Fabinho

AP Photo/Rui Vieirac5

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

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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.

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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.

Liverpool breezes past Newcastle United

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  • Lovren scores in 1st half
  • Salah wins, converts penalty
  • Shaqiri, Fabinho add insurance

Liverpool clobbered Newcastle United 4-0 on Boxing Day at Anfield, moving six points clear of second place Tottenham Hotspur.

Dejan Lovren, Mohamed Salah, Xherdan Shaqiri, and Fabinho scored for the Reds, who are now unbeaten in 20-straight Premier League matches. They have a seven-point advantage on third place Man City.

Newcastle is five points clear of the drop zone, but began a daunting run of fixtures at Anfield.

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Matt Ritchie supplied a terrific cross over the head of Virgil Van Dijk in the 8th minute, but Joselu failed to turn it on goal and Liverpool were off the hook.

The Reds quickly answered with a chance of its own, Roberto Firmino and Sadio Mane teaming up to find Xherdan Shaqiri. The Swiss midfielder missed the mark.

Lovren put Liverpool ahead when Jamaal Lascelles‘ poor clearance of an Andy Robertson cross was lashed into the top of the goal from 16 yards.

The Reds were off-and-running, with Anfield behind them, and it was all Martin Dubravka could do to stop Mane from making it 2-0 when the keeper sprawled in front of the Senegalese man’s effort.

Ritchie took a ball off of Robertson following a partially-cleared cross, stinging a shot wide of the far corner from 20_plus yards.

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Paul Dummett got a hold of Salah and the Egyptian wizard hit the deck to ask for a penalty. He got it, and converted, for 2-0 in the 48th.

Shaqiri then put it to bed — not like Newcastle looked in danger of scoring more than once in the half — when Trent Alexander-Arnold‘s smart pass along the six capped off a long spell of threats from the hosts.

Fabinho got in front of Mohamed Diame to finish the scoring.

Shaqiri, Liverpool overrun Manchester United

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  • Fabinho, Mane team up for terrific opener
  • Alisson gaffe cues up Lingard equalizer
  • Super sub Shaqiri scores two off the bench

Xherdan Shaqiri scored a pair of deflected second-half goals as Liverpool went back into first place with a 3-1 defeat of Manchester United at Anfield on Sunday.

Sadio Mane scored the Reds’ other goal, as the leaders moved to 45 points. Jesse Lingard scored for Manchester United, now 11 points adrift of the Top Four.

Jose Mourinho kept Paul Pogba on the bench for the entire 90 minutes.

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Mohamed Salah dribbled Ashley Young into the grass with a cutback before earning a corner for Liverpool in the second minute.

Romelu Lukaku was pushed offside by Sadio Mane, making a free kick goal offside because the Belgian’s air kick rightly put off Liverpool keeper Alisson Becker.

The first half-dozen minutes were chaotic, with Liverpool claiming for a penalty at one end when Salah hit the deck and Alisson collected a long distance effort from United at the other.

Fabinho rocketed a shot wide with a partial deflection. Young then made a goal line clearance on the ensuing corner as Liverpool ravaged the Manchester United box.

Mane got Liverpool’s much deserved breakthrough when Fabinho sent a sensational ball over the top to meet the Senegalese striker, whose technical work in turning it past De Gea was top notch. It was Liverpool’s 11th shot attempt of the first 25 minutes.

There was such little danger from United, which makes the equalizer all the more stunning in our story. Lingard started a move to Lukaku, and Alisson couldn’t corral an easy ball. Lingard followed it up for 1-1.

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David De Gea made a fine low save and Young blocked Mane’s big at a rebound in the 53rd minute, as Liverpool took advantage of a waylaid Eric Bailly.

Liverpool had a pair of corner kicks around the 62nd minute, including a near miss by Dejan Lovren.

Fabinho stung a 30-yard shot at De Gea in the 71st minute, but the United keeper stayed with the swerve for a difficult catch made to look easy.

Mane then set-up the winner by cooking Ander Herrera on the left flank, cutting his effort toward goal. De Gea kicked it back atop the box, where Shaqiri zipped it off Young, then the cross bar, and finally into the goal.

Shaqiri then put it to bed with a second deflected goal, ripping this 81st minute effort off Bailly’s ankle and past a flying De Gea.

WATCH: Fabinho, Mane team up for exquisite Liverpool goal

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Liverpool had Manchester United at sixes and sevens for most of the early stages at Anfield on Sunday, but the Reds might’ve scored their breakthrough goal against a much more organized side.

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Sadio Mane scored a 24th minute goal off a feed from Fabinho, really fantastic work of the highest technical order, as Liverpool scored with its 11th effort of the day.

Fabinho’s pass is exquisite, inviting a Mane run with a floated offering over the top of the United back line.

The Senegalese striker softly cushions the ball for a half-volley, chesting it onto his left peg and beating David De Gea through the legs.

Wow. An Alisson Becker miscue has allowed Manchester United to draw level through Jesse Lingard, but this match has otherwise been all Liverpool.

Klopp: Champions League group ‘will stay exciting’ to finish

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In a group with Napoli and Paris Saint-Germain, Wednesday’s match versus Red Star Belgrade at Anfield always needed to provide three points to Liverpool’s pursuit of another UEFA Champions League Final.

The Reds did not let it slip.

[ RECAP: Liverpool 4-0 Red Star Belgrade ]

Liverpool boss Jurgen Klopp very much enjoyed his men’s controlling home win, especially the showings of lesser-used players Adam Lallana, Fabinho, and Xherdan Shaqiri.

“Fabinho was good from the start [and] Shaqiri was involved in everything,” he said. “He is a really nice footballer and that helped. I thought he did really well.”

Napoli nearly sucked a bit of drama out of the group by keeping PSG without a point, but Angel Di Maria’s stoppage time marker means this group remains up for grabs.

“[Group rivals] Napoli and PSG played a 2-2 draw, but I can imagine it was pretty lively. It will stay exciting. This group is a tough one for all of us. We have to be ready every day and hopefully we will be ready in two weeks.”

The Reds will want to take advantage of PSG’s trip to Napoli with a win in Serbia, but nothing’s certain given the travel and a trip to Arsenal three days prior in the Premier League.