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Liverpool U18s suffer 3rd league defeat in tough afternoon at Man City

Sat, 12/02/2023 - 15:36

A ruthless Man City U18s side put the young Reds to the sword on Saturday as Marc Bridge-Wilkinson’s team fell to their third league defeat of the season.

Man City U18s 3-0 Liverpool U18s

U18 Premier League, City Football Academy
December 2, 2023

Goals: Mukasa 28′, Harrison 62′, 90+7′

Man City made a bright start to proceedings and came close to breaking the deadlock when Farid Alfa-Ruprecht called Kornel Misciur into action on more than one occasion and saw another effort disallowed within the first half an hour.

The hosts didn’t have to wait long to get their opener, however, with Divine Mukasa steering a left-footed finish home from close range for a well-worked first goal.

It was a dominant first-half display from the young Citizens, with Liverpool fortunate not to go into the break more than a goal behind.

 Manchester City's Matty Warhurst (L) is challenged by Liverpool's Kyle Kelly during the Under-18 Premier League match between Liverpool FC Under-18's and Manchester City FC Under-18's at the Etihad Campus. (Photo by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

 Manchester City's Matty Warhurst (L) is challenged by Liverpool's Kyle Kelly during the Under-18 Premier League match between Liverpool FC Under-18's and Manchester City FC Under-18's at the Etihad Campus. (Photo by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

The theme of knocking on the door continued into the second period, with Alfie Harrison going close to doubling the advantage shortly before the hour mark but pulling his effort wide.

He was then rewarded for his persistence minutes later, finishing a purposeful run down the left-hand flank by side-footing the ball between Misciur’s legs to make it 2-0.

The visitors fought hard to try and find a way back into the contest, but their best periods of second-half pressure only culminated in a handful of half chances.

The tough afternoon was rounded off in the dying seconds, when Harrison made it a brace for himself with one of the final touches of the game.

It was another calm finish beyond Miscuir from inside the area that put the finishing touches to an impressive Man City display and ensured that the hosts came away with all three points.

 Liverpool's substitute Josu Sonni-Lambie during the Under-18 Premier League match between Liverpool FC Under-18's and Manchester City FC Under-18's at the Etihad Campus. (Photo by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

 Liverpool's substitute Josu Sonni-Lambie during the Under-18 Premier League match between Liverpool FC Under-18's and Manchester City FC Under-18's at the Etihad Campus. (Photo by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

It is a result that sees Liverpool fall six points behind U18 Premier League leaders Man United, with Man City inflicting a third defeat of the season upon the young Reds.

Another trip to Manchester awaits next weekend, where Liverpool will be looking to close the gap on table toppers Man United at Carrington on Saturday.

Bridge-Wilkinson’s side will be hopeful of an improved performance in a game that represents the biggest test of the domestic campaign so far.

Liverpool U18s: Misciur; Kelly (Onanuga 78′), Pitt, Lucky, Gyimah; Trueman (Enahoro-Marcus 85′), Morrison, Laffey; Kone-Doherty (Pennington 78′), Figueroa (Sonni-Lambie 78′), Danns

Subs not used: Morana

Next match: Man City (H) – U18 Premier League – Saturday, December 2, 11am (GMT)

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Liverpool lineup vs. Fulham – Gravenberch or Jones? 3 selection headaches for Klopp

Sat, 12/02/2023 - 13:43

Liverpool are back in Premier League action on Sunday as they look to keep pace with the league leaders by taking care of business against Fulham.

The Reds kept up their perfect home record this season with a 4-0 thumping of LASK on Thursday and will be hoping to continue that trend this weekend.

Jurgen Klopp made nine changes to his side as Mohamed Salah turned captain in the Europa League, and we can expect a similar number of tweaks for the visit of Marco Silva’s team.

Here’s a look at how Liverpool could shape up for their latest Premier League encounter against Fulham.

Team news

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Here is a full fitness rundown ahead of the contest:

Liverpool’s XI vs. Fulham

 Liverpool's Curtis Jones during the FA Premier League match between Liverpool FC and Aston Villa FC at Anfield. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

 Liverpool's Curtis Jones during the FA Premier League match between Liverpool FC and Aston Villa FC at Anfield. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

The Reds are suffering something of a mini-crisis in the fitness department as things stand, but the squad still have plenty of depth to cope with the challenges that lie ahead.

Dominik Szoboszlai and Alexis Mac Allister have established themselves as two of the first names on the teamsheet, but the third midfield spot remains up for grabs.

Rotation up front in midweek also opens up a range of possibilities up front, but Jota’s injury does leave Klopp now picking three from four instead of five.

We can expect more changes, but this is how a likely XI would look for the Reds:

This is how Liverpool would line up:

Alisson; Alexander-Arnold, Konate, Van Dijk, Tsimikas; Mac Allister, Szoboszlai, Jones; Salah, Nunez, Diaz

Much of Klopp’s team will pick itself this weekend, but there are a number of spots up for grabs should he choose to mix things up against Fulham.

Joel Matip has impressed when called upon this season and started in the top-of-the-table clash with Man City last weekend.

Ryan Gravenberch will also feel he has done enough to earn himself a fourth league start, having also shone after coming off the bench at the Etihad.

Here is a look at how an alternative lineup might shape up:

  • Gravenberch to start in midfield instead of Jones
  • Matip to partner Van Dijk at centre-back
  • Cody Gakpo to keep his place after the brace against LASK

That means the Reds would look something like this:

Alisson; Alexander-Arnold, Matip, Van Dijk, Tsimikas; Mac Allister, Szoboszlai, Gravenberch; Salah, Gakpo, Diaz

Whichever way the manager chooses to go on Sunday, Liverpool should have more than enough quality to take three points from their meeting with 14th-placed Fulham.

The Reds have won all 10 of their home games across all competitions so far this season and will need to maintain that record if they are to keep pace with Arsenal and Man City.

Despite the injuries, Klopp has plenty of permutations to pick from as he prepares his side for another vital clash at Anfield, as demonstrated by the variety of options across the park.

Another big afternoon awaits, up the Reds!

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Wataru Endo: ‘Premier League is harder than I thought – but I’m improving’

Sat, 12/02/2023 - 13:00

Wataru Endo believes he is constantly improving and will be capable of playing a key role for Liverpool over the busy festive period.

The Japan captain put in an impressive performance as the Reds thrashed LASK 4-0 in the Europa League group stages at Anfield on Thursday evening.

Most of his opportunities to start this season have been restricted to that competition, with Alexis Mac Allister preferred in the holding role in the Premier League.

However, more chances to feature in the league may be imminent as Liverpool prepare for a gruelling schedule over Christmas, and Endo feels he is proving himself to be ready for that challenge.

He said: “I’ve played a lot of games already (in the Europa League) and I think every game gets better and better. I just try to keep doing well on the pitch.

“After I got here I had a talk with the boss about how Liverpool play. After that I just try to do that, and he talks a lot with me about it.

 Liverpool's Wataru Endo during the UEFA Europa League Group E matchday 2 game between Liverpool FC and Union SG at Anfield. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

 Liverpool's Wataru Endo during the UEFA Europa League Group E matchday 2 game between Liverpool FC and Union SG at Anfield. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

“Every time I try to help Liverpool play and, of course, I always watch what they do from the bench. I think it is an important thing, and I am getting better and better.

“[The Premier League] is harder than I thought but I’m very happy to be here. Physically, it’s speedy, so it’s very hard to adapt, but I keep trying and keep playing and I’ll get better.

“I’m already 30 years old but I feel I have a chance to grow as a football player, so I’m so happy to be here and I can improve.”

As well as a new league, Endo is also adapting to the step up in expectations that comes with joining a club where every game is considered a must-win.

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But he is enjoying that test and added: “I’m always ready to play every game, that’s the most important thing. We need all the players so I try to be ready every game and try to win every game.

“Liverpool has a very winning mentality so we always need to win, need to get three points, so it’s a very difficult thing but that’s why I came here. I’m enjoying the pressure.

“I’m a defensive midfielder so I have to make a difference in defence, but also to take up good positions and play good football. I’m enjoying playing with amazing players.”

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Liverpool midfielder suffers new long-term injury – loan could be cancelled

Sat, 12/02/2023 - 12:00

Liverpool midfielder James Balagizi has seen an already frustrating loan spell at Wigan hampered by a long-term injury, which could see him return early.

Balagizi joined League One side Wigan on a season-long loan on the back of an impressive spell with Crawley last term that saw him score three goals in 16 games.

But his time at the DW Stadium has been disappointing, with the 20-year-old playing just four times at senior level and failing to start once in the league.

Manager Shaun Maloney had left him out of his matchday squad entirely for all but one of the last 13 games in League One, which has coincided with a run of just one defeat in eight.

If Liverpool weren’t already considering terminating the deal in January, the likelihood has increased now, with Balagizi out for at least six weeks through injury.

“James damaged his hamstring in training, very innocuous, but it doesn’t look a very good one,” Maloney told the Wigan Observer on Thursday.

“We’re probably looking at around six weeks for him, which isn’t good news.”

On the prospect of Balagizi returning to the AXA Training Centre for treatment, the Wigan manager added: “We’ll allow him and Liverpool to decide what happens.”

 Liverpool's James Balagizi before the Premier League 2 Division 1 match between Crystal Palace FC Under-23's and Liverpool FC Under-23's at the Crystal Palace Academy. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

 Liverpool's James Balagizi before the Premier League 2 Division 1 match between Crystal Palace FC Under-23's and Liverpool FC Under-23's at the Crystal Palace Academy. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

It comes after a similar issue for Balagizi this time last year, when the versatile youngster eventually underwent surgery for an injury that ended his time at Crawley mid-season.

There has been no confirmation yet whether Liverpool will recall Balagizi in January yet, but the belief is that it would be the best course of action for all parties.

Already out of Maloney’s plans, he may find it even harder to break through after a lengthy layoff, and returning for the second half of the season with the U21s may be more beneficial.

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Balagizi’s injury problems have denied him a chance in Jurgen Klopp‘s first-team squad in the past, with an arm issue keeping him out of pre-season training in 2021.

He was named on the bench for the Carabao Cup clash with Norwich and FA Cup win over Shrewsbury that season, but has failed to make a senior debut yet.

The Manchester native may not be the only Liverpool loanee recalled, with decisions to make over Fabio Carvalho, Rhys Williams and James Norris, who are all lacking game time.

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Supercomputer predicts Liverpool Premier League finish – 12.3% chance of title

Sat, 12/02/2023 - 11:17

With a third of the Premier League season already completed, a supercomputer has crunched the numbers and predicted where Liverpool will end 2023/24.

The Reds have made a promising start to their campaign, sitting just two points behind Arsenal in top spot and securing progression in the League Cup and Europa League with a rotated side.

Klopp’s side have picked up 28 points from their opening 13 league games, and Opta Analyst‘s ‘Season Simulation’ tool suggests Liverpool are on course to finish runners-up in the league table.

The statistics indicate that the Reds have a 12.3% chance of capturing a 20th league crown in 2023/24, with Pep Guardiola’s Man City predictably topping the pile on 75.6%.

 Liverpool's Luis Diaz (R) is challenged by Manchester City's Phil Foden during the FA Premier League match between Manchester City FC and Liverpool FC at the City of Manchester Stadium. (Photo by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

 Liverpool's Luis Diaz (R) is challenged by Manchester City's Phil Foden during the FA Premier League match between Manchester City FC and Liverpool FC at the City of Manchester Stadium. (Photo by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

Despite currently looking down on the rest, Arsenal have been given an 11% chance of ending their 20-year wait for a league title and are set to finish third if you trust the data!

Perhaps surprisingly, Aston Villa are forecasted to fill the final spot in the top four, having made an impressive start to their campaign under Unai Emery so far.

The Champions League will of course be increasing in size from the start of next season, meaning that there is a chance that five English teams could compete in the competition in 2024/25.

If that were to be the case, Opta believes that Newcastle will take their place in Europe’s elite club competition for the second straight year after a two-decade-long hiatus.

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The table makes bad reading for Man United, who are projected to finish as low as eighth if the stats are to be believed!

At the other end of the table, our blue neighbours are fancied to survive the drop despite being handed a 10-point deduction by the Premier League for financial breaches.

Luton, Sheffield United and Burnley are the teams destined for relegation according to the figures, which would see all three promoted teams drop straight back down for the first time this century.

Let’s take a look at the computer’s league table in full:

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Jurgen Klopp singles out surprise Fulham player as “one of the greatest”

Sat, 12/02/2023 - 10:30

Jurgen Klopp has singled out one Fulham player as one of the Premier League‘s “greatest” ahead of this weekend’s showdown, and the name might surprise you!

The Reds are back in action at Anfield on Sunday as Marco Silva’s side look to spoil a run of 10 consecutive home victories for Liverpool so far this season.

Fulham currently sit 14th in the table and had gone four league games without a win prior to their controversial 3-2 victory over Wolves on Monday night.

In previewing the contest, Klopp namechecked a number of Silva’s players as people to keep an eye on, with the highest praise reserved for former Chelsea and Arsenal winger Willian.

“They have very creative set pieces, really creative, so we need to make sure we prepare for that properly,” explained Klopp during his pre-match press conference.

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“Marco is a top manager, he’s doing a brilliant job in a strong league, I’m not saying they are overachieving but they are doing particularly well and it’s a really good football team.

“With Jimenez up front, Vinicius, and then one of the greatest, the little curly one, one of the greatest the Premier League ever saw, who is still going and going and going [Willian] and Pereira.

“It’s just a good football team, well set up and it makes it special, and their little stadium there, they can create a proper atmosphere and we’ve had our struggles there.

“But this time it’s at Anfield, it’s home and we have to make sure it will be extremely difficult for them.”

 Fulham's Willian Borges da Silva (R) hets away from Liverpool's Trent Alexander-Arnold during the FA Premier League match between Liverpool FC and Fulham FC at Anfield. Liverpool won 1-0. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

 Fulham's Willian Borges da Silva (R) hets away from Liverpool's Trent Alexander-Arnold during the FA Premier League match between Liverpool FC and Fulham FC at Anfield. Liverpool won 1-0. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

Willian was linked with a move to Anfield prior to his switch to Chelsea back in 2013, but he had a hand in ending Liverpool’s 30-year wait for a Premier League crown despite never pulling on a red shirt.

The Brazilian scored a penalty against Man City in the game that mathematically sealed the title for the Reds in 2019/20, a fixture that the squad watched together from a team hotel.

While the choice may raise a few eyebrows, Klopp’s respect for Willian is vindicated by his 46 goals and 43 assists in the English top flight to date.

Liverpool will be keeping a close eye on him, and others, as they look to keep the pressure on Arsenal and Man City at the top of the table with another crucial three points.

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Categories: LFC NEWS