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.
Paris Saint-Germain set to sell 23-year-old Liverpool target for €15m this January
The Frenchman is out of contract at the end of the season, and PSG are not willing to let the midfielder leave for nothing.
The report adds that Barcelona were close to landing Rabiot on a free but PSG claimed that the Catalans did not act “correctly”.
Rabiot’s wage demands could increase the overall value of the transfer, and the report adds that PSG are not willing to deal with Barcelona any more.
Liverpool could do with another quality midfielder in their side, despite having several options in the side.
However, Adam Lallana has had a tough time related to injuries while James Milner isn’t getting any younger at 33.
Jurgen Klopp has pulled off some great cheap signings with Joel Matip joining on a free while Andy Robertson and Xherdan Shaqiri have been smart purchases.
Rabiot has the talent to be one of the best in the world, but he needs to be under the right manager. Klopp has performed miracles with some players at Anfield, and it would be great to have a talent like the Frenchman playing for us.
Former Manchester City midfielder “scared” of Liverpool in Premier League race
Former Manchester City midfielder Yaya Toure has claimed that he is scared of Liverpool in the race for the Premier League.
The Ivorian won the Premier League with City a few years ago and was speaking on Sky Sports where he claimed that the Reds were doing well and were “very strong” (h/t Daily Star).
The midfielder lauded our efforts at reaching the Champions League final last season and claimed we were growing together.
Winning the Premier League in consecutive seasons is extremely tough, something that Toure touched upon. The former Barcelona midfielder spoke about Manchester City keeping hold of their title this season before adding that he was scared of the Reds:
“This year I know everybody was asking the question of what City are going to do this year.
“And I think we have to see what’s going to happen.
“To be honest, Liverpool are in good, good shape at the moment and I’m very scared of them.
“Liverpool are looking very, very scary this year.”
The Reds are four points clear at the top of the table after the latest round of fixtures. Liverpool needed to return to winning ways after losses against Manchester City and Wolverhampton Wanderers.
Jurgen Klopp’s men were professional against Brighton at the weekend with Mohamed Salah scoring the only goal of the game.
The Reds have some relatively easy fixtures coming up to keep hold of their lead in the Premier League, and hopefully, we can celebrate a first Premier League title this season.
33 wins, 24 clean sheets – The numbers from this Liverpool star’s first 50 games for the Reds are incredible
Virgil van Dijk played his 50th game for Liverpool against Brighton, and the Reds picked up all three points thanks to Mohamed Salah’s winner.
The Reds also kept a clean sheet, something that the defender would cherish and the Liverpool website shared some interesting facts from the Dutchman’s 50 games under Jurgen Klopp.
Liverpool established their second longest run without conceding a league goal at Anfield in 2018. The Reds did not concede for 918 minutes as Callum Paterson scored for Cardiff in October to break a streak that started in Feb.
The Dutchman was the only defender to have played in all games that lasted the run.
24 clean sheets
This has got to be the best record of them all with almost half of the games Van Dijk played in yielding a clean sheet.
This season has been better with 13 clean sheets from 22 Premier League games as the Reds have tightened up the back thanks to the signing of Alisson.
Dominating the opposition
Van Dijk has an incredible success percentage when it comes to duels, with the defender winning 71.69% of the 445 contested duels.
The defender also leads the team in clearances (272), blocks (21) and interceptions (59).
Incredible passing numbers
Van Dijk has attempted more passes (3,643) than any other Liverpool player and has an accuracy of 88.64%.
The Reds have been supreme this season with Van Dijk leading from the back, and we have lost just one game in the Premier League too.
Liverpool have won 33 of the games that Van Dijk has played in with seven draws and 10 defeats so far.
The Dutchman has been one of our best signings under Klopp and is well on his way to becoming a legend at the club if he keeps playing this way.
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