Liverpool are in action tomorrow against Bournemouth so today we’ve got match buildup, squad news and a new injury to contend with.
Bad timing for bad news
Step forward, Adrian.
Liverpool are looking to bounce back from bad results of late, but we’ll have to do it without our influential first-choice goalkeeper, Alisson Becker.
Looking further ahead, he could even miss the Merseyside derby, only returning to action after the March international break.
It means our No. 2, Adrian, will be in goal once more and will be needed to produce one of the performances of his life, more than likely, if the Reds are to overcome Atleti.
After he impressed earlier in the season and helped win the European Super Cup there won’t be any doubts about his ability to handle the occasion, but an error midweek against Chelsea also showed he’s a level below Ali – as most are, in fairness.
On the plus side, our skipper might be back for the second leg.
Minamino waiting to seize his chance
Takumi Minamino has had “limited chances” to impact so far, but the forward says he needs to show what he’s capable of immediately to win the trust of his team-mates and coaches.
The Japanese international is in a hurry to prove himself at Anfield and, while Jurgen Klopp has suggested his Reds colleagues could have used him more often against Chelsea, the No. 18 says it’s up to himself to show why they should look for him.
“I have been in this club for three months and I haven’t played many games and my playing time is not that much—but this is not a good excuse.
“In order to appeal to my team-mates and [for them to] understand what I’m good at, I have to do what I really need to do.
“I think I’m still [learning] to fully understand the team, but I still hate to wait. In order to make an instant impact and make a contribution to the team, I’m doing my best every day.”
Minamino has shown flashes so far, without being incredible, but he could see more game time come his way as the season goes on, with a view to making more of an impact next term.
But with Xherdan Shaqiri a long-term absentee, Divock Origi‘s form having fallen off a cliff and the first-choice front three not firing on all cylinders, his next opportunity could come much sooner – then it’s up to him to take it.
All about Bournemouth
Time to get back to winning ways! Here’s all the lowdown on the rest of the weekend buildup…
- Our full match preview has the team news, recent form and points to watch at Anfield
- The pre-game stats feature Salah chasing a record and our reason for optimism after recent defeats
- And you can catch Jurgen’s full pre-match press conference here as usual
Wage bill shows Reds’ over-performance
Liverpool have reportedly got the fifth-highest wage bill in world football, or at least they did for 2018/19.
Somehow, this is being portrayed by the good folks at the Mail as largely a negative factor – as if the Reds weren’t getting more than full value for their outlay.
Both Manchester clubs rank higher than the Reds, as well as Barcelona (top) and Real Madrid (fourth), but Liverpool beat them all last season to become Champions of Europe and are top of the pile domestically this term, too.
Oh, and we’re champions of the world, let’s not forget that!
Fifth-highest spend, first-highest return? Sounds like a good exchange to us.
Quickfire LFC news
- Trent loves the pressure and intends on winning more, which is music to our ears (TIA)
- Harry Wilson can’t play tomorrow against the Reds, but his Bournemouth captain reckons he has all the tools to make it at Anfield (Echo)
- And the Cherries manager Eddie Howe says every team needs a Jordan Henderson, calling the Reds the “ultimate test” for teams (Sky Sports)
- And finally, ex-Reds midfielder Christian Poulsen, now an assistant coach at Ajax, is in quarantine over coronavirus fears after coming into contact with a former Denmark international who has been diagnosed with it (BBC Sport)
Around the Prem
- UEFA’s president has told the English game to bin the League Cup to avoid fixture congestion. Presumably it’s getting in the way of a new idea he has to keep the top clubs playing another ridiculous mid-season competition (Mail)
- Chelsea are chasing Turkish goalkeeper Ugurcan Cakir, who has been linked with the Reds all year. Now their president can boast that he has both Liverpool’s and Chelsea‘s keepers playing in nets, because that’s how it works for him apparently (Mail)
- Ex-Spurs and West Ham striker Freddie Kanoute is trying to convince Wolves’ Adama Traore to pick Mali over Spain to represent at international level, which doesn’t honestly seem the best career bet for a player whose reputation is just starting to fly as fast as his feet do (BBC Sport)
- And Everton want striker Odsonne Eduoard from Celtic, which sounds like a good, sensible way to reinvest some of the £100m they accepted from Barcelona for Richarlison. Oh, wait… (Mail)
Stupid non-rumour of the day
According to the Echo and their headline “Premier League rule could shape Liverpool summer transfer plans”, Liverpool’s move for Timo Werner (or anyone else) is under threat because of the league’s homegrown rules.
Apparently, any move for Werner and Co. isn’t a forgone conclusion because the returns from loan of Loris Karius, Marko Grujic and Taiwo Awoniyi would take us to and beyond the non-homegrown player limit.
Klopp, Michael Edwards and Mike Gordon definitely haven’t taken this into consideration, have they?
Tweet of the day
Adrian's record for Liverpool in the Premier League…?
Time to back our No. 2! pic.twitter.com/zkv2iaHyFj
— This Is Anfield (@thisisanfield) March 6, 2020
What we’re reading
Birmingham City have become an utter shambles, facing an EFL investigation, financial scrutiny, local media pressure and, now, a seven-journalist investigation into the goings-on behind the scenes by the Athletic.
And bridging the red-blue divide, Jamie Carragher meets Carlo Ancelotti for the Telegraph and hears how the Italian wants to take the Toffees into the Champions League. And no, not on a day-trip to the Santiago Bernabeu.
Worth watching tonight
It could be a rout in France as Marseille host Amiens. BT Sport 3 at 7:45pm.