he has, the amount of finishes he has, that’s actually the important stuff.”
And goals haven’t been a problem for Mane in the past against Palace as the last eight league meetings have all seen him on the scoresheet. The same again please Sadio.10. Saturday 3pm blackout
This is Liverpool‘s first Saturday 3pm (BST) kickoff of the season, which means one thing: the game isn’t live on UK television.
Whether you like the rule or loathe it, you will have to find a way to track the match, unless you’re fortunate enough to be at Anfield.
Your best bet? Follow our matchday liveblog from 2.15pm, with Joanna Durkan keeping you up-to-date with the action.
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