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Updated: 35 min 17 sec ago

Liverpool supporters set to honour Ronnie Moran and Hillsborough victims with Anfield mosaics

Sun, 26/03/2017 - 22:47

Anfield will honour the late Ronnie Moran, and mark the 28th anniversary of the Hillsborough disaster, with two mosaics at upcoming Liverpool games.

Moran passed away on Wednesday morning aged 83, with Merseyside mourning the loss of one of Liverpool Football Club’s most legendary figures.

Bugsy served the club for 49 years in various capacities, and his death saw tributes flood in from supporters, former players and current players alike.

Following calls for Moran’s life to be honoured by a mosaic at Anfield at the Merseyside derby on April 1, supporters have organised this.

This will be followed by another ahead of the home clash with Bournemouth on April 5, to honour the 96 supporters who their lives at Hillsborough in 1989.

Plans were announced by the Merseyside branch of the Liverpool FC Official Supporters’ Club on Facebook on Sunday:

Andy Knott will be doing a mosaic for the derby for Ronnie Moran and one at the Bournemouth match for Hillsborough. Any volunteers are welcome.

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The club’s rules are stricter this time as he must have your name 24 hours in advance and you must take ID on the day.

Volunteers needed 1pm on Friday at a gate to be confirmed on the day and for the day of the Bournemouth game (time to be confirmed). Contact him on akraotl@aol.com

This serves as a fitting tribute for Moran, who played a key role in Liverpool’s success over the years, with the club still bearing his imprint to this day.

* For more information, contact Andy Knott at akraotl@aol.com.


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Philippe Coutinho confident Everton won’t overtake Liverpool in Champions League push

Sun, 26/03/2017 - 22:22

Philippe Coutinho has delivered an emphatic statement ahead of Liverpool’s Merseyside derby clash with Everton, backing the Reds to triumph.

Coutinho is currently away with the Brazil squad for their World Cup qualifiers against Uruguay and Paraguay, but will return late in the week to rejoin Jurgen Klopp‘s squad.

The German will be hoping he can call upon both Coutinho and Roberto Firmino as part of his starting lineup at Anfield, as he looks to propel the Reds’ top-four push.

Everton have emerged as rivals for a Champions League place this season, though they head into the weekend six points and three positions behind Liverpool in the Premier League table.

According to Coutinho, the Reds’ favourable position should give his side confidence, with the 24-year-old adamant their rivals’ improvement should not be a concern.

“I don’t think about [Everton‘s form] or worry about that,” he told reporters while on duty with Brazil.

“Right now, Liverpool are higher in the league, that’s the reality and that’s all we have to think about.

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“We will be ready. The derby is a very special match for everyone, the fans and the players. We know what it means.

The people of Liverpool live this match with so much emotion and this time it is even more because Everton have improved so much in recent weeks.

“We know it won’t be easy, but we know we have to to win, for our fans, for our morale and for everybody.”

 Liverpool's Philippe Coutinho Correia celebrates scoring the fourth goal against Hull City with team-mate Sadio Mane during the FA Premier League match at Anfield. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

Coutinho has clearly acknowledged the atmosphere of the derby, and the importance of sealing victory over Everton regardless of each side’s place in the table.

And an upturn in form from the playmaker, who shone as Brazil beat Uruguay 4-1 on Thursday night, will be central to Liverpool doing so.

The former Inter Milan midfielder’s struggle for consistency has been a major talking point during the international break, particularly following renewed links with Barcelona.

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But encouragingly for Reds supporters, Coutinho seemed to move to underline his commitment to Liverpool and their Champions League push.

“I just concentrate on my own club. Liverpool is my only focus and my only interest,” he added.

“I don’t even think about any of our rivals—including Everton. All I want to do is to help this club get into the Champions League and finish as high in the table as we can.”

Coutinho is yet to taste defeat in seven appearances against Everton so far, scoring two goals and assisting one more.


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Adam Lallana assists as England seal World Cup qualifier win over Lithuania

Sun, 26/03/2017 - 20:56

Liverpool midfielder Adam Lallana teed up the second goal of the evening as England sealed a 2-0 victory over World Cup qualifier opponents Lithuania.

The Three Lions welcomed their European rivals to Wembley for a Sunday evening kickoff, looking to improve on their 1-0 friendly defeat to Germany four days previous.

Gareth Southgate made four changes to the side that lost at the Westfalenstadion in midweek, with John Stones, Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain, Raheem Sterling and Jermain Defoe coming in.

All eyes were on Defoe as he emerged from the tunnel at Wembley, accompanied by the inspiring Bradley Lowery, mascot for the evening.

Lallana took up his regular role in the England attack, joining Sterling and Dele Alli in support of the Sunderland striker, who took just 21 minutes to get his name on the scoresheet.

It was far from a classic as Lithuania looked to frustrate England throughout, but moments of individual quality shone through for the home side.

Liverpool’s sole player to start on Sunday evening broke in a rare promising attack on the hour mark, but was brought down cynically by Arturas Zulpa, in a move characteristic of the clash.

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With Southgate introducing the pace of Jamie Vardy and Marcus Rashford soon after, however, England were able to grab their second.

It was the magic feet of Lallana that opened up the space for Vardy, bamboozling the Lithuania defence and slotting the ball in for the Leicester City striker to secure a 2-0 victory.

More to follow.


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Rafa Benitez rumoured to hold interest in bold summer Newcastle move for Daniel Sturridge

Sun, 26/03/2017 - 14:07

With Daniel Sturridge expected to leave Liverpool at the end of the season, Rafa Benitez could be planning to target him for Newcastle United.

The 27-year-old has found himself out of favour since Jurgen Klopp‘s arrival on Merseyside, and has started just nine games for the Reds so far in 2016/17.

This has not been helped by a series of troubling injuries, which have limited the striker to 21 appearances in all competitions.

His last outing in the Premier League came in the 2-0 loss away to Hull City on February 4, and Sturridge has played just 136 minutes of top-flight football since the turn of the year.

Liverpool are believed to have rejected advances from Paris Saint-Germain in January, but they are unlikely to stand in Sturridge’s way come the end of the season.

But whether he will be switching the Mersey for the Seine in the summer remains to be seen, with the Newcastle Chronicle claiming the striker could also be on Benitez’s radar.

They suggest that the Magpies will be looking to add to their attacking ranks if they achieve promotion from the Championship this season.

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And while Burnley‘s Andre Gray and Bournemouth‘s Callum Wilson are listed as more likely targets, Sturridge is also named as a possible option for Benitez.

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

It would not be difficult for Benitez to secure a meeting with the Reds in the summer, owing to the Spaniard’s history with the club.

But a move for Sturridge still seems fanciful, particularly given interest from PSG in the winter, though staying in the Premier League may be more appealing to the ex-Chelsea star.

Sturridge has not produced regularly since the 2013/14 campaign, when he scored 25 goals in 33 games, but his record is still exceptional when he is called upon.

The England international has struck 59 times in 113 appearances for the Reds since arriving at the start of 2013, and there is no denying his finishing ability.

What he seems to require is a change of scenery, and St James’ Park would certainly provide that.

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Sturridge would be an immediate upgrade on the likes of Dwight Gayle and Aleksandar Mitrovic, though there is a major question mark looming over him in terms of his fitness.

Furthermore, it has been previously suggested he would be more content returning to London if he left Liverpool, with the striker saying last year that “all my friends live down south.”

Newcastle is about as far north as Sturridge could get without rejoining Brendan Rodgers at Celtic, but this could be one to keep an eye on as Benitez plots for a Premier League return.


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Should Liverpool cash in on Philippe Coutinho this summer?

Sun, 26/03/2017 - 13:00
Argument for Coutinho Staying

 Liverpool's Philippe Coutinho Correia in action against Wolverhampton Wanderers during the FA Cup 4th Round match at Anfield. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

The first thing that many will point towards when it comes to Coutinho’s future is that the Reds should not be selling their best players.

The exit of former greats such as Luis Suarez, Xabi Alonso and Javier Mascherano hurt the team badly, with players of that calibre irreplaceable.

Whether Coutinho is at that level is debatable, but there is an extremely strong argument to say he has been Liverpool’s best and most important player over the last three seasons.

Since Suarez departed for Barcelona in the summer of 2014, the Brazilian has been his side’s attacking talisman on so many occasions, and two Player of the Year awards sum up his influence.

Even in his first 18 months, with Suarez still there, he was a key man, settling in immediately after an £8.5 million move from Inter Milan.

He has enjoyed so many memorable moments, and it is often easy to forget this.

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 Liverpool's Philippe Coutinho Correia celebrates scoring the first goal against Manchester United during the UEFA Europa League Round of 16 2nd Leg match at Old Trafford. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

Two superb winners against Man City; the wonderful dinked finish against Man United; the double at Chelsea last season; the free-kick at Arsenal; goals in cup semi-finals and finals. The list goes on.

There were signs prior to his injury against Sunderland in November—a turning point in Liverpool’s entire season—that Coutinho had reached another level, with few players in the Premier League in more destructive form.

Everything he touched seemed to turn to gold, from outrageous trickery to 30-yard curlers, and he was in pole position to win the PFA Player of the Year award.

He still has plenty of time to reach the pinnacle of his career, and the thought of those years being spent at Anfield are easy to find exciting.

With Jurgen Klopp looking to build something special at Liverpool, it seems hard to justify getting rid of Coutinho.

 

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Argument for Coutinho Leaving

 Liverpool's Philippe Coutinho Correia lies injured against Sunderland during the FA Premier League match at Anfield. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

Despite such a favourable chunk of the fanbase understandably adoring Coutinho, there are also those who are running out of patience with him.

Considering the remarkable ability at his disposal, he is struggling to find that very top level and sustain it for prolonged periods of time.

As touched upon, his form was stunning earlier in the season, but since returning from injury, he has been a shadow of the forward that previously terrified opponents.

While his ankle problem can be used as an excuse to an extent, he has now been back long enough to have regained his best form.

When he is flourishing, Coutinho threatens to be in that world-class category, but when he is off colour, he can almost become a weak link. His head can drop, his effort levels become questionable and he tries to do too much on his own.

There doesn’t seem to be a middle ground with the former Inter youngster, and he only delivers when he is on song. His tendency to drift out of games has become particularly exasperating, and not something the truly top players do.

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 Liverpool's Philippe Coutinho Correia in action against Southampton during the FA Premier League match at St. Mary's Stadium. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

He has failed to deliver a season of consistent brilliance in the way talismanic rival attacking players such as Eden Hazard, Alexis Sanchez and Sergio Aguero have in recent years, and constant niggling injuries are an added frustration.

It could also be argued that Klopp could find a more dynamic player to occupy that left-sided role—someone with more pace and who delivers consistent numbers in the final third.

In fairness to Coutinho, his best role still probably belongs deeper in a midfield three, but a lack of dynamism and erratic finishing can be his downfall.

Ahead of what is likely to be another busy summer in the transfer market, there is also the matter of the money Liverpool could receive for Coutinho.

Something in the region of £50 million or £60 million would be expected, and it would help generate a lot more funds for buying players Klopp is fond of.

In so many ways, it seems unthinkable to be entertaining the idea of allowing Coutinho to leave, but there are times when you worry he may never quite hit the heights we expect of him.

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Pivotal Decision

 Liverpool's Philippe Coutinho Correia celebrates scoring the fourth goal against Hull City during the FA Premier League match at Anfield. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

It doesn’t matter how much you weigh up the pros and cons, making a decision about Coutinho’s future will always be a very difficult one.

For four years, he has become one of Liverpool’s most important players, coming to the fore on many occasions and wowing us with his effortless, futsal-inspired artistry.

Should he move to Barcelona or a club of similar stature, he has the potential to become one of the best in Europe in his position, and the Reds could again be left watching a former player achieve greatness from afar.

On the flip side, however, there is a nagging feeling that he can be replaced without Liverpool’s world crumbling much at all, with the money received helping bolster their squad.

Granted, the Merseysiders lack a certain spark without him in the side, but his importance to the team is not close to that of Suarez, Alonso and others during their best years at Anfield.

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There are too many poor performances thrown in for him to be considered indispensable, so a big-money offer should, at the very least, be entertained.

 Liverpool's Philippe Coutinho Correia in action against Hull City during the FA Premier League match at Anfield. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

Everyone will have their own opinion on the matter, and when it comes to giving my two cents, I would only be happy to see him move if it was for an enormous fee.

Coutinho’s inconsistency can irritate the life out of me, and much like Emre Can, it is because I know exactly what he is capable of if he hits top gear. Perhaps I expect too much, because of how high his ceiling is.

Despite his shortcomings, Liverpool should not be openly happy to sell one of their star men, and they need people who can produce those sprinklings of stardust at key moments.

They already lack that, so would getting rid of one of the few who can turn a game in an instant be particularly wise?

There is a strong chance that Coutinho’s best years are still ahead of him, too, and given his talent, nobody would be shocked if he becomes part of that world-class bracket one day.

We shouldn’t be rushing to sell Coutinho at all, but if silly money is offered, you have to weigh everything up and wonder if Klopp could turn it into a positive.

But in an ideal world, Neymar would have a change of heart and join Liverpool to be with his good friend instead.

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Categories: LFC NEWS

Liverpool target Demarai Gray’s Leicester City contract release clause revealed

Sun, 26/03/2017 - 12:00

Liverpool’s interest in Leicester City winger Demarai Gray could see them activate a considerable release clause this summer.

Gray emerged as a possible option for the Reds back in February, with Jurgen Klopp identifying alternatives to his priority targets.

While Bayer Leverkusen star Julian Brandt remains high on the German’s list, and Borussia Dortmund duo Ousmane Dembele and Christian Pulisic are distant hopes, further plans are required.

And England U21 international Gray, who has made 32 appearances for the Foxes so far this season, may be an eventual addition to Klopp’s squad.

According to the Mirror, the 20-year-old is available for £12 million this summer, due to a release clause in his contract.

This would eliminate the need for Liverpool to negotiate with Leicester, though they could face competition from both Everton and Tottenham.

Gray leaving the King Power would rest largely on game time on offer elsewhere, with the winger starting only 11 of his 32 outings this season, including just six in the Premier League.

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Leicester will be without European football next season, so moving to a club fighting on four fronts could provide Gray with more minutes.

But the Reds activating his release clause this summer would be another questionable move.

 Leicester City's Demarai Gray in action against Everton during the FA Premier League match at Filbert Way. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

Gray only made the switch from Birmingham City to Leicester in the January transfer window in 2016, joining Claudio Ranieri’s title challengers for just £3.7 million.

That his value will have shot to over triple despite having scored just two goals and assisted a further six in 46 games for the Foxes is an alarming indictment of the modern market.

But more troubling is the fact Liverpool were reportedly interested in signing Gray at the time he made the move to the East Midlands.

There were even claims as far back as 2014 that the Reds had agreed a first-option deal with Leicester for the winger, as part of Jordon Ibe’s successful loan spell at St Andrew’s.

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Of course, Klopp was not manager of the Reds at the time, but sporting director Michael Edwards certainly was with the club, albeit in a different role.

While £12 million is far from the most significant fee given the shifting of wealth in the Premier League in recent years, it is still a large sum for a relatively unproven talent.

And if Gray is a genuine alternative to Brandt in the summer, rather than a supplement, it would represent a major gamble from Klopp.


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Lucas Leiva ‘agrees’ £2.2 million summer move to Galatasaray

Sat, 25/03/2017 - 23:55

Liverpool midfielder Lucas Leiva is rumoured to have agreed a £2.2 million move to join Turkish giants Galatasaray in the summer transfer window.

Jurgen Klopp is set for another busy off-season reshaping his Reds squad, after seeing them fail in their bid for the Premier League title and drop out of both the FA Cup and League Cup.

Liverpool have been linked with a variety of centre-backs ahead of the summer, including Southampton‘s Virgil van Dijk, with the two clubs claimed to be in talks over a possible move.

This has prompted scrutiny over Klopp’s current defensive options, namely backups such as Lucas and Ragnar Klavan.

And according to Turkish outlet Sabah, this could see Lucas make a long-rumoured move to the Super Lig ahead of 2017/18.

They claim that the 30-year-old has already agreed a £2.2 million deal with Galatasaray, as a belated replacement for compatriot Felipe Melo, who left for Inter Milan in 2015.

There is some confusion over whether Lucas is in the final months of his current deal with Liverpool, or has another year left before he can move on a free transfer.

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While this report suggests he could leave on a Bosman this summer, the Liverpool Echo‘s James Pearce has previously revealed his contract is set to expire in 2018.

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

However, it does seem possible that Lucas could leave this summer, having discussed his future back in January, when he stressed he could depart in search of regular football.

Lucas detailed conversations with Klopp, and hinted that he could seek an exit after previously turning down moves elsewhere.

“I have always been very honest in terms of the trust with him,” he said.

“I had a few options to go. I have to think about my long-term. I know I don’t have many years left here.

“I have to start to think about it. Liverpool is a place I love, there is no doubt about that.

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“But this is more about thinking about my future as well. Game time, things like I this. I have to deal with it.”

Klavan, Joel Matip, Dejan Lovren and Joe Gomez seem much less likely to leave the club at the end of the season, with regular links with other centre-backs casting doubt over Lucas’ future.

And at the end of his 10th campaign on Merseyside, it may well be that the veteran has cut his losses and opted for regular game time in Turkey.


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Spanish report claims Barcelona have begun ‘Operation Coutinho’ ahead of summer

Sat, 25/03/2017 - 23:38

Despite Philippe Coutinho signing a new long-term contract with Liverpool in January, reports in Spain suggest he could be on his way to Barcelona.

Coutinho signed a new five-year deal at the start of the year, committing his future to the Reds as they look to build for success under Jurgen Klopp.

But this has not quelled speculation over the Brazilian’s future, with Barcelona forward Neymar proclaiming in the week that Coutinho would “totally fit” at the Nou Camp.

The 24-year-old has been away with the Brazil squad in South America this week, and linked up with Neymar and Luis Suarez after Thursday night’s 4-1 win away to Uruguay.

Now, according to Spanish publication Sport, Barcelona are ready to launch “Operation Coutinho,” making the playmaker one of their priority targets for the summer.

They claim that Coutinho could leave Liverpool at the end of the season, and that he would be “delighted” to join the La Liga giants.

It is also said that Coutinho’s agent, Giuliano Bertolucci, has held a number of talks with Barcelona, with the No. 10 regularly on the agenda.

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And owing to his strong relationships with the likes of Neymar and Suarez, and his affinity with the city from his time on loan with Espanyol, the move could be set to go ahead.

They do suggest, however, that Barcelona would only be able to move forward with a deal to sign Coutinho if they sold “one or two midfielders” first.

This is something that could be set in motion by the departure of his compatriot, Rafinha, with Diario Gol claiming he could be looking to move in search of first-team football.

And interestingly, Liverpool are named as a possible destination for Rafinha, along with Juventus and Arsenal.

Though a swap deal is unlikely, given the complexity of such an agreement, Rafinha leaving to join Liverpool with Coutinho moving in the opposite direction is feasible.

But Klopp clearly holds Coutinho in high regard, and won’t be willing to sanction his departure.

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But Coutinho has struggled for form of late, with the midfielder lacking the same quality he showed before picking up an ankle injury in November, and Liverpool need other solutions.

If Barcelona do make a significant bid for the Little Magician in the summer, it will be interesting to see how strong the Reds’ resolve is.


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Liverpool have “no intention” of selling Divock Origi despite struggle in 2016/17

Sat, 25/03/2017 - 23:19

Despite Divock Origi‘s struggle for form in his second season with Liverpool, Jurgen Klopp is believed to have “no intention” of selling the striker.

Origi has spent much of the campaign on the periphery, after breaking through under Klopp last term, with just seven starts in the Premier League so far in 2016/17.

The Belgian has still managed to find the back of the net on eight occasions, making him Liverpool’s third-highest goalscorer, behind only Roberto Firmino (10) and Sadio Mane (12).

But speaking while on duty during this month’s international break, Origi described this season as “frustrating,” casting doubt over his Liverpool future.

However, according to the Liverpool Echo‘s James Pearce, Origi won’t be going anywhere this summer.

He claims that Liverpool have “no intention” of parting ways with the former Lille star, with Klopp “adamant that the young frontman remains part of the Reds’ future.”

“The Reds boss isn’t about to give up on the 21-year-old,” Pearce added, “he still believes he can unlock his rich potential.”

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This should be of no surprise, given Klopp’s frequent backing of Origi, the doubtful futures of both Daniel Sturridge and Danny Ings and the busy schedule Liverpool will face next season.

 Liverpool's Divock Origi in action against Arsenal during the FA Premier League match at Anfield. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

The Reds are likely to qualify for either the Champions League or the Europa League next season, as well as reinforcing their fight at the top end of the Premier League.

For this, Origi will be required, with the Belgian ostensibly backup to Roberto Firmino if Sturridge is sold and Ings takes longer to recover from another long-term knee injury.

Klopp is set to dip into the transfer market to bolster his attacking ranks this summer, with the Mail suggesting Liverpool have made an official enquiry for RB Leipzig striker Timo Werner.

But if Origi is called upon next season, as well as between now and May, he will be required to produce more frequently on the pitch.

In his last outing for the Reds, in the second half of the 1-1 draw away to Man City, Origi lacked the energy and intensity his side needed to push for victory.

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This has been something of a recurring theme for much of the campaign, with Origi not performing with the verve of the second half of 2015/16.

Recapturing this will be vital, but still just 21 and clearly having the backing of his manager, there is plenty of time for Origi to establish himself on Merseyside.


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Liverpool ‘express interest’ in Middlesbrough centre-back Ben Gibson after England call-up

Sat, 25/03/2017 - 23:00

Liverpool are reported to have set their sights on Middlesbrough centre-back Ben Gibson, less than 24 hours after his call-up to the England squad.

Gibson replaced the injured Chris Smalling for the Three Lions’ World Cup qualifier against Lithuania at Wembley Stadium, as recognition for his excellent form in 2016/17.

The 24-year-old has been one of Middlesbrough‘s outstanding players despite their relegation battle this season, and has played every minute of every game in the Premier League so far.

This has seemingly not gone unnoticed in the transfer market, with the Mail claiming four clubs are chasing Gibson’s signature this summer.

Typically, Liverpool are named among those interested, along with Tottenham, Chelsea and Man City, with Gibson poised to make the step up to the top end of the league.

However, Middlesbrough are said to be looking for at least £25 million to part ways with their defensive stalwart.

Gibson’s connection with Jonathan Woodgate, who now serves as a scout for Liverpool, could prove pivotal.

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The duo are said to have formed a “close bond,” and the ex-Middlesbrough centre-back will no doubt have served up a glowing appraisal of his successor at the Riverside.

Gibson is a left-footed defender who is hugely comfortable with the ball at his feet, and would be a strong addition to Klopp’s ranks at the back.

Michael Keane, Burnley

He is not the only England centre-back said to be on Liverpool’s radar for the summer, with Burnley‘s Michael Keane also reported to be a possible target.

Southampton‘s Virgil van Dijk, Borussia Dortmund’s Matthias Ginter and Atletico Madrid’s Jose Gimenez have also been touted with moves to Merseyside ahead of a busy 2017/18 campaign.

Unlike the aforementioned quartet, however, Gibson does seem to be a more viable option given his natural tendency to play on the left.

Joel Matip is already installed as Klopp’s first choice on the right of Liverpool’s centre-back pairing, and finding a long-term partner for the Cameroonian seems to be a priority.

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Gibson is not at the level of Van Dijk, however, and would remain something of a work in progress if he made the switch to Anfield.

One thing is clear, however, in that Klopp is seeking to add another centre-back to his squad, and this could well be due to the imminent departure of Lucas Leiva.

The Brazilian is expected to leave the club at the end of the season, leaving Dejan Lovren, Ragnar Klavan and Joe Gomez serving as Klopp’s other options alongside Matip.


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Luis Figo admits desire to have played with Steven Gerrard at Real Madrid

Sat, 25/03/2017 - 22:32

“I think Gerrard showed in his career he was one of the best footballers in his position.

“It was a pity but for Liverpool it was lucky because he could show his quality and talent here, at Anfield.”

Gerrard created the game’s opening goal for Michael Owen before also laying on another for John Aldridge.

He was awarded a penalty when he was brought down by former Reds team-mate Jerzy Dudek, who like Steve McManaman had a spell playing for both sides in the game.

The Kop called for Dudek to be sent off and Gerrard to take the spot-kick, but neither happened as the referee laughed off the appeals and Robbie Fowler then snatched the ball.

“He was going to take it but I pulled rank on him,” said Fowler, who jokingly gave the fans two fingers as they voiced sarcastic displeasure.

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“I wasn’t going to give up that chance to score in front of the Kop.”

Gerrard also fired over from an overhead kick but did get his goal soon after, making it 4-0 with a volleyed effort.

Fowler, 41, who also hit the bar in one of his first public appearances since participating in reality TV show The Jump, said: “Steven is probably the last of us to retire. I think he was nailed on to get Man of the Match.

“You knew he would play well and be instrumental in all the good that we did.

“I don’t think anything surprises you. He is a fantastic player.”

 Liverpoolís Jamie Carragher is joined by the players from both teams in a minute applause for the former Liverpool player Ronnie Moran who died this week before a Legends friendly match against Real Madrid at Anfield. (Pic by Peter Powell/Propaganda)

Other notable names to feature included Ian Rush, Jamie Carragher, Alan Kennedy, Fernando Morientes, Roberto Carlos and Clarence Seedorf.

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Madrid scored late goals through Edwin Congo, former Liverpool player Morientes and Ruben de la Red but ran out of time to complete the comeback.

A game was preceded by a minute’s applause for Ronnie Moran, the long-serving former Liverpool captain and assistant manager who died this week.

Gerrard, speaking pitchside, said: “We’d like to mention Mr Liverpool, Ronnie Moran and dedicate this victory to him.

“It’s been a difficult week for the current players, the ex-players, the supporters, but none more so than Ronnie’s family.

“So on behalf of everyone at the club, we’re behind them and hopefully today’s victory cheers them up that little bit.”

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Photos: Steven Gerrard, Robbie Fowler & Co. seal Liverpool Legends 4-3 win over Real Madrid

Sat, 25/03/2017 - 22:11

 Liverpool’s Michael Owen in action against Real Madrid during a Legends friendly match at Anfield. (Pic by Peter Powell/Propaganda)

Michael Owen was another to have represented both sides, and the striker looked one of the most threatening in the opening stages.

 Liverpool’s Michael Owen is congratulated by Liverpool’s Robbie Fowler after scoring the opening goal against Real Madrid during a Legends friendly match at Anfield. (Pic by Peter Powell/Propaganda)

Owen got the Reds off to a great start with a close-range header, after an excellent cross from none other than Gerrard.

 Liverpoolís Steven Gerrard in action against Real Madrid during a Legends friendly match at Anfield. (Pic by Peter Powell/Propaganda)

The former Liverpool captain ran the show from start to finish, outshining his Real counterpart, Luis Figo.

 Liverpool's Daniel Agger in action against Real Madrid during a Legends friendly match at Anfield. (Pic by Lexie Lin/Propaganda)

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It was great to see Agger pull on the red shirt again, with the Dane retiring from professional football in 2015, with his latter years dogged by injury—though his quality still shone through.

 Liverpool's Luis Garcia in action against Real Madrid during a Legends friendly match at Anfield. (Pic by Lexie Lin/Propaganda)

Luis Garcia, somewhat of a veteran in legends fixtures at this stage, was another to have impressed on Saturday, with the Spaniard arguably the fittest player on the pitch.

 Liverpoolís John Aldridge is congratulated after scoring the second goal Real Madrid's Steve McManaman during a Legends friendly match at Anfield. (Pic by Peter Powell/Propaganda)

Liverpool didn’t get their second goal of the afternoon until after half-time, when substitute John Aldridge tapped home, with another assist from Gerrard.

 Liverpoolís Robbie Fowler scores the third goal making the score against Real Madrid during a Legends friendly match at Anfield. (Pic by Peter Powell/Propaganda)

And when Gerrard was bundled over in the box by Jerzy Dudek, Fowler stepped up to slot home the penalty.

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 Liverpoolís Robbie Fowler in action against Real Madrid's Michael Salgado during a Legends friendly match at Anfield. (Pic by Peter Powell/Propaganda)

Fowler received plenty of stick for not allowing Gerrard to take the penalty, but as the 41-year-old said after the game: “I wasn’t wanting to give up that chance of scoring in front of the Kop.”

 Liverpool’s Steven Gerrard celebrates scoring the fourth goal against Real Madrid during a Legends friendly match at Anfield. (Pic by Peter Powell/Propaganda)

Gerrard had his moment of glory soon after, however, touching down Jason McAteer’s cross before firing an unstoppable volley into the back of the net to make it 4-0.

 Liverpool's Alan Kennedy during a Legends friendly match against Real Madrid at Anfield. (Pic by Lexie Lin/Propaganda)

Alan Kennedy, who sealed Liverpool their third European Cup triumph in 1981 with the only goal in a win over Real in Paris, was among those to turn out in the second-half sun.

 Liverpool's Jamie Carragher and Steven Gerrard during a Legends friendly match against Real Madrid at Anfield. (Pic by Lexie Lin/Propaganda)

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And while Real pegged the home side back through late goals from Edwin Congo, Fernando Morientes and Ruben de la Red, it was just great to see some old faces back together once again.

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Video: Aldridge, Fowler & Rush on Gerrard and “brilliant” LFC Legends win over Real Madrid

Sat, 25/03/2017 - 21:49

Liverpool legends John Aldridge, Robbie Fowler and Ian Rush reflected on a “brilliant” 4-3 win over Real Madrid on Saturday afternoon.

The veteran trio were joined by a host of slightly more youthful legends in the likes of John Arne Riise, Steven Gerrard and Luis Garcia in front of a packed Anfield crowd on Saturday.

Taking on a Real Madrid side featuring Roberto Carlos, Clarence Seedorf and Luis Figo among others the Reds had their work cut out for them.

But while they made it difficult for themselves late on, goals from Gerrard, Fowler, Aldridge and Michael Owen were enough to seal victory for the home side.

And speaking to reporters at Anfield after the game, the legendary strikers praised their team-mates’ performances.

They were also pleased with the turnout at the stadium, with Aldridge attributing this to the “cracking players there on show for both sides.”

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Rush also gave his view on the upcoming Merseyside derby, also at Anfield, on April 1, and the importance of Jurgen Klopp‘s side securing a top-four finish in the Premier League.

 Liverpool’s Steven Gerrard celebrates scoring the fourth goal against Real Madrid during a Legends friendly match at Anfield. (Pic by Peter Powell/Propaganda)

Gerrard was by far the standout player on Saturday, laying on three assists as well as scoring the fourth, and Fowler hailed the midfielder’s contribution.

“If you think of the greatest players in Liverpool’s history, you probably got the one here on my left (Rush), then you’ve got Kenny and Steven,” Fowler said.

“And with him just retiring, I think he was nailed-on to get Man of the Match.

“You knew that he was going to play well, you knew that he was going to be instrumental in all that we did.

“Steven’s Steven, I don’t think anything surprises you, he’s a fantastic player.

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“Obviously winning the penalty as well, I think he was going to take it but I pulled rank.

“I wasn’t wanting to give up that chance of scoring in front of the Kop, so I thank him for letting me take that penalty!”

The legends will no doubt be hoping Gerrard can join them again in the future, and the former Reds captain will no doubt be eager to get out onto the pitch again soon.


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Watch all the goals as the Liverpool Legends beat Real Madrid 4-3 at Anfield

Sat, 25/03/2017 - 21:11

— Liverpool FC (@LFC) 25 March 2017

Michael Owen got the Reds in front after 24 minutes, heading home following a great cross from Gerrard.

GOAL! Gerrard the provider again – this time for Aldridge! ?

[2-0]

Watch live: https://t.co/gbvKxHu6ok#LFCRealLegends pic.twitter.com/tgmXiwFcMo

— Liverpool FC (@LFC) 25 March 2017

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Going into half-time 1-0 up, Rush made a host of changes to his side, including the introduction of a 58-year-old John Aldridge, who tapped home after a cross-goal pass from the Reds’ No. 8.

GOAL! Fowler scores from the spot! ?

[3-0]

Watch live: https://t.co/gbvKxHu6ok#LFCRealLegends pic.twitter.com/ZNsuJhVoAD

— Liverpool FC (@LFC) 25 March 2017

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And with Gerrard fouled in the box by an onrushing Jerzy Dudek, captain for the day Fowler stepped up to give the home side a three-goal lead.

GERRARD!!! ?

[4-0]

Watch live: https://t.co/gbvKxHu6ok#LFCRealLegends pic.twitter.com/2CaeyhVcTN

— Liverpool FC (@LFC) 25 March 2017

Not content with his trio of assists, Gerrard scored Liverpool’s last goal of the afternoon—and it was by far their best, with a great touch and finish inside the area from the midfielder.

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Two goals in swift succession for Real Madrid – here's the first…

[4-2]

Watch live: https://t.co/gbvKxHu6ok#LFCRealLegends pic.twitter.com/sdTmVeq5Or

— Liverpool FC (@LFC) 25 March 2017

Real did fight back late on, noticeably after the departure of Daniel Agger, with Edwin Congo netting first.

A fine strike from Morientes…

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[4-2]

Watch live: https://t.co/gbvKxHu6ok#LFCRealLegends pic.twitter.com/oJqI3ak0nb

— Liverpool FC (@LFC) 25 March 2017

Former Liverpool striker Fernando Morientes got in on the action less than a minute later, firing home an Anfield collector’s item from close range.

Another late Real Madrid goal!

[4-3]

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Watch live: https://t.co/gbvKxHu6ok#LFCRealLegends pic.twitter.com/YTbLGhkRxe

— Liverpool FC (@LFC) 25 March 2017

And Ruben de la Red, who was forced to retire in 2010 at the age of 25, rounded off the scoring with a late header.

Steven Gerrard dedicates his performance today to Ronnie Moran pic.twitter.com/6rPjinFvi4

— Liverpool FC (@LFC) 25 March 2017

After the game, Gerrard, who was named Man of the Match, dedicated his side’s display to the memory of the late, great Mr Liverpool, Ronnie Moran.

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“We need to clone Gerrard” – Fans react to Steven Gerrard’s Liverpool Legends masterclass

Sat, 25/03/2017 - 20:15

Watch live: https://t.co/gbvKxHu6ok#LFCRealLegends pic.twitter.com/2CaeyhVcTN

— Liverpool FC (@LFC) March 25, 2017

3 assists and a goal in front of the Kop for Gerrard ? #LFCLegends

— Joel Rabinowitz (@joel_archie) March 25, 2017

GERRARD YOU LEGEND! Oh my ??

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— Ruth ??? (@Apple_Head94) March 25, 2017

Please play for us again Gerrard. What a goal.

— The Anfield Truth (@TheAnfieldTruth) March 25, 2017

Oh how I've missed seeing Steven Gerrard score in front of the Kop.

— Leanne (@_lfcleanne) March 25, 2017

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3 assists and goal for Gerrard, the guy is unreal

— Jack (@lfcjack__) March 25, 2017

The legend never dies
STEVEN GERRARD?

— Saw Sinawin (@sawbeastt) March 25, 2017

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We need to clone Gerrard.

— Adrian (@_ViceAdmiral_) March 25, 2017

Steven Gerrard with his greatest ever goal for Liverpool

— Sachin Nakrani (@SachinNakrani) March 25, 2017

Steven Gerrard ??pic.twitter.com/bdALQw2AuO

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— LEM 94:39 (@lamia_12) March 25, 2017

Gerrard at his age would still be our best midfielder by a country mile, if he was still in the side! #LFC

— Timmy Robson (@WaveyTimz277) March 25, 2017

Steven Gerrard's crosses > any current #LFC player.

— Leroy | LFC Impulse (@LFCImpulse) March 25, 2017

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Gerrard is still better than Pogba #CaptainFantastic

— Bst (@normalonejk) March 25, 2017

Gerrard cheating in this match by being able to run. #LiverpoolLegends v #RealMadridLegends

— AS English (@English_AS) March 25, 2017

Rooney plays every week and is useless

We let #Gerrard go and he STILL plays out of this world

Makes you wonder eh

— Dr. Goatee (@4dger) March 25, 2017

Liverpool have had some great great players over the years, but for me Gerrard will always be the number 1. What a outstanding player #LFC

— Terry (@Terry_LFC5) March 25, 2017

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LIVE: LFC Legends vs. Real Madrid Legends – Follow the match here

Sat, 25/03/2017 - 17:15

Anfield hosts a much-anticipated charity match on Saturday afternoon, as Liverpool’s legends take on a star-studded Real Madrid outfit. We’re live to bring you the latest.

Liverpool: Dudek, Kvarme, Carragher, Agger, Riise, Hamann, Gerrard, McManaman, Garcia, Fowler, Owen.

Substitutes: Westerveld, Aldridge, Rush, McAteer, Babb, Henchoz, Kennedy, Smicer, Diao, Berger, McAllister, Thompson.

Real Madrid:

Substitutes:

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Categories: LFC NEWS

Liverpool ‘among 3 clubs’ to offer Barcelona midfielder Rafinha possible exit route

Sat, 25/03/2017 - 16:39

Liverpool have been named alongside two other sides as possible destinations for Barcelona midfielder Rafinha if he opts to leave the club.

Jurgen Klopp is busy plotting his moves for the upcoming transfer window along with his recruitment staff, and is likely to significantly bolster his squad ahead of 2017/18.

With Liverpool set to qualify for European football for next season, Klopp will require both quality and quantity in the summer market.

And according to Spanish publication Diario Gol, Barcelona’s Rafinha, brother of Bayern Munich midfielder Thiago Alcantara, could be a possible option for the Reds.

They claim that few players in the Barcelona squad are assured of their long-term future, beyond Marc-Andre ter Stegen, Gerard Pique, Sergio Busquets, Andres Iniesta, Neymar, Luis Suarez and Lionel Messi.

Those on the margins, like Rafinha, are in a constant battle for regular game time, and this could see the 24-year-old opt to leave Camp Nou in the summer.

Rafinha is said to have told Messi and Neymar that he would be open to a move away at the end of the season, with “three offers on the table.”

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These are believed to have come from Liverpool, Juventus and Arsenal, serving up an interesting tug of war.

Rafinha typically operates as a central midfielder, but is also comfortable on either wing, and has shown signs of real promise on the right flank when called upon there this season.

Like his brother, he came up through the ranks at La Masia, but struggled to break through to Thiago’s level.

This was not aided by a serious ACL injury suffered at the start of the 2015/16 campaign, ruling him out until April of last year, and he has remained a bit-part player under Luis Enrique since.

However, this is no marker of the two-time Brazil international’s quality, and Rafinha would certainly be an excellent addition to Klopp’s squad.

Technically gifted and adept in possession, Rafinha is real threat in the final third, and has scored seven goals and assisted a further five in 27 games in all competitions this season.

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He is also an enthusiastic defensive talent, averaging 2.2 successful tackles per 90 minutes in La Liga, more than all but four of Klopp’s first-team regulars: Lucas Leiva, James Milner, Emre Can and Jordan Henderson.

 Liverpool's Philippe Coutinho Correia celebrates scoring the fourth goal against Hull City with team-mate Sadio Mane during the FA Premier League match at Anfield. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

Quite where he would fit into Klopp’s squad is unclear, but Rafinha’s versatility would make him an excellent addition.

Crucially, he could form a bond with the likes of Lucas, Philippe Coutinho and Roberto Firmino, allowing him to settle into life at Anfield quickly.

It remains an unlikely transfer, given his position at Barcelona, but signing Rafinha would be a coup for Klopp.

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Jurgen Klopp reveals the advice he gave Sheyi Ojo to salvage his Liverpool future

Sat, 25/03/2017 - 16:14

“Now at U23 level I can see him running like crazy to show ‘yes, I’m ready’ and that helps him a lot.

“Even in not-perfect games you can see he’s involved in other parts.

“So, it’s a very important moment for him and if he keeps this attitude then everything will be good in the end, 100 percent.”

 Liverpool's Sheyi Ojo in action against Plymouth Argyle during the FA Cup 3rd Round match at Anfield. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

This is no new situation for Ojo, however, with the 19-year-old already the subject of public scrutiny for Klopp back in January, when the German said he needed to find “sharpness.”

And the following month, U23s manager Mike Garrity also attested that “he has to bring those moments [of quality] on a more consistent basis.”

It is certainly a difficult challenge for Ojo, though his three assists in eight Premier League outings last season suggest he has the quality required to break through under Klopp.

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And reflecting on Klopp’s advice, Ojo acknowledged that his application and all-round contribution needed to improve.

“He mentioned that he wanted me show that I wanted it,” the youngster said.

“As a young player there’s always going to be ups and downs and it’s been hard for me getting injured and then coming back and not really getting an opportunity.

“But I’ve had to dig deep with the support of the staff and I feel that I’m getting better in every game.

“My work ethic’s probably been the best it’s ever been since I’ve been playing football, which is obviously a positive.

“I’m more direct when I get the ball like the manager wants me to be. So hopefully I’m heading in the right direction.”

Ojo is likely to get few more opportunities to impress for the first team this season, meaning the summer could be a make-or-break spell for the former MK Dons youth.

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Video: Luis Garcia lays down the gauntlet to Real Madrid ahead of charity clash

Sat, 25/03/2017 - 14:21

Liverpool legend Luis Garcia has conceded his team-mates are eager to secure victory over Real Madrid at Saturday’s charity clash at Anfield.

The Reds legends take on their Real counterparts in support of the the LFC Foundation, with Garcia among those to return after their 4-2 loss at the Santiago Bernabeu in 2015.

In front of a packed crowd on Merseyside, with the new Main Stand adding 8,500 new supporters to Anfield, they will have a great chance to respond.

And Garcia said that, while he was not looking for “revenge,” he was eager to win on Saturday.

“Like always, it’s great to be back at the Mersey,” he said.

“To play at Anfield is not something that happens every day, and we’ll try to enjoy it very much.

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“It’s not revenge, everybody likes to win of course, we are professional players so you never lose that thing about winning.

“Of course we would like to win, but the most important thing is why we’re here.

“We’ll try to put on a good show for all the people who come to the stadium.”


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Video: Gary McAllister relishing playing in front of Anfield’s “unique atmosphere”

Sat, 25/03/2017 - 14:13

Liverpool legend Gary McAllister explained the impact Anfield’s new Main Stand has had on its “unique atmosphere” ahead of Saturday’s clash with Real Madrid.

McAllister is part of the Liverpool Legends squad to take on their Spanish counterparts on Saturday afternoon, along with the likes of Jamie Carragher, Steven Gerrard and Robbie Fowler.

After a showcase clash at the Santiago Bernabeu in 2015, this year provides the Anfield supporters a chance to watch their heroes of the past in action.

And speaking ahead of the game, McAllister revealed his anticipation at playing in front of the new Main Stand, and how it could provide an inspiration to the club’s young supporters.

“To experience the atmosphere in Anfield is pretty special,” he explained.

“And I also think what the new stand has brought, another 8,500 fans. I think it just makes the whole atmosphere definitely better.

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“It’s happened seamlessly, it’s this massive, big building but it just seems to have happened.

“It’s settled in really nicely, I think the young fans will experience the size of the stand, but also the unique atmosphere.”


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