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Match Preview: FC Gomel v Liverpool

Brendan Rodgers and his men face the little known Belarusian side FC Gomel in the Europa League third qualifying round tonight.

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By Adam Date

Brendan Rodgers and his men face the little known Belarusian side FC Gomel in the Europa League third qualifying round tonight.

It will be the ex-Swansea manager’s first competitive game since succeeding Kenny Dalglish at the end of May, and he will be keen to get off to a winning start.

Much has been made about the date of the game. With the Premier League campaign not kicking-off until August 18th it will be a concern of some fans that a match of significant importance is being played over two weeks before the opening game against West Bromwich Albion.

Andy Carroll has not made the trip due to what the club claim is a ‘groin strain’ but his absence will only fuel transfer speculation about the £35 million striker.  

The likes of Luis Suarez, Sebastian Coates and Craig Bellamy are on international duty at the Olympics so they also haven’t travelled.

Not much is known about the opposition, and reds fans will be expecting a convincing victory after a winless pre-season tour of North America.

New signing Fabio Borini could feature and will be keen to impress reds fans if he gets the opportunity.

FC Gomel play at the Central Stadion, which has a capacity of around 14,000 and will no doubt be a sell-out when Liverpool come to town.

Their squad consists mainly of Belarusian players, with 18 of their 24-man squad being from the landlocked, Eastern-European nation.

Brendan Rodgers should be looking to get the job done in the first leg, and perhaps play some young players and preserve the fitness of the likes of Steven Gerrard.

With the return leg being at Anfield next week, a significant aggregate lead would really take the pressure off and settle any nerves of an upset being caused.

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Jurgen Klopp dispels injury concern after surprise substitution against Southampton

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Xherdan Shaqiri

Xherdan Shaqiri started for Liverpool in the clash against Southampton and was instrumental in our a 3-0 lead at half-time.

His shot was turned into the net by Wesley Hoedt for our first goal and his free-kick was slotted into an open net by Mohamed Salah for our third.

It was a little surprising that Jurgen Klopp decided to take the Swiss star off at half-time and replace him with James Milner.

Shaqiri was our most impressive attacker on Saturday as he played an advanced role behind our front three.

However, Milner came onto the pitch and we played with three central midfielders, something Klopp has used to great effect throughout his time at Liverpool.

The German spoke to the club’s official website as he explained he wanted more control in the game and that’s why he took Shaqiri off.

“I said to Shaq at half-time that I had never brought a player off after such an influential time without an injury. He is not injured. But I wanted to control the game and go back to our normal formation. And that helped, we really controlled it.”

The manager further added that it was not easy to make the change, given how influential Shaqiri was in the first half.

Klopp did explain the change to Shaq but playing the Swiss star had an impact on our defence and that was a problem for the manager.

“The only problem was defensively. Offensively, it was a good idea but, how I said, we have to work on that more often. But he was good and I liked it.”

Read more: Shaqiri shines: Player ratings as Liverpool defeat Southampton 3-0

The 26-year-old had a fantastic game and it will be great to see him play more games if he can have the same sort of impact in the coming months.

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Stats prove this Liverpool star is back to his best after win against Southampton

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Mohamed Salah

Mohamed Salah scored in the 3-0 win over Southampton but he could have gotten a few more too. The Egyptian was unlucky that a goal was called offside and also had a brilliant backheel just going wide of the post.

The former AS Roma forward hasn’t looked as sharp as he did last season but Sky Sports shared some stats that prove otherwise.

The forward is still some way off matching his 32 goals from last season in the Premier League but now, he has three to his name.

What will come as a major relief, however, is that the 25-year-old is getting into the right places to score. The forward was brilliant but that little bit of luck was missing when it came to his finishing.

He did score our third goal against the Saints as he reacted to Xherdan Shaqiri’s free-kick and that just proves he is hungry as ever to get on the scoresheet.

Fortunately for Liverpool, we have goals coming in from other positions too. Joel Matip got one yesterday, while we have also seen James Milner, Sadio Mane, Roberto Firmino and Georginio Wijnaldum score multiple times this season.

Liverpool and the Egyptian haven’t looked as sharp as they did last season but that is a good sign for the coming months.

Read more: “I’ll donate my ribs”, “He has 18 ribs” – Some Liverpool fans relieved star player doesn’t have major injury

The Reds are on top of the Premier League and once Salah starts banging the goals in, we should win games more comfortably.

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Stat proves Liverpool have made Anfield a fortress as Liverpool beat Southampton 3-0

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Liverpool made it seven wins a row in all competitions on Saturday after beating Southampton 3-0. The Reds were barely troubled by the Saints as an own goal from Wesley Hoedt opened the scoring for us.

Joel Matip got the second before Mohamed Salah finished the scoring in the first half to keep us at the top of the Premier League.

The win saw us register our fourth clean sheet of the season but also brought up another stat regarding our domination of teams at Anfield.

Liverpool didn’t lose a single Premier League game at home last season and have continued that form in this campaign too.

The only concern for us has to be the draws at Anfield. Last season, we dropped a number of points despite taking the lead in games.

Everton and Tottenham were a couple of teams that pulled off draws at our home but this season has a different feel for the Reds.

This is the first time we have won our opening seven games in the history of the club. And we should break a few more records along the way.

Our next clash is in the Carabao Cup against Chelsea at Anfield and it will be interesting to see how it goes against our title rivals.

Read more: “Imperious performance”, “Already a better career than Charlie Adam” – Some Liverpool fans go crazy after brilliant first-half by summer signing

We face the Blues next weekend in a huge Premier League clash as well and hopefully, the Reds will come up with all three points at Stamford Bridge and continue our march.

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