Klopp feels the need for success

Liverpool head coach Jurgen Klopp accepts that he needs to deliver some silverware to be considered a true success at Anfield.

The German has led the Reds to the final of the League Cup, Europa League and Champions League, but they are yet to make that final step during his three-year reign.

And Klopp is well aware that he needs to take his team all the way, especially in the Premier League, with Liverpool without a domestic league success for nearly three decades.

He told the Liverpool Echo: "Nobody wants to look back in 10 or 20 years and say the best time we had without winning anything was when Klopp was in, it was so funny, all that stuff. That's not really something you want to achieve.

"We have still time to do something special, we know that. To underline our progress and development, we have to.

"But times have changed. It's much more difficult than it was in the past. We are maybe in the best moment for ages, but a few other clubs have made the same steps and that makes it difficult.

"In most sports, coming second in the Olympics you come home with a silver medal. In football, it's nothing and it's nothing for me as well. I want to win it and I know that's a responsibility."

Liverpool currently lie in third place in the Premier League table, level on points with both reigning champions Manchester City and Chelsea.

The Merseysiders can be backed at 9/4 to be crowned champions this season, with the Citizens available at 4/6 and the Blues 9/1.

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Salah will come good

Liverpool legend Robbie Fowler feels Mo Salah will soon be scoring goals regularly, though he suggests it will be tough to scale the heights of last season.

The Egyptian scored 44 goals in all competitions for Liverpool last season and claimed both the PFA Players' Player of the Year and Football Writers' Player of the Year awards in a remarkable campaign.

Salah has so far managed just three goals in 11 games this term, half the tally he had bagged by the same point last season.

Fowler says people shouldn't be too quick to criticise the former Roma forward.

"I'm not saying he's having a bad year so far. He's still a good player, he's still an excellent player but to replicate what he did last year will be unbelievable," Fowler told Sky Sports.

"I think he'll still score goals, I think he'll still score a lot of goals."

Salah blazed a second half shot over the bar against Manchester City in Sunday's stalemate with the Premier League champions at Anfield.

For Fowler, it is very important to see the Reds talisman still getting himself on the end of chances, something he firmly believes will bring the goals back.

"What I like about Mo Salah is that his work ethic is brilliant, he doesn't shy away from anything. What I would be more worried about is if he wasn't getting chances," Fowler added.

"He will bang the goals in. I'm not sure he'll hit the heights he did last year but he is still a magnificent player."

Salah is 13/2 to finish as the Premier League's leading scorer this season again, while Liverpool are 9/4 to take the title off Manchester City.

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Firmino ‘dreams big’ under Klopp

Roberto Firmino makes no secret of the fact Liverpool are "dreaming big" this season, though he warns they must "stay grounded" to achieve their aims.

The Reds host Premier League champions Manchester City at Anfield on Sunday afternoon, with the pair unbeaten and locked together on 19 points after seven games, Pep Guardiola's side enjoying top billing only on goal difference.

Liverpool are unbeaten in 17 home matches against Manchester City in all competitions. They ended City's unbeaten Premier League run with a 4-3 win in January and blew their visitors away during a 3-0 Champions League success in the spring.

Klopp's side are also unbeaten in 24 Premier League home matches and Firmino, 13/8 to score against Man City on Sunday, says they have big aspirations this season.

"We've been doing well, we made a good start under him and we're dreaming big. We want to keep working hard and win trophies," said the Brazilian forward.

"We've only been working together for three years, but it seems like it's been longer.

"I've been learning a lot from Klopp ever since he came in. He's brought everything together and got that across to the team. We're doing that well now."

Liverpool are 6/4 to win at Anfield, with City 15/8 to end their 15-year winless streak at the Merseyside ground and the draw priced at 13/5.

Firmino described the atmosphere during the January win over City as 'incredible', though he knows Liverpool must try and manage their ambitions properly, particularly at this early stage of the season.

"The adrenaline, combined with the atmosphere on the pitch during such special games, is always incredible," the forward added.

"The club is always aiming to win trophies and competitions. We've made a very good start, but we have to stay grounded, because the season has only just started.

"We're taking it step by step, trying to play well and win games. We're just looking ahead and will see where that takes us."

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KDB close to Citizens return

Pep Guardiola has raised the prospect of playmaker Kevin De Bruyne returning after injury to play some part in the Premier League clash with Liverpool on Sunday.

Belgium international De Bruyne has been sidelined for nearly two months due to knee ligament damage sustained during training, but Citizens head coach Guardiola says his player has been involved in training this week.

That has raised the prospect of the forward being utilised against the Reds at Anfield, although Guardiola has vowed to be careful on bringing De Bruyne back into the fold too quickly.

He told reporters: "He made a part of the training session today (Friday), he is training with us. We will see tomorrow."

Meanwhile, Guardiola has played down talk of Reds head coach Jurgen Klopp having something of a hoodoo over his rival, with the German having overseen seven victories against sides coached by the Spaniard over the years.

"I don't play against Jurgen, I play against Liverpool, we play against Liverpool," Guardiola added. "Sometimes I win, sometimes I lose. Sometimes we win competitions, sometimes we lose competitions.

"He's an excellent manager. I have a lot of respect for the way his teams play, for how proactive they are, but it's not about me having to beat him."

Liverpool claimed three wins out of four meetings between the two teams last season, including victories in both legs of their Champions League quarter-final tie.

The hosts are 31/20 to secure a win again on Sunday, with City 9/5 to take all three points and 10/1 to do so by a 2-1 scoreline.

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Klopp taking nothing for granted

Liverpool head coach Jurgen Klopp says his side will have to be 'spot-on' if they are to secure a fourth consecutive victory over Manchester City.

The Reds have already seen off the Citizens three times this year, winning a Premier League clash at Anfield 4-3, before triumphing in both legs of their Champions League quarter-final tie.

However, Klopp is not reading too much into those recent results, as he prepares his players for a league showdown with the reigning champions on Merseyside on Sunday.

He told reporters: "It is a home game against Manchester City and that is a tough one. Last year they were really special and I expect them to be like this again.

"Teams that play like them can lose focus, but it never happened to City last year, so they have all my respect.

"We have to be spot-on and really be our best to keep them away from our goal and create chances. It will be hard work, no problem with that, everybody knows it."

Liverpool can be backed at 31/20 to win the game at Anfield on Sunday, with the draw priced at 13/5, while a final scoreline of 2-2 is available at 11/1.

Meanwhile, Klopp is waiting to see whether Naby Keita will be able to play a part against City, with the midfielder having needed hospital treatment for a back problem after being replaced during the midweek Champions League loss at Napoli.

He added: "He had a back spasm. He's in today, but whether he can do something on the training ground I don’t know.

"We have to see the doctor again and we'll make a decision. Tomorrow we'll have to see. It didn't look to serious, so there is a chance he can play, but we don't know."

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Reds sweat on Keita verdict

Liverpool are waiting to discover the extent of the back injury sustained by midfielder Naby Keita during the 1-0 Champions League defeat at Napoli.

The 23-year-old summer signing had to be replaced just before the 20-minute mark in Naples, and was subsequently taken to a local hospital for checks and tests.

A statement from the Reds confirmed: "Naby Keita was taken to hospital in Naples on Wednesday evening during the first half of the Champions League fixture with Napoli.

"The midfielder started the game at the Stadio San Paolo, but was substituted inside the opening 20 minutes and replaced after alerting the team’s medical staff to back pain.

"He was transferred to a local hospital with the club doctor, where he underwent a number of precautionary health checks to assess his condition."

Meanwhile, Reds head coach Jurgen Klopp, who now has to prepare his players for a Sunday showdown with Premier League champions Manchester City, accepted that his side had not been at their best in Italy.

He added: "It was an interesting looking group before we started and it's still interesting now.

"We want to play better than we did tonight, but even if we don't play brilliantly, we want a result. Tonight we weren't as good as we could be.

"We didn't perform and that's how football works – against a good side in the Champions League, you lose. That's happened and nothing more."

Liverpool are priced at 13/8 to defeat the Citizens at Anfield on Sunday, with the draw available at 13/5, while the Reds are 10/1 to secure a 2-1 victory.

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Napoli vs Liverpool Highlights: Champions League Misery as Reds’ Slump Continues!

Napoli 1-0 Liverpool

Liverpool had their worst performance of the season against Napoli, and in Jurgen Klopp’s words, that’s why the Partenopei “deserved the three points.”

The Reds came into this Champions League match with high hopes of stopping their winless skid, but Carlo Ancelotti and his charges had other plans as they spoiled what was supposed to be a Reds comeback party at Stadio San Paolo.

Klopp’s men look nowhere near the team that won six straight Premier League matches though, and Napoli willingly took advantage to go top of Group C.

Highlights of the game

The match looked headed to finish in a goalless stalemate but, after a spirited display and plenty of wasted opportunities, Napoli were able to break the deadlock at the death of time to bring the Naples crowd on their feet.

Local hero Lorenzo Insigne, who failed to find the back of the net in their defeat to Juventus, stepped up for the home team and struck the winner on 90 minutes to send the visitors back to Anfield without a point.

Liverpool were never really in the game, no thanks to a horrendous performance that saw their deadly front three of Roberto Firmino, Mohamed Salah and Sadio Mane flop big time. And sure enough, the team was lucky to lose by just one goal.

Lorenzo Insign's 90th-minute goal gives Napoli a 1-0 win over Liverpool in recent Champions League match

Napoli’s Lorenzo Insigne celebrates after scoring a 90th-minute goal against Liverpool in their Champions League match at Stadio San Paolo

Napoli started in the front foot, putting pressure on the visitors in the opening 15 minutes. Insigne, in fact, had a golden opportunity when he found space inside the Liverpool box. Unfortunately, his left-footed shot went wide of the target.

Ancelotti’s charges continued to dominate proceedings, and it didn’t last long until they found another glorious chance to go up. Arkadiusz Milik exposed the Reds’ defence midway through the first half when he received a left-wing cross in the penalty area, but his effort from 15 yards was denied by Alisson.

The Partenopei came out with more hunger in the second, and that was clear when Milik unleashed a long-range rocket which Alisson parried once again. Joe Gomez cleared the ball then, but Napoli knew they had the game under their control.

Fabian Ruiz, Mario Rui and Insigne came close to putting Napoli ahead before the hour, but a combination of solid defending from Virgil van Dijk and Gomez helped Liverpool slow down their opponents.

In the end, however, Insigne and Napoli wouldn’t be denied of the win they deserved. Jose Callejon, after good work from the right flank, whipped the ball to Insigne who beat Gomez for it and made no mistake from close range.

Liverpool failed to threaten offensively, and the best chance they had was a 67th-minute Salah strike from the top of the box that sailed wide.

It didn’t help them that they lacked muscle in the midfield, with Naby Keita subbed out in the 20th minute—and taken to the hospital after—with what appeared to be a lower back injury.

Key statistics

The pre-match Champions League 2018 odds at us favoured Liverpool despite their slump, but Napoli made no sense of that as they dictated the pace of the game.

They had 57 percent possession and were more efficient on passing the ball. Moreover, they had a total of 14 shots, five of which were on target.

The most eye-popping stat of the day, however, is Liverpool’s failure to register a single shot on target. The last time the Reds finished with zero on-target effort in a UCL game was in 2006.

Klopp’s side had a total of four shot attempts, but none came close as Salah, Firmino and Mane all struggled to break through the tight Napoli defence.

“No attempts on target, I don’t remember when that happened last time,” Klopp said in his post-game news conference. “I think we had a big part of that because we can play much better.”

“We don’t have a lot of set-pieces. No shot on target is not enough. They had a good game, we didn’t—that’s what they deserved the three points.”

Furthermore, for Salah, the defeat extends his scoring drought to three games now. And it sure won’t help in his confidence that he has scored only once in their last eight games in all competitions.

What’s next?

Liverpool players feel disappointed after showing a poor form in their Champions League game against Napoli

Liverpool players look dejected after suffering a 1-0 defeat at the hands of Napoli in their Champions League group stage match

With the latest Champions League 2018 results, Napoli now lead Group C with four points. Liverpool and PSG, who hit six goals to beat Red Star Belgrade in the other group game, are tied for second with three points each.

It’s back to the drawing board for Klopp and Liverpool though, and the club must quickly find a way to patch things up as they face Manchester City next in a top-of-the-table battle in the Premier League.

Meanwhile, Napoli host overachieving Sassuolo next as they aim to cut Juventus’ lead at the top of Serie A.

 

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Klopp maintains immediate focus

Head coach Jurgen Klopp says his focus has to remain always on the next game, as he prepares his Liverpool squad for a Champions League visit to Napoli.

The Reds' German boss saw his side win their opening Group C fixture 3-2 at home to Paris Saint-Germain and is keen to make it two wins out of two on Wednesday evening.

And he has vowed not to make wholesale changes, despite a massive Premier League clash with Manchester City coming up on Sunday.

He told reporters: "It's really difficult to think about anything other than the next game – we only think about the next game, but not the next game after the next game.

"We will see, maybe we will make one or two changes or whatever – maybe more – but it's all about this game. It's the only way I understand it.

"We are in good shape, we have good rhythm and that's something we have to use."

Liverpool can be backed at 6/5 to secure a win in the San Paolo on Wednesday and are 11/1 to earn a 2-0 victory, with the draw priced at 13/5.

Meanwhile, vastly-experienced Napoli head coach Carlo Ancelotti has spoken of his respect for Liverpool, who he believes are amongst the strongest teams in the competition.

He added: "Liverpool have improved a lot, they managed to reach the final last year and they started this season very well.

"I think they have become one of the strongest teams in Europe. They have a great physical condition, they play with intensity and so they manage to overcome the challenges of the Champions League."

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Salah wins Klopp support

Jurgen Klopp is in no doubt that Mohamed Salah will rediscover his goalscoring form for Liverpool after his disapointing display at Chelsea.

The Reds boss substituted the Egypt international after 66 minutes of Saturday evening's 1-1 draw at Stamford Bridge with the closest he came to scoring being in the first half when he had an effort cleared off the line by Antonio Rudiger.

Salah, who has scored three goals in his opening seven league outings, does not look like the same player who scored 44 goals in all competitions last term and picked up the Premier League golden boot with 32 in 36 games.

However, Klopp is refusing to press the panic button as the German can see Salah's game gradually coming together.

He said: "It was not Mo's best game of his career, 100 per cent.

"In a game like this constantly in situations he comes in, that makes you a world-class player. You fail, you miss, whatever, that happens.

"He wants to be decisive, he wants to score in these situations. The first ball he missed it was not the right position. The next one he passed. Why? He could've finished again.

"It's like riding a bike. It's not like you wake up in the morning and you cannot finish any more or cannot ride a bike any more.

"That's how it is, you only need to work for these moments when it's clicking. That's the period he is in, no problem with that, so all good."

Salah, who is 13/2 to finish top scorer in the Premier League again this term, will get a chance to get on the scorehseet in midweek when Liverpool travel to face Napoli in the Champions League.

Liverpool are priced at 1/1 to win the Group C clash and Napoli are 13/5 to come out on top with the draw 5/2.

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Van Dijk faces race against time

Jurgen Klopp is unsure whether Virgil van Dijk will have recovered from a rib injury to time to feature in Liverpool's crunch clash against Chelsea.

The Dutchman missed the midweek EFL Cup loss to the Blues, as did Trent Alexander-Arnold and Georginio Wijnaldum.

Although Alexander-Arnold and Wijnaldum have recovered from illness and a knock respectively, van Dijk has not yet resumed training.

Liverpool are 31/20 to win at Stamford Bridge and 3/1 to keep a clean sheet in the match.

"Trent trained on Thursday completely normal. He was a bit ill. Virgil we have to wait. He has not trained with the team so far but I can't say anything more about that. Gini trained as well, so all good.

"Virgil is a world-class player, there is no doubt about that, and if you miss a world-class player it is not cool.

"So, if Virgil is fit and can play then he will play, but if not then obviously we have options and that's really good. For the last game he was not available but now we will see for Saturday."

Both teams are unbeaten heading into the fixture. Liverpool have won all six of their top-flight fixtures so far this season while Chelsea drew 0-0 at West Ham United last Sunday after triumphing in their opening five matches.