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.

Spurs 1-2 Liverpool

Here’s a few thoughts following our victory against Spurs:

Liverpool’s flying start: The Reds’ 2-1 triumph over Spurs extended our 100 per cent winning start to the season to five matches – a feat we have only achieved on two previous occasions in the top flight.  Bob Paisley’s European champions enjoyed a six-game winning streak to open the 1978-79 season and went on to win the league title ahead of Brian Clough’s Nottingham Forest.  In 1990-91, Kenny Dalglish’s Liverpool began their First Division campaign with an eight-game winning streak and finished as runners-up.  Jürgen Klopp’s men have made the perfect start with victories over West Ham United, Crystal Palace, Brighton and Hove Albion, Leicester City and now Tottenham. Just another 33 Premier League games to go.

Pos Team P W D L GF GA GD Pts
1 Liverpool 6 6 0 0 14 2 12 18
2 Manchester City 6 5 1 0 19 3 16 16
3 Chelsea 6 5 1 0 14 4 10 16
4 Watford 6 4 1 1 11 6 5 13
5 Tottenham Hotspur 6 4 0 2 12 7 5 12

Trent’s half-century: On a day of landmarks, full-back Trent Alexander-Arnold made his 50th appearance for Liverpool after also making his debut against Spurs in the fourth round of the League Cup back in October 2016.  A fresh-faced and relatively unknown Academy graduate back then, the 19-year-old is now a Champions League finalist, has made a World Cup appearance with England and is a stalwart of the Reds back four.  Here, he enjoyed a running battle with the lively Lucas Moura. One stand-out moment came when he won a physical challenge with the Brazilian and then kept his composure to calmly play out from the back amid a swarm of opposition players closing in.

Goals, goals, goals: Despite Tottenham and Liverpool topping the charts for the most minutes played by their players in the international break (1,628 and 1,563 respectively) we shouldn’t have been surprised that they still managed to serve up an exciting spectacle.  The three strikes that hit the net at Wembley today mean there have now been 152 goals scored in Premier League matches between the two clubs – more than in any other fixture in the competition’s history.  Firmino’s second-half finish was Liverpool’s 90th Premier League goal against Spurs. The Reds have only scored more (91) against Newcastle United.

Liverpool confirm Premier League and Champions League squads

Liverpool have submitted their final squads for the Premier League and the group stage of the Champions League, with Lazar Markovic absent from both.

Markovic failed to agree terms with Anderlecht at the end of the transfer window so will remain at Liverpool until January at least despite the Reds’ persistent efforts to offload the winger.  Liverpool had a spare place on their Premier League squad list but Markovic has still been left out.

Loris Karius, who recently joined Besiktas on loan, has been included, having been named amongst the substitutes for the opening game of the season against West Ham United.

Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain is likely to miss the whole of the season after sustaining multiple ligament damage in last season’s Champions League semifinal, but he has also made the squad.  The club seem to hope that Oxlade-Chamberlain could get some match time towards the end of the season.

Klopp will also have Divock Origi, who came close to leaving, at his disposal both domestically and in Europe.

Connor Randall, on loan at Rochdale until the end of 2018, features as one of the mandatory homegrown players.

The club have registered 17 foreign-trained and six homegrown players, two short of the maximum that could only be achieved by adding two more homegrown players, as each club can register up to 17 foreign and up to eight homegrown.

There is no place for Karius, Oxlade-Chamberlain or Randall in the Champions League squad, but it is otherwise largely the same as that selected for the Premier League.  Trent Alexander-Arnold and Joe Gomez need not be named as they are young enough to qualify for the ‘B list’.

Liverpool’s Premier League squad:

Alisson Becker, Simon Mignolet, Loris Karius, Kamil Grabara*, Caoimhin Kelleher*; Trent Alexander-Arnold*, Nathaniel Clyne, Connor Randall, Virgil van Dijk, Joe Gomez*, Dejan Lovren, Joel Matip, Nathaniel Phillips, Andrew Robertson, Alberto Moreno; Fabinho, Pedro Chirivella*, Naby Keita, Jordan Henderson, Georginio Wijnaldum, James Milner, Adam Lallana, Curtis Jones*, Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain; Mohamed Salah, Rafa Camacho*, Roberto Firmino, Daniel Sturridge, Divock Origi, Xherdan Shaqiri, Sadio Mane, Dominic Solanke*, Rhian Brewster*

*Under-21s

Champions League squad, as listed on UEFA Website:

Alisson Becker, Simon Mignolet, Nathaniel Clyne, Virgil van Dijk, Dejan Lovren, Alberto Moreno, Andrew Robertson, Joel Matip, Fabinho, Georginio Wijnaldum, James Milner, Naby Keita, Sadio Mane, Jordan Henderson, Adam Lallana, Xherdan Shaqiri, Roberto Firmino, Mohamed Salah, Daniel Sturridge, Divock Origi, Dominic Solanke

 

Mane wins PFA Player of the Month for August

Liverpool forward Sadio Mane has won the first PFA Fans’ Player of the Month award of the 2018-19 Premier League season.

The Reds No.10 scored three goals in three games during August to help his team on their way to a 100 per cent start to the campaign so far.

And Mane was the overwhelming winner in a poll of fans across the country for the PFA accolade for last month, taking 58 per cent of the votes.

He finished ahead of Cardiff City’s Neil Etheridge and Watford’s Roberto Pereyra, as well as Sergio Aguero (Manchester City), Lucas Moura (Tottenham Hotspur) and Benjamin Mendy (City).

Andy Robertson is new Scotland captain

Liverpool defender Andy Robertson has today been appointed the new Scotland national team captain.

The 24-year-old officially takes the armband ahead of the friendly with Belgium in Glasgow on Friday night and UEFA Nations League tie against Albania three days later.

Robertson has accrued 22 caps and scored two goals for his country to date, since a debut against Poland in March 2014.

The left-back has made 34 appearances for the Reds since signing from Hull City last summer and was a key figure in the run to last season’s Champions League final.

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.

Liverpool confirm 2018/19 squad numbers

Today, Liverpool have released an official announcement that Alisson Becker and Fabinho have made their decisions as to their squad numbers.

Fabinho, who signed from Monaco at the beginning of the window, will sport the no.3 he has been wearing throughout pre-season.

Compatriot Alisson Becker will continue to don the no.13 shirt, meaning Loris Karius technically remains the no.1 after rumours of a swap.

Elsewhere, young forward Rhian Brewster, who will be promoted to the first-team set-up on his return from injury, will be no.24.

Liverpool squad numbers – in full:

1 – Loris Karius

2 – Nathaniel Clyne

3 – Fabinho

4 – Virgil van Dijk

5 – Georginio Wijnaldum

6 – Dejan Lovren

7 – James Milner

8 – Naby Keita

9 – Roberto Firmino

10 – Sadio Mane

11 – Mohamed Salah

12 – Joe Gomez

13 – Alisson Becker

14 – Jordan Henderson

15 – Daniel Sturridge

16 – Marko Grujic

17 – Ragnar Klavan

18 – Alberto Moreno

20 – Adam Lallana

21 – Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain

22 – Simon Mignolet

23 – Xherdan Shaqiri

24 – Rhian Brewster

26 – Andrew Robertson

27 – Divock Origi

29 – Dominic Solanke

32 – Joel Matip

47 – Nathaniel Phillips

48 – Curtis Jones

50 – Lazar Markovic

54 – Sheyi Ojo

56 – Connor Randall

62 – Caoimhin Kelleher

64 – Rafa Camacho

66 – Trent Alexander-Arnold

68 – Pedro Chirivella

73 – Kamil Grabara

Liverpool FC’s fixture list for 2018-19

Liverpool’s Premier League campaign for 2018-19 will get under way with a home fixture against West Ham United.

The Reds are set to kickstart their league season at Anfield for the first time since 2014-15 having been scheduled to face Manuel Pellegrini’s team on August 11.

Liverpool will host the first Merseyside derby of the season on December 1, with the return fixture at Everton’s Goodison Park slated for March 2.

Jürgen Klopp’s side will also take on their other great rivals Manchester United at home first, the Anfield edition of that fixture coming on December 15, with a trip to Old Trafford following on February 23.

Newcastle United are set to visit Anfield on Boxing Day, while the Reds will conclude their Premier League programme with a home clash with Wolverhampton Wanderers on May 12.

August

11 – West Ham United (H)
18 – Crystal Palace (A)
25 – Brighton and Hove Albion (H)

September

1 – Leicester City (A)
15 – Tottenham Hotspur (A)
22 – Southampton (H)
29 – Chelsea (A)

October

6 – Manchester City (H)
20 – Huddersfield Town (A)
27 – Cardiff City (H)

November

3 – Arsenal (A)
10 – Fulham (H)
24 – Watford (A)

December

1 – Everton (H)
4 – Burnley (A)
8 – Bournemouth (A)
15 – Manchester United (H)
22 – Wolverhampton Wanderers (A)
26 – Newcastle United (H)
29 – Arsenal (H)

January

1 – Manchester City (A)
12 – Brighton and Hove Albion (A)
19 – Crystal Palace (H)
30 – Leicester City (H)

February

2 – West Ham United (A)
9 – Bournemouth (H)
23 – Manchester United (A)
27 – Watford (H)

March

2 – Everton (A)
9 – Burnley (H)
16 – Fulham (A)
30 – Tottenham Hotspur (H)

April

6 – Southampton (A)
13 – Chelsea (H)
20 – Cardiff City (A)
27 – Huddersfield Town (H)

May

4 – Newcastle United (A)
12 – Wolverhampton Wanderers (H)

Liverpool FC launch new away kit for 2018-19 season

Liverpool FC’s new away kit for the 2018-19 season was launched today.

The New Balance design comes in a deep violet shade, which has never been used before.  Although purple has never been the predominant color of a Liverpool kit, the 2012/13 third kit included purple highlights, including one purple mismatched sock.

The kit adopts the same jacquard linear graphic as on the front of next term’s home shirt, which takes inspiration from the architecture of Anfield’s Main Stand.  It is also accentuated by orange branding that highlights key details throughout the strip, in a nod to last season’s third kit.

The confirmation is no real surprise given the conceptual art had been leaked months ago, and in the past few days the leaks turned into a flood.

The goalkeeper away shirt – as seen below – has been designed in line with the outfield players’ jerseys, with black patterned sleeves, embroidered logo and crest.

Liverpool FC defender Virgil van Dijk said:

“As a player the most important thing is how the shirt feels and performs. This kit gives us confidence to play to the best of our ability away from home. We have the best travelling support in football and I’m excited to run out in front of our fans wearing this strip.”

See the kit up close below…

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.