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Robertson says Alisson has Liverpool’s full support

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Despite his error over the weekend, Liverpool goalkeeper Alisson has the squad’s full and total backing, defender Andy Robertson says.

Alisson has been hailed as a massive success so far this season, but in Liverpool’s 3-1 victory over Manchester United this past weekend, the Brazilian made an error in spilling Romelu Lukaku‘s cross that allowed Jesse Lingard to strike, leveling the score at 1-1. It’s officially the second error Alisson has made this season leading to a goal, according to Opta statistics, following his possessional mistake in the 1-1 draw with Chelsea earlier this season.

[ MORE: Rabiot benched by PSG for contract dispute ]

Robertson, though, knows that the goalkeeper position is unusually harsh given the costly nature of consequences mistakes at the back. The Reds squad is still fully behind its shot-stopper, knowing that the big money paid this summer for his signature is more than worth it.

“He has been unbelievable this season and we all make mistakes,” Robertson said.”If Mo Salah or [Roberto] Firmino make a mistake it maybe doesn’t get punished because it is up the other end but that is unfortunately what a keeper has to put up with, if they make a mistake it usually turns into a goal.”

Robertson notes that despite the mistake – which didn’t result in any points dropped – Alisson still has come up with massive moments this season, most notably the huge, late save against Napoli to help Liverpool advance in Champions League play.

“Of course, he will be disappointed with it [the mistake against Manchester United] but he bounced back and we can’t moan about it,” Robertson said. “He has dug us out Tuesday night and we are still in the Champions League because of him.”

Liverpool sits top of the Premier League table, unbeaten in league play so far this year. They are on a six-match winning streak, outscoring teams 16-2 over that span.

Atalanta beats Lazio 1-0 to boost Champions League hopes

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ROME (AP) — The VAR disallowed a stoppage-time equalizer by Lazio in a 1-0 loss at Atalanta in Serie A on Monday, leaving the Roman club just outside the Champions League places and letting Atalanta into contention for the elite European competition.

Lazio remained one point behind fourth-placed AC Milan while Atalanta moved into sixth, one point further back.

The top four clubs qualify for the Champions League.

Francesco Acerbi met a cross from Luis Alberto with a leaping header that appeared to have drawn Lazio level but video reviews appeared to show Acerbi was slightly offside.

Duvan Zapata put Atalanta ahead one minute into the match from close range.

Breaking down each Champions League knockout tie

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Both Liverpool and Manchester United were handed mouth-watering draws on Monday as the UEFA Champions League set up the first stage of matches in the Round of 16.

[READ: Report: Mourinho “safe for now.”]

Liverpool drew Bayern Munich while Manchester United faces Neymar and Paris Saint-Germain. Elsewhere in the Premier League, Manchester City drew Schalke 04 and Tottenham drew Borussia Dortmund. Let’s take a closer look at each of the eight matchups:


Report: Mourinho ‘safe for now’ at Manchester United

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Jose Mourinho isn’t in danger of losing his job after Manchester United’s latest soul-crushing defeat to a rival.

That’s according to a report from The Guardian, which states that Mourinho is safe for the time being and it’s “business as usual” at Manchester United, despite the 3-1 defeat to Liverpool. The Red Devils were mostly played off the park by Liverpool on Sunday, and the defeat left Mourinho’s team 19 points behind league-leading Liverpool and 13 points outside the top four places. The loss also moved Man United to 7-5-5 on the season, the club’s worst start since 1990.

[READ: UEFA Champions League Last 16 Draw]

The pressure on Mourinho continues to grow with every passing week as a star-studded and incredibly expensive squad continues to under perform for the Portuguese manager. Mourinho inexplicably left Paul Pogba and Juan Mata on the bench against Liverpool, and while it can be argued that Liverpool got lucky bounces in their second and third goals, the same can be said for Man United’s only goal of the game, which came thanks to a howler of an error from goalkeeper Alisson.

While Manchester United are into the knockout stages of the Champions League, the side’s inability to win the group ensured that they would face a European giant, which the Red Devils did when it landed Paris Saint-Germain. Like his two predecessors before him since Sir Alex Ferguson retired, it feels that it’s only a matter of time before both sides part ways and move on, with a decision possibly coming in March or April if Man United is confirmed that it will finish outside of the UEFA Champions League places.

What we learned in Premier League

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Week 17 in the Premier League set things up very nicely for the festive period, with some upsets and the title race well and truly on and the chasing pack changing all of the time.

[ MORE: Watch full PL match replays

Here’s a look at the key takeaways from the 10 games which took place over the weekend.

Liverpool’s squad is now incredibly strong
The way Jurgen Klopp‘s side battered bitter rivals Manchester United on Sunday proved just how far they have come over the past 12 months. Last season they finished behind United, and just about halfway through this campaign they are 19 points clear of Jose Mourinho’s side. Much of that improvement is down to Alisson, Virgil Van Dijk and the entire defensive unit, but the squad Klopp has now assembled is the strongest Liverpool have had in almost a decade. And perhaps ever. Fabinho, in for the injured James Milner, was a monster in midfield and Xherdan Shaqiri had a huge impact as he jumped off the bench and scored with two deflected strikes. Nathaniel Clyne, starting his first PL game of the season, was also phenomenal stepping in after injuries to Joe Gomez and Trent Alexander-Arnold.

Everyone connected with Liverpool knows this season is their best chance of ever winning the Premier League. They are a better team than they were in 2013-14 and defensively they will not lose games, and points, by themselves. They also have to take Manchester City head on, something they proved they could do last season when they beat them in the league at Anfield and in the UEFA Champions League knockout rounds. With a one point lead, the outcome of Liverpool’s trip to Man City on Jan. 3 will be huge in the title race.

Southampton have lift off under Hasenhuttl
The scenes at St Mary’s at the final whistle on Sunday looked as if Southampton had just secured safety from relegation on the final day of the season. But you could forgive the home fans, and players, for celebrating as their dramatic 3-2 win over Arsenal was their first home win since April. New manager Ralph Hasenhuttl took charge of his first Saints home game and ahead of it he gave each season ticket holder a beer voucher and asked them them to join them in his boat and to grab an oar. They did. And they’ve been craving, as have the players, a chance to return to the high-pressing tactics which fuelled their rise under Mauricio Pochettino and Ronald Koeman. Last week I visited Saints’ training ground to chat with Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg, a young Dane who has been tasked with leading Hasenhuttl’s revolution. On the training pitches Hasenhuttl has dissected them into small boxes which the players must stay into as he develops their defensive organization. It is working, even if small errors defensively almost cost them a big win against Arsenal. In truth, with the squad Southampton have there is no way they should be anywhere near the bottom three. Hasenhuttl is truly living up to the “Klopp of the Alps” nickname, as the similarities between him and Liverpool’s manager are clear for him to see.

Having Danny Ings fit again made a huge difference as his two goals against a makeshift Arsenal defense set them on their way. Hasenhuttl’s wild celebrations show he has already lifted the entire club and his vision for the way he wants them to play is clear. Sunday marked the first time Southampton had beaten a top six team in over two seasons, and ahead of games against Huddersfield and West Ham it gives them the perfect early Christmas present.

Tottenham maturing perfectly
It may be cliche, but I’m going to say it anyway: winning games when you’re not playing well is the sign of a good team. If you think Manchester United’s treble winning team in 1999 played fluid, attractive soccer every time they stepped onto the pitch then your mind is playing tricks on you. Like that United team, Spurs have the knack of hanging in games and delivering late goals to win or draw. They did that against a stubborn Burnley outfit on Saturday at Wembley as Christian Eriksen popped up in stoppage time to grab a 1-0 win which caps off a perfect week after their draw at Barcelona to surprisingly reach the last 16 of the Champions League.

Tottenham and Mauricio Pochettino have yet to hit top gear this season but they’re in third place, have the excitement of their impending stadium move back to White Hart Lane to come and they’ve gained more points than ever before at this stage of a PL season. What can they attribute this to? One word: continuity. While everyone else was saying Spurs will fall by the wayside due to playing at Wembley again, no new signings in the summer and so on and so forth, Pochettino’s young squad have matured and have got on with their job. They know exactly what is expected of them each time they step on the pitch.

Crystal Palace can win without Wilfried Zaha
For the first time in 14 Premier League games without Wilfried Zaha Crystal Palace won a game. Previously they’d lost 12 and drawn two of the games where he’d been missing, but Roy Hodgson‘s side were good value for their victory against Leicester on Saturday as they made it back-to-back home wins in the PL. Make no mistake about it, Zaha is still Palace’s main man and as soon as he is fit he will be in their starting lineup. But Palace looked solid with Andros Townsend off Jordan Ayew up top and that could point to Hodgson’s putting Zaha back out on the wing when he does return. He seems better suited to running at defenders, cutting inside and then smashing home a shot or setting up others than standing up top as the central striker where he is a little easier to mark. With top clubs linked with moves for Zaha all of the time, it is also proved, whether they like to admit it or not, that Palace can survive without their talisman. They held on in the second half to beat Leicester and with their defensive unit back to its solid best, they can now focus on Zaha delivering the moments of magic which make all of the difference.

West Ham will be top six contenders
Much has been made about the potency of Marko Arnautovic, Robert Snodgrass, Felipe Anderson and Javier Hernandez in recent weeks as West Ham have now rattled off four-straight wins, and rightly so. But the key to their turnaround under Manuel Pellegrini this season has been their rock solid defense. Sure, they’ve been smacked by Manchester City, Liverpool and had a few growing pains with defeats against Wolves and Bournemouth at home, but Lukasz Fabianski, Fabian Balbuena and Issa Diop are proving they were sound buys in the summer. With a hugely favorable schedule coming up between now and early January, Pellegrini’s men should really be on 36 points by the time the FA Cup weekend rolls around in early 2019. From their stadium capacity set to increase to 60,000 to new signings settling in well and Pellegrini bringing a clear and detailed plan, everything is moving in the right direction at West Ham after a few seasons of turmoil after their move from Upton Park. All of the talk has been about Wolves, Bournemouth and Watford challenging for a top seven finish, but the Hammers have the best chance as long as their defensive unit stays fit and in form.