Liverpool’s players and plans continue to make headlines with the Reds’ future looking uncertain in many ways just at the moment.
Today at the World Cup
Decent day’s action, all told, despite a few suggestions that the Saturday slate didn’t look the finest. Qatar 2022 now has one team out and one team in the last 16.
- Green and gold parties abound as Australia claimed their first win at the World Cup in 12 years, beating Tunisia by a goal
- Saudi Arabia were again energetic and attack-minded, but this time also wasteful and so Poland were allowed to pick up their own first win of the finals
- France made three changes in defence which meant no Konate against Denmark, though he did come on as a late sub in their 2-1 victory
- Argentina and Mexico fought out a game which was half World Cup football, half brawl, with a Messi goal and assist the inevitable difference between them
A pretty massive effort on the part of the Socceroos saw them stay in with a chance of the last 16, with centre-back Harry Souttar putting in a particularly brilliant showing.
It was similar in terms of effort but better in terms of build-up by Saudi Arabia – but they just could not find a clinical touch and were punished at the other end for defensive mistakes – one marginal, one glaring. Group C is outrageously close and all four can still go through or go home early.
That said, the odds are against Mexico, who have been hoping to do something different to going out in the round of 16 for quite a while now. Going home after the group stage is probably not what they had in mind, however. But what can you do when the No10 decides to turn it on for a few minutes?
Finally, France. Ibou had minimal involvement in truth but this game was all about Mbappe, Mbappe, Mbappe. He was electric, in unstoppable form and scoring twice to put the reigning champions through. Looking ominous, if he stays fit. Joint top scorer with Enner Valencia!
Our own centre-back continues his first World Cup adventure, though, and even if he is sub for now he looks set for ongoing involvement as Varane’s fitness is managed – it’s clear he has earned the coaches’ trust.
Liverpool look set to add to their ranks in 2023 with at least a couple of players needed to boost Jurgen Klopp‘s squad, whether they come in January or the summer.
Netherlands-based broadcaster Hans Kraay told ESPN that Gakpo’s departure is all but agreed with his club PSV and it just remains to be seen who signs him – and he reckons that Pep Lijnders is “charmed” by his talents and has urged Jurgen Klopp to bring him in.
Gakpo usually plays wide in the forward line but for the Oranje in Qatar has played as both a No10 and a centre-forward, scoring in each of his first two games.
Latest Liverpool FC news
- In more transfer news, we’re reportedly identifying two South American midfielders as potential additions – though no names are given as to who they might be. In any case, the journalist involved says we’re keen on them but Bellingham is the priority
- With such change in the LFC hierarchy going on including Julian Ward departing, there has been suggestion that the Reds will perhaps move away from the transfer approach that has been so successful over the last few years. Not so, says one local reporter – data, and Jurgen Klopp’s thoughts, will still be king
- And reserve goalkeeper Marcelo Pitaluga has been out on loan earlier this season but has returned to Kirkby for now after sustaining ankle ligament damage, sidelining him until January at least
Something you may have missed…
Quirk of fate and scheduling, but three of genuinely the greatest attackers of the generation all scored at the World Cup today in Messi, Mbappe and Lewandowski. It was, bizarrely, the latter’s first ever at the tournament, at age 34.
Meanwhile, that’s seven already for Mbappe and he’s 23 years old.
There are just 31 players in the history of football who have netted more than him at World Cups; one is still Messi (eight) thanks to today’s goal. Another is Cristiano (eight) thanks to his pen the other day. The record holder is Miroslav Klose with 16.
Even so, we’re giving our made-up-on-the-spot “player of the day” award to big Souttar at the back for Australia. He was just immense, flinging himself in the way of everything – even more outrageous a performance considering he’s just back from an ACL injury.
Don’t let the smaller names get overshadowed by the biggest at the World Cup when they play just as important a role!
Brilliant, Harry Souttar! ??
— FIFA World Cup (@FIFAWorldCup) November 26, 2022
— Salman Anis (@SalmannAnis) November 26, 2022
— Ben Smith (@BenSmith94) November 26, 2022
Harry Souttar heat map today. pic.twitter.com/PdCFvjP1VC
— Charles (@EnderBallz66) November 26, 2022
Harry Souttar's game by numbers vs. Tunisia:
7 x possession won
4/5 duels won
2 aerial duels won
1 last-man tackle
1 clean sheet
0 x dribbled past
— Squawka (@Squawka) November 26, 2022
Sunday’s matches and LFC aspects
- 10am: Japan vs Costa Rica
- 1pm: Belgium vs Morocco
- 4pm: Croatia vs Canada
- 7pm: Spain vs Germany
From an LFC perspective, keep an eye on… eg, players linked with (Bellingham obvs, Caicedo if playing), any former players, and of course current players.