Free Friday & LFC News, Media and Transfer Roundup – March 10th, 2023
The Magnificent Seven, The Brilliance of Last Year's Vintage & A Special Kind of Gobshite
Free Friday will cover our work across The Tomkins Times’ Substack network, with it running via an opt-in or opt-out newsletter on The Main Hub (where almost all of the community commenting takes place), but covering TTT’s four sub-Substacks, or spokes.
Also make sure you check out Daniel Zambartas’ media round-up, which will be added to best of TTT from the previous week.
Best Comment of the Week
TTT Main Hub
Even before the magnificent seven against Manchester United, there was a deep dive from Paul on the amount of penalties the Reds receive in ‘Facts: LFC Rank 10th in Klopp Era for PL Penalties Won, and Other Not 'Spot-On' Stuff for Reds’.
On average under Klopp since 2015, Liverpool have to score 15.4 goals before they receive a penalty.
This ranks the Reds bottom of the entire pile for penalty frequency vs goals scored, below Burnley and Norwich.
Bigger clubs tend to fare worse in this metric, bar Manchester United. United have scored 473 for their 54 penalties, which include the penalties scored; Liverpool’s 601 goals with just 39 penalty awards means a penalty vs goals scored is almost twice as infrequent.
Next up was the bumper post-match analysis that not only includes the analysis from Paul, me and Beez et al, but also another 300+ comments underneath enjoying the glow of destroying the Red Devils.
The next part of an expectedly busy week on TTT was another in-depth look at how the Reds have developed recently following the poor run of form post-World Cup.
I may be getting carried away, but given his age, and what he can already do, I think Gakpo could become one of the best players in the world. His mixture of size, speed, ability, intelligence, energy and composure suggest an absolute superstar in the making, but perhaps one whose best work, like that of Firmino, will sometimes go unnoticed.
But if he continues to do the false 9 role as well as Firmino, yet scores more goals, that’s almost perfection.
Gakpo follows the classic teenager-to-early-20s scoring trajectory, when looking at his goals in the league and for Holland. (The aged-23 tally includes four in eight for Liverpool and five in ten for Holland, in addition to his nine in 14 for PSV.)
Last, but by no means least, on The Main Hub is a former TTT staple and one of my personal favourite series, the return of My Day at the Match.
I go to the match every home game with my long time match going mates, one since 1963. We headed off from Shrewsbury with songs and dreams to sing and of course lots of laughter and ribbing. We were all in a confident mood but probably would have settled for a draw. I always have a sneaky 5-0 somewhere in my head, I’m not really a glass half full lad, more its’s coming over the rim and running down my jeans type, I once bet that Terry Mc would score a hat trick on his debut. Yes, that daft!
So the 12.30 start gets us to Turpins, an old Liverpool pub on the corner of Breckfield Road and Thirlmere Road, it co owned by one of the lads and is our regular pre and post-match venue for a few pints of the black stuff. It is all part of the matchday ritual. I have to say that my matchday ritual is well defined to appoint were it could readily defined as somewhere between obsessive and a disorder. I have the lucky shoes, (we lost the Club World Cup in Japan because they were still in the cobblers being repaired – it wasn’t the useless Canadian lines man who chalked of three, or was it four goals). I digress, the lucky socks, jeans, shirt, pullover, scarf and one of my two lucky coats. The wife has already said, “I hope you win”, at least twice.
My sartorial and lucky attire has me ready for my ritual two pre-match pints, a mushroom and brandy pie from the Homebaked bakery opposite the Kop. (A big shout for this community-based bakery and the great young blue nose who serves at the side window, who always saves me a pie, he’s in my will!)
Then it’s straight into the Lower Kenny, lucky turnstile 3 in block J, I get in about an hour before the game and head straight into the toilet opposite the entrance and then head in determined style to the last urinal on the left. Now if it is free, it’s a definite win, never fails … well except against the Madridistas. Sunday sees some old fella in prime position, so despite there being only two people in the toilet, I stand behind him. Sensing that he is becoming a bit wary of my presence, I am forced to tell him that if I have a pre-match piss in the urinal that he is occupying, then we will win. He gives me the, are you out without your carers look, and says, “anytime lad”, and resists adding “you fucking dickhead”
On up the steps to row 26, oh no, there’s a tourist sitting behind me and he’s wearing a half-and-half scarf, He’s 6ft 4 and built like the proverbial door. I tell him straight up, sorry mate, that’s not on, sorry but you can’t wear that here. He bends down and says he’s from Sweden, a place I like, but then says, “I’m a Manc, but don’t tell anyone”, like the scarf is a great disguise. His mates are all proper people and support the Reds, and they are obviously harmless, even if one of them is misguided.
I find that he’s paid £900 for ticket and a hotel, I now feel sorry that the club are ripping him off. A plane flies over with an ‘FSG out, Klopp in. Enough is Enough#, Do they mean trophies? Are they Mancs like the lad behind me. Clearly not regulars on this site, you have the hope that one day they’ll see the light. Do they know that in the last three transfer windows, we have acquired Diaz, Nunez and Gakpo to join with a World Cup Finalist, namely Ibou. Perhaps they haven’t noticed new young lads like Elliot, Bajcetic, Doak and Carvalho. Do they remember Gordon, Morton or Quansah?
There’s a special kind of gobshite in this country that pays good money to demonstrate that they are stupid, they certainly had no idea of what was about to happen.
This Red Planet
We published a special - and relevant - bonus chapter from This Red Planet (the book!) this week looking back at the brilliance of last season’s team.
Chris was again stepping down memory lane with a look back at arguably one of the best ever Liverpool sides, particularly in terms of playing style and dominance of their domestic rivals.
The Reds team that had been good enough to win the double in 1985/6 had not been good enough to resist Everton’s challenge the following season, finishing 2nd but nine points behind the neighbours, as the Merseyside domination of the league in the ‘80s continued - the title remained there for seven consecutive seasons between 1982 and 1988, with Liverpool accounting for five of them. Manchester United, in Ferguson’s first season, finished 11th.
The Liverpool team had begun to show clear signs of rust. What most Liverpool fans would pick as our all-time best striking partnership, Dalglish and Rush, was over. Kenny was finished as a player, and Ian Rush had been sold to Juventus, replaced by John Aldridge. Well at least he looked a bit like him. It gradually emerged that he could score goals a bit like him too. Sammy Lee also departed in August 1986, with Barry Venison and Nigel Spackman arriving.
A major new injection of inspiration and creativity was urgently needed. It duly arrived in the summer of 1987, in the form of John Barnes from Watford for £900,000 and Peter Beardsley from Newcastle for £1.9m, soon followed by Ray Houghton from Oxford for £825,000. Over £3.5 million was a major investment in 1987, although we recouped over £800,000 by selling Paul Walsh and John Wark.
The result was a season that saw probably the most exhilarating, thrilling brand of attacking football that even we’d been lucky enough to witness through our golden years, a football masterclass never equalled by any of even our magnificent forerunners – not by Shanks’ first great side in the mid 60s, not his Keegan-Toshack-Heighway side of the early 70s, not even Paisley’s league and European Cup winning sides of the late 70s and early 80s, with Dalglish, Rush, Souness, Hansen and Lawrenson in their pomp, or Fagan’s treble side of 1984. None produced the breathtaking creativity and invention that Kenny’s team produced that season. Its sheer dominance was inevitable. You could only speculate what the team might have achieved in Europe (I can just hear the cries of ‘Well whose fault was that?’ Well it wasn’t just the fault of Reds fans at Heysel but of over 20 years of English football hooliganism abroad, very much not least including the national team. That’s why they banned everybody, not just us).
Often sublime, frequently blissful, the team garnered plaudits as fast as they picked up points. The two big signings, Barnes and Beardsley, were the exciting creative hub. Beardsley, jinking this way and that, blessed with an onboard calculator of vectors that enabled him to know exactly when and at what speed and angle the football, wholly under his spell at his darting feet, should be released. And then there was Barnes, with that intoxicating mélange of powerful physicality and balletic balance, the ball seemingly fused into his very feet, a part of him, physically attached. Houghton, Whelan and McMahon provided guile, endless energy and ammunition, and at the apex of it all, John Aldridge just kept converting a goodly percentage of the torrent of chances that kept coming his way. At the back, Hansen was still imperious, with Gillespie his very capable lieutenant. Behind them all, Bruce Grobbelaar kept himself occupied as best he could - a crossword puzzle, an imaginary fly to swat ….
The Zen Den
Paul looked back at the victory over Manchester United, this time focusing on the profile of the team - and in particular the younger elements.
The best thing was seeing how Liverpool broke with numbers, and the different runs the players made, and how all three strikers seemed to be on the same page (in that they didn't get in each other's way, but pulled into different areas).
It wasn't picked up on, but Núñez's pass for the first Salah goal – to Elliott – that was cut out was similar to other passes he's played this season, which are very canny, where he cuts infield and plays a 45-degree pass into the runner.
Yet he's an absolute lunatic, in the best sense! I enjoyed him copying the Rashford 'mindset' celebration. He can look so clumsy and rash at times, but does a lot of clever things - there's a smart player in there, in amongst the lunacy.
And the way he leaps is something I picked up on earlier in the season, and there's more to come from him in the air, I think. He must have four or five headed goals now, and Gakpo's presence can help contain the taller defenders. (Gakpo will improve in the air with time and experience.)
The Transfer Hub
And finally, despite all the focus on Bellingham for the upcoming summer window, Mizgan’s analysis was about Ryan Gravenberch who looks like a potential world beater at a much smaller price.
Daniel Zambartas’ Liverpool News, Media & Transfer Round-Up
Jurgen Klopp on Man United win
“Freak result, top performance. A really top performance from the start, I thought the way we started the game was really special, the best for a long, long, long, long, long, long time. We were there, we were aggressive but we played football. We were calm in the right moments, super-lively, super-active in other moments [and] after 25 minutes it opened up a bit.
“United came a bit better into the game but the late goal before half-time was a sensational goal: what Robbo is doing there, cutting inside and is then really calm – what we were actually asking for, that in these moments we have to give ourselves time to get into the right position – and then Cody realised it early enough that Robbo wants to pass the ball there and a super finish.
“Second half starts, and I don’t think the second half could start better with the two goals we forced, and from that moment on the boys were flying. Then it was really difficult to play against us and how I said, the performance is important, three points is even more important, and the result is just the result.
“I know we can play good football and I know that we can play better football than we showed a couple of times this season, of course. But there was always a reason why we didn’t do it, as you can imagine it’s not that we don’t want it. When you lost the game before you want to be the best version of yourself immediately again.
“The main difference is we have now pretty much all the players available, which is super-helpful and you could see today and the other night against Wolves as well that obviously having Diogo back is super-important, so that we can give the boys breaks here and there.
“Now Bobby tonight was obviously the most special moment because of the reception he got, he needed now maybe one or two games to find rhythm. Last line, we have options again which is very helpful. In midfield, we have for the first time this season, for two weeks or so, we have four or five players who are not in the squad, who are training outstanding [but are] not in the squad.
“That’s the first time we had that, before we had nine or ten players injured and that is not helpful. When you are on a good run then you can get through this but we started like this into the season and then we got out of it, and now hopefully we are out of the woods there. But we all know nothing happened apart from a really special night tonight. We have to keep going and that is what we will do.
“Harvey played a top game the other night against Wolves, had the highest counter-pressing outcome of any player in the Premier League this season so if that is not a qualification for starting again then I don’t know one, to be honest, and is for us super-important on the ball as well. Hendo didn’t start the last game, what a performance tonight, absolutely incredible, and Fab is back.
“We were 7-0 up, somebody played a ball to Luke Shaw, back pass, and we chased him with four players and then you think, ‘What are we doing here?’ How much adrenaline it gives you and how much positivity it gives you. Now we have five days or so of time to prepare for Bournemouth; they were unlucky yesterday against Arsenal not to get a point at least. We have to make sure we are ready for that fight.”
Cody Gakpo on Man United win
“I think we were just determined, eager to keep going, to keep pressing them, to keep scoring the goals if we got the chances. In the end, we got enough chances and everybody had the luck on their side today, so it’s amazing that we could score seven. But also there are things to improve and we just have to keep going for the next games and keep winning the games.
On Andy Robertson's assist for his first goal: “It was amazing. I was on the side, even he told me, 'Go in behind.' Then I made the run, he gave a brilliant pass, I just had to take a touch inside. We practised this kind of thing a lot in training, so it's nice that you score something like that.
“I think the most beautiful [of my goals] was the second one. The most important was the first one.”
Virgil van Dijk on Man United win
“Mo showed why he is so important for this football club. He’s so influential with everything that’s been going on in a positive way over the years and hopefully he can keep that going,” Van Dijk said.
“For him to be the all-time Premier League top scorer for Liverpool is something no-one should take for granted. He definitely shouldn’t and I won’t. He should not just brush it off because it’s something special.”
Cody Gakpo and Darwin Nunez also netted twice during Liverpool’s rout of United, with Van Dijk adding: “Very clinical. I think a lot of the goals were world-class.
“The first one, the whole build-up was outstanding. Cody cutting in on to his right foot, a quality finish. Darwin is causing chaos all the time with his speed, his passion and also with quality.
“I think especially the last three games gave me personally a very good feeling, the way we committed to defending and enjoying that clean sheet.
“Even when you are 4-0, 5-0 up, I think that’s the message to make sure that you don’t concede and stay focused. That was very good.
“We shouldn’t just brush this off like it’s any other day. We won 7-0 after the difficult season that we’ve had. You should be able to stand still and enjoy that a little bit, but on Monday it will be gone. Then the focus will turn towards Bournemouth. That’s the reality and that’s the life we all live.
“It will be tough: 12.30, early kick-off, always difficult there, small stadium. We should be full of confidence but let’s be humble and ready.
“We should not take these results for granted but there are many more games to play in order to get what we want. In this case, that’s Champions League football.”
Van Dijk was also interviewed by The Athletic on the growing influence of Cody Gakpo:
“It’s a very difficult position to play, but he learns from one of the best each and every day with Bobby Firmino,” Van Dijk said.
“I think that position of a false nine is Bobby Firmino’s. He’s the one that showed over the years how difficult it is for any other player to perform it, and also how hard it is for others to defend it.
“The winter isn’t an easy time to come to a club but Cody is settling in very well. He has to keep going, keep the confidence, keep the belief. I think he will be fine for this club. He’s a fantastic player.”
Jordan Henderson on Man United win
On whether the performance was everything the season has lacked so far: “I think so. The performance for the whole game was really good. Intensity and energy levels were high, and something that we have been missing for a while this season. But I thought we performed to the levels we are capable of and when you do that you get your rewards with the goals.
“I think we scored at a good time in the first half, four or five minutes before half-time, which is always a good time to score, and then coming out for the second half I thought the second goal was crucial to get that so early on. And then we built from there really, so I thought everybody was outstanding, every single player and the players that came on were brilliant.
“Everything seemed to go in.
“Hopefully we can use it in the right way but you can’t get too confident or overconfident for sure. There are different tests along the way from now until the end of the season that will come and you need to stay positive, stay ready and stay hungry like we were [on Sunday], and that will give us a good chance to finish the season well.”
Stefan Bajcetic interview with The Times
“I want to stay here [in the team]. I’m smiling because I wasn’t expecting it to happen this quick or this early in my life. But I am taking it — 100 per cent, I’m taking it!
“He [Klopp] sees me every day in training and he tells me to show my confidence. He likes my intensity, I think. He wants me to be intense but calm with the ball.
“Since I came here, since I trained that first day, I have always talked to him [Thiago]. I’m Spanish, so I wanted to speak and he has been helping me a lot. He has been massive for me, to give me confidence. He introduced me to the other players and I am learning a lot from his game. It is all so good.
“When I heard that Liverpool wanted to sign me, there was nobody else to decide on. This was the only one.”
Alexander-Arnold interview with the Echo
"There's definitely [a lot to be excited about]. I think if you look at the signings we've made, they have been young players who are in their early 20s and so on, so it is a good mix of youth and experience. We've got lads from the Academy, Stefan (Bajcetic), for example, who has had an outstanding season, so yes, it's exciting. There's a lot going on.
"Look at the new stand that is going up, there's a lot to be looking forward to and I think the best thing that can happen now is to go and get top four and make sure we're able to go and achieve what we want to go and achieve."
"I think as a team we all enjoy the business end of the year," says Alexander-Arnold. "When results really, really matter because you know your targets...Losing a game at the end of April is a lot different to losing at the start of September. You can always make up the points elsewhere in the season whereas at the end of the season you can't and there is no room for error and I think we thrive on that as a team.
"Hopefully that will play into our favour but you have to make sure you're still in the mix for the final few games and there's still a long way to go and there are a lot of games to be played. It's important we put ourselves in a good position to go and push on at the end.
"Of course, as a team, we would have hoped to have had a much better season, to be in the title race and in and around trying to win the league but that hasn't been the case this season. It's one of those, we will assess what really went wrong and what happened at the end of the season. It's not one for dissecting during the middle of the year.”
Fabinho on Roberto Firmino leaving
“He’s a guy who, for me, should stay at Liverpool forever,” Fabinho told ESPN Brasil.
Firmino’s compatriot added: “Bobby is a very special guy. It’s great to have him as a team-mate. He’s a guy that everyone likes.
“[He] was very important since my arrival.
“And I don’t want to talk too much about the future, let’s enjoy these last few months that we have of him here.
“I don’t know if the situation can still change, but we joke with him a little. Let’s enjoy it while we have this player with us because he is a very special guy.”
Robbie Fowler interview with The Athletic
On Salah breaking his record: “People have asked me how it felt and I’m being genuine when I say I was absolutely delighted for Mo,” Fowler tells The Athletic. “I’m a Liverpool fan. I’m a season ticket holder. I want to see my forwards scoring goals and breaking records. Even if that means my own records going.
“That’s not me being diplomatic. I had a great run but now it belongs to Mo. The more he scores, the better chance we’ve got as a team of getting where we want to be.
“The other week he took Steven Gerrard’s record of most European goals for the club and now he’s got my Premier League one. Credit to him. He’s already a legend of the club and what he’s doing now is cementing his legacy.
“Mo’s stats are unbelievable,” Fowler says. “It’s not just the number of goals, it’s the incredible rate at which he’s got them. It’s all about standards. He’s set such ridiculously high ones in the past that when there’s a slight drop-off people are quick to question him.
“But he’s still leading the way. He’s still the most potent weapon. It’s hard to do what he’s done so consistently at the highest level for so long. He’s effectively a right-sided attacker rather than a striker. He’s unorthodox, but he’s uniquely brilliant.
“He’s capable of scoring such a wide range of goals — individual brilliance out of nothing and scruffy two-yarders.”
“His body is a temple. He’s completely devoted to his profession. He’s the perfect example for the young players coming through in terms of how to lead your life. I’m sure he’s played a lot with aches and pains, but he just hates missing games.”
Pep Lijnders on Darwin Nunez
“We love to work with this one (Nunez) because the passion is insane,” said Lijnders. “The ambition is even higher than the passion. The love for the ball. In each game, he creates six chances by himself and this is a new chapter.
“This is LFC back to the number nine chapter. I think whatever front three you put now with Jota, Darwin, Bobby, Mo, Luiz and Cody, then you have a front three and one who can have the willingness to work really hard and can create speed-ups in many ways.”
Sadio Mane on what it’s like to play under Klopp compared to Nagelsmann
“Klopp is Klopp," Mane said. "He’s a mix of the old and the new generation. He’s got so much experience and his life is all about football, but he’s also demanding. Sometimes, very, very, very, very much so. He is very emotional and sometimes shouts. Almost ready to fight.
“[Nagelsmann] is rather calmer. In terms of football, I don’t see any major differences. They like types of players who press high, because their teams are high. It’s easier for me because I’ve almost only had German coaches in my career.”
Troy Deeney praises Nunez and Gakpo on Match of the Day
"Gakpo through the middle is like a new 2.0 of Bobby Firmino. Nunez and Gakpo are 23 years old. Their ceiling [is] through the roof. They are frightening."
Quotes on Roberto Firmino from his current and ex-team-mates at Liverpool
Following the news that Roberto Firmino will be leaving at the end of the season, The Anfield Talk compiled some of the best quotes from the Brazilian’s teammates on Twitter:
Alexander-Arnold: “I’m running out of words to describe him. He’s an unbelievable player. I’ve said it before – he’s priceless to us. For us he’s the best player we could have. He’s the one that makes everything tick, he’s the glue that holds everything together.”
Virgil van Dijk: “I would say Bobby Firmino is the greatest player I have ever played with.”
Jordan Henderson: “Some of the stuff he does is madness really! He’s another outstanding player for us. You don’t see him in anything other than a good mood. He’s always smiling, he walks in and lights up a room.”
Gini Wijnaldum on Firmino after playing CF vs Barcelona: “After the game, I had way more respect for Roberto Firmino, I already had it for the way he played as a striker but now I have even more having been in that position. I know how hard it is to play well as a number 9.”
Mo Salah: “Bobby is a really important player for us. He has been unbelievable. Without him we couldn’t win the Champions League or Premier League, he sacrificed himself for the team and the way he plays, he gives us more chances to score.”
Sadio Mané: “He deserves more credit than me and Mo for sure because he makes everything easier for us. I just love him. And as a team-mate I think he’s my favourite team-mate. I love him.”
Dwight Yorke says Liverpool are still not in a better position than Man United
"Mohamed Salah is up there with the best wingers in Premier League history, but despite that and all the noise Liverpool will make about how good their team is under Jurgen Klopp, you'd think they should be winning more. Liverpool have only won one Premier League title in 30 years. Yes, they play great football and have been instrumental in the past few seasons.
"Salah has been consistent and that's what the greats of the game do. He's not in the Cristiano Ronaldo bracket yet, but he has been great over the past five years and this is another tremendous season for him despite what position Liverpool are currently in. But all the noise that Liverpool are making and they're not in the FA Cup, lost in Carabao Cup and are not in the title race, they're not in a better position than Manchester United.
"And all for what Salah is doing, it's great for his personal accolades but you want that to be backed up by trophies. In the seven years he's been there, he's won one Champions League, one League Cup, one FA Cup and one Premier League, to be a real great you have to win more Premier League titles."
Ben Bocsak of Liverpool.com still has hope for Sepp van Den Berg
“Sepp van den Berg has not had the most fortunate of seasons. Sent on loan to Schalke 04, his spell in the Bundesliga started impeccably. In his first three games he won nine out of his 13 defensive duels, made a whopping 26 interceptions and against Borussia Dortmund showed his prowess in the air, winning six out of his eight aerial duels as per Wyscout.
“But then came an untimely ankle ligament injury which has ruled him out since October, and has very much derailed his progress. However, he is on the mend, and has recently featured for Schalke II in the fourth tier of German football, playing the full 90 minutes to step up his recovery.
“Van den Berg is definitely a suitable candidate to give Klopp another defensive option in the first team. Recently, Twitter user MobyHaque1 highlighted the Dutch U21 international's top speed recorded in the Bundesliga — and it's faster than that of Sadio Mané.
“He is clearly quick enough to play the high defensive line Klopp likes to employ, with his towering frame and the fact that Van den Berg is also a Netherlands international, it's easy to see why he was dubbed the 'next Virgil van Dijk' when he first arrived at Anfield. Indeed, the youngster has played up to that moniker, having claimed in the past that he one day aspires to be even better than his compatriot.
“Still just 21 years old, it's important to note that at the same age Van Dijk was still playing for Groningen with 66 senior games under his belt. Van den Berg already has 100, and while development is never linear, that context is important to understand the development of center-backs.”
Daniel Sturridge on Liverpool’s new front three
In a video posted on his Twitter account, Sturridge discussed the “chemistry” of the front three that started Sunday’s 7-0 thumping of rivals Man United.
“One thing I’m very, very excited about [is] the chemistry of the front three,” he said.
“Because chemistry with attackers is one of the biggest and most important things in the game.
“You’ve got that telepathic vibe where you’re like ‘overs’ and the man just overs it, that vibe there is special.
“[Sunday] is one of the first games where I’ve watched them and thought ‘wow, these three look like they could be big, big trouble for defenders’. So I’m excited to see where this goes now.
“I hope they can build on it, I hope they can show their quality, because without that it’s very, very difficult to all of a sudden just magically click.
“Sometimes it does, like me and Luis actually clicked [in the] first training session. Sometimes it takes time.
“Sadio, Bobby and Salah instantly clicked. Sometimes those things happen in football and when it does it’s great, but sometimes it takes time.
“I’m not going to get too excited, because there’s a long way to go, but this is the first sign of something special for this group of attackers.”
FourFourTwo ranks Jurgen Klopp’s top five victories as Liverpool manager
5. Liverpool 3-0 Man City - Champions League, 2018
“Up against a Man City side surging to a first Premier League title under Pep Guardiola, the Reds were not considered huge favourites, but an unforgettable atmosphere at Anfield helped lay the foundations for a stunning display.
“This was a performance that became synonymous with Klopp’s first truly dominant Liverpool side, and Anfield set the tone with a suffocating atmosphere that rendered the champions-elect impotent - with this momentum, the Reds made their way to the final in Kyiv.
“This was truly 'heavy metal football' at it's best, roared on by a vociferous Anfield.”
4. Liverpool 5-2 AS Roma - Champions League, 2018
“With Alisson between the sticks for the opposition, months before his £65 million switch to Merseyside, the Reds blew away the Serie A side with two goals in the first half and three more in 12 second-half minutes.
“It was Salah, a player who had joined from Roma the previous summer, who masterminded the win with two goals and two assists, but it was an occasion inspired by the Anfield atmosphere.”
3. Liverpool 4-3 Dortmund - Europa League, 2016
“In many ways, this win was the precursor for that which takes pole position in this list; a symbol of the never-say-die spirit that Klopp has fostered at Anfield.
“With the manager rousing the supporters with a roar and a flail of the arms, Liverpool fought back - first through Philippe Coutinho, then Mamadou Sakho and, finally, a stoppage-time Dejan Lovren header that sent Anfield into raptures.
“The terms ‘limbs’ was coined for scenes like those, as Lovren wheeled away in front of a jubilant Kop. A night that lives in folklore.”
2. Liverpool 7-0 Man United - Premier League, 2023
“A breathless, brutal evening, and one that could have huge significance as the manager puts together his next generation at Liverpool.
“Few, if any, would have predicted such a comprehensive victory when United made the trip to Merseyside, but fuelled by the power of Anfield, the Reds produced a stunning display that gave no concessions to a side comfortably above them in the table.
“A historic Anfield win for the ages, and one that could kickstart a new dawn under Klopp.”
1. Liverpool 4-0 Barcelona - Champions League, 2019
“There was really no other option for the top spot: the 4-0 comeback against Barcelona in the Champions League semi-finals is a contender for Anfield’s greatest night ever - not just under Klopp.
“Lionel Messi and Luis Suarez were lifeless; Coutinho was hooked on the hour; Origi was the unlikely hero; Sergio Busquets hasn’t tweeted since; Liverpool went on to lift the European Cup for a sixth time.
“Anfield. There’s something about it that you will find in no other stadium in the world.”
Neil Atkinson predicts that Liverpool will finish above Manchester United
“Man United have conceded: seven at Liverpool, six at City, four at Brentford, and three at Arsenal. I’m sorry, this is not a serious football team. Not in any way. The open play xG difference that they currently sit on, going game to game, is 0.26. Man City’s is greater than 1, Arsenal’s is 0.85, ours is 0.60, Tottenham’s is 0.19. This is what we’re up against.
“I think we finish above United; I genuinely do. I don’t think they’re that good.”
Barney Ronay of the Guardian on Liverpool 7-0 Man United
“There are times when you just have to appreciate football’s arch sense of humour. From a narrative point of view Liverpool’s 7-0 evisceration of Manchester United is, above all, a very funny result. After Real Madrid, Barcelona, the Carabao Cup final, there were some certainties here. The new red dawn. The end of the age of Jürgen. OK. Have a 7-0 defeat. Not four or five. Seven. Nil. Now. You were saying?
“As Klopp will be keen to emphasise, this is simply a staging post. There are still plenty of edges to be stitched. But there was an undeniable cohesion in Liverpool’s attack, a chemistry not previously seen on this scale in the speed, mobility and ruthlessness of Cody Gakpo and Darwin Núñez; combined with one of those imperial Mo Salah games, where he just seems to be playing on the moon, having fun, utterly unafraid.
“Klopp has asked for signs that it is possible to create a second iteration of this team. Well, here it was: life, heat and the sense of something germinating. It may or may not come to full bloom. But there is a spark of something genuinely potent in there.
“Liverpool were sublime in the second half. But they also had eight shots on target and scored from seven. For United 11 days had brought Barcelona, the Carabao Cup final, the FA Cup and Liverpool at Anfield. They won the first three and kept pace for the first 43 minutes of this one. From there they shipped seven goals in the next 47 minutes and basically fell apart on every metric.
“This is not to excuse the abject failings of United at Anfield. It is genuinely rare to see any elite team, with 10 players signed for £40m or more, outgunned to this degree. But the real truth of Anfield, 7-0 and all that, is that the rot runs deep here.
“The previous decade of decline and dilution was not a mirage. Its effect will remain until they can be erased by time and good practice: the bizarre recruitment, the football-club-as-marketing-tool dynamic, the dressing room self-interest, the creation of a team with a hole in it. Across 18 league games from March to October last year Manchester United lost 4-1, 4-0, 4-0 and 6-3. And of course that dilution is just as hard to flush, ready to be reinflamed by errors, fatigue – or the excellence of an opponent.”
Jonathan Wilson of the Guardian on Nunez and Gakpo
“Neither Gakpo nor Núñez has had the easiest start to life at Anfield. Both are slightly unusual footballers, players who confound expectation. Gakpo is rather more technically gifted and not quite as good in the air than his height would suggest he should be. Núñez rarely seems to strike a ball cleanly on the ground and yet is a supreme volleyer. Both require a mental adjustment from those watching them, a recalibration of expectation.
“Cody Gakpo, Darwin Núñez and Mohamed Salah all scored twice but the goals were only part of it. The front three had a coherence and a zip that has been rare this season. There is clearly still work to be done. The midfield is not what it was, an awkward combination of the ageing and the developing with not much in between, but, perhaps for the first time, there is the sense that a front three of Salah, Núñez and Gakpo could represent a viable future.
“More than a third of Liverpool’s 47 league goals this season have come in two games: when they are good they are still very, very good.”
James Milner receives MBE
“James Milner received his MBE at a ceremony at Windsor Castle on Tuesday. The Liverpool vice-captain was recognised in June 2022 for services to football and charity.
“The Premier League veteran's career in the professional game spans two decades, while off the pitch he set up the James Milner Foundation to promote healthy recreation for young people in the UK.”
UEFA announces special refund scheme for fans following the 2022 Champions League Final in Paris
“With this scheme UEFA will refund fans who had bought tickets and who were the most affected by the difficulties in accessing the stadium.
“UEFA will implement a special refund scheme for fans who were most affected when accessing the Stade de France on 28 May 2022.
“Refunds will be available to all fans with tickets for gates A, B, C, X, Y and Z where the most difficult circumstances were reported. In addition, all fans who according to the access control data did not enter the stadium before 21:00 CEST (the originally scheduled kick-off time), or who were not able to enter the stadium at all, will be eligible for a refund. Finally, UEFA will offer refunds to all fans who purchased accessibility tickets along with those of their accompanying persons.”
Karim Benzema should recover from injury in time to face Liverpool
“Karim Benzema’s ankle injury is not serious and the Real Madrid forward could be in line to feature in their Champions League last-16 second leg against Liverpool next Wednesday.
“Benzema, 35, took a knock during Real’s goalless draw with Real Betis on Sunday and has been training indoors since.
“The Frenchman may even feature this Saturday against Espanyol if he is deemed fit enough to return to team training on Friday.
“However, Benzema and head coach Carlo Ancelotti do not want to take risks with the injury, given the striker’s importance to the team.”
LFC transfer news
Thierry Henry is adamant 'everyone knows' Jude Bellingham wants to become a Liverpool player.
Speaking to CBS, Henry said: "If you go and get Randal Kolo Muani, Marcus Thuram and players like that, that will love to play for Paris Saint-Germain - you know, like Bellingham wants to play for Liverpool. Everyone knows that, right?"
Ben Jacobs told CBS Sport that Josko Gvardiol is being tracked by Liverpool ahead of a potential summer move.
“Liverpool are tracking Leipzig’s Josko Gvardiol. I am told Gvardiol wants a Premier League move. He’s also on record as saying Liverpool are his “dream club” because he watched many of their games when younger.”
“Liverpool want Mount as part of their midfield rebuild and he has also attracted interest from Juventus.
“Mount’s £75,000-a-week wages make him one of the squad’s lowest earners and he wants the hierarchy to show they value him. He has been voted player of the season by Chelsea fans in each of the past two seasons.”
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