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Updated: 8 hours 28 min ago

2 Reds on target, 1 assists and 1 debuts – Liverpool FC Loan Watch

8 hours 39 min ago

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The goal put Wolfsburg 1-0 up, but most importantly it came in a positive overall display from Origi, who was a threat all night and rightly kept his place for Friday’s clash with Bayern Munich.

It was a very different evening at the Allianz Arena for the Belgian, who had a thankless task playing up top on his own for 85 minutes of a credible 2-2 draw.

Origi fed off scraps as Bayern dominated throughout, but he produced some tidy hold-up play and worked tirelessly before being withdrawn five minutes from time.

Awoniyi was among the goals again at Royal Excel Mouscron, registering on the score-sheet in the first of two outings this week.

Mouscron's Michael Awoniyi celebrates after scoring during the Jupiler Pro League match between Sporting Lokeren and Royal Excel Mouscron, in Lokeren, Saturday 12 August 2017, on the third day of the Jupiler Pro League, the Belgian soccer championship season 2017-2018. BELGA PHOTO VIRGINIE LEFOUR

The Nigerian netted his third for the club in a 3-1 cup win over Tubize, scoring the opener on 27 minutes as he was in the right place at the right time to bundle home a cross – as seen here.

Awoniyi was withdrawn after an hour with his work done for the night, but his impressive form earned a start for Saturday’s clash with Eupen, which Mouscron won 3-2.

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Awoniyi didn’t manage to notch a second goal in as many games but he did play 88 minutes and still made a positive contribution.

Pedro Chirivella was another star performer, following a positive display last week with an influential showing in Willem II’s 4-2 cup win over Apeldoorn – in which he posted an assist.

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Continuing in a box-to-box role, Chirivella instigated his side’s second goal – delivering a delightful cross-field pass which Konstantinos Tsimikas controlled superbly and finished to make it 2-0.

Frustratingly, the Spaniard was denied the chance to continue his positive upturn against Herenveen on Saturday due to suspension.

Back in the Bundesliga, Ryan Kent featured twice for Freiburg, enjoying two substitute appearances as he continues to find his feet in Germany.

The first of those saw Kent post a positive 15-minute cameo in a 1-1 draw with Hannover, the winger making his mark on proceedings despite little time by forcing the corner from which his team equalised.

That bright impact earned Kent an extended half-hour run-out against Werder Bremen on Saturday, and the 20-year-old again was again in positive form – offering a pacey outlet and goal threat from wide.

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In Cyrpus, Allan Rodrigues made his Appollon Limassol debut last Monday, playing 80 minutes of a 4-2 win over Ermis in centre-midfield where he produced a solid first outing before being subbed at 2-2.

That was the Brazilian’s only action, with injury ruling him out of Saturday’s Limassol derby with AEL which ended 1-1.

Across the pond in MLS, Brooks Lennon returned to Real Salt Lake’s starting XI against Seattle Sounders and didn’t let his side down as he helped earn a 2-0 win.

The youngster enjoyed a rare outing in his natural central striking position, but overall he was in quiet form.

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It was a similarly action-packed – if less productive – week for the Reds on home soil.

In the Scottish Premier League, Connor Randall made a welcome return from injury to play all 90 minutes of Hearts’ 1-1 draw at Partick Thistle.

Randall’s comeback came in the midfield role predominantly played so far, and he showed positive progress with attacking duties in particular – coming close to scoring with a long-range strike.

In the Championship, Sheyi Ojo played a third successive full game for Fulham from the right of a three-man attacking midfield in a 1-1 draw with Middlesbrough.

Fulham's Sheyi Ojo

The youngster enjoyed some bright moments – showing good skill, directness and delivery in one-against-one situations – but overall it was one of his quieter outings for the Cottagers so far.

Jordan Williams continues to impress at Rochdale, with the midfielder in fine form again this week for the League One side.

Williams helped Dale seal an emphatic 4-0 win at rivals Bury in the Football League trophy in midweek, producing a dominant 73-minute display in the middle of the park.

And he impressed again on Saturday by producing another polished showing in a 3-0 win over Gillingham – doing a fine job protecting his back-four to help post a second straight clean sheet.

Shamal George’s loan at Carlisle is developing into a promising spell, with the youngster enjoying a third straight outing as he begins to make the No.1 shirt his own at the League Two side.

And George has taken no time in repaying manager Keith Curle’s faith, following up his surprise assist last week with a second clean sheet of the season as Carlisle thrashed Crewe 5-0 on Saturday.

5-0 win ? clean sheet ? what a team performance #cufc

— Shamal George (@shamalgeorge) September 23, 2017

Finally, Toni Gomes was rewarded for his positive impact last week with a start for Forest Green’s derby clash with Swindon – which ended in a 2-0 defeat.

The youngster started on the left of a three-man front line, where he competed well in a physical contest before being substituted on 66 minutes.

Liverpool’s Loanees This Week
  • Origi – Wolfsburg – Played 90mins & scored vs. Werder Bremen & 85mins vs. Bayern Munich
  • Kent – Freiburg – Played 15mins vs. Hannover & 30mins vs. Werder Bremen
  • Ojo – Fulham – Played 90mins vs. Middlesbrough
  • Chirivella – Willem – Played 90mins & assisted vs. Apeldoorn & suspended vs. Herenveen
  • Randall – Hearts – Played 90mins vs. Partick Thistle
  • Awoniyi – Mouscron – Played 60mins & scored vs. Tubize & played 88mins vs. Eupen
  • Allan – Apollon Limassol – Played 80mins vs. Ermis & uninvolved vs. AEL Limassol
  • Williams – Rochdale – Played 73mins vs. Bury & 90mins vs. Gillingham
  • Gomes – Forest Green – Played 66mins vs. Swindon
  • George – Carlisle – Played 90mins, keeping clean sheet vs. Crewe
  • Lennon – Real Salt Lake – Played 78mins vs. Seattle Sounders
Categories: LFC NEWS

Liverpool facing no new injury concerns ahead of Spartak Moscow clash

9 hours 33 min ago

The young Reds will take on their Spartak counterparts at 12pm (BST) on Tuesday, looking for a similar display to last time out.

Captaining Gerrard’s side at Prenton Park against Sevilla, Woodburn was central to an excellent 4-0 victory.

Lazar Markovic and Danny Ings were also part of training, despite being left out of Klopp’s squad for the Champions League group stage.

 Liverpool's goalkeeper Loris Karius during a training session at Melwood Training Ground ahead of the UEFA Champions League Group E match against FC Spartak Moscow. (Pic by Paul Greenwood/Propaganda)

Klopp is expected to make a handful of changes for Tuesday night, most notably with Loris Karius likely to replace Simon Mignolet between the sticks once again.

Trent Alexander-Arnold is a shoo-in to take over from Gomez at right-back, with the Reds’ only other option being Jon Flanagan, while Mane is due to come back into the forward line.

Spartak find themselves in miserable form heading in their second Group E outing, having won just twice in 11 games in the Russian Premier League this season, currently sitting eighth.

They were also held to a 1-1 draw away to Maribor in the Champions League earlier in September.

Speaking to This is Anfield ahead of the clash, Russian football expert and LFCTV commentator John Bradley cast a doubtful view over Spartak’s chances.

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“Once Liverpool’s players have seen the very rowdy atmosphere at kickoff and the outstanding tifos behind the goal, I fully expect them to dominate Spartak and run out comfortable winners,” he said.

Liverpool Squad in Training on Monday

 Liverpool's Philippe Coutinho Correia during a training session at Melwood Training Ground ahead of the UEFA Champions League Group E match against Sevilla FC. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

Goalkeepers: Mignolet, Karius, Ward

Defenders: Matip, Lovren, Klavan, Moreno, Robertson, Alexander-Arnold, Flanagan

Midfielders: Henderson, Can, Wijnaldum, Oxlade-Chamberlain, Milner, Grujic

Forwards: Mane, Salah, Coutinho, Firmino, Sturridge, Solanke, Markovic*, Ings*

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* Not in Champions League squad.

Categories: LFC NEWS

“Sadio Mane and Mo Salah could have plenty of joy” – The lowdown on Spartak Moscow

12 hours 32 min ago

Quincy Promes (Picture by Nigel French PA Archive/PA Images)

 
Not many Liverpool fans will know huge amounts about Spartak Moscow; what can you tell us about their playing style under Massimo Carrera?

Spartak is a huge club, they are Russia’s club and therefore, the demands on the players who represent them is gargantuan.

Just handling the pressure of expectation and lifting the clubs first title in 16 years was down to the way Carrera brought a rather disjointed set of players together.

He does like to play three at the back if he can, but doesn’t really have the quality of defensive player to do that. So, expect a 4-2-3-1 against Liverpool that will become everyone behind the ball when the Reds are having inevitable spells of pressure.

The focus of their build up will go through the Brazilian Fernando—a fine acquisition from Sampdoria last year—and captain Denis Glushakov, if fit.

Much of the attacking play will depend on the fitness of Quincy Promes. He missed only his fourth game through injury this weekend and it would be catastrophic for Spartak if he is missing.

He’s been their top scorer for three seasons and is the ‘out ball’ for them.

 
What are their strengths and weaknesses as a team?

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Strengths: A team bonded together by Carrera, who don’t know how to give up. Several goal threats. A good home record—beaten twice at home in a year, winning 13 of the 16 games.

Weaknesses: A slow defence, vulnerable to mistakes, and a goalkeeper always likely to throw in a costly error. Also, below the first 13-14 players they are a little weak, squad-wise.

 The Netherlands' Quincy Promes and Wales' Joe Allen and Joe Ledley during the International Friendly match at the Cardiff City Stadium. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

 
Who are Spartak’s key players?

Promes has been the best player in Russia for the last three seasons and Spartak’s top scorer from the wing.

Ze Luis is a Giant Cape Verde international centre-forward. Very powerful in the air and an obvious threat from set pieces and good wide delivery.

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Glushakov is one of the few Russians who doesn’t look out of place in international football. Club captain and driving force from midfield. Very capable of nicking important goals.

 
Are there any head-to-head battles with Liverpool players that you see being particularly important?

There are three key battles.

Whoever plays full-back for Liverpool against Promes will have a tough game. He won’t sit wide, he will be roaming everywhere and needs to be watched.

At the other end of the field, Sadio Mane and Mo Salah could have plenty of joy against Andrey Yeshchenko and Dmitri Kombarov. Both are vulnerabilities, pace and position-wise, and the Reds pair could annihilate them.

 Liverpool's Mohamed Salah celebrates scoring the second goal with team-mate Sadio Mane during the Audi Cup 2017 match between FC Bayern Munich and Liverpool FC at the Allianz Arena. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

 
They sit seventh in the Russian Premier League currently, having cruised to the title last season; do you feel Liverpool should have too much for them?

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Absolutely. In the old days, the old stadiums, poor facilities and poor pitches were a hindrance when playing in Russia, but the Otkrytie arena is a stunning, modern venue and the playing surface is Grade A.

Spartak will be competitive and will show plenty of heart and endeavour, however, Liverpool’s quality should prevail.

 
Jumping forward to December, do you see these being the two teams to make it through Group E?

Russian clubs are no longer in a position to be competitive in the Champions League, and even though teams won’t relish Moscow later in the year, third is the best Spartak can aim for.

 
Finally, hit us with a prediction for Tuesday’s clash…

Once Liverpool’s players have seen the very rowdy atmosphere at kick-off and the outstanding tifos behind the goal, I fully expect them to dominate Spartak and run out comfortable winners.

I’d look for something like 3-1 to Liverpool.

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Categories: LFC NEWS

Jurgen Klopp explains his approach to defending and reiterates his “real faith” in Liverpool squad

20 hours 12 min ago

“The main thing for defending is tactical discipline.

“I don’t know everything about football but I could write a book in the next two hours about which space we have to defend – when, why, where you have to be, where you have to step up, where you have to push up. Eighteen, 19 years, that’s no problem.

“But of course you have to do it. Let me see the [midweek Shinji Okazaki] goal we conceded; everything is perfect and one player doesn’t push up.

“I’m responsible for everybody pushing up but I cannot change in a second, I cannot take a car and drive them out of the box, that’s how it is.

“As long as not every player is doing it, I will talk about it, we will work on it. When everybody is doing it, I’ll make sure we do it for the rest of our lives.”

Despite problems at the back, the Reds are also renowned for being one of the most dangerous and attractive to watch sides in the Premier League when on the front foot.

 Liverpool's manager J¸rgen Klopp celebrates after the 3-2 victory during the FA Premier League match between Leicester City and Liverpool at the King Power Stadium. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

The attacking options available to Klopp mean that some suggest he is inclined toward training and focusing on the final third only—but he refutes the suggestion.

“You’re right, I have real faith, but not only offensively. I have faith in our squad. I like to have this but I know we need results. Maybe nobody else likes it but I really like this team.

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“I want to improve together and sometimes you need a punch in your face. We’ve already had a few – not too hard, though (Manchester) City was hard, but that was the only one.”

With big away games coming up next week, at Spartak Moscow and Newcastle United, Reds fans will be hoping to see Klopp’s optimism over the defence rewarded with improved displays at the back.

Categories: LFC NEWS

Liverpool and Everton battling for teenage defender from England’s U20 World Cup squad – reports

Sun, 24/09/2017 - 23:28

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Merseyside rivals Liverpool and Everton will go head-to-head in the January transfer window for Charlton Athletic’s young centre-back Ezri Konsa, say reports.


While the Reds are sorely in need of central defensive reinforcements, Konsa is just 19 and would perhaps be most likely to join up with Neil Critchley’s U-23 squad.

The Reds were well-represented in the England setup at the Under-20 World Cup over the summer, with Ovie Ejaria and Sheyi Ojo playing squad roles and Dominic Solanke a key figure.

Solanke scored four times as England won the competition, winning the Golden Ball in the process.

Dominic Solanke (ENG), MAY 20, 2017 - Football / Soccer : 2017 FIFA U-20 Wolrd Cup Group A match between Argentina 0-3 England at Jeonju World Cup Stadium in Suwon, South Korea. (Photo by Sho Tamura/AFLO SPORT)

Now the Mirror are reporting that the Reds, as well as rivals Everton, want to sign another member of that squad.

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Konsa is a centre-back who also features on the right, and is a regular member in the matchday squad for the League One side.

Six appearances off the bench this term in league play attest to his involvement despite his youth, while he was a starter for most of 2016/17.

At the U20 World Cup, Konsa was a peripheral figure, an unused sub five times and making just one cameo appearance in the semi-finals against Italy.

Konsa signed a three-year contract in March of this year on improved terms as recognition for his performances last term.


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Categories: LFC NEWS

Spartak Moscow struggles continue ahead of Liverpool’s Champions League visit

Sun, 24/09/2017 - 19:17

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Liverpool travel to Russia in midweek to face an out-of-form Spartak Moscow in the Champions League, who drew with bottom club Anzhi on Saturday.


The Reds face an arduous journey of around 2,500 km during the week for match day 2 in Europe, but Jurgen Klopp and his side can take comfort in the knowledge that their opponents won’t be in a tremendously positive frame of mind.

While Philippe Coutinho was inspiring the Reds to a 3-2 win at Leicester, Spartak’s poor Russian Premier League form continued as they drew 2-2 at home with bottom club Anzhi Makhachkala.

Those dropped points came despite Spartak taking the lead from the penalty spot early on, Luiz Adriano netting, as Anzhi scored twice after the break.

It took an injury time equaliser from Paraguayan substitute Lorenzo Melgarejo to rescue a point for Spartak, who now sit seventh in their league table after just one win in the last six.

Having also drawn against Maribor on match day 1 in Group E, it’s one win from seven in all competitions for the Russian outfit.

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 Liverpool and Sevilla players line-up before the UEFA Champions League Group E match between Liverpool and Sevilla at Anfield. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

Spartak weren’t the only side in Liverpool’s group to drop points; Sevilla were also left disappointed after losing 2-0 at Atletico Madrid’s new stadium.

Sevilla, without Ganso, Nolito or Johannes Geis, were toothless in attack throughout the game and struggled to trouble Atletico with any regularity.

The fourth side in the group, Maribor, produced a strong finish to their game on Friday night to come from 2-1 down and win 3-2.

A late red card for Lior Inbrum was overcome as Dino Hotic netted a last-minute winner against eighth-place Aluminij, keeping Maribor second in the 10-team 1.SNL table.

They are level on points, but behind on goal difference, with top club Olimpija. Sevilla host Maribor on Tuesday while the Reds play in Moscow.


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Liverpool Squad Stock Watch: Who has moved up or down 10 games into the season?

Sun, 24/09/2017 - 18:16
Up: Philippe Coutinho

 Liverpool's Philippe Coutinho Correia celebrates scoring the second goal during the FA Premier League match between Leicester City and Liverpool at the King Power Stadium. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

After Coutinho’s move to Barcelona failed to materialise, there was mixed anger and resentment among a group of fans that the Brazilian had wanted to leave in the first place.

Any fears that lingering animosity might be translated into the stadium was quickly assuaged when the No. 10’s name was given a big cheer as he was named on the bench against Sevilla—and his on-pitch displays have done the rest.

Coutinho was majestic against Leicester in both games, giving the Reds utter dominance in his 45 minutes in the League Cup and a pivotal three points in Premier League action.

Already he has a goal and assist to his name despite minimal involvement this term and the assumption will be he continues this upward trajectory to play a big role going forward in 17/18.

Down: Gini Wijnaldum

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

It isn’t all smiles for the regular starters though, with Gini Wijnaldum‘s form continuing to be erratic.

The former Newcastle man has earned a reputation of underperformance in away games, being labelled a ghost in some quarters, and it will doubtless take a few matches of improvement to shake such a tag.

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Liverpool can’t afford to carry players right now and if Wijnaldum doesn’t precisely hit the notes of being individually terrible, he certainly mirrors the form of the team.

If the Reds are looking good, he’s a pivotal part of forward momentum. But when things aren’t going so well, Wijnaldum has failed to help turn things around, a key attribute for a starting midfielder.

He’s likely to continue as one of the first-choice players for now, so turning around his form on a more regular basis is imperative.

Up: Alberto Moreno

 Liverpool's Alberto Moreno prepares to take a corner kick during the UEFA Champions League Group E match between Liverpool and Sevilla at Anfield. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

From being a point of anger and ridicule, to Jurgen Klopp‘s first-choice left-back: it has been quite a reversal of fortunes for the Spanish defender.

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Alberto Moreno isn’t infallible, nor has he been perfect every time he steps on the pitch. Indeed, there are those who will now refuse to see his uses, such have been his past errors.

But that’s irrelevant. Moreno is in possession of the shirt for big games right now, and is contributing to team performances.

On the overlap he can be electrifying and already more than once he has been a critical addition to the attack alongside or beyond Sadio Mane and Mohamed Salah.

Competition for places and earning back the manager’s trust is clearly working wonders for Moreno, as it is for the Reds’ full-back options in general.

Down: Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain

 Liverpool's Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain looks dejected as his side lose 2-0 during the Football League Cup 3rd Round match between Leicester City and Liverpool at the King Power Stadium. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

It’s very early days, but it has been a tricky start for Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain after joining from Arsenal and the only way is up.

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The former Gunners man has already been deployed on both flanks, as impact sub late in matches and with a start in the League Cup, but he looks short on confidence and sharpness—Liverpool fans certainly haven’t seen anything like his best form yet.

A succession of poorly executed dribbles, crosses and passes against Leicester in the cup game saw him derided on social media, but it’s not indicative of what Oxlade-Chamberlain’s overall contribution will be.

He has work to do to win a regular place, particularly with Coutinho coming back and Sadio Mane now free from suspension, but the midfield in particular has at least one spot up for grabs.

Klopp has done particularly well to get underperforming players back to a higher level of consistency and confidence, and the latest Reds signing is another who will benefit from the boss’ approach.

Up: Joe Gomez

 Liverpool's Joe Gomez in action against Tranmere Rovers during a preseason friendly match at Prenton Park. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

Moreno has seen off Andrew Robertson for left-back, for the time being at least, but on the right it’s an ongoing rotational situation.

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Trent Alexander-Arnold has won the admiration of fans—and rightly so—for his impressive displays and Champions League goal despite his inexperience, but Joe Gomez also deserves noting.

It’s Gomez who has marginally inched ahead in Klopp’s thinking, perhaps merely due to slightly more experience or the fact he’s more defensively resilient.

Against Sevilla it was Gomez who got the nod to star, suggesting he may have been slightly ahead in the order of preference, but between the two youngsters they have filled in for Nathaniel Clyne admirably.

Sure, Gomez has made the odd error of judgement—mis-timed challenges, his late red in Europe, a few instances where he has been turned too easily—but it’s easy to forget this is his first sustained run of competitive matches in two years.

He is playing very well, for the most part, and is deservedly in the reckoning for game time on a regular basis.

Down: All three senior centre-backs

 Liverpool's Joel Matip, Dejan Lovren, Ragnar Klavan and Divock Origi during the FA Premier League match against Stoke City at the Bet365 Stadium. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

There are no surprises when Liverpool make costly errors at the back, a fact which is the most damning element of Klopp’s reign thus far: he hasn’t fixed what was clearly broken upon his arrival.

A failure to add to the central defensive pool in the summer leaves the Reds with three seniors: Joel Matip and Dejan Lovren, the first-choice pairing, and backup Ragnar Klavan.

The Cameroonian is usually the most stable and reliable of the trio, and he has played well in certain games (such as Sevilla for most of the 90 minutes), but a recent downturn in form has seen him err as much as the more-maligned Lovren.

Where Lovren’s antics are usually made pertinent, of course, are that he does so in critical areas and with greater regularity (again, such as the Sevilla match early on).

There’s no way around it, Liverpool have to work with what’s left, at least until January.

But the fall-out from the transfer window and the ensuing form of this trio mean the Reds’ centre-back stock as a whole has rarely been lower. Someone has to step up and lead.

Up: Daniel Sturridge

 Liverpool's Daniel Sturridge celebrates scoring the fourth goal during the FA Premier League match between Liverpool and Arsenal at Anfield. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

There seems to be an acceptance-from fans, if not the striker himself—that Sturridge can play a crucial secondary role now for Liverpool: off the bench to impact, and an irregular starter to rest Roberto Firmino.

Whether he can find the consistency in form and fitness to change his importance in the eyes of the manager remains to be seen, but the fact is that Sturridge has at least twice put in telling displays for the Reds, showcasing depth which was previously missing.

He can score, he can create, he can help control a match.

Sturridge has always been an all-round, technically superb talent. Where he once was rapid and predatory he now may be more considered and involved outside the box, but he will remain a source of goals.

The No. 15 deserves more chances to show his importance to this team, be it in the XI or with minutes as sub.

Down: Jon Flanagan

 Liverpool's Jon Flanagan looks dejected as his side lose 2-0 during the Football League Cup 3rd Round match between Leicester City and Liverpool at the King Power Stadium. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

Most players who haven’t been hugely involved this season were given a run-out in the League Cup, but while the likes of Danny Ward impressed, Jon Flanagan struggled.

The full-back is at-best fourth choice on the right, third-choice on the left, and he failed to really grasp the chance to stake his claim as the Reds were knocked out.

A lack of pace was exposed more than once, and he has rarely been the kind of player to contribute enormously to build-up play.

Game time will be hard to come by from now until January, with the Reds out of domestic cup action until the FA Cup third round.

Categories: LFC NEWS

Many signs of rehabilitation provide biggest positives from Liverpool’s win at Leicester

Sun, 24/09/2017 - 15:24

Philippe Coutinho embraced this game in a manner which should dispel any lingering fears about his focus, and desire for footballing joy in a Liverpool shirt, in the wake of his attempts to leave for Barcelona.

This was Coutinho at his very best. At times, he was mesmerising, as the clear conduit of everything incisive which Liverpool did, on an eventful afternoon that stumbled through one flash-point to another with an unerring regularity.

Coutinho owned this game.

Daniel Sturridge is an example of understated rehabilitation.

 Liverpool's Daniel Sturridge during the FA Premier League match between Leicester City and Liverpool at the King Power Stadium. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

He probably will never be the 2013/14 version of himself ever again, but he is beginning to offer glimpses of the calming and intelligent, experienced influence he could become.

Within this, Liverpool’s support needs to embrace a new image, of a player they perhaps still want to see in its previous visage.

Sturridge can be one of the most important elements of this season’s endeavours. Reborn? Maybe not, but a metamorphosis of sorts can certainly happen.

Did we see signs of rehabilitation in Jordan Henderson? Rehabilitation doesn’t always come over the course of weeks, or months. Rehabilitation can be achieved within the span of one game.

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Simon Mignolet, rashly giving away a penalty, only to save it, also ticks this box, as does Mohamed Salah—missing a sitter, before heading home from an acute angle.

The Bad

 Liverpool's goalkeeper Simon Mignolet during the UEFA Champions League Play-Off 2nd Leg match between Liverpool and TSG 1899 Hoffenheim at Anfield. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

On a day when we played so well at times, on a day when we were clearly the more dominant side in the first half, before a more even-handed second half, it was again frustrating to see us sail all-too-close to throwing the three-points away.

From 3-1 up, to just a short few minutes later starring down the barrel of a penalty for a potential 3-3 scoreline, it made little sense.

Careless in the immediacy of having scored our third goal, and reckless in the conceding of the penalty.

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No matter what Klopp insisted, it was a penalty in my opinion. Mignolet skimmed across the top of the ball, but he mistimed the challenge, and totalled the onrushing player.

We’d want a penalty for that, wouldn’t we?

 Liverpool's goalkeeper Simon Mignolet saves a penalty from Leicester City's Jamie Vardy during the FA Premier League match between Leicester City and Liverpool at the King Power Stadium. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

The Emre Can shout held less substance however. Leicester weren’t hard-done-by here, and when you factor in that Leicester’s first shouldn’t have stood, a Liverpool win was the correct outcome.

Our main cause for discontent was purely based on us making the eventual result harder to come by than it should have been.

Craig Shakespeare’s view, that his team deserved a point, was largely churlish. They were fortunate to have been offered any way into the match.

While Mignolet was undeniably fouled within the process of Leicester being given some unnecessary hope, just before the half time break, he still struck the demeanour of a goalkeeper who lacks the confidence to command in such circumstances.

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Mignolet was hindered, rather than anchored by Shinji Okazaki, when he went for that corner.

The Uplifting

 Liverpool's Mohamed Salah celebrates scoring the first goal during the FA Premier League match between Leicester City and Liverpool at the King Power Stadium. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

Coutinho was key to everything, from his role in the chance Salah squandered—a rebound off the post from Can’s initial effort—to his cross for the opening goal and his beautifully taken free-kick.

The signs were there during pre-season of a potential telepathic style understanding with Salah, and these were the first signs of that on a competitive platform.

Noises of bravado which many made, that we didn’t need Coutinho anymore—noises that were all too easy to make in the slipstream of dismantling Arsenal—were always foolish ones, which would come back to bite us.

In a Premier League populated by a Pep Guardiola-led, free-scoring Manchester City, Antonio Conte’s driven and focused, defending champions at Chelsea, and the ever-growing stubborn arrogance of Jose Mourinho and Manchester United, we need every edge we can conjure.

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Nobody conjures for Liverpool quite like Coutinho.

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

We have more bows to our attacking string now than we have had at any point of the last two or three decades, but Coutinho is still the master of our destiny this season.

Sadio Mane is available once more, Salah is cultivating that special understanding with Coutinho, Roberto Firmino offers the whimsical, Sturridge is coming good again with some valuable cameo appearances.

Then there’s the promise of Dominic Solanke and Ben Woodburn.

How good was it to see Henderson win, and then convert the ball, for what proved to be the decisive third goal?

How good was it to see him haranguing the referee off the pitch at half time, when arguing the toss over Leicester’s first goal? This is the Henderson we need.

 Liverpool's captain Jordan Henderson complains to the assistant referee after Leicester City score an injury time goal in the first half during the FA Premier League match between Leicester City and Liverpool at the King Power Stadium. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

Mignolet’s rehabilitation, from giving away a penalty, to saving it. All of this is uplifting.

As ever, it’s all in Liverpool striking the right balance. We need to find the right balance.

Man City, Chelsea, and Man United all appear disconcertingly balanced. Once again, the question marks rest on Merseyside, and in North London.

This week, the last before another international break, presents us with two tasks where the balance needs to be perfect. We couldn’t ask for a more pertinent set of assignments: A trip to Moscow, and then to Newcastle United, for a visit of Rafa Benitez.

To come away with two positive results, we’ll need to be disciplined, but also expansive. These are footballing chemistry tests, where balance is everything.

Categories: LFC NEWS

Simon Mignolet hails Coutinho “magic” and “big step forward” for Liverpool

Sun, 24/09/2017 - 13:37

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Simon Mignolet helped Liverpool to a win at Leicester City with a penalty save, but praised the team performance and Philippe Coutinho.


The Belgian stopper had an up-and-down afternoon, with his performance displayed in a microcosm more than once.

He produced a stunning tip-over save before conceding off the ensuing corner—albeit while being blatantly fouled and missing his punch—while also conceding a penalty, which he then saved spectacularly.

While the erratic nature of his 90 minutes was mirrored by the Reds overall as they won 3-2, Mignolet suggested the end result would be of greater importance in the future as a performance to look back on.

“[It’s a] tough away trip always, especially for us, [so] I think today’s result is really important going forward,” he told LiverpoolFC.com.

 Liverpool's goalkeeper Simon Mignolet saves a penalty from Leicester City's Jamie Vardy during the FA Premier League match between Leicester City and Liverpool at the King Power Stadium. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

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“It was all about getting back to winning ways and we did that, and I think also the manner we did it [was important].

“It wasn’t easy, we fought well, showed character throughout the game to see it out and I think that’s a big step forward.

“The performance was really good, we had to fight for it, we had to win our duels, we had to be tough. And we did. Like I said, that’s a major thing we can take forward.”

While Mignolet provided some telling stops at one end, it was the return to prominence of Philippe Coutinho at the other end which ultimately yielded points for the Reds.

 Liverpool's Philippe Coutinho Correia scores the second goal from a free-kick during the FA Premier League match between Leicester City and Liverpool at the King Power Stadium. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

Mignolet acknowledged his team-mate is someone who can make the difference in tight games and paid tribute to the No. 10.

“[Coutinho] can always produce some magic. I was right behind the free-kick and the moment it left his boot I knew it was going to go in.

“He does that a lot in training and luckily it paid off again today.”

While Coutinho’s reintegration to the team will continue in the midweek European game in all probability, Mignolet is likely to once again be replaced by No. 2 Loris Karius as the battle to be the Reds’ undisputed starting goalkeeper continues.

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Gini Wijnaldum praises Liverpool’s character and fight in taking three points at Leicester

Sun, 24/09/2017 - 12:37

“After the goal they scored [to make it 3-2] it gave them a little bit of confidence and it also took a little bit of confidence off us because it was really tough and they kept pushing, and we had to defend with all that we’ve got.

“I think we have played better games than we did today, but we have won the game, which is the most important thing.

“We fought until the end to win the three points and I think this is a really good win because it’s not easy to win at Leicester.”

The Dutchman singled out both Coutinho and Mignolet for special praise, after the duo played a key role in the Reds’ triumph.

“He (Coutinho) was really good,” he added.

“I had a feeling he would score and he’s in good shape. It’s been really tough for him the last couple of weeks but he did great.”

 Liverpool's goalkeeper Simon Mignolet saves a penalty from Leicester City's Jamie Vardy during the FA Premier League match between Leicester City and Liverpool at the King Power Stadium. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

“It’s his (Mignolet’s) speciality, saving penalties!

“It’s always good if you have a goalkeeper who can stop penalties because he won the game for us and we are happy with that.”

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It was Mignolet’s seventh penalty save in 15 attempts for Liverpool, and while his all-round display was shaky, his stop from Vardy ultimately earned his side the win.

Coutinho, meanwhile, was a menace throughout, with his inch-perfect cross for Salah and magical free-kick outlining his influence.

The Brazilian is slowly getting back to his best after the summer transfer debacle, and he will prove to be so vital between now and May.

Categories: LFC NEWS

Attacking vibrancy offsets defensive issues as Coutinho leads Reds – Media on Leicester 2–3 Liverpool

Sun, 24/09/2017 - 12:01

Watching reporters unanimously felt that this was a vital victory for Klopp’s side to get back on track, but also thought the Reds’ performance was far from convincing.

Summarising events, the Independent’s Simon Hart assessed “the good Liverpool outdid the bad”:

Liverpool’s first Premier League victory since August came in the only way it seems they know how right now—a breathless match full of thrills and spills, where the good Liverpool just about outdid the bad.

This was Jürgen Klopp’s Reds in a nutshell.

The Guardian’s Paul Doyle assessed a return to the days where the Reds’ attack offset defensive issues:

In the end, however, Liverpool banked three points because their vibrancy going forward more than offset their problems at the rear, earning reward in the form of goals by Mohamed Salah, Philippe Coutinho and Jordan Henderson.

The Liverpool Echo’s James Pearce felt victory was vital given the results of top-six rivals and to begin rebuilding confidence:

After wins for Tottenham, Chelsea, Manchester City and United earlier in the day, the pressure had been cranked up. Klopp got the response he wanted and this should go some way to repairing battered confidence levels.

The Mirror’s Andy Dunn thought the win was one of the most important of Klopp’s tenure:

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There have been some landmark victories but few can have been as significant as this.

[…]

No matter how this win was achieved—and the irony of Simon Mignolet somehow saving the day is stark—it has given Klopp a psychological breather.

ESPN’s Iain Macintosh was among those to feel that for all recent struggles, the Reds are on the right track:

Klopp has taken some heavy criticism recently as the goals-against column continues to tick over, and some of these concerns have been justified. But his team are five points off the top with 32 games left to play. It is hardly a crisis.

Post-match reports heavily focussed on the match-winning display of Philippe Coutinho, who journalists felt showed exactly why Liverpool viewed the Brazilian as unsellable in the summer transfer window.

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 Liverpool's Philippe Coutinho Correia celebrates scoring the second goal during the FA Premier League match between Leicester City and Liverpool at the King Power Stadium. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

The Express’ Harry Pratt assessed Coutinho as “back to his best”:

The Brazilian ace, supposedly unsettled after a summer being chased by the mighty Barcelona, certainly looked back to his stunning best here.

[…]

No wonder Klopp had ordered the Liverpool board not to cave into the pressure of a huge bid from Barcelona. For when Coutinho ticks like this, more often than not the Merseysiders do too.

The Liverpool Echo’s Kristian Walsh saw Coutinho’s performance as his way of apologising:

After penning a transfer request to the club in the summer, this was his apology, presented in the shape of an excellent, influential display.

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Chosen to operate in the front three—where he showed his best football last season—he tortured those in Leicester blue. There were tricks and flicks, a few stepovers and rollovers, but most of all, a constant threat to the opposition.

Macintosh praised the way Coutinho has been reintegrated at Anfield:

But not only did Liverpool stand their ground, they quickly reintegrated the Brazilian into the first team too, with no recriminations and no judgement.

[…]

How wise a policy it has proved.

Writing for Goal.com, Melissa Reddy thought Coutinho’s display showed those who questioned the Reds’ decision to turn down £150million exactly why they did:

Liverpool could not contemplate losing their stardust for this season, and anyone who questioned why they didn’t cash in on him received a very clear answer on Saturday evening.

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This Is Anfield’s Karl Matchett praised Coutinho’s influence and positional versatility, which will help this season:

Quite why there was any annoyance or worry over Coutinho’s position is unfathomable: he was excellent in the role last term, it was an away game and he has goals to offer—it was really the only role for him from the start in this match.

[…]

But there shouldn’t be a one-size-fits-all approach to lineups, especially this season with a deeper squad, and Coutinho—along with several others—have to be able and willing to filter into various roles according to need.

The watching journalists offered views and general thoughts on various aspects of Liverpool’s set up and performance at the King Power Stadium.

 Liverpool's Philippe Coutinho Correia scores the second goal from a free-kick during the FA Premier League match between Leicester City and Liverpool at the King Power Stadium. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

On the Reds’ display, Pearce praised Klopp’s men for showing they can “dig deep”:

But, crucially, when their backs were against the wall, Liverpool dug deep and got themselves over the line.

Dunn discussed the goalkeeping situation, and feels the lack of trust in the position is the root cause of defensive issues:

There is little doubt where the seeds of Liverpool’s defensive dithering lie: with the goalkeeper.

Or rather with the goalkeeping situation. There is probably no other position on the pitch where trust can underpin performance. Has Mignolet ever really been trusted? By Klopp? By an assortment of defenders?

Matchett questioned Klopp’s rotation choices—and feels the German’s current method is counter-productive:

Rotation for the cups is all well and good, but those performances have to mean something more than just a 90-minute runout for the sake of it.

All squad players want to work their way into the starting XI on a regular basis, and without the reward of more consistent minutes on the pitch, where is the incentive to perform when handed a rare opportunity?

However, ESPN’s Steven Kelly felt Klopp enjoyed a better game, calling selection and substitutions right:

Jurgen Klopp got his selection right and even his substitutions gave some impetus.

Pearce thought Klopp’s more “conservative” selection paid off:

Picking Gini Wijnaldum ahead of Daniel Sturridge and opting to start Coutinho in the front three rather than in midfield was a conservative move by Klopp.

But it paid off handsomely during a first half when Liverpool bossed proceedings and packed a real punch going forward.

However, Matchett was impressed by the strength of Liverpool’s substitutes and the competition for places in the squad currently:

Liverpool can call on experienced international players from the bench, players who have proven they can perform at the elite level over a period of time.

[…]

And it’s up to those same players to offer something to the team and work their way into the XI. That’s the upward spiral of how competition works and can improve a team, and consistency along with impact must be noted and rewarded, as suggested above.

As always, reporters offered views on who shone and who struggled – with deserved praise for Jordan Henderson and Daniel Sturridge, but less complimentary words on Gini Wijnaldum.

 Liverpool's captain Jordan Henderson scores the third goal during the FA Premier League match between Leicester City and Liverpool at the King Power Stadium. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

Walsh felt Liverpool’s captain answered his critics:

The criticism he has faced this season has been overblown, if not founded in fairness. This was a showing that answered the question of what he does with aplomb.

Kelly reserved praise for Sturridge after an “excellent” cameo:

An excellent cameo from the England man, who was calm in possession, set up Henderson’s goal superbly and almost scored himself. Sturridge can’t duplicate Firmino’s work rate but does provide an alternate style late in a game.

Walsh believes Sturridge showed he is ready to start against Spartak Moscow:

Pick he did when setting up Jordan Henderson for the crucial third goal, and otherwise playing with the nous and sensibility of a veteran striker. His hold-up play and back-to-goal work was superb, even if he efforts on goal were reduced to distance.

As Leicester pushed for the equaliser, he was a constant outlet. His selection in Moscow should be a no-brainer.

Kelly felt Mignolet’s erratic performance symbolised Klopp’s Liverpool:

He almost symbolises this Liverpool, in that he’s great at the flashy stuff but poor at the basics. He was unlucky a foul on him wasn’t spotted for the first Leicester goal but a baffling decision to kick conceded a penalty and almost threw away two points. Fortunately, he is excellent at saving penalties, his denial of Jamie Vardy was his seventh stop from 15 spot kicks faced as a Liverpool player.

This Is Anfield’s Chris Williams was unimpressed by Dejan Lovren:

Had a horrendous opening five minutes; knocked the ball out of play under no pressure, then gave away possession on the edge of the box.

Talked himself into the book with an overzealous complaint after his protest for a penalty was waved away. Still far from convincing.

Finally, Kelly labelled Wijnaldum “invisible” and wants an improvement in the Dutchman’s form away from Anfield:

Another invisible away performance; while he seems to work hard, he rarely gets to grips with the game. Kept going right to the end—one of his qualities—but needs to have more influence during the earlier stages.

Categories: LFC NEWS

Video: Jurgen Klopp’s post-match press conference – Leicester City 2-3 Liverpool

Sat, 23/09/2017 - 23:55

“We like to work together with each other. We have a fantastic atmosphere at Melwood, where we work together,” he told reporters.

“There are a lot of people, 100-and-something people working there, and we all really want to be successful because we like the constellation and how it is there.

“We like the mood, we like all the people. In modern football that’s maybe rare, I’m not sure, but we want to be successful together.

“That means we always feel bad together when it’s not that good. We’ve felt quite average the last few days, and today much better.”

 Liverpool's Philippe Coutinho Correia celebrates scoring the second goal during the FA Premier League match between Leicester City and Liverpool at the King Power Stadium. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

Klopp was full of praise for Coutinho in particular, with the Brazilian scoring his first goal of the season with a stunning first-half free-kick.

Managing Coutinho’s fitness after a long spell out has been an issue for Klopp in recent weeks, but he stressed that his No. 10 is ready for his first 90 minutes in the near future.

And the manager believes Mignolet had a “good game,” particularly with his stop to deny Vardy’s penalty, which Klopp felt should not have been awarded.

Liverpool have little time to celebrate, as they travel to Spartak Moscow in the Champions League on Tuesday night, looking for another productive outing in Europe.

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After Saturday’s victory in the East Midlands, Klopp said he was hoping his players can build on their display and push for a more positive run of form this autumn.

Categories: LFC NEWS

Jurgen Klopp hails Simon Mignolet impact with Liverpool “deserved winners” over Leicester

Sat, 23/09/2017 - 23:30

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Jurgen Klopp hailed a good day for Simon Mignolet and Liverpool after the goalkeeper’s penalty save earned the visitors a 3-2 win at Leicester City.


Mignolet was impeded by Shinji Okazaki as the Leicester striker made it 2-1 on the stroke of half-time and also conceded a penalty before saving Jamie Vardy’s spot-kick.

“As a goalkeeper if you save it you make a very good day of it,” Klopp said.

Mignolet has saved seven of the 15 Premier League penalties he has faced since joining Liverpool in 2013. Klopp added: “He did it again, so that’s good.”

Mignolet felt he reached the ball and it should not have been a penalty.

He said on BT Sport: “I know touched the ball and after that the referee gives a penalty. Luckily I kept my cool head to try and save it and it paid off, that’s the main thing.”

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But the goalkeeper was far from a calming influence at the back as Liverpool conceded nine or more goals in their opening three games on the road for the first time since 1965.

The Reds made hard work of it after Mohamed Salah‘s header and Philippe Coutinho‘s sublime free-kick gave them a 2-0 lead.

Okazaki’s goal stood despite obstructing Mignolet, Jordan Henderson made it 3-1 and then Vardy headed in after the Liverpool goalkeeper saved from Demarai Gray.

Henderson lauded Coutinho, who was heavily linked with a move to Barcelona in the summer.

“He’s a fantastic player, produces magical things at crucial times in the game and you saw that. He’s been brilliant since he’s come back in,” the Reds captain said.

 Liverpool's Mohamed Salah celebrates scoring the first goal during the FA Premier League match between Leicester City and Liverpool at the King Power Stadium. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

It was the first time in four attempts that Klopp has won at Leicester as Liverpool ended a four-match winless run.

“I thought we were deserved winners, so it’s a good day,” Klopp said.

“I said before the game to the boys ‘we are not the Harlem Globetrotters. We don’t go out to try to play beautiful football. We are here for results, so we play for results’.

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“I loved how we fought for it. It could’ve been more clear. But after a few games with no results, or not the right results, you have to fight back.

“That’s what we did. And now we can build on this.”


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Jordan Henderson on Philippe Coutinho, Simon Mignolet & battling to victory at Leicester

Sat, 23/09/2017 - 22:53

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Jordan Henderson hailed the influence of Philippe Coutinho after the Brazilian underlined why Liverpool fought so desperately to keep him during the summer in the 3-2 victory at Leicester.


Coutinho remained at Anfield despite strong interest from Liga giants Barcelona in the last transfer window and, in his second Premier League start of the season, scored one and set up another to lift the Reds into a 2-0 lead at the King Power Stadium on Saturday.

His 25-yard free-kick was sublime—a curling effort that found the top left corner that gave outstretched Leicester goalkeeper Kasper Schmeichel no chance—and Liverpool captain Henderson is not underestimating his value.

Henderson said: “He’s a fantastic player, produces magical things at crucial times in the game and you saw that.

“He’s been brilliant since he’s come back in so hopefully he can keep going for the rest of the season.”

Liverpool seemed to be cruising after Mohamed Salah converted a cross from Coutinho, who then got on the scoresheet himself, but Leicester pulled one back on the stroke of half-time through Shinji Okazaki.

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Henderson restored the two-goal cushion midway through the second half but Jamie Vardy headed home before earning a penalty after a clumsy challenge from Simon Mignolet.

 Liverpool's goalkeeper Simon Mignolet saves a penalty from Leicester City's Jamie Vardy during the FA Premier League match between Leicester City and Liverpool at the King Power Stadium. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

The Liverpool shot-stopper redeemed himself by saving Vardy’s spot-kick and while the Belgian was non-committal over whether he thought he had conceded a penalty, he was relieved to play a role in helping secure three points.

Mignolet said on BT Sport: “I’ll have to see it back, I know touched the ball and after that the referee gives a penalty.

“Luckily I kept my cool head to try and save it and it paid off, that’s the main thing.

“Sometimes even when you save a penalty that doesn’t happen. I count points, that’s far more important, the team is always the important one.”

It was Liverpool’s second trip to Leicester in the space of five days—having been beaten 2-0 in the Carabao Cup earlier this week.

 Liverpool's Philippe Coutinho Correia celebrates scoring the second goal with team-mate Alberto Moreno during the FA Premier League match between Leicester City and Liverpool at the King Power Stadium. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

Henderson believes the Reds were full value for the win, saying: “We dug in right until the end, we showed great character at the end there to see the game out.

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“I felt as though we defended well the majority of the game, Si made a brilliant save from the penalty.

“We played some brilliant stuff, especially the first half when we went two goals up which was deserved.

“Overall we’re delighted with the result in the end as well as the performance.”


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The best of the photos from Leicester City 2-3 Liverpool

Sat, 23/09/2017 - 22:19

Liverpool fought their way to a vital 3-2 victory at Leicester City on Saturday evening, as their poor run of form finally came to an end.


Leicester City 2-3 Liverpool

Premier League, King Power Stadium
September 23, 2017

Goals: Okazaki 45+2′, Vardy 68′; Salah 15′, Coutinho 23′, Henderson 65′

The Reds were under fire going into the game after four matches without a win, with their defensive woes being roundly criticised.

They were much improved at the King Power Stadium, however, even though the shortcomings at the back were still highlighted on occasion.

Jordan Henderson was a strong contender for Man of the Match, and the captain made an influential start after a bad run of performances.

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 Liverpool's captain Jordan Henderson during the FA Premier League match between Leicester City and Liverpool at the King Power Stadium. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

Mohamed Salah scored his sixth goal of the season with a great header from Philippe Coutinho‘s cross, and the players celebrated jubilantly.

 Liverpool's Mohamed Salah celebrates scoring the first goal during the FA Premier League match between Leicester City and Liverpool at the King Power Stadium. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

Coutinho then doubled the Reds’ lead with a trademark free-kick, with the Brazilian superb on the day.

 Liverpool's Philippe Coutinho Correia celebrates scoring the second goal with team-mate Alberto Moreno during the FA Premier League match between Leicester City and Liverpool at the King Power Stadium. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

 Liverpool's Philippe Coutinho Correia celebrates scoring the second goal during the FA Premier League match between Leicester City and Liverpool at the King Power Stadium. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

Henderson made it 3-1 and Jamie Vardy pulled a goal back, before some hapless work from Simon Mignolet saw the hosts awarded a penalty.

 Liverpool's captain Jordan Henderson scores the third goal during the FA Premier League match between Leicester City and Liverpool at the King Power Stadium. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

Thankfully, the Belgian redeemed himself, saving Vardy’s spot-kick to send the travelling supporters wild…

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 Liverpool's goalkeeper Simon Mignolet saves a penalty from Leicester City's Jamie Vardy during the FA Premier League match between Leicester City and Liverpool at the King Power Stadium. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

Daniel Sturridge produced an impressive cameo from the substitutes’ bench, teeing up Henderson for his goal and almost finding the net himself with a curled effort.

 Liverpool's Daniel Sturridge during the FA Premier League match between Leicester City and Liverpool at the King Power Stadium. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

The final whistle was met with great relief, and Mignolet and Jurgen Klopp couldn’t hide their happiness, or relief, at the result.

 Liverpool's manager J¸rgen Klopp celebrates after the 3-2 victory during the FA Premier League match between Leicester City and Liverpool at the King Power Stadium. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

 Liverpool's goalkeeper Simon Mignolet celebrates after the 3-2 victory, in which he saved a penalty, during the FA Premier League match between Leicester City and Liverpool at the King Power Stadium. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

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Attention now turns to Tuesday’s Champions League tie away to Spartak Moscow, with Liverpool looking for their first group stage win in the competition since September 2014.


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Coutinho’s star return and Sturridge’s impact – 5 talking points from Leicester City 2-3 Liverpool

Sat, 23/09/2017 - 22:09

Coutinho then doubled the lead with a superb free-kick shortly afterward.

Shinji Okazaki scored against the Reds for the second time in less than a week just before the break—in highly contentious circumstances—to halve the lead at the interval.

A crazy 10 minutes in the second half determined where the points would end up; firstly Daniel Sturridge teed up Jordan Henderson for 3-1, before Vardy immediately pulled one back.

Vardy then won a penalty from a Simon Mignolet challenge for the chance to equalise—but the Reds stopper came up with a huge save from the spot-kick and preserve the win for his team.

Coutinho Stars On the Left

 Liverpool's Philippe Coutinho Correia celebrates scoring the second goal with team-mate Alberto Moreno during the FA Premier League match between Leicester City and Liverpool at the King Power Stadium. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

As expected, the absence of Sadio Mane has meant an obvious route back into the side for Coutinho: left of the front three.

Despite some pre-game chatter over the role from Reds supporters, it was always likely to be the case that Klopp opted to keep faith with the shape and personnel in midfield, rather making Coutinho for Mane the only switch.

Quite why there was any annoyance or worry over Coutinho’s position is unfathomable: he was excellent in the role last term, it was an away game and he has goals to offer—it was really the only role for him from the start in this match.

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Yes, Coutinho can be devastating for the Reds as a No. 8. Over the course of the season, it’s to be hoped that he sees plenty of game time in that role, especially in Europe or at home.

But there shouldn’t be a one-size-fits-all approach to lineups, especially this season with a deeper squad, and Coutinho—along with several others—have to be able and willing to filter into various roles according to need.

And fans should be welcoming about that, too.

Rotation and Robertson

 Liverpool's Andy Robertson and 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)

Klopp reverted to type with his team of the season, as it has been, and while that’s not inherently a problem, it does beg questions over what some players must do to earn a league start.

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Andrew Robertson was the best performer in the midweek League Cup defeat against the same opponents, yet Alberto Moreno was handed a recall.

Danny Ward was similarly impressive, yet Loris Karius reprised his bench role for Saturday.

Rotation for the cups is all well and good, but those performances have to mean something more than just a 90-minute runout for the sake of it.

All squad players want to work their way into the starting XI on a regular basis, and without the reward of more consistent minutes on the pitch, where is the incentive to perform when handed a rare opportunity?

Sturridge and a Strong Bench

 Liverpool's Daniel Sturridge during the FA Premier League match between Leicester City and Liverpool at the King Power Stadium. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

Daniel Sturridge, James Milner, Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain.

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Fan favourites or not—and those three Englishmen split opinion like few others—gone are the days of bringing on a David N’Gog, a Milan Jovanovic or other hopeful prospects or squad players are at an end for now.

Liverpool can call on experienced international players from the bench, players who have proven they can perform at the elite level over a period of time.

And it’s up to those same players to offer something to the team and work their way into the XI.

That’s the upward spiral of how competition works and can improve a team, and consistency along with impact must be noted and rewarded, as suggested above.

Sturridge in particular made a strong case against Leicester, running the channels and keeping the pressure on the Foxes’ back line, fashioning a few shots and assisting Henderson for the winner.

More of the same, and from a few team-mates, and it can only bode well for the Reds.

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Bad Decisions Against the Reds

 Liverpool's captain Jordan Henderson complains to the assistant referee after Leicester City score an injury time goal in the first half during the FA Premier League match between Leicester City and Liverpool at the King Power Stadium. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

Not for the first time this season, questionable decisions went against Liverpool at the King Power when they might otherwise have benefitted the Reds.

Okazaki’s goal just before the break was clearly contentious, with the forward fouling Mignolet and Joe Gomez also held back on the initial header, but the strike stood.

There was a potential offside call for Vardy’s goal too, a definite touch on the ball from Mignolet in the challenge which resulted in a penalty and plenty of other in-game calls which went Leicester’s way.

The look on Klopp’s face when a last-minute free-kick went Leicester’s way after a delayed reaction from an Oxlade-Chamberlain foul was priceless—and summed up how difficult it can be to cope with that additional pressure.

Character and resilience were required to find the points this time out, and one way or another the team found enough.

Looking to Midweek

 Liverpool's manager J¸rgen Klopp celebrates after the 3-2 victory during the FA Premier League match between Leicester City and Liverpool at the King Power Stadium. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

Already Reds fans know there will be at least a couple of changes for the midweek Champions League game, with right-back Gomez suspended and Trent Alexander-Arnold ready to step in, while Karius will probably replace Mignolet again in Europe, too.

But elsewhere?

The midfield just hasn’t functioned well enough of late, with Gini Wijnaldum in particular guilty of disappointingly fluctuating form—so a midfield change or two isn’t out of the question either.

Milner, Oxlade-Chamberlain or even shifting Coutinho infield could be options for Klopp, and none of three starters at Leicester could realistically argue they have been in undroppable form.

When Milner “played” Wijnaldums role he had 92 touches, 6 key passes, 8 passes into the box and 4 touches in the box

— SimonBrundish (@SimonBrundish) September 23, 2017

Sturridge’s impact is also worthy of consideration. It’s tough for the No. 15 to be assured of game time, given Roberto Firmino‘s importance and work rate, but Sturridge has to be in the equation somewhere along the line.

Mane will also be free of his domestic suspension to play, and a big performance from him will pose further questions about the alignment of the team when Klopp finally has everyone available.

Most importantly, it’s better to have more options who are playing well than having to pick and choose between under-performers.

And that’s what Klopp must cultivate this term thanks to the depth in the squad.

Categories: LFC NEWS

Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain to break comfort zone as Liverpool avoid 86-year Leicester record?

Sat, 23/09/2017 - 09:00

Daniel Sturridge has scored 99 goals in his club career, with 61 coming for Liverpool.

A Good Omen?

 Liverpool's captain Steven Gerrard celebrates scoring the second goal against Leicester City during the Premier League match at Filbert Way. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

Should City win today it will be the first time since 1962/63 they have beaten Liverpool for a third successive occasion at home in the league.

Two of those victories were in the Second Division.

The last time the Foxes won a third successive home league game over Liverpool in the top flight was March 1931.

Oxlade-Chamberlain’s Comfort Zone

Of the last 20 goals that Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain has scored in club football only two have been scored outside of London—at Bournemouth in the league and Nottingham Forest in the League Cup.

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Vardy’s Threat

 Leicester City's Jamie Vardy celebrates scoring the third goal during the FA Premier League match between Arsenal and Leicester City at the Emirates Stadium. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

Jamie Vardy has found the net five times in his last three Premier League appearances against Liverpool and he has five in six against the Reds in his career.

If Vardy scores today he will be the first Leicester player since Danny Liddell (1932/33 to 1934/35) to find the net in three successive home league games against Liverpool.

He has scored 12 league goals in 18 league appearances since Craig Shakespeare took charge in February.

Penalties

The Foxes have not scored in open play in their last three league games—both goals in that sequence coming from the penalty spot.

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Saturday’s Referee

 Referee Anthony Taylor awards Liverpool a penalty against Arsenal during the Premier League match at the Emirates Stadium. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

Anthony Taylor will referee Liverpool for second time this season—he was in charge of the 3-3 draw at Watford on the opening day.

This Season’s Scorers

Liverpool: Salah (5), Firmino (4) Mane (3), Can (2), Alexander-Arnold (1), Sturridge (1), own goals (1)

Leicester: Vardy (4), Okazaki (3), Slimani (3), Gray (1), Maguire (1), Musa (1)

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Categories: LFC NEWS

Hat-trick for Harry Wilson as Liverpool U23s beat Tottenham

Fri, 22/09/2017 - 23:09

Rhian Brewster missed an excellent chance to double his side’s lead, failing to convert from an initial effort and from the rebound.

It wasn’t long before it was 2-0, however, as the influential Wilson got his second of the night. Markovic got the assist, teeing up the 20-year-old.

 Liverpool's Harry Wilson scores the first goal during the Under-23 FA Premier League 2 Division 1 match between Liverpool and Tottenham Hotspur at Anfield. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

  • Wilson the star man yet again
  • Rare start for Markovic
  • Woodburn also bright for the Reds
  • 100% record stays in tact
  • Critchley’s youngsters top of the table

Spurs got a goal back almost immediately, with Marcus Edwards’ penalty in front of the Kop reducing the arrears.

The visitors were level soon after thanks to Christian Maghoma’s excellent strike, as Liverpool’s early lead evaporated in no time.

Incredibly, Wilson completed his hat-trick shortly before half-time, following nice link-up play with Woodburn. What a run of form the forward is in, with six goals in four appearances this season.

 Liverpool's Harry Wilson celebrates scoring the third goal, his hat-trick, with team-mates Matthew Virtue, Rhian Brewster, Ben Woodburn and Lazar Markovic during the Under-23 FA Premier League 2 Division 1 match between Liverpool and Tottenham Hotspur at Anfield. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

Early in the second-half, it was 4-2, in what remained a hugely entertaining clash. Brewster made amends for his earlier misses with a lovely finish, having been found well by Lloyd Jones.

The match was a foregone conclusion from that point on, as Liverpool’s perfect start to the campaign continues.

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Liverpool: Kelleher, Virtue, Phillips, Jones, Whelan, Grujic, Ejaria, Woodburn (Dhanda 79′), Markovic (Brannagan 63′), Wilson, Brewster

Subs: Masterson, Atherton, Johnston.

Next match: Charlton Athletic (A) – Premier League 2 – September 29

Categories: LFC NEWS

Steven Gerrard’s Liverpool U18s beat Everton after Curtis Jones double

Fri, 22/09/2017 - 23:00

Stephen Duke-McKenna fired wide for Everton after some hesitant Liverpool defending, but the Reds grew into the game as the first-half progressed.

No notable were chances were created by Gerrard’s side until Liam Millar failed to connect with a header in front of goal.

Anthony Gordon’s attempted chip just went wide for Everton, as the contest continued to ebb and flow. Miller fired over from close-range.

Gordan found the net with 38 minutes on the clock, though, finishing past Grabara after almost making a mess of the goalscoring situation.

  • Jones the hero for the Reds
  • 16-year-old turns game on its head
  • Liverpool move to within two points of rivals
  • Gerrard continues to impress as boss

Liverpool were the better team in the early exchanges in the second-half, but Everton were defending resolutely. Liam Coyle’s header missed the target.

Duke-McKenna shot horribly over from a good position and Jones’ attempt deflected behind for a corner, but it was a fairly low-key affair.

Substitute Glen McAuley was threatening to make things happen for the Reds in the final third, however, and he played a part in Gerrard’s youngsters drawing level.

He was thwarted inside the penalty area, but the ball fell to Jones, who showed great composure to slot his finish into the net.

The game was completely turned on its head by 16-year-old Jones just two minutes later, after a superb volleyed finish from a corner. He celebrated in style with Gerrard.

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Rafa Camacho sealed Liverpool’s win with five minutes remaining with an inch-perfect finish, as the Reds moved to within two points of their rivals.

Liverpool: Grabara, Coyle, Lewis, R. Williams, Glennon, Dixon-Bonner (Sharif 64′), Longstaff (McAuley 55′), Tagseth, Millar (Hunter 88′), Camacho, Jones.

Subs: B. Williams, Raitanen.

Next match: Man City (H) – U18 Premier League – October 14

Categories: LFC NEWS

Reds to deliver some much-needed cheer? – Leicester City vs. Liverpool Preview

Fri, 22/09/2017 - 19:00

Key players will return to the side having been rested in midweek, and the hope is that a manager of Klopp’s calibre will not allow the same result second time around.

A lot of the early season positivity has dissolved within the fanbase, and with every disappointing performance that comes along, the worse it gets.

Liverpool are a superior side to Leicester, and if they just sharpen up at both ends of the pitch, they will be fine.

That feels like a big ‘if’ at the moment, though.

Last Meeting: Leicester City 2-0 Liverpool

Team News

 Liverpool's Mohamed Salah celebrates scoring the third goal during the FA Premier League match between Liverpool and Arsenal at Anfield. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

Klopp rang the changes for the League Cup tie, with fringe players and youngsters such as Danny Ward, Marko Grujic, Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain and Dominic Solanke given a chance to impress.

Alberto Moreno, Mohamed Salah and Roberto Firmino are all expected to come back into the side, although Andrew Robertson‘s impressive showing at left-back may see him retained ahead of Moreno.

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Joel Matip and Dejan Lovren are both injury doubts, but Emre Can is expected to be passed fit having reported to training on Thursday following a knock.

Philippe Coutinho should start, as he slowly returns to his sharpest, and with Can likely to return, it looks as though Jordan Henderson or Gini Wijnaldum will make way.

There are no new injury concerns for Klopp, and the news that Nathaniel Clyne and Adam Lallana are running outside again is a big positive for the manager.

Leciester will hope to welcome Jamie Vardy back to the fray after the striker missed Tuesday’s match, and the same applies to Christian Fuchs. Matty James is out, though.

Last 5 at Leicester (All Competitions)

 Liverpool's Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain looks dejected after missing a chance during the Football League Cup 3rd Round match between Leicester City and Liverpool at the King Power Stadium. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

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Leicester 2-0 Liverpool – September 19, 2017 (Okazaki, Slimani)
Leicester 3-1 Liverpool – February 27, 2017 (Vardy x2, Drinkwater; Coutinho)
Leicester 2-0 Liverpool – February 2, 2016 (Vardy x2)
Leicester 1-3 Liverpool – December 2, 2014 (Mignolet OG; Lallana, Gerrard, Henderson)
Leicester 0-0 Liverpool – March 28, 2004

King Power Stadium

 A general view of the King Power Stadium before the Premier League match between Leicester City and Liverpool at Filbert Way. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

Capacity: 32,312

Away fans’ pubs: The Counting House in Freemen’s Common has a nice mix of both home and away fans, and is on the way to the ground. The same applies to the Soaring Eagle Spur Steak and Grill, which is located over the road from the stadium itself.

Form

 Leicester City's Jamie Vardy celebrates scoring the third goal during the FA Premier League match between Arsenal and Leicester City at the Emirates Stadium. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

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Leicester – Last five results (all competitions)

Won 2-0 vs. Liverpool
Drew 1-1 vs. Huddersfield
Lost 2-1 vs. Chelsea
Lost 2-0 vs. Man United
Won 4-1 vs. Sheffield United

Liverpool – Last five results (all competitions)

Lost 2-0 vs. Leicester
Drew 1-1 vs. Burnley
Drew 2-2 vs. Sevilla
Lost 5-0 vs. Man City
Won 4-0 vs. Arsenal

Did You Know?

 Liverpool's captain Steven Gerrard celebrates scoring the second goal against Leicester City during the Premier League match at Filbert Way. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

Liverpool have only won once at the King Power in five attempts, in all competitions—a 3-1 win in December 2014, with Lallana scoring the Reds’ first goal and Henderson and Steven Gerrard also finding the net.

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Klopp’s View

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Klopp discussed his team’s ongoing defensive problems, and feels confident they will be eradicated sooner rather than later:

“I understand 100 percent [why] we sit here and talk about the things that have happened,” he said.

“I know already about all these problems—or ‘not problems’—and I’ve made my decision already how to work with it.

“But if I talk a lot about it I only create headlines ‘Klopp says this. Klopp says that’ and it doesn’t help us.

“We have work to do but that would be the same if we had 15 points, only it would feel different but it would be the same.

“We conceded first goal against Seville and responded really well, we conceded the first goal against Burnley and responded really well.

“I would prefer not to concede the first goal to be honest.

“This is the long part of a three-game week from Tuesday to Saturday so we have one more session. We can use it but we have to prove it on Saturday.”

TV & Live Blog Info

 A television camera blocks the view of the goal during the FA Cup 6th Round Quarter-Final match between Liverpool and Blackburn Rovers at Anfield. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

The game is live on BT Sport 1, with coverage getting underway at 5pm (BST). Kickoff is at 5.30pm.

As always, our matchday live blog will be in full swing 45 minutes before proceedings, with Henry Jackson on duty from 4.45pm to keep you entertained.

Categories: LFC NEWS

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