Klopp, Lampard Make Premier League Manager Of The Season Nominees

A file photo of the 2019/2020 Premier League Manager of the Season nominees. Photo: [email protected] League

 

 

Liverpool coach, Jurgen Klopp as well as Chelsea’s Frank Lampard have been shortlisted for the 2019/2020 Premier League Manager of the Season.

Klopp guided his side to a first Premier League crown in 30 years, and was last week voted as the League Managers Association manager of the year.

Chris Wilder of Sheffield United is also among the nominees for the coveted prize with Leicester City’s Brendan Rodgers completing the shortlist for the Manager of the Season.

Wilder, in his first season in the English topflight, took his side to a 9th-place finish in the Premier League, while Rodgers’ efforts will see his men return to Europe for the first time since 2016/17 after they ended the campaign on fifth position.

As the battle for the top manager award heats up, players are also contending for honours.

Senegalese forward, Sadio is among three Liverpool players nominated for the 2019/2020 Premier League Player of the Season.

Mane made the seven-man list alongside two of his teammates, Trent Alexander-Arnold and Jordan Henderson.

Manchester City and Belgian star, Kevin De Bryne is also in contention for the gong with Golden Boot winner, and Leicester City striker, Jamie Vardy among the nominees.

It Feels Like Christmas For Klopp As Liverpool Prepare To Lift Premier League Trophy

Liverpool's German manager Jurgen Klopp sits on the bench before the UEFA Champions League, round of 16, first leg football match between Club Atletico de Madrid and Liverpool FC at the Wanda Metropolitano stadium in Madrid on February 18, 2020. JAVIER SORIANO / AFP
Liverpool’s German manager Jurgen Klopp sits on the bench before the UEFA Champions League, Wanda Metropolitano stadium in Madrid on February 18, 2020. JAVIER SORIANO / AFP

 

Jurgen Klopp said he felt like it was Christmas Eve on Tuesday as Liverpool count down the hours until they lift the Premier League trophy after a 30-year wait.

The Reds will lift the trophy on the Kop stand at Anfield after Wednesday’s clash against Chelsea.

“It’s like Christmas,” said the German manager. “If you know beforehand you have a certain present, there is still excitement. We are very excited about that. I never touched a Premier League trophy ever before, that will be special.”

The celebrations will take place without fans in the stadium due to the coronavirus pandemic and Klopp again urged supporters to stay at home after crowds gathered around Anfield and in Liverpool city centre following their title win last month.

Klopp is relieved his players will get the chance to celebrate inside the stadium because they did not seal the title on the pitch — Manchester City’s defeat at Chelsea ended the race.

“Everybody in the club worked so hard for it, so it should be in the stadium,” he said.

“From a professional basis (it will be) 100 per cent one of the great days in my life to get our hands on this trophy that everyone was waiting so long for and two or three years ago nobody thought it would be possible for us.

“It’s a milestone, it’s a very important day but not the last one for us.”

Chelsea travel to Anfield in far greater need of the points as one win from their final two matches will secure Champions League football next season.

The Blues have also been the first of the Premier League’s big clubs to spend in the transfer market to try and bridge the gap to Liverpool at the top of the table.

Timo Werner will join Chelsea next season despite interest from Liverpool in the German international before the outbreak of the illness, which forced Klopp to reevaluate his transfer plans.

“I’m completely happy with my squad,” Klopp said. “It’s not that we don’t want (to sign players), but we try to make the right decisions.

“COVID came and changed the situation again. Not to the better for any business in the world but for football as well. It’s not that we can’t improve, we just do what is possible for us and what we are able to do, that’s all.

“We had to build this and that needed time. It’s not about spending, it’s about having the right team. We can buy if we have the money for it or the need for it. If one of these things is not there, we will not.”

AFP

Arsenal Beat Liverpool To End Record Bid, Man City Sink Bournemouth

Arsenal's Argentinian goalkeeper Emiliano Martinez (C) celebrates with teammates on the pitch after the English Premier League football match between Arsenal and Liverpool at the Emirates Stadium in London on July 15, 2020. - Arsenal won the game 2-1. (Photo by PAUL CHILDS / POOL / AFP) / RESTRICTED TO EDITORIAL USE. No use with unauthorized audio, video, data, fixture lists, club/league logos or 'live' services. Online in-match use limited to 120 images. An additional 40 images may be used in extra time. No video emulation. Social media in-match use limited to 120 images. An additional 40 images may be used in extra time. No use in betting publications, games or single club/league/player publications. /
Arsenal’s Argentinian goalkeeper Emiliano Martinez (C) celebrates with teammates on the pitch after the English Premier League football match between Arsenal and Liverpool at the Emirates Stadium in London on July 15, 2020. – Arsenal won the game 2-1. (Photo by PAUL CHILDS / POOL / AFP)

 

 

Arsenal ended Liverpool’s bid to set a new Premier League points record with a 2-1 win over the champions, while Manchester City pushed Bournemouth closer to relegation on Wednesday.

Jurgen Klopp’s side needed to win their final three games of the season to break Manchester City’s record of 100 points set in 2018.

They were on course when Sadio Mane opened the scoring with a clinical finish from Andrew Robertson’s cross at the Emirates Stadium.

But two careless mistakes condemned Liverpool to a third league defeat this season.

Virgil van Dijk’s wayward backpass went straight to Alexandre Lacazette, who rounded Reds keeper Alisson Becker to slot home in the 32nd minute.

Alisson was guilty of an equally costly blunder when his pass out was intercepted by Lacazette and he picked out 20-year-old Reiss Nelson for a cool close-range finish.

Liverpool have failed to win three of their five matches since clinching the title.

They have 93 points and with just two games left and can only reach 99 at the end of their first title-winning campaign for 30 years.

Arsenal climb to ninth place as they chase qualification for the Europa League.

Mikel Arteta’s side go into Saturday’s FA Cup semi-final against Manchester City in good spirits after bouncing back from Sunday’s defeat at north London rivals Tottenham.

Manchester City had enjoyed a big win off the field already this week with their appeal to the Court of Arbitration for Sport overturning a two-season ban from playing in European competitions, freeing up Pep Guardiola’s men to play in the Champions League next season.

Guardiola left Aymeric Laporte, Kevin De Bruyne, Raheem Sterling and Riyad Mahrez on the bench against Bournemouth to keep them fresh for Wembley, but City still had too much quality in the form of David Silva and Gabriel Jesus.

Silva has just two more matches at the Etihad after a 10-year City career and showed why he will be so missed by curling a free-kick in off the underside of the crossbar six minutes in.

Bournemouth had chances to level against a makeshift City defence as Ederson turned Junior Stanislas’s free-kick onto the post.

At the other end, Jesus was ruthless as he wriggled between two weak Bournemouth challenges inside the box before firing into the far corner to score for the third consecutive game.

– Stunning strike –
City finally conceded for the first time in five home games since the restart when David Brooks turned home Callum Wilson’s cross two minutes from time.

“It was a really difficult game. We started well in the first 10 or 15 minutes of the second half but then we had a problem in our build-up,” Guardiola said after his side’s 2-1 win.

Defeat leaves Bournemouth still three points adrift of safety from Watford and West Ham, who face each other on Friday.

Wolves remain three points adrift of the Champions League places with just two games to play after Chris Wood’s 96th-minute spot-kick gave Burnley a 1-1 draw at Turf Moor.

It was not until 14 minutes from time that the visitors broke the deadlock thanks to Raul Jimenez’s stunning strike on the half-volley.

In stoppage-time, Mike Dean pointed to the spot for a handball by Matt Doherty despite the Irishman seemingly being impeded by Wood’s attempt at an overhead kick.

Tottenham won 3-1 at Newcastle to keep their chances of European football next season on track by moving up to seventh.

Harry Kane and Son Heung-min were the key men for Tottenham as the South Korean’s low shot crept in at Martin Dubravka’s near post to open the scoring.

Serge Aurier started for the visitors just three days after his brother was shot dead in Toulouse and the Ivorian was at fault for Newcastle’s equaliser as Matt Ritchie pounced on a wayward clearance to fire home.

Kane quickly restored Tottenham’s lead with a back-post header and the England captain added a second with his head in the final minute.

Burnley End Liverpool’s Perfect Run At Anfield

Burnley's English striker Jay Rodriguez (L) and Liverpool's Dutch defender Virgil van Dijk after the English Premier League football match between Liverpool and Burnley at Anfield in Liverpool, north west England on July 11, 2020. (Photo by Oli SCARFF / POOL / AFP)
Burnley’s English striker Jay Rodriguez (L) and Liverpool’s Dutch defender Virgil van Dijk after the English Premier League football match between Liverpool and Burnley at Anfield in Liverpool, north west England on July 11, 2020. (Photo by Oli SCARFF / POOL / AFP)

 

 

Liverpool failed to win a Premier League game at Anfield for the first time since January 2019 as Burnley ended a run of 24 straight victories for Jurgen Klopp’s men on home soil thanks to Jay Rodriguez’s strike in a 1-1 draw on Saturday.

Andy Robertson’s first-half header had the champions on course to maintain their perfect home record and close in on a record points tally for the English top flight.

But Liverpool were made to pay for a host of missed chances when Rodriguez’s fine finish earned a point to further Burnley’s late push for a place in Europe next season.

It could even have been three for the visitors as Johann Berg Gudmundsson hit the bar late on.

Liverpool can still break Manchester City’s record points haul of 100 two seasons ago, but will now need to win all three of their remaining matches.

Klopp has insisted he is not looking to rewrite the record books, but there was no sign of the German easing up with a first title in 30 years long since won.

Robertson and Sadio Mane were recalled from the side that won 3-1 at Brighton on Wednesday with only injured captain Jordan Henderson and Trent Alexander-Arnold missing from Klopp’s strongest XI.

Salah’s double in midweek kept him in the running for a third Golden Boot in as many seasons at Liverpool and only Nick Pope in the Burnley goal prevented the Egyptian closing in on Jamie Vardy at the top of the scoring charts.

Pope turned a fiercely struck Salah volley over before spreading himself well to deny Liverpool’s top scorer in another one-on-one.

The opening goal came from a much more unlikely source as Fabinho picked out Robertson’s run and the Scotland captain looped a header into the far corner for his first goal since November.

Pope and Liverpool’s Alisson Becker are battling for the Golden Glove and the England international showed why he is in the lead with 14 shutouts as he kept his side in the game once more before half-time to turn Mane’s powerful shot over the bar.

Chances continued to come and go for the hosts after the break. Remarkably despite Liverpool’s home form, their number nine is still yet to score at Anfield in the league this season as Roberto Firmino hit the post to extend his wait for a home goal.

Curtis Jones was given a chance to shine in Henderson’s absence and blasted another big opportunity wide before he and fellow teenager Neco Williams were replaced by the more experienced Naby Keita and Alexander-Arnold.

Yet, as soon as they were introduced, Burnley levelled against the run of play when Rodriguez’s brilliant finish from James Tarkowski’s knock-down beat Alisson from the edge of the area.

Burnley then had the best chance to win the game in the final stages as Alisson flapped at another set-piece and the ball fell for substitute Gudmundsson, who could not keep his shot underneath the crossbar.

However, a prized point moves Sean Dyche’s men up to ninth, with eighth possibly good enough for a place in the Europa League should Manchester City’s two-season ban from European competition be upheld.

 

 

AFP

Liverpool’s Henderson To Lift Premier League Trophy Despite Season-Ending Injury

Liverpool's English midfielder Jordan Henderson celebrates scoring their second goal during the English Premier League football match between Brighton and Hove Albion and Liverpool at the American Express Community Stadium in Brighton, southern England on July 8, 2020. (Photo by DANIEL LEAL-OLIVAS / POOL / AFP)
Liverpool’s English midfielder Jordan Henderson celebrates scoring their second goal during the English Premier League football match between Brighton and Hove Albion and Liverpool at the American Express Community Stadium in Brighton, southern England on July 8, 2020. (Photo by DANIEL LEAL-OLIVAS / POOL / AFP)

 

 

Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp confirmed on Friday that captain Jordan Henderson’s season was over due to a knee injury but said he would still lift the Premier League trophy.

The England international was forced off 10 minutes from the end of Wednesday’s 3-1 win over Brighton following a collision with Yves Bissouma and a scan has revealed a knee problem that will keep him out of the club’s remaining four matches.

But Klopp is confident it will not impact on next season — and will not stop him standing on the podium at the club’s final home match against Chelsea later this month to celebrate ending 30 years without the English top-flight title.

“Hendo is the best possible of all bad news — it is a knee injury but no surgery needed but he will not play any more in the latter stages of this season but I am pretty positive he will start with us the new season,” said Klopp.

Premier League champions Liverpool, who host Burnley on Saturday, are on course for a record points tally.

They have 92 points, eight short of Manchester City’s record of 100 points from two seasons ago.

Klopp, speaking at his pre-match press conference, said the skipper would still be the man to lift the Premier League trophy.

“It was an awful moment when he went down with injury,” he said “You saw he knew something happened which shouldn’t have happened. It was a real mood-killer.”

Klopp described Henderson as a “quick healer”, saying: “He deserves to lift the trophy and he will lift the trophy.”

The midfielder tweeted: “My rehabilitation will start immediately and I’ll be working hard to be back to full fitness in just a matter of weeks in order to be fully ready for the start of the new season.

“Of course it’s not the way I’d have preferred to have finished the season on a personal level but it’s been an incredible campaign.”

– Record-chasers –
Liverpool, who are unbeaten in 57 home league matches, are aiming to become the first team in the top-flight since Sunderland in 1891/92 to win all their home league games in a season.

Mohamed Salah, with 19 league goals, is looking for a third successive Golden Boot, sitting three behind current Premier League leader Jamie Vardy.

“Mo now, of course, come on. The numbers are absolutely crazy,” said Klopp. “Involved in (more than) 100 goals (goals and assists) since he is here… it’s just outstanding. World-class numbers. Nobody should be surprised any more.”

Salah scored twice against Brighton and for his first it appeared Roberto Firmino passed up the chance to shoot to allow his team-mate to come in behind him.

However, Klopp dismissed suggestions the players were collaborating to get Salah’s tally up.

“I hope they were not. When I saw the situation, it was just that Bobby’s football intelligence told him he was not in the best position and that Mo was in a much better position,” said the Reds boss.

“I don’t think he left the ball because he wants Mo to win the Golden Boot. You cannot have this mindset.

“We all help each other. We have another contender with Sadio (Mane). He has 16 goals.

“They all want to score goals. Bobby wants to score. They want to be decisive, to decide football games. That’s the mindset a striker needs.”

 

 

AFP

No ‘Softening’ From Liverpool As Salah Keeps Record Chase On Track

Montgomery Waters Meadow Stadium in Shrewsbury, north-west of Birmingham in England on January 26, 2020.
Anthony Devlin / AFP

 

 

Jurgen Klopp hailed Liverpool’s desire not to ease up after clinching the Premier League title as two goals from Mohamed Salah kept the Reds on course for a record points tally with a 3-1 win at Brighton on Wednesday.

The champions move onto 92 points with three wins from their final four games enough to break Manchester City’s record of 100 points from two seasons ago.

“We are champions and it could be softening but it is not – the boys go with everything,” said Klopp.

“We now have 92 points and last season we had 97! We got five points more than this last season – that’s unbelievable, I have no idea how we did that.”

Klopp’s men were quick off the mark with two goals in the first eight minutes to end a run of five games without a goal away from home either side of the coronavirus shutdown.

Brighton’s desire to play out from the back has been one of the hallmarks of Graham Potter’s first season in charge and the Seagulls look certain to meet their target of staying in the division with a nine-point cushion over the bottom three.

But the hosts were twice caught out by Liverpool’s press to leave themselves too much to do despite another promising performance.

“I saw two very good football teams tonight, both trying to play football,” added Klopp. “They had a brave formation and set up but we had a super solution for that. Our high press was outstanding.”

Salah remained in the hunt for a third Golden Boot in as many seasons as a Liverpool player as he slotted home Naby Keita’s cross to open the scoring.

Two minutes later the Reds robbed possession again in the Brighton half and after Salah was held up, Jordan Henderson curled home a brilliant shot into the far corner for a rare goal in an inspirational season for the Liverpool captain.

However, Henderson later limped off with a knee injury that Klopp is concerned could end his season.

“We have to make scans but we know it is not nothing, so that is already enough,” said Klopp.

Rather than letting the floodgates open, Brighton showed impressive resolve to then take the game to their illustrious visitors.

Neco Williams made a brilliant block on his first Premier League start to deny Leandro Trossard a quick reply before Alisson Becker saved from Neal Maupay.

Brighton got their reward just before half-time when Trossard connected sweetly with Tariq Lamptey’s cross to halve the deficit.

“I asked them to play that way. The decision making could be better but they showed personality to claw back into the game,” said Potter. “We tried to play, we went toe-to-toe and there were lots of positive performances for us.”

Dan Burn wasted a huge opportunity to bring the hosts level after the break as he failed to hit the target with the goal gaping.

Salah was more clinical when he headed home Andy Robertson’s corner at the near post for his 19th Premier League goal of the season to move within three of Jamie Vardy in the race for the Golden Boot.

But the Egyptian then missed two big chances in stoppage time for his third Liverpool hat-trick and to further cut Vardy’s lead at the top of the scoring charts as Mat Ryan flicked his first effort over the bar before Salah headed over with the final touch of the game.

Salah Keeps Liverpool’s Record Chase On Track

A NHS badge is dislayed on the shirt of Liverpool's Egyptian midfielder Mohamed Salah during the English Premier League football match between Brighton and Hove Albion and Liverpool at the American Express Community Stadium in Brighton, southern England on July 8, 2020. (Photo by Catherine Ivill / POOL / AFP)
A NHS badge is dislayed on the shirt of Liverpool’s Egyptian midfielder Mohamed Salah during the English Premier League football match between Brighton and Hove Albion and Liverpool at the American Express Community Stadium in Brighton, southern England on July 8, 2020. (Photo by Catherine Ivill / POOL / AFP)

 

 

Liverpool remained on course for a Premier League record points tally thanks to two goals from Mohamed Salah to win 3-1 at Brighton on Wednesday.

The English champions move onto 92 points with three wins from their final four games enough to break Manchester City’s record of 100 points from two seasons ago.

Jurgen Klopp’s men were quick off the mark with two goals in the first eight minutes to end a run of five games without a goal away from home either side of the coronavirus shutdown.

Brighton’s desire to play out from the back has been one of the hallmarks of Graham Potter’s first season in charge and the Seagulls look certain to meet their target of staying in the division with a nine-point cushion over the bottom three.

But the hosts were twice caught out by Liverpool’s press to leave themselves too much to do despite another promising performance.

Salah remained in the hunt for a third Golden Boot in as many seasons as a Liverpool player as he slotted home Naby Keita’s cross to open the scoring.

Two minutes later the Reds robbed possession again in the Brighton half and after Salah was held up, Henderson curled home a brilliant shot into the far corner for a rare goal in an inspirational season for the Liverpool captain.

Rather than letting the floodgates open, Brighton showed impressive resolve to then take the game to their illustrious visitors.

Neco Williams made a brilliant block on his first Premier League start to deny Leandro Trossard a quick reply before Alisson Becker saved from Neal Maupay.

Brighton got their reward just before half-time when Trossard connected sweetly with Tariq Lamptey’s cross to halve the deficit.

Dan Burn wasted a huge opportunity to bring the hosts level after the break as he failed to hit the target with the goal gaping.

Salah was more clinical when he headed home Andy Robertson’s cross at the near post for his 19th Premier League goal of the season to move within three of Jamie Vardy in the race for the Golden Boot.

But the Egyptian then missed two big chances in stoppage time for his third Liverpool hat-trick and to further cut Vardy’s lead at the top of the scoring charts as Mat Ryan flicked his first effort over the bar before Salah headed over with the final touch of the game.

 

 

AFP

Solskjaer Congratulates Liverpool On Premier League Title

Manchester United’s Norwegian manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer gestures from the touchline during the English Premier League football match between Liverpool and Manchester United at Anfield stadium in Liverpool, north west England on January 19, 2020.
Paul ELLIS / AFP

 

 

Manchester United manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer on Friday congratulated bitter rivals Liverpool on their long-awaited Premier League triumph but said watching other sides lifting the trophy “hurt”.

Liverpool were crowned English champions for the first time in 30 years without kicking a ball on Thursday when Chelsea beat Manchester City at Stamford Bridge.

Liverpool’s 19th title triumph, which sparked wild celebrations around their Anfield home ground, left them one behind United’s record haul.

“First of all, any team that wins the championship and a Premier League deserves it and they deserve credit,” United boss Solskjaer, who won six league titles as a player at Old Trafford, told reporters.

“It’s a hard league to win, so well done to Jurgen (Klopp) and his players.

“For me, every time you see anyone else lift the trophy it hurts. I reckon that’s the feeling everyone associated with Man United — all players, staff, and supporters. Of course, we want to get back to winning ways and that’s our challenge.”

Solskjaer is hoping FA Cup glory can be a springboard for further success, with United heading to Norwich on Saturday in the quarter-finals.

United are fifth in the Premier League, still in the race for a Champions League spot, and are well-placed to reach the last eight of the Europa League.

“I think first of all the FA Cup is a fantastic tournament, and a fantastic final to play a part in, a fantastic trophy to lift,” said Solskjaer.

“For our team, it’s a new team, and to get hands-on a first trophy and win a first title would be fantastic and hopefully a catalyst for more things to come.”

Solskjaer plans to rotate his squad at Carrow Road, where Jesse Lingard will feature, having yet to play a minute since the restart.

“Jesse has come back after the lockdown with a smile on his face, loads of energy,” he said.

“Unfortunately, last week he fell ill for a couple of days but we’ve done all the tests and he’s fine, so he’ll be involved against Norwich now and hopefully he can kick on.”

 

 

-AFP

Man Utd Make Top Four Move, Liverpool Lie In Wait

Liverpool's English midfielder Jordan Henderson (L) clears the ball during the English Premier League football match between Liverpool and Crystal Palace at Anfield in Liverpool, north west England on June 24, 2020. (Photo by PHIL NOBLE / POOL / AFP) / RESTRICTED TO EDITORIAL USE. No use with unauthorized audio, video, data, fixture lists, club/league logos or 'live' services. Online in-match use limited to 120 images. An additional 40 images may be used in extra time. No video emulation. Social media in-match use limited to 120 images. An additional 40 images may be used in extra time. No use in betting publications, games or single club/league/player publications. /
Liverpool’s English midfielder Jordan Henderson (L) clears the ball during the English Premier League football match between Liverpool and Crystal Palace at Anfield in Liverpool, north west England on June 24, 2020. (Photo by PHIL NOBLE / POOL / AFP) 

 

Manchester United closed to within two points of the top four thanks to Anthony Martial’s hat-trick in a 3-0 win over Sheffield United on Wednesday before Liverpool hope to move to the brink of a first title in 30 years.

Victory for Jurgen Klopp’s men over Crystal Palace at Anfield will mean Manchester City have to win at Chelsea on Thursday to deny the Reds being crowned champions.

United are still far off challenging again for titles at the top of the table, but there are growing signs of momentum for Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s men as they extended their unbeaten run to 13 games.

Martial produced two predatory first-time finishes before half-time to put the Red Devils in command.

Sheffield United were riding high in March before football’s shutdown for three months, but the Blades have now picked up just one point and failed to score in their three games since the restart.

United could have pilled on much more pain after the break, but were content with one more goal as Martial completed his first career hat-trick with a cheeky chip from Marcus Rashford’s pass.

Fifth-place could still be good enough for a place in next season’s Champions League depending on the outcome of Manchester City’s appeal against a two-season ban from European competition.

And Wolves remain level on points with United in fifth by continuing their perfect restart with a 1-0 win over Bournemouth.

Just as in a 2-0 victory at West Ham on Saturday, Adama Traore and Raul Jimenez combined to break the deadlock as the Mexican powered home a header for his 24th goal of the season.

Defeat leaves Bournemouth still in the bottom three on goal difference and there are now three teams tied on 27 points as Aston Villa struck late to claim a 1-1 draw at Newcastle.

Dean Smith’s side look set to rue a host of missed chances before half-time when Dwight Gayle put the Magpies in front.

However, Ahmed El Mohamady’s scrappy finish from Conor Hourihane’s corner salvaged a precious point.

Any hope of Norwich hauling themselves out of trouble now looks forlorn as the Canaries fell to a second home defeat in a week.

Michael Keane scored the only goal as Everton won 1-0 at Carrow Road to move above Arsenal into 10th.

Norwich remain rock bottom, six points adrift of safety.

 

 

-AFP

Klopp Surprised By 20-Point Gap To Man City

Montgomery Waters Meadow Stadium in Shrewsbury, north-west of Birmingham in England on January 26, 2020.
Anthony Devlin / AFP

 

 

Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp believes Manchester City’s stunning form since the Premier League restart underlines the achievement of his side in building a 20-point gap at the top of the table.

City’s 5-0 demolition of Burnley on Monday, despite making eight changes from the side that beat Arsenal last week, means Liverpool cannot clinch a first league title for 30 years when they host Crystal Palace on Wednesday.

Liverpool could still be crowned champions this week though, should City fail to maintain their impressive form away at Chelsea on Thursday.

“What I realised when I watched the game last night is, how is it possibly anybody is 20 points ahead of this team? So we must have done some things pretty well,” Klopp said at his pre-match videoconference.

“City is flying again, two games, eight goals is impressive but should not be a surprise. It’s a quality side.”

Liverpool did not get off to such a strong start as they drew 0-0 at Everton on Sunday to drop points for just the third time in the league this season.

The return of Mohamed Salah and Andy Robertson from injury should help Klopp’s men rediscover their rhythm against Palace, who were the last visiting side to win a league match at Anfield, more than three years ago.

“We are fine with our start. Not overly happy but it would be cool if we just play our game,” added Klopp.

“If we win, all the other teams can do what they want, they cannot catch us. We have to not think too much about it.”

Should both Liverpool and City win this midweek, then the Reds’ next chance to seal the title would come when they face Pep Guardiola’s men on July 2.

That match is due to be played at City’s Etihad Stadium but could yet be switched to a neutral venue over fears fans might congregate.

However, given that this was not the case for the Merseyside derby at Everton’s Goodison Park on Sunday, Klopp believes there should be no problem for the match to go ahead at the Etihad.

“I would prefer it is in Manchester,” he said. “It would be a challenge for both clubs now (to play elsewhere).

“The whole period showed the massive majority of people behaved responsibly and seriously. The discipline level is probably as high as ever before.”

-AFP

Liverpool Can’t Force Rhythm, Says Frustrated Klopp

Montgomery Waters Meadow Stadium in Shrewsbury, north-west of Birmingham in England on January 26, 2020. Anthony Devlin / AFP

 

Jurgen Klopp says Liverpool cannot force rhythm out of thin air after a frustrating Merseyside derby delayed their Premier League coronation.

Despite having 70 percent possession at Goodison Park on Sunday, the champions-elect managed just three shots on target, the same number as Everton, on their return to action after three months’ absence.

Carlo Ancelotti’s team became just the third side this season to take points off Liverpool, who have won 27 of their 30 games.

Klopp knows he cannot expect too much, too soon after the coronavirus pandemic-enforced break.

“I liked the intensity level of the game from my boys, the high press, but I didn’t like too much the rhythm — but we cannot force that,” he said.

The draw with Everton means Liverpool cannot now win the title at home to Crystal Palace on Wednesday unless Manchester City, 23 points behind, drop points against Burnley on Monday.

“I saw four weeks (of) training sessions and I was happy,” said Klopp, who left forward Mohamed Salah on the bench.

“It was just a difficult game. Physically, we were ready, which was important.

“The defensive stuff was there, I liked offensively but you need moments. If you score in a moment it can change a situation.”

Liverpool lost two players to injury during the match but Klopp hopes both James Milner and Joel Matip will not be sidelined for long.

Everton could have snatched a rare victory late on had Reds goalkeeper Alisson Becker not denied Dominic Calvert-Lewin’s backheel, before Tom Davies hit the post with the follow-up.

AFP

Call Us The ‘Asterik Champions’, Klopp Says As Liverpool Push For Title

Liverpool's German manager Jurgen Klopp sits on the bench before the UEFA Champions League, round of 16, first leg football match between Club Atletico de Madrid and Liverpool FC at the Wanda Metropolitano stadium in Madrid on February 18, 2020. JAVIER SORIANO / AFP
Liverpool’s German manager Jurgen Klopp sits on the bench before the UEFA Champions League, round of 16, first leg football match between Club Atletico de Madrid and Liverpool FC at the Wanda Metropolitano stadium in Madrid on February 18, 2020. JAVIER SORIANO / AFP

 

Liverpool can move within touching distance of the Premier League title when the runaway leaders face Everton on Sunday, while the relegation battle will be in the spotlight in the first full weekend of top-flight action since the coronavirus outbreak.

Jurgen Klopp’s side will play for the first time since the Premier League was suspended in March over the COVID-19 pandemic as the title chasers make the short trip to Merseyside rivals Everton on Sunday.

Liverpool, 22 points clear of second-placed Manchester City, need two wins from their remaining nine games to end their 30-year wait to be crowned English champions.

If the Reds beat Everton, they can wrap up the title with another victory against Crystal Palace at Anfield on Wednesday.

Klopp’s men have not been in action for 106 days and the Liverpool boss is relieved to return after talk the season might be declared null and void, which would have deprived his team of the title their superb season deserves.

Liverpool had been on course to become the first English champions to be crowned in March after recording 27 wins from 29 matches.

However, Liverpool’s inevitable title will now come with an asterisk according to some pundits, who claim the Premier League’s new normal of matches behind closed doors with more substitutes allowed has taken the shine off the leaders’ achievements.

Klopp doesn’t care about those critics and, on the eve of Liverpool’s return, the German hit back.

“Now I have had a lot of time to read. I had to Google the word ‘asterisk’. I only knew the word from a comic!” Klopp said.

“This is the most difficult year and season to become champions, 100 percent. It is an interrupted season, like has never happened before.

“Whoever will be champions, it will be historic because it is a year that we will never forget.

“Give us an asterisk, yes. We cannot do a lot of things that we usually can do but in this specific case at least we can say this is really special.

“That’s why we enjoy the little asterisk there.”

Back in full swing

Liverpool’s derby clash comes at the conclusion of a busy weekend that confirms the Premier League is back in full swing.

Following midweek matches on Wednesday and Friday, this is the first Saturday since March 7 that top-flight games have been played in England.

There will be four games stretched across Saturday and a further three on Sunday, with relegation and Champions League qualification on the agenda in the eerily empty stadiums while fans watch from home.

Watford, out of the relegation zone only on goal difference, host third-placed Leicester in desperate need of points to boost their survival bid.

Brighton were one of the most vocal critics of plans to play at neutral venues, which was initially suggested to keep fans away.

The struggling Seagulls, two points above the bottom three, got their wish to stay on home turf and return to action at the Amex Stadium against Arsenal, who are reeling from their 3-0 defeat at Manchester City on Wednesday.

Arsenal are eight points adrift of the top four and another loss would effectively extinguish their faint hopes of qualifying for the Champions League.

West Ham, level on points with Brighton, host Wolves, who are bidding for an unexpected European berth, while third-bottom Bournemouth face Crystal Palace.

Chelsea play for the first time since the lockdown on Sunday when Frank Lampard’s men head to struggling Villa, who escaped with a 0-0 draw in Wednesday’s opener when a mistake from the Hawk-Eye goalline technology denied Sheffield United a clear goal.