Oxlade-Chamberlain set for Liverpool move

Liverpool boss Jurgen Klopp will continue the Anfield spending spree with a £30million move for Arsenal's Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain.

Match Preview: Hoffenheim v Liverpool

Tuesday's Champions League play-off first leg will be the first time Hoffenheim and Liverpool have met in the history of the two clubs, with a place in the group stages at stake for the winner of the tie.

UCL Play-off: Hoffenheim 1-2 Liverpool

Liverpool took a step towards the Champions League group stages with a 2-1 victory over Hoffenheim in the first leg of the tournament play-offs on Tuesday night.

Match Day: Watford 3-3 Liverpool

Liverpool were held to a 3-3 draw by Watford in their opening game of the Premier League season on Saturday.

UCL Play-off: Hoffenheim 1-2 Liverpool

Liverpool took a step towards the Champions League group stages with a 2-1 victory over Hoffenheim in the first leg of the tournament play-offs on Tuesday night.

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Wednesday, August 16, 2017

UCL Play-off: Hoffenheim 1-2 Liverpool


Liverpool took a step towards the Champions League group stages with a 2-1 victory over Hoffenheim in the first leg of the tournament play-offs on Tuesday night.

After a lively start, achtzehn99 spurned the chance to open the scoring when Simon Mignolet saved Andrej Kramaric’s penalty at the Rhein-Neckar-Arena.

And it was the Reds who did the break the deadlock when Trent Alexander-Arnold grabbed his first-ever goal for the club with a sensational long-range free-kick on 35 minutes.

In a keenly-fought contest, James Milner came off the bench to net Liverpool’s second, finding the top corner via a deflection off Havard Nordtveit.

However, with full-time approaching, Mark Uth’s drive pulled a goal back for Hoffenheim to give the Bundesliga side something to cheer ahead of the return meeting at Anfield next week.

The key points…

Mignolet saved Kramaric penalty after 12 minutes
Alexander-Arnold opened scoring with stunning free-kick
Milner grabbed second in final stages via deflection
Uth reduced arrears in 87th minute with clinical finish
Reds hold one-goal lead ahead of next week’s Anfield return
The team news…

Jürgen Klopp elected to select the same line-up as the one deployed at Watford in Saturday’s Premier League opener, meaning Alberto Moreno retained his place at left-back ahead of Milner, while Roberto Firmino, Sadio Mane and Mohamed Salah led the three-man attack.

The first half…

Spurred on by their vocal support, Hoffenheim started brightly at the Rhein-Neckar-Arena.

Indeed, just six minutes had elapsed when Joel Matip was required to produce an excellent defensive header to deny Serge Gnabry the chance to open the scoring after Kramaric had escaped into space down the right and crossed dangerously into the centre.

Soon after, a delivery from the left at a free-kick required a combination of Dejan Lovren and Mignolet to scramble it to safety.

But on 11 minutes, Hoffenheim were awarded a penalty after Lovren was deemed to have brought down Gnabry. Kramaric stepped up to do the honours, but his kick was repelled by Mignolet, much to the delight of the away contingent housed in the corner.

The contest was being played at frenetic speed – and the Reds fashioned their first chance soon after when Salah was sent clean through from a Firmino pass after Kevin Vogt had conceded possession; however, the No.11 slid wide of the post under pressure from recovering defenders.

Liverpool were slowly growing into the game – and 10 minutes before the break, they opened the scoring in quite magnificent fashion.

A trip on Mane 30 yards out in a central position presented an opportunity to strike towards goal, and it was Alexander-Arnold who took control, curling the ball around the wall and into the bottom corner for his first ever for the club.

It was some way to mark his European debut on what was only a 14th senior appearance for the 18-year-old Scouser.

Hoffenheim threatened to level just before the break, but Mignolet reacted well to block Gnabry’s turn-and-drive before Sandro Wagner scooped the rebound wide.

Then, in stoppage-time, Lovren headed a Moreno corner inches wide of the far post as a fast-paced opening 45 minutes came to a close.

The second half…

Liverpool should have added a second goal to their tally within just 90 seconds of the re-start, but Firmino was left holding his head in his hands after his close-range swipe from Mane’s run and pass was kept out by Oliver Baumann.

Soon after, the home team’s goalkeeper was needed to repel a low drive from Mane as the Senegal forward’s pace continued to trouble Hoffenheim.

As the half progressed, the German side began to exert pressure on their guests in an attempt to restore parity; Gnabry hooked a half-volley wide on 66 minutes following a flurry of corners.

But Klopp’s men responded with Salah having a low shot turned away by the boot of Baumann before the custodian saved from a Lovren header at a corner.

The Reds had earlier replaced Jordan Henderson with Milner – and with 14 minutes left, the vice-captain struck a potentially decisive goal in the tie.

The Merseysiders broke forward at pace from a quickly-taken free-kick and Firmino spread possession wide to the No.7 in space on the left side of the area. His ball towards the back post struck Nordtveit and looped into the top corner.

With the game edging towards its conclusion, Mignolet did well to keep out Uth’s snap-shot inside the box, while Mane skewed wide when played in by Salah at the other end.

But, with just three minutes left of normal time, Uth did give Hoffenheim hope when he chested down a ball over the top and drilled low across goal beyond Mignolet to reduce the deficit.

Liverpool were required to see out some nervy moments before the full-time whistle, not least when Kramaric headed over the bar in injury-time from a free-kick, but they did enough to ensure they hold the advantage going into next Wednesday’s Anfield second leg.


Monday, August 14, 2017

Match Day: Watford 3-3 Liverpool


Liverpool were held to a 3-3 draw by Watford in their opening game of the Premier League season on Saturday.

The visitors twice fell behind at Vicarage Road, but goals from each of Jürgen Klopp’s front three - Sadio Mane, Roberto Firmino and Mohamed Salah - appeared to have been enough to earn a hard-fought victory for the Reds.

However, Miguel Britos netted in injury time to ensure Watford claimed a share of the spoils.

Mane’s fine strike equalised Stefano Okaka’s early opener, but Watford regained their lead before half-time through Abdoulaye Doucoure.

Two goals in the space of two minutes shortly after the restart - the first a Firmino penalty and the second a poacher’s effort from competitive debutant Salah - turned the match on its head, only for Britos to level deep into stoppage time.

Team news

Alberto Moreno started at left-back for the Reds, while Salah, Mane and Firmino were deployed in Klopp’s forward line.

First half

Having enjoyed the majority of possession early on, the Reds fell behind in the eighth minute.

Dejan Lovren did well to divert Roberto Pereyra’s shot wide but the resulting corner led to the opening goal, as Okaka powered home Jose Holebas’ inswinging corner with his head.

Little of note occurred in the following 20 minutes, but the game burst into life around the half-hour mark.

Mane finished off some slick interplay after he’d stepped over Moreno’s pass and been played in by a clever Emre Can ball. The No.19 darted in from the left and classily side-footed into the far top corner.

Liverpool’s parity lasted just two minutes, though. Tom Cleverley’s low cross was half-cleared by Trent Alexander-Arnold and Doucoure was on hand to lash in the loose ball from eight yards.

Mane went close to levelling again in stoppage time - the forward nodded Firmino’s corner narrowly wide with Heurelho Gomes beaten - but Klopp’s side went in at the interval behind.

Second half

A strong start to the second period felt crucial if Liverpool were going to get back into the game - and that’s exactly what they got.

Indeed, by the 57th minute, the Reds were in front.

First, Firmino sent Gomes the wrong way from the spot after the Watford goalkeeper had felled Salah as he raced onto the Brazilian’s perfectly-weighted pass.

Then, Firmino latched on to Lovren’s over-the-top pass and lifted the ball over the advancing Gomes for Salah to bundle home in front of a raucous away end.

Watford were rocking and the hosts had the woodwork to thank for keeping their deficit at one goal when Alexander-Arnold’s 65th-minute corner was flicked onto the crossbar by Joel Matip.

Gomes then denied Lovren with a fine reaction save from another dangerous corner from Alexander-Arnold and Salah fired a half-volley over the bar after excellent work from Moreno.

The Hornets regained something of a foothold, but Liverpool were a constant threat on the counter and Salah shot into the side-netting in the 77th minute after he’d been fed by Mane.

It looked like the lack of a fourth goal would matter not for the Reds, but Britos’ late, late header meant the Hornets snatched a point.

Source: Liverpool FC Official

Match Preview: Hoffenheim v Liverpool (Champions League play-off first leg)


Tuesday's Champions League play-off first leg will be the first time Hoffenheim and Liverpool have met in the history of the two clubs, with a place in the group stages at stake for the winner of the tie.

To get the inside track on the story of Achtzehn99’s rise to prominence in Germany, Liverpoolfc.com spoke to Lutz Pfannenstiel, head of scouting and international relations for Hoffenheim and also the only player ever to play club football on all six continents.

At the turn of the century, Hoffenheim were a local amateur club playing in the fifth tier of German football and will now feature in the Champions League play-off stage for the first time after finishing fourth in the Bundesliga.

When asked to describe their remarkable journey, Pfannenstiel outlines the core philosophy which underpins Hoffenheim’s recent success.

“The club started to rise through the divisions from the year 2000 onwards,” he begins.

“In 2008 we finally reached the big goal to play in the highest tier of German professional football. The club’s philosophy is based on very strong youth development. The aim is to develop our own players from our academy to break into the first team.

“The recent years I would describe as learning how to be consistent and working hard to establish ourselves as a respected team in the Bundesliga.

“Last season we achieved our highest finish in club history and everybody in the club is excited to finally play European football.”

With the likes of Bayern Munich, RB Leipzig and Borussia Dortmund leading the way, the competition in Germany is intense.

So how does a relatively smaller club such as Hoffenheim compete with these teams? The answer lies in youth and developing from within.

“We have completely different financial possibilities [to these other clubs]. We need to keep on investing in our youth structure and we clearly see ourselves as a development club,” Pfannenstiel continues.

“It is normal that the big clubs will buy some of our top players, like a few months ago when we lost the two German internationals, Rudy and Sule, to Bayern Munich.

“However, we have enough talent in our academy and with Alexander Rosen, a very smart sporting director who will find more young talents ready to make the next step.”

One of the players to have moved on from Hoffenheim in recent years is, of course, Roberto Firmino.

Since joining Liverpool in the summer of 2015, the Brazilian has established himself as a key part of Jürgen Klopp’s side and took on the iconic No.9 jersey for the new season.

Having worked with the forward since his early days at Hoffenheim, Pfannenstiel reveals what it is that makes him such a special player.

“Roberto is a typical example for our philosophy. We found him in Brazil as a youngster when not many people knew about him,” he recalls.

“Firmino put a lot of extra work in, the coaches developed him into a top player and it was normal for us that he moved to a huge club like Liverpool.

“Firmino is not a typical Brazilian player – he took on a lot of the German mentality and I believe that his way of playing football fits perfectly with Jürgen Klopp’s style.”

Despite impressing since his arrival in England, Pfannenstiel believes we have yet to see everything Firmino has to offer, with plenty more still to come.

“I believe Roberto has already proved that he is a top player – but trust me, he will get even better,” he adds.

With Hoffenheim having lost only four Bundesliga games in 2016-17, the challenge awaiting Klopp and his players in their Champions League play-off is clear.

But what has been the reaction to the draw from the other side?

“The first reaction was, of course, ‘Why Liverpool?’, but looking at it realistically, I think it is a special draw,” says Pfannenstiel.

“Every player must be burning to play at Anfield. It is the biggest game in our club’s young history. Most experts see the Reds as the big favourites, but at the end of the day we are not travelling to Liverpool just to listen to You’ll Never Walk Alone. If you reach this point in the competition then you want to go all the way.

“Jürgen Klopp is a legend in Germany and is already on his way to becoming a legend in England. But at the end of the day, it is not Klopp versus a German club – it is Liverpool against Hoffenheim.

“It’s impossible to pick a single player who stands out – the whole squad is brilliant.”

While Klopp is a renowned figure in Germany following his time at Dortmund, Hoffenheim’s own German manager is forging a reputation as one of the leading young coaches in Europe.

Upon taking over in February 2016, Julian Nagelsmann became the youngest manager in Bundesliga history.

With Hoffenheim struggling and in danger of relegation, he led the team to seven wins in their final 14 matches to avoid the drop, and built on that momentum with a fourth-place finish last term.

Pfannenstiel emphasises just how pivotal the manager has been in turning the club’s fortunes around.

“Julian Nagelsmann is an outstanding coach. He has the unique talent to make every single player better,” he says.

“Since he took over we didn’t just start to win games, but we also started playing very attractive football. To play European football just underlines what an impact Julian Nagelsmann has had.”

The evolution of Hoffenheim has seen the club cemented as a fixture in the top tier of German football, with the next aim being to break into Europe.

Having risen through the divisions in such a short space of time, how do Achtzehn99 take that step?

For Pfannenstiel, it’s a case of staying true to the trusted methods which have worked so far – and to ensure that last season’s achievement becomes a regularity, not just a one-off.

“It is very difficult to top last season, but I think it is important that we continue to play the same kind of football and then the results will come naturally,” he concludes.

“It is vital to establish ourselves as a top-half side in the Bundesliga – but there is no point in creating unnecessary pressure by setting too many expectations.”

Source: Liverpool FC Official

Tuesday, July 25, 2017

Premier League Asia Trophy: Liverpool beats Leicester City for the trophy


Liverpool rounded off their tour of Hong Kong by winning the Premier League Asia Trophy with a 2-1 victory over Leicester City on Saturday.

Islam Slimani headed the Foxes into an early lead from close range; however, Philippe Coutinho and Mohamed Salah combined magnificently to enable the former to nod in an equaliser soon after.

Coutinho then got himself on the scoresheet with a stunning finish prior to the break, cutting in from the left and drilling into the far corner to ensure it was the Reds clinched the pre-season friendly tournament trophy.

In front of a near-40,000 crowd, a sizeable majority of which there in support of Jürgen Klopp’s side, Liverpool began strongly.

The zip of the Reds’ attacking play was raising decibel levels and causing Leicester problems, and Coutinho had Kasper Schmeichel worried with a trademark curler after just three minutes on the clock.

However, firmly against the run of play, the Foxes grabbed an early lead; after opening up their opponents down the left, Christian Fuchs delivered to the back post, where Slimani powered a header into the net from point-blank range.

Nevertheless, Liverpool didn’t waste any time restoring parity – and they did so via a goal of outstanding quality.

Initially collecting the ball wide right, Salah swapped passes with Trent Alexander-Arnold before moving inside. He then laid it square to Coutinho and continued to dart into the box.

The Brazilian took a touch before scooping a pass into the path of his teammate’s run, and Salah did the rest by heading beyond Schmeichel.

Then, 10 minutes before half-time, the Reds went close to taking the lead. Kasper Schmeichel’s punch under pressure at a Coutinho free-kick dropped invitingly for Georginio Wijnaldum, but his hook back towards goal bounced just wide of the upright.

Klopp was forced into a change just before the interval, with Alberto Moreno taking the place of James Milner due to a knock, but Coutinho gave cause for cheer when he struck a second with a trademark piece of quality.

Picking up possession on the left, the No.10 ducked and weaved his way beyond Leicester challenges before arrowing an unerring effort across goal and into the far corner.


However, that advantage could have been wiped out twice inside the opening three minutes of restart.

First, Jamie Vardy moved into space inside the box and steered his shot across goal but wide of the post, before he was thwarted in a one-on-one situation by Loris Karius on the edge of the area soon after.

At the other end, substitute Marko Grujic hooked a half-volley over the crossbar with an acrobatic effort, while Liverpool required another new introduction to the contest – Ragnar Klavan – to pull off a saving challenge to prevent Vardy from steering home a leveller after he’d again wriggled into a dangerous position.

There were to be no further opportunities of note for either team as the game edged towards its conclusion in sweltering conditions, meaning the Reds were the team lifting the Premier League Asia Trophy before heading back to Merseyside.

Thursday, July 20, 2017

Premier League Asia Trophy: Liverpool 2-0 Crystal Palace


Dominic Solanke and Divock Origi scored as Liverpool booked a place in the Premier League Asia Trophy final with a 2-0 win over Crystal Palace in Hong Kong.

The second-half substitutes found the target with a sweetly-struck low drive on the turn and a close-range finish late on respectively to secure the result.

Jürgen Klopp’s side were in the supremacy for the majority of the contest at Hong Kong Stadium and fully merited progression to a meeting with Leicester City on Saturday.

Liverpool took authority from the off, using possession neatly as the Eagles adopted a deep backline and invited pressure.

And the first real chance was created in the 13th minute courtesy of a well-worked passing exchange between Ben Woodburn and Trent Alexander-Arnold on the right edge of the box.

Daniel Sturridge’s clever movement fooled Scott Dann into allowing space for a strike that the Palace defender quickly recovered to block.

The Reds No.15 tried to lay on a goal three minutes later, drawing cheers from the crowd for an impudent flick back into Adam Lallana’s path from Jordan Henderson’s diagonal pass, but his teammate shot off target.

And the sold-out crowd – almost exclusively Liverpool fans – showed their class when the clock reached 21 minutes – paying tribute to Lucas Leiva with huge applause after the Brazilian left the club on Tuesday.

Mohamed Salah’s ability to burst past defenders was a regular feature of the half and the summer signing sent an effort swerving wide after cutting in to shooting territory.

For all of their dominance, though, Liverpool were indebted to Simon Mignolet’s reactions on 27 minutes as Andros Townsend slipped in Keshi Anderson, free inside the box, and his hit on the turn found the goalkeeper an obstacle.

Salah might have had a tap-in having knocked the ball around Dann with space to attack in behind but the centre-back committed a blatant foul to stop the Egypt international.

Sturridge then drew a diving save with a low prod from the left of the area towards the far corner and the half-time whistle was blown with the score still goalless.

There were a host of changes made in three stages by Klopp in the early minutes of the second half, with Mignolet the only player to continue on.

Among those introduced was Philippe Coutinho and it wasn’t long before the No.10 had combined at pace with James Milner to open up a trademark step infield and shot – only, his drive flew too high on this occasion.

Solanke, on the other hand, was clinical in the 61st minute.


Coutinho prompted the move with a pass into Origi outside the box and though the Belgian’s clip to his fellow forward presented a shooting chance, there was plenty still to do.

Yet Solanke made the conclusion look simple, his subtle turn and touch preceding a thumped finish on the angle across the face of goal – his first strike for the club.

Marko Grujic was inches away from doubling Liverpool’s lead with a typically fierce blast from around 25 yards, but Origi soon did from close range on 79 minutes to ensure his team’s place in Saturday’s final.

Friday, July 14, 2017

Midfielder wants to leave Leipzig for Liverpool

Liverpool target Naby Keita may have dropped a huge hint he sees his future at Anfield.

Reds boss Jurgen Klopp has pinpointed RB Leipzig midfielder Keita as a key element of his summer squad strengthening plans as he prepares for a return to the Champions League.

Liverpool are prepared to spend £70million on the Guinea international, who was voted the second-best player in the Bundesliga last season after helping his side finish runners-up to champions Bayern Munich.

While Keita has reportedly informed Leipzig of his desire to move to Liverpool, his club have been consistent in their public pronouncements the 22-year-old is not for sale at any price.

But the player has reignited speculation over his preferred route by 'liking' an Instagram post that includes him being mocked up in a Liverpool shirt.



Keita was congratulated by the guineebuzz account on being named the African player of the season following a vote on website StarAfrica's Orange Football Club, sponsored by the mobile phone operator.

Included in the montage was a photo of Keita in a Liverpool shirt along with his inclusion playing for the Reds in the FIFA 17 video game.

New Liverpool signing Mohamed Salah was among the players Keita beat to the award.

Source: Liverpool Echo

This story has been reproduced from the media. It does not necessarily represent the position of Liverpool Football Club or Red's Fury™ blog.

Pre-season friendly: Tranmere 0-4 Liverpool


Jürgen Klopp declared himself satisfied with his side's workout and performance as Liverpool recorded a 4-0 win at Tranmere Rovers in their first pre-season friendly of the summer.

The Reds struck twice in each half to secure victory at Prenton Park on Wednesday night, with goals coming from James Milner, Marko Grujic, Pedro Chirivella and Ben Woodburn.

Klopp elected to give 22 players a runout as his men took to the field for the first time in 2017-18 – and afterwards, spoke of his contentment with the display.



Monday, June 26, 2017

Liverpool ready to compete for Mbappe


Liverpool will go head-to-head with Arsenal in an attempt to pull off the most spectacular and unexpected transfer in their history should Kylian Mbappe decide to move to England rather than Real Madrid.

The French teenager is now the most wanted footballer on the planet and Jurgen Klopp is determined to be part of the conversation should Monaco agree to sell their star striker before the start of the season.

Liverpool have reportedly seen a staggering €100million offer for Monaco starlet Kylian Mbappe rejected as they step up their pursuit of the youngster.

There’s no denying that the 18-year-old is the most in-demand player in Europe this summer, as after his exploits last season, he has stolen the attention of every top club around the major leagues.

With 26 goals and 14 assists in 44 outings in all competitions, Mbappe was crucial in helping Monaco win the Ligue 1 title as well as reach the semi-finals of the Champions League.

There is a broad expectation 18-year-old Mbappe will go to Real Madrid, who have the finances to outbid any competitors. It is rare for any player to reject the overtures of the Bernabeu club once they have been identified as the number one target. It is difficult for any player to say no when Madrid call and French media have today reported meetings between Mbappe and Real coach Zinedine Zidane in which he has been assured of a starting place.

But Liverpool, like Arsenal, have investigated whether Mbappe would prefer a move to the Premier League at a club where he can be guaranteed game time and patience. It is felt career progress rather an immediate desire to become a Galactico is Mbappe’s priority, even if Madrid remain clear favourites and the most likely winners of the pursuit.

Should Mbappe decide it is too soon to move to the Spanish giants, Liverpool are prepared to spend big to get him. Unlike Arsenal, they could be playing Champions League football this season, although they also know Manchester United, Manchester City and Chelsea would make rival offers if what currently seems like a fantasy evolved into reality.

The Reds are monitoring the situation and have registered their interest in the player.

Source: The Telegraph

Image credits to AFP.

This story has been reproduced from the media. It does not necessarily represent the position of Liverpool Football Club or Red's Fury™ blog.



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