Mohamed Salah aiming for 120-year record in Merseyside derby

Mohamed Salah will break a Liverpool record that has stood for 120 years if he nets twice in Sunday’s Merseyside derby.

If selected at Anfield, the Egyptian will make his 50th Premier League for the Reds.

His previous 49 top-flight games have seen him score 39 times – meaning a goal versus Everton would see him equal the club record of 40 goals in a player’s first 50 league matches, set by George Allan in 1898, while a brace would take him above Allan.

Salah played against Everton once last season, scoring a brilliant individual effort that later won the FIFA Puskas Award in a 1-1 draw at Anfield.

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.”

Virgil Van Dijk consoles grieving Referee

Virgil van Dijk scored a last-minute equaliser for the Netherlands last night against Germany, but today he’s being applauded for something very different.

In the wake of the 2-2 draw in Gelsenkirchen, in which strikes from Timo Werner and Leroy Sane were cancelled out by Quincy Promes and van Dijk late on, the Liverpool centre-back was seen comforting the match official.

Ovidiu Hategan, 38, was recently bereaved after losing his mother, and footage captured Van Dijk embracing the Romanian referee while the Dutch team celebrated.

Despite just having helped his side secure top spot in their group and a place in the UEFA Nations League finals next year, Van Dijk was more concerned for Hategan.

Van Dijk explained afterwards:

“That man broke down, stood with tears in his eyes because he had just lost his mother. I wished him strength and said that he had blown well. It’s a small thing, but maybe it helps him.”

 

Arise, Sir Kenny Dalglish

Kenny Dalglish was officially knighted during a ceremony at Buckingham Palace on Friday.

The Liverpool FC legend received the honour from Prince Charles after it had been announced in June that the Scot’s remarkable contributions both on and off the football pitch were to be recognised.

Dalglish enjoyed a glittering playing career with Celtic and the Reds that spanned more than 20 years and included a host of major honours, and also made a record 102 appearances for his country.

As Liverpool boss, he won three championships – becoming the first player/manager to achieve the league and FA Cup double in 1986 – and claimed a fourth with Blackburn Rovers in 1995.

Dalglish later returned for a second spell in the Anfield dugout in 2011 and led the club to League Cup success at Wembley during his 18 months in charge.

The knighthood also comes as recognition for his contributions off the pitch, including his unflinching support for the Hillsborough families and The Marina Dalglish Appeal; he has helped to raise more than £10million to improve cancer care across Merseyside.

Dalglish said:

“It’s humbling but you’re hugely proud. You never set out in your life to do anything other than what your parents taught and wanted you to do.

“That was to be decent to people and if somebody needed help, you helped them. That’s all we’ve done. The three things they have recognised us for are all things really close to our hearts. Myself and Marina only did what we thought was right to be done.”

Sturridge’s 50 EPL goals broken down

Daniel Sturridge notched his 50th Premier League goal for Liverpool in dramatic fashion on Saturday as they secured a last-gasp 1-1 draw at Chelsea.

With 89 minutes on the clock at Stamford Bridge, substitute Sturridge dispatched a jaw-dropping, long-range curler over Kepa Arrizabalaga and into the far top corner.

The pin-point strike preserved Liverpool’s unbeaten start to the top-flight season and was a fitting way for the No.15 to hit the half-century landmark, previously achieved for the Reds by Robbie Fowler, Steven Gerrard, Michael Owen, Luis Suarez, Fernando Torres and Dirk Kuyt.

The breakdown of his 50 goals below shows Sturridge has scored a wide-range of strikes during his 103 top-flight appearances for the club.

But if he’s in the box and the ball is on his left foot, then watch out.

His most productive away ground is Craven Cottage, where he has scored four times for the Reds, while his favourite opponents are Newcastle United and Aston Villa, against whom he has scored five times.

Salah’s Merseyside derby goal wins Puskas Award

Mohamed Salah has won the 2018 FIFA Puskas Award for his sensational goal against Everton at Anfield last season.

The Liverpool forward produced a moment of brilliance to light up his first Merseyside derby appearance, spinning away from his marker in the area before curling a shot into the far top corner.

And that strike was honoured at a ceremony in London on Monday, topping a shortlist of 10 goals nominated for 2018 Puskas Award following an online poll of fans.

 

Work on Liverpool FC’s new training complex begins

Liverpool FC held a special ‘breaking ground’ ceremony at the club’s Academy in Kirkby today to mark the beginning of work on its new training campus.

Reds manager Jürgen Klopp, Academy director Alex Inglethorpe and LFC’s chief operating officer, Andy Hughes, joined club staff, the leader and chief executive of Knowsley Metropolitan Borough Council and representatives from building contractors McLaughlin & Harvey to celebrate the start of a new chapter for the club.

The state-of-the-art redevelopment of the existing Academy site will see the first team and youth football operations come together at a combined training facility for the first time in Liverpool’s history.

LFC’s chief operating officer, Andy Hughes said:

“Today marks another significant milestone in the club’s history.

“This development will not only provide first-class amenities for our players and staff – in which a clear pathway through to the first team will be created – but it will vastly improve sports facilities for the community of Kirkby.

“We’re extremely pleased to be investing in the Knowsley area and look forward to building relationships with our neighbours as the project progresses.”

The new 9,200sqm training complex will provide an elite performance centre for the first team and a state-of-the-art training area for the club’s development squads, alongside new pitches, two gyms, a full-size sports hall, pool, hydrotherapy complex and specialist sports rehabilitation suites. There will also be dedicated TV studios, press conference facilities and office accommodation.

Knowsley Council’s Eddie McArdle community playing fields, which neighbour the Academy site, are also being redeveloped as part of the ambitious project. Improvements will include upgraded football pitches, new changing rooms and facilities, enhanced security and lighting as well as a new pedestrian and cycle pathway.

Cllr Graham Morgan, leader of Knowsley Council, said:

“I am delighted to see work beginning on this exciting project.

“The club’s investment into its training complex in Knowsley will not only provide world-class facilities but will bring great benefits for our community in Kirkby.

“We are pleased to be working in partnership with LFC with the aim of creating a sporting hub that will enable the development of more grassroots football and hopefully inspire the next generation of players.

“This is a project we are very proud to be involved in and very much look forward to seeing this development progress in the coming months.”

Building work on the community playing fields will be completed later this year and, following a period for the grass to establish, the new pitches will be ready for use around August 2019.

The entire project is expected to be completed in spring 2020, with the first team moving across from Melwood during the close season.

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.