Liverpool succumbed to defeat at the Bernabeu tonight. A hard fought encounter was settled by a Karim Benzema goal in the second half as Los Blancos triumphed 6-2 on aggregate. Here are player ratings from the match.

Alisson – 9

Did all in his power to keep a clean sheet and his defence still found a way to give away a goal. An outstanding save to halt Vinicius from point blank range was bettered by an even better save to tip Camavinga’s long range effort onto the crossbar. Halted Valverde when he went clean through on goal second half.

Alexander-Arnold 3

One tackle on Benzema aside he was hapless. Was about as useful as a cone up against Vinicius. He lost his head as he was constantly getting embarrassed. This affected his work on the ball. He gave it away so many times. Abysmal set pieces to boot.

Konaté – 8

The best defender in red tonight. Played two positions and stood out in both. Stopped Vinicius on so many occasions as a right back and held his position in the defensive line well as the right sided centre back. Only one in the entire squad equipped to deal with Vinicius it seems.

Van Dijk – 5

Very lax at sensing danger. Needs to play to the whistle. Kept waving his arms about instead of actually dealing with the danger. His laid back nature saw him react half a second too late for their goal.

Robertson – 5

Looked up for it in the tunnel. It didn’t transpire onto the pitch however. Poor set pieces.

Fabinho – 5

Not good enough on the ball tonight. Several balls in behind were overhit. Robbed of possession way too easily at times. Could have been braver in driving forward with the ball.

Milner – 6

Did about as well as you can expect. Not the quickest or cutest on the ball but got through a lot of work in a two man midfield. Played a good ball forward first half that led to a chance for Gakpo.

Salah 5

We needed the talisman to show up tonight but he was pretty quiet. I don’t remember a single attempt on goal. Created a few openings early on for Jota and co. Got into a physical battle with Nacho second half and lost. His body language might be called into question. Made a mess of a simple pass that would have put Nunez through on goal at the start of the second half.

Gakpo 6

Worked his socks off, as seen when he tracked Benzema all the way into the box to dispossess him right when he looked set to score. Stung Courtois’ gloves with a fiercely struck volley. Really good in tight spaces but needs to learn how to buy free kicks.

Darwin 6.5

Looked the likeliest in red to score a goal so was surprised to see him taken off. Collected Salah’s early pass in behind but couldn’t generate enough power to trouble Courtois. Brought out a stunning save from the Belgian when he cut in from the right and aimed for the far corner.

Jota 5

Set up for a volley early on and he completely miskicked. Still looks miles off his best. Didn’t make enough runs in behind nor win enough balls in the middle. Resorted to petulant fouling second half. 29 matches now without a goal for the club.


Elliott – 5

Had the opportunity to shoot in the box but went with the tiki taka option of an extra pass. Drew the fury of Klopp with that decision so decided to shoot the next time he got a sight of goal. It was a tame effort, straight at Courtois. Almost like his legs can’t generate enough power on the ball.

Firmino – 4

Just like at the weekend, made absolutely no difference when he came on.

Oxlade-Chamberlain – N/A

A lovely drag back was a highlight. Then went on to pass straight out of play under no pressure. That was before he gave up on an overhit Robertson pass late on.

Tsimikas – N/A

On in the 90th minute and almost gave away a penalty (that would have been extremely harsh). It was a goal saving block. Booked for brushing Ceballos’ chin. Eventful few minutes.

Carvalho – N/A

On for the final 20 seconds on stoppage time. Klopp’s handling of this talented boy since Christmas has been truly baffling.

Jürgen Klopp

Went with a bold lineup, with an all attack approach favoured. That failed to translate into goals for his side however. The subs didn’t make much of a difference, with a few of them puzzling to say the least. A 6-2 aggregate defeat underlines the difference between the two sides, and to think it was just fine margins that separated them in the final last May.




Liverpool are at the Estadio Santiago Bernabeu tonight to take on Real Madrid in the second leg of their Champions League Round of 16 tie. The Reds are three goals down after the 5-2 defeat in the first leg at Anfield three weeks ago. Here’s how Jürgen Klopp could line his side up tonight.

For a match preview, you can head over here.

The manager reported two potentially crippling ‘injuries’ in his pre-match press conference yesterday. Skipper Jordan Henderson has been ruled out with illness, as has youngster Stefan Bajcetic who is struggling with an adductor problem.

It’s a huge blow as both players were in line to start in midfield tonight. An already problematic midfield problem has been exacerbated by this news and the continued absence of Thiago Alcantara who is still out with a hip injury. The side is at least full strength in defence and in attack.

Alisson Becker is set to start in goal, with likely the same back four infront of him that has started each of the the last two games. The Brazilian committed a gaffe to let Real back into the game last time out and will have to make up for that error with a top class performance here.

Infront of him, we should see Konaté and Van Dijk continue their partnership in the heart of defence, with Alexander-Arnold and Robertson occupying the full back slots. The Ibou x Virgil partnership has only lost two games when starting together, with one of those coming in the Champions League final last May.

In the middle of the park, the manager’s options are severely limited. A Bajcetic – Henderson – Thiago midfield trio could have realistically started the game tonight if fit. With all three unavailable, the manager has to pick between Fabinho, Milner, Elliott, Keita, Oxlade-Chamberlain and Carvalho.

That’s a load of names but in reality the quality is thread bare. The manager must decide if he would be best served with a change in shape considering the circumstances (4-2-3-1 perhaps). In that case he would only need to pick two central midfielders.

It’s a real dilemma to grapple with. Maybe a two man midfield away to Real is too risky when trying to overturn a three goal deficit. The defence hasn’t exactly been watertight (a recent run of five consecutive league clean sheets notwithstanding) to warrant the trust of sacrificing a midfielder for an extra forward.

Fabinho is a shoo-in to start. He’s returned to a semblance of his normal self in recent weeks after he dipped to shocking depths earlier in the campaign. Alongside him, James Milner will have to be called upon again. He will be up against a fellow 37 year old in Luka Modric and will have the unenviable task of keeping the Croat quiet.

Harvey Elliott will in all likelihood complete the midfield trio. The 19 year old has started each of the last three games, and despite being hooked at the break last Saturday, can generally be relied upon. The manager obviously trusts him, as seen by the fact that he’s the only player to feature in every single match this season.

Upfront, the manager has options. Does he go with the same front three or does he opt to freshen things up by introducing Diogo Jota and/or Roberto Firmino? Cody Gakpo struggled against Los Blancos in the first leg so perhaps we might see a change there.

Jota has been preferred to Bobby since they both returned from injury so it’s safe to assume he’ll be first in line if the manager wants to change things up in attack, with Darwin Nunez and Mohamed Salah surely set to start again.

Whichever lineup is selected, the Reds will face an uphill battle. Three goals down against the kings of the competition and away from the comforts of home. Never say never though.

Predicted team:

Alisson, Alexander-Arnold, Konaté, Van Dijk, Robertson, Fabinho, Elliott, Milner, Salah, Jota, Darwin.

Subs: Kelleher, Adrian, Matip, Phillips, Gomez, Tsimikas, Jones, Oxlade-Chamberlain, Keita, Gakpo, Firmino, Carvalho.

Real predicted XI:

Courtois, Carvajal, Militao, Rudiger, Nacho, Tchouameni, Modric, Kroos, Valverde, Benzema, Vinicius.



Following yet another limp defeat, this time at the hands of bottom of the table Bournemouth, Liverpool travel to the Spanish capital tomorrow night with a three goal lead to overturn. Here’s the match preview. 

Just a week after thrashing Manchester United 7-0, Jürgen Klopp’s men reversed back to poor form, succumbing to a woeful defeat at the Vitality Stadium. The Reds never got going, with the Cherries constantly getting in behind the high defensive line.

The warnings were not heeded when Outtara went clean through, rounded Alisson before shooting into the side netting. The winger broke free again and this time, crossed for Billing to tuck home. The Reds couldn’t muster up a response, with Mohamed Salah spurning the best opportunity.

The Egyptian fired a penalty off target midway through the second half. Considering that was the first spot kick the side has been awarded in over a year, you wonder if the manager should even bother complaining about that particular stat.

The loss saw ground lost in the top four race, with the Reds falling to sixth place, six points off fourth placed Tottenham Hotspur (but with a game in hand). With just 12 league games remaining, Klopp’s men are running out of time to go on a long winning run.

The Champions League remains the only hope of silverware this season but even that has been damaged heavily by the first leg result. Having taken a 2-0 lead after 15 minutes, Liverpool completely capitulated, losing 5-2 infront of the famous Anfield crowd.

The task tomorrow night is nigh on insurmountable. The Reds have to not only beat their bogey side, but must record a huge margin of victory to at least force extra time. Ancelotti’s men haven’t lost a game by a three goal margin all campaign.

The last time Los Blancos lost by at least a three goal margin was in the Clasico last season when Barcelona romped to a 4-0 victory at the Estadio Santiago Bernabeu. Chelsea also handed the 14 time champions of Europe an almighty scare in the quarter finals last season.

Having lost the first leg 3-1 at Stamford Bridge, Thomas Tuchel’s side took a three goal lead at the Bernabeu, stunning the home fans into silence. Real’s powers of recovery in this competition is the stuff of legend though. They struck back through Rodrygo to force extra time before Benzema finally put the tie to bed.

The Reds have prior experience to the sort of comeback (or ‘La Remontada’ as the Spanish call it) they will require tomorrow night. When they last won this competition, Liverpool had to overturn a 3-0 first leg defeat to dump Barcelona out after a stunning 4-0 victory at Anfield.

The crucial difference is the Reds are away from home and have a woeful record on the road this season. It doesn’t help that Real have had the upper hand in this fixture over the past few years either. In the last seven meetings, Los Blancos have won six times and drawn the other.

Jürgen Klopp has faced the Spanish giants on 11 occasions in his managerial career. He’s won three, drawn twice and lost six times. Ominously, he’s never won a game at the Bernabeu. He has a poor record against Spanish teams, especially in Spain.

Safe to say tomorrow night is an uphill task. Get the first goal on the night though and who knows? Whatever the outcome, the Reds must defend better as a unit. They must have a plan to stop Vinicius. The young Brazilian has netted 5 goals in 4 appearances against Liverpool, including the winning goal in last season’s final.

He always seems to benefit from the space in behind Trent Alexander-Arnold whenever the two sides square off. If the Reds stand any chance of pulling off the impossible, the 22 year old must be well shackled.

Team News

Ramsay (meniscus), Diaz (knee), Keita (muscle) and Thiago (hip) remain out. Bajcetic (adductor) and Henderson (illness) have been ruled today, with Joe Gomez a possible inclusion in the squad having trained earlier today. Arthur Melo was fit enough to be on the bench last time out.

Losing Henderson and Bajcetic is a big blow, but on nights like this, the onus will fall on the forwards to be ruthlessly clinical infront of goal to make a contest of this tie.

For Carlo Ancelotti’s side, David Alaba is the only confirmed absentee. The Austrian is still struggling with the hamstring injury he picked up in the first leg at Anfield. Ballon d’Or holder Karim Benzema has been passed fit following a recent knock.



Liverpool succumbed to another woeful defeat on the road as they lost 1-0 to bottom of the table Bournemouth. Billing’s first half goal was the difference between the two sides, with Mohamed Salah missing a second half penalty. Here are player ratings from the encounter.

Alisson – 5

Not a lot he could do about the goal.

Alexander-Arnold 5

Put one on Van Dijk’s head early on from a corner. Was creative when he got on the ball. Cleared one straight to Solanke which saw them break on the counter but he was solid enough defensively. Can’t understand why he goes off when there’s a game to chase.

Konaté – 5

Bailed out Van Dijk a couple of times. Should have done so again when he completely missed Outtara’s cross, allowing Billing to poke home the only goal of the game.

Van Dijk – 3

Woeful today. Saw a header cleared off the line after about five minutes. Should have scored from a free header at the backpost off another set piece but could only nod wide. Bullied by Solanke today.

Poor for their goal as he just stops tracking Outtara, allowing him to swing in the cross. Got on the end of so many attacking set pieces but wasted most of those openings. Shepherded Solanke out well when he countered late on.

Robertson – 4

Excellent delivery for Van Dijk’s second sitter. Outside set pieces he was quiet in an attacking sense. Caught out of position a lot too. Lazily pushed Outtara in the back when he was shaping to cross for their goal. Was sent through by a trademark Van Dijk diagonal early on and he shot straight at Neto.

Fabinho – 5

Won a few second balls in midfield. Another whose first instinct when receiving a pass was to turn backwards. Blazed one shot from range wildly off target.

Elliott – 5

Some neat and tidy touches in midfield. Combined well with Salah and Trent initially. Once they went a goal up you were left wanting more from him. Too many times he went backwards under the slightest sight of pressure. Bounced off Billing and went sprawling when attempting to halt his run. Hooked at the break.

Bajcetic 5

Not his fault the result. Did some good things, driving the ball forward well at times. Made some mistakes on the ball, dwelling on it too long and over-elaborating at times. Not a lot wrong with the performance.

Salah 2

Set up by Gakpo for a shot early on and it was tame, straight at Neto. Flitted in and out of the game after that. Handed a golden opportunity to level the scores from the spot and he curled his penalty way off target. Anonymous today.

Gakpo 3.5

Looked sharp early on. Always looked a threat when he picked the ball up and turned. He won a few dangerous free kicks just by driving at the Cherries defence. Tired and his final ball suffered for it. Thought he’d go off for Firmino but he lasted the whole game. Lashed one over the bar deep into injury time.

Darwin 4

Not really in it. Won some good headers out wide to create chances for teammates. One saw Gakpo convert but the Dutchman was in an offside position. Cut infield to fire one on target. His footwork was poor in tight spaces today. Moved to the tip of the attack second half but was hooked not long after that. Headed a set piece onto the roof of the net from an offside position. Caught offside a lot today.


Jota – 5.5

Saw a curling effort parried behind by Neto almost as soon as he came on. Won the penalty with a trademark leap at the backpost. His passing was abysmal, constantly playing it straight to a Bournemouth shirt when attempting to switch play.

Milner – 4

He is required when we’re trying to protect a lead, not when we’re chasing a game. Given the slip by Anthony a number of times. Our attacks down the right hand side slowed when he came on, although he did swing in the cross that eventually led to the penalty.

Henderson – 4

No sense of urgency whatsoever. Kept passing it sideways to his mate Milner. Did well on the cover as the last man on one or two counter attacks.

Firmino – 4

Didn’t make much of a difference.

Carvalho – N/A

Hasn’t been seen for months. Then brought on in the 87th minute today to try and salvage a draw.

Jürgen Klopp

Bold lineup as he dropped the skipper and went with the two teenagers in midfield. It didn’t backfire as such, but after going in 1-0 at the break he brought on Jota at halftime and changed to a 4-2-3-1 shape. His next set of subs weakened the side as he took off the only natural number 9 and the most creative outlet.

We were left with 37 year old Milner at right back and a whole host of false nines in the box trying to thread that eye of the needle pass that was never on in a box full of red shirts. Could have brought on Carvalho sooner perhaps. It’s inconsistency like this that sees us outside the top four this campaign. Beat United 7-0 one week, lose to bottom of the table the next. Typical.



Liverpool travel to the Vitality Stadium tomorrow (12:30 GMT kickoff) to take on bottom of the table Bournemouth. Victory will see the Reds move into fourth place (for a few hours at least). Here’s how Jürgen Klopp could line his side up for the encounter. For a match preview, you can head over here.

The manager reported no new injuries in his pre-match press conference earlier today. He did however confirm that Joe Gomez and Luis Diaz should be back in team training next week, with the latter sorely missed over the past few months.

The Reds are coming off the back a momentous victory, pulverising bitter rivals Manchester United by seven goals to nil. With six days between that win and tomorrow’s fixture, it’s hard to see the manager making many changes.

In goal is certain to be Alisson. The Brazilian has kept five clean sheets in his last five matches (as many as he managed in the first 20 league games). He’s now climbed up to third in the Golden Glove race, with only Aaron Ramsdale (11) and Nick Pope (12) managing more than his tally of 11 clean sheets.

Ahead of him, we can expect to see Konaté and Van Dijk continue their partnership in the heart of defence. Alexander-Arnold and Robertson will then occupy the full back slots as usual. The settled back five has certainly aided the side’s refound defensive resilience.

In the middle of the park, the trio of Fabinho, Henderson and Elliott bossed Casemiro and co in the United midfield in a truly dominant display. As a trio, they extended their record when starting together to five wins from five, with the side scoring 28 times in those games and conceding just twice.

Stefan Bajcetic has been a revelation since breaking into the side at the turn of the year but it would be mighty harsh to drop Harvey Elliott after the work he’s put into the last two games. That being said, the physicality of Bajcetic could be required in what is sure to be a tough away encounter.

A slight dilemma perhaps, but one the manager will be grateful for. Not so long ago he didn’t even have enough options to rotate his side from game to game, with some players overused till the point of injury.

In attack, we are likely to see the front three of Salah – Gakpo – Nunez rolled out once again. The trio have been growing together over the past few weeks, with their interplay, linkup and understanding of each other’s movement improving by the game.

They were lethal last Sunday as they ripped the Manchester United defence to pieces, netting a brace each. They will face a different kind of task tomorrow, with the hosts sure to defend deep with a number of bodies, tasking Klopp’s new look attack to find a way past them.

The likes of Jota and Firmino could prove useful options off the bench in the second half, whilst the nous of James Milner could be required to see out any victory. Early kickoffs are the worst, but Liverpool have no excuse to not back up the 7-0 win last week to move into the top four.

Predicted team:

Alisson, Alexander-Arnold, Konaté, Van Dijk, Robertson, Fabinho, Elliott, Henderson, Salah, Gakpo, Darwin.

Subs: Kelleher, Matip, Tsimikas, Milner, Oxlade-Chamberlain, Bajcetic, Jota, Firmino, Carvalho.



Following the thorough beating handed out to Manchester United, Liverpool travel to the Vitality Stadium to take on Bournemouth. Victory will move the Reds into the top four, whilst the Cherries are aiming to climb out of the drop zone with three points. Here’s the match preview. 

Last Sunday at Anfield was a beautiful tonic to all the harrowing defeats and crushing lows the club has experienced this campaign. Erik Ten Hag’s men came into the clash as the form team in Europe. They had only tasted one defeat in their last 22 matches across all competitions.

A Carabao Cup final win a few days earlier marked their first piece of silverware in five years as a new era dawned. With Liverpool in indifferent form, most pundits tipped United to notch their first win at Anfield since 2016.

Fast forward 90 minutes and Jürgen Klopp’s charges had dished out the Red Devils’ heaviest ever defeat. 8 shots on target, 7 goals. It was a ruthless display of hunger, defiance and a return to the usual verve associated with the Reds.

A brace each for the front three and a Bobby Firmino goal off the bench was not only welcome but symbolic. The Brazilian is on his way out as the iconic trio of him, Salah and Mané officially comes to an end, but this seems to be the birth of a new pronged forward line.

Darwin Nunez and Cody Gakpo look settled now, and at just 23 years old, could be integral parts of the team for the next five years. Mohamed Salah is the only surviving member of the old trio but he’s still breaking records by the game, with his appetite for goals and assists only increasing with age.

Liverpool have actually managed a bigger margin of victory than the 7-0 romp over United. Opponents Bournemouth were ripped apart earlier in the season as the Reds cruised to a 9-0 win at Anfield. Scott Parker was relieved of his duties after that landmark defeat.

Gary O’Neil was handed the reigns temporarily but impressed enough to be given the job till the end of the season. He was unbeaten in his first six league games in charge but the honeymoon phase quickly eroded. They’ve lost 13 of their subsequent 18 matches in all competitions.

They were unlucky last time out as they handed league chasing Arsenal an almighty scare at the Emirates stadium. The Cherries went 2-0 up before the Gunners came back to seal victory courtesy a 97th minute Reiss Nelson winner.

That defeat left them bottom of the table but just a point off safety. Their poor goal difference means they will remain bottom even with a point tomorrow. Infront of their home crowd, they will aim to cause Liverpool problems in a bid to avenge that heavy defeat.

Victory for Jürgen Klopp’s men will take Liverpool into fourth place (at least until Spurs play Forest later in the day) after months out of the top four. It’s been some turnaround for the Reds, but they must be wary of a Bournemouth side desperate to survive relegation.

In Klopp’s 11 fixtures against Bournemouth, he’s only tasted defeat once (a madcap 4-3 defeat back in 2016). The German has overseen 9 victories over the Cherries, including each of the last 7 encounters. This is a great opportunity for the Reds to heap pressure on their rivals for top four.

An eighth win in a row over Bournemouth won’t come easy. Any victory will have to be hard fought, but the Reds look ready to roll their sleeves up and salvage what is left of this campaign.

Team News

Calvin Ramsay (meniscus) is out for the season. Joe Gomez and Luis Diaz are however expected to resume training next week. Thiago meanwhile remains a few weeks away. Arthur Melo was pictured training with the first team this week but the manager didn’t provide any update on his fitness.

Bournemouth have a long injury list with up to 8 players a doubt for tomorrow. David Brooks, Hamed Traore, Illia Zabarnyi, Jefferson Lerma, Junior Stanislas, Lloyd Kelly, Marcus Tavenier and Matias Vina are all unlikely to be available.



Liverpool trounced Manchester United 7-0 tonight as Anfield roared on in amazement. Braces by each of the front three and a Bobby Firmino goal off the bench sealed a momentous victory in Premier League history. Here are player ratings from the encounter.

Alisson – 7

Surprisingly didn’t have much to do bar a couple of long range efforts. Antony’s curler early on was probably the best of the lot. He almost cost the side when he dallied on the ball and saw Fernandes nick it away from him. Needs to cut that out of his game. His distribution was weapon tonight, with his clip out wide to Robertson setting the fullback away in the lead up to the opener.

Alexander-Arnold 10

Lost Fernandes at the backpost early on and was lucky to see the header go wide. He didn’t put a foot wrong afterwards. Defended with determination and bite when he had to and attacked with vigour going the other way. Popped up in the number ten position a couple of times including late on when he clearly wanted an eighth.

Konaté – 10

Assured in everything he did. Strong in the air, quick off the ground and composed when he had to carry the ball out from the back. Unlucky to see his header from set piece flash just past the upright. Pocketed the in-form Rashford.

Van Dijk – 10

Rolls Royce. Gave the assistant referee some grief early on when calls didn’t go his way. Stroked the ball about, with his trademark diagonals setting off several attacks.

Robertson – 10

A contender for MOTM along with the front three. Full of energy as usual, but crucially added the end product that has been missing lately. He opened the game up with a brilliant pass inside Fred to set Gakpo away. Kept going till the end and was unlucky to see his right footed curler whistle past the post.

Fabinho – 10

Back to his best tonight. Won every second ball in midfield. Was front footed and when he did win the ball, was composed to pick a forward pass. This is the Fabinho we know and love. Lovely dink to set up the chance for Darwin’s first goal.

Elliott – 10

Perhaps a surprise selection ahead of Bajcetic but Harvey played his part in an epic victory. He worked his little socks off out of possession and provided incision when he got on the ball. He provided a really good foil for Salah and set up Darwin’s first of the night.

Henderson 10

Once again led the press with his intensity no doubt infectious for his teammates. Played on the left of midfield but was still as influential as ever. Lovely cross for Darwin’s second goal.

Salah 10

Was full of verve tonight as he twisted the United defence this way and that. He made history again tonight by becoming Liverpool’s topscorer in the history of the Premier League. Just wow. Loved the blasted finish past De Gea and the superb through ball for Bobby’s goal. The best bit was when he sent Martinez back to Argentina before slipping Gakpo through for his second. What a player!

Gakpo 10

Days after Firmino revealed he was leaving in the summer, his long term replacement truly announced himself with a performance for the ages. Opened the scoring with a sumptuous finish after cutting inside Varane. His second was equally delicious as he dinked past De Gea from the tightest of angles.

Darwin 10

Got in on the act with two clinical headers. The first from an Elliott cross and the second from a Henderson centre. He almost lost his head when he tried to swing at Luke Shaw after the fullback kneed him in the back.


Bajcetic – 8

Got involved straightaway, winning the ball back in midfield and picking forward passes to maintain the side’s momentum.

Milner – 7

On to solidify the middle of the park and did just that.

Jota – 6

Should have squared that late counter. Denied by Shaw when through on goal late on.

Firmino – 9

The Kop was chanting for him before he even came on and he rewarded them with a goal. A tidy finish through the goalkeeper’s legs to make it 7. That was after an assist for Salah’s second when he deflected Shaw’s clearance into Mo’s path.

Jones – 7

Played the pass out wide to Salah that led to the seventh. Good to see him get some minutes.

Jürgen Klopp

Made the bold choice of dropping Bajcetic in favour of Elliott in midfield. It worked a treat as Harvey joined the attack at will to overwhelm the United backline. That was a big call and the manager got it absolutely spot on. 7-0 against Manchester United is a crazy result. What a day! What a performance! We have our Liverpool back ladies and gentlemen.



Liverpool host Erik Ten Hag’s Manchester United side tomorrow night in what is sure to be a raucous atmosphere at Anfield. 10 points separate United in third and Liverpool in sixth heading into the clash. Here’s how we expect Jürgen Klopp to line his side up for the encounter. For a match preview, you can head over here.

The manager in his pre-match press conference confirmed no new injuries, with Gomez, Thiago, Arthur and Luis Diaz remaining on the sidelines. It is still a healthy enough squad to face the challenge ahead, with a few tough decisions to make when picking a starting XI.

In goal will be Alisson Becker. The Brazilian shotstopper has now kept four clean sheets in his last five league games to move on to nine for the campaign. Could he make a late run for what would be his third Golden Glove award? Only de Gea (10), Ramsdale (11) and Pope (12) lead him in the standings.

In defence, we should see just the one change. Kostas Tsimikas filled in well against Wolves and took his tally of assists to six for the campaign after a brilliant run and cutback for Salah. Andy Robertson will be restored however, with the Scot hopefully benefiting from the rest.

The most intriguing battle on the day will certainly be the one between Alexander-Arnold and Marcus Rashford. Rashford has been blazing hot since the World Cup, registering 21 goal contributions (17 goals, 4 assists) in just 20 appearances. He will be the latest in a long line of wide attackers to target the Scouser.

It will certainly be interesting to see how the manager plans to stop United’s topscorer. It will have to be a team effort as Trent’s best work is done on the ball rather than off it. Konaté as the right sided centre back will have to come across and cover his fullback.

In midfield, we should again see just the one change as Jordan Henderson returns to the side ahead of Harvey Elliott. The skipper’s energy, intensity and leadership will certainly be required against an in-form United side. He will also be tasked with helping Trent out defensively.

Fabinho and Bajcetic will take their place alongside the 32 year old. This trio has become the de-facto first choice following young Stefan’s rise and Thiago’s injury. As a trio, they will have to work in tandem to win the midfield battle against Casemiro, Fred and Bruno Fernandes.

Upfront, the manager has a decision to make on who starts through the middle. Darwin Nunez and Mohamed Salah are presently set in stone as the first choice wide forwards. It is then a toss up between Cody Gakpo, Diogo Jota and Roberto Firmino for the ‘false nine’ role.

It was revealed yesterday that Bobby will be looking for pastures new when his contract with the club expires in the summer. This has seen an outpouring of tributes from fans but that is a tad premature. There is still a third of the season to play, after which the fan favourite will be granted an emotional sendoff.

For now though, focus must be on the task at hand. Does Bobby get the nod? Or does Gakpo return to the XI after being handed a breather against Wolves. Bar Wednesday’s victory over Wolves, the Dutchman has started every single game he’s been available for since joining the club.

Signed as a left winger from PSV Eindhoven in January, he’s found his niche as a false nine in the mould of the affable Firmino. If he can keep developing in this role, the club might not even bother to replace the man who made the role his own for almost a decade.

There’s also the option of Diogo Jota. The Portuguese international has started each of the last two games as he continues working towards peak form and fitness. He set up the opening goal for Van Dijk last time out and looked like he was getting sharper by the minute.

A third start in a week might be ill advised, and with Firmino yet to start a game since his own return from injury, it is safe to assume Gakpo will get the nod. He’s been building an understanding with Darwin and Salah and will have to be at his best to get the better of Varane and Martinez.

Predicted team:

Alisson, Alexander-Arnold, Konaté, Van Dijk, Robertson, Fabinho, Henderson, Bajcetic, Salah, Gakpo, Darwin.

Subs: Kelleher, Matip, Tsimikas, Elliott, Milner, Oxlade-Chamberlain, Jota, Firmino, Carvalho.



Liverpool are back in the top four race after putting together a decent little run. The Reds’ aspirations will face a stern test when in-form Manchester United come to town on Sunday (16:30 GMT kickoff). Here’s a preview of what is set to be an enthralling encounter between these two old foes.

The Reds were victorious last time out, eventually grinding down a stubborn Wolves outfit to come away with all three points at Anfield. It was tough viewing at times, with Jürgen Klopp’s men still looking some way off their effervescent best.

The first half was especially dull, with the hosts best chances falling to Harvey Elliott. The youngster couldn’t add to his tally for the season and so it remained goalless at the break. As a matter of fact, Julen Lopetegui’s men shaded the expected goals (xG) for the half (0.93 to 0.90).

The second period was much more like it as Liverpool struck three times (with one chalked off after a VAR review) whilst restricting the visitors to zero attempts. The victory backed up recent wins over Everton and Newcastle United.

Add the goalless draw at Selhurst Park into the mix and it’s a run of four consecutive clean sheets, the first time the side has managed this feat all season. A belated back to basics approach has seen an improvement in recent weeks.

Six clean sheets in the last nine matches across all competitions bodes well. Especially with a certain Marcus Rashford looking at extending his recent hot streak infront of goal. Liverpool will need all the defensive resolve they can muster to halt a Man United side on a roll.

Erik Ten Hag has transformed the Red Devils since taking charge in the summer, overcoming a horrendous start to implement his ideas and principles. Some strokes of genius in the transfer market helped as well, but no doubt a chunk of the credit must go to the former Ajax boss.

A summer spending spree that brought in the likes of Martinez, Casemiro and Eriksen, has been a far cry from the previous scattergun approach. Even Antony (who endured a tough start) has started to contribute in recent weeks, with January loan signings Wout Weghorst and Marcel Sabitzer also chipping in.

It is a happy camp at the minute, a far cry from the chaos of last season and indeed recent years. Ten Hag guided the club to their first piece of silverware in five years last Saturday when his side turned over Newcastle at Wembley to clinch the Carabao Cup.

United have won a whopping thirty games in all competitions this campaign (the most of any club in Europe’s top five divisions), and remain in the hunt for the FA Cup and Europa League after recently knocking out West Ham and Barcelona respectively.

They sit third in the league table, 11 points off top spot but with a game in hand. This has seen some fanciful ‘quadruple’ talk but let’s be frank, this is nothing like what Liverpool went close to achieving last season. Ironically, Ten Hag’s United reign only got lift-off after a 2-1 win over the Reds back in August.

They had lost their opening two league games, with a 4-0 trouncing at Brentford even prompting questions of Ten Hag’s future. That victory over the Reds set United on their way whilst Jürgen Klopp’s men were sent on the opposite trajectory.

Sunday is a chance to close the 10 point between the sides. It will be no mean feat however, with United only losing 3 of their last 33 matches across all competitions. In fact since the World Cup, they’ve only lost one of their 20 matches, with that defeat coming courtesy a 90th minute Nketiah winner at the Emirates.

This is the scale of the task at hand. The Red Devils are arguably the most in-form team in Europe right now. Form they say flies out the window in games like this, but victory will not come easy. Everyone of a Liverpool persuasion, from manager to players, through to the Anfield crowd, will have to be on it.

Since losing his very first home league game against United, Jürgen Klopp has remained unbeaten in his subsequent six matches against the old enemy at Anfield, winning 3 and drawing 3 (with his side scoring 9 times and conceding just once).

Last season’s 4-0 victory bookended the astonishing 5-0 win at Old Trafford as the chasm between the two clubs became clearer. United have managed to catch up and then some since then, but Sunday is a chance to strike a body blow.

Team News

For Liverpool, Calvin Ramsay (meniscus), Luis Diaz (knee), Joe Gomez (muscle) and Thiago Alcantara (hip) are all out. Arthur Melo featured for the U21s recently as he continues to build up fitness following a long period out of action.

For United, Christian Eriksen (ankle) and Donny Van de Beek (knee) are both unavailable through injury. Anthony Martial has resumed training following a hip injury but is unlikely to be rushed back. Luke Shaw and Jadon Sancho have overcome illness and should be involved.



Liverpool earned victory over Wolverhampton Wanderers at Anfield tonight, as goals from Virgil Van Dijk and Mohamed Salah handed the Reds’ top four hopes a much needed boost. Here are player ratings from the encounter.

Alisson – 6.5

Good footwork to get across and palm Moutinho’s early shot away. Didn’t have much else to do. Played one of the passes of the match to find Tsimikas on the left wing in the buildup to the second goal.

Alexander-Arnold 7.5

Much better tonight. Was assured in possession and looked bright going forward. Didn’t shirk his defensive responsibilities either. Decided the game with an outstanding free kick delivery for Van Dijk. Seriously what a ball that was!

Konaté – 6.5

Looked a bit unsteady at times but got the job done. Got away with one when the referee awarded a free kick after Ait-Nouri got away from him on the byline. Needs to be much stronger in such situations. Not every ref would give you the benefit of the doubt as he no doubt saw at Brentford. A welcome return to action.

Van Dijk – 7.5

Got over an early error when he cleared straight to a Wolves shirt to have a commanding game at the back. Broke the deadlock with a stooping header after his initial effort had been clawed away by Sa. Was alert to help deal with the pacy Adama late on.

Tsimikas – 7

Excellent defensively all night. That became even more apparent when Traore came on after the break. Didn’t really get forward much. When he finally did, it was to devastating effect as he carried the ball into the box and calmly laid it back to Salah for a simple tap in. Just the sort of impact and performance you’d want from a backup.

Fabinho – 6

Was okay. Won the ball well in the Wolves box twice early on but for some reason didn’t go for goal. Was frustrating to watch at times but in the end it’s job done, three points on the board. Booked for stepping on Lemina when attempting a Cryuff turn.

Elliott – 6

Set Salah away on a counter in the first few minutes. Should have scored at least one of the three chances Darwin set up for him. The first was a terrible miss from just a few yards out as he steered his header wide.

He saw the second pushed away, before shooting straight at Sa on the third attempt. His passing was poor when he tried to pick a pass over the top of the defence. He’d have been kicking himself had it not been for the two late goals. Worked his socks off in tracking his man back.

Bajcetic 7

Registered the first shot on target but it was straight at Sa. Won his tackles in midfield and was on the end of some heavy challenges. Stood out once again and showed maturity to play for so long on a yellow.

Salah 6

In and out of the game with almost every attack breaking down when he got it. Constantly gave the ball away with some shocking passing when teammates were getting into dangerous areas. Kept plugging away and got his goal in the end when he kneed Tsimikas’ cross home. That’s 20 for the season and he’s not even been at his rip-roaring best yet. Legend.

Jota 6

Blowing through the rust at the minute. The ball kept bouncing off him but he kept going. One daring run saw him cause mayhem to allow Darwin score but he was penalised for a foul in the buildup. He produced one moment of quality to hook the ball across goal for Van Dijk to nod home before being subbed.

Darwin 7

Set up Elliott for an easy tap in but he could only head wide. Found the youngster again and this time he tested Sa in goal. He put in a lot of work defensively to support Tsimikas. Played some unbelievable diagonal switches. Unlucky to see his goal chalked off.


Gakpo – 6

Lovely exchange of passes with Tsimikas, with his deft first time pass setting the Greek away for the clinching goal.

Henderson – 6

Kept the ball as he helped managed and see the game out.

Milner – N/A

Played right back for a bit.

Firmino –


Jürgen Klopp

Made a number of changes to the side that drew at Palace, with Konaté, Tsimikas, Fabinho, Bajcetic, Elliott and Darwin coming in for Matip, Robertson, Henderson, Milner and Gakpo. A poor first half saw Elliott go closest to scoring.

The manager kept faith with his starting XI, failing to make any changes till the deadlock was broken after 70 minutes. Four clean sheets in a row (five in the last six) bodes well. This back to basics approach was necessary. Now on to the small matter of Manchester United at Anfield on Sunday.



Liverpool host Wolves tonight as they aim to intensify their chase for a top four spot. ‘Every game is a Champions League qualifier’ was the manager’s cry in his press conference. Here’s how we expect him to line his side up for the encounter. For a match preview, you can head over here.

The manager in his pre-match presser confirmed that Ibrahima Konaté and Darwin Nunez took part in training and hadn’t shown any adverse effects following respective hamstring and shoulder injuries.

There could be a handful of changes after a hectic fortnight for the Reds. The manager has options to refresh his squad to keep the intensity levels up. Even with Diaz, Gomez and Thiago out, there were still 26 players in training over the past few days.

In goal, Alisson Becker will continue. The Brazilian stopper has kept three successive clean sheets in the Premier League for the first time this campaign in a run of four clean sheets in the last five. Opponents Wolves are the only side to score past Alisson over this period.

In defence, we should see a number of changes. Firstly, the returning Konaté will likely start ahead of Matip who has looked incredibly shaky since the turn of the year. Ibou and Virgil (the partnership that started last year’s Champions League final) have only started four games together this campaign.

We should also see one of the full backs handed a breather here. With Trent looking completely out of it at Selhurst Park on Saturday night, he could be the one to make way, with veteran James Milner filling in at right back.

Robertson will be asked to go again on the left but could be taken off for Tsimikas as the game progresses. It is crucial the manager gets it right in terms of rest and rotation to avoid any further injuries.

In midfield, the skipper has put loads of energy into the last couple of games and could be taken out of the firing line tonight. Henderson, who is going on 33, will have to be used sparingly if he’s to keep offering the drive and intensity he’s been known for over the years.

Fabinho and Bajcetic started off the bench at Palace and are in line to be restored to the starting XI tonight. With Keita putting in a dreadful display that saw him dragged off at halftime on Saturday, it is highly unlikely he’ll be handed another start here.

Harvey Elliott is an option despite failing to impact the game when he came on last time out. He remains the only player to feature in every single fixture across all competitions for the Reds this campaign. The manager’s trust in him is in no doubt.

In attack, we could see Darwin return to the starting lineup after missing the trip to London over the weekend. He will line up on the left wing again, with Jurgen Klopp likely to avoid handing Diogo Jota a second start in five days. The Portuguese international has missed a lot of football and will have to be eased back.

Cody Gakpo looked jaded on Saturday night, and who can blame him? He’s started every single game since his work permit was processed, leading the line and putting in a tireless effort every time. He could be rotated tonight, with Roberto Firmino ready to come in from the start.

Bobby has featured off the bench in each of the last four matches following his recovery from a calf injury. In his absence, Gakpo has been doing a solid impression of him but the stage is set for the original version to remind everyone of his qualities tonight.

It wouldn’t hurt the ongoing negotiations over a contract extension either, with his current deal running out in the summer. When Bobby plays well, Liverpool tend to play well. His ability to connect teammates and knit attacking moves together is second to none. Hopefully he’s blown off the rust that has been evident since his return.

Predicted team:

Alisson, Milner, Konaté, Van Dijk, Robertson, Fabinho, Elliott, Bajcetic, Salah, Firmino, Darwin.

Subs: Kelleher, Matip, Tsimikas, Henderson, Keita, Jones, Oxlade-Chamberlain, Jota, Gakpo.



Liverpool are back in action tomorrow night when they welcome Wolverhampton Wanderers to Anfield. Jürgen Klopp’s men will climb up to sixth with a victory in what is their game in hand. Here’s a preview of the game.

The Reds were lethargic last time out in the goalless draw against Crystal Palace. Several players looked completely out of it, with Patrick Vieira’s men not clinical enough to capitalise on Liverpool’s defensive errors.

Those defensive woes have dogged the side all campaign. Granted, it’s now three league clean sheets in a row but that’s more down to excellent goalkeeping/luck than any real defensive steel. It’s easy to forget James Tarkowski hit the post at 0-0 in the derby.

Ten man Newcastle also hit the woodwork twice. Mateta’s profligacy on Saturday night can therefore be filed under luck. The defensive frailties dogging this side can no longer be ignored. Real Madrid ruthlessly exposed that weakness for all to see last week.

Underperforming players have to be dropped. This worked for Fabinho and Henderson who both benefited from the brief spell out of the side. 7 points from the last 3 games is a decent return if Jürgen Klopp can mastermind a winning run.

Trent Alexander-Arnold committed 2 errors leading to a shot on Saturday; the most by a player in a Premier League game this season.

This should be the main goal. Nobody can be carried at this moment in time. If the team was flying then it wouldn’t be a problem if one or two were not quite at the levels expected. As it is, the team is struggling badly. Carrying a number of underperforming players only exacerbates the problem.

There is also the small matter of having a score to settle with Julen Lopetegui’s outfit. Wolves dismantled the Reds earlier this month, with that 3-0 defeat up there with the worst days of Jürgen Klopp’s Liverpool reign.

The sound of ‘oles’ from the home fans towards the end still haunts many of a red persuasion till today. Wolves were joint bottom of the table coming into that game, having managed only 12 goals all season. That they were able to score 3 past Alisson speaks to the defensive deficiencies spoken about earlier.

Since that landmark victory, Wolves have climbed up the table, currently finding themselves in 15th place, 3 points clear of the relegation places. They produced a spirited comeback to win at fellow strugglers Southampton despite being down to ten men.

They followed that with a poor defeat at home to fellow strugglers Bournemouth, before drawing away at a Mitrovic-less Fulham last Friday. Despite the obvious improvement under Lopetegui’s watch, Wolves remain a flawed side.

They can be hard to break down but tend not to create enough chances. This is why that defeat at Molineux remains so puzzling. Wolves created 6 big chances against Liverpool that day, having only managed to create two in the six games either side of that victory.

If the Reds are not on self destruct mode, these are the kind of opposition they should be turning over, especially at home, in their bid to launch a serious assault on the top four. The Reds have won each of their last five home league games against Wolves.

This should inspire confidence despite the recent FA Cup tie where Lopetegui’s men forced a replay after a 2-2 draw at Anfield. The two sides have squared off three times already this campaign, with the Reds only winning one encounter (a 1-0 victory in the replay at Molineux).

Team News

For Liverpool, Calvin Ramsay (meniscus), Luis Diaz (knee), Joe Gomez (muscle) and Thiago (hip) are all out. Arthur Melo featured for the U21s recently and is closing in on a return. Darwin Nunez and Konaté should both be available after taking part in training today.

For Wolves, Boubacar Traore (muscle), Chiquinho (knee), Hee-Chan Hwang (hamstring), Matheus Cunha (ankle) and Sasa Kalajdzic (cruciate ligament) are all unavailable through injury.



Liverpool were held to a goalless draw at Selhurst Park tonight. Both sides hit the woodwork, with Mateta, Salah and Jota all doing so. Neither side could find the elusive winner though, and in the end they settle for a share of the spoils. Here are player ratings from the encounter.

Alisson – 6

Didn’t have much to do. Was quick off his line to sweep up. Stayed strong to collect and punch away a few crosses.

Alexander-Arnold 4

Woeful. Gave Palace two gilt edged opportunities first half with some shocking passing and defending. Either move him into midfield or drop him. Enough is enough.

Matip – 4

All over the place. Gave the ball away over and over again and inspired no confidence whatsoever. Got on the end of a good opportunity when a corner fell to him in the Palace box but could only steer a weak left footed effort wide.

Van Dijk – 5.5

Won his challenges. Contributed to the slow buildup by taking too long on the ball when he got it. Looked to have been muscled off the ball late on but the referee’s whistle came to his aid.

Robertson – 5

I counted almost ten crosses by the Scotsman, none of them found a teammate. Got into good positions but his delivery was awful. Was lucky Mateta was in an offside position after he allowed Clyne nick Alisson’s pass off him first half.

Henderson – 4

His first instinct everytime he got it was to turn backwards and lay it off to the centre halves. That slowed everything down. Not exactly what is required when trying to break a team down. He should have fouled Olise way earlier in his run than he eventually did for his booking. Lucky not to give away a penalty. Blocked Trent’s goal bound free kick.

Milner – 5.5

Needs about four touches to bring a bouncing ball under control. Again everything was sideways and backwards. Filled in at right back late on. Not sure he’s the one to provide inspiration on a day like this. Did what could be expected of him.

Keita 3

Looked uninterested to be honest. Lost so many duels and kept fouling his man. Was possibly lucky to stay on the pitch, with his persistent fouling not abating despite his booking. Shocking display. Hooked at the break.

Salah 5

Pitiful shot wide when played in by Gakpo early on. Curled another straight at Guaita on the counter. Hit the crossbar with a snapshot from the edge of the box. Slipped Gakpo through for his big chance at the end. Was in and out of the game. That’s never a good sign as he’s the side’s source or goals.

Gakpo 4

Turned well early on and presented Salah with an opportunity in the box. Was quiet after that. Turned into trouble one too many times. Should have won the game at the end when put clean through on goal. Couldn’t even hit the target. He had Elliott available for the pass too had he chosen that option. That’s just not good enough. Cost the side two points with that miss.

Jota 5

Looked rusty again. Registered a shot on target with a half volley on the edge of the box. Headed Matip’s hooked cross against the post from a tight angle. The ball kept bouncing off him all night. Got 70 minutes under his belt.


Elliott – 4

Came on and with his first involvement lifted a pass over the defence which Jota almost latched onto. Went on to give the ball away almost every time he touched it after that. Played the side into trouble with some horrendous backpasses. Curious cameo.

Fabinho – 4

Could have been sent off in his brief time on the pitch. A waste of a sub.

Firmino – 4.5

Caught on the ball at times. Could have popped it off quicker. Couldn’t impact the game.

Bajcetic – 4.5

Sloppy in possession and they countered from it. Tracked Olise well late on and put in the challenge to knock the ball out of play.

Jürgen Klopp

In need of a goal and the manager chose not to bring Fabio Carvalho on. Not even for the final few minutes. He brought on two defensive midfielders instead. His in game management has been bizarre at times this season, not to mention his use, or lack thereof of the young attacker. Clean sheet at least.



Liverpool travel to Selhurst Park tonight (19:45 GMT kickoff) to take on Patrick Vieira’s Crystal Palace outfit. Victory will move the Reds up to 7th place, 4 points off Spurs in 4th. Here’s how Jürgen Klopp could line his side up for the encounter. For a match preview, you can head over here.

The manager reported a few knocks in the aftermath of the hiding at the hands of Real Madrid. He stressed on the need for changes to be made to the side in his pre-match press conference. We could as such see a handful of alterations to the XI that started each of the last two.

In goal will be Alisson Becker. The Brazilian stopper will be smarting from the grave error he committed on Tuesday night which saw Real pull level on the night. It was a carbon copy of the gift he handed Guedes when Wolves visited Anfield in the FA Cup last month.

For a goalkeeper of his calibre to be making the same error twice in such a short space of time is disheartening. He has been Liverpool’s player of the year this campaign and it’s a shame he contributed to Tuesday night’s farce. He will be aiming to make up for it here. A third successive league clean sheet will go a long way.

The back four is certain to see a change or two, with Joe Gomez going off against Real with a suspected hamstring injury. Injured or not, Gomez would have been dropped for this after being ruthlessly exposed on the biggest stage.

Joel Matip, who was overlooked for Gomez as a result of his own indifferent form, came on for him and is now set set for a start here. That is despite Ibrahima Konaté recovering from his own hamstring injury. The young Frenchman will have to be carefully managed considering his checkered injury past.

We could also see Kostas Tsimikas at left back. Andy Robertson has put in a lot of hard yards over the past few weeks and has seen his productivity suffer for it in the last two matches especially. He could be due a breather, whilst Trent continues at right back.

The Scouser’s laid back style means he doesn’t put in as many kilometers as his best mate. There’s also the fact that Calvin Ramsay, who was signed to provide backup and competition, is now out for the season with a meniscus injury. Trent will have to plough on.

In midfield, Stefan Bajcetic is due a rest after seven consecutive starts in the space of a little under five weeks. It’s easy to forget he’s only 18 and has just 15 senior appearances under his belt. It would be wise not to burn him out.

Naby Keita could be handed a start in his stead on the left of midfield, joining Fabinho and Henderson in the engine room. It is a midfield trio that has played together on several occasions to good effect and could be set for a reunion tonight.

Upfront, we’re likely to see Cody Gakpo handed a breather. The Dutchman has started every single game since joining from PSV Eindhoven in January. That was partly out of necessity, with Firmino, Jota, Diaz and briefly Darwin all unavailable through injury.

With Firmino and Jota getting valuable minutes off the bench since their return, we should see one of them start upfront. Bobby is the likelier of the two as he was out injured for a much shorter period of time. He will most likely join Darwin and Salah to complete the XI.

Predicted team:

Alisson, Alexander-Arnold, Matip, Van Dijk, Tsimikas, Fabinho, Henderson, Keita, Salah, Firmino, Darwin.

Subs: Kelleher, Konaté, Robertson, Milner, Bajcetic, Oxlade-Chamberlain, Elliott, Jota, Gakpo.



Following the latest embarrassing defeat of this harrowing campaign, Liverpool now turn attentions towards the Premier League. The Reds travel to Crystal Palace hoping to back up successive league victories to truly ignite their top four hopes. Here’s the match preview. 

Tuesday night was a chastening experience for all associated with Liverpool Football Club. Back to back league victories had managed to wash the taste of a pitiful 3-0 defeat at Wolves out of our collective mouths.

A rejuvenated Everton under Sean Dyche and a Newcastle side boasting the best defence in the league had been seen off with clean sheets to boot. The sight of Van Dijk, Jota and Firmino returning back to full fitness further boosted confidence among the ranks.

The mood ahead of the visit of Real Madrid was one of quiet optimism that a corner had been finally turned. 15 minutes into the encounter and we were in dreamland. Darwin and Salah had put the Reds 2-0 up against the side that nicked the Champions League trophy off us last May.

Anfield was rocking and all felt right with the world again. We were well and truly back. Then in the blink of an eye, Real pulled themselves level to end a breathless first half. What transpired in the second period was a capitulation of epic proportions.

It laid bare the weaknesses and cracks that had been papered over by the two wins. It was a good old fashioned hiding to go along with the ones we’ve already suffered at the hands of Napoli, Brentford, Brighton and Wolves this season.

Now, Jürgen Klopp must somehow manage to lift the morale of his men to face the task at hand tomorrow. A trip to Selhurst Park is difficult enough, but a trip to Selhurst Park under the lights, straight after a drubbing is an even trickier test.

Patrick Vieira’s Crystal Palace outfit aren’t in good form themselves though. The Eagles have failed to win any of their eight matches across all competitions since the turn of the year. They last tasted victory on New Year’s Eve when they beat Bournemouth 2-0.

They went close to victory last week but a 96th minute Vitaly Janelt equaliser denied them the precious three points. Palace find themselves in 12th place, six points clear of the drop and five points off the top half of the table. Considering they finished 12th last season, you could say they are right around where they should be.

Patrick Vieira has done an incredible job since taking over from Roy Hodgson. The Frenchman has completely changed the style of play and has put an emphasis on young players with speed and technical ability. Palace are a good side to watch even if they don’t always get the result they deserve.

In the corresponding fixture at Anfield back in August, Wilfried Zaha handed the visitors a first half lead on the counter attack. Darwin Nunez was then sent off on what was his home debut, before Luis Diaz scored a goal of the season contender to equalise second half.

Jürgen Klopp boasts an enviable record against the Londoners. He’s faced Palace on 15 different occasions (all in the Premier League), winning 12 and losing just twice. At Selhurst Park, his record reads 7 wins in 7, with his side scoring 22 goals and conceding just six times.

A 7-0 win in December 2020 remains the club’s biggest away victory in Premier League history. The Reds will be hoping to extend that perfect record tomorrow night. If results elsewhere goes well, victory could take Liverpool up to 6th, just 4 points off 4th placed Tottenham Hotspur, with Spurs hosting Chelsea on Sunday.

Team News

Thiago Alcantara (hip), Luis Diaz (knee) and Calvin Ramsay (meniscus) remain on the sidelines. Ibrahima Konaté has resumed training following a spell out with a hamstring injury. The manager admitted there were a few knocks from Tuesday night but he didn’t provide any specifics.

For Crystal Palace, Sam Johnstone, Joel Ward and Nathan Ferguson are out injured. Wilfried Zaha has missed the last few games with a hamstring injury but has resumed training this week. A decision on his involvement will be made closer to kickoff.



Liverpool were battered at Anfield by a rampant Real Madrid side tonight. Despite taking a two goal lead, the Reds were pegged back in the first half before Real turned on the style in the second half to take the game away. Here are player ratings from the encounter.

Alisson – 4

Made a terrible error that saw Real pull level. That was an unnecessary goal to give away as he attempted to pass the ball out with Vinicius bearing down on him. Made a fantastic save to deny Vinicius earlier but that error was gut wrenching. Not sure there was much he could do about the other goals.

Alexander-Arnold 4

Incisive pass into Gakpo in the lead up to the first goal. Threatened to combine with Salah to ruthless efficiency first half. Second half he was poor. Gave the ball away a lot and took some woeful corners.

Gomez – 3.5

Tough night for him. Didn’t do a lot wrong but you don’t need to against opposition of this class to get punished. Didn’t get tight enough to Vinicius for his first goal and stuck out a lazy leg at Benzema’s tame effort to deflect it past Alisson for their fourth. Not to forget giving away the free kick they scored from. When you list it all like that it’s a poor night for him.

Van Dijk – 4

Was on hand to hack a few crosses clear early on. How Eder Militao has a free header six yards out from a set piece is a question he’ll wrestle with all night. When you concede five goals at home, you have to look at the defence, and as the leader, he has to take most of the flak.

Robertson – 4

Guilty of standing off his man a number of times this season. Stood and watched as Rodrygo and Benzema exchanged quick passes in his area of the box to score a fourth. Shocking delivery going forward as well as he failed to test Carvajal for pace. One last man tackle to deny Rodrygo was a highlight. That goal saving tackle was all for nought in the end.

Fabinho – 6

I thought he was excellent first half. Was always on hand to receive the ball on the half turn and drive forward. It was the Fabinho we had become accustomed to all these years. That was until a poor touch second half saw him lose the ball to Modric in midfield. Instead of halting the counter and taking the yellow, he raised his hands and allowed Modric breeze through midfield to set up their fifth. That’s a cardinal sin for a DM. You take the yellow all day. Have to duck him a point for that.

Henderson – 6

Pressed relentlessly again tonight. Formed devastating triangles with Salah and Trent first half. Was a presence in both boxes as he steamed forward to support Salah and tracked back to help Trent with the electric Vinicius. Saw his side capitulate around him in the second half and was taken off.

Bajcetic 6.5

Another matured display. His spray out to the right hand side in the buildup to the opening goal was simple enough but showed how calm he was in his surroundings. Won some key tackles in midfield and sprayed the ball around well. Lost it a few times but it comes with the territory. Curled one wide from range late on.

Salah 7

Looked up for it from the first whistle. Played a delightful pass to set up Darwin’s opener. Should have added a second when he cut inside Alaba but could only screw his effort wide. Capitalised on Courtois’ error to make it 2-0. Second half I felt we couldn’t get him into the game as Real had stationed more men down his flank.

Gakpo 5

Not in the game tonight. Worked hard off the ball and won it back a few times but couldn’t really get into it. His work in possession in and around the box wasn’t up to scratch.

Darwin 6

Kick-started the fireworks with a lovely flick to open the scoring. Showed good awareness to track Carvajal’s run in the box and nod the cross meant for the full back out for a corner. Almost scored again but saw Carvajal block his shot before Militao completed the clearance off the line. Messed up one counter attack when he decided to take on his man rather than find Gakpo or Salah who were breaking away. Tired and was subbed after an hour.


Jota – 4

The ball kept bouncing off him. He’s working his way back to full sharpness so it’s a bit unfair to expect more.

Firmino – 5

Got on the ball in little pockets of space but the final ball wasn’t forthcoming. Should have shot first time on a number of occasions but took a touch in the box and got closed down every time.

Milner – N/A

Not the set of skills required tonight.

Matip – N/A

Carried the ball forward a few times.

Elliott – N/A

Clattered into his man and told the referee off when he blew for a foul. Only one in red not scared to take a yellow tonight.

Jürgen Klopp

The manager went with the same lineup that earned a victory away at Newcastle. It was a fantastic start as they went 2-0 up in next to no time. This Real side are reigning champions for a reason though and fought back in the first half. The second half was an absolute disaster for the Reds.

I don’t know what was worse, the defending for the set piece they scored from or the subsequent capitulation. The side has been susceptible to set pieces for a while now and it can’t all be blamed on the absence of Van Dijk through injury. A truly humbling result after a dream start.



Liverpool take on holders Real Madrid in the first leg of their Champions League Round of 16 tie tonight. The Reds, fresh off the back of consecutive victories, face the unenviable task of knocking out the fourteen time champions of Europe. Here’s the predicted XI for the Reds.

For a match preview, you can head over here.

In terms of team news, the sight of Darwin Nunez training with his teammates last night was a real boost. The Uruguayan is in good form at the minute and was facing a race against time to be fit for tonight’s showdown after picking up a shoulder injury at Newcastle.

Despite the short turnaround between Saturday night’s victory over Newcastle and this meeting with the holders of the competition, Jürgen Klopp is unlikely to make many alterations to his side. He seems to have settled on a combination in midfield and attack.

The manager made a quadruple substitution just shy of the hour mark on Saturday as all of Bajcetic, Henderson, Gakpo and Darwin were given a breather. They are all therefore likely to be handed another start tonight.

In goal will be Alisson Becker. The Brazilian was in supreme form at the weekend (as he has been all season really), denying Newcastle on a number of occasions. The last time these two sides met, Thibaut Courtois stole the show with a breathtaking performance to guide Real to a 14th title.

With the form Ali is in, he should be aiming to upstage his counterpart this time round. In defence, Virgil Van Dijk marked his return from a hamstring injury with a solid display at the St James Park. The 31 year old will have to be at his best to keep the Ballon d’Or holder, Karim Benzema, quiet.

The Dutchman will have Joe Gomez alongside him once more, with the 25 year old’s pace potentially key against the electric Vinicius Junior. Alexander-Arnold and Robertson will line up at full back to complete the backline.

In midfield, the Bajcetic – Keita – Thiago combination was undressed at the Molineux a few weeks ago and hasn’t been used since. Thiago’s hip injury has played a part in that but Fabinho and skipper Jordan Henderson have returned to the side and acquitted themselves ever so well.

The duo will surely be handed a start here in what is the ultimate test up against the wily Luka Modric. They will be joined in the engine room by 18 year old Stefan Bajcetic. The Spanish youngster has been a breath of fresh air since he broke into the side a few weeks ago.

He was named Liverpool Player of the Month for January recently, with Mohamed Salah admitting he has been the side’s best player since breaking through. He put in a Man of the Match performance in the Merseyside derby as he showed no signs of nerves.

If tonight is the ultimate test for Fabinho and Henderson who have won every trophy there is at club level and played in multiple Champions League finals, how much an 18 year old with less than twenty senior appearances under his belt?

If he can once again play with the same level of calm he’s shown thus far, in what is without a doubt the biggest game of his young career, then it can no longer be denied that we have a serious talent on our hands.

Upfront, Darwin Nunez will line up on the left wing after overcoming the shoulder issue. He will be joined by Cody Gakpo and Mohamed Salah. This front three have started each of the last three and finally seem to be clicking as a trio. The onus will be on them to lead the Reds to victory.

The likes of James Milner, Harvey Elliott, Naby Keita, Diogo Jota and Roberto Firmino will offer an injection of energy off the bench if and when required.

Predicted team:

Alisson, Alexander-Arnold, Gomez, Van Dijk, Robertson, Fabinho, Henderson, Bajcetic, Salah, Gakpo, Darwin.

Subs: Kelleher, Matip, Phillips, Tsimikas, Milner, Keita, Jones, Oxlade-Chamberlain, Jota, Elliott, Carvalho, Firmino,.



Following back to back league victories over Everton and Newcastle United, Liverpool look ready to take on their bogey side Real Madrid in the Round of 16 of the UEFA Champions League. Here’s a preview of the game.

The Reds have wrestled their way into a bit of form at just the right moment it seems. The 3-0 defeat to Wolves was a line in the sand for Jürgen Klopp and his troops. Consecutive 2-0 victories, first in the Merseyside derby and then away at Newcastle have signalled a turnaround.

A potential top four finish has gone from wishful thinking to a very realistic probability if the standards set in the last two games can be maintained and improved upon. A few key players have returned from injury and handed everyone, from the fans to the playing body, a real boost.

The Reds are scoring again and crucially, keeping the opposition out. How many times have we seen the side concede the first goal in a match this campaign? All these facets will be required tomorrow night when the reigning champions of Europe come to town.

Winning the derby was particularly sweet but Everton carried little to no threat in open play and are battling relegation for a reason. Becoming the first side to beat Newcastle at the St. James Park (and still being the only side to beat the Magpies to date) was impressive but this challenge is several steps up on the rank of difficulty.

The Spanish giants have proven something of an insurmountable hurdle for Jürgen Klopp’s side. Who can forget the final in Kiev when the Reds actually started without fear and pinned Los Blancos back? That was until Sergio Ramos, the ultimate pantomime villain, took out Mohamed Salah.

Liverpool lost not only their best player but their belief. Fight as they did, they just couldn’t make up for two glaring errors by goalkeeper Loris Karius as Real lifted the trophy. The Reds returned to lift ‘Ol Big Ears’ the following season and right the wrong of Kiev.

These two giants were drawn against each other in the quarter finals stage of the 2020/21 campaign. Vinicius netted a brace in a 3-1 first leg win and hasn’t looked back since. The Brazilian came back to haunt the Reds again as he netted the only goal in last season’s final.

In a game Liverpool dominated, Vinicius’ second half tap in at the back post led Carlo Ancelotti’s side to their 14th Champions League trophy. Thibaut Courtois thwarted the Reds all the way through as Jürgen Klopp lost the showpiece final for a third time in his career.

Tomorrow night doesn’t feel as much a revenge mission as it does an opportunity to slay personal demons. Real Madrid have proven a nut too tough to crack for this side. For whatever reason, Los Galacticos have had the upper hand in recent meetings.

Going back to Brendan Rodgers’ time at the helm, Liverpool have failed to win any of the last six encounters against Real, losing five and drawing the other. It’s a record that must be put to bed tomorrow night.

Ancelotti’s men come into this fixture with just one defeat in their last ten. They’ve won eight in that run, and despite falling behind Barcelona in the La Liga race, lifted the Club World Cup barely two weeks ago.

There will be several interesting subplots on the pitch in terms of key individual battles. None more so than the matchup between Trent Alexander-Arnold and Vinicius Junior.

The fleet footed winger is in peak form coming into this clash. He’s registered 24 goal contributions (16 goals, 8 assists) in 34 appearances this term and will carry the threat for the Spanish outfit. Trent will have to be on high alert.

In some ways, it was good preparation facing Allan Saint-Maximin at the weekend. Trent will require support from his right sided centre back and midfielder if he’s to keep the electric Vini under wraps. It will be interesting to see how the Brazilian defends Trent going the other way.

It promises to be an enthralling encounter, and you’d expect Anfield to be at its vociferous best. Real are rightly favourites, but the underdog tag is something Jürgen Klopp and his side wear well. This should be a cracking tie come what may.

Team News

For Liverpool, Konaté (hamstring), Thiago (hip), Luis Diaz (knee) and Calvin Ramsay (meniscus) remain out. Darwin Nunez will undergo a late fitness check after coming off against Newcastle with a shoulder injury on Saturday.

For Real, Ferland Mendy (hamstring), Toni Kroos (gastrointestinal discomfort), Aurelien Tchouameni (unspecified) have been ruled out. Karim Benzema is however fit again to lead the line after missing the 2-0 victory over Osasuna on Saturday.



Liverpool reignited their top four hopes by handing Newcastle United their first home defeat of the season. The Reds (the only side to beat Newcastle this campaign coming into the game) took the lead through Darwin Nunez before Cody Gakpo added a quickfire second.

Nick Pope’s first half sending off handicapped the Magpies as they tried but failed to get back into the game. It’s now six points off top four for Liverpool, with Jürgen Klopp’s men having a game in hand. Here are player ratings from the encounter.

Alisson – 9

Quick off his line to gather at the feet of Isak early on. Then made a superb stop to deny Almiron one on one. Played one of the passes of the game to set Salah away on the counter for the Pope sending off. Wasn’t done either, as he made another unreal save to push Saint-Maximin’s shot onto the crossbar. Denied Callum Wilson late on to preserve the clean sheet. The best in the world.

Alexander-Arnold 9

Looked back to his best tonight. Yes he had his hands full with Saint-Maximin but he still made an impact going the other way. His exquisite pass put Darwin through for the opener and he didn’t stop there. Played several wonderful passes and crosses into the danger area. Deserved more than the single assist.

Gomez – 8

Was solid tonight. Didn’t make any glaring errors and covered well for Trent. Played a superb through ball midway through the second half. Back to back clean sheets. That should boost the confidence.

Van Dijk – 8

Made a welcome return to the side and was solid. Kept the ball moving and rarely gave it away. Backheel flicked clearance late on summed up his night.

Robertson – 8.5

In great form again tonight. Bombed on to good effect and was a threat down the left hand side. Should have gone for goal late on when Elliott played him through on goal but he tried to be too cute, with his pass to Salah cut out. Put one on a plate for Jota after a short corner routine. Tireless display. Was still chasing a third in stoppage time.

Fabinho – 7.5

Saint-Maximin just breezed past him early on to set up Almiron for that big chance. He improved afterwards and had to play most of the game on a yellow after a poor tackle on Anderson. He was assured on the ball and set off a few attacks in the latter stages.

Henderson – 7.5

Once again led the press tonight. He’s shown bundles of energy in the last two games. Almost like he’s benefited from his time out of the team. That right hand side of him, Trent and Salah looks much better. Rested after an hour.

Bajcetic 7.5

Caught on the ball early on and wisened up to it. Once again didn’t look out of place. A lovely turn in midfield opened the pitch up for him, with that move leading to the second goal. Stood up tall to a physical midfield battle and won some big tackles.

Salah 7.5

Terrific pass for Gakpo’s goal. Unbelievable vision and execution. Used his pace in behind to cause the Newcastle defence all sorts of problems, including getting Nick Pope sent off. Should have capitalised on the man advantage but his final ball/decision let him down a number of times second half. One tame effort at Dubravka was frustrating. Full of running though, and never gave Burn a moment’s peace.

Gakpo 7.5

Played through the middle again and made it two in two with a lovely tucked finish underneath Pope. He’s coming well into his own now. Given a breather after an hour.

Darwin 8

Opened the scoring with an explosive finish on the half volley after collecting Trent’s wonderful pass over the top. He did well to stay onside, that’s something he struggled with in the early stages of the season. He went close again second half when he cut in off the left and saw his shot parried by Dubravka. Played exceptionally well till he pulled up with a shoulder injury. Hopefully not too serious.


Milner – 7

Came on for Bajcetic and put on a tackling clinic. One on Saint-Maximin was perfectly timed and underlined what the veteran was all about. Won two tackles in quick succession on the edge of the Newcastle box late on. Played Jota through for a good chance.

Elliott – 7

The youngster came on for the skipper and got involved straightaway on the right hand side of midfield. He saw a shot deflected into Dubravka’s gloves before laying on at least three gilt edged chances for his teammates.

Firmino – 5

Actually started brightly, with brilliant footwork seeing him beat a couple of men before playing a fine pass to Salah. Quickly tired though and gave the ball away almost every time he touched it. One such turnover led to Wilson almost halving the deficit.

Jota – 6

On for Darwin and he showed some neat touches down the left wing. Should have scored from Robertson’s centre but tried to be too precise with the header, sending it just wide of the upright. He was then played through on goal, and after rounding the goalkeeper could only see his shot cleared off the line. Headed a Trent pick out across goal but was adjudged to be offside. Clearly blowing away the rust.

Jürgen Klopp

The manager made just the one change to his lineup, with Van Dijk coming in for Matip. After a shaky start, his men hit Newcastle with two quick attacks and two quick goals. Pope’s sending off basically ended the game as a contest but the hosts still carried a threat.

He could be disappointed that his substitutes didn’t take the game away from the Magpies but the three points and back to back wins are the most important thing. A crucial time to pick up some form. Madrid at Anfield next.



Liverpool travel to St. James Park tomorrow (17:30 GMT kickoff) to take on high flying Newcastle United. The Reds lie in 9th place whilst the hosts sit in 4th. Here’s how Jürgen Klopp could line his side up for the encounter. For a match preview, you can head over here.

The manager reported no new injuries in his pre-match press conference earlier today. He did however confirm that Virgil Van Dijk is ready to start, having been an unused substitute in the Merseyside derby on Monday night.

The side have had the whole week to rest, recuperate and prepare for this trip. As such, we are likely to see minimal changes to the side that beat Everton. In goal will be Alisson Becker as usual, with Trent and Robertson out at full back.

In the heart of defence we could see the only change in the lineup from last time out, with Van Dijk returning to the side for his first game since the defeat at Brentford. The big man has recovered from a hamstring injury and should be joined by Konaté in the coming weeks.

One of Matip and Gomez will have to make way for the Dutch skipper tomorrow night. Based on the last two games, Joe Gomez has the edge as Matip has been error prone lately. The Cameroonian almost gifted Everton a goal when he missed a straightforward clearance.

Gomez was on hand to block Simms’ effort but it’s that sort of unforced errors that has dogged the side this campaign. Matip for all his forward running and ball carrying ability has failed to inspire confidence in Van Dijk’s absence.

Another factor to consider could be pace. Allan Saint-Maximin is in line to start on the left flank for Newcastle, and no doubt the right sided centre back on the night will have a lot of work on his hands to try and keep him quiet. Gomez’s pace could come in handy.

In midfield, the trio of Fabinho, Henderson and Bajcetic impressed in the derby. The manager was effusive in his praise for them and is likely to trust them to go again. With the influential Bruno Guimaraes suspended, Liverpool should be aiming to boss the middle of the park.

Upfront we’re likely to see Darwin Nunez, Cody Gakpo and Mohamed Salah line up together once more. Darwin will be stationed on the left wing to give Trippier something to worry about defensively whilst Gakpo continues to morph into a Firmino-lite.

The Dutchman scored his maiden goal for the club in the derby and his confidence levels rose afterwards. He has looked dangerous whenever he’s been allowed to turn after picking the ball up in the half spaces

Newcastle boast the best defensive record in the league so chances will be few and far between. The Reds have to be at their ruthless best if they are to take all three points. The return of Jota and Firmino certainly hands the manager further options from the bench.

Predicted team:

Alisson, Alexander-Arnold, Gomez, Van Dijk, Robertson, Fabinho, Henderson, Bajcetic, Salah, Gakpo, Darwin.

Subs: Kelleher, Matip, Tsimikas, Milner, Keita, Oxlade-Chamberlain, Elliott, Jota, Firmino.



Following the morale boosting victory in the Merseyside derby, Liverpool travel to St. James Park hoping to rekindle their top four hopes. The Magpies are flying high this campaign as they currently sit fourth on the table, nine points clear of the Reds. Here’s the match preview. 

Monday night was the perfect riposte as Everton were turned over in the derby. Anfield lived up to it’s reputation by producing a raucous atmosphere ahead of kickoff and indeed throughout the game. Jürgen Klopp’s men started tentatively as the Toffees game plan became apparent.

Sean Dyche had set his team up to sit deep and frustrate. The time wasting tactics were in effect from the very first whistle, with Andre Onana in midfield tasked with breaking up play by any means, fair or foul.

The visitors plan was working smoothly till they flew too close to the sun and got scorched. A corner saw James Tarkowski go close to handing Everton the lead when his header cannoned back off the upright before the subsequent rebound was blocked.

The Blues had piled too many men forward for that set piece, leaving themselves open on the break. Darwin Nunez raced clear and clipped a cross for Salah to tap home. That was the tonic the side and the fans needed as Anfield roared with passion.

The second half saw Robertson lead the charge for another deadly counter, this time with Cody Gakpo applying the finishing touch. Confidence was now coursing through the veins of those in red, with the return to action of Jota and Firmino (and Van Dijk who remained an unused sub) fuelling the feel-good factor.

That victory only moved the Reds up one place in the table into ninth place, but it is a starting point. Liverpool are nine points off Saturday’s opponents but with a game in hand. There is a clear task ahead; beat Newcastle and revive the top four race.

For several weeks (that have felt like months), it has seemed like the season was already over. With the Reds exiting both domestic Cup competitions and falling so far off the Premier League summit and indeed top four, it was difficult to really get up for matches.

Now there is a sense of purpose. The next two games will decide the rest of the season. Newcastle on Saturday and Real Madrid on Tuesday. A top four charge and a last chance of silverware for the campaign.

Liverpool simply have to beat the Magpies tomorrow to have any realistic chance at the top four. That is no mean feat considering Eddie Howe’s men are unbeaten at the St. James Park this season. In fact Liverpool are the only side to inflict defeat on the Geordies all campaign.

Across all competitions it’s just the two defeats, with Sheffield Wednesday knocking Newcastle out of the FA Cup last month. The Magpies are hard to beat and notoriously hard to break down. It took a 98th minute winner by Fabio Carvalho to turn them over at Anfield back in August.

Aleksander Isak handed Newcastle the lead at Anfield that night with a debut goal before the Reds fought back to claim all three points. You’d expect it to be a similar ding dong affair this time round. Just as Jürgen Klopp’s side look to be turning a corner, Newcastle seem to have hit a bit of a rough patch.

Since a convincing 3-0 win at Leicester on Boxing Day, Eddie Howe’s charges have only managed to win one of six league games, with that victory a narrow 1-0 win over Fulham. The Magpies have only found the back of the net three times in those six games.

Crucially, they’ve only let in two goals in that run, with their record of 13 goals conceded far and away the best in the division. They have drawn a whopping eleven matches this campaign (the most in the division) and are currently on a three game winless streak.

Jürgen Klopp’s only defeat to Newcastle came in his very first campaign, with a Gini Wijnaldum inspired Magpies romping to a 2-0 home victory. Since then, it’s twelve unbeaten (8 wins, 4 draws) against the Geordies.

In last season’s corresponding fixture, a classy Naby Keita goal saw the Reds leave St. James Park with all three points. A repeat of that result tomorrow is the aim, with Newcastle possibly distracted by the looming League Cup final, their first final in God knows how long.

Liverpool have to take advantage of any lack of focus in this top four six pointer.

Team News

Konaté (hamstring), Thiago (hip), Luis Diaz (knee) and Calvin Ramsay (meniscus) remain on the sidelines. Diogo Jota and Firmino returned to action last week and should be joined by Van Dijk and Arthur Melo in the matchday squad tomorrow.

Newcastle on the other hand, will be without the influential Bruno Guimaraes as he serves suspension, Emil Krafth (ligament), Javier Manquillo (muscle) and Matt Targett (foot). Callum Wilson should be fit after sitting out the last game with a tight hamstring.

Allan Saint-Maximin and Miguel Almiron should both be available after suffering knocks against Bournemouth last week. Joe Willock will undergo a late fitness check although the manager has described his injury as ‘not serious”.



Liverpool won all three points in the Merseyside derby tonight, as goals from Salah and Gakpo saw the Reds ease to a comfortable 2-0 victory. The Toffees hit the post from a corner but a lightening quick breakaway saw Liverpool open the scoring seconds later. Here are player ratings from the encounter.

Alisson – 6

A quiet night at the office. Only faced the one shot on target, and even that was a weak Iwobi effort. Had to be strong to punch one corner clear under pressure from Tarkowski.

Alexander-Arnold 7

First half he must have given the ball away with every attempted pass. His distribution was shocking. The very best players never give up though and he got his reward in the end when he laid one on a plate for Gakpo. Defended well one on one and put in some strong tackles. Lost Davies at the backpost late on.

Matip – 6

Missed a simple clearance in the opening stages, handing Simms a chance. Thankfully Gomez was on the cover to block the shot. He was very jittery throughout and looked like a fish out of water whenever he was pulled wide into the right channel. His ball carrying kept us on the front foot however.

Gomez – 7

Much accomplished tonight. Kept Simms quiet and was generally assured. Crucial block on McNeil’s cross to set up the counter for the opener. Kept the ball moving. A welcome clean sheet.

Robertson – 7.5

Like Trent, his final pass or cross was a bit wayward first half. It improved as the game wore on though, and his energy to burst away from his man set the side on the counter for the second goal. Loved it when he kicked the ball away from Pickford late on and laughed right in his face. Hilarious.

Fabinho – 7

Quiet. Didn’t stand out, which is for the best as he has been standing out for the wrong reasons lately. He did his job shielding the defence and looked much better with legs around him.

Henderson – 7.5

Set the tempo with his harrying and closing down. Pressed Pickford into skewed clearances a number of times and showed great energy to still get back and get a toe in to halt one dangerous attack. Not the cutest on the ball but more than made up for it with his workrate.

Bajcetic 8

Continues to bely his tender years with performances like this. That was a Merseyside derby he just waltzed through like it was a kick-about with his mates. He has a lovely turn on him, not too dissimilar to Thiago’s trademark turn. Not a bad player to be learning off of. His tackle won the ball off Iwobi to allow Robertson set off the counter that led to the second.

Salah 7.5

Broke the deadlock when he stabbed Darwin’s cross into an unguarded net. Kept Mykolenko honest all night and was denied a second goal by a fantastic Tarkowski block. In truth, Bajcetic’s pass could have been firmer. It was good to see the Egyptian get into dangerous positions over and over tonight. He’s been on the periphery at times this season.

Gakpo 8

Played through the middle again and looked much better tonight. Almost like he is starting to understand what the manager expects of him in that role. Scored his first goal in red with a simple tap in at the backpost. He looked a different player after that, with his confidence evidently soaring. He pirouetted beautifully in midfield to set up chances for his teammates.

Darwin 7.5

First 40 minutes he was the only attacker in red actually trying to force openings. His overhead kick attempt set up Gakpo for a good chance. He then opened the game up with a brilliant piece of play when he exchanged passes with Salah inside his own half before leaving Gueye for dead as he breezed into the Everton half.

He still had the wherewithal to clip a left footed cross for Salah to stab home. Second half he got on the end of a two decent chances but couldn’t find the back of the net. The first, Pickford produced the save from a tight angle, the second – he just couldn’t get enough curl on it as it went agonisingly wide.


Jota – 6

Looked rusty, understandably so. Thought he was set for a tap in at the end but Milner’s cross was cut out.

Firmino – 6

Set Salah away with a lovely ball. Great to see him back.

Milner – 7

Won some meaty challenges. One on Maupay was especially impressive after he had been sold short as the last man by a Trent pass. He run onto Harvey’s through ball and almost laid one on a plate for Jota.

Keita – 6

Got a few touches playing on the left of the midfield three.

Elliott – 7

Another who put himself about and threw in big tackles. Combined well with Milner to almost set up a third.

Jürgen Klopp

The manager made just two changes to his lineup, with Fabinho and Henderson coming in for Keita and the injured Thiago. It was a steady start by the Reds as they felt their way into the game. Everton were compact and threatened on set pieces but were undone by two counter attacks.

The side managed the game well throughout and limited Everton to scraps in open play. A well needed victory. Now on to tougher tests.



Liverpool are back in action tonight when they welcome Sean Dyche’s Everton for the 1607th Merseyside derby. All joking aside, both sides will be keen to take something from this game, with Liverpool lying a lowly 10th whilst Everton sit 18th. Here’s the predicted XI for the Reds.

For a match preview, you can head over here.

The manager in his pre-match press conference confirmed Diogo Jota was the only one of the returning contingent likely to be involved in the matchday squad. It was also revealed that Thiago was struggling with a hip injury. The 31 year old has now been confirmed to be out for at least a month.

In terms of selection, the manager doesn’t really have much room to manoeuvre. Most of his charges are off form so it’s slim pickings really in terms of any personnel that might be banging on the door for an inclusion in the side.

In goal, Alisson Becker will keep his place. The Brazilian stopper has been overworked this season as a combination of a watered down press by the frontline, a non-existent midfield and a hapless defence has left him exposed time and again.

He’s had to make 68 saves already in the league this term, more than he registered in the entire title winning campaign of 2019/20 (58 saves). He will be hoping for a quieter night this time round and a third successive clean sheet in the Merseyside derby.

In the backline, the manager has a decision to make in the heart of defence. Matip and Gomez were both atrocious at Molineux but with Van Dijk not yet ready to return, Nat Phillips is the only realistic alternative. His aeriel prowess could be key against an Everton side full of height and physicality.

Phillips hasn’t featured since a cameo against Wolves in the FA Cup last month but he rarely let’s anyone down the few times he gets a chance, and I doubt anyone will be worried if his name is indeed on the teamsheet. He should come in for Gomez, adding a bit of presence to the side. Trent and Robertson will complete the backline.

The injury to Thiago means the manager has to break up the midfield trio he’s utilised in each of the last four games. The skipper is likely to come in for the Spanish international in the only change to the engine room. Bajcetic has been the most consistent outfield player lately and deserves to keep his place.

Naby Keita could also keep his place if the manager resists the temptation to go back to the ‘Elliott in midfield’ experiment. Everton have physicality in midfield with the likes of Gueye, Onana and Doucoure. They must be matched and contained. For that reason James Milner could even be handed a surprise start in midfield.

In attack, we could see a few changes in the coming weeks as Firmino and Jota get back up to speed, but for the meantime, Gakpo, Darwin and Salah will get another opportunity to start together. Jota will have to make do with a place on the bench after such a long time out.

Predicted team:

Alisson, Alexander-Arnold, Matip, Phillips, Robertson, Bajcetic, Henderson, Keita, Salah, Darwin, Gakpo.

Subs: Kelleher, Gomez, Tsimikas, Milner, Fabinho, Jones, Oxlade-Chamberlain, Jota, Elliott.



The second Merseyside derby of the season comes off on Monday night (8pm GMT kickoff) as Liverpool welcome Sean Dyche’s Everton side to Anfield. Here’s a preview of the game.

It’s been a long week following the disastrous display and result at Molineux last Saturday. That 3-0 defeat saw the slow but steady progress that was being made come to an abrupt end.

Indeed, a back to basics approach had seen Jürgen Klopp’s charges grind out two consecutive clean sheets. Even the last gasp defeat at Brighton had it’s positives. That’s what made last week’s drubbing all the more worrying.

Nothing the manager is trying seems to be working, with the side getting worse by the week it seems. A couple of players returning to training this week was just the boost of positivity required after a tough time of things following the World Cup.

Van Dijk, Arthur, Firmino and Jota gave us all a boost as they joined team training this week (even though only the latter will be involved in the derby). No matter which set of players the manager picks, there must be a vast improvement on the last outing.

The minimum requirement for what is set to be another hotly contested derby is application. If the Reds can’t match the Toffees for passion, fight and intensity then there is a huge problem on the manager’s hands.

The visitors will definitely be up for it after Sean Dyche masterminded an impressive 1-0 win over league leaders Arsenal in his very first match in charge. The ex-Burnley boss replaced Frank Lampard after a truly disappointing run of results.

The Blues bullied Arsenal in midfield, with the trio of Gueye, Doucoure and Onana dominating what is largely viewed as the best midfield in the league this campaign. It was an eye catching display that injected a huge dose of belief in the fanbase.

With the Reds’ clear midfield issues, it is ominous to think of the physical battle in the middle of the pitch. This is a midfield that was battered at Wolves by Neves, Lemina and Matheus last time out after all. Add the fact that Thiago is struggling with a hip injury and it is exacebated.

It is no secret how Sean Dyche will set his side up under the lights at Anfield. They will be compact, sit deep and look to capitalise on swift counter attacks and set pieces. The onus will be on the hosts to try and break them down.

In the corresponding fixture last season, the Toffees held out for an hour, with Jürgen Klopp turning to his bench for inspiration. He brought on Luis Diaz and Divock Origi and switched to a 4-2-3-1 formation.

That tweak worked a treat as the two substitutes combined for the clinching goal after Robertson had broken the deadlock after 62 minutes. It is something for the manager to consider in terms of how he sets his side up for the game.

The German tactician boasts an impressive record in the Merseyside derby. In his time at the helm, he’s taken charge of nine home derbies in all competitions. The Reds have won seven of those, drawing once. His sole derby defeat came in the 2020/21 campaign.

That run of six consecutive home league defeats saw Everton clinch a first win at Anfield since 1999. The Reds currently lie tenth in the table on 29 points whilst their neighbours languish in the relegation zone despite the impressive victory last time out.

Both sides could use all three points but six of the last thirteen Merseyside derbies have ended in a stalemate. This could shape up to be another, with the reverse fixture at Goodison Park serving up a goalless draw back in September.

Team News

For Liverpool, Van Dijk, Firmino and Arthur are back in training but this game comes too soon for any of them to feature. Jota meanwhile is set for a return to the matchday squad after overcoming a calf injury that has kept him out for months.

Luis Diaz is back running but remains some weeks away from a return. Konaté remains out as well whilst Thiago battles a hip injury that has seen him miss training this week. The Spaniard will be monitored in the coming days before a final decision is made on his availability.

Sean Dyche on the other hand is sweating on the fitness of star striker Dominic Calvert-Lewin. The Englishman has missed training this week with a thigh strain. He is ‘touch and go’ as it stands. Michael Keane, Andros Townsend and Nathan Patterson remain out.



Liverpool descended new depths today after yet another abysmal display saw Wolves romp to a 3-0 victory. A Matip own goal, a Dawson debut goal and a Neves breakaway goal did the damage on another chastening day for the Reds. Here are player ratings from the encounter.

Alisson – 4

Parried Cunha’s long range effort early on. Tried to clear the first goal off the line to no avail. Good save to thwart Nunes when he went clean through.

Alexander-Arnold 1

Ambered around like he owned the gaff. Didn’t get down the right wing enough in support of Salah. Woeful on the ball today. The least said about his corner deliveries the better. Not to mention his free kick attempt. Only moment of quality he provided in 90 minutes was a ball in behind for Darwin to run unto second half.

Matip – 0

Asleep for the first. Completely misjudges the ball over the top and allows Hwang in behind for the cross which he deflected into his own net. Was too easily robbed off the ball by Nunes later on but Alisson came to his rescue. A joke of a performance, rudderless without Van Dijk to hold his hand. Zero leadership.

Gomez – 0

Tracked his man all the way to the left wing but was too slow to get back into position for the first goal. Second goal he just heads the cross away from Alisson’s grasp. Third goal he fancies a dribble and plays Bajcetic into trouble. They counter and he’s helpless to stop it. His decision making hasn’t improved and he’s been at the club 8 years.

Robertson – 3

The skipper showed desire but little quality in the end. He was poor for their second as he completely stood off Cunha and allowed the cross into the box. Second half he played much higher up the pitch and caused trouble for about 20 minutes till they scored again.

Bajcetic – 4

The gaps he had to cover in midfield first half were enormous. He kept plugging away though and was one of the brighter performers. Was good on the ball and won a free kick in a dangerous position. Played into trouble by Gomez and was subsequently robbed of possession by Moutinho in the buildup to the third goal.

Keita – 3

Got into some great positions in the box but his shooting was awful. Did at least carry a bit of a threat going forward. First half he couldn’t get anywhere near Lemina.

Thiago 2

Poor. Bullied in midfield. Gave the ball away a chunk of times and was lazy in tracking Neves’ run for the breakaway goal. Shocking. Only moment of genuine quality was a pass to release Darwin early on.

Salah 2

No confidence to his play whatsoever. Late on he didn’t even attempt to beat his man, just kept passing it back. Was presented with two excellent chances and he blazed both over. He seems to have lost the ability the beat a man or curl a shot on target. Weak in the press as well.

Darwin 3

Really good effort early on brought out a terrific save from Sa. He should have done better when released by Trent second half though. He shot straight at Sa. He remains a big money striker that needs to work on his finishing. As oxymoronic as that sounds, it unfortunately rings true.

Gakpo 2

Just not good enough today. It’s becoming a bit of a worry now. So many wasteful crosses straight into Jose Sa’s arms. He played in his favoured position today on the left wing but once again offered little threat.


Henderson – N/A


Elliott – N/A


Tsimikas – N/A


Milner – N/A


Oxlade-Chamberlain – N/A


Jürgen Klopp

Picked the strongest available lineup and they went 2-0 down after 11 minutes. He had the whole week to drill his side on the training ground and yet they served up another turgid display. A mini rally in the first half of the second half was all they could muster. Not good enough.



Liverpool travel to Molineux stadium tomorrow (15:00 GMT kickoff) to take on Wolverhampton Wanderers. The Reds lie in 9th place whilst Wolves hover just above the relegation places. Here’s how Jürgen Klopp could line his side up for the encounter. For a match preview, you can head over here.

The manager confirmed no changes to the set of players available in terms of injuries, with none of the injured contingent available for selection just yet. They all remain close to a return however, with Luis Diaz (who is the furthest away) back running outside.

With this being the third meeting between these two sides in the space of a month, we should see both managers try and surprise each other with their selection and setup. The two encounters prior to this were both keenly contested, with a Harvey Elliott cracker the only thing separating the teams.

In terms of selection for this one, there will be one enforced change in the back five as Konaté is currently out with a hamstring strain. Joel Matip will come in for him in a like for like swap to complement Alexander-Arnold, Gomez and Robertson in the backline infront of Alisson.

The duo of Matip and Gomez have not played together as much as their longevity at the club would suggest. They’ve been teammates for almost seven years now but a combination of the presence of Van Dijk, injuries and form has seen them rarely partnered together.

They will have to gel together quickly as the manager’s options at centre back have been temporarily whittled right down. Beyond these two are Nat Phillips and Rhys Williams (who has been recalled from his loan spell at Blackpool), a fond throwback to the 2020/21 campaign.

In terms of the midfield, the gaffer has publicly addressed Fabinho’s decline and praised the importance of having Stefan Bajcetic around. The 18 year old should make his second Premier League start here. It would mark a fourth successive start for the Spanish youngster.

He deserves it as well. The opportunity opened up for him and he’s grabbed it with both hands. He’s gone from barely playing for the U21s to being first choice for the first team in the blink of an eye it seems. It’s some rise since his switch from hometown club Celta Vigo in 2020.

Naby Keita and Thiago have completed Klopp’s preferred midfield trio for the past three games, and with the team losing all semblance of control following the introduction of Henderson and latterly Fabinho against Brighton last time out, we could see them start a fourth consecutive game.

Upfront, it’s possibly time to see Gakpo, Nunez and Salah together for what will be just their second start together. Hopefully the manager will utilise Darwin and Cody in their natural positions and not switch them around like we saw when Darwin came off the bench against Chelsea and Brighton.

Harvey Elliott has been in good form lately playing as part of the front three so we can expect to see him come on at some point. Certainly if Mohamed Salah’s struggles continue we could see him taken out of the firing line for the 19 year old.

Predicted team:

Alisson, Alexander-Arnold, Matip, Gomez, Robertson, Bajcetic, Keita, Thiago, Salah, Darwin, Gakpo.

Subs: Kelleher, Phillips, Tsimikas, Milner, Henderson, Fabinho, Jones, Oxlade-Chamberlain, Elliott.



Liverpool have had a solid week of training at the AXA Training Centre after being knocked out of the FA Cup by Brighton. Jürgen Klopp and his men travel to Molineux tomorrow (3pm GMT kickoff) as the Premier League returns. Here’s the match preview. 

The January transfer window closed a few days ago with no further incomings. That is despite a tough campaign thus far for a group of players that were just two results away from winning the lot last season. The Reds have been on a woeful run of form post-World Cup, winning just 3 of their 9 fixtures.

Failure to strengthen in the window (beyond the capture of Cody Gakpo on New Year’s Eve) now heaps pressure on the manager to get more of a tune out of his underperforming stars. As it stands, the Reds sit ninth in the league table, ten points off fourth but with a game in hand.

It is not a completely insurmountable difference but if the 2019/20 Premier League champions are to make a dent in that deficit they need to start putting a run together as soon as possible. That can start at Molineux tomorrow against a Wolves side that has also had its struggles this campaign.

Lopetegui’s side are currently 17th, just outside the relegation places on goal difference. They’ve seen an upturn in performances and results since the Spanish tactician took charge, with Liverpool having had first hand experience in two meetings over the past month.

Wolves rocked up to Anfield and held their own in an FA Cup third round tie. They took the lead and were unlucky not to knock the holders out late on after a potential Toti winner was chalked off for offside, a call that couldn’t be verified by VAR.

In the replay at tomorrow afternoon’s venue, a rotated Liverpool side had to dig deep to get over the line after a Harvey Elliott stunner early in the first half. You’d expect it to be a similar battle tomorrow, with the hosts fighting to stay up.

It’s hard to predict what sort of Liverpool will turn up. If it’s anything like the rudderless version we’ve been seeing lately then it could be another long 90 minutes away from home. The side’s away form this season makes for horrific reading.

There have been as many stalemates as victories (2 – away to Tottenham and Aston Villa). The side has lost a whopping five league matches on the road, as many as they lost in the last two seasons combined! This has got to change, and fast.

Victory at Molineux in the FA Cup replay was a blueprint for the Reds to follow. Grit, determination, fight and a sprinkling of stardust for the goal. In fact the manager kept faith with quite a few of those who came in for that encounter.

Joe Gomez, Stefan Bajcetic, Naby Keita and Harvey Elliott were all crucial to that victory and have been rewarded with subsequent starts against Chelsea and Brighton. The manager hinted at making a few changes to the side to keep Lopetegui and his charges guessing, so we’ll have to wait and see just how he lines up.

Encouragingly, the Reds have won on each of their last four Premier League visits to Molineux, scoring six goals and conceding just once. A fifth successive league win here would be just what the doctor ordered ahead of a tough run of fixtures.

Team News

For Liverpool, Konaté (hamstring) has joined Firmino (calf), Van Dijk (hamstring), Jota (calf), Arthur (thigh) and Luis Diaz (knee) on the sidelines. On a positive note, Jota is a week away from team training whilst Luis Diaz is back running outside. Van Dijk and Firmino are close to a return as well.

For Wolves, Pedro Neto (ankle), Sasa Kalajdzic (knee) and Chiquinho (knee) are long term absentees. Midfielder Boubacar Traore remains on the sidelines with a muscle injury but new signing Joao Gomes could be handed his debut.



With this being the first day of February, it’s time to look back at the month that was January and crown a Liverpool Player of the Month. It was slim pickings really, with each member of the squad underwhelming over the course of the month.

The Reds kicked off the New Year with a sorry display at Brentford. As if the 3-1 defeat wasn’t enough, Virgil Van Dijk suffered a hamstring injury and has been absent since. A gutless 2-2 home draw against Wolves followed in the FA Cup, before the most abject of performances in the 3-0 humbling at Brighton.

The side at least showed a bit of a response, turning over Wolves 1-0 in the third round replay for their sole victory last month. Fellow strugglers Chelsea were next at Anfield, with a dull goalless draw being played out.

The month wrapped up with that disapointing last gasp defeat at Brighton in the FA Cup. This was the true definition of a January from hell for Jürgen Klopp’s men. Here are the top performing players (if you can call them that) over the course of the month January:

3. Joe Gomezavg. rating (5.5)

The 25 year old was out of the team at the beginning of the month, with both Konaté and Matip preferred ahead of him in games against Brentford, Wolves and Brighton. Van Dijk’s injury and Matip’s poor form saw him handed his chance in the cup replay at Molineux.

He was operating as the left side centre back alongside Ibou and put in an accomplished display. He helped Tsimikas neutralise the threat of the pacy Traore before switching to right back late in the game.

He produced a goal saving block to deny Raul Jimenez from close range. Then against Chelsea, he again played his part in keeping a clean sheet. It was not all smooth sailing however, with Joe making a number of little errors here and there.

He kept his place for the trip to Brighton a few days ago and was embarrassed by an incredible piece of skill by Mitoma for the late, late winner. Gomez hasn’t kicked on like he should in all honesty, and it seems we are all waiting for him to find his title winning form.

It has come in dribs and drabs however and the jury is out as to whether he’s the long term leader at the back that he’s been made out to be over the years. He will keep his place in the side for the mean time, with Konaté joining the injury casualty list.

Joe Gomez in January:

• 3 tackles won
• 5 duels won
• 6 interceptions
• 6 blocks
• 17 clearances
• 22 ball recoveries

2. Darwin Nunez – avg. rating (5.6)

The Uruguayan sneaks into the top two simply because he was absent for the dreadful league defeat at Brighton. He started away at Brentford in the beginning of the month and saw an effort cleared off the line early on before seeing a lovely finish chalked off for a marginal offside.

He was then the pick of the bunch against Wolves, with a beautifully steered finish dragging the side level on the stroke of halftime. His pace and intelligent running in behind was sorely lacking in that aforementioned defeat at the Amex.

He returned from a hamstring strain against Chelsea, coming off the bench to try and breath life into a stunted Liverpool attack. He stretched the play and the side looked better for it but a breakthrough wasn’t forthcoming. His cameo at Brighton wasn’t as impactful.

Each of Darwin Nunez’s ten strikes for Liverpool have been first time finishes.

The 23 year old seems to thrive of instinctive, first time finishes. When he has time to take a touch or two and think about the finish, it seems to go wrong. There’s definitely room for improvement.

1. Ibrahima Konatéavg. rating (5.9)

Aside Stefan Bajcetic (who didn’t make enough appearances to earn an average rating), Ibou was the best performing Red in January. The Frenchman had to recover from a harrowing night at Brentford on what was his first start of the season for the club.

He netted an unfortunate own goal before making a huge error for Bryan Mbeumo’s late clincher. He was similarly susceptible at home to Wolves, failing to get enough purchase on a clearance, allowing Hee-Chan Hwang to level the game late on.

He was much better at Brighton but he was fighting a losing battle as the midfield and defence gave way round him. He looked even better when paired up with Gomez at Wolves, with Ibou operating as the right sided centre back.

He covered for Trent brilliantly and deserved the clean sheet. He was once again solid against Chelsea, keeping Kai Havertz and Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang under wraps throughout. He was key to those consecutive clean sheets.

At Brighton last time out, he was again a standout. He produced a huge block to deny Evan Ferguson late on before thwarting Mac Allister when he went clean through on goal. It’s just our luck that our best player over the last month has also picked up an injury.

Ibou is now sidelined for the next fortnight or so with a hamstring complaint, with the club sweating on his fitness ahead of the Champions League showdown with Real Madrid.

Ibrahima Konaté was the only player to play every single minute of Liverpool’s six fixtures across the month of January.

Highest rated individual performance of the month:

° Ibrahima Konaté vs Wolves – (9/10)

° Joe Gomez vs Wolves – (9/10)

° Stefan Bajcetic vs Wolves – (9/10)

° Thiago Alcantara vs Wolves – (9/10)

° Harvey Elliott vs Wolves – (9/10)

Made4Liverpool 22/23 Player of the Month:

August – Harvey Elliott

September – Thiago Alcantara

October – Alisson Becker

November – Darwin Nunez

December – Trent Alexander-Arnold

January – Ibrahima Konaté

*Average ratings are collated from the player ratings posted on this site after every match. Players must have earned a rating in more than half the number of games in the month under review.



Liverpool were knocked out of the FA Cup by Brighton after a late Kaoru Mitoma winner. The Reds took the lead through Harvey Elliott before Lewis Dunk deflected Lamptey’s long range effort past Alisson, setting up the stage for late heartbreak. Here are player ratings from the encounter.

Alisson – 6

Beaten by a deflection for the first and by great skill for the second. Huge save to deny March second half. Quick off his line to clear one off March and into touch late on.

Alexander-Arnold 5.5

Played a nonchalant outside of the boot pass to set Salah away early on. Crucial goalline clearance to deny Solly March. Given the runaround by Mitoma once again. Lovely delivery to find Salah at the backpost.

Konaté – 7

Played well. Came across to deal with Mitoma a few times. Monstrous block to deny Ferguson second half. Showed good pace to thwart Mac Allister when he went clean through. Doesn’t deserve to be on the losing side.

Gomez – 6

First hour I thought he was excellent. Read danger well and put in some vital blocks. Used his pace to great effect. Last half hour he just nosedived. Constantly lost runners in behind and was bailed out by Konaté and then Alisson who came out to sweep. Sent back to Charlton by Mitoma for the late winner.

Robertson – 5

Offered next to nothing going forward with Elliott on the pitch. Bombed on more when Darwin came on but his final ball was a letdown. Had about three chances to hack clear but gave away that late free kick which led to the winner.

Bajcetic – 7

Once again dependable at the base of midfield. Won his fair share of tackles and didn’t once look out of place. Could pick a forward pass too when given space. His energy levels were much better today as he still looked lively till he was taken off late on.

Keita – 6

Gave the ball away a few times. When he didn’t give it away he offered a good attacking outlet. Played some through balls in behind for the forwards to chase. Taken off after about an hour.

Thiago 5

Thought he was some way short of his best today. Gave the ball away cheaply and didn’t offer enough going forward. Had a chance to shoot in the box but attempted a give and go that just wasn’t on.

Salah 5

Out of sorts at the minute. Saw a shot cleared off the line early on but completely scuffed his effort wide when put through on goal by Elliott. Got the assist for the goal but he’s way off it at the minute.

Gakpo 5

Some tidy bits of play when he dropped into the half spaces. Did a Bobby impression today as the false nine. Gave away some unnecessary free kicks and was not enough of a goal threat all things told.

Elliott 7

Probably the best player in red today even if he struggled to get into it first half hour. He drifted central to play an exquisite ball in behind for Salah before tucking home after the Egyptian returned the favour later on. Should have made it two when played through by Gakpo but he took too long and Lamptey made the challenge.


Milner – 5

He came on at right back to try and deal with the pacy Mitoma. That boggles the mind really considering he’s a 37 year old midfielder. One good early cross into the box.

Henderson – 4.5

Offered a brief injection of energy. Poor on the ball in tight spaces. Hoofed one into the air late on when we were chasing the equaliser.

Darwin – 4

Thought he’d have more confidence than he showed today. He did score on his last start after all. He played off the left and cut inside two men only to lay a poor pass off to Gakpo with the angle open for a shot. Isolated his man in the box late on but was caught in two minds, allowing the ball to bobble off him and out for a goal kick. Subdued.

Jones – 4.5

On for Thiago midway through the second half. A bit meh.

Fabinho – 2

Came on for probably ten minutes all told and managed to stink the gaff out yet again. Gave the ball away with his very first touch, which saw Brighton counter dangerously. Followed that up with a horrendous tackle on Ferguson that could have easily seen him sent off. As soon as he came on we looked open again.

Jürgen Klopp

Made the one change to the side, with Trent coming in for Milner. Stuck Elliott out on the left wing again despite the youngster struggling there against Chelsea. The subs were pretty much like for like, with the exception of Milner.

We were weaker in the end after the subs, and the decision to stick Darwin wide left andAnother competition bites the dust despite an improved display.



Liverpool travel to the Amex stadium again tomorrow, this time for an FA Cup fourth round tie. The Reds will be hoping for a better outing than the 3-0 defeat a fortnight ago. Here’s how Jürgen Klopp could line his side up for the encounter. For a match preview, you can head over here.

The manager confirmed in his pre-match press conference that there are no injury returns, with Diaz, Jota, Arthur, Van Dijk and Firmino still weeks away from returning to training. Fabio Carvalho and Nat Phillips are also likely to miss out with a knock and illness respectively.

This leaves the manager’s hands tied somewhat in attack, but he can still call on a strong enough side. In goal, Alisson Becker is expected to start again. It was a nice surprise to see Kelleher handed goalkeeping duties in the replay against Wolves but Alisson is likely to take up the gloves tomorrow.

He is the designated FA Cup ‘goalie’ and was probably just rested at Wolves. With a whole week between this fixture and the last, there’ll be no such rotation this time. Ahead of him in the backline, we could see a mostly unchanged back four.

The manager is looking to build from a solid base, therefore chopping and changing in defence won’t help. With that being said, we can expect to see Alexander-Arnold return at right back, whilst Konaté, Gomez and Robertson keep their places.

There’s a case to be made for Joel Matip but it will be harsh to drop either of Gomez or Konaté after back to back clean sheets. The Frenchman especially has been growing in stature by the week. If anything, it’s Gomez whose place could be up for grabs if he lets standards slip.

In midfield, Stefan Bajcetic holds the shirt at the minute for the ‘6’ role, whilst Thiago remains our best midfielder this campaign. The other spot is a toss up between Keita, Henderson and Milner, although youngsters Elliott and Jones could be in with a shout.

Naby has started the last two and was particularly instrumental at Wolves but could lose his place. Bar an exquisite outside of the boot pass to Salah on the stroke of halftime, the 27 year old struggled against Chelsea. His pass accuracy of just 63% told the story of a player failing to nail down his spot.

This could see the skipper handed his first start since the defeat at Brighton. He has admitted himself that he’s been struggling for energy, with the World Cup possibly taking a lot more out of him than he first thought. Having played just ten or so minutes over the past fortnight, he should be fresh enough to go again.

Upfront, it’s a simple case of starting the only fit lads; Salah on the right, Gakpo on the left, and Darwin Nunez through the middle. The Uruguayan could be key to unlocking the side’s attacking threat as he offers that bit of movement and intelligent running that was lacking at times against Chelsea.

His presence could help free up Mohamed Salah who has admittedly been below par of late but has seen his avenue to goal crowded out by a number of defenders. The threat of Darwin’s pace in behind could see the Egyptian afforded a bit more space as a result.

That makes it three changes to the XI that started against Chelsea last week. The FA Cup remains the most likely route to silverware for the Reds so it is imperative they give a better account of themselves than they managed last time out against De Zerbi’s side.

Predicted team:

Alisson, Alexander-Arnold, Konaté, Gomez, Robertson, Bajcetic, Henderson, Thiago, Salah, Darwin, Gakpo.

Subs: Kelleher, Ramsay, Matip, Tsimikas, Fabinho, Keita, Jones, Oxlade-Chamberlain, Doak.



It’s been almost a week since the Reds were last in action, with Jürgen Klopp’s men held to a dull goalless draw at Anfield by Chelsea last Saturday. Attention now turns to the FA Cup fourth round, with a trip to Brighton awaiting on Sunday. Here’s the match preview. 

The manager has overseen a back to basics approach over the last two matches, with the Reds keeping back to back clean sheets for the first time in three months. A Harvey Elliott stunner was the only goal scored in these two fixtures, with the side’s attacking threat hampered by this conservative tweak.

It is at least something to build on however. The Reds had been on a dreadful downward spiral, conceding big chance after big chance, with a non-existent midfield being constantly cut through. The key change to the midfield setup has been the inclusions of Stefan Bajcetic and Naby Keita.

The 18 year old especially has made a serious case to be considered first choice going forward, with his rapid development rewarded with a brand new contract. The Spanish youngster has added bite and energy to the base of midfield, as well as a calmness in possession.

Keita meanwhile has provided a burst of energy across the last two games, getting about the pitch busily and aiding the press which has been conspicuous by its absence of late. The form of these two has seen an upturn in Thiago’s performances as well.

The Spanish maestro now has legs around him, making his job easier. The form of Fabinho and Henderson has gone from a slight concern to a real headache for the manager. The duo have been the beating heart of this side over the past few years but look devoid of energy at the minute.

They aren’t the only ones in poor form as talisman Mohamed Salah is going through a rough patch himself. The Egyptian has only netted once in his last six appearances across all competitions, registering zero shots on target in his last three.

This downturn in form for the man who has won three of the last five Golden Boots, coupled with injuries to Diaz, Jota and Firmino, as well as new signings Darwin Nunez and Cody Gakpo still adapting to their new surroundings, has seen the side look toothless lately.

There has been plenty for the manager to sort through at the AXA Training centre this week. The side’s last trip to Brighton remains a low point. A sorry display was punished to the tune of a 3-0 defeat. The aim this Sunday will be to improve on a performance the manager labelled the worst of his career.

That shouldn’t be difficult but whether it will be enough to secure victory and passage to the fifth round remains to be seen. Brighton have been in rude health this campaign, beating all of Manchester United, Chelsea and Arsenal. They sit sixth in the league table at the halfway point of the season.

Liverpool failed to get the better of them in both league meetings this season, with the shambles at the Amex stadium preceded by a Leandro Trossard inspired 3-3 draw at Anfield back in October. It is not too preposterous to say the Reds are underdogs coming into this clash.

Brighton romped to a pretty convincing 5-1 victory at Middlesbourough in the third round to reach this stage. They rescued a late draw at Leicester last time out in the Premier League, with young striker Evan Ferguson netting a late equaliser off the bench.

Jürgen Klopp will no doubt go strong with his lineup, with the next game (a trip to Wolves in the Premier League) another week away. This is an opportunity to return to the scene of one of the most shambolic displays under the Klopp era to show a response.

Team News

For Liverpool, Firmino (calf), Van Dijk (hamstring), Jota (calf), Arthur (thigh) and Luis Diaz (knee) remain out. Fabio Carvalho (knock) and Nat Phillips (cold) have also been ruled out by the manager but Darwin Nunez is fit enough to start after overcoming a hamstring issue.

For Roberto De Zerbi’s outfit, Jakub Moder is a long term absentee with an ACL injury, whilst former Red Adam Lallana is struggling with a knock. Levi Colwill and Facundo Buonanotte are also out. Moises Caicedo meanwhile has been left out after he went public with his desire to leave the club.



Liverpool were held to a goalless draw by Chelsea as the two sides cancelled each other out. There was a whole lot of perspiration but little inspiration in the end, with both sides settling for a point apiece. Here are player ratings from the encounter.

Alisson – 6

Didn’t have too much to do in terms of shots on target faced, with Chelsea managing just the two. Had to be alert and quick off his line to sweep up a few times. A welcome clean sheet.

Milner 6.5

The veteran started slowly as he allowed a loose ball go out for a corner which Chelsea scored from. Luckily, VAR ruled it out for offside and he went on to have a solid game overall. Battled well against Cucurella and didn’t give an inch. Made some key recovering tackles inside his own box. Some of his crosses were too easy for Kepa going forward. Taken off not long after he was booked for fouling the pacy Mudryk.

Konaté – 8

Probably the pick of the bunch in the backline. Was always trying to get ahead of Havertz and nick it before he could turn. Was successful on several occasions. A miscommunication with Alisson on the stroke of halftime almost proved costly. Kept Aubameyang quiet when he came on late on.


Aided the clean sheet today with some crucial blocks. His decision making can be infuriating at times though, with his constant need to pass it back to Alisson. He needs to trust himself on the ball a bit more. Stood up well to the challenge today.

Robertson – 7

Gave it away twice in the opening minutes and was very conservative afterwards. Didn’t bomb on much. Kept allowing Ziyech to easily cut onto his left foot and either swing crosses in or get shots away. Made a wonderful run into the box and picked out Cucurella instead of a teammate.

Almost got on the end of Salah’s deflected cross. He made up for all that with a goal saving block on Chukwuemeka in the dying minutes. Was still offering an option on the counter in stoppage time. Endless energy.

Bajcetic – 7.5

A performance that belied his tender years. Didn’t look out of place at all as he provided the defence with a shield. Was assured in possession as well. Picked up a harsh booking but still managed to be aggressive in the tackle in a hotly contested midfield battle. Created a few openings, with a crisp pass over the top setting Salah away for a chance early on. Visibly tired and gave the ball away before being promptly replaced. It’s his shirt to lose now.

Keita – 6.5

Gave the ball away a few times first half but worked hard as part of the midfield three. Played an incredible outside the boot pass to find Salah in the box on the stroke of halftime. Second half he was better on the ball. Taken off after an hour.

Thiago 8

Once again played well with the legs of Bajcetic and Keita around him. Won the most duels in the game and registered the side’s first effort on target. His bromance and partnership with Bajcetic looks promising. Lovely ball into space for Darwin second half.

Salah 6

Has been below par of late and was again here. He was heavily involved but couldn’t quite do enough to break the deadlock. He should have done much better with a curling effort on the stroke of halftime. Didn’t get much change out of Cucurella and Badiashile. Didn’t manage a single shot on target. Did set up Gakpo for a decent chance early on.

Gakpo 6

Played through the middle again here and should have done better when Salah found him just inside the box. He blazed over before lashing at another effort over the bar on the break. He finally registered his first shot on target later in the second half. It was a weak effort though, straight at Kepa after good work by Darwin. Needs to be more aggressive.

Elliott 6.5

Curiously played out of position on the left wing. Didn’t fare too badly but didn’t really have much of an impact on the game. Kept the ball well and bought a few fouls. One wicked cross was almost turned into his own net by Thiago Silva. Dropped into midfield when Naby went off, before being taken off himself.


Darwin – 6.5

Offered the side an outlet on the break. He was found by Thiago and was able to get past his man before seeing Kepa smother his left footed effort. Came back into his own defensive third to pinch the ball off Havertz. Set up Gakpo with a chance after winning the ball back high up the pitch, before finding Trent at the backpost with a cutback. Won a few corners as well.

Fabinho – 5

Lost two challenges on the edge of the box that almost proved costly. Robertson had to bail him out on the second. Should have taken a first time shot when the Scot found him on the counter in injury time. He dallied, allowing Azpilicueta to block.

Henderson – 6

Provided a burst of energy. Could have swung in a first time cross to the backpost for Salah after being freed down the right but took a few more touches before sending in the cross. This allowed the Chelsea defence to get back and clear.

Jones – 5.5

Turned to late on for inspiration off the bench. Should have been awarded a free kick on the edge of the box when he was tripped. He took out his frustration on Cucurella and was rightly booked.

Alexander-Arnold – 6

Came on midway through the second half and was presented with a chance to open the scoring but he rushed it, taking it first time and seeing it fly over the goal.

Jürgen Klopp

The manager opted to maintain 8 of the XI that started at Wolves. It was a ballsy move that saw him drop Matip, Fabinho and Henderson, with Alexander-Arnold and Darwin only fit enough to start on the bench. It was an evenly contested first half, with Chelsea looking more likely to score.

The side came out with purpose second half and dominated without actually creating anything clear cut. The subs were made early enough but is Curtis Jones on the left wing a better option than say a Carvalho? That’s probably nitpicking. A solid point. On to the n



Liverpool are back in action tomorrow when they welcome Graham Potter’s Chelsea for an early kickoff (12:30pm GMT). The two sides lie 10 points off top four after underwhelming campaigns thus far. Victory here could boost the Reds’ chances. Here’s the predicted lineup.

For a match preview, you can head over here.

Jürgen Klopp reported no new injuries in his pre-match press conference, with all involved at Wolves fit and available. Darwin Nunez was also confirmed to be back in training and in contention following a hamstring complaint.

With the much changed side impressing at Molineux with their energy, intensity, defensive structure and control of the encounter, the manager is surely tempted to trust a number of them to go again tomorrow. Indeed he has hinted as much with his comments.

In goal, Alisson Becker will return in place of Kelleher. He’s been the Reds’ Player of the Season so far and will have to be at his best again here to thwart the Blues. It is quite astounding that the big Brazilian has now gone 8 matches without a clean sheet.

In fact he’s only managed four in 18 league matches this campaign, a far cry from the 20 shut outs he kept last season which landed him the Golden Glove award alongside compatriot Ederson. A clean sheet tomorrow would be very much welcome.

In defence, we could see the first sign of the gaffer rewarding Tuesday night’s back to basics display. Trent and Robbo will surely return in the fullback positions with Milner and Tsimikas making way. In the heart of the defence however, we could see Konaté partnered by Gomez once again.

Joel Matip has been underwhelming lately, with the manager demonstrating his displeasure by taking him off in the shambles at Brighton. Gomez didn’t endear himself when he came on either, with Danny Welbeck taking liberties with him.

A much improved display by the 25 year old at Wolves could have seen him play his way into the side. This would see him line up on the left, with Ibou on the right. The Frenchman seems to have recovered from a brief rough patch upon his return to the side and his pace and power will be key to covering for Trent.

The midfield selection is the one everyone is keeping a keen eye on. Let’s be frank, Fabinho and Henderson have been way off the levels required for huge parts of this campaign. There’s no dressing it up. The manager took a ‘play your way into form’ approach but that hasn’t worked.

Fabinho especially seems devoid of the energy and drive that saw him snap into tackles non-stop in his pomp. He’s now half a second slower and as such, opponents are able to escape the midfield press and just cut through to the defence.

Henderson meanwhile looks to have lost the engine that made him the beating heart of this Liverpool side. This is no slight on him either, he’s put in a whole lot of hard yards over the years under the manager’s high intensity style. It was bound to take its toll at some point.

The performance of the Bajcetic – Keita – Thiago triumvirate last time out has handed the manager a right old selection headache. 18 year old Stefan Bajcetic drew praise with his dominant display at the base of the midfield, with many suggesting he had put himself in contention to start against Chelsea.

The manager has confirmed as much himself, and that’s before thinking of Naby Keita who also reminded a few of his qualities when in full flow. Naby’s injury record is well known, but when fit, he’s more often than not a viable option.

Is the manager willing to drop both his anchor and skipper? Is Bajcetic ready for his first Premier League start? There’s also Harvey Elliott who ran himself into the ground after scoring a screamer. Does he drop back into midfield after a confidence boosting outing as a forward?

Loads of questions for Klopp to grapple with. I reckon he will only make up his mind on the day of the game. Upfront, it’s more straightforward. The returning Darwin Nunez will go straight back into the lineup if he’s fit enough. He will be flanked by Mohamed Salah and new boy Cody Gakpo.

Predicted team:

Alisson, Alexander-Arnold, Konaté, Gomez, Robertson, Bajcetic, Henderson, Thiago, Salah, Darwin, Gakpo.

Subs: Kelleher, Matip, Tsimikas, Milner, Fabinho, Keita, Oxlade-Chamberlain, Carvalho, Elliott.



Following the gritty win at Wolves that reminded us all what this side should look like in terms of intensity, Liverpool now turn attentions towards a floundering Premier League campaign. The Reds host fellow strugglers Chelsea on Saturday (12:30pm GMT). Here’s a preview of the game.

It was a much better showing in the FA Cup on Tuesday night, with a much changed side fighting its way over the line to seal qualification for the fourth round after a Harvey Elliott stunner early in the first half. That victory and performance could serve as a springboard for what’s to come.

It has to really, with Jürgen Klopp’s men facing some huge fixtures in the coming weeks. The next four opponents at Anfield reads: Chelsea, Everton, Real Madrid and Manchester United. If this campaign is to be salvaged, we must see an uptick in form when the Blues visit on Saturday.

It has been an almighty drop off for both sides since the keenly contested League Cup and FA Cup finals last season. Chelsea won the UEFA Super Cup in August before taking the Reds to the wire in both Cup competitions, losing out on penalties.

Thomas Tuchel outfit threatened to make it a three horse race for the Premier League title in the early months of the campaign before falling away and finishing in third place. The upheaval at the club as Roman Abramovic was forced to sell certainly didn’t help.

New owners came in and it looked like a fresh start was afoot. The manager was backed to the tune of £250m as several big name players were signed. Six league games later, the German who had led the club to Champions League triumph a year earlier, was sacked.

Todd Boehly, intent on a hands on approach to running the club, appointed Graham Potter from Brighton. It hasn’t been smooth sailing for the Englishman. After winning each of his first three league games (and staying unbeaten in his first five), he’s lost five of the subsequent seven.

The only victories in that time have come at home to promoted Bournemouth and Fulham. Chelsea have only managed six goals in their last eight. They simply aren’t creating or scoring anywhere near enough. They are bottom half in the league for big chances created (26), xG (22.5) and actual goals scored (22).

They have tried to remedy that by going big again this window. About £150million has been spent to bring in Joao Felix (on loan), Mykhailo Mudryk (who could make his debut at Anfield), Fofana, Santos etc, not to mention further defensive reinforcement in Badiashile.

Both sides are coming off the back of confidence boosting 1-0 victories, but a victory on Saturday could truly reignite the season. In this battle of the underperforming giants, the side that makes the fewer errors will come out on top.

Klopp boasts an impressive record against Chelsea. In his time at the helm on Merseyside, he’s come up against the Londoners on 19 separate occasions across all competitions. His side have won nine of those meetings (including penalty shootouts), drawing six times and losing just four.

In the league last season, both meetings ended in a stalemate (1-1 at Anfield & 2-2 at Stamford Bridge). That game at Anfield seems a lifetime ago. Chelsea, who were defending champions of Europe at the time, held out for a draw despite playing the entire second half with ten men following a Reece James sending off.

Another draw here will see the two sides fall even further off the pace. They’re level on points at the minute, locked in 9th and 10th place, 10 points off Newcastle United in fourth. You can’t help but feel whichever side loses here will have to write off the season and start planning towards the next.

Team News

For Liverpool, Van Dijk (hamstring), Firmino (calf), Arthur (thigh), Jota (calf) and Diaz (knee) remain absent. Darwin Nunez meanwhile is expected back in training today having missed the last two games with a hamstring complaint. Should he get through the sessions unscathed, he will be in contention to play.

Chelsea have an injury list that even surpasses their hosts. Fofana (knee), Sterling (hamstring), Mendy (finger), Zakaria (thigh), Pulisic (knee) and Broja (knee) are all out injured. Joao Felix is also suspended following his sending off at Fulham on his debut.

The trio of Reece James, Ben Chilwell and N’golo Kante returned to training yesterday following prolonged spells on the sidelines. They are unlikely to be rushed back here and could sit this one out.



Liverpool eked out a deserved 1-0 win over Wolves to progress to the fourth round of the FA Cup. A stunning Harvey Elliott strike after 13 minutes was enough after a gritty display that saw a first clean sheet in ages it seems. Here are player ratings from the encounter.

Kelleher – 6.5

Wasn’t troubled much. Faced the one shot on target and that was a tame Cunha header late on. He was calm in possession and strong in the air when he had to come and claim. Clean sheet.

Milner 8

The 37 year old was rock solid at right back, completely dominating Ait-Nouri. What a fantastic servant he continues to be! This was his first game back since picking up a hamstring injury at City in the EFL Cup but you wouldn’t know it watching him play tonight.

Konaté – 9

He’s growing in stature by the game in Virgil’s absence. He was key to the clean sheet as he kept the backdoor shut and won some huge headers when they rallied late on. Hopefully he stays fit.

Gomez – 9

Assured at the back tonight. Had a lot to do as the left sided centre back, utilising his pace to ensure Traore wouldn’t cause any damage the few times he got away from Tsimikas. He switched to right back second half and was as solid as Milner was. A crucial goalline block denied Jimenez an equaliser.

Tsimikas – 8

Defensively he was outstanding. He kept Traore under wraps pretty much all game. He tired late on and the Spaniard was able to get a few dangerous crosses in as a result. Going forward he could have offered more. He kept crossing when the better option would have been a pass inside. Superb defensive display though.

Bajcetic – 9

Was quick on the scene whenever Wolves threatened to break through in midfield. Got stuck in and won his challenges. He has a lovely pirouette on him and is really good on the ball. It was refreshing to see a defensive midfield performance of such quality. He completely dominated Nunes who came on at the break. Struggled with cramps after 70 and was subbed.

Keita – 7.5

Battled well all game. Was part of a midfield three that exuded energy. He played quite a few through balls when the chance presented itself. Poor effort from range when he had time to pick his head up. Also tired late on and looked slow chasing a ball in behind. He kept at it though and helped the team fight to get the result over the line.

Thiago 9

Absolutely ran the show. It’s amazing how much difference it makes to have two runners next to him. He won his duels and got out of the tightest of spaces when he received the ball. He got the assist for the winning goal as well. Took one for the team when they threatened a counter. Won the ball back well and was energetic in the press. Rested late on.

Elliott 9

Back in his more natural position and he shone here. He broke the deadlock with a dipping shot from range that left Jose Sa clutching at thin air. He worked his socks off tonight. Won a tackle on Podence on the touchline in injury time and jubilated like he’d just scored again. He’s taken a lot of flak recently but the kid hasn’t hid. Man of the Match performance tonight.

Gakpo 6

Ran the channels and put in the effort up top. It was lonely at times but he kept plugging away. He went close with a strike inside the box but completely lashed at one effort second half. Not the easiest of starts to his Liverpool career having to play out of position in a team trying to find it’s way.

Carvalho 7

First half he was bright as a button. Created a couple of chances and was unlucky to see a tidy finish chalked off for offside. What I loved about his performance was the graft. He pressured Lembikisa into so many unforced errors that Lopetegui had to take him off at the break. He made a lot of intelligent runs that weren’t picked up by teammates but that understanding will come with time. Helped Tsimikas out defensively.


Phillips – 6

Came on for just his fifth appearance of the season. Made a crucial clearance when he headed Ait-Nouri’s cross clear with Jimenez lurking. Almost cost the side when his weak clearance from a cross fell straight to Cunha.


One attempted through ball to Salah was poor. Almost made the game safe when he shot across the face of goal after standing his man up and breezing past him. Showed good feet to keep the ball under some pressure. Was sensible in possession bar one poor giveaway.

Salah – 6

Came on to play through the middle. Had to feed on scraps really, with aeriel duels against Toti and Collins not really his strongest suit. Combined well with Doak down the right but couldn’t really hold it up. His touch has been questionable of late.

Fabinho – 6

On for the cramped Bajcetic. Made a superb block on Cunha after Phillips’ error. Helped see it over the line.

Doak – 6

The youngster continues to impress (when used in his natural position). He almost teed up Salah for a tap in with a cross from the right wing. His intelligence to just keep possession late on rather than drive at defenders showed real maturity. Not something you’d attribute with a 17 year old winger.

Jürgen Klopp

The manager made eight changes to the side that got battered at Brighton. He went with youthful energy in the likes of Bajcetic, Elliott and Carvalho and was rewarded with a performance more akin to the Liverpool we know (in terms of the press, defensive structure and control of the game).

The changes were made on time and sought to strengthen us further as the game wore on (even though we lost control when Thiago and Bajcetic. It was a performance full of fight (something the side has failed to show recently). Well earned victory. Hopefully something to build on.



Liverpool travel to the Molineux stadium tomorrow night (19:45 GMT kickoff), as they take on Wolverhampton Wanderers in a third round FA Cup replay. Here’s how the Reds could line up for the encounter. For a match preview, you can head over here.

Jürgen Klopp confirmed he will make changes to his side when he sat down with reporters for his pre-match press conference. In terms of team news, James Milner and Stefan Bajcetic have trained fully whilst Darwin Nunez is said to be “close”.

It will be a tricky act trying to balance making those changes and ensuring it’s still a strong enough team to compete. Spots are up for grabs in what is an underperforming team, so hopefully those who step in make their case with strong displays.

In goal, Alisson Becker is expected to start again. This is despite talented number two Caomhin Kelleher making just two appearances this campaign. It is a curious bit of man management by Klopp in a season full of them unfortunately.

In defence, we could see at least two changes, with Konaté and Robertson both making way. Calvin Ramsay has been rarely spotted since joining in the summer. He was last seen playing for the U21s where he got himself sent off in the first half.

It doesn’t look like he is ready to step in, and as such the manager could opt to retain Alexander-Arnold. Joe Gomez, who was shambolic off the bench against Brighton, will likely get a start here alongside Joel Matip. Tsimikas would then slot in for Robbo on the left.

It is in midfield that fresh legs are needed the most. The returning duo of Bajcetic and Milner could both be handed starts in the engine room, with Naby Keita completing the trio. Keita has yet to start a single game this campaign, and that’s despite being fully fit since the resumption of club football.

The Reds have been outworked and outplayed in midfield way too many times this season, with Wolves enjoying so much space through the middle at Anfield. It will be up to this trio to stake a claim for more minutes by putting up more of a fight than the first choice trio have mustered.

It is tough to call what the manager will do with his frontline. He has only two senior attackers fit and could be looking to hand Mohamed Salah a breather. The Egyptian hasn’t looked himself in recent weeks and has performed rather poorly truth be told.

With Darwin Nunez unlikely to be fit enough to start, we could see January signing Cody Gakpo handed another go here. The Dutchman had the thankless task of leading the line at Brighton and recorded the least touches of any player to play the full game (25).

He will be hoping for more of an involvement here to show what he’s all about. It’s been tremendously difficult for him to shine in a team as dysfunctional as this. He will have to start through the middle once again. Alongside him, we could see Fabio Carvalho get his first minutes since being hooked off at halftime at the Etihad.

The 20 year old has been constantly overlooked, with all of Oxlade-Chamberlain, Jones, Elliott and even young Ben Doak played out of position on the left wing when he’s been available. It’s still not clear what he did wrong in his last appearance where he netted against City.

The manager was asked why the promising talent has seen so few minutes since the defeat in the EFL Cup and claimed it was all down to “sports reasons”. It is another bit of the curious man management I spoke about earlier.

Hopefully Carvalho is finally handed a start here, it will then be up to him to channel that frustration he must surely be feeling into an impressive output on the pitch. On the right wing, the manager has the option of the raw and exciting talent that is Ben Doak.

The 18 year old was handed the final 25 or so minutes against Brighton. He’s caught the eye everytime he’s played but couldn’t really get into the game at the Amex. It might not be the worst idea in the world to not give him too much too soon.

More cameos off the bench against tired legs could be no bad thing. Harvey Elliott could start on the right wing instead. He’s another who has struggled in midfield lately so why not push him further forward into his more natural position?

He will be free to focus on the attacking side of his game without worrying too much about tracking runners in midfield. He’s capable of slicing defences open when he gets his head up to pick a pass. He enjoys good understanding with Carvalho and could combine well with Gakpo.

That makes it a total of seven alterations to the side that got swept aside by Brighton. The players must first of all be up for the fight tomorrow night. Show a bit of passion and heart to match Wolves and then hope for the quality to shine through in the end.

Predicted team:

Alisson, Alexander-Arnold, Matip, Gomez, Tsimikas, Bajcetic, Keita, Milner, Elliott, Gakpo, Carvalho.

Subs: Kelleher, Ramsay, Konaté, Phillips, Thiago, Henderson, Jones, Oxlade-Chamberlain, Doak.



Following the humiliation at Brighton, Jürgen Klopp and his men travel to Molineux seeking to put Wolves away at the second time of asking, after Julen Lopetegui’s men earned a replay last week. Here’s the match preview. 

It’s a truly tough time to be a red at the moment. It’s been a culture shock to go from challenging on all fronts till the final day of last season, to sitting mid-table in the Premier League and already out of the EFL Cup in the middle of January.

The worst part about getting played off the park by Brighton on Saturday was the fact that we could all see it coming from a mile away. Not many of a red persuasion expected three points pre-game and that’s telling. That is the major concern at the minute.

We’ve suffered dips under this manager before, but this feels different. This isn’t akin to the 2020/21 season where all the senior centre backs at the club suffered season ending injuries. This isn’t anything like the inconsistent first half of last season that left us 12 points behind Manchester City in January.

This slump runs deeper than just a loss of form or a run of bad luck and poor results. A midfield problem that has been allowed to get chronic seems to have sucked the life out of every department, with the defense all over the shop, and the attack not covering itself in glory either.

The manager has been left to look less than stellar as he’s so far been unable to find a solution. The performances keep getting worse by the week. It is unfathomable just how far we’ve dropped off after the training camp in Dubai.

Klopp has prided himself over the years in finding solutions on the training pitch. At the minute it’s hard to see it happening. Whether that’s a case of players no longer being able to carry out his instructions or more ominously no longer responding to his methods is up for debate.

Whatever it may be, it needs sorting out and quick. He seems to have made it clear that there will be no further incomings to boost an out of service midfield. It is therefore up to him and the coaching staff to utilise the options available to salvage the campaign.

He’s done it before, with the unlikely centre back duo of Nat Phillips and Rhys Williams seeing the side to a respectable third place finish in the aforementioned 2020/21 season. The Reds are sinking fast, and a turnaround in fortunes is desperately needed.

Wolves on Tuesday night is a chance to show a response. With kickoff barely 75 hours after the final whistle at the Amex stadium, there could be a few changes to the side. That would be no bad thing as several of the mainstays have been off the boil for a while now.

Wolves meanwhile will be in bouyant mood as their improvement under their Spanish boss continues. Following the impressive display at Anfield (where they felt somewhat robbed of a victory), they managed to climb out of the relegation places with a crucial home win over fellow strugglers West Ham.

They will definitely have a go, with full confidence that they can progress. Wolves have knocked the Reds out of the FA Cup in each of their last two meetings in the competition (2017 & 2019). Liverpool will have to show serious improvement on recent displays to avoid an unwanted hat trick.

The reward for winning this tie is a fourth round trip to Brighton. I’m not sure the Reds want to see the Amex Stadium again for a while, but what better way to show signs of recovery than to knock out Wolves and go back to the scene of Saturday’s embarrassment and put things right?

The Reds away record this campaign doesn’t instill confidence however. They’ve only managed four away wins in all competitions. With the FA Cup remaining the most realistic trophy available to the side, they must turn around their away day blues to remain in the competition.

Team News

For Liverpool, Firmino (calf), Van Dijk (hamstring), Jota (calf), Arthur (thigh) and Luis Diaz (knee) remain out. James Milner is available after overcoming a hamstring complaint but Darwin Nunez will be assessed ahead of the game after missing the trip to Brighton.

For Wolves, Pedro Neto (ankle), Sasa Kalajdzic (knee) and Chiquinho (knee) are long term absentees. Midfielder Boubacar Traore remains on the sidelines with a muscle injury but Diego Costa is expected to be fit. New signing Mario Lemina could be handed his full debut.



Liverpool were played off the park today as Brighton romped to a well deserved 3-0 victory. A brace from Solly March and a late Welbeck goal took the Seagulls above the Reds in the table. Here are player ratings from the encounter.

Alisson – 4

Off his line quickly to head clear a number of through balls over the top. Made a number of saves.

Alexander-Arnold 1.5

Cleared one off the line early on and showed great recovery to save a two on one counter first half. Second half he was poor, allowing Mitoma dance past him over and over again. He did create a big chance going forward, with a lovely cross finding Oxlade-Chamberlain six yards from goal.

Matip – 0

All over the place. Gave the ball away for one of their goals.

Konaté – 4.5

Came over to deal with Mitoma a lot early on. Shows you just how poor his partner was. Probably the best defender in red today. Big leap to get an effort on target deep into stoppage time.

Robertson – 0

Dreadful. Solly March tore him a new one. Offered nothing going forward.

Fabinho – 0

Should have been dropped months ago.

Henderson – 0

Kept hoofing the ball up in the air under no pressure. Brighton just played round him. It was too easy.

Thiago 0

Played behind the front two first half and was anonymous. Dropped back into his natural role deep in midfield and was not as woeful. Stopped Mitoma with a big tackle in the box late on.

Salah 0

He’s the big name, the leader in attack. Played like anything but. Terrible first touch throughout. Pocketed by Estupinan and Colwill.

Gakpo 2

Hard to make your Premier League debut amongst this shower of mediocrity. Grafted and went close once or twice.

Oxlade-Chamberlain 0

Was ducking out of challenges. Do you blame him? An injury means he probably won’t get that big contract at a new club this summer.


Gomez – 0

Came on and managed to play worse than Matip. I firmly believe he’s never going to get back to his pre-injury form in the title winning season. Turned inside out by Welbeck for his goal and again late on when Alisson had to make the save.

Elliott – 0

What’s the point? Great chance to pull one back and he stabbed it pitifully wide. Gave the ball away loads.

Keita – 0

Gave away loads of fouls. Found Elliott in the box for his chance. Overhit one down the line for Gakpo.

Doak – 0

Played out of position on the left wing with Carvalho on the bench. At this point Fabio just needs to hand in a transfer request. Doak looked out of his depth. Not his fault though. He’s the least experienced member of the squad. This result is on his senior colleagues.

Jürgen Klopp

This was embarrassing today. Brighton had the ‘oles’ out late on. The manager has allowed the wonderful team of mentality monsters he built to slowly disintegrate into this spineless show of ineptitude. His management of Fabio Carvalho is curious as well.

The 20 year old won’t solve all the problems but to constantly overlook him like this screams of something going wrong behind the scenes. The manager’s loyalty to certain underperforming players continues to bemuse. There are more than a few who could have been binned long ago but keep starting every week.



Liverpool travel to the Amex stadium tomorrow afternoon (3pm GMT kickoff), as they take on Brighton and Hove Albion. Here’s how the Reds could line up for the encounter. For a match preview, you can head over here.

Jürgen Klopp confirmed in his pre-match press conference that Darwin Nunez is unlikely to be available having missed training all week owing to a hamstring complaint. That comes with the news that Roberto Firmino is still out and not even close to a return to training.

It’s a double whammy that leaves the gaffer without four forwards. Elsewhere, James Milner has resumed training and is set for a return to the matchday squad. With Van Dijk, Arthur, Jota and Diaz still out, the manager’s options are limited.

In goal, Alisson Becker will be aiming to put the Wolves clanger behind him quickly. The Brazilian has been the Reds’ best player in what has been a tough campaign thus far, and the last thing they need is for him to suffer a dip in form.

Ahead of him in defence, there’s an argument to be made for one change to the back four that started against Wolves last time out. Alexander-Arnold and Robertson will line up in the fullback positions whilst Konaté might lose his place as Matip’s partner.

It’s been an underwhelming return to action for the Frenchman following his World Cup exploits. He was woeful against Brentford where he scored an own goal for the first goal and made an error for the third. He followed that performance with a shaky display against Wolves and was especially culpable for their second.

Gomez could come in for him as a result. The Englishman himself has endured a topsy turvy season. He’s had some brilliant performances and some not so brilliant displays. He’s already played 21 times this campaign and will be hoping to establish himself in Virgil’s absence.

The midfield has garnered a lot of unwanted attention this season so how the manager shapes them up tomorrow will be interesting to say the least. He bemoaned a lack of bite in the challenge against Wolves as Lopetegui’s men constantly cut through the Reds.

This could see Naby Keita handed his first start of the season. Fabinho was dreadful last time out and has been for most of this campaign, but with no real alternative, he will start again. Thiago will then complete the trio. He’s been the best of a bad bunch.

The skipper will likely be left out, but his energy from the bench second half could be needed to get a result over the line. The manager can of course change shape. The shortage of forwards could see him return to the 4-4-2 system we saw prior to the World Cup.

That is probably fanciful thinking however. The German has been loathe to deviate from his approach, even with the decline of his midfielders. It would thus be no surprise to see the 4-3-3 rolled out once more.

Up top, Salah will line up on the right as usual. In Darwin’s absence, new signing Cody Gakpo will see his versatility tested early doors. After playing on the left wing against Wolves, he will be expected to play through the middle tomorrow.

It is a position he has played before but he will be directly up against Lewis Dunk and Adam Webster. It is not the easiest introduction to the top flight and Gakpo will have to sink or swim. On the left wing, the manager will in all likelihood opt for Oxlade-Chamberlain.

Klopp has preferred the 29 year old over Carvalho in that left wing position for some reason. With all due respect to the former Arsenal man, we shouldn’t be in a position in 2023 where he’s starting league games in attack. This underlines a lot of the frustration the fanbase have.

Predicted team:

Alisson, Alexander-Arnold, Matip, Gomez, Robertson, Fabinho, Keita, Thiago, Salah, Gakpo, Oxlade-Chamberlain.

Subs: Kelleher, Konaté, Tsimikas, Milner, Henderson, Jones, Elliott, Carvalho, Doak.



Liverpool travel to Brighton and Hove Albion on Saturday (3pm GMT kickoff), as they return to Premier League action. The Reds were last in action last Saturday when they were held to a frustrating draw by Wolves who forced a third round replay. Here’s the match preview. 

That performance against Julen Lopetegui’s outfit was once again symptomatic of the issues that have dogged this Liverpool side all season. Individual errors and a distinct lack of energy in midfield were once again the story of the day as a rotated Wolves side more than held their own at Anfield.

The manager had previously defended his midfielders, citing a general team issue instead of a midfield one. His tone changed after that display however as he bemoaned a lack of challenges in the middle of the park.

Klopp: “But for the whole game I thought we didn’t win enough challenges, to be honest. There are a lot of situations where I thought they win a challenge and all of sudden we are completely open.”

“We had two or three players in the challenge moving to the ball and when you are there, fine, you have to win the ball. If you don’t do that and they can get out then it looks like, ‘Where are they?'”

With no sign of further incomings in the transfer window and no sign of the manager changing a style that has brought him so much success, we are left with hoping the incumbent find hidden reserves of energy.

With the amount of minutes Fabinho and Henderson especially have chalked up in recent years playing Klopp’s intense style, that is very unlikely. The only other hope is for others who have not previously been first choice to stake a claim in the side and offer the side an energy boost.

Naby Keita has come off the bench in each of the last five games and has done just that. Oxlade-Chamberlain meanwhile has been pressed into action on the left wing. He’s got the pace and energy to cover the pitch quicker than most in midfield. Whether Klopp still trusts either of them to start in midfield remains to be seen.

Naby Keita hasn’t started a Premier League game for eight months (admittedly injuries haven’t helped) whilst Oxlade-Chamberlain hasn’t started in midfield since a 3-1 win over Norwich City eleven months ago. They are both out of contract in a couple of months but whilst they remain on the books, should be of use.

Energy in midfield will be needed on Saturday as Brighton boast the enviable trio of rumoured Liverpool target Moises Caicedo, World Cup winner Alexis Mac Allister and wily old fox Pascal Gross. Liverpool old boy Adam Lallana is fit and could as well feature.

In the reverse fixture, Belgian forward Leandro Trossard was devastating, netting a hat trick in a 3-3 draw. That result and display wasn’t an outlier either. Already this campaign, they’ve won at Old Trafford, held Newcastle, thrashed Chelsea and knocked Arsenal out of the EFL Cup.

The Seagulls have been excellent all campaign. They currently sit 8th in the table, just a point behind the Reds. They’re coming off the back of two goalfests; a 4-1 victory at Goodison Park and a 5-1 hammering of Middlesbourough in the FA Cup.

They haven’t been invincible at home however, with only four teams in the division managing fewer than their tally of three home league victories. Ironically, Jürgen Klopp’s men have been woeful away from home in the league this season.

The Reds have only managed two wins on the road. With several rivals going head to head in the next fortnight, there is a real chance to climb up the table. Victory here would definitely see ground gained on at least two of the top five teams in the table.

It’s difficult to predict a Liverpool victory of late though. For a side that was two results away from winning the quadruple seven months ago, it’s been a real fall from the standards we’ve become accustomed to. They’ve conceded the first goal in 14 of the 27 matches they’ve played this season.

That just isn’t good enough. The side is constantly fighting an uphill battle after gifting opponents a headstart. The manager would have had a week on the training ground by the time this fixture comes around. Hopefully we see the result on the pitch.

Since winning each of his first six meetings against Brighton, Jürgen Klopp’s record against the Seagulls has taken a nosedive in recent campaigns. The Reds have managed only one win in the last five, with that sole victory coming in a 2-0 win at Amex where a brave Diaz header opened the scoring.

Make no mistake this will be a tough battle. If the Reds don’t show any signs of improvement on recent displays, Brighton will have a field day. If the Reds can match the Seagulls for intensity and effort however, then their superior quality should tell in the end.

Team News

For Liverpool, Van Dijk (hamstring), Jota (calf), Arthur (thigh) and Luis Diaz (knee) are all out. Roberto Firmino has yet to resume training following a calf injury but James Milner is back fit after overcoming a hamstring injury. Darwin Nunez is reportedly suffering with a ‘minor injury’ but has yet to be ruled out.

For Roberto De Zerbi, Jakub Moder is a long term injury absentee. Leandro Trossard meanwhile has been dropped from the first team squad as a result of “poor attitude”.



Liverpool once again served up a worrying display at Anfield as they failed to put away a rotated Wolves side. Guedes capitalised on a terrible Alisson error before Darwin equalised late first half. Salah scored in the second half but substitute Hwang sealed a replay. Here are player ratings from the encounter.

Alisson – 4.5

Silly error to give Wolves a headstart. He could clearly see Guedes so why he still tried to pick a pass that close to him (minutes after the Portuguese had almost scored from intercepting a lazy Matip pass) I’ll never know. Made good saves from Guedes and Ait-Nouri and was quick off his line to sweep up and deny Traore. Could have done better for the second.

Alexander-Arnold 6

Wasteful early on with his passing but pulled out an absolutely unreal pass for the equaliser. Played a few more jaw dropping passes second half. Defended well when thwarting a counter on the edge of his own box.

Matip – 4.5

Not assertive enough for a man of his size. Almost gifted Guedes an early goal with a lazy pass. Strode out from the back but gave the ball away a fair bit. The most experienced player in a shaky backline tonight. Showed zero leadership. Should have headed a delicious Trent delivery but instead stuck out a leg out at it.

Konaté – 3

Error prone. Handed Wolves a cheap corner early on. The second goal came from him giving the ball away twice under no real pressure, and then he failed to get enough on the clearance. Wasted good openings from set pieces. Didn’t learn anything from Mbeumo’s goal as he again went down too easily and allowed Troare bear down on goal. Luckily Alisson was there to bail him out.

Robertson – 5

Loads of energy but little quality on the final ball. Combined well with Gakpo early on but wasn’t as influential as the game grew.

Fabinho – 3

Woeful yet again. Ait-Nouri kept waltzing past him like he wasn’t even there. He’s fallen off a cliff this season and needs dropping in all honesty. There’s no real options however so he’ll continue to start week in, week out.

Henderson – 4.5

A passenger first half. Poor hooked cross went straight out of play. Ait-Nouri and Ruben Neves breezed past him a number of times as well in midfield. Second half there was an improvement as he provided a foil for Salah on the right.

Thiago 4.5

He gets away with murder because he looks classy on the ball. He was absolutely woeful first half. Hodge constantly harassed him out of possession, with one such turnover indirectly leading to the opener. Second half he improved slightly but still wasn’t good enough on the night. Didn’t offer any control and was constantly left for dead when they broke.

Salah 6.5

Started brightly but soon faded. Took his goal really well when Toti’s header fell to him in the box. Was far too greedy on a few counter attacks with Gakpo free on the left. Tried to take on one too many men. Subbed off late on.

Gakpo 6

Registered the side’s first shot on target with a fierce drive straight down the keeper’s throat. Showed some lovely control and balance. His chipped pass found Salah for the second goal (via the head of Toti). Could have been played through by Salah on a number of occasions when he was free on the left. Battled well against Traore.

Darwin 7

Wasn’t given much service first half. He had to pull wide to get involved. He brought the side level with his first sight of goal, steering Trent’s pass into the bottom corner with a first time finish. He deserved that goal. Second half he showed lots of heart but wasn’t presented with any real chances. Lovely exchange of passes with Robbo down the left wing, with his cross finding Salah who should have done better.


Keita – 5.5

Offered a real boost in the middle of the park for about 15 minutes. He got on the ball and found line breaking passes. He won it back well too and helped ramp up the pressure on Wolves. Final 10 or so minutes he kept giving it away. Jekyll and Hyde.

Elliott – 5

Almost caught in possession with his very first touch, a collective ‘man on’ shout from the crowd helped him out. Found half a yard to swing in crosses but kept hitting the first man. Won the ball back well when Doak lost it.

Gomez – 5.5

Offered an option on the overlap and saw a few crosses cleared.

Oxlade-Chamberlain – 0

What has Fabio Carvalho done wrong? Since scoring at Etihad (where he was hooked at halftime) he hasn’t been handed a single minute. Ox came on ahead of him here on the left wing. He was dreadful, gage it away almost every time he touched it. Put one ball straight over the head of Doak and into touch. Why is he getting minutes over a promising talent like Carvalho?

Doak – 6

The brightest player in red on the night. Only one who wasn’t scared to run at a man and beat him. Unlucky with a right footed strike from just inside the box.

Jürgen Klopp

Went as strong as possible but again his side conceded the first goal. I thought for sure we’d see halftime changes because some of the performances first half were bordering on embarrassing. He kept the same team and was repaid when Salah edged the side infront.

Wolves made changes on the hour mark and changed the flow of the game. Klopp was too late to react and Lopetegui’s men found an equaliser. They almost found a winner as well but for a favourable VAR call. His management of Fabio Carvalho since the youngster scored at City remains baffling.

He can bury his head in the sand all he wants about his midfield but they will keep getting overrun. The defence will keep making mistakes as they’re getting overexposed, and every match will be an end to end affair with zero control. Now he has a replay to fit into the schedule.



Liverpool are back in action tomorrow night when they welcome Julen Lopetegui’s Wolves side to Anfield for an 8pm (GMT) kickoff. The Reds are aiming to progress to the fourth round as the defence of their FA Cup trophy begins. Here’s the predicted lineup for the encounter.

For a match preview, you can head over here.

Jürgen Klopp in his pre-match press conference confirmed Virgil Van Dijk is now out for over a month with the hamstring injury he sustained against Brentford. Skipper Jordan Henderson is however back after suffering a concussion.

New signing Cody Gakpo has trained with his new teammates for two days and is looking sharp according to the gaffer. He could be part of a strong starting XI, with Jürgen confirming he will go strong due to how the scheduling has worked out.

The Reds will enjoy a full week between games from now till the middle of next month. This should allow for more time on the training pitch (although cynics may say the Reds didn’t show much improvement following their training camp in Dubai).

It should at least see the load lightened on a squad that is already stretched thin. The only real head scratcher the manager faces in picking a lineup for tomorrow is who starts in goal. Kelleher deserves all the minutes in both Cup competitions but Alisson was preferred in the FA Cup last season.

Despite the Reds exiting the EFL Cup early this campaign, the manager has insisted Alisson is his pick for the FA Cup. The Brazilian has been overworked this campaign (he’s already equalled his total number of Premier League saves from the title winning season) but will be hoping for a first clean sheet in six games.

In defence, we can expect Alexander-Arnold and Robertson to start at full back. With Van Dijk now out for a while, Matip and Konaté will likely be handed another opportunity to work on their fledgling partnership. 

In midfield, the first choice trio of Fabinho, Henderson and Thiago will in all likelihood start together. There isn’t a lot of alternatives to be honest. Keita has had a few bright cameos lately but was not pictured in training yesterday whilst Elliott needs time out of the firing line.

Curtis Jones just returned from injury and Milner seems to have yet to shake off his own injury. Stefan Bajcetic would have had this match pencilled in his diary as an opportunity to get another start under his belt but with the manager going strong, he can only hope for minutes off the bench.

Upfront, there is the tantalising prospect of watching Salah, Darwin and Gakpo start together for the very first time. With Jota and Diaz still some way off a return and Bobby Firmino still to resume training, this new trio could be the way forward for the next few weeks at least.

The manager was coy when pressed on Gakpo’s involvement from the start but I’m pretty sure he won’t be able to resist starting this new trio together despite the Dutch international only having a handful of training sessions under his belt.

It certainly beats the prospect of watching Oxlade-Chamberlain on the left wing once again that’s for sure.

Predicted team:

Alisson, Alexander-Arnold, Matip, Konaté, Robertson, Fabinho, Henderson, Thiago, Salah, Darwin, Gakpo.

Subs: Kelleher, Ramsay, Gomez, Tsimikas, Bajcetic, Jones, Oxlade-Chamberlain, Carvalho, Elliott.



Following the woeful performance and defeat at Brentford, Liverpool now turn their attentions to the FA Cup. The Reds, holders of this competition having defeated Chelsea on penalties back in May, begin their defence at home to Wolves on Saturday night. Here’s a preview of the game.

Last season’s competition was a successful one for the Reds as they clinched their first FA Cup trophy since the 2006 final nicnkamed after Steven Gerrard. The Reds ended the 16 year wait by defeating Chelsea in similar fashion to the League Cup final success.

Unlike the League Cup, Jürgen Klopp went very strong with his lineups in the FA Cup. There were only five starts for Academy youngsters throughout the entire competition, with all five coming in the third round tie against Shrewsbury Town.

That could be the case again this time, especially with the Reds struggling this campaign. The side’s problems have been well documented and won’t get a rehashing here. Liverpool are already out of the Premier League title picture and have been knocked out of the EFL Cup by Manchester City.

The FA Cup and Champions League remain the only pieces of silverware achievable for the Reds at this point. It would be a shame to end the season ‘trophyless’. This side (despite it’s glaring issues) boast some of the best players in the world.

It is criminal to waste another season after the 2020/21 campaign where a centre back crisis saw the side end the season with no silverware. With the manager we’ve got, and the calibre of players at the club, the bare minimum should be a trophy a season.

With that being said, Wolves at Anfield on Saturday night needs to be manouvred with minimum fuss. Cody Gakpo is set for his debut as well, which should at least bring a level of excitement. It is a throwback to Virgil’s debut for the club five years ago in this competition.

More recently Luis Diaz also made his debut for the club in this competition, coming on as a second half substitute in the fourth round tie against Cardiff City last season. If Gakpo can have a similar impact on the Reds fortunes as the Colombian, the side will be better for it.

Opponents Wolves are enduring a harrowing campaign of their own. They sit 19th in the league table with relegation looking a real possibility. Bruno Lage was relieved of his duties as a result, with former Spain boss Julen Lopetegui hired to try and salvage the situation.

The Spaniard has overseen four games thus far, registering two wins a draw. Their sole defeat under the Spaniard was a close run thing. They held out against Manchester United till Marcus Rashford broke their resolve in the 76th minute.

Whether Lopetegui will pick his regulars is unclear as at now. He did go close to full strength against Gillingham in the EFL Cup last month but that was his maiden game in charge. Whatever side he picks, he will come up against a fired up Liverpool side.

Wolves don’t concede many goals (they’ve conceded only 5 league goals more than the Reds), but they tend not to score a lot either. Their tally of 11 goals scored is the worst in the entire division. This could be a fiery third round cup tie between two sides looking for better fortunes in a different competition.

Team News

January signing Cody Gakpo is set to make his Reds debut after his registration was finalised earlier this week. Roberto Firmino and James Milner meanwhile are still yet to return from respective calf and hamstring injuries.

Jordan Henderson was back in training today after missing the trip to Brentford with a concussion. Virgil Van Dijk is however ruled out with a hamstring injury picked up in the capital. Arthur Melo, Diogo Jota and Luis Diaz remain long term absentees.

For Wolves, Chiquinho (cruciate ligament), Pedro Neto (ankle) and Sasa Kalajdzic (crucial ligament) are all out.



Liverpool were battered and bullied tonight as Brentford cruised to a 3-1 home victory. It could have been more, with the Bees seeing two goals chalked off by VAR first half. Here are player ratings from the encounter.

Alisson – 6

I feel sorry for him. It’s a joke of a defence that’s ahead of him. He’s having to bail the side out too many times. He did just that when Mbeumo went clean through on goal at 0-0. He faces a one on one every game. It’s beyond a joke. Was alert to push a cross away late on to prevent it being 4-1.

Alexander-Arnold 5.5

Last season their tactic was to outnumber him at the backpost and swing crosses in. They did just that for the second goal with Norgaard and Wissa both waiting for the cross. Wissa got to it and powered it home despite the best efforts of Alisson. How the Reds didn’t plan for that is on the coach. Trent provided a moment of quality second half with a superb left footed cross for Ox to nod home. He rushed his crosses after that.


Thought he defended well enough till late on when he was just too weak, allowing Mbeumo to send him sprawling before finishing past Alisson to seal the points. Unfortunate own goal first half as well. Not an easy return to action. He needs to keep his chin up.

Van Dijk – 4

All over the place at the back. Gave one ball away cheaply and Brentford countered with Mbeumo almost scoring at the backpost. He was burned for pace by Mbeumo around the halfway line, with Alisson coming to his rescue. The side was terrible defending set pieces and as the leader, he takes the flak. Subbed at halftime.

Tsimikas – 4

Should have scored when Ox found him at the backpost with a flick. He went near post when he should have been driving that ball far post. Gave it away loads. Didn’t offer the energy we’ve grown accustomed to on the left flank. Taken off at the break.

Fabinho – 5

Won a few challenges. Joined the attack to try and offer up an extra body against the deep lying defence. Gave it away at times second half but was part of a brief turnaround that threatened a comeback.

Elliott – 2.5

Seconds after a Brentford goal is disallowed, Alisson passes to him and for some reason he goes for a dummy. We had been under pressure and had gotten lucky to still be a goal down and he chose that moment to attempt a dummy in his own defensive third. No defending that performance. He’s a creative midfielder that doesn’t create enough. Found out tonight.

Thiago 6

First half he couldn’t really impose himself on proceedings, as he just moved the ball from side to side. Second half I felt he stamped himself on the game a lot more, forcing openings that weren’t there and finding passes that set us on the attack. Wonderful through ball to Darwin for his disallowed goal. Saw two shots charged down on the edge of the box.

Salah 5

A fantastic touch to bring down a long ball early on and then an exquisite through ball to Darwin. Was quiet thereafter. Played far too wide first half. Got closer to the goal second half and still couldn’t get into the game. Tried to deceive Raya at his near post but Mee deflected it behind.

Darwin 5

It’s getting hard to defend him. Yes he was unlucky to see his early effort cleared off the line after rounding the goalkeeper. Yes he was unlucky to have been adjudged just offside after he sprinted in behind and lobbed Raya. At what point does it go from rotten luck to just poor form? A shot from an angle late on was just embarrassing.

Oxlade-Chamberlain 5.5

Lovely backheel flick to present Tsimikas with a chance backpost. Was poor the rest of the half. Second half he was much better and scored with a pinpoint header.


Matip – 6

Added a bit of urgency with his runs upfield, causing several overloads. Defended well. Almost profited off Konaté’s knockdown in the box deep into stoppage time.

Robertson – 6

Brought a huge dose of energy, with his first involvement setting the tone of the second half. Thiago found him in space down the left and his cross was just cleared behind by Zanka with Darwin lurking. His set piece deliveries weren’t good enough though. Took control after their third goal and barked instructions at his teammates, including charging Matip and Konaté with striking roles. Halted one counter brilliantly as the last man.

Keita – 6

Brought a bit of calm to the midfield. Was assured in possession and didn’t give it away as much as Elliott. Dribbled through the middle a number of times and tried to thread the eye of the needle. Could have attempted a shot or two. Was caught in possession for the third.

Jones – N/A

He’s not played in a while. Surprised he came on when we needed a goal. Not like we didn’t have an attacker that had scored goals this season on the bench or anything like that. His touch was rusty, understandably. Combined with Trent on the left wing as the right back’s cross-shot was blocked on the line.

Jürgen Klopp

He picked Harvey Elliott ahead of Naby Keita again. I just don’t get it. Harvey struggled against Leicester, why throw the kid in again? Once again I’m left wondering what Carvalho has done wrong. He scored at the Etihad in his last appearance but was taken off at halftime and hasn’t featured since. Even a goal down he brings on Jones instead.

Away from the decisions, there are more pertinent issues. How is his side so vulnerable at the back? What is the plan against low block teams? Why is there no pressure on the ball when the opponents win it? What’s happened to ‘ New year but it’s the same old issues. The manager has a lot to work through.



Liverpool are in action again tonight when they travel to the Gtech Community Stadium to take on Thomas Frank’s impressive Brentford outfit. Here’s how the Reds could line up for the encounter. For a match preview, you can head over here.

It’s a short turnaround from Friday night’s hard fought comeback victory over Leicester City. This could well see Jürgen Klopp make a raft of changes to his side. There is bound to be injury enforced alterations as well, with a few struggling with knocks.

In goal, Alisson Becker is set to continue. The Brazilian has failed to keep a clean sheet in any of his last six league appearances. That is not all down to him though, with the setup infront of him being way too open at times this season.

Ahead of him in defence, there’s likely to be two changes to the backline. Joel Matip has started each of the last three in all competitions and is due a break before he breaks down. In his place will come the returning Ibrahima Konaté.

The 23 year old has yet to really get going for the club this season, making just the three starts thus far. The side won all three matches he’s started though and he will be hoping to build on the tremendous displays he exhibited at the World Cup with France.

At left back you’d expect Kostas Tsimikas to come in for Andy Robertson who suffered a dead leg against Leicester. The side has kept clean sheets in each of the ‘Greek Scouser’s last three starts so that’s a good omen.

In midfield, we should see Fabinho return to the lineup after missing the last game due to his wife being in labour. A huge congratulations to him and the missus is in order. Alongside him we can expect Naby Keita to start his first game of the season.

The manager has been carefully managing the Guinean since he returned to full fitness. He’s made cameos off the bench in each of the last three and is due a start here. He will likely take the place of Thiago Alcantara, with the Spaniard also due a breather.

Jordan Henderson will likely be asked to go again here to complete the midfield trio. The skipper was dreadful in the holding role on Friday night and will be hoping for a better level of performance tonight in his preferred right sided role.

Upfront, there is expected to be one alteration. Oxlade-Chamberlain has featured heavily in the last three games but should make way for the returning Roberto Firmino here. Ox has put in as solid a shift as can be expected but this should mark the end of him as a forward.

Bobby’s return could be key for the Reds in an attacking sense. It would see Darwin switch to the left wing where he could use his blistering pace to even more devastating effect whilst allowing for the Brazilian to weave his magic in linking up play between the midfield and the attack.

It would be a huge boost if Cody Gakpo’s registration went through in time as well. Having him as an option off the bench could be useful as Darwin and Salah have ran themselves into the ground over the past fortnight.

Predicted team:

Alisson, Alexander-Arnold, Konaté, Van Dijk, Tsimikas, Fabinho, Henderson, Keita, Salah, Firmino, Darwin.

Subs: Kelleher, Ramsay, Gomez, Matip, Bajcetic, Thiago, Oxlade-Chamberlain, Carvalho, Gakpo.



Liverpool ended 2022 on a winning note after an unconvincing 2-1 victory over Leicester City at Anfield. 2023 kicks off with a tougher test in a trip to Thomas Frank’s in-form Brentford. Here’s the match preview. 

The Reds travel to the capital tomorrow night (17:30 GMT kickoff) on the back of a four game winning sequence. Spurs away, Southampton at home, Villa away and Leicester at home have seen twelve points garnered.

It may not have been pretty but it was effective. It is that time of the year where loads of teams will drop points so a significant winning run could see the table change drastically. Victory over Brendan Rodgers’ side, although not aesthetically pleasing, was crucial to keeping the momentum going.

It saw the Reds move to within four points of top four, cutting the gap by half since the resumption of league football following the World Cup break. Maintain this run and who knows where we’ll sit in the table in a few weeks time.

There needs to be an improvement on the level of performance if Brentford are to be turned over tomorrow night infront of their own fans. The Bees have only lost one home league game all season, that coming at the hands of runaway league leaders Arsenal back in September.

They are in fact unbeaten in their last five home and away, and have taken the scalps of Manchester United (4-0 at the Gtech Community Stadium) and Manchester City (2-1 at the Etihad) already this season. They’ve held Chelsea and Spurs to stalemates too and have proven themselves a tough nut to crack.

Thomas Frank’s men boast the joint fourth fewest defeats in the league so far (4 – level with Liverpool and Manchester United) and are enjoying a strong campaign. Star man Ivan Toney has been banging in the goals for fun.

In the corresponding fixture last season, a ding dong battle broke out between these two sides. Ethan Pinnock handed the home side the lead before Diogo Jota levelled before the break. Salah then struck in the second half but Janelt equalised shortly after.

Curtis Jones then belted one home from range to put the Reds ahead again, only for substitute Yoanne Wissa to pull it back level late on. It was a breathless encounter, with Ivan Toney tormenting the Liverpool defence throughout.

The self confessed Liverpool fan is on a roll this season. His tally of 12 league goals is only bettered by Harry Kane and Erling Haaland. He’s scored 11 goals in his last 12 appearances across all competitions. If he’s passed fit to start, expect him to be heavily involved once again.

The Reds will have to be way more clinical upfront than they’ve been recently if they’re to come away with the points. Darwin Nunez netted 7 goals in his last 10 appearances before the World Cup break and it looked for all intents and purposes that he had found his feet.

When he returned from the World Cup to net a brace off the bench against Milan in the Dubai Super Cup, it felt like he was ready to pick up where he left from. It hasn’t gone according to plan since though. He’s missed a whopping 8 big chances in the three games since the break.

Granted he has created most of these chances for himself with his blistering pace and intelligent movement, he still needs to be putting a few away. To not score a single goal from those chances is profligate and wasteful, which is a shame because his all round game deserves a couple of goals.

He has worked his socks off for the team but is stuck in a bit of a rut infront of goal at the minute, one not too dissimilar to the run he suffered after his sending off against Palace. He went six games without a goal before netting away at Arsenal. The goals seemed to flow after that. He badly needs one to go in right now.

If he can find that elusive goal and subsequently confidence boost, the Reds should be confident of claiming all three points. If not, it could be another long night. This should be a fantastic football match no matter what happens with both sides set to have a real go at each other.

Team News

Roberto Firmino is fit to return following a calf injury. There is no definitive word on the inclusion of new signing Cody Gakpo. It’s a race against the clock to get the paperwork through in time. Andy Robertson and Harvey Elliott meanwhile are doubts after picking up knocks last time out.

Curtis Jones remains out, with no real update on what type of injury he’s struggling with or how close he is to a return. James Milner you’d expect to miss out again as he struggles with a hamstring injury. The trio of Arthur Melo, Diogo Jota and Luis Diaz remain long term absentees.

For Brentford, Ivan Toney was stretchered off with a terrible looking knee injury at West Ham. It has since been revealed he avoided any real damage and could be back involved as soon as tomorrow night. Whether he is thrown straight back into the lineup remains to be seen.

Thomas Strakosha, Aaron Hickey, Kristoffer Ajer, Frank Onyeka and Aaron Hickey are all out with various injuries.



With the January transfer window officially opening today, it’s time to try and make sense of the tepid display at Anfield a few days ago and assess the glaring midfield issue. This team has put in one too many of those performances this season for it to be glossed over by the result.

They played well enough at Villa and said all the right things pre-match about looking forward to playing at Anfield under the lights for the first time in a while. Then barely four minutes into the match and Dewsbury-Hall is breaking through from midfield unchallenged, to slot past Alisson.

It marked the 13th time the Reds have conceded the first goal in a game this season and we’ve only played 24 matches! It also marked the 9th time we’ve conceded in the opening twenty minutes of a game this season.

It’s hard to fathom why this side is starting games half asleep. They’re better than that. All that before you come to the crux of the issue, a midfield that has frankly been left to rot. I saw Leicester’s lineup the other day and feared for our midfield.

Not because Ndidi, Soumare and Dewsbury-Hall were better than our lot, but simply because they would outrun us. I’ve seen teams do that to us so many times this season. The Liverpool midfield doesn’t have the same intensity/bite/energy it used to.

Part of it is by design as well, with Jürgen Klopp opting for more control through midfielders who possessed technical attributes. The arrival of Thiago and the conversion of Harvey Elliott kick-started that transition.

The departure of the workhorse that was Gini Wijnaldum also allowed for this new tweak to the engine room. At our best last season (as we chased the quadruple), there was a perfect balance/blend of intensity, aggression and control. It worked a treat. 

The preferred trio of Fabinho, Henderson and Thiago offered you that in abundance. For whatever reason (age, fatigue, injuries, decline etc), that balance seems to no longer be there. Too many teams are now able to play through our midfield and create chances at will.

How many times has Alisson had to face a one on one this season? On the flip side, the Reds aren’t able to exert any real level of control on games. The World Cup break was supposed to be a reset to help get back to basics, but the three fixtures since have been chaotic, end to end affairs.

The woeful finishing by the attackers and the defensive mistakes at the back can’t be overlooked but the most glaring issue is a midfield that has been allowed to age. A side that was previously known for its relentless press is now meek out of possession.

It’s bordering on gross negligence that it’s been allowed to get so bad. The manager’s quip in pre-season about not needing a new midfielder looks embarrassing by the game. He’s having to overplay young Harvey Elliott who is still working out the kinks in his game and figuring himself out in a new position.

The youngster could well grow into the kind of player Jürgen Klopp needs him to be but as of this moment, it’s too much to ask. He’s not offering enough in possession to make up for the defensive deficiencies that are a part of his game (he came through as a winger so it’s understandable).

The manager is also having to rely on Jordan Henderson (who turns 33 this summer) to go again every three days. The skipper no longer has that engine that made him tailor-made for this system, and he endured a dreadful evening against Leicester.

Thiago is a cultured talent that requires two runners alongside him to make his job easier. If anything he’s having to do more running currently because there isn’t enough of it going own. Fabinho has had his own issues with form and a lack of support around him.

Curtis Jones was supposed to step up in his development this season to aid the midfield woes but has only made two starts this season (owing largely to injuries). It’s alarming how many injuries he’s begun to pick up over the past 18 months.

He’s joined Thiago, Naby Keita, Oxlade-Chamberlain and deadline day panic signing Arthur Melo in the injury prone midfielders category it seems. The veteranIt’s a shame. These are a whole load of names but a whole load of asterisks.

The club’s need for a midfielder is apparent, and selling clubs will use it to their advantage. Benfica and Brighton for example are quoting ridiculous figures for Enzo Fernandez and Moises Caicedo (two rumoured targets).

The club won’t want to pay those astronomical fees and you can’t blame them. What would it say for the top four hopes though if they refuse to add a midfielder this window? Would it make more sense to gamble some of next summer’s budget in this window to try and secure a lucrative UCL place.

If not, then will the manager lower his standards ever so slightly to consider players he may otherwise not have wanted long term? Surely there are young midfielders out there who can run for days and would be able to provide this side with an injection of energy.

Does the short term gain/boost make it worth it even if said player will have to be moved on in 2-3 years when the midfield rebuilding is complete and first choice targets are signed? Or is the club just not set up to take such risks? There is a lot for the manager and the powers that be to ponder.

Until fresh legs are brought in (or by some miracle the incumbent find a burst of energy from some hidden reserves), we are going to struggle to win as many games as we need to. We  have the quality to hurt opponents so we will get by, but to really thrive, that midfield needs to be revamped, and fast.



New Year’s Day is almost here, but before then we have to take a look back at December and crown a Player of the Month. This month of course saw the World Cup reach its conclusion before club football restarted in the final weeks of the month.

It was a tough return for the Reds, with a trip to the Etihad in the fourth round of the League Cup ending in a 3-2 defeat which saw the defense of the trophy lifted back in February come to a premature end. Jürgen Klopp’s men then went to Villa Park and earned a 3-1 win as the Premier League resumed.

The final game of the month saw Leicester City turned over at Anfield last night. A far from convincing performance from the Reds but ultimately they got over the line with two own goals by Wout Faes. Here are the top performing players over the course of December:

3. Fabinho Tavaresavg. rating (7.3)

The 29 year old missed last night’s encounter because his wife was expecting their first child. He was sorely missed as Leicester found so much joy breaking through midfield. Dewsbury-Hall especially, enjoyed too much space as seen for his early goal.

Fabinho was enduring a rough patch of form before the World Cup but seems to have roared back to form since his return. He stepped off the bench at the Etihad and immediately put himself about and made his presence felt.

He won the most tackles in the game (4), won 6 out of his 7 duels and produced a goalline block to deny De Bruyne. He started at Villa Park and was once again crucial. He provided a shield for the defence and proved hard to beat in the middle of the park.

Going the other way, he was unlucky not to score after his curler from the edge of the box whistled past the post. Hopefully he can keep up this level of performance when he returns to the side after becoming a father for the very first time.

Fabinho won the most tackles (6) in the entire Liverpool squad in December. In fact he won more tackles in his last two appearances (6) than he managed in his last twelve games (4) before the World Cup.

2. Thiago Alcantara – avg. rating (7.3)

The Spanish maestro earned himself a welcome break after surprisingly being left out of Spain’s World Cup squad. He returned from the break recharged and took full part in the mid-season training camp as well as both Dubai Super Cup friendlies.

He started all three games in the month and acquitted himself well. At City, he was the best outfield player in red. His confidence to get on the ball in the face of a relentless press and find a pass helped a great deal as Bajcetic and Elliott struggled alongside him.

He dipped below his usual high standards against Villa, with a lack of intensity seeing him ran ragged at times. He was back to his brilliant best last night as he marshalled and patrolled the middle of the pitch to outstanding effect against Leicester.

Just like at the Etihad, he did the job of three men, as his partners (Henderson and Elliott) struggled to get to grips with the game. Thiago thundered into challenges, counter pressed vigorously, and sprayed passes across the pitch to aid the Reds’ comeback from a goal deficit. A real joy to watch.

Thiago vs Leicester:

• Most touches (112)
• Most attempted passes (92)
• Most completed passes (81)
• Most duels won (13)
• Most fouls won (6)
• Joint Most tackles won (3)

Outstanding yet again.

1. Trent Alexander-Arnoldavg. rating (7.5)

The young Scouser has found it tough going this season. A personal dip in form coincided with a general downturn in team performances and saw him become the target of some scathing criticism. Gareth Southgate’s comments certainly didn’t help, with the 23 year old’s game forensically picked apart by pundits.

He was named in England’s World Cup squad despite the constant debate. As expected, Southgate didn’t hand him a single start in the competition, with the Three Lions knocked out in the quarter finals by France.

Trent could have been forgiven for feeling sorry for himself but he returned to Merseyside ready to get back to his best, and get back to his best he has. Having missed the trip to the Etihad with an illness, he marked his return at Villa Park and played one of the passes of the season to help set up the opening goal.

A corner was cleared to him 40 yards from goal. He took a touch to set himself before finding Robertson’s angled run with an astonishing ball with the outside of his right boot. He was in peak form, with his range of passing drawing audible gasps from the crowd.

Against Leicester last night, it was the other side of his game which drew praise. He single handedly stopped Harvey Barnes on several occasions with well timed tackles, even bailing out Joel Matip at one point.

It was a top drawer defensive display and he was named Man of the Match as a result. He admitted post-match that he hadn’t helped himself at times this season, but it’s great to see him silencing his critics after a tough period. Long may it continue.

Despite not registering a single assist this season, only Mohamed Salah (46) has created more chances than Trent Alexander-Arnold (41) for Liverpool across all competitions this campaign.

Highest rated individual performance of the month:

° Andy Robertson vs Aston Villa – (9/10)

° Thiago Alcantara vs Leicester City – (9/10)

Made4Liverpool 22/23 Player of the Month:

August – Harvey Elliott

September – Thiago Alcantara

October – Alisson Becker

November – Darwin Nunez

December – Trent Alexander-Arnold

*Average ratings are collated from the player ratings posted on this site after every match. Players must have earned a rating in more than half the number of games in the month under review.



Liverpool made hard work of things tonight but just got over the line in the end. An early Dewsbury-Hall goal set up an uphill task, but two own goals by Faes completed a first half comeback. Here are player ratings from the encounter.

Alisson – 6

Was quick and alert off his line all game, and he had to be. Swept up a number of through balls. Was assured in possession. Nothing he could do about the goal. solid stop when Barnes broke through eA moment of miscommunication with Matip near the end could have proved costly.

Alexander-Arnold 7

Was outstanding defensively. He made a crucial interception early on to prevent Barnes from going clean through. His match up with Barnes was enthralling. He must have won nigh on every duel with the winger. Going forward, he was wasteful. Opted to shoot and blazed over with Darwin and Salah in good positions. His cross did lead to the equaliser.

Matip – 6

Had to be mindful of the long ball through to Barnes. Was too easily beaten on the wing second half but Trent was on the cover. We looked dangerous any time he ventured forward.

Van Dijk – 6

Stepped out to try and pinch the ball high up the pitch and failed, leaving a huge gap for Dewsbury-Hall to run through for the goal. Not as assured tonight as we know he can be. Headed one wide at the other end. Was mindful of the threat of Vardy in behind. Stepped up to play him offside late on, halting a dangerous attack.

Robertson – 4

Piss poor tonight. Horrendous cross early on when found in space on the left wing. Gave the ball away loads. Didn’t look his usual energetic self. Didn’t try to take on his opposing full back once. Should have gone off before he eventually pulled up with an injury.

Henderson – 4.5

Horrendous for their goal. He should be winning that challenge with Dewsbury-Hall. He failed and it was punished. The youngster constantly seemed to breeze past the skipper. His passing was shocking as well, first half especially. He sums up the dire need of reinforcement in the engine room.

Elliott – 5

Loads of effort but not enough quality. Caught on the ball a lot, not enough pace to get away from his man, and sub par defensive cover to boot. Switched to the left hand side second half. Went off with a knee injury.

Thiago 9

Man of the Match by an absolute mile. Looked like a one man midfield at times, with the Spaniard the only one capable of thundering into challenges, exerting meaningful pressure, and pinging the ball round the pitch. He tired second half but used all his experience to buy fouls and break up the game.

Salah 5.5

Was set up by Darwin early on and he couldn’t wrap his foot round it enough, sending his shot wide. He was put clean through on goal by the big man later in the game and he screwed it wide. On the ball, he took too many touches and got crowded out over and over again as a result. Denied by Ward late on. Not a great night at the office.

Darwin 6

First half he was one of a few who actually played well. Brilliant wing play down the left saw him set Salah up for a good chance. He forced the winner after racing clear of Amartey and seeing his chip come back off the post, with Faes applying the finishing touch to spare his blushes. Second half it was more of the same. Brilliant play to get into great positions but woeful finishing. Worked himself into the ground for the cause though. Lovely through ball to Salah.

Oxlade-Chamberlain 4.5

Started woefully. Couldn’t bring down the ball to save his life. Got slightly better as the game grew. Put Darwin through for the second goal. Hopefully that’s the last we see of him in a front three.


Tsimikas – 6

Decent set piece deliveries. Carried out his defensive duties well. Burst through late on and should have squared it.


Too easily bypassed in midfield. Settled down as the game grew and got on the ball. Played Darwin through for what should have been the clincher.

Gomez – 6

On to shore things up at the back with time running out. Won a few challenges which elicited a punch of the air by the gaffer.

Bajcetic – 6

Should have come on earlier to be honest. Charged into a strong tackle on Thomas as soon as he came on. Maturing before our very eyes.

Jürgen Klopp

The gaffer’s options were stretched thin tonight. His side started poorly but managed to complete the turnaround in fortuitous circumstances. A few could have been subbed at halftime. I wonder what Carvalho has done wrong though. Scored at the Etihad and was subbed at halftime.

He hasn’t played a minute since. Meanwhile the likes of Ox and even Elliott get to play out of position on the left wing. All in all it’s the three points that matter. The Reds fought to the death for it. The lack of quality (especially in midfield) is alarming but that is a topic for another day.



Liverpool are back in action tomorrow night they welcome former boss Brendan Rodgers’ Leicester side to Anfield for an 8pm GMT kickoff. The Reds are aiming for a fourth league win in row. Here’s the predicted lineup for the encounter.

For a match preview, you can head over here.

Jürgen Klopp thankfully reported no fresh injuries from the Villa game. He added that Konaté was back in contention after training with the squad all week. There was however no update on the fitness of Curtis Jones, with the young Scouser becoming a bit of a forgotten man this season.

Exciting new signing Cody Gakpo is unavailable for this one as the window doesn’t officially open until New Year’s Day, and even then, the bank holiday means the paperwork for his work permit and registration probably won’t go through in time for him to feature at Brentford either.

In terms of the XI to take the field against Leicester, there won’t be too many changes if any to the side that started at Villa Park on Monday night. The manager will still have half an eye on the trip to Brentford on Monday but it shouldn’t influence selection much.

We can expect to see the same back five of Alisson in goal, Alexander-Arnold at right back, Matip and Van Dijk in the heart of defence, and Robertson at left back. Any thoughts of rotation could and should be resisted. Konaté will surely he held back for the clash against Thomas Frank’s side.

In midfield, the Fabinho – Thiago partnership is still going strong. The side has a 79% win rate when those two start together in the middle of the park. We can expect them to start again here, with Henderson completing the triumvirate.

The skipper was excellent on Monday till about the hour mark when he looked completely shattered. He had overcome a bout of illness in the lead up to that game and should be raring to set the tempo infront of an Anfield crowd that has waited over six weeks to see their heroes in the flesh.

Up top, the Darwin – Salah axis will once more get an outing (hopefully with the big man finding his shooting boots). They will be joined by Oxlade-Chamberlain who put in a solid enough shift at Villa. With just six months remaining on his Liverpool deal, this is an opportunity for Ox to put himself in the shop window.

He will line up on the left wing and seek to drop deep to try and connect the midfield to the pacy duo upfront. The shape could morph into a bit of 4-4-2 at times due to the 29 year old’s versatility. It will be really interesting to see how Gakpo does in that left wing role in the coming weeks.

Until then though, Ox will be pressed into action. This is eerily similar to a brief spell in January where he came into the side for consecutive league games against Brentford and Palace with Mané and Salah away at AFCON.

He scored in each of those games, acquitting himself well before promptly falling back down the pecking order after a big money signing (Luis Diaz) arrived to take up the left wing spot.

Away from Ox, the likes of Keita, Elliott, Carvalho, Bajcetic and Doak will make do with a place on the bench. The latter duo came on to great effect last time out and will be hoping for same again tomorrow night.

Predicted team:

Alisson, Alexander-Arnold, Matip, Van Dijk, Robertson, Fabinho, Henderson, Thiago, Salah, Darwin, Oxlade-Chamberlain.

Subs: Kelleher, Gomez, Tsimikas, Konaté, Bajcetic, Keita, Elliott, Carvalho, Doak.



Following the hard fought victory at Villa Park, Liverpool are next in action on Friday night when Brendan Rodgers’ Leicester City visit Anfield. Kickoff is slated for 8pm GMT as the Reds wrap up 2022. Here’s a preview of the game.

Where else to start than the 3-1 win over Aston Villa? It marked a strong return to Premier League action for the side following elimination in the League Cup at the hands of Manchester City.

A frantic, end to end game saw Liverpool come out on top in the end, with Stefan Bajcetic stepping off the bench to secure the points with a strike that saw him become the third youngest player to score a Premier League goal for the Reds.

The game wasn’t without it’s nervy moments, with Villa ramping up the pressure and overrunning the Liverpool midfield in the second half (till Bajcetic’s effort sapped any thoughts of a comeback that is).

The issues in midfield have been covered to death, and it will be interesting to see if any moves are made in the transfer window to address it. The imminent capture of Cody Gakpo certainly strengthens the attacking options available to Jürgen Klopp.

The victory on Monday night was a third consecutive league win – the first time the Reds have managed that feat this season. They now go in search of a fourth, having not managed that since a run of ten straight victories between January and early April.

That impressive run saw the side recover what at the time seemed an insurmountable 14 point gap to Manchester City (albeit with a game in hand) as the title race was revived. A similar run is required here if the Reds are to once again reel in the teams above them.

The Reds currently sit 6th place, 5 points off the final Champions League spot and a whopping 15 points off the summit. Friday night is simply must win if Jürgen Klopp’s side are to generate momentum for the second half of the season.

Opponents Leicester suffered a horrendous start to the campaign themselves. Former Liverpool manager Brendan Rodgers was on the brink as The Foxes lost six of their opening seven league fixtures. Their first victory didn’t arrive until October!

There was a turnaround in form before the break however, with The Foxes winning four of their last five league games preceding the World Cup. They managed to keep four clean sheets in that run as well, letting in only the one goal (in a 1-0 home defeat to Manchester City).

The break seems to have checked their momentum however, with high-flying Newcastle easily brushing them aside at the King Power on Boxing Day. Three unanswered goals in the first half told the story of a side that struggled to get going after a long break.

We can expect a bit of a response on Friday night though. Exactly a year ago today, the Foxes ended Liverpool’s long unbeaten run courtesy an Ademola Lookman second half winner. The Reds will not want to take them lightly.

On their last trip to Anfield, a Diogo Jota brace made the difference in a tight game. Jürgen Klopp has never lost a home game to Leicester since taking charge seven years ago. The German has taken charge of seven league games against them at Anfield, overseeing six wins and a draw.

That draw was a particularly costly one, as Liverpool went on to finish a point behind Manchester City in the 2018/19 title race. The Reds need the three points on Friday to spark their top four charge this time around. We can expect Jamie Vardy and co to make it as difficult as possible.

It should be a good game. Rodgers will no doubt set his side up to soak up pressure and hit on the break with the pace of Harvey Barnes and Vardy. Whether a defence that has let in 28 goals already this campaign (the 4th most in the league) can keep the Reds at bay remains to be seen.

Team News

James Milner (hamstring) and Firmino (calf) remain out. Curtis Jones should be back in training if Klopp’s last update is anything to go by. Diaz (knee), Jota (calf) and Arthur (thigh) remain long term absentees. Ibou Konaté is back however, with the 23 year old resuming training on Monday following World Cup exertions.

For Leicester, James Maddison remains out. The midfielder is still struggling with an unspecified injury and is set to see a specialist. Dennis Praet is also out with a back injury he sustained against Newcastle. James Justin, Ryan Bertrand, Ricardo Pereira and Jonny Evans remain unavailable.



Following a hard fought victory over Aston Villa last night, Paul Joyce broke the news of Liverpool’s interest in PSV Eindhoven winger Cody Gakpo. Barely an hour later, the official Twitter account of the Dutch club had confirmed the deal was done!

It happened in double quick time. Liverpool have form for pulling off moves from virtually out of nowhere and this is right up there. All season long, the 23 year old had been linked with a move to Manchester United, with Erik Ten Hag making him a number one transfer target.

Indeed the Red Devils’ made their move the previous window, with the player even acknowledging just how close he came to a transfer.

Gakpo: “I was close to leaving (in the summer). I spoke to Erik ten Hag a few times at Manchester United. In the end the deal didn’t go through, which was a shame — for me and my development, and because Manchester United is one of the biggest clubs in the world, but also for PSV, because to transfer a player to Manchester United is a good thing for the club.

“It ended about a week before the end of the transfer window and in that week I had to decide if I would go to Leeds or Southampton. In the end I stayed, but it was a stressful period.”

It is quite the coup for Liverpool, with the transfer fee of £37million rising to £44million in add-ons a potential steal for one of the hottest prospects in Europe at the minute. Just who is Cody Gakpo though, and what has been his career trajectory thus far? We take a look.

Cody Mathès Gakpo was born on May 7th, 1999 in Eindhoven to a Togolese father and a Dutch mother. He joined the youth ranks of his local club PSV in 2007, before progressing over the years to the reserves and then finally to the first team.

Gapko was handed his first team debut by Dutch legend Mark van Bommel, as a late substitute in a 3-1 win over Feyenoord in the 2017/18 season. It was a dream come true for the then 18 year old, but that was only just the beginning.

It wasn’t till the 2018/19 season that Gapko truly broke through to the first team. He made 19 appearances across all competitions (4 starts) and registered an impressive 2 goals and 6 assists. He operated largely on the left wing, seeking to cut in onto his stronger right foot.

His development continued apace in the ensuing season. Gakpo, only 20 years at the time, would make 39 appearances across all competitions (22 starts), netting 8 goals and laying on 9 assists. His versatility was beginning to shine through as well, with the youngster proving adept on the right wing as well as the striking role.

In the 2020/21 campaign, a then 21 year old Gakpo would go on to make 29 appearances in all competitions for PSV, with 26 coming from the start. He registered double figures for goals for the very first time in his career (11 goals), backing it up with a further 3 assists.

He was making a name for himself, with several big clubs tracking his development. He made the Netherlands squad for the Euros that summer, but was only restricted to one appearance that tournament – making his international debut as a late substitute in the final group game against North Macedonia.

That tournament seemed to whet his appetite, as the young forward set about making sure he would be the centrepiece of the Dutch side for the next major tournament. He went into the 2021/22 season with laser-like focus.

He put the whole of Europe on notice with his displays for PSV not only in the Eredevisie, but in the Champions League (qualifiers), Europa League as well as the UEFA Conference League. He was mostly playing off the left wing and was cutting in to devastating effect.

His general play had improved, as he relished the responsibility placed on his young shoulders as the vice captain of the club. He grew in stature by the week and rounded off a seriously impressive campaign by scoring the winning goal in the KNVB Cup Final victory over Ajax.

PSV unfortunately couldn’t topple Ajax for the league title, losing out by two points. Gapko had made his mark however, registering 36 goal contributions in 47 appearances across all competitions (21 goals, 15 assists). He scooped the Dutch Footballer of the Year award.

He didn’t stop there. He set out this campaign intent on proving that last season was no fluke. He got off to a flyer as well, scoring and laying on two assists as PSV beat Ajax 5-3 to lift the Dutch Super Cup in late July. He netted his first hat-trick in August in a 7-1 trouncing of Volendam.

The following month, he scored a goal and laid on a hat trick of assists in a thrilling 4-3 win over Feyenoord. His hot streak showed no signs of slowing down. He arrived at the World Cup in ridiculous form, with many tipping him to have a breakthrough tournament. He rose to the expectations with some dazzling displays in Qatar.

He scored in each group game, becoming only the fourth Dutch player to score in three consecutive World Cup games – joining elite company in Johan Neeskens, Dennis Bergkamp and Wesley Sneijder. He was the shining light of a Dutch side that were knocked out in the quarter finals by eventual winners Argentina.

Now he gets to weave his magic on Merseyside. His 6ft 2″ frame means he’s got the physical attributes to thrive in the Premier League, with his dribbling ability, pace, creativity, wicked set piece delivery and eye for goal making him an exciting package.

That he can play in any position across the forward line is an added bonus to boost Jürgen Klopp’s attacking options. With Diogo Jota and Luis Diaz still out for a while yet, Cody Gakpo will immediately get an opportunity to show what he can offer.

The 23 year old has been in sizzling form over the past 18 months. Not even Erling Haaland can match him for goal involvements this season. Now time to see if he can do it in the toughest league of them all. The smart money will be on him managing just that.

Cody Gakpo ranks first or joint-first in the Eredivisie this season for the following stats:

◉ G+A
◉ Goals
◉ Assists
◉ Shots
◉ Shots on target
◉ Chances created
◉ Successful crosses
◉ Fouls won in the final ⅓
◉ Fast breaks

35 G+A in 31 apps for club and country 🤯



Liverpool earned their second away league win of the season by winning 3-1 at Villa Park tonight. A healthy first half lead courtesy of Salah and Van Dijk was halved by Watkins second half, but Bajcetic stepped off the bench to secure the points. Here are player ratings from the encounter.

Alisson – 7.5

The best goalkeeper in the world was back in action tonight. He made a sensational stop to thwart Watkins first half, offside or not. His positioning meant he made other saves look routine. Nothing he could do about Watkins’ perfectly placed header.

Alexander-Arnold 8

Put on a passing clinic today. What a pass to Robertson for the opening goal, and with the outside of his boot too! Incredible. Played similar switches to the left wing and was generally assured in possession. Defended well too. Got enough on the ball to thwart Digne in the box first half and avoid giving away a penalty. A welcome return to action.

Matip – 6.5

First hour he was very ropey, losing almost every duel with Watkins. It was no real surprise when the striker peeled away from him to steer a header into the bottom corner. He improved thereafter, with some excellent one on one defending on the verge of his own box. One late on to stop Coutinho was solid defending.

Van Dijk – 8

Good to have him back. The side were better for it as they coped far better with crosses into the box than they managed at City. He was on hand to make several crucial blocks and clearances in the box. Terrific finish on his weaker foot to make it 2-0.

Robertson – 9

He was breathtaking first half. About a minute in he swung in a devilish cross for Darwin to attack, only for the big man to let it run. He repeated the trick shortly after, this time with a controlled first time cross to put one on a plate for Salah. His set piece deliveries were on the money as well. Defended Bailey excellently, avoiding a penalty giveaway late on by keeping his eyes fixed firmly on the ball. Most assists by a defender in Premier League history. Still more to come.

Fabinho – 8

Looked back to his tough tackling best. Won a fair share of his challenges in the middle of the park and wasn’t shy to get forward when necessary. Unlucky not to score when his strike from the edge of the box whistled past the post. He’s key to the side so it’s imperative he maintains this level of performance.

Henderson – 7.5

First half he was incredible. Charged and closed down relentlessly to disrupt Villa’s rhythm. Combined well with Salah down the right. Simply superb first half. Second half he tired. Still showed heart to get back and block one shot on the counter. The lack of legs in the midfield is an issue though.

Thiago 5.5

Not at his best today. Constantly outran in midfield and lost Leon Bailey one too many times. He couldn’t really exert his influence on the game in terms of controlling proceedings. A distinct lack of legs in the second half was alarming. Could have been subbed sooner.

Salah 7.5

Tucked home at the backpost after a ridiculous bit of play between the fullbacks. Reacted quickly to find Van Dijk for the second. His pace in behind caused problems and he should have tucked away a chance he created for himself when he ran all the way from his own half into the Villa box.

Darwin 6.5

Tough to rate Darwin tonight. He did everything right in terms of stretching the pitch with his pace in behind and the timing of his runs. Inexplicably though, he missed four clear cut chances. Poor finishing let him down yet again. He showed that electric pace late on to get away from his man and register another effort on goal, with Bajcetic capitalising on Olsen’s parry to make the game safe.

Oxlade-Chamberlain 6

Passeable job on the left wing. Did about as well as you can expect really. Nothing extraordinary, just solid. That’s not how you want to describe an attacker but we are where we are. Looked to have picked up a knock when Salah fell into him in the box.


Keita – 5

On for Thiago but couldn’t really dominate in midfield. Lost out on several 50-50s.

Elliott – 5.5

Played on the left wing and sought to help Robertson out with McGinn and Bailey were doubling up on him.

Gomez – 5.5

Lovely first time ball in behind for Darwin to chase. That led to the third goal. Rushed out of position to press and was easily bypassed, leaving a gaping hole that Matip did well to fill and halt Coutinho in the box.

Bajcetic – 8

What an impact! Showed composure beyond his years to sell the keeper a dummy before nutmegging Mings on the goalline. He played well aside the goal too, winning tackles in midfield and breezing past players at times.

Doak – N/A

Skinned Digne down the right wing and forced a corner from Mings. A useful option for late on in games when the opposition are committing bodies forward and leaving gaps behind.

Jürgen Klopp

A crucial win for the gaffer. His lineup was spot on, his changes too. His decision to hand the youngsters a chance off the bench paid off with Bajcetic getting on the scoresheet. Investment in midfield is still glaring but the Reds are now 5 points off top four with a game in hand. The race is on.



The Premier League returns on Boxing Day following the World Cup break! Liverpool are in action tomorrow night when they travel to Villa Park to face Unai Emery’s side for a late afternoon kickoff (17:30 GMT). Here’s how the Reds could line up for the encounter.

For a match preview, you can head over here.

It’s a big enough gap between this fixture and the defeat at the Etihad stadium on Thursday night, handing Jürgen Klopp the opportunity to pick his strongest available XI. There will be no rotation required, with several members of the squad enjoying a three week break during the World Cup.

In goal will be Alisson Becker, with the Brazilian stopper expected back after being left out of the trip to Manchester City in midweek. ‘Ali’ was in inspired form before the break and will have to be at it again to deny a plucky Villa side.

Ahead of him in defence, there’s likely to be two changes to the backline that took on City; with Alexander-Arnold and Van Dijk slotting in for Milner and Gomez respectively. The former duo were left out of the League Cup tie as well and will be marking their return to action.

Matip and Robertson will complete a back five that is arguably the best the gaffer can call upon. Hopefully that is shown on the pitch with an improved defensive display. A clean sheet would be perfect here, with the side having kept none in their last four league fixtures.

In midfield, we should see Fabinho and Henderson return to the starting lineup after cameos off the bench at the Etihad. The duo will in all likelihood be joined by Thiago. The Spaniard was taken off after 70 minutes as his minutes are managed.

The likes of Elliott and Keita will offer more than decent options off the bench. Harvey has made the most appearances of any member of the squad this campaign. That just isn’t right. He’s been pressed into way more action than imagined owing to injuries. That should not be the case for the rest of the season.

Upfront, there is expected to be one alteration. Oxlade-Chamberlain was slated to start at the Etihad only for illness to restrict him to a cameo off the bench. Carvalho started in his stead and scored. However, the manager reiterated post match how ‘Ox’ was in great shape.

The 28 year old is therefore likely to take his place in attack alongside Darwin and Salah. That was the front three that completed the game at the Etihad and could possibly be the go-to attack in the absence of Firmino and long term absentees Jota and Diaz.

Predicted team:

Alisson, Alexander-Arnold, Matip, Van Dijk, Robertson, Fabinho, Henderson, Thiago, Salah, Darwin, Oxlade-Chamberlain.

Subs: Kelleher, Ramsay, Gomez, Phillips, Tsimikas, Keita, Elliott, Doak, Carvalho.



The Premier League is all set to resume following the World Cup break. Liverpool travel to Villa Park on Boxing Day for a tough test against Unai Emery’s Aston Villa outfit, with the Reds aiming to make up lost ground. Here’s the match preview. 

Defeat to City on Thursday night hurt, but it’s time for Jürgen Klopp and his side to pick themselves up and go again. That League Cup loss means the club has one less competition to focus on for the rest of the season.

For the next few weeks, the attention will solely be on the Premier League and the seven point gap to fourth place. It is imperative the Reds restart the league campaign on the right note as they have already left themselves with a lot to do.

They must take the positives from Thursday night’s defeat (they did after all go to to toe with City despite a raft of big names not being available) and move forward. Van Dijk, Konaté, Alexander-Arnold, Firmino, Jota and Diaz were all absent.

The likes of Fabinho, Henderson and Keita meanwhile were restricted to substitute appearances. The manager can at least call upon a stronger team for the trip to Villa but will hope his side cut out the poor defending they showcased at the Etihad.

The first and last of City’s goals were from crosses into the box, and it was quite evident just how vulnerable the Reds looked aerially in the absence of Van Dijk. Gomez was too easily beaten by Haaland for the first and was generally underwhelming.

A few big names returning to the lineup and more clinical finishing up top (hi Darwin) should see Jürgen Klopp’s men hopefully get the required result on Boxing Day. It certainly won’t be handed on a silver platter, with Villa Park usually a tough ground.

Liverpool legend Steven Gerrard was relieved of his duties as Villa boss in late October after a string of bad results. Former Sevilla, Arsenal and Villarreal head coach Unai Emery was announced as his replacement a few weeks later and the Spaniard has already gotten to work imprinting his ideas on the squad.

The Villains have won both league games under Emery, with the ‘new manager bounce’ taking full effect. Both victories were impressive as well, with Manchester United convincingly beaten 3-1 at Villa Park, before an equally impressive come from behind 2-1 win at Brighton.

They did get knocked out of the League Cup at Old Trafford however, despite twice taking the lead in the tie. They currently sit 12th in the Premier League table and Emery will be working tirelessly to improve the side and climb up the table.

Games against sides coached by Emery are never easy. The Reds have recent experience of that having come up against his Villarreal side in the semi final of the Champions League last season. Estadio de la Ceramica was rocking for the second leg and Klopp’s men had to really dig deep to get over the line.

We can expect a similar atmosphere and effort on Boxing Day. It will be up to the Reds to stand up in the face of that pressure and deliver the goods. Ex-Liverpool striker Danny Ings has scored 4 goals in 5 appearances since Steven Gerrard left the club.

This after going 7 games without a goal under the Scouser. The Englishman has returned from the break looking sharp as well, bagging a brace against Brighton and Hove Albion in a friendly a fortnight ago. He will be the main threat.

The most recent meeting was back in May, with goals by Matip and Mané ensuring a comeback victory. Perhaps the most memorable trip to Villa Park in recent memory was the late late show in the title winning season when Sadio Mané once again proved to be the match winner.

There was the freak 7-2 defeat two years ago but that was pretty much an outlier. Since that thrashing, Liverpool have won all four meetings against Villa. A fifth successive win will be just what the doctor ordered.

Team News

Alisson and Van Dijk are expected to return to the side after being left out of League Cup duty. Alexander-Arnold is also expected to be fit after a bout of illness. Konaté remains unavailable however (he returns to Merseyside on Monday), whilst Milner is ruled out with a hamstring injury.

Firmino misses out again with a calf injury whereas Curtis Jones is closing in on a return to training. This game comes too early for him though. The trio of Arthur Melo, Diogo Jota and Luis Diaz are long term absentees.

For Villa, goalkeeper Emi Martinez is unavailable as he continues to soak up the celebrations with the Argentine national team. Backup keeper Robin Olsen should be fit to deputise if he passes a late fitness check.

Ex-Liverpool midfielder Philippe Coutinho is back in training after recovering from a thigh injury but youngster Jacob Ramsey is out with a hamstring injury.



Liverpool were knocked out of the Carabao Cup by Manchester City after a 3-2 defeat at the Etihad. Goals from Haaland, Mahrez and Ake were enough despite responses from Carvalho and Salah. Here are player ratings from the encounter.

Kelleher – 7.5

Made some really good saves first half to deny Akanji and co. Made another terrific near post stop to deny Foden second half. He was comfortable on the ball and pinged it around to try and beat the first line of press.

Milner 6.5

Set up Carvalho for the equaliser with some brilliant movement and vision. Left isolated against Palmer defensively and was beaten a few times. Pulled up with an injury first half.

Matip – 7

Gave the ball away cheaply a few times early on. Settled his nerves and went upfield to help create the first equaliser. Lovely reverse pass to Milner for the Carvalho goal. Defended well enough against Haaland.

Gomez – 5.5

Flat footed against Haaland for the first goal. That’s almost unforgivable. Few minutes in and he lost his first big challenge against the big man to hand City the lead. Gave the ball away loads. Fared slightly better at right back. Defended well against Grealish in the box. Played a slide rule pass to send Darwin awLeast said about his crosses the better.

Robertson – 6

Beaten by Mahrez for their second. Great skill by the Algerian it must be said. Well timed tackle on Lewis in the box late on. Couldn’t really influence it much in the attacking third. A lovely free kick delivery deserved a finish from Darwin. Blazed wildly into the stands when found unmarked by Darwin’s flick

Bajcetic – 5

Beaten by a wonderful Gundogan turn early on. Fell for that same move again in the first half. Struggled to live with the pace City were playing at. Fouled Palmer on the break and was booked. Played one fantastic crossfield ball to the left flank. They cut through our midfield at will first half.

Elliott – 5.5

Struggled. Too slow on the ball and always looking to check back on his left foot. Didn’t affect things enough in the final third to make up for the lack of cover for Milner.

Thiago 7.5

Caught on the ball early on by De Bruyne but was pretty much faultless after that. Only one who wasn’t shy to get on the ball in tight areas and play. We struggled when he went off. We simply didn’t create much without him.

Salah 6

Scored a tap in after excellent work by Oxlade-Chamberlain and Darwin. Was anonymous aside that. Constantly trying a backheel pass that just wasn’t there and didn’t register enough shots on goal. Didn’t get much change out of Ake.

Darwin 5.5

Showed that searing pace to leave Laporte for dead and square to Salah for a tap in. He will however be judged on three big misses, two first half and one second. Twice through on goal at an angle and he screwed it wide both times. Steered a lovely Robertson free kick just wide of the post when unmarked in the box as well. To not get a single one of those efforts on target is terrible finishing. No sugar coating it. That was woeful and he knows it.

Carvalho 7

Won a few free kicks off Akanji. Slotted beautifully when set up by Milner in the box. Taken off at halftime. Hopefully not another injury.


Phillips – 7

Was probably our best defender on the day. Timed a tackle in the box on Haaland to perfection just before halftime. Was similarly committed second half. A few diagonal passes went awry and he just missed De Bruyne’s cross for the winner but he can hold his head high.

Fabinho – 6.5

On at halftime for Bajcetic. Stole a few balls back. Got into a scuffle with Rodri and was shoved to the ground by Gundogan. Crucial block on De Bruyne’s goal bound effort.

Oxlade-Chamberlain – 6.5

Excellent footwork to wriggle himself out of a tight spot on the wing, before setting Darwin away with a piercing outside of the boot pass. Sought to have another major contribution in attack but it didn’t come off.

Henderson – 6

Couldn’t offer the attacking thrust nor the control required when he came on for Harvey.

Keita – 6

On for Thiago and he tried to get us going down the left channel. Tried to combine with Oxlade-Chamberlain and Darwin late in the game.

Jürgen Klopp

Opted for Milner at right back from the start. Brought on Phillips and shifted Gomez to the right when the veteran got injured. What does that say about Calvin Ramsay who was brought in the summer as right back cover for Trent?

Aside that, the changes made sense. Even the Thiago one which made us weaker. The 31 year old needs protecting as much as possible. The decision to hand Bajcetic a start may be debated but the youngster deserved his chance.



Liverpool are back in action tomorrow when they take on Manchester City at the Etihad stadium (8pm GMT kickoff). The Carabao Cup fourth round draw threw out a huge tie, with the Reds’ trophy defence facing the toughest possible tie. Here’s the predicted lineup.

For a match preview, you can head over here.

Unlike rival clubs, Liverpool only had seven players representing their countries at the World Cup. Of the seven, Darwin Nunez was eliminated in the group stages, whilst Van Dijk, Alexander-Arnold, Henderson, Alisson and Fabinho were knocked out in the quarter finals.

Only Ibrahima Konaté made it all the way, with France finishing runners-up at the mundial. As a result, only two of the septuplet are unavailable for the trip tomorrow, with Van Dijk and Konaté yet to return to training.

The squad that remained behind enjoyed a welcome break before undergoing an intensive Dubai training camp in preparation for this game and the rest of the season. It is expected that those involved in that camp will dominate the starting lineup.

In goal will be Caomhin Kelleher. The Northern Irishman started both games in the Dubai Super Cup and is set to make another start in the League Cup competition. He was the hero in the third round against Derby, as his penalty saving ability came to the fore once again.

Ahead of him in the backline, James Milner is likely to be called into action at right back. Alexander-Arnold only returned to training earlier this week, whilst Calvin Ramsay was left out of the squad for the Milan friendly, probably due to injury.

Millie was phenomenal in that role when these two sides last met. He kept Foden under wraps when many feared he would be exposed. He is expected to be up against Cole Palmer this time round, and if the friendlies are anything to go by, the veteran will once again be up for it. 

In the heart of defence it’s a straightforward selection, with Joel Matip certain to be paired alongside Joe Gomez. The duo will definitely have their hands full against a well rested Erling Haaland.

In midfield, the manager has the choice of trusting young Bajcetic or throwing Fabinho straight back into action. With the teenager starting both friendlies and acquitting himself well, Jürgen Klopp might lean towards the former option.

It would be the biggest game of his young career thus far, and it will be interesting to see how the youngster fares against elite opposition. He will have another youngster next to him in the shape of Harvey Elliott, with veteran Thiago Alcantara tasked with looking after the two teenagers in midfield.

Upfront, the manager’s options are limited. Diaz and Jota’s injuries mean he’s left with three senior players in attack. Salah, Firmino and Darwin Nunez will once again form a three pronged attack, just as they did in the weeks preceding the World Cup.

Fabio Carvalho and Ben Doak will offer youthful options off the bench. The former scored against Lyon whilst the latter took the breath away with a dazzling display off the bench against Milan. They will both be hoping to get minutes tomorrow night.

Predicted team:

Kelleher, Milner, Matip, Gomez, Robertson, Bajcetic, Elliott, Thiago, Salah, Firmino, Darwin.

Subs: Adrian, Alexander-Arnold, Phillips, Tsimikas, Keita, Oxlade-Chamberlain, Clark, Carvalho, Doak.



Liverpool travel to Manchester City on Thursday as club football returns with a bang. It may be the fourth round of the Carabao Cup but you can expect these two sides to go hammer and tongs at each other. Here’s the match preview. 

It’s been over five weeks since Jürgen Klopp’s men last took the pitch in a competitive outing. Southampton were beaten 3-1 at Anfield that day as Darwin Nunez signed off for the World Cup with a brace.

The World Cup concluded two days ago, with several members of both squads going deep into the tournament. The tight turnaround means we could see both sides field ‘weaker lineups’ than we are used to.

That won’t matter a jot once the referee’s whistle blows however, with the enmity between these two clubs only intensifying in recent years. It’s so much so that a joint letter has been released to try and smoothen things over and reduce some of the tension amongst the two fanbases.

It promises to be yet another fiercely contested battle. Jürgen Klopp has gotten the better of Pep Guardiola twice already this season, with a 3-1 victory in the Community Shield being backed up by a 1-0 league win at Anfield two months ago.

The Reds are the defending champions of the League Cup, having lifted the trophy back in February after a marathon penalty shootout victory over Chelsea. They face a massive test on Thursday in their quest to defend the trophy.

There will be lots of interesting battles to look forward to. Free scoring Erling Haaland wasn’t involved in the World Cup and is coming off the back of a three week break. He will come up against Joe Gomez and Joel Matip, with Van Dijk granted extended rest following his World Cup exploits.

Haaland has fired blanks in both games against Liverpool this season and will be aiming to put that right, especially in the absence of the big man. Elsewhere, Kevin De Bruyne will be looking to put a disappointing campaign with Belgium behind him.

The Red Devils’ shock group stage exit was a blessing in disguise for the Citizens as it means they have their two key men available for this clash. De Bruyne to Haaland is a combination that has wreaked havoc to many a team this season.

Key to disrupting that linkup and establishing dominance in midfield for the Reds will be Thiago Alcantara. The Spaniard was inexplicably left out of Spain’s World Cup squad and is primed to play a big part on Thursday.

Another key battle will be Mohamed Salah versus Sergio Gomez. The Egyptian will be relishing this game as he always seems to turn up against City. He’s another who has enjoyed a well earned break ahead of this fixture.

Potentially the most mismatched battle could well be on Liverpool’s left flank, with Darwin Nunez likely to come up against youngster Rico Lewis. The Uruguayan shook off a torrid World Cup campaign to net a brace off the bench against AC Milan.

That was a statement return to action. As they say, start as you mean to go on. Tasked to stop Darwin will in all likelihood be 18 year old Rico Lewis. The English youngster has made six appearances this season, featuring for the entirety of City’s third round League Cup victory over Chelsea.

He lost the most duels in that fixture despite the Citizens coming out on top in the end. Darwin should be licking his lips at the prospect of taking on the teenager. Riyad Mahrez will no doubt have to track back to help out.

Come what may, Thursday promises to be an enthralling encounter. It’s a welcome return to action for club football and what better way to restart than a cup tie between the two best teams in the land over the past five years?

Team News

Arthur Melo (thigh), Luis Diaz (knee) and Diogo Jota (calf) remain long term absentees. Calvin Ramsay and Curtis Jones are also expected to miss out through injury. Ibrahima Konaté and Virgil Van Dijk are both ruled out as they rest following World Cup exploits.

Alisson, Alexander-Arnold, Henderson and Fabinho have returned to training this week and could all be involved, although the former is not expected to start ahead of Caomhin Kelleher.

For City, Ederson, Cancelo, Dias, Walker, Stones, Silva, Phillips, Grealish, Foden all only returned to training this week. Their involvement in this fixture is in doubt as a result. Julian Alvarez is definitely out as he continues to celebrate the World Cup win with Argentina.

Predicted Man City XI: Ortega, Lewis, Akanji, Ake, Gomez, Rodri, Gundogan, De Bruyne, Mahrez, Palmer, Haaland.



Liverpool cruised to a 4-1 victory over AC Milan as they wrapped up the Dubai Super Cup. An early Salah goal was cancelled out by Saelemaekers, before Thiago restored the lead before the break. Darwin Nunez came off the bench to light the game up with a brace second half. Here are player ratings from the encounter.

Kelleher – 7

Well beaten for the goal. Made a smart stop at his near post. His excellent distribution helped the side keep their tight grip of control on the game.

Milner 8.5

Was everywhere! Rolled back the years with some incisive wing play. Created a number of openings going forward and was rock solid at the back. Kept Rebic honest and made several crucial blocks/interceptions in the box.

Matip – 8

Went on a mazy run and ended up with an assist. It was a lovely cushioned first time pass for Salah. He was another who was always on hand to clear danger in his own box. Headed one corner wide second half. Good to see him back fit.


Got across at pace to put out some fires. Was generally solid throughout. Kept his passing simple, stepping into midfield with the ball when required.

Robertson – 5.5

A hard one to rate. He showed his usual energy and hustle and bustle style, getting into some good areas as a result, but his final ball wasn’t quite at the levels. Was poor for their goal as he backed off Saelemaekers and allowed the shot. Played one suicidal pass straight to a Milan shirt and was lucky nothing came off it.

Bajcetic – 7.5

Looked accomplished at the base of midfield. He’s certainly been watching Thiago in training as he pulled off a number of the Spaniard’s trademark turns. Stole back the ball often times with his deceptively long limbs. Showed good vision as well with some line breaking passes. Promising.

Elliott – 6

The youngster did okay, tried to combine with Salah down the right. Needs to add a bit of unpredictability to his play though.

Thiago 9

Absolutely ran the show. His range of passing is obvious but it always manages to take the breath away. There was one such moment when he had a bit of keepy-ups before spraying a delightful pass down the left wing. Won his challenges in the middle of the pitch as well, marrying the dirty side with the sublime. Cracking goal. Took a touch and then slammed past the keeper after a corner was half cleared to the edge of the box.

Salah 6.5

Scored early when he gave the goalkeeper the eyes before rolling calmly into the bottom corner after being played clean through by Matip. Looked up for it but his passing let him down. Enjoyed himself out there.

Firmino 6.5

Some filthy flicks on show as per usual. Worked his socks off at the tip of the press.

Oxlade-Chamberlain 6

Operated on the left wing. Tried to combine with Salah and Firmino. Grew into the game as it wore on. Incurred the wrath of Milner when he opted to shoot with the veteran wide open on the right. Worked hard.


Adrian – 6

Not much to do in normal time. Great save from Aldi’s spot kick.

Tsimikas – 6

Some wicked set piece deliveries. Nutmegged by Saelemaekers. Saw his pen saved in the shootout.

Frauendorf – 5

Played out of position at right back. Didn’t seem sure of himself in terms of positioning or passing.

Keita – 5.5

Came on for Thiago. Lovely ball over the top for Darwin but the big man slipped before he could shoot. Saw his weak penalty well saved.

Carvalho – 6

Pushed around by the physical Kalulu. Drifted central to try and influence the game. Could have slipped Darwin through late on but elected to go for the shot. It was comfortable enough for the keeper. Boss pen.

Clark – 7

Played the pass of the match with an astonishing through ball for Darwin’s first. What a pass! Confident penalty as well. Only 17 years old, wow.

Darwin – 9

Immediately got involved, with his snap shot smothered by the keeper. He went close again when he accelerated past Bennacer before seeing his left footed effort tipped over. He got his goal when his well timed run was met by Clark’s majestic pass, before producing a clinical near post finish.

He then tapped home Doak’s centre for his second of the night, albeit with a hint of offside. Was lucky to see his poor penalty squirm past the goalkeeper. Not the worst return to the team after a tough World Cup campaign.

Phillips – 7

Made a crucial block in the box to halt a dangerous attack. Put his head where it hurts, as per, when he took a boot to the face from Bennacer. Moved to the left when Quansah came on.

Doak – 7.5

Showed what he was all about with some direct running. First, he breezed past the Milan defence and saw his shot cannon off the post. He then beat his man again before finding Darwin at the backpost for a tap in. He should have bagged a second assist but chose to ignore Darwin this time, shooting wide with his left foot. Jürgen Klopp certainly enjoyed his cameo.

Corness – N/A

Battled hard in midfield.

Quansah – N/A

On late on for Gomez.



The Reds are back in action tomorrow afternoon when they take on reigning Serie A champions AC Milan in the Dubai Super Cup. Jürgen Klopp’s men lost to Lyon on Sunday night and will aim to sign off their Dubai training camp with victory.

With the resumption of club action just a week away (Liverpool travel to the Etihad next Thursday), it’s now crunch time. The squad available to the manager during this camp will form the crux of the lineup in that Carabao Cup fourth round fixture against Manchester City.

Of the Reds’ World Cup contingent, Darwin Nunez is the only one available to face the Rossonneri tomorrow. The 23 year old joined up with his teammates earlier this week following Uruguay’s group stage exit at the World Cup.

We can expect him to feature tomorrow as he seeks to pick up straight where he left off. Darwin was directly involved in six goals (5 goals, 1 assist) in his last seven appearances preceding the World Cup break.

With Luis Diaz ruled out for a further three months, Liverpool will need their big money signing to keep delivering. Elsewhere, the rest of the squad will be handed more minutes. Twenty three players were involved against Lyon but we can expect that number to drop tomorrow.

Milan meanwhile will be taking in their third mid-season friendly tomorrow. Pioli’s men beat Lumezzane 3-2 before going down 2-1 to Arsenal on Tuesday. Beloved Liverpool hero, Divock Origi, was involved in both matches and is set for a romantic reunion.

Origi spent eight years on Liverpool’s books (spending two of those years on loan at Lille and then later Wolfsburg). The Belgian wrote himself into Liverpool folklore with some big goals on the biggest occasions. He is sure to receive a rousing ovation from the fans at the Al-Maktoum stadium.

The likes of Fikayo Tomori, Sandro Tonali, Ismael Bennacer, Brahim Diaz, Ante Rebic etc are all available, with Pioli set to name as strong an XI as possible. Milan should hand the Reds a competitive game, just as Lyon did on Sunday. Hopefully Klopp’s men earn a victory this time round.



Liverpool succumbed to a 3-1 defeat at the hands of Lyon in the Dubai Super Cup. An early Carvalho strike was cancelled out by Lacazette late in the first half, before further strikes by Barcola and the ex-Arsenal striker sealed the result in the second half. Here are player ratings from the encounter.

Kelleher – 5

Didn’t have much to do first half hour. Made a strong stop from Dembele’s fierce drive. Failed to communicate with Robertson for the Lacazette equaliser as he charged out of his goal only for the Scot to knock the ball past him for the onrushing striker.

Milner 6

Filled in at right back before moving to the base of midfield after the break. Looked better in the middle of the park.

Matip – 6.5

Dealt well with some early crosses into the box. Didn’t charge upfield with the ball like we know he can. A welcome return to action.


Operated as the left sided centre back. Played well enough, a few possession giveaways aside.

Robertson – 7

He was excellent first 40. Bombed forward with purpose and looked dangerous every time. Created a few chances as well. Don’t know what he was thinking when he knocked the ball past his own keeper.

Bajcetic – 7

Sat infront of the defence and put in some crunching tackles. One such challenge on Tolisso saw him harshly booked. Was impressive yet again.

Elliott – 4

Didn’t quite look at it. Gave the ball away sloppily at times. Set up for a decent chance but snatched at it. Subbed right after that with an injury. Hopefully not a serious one.

Thiago 7.5

A joy to watch as always. Sprayed the ball around the pitch with ease. Put in a shift defensively too.

Salah 6.5

Started brightly. Probably got the assist for Carvalho’s opener. Looked sharp whenever he combined with Firmino and Elliott with first time passes. Saw his penalty saved by the keeper. Was quiet as the game wore on.

Firmino 7.5

He looked classy. Pressed from the front and sought to bring others into play. A typically selfless pass to Salah led to the opening goal.

Carvalho 5

Handed the Reds the lead after a minute, tapping home from close range after some good pressing. Didn’t do much else after that.


Frauendorf – 5

Came on for the stricken Elliott. Filled in on the right of midfield. Was on the end of some heavy challenges.

Adrian – 6

Passed straight to Dembele and was lucky the striker took a heavy touch. Made a good save when one on one with the attacker. Unlucky with their third goal as he had made a brilliant save before the rebound was slammed home.

Ramsay – 6.5

Came on and immediately stood out. Went on a few mazy dribbles and was unlucky not to score with a terrific left footed effort from the edge of the box. Was given a good test by Barcola. Unfortunately saw his penalty saved in the shootout.

Phillips – 6

Came on for Matip at halftime and looked at home. Saw a shot deflected behind. The defence crumbled around him after a whole batch of youngsters came on late on.

Tsimikas – 5

Didn’t offer much going forward. Caught out of position for one of their goals. Belter of a pen.

Clark – 4

Couldn’t get a kick. Too lightweight, and too imprecise with his touch.

Oxlade-Chamberlain – 5

One powerful run through the middle brought back some good memories. Ran down cul-de-sacs after that. Switched from the left wing to a false nine role late on. Scored his pen.

Chambers – 4

Poor for their second as he backed off Cherki all the way into the box and allowed him to cut inside and find Barcola at the far post.


Showed good feet at times and wasn’t shy to try his luck from range. Another who was just too lightweight for the midfield battle. Lyon dominated the latter stages of the game as a result.

Keita – 4

Terrible for the second. As culpable as Chambers. Couldn’t dissposess Cherki from midfield all the way into the box. Didn’t stand out in a team full of kids. A least he’s back fit. Scored his pen.

Doak – 4

Was really looking forward to seeing him but he couldn’t quite show what he was capable of. Spent most of the time helping out in his defensive third. The few times he got the opportunity to ran at his fullback, he either overdid it or tripped over his own feet.

Stewart – N/A

Was on briefly, before being taken off for Cain.

Cain – N/A

Played on the left wing. Lightweight.

Jürgen Klopp

The manager went with his strongest available XI and was rewarded with a strong start. The gegenpress was in full force as Liverpool choked the life out of Lyon in the early exchanges. Failure to capitalise on that dominance came back to bite them as the French side grew into the game and found an equaliser.

The second half was a tale of the Lyon youngsters outclassing their Liverpool counterparts. Good work out in the end. Another injury though (Elliott), leaves the squad looking paper thin. On to Milan.



It has been a long old month without Jürgen Klopp’s Liverpool. The World Cup has been a decent distraction but the Reds finally return to action tomorrow afternoon when they take on French side Olympique Lyonnais in the Dubai Super Cup.

Jürgen Klopp has been putting his contingent of players who haven’t been involved in the World Cup through an intense training camp in Dubai since Tuesday. Their participation in this tournament will serve to get minutes under the players’ belts as they prepare for the resumption of club football.

With only seven players being called up for their respective countries at the World Cup, it’s been a healthy squad available for the training camp. The likes of Matip, Gomez, Robertson, Milner, Thiago, Elliott, Firmino, Salah etc have all been put through their paces after a welcome three week break.

A handful of youngsters from the Academy have also been involved as they seek to catch the manager’s eye. Stefan Bajcetic, Kaide Gordon, Bobby Clark, Ben Doak to name a few, will all be aiming to take their chance on this trip.

A spot in the squad may just have opened up for someone like Ben Doak, with the terrible news of Luis Diaz suffering a setback in his recovery from injury. The Colombian had begun training over the past week but is now set for an extended spell on the sidelines after requiring surgery on his knee.

With Diogo Jota also not expected back untill late January at the earliest, the squad is looking light on out and out wide men. This may be an opening for a young talent like Doak. The 17 year old will likely get minutes tomorrow after catching the eye with the youth team and on his first team debut against Derby.

Darwin Nunez is in line to join up with the rest of the squad next week, after Uruguay’s group stage elimination. Alisson Becker, Fabinho and Virgil Van Dijk will follow suit a week later after their World Cup involvement came to an end in the quarter final.

Elsewhere, the likes of Naby Keita and Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain will be heading into the last few months of their respective contracts. With no sign of a renewal forthcoming, the duo will want to end their Liverpool careers with a bang, if only to attract suitors for a summer move.

Roberto Firmino and James Milner are similarly in the last few months of their contracts, but their Liverpool future doesn’t seem as bleak. Tomorrow is the first step in the preparation for the rest of the campaign.

After an uncharacteristically slow start, the Reds have a lot of catching up to do in the league table. Jürgen Klopp and Pep Ljinders are no doubt relishing this training camp as they whip the side into shape tactically and physically for the challenges that lay ahead.

The real business starts again in twelve days with a trip to the Etihad to take on Manchester City for a Carabao Cup fourth round tie. Before then though, Lyon, and a chance to see the Reds back in action. Can’t wait. It’s been too long.



Darwin Nunez made his World Cup bow as Uruguay kicked off their campaign against Paulo Bento’s South Korea side. The two teams were evenly matched heading into the encounter and it proved to be the theme of the day.  

Darwin started on the left wing of a conservative 4-5-1 setup, with ex-Liverpool striker Luis Suarez leading the line. It was a keenly contested affair, with South Korea possibly edging the first half in terms of threatening attacks.

Sergio Rochet in the Uruguayan goal was untroubled however, as Son and co failed to get the final pass or shot right. Darwin hugged the touchline first half and had a thankless task to be honest. He had to fight for every ball, with La Celeste not getting enough men up in support.

Both sides went close in the first half, with Ui-Jo skying his effort from just a few yards out. It was a sitter. Uruguay meanwhile hit the post on the stroke of halftime through veteran Diego Godin’s header from a corner.

Diego Alonso’s men carried a bit more threat after the break. Darwin Nunez showed a clean pair of heels to leave Kim Min-Jae on the turf as he collected Godin’s diagonal. The 23 year old advanced towards goal but his cutback was smothered by the goalkeeper.

It was a frustrating outing for Suarez, with Edinson Cavani replacing him just after the hour mark. It was a scrappy affair, with both sides not taking too many risks in search of a winner.

Heading into the final ten minutes, Darwin had another pop at goal, cutting inside and curling just wide of the far post after being released down the left wing by Cavani. Uruguay went close again in the 90th minute when Valverde’s rasping drive cannoned off the upright.

The Real Madrid midfielder was the pick of the match, with his energy and drive evident throughout. His celebration when he halted a late counter after throwing in a big tackle on Kang-In summed him up. He’s growing into some player.

Both sides settled for a point. Not a bad start considering the nature of the group, with Portugal taking on Ghana in the other group game. No matter the result in that fixture, Uruguay will have to step up their game when they take on the Portuguese on Monday.

For Darwin, it was a gentle introduction to World Cup action. He put in a huge shift, with his pace and energy stretching the defence and causing them problems. He will be aiming to get off the mark next time out.



Ibrahima Konaté made his World Cup debut tonight for what was only his third cap for France. The 23 year old was preferred over the likes of Joules Koundé and William Saliba in the absence of the injured Raphael Varane.

It was a proud night for the 23 year old as he paired up alongside his former defensive partner Dayot Upamecano. Things didn’t immediately go to plan however, as Australia shocked the defending champions with an early goal.

Matthew Leckie got away from Lucas Hernandez (who hurt himself in the process) and found Craig Goodwin at the backpost. Pavard had lost his man and the Adelaide United forward made no mistake, arrowing his strike into the top corner to put the Aussies in front.

Theo Hernandez came on for his injured brother at left back and that seemed to breathe a bit of life into the French attack. The Milan skipper bombed forward in support of Kylian Mbappe. He provided the inviting cross that Rabiot headed in for the equaliser.

The French didn’t hang around either, and within five minutes, they were ahead. Rabiot won the ball high up the pitch, and after exchanging passes with Mbappe, cutback to the veteran Giroud for a simple tap in.

The Soceroos almost made it 2-2 on the stroke of halftime when Irvine’s header came off the post. The 2-1 halftime lead was deserved though, as Deschamps’ men provided an excellent reaction to that initial setback. Mbappe was getting involved a lot more after a quiet start.

The PSG man would steal the show in the second half. He should have scored from Griezmann’s pick-out first half but made up for it in the 68th minute when he guided a header in off the post from Dembele’s cross. That goal handed Les Bleus the breathing space their dominance deserved.

Three minutes later, Mbappe was at it again, toying with Atkinson the right back, before crossing for Giroud to nod home his second goal. It was a historic moment as that goal saw the 36 year old equal Thierry Henry as France’s all time topscorer with 51 goals.

Giroud failed to score at the 2018 World Cup despite playing a crucial role in the side going all the way in Russia. He sacrificed a lot of himself for his teammates that tournament. It’s a different story this time though. Benzema’s unfortunate injury has handed him the chance to make history.

Les Bleus cruised through the rest of the contest, with Konaté putting in a solid display. He thought he’d scored when he powered a header goalwards from a corner in the 90th minute. Mathew Ryan produced a brilliant save to push it wide and deny the big man a dream debut goal.

All in all it was a solid night’s work for Ibou. Some of his passes went awry at times but he was generally on top of things when he had any bits of defending to do. He filled in well for Varane and I’m sure Deschamps will be willing to trust him again if Varane doesn’t recover in time for the next game.

Ibrahima Konaté vs Australia:

• Passing Accuracy – 88%
• Shots on Target – 1
• Final Third Passes – 14
• Accurate Long Balls – 5
• Dispossessed – 0
• Tackles Won – 100%
• Clearances – 4
• Interceptions – 1
• Recoveries – 6

Solid Debut 🇫🇷

It’s Denmark next on Saturday. Another victory will see the French seal qualification to the knockout stages, breaking the defending champions group stage hoodoo in the process. The Danes drew against Tunisia earlier today.



Virgil Van Dijk captained the Dutch side for their opening group game at the World Cup against an impressive Senegal outfit. Van Dijk, who was making his maiden appearance for his nation at a major tournament, played his part in a 2-0 win.

It wasn’t as straightforward as the scoreline suggests, with the two goal lead flattering the Orange. Senegal were more than a match for their European counterparts. A tightly contested first half saw the Teranga Lions go toe to toe with Van Gaal’s men.

The game was battled for in midfield, with the trio of Mendy, Kouyate and Gueye swamping De Jong and Berghuis. This saw the Dutch attack starved of any real service. A goalless first half was entertaining, as both sides showed an eye catching level of tactical and technical dexterity.

The Dutch didn’t have it all their own way after the break either. If anything, the reigning African champions looked likelier to break the deadlock, with a string of fine saves by Noppert keeping them at bay. Van Dijk played in the heart of defence, flanked by De Ligt and Ake.

The big man had to work hard to keep Boulaye Dia under wraps. The Villarreal striker combined well with the dangerous Ismaila Sarr to cause the Dutch a few problems. More injury woe hit the Senegalese though, as Kouyate was forced off in the second half.

Van Dijk went close to opening the scoring from a corner but could only steer wide after getting the run on Gueye. Memphis Depay came off the bench as Van Gaal sought a spark of inspiration. That was delivered by the effervescent Frenkie De Jong however.

The Barca man had been in a running battle with the hardworking Senegalese midfield. He was in perpetual motion all game as he sought to find space to progress the Dutch up the pitch whilst keeping the door closed to any Senegalese counter attacks.

The moment of the game came in the 80th minute when he spotted the run of Gapko and lofted an inch perfect cross for the youngster to attack. Edouard Mendy in the Senegal goal misjudged the flight of the cross and was beaten to it by the PSV Eindhoven attacker who flicked into an empty net.

The reigning Dutch Player of the Year arrived in Qatar in supreme form and delivered for his nation when it mattered most. The final ten minutes saw Senegal scramble around as they sought to hit back. This opened them up on the break however.

Two substitutes put the result in no doubt after Depay’s shot was parried into the path of Klaasen by Mendy. The Ajax man made no mistake, slamming home to make it 2-0 and send the stadium into an orange frenzy.

Three points, two goals and a clean sheet. It was a solid night’s work for Virgil and a dream start to the tournament for the Dutch. For Cisse’s men, they have to keep their chin up. They showed enough tonight to suggest they can cause teams problems at this level.

Sadio Mané was of course sorely missed but they have to regroup and focus on their second group game (against hosts Qatar). Win that and they’ll hand themselves a decent chance of qualifying.

For Van Dijk and co, it’s on to Ecuador. That match is slated for Friday so it’s a quick turnaround. They must recover and prepare to go again. Beat the South Americans and qualification will be secured.



The 2022 FIFA World Cup is finally upon us, with hosts Qatar kicking things off this afternoon when they face Ecuador. There’s been a lot of negative publicity regarding the tournament but it’s time to focus on the football.

Liverpool have seven players at the mundial representing five countries (England, Brazil, Netherlands, France and Uruguay). Here’s a quick preview of their fixtures and what lies ahead for the septuplet.


The Dutch will of course be led by the colossus that is Virgil Van Dijk. The 31 year old suffered the heartbreak of missing Euro 2020 through injury, but has worked his socks off to not only return from that nasty ACL injury, but to reach a semblance of the form that made him the best centre back on the planet.

This remarkably is his first international tournament and you can bet your bottom dollar he’ll do whatever is in his power to extract the most out of it. As skipper, he is a huge player for Louis Van Gaal. He will be called upon every game as the Dutch aim to make a splash after failing to qualify for the 2018 edition.

The Orange will take on reigning African champions Senegal in their first game in group A, before facing Ecuador and finally hosts Qatar. With Sadio Mané missing the tournament through injury, Netherlands are overwhelming favourites to top Group A.

That will see them meet the runners-up in Group B (England, USA, Iran, Wales). Get through that and Argentina likely await in the quarter final. It could certainly get tasty. The Dutch should make it to last eight at the very least. From there, a lot will come down to luck.


The Three Lions have two representative from Liverpool in Jordan Henderson and Trent Alexander-Arnold. Neither are guaranteed starters as it stands but that could change as the tournament progresses.

Trent has overcome a whole lot of criticism to make the squad. That there was even a debate as to his inclusion in the final squad tells you all you need to know about Gareth Southgate and his unimaginative style of play.

Kieran Trippier and Luke Shaw are expected to be the starting full backs so the 23 year old may have to bide his time on the bench and wait for his chance. Henderson meanwhile, is behind Declan Rice and Jude Bellingham in the pecking order.

The vice captain was mostly used as a substitute in the Euros when England went agonisingly close to ending their long wait for silverware, falling to a penalty shootout defeat to Italy in the final. This after they finished fourth at the 2018 World Cup.

Could it finally be coming home? The Three Lions kick things off in Group B against Iran. They then take on USA before facing off against neighbours Wales. Gareth Southgate’s men are huge favourites to top group B.

That will see them clash against the runners-up in Group A (likely Senegal) in the Round of 16. Get past that hurdle and the last eight will in all likelihood present either France/Germany/Spain. Unlike their ‘easy’ run to the semis in 2018, the route will be tougher this time.


Les Bleus have been rocked with injury in the lead up to the tournament, with Christopher Nkunku and Ballon d’Or holder Karim Benzema both ruled out of the tournament. This is compounded by long term injuries in midfield to Paul Pogba and N’golo Kante.

That midfield duo was a key part of their 2018 triumph in Russia. In defence, a knock to Raphael Varane seems to have handed Liverpool’s Ibrahima Konaté a chance. The 22 year old is reportedly set to start in the heart of defence alongside Dayot Upamecano.

It’s been a swift rise for Ibou. After a successful first season with the Reds, he earned his first cap in June. He had to recover from injury himself to make it in time for the squad announcement. Now he finds himself likely to start the first game again Australia ahead of the likes of Kounde and Saliba.

Should he grab his chance with both hands, who knows what will happen even when Varane returns to full fitness? Didier Deschamps men are the reigning world champions and are overwhelming favourites to top Group D.

They kick things off against Australia before clashing against an impressive Denmark outfit, finishing things off against Tunisia. Even with several key players missing, the French are still one of the pre-tournament favourites.

Should they top Group D as expected, they will face runners-up of Group C (likely Mexico or Poland). Get past that and England likely await in the last eight. One of Germany/Belgium/Portugal will then probably stand in the way of another World Cup final.


The Selecao are another huge pre-tournament favourite. They possess ridiculous talent from back to front. Alisson Becker and Fabinho both made the cut, but Roberto Firmino suffered the ignominy of being left out of the squad.

Tite led Brazil to the Copa America title in 2019 before finishing runners-up to Argentina last year. He will be aiming to improve on their quarter final exit at the hands of Belgium in the 2018 World Cup.

Alisson is first choice ahead of Manchester City’s Ederson and should start every game he’s fit for (possible exception being the last group game if qualification has already been secured). Fabinho meanwhile will have to make do with a place on the bench.

He is behind the likes of Casemiro, Paqueta and Fred as things stand. Brazil will kick things off in Group G when they take on a tricky Serbia outfit. They then take on Switzerland, before a final group game against Cameroon.

Top Group G as many expect and Brazil will be paired against the runners-up in Group H (Portugal, Uruguay, South Korea, Ghana). Clear that hurdle and it’s likely to be Spain or Croatia in the quarter finals.

Get past that challenge and it’s probably Argentina/Netherlands in the last four. We won’t get to witness a Brazil vs Argentina final as both heavyweights are on the same side of the draw.


Darwin Nunez is the final Liverpool representative at the World Cup, with the 23 year old a part of a Uruguay squad with an interesting blend of youth and experience. La Celeste are in group H and will be aiming to seal qualification to the knockout stages.

Darwin is expected to link up with ex-Liverpool striker Luis Suarez in an exciting partnership. ‘El Pistolero’ is 35 years old and will be appearing at his last World Cup. Same goes for veteran hitman Edinson Cavani.

It could be a perfect passing of the torch moment as Darwin gets a taste of his first World Cup. Diego Alonso’s men will start things off against South Korea, before taking on group favourites Portugal.

They’ll conclude the group fixtures with a showdown against Ghana, and who can forget Suarez’s infamous goalline handball against the Black Stars and the subsequent penalty miss at the 2010 World Cup?

Should Uruguay manage to win Group H, they’ll take on Group G runners-up (likely Serbia). Manouvre their way round that and it’s probably Belgium/Germany in the last eight. Comparatively, if they finish runners-up in Group H, they’ll face Group G winners (Brazil in all likelihood).

Whatever happens, it is sure to be another enthralling tournament. New stars will be born and there will be no shortage of talking points. Jürgen Klopp will be watching on hoping his seven representatives stay fit. May the best nation emerge victors.



Curtis Jones put pen to paper on a new five year deal on Thursday and it is safe to say fans’ reaction to the news was mixed at best. The Scouser is still only 21 years old yet is closing in on a century of appearances for the club. He divides opinion but surely a bit of patience won’t go amiss.

Curtis made his first team debut when Jürgen Klopp handed him a start away to Wolverhampton Wanderers in the FA Cup in the 2018/19 campaign. Jones, who was a few weeks shy of his 18th birthday at the time, played in attack and lasted 70 minutes.

Also making their debuts that night were Rafael Camacho and Ki-Jana Hoever. Those two made a combined six appearances for the club before their exit, but Jones has lasted the pace. He’s worked his way into Jürgen Klopp’s plans and become a genuine member of the first team.

He’s had a number of highlights in his short career thus far. There was the madcap 5-5 draw against Arsenal in October 2019 where he came off the bench to set up a goal before taking the fifth penalty in the shootout, holding his nerve to slot the Reds into the next round.

Another highlight was when he made his Premier League debut as a late substitute in a 3-0 win away at Bournemouth. Perhaps the moment that stands out the most was his sensational winner against Everton in the FA Cup. A truly stunning strike infront of the Kop, what a way to open his Liverpool account!

Since then he’s continued to grow in stature, netting in both the Premier League and Champions League. He’s evolved from his role as an attacker (a role he perfected under Steven Gerrard’s tutelage in the youth team) to a rounded central midfielder.

He’s had to sacrifice a bit of his natural game to take on defensive responsibilities for the good of the team. He enjoyed a breakthrough season in the 2020/21 campaign, making 31 appearances across all competitions, scoring 4 goals and laying on 5 assists.

Another highlight of his came in that campaign when he became the youngest captain in the club’s history after leading a youthful side out against Shrewsbury in the FA Cup. That Covid-interrupted season is probably his best and most consistent for the club.

Last season he struggled for consistency. A freak eye injury disrupted his start to the campaign and he never truly got going. The emergence of Harvey Elliott in his absence raised the expectations when he finally returned to fitness.

A combination of factors meant he wasn’t able to live up to those expectations. A lack of a consistent run in the side didn’t help. With the stakes high in every single match in an unprecedented quadruple chase, perhaps it is understandable. He made 27 appearances, scoring once.

Curtis eventually fell behind Harvey in the pecking order and his career seems to be stalling as he’s constantly stuck in the same loop. His decision making on the ball has always been a shortcoming of his since he broke into the side.

It didn’t matter much earlier on when he was playing mostly in the final third. Since his reshaping as a deeper lying midfielder, it has been exposed time and again. He simply hogs the ball too long, a trait of his that can be traced back to his time as the talisman for the U18s.

He has certainly failed to develop at the rate fans would hope, but that isn’t to say he doesn’t have a role to play in this Liverpool side. He’s got the physical and technical attributes required, as well as the belief and confidence to reach the very top level.

It is now a matter of development. With this new contract, Jürgen Klopp is not only backing the player, but himself as a coach to extract the very best out of what is a talented youngster. Jürgen has the track record to instill confidence that he can refine yet another rough diamond.

With Milner, Keita and Oxlade-Chamberlain expected to depart next summer, and Thiago and Henderson 31 and 32 respectively, Curtis Jones could be a big part of the midfield evolution. He’s still very young but has now been part of this successful Liverpool side for a few seasons.

He said himself he’s yet to show his real self. Here’s to hoping we get to see more of the player we expected him to be when he first broke through.



November is a truncated month as a result of the FIFA World Cup. As such, Liverpool faced only four fixtures as compared to nine in October. Napoli, Spurs, Derby and Southampton were all defeated as the Reds ended this period in strong form.

It was a fantastic response to the woeful defeat to Leeds United, as Napoli were handed their first defeat of the season. The victory at Spurs was even more impressive, with a ruthless first half display backed up by a gritty second half show of resilience.

A largely youthful side then took on Derby County in the third round of the League Cup, with Kelleher coming out on top in the shootout, before the Saints were put to the sword by a combination of Darwin Nunez’s thrust and Alisson’s excellence.

Here are the top performing players over the course of the month:

2=. Thiago Alcantaraavg. rating (7.7)

The 31 year old is absolutely crucial to Jürgen Klopp’s outfit. His absence is always keenly felt, which makes the fact that he’s injury prone very frustrating. Thiago helped the Reds win the midfield battle against Lobotka, Anguissa and Zielinski at Anfield .

The Neopolitans’ trio completely dominated the middle of the park in the reverse fixture when they romped to a 4-1 win. Thiago came off the bench that night to good effect and was once again a level above here. He also played a crucial part at Spurs.

He was at it again when Nathan Jones’ Southampton visited Anfield. The trademark drop of the shoulder was put on repeat as he ran rings around Ward-Prowse and co in midfield. The Spaniard is a truly special talent.

He continues to be the side’s best and certainly most consistent midfield performer. His technical ability is unmatched, and at 31, the club needs to start working on a succession plan.

Thiago Alcantara won the most tackles (14) in the group stages of the Champions League. This is despite starting just four matches.

2=. Mohamed Salah – avg. rating (7.7)

Mo was the club’s joint topscorer in November, with three strikes. He opened the scoring late on against Napoli with a poacher’s effort, with that strike seeing him top the Champions League goal charts (alongside Kylian Mbappe – 7 goals).

It was against Spurs that he truly purred though, almost putting them to the sword single handedly. A razor sharp finish on the half volley opened the scoring before he ruthlessly punished Eric Dier’s error by classily lobbing Hugo Lloris after accelerating clear.

It was yet another match winning display for the Egyptian who shows no signs of slowing down. He took his tally to 14 in all competitions, at least 5 clear of any teammate. He’s on course to finish as the club’s topscorer for a sixth consecutive season.

Mohamed Salah has created more chances (41) and scored more goals (14) for Liverpool than any other player this season.

1. Darwin Nunezavg. rating (7.8)

The Uruguayan international truly felt part of the furniture during the course of this month. No longer was he too eager to impress, no longer was he sheer chaos. He looked settled and assured, which no doubt helped his undeniable class shine through.

He came off the bench against Napoli and was involved in both goals. His late header caused Meret all sorts of problems, allowing Salah poke home to break the deadlock. This was before he himself tapped home from barely a yard out after Van Dijk’s header was weakly parried.

A return to the 4-3-3 formation saw him line up on the left wing against Spurs. He tormented Emerson Royal throughout and was unlucky not to get on the scoresheet. He did however provide the assist for Salah’s opening goal.

His defensive work in support of Andy Robertson also caught the eye that night. In the League Cup tie against Derby, he came off the bench and tucked home his penalty in the shootout.

His best display of the month was saved for last as an outstanding overall performance against Southampton on Saturday set tongues wagging. Not only did he notch a brace but he connected well with teammates, laid on chances and generally looked at home in Klopp’s side.

Darwin Nunez in the PL this season:

• Most shots per 90 (5.79)
• Most shots inside the box per 90 (4.46)
• Most shots on target per 90 (2.52)
• 3rd highest xG per 90* (0.7).
• 3rd most chances created per 90 (1.93).
• 2nd most big chances created per 90* (0.89).

Darwin = Box Office🍿

Darwin registered the most goal involvements for Liverpool in November (4) and now departs for the World Cup in really good nick. It’ll take a brave man to bet against the 23 year old truly exploding in the second half of the season.

Highest rated individual performance of the month:

° Caomhin Kelleher vs Derby County – (10/10)

° Mohamed Salah vs Tottenham Hotspur – (9.5/10)

° Darwin Nunez vs Southampton – (9.5/10)

Made4Liverpool 22/23 Player of the Month:

August – Harvey Elliott

September – Thiago Alcantara

October – Alisson Becker

November – Darwin Nunez

*Average ratings are collated from the player ratings posted on this site after every match. Players must have earned a rating in more than half the number of games in the month under review.



Liverpool signed off for the World Cup with a fourth consecutive victory in all competitions. Southampton were beaten at Anfield yesterday as a Darwin Nunez first half brace did the damage. Here’s the match review.

You can check out player ratings from the match here.

° Rapid start. Having lost to 20th placed Nottingham Forest and 19th placed Leeds United, the Reds were keen to avoid another upset here against the Saints who kicked off 18th in the league table. A swift start was key here to avoid handing the visitors any encouragement.

Roberto Firmino provided just that when he intelligently flicked Robertson’s sixth minute free kick delivery past the despairing dive of Bazunu in the Saints goal. The Reds had lift off. This was the Brazilian’s first goal in 9 matches, a perfect riposte to being left out of Tite’s squad.

° Quick fire response. Barely three minutes after going behind, Nathan Jones’ side struck back with a set piece goal of their own. Ward-Prowse’s trademark wicked delivery was nodded home by Che Adams who had broken the offside trap, leaving Alisson in no man’s land.

° Early action continues. Both sides were having a go at each other, with the Reds next to threaten when Darwin’s pinpoint centre for Salah was smothered by Bazunu. The Uruguayan wouldn’t have to wait long to inflict damage.

° Darwin delivers. Liverpool’s mounting pressure told when the 23 year old side-footed Harvey Elliott’s brilliant pick-out into the bottom corner. It was a deft volley to edge the Reds back infront. Elliott’s maiden Premier League assist was a thing of beauty.

° Darwin at the double. Three minutes before the break, Darwin had scored again. Firmino slipped Robertson through on the left, with the Scot looking up before laying it on an a plate for the big man to slide home. It was a trademark Liverpool goal and marked the first time Darwin had netted twice in a game for the Reds.

Darwin Nunez since the beginning of 2021/22:

🎮| Club games : 59
⚽| Goals : 43
🎯| Assists : 6

49 G+A in 59 🔥

° Oh Andy Andy. Andy Robertson was at his creative best yesterday, laying on a game high six chances for his teammates. His two assists saw him make history as well, drawing level with Leighton Baines’ all time Premier League assist tally for a defender.

Andy Robertson has equalled Leighton Baines’ record for the most Premier League assists provided by a defender in the competition’s history (53).

He’s played 190 fewer games 🤯

° Southampton grow into it second half. A triple substitution right before the hour mark saw the Saints change shape. This change in formation and extra bodies forward seemed to catch the Reds out. The Saints created a number of big chances but couldn’t get past Alisson.

Klopp’s side just don’t seem to press like they used to. Whether by design or a sign of deeper lying issues, teams are now able to string numerous passing sequences together where previously they’d have been hoofing clear in the face of non-stop closing down.

° World class goalkeeping. Elyounoussi was first to sneak through before seeing his shot stopped by the big hand of the Brazilian goalie. Substitute Edozie was next as he went clean through after exchanging passes on the edge of the Liverpool box.

Again Alisson was quick off his line to block the shot, with his defence guilty of switching off. The most impressive save on the day was from Che Adams’ thumping header after he had gotten ahead of Gomez. Alisson stopped it with a strong right hand before Alexander-Arnold completed the clearance.

° Millie milestone. The veteran came on for the 600th Premier League appearance of what has been a fantastic career. He showed there would be a good number of appearances to come as well with an impressive shift to help see out the victory.

° Now for the break. The Reds sit sixth at the time of writing, 8 points off Spurs in 4th albeit with a game in hand. They lie 15 points behind top of the table Arsenal, 10 off Manchester City and 8 adrift of Newcastle in third.

They have left themselves with a lot to do but they will be confident of showing more consistency after the break and possibly stringing a long winning streak together to reel in the teams above them. For now it’s a top four race, but who knows, we could reassess that come March.



Liverpool earned their eighth win in the last ten games by beating Southampton at Anfield this afternoon. A Firmino opener was cancelled out by Che Adams before a Darwin Nunez brace sealed the points ahead of the World Cup break. Here are player ratings from the encounter.

Alisson – 9

Rushed out for Ward-Prowse’s free kick and was caught in no man’s land as Adams headed home. Second half he was a wall in goal. Stopped three sure goals with outstanding saves. The last one from Adams’ glanced header was unbelievable. What a keeper!

Alexander-Arnold 8

Played well. Was his usual expressive self on the ball and defended strongly one on one, especially second half. Swiped at a half volley first half when he perhaps had more time.


First half I thought he was excellent. Dealt well with everything the Saints threw at him. Swept up well and picked his passes mindfully. Second half he came under more pressure. Slotted in at right back towards the end.

Van Dijk – 8

First half he just cruised through, with the Saints avoiding him like a plague. Second half they threw caution to the wind and the big man had more to do. He showed he’s still got that pace, beating Armstrong in a foot race before halting a two on one counter all by himself. Was on hand to clear danger in the box. Powerful header to nod the ball back to Alisson late on when Adams looked set to head home. Should have scored at the other end.

Robertson – 9

Created so many chances today. Set up the first goal with a peach of a delivery from a free kick. Bombed down the wing and set up a number of opportunities, with Darwin sliding one home for his second of the day. Tired late on and was kept honest by Walcott. Given a breather with five minutes left. He’s equalled Leighton Baines’ assist record in 190 fewer matches.

Fabinho – 7

Was better with his passing today. Showed composure to take a touch where necessary before finding a teammate. Still looked alarmingly slow and unable to stick a foot in when the visitors threw men forward second half.

Elliott – 7.5

Stupendous pass to find Darwin at the backpost to put Liverpool back infront. That settled him down after a tough start. Grafted after that. Thought he struggled a bit with his defensive work when Southampton threw bodies forward second half. Went off for Millie.

Thiago 8.5

First half he ran the show. He really put on a passing clinic, with his body swerves dizzying Ward-Prowse and co. Halted a counter with a big tackle to cheers from the crowd first half. A bit more quiet as the game grew on.

Salah 6.5

Not quite his day. Ball bobbled off him a bit and his passing wasn’t as crisp. He kept going though and gave Salisu no moment’s peace. Unlucky not to score late on when his curler was deflected behind by Lyanco. Should have tucked home Darwin’s cross early on, and Trent’s deep cross which found him unmarked in the box.

Firmino 8

Great header to open the scoring. Worked his socks off and knitted play together well. Drifted all over the pitch and was assured in possession. So intelligent with where he popped up on the pitch. Pulled left a lot second half to give Robbo someone to link up with. Lovely through ball to the left back for Darwin’s second.

Darwin 9.5

Looked up for it from the first whistle. Burst down the left wing and put one on a plate for Salah. Took his first goal well as he tucked home with a controlled left footed volley past Bazunu. He set up Bobby with a cheeky backheel but the keeper made the save. Stabbed home his second from Robertson’s cutback. He’s another who drifted all over the pitch and linked up well with teammates. MOTM.


Milner – 8

The veteran was incredible when he came on. Put in a tackle in the right back area when needed, won a free kick where necessary and joined the attack to good effect. Rolled back the years today on what was his 600th Premier League appearance. Exceptional career.

Oxlade-Chamberlain – 6

Played the Bobby role when he came on. Showed some lovely touches and passes.

Phillips – N/A

Good to see him get Premier League minutes.

Tsimikas – N/A

Won a corner with his very first touch.

Carvalho – N/A

Tricky feet.

Jürgen Klopp

The gaffer went with his strongest available team, with Konaté and Henderson’s unavailability denying him more options. He sat in the stands as he served his suspension and watched his men control the first half and go in at the break 3-1 up despite the Saints finding a quick equaliser.

The second half was more a case of seeing it out, and seeing it out they did, with Alisson producing some huge saves to deny Southampton. The Reds climb up to 6th. Not bad considering the woeful start to the campaign. All to do after the break.



Liverpool are in action tomorrow when they take on Southampton at Anfield for a 3pm GMT kickoff. The Reds are coming off the back of a penalty shootout victory over Derby County and will be looking to sign off for the World Cup with three points. Here’s the predicted lineup.

For a match preview, you can head over here.

Most of the first team have enjoyed a full week off having either been left out of the squad completely or only being limited to a half hour cameo in the midweek League Cup tie. Only Elliott, Firmino and Darwin (who all came off the bench) will be in serious contention for a start tomorrow.

On the injury front, it’s the same squad available to Jürgen Klopp as he had in the win at Spurs. The only exception being the return of James Milner from concussion. Joel Matip has been out since the defeat at Arsenal and could also be included in the squad having returned to training.

The 4-4-2 seems to have been binned since the woeful loss to Leeds. In the three matches since, the manager has reverted to the 4-3-3 and his side has looked better for it. Victories over Napoli and Spurs certainly add credence to the argument to stick with the setup going forward.

In that case, we will see a back five comprising of Alisson Becker, with the Brazilian aiming for a fifth league clean sheet of the season. We should also see all of Alexander-Arnold, Konaté, Van Dijk and Robertson return in defence.

In midfield, Fabinho and Thiago are almost automatic picks. The Brazilian has endured a challenging season but seems to have turned his form around in recent weeks. He will want to put in another impressive shift before departing for the World Cup.

To the right of him is likely to be Harvey Elliott. The 19 year old has made more appearances than any Liverpool player this season and is slowly carving for himself a guaranteed place in the side. He netted the winning penalty on Wednesday night as his influence continues to grow.

The skipper is an alternative but with Southampton sure to keep bodies behind the ball, Jürgen would surely opt for the creative guile of young Harvey. The skipper will still have a key part to play off the bench as the game wears on.

Upfront, the front three picks itself. Since Diaz and Jota picked up long term injuries, the gaffer has had only the trio of Darwin, Firmino and Salah as serious forward options. Jones and Carvalho have filled in here and there but it is a position the club should look to strengthen in January.

Darwin will start on the left wing but will be charged to drift infield a lot more than say a Luis Diaz would. He played this role to perfection at Spurs last week. A repeat here would be most welcome before he links up with the Uruguay national team.

Salah has built up a promising partnership with the 23 year old and we can expect the two of them to offer the most threat. Firmino meanwhile will attempt to connect everything together in order to get the best out of the duo.

Predicted team:

Alisson, Alexander-Arnold, Konaté, Van Dijk, Robertson, Fabinho, Thiago, Elliott, Salah, Firmino, Darwin.

Subs: Kelleher, Ramsay, Gomez, Tsimikas, Milner, Henderson, Jones, Oxlade-Chamberlain, Carvalho.



Following the penalty shootout victory over Derby County in the Carabao Cup, Liverpool now switch attention to Premier League duties. Southampton visit Anfield tomorrow for a traditional 3pm (GMT) kickoff. Here’s a preview of the game.

The Reds sealed qualification to the fourth round of the League Cup in midweek, after a team largely dominated by youngsters came out on top in the shootout following three incredible saves by Caomhin Kelleher.

It was a seventh victory in the last nine for the Reds across all competitions, with the two defeats to Nottingham Forest and Leeds United still sticking in the craw. The Reds will be aiming to make it eight wins in ten before the World Cup break.

That will form a solid bedrock for the side to build on post World Cup. Having lost to bottom of the table Forest and 19th placed Leeds, Jürgen Klopp’s men will have to be wary not to repeat the same mistakes against 18th placed Southampton.

With all the XI that started at Spurs being rested for the League Cup, they should be fresh for the task at hand. Victory tomorrow is absolutely imperative. It not only puts the Reds in a better position on the league table, but wraps up a more than decent run heading into the break.

The Saints themselves have endured a torrid season thus far, losing eight league matches (no side has lost more). Austrian boss Ralph Hassenhutl has since been relieved of his duties, with Luton Town head coach Nathan Jones being appointed in his stead.

The last manager to head to Anfield for his first game in charge left with a point; Roberto De Zerbi masterminded Brighton’s display in the entertaining 3-3 draw. It’s just one win in nine for Southampton, with the Saints earning just five points in that run. Jones has a lot of work to do.

The new manager feeling is bound to give the side a new lease of life. The Reds need to make sure they don’t gift the visitors any encouragement. There can be no silly errors at the back and definitely no headstart given.

With Newcastle playing Chelsea this weekend, it is an opportunity for the Reds to close the gap to the teams above them. Victory over Southampton and a few other results going our way could see the Reds go into the break in sixth place, handily placed to attack the rest of the season.

Jürgen Klopp boasts an excellent record against the Saints. His first two home games against them ended in stalemates but since then he’s overseen five successive victories to the tune of 16-0. This bodes well for tomorrow.

Team News

For Liverpool, James Milner is back in training after fulfilling the concussion protocol following a head injury picked up against Napoli. Joel Matip is also close to a return after being involved in some parts of training. Naby Keita is not quite ready despite being back running.

Luis Diaz is also running. The Colombian is expected to be available for the training camp in Dubai. Diogo Jota and Arthur Melo remain out, whilst for Southampton, Kyle Walker-Peters (thigh), Juan Larios (adductor) and Valentino Livramento (knee) are absent.



Liverpool were held to a goalless draw by a spirited Derby County side in the third round of the Carabao Cup, before more Kelleher heroics saw the Reds triumph on penalties. Here are player ratings from the encounter.

Kelleher – 10

Nothing to do for large parts of the game. Pulled out a save to thwart Dobbin on a late counter. Absolutely loves this tournament. Kept his side in it by saving three penalties in the shootout! The last save was unreal. MOTM.

Ramsay 7

Started confidently. Sent a left footed effort from range whistling past the post. Wasn’t shy to check back inside when overlapping. Defended well when he had to and sent in some dangerous crosses, one of which was almost turned home by Firmino late on.

Phillips – 7.5

Won his headers, and there were a lot of them. He’s never let anyone down when called upon and didn’t do so tonight. Was impressive actually with some of his diagonal switches out wide. Struggled with McGoldrick late on.


Swept up at the back with his pace helping him deal with Derby’s rare attacks. Did well to pull out of a challenge on Collins in the box. Inadvertently passed the ball straight out for a corner under no real pressure. Needs to cut those errors out of his game. Saw a lot of the ball and tried to get us on the front foot with his passing.

Tsimikas – 5.5

Poor. Found so much space down the left flank and he didn’t do much with it. Cross after cross after cross but with no real quality. Couldn’t deal with Mendez-Laing. Not enough energy about him tonight.

Bajcetic – 6.5

Started well enough and passed the ball around with confidence. He struggled in the latter stages of the second half though. Stepped up for the first pen and missed. Bailed out in the end by his ‘keeper.

Oxlade-Chamberlain 7.5

His first competitive start in ages and he lasted the full 90. Went close early on with a volley following a half cleared corner. Saw the goalkeeper parry one deflected strike. Picked out Elliott for what should have been the winner with a sensational ball over the top. Dropped very deep to help the teenagers in midfield. Tucked away his pen as well. Not more you could ask of him really.

Clark – 7

Showed some very lovely touches. Looked easy on the eye and comfortable on the ball. Nutmegged a few tonight. Could have popped it off quicker at times but all in all an eye-catching display.

Frauendorf 6.5

Stood on Ramsay’s toes most of the first half. Got his positioning worked on at the break I’m sure as he looked more threatening. Nodded a deep Tsimikas cross back into the danger area and could have notched an assist off that. Finally began taking his man on before being subbed. Worked his socks off in both directions.

Stewart 5.5

A bit of a thankless task up top. Ran his heart out and could have netted a dream goal when found in the six yard box by Carvalho. He misjudged the bounce of the ball though and skied his effort. Almost played Gomez into trouble with a poor backpass.

Carvalho 6.5

Showed some excellent bits of control. Went close when his deflected shot was palmed away by the keeper. Didn’t wield enough of an influence though. Tonight was his chance to stake a claim and he couldn’t really take it. He’ll be disappointed.


Elliott – 7

Immediately got involved and demanded the ball. Combined well with Carvalho down the right before he went off. Should have won the game late on when he went for a stab instead of a header, allowing the goalkeeper to parry to safety. Showed a lot of confidence in young Doak as he constantly sought to get the 16 year old on the ball. Netted the winning pen with a perfectly placed effort into the bottom corner.

Firmino – 6

Another who got on the ball immediately and stepped up the tempo. Went close when his near post header was pushed behind. Some of his attempted through balls to Darwin weren’t the best. Skied his penalty and couldn’t quite believe it.

Darwin – 6

Played too wide when he came on and was left on the periphery as a result. Gave the ball away trying to beat his man down the wing. Sent an acrobatic effort over late on. Stepped up to take a crucial penalty and slotted into the bottom corner despite the goalkeeper’s antics.

Doak – 8

Wow, he’s not lacking in self confidence that’s for sure. He breezed past his man a couple of times to force his way down the byline. Got his shot all wrong with his first attempt and decided to put in a few dangerous crosses/cutbacks instead. We need to see more of him. He’s very direct and possesses a bag of tricks that can bamboozle any fullback.

Jürgen Klopp

Made wholesale changes as he changed the entire XI. A pretty youthful side saw up to six players aged 20 and younger named in the starting lineup. He perhaps took a gamble and was lucky not to be punished in the end. Derby defended resolutely and frustrated the Reds for most of the game.

The changes could have come ten minutes earlier. Showed a lot of trust in young Doak and was rewarded with an eye-catching cameo. The order for the shootout was strange as well, with two teenagers taking the first one and last one, arguably the nerviest slots in a shootout. It was an enjoyable night in the end.



Liverpool are in action tonight when they host League One side Derby for an 8pm GMT kickoff. The Reds begin the defence of the League Cup title with hopes of going all the way once again. Here’s the predicted lineup.

For a match preview, you can head over here.

Tonight is an opportunity for the manager to make wholesale changes to his side after a relentless few months. The likes of Alisson, Van Dijk, Fabinho, Firmino and Salah, to name a few, will all get the night off in all likelihood.

This presents a chance for several youngsters to get minutes for the first team in a competitive environment. There should however be a perfect blend of youth and experience to avoid an early Cup upset.

In goal will be Caomhin Kelleher. The Irishman has already been confirmed to start after enjoying a dream campaign in this competition last season. Indeed his last appearance for the club was in the final back in February, where he kept a clean sheet before slamming home what turned out to be the winning penalty.

He hasn’t played a competitive game since turning out for his country in a UEFA Nations League fixture against Ukraine back in June. He has struggled with injury this season but has been fit for a month now and will no doubt be relishing tonight.

In the back four, we should see a full debut for Calvin Ramsay. The right back made his long awaited debut late on against Napoli and looked sharp. He has gotten a few games for the U21s under his belt, even netting a couple of goals.

Kostas Tsimikas will add a bit of seniority to the backline by lining up at left back. In the heart of defence, we can expect Joe Gomez to return to the side. He will most likely be joined by Nat Phillips. Big Nat had had to be patient for opportunities this campaign.

He’s made just the one appearance (at home to Palace) and has been an unused substitute on 16 occasions. There can’t be much left of his time at the club, with a parting of ways surely on the cards in January. Tonight is a chance to put himself in the shop window.

In midfield, Stefan Bajcetic is in line for his full debut. He was a revelation in pre-season and has already made four appearances this campaign. He has looked the part each time and should line up in the defensive midfield position tonight.

The skipper, Jordan Henderson, will likely take up his place on the right of the Spanish youth international. He has only made fleeting cameos over the past week and should be given the green light to play at least an hour tonight.

On the left of the midfield trio could be Curtis Jones. If anyone has a point to prove, it’s him. He’s been on the end of some scathing online criticism, which is unfair considering he has been out injured for a while. He looked more like himself against Napoli and will be looking to stand out tonight.

Upfront, we will definitely see Fabio Carvalho, most likely through the middle. The 20 year old enjoyed a lot of minutes earlier in the season but has seen his opportunities dry up in recent weeks. He will likely get the full game tonight to show what he is all about.

Oxlade-Chamberlain could then line up on the right wing. It is a position he played to perfection last January when Salah and Mané departed for the AFCON. Ox’s Liverpool career is on its last legs (he has just six months left on his contract), and he won’t get many more opportunities to impress.

The options for the forward line are severely limited at the minute. Roberto Firmino is surely due a night off, whilst Darwin Nunez looked goosed late on against Tottenham. With Southampton to come on Saturday, the Uruguayan could be limited to a cameo here.

With Pep Ljinders suggesting we could see a Scouse goalscorer, eyes have turned towards 20 year old academy striker Leighton Stewart. The Scouser has been in good form for the U21s and could be part of the matchday squad.

17 year old Bobby Clark will also be hoping to be involved in some capacity. Clark made his Premier League debut in the 9-0 victory over Bournemouth and has been on the bench on a handful of occasions this season.

18 year old winger Melkamu Frauendorf made his debut for the club last season and scored for the U21s over the weekend. He could be in line for a start tonight on the left wing due to the sparsity of options.

Predicted team:

Kelleher, Ramsay, Phillips, Gomez, Tsimikas, Bajcetic, Henderson, Jones, Oxlade-Chamberlain, Carvalho, Frauendorf.

Subs: Adrian, Alexander-Arnold, Konaté, Robertson, Elliott, Clark, Stewart, Musialowski, Darwin.



Following the hard fought victory at Spurs, Liverpool now switch attentions to the League Cup. The Reds, holders of this competition having defeated Chelsea on penalties back in February, begin their defence at home to Derby tomorrow night. Here’s a preview of the game.

Last season’s competition was a truly wholesome one for the club. It was an all round effort from top to bottom, as several Academy youngsters played their part before the senior colleagues took on the baton in the latter stages.

The iconic moment of Caomhin Kelleher stepping up to take Liverpool’s last penalty in the shootout will stay with fans for a lifetime. That moment sums up the feeling around the competition. It was a true coming of age story for the young goalkeeper.

He wasn’t the only one either as Neco Williams also played his part (even playing on the right wing at times). As did Kaide Gordon who don’t forget started away at Arsenal in the second leg of the semi final. Not to mention the contributions of youngsters Bradley, Koumetio, Beck, Morton, Dixon-Bonner and Blair.

We can’t speak of the League Cup success without mentioning the duo of Takumi Minamino and Divock Origi, who between them scored 60% of the Reds’ goals in the entire competition. Everyone played their part last season, and tomorrow is a chance for new heroes to step up to the plate.

Victory at Wembley saw the Reds lift an eighth League Cup trophy. Nobody in the history of the competition has managed more. The journey to a potential record ninth title commences at Anfield tomorrow night (8pm GMT kickoff).

With the Reds struggling with injuries this season, we can expect a similar team selection to what we saw in the third round last season at Norwich. A host of youngsters will be handed their chance, with a sprinkling of senior fringe talent.

Pep Ljinders took the pre-match media duties earlier today and radiated excitement for the challenge ahead. The Dutchman absolutely loves the chance to blood through youngsters and will no doubt transmit his positivity through to them.

Opponents Derby will be looking forward to this tie as well. The Rams have endured a torrid time of things in recent times. They suffered relegation from the Championship last season, mainly due to a whopping 21 point deduction as punishment for financial breaches.

Wayne Rooney did an admirable job trying to keep the club afloat amidst all the uncertainty. The Scouser quit back in July, with Liam Rosenior being put in charge on an interim basis. He was subsequently relieved of his duties in September, before Paul Warne was appointed.

He’s overseen seven League One fixtures thus far, chalking three victories and succumbing to two defeats to leave the Rams seventh on the table. This fixture is a free hit for Derby and they will approach it with that freedom. This makes them dangerous opponents.

It should still be a fun night for the Academy youngsters involved. They will play infront of a full Anfield crowd and will have an opportunity to showcase what they are about. Other fringe players will also want to send a message to the manager.

Team News

James Milner has been ruled out of the fixture as he continues to observe concussion protocol. The veteran is expected to be available for Southampton at the weekend however. Naby Keita and Joel Matip are also out but could come into contention for the weekend.

Arthur Melo, Diogo Jota and Luis Diaz remain long term absentees, with the latter closest to a return. The Colombian is slated to begin running sessions on Thursday, for the first time since his injury. He should be fit in time for the training camp slated for Dubai next month.



Liverpool earned their first away win of the season with a hard fought 2-1 victory over Spurs. A Salah double had the Reds cruising before Kane pulled one back second half. The Reds saw it out though. Here are player ratings from the encounter.

Alisson – 7

Deflected a cross onto his post early on before fumbling Hojbjerg’s shot. Showed better handling after that and held firm to a Lenglet header from a corner. His long ball led to the second goal. Almost played a pass straight to Kane first half before seeing his clearance charged down by the England skipper after he dallied. Did well to push Dier’s overhit cross over late on.

Alexander-Arnold 6

Played a ridiculous pass to play Darwin in early on. A trademark filthy pass. Played a couple of those throughout the game. Given a torrid time by Sessegnon defensively. Gave the ball away and shoved the Englishman down in the box early on and was lucky to get away with it. Gomez and Henderson had to be sent on to shore up that side because Spurs were targeting him.


Outstanding again. A rock at the back. Brought calm to the side with the way he took charge of situations and dealt with it without fuss. Crucially got a foot in to halt Sessegnon’s run after Trent had been left for dead first half. Unlucky for Kane’s goal.

Van Dijk – 7

Didn’t show the composure we’ve come to expect of him when Spurs began to pile on the pressure second half. Did well enough in the end. A huge header in stoppage time was particularly helpful.

Robertson – 7

Played a number of excellent balls down the left flank for Darwin early on. Was quiet after that. Woke up late on to go on a run past two Spurs players before his cross was deflected behind. Was slow to push out and block crosses into the box. Given a rollicking by Alisson as a result. Lost the ball in a dangerous area late on.

Fabinho – 8

Much improved today. Crucially got a foot in when needed and wasn’t easily bypassed tonight. His passing was assured as well. A welcome return to form.

Thiago 6.5

First half he cruised through the game and played it at his pace. Second half he tired and gave it away a few times. Caught wrong side of Kulusevski for their goal. Played an exquisite ball through for Darwin but the Uruguayan was just offside. Could have given away a penalty late on when he caught Moura with a high boot.

Elliott – 8

Thought he was fantastic. A tactically disciplined performance on the right of a midfield three. Was fouled a number of times as Spurs just couldn’t get close to him. His close control was really good tonight. Never lost the ball. Tired as it wore on and was subbed.

Firmino 5.5

Gave the ball away so many times tonight. His touch was off. Grafted though, and was part of a three pronged attack that caused Spurs all sorts of problems first half especially. He’s been overused in the past few months.

Salah 9.5

Clinical showing. Took his first goal with aplomb, setting himself up with a touch before swivelling and hitting it home in the same motion. Lloris didn’t even move. Second one was a gift and he took full advantage, chipping Lloris for what turned out to be the winner. Job done. Match winner yet again.

Darwin 8.5

Was our best player early on. Brought out a wonderful save from Lloris with a rasping drive from Robbo’s long ball. Went close again when he curled just wide. Found Salah for the opening goal. Second half he stuck to his defensive task and dropped back to help out.

He still carried a threat going forward and went close again when his right footed effort almost wrongfooted Lloris. He then hit the woodwork with a fierce left footed effort after Thiago’s pass. It wouldn’t have counted though as he wa An all round display tonight.


Henderson – 5

Lost the ball twice in bad areas. Not the impact the manager was looking for.


Played on the left wing but had a lot of defending to do. Got a crucial touch on a loose ball on the edge of the box, with a Spurs player shaping to shoot.

Gomez – N/A

On to help defend the lead.

Oxlade-Chamberlain – N/A

Won a free kick on the right wing to ease the pressure in stoppage time.

Jürgen Klopp

Made three changes to the side that beat Napoli; with Robertson, Elliott and Darwin Nunez coming in for Tsimikas, Milner and Curtis Jones respectively. His side enjoyed a fast start, taking an early lead for a change.

Second half, Spurs grew into it and I felt the manager could have been quicker with his subs. The hosts pulled one back after making positive subs of their own. He reacted after 70 minutes, sending on the skipper and Jones. Sacrificed Darwin and Salah late on as well for extra security. Big win this.



Liverpool are in action tomorrow night when they travel to North London to face Antonio Conte’s Spurs outfit in a ‘Super Sunday’ clash. Tottenham are a whopping 10 points clear of Jürgen Klopp’s side already. Here’s how we see the German lining his side up for the encounter.

For a match preview, you can head over here.

It’s a five day gap between this fixture and the victory at Ajax. This hands the manager the chance to pick his strongest side. There will be no rotation required, especially with the next fixture a League Cup game against Derby County.

This will be a tough test and the gaffer’s lineup will reflect that. He has a decision to make on his preferred system after a return to the 4-3-3 on Tuesday night. Does he maintain that formation or does he tweak it again with Darwin Nunez likely to start?

Whatever he decides, the team will have to show an improved level of performance to get the result. There can be no gifts for this Spurs side, neither can the terrible habit of conceding first continue. Hand Conte’s men the lead and they’ll gladly shut up shop and wait for counter attacking opportunities.

It is imperative the defence and the team as a whole stay compact. In goal will be Alisson Becker. The Brazilian stopper was named Standard Chartered Player of the Month for October and rightly so. He will have to be at his best again if the Reds are to come away with all three points tomorrow.

Ahead of him in defence, there’s likely to be just the one change; Robertson in for Tsimikas. The ‘Greek Scouser’ was his dependable self against Napoli but Robbo will get the nod. The Scottish skipper had an eventful game at the Tottenham Hotspur stadium last season, scoring and assisting before being sent off.

In midfield, the manager will pick a trio whether he’s setting them up in a 4-3-3 or the 4-4-2 diamond we’ve seen recently. With Henderson back fit, we can expect the skipper to return in place of James Milner who’s out due to concussion protocol.

The skipper will in all likelihood play on the right of Fabinho, with Thiago taking up a similar position on the left of the Brazilian destroyer. The shape will be more akin to the diamond as a result of who starts in attack.

Darwin Nunez is in line for a return to the starting XI. This will see him partner up with Mo Salah once again, leaving Bobby Firmino to take up a free role at the tip of the midfield diamond. This is the system that best suits the personnel available.

Asking Darwin to hug the touchline as a left winger in a 4-3-3 isn’t exactly putting the big man to good use. He is at his best making runs into the box and generally being a pest for centre halves. The likes of Elliott, Carvalho, Jones and co will offer options off the bench.

Predicted team:

Alisson, Alexander-Arnold, Konaté, Van Dijk, Robertson, Fabinho, Henderson, Thiago, Firmino, Salah, Darwin,

Subs: Kelleher, Ramsay, Gomez, Tsimikas, Bajcetic, Jones, Oxlade-Chamberlain, Elliott, Carvalho.



Liverpool travel to North London on Sunday for a tough test against Antonio Conte’s Spurs outfit. The Lilywhites are enjoying a strong campaign thus far, sitting third in the league table and topping their Champions League group. Here’s the match preview. 

The Reds inflicted Napoli’s first defeat of the season last time out. It wasn’t a perfect display but there was a level of improvement from the shambles that was Leeds’ visit to Anfield last week. The return of Konaté helped add a level of solidity to the backline.

It was on that solidity that the team were able to build what turned out to be a well earned victory. There was a return to the 4-3-3 formation as well, with Mohamed Salah switching back to the right wing and Curtis Jones playing off the left.

It wasn’t all plain sailing however, as Jürgen Klopp’s men found it difficult to build any meaningful attacks from open play. The Reds looked most dangerous from set pieces, and indeed both goals came from in-swinging corners.

Liverpool registered an open play xG of 0.72, less than half the xG they registered from set pieces (1.68). Again, it wasn’t a perfect performance, but with the side struggling for consistency all season, we’ll take any win we can get.

With just three games remaining till the World Cup break and the huge reset we are all hoping for, Jürgen Klopp will try to eke out as many wins as he can from his side. Sealing qualification for the knockout stages of the Champions League gives us a great deal to look forward to post World Cup.

Spurs meanwhile have enjoyed their best ever start to a Premier League season this campaign. The winning mentality of their Italian boss Antonio Conte has rubbed off on the side as they aim to end their long trophy drought.

Spurs have won twice as many league games as Liverpool this season, with their 26 points from 13 games placing them third on the log. They’re three points behind second placed Manchester City and five behind neighbours Arsenal, albeit having played a game more.

They threatened to throw away their Champions League hopes on Wednesday night after going 1-0 down to Marseille. A spirited comeback saw them win 2-1 to clinch qualification for the Round of 16 as group winners.

They have struggled slightly over the past fortnight. Back to back defeats to Manchester United and Newcastle had fans bemoaning Conte’s overly negative approach. Drawing at home to Sporting following late VAR controversy didn’t help the mood among the fanbase.

The last two games haven’t been without tough moments, with Spurs going behind to both Bournemouth and Marseille. They showed real character to win both games it must be said. They showcased powers of recovery to overturn a two goal deficit at the Vitality stadium before the late drama at the Stade Velodrome.

Two stoppage time winners have brightened the mood somewhat and the Reds will have to be wary. There can be no gifts for this Spurs side as Antonio Conte will gladly accept and then shut up shop, knowing full well he possesses some of the most devastating counter attacking weapons in the country.

The corresponding fixture last season saw a highly entertaining, if somewhat controversial 2-2 draw play out as Liverpool held on at the end following Andy Robertson’s sending off. Tyler Morton made his full debut that day as several key players missed out due to Covid.

The most recent meeting was the frustrating 1-1 draw at Anfield back in May, a result which cost the Reds the league title in the end. Spurs sat deep that night, soaked up pressure and hit ruthlessly on the counter.

That will no doubt be their approach once again on Sunday despite a few injuries in attack. Spurs have not managed to beat Liverpool in any of the last ten meetings in all competitions. Jürgen Klopp has an amazing record against the side he faced in his very first match as Liverpool boss.

He’s taken charge of 16 games against the North London outfit in all competitions; winning eight times and tasting just one defeat. Going back even further, Liverpool have lost just two of their last 21 meetings against Spurs. It will be a tougher test this time around though, with Spurs already 10 points clear of the Reds.

Team News

Jordan Henderson is fit and available after missing out on Wednesday night with a knock. James Milner is ruled out however as he undergoes concussion protocol. Oxlade-Chamberlain will return to the squad after being ineligible on Wednesday night. Matip, Keita, Arthur, Jota and Diaz remain out injured.

For Spurs, Christian Romero (thigh), Dejan Kulusevski (muscle), Richarlison (calf) and Son Heung-Min (eye) are all expected to miss out. Lucas Moura should feature despite revealing he’s been playing through the pain barrier.



October was an eventful month for Liverpool, with as many as nine fixtures crammed into the month. The Reds recorded five victories and a single draw, falling to three defeats in all competitions. It all kick-started with a madcap 3-3 draw against Brighton.

Then followed a 9-1 aggregate victory over Rangers in the Champions League, either side of a disappointing 3-2 defeat at Arsenal. The highlight of the month was the gritty 1-0 win over defending champions Manchester City.

West Ham were turned over with a similar scoreline before two pitiful defeats to relegation threatened Nottingham Forest and Leeds United either side of another impressive display in the Champions League against Ajax. Here are the three highest rated players over the course of October:

3. Mohamed Salahavg. rating (6.6)

The Egyptian entered October on a bit of a downer. He had managed just one goal in his previous five appearances and critics were questioning his quality and even suggesting he may be on a permanent decline. He responded with a prolific month that left a host of broken records in his wake.

He provided an assist at home to Brighton and netted against Rangers but it wasn’t until the trip to Ibrox that he truly roared back into form. A hat trick off the bench (the fastest in Champions League history) set up what was to come.

He impressively put Manchester City to the sword before netting in the last two games of the month. He was the club’s topscorer in October, finishing the month with seven goals and two assists in nine appearances. A switch to a more central role certainly helped him rediscover his mojo.

He has also built up an understanding with summer signing Darwin Nunez as they threaten to form a devastating partnership. Salah is once again top of the goal charts for the club and is in line to finish as Liverpool’s topscorer for a sixth successive campaign.

Mohamed Salah has created the most chances (41), provided the joint most assists (5) and scored the most goals (12) for Liverpool in all competitions this season.

2. Darwin Nunez – avg. rating (6.9)

The 23 year old endured a quiet September as he struggled to get back into the groove after serving suspension for his sending off against Crystal Palace. The international break helped him in that regard. He netted for Uruguay and visibly grew in confidence after that.

Jürgen Klopp handed him his first start of the month at home to Rangers. This came with a change in formation as the manager switched to a 4-4-2 setup. The big man impressed despite failing to get on the scoresheet.

He was rewarded for that display with a start at the Emirates stadium against high flying Arsenal. This was a big test and he once again shone, netting his first Premier League goal since opening day. He found the net in his next game as well as the Reds romped to victory at Ibrox.

A frustrating cameo against City summed him up somewhat as he combined brilliant moments with poor decision making. He went on to net the winning goal against West Ham before scoring again at Ajax. He will look back at the month fondly despite the disappointing defeat to Leeds.

Darwin Nunez is averaging the most shots (5.5) and the joint most shots on target (2.9) per 90 in the Champions League this season. He’s also scored in each of his last three appearances in the competition.

1. Alisson Beckeravg. rating (7.1)

Whilst the goalscorers may have garnered most of the plaudits, they could not outshine the wall that is Alisson Becker. The Brazilian was sensational in October, saving the side on many an occasion. There was a string of eye-catching saves throughout the month.

He may have conceded three in the first game of the month against Brighton but he was the difference between a 3-3 draw and a 3-5 defeat that day, making a brilliant point blank save to keep a Welbeck header out late on.

A clean sheet followed against Rangers before two routine outings against Arsenal and the Gers. Then came his best performance of the month when he denied Erling Haaland and Manchester City before setting up the winning goal for Salah with a spectacular long pass.

More heroics followed as he stopped a Jarrod Bowen penalty against West Ham. He produced a magnificent save in the dying minutes to deny Thomas Soucek and preserve his third clean sheet of the month.

He was the only one to come out of the defeat to Forest with any credit after making six saves against the newly promoted side. A fourth clean sheet followed against Ajax before the poor team display at home to Leeds.

Goals prevented by goalkeepers in the PL this season:

1st: Alisson Becker (6.84)
2nd: Kepa Arrizabalaga (4.68)
3rd: Jordan Pickford (2.88)
4th: Neto (2.77)

Alisson is clearly a world class goalkeeper, and it is all well and good him proving it every week. Going forward though, Jürgen Klopp will want his shotstopper to have less to do. Better protection for him is essential if the Reds are to get back to the heights we know they can hit.

Highest rated individual performance of the month:

° Mohamed Salah vs Rangers (10/10)

° Diogo Jota vs Rangers – (10/10)

° Alisson Becker vs Man City – (10/10)

° Virgil Van Dijk vs Man City – (10/10)

° Joe Gomez vs Man City – (10/10)

Made4Liverpool 22/23 Player of the Month:

August – Harvey Elliott

September – Thiago Alcantara

October – Alisson Becker

*Average ratings are collated from the player ratings posted on this site after every match. Players must have earned a rating in more than half the number of games in the month under review.



Liverpool beat Napoli at Anfield tonight courtesy of two late goals from set pieces. Mohamed Salah bundled one home in the 85th minute before Darwin Nunez tapped home a second at the death. Here are player ratings from the encounter.

Alisson – 6

His kicking was poor for large parts of the game. He then pulled out an Alisson special late on to play Salah through for a Darwin chance. Held on well to an Ndombele strike first half and a deflected Kvaratskhelia shot second half. Wasn’t tested much.

Alexander-Arnold 6

Played some unbelievable passes forward, most of them first time. Defensively he was given a bit of a tough night by the Georgian Messi. Nutmegged at least twice in the opening ten minutes. Lost him for that deflected strike and was lucky he got enough on it to take the sting out.


Rock solid tonight. Matched Osimhen stride for stride. Matched Kvaratskhelia for pace early on too when he shoulder barged him in the box. Carried the ball out of defence a number of times to cause overloads. Took one for the team when he halted a counter by tripping Lobotka in the centre circle. Please stay fit.

Van Dijk – 7

Was involved in a titanic battle with the Nigerian striker. Came out on top in a number of physical duels. Played a few fantastic diagonals to the right wing to set off attacks. He powered a header goalwards deep into stoppage time, with Darwin poking home the rebound.

Tsimikas – 7.5

First half he was heavily involved as he tried to bomb down the left. With Trent a bit more conservative on the right, the onus was on him to support the attack. Swung in a few tasty crosses, with two late set pieces causing the Napoli defence problems. Kept Politano quiet. A real solid shift.

Fabinho – 5.5

Thought he looked off the pace once again, with Anguissa and Ndombele just dancing past him at times. Too easily beaten of late, as he was for the free kick that led to their disallowed goal. In possession he’s not adding much either, just side to side and backwards. Grew in confidence after the first goal went in.

Milner – 5

Mucked in. Took a blow to the head that drew blood. Soldiered on till he went down with injury straight after halftime.

Thiago 8

There’s not a lot of times I watch him and don’t think he’s the best player on the pitch. He was on it again tonight, constantly finding time and space in a hotly contested midfield battle. He sprayed some delightful passes out wide to Salah in particular and went close to scoring when his side footed effort was pushed wide by Meret. Always shows bravery to get on the ball in the tightest of spaces.

Jones 6

Played on the left wing in a 4-3-3. Chipped one just over the crossbar early on after Salah sent him through at a tight angle. Headed one over after an acrobatic Firmino cross. Set up Elliott for a shot late on after good feet in the box. An improved performance. Looked after the ball well.

Firmino 5

Gave the ball away so many times tonight. He’s been ran into the ground though in all fairness. His best moment was a backheel volleyed flick of a cross for Jones to head over.

Salah 7

Back on the right wing tonight and was well marshalled by Olivera I thought. He looked dangerous early on though and created decent chances for Jones and Thiago. He faded a bit as he was drawn into a physical battle with the full back. Looked better when Darwin came on. A typical poacher’s finish saw him stab home Darwin’s parried header.


Elliott – 6.5

Skied one shot on the edge of the box after lovely play by Jones. Showed lovely footwork down the right wing in a move that ended with a Carvalho shot.

Darwin – 7

Played on the left when he came on and impressed once again. His sheer presence seems to bring chaos and that’s what happened again tonight. His powerful header from Tsimikas’ cross was only parried as far as Salah for the opening goal, before he himself benefited off another parry by Meret to poke home at the death. He almost put one on a plate for Salah beforehand as well after a driving run down the left and a good cross.

Ramsay – 6

The young Scot finally made his debut and managed to catch the eye in his limited time on the pitch. He showed confidence on the ball, checking back inside his marker on more than one occasion. Showed good defensive awareness to chest a deep cross behind for a corner with a man lurking behind him. More to come.

Bajcetic – 6

Got stuck in. Another who didn’t let the occasion get to him. Wasn’t shy to get on the ball and play or put in a tackle.

Carvalho – 6

Involved in that lovely one-touch move down the right wing. Sent his shot over the bar at the end of that move. Stuck to his defensive duties by tracking Di Lorenzo.

Jürgen Klopp

Made four changes to the side that lost against Leeds, with Konaté, Tsimikas, Milner and Jones coming in for Gomez, Robertson, Elliott and Darwin Nunez. His side were more solid as a unit and looked better than at the weekend.

Another injury (this time to Milner) forced a change but it was not until the introduction of Darwin Nunez that his side looked dangerous going forward. Two scrappy goals at the end sealed a morale boosting victory to end Napoli’s 27 match unbeaten run.



Liverpool are in action tonight when they host Luciano Spalletti’s high flying Napoli in an 8pm GMT kickoff. The Reds are coming off the back of a disappointing 2-1 home defeat to Leeds and will be aiming to show a spirited response. Here’s the predicted lineup.

For a match preview, you can head over here.

It’s another swift turnaround as tonight’s fixture comes barely seventy two hours after the final whistle on Saturday. With a long absentee list that reads; Matip, Keita, Oxlade-Chamberlain, Arthur, Diaz and Jota, Jürgen Klopp doesn’t have a lot of options at his disposal to rotate.

Tonight will be a tough test as Napoli are in devastating form this campaign. The 4-1 reverse at the Stadio Diego Armando Maradona was a snapshot of the quality and sheer confidence the Neopolitans are brimming with.

The manager hinted as much in his press conference when he suggested there wouldn’t be much rotation to his side tonight. The Reds lost consecutive league games for the very first time under the German on Saturday and will want to avoid consecutive defeats at Anfield.

In goal will be Alisson Becker. The Brazilian shot stopper has been left far too exposed by his defence this campaign. He faced seven shots on target at bottom of the table Forest last week, before facing a further six shots against 19th placed Leeds.

It is a theme that needs correcting. Gift this Napoli outfit that many openings and they will punish you. The Italian side managed a whopping nine shots on target in the reverse fixture. It will be interesting to see how the manager tweaks the personnel in his defence to try and stop the visitors.

At right full back, Alexander-Arnold will start again. Backup Calvin Ramsay is ready for minutes and will likely make his debut off the bench. At left back, Tsimikas is expected to come in for Andy Robertson, with the Scot due a breather after three starts over the past week.

In the heart of defence, Ibrahima Konaté is set for a return to the side alongside Van Dijk. He will take the place of Joe Gomez who has put in a number of error strewn performances over the past few weeks. Ibou has World Cup dreams of his own and will be keen to impress.

In midfield, the gaffer has opted for a diamond setup recently as he tweaks his formation to suit the players he has available. At the base of the diamond is likely to be the skipper. He was restricted to just half an hour on Wednesday night and should return to the XI if fit.

If the skipper has picked up a knock (he did train away from the group yesterday), then Fabinho will take up the role. The manager has been exasperated with ‘Flaco’ recently and has made his discontent known in the form of verbal rollickings in-game.

We can expect to see Milner and Thiago either side of the diamond. The vice captain took media duties in the pre-match press conference with that serving as a strong hint of his inclusion tonight. Harvey Elliott looked off the pace last time out and is in dire need of a rest.

At the tip of the diamond, it’s a straight choice between Firmino and Carvalho. This would be Bobby’s seventh start in a matter of 20 days. The workload has taken its toll, as a previously prolific Bobby has now quietly gone five games without a goal or assist.

With a trip to Spurs at the weekend, this could be the opportunity to preserve the 31 year old. Carvalho would then come in and play in what is his best position for the very first time since his switch from Fulham. He made a name for himself in the number ten role behind Mitrovic.

The 20 year old has struggled on the left wing recently, with his slight build seeing him bullied by bigger markers. Playing in a free role and picking up pockets in the half spaces could get the best out of him. Not to mention the fact that he’ll have two players ahead of him to combine with.

Upfront, there is no room to manouvre. Salah and Darwin have to go again with no one in reserve to come in for either man. It is a very light squad, and the decision to not strengthen has been proven to be folly but that’s a discussion for another day.

Predicted team:

Alisson, Alexander-Arnold, Konaté, Van Dijk, Tsimikas, Henderson, Milner, Thiago, Carvalho, Darwin, Salah.

Subs: Kelleher, Adrian, Ramsay, Gomez, Phillips, Robertson, Bajcetic, Fabinho, Jones, Elliott, Firmino.



Following defeat to Leeds on Saturday night, Liverpool now have to switch attention to the Champions League. With qualification for the knockout stages already secured, the Reds will face Napoli in what is essentially a deadrubber. Here’s a preview of the game.

The Reds were dreadful last time out, losing their proud home record to a Leeds side that were on their knees prior to the game. Jesse Marsch was on the brink after a poor run of results but Jürgen Klopp’s outfit made them look like top four contenders.

The number of chances they were allowed to have as a visiting team at Anfield was shocking. Some hard truths need to be said as far as Liverpool are concerned. What they are serving up this season is simply not good enough.

This group of players and manager possess too much quality to be bouncing between dazzling and dreadful on a week to week basis. There has been zero consistency to their play this campaign, which is unfathomable for a side that has gone toe to toe with Manchester City for the past couple of years.

It’s looking stale at the minute, with the manager coming under genuine scrutiny. His lack of ruthlessness in replacing certain unreliable players has come back to bite him this term. Almost a third of the way through the season and Stefan Bajcetic has played more minutes than Keita and Oxlade-Chamberlain combined.

The manager turned a blind eye and a deaf ear to the need for reinforcements in midfield and the chickens have come home to roost. His senior players have let him down as well. The form of the likes of Alexander-Arnold, Van Dijk, Robertson, Fabinho etc have been nothing to write home about.

Something has to give. It can’t continue like this. The manager has to earn his corn in finding a way out of this tough period. He can defend his men all he wants but they have to show a greater level of consistency on the pitch if they’re to avoid missing out on Champions League football next season.

Speaking of which, the continental competition has proven something of a welcome distraction for the Reds. Bar the abysmal defeat in Naples, Klopp’s men have won four out of four, netting 14 goals and conceding just twice.

As previously stated, qualification has already been wrapped up. Tomorrow night is a chance to win the group outright but that will be a big ask seeing as Napoli are 4-1 clear on head to head. It will require a huge turnaround in performance level to swing that back.

Luciano Spalletti’s Neopolitans are on absolute smoke this season. They have won each of their last 13 fixtures and are on a 27 match unbeaten run across all competitions. They have not only stormed top of their Champions League group but the Serie A table as well.

They are 5 points clear of Atalanta in second. They are quite simply the most in-form side in Europe at the minute. They have conceded 9 league goals whilst plundering 30 goals of their own. They are topscorers in this competition, netting 20 times (4 more than Bayern Munich).

Four of those goals came at the Stadio Diego Armando Maradona when the Reds last visited. Osimhen, Kvaratskhelia, Zielinski, Anguissa and co absolutely tore through Liverpool. Raspadori, Simeone and Politano are all in decent form heading into this clash as well.

Losing against Leeds United isn’t exactly the best preparation for a clash against the most prolific side in Europe but we are where we are. Both sides will likely rest a few key players in the face of a relentless schedule.

Anything short of a victory by a three or even four goal margin will see the Reds finish runners-up in the group. Basing off the last game, that’s just not happening. Wouldn’t it just sum this side up though if they turned up tomorrow night and managed just that? It’s been that kind of season.

Team News

For Liverpool, Matip, Arthur, Diaz and Jota remain out through injury. Keita and Oxlade-Chamberlain are ineligible having been left out of the Champions League squad. Konaté is available though and is expected to return to the side. Calvin Ramsay is also fit enough to feature.

For the Italians, centre back Amir Rrahmani (groin) and midfielder Andre-Frank Zambo-Anguissa (hamstring) are the only absentees.



Liverpool fell to another embarrassing defeat, as Leeds United left Anfield with all three points following a well deserved 2-1 victory. This marks the first time Liverpool have suffered back to back league defeats under Jürgen Klopp’s tenure. Here are player ratings from the encounter.

Alisson – 5

Poor anticipation for the backpass and a slow reaction once it was played. Good save at his near post from Harrison’s drive. Got fingertips to Summerville’s strike but not enough to keep it out.

Alexander-Arnold 4

Played with no urgency. Lackadaisical throughout. Twice early on he had a chance to find a cross for a waiting teammate in the box and he hit his man both times. I literally don’t remember the last time he provided an assist. Still, taking him off means you lose any sense of creativity from the right flank.

Gomez – 3

Oscillating between rock solid and ridiculous on a week to week basis. Played so many suicidal passes today, including the one that handed them a gift of an opening goal. Backs off every attacker that runs at him. He’s lost his place in the side with that performance.

Van Dijk – 4.5

Not as commanding as he can be. Players are able to hold him off with relative ease of late. Another who can be guilty of backing off an onrushing attacker. His passing game was side to side as Leeds were switched on to his trademark diagonals. Not great for their winner.

Robertson – 4.5

Didn’t have anyone ahead of him to combine with on the wing and suffered for it. Got the assist for Salah’s goal with a hooked cross. Stunted second half when the impressive Summerville switched to his flank. Couldn’t live with him. Gave the ball away a lot, and his deliveries got worse as the game wore on. Thought he looked knackered late on but we didn’t see Tsimikas at all.

Fabinho – 5

Too many times they broke through midfield and you were left wondering where the defensive shield was. He woke up and put in a few strong tackles. His passing was uninspiring. Hooked on the hour.

Thiago 6.5

Best player in red tonight. Some lovely turns in midfield to open up play, with his usual wonderful array of passing on show. Lost the ball a few times early on but was tigerish in the tackle to win it back.

Elliott – 3

Shocking tonight. Nothing he did went right. Ball kept rolling off him into touch. Most of his attempted forward passes went straight to a white shirt. A poor night at the office and the manager left him out there for an hour. He’s played so many minutes recently and looked jaded all game.

Firmino 4

Not as influential. His touch wasn’t as crisp and he lost the ball a number of times as a result. Got on the end of some good chances, the clearest of which was a header in injury time a few yards from goal. He placed it too close to Meslier, allowing the Frenchman to make the save. Another who looked shattered in the closing stages.

Darwin 4.5

Missed two absolute sitters. First one he should have lobbed first time over a stranded Meslier but decided to go round him only to be dispossessed by the French goalkeeper. Second chance was meat and drink for a striker of his calibre.

He just had to lift it over the onrushing Meslier but hit it straight at him. He lacks composure in key moments. Pulled out a top drawer save from Meslier when he aimed for the top corner after cutting in. Created good chances for his fellow attackers. At the end of the day, those misses proved costly.

Salah 5.5

Marvellous finish to pull the side level. He could have been put off by Fabinho jumping for the ball right infront of him but he kept his eyes on the prize and cushioned it home. Second half he was awful. Blazed wildly into the stands after mazy dribbles with players waiting for a pass on two different occasions.


Henderson – 5

Tried to step up the tempo when he came on. Almost snuck in at the backpost to direct Darwin’s header into the bottom corner, but again Meslier made the save. One pitiful volley into the stands killed attacking momentum in injury time.

Jones – 3

Waste of a sub. Dwelled on the ball too long. He’s been doing that since he broke into the first team. Two years on and he’s still making the same mistakes. Frustrating cameo.

Milner – N/A

I was flabbergasted when he was brought on in place of Trent when we were chasing a goal. Him and Jones had Gnonto cornered but still stood off him to allow him find a teammate in the leadup to their winning goal.

Jürgen Klopp

Made only one change from the side that started in Amsterdam. An early gift saw his side concede the first goal in a league game for the eighth time this season. That needs fixing. Could have been quicker with his alterations from the bench.

Surprised we didn’t see any of Carvalho, Tsimikas or Oxlade-Chamberlain late on. The options aren’t great at the minute but he told the world and his dog that he was happy with his squad in the summer so….



Liverpool are in action tomorrow night when they take on Jesse Marsch’s Leeds United at Anfield for a 19:45 BST kickoff. The Reds are coming off the back of a 3-0 victory in Amsterdam and will be looking to get their Premier League campaign back on track. Here’s the predicted lineup.

For a match preview, you can head over here.

It’s a swift turnaround from the Champions League victory over Ajax. The team news update was a positive one from the manager however, as he confirmed Henderson and Thiago should both be available tomorrow.

The skipper came off after a clash of knees on Wednesday night whilst Thiago has been out for a week due to an ear infection. This is a huge boost ahead of what is sure to be another tough test. The manager will have a a decision to make on the formation first and foremost.

The 4-4-2 has served the side well since it was introduced seven matches ago. Jürgen Klopp tweaked it to a diamond setup in Amsterdam and you’d expect him to stick to it after that impressive result. There could be one or two changes in personnel though in an aim to keep players fresh.

In goal will be Alisson Becker. The Brazilian earned his 90th clean sheet on Wednesday night in what was his 200th appearance for the club since joining from AS Roma for a then world record fee. What a signing he’s been!

In the backline, Konaté is fit and available and could come in for Gomez but the manager could decide to go same again as he searches for stability and consistency. He’s had to chop and change way too often due to injury and could view this as an opportunity to field a settled back five.

Gomez and Van Dijk have started each of the last four together and kept three clean sheets, conceding just once. They’ve continued their title winning partnership and will likely get another outing here. This would Ibou will have to wait till Tuesday against Napoli for a start.

It’s a straightforward choice in midfield. Thiago goes straight back into the side. There’s a stark difference between a Liverpool team with the Spaniard patrolling the midfield and one without. He was sorely missed at Forest last week.

He will almost certainly be joined by the skipper. Hendo played off the left of the diamond in Amsterdam but will be reigned in here to sit at the base. His sumptuous assist for Salah turned the tie in the Reds’ favour as he reminded everyone of his ability on the ball.

Fabinho is enduring a rough season thus far, looking short of the levels he’s previously set. He’s one that could use a breather. On the right, 19 year old Harvey Elliott might also be rotated. The youngster has featured in every single game this campaign.

He netted a second consecutive Champions League goal but looked knackered when he was taken off against Ajax. He’s worked his socks off recently, with his defensive contributions improving vastly. In his stead, you’d expect Curtis Jones to get the nod.

The 21 year old has featured in each of the last three games after recovering from injury. He’s developed into a tactically malleable midfielder and should have no problems playing on the right of a midfield diamond. He will have a point to prove as well having missed most of the season.

In attack, we could see Firmino handed a rest. The Brazilian has started each of the last five and was top for distance covered on Wednesday night. Should he be rotated out of the side, Carvalho could take his place.

The teenager could thrive at the tip of the diamond. Admittedly, he has to work on the physical side of the game as he’s been bullied at times this season. That will come with time and experience though. Up top, Salah and Darwin should pair up again in what is an exciting budding partnership.

The beauty of this lineup is it could easily transition to a 4-3-3. The personnel picked are all capable of adjusting to both systems. It also means Bobby and Harvey get a breather whilst offering potent options off the bench at the same time.

Predicted team:

Alisson, Alexander-Arnold, Gomez, Van Dijk, Robertson, Henderson, Thiago, Jones, Carvalho, Salah, Darwin.

Subs: Kelleher, Ramsay, Konaté, Tsimikas, Milner, Oxlade-Chamberlain, Fabinho, Elliott, Firmino.



Following the impressive victory over Ajax at the Johan Cruyff Arena on Wednesday night, Liverpool now switch attention to Premier League duties. Jesse Marsch’s Leeds United outfit visit Anfield tomorrow for a 7:45pm (BST) kickoff. Here’s a preview of the game.

The Reds are fresh off the back of a convincing victory in the Champions League that secured their passage to the knockout stages. The 3-0 victory saw the manager tweak his recently adopted 4-4-2 formation into more of a diamond setup.

This was to allow Darwin Nunez drift into central areas as part of a strike duo with Mohamed Salah, instead of having the 23 year old hug the touchline like an old-school winger. This system also handed Bobby Firmino a free role at the tip of the diamond.

The Brazilian revelled in the role as he roamed all over the pitch, dropping as deep as he wanted without leaving the team a man short upfront. This new setup wasn’t without it’s teething problems as Ajax were by far the better side in the opening half hour.

The Reds held form though, riding their luck when they had to, before settling and taking the game away from the hosts. Goals from Salah, Darwin and Elliott did the damage on the night as the new formation tweak passed its first test.

With the injury hell easing ever so slightly, the hope is we see more of the same tomorrow. Liverpool have been way too inconsistent in the league this season. This is why the Reds lie 8th in the table, sandwiched between Fulham and Brighton.

Eleven games in and the Reds have only managed to win four times, losing three games already (more than they lost in the whole of the previous campaign). It’s been a stop-start season thus far, with the defeat to Forest last Saturday coming just a week after an impressive victory over Man City.

Klopp’s men are five points off Newcastle United in fourth and twelve points off the summit. Not exactly insurmountable deficits but if there are still designs on mounting an unlikely title challenge, games like tomorrow need to be won with minimum fuss.

Opponents Leeds are enduring a harrowing campaign thus far, with American boss Jesse Marsch coming under intense pressure in recent weeks. A strong start to the season proved to be a false dawn for the Yorkshire club.

They won 7 points from their opening three games, with the 3-0 hammering of Thomas Tuchel’s Chelsea particularly eye-catching. Since then however, their record reads: played 8, won 0, drawn 2, lost 6.

They are on a four game losing streak, with this wretched run of form seeing the manager pushed to the brink as certain sections of the fanbase call for the sack. Marsch succeeded fan favourite Marcelo Bielsa last season and staved the club off relegation.

He will set his side up to sit deep and frustrate tomorrow, before looking to hit on the break. The last thing he needs is an open game that could lead to a hammering at Anfield. Klopp’s side looked toothless against Forest’s deep lying defence but will hope for a better result here.

In the corresponding fixture last season, Marcelo Bielsa failed to adapt, sending his injury ravaged side out to play the same man marking high tempo style. The Reds ran out 6-0 winners a few days before the League Cup final success at Wembley.

Leeds’ previous trip to Anfield before that saw them fall to an opening day 4-3 loss, with Salah notching a hat trick. Jürgen Klopp is unbeaten against the Whites, guiding his side to four victories and a draw in five meetings across all competitions.

Team News

For Liverpool, Matip, Keita, Arthur, Diaz and Jota remain out. Konaté is available again, with the manager suggesting the Frenchman wasn’t fit enough to feature despite being on the bench at Ajax. Jordan Henderson is expected to be fit following a knock he picked up on Wednesday.

Thiago is also expected to be available after missing the last two matches with an ear infection. Oxlade-Chamberlain is also fit and available after marking his return from a serious hamstring injury with a 15 minute cameo at Forest last week.

For Leeds, there will be late fitness checks on Luis Sinisterra, Rodrigo Moreno, Tyler Adams, Joe Gelhardt and Liam Cooper. Stuart Dallas, Adam Forshaw and Leo Hjelde remain long-term absentees.



Liverpool ran out 3-0 winners over Ajax tonight as they clinched qualification to the knockout stages. Goals from Salah, Nunez and Elliott made it a comfortable night in the end despite the hosts throwing everything at it. Here are player ratings from the encounter.

Alisson – 7

Made a comfortable save from one long range effort. Saw one from Berghuis flash wide. Calm in possession and not actually called into action much despite the early onslaught.

Alexander-Arnold 8.5

Kept Tadic quiet and grew into the game as it wore on. His range of passing was on display. Really enjoyed himself tonight. Had a stint on the left wing late on. Huge goal saving block on Tadic’s shot first half to keep the score level.

Gomez – 9

Back to his best tonight. Dealt well with the physical Brobbey and didn’t put a foot wrong. When the pressure was on in the first half hour, he was hitting long balls over the top that caused panic among the Ajax backline. That seemed our likeliest route to goal till the side settled. A really accomplished display.

Van Dijk – 7

Too lackadaisical when he was pushed off the ball by Brobbey, with Ajax going close to scoring off that attack. Was otherwise solid. Went close from a few attacking set pieces. Drove forward into midfield second half.

Robertson – 9

Started slowly with almost every forward pass going straight to an Ajax shirt. Picked a battle with Bergwijn and rose to the occasion after that. That needle seemed to drive him on. He was excellent second half, bombing on with purpose and finding his forwards when he did so.

Lovely corner for Darwin to make it 2-0. Almost found the net himself when he smashed one into the side netting from a tight angle first half. He dominated Bergwijn so much so that the Dutch international was switched to the opposite flank.

Fabinho – 6.5

Looked like there was too much space for him to cover at times in this double pivot system. Slow on the turn. Gave the ball away a fair bit. Improved when the whole side did.

Henderson 8

Full of energy. Pulled off to the left wing a lot. It was from that position he created the opening goal when he found Salah with a filthy pass with the outside of his boot. Was a leader when a leader was required first half. Went off with a painful looking knee injury. A good night for the skipper. That assist was glorious.

Elliott – 7.5

Struggled in the frantic early exchanges. Didn’t show enough composure to pick a pass when he got it. Stuck to his defensive task though and supported Trent well. Took his goal with aplomb after making an intelligent run into the space Salah had vacated.

He received the pass from Mo and got his body infront of his man before rifling into the roof of the net with his weaker foot. What a finish! Had a few opportunities to spring Salah in behind after that but overhit it every time. A sign of tiredness perhaps. A second Champions League goal of his career. Not a bad night.

Firmino 7.5

Dropped very very deep tonight. Almost like he had a free role in what looked like a 4-4-2 diamond with him at the tip of that diamond. He was horrendous first 30 with every touch turning possession over. He grew into it as well though and set one on a plate for Darwin on the stroke of halftime.

Kept popping up all over the pitch to offer himself as a passing option for teammates. Kept possession better second half. A tireless performances that may not grab the headlines but he was crucial in tonight’s win.

Darwin 8

Struggled first 30 like the rest of them. Should have scored when Firmino found him backpost for a tap in. Saw his effort come back off the base of the post when he had time to actually take a touch. Second half he was a different animal. Headed home Robbo’s corner and worked his socks off.

One crucial interception in his own box was nice to see. Grew in confidence and carried the ball forward well on one dangerous counter. He’s now scored in each of his last four starts.

Salah 9

Showed a moment of quality to open the scoring and break Ajax spirits. It was a confident first time finish over the goalkeeper. He then showed great vision to play Harvey in behind for his goal second half. Was a constant threat in behind as he enjoyed a titanic battle with Bassey.

Was cynically fouled by the touchline late on and that seemed to slow him down towards the end. A goal and assist to his name tonight.


Jones – 6.5

Fitted in where he was needed. Offered safety on the ball in tight spaces and work rate off it. Played on the left before switching to the right with Carvalho’s introduction.

Bajcetic – 6

The youngster didn’t look out of place when he came on. That’s a huge compliment. He showed confidence to get on the ball and find a pass. Tried his lick from range. Left for dead by one purposeful Timber run though.

Milner – 6

Was heavily involved after coming on. Almost played Carvalho clean through on goal but Pasveer was swift off his line to clear.

Carvalho – 6

Showed some neat footwork to keep possession under pressure. Unlucky not to score late on when Firmino’s unselfish pass saw him almost trod on the ball a few yards from goal.

Tsimikas – N/A

One interception on the slide to halt a counter.

Jürgen Klopp

He made three changes to the side that lost at Forest. Trent, Henderson and Darwin came back into the XI in place of Milner, Jones and Carvalho. He saw his side weather the early Ajax onslaught before going on to make their quality shine through.

A clinical showing made it four wins on the bounce in this competition as a place in the Round of 16 was booked in style. On to the troublesome Premier League campaign now, with Leeds Un awaiting at the weekend.



Liverpool are in action tonight when they take on Dutch champions Ajax at the Johan Cruyff Arena (19:00 GMT). The Reds require just a point to book their place in the round of 16. Here’s how we expect Jürgen Klopp to line up his side for the encounter.

For a match preview, you can head over here.

It was an intense period last week, with Manchester City, West Ham and then Nottingham Forest the opponents across the span of six or so days. Injuries didn’t help, with the manager’s hands being tied away to Forest especially.

Thankfully, one or two have returned to full fitness ahead of the clash tonight. Darwin Nunez is now completely fit after a tight hamstring complaint whilst Ibrahima Konaté is ready for “some minutes” following a spell out after his first start of the campaign at Rangers.

In goal will be Alisson Becker. The Brazilian shot stopper has been the most consistent player for Liverpool thus far and will have to be at his best again if the Reds are to get the result they need in the face of what is expected to be an Ajax onslaught.

In the backline, Alexander-Arnold should return after being restricted to a half hour cameo on Saturday. Gomez will once again get the nod at centre half, with Konaté not ready to play 90 minutes. Ibou will likely get a late cameo under his belt.

Van Dijk and Robertson should complete the backline. The big man is the only one to have featured in every single minute for Liverpool this season, with that record set to continue tonight. Robbo meanwhile got a rest against West Ham last week and should be fine to go again.

In the engine room, the manager is once again without his best option as Thiago misses a second game due to an ear infection. His replacement last time out, Curtis Jones, showed tremendous levels of fitness to last the whole ninety so soon after recovering from injury.

The youngster could be called upon again tonight, but this time on the left flank. Carvalho struggled in that role on Saturday and shouldn’t really be expected to carry that weight and expectation on his young shoulders.

The skipper is set for a return to the XI after being limited to a cameo at the weekend. He will likely partner Fabinho in the double pivot. The Brazilian has been way off the levels he’s set in previous years but there’s no other alternative.

Milner at 36 just doesn’t cut it in midfield anymore, whilst Keita and Ox were left out of the Champions League squad due to injury. With no reinforcements in midfield despite the glaring need for it (an injury prone Arthur on deadline day doesn’t count), Klopp can have no complaints.

On the right flank, Harvey Elliott will get another go. He was the only one who looked capable of creating a chance in open play against Forest and has been one of the bright spots of this campaign. His inclusion also allows Salah to play through the middle.

Darwin Nunez’s return to fitness should see him line up alongside the Egyptian up top. Roberto Firmino has started each of the last four and looked jaded on Saturday. It could be his turn to be rested, with a second half cameo the sensible option.

Bobby should then provide a decent option off the bench, along with Carvalho, Millie, Ibou and Kostas. Tonight will be a tough test. We will find out if the Reds are up to the task.

Predicted team:

Alisson, Alexander-Arnold, Gomez, Van Dijk, Robertson, Fabinho, Henderson, Elliott, Jones, Salah, Darwin.

Subs: Kelleher, Adrian, Konaté, Tsimikas, Phillips, Milner, Bajcetic, Clark, Carvalho, Firmino.



Following that dreadful defeat to Nottingham Forest, Liverpool travel to Ajax in a bid to secure qualification for the Champions League Round of 16. Avoid defeat in Amsterdam tomorrow and it’s job done. Here’s a preview of the game.

It was a poor display last time out for the Reds, with several key players reverting back to the woeful form we’ve been subjected to for most of this campaign. Back to back victories over Manchester City and West Ham were supposed to be a turning point but it’s proven to be another false dawn in this frustrating season.

Injuries certainly haven’t helped, with up to half of what we could call Jürgen Klopp’s best XI unavailable due to injury. Matip, Thiago, Diaz, Jota and Darwin Nunez were all absent on Saturday, whilst Alexander-Arnold and Henderson were not introduced till after the hour mark.

What ensued was a turgid afternoon of football, with little to no inspiration. The few chances that were created in open play were spurned, with the most glaring openings coming from set pieces. If ever a game called out for a set piece goal, this was it.

As it turned out, Awoniyi capitalised on a set piece, after Firmino and Van Dijk especially had pilfered their own opportunities away. The manager exacerbated the injury woes by resting his most creative outlet and the skipper.

The Reds are struggling badly and look in dire need of the World Cup break. Six games remain till then though, and they have to navigate these to ensure there is something to play for when the season resumes on Boxing Day.

Tomorrow night is a chance to do just that by securing progress to the knockout stages of the UEFA Champions League. A point will be enough on the night but Klopp never sets his side up to look for a draw. With a few key players returning, he will set out to win.

Ajax meanwhile are aware that only victory will keep their qualification hopes alive. The Dutch champions held firm for 90 minutes at Anfield till a stoppage time Joel Matip winner broke their resolve. Since then, they’ve been battered over two legs by Napoli.

A quite staggering 6-1 home thrashing at the hands of the Neopolitans was followed up with a 4-2 defeat at the Stadio Diego Armando Maradona. This has left Ajax 6 points adrift of the Reds, with only two fixtures remaining.

They have won each of their last three league games by an aggregate score of 15-4, seeing them go four points clear at the top of the table. They have a number of attacking weapons they will hope to let loose in Brian Brobbey, Mohamed Kudus, Steven Bergwijn, Steven Berghuis etc.

Alfred Schreuder set them up to be compact at Anfield and it almost paid off. He can’t afford to be as pragmatic tomorrow night as the onus is on Ajax to carry the fight to Liverpool infront of their home supporters.

Such an open game could be just what the Reds need, as they will find space to thrive in going forward. If they can summon the energy and intensity they displayed against City last week, they should be alright.

Anything less than that and they will be left staring at requiring a result heading into the final matchday. We’ve had that scenario before with Napoli (we all remember that iconic Alisson save) but it would be best to wrap things up tomorrow night and rest a few for that last game.

Team News

Joel Matip, Arthur Melo, Luis Diaz and Diogo Jota remain out. Thiago was not pictured training with the team today and is expected to miss out once again. The Spaniard was ruled out against Forest with an ear infection.

Calvin Ramsay could be included in the matchday squad after two cameos for the U21s. Naby Keita and Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain are both in training but neither are eligible having been left out of the club’s Champions League squad.

In better news, Ibrahima Konaté and Darwin Nunez are back in training. Konaté has been out with a muscle injury since victory at Ibrox, whilst Darwin was left out at the weekend as a precaution. It’s a welcome boost.

It’s a fully fit squad for Alfred Schreuder, with only youngster Ahmetcan Kaplan (knee injury) unavailable.



Liverpool fell to an embarrassing defeat to bottom of the table Nottingham Forest in the early kickoff today. A truly turgid display was punished by a Taiwo Awoniyi tap in early in the second half. Here are player ratings from the encounter.

Alisson – 7

I feel sorry for him. Only one who actually performed to his usual level. Stunning save to prevent Gibbs-White making it 2-0 on the counter. He’s facing way too many shots. Unlucky not to tuck away a rebound after going up for a corner late on.

Milner 5

Was required to bomb forward a lot more today and struggled. Doesn’t have the legs to do that job. He’s excellent if he has to stay deep and defend his flank, but what was required today was a bit beyond him. Still gave it a good go and found Van Dijk with a fantastic left footed cross first half.

Gomez – 4

All over the place. It’s one step forward, two steps backwards with him. Couldn’t live with Awoniyi. Gave away a silly free kick which led to their goal. He made the same error in Glasgow when he dallied on the ball and got his pocket picked by Morelos.

Van Dijk – 4

Started well but then joined in on the lackadaisical attitude. Could have scored a hat trick today from set pieces alone but kept trying to pass instead of go for goal. The one effort he aimed for goal he aimed it too close to Henderson.

Robertson – 4

Not at the races. Offered nothing going forward. Him and Carvalho down the left didn’t work well together at all.

Fabinho – 4

Bullied in midfield by Kouyate. Shocking once again. He’s fallen off a cliff this season. Slow to get back to defend and hiding when a leader is needed in midfield to get on the ball and dictate play.

Jones 4.5

Started well actually. Was dropping deep to pick the ball off the centre backs. He held on to it well too despite the constant closing down. Almost got caught on the ball in a dangerous area and his game went downhill from there. Moved to the left wing second half but he offered no real threat. Tame half volley was easy for Henderson late on.

Elliott – 6

Played really well first half. Exquisite pass found Carvalho in behind the defence for what should have been the opening goal. Created a number of other openings as well. Second half he faded but we really shouldn’t be relying on a teenager to dig us out of a hole. Saw a right footed shot parried.

Carvalho 4

Too lightweight. Knocked off the ball constantly. Fluffed his lines when sent clean through by Elliott. Made a mess of a few other half chances. With Diaz and Jota out, he’s getting starts but not making much of it.

Firmino 4

Quiet. Never got into it. The game was crying out for him to drop deep, get on the ball and create but Bobby couldn’t get himself in the positions he needed to. When he did, his passing let him down. Should have scored from a corner first half.

Salah 4

Swallowed up whole by the Forest centre backs. We’ve seen this kind of performance from him way too many times this season. He was anonymous for large parts of the game. Saw one header tipped over in injury time.


Alexander-Arnold – 5

Came on with half an hour left. Went close to equalising when he powered Robertson’s cross to the backpost goalwards. Good save by Henderson. Whipped a wicked free kick for Van Dijk t