Klopp’s Ballon d’Or pick & Reds’ rivals in disarray – Monday’s Liverpool FC News

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Liverpool picked up another weekend win against Palace – now we need one more in midweek, beating Napoli to secure a last-16 spot in Europe. Today’s news starts there.

 

Napoli woes ahead of Anfield trip

Last year, Napoli were a formidable opponent, seen as a real threat to win the Serie A title and even go deep in the Champions League.

They also came within an Alisson save of knocking Liverpool out in the group stage – but instead, we did that to them.

This time they come to Anfield in a rather more shambolic state, with in-fighting and injuries causing real problems for Carlo Ancelotti.

At the weekend they were held to a 1-1 draw by out-of-form AC Milan, making it six without a win for the Reds’ Wednesday opponents.

They’ve named their travelling squad for the match, too – and the Reds can feel somewhat boosted by the news that key forwards Arkadiusz Milik and Lorenzo Insigne are both missing.

Meanwhile, the president is fining every fit squad member 25 per cent of their monthly salary as the bad feelings rumble on.

Win this game and the Reds are through with a game to spare.

 

Form and fitness: the never-ending fight

BIRMINGHAM, ENGLAND - Saturday, November 2, 2019: Liverpool's Roberto Firmino celebrates after the FA Premier League match between Aston Villa FC and Liverpool FC at Villa Park. Liverpool won 2-1 with a winning goal in injury time. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

The Liverpool team which Jurgen Klopp has built is absolutely brilliant, no question.

But there will always remain questions over what happens when certain players get injured or lose form – particularly in key areas such as up front or full-back.

Roberto Firmino‘s form in front of goal had taken a dip recently, but it’s testament to his all-round quality and importance that few had even mentioned it. Klopp certainly didn’t mind, for one.

And then there are the ankle injuries plaguing Liverpool just now: Andy Robbo has explained why he was in a position to start, but Mo Salah wasn’t.

Both players need to managed over the coming weeks, with the extremely busy period coming up.

 

Eyes on the future

16 August 2019, Bavaria, Munich: Soccer: Bundesliga, Matchday 1, FC Bayern Munich - Hertha BSC in the Allianz Arena. Herthas Marko Grujic cheers his goal to 1:2. (IMPORTANT NOTE: According to the regulations of the DFL Deutsche Fu?ball Liga and the DFB Deutscher Fu?ball-Bund it is prohibited to use or have used photos taken in the stadium and/or the match in the form of sequence pictures and/or video-like photo sequences.) Photo: Matthias Balk/dpa

It’s not all about the here-and-now, of course; we want this to be a side built to last. As such, it’s worth a look at those who might be next in line:

 

Klopp picks Virgil as Reds’ finest player

LIVERPOOL, ENGLAND - Saturday, August 17, 2019: Liverpool's manager Jürgen Klopp (R) celebrates at the final whistle with Virgil van Dijk after the FA Premier League match between Southampton FC and Liverpool FC at St. Mary's Stadium. Liverpool won 2-1. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

Liverpool have seven players in the running for the 2019 Ballon d’Or, but our manager has made it clear who he feels deserves it.

Common opinion in the footballing world suggests that Sadio Mane and Leo Messi are in the running – as well as Klopp’s pick, Virgil van Dijk.

Klopp feels that Virgil edged out the Barca legend, rather like the Reds edged out his team in the semis last season.

“If you give the Ballon d’Or to the best player of this generation then you should give it always to Lionel Messi. That’s how it is.

“But if you give it to the best player of last season, then it was Virgil van Dijk.

“I don’t know exactly how it will work but that is how I see it. The best player of all? That’s Lionel. Best player of last season? That’s Virgil. We will see.”

 

Quickfire LFC news

LONDON, ENGLAND - Sunday, December 15, 2013: Liverpool's Raheem Sterling celebrates scoring the fifth goal against Tottenham Hotspur during the Premiership match at White Hart Lane. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

  • Rafa Benitez has named Raheem Sterling as his best bargain buy at Liverpool (Echo)
  • Reds youngsters visited Alder Hey hospital this week to take gifts to children on the wards (LiverpoolFC.com)
  • And both Gerrard and Carragher will feature in Melwood’s final game before closing (The Athletic)

 

Around the Prem

LIVERPOOL, ENGLAND - Wednesday, February 6, 2019: Manchester City's Sergio Aguero during the FA Premier League match between Everton FC and Manchester City FC at Goodison Park. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

  • Man United need as many as half a dozen signings to compete, says Neville (Goal)
  • Pep Guardiola has hinted that Mikel Arteta may take over at Arsenal (Mirror)
  • Mourinho has rejected any chance of Zlatan being signed for Spurs in January, because Harry Kane (Independent)
  • And Man City have confirmed that Sergio Aguero will miss the derby through injury, leaving them with only two hundred and sixteen attacking options in the squad

 

Stupid comment of the day

Italian football continues to show its moronic side, lagging well behind much of the rest of Europe with their tolerance of racism.

Today, it’s Brescia president Massimo Cellino, talking about Mario Balotelli.

 

Tweet of the day

 

What we’re reading

Melissa Reddy debuts for the Independent with a look at what comes next for Mauricio Pochettino.

And in the Guardian, Sid Lowe calls out Barcelona for being top of LaLiga…but not very good. Yes, our disposal of them in the semis is still having a lingering effect.

 

Worth watching tonight

Aston Villa vs. Newcastle is an intriguing battle near the bottom, tonight at 8pm in the Premier League.

 

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