Liverpool Are The ‘Lucky Ones’, Says Mourinho Ahead Of Anfield Clash

Manchester United’s Portuguese manager Jose Mourinho believes Liverpool have benefitted from luck several times this season.  AFP photo.

 

Jose Mourinho has claimed Liverpool are “the lucky ones” as they bid to end a wait of nearly three decades to win the English league title.

Mourinho and his Manchester United side visit Anfield on Sunday with Liverpool 16 points ahead of their bitter rivals.

But Mourinho points to perceived good fortune enjoyed by Liverpool in recent victories over Everton, Bournemouth and Napoli as evidence they have lady luck on their side as they challenge for their first championship since 1990.

“Of course, they are very confident about themselves,” Mourinho told reporters. “They are top of the league, they have this feeling of – I know that feeling well – the feeling of the lucky ones where everything goes in your direction.

“They know how they beat Everton, they know that the last match, the opening goal was offside, and they know that against Napoli in the last seconds they could be out.

“They have this feeling that I also had when my teams were top of the league and it looks like everything goes in your direction.”

Klopp’s side certainly benefitted from a stroke of luck when a defensive error gifted them a stoppage-time victory in the Merseyside derby, although a clearly offside opening goal by Mohamed Salah at Bournemouth was only the first of four scored by the rampant Reds.

And, while the midweek victory over Napoli was only confirmed when Alisson made a spectacular late save, the success carried last season’s Champions League runners-up through to the last 16 and has further raised the mood of optimism around Anfield.

Weaknesses

Not that Mourinho expects his rivals to take inconsistent United lightly when they meet.

“I think they are obviously very, very confident. But I think they are not stupid,” he said.

“They also know that we have our weaknesses, our strengths, and I think they will respect our strengths. I think if they don’t do that I will be happy with that.

“They know that they need every point if they want to be champions so I think they are professionals and being professional is respecting Manchester United. They know that we can go there and win.”

Mourinho, meanwhile, claims he does not yet know if he will have money to spend in the January transfer window which opens in barely two weeks’ time.

Unsourced reports have claimed repeatedly in recent months that the United manager has been frustrated at the lack of backing he has received from his club’s owners in the transfer market.

Last January, the window proved a busy one for Mourinho, as he completed the signing of Arsenal forward Alexis Sanchez.

And, although that particular transfer has yet to prove a success, the Portuguese manager is clearly keen to do some more business next month.

“I don’t know. I don’t know if we are going to have new players – I would like to – but I don’t know if it is possible or not,” he said.

“It depends on the club. I don’t know and, honestly, I’m focused on my job of playing Liverpool and next week playing Cardiff.”

Mourinho insisted he is not concerned by the obvious lack of progress being made by his club in his two and a half years in charge.

“I’m not frustrated because my work is to demand from players that they give everything they have and what I demand – I only demand things that I can give myself,” he said.

“So what I ask the players to do – that’s what I do. You have to work hard, you have to work on your limits. It’s my job.”

AFP

Kane Denies Diving After Anfield Penalty Row

Kane Sets New Record As Tottenham Crush Southampton
(FILE PHOTO) Tottenham Hotspur’s English striker Harry Kane 
Adrian DENNIS / AFP

Tottenham striker Harry Kane has hit back at Virgil van Dijk’s claim he dived to win a penalty in Sunday’s dramatic 2-2 Premier League draw at Anfield.

Liverpool’s record signing said the England international went down too easily under pressure from goalkeeper Loris Karius for the first of two Spurs penalties.

“I think it is a dive. You see him (Kane) diving clearly and no one is talking about it but I think it is a dive,” said Van Dijk, who joined Liverpool from Southampton last month for £75 million ($106 million, 85 million euros).

Kane’s first spot-kick was saved but he converted a second deep into added time to salvage a point and reach 100 Premier League goals.

“He (Karius) has dived, he got in the way and I’m a player. I’m not going to jump out of the way because it’s football,” said Kane, denying Van Dijk’s accusation. “I definitely felt contact and I went down.”

Kane, like manager Mauricio Pochettino, praised the officials for having the strength of character to award two controversial penalties at Liverpool’s home ground.

Assistant referee Ed Smart flagged for a Van Dijk foul on Erik Lamela for the second penalty award after match official Jon Moss had waved play on.

“I thought the linesman showed amazing character to give (the second penalty) because a lot happened for the first one about the linesman so to give that penalty was massive — and it was a penalty,” added Kane.

The debate surrounding the first penalty centred on whether Liverpool defender Dejan Lovren had touched the ball on its way through to Kane, who would otherwise have been offside as he clashed with Karius.

Kane’s late strike brought up a century of Premier League goals in his 141st match.

Only Alan Shearer (124) reached the landmark more quickly and the Tottenham striker now has his sights set on the next 100, with Shearer’s all-time record of 260 still some way off.

“That has to be the aim — and hopefully quicker than I got to 100,” said the 24-year-old. “It is nice, I am going to enjoy the moment but let’s see how many I can get this year and go from there.”

Liverpool are third in the Premier League, five points behind second-placed Manchester United, while Spurs are fifth, one point behind Chelsea, who travel to play Watford on Monday.

AFP

Benteke Stars As Spirited Crystal Palace Shock Liverpool

Benteke Stars As Spirited Crystal Palace Shock LiverpoolCrystal Palace put a huge dent in Liverpool’s top-four hopes on Sunday with a 2-1 win at Anfield.

Coutinho curled a free-kick into the corner of the Palace goalpost in 24 minutes to give the hosts the lead.

Also Read: Manchester United Defeat Burnley In Premier League Clash

However, the visitors made a strong fightback as Christian Benteke scored twice against his former club.

Liverpool are third on the Premier League table while Crystal Palace sit 12th with 38 points.

Arsenal Yet To Comment On Sanchez Bust Up

Arsenal Yet To Comment On Sanchez Bust UpArsenal is yet to comment on reports that Alexis Sanchez was involved in a training ground bust-up with his team-mates prior to Saturday’s 3-1 defeat at Liverpool.

Widespread reports in the national press have suggested that the 28-year-old walked out of training mid-session last week before being involved in an angry confrontation with his team mates.

Arsenal Manager, Arsene Wenger, is likely to face questions over the alleged incident at his media conference ahead of the Champions League return with Bayern Munich on Tuesday.

Sanchez was left out of the starting line-up for the match at Anfield, but came on at half time with the Gunners losing 2 – 0, following the strikes from Roberto Firmino and Sadio Mane.

FA Cup: Liverpool Crash While Arsenal, Chelsea, City Advance

Liverpool Crash Out Of FA CupChampionship side Wolverhampton Wanderers held on to oust Liverpool and reach the FA Cup fifth round with a deserved victory at Anfield.

Richard Stearman put the visitors ahead after only 53 seconds and Helder Costa set up Andreas Weimann to double Wolves’ lead later.

Divock Origi scored a late consolation for the largely subdued Liverpool.

The result is the second defeat in cup competition in four days for Jurgen Klopp’s side after they lost to Southampton in the EFL Cup semi-finals on Wednesday.

However, it was a massive win for Arsenal in spite of the manager Arsene Wenger’s touchline ban.

A Danny Welbeck brace, followed by a Theo Walcott hat trick ensured that the Gunners trashed Southampton 5-0 at the St Mary’s Stadium.

In other FA Cup matches played on Saturday, Sean Dyche’s Burnley knocked out championship strugglers Bristol City with a 2-0 win  at Turf Moor, while league leaders Chelsea put four goals past Brentford with Willian,  Pedro, Branislav  Ivanovic and Michy Batshuayi all getting on the score sheet.

Elsewhere, Manchester City put their troubles in the league behind them to beat Crystal Palace 3-0.

Blackburn Rovers also defeated Blackpool 2-0 while League One side, Oxford pulled off the biggest upset in the round with an impressive 3-0 victory over promotion chasers Newcastle United.

Stewart Downing’s superb 69th minute strike sent Middleborough through to the next round as Aitor Karanka’s men beat Accrington Stanley 1-0.

Tottenham came back from behind to beat League Two side Wycome Wanders 4-3 as South Korean forward Son Heung-Min scored a stoppage-time winner.

Gerrard Elated To Be Back With Liverpool

Steven Gerrard, LiverpoolFormer England International, Steven Gerrard, says he is exited to return home and to his former club, Liverpool.

The former captain of the English club, however, said he was also “nervous and anxious” about his impending return to Anfield as a youth coach.

“Liverpool are prepared to help me an awful lot.

“They want to help me to become a better coach or a better manager, but at the same time I’ve got to commit to it and put in the hard work,” the 36-year-old, told BBC.

Gerrard is expected to commence his coaching job with Liverpool in February.

He made his debut for the club in 1998 and retired from playing in 2016.

The former England player made his 500th league appearance for the Reds in a goalless draw against West Brom on 25 April.

The appearance saw him become the third player ever to achieve 500 or more Premier League appearances for one club, after Ryan Giggs and Jamie Carragher.

Liverpool Are Strong Enough For Title Bid, Says Klopp

We Are Strong Enough For Title Bid, Says Jurgen KloppJurgen Klopp believes Liverpool have the skill and strength for a sustained title challenge this season.

Liverpool need to beat Stoke City at Anfield on Tuesday to be six points adrift of Chelsea with a match in hand, after the leaders’ 12th straight victory at AFC Bournemouth’s expense on Boxing Day.

“We are young enough, we are good enough, we are strong enough and we have an outstanding, skilled team,” Klopp told liverpoolfc.com.

“The only problem is there are a few teams around that have not a worse team, too.

“The more you wish doesn’t make it more likely, but it’s still possible and we will stay in the race, for sure.”

Conte Demands Focus After Chelsea’s Loss To Liverpool

Antonio Conte, Chelsea, LiverpoolChelsea manager, Antonio Conte, has called on his team to learn valuable lessons from their defeat to Liverpool in the English Premier League.

The defeat was Conte’s first since taking charge of the Blues and the former Juventus boss was disappointed with the two goals his side conceded.

He asked them to pay attention to details if they want to think like a great team.

Liverpool centre-back, Dejan Lovren, feels The Reds have become fully accustomed to the ‘tactical blueprint’ of their coach, Jurgen Klopp, for trips to the homes of their rivals.

Since Klopp’s arrival at Anfield in October, Liverpool have returned unbeaten in six league visits to Chelsea, Arsenal, Tottenham and Manchester City.

They also claimed a 1-1 draw at Manchester United in last season’s Europa League last-16 second leg, following a 2-0 first-leg win at Anfield.

“We know what we need to do when we come to away games, especially against big teams like Chelsea.

“We are a team who wants to play, who wants to win – we are not a team who will defend deep and await our chances,” 27-year-old Lovren told Liverpool website.

Chelsea had lost 1-2 to Liverpool in a premier league cracker-match on Friday at the Stamford Bridge.

The much talked about game started with both teams hoping to pick at least a point but Liverpool emerged winners after a perfect first half performance saw them race into a 2-goal lead that Chelsea could not recover from.

Premier League: Arsenal, Man City Win Big As Spurs Draw

Premier LeagueHarry Kane’s 63rd minute equaliser for Premier League title contenders Tottenham Hotspurs against Liverpool rescued his team from defeat at Anfield and gave them a share of the spoils.

Elsewhere Super Eagles forward Alex Iwobi helped Arsenal beat Odion Ighalo’s Watford 4-0 at the Emirates.

The 19-year-old set up Alexis Sanchez for the gunners first in the 4th minute, before adding his second EPL strike in his second start on 38 minutes. Hector Bellerin and Theo Walcott scored Arsenal’s 3rd and 4th goals.

In other matches, Manchester City maintain 4th spot on the log with a 4-0 win over Bournemouth, while West Ham’s push for a top 4 finish was slowed by Crystal Palace in a 2-2 draw at the Boleyn ground.

Norwich City also edged Newcastle United 3-2 to boost their chances of avoiding relegation. Stoke City and Swansea City battled to a 2-2 draw, while Sunderland and West Brom played goalless.

In the day’s lunch-time kick-off, Alexandre Pato marked his Chelsea debut with a goal as the Barclays Premier League champions won 4-0 to leave Aston Villa on the brink of relegation.

 

 

FA Cup: West Ham’s Late Goal Sends Liverpool Out

LiverpoolWest Ham United have dumped Liverpool out of the FA Cup in an extra-time thriller at Upton Park.

After a drab goalless draw at Anfield a week and a half ago, both teams produced a more entertaining match.

Michail Antonio had given West Ham the lead on the stroke of half-time before Philippe Coutinho’s free-kick levelled it up just after the break.

The second half saw both teams miss a lot of chances with Christian Benteke guilty of a notable miss in the 56th minute.

West Ham also seemed to have had a valid penalty denied when Tiago Ilori pulled down Valencia in the box.

Daniel Sturridge’s well taken shot also missed the goal by inches in the 108th as the match seemed to be heading for penalties.

Liverpool, however, were left to rue their wasted chances as Angelo Ogbonna headed home Dimitri Payet’s free-kick in the 121st minute.

Klopp made 10 changes from the side that threw away a two-goal lead to draw with Sunderland on Saturday. Only goalkeeper Simon Mignolet kept his place.

Five members of their starting line-up had never previously started a Premier League game.

Firmino Wins PFA Fans’ Player Of The Month

firminoLiverpool forward, Roberto Firmino, has been named the PFA fans’ player of the month in the Premier League.

Firmino enjoyed a superb January, scoring four goals in as many premiership matches.

The 24-year-old, who joined Liverpool last summer in an initial £21.3m deal, scored twice in his side’s 3-3 draw with Arsenal.

Firmino, who also bagged a brace in Liverpool’s 5-4 win over Norwich beat Manchester United captain Wayne Rooney and Tottenham’s Harry Kane to the award.

Meanwhile, Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp says everyone at the club is interested in finding a solution to arguments over ticket prices to matches.

The club’s U.S owners Fenway Sports Group have proposed new prices for the 2016 to 2017 season and asked for consultation.

On Saturday around 10,000 Liverpool fans staged a protest walk-out at Anfield during the match against Sunderland in response.

Wenger, Klopp Comment On 3-3 Draw At Anfield

Wenger-Arsenal-LiverpoolArsenal Manager, Arsene Wenger, admits his team should have picked all three points in the thrilling 3-3 draw against Liverpool at Anfield.

Arsenal led 3-2 heading into injury time, but Joe Allen struck a dramatic late equaliser for Liverpool, although the result kept the gunners top of the Premier League.

Wenger commended his team for the fight in what he described as one of the most entertaining games of the season.

However, the Liverpool boss, Jurgen Klopp, insisted that his side were good value for a point after the draw with league leaders, Arsenal.

Klopp’s men took the lead twice through two Roberto Firmino goals, but were pegged back by Aaron Ramsey and Olivier Giroud in what was a pulsating opening 25 minutes.

Arsenal’s French striker (Giroud) looked to have wrapped up the points when firing his second on 55 minutes, but Allen, who had only been on the pitch for eight minutes, struck as the clock ticked into injury time.