Dejan Lovren

Klopp adamant Mane deserved PK, admits “we chased the game”

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Jurgen Klopp is thinking macro and micro about another Liverpool loss to Manchester United.

[ RECAP: Man Utd 2-1 Liverpool ]

In terms of the 90-minute performance, the German manager summed it up pretty well; United hasn’t lost a home halftime lead since 1984, so it’s no surprise the Reds couldn’t find their way back on Saturday.

“We didn’t score before half time and then in the second half we chased the game,” Klopp said. “It is really difficult to do against a team like Manchester United.”

Then there’s the micro. Klopp was livid with referee Craig Pawson on several occasions, not the least of which was what he perceived to be a penalty against Marouane Fellaini.

[ MORE: Mourinho’s reaction – “I don’t care” about critics ]

United’s sub was well-positioned when Sadio Mane tried to stride past him and made contact with the midfielder’s leg. Liverpool fans wanted a penalty. So did Klopp.

“It was a clear penalty with Fellaini on Mane, in situations like this you need the right decision.”

United went ahead when Romelu Lukaku won an aerial challenge that wasn’t really challenged by Dejan Lovren, and Marcus Rashford benefited in space with a vicious rip.

Klopp defended Lovren.

“You can always lose a header or a challenge with Romelu Lukaku of course but there is a gap in behind and we need to close that.

“It was 2-0 down of course – not a good idea against Manchester United. Long balls to Lukaku and second situations. Lukaku is one of the best strikers in the world, we needed to be around to pick up the ball, we were not and Rashford could use the situation twice.”

Yep. That’s true. Lovren is an easy scapegoat and should’ve done better to snuff the chances out early, but there were multiple opportunities to thwart both Rashford goals.

Let’s hope these two are drawn together in the Champions League. The pitch might start on fire.

Finally, to AP Photo’s Rui Vieira: What a photo, man.

Three things learned: Man United v. Liverpool

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MANCHESTER — Manchester United beat Liverpool 2-1 at Old Trafford on Saturday, as Jose Mourinho secured just his second win in nine outings against Jurgen Klopp.

The Red Devils strengthened their grip on second-place in the Premier League thanks to two first half goals from Marcus Rashford and despite Eric Bailly‘s own goal and an improved displays in the second half, Liverpool fell.

Here’s what we learned from a gripping game as each team dominated a half.


The local lad stepped up big time to deliver two goals in the first half and grab his chance with both hands.

Rashford probably wouldn’t have started had Paul Pogba not pulled out through injury on Friday, with Mourinho forced into a reshuffled with Rashford on the left, Mata on the right and Alexis Sanchez playing centrally behind Lukaku with just Scott McTominay and Nemanaja Matic in central midfield in a 4-4-2 formation.

We all know Rashford has bags of pace and undoubted talent, but you feared for his development after the arrival of Romelu Lukaku and Alexis Sanchez this season. We shouldn’t have worried.

Rashford now has eight goals in the Premier League this season and 12 in all competitions, that’s the best return of his career to date. Not bad for a youngster pushed out to the left flank for most of this season when he does most of his best work as a central striker.

It was almost two years ago today that he burst onto the scene and scored twice against Arsenal in a 3-2 home win after being given his chance by Louis Van Gaal. And the stat above shows that Rashford can always be counted on for the big occasion.

Since then, Rashford has scored 31 goals in 111 appearances for the Red Devils and he is finally showing that there could be life for him on the left ahead of Sanchez, Anthony Martial, Juan Mata, Jesse Lingard and others.


Yes, Pogba’s injury may have forced Mourinho into a change of lineup and personnel, but one thing is clear from Saturday: play Sanchez and Lukaku together up to from here on out.

Before the game all of the talk was about how United could slot Sanchez into their starting lineup and Mourinho admitted they haven’t seen the best of their highest-paid player since his arrival from Arsenal in January. Don’t get me wrong, Sanchez still has a long way to go. He gave the ball away in the second half on multiple occasions when all he needed to do was relieve some pressure on his defense, with the Chilean still looking rusty in possession just as he did on Monday at Crystal Palace when he had more giveaways than any other player on the pitch.

As for Lukaku, well, he is back in midseason form. The Belgian flicked on twice to set up Rashford’s goal and a more direct approach is suiting Lukaku.

During the week Lukaku described himself as a sergeant for Mourinho on the pitch. He did his part admirably on Saturday with his powerful display in the first half. He and Sanchez scared Liverpool’s defense and allowed Mata to find space for what should have been an easy third goal had he headed home instead of gone for the spectacular bicycle kick.

This duo will cause plenty of defenses problems and there’s an inclination that playing just off Lukaku will get the best out of Sanchez.


They almost fought back for a point, but it was a case of familiar problems arising for Liverpool. They’ve only lost two of their last 21 games in the Premier League and are still in the hunt for the top four, but this defeat means they’ve fallen five points behind rivals Man United who sit comfortably in second place.

A sluggish start was their downfall as Jurgen Klopp’s men lost the first ball to Lukaku and failed to stop Rashford twice latching on to score. They also couldn’t work out how to mark Sanchez and Mata was drifting in from the right.

On multiple occasions in the first half United breezed through Liverpool’s defense and when Dejan Lovren and Virgil Van Dijk finally figured out how to stop United, they were already 2-0 down.

Liverpool’s clash showed in the second half as they dominated the majority of the 45 minutes with Eric Bailly’s own goal setting up a tense finish for the home fans at Old Trafford.

The Reds will now regroup and they know they have the easiest schedule out of the teams in and around the top four. Still, a defeat at your rivals in this manner will sting.

Watch Live: Liverpool vs. Newcastle United

Photo by Clive Brunskill/Getty Images
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Florian Lejeune and Jamaal Lascelles anchor Newcastle United’s effort to slow Liverpool at Anfield on Saturday (Watch live at 12:30 p.m. ET on NBC and online via

The Magpies held the Reds 1-1 at St. James’ Park, but away is another story against Mohamed Salah, Roberto Firmino, Sadio Mane, and Co.


Dejan Lovren pairs with Virgil Van Dijk in the center of Liverpool’s back line as the Reds aim to go second.


Liverpool: Karius, Alexander-Arnold, Lovren, Van Dijk, Robertson, Henderson, Can, Oxlade-Chamberlain, Mane, Salah, Firmino. Subs: Mignolet, Milner, Gomez, Moreno, Lallana, Solanke, Matip

Newcastle: Dubravka; Yedlin, Lascelles, Lejeune, Dummett, Murphy, Diame, Merino, Kenedy, Atsu, Gayle. Subs: Darlow, Manquillo, Clark, Hayden, Ritchie, Perez, Joselu

Porto 0-5 Liverpool: Mane leads rout

AP Photo/Luis Vieira
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Sadio Mane scored a hat trick as Liverpool buried Porto 5-0 in the first leg of their UEFA Champions League Round of 16 tie at the Estadio do Dragao on Wednesday.

Roberto Firmino and Mohamed Salah also scored (of course) as the Reds took a page from Man City’s book in scooping up four away goals from the first leg.

The second leg hits Anfield on March 6.

[ MORE: Full lineups, stats, box score ]

Porto had the first two chances of the match, the higher profile opportunity coming when Otavio saw his shot blocked by Dejan Lovren.

Mane’s goal came on the first of a few regrettable moments for goalkeeper Jose Sa, who lost track of a Georginio Wijnaldum blocked attempt as it wriggled under him. The play started when Sa’s thrown clearance was distributed right to the Reds.

Liverpool made it 2-0 on a clever finish from Salah after James Milner cranked a shot off the woodwork.

Sa did not enjoy the third goal, either, parrying a Firmino shot to Mane for the brace.

Firmino added Liverpool’s fourth in the 70th minute, and Mane completed his hat trick in the 85th minute.

Could Loris Karius really be the answer for Liverpool’s goalkeeping woes?

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The general consensus has been that while Liverpool continues to improve, the goalkeeping situation at the club has become untenable, and that the Reds will need to move on from Simon Mignolet in the summer.

With names like Atletico Madrid’s Jan Oblak, PSG’s Kevin Trapp, Stoke City’s Jack Butland, and Samir Handanovic all thrown around, the seat between the sticks at Anfield has been heating up.

Loris Karius has other ideas.

[ MORE: Chelsea puts West Brom to bed 3-0 ]

Signed for just $8 million in the summer of 2016, the 24-year-old German was thought of largely as a backup to Mignolet, and it’s been that way until just a few weeks ago. Having snatched the starting job from his Belgian counterpart after solid performances against Leicester City and Manchester City, Karius suddenly has a chance to not just lead Liverpool down the stretch run of a promising season, but potentially save the club millions of dollars this summer.

But could Karius really be the long-term option for Liverpool in goal? The sample size is small, but he’s showing promise the last few weeks.

The 2-0 win over Southampton was one of his best performances in a Liverpool shirt.

His recognition to notice danger before the chance was truly created allowed him to charge strongly off his line and stop a shot by Pierre-Emile Hojberg. He initially came to collect a cross by Dusan Tadic, but once it was clear he wouldn’t reach it, instead of finding himself caught in no-man’s land, he again recognized a play before it happened and back-tracked in time to acrobatically stop James Ward-Prowse‘s header.

And finally, Karius is even involved in the build-up to Liverpool’s first goal, correctly finding Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain in acres of space on the counter.

Against Tottenham, Karius came off his line to smother a big chance from Heung-Min Son with the Liverpool defense out of sorts, charging down the striker while stopping himself just short as to not concede a penalty. Karius’s ability to come off his line with precision will make Liverpool fans beam with glee, as Mignolet struggled mightily with that aspect of his game.

Karius has been a significant improvement over Simon Mignolet in general this season, with a significant advantage in his WhoScored rating (6.72 for Karius vs. 6.49 for Mignolet in Premier League play), while he also owns a far superior rating for the season (101.89 for Karius vs. 29.07 for Mignolet) thanks in large part to a better saves per goal tally (1.43 for Karius, 1.21 for Mignolet). He’s also not made a defensive error yet this season, according to Squawka, while Mignolet wrapped up three. The distribution numbers still favors Mignolet, but Karius has been able to have an effect up front in that department despite not having the consistency.

However, not all is where it needs to be. Against Manchester City, for example, Leroy Sane beat Karius at his near post from a tight angle with a shot a top goalkeeper should be saving.

Against Spurs, Karius did concede a penalty for coming out of net and fouling Harry Kane, but it was hard to blame the keeper after a laughable mis-kick from Dejan Lovren left him completely exposed and with few options.

The German will get plenty of chances to prove his worth, as Jurgen Klopp said he will likely stick with Karius in goal for Champions League play as well, giving him ample time to both impress and improve, or prove it’s all a fad.

Is Karius suddenly a hidden gem in the process of revealing itself to the Premier League and the world? Or is this a flash in the pan? If his form continues, will it be enough to allow Liverpool to focus its resources elsewhere this summer, or will they still feel compelled to reach into the coffers to improve at the position? It all remains to be seen, but the last few weeks have complicated the situation, if nothing else.