Alisson Becker

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UEFA announce Champions League player awards

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UEFA named its best goalkeeper, defender, midfielder and forward during the 2018-19 Champions League season, as two Liverpool stars were named the best in their positions.

[ MORE: UCL draw in full

Alisson Becker was named the goalkeeper of the season and Virgil Van Dijk was named the best defender after their heroic displays on the way to the Reds winning the UCL trophy last season.

Frenkie de Jong scooped the midfielder award after his displays for Ajax before heading to Barcelona this summer, and his new Barca teammate Lionel Messi picked up the forward of the year award.


Goalkeeper: Alisson Becker

Defender: Virgil van Dijk

Midfielder: Frenkie de Jong

Forward: Lionel Messi

Alisson Becker set for 4-8 weeks on sidelines

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Liverpool’s nearly spotless opener was kept from perfection by an injury to Alisson Becker, and the club would likely trade a couple of their goals in the 4-1 defeat of Norwich City to get their keeper back early.

[ RECAP: Liverpool 4-1 Norwich City ]

Alisson will miss between four and eight weeks with a calf injury, according to The Athletic’s James Pearce, putting Adrian in the driver’s seat for this week’s UEFA Super Cup match against Chelsea.

The Reds go to Southampton next week and also face Arsenal (home), Burnley (away), Newcastle (home), and Chelsea (away) in the next six weeks.

Alisson is a fantastic keeper and Adrian is essentially a replacement-level player in the league. This will be a tough stretch for Liverpool, especially considering its defense was far from imperious against Norwich City.

Manchester City wins Community Shield

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It took penalty kicks to separate Liverpool and Manchester City in a wasteful but entertaining Community Shield on Sunday at Wembley Stadium.

Claudio Bravo‘s second round stop of Georginio Wijnaldum met perfect finishing from the reigning domestic treble champions after a 1-1 score line over 90 minutes.

[ MORE: Player ratings | 3 things ]

The Reds were dominant in the second half, but only found one goal before penalties.

Sterling tucked a delightful David Silva flick under Alisson Becker in the first half, but Joel Matip nodded a late equalizer past Bravo in the second half.

Leroy Sane limped off after just 11 minutes with an injury which could jeopardize a nine-figure deal to Bayern Munich.

[ MORE: Mandzukic agrees Man Utd terms ]

Sane lashed into the side netting after Raheem Sterling picked the pocket of an unaware Joe Gomez in the fourth minute.

At the other end, Roberto Firmino juggled to set up a left-footed lash right to Claudio Bravo.

The Reds probably should’ve been up when Firmino slipped Mohamed Salah into the box, but the Egyptian couldn’t turn his shot near the goal.

Sterling could, however, side-footing a flick from David Silva under Alisson Becker, who would’ve liked to have done better.

Salah looked for a quick response, cooking Oleksandr Zinchenko on the right before missing the near post again.

Kevin De Bruyne was also very much in preseason form in terms of finishing, and his scuffed shot turned into a Sterling chance which Alisson did well to save.

Sterling then beat the Liverpool line and Alisson only to hit the far post in the 48th minute.

The Reds were all over City in the early second half, and Liverpool fans were hoping the Goal Decision System would tell them Virgil Van Dijk leveled off a corner kick to no avail.

Salah then hit the post after Sterling partially blocked a Trent Alexander-Arnold free kick.

Sterling should’ve made it 2-0 again, but the relatively wasteful forward dribbled directly into Alisson.

If Salah, Sterling, and De Bruyne were in peak finishing form, this could’ve easily been a 4-3 match, with the last name scuffing a low shot to Alisson in the 73rd.

Van Dijk kept a rally alive to set up Matip for a headed equalizer in the final 15 minutes.

Bravo made a fine save on Naby Keita in the 83rd minute.

Salah’s umpteenth chance of the game could’ve decided it in stoppage time, but Walker made an incredible goal line clearance and the ensuing corner was poorly served above the fray.

Salah, Alisson and others returning to Liverpool this week

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Despite Liverpool’s poor run of results during the preseason, Jurgen Klopp says he’s not very concerned.

That’s because Liverpool, more than most other teams it seems this year, has been without a dozen key players all preseason, and others who arrived a week or two late after international duty following the Premier League season. However, that all changes on Monday.

Mo Salah, Roberto Firmino, Alisson, Naby Keita and Xherdan Shaqiri are all returning to preseason work as Liverpool heads to Evian, France to continue warm-weather training. Liverpool has just a week before facing Manchester City in the FA Community Shield, and then another week before the start of the season. It’s unlikely that the quintet returning this week – with Sadio Mane set to return next week – will be ready to go for the start of the Premier League season, but it can potentially give the team a mental lift to see many of the team’s stars back in the squad for daily training sessions.

​“The lads coming back, even if they don’t play, it gives you a lift when they train and with the way they go about their business,” Liverpool left back Andy Robertson told the club’s website. “It doesn’t matter if they play on Wednesday or not, that’s completely up to the manager three days in, but that’s irrelevant: if they’re back in training and back around the place then it makes a difference.

“Mo and Bobby are two of our main men and Alisson was magnificent last season. They are huge characters in the changing room as well so that’ll be massive for us, and then Sadio will come back the following week. Once we get the whole team back together, and I think Shaq and Naby aren’t far off too, they’re players that are familiar around the set-up and around the system and that’s what we need. The quicker we get all of us back together then hopefully the better.”

Without many of the top attackers, some young players for Liverpool have been playing plenty. Aside from players like Divock Origi and Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain building fitness, Harry Wilson and Rhian Brewster have received regular minutes. In addition, new signings Harvey Elliot, who just signed officially for Liverpool in the morning, and summer signing Sepp van den Berg each saw the field against Napoli. While they likely won’t play much this Premier League season, they may be called upon to at least be on the bench early on.

Klopp referred to this preseason, with so many stars missing, as a strange one.

“It’s kind of a new situation, but that’s not the reason what’s happened,” Klopp said. “Missing six players is strange. That you lose players during a pre-season, we are used to – that happened from time to time. But that they don’t start from the beginning and come a couple of days before or after we start with the season is not cool. Again, that’s how it is and we prepared everybody as good as possible. We have to fight the start of the season 100 per cent with all we have. The good thing is, if the opponents want to analyse us now, they think ‘easy job’, but we will be a different animal next week.”

Brazil needs penalty kicks to oust 10-man Paraguay (video)

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Alisson Becker was the hero in penalty kicks after hosts Brazil failed to break down 10-man Paraguay at the Copa America on Thursday.

Paraguay eliminated Brazil from the 2011 and 2015 editions of the tournament in penalty kicks.

[ MORE: Mbappe worth the price ]

Brazil outshot Paraguay 26-5, and will face the winners of Argentina and Venezuela in the semifinals.

Gatito Fernandez made 13 saves in the loss.

Fabian Balbuena’s 58th minute red card complicated the matter for Paraguay, but the underdogs held out for kicks.

Alisson saved the first penalty of the round, and Willian gave Brazil its advantage.

Roberto Firmino slapped a right-footed shot wide, but Derlis Gonzalez did the same and Brazil held on for a semifinal spot.