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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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World-class Liverpool target set to move away from La Liga club in the summer

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Latest Liverpool transfer news: James Rodriguez could be on his way to the Premier League

Sky Sports Germany (h/t Mirror) reports that James Rodriguez will not extend his stay with Bayern Munich and wants a new club in the summer.

The 27-year-old joined the Bavarians on a two-year loan deal in 2017 from Real Madrid, and the report claims that the Colombian has struggled to settle at the Bundesliga club.

Rodriguez has put up some great performances for the Bavarians this season and scored 7 goals in the Bundesliga.

Bayern had the choice of signing the Colombian permanently for £37million, but the report claims that Rodriguez isn’t interested in staying at the club.

The report adds that the 27-year-old will meet with agent Jorge Mendes and discuss his future move, and he isn’t interested in staying at Real Madrid too. Zinedine Zidane is back at the club, and he doesn’t see Rodriguez in his plans, according to the report.

Liverpool interested in Rodriguez

The report claims that Liverpool are interested in the Colombian but so are a couple of other Premier League sides.

Manchester United and Arsenal are also keeping tabs on the 27-year-old, and the report claims that Juventus and Paris Saint-Germain are also interested in Rodriguez.

James Rodriguez

James Rodriguez

Liverpool already have a fantastic first-team under Jurgen Klopp but could do with another attacking midfielder in the side.

Rodriguez’s time at Bayern has been average, to say the least, and there is no surety if he will fit into the scheme of things at Anfield.

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

The Reds play a high-energy game under Klopp and it will be interesting to see who we sign once the season is complete.

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Boost for the Reds as Klopp provides positive news over two Liverpool stars returning to fitness

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Latest Liverpool news: Jurgen Klopp provides a positive update on two Liverpool players

Jurgen Klopp provided some positive news regarding Roberto Firmino’s return to the first-team.

The Brazilian missed our last three games and is working to regain fitness ahead of the Champions League final against Tottenham.

The forward is at our training camp at Marbella, and Klopp claimed that the Brazilian still needs to be looked after (h/t LiverpoolFC.com):

“Bobby looks really good [and] he is now part of training. It was not too long out, but of course we are still careful and want to make sure nothing happens.”

The manager added that Firmino had played in some of the smaller games with the rest of the players and it was “the first step to play football.”

“Today he was in around about 70 per cent of the session. Tomorrow he will probably be in completely, we will see, then hopefully it will be fine.”

More good news for Liverpool

Firmino returning to fitness for the final would be a huge boost to our attack.

The Brazilian has a great relationship with Sadio Mane and Mohamed Salah, and the trio could cause Tottenham all sorts of problems.

Klopp also spoke about another injured player as Naby Keita is making a return from an abductor injury sustained against Barcelona at the Nou Camp:

“Naby is, I would say, a bit ahead of schedule, but that doesn’t mean anything for the final.”

The German added that the player is running and doing some work, and spoke about Keita possibly playing in the Africa Cup of Nations in the summer.

“For me, it would be good if Naby would be 100 per cent fit and could play the Africa Cup of Nations, to be 100 per cent honest.”

However, Klopp confirmed that Keita would not be playing in the tournament if he wasn’t completely fit, and claimed that the medical staff would work to get the Guinea midfielder back to his best.

Read more Liverpool news, click here – Latest Liverpool news

Liverpool have just over a week before the final and hopefully, we have Firmino ready to go against Spurs at the Wanda Metropolitano.

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Promising Liverpool starlet to sign new deal and join Scottish giants on loan

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Liverpool FC transfer news: Sheyi Ojo close to joining Steven Gerrard at Rangers

The Daily Star reports that 21-year-old winger Sheyi Ojo will sign a new five-year deal with Liverpool and then be on the move.

The English youngster was on loan at Reims last season but only made three starts for the Ligue 1 side. Ojo did play 18 games in all competitions for the French side, but most of them came off the bench.

The report claims that Ojo will be joining Rangers after signing a new deal with the Reds. Gers manager Steven Gerrard used his connections to sign a couple of players from Liverpool last season.

Ryan Kent was a success at the club, and the report claims that Gerrard is looking to keep the Englishman for another season.

However, Kent is expected to move to another club, and the report claims that Ojo would be his replacement for the Scottish giants.

Ojo needs to play regular football

The report claims that Ojo is highly rated at Anfield, and it should not come as a surprise if he is loaned out for another season.

The English winger will find it difficult to get regular minutes under Jurgen Klopp next season. Mohamed Salah and Sadio Mane could do with some competition, however, Ojo hasn’t proven his ability in a top league yet.

It will be interesting to track his development next season and see if he performs better than Kent at Rangers.

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

The Reds are blessed with young attacking talent at the moment, with Harry Wilson also shining at Derby County this season.

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