Anfield HQ is an Independent #LFC site which has built a reputation as a trusted independent voice around everything to do with Liverpool Football Club. Anfield HQ, the three-time award winning independent Liverpool Football Club site, with news, views, exclusive interviews and analysis. From the fans for the fans.
Danny Murphy is confident that Liverpool’s tough midweek Champions League group stage clash against Napoli will not negatively impact their performance on the coming weekend against Manchester United.
The Reds are set to face Napoli tomorrow night at Anfield in a game where they must either win 1-0 or by two clear goals if they wish to progress to the knockout stage of the Champions League.
Manchester United on the other hand have already qualified for the knockout stage, so one would not be surprised if Jose Mourinho rested a few of his stars on Wednesday night against Valencia, especially as the game is away from home.
Despite this being the case, Murphy believes Liverpool will be fine come Sunday against their rivals at Anfield.
“Well it’s good to have an easy game after a tough night in the Champions League,” Murphy said with a laugh, as reported by live4liverpool.com.
MANCHESTER, ENGLAND – MARCH 10: Jose Mourinho of Manchester United and Jurgen Klopp of Liverpool look on during the Premier League match between Manchester United and Liverpool at Old Trafford on March 10, 2018 in Manchester, England. (Photo by Laurence Griffiths/Getty Images)
Murphy went on and said that Liverpool will have too much in attack for United to handle.
“They’ll be favourites now, I think United will have to play very well to get anything,” said Murphy.
“Though the thing about United is, that their poorer performances have generally been against poorer opposition, they went to Juve, they got a result at Chelsea, they’re not players who are going to freeze in the big moments as in the big picture they have played so many big games.
“A lot of United problems have come against weaker opposition this season, and no (when asked whether the Reds will lose their unbeaten record on Sunday), my heart says no and my heart says no.
“United might dig out a draw but I can’t see them being able to, if they get a win then I’ll hold my hands up, but I can’t see it with Liverpool’s firepower.”
Former Red Craig Bellamy is confident that Liverpool can overcome Napoli on Tuesday night to progress to the Champions League knockout stage.
Jurgen Klopp’s side have to win 1-0 or by two clear goals if they want to progress. If they fail to do so, it will be Napoli joining Paris Saint-Germain in the knockout stage from Group C, and the Reds will be forced into the Europa League.
Bellamy has acknowledged that the Serie A outfit are not to be taken lightly, but he feels the Anfield factor will get Liverpool across the line.
Bellamy told Sky Sports the following after Liverpool’s defeat to PSG two weeks ago: “The special nights that this club has been able to recreate time and time again at this special ground gives you hope straight away.
“This Napoli team is a very good team with a lot of very good footballers, but it is Anfield – and the Napoli players will be aware of that as well.
“I knew as soon as they lost the Red Star game it was going to come back to haunt them because PSG are an outstanding team. You don’t go and spend nearly £200m each on Kylian Mbappe and Neymar without being a game for anyone, especially on their home patch.
PARIS, FRANCE – Wednesday, November 28, 2018: PSG’s Neymar dives again after contact from Liverpool’s James Milner during the Champions League match between Paris Saint-Germain and Liverpool FC at the Parc de Princes, Paris. (Photograph: EPA)
“I thought Liverpool did okay today. They had a lot of possession and didn’t quite create the chances we know they’re capable of, especially with the forward line they have. But you know PSG are always dangerous on the counter-attack, so you can’t throw everyone at them.
“The Red Star game was the disappointing result. The loss was huge and I always thought the Napoli game at home was going to be the deciding game because of the quality of the teams in the group.
“It’s very rare you get three teams of the quality of Napoli, PSG and Liverpool all in the same group.
“I knew it was going to be a tough ask, but I have a lot of confidence because it’s Liverpool and they are at Anfield.”
PARIS, FRANCE – Wednesday, November 28, 2018: Liverpool’s Virgil van Dijk challenges for the ball during the Champions League match between Paris Saint-Germain and Liverpool FC at the Parc de Princes, Paris. (Photograph: François Mori/AP)
LIVERPOOL, ENGLAND – SEPTEMBER 18: James Milner scores for Liverpool during the Champions League match between Liverpool FC and Paris Saint-Germain at Anfield on September 18, 2018 in Liverpool, United Kingdom. (Getty Images)
“How we all know, the club is in a good moment and I really think we should, not celebrate it, but have it in our mind and use it for this game. It’s just a wonderful opportunity again for a really special thing.
“But we know it will be unbelievably difficult, that’s for sure. Can you ask for a special night before you have it?
“We know our responsibility; we have to put in everything we have. We know if we do that, people are easy to inspire and it could work out. But not only because we talk about it – we have to show it.”
Jurgen Klopp has come out in support of Raheem Sterling today, stating that those found guilt of racism don’t deserve “any respect.”
Former Red Sterling appeared to be on the receiving end of racial abuse from fans as he went to retrieve the ball for a corner in Manchester City’s 2-0 loss to Chelsea at Stamford Bridge on Saturday.
Sterling took to Instagram later that day, saying he “had to laugh” and expected “no better” in the situation. He also stated that newspapers in the UK only make matters worse by fuelling racism through the way they portray younger black footballers.
Klopp joined a host of other voices expressing their support for Sterling, with the Liverpool manager claiming the attacker’s reaction was “brilliant” during the game.
“Well, I watched the game obviously and I saw the situation when Raheem went for the corner,” the Klopp said, as quoted in The Independent. “I saw a few guys shouting. I don’t think it was possible to hear what they were shouting, I didn’t hear it.
“I already thought his reaction was just brilliant. You saw his face. He gave the right response – not to react to these people. They haven’t earned any reaction, they don’t deserve any respect or whatever.
“I’m obviously not surprised that things like this still happen. It will not stop now only because we talk about it, but I like the fact that we put a finger on it. You cannot say what you want, it’s not possible.”
Klopp went on to refer to Kevin-Prince Boateng walking off the pitch during a match between Milan and Pro Patria in 2013 after suffering racist abuse.
“We’ve had a similar situation in Germany, in other countries as well,” explained Klopp.
“In Italy, with Boateng stopped the game because of what people shouted from the stands. They need to be punished. As long as people are silly enough to do stuff like this they need to be punished.
“What I like is that – I’m not sure but 95 per cent or more of the people are not like this, so we should try to find the right amount of tension. Yes, punish them but don’t talk too much about them because they don’t deserve to be talked about.”
PARIS, FRANCE – Wednesday, November 28, 2018: Marco Verratti of PSG tackles Liverpool’s Joe Gomez dangerously during the Champions League match between Paris Saint-Germain and Liverpool FC at the Parc de Princes, Paris. (Photograph: Shaun Botterill/Getty Images)
“It’s really nice news that makes a lot of sense to everyone involved,” Klopp told Liverpoolfc.com.
“Joe’s development and progression has been outstanding in the past couple of seasons and I only see his trajectory heading in an upward direction.
“He is so keen to learn and so keen to improve that I think his potential has no limit. Already this season we have seen him mature on the pitch and the credit for that goes 100 per cent to Joe himself for the attitude he has.
“His versatility is something that makes him even more valuable. He can play centre-half in almost any system you can think of, plus both full-back positions. It is no exaggeration to say he is one of England’s best defenders already, but when you keep in mind he is still very young the room for further improvement and development is just so exciting.
“Off the pitch, I think I recently described him as ‘the nicest boy on the planet’ – and I mean it. He is so humble, so grounded, that it is a pleasure for me, my staff and the other players to work with him every day at Melwood.
“I think Liverpool is the perfect home for him now. We benefit from each other – player and club. We are the perfect environment for him to achieve his full potential and he makes our team and squad stronger. I love how much he looks to learn from every person in our dressing room. He soaks up the experience, while at the same time finding his own path.
“I’m really looking forward to seeing him take his career to the next level. Of course at the moment he has this injury, but he has already made a big contribution to this season and I have zero doubt when he returns he’ll not skip a beat from the high level he was at.”
BURNLEY, ENGLAND – DECEMBER 05: Joe Gomez of Liverpool has his injury assessed during the Premier League match between Burnley FC and Liverpool FC at Turf Moor on December 5, 2018 in Burnley, United Kingdom. (REUTERS)
“Signing this new deal means the world to me,” the 21-year-old told LiverpoolFC.com.
“I’ve been at the club a few years now and have had the pleasure to play for Liverpool and experience what that means, so 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.”
The young centre-back arrived at Liverpool in summer 2015 from Charlton Athletic, and has gone on to make 59 appearances for the first team.
This season has been particularly impressive for Gomez as he staked a strong claim for the other centre-back slot alongside Virgil van Dijk, especially after overcoming long-term injury in recent years.
“There have been a lot of highs and lows, it’s my fourth season now and every one has been different,” Gomez explained. “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. I have learned so much.
“There have been good times on the pitch as well. Hopefully that can continue. I am learning under a great manager and great coaching staff and have all the tools around me to keep progressing and learning. I am looking forward to it.
“All the signs show where the club is heading, where our team is heading. We got so close last year in the European competition and in the league this year, we’ve shown such good character in the start to the season so far.
“[It’s] our best start ever as club, so that shows if there is ever a time to have belief in the club and where we’re going, it is now.”
Jurgen Klopp wants his Liverpool side to put all thoughts of their recent wins against Burnley and Bournemouth behind them and “go with everything” they have against Napoli tomorrow night.
The German manager rotated his squad heavily throughout the last two Premier League clashes for the Reds and reaped the rewards – his side now sit top of the Premier League and remain unbeaten so far this campaign.
However, tomorrow night’s clash with Napoli will be Liverpool’s toughest test of the season so far. The Reds must win by two clear goals to go through to the knockout stages no matter what the outcome of the PSG-Red Star game – if they lose, they’re out.
NAPLES, ITALY – OCTOBER 3: Liverpool players leave the pitch after the Champions League match between Napoli and Liverpool at the Stadio San Paolo on October 3, 2018 in Naples, Italy. (Photo by Getty Images)
Gini Wijnaldum believes Liverpool’s impressive 4-0 away win against Bournemouth was good, but not “perfect.”
Mohamed Salah scored another hat-trick for the Reds as Jurgen Klopp’s side but the Cherries to the sword, with an own-goal from Steve Cook further compounding Eddie Howe’s misery.
And while Liverpool came away with the three points they needed to top the Premier League and maintained their unbeaten run, Wijnaldum thinks they fell just short of what could have been a “complete” performance.
LIVERPOOL, ENGLAND – AUGUST 07: Georginio Wijnaldum of Liverpool celebrates his goal with team mates during the pre-season friendly match between Liverpool and Torino at Anfield on August 7, 2018 in Liverpool, England. (Photo by Jan Kruger/Getty Images) *** Local Caption *** Georginio Wijnaldum
“It would have been complete if we’d done the first half much better,” the Dutch international told LiverpoolFC.com.
“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.”
Nevertheless, the strength in depth at Klopp’s disposal was evident again on the south coast.
On Liverpool’s improved squad depth this season, Wijnaldum said: “It’s important to have a squad that can replace each other.
“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.”
Wijnaldum also praised new signings Naby Keita and Fabinho, who he believes are increasingly settling into the squad after a prolonged adaption period.
“Everyone needs time to settle in. I needed time, we saw it with Ox, Robbo needed time. Everyone did well after a few months,” said the midfielder.
“Naby and Fabinho are doing well – and Shaqiri also. We hope they will do [even] better because that means they will help the team and make us even stronger. They are in a good way.”