Liverpool have received several fitness boosts in the lead-up to the big weekend game against Man United. That and more in Thursday’s news wrap.
Ali’s tears for Firmino
We all love how close this Liverpool squad seems to be, right?
Over the past few years there have been countless moments of evidence for it, from YouTube videos arranged by the club to photo posts where the players are on holiday or socialising together.
Now Bobby Firmino and Alisson have given another such showing – albeit on a much more personal, and spiritual, level than the likes of Milner and Robbo’s biscuits debate.
Our No. 9 was baptised recently, with team-mate and Reds goalkeeper Alisson in attendance and aiding with the ceremony.
Both players were pretty emotional after the occasion—the video of which you can see at the bottom of this roundup.
Regardless of a person’s religious beliefs, it’s always good to see this kind of togetherness in the squad.
Recruitment at the right time
We all know by now that the Reds’ recruitment has been spot-on for a few years, bringing in the perfect players for Jurgen Klopp‘s style.
But there’s another side to it, too, as well as mentality and technical ability: the age of the players signed, all ready to peak together.
An investigation by Sky Sports shows that the Reds have by far the biggest proportion of minutes this season played by players in the 25-29 bracket—not too young to still be learning, not too old to be past their best.
Don’t fear that we’re going to need to change everyone in the next year or so though—the oldest player to have played over 1,000 minutes is captain Henderson, who himself is still only 29, while Trent is only 21 at the other end of the scale.
The team is here to stay.
Preparing for United – and beyond
- Any proposed rumours for January exits of Liverpool players are wide of the mark – Klopp wants them all to stay, including Shaqiri
- With United visiting Anfield on Sunday, there’s news that Fabinho, Matip and Shaq could all be involved. Keita and Milner are close to a return too
- And there’s a change of plans for the Reds this year; no warm-weather training camp when the new winter break rolls around
Meet the maths genius behind our title charge
If you haven’t seen it yet, this piece is worth checking out both for explaining Liverpool’s behind-the-scenes approach to very detailed mathematical models and to get to know another of the key figures involved.
The photo is a brilliant, and rarely seen, image incorporating the entire staff at Melwood, further highlighting the togetherness and one-team mentality that Klopp has always preached.
Quickfire LFC news
- There’s a chance to learn more about one of the key figures behind the Academy analytics here (LFC)
- Liverpool had the seventh-highest wage bill in Europe for 2017/18 (UEFA)
- And links have resurfaced suggesting the Reds are interested in £50m midfielder Sandro Tonali, currently with Brescia (Corriere dello Sport)
Around the Prem
- Genk’s powerful, buzzy striker Mbwana Samatta gave Liverpool a bit of a tough time in the group stage this season – Villa want him for £10m (BBC Sport)
- And while United want Bruno Fernandes, he’ll be playing in the Lisbon derby on Friday night (BBC Sport)
Stupid telling-off of the day
Sheffield United striker Oli McBurnie has been handed a warning by the FA after making an “obscene” hand gesture—while in the stands as a supporter, watching Swansea play Cardiff.
Yes, footballers are now no longer humans entitled to the same reactions and emotions as the rest of us, even when not working.
Instagram post of the day
What we’re reading
Two from the Athletic today.
Ahead of the weekend meeting, the question is over whether Martial, Greenwood and (don’t mention he’s injured) Rashford can become better than the Reds’ attacking trident.
Worth watching tonight
Parma vs. Roma in the Coppa Italia is as good as it gets. 8:15 kick-off.