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The brilliant story of a 6-year-old Liverpool fan’s journey from Hong Kong to Anfield

Sat, 22/09/2018 - 11:00

Liverpool’s 3-2 victory over PSG in the Champions League was a memorable night for fans, and particularly six-year-old Hong Kong native Jerron Leung.


The Reds made the perfect start to life in Group C as Roberto Firmino‘s late stunner sealed a dramatic win over Thomas Tuchel’s Paris Saint-Germain.

An enthralling 90 minutes of football, this further underlined the club’s status as European giants, after last season’s run to the final in Kyiv.

This is certainly befitting of a club of Liverpool’s stature, with its reputation built on years of success on the continent, gaining supporters around the world.

One of those at Anfield on Tuesday is not old enough to remember Istanbul, let alone Rome.

But Jerron Leung’s journey to the game from Hong Kong with his brother, sister and parents Janet and Ben proves a devotion to Liverpool beyond his years.

Documented by ESPN on the night, Jerron took in the Reds’ sixth win, and was gifted a shirt from the club—with the name and number of his favourite player, Andy Robertson, on the back.

This is Anfield spoke to Janet to hear the brilliant story behind Jerron’s 6,000-mile trip to Merseyside and the fledgling football career that brought him here.

“We were here for a Chelsea academy trial!”

“Jerron is super happy and excited after this trip.

“The reason we went to Anfield was because we were here for Chelsea Soccer School during the summer holidays, and Jerron was asked to go to a Chelsea academy trial in September.

“We took a week off from school because we think as parents we should give them the chance to do what they like to do.

“Jerron started his soccer school in Hong Kong when he was two-and-a-half years old, at the Arsenal Soccer School.

“He is now in the Elite team for Arsenal Hong Kong, playing U6.”

“This is one of the ways to make him feel better…”

“This little boy always had a passion for football, and he wishes to be a football player when he grows up.

“He doesn’t like to watch cartoons, only football highlights on YouTube, and he loves to watch football with his diehard Liverpool daddy—who has been in love with Liverpool for over 25 years.

“As parents, we were very touched to see our boy so determined and focussed on what he likes.

“This trip is a little treat for him. Jerron has been suffering from severe eczema and he always scratches his body, sometimes until it bleeds.

“However, football heals his itchiness, and he doesn’t scratch that much when he is playing or watching football.

“This is one of the ways to make him feel better.”

“Is that the real Robertson?!”

“His dad and I are very supportive for him to chase after his dreams, although we know it won’t be easy to make come true.

“Jerron loves Liverpool because of his dad and his older brother, Jenson, aged eight. Jenson taught Jerron to love Liverpool and he always helps him search for videos on his iPad.

“They learned to sing all the songs such as You’ll Never Walk Alone and Allez Allez Allez on YouTube.

“Jerron did ask daddy before how he could be on YouTube and our reply was unsure!

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“We also cannot believe he was so brave to sing in front of the camera; his personality is quite shy.

“He told us he likes Liverpool because of their playing style and the fans are so passionate for the team.

“He actually did watch other games in the UK before, such as Chelsea, West Ham and Tottenham, but he thinks the atmosphere at Anfield is definitely the best.

“Therefore, he wishes he could be one of the mascots walking out at Anfield someday.

“We would really like to say big thank you to ESPN and LFC for making Jerron’s little trip so special and unforgettable.

“I showed him that Andy Robertson also retweeted the post and said ‘love it little man’. Jerron said ‘is that the real Robertson?!’ He also thinks it is unbelievable.”

* Thanks to Janet and Ben Leung for sharing Jerron’s story. You can see more on Twitter @JerronLeung.

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Sadio Mane, Roberto Firmino & Mo Salah on course for a milestone day at Anfield

Sat, 22/09/2018 - 09:00

Liverpool take on Southampton at Anfield this afternoon, looking to make it six from six in the Premier League. Here are the key stats and facts ahead of kickoff.


Salah, Mane, Firmino & Sturridge

In the last 33 games that Sadio Mane, Roberto Firmino and Mo Salah have started for Liverpool they have netted 67 goals between them.

Mane is two goals short of recording 50 in the Premier League in his career so far with Southampton and Liverpool.

Salah needs two goals to record 50 in all competitions with English clubs.

If Firmino finds the net he will score in four successive Liverpool games for the first time in his career.

Daniel Sturridge requires one goal to reach the landmark of 50 in the league for Liverpool.

Uncharted Waters…

 Liverpool's Daniel Sturridge (centre) celebrates scoring the first goal with team-mates Georginio Wijnaldum (left) and Sadio Mane (right)during the UEFA Champions League Group C match between Liverpool FC and Paris Saint-Germain at Anfield. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

In midweek Liverpool equalled their club record by winning the first six games of a campaign, previously set in 1961/62.

A win today will see them set a new landmark of seven.

…And an Unwanted Mantle

Liverpool are the first team for 110 years to have won their opening five top-flight league games and not be top of the league, due to Chelsea having a better goal difference (one goal).

Downhill Since Losing Sadio

 Southampton's Sadio Mane celebrates scoring his side's winning third goal against Liverpool during the FA Premier League match at St Mary's Stadium. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

The Saints have not scored against the Reds in the last four top-flight meetings.

The last goal came from Mane (his second of the game) as his team came from two goals down to win 3-2 in March 2016.

The last three league goals scored by Southampton on this ground have all come from current Liverpool players—Dejan Lovren in 2013, Nathaniel Clyne a year later and Mane in 2015.

Hughes’ Miserable Reds Run

 Stoke City's manager Mark Hughes during the FA Premier League match against Tottenham Hotspur at the Britannia Stadium. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

Mark Hughes has won three of his 23 career league games as a manager against Liverpool. Today he will take charge of his sixth different club in Reds games.

He has never won in 11 league visits as a boss, drawing four and losing seven.

His last two league trips to Anfield (both with Stoke) saw his team lose 4-1 each time.

Hughes’ only success on this ground as a manager came in January 2016 when his Stoke team won a League Cup semi-final 1-0 but were still eliminated on penalties.

1899 Reunion

Jannik Vestergaard was a team-mate of Roberto Firmino at Hoffenheim from 2011 to 2015.

At a height of 6’6″ he is the tallest player to play in the Premier League so far this season.

More Defensive Records

 Liverpool's Virgil van Dijk and Joe Gomez celebrate after the FA Premier League match between Tottenham Hotspur FC and Liverpool FC at Wembley Stadium. Liverpool won 2-1. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

Liverpool have not conceded a goal in their last seven home league games. It is their longest sequence without conceding at Anfield since a run of nine in 2006/07.

It is 661 minutes since a visiting team last recorded a league goal at Anfield—West Ham‘s Michail Antonio scoring for West Ham back in February.

Jurgen Klopp‘s men have kept four successive league clean sheets against Southampton for the first time and now look to extend that to five in a row.

The Reds have kept a clean sheet in each of the last two home league fixtures against Southampton—but never in three.

This Season’s Scorers

 Liverpool's Sadio Mane celebrates scoring the third goal during the FA Premier League match between Liverpool FC and West Ham United FC at Anfield. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

Liverpool: Mane (4), Firmino (3), Salah (2), Milner (2), Sturridge (2), Wijnaldum (1)

Southampton: Ings (3), Hojbjerg (2), Austin (1), Bertrand (1)

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Lazar Markovic fails to fire for Liverpool U23s on night marred by serious injury

Fri, 21/09/2018 - 23:04

Liverpool U23s slumped to a 4-0 defeat to Arsenal on Friday evening, with some poor defending proving very costly.


Arsenal U23s 4-0 Liverpool U23s

Premier League 2, Meadow Park
September 21, 2018

Goals: Saka 21′, Nketiah 25′, 90′, Willock 79′

Neil Critchley‘s side took on the reigning Premier League 2 champions at Boreham Wood’s Meadow Park, following last weekend’s 3-0 victory over Swansea City.

Critchley named a strong starting lineup, making five changes in total.

Kamil Grabara, Isaac Christie-Davies, Lazar Markovic, Bobby Adekanye and Liam Millar came in for Kai McKenzie-Lyle, Nathaniel Clyne, Curtis Jones, Dominic Solanke and Divock Origi.

There was also a place on the substitutes’ bench for exciting youngster Edvard Tagseth—a player hailed by Steven Gerrard during his stint as U18s boss last season.

 Liverpool's Isaac Christie-Davies during the Under-23 FA Premier League 2 Division 1 match between Arsenal FC and Liverpool FC at Meadow Park. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

  • Critchley makes five changes after Swansea victory, Markovic starts
  • Saka & Nketiah fire Arsenal into 2-0 half-time lead
  • Markovic poor as missed chances prove key
  • Willock & Nketiah complete victory late on
  • Adekanye stretchered off with serious knee injury
  • Just one win in six league games for young Reds

It was Liverpool who enjoyed more of the ball early on, with Arsenal, managed by former Gunners favourite Freddie Ljungberg, happy to sit deep.

Tolaji Bola brought down Adekanye just outside the penalty area, with the Arsenal man fortunate not to see a red card. He wasn’t even booked, bizarrely, and Adam Lewis curled the resulting free-kick just wide.

Millar blew a wonderful opportunity to play in Adekanye after a flowing counter-attack and Deyan Iliev saved from Rafa Camacho.

Despite Liverpool’s early dominance it was Arsenal who took the lead, with Bukayo Saka finishing well past Grabara from close range.

The hosts’ lead was swiftly doubled, with some terrible Reds defending, especially from Nathaniel Phillips, allowing Eddie Nketiah to fire home.

It was dawdling of the highest order, with the centre-back losing the ball directly in front of goal.

Matty Virtue saw a goal-bound shot blocked, as the Reds desperately searched for a quick response, with Markovic also heading inches wide.

Tyreece John-Jules came extremely close to putting Arsenal out of sight shortly before the break and was then superbly denied by Grabara.

 Liverpool's Lazar Markovic during the Under-23 FA Premier League 2 Division 1 match between Arsenal FC and Liverpool FC at Meadow Park. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

Tony Gallacher replaced Millar at the interval, with lots of work to do for Liverpool.

Grabara was again busy at the other end, making another important stop, and Adekanye almost reduced the arrears, squeezing an effort narrowly wide.

The speedy winger was then denied on the line as the Reds upped their game, with Iliev making a smart save to keep out Markovic’s header.

Grabara, comfortably Liverpool’s best player on the night, twice made saves to keep his side in the contest, but time was fast running out.

Markovic, whose attitude appeared questionable throughout, missed a gilt-edged opportunity with the goal gaping, and was substituted for Glen McAuley soon after.

Joe Willock finished in slick fashion and Nketiah got his second of the game in stoppage time, putting the icing on the cake for Arsenal.

It was a bitterly disappointing night for Critchley and his players, compounded as Adekanye was stretchered off late on with a knee injury.

The defeat means the Merseysiders have won just one of their opening six Premier League 2 games this season, drawing three and losing the other two.

 Liverpool's goalkeeper Kamil Grabara during the Under-23 FA Premier League 2 Division 1 match between Arsenal FC and Liverpool FC at Meadow Park. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

TIA Man of the Match: Kamil Grabara

Liverpool: Grabara; Camacho, Phillips, Johnston, Lewis; Chirivella, Virtue, Christie-Davies (Coyle 74′); Adekanye, Millar (Gallacher 46′), Markovic (McAuley 78′)

Subs not used: McKenzie-Lyle, Tagseth

Next Match: Chelsea (A) – Premier League 2 – September 29, 12pm

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Kent scores, Karius impresses & Whelan makes debut – Liverpool FC Loan Watch

Mon, 17/09/2018 - 11:08

It was a difficult weekend for Liverpool’s loanees, but positives came in Ryan Kent scoring his first goal for Rangers and Loris Karius shining at Besiktas.


It’s been a very promising start to the season for the borrowed Reds but fortunes took a downward turn this weekend.

Disappointingly, only seven of 15 loanees played, with Ovie Ejaria and Harry Wilson out injured while Ben Woodburn, Allan Rodrigues, Taiwo Awoniyi, Anderson Arroyo and Shamal George were all unused.

However, there were still some bright moments provided by those who enjoyed game-time—especially in the case of Kent and Karius.

Here’s the full lowdown on all the action.

Kent impressed as he opened his Rangers account…

Rangers Ryan Kent during the UEFA Europa League, Second Qualifying Round, Second Leg match at Ibrox, Glasgow.

Ovie Ejaria has had most of the attention since the Reds duo moved to Rangers, but it was Kent who grabbed the headlines this weekend.

The winger produced his best performance yet for the Gers on Saturday, impressing and scoring his first goal for the club in a 4-0 thrashing of Dundee at Ibrox.

Kent doubled Rangers’ lead on 14 minutes as he finished off a neat team move he started—slotting home from inside the box after a succession of one-twos.

Outstanding display from Ryan Kent yesterday. Best performance in a Rangers shirt so far, topped of with his first goal. My MOTM. ???? pic.twitter.com/4W43awqF2e

— Rossco (@Rossco5088) September 16, 2018

It was a big moment for Kent after a mixed start to life at Ibrox—highlighted by his passionate celebration—and Steven Gerrard was full of praise for the 21-year-old post-match:

“He was superb and I knew the goals would come. I knew as soon as he started relaxing in front of goal the goals would come. He’s in a terrific place.”

With his confidence sure to be boosted from the goal and Gerrard’s praise, Kent’s next task is to maintain this level of performance in upcoming games.

Meanwhile, Gerrard also confirmed Ejaria missed out due to a minor hip issue but hopes the midfielder is back for the Europa League opener against Villarreal on Thursday.

Karius was in top form for Besiktas…

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

After producing a mixed debut for the Turkish side before the international break, the German reconvened in much more positive form.

In fact, it was as close to a match-winning display as you will find, with Karius’ superb work ensuring his side came through Saturday’s clash against Yeni Malatyaspor with a 2-1 win.

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Karius shone as he pulled off a string of excellent saves to keep his side in a winning position, denying the visitors with two great reaction stops in particular.

It was fantastic to see Karius in this kind of form after such a tough period in his career and he should take great confidence from this display going forward.

First league game at home ?
First win at home ?
Now focus on Thursday ? #LK1 #BJK pic.twitter.com/nAjEqrhgrs

— Loris Karius (@LorisKarius) September 15, 2018

Five more Reds enjoyed match action…

Starting with the European-based Reds, Marko Grujic followed an eventful first start at Hertha Berlin with a more composed second in a 2-2 draw against Wolfsburg.

Grujic featured in a two-man midfield in Hertha’s 4-2-3-1 set up and was a controlling presence in the middle of the park, though he still managed to pick up a customary booking as he played the full game.

Sheyi Ojo would have been hoping for a first start at Stade de Reims after a settling-in period during the international break, but he had to make do with a second cameo outing.

Ojo featured as a second-half sub in a 0-0 draw with Nantes on Sunday, playing the final quarter of an hour in which he was unable to provide the inspiration for a late winner.

Three Reds featured across the Football League and Scottish Premier League.

 Liverpool's captain Corey Whelan celebrates scoring the second goal during the Under-23 FA Premier League 2 Division 1 match between Liverpool and Everton at Prenton Park. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

After finally linking up with Crewe after the international break, academy defender Corey Whelan made an instant debut for the League Two club on Saturday.

The Republic of Ireland U21 international was thrown straight in at left-back against Cheltenham and was in solid form on his bow as he helped keep a clean sheet in a goalless draw.

Herbie Kane’s positive run at Doncaster continued as the academy midfielder made his seventh consecutive start for the League One side in a 3-1 win over Walsall on Saturday.

In the SPL, Adam Bogdan conceded twice but still featured on the winning side as Hibernian battled to a 3-2 win over Kilmarnock.

Finally, Danny Ings has yet to return to action, as Southampton play on Monday night against Brighton, which you can see live on Sky Sports One, 8pm kick-off.

Injury Update

 Liverpool's Connor Randall in action against Arsenal during the FA Premier League 2 Under-23 match at the Emirates Stadium. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

Connor Randall’s spell at Rochdale has ground to a premature halt after the full-back suffered a broken cheekbone during the international break.

The injury occurred in an EFL Cup tie against local rivals Bury and Liverpool confirmed that Randall requires surgery and will be sidelined for around 12 weeks.

Randall had just started to find his feet at Spotland, making two cup appearances for the League One club.

All at TIA wish Connor a speedy recovery.

Meanwhile, Derby boss Frank Lampard has confirmed Harry Wilson is available again after missing six games, meaning the winger could make his return on Tuesday night against Blackburn.

Liverpool’s Loanees This Week
  • Karius – Played 90 mins vs. Yeni Malatyaspor
  • Grujic – Played 90 mins vs. Wolfsburg
  • Kent – Played 64 mins & scored vs. Dundee
  • Bogdan – Played 90 mins vs. Kilmarnock
  • Kane – Played 65 mins vs. Walsall
  • Whelan – Played 90 mins vs. Cheltenham
  • Ojo – Played 17 mins + stoppage time vs. Nantes
  • Woodburn – Unused sub vs. Bristol City
  • Awoniyi – Unused sub vs. Sint-Truiden
  • George – Unused sub vs. Carlisle
  • Arroyo – Left out of matchday squad vs. Sint-Truiden
  • Allan – Left out of matchday squad vs. Borussia Dortmund
  • Ejaria – Injured
  • Wilson – Injured
  • Ings – Monday night vs. Brighton

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Thomas Tuchel delivers warning to Liverpool ahead of ‘confident’ PSG’s trip to Anfield

Mon, 17/09/2018 - 10:41

Paris St Germain boss Thomas Tuchel is relishing the challenge of Liverpool on Tuesday after his side saw off St Etienne in a 4-0 win to maintain their perfect start to the Ligue 1 season.


Brazil superstar Neymar and World Cup winner Kylian Mbappe watched from the stands as PSG provided perfect preparation for the Champions League opener at Anfield, but the result somewhat flattered the hosts after a shaky first 45 minutes.

Les Verts created several gilt-edge opportunities to open the scoring, with Lois Diony spurning the best chance from six yards before Julian Draxler broke the deadlock after 22 minutes.

St Etienne continued to threaten until Edinson Cavani converted a 51st-minute penalty for his third goal in three games before Angel Di Maria and Moussa Diaby’s first goal for the club wrapped up maximum points.

And Tuchel was impressed as he watched his side secure their fifth triumph in five league matches without his star duo.

 Paris Saint Germain vs Angers SCO - Ligue 1 - Paris - 25/08/2018 FedericoPestellini/Panoramic.

The German head coach told the club’s official website: “I’m very happy with this victory, our sixth in a row since the start of the season.

“It’s important to several options when we play. Today we were without Neymar and Kylian and I’m happy to have used players that were here during the international break.

“It was a difficult first half and Saint-Etienne played very well. We lost too many easy balls and that gave our opponents solutions.

“In the second half, we attacked down the wings more and we found more space for Di Maria and Julian Draxler.

“It was a good rehearsal, good for the confidence ahead of Tuesday’s match in Anfield against Liverpool. It will be a big test for us, but we are confident.”

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Liverpool, going the final 15%, and whether to ‘concentrate on the league’

Sun, 16/09/2018 - 18:00

Liverpool are looking ever so subtlety like the real deal, writes Steven Scragg as he explains the difference between the Reds and Saturday’s opponents at Wembley.


A late scare aside, that was as routine a win as you’re likely to see any of the Premier League title-chasing protagonists obtain away to a perceived ‘big six’ rival.

Routinely dispossessing Tottenham Hotspur of the ball in midfield, on a less profligate day we’d have scored three, four, maybe even five.

In dangerous positions, Naby Keita, Sadio Mane and Mo Salah all had better-positioned team-mates available to them when they had various pops at goal, during a second half which suggested Spurs will again be out of the reckoning when the trophies are handed out this season.

 

85%

 Liverpool's Trent Alexander-Arnold takes a free-kick during the FA Premier League match between Tottenham Hotspur FC and Liverpool FC at Wembley Stadium. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

Wembley is a burden to Spurs. The new White Hart Lane was meant to be fully armed and operational for this one, but even then, I’m not so sure that it will cure them of their ills when it is finally ready. A bit like Arsenal when they chased the Emirates Stadium and its suggested path to national and global domination.

Spurs are an 85% sort of club, in a similar way to how we’ve been an 85% sort of club. Lots of great elements, fine players, brilliant outbursts of football, a compelling era in which they challenge, but ultimately fall 15% short of what is required to cross the winning line.

These are all boxes that Liverpool have ticked during our periodical rises to title-challenging prominence since 1990, be that under Roy Evans, Gerard Houllier, Rafa Benitez or Brendan Rodgers.

We have shared an uncomfortable common ground with Spurs of late, as they have almost followed our blueprint to the very letter. Spurs have been in danger of usurping us of our position as contemporary English football’s great pretender.

More and more Liverpool no longer look like a great pretender. Whisper it if you’re uncomfortable with it, but Liverpool are looking ever so subtlety like the real deal.

Blind belief in your capabilities, an unshakeable confidence in yourself and the concept of striking fear into your opponents. These are the ingredients which make up that final 15% shortfall in attaining true footballing greatness or not.

 Liverpool's manager Jürgen Klopp and Tottenham Hotspur's manager Mauricio Pochettino before the FA Premier League match at White Hart Lane. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

I get the feeling that Jurgen Klopp has instilled these required levels of confidence and belief in his Liverpool side. I get the feeling that Liverpool are striking fear in their opponents and rivals. I get the feeling that Klopp is on the verge of that alchemy moment. Klopp is closing in on the recipe for that all-important final 15%.

Rodgers came close to locating this final 15% in 2013/14, but the shortfall was in the other 85%. Whereas Evans, Houllier and Benitez unarguably had the greater depths of player talent in their bids to win the title than Rodgers had, Rodgers had the PT Barnum effect that Evans, Houllier and Benitez arguably lacked. That ability to make players feel immortal, that ability to make players feel unstoppable, that ability to make players feel 10-feet tall.

This Liverpool feels different. This Liverpool feels like it has a balance between the 85% and the final 15%. This Liverpool feels like it might just be able to build that bridge which can take it to the winning line.

 

Still to Click

All of that said, there are still elements which are waiting to click. Salah isn’t out of form by any means, but he has yet to threaten the heights of last season so far.

 Tottenham Hotspur's Danny Rose (left), Tottenham Hotspur's Christian Eriksen (right) and Liverpool's Mohamed Salah (centre) and during the FA Premier League match between Tottenham Hotspur FC and Liverpool FC at Wembley Stadium. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

This is understandable, and it shouldn’t be used to admonish him. A Champions League final which was cynically curtailed, a World Cup which was over before it had really begun for him and no-mark eBay shopkeepers trying to chase him down the road and besmirch his character. A massive amount of strength and character would be needed to brush these occurrences off lightly.

While Salah takes a deep breath and waits for the shoulders to ease again, his team-mates are stepping up to share the weight of the load. The Salah of last season has yet to arrive, but he will soon come to the party though.

After a year of waiting for him, Keita is still acclimatising to his new surroundings. He has done the basics right, yet we’re still waiting for the fireworks. Just as with Salah, this will come.

This Liverpool is giving me pangs of 1987/88 in some ways. Long dormant sensations. For Keita’s slow-burning start to life at Anfield, consult the reference books for information on Peter Beardsley.

Keita is blessed that he shares the midfield with James Milner and Gini Wijnaldum.

Milner’s performances have been joyous, while Wijnaldum has risen to the challenge of competition.

Jordan Henderson has started only one of our opening five league games, while we still await the debut of Fabinho, who claimed a place on the bench at Wembley.

On the eve of the new season, I suggested that Wijnaldum would be Liverpool’s ‘Flop of the Year’. Thus far there are no such signs. It wasn’t an opinion cast from doubts over his abilities, more from the weight of competition for places.

 Liverpool's Georginio Wijnaldum (left) and Tottenham Hotspur's Mousa DembÈlÈ during the FA Premier League match between Tottenham Hotspur FC and Liverpool FC at Wembley Stadium. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

Keita, Milner, Henderson, Fabinho, the eventual return of Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain and Wijnaldum. Five – in time six – into three doesn’t go and Wijnaldum’s form would have to be very high to keep his place in the team. Wijnaldum is the footballing reincarnation of Nigel Spackman – this is a compliment kids – and that is ever so 1987/88 of him.

Fabinho remains an enigma, while Henderson has his work cut out to break back into the side.

Salah, Keita, Henderson and Fabinho. Each one will/can click into gear, to complement the fine start to the season others have made.

 

Concentrating on the League?

PSG is going to be interesting and the line-up that Klopp fields will act as a ‘tell’ as to where his priority for the autumn, or even the season itself lies.

Five wins in five in the Premier League, but only one change to the starting line-up during that span of games, when Henderson came in for Keita at Leicester City.

 Liverpool's manager J¸rgen Klopp watches the pre-match warm-up before the preseason friendly match between Liverpool FC and Torino FC at Anfield. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

That constitutes a settled team in the league. If Klopp shuffles the deck for PSG and goes back to the settled league line-up against Southampton, can we then say that he has rested players against PSG in preparation of the visit of Southampton?

Henderson, maybe Fabinho could even play against PSG. Do we see a start for Xherdan Shaqiri or Daniel Sturridge? Joel Matip will be itching for more than his now-customary two-minute cameo.

If such changes were made, it would be a bold statement of intent to make to Chelsea and Manchester City, that we are ‘concentrating on the league’.

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Time for the Reds to end poor run at new Wembley – Tottenham vs. Liverpool Preview

Fri, 14/09/2018 - 19:00

The Premier League returns with a bang for Liverpool this weekend, as an imposing Tottenham outfit stand before them at Wembley on Saturday afternoon.


Tottenham vs. Liverpool

Saturday, September 15, 2018 – 12.30pm (BST)
Wembley Stadium
Premier League
Referee: Michael Oliver

The first international break of the season is over and we can all finally enjoy the return of domestic action.

The Reds sit top of the table after picking up maximum points in their opening four matches, with the win over Leicester City particularly hard-earned.

Jurgen Klopp‘s men have not been at their best yet this season, so to be in this current position can only bode well for the future.

They are due a performance, however, and if they don’t up their game on Saturday an excellent Spurs team with nine points to their name will be waiting to pounce.

Mauricio Pochettino continues to do an impressive job with the north Londoners and they have shown in recent years the problems they can cause Liverpool.

 Liverpool's manager Jürgen Klopp and Tottenham Hotspur's manager Mauricio Pochettino before the Premier League match at Anfield. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

A Saturday lunchtime game after the international break can often be a low-key affair, but it is hard not to see there being drama at Wembley.

These are two top sides who play football in an expansive manner, and victory for either will feel pivotal, despite it only being early in the campaign.

The Reds’ attack needs to go up a gear, the midfield needs to show improved dominance and a more convincing 90 minutes is required.

If they manage to nail those three aspects of their game, five wins out of five will be more than possible.

This fixture last season: Tottenham 4-1 Liverpool

Team News

 Liverpool's Adam Lallana, with a streak of dyed blonde hair, during the preseason friendly match between Liverpool FC and Torino FC at Anfield. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

Adam Lallana picked up a groin injury on international duty—yet another fitness setback for the 30-year-old—and neither he nor Dejan Lovren will be available on Saturday.

Simon Mignolet is back after a finger problem kept him out of Belgium’s clashes with Scotland and Iceland, however, but Caoimhin Kelleher is now also out.

Alisson should again have Trent Alexander-Arnold, Joe Gomez, Virgil van Dijk and Andy Robertson in front of him, with the goalkeeper hoping to avoid a repeat of his error at Leicester.

Fabinho is still waiting for his debut, but that may have to wait another few days at least, with Paris Saint-Germain coming to Anfield on Tuesday.

Klopp must pick three midfielders from Jordan Henderson, Gini Wijnaldum, James Milner and Naby Keita, with the latter expected to return to the team after not starting against Leicester.

 Liverpool's Sadio Mane celebrates scoring the third goal during the FA Premier League match between Liverpool FC and West Ham United FC at Anfield. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

Mohamed Salah, Sadio Mane and Roberto Firmino are all fit, but an in-form Xherdan Shaqiri has an outside chance of forcing his way into contention.

Tottenham are without key duo Hugo Lloris and Dele Alli, while Moussa Sissoko, Erik Lamela and Juan Foyth are out too.

Son Heung-min could feature after returning from his Asian Games heroics with South Korea.

Last 5 Away to Tottenham (All Competitions)

 James Milner (L) dejection during the FA Premier League match between Tottenham Hotspur and Liverpool at Wembley Stadium. (Pic by Paul Marriott/Propaganda)

Lost 4-1 – October, 2017 (Kane x2, Son, Alli; Salah)
Drew 1-1 – August, 2016 (Rose; Milner pen)
Drew 0-0 – October, 2015
Won 3-0 – August, 2014 (Sterling, Gerrard pen, Moreno)
Won 5-0 – December, 2013 (Suarez x2, Henderson, Flanagan, Sterling)

Wembley Stadium

 The biggest crowd for a FA Premier League game during the FA Premier League match between Tottenham Hotspur and Liverpool at Wembley Stadium. (Pic by Paul Marriott/Propaganda)

Capacity: 90,000

Away fans’ pubs: “Fans often drink in central London, at pubs dotted along the many underground stations en route to Wembley Park and Wembley Central stations, and Baker Street is a good example of this,” Spurs fan George Lacey told This is Anfield.

“Many fans also enjoy the many pubs near to London’s mainline railway stations, before making their way to Wembley nearer to kickoff time.”

Did You Know?

 Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain (L) replaces Dejan Lovren (L) during the FA Premier League match between Tottenham Hotspur and Liverpool at Wembley Stadium. (Pic by Paul Marriott/Propaganda)

Liverpool have lost on their last four competitive trips to Wembley—they thrashed Barcelona 4-0 in a pre-season friendly in 2016—with their last win at the national stadium coming in the 2012 League Cup final against Cardiff City.

They were thumped 4-1 by Spurs last season, Man City prevailed in the 2016 League Cup final, Aston Villa won 2-1 in the 2015 FA Cup semi-final, while Chelsea got the better of the Reds in the final in 2012.

Klopp’s View

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Speaking at his pre-match press conference on Friday, Klopp explained the issues facing every manager after the international break:

“It’s a big challenge, but for all of us it’s the same. It’s not like Belgium play exactly like Tottenham.

“Life as a Premier League manager is never perfect, it’s not that I have all of them together, then we train and can compare a game.

“From now on we have one day to train, one day to rest, one day to play. It’s the same for all of us, we have all the same things.

“For the boys it’s always a big challenge that they really have to remind themselves what we actually do.

“We had quite a good session yesterday, couldn’t do too much because some of them came off the plane.

“Then today another one, and we need to be ready.”

TV & Live Blog Info

 Liverpool's manager Jürgen Klopp celebrates 2-1 victory after the FA Premier League match between Leicester City and Liverpool at the King Power Stadium. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

The match kicks off the returning Premier League action, with Sky Sports Main Event’s coverage starting at 11.30am (BST). Kickoff is at 12.30pm.

Chris Williams is in charge of This is Anfield’s matchday live blog, bringing you plenty of content before the game and minute-by-minute updates throughout.

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Consistency required, but Keita or Wijnaldum in midfield? – Predicting Liverpool’s XI vs. Tottenham

Fri, 14/09/2018 - 18:30

Jurgen Klopp looks set to stick to his winning formula as Liverpool take on Tottenham at Wembley, but will Naby Keita or Gini Wijnadum get the nod?


The Premier League is back after the international bore-fest and the table-topping Reds resume seeking to make it a perfect five wins from five.

Klopp changed his starting XI just once across the first four games before the break, with consistency in selection helping the Reds make a 100 percent winning start.

That will soon change and possibly from Saturday’s Wembley trip, as utilising the squad will be vital to ensuring the Reds emerge strongly from a season-shaping run of seven games in 23 days across three competitions.

So how could Liverpool’s starting XI look for the first top-four clash of the season?

Injury News

 Liverpool's substitute goalkeeper Caoimhin Kelleher sits in the bench before a preseason friendly match between Tranmere Rovers FC and Liverpool FC at Prenton Park. (Pic by Paul Greenwood/Propaganda)

The Reds thankfully managed to avoid any major injury setbacks during the international break, handing Klopp a near full squad for Saturday’s clash.

Dejan Lovren, Adam Lallana and young ‘keeper Caoimhin Kelleher are the only absentees, with abdominal, groin and calf issues respectively.

Simon Mignolet has recovered from a finger injury and will feature on the bench.

Strong Squad & Selection Options

 Liverpool's James Milner celebrates scoring the first goal from a penalty kick with team-mate Roberto Firmino (centre) and Naby Keita (right) during the FA Premier League match between Crystal Palace and Liverpool FC at Selhurst Park. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

A nice boost comes in Alisson, Roberto Firmino and Fabinho all being available after sitting out Brazil’s win over El Salvador in midweek.

However, in his pre-match press conference Klopp confirmed a patient approach will continue to be taken with his new midfielder.

More positive news is that all first-choice defenders and forwards are fit, meaning all is likely to remain the same at the back and in attack.

Meanwhile in midfield, Naby Keita is pushing for a recall having dropped to the bench at Leicester, but Jordan Henderson will push to keep his place.

Xherdan Shaqiri will be hoping his bright cameo in the same game earns him a first start.

Possible Lineups vs. Spurs

 Liverpool's Georginio Wijnaldum during the FA Premier League match between Liverpool FC and Brighton & Hove Albion FC at Anfield. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

In his press conference Klopp gave little away with regards to his lineup but confirmed rotation will be in full force during the hectic upcoming run:

“Of course we have to [rotate]. The first three games we had the same lineup, then we changed one position.

“It was just to get the points, get a good start, create the basis.”

However, it seems unlikely the rotational approach will come into play with immediate effect or that any drastic changes will be made at Wembley.

Indeed, Klopp’s patience with new arrivals combined with the upheaval of the international break suggests he will stick closely to the winning formula discovered before the pause.

It would be an understandable move to deploy one of the selections—or something similar—from the first four games.

Keeping faith with a consistent, in-form group could be key to overcoming the far-from-ideal preparation time for the biggest challenge so far this season.

One possibility is that Klopp deploys the exact same XI that started the 2-1 win at Leicester last time out.

That would mean Henderson, James Milner—a certain starter having been at Melwood throughout the break—and Wijnaldum are given the nod again, with Keita kept in reserve:

However, despite the victory that midfield unit failed to impress, struggling to gain control or offer any composure and steel against Leicester’s energetic centre.

Klopp will have noted that and will certainly not want a repeat against a Spurs side who have more quality to punish such a lacklustre showing should it transpire again.

This could—or rather should—persuade Klopp to reintroduce Keita to the fold.

The Reds have looked best at this early stage with a Wijnaldum-Keita-Milner trident, and it would be good to see this unit in operation again on Saturday.

But it seems more likely that Wijnaldum makes way and Henderson starts as No. 6 to join Keita and Milner in a new-look central trio:

It’s been a great start but the real test begins now for Liverpool, and the Reds must show belief to start as they mean to go on by claiming another statement win at Wembley.

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15 players in action as 3 hope to debut – All you need to know on Liverpool’s loanees this weekend

Fri, 14/09/2018 - 18:15

Liverpool take on Tottenham in their Premier League clash on Saturday, while 15 loanees could be in action elsewhere. Here’s your go-to guide to the weekend.


Friday Night, Saturday Morning

The action kicks off on Friday night as Eintracht Frankfurt take on Jurgen Klopp‘s former side Borussia Dortmund in a 7.30pm kickoff at the Westfalenstadion.

Allan Rodrigues is yet to make his debut for the Bundesliga outfit, and has only been named in the matchday squad on one occasion, as his struggle for a UK work permit continues.

More likely to feature for his loan side, however, is Marko Grujic, who is the next Liverpool player in action as Hertha Berlin visit Wolfsburg on Saturday at 2.30pm.

The Serbian has played in both league games so far, starting and playing the full 90 minutes in the 2-0 win at Schalke last time out.

Speaking to Kicker in midweek the midfielder said he was aiming to “constantly improve” in Berlin.

The 3pm Kickoffs & Karius

 Wales' Ben Woodburn during a training session at the Vale Resort ahead of the UEFA Nations League Group Stage League B Group 4 match between Wales and Republic of Ireland. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

With the Reds’ clash with Spurs a lunchtime kickoff, there are plenty of loanees to keep an eye on after full-time at Wembley, in a host of 3pm games.

Ben Woodburn will be hoping to start for Sheffield United away to Bristol City, with manager Chris Wilder insisting he had “been a big part in the results we’ve achieved so far.”

This comes despite the 18-year-old having only featured sporadically so far, with his last start coming at home to Norwich City in August, when he was substituted at half-time.

Enjoying a more productive spell at Doncaster Rovers, Herbie Kane can expect to make his seventh consecutive League One start away to Walsall.

Harry Wilson will be looking to get back into the side after his return to training with Derby County, setting his sights on a role against Rotherham United after five games out.

In League Two, Corey Whelan is still waiting for his Crewe Alexandra debut, with David Artell’s side taking on Cheltenham Town at Whaddon Road.

 Liverpool's goalkeeper Shamal George before the International Champions Cup 2016 game against AC Milan on day ten of the club's USA Pre-season Tour at the Levi's Stadium. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

Shamal George is likely to start on the bench for Tramere Rovers’ trip to Carlisle United, as he plays backup to Scott Davies in the league.

Even less fortunate is Connor Randall, who is sidelined for three months after fracturing his cheekbone in Rochdale’s 2-1 win at home to Bury in the Checkatrade Trophy.

The Dale take on Gillingham in their 3pm kickoff, but Randall will be watching from Merseyside as he undergoes treatment back at Liverpool.

North of the border, both Ovie Ejaria and Ryan Kent will be hoping to start for Rangers as Steven Gerrard’s side return to action at home to Dundee United.

And Adam Bogdan can continue his career rehabilitation as he keeps his place between the sticks for Hibernian’s clash with Kilmarnock.

The Hungarian has made eight appearances for Hibs so far, conceding 14 goals and keeping just one clean sheet.

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

Later on Saturday, Loris Karius will look to build on his impressive start with Besiktas when they take on Yeni Malatyaspor in Istanbul in a 6pm kickoff.

Karius has set his sights on a place in the Germany national team after leaving Liverpool for a two-year spell in Turkey, and can strengthen his claim on his second Super Lig outing.

Sunday & Monday

Gent's Taiwo Awoniyi celebrates after scoring during a soccer game between Belgian club KAA Gent and Polish team Jagiellonia Bialystok, Thursday 16 August 2018 in Gent, the return leg of the third qualification round for the Europa League competition. BELGA PHOTO BRUNO FAHY

In another continental clash, Sheyi Ojo is eyeing his first start for Stade de Reims after joining the Ligue 1 side at the end of August.

The 21-year-old made his debut with a 12-minute cameo in the 1-0 loss at Montpellier at the start of the month, but played an hour in a 2-0 friendly win over Royal Charleroi Sporting Club during the international break.

Reims travel to Nantes for a 2pm kickoff on Sunday, with Ojo a possible starter on the right.

Both Anderson Arroyo and Taiwo Awoniyi will be looking to feature in KAA Gent’s home clash with Sint-Truiden that evening at 7pm.

Arroyo is yet to play for his new loan club after switching from RCD Mallorca, but Awoniyi is a regular fixture, having scored once in nine games so far.

Finally, Danny Ings rounds off the weekend’s action for the loanees as Southampton take on Brighton in an 8pm kickoff at St Mary’s, as part of Sky Sports’ Monday Night Football.

Liverpool’s Loanees This Weekend

Rangers Ryan Kent during the UEFA Europa League, Second Qualifying Round, Second Leg match at Ibrox, Glasgow.

  • Allan Rodrigues (Eintracht Frankfurt) – Dortmund (A), Friday 7.30pm
  • Marko Grujic (Hertha Berlin) – Wolfsburg (A), Saturday 2.30pm
  • Ben Woodburn (Sheffield United) – Bristol City (A), Saturday 3pm
  • Harry Wilson (Derby County) – Rotherham (A), Saturday 3pm
  • Herbie Kane (Doncaster Rovers) – Walsall (A), Saturday 3pm
  • Corey Whelan (Crewe Alexandra) – Cheltenham Town (A), Saturday 3pm
  • Shamal George (Tranmere Rovers) – Carlisle United (A), Saturday 3pm
  • Ovie Ejaria & Ryan Kent (Rangers) – Dundee United (H), Saturday 3pm
  • Adam Bogdan (Hibernian) – Kilmarnock (H), Saturday 3pm
  • Loris Karius (Besiktas) – Yeni Malatyaspor (H), Saturday 6pm
  • Sheyi Ojo (Reims) – Nantes (A), Sunday 2pm
  • Anderson Arroyo & Taiwo Awoniyi (KAA Gent) – Sint-Truiden (H), Sunday 7pm
  • Danny Ings (Southampton) – Brighton (H), Monday 8pm

Injured: Connor Randall (Rochdale)

* All times BST.

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Watch Jordan Henderson and Trent Alexander-Arnold put their friendship to the test in Liverpool’s ‘Bezzies’ quiz

Thu, 13/09/2018 - 19:16

Jordan Henderson and Trent Alexander-Arnold put their friendship to the test in this hilarious video from LFCTV, in the latest instalment of ‘Bezzies.’

[embedded content]

The midfielder and defender get personal with this quiz, each being asked questions about the other and trying to guess their habits, preferences and more.

Both have a key role to play in Jurgen Klopp‘s team, and both are also a big part of the England squad, having travelled together to Russia for the World Cup.

Alexander-Arnold, much the younger of the duo, has established himself over the past 12 months as Liverpool’s right-back of choice, while Henderson is the club captain.

The latter’s experience and know-how in needing to set an example as skipper shine through in the video, but so too does the easy-going nature of both players as they try to outwit the other.

 Liverpool's captain Jordan Henderson and Trent Alexander-Arnold during the FA Premier League match between Liverpool and Manchester City at Anfield. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

There’s even a moment of incredulous hilarity involving one of the LFCTV tech staff who gets a very important text message mid-video!

Elsewhere, their favourite artists are discussed, their worst habits, who they’d least like to be stuck in a lift with and even their shoe size all come under scrutiny in the video.

Trent isn’t pleased at Hendo’s favourite musical choice and demands a line from a song—but his captain’s having none of it!

But the best action of all is the constant riling up of his younger team-mate by the skipper, who gets a word in early on Alexander-Arnold’s competitiveness…which is very much shining through by the end of the video!

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Liverpool nearing full-strength as Jurgen Klopp oversees training ahead of tough Spurs trip

Thu, 13/09/2018 - 18:13

Jurgen Klopp is set to call upon a near full-strength squad as Liverpool return to action after the international break with a tough trip to Tottenham.


The Reds will be looking to maintain their perfect record when they take to Wembley for their first top-four clash of the season.

With victories over West Ham, Crystal Palace, Brighton and Leicester City before joining their national teams, Klopp’s side can hope to keep up momentum against their title rivals.

Despite the majority of his squad being involved during the break, the 51-year-old is buoyed as he faces only one new injury problem this week.

This comes with youngster Caoimhin Kelleher ruled out for “at least a month,” according to the Liverpool Echo‘s James Pearce, following a collision with Divock Origi at Melwood.

But despite concerns over Simon Mignolet‘s involvement, the Belgian took part in training on Thursday, and can be expected to be named on the bench in north London.

Kamil Grabara is also available, if required, but Alisson is guaranteed to start between the sticks as he, Fabinho and Roberto Firmino all reported back without injury.

 Liverpool's Adam Lallana during a preseason friendly match between Blackburn Rovers FC and Liverpool FC at Ewood Park. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

After withdrawing from England duty with a groin problem, Adam Lallana was also part of the squad, but faces competition for a midfield place, with Naby Keita, Gini Wijnaldum and Jordan Henderson all returning unscathed.

James Milner was among those who remained on Merseyside throughout the break, and the veteran is likely to start against Spurs as a result.

Key players such as Virgil van Dijk, Joe Gomez, Trent Alexander-Arnold, Andy Robertson, Mohamed Salah and Sadio Mane were also involved.

This gives Klopp the option of naming a side unchanged from the 2-1 win at Leicester, though the likes of Xherdan Shaqiri and Daniel Sturridge will be pushing for a place.

One player absent, however, was Lazar Markovic, with the Serbian instead training with the U23s after his proposed move to Anderlecht fell through.

Along with Kelleher, Dejan Lovren, Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain and Rhian Brewster are struggling with long-term injuries, and therefore won’t be involved at Wembley.

Liverpool Squad in Training on Thursday

 Liverpool's Fabio Henrique Tavares 'Fabinho' during a training session ahead of the preseason International Champions Cup match between Manchester United FC and Liverpool FC at the Michigan Stadium. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

Goalkeepers: Alisson, Mignolet, Grabara

Defenders: Van Dijk, Gomez, Matip, Phillips, Alexander-Arnold, Clyne, Robertson, Moreno

Midfielders: Keita, Fabinho, Wijnaldum, Milner, Henderson, Lallana, Jones, Chirivella

Forwards: Firmino, Salah, Mane, Sturridge, Shaqiri, Origi, Solanke, Camacho

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Karius’ loss of trust & Shaqiri’s Red Star response – Thursday’s Liverpool News & Rumour Roundup

Thu, 13/09/2018 - 18:00

We round up the latest Liverpool news and transfer rumours on Thursday, as Liverpool’s clash with Tottenham edges closer.


Main Headlines How Karius Lost Trust at Liverpool

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

Loris Karius is busy trying to rebuild his career at Besiktas, following his loan move from Liverpool this summer.

The Mail‘s Dominic King touched upon about how things went wrong for the German at Anfield, with an increasing lack of trust on show from his Reds team-mates.

“Slowly but surely, his actions led to trust being eroded and, for some, the video he posted to Instagram in July of him exercising and eating ice cream in California was the final straw,” King writes.

“That was a time for self-awareness, to keep his head down and work but he continued to make himself a story.

Alisson, it has already been noted, is an entirely different character. It is why his mistake has already been forgotten.”

A loan move away made perfect sense for Karius, who endured a wretched end to last season as well as an error-strewn pre-season.

More Praise for In-Form Gomez

 Matt McNulty/Sportimage via PA Images

Joe Gomez has been one of Liverpool’s most lauded players so far this season, having slotted in seamlessly at centre-back.

The youngster made his name at Charlton Athletic, and academy manager Steve Avory—assistant manager when Gomez was there—has touched upon his background with the Addicks.

“We didn’t sign him initially as we thought he probably needed a year or so in the development centre we ran at that time in Lewisham, close to where he lived,” Avory told the Liverpool Echo.

“He was actually a bit heavy on his feet. He didn’t move as well as the Rolls-Royce he is now. We ended up signing Joe to the academy as an under-10.

“He was a well-built lad for his age and not short on ability so we thought it was worthwhile signing him. We never looked back and neither did Joe.”

Gomez’s biggest challenge now is to not rest on his laurels and maintain his current level, becoming a mainstay for Liverpool and England for years to come.

Shaqiri “Not Afraid” of Red Star Reception

 Liverpool's new signing Xherdan Shaqiri during the preseason International Champions Cup match between Manchester United and Liverpool FC at the Michigan Stadium. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

Xherdan Shaqiri is not the most popular figure in Serbia, following his Albanian Eagle celebration against them in the World Cup—a gesture seemingly aimed at inciting the nation.

The Swiss forward is expected to receive a hostile reception when Liverpool head to Red Star Belgrade in the Champions League on November 6, but he says it won’t faze him if he plays.

“I’m not intimidated at all,” Shaqiri told Blick, despite Red Star sporting director claiming he will “suffer from incredible psychological pressure” on the night.

“I read what was written. But I’m just going there to play football. I’m not afraid of anyone.”

Jurgen Klopp might be best advised not to use Shaqiri that night, with playing him likely to act as a needless side issue.

Van Dijk on Robertson’s “Special” Honour

 Liverpool's Virgil van Dijk and Andy Robertson before the FA Premier League match between Manchester United FC and Liverpool FC at Old Trafford. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

Andy Robertson has been given the proud honour of being Scotland’s new captain—a role Virgil van Dijk knows about all too well.

The centre-back is the Netherlands’ skipper and he has spoken to LiverpoolFC.com about how pleased he was when Robertson received the news:

“I think it’s one of the biggest honours of your career, personally, to be the captain of your country.

“When I saw Robbo was made captain of Scotland, I was very happy for him. I FaceTimed him and congratulated him!

“It’s something special—not only for yourself, but also for your family—and the hard work you’ve put in since day one. It’s very special.”

Robertson’s rise has been meteoric over the last 12 months, going from relegated left-back with Hull City to a key man at Liverpool and his country’s leader.

Grujic in Regular Contact with Liverpool

 Liverpool's Marko Grujic during the preseason friendly match between Liverpool FC and Torino FC at Anfield. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

Marko Grujic has made a positive start to his loan spell at Hertha Berlin, appearing in both Bundesliga games to date and helping them to third place in the table.

Speaking to Kicker, the young Serb says he is always in contact with Liverpool and is hellbent on improving as a footballer:

“It’s a big club with a lot of staff, one of them takes care of the loan players.

“He sees every game of mine, we’re in touch at least twice a week.

“I like short passes, I want to create dangerous situations and deliver assists, I used to have some problems with defensive work, but that’s what I’m working on.

“That’s what football is all about: to constantly improve.”

This is a big season for Grujic, who risks falling further down the midfield pecking order at Anfield if he doesn’t find another gear soon.

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“I think they sent us the cleaner!” – Liverpool fans on the players they were wrong about

Tue, 11/09/2018 - 15:05

We have told you about all the Liverpool players we’ve been wrong about down the years, but what about you honest readers?


Over the past few days, we’ve published two articles, asking our writers to eat humble pie on Liverpool players—and managers.

First we took a look at current Reds players we predicted to be better or worse than they’ve turned out to be, then looked back at past individuals who proved us wrong.

We’ve been asking for your own admissions on social media. Here’s a look at some of the best responses—and some of them really are great!

Twitter

 Liverpool's Antonio Nunez in action against Olympiakos during the UEFA Champions League Group A match at Anfield. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Proparganda)

“Nunez, who came as the free gift in the Owen deal. I expected a Real Madrid player. I think they sent us the cleaner.”

Colin McKenzie (@mckenzie_colin1)

“Mark Gonzalez. After all the trouble with work permits et al, I expected him to be half decent at least! I was wrong.”

Brian Irvine (@btirvine)

“Joe Cole. Dunno what I was thinking there.”

The Liverpool Way (@theliverpoolway)

“I was giddy with excitement when we signed super Mario. Safe to say I was badly let down.”

George Bennett (@Gbbanter123)

“I thought Matip would be much better than he has been.”

Devan (@DcpDevan)

 Liverpool's Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain during the FA Premier League match between Everton and Liverpool, the 231st Merseyside Derby, at Goodison Park. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain. With fairly prehistoric thinking I wasn’t happy about us buying from Arsenal.

“He’s proven himself to be a hard-working, dedicated technician, with Stevie’s explosiveness and Dirk Kuyt’s Duracell Bunny spirit! Love him. Can’t wait to have him back.”

Mr. Moon (@mrmoononastick)

“I called for Lucas Leiva to be sold after his first season, I’m so glad no one ever listens to me!”

Richard Lisle (@ricklisle)

“Benteke. Wanted him for years and when he came, just didn’t perform.”

Sadioinho (@Sadioinho)

 Liverpool's Christian Benteke looks dejected after missing a chance against Swansea City during the Premier League match at Anfield. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

“Harry Kewell….I really rated him and thought we’d finally solved our left wing problem but for one reason or another he never lived up to my expectations.”

Richie Bowsher (@Lambroast)

“Hendo…always thought he was bang average but last 2 seasons he’s really stepped up. I’ve never doubted his commitment or leadership though.”

Klopps and robbers (@lfc_ldm)

Alberto Moreno. Thought he was gonna solve our left-back problem. Thank god for Robertson.”

Legend has it (@sphnjhn)

Facebook

 Liverpool's Andy Robertson during the preseason friendly match between Liverpool FC and Torino FC at Anfield. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

Andy Robertson. When I heard we were signing a player from Hull, a team that was relegated, with a defence that leaked over 80 goals, for a fee of £8 million, I was not impressed at all.

“Don’t care what anyone says he’s the best left-back in the Premier League.”

John Gardner

“Milner – I thought he was done and also thought if we keep getting players like him we might end up being a dumping ground for players well past their prime, that being said, glad that he proved me wrong and HOW!! What a beast!!”

Arastu Thapar

“VVD for me. Seen the lad get ripped apart by Peter Pawlett when Celtic played [Aberdeen] at Pittodrie.

“Ended up getting sent off because he couldn’t handle Pawlett—and he’s absolutely shite. Wasn’t impressed with him at Southampton either.”

Dean David Stuart McDougall

“Looks like I was wrong about Grujic. Thought he was going to be class but hasn’t happened for him yet. Still young but my expectations are definitely lowered for him now.”

John Dunne

 Liverpool's new signing Alberto Aquilani, who joins the club from Italian side AS Roma, with manager Rafael Benitez during a photo-call at Melwood Training Ground. (Photo by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

“Aquilani. Wrong wrong wrong. Thought he’d be a decent player.”

Simon Black

Dejan Lovren. After Spurs away last year, I thought any chance of him being an above average player was lost. He’d been wishy-washy previous seasons and I was convinced that we were doomed to having another mediocre starting centre-back.

“Thankfully he bounced back brilliantly with VVD, and his renewed confidence has made a huge impact on his consistency. He deserved both final appearances in the Champions League and World Cup.”

Ted Brackney

“Benayoun, Bellamy and Crouch are three that instantly spring to mind that surpassed my expectations. Thought Litmanen was quality but somehow didn’t get the game time.”

Dave Wood

“I also got caught up in all the hype surrounding Le Tallec and Sinama-Pongolle. Never happened for them.”

David Jenkin

 Liverpool's manager Gerard Houllier with his new signings (L-R) Florent-Sinama Pongolle, Harry Kewell, Anthony Le Tallec and Steve Finnan at Anfield. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

“Kenny Dalglish. When we signed him I thought we had signed the best player in the world. Turns out, he was was so, so, so much more!”

Dave Morrison

“Alan Hansen. Thought he was an average defender when in Scotland. Glad Bob Paisley could see more than I could in him.”

Chris Kenny

“I’m ashamed to say I was a little underwhelmed when we signed Sadio Mane! Glad to say I was very, very wrong!”

Clarence Ishmael

“Was wrong about Mane, Milner and Firmino. Thought Mane was good but too pricey, thought that Milner was past it last season and before last season I thought that Firmino wasn’t going to cut it up front.”

James Sutherland

TIA Comments Section

Graeme Souness, Liverpool manager, 1991 (Picture by Ross Kinnaird EMPICS Sport)

“Nothing in the history of this club, in my opinion, could compare to the disappointment of Souness as a manager.

“I really thought he was the ideal choice at the time and he would carry on the tradition of great Scottish managers at the club.”

SuperSub

“I knew all along Ox would be quality for us.
I expected Mane to flop
I expected Robertson to be terrible
I expected Salah to be a decent player but I never imagined him scoring over 20.
I thought Karius would be our No. 1 for 10 years.”

Outstanding Terrific Character

“Wijnaldum seems to be proving me wrong this season. Even while at Newcastle he divided opinion. He has shone in his new role, however.

Lazar Markovic, how did such a talented player fade so fast?”

Rahul

“Fernando Torres. Cursed dropping such a fee on him and not someone like Darren Bent who was scoring for fun at the time. Not least past ourselves.

“Yeah. We’ll leave that there.”

KloppiteE

“David James. Had all the attributes to be a great keeper but was in fact rubbish.”

gora-gora-xabi-alonso

 Liverpool's Robbie Keane rues a missed chance against Middlesbrough during the Premiership match at Anfield. (Photo by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

“How about Robbie Keane? When he signed for us in 2008, I believed we had the squad to win the league. He didn’t score until October 1, and then was sold back to Spurs just six months later in January at a loss.

“That season we finished second, I still wonder if he had been given another six months, would it have turned out differently?”

Jiababosaibun

“Suarez – I’d seen quite a bit of him for Ajax and our league seemed full of players who’d scored 35 goals in the Eredivisie but couldn’t hit a barn door here.

“Thought he’d be the very definition of flat-track bully.”

Afro Man

“Joe Allen was just a kid making his way up the rungs and was over-hyped by a manager who really needed him for credibility.”

Masabob

Liverpool's Jari Litmanen celebrates scoring the equalizing goal from the penalty spot

“Another player who underwhelmed I think was Jari Litmanen, given his Ajax days. Though not a total flop by any means.”

Ray R

“Fernando Morientes anyone?

“I remember laughing cause Everton got James Beattie at the same time and thinking how incredibly Morientes was and how brutal Beattie was.

“Well, at least I was half correct.”

European Con

Keep letting us know your choices in the comments section. Come on, be honest!

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Napoli propose to move Champions League games to 3 hours away

Tue, 11/09/2018 - 14:01

Liverpool supporters’ travel plans for the Champions League clash with Napoli in October could be drastically changed by the Serie A side’s latest proposal.


EDIT: UEFA have “not received a request from Napoli to move the CL tie with Liverpool to Bari,” reports the Times’ Paul Joyce.

The Reds’ second game in Group C comes away to the Naples outfit on October 3, sandwiched between a difficult trip to Chelsea in the Premier League and a title clash with Man City at Anfield.

But it may, in fact, not be held under Mount Vesuvius, but instead three hours and 163 miles away in Bari.

Napoli chairman Aurelio De Laurentiis told the European Club Association at their general assembly in Split on Monday that he has contacted UEFA to request a change of venue.

He described their current ground, the Stadio San Paolo, as “a nightmare,” outlining his plan to build another stadium and concluding that “we cannot go on like this anymore.”

The stadium is owned by the Comune di Napoli, not the club itself, and its seating does not meet UEFA requirements.

De Laurentiis had previously organised Palermo’s Renzo Barbera Stadium as venue for European games, but now his position as owner of Bari has altered this stance.

“Nobody can tell you to do anything if you put in your own money and have the land to build a stadium,” he explained, according to Corriere dello Sport.

“In the meantime, I’ve asked UEFA to authorise us to play Champions League matches at Bari.

“I’ll pay for 1,000 buses out of my own pocket so Napoli fans can attend the match.”

 Liverpool fans place flag and banners around Shevchenko Park ahead of the UEFA Champions League Final match between Real Madrid CF and Liverpool FC. (Pic by Peter Powell/Propaganda)

However, while De Laurentiis has offered to cover transport for Napoli’s supporters from one side of Italy to the other, it remains to be seen how Liverpool fans are accommodated.

Given the game takes place in under a month, most will have already booked flights and hotels for their trip, and could therefore be hampered with cancellation fees or refund issues.

The hope will be that they are provided for, either by Liverpool or Napoli, if De Laurentiis’ proposal goes ahead.

Stadio San Nicola holds 58,248 and held England’s third-placed playoff defeat to Italy in the World Cup in 1990.

Bari are currently in Serie D, the top level of Italy’s non-professional league, after financial issues saw them renounce participation from Serie B.

The cheapest flights from Liverpool to Bari are currently priced at over £200, via Venice on the way over and with stops in Rome and Budapest on the return journey.

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Liverpool looking to end Tottenham’s excellent record with Saturday’s referee

Tue, 11/09/2018 - 12:46

Michael Oliver has been appointed referee for Liverpool’s Premier League clash with Tottenham on Saturday, with the north London side boosted by the news.


The Reds are back in action this weekend after the international break, with a tough trip to Wembley as they look to maintain their 100 percent record.

Victories over West Ham, Crystal Palace, Brighton and Leicester City have installed Jurgen Klopp‘s side as title challengers, but Spurs have been similarly strong.

Saturday’s hosts have won three of their four games so far, though they suffered a 2-1 defeat at the hands of Watford last time out.

They will have been buoyed by the announcement of the weekend’s officials, however, with Oliver taking charge of this fixture for the first time since 2013.

Firmly established as one of the Premier League‘s leading referees, the 33-year-old has been in charge of the Reds more times than any other side (33).

But only Man City (19) have won more games when he’s been blowing the whistle than Spurs (18), who have won nine of their last 10 under his jurisdiction.

In fact, they are on an eight-game winning streak with Oliver as referee, while Liverpool have won just one of their last five with him in charge.

The Reds’ win ratio under Oliver is 42.4 percent, while Spurs’ is 62.1 percent.

 Referee Michael Oliver Watford during the FA Premier League match between Liverpool and Watford at Anfield. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

Oliver had a host of big decisions to make in the 2-0 win over Palace earlier in the season, and fortunately these went in the Reds’ favour.

He correctly awarded Liverpool a penalty for their opener after Mamadou Sakho had brought down Mohamed Salah in the box, with James Milner stepping up to dispatch on the stroke of half-time.

Salah was again brought down as he raced through on goal, and Oliver again made the right call as he showed Aaron Wan-Bissaka a red card for a foul as the last man.

He is yet to referee a Spurs game this season, with his last being their 2-0 win over Watford at home in April.

But Liverpool will be hoping their hosts’ fine run with him wearing black won’t continue as they look to keep up the pace at the top of the table.

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Hillsborough match commander David Duckenfield pleads not guilty to manslaughter by gross negligence

Mon, 10/09/2018 - 14:40

Hillsborough match commander David Duckenfield has pleaded not guilty to manslaughter by gross negligence for the deaths of 95 supporters at the Hillsborough disaster.


The former chief superintendent appeared via videolink at Preston Crown Court for a plea and trial preparation hearing.

The names of the 95 men, women and children he is charged with unlawfully killing were read out in court as the charge was put to him.

Under the law at the time, there can be no prosecution for the death of the 96th victim, Tony Bland, as he died more than a year and a day after his injuries were caused on April 15, 1989.

 Anthony Devlin/PA Wire.

IMPORTANT: This Is Anfield urges all readers to remember that any comment on social media deemed prejudicial can be used against you. It’s a serious criminal offence and lawyers are watching.

More information from the Attorney General here.

Mr. Duckenfield was the police offer in charge for the FA Cup semi-final at Hillsborough when Liverpool faced Nottingham Forest 29 years ago.

He is charged in relation to those who died in the crush at the ground.

The maximum sentence for manslaughter by gross negligence is life in prison.

Graham Mackrell also entered a plea of not guilty, to two charges of breaching safety legislation.

Mr. Mackrell was the secretary and safety officer of Sheffield Wednesday at the time, the club on whose ground the semi-final was taking place.

The trial for the two men is due to start on January 14 in Preston.

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Date finally confirmed for Liverpool’s League Cup tie vs. Chelsea

Mon, 10/09/2018 - 13:07

Liverpool’s League Cup third round tie against Chelsea has finally been scheduled, with the match to take place on Wednesday, 26 September.


The tie, which is to be played at Anfield, was drawn almost a fortnight ago but the date had yet to be confirmed – despite ticket prices being announced and auto-cup scheme members being charged.

The Cup game will be played just three days before Liverpool play at Chelsea in the Premier League, and is amidst a busy period for the Reds after the current international break.

Fans have praised Liverpool’s ticket pricing for the match, with the most expensive ticket being priced at £30 and the cheapest adult ticket at £9. Junior tickets are all £5, and young adult tickets range from £8 to £15.

Liverpool exited the League Cup at the third round last season, losing at Leicester City.

The match should provide an opportunity for Jurgen Klopp to rotate his squad somewhat, with the likes of Xherdan Shaqiri, Fabinho, Daniel Sturridge and Nathaniel Clyne likely to start.


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Liverpool duo produce mixed performances as Netherlands fall to defeat against France

Mon, 10/09/2018 - 11:42

Virgil van Dijk and Gini Wijnaldum were in action for Netherlands in the Nations League on Sunday night, losing 2-1 to France in Paris.


The two nations are paired in a three-team group despite having wildly contrasting fortunes of late; Netherlands didn’t even qualify for the 2018 World Cup and are in a period of restructuring, while France won the tournament in Russia this summer.

Two of Liverpool’s senior players look set to play a key role in the regeneration of the Oranje, with Virgil van Dijk named as the new captain and Gini Wijnaldum a nailed-on starter in midfield.

Both were named in Ronald Koeman’s XI at the Stade de France, while there was also plenty to watch for from a Liverpool supporter perspective, both for the club’s past and future.

The Reds are up against Paris Saint-Germain in the Champions League group stage, and several players in the France squad play a key role for PSG.

Alphonse Areola started in goal, Kylian Mbappe up front and defender Presnel Kimpembe was on the bench.

 France's Kylian Mbappé during the international friendly match between France and Wales at the Stade de France. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

Van Dijk and Wijnaldum were heavily involved as their nation were naturally second-best for most of the encounter, and the captain in particular put in a mixed performance.

For the most part, Van Dijk was marking Chelsea striker Olivier Giroud, but also found himself against Mbappe on one notable occasion.

The PSG striker had already put France ahead when the duo were pitted in a foot race in a France counter-attack—and Van Dijk stood up brilliantly to hold off his man, keep pace and win the ball cleanly in a one-on-one situation.

Unfortunately the same couldn’t be said for the match-winning goal, as a flat-footed Van Dijk was caught cold by Giroud running across him to sweep home a cross from the left.

As for Wijnaldum, he was busy in the centre of the park from a defensive viewpoint, but also had a great chance to score.

Georginio Wijnaldum of Holland during the FIFA World Cup 2018 qualifying match between The Netherlands and Luxembourg at the Kuip on June 9, 2017 in Rotterdam, The Netherlands

His powerful run into the box took him beyond the defence, but a right-footed shot was dragged wide of the far post from a difficult angle.

Former Red forward Ryan Babel had briefly gotten the Dutch side back on level terms, before Giroud’s winner.

Netherlands will face Germany in their second Nations League fixture, in Amsterdam on October 13.

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Djibril Cisse explains Steven Gerrard’s inspirational half-time teamtalk in Istanbul

Sun, 09/09/2018 - 21:34

Liverpool’s Champions League final victory in Istanbul is a date etched in every Reds’ memory; 25 May 2005, with captain Steven Gerrard inspiring a second half comeback.


We’ve heard how the players were inspired by an incredible half-time rendition of You’ll Never Walk Alone from the estimated 40,000 Liverpool fans in the Ataturk Stadium, and how Rafa Benitez’s changes provided the platform to come from 3-0 down against AC Milan.

Benitez brought on Didi Hamann, replacing the injured Steve Finnan, and switched to a back three. Goals from Gerrard, Vladi Smicer and Xabi Alonso inside six minutes turned the tie around.

Now, Cisse – who came on in the 85th minute and scored one of the Reds’ three penalties in the shootout – has detailed how Gerrard also gave an inspiring team talk in the changing room on that night.

Speaking to French outlet RMC Sport, as translated by Get French Football news, Cisse explained:

“I will never forget Steven Gerrard’s team-talk at half-time during the 2005 Champions League final.

[Rafa] Benitez comes into the dressing room, he does his coach speech, that we must not give up and that we need to score quickly.

“Steven gets up and asks all the coaching staff to leave the dressing room, because he wanted to be alone with just the players. All the staff left, even the physios who were giving treatment to the players.

“Stevie gets up and says that Liverpool is all he has, it is his club, all he has ever known and he does not want to be the laughing stock of the history of the Champions League.

“He says that if we respect him and love him as a captain, then we need to dust ourselves off and get back in the match.

“He scores the first goal, he gets the penalty. He has an extraordinary second half, finishing the game as a right-back. He has a crazy match – but that half-time speech will remain imprinted in my mind forever.”

 Liverpool's Jamie Carragher and Djibril Cisse as the game goes into extra time against AC Milan during the UEFA Champions League Final at the Ataturk Olympic Stadium, Istanbul. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

Gerrard was aged just 24 then and had replaced Sami Hyypia as club captain 18 months earlier, already showing the leadership which he went on to display throughout his career.

Indeed, Gerrard is the only player ever to have scored in a League Cup final, FA Cup, UEFA Cup final and a Champions League final.

Now, 13 years on from that night in Istanbul, Gerrard is making his first steps in management and showing the kind of leadership Gerard Houllier saw when he gave him the armband from Hyypia in 2003.

It’s nice to hear Cisse detail more about the role Gerrard played in the half-time turnaround.

UPDATE: Whether it’s been lost in translation, or Cisse’s memory is failing him, Jamie Carragher doesn’t seem to recall Gerrard’s half-time speech quite the same.

I don’t think so, maybe I left with the dressing room with the staff!

— Jamie Carragher (@Carra23) September 9, 2018

“It all adds to the myth!” said Carra on Twitter in response to the Cisse quotes. Adding: “I don’t think so, maybe I left with the dressing room with the staff!”

Mind you, Carra certainly celebrated afterwards so perhaps his memory of the whole night is a little hazy!

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5 current Liverpool players we admit we wrong about

Sun, 09/09/2018 - 19:24

Admitting you were wrong about anything is difficult, and it’s certainly rare that supporters admit they were wrong about a player – so we asked five of our writers to do just that!


Whether it’s a case of not thinking a player would be good for the Reds, or the opposite and you thought they would be great but they turned out to be far from it, everyone has players who they thought differently to when they first arrived.

Some fans, and media, have blind spots when it comes to the players they had opinions on.

But admitting you were wrong is good for the soul, and eating humble pie should be applauded.

We asked some of the This Is Anfield writers to admit who, from the current squad, they have been wrong about.

Have a read and then let us know yours in the comments below!

Sadio Mane

 Liverpool's Sadio Mane during the FA Premier League match against Arsenal at the Emirates Stadium. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

When Liverpool signed Mane two summers ago, I did the lazy thing of saying, “he’s just another mediocre Southampton signing”.

I hadn’t watched him regularly enough to properly gauge his ability and his record-breaking hat-trick (2minutes, 56 seconds) actually irritated me because it was quicker than Robbie Fowler’s against Arsenal.

In my head, he was just another speedy wide man who flattered to deceive with his end product – how wrong I was.

As soon as I watched him in that first pre-season it was clear what he was adding, and that goal against the Gunners had to be one of the greatest-ever debut strikes by a Liverpool player.

From that point on Mane’s never looked and he was comfortably the Reds’ most important player in 2016/17. The season collapsed when he left for the Africa Cup of Nations.

There was that mini-dip last autumn/winter, including the ridiculous decision to shoot and not pass against Everton, but he has been a sensational signing overall.

He is far more creative and intelligent than I ever thought he would be and his finishing is also generally excellent. Mohamed Salah and Roberto Firmino sometimes get more praise but he’s arguably just as important, if not more so.

Thirty-six goals in 75 appearances, including one in a Champions League final – what a player.

This is going to be a massive season from him.

(Henry Jackson@HenryJackson87)

 

James Milner

 Liverpool's James Milner during the FA Premier League match between Liverpool and Crystal Palace at Anfield. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

I thought he would be better off sold by now, and last summer expected that to happen. He was, arguably, our seventh choice central midfielder, behind Henderson, Wijnaldum, Can, Coutinho, Lallana and Oxlade-Chamberlain.

Of course, Lallana missed most the season through injury, Coutinho left in January, and Can disappeared ‘injured’ ahead of his move away. Milner then became a key player and certainly played a major role in the European run – going as far back as his cameo appearance from the bench at Hoffenheim in the qualifier.

He ended up making the fourth-most appearances and despite now being the oldest player in the squad after Klavan’s departure, he could well hit similar numbers this season.

The failure to land Nabil Fekir in the summer, plus Oxlade-Chamberlain’s injury, has benefitted Milner more than anyone else, and after his opening appearances this season he has to be in our ‘first choice’ midfield at present.

Perhaps more than anything, Milner shows how Klopp improves players, with the manager recently suggesting the Yorkshireman is perhaps in the best moment of his career despite being now aged 32.

As one of the few players with experience of winning the title, he could be key not only on the pitch but also off it this campaign. Fingers crossed.

(Matt Ladson@mattladson)

 

Alberto Moreno

 Liverpool's Alberto Moreno celebrates scoring the third goal against Tottenham Hotspur during the Premier League match at White Hart Lane. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

When he joined Liverpool back in the summer of 2014 from Sevilla for £12m, I was hugely excited by the signing.

He was rated back then as one of the best young left backs in Europe and I genuinely thought he’d be a massive hit in the Premier League– and that incredible solo goal against Spurs at White Hart Lane further confirmed that feeling.

It quickly became apparent, though, that there were glaring weaknesses in Moreno’s game, in that despite being bought as a left back, he didn’t really have much of an idea how to defend, which became a bit of a problem.

Everyone will always look back on his second-half horror show in the Europa League final in Basel in 2016 when Moreno’s erratic defending was laid bare for all to see as Liverpool capitulated against his former team.

Jurgen Klopp took drastic action in converting James Milner into an auxiliary left back for the following season, while Moreno watched on from the bench, as Milner provided a solid, experienced alternative despite never having played the role before.

There have been various spells when Moreno has put together a strong run of form- such as the first few months of last season- with his pace, energy and technical ability making him a really useful attacking outlet in certain kinds of games.

However, an unfortunate injury opened the door for Andy Robertson to come in, and the Scot has permanently made the first choice left back spot his own, leaving Moreno to very much play second fiddle.

Such has been Robertson’s impact that he is now widely considered one of, if not the best left back in the Premier League. Moreno’s Liverpool career has never quite taken off as we all hoped when he first signed, but despite frequent links abroad, he remains part of the squad- if only as a bit part player these days, whom few fans now trust whenever he lines up in Red.

(Joel Rabonowitz – (@joel_archie)

 

Loris Karius

 Liverpool's goalkeeper Loris Karius during the FA Premier League match between Liverpool and Arsenal at Anfield. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

His arrival in 2016 filled me with hope that the nightmare which had become Simon Mignolet would be over, that we needn’t fear a repeat of the mind-boggling mental lapses and the downright atrocious mistakes.

He had been voted the second-best Bundesliga shot stopper by his fellow professionals the season prior to joining Liverpool, and it felt as though we would be given a clean slate in an area of the field which had experienced a dramatic decline in the immediate aftermath of Pepe Reina’s exit.

For me his £4.75 million transfer fee meant he was afforded the opportunity to enter the team with little pressure other than to simply offer more than Mignolet, but unfortunately his career at Anfield failed to take off as I had hoped.

While I do not believe he was a total failure – the games leading up to the Champions League final prove that – the fact that Jurgen Klopp could not settle on either of his two keepers as his undisputed number one for an extended period of time ensured the writing was on the wall for Karius’ career with the Reds.

The errors in Kyiv only cemented the feeling that he would need to be replaced if Liverpool were to become genuine title contenders, and the £56m move for Alisson ensured where he stood in the side was made abundantly clear.

With his confidence at an all time low he was not the man to be in between the sticks for the Reds, but there is certainly a talent there for another team to unearth. Alisson’s arrival has only proven all that to be true as he is what we have been crying out for, with his impeccable distribution and calmness on and off the ball already proving to be game changer.

(Joanna Durkan@JoannaDurkan_)

 

Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain

 Liverpool's Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain during the FA Premier League match between Manchester City and Liverpool at the City of Manchester Stadium. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

When Jurgen signed ‘The Ox’ from Arsenal for an incredible 35 million quid, to say I was a little ‘underwhelmed’ would be an understatement. In fact, I privately questioned Jurgen’s sanity. A ‘jack of all trades, master of none’ seemed an apt description of a player who had consistently disappointed for Arsenal in a variety of positions. His final few games for Arsenal saw him given yet another new role as wing-back.

For an ‘attacking’ player his goal scoring record was nothing short of dismal. In six full seasons at Arsenal he had never scored more than 2 Premier League goals in any single season. But it wasn’t just his lack of goals that had me convinced he was an unnecessary indulgence by Klopp, it was his consistently suspect decision making. When I watched him for Arsenal, he always seemed to play the wrong pass, give up possession too easily and, more often than nor, run down blind alleys. I once described him as Arsenal‘s Jordan Ibe…

His first few displays for Liverpool did nothing to change my opinion as he seemingly brought his ‘arsenal’ of underwhelming skills with him.

But boy, was I wrong.. WHAT a player he has turned out to be.

Jurgen was, as usual, an excellent judge as he has transformed a player from ‘potential’ to ‘difference maker.’ He’s already scored a couple of belters against Man City in the League and Champions League, has the crowd on their feet with the directness of his running, and his decision making has improved markedly.

Not only has he been inspirational on the pitch, but also off it. The way he defended Coutinho in the face of an interviewers difficult questions was a touch of class. It also provided us an early snapshot of a man who is proving himself a class act both on and off the pitch.

At only 25, his best years are ahead of him, and probably the best accolade I can give him is that I can’t wait to see him back in the Red shirt upon recovery from injury.

Get well soon Ox.

(Alex Malone)

 

* Check back tomorrow when we have a bumper ‘admit you were wrong’ on players (and more) from the past!

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