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.

Mohamed Salah takes top prizes at LFC Players’ Awards

Mohamed Salah was named Liverpool’s star man for the season as the achievements of the first team, Academy, Ladies, legends and fans were celebrated at the 2018 LFC Players’ Awards on Thursday night.

The No.11, who has so far scored 43 goals in 50 appearances since joining the club last summer, was voted Player of the Season by both the fans – in an online vote on Liverpoolfc.com – and by his teammates at Melwood.

The Lifetime Achievement Award was presented to the man who has played the most matches in the club’s history, Ian Callaghan, while the 1978 European Cup-winning Reds side were acknowledged with the Outstanding Team Achievement Award on the 40th anniversary of their triumph over FC Bruges at Wembley.

Trent Alexander-Arnold’s excellent season, which has included 11 games and two goals throughout the Reds’ run to the Champions League final, was rewarded with the Young Player of the Season accolade, and Harry Wilson claimed the Academy Player of the Season honour.

Goal of the Season – shortlisted by supporters and decided by an LFC panel – went to Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain for the midfielder’s stunning long-range blast during the European win against Manchester City at Anfield in April.

Gemma Bonner and Sophie Ingle were presented with the Ladies Player of the Season and Ladies Players’ Player of the Season awards respectively.

And there were special accolades for the Fans Supporting Foodbanks initiative, in the form of the Bill Shankly Community Award, and New South Wales as the official Supporters’ Club of the Season.

2018 LFC Players’ Awards winners

Player of the Season: Mohamed Salah
Players’ Player of the Season: Mohamed Salah
Ladies Player of the Season: Gemma Bonner
Ladies Players’ Player of the Season: Sophie Ingle
Young Player of the Season: Trent Alexander-Arnold
Academy Player of the Season: Harry Wilson
Goal of the Season: Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain v Manchester City (April 4)
Bill Shankly Community Award: Fans Supporting Foodbanks
Lifetime Achievement Award: Ian Callaghan
Outstanding Team Achievement Award: 1978 European Cup-winning team
Supporters’ Club of the Season: New South Wales

Steven Gerrard labelled Salah ‘the best player on the planet right now’

Steven Gerrard labelled Mohamed Salah ‘the best player on the planet right now’ after the Liverpool forward inspired a 5-2 win against AS Roma.

The Egyptian was the architect of his former club’s downfall in Tuesday night’s Champions League semi-final first leg at Anfield, opening up a two-goal lead before the interval with a trademark curled finish and a calm dink.

Salah – who now has 43 for the season, four short of Ian Rush’s club-record 47 – then set up strikes for Sadio Mane and Roberto Firmino as the Reds took control of the tie ahead of next week’s return in Rome.

And Gerrard, who was Liverpool’s talisman in the run to European Cup glory in 2005, was impressed enough to argue that nobody in world football can currently match the No.11:

“He is in the form of his life.  It’s difficult to compare him to [Cristiano] Ronaldo and [Lionel] Messi because they have done it for so long and they have been consistent year in, year out. But without a shadow of a doubt he’s the best player on the planet right now.”

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.”