Category Archives: Liverpool FC

Alisson Becker’s Father Alledgely found dead

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Alisson’s father was found dead, confirmed by multiple outlets in Brazil

The Berker’s Family


It’s been confirmed by multiple outlets in Brazil that Alisson’s father was found dead. The fire department found his body after he was swimming in a dam located in one of their properties.


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Sven Botman’s agent speak on Liverpool’s interest.

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Liverpool were reluctant to dip into the transfer market for defenders in January and had always targeted the summer of 2021 to set about finding options at the back for the long-term.

The agent of rumoured Liverpool target Sven Botman has denied any truth to fresh claims from France alleging the Lille defender has been sold to an unnamed Premier League club for up to £39m, branding it ‘fake news’.

Liverpool were persistently linked with Botman throughout December, although in early January reporterJames Pearce debunked such claims when he insisted the club were not considering a move and suggested the rumours of interest were artificial in the hope of building hype.

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As the end of the January transfer window neared and Liverpool’s centre-back crisis worsened, the 21-year-old Dutchman was again linked.

But the Reds went with a loan for Ozan Kabak and a small transfer fee for Ben Davies instead, rather than pay a vast amount for Botman.

Sven Botman has been heavily linked with Liverpool | Sylvain Lefevre/Getty Images

Botman has been a regular for Lille this season since joining from Ajax last summer, with the Ligue 1 club currently leading the way in France and determined to wrestle the title away from PSG.

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It was French broadcaster Canal+ that claimed over the weekend that Lille have agreed a fee with an-named Premier League club in the region of £35m to £39m.

Liverpool were not mentioned but the previous speculation was enough to focus the reaction on them.

However, agent Nikkie Bruinenberg has told Dutch outlet Voetbalzone that it is not true.

Bruinenberg, who works for the Muy Manero agency that represents Botman, described the French claims about a done deal as ‘fake news’.

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Liverpool were reluctant to dip into the transfer market for defenders in January and had always targeted the summer of 2021 to set about finding options at the back for the long-term.

Manchester United, Chelsea and Tottenham are the other members of the Premier League ‘big six’ in the market for centre-back reinforcements this summer.

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Liverpool’s Fabinho ‘denied’ trip to Leicester.

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With Fabinho out, it seems safe to assume captain Jordan Henderson will retain a spot in the back line, but who will join him is another matter.

Liverpool may hand a debut to one of their deadline day signings in Saturday’s trip to Leicester as Jurgen Klopp confirmed Fabinho will miss the trip with a ‘little muscle issue.’

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Fabinho’s versatility has made him a key player for the Reds this season, frequently covering at centre back in the midst of the unprecedented injury crisis that has ruled Virgil van Dijk, Joe Gomez and now Joel Matip out for the season.

But the Brazilian has had problems of his own, having missed five league games this season due to minor injuries.

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He returned from a three-game absence to start against Man City at Anfield, but is set to miss out the trip to the King Power as Klopp confirmed in his press conference he has sustained another minor knock.

Fabinho has a minor injury | James Williamson – AMA/Getty Images

It is unclear if it is related to the problem that saw him sit out clashes with Spurs, West Ham and Brighton, but in any case it leaves the manager with a big decision to make at the back.

With Fabinho out, it seems safe to assume captain Jordan Henderson will retain a spot in the back line, but who will join him is another matter.

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Ozan Kabak would seem the favourite, as he made the squad for the first time against City, but it could equally be fellow new arrival Ben Davies.

He would bring some symmetry to the back line, as Liverpool don’t have another naturally left-sided centre back.

Nat Phillips is also available should Klopp look to play it safe, while Rhys Williams will also be vying to earn his way back into the team, having fallen down the pecking order as a result of the new arrivals.

Meanwhile, Klopp also confirmed the game will come too soon for Naby Keita or Diogo Jota.

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Fans have been anticipating the latter’s return to the team given the impact he made before his injury in December, but it will be another two to three weeks before he gets the chance to add to his nine Liverpool goals.

Keita could return sooner but is still believed to be a week or two away from match fitness.

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Trent Alexander-Arnold speak on his recent moves.

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With his performances over the last two seasons, many have credited the Liverpool pair for evolving the full-back role

Liverpool defender Trent Alexander-Arnold has admitted that he’s going through a bad spell of form this season, and has described it as ‘something new’.

The Reds have struggled for consistent form this season and the champions currently sit in fourth position in the Premier League ahead of a weekend clash with Leicester City.

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Much of the club’s success over the last three years has stemmed from the exceptional form of their full-backs Andrew Robertson and Alexander-Arnold, but both have struggled this season and as a result Liverpool have struggled to reach their previous heights.

Speaking exclusively to ESPN Brasil, via Sport Witness, the 22-year-old admitted that he wasn’t having the best of seasons but believes results are the most important thing and the performances will follow.

“Probably it’s been a spell of bad form that I haven’t had before. So it’s new. But I think really, for me, I set targets in levels and I have expectations in myself. If I don’t meet them then and I’m not happy. I want to be better than I am. I haven’t been able to meet them so far this season but we’ve only just passed the halfway stage, so there’s still a long way to go.”

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The England defender scored his only goal of the season in a recent win over Tottenham, and with just five assists to his name in 26 appearances so far, he has fallen way below his usual level. Despite that, he believes that the team winning is more important.

“Well, I just had three games where I felt better, felt in a little bit more of a rhythm. Being able to create things for the team and feel like I’ve been the last few seasons so I supposed that’s ok, but… Like I mentioned earlier. Individually that doesn’t really matter to me as much as winning games. I’d have 38 bad games in the season, if that meant winning every single game…So I wanna perform as well as I can and help the team win. Because that’s the man thing that matters.”

With his performances over the last two seasons, many have credited the Liverpool pair for evolving the full-back role but Alexander-Arnold believes he can’t take all the credit for himself.

File Photo: Trent Alexander-Arnold | Noble Reporters Media | Adigun Michael Olamide | NoRM News

“I’d say a lot more technical. I think I have impacted how numbers are probably integrated into that role now, I think. A lot of full-backs now are getting judged how many assists and goals and goal contributions they’re getting.

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“I can’t just take all the credit for it. I have to give a lot to Robbo too. He’s really pushed me and I’ve obviously pushed him too to set these records and set these high standards for everyone else in the fullback role, and that’s what I’m going to keep doing. I suppose it’s not about change in the role and how it’s thought about. It’s about making sure we’re as good as we can be for the team and helping us win games and that means get an assistant and goals, that’s what it means.”

Liverpool have lost each of their last two Premier League fixtures and after travelling to Leicester at the weekend they will switch their attentions to the Champions League for the last 16 clash with RB Leipzig.

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Liverpool new signing, Ozan Kabak enlisted in squad to face Manchester City.

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Klopp opted to persevere with the partnership of Jordan Henderson and Nat Phillips at the back for that one, as the Reds lost 1-0 to the south coast team.

New Liverpool signing Ozak Kabak could make his debut at some stage against Manchester City, as Jurgen Klopp named the central defender in his matchday squad for the first time.

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Kabak arrived on an initial loan from Schalke on deadline day as part of the solution to Liverpool’s injury crisis, but the deal was not cleared in time for him to face Brighton.

Klopp opted to persevere with the partnership of Jordan Henderson and Nat Phillips at the back for that one, as the Reds lost 1-0 to the south coast team.

Henderson remains at centre back for the must-win clash against City and is joined by Fabinho, who returns to start for the first time since mid-January.

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New arrival Ben Davies made the squad against Brighton but he has been left out this time around.

File Photo: Liverpool New Signing, Ozan Kabak to play against Manchester City | Noble Reporters Media | Adigun Michael Olamide | NoRM News

There is no place for Rhys Williams either, as Phillips drops out of the starting XI to join Kabak on the bench.

A strong bench shows Liverpool’s injury problems are easing up somewhat but it comes too soon for Diogo Jota who is expected to return to action at some point in February.

Alisson retakes his place between the sticks after illness kept him out against Brighton, and having him back will be a major boost as Klopp’s team look for a win that could reinvigorate their title challenge after another Anfield stumble during the week.

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Elsewhere Curtis Jones comes in for the experienced James Milner, while Georginio Wijnaldum retains a place alongside Thiago, who starts a seventh straight Premier League game for the defending champions.

The first choice front three take their place with neither Divock Origi or Xherdan Shaqiri doing enough to warrant a shuffling of the pack, while the usual full-back pairing of Trent Alexander-Arnold and Andy Robertson will look to provide the ammunition from wide areas.

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No UCL for Leipzig as Liverpool is ‘barred’ from entering Germany.

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The new rules, slated to last until the day after the game, ban travellers from countries hit by new, more contagious coronavirus variants such as Britain.

Liverpool will not be allowed to enter Germany for a Champions League match against RB Leipzig on February 16 because of strict entry rules imposed over the pandemic, the German interior ministry said Thursday.

“German federal police informed RB Leipzig today that the described case does not meet the requirements for an exception” to the travel restrictions, the interior ministry said in a statement.

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According to AFP sports subsidiary SID, Leipzig is now looking for an alternative location.

FILE PHOTO: Soccer Football – Anfield General Views – Anfield, Liverpool, Britain – March 13, 2020 General view of the Liverpool logo on Anfield Action Images via Reuters/Jason Cairnduff/File Photo<br />

The Bundesliga club is set to host Premier League champions Liverpool in a Champions League last-16, first-leg game but the planning for the match has been upended by Germany’s recently updated travel restrictions.

The new rules, slated to last until the day after the game, ban travellers from countries hit by new, more contagious coronavirus variants such as Britain.

Though there are some exceptions for medical workers and others in key professions, the interior ministry has repeatedly said that there is “no special provision for professional sportspeople”.

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According to German media reports, UEFA’s regulations decree that Leipzig must find a way of hosting the match or risk forfeiting it as a 3-0 defeat.

Potential solutions include playing the game at a neutral ground outside of Germany, or switching the home and away legs of the tie so that the first leg would be in Liverpool.

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Klopp’s sober update on Virgil Van Dijk’s condition.

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Liverpool have refused to state that the Dutchman’s injury was season-ending like that of Joel Matip

Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp has admitted that Virgil van Dijk is unlikely to return before the end of the current season.

Van Dijk suffered a torn ACL back in October, and although a return to action this year always seemed unlikely, Liverpool have refused to state that the Dutchman’s injury was season-ending like that of Joel Matip.

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There is still some hope as Klopp confirmed in his press conference that he plans to include Van Dijk in his 25-man Champions League squad, but he is not optimistic about the defender’s chances of playing.

“Whatever happens, I think we have space for Virgil on the Champions League list,” Klopp said. “I think he was on the Premier League list. Nobody told me I have to change something with that. If we have space in the Champions League list then Virgil will be on the list.

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“In the moment, I don’t know where these things are coming from – nobody really, no doctor, nobody really told me there’s a chance for Virgil to play in this season again. I don’t want to say that’s absolutely impossible but it’s not likely. It’s not likely. We don’t have to discuss these things really.

“If we have space we would put them all on, even when all the medical people tell us there’s no chance. We put them on because we believe in miracles from time to time.

Virgil van Dijk is unlikely to return in 2020/21 | Laurence Griffiths/Getty Images

“But if there’s no place then we have to consider these kind of things and say, ‘The chance is not too big so we have to make the decision.’ But if they are on the list then it’s only because we hope for nearly a miracle. That’s it.”

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Liverpool finally dipped into the transfer market to sign some replacement centre-backs, bringing in Ben Davies and Ozan Kabak from Preston and Schalke respectively, but Klopp warned fans not to expect to see the pair starting together anytime soon.

“The good thing is it’s football still,” Klopp said when asked if the pair’s lack of Premier League experience was behind his decision. “They played in Germany, they played in the Championship, so that’s not a problem.

“Coming into defence, we’ve had 12 or 13 different centre-half pairings, and that makes it more difficult for the likes of Neco [Williams] and Kostas [Tsimikas] as well. Kostas is new, Neco is still young, you search for stability in the team, and when you change that often [it is harder].

“We obviously don’t live in an ideal world, and that means we have to be smart, we have to be quick and we try everything to do that.

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We have different things to help them and it goes faster, but we obviously play different to Preston, obviously different to Schalke, that’s clear.

“They will need time, but we don’t have a lot of time, so we will use the time we have in our hands and try our best. If they would have to start tomorrow night together, I think that would not be too cool. But we will give them a few more days.”

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Liverpool’s shocking interest for Preston’s Ben Davies

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Liverpool would likely be able to land him for a minimal fee too, with only six months remaining on his contract and Preston in no real position to stand their ground.

Liverpool are being linked with a shock move for Preston North End centre back Ben Davies, who is also being tracked by Scottish giants Celtic.

The 25-year-old’s contract expires at the end of the season, meaning the January transfer window is Preston’s last opportunity to receive a sum of money for the defender, as he could leave for nothing on June 30.

According to NoRM‘s known Media, Premier League giants Liverpool have made an enquiry for the defender as they look to bolster their central defensive options for the remainder of the campaign.

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Jurgen Klopp and co will consider themselves favourites to land Davies, especially as this deal could convince the Reds to send youngster Sepp van den Berg on loan to Deepdale in order to sweeten the bargain.

Davies is being chased by both Celtic and Liverpool | Lewis Storey/Getty Images

Although Davies is not experienced at the highest level, he is capable of playing at centre back or slotting in at left back if needed, providing Klopp with even more reason to take a gamble on the Preston star.

Klopp is hoping to strengthen his defence
This news will come as a huge blow to Preston and Celtic. For the Lilywhites, they are resigned to losing their star centre back, as interest from the Reds would prove too good to turn down for the Championship man.

It’ll be equally as disheartening for Celtic, who had hoped to land Davies in a bid to cover their own defensive woes.

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The Hoops signed Shane Duffy from Brighton in the summer, but he has not prevented them from shipping goals and slipping to 23 points behind leaders Rangers.

Davies is being linked with a move to Liverpool | Alex Livesey/Getty Images

Celtic have been pushing to complete a deal before the transfer window shuts on Monday night, either to sign him immediately or arrange a move for the start of next season.

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All is under control – Jurgen Klopp says.

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Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp has confessed that he is not worried by his team’s recent struggles, instead claiming that everything has been blown out of proportion by the media.

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A run of four games without a victory and three games without a goal has seen Liverpool tumble down to fourth in the Premier League, but they will hope to get things back on track against a stubborn Burnley side on Thursday.

Liverpool’s poor form has led to plenty of scrutiny about both the team’s present and future, but Klopp insisted that he is not humouring the drama whatsoever because he can actually see the progress his side are making,

“We all know it is all about results but sometimes you can see little steps in the right direction or not,” he said. (via Sky Sports News). “But it is nothing for you (the media) because you can’t deal with small details. You make them big things. You are not ready for this information.

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“We wanted to play better but there were a lot of good signs and I cannot ignore them and I will not.

“You cannot change the approach because everybody who has no real idea about the job expects now massive changes, from the wake-up call to the nutrition, because we don’t have the results. Sometimes we have to be really, not stubborn, resilient maybe, and do it.

“I understand that at the moment in the press conference people think ‘Oh he is so entertaining’ and now they think ‘What kind of mood is he in?’, ‘Does he see reality?’.
It (scrutiny) is just getting earlier and earlier but it is all fine. We are on it, believe me.”

Klopp was also quoted by The Mirror as saying: “It is not a catastrophe, it is not perfect, but that is not important. Be as good as you can be.”

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The boss previously revealed that centre-back Joel Matip is available for selection after shaking off his injury, but forward Diogo Jota will remain on the sidelines for another few weeks while he steps up his recovery from a knee injury.

Dutch defender Virgil van Dijk has also made impressive progress in his bid to return from a serious ACL injury. He’s currently in Dubai and has been working with specialists to start kicking a ball again.

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Klopp speaks on Van Dijk’s injury.

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Liverpool have never given a timeframe for the Dutchman’s return, and although Klopp was reluctant to suggest that he could make a comeback before the season was out, he was positive about his progress.

Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp has described Virgil van Dijk’s rehabilitation as ‘promising’, without giving a timeframe on the defender’s return as he continues his recovery from a knee injury.

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The centre-back has not featured for the Reds since rupturing his anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) following a challenge from Jordan Pickford in October’s Merseyside derby.

Such was the severity of the injury, Van Dijk was expected to miss the majority of the season, although he has excited fans by sharing a video of himself juggling a football on his various social media accounts.

“I don’t know what is possible and what is not possible; I don’t think I’m the right person to judge that 100 per cent,” Klopp said (via liverpoolfc.com).

“He looks really good. I spoke to him this morning, I had him on the phone – he is in a really good mood. So it’s all very promising. But I don’t know when he will be back.

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“There are for sure a lot of stages still to go over or pass or whatever. That’s clear. I had this injury myself. But for the time we are in and for how long he is out now, how long the rehabilitation is going on, he looks really, really promising. But that’s all.”

Van Dijk’s central defensive partner Joe Gomez is also poised to miss the majority of the season after rupturing his knee tendon while on England duty in November, while Joel Matip has been in and out of the side with various injury problems – a groin strain most recently keeping him out of the Reds last four games.

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Liverpool Manager, Klopp lauds Manchester United’s defense.

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Liverpool ended the game with 66% of the ball, and Klopp confessed to BBC Sport that he’s not exactly a fan of United’s preferred approach.

Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp appeared less than impressed with the way Manchester United set up for the side’s 0-0 draw on Sunday.

Klopp’s men dominated possession and had far more shots on goal, but it was United who had the best chances and would have walked away with all three points if goalkeeper Alisson had not been on his toes.

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“We played football, tried to do it, force them back into their own box,” he said. “The worst thing you can face in the world, in football, is you play against a side with world-class players and they all defend with all they have, deep in the box and only counter-attack.

“It’s really difficult – that’s the biggest challenge.”

Liverpool failed to break down United’s stubborn defence, meaning they are now on a run of three consecutive games without a goal, but Klopp insisted he is not worried by the Reds’ struggles in front of goal.

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“There is nothing fundamentally different, it’s just the result is different,” Klopp stated (via the club’s official website). “We try and we don’t score or we try and we score – that’s a big difference, to be honest.

“It’s not that we ignore the fact and just hope it will be good again. We did that but the only possibility you have to score goals is to create situations and to be ready to fail and to do it again. That’s a massive difference between when you are flying and you score with pretty much each chance you have because then you deal with the missed chances better. It is just information. That is the difference and nothing else.

“I saw my team playing tonight and I saw a really good football team with a clear idea, with super passes, great counter-press and great desire to score – but we didn’t score.

We will create chances and we will score, but I know, now we face Burnley on Thursday and they are not famous for conceding an awful lot of goals.

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Then a few days later we play again against United and they obviously defend with all they have.

“It is not that we just decide from now on we want to score again and now we will do it, but I see the boys really in the situation and I will help as much as I can so that we change it as quickly as possible.”

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Liverpool knocks Crystal Palace with 7 tremendous goals

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Roberto Firmino and Mohamed Salah scored twice at Selhurst Park, while Takumi Minamino, Sadio Mane and Jordan Henderson also netted.

Liverpool ended a three-month wait for an away win in the Premier League in comprehensive fashion with a 7-0 thrashing of Crystal Palace on Saturday to move six points clear at the top of the table.

In an ominous sign for the challengers hoping to dethrone Jurgen Klopp’s men as English champions, the Reds built on the momentum of a last-minute winner that beat second-placed Tottenham in midweek.

Klopp has repeatedly bemoaned having to play Saturday lunchtime kick-offs after Wednesday night games, but his side suffered no hangover from their exertions against Spurs.

Salah was given a rare rest from the start, but his Japanese replacement Minamino took just three minutes to open the scoring when he was teed up by Mane for his first Premier League goal

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Palace had chances to get back into the game as Fabinho’s intervention just took Wilfried Zaha’s dangerous cross away from Jordan Ayew.

Ayew then wasted a glorious chance as he pounced on an uncharacteristic error from Fabinho, but tried to tee up Zaha rather than going for goal himself and played the ball behind the Ivorian.

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At the other end, the visitors were ruthless as Mane ended his longest goal drought as a Liverpool player at nine games with an excellent turn and low finish from Firmino’s pass.

A clinical counter-attack made it three before the break as this time Firmino latched onto Andy Robertson’s cross before calmly flicking the ball beyond Vicente Guaita.

Liverpool had not won in their previous five league games and have already dropped more points this season than they had prior to sealing a first league title in 30 years last season.

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However, Klopp’s men have so far survived an injury crisis and with more players returning to fitness are now in pole position to defend their title.

Trent Alexander-Arnold is one of those to have returned in recent weeks after a month out and the England international’s pass was swept home by Henderson from outside the box to make it 4-0.

Klopp then took the chance to give Mane a rest, but the Senegalese voiced his frustration at being removed to be replaced by Salah.

The Egyptian played his part for the fifth with the pass into Firmino, who has now scored as many goals in his last two games than his previous 27 Premier League appearances.

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Salah then moved to the top of the Premier League goalscoring charts this season with a late double by heading home from a corner before bending an incredible effort into the top corner.

Victory ensured Liverpool will lead the league at Christmas for a third successive season and on this evidence will take some catching in the new year.

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#Newsworthy

Liverpool star, Sadio Mane test positive for COVID-19

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Liverpool and Senegalese forward Sadio Mane is in self-isolation after testing positive for coronavirus, his club said in a statement on Friday.


#Newsworthy…

‘When you win, you aim high, Anfield is my way’ – Thiago Alcantara

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After a summer of speculation Liverpool’s new midfielder is finally unveiled and Thiago Alcantara has big ambitions in the Premier League.


Liverpool have today announced the signing of Spanish midfielder Thiago Alcantara from Bayern Munich on a four-year contract. The deal sees Liverpool pay around £20million up front with another £5million of potential add-ons.

The Spaniard will take the number six shirt previously occupied by Dejan Lovren, the same he wore during his time with Bayern Munich. Speaking on LFCTV this afternoon, Thiago made clear that he feels a connection to the club and expects to win trophies on Merseyside:

“When the years are passing, you are trying to win as much as you can – and when you win, you want to win more. I think this club describes what I am as well; I want to achieve all of the goals, win as many trophies as possible.”

“It also [has] this kind of family [feeling] that I need because we [like to] have a very close relationship with the club and I think I will feel this, I will have this feeling, with this club as well.

“[The fans] are not more excited than I am, for sure not! It is not about saying words, it is about doing the things. I will give my heart on the field to my teammates, the club and also to the fans.”

The midfielder has spent two spells with Manchester City manager Pep Guardiola, at Barcelona and Bayern, winning four league titles and a Champions League together. His first meeting with his former boss will come in November’s Premier League clash at the Etihad Stadium.

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FSG willing to spend to bring in “exceptional player”
The signing of a big-name 29-year-old marks a departure from Liverpool’s usual transfer dealings under the ownership of the Fenway Sports Group. The Reds have spent big on players like Alisson Becker and Virgil van Dijk in recent years but they were considerably younger and were viewed as players with the potential to improve.

Approaching 30, Thiago is already at his peak but is of such quality that Liverpool felt it a worthwhile outlay for a player who won the treble with Bayern last year. He featured as playmaker for the Bavarians and brings qualities that few else in the world possess to Anfield. He made more passes than any other player in the recent Champions League final victory and helped set up the winning goal with an incisive forward pass.

Bayern legend
His former Bayern coach Hansi Flick spoke about the departing midfielder in glowing terms on Thursday:

“Thiago is an exceptional player who spent seven hugely successful years here. He’s a wonderful person and an outstanding professional. It was very emotional today when he said goodbye to us all.”

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Under Jurgen Klopp Liverpool’s midfield has been very effective but sometimes lacks a degree of creativity that Manchester City boast in that department. The Reds’ full-backs tend to operate as wide play-makers to take the burden off the midfield trio but Thiago will give them a different option in the middle.

Barcelona interested in Wijnaldum
It had previously been reported that Liverpool would only make a move for Thiago if they offloaded one of their existing midfielders, with Gini Wijnaldum linked with a move to Barcelona to join former national team coach Ronald Koeman. The Dutchman is yet to sign an extension on his current deal which ends next summer, but seems likely to stay with an official bid from Barcelona yet to materialise.

Speaking in Friday’s press conference ahead of the Chelsea game, Klopp said that Thiago’s arrival “has no impact on anybody’s future in a negative way. There will be no impact.”

Thiago joins Wijnaldum, Jordan Henderson, Fabinho, Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain, James Milner, Naby Keita and Curtis Jones as Liverpool’s midfield options. The Spaniard is expected to become a part of Klopp’s first-choice side but appears unlikely to feature from the start in Sunday’s trip to Stamford Bridge having only recently returned to pre-season with Bayern.


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Just in: Salah hits stunning HAT-TRICK against leeds

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Liverpool were far from their best in an empty Anfield but they roused themselves to see off a fiercely competitive Leeds United side.


Liverpool’s title defence got off to an entertaining start as they saw off Leeds United 4-3 as the away side found an equaliser three times to give the reigning champions a fright.

The new season was only a few minutes old when Leeds new boy Robin Koch got his Premier League career off to the worst possible start. The German international gave away a penalty for handball after his outstretched arm blocked Mohammed Salah’s shot and the Egyptian thumped home the spot kick.

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Leeds’ Hélder Costa had a goal disallowed soon after but the newly-promoted team were level within ten minutes with a great strike from Jack Harrison. The champions were soon back ahead through Virgil van Dijk after the big Dutchman evaded the attention of Koch from a corner. Far too easy from the new Leeds man and a debut to forget.

At his best Van Dijk makes elite football look incredibly easy but his relaxed style cost his side a goal as he failed to clear a long ball over the top from Stuart Dellas. The Liverpool defender tried to flick it away but only succeeded in prodding it into the path of a grateful Patrick Bamford, who slotted past Allisson.

Four goals within the first half hour in Anfield’s first fixture of the new season but the home side edged ahead with ten minutes of the first half remaining as Salah smashed home his second. Andy Robertson’s cross was nodded away from danger but Salah pounced on the loose ball and sent it crashing into the top corner.

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The pace of the game slowed notably in the second half as defences sought to stop the rot. Liverpool carved some decent chances for Salah and Sadio Mane but Leeds maintained a threat on the break throughout. The away side levelled up for a third time midway through the second half after a great goal from Mateusz Klich. The midfielder broke through the Liverpool lines and fired a great finish into the far corner.

Neither side could find the break-through until the final stages when Rodrigo marked his Premier League debut by dangling a leg toward Fabinho in the box. The penalty gave Salah the chance to complete his hat-trick and the Egyptian duly obliged. A chaotic start to the season for the champions but plenty to build on for Bielsa’s men.

Bielsa sticks to his principles
A trip to the champions is the toughest test on paper for any newly-promoted side but Marcelo BIelsa’s Leeds were never likely to change their style. The aggressive, ball-playing tactics made them one of the best teams to watch in England last year and they caused Liverpool problems constantly. Kalvin Phillips followed up his first England cap with an impressive performance at Anfield, the deep-lying midfielder’s long diagonal ball setting up Jack Harrison for their first. Both Harrison’s and Klich’s goals were strikes of real quality and Leeds’ will certainly cause Premier League sides problems this year.

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Disjointed pre-season takes its toll
Both teams finished their 2019/20 seasons in late July and have had little time to prepare for the new campaign with the recent international break. The less-than-ideal preparations seemed to take its toll with a number of avoidable mistakes from both sides. Koch only signed for Leeds in late August before going away with the German national team and his unfamiliarity with the system showed at times. A number of the goals were the result of defensive errors and neither coach will be particularly happy with their backline. Liverpool looked imperious for much of the last season at home but looked vulnerable against Leeds, although the lack of atmosphere must have taken the wind out of the home side’s sails. New signing Rodrigo looked sluggish and gave away a clumsy penalty with minutes remaining.

Reds’ full-backs struggle to impose themselves
A huge part of Liverpool’s success in recent years has been their full-backs who function as wide play-makers, launching attacks and pushing the side forward. Since the start of the 2018/19 season no Premier League players have racked up more assists than Trent Alexander-Arnold (25) and Andy Robertson (24). The left-back provided the corner for Van Dijk’s goal against Leeds but the full-backs were peripheral for much of the game. Leeds’ high-octane pressing game deprived them of the time and space that they usually enjoyed and they were not as effective as usual. Klopp will hope that teams do not follow their lead for the rest of the campaign


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