Klopp still not happy with Nations League

Liverpool's German manager Jurgen Klopp reacts ahead of the English Premier League football match between Liverpool and Manchester City at Anfield in Liverpool, north west England on October 7, 2018. (Photo by Paul ELLIS / AFP) / RESTRICTED TO EDITORIAL USE. No use with unauthorized audio, video, data, fixture lists, club/league logos or 'live' services. Online in-match use limited to 120 images. An additional 40 images may be used in extra time. No video emulation. Social media in-match use limited to 120 images. An additional 40 images may be used in extra time. No use in betting publications, games or single club/league/player publications. / (Photo credit should read PAUL ELLIS/AFP/Getty Images)

Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp has taken aim at the UEFA Nations League.

The German criticised the competition before the international break and has once again had a swipe at the tournament after seeing several players return from duty with their countries injured – although only Virgil Van Dijk was injured while playing in the Nations League.

Egypt international Mohamed Salah, Guinea midfielder Naby Keita and Senegal winger Sadio Mane all came back from Africa with injuries after playing for their countries.

But that hasn’t stopped the Anfield boss from taking the chance to give his view on the competition format.

“You make a lot of my comments about the Nations League.” he said.

“Everyone has their opinion about it, but the things they say about it are exactly what I think, it’s too much in that competition: Proper games, real opponents, it is better than having any friendlies.

“That’s all good but you don’t want to see [boxer Anthony] Joshua fighting every second night, it’s not possible. This week he fights in Leeds, next week he fights in Manchester and no one asked for it.

“In American Football you have the summer break which is longer than our season, it’s not that long, but it’s a real proper break. In basketball they have a Summer league, whatever it is, and then come together.

“Only football everyone seems to be interested in now having only big competitions where you can get promoted or relegated. Or when Wales play Ireland they play for something and the atmosphere in the stadium is different.

“Do we want to have opera every night or every two months? I like competition, of course, but at one point someone has to step back and think: ‘OK, wait, wait, wait. They are players who play’. If they don’t perform I am angry, so how can we make sure they perform?

“That’s all I wanted to say. The Nations League itself is a good idea, do it in another sport because in football there is no space for it. I realise already I could have told my coffee machine because no one is really interested, but it is still my opinion.

“We only have highlights now, ‘highlight, highlight, highlight’. Where is the rest? When can we have normal things?

“That is all I was talking about.” he finished.

Klopp won’t have long for the next round of fixtures in the tournament, as they take place next month.

Klopp pleased to have Van Dijk available

Liverpool's Dutch defender Virgil van Dijk controls the ball during the English Premier League football match between Liverpool and West Ham United at Anfield in Liverpool, north west England on August 12, 2018. (Photo by Oli SCARFF / AFP) / RESTRICTED TO EDITORIAL USE. No use with unauthorized audio, video, data, fixture lists, club/league logos or 'live' services. Online in-match use limited to 120 images. An additional 40 images may be used in extra time. No video emulation. Social media in-match use limited to 120 images. An additional 40 images may be used in extra time. No use in betting publications, games or single club/league/player publications. / (Photo credit should read OLI SCARFF/AFP/Getty Images)

Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp has confirmed that Virgil Van Dijk will be fit to play this weekend.

The Holland skipper was allowed to head home early and miss his country’s friendly against Belgium this week after aggravating a rib injury during the 3-0 victory over Germany last week.

But he has managed to recover from the issue he picked up when facing former club Southampton last month and will be available to take his place in defence against Huddersfield Town on Saturday afternoon.

“You saw when he went off – everybody saw when he went off – in the home game against Southampton, Virg would not leave the pitch without any major problems.” said Klopp.

“It settled pretty quickly. Football players have to play very often with some kind of pain, that’s how it is.

“What it is exactly is not too important.

“It’s all good, he has no problems with that anymore.” he finished.

Liverpool supporters will be pleased to see the world’s most expensive defender fit and ready to play.

Klopp confirms Keita absence

NAPLES, ITALY - OCTOBER 03: Naby Keita of Liverpool injured during the Group C match of the UEFA Champions League between SSC Napoli and Liverpool at Stadio San Paolo on October 3, 2018 in Naples, Italy. (Photo by Francesco Pecoraro/Getty Images)

Liverpool will be without Naby Keita for the trip to face Huddersfield Town.

Manager Jurgen Klopp confirmed that the Summer signing would not be part of the squad for the first Premier League fixture after the two week international break.

Keita picked up a hamstring injury while playing for Guinea in their win over Rwanda and was sent back to Merseyside for assessment following the match.

Supporters were hopeful that the former RB Leipzig man would be fit in time to be a part of the squad this weekend, but Klopp confirmed that he won’t be able to call upon the twenty-three year old.

“The only thing that is pretty sure is that Naby will not be available.” he said.

“That’s it, pretty much.” he added.

Keita made a very promising start to life as a Liverpool player in the opening round win over West Ham at Anfield back in August, but he has struggled with injuries of late and hasn’t managed to match the form that encouraged Klopp to wait a year to bring him to the club.

It remains to be seen how long he will be absent for with this issue.

Klopp explains delay in Fabinho league debut


Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp has said that midfielder Fabinho is “close” to making his Premier League debut.

The Brazil international arrived at the club in the Summer and had a full preseason of training and friendlies, but hasn’t been afforded the chance to show what he can do in the league as yet.

Klopp’s decision to keep back the former AS Monaco man has been met with confusion by some fans, but it looks like he will be getting his chance as domestic action returns to the menu after the international break.

“Close.” Klopp responded when asked how near Fabinho is to appearing in the Premier League for the first time.

“I didn’t see him for ten days so it’s not the best thing to judge exactly how he is. But very close, he was never far away, that’s how it is.

“He needs to get used to different things, that’s how it is for all the players.” he added.

Klopp went on to talk about a situation he had at former club Borussia Dortmund when Germany international Ilkay Gundogan was held back initially before being given the chance to prove himself.

“‘I had this situation so often, I don’t like to tell too many old stories but Ilkay Gundogan didn’t play for half a year,” he continued.

“The only difference was he was a young player from Nurnberg and nobody asked about him. He asked, he was not in the squad, there were a lot of difficult moments.

“You need to be ready, that’s how it is. At one point I have to make a decision if somebody is ready or not.” he added.

Klopp agreed a deal to bring Fabinho to Anfield soon after the Champions League final and so was clearly behind the idea of bringing him to the club, which he reaffirmed.

“We’ve already made the decision if he is the right player for us but now we have to come together.” he said.

“There’s no problem on that side, but I can imagine in that world when everyone asks the you constantly ‘oh, you don’t play’, so the player is not really comfortable.

“For me I don’t care too much, but I have to explain it. There’s only reason – because other players fit better in the moment. One reason, no other.

“I really think a lot about who plays in which position. It’s about the new player to close that gap, it always took time and always will.

“And when he closes the gap, he’ll go and make us better.” he finished.

Fabinho will hope to be given his chance in the upcoming fixtures against Huddersfield Town, Red Star Belgrade and Cardiff City.

Moreno a surprise target for Arsenal


Liverpool defender Alberto Moreno has emerged as a surprise transfer target for Arsenal.

The Spain international is out of contract at the end of the campaign and has indicated to the club that he has no intention of signing an extension.

Moreno is said to be looking to move on when his deal ends as he is tired of sitting on the sidelines after losing his place in the side to Scotland captain Andrew Robertson.

Manager Jurgen Klopp has only given the twenty-six year old one start so far this season, which came in the 2-1 League Cup loss against Chelsea at Anfield last month.

The former Sevilla man is eager to try and get back to playing regular first-team football in order to resurrect his international career.

He was given a recall to the Spanish squad almost a year ago after making an impressive return to the Liverpool side at the start of last season.

But a poor performance against former side Sevilla and an injury against Spartak Moscow in the Champions League saw his fortunes change and he lost the left-back spot to Robertson, who hadn’t long since joined from relegated Hull City.

Things could change for Moreno next Summer, however, with growing interest from around Europe as he enters the last eight months of the deal he signed when he joined the club in the Summer of 2014.

There has been plenty of speculation that Barcelona could launch a bid to take him back to Spain – but that would likely see him remain as a backup behind Jordi Alba.

A more appealing option could be to join Premier League rivals Arsenal – who are now managed by his old Sevilla boss Unai Emery.

The Spaniard has so far used compatriot Nacho Monreal on the left side of his defence since taking over from Arsene Wenger in the Summer, but he is now thirty-two years of age.

Emery is reported to be keen on doing a deal to snap up Moreno on a free transfer at the end of the season, according to The Mirror.

The article claims that Liverpool are resigned to losing Moreno for nothing after he turned down the offer of an extension and informed the club that he has no intention of sticking around to play second fiddle.

It is unlikely that many supporters will be too sad to see him move on after an inconsistent spell at Anfield.

Lack of Weaknesses puts Liverpool in line for Trophy Double in 2018/19


After surging to six-straight wins in the Premier League as well as a major scalp in the Champions League – taking the form of the fearsome Paris Saint-Germain – Liverpool slumped, somewhat, entering the October international break.

After crushing feeder club Southampton 3-0 at Anfield, the Reds lost to Chelsea 2-1 in the League Cup, redeeming themselves with a 1-1 draw at Stamford Bridge a few days later. But then, October started with a 1-0 loss to Napoli and then a lucky – due to a missed penalty – 0-0 draw against Manchester City at home.

These are by no means disastrous results, and leaving the early cup competition could help Liverpool coming towards the crowded fixtures scheduled for the winter, but going without a win in four games isn’t expected from a club as formidable as Liverpool this season.

Regardless of this slight skid, Liverpool are still the most feared team in the Premier League, with their closest competitor, Pep Guardiola of Manchester City, proclaiming that the Reds are the best team in the world when it comes to attacking and defending transitions and now boast a strong defensive corps, per the Liverpool Echo.

But, as is the case every season, injuries can derail an optimistic campaign. Luckily for Liverpool, the team is rife with talented depth, giving them very little by way of weaknesses.

Immense depth in Liverpool’s ranks

For many teams, losing an influential playmaker like Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain for an entire season would be detrimental to their title aspirations without a big-money signing to cover, but Liverpool have continued to excel in the English midfielder’s absence.

However, against the champions, midfield stalwart James Milner suffered a hamstring injury, potentially ruling him out until November. But, Liverpool have enough talent to cover for both Milner in the short term and Oxlade-Chamberlain in the long term.

One such player who could see more game time is the £40.5 million summer signing from AS Monaco, Fabinho. He hasn’t seen much game time so far because Jurgen Klopp is intent on easing him into the team’s space-squeezing style of play, but with over three months as a Red since his 1st of July 2018 switch, Fabinho should be tuned-in enough to cover in the middle of the park.

It’s this elite-level depth that has Liverpool labelled as the challengers to Manchester City this season. But it’s not just in the Premier League where Liverpool has been tipped to contend thanks to their strong squad. As of the 12th of October, Liverpool are at 14/1 to win the Premier League and Champions League with Betway, showing how much belief there is in Klopp’s hard-to-beat style of play, super strike force, greatly improved defensive corps, and strength in depth.

Another grand example of Liverpool’s depth comes in the form of diminutive £13.23 million summer signing Xherdan Shaqiri. While the Swiss whizz only played in six of the team’s 11 contests before the international break – due to the likes of Roberto Firmino, Mohamed Salah, and Sadio Mane leading the front line – he says that he’s relaxed playing the waiting game and ready to perform when called upon, as reported by The Independent.

Is there a chink in Liverpool’s armour?

In the 0-0 draw against Manchester City at Anfield on the 7th of October, Liverpool came very close to losing the game after Virgil van Dijk’s challenge in the box resulted in a penalty. Luckily for the Reds, City’s £61 million summer signing, Riyad Mahrez, blazed the ball over the bar.

While Virgil van Dijk is the decisive factor in the Liverpool defence transforming from being as porous as cheesecloth to a respected backline, sometimes his strength and power get the better of him, as was the case against City. Netherlands boss Ronald Koeman says that his captain needs to be less laid back because of his physical attributes.

But, this isn’t Liverpool’s biggest potential weakness; their weakness is what they’d do without Virgil van Dijk. The only game that Van Dijk hasn’t played this season is the League Cup match against Chelsea, which Liverpool lost 2-1 with Dejan Lovren and Joel Matip at centre back.

Joe Gomez has played remarkably well alongside the big Dutchman this season, creating a cohesive and effective duo with Andrew Robertson and Trent Alexander-Arnold down the flanks. But, if the Englishman were to be saddled with Matip or Lovren, the defence would certainly struggle.

An extended injury to Virgil van Dijk would put Liverpool’s trophy hopes in jeopardy, but, one of the many great aspects of Van Dijk is that he’s very hard to break. According to Transfermarkt, the Netherlands captain has only ever suffered two prolonged injury stints, missing 18 games with Southampton due to an ankle injury in 2017, and seven games with Groningen in 2012 following an appendectomy.

Jurgen Klopp has built a team that’s deep with class, able to weather a slew of injuries and the winter fixtures list. Liverpool look primed for a run at both the Champions League and Premier League this season thanks to this strength in depth.

Sturridge hoping to earn a new contract

NAPLES, ITALY - OCTOBER 03: Daniel Sturridge of Liverpool applauds after the Group C match of the UEFA Champions League between SSC Napoli and Liverpool at Stadio San Paolo on October 3, 2018 in Naples, Italy. (Photo by Catherine Ivill/Getty Images)

Liverpool striker Daniel Sturridge is hoping to earn a new deal with the club.

The England international is out of contract at the end of the season and is hoping that he can regain his best form in order to be given the offer of an extension.

Sturridge, who turned twenty-nine years of age last month, has gone about things the right way so far this season with four goals to his name already despite limited game time.

The former Chelsea and Manchester City forward found the net immediately after coming off the bench against West Ham on the opening weekend of the campaign.

He went on to score against Paris Saint Germain in the first round of Champions League fixtures in what was his first start since returning to the club from a disappointing loan spell with relegated West Brom.

That was followed by a goal in each of the games against former side Chelsea in the League Cup and Premier League – and that helped to see Sturridge gather further determination to succeed.

“I’m always trying to push myself to the next level and contribute as best I can to the team to allow us to be successful.” he said.

“I feel like we’ve been very unlucky actually over the last few years not to win something, so hopefully this’ll be the season when we can achieve that.

“But there’s a long way to go, there’s a lot of obstacles to overcome before we get to that stage when we can talk about trophies and these things.

“It’s important to stay focused throughout the season to get to the end – and hopefully have something to be excited about at the end.” he finished.

Sturridge was named as the player of the month for September after a fan poll.

Reds trio a doubt for Huddersfield match

Senegalese Sadio Mane (C) vies with Sudanese players during the African Cup of Nations match Senegal v Sudan on October 13, 2018 at the Leopold Sedar Seghor Stadium in Dakar. (Photo by SEYLLOU / AFP) (Photo credit should read SEYLLOU/AFP/Getty Images)

Liverpool could be without duo Sadio Mane and Naby Keita as well as James Milner this weekend.

The African pair both picked up injuries while playing for their countries during the international break and were sent back to Merseyside early so they could be assessed.

Former Southampton winger Mane was found to have broken the thumb on his left hand and had an operation to correct it on Wednesday to give him a chance to heal sooner.

He sat out training on Thursday and will be assessed ahead of Saturday’s trip to face Huddersfield Town as the squad prepare for a return to Premier League action.

Keita, meanwhile, picked up a hamstring injury while playing for Guinea against Rwanda and was allowed to return to the club for assessment and treatment immediately.

He underwent scans on Wednesday to check on the extent of the damage and was told to sit out Thursday’s training session before being looked at again.

The former RB Leipzig man may recover in time to take a place on the substitute’s bench on Saturday, but it looks highly unlikely that he will be able to start the game.

It has been claimed that he will be sidelined for a fortnight thanks to the injury, but there has been no official word from the club as yet.

Meanwhile, midfielder James Milner will continue to be assessed ahead of the match after being forced to come off during the first-half of the 0-0 draw against former club Manchester City almost a fortnight ago.

Salah and Van Dijk train ahead of Huddersfield trip

LONDON, ENGLAND - AUGUST 20: Mohamed Salah and Virgil van Dijk of Liverpool warm up during the Premier League match between Crystal Palace and Liverpool FC at Selhurst Park on August 20, 2018 in London, United Kingdom. (Photo by Julian Finney/Getty Images)

Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp has been given an injury boost ahead of Saturday’s trip to take on Huddersfield Town.

Key duo Virgil Van Dijk and Mohamed Salah were both sent home from international duty after presenting with injury concerns following outings for their countries.

Dutch international Van Dijk was allowed to skip the friendly against Belgium this week after raising concerns over the rib injury he suffered against former side Southampton last month.

While Salah was injured during Egypt’s 4-1 victory against Swaziland on Friday evening, in which he scored, and was sent back to Merseyside for checks before the return fixture this week.

But both came through training sessions and fitness tests at Melwood, according to a report by The Mirror, and will be available for selection this weekend.

It will come as very good news to manager Klopp after he saw a host of his squad pick up injuries during the international break of the past couple of weeks.

The German will be looking to get his side back to winning ways against the Terriers, who are managed by his Borussia Dortmund colleague David Wagner, after draws against Chelsea and Manchester City.

Liverpool will look to sell Origi in January


Liverpool will look to move on forward Divock Origi in the new year.

The Belgian international has not played a minute of first-team football so far this season after spending last year on loan at Bundesliga outfit VfL Wolfsburg.

It was widely expected that the former Lille man would be making a permanent exit in the Summer before the campaign kicked off, but no bidders would match the asking price slapped on the striker.

But Echo journalist James Pearce has said that the club are anticipating recouping around £20m for Origi when the winter transfer window opens in January.

And he has also stated that Everton are “understood” to be interested in doing a deal that would see Origi become the first Liverpool player to sign for the Goodison Park club since Gary Ablett way back in 1992.

It was being reported earlier this week in the Turkish press that Toffees boss Marco Silva was keen on doing a shock bit of business with Liverpool for the forward.

Origi has failed to impress manager Jurgen Klopp into giving him a chance so far this season and it looks like time is running out for him to extend his Anfield career.