Jordan Henderson paid tribute to PFA Players’ Player of the Year Mohamed Salah by saying his teammate has been ‘amazing’ since the day he joined Liverpool.
Salah was honoured at a ceremony in London on Sunday evening, with his incredible first season with the Reds - which has featured 41 goals in just 46 appearances - being recognised by PFA members from the 92 Premier League and Football League clubs.
Henderson was also present at Grosvenor House, and the captain spoke in glowing terms about his prolific teammate - both on a personal and professional basis.
“As a person, he’s a really good person, he’s humble and genuine and he fits in really well with the group,” Henderson said.
“As you’ve seen, he came straight in in the summer, settled in really well in pre-season and straight away we knew we had a top player that’s come to the club to try and do something with our team.
“He was amazing in training, amazing in the pre-season games and he’s just continued that form throughout the season. He’s been fantastic, on and off the field.”
On whether Salah had exceeded his teammates’ expectations, Henderson stated: “I think we expected him to be good, but I think he’s gone above and beyond that really.
“He keeps improving, he keeps getting better and better with each game, more confident of course.
“Obviously the manager’s helped him loads since he’s come to Liverpool, the players have been brilliant around him, so he’s had a good group of lads that he’s come into and that’ll have helped him develop as well.
“But all the hard work goes down to him, he’s in the gym all the time, improving his strength and in training he’s always working hard for the team, and he gets his just rewards at the end of it.
“He’s always doing work behind the scenes, always in the gym doing little bits here and there and working on his shooting and stuff in training, always working hard on what he needs to do for the team first and foremost, but then his goal tally speaks for itself really.”
Mohamed Salah has been named the PFA Players' Player of the Year.
The Liverpool forward’s stunning debut season at Anfield was recognised by PFA members from the 92 Premier League and Football League clubs at a ceremony in London on Sunday evening.
A phenomenal tally of 41 goals in 46 appearances for his club so far this term helped Salah beat off competition from Manchester City trio Kevin De Bruyne, David Silva and Leroy Sane, as well as David de Gea (Manchester United) and Harry Kane (Tottenham Hotspur), to land the prestigious accolade.
Speaking after collecting the trophy, the Reds’ No.11 said: “I feel great. I work hard and I’m very happy to win it.
“My personal thing is to win something with the team. I always think about the team, I don’t think about myself, so the most important thing for me is to win something with the team.
“We are very close now, in the [Champions League] semi-final, so hopefully we’re going to win it.”
When asked what has helped him maintain such outstanding form throughout the campaign, Salah replied: “I think the team. The team helped me a lot, the way we play, they help me, they pass me the ball a lot. So the team help me a lot, honestly, to perform and be in that shape.”
The Egyptian is the seventh Liverpool player to receive the PFA prize, following Luis Suarez (2013-14), Steven Gerrard (2005-06), John Barnes (1987-88), Ian Rush (1983-84), Kenny Dalglish (1982-83) and Terry McDermott (1979-80).
However, he is not worried standards have slipped ahead of Tuesday’s Champions League semi-final, first leg at home to Roma so there is no reason to panic.
Jurgen Klopp’s side appeared to be coasting to the first of two victories needed to absolutely guarantee their top-four place thanks to injury-plagued Danny Ings’ first goal in 930 days and Mohamed Salah’s 31st Premier League strike of the season.
That goal equalled the record set for a single campaign by Alan Shearer (1995-96), Cristiano Ronaldo (2007-08) and Luis Suarez (2013-14) with three matches still to go.
But any celebrations were cut short as the Baggies hit back in the final 11 minutes with both their goals from Jake Livermore and Solomon Rondon coming from a corner and a free-kick.
While the manner of the goals hurt, Van Dijk said it did not mean Liverpool had returned to the dark days of set-piece susceptibility, especially as three of the back four had played only bit-parts in recent months.
“Everyone gets upset. No-one wants to concede at the last, even concede at all. The way we conceded those goals is something to be angry about,” he said.
“We need to be honest with ourselves and everyone was. We need to do better. You have to tell each other the truth, you cannot be nice and happy when we want to achieve so much as a team, as a club.
“A draw here is not good enough but there is no reason to panic.”
Roma have former Manchester City striker Edin Dzeko as the spearhead of their attack but Van Dijk stressed there was no reason to be concerning themselves specifically with the 6ft 3in forward.
Instead they just have to remind themselves of what worked well previously in bringing nine clean sheets in their previous 14 games.
“I haven’t watched too many Roma games to be fair. I have not played against Dzeko before but everyone knows the result against Barcelona,” added the Holland captain.
“We know they have a lot of quality and we know about most of the players, so we need to be ready for anything.
“I am not worried at all. We need to keep doing what we did in the last games and recover now and focus on Roma now from Monday.”
Klopp is confident his players will be up for the task without the added motivation of righting their wrongs against West Brom.
“We don’t need help like this. We don’t have to tell them it was not good enough and they can do better. It will be a completely different game,” said the Reds boss.
“If you play a bad game here or if you don’t create chances that is then a problem but in the moment the disappointment is so big because it should not happen.”
On whether the method of the Baggies goals will give Roma inspiration he added: “They have set-pieces as well but they don’t play only set-pieces. They sometimes play it on the ground and then you can play football.”
Liverpool have enjoyed some excellent spring form of late, but who have been their five standout players over the last six matches?
The Reds could only draw 2-2 away to West Brom on Saturday lunchtime, blowing a two-goal lead in frustrating fashion at the Hawthorns.
We have looked back through our player ratings archive to see who Liverpool’s best players have been in their last six games—Crystal Palace (A), Man City (H), Everton (A), Man City (A), Bournemouth (H) and West Brom (A)—as their season goes from strength to strength.
Here are the top five, with Mohamed Salah incredibly not included…
(NB: Players must have featured in at least four of the six games to be in contention.)=4. Sadio Mane – 7.58 (out of 10)
Some supporters have actually been critical of Mane’s form this season, despite the Senegalese scoring 17 goals and being a vital part of Liverpool’s attacking unit.
Granted, he wasn’t at his very best before Christmas, but his level has gone up significantly since the turn of the year.
His inch-perfect header helped the Reds thump City at Anfield, he set up Salah’s all-important away goal at the Etihad and he also opened the scoring away to Palace and at home to Bournemouth.
Mane has been usurped by the freakish Salah and brilliant Roberto Firmino since August, but he is still thriving in his own right.=4. Virgil van Dijk – 7.58
Few signings have made a more immediate, noticeable impact at Liverpool than Virgil van Dijk, with the giant centre-back making an enormous difference.
He was crucial in City managing just one shot on target over two legs, and was similarly imposing away to Everton in a forgettable Merseyside derby.
Without the 26-year-old around, the second half of Liverpool’s season could be panning out very differently.3. Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain – 7.75
It has been a superb first year at Liverpool for Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain, who has silenced the doubters and proved to be a key man.
He took some time to settle after moving from Arsenal, but as this form guide shows, he has grown significantly in recent times.
The England international’s superb strike in front of the Kop against City was his high point of the last six matches, but his all-round game has impressed so much.
His ability to run at defences, link up with the front three and work his socks off have all caught the eye, and he brings something different to the midfield.2. Trent Alexander-Arnold – 7.87
It wasn’t too long ago that Trent Alexander-Arnold was being criticised for defensive errors, but look how far he has come.
The teenager actually didn’t start the last six games too well, following a mistake against Palace, but he was excellent in the second half and has shone ever since.
His two performances against City were unbelievably impressive, considering the magnitude of the occasion and the fact that he was tasked with keeping the dangerous Leroy Sane quiet.
Alexander-Arnold was almost immaculate in both legs, while against Bournemouth his wonderful pass allowed Salah to loop a header into the net.
In a star-studded squad, a 19-year-old local lad has nearly been Liverpool’s star man since Palace away.1. Andrew Robertson – 8
Amazingly, Andrew Robertson comes out on top for the third time in a row, which highlights what a fantastic signing he has been.
The Scot has been an absolute model of consistently all season long, and to average eight out of 10 since the Palace game shows he is still going strong.
His lovely assist for Salah at Selhurst Park was a key contribution, he was arguably Man of the Match in the first game against City.
Robertson has only played in four of the six games, which may skew things ever so slightly, but he is maturing into the Premier League‘s best left-back.
Three on the spin for the likeable 24-year-old!
Liverpool committed errors reminiscent of their past, seeing a two-goal lead dissolve as they were held to a 2-2 draw by West Brom on Saturday.
There is little denying that Tuesday night’s Champions League semi-final first-leg clash with AS Roma was on his mind, however.
It was far from a disastrous result, but it is one that provides food for thought both for the arrival of the Italian outfit and for Klopp ahead of the summer transfer window.
JACK: The obvious highlight was Ings’ goal. I can’t see him being at the club beyond the summer but you could tell how much it meant him after such a miserable time over the past two-and-a-half years.
It was also encouraging to see how comfortable Van Dijk was on the right-hand side of the centre-back pairing, particularly with his long, raking passes up to Mane in attack.
He’s at his best on the left but this provides Klopp with more options as he builds his defence for the long term; Van Dijk is just an exceptional defender.
And even though the result wasn’t ideal, resting Trent, Robertson, Lovren, Ox and Firmino for most of the game was the right decision ahead of Tuesday night.
MATT: Both goals: it was fantastic to see Ings on the scoresheet—he deserved that moment for all his hard work and determination.
The Salah goal was a moment of quality, too, with a perfect pass from Oxlade-Chamberlain.
The main thing for me is that there were no injuries ahead of what is clearly a far more important game on Tuesday, and having the luxury of being able to rest Firmino ahead of the semi-final.
GEORGE: I think I speak for every fan when I say it was wonderful to see Ings score his first goal for Liverpool since October 2015.
The striker has had some absolutely rotten luck with injuries since moving to Anfield and has found first-team opportunities hard to come by, so that’s certainly something for him and us fans to smile about.
I’ve run out of superlatives for Salah this season, with the Egyptian once again finding himself on the scoresheet and on the verge of breaking the record for the number of goals in a 38-game Premier League season.
Mo will be desperate to score against Roma in the Champions League on Tuesday; finding the net at the Hawthorns will fill him with confidence and is the perfect preparation for a talisman going into a big match.
Klopp will be thrilled that none of his players sustained any injuries ahead of the upcoming clash with Roma.
Van Dijk looked to have taken a small knock in the first half, but ran it off and didn’t require any medical attention, whilst there appeared to be no damage to any of the other Liverpool players.The bad…
JACK: No point dwelling on that result as it’s far from the end of the world and all the focus is on the Champions League now.
A draw in this game, as with in the Merseyside derby at Goodison, can still be seen as a positive, though the manner in which Liverpool collapsed after taking a two-goal lead could be a concern.
Though Moreno seems to be taking the majority of the criticism I thought Gomez had a shocker, but hopefully that’s now out of his system after injury. He was clearly lacking sharpness.
Obviously the main negative was just how poor the refereeing was but, again, is there any point brooding over it now?
MATT: Karius went missing on the equalising goal, in what was a rare error for him in recent months.
He’s been good for a sustained period but moments like this are why I would still invest heavily in one of the best in the world in the summer (we’ll get to see one of them in the semi-final in the form of Brazilian stopper Alisson).
The referee had a game to forget too—how he didn’t give a penalty on Ings is beyond me, and how Ahmed Hegazi got a free-kick for punching him is crazy.
GEORGE: I’m not one to moan about referees, but that was a really poor performance from Stuart Atwell—he missed several key moments over the 90 minutes and his decision-making was absolutely dreadful.
Had we beaten West Brom, there would have been less pressure on the team to get a win and three points next time out against Stoke in order to solidify a top-four position.
This means it’s likely Klopp will have to start with a stronger team than he would have liked, which is frustrating considering that the Reds have the second leg of the Champions League semi-final in Rome just four days later.
It would have been ideal to be able to rotate players before the second match against Roma, but now I highly doubt that Jurgen will be prepared to rest players against Stoke and risk dropping any more points.And what did that tell us about Liverpool’s fringe players?
JACK: The squad needs improving, that’s clear. The injuries to Matip, Clyne, Can and Lallana are obviously a big blow but beyond the first-choice side there is a real lack of quality.
It was great to see Ings score, but his overall performance was seriously lacking, and while there are few strikers in world football who are on par with Firmino he is far from adequate backup.
Again, without Can and Lallana there weren’t many other options in midfield, but Klopp’s reluctance to include Woodburn highlights a lack of faith beyond the core group.
Bar a new partner for Van Dijk and a deep-lying midfielder, I’d say the main priority this summer will be fleshing out Klopp’s squad ranks.
MATT: Ings was much better with the quality of Mane and Salah alongside him, but Moreno did nothing to suggest he should be in the side more often.
He started the season well but this was the old Moreno.
Klavan did fine but is limited on the ball as we already knew; Lovren will come straight back in.
GEORGE: Moreno didn’t really offer anything from both a defensive and attacking perspective. I would imagine Jurgen will let him leave in the summer as it looks like he is surplus to requirements at Anfield.
Klavan again proved he can do a job when called upon and did reasonably well in his battle against the very physical and bulky Rondon.
Gomez didn’t put in the best performance on his return from injury. He’ll need to get back to full fitness sharply if he’s going to play a part in the business end of the season.
Going forward, I think he needs to play at centre-back rather than right-back, as being paired with Van Dijk will improve him hugely as a player, as it has Lovren.
Ings scored for the first time in 930 days with a proper poacher’s goal, but should have had two and hit a shot straight at Foster late in the first half.
I’m not too sure where I think his long-term future lies, as he’s 26 and isn’t ever going to be selected ahead of Firmino, but I’m happy to see him back playing and on the scoresheet.
Liverpool produced a wholly mixed display as they once again shone in attack but defensive flaws returned as they drew 2-2 with West Brom.
With the manager making five changes from the full-strength side that won 3-0 at home to Bournemouth last weekend, this drop-off in quality will perhaps have been expected.
Any lessons learned from this game will likely be more for Klopp over the summer rather than in the buildup to Tuesday’s clash with AS Roma, but it was a telling display.
But what did the media, fans and statisticians make of the Reds’ 2-2 draw at the Hawthorns?
Having netted his 41st goal in a remarkable campaign, it is no surprise to see Salah (7.1) rated as the standout performer once again, despite a largely quiet afternoon.
Ings’ strike clearly boosted his assessment too (6.9), with Sadio Mane (6.8) perhaps the most well-deserving of his high mark.
Virgil van Dijk (6.7) was head and shoulders above the rest of the defence, and it is telling that both Gomez (5.8) and Moreno (4.9) are among the lowest-rated players.
Moreno was deemed the worst of the starting lineup at the Hawthorns, with the left-back the only player not be given a seven-out-of-10 rating by any publication.
Gomez’s ratings varied wildly, with the 20-year-old handed an eight out of 10 by Sky Sports but only four out of 10 from The Anfield Wrap’s John Gibbons, who described him as “very lazy.”
Interestingly, beyond Salah, James Milner is the highest-rated Liverpool player on a statistical level, which contrasts with his modest average (6.4).
Moreno was also rated the worst by WhoScored, with the Spaniard failing to create a single chance, making just one tackle and completing just 76.7 percent of his attempted passes, with only Salah and Ings finding their target with fewer.
The ratings of the This is Anfield readers lower the averages significantly, with Gomez and Moreno both heavily criticised.
Roma midfielder Radja Nainggolan admits Liverpool were the team he least wanted to draw in the Champions League semi-finals.
The Reds face the Italian giants in a monumental last-four clash, with the first leg taking place at Anfield on Tuesday night.
The two sides got the better of Man City and Barcelona in the quarter-finals respectively – two results that came as a surprise to many across Europe.
Although Bayern Munich and Real Madrid, the other two semi-final occupants, are arguably stronger than Liverpool on paper, it is the Reds who Nainggolan says he feared facing the most:
“I wasn’t happy with the draw, because in my view Liverpool were the toughest team out of the three.
“It’s not that they have more quality than Real Madrid or Bayern, but they put a lot of hard work in and have nothing to lose. Real and Bayern might’ve underestimated Roma, but Liverpool are warriors, a bit like us.
The Belgium international also had some nice words to say about former teammate Mohamed Salah, who he clearly still thinks highly of:
“I spoke to Salah and he couldn’t believe we’d beaten Barcelona either! He was joking on Instagram that we’ll never hear the end of Kostas Manolas saying he scored the winning goal.
“It’ll be nice to see Momo again, we had a good rapport. He’s a good guy, sweet and respectful, as well as being an excellent player.
“I am not surprised by his success at Liverpool, as he always had the quality. The only difference now is perhaps he’s got more opportunities and also learned to keep a cool head in front of goal. I’m a fan of his.”
Tuesday’s game is set to be a stunning occasion on Merseyside, as Anfield hosts one of its biggest matches this century.
Liverpool are within touching distance of a first Champions League final since 2007, and as Nainggolan alludes to, they should fear nobody.
The Belgian is one of many Roma players who can do damage to the Reds, however, and they will have to find their best level to progress.
The Serie A side have enjoyed a good week, beating Genoa 2-1 on Wednesday before picking up an impressive 3-0 triumph away to Spal on Saturday.
A superb double from Harry Wilson helped Hull City secure their Championship status for next season with a thrilling 5-5 draw with Bristol City.
Wilson netted twice from distance in a topsy-turvy match, with the Liverpool loanee netting an early opener at Ashton Gate with a classy left-footed finish. His clever free-kick later hauled the Tigers back to within a goal of the hosts at 4-3 down 18 minutes from time.
Hull, who went on to lead 5-4, were denied victory by an equaliser deep into stoppage time, but the point ensured they are safe from the threat of relegation.
Fresh from being named the club’s Player of the Month for March earlier in the week, Wales international Wilson produced another outstanding display that earned him the Hull Daily Mail’s Man of the Match award.
“Opened the scoring with another stunner before surpassing that with a decisive free-kick that made it 4-3. Seven goals in nine starts shows he’s destined for a higher stage,” wrote the newspaper.
Elsewhere, Lazar Markovic scored in Anderlecht’s 2-1 loss to Genk, Divock Origi appeared as a late substitute in Wolfsburg’s 3-0 defeat to Borussia Monchengladbach and Jon Flanagan played as Bolton Wanderers were beaten 4-0 by Championship champions Wolves.
In League Two, Matty Virtue completed the full 90 minutes as Notts County kept their hopes of automatic promotion alive with a 4-1 win over Yeovil Town, while Andy Firth’s Chester lost 3-1 to Maidstone United in the National League.
Last Updated: 22/04/18 11:46am
Listen to the Sunday Supplement Podcast as Neil Ashton is joined Martin Samuel, Jason Burt and Rory Smith to debate Arsene Wenger's exit, Arsenal's next boss and much more.
Friday's shock news concerning Wenger's exit at Arsenal was top of the agenda on the latest episode and our guests debated the legacy of the Frenchman.LISTEN: Sunday Supplement podcast
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They also debated who might fill his shoes with the likes of Brendan Rodgers, Luis Enrique, Patrick Vieira, Thierry Henry, Massimiliano Allegri, Sean Dyche and Eddie Howe all discussed.
The panel had its say on Tottenham's FA Cup exit at the hands of Manchester United on Saturday evening and discussed Mauricio Pochettino's future with Spurs.
They also talked about Pep Guardiola's title win with Manchester City, discussed who should be named Player of the Year and looked ahead to Liverpool's Champions League semi-final against Roma.
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Check out a schedule of local community events planned by the LFC Foundation and Red Neighbours teams in the coming week.
Monday April 23
Premier League Kicks session
Walton Hall Park, 7pm-8pm (age 11-17)
Speke Community Centre, 6pm-8pm (age 11+)
Respect 4 All Ability Counts session (Disability)
Anfield Sports and Community Centre, 6pm-7pm (age 8-12), 7pm-8pm (age 13+)
Tuesday April 24
Premier League Kicks session
Toxteth Firefit Hub, 5.30pm-6.30pm (age 8-13), 6.30pm-7.30pm (age 14-19)
Respect 4 All (Disability)
Anfield Sports and Community Centre, 6pm-7pm (age 8-16), 7pm-8pm (age 17+)
Wednesday April 25
Premier League Kicks session
Anfield Sports and Community Centre, 5pm-6pm (age 7-13), 6pm-7pm (age 13-17), 5pm-6pm (age 8-13 girls only)
Respect 4 All (Disability)
Anfield Sports and Community Centre, 6pm-7pm (age 8+)
Thursday April 26
Premier League Kicks sessions
Liverpool Aquatics Centre, Wavertree, 5pm-6pm (age 8-13), 6pm-7pm (age 14-17)
Gateacre School, 6pm-8pm (age 11-17)
Respect 4 All (Disability)
Anfield Sports and Community Centre, 7pm-8pm (age 8+)
Netherton Goals, 5pm-7.30pm
Friday April 27
Premier League Kicks sessions
Liverpool Aquatics Centre, Wavertree, 6pm-8pm (age 14-19)
Anfield Sports and Community Centre, 6pm-9pm (age 14-19)
Croxteth Sports Centre, 6pm-8pm (age 11-17)
Wirral Hive, 6pm-8pm (age 13-19)
Respect 4 All (Disability)
Anfield Sports and Community Centre, 6pm-7pm (age 8-16), 7pm-8pm (age 17+)
Red Neighbours Walking Football
Anfield Sports and Community Centre, 11am-12pm
Red Neighbours Walking Netball
Anfield Sports and Community Centre, 11.30am-12.30pm
Saturday April 28
Respect 4 All (Disability)
Woodchurch High School, 10.30am-11.30am (SLD Child), 11.30am-12.30pm (Ability Counts), 12.30pm-1.30pm (SLD Adults)
Sunday April 29
LFC Academy, 2pm-5pm
Georginio Wijnaldum believes Liverpool would not have made it to the semi-finals of the Champions League were it not for their chastening experience away to Sevilla in the group stages.
Jürgen Klopp's team appeared to have qualification for the knockout phase stitched up at half-time of their penultimate group game back in November, having carved out a three-goal lead in the first half an hour of their visit to Ramon Sanchez Pizjuan.
However, Wissam Ben Yedder's quickfire double after the break and an injury-time strike from Guido Pizarro helped the Spanish side claim an unlikely point and keep their hopes of leapfrogging the Reds alive.
Liverpool went on to seal their place in the next round with a 7-0 thrashing of Spartak Moscow on the next matchday, and they have gone from strength to strength in setting up a last-four meeting with AS Roma.
But for Wijnaldum, the impressive performances he and his teammates have put in of late would not be possible without the important lessons learned from that evening in Seville.
Asked specifically about that game, the Dutchman told UEFA: "I think we responded very well and positively.
"Of course, it was a pity we didn’t win there after leading 3-0, but I guess it was also a bit of a reality check for us because it showed us that in the Champions League, if you are winning 3-0 the match is not over and done with yet.
"Every team has ability and every team can come back into it, so maybe in the end it was good for us that this happened.
"It helped us to win the tie against Manchester City."
The contribution of Liverpool fans to the quarter-final victory over Manchester City is not lost on Wijnaldum, either.
The 27-year-old describes hearing the club's supporters sing 'You'll Never Walk Alone' as a 'profound experience', and underlined their importance to this season's European journey.
He added: "[YNWA is] something I’ve mentioned in other interviews: you never get used to it.
"You experience it as if for the first time on every single occasion. That’s how fantastic it is, not just for me as a player but for everyone present.
"Every week, sometimes twice, it’s a profound experience for me. Can you imagine the people coming here for the first time? I get goosebumps every time I hear it.
"The fans are there at every game to support us and I hope they feel they’re being rewarded for it, as even in the tough times they’ve backed us. [The support is] amazing but hard to describe. I became a football player to experience these things.
"When you step out onto the pitch, you feel that they are giving even more than in the Premier League. Champions League matches are very special and they prove this to you.
"The fans who always sing, who build the atmosphere in the stadium. They can really help you to get through a difficult moment.
"When it’s not going well in a match, they can help you to find more drive, more energy. It’s great."
Liverpool's No.5 was also keen to pay tribute to the role his manager has played in continental competition this term.
One of Klopp's biggest strengths, according to Wijnaldum, is that he strikes a good balance between providing vital tactical instructions and allowing his players to express themselves on the pitch.
"I think I’ve said it before, but the way he prepares us for a match is just excellent," he continued.
"He tries to prepare us in the best possible way and show us how we can win, what we must do to win a game.
"But he also gives us freedom, freedom to play, because he knows we all have special qualities and these can only be expressed when we are free to play.
"So he helps us to do things that we think are good on the pitch. I know for sure that from the players he gets all the credit he deserves.
"We all think he is fantastic and we are happy with him, also because he is very honest, very direct. He has just one goal and that is to make us better.
"It can be very intense because he always demands more than 100 per cent but I really think we benefit from the way he works and that’s why the players really give him credit.
"I think the fans and the club are very happy with him and I think that he knows that too."
AS Roma registered a routine 3-0 win in their last match before Tuesday's Champions League semi-final first leg at Anfield.
Eusebio Di Francesco's side maintained their bid for a top-four finish in Serie A - which would secure their place in next season's Champions League - by beating relegation-threatened SPAL away from home.
Di Francesco rested first-team regulars such as Daniele De Rossi, Edin Dzeko and Alessandro Florenzi with their trip to Liverpool in mind, but Roma were comfortable at Stadio Paolo Mazza.
An own goal by Francesco Vicari put the visitors ahead before half-time, before a quickfire strikes from Radja Nainggolan and Patrik Schick early in the second period sealed the three points.
Roma, therefore, head to Anfield on the back of a four-game unbeaten run in all competitions.
Klopp’s side were held to a disappointing but not calamitous stalemate against the all-but-relegated Baggies.
But late goals from Jake Livermore and Salomon Rondon earned the Baggies a point and denied Klopp’s men an ideal victory ahead of Tuesday’s Champions League semi-final first leg with Roma.
It was a frustrating result but the Reds still hold a strong position in the top four—eight points ahead of fifth-placed Chelsea—and here’s how the media assessed events at the Hawthorns.
Pleasingly, reporters took objective views of the significance and relevance of the draw…
Our man Karl Matchett rightly assessed that the draw was frustrating but nothing too troubling in the grand scheme of things:
“All told, the draw was frustrating but shouldn’t be too relevant in the wider scheme of Liverpool’s season.”
The Liverpool Echo’s Ian Doyle took a positive outlook, noting that the Reds moved a point closer to a top-four finish with an under-strength team and a sub-par performance:
“Liverpool rarely ventured out of second gear while edging a point nearer securing a top-four berth.”
For Goal, Neil Jones explained that the outcome result and particularly the manner of it could prove “a useful warning” ahead of the real important games:
“Jurgen Klopp and his side may have bigger fish to fry than West Bromwich Albion, but their sloppiness at The Hawthorns was an unwelcome reminder of what can happen when the Reds take their eye off the ball.
“Ahead of Tuesday’s Champions League semi-final with Roma, this 2-2 draw may serve as a useful warning.”
Reporters were more mixed in their views on the late collapse but felt it highlighted Liverpool’s improvemen…
The Telegraph’s Chris Bascombe believes the Reds won’t win over those who doubt their title credentials until such collapses are fully wiped out, but noted they are increasingly rare:
“Until such daft and inexplicable calamities are completely eradicated, Liverpool will not convince every doubter.
Jones thinks Roma will have taken encouragement from Liverpool’s struggles to deal with long balls and crosses ahead of Tuesday’s showdown:
“But Roma, you can bet, will have noted the trouble West Brom caused with crosses and long balls.
“Liverpool have defended superbly in recent weeks, keeping nine clean sheets in 14 games prior to this but—the regal Virgil van Dijk aside—they looked shaky when put under pressure. Edin Dzeko, you can bet, will be ready.”
The Liverpool Echo’s James Pearce was quick to play down sensationalist views of Liverpool’s previous failing returning to haunt them again:
“Frustrating? Yes. Sloppy? Unquestionably. Reason to panic? Behave.”
And Jones followed that by backing the full-strength Reds to respond positively against Roma at Anfield:
“Tuesday will be different. It has to be. The Champions League does something to Anfield, and to the Reds. Standards will be raised, no question.
“Liverpool have come too far to let their old insecurities halt them now.”
On a different note, Doyle felt Klopp showed good management in blaming everything but his players after the game, allowing the squad to turn focus on the first leg without extra scrutiny:
“Klopp raised eyebrows with his post-match protestations about the pitch at The Hawthorns, but it was perhaps good man-management.
“By making the post-match patter about him, he’s allowing his players to turn their attentions on the coming days.”
Reporters discussed Klopp’s late switch to a back three and some felt this was key to the collapse…
This is Anfield’s James Nalton was among those who thought Klopp made an error making the switch as it invited pressure and limited the threat to kill the game off:
“Klopp, though, arguably undid all this by switching to a back three late in the game, and the defence looked uncertain from then on.
“They were made to absorb pressure rather than creating it themselves, and this ultimately encouraged the opposition to attack. Despite this the defence still should have done better.”
ESPN’s Dave Usher felt the decision to withdraw Salah was particularly costly as it took away any counter-attacking threat:
The Mirror’s Alex Richards provided a worrying stat on the impact of the Reds’ struggles to see games out at times throughout the season:
“Those goals ensured Liverpool have now dropped 14 points from winning positions this season, with 10 of those dropped points coming in the last 10 minutes of matches.”
Looking at ways such collapses can be prevented, TIA editor Matt Ladson thinks adding more quality attacking options will help as moving to an unnatural defensive style can then be avoided:
“Up front, more is required so that Mo Salah and Sadio Mane can be rested and rotated.
“Maybe then we can keep the pressure on rather than reverting to a back five in the closing stages, which the team rarely looks comfortable when doing. It’s a cliche, but it’s not in this side’s DNA to play a defensive game.”
Meanwhile, Usher felt Klopp’s decision to make so many changes to the lineup did nothing to help the general performance:
“Jurgen Klopp made more changes than expected and while that wasn’t the only reason for the lacklustre performance it probably didn’t help.”
Certain journalists praised Danny Ings who finally ended his torrid injury run with a goal…
“Ings brings some of the same characteristics—relentless movement, a willingness to press—if not the same quality or a similar goalscoring return.
“Nevertheless, the forward requires a reliable deputy and, if Liverpool do not enter the transfer market for a striker this summer, this performance helped suggest Ings, rather than Sturridge, the exiled Divock Origi or the perennial substitute Dominic Solanke, may be the best candidate.”
Matchett thought Ings’s goal and “good showing overall” was important as the striker needed to prove his worth in his natural position after some stuttering comeback outings:
“It was important for Ings, of course, to show he could offer something to the team, particularly given his central role for this game after an ineffective showing out wide against Everton.
“A good showing overall, and a confidence booster in front of goal which could yet come in handy in the final weeks of the season.”
“It is that he has found his place on the pitch, in that central right channel, barrelling past defenders, constantly on the most direct route to goal.
“It was his pass which released Mohamed Salah for Liverpool’s second goal, and while most people’s attention would understandably have been on the Egyptian claiming his 31st strike of the season, one suspects Gareth Southgate will have taken note of the assist with a smile.”
Georginio Wijnaldum was left frustrated after Liverpool dropped two points at West Bromwich Albion, but the Reds remaining in control of their own destiny in terms of Champions League qualification was cited as a ‘positive’ by the midfielder.
Saturday’s match at The Hawthorns began superbly for Jürgen Klopp’s team, who took an early lead through Danny Ings’ first goal since October 2015.
Having soaked up a spell of pressure from the Baggies following Ings’ opener, the visitors took charge in the second half and duly grabbed a second in the 72nd minute through Mohamed Salah, which appeared to have sealed victory.
However, West Brom hit back to claim a draw thanks to late strikes from Jake Livermore and Salomon Rondon.
FA Cup commitments mean none of Manchester United, Tottenham Hotspur or Chelsea are in Premier League action this weekend, and an otherwise disappointed Wijnaldum acknowledged that third-placed Liverpool are still in a strong position to secure a top-four finish.
“If you look at the positives, we still have it in our own hands,” the Netherlands international told Liverpoolfc.com.
“If we just perform and we get the results we need, we will play in the Champions League next season. But it’s still frustrating because we were 2-0 up.
“In the last couple of weeks we have been good at defending set-pieces, and we still conceded two today so that’s a little bit frustrating. But as I just said, if you look at it the positive way we have it in our own hands so that’s good.”
Wijnaldum and his teammates have no time to dwell on their draw, of course.
AS Roma visit Anfield on Tuesday for a Champions League semi-final first leg, and the No.5 is already relishing that prospect.
“You try to play a good game and do the things that you are good at, but every game is different and not every game is the same because it also depends on the opponent and how they play,” he said.
“They are really good and one thing is sure we will have to give 100 per cent and everyone [will need to] give their all.”