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.”

Liverpool agree world-record £75m deal for Virgil van Dijk

Liverpool have finally won the race to sign Southampton centre-back Virgil van Dijk after agreeing a world record £75 million fee for a defender.

The two clubs have again been in discreet negotiations in recent days following the acrimonious breakdown of a potential deal last summer and have today reached agreement on the transfer.

Manchester City and Chelsea are both also interested and have made inquiries at different stages of the past six months but, barring any late super-bid from another club, Van Dijk will get his move to Liverpool.

Liverpool did not ultimately make a formal offer to Southampton last summer but were ready to pay around £60 million after it became clear that Van Dijk wanted to join them. Southampton were furious at the leak of information before a fee had been agreed and their complaint to the Premier League prompted an apology from Liverpool and an agreement not to pursue the deal.

That position held throughout the summer transfer window, with Southampton also turning down a large offer from Chelsea. Van Dijk then missed the start of the season amid concern at his focus before being reintegrated back into the team under new manager Mauricio Pellegrino. He has since been left out of the recent games against Chelsea, Huddersfield Town and Tottenham Hotspur.

Premier League leaders Manchester City are also keen and were preparing a £60 million opening bid but the situation has moved on quickly in recent days and Southampton are now extremely close to an agreement with Liverpool.

Personal terms on around £180,000-a-week are likely to be a formality and there is a growing feeling that a deal may even be completed ahead of the transfer window formally opening next Monday. Van Dijk’s preference has been Liverpool and the chance to work with their manager, Jurgen Klopp.

The world record transfer for a defender is the £54 million that Manchester City spent on Kyle Walker last summer.

A fee of £75 million would also be level with Romelu Lukaku as the second most expensive transfer in Premier League history, behind only Manchester United’s £90 million purchase of Paul Pogba.

Southampton have won one of their last 11 games and have now decided that it would be better to sell Van Dijk and reinvest the fee this January. Pellegrino is under growing pressure but has had the Van Dijk situation hanging over him since replacing Claude Puel as manager last summer.

Source: Telegraph

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.

 

 

Klopp says Lucas is out for 6 weeks

Klopp says Lucas is out for 6 weeks

Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp has revealed that midfielder Lucas will be out for up to six weeks after damaging his thigh in the Capital One Cup defeat to Manchester City last weekend.

The Reds are still in with an outside chance of finishing in the top four but would have to go on a winning streak if they are to be in with a shout.

The Merseyside outfit were beaten in a dramatic penalty shootout in the final, but they got their revenge in the Premier League fixture against Manual Pellegrini’s men in midweek, winning 3-0 at Anfield.

Lucas sat out the victory over the title chasers and is set to miss almost the entirety of the remainder of the campaign.

“Lucas is more serious. After the shot (in the penalty shootout at Wembley), he’ll be out for five to six weeks,” Klopp is quoted by The Daily Mail as saying.

The Brazilian has been a regular feature since the German manager has moved to the English club, but his long-term future at Liverpool has been questioned, with scope for a summer exit.

Jürgen Klopp On “Serious Pain” and Daniel Sturridge

Daniel Sturridge - Getty

Liverpool’s manager says the striker must be aware of the difference between pain and serious pain after the striker’s latest injury setback.

Isaac Newton’s relatively obscure Fourth Law of Motion states that if Daniel Sturridge is moving towards a return to regular playing time, there will also be an injury moving directly towards him arriving just in time to ensure he never steps foot on the pitch.

Sturridge—the most talented striker at the club—is injured. Again. The striker was ruled out of Thursday’s victory over Bordeaux with a foot injury. With Daniel Sturridge, injuries and niggles seem to keep on coming. For Klopp, however, there is some learning to do when it comes to managing pain.

The situation is Daniel was very often injured in the last few months, and maybe years, so it is normal when you get back in training usually it is not the quality, but you need training. Your body has to learn to adapt to new intensities of training and in this time you have to learn what is serious pain and what is only pain. When Daniel comes back after this long break you would train five weeks in a row and play only in friendly games. That would be the best, but of course we know the world is not perfect so we have to try the best and the quickest.It is a really long period so now we have to stay patient I am sorry to say. I’m sorry for you, sorry for me, sorry for him.

We’re all sorry and probably more than a little frustrated at the moment, but it’s important to remember that the player isn’t suffering injuries on purpose or part of some shady scheme to hamper Liverpool’s prospects. Sturridge has missed an incredible 68 games for Liverpool and played in 70 games, underlining the need for depth up front.

Liverpool will hope that this latest setback is just part of the recovery process as Klopp pointed out, but there may be a possibility that Sturridge’s problems with injuries aren’t just physical. It’s difficult to say either way without intimate knowledge of the situation, but hopefully the scans will bring good news so that Sturridge can be available for action relatively soon.