Liverpool have a big run coming up, not just to secure the Premier League title but with European action returning. There’s fitness news on both fronts, plus a new Coutinho rumour.
Atletico boosts, Reds ready for action
Atletico Madrid have been through something of a crisis of late in terms of both form and fitness, but they are hoping that all changes ahead of the Champions League last 16 tie with Liverpool.
LaLiga’s third-finest (usually) have been without the likes of Santiago Arias, Diego Costa, Joao Felix, Hector Herrera and a handful of others, but seem likely to get them all back for the first leg—with the exception of English right-back Kieran Trippier.
Form-wise, Atletico have one win in the last four in LaLiga, leaving them fourth, with last weekend’s win over Granada bringing to an end a run of four defeats in five games across all competitions.
As for the Reds, Jurgen Klopp had James Milner back in action yesterday, Naby Keita returned just before the break and Sadio Mane is back out on the pitch, though not quite in full training.
Xherdan Shaqiri appears to be the only player not available as we return to action this weekend.
Coutinho return considered by Klopp
It all ended rather horribly, but there’s zero question that Philippe Coutinho was Liverpool’s best player for a period and the most important attacker in the team.
His eventual sale allowed the Reds to splash out and upgrade with the likes of Virgil van Dijk, which has worked out well for the Anfield faithful – but not so much for the Brazilian himself.
An inconsistent time at Barcelona came to an end in the summer, at least temporarily, and The Athletic claim that Klopp sat down with Michael Edwards to discuss a potential return.
The finances were far too high, leading him to go to Bayern instead, but if they don’t make his move permanent this summer it’s possible that Coutinho is back on the market—for around £75-80 million, rather than the £140 million the Reds sold him for.
Anybody fancy act two?
It’s the little things
We don’t always have to look at the big transfer rumours, the massive team selections news and the next trophy coming our way to appreciate the club. Sometimes, the love is in the details.
- James Milner‘s two acts of behind-the-scenes greatness are here to be admired and acknowledged
- Throw-in coach Gronnemark has the perfect stats from a perfect win to knock back any further questioning of his methods and importance
- And they’ve shielded it under “safety” reasons, but we all know that Chelsea have given Liverpool less FA Cup tickets than is usual because they’re scared of us
Further details on Anfield expansion
Anfield’s next expansion project is the Anfield Road end, with plans now set out which apparently road-map just how and when the club see the rebuild progressing.
This Is Anfield have seen documents pertaining to the works, detailing out-of-season construction, a two-tier stand built to the same height as the Main Stand and plans for coping with the changes to parking, access and improvements to the concourse.
At present there is still an ongoing public consultation in place, but all being well the plans will be put to application later in the year.
A couple of years from now, if everything goes to plan, we’ll have a 61,000-plus capacity stadium to revel in.
Quickfire LFC news
- Young striker Layton Stewart has signed his first professional contract with the Reds (LFC)
- A Far East trip in pre-season is a possibility for the coming summer to capitalise on being Premier League champions (Echo)
- Marko Grujic will have a third manager for this season, after Jurgen Klinsmann resigned on Tuesday (HBSC)
- Adrian says Alisson is the best in the world – but still wants to push him and challenge him every day (BBC Sport)
Around the Prem
- Jose Mourinho will lash £120m in summer on Ruben Dias, Nathan Ake, Max Aarons and Ben Chilwell. Who wants to tell Spurs that Leicester will want most of that just for the left-back? (Express)
- Man United want to sell Alexis Sanchez in summer even if Inter don’t want him and it will be glorious to find out just how much of that £400k-a-week they have to keep on paying for another two years (MEN)
- Mikel Arteta reckons Arsenal have a chance at the top four despite being 10 points off Chelsea. It sounded good until he said “If we are able to put three or four wins in a row,” because for the last four Arsenal wins you have to go back to…September 22. Ouch (Evening Standard)
- And Antonee Robinson’s January move from Wigan to AC Milan fell through, but Chelsea, Villa and Newcastle all want him this summer (Mirror)
Stupid interview of the day
Unai Emery has given a chat with France Football and spoken about all the things that weren’t his fault at PSG and Arsenal, including Thiago Silva not defending high enough up the pitch, apparently “stopping the fall” of Arsenal which started long before his arrival, players not having a good attitude and the referees in key Champions League games against Real Madrid and Barcelona.
Could have been the greatest coach in the world? You’re not even in the top 10 from your own country, mate.
Tweet of the day
Liverpool's last 10:
P 10 W 10 F 23 A 1 Pts 30
Fucking hell pic.twitter.com/wMIAI62aWF
— The Anfield Wrap (@TheAnfieldWrap) February 11, 2020
What we’re reading
Sachin Nakrani’s piece on Gerard Houllier and rebuilding Liverpool, in the Guardian.
And news on Man United requesting permission for rail seating and safe standing before the end of this season, with details on the Mail.
Worth watching tonight
Take your pick of Championship action on Sky Sports Football/Red Button. All games at 7.45pm.