Liverpool hold nerve to beat Burnley as Jurgen Klopp warns Manchester City ‘nobody gets rid of us’

Roberto Firmino had a good day in front of goal as the Brazilian bagged a brace at Anfield. (AFP)
Updated 10 March 2019

Liverpool hold nerve to beat Burnley as Jurgen Klopp warns Manchester City ‘nobody gets rid of us’

  • Reds beat visitors at Anfield to move to a point behind City in race for the title.
  • Goals from Firmino and Mane enough to see off challenge of Burnley.

LONDON: Liverpool have what it takes to beat both the pressure and Manchester City in the battle for the Premier League title.

That was the message from Reds boss Jurgen Klopp after he saw his side beat Burnley 4-2 at Anfield.

 After going behind in the sixth minute in the windy conditions, Liverpool stormed back though a brace from Roberto Firmino and a Sadio Mane double to maintain their title charge and move to just a point behind City, who beat Watford 3-1 on Saturday.

Having witnessed the Reds avoid a potential banana skin, Klopp warned their rivals it will take a lot to get in the way of his side and their title dream.

“Nobody gets rid of us,” the Liverpool boss said.

“You had to be on the pitch to realize how windy it was. You have to deal with it and we did that well, we played our own game.

“We scored really good goals, we forced it more. The three points is good, obviously, it is all good.

“We created chances. I am completely happy with the performance — you have to be ready for a fight with Burnley, and we fought and played well.”

Coming into the match all the pressure was on the Reds who, by their own admission have not been firing on all cylinders recently. Last week a lackluster 0-0 draw with Everton allowed City to top the table and coming into the match Klopp was complaining about the timing of the clash, just three days before Liverpool’s crucial Champions League meeting with Bayern Munich.

But despite the distractions and the windy conditions, the hosts looked more like their old attacking selves and deserved the three points, having gone 1-0 down after a controversial Burnley opener. Ashley Westwood scored direct from a corner, although it appeared Reds’ goalkeeper Alisson had been impeded by James Tarkowski.

“Are we allowed to talk about the conditions?” Klopp joked.

“We played our game. The first Burnley goal was maybe a little bit of the wind. In most countries it would not be allowed that goal — you cannot treat the goalie like that in the six-yard box.

“At 3-1 up, all the balls Burnley got were from us. I’m completely happy with the performance, especially as it was against a tough Burnley side.”

Liverpool’s tally of 73 points from their opening 30 league games this season is their joint-best total at this stage of a league campaign (adjusting for three points for a win), level with the 1904-05 second tier season and 1987-88 in the top flight.

 Beaten only once all season, it would be overstating the importance of the match to say that was a vital test of character, Liverpool have been in imperious form since the start of the season and a run of four draws in six matches does not change that. But with just eight matches of the season left any slip-up could prove significant.

In the day’s other matches Chelsea needed an injury-time equalizer to snatch a point at home to Wolverhampton. The visitors to Stamford Bridge went ahead thanks to a 54th-minute goal from Raul Jimenez. But Hazard, whose future with the Blues is still the subject of speculation, curled a shot into the bottom corner two minutes after the 90 minutes were up to spare Chelsea’s blushes.

In the late kick-off Arsenal beat Manchester United 2-0 to leapfrog over the Old Trafford club into fourth. Goals from Granit Xhaka and Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang were enough to give the Gunners all three points at a wet and windy Emirates Stadium.


Neymar future remains up in the air as PSG reject Madrid offer

Updated 23 August 2019

Neymar future remains up in the air as PSG reject Madrid offer

  • Paris club said to turn down an offer from Barcelona of €40 million plus Coutinho and Rakitic

PARIS: Neymar remains no closer to getting his desired move away from Paris Saint-Germain amid reports Thursday the French club have rejected an offer from Real Madrid of €100 million($111 million) plus players.

French sports daily L’Equipe said Real had offered cash plus Gareth Bale, James Rodriguez and goalkeeper Keylor Navas, but PSG turned it down because “the overall value of the offer did not match their expectations.” 

Paris paid €222 million to sign Neymar from Barcelona two years ago and their sporting director Leonardo is understood to be determined to only sell the forward for a deal considered to be of the same value.

Real have spent the summer trying to offload Bale, while James is unwanted after returning from a loan at Bayern Munich and Navas is no longer the club’s first-choice goalkeeper.

Meanwhile, Barcelona remain hopeful of bringing Neymar back to the Camp Nou, but Catalan daily Sport claims an attempt to sign the player on loan with an obligation to buy for €160 million at the end of the season has been firmly rejected in Paris.

Sport claims Barcelona feel “it is very clear that PSG are trying to prevent the Brazilian from returning to the Camp Nou in any scenario.” 

PSG had previously reportedly turned down an offer from Barcelona of €40 million  plus Philippe Coutinho and Ivan Rakitic. Coutinho has since joined Bayern on loan.

Juventus are also believed to have stated an interest in signing the 27-year-old, who has not featured in any of PSG’s matches so far this season having been frozen out amid the uncertainty over his future. The transfer window closes in France, Spain and Italy on Sept. 2, meaning time is fast running out for a deal to be done.

Watford loan Sweden winger Sema to Udinese

Watford winger Ken Sema has completed a season-long loan move to Udinese, the Serie A side confirmed on Thursday.

The six-times capped Sweden international only moved to Vicarage Road last summer from Ostersunds FK and made 22 appearances for the English club.

The 25-year-old's departure follows the arrival of Senegal international Ismaila Sarr to the Premier League outfit on a club record transfer of €35 million   ($38 million) from Rennes. The northeastern Italian club and Watford are both owned by the Pozzo family.

Udinese host AC Milan in their opening match of the Serie A season on Saturday.