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Author Archive for Andy Hunter at Anfield

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Wayne Rooney penalty earns Everton unlikely derby point at Liverpool

Not scoring in a Merseyside derby had always been one of Wayne Rooney’s great regrets in football. No longer. Everton’s captain for the 229th meeting between the Merseyside rivals ticked that box at Anfield and ensured regret belonged firmly to Jürgen …

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Philippe Coutinho leads Liverpool’s merry band of inspired attackers | Andy Hunter

Philippe Coutinho and Liverpool’s frontline ran riot against Spartak Moscow to show they are a team to fear in the knockout stages of the Champions LeagueJürgen Klopp bestowed the Liverpool captaincy on Philippe Coutinho for the first time in a competi…

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Jürgen Klopp says Liverpool strike force will have last-16 rivals worried

• Liverpool join four other English teams in Champions League knockout stage• ‘We showed we learned from the mistake we made in Seville’Jürgen Klopp said Liverpool’s formidable attacking quartet will strike fear throughout the Champions League after hi…

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Liverpool denied victory over Chelsea after Willian’s late equaliser

Mohamed Salah reminded Chelsea of the talent they declined to nurture with his 10th Premier League goal of the season but his and Liverpool’s celebrations were ultimately contained. Willian, an 83rd-minute substitute, spared Antonio Conte’s champions f…

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Mohamed Salah hits double to help Liverpool cruise past Southampton

Mohamed Salah has become known as “The King of Egypt” around Melwood since his penalty heroics took the country to its first World Cup since 1990. He has quickly established a regal presence at club level too. The £36.9m summer signing swept Liverpool …

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Mohamed Salah opens up Maribor for Liverpool to pull away

Jürgen Klopp can add fortune-telling to his list of talents. The Liverpool manager predicted the 3-0 defeat of Huddersfield Town on Saturday would be perfect preparation for their Champions League return with Maribor and so it proved with unerring accu…

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Daniel Sturridge sends Liverpool cruising to victory over Huddersfield

David Wagner planted a little kiss on Jürgen Klopp’s cheek as the two friends embraced on the final whistle. The Liverpool manager will have cherished three points much more. There was audible discontent around Anfield at half-time of what Klopp had la…

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Jürgen Klopp says ‘fortune was not wearing Liverpool shirt’ in Burnley draw

There was a roll-call of former title-winners and mosaics around the ground to mark the 125th anniversary of Liverpool’s first ever game, against Rotherham Town, but there was precious little in the present to celebrate for Jürgen Klopp. “Fortune was not wearing a Liverpool shirt today,” their manager said. Fortune did not fashion a stalemate with Burnley either.

Sean Dyche’s team have clearly learned the lessons of a painful campaign on the road last season, when they took until 29 April to record their first win and suffered 14 away defeats. The experience of a second consecutive season in the top flight is showing in players who have taken five points from visits to Liverpool, Tottenham and Chelsea. The lessons the home side are learning in their second full season under Klopp are more difficult to ascertain.

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Sevilla’s Joaquín Correa levels it and spoils return for Klopp’s Liverpool

Pablo Fernandez, the Sevilla fitness coach, was hauled down the Anfield tunnel on the final whistle while falsely accusing Jürgen Klopp of getting his opposite number, Eduardo Berizzo, sent to the stands. The majority left Anfield in more civil fashion while accusing the Liverpool defence of undermining the club’s return to the Champions League. The majority spoke the truth.

Liverpool dominated for long periods on their return to Europe’s grandest stage, recovered impressively from conceding an early goal to a wily Sevilla side and embraced Philippe Coutinho back into the fold on his first appearance since his thwarted attempt to join Barcelona. But, and it is a recurring theme, individual and collective defensive lapses showed the Champions League what the Premier League has long suspected – that Klopp has constructed an exhilarating attacking force on weak foundations.

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Jürgen Klopp’s Loris Karius gamble left untested by Arsenal’s familiar failings | Andy Hunter

The Liverpool manager gave his No1 goalkeeper, Simon Mignolet, a break but his second choice got a rest too as Alexis Sánchez and co failed to threaten

Sir Alex Ferguson once galvanised Manchester United for victory with a team-talk that stretched no further than: “Lads, it’s Tottenham.” The same brutally dismissive thought may have crossed Jürgen Klopp’s mind before Liverpool destroyed their north London rivals. The Liverpool manager chose the perfect day and the perfect opponent to rest his first-choice goalkeeper. His second choice enjoyed a day of rest too, although Loris Karius was on the pitch against Arsenal.

Any misgivings or judgment on Klopp’s decision to give Simon Mignolet a day off was postponed by yet another anaemic Arsenal performance at Anfield, where they have conceded 17 goals on their last five visits. Familiar failings from familiar faces made a mockery of claims of change at the Emirates Stadium. So much for the Liverpool manager’s risk. Karius, Mignolet’s replacement for one Premier League game only, did not have a save to make against an abject opponent. The only threats to the Germany Under-21 international came when he had the ball at his feet.

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Arsène Wenger hits out at ‘disastrous’ showing in defeat against Liverpool

• Manager condemns players after crushing 4-0 loss at Anfield
• ‘From the first to the last minute we were not at the level requested’

Arsène Wenger labelled Arsenal’s performance against Liverpool “absolutely disastrous” and “unacceptable” after his side endured another abject defeat at Anfield.

Liverpool humiliated Wenger’s team 4-0 with goals from Roberto Firmino, Sadio Mané, Mohamed Salah and the substitute Daniel Sturridge – and could have scored more in a one‑sided contest. Arsenal have now conceded 17 goals in their past five visits to Anfield and have lost two of their opening three league games for only the third time in 26 seasons.

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Jürgen Klopp praises ‘thunderstorm’ after seeing Liverpool rejoin elite

• Manager says Champions League qualification means everything
• German believes result could help with player recruitment

Jürgen Klopp said Champions League qualification meant everything to Liverpool as he celebrated the “thunderstorm” that swept aside Hoffenheim in the play-off second leg at Anfield.

Liverpool secured their return to the European elite, and a fifth place for a Premier League team in this season’s competition, with three goals in the opening 21 minutes against Julian Nagelsmann’s adventurous but exposed side. Goals from Emre Can (2), Mohamed Salah and the outstanding Roberto Firmino gave Liverpool a 6-3 aggregate win with Klopp claiming his team’s start to the game took Hoffenheim completely by surprise.

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Liverpool return to big time after early flurry sinks Hoffenheim

Julian Nagelsmann, Hoffenheim’s bright young thing of a coach, proclaimed he was not in awe of Anfield but his team were overawed by the attacking prowess of Liverpool. Overrun and overpowered too as Jürgen Klopp’s side advanced into the Champions League group stage with an emphatic defeat of Hoffenheim. The likes of Barcelona will not be competitors only in the transfer market this season.

A mesmerising display from Sadio Mané, Mohamed Salah and the Hoffenheim old boy Roberto Firmino in particular helped to give Liverpool a commanding early lead against the European debutants. Emre Can profited twice with Salah and the outstanding Firmino also on the scoresheet. Hoffenheim fought back valiantly through Mark Uth and Sandro Wagner but a Liverpool victory was never in doubt. Klopp’s team seized the opportunity to shape their season for the better.

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Liverpool return to big time after early flurry sinks Hoffenheim

Julian Nagelsmann, Hoffenheim’s bright young thing of a coach, proclaimed he was not in awe of Anfield but his team were overawed by the attacking prowess of Liverpool. Overrun and overpowered too as Jürgen Klopp’s side advanced into the Champions League group stage with an emphatic defeat of Hoffenheim. The likes of Barcelona will not be competitors only in the transfer market this season.

A mesmerising display from Sadio Mané, Mohamed Salah and the Hoffenheim old boy Roberto Firmino in particular helped to give Liverpool a commanding early lead against the European debutants. Emre Can profited twice with Salah and the outstanding Firmino also on the scoresheet. Hoffenheim fought back valiantly through Mark Uth and Sandro Wagner but a Liverpool victory was never in doubt. Klopp’s team seized the opportunity to shape their season for the better.

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Sadio Mané makes vital breakthrough for Liverpool against Crystal Palace

Jürgen Klopp issued a familiar update on the Philippe Coutinho saga following Liverpool’s first home game of the season. “Nothing has changed,” he said. The same applied to his team’s performance against defensive opposition until a gift from Luka Milivojevic and a predatory finish from Sadio Mané lifted the curse of Crystal Palace here.

Liverpool’s first league win of the campaign and first home win over Palace in four years was merited. Their focus was admirable, too, given Barcelona’s persistent pursuit of Coutinho produced a third bid for the injured Brazil international, and third rejection from Liverpool, on the eve of the game. But it took that unforced error from Milivojevic and a glaring miss from Christian Benteke against his old club to ease Liverpool’s recurring frustrations on home soil.

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Jürgen Klopp demands consistent Champions League spot for Liverpool

• Manager says, ‘We will be really strong and will really fight for it’
• Liverpool beat Middlesbrough 3-0 to secure fourth place

Jürgen Klopp said Liverpool must qualify for the Champions League more frequently after sealing a top-four finish and completing an “outstanding” season with victory against Middlesbrough.

Georginio Wijnaldum, Philippe Coutinho and Adam Lallana scored against Steve Agnew’s relegated team as Liverpool secured the win required to finish above Arsenal in the race for Champions League qualification. A Champions League play-off in late August, when Liverpool will be seeded in the draw, will determine whether Klopp’s team reach the lucrative group stage.

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James Milner penalty miss costs Liverpool in Southampton stalemate

Liverpool reclaimed third place in the Premier League but there was no cause for celebration on the final whistle at Anfield. James Milner sank to his haunches as he reflected on a potentially costly penalty miss while Jürgen Klopp offered consoling pats on the back to his players. The Champions League remains in sight, but Liverpool are scrambling towards the line.

Southampton emerged unscathed from a confrontation with Klopp’s team for the fourth time this season thanks to a composed defensive display and valuable contributions from Fraser Forster. The England goalkeeper produced a fine save to deny Milner from the penalty spot in the second half but, in truth, victory would have flattered a laboured Liverpool performance. Two points from the last nine available at Anfield has ensured their pursuit of a top four finish will not be a comfortable ride.

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Sam Allardyce says ‘exceptional’ Crystal Palace exposed Liverpool weaknesses

• Allardyce: ‘I give the players huge amount of credit for the way they defended’
• Jürgen Klopp calls Benteke ‘an outstanding striker’ after Liverpool’s 2-1 defeat

Sam Allardyce claimed Liverpool could not cope with a Crystal Palace game plan that “exposed their weaknesses time and time again” as Christian Benteke returned to haunt his former club at Anfield.

Benteke, who left Liverpool for Palace in a £32m deal last summer, scored twice to inflict a first defeat in eight matches on Jürgen Klopp’s side and damage their pursuit of Champions League qualification. It was Palace’s third consecutive league win at Liverpool, Allardyce’s first in 14 league visits as manager and stemmed, he claimed, from a deliberate ploy to target the hosts’ problems in defence.

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Christian Benteke shocks Liverpool to lift Crystal Palace’s hopes

The Kop gave Christian Benteke a round of applause when he exited the fray in the 88th minute at Anfield. Sporting in the extreme. The Crystal Palace forward left his former club bruised and battered on his return to Liverpool, scoring twice in a merited win for Sam Allardyce’s side, and may have had the same impact on Jürgen Klopp’s Champions League aspirations.

“You must be sick of us,” the Palace fans chanted after Benteke’s double took the Eagles closer to Premier League safety and left Liverpool at risk of being caught by Manchester United in the race for a top four finish. Palace’s third consecutive league win at Anfield punished a mediocre Liverpool display – one on which a growing injury list took a visible toll – and could have damaging repercussions for Klopp’s remaining target. Dejan Lovren was also forced off after taking an accidental blow to the face from Benteke’s elbow.

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Bournemouth’s Joshua King preys on Liverpool nerves to share points

By the end, with the Bournemouth players cavorting in front of their delirious supporters and an important step in the race for the Champions League squandered, Philippe Coutinho was not the only one in red feeling nauseous at Anfield. Liverpool had almost fulfilled Jürgen Klopp’s pre-match instruction to start winning ugly when they strayed into the grotesque.

There were three minutes of normal time remaining when Steve Cook launched a long throw into the Liverpool penalty area. Klopp’s team had shown resolve, courage and the occasional moment of class to turn an early deficit into what would have been an invaluable lead against Eddie Howe’s enterprising side. They had reverted to three at the back after the injured Sadio Mané’s replacement, Divock Origi, put them ahead in the 59th minute as a protection policy and in response to Coutinho departing through illness. But that old failing of defending a set-piece cost Liverpool yet again.

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