Denis Suarez: Liverpool deserve respect for dumping out Dortmund

The attacker respects the Reds and spoke of his awe of Jurgen Klopp, but is confident Villarreal can hold their own in the Europa League semi-final on Thursday


GOALEXCLUSIVE

Denis Suarez insists Liverpool deserve respect from Villarreal for their last-gasp win over Borussia Dortmund in the Europa League quarter-final. 

Suarez admitted that the Yellow Submarine squad had watched parts of the clash between the Reds and Dortmund, as Jurgen Klopp’s side mounted a remarkable comeback to win.

Trailing by three goals, Liverpool turned the tie on it’s head to win the second leg 4-3, with the midfielder suggesting it was incredible that they managed to elminate Thomas Tuchel’s side. 

“We have seen portions of the game [Liverpool’s win over Dortmund]. It was incredible,” Suarez told Goal. “Liverpool eliminated a team that I think was the favourite for the title. And so you have to respect them a lot.

“They have a great team and a great squad, and although we have nothing to envy, we do respect them a lot.

“Of course [an-all Spanish final is the target]. But first we have a very tough tie against Liverpool in the semi-finals. Hopefully it will be like that.


GOALREAD MORE  | Soldado: Europa League success a ‘dream’ for Villarreal

The match against Dortmund heralded the revival that Klopp has led at Anfield, and Suarez confirmed he was a big fan of the German’s work, adding: “I’ve followed Klopp since he was at Dortmund.

“His teams are tactically very good, with great intensity, rapid transitions, effective in attack, and I think Liverpool are also making their mark. They are a great team and will be a very, very difficult opponent for Villarreal.”

Nevertheless, Suarez was quick to insist his team are not inferior to their visitors on Thursday, talking up the strengths of the Yellow Submarine while discussing comparisons with Liverpool playmaker Philippe Coutinho. 

“I think anyone in the early season would have thought we would do well at this stage,” the Spaniard suggested.

“We are fourth in La Liga, Champions League qualification is not yet out of reach and we will try in these coming days to reach it.

“And in Europe we now have an incredible tie against a historical rival like Liverpool. Everyone would like to play this kind of game and we now have the possibility of playing them, but we will also try to win, of course.

“I have adapted very well to Villarreal and its style, the team is doing very well this year and Marcelino has given me confidence, that is appreciated.

“It’s true that we [Coutinho and I] play in the same position, more or less, and have similar characteristics. To me, Coutinho seems to me a great player.

“He’s had a very good season, scoring goals and playing well. I’m not one to talk about a duel between him and me, but I do hope Villarreal win.”

28

04 2016

LEAKED: Has the PFA Young Player of the Year winner been revealed?

A leaked photo of Tottenham’s matchday programme for Monday’s game against West Brom appears to show that midfielder Dele Alli already has the prize wrapped up


A leaked edition of Tottenham’s programme for Monday’s Premier League clash with West Brom appears to have revealed Dele Alli as the PFA Young Player of the Year. 

The award is yet to be officially announced, with the ceremony held on Sunday night, but the reported publication refers to Alli as the recipient of the award. 

Alli has been nominated alongside Tottenham team-mate and last season’s winner Harry Kane as well as Liverpool attacker Philippe Coutinho, Stoke’s Jack Butland and Everton pair Romelu Lukaku and Ross Barkley.

However, it appears the Spurs midfielder has the award wrapped up already, according to a picture of the club’s matchday programme in which they congratulate the 20-year-old for winning it.

Tomorrow nights match programme #THFC pic.twitter.com/Wwh2KPhfG9

— Paul O Keefe (@pokeefe1) April 24, 2016

England international Alli has scored 10 goals and set up nine in 32 Premier League appearances this term and has played in all but two of his side’s league games.

Monday’s meeting with West Brom is incredibly significant for Mauricio Pochettino’s men, as they look to return to within five points of the table toppers Leicester City, who beat Swansea 4-0 on Sunday.

24

04 2016

From Melwood to Hollywood? Liverpool squad recite famous movie lines

The Reds’ players put their acting skills to the test by attempting various well-known phrases from American films, with Nathaniel Clyne and Mamadou Sakho impressing


GOAL EXTRA TIME 

Footballers are often asked which profession they would be in had they not made it as a player. 

And on the evidence of a video recently released by Liverpool, acting is one career that would have been firmly shut off to the vast majority of the Anfield club’s stars.

Ahead of Liverpool’s participation in the International Champions Cup in the United States in July, the club released a video featuring Jurgen Klopp and his players attempting lines from films such as Jaws, Forrest Gump and Toy Story.

Mamadou Sakho and Nathaniel Clyne are among the best performers, with the right-back’s impersonation of the Joker from The Dark Knight a particular highlight.

Lucas Leiva and Philippe Coutinho also have their positive moments, although the former seemed to prefer showing off his impression of a Liverpudlian accent.

James Milner and Jon Flanagan were disappointing, though, while Jordan Henderson’s attempts were dismal.

You can watch the full video below…

 [embedded content]

18

04 2016

Coutinho puts on a magic show as Liverpool dent Tottenham's title tilt

The 23-year-old was central to everything good about the Reds against title-chasing Tottenham at Anfield, with Jurgen Klopp calling him a “genius player”


GOALCOMMENT

Earlier in the week, LFCTV aired a special magic show which had ‘mind wizard’ Dave Alnwick assist Philippe Coutinho in predicting team-mate Lucas Leiva’s thoughts.

At Anfield on Saturday evening, he proved he didn’t need hired help to conjure up something special in the 1-1 draw with Tottenham. The Brazilian, scorer of the sublime opening goal, was central to everything Liverpool looked to do. This despite only returning to Melwood from international duty on Thursday.

He attempted the most shots, created their most chances, attempted and succeeded in their most take-ons, delivered the most attacking third passes for the hosts, and was second in their tackling table. 

When Jurgen Klopp’s side pressed, he was present. When they looked for a telling pass, he was the one the team turned to. And when the home fans needed encouragement, it was the Brazilian who provided it as they reciprocated and chanted his name.

Coutinho popped up in pockets of space, and even when Spurs tried to put him under pressure, he seemed to make their hassling disappear. On 51 minutes, he picked up the ball about 30 yards from goal, exchanged a one-two with Daniel Sturridge and deftly finished to fire Liverpool ahead. 

Harry Kane’s equaliser and Christian Eriksen’s effort in the build-up was as brilliant, but it was Coutinho who looked most likely to force the winner.

The 23-year-old is Liverpool’s top scorer this season and is nowhere close to his ceiling. He has hit double figures for the first time in his career, which include goals against both Manchester clubs and Chelsea.

When Klopp’s reconstruction gets underway in the summer, building around Coutinho should be paramount to the German’s plans.

Ahead of kick-off on Saturday, 17 points separated Liverpool and Tottenham, but that was not evident on the pitch. Just as was the case in the goalless draw at White Hart Lane in October, during Klopp’s first match in charge, there was not much between the teams at Anfield.

Liverpool edged shots on target and tackles, Spurs had the better possession and passing figures. Both forced the other into errors and both goalkeepers pulled off impressive saves. 

Encouragingly for the hosts, Tottenham are title contenders and yet, the difference between the sides is not as staggering as the league table suggests. The north Londoners have the two things Liverpool have lacked most: consistency and a formidable goalscorer with no fitness issues. 

But with quality recruits, a full pre-season, and time under Klopp, the Reds are most certainly “in a good way” to borrow the manager’s words. 

It also helps that they already have a magician to count on.

02

04 2016

Willian and Costa but no Coutinho or Oscar – Brazil's first-choice midfield

Elias is the only starter missing from the squad to take on Uruguay on Friday while Renato Augusto is set to retain his role after impressing against Peru

One key task facing Brazil coach Dunga when returning for his second spell in the role following World Cup 2014 was to reconstruct the side’s midfield.

Brazilian football moved away from the sleek and cerebral passing midfielder many years ago and in recent years the Selecao have struggled to find the balance so vital to the centre of the field.

Dunga has sought to address that largely by searching for multifunctional players since his July 2014 appointment. He has capped 18 different midfielders in his 20 matches in charge so far.

Luiz Gustavo, Fernandinho, Elias, Ramires, Everton Ribeiro, Oscar, Willian and Phillipe Coutinho all made Dunga’s first squad, in September 2014. 

Luiz Gustavo, who missed the Copa America through injury, has remained and is undoubtedly one of Brazil’s most consistent players since breaking into the side at Confederations Cup 2013. The Wolfsburg man plays the vital role of protecting Brazil’s back four, always joined by a partner in Dunga’s double pivot.

That partner is usually Corinthians’ Elias. The 30-year-old has curtailed his desire to make late runs into the box as he does so successfully with his club, but his disciplined sense of positioning and smart, simple passing have turned him into a Dunga favourite. Of all the midfielders used since Dunga’s arrival, only the ever-present Willian has made more appearances than Elias.

Manchester City’s Fernandinho is the next most-used midfielder by Dunga, but just 7 of his 15 appearances have arrived as a starter after Elias won the battle for the role of Luiz Gustavo’s deputy.

After a sharp dip in form at Chelsea, Ramires was cast aside and his international career appears to have come to an end following his move to China; as does that of Dubai-based Everton Ribeiro.

Liverpool’s Countinho, meanwhile, found himself dropped from the squad after Dunga was left unimpressed by his showings at Copa America. He has returned this month but only because of an injury to Elias. While there is certainly a case to say Coutinho hasn’t been given a fair crack at replicating his club form for the Selecao, he faces stiff competition for the attacking roles where Brazil are most blessed.

Chelsea’s Oscar was another who missed the Copa America through injury and, though he remains a Dunga favourite, has now lost his place in the first team, originally to Santos playmaker Lucas Lima. A late developer, Lima added the range of passing to a midfield that was criticised for its lack of creativity.

However last time out he was replaced by Renato Augusto, who was roundly lauded for his showing against Peru. The former Corinthians man rolled in Brazil’s second and added a balance and control perhaps previously unseen in Dunga’s midfield three.

Willian is one of just two players to appear in all 20 of Dunga’s games in charge. Arguably Brazil’s best player since World 2014, he has grown into his role and is now taking more responsibility for leading the team’s attacking play. Willian is an undisputed starter, usual on the right.

Bayern Munich’s Douglas Costa has established himself a regular more recently, and his presence on the left has seen Dunga shift Neymar into a false no.9 position – a role by which Dunga seemed unconvinced during the victory over Peru, but a ploy he appears set to repeat against Uruguay on Friday.

And so on Brazil’s midfield, shifting between a 4-5-1 and a 4-3-3, is expected to line up: Willian, Fernandinho, Luiz Gustavo, Renato Augusto, Douglas Costa.

23

03 2016

Klopp only wants committed players at Liverpool

The German insists he would prefer to sell an unhappy player, no matter how good he is, rather than keep him at the club against his will ahead of a rumoured summer overhaul

Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp insists he will always look to offload unhappy players rather than keep them at the club against their will, no matter how good they are.

The German is reportedly set to overhaul the squad he inherited from Brendan Rodgers in the summer as he looks to build a team in his own image.

And Klopp even revealed he would consider selling a star player if they were not fully committed to his approach, arguing no player in the world is “unsellable”.

“Everything is okay at the moment but nobody in the world – maybe only Lionel Messi – is unsellable,” Klopp told reporters.

“There is always a situation. I come from a club where the best players are always picked by other teams and in the end you have to accept a few things. You always need to have a Plan B or a Plan C. 


GOALREAD MORE  | How Lovren stepped up at Liverpool


“If a player comes to me and says he doesn’t feel comfortable and wants to leave because of our style of play or because he can make more money elsewhere, then you always have to start thinking. That’s all I can say on this.

“[Philippe] Coutinho, [Roberto] Firmino, so many players are very special. You could go through the whole squad. But if a player wants to go to another club then I’d always be open to it because I don’t want to have a player in my squad who doesn’t want to be in the squad. 

“These are problems you don’t need during a season. A player is never good enough for you to have to cope with problems like that for an entire year.”

One first-team player who could be set to leave Anfield once the season ends is club captain Jordan Henderson, according to the Mail.

20

03 2016

I know what Coutinho is capable of, says Mignolet

The Brazil international came up with a special strike to finally end the hopes of Louis Van Gaal’s men, and his team-mate said such strikes were commonplace

Goalkeeper Simon Mignolet was not surprised by Philippe Coutinho’s “very special” goal in the second leg of Liverpool’s Europa League tie against Manchester United – because he has been on the receiving end of similar efforts in training.

With the first half drawing to a close and his side trailing 1-0 at Old Trafford, Coutinho produced a moment of individual brilliance to bring the visitors level on the night.

The Brazil international managed to trick his way past Manchester United full-back Guillermo Varela before delicately lifting the ball over goalkeeper David de Gea from a tight angle.

Mignolet says his team-mate’s strike came at the perfect time, as Liverpool had seen their 2-0 first-leg lead cut in half by Anthony Martial’s 32nd-minute penalty.

“From where I was it was difficult to see how tight the angle was,” the goalkeeper told the Liverpool Echo.


GOALREAD MORE  | ‘He comes back!’ – Twitter reacts to Liverpool vs Dortmund draw


“But I’ve seen it back and it was a very special goal. He got past the defender and the finish from that angle was just incredible. Philippe made it look so easy.

“I wasn’t surprised because I see him do that every day in training. He scores goals like that past me. I know what he’s capable of.

“He’s such a good player for us and he helped us get the job done against United.

“Phil scored at exactly the right time, just before half-time. It changed the game.”

Having knocked out United 3-1 on aggregate, Liverpool will next face manager Jurgen Klopp’s former side Borussia Dortmund in the last eight of the tournament.

19

03 2016

Man Utd had enough chances to win – Van Gaal

The coach was satisfied with his side’s performance and said Guillermo Varela and David de Gea were not to blame for Philippe Coutinho’s goal

Louis van Gaal accepted it was “very disappointing” for Manchester United to exit the Europa League to rivals Liverpool, but said his side had enough chances to progress to the quarter-finals.

Liverpool went through 3-1 on aggregate despite falling behind on the night to Anthony Martial’s penalty.

David de Gea made a series of stunning saves to keep United in the match, but he was left helpless when Philippe Coutinho beat Guillermo Varela before lifting home a sumptuous finish as the match ended 1-1 at Old Trafford on Thursday.

“It was very disappointing because we had the chance, that was the feeling in the dressing room,” Van Gaal told BT Sport.

“We created enough chances and we know of course when you are attacking in this way that Liverpool also will have chances on the counter, but the way that we conceded that goal, at half-time, they [the players] were all so disappointed. 

“If we didn’t concede that goal I think it [the win] was possible. I was very pleased that the fans are seeing everything and applauded after.

“We tried to do everything, in the second half we also had chances, Fellaini with his head and his foot, but then you have to score three goals and that’s not too easy.


GOALREAD MORE Van Gaal submits and Man Utd crash out


“But we fought till the end. If we had not concede that goal in the last seconds of the first half, that was critical.”

Van Gaal refused to blame Varela or De Gea for Liverpool’s goal, preferring to praise Coutinho for an inspired run and finish.

“You have to give also credit to Coutinho, it was a fantastic action,” he added.

“You can also say that we have had fantastic actions but you also need a little bit of luck, but when you say that too much as a manager it’s not good.”

United now face a Premier League clash against Manchester City on Sunday, with both sides gunning for the fourth and final Champions League qualification place.

“That’s the schedule we have and we have to cope with it,” Van Gaal said.

“They have given everything and more than everything I think and still we have to play against Manchester City and they have one more day to recover but it was the same against Arsenal and we beat Arsenal.”

17

03 2016

Milner marvels at Coutinho's Liverpool stunner

The Brazilian is only going to get better according to the former Manchester City man, who predicts he will become a “top, top player” in future

Philippe Coutinho has “all the tricks” according to James Milner, who watched his Liverpool team-mate brilliantly punish Manchester United with a sumptuous goal that sealed a Europa League quarter-final place.

Liverpool had their 2-0 first-leg lead cut at Old Trafford by Anthony Martial’s penalty after the half-hour but Coutinho capped a solo run with a majestic chip to give Jurgen Klopp’s men a vital away goal in Thursday’s 1-1 draw.

There would be no way back in the closing stages as United fans streamed for the exits and Milner, who played as an emergency left-back due to Alberto Moreno’s hamstring injury, lavished praise on his Brazilian colleague.

“He’s a brilliant player and he’s only going to get better,” the former Manchester City man told BT Sport. “He’s still young, he’s got all the tricks and he’s got a great temperament.


GOALREAD MORE Steven Gerrard set for Liverpool reunion?


“He’s going to be a top, top player. He’s got a great attitude to keep learning. You need that little bit of magic sometimes and it was great timing just before half-time.”

Milner felt expected early pressure from United prevented Liverpool from scaling the heights of their brilliant Anfield display from seven days ago, but still felt they could have been victorious on the night.

“It was frantic stuff,” he said. “I don’t think we played as well as we did in the first game but we did the job.

“It was never going to be easy coming here. We managed the game pretty well and probably could have got another couple of goals – their goalkeeper made a few good saves.

“They had chances as well but we knew if we got that goal it was going to give us a bit more of a cushion.”

17

03 2016

Klopp: I don't want Dortmund next…they are the strongest team left!

A superb individual effort from Philippe Coutinho cancelled out Anthony Martial’s earlier penalty, and the Reds boss is keen to avoid his old club next


Liverpool boss Jurgen Klopp is eager to avoid facing former club Borussia Dortmund in the next round of the Europa League.

The Reds drew 1-1 with rivals Manchester United at Old Trafford on Thursday night to secure a 3-1 victory on aggregate an advance to the quarter-finals.

Meanwhile, in north London, Dortmund beat Tottenham 2-1 to wrap up an impressive 5-1 aggregate win over two legs, leaving Klopp keen to avoid the side he says are the strongest in the competition.

“I don’t want Dortmund next,” he told reporters. “Why would I want the strongest team in the tournament?”

A superb individual effort from Philippe Coutinho cancelled out Anthony Martial’s earlier penalty, denting any chances of a United fight-back at 3-1 down – having also conceded an away goal.


GOALREAD MORE  | Twitter reacts to Coutinho wonder goal

And Klopp admits the second leg was troublesome before a “genius moment” from Coutinho.

He said: “Yes, there were moments we knew they would show a reaction.

“They were much more intensive than in the first game, we had a little bit of trouble with them winning second balls in the first half.

“But when we used the ball with the extra time we had, we created wonderful chances. De Gea had another good night. They got a penalty – I think it was a penalty – then Phil had a genius moment. It was a wonderful moment.

“You know Phil longer than I know him! He had a lot of good moments in the first half. It was a little bit like Man City. It was brilliant what he did. What you can do in a situation like this, it was brilliant.”

17

03 2016