Potential right-back headache vs. Man United – Wednesday’s Liverpool FC News Roundup

12 December 2018

We round all the latest Liverpool news and transfer rumours on Wednesday, following the euphoric 1-0 victory over Napoli in the Champions League.


Today’s Main Headlines

Liverpool Trio Undergo Fitness Tests Ahead of Sunday

LIVERPOOL, ENGLAND - Tuesday, December 11, 2018: Liverpool's Trent Alexander-Arnold urges the crowd on during the UEFA Champions League Group C match between Liverpool FC and SSC Napoli at Anfield. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

EDIT: Liverpool have now confirmed Matip will undergo surgery on a broken collarbone and could miss “up to six weeks.”

Tuesday night’s victory over Napoli was a near-perfect night for the Reds at Anfield, with concerns over the fitness of Joel Matip, Trent Alexander-Arnold and James Milner perhaps the only negative.

Speaking after the game, Jurgen Klopp provided a vague update on their fitness, with the manager unclear as to the extent of their issues.

Matip headed straight to hospital after the game for a scan on his shoulder, however, while Alexander-Arnold underwent one on his foot on Wednesday.

Both are considered to be precautionary at this stage, but as the Liverpool Echo‘s James Pearce reports, they could be major doubts for Sunday’s clash with Man United.

During his press conference, Klopp explained that Milner had cramp, which suggests the vice-captain will be fit to feature, having been replaced by Fabinho after 85 minutes.

While Dejan Lovren can fill in for Matip, and Naby Keita is among the options in midfield, Liverpool could face issues at right-back on Sunday is Alexander-Arnold if ruled out.

Nathaniel Clyne only returned to training at the start of this week, with Fabinho the most likely replacement.


Irish Reds Make Incredible Donation to Sean Cox

Liverpool celebrate reaching the Champions League Final, with a banner for fan Sean Cox during the UEFA Champions League, Semi Final, Second Leg at the Stadio Olimpico, Rome. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Picture date: Wednesday May 2, 2018. (Photo: Steven Paston/PA Wire)

Liverpool supporter Sean Cox remains in rehabilitation for life-changing injuries suffered in an attack from Roma ultras ahead of April’s Champions League tie at Anfield.

The father of three has returned to his native Ireland, but requires long-term treatment that has a major impact on his family as well as himself, prompting friend Gus Lynch to set up a fundraising page on GoFundMe.

Klopp, Peter Moore and Michael Edwards are among those to make sizeable donations, while the club made a big contribution throughout the 4-1 win over Cardiff in October.

On Wednesday, Lynch announced that the Irish Liverpool Reds, led by Emmet Kavanagh, raised a phenomenal €83,509 for the cause.

This is the second-largest single donation to the Sean Cox Fund so far, with Roma providing €100,000, while president James Pallotta made a personal donation of €50,000. The fund stands at over €500,000 at time of writing.

To make a donation to support Sean or to share the GoFundMe page, click here.


Klopp Extends Brilliant European Record

LIVERPOOL, ENGLAND - Tuesday, December 11, 2018: Liverpool's manager J¸rgen Klopp celebrates after beating SSC Napoli 1-0 and progressing to the knock-out phase during the UEFA Champions League Group C match between Liverpool FC and SSC Napoli at Anfield. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

Liverpool needed either a 1-0 win or one by two clear goals to progress to last 16 of the Champions League on Tuesday, and Mohamed Salah‘s goal and a resolute defensive display achieved the former.

This ensures the Reds’ top-tier European campaign will continue into the second half of the season, and it also extended a brilliant record for Klopp.

Since taking over on Merseyside in 2015, the manager is unbeaten at home in Europe, winning 13 and drawing three in 16 games across the Champions League and Europa League.

Klopp has certainly restored Fortress Anfield, having already surpassed Barcelona with the longest unbeaten run in Europe’s top five leagues back in November.


Van Dijk Defends ‘Red Card’ Tackle on Mertens

LIVERPOOL, ENGLAND - Tuesday, December 11, 2018: Liverpool's Virgil van Dijk tackles Napoli's Dries Mertens, and receives a yellow card, during the UEFA Champions League Group C match between Liverpool FC and SSC Napoli at Anfield. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

Virgil van Dijk produced another formidable display at the heart of Liverpool’s defence against Napoli, with his seven clearances at least four more than any of his team-mates.

But the Dutchman was involved in a contentious call from referee Damir Skomina when he won the ball from an onrushing Dries Mertens in the centre circle on 13 minutes, with his challenge then connecting with the Belgian’s ankle.

Van Dijk was booked, and after the game Napoli manager Carlo Ancelotti told reporters “it is a red card,” adding that “when VAR comes in the Champions League it will be too late.”

But the centre-back refuted this claim when speaking to ESPN, saying “I don’t think it was a bad challenge at all.”

“Unfortunately I touched him, but I would never go in to hurt him or anything like that,” he explained.

“I had the ball and obviously [with] the wet pitch you slide through and I touched him, but that’s football.”

LIVERPOOL, ENGLAND - Tuesday, December 11, 2018: Liverpool's Virgil van Dijk (L) is shown a yellow card by referee Damir Skomina during the UEFA Champions League Group C match between Liverpool FC and SSC Napoli at Anfield. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

Obviously, this conflicts with Klopp’s argument after Joe Gomez suffered a fractured leg following a clean sliding tackle from Ben Mee at Burnley earlier this month, but either way, Van Dijk will now miss the first leg of the last 16.

“I was a bit disappointed about that,” he added, “but we have plenty of quality players to fill my gap.”

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