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‘We’re still getting to know him’ – Klopp explains Shaqiri omission for Cardiff win – football news

Liverpool are still getting to know Xherdan Shaqiri, according to Jurgen Klopp, who admitted it was difficult to leave the Switzerland winger out of his staring XI against Cardiff City.

Despite setting up Mohamed Salah’s winner against Huddersfield Town before impressing against Red Star Belgrade in the Champions League, Shaqiri had to settle for a place on the bench for Saturday’s Premier League clash at Anfield, with Adam Lallana preferred from the start.

But the former Stoke City man made the ideal impact when he was introduced, netting Liverpool’s third goal in a 4-1 win just moments after Callum Paterson had pulled one back for the visitors.

And Klopp has emphasised that Shaqiri was rested, rather than dropped, with Liverpool unsure of how the 27-year-old would react to a congested fixture list.

“Shaq came in and was involved in two nice goals, which is always good,” Klopp told a news conference.

“That made it so hard to leave him out because he was a good player for that game, but we had to think about if it was the right thing to do.

“He played four games nearly 90 minutes in a row. Both international games for Switzerland, then Huddersfield and Belgrade for us.

“It was clear, we don’t know Shaq long enough to know how he reacts. Sometimes you have to protect players until you know them a bit better.

“I thought the line-up we chose was good, it was good for Adam to start, he was really involved especially in the first half, less in the second which is completely normal.

“We decided differently, but football games are 97-98 minutes and you need 14 players for that. We only used 13 but bringing on that quality is a massive difference.”

Sadio Mane scored either side of Shaqiri’s 84th-minute goal, and the Senegal forward believes that ex-Bayern Munich man has been a fantastic addition to Liverpool’s squad.

“Everybody is happy to have Shaqiri here. He is a top man and as a player he is fantastic,” Mane told Liverpool’s official website.

“He is a great player; he has come and looked like he has been here for years. He’s going to help us score more and give assists.”

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Liverpool Team News: Injuries, suspensions and line-up vs Cardiff – football news

Liverpool can steal a march on Manchester City at the top of the Premier League table this weekend as they host Cardiff City at Anfield.

With Pep Guardiola’s men not in action until Monday, and facing a testing trip to Tottenham, the Reds can open up a three-point advantage with a victory over Neil Warnock’s struggling Bluebirds.

Jurgen Klopp’s men looked back to something like their best in midweek, swatting aside Red Star Belgrade 4-0 in the Champions League, and they will be looking to make it 10 Premier League games unbeaten at the start of what promises to be a thrilling campaign.

Here, GBP Sports takes a look at everything you need to know ahead of Saturday’s game…


Liverpool Injuries


Liverpool are without captain Jordan Henderson, who suffered a hamstring injury at Huddersfield last weekend.

Naby Keita is another doubt, also with a hamstring issue, while the Reds are without long-term absentee Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain.

Otherwise, it looks like a clean bill of health for Klopp, who made four changes to his line-up for the game with Red Star.

Jordan Henderson Liverpool 2018-19


Liverpool Suspensions


Liverpool do not have any suspended players for this game. 


Likely Liverpool Starting Line-Up


It is easy to make the case for a ‘same again’ approach from Klopp.

Liverpool changed their system slightly for Wednesday’s game with Red Star, going with a ‘double 6’ in Gini Wijnaldum and Fabinho, and Roberto Firmino operating behind Mohamed Salah in a 4-2-3-1 formation.

It worked, though against modest opposition.

The performance of Fabinho, and that of Xherdan Shaqiri from the right, makes a compelling case for the two to be included again, while Joe Gomez’s imperious form at centre-back alongside Virgil van Dijk is hard to ignore.

Liverpool likely line-up v Cardiff


Cardiff City Team News


Cardiff are without suspended midfielder Joe Ralls, who is serving a three-game ban after his red card at Tottenham.

The Welshmen also have injury concers, with Lee Peltier (shoulder) and Nathaniel Mendez-Laing (knee) ruled out and Danny Ward, Aron Gunnarsson and Gary Madine all doubtful.

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Having beaten Fulham last time out, Warnock will hope his side have picked up some momentum after their difficult start to the campaign.


TV Channel & Kick-Off Time


The fixture will not be broadcast live on UK TV this weekend, as it kicks off at 3pm BST. In the United States the game can be watched live on television on NBC Sports, kick off 10am ET.


Best Opta Match Facts


  • Liverpool and Cardiff haven’t met since the 2013-14 season in the Premier League – the Reds won both games, winning 3-1 at Anfield and 6-3 away from home.
  • Cardiff’s last league win over Liverpool was in December 1959 in the second tier, a 4-0 victory at Anfield in Bill Shankly’s third league match in charge of Liverpool.
  • There have been at least three goals scored in each of the last 10 meetings between Liverpool and Cardiff in all competitions, with 45 goals scored in total.
  • Liverpool have lost one of their last 45 home Premier League matches against newly promoted teams (W35 D9), with that defeat against Blackpool in 2010-11 – they’ve won all seven under Jurgen Klopp at Anfield by an aggregate score of 21-2.
  • Cardiff have lost 14 of their last 15 Premier League matches against ‘big six’ opposition (D1), conceding two or more goals in 12 of those games.
  • Cardiff scored as many goals in their 4-2 victory against Fulham as they did in their previous eight Premier League games this season (4).
  • Liverpool have lost just one of their last 49 home Premier League games against ‘City’ sides (W30 D18), with that sole defeat coming against Welsh side Swansea City in January 2017.
  • Liverpool’s Mo Salah has been involved in six goals in his last five Premier League appearances against newly promoted opposition (3 goals, 3 assists).
  • Cardiff manager Neil Warnock has managed four away games against Liverpool in his managerial career, losing all four without seeing his sides score a goal – he has lost to a different manager on each occasion (Souness, Houllier, Benitez and Dalglish).
  • Liverpool’s Alisson is looking to become the second Liverpool goalkeeper in Premier League history to keep seven clean sheets in his first 10 starts for the club after Jose Reina (7). Alisson has recorded six clean sheets in his opening nine Premier League starts so far.

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Keita out for Liverpool as Klopp waits on Mane fitness – football news

Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp confirmed Naby Keita is likely to miss the trip to Huddersfield Town but left the door open for Sadio Mane to feature on Saturday.

Keita picked up a hamstring issue while playing for Guinea as Liverpool’s injury problems piled up during the international break.

Mohamed Salah and Virgil van Dijk overcame their fitness issues to train on Thursday, although forward Mane was absent after undergoing hand surgery.

Klopp is yet to decide whether the 26-year-old forward will be involved against Huddersfield, who are yet to register a win in the Premier League this season.

“A few of the boys trained and we have to see how they react,” the Reds boss told the media.

“The only thing that’s pretty sure is that Naby will not be available. With all the rest, we have to see how it develops.”

Netherlands international Van Dijk could come in for close attention from Huddersfield following Ronald Koeman’s revelation the defender has been carrying two broken ribs.

Klopp, however, removed any doubt over the key centre-back’s readiness for the contest.

“You saw when he went off against Southampton [that something was wrong]. Virgil would not leave the pitch without major problems,” the German said.

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“I would say it has healed pretty quickly. Footballers very often have to play with some kind of pain. He has no problems with that anymore.”

Meanwhile, midfielder Fabinho is close to a Premier League debut having surprisingly been overlooked since his arrival from Monaco.

“There’s only one reason [he has not played] – because other players fit better in the moment,” Klopp added. “I really think about who plays in each position. It will always take time for a new player to close the gap.”

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Coutinho gone, no Fekir: How Liverpool’s title hopes could fall apart without a goalscoring midfielder – football news

Joint-top of the Premier League heading into the second international break of the campaign, on paper Liverpool’s season is progressing just as their fans would have hoped.

There is, however, a potential cloud on the horizon and, unthinkably really given last season’s heroics, it concerns a relative lack of cohesion from the Reds’ front three.

Last season Mohamed Salah (32), Roberto Firmino (15) and Sadio Mane (10) accounted for 68% of Liverpool’s league goals, as well as adding a barely credible 30 between them in the Champions League (more goals than 74 of the other 76 Champions League campaigns by English clubs).

Such productivity is not only unlikely to be sustainable, but points to the fact that Liverpool do not have a midfield stocked with reliable goalscorers who can chip in when the forwards are labouring.

Jamie Carragher added heft to the debate recently, suggesting that Liverpool are yet to replace Philippe Coutinho.

“We need a bit more quality in midfield, I think. That’s all. Maybe he’ll revisit that in January,” he told This is Anfield.

“I just look at that midfield and I think we’re missing that Coutinho type of player. We went in for [Nabil] Fekir, so we’re obviously looking for someone like that.

“We’re trying to compete with City, and I look and they’ve got De Bruyne and Silva in there. I don’t think we’ve got that sort of player.”


Liverpool midfield/forward stats (2017-18 Premier League)


Player Name Goals Scored Assists
Mohamed Salah 32 10
Roberto Firmino 15 7
Sadio Mane 10 7
     
Philippe Coutinho 7 6
Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain 3 7
Emre Can 3 4
Daniel Sturridge 2 1
Georginio Wijnaldum 1 2
Jordan Henderson 1 1
Dominic Solanke 1 1
Danny Ings 1 0
James Milner 0 3

And when you look down a list of Liverpool’s top goalscorers in the Premier League last season, after the industrial hauls of the celebrated front three, the next highest scorer was Coutinho himself with seven, even though he started the season in mid-September and played his final match for the club in December.

It’s not that 10-goal-a-season midfielders are common (Liverpool have had only four such players in the Premier League era: Steven Gerrard four times, Steve McManaman in 1997-98, plus Maxi Rodriguez and the transformative Dirk Kuyt in 2010-11), it’s just that having one could be the factor that tilts the title towards Anfield rather than the Etihad Stadium or Stamford Bridge.

Think of the great title-winning sides of the last 30 years and a steady supply of goals from midfield is a key ingredient – from the 45 scored by Chelsea in 2009-10 (34 of them from Frank Lampard and the lesser-celebrated Florent Malouda) to the 42 from Manchester United in 1993-94 when Ryan Giggs, Andrei Kanchelskis, Lee Sharpe, Roy Keane and Paul Ince all contributed at least five goals each.

Marc Overmars offered 12 for Arsenal in 1997-98, Robert Pires 14 in 2003-04, Manchester City’s eventual hunting down of Liverpool in 2013-14 would not have happened without Yaya Toure’s 20 goals, while Riyad Mahrez’s 17 for Leicester in 2015-16 was only seven fewer than Jamie Vardy’s famous total.

Yaya Toure Manchester City 2013-14

Even among Liverpool’s long-past league wins you can find John Barnes scoring 22 in 1989-90, along with 11 from Steve Nicol and Steve McMahon. Two years earlier Barnes had scored 15 in his first league campaign with the Reds, with the trio of McMahon, Ray Houghton and Craig Johnston adding 19 between them.

Article continues below

There is an exception to the rule, however, with the most notable example in the Premier League era being Blackburn in 1994-95, where Kenny Dalglish guided his side to the title with a midfield contribution of less than 20 goals – the only team to achieve that feat.

Of course, that Rovers side were understandably reliant on Alan Shearer and Chris Sutton, who scored 49 between them, 61% of their total, and were one of the first set of forwards to have their own acronym.

So from the SAS to MSN and BBC and whatever you want to call Liverpool’s trio; it’s all well and good having a blue-chip frontline, but sometimes you really do need your pals behind to help out.

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Senegal’s Sadio Mane sends over 100 Liverpool jerseys to Malawi – football news

Liverpool star Sadio Mane has donated over 100 jerseys to orphans in Malawi.

Before the start of the season, the 26-year-old was given Philippe Coutinho no. jersey 10 after the Brazilian moved to Barcelona earlier this year.

However, prior to the announcement, the Merseyside club have sold the 2018-19 replica shirt with the attacker’s no.19 but then offered supporters who purchased the old jersey number a like-for-like exchange for ‘Mane 10’.

The returned shirts have been assembled for Malawians and Mary Woodworth, founder of Friends of Mulanje Orphans in Malawi disclosed that the Senegalese’s gesture will go a long way ‘as a dream come true’ for the children who struggle to get a shirt.

“It’s like a dream for the children in the villages, getting a t-shirt that they never thought they would get.- It’s just magical basically,” Woodworth told ESPN.

“Sadio Mane is from Africa, his name is just everywhere. To see the t-shirt of Sadio Mane will just be overwhelming.

Article continues below

“It will make a big difference, especially in the villages. Because they don’t have the means of getting any money or to be able to buy one t-shirt. It’s a dream come true [for them].”

Back in April, the former Southampton player joined Liverpool Foundation and Liverpool School of Tropical Medicine to launch Malawi HIV awareness project. He also sent 300 jerseys to his hometown Bambali before the Reds’ Uefa Champions League final against Real Madrid in May.

Mane has been in impressive form for Jurgen Klopp’s side so far this campaign with four goals in 11 outings across all competitions.

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‘We have to blame ourselves’ – Klopp frustrated by Liverpool attackers in Napoli defeat – football news

Jurgen Klopp was left frustrated by his attackers in Liverpool’s 1-0 Champions League defeat to Napoli, telling Roberto Firmino and Sadio Mane that they tried to run with the ball too much.

Liverpool were deservedly defeated by Napoli at Stadio San Paolo, as Lorenzo Insigne saw the visitors make the most of their superiority late on.

The Reds’ front three of Firmino, Mane and Mohamed Salah were particularly disappointing, as they had very little impact on the match.

Klopp accepts a draw would have been more than they deserved and feels the formation Liverpool used was a mistake.

Speaking to BT Sport, Klopp said: “We had our moments, but too often the formation was not right or we moved in the wrong spaces.

“The job of the midfield three was nearly impossible. You have to stay calm in a situation like that, but we were too hectic with the ball.

“You have to prepare it [the system] well. You can’t just hope something will happen.

“Sometimes Bobby [Firmino] ran too long with the ball, or Sadio [Mane] ran too long. When that happens, you cannot produce.

“The midfielders or the full-backs tried to go forward, but we lost the ball and had to go back in the other direction.

“We had good moments, but not enough. A 0-0 away from home is OK, but we made a tactical mistake before their goal.

“That’s the second time this season that we have conceded a goal like that, then they were on their bikes, the atmosphere was there because we let them do what they did. That’s it, the story of the game.

Article continues below

“We want to play better than we did, but even if we don’t play brilliantly, we want a result. We weren’t as good as we could be. We have to blame ourselves.”

An apparent back injury forced Naby Keita off in the first half, but Klopp was unable to offer any update.

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‘Animal’ Firmino makes things easier for Salah & I – Sadio Mane – football news

Liverpool’s Sadio Mane has highlighted the importance of Roberto Firmino to his and Mohamed Salah’s impressive showings, likening the Brazilian’s work ethic to that of an ‘animal’.

The two African forwards – recently nominated for Fifa FIFPro World11 – receive plaudits for their awe-inspiring displays in the Reds’ frontline. The third of the Reds’ fearsome attacking trident Firmino has also been hailed by many for his work rate and selfless play.

And, asides the strength of the collective at the Anfield outfit, Mane has attributed their success in the final third to the 27-year-old’s animal-like approach.

“Lots of people like to talk about me and Salah. It’s nice to hear those things, but the strength of this Liverpool team is the collective,” Mane told Bleacher Report.

“You also can’t forget that there’s a guy up front called Firmino who works like an animal for us and makes things easier. And the guys behind us do some extraordinary work. We try to benefit from that and help the team go forward.”

Mane – who leads the Premier League goalscoring chart with four goals – also talked about his idols Ronaldinho and El-Hadji Diouf, and how they inspire his game.

“When I was young, I had lots of favourite footballers, but Ronaldinho was my real favourite, along with El-Hadji Diouf from Senegal,” he said

“They really inspired me. Those two players were examples for me as a footballer. They were skilful players and good dribblers who beat their opponents easily.

Article continues below

“I was a very good dribbler as a young player, but now that I’ve got more experience, there are some useless things that I don’t do anymore. It’s all about making and scoring goals for the team, like my idols did when they were at the peak of their powers.”

Mane, Salah and Firmino will hope to help Liverpool preserve their 100 per cent record when they travel to Wembley to take on Tottenham Hotspur on Saturday.

 

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Liverpool duo Mohamed Salah and Sadio Mane nominated for 2018 Fifa FIFPro World11 – football news

Mohamed Salah and Sadio Mane have been named in the 55-man shortlist for 2018 Fifa FIFPro World11 following their stellar performances at Liverpool and for their respective countries in the year under review.

Both players will slug it out with 13 other forwards for three attacking slots.

The recognition comes after Salah and Mane’s immense contributions to Liverpool’s 2017-18 campaign, helping the Reds to a third-place finish in the English Premier League and a Uefa Champions League final spot.

Salah, in his debut campaign at Anfield, scored 44 goals and swept major awards including the Premier League Player of the Year gong, and last week, was second runners-up at the Uefa Men’s Player of the Year award behind Cristiano Ronaldo and winner Luka Modric.

His Reds teammate Mane contributed 20 goals, including one in the Champions League final, thus, becoming the first Senegalese to do so.

After beating nerves to help Egypt secure a ticket to participate at the World Cup finals for the first time in 28 years, Salah’s unfortunate shoulder injury, picked in Liverpool’s UCL final loss against Real Madrid, prevented him from influencing the Pharaohs’ run in Russia, but he ended up with two goals.

Mane’s Senegal were a tad unlucky in Russia, losing a knockout stage slot due to cards accumulation. Their captain appeared in all three games and scored once.

This term, the duo have continued from where they stopped and already have six goals between themselves to help Jurgen Klopp’s side maintain their 100 per cent start to the season and a place at the summit of the Premier League log.

Samuel Eto’o [2005 & 2006] and Didier Drogba [2007] are the only Africans to have made the World XI. The forwards will hope to emulate the Cameroon and Cote d’Ivoire legends.

The full list:

Goalkeepers (5): Gianluigi Buffon (Italy/Paris Saint-Germain/Juventus FC), Thibaut Courtois (Belgium/Real Madrid CF/Chelsea FC), David De Gea (Spain/Manchester United FC), Keylor Navas (Costa Rica/Real Madrid CF), Marc-André ter Stegen (Germany/FC Barcelona).

Article continues below

Defenders (20): Jordi Alba (Spain/FC Barcelona), Daniel Carvajal (Spain/Real Madrid CF), Giorgio Chiellini (Italy/Juventus FC), Dani Alves (Brazil/Paris Saint-Germain), Diego Godin (Uruguay/Atletico Madrid), Mats Hummels (Germany/FC Bayern Munich), Joshua Kimmich (Germany/FC Bayern Munich) Dejan Lovren (Croatia/Liverpool FC), Marcelo (Brazil/Real Madrid CF), Yerry Mina (Colombia/Everton FC/FC Barcelona), Benjamin Pavard (France/VfB Stuttgart), Gerard Pique (Spain/FC Barcelona), Sergio Ramos (Spain/Real Madrid CF), Thiago Silva (Brazil/Paris Saint-Germain), Kieran Trippier (England/Tottenham Hotspur), Samuel Umtiti (France/FC Barcelona), Virgil van Dijk (Netherlands/Liverpool FC), Raphael Varane (France/Real Madrid CF), Sime Vrsaljko (Croatia/Internazionale/Atletico Madrid), Kyle Walker (England/Manchester City FC).

Midfielders (15): Sergio Busquets (Spain/FC Barcelona), Casemiro (Brazil/Real Madrid CF), Philippe Coutinho (Brazil/FC Barcelona), Kevin De Bruyne (Belgium/Manchester City FC), Eden Hazard (Belgium, Chelsea FC), Andres Iniesta (Spain/Vissel Kobe/FC Barcelona), Isco (Spain/Real Madrid CF), N’Golo Kante (France/Chelsea FC), Toni Kroos (Germany/Real Madrid CF), Nemanja Matic (Serbia/Manchester United FC), Luka Modric (Croatia/Real Madrid CF), Paul Pogba (France/Manchester United FC), Ivan Rakitic (Croatia/FC Barcelona), David Silva (Spain/Manchester City FC), Arturo Vidal (Chile/FC Barcelona/FC Bayern Munich).

Forwards (15): Karim Benzema (France/Real Madrid CF), Edinson Cavani (Uruguay/Paris Saint-Germain), Cristiano Ronaldo (Portugal/Juventus FC/Real Madrid CF), Paulo Dybala (Argentina/Juventus FC), Antoine Griezmann (France/Atletico Madrid), Harry Kane (England/Tottenham Hotspur), Robert Lewandowski (Poland/FC Bayern Munich), Romelu Lukaku (Belgium/Manchester United FC), Mario Mandzukic (Croatia/Juventus FC), Sadio Mane (Senegal/Liverpool FC), Kylian Mbappe (France/Paris Saint-Germain), Lionel Messi (Argentina/FC Barcelona), Neymar (Brazil/Paris Saint-Germain), Mohamed Salah (Egypt/Liverpool FC), Luis Suarez (Uruguay/FC Barcelona).

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Salah, Mane and Firmino combination’s ‘frightening’, says ex-Liverpool star Harry Kewell – football news

Former Liverpool forward Harry Kewell has labelled Mohamed Salah, Sadio Mane and Roberto Firmino’s combination as ‘frightening’.

The trio were outstanding last season scoring 91 goals between them to help Jurgen Klopp’s men reach the final of the Champions League and finish fourth in the Premier League standings.

So far this term, they have registered seven goals to ensure the Merseyside outfit sit at the summit of the log.

And Kewell, who played at Anfield between 2003 and 2008 believes Klopp is lucky to have the exciting players in his team.

“They’re exciting. And you look at the players he has on the bench to come on. Look at their front three – it’s frightening,” Kewell told Sky Sports.

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“We always talked about Liverpool needing a 30-goal striker; for me, Firmino has been excellent. I can’t fault him. He works so hard in positions on and off the ball, which is fantastic.

“And then you have Mane and Salah driving at you – and both of them seem to have a competition to see who can score the most goals – it’s just excellent.”

Liverpool take on Tottenham Hotspur on September 15 after the international break and the forwards will be expected to continue with the impressive form.

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