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Juan Mata: There is no game like Liverpool v Manchester United

Published in England Premier League
Friday, 13 October 2017 09:46

Manchester United midfielder Juan Mata has revealed that no other game in the Premier League calendar compares to Liverpool against Manchester United.

The two bitter rivals go head-to-head on Saturday, with the unbeaten United sitting joint top of the table while Liverpool are five places back in seventh.

Liverpool have won just one of their last seven matches in all competitions and will hope to reignite their season with a victory in front of their own fans.

Mata has fond memories of Anfield, having scored twice in a 2-1 win during the 2014/15 season – including a stunning scissor kick.
And the midfielder has revealed he cannot wait for kick off on Saturday lunchtime.

When asked if the fixture is United’s biggest game of the season, he told Sky Sports: "I believe so, since I came here I always knew the rivalry was big over the years. Everyone in the training ground, fans in the street, they remind you that Liverpool is the game.

"There is no game like this. Through the history there have been great games, big rivalries, and it is a special game to play in, and we feel very lucky to have the chance to play in these games.

"The view from Spain I think is that all of the big Premier League games are viewed similarly. Once you are in England you realise United v Liverpool stands out.
"I have pretty good memories from our games against Liverpool. Every United supporter even now, after a few years, remind me of that goal. When you play for United and score at Anfield and win the game, it stays in peoples' minds."

The Anfield crowd are sure to provide United with a hostile atmosphere, but Mata is adamant his side can quieten them down if they go into the game with the right attitude.

"It's tough. It's a tough atmosphere. Obviously, the stadium is full of supporters wanting their team to go over us and win. That's what makes football special. Not speaking about violence at all, but about the atmosphere. You have to have personality to play in these games,” he added.

"If we manage to impose ourselves in the game to control the emotions from the crowd, and play good football, I think we have a chance to win."

Parker: Mourinho has got United right in one season, the same can’t be said of Klopp and Liverpool

Published in England Premier League
Friday, 13 October 2017 09:44

Paul Parker has been impressed with Manchester United’s improvement under Jose Mourinho and expects the Old Trafford club to win their fixture against Liverpool this weekend.

I think Manchester United will beat Liverpool this weekend. The match represents United’s biggest test this season. However, United are a different proposition to last year. Mourinho’s men have absorbed everything that has been thrown at them. Unlike last season, Mourinho will go there and look for more than a point.

Mourinho’s default is to be conservative, particularly in away games, so don’t expect swashbuckling attacking play. However, they will actually try to do more with the ball than they did at Anfield last season, when they were more than content to leave Liverpool monopolise possession. Mourinho has more trust in *his* team now. Last season he went there looking not to lose and served up one of the worst ever Premier League games. United started well but then it was 80 minutes of cold custard.

This time United have a strong backbone - they look solid, they have improved. If you look at Liverpool, they have failed to address the glaring issues from last year. Yes, they signed Mohamed Salah but they still lack a goalkeeper and the defence remains ramshackle. Their centre-halves simply aren’t good enough.

WHERE KLOPP HAS FAILED, MOURINHO HAS SUCCEEDED

Both sides had huge issues last season. However, United addressed theirs, while Liverpool have let them fester. United have signed well (more on that below) but Mourinho has also improved the players he inherited, take for example Marouane Fellaini. Klopp has neither improved defensive players at his disposal nor signed better players to address their issues.
Defensively, the Reds look like they have gone backwards and look more porous than they were back under Brendan Rodgers. At least his side were great going forward; defensively they might not have survived in the second division and they appear to have gotten worse.

"Mourinho has got Manchester United right in one season but Liverpool still look all at sea after two years into Klopp’s tenure. "
The pressure will eventually start to ramp up on Klopp – he will definitely get to the end of the season, but if there are no signs of improvement between now and then he might be in trouble. It is pretty poor that they did not have a back-up plan when they missed out on Virgil van Dijk. They identified the problem and did not solve it.

Every championship-winning team has a standout goalkeeper and back four. Liverpool have neither. Yes, they have Philippe Coutinho, Sadio Mane, Roberto Firmino and Mohamed Salah but when Liverpool dominated the league, it was because of their defence. Not anymore. Klopp brought in a goalkeeper (Loris Karius) that is no better than the one they already had (Simon Mignolet).

The defence have no trust in Mignolet. You need a keeper with a personality and Simon Mignolet does not have one; he lacks the arrogance that all greats have. Liverpool look worried at set-piece situations and his concentration levels are not good enough.

MATIC THE KEY TO UNITED TRANSFORMATION

Mourinho has Romelu Lukaku realising how good he is. And he compares very favourably to Ibrahimovic, the Swede scored great goals for United but was he a great goalscorer? Lukaku has the makings of a great goalscorer and suits them perfectly. He has been in the right place at the right time and has that hunger to play.
However, the player who has made the real difference to United is Nemanja Matic. He has been a very shrewd signing, who gives United perfect balance. He is a big man but is certainly more brains than brawn, with smart passing and cute interceptions. There is no doubt that he has freed Paul Pogba, too. Pogba no longer feels he has to take on the world to justify his price. Matic has made the rest of the team look and feel better.

Sadio Mane ruled out for six weeks with hamstring injury

Published in England Premier League
Wednesday, 11 October 2017 08:40

Liverpool forward Sadio Mane is facing six weeks on the sidelines with a hamstring injury, the Premier League club said on Tuesday.

The 25-year-old was taken off in the closing stages of Senegal’s 2-0 win over Cape Verde in World Cup qualifying on Saturday.

It means Mane will miss Saturday’s clash with Manchester United at Anfield on Saturday, with early estimations suggesting the Champions League clash with Sevilla on November 21 could be his comeback date.
Mane has endured a difficult last six months after a brilliant start to his Liverpool career.

He tore the meniscus in a knee during April's Merseyside derby which prematurely ended his season and required surgery.

Having worked hard in pre-season to get back to fitness the forward began the campaign with three goals in his first four appearances, before a red card at Manchester City for catching goalkeeper Ederson with a high boot resulted in a three-match ban and halted his progress.
Since his debut in August 2016 Liverpool average 2.2 Premier League goals with Mane in the team, compared to 1.6 goals in his absence.
OUR VIEW

It’s a huge blow. Liverpool’s struggles in 2016-17 often coincided with Mane’s absence – either through injury or Africa Cup of Nations duty – as they failed to break down opponents who sat deep. The Senegalese international offers a different threat to the likes of Roberto Firmino and Philippe Coutinho, who thrive on short intricate passing rather than runs in behind.

However, there is one crumb of comfort for Liverpool fans: the form of Mohamed Salah. The Egyptian’s desire to run with the ball at pace should prevent their attack becoming stale – although he will need one of Firmino or Daniel Sturridge to start scoring soon, or he may be left carrying the attack on his own.

Lacklustre Liverpool held by Newcastle

Published in England Premier League
Monday, 02 October 2017 07:19

Premier League, St James' Park - Newcastle United 1 (Joselu 36') Liverpool 1 (Coutinho 29')

Liverpool were held 1-1 by Newcastle at St James' Park on Sunday as Philippe Coutinho's stunning strike was cancelled out by Joselu.

Coutinho was hardly involved in the opening 25 minutes but just before the half-hour mark he was given room 25 yards out and he let fly, unleashing a curling effort into the near corner.

Newcastle responded almost immediately as the Liverpool defence parted and allowed Joselu in. As he was about to pull the trigger the Spaniard was tackled by Joel Matip but the ball came back off the striker, past Simon Mignolet and into the net.

Liverpool pushed hard for a winner but couldn't find it as Newcastle, well drilled by the Red's former manager Rafa Bentiez, held firm and in fact it was the hosts who had the best chance to win it late on but Mo Diame's deflected effort ended up in the arms of a relieved Simon Mignolet.

The result lifts Liverpool to seventh on 12 points, one off fourth-placed Chelsea, while Newcastle's 10 points leave then ninth.

TALKING POINT

Liverpool’s defence costs them again. Jurgen Klopp seems pretty fed up of answering questions about his defence, but if they keep conceding goals like this those questions will keep coming. Newcastle created very little but scored an incredibly easy goal – Jonjo Shelvey dissected their backline with a simple forward pass – and that was enough to undo all of the Reds’ good work. Conceding soft goals is a recurring pattern, it keeps costing Liverpool points and as a result they currently look well off the pace being set by the Manchester clubs.

MAN OF THE MATCH

Philippe Coutinho (Liverpool). In a scrappy game, he provided the sole moment of brilliance and was the only member of Liverpool’s usually electric frontline who looked anywhere near to his best.

KEY MOMENTS

23’ –TRIPLE CHANCE! First Wijnaldum flicks a corner onto the near post, then Lovren can't quite reach the rebound but Matip can and he squares the ball to Lovren, six yards out, who sees his shot blocked and finally Mane fires wide from a tight angle.

29’ – GOAL! Newcastle 0-1 Liverpool (Coutinho). A stunner from Coutinho! He picks the ball up 30 yards out, manoeuvres away from two men and then unleashes a fierce shot that curls into the near top corner. That's quality, and that's why Liverpool wouldn't sell him.
36’ – GOAL! Newcastle 1-1 Liverpool (Joselu). Out of nothing, Shelvey slices the Liverpool defence open to release Joselu, who takes his time and is caught by Matip, but Matip’s tackle ricochets the ball off Joselu and past the goalkeeper into the net. Lucky boy!

50’ – CHANCE! Clark completely miscues a routine clearance on the edge of the box, meaning Sturridge is in, but he can't beat Elliot and Salah follows up by firing the rebound over. What a let off!

90+2’ – CHANCE! A Newcastle corner isn't dealt with at all and the ball falls for Diame, eight yards out and dead centre in front of goal, but his scuffed shot is deflected straight into Mignolet's arms.

PLAYER RATINGS

Newcastle: Elliot 7, Yedlin 7, Lascelles 7, Clark 6, Manquillo 6, Merino 6, Shelvey 6, Ritchie 6, Perez 5, Atsu 6, Joselu 5. Subs:, Diame 5, Hayden 6, Gayle 6.

Liverpool: Mignolet 6, Gomez 6, Matip 5, Lovren 6, Moreno 5, Henderson 5, Wijnaldum 6, Coutinho 7, Salah 5, Mane 5, Sturridge 5. Subs: Oxlade-Chamberlain 5, Firmino 5, Solanke 6.
In 45 Premier League meetings, these sides have never played out a goalless draw.

Liverpool have only won on one of their last seven visits to St James’ Park.

Wasteful Liverpool held at Spartak Moscow despite Philippe Coutinho strike

Published in Champions League
Wednesday, 27 September 2017 08:35

Champions League Group E - Otkrytie Arena – Spartak Moscow 1 (Fernando 23) Liverpool 1 (Coutinho 31)

Liverpool’s wait for a Champions League group-stage victory goes on after they were held to a 1-1 draw at Spartak Moscow.

Philippe Coutinho’s well-worked goal levelled matters for Liverpool in the 31st minute after Fernando fired the Russian champions ahead.
Despite recording 16 shots in total, and seven on target, Jurgen Klopp’s side were unable to find a winner as their troubles in front of goal came to the forefront once more.
Liverpool had plenty of early opportunities, but again their profligacy in front of goal cost them as Loris Karius couldn’t keep out Fernando’s 23rd minute free-kick, meaning Liverpool’s almost eight year wait for a Champions League clean sheet goes on.

Down the other end, Liverpool continued to play fluid, exhilarating football, and were level eight minutes later through Coutinho, after a brilliant one-two with Mane to play in the Brazilian.

The second half was much less intense, as Spartak got men behind the ball to preserve what is for them a very good point.
Nonetheless, Liverpool had more than enough chances to snatch three points, but that final pass, and poor finishing, let them down, with Mohamed Salah and Daniel Sturridge guilty of missing great chances late on. Liverpool's winless run in Europe's elite competition stands at seven, piling the pressure on their trip to Maribor next up.

TALKING POINT

Death, taxes and Liverpool missing chances. Jurgen Klopp has seen it all before - Liverpool’s matches this season have all been eerily similar. They had enough chances to win by a handsome margin in the Russia capital, but again wastefulness in front of goal was their undoing. It is as much the final pass being poor that is the problem. Liverpool got into good positions time and again, but the decision making was inept in the extreme, from players who should know better.
MAN OF THE MATCH

Artyom Rebrov. An injury brought his game to a premature end, but a string of fine saves earns the Spartak goalkeeper the man of the match award. He was like lightning off his line, didn’t fumble a single cross, and showed tremendous reflexes whenever called upon.

PLAYER RATING

Spartak Moscow: Rebrov 8, Eschenko 7, Kutepov 6, Tasci 7, Bocchetti 7, Dzhikiia 6, Samedov 6, Fernando 7, Pasalic 6, Popov 6, Adriano 5… Subs: Selikhov 6, Melgarejo N/A, Pedro Rocha N/A.

Liverpool: Karius 5, Alexander-Arnold 7, Lovren 6, Matip 6, Moreno 5, Henderson 5, Can 5, Coutinho 6, Salah 5, Mane 6, Firmino 4… Subs: Wijnaldum 6, Sturridge 4.
KEY MOMENTS

16’ - DOUBLE SAVE! Quick free-kick catches Spartak out, Salah is in, the angle is tight but he forces a good stop from Rebrov, but less then 30 seconds later, the Spartak stopper brilliantly denies Firmno after Mane had planted a cross right on the Brazilian's head.

23’ - GOOOOOAAAALLLL! Spartak Moscow 1-0 Liverpool. Fernando fires the free-kick into the net to send the home fans into raptures. Questions will be asked. Firstly there was a catalogue of errors that led to the free-kick being conceded. Secondly, the free-kick itself was very close to Karius. Should he have saved that?

28’ - SAVE! Mane does well to carry the attack to Spartak, cuts inside, fires for goal, but Rebrov is down smartly to smother.

31’ - GOOOOAAAALLL! Spartak Moscow 1-1 Liverpool. Brilliant, brilliant equaliser from Coutinho gets the Reds back on level terms. Coutinho carried the ball to the edge of the area, laid it off for Mane, who threaded it back to Coutinho, first time, before the Brazilian slotted the ball high into the net. Exhilarating, attacking football. 40 goals in games involving Liverpool this season.
53’ - SAVE! Another good stop from Rebrov, low to his right. Coutinho's free-kick wasn't hit completely true, but still needed parrying away.

81’ - CHANCE! Awful defending gifts Firmino a chance on the edge of the box, but he panics and lashes the ball over the top. Had time to pick his spot.

89’ - CHAAAANCE! The flag stays down, Sturridge is unmarked on the end of a pinpoint Moreno cross, but he volleys over the top.

90+7’ - SAVE! This is getting ridiculous now. Super ball into the middle from Alexander-Arnold, Salah meets it, but heads straight at Selikhov, who throws out and arm to keep out the header.
KEY STATS

Liverpool have drawn four consecutive Champions League games for the first time since March 2002, while managed by Gerard Houllier.

The Reds extended their longest ever winless streak in the Champions League to seven games (D4 L3), having last won in September 2014 against Ludogorets.

Jurgen Klopp has not won any of his last six Champions League games (D3 L3); this after winning five in a row beforehand, while in charge of Borussia Dortmund.

Jamie Vardy fails from spot as Liverpool hold on to beat Leicester

Published in England Premier League
Sunday, 24 September 2017 07:42

Premier League, King Power Stadium - Leicester City 2 (Okazaki 45', Vardy 69') Liverpool 3 (Salah 15', Coutinho 23', Henderson 68')

Jamie Vardy saw a late penalty saved by Simon Mignolet as Liverpool held on for a 3-2 victory over Leicester City in a thrilling match at the King Power Stadium.

Jurgen Klopp's side, who have not enjoyed the strongest start to the season, stormed into a 2-0 lead as early as the 23rd minute through goals from Mohamed Salah and Philippe Coutinho.

Shinji Okazaki and Jamie Vardy scored either side of a third for Liverpool from Jordan Henderson to keep the hosts in the match, and the England striker squandered an opportunity to equalise from the penalty spot.
Mignolet brought down Vardy to concede the penalty, but the Belgian made amends with his seventh save from a spot kick in the Premier League since he arrived at Anfield.
The crucial victory lifts Liverpool from ninth to fifth in the Premier League table, five points off leaders Manchester City and United.
TALKING POINT

Chaotic defending, but Liverpool get away with it: Klopp said he was sick of his side’s defending after the midweek defeat to Leicester, so you can’t imagine he is feeling any better after this shambolic performance at the back.

Cruising at 2-0, Simon Mignolet made a mess of a set-piece, culminating in Leicester finding a way back into the game. Then, at 3-2, the Belgian goalkeeper arguably should have been sent off when he bundled over Vardy to concede a penalty.

And while Mignolet saved the spot-kick and the Reds somehow held on for a much-needed three points, Klopp knows his side cannot continue to defend like this.
PLAYER RATINGS

Leicester: Schmeichel 7, Simpson 6, Morgan 6, Maguire 6, Chilwell 7, Albrighton 7, Ndidi 7, King 6, Mahrez 5, Vardy 8, Okazaki 7. Subs: Slimani 6, Gray 7, Iheanacho 5.

Liverpool: Mignolet 5, Gomez 5, Matip 5, Lovren 6, Moreno 6, Wijnaldum 6, Henderson 7, Can 7, Salah 7, Coutinho 8, Firmino 7. Subs: Milner 5, Oxlade-Chamberlain 5, Sturridge 7.

MAN OF THE MATCH

Philippe Coutinho (Liverpool) – Playing as part of a three-man attack, the Brazilian was back to his brilliant best. His wonderful vision and pin-point crossing was on display as he picked out Mo Salah for Liverpool’s opener, before he nonchalantly curled in his team’s second with a beautiful free-kick.
KEY MOMENTS

12’ - WHAT A MISS! A great strike from Can rattles the post, the ball comes out to Salah who is left with a simple finish but, with an empty goal to aim at, he somehow puts the ball wide! You would have put your house on him to score!

15’ - GOAL - LIVERPOOL HAVE THE BREAK THROUGH! A pinpoint cross from Coutinho picks out Salah at the back post and the forward heads in from the tightest of angles! Schmeichel should have done better, but it's still a remarkable finish.

23’ - GOAL! BRILLIANT FROM COUTINHO! Well, that's what he is capable of! The Brazilian curls his free-kick over the wall, it is dipping and curling and it ends up in the far corner as Schmeichel can't get near it. Liverpool find themselves two goals ahead.

45’+ 2 - A GREAT SAVE! Vardy gets in front of his marker at the near post to reach Mahrez's free-kick, he uses all of his neck muscles to direct head at goal and it's well parried behind by Mignolet!

45’+3 - GOAL - LEICESTER HAVE ONE BACK! Mignolet appears to be pulled back as the corner delivery is whipped in, he makes an unconvincing punch but it hits Gomez and Okazaki bundles the ball over the line. The referee awards the goal and it's game on!

68’ - GOAL - HENDERSON NETS LIVERPOOL'S THIRD! The Reds break at speed, with Sturridge racing clear, he plays Henderson in space and the captain keeps his cool to slide the ball beyond the reach of Schmeichel.

69’ - GOAL - VARDY SCORES! Leicester simply do not know when they are beaten! Mignolet can only parry Gray's half-volley into the path of Vardy who heads home from a few yards out!

71’ - PENALTY TO LEICESTER! A lovely through pass releases Vardy and Mignolet brings down the England international inside the penalty area. Anthony Taylor has no choice but to point to the spot and give the Liverpool goalkeeper a yellow card.

72’- VARDY'S SPOT-KICK IS SAVED! He sends the ball straight down the middle and Mignolet makes the save! It is a really poor penalty.
KEY STATS

Since joining Liverpool in 2013, Simon Mignolet has saved seven of the 15 Premier League penalties he's faced; more than any other keeper.

Jordan Henderson has scored his first Liverpool goal since his strike at Chelsea last season; 372 days ago.

Shinji Okazaki has scored four goals in his last seven Premier League appearances, as many as in his previous 48.

Philippe Coutinho has scored more goals from outside the box than any other player in the Premier League since his debut.

No Liverpool player has been involved in more goals in all competitions this season than Mo Salah (six goals, one assist).

Jamie Vardy has scored six goals in his last four Premier League games against Liverpool.

Leicester City vs. Liverpool: Team News, Preview

Friday, 22 September 2017 13:11

Leicester City welcome Liverpool to the King Power Stadium on Saturday, fresh from knocking the Reds out of the Carabao Cup in midweek with a 2-0 win.

The defeat was another poor result for Liverpool who are yet to win in September and have now gone four games without a victory in all competitions.

Leicester, meanwhile, will be aiming to improve on a slow start to the season, which sees them lying in 15th place having picked up just four points from their opening five games.
Team News

Both teams were much-changed for the Carabao Cup game and should bring key players back for Saturday's clash.

Mohamed Salah and Roberto Firmino did not feature at all on Tuesday and may return to the attack, but Sadio Mane remains suspended for Liverpool after his dismissal against Manchester City.

However, it is in defence where manager Jurgen Klopp may look to change things having said he was "really sick" with the goals they conceded against the Foxes in midweek, per Stuart James of the Guardian.

This is not a new problem, and the statistics back up Klopp's criticism, as the Reds have conceded 10 goals in their last four games and are yet to keep a clean sheet on their travels so far this season.

 Preview

Liverpool head to Leicester at the weekend with questions being asked of Klopp after their elimination in the League Cup.

The game highlighted familiar failings within the Reds squad, particularly their profligacy in front of goal, as noted by Goal's Melissa Reddy:
After this game, Liverpool's next fixture is against Spartak Moscow in Russia on Tuesday.

Leicester took full advantage of Liverpool's failings in the cup and may do so again.

In Jamie Vardy they have a striker who has the pace and precision to trouble the Reds back line.

The England international's league form is superb, particularly since Craig Shakespeare took charge, as illustrated by Opta:15 - Jamie Vardy has now had a hand in 15 goals in 18 Premier League apps under Craig Shakespeare (12 goals, 3 assists).
The season may be young but anything other than a win for Liverpool will increase the scrutiny on Klopp after a poor run of results.

The Reds' humbling of Arsenal in August showed they have the quality, particularly in attack, but they must tighten up to avoid being beaten by Leicester for the second time in a week.

Jurgen Klopp not panicking - but should he be?

Published in England Premier League
Friday, 22 September 2017 12:34

Jurgen Klopp insists that he is not panicking after a poor run of results but should he be? Marcus Foley investigates.

Liverpool are bad. Worse than Brendan Rodgers' Liverpool bad.
Klopp, however, thinks there is no need to panic.

WHAT KLOPP SAID

"You really think there would be one percent of a reason that I would panic?" Klopp said, as reported by ESPN.

"It's football. We have eight points. In four games we were the clear better side but we didn't get the results.

"Now we could panic because of not getting the results or we say 'It's still not good enough playing football.' Do you think any team in the world loves playing against us in this moment?
" Or hope like Burnley that they only have to go for set-pieces and you get whatever you want and you can concede 35 shots on target or whatever and it's clear you will be lucky? It's not like this."
"It's always the same, 'playing good football you have no results,' 'the same defending problems like 500 years ago.' You can talk about this but I cannot think like this.

" I'm not in [a] panic. I don't think that is the main message at the moment, not to get in [a] panic because I cannot imagine that anybody thinks about this."
OUR VIEW

Panic? No. However, Klopp should be concerned. Quite seriously concerned. They sit eighth in the table on eight points, some five points behind the early pacesetters in Manchester.

Liverpool spent in the region of £80 million in the summer transfer window. Yet, only £8 million went on the defence – and that was on Hull left-back Andrew Robertson.

The Reds were devastating in attack last season. Had they not signed Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain or Mohamed Salah, they would have been devastating in attack this season.

Their base attempt to sign Virgil van Dijk clearly indicates that Klopp and Liverpool knew they needed to address that area. Yet once it became apparent that the Van Dijk deal would not go through, it seemed that the Reds had no contingency signing. It was Van Dijk or bust. And it has well and truly been bust.
Their designs on a title challenge were fatally undermined by a leaky defence last season and Liverpool have done next to nothing to address it. Not in the transfer market; not on the training pitch.

Should Liverpool miss out on the top four then Klopp’s position would come under serious threat. Chelsea, Tottenham, Manchester City and Manchester United have all improved while Liverpool have, going on their performances thus far, stood still.

Panic might be too strong a word right now but improvement is needed and quickly.

Real Madrid, Juventus join Barcelona in race for Liverpool's Sadio Mane

Published in England Premier League
Tuesday, 19 September 2017 06:59

Barcelona are not the only club chasing Liverpool’s Sadio Mane, while Manchester City are keen to reward the efforts of Gabriel Jesus. 

Euro giants in for Mane

Following reports that Barcelona have turned their attentions to Sadio Mane after missing out on his Liverpool team-mate Philippe Coutinho, The Sun reports that Juventus and Real Madrid are also keen on landing the Senegal forward. Mane, 25, has been one of Liverpool’s standout performers so far this season, particularly while Coutinho was out with his, er, back injury…The will-he-won’t-he surrounding Coutinho and Barcelona dominated summer headlines and proved to be an unwanted distraction during Liverpool’s preseason preparations. It appears the Reds will have to fend off interest from European heavyweights for another one of their prized possessions. They rightly do not want to be a feeder club to the bigger sides on the continent, but it’s difficult for a player to say no when clubs of this calibre come knocking.

Frustrated Jurgen Klopp berates fans as stuttering Liverpool draw with Burnley

Published in England Premier League
Sunday, 17 September 2017 08:44

Premier League, Anfield - Liverpool 1 (Salah 30), Burnley 1 (Arfield 26)

Liverpool suffered a frustrating 1-1 home Premier League draw against Burnley at an anxious Anfield.

Scott Arfield opened the scoring for Burnley on 26 minutes, but Mo Salah took just four minutes to level up the scores with a well-taken goal from the edge of the box.

The home side dominated but were unable to break through again. Daniel Sturridge and Trent Alexander-Arnold were denied by goalkeeper Nick Pope - standing in for the injured Tom Heaton - while Dominic Solanke hit the bar.

Philippe Coutinho, making his first start of the season, was not at his sparkling best as a Liverpool side showing seven changes from their midweek Champions League XI failed to fire.

Jurgen Klopp grew visibly frustrated with a perceived lack of patience from the home fans as another two points went begging.

TALKING POINT

Liverpool’s frustrations continue to grow: After a hellish week in which they were thrashed by Manchester City before conceding late at home to Sevilla in mid-week, this was the perfect opportunity for the Reds to return to winning ways. However, due a combination of heroic defending from Burnley and some sheer misfortune, Klopp’s side were left licking their wounds. Liverpool will be pleased to see Coutinho back in the starting line-up, but what they were really crying out for was the rapid speed of Sadio Mane to unlock a stubborn back-line. Sean Dyche, meanwhile, can reflect on yet another impressive point on the road.
MAN OF THE MATCH

James Tarkowski (Burnley) – The 24-year-old continues to impress as Michael Keane’s replacement in the heart of the Burnley defence. Made countless blocks as Liverpool failed to find a way past the man mountain.

PLAYER RATINGS

Liverpool: Mignolet 6, Alexander-Arnold 7, Matip 6, Klavan 6, Robertson 5, Can 7, Milner 6, Salah 7, Coutinho 7, Firmino 6, Sturridge 6. Subs: Oxlade-Chamberlain 5, Solanke 6.

Burnley: Pope 8, Lowton 7, Tarkowski 8, Mee, Ward 7, Gudmundsson 6, Defour 6, Cork 6, Arfield 7, Brady 7, Wood 6. Subs: Barnes 6, Westwood, N/A Vokes N/A.
KEY MOMENTS

PRE-MATCH: Coutinho starts - The want-away Brazilian makes his first start of the season as Klopp makes SEVEN changes to the side that played mid-week.

27’ - GOAL! Liverpool 0-1 Burnley: The visitors are ahead - and it's totally against the run of play! It's Scott Arfield with a thumping low volley which gives Burnley the lead! Liverpool don't deal with Brady's flick-on, Woods keeps it alive and the loose ball falls kindly to Arfield who keeps his cool to send the ball beyond Mignolet.

30’ - GOAL! Liverpool 1-1 Burnley: An immediate equaliser from the Reds as Salah scores a fine individual effort! The Liverpool front man does brilliantly to control Can's long ball, he brushes off a challenge before powering the ball into the back of the net from inside the box.

59’ - SHOT! Sturridge cuts inside, rides a couple of challenges before unleashing a shot from the edge of the area and Pope does well to parry it to safety. Liverpool's frustrations grow.

81’ - OFF THE LINE! Liverpool's vulnerabilities at the back almost exposed as Mee rises highest to meet a corner delivery, but sees his header cleared off the line by Alexander-Arnold!

84’ - OFF THE CROSSBAR! Oh my, Liverpool are denied by the woodwork! Salah appears to be fouled inside the box by Mee but play continues and the loose ball is picked up by Alexander-Arnold who tees up Solanke but the forward strikes the crossbar from four yards out.
KEY STATS

Liverpool had 30 more shots than Burnley today - the most in any Premier League game since Man Utd had 31 more than Burnley in October 2016.
Liverpool have become the fourth team to win 1,000 points in Premier League home games.

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Football

First Ballon d'Or nominees announced

First Ballon d'Or nominees announced

The first Ballon d'Or nominees have been announced with Chelsea's N'Golo Kante amongst the players p...

African Football

Football Transfers

Djilibodji is loaned to Dijon

Djilibodji is loaned to Dijon

French side Dijon have completed the signing of defender Papy Djilibodji on loan from Sunderland. T...

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