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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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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Philippe Coutinho tells Barcelona to sign Liverpool frontman Roberto Firmino as Luis Suarez replacement

Barca bosses believe the Brazilian can take their attack to a new level (Picture: Getty)Barcelona are actively looking to sign a replacement for Luis Suarez and have identified Liverpool frontman Roberto Firmino as the perfect fit, according to reports in Spain.

The Uruguayan’s goal tally has fallen in each of the last two seasons, while he only has three goals in 11 appearances in all competitions this campaign.

Suarez will turn 32 in January and El Chiringuito de Jugones report that Barca have made finding an heir their top priority, with Firmino number one on their list.

Barca fear Suarez is on a downward curve and want to replace him (Picture: Getty)There are concerns over Suarez’s physical ability as he enters the twilight of his career, but Firmino’s aggressive pressing and work rate is seen as a big step up.

The Brazilian would be an ideal foil for Lionel Messi, while he has already been given a glowing recommendation from former Liverpool playmaker Philippe Coutinho.

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Barca’s hierarchy intend to use the same approach that convinced Coutinho to leave Anfield on Firmino and have already begun putting steps in place to sign him.

However, unlike the Coutinho deal, Barca do not believe they are in  a position to sign Firmino in January and will instead wait until next summer to mount their pursuit.

Coutinho has been key to Barca’s interest, recommending Firmino to the club (Picture: Getty)Firmino enjoyed the most prolific season of his career to date last year, scoring 27 times in all competitions – though that is actually less than what Suarez scored.

But Barca are attracted more to his ‘fighting’ qualities than his goalscoring record, and believe his style of play – more like a false nine – would take the side’s attacking play to a new level.

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Mohamed Salah, Paul Pogba & Eden Hazard join Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi on Ballon d’Or shortlist

Hazard is nominated for the Ballon d’or this year (Picture: PA Wire)Premier League stars Mohamed Salah, Paul Pogba and Eden Hazard are among the nominees for the 2018 Ballon d’Or.

France Football are announcing the stars to make the list all through Monday, with Premier League winners Kevin De Bruyne and Sergio Aguero among the first ten to make the cut.

Cristiano Ronaldo was also confirmed amid allegations the former Real Madrid star raped an American woman in Las Vegas in 2009.

Ronaldo is the defending champion, having won his fifth Ballon d’Or in 2017.

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30 nominees have been announced, with the ceremony scheduled for 3 December.

NOMINEES…

Alisson (BRA/Liverpool)

Sadio Mane (SEN/Liverpool)

Roberto Firmino (BRA/Liverpool)

Thibaut Courtois (BEL/Chelsea)

N’Golo Kante (FRA/Chelsea)

Eden Hazard (BEL/Chelsea)

Harry Kane (ENG/Tottenham)

Hugo Lloris (FRA/Tottenham)

Sergio Aguero (ARG/Man City)

Kevin De Bruyne (BEL/Man City)

Cristiano Ronaldo (POR/Juventus)

Antoine Griezmann (FRA/Atletico Madrid)

Isco (ESP/Real Madrid)

Gareth Bale (ENG/Real Madrid)

Karim Benzema (FRA/Real Madrid)

Edinson Cavani (URU/PSG)

Diego Godin (URU/Atletico Madrid)

Mario Mandzukic (CRO/Juventus)

Marcelo (BRA/Real Madrid)

Kylian Mbappe (FRA/PSG)

Lionel Messi (ARG/Barcelona)

Luka Modric (CRO/Real Madrid)

Neymar (BRA/PSG)

Jan Oblak (SLO/Atletico Madrid)

Paul Pogba (FRA/Manchester United)

Ivan Rakitic (CRO/Barcelona)

Sergio Ramos (SPA/Real Madrid)

Mohamed Salah (EGY/Liverpool)

Luis Suarez (URU/Barcelona)

Raphael Varane (FRA/Real Madrid)

Aguero and De Bruyne also make the list (Picture: Getty)The Ballon d’Or is run by France Football, after confirmation this year Fifa had broken away from the award.

A panel of journalists, one from every country, will decide the winner and will grade their nominees in three categories: performances during the calendar year, talent and fair play, and achievements throughout a career.

As does Ronaldo (Picture: Getty)England’s Lucy Bronze and Fran Kirby are nominated for the Women’s Ballon d’Or, with Orlando Pride star Marta also on the 15-woman shortlist.

WOMEN’S BALLON D’OR…

Fran Kirby (ENG/Lyon)

Lucy Bronze (ENG/Chelsea)

Pernille Harder (DEN/Wolfsburg)

Ada Hegerberg (NOR/Lyon)

Amandine Henry (FRA/Lyon)

Lindsey Horan (USA/Portland)

Sam Kerr (AUS/Chicago Red Stars)

Saki Kumagai (JAP/Lyon)

Dzsenifer Marozsan (GER/Lyon)

Amel Majri (FRA/Lyon)

Marta (BRA/Orlando)

Lieke Martens (NL/Barcelona)

Megan Rapinoe (USA/Seattle)

Wendie Renard (FRA/Lyon)

Christine Sinclair (CAN/Portland)

England star Kirby is nominated for the Women’s Ballon d’Or (Picture: Getty)The shortlist for the inaugural Kopa Trophy was also announced, an award which will name the best player under the age of 21.

Kylian Mbappe is nominated for his World Cup heroics, while Liverpool star Trent Alexander-Arnold also makes the cut.

10-MAN KOPA TROPHY SHORTLIST…

Houssem Aouar (FRA/Lyon)

Trent Alexander-Arnold (ENG/Liverpool)

Patrick Cutrone (ITA/AC Milan)

Ritsu Doan (JAP/Groningen)

Gianluigi Donnarumma (ITA/AC Milan)

Amadou Haidara (MAL/Red Bull Salzburg)

Justin Kluivert (NL/Ajax)

Kylian Mbappe (FRA/PSG)

Christian Pulisic (USA/Dortmund)

Rodrygo (BRA/Santos)

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Roberto Firmino and Eden Hazard join Cristiano Ronaldo on Ballon d’Or nominee list

Hazard is nominated for the Ballon d’or this year (Picture: PA Wire)Premier League duo Roberto Firmino and Eden Hazard are among the nominees for the 2018 Ballon d’Or.

France Football are announcing the stars to make the list all through Monday, with Premier League winners Kevin De Bruyne and Sergio Aguero among the first ten to make the cut.

Cristiano Ronaldo was also confirmed amid allegations the former Real Madrid star raped an American woman in Las Vegas in 2009.

Ronaldo is the defending champion, having won his fifth Ballon d’Or in 2017.

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In total 30 nominees will be announced, with the ceremony scheduled for 3 December.

NOMINEES…

Alisson (BRE/Liverpool)Roberto Firmino (BRE/Liverpool)Thibaut Courtois (BEL/Chelsea)N’Golo Kante (FRA/Chelsea)Eden Hazard (BEL/Chelsea)Harry Kane (ANG/Tottenham)Sergio Aguero (ARG/Manchester City)Kevin De Bruyne (BEL/Manchester City)Cristiano Ronaldo (POR/Juventus)Antoine Griezmann (FRA/Atletico Madrid)Isco (ESP/Real Madrid)Gareth Bale (ENG/Real Madrid)Karim Benzema (FRA/Real Madrid)Edinson Cavani (URU/PSG)Diego Godin (URU/Atletico Madrid)

Aguero and De Bruyne also make the list (Picture: Getty)

As does Ronaldo (Picture: Getty)The Ballon d’Or is run by France Football, after confirmation this year Fifa had broken away from the award.

A panel of journalists, one from every country, will decide the winner and will grade their nominees in three categories: performances during the calendar year, talent and fair play, and achievements throughout a career.

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‘I was scared of going blind’ – Liverpool ace Roberto Firmino lifts lid on horror eye injury

Jan Vertonghen unintentionally poked Roberto Firmino in the eye (Picture: Getty)Liverpool attacker Roberto Firmino admits he was ‘scared of going blind’ in one eye after suffering a horrific injury against Tottenham.

Firmino was forced off during Liverpool’s 2-1 victory over Spurs last month after Jan Vertonghen unintentionally poked him in the eye.

The Brazilian was immediately taken to hospital for assessment but was later discharged with no permanent damage to his eye.

Firmino has since returned to the side – scoring the winner in last month’s Champions League clash with PSG – but has opened up on the injury and his initial fears.

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‘I was scared of going blind in one eye and not being able to see again,’ he said. ‘Thank God nothing like that happened and it gradually improved day after day.

‘Of course, I’ve been taking my medication and looking after it. Your eyes are very important as a professional footballer. Thank God everything is OK now.’

Firmino, 26, had scored Liverpool’s second goal against Tottenham at Wembley before leaving the field with his shocking eye injury.

He says ‘everything was blurry’ after the incident and left him temporarily blinded in one eye.

The Brazilian was sent straight to hospital (Picture: Getty)‘I was frightened, but the pain gradually passed after the doctor gave me a painkiller and it got better,’ he added.

‘When the incident happened, everything was blurry and I couldn’t see out of my left eye.

‘It’s much better. The pain has gone and I can’t feel anything anymore. It’s still a bit red, but I hope that clears up over time.’

Firmino started Liverpool’s second Champions League match at Napoli on Wednesday evening but was unable to prevent Jurgen Klopp’s side from suffering a 1-0 defeat.

Liverpool were beaten by Napoli in the Champions League (Picture: Getty)Speaking after the loss in Naples, Klopp said: ‘We have to blame ourselves, that’s how it is.

‘There’s no problem, the boys did a brilliant job tonight. They tried everything and were really busy, but not smart enough or calm enough in the right moments.

‘When that happens, you lose football games.’

Liverpool, who are joint-top of the Premier League, face reigning champions Manchester City this weekend.

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Jurgen Klopp criticises Sadio Mane and Roberto Firmino after Liverpool’s defeat to Napoli

Sadio Mane was criticised by Jurgen Klopp after Liverpool’s defeat (AP Photo)Jurgen Klopp admits Sadio Mane and Roberto Firmino were guilty of holding on to the ball for too long in Liverpool’s defeat to Napoli on Wednesday evening.

A late goal from Lorenzo Insigne sealed the win for Carlo Ancelotti’s side, while Klopp admitted after the game that Liverpool deserved to lose due to their poor performance.

The defeat leaves Liverpool second in Group C, level on points with Paris Saint-Germain, while Napoli are top on four points.

‘The formation was not right, we moved in the wrong spaces, for the three midfielders the job was nearly impossible,’ Klopp told BT Sport.

‘With the ball we were to hectic when there was no reason to be hectic.

Lorenzo Insigne’s late goal secured victory for Napoli (Getty Images)‘Sometimes Bobby [Firmino] ran too long with the ball, or Sadio [Mane] ran too long. When that happens, you cannot produce.

‘The midfielders or the full-backs tried to go forward, but we lost the ball and had to go back in the other direction.

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‘It was intense, but we caused the intensity of the game ourselves.

‘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.’

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Lorenzo Insigne claims Roberto Firmino is more dangerous than Mohamed Salah ahead of Liverpool’s clash with Napoli

Lorenzo Insigne is preparing for Napoli’s clash with Liverpool on Wednesday (Cesare Abbate/ (ANSA via AP)Napoli forward Lorenzo Insigne believes Roberto Firmino is Liverpool’s most dangerous player ahead of Mohamed Salah.

Jurgen Klopp’s side face the Serie A club in the Champions League on Wednesday evening and are looking to secure their second win in Group C after beating Paris Saint-Germain in their opening fixture.

Most of the focus ahead of the match has been on Salah’s inconsistency in front of goal since the start of the season.

And Insigne concedes his Napoli teammates should be more wary of Firmino’s ability in Liverpool’s attack.

‘They have a lot of strong players, even those on the bench,’ said Insigne.

Firmino has scored three goals for Liverpool this season (AFP/Getty Images)‘But Firmino is the most decisive player because he comes to play between the lines and opens up the spaces for his teammates.

‘I hope together with my teammates to put them in trouble and be able to make chances.’

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Steven Gerrard labels Liverpool star Roberto Firmino a ‘genius’ ahead of Chelsea clash

Roberto Firmino has been called a ‘genius’ by Liverpool legend Steven Gerrard (Picture: Getty)Steven Gerrard has labelled Roberto Firmino a ‘genius’ and says Liverpool are ‘very close’ to finding the perfect formula.

Brazilian forward Firmino scored in three consecutive games for Liverpool earlier in the month, helping the Reds make a fine start to the 2018-19 campaign.

Jurgen Klopp’s side are the only team yet to drop a point in the Premier League and defeated PSG in their Champions League opener at Anfield.

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Gerrard believes the current Liverpool team is the strongest in years and reserved special praise for Firmino, who has scored over 50 goals for the club since 2015.

The Anfield hero and Rangers boss said: ‘Firmino is an absolute genius when you watch him close up. He’s as interested in setting up a goal as scoring one.

‘I look at Liverpool now and can’t find any weaknesses when they’re at full strength.

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‘This is a lot stronger than the team I played in.

‘Liverpool have looked a different animal since [Virgil] van Dijk came in and Alisson brings more composure and trust.

‘In time that’ll be the big difference – the front three will always score goals and the midfielders back them up too.

‘But it’s all been about trying to improve defensively and they’re very close.’

Anfield hero Gerrard rates the current Liverpool team highly (Picture: Getty)Liverpool lost their first game of the new season during the week as they were knocked out of the Carabao Cup by Chelsea.

Klopp’s side will hope for revenge against the Blues on Saturday afternoon.

‘We try to use the information from [Wednesday] to be better on Saturday. Striking back is a nice opportunity,’ the Liverpool manager said.

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‘Before we started, it was clear the game at Chelsea would not be a children’s birthday.

‘It will be tough and intense for both sides. It’s a big one. It already sounds good, and we have to make sure it is good.’

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Jurgen Klopp hints he is ready to pick new-look Liverpool strike force

Daniel Sturridge scored on his return to the Liverpool starting line-up against PSG (Picture: Getty)Jurgen Klopp is confident Daniel Sturridge and Roberto Firmino have the ability to play alongside each other in what would represent a new-look Liverpool attack.

The injury-plagued England international, who spent the second half of last season on loan at West Brom, returned to the starting line-up in midweek and rewarded his manager’s faith with the opening goal in a dramatic 3-2 win over PSG.

Sturridge lasted 70 minutes and was replaced by eventual matchwinner Firmino who had been nursing the eye injury he picked up following a collision with Jan Vertonghen a week ago.

Roberto Firmino scored the dramatic late winner against PSG (Picture: Getty)

Roberto Firmino wore protective goggles during training on Thursday (Picture: Getty)Klopp confirmed the Brazilian, who wore protective goggles during Thursday’s training session, is fully fit but would harbour no concerns over pairing him alongside Sturridge.

‘Yes, he’s ready. Why should I think that about Bobby? Did I speak a lot about line-ups in the past? I don’t think so,’ Klopp said ahead of Saturday’s match against Southampton at Anfield.

‘The impact Daniel had [against PSG] was only positive. Intense game, it was all good, fantastic game.

‘Could they play together [alongside Firmino]? Yes, of course.

‘Sturridge had minutes before that and trained well and had the rhythm and did well”

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