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Liverpool FC News, Opinion, Transfer Rumours and Discussion
Updated: 10 hours 31 min ago

On-loan Divock Origi scores to help Wolfsburg secure lead in relegation play-off first leg

Fri, 18/05/2018 - 00:24

Liverpool loanee Divock Origi has had a tough campaign in the Bundesliga—but may have helped save his side from the drop.

The Belgian striker has endured, rather than enjoyed, his season at Wolfsburg, falling out of favour and failing to find consistent form along the way.

He managed just one league goal between early November and the start of May—but seems to be coming back into form at just the right time for his temporary side.

After a goal at the weekend in the crucial 4-1 win over relegated Koln, Origi and his side headed into a two-legged relegation play-off against the third-placed side in the 2.Bundesliga, Holstein Kiel.

And Origi made it two goals in two games with an opportunistic finish on the rebound to put his side ahead.

A goal to settle the nerves in Wolfsburg!

Divock Origi capitalises after some great work from Yunus Malli.

— Football on BT Sport (@btsportfootball) May 17, 2018

Origi later also added a terrific assist with a dribble and through-pass for the third, as Wolfsburg ran out 3-1 victors.

Great play from Origi and a nice finish from Malli #WOBKSV

— Tom (@Wolfsburg__UK) May 17, 2018

It’s six goals in 35 appearances for the German outfit in all competitions now and Origi will hope his end-of-season form is enough to warrant a call-up for his national team.

Belgium are set to name their World Cup squad on Monday 21, and Origi has plenty of competition for a place in attack.

On the same day, Wolfsburg face the second leg of the relegation play-off against Holstein Kiel.

Categories: LFC NEWS

Could Kiev be Emre Can’s moment to mirror Vladimir Smicer in Istanbul?

Thu, 17/05/2018 - 21:33

Injured for much of the run-in, Emre Can could well have played his last match for Liverpool—but could a surprise return in Kiev prove a glorious swansong?

The last two months have been frustrating for the midfielder, no doubt.

But that’s a mere replication of what he has perhaps given Liverpool supporters throughout his time at the club.

Ever-divisive, fans seem to either love or loathe the German, heralding him as a Gerrard Mk. II or shrugging and asking exactly what is it that he’s good at?

Pretty much everything, is the real answer…but not often enough. Not every week, and not even every season of his four campaigns on Merseyside.

That spell in England appears set to come to an end, out of contract and seemingly far from agreeing an extension with the Reds, and with Juventus among those calling loudest.

 Liverpool's Emre Can goes down injured during the FA Premier League match between Liverpool FC and Watford FC at Anfield. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

Injured since Watford, mid-March, Can’s Anfield exit would have been a polar opposite to how he signed off almost precisely one year previous: a spectacular overhead goal of the season against, ironically, Watford.

But that’s Can: brilliant, then absent. Dominant, then anonymous.

And even now, barely a week before a Champions League final and with Jurgen Klopp‘s midfield options thin on the ground, Can continues to divide opinion.

He’s back in training, back with the first team. Having missed the epic wins over Man City and Roma, the No. 23 has an outside shot at being fit for inclusion for the final itself—and some decry they don’t want him involved.

Commitment issues aside, this is clearly arrant nonsense.

The Reds’ central options are non-existent and the only other potential addition is Adam Lallana, similarly returning to fitness but having played far less this term than Can.

Simply put, Liverpool have no choice: if both are fit, they go in the squad.

 Liverpool's Emre Can during the FA Premier League match between Liverpool FC and Newcastle United FC at Anfield. (Pic by Peter Powell/Propaganda)

And for Can, it’s an extraordinary, unlikely opportunity to go from disinterested summer sale to potential hero, leaving at the highest possible point, an iconic exit on par with those remembered throughout Anfield history.

Even if fit, Can won’t—shouldn’t—start.

But off the bench, he provides tactical cohesion more rounded than perhaps any other at the disposal of Klopp, perhaps with the exception of Gini Wijnaldum.

Needing more offensive power? Can can provide it. Defensive steel? He’s more than adept. A creative outlet, a passer from deep? Aerial prowess, full-back cover, an extra centre-back for any reason?

He ticks every box.

Regardless of the scoreline, Can would be a go-to option off the bench for the boss, and one he would likely be prepared to use far earlier than he has turned to the likes of Dom Solanke, Alberto Moreno or Ragnar Klavan recently.

It’s fanciful to suggest Can’s first (and only) game back would lead him to come on, belt home a winner and dance off into the sunset, trophy in hand…and yet, it wouldn’t be the first time.

 Liverpool's Vladimir Smicer celebrates scoring the second goal against AC Milan with his team mate Jamie Carragher during the UEFA Champions League Final at the Ataturk Olympic Stadium, Istanbul. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

Rewind the clock to 2005, and that’s exactly what Vladimir Smicer managed.

The parallels are obvious: a much-heralded player, who split opinion through versatility, a lack of consistency and too many injuries.

Yet it was Smicer who provided a dagger in a time of need in Istanbul, and his final touch of the ball for the Reds was a penalty, scored, in the shoot-out.

And, of course, all that came off the bench.

 Liverpool's John Arne Riise and Vladimir Smicer lift the European Cup after beating AC Milan on penalties during the UEFA Champions League Final at the Ataturk Olympic Stadium, Istanbul. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

Smicer, a gifted but erratic attacker who might otherwise have faded into the rarely recalled past alongside the likes of Mark Walters, Jermaine Pennant or Oyvind Leonhardsen, instead wrote his name into folklore.

Even before that, way back in 1977, Kevin Keegan had already announced he was off at the end of the season—a campaign in which his last match was the European Cup final.

Keegan won a penalty late on to help seal the 3-1 win, sending the Reds to lift their first-ever European Cup.

A mere 41 years later, it’s Emre Can who is hoping to repeat such feats and ensure the Reds lift their sixth.

And depart a hero.

Categories: LFC NEWS

Watch all 57 Premier League goals scored by Liverpool’s front-three in 2017/18

Thu, 17/05/2018 - 21:00

Mohamed Salah, Sadio Mane and Roberto Firmino scored 57 Premier League goals between them this season, forging arguably Europe’s best front-three in the process.

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Liverpool’s magnificent attacking trio have epitomised everything good about the Reds in 2017/18, with their finishing, selflessness and general quality catching the eye.

With Salah and Mane wreaking havoc from their wider positions and Firmino working his magic centrally, they have been unplayable at times.

Few attacking units in club football can match them, and their enormous influence has inspired Liverpool to both a top-four finish and the Champions League final.

The above video, posted on Liverpool’s official YouTube channel, shows every single one of the 57 league goals fired home by Salah, Mane and Firmino this season.

The first of those was Mane’s beautifully-taken effort away to Watford on the opening day, and Firmino and Salah also got on the scoresheet in the 3-3 draw at Vicarage Road.

 Liverpool's Sadio Mane celebrates scoring the third goal with team-mates Mohamed Salah and Roberto Firmino during the UEFA Champions League Round of 16 1st leg match between FC Porto and Liverpool FC on Valentine's Day at the Est·dio do Drag„o. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

The footage makes you realise what an eclectic mix of goals have been scored, from Salah’s outrageous volley away to Stoke City to Mane’s rocket at Burnley.

The ‘Egyptian King’ stands out the most, considering 32 of the goals were scored by him, with the stunning solo strikes at home to Everton and Tottenham particularly special.

All three scored memorable efforts in the 4-3 win over Man City in January, while the final goal was fittingly Salah’s against Brighton last Sunday, which broke the record for the most goals in a 38-game season.

Watching Salah, Mane and Firmino has been a joy in 2017/18, and hopefully we get to see them concocting more brilliance for many years to come.

Let’s hope they have few more still left in them ahead of the Champions League final a week on Saturday.

Categories: LFC NEWS

Liverpool ‘working exhaustively for fans ahead of Champions League final’

Thu, 17/05/2018 - 20:37

Liverpool chief executive Peter Moore insists the club have worked exhaustively to tackle problems for fans relating to this month’s Champions League final but admits some issues are out of their control.

In addition to the 16,626 tickets available to the club – of which only 63 per cent was a general supporter allocation – sourcing travel and accommodation options for Kiev has proven problematic and exorbitant.

Some fans have received tickets but have found no available hotels or flights and Moore admits that is far from ideal.

“As a club, we are acutely aware of the issues that our supporters are facing in terms of obtaining tickets, arranging travel, and organising accommodation for the forthcoming Champions League Final in Kiev,” he told the Liverpool Echo.

“It is for that reason that we have worked exhaustively to try to alleviate some of these difficulties, whether that be by collaborating with partners, liaising with the relevant authorities in Kiev or by asking our own staff to go the extra mile – something that they have done willingly and without hesitation.

“Some of the issues are, unfortunately, beyond our control.

 Liverpool's chief executive officer Peter Moore and sporting director Michael Edwards before a preseason friendly match between Athletic Club Bilbao and Liverpool at the Aviva Stadium. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

“Logistically, the challenges of this event are there for all to see and whichever clubs reached the final would have faced the same problems.

“As it is, we are doing our level best in exacting circumstances to make the best of the situation on behalf of supporters.

“Nevertheless, we will always strive to do better for our supporters and will always listen to their concerns.

“If there is one thing that this Champions League campaign has underlined it is that anything is possible when there is unity between players, club and fans and that remains a fundamental objective for everyone at Liverpool FC.”

Categories: LFC NEWS

Late goals in games highlight the difference between fighting for top 4 and the title

Thu, 17/05/2018 - 17:41

Spells of games can be vital in the context of a 90-minute result; Ratha Krishnan analyses how Liverpool’s campaign has differed to that of Man City‘s.

Football is a 90-minute game, but as far as Manchester City and Liverpool are concerned, the final 15 minutes of many of their matches in the league this season have been the difference between finishing first and fourth.

It’s easy to use ‘Guardiola Time’ to explain some of their victories this season: the latter stages of games, particularly injury time.

After all, Man City won three games by a single goal this season scored in the 94th, 96th and 97th minutes, against Southampton, away and home, and Bournemouth away respectively.

These goals and victories are actually a reflection of City’s dominance in the final quarter hour of their matches, however, rather than fluke or fortune.

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

They outscored their opponents by 25 goals to five during this period, which accounts for 23.6% of their goals scored and 18.5% of goals conceded.

Moreover, late goals have also helped them to victories over Huddersfield away (Raheem Sterling, 84′) and at home to West Ham (David Silva, 83′), and salvage a 1-1 draw against Everton at the Etihad (Sterling, 82′).

When Liverpool hammered them at Anfield in January, they almost clawed their way back in the game—and made the scoreline look respectable—courtesy of two late goals by Silva (84′) and Ilkay Gundogan (91′).

And that’s without taking into account the games where late goals made the game safe for them.

And Liverpool?

As you would expect, the Reds don’t fare quite as well between the 76th and 90th minute.

In fact, we’re miles away, with 17 goals scored and 12 goals conceded, which translates into 20% and 31.6% of our goals and goals conceded respectively.

The goals conceded are particularly troubling, since only seven other teams concede more during the same period.

 Liverpool's Mohamed Salah celebrates scoring the second goal with team-mate Sadio Mane during the FA Premier League match between Liverpool FC and Watford FC at Anfield. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

To put this into perspective, Liverpool threw away five matches from winning positions during the last 15 minutes.

• August, A vs. Watford: Conceded on 94′ for a 3-3 draw
• November, H vs. Chelsea: Conceded on 85′ for a 1-1 draw
• December, H vs. Everton: Conceded on 77′ for a 1-1 draw
• February, H vs. Spurs: Conceded on 80′ and 95′ for a 2-2 draw
• April, A vs. West Brom: Conceded on 79′ and 88′ minutes for a 2-2 draw

Incidentally, it’s even worse in Europe: seven, or 43.8%, out of the 16 goals we’ve conceded in the Champions League this season were scored during the last 15 minutes!

It’s simplistic to draw absolute conclusions on any single set of data, but trends appearing can certainly showcase issues.

At the very least, the final 15-minute period in games gave City five wins and a draw, or 16 points.

For Liverpool, on the other hand, the same segment costs Liverpool—minimally—a 10-point loss after the five draws.

That effectively translates to a 26-point swing, and a clear indicator of the work to do to challenge for first place next season and beyond.

* This is a guest article for This Is Anfield. If you’d like to contribute a piece for consideration please see this page.

Categories: LFC NEWS

Watch behind-the-scenes at Anfield as Mo Salah breaks Premier League record

Thu, 17/05/2018 - 16:34

Liverpool said goodbye to Anfield for another season last weekend, doing so in style against Brighton – as Mo Salah became the Premier League‘s highest goalscorer in a 38-game season.

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The Reds needed just a draw to secure a place in the Premier League top four, and they went one better, cruising to a 4-0 win.

It achieved the main objective for the season, qualifying for the 2018/19 Champions League, although the campaign can end even better with the Champions League final against Real Madrid in Kiev a week on Saturday.

As usual, Liverpool’s official YouTube channel has released their excellent ‘Inside Anfield’ video, tracking the afternoon’s proceedings against the Seagulls.

Beginning with the arrival of the Reds’ team coach, Jurgen Klopp then conducts his pre-match media duties for Sky Sports.

On a gorgeous spring afternoon on Merseyside, the players do their warm-ups, with Loris Karius and Simon Mignolet first out of the tunnel.

Liverpool’s players look in the zone ahead of kick-off, and once the game got underway, there was only going to be one winner.

Mohamed Salah‘s record-breaking 32nd league goal of the season is captured brilliantly from pitch level, before a towering Dejan Lovren header makes it 2-0.

 Liverpool's Mohamed Salah receives a gift from supporters as the players perform a lap of honour after the FA Premier League match between Liverpool FC and Brighton & Hove Albion FC at Anfield. Liverpool won 4-0. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

The Croatian does his best impression of his good friend Salah’s celebration, although doesn’t quite pull it off as convincingly.

A fan in the crowd can barely stay awake during the celebrations – imagine watching United this season, lad!

Dominic Solanke‘s first-ever Liverpool goal was a beauty, and the view of the strike from high up in the Main Stand is well worth a watch.

Following the trend set by Solanke, Andy Robertson completes the scoring to register his maiden Reds goal, and happy scenes greet the final whistle.

Afterwards, Kenny Dalglish presents Salah with a small sample of his many end-of-season awards, and Klopp and his players do a lap of honour to appreciate the magnificent home support.

Family members are also present on the pitch, having all congregated with Klopp in the tunnel beforehand, which makes for touching viewing.

Trent Alexander-Arnold and Ben Woodburn have a kickabout with the former’s siblings, almost looking more like schoolboys in a Liverpool kit than actual first-team squad members.

The video is a great watch for any Liverpool supporter, on what was a perfect way to round-off the Premier League season.

Categories: LFC NEWS

Potential plans revealed for Liverpool’s parade route after Champions League final

Thu, 17/05/2018 - 15:37

Mayor of Liverpool Joe Anderson has revealed that plans have been finalised for a potential parade route should Liverpool win the Champions League in Kiev.

The Reds are acutely aware of the delicate nature of such planning, with the final itself still over a week away and a great challenge before them in Real Madrid.

But the scale and “logistical challenges” of arranging a route safely, which would attract tens and perhaps hundreds of thousands of supporters to cheer the side home, means it could not possibly be done overnight.

As a result, Liverpool FC, Liverpool City Council and Merseyside Police have been working to align the plan according to the club’s schedule.

  • Any potenial parade would take place on Sunday, May 27
  • The route will run from Parliament Street and finish near the Liverpool Olympia
  • The parade would start from around midday

The full route given by the council is shown in the below image.


An open-top bus would lead Jurgen Klopp, his team and the trophy itself along the Strand, up Leeds Street, along Hunter Street, Islington, Erskine Street and West Derby Road, before finishing near the Liverpool Olympia.

A statement from the council further shed light on issues faced by arranging the parade, given two other major events would be happening the same day.

The European champions will not be confirmed until the evening of Saturday, May 26, however due to the major logistical challenges needed to arrange a parade of this scale the announcement is being made in advance so residents and businesses in the city can prepare for the potential event.

The potential parade will take place when Liverpool is staging two major events – Three Festivals Tall Ships Regatta and the Bordeaux Wine Festival – which alone are expected to attract tens of thousands of people to the waterfront.

It would start from midday, is expected to last for a couple of hours, and will see the Liverpool FC team parade the Champions League trophy on an open top bus, travelling along Liverpool’s UNESCO world heritage waterfront.

Mayor of Liverpool Joe Anderson added that the choice of staging the parade the day after the final itself was a club decision, one which they also took back in 2005.

 Liverpool players parade the European Champions Cup on on open-top bus tour of Liverpool in front of 500,000 fans after beating AC Milan in the UEFA Champions League Final at the Ataturk Olympic Stadium, Istanbul. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

Regardless of whether you are a Red, Blue or not a football fan at all, an event like this has a hugely positive impact and will once again shine the international spotlight on the city.

We are all tremendously proud of LFC’s achievement and you can already feel the buzz around the city ahead of the final.

The club requested the parade takes place on the Sunday, and even though it’s already a busy day for the city, we want to make sure we are ready to give them the heroes’ welcome they deserve should they win.

I understand there will be disappointment for those fans who are unable to get back from Kiev in time, but it was a similar situation in 2005 and we have to be guided by the club in terms of the date and time.

We are working closely with LFC, Merseyside Police and our travel partners to ensure that the event runs smoothly and safely for everyone to enjoy.

We’re keeping everything crossed for the final and hope the team and the fans do Liverpool proud in Kiev as they have throughout the competition.

The parade would have to take place on the Sunday due to Liverpool’s international players heading off for their World Cup preparations on the Monday.

After winning the Champions League in 2005, Liverpool’s bus parade through the city saw an estimated one million fans line the route, with incredible scenes at St. George’s Hall where a reported 300,000 people were in attendance.

The Reds are currently in Marbella preparing for the final in Kiev, they return to Merseyside this weekend, with the UEFA Champions League media day taking place at Anfield on Monday.

Categories: LFC NEWS

Could Pepijn Lijnders be set for Liverpool return after leaving job in Netherlands?

Thu, 17/05/2018 - 12:51

Former Liverpool coach Pepijn Lijnders has left his role as manager of NEC Nijmegen, but does that mean an imminent return to Anfield?

Lijdners was an extremely highly thought of member of Jurgen Klopp‘s coaching staff, having initially moved to Merseyside in 2014, working with Brendan Rodgers.

The 35-year-old departed Liverpool in January, however, after the opportunity to manage Nijmegen in the Eerste Divisie arose.

He failed to earn promotion to the Eredivisie this season via the play-offs, though, after Nijmegen were defeated over two legs by Emmen.

Lijnders has parted ways with immediate effect, with the Dutchman releasing a statement shortly afterwards:

 Liverpool's first-team development coach Pepijn Lijnders during the UEFA Champions League Group E match between Spartak Moscow and Liverpool at the Otkrytie Arena. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

“Firstly, I want to thank my immediate daily staff, they have given everything and were very motivated to bring NEC success.

“Top and foremost professionals who give character to the club from the inside out.

“Secondly, I want to wish the club success, I wanted to build with a lot of drive, to form a new real NEC team but I feel that it is better to step out and open the door for a new coach who has the complete confidence enjoy.”

The news has unsurprisingly sparked rumours linking Lijnders with a move back to Liverpool, where he had a very active role among Klopp’s staff.

With assistant Zeljko Buvac exiting the club last month for personal reasons – whether he returns next season remains to be seen – it is understandable why some may feel a return for Lijnders is on the cards.

 Liverpool's manager Jürgen Klopp and first-team development coach Pepijn Lijnders before the Premier League match against Tottenham Hotspur at White Hart Lane. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Kloppaganda)

As mentioned, his knowledge of the game, particularly in a tactical sense, was rated very highly by Klopp, and the Reds manager was disappointed to see him leave:

“I am gutted to be losing such a valuable member of our coaching team and such a brilliant person from our group.


“It is hard to undersell the role Pep played in helping us settle, educating us about football life in England and then contributing ideas to the progress and development of this team.

“He has such a big football brain, but it’s his willingness to learn and absorb information and always look to improve and be better as a coach that makes him stand out.

“Of course, one of his biggest legacies at LFC will be the development and integration into the first-team squad of so many young and exciting players.

“The role he played in making us aware of these players and then helping us get the best out of them will have a lasting impact here, beyond him leaving.”

The Liverpool Echo claims that it is “not believed his departure is linked with the continued speculation over Zeljko Buvac’s future at Anfield,” but it certainly does feel coincidental. More may emerge in the coming days.

Lijnders started his coaching career at PSV Eindhoven and Porto, before taking charge of Liverpool’s U16s. He was appointed first-team development coach in 2015.

Categories: LFC NEWS

Guide to the new Premier League summer transfer window

Thu, 17/05/2018 - 11:56

The transfer window is now OPEN! May 17 was the new date for the opening of the Premier League‘s summer transfer window, after changes were implemented this year.

It means that clubs can now officially make signings, although any transfers from abroad can only be finalised on June 8, when FIFA open their window.

The biggest change though is the closing of the transfer window before the new season begins.

The 2018/19 season starts on the weekend of August 11, with the transfer window closing on Thursday, August 9 at 5pm.

The Football League window also closes at the same time, but EFL clubs can sign players on loan until the end of August – meaning Liverpool could still loan young players out after the window closes on August 9.

Players can also be sold to clubs abroad whose windows are still open, with the Spanish, Italian, German and French windows remaining open until August 31.

For Liverpool, they already have one signing completed this summer, with midfielder Naby Keita officially joining the club on July 1.

Jurgen Klopp likes to make summer signings as early as possible, with Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain‘s switch on deadline day last year very much an anomaly; he is the only player Klopp has signed in the final month of the window, with all other summer signings being completed in June or July.

Of course, with the Champions League final still over a week away, and the World Cup starting shortly after, it will be difficult for clubs to get business done early.

Categories: LFC NEWS

Trent Alexander-Arnold’s reaction to World Cup call-up shows maturity of a future captain

Wed, 16/05/2018 - 21:58

Trent Alexander-Arnold has paid tribute to his family and the Liverpool coaches and team-mates who helped him towards his England call-up.

Alexander-Arnold was a surprise inclusion in Gareth Southgate’s 23-man squad for the World Cup in Russia this summer, joining Three Lions staple Jordan Henderson in the selection.

With Joe Gomez and Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain injured, James Milner retired and Adam Lallana short of fitness, the pair are England’s only representatives from Jurgen Klopp‘s side.

While Henderson will be vying for Harry Kane for the captaincy, Alexander-Arnold will simply be hoping to play a part in the Group G clashes with Tunisia, Panama and Belgium.

The humility the teenager has shown since stepping up to the Reds’ first team was evident as he expressed his gratitude in speaking to after his call-up:

“The lads have all congratulated me and said really well done. It’s nice to get the recognition from your team-mates as well.

“It wouldn’t have happened if it wasn’t for them, so I have to thank them, the manager and everyone else who has supported me along the way.

“I have to say a special thanks to everyone, especially my family for helping me get so far.

“Everyone who has been there along the way, even going back to when I was really young, around the age of six.

“Everyone who has played a part, I just want to say thanks to them because without them, I wouldn’t be where I am or who I am today. It’s a thanks to all of them.

“I hope they can all feel as proud as I do about getting the call-up.”

 Nigel French/PA Wire.)

Alexander-Arnold’s inclusion is a testament to his remarkable development since making his debut under Klopp in 2016, going from academy star to Champions League finalist within 19 months.

The No. 66 has been touted as a future captain for Liverpool, and following his call-up those who have worked with him applauded his character:

Congrats to these two for making the @England World Cup squad – don't look so shocked Trent, you deserve it!

— James Milner (@JamesMilner) May 16, 2018

Congratulations to both @trentaa98 and @rubey_lcheek on making the England World Cup squad. Delighted for both boys and their families

— Michael Beale (@MichaelBeale) May 16, 2018

Wow pal this is just the start of a massive career and only 1 person can take the credit for this and it’s you!! ??????

— Rob Jones (@RobjonesLFC2) May 16, 2018

Concratulations @JHenderson @trentaa98 ???

— John Achterberg (@1JohnAchterberg) May 16, 2018

Well done @trentaa98 ????? Well deserved mate! Also big congrats to our skipper @JHenderson for a place in the World Cup squad ???Enjoy it boys!

— John Arne Riise (@JARiiseOfficial) May 16, 2018

Absolutely buzzing for @trentaa98 well deserved @LFC

— Dominic Matteo (@Dominicmatteo21) May 16, 2018

Congratulations @trentaa98 on making the @England squad. Another one out of the @LFC academy ????????

— Stephen Warnock3 (@StephenWarnock3) May 16, 2018

Go on the kidddd! So buzzing for my lil bro going the World Cup??Fully deserved?@trentaa98 ???

— James Maddison (@Madders10) May 16, 2018

Yet to meet anyone who has worked with Trent Alexander-Arnold, who doesn't strongly believe he can grow to captain both club and country.

Pepijn Lijnders: "He was born to be a footballer and born to lead."

He is a credit to himself, his family, his club and his city.#LFC

— Melissa Reddy (@MelissaReddy_) May 16, 2018

Best thing about Trent is he’s a great kid who gets it. His talent takes care of everything else. One for everyone in Liverpool to be proud of.

— Tony Barrett (@TonyBarrett) May 16, 2018

Arguably the biggest advocate of Alexander-Arnold’s potential is Klopp himself, and the right-back revealed how the manager was the one who broke the news on his World Cup dream:

“I’m honoured, excited and feeling really proud.

“It was an unbelievable moment to find out I was going to go to the World Cup, especially at a young age. It’s probably capped off a really good season for me.

“I found out this morning, just before we came out to Marbella. The manager came and spoke to me just as we were getting on the plane.

“He asked me if I knew anything about the squad or anything yet. I said ‘no’ and he said ‘have you got anything planned around the time of the World Cup?’ I was like ‘no, no holidays or anything…’

“He said to me ‘OK, good…you’re in the squad!’ It was a really proud moment. On England’s behalf, it was nice of them to let the manager tell me.”

Alexander-Arnold is part of the Liverpool squad taking part in a low-intensity training camp in Spain this week, ahead of next weekend’s clash with Real Madrid in Kiev.

He will be given little time to celebrate, with England set to take on Nigeria (June 2) and Costa Rica (June 7) before their World Cup opener against Tunisia (June 18) in Volgograd.

Categories: LFC NEWS

Sadio Mane has defied criticism to become Liverpool’s Philippe Coutinho replacement

Wed, 16/05/2018 - 21:00

Criticised for a mid-season struggle in 2017/18, Maya Mahadevan applauds Sadio Mane for his rise as Liverpool’s ideal Philippe Coutinho replacement.

Aug 12, 2017, Vicarage Road

The scoreboard reads Watford 1-0 Liverpool, less than 10 minutes into the game after the visitors fail to defend from a set-piece.

Before the half-hour mark is up though, Sadio Mane fires in the equaliser from a tight angle. It is his first shot on target for the new season and the result was familiar—the ball nestling in the back of the net…

The outcome of this fixture was forgettable, Mane’s performance was not. Liverpool’s prior-season hero needed less than 30 minutes to pick up from where he had left off.

In the following game against perennial bogey team Crystal Palace, the Senegalese forward scored the only goal to give his side all three points.

Then in midweek he delivered a man-of-the-match performance and provided an assist as Klopp’s charges beat Hoffenheim to qualify for the Champions League.

He also hit bullseye in the Reds’ 4-0 rout of Arsenal at Anfield the following weekend.

 Liverpool's Sadio Mane celebrates scoring the first equalising goal during the FA Premier League match between Watford and Liverpool at Vicarage Road. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

These first five fixtures brought three goals and an assist for the winger. Such was his blistering form that one could be forgiven for thinking the 2016/17 season was in continuum.

Memories, though, are short-lived in football.

Fast-forward a few months and there were growing murmurs—among fans and in the media—of Mane’s perceived lack of impact in front of goal.

That it had taken an unfortunate red card suspension and a six-week injury to disrupt what had been a dream start to the new season was more or less forgotten.

Besides the numbers, as with Roberto Firmino, there is a lot of defensive work that Mane does which goes under the radar simply because it may not directly translate to a goal.

This means that even during lean periods in front of goal, Mane continued to be an asset which is why Jurgen Klopp persisted with him in the team.

 Liverpool's Sadio Mane looks dejected after missing a chance during the FA Premier League match between Swansea City FC and Liverpool FC at the Liberty Stadium. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

It was not only suspension and injury that took a toll; Mane’s confidence was shaky and he also had to adapt to a new role on the left, his place on the right taken up by summer arrival Mohamed Salah.

The January transfer window saw Philippe Coutinho depart to Barcelona, setting the manager a fresh challenge in managing the squad and attaining the primary objective of finishing in the top four in the Premier league.

Klopp turned to last season’s main man—Mane—who has proved he is a fighter and does not shy away from responsibilities on the pitch, and boy did he deliver!

True to the adage ‘form is temporary, class is permanent’, the Reds’ No. 19 not only managed to find his feet in front of goal but his off-ball work rate has been exceptional.

He relished his new role and grew in confidence, both reflecting adequately in his performances.

 Liverpool's Mohamed Salah (right) celebrates scoring the second goal with team-mates Sadio Mane (centre) and Roberto Firmino (left) during the FA Premier League match between Liverpool FC and AFC Bournemouth at Anfield. (Pic by Laura Malkin/Propaganda)

Mane has been involved in some beautiful football over the past few months: lung-bursting surges to tee up a team-mate, initiating a swift counter-attack, tracking back quickly to defend and win the ball and overlapping runs in the final third alongside Andy Robertson.

In his debut season for the Reds, Mane scored 13 goals and assisted another six in the league while being involved a further two in Europe.

During the current campaign, the Senegalese international has scored 10 and assisted seven in the league; across all competitions, the tally is 19 and nine respectively.

Fans and detractors will, however, do well to remember that were it not for a ridiculously spectacular debut season that Salah is enjoying—alongside the inimitable Firmino—Mane’s form would not be so harshly evaluated.

That he has scored 11 and assisted three (five and three in the Premier League respectively) since the departure of Coutinho only reaffirms how critical a part he has played in the Reds’ season, especially since the turn of the year.

 Liverpool's Sadio Manes celebrates scoring the first goal during the UEFA Champions League Semi-Final 2nd Leg match between AS Roma and Liverpool FC at the Stadio Olimpico. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

Losing their creative impetus mid-season potentially threatened to derail the season and a lot of good work Klopp has achieved with Liverpool.

However, in their 2016/17 talisman the Reds found a solution in-house and managed to not only pick up crucial points in the league but are also in contention for the most prized trophy in European football—the Champions League.

While there may have been a temporary downturn in Mane’s output in numerical terms for a brief spell, his role in taking Klopp’s Liverpool to another level is undeniable.

* This is a guest article for This Is Anfield. If you’d like to contribute a piece for consideration please see this page. Follow Maya on Twitter, @mayamahadevan.

Categories: LFC NEWS

Trent’s England dream & one Red’s long journey to Kiev – Liverpool FC News Roundup

Wed, 16/05/2018 - 19:00

We round up the latest Liverpool news and rumours on Wednesday, as Trent Alexander-Arnold gives his take on a surprise England World Cup call-up.

Main Headlines Trent Reacts to “Dream” England Call-Up

Alexander-Arnold was named along with Jordan Henderson in Gareth Southgate’s 23-man squad for England’s World Cup campaign on Wednesday afternoon.

Adam Lallana only made the standby list, while both Joe Gomez and Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain missed out due to long-term injuries, but the focus on the announcement was on Liverpool’s No. 66.

Alexander-Arnold has only made three appearances for the England U21s, and taking to Instagram after he was confirmed to be stepping up to the senior squad he relished a “dream come true.”

“Dreamt of going to a World Cup since I was a kid,” he said. “Today that dream come true, an honour to represent the 3 Lions this summer!”

The 19-year-old could even contest for a starting spot, with Kyle Walker expected to start as right centre-back and Kieran Trippier far from established as first-choice right-back.

Fans Frustrated at Season-Ticket Renewal Plans

 Liverpool supporter on the Spion Kop during the FA Premier League match between Liverpool FC and Brighton & Hove Albion FC at Anfield. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

Liverpool’s push to the Champions League final this season has been remarkable, but those attending the showpiece clash with Real Madrid in Kiev have been marred by financial exploitation.

With airlines and hoteliers hiking up prices for those wishing to travel to the Ukraine for May 26, best-laid plans have been disrupted.

This has seen supporters’ group Spion Kop 1906 criticise the clubs’ decision not to extend the window for season ticket renewals for next season beyond the current date four days before the final:

We are disappointed that @LFC have chosen not to extend the Season Ticket Renewal deadline. The refusal to delay the deadline, at a time of huge unexpected expense for ordinary supporters, is unnecessary corporate greed.

— Spion Kop 1906 (@SpionKop1906) May 16, 2018

That the Reds are challenging for a sixth European Cup in their first season back in the Champions League under Jurgen Klopp is remarkable, but the issues faced as a result are hugely disappointing.

Supporter’s Incredible Four-Day Journey to Kiev

 Sergey/Xinhua News Agency/PA Images)

With many supporters unable to afford five-figure hotel rooms and surreal flight prices, some have taken extreme measures to ensure they arrive in Kiev by kickoff next Saturday.

One such example comes in the form of 30-year-old Nick Kelly, with Andy Mitten telling his story in the South China Morning Post:

“The Ukrainian capital is not easy to reach from England. For the intrepid Nick, he’ll take a train from Manchester to Sheffield, fly to Katowice in Poland, then back on a train to Lviv in Ukraine.

From there he’ll travel the last stage of the journey to Kiev, 2,700 kilometres from Liverpool—or a 32-hour drive without a break. There are Liverpool fans driving all the way to Kiev for the game on Saturday.

“Nick will return via Kharkov in Ukraine, Istanbul, London and then Manchester. The total trip price is just under £400 for flights and trains and will take four days, made possible by budget airlines, no visa restrictions and a great deal of self-confidence.

“Football supporting is about so much more than a game lasting 90 minutes.”

Well said, Andy.

Details of Dhanda’s Swansea Move Revealed

 Liverpool's Yan Dhanda celebrates scoring the third goal, from a penalty kick, during the Under-23 FA Premier League 2 Division 1 match between Liverpool FC and Chelsea FC at Anfield. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

Yan Dhanda’s impending switch from Liverpool to Swansea City has been met with criticism from supporters, with the 19-year-old forward joining a long list of departures from the academy.

The Reds did attempt to keep Dhanda on Merseyside, however, with Goal’s Neil Jones revealing details of his exit.

Dhanda is said to have turned down an offer from Liverpool, instead setting his sights on first-team football in south Wales.

“Liverpool will get training compensation and will ask for sell-on clause,” Jones explained.

It is difficult to argue with Dhanda’s decision, as while he had trained under Klopp at Melwood on a number of occasions, he was not even a marquee name in the U23s squad.

Reds Trialist Hailed as ‘Best in Scotland’

 Liverpool's manager Neil Critchley during the Under-23 FA Premier League 2 Division 1 match between Liverpool and Leicester City at Prenton Park. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

With Dhanda absent, Neil Critchley fielded two trialists for the U23s’ 4-1 win over the Panjab FA at Kirkby on Monday afternoon.

Spanish winger Angel Sanchez scored the second goal for the young Reds, after goalkeeper Ross Sinclair had saved a penalty from Camen Bhandal, unfortunately conceding from the rebound.

Sinclair, a 17-year-old on trial from St Johnstone, is an interesting prospect, and one who Tommy Wright, manager of the Scottish side, believes is “the best ‘keeper of his age in this country”:

“The trial happened by chance. My friend Barry Hunter works at Liverpool and they are looking for a young ‘keeper. So I recommended they took a look at Ross.

“He has gone down for a few days training and played in the U23s game. So even if nothing happens it will have been a great experience for him.

“We have high hopes for Ross. He has work ahead of him but he will develop into a top-class goalkeeper.

“Without doubt he is the best ‘keeper of his age in this country.

“Ross is a good size, technically very good and he is comfortable with the ball at his feet.

“You could class him as having a man’s body but maybe a boy’s strength. He has only just turned 17 and he will develop physically.”

If Sinclair is signed he faces a big challenge supplanting the likes of Kamil Grabara, Caoimhin Kelleher and Viteslav Jaros from between the sticks at academy level.

Categories: LFC NEWS

Jurgen Klopp’s brilliant view on Liverpool’s “crazy ride” to Champions League final

Wed, 16/05/2018 - 18:00

Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp admits their run to the Champions League final has been a “crazy ride” but is well deserved.

The Reds started off with a qualifier in August against Hoffenheim and after seeing off Manchester City in the quarter-finals and then Roma, including a nervy second leg defeat in the Stadio Olimpico, they have a meeting with defending champions Real Madrid on May 26.

“In our case, we’ve played in the Champions League without pressure most of the time,” Klopp told

“We entered the competition for the first time in a while and we quickly realised that we had a good chance.

“We aren’t anyone else. We are Liverpool, on the way to becoming a really good team, and performing at such a high level is very cool.

“To summarise, it’s been a crazy ride. But, after all, we’ve earned our place here.”

Liverpool are the top scorers in the competition with 40, not including their six goals against Hoffenheim.

They also have three of the top four scorers in Mohamed Salah and Roberto Firmino (both 10) and Sadio Mane (nine)—Real’s Cristiano Ronaldo leads the way with 15—and have James Milner top of the assists chart with nine just ahead of Firmino.

That is reflective of the football they have played this season and is a key factor of Klopp’s style of play.

“Football should be more oriented to finishing every attack with a shot on target. And that’s what we do whenever possible,” he added.

“We didn’t put a special value on that. It’s just part of the game.”

 David Klein/Sportimage via PA Images

Firmino, with 27 goals in all competitions, is enjoying his best season as a professional but is still not satisfied.

“I am still a little bit ‘restless’, as I always want more, to grow and grow even further,” he told

“I am a little bit annoyed, because I always want more and I am never satisfied.

“However, you cannot beat yourselves up about these things all the time and you must always keep moving forward.

“It is my first season in the Champions League and I am one of the leading scorers, alongside Cristiano and Salah.

“I am pretty pleased and very happy with my performance and the entire team’s performance and I hope to keep that going into the final.”

Klopp’s players reassemble in Marbella on Wednesday after a couple of days off for a short training camp.

Midfielder Emre Can, who has not played since March because of a back injury and looks set to leave the club with his contract expiring next month, will rejoin the squad for the medical staff to assess whether he is fit to return.

Categories: LFC NEWS

Reds’ CEO outlines long-term strategy to put Liverpool FC “back into our rightful place among Europe’s elite”

Wed, 16/05/2018 - 17:00

Liverpool chief executive Peter Moore says the club have in place a long-term strategy to build success and put the club back “into our rightful place among Europe’s elite.”

Moore was appointed to his role last summer, as owners Fenway Sports Group continue to make substantial improvements to the club’s structure off the pitch.

By appointing a truly world class manager in Jurgen Klopp, expanding Anfield’s capacity by almost 10,000 – adding £1 million revenue per match in the process – and about to start work on a new £50 million training complex, the foundations are being made for long-term success.

Moore told told FC Business magazine:

“We have a broader long-term strategy of building a platform for success with a manager who is unparalleled in the world of football, with regards to his leadership, and an exciting squad that plays a unique and exciting brand of football that even neutrals can appreciate.

“It’s all part of a plan that catapults us back into our rightful place among Europe’s elite.

“In today’s world of football business, that is an incredibly important part of our long-term strategy, to be successful in Europe – as we previously have been – and ultimately build a robust platform to compete at any level against any club in the world.”

Liverpool have qualified for the Champions League in both of Klopp’s two full seasons in charge, and are currently preparing for their second European final under the German.

Meanwhile, Moore outlined the importance of getting more fans into the ground, and that this will be achieved through expansion of the Anfield Road End.

 A general view of Anfield during the FA Premier League match between Liverpool FC and Stoke City FC. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

He explained:

“Revenue is critically important, but so is the continued modernisation of Anfield. We will continue to look at the feasibility for any proposed Anfield Road expansion over the coming months and years.

“It is important for us to get more fans into the ground. But no matter what we do there, it won’t satisfy demand. We have outline planning permission that is good for another year and a half and if we change our views on what we want to do, we can always resubmit another application.”

Expansion of the Anfield Road End is expected to begin once the new training ground is completed next year, and take Anfield’s overall capacity to over 60,000.

You can read the full interview in FB Business magazine’s latest issue.

Moore the Merrier: The digital version of fcbusiness Issue 109 is now available to read online ?

— fcbusiness Magazine (@fcbusiness) May 16, 2018

Categories: LFC NEWS

Liverpool invited to be part of new £1.5bn FIFA Club World Cup

Wed, 16/05/2018 - 14:23

Liverpool are one of the clubs being invited to a new 24-team Club World Cup that FIFA want to hold every four years, starting in 2021.

The new competition would see 12 European clubs – Liverpool, Man United, Real Madrid, Barcelona, AC Milan, Bayern Munich, Ajax, Inter Milan and Juventus, plus three more – invited to compete and share a total of £1.5 billion, with the winners taking home £100 million.

The news comes via a report in the Times, which details how the competition would replace the current annual ‘Club World Cup’ and also see the Confederations Cup being scrapped.

It’s claimed that FIFA president Gianni Infantino is aiming to secure an agreement for the new competition before this summer’s World Cup begins next month.

It’s reported that UEFA and the Premier League are unhappy with the proposal and will oppose the new competition.

The other three clubs from Europe who are in the running to be included are Chelsea, Man City, Arsenal, Atletico Madrid, PSG, Porto, Benfica, and Borussia Dortmund.

The other 12 teams would be from outside of Europe, with at least four South American sides and a selection from Africa, Asia, North America and Oceania.

The first host country could be China – taking place in June 2021 – with the format seeing eight groups of three followed by quarter-finals, semi-finals and final.

The current FIFA Club World Cup is the only trophy in Liverpool’s history they haven’t won; losing in the final in 2005.

Such a competition could be a game changer for top-level club football in Europe.

Categories: LFC NEWS

The 2017/18 Premier League season: The view from the other 19 clubs

Wed, 16/05/2018 - 13:45

The 2017/18 Premier League season is over, but how do non-Liverpool fans rate their respective teams’ campaigns, and the Reds’ future title hopes?

Another highly entertaining league season has come to an end, with Liverpool securing a fourth-placed finish after their 4-0 win over Brighton on Sunday.

Man City romped to the league title, amassing 100 points, while Man United and Tottenham joined the Reds in the top four.

The Championship beckons for West Brom, Stoke City and Swansea City, and Chelsea, Arsenal and Burnley qualified for the Europa League.

We’ve got in touch with a supporter from each of the other 19 top-flight clubs to get their thoughts on the season, and Liverpool’s title chances in 2018/19.


 Arsenal's Jack Wilshere during the FA Premier League match between Arsenal and Newcastle United at the Emirates Stadium. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

TIA’s predicted finish: 6th

Eventual finish: 6th

Rate your season out of 10: 4

Name one player you’d realistically like your club to sign this summer…

Riyad Mahrez. Realistic, I suppose.

What do Liverpool require to become a title contender next season?

A world-class goalkeeper, a centre-back and Naby Keita.

Faisal Khan (@fkhanage)


 AFC Bournemouth's manager Eddie Howe during the FA Premier League match against Liverpool at Dean Court. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

TIA’s predicted finish: 12th

Eventual finish: 12th

Rate your season out of 10: 6

Name one player you’d realistically like your club to sign this summer…

Fulham’s Tom Cairney.

What do Liverpool require to become a title contender next season?

Apart from a points deduction of 25 points for City and a 10-point deduction for United, I’d say David de Gea in the transfer window to really annoy the Mancunians!

Peter Bell (@CherryChimes)

Brighton & Hove Albion

 Brighton & Hove Albion's caption Bruno Saltor Grau during the FA Premier League match between Brighton & Hove Albion FC and Liverpool FC at the American Express Community Stadium. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

TIA’s predicted finish: 20th

Eventual finish: 15th

Rate your season out of 10: 8

Name one player you’d realistically like your club to sign this summer…

Jay Rodriguez.

What do Liverpool require to become a title contender next season?

A goalkeeper who can earn 10 points a season.

Kieran Maguire (@KieranMaguire)


 Burnley's goalkeeper Nick Pope during the FA Premier League match between Burnley FC and Manchester City FC at Turf Moor. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

TIA’s predicted finish: 16th

Eventual finish: 7th

Rate your season out of 10: 10. How can it be anything less?

Name one player you’d realistically like your club to sign this summer…

Jay Rodriguez. A Burnley lad through and through, and will not only love the club but give us some extra class up front.

What do Liverpool require to become a title contender next season?

A £70 million goalkeeper!

Natalie Bromley (@Natalie_Bromley)


 Chelsea's manager Antonio Conte before the FA Premier League match between Everton and Chelsea at Goodison Park. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

TIA’s predicted finish: 2nd

Eventual finish: 5th

Rate your season out of 10: 4 (rising to 6/10 if we win the FA cup)

Name one player you’d realistically like your club to sign this summer…


What do Liverpool require to become a title contender next season?

Liverpool need to be stronger mentally and have the ability to grind out results, like Jose Mourinho’s Chelsea teams.

Richard Long (@CONTETHEKING)

Crystal Palace

 Crystal Palace's manager Roy Hodgson before the FA Premier League match between Crystal Palace FC and Liverpool FC at Selhurst Park. (Pic by Dave Shopland/Propaganda)c

TIA’s predicted finish: 9th

Eventual finish: 11th

Rate your season out of 10: 8. Horrible start but recovered brilliantly. Staying up is always the main goal.

Name one player you’d realistically like your club to sign this summer…

Ruben Loftus-Cheek. When he adds goals to his game there is a really good player there.

What do Liverpool require to become a title contender next season?

Liverpool don’t need to add too many players to contend. The attack is sorted and the defence has improved. Consistency will help more than anything.

Rory Brelsford-Stewart (@RoryBS)


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

TIA’s predicted finish: 7th

Eventual finish: 8th

Rate your season out of 10: 3. A massive disappointment given the lofty pre-season expectations. Everton are now further away from being ready to properly compete, despite an outlay of over £200 million.

Name one player you’d realistically like your club to sign this summer…

Abdoulaye Doucoure. Hopefully Marco Silva could bring his former charge with him if he is appointed as Sam Allardyce’s successor. Everton’s midfield badly needs an insertion of dynamism.

What do Liverpool require to become a title contender next season?

Extra depth in just about every position and a top-class goalkeeper. Despite improved performances of late, the jury is still out on Karius at the very highest level.

Paddy Boyland (@Paddy_Boyland)

Huddersfield Town

 Huddersfield Town's manager David Wagner before the FA Premier League match between Huddersfield Town and Southampton at the John Smith's Stadium. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

TIA’s predicted finish: 18th

Eventual finish: 16th

Rate your season out of 10: 10. That sort of grading isn’t normally warranted, but I feel after this season, in particular the way the squad battled to stay in the division, it is deserved.

Name one player you’d realistically like your club to sign this summer…

If it was possible to persuade Terence Kongolo to join permanently from Monaco it would be incredible.

What do Liverpool require to become a title contender next season?

More of the same from the latter half of the season.

Another player of similar qualities to Van Dijk in the middle of defence could see a title challenge. I am very impressed with both Alexander-Arnold and Robertson.

After the second leg against Roma in the Champions League, the squad seemed to drift somewhat in the league. Focus until the end domestically is most certainly required, and City will be extremely hard to displace.

Nathan Hosker (@htafcslo)

Leicester City

 Leicester City's Wilfred Ndidi during the Football League Cup 3rd Round match between Leicester City and Liverpool at the King Power Stadium. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

TIA’s predicted finish: 13th

Eventual finish: 9th

Rate your season out of 10: 6.5. By no means a disaster, but definite room for improvement.

Name one player you’d realistically like your club to sign this summer…

Xherdan Shaqiri. If Mahrez leaves we need a quality, creative replacement.

What do Liverpool require to become a title contender next season?

Strength in depth.

The starting XI is as good as any in the league, especially the much-praised front three, but winning the league requires a strong squad. Some quality additions will make a big difference.

Jamie Thorpe (@thorpie54)

Man City

 Manchester City's captain Vincent Kompany celebrates with the trophy on stage after the parade through the city after winning the FA Premier League and the Football League Cup trophies. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

TIA’s predicted finish: Champions

Eventual finish: Champions

Rate your season out of 10: 10. How can it be anything else given the records City have smashed? It has been a domestic season of unparalleled dominance and all achieved with a swaggering style.

Name one player you’d realistically like your club to sign this summer…

Jorginho is a brilliant talent and signing him makes sense on every level, but to really get the juices flowing I would love to see an all-out ‘City are buying the league’ bid for Kylian Mbappe.

What do Liverpool require to become a title contender next season?

Keita will improve you immeasurably, as too will the addition of a top-class goalkeeper.

A Ringo Starr to your Fab Three will help too, because any mid-term or long-term injuries to Sadio Mane, Mohamed Salah or Roberto Firmino and the title becomes a longer shot.

Ste Tudor (@SteTudor123)

Man United

 Manchester United's manager Jose Mourinho during the FA Premier League match between Stoke City and Manchester United at the Bet365 Stadium. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

TIA’s predicted finish: 4th

Eventual finish: 2nd

Rate your season out of 10: 5. Nineteen fucking points behind the best team in the country is a disgrace. If you can’t win the league at least contend for it. Not one club has troubled City and everyone else should be ashamed of that.

Name one player you’d realistically like your club to sign this summer…

A left-back. A left winger. A right-back. A right winger. And find a captain for fuck sake. Someone who can take charge on the field like Martin Buchan, Bryan Robson, Roy Keane and Nemanja Vidic.

What do Liverpool require to become a title contender next season?

The mentality that second, third and fourth isn’t acceptable.

Ste Armstrong (@sarm0161)

Newcastle United

 Anthony Devlin/PA Wire. RESTRICTIONS: EDITORIAL USE ONLY No use with unauthorised audio, video, data, fixture lists, club/league logos or "live" services. Online in-match use limited to 75 images, no video emulation. No use in betting, games or single club/league/player publications

TIA’s predicted finish: 10th

Eventual finish: 10th

Rate your season out of 10: 8

Name one player you’d realistically like your club to sign this summer…

Andy Carroll.

What do Liverpool require to become a title contender next season?

Not a lot!

Alex Hurst (@tfNUFCfanzine)


 Southampton's Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg in action against Burnley during the FA Premier League match at Turf Moor. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

TIA’s predicted finish: 14th

Eventual finish: 17th

Rate your season out of 10: 4

Name one player you’d realistically like your club to sign this summer…

Quincy Promes.

What do Liverpool require to become a title contender next season?

Liverpool are probably three or four starting players short of challenging City over the course of a season. They need a better goalkeeper, right-sided centre-back and defensive midfielder, and possibly another full-back.

In addition to that, City’s strength in depth is so much greater, which provides them with a massive advantage over the course of a 38-game season.

Richard Brereton (@RichardBrer)

Stoke City

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

TIA’s predicted finish: 15th

Eventual finish: 19th

Rate your season out of 10: 1. Shockingly poor, and we all saw it coming.

Name one player you’d realistically like your club to sign this summer…

Difficult to say, but a rumoured move for Dwight Gayle has got a lot of supporters’ hopes up. He would be fantastic.

What do Liverpool require to become a title contender next season?

Game management.

City can kill off the smaller clubs with a lot more ease. Although blessed with an outstanding attack, Klopp sometimes can’t find a way to grab three points against teams who set up to defend.

David Cowlishaw (@davidcowlishaw)

Swansea City

Swansea City manager Carlos Carvalhal (David Davies/EMPICS Sport)

TIA’s predicted finish: 18th

Eventual finish: 18th

Rate your season out of 10: 2

Name one player you’d realistically like your club to sign this summer…

I don’t know where to start. So many players will leave, so we will need players in every position.

Keeping Oliver McBurnie would be a start as he was Barnsley’s Player of the Season, despite only joining on loan in January.

What do Liverpool require to become a title contender next season?

Sign a world-class and more consistent goalkeeper, replace Lovren at the back. You’re probably fine elsewhere, although Milner isn’t getting any younger.

Kevin Elphick (@Kevin_Elphick)


 Tottenham Hotspur's Harry Kane during the FA Premier League match between Liverpool FC and Tottenham Hotspur FC at Anfield. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

TIA’s predicted finish: 5th

Eventual finish: 3rd

Rate your season out of 10: 8.5

Name one player you’d realistically like your club to sign this summer…

A top striker to help Harry Kane.

What do Liverpool require to become a title contender next season?

Another top centre-back or a creative midfielder to support the front three—either or both will surely be on Klopp’s summer wish list.

It feels like Liverpool are very close to challenging City.

Russ Williams (@Russw777)


 Watford's Abdoulaye Doucoure during the FA Premier League match against Liverpool at Vicarage Road. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

TIA’s predicted finish: 19th

Eventual finish: 14th

Rate your season out of 10: 5. We stayed up comfortably which is an achievement, but after such a blistering start it is hard not to be a little disappointed.

Name one player you’d realistically like your club to sign this summer…

Watford scored one goal away from Vicarage Road in 2018 and not many more at home. The Hornets need a striker badly. I don’t care who he is as long as he knows where the goal is.

What do Liverpool require to become a title contender next season?

Apart from City being docked 10 points for financial irregularities, the Reds must keep Salah. They must also freshen up the squad. If you’re standing still you’re going backwards, so adding high-end performers is vital.

Replacing Can will be important, and having a reliable backup option for the versatile Milner could be pivotal, too.

Mike Parkin (@watfordpodcast)

West Brom

 Liverpool's Virgil van Dijk during the FA Premier League match between Liverpool and Manchester City at Anfield. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

TIA’s predicted finish: 11th

Eventual finish: 20th

Rate your season out of 10: 3. Until the final few weeks Albion deserved a rating close to zero.

Very little had gone right, the club had suffered its longest ever Premier League losing streak and were going down without a whimper.

But caretaker manager Darren Moore salvaged some pride with a string of fabulous results including wins against Man United, Newcastle and Tottenham.

He even had the more optimistic Albion fans dreaming of an unthinkable escape heading into the final week.

The Baggies went down as the bottom club, but at least with their dignity intact.

Name one player you’d realistically like your club to sign this summer…

Relegation inevitably means West Brom will have to dip into a very different market to the one they’ve shopped in for the past eight years.

They need to find players who have excelled at Championship level, but who Premier League clubs are not yet ready to take a chance on.

Bristol City midfielder Bobby Reid, who banged in 21 goals in all competitions last season, might just fit the bill.

What do Liverpool require to become a title contender next season?

The season before last Liverpool took more points off the ‘big six’ than any other team, so the trio of wins over all-conquering City came as little surprise.

Liverpool have, for a while now, been able to mix it with the best of them. It’s a question of consistency. It’s seeing off the lesser teams—the likes of West Brom, who have proved a huge thorn in Klopp’s side—that will take the Reds to the next level.

To get there, they’ll certainly need a specialist left-back and another big signing at centre-back because I’m still not convinced by Lovren, Matip or Klavan.

Keita’s impending arrival should make a big difference, too, not that Liverpool are light in central midfield.

Paul Suart (@PaulSuartWBA)

West Ham

 West Ham United's Marko Arnautovic during the FA Premier League match between Liverpool FC and West Ham United FC at Anfield. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

TIA’s predicted finish: 8th

Eventual finish: 13th

Rate your season out of 10: 4

Name one player you’d realistically like your club to sign this summer…

Cairney at Fulham looks a great player.

What do Liverpool require to become a title contender next season?

I think a world-class goalkeeper would make all the difference, along with possibly a couple of defenders.

Attack-wise, I don’t think Liverpool can get much better.

Danny Rust (@Danny_Rust10)

* Thanks to all 19 contributors for their views on the season!

Categories: LFC NEWS

Emre Can to return to Liverpool training this week

Wed, 16/05/2018 - 13:12

Liverpool midfielder Emre Can is set to join his team-mates for this week’s training camp in Marbella, after a lengthy spell out with a back injury.

Can has not featured since his early withdrawal in the 5-0 win at home to Watford in March, missing the last 11 games after returning to Frankfurt for treatment.

Left out of Joachim Low’s provisional Germany squad for the upcoming World Cup, the 24-year-old was expected to be ruled out for the rest of the season.

And with his contract set to expire at the end of June he looked to have played his last game for Liverpool, with a free transfer to Juventus mooted.

But the club have confirmed that Can will join Jurgen Klopp‘s squad in Spain this week as they prepare for the Champions League final.

The ex-Bayer Leverkusen man “will be monitored and assessed on a day-by-day basis to determine if and when he can rejoin full training with the rest of the squad.”

Given Can had previously stayed away from Melwood after Klopp’s proposed return date of May 7, however, this is a more positive development.

He will have little time to prove his fitness for the clash with Real Madrid in 10 days’ time, but Can’s availability would be a major boost to Liverpool’s hopes.

James Milner will also make his comeback in Marbella after missing Sunday’s 4-0 win at home to Brighton with a minor injury.

This could provide Klopp with two further options to take on Real Madrid, having spent the majority of the season’s run-in with just Milner, Georginio Wijnaldum and Jordan Henderson fit.

Adam Lallana came off the substitutes’ bench in the second half at Anfield, making just his 14th appearance of the season.

Categories: LFC NEWS

Liverpool to sign young Chelsea midfielder Isaac Christie-Davies

Wed, 16/05/2018 - 12:42

Liverpool are reportedly set to sign Chelsea midfielder Isaac Christie-Davies on a free transfer, after the youngster’s trial earlier this year.

Christie-Davies played all 90 minutes in the U23s’ defeats to Leicester City and Man United in March, but subsequently left for a spell with Eredivisie side PEC Zwolle.

The 20-year-old’s time in the Netherlands did not result in a long-term move, but with his contract set to expire in the summer he is due to leave Stamford Bridge.

According to ESPN FC, Christie-Davies will pen a deal with the Reds, becoming the second arrival from Chelsea in as many seasons.

Liverpool signed Dominic Solanke on a free transfer last summer, with the two clubs yet to agree a compensation fee despite the striker joining 10 months ago.

Christie-Davies is unlikely to follow Solanke into Jurgen Klopp‘s first team, however, with the former Brighton youth expected to link up with the U23s.

He would bolster Neil Critchley’s ranks with further experience, with the Reds presiding over a host of departures from the academy setup in the coming weeks.

Yan Dhanda is poised to join Swansea City, while the likes of Jordan Williams, Paulo Alves and Toni Gomes are also set to follow the forward out of Kirkby.

Liverpool currently have two further trialists on their books in Scottish goalkeeper Ross Sinclair and Spanish winger Angel Sanchez, though no permanent deals are lined up as of yet.

Christie-Davies was part of the same Chelsea youth sides as Solanke, and is a versatile central midfielder who should slot into Critchley’s squad as a regular starter.

His signing is reminiscent of that of Kevin Stewart in 2014, but with an influx of quality this summer including Naby Keita, Christie-Davies would face a fight to equal his 20 first-team outings.

Categories: LFC NEWS

Roberto Firmino explains why he is enjoying his best-ever season with Liverpool

Wed, 16/05/2018 - 12:06

Roberto Firmino says he is enjoying the best season of his career, but admits to feeling “restless” in his quest for perfection at Liverpool.

Mohamed Salah may have deservedly scooped the vast majority of the end-of-season awards, but Firmino has been Liverpool’s second-best player by a distance.

His all-round game, from his astonishing work ethic to his subtle genius on the ball, has seen him mature into one of Europe’s best players, with 27 goals proof that he can also finish.

The 26-year-old is arguably the first name on Jurgen Klopp‘s team-sheet, and he will be integral to the future success of this Reds side.

Speaking to UEFA, Firmino hailed 2017/18 as the best campaign of his career to date, but admits he is hungry to improve further, as well as win the Champions League later this month:

“This year is my best year as a professional footballer, [but] I am still a little bit ‘restless’, as I always want more, to grow and grow even further.

“[It would be] a unique moment [to win the final]. It’s a very special trophy, because it’s the Champions League.

“If we’re fortunate enough to be able to win it, it will be a very emotional moment for me and the whole team.”

Touching upon the final against Real Madrid on May 26, Firmino feels Liverpool are worthy of their place there, and is both excited and confident about getting the better of Los Blancos, despite their pedigree:

“Of course we dreamed big, I dream big and our whole team had that dream.

“Sure, we’ve had to win matches, go step by step, and put in a lot of work to reach the final. Now that we are in the final we also must remain focused.

“We know there is an equally well-qualified team on the other side. It will be a great final.

“We know about Real Madrid. They are always winning titles in the Champions League and in the Spanish league too. They are a great team and are very tough to play against.

“This is a final and a one-off game, a one-off moment. But they’ll also be up against, in Liverpool, a team and a club with a great pedigree. We are going to fight until the end.”

 Liverpool's Mohamed Salah (right) celebrates scoring the second goal with team-mate Roberto Firmino during the UEFA Champions League Semi-Final 1st Leg match between Liverpool FC and AS Roma at Anfield. (Pic by Carlo Baroncini/Propaganda)

Firmino’s famous celebrations and eccentric demeanour can easily make him misunderstood, and it is clear that he is a born winner.

He is so keen to keep improving all the time as a player, and there is a confidence about him that must impact on team-mates.

The Brazilian’s influence is going to be so important in Kiev—the biggest night of his career—and in the years to come.

Arsenal legend Thierry Henry recently lauded Firmino’s ability, telling Sky Sports that no other striker in the Premier League has more in his locker:

“His movement, his work rate, the way he makes the two central defenders move to allow Mo Salah to make those runs.

“Firmino is the most complete striker in the league.

“I’m not talking about the best finisher or the best work rate, I’m talking about all round. The most complete in the league.”

He is absolutely spot on.

Categories: LFC NEWS

The good, the bad and taking the next step toward the title: Debating Liverpool’s 17/18 Premier League campaign

Tue, 15/05/2018 - 23:00

Liverpool’s Premier League campaign for 2017/18 has been a real rollercoaster at times, but a fourth-place finish makes it a success overall.

The Reds at one stage looked as though they might challenge for second, but an end-of-season slump of sorts ensured it was fourth once more and no higher.

That said, to finish in the same position as last season despite the added games and excitement of the Champions League means it has still been a progressive campaign.

Jurgen Klopp has had to battle increased competition for the top four spots, a host of injury worries and a generally thin squad this year.

This Is Anfield regulars Karl Matchett (@karlmatchett), Jack Lusby (@jacklusby_), Matt Ladson (@mattladson) and Henry Jackson (@HenryJackson87) discuss the best and worst of the campaign—and what must be done over summer to challenge higher next year.

The good…

 Liverpool's Mohamed Salah celebrates scoring the third goal with team-mate Roberto Firmino during the FA Premier League match between Watford and Liverpool at Vicarage Road. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

KARL: Where to begin! There have been SO many huge positives around the league campaign, but a personal favourite has to be going unbeaten at Anfield all season, the only team to do so.

Yes, there have been too many draws, but that’s an immeasurably better complaint than previous years where the Reds have won less than 10, lost three or four, or conceded more than a goal a game on average at Anfield!

Mo Salah and Roberto Firmino have been genuinely world class this season, but I’m also delighted for Sadio Mane‘s return to form and importance. He’s such an important player with his speed and movement.

Virgil van Dijk is nothing short of pivotal at the other end of the pitch, and Jurgen Klopp should get praise for the meritocracy he’s employed to get the starting 11 more or less as a first choice according to form.

JACK: I’ve loved this season.

Klopp has really restored that vibrancy we saw in the title-challenging season in 2013/14, but under this manager there is more stability and a more hardened mentality; I’m genuinely confident going into every game now.

 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)

It’s been great watching the front three thriving, and these breakthrough campaigns for Trent, Robertson and Ox have been brilliant, while Klopp is clearly tweaking things further at the back.

The turnaround post-Spurs has been remarkable, and how they’ve managed to use that as a catalyst for improvement—be that through changes in personnel or in terms of system—really bodes well for the long term.

I’d still say my highlight in the league was thrashing Arsenal back in August. It gave us a taste of what was to come.

MATT: Pretty much everything, which is nice to say.

The way that Klopp turned things around after the shambles against Spurs at Wembley has been extremely pleasing, so too the way in which the side have begun to learn to play a different way and get results even when not at their best.

We’ve progressed in every sense, showing better tactical understanding and flexibility, which really bodes well for the future.

I won’t go into the individuals too much as we all know about Salah, Firmino, Robertson, Alexander-Arnold and Van Dijk’s seasons.

 Liverpool's manager Jürgen Klopp celebrates after the 2-1 (5-1 aggregate) victory over Manchester City during the UEFA Champions League Quarter-Final 2nd Leg match between Manchester City FC and Liverpool FC at the City of Manchester Stadium. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

What is good though is that the signings made under Klopp continue to prove to be excellent.

There’s a very strong chance that the ‘best XI’ next season doesn’t contain a single player who was the club before Klopp arrived—bar Firmino, who has been transformed into a new role.

HENRY: Securing a top-four finish for a second year in a row was the main positive; consolidating after last season was so, so important in terms of the club moving forward.

It has all been done in such breathlessly entertaining fashion, too, apart from when Champions League commitments took centre stage late on.

The football has been a joy, particularly the front three.

Salah’s remarkable season is something we never saw coming—it could be the best-ever by a Liverpool player in the Premier League—but Firmino was also magnificent, the first-choice full-backs excelled and Van Dijk’s influence has been everything we hoped and more.

Philippe Coutinho hasn’t even been remotely missed, and it allowed Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain to emerge from his shadow and play the best football of his career.

Even though Man United and Tottenham finished above us eventually, Liverpool are undoubtedly better, regardless of how biased that sounds.

The bad…

 Liverpool's Emre Can goes down injured during the FA Premier League match between Liverpool FC and Watford FC at Anfield. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

KARL: The squad is too thin and a lack of depth at the same level of quality has hampered the Reds, big time.

There were some awful team performances before the turn of the year; Wembley against Spurs was a real low-point, as was West Brom at home in the FA Cup in January. We also need to look at results vs. top-six teams and improve that drastically.

Form can fluctuate in players of course, but in terms of how high a level individuals reached I was disappointed in Emre Can, capable of much more, and in Joel Matip, who rightly lost out in the battle to be Van Dijk’s partner.

In general though it has been a good campaign league-wise, which makes it difficult to pick out more truly bad moments!

JACK: It seems wrong to criticise Liverpool on a goalscoring basis, but a lack of diversity in those contributing can be seen as a negative.

Only Salah, Firmino, Mane and the departed Coutinho scored more than five goals in the league, whereas last season there were twice as many.

 Liverpool's Joel Matip and Ragnar Klavan during the FA Premier League match between Liverpool and Huddersfield Town at Anfield. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

At the other end, there are still issues at the back, but given these are being ironed out I’d say the issue in this respect now is a broader one: that being the multitude of injuries throughout the squad.

The likes of Matip, Gomez, Lovren and Lallana are proving unreliable in terms of fitness, and freak issues for Moreno, Can, Ox and Mane haven’t helped either.

On the whole it’s been a great campaign in the league, and these negatives can be addressed after the final.

MATT: Not so much ‘bad’ per-se, but there are a few disappointments that will hopefully iron out over the summer.

The number of draws—at least four more than any other top-six side—is an area that annoys me and will need to be addressed if we are to become title challengers.

It was a shame to see us go from being fantastic against the fellow top sides to that being our struggle this season, but again I’m confident that will improve next season.

Player-wise, it was disappointing that Danny Ward was kept at the club then not used, and similarly for Ben Woodburn.

HENRY: I’ve been disappointed with Liverpool’s performances against their rivals in general, apart from at home to Arsenal and Man City.

They didn’t win away to any of them, or Everton, with Spurs away a particular low point. The second-half collapse at the Emirates was also grim, and they didn’t show up at United.

Let’s hope that trend doesn’t continue next season—my personal opinion is that it won’t, and that things just didn’t quite happen this time around.

Not finishing second or third was a minor shame, but then again, Liverpool had a certain Champions League run playing on their minds during the league run-in.

…and what needs to be done over the summer to mount a real title challenge next season?

 Liverpool's Virgil van Dijk during the FA Premier League match between West Bromwich Albion FC and Liverpool FC at the Hawthorns. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

KARL: Another centre-back, another central midfielder and two new faces to look at in attack, whether they are returning players or new signings.

It cannot be those three or nobody, and neither Ings nor Solanke can be relied upon to keep the side elite and free-scoring at this moment.

Ideally, one new face should be of the same level as Mane, Salah and Firmino: four ‘starters’ to choose from, then a backup and a younger prospect would be the perfect set-up for the three forward spots.

The more I see him play there, the more I’m impressed with Wijnaldum as the No. 6: he’s strong, quick across the ground, reads the game well and plays nicely from that role—as well as retaining the ability to burst forward.

But another dynamic and creative outlet is definitely required in that area of the pitch.

Those are the bare minimums…but other teams will also be improving so a title tilt might well remain out of reach even with all those additions, meaning an extra hit of quality investment is required.

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

JACK: For me this summer largely needs to be spent fleshing out the squad, and being ruthless with those who can’t be available on a regular basis.

I’d keep Karius as No. 1 goalkeeper and, if he is happy to stay after being shafted this season as Matt has rightly pointed out, Ward should be promoted to backup goalkeeper along with Grabara.

Finding a long-term partner for Van Dijk, a stable option as No. 6 given Can’s leaving, another progressive midfielder since Ox is out for the long term and genuine depth in the final third should be the priorities.

The first-choice starting lineup is great, but we need more quality to sustain success and hopefully defend our Champions League trophy next season.

Keita is certainly a start there—I can’t wait to watch him play in a Liverpool shirt.

 Jan Woitas/dpa-Zentralbild/dpa

MATT: A few things, which I went into more detail for FourFourTwo back in March; turning those draws into victories, overhauling the midfield, signing a partner for Van Dijk, and adding depth in attack.

We cannot have players who aren’t physically reliable; which means, for me, the likes of Ings, Lallana, possibly even Gomez are in danger this summer.

Give me a centre-back—by all accounts, Barcelona’s Yerry Mina would fit the bill—then add Ruben Neves to compete with Henderson, James Maddison to replace Lallana, Ryan Sessegnon to add depth and cover at left-back and left-forward, then Christian Pulisic or Timo Werner ideally to address the lack of depth in attack.

 Guido Kirchner/dpa

All those are realistic and attainable.

We need a physically and mentally robust squad in order to compete on all fronts and maintain our place back among Europe’s elite. Exciting times.

HENRY: Liverpool are close. They really are.

Naby Keita is considered one of Europe’s best midfielders, and will make a Van Dijk-esque impact, and just a few more additions are required to challenge with City.

A better centre-back needs to come in alongside Van Dijk, even though Dejan Lovren has had good games and Joel Matip can also impress.

There are still minor question marks against Loris Karius, harsh as that may sound, with Roma’s Alisson an undoubted upgrade, should a move materialise.

I would be happy enough to stick with Karius, though.

Napoli's Filho Jorge Jorginho - Nick Potts/EMPICS Sport

A top-class defensive midfielder also needs to be acquired, such as Napoli’s Jorginho, and adding squad depth in attack, both out wide and as a back-up to Firmino centrally, is crucial.

The Reds ended up finishing fourth because they couldn’t make changes from midweek to weekends.

They need to be in a position where they have 18-20 top players to choose from, not 14-15.

Categories: LFC NEWS