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Lovren, Firmino huge doubts for Liverpool v. Bayern Munich

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Liverpool could be seriously shorthanded for their massive UEFA Champions League last 16 first leg against Bayern Munich at Anfield on Tuesday.

[ MORE: PL or UCL priority for LFC? ]

Dejan Lovren and Roberto Firmino did not take part in Liverpool’s final training session before their game against Bayern to give Jurgen Klopp more selection worries.

It has been reported that Firmino has a virus, while Lovren has been struggling with a hamstring problem and was always going to be a last-minute decision for the clash against the German giants.

Fabinho now looks certain to start alongside Joel Matip in central defense for Liverpool on Tuesday, as Virgil Van Dijk is suspended and Joe Gomez is injured.

As for up top, the likes of Divock Origi and Daniel Sturridge could be placed in Firmino’s spot but it is likely Xherdan Shaqiri (if he is fully fit) will come into the team and Mohamed Salah or Sadio Mane will switch to a central position in the front three.

Either way, not ideal for Liverpool as they have a huge week with this game against Bayern followed by a massive Premier League game at bitter rivals Manchester United on Sunday.

In terms of Bayern’s injury news, Kingsley Coman has recovered from a knock in Friday’s win at Augsburg but Jerome Boateng is out through illness. Arjen Robben is recovering from injury and did not travel with the squad, while Franck Ribery will arrive in Liverpool separate from the team after becoming a father late on Sunday.

Lovren injury leaves Fabinho paired with 16-year-old for Liverpool

AP Photo/Rui Vieirac5
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Liverpool’s injury-hit back line needed just six minutes to take another blow in Monday’s FA Cup match against Wolves at the Molineux Stadium.

Dejan Lovren left the game with a hamstring injury in the sixth minute, where he was performing in a center back duo with Fabinho.

[ MORE: PL clubs transfer needs ]

You read that right.

While Fabinho is perfectly capable of playing center back, his new partner is in unchartered waters.

Sixteen-year-old Ki-Jana Hoever is the youngest Liverpool player to pull on the club’s legendary shirt for an FA Cup match.

So if we told you that Wolves took an early lead, you might expect it came through a Hoever error. Yet it was a James Milner mistake that allowed Raul Jimenez to give Liverpool a 1-0 lead.

A Netherlands U-17 back, Hoever moved to Anfield from Ajax in September.

Stars and duds from Man City 2-1 Liverpool

(AP Photo/Jon Super)
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Great saves, hard tackles, jangly nerves, and pretty goals combined to help Liverpool’s visit to Manchester City live up to expectations at the Etihad Stadium on Thursday.

[ RECAP: Man City 2-1 Liverpool ]

Who were the stars of the show, and who didn’t bring their A, B, or C game? See below.

STARS

Sergio Aguero — If his run and finish on the goal was the only thing he did on the day, he’d be a star of this one. Aguero met Bernardo Silva‘s pass and seized the yard given to him by Dejan Lovren, smashing into the goal. But it wasn’t the only thing he did, as Aguero’s run into the box on the winner forced Trent Alexander-Arnold to follow him and give Sane space to score. He couldn’t beat Alisson a second time and also needlessly gave away stoppage time possession with a foolish 60-yard bid, but all will be forgiven (except maybe by Pep Guardiola).

Fernandinho — From Moment No. 1, the Brazilian enforcer was stuck into tackles and playing on the right side of the line by the thinnest of margins. Jurgen Klopp put three industrious shopminders in the center of the park to Man City’s one until Fabinho was introduced in the 57th. The one won.

Trent Alexander-Arnold — Unsure he’ll ever be a strong defender, but that wasn’t his job in the second half as the marauding right-sided player led the attack on several occasions. His pinpoint cross to Andrew Robertson set up Firmino for the equalizer, and he was left out to lunch on Man City’s second goal.

Just missed the list: Leroy Sane, Raheem Sterling, Bernardo Silva, Fabinho, Ederson, Alisson Becker.

DUDS

Danilo — Lost track of the ball on Alexander-Arnold’s cross to Robertson like a little leaguer outfielder back tracking his first deep fly ball. For a man playing as a defensive upgrade to Kyle Walker, he’s there to avoid mistakes. He didn’t.

Dejan Lovren — Caught flat-footed by Aguero on City’s opening goal, he also was one of the reasons Trent Alexander-Arnold was cooked by Leroy Sane for the second. Not too good.

Just missed the list: Jordan Henderson, Georginio Wijnaldum.

Firmino, Liverpool torpedo Arsenal

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  • Arsenal takes early lead
  • Firmino scores two, the second a wonderful solo goal (video)
  • Salah with goal, assist

Liverpool ran roughshod over Arsenal, continuing to buttress its championship credentials behind a Roberto Firmino hat trick and a 5-1 win over the Gunners at Anfield on Saturday.

Ainsley Maitland-Niles put the Gunners ahead after 11 minutes, but the Reds answered four times by half. Firmino scored twice, with Mohamed Salah and Sadio Mane also netting before the break.

The win gives Liverpool a nine-point lead on second-place Spurs, while Arsenal is two points back of fourth-place Chelsea.

[ MORE: Watch full PL match replays ]

It was a thrilling first 20 minutes at Anfield, with Arsenal taking a surprise lead off a Virgil Van Dijk giveaway. Maitland-Niles lost his mark and poked a seeing-eye cross from Alex Iwobi past Alisson.

But the Gunners were down one within minutes, both times due to Firmino.

The goals were not equal. His first came when a Mohamed Salah pass made several turns before the hustling Firmino was alone with the loose ball inside the six.

The second came moments later, as the Brazilian made his way through the entire Arsenal defense to beat Leno.

Mane made it 3-1 in the 32nd, blasting a sublime first touch pass from Salah beyond Leno off a long distance pass from Andrew Robertson.

The fourth goal came from Salah, who went down rather easily after slowing his run behind Sokratis. No matter, he capped the Reds’ outstanding half in style from the spot. 4-1. Goodnight, Unai.

[ MORE: Latest Premier League standings ]

[ MORE: Full lineups, stats, box score ]

Fabinho was denied a bid to make it 5-1 in the 63rd minute when Leno dropped low to make an arm save.

Sokratis then conceded a penalty when Dejan Lovren hit the deck, and Firmino used the penalty spot to complete his hat trick.

AT HALF: Digne scores another pearler; Man City on pace to drop points (again)

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We’ve had plenty of goals on Boxing Day, following the tune of Fulham’s 1-1 draw with Wolves to start the day.

[ MORE: Weah will go on loan ]

Reminder, Brighton hosts Arsenal at 12:15 p.m. ET, while Watford stages a “late” match with Chelsea at 2:30.


Burnley 1-3 Everton [STREAM]

The Toffees were due for a breakout, and Burnley’s continued suffering is the consequence. Yerry Mina scored in the second minute, then Lucas Digne and Gylfi Sigurdsson added markers within 20 minutes of the opener at Turf Moor. Ben Gibson had a late-half answer for the Clarets.

Leicester City 1-1 Manchester City [STREAM]

It looked to be business as usual when Aymeric Laporte and Sergio Aguero teamed up to spring Bernardo Silva for his opener inside of 15 minutes, but Marc Albrighton‘s picture-perfect header leapt inside the far post to have it level within minutes.

Liverpool 1-0 Newcastle United [STREAM]

The Reds are looking to make it 20 Premier League matches without a loss, and there’s only been a hint of Newcastle finding a goal here. Instead, the Reds are up via a Dejan Lovren rip, and it could well be 3- or 4-0 at Anfield.

Crystal Palace 0-0 Cardiff City [STREAM]

Nothing cooking yet at Selhurst Park.

Spurs 3-0 Bournemouth [STREAM]

Red-hot Heung-Min Son and equally-heated Christian Eriksen have the North London outfit easily out-gunning their South Coast visitors. Kyle Walker-Peters has hand a foot in all three goals, cueing up Lucas Moura for Tottenham’s third.

Manchester United 1-0 Huddersfield Town [STREAM]

Nemanja Matic has the opener in Ole Gunnar Solksjaer’s first home match in charge of his beloved Red Devils.