Salah on course to score 35 league goals this season

At his current rate of 0.93 goals per Premier League game, Salah is on course to score 35 league goals this season. There is good reason to think that he might easily hit that target given Liverpool still have to play Bournemouth, Stoke City and Brighton at Anfield, and Crystal Palace and West Brom away from home.

Should Salah reach that figure of 35, it would be a landmark achievement. The Egyptian only needs four goals to surpass the highest ever goal total in a 38-game Premier League season, but 35 would make him the highest goalscorer in any English top-flight season since Ron Davies for Southampton in 1966/67.

A player signed as a wide forward has not just scored goals at a surprising rate, but a rate above anything we have seen in 50 years of English football.

Jurgen Klopp’s post-game summation of Salah understandably generated plenty of headlines:

“I think Mo is on the way. I don’t think Mo or anybody else wants to be compared with Lionel Messi – he is the one who has been doing what he’s been doing for what feels like 20 years or so. The last player I know who had the same influence on a team performance was Diego Maradona. But Mo is in a fantastic way, that’s for sure.”

You can’t really doubt that assessment, although Klopp knows as well as anyone that saying the M-word will inevitably lead to Messi comparisons. Salah has produced a ‘Messi season’, one in which everything he touches turns to gold and one in which at times he is simply unplayable. There is no possible defence for this.

To judge this success story, we have to look at where it came from. Salah’s fee looks remarkably cheap now, but there was a reason for it. He was a creator as much as a finisher, but also a player who was prone to inconsistency. Liverpool were not fighting off interest from dozens of other clubs.

“It’s a lot of money for Liverpool to buy a player, who, if everybody is fit, I don’t think starts,” said former Liverpool player (and now pundit) Steve Nicol, and it was hardly an outrageous suggestion at the time with Philippe Coutinho, Sadio Mane and Roberto Firmino in place.

From that place of doubt, Salah has potentially made himself the best single-season goalscorer in the last 50 years of English football. Kevin de Bruyne might have been the Premier League’s best player and thus deserving of the PFA’s award, but Salah has produced the single most astonishing achievement of the season.

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.”

Klopp: We have to respond, 100 per cent

Liverpool entered Saturday’s match against Manchester United as the Premier League’s in-form side, having outperformed Manchester City in 2018 and looking likely to finish next best to them in the final table. They left it looking rather shakier.

They’re down to fourth in the table, five points behind United in second, and looked largely ineffective on Saturday against their rivals. It’s left manager Jürgen Klopp in a rather annoyed mood, eager for the chance to show his side can bounce back.

Klopp told the club’s official website when asked about Saturday’s stinging 2-1 defeat. 

“We have to respond, 100 per cent.  I still have to work to swallow this one and it’s quite difficult. It’s really difficult to take. The mistakes were obvious.

 

“Before the two goals, after the two goals, I thought we were dominant. We don’t ignore the goals we conceded, but you would say, ‘OK, that’s how you have to play.’ We had these things in pretty much all moments, but we didn’t score. “

 

“I think we deserved the goal and then it was the situation with the best piece of football in the whole game, the one-two between Roberto and Sadio and a clear foul and no penalty. That’s hard, but not to change anymore.

 

“I think with all the minutes around the two goals we conceded then a draw would have been deserved for us, but because we made these two mistakes we have to take the result like it is.

 

“It feels massively rubbish and that’s not nice. We will carry on of course, but in the moment it’s a big disappointment.”

How Mo Salah made an eight-year-old’s shirt dream come true

Within minutes of scoring one of the great individual goals at Anfield on Sunday afternoon, Mohamed Salah made an eight-year-old fan’s dream come true.

Joseph Clarendon was sat with his mum, Angela, for Liverpool’s Premier League clash with Tottenham Hotspur, his first ever game at the stadium.

When he found out he would be attending the match earlier in the day, the young supporter instantly made a decision that led to an unforgettable moment with his hero.  Joe created a homemade sign reading: “Mo Salah, can I have your shirt please?”

But he could not have imagined the hopeful request would be fulfilled.  His grandfather, Jimmy McKenna, takes up the story.

“It was my 60th birthday on Sunday and I should have gone to the match as a birthday present. But we had a party on Saturday night and I was a bit worse for wear!”

“I was supposed to go with Joe’s brother but he was up with us and didn’t want to go, so my daughter took Joe.

“It is the first game he has ever been to and he did the sign himself when he found out he was going. He held the sign up for the whole 90 minutes.

“He told his mum halfway through the game that his arms were hurting him, but he just held it up higher! He loved the game and he was made up when Mo Salah scored because he’s his favourite player.”

Despite Salah’s sensational solo strike in the 91st minute to put Liverpool ahead, further late drama denied Jürgen Klopp’s team three points.

Harry Kane’s penalty with virtually the last kick of the game snatched a 2-2 draw for Spurs and left Joe with a ‘broken heart’.

His despair turned to delight in a matter of seconds, though. With the help of the supporters sat nearby him grabbing Salah’s attention, the Egyptian made a course towards the crowd before he headed back to the dressing room.

Joe’s spot in the stand was his destination, that much-desired shirt his special gift to the young Red.

“My daughter wasn’t expecting anything to come of it, she just let him make the sign,” said Jimmy.

“As Mo Salah was running over and taking his shirt off, all the fans around him were shouting, ‘you’re going to get the shirt!’ It was a good experience for him.

“We saw him afterwards and he had the shirt on over his coat. He was made up!”

Klopp: Brewster will get all the support he needs

Jürgen Klopp has insisted Liverpool will offer Rhian Brewster ‘all the support he needs’ after the young striker this week spoke out about the racial abuse he has faced during his fledgling career.

In an interview with the Guardian published on Thursday, Brewster detailed instances where he has been targeted by fans and opponents while representing Chelsea, Liverpool and England at youth level.

Speaking in his pre-Leicester press conference on Friday, when asked about Brewster’s comments, Klopp said:

“He will get all the support he needs and wants and we can give.

“I’m really long in this sport and I’ve never faced a situation like that but obviously it happens all the time.

“I’m really happy that he is brave enough to do what he did. It’s such an important thing – I can’t believe people still have these thoughts in their minds.

“Obviously, we needed a 17-year-old boy to shout out, to say, ‘it’s still happening and it happens all the time – I need help, we need help and we have to stop that’.

“It’s not a situation that you want a 17-year-old boy (to be) in but, if it is like this, then he needs help and we will give it to him, of course.”

Jurgen Klopp Released From Hospital

Jürgen Klopp has been released and attended a hospital appointment today as a precautionary measure, after feeling ill.The boss is back doing boss things after the precautionary visit.

Of all the people at the club we expected to end up in the hospital during international break, Jurgen Klopp was fairly low on that list. However, the Liverpool boss had to leave training and admitted himself to the hospital after falling ill to an as-of-yet unknown malady.

Whatever the medical issue, Klopp is out of the hospital, and presumably preparing along with the rest of the coaching staff for Saturday’s return to Premier League action against Southampton. Although he has been released, he is expected to make follow-up appointments in the coming days.

statement released by the club in response to news that Klopp had been hospitalised says:

“Jürgen Klopp has attended a hospital appointment today as a precautionary measure, after feeling ill. He is being assessed by doctors and will be absent from training on Wednesday as a result.”

“There are currently no plans for Jürgen to remain in hospital beyond his appointment and he will therefore return home this evening; however, he may require further check-ups in the coming days.”

It seems unlikely at this point that the German manager will be forced to miss the upcoming match, but if he did it would not be the first time this has happened as the Liverpool manger. He missed last year’s 2-2 draw to Sunderland after coming down with appendicitis and needed surgery.

Hopefully the illness was not too serious, and the boss will be back on top form.

 

 

Jürgen Klopp appears in inspirational New Balance advert

Jürgen Klopp plays the main part in New Balance’s latest Liverpool FC based video and it’s fantastic.

Klopp is pictured looking around Anfield with plenty of passion and determination.  In the note to his future self he pledges to never forget ‘what this was all about’ and how he was given a chance ‘to live his dream’.  It really makes the hairs on the back of your neck stand up:

We can’t wait to see Klopp on the touchline at Anfield again in less than two months.

Klopp is the third quickest Liverpool FC manager to hit the 100-point-milestone

Jürgen Klopp today reflected on reaching the 100-point milestone with Liverpool last weekend and insisted: ‘We’re really ready for the all the challenges still to come.’

The boss achieved his league century with the 3-1 win over Arsenal on Saturday, doing so in just 57 matches at the helm.

Klopp is the third quickest manager to hit the 100 mark in top-flight matches in the Reds history, with only Kenny Dalglish (48) and David Ashworth (56) doing it in fewer.

And asked what he’s learned over the course of wracking up those points, Klopp said in his pre-Burnley press conference:

“I understand the language better, that’s the main improvement for me!

“I’ve learned a lot about the league, I’ve learned a lot about the club and I’ve learned a lot about my players.

“Yes, we have improved and we are able to play good football. We have struggled in a few moments, you know about the reasons – a few injuries, too many, that’s how it is and it’s not let us develop as much as would have been possible I would think. But everything is on a good way.

“The atmosphere within the club is fantastic and we are really close together, really ready for all of what is coming up, in this season, the next season and the season after that. That is all good.

“100 points sounds a lot, but a minute ago we spoke about the matches where we didn’t get the points, so obviously it could have been even quicker and that would have been nice! It is like it is and it’s all in a good way.

“We are still all full of power, full of joy for the job and challenge.”

Liverpool FC: Philippe Coutinho signs new 5-year deal

Brilliant news this morning from Liverpool FC – just days after opening fresh contract negotiation talks with Philippe Coutinho the talented 24-year old Brazilian has put pen to paper.

Coutinho’s new deal will keep him at the club until the summer of 2022, and will reportedly make him the highest-paid player at the club, bringing in around £150,000 per week. It’s nearly twice as much as he was making on his previous contract, one which he extended just last February.  From the club’s perspective, the news is even better, as the new contract does not include a release clause.

Coutinho explained:

“I am very happy to sign a new contract here.  It is a club that I am very grateful to and this shows my happiness here. I will work much harder to repay the belief shown in me.

“I signed this new contract to stay here for a few more years because it’s a great honour for me. It gives me great happiness because I was welcomed here with open arms by everyone at the club and the supporters right from my first day. I am very thankful to this football club for everything.”

Securing Coutinho’s services until 2022 is a major boost for Jurgen Klopp and a ringing endorsement of the direction the club is heading in with the German at the helm.  He has blossomed into arguably the club’s biggest asset and the new deal reflects both his importance and influence.

Rooney nominates Klopp for Award, snubs Mourinho

The stars were out on Monday night for the inaugural The Best FIFA Awards™ in Zurich, the first since the global body announced the end of its six-year association with France Football magazine’s Ballon d’Or last December.

The Awards are voted for by fans alongside selected journalists, national team coaches and captains.  Unsurprisingly Real Madrid’s Cristiano Ronaldo was voted the Men’s Player of the Year, while Claudio Ranieri’s historic climb to the summit of the Premier League with Leicester City last term saw him take home Best Men’s Manager.

However, a breakdown of the voting revealed that Manchester United’s Wayne Rooney, as captain of the England national squad, named Jürgen Klopp, manager of bitter rivals Liverpool on his list of coach of the year, snubbing his own boss in José Mourinho in the process.

These votes tend to be largely symbolic in nature, often with people voting for their teammates and fellow countrymen, for example, Wales manager Chris Coleman nominating Gareth Bale for Player of the Year.  It is therefore some surprise that the former Evertonian moved beyond the enduring enmity between these two arch-rival clubs, let alone what it will do to Mourinho’s frail ego.

Bournemouth deserved their win over Liverpool

Jürgen Klopp, the Liverpool manager, showed true class by praising Bournemouth following their victory over Liverpool.

After the match Klopp could be seen congratulating the Bournemouth coaching staff and players. He was full of praise for the tenacity shown by the Cherries, and thought the win was completely deserved.

“I think for a long part of the game we were the better side and we would have deserved to win, but in the decisive moment we gave the game away to Bournemouth. We opened the door and they ran through with all their heads.”

Losing a game that your side led twice by two goals is not a good feeling, but Klopp saw what all of us saw: a side that just wasn’t playing, first at 2-0 up, and again at 3-1 up. Even before our opening scores, he wasn’t happy with the passing and movement of the squad, but he thinks this could prove an important lesson going forward.

“Of course it can [help]. No way is without rocks and stones. All the time you have to jump over hurdles and things like this. I didn’t need this today. But now we have it and we strike back.”

A big part of Jürgen’s personality is his deep love for football. You might even call him a football romantic. This was what led him to take the reins of Liverpool, and today, to appreciate what Bournemouth did to his side in the closing stages of the match.

“Oh, I like these stories in football. I like it more when I’m involved in the positive side, and I even can respect it when I’m involved on the other side. Jordan Ibe as a little bit of the game changer. When he came in he did really well. He’s still a little bit our boy even if he’s a Bournemouth player now. Of course I can give credit for it, that’s not problem.”

Very classy from the Liverpool boss. I certainly think that Liverpool have no reason to panic after seeing their 15-game unbeaten run end at Bournemouth – the key is the work done on the training ground this week.