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Liverpool could face some tough sides in knockout round of the Champions League – but here is why they can beat them all

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Alisson saves from Arkadiusz Milik

Alisson saves brilliantly for Liverpool

Liverpool did it the hard way, but they did it. The Merseyside club made it into the last 16 of the Champions League with a 1-0 win over Napoli, and there were some heart-stopping moments along the way.

From Sadio Mane’s misses to Alisson’s big save in stoppage, this match certainly lived up to its billing and Anfield was a bundle of energy pushing the Reds towards victory.

In all honesty, Liverpool should have won this game by a comfortable margin, but things are never easy for us.

Our poor away form saw us lose all three group games not held at Anfield, and this played a huge role in us finishing second in the group behind PSG.

Last season, we topped the group and we got a decent tie in the first knockout game with a trip to Porto. Of course, the Estadio do Dragao is a difficult place to visit but we won the first-leg 5-0.

Expecting something similar seems a bit of a stretch, given who all we could face in the first knockout round.

Tough tie awaits Liverpool

Finishing second means we will face one of the other group winners in this season’s competition. We can’t face a Premier League side as UEFA rules prohibit same country teams meeting in the first knockout round, and our possible opponents could be:

Borussia Dortmund, Barcelona, Porto, Bayern Munich/Ajax, Lyon, Real Madrid/Roma, Juventus.

That makes for some tough games, and if things work in our favour we could be drawn against a Porto or Ajax, but that’s wishful thinking.

There is another issue we have to keep in mind with Virgil van Dijk missing the first leg of the knockout round due to his yellow card against Napoli.

Liverpool have been excellent in the Premier League but their performances in Europe haven’t been outstanding this season.

However, to progress, they need to get some things right.

Liverpool need to tweak things to get the best out of the side

Jurgen Klopp has tweaked a lot with his formation this season, and it has worked more often than not. Shifting from the crazy heavy metal 4-3-3 last season, the German has deployed a safer 4-2-3-1 with Mohamed Salah leading the line and Roberto Firmino playing behind the Egyptian.

This pragmatic approach makes it difficult for teams to break us down but our attack isn’t as fluid as it was last season.

The Reds struggled with their 4-3-3 in Europe this season, and some of our worst displays actually came with this formation in use.

James Milner Liverpool

Looking at the opposition, only the likes of Real Madrid, Juventus and Barcelona should scare the Reds. We have a decent record against Borussia Dortmund with that magical night in the Europa League a couple of years ago.

Further, Bayern Munich aren’t the dominant force they were under Pep Guardiola and have already lost three Bundesliga games this season.

The Reds should keep playing their 4-2-3-1 formation and possibly field Naby Keita in behind Roberto Firmino.

The Guinea midfielder has the guile and ability to run past defences with his dribbling, while Firmino can stretch any defence with his movement.

Shifting Salah out wide to the right might be a risk after his exploits down the middle, but this makes us play similar to what we did last season.

The Egyptian was brilliant down the right against Napoli and he seems to be hitting form at the right moment.

Mohamed Salah Virgil van Dijk Liverpool

The trio of attackers need to find their verve, and fortunately, we seem to be heading on the right track if the last few games are taken into consideration.

The midfield is where we should see more change with Fabinho starting more games in Europe alongside Jordan Henderson.

The Brazilian is a shield to our defence but is capable of threading the needle too. The pair of Fabinho and Keita have been picking up in recent games, and their partnership will be crucial in our Champions League run.

Naby Keita of Liverpool

We have toned down the Gegenpressing in the first half of the season, but that surely has to change once we face some of the tougher sides.

The defence and our goalkeeper are possibly the best in England, and one of the best in Europe, so we aren’t worried about that.

The Reds are in great touch now, and qualifying for the knockout round will have given us more confidence.

Read more: “Wasted ~100 seconds. He’s living in 2030” – Some Liverpool fans react hilariously to forward’s struggles against Napoli

We beat Napoli at home, we beat PSG at home, and frankly, we shouldn’t worry about who we face in the next round.

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Bad news for Liverpool? Gary Neville claims Man City will have this advantage over the Reds during next two Premier League match days

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Gary Neville

Former Manchester United defender Gary Neville claims that Manchester City have an advantage over Liverpool in the next two rounds of the Premier League.

The Reds played before City in the last weekend and piled on the pressure after defeating Crystal Palace. City made light work of Huddersfield and will play before the Reds after the FA Cup and Carabao Cup games.

Neville was speaking to Sky Sports (h/t Express) and claimed playing first was preferable:

“[It makes] a big difference.

“It’s preferable.”

The Sky Sports pundit further claimed that during his playing days at United, the team felt playing first was an advantage. Getting the points first before their rivals was always preferred, according to Neville, and he believed City will put the pressure on Liverpool.

“Either go further in front or close the gap. There’s no doubt it’s a different type of pressure.

“City will absolutely want to be closing that gap to one point, and asking Liverpool have they got it in them to stand the pressure of playing the day after or two days after.”

Liverpool celebrate win over Crystal Palace

Liverpool players celebrate a win

City play Newcastle away a day before we host Leicester City. Pep Guardiola’s men then host Arsenal a day prior to us travelling to West Ham United.

The Premier League champions can cut the lead to just one point before we face Leicester, and it will be important for us to respond in the perfect manner, irrespective of City’s result.

Read more: Boost for Liverpool as reputed football journalist claims this Lyon star prefers a move to Anfield

Liverpool haven’t dropped many points this season, and if we win these two Premier League games, the pressure will be back on our rivals as the race for the title heats up.

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“This makes me very happy”, “Extremely happy for him” – Some Liverpool fans excited as star Englishman returns to training in Dubai

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Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain Liverpool

Liverpool are off to the sunny shores of Dubai for a much-needed warm weather break. The Reds lead the Premier League but came off two tough wins in recent weeks.

The last one saw us just about defeat Crystal Palace at Anfield and a few players are doubtful for the clash against Leicester City.

Fabinho and Trent Alexander-Arnold are facing fitness issues, however, there was some good news for the Liverpool fans as Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain was caught training in Dubai.

The Englishman picked up an ACL injury in our Champions League tie against AS Roma last season and has not played for the side since.

The Reds have missed his driving runs and goals this season. Who knows what the team could have done if Liverpool had Oxlade-Chamberlain playing from the first game in this campaign!

It would be fantastic if we can have the Ox back for some games during the later stage of the season as we look to win a trophy under Jurgen Klopp.

The Reds hold a four-point lead over Manchester City and have some tough games remaining this season.

Several fans were excited over Ox’s training and here are some of their reactions from Twitter.

Read more: Boost for Liverpool as reputed football journalist claims this Lyon star prefers a move to Anfield

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“He sometimes sends me messages” – Virgil van Dijk cannot believe this Liverpool legend texts him prior to games

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Virgil van Dijk of Liverpool

Virgil van Dijk in training

Liverpool star Virgil van Dijk has revealed that club legend Sir Kenny Dalglish messages the Dutchman before games.

Van Dijk is one of the best defenders in the world and has helped the Reds to the top of the Premier League.

The Dutchman joined the Reds from Southampton last year and told Liverpoolfc.com about spoke about the King being open with Van Dijk:

“Kenny Dalglish gave me his mobile number in the very beginning and told me to ring him at any time.

“It is unbelievable when he sometimes sends me messages before games. That is what Liverpool is about.”

The defender added that on match-days he gets to meet many legends and learn more about the club’s history.

The Dutch defender has possibly been the best player for the Reds this season, and could reach legendary status, just like Kenny if he keeps doing the job at the back.

It isn’t just Van Dijk who has been great, the rest of the Liverpool back-four has been fantastic in most games. The Dutchman is an incredible presence at the back, and he seems to make players better if they play alongside him.

The Reds have one of the best defences in Europe, and should we keep things tight at the back, there is a chance of winning silverware under Jurgen Klopp.

Read more: Boost for Liverpool as reputed football journalist claims this Lyon star prefers a move to Anfield

If the Dutchman helps us to the Premier League title, there is no doubt he would be considered as one of the best to have ever played for Liverpool.

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