Barry Lewtas on Derby clash, Morton progress and a footballing midfield

LiverpoolFC.TV - Sat, 01/23/2021 - 09:30

Barry Lewtas believes Tyler Morton has the perfect role models to learn from at U23 level in midfielders Leighton Clarkson and Jake Cain.

Morton penned a new long-term deal with Liverpool on Thursday and has found himself playing alongside the duo in recent Premier League 2 outings.

Clarkson and Cain both train regularly with the first-team squad and, alongside Morton, the trio were impressive performers during Monday night's 1-1 draw with Everton in the mini-derby.

The latter netted a fantastic goal to earn Lewtas' side a share of the spoils, and attention now turns to today's Premier League 2 meeting with Derby County at the Academy.

Kick-off is 1pm GMT and you can watch the game live on LFCTV and LFCTV GO.

We caught up with Lewtas ahead of the fixture and he reflected on the mini-derby, Morton's Academy journey so far and more...

On the level of performance from his side in the 1-1 draw with Everton…

I thought we played very well. We were disappointed with the start obviously, conceding a goal in the opening minute of the game. It was a good goal from Everton's point of view and I can see why they would be really happy with that team goal, but we got caught higher up the pitch, which we were disappointed about, but these things happen. The reaction from the players was excellent and we controlled the game after that and created good chances against a really resolute Everton defence. Their two centre-backs were excellent and they blocked us out when we got in behind them. We tried everything we could and could have won it with the last kick of the game but it just wasn't to be.

On Morton's fantastic goal in the mini-derby and his progress at U23 level…

It was a fantastic goal. We are quite flexible in our midfield and I thought Tyler picked out some good positions, and playing against Everton in Premier League 2 also has its physicality parts too and I thought he really stood up to that part of the game. Tyler has scored three goals for us now in Premier League 2 and that's a nice habit to have, but he is still developing and improving and he is training ever so well with us. His progress is coming on nicely.

LFCTV GO: Watch the best of the mini-derby action

On coaching Morton since U12 level at the Academy and seeing him sign a new deal…

I was delighted for Tyler to get his new contract and he is working so hard. He was in my U12s team and then moved up through the years and he was also with me in the U18s. I have known Tyler for a long time so I'm in a very fortunate position that I get to work with so many of these talented players. It's nice to see the progress he is making over the years and hopefully his attitude and commitment to training points in the right direction of him continuing to improve.

On Morton benefiting from playing alongside Clarkson and Cain in recent outings…

It will help Tyler a lot. I've worked with Leighton and Jake for a very long time so they have been a fixture in my teams for quite a few years. Jake and Leighton are the heartbeat of how we want to try to play in terms of our style and they are able to execute that for us, so adding another player like Tyler means that we have a lot of the ball and can have good control of the game. That allows Tyler to get on the ball as well so we do have what I would say is a footballing midfield. We have some really good technicians who want the ball. We also have Ben Woodburn back training with us after his loan spell at Blackpool. He's a really popular character in the group and it's great to have him back around the group.

On Saturday's Premier League 2 meeting with Derby…

We have had some really tough games against Derby County over the years. The boys are well aware that playing Derby is one of the toughest games – there's no question of that. They always have some talented young players and they are well organised. I thought we played really well earlier on in the season at Derby and were unfortunate to lose 2-1 after Jake's fantastic free-kick. We just had a sticky 15 minutes when we conceded two goals and Derby were then ever so resolute. We had some great chances but just couldn't score, so we know we are in for a really tough game.

On Fidel O'Rourke making his first start in Premier League 2 against Everton on Monday…

Fidel works his socks off for the team. Over the course of the season we have had Luis Longstaff, Liam Millar, Paul Glatzel and Joe Hardy playing at No.9. We have had injuries to Paul and Joe, unfortunately, so we have had to move people around. Fidel has had to be patient but in training every day his attitude is fantastic. He has captained my U18s team on numerous occasions so I know what Fidel is capable of. He has trained tirelessly to try to get into the team and has done everything that has been asked of him. I felt against Everton he was someone who could give us that option to run in behind and try to disrupt their backline and I felt he did that. He played a part in our goal and also was unlucky to have an effort cleared off the line. Fidel gave us a really good option against Everton and I was pleased with him.

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Categories: LFC NEWS

Barry Lewtas on Derby clash, Morton progress and a footballing midfield

LiverpoolFC TV - Sat, 01/23/2021 - 09:30
Barry Lewtas believes Tyler Morton has the perfect role models to learn from at U23 level in midfielders Leighton Clarkson and Jake Cain.
Categories: LFC NEWS

Klopp wants to use FA Cup to “work on the details” and spark Liverpool fightback

ThisIsAnfield.com - Sat, 01/23/2021 - 09:17

Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp will spend the limited time he has available trying to effect a change in his side’s form ahead of their big FA Cup tie against arch-rivals Manchester United.

Defeat to Burnley on Thursday night not only ended their 68-match unbeaten home league record but extended their goalless Premier League run to four matches.

Klopp effectively will have two training sessions in order to arrest a slump which is threatening to derail their title defence, if not their whole season.

“When you don’t like a situation you have to change the right things, not everything, and that is what we try to do,” he said.

“I like to see that in each bad situation there is a chance for something and I see it that way, but I will speak to my players.

“We want to change the situation, as you can imagine, and that is what we do now.

“In the end, what we do for the outside world is not important, it is only important for [the players] that it changes.

“Directly after the [Burnley] game I said exactly what I thought. I said that when things don’t work out on the pitch as we want them to then there is an issue and the issue is the things I tell the boys.

“I didn’t tell them clear enough so I have to change the way I tell the boys and then we have to change the way we play.

“We have to work on the details. We have to play football, we have to create, defend, score, 100 percent we know that, and that’s what we try to do again on Sunday.”

 Liverpool's Georginio Wijnaldum celebrates after scoring the second goal during the FA Cup 4th Round Replay match between Liverpool FC and Shrewsbury Town at Anfield. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

Klopp will freshen up his side for the visit to Old Trafford and hopes a change of competition, with the tie having to be concluded on the night, may bring better fortune.

“It is a different competition. We want to go through and for that we have to play well,” added the Reds boss, who faces United for the second successive weekend after a goalless draw at home in the league.

“It’s a cup game. The game will be decided that night and we want to win it.

“United is in a good moment, getting the results they wanted so we have to be ready 100 percent.

“Of course we go again. No doubt about that. We are very self-critical. We have possession – I don’t know what percent – but we have to finish the situation off.

“That is not the easiest part of games but we have to try. We have to use chances.

“[Against Burnley] we had 28 shots, six on target. I heard we had 90 in the last five games and one goal.

“That is a number we don’t want to have. We will speak things through and try again. We will not stop trying.”

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James Milner interview | 'It's our responsibility to get out of this run'

LiverpoolFC.TV - Sat, 01/23/2021 - 09:00

James Milner considers Sunday's FA Cup tie with Manchester United an ideal opportunity for Liverpool's players to show their determination to end a difficult run of form.

The 1-0 defeat at home to Burnley on Thursday night extended the Reds’ winless streak in the Premier League to five games, with no goals scored in the last four.

Looking towards the trip to Old Trafford as a chance to put things right, Milner stressed the squad’s responsibility to do everything necessary to turn the tide.

“It’s a great opportunity for us,” the vice-captain told Liverpoolfc.com of the fourth-round meeting with United this weekend.

“Football is like that – there’s peaks and troughs. Nothing is ever easy and smooth. It seems easy sometimes when things are going well and you’re flying.

“When you’re in tougher times the ball seems to not quite go in the goal or drop to players in the six-yard box. A lot of the time that’s just how you think of it mentally. ‘Here we go again’ if things aren’t going well. But you look at the positive side if things are going well.

“The thing about football is you get no favours, no-one is going to make it easier for you. It’s down to us to pull ourselves out of this run we’re in and it comes down on our responsibility and our shoulders.

“We have to be big enough to pull ourselves out. When things are going well it’s easy, everybody wants to get on the ball, it’s easy to play. Things come easy when things are going well.

“When it’s not, that’s where you need to stand up and be counted and be responsible and keep pushing and change it. It’s down to us to do that.”

During the chat at the AXA Training Centre, Milner also discussed the nuances of playing United for the second time in a week and the desire to clinch the club’s first FA Cup since 2006.

Read the rest of the No.7’s pre-match thoughts below…

A second game against Manchester United within a week. What can you take from that game and is it an advantage to play them again so soon because how they play is fresh in your minds?

Yeah, I think obviously that helps on the analysis side; before you go into a game you always do your homework on a team. But obviously when you’ve played another team so soon before, like you say it’s fresh in your mind. There are things in that game that went well that you want to try to keep doing, and there’s things that you want to change and things they would have done to combat us. We’ll prepare and work on that in the next few days going into the game.

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It’s one of the games fans always look out for in the fixtures, as a Leeds boy you do that yourself too. Are you relishing getting an extra crack at them this season?

It’s always a special game. Liverpool v United is the first one everyone will look for, I’m sure, every season. The rivalry is there for a reason – both teams have been very successful. Myself as a Leeds fan, growing up to dislike the red side of Manchester as well. It means a lot. There’s respect there, it’s respectful dislike, if you can say that. You’re always desperate to beat them. They’re obviously having a good season and it’s down to us to pull one out and get one over on them.

This Liverpool side thrives on the atmosphere – do you think the lack of fans has hit you harder maybe than some others this season?

I wouldn’t say harder, it’s the same for all teams – I don’t want to use that excuse. It is a big miss in the game. It’s definitely not an excuse, it’s the same for all teams. Looking and analysing it from our point of view, how we play – we’re on top of teams at times and you feel that pressure in the stadium growing on the other team when there’s fans there. When you’re on the attack, when we’re pressing and winning the ball back, you get that lift from the crowd when you win that ball back, it’s a little win in the game and all these things build up. That’s obviously from our side, but it’s the same for all teams and we haven’t dealt with it as well as we should have done. We need to do it better.

The fans have been incredible since I’ve been at the club and long before I’ve been at the club. You’re well aware of the support they give us. It would help us if they were right by our side on that football pitch at this moment in time, but we have to stick together in the training ground. We know the fans are right behind us, as always, and we need them more than ever and sharing their voices where they can. It’s disappointing they’re not with us but it’s down to us to give them something to shout about and pull ourselves out of this run we’re in at the moment.

It’s 15 years since Liverpool last won the FA Cup – how much would you like to have that back in the trophy cabinet?

It’s always special when you win any trophy and the FA Cup is a special competition. The success we’ve had over recent years, we’ve managed to change that wall at the training ground and at Anfield with the number of trophies we’ve won. That’s always special and a big motivation. For a club as successful as Liverpool you want to keep adding to that. It would be nice to do that but obviously there’s a long way to go. We just want to step out there and win every game we can. The next one is the most important and maybe more so than ever, obviously with the little run we’re on at this moment in time.

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James Milner interview | 'It's our responsibility to get out of this run'

LiverpoolFC TV - Sat, 01/23/2021 - 09:00
James Milner considers Sunday's FA Cup tie with Manchester United an ideal opportunity for Liverpool's players to show their determination to end a difficult run of form.
Categories: LFC NEWS

12.55pm GMT: Watch Liverpool U23s v Derby County

LiverpoolFC.TV - Sat, 01/23/2021 - 08:30

Liverpool U23s host Derby County in Premier League 2 this afternoon – watch the game live on LFCTV and LFCTV GO from 12.55pm GMT.

Kick-off at the Academy is scheduled for 1pm, but our live single-camera coverage begins five minutes earlier.

Claim 30 per cent off an annual subscription to LFCTV GO for a limited time only. Use code GOJAN21 at checkout. Terms and conditions apply.

Click here to watch the match live>>

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12.55pm GMT: Watch Liverpool U23s v Derby County

LiverpoolFC TV - Sat, 01/23/2021 - 08:30
Liverpool U23s host Derby County in Premier League 2 this afternoon – watch the game live on LFCTV and LFCTV GO from 12.55pm GMT.
Categories: LFC NEWS

Rotate or full-strength? – Debating Liverpool’s FA Cup approach vs. Man United

ThisIsAnfield.com - Sat, 01/23/2021 - 07:00

Liverpool turn their attention to the FA Cup on Sunday with Man United the opposition, but how should Jurgen Klopp approach the fourth round tie?

The Reds put Premier League action to one side this weekend to focus on domestic cup exploits, a tie which comes at a time when Liverpool have won only one of their last six games in all competitions.

The fact that the opposition is Man United does throw up a conundrum or two in regards to team selection, especially at a time when form is on a downward spiral.

It leaves Klopp with a number of decisions on his hands with this game preceding a testing run of fixtures both in the league and in Europe.

Here, This Is Anfield’s Joanna Durkan (@JoannaDurkan_), Josh Feehily (@jpflfc) and Tommy Lister (@TLister77) discuss how the Reds should approach the tie and their preferred XI.

How strong should the Reds go on Sunday, is it time for rotation?

JOSH: It’s an opportunity I’ve longed for, for us to win the FA Cup but difficult draws have proved to be too much of a hurdle. There’s nothing better than a Wembley trip in May.

 Liverpool supporters celebrate their side's 2-1 victory over Everton during the FA Cup Semi-Final match at Wembley. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

It has to be a game that’s taken seriously, not just because we want to win the cup, but because clipping United’s wings and wiping the smug grin off Solskjaer’s face is an absolute must with the way everything is shaping up.

Whilst I wouldn’t expect our strongest side to play, there will be plenty of first-team experience lining up, I’m sure of that. Klopp is well known for playing players into form rather than giving them the cold shoulder, so he may well avoid wholesale changes and I would agree wholeheartedly.

Going strong is the only way we can beat them, it’s a game we all look towards with dread. It’s always a war of attrition at Old Trafford, and edging one of those out this time around wouldn’t just send us through, but it would also stand us in good stead for a nail-biting few months in the season.

TOMMY: Given the results and performances we’re seeing at the moment, it is vital we progress in the FA Cup, things always look much better at the end of the season with silverware, and with the title running away from us it’s a must we do well in the cups.

Picking a side for the upcoming game against Manchester United is made incredibly hard by the fact we face Spurs again midweek, however, given our current league position I’d rather see a strong starting XI in the cup.

It’s come at the worst time for us really but it’s a must-win game. I’d imagine Klopp already has an XI in mind consisting of the likes of Kelleher, Williams, Tsimikas and Minamino as rotation, unfortunately, will be necessary.

Although those plans could be ditched considering the opponents. Most importantly, I hope the team isn’t too weak as the game is so meaningful in our current situation.

JOANNA: A cup run to supplement the league and Champions League was something I’d hoped for at the start of the season, but I ought to have known the draw would not be in our favour.

Wholesale changes would have been afoot had another team been the opposition, but the fact that it is United ensures it cannot be viewed as simply as a cup tie and our form dictates that a response is needed.

That would suggest, as the guys have said, that a strong lineup is in order albeit with a degree of rotation such is the busy fixture list we find ourselves in the middle of.

As we are in a slump a balance needs to be struck as to not provide further blows to the team’s confidence, while also having the potential to act as the starting point to pick up the pieces.

A win would add another game to the schedule but it would also mean we have found the net, and I’ll take that.

What starting XI would you want to see?

JOSH: I’d go with: Alisson; Alexander-Arnold, Matip, Williams, Robertson; Thiago, Shaqiri, Jones; Salah, Mane, Minamino

I think this is a perfect blend of first-team regulars and fringe players needing minutes.

Giving Fabinho a break at centre-back is a must as he is the more durable out of him and Matip, whilst Rhys Williams needs more experience against top-quality players if he’s needed later on in the season.

 Liverpool's Rhys Williams (L) and Curtis Jones (R) during the pre-match warm-up before the FA Premier League match between Liverpool FC and Tottenham Hotspur FC at Anfield. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

If Klopp is going to persist with Shaqiri as a deeper-lying midfielder, then more minutes against a good United side will be incredibly useful. Curtis Jones has been sidelined in recent weeks and this is a perfect opportunity to continue his development, and playing with Thiago can only be beneficial to him.

Salah and Mane are two that need to play their way out of a funk and there’s no better time to do it (please, we beg you!).

Minamino’s recent exclusion has been puzzling after an excellent performance at Crystal Palace, and with Firmino playing terribly, Minamino definitely deserves a chance in a big game like this.

TOMMY: I expect: Kelleher; Neco, Matip, Fabinho, Robertson; Henderson, Jones, Milner; Salah, Mane, Minamino

Trent is massively out of form and likely to be rested and with him dropped we can’t risk both of the fullbacks not playing and Robbo has been arguably our best player this season, so he has to play at Old Trafford.

Hopefully, the skipper will be back, but if not Wijnaldum to operate in the No. 6 role and Jones will get up for this kind of game, while Milner offers experience and allows Thiago to be rested for Spurs.

And Firmino’s form is concerning and Minamino deserves a chance.

JOANNA: My choice isn’t too different: Alisson; Trent, Matip, R. Williams, Tsimikas; Thiago, Milner, Jones; Salah, Firmino, Minamino

There will surely be a change in every department and I’ve thought along similar lines with Tommy that one of the regular full-backs will remain as the other switches out.

 Liverpool's substitute Takumi Minamino during the FA Premier League match between Fulham FC and Liverpool FC at Craven Cottage. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

It’s a risk to play Matip and Spurs is the more important of the two games, but I wouldn’t feel entirely comfortable with Phillips and R. Williams starting together and Fabinho does need a rest.

James Milner can add the voice of leadership we missed against Burnley and it’s time for Curtis Jones to reemerge, and surely this is the time for Minamino to be given another shot – if not, you do start to wonder what is going on there.

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Reds would sign defender in an “ideal world” but Klopp is focused on reality

ThisIsAnfield.com - Fri, 01/22/2021 - 22:30

Jurgen Klopp says nothing has changed regarding Liverpool’s transfer plans in January and he has full confidence that a change of fortunes can be earned with the current squad.

Hard work, better decisions and plenty of communication – that’s the boss’ plan to get the Reds through the recent rut which has seen the team fall from top spot and fail to score in four.

Injuries have hammered the Reds in the first half of the season, particularly in defence, but ahead of the FA Cup clash with Man United he has reiterated that he’s not expecting any additions in January.

Klopp said the players already at the club and available for action are the ones who count most for helping turning matters around and not signing anyone new is not the reason if results don’t improve.

“It would sound like an excuse and the last thing we are looking for is that,” he told reporters.

 Liverpool's manager Jürgen Klopp pulls goalkeeper Alisson Becker away from the referee after losing 1-0 during the FA Premier League match between Liverpool FC and Burnley FC at Anfield. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

“We could have played better, made better decisions. That means we can change that and we believe 100 per cent we can change that with this squad.

“We don’t go and say ‘if we don’t get this and that we cannot perform’ or whatever.”

Klopp also doubled down on his assertion that the club is working together in harmony and he accepts that matters in the outside world have impacted on the ability to spend.

In addition, while a new defender might be entirely welcome, it wouldn’t magically solve all the problems – such as close to a 1 per cent shot conversion rate in the last five league games.

With a global pandemic still stopping fans going to games, and thus harming the club’s financial prospects, it’s time to face reality and get to work with the areas which can be affected by the coaches and players.

 Liverpool's Mohamed Salah looks dejected after missing a chance during the FA Premier League match between Liverpool FC and Burnley FC at Anfield. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

“I’m responsible for a big part of this football club but there are people responsible for the whole thing and I can’t make their decisions. I know they are with us and want to support us and they do.

“If we talk about a centre-half, yes it would help, 100%. Would we score more goals with a centre-half, I’m not sure. Would it give us more stability in other moments, probably yes. But it’s not about that.

“We have to improve the football in a decisive area with this squad, that’s my job. Not sitting here and being disappointed with some decisions. I’m not.

“We know what we would do in an ideal world but the world is not ideal and not only for us, so we have to deal with the situation and that’s what we do.”

The last time a Klopp team went four league games without a goal was back in his days with Mainz; this weekend it could be all-change for both teams in the cup, but Liverpool will surely go strong as they seek to end a winless run and simultaneously improve their silverware prospects.

And both those will have to be earned without new faces, from the looks of things.

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Neco Williams shows resilience needed to overcome on- and off-pitch negatives

ThisIsAnfield.com - Fri, 01/22/2021 - 18:13

Neco Williams has had a tough season so far with uneven form and few chances in the team, but the right-back has the right mentality to bounce back, if a recent interview is anything to go by.

The Wales international made waves last season when he broke through as an option to cover for Trent Alexander-Arnold in the cups.

Some stand-out performances saw him create a few goals, put in some thunderous challenges and be part of an exciting young batch of players to be handed their chance under Jurgen Klopp throughout 2019/20.

This term has been slower going, though he has still amassed 11 appearances in all competitions so far and netted a first goal at senior international level – not bad for a teenager.

A few less-than-impressive displays came in the league early on, though including an appearance against Brighton where he conceded a penalty and received some utterly repulsive messages on social media afterwards, leading the youngster to delete his accounts.

 Liverpool's Neco Williams during the Football League Cup 3rd Round match between Lincoln City FC and Liverpool FC at Sincil Bank. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

Williams doesn’t expect to escape criticism due to his age and understands entirely the demands of playing for a club like Liverpool, but as he rightly pointed out to the Independent in an interview, he shouldn’t have to suffer such deranged abuse either.

“I don’t think any 19-year-old should be getting stick like that,” he says. “I haven’t got the experience, it’s always going to be tough coming into one of the best teams in the world, I’m young and I’m learning and, of course, I’ll make mistakes.

“As a footballer, there’s nothing worse than having a bad game but the main thing is to learn from it and not dwell on it. You look at the mistake you’ve made and make sure to put it right. You can’t sit and sulk about it.”

Thankfully, there are plenty of big personalities at the club who know how to help the youngsters through difficult times.

Neco named two of the older heads who helped him get through that tough time – and explained just how hard it can be to come in from the cold for a sudden run of games, something which is perhaps overlooked by some fans at times.

 Liverpool's manager Jürgen Klopp embraces Neco Williams after the UEFA Champions League Group D match between Liverpool FC and AFC Ajax at Anfield. Liverpool won 1-0 and qualified for the Round of 16. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

“I had some of the experienced lads around me like Virgil and Hendo. They told me even the best players in the world get bad comments. They aren’t going to affect me. If they did, it’s only made me stronger and a better player.

“I learnt a lot from that run of games. It can be difficult if you’re not playing for a few weeks to jump straight in.

“The standard and the intensity of the Premier League and Champions League is difficult but the main thing is to be mentally prepared. I felt like I started to find my feet.

“My aim now is just to keep proving to the manager that I’m good enough and keep getting better. There’s nowhere better to do that than at Liverpool with the best players and the best manager in the world.”

Williams could well get his next outing at the weekend when the Reds play Man United in the FA Cup.

With his last appearance coming in that same competition against Aston Villa’s youth side two weeks ago and Trent’s own form less-than-stellar of late, it would be a good time for the Welshman to again stake a claim and serve a reminder of the talent that supporters were so excited about this time last year.

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Rumours over signing cut-price Rice & rival duo to miss Reds games – Liverpool FC Roundup

ThisIsAnfield.com - Fri, 01/22/2021 - 16:59

Small children woke up on Friday morning having known, for the first time in their lives, what it was like for Liverpool to lose a home league game. Weird.

Liverpool in the hunt to sign Declan Rice

Transfer news, is it?! An intriguing rumour, although an improbable one given reports over the past year.

Declan Rice has been excellent for West Ham this season, but he has also been long linked with a move to Chelsea.

90 Mins claim inside info from the England international’s family and close ties suggest that City, the Reds and United all want him in summer – as the Hammers will be forced to sell for a cut-price fee of £50m, having previously valued Rice at £80m.

That’s a huge discount, and of course it’s the ‘rona pandemic, no fans and all the rest of it which is supposedly forcing West Ham‘s hand.

Chelsea want him in defence, we want him for midfield. Fabinho staying at the back if so, you’d imagine.

Top-four clashes…or title make-or-breaks?

 Leicester City's Jamie Vardy during the FA Premier League match between Leicester City FC and Everton FC at the King Power Stadium. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

Quite honestly, we have to go with Klopp’s assessment at this stage: forget the title, focus on the next game. The next goal, even.

But the matches keep coming anyway and two upcoming league clashes are pretty huge, whatever the ambitions which remain are.

After United in the Cup this weekend, we face Spurs, West Ham and Brighton, then Man City and Leicester – the latter two are second and third, so we’re playing catch-up and they will be must-win games, if we have any kind of form by then again.

Big news, then, comes from both clubs as they have a key man out for several games each: Kevin de Bruyne is out for four to six weeks and Jamie Vardy will miss two to three weeks.

The Reds play City in 16 days; the Foxes in 22 days, so the latter will be right on the verge of his comeback.

The buck always stops with the boss

 Liverpool's manager Jürgen Klopp during the pre-match warm-up before the FA Premier League match between Liverpool FC and Manchester United FC at Anfield. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

At any football club, whatever the objectives, when they’re not being met it’s always the manager who faces the questions…and has to come up with the answers. Good job we’ve got a great one, then, in Jurgen – time for him to work some magic.

Quickfire LFC news

 David Alaba during a Bayern Munich training session at the Saebener Strasse training ground ahead of the UEFA Champions League round of 16 second leg match against Chelsea FC. (Photo by M. Donato/FC Bayern Munich)

  • The Reds are still in the running to sign David Alaba (Bild)
  • Former goalkeeper David James has an interesting theory on the scoring slump: with the centre-backs injured, the strikers aren’t getting as sharp a training session as usual (Goal)
  • Gini Wijnaldum says the Reds must be more greedy when it comes to finishing chances (Sky)
  • And one incredible statistic from the last four games show just how unlikely it is to have ended up with zero goals (TIA)
Around the Prem

Brendan Rodgers, Leicester ((Mike Egerton/PA))

  • Leicester officials have been literally ROFLing after receiving notice that Christian Eriksen wants £300k a week to prove he’s way past his best (Telegraph)
  • Martin Odegaard is close to a loan move to Arsenal after realising Zidane is going to keep fielding the same Real Madrid XI until 2030 if he’s allowed (Sport)
  • Marseille boss Andre Villas-Boas says Villa’s offer for Sanson was “pathetic”, which ironically is what most fans remember his stints with Chelsea and Spurs as being (Mail)
  • And Arsenal have signed Mat Ryan on goal. If you’re wondering why, it’s because of this (AFC)
Stupid press conference answer of the day

Frank Lampard no longer has the option of saying “I don’t read the headlines” after losing his head completely about some perceived negative articles about his team…who have won three of the last 10.

Lampard beefing Liam Twomey ? pic.twitter.com/Z8Avk82c4F

— Pys (@CFCPys) January 22, 2021

Tweet of the day

You’ll Never Walk Alone is more important than ever right now. No good comes from feeling sorry for ourselves and excuses won’t help. It’s on us, all of us,to fight our way back.We’re at our strongest when we are one force- players & supporters, TOGETHER ?#UnityIsStrength #YNWA pic.twitter.com/IKWurvZSFL

— James Milner (@JamesMilner) January 22, 2021

What we’re reading

A very good Neco Williams interview about dealing with online abuse, learning from Trent and more, from The Independent‘s Tom Kershaw.

Worth watching tonight

If you’ve forgotten what scoring goals looks like, ‘Gladbach vs Dortmund should provide a reminder. BT Sport, Bundesliga, 7:30pm.

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Categories: LFC NEWS

Jürgen Klopp explains plans to lead Liverpool response

LiverpoolFC.TV - Fri, 01/22/2021 - 14:45

Jürgen Klopp plans to provide his players with the information and support they need as Liverpool strive to emerge from a below-par run of results.

The Reds visit Manchester United for an FA Cup fourth-round tie this weekend, with the boss holding his pre-match press conference ahead of the trip to Old Trafford on Friday.

Read on for a summary of the topics Klopp discussed…

[embedded content]

On whether Thursday’s defeat to Burnley can provide a ‘spark’…

Of course we go again, there’s no doubt about that, but yesterday directly after the game I said what I thought - like most of the time, actually. I said it as when the things don’t work out on the pitch as we want them to work out, there’s an issue. And how I understand it, the issue is then that the things I tell the boys I didn’t tell them clear enough, that’s how I understand it. So I have to change the way I tell the boys, and then we have to change the way we play.

On whether there are other ways to restore confidence other than results and goals…

Confidence is nothing naturally given, to normal people at least. So some things have to work out so that you can build confidence, that’s how it is, and it didn’t work out - at least in the final third - for us in the last few games. That’s why we had to mention the word ‘confidence’ but it didn’t disappear [so] we cannot find it anymore. But we have to work and that’s what we do. There is no other chance. I don’t have five million different words for the same issue, that’s why I only can use that one. Maybe there are other words which would describe it better. But we didn’t get the results now for a few weeks that we wanted. Parts of the game were absolutely good enough [and] parts of the game were not so we have to keep going with the things that were good enough and we have to improve the others. That’s the way.

On whether chasing at the top of the table provides less pressure when compared to being chased…

That would be a good way to do it, to be honest. Yes, that’s right, in a situation when you don’t like the situation you have to change the right things - not everything, the right things - and that’s what we try to do, of course. I like to say and I like to see that in each bad situation there is a chance for something and I see it that way. But honestly I will not do that here now. I need to speak, and I will speak, to my players. I spoke to them last night, I will speak to them today. It’s nothing for a press conference what I will say to them. But that we want to change the situation you can imagine and that’s what we do now. So there’s nothing to say really about how we do it and so on, in the end what we do is for the outside world not too important – for them it is only important that we change it. But we have to work on the details, let me say it like this. In the end we have to play football, we have to create, we have to defend, we have to score: 100 per cent we know that and that’s what we try to do again on Sunday. 

On whether the ending of the long unbeaten league run at Anfield removes a ‘burden’ on his team… 

Honestly we didn’t feel that pressure, it was just an opportunity. In this specific case we never spoke about the number or stuff like this. Yes, it’s an incredible number, 69, great. But it’s gone now and we can start a new series, 100 per cent.

[embedded content]

On whether ‘form goes out of the window’ in a cup tie against United…

Yeah, it’s a different competition. Again, we want to go through and for that we have to play really well because United is obviously in a good moment and they get all the results they wanted so far. That’s why we have to be ready, 100 per cent.

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Jürgen Klopp explains plans to lead Liverpool response

LiverpoolFC TV - Fri, 01/22/2021 - 14:45
Jürgen Klopp plans to provide his players with the information and support they need as Liverpool strive to emerge from a below-par run of results.
Categories: LFC NEWS

Klopp on transfers: 'I cannot spend the money'

Liverpool FC on Sky Sports - Fri, 01/22/2021 - 14:30

Jurgen Klopp says he discusses Liverpool transfer targets on a daily basis but he "cannot spend the money" as he hints at frustration over the club not strengthening his squad.

Liverpool are out of form and shorn of confidence after a run of five Premier League games without a victory, which has heightened the club's injury problems.

Klopp took the blame in the immediate aftermath of the league champions' defeat to Burnley on Thursday - a result which ended their 68-game unbeaten home Premier League run.

But the German suggests there is a willingness on his part to find solutions in the transfer window, with Virgil van Dijk, Joe Gomez and summer recruit Diogo Jota among those unavailable through injury.

"Of course someone else is making the decisions, it was always like this," Klopp said when asked to clarify comments he made after defeat to Burnley, where he implied he did not have the final say on bringing in reinforcements.

preview image 5:13 Jurgen Klopp says he takes responsibility for Liverpool's shock defeat at home to Burnley which ended their unbeaten run at Anfield

"If people are surprised about that I cannot change that. The situation we have is we discuss on a daily basis.

"Could we improve something or not? I then make recommendations, but I cannot spend the money. I don't make these decisions, I never did."

Liverpool have only scored once in the league since they took apart Crystal Palace 7-0 to go five points clear at the top of the league table on December 19.

Jurgen Klopp shows his frustration during Liverpool's defeat to Burnley at Anfield 0:28 Jurgen Klopp says it his task to inspire clarity of thought from his misfiring Liverpool attack

But since then their feared strike force has struggled to reach its expected heights and Klopp is aware a change in approach is required.

Klopp, whose side have slipped to fourth, said: "When the things don't work out on the pitch as we want them to work out there is an issue. How I understand it, the issue is I didn't tell the boys clear enough.

"I have to change the way I tell the boys and then they have to change the way we play."

preview image 3:05 FREE TO WATCH: Highlights from Burnley's win against Liverpool in the Premier League

Klopp says he may look to create a 'chasers' mentality within his squad going forward as he looks to secure a morale-boosting victory against Premier League leaders Manchester United in the FA Cup fourth round on Sunday.

"In each bad situation there is a chance for something and I see it that way but I will not do that here," he said.

"I spoke to my players last night, I will speak to them today.

"We have to work on the details."

Liverpool are awaiting their first league win in 2021 Image: Liverpool are awaiting their first league win in 2021 Analysis: Title slipping away from Liverpool Carra on Liverpool 2:55 Jamie Carragher says Liverpool could face a battle to finish in the top four following their defeat to Burnley at Anfield

Sky Sports' Jamie Carragher at Anfield:

"We were talking about a blip for Liverpool and Jurgen Klopp has come out and defended his players as you would expect because these players have done so much for Liverpool.

"But at this moment it looks like the title is slipping away. Six points can still be recovered but the form Liverpool are in and the fixtures they have in the coming months, I think Liverpool fans will be worrying a little more about their top-four position than the title.

"I think they have got to get back to scoring goals and winning games before they start thinking about someone taking the title off them. They have just been so poor. You cannot quite believe what has happened to Liverpool in the last few weeks.

"You go from that 7-0 win at Palace to so many players out of form at the same time. It is his job to fix it - whether that is formations, personnel, however they go about it - but there are so many teams challenging for that top four it will be a worry for Liverpool until they get out of this little run that they are on."

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Merson: Liverpool response can confirm greatness

Liverpool FC on Sky Sports - Fri, 01/22/2021 - 14:30

Liverpool’s shock Anfield defeat to Burnley may have given extra incentive to their title rivals, but Paul Merson believes there is still life in the champions’ title defence yet – and an opportunity to prove their greatness...

Klopp got team selection horribly wrong

It's easy to say it now but Klopp got his team selection horribly wrong. When you're struggling like Liverpool are, you play your best team.

Divock Origi isn't going to win Liverpool leagues, no disrespect. If he was better than Mohamed Salah or Roberto Firmino, he'd be playing every week. If he scores that chance in the first half, then the game would have been over.

Klopp knows how hard this league is, he knows he has got to put his best team out. Burnley's last four games had all finished 1-0, they don't get into big open football matches, they aren't gung-ho, things are tight.

They are great defensively, have an unbelievable goalkeeper; you play your best forwards because you're not going to get a lorry-load of chances.

Klopp got it wrong, you play your top players, score two goals and then you take them off.

preview image 3:05 FREE TO WATCH: Highlights from Burnley's win against Liverpool in the Premier League Resting Salah and Firmino for FA Cup game, really?

Why would you rest players ahead of an FA Cup game?

Klopp has never won the FA Cup and might want to win it, who knows, but as long as Manchester City are in it that's going to be hard. To a large extent the FA Cup is won by the draw you get; who's to say Liverpool won't be drawn away at Manchester City, Chelsea or Tottenham in future rounds and find it hard to win the cup?

I'd be really shocked if he played his strongest team at Manchester United on Sunday, I'd have played them against Burnley and then given them a rest ahead of next week's trip to Tottenham.

Klopp would have probably watched the FA Cup growing up, and it was the ultimate back in the day, but it's not now. I'd be disappointed if he played Salah and Firmino at Old Trafford because Liverpool need to now get a result next week at Spurs after losing to Burnley.

Win at Tottenham and Liverpool will forget about that five-game winless run, the confidence will start coming back and the pressure will come off a group of players who look a little bit shot.

Carra on Liverpool 2:55 Jamie Carragher says Liverpool could face a battle to finish in the top four following their defeat to Burnley at Anfield Liverpool missing midfield engine

For all the good players Liverpool have got, when that title-winning midfield three of Henderson, Fabinho and Wijnaldum isn't playing, they are not the same team.

Those three are the unsung heroes of Liverpool's recent success, they are engine that makes everything else happen.

Thiago is a top, top player and makes the game look very easy, but he's not that kind of player. If you want to win the Champions League, then Thiago plays and dictates the game. But when you're in the hustle and bustle of the Premier League it's a different game.

Don't get me wrong, Thiago is not to blame for Liverpool's dip whatsoever, but he has come into a team at a time when they are really struggling.

The one thing Liverpool were last season that they are not this year is consistent in their line-up. Last season everyone could name a Liverpool starting line-up, it never changed. They were the best team in the world without the ball; when one went, they all went.

Now all of a sudden, four or five injuries and chopping and changing of positions means they don't know when to press as a unit like they used to. There is no closing down, it's non-existent and I hardly see them winning the ball back ever, really.

Jurgen Klopp shows his frustration during Liverpool's defeat to Burnley at Anfield 0:28 Jurgen Klopp says it his responsibility to inspire clarity of thought from his misfiring Liverpool attack The difference between winning and retaining title

If you look back to the game against West Brom before Christmas, that typifies how hard it is to defend the title.

Having already won the league, Liverpool became lackadaisical when confronted with a game that was easy.

Now, if they hadn't won the league yet and were chasing their first title there was no way West Brom would have got back into that game.

Liverpool had luck on their side more often than not last season, but this year it's gone the other way recently.

That has contributed to the run they are on, and while on that run other teams, namely Manchester United and Manchester City, have had major runs in the opposite direction, so it's been a double whammy for Liverpool.

6:18 Graeme Souness and Jamie Carragher analyse Liverpool's struggles this season and discuss how they can turn it around Opportunity for Liverpool to prove greatness

This run is taking a toll on Klopp and all of his players. They have been so great of the past few years, now the players are all making the wrong decisions, and that's all about confidence.

These players are experiencing something they have never been through. Most of Liverpool's players came into the team, hit the ground running, won the Champions League and Premier League and had never lost a league game at Anfield until last night.

But it's in difficult moments like these where players have to play their way out, this is when great players get themselves out of this situation.

This is why the likes of Ryan Giggs, Roy Keane, David Beckham, Paul Scholes, all of those players, earned such a good reputation because if they did have a bad run - and trust me, they all did - they were out of it and were great again.

You've only got to look at the figures Liverpool have put up over the last two seasons to know they are still in this title race. A six-point gap for a side capable of winning 10 matches on the trot? Liverpool can click at any moment and can be right back up there.

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Klopp on team selection plans for FA Cup tie with United

LiverpoolFC.TV - Fri, 01/22/2021 - 13:57

Jürgen Klopp was asked about his team selection plans for this weekend’s FA Cup fourth-round tie with Manchester United during his pre-match press conference on Friday.

The Reds head to Old Trafford on Sunday, a week on from the sides playing out a goalless Premier League draw at Anfield.

Questioned by reporters on what will be the biggest factors in determining his starting XI, Klopp replied: “Opposition and competition.

“We want to win the game, it’s clear. It’s a cup game, the game will be decided that night and we want to win the game. That’s it. That’s how we will make the line-up."

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Klopp on team selection plans for FA Cup tie with United

LiverpoolFC TV - Fri, 01/22/2021 - 13:57
Jürgen Klopp was asked about his team selection plans for this weekend’s FA Cup fourth-round tie with Manchester United during his pre-match press conference on Friday.
Categories: LFC NEWS

What's gone wrong for Liverpool?

Liverpool FC on Sky Sports - Fri, 01/22/2021 - 11:40

A successful title defence? The fear after Liverpool's defeat to Burnley on Thursday night was whether they were now in a battle to even make the top four. 

"I cannot remember a time with so many players out of form at the same time," said Sky Sports pundit Jamie Carragher after Ashley Barnes' late penalty handed Liverpool their first defeat at Anfield in the Premier League since April 2017, 69 games ago.

It's now five Premier League matches without a win for the reigning champions and while they are just six points off the top of the table, their tough upcoming run of fixtures look like they could define Liverpool's season.

They face Manchester United in the FA Cup on Sunday, and then take on Tottenham (a), West Ham (a), Brighton (h), Man City (h), and Leicester (a) in the league.

Then, just a few days after the first leg of Liverpool's Champions League last-16 tie at Bundesliga title chasers RB Leipzig, there's a Merseyside derby at Anfield.

"If the next run of games do not go well then I have no doubt they will be well out of the title race by the middle of February, the end of February," said Carragher. "If that happens then Liverpool will be fighting for their lives to be in the Champions League next season."

preview image 3:05 FREE TO WATCH: Highlights from Burnley's win against Liverpool in the Premier League

Former Liverpool captain and manager Graeme Souness said: "Jurgen has some hard thinking to do. Some of those players look like they are shot. There is no sparkle about them."

So what has gone wrong for this Liverpool team which has been so impressive for the past three seasons? We take a look at their problems...

A goal drought and misfiring front three

Sky Sports' Peter Smith:

Liverpool beat Crystal Palace 7-0 last month. They are the top scorers in the Premier League. But four league games - and 87 shots - without a goal has raised real concerns about the team's previously formidable attack.

As Jamie Carragher highlighted on Monday Night Football, Liverpool's reliance on their front three to deliver week-in, week-out, might be becoming a problem - especially with Mohamed Salah and Sadio Mane out of form, and Roberto Firmino experiencing a potentially more concerning dip.

Mohamed Salah puts his hands to his head during Liverpool's defeat to Burnley at Anfield Image: It's one goal in six games for Mohamed Salah, who was not able to make an impact after stepping off the bench against Burnley

The Brazil forward has had 16 shots during Liverpool's goal drought and bad misses against Manchester United and Burnley have drawn criticism of his finishing technique.

He has never been as prolific as Salah and Mane - Firmino nearly went the entirety of Liverpool's title-winning season without scoring at Anfield - but with stats suggesting he is no longer driving the counter-press and winning the ball back in the final third as he has previously to spark attacks, that front-three machine is no longer clicking.

Klopp has bemoaned his attacking players' decision making and, from dithering when the shot was on to Salah repeatedly trying and failing to dribble past Erik Pieters, a drop-off in confidence and sharpness is now plain to see.

How costly that decision from the manager to play Diogo Jota deep into the dead-rubber against FC Midtjylland is looking now. The injury he picked up in the final minutes of that Champions League game not only deprived Liverpool of their in-form forward but also the option to rest and rotate Salah, Firmino, and Mane.

Divock Origi - who fired a golden one-on-one chance against the bar on Thursday - and Klopp's other alternatives in attack just do not match up, while this Liverpool midfield has never provided an abundance of goals.

Liverpool's front three have taken them to extraordinary heights - but they are now struggling badly for the first time.

Alexander-Arnold below his best

Sky Sports' Peter Smith:

As well as the front three, a defining part of Liverpool's attack in recent seasons has been the supply from the flying full-backs Trent Alexander-Arnold and Andy Robertson. The pair have 55 assists between them over the past three seasons and only Man City's Kevin De Bruyne has set up more goals than them in that period.

But at right-back, Alexander-Arnold is struggling to hit the consistent levels he has reached so impressively for much of his young career.

Trent Alexander-Arnold sent in 22 crosses against Burnley - but found a team-mate with just one Image: Trent Alexander-Arnold sent in 22 crosses against Burnley - but found a team-mate with just one

Defensively, he has looked less assured, while, on the front foot, he has just one assist in the Premier League since September. His chance creation rate is down by almost a third.

Against Burnley, Alexander-Arnold sent in 22 crosses - the most he had ever launched in a game - and found a team-mate with just one.

That is a statistic which is not solely down to him - he needs his targets to be alert in the box - but it shows things are not coming together in a department which has been so fruitful for this side.

Trent Alexander-Arnold has just two Premier League assists so far this season after recording 13 in 2019/20 Image: Trent Alexander-Arnold has just two Premier League assists so far this season after recording 13 in 2019/20

At left-back, Robertson's numbers for assists and crossing accuracy are holding up. While Alexander-Arnold has created just three clear-cut openings for his team-mates, Robertson ranks fifth in the Premier League in that metric with eight.

Although he missed two good chances against Man Utd, Robertson remains a reliable performer. But his partner at right-back is below his best.

A patched-up defence has impacted the midfield

Sky Sports' Gerard Brand:

It goes without saying that losing your player of the year will negatively impact your season. Virgil van Dijk's injury in October may go down as the key moment in this title race, but the impact has arguably been felt more in midfield than defence.

 Image: Virgil van Dijk's injury has had a long-lasting impact on Liverpool

Fabinho has dropped into the back line with authority - his mistake in the lead-up to Burnley's goal on Thursday was a rare one - and Liverpool have coped better than many had expected considering additional injuries to Joe Gomez and the recurring absence of Joel Matip.

In fact, they are conceding fewer shots per game this season (8.2) than last (9), and have conceded just 13 goals in 21 games since that ill-fated Merseyside derby.

But there's little doubt Fabinho's influence has been missed in midfield. He has not played there since the Everton match, and though Jurgen Klopp has tested young partners in Nat Phillips and Rhys Williams, neither have been given full trust, failing to start consecutive league games.

While the defence has been patched up as well as realistically hoped, the midfield have missed out, having a knock-on impact up the field. Klopp has rotated his midfield three incessantly; Jordan Henderson, Gini Wijnaldum and Curtis Jones has been the most popular three since that draw at Everton, but only on five occasions in the Premier League.

6:18 Graeme Souness and Jamie Carragher analyse Liverpool's struggles this season and discuss how they can turn it around

Klopp has tried James Milner, Naby Keita and Takumi Minamino in an attempt to find the intensity they have sorely missed. Thiago's return from injury gives Klopp another option, but the consistency and pinball-like midfield tenacity that punctuated their title-winning campaign has been missing - their overall duel success is down from 51.5 per cent to 47 per cent.

That lack of bite in midfield was even more keenly felt when captain Henderson was also pulled back into defence alongside Fabinho for the recent games with Southampton and Manchester United.

Matip's return against Burnley did not prompt the movement of Fabinho into midfield, but that switch may come once the defender settles into match fitness.

More possession, less space?

Sky Sports Gerard Brand:

In almost every post-match interview following an indifferent result, Klopp has referenced the deep-lying defence of the opposition.

It's nothing new, of course. Big teams have had to deal with low blocks for years, but is the tactic becoming more prevalent throughout the Premier League? And why are Liverpool feeling it more acutely this season?

There is a reason retaining the Premier League is harder than winning it; as champions, Liverpool become the team to beat, or rather, the team you have to stop.

Jurgen Klopp shows his frustration during Liverpool's defeat to Burnley at Anfield 0:28 Jurgen Klopp says it his responsibility to inspire clarity of thought from his misfiring Liverpool attack

Opposing teams are happier to let Liverpool have possession and sit 10 behind the ball - Liverpool's average possession is up slightly (65 per cent from 63.5 per cent), but their best performances have come when they have had less of the ball.

The wins over Leicester (56 per cent possession), Wolves (60 per cent), Chelsea (61 per cent) and even Crystal Palace (64 per cent), scoring 16 goals in total, all came in the bottom half of Liverpool's possessional counts this season. The recent poor form - defeats against Southampton (67 per cent) and Burnley (71 per cent), and draws against Fulham (75 per cent), West Brom (78 per cent) and Newcastle (73 per cent) - all come in the top half.

With less green to run into, Liverpool's fast breaks have gone down by nearly 50 per cent this season compared to last, and while last season Liverpool topped the league for direct attacks, before the Burnley game they were 12th.

Though Klopp is correct to say teams sit back against Liverpool - and perhaps more this season - it should not come as a surprise. Their problem has been breaking it down.

Missing a little luck… and belief

Sky Sports' Peter Smith:

"It is not a catastrophe," said Klopp when asked about Liverpool's dip in form ahead of the defeat to Burnley and it is important not to go overboard on the criticism. A solitary extra goal in their last four league games would have given Liverpool six more points and kept them top of the table.

As pointed out by Opta's Duncan Alexander, Liverpool have had an Expected Goals figure of 7.2 across their last five league games and scored just once. They have missed six clear-cut chances in their last four. The overall picture could easily have been different.

Indeed, how would Thursday night's match have panned out if Origi, clear through one-on-one, had found the top corner rather than rattled the bar?

Carra on Liverpool 2:55 Jamie Carragher says Liverpool could face a battle to finish in the top four following their defeat to Burnley at Anfield

These fine margins can swing things. They do not detract from some of the deeper problems that are starting to appear but, as Souness said on Sky Sports, some more fortune may have covered the cracks a little longer.

Late goals also played a major part in last season's title win. Think about the home wins against Leicester, Tottenham, and West Ham, or the victories at Wolves, Aston Villa, Crystal Palace, and Norwich. There was Adam Lallana's crucial late leveller against Manchester United at Anfield, too.

But, as Carragher highlighted after the defeat to Burnley, that relentless energy at the end of games, that belief and drive required to eventually find a way over the line, is missing right now.

Liverpool scored nine goals in the final 15 minutes of the first 14 games in this season. That late punch has disappeared.

"As the clock ticks closer and closer to 90 minutes the belief goes and you cannot see how Liverpool can score," he said.

With the Premier League campaign edging into its second half, the clock is ticking on Liverpool's title defence, too. They need to respond quickly.

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Meet the Academy: Tyler Morton

LiverpoolFC.TV - Fri, 01/22/2021 - 11:00

For a central midfield player at the Academy such as Tyler Morton, studying the likes of Thiago Alcantara and Jordan Henderson is a treasured opportunity.

Morton has made the step up to the Liverpool U23s side this season, and the 18-year-old is working hard for a chance to train with the first team one day.

With Jürgen Klopp's seniors now settled in at the AXA Training Centre in Kirkby, Morton knows all eyes are upon the Academy hopefuls at all times.

And there is no shortage of inspiration to keep levels and standards at their highest.

"It's fantastic knowing the first team are so close to us now and all eyes are definitely upon us," he told Liverpoolfc.com.

"Anyone can be watching us at any time in training or the matches. You've got to perform at your best at all times and that's the way it should be at Liverpool FC.

"It is a dream of mine to train alongside Thiago. I used to watch Thiago when he was at Bayern Munich on the TV and he's just a magician.

"They are the type of players you look up to and want to base your game on. I look up to Jordan as well because his leadership is brilliant.

"I haven't had that chance to train with the first team yet, but I know I've got a lot of work to do. I've just broken into the U23s team so I will try to keep working hard and see where that takes me."

Morton is set to feature for Liverpool U23s as they host Derby County in Premier League 2 on Saturday at the Academy. Kick-off is 1pm GMT and you can watch the game live on LFCTV and LFCTV GO.

In the week that he signed a new long-term Reds contract, we caught up with him for the latest edition of our Meet the Academy series...

On how he first came to Liverpool, having been spotted playing for the same junior side as former Reds midfielder Jay Spearing…

I was playing for Greenleas junior team and it was a moment to remember for me when Geoff Peters and Ian Barrigan asked us to come to the Academy when I was aged seven. Everton also came in for me, so I had a choice to make. But I'm a Liverpool supporter, so there was no real choice. It was always Liverpool for me! Every time I put on the shirt with the badge on it's a dream, and it's fantastic to be able to play alongside some of the best youth players in the world.

On scoring against Everton in a 6-1 mini-derby win over the Blues last season at Finch Farm…

That meant a lot to me. It was one of my first games back after injury and the lads were absolutely brilliant on the day. When I came on I just tried to impress and show what I could do. When the ball fell to me, I heard Niall Brookwell shouting for a pass but I just felt there's no chance I'm passing, I'm going to score here and thankfully it went in! It was a great feeling.

On getting his chance at U18 level last season when Leighton Clarkson and Jake Cain moved up to the U23s…

It was a big chance for me and I knew as soon as Leighton and Jake moved on that was my opportunity to showcase what I've got and what I can do on the field. I was a regular starter then before the season ended.

On the influence of Barry Lewtas on his Academy journey so far…

Very big. Barry was my coach at U12 level and I remember we went to a tournament in Belgium and did really well. I was captain under Barry and he has always given me great support and confidence.

On making the step up to U23 level this season…

I started the season with the U18s but then I damaged the ligaments in my ankle, which kept me out for a good few weeks. I've really enjoyed making the step up to the U23s but it's completely different to the U18s. It is a big step but I've enjoyed it and I'm thankful to the U23s players that have helped me so far. Lads like Tony Gallacher and Liam Coyle have been great with me and they are really easy to work with and very supportive.

On how big a step up it really is to play for the U23s compared with the U18s…

It is a big step. When we played recently against Southampton I didn't realise how quick the pace of the game is, but that kind of suits me sometimes because I like to play one- or two-touch. It is very quick and very physical as well because you don't get much time on the ball as you do at U18 level. I just want to try to cement my place with the U23s now. It's never nice when you see other lads getting injuries and we've had a few of those this season, but it does give other players from the U18s an opportunity to make that next step. It's also given an opportunity to some of the younger boys from the U16s to play for the U18s, like Isaac Mabaya, and those lads have done really well.

On taking responsibility from set-pieces…

I love taking free-kicks and corners, and when I'm playing with the U18s I have to share it with Dominic Corness. Dom is our left-foot wizard, isn't he? So I can't take them off him! But when I get the chance I think I've got a good delivery on me to get a good ball into the box. Our U18s manager, Marc Bridge-Wilkinson, has also been a big influence for me. I've learned so much from him because he was a midfield player. He is very easy to talk to and it's just nice to have great people like that around you.

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Categories: LFC NEWS

Meet the Academy: Tyler Morton

LiverpoolFC TV - Fri, 01/22/2021 - 11:00
For a central midfield player at the Academy such as Tyler Morton, studying the likes of Thiago Alcantara and Jordan Henderson is a treasured opportunity.
Categories: LFC NEWS


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