Liverpool’s hopes to making it to a second consecutive Champions League final appear to be decent after the draw for the quarterfinals was conducted. In a first, the semifinal draw was also done, which means we’ll know who the Reds’ potential semifinal opponents are (assuming they beat Porto, which we think they should!)
Who are Liverpool playing in the quarters?
They’re playing FC Porto, whom they beat 5-0 in the Ro16 last season. Porto progressed to the last eight by eliminating Roma, who were LFC’s SF opponents last year.
Who are Liverpool’s likely semifinal Champions League opponents?
If they beat Porto, LFC will face the winners of the Manchester United/Barcelona quarterfinal. They would’ve played FCB in last season’s semi had the Catalans not suffered a stunning exit at hands of Roma. The other side of the draw has Ajax, Juve, Man City and Spurs.
Juve, LFC, Man City and Barca are the only teams who also appeared in the last eight in the 2017/18 season.
Liverpool will enter the international break as league leaders after a hard fought 2-1 win over strugglers Fulham at Craven Cottage. With rivals Man City not in action as they were playing in the FA Cup, the Reds had a chance to go top of the league with a win in London, and did so thanks to a first half strike from Sadio Mane and a late penalty from James Milner.
Jurgen Klopp made two changes from the side that had secured a famous European triumph in midweek against Bayern. One was injury enforced in the form of Jordan Henderson, while the other saw James Milner drop to the bench, with Fabinho and Adam Lallana both coming into the XI.
Fulham caretaker boss Scott Parker made twice as many changes as his opposite number. In came Anguissa, Seri, Fosu-Mensah and Ayite and out went Odoi, McDonald, Sessegnon and Nordtveit.
As good as Liverpool’s performance was on Wednesday night at the Allianz Arena, few would disagree that this was not the Bayern Munich of old. Three FCB players- Mats Hummels, Jerome Boateng and Thomas Muller had been told by national coach Jogi Low that they no longer had a future with Die Mannschaft. Muller was suspended for this game, Boateng only made it to the bench because Joshua Kimmich was suspended (which resulted in Rafinha being promoted to the starting XI), and Hummels was poor in comparison to his opposite number Virgil van Dijk, who also beat him to a corner to score the goal that effectively sealed Bayern’s fate.
The German media operates on a 6-1 scale (6 being very bad and 1 being very good). Gnabry and Thiago were the only players to get an “average” rating for this game- both picked up 3’s. Manuel Neuer is nowhere near his best after coming back from injury and that reflected in his 5 for the game. James and Lewandowski were expected to be crucial for Bayern, but neither really turned up on the evening.
Kicker ran the headline “Deutsches Desaster”, alluding to the fact that no German club made it to the quarters of the CL. Continue reading
Liverpool turned in one of their best away performances in the Champions League this season as they convincingly beat Bayern Munich in the second leg of their European knockout tie. After a 0-0 draw in the first leg, many pundits thought Bayern had the edge, especially as Jurgen Klopp’s men had suffered defeats away in Paris, Naples and Belgrade during the group stages.
But Bayern seemed short on ideas, and Liverpool, thanks to the brilliance of Sadio Mane, sealed a famous 3-1 win at the Allianz Arena. The Senegalese opened the scoring with a beautiful goal on 26 minutes and fittingly enough, also scored the final one of the evening, beating Manuel Neuer with a header from point blank range.
Virgil van Dijk again showed why many consider him as the world’s best defender, and his fantastic header midway through the second half, beating both Hummels and Martinez to the ball, was a pivotal moment in the game. Continue reading
A game that could have a pivotal impact on the title race sees Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s Manchester United square off against Jurgen Klopp’s Liverpool at Old Trafford on Sunday afternoon. The Reds have a better record under the referee for this game, but United will be doing local rivals City a great favour if they can take points off the Reds in this GW27 clash.
Here are the predictions for the game from various well known TV pundits
Mark Lawrenson: Lawro says that the atmosphere at Old Trafford will be “white-hot” and that this is “one of Liverpool’s difficult league games between now and the end of the season”
Has predicted a 1-1 draw.
Paul Merson: Merson predicts a 2-1 win to United, saying that the “nerves of Liverpool will be too much”
Robbie Savage: Savage is another who has gone for the same scoreline as Merson- a 2-1 is his prediction as well.
Michael Owen & Kevin Kilbane: Ex-Liverpool striker Owen and former Everton medio Kilbane have both tipped this to end in a draw, but one in which both teams will score.
Bottom line: Few think Liverpool can win at Old Trafford this afternoon! Three points here would be a huge statement of intent from the Reds.
The referee for Round 27’s marquee clash between Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s Manchester United and Jurgen Klopp’s Liverpool has been announced, and it’s Michael Oliver.
The Reds have a very good recent record under him. Oliver last refereed a Liverpool game in December- the 5-1 win over Arsenal at Anfield. LFC are on a four game winning streak under him, and their last defeat with him in the middle came nearly two years ago, when Leicester beat them 3-1 at the end of the 2016/17 season.
Liverpool last four under Oliver
Liverpool 5-1 Arsenal
Huddersfield 0-1 Liverpool
Tottenham 1-2 Liverpool
Crystal Palace 0-2 Liverpool
Manchester United were on a three game losing streak under Oliver before they halted it with a 5-1 thrashing of Cardiff before Christmas, also Solskjaer’s first game as Red Devils interim manager after taking over from Jose Mourinho.
United have a win percentage of a little over 40% in Oliver games over the last decade or so. Their last win against a fellow top six side when Oliver was the ref came back in 2016.
This is the first time since January 2017 that Oliver is taking charge of a game between these two great North West rivals. That last clash (at Old Trafford) ended in a 1-1 draw.
United’s last four games under Oliver
Cardiff 1-5 Man Utd
West Ham 3-1 Man Utd
Chelsea 1-0 Man Utd
Man Utd 1-2 Man City
It’s always good to look at what the media in the opposition’s country think of our club’s performances, and without further ado, here is a look at Bild’s player ratings for Liverpool vs Bayern.
Note that the player ratings are inverse- 5 actually means a a poor and 1 means very good. We were originally surprised to see Javi Martinez and Mat Hummels both get a 1, thinking that there was no way they had performed that badly, only to realise the grading system later! We thought Martinez was one of the stand outs for Bayern in what we saw, and were happy to see it proven right.
According to these ratings, the worst Liverpool player on the evening was left back Andy Robertson, followed by Wijnaldum and Salah. There was no true stand out player, with several getting average 3 ratings- eight of the eleven were given that grade!
For Bayern, Hummels and Martinez were the best players, with James Rodriguez being the worst. Bild also thought that Niko Kovac outsmarted his opposite number Klopp
Is it advantage Bayern Munich? Some would think so after the Bavarian giants came away with a 0-0 draw from Anfield following the first leg of their Round of 16 Champions League clash. Research suggests that the away team in the first leg (in this case Bayern) progresses nearly 75% of the time when the first leg ends in a 0-0 scoreline.
However some would argue that Liverpool still hold an upper hand as they didn’t allow Niko Kovac’s men to score. This means an early goal at the Allianz for the Reds would leave Bayern chasing the game as a 1-1 draw would see Jurgen Klopp’s men progress on the away goals rule.
Klopp himself declared in his post match interview that he “was not over the moon” but “was completely OK” with the result.
Indeed things started brightly, but there was precious little of football played in the second half. The biggest talking points would perhaps be the Bayern fans’ banner protesting the exorbitant prices of away CL tickets, and Joshua Kimmich getting himself carded for a needless challenge on Sadio Mane, which sees the former out of the return leg in Munich.
Javi Martinez was fantastic for Bayern, with his form reminiscent of previous European performances in the early part of this decade. Given the fragile nature of both defences, few would’ve expected a 0-0, but that’s the way it panned out! Liverpool would perhaps not be too disappointed- they fielded a makeshift pairing of Fabinho and Matip, as was expected, but managed to keep Lewandowski quiet, and will have VVD back for the return leg. Continue reading
Liverpool may be forced to use a makeshift pairing of Fabinho and Joel Matip in central defence for the first leg of their crunch European knockout tie against Bayern Munich. With Virgil van Dijk suspended, Joe Gomez injured and Dejan Lovren facing a race against time to be fit for this game, it looks like Jurgen Klopp will have to ask Fabinho to shift from midfield to CB alongside Joel Matip.
How could this affect Liverpool’s chances? Bayern have one of the best attackers in the world upfront in the form of Robert Lewandowski. While the Bavarians haven’t been their all conquering self in Germany this season, they come into this game on the back of a 3-2 win over Augsburg last weekend.
England had mixed success in the CL last week- Manchester United put in a limp performance at home against Paris SG while Spurs put in an assured one at Wembley against Borussia Dortmund.
Liverpool have had a ten day break for this clash, with no fixtures scheduled for the weekend of February 16-17 for the Reds.
Gini Wijnaldum scored an outrageous goal in Liverpool’s 3-0 win over Bournemouth at Anfield, and the Dutch midfielder finds himself in various pundits’ Team of the Week for GW 26. The victory was an important one for Liverpool after successive draws against Leicester and West Ham for Jurgen Klopp’s men had allowed Man City to go back on top ahead of the weekend.
Wijnaldum’s goal came in the 34th minute of the game, sandwiched between Mo Salah’s 24th minute effort and Roberto Firmio’s 48th minute strike. He played 77 minutes of this game before being replaced by Trent Alexander Arnold.
In both Robbie Savage and Jamie Redknapp’s Teams of the Week, Wijnaldum is the solitary Liverpool representative. In Garth Crooks’ Team, he also has Firmino and left back Andy Robertson for company.
The next task for Wijnaldum and Liverpool is a tough CL Round of 16 clash against Bayern.
Following Liverpool’s 3-0 win over Bournemouth over the weekend, the club now have a ten day break until their next assignment- a tasty Champions League clash against German giants Bayern Munich. The midweek fixture against the Bavarians is followed by another tough one against Manchester United at Old Trafford.
Two months ago, it was Liverpool’s 3-1 win over their great North West rivals that spelt the end for Jose Mourinho. Six odd weeks later, the Red Devils appear to be in the form of their lives under new manager Ole Gunnar Solksjaer, with players like Paul Pogba and Marcus Rashford again looking like world beaters. Mourinho had once said it would need “a miracle” for United to finish top four- Solskjaer has already achieved the seemingly impossible. Continue reading
Liverpool striker Mohamed Salah has been named in the BBC’s official Premier League Team of the Week for Round 12. Salah scored the Reds’ first goal in their 2-0 win over Fulham at Anfield over the weekend, helping Jurgen Klopp’s men bounce back from their midweek Champions League setback in Belgrade.
Another LFC player to make the Team of the Week was Scottish left back Andy Robertson, whose inch perfect across in the second half allowed Xherdan Shaqiri to seal victory for the home side.
Garth Crooks’ Team of the Week: Pickford, Lowton, Bamba, Foyth, Robertson, Fernandinho, D.Silva, Anderson, Salah, Rondon, Sterling
Salah and Robertson also made it to Jamie Redknapp’s Team of the Week- again the only two LFC players present in the XI.
Jurgen Klopp’s quote after the game described pretty much summed up the Reds’ performance in the Serbian capital on Tuesday evening. When asked by a journalist whether he could “put a finger” on what had gone wrong, the German gaffer replied that he only had ten fingers!
Perhaps we should’ve paid more attention to Napoli’s 0-0 draw against Red Star in Match Week 1. But the Serbian outfit followed up that performance with disappointing 6-1 and 4-0 defeats at Parc des Princes and Anfield respectively, and Reds fans could be forgiven for thinking this might be a walk in the park for their side. Continue reading
Xherdan Shaqiri has been left out of Liverpoool’s squad to travel to Belgrade for their Champions League clash against Red Star. The versatile playmaker was not named in the 21 member team announced by the Reds, with Jurgen Klopp wary of a potentially harsh reception for the Swiss star, who has Kosovar-Albanian heritage, especially after his Double Eagle celebration at the World Cup earlier this summer in Russia. The Swiss came from behind to win 2-1 against the Serbs thanks to goals from Shaqiri and Arsenal’s Granit Xhaka.
Liverpool’s 21 member squad to travel to Belgrade for Red Star game:- Fabinho, Van Dijk, Wijnaldum, Lovren, Milner, Keita, Firmino, Mane, Salah, Gomez, Alisson, Sturridge, Moreno, Lallana, Mignolet, Robertson, Origi, Solanke, Matip, Kelleher, Alexander-Arnold Continue reading
Stuart Attwell has been appointed as referee for Liverpool’s clash against Cardiff this weekend. The Bluebirds registered a much needed 4-2 win over Fulham at home last weekend, aided by some truly dire defending from the Cottagers. It was the first win of the season for Neil Warnock’s promoted team.
Attwell has been given the whistle for this one. He has refereed four Premier League games featuring Liverpool.
March 2010- Liverpool 4-1 Portsmouth
September 2010- Liverpool 2-2 Sunderland
February 2018- Liverpool 4-1 West Ham
April 2018- West Brom 2-2 Liverpool
Going by this 4-1 and 2-2 sequence, this weekend’s game is likely to end 4-1 in favour of Jurgen Klopp’s Reds!
Another interesting stat- Cardiff have not won in their last four games (all in the Championship) under Attwell.
Attwell’s assists for this LFC Cardiff clash will be Constantine Hatzidakis and Adrian Holmes, with Craig Pawson to serve as the fourth official at Anfield.
The number of international players called up from a club is sometimes a good indicator of how well it’s been doing domestically. By that metric, Liverpool are definitely been right up there, and the Reds had a whopping 15 players called up during the recent international break. It’s also a testament to the purchasing power of the Premier League and the calibre of players it’s able to attract. Continue reading
Michael Oliver has been appointed as referee for Liverpool’s first game after the October international break- an away trip to the John Smith’s Stadium to take on Huddersfield Town.
The Reds have already played twice under Oliver this season in the league. Both were away fixtures- a 2-0 win at Selhurst Park against Crystal Palace in Week 2, and a 2-1 win at Wembley against Tottenham Hotspur in Week 5.
Huddersfield, by comparison, have struggled in recent games under Oliver. He reffed their 0-0 stalemate at home against Cardiff in Week 3, a fixture in which he sent off Jonathan Hogg. In Town’s last three games with Oliver in the middle, they’ve failed to score a single goal.
Will Michael Oliver again end up red carding a Huddersfield player?
Liverpool really did not have to get out of second gear as they managed an easy 3-0 win over Mark Hughes’ Southampton over the weekend- the scoreline a repeat of their win from last season.
The Reds tried out a 4-2-3-1 formation at the beginning of the game to accommodate Xherdan Shaqiri, but reverted back to the 4-3-3 that Klopp has generally favoured after the Swiss international’s withdrawal at half time.
The win also means that LFC are the only team in the league with a 100% record following Chelsea’s goalless stalemate at the London Stadium against Manuel Pellegrini’s West Ham.
That Liverpool didn’t really hit their stride, but were also not posed any real problems, is shown in their ratings, with most players earning a 7 for their efforts at Anfield. Southampton took 90 minutes to register their first shot on target, and that was easily saved by Alisson.
Most of the papers, bar the Echo, thought that Virgil van Dijk was the best LFC backline player on show. They also agreed that Xherdan Shaqiri had an impressive full debut.
This was a relatively easy fixture in a tough schedule for the Reds- this Saints clash was preceded by their Champions League clash against PSG, and will be followed by back to back games against Chelsea (Cup & League) and a trip to Italy to take on Napoli. Continue reading
Liverpool made it six wins in as many games as they brushed aside the challenge of Mark Hughes’ Southampton at Anfield on Saturday afternoon. For Saints, it was effectively a repeat of last season’s game, having lost 3-0 in 2017/18 as well. LFC had the game wrapped up by half time, and didn’t even have to get out of second gear- this was a pretty easy win for them despite Southampton’s best efforts.
Reds boss Jurgen Klopp handed Joel Matip and Xherdan Shaqiri their first league starts of the season and opted for a change in formation to 4-2-3-1. This saw Henderson and Wijnaldum in midfield, Salah as the sole striker upfront, Shaqiri effectively employed as a No.10, with Roberto Firmino on the left and Sadio Mane on the right.
Liverpool are on a bit of a roll, having won their opening five league games of the new season and seeing off the challenge French giants Paris Saint-Germain in their first CL group game in midweek. Beating Southampton this weekend will see the Reds win their sixth straight Premier League game, a feat that has only previously been managed in the top flight by Newcastle, Man City and Chelsea.
Liverpool won the corresponding fixture between these two sides 3-0 last season thanks to a brace from Mo Salah and a second half strike from Philippe Coutinho.
Can Liverpool make it 6 wins out of 6 against Saints? Here is what the pundits have predicted for this clash.
Mark Lawrenson: Lawro has gone for a repeat of last season’s scoreline, predicting that Liverpool will beat Saints by three unanswered goals. Lawro’s celeb opponent for the weekend, Dame Jessica Ennis-Hill, like him, has gone for a 3-0 win to the Reds
Paul Merson: Sky pundit Merson also reckons that Liverpool will be too strong for Southampton, and has also gone for a 3-0 scoreline in favour of the home side. Continue reading
Liverpool face Leicester at the King Power Stadium this weekend in MD 4, a tricky test for Jurgen Klopp’s table toppers. Despite losing to Manchester United on the opening day of the season, Claude Puel’s Leicester bounced back with wins over Wolves and Southampton- victories that one might say to be a tad lucky given how well their opponents played. Nevertheless, with six points from 3 games, Leicester are 7th in the table going into Round 4.
Here is what the pundits say for Leicester vs Liverpool
Mark Lawrenson: Lawro reckons Liverpool will drop points this weekend and says this will end in a 1-1 draw. His celebrity opponent for this round, radio host Greg James, however thinks Liverpool will continue their 100% record and will win 2-0 at the King Power. Continue reading
After having been given a relatively easy draw last season (Sevilla, Spartak and Maribor), Liverpool have been placed in a virtual Group of Death for the 2018/19 Champions League group stages. The Reds have been drawn alongside PSG, Napoli and Red Star Belgrade in Group C.
Benfica’s win over PAOK last night pushed Liverpool to Pot 3- they would’ve been in Pot 2 and potentially got an easier draw if the Greek side had triumphed.
Red Star, former European champions, are taking part in the group stages of the modern Champions League for the first time in their history.
Liverpool’s last European games against Red Star and PSG were back in 1973 and 1997 respectively, while they last did battle against Napoli back in 2010 in the Europa League. Continue reading
A goal midway through the first half allowed Liverpool to keep their winning run intact as they beat Brighton 1-0 at Anfield. The Reds were unchanged for this fixture, with Klopp happy to keep faith with the same set of players that had done the business in the opening two weeks of the campaign.
Despite the Seagulls having beaten the Reds’ great North West rivals Manchester United in Week 2, few pundits had expected to them to upset Jurgen Klopp’s side, and the first few minutes showed why- there were easily three clear cut opportunities for the home side to score.
First Sadio Mane’s shot tantalizingly went on the wrong side of the post with Brighton keeper Ryan well beaten. The latter was called into action again, producing a good save to deny Firmino’s header after an excellent cross from Andy Robertson. Trent-Alexander Arnold then rattled the woodwork with an excellent free kick.
Brighton upset Manchester United last weekend and will travel to Anfield in Round 3 to take on in-form Liverpool. How will the Reds fare against their opponents from the South Coast this weekend? LFC Zone decided to check out what the pundits (messrs Lawro, Merson and Owen) had to say about this fixture.
Mark Lawrenson: Lawro says Liverpool “are flying” and the pace of their play “is difficult to cope with”, and has predicted a 3-0 win for the Reds
Lawro’s celeb opponents this weekend are Idris Elba and Aml Ameen. Elba also sees Liverpool scoring 3, but also reckons Brighton will be able to beat Alisson twice this weekend. Aml Ameen has gone for another Brighton upset, backing the Seagulls to win 2-1. Continue reading