I think we can all acknowledge that Liverpool’s kit choices reached their peak with the purple away number they unveiled this summer. Unfortunately, no one told the powers that be that they should quit while they were still ahead. A few weeks later, we got the ‘throwback” third kit — if you need to be told what a throwback kit is meant to be evoking, it’s not a throwback kit — which is terrible and unnecessarily reminiscent of dishwater.
And now, just in time for the holiday season, Liverpool have unveiled a new series of retro shirts that look almost right.
Have you seen the new arrivals in our retro #LFC shirt collection?
With the likes of Trent Alexander-Arnold, Joe Gomez, Dominic Solanke, and Xherdan Shaqiri modelling the new offerings, you can almost ignore the really weird collars that most of the kits seem to be sporting. Almost.
The retro offerings cover everything from the 88/89 Candy third kit to the 01/03 home kit, and would probably make excellent holiday presents if you’re still looking for some.
You can see the full collection of retro kits here. You can see how weird the collars look on Alexander-Arnold. Gomez, and Solanke here (they obviously look perfect on Shaqiri).
Nothing but a win will do against Napoli in the final game of the Champions League group stage.
Liverpool could have already had their place in the Champions League wrapped up. They probably should. Instead, they head into the final group stage match knowing that nothing less than a victory over Napoli will do.
The good news, though, is that they still have their fate in their own hands—they don’t have to worry about anything beyond the team they’re facing off against. And the good news is that they get to play the game at Anfield.
“The only way to make sure is to really perform at our highest level,” manager Jürgen Klopp told reporters at his pre-match press conference. “That makes it special. But we caused the situation and we are responsible.
“The group is a hard one. That was clear when we got the draw. Now we have the chance to go through and that is special after the campaign we played so far. It’s a big opportunity for us and we will try everything to put it right.”
While Liverpool are top of the table in the Premier League after 16 games, in Europe they have put themselves in a difficult position thanks to a poor record on the road, losing all three of their away games.
And while Klopp thinks they played well enough in their final away match, a 2-1 loss at Paris Saint-Germain, he is well aware his side didn’t play well enough in a 1-0 loss at Napoli and a disappointing 2-0 loss away to Red Star.
“We knew after Napoli it was not good enough to get something ,” he said. “Belgrade was not better. Paris was an okay away game—you can lose to PSG in their stadium. That can happen. We gave them a game but lost it.”
If Liverpool go out —or get bumped down to the Europa League—they will have a fair few regrets, then. They will also have nobody but themselves to blame. But they do still control their own destiny. And the game is at Anfield.
“So far at home we were good,” Klopp added. “We have to be even better tomorrow night. I told the boys, I really think if nothing happens with referee decisions, we will get tomorrow night what we deserve.”
It’s a game for all the marbles as the Reds host Napoli in the final group game of the Champions League.
Liverpool vs Napoli
| Tuesday, December 11th | Champions League | Anfield 8PM BST / 3PM EST
Liverpool received a big boost this weekend, as the Merseysiders went top of the Premier League table after their 4-0 thumping of Bournemouth was followed up by Chelsea beating Manchester City. There is no time to savour the moment for the Reds, however, as they enter the final round of the Champions League group stage needing to win, either 1-0 or by two clear goals, against the side that handed them their first loss of the season back in October.
The Partenopei aren’t doing too badly themselves, coming off their own 4-0 win at the weekend, and sitting in second place in the Serie A, eight points behind a domestically peerless Juventus side. Juve were also the team that last defeated Napoli, way back in September, and Ancelotti’s men have now gone 12 games without a loss in all competitions.
Lorenzo Insigne has — predictably — begun to tail off a little following his hot start to the season, but absent the Italian’s goals, Dries Mertens, Fabián Ruiz and Arkadiusz Milik have picked up the slack, and 16 goals from their last six matches indicates the Neopolitans are not at all struggling to put the ball in the back of the net.
Sporting a clean bill of health, and having rested some key players at the weekend, Napoli look set to offer the Reds the sternest possible test on Tuesday.
While a new long-term contract is now in the bag, the short-term Joe Gomez situation remains an issue, and the England international will continue his rehabilitation through the holiday schedule. With Dejan Lovren still questionable due to concussion-like symptoms, that means a return to the starting XI for Joël Matip, who, despite seemingly sitting fourth in the depth chart, has looked more than capable as a partner to Virgil van Dijk in the limited outings the two have shared.
Trent Alexander-Arnold was rested at the weekend and should return, while his deputy James Milner could be reinstated into midfield. Jordan Henderson looks set to captain the side, while Naby Keïta — who seems to have settled into his role — should make a third consecutive start.
The stakes are simple, if not easy; the Reds must win 1-0 or by two clear goals to continue their Champions League campaign, or slum it on Thursdays in the Europa League for the rest of the season. With the backing of what should be a Kop on top form, it is time for Klopp’s men to deliver.
What the Managers Said
Klopp: “The group is a hard one. That was clear when we got the draw. Now we have the chance to go through and that is pretty special after the campaign we played so far. Now we have to create a special atmosphere with the way we play and we have to use it as well.”
Ancelotti “I have lots of memories of Anfield and my last one is a good one because I won the title there with Chelsea. We’ll go there and play our usual game. It would be counter productive to try and park the bus. Besides anything else, that’s not how we play.”
The Officials (SVN)
Referee: Damir Skomina Assistants: Jure Praprotnik, Robert Vukan Fourth official: Tomaž Klančnik Additional assistants: Slavko Vinčić, Matej Jug
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.
Gomez has today signed a new long-term deal with the club through 2024. Negotiations begun in October as the club sought to tie down the player long-term and reward him for his standout play for both club and country.
“I’ve been at the club a few years now and have had the pleasure to play for Liverpool and experience what that means,” Gomez said following the announcement. “I am delighted to get the chance to extend my contract here.
“I love the club, I love playing and learning here, and I am happy for that to continue. Obviously I would like to have had a few less setbacks along the way, but it has all been part of my journey—one that I have loved and embraced.”
Gomez arrived at Liverpool in the summer of 2015 from Charlton and signed an improved deal in January of 2017. Having proven his place in the first team over the past year, though, another new, improved contract was in order.
Before his injury, the 21-year-old Gomez had formed a strong partnership with Virgil van Dijk and been key to Liverpool maintaining the best defensive record in the Premier League. He had also earned a regular role with England.
And while another significant injury is a disappointment—for the club, fans, and especially the player—that it appears unrelated to past ones is a positive sign and the player has had a strong record of returning from setbacks.
“All the signs show where the club is heading, where our team is heading,” Gomez added. “We got so close last year in European competition and in the league this year we’ve shown such good character in the start to the season.
“If there is ever a time to have belief in the club and where we’re going, it is now.”
It’s nearly January, so we may as well get a head start on football’s silly season. This particular gem comes to us from Germany’s Liga Financial. Apparently, Liverpool are keen on signing Borussia Mönchengladbach star Thorgan Hazard and are willing to do whatever it takes to make it happen.
The Belgium international has definitely made waves this season, with 11 goals and 7 assists so far, and is a brilliant attacking midfielder — a role that Klopp has been idly trying to fill since Coutinho’s departure (remember Fekir and the neverending conversation about Pulisic?). Hazard has also made it clear that he would like to return to the Premier League eventually. According to Liga Financial, Liverpool are competing with Everton and Manchester United to sign the player.
Having Hazard at Anfield wouldn’t hurt, but the move still doesn’t seem particularly likely. For one, there has been no mention of Liverpool’s interest from sources close to the club, and the fact that this particular story is coming from German sources makes it far more likely that Hazard’s team are looking for a salary increase at Gladbach, or are trying to attract the attention of other clubs.
Hazard’s contract with Gladbach runs through 2020, with a €30m release clause.
The midfielder weighs in on this weekend’s victory and the weeks ahead.
It wasn’t the best of starts for Liverpool this weekend, but the day just kept getting better and better. After seeing Bournemouth off 4-0 in the morning, the Reds got to sit back and watch Chelsea finally end Manchester City’s unbeaten streak this season. Liverpool are now top of the league (at least till next week) and are the only undefeated team in the Premier League this season. Still, midfielder Gini Wijnaldum isn’t prepared to call this weekend “perfect.”
“It would have been complete if we’d done the first half much better,” he told the club’s official website. “But in the second half we did what we usually do with the counter-press; that’s how we scored the second goal, when Mo scored. That’s the game we want to play — a high press when we lose the ball, counter-press to create chances, and also play to create chances. That went well in the second half.”
“It was a good game but if you want the perfect game, we had to play a better first half.”
With things going well at home, Liverpool turn to the Champions League this week, and their last chance to make the knockout rounds. Gini, like the rest of us, believes it all comes down to effective squad rotation.
“It’s important to have a squad that can replace each other,” he said. “Everyone knows in the Premier League — and especially when you play in the Champions League — you play a lot of games, so you need a big squad. If everyone can replace everyone and keep the level, it’s really important.
“I hope we can stay fresh until the end of the season and injury-free. Then I think we can do big things. We’re in a run right now and we have to make sure we stay in this run to succeed.”
Liverpool’s last chance to make it into the knockout stages of the Champions League is this week, when it’s Napoli’s turn to visit Anfield. The Reds’ record abroad in this illustrious league hasn’t been all that great this year, but their record at home has been stellar, and Jürgen Klopp is counting on that going into this.
“We were not good in Napoli so the first thing we want to do is show that we are better than how we played there,” Klopp said on Sunday.
”Again, we are going to ask for Anfield and call on the fans to help us - it is a really massive game.
”It would be really cool if the crowd was on it’s feet, it’s a big one and our people know that - I know they will already be warming up. We know how big the atmosphere can be and hopefully we see that.
”We did everything we could to qualify for this tournament again and we know we have a chance to go through with specific results even though this Champions League campaign so far was not really ours.”
Liverpool only need one goal to put them through to the knockout stages, if they’re able to keep Napoli from scoring. If Napoli scores, Liverpool need to win by two clear goals to put them back into the running for the next round. Sounds easy for a team who have been able to stay unbeaten in the League this far, but having lost every other away match in the Champions League this far will give anyone pause.
“We have been quite impressive in the home games of the Champions League so far,” Klopp said.
”Napoli won’t be thinking yippee ki yay it’s only Liverpool - they know it will be a tough one but they are strong so we need to be very strong.
”I believe that what you get is what you deserve. I’m fine with this being a winner takes all tie. If we are good enough then we will get the result we need and if not then we have to congratulate Napoli and PSG.
“This group is exciting - we shouldn’t have lost in Belgrade, with all due respect, but we did and now we have to show we really want to stay in the competition by winning.”
It’s do or die for the Reds - unless the unthinkable happens and Paris draws to Red Star but hey, stranger things have happened. I just want to hear another opportunity for Klopp to say “yippee ki yay.”
After five straight losses, including to Everton, this four goal draw feels pretty good.
It’s been a long season for the Reds and it’s only December. And while the Women are thankfully spared from the packed December schedule that the men are subject to, after five straight losses, the season finds a whole meaning in draining.
This week, with an extra day to prepare after their match against Everton was cancelled on Wednesday, Liverpool Women traveled to meet with Reading FC and this writer’s former Reds hero Fara Williams.
Reading got things underway but it was Liverpool who took the lead early on, with Courtney Sweetman-Kirk latching onto a cross from Kirsty Linnet and smashing it home nine minutes in. Both teams started the half lively and bright, with Reading taking a couple chances early
on as well that were comfortably saved by Sophie Bradley-Auckland and Anke Preuss.
It was Williams making the most of the chances in the first half for Reading but thankfully Liverpool were able to make their own magic and maintain their lead well into the half. Jess Clarke and Laura Coombs linked up beautifully more than once only for their efforts to go wide or be cleared easily. This was also one of Anke Preuss’ best halves in a Red shirt as she was able to get off her line quickly on many occasions and stop Reading from equalizing in the first half.
With all the play for in the second half, both teams came out for more of a fight. Reading took no prisoners as they continued to push for an equalizer and finally found it after many attempts. Fara Williams finally gets one past Preuss in the 61st minute to make things level for the hosts and it all just goes wild from there.
Reading weren’t level for very long when it’s Sweetman-Kirk again, finding an excellent pass at the back post from Jess Clarke and heading it in to make it 2-1 for the Reds. Of course, that is the most dangerous lead and with all their defensive prowess, Liverpool are doing their best to hang on. It’s Fara Williams again, though, that makes it level for Reading with seven minutes to spare.
A draw is a draw and surely there’s a tinge of disappointment to be felt when victory was so near, but after five straight losses, this draw feels like anything but that.
"It's nice to know that we are doing in training and the belief that we have in ourselves is showing now on the pitch."
The Liverpool loanee scored the winning goal against Eintracht Frankfurt.
Despite manager Jürgen Klopp’s praise, it’s been clear that Marko Grujić has some work to do if he is going to force his way into the Liverpool first team picture next year. The 22-year-old midfielder had a modestly productive loan spell at Cardiff City before being sent to Bundesliga outfit Hertha Berlin back in August on a one-year loan, with management hoping that the playing style in Berlin would translate to more minutes for Grujić.
Since heading the Germany, Grujić has made just seven appearances for Hertha, thanks in part to an unfortunate ankle injury that sidelined him for several weeks. Since returning, however, Grujić has had the opportunity to make a good impression, and he did exactly that this past weekend. Grujić’s headed goal in the 40th minute - his first of the season - was the difference against Eintracht Frankfurt, and has put Hertha Berlin in the 6th spot in the league.
The player was clearly elated to contribute following his injury spell.
“When I scored, I was full of emotion and it was a very special moment,” said Grujić. “I am very happy to have scored. When the corner came in, I had a feeling I was going to score. It was a very important victory and now we are back in the top six.”
Hertha manager Pál Dárdai - tagged as being a little bit like Klopp by Grujić - was just as effusive in his praise for the Serbian midfielder, describing the player as Hertha Berlin’s best midfielder of the past 20 years, by some distance.
Grujić’s teammates were ready to echo that praise. Defender Fabian Lustenberger offered that “Marko brings everything - offensive quality, defensive stability, and aerial ability. You hear people talk about complete players, and [Marko] meets a lot of the criteria to do that as a central midfielder. We’re happy that he’s with us and that he’s fit again.”
It remains to be seen whether Grujić stakes a claim in Klopp’s setup next year. The player - who signed a contract extension tying him to Liverpool until 2023 - has indicated that he might be inclined to spend another year in Berlin if Hertha qualify for the Europa League. The best case scenario for Liverpool is if he can maintain good form, and present Klopp with a tough decision at the end of the season.
Carlo Ancelotti and Rafa Benitez underscore the enormity of the task facing Liverpool on Tuesday night.
Liverpool face a do-or-die situation on Tuesday when they will host Napoli at Anfield in a clash that will determine whether the Reds’ Champions League campaign comes to an early end. Thanks to a series of away defeats within their group, Liverpool need to win - either by a 1-0 margin or by two or more goals - in order to keep the dream alive.
This will not be an easy task. Jürgen Klopp’s side will take on the group leaders in Napoli, who are also in second place in Serie A. Carlo Ancelotti’s side, in contrast to Liverpool, just need to secure a point in order to progress. It’s a scenario that has led some to wonder whether Ancelotti, savvy customer that he is, will take risks at Anfield in pursuit of extra points that he does not necessarily need.
At least publicly, Ancelotti has indicated that he will be going after a win.
“I have lots of memories of Anfield - my last one is a good one because I won the title there with Chelsea,” said the Napoli boss.
“It’s going to be a tough, exciting match,” added Ancelotti. “We’ll go there and play our usual game. It would be counter-productive to try and park the bus. Besides anything else, that’s not how we play.”
“We’ll try to boss the game and I’m sure the lads are ready and fired up to give their absolute all. We’ll go there with an attacking mindset.”
He certainly has the tools within his squad to trouble Liverpool if he’s so inclined. Rafa Benitez, who knows Napoli and Liverpool well, having been in charge of both, identified what he sees as the greatest threats to the Reds’ chances on the night.
“Carlo Ancelotti has experience of operating at this level,” noted Benitez. “And he has players such as defender Raul Albiol, wingers Jose Callejon and Dries Mertens, playmaker Marek Hamsik and striker Lorenzo Insigne who will not be worried about any noise.”
“For me, one key could be the counter-attack,” added the current Newcastle manager. “Liverpool will be on the front foot from the beginning and Mertens, Insigne or Callejon are tricky customers with their movement and pace.”