Goalkeeper Alisson Scores Winner As Liverpool Beat West Brom

Liverpool’s Brazilian goalkeeper Alisson Becker celebrates scoring his team’s second goal with his teammates during the English Premier League football match between West Bromwich Albion and Liverpool at The Hawthorns stadium in West Bromwich, central England, on May 16, 2021. (Photo by Laurence Griffiths / POOL / AFP)

 

Liverpool goalkeeper Alisson Becker scored a 95th minute winner as the Reds beat West Brom 2-1 on Sunday to keep a place in next season’s Champions League in their own hands.

Jurgen Klopp’s men would have needed favours from Leicester and Chelsea in their final two games of the campaign had they failed to beat the already relegated Baggies.

But the Brazilian was sent forward for a corner deep into stoppage time and headed home Trent Alexander-Arnold’s delivery.

Liverpool moved one point behind fourth-placed Chelsea and three behind Leicester.

With Leicester and Chelsea still to face off in a repeat of the FA Cup final, won 1-0 by the Foxes on Saturday, victories over Burnley and Crystal Palace will take Liverpool into the top four.

READ ALSO: Dortmund Secure Champions League Spot With Sixth Straight Bundesliga Wins

Alisson’s father died in February after drowning in a swimming accident in his native Brazil.

“It’s too emotional. For these past months for everything that happened to me, to my family, but football is my life,” Alisson told Sky Sports.

“I play since I remember with my father. I hope he was here to see it, but I am sure he saw it with God on his side and is celebrating.”

A first victory away to Manchester United in seven years on Thursday kept Liverpool’s top-four fate in their own hands.

And after injuries ravaged their Premier League title defence, Klopp may feel his luck finally turned in a thrilling finale at the Hawthorns.

West Brom thought they had gone 2-1 up with 20 minutes to go when Kyle Bartley bundled home a corner.

The Baggies captain was onside, but Matt Philipps was deemed to have obstructed Alisson’s view from an offside position.

“Everything is kind of our season in a nutshell,” said Klopp.

“We do a lot of good stuff, get punished for the first mistake and then have to work like crazy. I liked it because nobody got over the top, we kept playing football and had the best chances in the last five minutes.”

Klopp has had to cope without any of his senior centre-backs for months after a series of injuries and the inexperienced pairing of Nat Phillips and Rhys Williams were easily troubled early on.

Hal Robson-Kanu latched onto a simple long ball forward on 15 minutes with Phillips playing the Welsh striker onside and he coolly slotted home his first Premier League goal since 2017.

Sadio Mane reacted angrily to being dropped in midweek as he shrugged off Klopp at full-time as the German celebrated victory against United.

The Senegalese returned in Diogo Jota’s absence through injury, but his poor form showed little signs of improving as he side-footed a glorious chance wide from Thiago Alcantara’s cut-back.

Thankfully for Liverpool, Mohamed Salah has remained deadly in front of goal and he fired home his 31st of the season to level on 33 minutes from the edge of the box.

Roberto Firmino then hit the post as the visitors ended the first-half on top.

Even when Mane did find the net early in the second period he was denied by the offside flag.

West Brom had more reason to complain when Bartley’s goal was controversially ruled out.

Chances continued to come and go for the visitors as Alexander-Arnold blasted over before Sam Johnstone denied Thiago and Gini Wijnaldum curled just wide.

But the most unlikely source came up with the winner as West Brom were caught napping from Alisson’s late run into the box to meet Alexander-Arnold’s corner.

“In the end we needed Ali to sort it,” added Klopp.

AFP

Liverpool Beat Southampton To Keep Top-Four Hopes Alive

Liverpool's Senegalese striker Sadio Mane (C) heads home the opening goal during the English Premier League football match between Liverpool and Southampton at Anfield in Liverpool, north west England on May 8, 2021. Zac Goodwin / POOL / AFP
Liverpool’s Senegalese striker Sadio Mane (C) heads home the opening goal during the English Premier League football match between Liverpool and Southampton at Anfield in Liverpool, north west England on May 8, 2021. Zac Goodwin / POOL / AFP

 

Liverpool kept alive their hopes of a top-four finish in the Premier League as Sadio Mane and Thiago Alcantara sealed a 2-0 win against Southampton on Saturday.

Jurgen Klopp’s side moved above Tottenham into sixth place thanks to Mane’s first-half header and Thiago’s first goal for the club in the final moments at Anfield.

Liverpool’s first victory in four games in all competitions leaves them six points behind fourth-placed Leicester with a game in hand in the race to qualify for next season’s Champions League.

It was only their second league win at Anfield in their last 11 matches.

They travel to second-placed Manchester United on Thursday for a crucial clash in their attempt to catch Leicester.

After the failed defence of the title they won last season, Liverpool would be delighted to salvage a troubled campaign with a top-four place.

To do that, they need to win their last four games and hope Leicester and fifth-placed West Ham stumble in the final stretch.

Southampton, 10 points above the relegation zone with four matches left, have now lost 13 of their 17 league games since beating Liverpool in January.

The Saints have earned the fewest points and conceded the most goals in the Premier League in 2021.

Liverpool were quick to scent blood against opponents in such poor form and Mohamed Salah was denied by Fraser Forster after Mane poked the ball through to the Egyptian in the six-yard box.

Diogo Jota’s stinging strike forced another good save from Forster before Salah tested the over-worked keeper from the resulting corner.

Georginio Wijnaldum guided a diving header against the bar as Liverpool kept up the pressure.

Southampton nearly snatched the lead against the run of play when Che Adams met Nathan Tella’s low cross with a close-range effort that was well saved by Alisson Becker.

But 46 seconds later, Liverpool’s dominant spell paid dividends as they broke away to take the lead in the 31st minute.

Salah clipped a cross to the far post and former Southampton forward Mane got behind the visitors defence to head home from close range.

Remarkably, it was the first time the duo had combined for a Premier League goal this season.

Tella should have cancelled out Mane’s 14th goal of the season, but the unmarked winger headed straight at Alisson from Nathan Redmond’s cross.

Jota’s blast was pushed away by Forster early in the second half, but Liverpool weren’t quite so cohesive after the break.

Alisson snuffed out Michael Obafemi’s raid and then turned over Ibrahima Diallo’s rocket from the edge of the area.

Adams had a golden opportunity to equalise in the closing stages after Alisson gifted him possession, but the striker’s effort lacked the accuracy to beat the Brazilian.

Thiago settled Liverpool’s nerves in stoppage time when the former Bayern Munich midfielder rifled home from 18 yards.

AFP

Manchester United’s Match Against Liverpool Postponed

Supporters protest against Manchester United’s owners, outside English Premier League club Manchester United’s Old Trafford stadium in Manchester, north west England on May 2, 2021, ahead of their English Premier League fixture against Liverpool. Oli SCARFF / AFP

 

Manchester United’s Premier League clash against Liverpool was postponed on Sunday after fans invaded the Old Trafford pitch as part of a protest against United’s owners, the Glazer family.

Hundreds of fans managed to make their way into the ground, chanting “we want Glazers out.”

Large numbers of supporters had also gathered outside the stadium and there were clashes with police as they moved in to disperse the crowd.

“Following discussion between the police, the Premier League, Trafford Council and the clubs, our match against Liverpool has been postponed due to safety and security considerations around the protest today,” United said in a statement.

“Our fans are passionate about Manchester United and we completely acknowledge the right to free expression and peaceful protest.

“However, we regret the disruption to the team and actions which put other fans, staff and the police in danger. We thank the police for their support and will assist them in any subsequent investigations.”

The match had been due to start at 1630 local time (1530GMT), but had been delayed by over an hour before the decision to call the match off was confirmed.

“The security and safety of everyone at Old Trafford remains of paramount importance,” the Premier League said in a statement.

“We understand and respect the strength of feeling but condemn all acts of violence, criminal damage and trespass, especially given the associated COVID-19 breaches.

“Fans have many channels by which to make their views known, but the actions of a minority seen today have no justification.”

 

Supporters protest against Manchester United’s owners, outside English Premier League club Manchester United’s Old Trafford stadium in Manchester, northwest England on May 2, 2021, ahead of their English Premier League fixture against Liverpool.  Oli SCARFF / AFP

 

Manchester City could have been crowned Premier League champions on Sunday had United lost the match.

No rearranged date has yet been agreed for the fixture to be played.

“Liverpool Football Club was in full agreement with the decision to postpone today’s fixture as a result of ongoing events at Old Trafford and the surrounding area,” Liverpool said in a statement.

“It is our position that public safety must be the number one factor in any such decision, with the ability to provide a secure environment for the participants, staff and officials being a particular priority.

“It was clearly not possible for this to be guaranteed today due to a situation which escalated rapidly.”

– Anger reignited -Anger towards the Glazers has been reignited by United’s part in a failed European Super League (ESL) project, that collapsed within 48 hours last month due to a backlash from fans, players, governments and governing bodies.

United and Liverpool were reportedly two of the leading drivers behind the project that sought to guarantee top level European football for 15 founder members every season without the need to qualify on the pitch.

In a rare public statement, United co-chairman Joel Glazer apologised to fans last month for signing up to the ESL.

“You made very clear your opposition to the European Super League, and we have listened. We got it wrong, and we want to show that we can put things right,” he said.

United fans also breached security at their club’s training ground in the days after the ESL proposals were made public to protest against the Glazers.

The Americans have owned United since a controversial leveraged takeover in 2005 saddled the club with hundreds of millions of pounds worth of debt.

As the English giants have paid off huge interest payments, the Glazers have still regularly drawn out millions in dividends from their shares.

United fans wore green and gold colours to matches early in the Glazers’ reign, the colours of Newton Heath, the club founded in 1878 that eventually became Manchester United 24 years later, as a sign of protest.

Green and gold scarves and flares were back at Old Trafford on Sunday, while there were a number of banners aimed at the Glazers.

United’s executive vice-chairman Ed Woodward has already announced he will be leaving his role by the end of the year amid the fallout from the failed ESL project.

“There’s huge discontent, not just across Manchester United fans, but I think for football fans up and down the country and I think they are just saying enough is enough,” former United captain Gary Neville told Sky Sports.

AFP

 

Man City On Brink Of Premier League Title

Manchester City’s Spanish midfielder Ferran Torres (R) celebrates scoring his team’s second goal during the English Premier League football match between Crystal Palace and Manchester City at Selhurst Park in south London on May 1, 2021. PHOTO: Catherine Ivill / POOL / AFP

 

Manchester City are on the brink of clinching the Premier League title after a 2-0 win against Crystal Palace, while Brighton virtually assured their survival with victory over Leeds on Saturday.

Pep Guardiola’s side moved 13 points clear at the top thanks to second-half goals from Sergio Aguero and Ferran Torres at Selhurst Park.

City will be crowned English champions for the third time in four seasons if second-placed Manchester United lose at home to Liverpool on Sunday.

If United avoid defeat, City can seal the title with a victory against Chelsea at the Etihad Stadium next Saturday.

READ ALSO: Maradona Was Left To ‘Fate’ Ahead Of Death – Expert Panel

It is a matter of when, not if, City regain the title they surrendered to Liverpool last season.

They shook off a tepid first half in south London and put Palace to the sword with two goals in the space of 84 seconds.

Aguero, making only his sixth league start in an injury-plagued season, broke the deadlock in the 57th minute when he ran onto Benjamin Mendy’s long pass and slammed a half-volley into the roof of the net from 10 yards.

It was only Aguero’s fourth goal of what will be his final season with City after the club’s record scorer announced he will leave in the close-season.

City hope Torres will be part of a new generation of stars capable of building on the foundations laid by the likes of Aguero.

The Spanish forward gave a glimpse of his potential when he fired home from the edge of the area after a flowing City attack in the 59th minute.

That was enough to seal an 11th successive away victory in the Premier League, equalling the English top-flight record.

City were languishing in 14th place in late November but a blistering run since then has carried them to the brink of a third title in four seasons.

 

– ‘Put it in the fridge’ –

The treble chasers could also add the Champions League to that haul.

On Tuesday, City will attempt to reach their first ever Champions League final when they defend a 2-1 lead in the semi-final second leg against Paris Saint-Germain.

“We can start to think about it and put it in the fridge. The Premier League is already there, it is in our hands. We need one more victory,” Guardiola said.

“I’m absolutely delighted with that after the Champions League. We could not play with much rhythm. We struggled a little bit but in the second half we deserved it.

“I will check on the Liverpool game. It’s in our hands and now we will give everything to beat PSG.”

At the Amex Stadium, Brighton broke a three-game goal drought when they took the lead through Pascal Gross’s 14th-minute penalty.

Ezgjan Alioski was penalised for bringing down Danny Welbeck and Gross found the bottom corner with the resulting spot-kick.

Graham Potter’s side struck again through Danny Welbeck’s excellent solo effort in the 79th minute to seal a 2-0 win.

Brighton are now 10 points clear of the relegation zone with four games left.

Later on Saturday, Chelsea can cement their hold on fourth place and push Fulham closer to relegation with a win in the west London derby at Stamford Bridge.

Everton, pushing for European qualification, host Aston Villa in Saturday’s final match.

AFP

Liverpool Not Playing Like Champions League Team – Klopp

Liverpool's German manager Jurgen Klopp walks on the pitch ahead of the English Premier League football match between Liverpool and Newcastle United at Anfield in Liverpool, north west England on April 24, 2021. DAVID KLEIN / POOL / AFP
Liverpool’s German manager Jurgen Klopp walks on the pitch ahead of the English Premier League football match between Liverpool and Newcastle United at Anfield in Liverpool, north west England on April 24, 2021. DAVID KLEIN / POOL / AFP

 

Jurgen Klopp admitted Liverpool are not playing like a side who “deserve” Champions League football next season after blowing the chance to move into the Premier League’s top four with a 1-1 draw against Newcastle on Saturday.

Mohamed Salah had opened the scoring after just three minutes, but Liverpool wasted a host of chances to extend their lead and paid in stoppage time.

The Reds even had a reprieve when Callum Wilson’s equaliser was ruled out after a VAR review for handball, but still could not hold on as Willock’s deflected strike secured a vital point in the Magpies’ bid for top flight survival.

Liverpool move up to sixth but are a point behind fourth-placed Chelsea and West Ham, who face off later on Saturday at the London Stadium.

READ ALSO: Liverpool Blow Place In The Top Four To Round Off Rollercoaster Week

Two more dropped points is a blow to Liverpool’s chances of a place in next season’s Champions League after their owners’ plans for ensuring they have top level European football every season without having to earn it on the field collapsed this week.

Liverpool were one of 12 clubs to initially sign up to proposals for a European Super League (ESL) last weekend, only to withdraw within 48 hours after a backlash from their own players and fans.

“If you deserve it, you deserve it,” said Klopp, echoing the critics of the ESL as a closed shop for Europe’s big clubs.

“I didn’t see us today playing like we deserve Champions League next year. We have another five games and we will see. We learn or we don’t play Champions League, that’s it.”

A protest outside Anfield on Saturday was more muted than the ones seen ahead of Chelsea and Arsenal’s home matches in recent days, but a number of flags and banners were attached to the gates around the ground calling out the “greed” of the club’s American owners Fenway Sports Group (FSG).

John Henry’s FSG helped deliver Liverpool’s first Premier League title for 30 years last season.

But many of the problems Klopp’s men have encountered in defending their title were in evidence again as they failed to see off Newcastle long before a nervy finale.

“I don’t think you can create much more chances, better chances than we did today and we don’t finish the game off,” added Klopp.

The hosts could not have made a better start as a brilliant touch and finish from Salah opened the scoring after just three minutes.

Salah should have had a second but fired too close to Martin Dubravka when clean through on goal, while Sadio Mane also failed to round the Slovakian goalkeeper with a glorious chance.

Dubravka then made a string of fine saves after the break to deny Roberto Firmino, Mane and James Milner.

The tension in the Liverpool players was clear late in the game and Newcastle capitalised after manager Steve Bruce sent on Wilson and Willock.

Wilson bundled home after Alisson had saved his initial effort, but the ball had rebounded off the Brazilian goalkeeper onto the former Bournemouth striker’s hand before he stabbed it into an unguarded net.

Seconds later, Liverpool failed to deal with another long ball into their box and it fell for on-loan Arsenal midfielder Willock, whose strike deflected in off Fabinho to leave Alisson helpless.

A third late goal in recent weeks from Willock edges Newcastle ever closer to survival. Bruce’s men are now nine points clear of the bottom three in 15th.

 

AFP

Liverpool Blow Place In The Top Four To Round Off Rollercoaster Week

Newcastle United’s English midfielder Joe Willock (2L) celebrates wth Newcastle United’s English head coach Steve Bruce after scoring the equalising goal during the English Premier League football match between Liverpool and Newcastle United at Anfield in Liverpool, north west England on April 24, 2021. (Photo by Clive Brunskill / POOL / AFP)

 

 

Liverpool suffered another setback in a tumultuous week as Joe Willock’s 94th minute equaliser earned Newcastle a 1-1 draw at Anfield that prevented Jurgen Klopp’s men from moving into the Premier League top four.

Mohamed Salah had opened the scoring after just three minutes, but Liverpool wasted a host of chances to extend their lead and paid in stoppage time.

The Reds even had already had a reprieve when Callum Wilson’s equaliser was ruled out after a VAR review for handball, but still could not hold on as Willock’s deflected strike secured a vital point in the Magpies’ bid for survival.

Two more dropped points is a blow to Liverpool’s chances of a place in next season’s Champions League after their owners’ plans for ensuring they have top level European football every season without having to earn it on the field collapsed this week.

Liverpool were one of 12 clubs to initially sign up to proposals for a European Super League (ESL) last weekend, only to quickly withdraw within 48 hours after a backlash from their own players and fans.

A protest outside Anfield on Saturday was more muted than the ones seen ahead of Chelsea and Arsenal’s home matches in recent days, but a number of flags and banners were attached to the gates around the ground calling out the “greed” of the club’s American owners Fenway Sports Group.

In his programme notes, Liverpool captain Jordan Henderson, who spoke out against the ESL on behalf of the squad on Tuesday, called for calm.

 

Liverpool’s English defender Trent Alexander-Arnold (R) watche as as Newcastle United’s English striker Callum Wilson (L) scores, but the goal is not given following a VAR review, during the English Premier League football match between Liverpool and Newcastle United at Anfield in Liverpool, north west England on April 24, 2021. (Photo by DAVID KLEIN / POOL / AFP)

 

“Being critical of my own employers isn’t something I do easily,” said Henderson.

“It is good that Liverpool withdrew and the concept has collapsed. That’s good for football. It’s also good that our owners, via John Henry, have apologised unreservedly.

“People can disagree with me saying this, but my opinion is that our owners have been good for Liverpool. If you have a problem with me saying that, fair enough and I respect that. But my opinion is built on my own first-hand experiences.”

Henry’s FSG helped deliver Liverpool’s first Premier League title for 30 years last season.

But many of the problems Klopp’s men have encountered in defending their title were in evidence again as they as failed to see off Newcastle long before a nervy finale.

The hosts could not have made a better start as a brilliant touch and finish from Salah opened the scoring after just three minutes.

The Egyptian’s 29th goal of the season set up a wide-open game with plenty of chances at both ends.

Salah should have had a second but fired too close to Martin Dubravka when clean through on goal. Sadio Mane also failed to round the Slovakian goalkeeper with a glorious chance.

Dubravka made a string of fine saves after the break to deny Roberto Firmino and Sadio Mane at his near post and a long-range effort from James Milner.

The tension in the Liverpool players was clear late in the game and Newcastle capitalised after manager Steve Bruce sent on Wilson and Willock.

 

Newcastle United’s English midfielder Joe Willock scores the equalising goal during the English Premier League football match between Liverpool and Newcastle United at Anfield in Liverpool, north west England on April 24, 2021. (Photo by DAVID KLEIN / POOL / AFP) 

 

Wilson bundled the ball home after Alisson had saved his initial effort, but the ball had rebounded off the Brazilian goalkeeper onto the former Bournemouth striker’s hand before he stabbed it into an unguarded net.

Seconds later, Liverpool failed to deal with another long ball into their box and the ball fell for on-loan Arsenal midfielder Willock, whose strike deflected in off Fabinho to leave Alisson helpless.

Liverpool move up to sixth but are a point behind fourth-placed Chelsea and West Ham, who face off later on Saturday at the London Stadium.

Newcastle edge ever closer to survival. They are nine points clear of the bottom three.

Real Madrid Knock Out Liverpool To Reach Champions League Semi-Finals

Liverpool’s Portuguese striker Diogo Jota shoots wide during the UEFA Champions League quarter final second leg football match between Liverpool and Real Madrid at Anfield in Liverpool, north west England on April 14, 2021. (Photo by Paul ELLIS / AFP)

 

 

Liverpool were left to rue a host of missed chances as Real Madrid held out for a 0-0 draw at Anfield to progress to the semi-finals of the Champions League 3-1 on aggregate.

Mohamed Salah and Georginio Wijnaldum were guilty of wasting glorious opportunities to get Jurgen Klopp’s men back into the tie as they failed to replicate a remarkable recovery from 3-0 down to beat Barcelona 4-3 on aggregate at the semi-final stage two years ago.

 

Liverpool’s Egyptian midfielder Mohamed Salah (R) takes a shot during the UEFA Champions League quarter final second leg football match between Liverpool and Real Madrid at Anfield in Liverpool, north west England on April 14, 2021. (Photo by Paul ELLIS / AFP)

Madrid were far from their best, but did not need to be to set up a semi-final clash with Chelsea as Los Blancos extended their unbeaten run in all competitions to 14 games.

Klopp admitted before the game that his players had to create their own atmosphere without the cauldron of noise that has accompanied famous European nights at Anfield in the past.

Despite the empty stands due to coronavirus restrictions, Liverpool flew out of the traps and should have halved their deficit within two minutes.

Sadio Mane knocked Ozan Kabak’s long ball perfectly into the path of Salah, but Liverpool’s one consistent performer in the final third this season fired straight at Thibaut Courtois.

Klopp surprisingly repeated his decision from the first leg to leave Thiago Alcantara on the bench with James Milner this time taking the place of the Spanish international in midfield.

 

Real Madrid’s Brazilian forward Rodrygo (C) vies with Liverpool’s Brazilian midfielder Fabinho (L) and Liverpool’s Scottish defender Andrew Robertson during the UEFA Champions League quarter final second leg football match between Liverpool and Real Madrid at Anfield in Liverpool, north west England on April 14, 2021. (Photo by Paul ELLIS / AFP)

 

Milner made his presence felt within a minute with a late lunge on Karim Benzema and nearly inflicted a different type of damage on Madrid 10 minutes in when his long range effort forced Courtois into another fine save.

Real’s fine run has propelled them back into contention to defend their La Liga title and claim a 14th crown as European champions.

However, Zinedine Zidane warned after Saturday’s 2-1 El Clasico win over Barcelona that his players were at their “physical limit” and the visitors looked jaded as they were happy to sit on their first leg lead.

The closest Madrid came to scoring was when Kabak inadvertently deflected a Benzema cross off the outside of his own post with Alisson Becker wrong-footed.

 

Liverpool’s Scottish defender Andrew Robertson reacts at the final whistle during the UEFA Champions League quarter final second leg football match between Liverpool and Real Madrid at Anfield in Liverpool, north west England on April 14, 2021. (Photo by Paul ELLIS / AFP)

 

Chances continued to come and go for Liverpool as Salah snatched at another effort that flew high and wide.

Wijnaldum scored twice in the famous fightback against Barcelona in 2019.

However, the Dutch international was not as clinical against another Spanish giant as he blasted the best chance of the first-half over from close range.

Klopp went for it on the hour mark as Milner and Kabak made way for the introduction of Thiago and Diogo Jota.

Yet, even without three of their first-choice back four, Madrid were comfortable defending deep as Firmino, Salah and Jota all had efforts blocked behind in quick succession.

Vinicius Junior’s double in the first leg proved to be the difference between the sides, but the Brazilian fluffed his one big chance to grab an away goal as Alisson smothered at his feet midway through the second-half.

 

Real Madrid’s Brazilian forward Rodrygo reacts at the final whistle during the UEFA Champions League quarter final second leg football match between Liverpool and Real Madrid at Anfield in Liverpool, north west England on April 14, 2021. (Photo by Paul ELLIS / AFP)

 

Benzema also should have done better when he mistimed a free header 10 minutes from time.

But a blistering first 45 minutes in the Spanish capital last week proved to be enough for Zidane to win a 14th of his 15 Champions League knockout ties in two spells as Madrid boss.

 

 

Liverpool’s German manager Jurgen Klopp (L) and Real Madrid’s French coach Zinedine Zidane gesture at the final whistle during the UEFA Champions League quarter final second leg football match between Liverpool and Real Madrid at Anfield in Liverpool, north west England on April 14, 2021. (Photo by Paul ELLIS / AFP)

Real Madrid Bus Attacked Ahead Of Liverpool Match

Real Madrid bus attacked en route to Anfield.

 

 

A window on the Real Madrid team bus was smashed ahead of the Spanish giants’ Champions League clash with Liverpool at Anfield on Wednesday.

“We condemn unequivocally the actions that led to Real Madrid’s team bus being damaged during its arrival to Anfield this evening. It is totally unacceptable and shameful behaviour of a few individuals,” Liverpool said in a statement.

“We sincerely apologise to our visitors for any distress caused. We will work together with Merseyside Police to establish the facts and identify those responsible.”

The match is being held behind closed doors due to coronavirus restrictions.

Three years ago several windows were smashed on the Manchester City team bus by thrown cans and bottles ahead of a Champions League quarter-final, first leg.

Madrid hold a 3-1 lead from the first leg in the Spanish capital last week.

Liverpool Strike Late Against Villa To End Record Anfield Losing Streak

Liverpool's English defender Trent Alexander-Arnold (R) celebrates scoring his team's second goal during the English Premier League football match between Liverpool and Aston Villa at Anfield in Liverpool, north west England on April 10, 2021. Clive Brunskill / POOL / AFP
Liverpool’s English defender Trent Alexander-Arnold (R) celebrates scoring his team’s second goal during the English Premier League football match between Liverpool and Aston Villa at Anfield in Liverpool, north west England on April 10, 2021. Clive Brunskill / POOL / AFP

 

Jurgen Klopp admitted a weight has been lifted from Liverpool’s shoulders after Trent Alexander-Arnold’s injury-time winner secured a 2-1 victory over Aston Villa and ended a record run of defeats at Anfield on Saturday.

The English champions had lost their previous six games at Anfield and fell behind again when Alisson Becker failed to keep out Ollie Watkins’s first-half strike.

Liverpool were then controversially denied an equaliser as a dubious VAR review ruled out Roberto Firmino’s reply.

But Mohamed Salah levelled before Alexander-Arnold responded in style to the criticism he has received of late.

“It felt massive to win. A real relief,” said Klopp after victory briefly took Liverpool up to fourth in the Premier League.

“I can’t remember the last time we did it easy but it’s fine in our situation after losing six home games.”

Alexander-Arnold was dropped from England manager Gareth Southgate’s squad last month and was at fault for Real Madrid’s second goal as Liverpool lost the first leg of their Champions League quarter-final against the Spanish giants 3-1 on Tuesday.

But the right-back’s attacking output has been a prominent part of Liverpool’s success in the last three seasons under Klopp and the 22-year-old showed what he can do with a brilliant finish to curl the ball into the far corner.

“We can stop that chat about Trent, everyone agrees that he is an outstanding player,” added Klopp.

“It’s Gareth Southgate’s decision what he does for the squad but we don’t have to talk about it every week. We don’t have to justify the players’ status every week.”

Liverpool have now won three consecutive league games for the first time since the opening three matches of the season to boost their chances of climbing back into the Champions League next season.

Alisson at fault

The first cracks in a difficult season for Liverpool emerged when Villa won their first meeting of the season 7-2 at Villa Park in October.

That was prior to the Reds losing Virgil van Dijk to a season-ending injury that has destabilised their entire campaign.

Villa have also suffered losing their talismanic talent in Jack Grealish over the past two months.

Dean Smith’s men have now won only twice in eight games without the England international to see their hopes of a top-four finish come up short.

Villa went in front against the run of play. Watkins’s strike was straight down the middle of the goal, but had too much power for Alisson’s weak hand two minutes before half-time.

Liverpool still thought they had levelled before the break when Firmino turned home a loose ball at the back post.

However, the goal was ruled out after a lengthy VAR review for offside against Diogo Jota in the build-up despite inconclusive evidence.

To their credit, that disappointment did not knock the stuffing out of the hosts as they started the second period on the front foot.

Liverpool got their reward on 57 minutes when Salah headed home his 28th goal of the season after Emiliano Martinez could only parry Andy Robertson’s powerful strike.

Another Egyptian international was inches away from restoring Villa’s lead at the other end moments later as Trezeguet’s shot came back off the inside of the post.

Klopp introduced Thiago Alcantara, Sadio Mane and Xherdan Shaqiri off the bench in a bid for a winner and the changes made the desired impact.

“We took a risk with the change,” said Klopp. “We brought in an extra midfielder and that had a proper impact. It’s exactly what you wish for.”

Martinez produced another stunning save to deny Thiago turning home Shaqiri’s cross, but the loose ball came to Alexander-Arnold, who with Southgate in attendance, fired a timely reminder of the quality he possesses.

AFP

Klopp Slams Referee For Bias Towards Mane After Liverpool UCL Loss

German referee Felix Brych (C) shows a yellow card to Liverpool’s Senegalese striker Sadio Mane (L) during the UEFA Champions League first leg quarter-final football match between Real Madrid and Liverpool at the Alfredo di Stefano stadium in Valdebebas in the outskirts of Madrid on April 6, 2021.
GABRIEL BOUYS / AFP

 

Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp has criticised Felix Brych for his officiating during his side’s UEFA champions league loss to Real Madrid on Tuesday night.

The Reds who have been on a bad run of form had a stern test to face in the likes of the 13th time winners when they travelled to Madrid. However, a brace from Vicinius Jnr and Marco Asensio left the return leg tie hanging in the balance.

Klopp’s apparent frustration was evident after the game, insisting his fellow German compatriot had a personal feud with Sadio Mane

‘The situation with Sadio, I’m not sure what the ref did tonight. It seemed like it was sort of personal,” a livid Klopp said in a post-match interview.

 

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Liverpool’s Senegalese striker Sadio Mane reacts during the UEFA Champions League first leg quarter-final football match between Real Madrid and Liverpool at the Alfredo di Stefano stadium in Valdebebas in the outskirts of Madrid on April 6, 2021.
GABRIEL BOUYS / AFP

 

Mane who was twice fouled close to the penalty box with the referee apparently ignoring penalty protests from Liverpool teammates further infuriated the 53-year -old German

“I told him after the game, I just thought he was unfair with Sadio. He didn’t lose us the game but you need just an OK ref,” he further added.

While still expressing his dissatisfaction with the officiating on Tuesday night he hit out at his side’s display at the Spanish capital.

“If we want to go to the semi-finals we have to earn the right to do so and we didn’t do that, especially in the first half,” he said.

 

Liverpool’s German manager Jurgen Klopp reacts during the UEFA Champions League first leg quarter-final football match between Real Madrid and Liverpool at the Alfredo di Stefano stadium in Valdebebas in the outskirts of Madrid on April 6, 2021.
GABRIEL BOUYS / AFP

 

“I thought it would have been possible but we have to show it in the next game. We made it too easy for them.”

“I’m not happy of how we played in possession. We pressed them really well, they play long but then they beat us to second ball.” he further said.

He also hinted at a glimmer of hope for his side claiming the second leg at Anfield would be a much better performance.

“The only good thing I can say about the game, apart from the goal, is that it is only the first half of the leg.”

Liverpool next play the second leg at home next Wednesday needing to score at least two un-replied goals to stand any chance of progressing to the Champions League semi-finals.

 

 

 

Champions League: Vinicius Brace Puts Real Madrid On Top Against Liverpool

Real Madrid's Brazilian forward Vinicius Junior (C) celebrates with Real Madrid's French forward Karim Benzema (R) and Real Madrid's Spanish forward Lucas Vazquez after scoring a goal during the UEFA Champions League first leg quarter-final football match between Real Madrid and Liverpool at the Alfredo di Stefano stadium in Valdebebas in the outskirts of Madrid on April 6, 2021. GABRIEL BOUYS / AFP
Real Madrid’s Brazilian forward Vinicius Junior (C) celebrates with Real Madrid’s French forward Karim Benzema (R) and Real Madrid’s Spanish forward Lucas Vazquez after scoring a goal during the UEFA Champions League first leg quarter-final football match between Real Madrid and Liverpool at the Alfredo di Stefano stadium in Valdebebas in the outskirts of Madrid on April 6, 2021. GABRIEL BOUYS / AFP

 

Vinicius Junior scored twice as Real Madrid made Liverpool pay for more defensive errors on Tuesday, a 3-1 victory putting them in sight of the Champions League semi-finals.

Vinicius and Marco Asensio both profited in the first half after darting behind Liverpool’s makeshift back-line before a simple move from a throw-in gave Vinicius a simple finish in the second.

Mohamed Salah’s strike shortly after the interval briefly made it a contest at Valdebebas, with an away goal certainly a significant consolation for Liverpool to take into the second leg at Anfield next week.

But without fans and with a miserable recent record at home, Jurgen Klopp will know his side have it all to do to avoid his team’s season becoming solely about scraping into the Premier League’s top four.

Except for two spells after half-time and at the finish, when their opponents were holding on to what they had, Liverpool were overpowered by Real Madrid, whose only disappointment might be missing out on a clearer margin ahead of the return in eight days’ time.

Liverpool's English defender Nathaniel Phillips challenges Real Madrid's Brazilian forward Vinicius Junior (R) during the UEFA Champions League first leg quarter-final football match between Real Madrid and Liverpool at the Alfredo di Stefano stadium in Valdebebas in the outskirts of Madrid on April 6, 2021. GABRIEL BOUYS / AFP
Liverpool’s English defender Nathaniel Phillips challenges Real Madrid’s Brazilian forward Vinicius Junior (R) during the UEFA Champions League first leg quarter-final football match between Real Madrid and Liverpool at the Alfredo di Stefano stadium in Valdebebas in the outskirts of Madrid on April 6, 2021. GABRIEL BOUYS / AFP

 

Before then, they go up against Barcelona on Saturday and this result, their fifth consecutive victory, should be another huge boost to morale going into what will be a crucial fixture in La Liga’s title race.

Madrid were without Sergio Ramos, who throughout was bellowing at his team from the stands, while Raphael Varane testing positive for Covid-19 on Tuesday morning meant both sides were fielding patched-up back fours.

The last time these two clubs met, Ramos dislocated Salah’s shoulder and Madrid went on to win their 13th European Cup but Klopp insisted there was no desire for revenge in the minds of his players.

They could have done with some extra fire because Madrid were superior in the first half, more controlled in possession and more aggressive out of it. Liverpool seemed caught between trying to match Madrid’s intensity and slowing the game down to gain a foothold.

Kroos runs the show

In the end they did neither, as the openings came early. Luka Modric wanted a penalty afer being clipped just outside the box and Trent Alexander-Arnold was beaten too easily by Ferland Mendy, whose cross was headed just wide by Vinicius.

The excellent Toni Kroos was given space at the base of midfield to dictate the tempo and it was a pair of arrowed balls forward from the German that put Madrid in charge.

The first he fired between Alexander-Arnold and Nat Phillips for the scampering Vinicius, who did brilliantly to chest the ball beyond his opponents and shoot low into the Liverpool net.

Seven minutes later, Kroos did it again, this time locating Asensio, who lifted over Alisson Becker to leave himself with an open net.

A full stadium would have sent a surge of momentum through Madrid but there was still a simmering buzz, as their substitutes were cheering louder and the players pressed quicker and passed harder.

Real Madrid's Brazilian forward Vinicius Junior (R) celebrates with Real Madrid's French coach Zinedine Zidane after scoring a goal during the UEFA Champions League first leg quarter-final football match between Real Madrid and Liverpool at the Alfredo di Stefano stadium in Valdebebas in the outskirts of Madrid on April 6, 2021.  GABRIEL BOUYS / AFP
Real Madrid’s Brazilian forward Vinicius Junior (R) celebrates with Real Madrid’s French coach Zinedine Zidane after scoring a goal during the UEFA Champions League first leg quarter-final football match between Real Madrid and Liverpool at the Alfredo di Stefano stadium in Valdebebas in the outskirts of Madrid on April 6, 2021. GABRIEL BOUYS / AFP

 

Liverpool were holding on for half-time but the raging Klopp could not wait, hauling off Naby Keita with three minutes left and sending on Thiago Alcantara in his place.

The break briefly had an effect, Liverpool pulling a goal back five minutes after as Georginio Wijnaldum tore forward and Diogo Jota’s shot deflected kindly into the path of Salah, who poked in off the crossbar.

For a while, the game was in the balance. Kroos shot over and Sadio Mane almost finished off a break down the left. Asensio should have finished for Madrid but opted to pass and it was blocked.

Yet another Madrid chance was not far away, as Liverpool failed to react to a throw-in down the right and Modric was allowed to drift inside, teeing up Vinicius to sidefoot in a second.

Liverpool pushed for another away goal in the final minutes but Madrid were not troubled. It was Spanish cheers that could be heard when the whistle blew.

 

AFP

NBA Superstar James Joins Liverpool Ownership Group

 

 

NBA superstar LeBron James has increased his ownership stake in English Premiership club, Liverpool, via a deal confirmed on Wednesday that makes him a partner in Fenway Sports Group.

FSG announced that James and longtime business associates Maverick Carter and Paul Wachter had become partners in the Boston-based global sports, entertainment and real estate platform, along with RedBird Capital.

James, 36, previously held a 2% stake in Liverpool, but now will have a bigger share in the Premier League team as well as a stake in Major League Baseball’s Boston Red Sox, a sports management firm, a regional sports cable network and Roush Fenway Racing of the popular NASCAR stock car racing series.

FSG took control of Liverpool in 2010.

The investment and accompanying transactions value the group at $7.35 billion (6.26 billion euros), and the Boston Globe reported that it is a $750 million (639 million euros)investment.

The new investment is expected to allow Liverpool to recover from the financial pressures of the coronavirus pandemic and help Anfield expansion plans go ahead.

The club has proposed a new Anfield Road stand that would increase the ground’s capacity to about 61,000.

In a joint statement, FSG principal owner John W. Henry, chairman Tom Werner and president Mike Gordon said they were “pleased to welcome to our ownership group LeBron, Maverick and Paul, with whom we have enjoyed a successful collaboration for well over a decade.

“Their addition is an important milestone for FSG and expands and deepens a long-time friendship and relationship that began in 2010.

“To our fans and supporters: Winning continues to be the driving force for all of us,” Henry and his colleagues said.

“The growth of FSG as an organisation allows us to further strengthen our resources and commitment to the communities we serve, and we look forward to having these talented new partners join us in the next chapter of FSG’s evolution.”