Jamie Carragher lays into ’embarrassing’ Neymar and PSG after play-acting

Jamie Carragher has slammed the actions of the Paris Saint-Germain players after their 2-1 victory over Liverpool in the Champions League on Wednesday evening.

Goals from Juan Bernat and Neymar sealed the win for the French outfit, but they have since come under fire for a number of dives and incidences of playacting throughout the game.

Liverpool boss Jurgen Klopp was angered by the actions of Thomas Tuchel’s side and accused them of making the Reds look like “butchers”.

Carragher, speaking to ViasportFotball, was also left frustrated with PSG’s behaviour and singled out Neymar as the worst offender.  He said:

“It was very frustrating. With Neymar we’re talking about one of the best players in the world, but watching him tonight was embarrassing.

“If he continues that through his whole career, he’s going to be remembered for that rather than the great player that he is. It leaves a sour taste in the mouth. I have no sympathy for the PSG players if Klopp is angry with them.

“Even Thiago Silva, the captain, a centre-back, rolling round in the corner at the end and holding his face.

“This is a great team with some great players, they don’t need top resort to these tactics, they should let their football do the talking.

“You’re frustrated as a Liverpool supporter, but as a football fan watching around the world. They should be embarrassed. I don’t know how they go back to speak to their families and their wives in the players’ lounge. Rolling round on the floor like that, the only time you see that is children at kindergaarden.”

Liverpool will now have to beat Napoli 1-0 at Anfield on December 11, or by two clear goals if the Italians score on Merseyside.

Carragher is confident that Liverpool can emerge victorious, something he knows all about after playing in the famous 3-1 victory over Olympiakos back in 2004/05, as Liverpool went on to lift the trophy.

He said:

“I think it will be 50-50 now. Napoli will know that and they know the atmosphere waiting for them at Anfield. I expect Liverpool to win the game, whether they can do that by two goals, that’s what makes it interesting. In 2005 we had to beat Olympiakos by two goals, we won 3-1 and we did okay in 2005.”

A crucial win: Liverpool 3-2 PSG

Here are three talking points from a thrilling night at Anfield:

Sturridge’s special moment: It’s an unfortunate quirk of circumstances that Sturridge had never started a Champions League match for Liverpool until the visit of PSG.  In fact, the previous occasion he featured in a game in the competition from kick-off came before he even joined the club – in March 2012.  But the No.15 grasped his long-awaited chance by heading home the breakthrough goal of a frantic encounter against the French champions, from Andy Robertson’s perfect cross at the Kop end.  And, despite that gap between Champions League starts, Sturridge actually extended his run of being directly involved in goals in the tournament for Liverpool. He has now done so in four consecutive appearances – two goals and two assists.

Reds set goal pace in Europe: Liverpool’s three goals on the night increased our tally in the competition proper since the beginning of last season to 44 – a total no team in Europe can match.  That haul has come in 14 games at an average of more than three per fixture, making the Reds comfortably the tournament’s most prolific side during that period.  Klopp’s team have been especially relentless at Anfield, scoring 34 times in their past 10 European games at the ground, with only FC Porto shutting them out in that run.

Advantage Liverpool in Group C

Pos Team P W D L GF GA GD Pts
1 Liverpool 1 1 0 0 3 2 1 3
2 Crvena Zvezda 1 0 1 0 0 0 0 1
3 Napoli 1 0 1 0 0 0 0 1
4 Paris Saint-Germain 1 0 0 1 2 3 -1 0

While the Reds were fighting hard to finally beat PSG, elsewhere in the group Red Star Belgrade and Napoli were sharing the points in a goalless stalemate.  Nothing could separate the fourth and second seeds in the section respectively, meaning Liverpool hold a two-point lead after the first round of matches.

We’ll now look to build on that minor advantage in our next Champions League fixture – an away trip to Napoli in early October.

Liverpool to face PSG, Napoli and Red Star in Champions League

Liverpool will face Paris Saint-Germain, Napoli and Red Star Belgrade in Group C of the Champions League this season.

Thursday’s draw took place in Monaco and placed the Reds – runners-up in the competition last term – in the same section as the clubs from France, Italy and Serbia respectively.

The opening matches of the group stage will be held on September 18/19, with further fixtures on October 2/3, October 23/24, November 6/7, November 27/28 and December 11/12.

Liverpool have played each of the three teams twice before: PSG in the Cup Winners’ Cup (1997), Napoli in the Europa League (2010) and Red Star in the European Cup (1973).

Jürgen Klopp is confident Liverpool will be a ‘big challenge’ for any team in Europe, after sharing his reaction with the clubs official website.

Full Champions League group stage draw

Group A: Atletico Madrid, Borussia Dortmund, Monaco, Bruges.

Group B: Barcelona, Tottenham, PSV Eindhoven, Inter Milan.

Group C: Paris St-Germain, Napoli, Liverpool, Red Star Belgrade.

Group D: Lokomotiv Moscow, FC Porto, Schalke, Galatasaray.

Group E: Bayern Munich, Benfica, Ajax, AEK Athens.

Group F: Manchester City, Shakhtar Donetsk, Lyon, Hoffenheim.

Group G: Real Madrid, Roma, CSKA Moscow, Viktoria Plzen.

Group H: Juventus, Manchester United, Valencia, Young Boys.

Loris Karius apologises for Champions League Final mistakes

It’s been over 24 hours since Liverpool lost the Champions League Final to Real Madrid. It hurts for the club, it hurts for supporters, and it must hurt even more for the players who played. It certainly does for goalkeeper Loris Karius, accidentally, contributed more to the loss than anyone else. It was his two freak mistakes that led to two of the three goals scored by Madrid on Saturday.

He doesn’t need reminding of this.  Liverpool fans don’t need to tell him. He knows. Stop commenting on his Instagram, stop tweeting at him, stop abusing him.

Karius took to Instagram on Sunday following the match to apologise a second time. Of course, the first time happened immediately following the match, when he went over to the supporters section with tears in his eyes and on his face, and apologised.

It needs to be reminded that Karius is only 24 and was instrumental in getting Liverpool to the Final. He’s still so young and has so much to learn. This was his first major final. The squad as a whole’s first major final. To malign him completely is the antithesis of what we as Liverpool fans stand for. The very opposite of what the club stands for.

Given that Simon Mignolet is likely to leave this summer, we still need to buy a goalkeeper, but we don’t need to try and get rid of Karius.  Instead we need to support him, instead of getting rid of him and scapegoating him.

Mohamed Salah may miss World Cup with dislocated shoulder

The shoulder injury Mohamed Salah sustained during Liverpool’s Champions League final defeat to Real Madrid on Saturday evening is ‘serious’, Jürgen Klopp confirmed.

The forward was forced from the field after 30 minutes having failed to recover from a dodgy tackle by Sergio Ramos which saw the Spanish international lock arms with Salah, pull him over, and land on top of Salah’s arm and shoulder, with it appearing that the Liverpool star suffered a dislocated shoulder.  Salah later went to a local hospital in Kiev for assessment.

Klopp told his post-match press conference: “It’s a serious injury, a really serious injury.

“He is in the hospital for an X-ray. It’s either the collarbone or the shoulder itself. It doesn’t look good, that’s it.”

Mohamed Salah’s injury appears to be serious enough that his participation in the World Cup is now in question.

Liverpool FC seal spot in 2018-19 Champions League

Liverpool tied up qualification for the 2018-19 Champions League with a 4-0 victory over Brighton and Hove Albion on Sunday.

The Reds claimed fourth place in the Premier League on the final day of the season through goals from Mohamed Salah, Dejan Lovren, Dominic Solanke and Andy Robertson.

Jürgen Klopp’s team will therefore go straight into the group stage of next term’s edition of Europe’s elite club competition.

Liverpool are set to contest the final of this season’s tournament against Real Madrid in Kiev on Saturday May 26.

Liverpool draw Manchester City in the Champions League Quarterfinals

Liverpool have been drawn to face Manchester City in the quarter-finals of the Champions League.

Jürgen Klopp’s side will take on the fellow Premier League club over two legs next month, having progressed to the last eight with a 5-0 aggregate victory over FC Porto.

The first leg of the tie will take place at Anfield on Wednesday April 4, with the return meeting at Etihad Stadium on Tuesday April 10.  Click here to view an updated fixture list.

The teams have met twice already this season in league football, each winning on home soil, with the Reds 4-3 victors over Pep Guardiola’s men in January.

Elsewhere in the draw, FC Barcelona will face AS Roma, Sevilla take on Bayern Munich, and Juventus meet Real Madrid.

Klopp said:

“I’ve said it before and it’s still the truth, it’s always common in a draw that you’ll get your neighbour, more or less, but to be honest I don’t mind, really.

 

“It is exactly like it was before – we take what we’ve got. Now it’s Manchester City, let’s go.

 

“We’ve lost once and we’ve won once against them in the league – and I don’t think they thought before the best draw they could have got is Liverpool. That’s a sign for us and how strong we can be.

 

“We are for sure not the favourites in this round, but in the last eight there are not a lot of favourites – maybe two of them, Bayern and Barcelona – but thank God it’s football and nothing is decided.

 

“We have a few games to play until then, but I am really looking forward to it and we will give it everything.”

Just six days separate the two legs, and Klopp doesn’t feel hosting the first game will make too much difference to the final outcome of the tie.  He said:

“In this case, it’s not too important. For us, it’s completely normal. We can get a result at home for sure, but it’s obviously a difficult game – but good news for both teams.

 

“It is like it should be in the last eight. It was clear we would face a strong team. Now we have Man City. The good thing is they are the team we know most about. It’s not too cool for England because now only one team can go to the semis. But we will try everything.”

Liverpool FC to face FC Porto in Champions League last 16

Liverpool have been drawn to face FC Porto in the last 16 of the Champions League.

The Reds were paired with the Portuguese club during Monday morning’s draw for the first round of the knockout stage, at UEFA headquarters in Switzerland.

Jürgen Klopp’s side earned their place in the pot as a seeded team after claiming top spot in Group E, ahead of Sevilla, Spartak Moscow and NK Maribor.

Due to the rules of the draw, Liverpool could not draw Chelsea nor Sevilla, leaving Real Madrid, Bayern Munich, Juventus, Porto, Shakhtar Donetsk, and Basel as possible opponents in the Round of 16. Liverpool managed to avoid some of the biggest names, drawing Porto, and what should be a very welcomed trip to Portugal in February.

As group winners, Liverpool have a distinct mathematical advantage.  Since the current format was adopted, group winners have advanced to the quarterfinals 72.3% of the time. One of the advantages is having the second of two legs back within the safe confines of Anfield.

The first leg of the last-16 tie will be held at the Estadio do Dragao, either on February 13th or 14h, or the following week, the 20th or 21st. The return leg will be at Anfield in March, either the 6th or 7th, or the 13th or 14th.

Liverpool and Porto have met four times competitively, with the most recent encounter coming in the 2007-08 Champions League group stages.

After a 1-1 tie in Portugal, the Reds recorded an emphatic 4-1 victory in the return meeting at Anfield.

The sides also went head-to-head in Liverpool’s run to UEFA Cup success in 2001, with Gerard Houllier’s team earning a goalless draw in the award leg before winning 2-0 at home in the fifth-round clash.

Who Liverpool could face in the Champions League qualifying round

Liverpool now know the potential opponents which will await them in their Champions League play-off in August.

AEK Athens booked their place in the fourth qualifying round on Wednesday night, beating Panionios 2-1 to top the Greek Super League play-ff ahead of PAOK Salonika, who lost 3-2 at home to Panathinaikos.

AEK are the 10th team confirmed for the fourth qualifying round, joining the likes of Ajax, Dynamo Kiev, Nice and CSKA Moscow at that stage.

Possible opponents for Liverpool

Liverpool, we already know, WILL be seeded for the play-off round, along with Napoli and Sevilla.

Their opponents will either be one of the five unseeded teams who come through the preceding round, or one of the two unseeded teams already qualified for the play-off round.

So who could they face?

Viktora Plzen (Czech Republic) – finished second, 10 points behind winners Slavia Prague.

CSKA Moscow (Russia) – finished second, seven points behind Spartak Moscow and one point ahead of Zenit.

Club Brugge (Belgium) – finished second, two points behind Anderlecht.

Sporting Lisbon (Portugal) – finished third, behind champions Benfica and second place Porto.

Steaua Bucharest (Romania) – finished second behind Viitorul.

Young Boys (Switzerland) – second to regular pests FC Basel by a whopping 17 points.

Nice (France) – third behind champions Monaco and second-placed PSG.

Hoffenheim (Germany) – fourth, two points behind third-placed Dortmund and 20 behind champions Bayern Munich.

Istanbul BB (Turkey) – second behind champions Besiktas and well ahead of Fenerbahce and Galatasaray.

AEK Athens (Greece) – secured their place by topping a four-team mini-league this week.

As an aside, if Ajax or Kiev failed to get through their play-off round, then Plzen and then CSKA Moscow would move up and become seeds, meaning Liverpool could not draw them after all.

The draw will be made by UEFA on Friday August 4 with the games to be played on either August 16 or August 17, with the return leg a week later on August 23 or August 24.

Liverpool FC confirm Jürgen Klopp appointment

Jurgen Klopp LFC

Liverpool’s leadership have acted swiftly to appoint Jürgen Klopp as Brendan Rodgers’ successor as manager.

Liverpool Football Club have confirmed the appointment of Jürgen Norbert Klopp as Liverpool manager. A one-club man as a player, Klopp showed his talents at Mainz 05 and Borussia Dortmund with a tactical system based on gegenpressing, fast breaks, and exciting football. Željko Buvač and Peter Krawietz are expected to join Klopp as part of new coaching team at Anfield after letting Gary McAllister, Sean O’Driscoll, Chris Davies, and Glen Driscoll go. McAllister, however, will remain with the club in an ambassadorial position.

The 48-year-old agreed a three-year contract to succeed Brendan Rodgers in the dugout in his first coaching position outside of his native Germany. He has been the overwhelming fan-favourite for the job since the summer and brings hope of a revival at Anfield. FSG have lived up to promises of acting “in a decisive and timely manner” to secure the services of one of football’s most sought-after managers. Within a week of sacking Rodgers, Liverpool have one of the most exciting figures in the game as a replacement.

After a disappointing campaign, the former Borussia Dortmund head coach left his role at the North Rhine-Westphalia club in the summer to take a sabbatical after 14 years of coaching without a break. He also spent his entire playing career at Mainz 05 before succeeding Eckhard Krautzun in the dugout. After making history with Mainz by steering them to a first Bundesliga appearance, Klopp resigned after failing to achieve promotion.

The footballing philosophy, charisma, and bright mind displayed during Klopp’s tenure at Mainz 05 was rewarded with a position immediately after officially departing a club where he spent 21 years as player and head coach. Thomas Doll’s struggles at Borussia Dortmund created an opening, and the Stuttgart native enhanced his reputation in his second coaching job by winning two Bundesliga titles, destroying Bayern Munich to win the club’s third DFB-Pokal, and reaching the club’s second-ever Champions League final.

Jürgen Klopp becomes Liverpool’s twentieth full-time manager. Liverpool is only the third club to be associated with Klopp in a senior playing and coaching career that began in 1989.

Klopp’s first game will be at White Hart Lane against Tottenham Hotspur after the international break.

Ludogorets reach Champions League after defender goes in goal – and brilliantly saves two penalties

There are fairy tale stories and there’s Bulgarian outfit Ludogorets, who have amazingly qualified for the group stages of the Champions League – all thanks to their heroic centre back Cosmin Moti:

[youtube id=”Bh8SRA0s1T8″ width=”580″ height=”337″]

With the scores level over two legs against Steaua Bucharest, the match went into extra time, where many tipped Ludogorets to be beaten, especially after their goalie was sent off.

But defender Moti grabbed the gloves and went in goal, and as the match went to penalties, he performed magic by brilliantly saving two spot kicks.

Cosmin Moti

The second of which crucially won the match, securing his team a place in the Champions League group stages with the likes of Arsenal, Liverpool, Bayern Munich and Real Madrid.

The saves were also worth about £30million in prize money, which will definitely help Ludogorets who are in the process of paying for a new stadium.

Great times.

Liverpool FC: Champions League group announced

Champions League group V

Liverpool will kick off their 2014-15 Champions League campaign by welcoming Bulgarian outfit Ludogorets Razgrad to Anfield on Tuesday September 16.  The Reds end a five-year absence from the elite European tournament with a home fixture against a team that they have never previously met competitively.

The Reds were pitted against the holders of the competition in Thursday’s draw in Monaco, and they’ll also face trips to Switzerland and Bulgaria.  Madrid, who claimed their 10th European Cup with victory over city rivals Atletico in Lisbon earlier this year, last locked horns with Liverpool back in the 2008-09 campaign.  The teams met at the last 16 stage and after Yossi Benayoun’s late header secured a famous 1-0 first-leg win at the Bernabeu, the Reds ran riot in the return at Anfield – powering to a 4-0 triumph in front of the Kop.  The only other competitive game between the teams came in the 1981 final in Paris when Alan Kennedy’s goal sealed a 1-0 win for Bob Paisley’s team.

Liverpool also have recent history with Basel after they were pitted against each other in the Champions League first group stage in 2002-03.  The first encounter ended in a 1-1 draw at Anfield, while the Reds came from three goals down at half-time to draw 3-3 at St-Jakob Park.  Basel have won the Swiss league title five times in a row.

Meanwhile, Liverpool have never faced Champions League newcomers Ludogorets Razgrad previously.  The Bulgarian title holders secured their place in the competition in incredible circumstances against Steaua Bucharest in the play-offs.  After trailing by a goal from the first leg in Romania, Wanderson netted a last-minute volley to force extra time in Razgrad.  However, they were reduced to 10 men when goalkeeper Vladislav Stoyanov was sent off in the 119th minute.  It meant centre-back Cosmin Moti was required to go in goal for the penalty shootout – and he emerged the hero, sensationally saving two spot kicks to ensure Ludogorets progressed 6-5 on penalties.

2014-15 Champions League fixtures

September 16 – Ludogorets Razgrad (H)
October 1 – FC Basel (A)
October 22 – Real Madrid (H)
November 4 – Real Madrid (A)
November 26 – Ludogorets Razgrad (A)
December 9 – FC Basel (H)