Slow Start Gives Liverpool And Klopp Cause For Concern

Liverpool’s German manager Jurgen Klopp gestures on the touchline during the English Premier League football match between Manchester United and Liverpool at Old Trafford in Manchester, north west England, on August 22, 2022. (Photo by Paul ELLIS / AFP) 

 

 

Three months ago Liverpool stood on the brink of an unprecedented quadruple of trophies. Three games into the new season, they are yet to win a game.

A 2-1 defeat at Old Trafford on Monday saw Jurgen Klopp’s men leapfrogged in the fledgling English Premier League table by a Manchester United side that had spent the past week being ridiculed for losing 4-0 at Brentford.

Liverpool’s worst start for a decade leaves the Reds already trailing defending champions Manchester City by five points and early leaders Arsenal by seven.

“It’s not the nicest thing to look at, that’s clear,” said Klopp on his side slipping to 16th after three games.

Of even more concern for the German is that there does not appear a quick fix for the issues that have caused such a slow start.

An early season injury crisis meant Thiago Alcantara, Naby Keita, Ibrahima Konate, Joel Matip and Diogo Jota were among those unavailable for the trip to Old Trafford.

Darwin Nunez was also missing after Liverpool’s new 75 million euro (£64 million, $77 million) striker served the first of his three-game ban for the red card he received for headbutting Crystal Palace defender Joachim Andersen last week.

Nunez’s arrival from Benfica accounts for most of Liverpool’s spend in the transfer window and the decision not to refresh Klopp’s midfield options is a growing source of frustration among the Reds’ support.

Without Thiago and Keita, the 36-year-old James Milner and Harvey Elliott, 19, lined up either side of captain Jordan Henderson in midfield on Monday.

Klopp admitted before the game that it would be “cool” to have another midfield option.

– Alexander-Arnold targeted –
That is not the only area of concern for Klopp.

Trent Alexander-Arnold’s defensive positioning is being increasingly targeted by the opposition.

Following on from Real Madrid’s winner in last season’s Champions League final and Fulham’s joy on the opening weekend of the season, an attack down Liverpool’s right was the source for United’s first goal.

Virgil van Dijk has also looked far from the world’s best centre-back in recent weeks and was on the receiving end of a telling off from Milner for his role in giving Jadon Sancho the space to slot home the opening goal.

Up front, the loss of Sadio Mane to Bayern Munich is hitting hard with Roberto Firmino looking a spent force as he deputised for Nunez.

Slow starts are also a common theme in Liverpool’s recent struggles.

They have now conceded first in their last seven Premier League games stretching back to the end of last season.

“We’re giving every team a goal start, we can’t keep giving ourselves an uphill battle,” said Andy Robertson.

“In the warm-up it was the quietest I have heard this stadium and they wanted something to lift them and we gave them it.

“Two points from nine is not the start we wanted. We need to pick up our performances individually and collectively.

“It is easy to talk about it in the changing room but we have to go out and do it. We can’t keep conceding goals. They started better than us today. It needs to change.”

A first defeat in 31 games in domestic football stretching back to December is no time for panic.

But City and Liverpool have raised the bar in jousting for the title over the past five years with in excess of 90 points now normally needed to be crowned champions.

To reach those heights again, Klopp’s men have no time to waste in awakening from their early-season slumber.

Nunez Saves Liverpool From Opening Day Defeat At Fulham

Liverpool's Uruguayan striker Darwin Nunez celebrates after scoring their first goal during the English Premier League football match between Fulham and Liverpool at Craven Cottage in London on August 6, 2022. (Photo by JUSTIN TALLIS / AFP)
Liverpool’s Uruguayan striker Darwin Nunez celebrates after scoring their first goal during the English Premier League football match between Fulham and Liverpool at Craven Cottage in London on August 6, 2022. (Photo by JUSTIN TALLIS / AFP)

 

Jurgen Klopp admitted Liverpool deserved no more than a 2-2 draw against newly-promoted Fulham in a pulsating start to their Premier League season on Saturday.

Aleksandar Mitrovic twice put the impressive hosts ahead, but Darwin Nunez came off the bench to make a huge impact on his Premier League debut.

The Uruguayan, who arrived at Anfield in a deal that could rise to 100 million euros ($102 million) from Benfica, flicked home to level at 1-1 and then teed up Mohamed Salah for an equaliser 10 minutes from time.

Liverpool’s season had got off to a flying start by getting the better of Manchester City to win the Community Shield in what was billed as an early showdown between the two title contenders.

READ ALSO: Arsenal See Off Palace In Strong Start To Premier League Season

However, the Reds were punished for a sluggish performance in the first hour in what could prove a costly concession of two points.

“The best thing about the game was the result,” said Klopp. “We got a point from a really bad game.

“The result was fine, I don’t think we deserved more than that. The performance can be massively improved.”

Mitrovic scored 43 goals in as many games last season as Fulham romped to the Championship title and gave Liverpool an early warning as he stabbed just wide inside the first minute.

Much to Klopp’s frustration on the touchline, the visitors did not wake from their slumber and were finally punished on 32 minutes when Mitrovic outmuscled Trent Alexander-Arnold at the back post to head in Kenny Tete’s cross.

“We have to respect Liverpool but of course do our job and trust ourselves,” said Fulham boss Marco Silva. “We did a great first half, almost perfect the way we controlled and blocked. Second half, we matched them.”

Liverpool flickered into life before the break as Luis Diaz smashed against the post from a narrow angle.

However, it was not until the introduction of the towering presence of Nunez that the Champions League finalists began to pose a persistent threat.

Nunez was at fault when Fulham were inches away from doubling their lead when he was caught in possession and the ball was fed to Neeskens Kebano, who drilled off the inside of the post.

At the other end, Liverpool’s new striker quickly made his presence felt as an audacious flick from Salah’s cross was saved by Marek Rodak.

Moments later a replica move did deliver Nunez’s first Premier League goal as he backheeled in from Salah’s low cross 26 minutes from time.

At that point there appeared only one winner, but Mitrovic showed a surprising fleetness of foot to turn Virgil van Dijk, who clipped the Serbian striker inside the box.

Mitrovic coolly slotted the resulting penalty low past Alisson Becker, but Fulham failed to hold out in the final 18 minutes for a famous win.

Another long ball into the box towards Nunez caused panic in the Fulham defence and the ball eventually fell kindly to Salah to score on the opening weekend of the Premier League for a sixth consecutive season.

Liverpool could even have snatched victory five minutes into stoppage time when Jordan Henderson’s long range strike came back off the crossbar.

But a point was the least Fulham deserved as they made a strong start in their bid to avoid relegation for a fourth consecutive season when in the top flight.

 

AFP

Nunez Outshines Haaland As Liverpool Beat Man City To Community Shield

Liverpool's Uruguyan forward Darwin Nunez (L) celebrates after scoring his team third goal during the English FA Community Shield football match between Liverpool and Manchester City at the King Power Stadium in Leicester on July 30, 2022. (Photo by Nigel Roddis / AFP)
Liverpool’s Uruguyan forward Darwin Nunez (L) celebrates after scoring his team third goal during the English FA Community Shield football match between Liverpool and Manchester City at the King Power Stadium in Leicester on July 30, 2022. (Photo by Nigel Roddis / AFP)

 

Liverpool struck first blood against Manchester City ahead of the new Premier League season as Darwin Nunez made an instant impact for Jurgen Klopp’s men to win the Community Shield 3-1.

In a tale of two big summer signings, Nunez came off the bench to win a penalty and score his first goal since a 75-million euro ($77 million) move from Benfica, while Erling Haaland had a City debut to forget.

Trent Alexander-Arnold’s blistering strike gave Liverpool a deserved half-time lead in Leicester.

But it was City’s other new forward who hauled Pep Guardiola’s men back into the game after the break as Julian Alvarez equalised.

READ ALSO: Minister Targets Historic Performance At Commonwealth Games

Tying down Mohamed Salah to a new three-year deal was Liverpool’s other major piece of summer business and the Egyptian was deadly from the penalty spot after Nunez’s header was handled by Ruben Dias.

The Uruguayan then got his own glory moment by stooping to head home in stoppage time before tearing off his shirt in celebration.

Victory saw Liverpool win the traditional season curtain-raiser for the first time since 2006 and lay down an early marker in what is expected to be another battle between the sides for the Premier League title.

City held off the Reds to win the Premier League for a fourth time in five years by a point in a thrilling finale to last season.

Guardiola’s men had to come from 2-0 down on the final day of the campaign to beat Aston Villa and were again guilty of a slow start.

Salah was the provider for the opening goal as he laid Thiago Alcantara’s crossfield pass back to the edge of the box and Alexander-Arnold smashed in off the post with the aid of a slight deflection off Dias.

City had played just two pre-season friendlies to Liverpool’s four and took half an hour to find their feet.

Haaland was denied by Liverpool stand-in goalkeeper Adrian with his first sight of goal.

However, the Norwegian should have opened his City account moments later as he failed to properly connect with Joao Cancelo’s inviting cross.

Nunez was given his chance to shine on the hour mark, but fluffed his first big chance when Ederson prevailed in a one-on-one.

At the other end, City’s new South American striker also got his career in England off to a flying start.

Alvarez’s arrival at the Etihad has gone under the radar in the hype surrounding Haaland.

But the Argentine, who scored six goals in one Copa Libertadores match in May, is also regarded as one of the world’s most exciting young forwards.

Alvarez was quickest to react to the rebound after Adrian saved Phil Foden’s initial effort and the goal stood after a VAR review for offside.

It needed another the intervention of VAR once more for Liverpool to restore their lead seven minutes from time.

Referee Craig Pawson pointed to the spot after seeing a replay of Nunez’s header coming back off the arm of Dias.

Salah was deadly as ever from 12 yards as he drilled into the bottom corner despite Ederson going the right way.

Nunez then ended any doubt over the result when he pounced on Andy Robertson’s header across goal.

But City’s miserable day did not end there as Haaland hit the bar with the goal gaping deep in stoppage time to keep the Norwegian superstar waiting to open his account in English football.

 

AFP

‘World’s Best’ Alisson: The Goalkeeper Who Transformed Liverpool

(FILES) In this file photograph taken on May 17, 2022, Liverpool’s Brazilian goalkeeper Alisson Becker celebrates at the end of the English Premier League football match between Southampton and Liverpool at St Mary’s Stadium in Southampton, southern England.  (Photo by Glyn KIRK / AFP) 

 

 

Jurgen Klopp surveyed the wreckage of Liverpool’s 2018 Champions League final against Real Madrid and responded with a transformative swoop for Brazilian goalkeeper Alisson Becker.

Without Alisson’s prodigious contributions to the Liverpool cause, including a vital goal last season, Klopp’s side would not be preparing for Saturday’s revenge mission against the Spanish champions in Paris.

Liverpool’s agonising loss to Real four years ago was an especially bitter pill for Klopp to swallow as his hand-picked keeper, Loris Karius, was largely to blame for the 3-1 defeat.

Klopp signed Karius from Mainz and made him first choice ahead of Simon Mignolet, but the German never convinced and his Champions League meltdown in Kiev proved the final straw.

Minutes after half-time, with the score at 0-0, Karius inexplicably threw the ball against Karim Benzema and watched helplessly as the ball rolled behind him into the empty net.

Liverpool were still in the game at 2-1 down with seven minutes left, but Karius then fumbled Gareth Bale’s long-range shot into the net to seal Real’s victory.

Just weeks later, Klopp signed Alisson from Roma for a then world-record fee for a goalkeeper of around £67 million ($84 million).

While Mohamed Salah and Virgil van Dijk have been Liverpool’s most influential stars in the Klopp era, Alisson’s impact cannot be understated.

Goalkeepers have always been revered at Liverpool, with a mural for 1970s great Ray Clemence adorning a house wall near Anfield.

Alisson, 29, deserves to be ranked among Liverpool’s all-time greats between the posts and Klopp has no doubts about his quality.

“Alisson Becker is the best goalkeeper in the world for me,” the Liverpool boss said earlier this season. “There are top goalies out there but this keeper is insane.

The Brazilian’s fingerprints are all over some of Liverpool’s biggest moments in recent years.

 

(FILES) In this file photograph taken on May 14, 2022, Liverpool’s Brazilian goalkeeper Alisson Becker saves the shot by Chelsea’s English midfielder Mason Mount during penalty session of the English FA Cup final football match between Chelsea and Liverpool, at Wembley Stadium, in London. (Photo by Ben Stansall / AFP)

 

‘I would have paid double’

Just months after his arrival on Merseyside, Alisson made a phenomenal stoppage-time save against Napoli in December 2018.

Heading into their final Champions League group stage match, the Reds knew only a win with a clean sheet or victory by two clear goals would secure progression to the knockout stages.

But, as Liverpool clung onto a one-goal lead, Napoli’s Arkadiusz Milik looked certain to send them crashing out when he found himself one-on-one with Alisson.

However, the goalkeeper produced a wonderful stop with his feet to earn a spot in the last 16, moving Klopp to say: “If I knew Alisson was this good, I would have paid double. The save he made, I have no words for that.”

Liverpool went on to win the Champions League that season, beating Tottenham in the final to give Alisson the first major prize of his career in Europe.

A year later Liverpool won the Premier League, becoming English champions for the first time since 1990, with their goalkeeper again a model of consistency.

Klopp’s men struggled to defend the title and were battling to secure a Champions League berth when Alisson produced a dramatic intervention against West Bromwich Albion in May 2021.

Liverpool were drawing 1-1 at the Hawthorns with seconds left when Alisson jogged forward and nonchalantly headed Trent Alexander-Arnold’s corner into the net for a remarkable winner.

Coming just three months after the tragic death of his father, he saw the goal as a moment of divine intervention.

“I’m too emotional” Alisson said. “I’m sure he is celebrating with God at his side. God placed his hand on my head.”

 

Liverpool’s German manager Jurgen Klopp (R) congratulates Liverpool’s Brazilian goalkeeper Alisson Becker at the end of the English Premier League football match between Liverpool and Wolverhampton Wanderers at Anfield in Liverpool, north west England on May 22, 2022. –  (Photo by Paul ELLIS / AFP)  

 

Alisson has been no less imperious this term during Liverpool’s chase for an unprecedented quadruple, a quest that was ended on Sunday when Manchester City pipped them to the Premier League title.

He had 20 league clean-sheets to his name this season and saved Mason Mount’s effort in Liverpool’s recent penalty shootout victory against Chelsea in the FA Cup final, paving the way for Kostas Tsimikas to score the winning spot-kick.

Should Liverpool be crowned European champions for a seventh time this weekend, it would be no surprise if Alisson delivers another signature moment.

Liverpool Beat Southampton To Take Title Race To Final Day

Liverpool's German-born Cameroonian defender Joel Matip (unseen) scores past Southampton's English goalkeeper Alex McCarthy (R) during the English Premier League football match between Southampton and Liverpool at St Mary's Stadium in Southampton, southern England on May 17, 2022. Glyn KIRK / AFP
Liverpool’s German-born Cameroonian defender Joel Matip (unseen) scores past Southampton’s English goalkeeper Alex McCarthy (R) during the English Premier League football match between Southampton and Liverpool at St Mary’s Stadium in Southampton, southern England on May 17, 2022. Glyn KIRK / AFP

 

Jurgen Klopp rated Liverpool’s chances of winning the Premier League as “not likely but possible” after the under-strength quadruple chasers took the title race to the final day of the season with a 2-1 win against Southampton on Tuesday.

After Liverpool defeated Chelsea on penalties in a gruelling FA Cup final just three days earlier, Klopp took a gamble with nine changes at St Mary’s.

Despite effectively fielding a reserve team and trailing to Nathan Redmond’s early strike, Liverpool hit back through goals from Takumi Minamino and Joel Matip.

The Reds are just one point behind leaders Manchester City, with both teams having one game left.

READ ALSO: Arsenal Got What They Deserved, Says Arteta

A title race for the ages will go City’s way if they win against Aston Villa at the Etihad Stadium on Sunday.

Klopp insisted at the weekend that he does not expect City to drop points against Villa.

But Liverpool would be crowned champions for the second time in three seasons if they beat Wolves at Anfield and City fail to win.

“Of course it is unlikely because City play at home against Aston Villa, who play only on Thursday. It is possible, not likely but possible. That is enough,” Klopp said.

“It is our last home game of the season, the atmosphere will be outstanding, and we will try to use it.

“Of course it could happen. Football is a tricky game sometimes. The only chance we had tonight was to win. We did our job. We never give up.”

Klopp’s side will be expected to do their part of the equation against Wolves, especially now their refreshed key players can return to the team.

Sadio Mane, Luis Diaz, Andrew Robertson, Thiago Alcantara and Trent Alexander-Arnold were among those left out against Southampton, while Mohamed Salah and Virgil van Dijk were sidelined with injuries suffered at Wembley.

“I never had a group like this. They push each other constantly. In the end, it is absolutely outstanding and tonight is really special,” Klopp said.

“We would have had much more problems today if we’d played the guys who played 120 minutes on Saturday.

“If it hadn’t worked out, it would have been 100 per cent my responsibility. Now it worked out and the boys should be really proud of that.”

History bid

City boss Pep Guardiola said he planned to watch the game on television and if he tuned in, it would have made for frustrating viewing as Southampton squandered the lead.

But it was Riyad Mahrez’s missed penalty in the final minutes of City’s 2-2 draw at West Ham on Sunday which had given Liverpool renewed hope of catching the leaders.

And the Reds, hoping to become the first English club to win all four major trophies in one season, will settle their bid for historyin the last two games of their incredible, marathon campaign.

First, Liverpool will try to avoid a repeat of 2019, when they beat Wolves on the last day but were still pipped to the title by City.

Then they head to Paris to face Real Madrid in the Champions League final on May 28.

Liverpool were hit on the break when Ralph Hasenhuttl’s side took the lead after 13 minutes.

Redmond sprinted away down the left flank, cutting inside to the edge of the area and unleashed a fierce strike that took a deflection off James Milner as it flashed into the far corner.

With their title hopes in jeopardy, Liverpool showed the desire and character that inspired Klopp to label them “mentality monsters”.

Japan forward Minamino made the most of a rare Premier League start with a brilliant equaliser in the 27th minute.

Joe Gomez fizzed a pass into Jota and his perfectly weighted lay-off reached Minamino, who beat Alex McCarthy at the near post with a ferocious rising drive.

Liverpool’s relentless pressure was rewarded in the 67th minute.

Matip and Kyle Walker-Peters challenged for Tsimikas’s corner and the ball looped in over McCarthy, forcing City to keep the champagne on ice for now.

AFP

Klopp Still Believes In Liverpool’s Title Chances

Liverpool's German manager Jurgen Klopp looks on during the English Premier League football match between Liverpool and Watford at Anfield in Liverpool, north west England on April 2, 2022. Paul ELLIS / AFP
Liverpool’s German manager Jurgen Klopp looks on during the English Premier League football match between Liverpool and Watford at Anfield in Liverpool, northwest England on April 2, 2022.
Paul ELLIS / AFP

Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp said he maintains belief that the Reds can beat Manchester City to the Premier League title and keep their hopes of a historic quadruple alive.

City extended their lead at the top of the table to three points and also boosted their goal difference to four better than Liverpool’s with a 5-0 thrashing of Newcastle on Sunday.

The Reds stumbled a day earlier when they were held 1-1 at home by Tottenham.

However, Klopp shrugged off suggestions that he should now focus on saving his players’ energies for facing Chelsea in the FA Cup final on Saturday and the Champions League final against Real Madrid on May 28.

“Until it’s not reachable anymore, why should we stop believing? That’s what we do,” said Klopp at his pre-match press conference ahead of Tuesday’s trip to Aston Villa.

“It is clear that it is not over, whatever happened, because we both have three games to play. And my concern is actually: how can we win our games?

“In an ideal world you win all the games and you are always in a great mood. A lot of times we have to respond on setbacks and that’s what we have to do.”

City boss Pep Guardiola claimed he felt the whole of England is behind Liverpool’s title bid.

Speaking shortly after the win over Newcastle, Guardiola said: “Everyone in this country supports Liverpool, the media and everyone.”

However, Klopp said he does not get that feeling with the hostile environment his side face on the road.

“I have no idea if the whole country is supporting us,” added Klopp. “It is not the feeling I get when we go to other places and play there, it is actually the opposite, but maybe he knows more about that than me.”

Liverpool are sure to have a fan in the manager of their next opposition.

Steven Gerrard never lifted a league title as captain at Anfield, but is revered as one of the club’s greatest ever players and been tipped as a potential successor to Klopp.

Villa secured safety with a 3-1 win at Burnley at the weekend, but Gerrard said he has no divided loyalties when facing his old club.

“My job is to win games for Aston Villa, that will always be the case when I’m representing the club. I want to win, fiercely, and that is no different tomorrow,” said Gerrard.

Liverpool were thrashed 7-2 on their last visit to Villa Park in October 2020.

But Gerrard believes he is coming up against the best team in world football right now.

“Liverpool are a world-class team. Arguably, the best team in the world right now,” he added.

“We’re well aware of the size of the challenge, but it’s exciting and I’m looking forward to it. Big games of football are what it’s all about.”

AFP

Klopp Unsure If His Own Liverpool Deal Will Persuade Salah To Stay

Mohamed Salah and Jurgen Klopp

 

 

Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp says he does not believe his new deal will be the deciding factor in whether star forwards Mohamed Salah and Sadio Mane commit their long-term futures to the club.

Salah and Mane, along with fellow attacker Roberto Firmino and midfielder Naby Keita, have contracts that expire next year.

With Klopp now staying until 2026, there is a greater degree of security at the club, but the German is not convinced that will make a huge difference to individual players’ decisions.

“If it is a positive sign for the boys, great, but I don’t think this will be the one decisive thing for whatever decision they want to make,” he said on Friday.

“It is their own life but we just wanted to guarantee that everyone who wants to be here knows what he can expect.”

Egypt international Salah, whose negotiations have dragged on for several months, admitted last week it was not certain he would remain at Anfield, stressing the decision was not just about the money.

But Klopp said he did not make judgements about players’ loyalty based on whether they wanted to go elsewhere.

“If a player tells you early enough he wants to go then you have to deal with it,” Klopp said.

“I don’t judge people if they are loyal or not if they say during a contract ‘I want to go somewhere else and see what the weather is like or how the grass is there’.

“That’s not the case. I think you see loyalty in other areas.”

Salah was named the Football Writers’ Association player of the year on Friday.

Klopp takes his side to Newcastle for the early kick-off on Saturday, looking to put pressure on Premier League leaders Manchester City, who are playing later at Leeds, by opening up a two-point gap at the top.

With one foot in the Champions League final after a 2-0 win over Villarreal in the first leg of their semi-final and an FA Cup final against Chelsea next month, an unprecedented quadruple remains a possibility.

Klopp, whose side have already won the League Cup this season, said his new contract was the start of a new era at the club.

“We don’t think about changing the team in the next two or three years or whatever, but you have to prepare the little things so that you are ready for the future as well,” he said.

“That’s why I really think it’s a really good place to be or a good place to join, if not the perfect place.

“We cannot wait 10 years. We have to do it now. It’s no threat. This is only the start, to be honest. That’s the plan, that we really, really go for it.”

Klopp Signs New Liverpool Contract Until 2026

File photo: Liverpool’s German manager Jurgen Klopp. Paul ELLIS / AFP

 

Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp has signed a new contract that will keep him at Anfield until 2026, the Premier League club announced on Thursday.

The German, whose previous deal was due to expire in 2024, said he was “delighted, humbled, blessed” to be staying for an extra two years.

“There is just so much to love about this place,” he said. “I knew that before I came here. I got to know it even better after I arrived and now I know it more than ever before.

“Like any healthy relationship, it always has to be a two-way street; you have to be right for each other. The feeling we were absolutely right for each other is what brought me here in the first place and it’s why I’ve extended previously.”

He added: “When the owners brought the possibility to renew to me, I asked myself the question I’ve mused over publicly — ‘Do I have the energy and vibe to give of myself again what this amazing place requires from the person in the manager’s office?’

“I didn’t need too long to answer in truth. The answer was very simple…I’m in love with here and I feel fine!”

Klopp’s quote echoes the new chant to the tune of The Beatles song “I Feel Fine” — dedicated to the Reds boss.

– Quadruple chase –

Liverpool are chasing an unprecedented quadruple of trophies this season. They have already won the League Cup and face Chelsea in next month’s FA Cup final.

The Reds are just one point behind Premier League leaders Manchester City with five games to go and are 2-0 up after the first leg of their Champions League semi-final against Villarreal.

The German has rebuilt the Reds into a superpower of European football since taking charge in 2015.

Liverpool lifted the Champions League in 2019 before ending a 30-year wait to win the English top flight the following year.

If they pip Manchester City to the title this year they would equal Manchester United’s record of 20 English league crowns.

The 54-year-old has previously said he would take a sabbatical from the game when his time at Anfield comes to an end.

However, he has put his planned break back at least two years as he builds a legacy to rival that of Alex Ferguson’s 26-year reign at Manchester United and Arsene Wenger’s 22-year stay at Arsenal.

Klopp is already the longest-serving manager in the Premier League and should he see out his new deal it would mean an 11-year stay — a rarity at one of the world’s biggest clubs in the modern game.

The former Mainz and Borussia Dortmund boss been re-energised this season after appearing jaded during a difficult 2020/21 campaign dogged by injury problems and played in the soulless atmosphere of empty stadiums.

Fenway Sports Group president Mike Gordon, speaking on behalf of the club’s owners, said: “It’s always hard to find the right words to adequately reflect Jurgen’s importance and contribution to our club, but today’s announcement really does speak for itself.”

But challenges lie ahead for Liverpool if they are to maintain the stellar standards they have set in recent years alongside Pep Guardiola’s Manchester City.

Mohamed Salah — the Premier League’s top-scorer this season — has still not put pen to paper on a new deal. His contract expires next year, at the same time as those for fellow forwards Sadio Mane and Roberto Firmino run out.

And sporting director Michael Edwards, who has been credited with much of the club’s savvy transfer business, has already announced he is leaving the club at the end of the season.

AFP

Premier League Glory Is Priority, Liverpool’s Klopp Says After Watford Win

Liverpool's German manager Jurgen Klopp looks on during the English Premier League football match between Liverpool and Watford at Anfield in Liverpool, north west England on April 2, 2022. Paul ELLIS / AFP
Liverpool’s German manager Jurgen Klopp looks on during the English Premier League football match between Liverpool and Watford at Anfield in Liverpool, north west England on April 2, 2022.
Paul ELLIS / AFP

 

Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp said winning the Premier League is his priority after the Reds went top of the table for the first time this year thanks to a 2-0 win over Watford.

Diogo Jota and Fabinho got the goals at Anfield as Klopp’s men moved two points ahead of Manchester City, who travel to Burnley later on Saturday.

The visit of the Hornets kicked off a huge month for Liverpool as they remain in the hunt for a historic quadruple of trophies.

READ ALSO: Liverpool Reel In Man City For Another ‘Insane’ Title Tussle

A potential title decider away to City next weekend falls in between both legs of a Champions League quarter-final against Benfica before another meeting with City in the FA Cup semi-finals.

“The Premier League is the most important competition,” said Klopp, whose side lifted the League Cup in February.

“A big two months (ahead) hopefully. This week can decide a lot about how May will be.

“The boys created a top-class basis and now we have to use it.”

Klopp could afford the luxury of leaving Luis Diaz and Sadio Mane on the bench after their exertions on international duty, alongside Trent Alexander-Arnold on his return from injury.

However, the hosts did not have the easy afternoon Klopp would have hoped for with tougher tests to come.

Watford are in desperate need of points for their own battle to beat relegation.

Ismaila Sarr was a major threat for the visitors as he nearly caught Alisson Becker off his line early on.

Liverpool needed the Brazilian goalkeeper to be at this best for a few seconds that decided the game midway through the first half.

Alisson stood his ground to parry Juraj Kucka’s powerful low effort when the Slovakian was played through on goal.

The home side swiftly broke up the other end and Alexander-Arnold’s deputy, Joe Gomez, swung in a cross and Jota nipped in ahead of Ben Foster to head in his 20th goal of the season.

But there was a nervousness around Anfield as Watford refused to wilt and even had a glorious chance to equaliser in the second half.

Sarr again created the danger with a burst down the left and his cut back was slotted wide by Joao Pedro.

Liverpool had to wait until a minute from time to get the two-goal cushion they desired when Kucka wrestled Jota to the ground from a corner.

Mohamed Salah had already been subbed by Sadio Mane at that stage so Fabinho took responsibility from the spot and smashed into the top corner to secure Liverpool’s 10th consecutive Premier League win.

“I don’t think after the international break I ever see the best game of the season,” added Klopp. “We were very mature and very controlled.”

Defeat leaves Watford still in the bottom three, still three points behind Everton, who also have three games in hand.

 

AFP

Liverpool Sink Arsenal To Boost Title Bid, Record-Breaker Kane Lifts Spurs

Liverpool’s Portuguese striker Diogo Jota celebrates scoring the opening goal with Liverpool’s Spanish midfielder Thiago Alcantara (R) during the English Premier League football match between Arsenal and Liverpool at the Emirates Stadium in London on March 16, 2022. (Photo by Ian Kington / IKIMAGES / AFP) 

 

 

Jurgen Klopp urged Liverpool to finish the job as they moved within one point of Premier League leaders Manchester City after Diogo Jota and Roberto Firmino inspired a crucial 2-0 win against Arsenal on Wednesday.

Klopp’s side took advantage of City’s goalless draw against Crystal Palace on Monday thanks to their smash-and-grab raid at the Emirates Stadium.

Arsenal enjoyed a sustained period of pressure that could easily have yielded the opening goal, but Alisson Becker made a superb save to deny Martin Odegaard and Liverpool capitalised to steal the points.

Liverpool, chasing an unprecedented quadruple, have won nine successive league games, scoring 23 goals and only conceding twice.

Having trailed City by 14 points on January 15, Liverpool have hunted down the champions impressively, putting the race in their own hands as they eye a second title in three seasons.

A victory against Watford in their next league game on April 2 would set the stage for a seismic showdown with Pep Guardiola’s team at the Etihad Stadium on April 10.

“We’ve obviously had a good period. It’s what we need. We’re one point behind, but it’s still the same. We have to win football matches,” Klopp said.

“It’s better to be one point behind than 14 points. But in 10 years, do you think somebody will say you should be proud of finishing second? Probably not.

“We know we have a special group here and we’re trying to squeeze everything we can out of the situation.”

Finding a way to subdue an in-form Arsenal side who had won their previous five league games to climb to fourth place made the victory in rain-soaked north London even more impressive.

“It’s big. Coming here and winning against Arsenal is already special, but winning the game like it was is even more special,” Klopp said.

Klopp threw down the gauntlet to City this week when he admitted he wants Liverpool to be as “annoying as possible” in the title race.

There is no doubt Liverpool are proving extremely irritating, especially since they beat the Gunners with Mohamed Salah starting on the bench after suffering a foot injury in Saturday’s win at Brighton.

After several years in the doldrums, Arsenal are on the up and the vibrant atmosphere at the often subdued Emirates reflected that renewed confidence in Mikel Arteta’s young team.

 

Liverpool’s Brazilian midfielder Roberto Firmino celebrates with fans after scoring his team’s second goal during the English Premier League football match between Arsenal and Liverpool at the Emirates Stadium in London on March 16, 2022. (Photo by Ian Kington / IKIMAGES / AFP) 

 

Turning point 

Arsenal should have gone in front when Liverpool’s Thiago Alcantara gifted possession to Alexandre Lacazette early in the second half.

Lacazette teed up Odegaard but Alisson kept out the Dane’s close-range effort with a stunning save.

“It was a sensational save. For me it was a goal, to be honest. With their quality, they often finish situations like that. Ali didn’t let it happen,” Klopp said.

That was the turning point as, moments later, Liverpool struck in the 54th minute.

Thiago’s precise pass behind Cedric Soares sent Jota sprinting into the Arsenal area, but the Portugal forward’s low shot should have been saved by Aaron Ramsdale, who let it squirm past him at the near post.

Liverpool went for the knockout blow and Firmino delivered it in the 62nd minute.

Andy Robertson was the catalyst with a brilliant piece of tenacity as the Scot saw his shot blocked, then chased to the touchline to steal possession before surging forward to send in a cross that Firmino converted with a deft finish.

Harry Kane created Premier League history with his goal in Tottenham’s 2-0 win at Brighton.

After Cristian Romero deflected Dejan Kulusevski’s effort into the net in the 37th minute, Kane entered the record books just before the hour.

His blistering finish from Rodrigo Bentancur’s pass made it 95 away goals in the Premier League for Kane, more than any other player.

The England striker also moved above Frank Lampard in the list of Premier League all-time scorers, going into fifth with 178 goals.

Antonio Conte’s seventh-placed side remain in the race for a top-four finish, sitting three points behind Arsenal, who have a game in hand.

“We are very happy because Harry is scoring a lot. He started this season and he struggled a bit,” Conte said.

“Harry is starting to understand with this team, with the way we are playing, he has every game many chances to improve his record.”

 

 

A pitch invader sits and holds on to a goal post during the English Premier League football match between Arsenal and Liverpool at the Emirates Stadium in London on March 16, 2022. (Photo by Adrian DENNIS / AFP)

Klopp Plays Down ‘Crazy’ Liverpool Quadruple Talk

Liverpool’s German manager Jurgen Klopp takes a training session at the Axa training centre in Kirkby, north of Liverpool in north-west England on November 23, 2021, on the eve of their UEFA Champions League, Group B football match against Porto. Paul ELLIS / AFP

 

Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp says it is “crazy” to even think about an unprecedented quadruple of trophies as he prepares his League Cup winners for Wednesday’s FA Cup tie against Norwich.

The Reds beat Chelsea 11-10 in a dramatic penalty shootout at Wembley on Sunday to win the first piece of domestic silverware on offer in the English season and are still chasing glory on three other fronts.

Victory against Premer League strugglers Norwich would take Liverpool through to the FA Cup quarter-finals, while they are 2-0 up after the first leg of their elite European Champions League last-16 game against Inter Milan.

Klopp’s men are six points behind Premier League leaders Manchester City, with a match in hand, after a run of six consecutive league wins.

But the German is not entertaining the thought of winning all four trophies, with months of the season still to come.

“No team in the history of English football has won the quadruple, right? That is because it is incredibly difficult,” Klopp said on Tuesday.

“We are still behind Manchester City (in the Premier League). We are not close to thinking about any crazy stuff like that.

“The only team who could get it is us because we won the first final but even City, with all the quality they have in the last years, couldn’t win the quadruple.”

Klopp said it was important to keep the focus on the “next step” and not become distracted.

There are likely to be plenty of changes for the visit of Norwich after a number of Liverpool players featured for 120 minutes at Wembley.

The celebrations were relatively short-lived and Klopp does not think there will be a problem refocusing for the FA Cup tie against the Canaries.

He said: “The party was in the dressing room and then we were all in the bus…. Then we had loud music in the bus, no music in the plane, maybe some in the cars and then home at 12:30 pm (0030 GMT).

“Then you cannot sleep, or at least I can’t, and we gave the boys the day off yesterday.”

Klopp has also played down the seriousness of 18-year-old Harvey Elliott’s celebrations after the Football Association asked him for an explanation as to why he celebrated on the pitch holding a flare.

“He made a mistake but only because of the role model we have as people working in public. I will tell him, I can promise he will not do it again,” said the manager.

“Do I think it is the worst thing that happened in the world of football? No.

“But in the moment I got carried away, and I am nearly four times as old as him, so it can happen.”

AFP

Elliott Makes Goalscoring Return As Liverpool See Off Cardiff

Liverpool’s English striker Harvey Elliott (L) celebrates with Liverpool’s Dutch defender Virgil van Dijk (R) after scoring their third goal during the English FA Cup fourth round football match between Liverpool and Cardiff City at Anfield in Liverpool, north west England on February 6, 2022.
Paul ELLIS / AFP

 

Jurgen Klopp labelled Harvey Elliott’s goalscoring return in Liverpool’s 3-1 FA Cup fourth round win over Cardiff as a “fairytale” after five months out with a serious ankle injury. 

Elliott was introduced off the bench alongside new signing Luis Diaz after Diogo Jota’s header had opened the scoring early in the second half.

Diaz made an instant impact by teeing up Takumi Minamino to double Liverpool’s lead.

But the biggest cheer was reserved for Elliott when he fired home on the volley 14 minutes from time.

There were fears Elliott could be out for at least the rest of the season when he suffered a dislocated ankle against Leeds.

“Coming on was a great step back but scoring this goal was a proper fairytale,” said Klopp.

“Harvey was unlucky with the injury but lucky with the whole process afterwards.

“Everything went really well. He did an incredible job, the medical department did an incredible job. He is a fearless boy and a great footballer.”

Rubin Colwill pulled a goal back for the Bluebirds, but it is Liverpool who will meet Norwich at Anfield in the last 16.

For the final time, Klopp was without Sadio Mane and Mohamed Salah due to their participation at the Africa Cup of Nations with the club teammates set to face off in Sunday’s final as Senegal take on Egypt.

After two weeks without a game, Klopp took the opportunity to name a strong side.

But the home side were frustrated for the first 45 minutes as Dillon Phillips produced a brilliant save to deny Jota and Minamino had a goal ruled out.

Jota finally made the breakthrough with a fine header from Trent Alexander-Arnold’s free-kick.

Both Diaz and Elliott were then given a huge ovation as they made their entrance.

Liverpool beat Tottenham to the signing of the Colombian for an initial £37.5 million ($50 million) and Diaz showed his quick feet to pounce on a Cardiff defensive error and pull the ball back for Minamino to finish.

Diaz also survived an injury scare when took a blow to the knee late on.

“We said ‘Welcome to England!'” Klopp added. “The goal he set up for Taki was absolutely incredible high press – I love it.”

Elliott is one of the brightest young talents in English football as he demonstrated with a sublime touch and finish to smash home from Andy Robertson’s cross.

A much-changed Cardiff at least got a consolation to remember from their trip to Anfield 10 minutes from time when teenager Colwill rounded off an incisive counter-attack.

AFP