We round up the latest Liverpool news and transfer rumours on Monday, as preparation continues ahead of Wednesday’s trip to Barcelona.
Today’s Main Headlines
- Journalist gives encouraging update on Firmino’s injury
The Brazilian has been a doubt to face Barcelona.
- At least 10 players could leave as part of “vast changes” at academy
A major overhaul expected.
- Every word from Van Dijk’s PFA Player of the Year interview
“Highest honour you can get.”
- How Liverpool’s loanees performed over the weekend
Karius in top form and a first pro start.
- A tactical guide to stopping Messi
James Nalton on negating the threat of the world’s best player.
Barca to Copy Man City?
Liverpool’s Champions League semi-final first leg clash with Barcelona is one of the most eye-catching games of the season, with very little separating the two sides.
According to a report by ESPN, the newly crowned Liga champions are taking inspiration from Man City by studying their two matches against the Reds this season, which saw a 0-0 draw take place at Anfield and the champions win 2-1 at the Etihad.
A ‘club source’ has outlined how Barca will play on Wednesday, with handling Liverpool’s high-octane pressing game seen as key:
“Liverpool apply very high pressure in the form of six or even seven players.
“They want to make you uncomfortable and, if possible, they want to rob the ball back.
“Our intention is to play as we always do. We want to get the ball at the back and play through their press.
“But we haven’t ruled out going long if we have to.”
Centre-back Clement Lenglet has also gone into depth about the threat Liverpool pose, telling El Periodico about his preparations for the match:
“To prepare for [Liverpool] I have videos of the players I am going to face.
“I look at what they like to do, how they dribble, how they move, how they behave at certain moments, what foot they prefer.
“When does Robertson, for example, like to cross and where does he usually put the ball? Does Firmino prefer to go to the front post or attack the back post?
“I like to have every piece of information possible.”
Bring it on!
Klopp Can’t Keep His Mind off the Run-In
“It’s a really good moment where we are because I go to bed and have football on my mind.
“I wake up with a lineup in my mind or a player running from left to right, shooting or whatever. That’s the truth.
“That’s not always nice; in the moment it’s nice because it’s all positive thoughts in my mind.
“In football, when you won the last game you can imagine to win the next.
“If you lost the last game it’s so difficult to imagine to win the next. That’s our life constantly.”
Pre-Season “Key” for Brewster
Rhian Brewster has been making positive progress in recent weeks, representing Liverpool’s U23s after over a year on the sidelines.
In an interview with the Liverpool Echo, U23s boss Neil Critchley explained that the summer will be vital for the young striker, as he looks to be in prime condition ahead of next season—and take advantage of senior players returning late from international duty:
“Pre-season will be key time for him. Fingers crossed he can build up his rhythm and his momentum. We can’t expect too much from him too soon.
“Hopefully next season we’ll see more of what we know he’s capable of.
“We saw last summer in the States that the likes of Rafa [Camacho], Curtis [Jones] and Ben [Woodburn] got opportunities.
“Our players are always well aware of that. They need to make sure they look after themselves over the summer and follow their fitness programmes so they’re able to hit the ground running in July.
“The days of putting on half a stone over the close seasons are gone. You have to look after yourself all year round.
“Pre-season is a massively important time for these young players.”
Huge things are expected of Brewster in the coming years, with Klopp thought to be eyeing him up as a regular first-team player moving forward.
Patience may be required, however, considering the length of his absence.
Karius Wants Besiktas Stay
The German shone in Sunday’s 4-1 win over Ankaragucu, making several key stops including a penalty save, as the Turkish giants’ Super Lig title hopes were kept alive.
Karius suffered a difficult time of things earlier in the season, leading to speculation surrounding his future, but things appear to have taken a turn for the better.
It is pleasing to see the 25-year-old playing so well after such a tough last 12 months—a permanent move to Besiktas would be another step in the right direction.
Perez “Desperate” to Face Liverpool
Ayoze Perez has been in sparkling form for Newcastle, having scored five goals in his last three appearances, including a hat-trick at home to Southampton earlier in the month.
The forward was forced off with injury in the 1-1 draw at Brighton on Saturday, which acts as a potential boost to Liverpool ahead of their trip to St James’ Park this weekend.
Perez has spoken of his desperation at wanting to be fit, however, as the Reds look to keep up the pressure on Man City.
“I’m desperate to be fit for the Liverpool game. That’s in my mind right now; to get ready and fit for that game,” Perez told the Evening Chronicle.
“Hopefully it’s just a kick that can be helped with a bit of ice and some rest, and then I’ll be ready for it.”
Only victory for Liverpool will do on Saturday evening, with dropped points all but handing the Premier League title to City.
Barcelona Referee Confirmed
Bjorn Kuipers will referee Liverpool’s clash with Barcelona on Wednesday.
The Reds travel to the Nou Camp for one of their biggest games of the campaign and Kuipers could be a prominent figure in Catalonia.
He also refereed Liverpool’s 2-1 win away to Hoffenheim in the Champions League playoff back in August 2017.