Jurgen Klopp has named a 25-man squad for the trip to Portugal to face FC Porto in the first leg of the Champions League round of 16 on Wednesday.
One name that surprised millions of Liverpool fans was that of Nathaniel Clyne. The right-back, who has missed the entire season with a back injury and had a surgery in December, was included in the 25-man squad.
“Clyney is back; of course, it is absolutely too early to think about him, but he is back in normal training, so that’s cool,” Klopp told Liverpoolfc.com.
“He’s been training for two days but after that long of a break, it will take time until he is able to play.”
Joe Gomez, who missed the last two matches due to a knee problem, has recovered and also been named in the squad to face Porto. But the defender will be assessed by the medical team before the game in order to determine whether he can play a part against Porto or not.
“I don’t know yet if he’ll be available on Wednesday, but I think he has a chance,” our gaffer added.
“All he’s done so far has looked good, but it’s all been about waiting for the reaction. I saw him this morning, he looked good as well.
“We have a session tonight and tomorrow morning, so it depends on how he looks in training and then I will start thinking about it. I don’t want to make pressure or rush him; it would be cool if he is available but we will see.”
Emre Can, despite being suspended for the game, has travelled to Portugal, while Ragnar Klavan is fit and raring to go. When asked about the team’s shape, Klopp said:
“Our squad shape is OK in the moment, but we have a few things we are not too sure about. Joe needs to have a test tonight.
“We should be OK more or less – pretty much the only one who is completely out of the game on the plane is Emre Can because of his suspension. Raggy is good and he’s fit.”
Loris Karius impressed in the 2-0 win over Southampton on Sunday, making a couple of decent saves when the Reds were leading 1-0.
The German, who kept a clean sheet on the south coast, is set to retain his place on Wednesday, our boss has confirmed:
“Loris will start. For all goalkeepers it is the same, they need that [confidence]. I don’t like to talk too much about it because we are only interested in the next game, but [his performance at Southampton] was important.
“There were a few really good saves, important saves, good decisions – really smart decisions with quick restarts and stuff like that.
“He was involved in the game, was open and it was just a good performance from him.”
Young Polish keeper Kamil Grabara has also made the trip to Portugal along with Ben Woodburn and Dominic Solanke.
Asked about the challenge of facing Porto, Klopp told in his pre-match press conference:
“I respect Porto a lot – they are a mixture of football and fight. I like that. But we are not too bad either, and we want to show that. I know it’s [the tie is] a close race.”
“On a good day we are really strong but we need to be outstandingly strong tomorrow to get a result against Porto. That’s all we’re focused on.”
Roberto Firmino, who accompanied our gaffer to the press conference, also praised the Portuguese giants.
The Brazilian explained:
“Porto are an excellent team who are always in the Champions League. It’s going to be a tough game tomorrow. I know it’s going to be a very strong game tomorrow – physically and tactically.”
It will be an intense battle at Estadio do Dragao and let’s hope our team returns home with a positive result.
Liverpool squad in full: Karius, Mignolet, Ward, Grabara, Clyne, Van Dijk, Lovren, Gomez, Klavan, Moreno, Robertson, Matip, Alexander-Arnold, Wijnaldum, Milner, Henderson, Lallana, Oxlade-Chamberlain, Can, Woodburn, Firmino, Salah, Mane, Ings and Solanke.
“You have to be smart” – Jurgen Klopp highlights tweaks to Liverpool’s style this season
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.”
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.”
The manager added that the team is sitting back more after taking leads, especially due to the number of games in the league.
“An unleashed beast now” – Some Liverpool supporters love youngster’s performance in 1-0 win over Huddersfield
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.
Gomez was the pick of our lads today, he’s in superb form, reliable and consistent, not many Defenders around performing better than him in the league IMO #LFC
— Chris Burn (@redbhoyburn) October 20, 2018
I thought joe Gomez was finished after wolves in the fa cup but he’s fucking boss
— Callum (@robo_lfc7) October 20, 2018
Don’t care if Lovren played in a World Cup final, he’s a big step down from Gomez in the central defensive role. #LFC
— Dan Copeland (@ETFootball) October 20, 2018
Joe Gomez reminds me of the fella from AWOL. Its the sideys. 😆 pic.twitter.com/HGoAhT3zFR
— smtm_lfc (@smtm_LFC) October 20, 2018
— Anfield Dugout Tickets (@DugoutTickets) October 20, 2018
Not the best again today but Gomez head and shoulders our best player again. Up the unbeaten reds
— Tom Bedson (@TomBedson_LFC) October 20, 2018
Joe Gomez is an unleashed beast now
— Rollins (@BassamLFC) October 20, 2018
Playing Joe Gomez Right back and Lovern CB makes me nervous. Grinding out results makes champions ❤️ #LFC
— OxDa🐐 (@OxDaGoat) October 20, 2018
Read more: Joe Gomez stars: Liverpool player ratings from 1-0 win over Huddersfield
Joe Gomez stars: Liverpool player ratings from 1-0 win over Huddersfield
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 – 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 – 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.
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.
Roberto Firmino – NA
The Brazilian also was sloppy in attack and made a few mistakes with his passes.
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