It’s all systems go regarding Liverpool this week; there’s more FA Cup chatter, Mane’s injury, Gini’s long-term situation and the small matter of a midweek Premier League game to prepare for.
No Mane until winter break
Jurgen Klopp has confirmed that Sadio Mane suffered a small muscle tear in the win over Wolves, meaning he won’t feature for the Reds this side of the winter break.
Having sat out the draw with Shrewsbury, the No. 10 will also be missing against West Ham and Southampton, after which it’s a two-week break…for the seniors, anyway.
While the Reds should manage fine in those games without him, the key will be to have him fit for the Champions League game against Atletico Madrid on February 18.
There’s one further league game before that, away to Norwich, so it would be ideal to see Mane enter for perhaps half an hour in that game if he were fully fit.
In the meantime, Oxlade-Chamberlain, Origi and Minamino might be the beneficiaries for a couple of starts in attack.
Our “Phenomenal” captain Jordan Henderson
All the praise is coming the way of Liverpool captain Jordan Henderson at present.
It shouldn’t be a strange thing, given he has lifted the Champions League, Super Cup and World Club Cup over the last half-year, but it seems that widespread appreciation for the No. 14 is now making up for lost time.
Gini Wijnaldum is the latest to laud his qualities as a player and a person, telling the club site just how massive a presence Hendo is in the side.
He’s a phenomenal player, not only as a football player but also as a captain.
He is the best captain we can have for this team. The way he speaks with the players and helps the players is the way you want your captain to be.
He is a really good player. Even when he sits on the bench or is not involved in the game, he tries to help the team out.
In the dressing room he is a really big player for us because of the way he approaches the team, talks with the team and helps the team go forward. We really need him.
Short- and long-term prospects
That said…it’s not all perfectly rosy on the Wijnaldum front today. Here’s the best of the rest news, including the latest FA Cup updates.
- With 18 months left on his deal, Gini says it’s unclear whether he’ll remain at Anfield for the long term
- Jurgen Klopp has swiped aside criticism of his FA Cup replay stance, saying he’s looking out for the longer-term plan of his players
- And the club have confirmed that cheaper prices will be on offer for tickets to the replay, given it will be an U23 side on show
Quickfire LFC news
- Klopp has explained the challenges the Reds face against West Ham in his pre-match press conference (TIA)
- Trent Alexander-Arnold will go on to be the best player in this incredible squad of Liverpool’s, says Gary Lineker (Guardian)
- Previously injured duo Robert Snodgrass and Lukasz Fabianski could return for West Ham against the Reds (FourFourTwo)
- And it’s far from just the Reds making changes for the cup, with top sides averaging six different players in the lineup (Independent)
Around the Prem
- Spurs have permanently signed on-loan Giovani Lo Celso and have sold Christian Eriksen to Inter Milan (THFC)
- West Ham are signing Czech midfielder Tomas Soucek for £13m, though not in time to face the Reds (BBC Sport)
- Man United, Spurs, Arsenal and Dortmund are all hoping to sign ex-Red Emre Can before deadline day (Bild)
- And Southampton are close to signing Kyle Walker-Peters for £12m from Spurs (Mail)
Transfer shambles of the day
Take your pick: Arsenal trying to change the terms of a deal for Brazilian defender Pablo Mari and seeing the entire move fall through, or Man United being £20 million under Sporting’s asking price for Bruno Fernandes…who will now probably sign for Barcelona instead, before being loaned to Valencia in the summer – so Barca can sign forward Rodrigo from them.
Tweet of the day
?? @Carra23 ??
? Happy birthday, Liverpool legend & 2005 winner Jamie Carragher! ???#UCL | #HBD| @LFC pic.twitter.com/royI1ToHix
— UEFA Champions League (@ChampionsLeague) January 28, 2020
What we’re reading
On Liverpool: We’ve heard complaints at Mo Salah‘s choice of shots recently, but is it justified? Here’s an in-depth dive here on This Is Anfield into the statistics behind Salah’s shooting and the comparisons to other forwards.
And on the wider sporting scene: Jeremy Wilson details for the Telegraph how the entire domestic football calendar needs restructuring, featuring the prospect of more (but smaller) leagues, scrapping international games or binning a cup.
Worth watching tonight
AC Milan vs. Torino in the Coppa Italia at 7:45pm on BT Sport 1 or the League Cup semi-final between Villa and Leicester, at the same time on Sky Sports Football/Main Event.