Liverpool In High Spirit For EPL Victory, Says Oxlade-Chamberlain

Liverpool’s Senegalese striker Sadio Mane (L) and Liverpool’s English midfielder Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain attend a training session at Melwood in Liverpool, north west England on November 26, 2019, on the eve of their UEFA Champions League Group E football match against Napoli.
Lindsey Parnaby / AFP

 

Liverpool midfielder Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain says the Premier League leaders are going into every game believing they can win after racking up 13 victories in 14 games.

Jurgen Klopp’s unbeaten side have dropped just two points this season and established an eight-point advantage over second-placed Leicester.

But even the pressure of maintaining their winning run, which appears to grow with every game for a club searching for their first league title since 1990, has not affected the mentality within the club, according to Oxlade-Chamberlain.

“I’m going into it (a game) with the mindset that we’re going to win. I think that’s how we all feel,” the England international told the PA news agency.

“We’re going into the games expecting ourselves to win and anything else we’re disappointed with.”

He added: “I think that’s the mentality you need to be successful, to have those high standards that nothing else is acceptable. Then you’ve got to let history take its course.”

Liverpool are firm favourites to end their title drought but midfielder Oxlade-Chamberlain said they needed to remain mentally strong.

“You’ve got to just keep going out and churning out results,” he said. “There might be a time where results don’t go so well and people maybe close the gap a little bit.

“We’ve got to be also ready for those moments mentally as a team to just keep going and see what happens.”

Liverpool’s next match is the Merseyside derby at home to struggling Everton on Wednesday, with the Reds unbeaten against their local rivals at Anfield since 1999.

But Klopp’s side have not kept a clean sheet at home all season and are without suspended first-choice goalkeeper Alisson Becker.

“I don’t think we’re leaking loads of goals but probably just a few little silly mistakes here and there all over the pitch,” said Oxlade-Chamberlain.

“But even when we have been conceding, we’re still finding a way to come up with the goods and most of the time at the minute it’s been winning the game.”

AFP

Liverpool To Play Everton In FA Cup Third Round

(FILES) In this file photo taken on January 6, 2007 Liverpool football fans call for justice for the 96 victims of the Hillsborough football disaster in 1989 during Liverpool vs Arsenal English FA Cup football match at Anfield, Liverpool.
Paul ELLIS / AFP

 

Liverpool will face local rivals Everton in the FA Cup third round while non-league side AFC Fylde will travel to Premier League outfit Sheffield United after Monday’s draw.

Jurgen Klopp’s league leaders will have home advantage in the Merseyside derby. Ties will take place between January 3 and January 6.

Everton, who face Liverpool on Wednesday in the league, have not won at Anfield for 20 years.

READ ALSO: Full List Of 2019 Ballon D’Or Winners

The third round is the stage at which clubs from the Premier League and the Championship enter the FA Cup.

Holders Manchester City landed a home tie against fourth-tier Port Vale, while Manchester United will visit Wolves, the club that knocked them out of last season’s competition at the quarter-final stage.

Fylde, from the fifth level, will mark their first third-round appearance with a trip to Sheffield while fellow non-league side North Boston will host Newcastle if they beat Rochdale in a second-round replay.

Arsenal, FA Cup winners on a record 13 occasions, face a potentially testing encounter at home to Championship high-flyers Leeds.

Leicester, second in the Premier League, entertain Wigan, with Frank Lampard’s Chelsea welcoming Nottingham Forest to Stamford Bridge.

AFP

African Players In Europe: Iheanacho And Aubameyang Shine In England

 

Nigerian international Kelechi Iheanacho showed he knows how to make an impact as he came off the bench to drive Leicester to a victory that keeps them as Liverpool’s closest challengers in the Premier League.

Among other outstanding performances by Europe-based African players this weekend, Jeremie Boga opened the scoring for minnows Sassuolo and they went on to hold Serie A champions Juventus to a 2-2 draw in Turin.

ENGLAND

KELECHI IHEANACHO (Leicester)

Iheanacho had a massive impact on his first league outing of the season to turn a 1-0 deficit into a 2-1 win for the Foxes over Everton.

The Nigerian came off the bench to set up Jamie Vardy’s equaliser before scoring himself for the first time in the Premier League since September 2018, deep into stoppage time.

PIERRE-EMERICK AUBAMEYANG (Arsenal)

Aubameyang scored twice to salvage a 2-2 draw for Arsenal at Norwich in Freddie Ljungberg’s first game in caretaker charge.

The new Gunners’ captain had fortune on his side after seeing his first take at a penalty saved by Tim Krul only to be handed the reprieve of a retake for encroaching by Norwich players.

Aubameyang was clinical with his second chance from the spot and produced another fine finish just before the hour mark to finish at the back post from a corner.

WILFRIED ZAHA (Crystal Palace)

Zaha scored for the second consecutive game as Palace ended a five-game winless streak with a 2-0 win at Burnley.

The Ivorian caught England international goalkeeper Nick Pope napping with a fierce strike that sneaked in at the near post for just his second goal of the season.

SPAIN

PAPAKOULI DIOP (Elbar)

Senegalese midfielder Papakouli Diop’s goal could not prevent Eibar from losing 4-1 away at high-flying Real Sociedad in La Liga on Saturday.

Diop tucked away Takashi Inui’s pull-back to equalise in the 35th minute at Anoeta but Real Sociedad struck three times in the second half to seal a convincing win as Eibar dropped to 16th in the table, two points above the relegation zone.

LAGO JUNIOR (Real Mallorca)

Lago Junior scored a penalty and Lumor Agbenyenu was sent off as Real Mallorca were beaten 2-1 at home by Real Betis on Saturday.

Ivory Coast forward Lago came on at half-time and gave Mallorca hope of a comeback by reducing the deficit from the spot after Betis had scored twice in the first half.

But they were unable to find an equaliser and Ghanaian defender Agbenyenu was given a second yellow card in injury-time for pulling back Betis Diego Lainez.

ITALY

JEREMIE BOGA (Sassuolo)

Ivorian Boga opened the scoring for Sassuolo in a 2-2 draw at Serie A champions Juventus. The 22-year-old dinked over Juventus goalkeeper Gianluigi Buffon for his fourth goal this season as 14th-placed Sassuolo claimed their first ever point at the Turin giants who lost top spot in Serie A.

KEVIN-PRINCE BOATENG (Fiorentina)

Ghanian midfielder Boateng returned for Fiorentina after being overlooked for the last three Serie A games with the 32-year-old coming on for the injured French Franck Ribery after the break in a 1-0 defeat to Lecce which piled the pressure on the 13th-placed Tuscany side.

KALIDOU KOULIBALY (Napoli)

A wayward header from Senegalese defender Koulibaly resulted in the equaliser for Bologna, who fought back to win 2-1 in the San Paolo Stadium. Koulibaly headed to clear the ball away from goal but instead Bologna’s Andreas Skov-Olsen latched on to volley in. Napoli are seventh as their winless run extended to eight games in all competitions.

KHOUMA BABACAR (Lecce)

Senegalese striker Babacar came off the bench in the second half of a 1-0 win over his former club Fiorentina. The 26-year-old, on-loan from Sassuolo, missed two chances to score a second goal late, but his side held on for their third win this season.

GERMANY

STRELI MAMBA (Paderborn)

Mamba scored a cracking goal to kickstart a Paderborn fightback against RB Leipzig on Saturday. Although Paderborn eventually lost 3-2 after trailing 3-0, Mamba caused Leipzig’s defence constant problems, with his fifth goal of the season a just reward for the DR Congo-eligible striker.

ACHRAF HAKIMI (Borussia Dortmund)

Moroccan defender Hakimi put in another breathtaking performance for Dortmund, setting up one goal and providing a consistent threat throughout. Hakimi’s cross for Thorgan Hazard’s first-half goal was first class and will have Dortmund’s sporting director Michael Zorc going over the loanee’s contract with a fine-tooth comb to try and prevent his return to parent club Real Madrid.

FRANCE

VICTOR OSIMHEN (Lille)

Nigeria striker Osimhen scored his first Ligue 1 goal since October 6 with a penalty in first-half stoppage time as Lille claimed a much-needed 1-0 win over Dijon. The 20-year-old has scored 15 goals in all competitions for club and country this season.

GAEL KAKUTA (Amiens)

Former Chelsea forward Kakuta scored his first goal for Amiens since returning for his second spell at the club in the close-season in Saturday’s 4-2 loss at Montpellier. The 28-year-old, who previously played for Amiens on loan from Chinese outfit Hebei China Fortune in 2017-18, has played two friendlies for the Democratic Republic of Congo this year.

HABIB DIALLO (Metz)

The Senegalese international continued his prolific form for Metz by scoring in their 1-1 draw at fellow strugglers Nimes. The 24-year-old Diallo, who scored 26 goals in Ligue 2 last term, has now netted nine times in the top flight this campaign and trails only Lyon’s Moussa Dembele in the goalscoring charts.

AFP

Van Dijk’s Brace Help 10-Man Liverpool Beat Brighton

Liverpool’s Dutch defender Virgil van Dijk (2L) celebrates scoring his team’s second goal with Liverpool’s English defender Trent Alexander-Arnold (L) during the English Premier League football match between Liverpool and Brighton and Hove Albion at Anfield in Liverpool, north-west England on January 1, 2019.
Paul ELLIS / AFP

 

A first-half brace from Virgil van Dijk lifted Liverpool 11 points clear at the top of the Premier League in a 2-1 win over Brighton that was filled with drama after the sending off of home goalkeeper Alisson.

The Brazilian was dismissed on 76 minutes as he raced out of his area to handle an attempted chip by Brighton substitute Leandro Trossard.

Spanish replacement Adrian came on but his first act was to pick the ball out of the net as Lewis Dunk rolled the free-kick past the Liverpool wall and an unprepared goalkeeper.

The loss in midweek of influential midfielder Fabinho had taken the gloss off a successful period for Jurgen Klopp’s side, with an ankle injury ruling the Brazilian out for six weeks.

But the mood around Anfield before kick-off was certainly lifted when news came through from the north-east that their rivals Manchester City had unexpectedly dropped two points at Newcastle.

It did not take long for that mood to improve still further as Liverpool set about their task of attempting to move 11 points clear of Pep Guardiola’s side, the defending champions and the team still seen as their greatest challengers.

It took 18 minutes for Klopp’s men to take a deserved lead after Pascal Gross fouled Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain outside the Brighton area.

Trent Alexander-Arnold floated in the perfect free-kick and van Dijk rose powerfully above Adam Webster to head in his second goal of the season and first since the opening day of the season.

READ ALSO: West Ham Defeat Chelsea At Stamford Bridge

It did not take as long for van Dijk to wait for his third of the season — six minutes to be precise — as Brighton failed to learn from conceding the opener and allowed the same combination to double the lead.

This time it was from a left-wing corner as Alexander-Arnold delivered a perfect centre and the Dutch defender rose magnificently to beat Dunk and power a bullet header past a helpless Mat Ryan.

In between, van Dijk might have found the back of the net again, only this time his own, as he sliced a Davy Propper cross that flew inches wide of Liverpool’s far post.

But that was a rare moment of respite for Brighton, whose poor set-piece defending had left them facing a near-impossible task against a Liverpool side unbeaten in home league games since Crystal Palace beat them in April 2017, 951 days ago.

Ryan had already made three key saves to keep his side in contention, two from Roberto Firmino and another from Sadio Mane.

But, as the half progressed, there were moments of concern for a Liverpool side without a clean sheet in 11 games.

Jordan Henderson filled the absent Fabinho’s holding midfield position although he could not prevent the visitors from creating a couple of glorious openings late in the half as Propper was denied by Alisson and Dunk missed the target, unmarked, from 12 yards.

There were similar glimmers of hope for the visitors early in the second half, Dunk glancing a header wide and Aaron Connolly shooting straight at Alisson before Liverpool began to threaten on the counter-attack.

In the late drama that followed Alisson’s dismissal, Brighton pressed for an equaliser.

Adrian saved well from Aaron Mooy but almost fumbled a header from Gross into his own goal.

AFP

Champion’s League: Lovren’s Equaliser Spares Liverpool’s Blushes Against Napoli

Liverpool’s Croatian defender Dejan Lovren (L) celebrates scoring equalising goal during the UEFA Champions league Group E football match between Liverpool and Napoli at Anfield in Liverpool, north west England on November 27, 2019.
Oli SCARFF / AFP

 

Liverpool were made to wait to secure their place in the last 16 of the Champions League as Napoli secured a vital point with a 1-1 draw at Anfield on Wednesday.

Dries Mertens threatened to inflict Liverpool’s first home defeat in the Champions or Premier League since April 2017 with a sweetly struck opener midway through the first half.

Dejan Lovren’s header protected that proud unbeaten run, but the holders still need to get at least a point away to Salzburg on December 10 to secure their passage into the last 16.

Napoli remain a point behind Liverpool but are well-placed to reach the knockout stages as they host winless Genk in two weeks’ time.

The Italians had travelled to Merseyside in disarray with coach Carlo Ancelotti seemingly on the brink of being sacked after a slump in Serie A.

President Aurelio De Laurentiis has also threatened to sell the entire squad and take legal action against the players after they refused his orders to be confined to a week-long training camp earlier this month.

However, the Italians are the only side to have beaten the European champions this season and proved a thorn in Liverpool’s side again.

Jurgen Klopp’s men were unsettled by the early loss of Fabinho to injury and were unhappy when the visitors opened the scoring on 21 minutes.

Mertens leaned into Virgil van Dijk as the Dutchman headed clear and was left on the ground holding his side.

Napoli played on and when the ball was played forward again Mertens was unmarked to run through before beating Alisson Becker from a narrow-angle.

After a VAR review for a potential foul and offside, the goal was allowed to stand and there were a few more nervy moments for the home fans before Van Dijk got back to his feet and was able to continue.

READ ALSO: Barcelona Secure Champions League Last 16 Spot

Klopp grew increasingly frustrated on the touchline as Liverpool failed to find their rhythm before the break.

However, a talking to from the German-inspired a second-half turnaround.

Kalidou Koulibaly bailed out his goalkeeper with a clearance off the line from Roberto Firmino after Alex Meret dropped a simple cross into the box.

Mohamed Salah was left out of Saturday’s late win at Crystal Palace due to an ongoing ankle problem and again looked far from his best.

The Egyptian snapped at his best chance from Andy Robertson’s cross before Firmino headed another good opportunity wide.

It seemed a matter of time before the equaliser arrived, but when it did it came from an unlikely source as Lovren rose above Mertens to power home James Milner’s corner.

Again a VAR check was needed as Mertens this time claimed to be the victim of a push, but the goal stood.

Liverpool have made a habit of scoring late to soar clear at the top of the Premier League, but there was no late drama this time round to leave the Reds with work to do in Austria.

AFP

Klopp ‘Not Worried’ Over Salah’s Fitness Ahead Of Napoli Match

A file photo of Liverpool’s German manager Jurgen Klopp. Lindsey Parnaby / AFP

 

 

Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp says he has no concerns about Mohamed Salah’s fitness ahead of their Champions League clash with Napoli.

Salah was an unused substitute in the 2-1 win at Crystal Palace on Saturday after missing training with an ankle problem.

“Mo Salah looks really good,” Klopp said at his pre-match press conference on Tuesday. “I’m not worried about it.”

Klopp also provided an update on the fitness of defender Joel Matip, who has been sidelined with a knee injury.

“Joel is improving but is some time away. There will be a scan this week and then we will see how it is.”

Klopp said he had plans to cope with Liverpool’s fixture pile-up over the next few weeks.

Their involvement in the FIFA Club World Cup in Qatar, plus their progress in the League Cup, mean Liverpool have been forced to play two games within 24 hours of each other, over 4,000 miles (6,400 kilometres) apart in mid-December.

“We have plans for everything, as you can imagine, and we change them constantly. I have two smartphones and when one of them is ringing it is really rare it is good news,” said Klopp.

“You only get the messages when a player is not fine, so then we have to make new plans and we don’t know exactly how many players we’ll have to train.

“We know in the long term what we have to do, we know that’s all set. The athletic part of the sessions, we try to adapt to the specific situation of the players. The tactical things depend on the games we play.”

Victory over Carlo Ancelotti’s side on Wednesday would ensure defending champions Liverpool finish top of Group E with a game to spare but Klopp said he could not afford to look past the match.

Napoli are the only side to have beaten Liverpool this season but are currently seventh in Serie A.

“The biggest mistake we could make is that we have won it already and what would happen if we win it,” Klopp said.

“These things are not in our mind. Of course we try to win the game, it would be massive for us after the start we had. Napoli are a dangerous opponent.

“There are two weeks between tomorrow night and the Salzburg game (final match of the group) and we have three games in between. Why should I think about the Salzburg game now?”

Man City Keep Liverpool In Sights As Mourinho Magic Lifts Spurs

Tottenham Hotspur’s Portuguese head coach Jose Mourinho takes a team training session at Tottenham Hotspur’s Enfield Training Centre, in north London on November 25, 2019, ahead of their UEFA Champions League Group B football match against Olympiakos. Daniel LEAL-OLIVAS / AFP

 

 

Manchester City kept Premier League leaders Liverpool in their sights on Saturday after battling back to beat Chelsea as Jose Mourinho ended Tottenham’s away-day woes in his first game in charge.

Leicester saw off Brighton 2-0 to stay in second place, eight points behind Jurgen Klopp’s men, while struggling Arsenal needed a stoppage-time goal to draw 2-2 with lowly Southampton.

Liverpool’s hard-fought 2-1 win at Crystal Palace meant defending champions City went into their evening match against high-flying Chelsea 12 points behind the pacesetters.

N’Golo Kante gave the visitors a deserved lead midway through the first half at the Etihad but City hit back with a deflected shot from Kevin De Bruyne and a trademark Riyad Mahrez strike to win 2-1.

Pep Guardiola’s men were never entirely comfortable with a one-goal lead but their margin of victory could have been greater as Raheem Sterling found the bottom corner deep into stoppage time, only for VAR to rule the goal out for offside.

City’s possession figure of 46.74 percent is the lowest recorded by a side managed by Pep Guardiola in any of his 381 top-flight matches in charge.

“It was a top game against a top side,” Guardiola told Sky Sports. “Chelsea have been big quality for the past 20 years. When they went ahead in the best moments they had we scored through Kevin De Bruyne. Then we missed a lot of chances.”

Guardiola sounded the alarm over all-time top-scorer Sergio Aguero, who limped off in the second half, saying he feared his injury could be “bad”.

Liverpool Late Show

Earlier, Liverpool once again demonstrated their knack for scoring last-gasp winners, with Roberto Firmino finishing from close range following a goalmouth scramble.

Liverpool had looked set to drop points for just the second time this season after Wilfried Zaha cancelled out Sadio Mane’s opener in the 82nd minute.

The European champions, chasing their first league title for 30 years, have now won 12 of their 13 Premier League matches this season and are unbeaten in 30 league games.

“We are not out there to show we invented football. We have a job to do to get results. We did that again,” said Klopp.

“I have no problem that we were not brilliant today. You just have to make sure you are ready to fight for the result and we were that from the first minute.”

Brendan Rodgers’ Leicester kept up their dogged pursuit of the leaders, with second-half goals from Ayoze Perez and Jamie Vardy giving them a fifth successive league win.

Mourinho Effect

In the early kick-off at the London Stadium, Son Heung-min, Lucas Moura and Harry Kane were on the scoresheet for Tottenham as Mourinho won his first game in charge 3-2, days after replacing the sacked Mauricio Pochettino.

Spurs’ first away league victory since January will help to endear Mourinho to sceptical supporters, who were sad to see Pochettino dismissed less than six months after leading the club to a first-ever Champions League final.

“It was very, very important. Eleven months without music in the away dressing room, without a smile, without happiness and they did it,” said the former Chelsea and Manchester United boss.

“That’s where I belong (on the touchline), that is my natural habitat. I just love it. When things go in your direction, winning is the best feeling.”

Arsenal manager Unai Emery is under increasing pressure after another limp display that leaves them winless in five Premier League matches.

Southampton took an early lead at the Emirates through Danny Ings only for Alexandre Lacazette to level.

James Ward-Prowse restored Southampton’s lead in the second half but Lacazette saved Emery’s blushes with a goal deep into stoppage time.

In-form Wolves won 2-1 at 10-man Bournemouth courtesy of a Joao Moutinho free-kick and Raul Jimenez’s goal to climb to fifth in the table.

Norwich lifted themselves off the bottom with a 2-0 victory away to Everton while Burnley won 3-0 at Watford, who are now bottom.

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s Manchester United face Sheffield United on Sunday with a chance to move into fifth place.

‘I Don’t Take It For Granted’, Klopp Praises Liverpool Win At Palace

A file photo of Liverpool’s German manager, Jurgen Klopp. Glyn KIRK / AFP

 

 

Jurgen Klopp praised his side’s unerring ability to dig out results when not at their best after Liverpool again scored late to beat Crystal Palace 2-1 on Saturday and maintain their eight-point lead at the top of the Premier League.

The leaders were indebted to an 85th-minute Roberto Firmino goal at Selhurst Park after Wilfried Zaha had cancelled out Sadio Mane’s second-half opener.

The victory made it 30 league games unbeaten for Klopp’s side and was further compelling evidence that they are well-equipped to end an agonising 30-year wait for the English league title.

“Getting a result at Crystal Palace, I don’t take it for granted,” said Klopp, whose side are eight points clear of Leicester after 13 games.

“We are not out there to show we invented football. We have a job to do to get results. We did that again.

“I have no problem that we were not brilliant today. You just have to make sure you are ready to fight for the result and we were that from the first minute.

“Could we have played better? Yes. But we had players on the pitch that on Thursday morning who were still on the plane back from Abu Dhabi or wherever (during the international break). That’s not too cool.”

Liverpool were missing Mohamed Salah, who was on the bench as he continues to struggle with an ankle injury and lacked their usual fluency going forward in a first half dominated by Palace.

The half-chances were falling to the home side, notably when Jordan Ayew skewed his shot wide before a Joel Ward free-kick was headed onto the top of the crossbar by Gary Cahill.

It appeared that a set-piece had given Palace the lead two minutes before half-time.

A Luka Milivojevic free-kick clipped the head of Georginio Wijnaldum and dropped into the path of James Tomkins to nod home at the far post.

But Klopp’s men had VAR to thank for ruling the goal out after a review ruled that Jordan Ayew had fouled Dejan Lovren in the area.

If Liverpool had been ponderous in the first half, they sprinted into the lead within four minutes of the restart.

– Rasping shots –

First, Jordan Henderson released Mane with a thrusting through ball only for the striker to drag his shot wide.

Within seconds, he atoned for that miss when Firmino flicked Andy Robertson’s cross into his path.

Mane swivelled and sent in a shot that had just enough force to skim the hand of Palace keeper Vicente Guaita and spin-off one post onto the other and cross the line.

The home side responded with rasping shots from first Andros Townsend and then Milivojevic.

At the other end, Firmino almost made it 2-0 midway through the second half, toe-poking a shot which Guaita palmed away for a corner.

That seemed a costly miss as Palace fought their way back into the contest. Alisson Becker was required to tip away a low Jeffrey Schlupp drive before substitute Christian Benteke went close with a spectacular bicycle kick.

The former Liverpool player then helped set up the equaliser, bursting into the area and finding Townsend, who slipped the ball to Zaha. A quick shimmy later and Zaha struck a low shot beyond Alisson.

However, as so often this season, Liverpool found an immediate answer. Virgil van Dijk’s scuffed effort sowed panic in the Palace ranks following a corner and Firmino popped up to steer the loose ball into an empty net.

The fortune that follows champions surfaced again in injury-time when Zaha, superbly found by an astute clipped Townsend pass, slashed at the ball and sent his shot high over the Liverpool bar.

Liverpool Leave It Late Again To Beat Palace

Liverpool’s Brazilian midfielder Roberto Firmino (L) watches his shot to make the score 2-1 during the English Premier League football match against Crystal Palace at Selhurst Park in south London on November 23, 2019. Ian KINGTON / AFP

 

 

Liverpool continue to look like Premier League champions in waiting as they combined grit and good fortune to secure a hard-fought 2-1 victory over Crystal Palace at Selhurst Park.

The victory, secured by Roberto Firmino’s 85th-minute winner, made it 30 league games unbeaten for Jurgen Klopp’s side.

It also reinforced their imposing ability to turn draws into victories, a habit which looks set to carry them to a first Premier League title in 30 years.

Another vital win maintains the European champions’ eight-point lead over Leicester at the top of the table and opens up a 12-point gap on defending champions Manchester City prior to their clash with Chelsea later on Saturday.

Liverpool were shorn of Mohamed Salah, who started on the bench as he continues to struggle with an ankle injury and lacked their usual fluency going forward in a first half dominated by Palace.

The half-chances were falling to the home side, notably when Jordan Ayew skewed his shot wide before a Joel Ward free-kick was headed onto the top of the crossbar by Gary Cahill.

It appeared that a set-piece had given Palace the lead two minutes before half-time.

A Luka Milivojevic free-kick clipped the head of Georginio Wijnaldum and dropped into the path of James Tomkins to nod home at the far post.

But not for the first time this season, Klopp’s men had VAR to thank for ruling out the goal.

Ayew’s hand was on the back of Lovren as the pair moved towards the ball, yet VAR official Chris Kavanagh was clearly fooled by the Croatian defender’s theatrical fall to what could hardly be considered a push at normal speed.

If Liverpool had been somewhat ponderous in the first half, they sprinted into the lead within four minutes of the restart.

– Rasping shots –

First, Jordan Henderson released Mane with a thrusting through ball only for the striker to drag his shot wide.

Within seconds, he atoned for that miss when Firmino flicked Andy Robertson’s cross into his path.

Mane swivelled and sent in a shot that possessed just enough force to skim the hand of Palace keeper Vicente Guaita and spin-off one post onto the other and cross the line

The home side responded with rasping shots from first Andros Townsend and then Milivojevic.

At the other end, Firmino almost made it 2-0 after 67 minutes, toe-poking a shot which Guaita palmed away for a corner.

That seemed a costly miss as Palace fought their way back into the contest. Alisson was required to tip away a low Jeffrey Schlupp drive before substitute Christian Benteke went close with a spectacular bicycle kick.

The former Liverpool player then helped set up the equaliser, bursting into the area and finding Townsend who slipped the ball to Zaha. A quick shimmy later and Zaha struck a low shot beyond Alisson.

However, as so often this season, Liverpool found an immediate answer. Virgil van Dijk’s scuffed effort met with Palace panic following a corner and Firmino popped up to steer the loose ball into an empty net.

The fortune that follows champions surfaced again in injury-time when Zaha, superbly found by an astute clipped Townsend pass, slashed at the ball and sent his shot high over the Liverpool bar.

AFP

Liverpool’s Joe Gomez Suffers Sore Knee Injury

England's defender Joe Gomez warms up ahead of the UEFA Euro 2020 qualifying first round Group A football match between England and Montenegro at Wembley Stadium in London on November 14, 2019. Adrian DENNIS / AFP
England’s defender Joe Gomez warms up ahead of the UEFA Euro 2020 qualifying first round Group A football match between England and Montenegro at Wembley Stadium in London on November 14, 2019. Adrian DENNIS / AFP

 

Liverpool full-back Joe Gomez’s rollercoaster week, from the high of beating Manchester City last Sunday to being booed at Wembley on Thursday, ended with him missing England’s final Euro 2020 qualifier in Kosovo due to a sore knee.

The 22-year-old — whose Liverpool team-mate Jordan Henderson also misses the trip to Kosovo with a viral infection — featured in the headlines earlier in the week after City striker Raheem Sterling confronted him at England’s training centre on Monday, the day after Liverpool’s 3-1 victory over City.

Gomez was booed when he came on as a substitute in the 7-0 mauling of Montenegro, while Henderson missed it due to a one-match ban.

Victory assured England of a place at the finals.

“Jordan Henderson and Joe Gomez will miss England’s final UEFA EURO 2020 qualifier in Kosovo on Sunday,” read a statement from the Football Association (FA).

“Henderson arrived in camp with a viral infection that has not fully cleared.

“Meanwhile, his Liverpool team-mate Gomez sustained a knock to the knee in training on Friday and has not recovered sufficiently enough to travel.

“The pair have returned to their club meaning the Three Lions will head to Pristina on Saturday with a 23-man squad.”

England may have assured themselves of a place in the finals but Southgate wants a win on Sunday to ensure they are seeded in the top six.

Sterling is expected to play a role after being dropped for the Montenegro game due to the Gomez incident, for which he apologised.

Kosovo will be in the play-offs next March having progressed through the Nations League, so their dream of reaching a first major tournament finals is still alive.

 

AFP

Liverpool Fans Antipathy Could Have Sparked Sterling Attack – Rose

Tottenham Hotspur’s English defender Danny Rose gestures after winning the UEFA Champions League Group B football match between Red Star Belgrade (Crvena Zvezda) and Tottenham Hotspur at the Rajko Mitic stadium in Belgrade, on November 6, 2019./AFP

 

Raheem Sterling’s altercation with England team-mate Joe Gomez could have been sparked by a delayed reaction to the hatred aimed at the striker by Liverpool fans in their Premier League clash last Sunday said Danny Rose.

Sterling — who has been a target for Liverpool fans since his leaving for Manchester City in 2015 for £49 million ($63 million — has been dropped for Thursday’s Euro 2020 qualifier with Montenegro by Gareth Southgate after physically confronting Liverpool full-back Gomez at the England training centre on Monday.

Sterling apologised and said his emotions got the better of him in the wake of the 3-1 defeat at Anfield which left defending champions City nine points adrift of the victors and league leaders.

Tottenham Hotspur star Rose, who is also in the England squad, said watching the match on Sunday had alerted him to the visceral antipathy to Sterling.

“It’s probably the first time I have sat back and actually realised and took note of how much the Liverpool fans dislike him,” Rose told BBC Radio.

“I think he just gets on with it and maybe it had a part to play in whatever happened.”

Rose said he hoped the matter would be soon forgotten.

“We have moved on,” Rose said.

“But I hope it can be put to bed as soon as possible because obviously Joe is — and I’m not just saying this — one of the nicest people I have come across in football.

“He won’t want this to fester and Raheem won’t want this to fester.”

Southgate spoke on Tuesday of the squad being like a family and Rose reflected this by saying both players made heartfelt apologies in front of the other players.

“You could sense that (Sterling’s apology was from the heart) and you could hear that,” said Rose.

Klopp Hails ‘Focused’ Liverpool After Man City Win

Liverpool’s German manager Jurgen Klopp celebrates on the pitch after the English Premier League football match between Liverpool and Manchester City at Anfield in Liverpool, northwest England on November 10, 2019. Liverpool won the game 3-1.
Paul ELLIS / AFPLiverpool boss Jurgen Klopp hailed his side’s “incredible goals” after they beat Manchester City 3-1 on Sunday to move nine points clear of the defending Premier League champions.

The European champions took a huge step towards a first top-flight title in 30 years by opening an eight-point lead at the top of the table, with Leicester City in second place.

Goals from Fabinho and Mohamed Salah gave Liverpool a dream start before Sadio Mane’s diving header early in the second half sealed City’s fate.

READ ALSO: Liverpool Beat Manchester City 3-1 To Open Up Eight-Point Lead

Bernardo Silva pulled a late goal back but a third defeat in eight league games leaves City down in fourth, nine points behind Liverpool, and with a mountain to climb if they are to claim a third straight league title.

“They (City) were good,” Klopp told the BBC. “Oh they were good and we had to defend with all we had but we scored incredible goals.

“It was so tough to play, the intensity of the game was so clear. It was all worth it, really great.”

“The boys were completely focused and concentrated,” he added. “It was so good. It is the only way we can beat City. Maybe other teams can do it a different way but this is the only way we can beat them.”

City boss Pep Guardiola said his side had shown why they were Premier League champions.

“What happened today we showed why are champion,” Guardiola told Sky Sports.

“I am so proud of my team, more than ever. We can be proud of how we played against the strongest team in Europe.”

“We played like back-to-back champions,” he added. “We cannot deny how good Liverpool are but the way we played, the personality, it was good.”

AFP