Jurgen Klopp explains why he dropped Roberto Firmino to bench for Huddersfield win

Roberto Firmino started on the bench at Huddersfield (Picture: Getty)Jurgen Klopp has revealed that he decided to drop Roberto Firmino to the bench at Huddersfield after the forward played 90 minutes for Brazil on Tuesday night.

Daniel Sturridge came in for Firmino and started alongside Mohamed Salah and Xherdan Shaqiri in attack at the John Smith’s Stadium.

Salah scored the only goal of the game in the 24th minute, ending a four-match barren spell for the Egyptian, and the Reds went level with Manchester City at the top of the Premier League table.

Firmino came on to replace James Milner in the 77th minute but was unable to extend Liverpool’s lead against David Wagner’s men.

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‘The Brazilians came back on Thursday,’ Klopp explained after Liverpool’s win.

‘Bobby [Firmino)] played 90 minutes so it was clear maybe we should not do it this time. Daniel could start as he has not had too many starts this season.’

Mohamed Salah scored Liverpool’s winner at the John Smith’s Stadium (Picture: Getty)Klopp admitted Liverpool’s performance was far from perfect at Huddersfield but the German was satisfied to come away with three points.

‘It was a good game from Huddersfield and not so good game from us. So we’ll take it,’ he said.

‘I sometimes look frustrated on the touchline even if were winning.

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‘The performance wasn’t 100 per cent it looked like we could have scored in six or seven situations but we needed one better pass.

‘We did lots of good things and then the last pass wasn’t good.’

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Mohamed Salah sends message to critics after Liverpool’s win at Huddersfield

Mohamed Salah scored the only goal of the game at Huddersfield (Picture: Getty)Mohamed Salah insisted that he’s not concerned about a recent barren spell in front of goal following Liverpool’s 1-0 victory over Huddersfield.

The 26-year-old forward had a record-breaking debut campaign with Liverpool, scoring 44 goals in all competitions, but has struggled to live up to the heights of last season in recent weeks.

However, Salah ended a four-match run without scoring with a composed finish in the 24th minute at the John Smith’s Stadium.

The Merseyside giants were far from convincing against David Wagner’s men but held out for the win to put them level on points with Manchester City at the top of the Premier League table.

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Asked about his recent lack of goals, Salah told BT Sport: ‘The most important thing is to help the team get the result and now we are on track.

‘It doesn’t worry me [when I don’t score], the most important thing is the team, so as long as I help them get the result I’m not worried.

The Egytian found the net in the first half (Picture: Getty)‘We had four or five players starting in the team for first time. All of us are at the same level so we have to fight [for our places].

‘It was a tough game but in the end we got the three points the most important thing.

‘In the end we had to fight but we knew that.’

Adam Lallana was happy with his display (Picture: Getty)Adam Lallana was satisfied with his performance against Huddersfield following a spell on the sidelines.

‘I feel like I’ve done as much as possible to be ready to play and it was nice to contribute after not doing so for so long,’ the midfielder said.

‘It’s good to get the points and Huddersfield have got a good chance to stay in the league and do well, but it’s huge three points for us.

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‘There have been constant setbacks and at times you doubt yourself and your ability.

‘It’s a long season and only a few weeks ago I was thinking where my next game is going to come from and then unfortunately some lads came back from international duty injured and that’s when you need your squad.’

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Real Madrid ready to sell Marco Asensio amid Chelsea and Liverpool transfer links

Asensio could be sold by Real (Picture: Getty)Real Madrid are ready to cash in on Marco Asensio and have set a £100million asking price, according to reports in Spain.

Liverpool, Manchester United and Chelsea have long been linked with a move for the exciting youngster, who is regarded as one of the best emerging talents in Spain.

Asensio has struggled for form this season despite seeing his playing time increase in the wake of Cristiano Ronaldo’s departure from Madrid.

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Marca claim new Real boss Julen Lopetegui has decided to cut Asensio loose, providing a £100m asking price is met.

Real are open to selling Asensio in January, which would presumably spark a major bidding war among the top clubs in Europe.

A host of clubs would submit offers for Asensio, including big-spending French champions Paris Saint-Germain.

(Picture: Getty)United covet several of Real’s biggest stars including midfielder Toni Kroos and forward Gareth Bale, but signing Asensio would be a major coup for any side.

Asensio is under contract at Real until 2023, and is already established in the Spain national team with 18 appearances since the summer of 2016.

The 22-year-old has repeatedly said he has no desire to leave Real and sees his future at the club.

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Jurgen Klopp admits Liverpool’s renewed defensive ability has affected attackers

Klopp is not overly worried about his attackers ((Picture: Getty)Jurgen Klopp admits there will be a period of adjustment for Liverpool’s attackers as his side continues to improve defensively.

Liverpool are joint-top of the table, but their attackers have failed to sparkle as bright as they did last season.

Mohamed Salah is struggling to live up to his goalscoring heroics of last campaign, while Sadio Mane and Roberto Firmino have not been at their best either.

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But Liverpool’s defence has increased ten-fold in recent months and Klopp insists it will just take time for his attackers to adjust.

‘We want to be stronger defensively but that doesn’t mean we don’t have interest in offensive things,’ Klopp said ahead of Liverpool’s game against Huddersfield.

‘It is normal in a period of adaptation. You put the focus a bit more on something – close this gap, close this space – and immediately you lose a bit of the fluency in something else.

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(Picture: Getty)‘But we have created enough chances. It’s just that we didn’t use them like we used them in the best period of last season.

‘We have had good results and scored goals but it’s obvious we can improve. We need to keep the stability, no doubt about that.

‘What we’ve done defensively so far is credit to the whole team. We don’t concede a lot of shots in general.

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Salah is not scoring as freely as last season (Picture: Getty)‘It’s not that we don’t concede because Alisson makes one world-class save after another. We don’t let them shoot often and that’s the best thing.’

Liverpool seem set for a title challenge this season and are tied on 20 points with Manchester City and Chelsea after eight games.

The Reds play Huddersfield on Saturday and are aiming to collect their first win in four games.

Salah, Virigl van Dijk and Mane are expected to play despite picking up injury concerns while on international duty.

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Jurgen Klopp claims Fabinho is close to making his full debut for Liverpool

Fabinho is close to making his full debut for Liverpool, claims Jurgen Klopp (AMA/Getty Images)Jurgen Klopp believes Fabinho is ‘close’ to making his full debut for Liverpool ahead of their clash with Huddersfield Town on Saturday.

The Brazilian was signed in a £43.7 million deal from Monaco in the summer but has only played 101 minutes across three substitute appearances for Liverpool.

Asked how close Fabinho is to starting his first Premier League game, Klopp replied: ‘Close.

‘I didn’t see him for 10 days so it’s not the best thing to judge exactly how he is.

‘But very close, he was never far away, that’s how it is.

Fabinho has played only 101 minutes for Liverpool this season (Getty Images)‘He needs to get used to different things, that’s how it is for all the players.

‘I had this situation so often, I don’t like to tell too many old stories but Ilkay Gundogan didn’t play for half a year [when he first signed for Borussia Dortmund].

‘The only difference was he was a young player [signed] from Nurnberg and nobody asked about him.

‘He asked, he was not in the squad, there were a lot of difficult moments.

‘You need to be ready, that’s how it is.

‘At one point I have to make a decision if somebody is ready or not.

Fabinho trained ahead of Liverpool’s clash with Huddersfield (Getty Images)‘We’ve already made the decision if he is the right player for us but now we have to come together.

‘There’s no problem on that side, but I can imagine in that world when everyone asks the you constantly ‘oh, you don’t play’, so the player is not really comfortable.

‘For me I don’t care too much, but I have to explain it.

‘There’s only reason – because other players fit better in the moment. One reason, no other.

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‘I really think a lot about who plays in which position.

‘It’s about the new player to close that gap, it always took time and always will.

‘And when he closes the gap… he’ll go and make us better.’

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Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp provides update on Naby Keita, Mohamed Salah and Sadio Mane injuries

Mohamed Salah suffered a muscle injury playing for Egypt (Picture: Getty)Jurgen Klopp has ruled Naby Keita out of Saturday’s match against Huddersfield but remains hopeful the remainder of Liverpool’s walking wounded will feature.

The Guinea international picked up a hamstring injury in midweek and is expected to miss at least the next two weeks.

Klopp is also sweating on the fitness of Mohamed Salah, who picked up a muscle strain playing for Egypt last week, Sadio Mane, who underwent a procedure on a broken thumb on Thursday, Virgil van Dijk, who sat out Holland’s 1-1 draw with Belgium in midweek nursing bruised ribs, and James Milner who limped out of the goalless draw against Manchester City earlier this month.

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Virgil van Dijk has been nursing bruised ribs for the last few weeks (Picture: Getty)

Sadio Mane underwent a procedure on a broken thumb on Thursday (Picture: AMA)‘A few of the boys trained and we will see what they reacted after that. Pretty sure that Naby will not be available,’ Klopp confirmed.

‘Football players play very often with some kind of pain. He [Van Dijk] has no problems with that (his ribs) any more.

‘We know what they [international players] did intensity-wise during the week. We can watch the games but what they do in training you cannot know.

‘We cannot ignore the travelling when you fly overnight and change time zones two or three times in eight or nine days.

‘They are ready but I have to make a decision how ready they are.’

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Daniel Sturridge impresses Jurgen Klopp enough to earn new Liverpool contract

Daniel Sturridge’s current contract expires at the end of the season (Getty Images)Liverpool striker Daniel Sturridge is set to extend his stay at Anfield by signing a new long-term contract extension, according to reports.

The 29-year-old’s existing deal is due to expire at the end of the season but the Jurgen Klopp now wants the club to offer him fresh terms following a bright start to the season.

Sturridge’s four goals in nine appearances so far, including two in a week against Chelsea, has seen him force his way into the Liverpool manager’s plans for the season.

According to The Sun, Liverpool will offer the striker an extension on his current £140,000-a-week contract with the deal set to be structured on his appearances following consistent injury issues in recent seasons.

Sturridge has scored four goals in nine appearances so far this season (Getty Images)The player himself has confirmed his intention to remain at Liverpool at least until the end of the season amid suggestions he would leave the club in January.

He told the club’s official website: ‘I’m always trying to push myself to the next level and contribute as best I can to the team to allow us to be successful.

‘It’s important to stay focused throughout the season to get to the end – and hopefully have something to be excited about at the end.’

Sturridge will be in contention to play against Huddersfield this weekend following an injury to Sadio Mane on international duty with Senegal.

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Can Jose Mourinho break his Stamford Bridge hoodoo and will Mesut Ozil return for Arsenal?

The Premier League returns this weekend and all eyes will be on Stamford Bridge as Chelsea welcome Jose Mourinho’s Manchester United side to west London.

The Blues returned to joint-top of the table before the international break, while Mourinho gave himself some breathing space thanks to a last minute winner from Alexis Sanchez against Newcastle.

Elsewhere, Liverpool are sweating over a number of injury concerns before their trip to Huddersfield and Unai Emery has a selection dillemma on his hands for the visit of Leicester.

Can Jose Mourinho break his Stamford Bridge hoodoo?

Jose Mourinho needs a result at Stamford Bridge (Picture: Getty)The self-proclaimed Special One has returned to his old stomping ground on three occasions with Manchester United…and left empty-handed each time.

Mourinho was once a ‘big game specialist’ but Antonio Conte’s Chelsea trounced United 4-0 in 2016 before beating them in the FA Cup later on in the season. Alvaro Morata’s header was enough to give the Blues a 1-0 victory last term.

Mourinho faces an FA charge for supposed use of foul language (Picture: BT Sport)Nobody will be more desperate than Mourinho to get a result at Stamford Bridge but Maurizio Sarri’s side have been the most impressive outfit so far this term and in Eden Hazard have the Premier League’s in-form player.

United’s trip to west London kicks off a daunting run of fixtures that sees them take on Juventus, Manchester City and Arsenal in the next six weeks.

Reports before United’s comeback against Newcastle before the international break claimed Mourinho would be sacked regardless of the result and though the nature of the comeback will undoubtedly boost morale in the camp, it only papered over the cracks of what’s been a desperate start to the Premier League season.

Defeat at Stamford Bridge on Saturday will put United back in crisis mode so Mourinho will be hoping he can finally break his duck.

Xherdan Shaqiri has chance to shine against Huddersfield

Xherdan Shaqiri has a good chance of starting against Huddersfield (Picture: Getty)He’s had to bide his time at Anfield and been limited to just one Premier League start but Shaqiri’s opportunity may finally arrive this weekend against Huddersfield.

Sadio Mane has undergone surgery on a thumb issue, while Mohamed Salah is struggling with a thigh injury. Though Salah is likely to recover in time, Mane is a major doubt and that is likely to see Shaqiri given a chance from the start against the Terriers.

Liverpool’s front three have been far from their blistering best so far this term and with a hectic fixture schedule coming up, Shaqiri has the chance to impress Klopp and to stake a claim for a regular starting spot.

Shaqiri’s started just one Premier League match this term (Picture: Getty)Shaqiri’s looked little more than a squad player since joining from Stoke and the Switzerland international admitted earlier this week that he’s found it tough at Anfield.

‘I decided to move to Liverpool fully aware that I would have a harder time in a club of this standing than, for example, other clubs that tried to help me,’ said Shaqiri.

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Huddersfield are yet to win this season and have shipped 17 goals in their eight matches so far this term. Liverpool went unbeaten through a difficult period before the International break in which they faced Spurs, Chelsea and Manchester City and they face Cardiff at home after taking on Huddersfield.

There’s probably not a better fixture for Liverpool – or Shaqiri – to have right now.

Cardiff take on Fulham looking for first win of the season

Neil Warnock’s men are without a win in their first eight matches (Picture: Getty)After picking up two points in their first three matches, Cardiff have lost five on the bounce and are in danger of being cut adrift in the relegation zone.

Neil Warnock’s men reduced Spurs to minimal chances in their 1-0 defeat at Wembley before the break and were unlucky not to equalise when Josh Murphy had an effort cleared off the line by Toby Alderweireld.

Cardiff left Wembley empty-handed (Picture: Getty)Nevertheless, the Bluebirds face a trip to Anfield after their clash against Fulham and Warnock will be desperate to get a first win under his belt this term against the Lilywhites.

Fulham were torn apart by Arsenal in a 5-1 mauling at Craven Cottage a fortnight ago and could be the perfect opposition for Cardiff to get off the mark.

Will Mesut Ozil return for Arsenal?

Ozil has returned to full training (Picture: Getty)Henrikh Mkhitaryan neither scored nor assisted during Arsenal’s 5-1 win against Fulham but the Armenian was at his mercurial best in a no.10 role in Mesut Ozil’s absence.

The German missed the game with a back spasm and has had the international break to recover given his self-imposed unavailbility from Germany’s national squad.

Unai Emery has started Ozil and Mkhitaryan together just twice so far this season and that was in the Gunners’ opening two defeats to Manchester City and Chelsea.

Mkhitaryan deserves to keep his spot (Picture: Getty)Ozil has tended to get the nod in recent weeks but Mkhitaryan’s performance at Craven Cottage has given Emery a selection headache.

The win against Fulham was Arsenal’s ninth in a row in all competitions and Emery could be tempted to name an unchanged side against the Foxes.

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Arsenal eyeing move for Liverpool outcast Alberto Moreno

Alberto Moreno is on Arsenal’s radar (Picture: Getty)Arsenal are reportedly plotting a move to sign Liverpool misfit Alberto Moreno at the end of the season.

Moreno has made 134 appearances for Liverpool since his debut back in 2014 but consistent defensive lapses have meant the 26-year-old has struggled for game-time under Jurgen Klopp on Merseyside.

The Reds are resigned to losing Moreno next summer, with the Spaniard in the final year of his contract, and a queue of top European clubs is forming.

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According to the Daily Mirror, Arsenal have been alerted to Moreno’s contract situation with the defender available on a free transfer at the end of the 2018/19 campaign.

Andrew Robertson has nailed down his place as Liverpool’s first-choice left-back and the club have high hopes for academy prospect Adam Lewis meaning Klopp is open to letting Moreno leave.

Unai Emery worked with Moreno at Sevilla (Picture: Getty)Unai Emery worked with Moreno when they were together at Sevilla and is keen to be reunited with the Spain international in north London.

Sead Kolasinac has dropped down the pecking order significantly at Arsenal, with Emery favouring Ainsley Maitland-Niles over the the Bosnian since his arrival.

The Gunners may have to compete with La Liga giants Real Madrid and Barcelona for Moreno’s signature.

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