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Klopp: “Nobody thinks about” $100m Van Dijk fee anymore

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Virgil Van Dijk needed fewer than 12 months to justify the $100-million transfer fee Liverpool paid to secure his services in January, at least in the mind of manager Jurgen Klopp.

[ MORE: Pogba’s agent hits back at critics, dares Man United to sell Pogba ]

Van Dijk, whose price tag remains the world record for a defender, quickly settled in at Anfield and helped the Reds reach the Champions League final inside his first five months at the club. Now, after beginning what will be his first full season at Liverpool, the 27-year-old is drawing praise of the highest order from Klopp.

Following Monday’s 2-0 victory over Crystal Palace, Klopp not only opined that Van Dijk has proven a worthy investment already, but went so far as to joke that perhaps “he was too cheap.” While the gaudy fee grabbed all the headlines back in January, Klopp says, “Nobody thinks about it now” — quotes from ESPN.com:

“Quality costs a specific price. With cars, it’s the case, and with players, too. Nobody thinks about it now.

“He’s a player in this market who is worth it, and maybe now people think he was too cheap. He loves playing with these boys, and that’s the most important thing.”

The Reds are scoring goals for fun once again this season, leaving the defense as the only relative unknown this season. Through two games of the 2018-19 season, they are the only side in the Premier League to not have conceded a single goal.

Klopp: Let’s not worry about sending statements to Man City

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Jurgen Klopp thought both his Liverpool and hosts Crystal Palace were feeling exhausted in the second half of the Reds’ 2-0 win at Selhurst Park, so he loudly threatened to murder his players.

Okay, okay, that’s not exactly true, but you be the judge: He got a goal out of it.

[ RECAP: Palace 0-2 Liverpool ]

“In these moments the fuel is really low and maybe the players need a bit of help from an angry manager, ‘Run or I will kill you,’ and they did that with a fantastic counter attack,” Klopp said.

Cool. That said, Klopp pointed tot his team’s commitment to fitness as a reason for their win.

“Second half both teams, you could see Crystal Palace maybe struggle a little bit more than we did but it was for us very intense as well,” he said. “We had these big chances, didn’t use them. They had their moments when Alisson had to make a few saves. The save on the free kick was outstanding. I know we have to play much better but for tonight I’m absolutely fine with that.”

Klopp bristled when asked about meeting Man City’s 6-1 defeat of Huddersfield Town with a fairly complete performance against Palace.

“I am not interested in sending statement to Manchester City or anyone else. We want to win football games and that’s what we did tonight.”

Salah sets table as Liverpool tops 10-man Palace

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  • Salah wins penalty
  • Milner converts it
  • Wan-Bissaka sent off
  • Salah sets up Mane late

James Milner converted a Mohamed Salah-won penalty kick, and Liverpool held off pesky 10-man Crystal Palace in a 2-0 win at Selhurst Park on Monday.

Sadio Mane scored the second on a counter attack breakaway following a stoppage time corner kick for Palace. Salah assisted the goal.

Liverpool next hosts Brighton and Hove Albion on Saturday, while Palace will host Watford on Sunday.

[ STREAM: Watch every PL match live ]

Liverpool had much of the early possession, but key interventions including two from 20-year-old Aaron Wan-Bissaka helped keep the Reds at bay.

Naby Keita cooked Andros Townsend with a quick turn deep in the Liverpool half, then dropped a long ball over the top of the Palace defense for Salah.

The Premier League’s reigning scorer, however, couldn’t keep his chipped effort from sailing over the bar and it remained scoreless in the 23rd minute.

Townsend provided Palace’s first danger with a curling effort off the bar, and Trent Alexander-Arnold blocked Wilfried Zaha‘s rebound shot out for a corner kick.

Wayne Hennesey handled a Sadio Mane near post rip in the 28th minute, and Palace dealt with the corner.

Referee Michael Oliver awarded a penalty kick to Salah after contact in the box with Mamadou Sakho. Milner scored his attempt, as he usually does.

[ MORE: Latest Premier League standings ]

[ MORE: Full lineups, stats, box score ]

Palace looked far more comfortable in possession to start the second half, but it was a Zaha counter attack which won a free kick that led to a two-handed flying save by Alisson Becker. That Luka Milivojevic effort did lead to a corner kick, and an eventual dangerous but inaccurate rip from Patrick Van Aanholt.

Moments after Palace looked good money to produce an equalizer, Wan-Bissaka had to take down Salah on a 1v1 run toward Hennessey. A red card was produced, and the free kick came from just outside the 18.

Champions League preview: Liverpool’s fate rests on Benfica-PAOK

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Four Premier League clubs will know who they could face in the group stage of the 2018-19 UEFA Champions League following the playoff round, which begins Tuesday with a trio of matches.

The most interesting tie of the bunch is Benfica against PAOK Salonika, starting Tuesday in Portugal.

[ MORE: Wenger speaks on future ]

PAOK is the biggest underdog in the playoff round, but Liverpool fans will be rooting hard for Razvan Lucescu’s Greek side. That’s because the Reds will joining Pot 2 of the UEFA Champions League draw if Benfica exits the tournament.

Frankly, many of the European hot shots would prefer Liverpool exit Pot 3. As it stands, the much-improved Reds would be a part of a horror group.

As it stands, these are the pots:

Pot 1: Real Madrid, Atletico Madrid, Bayern Munich, Barcelona, Juventus, PSG, Man City, Lokomotiv Moscow

Pot 2: Borussia Dortmund, Porto, Manchester United, Shakhtar Donetsk, Napoli, Spurs, Roma

Pot 2 or 3: Liverpool

Pot 3: Schalke, Lyon, Monaco, CSKA Moscow

Pot 3 or 4: Valencia, Viktoria Plzen

Pot 4: Club Brugge, Inter Milan, Hoffenheim, Galatasaray

Of course, Liverpool could be a Pot 3 team and be the best club in its group should Lokomotiv Moscow, Shakhtar Donetsk, and Club Brugge join them.

But it’s also possible that you could get the Reds in a group with Barcelona, Borussia Dortmund, and Inter Milan. Yikes.

So look for most non-English Pot 1 and 2 teams to want Benfica to fall victim to Pontus Wernbloom, Chuba Akpom, and Vieirinha’s PAOK.

Playoff round schedule
All times ET

BATE Borisov vs. PSV Eindhoven
3 p.m. Tuesday in Belarus
3 p.m. Aug. 29 in the Netherlands

Benfica vs. PAOK Salonika
3 p.m. Tuesday in Portugal
3 p.m. Aug. 29 in Greece

Red Star Belgrade vs. Red Bull Salzburg
3 p.m. Tuesday in Serbia
3 p.m. Aug. 29 in Austria

Young Boys vs. Dinamo Zagreb
3 p.m. Wednesday in Switzerland
3 p.m. Aug. 28 in Croatia

MOL Vidi (Videoton) vs. AEK Athens
3 p.m. Wednesday in Hungary
3 p.m. Aug. 28 in Greece

Ajax vs. Dynamo Kyiv
3 p.m. Wednesday in the Netherlands
3 p.m. Aug. 28 in Ukraine

Watch Live: Crystal Palace vs. Liverpool

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Liverpool looks to continue it’s strong start to the season Monday (Watch live, 3 p.m. ET on NBCSN and online via NBCSports.com) when the Reds visit former manager Roy Hodgson and Crystal Palace.

WATCH LIVE ONLINE

Both teams won their season openers, with Liverpool thrashing West Ham 4-0 and Crystal Palace overcoming Fulham, 2-0. Monday will be a battle of two of the best wingers in the Premier League, with Mo Salah lining up against Wilfried Zaha.

In addition, both teams have made no changes to their opening-day lineups, though Crystal Palace has new signing Max Meyer available off the bench.

Enjoy what could be an exciting match featuring plenty of goals!


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