Sheff Utd Cruise Past Chelsea, Liverpool’s Record Bid Hit By Burnley

Sheffield United's English-born Irish striker David McGoldrick (R) scores his second goal during the English Premier League football match between Sheffield United and Chelsea at Bramall Lane in Sheffield, northern England on July 11, 2020. (Photo by Shaun Botterill / POOL / AFP)
Sheffield United’s English-born Irish striker David McGoldrick (R) scores his second goal during the English Premier League football match between Sheffield United and Chelsea at Bramall Lane in Sheffield, northern England on July 11, 2020. (Photo by Shaun Botterill / POOL / AFP)

 

 

Sheffield United dealt a major blow to Chelsea’s chances of a Premier League top-four finish by thrashing the Blues 3-0 at Bramall Lane, while Liverpool’s long winning run at Anfield came to an end in a 1-1 draw with Burnley on Saturday.

Manchester City did guarantee their presence in the top four for a 10th successive season with Raheem Sterling scoring a hat-trick in a 5-0 win at Brighton.

However, they will have to wait for the outcome on Monday of their appeal against a two-season ban from European competitions to see if they will play Champions League football.

Norwich will be playing in the Championship after Michail Antonio’s four-goal blitz confirmed the Canaries’ relegation in a thumping 4-0 win for West Ham that should seal the Hammers’ top-flight status for another season.

Sheffield United have long since achieved that feat in their first season in the Premier League for 13 years and the Blades are still eying the top four themselves as they moved within five points of fourth-placed Leicester.

Chelsea remain in third, but could end the weekend down in fifth if Leicester and Manchester United beat Bournemouth and Southampton respectively.

The Blues have already reinforced their attack for next season with the signings of Timo Werner and Hakim Ziyech, but Frank Lampard was again shown it is at the other end his side desperately need to improve.

David McGoldrick’s long wait for a first Premier League goal came to an end when he was quickest to react after Kepa Arrizabalaga saved Oli McBurnie’s deflected shot.

More slack defending from the visitors then allowed McBurnie a free header to double the hosts’ lead.

Lampard sent on Antonio Rudiger at the start of the second-half, but the German international did little to improve Chelsea’s defending as his attempted clearance from Lys Mousset’s cross only teed up McGoldrick to score his second 13 minutes from time.

“They were better than us, physically, in the mind and with the ball. So you lose the game,” said Lampard.

– Liverpool held -For the first time since January 2018, Liverpool failed to win a Premier League game at Anfield as an inspired performance by Nick Pope in the Burnley goal and Jay Rodriguez’s equaliser to cancel out Andy Robertson’s first half header gave Burnley a share of the spoils.

Jurgen Klopp’s men now need to win their remaining three games to be surpass the record total of 100 points in a Premier League season set by City two years ago.

“We left the door open, we didn’t close it. We should have scored two, three, four goals at least,” said Klopp.

City scored four or more goals for the fourth time in six league games at Brighton.

Sterling’s treble took his best ever season’s tally to 27, while Gabriel Jesus and Bernardo Silva also netted in another rout for a pleased Pep Guardiola.

– Norwich relegated –
At Carrow Road, a seventh successive league defeat condemned Norwich to relegation as Antonio’s ruthless display boosted West Ham’s own survival bid.

“We wanted to beat the odds again but when the dust settles the outcome is more or less what was expected. It doesn’t take anything away from the fact that we are disappointed,” manager Daniel Farke said.

West Ham’s second win in four games opens up a six-point cushion over the bottom three.

The early signs were ominous for Norwich as West Ham took the lead in the 11th minute through Antonio’s close-range volley.

Antonio struck again in first-half stoppage-time, glancing his header into the far corner from Mark Noble’s free-kick.

He completed his hat-trick in the 54th minute with a looping header and his fourth came in the 74th minute from Ryan Fredericks’ cross.

Watford also moved to the brink of survival as two Troy Deeney penalties beat Newcastle 2-1 to move level with West Ham on 34 points.

 

 

AFP

Burnley End Liverpool’s Perfect Run At Anfield

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

 

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

 

AFP

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

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

 

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

 

AFP

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

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

 

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Salah Keeps Liverpool’s Record Chase On Track

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

 

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

 

AFP

EPL: Liverpool Leave It Late To See Off Aston Villa

liverpool
Liverpool’s Senegalese striker Sadio Mane (L) celebrates scoring his team’s first goal during the English Premier League football match between Liverpool and Aston Villa at Anfield in Liverpool, north west England on July 5, 2020. Shaun Botterill / POOL / AFP

 

Sadio Mane and Curtis Jones struck in the final 20 minutes to ensure Liverpool marked their first match at Anfield since being crowned Premier League champions with a 2-0 win over struggling Aston Villa on Sunday.

After a 4-0 humbling at the hands of Manchester City in midweek, Jurgen Klopp’s men again failed to hit the heights that made them runaway leaders before a three-month hiatus due to the coronavirus pandemic.

But Mane’s sweet strike off the underside of the bar and Jones’s deflected effort kept up a run of 24 consecutive league wins at Anfield for the Reds and left Villa still languishing in the bottom three.

Klopp has insisted he will not dish out appearances “like Christmas presents” in the final month of the campaign as Liverpool eye a record points tally in English top-flight history.

The German made just three alterations from an embarrassing night at the Etihad on Thursday as Roberto Firmino, Jordan Henderson and Georginio Wijnaldum dropped out, but all three were needed in the second half after a disappointing first hour.

In front of an empty Anfield, Liverpool struggled to summon their best with the big prize already won and just re-writing the record books to play for.

Villa, by contrast, are still desperate for points in their battle to beat the drop and Dean Smith’s men were left to rue not taking their chances on the counter-attack early in the second half as their winless streak stretched to 10 games.

Pepe Reina was recalled in the Villa goal on his return to Anfield where he spent nine years as a Liverpool player.

However, the Spaniard barely had a save of note to make before half-time as Liverpool struggled to break Villa down.

Indeed, it was Alisson Becker who was the busier goalkeeper as the Brazilian was forced to parry shots from Douglas Luiz, Jack Grealish and Anwar El Ghazi.

Klopp was forced into introducing Henderson, Wijnaldum and Firmino to try and summon a response from his side in the final half hour.

The triple substitution quickly made a difference when Naby Keita picked out Mane to sweep home his 20th goal of the season.

Reina was finally forced into a fine save as he dived to his left to deny Firmino his first goal at Anfield this season.

Another substitute made the game safe a minute from time as 19-year-old Jones saw his effort deflect past the helpless Reina before Alisson produced another stunning save at the other end to deny Grealish a consolation.

Ex-Liverpool Striker Milan Baros Set To Retire At 38

(FILES) In this file photo taken on June 08, 2012 Czech forward Milan Baros controls the ball during the Euro 2012 football championships match Russia vs. Czech Republic at the Municipal stadium in Wroclaw. - Ex-Liverpool striker Milan Baros ends career at 38. (Photo by Daniel MIHAILESCU / AFP)
(FILES) In this file photo taken on June 08, 2012 Czech forward Milan Baros controls the ball during the Euro 2012 football championships match Russia vs. Czech Republic at the Municipal stadium in Wroclaw. – Ex-Liverpool striker Milan Baros ends career at 38. (Photo by Daniel MIHAILESCU / AFP)

 

 

Former Liverpool, Aston Villa and Czech Republic striker Milan Baros said Friday he would call time on his playing career at the end of the season.

“My head would like to go on, but the body has said stop,” the 38-year-old Baros said on Banik Ostrava’s club website.

“I’ve had health issues for a long time and the body doesn’t simply work the way it used to and the way I need,” he added, complaining about his Achilles tendons.

Baros, who also played for Portsmouth, Lyon and Galatasaray, rose to prominence at Euro 2004, a tournament which he finished as the top scorer.

Baros won the Champions League with Liverpool in 2005 and ended his international career after Euro 2012, having scored 41 goals in 93 games for the Czech Republic.

 

 

-AFP

Man City Whitewash Premier League Champions Liverpool 4-0

liverpool
Liverpool’s Dutch defender Virgil van Dijk (L) and Manchester City’s Belgian midfielder Kevin De Bruyne (R) chat on the pitch after the English Premier League football match between Manchester City and Liverpool at the Etihad Stadium in Manchester, north west England, on July 2, 2020. Manchester City won the game 4-0. PETER POWELL / POOL / AFP

 

Jurgen Klopp admitted Manchester City are the one side capable of “smashing” his newly-crowned Premier League winners after Liverpool’s first match since becoming English champions ended in a 4-0 thrashing at the Etihad.

City sent a warning shot of their intentions to take the title back next season as Kevin De Bruyne, Raheem Sterling and Phil Foden all struck before half-time to inflict just Liverpool’s third league defeat in 71 games.

Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain’s own goal rounded off a miserable night for Klopp’s men, who could have conceded many more in the second half.

The gap at the top of the table between the two remains 20 points, but Liverpool’s charge to better a series of records set by City two seasons ago was stalled on a chastening night for the champions.

“I wanted to see a brilliant attitude and I saw that, the boys were really fighting. Nobody was like ‘hey I am coming here, we don’t care’. We care a lot. That is how it feels, it feels not good and it should not feel like it is,” said Klopp.

“If there is a team in the world that can smash us like this it is probably City but we will come again.”

City began the evening by giving a guard of honour to their opponents, but showed little respect once the action got underway.

“I saw them in the guard of honour and they were so focused, they didn’t even say ‘thank you’. That is why they are champions of Europe and the Premier League,” said City boss Pep Guardiola.

“They drank a lot of beers in the past week but they arrive here without beers in the blood to compete against us.”

The early signs suggested Liverpool would be able to pick off a leaky City defence that has cost them their title.

Mohamed Salah struck the post and Sadio Mane headed wastefully wide as chances came and went for the visitors.

“We had our moments where we were really close to make something,” added Klopp. “They used our mistakes, we didn’t use their mistakes.”

Liverpool’s first big error came when Joe Gomez pulled Sterling to the ground inside the area and De Bruyne converted the resulting penalty.

Sterling was suspended by England manager Gareth Southgate after he squared up to Gomez in the canteen on international duty the day after Liverpool’s 3-1 win over City at Anfield earlier in the season.

– ‘Next season started today’ –

The City forward wisely did his talking on the pitch this time as he scored for the first time in a competitive match against his old side by turning inside Gomez and sending a shot through the defender’s legs as Liverpool were caught on the counter-attack.

“We had a test against the current champions to make a point and we did brilliant,” said Sterling. “Next season started today and we did well.”

Foden has been hugely impressive since the Premier League’s restart from a three-month layoff and the 20-year-old combined with De Bruyne for a brilliant one-two to leave Andy Robertson floundering before lifting the ball over the advancing Alisson Becker to make it 3-0.

But for the Brazilian goalkeeper and some wayward finishing, Liverpool could have been on the end of an embarrassing scoreline early in the second half as Gabriel Jesus fired straight at his international teammate, Sterling saw a shot deflected just wide and Virgil van Dijk cleared off the line from Foden.

There was a touch of fortune when City’s fourth did arrive as Sterling’s shot was heading wide before being turned into his own net by Oxlade-Chamberlain.

Riyad Mahrez had a fifth goal in stoppage time ruled out by a VAR review for handball as City just failed to match the 5-0 scoreline they inflicted on Liverpool at the Etihad in 2017.

But City more than laid down a marker and also showed why they are among the favourites to win the Champions League for the first time when European football returns in August.

Liverpool Criticise Fans For “Unacceptable” Celebrations

Liverpool fans celebrate victory outside Anfield stadium in Liverpool, north west England on June 26, 2020 after Liverpool FC sealed the Premier League title the previous evening. Oli SCARFF / AFP
Liverpool fans celebrate victory outside Anfield stadium in Liverpool, north west England on June 26, 2020 after Liverpool FC sealed the Premier League title the previous evening. Oli SCARFF / AFP

 

Liverpool on Saturday criticised some of its own fans for “wholly unacceptable” behaviour after they crowded parts of the city to celebrate the team’s first championship in 30 years.

In a joint statement with Merseyside Police and Liverpool City Council, the club condemned supporters who ignored coronavirus social distance guidance to gather at the Pier Head waterfront.

“Our city is still in a public health crisis and this behaviour is wholly unacceptable,” read the statement.

“The potential danger of a second peak of COVID-19 still exists and we need to work together to make sure we don’t undo everything that has been achieved as a region during lockdown.”

Liverpool’s mayor, Joe Anderson, also condemned the scenes, claiming on Twitter they had brought a “negative focus” on the city.

Social media images showed a firework hitting the Liver Bird building, one of the city’s most famous landmarks, during a second night of celebrations on Friday.

Vast amounts of rubbish were cleared by the council on Saturday morning.

Liverpool secured the English Premier League title on Thursday night after their only rivals, Manchester City, lost 2-1 to Chelsea, meaning Liverpool could not be caught.

Prior to the title being won, police and local authorities had warned fans not to gather because of the fear of further spreading the coronavirus.

Police had urged fans to celebrate only with family members as they claimed Liverpool had been “disproportionately affected” by Covid-19.

 

AFP

What Now For Liverpool After Ending Premier League Title Drought?

liverpool-epl-champions
This is Liverpool’s first EPL crown in 30 years. Photo: Twitter/Liverpool FC

 

 

Liverpool’s romp to a first league title in 30 years with a record seven games of the season remaining could herald a golden new era for the Reds with Jurgen Klopp at the helm.

Klopp has delivered the holy grail of a long-awaited league title to Anfield, a year after winning the club’s sixth European Cup.

Further records could yet tumble before the season is out, with Liverpool on course for an all-time high Premier League points tally and the biggest-ever margin of victory.

A 23-point gap to Manchester City is all the more remarkable given how Pep Guardiola’s men themselves have raised the bar in recent seasons.

“How is it possible anybody is 20 points ahead of this team?” Klopp himself said after watching City’s 5-0 demolition of Burnley on Monday.

City’s brilliance has pushed Liverpool to new heights.

Even during the trophy-laden 1970s and 80s at Anfield, Liverpool never amassed as many points as they have in losing just two of their past 70 league games.

A 4-0 thrashing of Crystal Palace on Wednesday was a 23rd consecutive Premier League win at home.

“It is not over yet, that’s the good thing,” said an emotional Klopp, who extended his contract until 2024 earlier this season. “The team all look like they have a good few years in their legs.”

The club have also tied down a core group of key players to long contracts over the past two years.

– Legacy –

Wayne Rooney helped win five of Alex Ferguson’s 13 league titles during the Scot’s spell as Manchester United manager and believes Klopp could leave a similar legacy.

“They have huge potential to win more trophies,” Rooney, a former Everton and United captain, begrudgingly admitted in his Sunday Times column.

“Klopp says it’s impossible for any club to dominate like United once did but he is wrong,” added Rooney. “There’s a simple way for Liverpool: let Klopp go on and on.”

City boss Guardiola highlighted Liverpool’s “passion” as the key component his side could not match.

And Liverpool captain Jordan Henderson urged his teammates to remain “hungry” and “keep wanting more” next season.

– More than a two-horse race –

However, plenty of hurdles stand in Liverpool’s way if they are to establish such a spell of dominance, principally City’s reaction to losing their title.

“When we retained the title we were the first for 10 years so you know how difficult it is to do that,” Guardiola warned this week.

As it stands, City will also be banned from European competition for the next two seasons.

Should their appeal to the Court of Arbitration for Sport next month fail it could be a fatal blow in the push to convince Guardiola to stay beyond the end of his contract in 2021, but would also allow City to concentrate their resources on toppling Liverpool domestically.

Unlike the past two seasons, the title race may be more than a two-horse race in 2020/21.

Chelsea’s 2-1 win over City on Thursday was the result that finally crowned Liverpool champions and the Blues have already stated their intention to challenge with the signings of Timo Werner and Hakim Ziyech.

Manchester United are unbeaten in 13 games, with the January signing of Portuguese midfielder Bruno Fernandes transforming their fortunes.

Other factors such as the 2021 Africa Cup of Nations, still scheduled to take place from January 10 to February 8, could also play a huge role in Liverpool’s title defence should Mohamed Salah and Sadio Mane be absent for two months in the middle of the season.

The return of the AFCON to the European winter had seen Werner strongly linked with a move to Anfield.

However, the economic fallout from coronavirus meant Liverpool were not willing to commit to meeting the German international’s 60 million euro ($67 million) buyout clause from RB Leipzig.

The chemistry between Mane, Salah and Roberto Firmino has been key to Liverpool’s rise from struggling to qualify for the Champions League to the dizzy heights of European and English champions.

“The front three we know are as good as anything in Europe,” said former Liverpool captain Jamie Carragher.

“They don’t miss too many games but when they do there is a massive drop-off and that’s why I feel Liverpool still need to strengthen.”

For the first time in three decades, though, Liverpool can build from a position of strength to tighten their grip on the Premier League rather than playing catch-up.

Solskjaer Congratulates Liverpool On Premier League Title

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

 

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

 

-AFP

‘A Season For The Ages’: Liverpool Owner Henry Salutes Title Triumph

File: 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

 

Liverpool’s principal owner John W Henry saluted his team’s “season for the ages” as they were crowned English champions for the first time in 30 years on Thursday.

Jurgen Klopp’s side won the Premier League without kicking a ball after second placed Manchester City were beaten 2-1 at Chelsea.

It was the culmination of a remarkable campaign for Liverpool, who have won 28 of their 31 league games, clinched the title earlier than any other Premier League champions and also lifted the Club World Cup in December.

US tycoon Henry, whose Fenway Sports Group bought Liverpool in 2010, tweeted: “This was a season for the ages and for the faithful of Liverpool Football Club.

“It has been an incredible year of magnificent achievement culminating tonight in capturing the Premier League title.

“The totality of this accomplishment has brought respite and joy to so many in a year filled with so much tragedy.

“LFC has made the beautiful game more beautiful than ever.

“It is said, ‘We are Liverpool’. You, the supporters are Liverpool in every sense and you continue to drive the club forward – a historic club making history once again.”