Lovren could return for Liverpool despite death threat scare, says Klopp

Liverpool boss Jurgen Klopp hopes to have Philippe Coutinho and Dejan Lovren available for Wednesday’s Champions League clash with Maribor.

An adductor problem kept Coutinho out of the 3-0 Premier League win over Huddersfield Town on Saturday, while Lovren was forced to withdraw from the starting XI moments before kick-off due to a thigh concern.

The centre-back was heavily criticised for his performance in the 4-1 loss to Tottenham and revealed on Instagram his family had been the target of a death threat in recent days , prompting suggestions he could be rested for Maribor’s visit to Anfield.

But Klopp, who will speak to Lovren about the message aimed at his family, hopes to have both in the squad for a key game in Group E, provided they can come through training on Wednesday unscathed.

“I am not 100 per cent sure. They are both much better but whether they will be ready, I don’t know at this moment,” Klopp told a news conference.

“We have to see. We have a [training] session at 5pm and we will see who will be involved. I hope for both.

“If they will not train, especially in Dejan’s case, that does not mean he cannot play. In Dejan’s case if he could train tonight [Tuesday] and tomorrow, that would be enough.

Dejan Lovren

“We have a few little things, Alberto [Moreno] had a cramp, Joe [Gomez] felt [something] a little bit. So we were really careful in the last few days.

“If a player is playing, then he must be at 100 per cent. I will speak to the medical department. I don’t think about rotation, I think about a 100 per cent spot-on team.”

Klopp also confirmed Sadio Mane and Adam Lallana are making good progress in their recovery from injury, although he does not expect either to return this week.

Mane has been out with a hamstring injury since the beginning of the month and England midfielder Lallana has yet to play this season after injuring his thigh in August.

“It looks good. Sadio had this morning a clearing session before he returns to training,” he said. “Now he’s not in the squad so [Wednesday] is a down day, then on Thursday he should be in training.

“Adam will be part of team training in the international break. Both of them are in a good way, but not good enough to involve them tomorrow or at West Ham.”

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Liverpool recorded an emphatic 7-0 win over Maribor in the reverse fixture and another win this week would put them in a strong position to qualify for the last 16.

But Klopp insists he will not take anything for granted, despite the easy nature of their meeting in Slovenia.

“I have had too many football games in my life to feel relaxed before a game like this. If we win it 1-0, I’m fine. We want three points, a clean sheet and a better position,” he added.


Coutinho a doubt for Klopp’s Wagner showdown

Jurgen Klopp has doubts over the fitness of Philippe Coutinho as he prepares to take Liverpool into battle against a Huddersfield Town outfit managed by former colleague David Wagner.

The German duo worked together at Borussia Dortmund and both left for English soil in 2015, with Klopp heading to Anfield and Wagner taking the helm at a Terriers team then residing in the Championship.

Liverpool 19/20 to beat Terriers to nil

He led the Yorkshire club to the Premier League last season, setting up Saturday’s showdown with close friend Klopp, who could be without Coutinho as the Brazilian struggles with an adductor problem.

“It’s not clear,” said the Reds boss, who oversaw a 4-1 defeat at Tottenham last time out, when questioned on Coutinho’s possible involvement. “Last week he had some back problems. During the week it settled with treatment. Now he has a problem with the abductor.

“We’ll make the decision after training on Friday. He missed training yesterday, but that’s all at the moment.”

Jurgen Klopp David Wagner

Klopp, whose position is beginning to come under sharper scrutiny after a return of just three wins from nine Premier League games, also offered a candid insight into his relationship with Wagner.

“I’ve said worse things to him than to any other person in the world and we’re still friends,” he said.

“I think it’s a special story. Our friendship will last for the rest of our lives, whatever happens in this game.

“But I want to win this game and that means we have to beat Huddersfield, that’s that. 

“I know him well enough to know he thinks exactly the same. Nothing we say in the game will rest a second longer in our mind after the final whistle.”

Huddersfield are fresh from a stunning 2-1 win over Manchester United, leaving them just one point shy of their hosts this weekend.

With that in mind, Klopp urged against complacency. 

“We take this really seriously. We have to defend better,” he said.

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“We need to be confident again, we need to be brave. Huddersfield defend well, good counter-attacking team – enjoying the Premier League.

“Against United they parked the bus and won the game. They will probably try to play the same way here.”


Plan B: Coutinho can fill in should Brazil lose Neymar – Tite

The Selecao boss says he is desperate to ensure his side can cope without the PSG man and insists he is proud of the team he has put together

Brazil coach TIte says he is determined to make sure Brazil can cope without Neymar should the PSG star be forced out of his starting line-up.

A Selecao had faced intense criticism for their reliance on Ney prior to Tite’s June 2016 arrival, infamously slumping to a 7-1 semi-final defeat when they lost him due to injury at World Cup 2014.

Brazil’s WCQ campaign in full | All 60 players called by Tite | Tite names Brazil squad

And Tite says he will prepare a plan b should they lost their star player, with Liverpool’s Philippe Coutinho ready to shift across to the left side of the attack.

“Coutinho on the left side, and Willian on the right side, where both can produce even more,” Tite told SporTV.

Neymar Brasil Chile WC Qualifiers 2018 10102017

Liverpool’s Coutinho appears to have replaced Willian on the right in Tite’s preferred starting XI – the one change to the first-team since the coach’s arrival.

He went on to confirm that he had already settled on 75 per cent of the players who will form his World Cup squad and that he was proud of the team he’s put together since his arrival.

“I feel represented by the football played by the team,” he said. “The players are showing the characteristics we’ve installed and I am happy to watch the team play.

Seeção Brasil treino Tite 29 08 2017

“Do we need to improve? We do. Are there steps that still need to be taken? Yes. But I also have the courage: ‘I feel represented’. 

“If we’re going to win [the World Cup] or not, I do not know… but the performances so far should be a milestone and we will grow in relation to them.”

Tite will take his Brazil side to Europe in November for a Chevrolet Brasil Global Tour double-header, as his team face Japan in France and England at Wembley Stadium, London.


Frustrated Coutinho annoyed by ‘preventable’ goals leaked against Tottenham

Philippe Coutinho believes that Liverpool were the architects of their own downfall in their 4-1 thrashing at Tottenham on Sunday.

Two goals from Harry Kane, as well as strikes from Son Heung-Min and Dele Alli, gave Spurs a comfortable victory over the Reds at Wembley, with Mauricio Pochettino’s side racing into a 2-0 lead within 13 minutes.

Liverpool 11/8 for top four finish

Coutinho, who has been tracked by Barcelona and is likely to again be a transfer target next summer , was frustrated with his side’s performance and insists that every one of Spurs’ goals were preventable.

“The goals were goals that could have been prevented,” he told ESPN Brasil .

“It started out wide and we end up conceding one of those goals the manager speaks about.

“He speaks a lot about this – we’ve conceded a lot of goals like this. And obviously in attack we were unable to score the goals necessary to draw or turn around the game.

“We were in the game during the first half then the goal we conceded made everything worse.”

Defender Dejan Lovren was substituted after half an hour, with many pinning the blame for Spurs’ first two goals on the Croatian.

Dele Alli Tottenham Liverpool Premier League

However, Coutinho believes it is not just the defence’s responsibility to keep a clean sheet.

“The first goal started in a wide position where everyone is involved in defending, not just the players right at the back,” he added.

“We have to improve this as quickly as possible in order to win games and fight more. With difficult games like this one, we know it’s these things that decide them.

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“So we need to concentrate more to deal with balls like this.

“The first goal was scored after four minutes and the second one after 12 or 13. It’s difficult to play away from home against a strong team when you start like that.

“We have to work hard. Those passages of play, those set pieces from wide positions. We have to concentrate more to deal with them.”


Klopp: Liverpool must make Coutinho and Can want to stay

Jurgen Klopp hopes Liverpool can do enough to keep Philippe Coutinho, but insisted whether there was already an agreement in place for the attacker was unimportant.

Coutinho, 25, was heavily linked with a move to Barcelona in the off-season despite being contracted until 2022.

The Brazil international ended up staying at Anfield, with suggestions the star attacker would make the move at the end of the campaign.

However, Klopp said he was unsure, adding that it was insignificant so early in the season.

“I’ve no clue. We will see. We don’t talk about things like this. Can you imagine what it would be like if I said ‘yes we have an agreement’?” he said, via The Telegraph.

“In this moment, the 100 per cent truth is that nobody thinks about this. We don’t talk about it, why should we?

“In both cases it would not make sense – no, there is no agreement, yes, there is an agreement. It is not important in the moment.

“We have other moments when we have to talk about these things but not in October.”

Another player Liverpool may lose at season’s end is Emre Can, with the midfielder coming out of contract.

Klopp said it was up to his club to ensure the likes of Coutinho and Can wanted to stay.

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Coutinho 23/10 Anytime goalscorer v Spurs

“What I can say, in general as a club, and how I understand it, we have to still create a situation where players want to be part of it with all they have,” he said.

“In this moment, we have this. Nobody thinks about January, nobody thinks about June or July.”


Coutinho move to Barcelona unlikely in January

Barcelona are unlikely to sign Philippe Coutinho in the January transfer window, despite claims by the Catalans’ chief executive that a deal could be done, Goal understands.

Coutinho 12/5 to score v Spurs

The Blaugrana bid for Coutinho three times last summer, but all three offers (the last of which was for around €130 million) were turned down by the Reds, with club owners Fenway Sports Group having insisted their player is not for sale.

Coutinho was keen on a move to Barca and was led to believe that is was a case of now or never as the Catalan club sought to replace Neymar with both he and Ousmane Dembele, who did arrive at Camp Nou from Borussia Dortmund for an initial €105m.

“We are ready to buy Coutinho in the winter market, or any player the technical staff request,” Barca chief executive Oscar Grau said last week. 

Coutinho stats

“But it is important to adjust ourselves, so if there are to be arrivals, there must be exits as well. We must forget about the price paid for Neymar last summer. After taxes we received about €188m in income and a direct financial impact on the club’s treasury of €144m.”

Barca will look to offload Arda Turan and probably Paco Alcacer as well, although the Catalans are unlikely to receive big fees for either player. Andre Gomes is also attracting interest, but he has had opportunities under coach Ernesto Valverde and may yet stay.

“I don’t think Coutinho should leave, but I think he will go to Barcelona,” former Liverpool striker Emile Heskey said this week. “Any player in the Premier League can change their mind when they know Barcelona or Real Madrid want them. When those clubs show interest, players begin to make movements to leave.”

And ex-Liverpool defender Dominic Matteo said: “He seems to be a level ahead of even the [Roberto] Firmino’s and the [Sadio] Mane’s, he is one of those players that could easily go into a Barcelona or a Real Madrid as he is that clever and he has got such a good football brain, something that us ex-footballers dreamed of having, he is one step ahead.”

Philippe Coutinho Gini Wijnaldum Liverpool

Philippe Coutinho Liverpool

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Coutinho was seen by Barca as a player who could feature in attack alongside Lionel Messi and Luis Suarez, or alternatively in a midfield role to provide cover and give rest to Andres Iniesta.

However, the Spain midfielder has just signed a new “lifetime” contract at Barca and has already played 10 games for the Catalan club in 2017-18, as well as featuring for the national team.

Liverpool’s tough stance and Barca’s need to raise cash for the transfer means a lot would need to happen for Coutinho to leave Anfield in the winter anyway, and a more likely option now is for the two teams to agree on a deal for the next summer window.


Fantasy Football: Salah and Dzeko lead the Goal Champions League Team of the Week

Round three of Champions League action is in the books and now everyone has played every team in their group once. Liverpool were this week’s big winners with their dominant 7-0 win against Maribor, a performance which placed four of their players in our Goal Team of the Week. You should definitely consider adding as many Liverpool players to your team as possible with the reverse match at Anfield coming up next.


GK: Alphonse Areola – PSG – 1 Game, 6 Saves, 1 Clean Sheet = 10 Points

DF: Taulant Xhaka – Basel – 1 Game, 1 Goal, 1 Assist, 1 Clean Sheet = 17 Points

Typically Taulant is the lesser known of the Xhaka brothers but, as the only one in the Champions League, is the only important one for this format. He contributed towards both of Basel’s goals in their 2-0 win against CSKA moving them up into second in Group A. Xhaka is not top five in either goals or assists in the Swiss Super League so this is likely just a one off, but what a one off it was!

DF: Mats Hummels – Bayern Munich – 1 Game, 1 Goal, 1 Clean Sheet = 14 Points

DF: Trent Alexander-Arnold – Liverpool – 1 Game, 1 Goal, 1 Clean Sheet = 14 Points

Mohamed Salah

MF: Mohamed Salah – Liverpool – 1 Game, 2 Goals, 1 Assist = 17 Points

Salah is having a ridiculous season both domestically and in Europe, sitting in a top three spot in both for goals by midfielders. This performance obviously came against a lesser opponent but they will turn around and do it again in their next Champions League match as well, so the Egypt international should be considered a wise investment.

MF: Philippe Coutinho – Liverpool – 1 Game, 1 Goals, 2 Assists = 14 Points

MF: Eden Hazard – Chelsea – 1 Game, 2 Goals = 14 Points

MF: Bernard – Shakhtar Donetsk – 1 Game, 2 Goals = 14 Points

Once a highly sought after prospect, Bernard has been quietly working away out in Ukraine for the past few seasons. He had the highest key passes rate (per 90 mins) in his domestic league last season and should, in theory, be picking up more assists in both competitions. The next match against Feyenoord should be a great chance for Bernard to show what he can do as the Dutch side sit last in Group F conceding an average of three goals per match.

Quincy Promes Spartak Moscow

FWD: Quincy Promes – Spartak Moscow – 1 Game, 2 Goals, 2 Assists = 18 Points

FWD: Roberto Firmino – Liverpool – 1 Game, 2 Goals, 1 Assist = 15 Points

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FWD: Edin Dzeko – Roma – 1 Game, 2 Goals = 12 Points

The former Manchester City man had a terrific season last year for Roma, leading Serie A in goals with 29. He’s continued that form into this campaign sitting top five in Italy, and has now scored three times in his last two Champions League matches. The two he netted against Chelsea were terrific and he’ll be hoping to repeat the feat against the reigning Premier League champions next time out.



‘Liverpool buy stars like Coutinho, not sell them’ – Lucas backs club stance against Barcelona

Liverpool’s blocking of Barcelona’s advances in a protracted Philippe Coutinho chase came as no surprise to former Reds star Lucas Leiva.

Those at Anfield spent much of the summer knocking back offers from Camp Nou for their Brazilian playmaker.

Coutinho 23/10 to score v Man Utd

Having tied Coutinto to fresh terms in January, Liverpool refused to waver in their stance that the 25-year-old was going nowhere.

Lucas, who left Merseyside for Lazio during the last transfer window, believes the Reds were right to snub Barca as a club of their stature should be buying the world’s best talent, not selling it.

The 30-year-old midfielder, who spent 10 years at Anfield, told Goal: “Liverpool is not a seller, Liverpool is a buyer. That’s basically it. 

“There are companies that supply, there are companies that buy. Liverpool are not a team that sells their stars easily. 

“It’s obvious that every club ends up selling some great players, but at Liverpool that’s not so natural.”

While Liverpool stubbornly refused to part with Coutinho, they were prepared to let Lucas head for Italy.

Lucas Leiva Liverpool buyer not seller

He departed having made 346 appearances for the club and admits that he received several other offers before taking the tough decision to open a new chapter in his career.

“I did not leave earlier because there was no agreement between the three parties involved, Liverpool, the club concerned and myself,” added a man with 24 caps for Brazil.

“I had opportunities to go to Turkey, others even to Italy, but my relationship with Liverpool was always very strong, so everything was always done by mutual agreement, there was never a fight or impasse.

“Now, with the possibility of Lazio, the conversation lasted only five minutes. It was my time to leave, it was good for everyone. Liverpool understood and realised that I deserved a new challenge.”

Lucas endured a testing opening to his time in England, but recovered to leave as a cult hero.

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On his standing at Anfield, the versatile star added: “I do not know if I am an idol, it’s very complicated. 

“If you talk to any fan of Liverpool, you will hear different opinions regarding Lucas the player, but Lucas the man will always be analysed in the same way, everyone will say that I gave my best for the shirt. The image left behind was very positive.”

Lucas has helped Lazio to make a positive start to the 2017-18 campaign, with the Rome-based club currently fourth in Serie A ahead of a return to domestic action on Saturday with a trip to defending champions Juventus.


Dean Saunders would pick Sadio Mane over Philippe Coutinho

Former Liverpool striker Dean Saunders has claimed that he would pick Sadio Mane over Philippe Coutinho if he had the choice to buy one of the two.

Coutinho was heavily linked with a big-money move to Barcelona in the summer, but the Reds reportedly turned down three bids, despite the player submitting a transfer request.

Barca chief executive Oscar Grau has claimed that the club are “ready” to move again for the Brazilian in the January transfer window, but Saunders has suggested that Mane is more valuable to Liverpool.

Sadio Mane and Phil Coutinho celebrate

The Senegal international has become a key player in Jurgen Klopp’s team since moving to Anfield from Southampton in 2016.

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“If you ask me who I want, Coutinho or Mane, I’d pick Mane, for whatever team,” Saunders told talkSPORT. “If you could only have one or the other [I’d take Mane].

“He’s that good and [his injury is] a massive blow for Liverpool because he’s the pace across the top of the pitch. He’s the man who runs in behind defences and he makes Liverpool a different proposition.”

Mane, who has scored 16 goals and created eight assists in the Premier League since his switch to Anfield, will be on the sidelines for six weeks due to a hamstring injury that he suffered on international duty at the weekend


‘Coutinho is a level above Liverpool’s other players’

Philippe Coutinho is a level above the rest of Liverpool’s squad, according to former Reds defender Dominic Matteo.

Having handed in a transfer request amid interest from Barcelona over the summer, Coutinho endured a slow start to the campaign.

But after scoring stunning goals against Leicester City and Newcaste, the Brazil international is hitting top form ahead of Saturday’s clash with rivals Manchester United.

And despite the performances of Sadio Mane and Mohamed Salah so far this campaign, Matteo feels Coutinho remains a step ahead of the rest.

“He seems to be a level ahead of even the [Roberto] Firmino’s and the Mane’s, he is one of those players that could easily go into a Barcelona or a Real Madrid as he is that clever and he has got such a good football brain, something that us ex-footballers dreamed of having, he is one step ahead.” he told betsafe.com.

“In the Newcastle game, even though we didn’t win, there were flashes in that, the great goal and some of the balls he was putting through.

“He is instrumental, he is that little bit of stardust that a lot of teams don’t have, he is a top draw player and hopefully he is winning the Liverpool fans back over with his goals and his performances and we can keep hold of him as he is our best player.”

With Mane having been ruled out for six weeks with a hamstring injury, Coutinho could be joined in the Liverpool starting XI by Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain, with the England midfielder in line to make his first Premier League start since arriving at Anfield.

Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain

And Matteo believes Oxlade-Chamberlain must show his experience and take some responsibility if he is to establish himself in Jurgen Klopp’s starting line-up.

“I think Oxlade-Chamberlain’s good enough, we’ve only seen bits and pieces of him so far. He needs a run of games, like certain players around the Liverpool set-up, they all need runs of games.

“He has got a lot of experience, he played a lot of games for Arsenal as a young player and I think he will be a good player for the squad, whether he will start for Liverpool I am not too sure. When we signed him I was thinking where was going to play?

“I think Jurgen Klopp is thinking that we have got the Champions League, which he wants to do well in. He (Klopp) wants to do well in the league as well and we have got the cups.

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“He is thinking that he is going to have to utilise his squad each week and I think that’s what he’s done, maybe a little too much but we have a decent sized squad.

“As a player, these are the games that you want to be starting and if he does start on the weekend this is the game he needs to stand up and be counted. To show Liverpool fans that he is here and he means business.”

Read the full betsafe.com interview with Dominic Matteo & Gary Pallister, including why pressure is building on Klopp is under pressure at Anfield.