Klopp arrived in Spain for the crucial Champions League clash with Sevilla on the back of more speculation about the future of his England striker, who will reportedly look for a move in January in an attempt to salvage his World Cup hopes with England.
Similar noises about a lack of game time and a January move were heard 12 months ago, but Klopp shrugged them off.
“I can imagine a player with his quality is not happy that he is not starting all the time, but that’s all,” said Klopp.
“The situation with the player is completely OK. At this moment we are in November and need all our players—even if he feels a little different.
“There is around one-and-a-half months before the window opens and I don’t think about things like this. There are so many games before then and I need all of them.”
As Klopp was in Spain it was no surprise to hear the local media ask about the continued speculation linking Barcelona with another move for Philippe Coutinho, who handed in a transfer request when he learned of their interest in August only for three bids from the Catalans to be rejected out of hand.
Klopp, however, brushed it aside, saying: “He is 100 percent Liverpool.”
With qualification for the knockout stage up for grabs in Spain, the Reds boss would like to exact some payback for their 2016 Europa League final defeat by beating Sevilla on their own turf.
The 3-1 reverse in Basel 18 months ago still hurts, especially having led 1-0 at half-time, and, having failed to deliver a decisive blow in September at Anfield, Klopp hopes a victory will finally provide some compensation.
Klopp has visited the Ramon Sanchez Pizjuan twice before with Mainz and Borussia Dortmund and left with two draws (0-0 and 2-2), but would dearly love to silence the vociferous home crowd.
But he knows he will need a “mature” performance from his side.
“Without that you have no chance,” he said. “[Sevilla] have all the things you need, experienced strikers, quick strikers, ready for channelled balls, midfielders, [Steven] N’Zonzi, [Ever] Banega, [Jesus] Navas quick in behind. Different things they have.
“When you prepare for a game like this you think, ‘Oh my god, they are really good’. It is more interesting to face them.
“This is a tough place to come. What we did in the last month result-wise has given us confidence coming here, but that does not mean we win it.
“Our new maturity we will have to show it 100 percent in this atmosphere. We do not need to run in only one direction and win in the first second.
Emre Can’s battle for a starting spot and defensive rotations – Sevilla vs. Liverpool talking points
Liverpool travel to Sevilla knowing a win will guarantee them a place in the knockout stages of the Champions League with a match to spare.
First, though, is the UEFA Champions League tie against Sevilla which could go a long way toward sealing a last 16 place.Is There a Sturridge Solution?
Reports have emerged again that striker Daniel Sturridge is unhappy with the amount of pitch time he is getting and is looking for a January move to bolster his World Cup chances with England.
The 28-year-old is probably the fittest he has been since the season he and Luis Suarez tore defences to shreds in 2013/14 but he is still second choice behind Roberto Firmino, who is not even a recognised centre-forward.
He represents an effective option off the bench, which appears manager Jurgen Klopp‘s preferred tactic, but could see some increased action in the busy period leading up to the new year.
How that goes may determine Sturridge’s thinking when the transfer window opens but Klopp will not countenance a departure with the possibility of an FA Cup run and involvement in the Champions League knockout stages in 2018.
In the short-term Sturridge is unlikely to get his wish for more game time in Seville – even with the weekend visit of Chelsea looming on the horizon.What Has Happened to Liverpool’s Dodgy Defence?
Since leaking four against Tottenham at Wembley Klopp’s side have let in just one in four matches, including back-to-back European shut-outs against minnows Maribor.
Injury to Joel Matip means Dejan Lovren and Ragnar Klavan are set to start as the centre-back pairing and they are likely to be tested more by their Spanish opponents than anyone since Spurs at Wembley.
Top-four rivals Chelsea are the visitors to Anfield for a late Saturday kick-off but the Reds boss will be focused on his first objective which is to secure Champions League qualification with a win against Sevilla.
For that reason he is likely to keep changes to a minimum.
Loris Karius will start in goal and Joe Gomez is expected to replace Trent Alexander-Arnold at right-back, in keeping with Klopp’s policy of rotating his youngsters and goalkeeper for European games, but otherwise there will only be minor tweaks.
James Milner and Emre Can, both substitutes at the weekend, could both come into midfield, although it is more likely they will be vying for just one spot, while the front three of Mohamed Salah, Firmino and Sadio Mane picks itself.
Midfielder Adam Lallana, who has not started a competitive match this season because of a thigh injury, could be on the bench to be given a run out if circumstances allow to ease him back into things ahead of Chelsea.
Liverpool have lost 1-0 on each of their last three visits to Spain, most recently against Villarreal in their 2016 Europa League semi-final first leg.
Sevilla vs. Liverpool
Saturday, November 21, 2017 — 7:45pm (GMT)
Ramon Sanchez Pizjuan Stadium
Champions League Group E, Matchday 5
After a hit-and-miss start to the Reds’ season, they are now starting to flourish.
Key players are back fit and it is making a huge difference, and there is a noticeably more measured approach by Klopp and his players in recent weeks.
They head to Spain to tackle Sevilla, safe in the knowledge that three points will secure top spot in Group E, and a place in the last-16.
It is an equally crucial game for the side from La Liga, who sit second heading into the game, one point adrift of Liverpool, with Spartak Moscow two points further behind in third.
Klopp’s men are playing with real confidence, and will feel they should get a least a draw – returning home with nothing would make the visit of Spartak next month very tense.
Last meeting: Liverpool 2-2 SevillaTeam News
Barring the stricken Nathaniel Clyne, who is out until next year, there are no major injury problems to report for Liverpool.
Adam Lallana could make the substitutes’ bench for the first time this season, having recovered from a thigh injury.
Sevilla have a quintet of players on the sidelines: Daniel Carrico, Nicolas Pareja, Joaquin Correa, Gabriel Mercado and Walter Montoya. Sebastian Corchia is also struggling.
Sevilla’s start to the season in La Liga has mirrored that of Liverpool’s, with 22 points acquired from 12 matches.
It hasn’t exactly been earth-shattering, as is the case with the Reds, but they are right in contention for another top-four finish and Champions League knockout stage qualification.
Eduardo Berizzo’s side have won four of their last five games in all competitions, with their only defeat in that time a narrow 2-1 loss to Barcelona.
Wissam Ben Yedder, who opened the scoring in the 2-2 draw at Anfield back in September, leads Sevilla’s scoring charts with six goals.
Lallana hasn’t featured at all for Liverpool this season following a thigh problem, with his last appearance coming on the final day of 2016/17, in a goalscoring showing against Middlesbrough.
The 29-year-old returned to training last month though, and there were even murmurs that he could make the match day squad for Saturday’s 3-0 win over Southampton.
Although he ended up watching from the stands at Anfield, he may be on the substitutes’ bench for Tuesday’s Champions League clash with Sevilla, having travelled to Spain.
Klopp says having his former next-door neighbour available is great news, but admits he still won’t rush him back ahead of a long campaign.
“He is getting nearer and nearer, but we need him for the rest of the season and not for the next weeks,” Klopp told Liverpoolfc.com.
“He is really knocking on the door and it’s fantastic that he is back. It’s great.”
Klopp also spoke about whether he would make changes to his personnel against Sevilla, with a relentless schedule now underway and Chelsea visiting Anfield on Saturday.
Joel Matip will be back for the weekend clash on Merseyside, which could see him selected ahead of Dejan Lovren or Ragnar Klavan, but he will miss the Sevilla game with the adductor injury that kept him out against Saints.
“Maybe!” Klopp added, responding to a question about possible alterations.
“With the quality we have, it’s always a mixture of what you have to think about – it’s about rhythm on the one side, and freshness on the other side.
“Then there are specific questions that the other team will ask us, so you look and say, ‘they’re strong on this and strong on that, so what can we do?’ Then you make the line-up.
“The last game was not that intense, so we could go with the same line-up for sure – but 100 per cent we will not, because Loris will play! So, yes – we will make a change!”
Liverpool head to the Roman Sanchez Pizjuan Stadium knowing three points will all but confirm top spot in Group E, with a draw also a half-decent result.
It will be a tough game at the home of the Reds’ 2016 Europa League final conquerors, but if the return fixture at Anfield in September is anything to go by, Klopp’s men should fancy their chances, despite drawing that game 2-2.
Jurgen Klopp seems set to stick with his in-form attacking lineup against Sevilla, but a small number of changes to freshen the side are likely.
A first golden opportunity for Liverpool to book a place in the last-16 stage of the Champions League presents at the Ramón Sánchez Pizjuán Stadium.
Victory would seal Reds’ qualification with a game to spare – as would a draw if Maribor beat Spartak Moscow – which would be the ideal scenario to alleviate some pressure on the gruelling schedule.
Klopp will therefore be determined to qualify at the first attempt, and the boss is primed to stick as closely as possible to the confident, winning and attack-minded team deployed against Southampton at Anfield.Team News
ADVERTISINGThe Reds’ XI vs. Sevilla
Little change with injuries – with Matip set to miss out again – means the Reds are set to retain a very similar look to the team which started Saturday’s comfortable win over Southampton.
That is by no means a bad thing given the performance produced, and Klopp will rightly want to stick as close as possible to that exciting, offensive selection – especially with victory guaranteeing Liverpool’s progress.
Only those positions that don’t categorically pick themselves and boast ready-made options available to step-in will see regularly seen switches made to inject some freshness.
Karius will enter in one of those, and the German stopper’s return to defence will be followed by Gomez replacing Trent Alexander-Arnold to provide extra defensive solidity to the right of Lovren and Klavan.
With the wide duo poised to continue alongside Roberto Firmino in attack, Coutinho will again feature in midfield where only one further adjustment to the XI is likely to arrive.
It is unlikely – and bordering on illogical – for Klopp to make any further changes given the form the Reds are in currently.
But the boss could take an ever so slightly different route in ensuring his midfield remains fresh and energetic for what will be an intense game in a hostile atmosphere.
Can’s entrance could come in place of Henderson rather than Wijnaldum, with the German having reminded of his better suitability to the defensive-midfield slot in recent European outings.
Rotating the captain would once again give Klopp an incredibly strong bench to utilise, which could also be boosted further by Lallana’s confirmed availability.
It would ensure the Reds have an extremely talented matchday squad – one that could hardly be any stronger – to secure what would be a priceless victory at Ramón Sánchez Pizjuán Stadium.
The Reds have a golden chance to confirm a last-16 place for the first time since 2009, and after four straight wins, Klopp’s men can arrive with belief that a win and progress can be secured.
The Liverpool boss faced the media to answer questions about qualifying for the last 16, the form of Mohamed Salah and more before taking the evening session.
With just one more round of games remaining after Tuesday’s fixture in Spain, Liverpool know a positive result will have them on the cusp of the knock-out stage for the first time since 2008/09.
The Reds drew 2-2 at home with Sevilla in the opening group game this season, but recent form has been impressive and Klopp’s men will be hopeful of matching that result at the very least.
One massive positive for the Reds in the coming weeks will be the return to fitness of Adam Lallana.
The midfielder is back with the squad and has travelled to Spain, though Klopp may be tempted to hold back on reintroducing him to competitive action for now.
There’s certainly competition for places in midfield; Emre Can was left out against Southampton at the weekend and he, James Milner, Gini Wijnaldum and Jordan Henderson could soon find themselves all battling for one or two places.
At the other end of the pitch, Mohamed Salah remains the big danger man for the Reds. His form this term has been frightening, and Klopp will hope for more of the same on Tuesday.
Sevilla, of course, was the side Alberto Moreno was signed from; the Spanish left-back has enjoyed a massive upturn in fortunes this season and has been one of Liverpool’s most consistent performers.
Spanish sides have given Liverpool a few issues under Klopp; Villarreal beat the Reds in the Europa League semi-final first leg in the German’s first campaign in charge, before Sevilla themselves won the final.
Midfielders: Coutinho, Henderson, Can, Wijnaldum, Milner, Oxlade-Chamberlain, Lallana, Grujic
Jurgen Klopp says Mohamed Salah has “met expectations” and isn’t afraid of Liverpool losing best players
Ahead of a crucial Champions League tie in Spain, Salah has been making headlines for a record-breaking start in a Red shirt.
Already on 14 goals for the season, Salah has been a tremendous signing and has quickly become pivotal to the team’s attack—leading to the inevitable media column inches suggesting other big clubs could come calling.
Klopp was in no mood to consider that he should be wary of Salah’s great form, however, brushing aside questions that quality players would be lured away.
“Why should I be worried about the quality of my players?” the German boss said in his pre-game press conference.
“I’m not worried—the only opportunity to be successful is to have good players, and it’s our job to make sure they want to stay at Liverpool and not go somewhere else.
“Salah has reached my expectations at least [not exceeded them], so that’s all good!
“I like Mo, I like his goals, but we don’t have to talk too much about his past—I’m more interested in his stats for tomorrow’s game [at Sevilla].”
While Salah is the current star of the side thanks to his goal return, he’s not the only one drawing admiring glances for great form for Liverpool.
But Klopp was adamant that none of his squad were anything other than focused and committed to the task at hand—as should be evident from watching the Brazilian No. 10 this term.
“When the market is open there are a few discussions, when the market is closed we are all professional.”
With both Coutinho and Salah in particularly strong form of late, the signs are good indeed that Liverpool could be celebrating passage to the last 16 of the Champions League sooner rather than later.
Salah’s early season exploits have seen him net 14 times in 18 games for the Reds, already justifying the club record outlay on him just four months ago.
Someone who knows a thing or two about putting the ball in the net in a Red shirt is Fowler, and the former No. 9 has been quick to pay homage to the Egyptian forward.
“I watched Salah in pre-season and he was brilliant. There were a few who stood out but he was the main man,” said Fowler at Anfield.
“Everything about him, the way he plays, he runs at people, it’s effortless the way he runs across the grass and he’s scoring goals as well.
“You want him for other attributes as well but we’re all happy with his contribution so far, I think he’s been an unbelievable signing—probably the signing of the Premier League this year.”
Fowler also had his say on Liverpool’s improved defensive form and backed the direction Jurgen Klopp is taking the team, highlighting an impressive past month.
“We’re going the right way. The last few games at Anfield have finished 3-0. There will always be people wanting to have a go and people are entitled to their own opinion but Jurgen’s getting it right.
There’s a long way to go and who knows what will happen.”
In speaking about the upcoming Legends match against Bayern Munich, Fowler—who will captain the Reds on the day—made it clear he expected it to be a success, just as it was against Real Madrid last season.
“The fans loved it, it was a brilliant day out so it was a case of let’s do it again, raise money for charity and get the players back together again in this fine stadium.”
Loris Karius says Liverpool will not be playing for a draw against Sevilla on Tuesday night, despite knowing that result would keep ahead of their rivals.
A draw against the Andalucian outfit would guarantee Liverpool remain in the top two going into the final round of group games next month, with third-place Spartak Moscow three points adrift, as things stand.
Plenty of teams might approach the game in a cautionary manner, with their primary objective avoiding defeat, but that is simply not Klopp’s style.
Karius says he and his teammates will be walking out at the Roman Sanchez Pizjuan Stadium going for the win—a result that would all but secure top spot.
“As a player you don’t go in to draw you go to win, so I don’t think we will play for a draw—we will play for a win,” Karius told Liverpoolfc.com.
“If you look at it from the outside maybe you just don’t want to lose that game but for us players we clearly want to get the three points.
“They will probably be a strong team to face away. The group is really tight so it will be a tough game, but we are at the top at the moment so we want to stay there and hopefully get three points.”
The two sides drew 2-2 at Anfield back in September, with Liverpool dominance meaningless in the end, due to missed chances and soft goals conceded.
Karius says the Reds need to be more ruthless this time around, in order to avoid a disappointing night and a nervy meeting at home to Moscow next month.
“We were the stronger side on the night I think,” he added.
“We had bad luck with the penalty to make it 3-1 and then they came back out of nowhere really.
“They scored an early goal where we weren’t in the situation, really, and with the second goal it was the same.
“We have to learn from that stuff and at the highest level one mistake can lead to a goal. We also have to be clear on goal and score our chances, then we win the game.
“They took the few chances they had. They did really well, so we can’t switch off and have to defend well for 90 minutes. They will probably try to play more football at home with the fans behind them, so I’m sure the manager will prepare us well.”
Finally, the German spoke about his own personal excitement of playing in the Champions League, having been chosen as Liverpool’s designated European goalkeeper this season.
“It’s a new experience and obviously it’s a dream to play in this competition,” he said.
“I’m happy I can play there and, like I said, it’s a new experience; you travel different countries and see new stadiums and play teams you haven’t faced before, so all in all it’s a really good thing.
“If you talk to any player about what they want to reach at club level they will say to play in or win the Champions League, so that’s everyone’s dream. When you’re young you watch it and want to play it, so club-wise it is the highest stage you can play, so it’s very, very exciting.
“All the experiences help you. Everything you learn you take, absorb and learn from it so of course it is something it’s something you haven’t experienced before and that helps.”
Klopp’s decision to use Karius and Simon Mignolet in different competitions this season has been criticised by some, but it is allowing the 24-year-old a chance to shine.
Tuesday’s game is likely to be one of his busier nights for Liverpool so far, and a solid performance would do wonders for his confidence.
Defeating Mauricio Pellegrino’s struggling Saints 3-0, Klopp’s side extended their winning run to four games; their longest streak since the German arrived in 2015 is five.
That this solid stretch of form comes after one of their most miserable results of Klopp’s reign so far, a mauling at the hands of Spurs, provides an encouraging contrast.
Speaking after that frustrating afternoon at Wembley, Klopp delivered a familiar quote on the need to bounce back, saying “we have to prove we will fix it.”
It was familiar because the last time the Reds lost at Wembley, in the League Cup final, Klopp spoke again of the need to strike back: “Only silly idiots stay on the floor and wait for the next defeat.
“We will strike back. We have felt how it is to lose. It is not the best moment but on Monday morning maybe we can change everything.”
In the last four games, Liverpool have scored 13 goals and conceded just one, keeping three clean sheets at Anfield as their excellent defensive form at home contrasts the nightmare away displays at Watford, Man City and Wembley.
These basic statistics highlight just how dominant the Reds have been since losing to Spurs, putting four comparatively lowly sides to the sword.
They have played with a swagger and determination, with Salah’s ruthlessness in front of goal providing the cutting edge Klopp’s side need to thrive.
Salah has scored five goals and assisted one in the last four games, with the Egyptian benefiting from an international break at Melwood to ensure he remained fresh throughout.
But while the 25-year-old has been the star of the show for Liverpool, Klopp was right to describe Saturday’s win as “an all-round good performance,” and “a really deserved win.”
Since that day at Wembley, the Reds have been more incisive, more economical and more controlling.
In three of those four wins, Liverpool enjoyed more than 60 percent of the possession, higher than the season’s average of 58.1 percent.
Two of those also saw the Reds create more chances than the season’s average, with this leading to a significant increase in the amount of shots fired on goal.
Naturally, they scored more (3.25) and conceded fewer (0.25) per game than their average over the course of the season, but the most telling statistics showcase their clinical approach.
While the 3-0 win over Maribor serves as something of an anomaly in this sense, witnessing their grip on the contest at Anfield that night highlighted a superiority, building on their previous 7-0 triumph.
“Quality is obviously a mix of potential, attitude, mentality and all that stuff and we don’t show it consistently enough, that’s the truth,” Klopp added after the loss at Spurs.
Having followed up their 5-0 loss away to Man City with five draws, two wins and a loss in their next eight games, their four-game winning streak since October 22 is a stark contrast.
And this mesh of qualities have been on show both on and off the pitch.The Pragmatic Approach
Klopp’s comments after the humiliation in north London saw the German look to the training ground for solutions, saying “the only way to fix it is to stay strong and work on it.”
With five days between that loss and the visit of Huddersfield on October 28, the Reds clearly set to task at Melwood.
They were certainly aided by the abject nature of their opposition, with David Wagner’s Terriers failing to build on their previous, stubborn 2-1 win at home to Man United.
But it was clear that Liverpool made it impossible for them to do so, too, with a series of minor tactical tweaks from Klopp providing his side with the stability to do so.
Comparing the Reds’ average positions in the loss to Spurs and their three subsequent victories in the Premier League, there are two major differences in shape.
It has been previously noted by This is Anfield’s James Nalton how Liverpool adopted something of a back-three defensive system out of possession against Huddersfield.
But the biggest difference in the Reds’ formation at Wembley and those games since is the added protection from midfield.
Since then, the return of Georginio Wijnaldum to the fold, partnering either Can or Henderson, has seen a more rigid shape emerge, with Klopp attesting to his “two clear No. 6s” after the win at West Ham.
The victory over the Hammers is arguably the most interesting, and showcases Klopp’s pragmatic approach over the past four games.
Comparing Spurs’ absorb-and-strike approach at Wembley with the Reds’ performance at the London Stadium, there are clear similarities in how they set up.
The Reds conceded more possession to their opponent than they typically would, had fewer shots and created fewer chances, but were significantly more clinical when they did attack.
Klopp certainly learned from the loss at Wembley, and he has tailored his side since to great effect.The Challenge Ahead
Closing in on his record winning streak at Liverpool is a hugely positive development for Klopp, and one that was barely conceivable heading into the last week of October.
But Saturday’s win over Southampton marked the first of 13 games over the space of just 45 days, and the challenge is for the Reds to maintain their consistency.
They are thrown up a series of tough clashes before the end of the year, with the upcoming double-header away to Sevilla and at home to Chelsea evidence of that.
After that come trips to Stoke City and Brighton, then against Spartak Moscow, Everton and West Brom at Anfield, then Bournemouth (A), Arsenal (A), Swansea City (H), Leicester City (H) and Burnley (A).
These will be wildly varying encounters, and the Reds cannot afford to let complacency creep in after four confidence-boosting wins.
The strength of Liverpool’s bench at Anfield on Saturday, and Klopp’s use of his substitutes—bringing on Milner, Can and Oxlade-Chamberlain—proves the ability to shuffle his pack.
The hope is that the Reds use this congested run to keep up their rhythm, and extend their winning run further.
Liverpool head to Seville on Monday ahead of Tuesday’s Champions League tie against the Spaniards, who beat Celta Vigo 2-1 on Saturday.
Sevilla’s gooals were scored by Luis Muriel and Nolito either side of half-time, after they’d gone behind early on to Celta.
Since they visited Anfield in September, Eduardo Berizzo’s side have been in good form with eight wins and five defeats in all competitions. They’ve not drawn since the 2-2 draw against Jurgen Klopp‘s side.
Their defeats have been against Atletico Madrid, Barcelona, Athletic Bilbao, Spartak Moscow (in the Champions League), and Valencia.
Saturday’s win puts them fifth in the La Liga table, behind Atletico, Real Madrid, Barcelona and high-flying Valencia.
Liverpool can expect warm temperatures when they arrive in Andalusia on Monday afternoon, with highs of 21 degrees forecast.
The Reds are currently a point ahead of the Spanish side in Champions League Group E and a victory on Tuesday night would all-but secure top place and progress to the knockout stages.
Original super sub David Fairclough believes the demands of the modern game make it much easier to be a squad player with ‘special teams’ capabilities rather than feeling like a “spare part” as he sometimes did.
The former Liverpool striker earned his tag for his exploits off the bench – even though 92 of his 154 appearances and 37 of his 55 goals for the club came when he was named in the starting line-up.
Stoke’s Peter Crouch has gradually morphed into the modern-day equivalent and could make a record 143rd Premier League substitute appearance against Brighton on Monday, beating ex-Newcastle forward Shola Ameobi’s tally set between 2000 and 2015.
Crouch will be 37 in January – Fairclough retired from the professional game aged 34 – and although his contract expires next summer the player and Potters chairman Peter Coates have both spoken about an extension and the way the modern game has changed will allow him to do so.
“In the old days the plan of the game was always about the XI –the 12th man was like the spare wheel in your car: you’re not bothered about it until you need it,” Fairclough told Press Association Sport.
“You weren’t part of the conversations and it was very difficult but the role has evolved.
“It’s not an 11-man game any more so it’s much easier to be a substitute.
“The fact you have played 100 games as a substitute is not detrimental to your ability, people don’t see you as being any less than the others.
“It is like special teams in American football; for different situations you bring the special team on.
“And the rewards in football are so good you are encouraged to think ‘I might stay for a couple more seasons and sit on the bench because there are so many competitions I might get the odd game’.
“For us when we got to 35 you’re thinking ‘I have to get out of the game because I need to do something else’ because you were not in a position to do nothing.”
Crouch has yet to start a Premier League match for Stoke this season but is still the club’s joint top goalscorer. That is testament not only to his quality but to his role as a ‘plan B’ off the bench.
“People are aware of that threat and he knows that. That is a boost to your confidence (as a substitute),” added Fairclough, whose most famous substitute moment came with the winner which overturned a first-leg deficit against St Etienne in the European Cup quarter-final at Anfield in 1977.
“He’s done it enough times now to know he can do it and everyone in the ground is aware.
“The substitute role has evolved incredibly from my time under Bob Paisley; managers now look for someone who can play that type of role and be effective.”
It took a certain type of mentality to do the role as well as Fairclough did in the era of one substitute and limited substitutions, however.
“It was always a difficult situation and something you needed to accept,” said Fairclough.
“In the first instance it was fine as I was a young lad trying to get a breakthrough but with (Kevin) Keegan, (John) Toshack and (Steve) Heighway you’re thinking to yourself any bits you get you’re grateful of.
“But as time wears on you get more confident and feel you should be playing more.
“Ninety-nine times out of 100 managers use three substitutes so you’ve a fair chance of getting some action.
“In my day unless there was an injury or a catastrophe the manager didn’t use a substitute because the simple fact was you only had one option.
Easier than expected: Liverpool’s solid defence, positive midfield and excellent attack vs. Southampton
Liverpool haven’t seen eye-to-eye with Southampton in recent seasons, both on and off the pitch, but this was an easier win than anticipated, writes Steven Scragg.
There is no more accurate barometer of a decent Liverpool performance, than when a player makes an audacious manoeuvre, which has only a slim chance of succeeding, only to fail, yet still receives a ‘nice attempt’ style round of applause.
Emre Can was the man with the late, but unlikely manoeuvre, which garnered more approval than it warranted, from the Anfield congregation.
3-0 up, cruising, capable of more goals, pivotal performers removed from the fray so as to rest them up ahead of the trip to Sevilla in midweek. Job done, and a few party pieces being thrown around. We all went home happy, with what was a fourth successive win.The worst defence I’ve ever seen, on paper…
The stuff of potential nightmares.
They did a job though. Not many stand-out moments of peril, and Lovren was cheered when on the ball during the second half, in what is an increasingly surreal situation, where he is supported partly through irony, and partly through genuine abhorrence at the levels of vitriol he has been receiving, up to, and including a social media death threat. Player of the month he became then.
Klavan, when called upon of late has largely done the basics right. He’s limited as a footballer, and worryingly one footed for a central defender, but as long as he does the basics right then he’s worth turning to.
In many ways Klavan is the anti-Lovren. Limited in style, but capable of intense focus, he insists on getting the basics right.
Laugh all you like, but Lovren is a decent footballer. Dangerous in the opposing penalty area, he can pick out an intelligent pass at times. He can even look shockingly comfortable on the ball upon occasion. Southampton fans still goad him for a reason. They thought he was brilliant.
The problem with Lovren isn’t how good his style and technique is, it’s all to do with how he ‘zones out’ or switches off at times. Pivotal times. He’s a hopeless case in this respect, and he will revisit the same mistakes time, and time again.
In a mid-ranging side, who play deeper, with a flat midfield just a short few yards ahead of him, and a defined shot-stopper behind him, Lovren would once again look a central defender of vast substance. He’s a confined space defender. Lots of time and space is Lovren’s nemesis.
It is an impressive tally for a winger, who has 14 in 18 in all competitions – which is already equal to what Philippe Coutinho managed as the club’s leading scorer last season.
With Champions League qualification up for grabs in their penultimate group match in Sevilla on Tuesday and a busy December Henderson knows Salah, who was applauded off by his team-mates when he was substituted in the 80th minute, maintaining his form will be key for them.
“I just want him to keep going. He hasn’t taken his foot off the gas. He’s working hard in training and in the games. It’s not just his scoring it is his work-rate,” Henderson told LFCTV.
“He has been brilliant for all the season so far. He has to keep it going for us like all the players but it is a good start coming back after the international break.
“It is important for us over this busy period, it’s important to keep players fresh and raring to go – even those who are not starting.
“The big games keep coming but that is what we have to prepare for. We knew the next couple of months would be big for us.
“It was important after the (international) break to start well after all the good work we’ve done beforehand because sometimes it is difficult to get that momentum going when the lads have been away for some time.
“But there’s still a lot of work to be done.”
Just when Jurgen Klopp thought he would have his strongest squad of the season he lost defender Joel Matip to a groin injury on the eve of the Southampton game but it mattered little as the Saints did not manage a shot on target.
Salah’s first-half double told only half the story of the torment the Egyptian caused the visitors and Coutinho’s crisp finish midway through the second half added the finishing touches to a comfortable win.
“He was really good, it one of his best performances over 90 minutes in defending. What he can do offensively everybody knows,” said manager Klopp.
“When he started he was a proper winger and sometimes a defender, and now he is a proper defender and sometimes a winger and that makes much more sense for this position.”
Gomez, England’s man of the match at centre-back against Brazil earlier in the week, is likely to replace Alexander-Arnold in Seville.
“This will happen over the next few weeks, we will have to make decisions,” added Klopp.
“Usually I don’t think too much about the next game, but in this case I have to think about the next 13 games.
“Joe had two games in the last week and it’s not a problem, he could have played but then for Tuesday I don’t think it would have been a big chance or a good idea to bring him again.”
Southampton manager Mauricio Pellegrino admits, with just one win in their last six matches, they have to arrest their slide.
“In these moments though you learn where you are at and we need to express our character,” he said.
“Messi-esque” Salah singled out in “mightily impressive team performance” – Media on Liverpool 3-0 Southampton
Liverpool resumed seamlessly at Anfield to extend the winning run to four games with a comfortable victory over Mauricio Pellegrino’s Saints.
A classy first-half brace from Salah gave the Reds a commanding half-time lead, before Philippe Coutinho wrapped up the victory on 68 minutes when finishing on the follow up.
It was an excellent win for the Reds, and Jurgen Klopp will be particularly delighted with the level of performance in what is always a tough fixture to navigate in the first game back after international disruption.
Here’s how the media assessed an enjoyable afternoon at Anfield.
ADVERTISINGThe Reds earned plenty of praise for the manner, style and convincing nature of the victory
The Liverpool Echo’s James Pearce was among numerous journalists to praise Liverpool’s collective display, labelling it a “mightily impressive team performance”:
This was a mightily impressive team performance from Klopp’s men. They didn’t fly out of the traps. They didn’t take any unnecessary risks. They played with real maturity and control.
ESPN’s Dave Usher was among the reporters to praise the routine nature of the win, assessing this as “the biggest positive”:
The ease with which these points were collected is the biggest positive. Good teams take care of business in games like this but too often Liverpool have fallen short.
Meanwhile, the Mail’s Dominic King felt the most impressive aspect was the way the Reds managed the game:
This was Liverpool’s fourth consecutive victory in all competitions, a fine response to the calamity they endured against Tottenham four weeks ago, but what impressed most about this latest success was the manner in which they shut Southampton down once Salah had waved his magic wand.Salah unsurprisingly earned rave reviews for yet another stellar, match-winning performance
The Guardian’s Andy Hunter believes the Egyptian is exceeding all expectation:
He was signed from Roma with speed and creativity in mind but he has exceeded expectations with 14 goals in 18 games in all competitions for his new, grateful club.
King believes Salah is transforming not only games, but the Reds’ season all together:
In common with those three luminaries, Salah has the ability to transform matches and it looks increasingly like he is turning the course of Liverpool’s campaign, too.
The Liverpool Echo’s Andy Kelly noted the impressive variety of goals Salah has scored:
His astonishingly productive start for the Reds has seen Salah score a huge range of goals – a pacy break here, a rare header there, a close range tap-in just round the corner.
The Independent’s Simon Hughes likened Salah’s qualities to those of a certain Lionel Messi:
Salah’s qualities are Lionel Messi-eque. He is left footed, plays on the right but has the speed and ingenuity to concern entire defences. He has been the best-value signing of any Premier League club for this season, if not the most outstanding.
Meanwhile, Melissa Reddy, writing for Goal.com, believes there is still even more to come from Salah:
Usher was among numerous journalists to note the Reds’ positive reaction since losing to Tottenham at Wembley, labelling the response “first class”:
The Mirror’s David Maddock believes Klopp’s men are showing they could still yet compete for the title:
Bascombe assessed how the Reds are far better equipped to deal with the gruelling Christmas schedule this season:
Pearce was impressed by the natural understanding of the Reds’ attacking quartet, assessing that it makes for the “perfect mix”:
Hunter highlighted Liverpool’s “distribution and movement” as key to unpicking the Saints:
This Is Anfield’s James Nalton highlighted the subtle tactical changes made to midfield by Klopp, noting the German’s flexibility:
After a 3-0 win for the first-team on Saturday, Liverpool’s Under 23s went one better by beating Everton 4-0 on Saturday night in the mini Merseyside derby.
Liverpool Under 23s 4-0 Everton Under 23s
Premier League 2, Prenton Park
Saturday, 18 November 2018
Goals: Kane, Whelan, Brewster, Dhanda
It was a perfect finish to Saturday at Prenton Park for those who decided to come and cheer Neil Critchley’s side in mini-derby just a few hours after Jurgen Klopp’s side defeated Southampton 3-0 at Anfield.
The first half delivered goals scored by Herbie Kane and Corey Whelan, while the second half was even better in terms of the beauty of the other two scored by Rhian Brewster and substitute Yan Dhanda.
But it was Harry Wilson who first had a chance to break the deadlock in the game. Within seven minutes of play the Welshman had a great chance to score, but Louis Gray did his best and stopped Wilson from scoring.
Then Grey was again in the middle of the action as he tackled down Kane who ran to the ball first and was tripped by Gray’s desperate dive. Unfortunately for the crowd, the referee saw no offence and did not award the penalty for the Reds.
Liverpool controlled the game well from the beginning however, Everton had their chances, too. The best one was wasted by Nikola Vlasic who put the ball into the row Z after Corey Whelan blocked Josh Bowler’s effort.
The first goal came just after half an hour of play. Gray made a poor clearance and Kane took the ball 30 yards out. He passed it to Wilson on the right and Liverpool’s number seven back-passed the ball to Kane who hammered it into the net.
The lead was doubled just three minutes later as Wilson’s corner found Whelan who headed the ball past Gray. Whelan could have doubled his tally just before half time, but this time he missed the target.
The second half brought the same dominant and controlled play by LFC. It paid off just five minutes after the break as Juanma released Kane on the wing. Kane crossed superbly to Brewster who volleyed the ball straight into the net.
Everton tried to get something from the game, but it was all about Liverpool. Critchley’s players destroyed all the potential danger.
The high pressing paid off again when Ovie Ejaria, whose display was on the highest level on Saturday night, carried the ball to release a substitute Dhanda, who ran past the defender and gave Gray no chance with a low, powerful shot into the far corner ten minutes before full time.
It was yet another great display by LFC U23s who grabbed the local bragging rights but also claimed another three points to extend their lead to five points clear at the top of Premier League 2 table.
Liverpool: Grabara, Flanagan, Juanma (Johnston, 89), Jones, Whelan, Ejaria, Wilson (Adekanye, 81), Virtue, Kane, Brewster (Dhanda, 67), Ings.
Gomez excelled for England during the international break, and the 20-year-old’s breakout display against Brazil saw widespread calls for a move to centre-back for the Reds.
But when Klopp’s teamsheet was revealed on Saturday afternoon, Gomez’s presence on the substitutes’ bench led to criticism.
“This will happen over the next few weeks, we will have to make decisions,” he told reporters.
“Usually I don’t think too much about the next game, but in this case I have to think about the next 13 games.
“I haven’t already planned them, but we need to try to. We cannot play one lineup until they are all injured, we need to mix it up—even if we win games like today.
“Joe had two games in the last week and it’s not a problem, he could have played today.
“But then for Tuesday I don’t think it would have been a big chance or a good idea to bring him again.”
Alexander-Arnold was one of Liverpool’s standout performers at Anfield, with his defensive quality at right-back particularly encouraging.
Klopp was quick to lavish praise on the 19-year-old, highlighting his development in a new role since stepping up from the U23s last season.
“We have Trent and he is another type of defender,” he continued.
“When he started he was a proper winger and sometimes a defender, and now he is a proper defender and sometimes a winger and that makes much more sense for this position.
“He was really good today, it was one of his best performances over 90 minutes in defending.
“What he can do offensively everybody knows. It’s good for us we have the two of them.”
Klopp has regularly explained how he will rotate his two young full-backs in Nathaniel Clyne‘s absence, and this was no different on Saturday afternoon.
Leaving Gomez out after his performances for England will have been a difficult decision for Klopp, but the No. 12 can now come in refreshed in Andalusia in midweek.
The Reds sailed to another three points as they took on the Saints at Anfield, in their first outing since securing a 4-1 win away to West Ham on November 4.
Klopp made four changes to his side after the international break, and was rewarded with a comfortable performance capped by a brace from Salah and a goal from Philippe Coutinho.
Speaking after the game, the German was in high spirits, lauding his side’s display as an “all around good performance.”
“[Man] City are flying and we can’t change that, but we will keep putting pressure on the others,” he told reporters.
Klopp also discussed Salah’s two-goal outing, saying “it’s a good moment” for the winger, and detailed Matip’s injury problem, describing it as “the smallest strain you can have.”
And the manager revealed that Alberto Moreno‘s wife gave birth on Saturday morning, adding: “Alberto Jr., he was in the hotel, sorry!”
Liverpool are next in action away to Sevilla in the Champions League on Tuesday night, as they look to build on their latest win and secure progress to the last 16.
Anfield was a jittery place after a run of one win in six Premier League games but, three straight victories later, the mood has noticeably shifted.
The result saw Liverpool close to within one point of fourth-placed Tottenham, and Klopp was a very satisfied man.
He said: “Southampton are a really good football team. We had these moments not too often so far this season. You need these goals and thank God in a moment we score them. That makes all the difference.
“I’m really happy about the defending, the whole team and especially the last line was really strong. It was just an all-round good performance and a really deserved win, and for us of course very important.
“It pushed the top of the table a little bit together. We are still in, that’s good.
“[Manchester] City is obviously flying around pretty alone. We cannot change that but we can make pressure on all the others and that’s what we did today.
“We have to build on our experiences that we made so far in the season. We played all kinds of teams, all kinds of styles. There was only one game that was really bad, and that was Tottenham.
“We used these experiences. We have a much better protection, I hope we can keep that, it’s a big part of not getting nervous in a game.
“It looked much more mature and that’s very important for us.”
Salah has scored 14 goals in 19 appearances in all competitions following a £34 million move from Roma in the summer, including eight in his last six games.
His first goal was a sublime curling finish while his second saw him time his run perfectly through the Southampton defence to get on the end of Coutinho’s delightful pass.
“He’s in a good moment,” said Klopp. “It’s good for us. The first one, that’s not a real chance, fantastic goal; second goal, fantastic play, outstanding for the pass.
“I’m pretty sure Phil played a few more of these passes already in his life but when somebody gets it in the box and is not offside, that’s quite rare.”
Virgil van Dijk faced Liverpool for the first time since the Reds’ failed pursuit of the Southampton defender in the summer, enduring a mixed game.
The Dutchman is very likely to be playing in a red shirt at some point in the near future, but this was an unhappy Anfield experience as the visitors lost 3-0.
Here, Press Association Sport takes a closer look at Van Dijk’s performance.Command
There is no doubt Van Dijk is a classy player.
Playing almost as a sweeper, the 26-year-old was good at spotting the danger in front of him and intercepting, although the visitors did get increasingly over-run as the match wore on.
He got Saints out of trouble at the start of the second half with an inch-perfect tackle and was his usual commanding presence in the air.
That strength in particular would be a big asset to Liverpool.
But at times he appeared reluctant to get fully stuck in, and it was he who let Mohamed Salah go for Liverpool’s second goal.Distribution
Another of Van Dijk’s qualities is his comfort on the ball, and he was more than happy to bring the ball forward out of defence, taking three or four touches where other defenders would have only taken one or two.
His attempts at long-range passing were not so successful, with one clipped ball to Nathan Redmond sailing harmlessly out of play in the first half.Overall Impact
If Van Dijk was clearly Southampton‘s best defender, that counted for little in the final result.
The Saints defence as a whole struggled to cope with the threat of goalscorers Salah and Philippe Coutinho, with most of the danger coming from wide positions.
The second goal was the major black mark against Van Dijk personally, with the Dutchman leaving centre-back partner Wesley Hoedt exposed.