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Liverpool edge Arsenal on penalties after 10-goal thriller

LIVERPOOL, England – Anfield debutant Curtis Jones scored the winning spot-kick as Liverpool beat Arsenal on penalties after an astonishing 5-5 draw to reach the League Cup quarter-finals on Wednesday. 

Soccer Football – Carabao Cup – Fourth Round – Liverpool v Arsenal – Anfield, Liverpool, Britain – October 30, 2019 Arsenal’s Bukayo Saka in action with Liverpool’s Rhian Brewster REUTERS/Andrew Yates

The 18-year-old kept his cool in front of the Kop to send Liverpool through after the hosts has trailed 3-1, 4-2 and 5-4 before a stoppage-time equaliser by Divock Origi.

On a crazy evening it had appeared as though Joe Willock’s screamer had earned Arsenal victory, but Liverpool proved irrepressible as their barnstorming season continued.

Both Juergen Klopp and Unai Emery changed their entire lineups from the weekend’s Premier League action.

Liverpool took the lead in the sixth minute as Arsenal’s Shkodran Mustafi scored a comical own goal.

Arsenal levelled after 19 minutes when Mesut Ozil, given a rare start by Emery, picked out Bukayo Saka in space and after his shot was saved, Lucas Torreira tapped home.

Brazilian teenager Gabriel Martinelli scored his first goal of the night seven minutes later to put Arsenal ahead, scooping in from close range after a save by keeper Caoimhin Kelleher.

Liverpool self-destructed as Harvey Elliott’s poor pass went to Ozil who played in Saka to square for Martinelli to make it 3-1, but in the 43rd minute Elliott tumbled in the box at the other end and James Milner tucked away a penalty.

Milner’s dreadful back pass allowed Ainsley Maitland-Niles to make it 4-2 but Arsenal old boy Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain crashed home a beauty shortly after to close the gap.

Liverpool equalised in the 62nd minute when Jones played in Origi who turned superbly to fire into the roof of the net.

Willock’s goal sent Arsenal’s fans into raptures again but Origi scored with almost the last kick of the game.

Reporting by Martyn Herman; Editing by Toby Davis

Our Standards:The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.
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Klopp feels Liverpool are being rewarded for Keita patience

Jurgen Klopp feels Liverpool are reaping the rewards of showing patience with Naby Keita.

Much was expected of the Guinea midfielder following move from RB Leipzig for a reported £52.75million ahead of the 2018-19 season.

Keita struggled to hit the ground running in the Premier League and initially found himself in and out of the Reds’ starting XI.

However, the 24-year-old has started to show what he is capable of in recent games for the title hopefuls and took just 15 seconds to open the scoring in Friday’s 5-0 hammering of relegated Huddersfield Town.

That was his third goal in five outings in all competitions and Liverpool boss Klopp says Keita just needed time to show his true qualities.

“People expect if you pay money for a player that you come in and from the first day you show everything you are able to do,” Klopp said.

“That would be nice if it’s always that easy. It’s not. Naby needed time, we gave him the time and now he is there.

“It was for sure his best game, in a lot of departments. He was calm in the right moment, very, very positive-aggressive in the right moments, winning balls, blocking balls, closing gaps, passing balls, being safe with the ball, turning and creating with that moment.

“It was just a brilliant game.”

Liverpool are top of the league with two games remaining, but rivals Manchester City will return to the summit if they beat Burnley on Sunday.

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Klopp: Liverpool´s December lead doesn´t matter

Jurgen Klopp was quick to dismiss any talk of Liverpool’s nine-point lead at the top of the Premier League being decisive after they thumped Arsenal 5-1 at Anfield on Saturday.

Liverpool emphatically capitalised on Tottenham’s 3-1 defeat to Wolves as they recovered from going a goal down by cantering to victory thanks to a hat-trick from Roberto Firmino, a Sadio Mane strike and a Mohamed Salah penalty.

The Reds’ advantage at the top will be cut to seven points if third-placed Manchester City win at Southampton, with the defending champions then set to host Liverpool at the Etihad Stadium on January 3.

And Klopp is adamant his team’s current lead means little, telling a post-match media conference: “Tomorrow it will be seven and when we play against Man City it could be four. It’s possible.

“I’m not the smartest person in the world, but I’m really not an idiot – not always, at least. That’s really nothing. It’s absolutely not important how much points you are ahead in December, even in the end of December.

“Before the game we heard because it was on all the screens about the result of Tottenham. Did you think the party started already? I didn’t see a smile in any faces in the dressing room. Just see it and then go on.

“We came here in that situation with 54 points after 20 matchdays now completely being focused on the situation. Now it’s not about creating headlines, creating stories. It’s still about preparing football matches, play them as good as you can and try to get as many points as you can. That’s it.

“In the moment it feels like [a] marathon what we are running. Before the marathon, the weather is brilliant, new trainers, new shirt, new everything. The people say, ‘You will win today’. But first I have to run.

“The people all around us are buzzing and one guy has to run. We have to run. That’s what we try as good as possible.”

Firmino was able to complete the hat-trick as usual penalty taker Salah gave the Brazilian the ball for the second spot-kick, a gesture that amazed Klopp.

He said: “2018 ends with a Christmas present from Mo Salah. I love it, the gesture. He gives the ball to Bobby and he can score a hat-trick.

“That’s just a nice thing. In the moment, I was not too happy because in training Bobby doesn’t finish with penalties too often, to be honest. Obviously today it was his day and absolutely okay.

“Look, it worked so it was one of the nicest things I ever saw in my life. Really I don’t know a lot of players who would do that. When I saw him then celebrating with Bobby that was then like ‘wow’. Just outstanding. So far, the gesture of the season – really, really nice.”

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Leicester vs Tottenham – Match Preview

 

After suffering a heavy defeat to Arsenal last weekend, Tottenham had to bounce back in the best possible way against Southampton in midweek and thanks to a comfortable win by three goals to nil, that is exactly what they managed to do.

And thanks to a combination of results elsewhere that saw their London rivals drop points, it means that Mauricio Pochettino’s men have reclaimed third spot before Saturday’s visit to the King Power Stadium.

It is there where they will face a Leicester City side who are unbeaten in their last six league outings, a run of form which sees them currently occupy ninth place in the table. It is fair to say that Claude Puel’s men are going under the radar as of late, as they prove to be a tough but to crack.

The Foxes were reunited with an old face on Wednesday night as Claudio Ranieri bought his Fulham side to the East Midlands, while it was a trip that proved relatively fruitful for the Cottagers as they managed to earn a much needed point in their bid to stave off relegation.

The question for Leicester is whether or not they can continue their impressive run of form and in turn become a genuine contender for the Europa League places this season, especially as just one point separates themselves and Everton who currently lie in sixth.

To do so they will have to continue their unbeaten run, one that could be in danger with the visit of Tottenham on the horizon. That said, Leicester do seem to have their upcoming opponent’s number after a spate of recent wins.

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Bournemouth vs Liverpool – Match Preview

 

In what promises to be a busy weekend of Premier League action, our first port of call takes us to the South Coast as high flying Bournemouth play host to title chasing Liverpool.

Eddie Howe’s men returned to winning ways in midweek and will be looking to continue that momentum on Saturday.

The fixture computer has not been all that kind to the Cherries as of late, with recent fixtures against both Manchester outfits and Arsenal, while it is certainly no kinder this weekend with the visit of Jurgen Klopp’s men.

However, there was at least some brief respite from this tough set of fixtures on Tuesday night when they got the better of Huddersfield at the Vitality Stadium. That win took them to 6th place for 24 hours at least, although they have since been overtaken by Everton.

Still it is only goal difference that keeps the Toffees in 6th place and that will give Bournemouth hope that they can make an honest fist of competing for a Europa League place, especially if Manchester United continue their uninspiring form.

For Bournemouth’s dream of European exploits to become a reality then they will need to keep putting wins on the board, something that is easier said than done though when you consider the quality of their next opposition.

Last time out Liverpool made the relatively short journey to Burnley and even though they were given a scare in the second half when the Clarets went ahead, they eventually went up through the gears and secured a win by three goals to one.

With the games coming thick and fast in December, it was a much changed Liverpool starting eleven. One that saw Sadio Mane miss out through injury, while star duo Mohamed Salah and Roberto Firmino were dropped to the bench.

At one point it looked as if the gamble was going to backfire, especially when Burnley took the lead via a largely contentious goal. However, those changes at least meant that Jurgen Klopp had a backup plan should it be required.

And that plan was executed perfectly as Salah and Firmino came on to add more bite to the Liverpool attack, something that was plainly evident when the latter put Liverpool ahead with his first touch of the ball.

Eventually Xherdan Shaiqiri would wrap up all three points in the dying seconds after a neat counter attacking move was completed, but even after that victory at Turf Moor all they can do is stay on the coattails of league leaders Manchester City.

Liverpool are still unbeaten in the Premier League this season and as good as their performances have been, the question that needs to be asked is whether frustration will eventually get the better of them.

How deflating will it be to toil each week, only to then still see that you cannot get to the top. I guess the next few matches will tell us if that particular scenario will play out. However, frustration shouldn’t get the better of them against Bournemouth as they add another three points to the board.

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Liverpool vs Everton – Match Preview

 

Three derby fixtures take place on Sunday and although the majority of them take place in London, one should not forget the small matter of a clash on Merseyside as Liverpool and Everton square off in a bid for bragging rights in the North West.

Liverpool go into this weekend lying second in the table, but the two point gap that they had at the close of last Sunday may well end up being five by the time a ball has been kicked at Anfield. With Manchester City playing the day before, they have the perfect chance to pull clear at the top.

Whatever happens at the Etihad, Jurgen Klopp and his players know that they need to concentrate on the task in hand and that is getting the better of a high flying Everton side who themselves start this weekend in the heady heights of sixth in the Premier League.

The Toffees have been going about the business quietly as of late and it is fair to say that they have flown under the radar with them now moving ahead of a continually struggling Manchester United side under the managerial reign of Jose Mourinho.

And Everton broke into the top six after a hard fought and narrow win over Cardiff last Saturday, Gylfi Sigurdsson was the hero as his second half finish from close range broke the resistance of Neil Warnock’s men.

Everton will have their work cut out to come out on top at Anfield, but at the same time they can look back on their recent draw at Stamford Bridge as evidence of what they are capable of when going up against the teams right at the top of the table.

 

That trip to Stamford Bridge before the November international break saw them earn a very creditable draw and had they had a bit more firepower at their disposal late on, then they could very well have earned all three points against the Blues.

 

Will Marco Silva look to implement a similar game plan at Anfield this Sunday? To be fair it would probably make sense, if Everton can get a foothold in the game early and pack out the midfield then it will cut off the supply that Liverpool will look to provide the likes of Mohamed Salah and Sadio Mane.

Salah opened the scoring last Saturday as Liverpool eventually worked their way up through the gears to beat Watford 3-0. After a goalless first 45 minutes, there was no panic from the visiting Reds as their extra quality shone through in the end.

The only blot on their copybook was the fact that Jordan Henderson was sent off for two yellow cards and will miss this Merseyside derby due to suspension. However, you get the feeling that Liverpool will have enough in their midfield ranks to cope with his absence.

And they will arguably have enough in the final third to make sure that they come out on top and continue to apply the pressure on last season’s Premier League champions Manchester City. Liverpool to win and also keep a clean sheet, looks like where the smart money should go.

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Arsenal vs Tottenham – Match Preview

 

The battle lines have been drawn in North London as this Sunday sees the first of two clashes between Arsenal and Tottenham in the space of the next month.

Later in December, these arch rivals will square off in the Carabao Cup Quarter-finals, but this weekend the stakes are arguably much higher.

That is because it is Premier League points that are on offer with Unai Emery’s men looking to not only extend their unbeaten run which has been in place since August, but also they will look to leapfrog ahead of Tottenham in the table.

The Gunners go into this clash sitting three points behind Spurs, but safe in the knowledge that a win in front of their own fans would see them move ahead of Mauricio Pochettino’s men by virtue of goal difference.

That might be easier said than done though as Tottenham will come into this fixture with their tails up after making incredibly light work of crosstown rivals Chelsea last weekend, a win that sees them start the weekend lying third in the table.

And that is a position that they would like to solidify as they stay on the fringes of this season’s title race, and they cannot afford to cede any further ground to Manchester City and Liverpool if they want to be considered bona fide contenders.

Their hopes of success have been given a real shot in the arm after that win over Chelsea, it was a performance where Tottenham were on top from minute one. A point that was reinforced when Dele Alli opened the scoring early on.

The England international was only a substitute in England’s recent win over Croatia in the Nations League, but he showed any doubters why he should be in the starting eleven after a very impressive performance over Maurizio Sarri’s men.

Arsenal also ended up on top last weekend but admittedly their win was not as impressive. At the same time though that win over Bournemouth at the Vitality Stadium is the kind of game that they would have struggled with last season under former manager Arsene Wenger.

Unai Emery’s men are of a different ilk and although they needed a large slice of fortune after Jefferson Lerma’s bizarre own goal gave them the lead, it is fair to say that they were good value for all three points in the end.

Arsenal were given a recent test at home to Liverpool recently, one that saw earn a creditable draw against the team that are currently second in the table and this weekend will provide a measure of just what the red half of North London can do this season.

Last year at this ground, Arsenal ran out 2-0 winners in a particularly one sided performance. However, in the grand scheme of things it counted for very little as the limped to a sixth place finish in the Premier League.

These two outfits are two of the Premier League form teams going into the clash, so something will have to give. At the same time, the form book does have a habit of going out the window in clashes such as this. If it ends in a draw then Tottenham will be the happier of the two sides come full time.

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Liverpool vs Brighton – Match Preview

 

 

However, this is a Brighton side that will be buoyed by the fact that they managed to record a huge upset last Sunday when they got the better of a Manchester United side who have made a lacklustre start to this campaign.

For Liverpool they come into this game with maximum points after getting the better of a Crystal Palace on Monday night.They were made to work for their win in South London, but at the same time you would have to say that they were good value for their win.

Whether this means they can consider themselves serious title challengers is perhaps a little too early tell, we won’t really know the lie of the land for the first 10 matches of the season have taken place.

The objective for Liverpool will certainly be to make sure that they are in touching distance of Manchester City once the first quarter of the season is complete. If that is the case, then the belief in the Anfield camp will have no doubt increased as they hope to win a first ever Premier League title.

Their opponents Brighton will be looking to not only build on their win over Manchester United last weekend, but they will be hoping for better fortunes on the road after suffering a defeat to Watford in the first game of this campaign.

For the Seagulls, it is not necessarily these games that are going to define whether they stay up or not. In essence this becomes something of a free hit for the South Coast outfit, at the same time though the same could have been said going into their clash at the AMEX last Sunday.

United were definitely out of sorts last weekend, but as the old adage says you can only beat what is in front of you and that is exactly what Brighton managed to do. That win would have been a huge confidence for the club, especially as they are many people’s tips for relegation come next May.

If they are to survive the dreaded ‘second season syndrome’ then it is not only their home form that is going to be vital in helping them avoid the drop, but it also the picking up of more points away from home.

That could well be easier said than done though especially if the likes of Mohamed Salah and Mo Sane are firing on all cylinders. The former has seemingly picked up where he left off after winning the Golden Boot last season while the latter looks refreshed after the Summer hiatus.

Brighton will come here hopeful of causing another upset, but unfortunately for them it looks like they will be sent home empty handed as Liverpool go on to make it three Premier League wins out of three on Saturday.

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Liverpool´s 30-goal hero Salah: There´s more to come

Liverpool sensation Mohamed Salah warned there is more to come after reaching the 30-goal mark in his first season at Anfield.

Salah arrived from Italian outfit Roma in the off-season and the Egypt international already has 30 goals in 36 appearances across all competitions for Liverpool.

The 25-year-old forward, who is only one goal adrift of two-time reigning Premier League Golden Boot winner Harry Kane with 22 strikes this term, reached the mark during Liverpool’s 5-0 rout of Porto in the first leg of their Champions League last-16 fixture.

“It is a great feeling to have scored 30 goals in a first season at a club like Liverpool,” Salah told Liverpoolfc.com.

“It’s something huge, so I am very happy about it – but I have to carry on and keep looking forward to score many more goals.

“In my mind I am always trying to improve and I’m doing it every single day. Every day I look at myself and try to improve myself all the time.

“I am happy at the moment, I feel good, and that’s the most important thing – and 100 per cent, there is still more to come.”

Liverpool – third in the league and two points behind second-placed Manchester United – are back in action against West Ham on Saturday.

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Van Dijk finally completes ´world-record´ Liverpool move

Virgil van Dijk’s protracted move from Southampton to Liverpool has been completed, with the reported £75million fee a world record for a defender.

The Netherlands international was on the brink of joining the Merseyside club at the start of the season only for the transfer to fall through after the Reds were accused of making an alleged illegal approach.

Liverpool issued an apology to Southampton over the incident and the deal has been revived, with Van Dijk signing a contract for an undisclosed length of time that commences from January 1.

Although the exact details of the transfer have not been announced, Saints confirmed the fee “will set a new world record for a defender”.

“Delighted and honoured to have agreed to become a Liverpool FC player!” Van Dijk posted on Instagram. “Today is a proud day for me and my family as I join one of the biggest clubs in world football!

“I can’t wait to pull on the famous red shirt for the first time in front of the Kop and will give everything I have to try and help this great club achieve something special in the years to come.”

Manchester City were reported to be preparing a £60m move for Van Dijk, but the Reds have beaten the Premier League leaders to his signature.

Van Dijk previously handed in a transfer request in a bid to force a move to Liverpool, leading to then-Southampton manager Claude Puel exiling the defender from first-team action.

The 26-year-old has been on the sidelines again of late, with Puel’s successor Mauricio Pellegrino opting not to use the centre-back amid speculation over his future.

Van Dijk was absent as Southampton were battered 5-2 by Tottenham at Wembley on Boxing Day and he has not played since Saints’ December 13 defeat to Leicester City.

The arrival of the Dutchman will boost Liverpool’s defence, which has come in for heavy criticism and conceded 23 Premier League goals this season, the joint-most of any side in the top six.

Van Dijk will also be available to play for Liverpool in their Champions League last-16 meeting with Porto in February as he has not played in the competition this season.