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.

Revealed: The most popular Liverpool FC player names on fans’ kits

Liverpool’s official website has revealed the 11 most popular names that fans get on their kits when buying from the club store.

To celebrate Liverpool’s 125th anniversary, New Balance designed a beautiful new home kit for the 2017/18 season. The strip has echoes of years gone by with the white collar and retro design reminding fans of the glory days.

The kit was debuted on the final day of the season as Liverpool romped to a 3-0 victory over Middlesbrough. The Reds secured Champions League football in style with the new kit receiving widespread appreciation.

According to Liverpoolfc.com, the kit release has been a massive success. The top 10 names on the back of the new Liverpool kit are as follows:

  1. Philippe Coutinho
  2. Sadio Mané
  3. Roberto Firmino
  4. Adam Lallana
  5. Georginio Wijnaldum
  6. Jordan Henderson
  7. Emre Can
  8. James Milner
  9. Simon Mignolet
  10. Lucas Leiva and Daniel Sturridge

Out now: Get LFC’s brand new home kit and training range

Liverpool FC’s brand new home kit for 2017-18 has been released and is now available to purchase in club stores and online.

The New Balance strip celebrates the club’s 125th anniversary year with its retro style, returning to a rich, darker red with tonal pin stripes, a white v-neck collar and the commemorative Liver bird crest.

Supporters can get their hands on the shirt, shorts and socks for next season right now, either by visiting any club store or clicking here to buy online.

Phase one of the club’s new training kit range for 2017-18 – featuring shirts, polos, jackets, performance wear and more – has also been released after its reveal earlier this month.

Browse the New Balance collection by clicking here.

125 years ago today, Liverpool FC was formed

On March 15, 1892, John Houlding famously broke from the board of Everton to form a new club – Liverpool.

Club historian and museum curator Stephen Done explains:

“It’s perhaps not widely known that Liverpool FC’s founding father and first president, John Houlding, was originally president of Everton but, after a huge fall out over a number of issues including rent, he was removed from his position.

“This left Houlding and his colleagues with a fine football ground but no team and no name! The evening of March 15 at Houlding’s home, Stanley House, a new club was proposed and given the name Liverpool Football Club.

“And so began the plans to recruit new players and to formally enter the Football League. By June 3, Liverpool Football Club was official.”

The club will mark its official 125th birthday on June 3, 2017 – the day the club was officially recognised by the Board of Trade in 1892.

This year, 125th birthday celebrations will be kicked off with the release of a special anniversary LFC crest, which will be revealed on next season’s kit in April.

Of course, the best way to honour the 125th year as a club would be to return to silverware-winning ways.

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.

Carragher Has “Great Hope” for Liverpool Title Challenge

jamie-carragher-interview

Jamie Carragher believes Liverpool’s performances in the opening 10 Premier League games have created ‘great hope’ for the remainder of the season.

Pos Team P W D L GF GA GD Pts
2 Manchester City 11 7 3 1 25 10 15 24
3 Arsenal 10 7 2 1 23 10 13 23
4 Liverpool 10 7 2 1 24 13 11 23
5 Tottenham Hotspur 10 5 5 0 14 5 9 20
6 Everton 11 5 3 3 15 12 3 18

The Reds legend was encouraged by the manner with which Jürgen Klopp’s side claimed a 4-2 victory from a tricky contest at Crystal Palace on Saturday.

That win – the team’s seventh of the campaign – ensured Carragher’s former club maintained pace with leaders Arsenal and Manchester City on 23 points.

The ex-Red and Sky pundit thinks Liverpool are positioned to turn a lack of European football to their advantage.

Having overcome one of their biggest bogey teams last weekend and level on points with league leaders Manchester City and Arsenal with a quarter of the season gone, Liverpool look genuine title contenders. There’s a long way to go, and a lot can change, but at the start of November the Reds are one of the frontrunners.

Given their difficult start to the season—playing all of August away from home and facing Arsenal, Tottenham, Leicester, and Chelsea before the end of September—that’s not something even the club’s most hopeful fans were expecting when the season started, and Jamie Carragher thinks that’s a huge mark in their favour.

On Monday Night Football Carragher said:

“They had a tough start so to now be so close to the top of the table gives you great hope going forward.  I think with the start Liverpool had, if someone had said they’d be around the top four, a couple of points off, I think most Liverpool fans would have been delighted.”

The delight wouldn’t have been with just being near the top four. Instead, it would have been for navigating a difficult start and being well positioned to push on as the season wore on given their advantage of not being in Europe this season, an advantage they used to good effect during their 2013-14 title challenge.

“I go back to that season with Brendan Rodgers.  That’s what nearly took Liverpool to the title—that extra energy, intensity, closing people down, fast football. Against Crystal Palace, the defence wasn’t great, but their intensity and the way they closed people down was reminiscent of a couple of years ago.”

True as that may be, a second half push still requires a strong foundation.  Despite the difficult start Liverpool are positioned well and with a good squad to move forwards with.

 

 

Man United break another record… their squad is worth 100% more than Liverpool’s

CIES Football Observatory revealing that they have the most valuable squad of players in world football.

cies-football-squads

As their research into Europe’s top five leagues shows, Man United’s first-team squad cost €718m (£628m) to assemble, putting them ahead of Real Madrid and Manchester City.

Interestingly, Liverpool’s €356m (£311m) is less than half of Man United’s outlay, while title-winning Leicester have a squad worth just 18% of the Manchester rivals’ ranks.

Liverpool face Tottenham in EFL Cup Fourth Round

 

efl-cup

Jürgen Klopp says he is already looking forward to Liverpool’s EFL Cup meeting with Tottenham Hotspur at Anfield next month after the sides were paired in the fourth-round draw.

The Reds are set to take on Mauricio Pochettino’s team for a place in the semi-finals of a competition they have won on a record eight occasions as a round packed with mouthwatering ties is played out.

Klopp admits to raising a smile when he saw Liverpool’s Premier League rivals paired with each other prior to his team coming out of the hat, though he remains excited by the prospect of a headline clash with Spurs.

And he believes the fixture is a good opportunity for his players and the club’s supporters to create a big atmosphere in the absence of European football this term:

“It’s exciting. It’s the first draw I watched live because I saw the game before.  I was waiting for the draw and then saw West Ham – Chelsea, a little smile to be honest; then Manchester United – City, oh nice, another smile; then a freeze in my face because we got Tottenham! But it’s good. I think it’s a big boost for the competition.

“When I came here I had to explain why we field strong line-ups and now in the competition it looks like a semi-final each game.

“It’s a big opportunity for all the teams, they all try to go through and you can see this with the line-ups. That’s pretty exciting. I am happy about playing at home.

“When we cannot have European nights, let’s take what we can get. It will be fantastic and I am really looking forward to it.”

 

The two sides have faced each other already this season, playing out a 1-1 draw at White Hart Lane in a match in which the Reds had a slight advantage on balance of play.

 

 

Liverpool have confirmed their EFL Cup fourth-round tie with Tottenham Hotspur will be played on Tuesday October 25 at 7.45pm.  The pairing of a number of the remaining bigger clubs this time around means that at least a few lower league sides should make it through to the quarter-finals in November. The EFL Cup then takes a break for December before the remaining teams face a two-legged semi-final in January.