Firmino Stars As Liverpool Beat Tottenham

Liverpool’s Brazilian midfielder Roberto Firmino (2L) shoots but sees his shot saved during the English Premier League football match against Tottenham Hotspur at Tottenham Hotspur Stadium in London, on January 11, 2020. Glyn KIRK / AFP

 

 

Liverpool continued their relentless march towards a first Premier League title in 30 years as Roberto Firmino’s strike earned a 1-0 win at Tottenham to open up a 16-point lead at the top of the table.

Jurgen Klopp’s men have now made the best ever start to an English top-flight campaign after 21 games with 61 points from a possible 63.

There is now a 31-point gap between the sides that contested last season’s Champions League final as Spurs remain in eighth, nine points adrift of even the top four.

However, Tottenham had their chances to take at least a point as Son Heung-min and Giovani Lo Celso missed the target with the goal gaping in the final 15 minutes.

Lo Celso’s miss left Jose Mourinho on his knees in anguish and the honeymoon period for the Tottenham manager is already over after just two wins in their last eight games in all competitions.

Mourinho sprang a huge surprise with his team selection as Japhet Tanganga was handed his Premier League debut in defence.

The 20-year-old was forced into action straight away as he blocked Firmino’s goalbound effort before Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain struck the post inside four minutes.

Spurs will be without Harry Kane for most of the remainder of the season after the England captain underwent surgery on a torn hamstring.

Mourinho responded to Kane’s absence by utilising Lucas Moura and Dele Alli in attack as he sat back and hoped to catch the European champions on the break.

Spurs did have openings which could have changed the course of the game early on as both Lucas and Son fired wide from the edge of the box.

However, it was largely one-way traffic before half-time as Liverpool controlled the game and waited patiently for Spurs’ fragile defence to break.

Tottenham have kept just one clean sheet in 13 games since Mourinho took charge and their luck ran out eight minutes before half-time as Tanganga’s inexperience showed as he tried to intercept Mohamed Salah’s pass into Firmino and the Brazilian fired across Paulo Gazzaniga into the far corner.

Salah could have put the game to bed before the break, but pulled his shot wide.

Mourinho’s men showed more ambition in the second period and should have reaped some reward.

Serge Aurier forced Alisson Becker into action before Son’s deflected shot trickled just wide.

At the other end, Gazzaniga kept the home side in the game with a brilliant save low to his left from Sadio Mane’s downward header.

The Argentine’s heroics nearly proved crucial as firstly Son had a huge chance to level when played in by Lucas, but the South Korean uncharacteristically blasted over the bar.

Liverpool were let off the hook again seven minutes from time when Lo Celso was perfectly picked out by Aurier’s cross and seemed to do everything right as he slid in to connect, only to see the ball fly wide and Mourinho fall to the floor in despair.

AFP

Klopp Insists He Never Lost Faith In Firmino

Liverpool’s German manager Jurgen Klopp (R) embraces Liverpool’s Brazilian midfielder Roberto Firmino (L) as they celebrate on the pitch after the English Premier League football match between Leicester City and Liverpool at King Power Stadium in Leicester, central England on December 26, 2019. Liverpool won the game 4-0. Oli SCARFF / AFP

 

Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp insisted he had never lost faith in Roberto Firmino when the Brazilian was worried by a lack of goals before scoring four in three matches including the Club World Cup final.

Firmino, known affectionately to Klopp as Bobby, met with Klopp after a worrying run of one goal in 16 appearances.

But the German told Firmino he was in the side for more than just his goals, since when he’s been on a spree.

FHe followed up his goals in the semi-final and final of the Club World Cup with a Boxing Day double in the Premier League leaders’ 4-0 rout of nearest challengers Leicester City.

Firmino’s goals against the Foxes led to an embrace with Klopp on the touchline at Leicester’s King Power Stadium.

“Journalists told me he hadn’t scored for a while, but the thing about Bobby is that I don’t think about scoring,” Klopp explained.

“I think about how important he is, so we had a little talk and I told him. For the first time he was a little bit concerned about that fact (he had not scored in so many games), and I told him I was not interested in that number.

“He is the connector for our team, he is so important for us. He is the only one who can play the position, and he plays the position in a very special way.

“He doesn’t have to come (for a hug) with every goal, but this time we had a little thing where, after being calm enough to leave him on the pitch in games that I never thought about (his lack of goals), he thought he would say thank you.”

Liverpool, bidding to be crowned English champions for the first time in 30 years, are 13 points clear at the top after thrashing Leicester.

They have now extended their unbeaten run in the Premier League to 35 matches, with Liverpool’s last loss in the top flight a 2-1 defeat by Manchester City on January 3.

AFP

Firmino Strikes Late To Take Liverpool Into Club World Cup Final

Liverpool’s Brazilian midfielder Roberto Firmino celebrates his winning goal against Mexico’s Monterrey at the Khalifa International Stadium in the Qatari capital Doha on December 18, 2019.
KARIM JAAFAR / AFP

 

Roberto Firmino came off the bench to score a stoppage-time winner as a below-par Liverpool edged out Mexican side Monterrey 2-1 at the Club World Cup in Doha on Wednesday and set up a final against Flamengo.

The game had started very well for Jurgen Klopp’s team, with Naby Keita firing them into an early lead, to the delight of almost everyone in the crowd at the Khalifa International Stadium.

However, Monterrey quickly drew level through Argentine striker Rogelio Funes Mori and the most recent winners of the CONCACAF Champions League matched the Reds for long spells.

But then, just as the game moved into the first of three added minutes, and with extra time looming, Firmino popped up to turn a Trent Alexander-Arnold cross into the net from close range and take the Anfield side through.

Having taken time out from their seemingly relentless march towards the Premier League title to come to Qatar, Liverpool will be relieved at coming through this test, and they remain on course to win this competition for the first time in their history.

The victory came despite Klopp being without centre-back Virgil van Dijk due to illness, the Dutchman having previously played in every game this season apart from in the League Cup.

Sadio Mane started on the bench along with Firmino and Alexander-Arnold, with Klopp handing starts to the likes of Adam Lallana, Xherdan Shaqiri and Divock Origi.

Any suggestions Liverpool were not taking this match completely seriously were nevertheless dismissed as they got off to a flying start and were rewarded with the opening goal in the 12th minute.

Mohamed Salah left the crowd gasping as he produced a stunning pass to release Keita, the midfielder running into the box and lashing a first-time shot past goalkeeper Marcelo Barovero and into the net.

However, Monterrey’s response was swift, as they drew level within two minutes of that.

Jesus Gallardo’s shot was saved low down by Alisson, but Funes Mori — the brother of former Everton defender Ramiro — was on hand to convert the rebound.

The game plan pays off

The Mexicans grew in confidence after that, with captain Dorlan Pabon, the Colombian international forward, producing one goalbound piledriver that forced a fine save out of Alisson.

The Liverpool goalkeeper also got a vital touch to a Pabon cross with Funes Mori ready to pounce at the near post.

Salah, meanwhile, was being very tightly marked, although Keita came close to a second goal with Barovero diving at his feet following Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain’s through ball.

Alisson again denied Pabon early in the second half as he came up with another fine stop from a free-kick, and he was also needed to turn a curling Funes Mori shot around the post midway through the second half.

It was then that Klopp sent on Mane in place of Shaqiri, and soon afterward it was Alexander-Arnold who entered the fray in place of James Milner. Firmino then came on for Origi five minutes from the end of normal time.

Clearly determined to avoid a draining extra half hour, Klopp’s game plan paid off as Firmino pounced in the 91st minute.

Monterrey will not become the first Mexican club to reach the final of this event, and Liverpool will now be favourites to finish a fabulous year with another trophy.

AFP

Champions League Final: Firmino Fit For Liverpool’s Clash Against Tottenham

Firmino Suffers Injury After Liverpool's Five-Goal Rout
Liverpool’s Brazilian midfielder Roberto Firmino controls the ball during the UEFA Champions League round of sixteen-second leg football match between Liverpool and FC Porto at Anfield in Liverpool, north-west England on March 6, 2018. PAUL ELLIS / AFP

 

Liverpool striker Roberto Firmino is on course to be fit for the Champions League final against Tottenham after returning to training during the club’s break in Marbella.

Firmino missed Liverpool’s last three Premier League matches due to a thigh injury.

But the Brazil international was able to take part in the first session of the squad’s pre-final training camp on Tuesday, putting him in the running to face Tottenham in Madrid on June 1.

Firmino was the first player to arrive on the south coast of Spain for some individual sessions with strength and rehabilitation staff.

READ ALSO: Ghana Captain Gyan Backtracks On Retirement After Presidential Plea

Having fallen just short in the Premier League title race, Jurgen Klopp’s 26-man group are spending six days in Marbella before returning to England to finalise preparations for their attempt to win Liverpool’s sixth European Cup.

“Roberto Firmino today trained alongside his teammates following a muscle strain that ruled him out of Liverpool’s last three matches,” a statement on Liverpool’s website revealed.

“The Brazilian took part in the Reds’ first session of their Marbella training camp on Tuesday morning as he works his way back to full fitness.

“Firmino has been working with the club’s medical staff on his rehabilitation from the issue and his reintroduction into full team training will be carefully managed under their supervision, with specialised programmes planned over the coming days.”

Also included in Liverpool’s group is Guinea midfielder Naby Keita, who continues his rehabilitation from a serious groin problem suffered almost three weeks ago.

AFP

Firmino Suffers Injury During Training

Firmino Suffers Injury After Liverpool's Five-Goal Rout
(FILE) Liverpool’s Brazilian midfielder Roberto Firmino controls the ball during a football match in Liverpool, north-west England on March 6, 2018. PAUL ELLIS / AFP

 

Jurgen Klopp revealed Roberto Firmino has suffered a torn groin muscle after Liverpool powered back to the top of the Premier League with a 5-0 rout of Huddersfield on Friday.

Firmino’s injury, sustained in training this week, is bad news for Liverpool as they battle with Manchester City in the title race and prepare to face Barcelona in the Champions League semi-final first leg on Wednesday.

Liverpool boss Klopp remains optimistic about the Brazilian forward’s chances of a quick recovery, but the injury update took some of the gloss off an evening which featured Naby Keita scoring after just 15 seconds for the club’s fastest ever Premier League goal.

READ ALSO: Guardiola Targets History As City’s Treble Chase Heats Up

“He trained normally yesterday but after training he had a small tear in a very small muscle,” Klopp said.

“Apart from the word ‘tear’ everything is positive but it is Bobby and he might be ready for Wednesday. We don’t know at the moment. Because it’s him, it’s more likely than not.

“Of all the bad news you could get, it is pretty much the best (outcome) but it was still bad enough that he could not play tonight.”

Despite the relatively benign diagnosis, Klopp can ill afford to enter such a crucial stage of the season without a full compliment of players.

With Sadio Mane and Mohamed Salah also netting twice, it was a comfortable evening for Liverpool on the pitch as they moved two points above Manchester City, who travel to Burnley on Sunday.

The latest victory took Liverpool onto 91 points — enough to have won the league title in 105 of the previous 119 seasons in English football history.

Yet with City still having the destiny of the title in their hands, the prospect remains that Liverpool could end the campaign with 97 points and only finish second.

“If we can have 97, then let’s go for it, then we will see,” Klopp said.

“It’s still history. We said we want to create our own history and these boys are outstanding. That’s the reason we are where we are, now let’s carry on.”

– Rampant Reds –

Even without Firmino, Liverpool had more than enough to sweep aside relegated Huddersfield, with Salah and Mane becoming the first Premier League strikers this season to reach the 20-goal mark, reaching 21 and 20 goals, respectively.

It was Keita who started the rout with the first of those goals as goalkeeper Jonas Lossl played a harmless pass out of the Huddersfield area to Jon Gorenc Stankovic, who was immediately closed down by Keita and robbed of the ball.

The midfielder quickly exchanged passes with Salah and advanced into the area before scoring with an accomplished 15-yard finish.

On 23 minutes, the lead was predictably doubled as full-back Andy Robertson appeared on the end of a patient move to cross for Mane to split his markers and head in.

And, in first-half stoppage-time, Klopp’s side struck again when right-back Trent Alexander-Arnold’s magnificently-weighted pass was met by Salah, who lobbed the ball over the advancing goalkeeper’s head.

Mane added a fourth, on 65 minutes, as he headed in impressively, off-balance from six yards, from another excellent cross, this one from Jordan Henderson.

A successful evening continued as Klopp was able to bring on Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain, out for 12 months with knee ligament injury, as a 73rd minute substitute.

The England international came close to scoring within minutes and fellow sub Xherdan Shaqiri almost set up a hat-trick for Mane whose header hit the post.

Shaqiri also started the move for the 83rd minute fifth goal, finding Robertson whose deadly cross was turned in from point-blank range by Salah.

AFP

Liverpool Fightback At Burnley To Maintain Unbeaten Start

Liverpool’s Brazilian forward Roberto Firmino (L) vies for the ball with Paris Saint-Germain’s Italian midfielder Marco Verratti during the UEFA Champions League Group C football match between Paris Saint-Germain (PSG) and Liverpool FC at the Parc des Princes stadium, in Paris, on November 28, 2018.
FRANCK FIFE / AFP

 

Roberto Firmino came off the bench to score with his first touch as Liverpool came from behind to maintain their unbeaten Premier League start on Wednesday after Jurgen Klopp’s decision to ring the changes almost backfired.

Two goals in the space of seven minutes midway through the second-half sealed a hard-fought 3-1 win at struggling Burnley after Jack Cork’s 54th-minute effort had given the hosts an unexpected lead against a side they’ve now beaten just once in the last 12 attempts spanning 44 years.

It means Liverpool remain second, cutting Manchester City’s advantage at the summit to two points with a 12th victory of the campaign, and in the process posting the club’s best start to a top-flight season after 15 games.

They were pushed all the way by a Burnley side now anchored in the relegation zone after an eighth game without victory.

A totally different outcome looked possible when Cork pounced from close range after keeper Alisson twice failed to gather the ball after confusion in the Liverpool box from a Johann Berg Gudmundsson corner.

The lead lasted just eight minutes before James Milner levelled with a cool 20-yard finish into the bottom corner from an inviting Divok Origi lay-off.

Klopp immediately threw on Mo Salah and Firmino in a bid to seal victory which was rewarded in the 69th minute when Firmino guided the ball into an unguarded net after Virgil van Dijk redirected a Trent Alexander-Arnold free-kick across the face of goal.

Liverpool’s German head coach utilised his squad to make seven changes from the side that clinched a dramatic stoppage-time Merseyside derby victory over Everton.

Skipper Jordan Henderson returned from suspension for his 300th career league appearance as the Reds started a game without any of Salah, Sadio Mane or Firmino for the first time in more than 18 months.

After midfielder Ashley Westwood fired over early on, Burnley had to settle for shots from distance in an attempt to find a way past Alisson, with Chris Wood and Phil Bardsley both going close from long range.

The hosts had the ball in the net as half-time approached, but Ashley Barnes’ fine first-time 18-yard volley into the top corner from Robbie Brady’s free-kick was correctly ruled offside.

Liverpool started the second-half with greater purpose, and Daniel Sturridge forced a good save from Hart with a powerful effort from the edge of the area which was destined for the bottom corner.

Burnley’s former England keeper further excelled when he managed to fingertip a fierce Naby Keita effort onto a post and out for a corner after the Liverpool midfielder burst past Ashley Westwood.

The hosts responded with their best spell of the game as the hour mark approached, and a 300th league game in management for Burnley’s Sean Dyche’s looked like being a fruitful one after Cork pounced for his third goal of the season.

That was until Milner’s leveller changed the complexion of the game, and Klopp quickly called on his cavalry to provide the desired result.

Alisson redeemed himself in stoppage time with a great save from Mee’s header before launching the move that led to Liverpool’s third goal when Xherdan Shaqiri swept home a Salah-inspired move to leave the Clarets only off the bottom only on goal difference after taking two points from the last possible 24.

Firmino Targets End To Goal Drought As Liverpool Face Leicester

Firmino Targets End To Goal Drought As Liverpool Face Leicester

 

Roberto Firmino will seek to end a rare goal drought when Liverpool take on Leicester although his manager Jurgen Klopp has no concerns about a drop-off in productivity.

The Brazil international has formed one of the most feared forward lines in European football over the past 12 months with Mohamed Salah and Sadio Mane.

And the 26-year-old, signed for £29 million ($38 million) from Hoffenheim three years ago, has continued his excellent form in Liverpool’s 100 per cent start to the campaign — three victories and three clean sheets in as many games.

Yet despite scoring 27 times for last season, Firmino is still looking for his first goal of the new campaign even though Liverpool are the early Premier League pacesetters.

The forward has not scored in eight games for Klopp’s side and in the Premier League has one goal in his past 10 appearances, a run that dates back to March.

But Firmino’s selfless running has been singled out as one of the reasons Salah looks capable of continuing the prodigious production of last season, when he scored 44 times for Klopp in all competitions.

The Liverpool boss says there is no sense of a World Cup hangover for Firmino, whose Brazil side exited the tournament at the quarter-final stage.

“He had two weeks pre-season, which is quite short for a player who needs his physical fitness as much as Roberto does but I’m completely happy,” said Klopp.

“After two weeks’ preparation and a Brazilian holiday he is much sharper and fitter than I would have expected. It is exactly how it should be in this moment and he can improve, like we all can improve.”

Along with his mobility, Firmino’s eye for a killer pass has not been dulled by his exertions in Russia.

His superbly timed pass against Brighton last week played in Salah, who scored the game’s only goal as Liverpool moved to the top of the Premier League table for the first time in nearly two years.

Klopp has stressed that Liverpool need to improve despite the 1-0 win, and the German must decide whether to name an unchanged starting line-up for the fourth consecutive game at the King Power Stadium on Saturday.

Central defender Dejan Lovren, a World Cup finalist, is pushing for a return, although the impressive form of youngster Joe Gomez may mean that the Croatian faces another afternoon on the bench at Leicester.

With Liverpool’s front three selecting themselves, Klopp has to decide on his midfield line-up — England’s Jordan Henderson has been unable to secure a starting place so far.

Liverpool’s defence, boosted by the arrival of Brazilian keeper Alisson, has yet to concede and has the added advantage of not having to face Jamie Vardy, who announced his retirement from the England national team this week, due to suspension.

AFP

Firmino Agrees To New Liverpool Deal

FILE PHOTO Liverpool’s Brazilian midfielder Roberto Firmino controls the ball during the UEFA Champions League round of sixteen-second leg football match between Liverpool and FC Porto at Anfield in Liverpool, north-west England. PAUL ELLIS / AFP

 

Roberto Firmino has agreed to terms on a new “long-term contract” with Liverpool, the English Premier League club announced Sunday.

Liverpool chiefs did not specify the precise length of the Brazil forward’s latest deal but his decision is a boost ahead of next week’s Champions League semi-final second leg away to Roma, where the Reds will kick off 5-2 up with Firmino having scored two goals in their stunning first-leg win at Anfield.

“It was an easy decision,” Firmino told Liverpool’s website. “The club have taken me in in an incredible way and I’ve grown a lot here with my work with the support of the whole team. I am very, very happy here.”

According to the Football Leaks website, Firmino had a 98 million euro buyout clause in his previous contract, although such has been the recent inflation in transfer fees that may not have been enough to deter one of world football’s major clubs from bidding for him.

The 26-year-old joined Liverpool from German side Hoffenheim before the start of the 2015/16 season and has since scored 50 goals in 140 appearances for the five-times European champions.

The current campaign has been his best yet for the Merseyside club, with 27 goals in 50 fixtures.

Firmino has become a firm favourite with Liverpool supporters as a member of a gifted three-man forward line also featuring Mohamed Salah and Sadio Mane.

“Everything fits in the best possible way,” Firmino added. “My team-mates are fantastic and I am very grateful to be able to play with them at this club.

“I love to play for Liverpool FC. The fans are excellent and fantastic in how they support us all the way. They support us throughout the games and the work they do during the match is beautiful.”

AFP

Firmino Erases Liverpool’s In Champions League

Liverpool’s Brazilian midfielder Roberto Firmino controls the ball during the UEFA Champions League round of sixteen second leg football match between Liverpool and FC Porto at Anfield in Liverpool, north-west England on March 6, 2018.
PAUL ELLIS / AFP

 

Roberto Firmino says Liverpool fear nobody in the Champions League and would welcome a clash against a fellow Premier League club in the quarter-finals.  

Jurgen Klopp’s side were the first English team to book their spot in the last eight with a goalless draw at home to Porto on Tuesday, giving them a 5-0 aggregate win.

Pep Guardiola’s Manchester City are also through but Tottenham are out after defeat to Italian champions Juventus on Wednesday.

Manchester United, who host Liverpool in the Premier League on Saturday, and Chelsea both play their second-leg matches next week.

The Champions League quarter-final draw on March 16 is open, meaning no teams are seeded and clubs from the same national association can be drawn against each other.

“Yes, we’d like a draw against an English club. Why not?” said Brazil international Firmino, who has 22 goals this season and is part of a devastating front three at Anfield alongside Mohamed Salah and Sadio Mane.

“We have shown in the past few seasons we can beat all the English clubs. Our record is good against them.

“We feel we have played well against the top English clubs and shown we can beat them but we are not afraid of anyone in the draw.”

Firmino, 26, is set to feature for Brazil at the World Cup in Russia but said first he is focusing on winning his first trophy with Liverpool.

“I want to be part of it and am I happy to be part of the squad but that is a long away ahead,” he said.

“The season is not over, I have my objectives with Liverpool and I want to concentrate on them. If I can do well, then that will be important for my position in the (national team) squad.”

AFP

 

Manchester City Fined £35,000 By English FA

Manchester CityManchester City have been fined £35,000 by the English Football Association.

City were penalised for their players’ behaviour during the 1-1 draw with Liverpool on March 19.

The club admitted to a misconduct charge for failing to ensure that their players conduct themselves in an orderly fashion.

It followed an incident “in or around the 50th minute”, when referee Michael Oliver awarded Liverpool a penalty.

James Milner scored from the spot, with Sergio Aguero equalising on 69 minutes.

Both Gael Clichy, who was penalised for a raised boot on Roberto Firmino, and David Silva were booked after Oliver pointed to the spot.

Liverpool Retain League Unbeaten Home Record

Liverpool, Stoke City, LeagueLiverpool have maintained their unbeaten home record with a convincing 4-1 victory over Stoke City.

They also closed the gap on Premier League leaders Chelsea to six points and moved to second on the league table on Tuesday night at the Anfield Stadium.

Following a disjointed start, Jon Walters headed home at his near post to give Stoke an early lead.

However, the Reds responded positively with Adam Lallana and Roberto Firmino scoring to secure the lead over their visitors before the end of the first half.

Giannelli Imbula subsequently directed Divock Origi’s cross into his own net just as Daniel Sturridge netted the fourth with his first league goal of the season.

Mane’s Late Strike Earns Liverpool Derby Win

sadio-maneSadio Mane struck a stoppage-time goal to claim victory for Liverpool in the Merseyside derby on Monday night.

In a frenetic first half at Goodison Park, dominated by an industrious home side, Ramires Funes Mori had the best chance, steering a free header wide from an Everton corner.

After the break Liverpool went into the ascendancy, with Roberto Firmino denied when through on goal by Maarten Stekelenburg, who later went off injured.

Funes Mori had another headed chance but directed it straight at Simon Mignolet, while Stekelenburg’s replacement, Joel Robles, saved well from Firmino’s late volley.

The winner came in the fourth minute of stoppage time when Mane reacted fastest to Daniel Sturridge’s shot hitting a post.

The result moves Liverpool to second, six points behind Chelsea while Everton are ninth.

Everton manager, Ronald Koeman told BBC Sport: “We are really disappointed to concede in extra time. The eight minutes killed us.

“We have to wait to see about Maarten Stekelenburg’s injury – we will know more tomorrow – and James McCarthy has a hamstring injury.

“I know exactly how fast Sadio Mane is, he reacted so well. We did not deserve to concede this goal.

“Maybe Ross Barkley was lucky, it was a hard tackle.”

Liverpool manager, Jurgen Klopp told BBC Sport: “I don’t agree it was a poor first half. Maybe not the best football – you have to adapt to Everton’s wild game. A game like this you have to interrupt their rhythm with passing.

“In the second half it was clear they couldn’t do the same. We were better, we didn’t give one chance away I think.

“The goal was not the hardest shot from Sturridge, but hard enough. It was a wonderful feeling.

“I don’t like the flares too much. I’m a little bit scared about this. It was a long, long stoppage time. We gave them no chance.”