Andrew Robertson

Liverpool stay perfect, beat Leicester in stoppage time

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Liverpool kept their 100 percent record intact, as James Milner‘s last-gasp penalty kick secured a 2-1 victory against Leicester City.

[ MORE: Watch full PL match replays

After Sadio Mane gave Liverpool the lead, James Maddison equalized late on at Anfield as Brendan Rodgers‘ men looked to have grabbed a point.

But then Milner scored from the penalty spot to stretch Liverpool’s club-record winning streak to 17 league games and eight from eight this season.

Liverpool stay top of the table on 24 points, while Leicester have 14 points.


3 things we learned

1. Liverpool’s luck continues: The Reds haven’t got going this season, and they’ve won all of their opening eight games. It looked like Klopp’s side were finally going to run out of luck on Saturday, as Leicester caught them cold late on but Mane then won a penalty kick. In wins against Southampton, Sheffield United, Chelsea and now Leicester they were lucky to get over the line. In truth, Liverpool haven’t got out of second gear this season. Klopp won’t care. They’re top.

2. Leicester prove top four credentials: It was far from a great display from the Foxes but they were resilient and showed they can grab points against the big boys. They will need to do that if they’re going to finish in the top four, not least the top six. Brendan Rodgers’ side put in a mature display and did him proud on his return to Anfield. This wasn’t a swashbuckling Leicester display, but it was steady and solid, and they were unlucky not to grab a point.

3. Matip missed: Dejan Lovren came into the starting lineup and he looked shaky and Liverpool really missed Joel Matip. The towering center back is out injured and has Joe Gomez struggled recently, meaning Lovren will have to get up to speed quickly for Liverpool. In the end Matip’s absence didn’t cost Liverpool, but they did look a little less solid.

Man of the Match: Sadio Mane – Took his goal really well and dug deep to do plenty of defensive work on both flanks. He continues to stand tall for Liverpool and won the late penalty kick.


Early on Liverpool did all the pressing as Leicester’s Caglar Soyuncu held things together for the Foxes at the back.

A cross from the right caused Liverpool’s defense some issues as Dejan Lovren tried to clear but sent a looping header towards his own goal.

As the first half wore on Leicester batled their way into the game as Ben Chilwell was causing Sadio Mane plenty of problems down the Foxes left flank.

Firmino then missed a great chance as Trent Alexander-Arnold whipped in a lovely ball from the right. At the other end Adrian produced a fine save from Soyuncu’s header after James Maddison whipped in a superb free kick.

Then Liverpool took the lead right on half time. James Milner’s superb long ball found Mane on the break and the Senegalese winger raced clear and finished calmly to make it 1-0.

Just after the goal Firmino pulled the ball back to Mane and his effort was straight at Kasper Schmeichel when he should have doubled Liverpool’s lead.

[ VIDEO: Premier League highlights ]

Schmeichel produced a fine save at the start of the second half as Alexander-Arnold’s cross found Salah and his flick was pushed away by Leicester’s goalkeeper.

Jonny Evans then cleared but the ball hit Mane and almost rebounded in as Liverpool kicked on in the second half. Leicester steadied themselves and started to cause a few problems in attack with half time sub Marc Albrighton a box of tricks. Ricardo Pereira‘s cross from the right was cleared by Alexander-Arnold as that sprung the game into life.

Firmino’s effort squirmed just wide and then Albrighton set Jamie Vardy free but he squandered a great chance at the Kop end. Andrew Robertson then had a great chance but Schmeichel saved well. Dennis Praet then flashed a shot just wide for Leicester as the game finished in an end-to-end fashion, and the Foxes grabbed a late equalizer.

Substitute Ayoze Perez wriggled free and played in Maddison, who had been quiet all game long, and the Englishman finished low past Adrian.

Virgil Van Dijk could have won it for Liverpool late on but he fluffed his lines as he nodded Robertson’s cross over, but just when it looked like the Reds would drop their first points of the season the winner arrived.

Mane was brought down by Albrighton in the box and Milner kept his cool to make it eight wins from eight as Liverpool remain perfect.

Salah saves Liverpool after Red Bull Salzburg erases 3-0 deficit

AP Photo/Jon Super
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Mohamed Salah‘s second goal saved his defense blushes as Liverpool threw away a 3-0 lead at Anfield before finding all three points in a 4-3 win over Red Bull Salzburg on Wednesday in the UEFA Champions League.

[ MORE: Full lineups, stats, box score ]

Salah was joined by Andrew Robertson and Sadio Mane on the score sheet, and Roberto Firmino had two key assists in the win.

Hee-Chan Hwang scored a goal and an assist en route to 3-3, with young phenom Erling Braut Haland delivering a goal off the bench.

Takumi Minamino also scored for Salzburg, who has the same amount of points as Liverpool. Napoli leads the group with four points.


Three things we learned

1. Liverpool defense needs to get back to basics: Virgil Van Dijk is a tower, a force, a marvel… and just as capable as any other defender of being sent to the concessions stands by a sick cut. Hwang Hee-Chan cooked up the Dutch center back to fire Salzburg back to within two after Salah had stake the Reds to a 3-0 lead.

Perhaps “Van Dijk on Ice” is a fitting way to make a point that may not hold up. Liverpool has now played 12 matches this season and kept clean sheets in just three of them, allowing 13 goals. One clean sheet was against MK Dons, the other two versus Burnley and Sheffield United. Clean sheets don’t matter that much, we suppose, when you’re running teams off the pitch, but the chances have been there and this team has so far been less sound than its predecessor.

2. Salah, Mane, Firmino sensational: The Egyptian King delivered a poacher’s goal off a rebound in the first half before darting onto a Firmino flick to restore Liverpool’s lead in the second. Mane scored the sensational early marker off another Firmino assist, and could’ve easily had it 5-3.

The Reds’ most electric players were on it on Wednesday, and should not be paying for their meals tonight.

3. Marsch enjoys the moment: The twice-capped USMNT midfielder from Wisconsin looked set to see the reverse of a tournament-opening 6-2 score line, but full credit to Marsch’s men in a deserved come back. When the match hit 3-3, Salzburg was out-shooting Liverpool (again, this was at Anfield). The coach celebrated the second and third goals with vigor, leaping into his players’ celebrations at the equalizer. Even in the loss, he’ll be the toast of Austria tonight.

Man of the Match: Salah — Over Firmino, and just.


Liverpool was ready to go from Moment No. 1, with Mane blazing down the left side to work a 1-2 with Roberto Firmino. The Brazilian used perfect speed to cue up Mane’s show.

The Reds earned their second goal via fullback to fullback love, with

Hwang pulled a goal back for Salzburg in the most electric of fashions, putting Van Dijk on skates before finishing for 3-1.

Hwang could’ve easily made it 3-2 on a dynamic team move in the 53rd minute, but flubbed his effort well wide of the goal.

And then it was 3-2, with Minimino belting a bouncing shot past Adrian with Liverpool ignoring an entire half of the field.

Marsch was feeling it now, and introduced leading scorer Erling Braut Haland. The youngster took advantage of half-effort stuff from Van Dijk and Joe Gomez to make it 3-3.

The Reds turned to their stars to deliver the victory, as Mane’s backheel to Salah turned into a partially cleared cross. Firmino soon flicked Salah on goal for 4-3 and Liverpool’s first points of the tournament.

PL Club Power Rankings: Week 7

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The theme of this week’s power rankings is statistics, and we’ve included some quality nuggets in our descriptions of why teams are rising and falling on our list.

[ MORE: PL Club Power Rankings archive ]

Green: New season-high ranking
Red: New season-low


20. Newcastle United — Possibly the least effective midfield, or tactical deployment of one, we’ve seen in some time. Maybe Fabian Schar is the answer, but 37.6 percent possession over the course of a season is abysmal.
Last week: 19
Season high: 19
Season low: 20
Last match: Lost 5-0 at Leicester City
Up next: 11:30 a.m. ET v. Manchester United

19. Watford — Moving up only because Newcastle was that bad against Leicester, but look below to see some serious hope for the Hornets. They just aren’t finishing, but are producing more key passes than everyone besides Man City, Chelsea, and Liverpool. Those will turn into goals, you’d think.
Last week: 20
Season high: 19
Season low: 20
Last match: Lost 2-0 at Wolves
Up next: 10 a.m. ET Saturday v. Sheffield United

whoscored.com

18. Brighton and Hove Albion — Aaron Mooy has looked a lot better in his last two starts. Can the former Huddersfield Town midfielder be the one to unlock the Seagulls attack?
Last week: 18
Season high: 6
Season low: 18
Last match: Lost 2-0 at Chelsea
Up next: 7:30 a.m. ET Saturday v. Spurs

17. Norwich City — Something to monitor as the weather gets colder and the pitch compacted: The Canaries are only attacking directly through the middle of the pitch on 17 percent of plays.
Last week: 13
Season high: 10
Season low: 20
Last match: Lost 2-0 at Crystal Palace
Up next: 10 a.m. ET Saturday v. Aston Villa

16. Wolves — And exhale. Wolves finally get their win and not a moment too soon with a Man City trip ahead of them. With two days less rest than the reigning champs, Sunday could be a long day.
Last week: 17
Season high: 7
Season low: 17
Last match: Won 2-0 v. Watford
Up next: 9 a.m. ET Sunday at Man City

15. Aston Villa — Why do I believe Villa is ultimately going to emerge from the fire into another Premier League season? Dean Smith‘s men lead the league in shots blocked and crosses blocked per game. While that means they are giving up a lot of attempts, that full-blooded desperation is going to pay off (or break an arm).
Last week: 11
Season high: 8
Season low: 15
Last match: Drew 2-2 v. Burnley
Up next: 10 a.m. ET Saturday at Norwich City

14. Everton — A much better looking side against City, but that’s kinda the frustrating life for Everton supporters. Sure, you got up for the big boys. Can you get up for a trip to Burnley? Also, to answer trivia from the Palace ranking, Seamus Coleman (!!) is second in the Premier League in successful dribbles this season.
Last week: 14
Season high: 5
Season low: 14
Last match: Lost 3-1 v. Man City
Up next: 10 a.m. ET Saturday at Burnley

(Photo by Alex Livesey/Getty Images)

13. Southampton — Ralph Hasenhuttl‘s men move from a near miss against Spurs to a match with in-form but potentially weary Chelsea. Shock on the cards at St. Mary’s?
Last week: 16
Season high: 13
Season low: 19
Last match: Lost 2-1 at Spurs
Up next: 9 a.m. ET Sunday v. Chelsea

12. Burnley — Completing 64.2 percent of its passes, Burnley continues to defy the laws of logic, statistics, everything. Chris Wood is big.
Last week: 12
Season high: 5
Season low: 15
Last match: Drew 2-2 at Aston Villa
Up next: 10 a.m. ET Saturday v. Everton

11. Sheffield United — We just love that Chris Wilder wasn’t content that his side deserved a point against the leaders. Can likely move two wins clear of the drop zone with a win at Vicarage Road.
Last week: 10
Season high: 10
Season low: 17
Last match: Lost 1-0 v. Liverpool
Up next: 10 a.m. ET Saturday at Watford

10. Crystal Palace — Wilfried Zaha‘s 32 successful dribbles are the most in the Premier League. Non-Palace fun fact. I’ll give you 50 chances to guess who’s second and like my odds (but the answer is in this post).
Last week: 15
Season high: 10
Season low: 18
Last match: Won 2-0 v. Norwich City
Up next: 12:30 p.m. ET Saturday at West Ham United

9. Manchester United — Please, for all of our sakes, get Anthony Martial healthy.
Last week: 9
Season high: 2
Season low: 15
Last match: Drew 1-1 v. Arsenal
Up next: 11:30 a.m. ET Sunday at Newcastle United

Martial has been out since Aug. 24 (Photo by Matthew Peters/Manchester United via Getty Images)

8. Tottenham Hotspur — A team in no man’s land, where several players need to be axed and the manager probably wants a new experience. The fullback corps is a mess.
Last week: 8
Season high: 2
Season low: 8
Last match: Won 2-1 v. Saints
Up next: 7:30 a.m. ET Saturday at Brighton

7. Arsenal — How about this stat: Arsenal is spending 33 percent of every match in its own third, the third-highest percentage in the league. That’s not legendary when your defense is so leaky.
Last week: 4
Season high: 4
Season low: 7
Last match: Drew 1-1 at Manchester United
Up next: 9 a.m. ET Sunday v. Bournemouth

6. Bournemouth — Six is a good number for the Cherries, who’ve scored half of their 12 goals from set pieces. Probably deserved a win over West Ham, but probably doesn’t move you up the table.
Last week: 6
Season high: 6
Season low: 17
Last match: Drew 2-2 v. West Ham
Up next: 9 a.m. ET Sunday at Arsenal

5. West Ham United — The Irons move from week-to-week with different tests of mettle. This week, it’s whether they can go about their business and handle a decent Palace team at home.
Last week: 5
Season high: 5
Season low: 18
Last match: Drew 2-2 at Bournemouth
Up next: 12:30 p.m. ET Saturday v. Crystal Palace

4. Chelsea — Is this week the Blues climb back into the Top Four?
Last week: 7
Season high: 4
Season low: 12
Last match: Won 2-0 v. Brighton
Up next: 9 a.m. ET Sunday at Southampton

3. Leicester City — Brendan Rodgers has his men playing on fire (in a good way). Wilfred Ndidi and Ricardo Pereira rank Nos. 1 and 2 in the Premier League in tackles this season. Ndidi is also leading the league in interceptions (23) and is performing on an N’Golo Kante level so far this season. Huge match on Saturday.
Last week: 3
Season high: 3
Season low: 10
Last match: Won 5-0 v. Newcastle United
Up next: 10 a.m. ET Saturday at Liverpool

Ndidi  (Photo by Michael Regan/Getty Images)

2. Manchester City — On pace to score 146 Premier League goals this season. Take out the 8-star performance against Watford, and it’s a 120-goal pace. That’s 14 more than their record.
Last week: 2
Season high: 1
Season low: 3
Last match: Won 3-1 at Everton
Up next: 9 a.m. ET Sunday v. Wolves

1. Liverpool — Since the Reds are getting the job done and look a complete team, how about a seemingly ugly stat that shows how important fullbacks are to Liverpool’s attack? Trent Alexander-Arnold has lost possession a league-best 184 times, 28 more than second place Lucas Digne. Andrew Robertson is 7th with 136.

Obviously, this is because they have the ball a lot and are counted on tactically to put the ball into danger areas — look at where they rank in terms of accurate opposition half passes, stunning stuff — but wow.

https://www.sofascore.com/tournament/football/england/premier-league/17

Last week: 1
Season high: 1
Season low: 3
Last match: Won 1-0 at Sheffield United
Up next: 10 a.m. ET Saturday v. Leicester City

Liverpool stay perfect, edge past Sheffield United

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It was far from pretty but Liverpool secured their seventh-straight Premier League win on the trot to start the season, as Georginio Wijnaldum‘s second half goal was enough to see them past a spirited Sheffield United side on Saturday.

[ MORE: Watch full PL match replays

The Blades were compact and tough to break down at Bramall Lane, but a mistake from goalkeeper Dean Henderson was the difference between the teams.

With the win Liverpool move on to 21 points for the season and are momentarily eight points clear atop the Premier League table. Jurgen Klopp‘s side have now won 16 games on the spin in the PL and are unbeaten in 24 matches.


3 things we learned

1. Liverpool grind out another win: It hasn’t been pretty for most of this season, but Liverpool lead the PL and have won seven games on the spin to kick off the campaign. Klopp’s men struggled to get going against the Blades and a lucky goal won them the game. You need a lot of luck to win the title and Liverpool have made the most of it early in the season.

2. Brilliant Blades hold their shape: Chris Wilder‘s side should be commended for their superb defensive display which gave Liverpool a real headache. Their overlapping center backs forced Liverpool to change their formation and switch wing backs, as they held their shape defensively and were a threat when they did go forward. There were so many positives for the Blades to take from this defeat.

3. Henderson makes another costly error: He is 22 years old, and Henderson will progress. But he’s now made a couple of errors in his first season as a Premier League goalkeeper and he’s still growing up. He was devastated after the game-winner went in and after at the final whistle. He has the quality to be a PL player, but he has to develop the concentration.

Man of the Match: Fabinho. He stepped in to stop Sheffield United on so many occasions and on a day when Liverpool’s attack faltered, Fabinho


United set up in a defensive 5-3-2 formation and were tough to break down, as Liverpool struggled to get going in attack. At the other Callum Robinson dragged an effort wide as the home fans were buoyed by a good start.

Mohamed Salah was quiet but curled wide, as Liverpool began to find their feet and fine a little more space.

A long ball over the top found Mane who was clean through on goal but he shanked a glorious chance over the bar, much to the relief of the Blades defense.

Robertson and Robinson both went close, as the latter should have done better with a header in the box after a fine cross from Enda Stevens. Right on half time Firmino found Mane but his shot crashed off the post and out.

[ VIDEO: Premier League highlights ]

In the second half Liverpool had to switch their shape as they couldn’t break the Blades down, with Andrew Robertson and Trent Alexander-Arnold swapping flanks as wing backs and Fabinho momentarily dropping into midfield.

But it was Sheffield United who had a host of chances to take the lead, as Ollie McBurnie and Oliver Norwood went close and Liverpool’s defenders were throwing themselves heroically in front of the ball.

Then came the moment which decided the game, and one Henderson will not want to see again.

A routine shot from Georginio Wijnaldum was straight at the Sheffield United goalkeeper but the ball somehow squirmed through his grasp and over the line. A horrible moment for the youngster, on loan at Sheffield United from parent club Man United.

As the Blades pushed forward in search of an equalizer late on, Salah went clean through but Henderson made a superb stop with his foot to somewhat make amends for his error.

In the final minutes Sheffield United came close to grabbing a point but substitute Leon Clarkes skied a chance over the bar, even though he looked to be just offside when the cross came in.

Deconstructing (and reconstructing) FIFA’s silly Best XI

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Over the weekend, following David Silva chipped in his latest goal for Manchester City, I found myself Tweeting whether he’s the most overlooked superstar in Premier League history.

After Monday’s unveiling of the FIFA Best XI at The Best awards ceremony, I started to wonder whether another Man City player deserves that title on a more short-term basis.

That was one issue with the XI, which was head-scratching at best. Yes, international play also plays into this, but 3.5 Real Madrid players on the team is an absolute joke (They were a mess, finished third in La Liga, and left the Champions League in the Round of 16 against Ajax).

[ MORE: Messi win’s men’s honor, City shut out ]

And Eden Hazard over all Premier League attackers and the entire Bundesliga’s offensive force? He was great, but come on.

Here’s the team FIFA honored:

  • Alisson Becker (BRA) – Liverpool
  • Matthijs de Ligt (NED) – Ajax / Juventus
  • Sergio Ramos (ESP) – Real Madrid
  • Virgil Van Dijk (NED) – Liverpool
  • Marcelo (BRA) – Real Madrid
  • Luka Modric (CRO) – Real Madrid
  • Frenkie de Jong (NED) – Ajax/Barcelona
  • Eden Hazard (BEL) – Chelsea/ Real Madrid
  • Cristiano Ronaldo (POR) – Juventus
  • Kylian Mbappe (FRA) – Paris Saint-Germain
  • Lionel Messi (ARG) – Barcelona

Ridiculous, yeah?

Let’s go piece-by-piece and create an XI at the end.

The Trident plus One: Messi, Mbappe, Ronaldo, and Hazard

Maybe Man City and Liverpool fall victim to their own greatness, and the sheer challenge it is to find room for a fourth world class attacker in a Best XI which would be insane to ignore Lionel Messi, Kylian Mbappe, and Cristiano Ronaldo for their on-field exploits.

But should we?

Let’s get two players out of the way immediately: Messi and Mbappe. Both were miles ahead of the competition as Nos. 1 and 2 last season. In comparable minutes, both outscored Ronaldo in league play by double-digit goals and Serie A

Both also had less productive tridents for most of last season (Neymar was out for most of PSG’s campaign, while Ousmane Dembele and Philippe Coutinho weren’t up to snuff alongside Messi and Suarez).

Anyway, that’s a bit of a digression.

Ronaldo’s good-enough season probably got him a career-achievement tiebreaker, and FIFA decided that Eden Hazard was an out-and-out midfielder in their team, so we’ll take some liberties in deciding whether he should’ve been a part of the team.

Should one of them, if not both, have been omitted? We’re here to say we’d like your chances of making the case. These are the league numbers for the four players we’re considering, leaving out Mohamed Salah and Sadio Mane for now.

[ MORE: Rapinoe, Ellis headline women’s winners ]

Of the four, only Lewandowski had better than a pedestrian group stage in Europe compared to top level peers. The big Polish striker scored eight times, more than the total goals and assists of the others (Hazard was injured for most of the group stage). But like his Bayern teammates, he was unable to score against Liverpool in the knockout rounds.

Sterling is the one we read as underrated for the season he had, with Leroy Sane off his game and Kevin De Bruyne injured for a lot of City’s season. If any City man deserves a shout at the XI, it’s him.

The numbers for Salah and Mane are about even with the group, and Liverpool fans will want to see the team be all-Liverpool given their strong PL season and UCL title, but in our books we want a little better representation. If you want one of them in the fray, we’re taking out Alisson and putting in Ederson.

Feel free to do that mentally when you read our XI, and we’ll be fine with it. Heck, maybe we’ll even do it.

The ‘Real’ problem

So we’ve covered one Real player in Hazard, who legit deserves a shout at the XI.

Sergio Ramos is great, Marcelo is probably the best left-sided non forward of his generation, and Luka Modric has the worst Ballon d’Or in history (N’Golo Kante was better that year, as were Messi and Ronaldo. Committee got cute).

But should even one Real Madrid player be on the FIFA Best XI for the season? I mean, maybe Marcelo if you want true left and right backs, but the team isn’t that with Marcelo and three center backs. But he played in just 23 league matches and Andrew Robertson (who may not make our list because of representation).

What is a true Best XI anyway? It’s supposed to be representative of the season, so Marcelo has to be out. Modric shouldn’t be in there either, but at least he played a ton if you need to appease Real supporters.

Ramos is an interesting one, especially because he was one of the best center backs in the world last season. But he wasn’t as good as De Ligt or Van Dijk. And if you’re going to a back three, which we might want to for our XI, then Aymeric Laporte was better on a better team. And Gerard Pique had a better season than Ramos, too, as Barca won its league and went further in the UCL.

(Photo by Denis Doyle/Getty Images)

Our XI

Before we go any further, shout out to Jan Oblak of Atletico Madrid. He’s incredible.

We’re keeping Alisson over Ederson, though that one is the one giving us the most pause. We’re removed Hazard for Kante to give our midfield a little beef.

The second most difficult decision was leaving out one of Salah, Hazard, and Sterling. There’s a UCL, UEL, and Premier League winner in there. And Sterling added two other domestic trophies.

We’re taking out Ronaldo in favor of Lewandowski, and admittedly the tiebreaker is because the latter has never won one, which is an absolutely travesty. Ronaldo also had his worst goals per game since he left Manchester United, and Serie A isn’t that far ahead of La Liga in goals-per-game.

What do you think?

Alisson (BRA/Liverpool)
De Ligt (NED/Ajax-Juventus)
Van Dijk (NED/Liverpool)
Laporte (FRA/Man City)
Kante (FRA/Chelsea)
De Jong (NED/Ajax-Barcelona)
Sterling (ENG/Man City)
Messi (ARG/Barcelona)
Salah (EGY/Liverpool)
Lewandowski (POL/Bayern)
Mbappe (FRA/PSG)