Winning is a must Klopp warns

Liverpool head coach Jurgen Klopp says his side have no option other than to keep on winning if they are to edge out Manchester City in the race for the Premier League title.

The Reds moved two points clear at the top of the table with a hard-fought 2-1 at Fulham on Sunday, with James Milner converting a late penalty to secure a crucial three-point return.

Afterwards, Klopp admitted that his team had not been at their fluent best, but he was keen to stress the importance of continuing to put wins on the board – with the Merseysiders having claimed three victories in the last week in all competitions.

The German told reporters: "I think we fully deserved to win the game. It was an average game, massive result. We want to stay in the title race and that's what we did.

"First is the best position you can be in. City don't look as if they drop a lot of points, so we have to win, to win and to win.

"I am not in any doubt about my players' nerves. It is about intensity. We go for perfection, but it is rare that you get it.

"People will say we need to be more convincing, but we are at the start of a development, not the end."

Next up for Liverpool is another tough fixture, with Tottenham Hotspur the visitors to Anfield on the final day of March.

The Reds are 8/13 to win that game, with the draw priced at 14/5, while Klopp's men are 2/1 to be crowned Premier League champions this season.

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Premier League: Liverpool Pass a Tough Test at the Cottage

Fulham 1-2 Liverpool

Liverpool returned to the top of the Premier League on Sunday afternoon thanks to a hard fought 1-2 win over Fulham at Craven Cottage.

The hosts are fighting for their Premier League survival, and after Ryan Babel had equalised a Sadio Mane opener it took a pate penalty for Liverpool to take all three points.

New Fulham head coach Scott Parker was talking his side up before the game, saying they could still pull off a survival miracle, but with problems keeping a tight defence they were always up against it against Liverpool. But it wasn’t easy for the Reds and Jurgen Klopp will be delighted to take the points they needed to keep pace with title favourites Manchester City.

Highlights of the game

Former Liverpool striker Ryan Babel joined the Cottagers in the January window though he hasn’t really sparked the hoped for revival. But he was lively in the opening exchanges of this game, running at the Liverpool defence and, after playing a smart one-two, had a shot charged down.

After a bright start the home crowd became a little edgy, knowing full well that while Fulham desperately needed a win, they were bound to be in for a tough afternoon. The pre-match Fulham vs Liverpool betting tips bore that out; with few pundits backing a shock home win at odds of 12.50.

And on 25 minutes the Cottagers’ task became so much harder, when Roberto Firmino jinked down the left and pulled the perfect ball back for Mane to fire home from the centre of the penalty area. He’s in a rich vein of form and that put the Senegalese striker level on 17 goals with Mo Salah.

The Cottagers failed to upset Fulham vs Liverpool betting tips

Ryan Babel celebrates scoring an equaliser against Liverpool

Liverpool were having quite some joy down the left flank and when wing back Andy Robertson worked his way into a shooting position keeper Sergio Rico had to make a good save from a tight angle. Babel then created a good chance at the other end, beating Trent Alexander- Arnold before pulling the ball back for Tom Cairney, but the Fulham skipper fired over the bar.

The Reds had bossed the first half possession but only a single goal behind Fulham was just about still in the game, though top scorer Aleksandar Mitrovic was getting no change at all out of Virgil Van Dijk.

Georginio Wijnaldum had a good chance to double the lead shortly after the break when Robertson floated a nice chip over, but his header flew over the bar from point blank range.

Liverpool pushed forward in search of the second goal but Fulham hadn’t given up and had the ball in the visitors’ net, but Floyd Ayite was offside when he headed past Alisson. And then on 67 minutes the Liverpool keeper was called on to make his first save, getting down well to stop Anguissa’s low drive.

Mane came within inches of doubling Liverpool’s lead, getting his head to a corner but it crashed off the bar, and then the Reds’ worse fears were realised when Fulham drew level thanks to a defensive howler. As the ball flew over Van Dijk’s head he beckoned for Alisson to collect and then headed it towards his hesitant keeper and Babel nipped in to challenge and then poke the ball home.

Alisson and Van Dijk won’t be keen to watch that one on the Premier League 2019 highlights!

But, much to their relief, the Reds were back in front on 81 minutes when Fulham’s defensive frailties were exposed again. Rico saved well from a fierce Salah drive, but as Mane tried to reach the rebound the Fulham stopper pulled him back and the referee pointed to the spot.

Premier League: Sadio Mane gave Liverpool a first half-lead

Sadio Mane scored his seventh goal in five games of Liverpool

James Milner had only been on the pitch for ten minutes but he’s the man for the big moment; and he shot straight down the middle as Rico dived.

Key statistics

With skipper Jordan Henderson out injured, Klopp started with the same eleven players that beat Burnley last week and they did the job; just.

It all means that Liverpool returns to the top of the league, but poor Fulham remain 13 points from safety.

Sadio Mane’s opener was his seventh goal in five games and he’s now joint top league scorer for the Reds.

But Fulham have lost their last seven league games, and all 11 encounters they’ve had with top six sides.

What’s next?

This was a potential banana skin for Liverpool in a league where there are no easy games. The us Premier League 2019 looks like it could well go down to the wire. Next week is the international break and then Liverpool has a crunch match at home to Spurs. Mauricio Pochettino’s team has fallen off the pace in the title race but are still highly dangerous customers.

Parker’s Fulham must keep on battling until they are mathematically relegated but it doesn’t get any easier for them. The next visitors to Craven Cottage are…Manchester City!

 

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Klopp keeping Cottagers focus

Liverpool head coach Jurgen Klopp has told his team to focus fully on winning at Fulham on Sunday to ensure that they return to the top of the Premier League table.

With Manchester City in FA Cup action this weekend, the Reds can move two points ahead of the reigning champions, although Klopp is eager to play down the importance of the chance to overtake the Citizens.

He told reporters: "This is a very important game for us. We don't think about any other situations apart from ours and we just have to take our opportunity.

"We've been over it and we have to make sure we are spot on from the opening second to win the game.

"When City have a game in hand it's not that important. We just want to win our game.

"City's game in hand is against (Manchester) United and that's not easy, but we need to think about winning our games only."

Midfielder Jordan Henderson definitely misses the game at Craven Cottage on Sunday due to an ankle problem, while Naby Keita is also an absentee.

Liverpool have won all of their last five meetings with Fulham, scoring 16 goals in the process, with the clash between the two teams at Anfield earlier this season ending in a 2-0 home victory – with Mohamed Salah and Xherdan Shaqiri the goalscorers.

The Merseysiders can be backed at 1/4 to secure all three points at Craven Cottage on Sunday and are 13/2 to complete another 2-0 win.

Sadio Mane, who has scored twice in three of his last four appearances, is 11/10 to find the net at any time in the game.

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Klopp revels in Reds progress

Liverpool head coach Jurgen Klopp was delighted to see his side take a 'massive step' by seeing off Bayern Munich to reach the quarter-finals of the Champions League.

The Reds claimed a 3-1 victory in Munich to progress to the last eight of the competition, having been held to a goalless draw by Bayern in the first leg of the tie at Anfield.

And Klopp, who led the Merseysiders all the way to the Champions League final last season, was full of praise for his side's performance.

He told his club's official website: "It's massive, a big step for us – a big, big, big one for us. We will see what we can do with it.

"But it is still fantastic sign that we again set a mark for LFC – that we really are back on the landscape of international, top-class football.

"We all think that's where this club belongs and tonight we proved it a little bit. I am really happy about the result and the fact we are through.

"Whoever we get as an opponent we will take. The boys love the competition, they really dig in in these moments."

Liverpool join Manchester City, Manchester United and Tottenham Hotspur in the last eight of the Champions League, with the quarter-final line-up completed by Juventus, Barcelona, FC Porto and Ajax.

The Reds can be backed at 9/2 to win the Champions League, with the Citizens priced at 5/2 and Barca available at 10/3.

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Klopp confirms Keita’s absence

Jurgen Klopp will be without Naby Keita when Liverpool attempt to reach the quarter-finals of the Champions League by beating Bayern Munich on Wednesday.

Keita has remained on Merseyside because of a slight injury but Klopp remains hopeful that Trent Alexander-Arnold will be fit enough to play some part in the action at the Allianz Arena.

The right-back picked up a minor injury in the closing stages of Sunday's 4-2 win against Burnley but was part of the 21-man squad that flew to Germany on Tuesday for the second leg of the round of 16 clash.

"It looks good," Klopp said of Alexander-Arnold. "He had a bit of a problem obviously but it should not be a major concern."

Dejan Lovren and James Milner could also feature in Munich after recovering from their injuries, with Klopp adding: "He [Lovren] trained in a normal way on Tuesday morning and he is an option. To play 90 minutes might be a bit much but we will see."

Virgil van Dijk was suspended for last month's 0-0 draw in the first leg at Anfield but is available for Wednesday's match while the Bundesliga leaders will be without banned duo Thomas Muller and Joshua Kimmich, as well as long-term injury victims Arjen Robben and Corentin Tolisso.

However, Bayern boss Niko Kovac expects both David Alaba and Kingsley Coman, who have missed the team's last two Bundesliga games, to be fit enough to feature against Liverpool, who are 4/5 to qualify for the quarter-finals.

Liverpool can be backed at 11/2 to draw 1-1 on Wednesday with Sadio Mane available at 13/5 to score at any time.

Lallana praised in Reds win

Liverpool maintained their Premier League title bid by beating Burnley 4-2 at Anfield, moving to within a point of leaders Manchester City.

City beat Watford on Saturday to open up a four-point gap and put the pressure back on Jurgen Klopp's side.

That pressure seemed to increase when Liverpool went a goal down to Burnley early on, Ashley Westwood scoring direct from a corner.

However the home side were soon level, Roberto Firmino scoring from close range though keeper Tom Heaton should have done better.

Sadio Mane gave Liverpool a half-time lead and they extended their lead to 3-1 when Heaton's poor clearance let in Firmino.

Burnley threatened a nervy last few minutes when Johann Berg Gudmundsson scored in the first minute of stoppage time at the end of the game but Mane ensured the points went the way of the home side, rounding the keeper and slotting the ball home for his second and Liverpool's fourth.

Lallana was making just his fifth start of the season but he played well, playing a part in his side's second goal and he was singled out for special praise by Klopp afterwards.

The Liverpool manager also referred to the weather in his post-match comments, the players affected by strong winds and hailstorms at Anfield.

Klopp told the BBC: "We played our game. The first Burnley goal was maybe a little bit of the wind. In most countries it would not be allowed that goal. You cannot treat the goalie like that in the six-yard box.

"Adam Lallana didn't score but he was best man on pitch. He had an outstanding game.

"At 3-1 up all the balls Burnley got were from us. I'm completely happy with the performance – especially against Burnley. Nobody gets rid of us."

Having kept themselves firmly in the title race Klopp's team will attempt to stay in Europe in midweek when they take on Bayern Munich in the second-leg of their round of 16 Champions League tie, the teams having drawn 0-0 at Anfield.

Liverpool are 23/10 to win the tie on Wednesday night with the German champions 21/20.

Liverpool are 9/1 to win the Champions League this year with Bayern 10/1 and Manchester City 9/4.

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Premier League: Liverpool to Seize the Moment

Liverpool vs Burnley

When the going gets tough, the tough get going; and over the last couple of weeks things have become a little tough for Liverpool.

So long the league leaders, Jurgen Klopp’s team has just fallen behind Manchester City after a run of games where the goals have come in fits and starts, whereas earlier in the season the Reds were sweeping all before them. But the gap at the top is only one point, and it’s critical to Liverpool’s title prospects that they overcome Burnley on Sunday.

Premier League, Liverpool vs Burnley is the big Sunday lunchtime clash and Anfield will be bouncing. But the Reds need to seize the game and get a goal as early as they can, because the longer they fail to score the more the crowd will transmit their nerves to the pitch.

And that will be Burnley’s strategy, to keep their hosts quiet against huge odds, and Sean Dyche’s team has character in bucket loads.

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Talking Points

Talk of pressure is no good for Liverpool

A draw with Everton last week opened the door for Manchester City to take the top spot in the Premier League but Jurgen Klopp insists that won’t make any difference to his team’s mood. There is no reason why they can’t beat Burnley if they play to their ability, but having seen a seven point lead disappear can play tricks on your mind.

The Reds are likely to be four points behind City when they kick off against the Clarets, as Pep Guardiola’s side hosts Watford on Saturday. But Klopp remains focussed on the task in hand saying: “Our only problem this week is Burnley and that’s enough – we have to be really good to beat this team, Dyche is doing an amazing job. We have to be prepared for the fact it will be tough.”

Liverpool needs the Anfield crowd to roar his team on and Klopp knows Burnley will do its utmost to frustrate. Dejan Lovren and James Milner are doubtful, but despite patchy scoring form of late, the forward line still picks itself, spearheaded by Mo Salah and Sadio Mane, who is the Reds’ man in a rich vein of scoring.

Burnley’s Two Ashleys in fine form

The Clarets’ Premier League success over the past few seasons has been built on solid defence, with three England keepers on their books and the impressive centre back pairing of Ben Mee and James Tarkowski. But a recent eight match unbeaten run owed much to the form of their forward players.

Burnley’s Ashley Barnes has been slowly getting the spotlight in his previous Premier League performance

Ashley Barnes celebrates after scoring a goal against Tottenham

Striker Ashley Barnes has nine goals, six since Christmas, and his partnership with Chris Wood is a real handful. And midfielder Ashley Westwood is a dynamo with quick feet, a fine eye for a pass and six assists to his name.

Burnley’s unbeaten run was ended at Newcastle, when Westwood was ill, and the Burnley midfield lost a lot of its zip.

Liverpool won’t need reminding of the danger Burnley poses. The Clarets recently beat and outplayed Spurs at Turf Moor. And in the last meeting between these two teams, in December, Burnley was leading until well into the second half, before Klopp brought Mo Salah and Roberto Firmino on; and those two players made the difference.

This fixture last season was a 1-1 draw and a repeat of that would be a shocker for the Reds.

History

The recent history between these two sides has been a little tetchy, Klopp and Dyche having a public spat over the conduct of each others’ players in Pool’s December victory at Turf Moor.  Mee put in a hard but fair challenge on Joe Gomez which broke the young England defender’s leg, and the Reds’ boss was critical of Burnley’s physical approach. But Dyche responded in kind by saying Liverpool’s Daniel Sturridge took a dive to give Liverpool an advantage. That alone makes me think the Liverpool vs Burnley highlights will be well worth a watch!

Klopp says there are no hard feelings any more, but if his team fails to beat Burnley on Sunday it might be worth asking him again…

Liverpool has won seven of the previous ten meetings and I think they’ll make it eight in 11. So let’s take a look at the latest us odds to see where the value is.

Betting Tip

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Liverpool vs Burnley First Half Under 1.50 Goals @ 1.75
March 10, 20:00 (GMT+8)

With the Premier League 2019 odds putting Liverpool at 1.17 to win, Burnley at 14.50 and the draw at 7.00, you’d be excused for thinking that Burnley isn’t in the same league. In many ways they aren’t, but both have won two of the last six, including draws away to Manchester United.

Liverpool has had three 0-0 draws in the last four games, but in their last two home league matches they have spanked Bournemouth 3-0 and Watford 5-0. I won’t rule Burnley out, though I think a 2-0 home win looks likely and Liverpool will have to work hard for it.

A SHORT EXPLANATION ON HOW OUR (??) BETS ARE WORTH:
?? = €20 (Highly confident) ?? = €10 (CONFIDENT) ?? = €5 (SOMEWHAT CONFIDENT)

Disclaimer: Odds are correct at time of publish.

 

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Klopp fully focused on Clarets

Jurgen Klopp is expecting a tough test for his Premier League title-chasing Liverpool outfit when Burnley are the visitors to Anfield at lunchtime on Sunday.

The Reds could be four points adrift of Manchester City by the time they take to the field against the Clarets, but head coach Klopp insists that the focus will not change for his players and himself.

The German believes that that has to be the case, with Burnley having gone unbeaten in eight league games prior to losses to Newcastle United and Crystal Palace in the last ten days.

He told reporters: "We will know the City result before we start our game, but we won't make a big fuss about it because we are just fighting for the top spot in the league and it's important to be optimistic and excited.

"Our only problem this week is Burnley and that's enough – we have to be really good to beat this team. We have prepared for the fact it will be tough.

"They don't have the majority of possession in games, so we need to be creative and patient. It will be difficult.

"When you watch their last three or four games you give respect – they beat Tottenham. I'm sure they are looking forward to this game."

Liverpool are 1/6 to defeat Burnley and are 6/1 to do so by a 2-0 scoreline, with the Merseysiders 9/4 to be crowned Premier League champions this season.

The meeting of the two sides at Turf Moor earlier on in the campaign ended in a 3-1 win for the Reds.

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Klopp focused fully on Clarets

Jurgen Klopp is expecting a tough test for his Premier League title-chasing Liverpool outfit when Burnley are the visitors to Anfield at lunchtime on Sunday.

The Reds could be four points adrift of Manchester City by the time they take to the field against the Clarets, but head coach Klopp insists that the focus will not change for his players and himself.

The German believes that that has to be the case, with Burnley having gone unbeaten in eight league games prior to losses to Newcastle United and Crystal Palace in the last ten days.

He told reporters: "We will know the City result before we start our game, but we won't make a big fuss about it because we are just fighting for the top spot in the league and it's important to be optimistic and excited.

"Our only problem this week is Burnley and that's enough – we have to be really good to beat this team. We have prepared for the fact it will be tough.

"They don't have the majority of possession in games, so we need to be creative and patient. It will be difficult.

"When you watch their last three or four games you give respect – they beat Tottenham. I'm sure they are looking forward to this game."

Liverpool are 1/6 to defeat Burnley and are 6/1 to do so by a 2-0 scoreline, with the Merseysiders 9/4 to be crowned Premier League champions this season.

The meeting of the two sides at Turf Moor earlier on in the campaign ended in a 3-1 win for the Reds.

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Klopp content to be chasing

Liverpool boss Jurgen Klopp has suggested that it may be preferable for his team to chase Manchester City rather than be the Premier League leaders in March.

The Reds were held to a goalless draw by Everton at Goodison Park on Sunday and are now one point behind Pep Guardiola's team with nine games of the Premier League campaign left.

Liverpool had been seven points clear of City just over two months ago but the Merseyside derby stalemate was their fourth draw in the last six Premier League games.

The result leaves Klopp's team at 11/5 to win the title this season while Manchester City are available at 4/11. Meanwhile, Liverpool are 1/7 to beat Burnley at Anfield in their next match on Sunday.

"I am completely fine with chasing. Who wants to be top of the table at the beginning of March? It is nice but there are lots of games to play," said Klopp.

"I believe 100 per cent in our chance [of winning the title for the first time since 1990]. Game by game by game, my feeling gets better about the boys because they look really ready for it.

"We didn't score, that happens. It was a difficult game. It was just a fight and we were ready for that fight. Now we have a point more than before. All good."