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Lucky Lovren, honest Van Dijk – 5 talking points from Liverpool’s 0-0 draw with Manchester City

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Liverpool Manchester City Georginio Wijnaldum

Liverpool ended their tough run of games with a 0-0 draw against Manchester City. This game didn’t have many clear-cut chances but thankfully, Riyad Mahrez decided to send his penalty to the moon rather than the back of the net.

Surprisingly, it was Virgil van Dijk that gave the penalty away, despite us giving Dejan Lovren his first Premier League start of the season.

Our attack was non-existent and Alisson had to do a bang-up job to keep a couple of low City shots out. Nevertheless, we didn’t lose to our title rivals and are tied on the same number of points as Chelsea and City.

Liverpool head into the international break having played Chelsea (twice), City, Tottenham, Napoli and Paris Saint-Germain. And both our losses this season came in cup competitions.

This City game wasn’t something to tell your grandkids about but there were some important points to discuss.

1) The lack of creativity is killing Liverpool

Where do I begin? Our front three can’t catch a break this season. Roberto Firmino and Sadio Mane already look gassed while Mohamed Salah is trying his best but to no avail.

The Egyptian had one decent chance in the game but blasted the ball over the bar in the second half. What seems to be missing is someone who can unlock defences and get the trio running. We had Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain doing that last season, but have no one doing it this time around.

Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain Liverpool

Even Naby Keita was subdued, despite coming on earlier than expected. The link between the midfield and attack has gone missing at times this season, and this is the only problem we have in our current XI.

2) Klopp should make changes earlier

We spent so much money in bringing players in the summer and then Klopp isn’t willing to change things up at Anfield. Liverpool weren’t great in attack and we could see that the attack needed some freshening up.

While the German did bring on Daniel Sturridge late in the game, we had the X-Factor, Xherdan Shaqiri sitting on the bench.

Xherdan Shaqiri of Liverpool

The former Stoke City man has looked great for us, and it was a major surprise why he wasn’t given any minutes against the Blues.

Klopp needs to change things up a bit when it isn’t going right on the pitch and it is a little concerning why we aren’t rotating the side around and ensuring some of our top stars get more rest.

3) Lovren was incredible and lucky

Dropping Trent Alexander-Arnold to the bench and playing Dejan Lovren as the central defender would have certainly raised a few eyebrows before the game.

The Croatian is a quality defender but this was his first Premier League start of the season. The former Southampton defender hadn’t played much since the World Cup final, and facing Manchester City would have been the worst team to face, given their attacking threat.

Dejan Lovren Mohamed Salah

However, Lovren was excellent and won, more or less, every single battle he faced. There was the one moment early on when he seemed to tap Sergio Aguero from behind and it looked like a penalty but barring that, Lovren made a fantastic return to the side.

4) Refreshing honesty from Van Dijk

In a time and age when players hide their mistakes and try to blame others, Virgil van Dijk was open about his foul on Leroy Sane which gave City their penalty.

The Dutch defender was a little slow to the ball and the penalty was the right call. Van Dijk spoke after the game and admitted the referee was right in giving City the spot-kick.

Van Dijk might not have been this honest had we lost the game but he still was in top form as City barely had a kick.

This possibly was his only mistake so far in the season and hopefully, the Dutch star learns from this and doesn’t go diving in all the time.

5) Liverpool still far better off than last season

Liverpool haven’t won any of their last four games and have only scored twice. That would mean pandemonium for some but let’s put things into perspective.

We are still top of the league and unbeaten. We have a couple of easier games in the Champions League, after our last-minute loss to Napoli. We don’t have to worry about the extra games from the League Cup. And, we have already played Chelsea, City and Tottenham this season.

It has been a crazy season so far, with the fixture schedule but we have shown that we are better than last season.

The performances aren’t as brilliant but the numbers don’t lie. Last season, after eight games, we had 13 points in the Premier League, this time, we have 20.

We had drawn four times and lost once in our eight games last season, this time we have six wins and a couple of draws.

The Reds had three clean sheets last time from while this season, we have five from eight games. Even in the Champions League, we are better off.

The Reds had drawn their opening fixtures last season while we have a win and a draw against tougher opposition this time.

Read more: Leicester City interested in January move for this £70,000-a-week Liverpool star

It isn’t all doom and gloom for the Reds as we still haven’t gotten out of second gear. The international break does come at a great time for the players to rest and hopefully, they will come back better than ever in a couple of weeks.

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“Fast becoming a legend” – Some fans laud Liverpool youngster’s performance in 3-2 win over Spain

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Joe Gomez

Joe Gomez put up another incredible perforce during the international break. The Liverpool youngster is a starter alongside Virgil van Dijk for the club and did a brilliant job in England’s 3-2 win over Spain.

The 21-year-old has started nine games for us in all competitions and Liverpool have only conceded three goals from eight Premier League games.

Gomez could grow even better with more games this season but the youngster was celebrating the England performance and put up an image of the team.

The Englishman should be in-line to start our game against Huddersfield at the weekend, and a number of fans showered praise on the 21-year-old for his 90 minutes against the Spanish.

Read more: “Exactly what I expected” – Liverpool’s summer signing opens up on his time at Anfield so far

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Liverpool handed triple injury boost ahead of Huddersfield clash

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Virgil van Dijk

Liverpool have been handed a triple boost ahead of their game against Huddersfield on Saturday. The Mirror reports that Virgil van Dijk, James Milner and Mohamed Salah are certain of being fit for the Premier League game.

Milner had injured his hamstring in the 0-0 draw against Manchester City and was expected to be out of action until December, as per the report.

However, the Englishman has made a remarkable recovery, and the report adds that Liverpool’s medics have given him the all-clear to make a comeback.

Milner has to take part in full training on Thursday to have a chance of making it to the team for the Huddersfield game.

Salah and Van Dijk also had injuries during the international break. However, the Egyptian only has a slight muscle strain while the Dutch defender has been dealing with a rib injury that requires pain-killers, as per the report.

James Milner of Liverpool

James Milner

The forward is returning to Liverpool for further treatment and should participate in full training before Thursday, according to the Mirror.

Ronald Koeman shed light on Van Dijk’s problem and was quoted by the Mirror as saying:

“He spoke to the manager. The medical staff of the Dutch national team spoke to the medical staff of Liverpool and made the decision that he was playing only the Germany game and then after back to Liverpool.

“He is ready to play next weekend.”

Read more: “Exactly what I expected” – Liverpool’s summer signing opens up on his time at Anfield so far

Liverpool should be favourites for the three points against the Terriers and if Salah and Van Dijk start, we should come out easy winners on Saturday.

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Liverpool star cuts short international duty after picking up rib injury

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Virgil van Dijk

Virgil van Dijk was amongst the goals against Germany for the Netherlands but the defender has a rib injury, as per the Liverpool Echo.

The report claims that the centre-back has returned to the club after being ruled out of the friendly against Belgium.

A statement from the Dutch team (h/t Liverpool Echo) said:

“After consultation, it was decided to use the player only for the game against Germany.”

The report adds that Liverpool will assess the injury, and we will then get an idea of the extent of his problem.

Virgil van Dijk

Van Dijk had a rib problem earlier in the season and was rested in our Carabao Cup loss against Chelsea. The Dutchman has been reliable at the back and is one of the best defenders in the Premier League.

Liverpool’s next game is against Huddersfield on Saturday, and it will be interesting to see who will play in the heart of the defence.

Jurgen Klopp can call upon Dejan Lovren or Joel Matip to partner Joe Gomez in the back as the match against the Terriers should not be the most difficult outing.

Gomez has been the other centre-back who has been brilliant for us this season and in all probability, Lovren should partner the English youngster.

Read more: Fabinho tips this Liverpool forward to become “one of the best” in the world

Liverpool’s next tough game is against Arsenal on 3 November, and hopefully, Van Dijk will be fit for the clash at the Emirates.

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