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Analysing Liverpool’s next five fixtures – including Southampton and Champions League clash

Sunday’s Premier League encounter between Liverpool and Tottenham Hotspur ended in a wild 2-2 draw at Anfield. After the blow of the final whistle, it was contentment for Mauricio Pochettino but despair for Jurgen Klopp, who expressed his frustration over the late penalty handed to the visitors.

The Liverpool manager appeared to make his feelings clear to referee Jon Moss, immediately after the final whistle and was left aggrieved. However, there was nothing he could do other than just speak.

The Reds could do a hell lot in the upcoming games, with Champions League football returning this month. Klopp’s men are having a great season, limited by the points they have dropped to teams in the bottom half of the table.

Let us analyse our next five fixtures across all competitions.

Southampton v Liverpool

Southampton have been terrible this season and are currently embroiled in the battle against relegation. Mauricio Pellegrino was expected to make the team stronger defensively as well as offensively but the Argentine has struggled to impose his tactics. His team has been poor, especially at home, and that would help Liverpool’s cause, who travel to St.Mary’s on Sunday.

When the Saints came to Anfield, Liverpool battered them by scoring three goals. Given the form that we are in and with Mohamed Salah turning tables upside down week in week out, expect us to get the job done handsomely at Southampton.

FC Porto v Liverpool

Enter the Champions League round of 16! We first travel to Porto on February 15 before hosting them on March 7.

Speaking about Porto, they are unbeaten in the league this season and are at the top of the table with 52 points. The Portuguese giants have steamrolled teams at times with ease, and have performed exceedingly well under manager Sergio Conceicao.

Liverpool indeed have an uphill task at their hands in the Champions League. If we can nick an away goal, which would be very tough, we can hope to get the job done at home.

An exciting battle awaits!

Liverpool v West Ham

West Ham looks like a re-invigorated side under David Moyes, who has saved the sinking ship since taking over from Slaven Bilic on November 7, 2017. It took a bit of time for Moyes to impose his philosophy on the team but when the group understood it, they started playing better and effective football.

But I don’t expect the Hammers to come to Anfield and play the same brand of football. Yes, they stopped Manchester City to a certain extent before losing to them; but I don’t see them getting a positive result at Anfield.

Liverpool, who get a break after the Porto clash, host West Ham on February 24. Hoping for something similar to the result we achieved at the London stadium.

Liverpool v Newcastle

Rafa Benitez returns to Anfield on March 3. Newcastle, just like Southampton, are one of the many teams stuck in a fight to stay up in the Premier League. Although I expect Rafa to save the Magpies from relegation, he won’t have much joy when he returns to Anfield next month.

I see Liverpool attackers running riot against Newcastle if the visitors allow space to our players.

Liverpool v Porto

Ideally, I view the Newcastle game as a chance to flex our muscles before hosting Porto on March 7.

From the minute 1, we have to take the game to the Portuguese club, irrespective of the first-leg result. We cannot be complacent at home, even for a minute, and given this is a Champions League tie, I expect the decibel levels to be at its peak.

It is tough to predict an outcome but I stress again; if we succeed in taking a valuable away goal and not concede in Portugal, there is every chance to be optimistic for the return leg.

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“You have to be smart” – Jurgen Klopp highlights tweaks to Liverpool’s style this season

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Jurgen Klopp of Liverpool

Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp has claimed that the team have worked on the defensive aspect of their play and are avoiding going all-out when in the lead.

The Reds have not been as free-flowing in their attack when compared to the previous season. However, their defence has been one of the best in the league.

Klopp’s team have conceded just three goals from nine Premier League games. Liverpool, along with Chelsea and Manchester City, have made an exemplary start to the season and have all established their dominion in the English top flight.

Klopp was quoted by the Daily Star as saying:

“It’s a normal period of adaptation.

“You put the focus a bit more on something and immediately you lose a bit of the fluency in something else.”

Jurgen Klopp & Xherdan Shaqiri

The German added that we have had good results and wanted the team to get better.

“We have already had good results and scored goals but it’s obvious that we can improve.

“But we need to keep the stability – no doubt about that. What we’ve done defensively so far is credit to the whole team.”

Klopp further claimed that the first part of the season lays the foundations for the rest of the campaign.

“That first part of the season is the basis for the rest of the season so let’s use it. We are growing as a team in a specific way and hopefully we can use that.”

Read more: Liverpool’s out-of-favour star emerges as winter target on Arsenal’s radar

The manager added that the team is sitting back more after taking leads, especially due to the number of games in the league.

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“An unleashed beast now” – Some Liverpool supporters love youngster’s performance in 1-0 win over Huddersfield

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Joe Gomez Liverpool

Liverpool needed a Mohamed Salah goal to get the three points against Huddersfield. The Reds were nowhere close to their fluent best from last season and endured some nervy moments as the home side threatened on numerous occasions.

The Reds were horrible with their passes in the final third and that should be a worry for the rest of the campaign.

However, Joe Gomez was the outstanding player in our defence. The English youngster played a role in our goal and did a great job as the right-back.

Although he wasn’t partnered with Virgil van Dijk in the heart of the defence, the 21-year-old was excellent.

A number of Liverpool fans picked up on this and applauded Gomez’s performance in the game.

Read more: Joe Gomez stars: Liverpool player ratings from 1-0 win over Huddersfield

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Joe Gomez stars: Liverpool player ratings from 1-0 win over Huddersfield

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Mohamed Salah Liverpool

Liverpool endured a frustrating night against Huddersfield as their attack failed to click. Mohamed Salah’s first half effort was the only goal of the game, and there wasn’t much goal-mouth action to speak off.

Huddersfield actually had some of the better chances in the second half and even had an effort ruled offside in the first.

Liverpool were wasteful in possession, and their passing in the final third was awful, however, Huddersfield could not take advantage of this.

The Reds kept the pressure on Manchester City as the pair are tied on 23 points, but we are second in the table due to City’s better goal difference.

There weren’t many standout performers for the Reds in this evening’s clash and here are the player ratings from the game.

Alisson – 6.5/10

Had one nervy moment when his clearance was charged down, but he did make one decent save in the game. The Brazilian was beaten by a thunderous drive but that effort came off the post.

Joe Gomez

Joe Gomez – 7.5/10

Possibly our best player on the night. Gomez helped create the first goal and did a decent job as right-back.

Dejan Lovren – 7/10

The Croatian had one or two iffy moments but this was another quality performance from the former Saint.

Virgil van Dijk – 6.5/10

Van Dijk was quality in the first half but made a couple of mistakes in the second. Thankfully, the home side could not take advantage of the same.

Andy Robertson – 7/10

The Scot was willing to help out in attack, and he did well to track back and defend down the left side.

James Milner – 7/10

Another decent outing by the Englishman, Milner did his regular bit in the middle of the park and kept things going.

Jordan Henderson – 6/10

The captain was taken off during half-time and hopefully, he didn’t pick up a serious injury.

Adam Lallana – 6.5/10

This was Lallana’s first start this season, and he did a decent job with his tricks and flicks. The Englishman had to be replaced with some cramp during the end of the second half.

Xherdan Shaqiri – 7/10

The Swiss was the spark that created our only goal of the game. Shaqiri tried to create chances but something was missing in the final output.

Mohamed Salah – 7/10

Salah might have gotten the goal but he was wasteful in the final third and often made the wrong pass.

Daniel Sturridge of Liverpool

Daniel Sturridge – 6.5/10

Another player that seemed to be out of sorts, Sturridge had chances to score but often missed the target. The Englishman was even booked for needlessly blasting the ball over the bar.

Substitutes

Georginio Wijnaldum – 6.5/10

The Dutchman was quality since he came on at half-time.

Fabinho – 5/10

The midfielder did an alright job but needs more time on the pitch.

Read more: “I love the way they approach the game” – Liverpool target open to moving to Premier League

Roberto Firmino – NA

The Brazilian also was sloppy in attack and made a few mistakes with his passes.

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