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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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Klopp wants to keep experienced star at Liverpool despite interest from European giants

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Liverpool FC transfer news: Jurgen Klopp does not want to lose Dejan Lovren in the summer

Calciomercato claims that AC Milan will find it difficult to sign Liverpool’s Dejan Lovren.

The Croatian defender recently returned to the Reds for pre-season training, and report claims that the Reds value Lovren at €25million.

The 30-year-old was not a regular starter for us last season due to injuries and the form shown by Joel Matip and Joe Gomez.

Dejan Lovren Mohamed Salah

However, the Croatian is one of the most experienced defenders in the Premier League, and the report adds that Jurgen Klopp admires Lovren’s leadership at the back.

The report claims that this is one reason why Klopp wants to keep Lovren in the team for as long as possible.

Liverpool won’t let Lovren go on the cheap

The report adds that Liverpool are looking to get the complete €25m for Lovren and are not willing to reduce his price.

Milan would have to match the valuation for Liverpool to even consider selling the Croatian (h/t Calciomercato).

The Reds have signed Sepp van den Berg, a young centre-back, in the summer, however, Klopp’s thought process regarding Lovren makes a lot of sense.

The Croatian hasn’t made any noises of wanting to leave and did a decent job in most of his games last season.

Signing a senior defender for the upcoming season would not be easy, and the Croatian has a great relationship with most of the Liverpool players, such as Mohamed Salah.

Read more Liverpool transfer news, click here – Latest Liverpool transfer news

Lovren’s experience is certainly great for a young Liverpool team, and it will be interesting to see what our actions are in the summer window.

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“I would say yes”: Klopp opens up on where Liverpool star’s future lies

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Latest Liverpool transfer news: Klopp claims Mignolet’s future is with Reds

Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp confirmed that Simon Mignolet would be staying despite the keeper being unsure about his playing time at the club (h/t Daily Mail).

Alisson was signed last summer, and the Brazilian has been excellent with the Reds.

The keeper won the Golden Glove in the Champions League and the Premier League, and won the Copa America this summer.

Simon Mignolet in action

Alisson was also the Man of the Match in our 2-0 win over Tottenham in the Champions League final.

However, Klopp was certain that Mignolet would stay, and praised his professionalism last season (h/t Daily Mail):

“Yes, (it’s) how I’ve heard.

“I’ve had a lot of conversations in the last couple of years, months – not weeks. Before we left (for the summer break) we had talk. I would say yes (he stays).”

Simon Mignolet
Simon Mignolet

Klopp added that the Reds need quality players in all positions, and that was the situation with our goalkeepers:

“At a club like Liverpool you need two number ones in the club and we have that with Ali and Simon.

“It’s a good situation for the club and a situation you should have and that’s why everything is fine from my point of view.”

Mignolet needs more games at Liverpool

The Belgian only played two games for the first-team last season, with those appearances coming in the domestic cups.

Image result for simon mignolet

Mignolet needs to play regularly as he is in the prime of his goalkeeping career, and the Reds should offer him the same next season.

Read more Liverpool transfer news, click here – Liverpool FC transfer news

The Reds are in additional competitions this season, and it will be interesting to see how things develop with the Belgian.

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Liverpool turn to veteran keeper to solve current injury crisis

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Liverpool FC transfer news: Reds move for Andy Lonergan to solve keeper issue

The Liverpool Echo reports that the Reds have moved for former Preston North End goalkeeper Andy Lonergan to solve their problems between the sticks.

The report claims that Jurgen Klopp has brought in the 35-year-old keeper who last played for Middlesbrough.

Lonergan is set to travel to the US for our tour of North America, according to the report, as Simon Mignolet is the only fit senior keeper Liverpool have.

Andy Lonergan

Alisson is away on a break after winning the Copa America while the Reds have seen two young keepers pick up injuries.

Caoimhin Kelleher is out with a wrist injury, Vitezslav Jaros injured his ankle ligaments while Kamil Grabara is yet to report for duty after his U21 Euro exploits with Poland.

Mignolet had to play almost the entirety of our pre-season friendly against Bradford with Dan Atherton being given a few minutes last night.

Lonergan not signing a deal with Liverpool

The report adds that the 35-year-old keeper will not sign a contract with Liverpool, and is unlikely to play in the US games.

Simon Mignolet in action

Liverpool play Sevilla, Borussia Dortmund and Sporting Lisbon in this part of the pre-season tour.

Lonergan is a well-travelled keeper, with stints at Rochdale, Leeds United, Bolton Wanderers and Wolves.

Read more Liverpool transfer news, click here – Latest Liverpool transfer news

Liverpool have won both of their pre-season games so far, and their first clash of the season is against Norwich on 9th August.

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