Van Dijk on Anfield atmosphere, Hazard rumour & 6 Reds up for award – Monday’s Liverpool FC News Roundup

We round up the latest Liverpool news and transfer rumours on Monday, as Liverpool prepare for their crucial Champions League clash with Napoli.

Van Dijk on “Special” Atmosphere

LIVERPOOL, ENGLAND - Tuesday, November 27, 2018: Liverpool's Virgil van Dijk during a training session at Melwood ahead of the UEFA Champions League Group C match between Paris Saint-Germain and Liverpool FC. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

Virgil van Dijk will be key to Liverpool reaching the Champions League knockout stages on Tuesday, with a clean sheet going a long way to helping them progress.

The 27-year-old has spoken to ESPN about the Anfield atmosphere, saying it is incomparable.

“It’s very special. I don’t think there’s anything like it.The games we played last year against Man City and Roma at home were unbelievable, the atmosphere. It’s just something special.

“You need to experience it so you can properly explain it, and to play in those circumstances is something special.

“Celtic Park was outstanding as well [Van Dijk is a former Celtic player], I enjoyed every bit there, so it might be a bit similar.

“But they are two amazing clubs, and I’m glad that I’ve played for them. I’m very happy that I play for Liverpool now.”

The Reds know that a 1-0 win against Napoli will send them through to the last 16, or a victory by two clear goals.

Mee Defends Gomez Tackle

LIVERPOOL, ENGLAND - Sunday, October 7, 2018: Liverpool's Joe Gomez during the FA Premier League match between Liverpool FC and Manchester City FC at Anfield. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

Joe Gomez has signed a new six-year deal at Liverpool but he is currently sidelined after breaking his leg at Burnley last week.

Ben Mee was the man responsible for the tackle that saw the 21-year-old stretchered off, but he has defended it, as well as wishing the Reds defender his best wishes.

“I don’t think anything was wrong with my tackle personally. You can’t take tackles out of the game.

“I’ve seen Liverpool make tackles and get the crowd up and things like that. For me, you can play fair, but you can also play hard as well.

“We’re at the bottom of the table and we need to get out of it, so we’re obviously going to work our socks off to win games.

“It was just unfortunate and I send my best wishes to him [Gomez].”

In fairness to Mee he did win the ball cleanly, but there was a rashness to the challenge that summed up Burnley‘s overly physical approach.

Six Reds up for Accolade

PORTO, PORTUGAL - Wednesday, February 14, 2018: Liverpool's Sadio Mane celebrates scoring the third goal with team-mates Mohamed Salah and Roberto Firmino during the UEFA Champions League Round of 16 1st leg match between FC Porto and Liverpool FC on Valentine's Day at the Est·dio do Drag„o. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

Six Liverpool players are in the running for UEFA’s Team of the Year, following a memorable season that saw them reach the Champions League final.

Alisson was at Roma until the summer but his performances in Italy see him nominated for the award, with Van Dijk one of the centre-backs in contention.

James Milner produced a record number of assists (nine) in a Champions League season and he is rewarded with a nod, with Mohamed Salah, Sadio Mane and Roberto Firmino also in with a chance of making the team.

There is world-class competition in all positions, however, with Salah arguably the only individual who will make the eventual XI.

Fifty players have been nominated in total, including Ballon d’Or winner Luka Modric and former Liverpool favourite Luis Suarez.

Benitez Picks out Key Men

Newcastle United's manger Rafa Benitez (Image: Steve Drew/Press Association Images)Newcastle United's manger Rafa Benitez (Image: Steve Drew/Press Association Images)

Rafa Benitez has managed both Liverpool and Napoli and he has given his thoughts on Tuesday’s much-anticipated match.

The Spaniard recognises that there is great talent in both squads, but has singled out two individuals who will be integral to the final outcome.

“Many players can be decisive in Liverpool-Napoli: the Reds have Mane, Firmino, and Sturridge. Napoli can rely on Callejon, Mertens, Albiol, and Koulibaly,” Benitez told Corriere dello Sport.

“If I had to choose two I’d pick Salah and Insigne.”

It is hard to disagree, with Salah in blistering form after Saturday’s hat-trick at Bournemouth and Lorenzo Insigne doing damage to the Reds in Naples in October.

Liverpool Eyeing up Hazard?

According to Liga Financial, Jurgen Klopp is eyeing up the signing of Thorgan Hazard—brother of Chelsea talisman Eden Hazard—in January.

The 25-year-old has shone for Borussia Monchengladbach this season, scoring 11 goals and also registering six assists.

Hazard has been linked with a host of Premier League clubs, including Man United and Everton, but he is thought to favour a return to Chelsea.

The Belgian never made a first-team appearance during his stint at Stamford Bridge, prior to joining Monchengladbach in 2015.

He’d be a great addition, but perhaps an unlikely one.

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