Everton Extend Liverpool’s Losing Streak To End 11-Year Wait For Derby Win

Everton’s English goalkeeper Jordan Pickford tips the ball over the bar during the English Premier League football match between Liverpool and Everton at Anfield in Liverpool, north west England on February 20, 2021. (Photo by Paul ELLIS / POOL / AFP)

 

 

Everton ended a 22-year wait to win a Merseyside derby at Anfield as goals from Richarlison and Gylfi Sigurdsson earned a 2-0 victory that condemned Liverpool to a fourth consecutive Premier League defeat.

The Toffees had not won a derby on any ground in 23 previous meetings stretching back to 2010, but took full advantage of the English champions’ lost invincibility in front of empty stands.

Victory takes Carlo Ancelotti’s men level on points with their local rivals and with a game in hand to come in the battle for a top-four finish.

After a club-record 68-game unbeaten run at home in the league came to an end last month, Liverpool have now lost four consecutive home games for the first time since 1923.

 

Everton’s English midfielder Tom Davies (L) and Everton’s Colombian midfielder James Rodriguez (R) celebrate after the final whistle of the English Premier League football match between Liverpool and Everton at Anfield in Liverpool, north west England on February 20, 2021. – Everton beat Liverpool 2-0 to win a Merseyside derby for first time in 11 years. (Photo by PHIL NOBLE / POOL / AFP)

 

Jurgen Klopp’s men remain in sixth, three points off the Champions League places, and suffered another major injury blow when captain Jordan Henderson limped off midway through the first-half with a muscle problem.

The destiny of Liverpool’s title defence was irrevocably damaged by the loss of Virgil van Dijk to a knee ligament injury when the sides last met in October.

Van Dijk was in attendance as he continues his rehabilitation, but the gap he has left was exposed inside three minutes.

Season-ending injuries to Joe Gomez and Joel Matip have exacerbated the talismanic Dutchman’s absence, forcing Liverpool to recruit two new centre-backs on the final day of the January transfer market.

 

Liverpool’s German manager Jurgen Klopp reacts during the English Premier League football match between Liverpool and Everton at Anfield in Liverpool, north west England on February 20, 2021. (Photo by PHIL NOBLE / POOL / AFP)

 

Ben Davies has still to make his debut, while Ozan Kabak has made a far from promising start.

The Turkish international’s lack of pace was exposed in a 3-1 defeat to Leicester last weekend and he was again caught flat-footed when James Rodriguez released Richarlison in behind to fire confidently past Brazilian international teammate Alisson Becker.

Liverpool were furious at the lunge by Jordan Pickford that caused Van Dijk’s injury in the previous derby.

The England international has also received plenty of criticism for his performances this season but produced a stunning save to deny Henderson an equaliser from a dipping volley.

Moments later, Henderson, who has deputised at centre-back for the past three months rather than his normal midfield role, added to Liverpool’s long list of injuries as he pulled up.

Klopp could only produce a wry smile at the loss of his skipper, but was grateful to his under-fire goalkeeper to not be 2-0 down by half-time.

 

Everton’s Icelandic midfielder Gylfi Sigurdsson shoots from the penalty spot to score his team’s second goal during the English Premier League football match between Liverpool and Everton at Anfield in Liverpool, north west England on February 20, 2021. (Photo by LAURENCE GRIFFITHS / POOL / AFP)

 

Alisson made a string of errors with his feet leading to goals against Manchester City and Leicester, but showed why he is still regarded as one of the world’s best stoppers with a reflex save from Seamus Coleman’s header.

Liverpool responded at the start of the second-half by penning Everton back, but again the Reds cutting edge was missing at Anfield.

Other than Mohamed Salah’s penalty in a 4-1 defeat to City, Klopp’s men have failed to score in their last five home games.

Sadio Mane planted a header straight into Pickford’s arms before the Senegalese was denied by a desperate last-ditch challenge from Michael Keane.

Ancelotti introduced top scorer Dominic Calvert-Lewin for the final half-hour on his return from injury.

 

Liverpool’s Senegalese striker Sadio Mane (R) vies with Everton’s English striker Dominic Calvert-Lewin (L) and Everton’s English midfielder Ben Godfrey (C) during the English Premier League football match between Liverpool and Everton at Anfield in Liverpool, north west England on February 20, 2021. (Photo by Paul ELLIS / POOL / AFP)

 

And the gamble paid off on a rare counter-attack from the visitors as the England international was taken down by Trent Alexander-Arnold after Alisson had saved his first effort.

Sigurdsson kept his cool from the penalty spot to double Everton’s lead and sap any lasting belief from Liverpool of ending their losing streak.

 

Liverpool’s German manager Jurgen Klopp (R) consoles Liverpool’s Egyptian midfielder Mohamed Salah (L) after the English Premier League football match between Liverpool and Everton at Anfield in Liverpool, north west England on February 20, 2021. – Everton beat Liverpool 2-0 to win a Merseyside derby for first time in 11 years (Photo by Paul ELLIS / POOL / AFP)

 

Klopp ‘Full Of Energy’ To Meet Challenge Of Liverpool Slump

 

Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp insisted he still has the energy to turn around the English champions’ season after three consecutive defeats ended the Reds’ realistic chances of defending their Premier League title.

Klopp’s men turn their attention to the Champions League on Tuesday when they face RB Leipzig in the first leg of their last 16 tie.

Social media speculation after Liverpool’s 3-1 defeat to Leicester that Klopp could walk away was dismissed by the German, who thanked supporters who placed a banner reading “YNWA (You’ll Never Walk Alone) Jurgen” outside the club’s Anfield stadium on Sunday.

“I might not look like this, my beard gets more and more grey, but I am full of energy,” said Klopp at his pre-match press conference on Monday. “The situation is a challenge, an interesting challenge.

“We will sort it. We will sort it by playing football, by being even more together, by learning more than you can learn in each season we played before.”

It was reported last week that Klopp’s mother Elisabeth had died last month at the age of 81. Due to coronavirus restrictions, the Liverpool boss was not able to return to his native Germany for the funeral.

The same restrictions mean the match with Leipzig has been moved to Hungarian capital Budapest with Liverpool not offered an elite sport exemption from the German authorities.

“The last thing I want to do is talk about private things. Privately we had a tougher time. That is not just the last three weeks but a much longer time and we always deal with it as a family,” added Klopp.

“Thanks for all the support. I am very grateful for these type of things but nobody has to worry about me.”

At 20 years Klopp’s junior, Leipzig coach Julian Nagelsmann is seen as the heir to his crown as one of Europe’s best managers.

At just 33, Nagelsmann already has a wealth of experience having led Leipzig to the Champions League semi-finals last season, knocking out Tottenham and Atletico Madrid on the way.

The Germans got the better of Manchester United to reach the knockout stages this season and are Bayern Munich’s closest challengers in the Bundesliga.

“Julian is an extraordinary talent,” added Klopp. “He’s still young as a coach, but he’s already proven everything you can as a manager. He’s young, fresh but still experienced and serious.

“An outstanding manager and when we are all old, he will be even better.”

-AFP

Liverpool Coach Klopp Concedes Title Hopes Are Over After Leicester Loss

File photo: Liverpool’s German manager Jurgen Klopp addresses a press conference on the eve of the UEFA Champions League, last 16, second leg football match Bayern Munich v Liverpool in Munich, southern Germany, on March 13, 2019. Christof STACHE / AFP

 

Liverpool coach Jurgen Klopp has admitted the team’s title hopes are over after the Reds slumped 3-1 to Leicester in a Premier League clash on Saturday, their third consecutive loss.

Jurgen Klopp’s men could find themselves down in sixth by the time Chelsea and West Ham play winnable home games on Monday night.

“I don’t think we can close that gap this year, to be honest. We have to win football games and big parts of our football was today again really, really good. We have to do it consistently,” the German said after the match as posted on the club’s website.

“We have to avoid mistakes, we have to avoid misunderstandings. We cannot avoid mistakes of VAR or stuff like this, but all the rest that is in our hands we have to avoid.

“Today, in two situations we didn’t do that and that’s why they could score two goals. The rest of the football game is really good. Yes, if you win football games maybe you could score today more goals, but that’s the steps you have to make.

“First, you have to perform again; the result is always massively related to the performance. And we were today good enough to win the game for a long, long period in the game, but not until the end because of a couple of things.”

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The visitors felt Daniel Amartey should have been ruled offside for obstructing Alisson’s view, but a VAR review deemed the Ghanaian to be onside.

Alisson should have done better, in any case, to deal with Maddison’s shot and less than two minutes later he handed Leicester a second.

A long ball over the top should have been comfortably dealt with, but the onrushing goalkeeper got in Kabak’s way and the defender’s rushed clearance allowed Vardy to run the ball into an empty net.

Vardy, Maddison Compound Klopp’s Liverpool Woes

 

It is back to the drawing board for Jurgen Klopp’s Liverpool as they were humbled at the King power’s stadium with goals from Maddison, Vardy and Harvey Barnes in a space of six minutes.

The Reds who had been under pressure lately with a string of inconsistent results were hoping to put the nightmare display of Alisson against Manchester City behind them when they faced the Foxes.

Fabinho was amongst the latest absentees for the  Liverpool side with a muscle issue, while  20-year -old, Ozan Kabak, made his debut partnership in defence alongside Jordan Henderson

The defending champions were in early ascendancy but were unable to muster an effort at goal to trouble the Foxes.

Klopp was left to ponder his growing injury list as the game grew when  James Milner was substituted off in the 17th minute for Thiago Alcantara.

The first real opportunity of the match came for the Leicester side in the 42nd minute, when a Maddison ball found Vardy who could only see his effort clatter off the bar and travel wide.

The holders continued the second-half as they had started, maintaining their forward momentum and struck the cross-bar in the 57th minute from an Alexander-Arnold freekick.

The 67th minute saw the Liverpool side break the deadlock with Salah bending a fine strike into the top-left corner after receiving a delightful pass from the Brazilian Firmino.

King Power Stadium has not been a fortress for the Foxes this season and they were staring at a sixth straight home defeat, that is until Maddison 78th minute free-kick changed the complexion of the game.

Allison made matters worse for the visitors as a howler allowed Vardy to get the second and the rout was complete two minutes later as Barnes sent the Foxes into dreamland.

Liverpool next turn to the Champion League for some redemption on Tuesday when they do battle against German side RB Leipzig in the round of 16.

Klopp Unable To Attend Mother’s Funeral In Germany Due To COVID-19 Restrictions

Klopp Apologises For Wild Celebrations After 'Weird' Liverpool Winner
File photo: Liverpool’s German manager Jurgen Klopp is seen before kick off of the English Premier League football match between Liverpool and Everton at Anfield in Liverpool, north west England on December 2, 2018. Oli SCARFF / AFP

 

 

Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp has revealed his mother died last month and he is unable to travel from Britain to attend the funeral in Germany because of Covid-19 travel restrictions.

According to reports, Elisabeth Klopp died on January 19 at the age of 81. She was from Glatten in the Black Forest region,

“She meant everything to me. She was a real mum in the best sense of the word,” Klopp told local newspaper the Schwarzwaelder Bote.

“As a devout Christian, I know she is in a better place now,” he added.

READ ALSO: Prince Charles Receives First Dose Of COVID-19 Vaccine

Germany has introduced strict travel restrictions from countries such as Britain which have been hit by a new, more contagious variant of the coronavirus.

“The fact that I can’t be at the funeral is due to these terrible times,” said 53-year-old Klopp. “As soon as circumstances allow, we will hold a wonderful memorial service befitting her.”

On Wednesday, Liverpool’s official Twitter account offered condolences by posting the message “You’ll Never Walk Alone, Jurgen” accompanied by a photograph of Klopp and a heart.

AFP

Klopp Defends Allison After Disastrous Performance Against Man City

Liverpool’s Brazilian goalkeeper Alisson Becker reacts after conceding their third goal during the English Premier League football match between Liverpool and Manchester City at Anfield in Liverpool, north west England on February 7, 2021.
Jon Super / POOL / AFP

 

Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp has come to the defence of goalkeeper Alisson Becker after two crucial mistakes gifted the Manchester City side victory at Anfield.

Alisson was guilty of two misplaced passes in a space of three minutes which allowed Gundogan to grab a second goal after Mohammed Salah had restored parity from the penalty spot and then Raheem Sterling to make it 3-1.

”We made two massive mistakes, everyone saw them 3-1 down in a game that we were even for a long time and you’re really down, it’s tough to take and then there’s a genius situation where they scored the fourth goal,” Klopp said in a post-match interview.

 

Liverpool’s German manager Jurgen Klopp gestures on the touchline during the English Premier League football match between Liverpool and Manchester City at Anfield in Liverpool, north west England on February 7, 2021. Manchester City won the game 4-1.
Jon Super / POOL / AFP

 

The German though reluctant to speak on the Brazilian’s errors that cost his side the game blamed it on the shot-stopper having cold feet

”We can’t hide them (the Alisson mistakes), we don’t have to talk around it. It’s true as well. We didn’t give a lot of options, especially in the first goal. In the second goal he just mishit the ball,” he said

“There’s no real reason, maybe he had cold feet. It sounds funny but could be.”

While saddened by the match outcome, he insisted there were a lot of positives to take from the Reds’ performance.

”Really good football, I see in your eyes, you see it differently. I really liked it, we were playing really good football against City,” he said.

City’s 4-1 victory moves them to 50 points from 22 games played, five more than second-placed Manchester United who have played a game more.

The win ended a seventeen-year winless record at Anfield which saw Nicholas Anelka net a brace against the then Gérard  Houllier’s side.

Liverpool are now 10 points behind City in fourth spot and next face Leicester City as they hope to get back to winning ways.

Liverpool Face Must-Win Man City Test As Bottom Three Cut Adrift

Liverpool’s German manager Jurgen Klopp reacts during the English Premier League football match between Liverpool and Brighton and Hove Albion at Anfield in Liverpool, northwest England on February 3, 2021.
Clive Brunskill / POOL / AFP

 

 

Manchester City and Liverpool have dominated the Premier League over the past four seasons but a sizeable gap has opened up between the leaders and the champions ahead of their latest meeting on Sunday.

City are seven points clear of fourth-placed Liverpool, with a game in hand, and could kill off any hopes of a revival for Jurgen Klopp’s men with a first victory at Anfield for 18 years.

At the other end of the table, Sheffield United, West Brom and Fulham have been cut adrift and look destined for a return to the Championship.

But struggles for Liverpool, Chelsea, Tottenham and Arsenal have opened up the race for a Champions League place, with a host of other contenders aiming for a top-four finish.

Man City leave Liverpool trailing despite the vast sums invested and multiple trophies won since Shiekh Mansour’s takeover 13 years ago, Anfield has remained an unassailable fortress for the men in blue with City’s last victory there coming in 2003.

However, Liverpool’s invincibility at home has crumbled in recent weeks in front of empty stands.

After a club-record 68-game unbeaten run in the Premier League at Anfield, the Reds have suffered back-to-back 1-0 defeats to Burnley and Brighton.

Liverpool have not won any of their past four home games — and have not found the net there since late December.

Klopp admitted his side were suffering from mental and physical fatigue as an injury crisis in defence continues to have an impact on the rest of the team, with midfielders Fabinho and Jordan Henderson forced into deputising at centre-back.

Goalkeeper Alisson Becker, Fabinho and Sadio Mane all missed the Brighton defeat on Wednesday but could return for the daunting task of halting City’s 13-game winning run in all competitions.

Despite the absence of Kevin De Bruyne, City have found the kind of form that enabled them to pip Liverpool to the title by a single point in the 2018/19 season.

Pep Guardiola’s men have conceded just one goal in winning their past nine league games to storm three points clear at the top with a game in hand over second-placed Manchester United.

“At the end the aim is to be champion,” said Guardiola, looking ahead after easing past Burnley on Wednesday. “It is the same (three) points, but against a contender.”

Champions League dreamsLiverpool remain fourth for now despite their faltering form but just nine points separate them from Arsenal in 10th spot.

Sixth-placed Everton are six points behind Leicester, in third spot, but have two games in hand.

However, on Saturday, Carlo Ancelotti’s men travel to face a Manchester United side fresh from equalling the Premier League’s record winning margin, with a 9-0 demolition of nine-man Southampton.

West Ham can move above Liverpool when they visit Fulham, while Tottenham and Chelsea will be confident of bolstering their push for a top-four finish when they face struggling West Brom and Sheffield United respectively.

Arsenal desperately need to win at Aston Villa to keep their chances of a return to the Champions League next season alive.

Bottom three doomed?A bad week for Fulham and West Brom combined with recent wins for Burnley, Brighton, Newcastle, Wolves and Crystal Palace has opened up an eight-point gap between the bottom three and survival.

“It leaves us with a great gap to fill,” said West Brom boss Sam Allardyce after taking just one point from games against Fulham and Sheffield United.

The Blades are the only side in the relegation zone showing signs of life, with three wins in their past five games, but Chris Wilder’s men have given themselves a mountain to climb after picking up just two points from their opening 17 games.

All of the bottom three face tough fixtures this weekend, but failure to win could see the relegation dogfight peter out with a whimper.

Fixtures (all times GMT)

Saturday

Aston Villa v Arsenal (1230), Burnley v Brighton, Newcastle v Southampton (both 1500), Fulham v West Ham (1730), Manchester United v Everton (2000)

Sunday

Tottenham v West Brom (1200), Wolves v Leicester (1400), Liverpool v Man City (1630), Sheffield United v Chelsea (1915)

Monday

Leeds v Crystal Palace (2000)

‘We Are Not In The Title Race,’ Says Robertson

Photo Credit: Liverpool

 

Liverpool defender Andy Robertson has admitted Liverpool are way off the pace in challenging for the Premier League title this season.

Jurgen Klopp’s’men suffered yet another shock defeat at Anfield to 15th placed  Brighton on Wednesday night.

It was the first time the Reds have lost consecutive Premier League matches at home ending an almost impressive nine-year record.

Robertson disappointedly said in an interview ”As this moment stands, we’re not in the title race. We are seven points behind them and they have a game in hand.”

”I’m sure they’d say the same if they were potentially 10 points behind. We need to get back to the Liverpool everyone knows.”

The Scottish defender was full of praise for Brighton, who were disciplined at the back restricting Liverpool to one shot on target

”Brighton were the better team. We were hugely disappointing all over the park. You have to give the team credit for playing well. They created chances, pressed us – did everything we wanted to do,” he said.

He was also critical about their stale performance while calling on fellow team mates to step up.

 

Liverpool’s German manager Jurgen Klopp reacts during the English Premier League football match between Liverpool and Brighton and Hove Albion at Anfield in Liverpool, north west England on February 3, 2021.
Clive Brunskill / POOL / AFP

 

”We didn’t really do anything of note. With a long record of going unbeaten, we’ve lost two. When you don’t show up you don’t get results,” he stated.

”We prepare for every game differently. It’s just not clicking. We need to find a way to get results, especially at home.”

Meanwhile,  Klopp has cited mental fatigue as the cause for the slump in form

‘The Reds boss said ”We didn’t create a lot, for me the team looked tonight, fatigued, mentally fatigued and that leads to not the best play as well.”

”We were not fresh enough which means we were not good enough to break the formation of Brighton.”

While conceding to the slip up from his side, he made it clear that they will keep fighting for the points as they face Manchester City this weekend.

”We fight for three points, it is not decided who will get the three points on Sunday. We have to play better and we will try.”

 

Liverpool Expected To Boost Defensive Options On Transfer Deadline Day

Liverpool’s German manager Jurgen Klopp celebrates their victory on the pitch after the UEFA Champions League round of sixteen first leg football match between FC Porto and Liverpool at the Dragao stadium in Porto, Portugal on February 14, 2018. Liverpool won the game 5-0.
Francisco LEONG / AFP

 

Liverpool are expected to sign Ben Davies from Championship side Preston to ease their defensive crisis before a quiet January transfer window closes late on Monday.

The Premier League’s leading clubs have been unusually restrained this month, with the coronavirus and new Brexit rules dampening the market after a big summer spend.

The January window, which closes at 2300 GMT, is typically regarded as a seller’s market and often a time for stopgap measures but Liverpool have been forced to act.

The champions are missing all of their senior central defenders, with Virgil van Dijk, Joe Gomez and Joel Matip out of action. First-choice back-up Fabinho recently joined the injured list.

It us understood that Liverpool have agreed a fee with Preston for the 25-year-old Davies.

A medical was scheduled for Monday, with 19-year-old Dutchman Sepp van den Berg likely to head the other way on loan for the rest of the season.

READ ALSO: Liverpool Expected To Boost Defensive Options On Transfer Deadline Day

Liverpool are also reportedly interested in Marseille centre-back Duje Caleta-Car but the Ligue 1 side’s struggle to find a replacement at short notice could scupper any potential move.

Klopp, whose side are third in the Premier League table, admitted on Friday that no club would be prepared to sell him an “£80 million ($110 million) centre-back” in the final days of the transfer window.

“This calibre of player the teams would not sell them now,” he said. “We need to find the right player and one which suits our financial situation, that’s clear as well.”

– Alli to PSG? –

Uncertainty lingers over the future of Tottenham midfielder Dele Alli, who has been linked with a loan move to Paris Saint-Germain, now managed his former boss Mauricio Pochettino.

The England midfielder has been out of favour at Tottenham under Jose Mourinho, barely featuring in the Premier League this season.

Mourinho said last week he was not expecting Alli to depart but admitted “sometimes unexpected things can happen”.

Major moves involving “Big Six” Premier League clubs appear unlikely on Monday.

Among the few eye-catching deals that have taken place over the past month, Manchester United midfielder Jesse Lingard has joined West Ham on loan after slipping down the pecking order at Old Trafford.

Real Madrid midfielder Martin Odegaard has arrived at Arsenal, also on a loan deal, while Mesut Ozil made a much-anticipated exit from the club, joining Turkish giants Fenerbahce.

Aston Villa last week signed French midfielder Morgan Sanson from Marseille in a deal worth a reported £15.5 million.

Struggling West Brom have made three signings, including the loan capture of Galatasaray striker Mbaye Diagne.

And boss Sam Allardyce was quoted after Saturday’s 2-2 draw with fellow strugglers Fulham as expressing his desire to add to that before Monday’s deadline.

Tim Bridge of Deloitte’s Sports Business Group told the Press Association news agency that clubs were being cautious because of their straitened circumstances.

“I think this month more than ever feels as if clubs are taking a bit of a watching brief and are not currently willing to spend in the way they previously have done,” he said.

“That’s a reflection of the fact that all clubs have suffered a huge revenue loss, everybody’s aware of that, and I think clubs are slowly trying to understand what that means for their business models.

“So I think naturally there’s probably an element of consideration, of taking the time to understand exactly where the market’s at, and I would imagine people making the decisions at clubs at the minute are probably struggling to understand what represents true value.”

Liverpool Thrash Mourinho’s Spurs, Record First Win In Six League Games

Liverpool’s Senegalese striker Sadio Mane (L) celebrates scoring their third goal during the English Premier League football match between Tottenham Hotspur and Liverpool at Tottenham Hotspur Stadium in London, on January 28, 2021. Shaun Botterill / POOL / AFP

 

Senegalese forward Sadio Mane netted a goal on Thursday as Liverpool defeated Jose Mourinho’s Tottenham Hotspurs 1-3 to record their first win in the last six Premier League games. 

The English champions had not even scored in their last four league games, but Jurgen Klopp said he recognised his side again as their front three sparked back into life after Roberto Firmino ended a 492-minute goalless drought in first-half stoppage time.

Kane had soldiered on after twice receiving treatment on ankle knocks in the first-half and was eventually replaced at the break with Jose Mourinho predicting the England captain will be absent for at least a few weeks.

READ ALSO: Man Utd Title Hopes Hit By Sheffield United Defeat

“Two injuries in both ankles, the second one worst than the first one,” said Mourinho. “A few weeks, I don’t know for sure.

“There are some players you can’t replace. When it happens it happens, but I believe we have to fight against it, we cannot do anything else.”

Liverpool’s worst run in the league since 2017 had seen them slip from the top of the table to fifth before kick-off with Klopp admitting his first priority is now to secure Champions League qualification for next season.

But the German was delighted with the response from the Reds as they clicked back into gear, particularly after going in front.

“What I saw today it’s not about shape or form it’s about who we are. That was us, second half especially it was us,” said Klopp.

“Tonight we knocked a wall down – that’s good. It is easier to lose (confidence) that’s how it is, but it is possible to get it back as well. It is not a light you can switch on and off. You have to show it in the right moment.”

A return to the Champions League is also Spurs’ target in Mourinho’s first full season in charge, but Tottenham’s chances may now depend on how long Kane is sidelined.

Kane and Son Heung-min have been the most deadly duo in the Premier League this season and thought they had combined for the opening goal inside the first five minutes.

Son finished coolly from Kane’s through ball, but the South Korean had just strayed offside in the build-up and the goal was ruled out by a VAR review.

There were signs of life in Liverpool’s attacking play despite a 3-2 defeat to Manchester United in the FA Cup on Sunday and they created many more clear-cut chances than in recent weeks as Hugo Lloris twice denied Mane with excellent saves.

With Kane clearly hobbling, Tottenham were clinging on for half-time when Liverpool finally struck.

Sadio Mane got in behind and squared for Firmino to bundle in at the back post for his first goal in eight games.

Trent Alexander-Arnold’s drop off in form has been another major part of Liverpool’s regression from the side that romped to the title last season with 99 points.

However, the England right-back connected sweetly to drill in his side’s second after Lloris could only parry Mane’s initial effort into his path.

Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg’s brilliant strike from outside the box halved the deficit just two minutes later.

Liverpool, though, rarely looked troubled after Kane departed and could have won far more convincingly.

Mohamed Salah’s powerful strike was ruled out after a VAR review for a handball by Firmino earlier in the move.

But Mane restored the two-goal cushion when he pounced on an error from Joe Rodon to fire high past Lloris.

Victory takes Liverpool back above West Ham, who they face on Sunday, into fourth.

Tottenham’s early season form saw them being touted as contenders for a first top-flight title in 60 years ahead of their last clash with Liverpool last month.

Now a run of just two wins in eight games has plummeted Mourinho’s men down to sixth, four points adrift of the top four.

AFP

 

Bruno Fernandes’ Winner Sends Liverpool Out Of FA Cup

Bruno Fernandes has been a vital part of United’s recent fine form. Photo: [email protected] United FC.

 

Portuguese star Bruno Fernandes’ freekick was enough to send Manchester United to the next round of the FA Cup with a 3-2 win over rival Liverpool on Sunday.

Fernandes struck with 12 minutes left at Old Trafford to cap a thrilling clash that left Liverpool searching for answers after another painful defeat.

Jurgen Klopp’s side took the lead through Mohamed Salah’s first-half goal, but Mason Greenwood equalised before the interval.

Marcus Rashford put United in front after the break and, although Salah equalised, Portugal midfielder Fernandes came off the bench to fire his free-kick past Alisson Becker.

After slumping to fourth in the Premier League following Thursday’s shock 1-0 defeat against Burnley — their first league loss at Anfield since 2017 — Liverpool have to lick their wounds again.

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Liverpool, who trail leaders United by six points, have won only one of their last seven games in all competitions and that lone success came against Aston Villa’s youth team in the FA Cup third round.

Liverpool struck in the 18th minute when Roberto Firmino threaded a pass to Salah, who lifted his shot over Dean Henderson.

United levelled in the 26th minute when Rashford sent Greenwood clear for a low strike past Alisson Becker.

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s men netted again in the 48th minute as a mistake from Liverpool’s young defender Rhys Williams allowed Greenwood to race clear and score.

Firmino’s cross was converted by Salah for Liverpool’s 58th-minute equaliser, but Fernandes won it with his sublime set-piece after Fabinho fouled Edinson Cavani.

United will host West Ham in the fifth round as their momentum continues to build.

“You know when you go a goal down the reaction of everyone was really good. We played some really good stuff, good goals. We have to defend well against them and we managed to react well,” Solskjaer said.

Liverpool have never got past the fifth round in Klopp’s reign, but that will be the least of his concerns as he tries to spark a revival from his spluttering team.

“There was a lot of good things and some mistakes around the goals. If you want to win here you have to be absolutely top and we were not,” Klopp said.

– Relief for Lampard –
Lampard has been under the spotlight, but there was some relief for the Blues boss as Abraham’s finishing helped seal a 3-1 victory against Luton.

 

Chelsea’s English striker Tammy Abraham (2nd L) celebrates with teammates after scoring his third goal, Chelsea’s third during the English FA Cup fourth round football match between Chelsea and Luton Town at Stamford Bridge in London on January 24, 2021. DANIEL LEAL-OLIVAS / AFP

 

The England striker struck twice in the opening 17 minutes, first firing into the far corner before heading home from close range for his 10th goal of the season.

However, it was not all plain sailing for Lampard’s men as goalkeeper Kepa Arrizabalaga was at fault for another sloppy goal, while Timo Werner’s lack of confidence will not have been helped by missing a penalty.

Jordan Clark’s low shot crept past Kepa’s woeful attempted save to give Luton a lifeline and the world’s most expensive ‘keeper had to make a much more difficult stop to deny Harry Cornick an equaliser in the second half.

A brilliant team move finally killed the tie off 16 minutes from time as substitute Callum Hudson-Odoi crossed for Abraham to tap home from point-blank range.

Werner had a chance to score just his second goal in 16 games when he was tripped by Clark, but his dreadful spell continued as his tame penalty was saved by Simon Sluga.

With Chelsea now well off the pace in the Premier League and facing a tough last-16 tie against La Liga leaders Atletico Madrid in the Champions League, the FA Cup may prove Lampard’s best chance of saving his job by winning a trophy.

A trip to Barnsley in the fifth round awaits early next month should the former England midfielder steady the ship in the league to remain in charge until then.

Leicester won 3-1 at second-tier Brentford to set up a home tie against Brighton.

Burnley beat Fulham 3-0 at Craven Cottage and play Bournemouth or Crawley in the last 16.

AFP

Liverpool Vs Man United: Three Key Battles In Sunday’s EPL Showdown

A photo combination of Mo Salah and Bruno Fernandes.

 

When Liverpool and Manchester United clash at Anfield on Sunday, there will be more at stake than just the usual bragging rights.

The bitter rivals are engaged in a battle for the Premier League title, with leaders United sitting three points clear of second-placed Liverpool.

AFP Sport takes a closer look at three duels that will define the vital showdown:

Jordan Henderson v Bruno Fernandes

Bruno Fernandes has played a major role in transforming Manchester United from also-rans to title contenders.

Widely credited with reviving United with his fierce will to win and positive attitude, as well as his classy performances, the Portugal playmaker’s next mission is to stamp his authority on the biggest game of his time with Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s side.

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Fernandes, signed from Sporting Lisbon last January, will head to Anfield as the first star to win the Premier League Player of the Month award four times in a calendar year after earning the prize for December.

Overall, he has 15 goals and nine assists in all competitions this term, making it 27 goals and 17 assists in 48 United appearances.

No wonder Liverpool boss Jurgen Klopp is a huge admirer and will task Reds captain Jordan Henderson with subduing the midfielder on Sunday.

“He’s an outstanding player. Before he joined United, we played against Sporting in the USA on the tour and in that game already you could see, ‘Wow!’,” Klopp said.

“He is settled, he is a very influential player for United obviously, involved in a lot of things. So, yeah, a good signing, unfortunately, for United.”

Mohamed Salah v Eric Bailly

With 17 goals in all competitions this season, Mohamed Salah will pose the biggest threat to United, but the Egypt forward can expect a stern challenge from the revitalised Eric Bailly.

Bailly has struggled for form and fitness throughout his United career, but the Ivory Coast centre-back has been key to their winning streak.

In six games with Bailly in the team, United have won five and drawn once, conceding just three goals.

Harry Maguire looks more comfortable alongside Bailly, whose out-going personality kept his team-mates relaxed during their difficult periods earlier this season.

United manager Solskjaer could also revert to the three-man central defence he has deployed against Liverpool in the past.

Salah, Sadio Mane and Roberto Firmino are a formidable test for United’s rearguard, although they have gone through a barren patch of late, with Liverpool netting only once in their last three league games.

Fabinho v Marcus Rashford

Ravaged by injuries to his top centre-backs, Klopp will be forced to deploy Brazil midfielder Fabinho as a makeshift defender once again.

Virgil van Dijk and Joe Gomez are long-term absentees, while Joel Matip has spent the last week battling to return from the adductor injury the last three games.

Matip has returned to training but if he is not deemed ready then Klopp will have to choose between youngsters Rhys Williams and Nat Phillips to partner Fabinho.

That puts the onus on Fabinho to maintain his solid form at the position, but it won’t be easy against a lively United attack led by Marcus Rashford.

Rashford and Anthony Martial have the pace and poise to hurt Liverpool, while Edinson Cavani’s experience and physical presence make him an intriguing option.

“We know that we can beat anyone, anywhere on any given day, so to go into a game like this feeling that if we play to our best we can win is a good feeling,” Solskjaer said.

“It’s a test and reality check of where we’re really at because we’ve won many, many tight games, scored a few goals in injury time, showed that mentality.”

AFP