Trent-Alexander Arnold

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Liverpool: Spurs matches the ‘toughest games we’ve played’

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Liverpool’s star fullbacks have different takes on how last season’s final in Kiev affects Saturday’s match in Madrid, but they agree on one thing: The opposition is a huge challenge.

Many have installed the Reds as favorites to win the European Cup against Tottenham Hotspur, but both Andy Robertson and Trent Alexander-Arnold remember the dogfights against Spurs this season.

[ MORE: 3 key battles in UCL Final ]

Liverpool won both battles 2-1 but walked away with plenty of respect for the defeated North London side. Here’s Robertson, from the BBC:

“I don’t think they’re underdogs. When we’ve played in the Premier League it’s been the toughest games we’ve played. We know we can cause them problems. Both have very good squads, it is who shows up better on the day. For me it’s very even.”

Alexander-Arnold said it’s going to be a tactical battle and “very difficult for both sides.”

But when it comes to what the 3-1 loss to Real Madrid in 2017-18 does for the club, well, the boys are at odds.

Robertson claims last season’s loss is “irrelevant,” though he admitted the players can use that experience (so perhaps not entirely irrelevant, Andrew).

Alexander-Arnold, on the other hand, sees it as fuel.

“It would be daft to forget what happened last season, we learnt a few things from Real Madrid in Kiev and how they beat us. We’ve matured as a team, shown how we can win games, hold onto leads and keep clean sheets.”

Man City, Liverpool go 10-of-11 on PFA Team of the Year

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LONDON (AP) Manchester United midfielder Paul Pogba is the only player not from Manchester City or Liverpool to be selected in the Premier League’s Team of the Year for the 2018-19 season.

City had six representatives — Ederson, Aymeric Laporte, Fernandinho, Bernardo Silva, Raheem Sterling and Sergio Aguero — while Liverpool had four, although Mohamed Salah wasn’t among them despite being tied for the top scorer in the league.

Pogba was picked for the team, which is voted for by Premier League players, despite having an up-and-down season. He was dropped for the final matches of Jose Mourinho’s tenure and has had a dip in form under Ole Gunnar Solskjaer in recent weeks.

Chelsea forward Eden Hazard wasn’t included, despite being on the six-man shortlist for the Professional Footballers’ Association’s Player of the Year award.

Team of the Year

Goalkeeper: Ederson (Manchester City)

Defenders: Trent Alexander-Arnold (Liverpool), Virgil Van Dijk (Liverpool), Aymeric Laporte (Manchester City), Andy Robertson (Liverpool)

Midfielders: Paul Pogba (Manchester United), Bernardo Silva (Manchester City), Fernandinho (Manchester City)

Forwards: Sergio Aguero (Manchester City), Raheem Sterling (Manchester City), Sadio Mane (Liverpool)

Efficient Liverpool punishes Porto (video)

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  • Keita scores deflected opener
  • Firmino makes it 2-0 before half
  • Alisson strong in goal

Liverpool went a long way toward clinching a second-successive spot in the UEFA Champions League, defeating Porto 2-0 at Anfield on Tuesday in a quarterfinal first leg.

Naby Keita and Roberto Firmino scored the goals, with the second leg on tap for April 17 at the Estadio Do Dragao.

[ MORE: Full lineups, stats, box score ]

Porto will feel aggrieved to see a defender error put them behind after five minutes, as Naby Keita’s rip deflected wildly to fool Iker Casillas.

Casillas soon had to make a comfortable save on Mohamed Salah, as the Reds were clearly on top.

The Reds made it 2-0 through Firmino, who just had to tap home in-tight from a Trent Alexander-Arnold cross.

[ LIVE: Champions League scores ]

Jordan Henderson found Sadio Mane for a goal early in the second half, but the Senegalese man was ruled offside after VAR review.

Alisson Becker had himself a day in between the sticks for Liverpool, and thwarted a pretty dangerous Moussa Marega on multiple occasions.

Alexander-Arnold the latest to withdraw from England squad

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Trent Alexander-Arnold will miss out on playing for England this week after withdrawing from the squad with a back injury.

The FA announced the decision on Wednesday afternoon, noting that Alexander-Arnold came into the England camp with the injury and wasn’t able to fully recover in time. Alexander-Arnold suffered the injury during Liverpool’s 4-2 win over Burnley on March 10.

[READ: Sane survives horror tackle]

Alexander-Arnold has had a pretty consistent season for Liverpool, playing 32 times so far in all competitions. Despite being a regular starter for Liverpool, though, he has competition at right back with England from Kieran Trippier and Kyle Walker.

At the same time, Alexander-Arnold is the third (or fourth, depending on where he plays) defender to leave the England squad. Alexander-Arnold joins John Stones, Luke Shaw, Fabian Delph and Ruben Loftus-Cheek as walking wounded for England.

The Three Lions play a pair of UEFA Euro 2020 qualifying matches in the next week. First, England hosts the Czech Republic on Friday at Wembley Stadium before traveling to Montenegro on Monday.

Five-star Liverpool smokes Watford at Anfield (video)

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  • Mane brace sets new single-season best for PL goals
  • Van Dijk nabs two in second half
  • Fourth-straight LFC clean sheet in all comps

Sadio Mane and Virgil Van Dijk each scored twice as Liverpool smashed Watford 5-0 to emphatically mark the end of a slow offensive stretch and keep its Premier League lead on Wednesday at Anfield.

Divock Origi also scored for the Reds, who lead Manchester City by a single point and close to within six of the second place side on goal differential.

Trent Alexander-Arnold recorded three assists in the win.

Watford fails to take advantage of Wolves’ loss to Huddersfield Town, remaining in 7th place on 40 points.

[ MORE: Watch full PL match replays ]

Fresh from watching at Old Trafford, Liverpool right back Trent Alexander-Arnold served up a tremendous cross for the Reds’ opening goal. Mane’s headed finish was his 13th goal of the season.

Mane made it 2-0 with a splended bit of invention after a poor first touch, giving Alexander-Arnold his second assist of the night with a chopped back heel effort that fooled a charging Ben Foster.

Mohamed Salah hit the bar with a bid to make it 3-0 and James Milner‘s rebound shot was caught by Foster, Liverpool not relenting despite its advantage.

Origi and Van Dijk then scored, with Van Dijk then rounding out the scoring by powering an Andrew Robertson cross over the line.

[ VIDEO: Premier League highlights ]

[ MORE: Premier League box scores, schedule, stats ]