Liverpool thrash Bournemouth after recent slump

Liverpool has got its swagger back. The team that has had a rough stretch this past month has now got its mojo back.

It was Roberto Firmino’s backheel that told you the swagger was back. Obviously, the finish was from Mohamed Salah and that was more decisive. But it was the back heel which made it and indicated that some of the old synchronicity had returned.

Firmino is a centre forward who can be outstanding without scoring and this was one of those afternoons. And this was the moment was when his all-round understanding and anticipation of his team-mates came close to telepathy

The move to play in the Brazilian had also been a thing of beauty, Sadio Mane finding Naby Keita whose long range pass was perfectly weighted. And that in itself was an improvement on recent games. This was Jürgen Klopp hitting all the right notes of his heavy metal football: controlled yet rapid changes of tempo to dislocate the opposition.
Firmino might have taken the shot himself, though the angle was narrowing as Nathan Ake pushed him ever wider. But he sensed something behind him. Or he just knew that Mohamed Salah would be sprinting to join the attack.

And so, selflessly and instinctively, and whilst running at speed with no chance to check, he back heeled the ball and it fell directly into Salah’s path. Bournemouth had already been on the back foot now but the angles of attack had changed in an instant and they were completely discombobulated. And they had the Egyptian bearing down on goal, with a free hit. The conclusion was inevitable

‘I don’t think you find a lot of players who do what Bobby is doing in that moment,’ said Jurgen Klopp. ‘Most of them try to shoot and get blocked and he is doing that little pass ….’ At this point Klopp just chucked at the audacity of it. ‘That little, little pass,’ he continued, with his enormous grin. ‘And then Mo is obviously a pretty cool finisher.’

We were but two minutes into the second half and Bournemouth could headed home at that point. Any-half time reorganisation, any motivational words from Eddie Howe were lost in the ether at that moment. Three-nil down to a rejuvenated Liverpool, the contest was as good as over.

Salah, as Klopp said, was ‘pretty much un-defendable’ and ‘outstanding.’ Yet it was more than that. This was the response that Liverpool’s fans had yearned for after two draws, one shaky win, one narrow one and a defeat in the last five games.

‘We are very self-critical,’ said Klopp. ‘It was clear that we were not happy with the two performances or even two of three games. There are always reasons for it, but we cannot speak too much about it in public because it always sounds like you are going for excuses. But the analysis has to be sensible. You have to talk about the right things with the boys and we did that. And that was the reaction we wanted to show today and the boys did that in an outstanding manner. So I’m really happy.’

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Mohamed Salah risks losing Liverpool the title with his diving antics

Every time Mohamed Salah dives, he risks costing Liverpool the Premier Leaguetitle.

His tumble against Crystal Palace was the second time in the last month that Salah has gone down too easily.

He won a penalty against Newcastle on Boxing Day after going to ground theatrically following the slightest of touches from Paul Dummett.

If he keeps diving, he risks being hit with a two-game FA ban. Liverpool only need to slip up twice to put Mancester City back in the title driving seat.

Without Salah’s firepower, would Liverpool have won the topsy-turvy game against Palace? This match proved that Klopp needs his main man available for every game.

When Salah stays on his feet, he is one of the most exciting players in the Premier League.

I love the way he is capable of blowing away teams at will. It would be a travesty if it is simulation, not his goalscoring, which ends up settling the most thrilling title race for years.

Salah’s diving comes at the end of a week in which Leeds manager Marcelo Bielsa was branded a cheat for spying on opponents’ training sessions – 11 Championship clubs have complained.

If we really want to do something about cheating in our game, why not crack down on diving? When Salah dived against Newcastle, the FA did not take action.

It was deemed that it did not meet the threshold for ‘attempting to deceive the referee’. If that was not a dive, then what is?

Until football gets to grips with this, we will see more of the same from players like Salah.

Dailymail

Liverpool maintain EPL lead in slim and tough fought Brighton win

Call it a blip. Or a dip. Or a slump. Or a wobble. It doesn’t matter any more. Whatever it was, it’s over. Beaten in the Premier League by Manchester City and knocked out of the FA Cup by Wolves in the last nine days, Liverpool ground out a dour win on the south coast against a well-organised Brighton team who had not lost in four games.

It wasn’t pretty and it wasn’t fluent but it doesn’t matter. All that mattered was that Liverpool proved they weren’t going to weak at the knees at the first sign of adversity. All that mattered was that they rebounded. All that mattered was the three points.

‘It’s like when you fall from the horse,’ Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp said after the game. ‘The best way to ride again is to get straight back on the horse. We didn’t make a big fuss of it when we lost. I’m completely happy with the way we did it and now we have moved on.’
They are seven points clear at the top again now, at least until Spurs play Manchester United on Sunday afternoon and City face Wolves at the Etihad on Monday evening. If any of their pursuers were expecting a Liverpool collapse, the victory at the Amex will have cooled their ardour.

Klopp’s side was far from its best but his players dealt with the pressure well. They knew it was vital to avoid dropping more points as City watched for more signs of vulnerability and they did the job. It wasn’t an exhibition of flowing football but Klopp didn’t care.

‘We are not the Harlem Globetrotters,’ he said. ‘We have to deliver results. It was not easy because Brighton are doing very well.’

The 1-0 victory was won with a penalty from Mo Salah after he had bamboozled Pascal Gross in the area early in the second half and been pulled down but it was built on another titanic display by Virgil van Dijk, who was described by Mats Hummels before the game as the best defender in the world. ‘It’s nice when these guys compliment each other,’ Klopp said. ‘That’s cool.’

Van Dijk’s command in the air and his composure on the floor was the foundation of Liverpool’s win even though the Brighton fans preferred to give the credit to referee Kevin Friend for his award of the penalty and a perceived bias towards the league leaders. ‘One-nil to the referee,’ they sang towards the end but Liverpool didn’t mind. The ship has been steadied.

Before the game, Klopp had reacted with amusement to talk of a crisis because his team had suffered two successive defeats. Until the turn of the year, he pointed out, people had been telling him Liverpool had built an unassailable lead in the league.

‘Nothing happened,’ Klopp said. ‘Each team in the world can lose at Man City. So we spoke about why, what we did, what happened, what we could have done better – of course, but that’s how we do it always. And then we moved on.’

Liverpool came close to opening the scoring in the 10th minute when Fabinho, playing as a makeshift centre half, spread a long pass wide to Andy Robertson on the Liverpool left. Robertson is one of the best crossers of the ball in the league and his curling pass was measured for Roberto Firmino to run on to, only for the Brazil forward to slice it wide from six yards out.

Brighton kept their opponents at bay until midway through the half when Liverpool’s pressure almost told again. The move started, as many of Liverpool’s had already done, with a perfectly judged chipped pass from Van Dijk to Robertson and the ball was worked across the face of the Brighton box to Trent Alexander-Arnold on the right.

There had been suggestions that Alexander-Arnold had sprained an ankle in the warm-up and that his participation in the game was in doubt but he showed few signs of discomfort as he turned inside Gaetan Bong and curled a left-foot cross into the box. Xherdan Shaqiri rose to meet it and glanced it towards David Button’s right hand post but it flashed just wide.

It was a rare headed chance for either side. Much had been made before the game of the aerial dominance of both defences. Shane Duffy had made 91 headed clearances this season already before the game began, the most of any defender in the league. Van Dijk had won more aerial challenges than any defender in the league. It was no surprise that high balls into the box yielded little joy.

Liverpool began the second half with more conviction and Salah went close after a mistake from Dunk had ceded possession. It was a short reprieve. Four minutes after the interval, Mane played the ball into Salah in the box and he turned past Gross.

As Salah shaped to shoot, he was brought down from behind by Gross and Mr Friend pointed to the penalty spot. Salah’s movement in the box is so sharp he has won a succession of penalties recently and when he stepped up to take it, he dispatched it confidently past Button, who guessed the right direction but was beaten by the pace of the ball. Brighton pressed for an equaliser as best they could but Liverpool were always able to keep them at arm’s length.

‘I thought we played well against the best team in the country,’ Brighton manager Chris Hughton said. ‘They are at the top of the table so that speaks for itself. They are in pole position and I think they are favourites.’

When the final whistle blew, Klopp turned to Salah, who had been substituted a minute earlier, and wrapped him in a bear hug. Liverpool have momentum again. The blip is over.

Daily Mail

Dominant Liverpool thrash Arsenal in 5-1 win

Four years ago, in the spring, Liverpool fans gathered five and 10 deep on Anfield Road to greet the coach carrying their players to the ground before matches. The swell began near the King Harry pub, where the road curves to the left and up a small hill and the numbers grew and grew as the bus rolled past the junctions of Tancred Road, Coningsby Road, Sybil Road and Alroy Road.

The supporters cheered and yelled and stood on walls and shinned up lamp-posts and found whatever vantage point they could. On the coach, the players watched and wondered at the fervour they had unleashed. Smoke from flares turned the world red. Brendan Rodgers, the manager at that time, filmed some of the scenes out of his window. He still has the footage on his mobile phone.

Those days are coming again. That fervour is building again. We all know how it ended in 2014, we all remember Steven Gerrard’s slip, but when Liverpool smashed five goals past Arsenal at Anfield on Saturday night, they moved nine points clear at the top of the Premier League and their new dreams of paradise rediscovered could be suppressed no longer.There is still a long, long way to go and Manchester City, who Liverpool play at the Etihad on Thursday night, are far too good for anyone to pretend that the title race is going to be anything other than a hell of a fight. Liverpool have fallen away before, as their detractors will continue to remind them in the weeks and months ahead.

But there is a curious feeling that the chips are falling Liverpool’s way. Before the game, the stadium announcer read out with relish the news of Tottenham’s defeat by Wolves at Wembley, and Liverpool and Arsenal fans alike filled Anfield with cheers. Liverpool have not played at their fluent best many times this season and yet they remain unbeaten.

Liverpool have momentum at their back and emotion filling their sails and Jurgen Klopp’s energy surging through them and history beckoning them towards their first title for 29 years: every team that has been six points clear at the top of the Premier League at the turn of the year has gone on to lift the trophy.

Everybody can feel it. Everyone knows how much it would mean to this team, which used to be the gold standard for clubs in England and Europe to measure themselves against, to be the champions again. That will be the greatest obstacle in their way: that it will mean too much. That the pressure of a goal so desired will crush them as it did in 2014.

Klopp is keenly aware of that. He is already weary of questions about the title and after the match, he made it obvious he considered them absurdly premature.

‘It’s a marathon we are running,’ he said, ‘and before the marathon, the weather is brilliant, new trainers, new shirt and people say “you could win today” but we have to run. And all the people around are buzzing and you have to run. That’s what we try to do.’

What Klopp cannot banish, even with his humour and his eloquence, is the fact Liverpool are closer now to the title than they have been for a long time. Their lead says that. The manager’s experience also says that a blip will come and that that will be when we find out if his side has the mental strength to stay the course.

Liverpool were irresistible against Unai Emery’s side. Some of their attacking play was breathtaking. A few highlights: Xherdan Shaqiri’s ball with the outside of his left foot that should have led to a goal for Mohamed Salah, Roberto Firmino’s body swerve in the mesmerising run that led to the second goal of his hat-trick, Salah’s delicate touch to set-up Sadio Mane’s strike.

If you want a measure of how completely Arsenal were outplayed, despite having the temerity to take an early lead, consider this: Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, who went into the game as the league’s leading scorer, only had seven touches in the first half and four of those were kick-offs.

Six minutes had gone when Liverpool demonstrated the confidence that is flowing through their team with a move that went from one end of the pitch to the other. First of all, they beat the Arsenal press effortlessly, showing complete command of the ball in their own penalty area and then advancing seamlessly up the pitch.

Dejan Lovren chipped one pass to Trent Alexander-Arnold from his own box that would have felt like a risk for any side that is not having the season Liverpool is having. Arsenal’s initial energy exhausted, Liverpool moved the ball forward to Mane, who turned beautifully past his marker and played the ball into Firmino. His goalbound shot was flicked wide by Salah but Liverpool’s intent was clear.After that beginning, though, Liverpool displayed their fallibility. First Fabinho played a dreadful square ball that was picked off by Alex Iwobi, who ran at the Liverpool defence and brought a decent save out of Alisson, diving low to his right.

Three minutes later, Van Dijk, who has been rightfully lauded as one of the best defenders in Europe, played a loose ball out of defence that was picked up, once more, by Iwobi.

Iwobi advanced down the left and curled a beautiful cross behind the Liverpool defence and into the path of Ainsley Maitland-Niles who slid in to tap it into an empty net.

Anfield was stunned. It was the first time Liverpool had been behind in a league game since their match with Leicester on December 30 last year.

They did not allow the shame to linger. Firmino played a ball in to Salah on the edge of the box and as Stephan Lichtsteiner tried to clear the ball, he kicked it against the backside of Shkodran Mustafi and the rebound ran to Firmino who lashed it in from close range.

Within two minutes, Liverpool were ahead. Lucas Torreira, Arsenal’s attack dog, lost the ball as tamely as a pussycat in the centre of midfield, and Firmino drove at the Arsenal defence.

When Sokratis and Mustafi came to meet him, Firmino slalomed past them both and placed the ball neatly past Bernd Leno. Anfield erupted.

Liverpool’s uncertainties were stilled now. After half an hour, they went further ahead. When Arsenal cleared a corner, Andy Robertson retrieved it and smashed a 40-yard crossfield ball to Salah on the edge of the box. Salah met it with a cushioned sidestep into the path of Mane, who rifled it into the roof of the net.

Arsenal tried to hit back and Maitland-Niles on the Arsenal right was a constant threat but as the clock ticked over into first-half injury time, Liverpool put the game out of reach.

Alisson volleyed a driven pass to Salah on the right wing that Michel Platini would have been proud of and the Egypt forward, criticised by some for going down too easily against Newcastle on Boxing Day, tumbled again under the clumsy challenge of Sokratis, who failed to get the ball but was still outraged when Michael Oliver pointed to the spot. Salah smashed the penalty down the middle.

Mane and Salah wasted chances to put Liverpool further ahead after the interval but 15 minutes into the second half, another penalty turned a drubbing into a rout. Sead Kolasinac was penalised for a shove on Dejan Lovren and Firmino completed his hat-trick by sending Leno the wrong way with his spot-kick.

Daily Mail

Liverpool through to last 16 after fraught win over Napoli

The great European nights of Anfield folklore have usually had a goal scorer’s name written in lights next to them.

David Fairclough against St Etienne in 1977. Steven Gerrard against Olympiakos in 2004 and Luis Garcia against Chelsea four months later. And there are others. Now, after another breathtaking night of Champions League football on Merseyside, there is a goalkeeper to talk about too.

If Liverpool’s last Champions League campaign ended in goalkeeping calamity for Loris Karius in Kiev, this one was given the kiss of life by his replacement, the Brazilian Alisson at the Anfield Road End in the third minute of added time.
Napoli had been largely outplayed by Liverpool here. Only poor finishing by Jurgen Klopp’s team had kept their lead down to the single goal scored by Mohamed Salah in the first half.

But it was always likely that the Italian side would get one chance. It is usually the way in games like this and Carlo Ancelotti’s team had looked dangerous on the break all night. They were too good a team not to give themselves at least one puncher’s chance at glory.

The problem for Liverpool was that when it came, it came so late that there would have been no way back. And it did look for all the world as though the big Napoli substitute Arkadiusz Milik was about to end Liverpool’s interest in the competition at a surprisingly early stage.

Liverpool’s central defenders Virgil van Dijk and Joel Matip had been excellent all night, almost faultless. Van Dijk, booked early, was absolutely magnificent on the whole.

But here three Liverpool players were attracted to the ball as a cross arrived from the right. That is the kind of thing that panic can do. And when the ball arrived at the feet of Milik on the edge of the six-yard box he controlled it perfectly to present himself with his chance.With the ball bouncing up nicely after his first touch, Milik did absolutely nothing wrong. The contact with the right instep was perfect and measured. The ball was on its way in to the net. It had to be a goal, it just had to be. Liverpool were on their way in to the Europa League.

But Alisson knew that he had only one chance. The odds were against him but if he made himself big then the gods may favour him.

So he did and they did. The ball struck him on the thigh and rebounded up in to the air. Milik tried desperately to retrieve a lost cause with an overhead kick as the ball dropped but the chance had gone and with it the game. It really was the most extraordinary end to a superb game, a contest kept on the knife edge all night not only by Liverpool’s failure to kill it but also by the complex mathematics that preceded it.

Liverpool knew, for example, that 1-0 would take them through but 2-1 wouldn’t. So even as they pressed for the second goal in a second half they dominated, they knew that just one strike from their talented opponents would do them like a stiletto through the shoulder blades.

Against that background, it was no surprise that this was a nerve shredder. Liverpool were terrific, they really were.There was a 20 minute spell at the start of the second half that saw Klopp’s team press and hurry Napoli with such ferocity that memories of last season’s destruction of Manchester City and Roma at Anfield came flooding back.

The only difference was that they didn’t score the glut of goals we have become used to. Salah gave them the lead in the 34th minute, turning away from Mario Rui, darting in to the penalty area past Kalidou Koulibaly and beating goalkeeper David Ospina at the near post.

It was a brilliantly taken goal that came in a half that Liverpool had dominated territorially without making too many opportunities that were clear.

Napoli had been dangerous on the counter and had created a couple of chances of their own. From the very start the Italians looked as though they could find a way to the Liverpool goal if they really had to.

But in the second half it was different. Liverpool played with a greater tempo, their transition and final pass were better and had their finishing been of the same standard then they would have eased away in to the distance.

Ospina – once of Arsenal – saved point blank from Sadio Mane and was also equal to a diving header from Roberto Firmino and a low drive from the improving Jordan Henderson. He should not, though, have been given a chance by Salah who dragged one chance wide of the near post and tried to take the ball round him on another occasion only to overrun it on the back of what may have been slight contact from a defender.

Van Dijk also missed a golden opportunity, slicing a volley in to the Kop from inside the six yard box after Liverpool had worked a free-kick nicely from the right side. At that point there were only a few minutes left and it seemed increasingly likely that something dramatic would happen at the other end.

When Napoli’s right-sided forward Jose Callejon spooned a very good chance over the angle of post and bar it seemed that the big moment of the second half had indeed come and gone. Callejon should have scored as it was practically an open goal.

But it turned out that there was still something left, something even more dramatic. Milik will wonder how he missed but the fact is he didn’t. He was denied. There is a difference,

Daily Mail

Liverpools Divock Origi’s dramatic late winner excites team in Merseyside Derby

The goal sparked pandemonium inside the stadium.

A number of Liverpool’s coaching staff hurtled down the touchline to engulf Origi in front of The Kop, while plumes of blue smoke billowed out of the Anfield Road end after a flare had been set off.

Jurgen Klopp apologised for his exuberant celebrations after racing onto the pitch following Divock Origi’s dramatic late winner.

divorckorigiLiverpools
Liverpools Divock Origi celebrates

The Liverpool manager sprinted 40 yards from his technical area to leap onto goalkeeper Alisson Becker after substitute Origi had scored the most remarkable goal, profiting from an inexplicable error by Everton No1 Jordan Pickford.

Pickford was distraught when he left Anfield but did not shirk his duties and faced up to the moment he tipped Virgil Van Dijk’s sliced volley into the path of Origi, who was making his first Premier League appearance of the season.

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Liverpools Merseyside derby win

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Arsenal 1-1 Liverpool:  Lacazette superbly cancels out James Milner’s opener 

 
– Arsenal come from behind to draw with Liverpool as Jurgen Klopp’s men maintain unbeaten start to season

– Sadio Mane thought he broke the deadlock in the first half but was called for offside as he tapped in a rebound

– Arsenal’s Alexander Lacazette then had his own effort ruled out for offside just before the half-time break

– James Milner scored his third goal of the season and 50th in the Premier League as he gave Liverpool the lead

– Lacazette then got his goal when he fired Arsenal level with under 10 minutes remaining at the Emirates

Alexandre Lacazette scored a stunning equaliser to earn Arsenal a point following James Milner’s second half opener.

The Liverpool captain broke the deadlock after Bernd Leno parried a cross back into a dangerous area, leaving Milner to clear up the mess and score his third goal of the season.

Both sides had chances in a high tempo game and it looked like Liverpool would go top of the table but Lacazette’s late goal saw the visitors drop points but not their unbeaten start to the season.

Sturridge scores last-minute equalizer to give Liverpool draw against Chelsea

It was such an extraordinary moment for a player who had seemed lost by the wayside years ago that you wondered how on earth Daniel Sturridge managed to keep it together and not scream into the night.

All seemed lost for Liverpool, who had created half a dozen clear chances and squandered all of them, when the 29-year-old stepped up with a minute of the game to run. The goal that ensued will live long in the mind’s eye: a looping shot from 30 yards casually despatched from the left instep which soared above Kepa Arrizabalaga and into the net.

It was only Sturridge’s 50th Premier League goal for the club – which only goes to show how long and desperate the struggle for such a moment has been for him.

Five injury-plagued years have passed since he arrived at Anfield from Chelsea, insisting that he’d been so much in his shell that he hadn’t even expressed himself properly in interviews. He was so sure of himself back then that his representatives were insisting on a central forward’s role being written into his contract.

Jurgen Klopp said that Sturridge was ‘in the best shape’ he’d seen and was enjoying the affection of a dressing room which was ‘pretty loud’ as he walked in at the end.

As always, the picture is more complicated than the public pronouncements. He scored against PSG in the Champions League last month yet missed chances too. He hit the bar against Chelsea in the Carabao Cup in midweek yet looked less than committed to the cause.

But it is a measure of how far Liverpool have come in the last few years that Klopp counts Sturridge – an old-style centre who does not exactly fit the new Liverpool – as one of the subsidiary players. Just two years ago, the manager’s press conferences seemed to be a weekly Sturridge medical bulletin.

Klopp was tetchy at the end of it all – biting someone’s head off for having the temerity to ask if he felt Liverpool ‘deserved a draw.’ It had been a struggle and a sobering experience at times. They looked the less fluid side for 45 minutes but capitalised as Chelsea fell back.
Eden Hazard was the difference – a player on a different technical level to all of those around him. He started the move which saw him send Chelsea into their lead, flicking the ball with his left inside heel, outpacing Joe Gomez as he advanced half the length of the pitch to receive it back, then cutting back to strike beyond Alisson. The goalkeeper might have done better. It was not a powerful strike.

Chelsea were buoyed by Mohamed Salah’s struggle to finish chances, which revealed how capricious football can be. The Egyptian was busy enough, receiving and running through the right channel which was Liverpool’s first half line of attack.

But chances came and went. He had time to stand and stare and pick his spot after Sadio Mane’s shot span into his path just four minutes into the contest. He finished weakly, with the air of an individual who has put down his belief somewhere but just can’t recall where. The next chance went high and wide.

Klopp tried to mask his agony with applause though he was suffering. On the half hour mark he made clear his frustration to the player, who’d just decided to pass instead of shoot at the time.

The Liverpool forwards most likely to wreak damage – Mane and Roberto Firmino – were becalmed, too, with the midfield struggling to get them on the ball. Further back, Virgil van Dijk was the usual immovable object but Chelsea had a pace which could outdo their opponents.
Andy Robertson was back on his heels and caught out when a long ball from Luiz sought Willian, though Alisson was out quickly to close down the danger. Alisson intervened when Hazard’s pace made Liverpool look vulnerable again — sprinting out to block the forward’s shot. On that occasion, a quickly taken free-kick from N’Golo Kante had sent Hazard through. Both goalkeepers demonstrated their value.

Chelsea are by no means insuperable. They have mistakes in them. Willian played a ten-yard pass back into danger in his own area as the hour-mark approached, allowing Mane to cut around Mateo Kovacic and strike a low shot which Kepa palmed away.

There may also come a time when Maurizio Sarri asks where, beyond Hazard, the attacking threat is coming from. Olivier Giroud’s contribution was minimal; Alvaro Morata’s not much better.

Salah’s game was over on 65 minutes and the look on his face as he departed – no eye contact with his manager – told its own story. His replacement, Xherdan Shaqiri, immediately conspired to miss an even easier chance.

One of the fizzing, quick-release crosses that have become a Robertson trademark was his for the taking, but after allowing the ball to run across his body, he sent a right-foot shot wide with the goal at his mercy.

There was more of the same to come – Luiz clearing off the goalline after a Milner cross was headed down firmly by Firmino. And then Milner made way for Sturridge.

There was only a few feet of space to play with as N’Golo Kante made to challenge him when he shaped to shoot but the strike was exceptionally sweet. Just like the sense of salvation he would have been feeling as he stepped from the field.
Daily Mail

Is he to blame? Mbappe handed victory back to Liverpool moments after snatching it away

The only compliment you can pay Kylian Mbappe is that he knew exactly what he had done and how much it meant.

Having seemingly earned his team a valuable and unlikely point with a late goal at fortress Anfield, the young Frenchman played a pivotal point in handing it straight back again ten minutes later.

At full-time, the horror of culpability was written all over his face. Jurgen Klopp, the Liverpool manager, offered an embrace that was all but refused and with that he was gone, straight down the tunnel with only his thoughts for company.

His sin had been a simple one and one typical of many a young player, no matter how gifted.

When the ball fell to him five yards outside of the Liverpool penalty area with only a minute of added time to go, there was only one of two places it should have gone. Upfield or out of play.

Instead, Mbappe – a young man whose game is constructed around an inner core of confidence – tried to play a cute pass in the wrong area and in that instant he handed possession back to Liverpool.

There was still much to be done for the Premier League team. Nine times out of ten, Klopp’s side would not have turned Mbappe’s small error in to a goal and with it one point in to three.

But at Anfield small mistakes can grow in to something much more significant very quickly and by the time Roberto Firmino had driven the ball across goalkeeper Alphonse Areola and in to the far corner Mbappe’s world had collapsed around his ankles pretty quickly indeed.

So no wonder, the 19-year-old wasn’t quite ready for a cuddle and some words of consolation from Klopp, no matter how well intentioned. No wonder he didn’t join his team-mates in thanking their fantastic support behind the goal.

When you get it wrong like this, there really is no other place to go but home.

Mbappe, then, will have learned a small lesson on Merseyside and also maybe a bigger and equally important one. That being that teams like PSG will not be a match for teams like Liverpool – not away from home anyway – until they can equal them for collective spirit and will.

If that sounds a little trite then it shouldn’t be taken as such. PSG have many talented players but here on another memorable Anfield evening they did not turn the sum of their parts in to anything anywhere near as significant as that of their opponents.

-Dailymail

Naby Keita arrives in Liverpool after 53 million pound move from Leipzig

Naby Keita arrived in Liverpool on Friday night as he finally gets set to join up with his new team-mates after his £53million move from Leipzig.

The Reds broke their transfer record last August, since bettered by the £75m acquisition of Virgil van Dijk, to bring the midfielder to Anfield this summer.

And after an extra season in the Bundesliga, the Guinea international will join up with Jurgen Klopp at the start of pre-season next month.

He could make his first appearance in a red shirt as soon as July 7 when Liverpool face Chester in a friendly.

The Champions League finalists have nine friendlies organised in the space of a month, including a tour of the USA, ahead of their Premier League opener against West Ham.

Keita will be joined by fellow new signing Fabinho, whose £44m arrival from Monaco was rubber-stamped within 48 hours of Liverpool’s defeat by Real Madrid in Kiev.

Naby Keita
Naby Keita

Liverpool had looked on the verge of adding France midfielder Nabil Fekir earlier this month, only for Lyon to announce the deal was off at the 11th hour.

This week the 24-year-old’s agent claimed the deal could still go ahead, with his client on international duty at the World Cup in Russia.

‘Well he didn’t sign because well… it is not over,’ he told LCI. ‘This is not the end of the story. We now wait for what happens next.’

Courtesy: Daily Mail

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