Van Dijk demands focus on Reds, not rivals & Matip’s form finally rewarded – Monday’s Liverpool FC News Roundup

We round up the latest Liverpool news on Monday, as the October international break gets underway.

Today’s Main Headlines

Hillsborough Retrial Gets Underway

Former chief superintendent David Duckenfield arrives at the Hillsborough Inquests in Warrington in 2015 (Peter Byrne/PA)

The retrial of David Duckenfield restarted at Preston Crown Court on Monday.

The 75-year-old was the match commander on the day of the Hillsborough disaster, which culminated in 96 Liverpool supporters losing their lives.

Duckenfield is charged with gross negligence manslaughter with regards to the deaths of 95 of the 96 victims.

The original trial took place back in April, but a jury failed to reach a verdict after eight days of deliberation.

Matip Scoops PFA Award

LIVERPOOL, ENGLAND - Saturday, September 14, 2019: Liverpool's Joel Matip during the FA Premier League match between Liverpool FC and Newcastle United FC at Anfield. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

Liverpool have got through their last two games without Joel Matip, but his absence was still felt against Salzburg and Leicester.

His superb form has not gone unnoticed, with the Cameroonian named the PFA Premier League Player of the Month for September.

Matip fought off competition from Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, Callum Wilson, Ricardo Pereira, Kevin De Bruyne and Riyad Mahrez to win the prize.

What a turnaround it has been for the 28-year-old, who was out of the Liverpool team and being tipped to leave Anfield this time last year.

Matip should be back for the trip to Man United on October 20, acting as a huge boost.

Critchley’s Praise for Young Pair

NAPLES, ITALY - Tuesday, September 17, 2019: Liverpool's Elijah Dixon-Bonner during the UEFA Youth League Group E match between SSC Napoli and Liverpool FC at Stadio Comunale di Frattamaggiore. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

Liverpool under-23s beat Wigan 3-2 on Sunday afternoon, with Elijah Dixon-Bonner the Reds’ hero, scoring twice in the Premier League Cup clash.

Speaking to LiverpoolFC.com, manager Neil Critchley hailed the 18-year-old’s work ethic in training, which ensured he has improved in front of goal:

“He had a couple of opportunities at Arsenal last weekend from similar positions where he scored his second goal today.

“If you ever wanted to show the benefits of practice then Elijah spent five or 10 minutes at the end of training on Saturday practising those type of finishes from those positions.”

Critchley also lauded the continued development of Harvey Elliott, saying “he has a lovely touch, he has receiving skills under pressure, he has awareness and his decision-making is so good for someone so young”.

The U23s next game is at home to Wolves on October 20 (2pm BST) in Premier League 2, prior to the senior side’s trip to Old Trafford.

Van Dijk demands focus remains on Reds, not rivals

LONDON, ENGLAND - Sunday, September 22, 2019: Liverpool's Virgil van Dijk during the FA Premier League match between Chelsea's FC and Liverpool FC at Stamford Bridge. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

Liverpool went eight points clear of Man City with victory over Leicester at the weekend, while City themselves lost at home to Wolves.

Virgil van Dijk expressed to Sky Sports his surprise at a rare home defeat for Pep Guardiola’s team, but remained firm in his belief that only Liverpool’s results mattered.

“There’s always room for improvement in our game. We should just focus on all the games ahead of us. Don’t look at any gap or points difference between us and the others.

“A lot of busy periods coming up in December and January, anything can happen.”

Van Dijk is entirely right to promote a Liverpool-first agenda, as there’s no point trying to control the gap between first and second in any way other than by keep winning matches.

Police Begin Choudhury Inquiries

LIVERPOOL, ENGLAND - Saturday, October 5, 2019: Leicester City's Hamza Choudhury is shown a yellow card after a late tackle on Liverpool's Mohamed Salah during the FA Premier League match between Liverpool FC and Leicester City FC at Anfield. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

Hamza Choudhury wasn’t popular with Jurgen Klopp on Saturday, having scythed down Mohamed Salah in the 2-1 win over Leicester.

After the game, it was revealed that Choudhury had been the subject of racist abuse on social media, once again showing that the issue still exists in the modern game, sadly.

Sky Sports have confirmed that Leicestershire Police have opened initial inquiries into the abuse, as they look to find the culprits.

Leicester released the following statement outlining their disgust at those guilty of sending the abuse:

“We are appalled by these comments, which the club has reported to the police and to the social media platform on which they were made.

“Discriminatory behaviour has no place in football or in society and we will seek the strongest possible course of action to be taken against those responsible.”

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