A joyous ride to the brink of immortality – now what next for Liverpool?

ThisIsAnfield.com - Mon, 07/04/2022 - 18:00
With Liverpool on the cusp of starting another season, it is worth remembering the remarkable 63-game journey that took the Reds to the precipice of greatness.

Two games from absolute immortality.

Liverpool played every single game available to them in 2021/22, and in the process took us on a journey we will never forget.

Now that the dust has settled, it is important to take stock and realise just how fortunate we were to witness a campaign that featured three finals and a title race that went all the way to the very last second.

Cautious optimism in the autumn

 Liverpool supporters applaud the team after the FA Premier League match between Liverpool FC and Burnley FC at Anfield. Liverpool won 2-0. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

It feels like another lifetime, but it is worth remembering that the beginning of the season also marked the return of full-capacity football stadia. Norwich away was one big party, where friendly faces reunited and matchday routines passed down generations were resumed.

Burnley at home followed and with it came the first full Anfield in 528 days, in what was the least subdued 12.30pm atmosphere the place has ever seen.

Football was back, routines were back, and with six points from six; the Reds were back.

An almost flawless September (barring dropped points on the road at Brentford) was preceded by a titanic battle at home to Man City. Only seven games into the season, it felt like there were already palpable title ramifications.

Despite going ahead twice, a point felt satisfactory enough given the onslaught of second-half pressure from the champions.

If you’re still in need of consoling having seen the Reds go so agonisingly close to an unprecedented quadruple, cast your mind back to October 24.

Old Trafford hasn’t been a happy hunting ground in the 21st century, but for 90 minutes the Reds turned it into their training ground in a 5-0 thumping that flattered Man United more than it did Liverpool.

 Liverpool's Mohamed Salah celebrates after scoring the fifth goal, completing his hat-trick, during the FA Premier League match between Manchester United FC and Liverpool FC at Old Trafford. Liverpool won 5-0. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

Amongst all this, Liverpool cruised into the knockout stages of the Champions League from what had been dubbed the ‘group of death’, amassing a maximum of 18 points and becoming the first English side in history to do so.

There were some great wins throughout, but Nat Phillips performed a Cruyff turn inside his own box at the San Siro and, quite frankly, that’s the only part you need to concern yourself with.

There were a few dropped points towards the end of the calendar year, including the only defeats of the league season at Leicester and West Ham, but December did also include golden moments such as Divock Origi’s last gasp winner at Molineux and a 4-1 thrashing of our neighbours across Stanley Park.

League & FA Cup adventures

 Liverpool's captain Jordan Henderson and his team-mates celebrate with the trophy after the FA Cup Final between Chelsea FC and Liverpool FC at Wembley Stadium. The game ended in a goal-less draw, Liverpool won 6-5 on penalties. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

The domestic cups were ultimately the foundation upon which the overall success was built, and provided some of the most entertaining nights of the campaign, even in the early stages.

Leicester, at home, in the League Cup remains a highlight, when a dramatic late equaliser from Takumi Minamino was rounded off with a 5-4 win in the shootout.

Arsenal away also very much warrants a mention, after a Diogo Jota double prompted the birth of his new song and a carnival atmosphere in the 5,000-strong away end.

It’s been a long time coming, but Liverpool were very much the Wembley wizards once more.

Three successful visits yielded the first domestic cup double in over two decades, the first of which was one of the most scintillating 0-0 draws you could wish to see.

Two shootouts, two cups in the cabinet, Caoimhin Kelleher and Alisson the heroes.

An excruciating finale

 Liverpool's captain Jordan Henderson looks dejected after the FA Premier League match between Liverpool FC and Wolverhampton Wanderers FC at Anfield. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

After the festive period, the Reds hit the pedal and never looked back.

A total 16 league wins from the last 18 evoked memories of the relentless form that saw Liverpool capture their 19th league title two years earlier, closing what once seemed an insurmountable gap on City.

Of course, the inescapable truth is that it didn’t quite have the fairy-tale conclusion it deserved. The big two pots eluded us in agonising fashion.

Having closed the gap from 14 points, we went into Wolves at home on the last day of the league season with hope rather than expectation.

What unfolded in the second half was a whirlwind 45 minutes of emotions probably unsafe for the human body to experience in such a short window.

It’s not an exaggeration to say I was struggling for breath at stages.

When Philippe Coutinho netted to put Steven Gerrard’s Aston Villa 2-0 up with 20 minutes of the season to play, Liverpool were on the brink of the unthinkable whilst still needing a goal themselves.

As someone who’s chosen not to watch the goals back from the Etihad, I’m unable to pass comment on what happened between the 76th and 81st minute, but it left Liverpool heartbreakingly short on the final day once again.

An inspired fightback from January nonetheless.

 Liverpool's Fabio Henrique Tavares 'Fabinho' looks dejected at the final whistle during the UEFA Champions League Final game between Liverpool FC and Real Madrid CF at the Stade de France. Real Madrid won 1-0. (Photo by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

Paris was an equally painful experience but for a whole host of different reasons. On the pitch, the Reds fell victim to a career performance from Thibaut Courtois and a lack of spark redolent of an exhausting 63-game season.

Off the pitch, a cloud was thrown over the entire event by shambolic events caused by those employed to keep the public safe.

The result stung, and still leaves a nasty taste after the incredible road we’d been on to get there, but it paled into significance compared with events off the pitch.

We remain optimistic that those responsible will be held to account, and that no set of supporters (Liverpool or otherwise) will have to experience that at a final again.

What next?

Onto next season then. What would represent a good 2022/23 for the Reds?

There’s a variety of long-winded avenues you could go down with this, and certainly a conversation to be had around the two big pots.

The short answer for me though: to have as much fun as we did last season.

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Barcelona’s Salah enquiry & ‘trippy’ away kit leaked – Latest Liverpool FC News

ThisIsAnfield.com - Mon, 07/04/2022 - 17:18

Mohamed Salah is said to have been the subject of an enquiry from Barcelona during his Liverpool contract talks, while the club’s new away kit for 2022/23 has seemingly been leaked.

Sorry Barca, he’s ours!

Three days after Salah committed his long-term future to Liverpool with a new three-year contract, news of one club who were interested in taking him away from Anfield has emerged.

Writing in The Athletic this morning, James Pearce claims that Barcelona “were one of several top European clubs” who made contact with Salah’s agent Ramy Abbas Issa about his contract situation at Liverpool.

That should come as no surprise, given Barcelona have been linked with every forward under the sun in the last 12 months.

Pearce also states that Liverpool have been impressed with Salah’s attitude throughout the negotiations, including his conduct around the club’s young players, with Harvey Elliott “taken under his wing” over the past year.

He goes on to add that “senior Anfield figures” have also made clear that they would have tried to extend Sadio Mane‘s deal this summer, had he not decided to move on in favour of a new challenge.

There is also a line that claims Salah “has established a close friendship” with Liverpool’s all-time leading goalscorer Ian Rush, who played a role in persuading him to extend his contract. Now that’s a friendship that will bring a smile to your face.

Mo is staying exactly where he belongs.

3 things today: Two kit leaks and pre-season begins!

??? OK, this one is going to be ????????… https://t.co/5LQdBdK4Go

— This Is Anfield (@thisisanfield) July 4, 2022

  • Liverpool’s new away kit appears to have been leaked online and it’s certainly going to split opinion! Which camp are you in?
  • Elsewhere, all three of the new goalkeeper jerseys appear to have been revealed, with a new yellow shirt conflicting with previous information.
  • Pre-season is here! Preparations for 2022/23 are officially underway and these are the seven things we spotted on day one, including three new faces.
Latest Liverpool FC news

  • Man United “left Liverpool to Darwin Nunez” because of their faith in Cristiano Ronaldo, who now wants to leave the club, according to reports. We’re saying nothing!
  • Former Liverpool wonderkid Ben Woodburn officially has a new club, penning a deal with Championship side Preston North End following a successful trial period.
  • There was a surprise inclusion for 18-year-old left-back Luke Chambers as the first-team began pre-season at the AXA Training Centre. The next to break through from the academy?
Latest transfer chat

 Manchester United's Cristiano Ronaldo looks dejected as his side are thrashed 5-0 during the FA Premier League match between Manchester United FC and Liverpool FC at Old Trafford. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

 Manchester United's Cristiano Ronaldo looks dejected as his side are thrashed 5-0 during the FA Premier League match between Manchester United FC and Liverpool FC at Old Trafford. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)
  • Tottenham‘s Steven Bergwijn looks set for a move back to the Netherlands, with Ajax striking a deal to sign him over the weekend.
Tweet of the day

Luis Diaz is still rocking the blonde haircut and you just know he’s going to do crazy things on the football pitch this season.

The hard work starts here.

? @LuisFDiaz19 pic.twitter.com/MJgbUxKVay

— Liverpool FC (@LFC) July 4, 2022

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7 things spotted as Liverpool return for pre-season – including 3 new faces

ThisIsAnfield.com - Mon, 07/04/2022 - 17:04

The Reds are back! For the start of pre-season, that is, and it was a day full of tests after their well-deserved summer break.

The return of Jurgen Klopp‘s squad to the AXA Training Centre sees the new season draw ever closer, with focus now able to shift to what is to come in the weeks ahead.

A total of 19 senior players made their return 37 days after the last competitive outing and 33 days before their next, at Fulham in their opening Premier League game.

Lacklustre English weather greeted the players upon their arrival, which is so very typical, but there was energy and smiles aplenty as players and staff were reunited.

Here are seven things we spotted from the first day of pre-season!

Lijnders is raring to go!

Back in business ?#LFCPreSeason pic.twitter.com/ajiVHT9QYs

— Liverpool FC (@LFC) July 4, 2022

There is a reason Klopp said Pep Lijnders “is a real energiser” and we saw it early on as the assistant manager started his day bellowing from the upper level of the training centre to those down below.

“Back in business,” were the words said with assertiveness and a big smile. Borrowing the manager’s words…”this man is on fire!”

New boys make their start

It was a big day for Calvin Ramsay and Fabio Carvalho as they met some of their teammates for the first time and kickstarted their Liverpool careers.

We saw our new No. 28 receive a kind welcome from Andreas Kornmayer, head of fitness and conditioning, and physio Chris Morgan, while Ramsay was shoulder to shoulder with Luis Diaz on the fitness bikes – not a bad way to start!

The backpack from Carvalho really is giving us the first day of school vibes, hopefully, he didn’t forget his lunch!

Speaking of new faces

 Liverpool's Luke Chambers during the English Football League Trophy match between Rochdale AFC and Liverpool FC Under-21's at Spotland Stadium. Rochdale won 4-0. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

 Liverpool's Luke Chambers during the English Football League Trophy match between Rochdale AFC and Liverpool FC Under-21's at Spotland Stadium. Rochdale won 4-0. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

Luke Chambers, fresh from his under-19 Euro triumph with England, was straight back into the fold as he underwent testing, despite only having last played competitively on Friday.

The young defender was namechecked by Lijnders back in January as a player Liverpool hoped to cast their eye over in pre-season and he may just get his wish!

One of a few new kids on the block during the first day!

Fresh and energetic Diaz

The hard work starts here.

? @LuisFDiaz19 pic.twitter.com/MJgbUxKVay

— Liverpool FC (@LFC) July 4, 2022

And talking about Diaz, it’s a new look for the No. 23 thanks to a fresh trim over the summer, but the energy was all the same from the Colombian.

Buzzing around the gym, Diaz looks ready to hit the ground running in his first pre-season with the club, and that’s a scary thought considering what he was capable of having just been thrown straight into the team during the winter!

Gordon in the mix

Reunited and ready to go again?#LFCPreSeason pic.twitter.com/s6SCz0BMeP

— Liverpool FC (@LFC) July 4, 2022

Last season was a memorable one for Gordon having used the pre-season as a springboard for four senior appearances and a maiden goal for the club.

Injuries curtailed his year but he’s to be back in the mix this summer and there will be plenty of enthusiasm over what he could conjure up, but without any added pressure seeing as though he is still only 17.

Split into groups

With 19 senior players making their return on the first day and tests to complete, they were split up into groups.

The likes of Jordan Henderson, James Milner, Joel Matip, Joe Gomez, Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain, Cavalho, Ramsay, Harvey Elliott and Diaz were part of the first group.

Meanwhile, Ben Davies, Nat Phillips, Gordon, Chambers, Caoimhin Kelleher and Adrian were part of another as players filtered in throughout the day.

And lots of tests!

The lactate test was not on the cards on Monday, but there were plenty of alternatives for the players as their baseline measurements were taken after their break.

From vertical height tests to aerobic performance, the players got friendly with sensors and all things physical testing – and it certainly had Oxlade-Chamberlain sweating, among others!

One part of the job we’re not particularly jealous of…

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Liverpool can reverse ‘Bundesliga tax’ with shrewd £36m transfer policy already working for FSG

Liverpool.com - Mon, 07/04/2022 - 17:00

Football may have existed for more than 150 years, but new phrases are constantly finding their way into the sporting parlance. In recent years, ‘Bundesliga tax’ has risen to prominence: the idea that a player signed from the German top flight can be expected to drop off in the Premier League.

It is not hard to see why the idea has taken root. Chelsea’s big transfer for Timo Werner is perhaps the biggest offender. Liverpool, who had been in the running, instead signed Diogo Jota from Wolves — considered a far more underwhelming signing, he has been significantly more successful than his German counterpart.

Nor is Werner the only horror story. Jadon Sancho, another one in whom FSG held legitimate interest at one time or another, has endured a very tough start to life at Manchester United. He has time to rectify this — Kai Havertz has started to come good at Chelsea after a slow debut campaign — but it is hard to deny the pattern.

READ MORE:Five things to watch as Liverpool pre-season begins including Darwin Núñez and Luis Díaz changes

READ MORE:Liverpool may have pre-season transfer plan as Jürgen Klopp gets chance to scout three players

Even looking beyond Premier League shores, there are prominent examples. Luka Jović is one of Real Madrid’s biggest transfer failings in recent times, having looked world-class at Eintracht Frankfurt. They won’t see much of that £56m back.

What’s the explanation? Perhaps, at least in part, it has simply taken top clubs too long to wise up to the fact that the Bundesliga has been on a decline in recent seasons. With Bayern Munich winning all the time anyway, it can be hard to gauge overall league quality, but recent woes in the Champions League are a good indicator. Germany have fallen from second in the UEFA coefficient in 2016/17 down to fourth today.

Indeed, Liverpool were arguably one of the earliest casualties. Naby Keïta, the player who seemed as though he had it all, struggled to live up to his price tag upon arrival at Anfield. He was one of the first major data points to suggest that elite performance in the Bundesliga should come with an asterisk.

But when looking at the rest of the ‘Bundesliga tax’ list, there is a clear pattern. Almost all of the offending players are forwards. This is where the phenomenon is about more than league quality: it is about league style. The typically high lines of the German top flight present strikers with plenty of chances, allowing them to pad their goal and assist numbers. This ultimately complicates the transition to other leagues.

However, there is a necessary corollary of this effect, and FSG seem to have discovered it. If pacey forwards are being made to look good by the nature of the Bundesliga, centre-backs are having to work doubly hard. Playing in high lines, with quick strikers constantly looking to penetrate, any defender who is impressing in Germany is actually more equipped than most to make the transition to a top team abroad.

After all, nobody plays an aggressive high line quite like Liverpool. The Bundesliga is the ideal proving ground for anyone hoping to slot into Jürgen Klopp’s defence. In activating Ibrahima Konaté’s £36m release clause, FSG showed they have cottoned on to this truth.

By the end of his debut season, Konaté looked as though he had been in the Premier League for years. He has even begun to oust Joël Matip — himself a veteran of the Bundesliga. While their rivals are toiling with the dreaded tax, Liverpool have flipped it on its head.

This could inform future transfer decisions. The defence needs very little work for the time being, but a departure for Joe Gomez could see Liverpool dip into the market again, and it would be no surprise to see them target the Bundesliga. Even Jude Bellingham arguably falls within the same FSG logic — while midfielders do not invert the ‘tax’ in quite the same way as defenders, they nonetheless evade the worst effects.

With everyone else struggling to come to terms with the mystery, Liverpool have cracked the Bundesliga tax.

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Liverpool can find hidden transfer gem in location that already paid dividends for Jürgen Klopp

Liverpool.com - Mon, 07/04/2022 - 15:00

It is a new era for Liverpool's attack. Not only has club icon Sadio Mané left for pastures new, but his departure has been compounded by another two Liverpool attackers.

Takumi Minamino has opted to leave the club for AS Monaco, meanwhile Divock Origi will be leaving for AC Milan upon the expiry of his contract. The trio who made 49 goal contributions combined for Liverpool last season, meaning their collective contributions will be sorely missed.

In their place arrives a new type of number nine in Darwin Núñez. The towering forward is different to the types of attacker Jürgen Klopp has had at his disposal and the fact that Liverpool have bucked previous trends could be an indication of an evolution of sorts in the Reds' attack.

READ MORE:Five things to watch as Liverpool pre-season begins including Darwin Núñez and Luis Díaz changes

READ MORE:Liverpool may have pre-season transfer plan as Jürgen Klopp gets chance to scout three players

Given the departure of not one but three Liverpool forwards, in the long-term, that evolution likely won't end with Núñez alone. Liverpool will need to replace Takumi Mimanino's and Divock Origi's contributions sooner or later, too, especially with Roberto Firmino and Mohamed Salah both now in their 30s, and to do so the club could turn towards the same academy that developed Origi.

KRC Genk are renowned for developing elite talent. As well as Origi, the likes of Kevin de Bruyne, Thibaut Courtois and another former Liverpool forward in Christian Benteke all developed at the Belgian club.

Now the club's academy could be about to bring through another young talent in 19-year-old András Németh. Last season, the youngster scored the fastest debut goal in the Belgian Pro League's history when he netted against Beerschot just seconds after being substituted on in the last few minutes of the game.

Németh followed that up with another winner against Gent after coming off the bench meaning he scored a total of two goals in just 28 minutes and five cameos for Genk's first team last season. That's a remarkable rate or proficiency and the teenager is expected to feature regularly for the club's first team last season, especially after scoring four goals and registering two assists in his club's first two pre-season matches so far this summer.

A pacey forward with the physical attributes to suit Premier League football, Németh also finished joint second top-goalscorer in the U21 European Championship qualifiers scoring seven times in nine appearances for his country.

With an innate understanding of finding pockets of space inside the box, and the ability to put goals away from anywhere on the pitch, Németh has all the tools to go far in the game. In his brief foray into the first team at Genk, he has already demonstrated exciting potential and this season could be his breakout campaign.

Liverpool's previous experience with Genk academy graduates through the likes of Origi and Benteke has been fairly positive. Little needs to be said about the status of the former, but even the latter made 16 goal contributions in a single season at Liverpool averaging 0.65 goals and assists per 90 before being sold for roughly the same price the Reds bought him for.

Németh could be the next in line. With his pace and finishing ability as well as boisterous energy on the pitch, he is a player who could thrive at Anfield and continue the attacking evolution underway at the club. One good season at Genk could alert the club's attention and he is well worth keeping an eye on.

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Julian Ward still has four Liverpool tasks to complete this summer after Mohamed Salah agreement

Liverpool.com - Mon, 07/04/2022 - 13:00

The hard part of Julian Ward's summer is over. With a little less than two months still to go in the summer transfer window, Ward has already delivered for Liverpool.

The club's new sporting director may have broken Liverpool's transfer record, brought in three exciting players under the age of 23, and negotiated pivotal departures from the Liverpool first team squad, but his most important piece of business has been on the contract front.

Securing the future of Mohamed Salah until 2025 has ensured Liverpool will head into the 2022/23 campaign unperturbed by persisting rumours surrounding the Egyptian's future. With everything settled, the Reds can concentrate on the mission ahead.

READ MORE:Five things to watch as Liverpool pre-season begins including Darwin Núñez and Luis Díaz changes

READ MORE:Liverpool may have pre-season transfer plan as Jürgen Klopp gets chance to scout three players

But while Ward may be done on the arrivals front. His work is still far from over and he still has a few important deals to negotiate.

One will be Neco Williams. The Liverpool right-back enjoyed a fruitful loan spell in the Championship with Fulham and Liverpool want a fee in the region of £15m for the academy graduate whose services are no longer required in the first team. Nottingham Forest and Fulham are interested, but Ward still needs to do some convincing to get them to cough up the full amount desired for Williams.

Elsewhere at the back, Williams is not the only defender who still needs to have his future resolved.

Nat Phillips and Ben Davies are both players who are surplus to requirements in Jürgen Klopp's squad and from whom Ward will hope to recoup a significant chunk of Liverpool expenditure this summer.

Phillips in particular caught the eye in the Championship last season, and Liverpool will be confident of getting a similar fee for the centre-back as they hope to get for Williams. Davies' case is a little more complex, but Ward will still want to make a profit on the club's £2.25m investment from last January even if it had not reaped any rewards thus far.

At centre-back, Ward will also need to find another destination for Sepp van den Berg. The Dutch U21 international has attracted a plethora of interest from the Premier League and elsewhere in Europe after an impressive Championship campaign, and he will hoping to catch Klopp's eye in pre-season. But ultimately, he will need another loan in order to continue his development and play regular football at senior level.

Ward has been prolific already this summer in terms of sanctioning loan deals for the club's academy stars, and he will be confident about finding the right environment for Van den Berg to thrive, too, with the Dutchman needing a new challenge to test himself.

This is undoubtedly where Liverpool's sporting director's attention will fall in the coming weeks. But with still so much time left in the window, it will be interesting to see what his next step will be when the future of the aforementioned quartet is resolved. For now, only those who possess a crystal ball with a glimpse into the future will know.

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Liverpool’s 2022-23 Schedule Deep Dive: The Middle (Part 2)

LFC Globe - Mon, 07/04/2022 - 09:45

Earlier, we broke down the beginning of Liverpool’s -23 schedule. It is key for the Reds to get off to a great start if they want to stay one of the EPL’s top teams. Of course, we can’t say for certain where Liverpool will be in the table after the first 3rd of the season. 

The hope is that they will be in the mix for the top 4 and not far off the top of the table. They will certainly try their best, they’ll try everything they can. 

Now, we’re going to move onto the middle part of the schedule, starting in late October through until late January. Out of the 38 season matches, these are the 5 most notable matches from the second part of the 2022/23 season.

The Middle Alex Pantling/Getty Images

In every previous Premier League season, the middle of the season is dictated by the onslaught of games leading up to Christmas. The old cliche is that most teams either make or break their season in the run-up to the Holidays. While that window is still important in the 2022-23 season, it is important for a whole other reason.

The 2022 has been moved from its traditional spot at the height of summer in the Northern Hemisphere. It will now be played from the middle of November until the middle of December, causing a pause in every major football league in the world. But, everything will be just fine. 

The small country of Qatar is hosting the event and since it is a desert country, holding the World Cup during the summer would be impossible. Temperatures can reach well over 40ºC (~104ºF) in the summer months and heat that intense is potentially deadly. 

So, instead of having a jam-packed schedule from November through the Christmas period, Liverpool will have about 6 weeks off. This has never happened before. For some players it will be a welcomed break but, for Liverpool’s best players they will be giving it all for their home countries. 

This gap in the schedule will have a massive ripple effect on the rest of the season. It just takes some time to see what those effects will be. 

Match 1 - Nottingham Forest - October 22nd - Away at City Ground - Nottinghamshire DENNIS/AFP via Getty Images

This will be Liverpool’s first match against Nottingham Forest in the Premier League since 1999. Forest were one of the powerhouse teams in England for years and are one of the most respected old clubs in all of the English football pyramid. Liverpool vs. Nottingham Forest had their fair share of run-ins in the past, most notably over 3 years between 1977 and 1980.  

It is also worth noting that Forest were the opponents at Hillsborough on that fateful day in April of 1989, often referred to as the Hillsborough disaster.  Nottingham Forest and their supporters are forever linked to Liverpool by witnessing the crash that killed 97 Liverpool supporters on the 15th of April 1989.

The Liverpool vs. Forest rivalry was the best in all of football for a short period in the late 70s and early 80s. Nottingham Forest were a world power under flamboyant manager, Brain Clough. The Reds were guided at the time by no-nonsense manager Bob Paisley. 

The two teams battled it out 13 times over 3 years in the old First Division and domestic and European cup competitions. There is a lot of history between the clubs and this match should not be missed by those who have a reverence for football’s past.

Match 2 - Southampton - November 12th - Home at Anfield - Liverpool Clive Rose/Getty Images

Ordinarily, a mid-November match against wouldn’t be all that newsworthy at this point of the season. This is the last match before the much anticipated World Cup break. 

Normally, the 2nd week of November would be the beginning of the holiday fixture list heating up. Instead, the whole thing is going to be put on hold for 6 weeks. Obviously, this will be the last time the Anfield faithful will get to see the Reds before Christmas. 

Liverpool took all 6 points from the Saints last season, , including a 4-0 pounding at Anfield on the 27th of November. The hope is that they will continue their dominance over Southampton and go into the World Cup break on a high note.

It’s worth noting that after this match, Liverpool won’t play the return fixture of this match in Southampton until the very last day of the season. More on that in part 3 of this schedule breakdown…

Match 3 - Aston Villa - December 26th - Away at Villa Park - Birmingham Ryan Pierse/Getty Images

So, hopefully, by Boxing Day, England will have recovered from winning the 2022 World Cup and it will be ready for a huge match to start the Premier League back up. Liverpool visit good old and to get their season going after the World Cup break. 

Both teams are two of the absolute titans of English football and this will be a must-see match. The EPL schedule makers knew what they were doing with this one, and it will be the biggest game on arguably the biggest day on the domestic football calendar. 

It will be interesting to see what kind of team fields in this match. This will certainly be determined by how deep teams like England, Brazil, Egypt, and now Uruguay, go in the World Cup. Players like , , Alison, , Mo Salah, and will all be in contention to represent those clubs. 

Villa at Villa Park is always a big match and Stevie G will be keen to show out versus the club where he is still beloved. The Reds did beat Villa both times they played in the Premier League last year but both matches were close. This match isn’t a traditional derby or even one of Liverpool’s fiercest rivals. But on Boxing Day, it will feel like both of those things. 

Match 4 - Chelsea - January 21st - Away at Stamford Bridge - West London ADRIAN DENNIS/AFP via Getty Images

This isn’t the first match for Liverpool in the Premier League for the calendar year 2023 but, it will be the biggest one to that point. It won’t be the first match against either. The Reds will have already played the Blues at Anfield back in September. 

Who knows what will have transpired in that match but, this match, similar to a match with , is against one of the only other teams in realistic contention for the Premier League title. Chelsea are in a massive state of flux after their forced sale at the end of last year. However, they are still in that very top tier of EPL teams. 

We will very much know what Liverpool are capable of by this point in the schedule. Chelsea and Liverpool drew both of their meetings in 2021/22. A 1-1 affair at Anfield in August of 2021 and a 2-2 meeting at the Bridge in the first match of the calendar year 2022 in January. 

Like the City matches, one has to wonder if the Reds had been able to win just one of those matches against the Blues, could it have been enough to lift the Premier League trophy? Some of these draws against the elite teams must start turning into wins if they want to win it all. 

Match 5 - Everton - February 11th - Home at Anfield - Liverpool Marc Atkins/Getty Images

Look, it’s the Derby, again! In the beginning part of our look at the schedule, we had and the Merseyside Derby as one of the biggest matches of the season. The second meeting is no less important in the hearts and minds of anyone from Liverpool or supporters of either side. 

In fact, for the Reds, it means more because it’s the lone home match in the season of a rivalry that goes back to 1894. You could say that these derby matches mean more to anyone from the city of Liverpool than any other match on the calendar.

Liverpool vs. Everton is one of the biggest rivalries in English football, but it is also one of the most hyped matches in the North American market. Specifically in the United States, where there is huge Liverpool support and because of the number of American players that have played for Everton over the years. 

The folks over at NBC have turned the Merseyside Derby into two of the biggest games of the season on the American soccer calendar. That should be a feather in the cap of both clubs. 

The End of the Middle, Is the Beginning of The End

By February of 2023, the world might be a very different place. But one thing is all but certain, Liverpool will be in the hunt for trophies. At this point in the schedule the League Cup will be winding down and the gearing up. 

Hopefully, Liverpool will also be making noise in the again. Going deep in those competitions, along with maintaining Premier League excellence will be a challenge for everyone at the club.

Mathematically, you could argue that we aren’t quite at the 2/3rd point of the season yet. You’d be right but, the second Merseyside Derby feels like a natural point to stop for now. 

Definitively, we’ve looked at the middle of the 2022/23 season. It will be dominated by huge matches and the World Cup break. Look for more coverage of that, and the effect that it will have on the Premier League and Liverpool, in the coming months. And also look for Part 3: The End, coming later this week. 

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Liverpool and Man City now share common concern as £85m spending spree will impact Jürgen Klopp

Liverpool.com - Mon, 07/04/2022 - 05:00

For three of the past four seasons, Liverpool and Manchester City have been the Premier League’s top two. On two occasions, both teams have broken the 90-point barrier.

When Thomas Tuchel’s Chelsea won the Champions League in 2020, it seemed that they might be the team to finally break the Jürgen Klopp/Pep Guardiola stranglehold.

Up until the late autumn, the Blues were looking imperious. But then they progressively fell away, eventually finishing a whopping 18 points behind the top two.

READ MORE: Cristiano Ronaldo has just paid Liverpool a compliment as Jürgen Klopp enjoys transfer advantage

READ MORE:Liverpool have avoided catastrophic Barcelona error with genius Mohamed Salah contract move

It’s too early to say whether they’ll be able to muster a challenge this time around. They’ve yet to make any new signings, with the headlines at Stamford Bridge dominated by the embarrassing departure of Romelu Lukaku and the free transfer exits of Antonio Rüdiger, one of the best centre-backs in the Premier League, and the impressive Andreas Christensen.

But one club who have been very active is Tottenham Hotspur. On Friday, Spurs announced the £60m signing of Richarlison from Everton, their third major addition after the summer after the free signing of Ivan Perišić and a £25m swoop for Yves Bissouma. Could they potentially pose a threat?

Spurs finished fourth last season but they were actually the third best side in the division in the 27 games after Antonio Conte replaced Nuno. In that time, they picked up 56 points, with City amassing 73 and Liverpool 70.

They scored 60 goals, only five fewer than the Reds, and shipped just 24, only four more than City.

Clearly, it’s still a significant gap to make up, but Conte is renowned for his ability to turn teams around quickly when given appropriate backing.

He arrived at Chelsea after what was, at the time, the worst title defence in Premier League history. They had finished 10th in the table and, while that wasn’t a true reflection of their quality, their 93-point triumph in 2016/17 was still mightily impressive.

This came after they spent £120m on the likes of N’Golo Kanté, David Luiz and Marcos Alonso.

Two years later, Conte took over an Inter side that had finished fourth in back-to-back campaigns and established them as contenders. They ended Juventus’ dominance in his second season in charge, having added around £185m worth of talent. Lukaku, Achraf Hakimi and Nicolò Barella were all key pieces of the title-winning side.

This is, admittedly, a challenge on a different scale. This time, he’s competing with two of the all-time great teams, and we must be wary of overestimating pretenders as many did last season. But Conte is one of the best managers in the world, and there’s perhaps no manager, outside Merseyside and Manchester, more likely to pull it off.

The business so far has been excellent. Bissouma, Pierre-Emile Højbjerg and Rodrigo Bentancur form an enviable group of midfielders with complimentary attributes, while Richarlison offers elite-level depth behind Harry Kane and Son Heung-min.

And they’re not done yet. If Conte can add an elite left-centre back to a back three that already includes the magnificent Cristian Romero, then Spurs could potentially be as watertight as the top two.

Perišić, the left wing-back at Inter in 2020/21, should offer Conte exactly what he wants, and £15m target Djed Spence may tick the key boxes on the other side.

We know how crucial wing-backs are to Conte’s system, and so it’s worth stressing that his options last season all had their limitations. He’ll feel like this is truly his team.

Liverpool and Manchester City have already seen the potential of the Conte project first-hand. Perfectly-executed game plans earned the Lilywhites a victory at the Etihad and a draw at Anfield.

Conte’s approach against the strongest opponents is clearly effective, but the test is whether he can hoover up the points against the rest of the league in the same remarkably consistent manner as Klopp and Guardiola.

Spurs will hope that the upgrades they have made, and continue to make, will mean they can eradicate the kind of slip-ups that dogged them in last season’s top four race.

Whether they’re a dark horse themselves or they simply pose one of the toughest tests in the division, Spurs will almost definitely be a factor in next season’s title race.

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Liverpool have avoided catastrophic Barcelona error with genius Mohamed Salah contract move

Liverpool.com - Mon, 07/04/2022 - 03:00

When the news finally came through, the news that all Liverpool fans wanted to hear, the sense of jubilation could be felt far and wide via videos, pictures and comments on social media platforms.

Mohamed Salah is set to stay at Liverpool for another three years.

It’s what fans, not to mention Liverpool players and Jürgen Klopp himself, have all wanted for some time: one of the best in the world committing to the club for what will be the peak of his career.

READ MORE:Cristiano Ronaldo has just paid Liverpool a compliment as Jürgen Klopp enjoys transfer advantage

READ MORE: Neymar and PSG have just proven Liverpool and FSG right again with 'flashy' transfer era over

His extension secures Liverpool’s status as one of the best teams in the world and makes them a strong contender to win the Premier League and Champions League next season.

But it doesn’t come without a risk of warning.

Salah, by most accounts, signed his extension to the tune of some £350,000-per-week to remain at the club. However, it’s also reported that the deal is also incentive-laden, so the figure is not a guaranteed sum.

Yet even still, the Egyptian is by far and away the best-paid player at the club, ahead of the likes of Virgil van Dijk and Thiago Alcântara.

And that could set a bad precedence for the future.

We’ve seen before what happens when one player earns substantially more than the rest of the squad, and the financial implications involved. Barcelona’s current predicament, while entirely of their own making through illogical mega-money signings such as Philippe Coutinho, Antoine Griezmann and Ousmane Dembélé, wasn’t helped by their outrageously monstrous wage bill.

Lionel Messi’s last contract was in excess of £100m per-year, and while few would genuinely argue that he didn’t deserve it (within the deranged football bubble, at least), the knock-on effect was that other, less talented players in the squad, demanded a significant bump, which Barca obliged.

It got to a point where the Catalans had the likes of Gerard Pique, Jordi Alba and Sergio Busquets on colossal amounts of money per-season. All three have been terrific servants for the club, but the money they were earning combined totalled over £25m-a-season. According to a report, Busquets in 2021-22 earned £20m (gross), despite their financial difficulty. Lunacy.

Liverpool need to look at Barca’s downfall and not make the same mistakes. However this is unlikely to happen, thanks to one simple but genius step: Salah’s contract, of course, was the last big one to be renewed. Virgil van Dijk, Alisson Becker, Jordan Henderson and Fabinho have all extended over the last year or more, and therefore won't be renegotiating again soon.

This leaves the chances of other players within the squad asking for significant raises at close to zero. Moreover, the fact that Salah’s bumper new deal is based more on goals, appearances and trophies and not a fixed-rate means that should he perform and Liverpool win honours, they’ll be able to afford his contract without overextending themselves.

This is the key difference between the club’s approach and Barca’s reckless one of the 2010s, and why there is little prospect of the club heading down the same path as the Spanish giants, who likely could’ve afforded Salah at one point — but not anymore.

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Cristiano Ronaldo has just paid Liverpool a compliment as Jürgen Klopp enjoys transfer advantage

Liverpool.com - Mon, 07/04/2022 - 01:00

As pre-season training gets underway, Liverpool’s arch-rivals Manchester United have been rocked by the news that their biggest star, Cristiano Ronaldo, wants to leave the club.

Ronaldo is said to be concerned that United will be unable to compete for the biggest trophies this season. Aged 37, he wants to have a realistic chance of winning league and Champions League titles as he approaches the end of his career.

According to The Athletic, the number seven is desperate for the Red Devils to ‘match his ambition by strengthening the squad’ and may well have grown ‘frustrated at a perceived slow start to the window’.

READ MORE:Neymar and PSG have just proven Liverpool and FSG right again with 'flashy' transfer era over

READ MORE: Liverpool 'schedule private talks' for '£20m transfer' as Naby Keïta 'rejects contract offer'

He’s seen the reigning champions, Manchester City, sign Erling Haaland and close in on a deal for Kalvin Phillips. Liverpool, meanwhile, have sealed what could prove to be a record deal for striker Darwin Núñez.

What about United? Well, Erik ten Hag has now finalised his first signing, with 22-year-old Feyenoord full-back Tyrell Malacia set to join for around £13m.

Malacia, though, is probably viewed as a squad player at Old Trafford, rather than someone who will necessarily strengthen the first XI straight off the bat.

What Ten Hag really wants is a reunion with Barcelona midfielder Frenkie de Jong, who won the 2018/19 Eredivisie Player of the Year Award under the Dutchman’s tutelage.

However, it’s fair to say the pursuit of the 25-year-old has dragged on. Even this weekend, Barcelona president Joan Laporta has said that ‘we have no intention of selling him [and] he wants to stay’.

Public posturing or otherwise, De Jong has already spoken of his contentment at the Nou Camp. He may be open to joining United, but he’s hardly enthused. Perhaps part of the reason the saga has run for weeks is that he’s not actively pushing for the move.

Already, it seems that Ronaldo has decided that Ten Hag will not be able to compete with City and Liverpool next season. His worries are, implicitly, a compliment to the Reds.

It’s clear that he regards their business highly. They have, after all, landed one of the best young strikers in world football, just like City.

Some Liverpool fans may be unsure whether their squad is truly stronger than last season, with Sadio Mané leaving for Bayern Munich, but Ronaldo seems to believe that, as of right now, the gap between the two big rivals — which stood at a cavernous 34 points at the end of last season — has only widened.

But all this also demonstrates that Liverpool and City have altered expectations. It’s worth stressing that the transfer window only opened just over three weeks ago, on 10 June, and it still runs for another two months, with the deadline set for 1 September.

Even with the start of the season brought forward, there are still five weeks before the Premier League kick-off.

And yet, there’s already a creeping sense that United are in trouble, dramatically magnified by Ronaldo’s transfer request.

Admittedly, it is more important than ever that clubs act swiftly. With the 2022/23 club calendar compressed by the winter World Cup, it’s arguably the biggest pre-season in recent memory. This is a manager's chance to do their most meaningful work before a breathless three-games-a-week schedule sets in and the need for recovery begins to affect the quality of training.

But more generally, City and Liverpool are elite operators who have raised the bar both at the elite level and further down the Premier League. Now, pursuing players for the entire duration of the transfer window is seen as a marker of dysfunction. Clubs are supposed to act with conviction, enacting long-term plans with the minimum of fuss.

Liverpool’s scouting department are known to plan two to three windows in advance, and so they are single-minded when trading begins. It’s telling that most incoming players seem to be posing for photos at Kirkby within a week of the first reports of serious interest.

Fairly or otherwise, the start of the window has further tarnished United’s reputation.

“It's worrying that United are struggling to get business done,” Gary Neville tweeted last month. “The others seem set and ready yet United can’t get moving.”

There might be one or tweaks — Manchester City will probably pursue a left-back, for instance, and Liverpool could move if something exceptional turns up in the market — but for the most part, the top two are all set. Jürgen Klopp and Pep Guardiola will virtually have their full squads at their disposal when they reconvene in the next couple of weeks.

All the while, it feels like the summer has only just begun for Manchester United.

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10 Liverpool FC pre-season throwbacks – with goalkeepers up front and Sakho’s GoPro!

ThisIsAnfield.com - Sun, 07/03/2022 - 18:00

As Liverpool begin their preparations for 2022/23, we revisit some classic pre-season memories – including three goalkeepers trying out new positions.

New signings on show, shiny new kits, world tours and breakout performers – just some of the things we all associate with pre-season.

It can be a time of great excitement for supporters, as players reconvene and prepare for a completely fresh start. A new era, if you like.

This summer, there are just 33 days between Liverpool’s first pre-season match and their Premier League opener against Fulham on August 6.

However, with trips to Thailand, Singapore, Austria and Germany all scheduled, there’s plenty to unfold before the real business begins.

Here, we take a look back at some famous Liverpool pre-season memories.

Pepe Reina in midfield!

 Liverpool's goalkeeper Jose Pepe Reina in action against Middlesbrough during the Premiership match at Anfield. (Photo by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

 Liverpool's goalkeeper Jose Pepe Reina in action against Middlesbrough during the Premiership match at Anfield. (Photo by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

When Luis Garcia and Fabio Aurelio pulled up with injuries in Liverpool’s pre-season clash with Kaiserslautern in 2006, Rafa Benitez had a decision to make.

Though he had already made all of his substitutions, he would have been allowed to bring Robbie Fowler – who had already gone off – back onto the pitch.

Instead, he gave goalkeeper Pepe Reina a runout in midfield.

The Spaniard wore Xabi Alonso’s No. 14 shirt and had two opportunities to score, in a game the Reds would go on to lose 3-2.

Pre-season at its glorious best.

When Klopp’s Mainz hammered Rafa’s Liverpool

In the same summer, Benitez’s Liverpool – on the back of an FA Cup win – took on a plucky Mainz side in Germany.

Their manager? A 39-year-old Jurgen Klopp.

Benitez named his strongest side of pre-season, including starts for Alonso, Steven Gerrard, Jamie Carragher, Sami Hyypia and new signings Jermaine Pennant and Craig Bellamy.

Klopp’s Mainz came away 5-0 winners, with all five goals coming in the second half, including three in five minutes.

Don’t go, Xabi

 Liverpool supporters plead with Xabi Alonso to stay during a preseason friendly against Singapore at the Singapore National Stadium. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

 Liverpool supporters plead with Xabi Alonso to stay during a preseason friendly against Singapore at the Singapore National Stadium. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

The summer of 2009 saw Benitez’s Liverpool travel to Asia to take on the Thailand and Singapore national teams.

It was also a summer of speculation centring around the future of Alonso.

Banners begging the Spaniard to stay at Anfield were scattered across the stadiums for both matches, but supporters’ pleas would prove unsuccessful, with Alonso joining Real Madrid for £26 million later that summer.

That TV documentary

 Liverpool's Jamie Carragher and manager Brendan Rodgers during a training session at the Harvard Stadium fields ahead of the pre-season match against AS Roma during the club's North American pre-season tour. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

 Liverpool's Jamie Carragher and manager Brendan Rodgers during a training session at the Harvard Stadium fields ahead of the pre-season match against AS Roma during the club's North American pre-season tour. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

Somehow, this summer marks 10 whole years since ‘Being: Liverpool’, the documentary that captured Brendan Rodgers’ first pre-season at the club, aired for the first time.

“You said ‘steady'” and “Jonjo Shelvey, king of the golf” are just two of the famous lines that still, to this day, will send shivers down the spines of Liverpool supporters when they look back at this.

How far we’ve come.

The best You’ll Never Walk Alone ever? [embedded content]

In 2013, Liverpool’s first-ever match in Australia began with a spine-tingling rendition of You’ll Never Walk Alone, sung by the record crowd of 95,000 inside the famous Melbourne Cricket Ground.

A video simply titled ‘BEST YOU’LL NEVER WALK ALONE EVER!!!’ has now racked up over 20 million views on YouTube. Special.

Benteke’s debut stunner

 Liverpool's Christian Benteke celebrates scoring his side's first goal against Swindon Town during a friendly match at the County Ground. (Pic by Mark Hawkins/Propaganda)

 Liverpool's Christian Benteke celebrates scoring his side's first goal against Swindon Town during a friendly match at the County Ground. (Pic by Mark Hawkins/Propaganda)

Admit it, you were excited when you saw this goal.

After Liverpool had splashed out £32.5 million to sign Christian Benteke in 2015, the Belgian netted after a superb turn and volley on the edge of the area on his first outing against Swindon Town.

That was about as good as it got for the striker, who was moved on to Crystal Palace after Klopp’s appointment one year later.

“We are here because we want to leave Mama here” [embedded content]

When LFCTV decided to give Mamadou Sakho a GoPro as the Reds toured Alcatraz during pre-season 2016, they weren’t to know that he would be sent home by Klopp days later.

The video did offer some insight into Sakho’s disciplinary issues, with Klopp revealing the Frenchman had been late to report for a flight the day before.

“We are here because we want to leave Mama here,” Klopp joked.

Days later, Sakho was exiled from his squad for good.

Shamal George up front

 Liverpool's Shamal George in action against Huddersfield Town during the Shankly Trophy pre-season friendly match at the John Smith’s Stadium. (Pic by Paul Greenwood/Propaganda)

 Liverpool's Shamal George in action against Huddersfield Town during the Shankly Trophy pre-season friendly match at the John Smith’s Stadium. (Pic by Paul Greenwood/Propaganda)

Not the first and not the last time we’d see a Liverpool goalkeeper playing outfield during pre-season!

In a friendly at Huddersfield, Klopp brought on 18-year-old goalkeeper Shamal George as a striker, after Lucas Leiva was taken off injured and there were no outfield players left on the bench.

It would turn out to be George’s only first-team appearance of any kind for the club.

Shaqiri’s debut bicycle kick

 Liverpool's new signing Xherdan Shaqiri scores the fourth goal with a bicycle kick during the preseason International Champions Cup match between Manchester United and Liverpool FC at the Michigan Stadium. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

 Liverpool's new signing Xherdan Shaqiri scores the fourth goal with a bicycle kick during the preseason International Champions Cup match between Manchester United and Liverpool FC at the Michigan Stadium. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

The summer of 2018 saw Swiss attacking midfielder Xherdan Shaqiri arrive from Stoke – and he announced himself to the Liverpool faithful in the best way possible.

In a pre-season clash with Man United in the US, Shaqiri scored the most remarkable of overhead kicks as the Reds ran out 4-1 winners.

Have you ever seen a better debut goal?

Atherton in attack

 Liverpool's Anderson Arroyo during a pre-season friendly match between Tranmere Rovers FC and Liverpool FC at Prenton Park. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

 Liverpool's Anderson Arroyo during a pre-season friendly match between Tranmere Rovers FC and Liverpool FC at Prenton Park. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

July 2019 saw another Liverpool goalkeeper given a chance as a striker. This time it was Dan Atherton’s moment to shine.

In the Reds’ 6-0 pre-season win over Tranmere at Prenton Park, Klopp was forced to bring on Atherton as a replacement for Paul Glatzel, who sustained a knee injury in the second half.

Wearing Colombian full-back Anderson Arroyo‘s No. 61 shirt, he slotted in alongside Divock Origi, who had been the Reds’ hero in the Champions League final months earlier.

If there’s one thing we’ve learned about pre-season, it is to expect the unexpected!

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Liverpool launched £19.5m plan to re-sign Mohamed Salah with two more steps to come

Liverpool.com - Sun, 07/03/2022 - 17:30

On Friday, Liverpool announced that Mohamed Salah had finally signed a new contract, ending the unnerving speculation around his future.

The Reds retain the services of one of the best players in the world and, crucially, keep him out of the hands of their rivals, both domestic and continental.

Inevitably, though, this has come at a significant cost. Salah’s previous contract was worth around £200,000 per week, a relatively modest figure for a player of his calibre, albeit one considerably inflated by bonuses.

READ MORE: Liverpool 'schedule private talks' for '£20m transfer' as Naby Keïta 'rejects contract offer'

READ MORE:Liverpool have five ideal options to take number 10 shirt as two squad number changes confirmed

But this new deal puts Salah among the highest earners in the Premier League. He’ll now be taking home approximately £350,000 per week, an increase of a whopping 75 per cent.

Sadio Mané’s move to Bayern Munich has been identified as a key moment in breaking the deadlock that existed between the club and Salah’s camp.

Mané, after all, was on £200,000 per week himself, according to German publication Sport1. And significantly, his replacement Darwin Núñez will ‘only’ receive £140,000 per week under his first contract. It will work out as a saving of more than £3m per year.

But, alone, that won’t cover Salah’s salary hike — £7.8m per annum. Perhaps Mané’s exit was simply the most important part of a multi-step process.

In addition to the Senegalese superstar, Liverpool have also offloaded Divock Origi and Takumi Minamino. According to The Telegraph, Origi was earning £100,000 p/w, or £5.2m p/a, while Minamino was thought to be on around £75,000, or £3.9m.

That’s a total reduction of £19.5m through the sale of three attackers. And notably, they’ve only signed one replacement in the form of the versatile Fábio Carvalho, whose salary is likely to be far smaller as a 19-year-old fresh from the second tier.

The incomings and outgoings and Anfield have facilitated substantial savings, then. And on top of that, one of the highest earners at the club, the veteran James Milner, has agreed to take a ‘significant’ pay cut to sign a new short-term deal.

Liverpool have had to make allowances for Salah and that process will continue in the coming weeks.

The Telegraph’s Chris Bascombe reports that, rather than signing more players, the priority for the remainder of the summer will be trimming the wage bill.

Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain may be the headline departure, but there are a number of young players who are surplus to requirements too: Ben Davies, Nat Phillips, Sepp van den Berg and Neco Williams.

If they go out on loan, their temporary clubs would be expected to contribute heavily to their wages, or even cover them entirely. And if they leave, they’ll likely net the Reds somewhere between £5m and £15m from transfer fees, while freeing them of salary obligations altogether.

Beyond this careful squad management, you might suggest that Liverpool have been shrewd with the timing of their renewals. Alisson, Trent Alexander-Arnold, Virgil van Dijk, Andy Robertson and Fabinho — some of the team’s most important players — all penned extensions last summer, and so it should be a while yet before they’re asking for pay rises. For the time being, there will remain a gulf between Salah and teammates.

All of this means that the biggest contract in the history of Liverpool Football Club should, ultimately, be manageable.

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Liverpool transfer move makes sense for 'incredible talent' that Alisson Becker loves

Liverpool.com - Sun, 07/03/2022 - 16:00

Things at Liverpool, these days at least, are never random. Even when things appear to make little to no sense, there will be a method somewhere — even if the theory has not always paid off perfectly.

The error in not signing a fourth senior centre-back, for example, definitely did not pay off — neither did the panic moves to bring in Ozan Kabak and Ben Davies mid-season — but the theory was that a short-term signing when Dejan Lovren left was not necessary and it was better to wait for the man they really wanted in Ibrahima Konaté.

There were eyebrows raised earlier this week when highly-rated teenage goalkeeper Marcelo Pitaluga moved to eighth-tier Macclesfield FC, who play in Northern Premier League Division One West, and where Robbie Savage is director of football.

READ MORE: Liverpool 'schedule private talks' for '£20m transfer' as Naby Keïta 'rejects contract offer'

READ MORE:Liverpool have five ideal options to take number 10 shirt as two squad number changes confirmed

The 19-year-old, who was brought in from Fluminense in his homeland of Brazil in October 2020, probably did not expect to be playing in that division, but as ever — the move is nothing random.

It probably helps as well that Macclesfield is not far away from Liverpool — it certainly was an appeal when Harvey Elliott went to Blackburn Rovers for a season — but there is also precedent for young Reds goalkeepers getting experience at a lower league level.

Jakub Ojrzynski spent last season at Caernarfon Town in Wales and will spend the next one back in Poland with Radomiak Radom. Vitezslav Jaros, who signed from Slavia Prague in 2017, spent time with Irish Premier Division side St Patrick's Athletic before he moved to the National League with Notts County in January.

Kamil Grabara, who moved permanently to FC Copenhagen last summer, had a year with Aarhus (also in Denmark) prior to that. Liam Hughes was at national league-level Stalybridge Celtic last season.

Those clubs are a rather 'random' mixture of teams at home and abroad, but there will be a number of reasons for them being chosen.

With Pitaluga, one reason is regular football. The U17 World Cup winner wanted to play regularly and while the physicality of the lower leagues will take some adjusting to, it will help his progression and adaptation to English football. He could have played regularly higher up, but is more likely to be guaranteed of minutes at this level.

"Marcelo is an incredible talent, so the next one in line [after Caoimhin Kelleher]," Jürgen Klopp said of the 19-year-old earlier this year. U23s boss Barry Lewtas described him as a 'big part' of what his side achieved in the first half of last season when speaking to Liverpool.com.

But playing regular senior football, where results really matter, is the next step in his development and Pitaluga will have the chance to advance his game in serious situations rather than just with goalkeeping coach John Achterberg.

"Marcelo is really talented," Alisson Becker said of the young stopper. Alisson had actually helped identify Pitaluga when he trained with him in Brazil (Pitaluga played for the same team as Alisson's brother, Muriel).

"I saw him a few times back in Brazil, but I could know more about him here as a goalie and as a person as well. He is a really special boy, he is really excited about having the opportunity to play for Liverpool.

"Now he has settled in and is doing really well in training. He is a boy who trains really hard and is really dedicated for what he is doing. And someone who likes to learn as well. It is really good to work with him."

Pitaluga, even if he does not become the number one at Liverpool, will play far higher up the footballing pyramid than at Macclesfield throughout the majority of his career, and the Reds rate him highly.

An eight-division drop might seem like a strange move, but there is precedent at Liverpool for similar switches. Pitaluga could have played regular football higher up the system but there are reasons to understand why the Reds sanctioned the move — after all, the Brazilian is yet to play senior football in this country other than in training in Kirkby.

It will take some performance to oust Kelleher as number two and an even bigger swing to one day overtake Alisson, but Pitaluga has talent. Macclesfield are about to experience it.

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Major change to Africa Cup of Nations confirmed that will impact Liverpool

ThisIsAnfield.com - Sun, 07/03/2022 - 15:15

Liverpool will be heavily impacted by another mid-season tournament in 2023/24, after a major change to the Africa Cup of Nations schedule was confirmed.

Last season saw the AFCON held midway through the campaign as Mohamed Salah, Sadio Mane and Naby Keita all departed for the tournament and missed games for Liverpool.

It was a setback the club had long known about, and fortunately, the Reds were able to thrive without their African trio – aided by the immediate impact of winter signing Luis Diaz.

That tournament, held in Cameroon, was scheduled to take place in the summer of 2021, but various concerns including the COVID-19 pandemic saw it eventually take place over January and February of the following year.

Now, a similar situation has unfolded, with the 2023 AFCON now confirmed to be taking place in the winter of 2024 instead.

As reported by journalist Usher Komugisha, “heavy rains” in the Ivory Coast during the summer months have seen the tournament rearranged, meaning Liverpool will again be without Salah and Keita midway through 2023/24.

It will, therefore, bring a third consecutive campaign with a mid-season tournament, though this term will see the domestic calendar paused to accommodate the winter World Cup in Qatar.

Naby Deco Keita of Guinea during the 2019 Africa Cup of Nations match between Nigeria and Guinea at the Alexandria Stadium, Alexandria on the 26 June 2019 ©Muzi Ntombela/BackpagePix

There will be no such break in the Premier League for the AFCON, however, meaning it will be another season in which Jurgen Klopp will be required to plan without two key players.

Keita could, of course, not be a Liverpool player by that point, with the Guinean’s contract currently due to expire in 2023.

But it is widely expected that Keita will sign an extension to his deal, with talks ongoing following the announcement of Salah’s new club-record contract worth upwards of £350,000 a week.

The most recent AFCON saw Salah and Mane pitted against each other in the final, with Senegal triumphing over Egypt as the pair went all the way, missing six games for Liverpool.

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How Divock Origi’s exit helped Liverpool agree new Mo Salah contract

ThisIsAnfield.com - Sun, 07/03/2022 - 14:51

Liverpool have made Mohamed Salah their highest-ever earner with a new three-year contract, with the loss of Divock Origi‘s relatively large salary aiding them.

Salah ended months of speculation and concern over his future on Friday when he announced he had put pen to paper on a new long-term deal with Liverpool.

The Egyptian has committed for another three years, taking him beyond his 33rd birthday in 2025, after a long and difficult negotiation process between club officials and his representative, Ramy Abbas Issa.

A heavily incentivised package sees Salah’s wage rise to around £350,000 a week, and potentially higher if he achieves a series of targets, which makes him the best-paid player in the club’s history.

It is a significant deal that changes the balance of Liverpool’s wage structure, with the 30-year-old believed to be earning over £100,000 a week more than any other.

The next-highest earners are Virgil van Dijk and Thiago, with Alisson – who signed a new six-year contract this time last year – in a similar region in terms of pay.

There is little denying that Salah deserves to be acknowledged with a top-level salary, though there had long been concerns over whether the club could afford to sanction such a deal.

However, as noted by the Telegraph‘s Chris Bascombe, shedding the wages of both Origi and Sadio Mane in a short space of time will undoubtedly have helped Fenway Sports Group in rubberstamping the agreement reached by sporting director Julian Ward.

Bascombe notes that Origi, who officially left Liverpool after a successful eight years on Friday, was earning around £100,000 a week.

 Liverpool's Sadio Mané (R) celebrates with team-mate Divock Origi after scoring the fifth goal during the FA Premier League match between Liverpool FC and Leeds United FC at Anfield. Liverpool won 6-0. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

 Liverpool's Sadio Mané (R) celebrates with team-mate Divock Origi after scoring the fifth goal during the FA Premier League match between Liverpool FC and Leeds United FC at Anfield. Liverpool won 6-0. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

Meanwhile, Mane’s PR agent Bacary Cisse insisted at the end of June that his client had been paid “much higher” at Liverpool than the £100,000-a-week wage suggested in some sections of the media.

The Reds have effectively allocated most of the funds freed up by the departures of Origi and Mane towards Salah’s three-year contract, while Darwin Nunez, who is believed to earn around £140,000 a week, has also arrived to bolster the attack.

It seems to be a smart move by Liverpool, who were arguably overpaying for Origi given his minimal game time within Jurgen Klopp‘s squad.

That has often been the case with squad players shuffled through the Anfield exit in recent years, such as in the summer of 2020 when the club rid themselves of £300,000 a week in wages as Dejan Lovren, Adam Lallana and Nathaniel Clyne all moved on.

Liverpool face a difficult balancing act with Salah’s extension, of course, but he now stands as the prime example to the rest of the squad that elite wages are on offer to those who consistently perform at an elite standard.

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Liverpool have already made '£20m' Roberto Firmino decision amid Juventus transfer 'interest'

Liverpool.com - Sun, 07/03/2022 - 14:30

What does the future hold for Roberto Firmino? Last season was a difficult one for the 30-year-old, as injuries plagued him throughout.

Firmino’s season never really got going. He missed 26 games due to his various injuries, and he’d become a forgotten figure by the final few months of the season as Liverpool attempted an unparalleled quadruple.

Firmino’s role last season morphed into that of an impact sub, coming on the last 25 minutes of games to score goals or help Liverpool tick over. He scored 11 goals in all competitions last season, but most of them didn’t come as a starter.

With his contract winding down and entering its final 12 months, many have asked what the future holds for the perma-smiling Brazilian, who has been one of the club’s best players of the Jürgen Klopp era.

READ MORE: Cristiano Ronaldo 'request' proves Liverpool right as Jürgen Klopp transfer warning comes true

READ MORE: Liverpool 'schedule private talks' for '£20m transfer' as Naby Keïta 'rejects contract offer'

With Sadio Mané gone, Mohamed Salah renewing his deal and Firmino’s role diminishing, it’s the end of an era for Liverpool’s brilliant trio. Klopp is evolving the front line and Firmino’s own position within this new-look Liverpool set up remains up in the air.

Recently, Firmino has been linked with a £20m move to Juventus, which throws up its own set of questions.

Do Juve really need him? The answer is no. Max Allegri intends to utilise a 4-3-3 system next season, in order to get the best out of Federico Chiesa, Dušan Vlahović and soon-to-be new signing Angel Di Maria. It’s also thought that Allegri wants a vice-Vlahović figure in the shape of the Serb, so signing Firmino isn’t likely on the cards, even if it’s abundantly evident over the years that Firmino can play in a 4-3-3.

From a Liverpool perspective, and let’s imagine for a second that Juve’s interest is genuine, how high would they have to go with an offer in order to entice Liverpool into a sale?

Some reports have Juve offering £11m for Firmino, while others state figures between £17m and £20m. Calciomercatoweb even went as far as to say that Juve would be willing to offer Adrien Rabiot in a straight swap for Firmino.

Having already lost Mané, Divock Origi and Takumi Minamino this summer, Liverpool cannot afford to green light a departure for Firmino unless Juve offered so much money that the Reds had no other choice but to accept.

Juve currently have financial issues stemming from the pandemic, but if they sell Matthijs de Ligt, which looks ever likely, they will have cash to play with. How much money would Liverpool hold out for before deciding to let Firmino go?

If, let’s say, for hypothetical reasons, Juve made an offer in the £25m range, Liverpool would be foolish not to accept, considering Firmino’s age and time left on his contract.

Yet by the same token, are Liverpool going to find a replacement on the market with Firmino’s quality for less than £25m? The smart move would be to just let Firmino enjoy his final year at Anfield, and wish him good luck in 12 months’ time, just like the club did with Origi.

Firmino still has a role to play at Liverpool, and with so many new faces in attack, keeping him at the club for a further year just makes the most sense. So even if any potential Juve offer is tempting, the response should be to keep Firmino where he is.

By letting Takumi Minamino, Divock Origi and Sadio Mané go, and with no more incomings expected this transfer window, Liverpool have already made their Firmino stance clear.

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Fabio Carvalho interview: ‘You don’t need persuading to join Liverpool’

LiverpoolFC.TV - Sun, 07/03/2022 - 11:58

Fabio Carvalho is eager to get started after sealing a move to Liverpool that he described as a decision that needed no persuasion.

The 19-year-old attacker is now officially a Red following a hugely impressive 2021-22 campaign in which he helped Fulham win the Championship by providing 10 goals and eight assists.

On his first day with the club at the AXA Training Centre, Carvalho sat down with Liverpoolfc.com for an exclusive interview about his excitement for the future at Anfield.

The new No.28 also explained how Jürgen Klopp’s record of developing young talents added to the club’s appeal, discussed his style of play and revealed why his father is a massive Darwin Nunez fan.

Read on for a transcript…

Fab, congratulations – it’s happened, you’re here, you’re a Liverpool player. How does it feel?

I’m a bit speechless, to be fair. It’s just an amazing feeling to be here at one of the biggest clubs in the world, if not the biggest. So, I’m just happy to be here and I can’t wait to get started.

Tell us about the feeling when the interest became clear, that you would have the choice of coming to Liverpool. Why was this club the right move and the right feel for you?

To be fair, I had a bit of interest from a lot of clubs but I didn’t let that get to my head because obviously I had a season to focus on. Once you hear that Liverpool are interested, there’s only one thought in your mind, which is to join them and try to be in and around the team. Hopefully I can achieve big things.

Did it feel right when you had the talks and Liverpool were the frontrunners?

Yeah, I spoke with everyone, and the manager, and it just felt so natural. When things become natural it’s just so much easier to make a decision.

Fans will have read about your story; you came over as an 11-year-old from Lisbon, you didn’t have a route into an academy here, you found your way through an amateur team. Tell us about that…

When I first came to England and the UK it was a bit hard because I didn’t speak the language. Neither did my brother and my sister, and it was a bit hard in the beginning. We were just looking for a team because all I wanted to do was play football. Luckily we found Balham Blazers, it’s not the biggest team in the world but they helped me so much to get here and I’m always thankful for that, because they just helped me to be able to show my full potential and put me on a stage where teams could come and look for me, like Fulham did. And I ended up signing for Fulham. So, the same way I’m thankful for Fulham, I’m even more thankful for Balham Blazers.

What about Fulham, then? What was great about them in terms of helping you to the next stage?

It was good, it was amazing. Like I said, I owe a lot to them because I was there for eight or nine years and I managed to work my way all the way up to first-team level. They helped me every day on and off the pitch, they were really supportive and I owe a lot to them as well.

What an experience last season was, to come up to the Premier League. What was that like, playing in the Championship and helping them to get promoted?

It was an unbelievable experience because obviously it was my first full season as a professional footballer. Like any other player, there’s highs and lows but it was just a great experience being able to establish myself in the first-team environment with all the great players at Fulham, who helped my every day as well. It was just an amazing feeling.

Do you feel the style Fulham played will help you coming here to Liverpool?

Yeah, because Marco Silva, the way he plays football and made us play football, is more like attacking football and getting goals, which is similar to how Liverpool play, which is to score goals and dominate games. That’s what I’m here to do, to be able to help the team with my assists, creativity and goals. I’m looking forward to it.

At the age of 19, with that amount of experience already behind you, does that mean you’re ready to contribute straight away at a high level at Liverpool?

Yeah, of course. I feel like, to be the best player in the world you have to play with the best and that’s what I’m here to do.

You’ll have looked at Liverpool last year probably thinking one day you could play here – how do you look at last season and sum this team up?

The togetherness within the team, everyone just seems so close. I know it’s a bit of a clichéd thing to say but it feels like from the outside I can see it as like a big family. Even when things don’t go too well, everyone sticks together. It helps players individually, especially the young players, so I’m looking forward to that.

You mentioned Jürgen Klopp before – what can he do to help you to the next step?

One of the main reasons I joined was because of him; I’ve seen what he’s done to develop players to the next step and I’m sure he’s the right person to do so with me.

You looked around the dressing room before and the names of some of the players you’ll be playing with. You won’t be in awe of these players but how excited are you that you’re going to be in the same team as them?

Yeah, there’s some big names and I’m looking to make a big name for myself as well. There’s big players and I’m just looking forward to learning from every single one of them, from their different experiences. I think they’ll be able to help me and hopefully I’ll be able to help them.

They have had success, they’re winners – are you confident you can contribute to that going forward?

A hundred per cent, yeah. If I wasn’t confident, I wouldn’t be in the position I am today. I just have to be able to show my full football and hopefully I’ll be able to help the team.

The club’s signings have been very exciting this summer. You’re a Benfica fan as well – how excited should we be about Darwin Nunez?

Yeah, he’s good. My dad is a big fan of Benfica as well and he loves him! So, I’m sure my dad is happy as well that I’ll be able to play with him. He’s a great signing and I’m sure I’ll be too as well.

There was a lovely moment earlier when you were looking around the training ground with your dad. The sacrifice your family have made to get you to this stage must be heartfelt too?

Not just my dad, my whole family in general; they help me each day and kept me going because family is one of the most important things. Being able to share these moments with them is everything to me because they mean a lot, as well as my friends and my girlfriend as well. Being able to have everyone around me is what dreams are made of. But I always tell myself, I haven’t really made it because there’s always a next step and I’m always looking to get better each day. Hopefully they’re proud of me as much as I’m proud of myself.

For the fans, it has been a brilliant week. They see you sign and they saw Mo Salah recommit on Friday – it brings a big smile to everyone’s face…

Yeah, of course. I’m happy he’s signed a new deal as well because he’s one of the best in the world and I want to learn from him. I’m sure all the fans are happy and hopefully we can win as many trophies this year.

You’ve got great flexibility about your game; you’ll play anywhere to be in the team but where do you feel most comfortable?

Obviously at Fulham I played more in the No.10 role; it just depends on which formation we play. But I also fancy the wing because I’m creative enough to go one-v-one and create things. But like you said, I’m more than comfortable playing anywhere but those two positions are where I want to play.

Harvey Elliott is someone you know very well – how much of a part did he play in how excited you should be to be part of it all?

I don’t think you really need any persuasion to become a Liverpool player because of how big the club is. But I spoke to him and he just said great things. I spoke to Neco [Williams] and Harry Wilson and they had nothing but great things to say about Liverpool. So, it was kind of an easy decision.

You probably can’t wait to get started with pre-season now?

I’m very excited to get started. Obviously pre-season is not the most fun bit about football but it’s something you have to do and get over and done with. It’s just a good way to get to know everyone and get to know the players, so I just can’t wait to get started. I’m looking forward to every single bit of pre-season and the years to come.

Is there a story behind why you’re sticking with 28 as your shirt number?
To be fair, I only picked it at Fulham because it was the only kind of low number available when I first got into the first team. But I made a promise to the kit man at Fulham that I’m going to keep that number because I did well with that number. So, why change it? If it’s not broken, don’t fix it.

What do you dream about, what is the eventual vision for you here?

To win as many trophies as I can at Liverpool and to be the best in the world.

Finally, now it’s a reality you’re a Liverpool player, how does it feel?

Like I said at the beginning, it’s just an amazing feeling. I’m sure my family are proud. All praise to the most high and I’m just happy to be here.

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Fabio Carvalho interview: ‘You don’t need persuading to join Liverpool’

LiverpoolFC TV - Sun, 07/03/2022 - 11:58
Fabio Carvalho is eager to get started after sealing a move to Liverpool that he described as a decision that needed no persuasion.
Categories: LFC NEWS

‘What a talent’ – Jürgen Klopp on Fabio Carvalho arrival

LiverpoolFC.TV - Sun, 07/03/2022 - 11:29

Jürgen Klopp is delighted by the chance to help Fabio Carvalho nurture his blossoming talents at Liverpool in the coming years.

Portuguese forward Carvalho has now officially completed his move to the Reds after chalking up 10 goals and eight assists in Fulham’s Championship-winning campaign in 2021-22.

In reacting to the 19-year-old’s arrival at Anfield, the manager detailed the attributes and characteristics that made him a player the club has tracked for some time.

And Klopp has no doubt Carvalho is coming into an environment at Liverpool that is ideal for his development to continue at pace.

“It’s great to finally be able to welcome Fabio and to introduce him properly to our supporters,” the boss told Liverpoolfc.com.

“What a talent he is, hey? A player who can bring a stadium to its feet. He puts his personality into his performances, he is confident and adventurous with the ball, and he wants to make things happen.

“He is a versatile player for sure and is very much an attacking threat with his creativity and dynamism. 

“It was a wonderful season for Fulham last year and Fabio was a worthy winner of the individual recognition he got as a result of that.

“It doesn’t really need saying, but it is worth reminding everyone that he will of course need patience. It’s a step up, but one we know he is more than capable of making, which is why we were so keen for so long to sign him for Liverpool.

“He has the perfect environment here to learn and develop. He has a dressing room full of the best teachers in football who will help him settle and adapt.

“With us, a player of Fabio’s profile will get opportunity along with space to improve, learn and develop further. I’m looking forward to working with him and seeing him in a red jersey.”

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‘What a talent’ – Jürgen Klopp on Fabio Carvalho arrival

LiverpoolFC TV - Sun, 07/03/2022 - 11:29
Jürgen Klopp is delighted by the chance to help Fabio Carvalho nurture his blossoming talents at Liverpool in the coming years.
Categories: LFC NEWS


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