The Reds look to get back to winning ways as they host the orc army.
Liverpool vs Burnley
| Thursday, January 21st |Premier League | Anfield8PM BST /3PM EST
After a run of disappointing results, failing to win in four consecutive games, Liverpool face the prospect of a win only taking them as high second place for the first time in what feels like forever.
Thankfully, tomorrow’s opposition have not, despite their brutish, agrarian ways, beaten the Reds since 2016, and have only managed two points in the past seven meetings between the sides. Currently 17th, four points clear of the drop, Burnley are not exactly in tremendous form either, winning — and scoring — only once in the last four, losing thrice.
They are typically stout at the back, and have only conceded three goals in that run, but scoring a total of nine goals in 17 games this season means that the Clarets are by far the worst attacking side in the league, and should not pose dramatic problems for Liverpool’s makeshift defence, even if it is mostly stocked with midfielders.
Projected Liverpool Lineup (4-3-3)
Alisson; Alexander-Arnold, Matip, Fabinho, Robertson; Henderson, Thiago, Wijnaldum; Mané, Firmino, Salah
Joël Matip faces another late fitness test, but has been training with the rest of the team and should be ready to start alongside Fabinho, allowing Jordan Henderson to move into his preferred midfield role.
There, the captain could partner with Thiago for only their second start in the middle of the park together, a partnership that on paper would appear to offer a tremendous amount of passing and leadership. Georginio Wijnaldum, Xherdan Shaqiri and Curtis Jones are all options to join the pair, depending on which weapons Jürgen Klopp prefers, but Naby Keïta remains unavailable with a muscle problem.
Up top, Diogo Jota is still a few weeks away from contention, so the misfiring trio of Sadio Mané, Roberto Firmino and Mohamed Salah will be given another chance to turn their form around.
What the Managers Said
Jürgen Klopp: “When you look at the goal difference, I think it’s nine-22, that means obviously they didn’t score a lot of goals but they don’t concede a lot as well. So that just shows us how tough the game will be.”
Sean Dyche: “I am not over-thinking the fact that they are maybe not as free-flowing because they are still winning and getting points. We have to be on top of ourselves and our performance.”
Referee: Mike DeanAssistant referees: Darren Cann, Mark ScholesFourth official: Anthony TaylorVAR: Lee Mason, Matthew Wilkes
Kickoff is set for 8PM GMT/3PM EST tomorrow, and television listings for the match can be found on LiveSoccerTV.
In the meantime, and as always, we’ll be keeping you updated with all the buildup to the game, including team news as it’s released, our live matchday thread, and post-match recaps from The Liverpool Offside staff. If you want to join the discussion, sign up for an SB Nation account to have your say on the action as it happens.
Jürgen Klopp wouldn’t commit to a start for Matip but the signs look positive.
With Liverpool missing Virgil van Dijk and Joe Gomez for the season and forced to play two midfielders at centre half in recent weeks, all eyes are on Joël Matip as the 29-year-old nears a return from injury.
The German-Cameroonian defender was close to being ready to face Manchester United on the weekend, and while he didn’t quite make the cut, that means he should be ready to face Burnley on Thursday.
“Joël is in full training,” manager Jürgen Klopp confirmed at his pre-match press conference. “Yesterday he trained completely normal, so now we see how he will be tomorrow and then we make the decision.”
It’s hard to imagine much of a decision to make if Matip feels ready to go, though given his injury record it is probably natural that Klopp would want to be certain the player is 100% fit for his return to action.
There was also an update on Liverpool’s other major injury situation today, with news Diogo Jota is on track and a return for the forward is at least on the horizon—though probably still a couple of weeks away.
“He’s still a few weeks away,” Klopp noted of Jota’s recovery timeline. “I don’t know exactly how long it will be but it will not be in the next week or two. He still needs time and the injury needs time.”
Jürgen Klopp’s message to the pot-stirring media and panicky Liverpool fans is a simple one: remain calm.
Liverpool’s past four league games have seen Jürgen Klopp’s defending champion Reds score just a single goal while dropping nine points and falling from first to fourth in the table, a point ahead of Tottenham in fifth and two clear of Everton in sixth—with their local rivals holding a game in hand.
Goals have dried up, but even the underlying numbers aren’t great: Liverpool’s cumulative expected goals across those four games has been 5.34 for to 3.25 against. Put another way, they’ve created chances worth about a goal and a third per game and been a half goal better than their opponents.
Liverpool’s problems, whatever they may be, aren’t restricted to the front three’s finishing running cool. However, when it comes to Liverpool’s problems—be they scoring goals or potential tiredness—Klopp thinks it’s all rather overstated. It’s been a poor month for the Reds, but this is still a good side.
“It’s about the whole team,” Klopp noted at his pre-match press conference. “The boys know goals are not flying in right and left at the moment so you just have to work at it. There will be a moment when we start scoring again. If you can stay calm and make good decisions the situation will change.
“Nobody is tired, nobody is fatigued. It plays absolutely no role. We are as fresh as possible. Other teams knew what we were doing last year but it was still difficult to defend. Most of the chances, the really good chances, we don’t miss because of how teams defend we miss because we don’t use them.”
The Liverpool manager also rejected the idea that opponents have collectively had a lightbulb moment. That around Christmas the rest of the league suddenly figured out how to stop them after mostly knowing what Liverpool would do—and mostly failing to stop them doing it—the past two seasons.
“We have to finish off chances with a better shot or play the last pass in a better way,” he added. “That’s the reason. Teams defend against us with all they have, that’s not new, but in the moment you say we have a defensive crisis and everybody knows how to deal with us and that’s the headline.”
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Super Eagles midfielder Wilfred Ndidi says he is delighted to get his first Premier League goal of the season for Leicester City in the win over Chelsea.
Ndidi found the back of the net as the Foxes defeated Chelsea 2 – 0 to move to the top of the premier league table on Tuesday.
Ndidi struck a sweet volley with his left foot to beat Mendy in goal for Chelsea before James Maddison added the second minutes later.
“If I count, [I’ve scored] maybe four or so, with my left foot!” Ndidi said when questioned about his effectiveness in front of goal.”He told Leicester City’s TV after the game.
“It comes once in a while, but I just keep trying, you know! It was really good. It lifted the team.”
The Foxes dominated the game and should have added more goals in the second half, but Edouard Mendy denied Youri Tielemans and Marc Albrighton.
When asked if was the best home performance from the players, Ndidi has this to say: “As a team, we want the points. We want to play and get the points. So, I just feel it’s one of these games that we really did good, but there’s still more to learn and hopefully better games coming our way.
“It’s very exciting and we feel very happy because it’s part of the season, and there are more games to come.
“At this time, we just build confidence for the next game, we don’t think about the end of the season.
“We know what we want to achieve, but it comes game after game. We try to focus on the next game,” he concluded.
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Rivers United goalkeeper Theo Afelokhai who was initially against the idea of facing Celtic at a neutral ground has now agreed alongside his teammates.
In a chat with brila.net, the former Enyimba goalkeeper said the players cannot decline Federal Government’s call to reduce the spread of covid19 in the country.
The CAF clash between United and Celtic was postponed a few weeks ago due to the strict Covid-19 rules and regulations in Nigeria, where South Africa is regarded as a high-risk country.
Afelokhai had vowed not to honour the match out of their home ground in Portharcourt when the NFF made the Benin suggestion a few weeks ago.
“The truth is we can’t make this decision by ourselves, the second wave of the covid19 is really massive in South Africa so we have to abide by the orders of the government in a bid to curtail the virus.
CAF has since rescheduled the fixture for Benin this coming Saturday.
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Mikey Edwards and his sell-on clauses.
The Telegraph has reported that former-Liverpool FC and current Southampton striker Danny Ings is angling for a transfer to a Champions League club. The English international has bagged 40 goals in 81 games for the Saints since his initial loan move there and has re-established himself as one of the more dependable strikers in the English top-flight following an injury-plagued stint at Merseyside. With 18 months left on his deal, Ings is reluctant to put pen to paper on a new deal and become Southampton’s highest-paid player and is instead looking to move to a Champions League club. The club he’s most interested in is Tottenham Hotspur, who aren’t in the Champions League this season but could very well return… glances nervously at Liverpool’s position in the table
I suppose Liverpool could very well be in the running for Ings if Spurs don’t make it back to the Champions League (though his age would be a point of contention), but that’s beside the point. The report mentions that Liverpool will get a percentage of any sale that Southampton makes. No one knows how much that percentage could be… but money is money, and I doubt the club will complain about any form of cash influx. It sure could come in handy for a squad that’s looking like it needs fresh faces at the moment.
… before you ask, no, he doesn’t play centre-back.
Liverpool FC’s new AXA Super Mario Brothers Kirby Training Centre was developed with an eye on the future of the club’s youth teams, so it comes as no surprise that the club continues to develop youth prospects from all across the world. In some cases, that bright young prospect is from right across the Merseyside, as is the case for 17-year old Max Voltman from Wirral.
Max Woltman’s signed his first professional contract with the Reds
— Liverpool FC (@LFC) January 19, 2021
Described as a lively forward on the club’s website, young Max is also noted for his pace and versatility, capable of playing across the front three. He’s a willing presser when out of possession, and is said to possess good finishing instincts. Max has been with the club’s Academy since he was seven years old. He broke into the Under-18s last year, and has two goals and three assists in twelves game this season. He is also a product of junior team Greenleas FC in Wallasey, the same team that produced Jay Spearing and current U-23 product Tyler Morton.
Congratulations Max, we’ll be watching you with keen interest!