Category: sbnation

Klopp Talk: Elliott’s Return Will Not Be Rushed

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Harvey Elliott Continues his Rehabilitation at Liverpool
Photo by Andrew Powell/Liverpool FC via Getty Images

Jürgen Klopp sees Harvey Elliott as a long-term prospect and won’t jeopardize his future by rushing to have him return from his ankle injury.

When Harvey Elliott suffered a catastrophic ankle injury against Leeds United in September, he was appearing in just his fourth match of the season. While four matches is an incredibly small sample size, the promise, talent, and maturity he showed over the 250 minutes he played had everyone who watched him in awe.

In his brief introduction to playing in the Premier League for a title contender, he wasn’t just holding his own, but standing out as a key player, and his potential looked limitless. That’s what made the injury so heartbreaking. It was very quickly apparent that the player many of us had already come to adore was going to be on the shelf for a long time.

Fortunately, the updates on Elliott’s status as he works on regaining his fitness have all been quite positive thus far, and manager Jürgen Klopp gave another update in his press conference today ahead of Liverpool’s Saturday meeting with Southampton.

“I saw him running this morning,” Klopp told the assembled media. “He has a foot injury and there are rusty mornings when you get up and it does feel rusty, but he is running outside now with full body weight on it, that is a good sign.”

Another good sign is that Elliott has handled his injury layoff well from a mental perspective. It can be quite difficult to deal with the mental aspects of being sidelined for months at a time, and this can create problems for even world-class athletes. Fortunately, Elliott’s maturity and support system have helped keep his spirits up.

“When he will be back I have no idea,” admitted Klopp. “From a mental point of view, Harvey is rather an old soul, I would say he is very mature for a young age. He is completely fine with the situation, he has accepted it, he deals with it.

“Everybody around tries to help him. I think I must try and cheer him up some days, but it is rarely needed because he has a brilliant family at home and is a rather positive fella.”

The German manager also made a point to stress that what matters most is making sure the 18-year-old recovers fully before returning to the pitch. A young, talented prospect is not a player you rush back from injury, so every effort is being made to ensure he is truly ready before his name appears on the teamsheet.

“And yes we all hope from a physical point of view a young age helps him to recover quickly but quickly is not so important. Fully is the main thing. At the moment, and I hope I don’t eat my words, but I cannot see a scenario where we would think about rushing him back.

“He is our long-term prospect and each day we can get him back earlier is great, but we will not rush that.”

Tyler Morton Reacts to Champions League Debut for Liverpool

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Liverpool FC v FC Porto: Group B - UEFA Champions League
Photo by Clive Brunskill/Getty Images

The young academy product impressed in midfield in Wednesday evening’s 2-0 victory over FC Porto.

Amongst the young Liverpool players in the fringes of the first team to start the 2021-22 season, few likely would have picked midfielder Tyler Morton to establish himself as the standout with the best chance of earning regular minutes.

Following a pair of strong League Cup showings, though, that’s exactly what he’s become, with a Premier League debut off the bench against Arsenal on the weekend followed up by a European debut as one of the starters against FC Porto.

“I loved every minute of it,” the 19-year-old said following Wednesday’s 2-0 victory. “Especially walking out and looking up and seeing everyone. And clapping the fans at the end. That’s what I’m here for and that’s where I’m striving to be.”

Having earned 230 minutes so far this season, Morton might not quite be in line for regular league starts but he’ll be expected to get the nod in the final Champions League match against AC Milan and the League Cup against Leicester City.

If he impresses in those games, then, anything is possible with Liverpool heading into an exceptionally busy holiday period and then set to lose three players including midfielder Naby Keïta to the Africa Cup of Nations in January.

“To get applause at the end off all the fans, that’s what I want and that’s why I want to play for this club,” the Wirral-born holding midfielder added. “I’ll just take it as it is. If I’m playing, if I’m not playing, I’ll always keep a smile on my face.

“That’s how I am, it’s how I have to act, it’s me as a person. But the more opportunities the better, and hopefully more come soon. I’m just really happy with the opportunity that I’ve been given.”

Alisson Becker On “Pleasure and Honour” of Captaining Liverpool Football Club

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Liverpool FC v FC Porto: Group B - UEFA Champions League
Photo by Joe Prior/Visionhaus

The Reds’ goalkeeper was given the armband on Wednesday against Porto in the Champions League.

With Virgil van Dijk, Jordan Henderson, and James Milner all starting on the bench for Wednesday night’s dead rubber match between Liverpool and FC Porto, the captaincy went to goalkeeper Alisson Becker for the first time since he joined the Reds.

“It’s a pleasure, an honour for me, being captain of this team,” the Brazilian shot stopper said following Liverpool’s 2-0 victory. “The players did a vote for this, for extra captains.

“We have an amazing captain, but we have a lot of leaders on the team who are not wearing the band on the arm. But many leaders that play important roles—myself, Sadio, Mo, all the players. It’s really important to have all these players on the team who can [lead] and push the players forward when it’s needed.”

With Liverpool having secured first place in the consensus most difficult Champions League group after just four rounds, there was as expected some rotation and a slight drop-off in their performance levels on Wednesday.

Still, despite that they maybe weren’t at their all out best, the players acquitted themselves well with a solid and composed performance, and in the end took their record to a perfect five wins out of five.

“In a really difficult group, that you can do this—have five wins—is a really important thing,” Alisson added. “The performance we showed tonight as well was something really good.

“Mixing players, giving minutes for the players who are not playing all the time, this is really important for us for this season, for the things we want to achieve. It’s good to count on everyone.”

Thiago Reacts to Champions League Stunner: I’ve Scored Prettier Goals

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Liverpool FC v FC Porto: Group B - UEFA Champions League
Photo by Chris Brunskill/Fantasista/Getty Images

The Spanish international scored a stunner and was named Man of the Match against FC Porto in the Champions League.

Thiago Alcantara had himself a game against Porto, with a goal off a wonderfully struck half-volley from 25 yards. He had assisted Sadio Mane, but a razor-thin offside decision meant that the goal was ruled out. When asked by BT Sport if he’s ever scored a prettier goal, Thiago said:

“I think yeah! But at the end I’m really glad for the goal in an important moment, coming back from an injury, trying to raise confidence.”

“The most important goal is for the team, how the team played, how we create chances and how we defend. We are happy with the young guys and experienced guys.”

“Sure, I think for each player it gives us joy when we touch the ball – whether it’s a nice pass or nice shot – and fortunately it was a goal.”

I don’t know exactly what goal Thiago was thinking of, but since he doesn’t score that many, I’m going to guess he’s referring to that overhead kick he scored for Bayern Munich against Stuttgart.

Speaking of his man-of-the-match performance to Liverpool FC’s official media, Thiago added:

“It is always special to score a goal, it’s always special to help the team and it’s always special to score in this stadium.”

“So I’m really happy for it. I am really glad that the action was the beauty that I like to bring in football. I am happy for it.”

“In the end we are talking about Champions League nights. The games are special against big teams and the small details make the difference. A couple of details we had during the game were the two goals and we were more efficient than them in the last quarter of the pitch.”

The midfield maestro also had kind words for fellow starter Tyler Morton, who was making his first Champions League start/appearance, right after making an appearance at the end of the 4-0 Premier League victory against Arsenal on the weekend. He looked right at home against Porto:

“You know that he has this inner talent that makes him different with his age.

“He has a long path, everybody knows that it is very difficult to arrive to this level of football, but the path will be easier for him because of his talent and also his intelligence – not just during the game, but watching it. He will have an unbelievable future here, I think, in this club.”

Thiago’s had a rough go with injuries since joining the club, but when he’s been able to make it onto the pitch, he’s been mostly excellent. It’s especially nice to see him get his flowers after another frustrating injury interrutped his start to the season. Slowly but surely, Liverpool’s somehow managed to ride out much of the injury woes that were plauguing them just a month or so ago. With the brilliance of players like Thiago now back in the squad, Liverpool seem primed to end the year with a strong run of results.

Thiago: I’ve Scored Prettier Goals

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Liverpool FC v FC Porto: Group B - UEFA Champions League
Photo by Chris Brunskill/Fantasista/Getty Images

The Spanish international was named Man of the Match.

Thiago Alcantara had himself a game against Porto, with a goal off a wonderfully struck half-volley from 25 yards. He had assisted Sadio Mane, but a razor-thin offside decision meant that the goal was ruled out. When asked by BT Sport if he’s ever scored a prettier goal, Thiago said:

“I think yeah! But at the end I’m really glad for the goal in an important moment, coming back from an injury, trying to raise confidence.”

“The most important goal is for the team, how the team played, how we create chances and how we defend. We are happy with the young guys and experienced guys.”

“Sure, I think for each player it gives us joy when we touch the ball – whether it’s a nice pass or nice shot – and fortunately it was a goal.”

I don’t know exactly what goal Thiago was thinking of, but since he doesn’t score that many, I’m going to guess he’s referring to that overhead kick he scored for Bayern Munich against Stuttgart.

Speaking of his man-of-the-match performance to Liverpool FC’s official media, Thiago added:

“It is always special to score a goal, it’s always special to help the team and it’s always special to score in this stadium.”

“So I’m really happy for it. I am really glad that the action was the beauty that I like to bring in football. I am happy for it.”

“In the end we are talking about Champions League nights. The games are special against big teams and the small details make the difference. A couple of details we had during the game were the two goals and we were more efficient than them in the last quarter of the pitch.”

The midfield maestro also had kind words for fellow starter Tyler Morton, who was making his first Champions League start/appearance, right after making an appearance at the end of the 4-0 Premier League victory against Arsenal on the weekend. He looked right at home against Porto:

“You know that he has this inner talent that makes him different with his age.

“He has a long path, everybody knows that it is very difficult to arrive to this level of football, but the path will be easier for him because of his talent and also his intelligence – not just during the game, but watching it. He will have an unbelievable future here, I think, in this club.”

Thiago’s had a rough go with injuries since joining the club, but when he’s been able to make it onto the pitch, he’s been mostly excellent. It’s especially nice to see him get his flowers after another frustrating injury interrutped his start to the season. Slowly but surely, Liverpool’s somehow managed to ride out much of the injury woes that were plauguing them just a month or so ago. With the brilliance of players like Thiago now back in the squad, Liverpool seem primed to end the year with a strong run of results.

Klopp Clarifies AFCON Remark

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Liverpool FC v FC Porto: Group B - UEFA Champions League
Photo by Clive Brunskill/Getty Images

The coach had to clarify his remark because people love brewing storms in teacups, apparently.

Speaking to the press after Liverpool FC’s 2-0 victory over Porto, manager Jürgen Klopp clarified his comments from the weekend about the Africa Cup of Nations (AFCON).

“I didn’t call it a ‘little continent.”

“What I meant was, I said there’s no international break until March – a little tournament in January.”

“I just meant it’s ironic. A big one – we lose our best players for the tournament.”

“I am not a native speaker but if you want to misunderstand me, it was not my intention. You made something more of it. That is not too cool.”

If you missed the commotion online (mostly on the shouty bird app), Klopp got into some heat after some particularly disingenous commentators deliberately misconstrued the comment as a slight towards Africa and its showpiece tournament. It was pretty clear he was just having a good-natured dig at his own predictment after a reporter had asked him how he feels about having no international football until March.

That was rather obvious, given how Liverpool’s potential AFCON woes have been the subject of much speculation even before the season started. It makes even less sense given Klopp’s vocal history of recognising how important it is to his players to represent their countries.

Anyhoo… now that Klopp has clarified his comments, Liverpool are still set to lose Mohamed Salah, Sadio Mane and Naby Keita when the African Cup of Nations gets underway in January.

Digging Deeper Into Liverpool’s 2-0 Win over Porto

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Liverpool v Porto - UEFA Champions League - Group B - Anfield
Photo by Peter Byrne/PA Images via Getty Images

We rejoice in the success of our young winners and snicker at the notion of a Group of Death.


Winners

Tyler Morton: It’s been a quick ascent for the 19-year old this season, from making his first team debut as a substitute in the League Cup two months ago, through his first start, first Premier League appearance, and tonight, his Champions League debut at a packed Anfield in a showcase contest.

Beyond the feel-good story of a childhood fan making the first team, Morton was really good! Featuring alongside his idol Thiago — and getting front row seats to the Spaniard’s obscene 30-yard daisy-cutting volley — the teenager did not for a second look out of place, displaying tremendous spatial awareness, intelligent movement, crisp directional touches and accomplished passing throughout.

He’s not exactly a threat to Fabinho quite yet, and a lack of top-shelf athleticism may place a hard ceiling on his final form, but like Curtis Jones and Harvey Elliott before him, Morton has proven himself capable of stepping in and doing a job for the team, which, in a season that looks likely to creep close to the 60-game mark, is an invaluable asset for Jürgen Klopp.

Fresh Legs: Liverpool are in the beginning stages of a 13-game run over a total of 43 days. As such, the ability to rotate the squad and keep the legs of your starters as fresh as possible could prove absolutely crucial down the stretch, and with two Champions League dead rubbers and a League Cup match in that stretch, one expects Klopp to make full use of his squad depth.

The German made four changes from the side that put Arsenal to the sword on Saturday, and made sure to substitute Thiago, Salah and Mané as soon as the second goal was scored in order to give the lads some minutes off while still keeping them in rhythm. It’s smart squad management and hopefully enough to keep the Reds humming along at their current, impressive pace.

Losers

The Group of Death: The Reds really put that designation to shame, didn’t they. Winning five straight in what was broadly considered the toughest group across the board in the competition and securing top spot at the earliest possible juncture, scoring 15 goals along the way, Liverpool have quite simply shown that there are levels to this, and they are at the very top one.

The knockout rounds are far less predictable than the group stage, and even winning the group does not inoculate the Reds from potentially facing off with the likes of Paris Saint-Germain, Barcelona, Inter and Real Madrid in the round of 16, but with the quality Klopp’s men have shown so far this season, they should inspire more fear in any prospective opponents than they’ll feel themselves.

Neco: Trent Alexander-Arnold is the best right-back in the world. He’s critical to the way Liverpool play. He’s a scouser, a future captain, and certain to feature on top ten, five and three lists over club greats in the decades to come. Replacing him, even for a single game, is a tall task for anyone, but especially for Neco Williams.

The Welsh fullback is a fairly talented player, and is coming off a tremendous international break, where he scored and generally caused havoc for Wales’ opponents as they secured a playoff spot in their World Cup qualification bid, but he also represents, without a doubt, the biggest drop-off in talent from first to second choice in the Liverpool squad.

His lack of attacking production can be mitigated by talent in other areas of the pitch against lesser opposition, but it is fast becoming apparent that keeping Trent fit and ready to play throughout the season is going to be of prime importance to Liverpool if they are to succeed in their ambitious goals.


What Happens Next

Games are coming thick and fast every three to four days from now until the new year starts, so the Reds will have to recovery quickly in order to prepare for a visit from Ralph Hassenhüttl’s Southampton on Saturday, before they travel across the park to partake in the first Merseyside derby of the year next Wednesday.

Liverpool 2, Porto 0 – Match Recap: Reds Win, Mo Scores. The Usual.

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Liverpool FC v FC Porto: Group B - UEFA Champions League
Photo by Clive Brunskill/Getty Images

We react to Liverpool’s Champions League victory over Porto and give you a chance to vote for Man of the Match.

Liverpool FC 2 – 0 FC Porto

Liverpool: Thiago 52’, Salah 70’

Pre-Match

Liverpool have won the first four Champions League Group Stage matches, and the rest of the group have conspired to ensure that the Reds will be top of the group no matter what happens. Of course we want to win all the matches. But just think of the LOLZ if we take the night off and Atletico Madrid get eliminated from Europe.

Klopp went with a fairly strong line-up, though not one without changes or surprises! The biggest surprise is Tyler Morton getting his Champions League debut, alongside Thiago and Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain in the center of the park. Sorry, Harvey Elliott, but there’s a new teenage sensation at Anfield. Further back we have Neco Williams coming in for Trent Alexander-Arnold, and Ibrahima Konaté coming in for Virgil van Dijk. And finally, Takumi Minamino gets a deserved start, with Diogo Jota on the bench. Also worth note: Captain Alisson Becker!


First Half

Porto start brightly, keeping Liverpool pinned back near the edge of the box for the opening few minutes. The makeshift side, understandably, looks a bit out of sorts, but they manage to ride out the early pressure without giving away any chance of note.

The visitors nearly score the opener after Tsimikas gets caught out in possession. Porto whip in a cross, picking out an attacker, who heads it onto Joel Matip’s arm at close range, and the ricochet thankfully goes just wide. A few minutes later, Porto create a 2 v 1 break on goal, but put the shot just wide (thanks, in part, to an iffy last-ditch challenge from Tsimikas). These Reds are living dangerously.

Pepe goes off injured about halfway through the half. If you’re thinking that this might be the last time Anfield ever “welcomes” him, well:

Liverpool haven’t created much of note this half, and when they finally create a clear cut chance, Sadio Mané is just offside. Unlucky, but the Reds have looked dangerous in patches tonight, especially on the counter, and have just lacked the final ball.

The Reds go into the intermission both lucky to not be down a goal and also unlucky not to be in the lead. The ball is round, etc. Both Mohamed Salah and Mané have nearly gotten in behind on several occasions. It has been far from a classic European Night at Anfield so far, and the occasion means that is unlikely to change. However, there’s definitely a winner out there tonight, if the Reds can put together a moment of brilliance or two.

Let’s check in on what’s happening in the other group game…

Oh.


Second Half

GOAL! OK, there was the out-of-the-blue, against-the-run-of-play goal that Mané’s should have been. Ox sent in a free kick from a wide area, but it was cut out by a Porto defender. But don’t worry, Thiago can just score a screamer from about 30 yards. Holy shit, what a strike. You won’t see them hit more cleanly than that.

With an hour gone Kloppo brings off (wonder) goalscorer Thiago for Jordan Henderson, and Kostas Tsimikas for Andy Robertson.

GOAL!! Mo has been relatively quiet tonight. But he’s shown throughout his Liverpool career, and especially this season, that he only needs a moment to create some magic. Mo and Hendo played a brilliant 1-2, then Mo sent a defender the wrong way and beat the keeper to the near post.

And that goal was Mo’s last touch of the match! Fabinho comes on in his place, and Sadio gets replaced by Divock Origi.

And Origi immediately goes on a crazy run, beating multiple defenders, then wildly misses out on a teammate with an attempted pass, and then nearly wins a penalty (it was just outside of the area). So. Perfect start for the enigma that is Divock Origi. It’s his game now, we’re merely here to witness his brilliance. Not like Thiago’s brilliance. Or Salah’s. But brilliance nonetheless.

Klopp makes his final sub, bringing on James Milner for Ox with about 10 minutes to go. I reckon that’s ample time for Milly to pick up his customary yellow for a tactical foul.

And yep, Milly picks up a yellow for the wonderfully shithouse act of not allowing an opponent to quickly take a free kick.


Final Thoughts and Man of the Match

Liverpool have now outscored Porto 18-2 in the six Champions League matches under Klopp. Tonight was far from the most impressive performance against the Portuguese side, but it was a great performance under the circumstances.

Elsewhere, Atletico Madrid have lost against AC Milan. Lovely.

Champions League 2021-22 Match Coverage: Liverpool vs. Porto

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FC Porto v Liverpool FC: Group B - UEFA Champions League
Photo by Andrew Powell/Liverpool FC via Getty Images

Liverpool welcome FC Porto to Anfield for the fifth match of the Champions League group stages. The Reds have already advanced, securing first place in the group after just four games, while the Portuguese side need a win to keep their hopes alive for finishing second. Stick with The Liverpool Offside for full coverage of Wednesday evening’s match.

Liverpool vs. Porto How to Watch and Liveblog

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FC Porto v Liverpool FC: Group B - UEFA Champions League
Photo by David Ramos/Getty Images

Live coverage of Liverpool’s Champions League match against Porto with team news, television and streaming options, and an updated liveblog throughout the match.

LIVERPOOL VS PORTO

| Wednesday, November 24th |
Premier League | Anfield
8PM GMT/3PM EST

Liverpool have outscored Porto 16-2 over the last 5 outings, racking up 4 wins and a draw in the process. In fact, taking the 2-time Champions League winners behind the woodshed for a good old fashioned whoopin’ has become a bit of a European tradition under Kloppo.

However, Liverpool have had something to play for in all those cases, with the sole possible exception of the 0-0 draw after thoroughly defenestrating Porto in the away leg 5-0. Liverpool have nothing but pride to play for tonight, but Porto can conceivably punch their ticket for the knockout rounds if results fall the right way. So, tonight could be a fight.

Jurgen Klopp will likely rotate a bit, but almost certainly not as much as many would like. Best case scenario: Liverpool win. Second best scenario: Atletico Madrid get knocked out of the Champions League.


PREVIEW & HOW TO WATCH

Full Match Preview: Liverpool vs. Porto

Television: BT Sport 3(UK); Paramount + (USA); Stan Sport (Australia); DAZN (Canada); SONY TEN 1 (India); Astro SuperSport 4 (Malaysia); SuperSport Premier League (Nigeria); beIN Sports Connect (Singapore); SuperSport Premier League ROA (South Africa); other listings at LiveSoccerTV

Streaming: Paramount + (USA) | Online Radio: LFCTV GO


LIVERPOOL

PORTO

THE LIVERPOOL OFFSIDE MATCHDAY LIVEBLOG

Liveblog will begin shortly before kickoff

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