Liverpool are moving closer to a big game against Spurs, but today’s news focuses on Sadio Mane‘s award and news around several young players.
The big months ahead
In case you didn’t already know, the Reds have traditionally dipped in form in the new year under Jurgen Klopp.
While we generally see around 70-80 per cent win rates throughout most of the year, it’s only 41 per cent in January and 46 per cent in February since the German boss took over, the reasons for which are identified and discussed here.
This season would be a good time to rectify that aberration, wouldn’t it?!
Especially as the Reds can set a whole host of new Premier League records en route to winning the title.
Planet Football listed out nine that Klopp’s side might chase down in the rest of 2019/20, including the most points in a season, the most wins, the most home wins and the biggest points margin from first to second.
We could, of course, also equal the record of no defeats in an entire season—probably smashing Arsenal‘s points haul by miles if we achieve it.
One game at a time, though, so let’s go and beat Tottenham!
Mane misses his own party
Sadio Mane won the CAF Player of the Year and was due to fly to his homeland to celebrate—but plane trouble meant he couldn’t make it.
A ceremony in Dakar, Senegal, would have seen Mane thank those who have supported him from afar over the course of his career, with the country’s president also in attendance.
Our No. 10 failed to make it though, after it appears his private plane was unable to secure airspace permissions for part of the route, leading Mane to return to Merseyside early. He gave a message on the club website, promising to return as soon as possible.
“We have a big match against Tottenham this weekend which I must focus on and be ready for, but it is true I am disappointed I was unable to return home to say thank you because of some problems beyond our control.
“So, I will return to Senegal as soon as possible because it is something very important to me – I will never forget what everybody did for me, everybody who believed in me and everybody who gave me the chance to play football.”
Behind the scenes, in front of the cameras
How many attempts do you reckon it would take you to get on the end of an Andy Robbo cross and score? He’s been speaking about his delivery from wide in a new video, while a couple of youngsters are in the news, too.
- Robbo explains his secrets to crossing, with a few nice examples to watch
- Nat Phillips takes us behind the scenes on his loan move to Germany
- And Brazilian midfielder Allan has left; he never played a minute for the Reds but we’ve made a tidy profit
Injury worries for Spurs
We’ve seen in recent days that the likes of Matip, Shaqiri and Fabinho have returned to training, while Ox also came back against Everton.
It’s the reverse for weekend opponents Tottenham at the moment, with an ever-growing injury list.
Harry Kane (hamstring), Moussa Sissoko (knee), Hugo Lloris (elbow), Ben Davies (ankle), Danny Rose (unspecified) and Tanguy Ndombele (hip) are all out.
Spurs have won one of their last four league games and drew against Middlesbrough in the FA Cup last weekend.
Quickfire LFC news
- It turns out our Nike kit deal could be worth up to £100 million (TIA)
- Steve McManaman has compared Henderson’s game play to Kevin de Bruyne in his ability to deliver from the channel and says our skipper has gone to another level (HR column)
- Liverpool’s FA Cup fourth-round tie will be on BBC One on Sunday, January 26. It’s a 5pm kick-off and the Reds will face Bristol City or Shrewsbury
- Steven Gerrard speaks about taking over as Liverpool boss, both for and against the idea (TIA)
Around the Prem
- Bad news for Liverpool a little while before we face Man United: Harry Maguire will be out with a hip injury. Better news for the Reds: Phil Jones will probably play (BBC Sport)
- Man City‘s measured response to the Reds romping away at the top of the table will be a squad overhaul with up to six new senior players (Telegraph)
- Spurs, Newcastle and Villa all want Milan striker Krzysztof Piatek on loan, but they’ll only sell for £30m (Guardian)
Stupid story of the day
Lovely, this one.
Newcastle (or their commercial department, at least) apparently released a 2020 calendar…which contains three players who no longer play for the club, has the old kit throughout and shows one image of a rival fan swearing at the players after they scored against his team.
Perhaps the best part of it is the start: January’s star is Ayoze Perez, who left Newcastle for Leicester in the summer and started the new year…by scoring for the Foxes, against the Magpies, on New Year’s Day.
Tweet of the day
Get him back. Get him fit.
Best midfielder* in the world? You decide.
*who has only played 2.5 90s in the Premier League this season pic.twitter.com/cmzi8DcF3v
— StatsBomb (@StatsBomb) January 9, 2020
What we’re reading
Ahead of our match against Spurs, Charlie Eccleshare looks at whether Jose Mourinho can still work wonders with defences, for the Athletic.
And Tom Roddy looks at the Grealish vs. Maddison battle for the Times. Would either one be of interest to the Reds?
Worth watching tonight
If you aren’t too sickened by the financial narrative surrounding it all, the second Spanish Super Copa semi-final (yes, really) is being played tonight in Saudi Arabia (yes, really). It’s Barcelona vs. Atletico Madrid at 7pm UK time and the winners face Real Madrid in the final.