A selection of Liverpool Football Club-related stories and titbits you may have missed over the past seven days…
New signing Virgil van Dijk has been talking about scoring the winning goal on his debut against Everton in the FA Cup on Friday night. “I don’t think it can get any better,” he told Liverpoolfc.com. “It was a fantastic night. It was unlucky that we conceded but to score the winner in a derby on my debut is something every little boy dreams of. I just did it. I’m very happy that we got through to the next round. We have a good chance to win this. I’m very happy to have my debut, to score and to win. It’s just fantastic.”
As part of an exclusive, behind-the-scenes feature, Philippe Coutinho granted the Daily Mail unprecedent access to both himself and his entourage during the final stages of his British record move to Barcelona. During this time the Brazilian spoke positively about his time at Liverpool, saying: “This is not about money. It’s about the chance to play for Barcelona, to live in Barcelona. I gave 100 per cent, 100 per cent of the time I played for Liverpool. Five years, I did everything I could possibly do. I love this club, but it is time for a new adventure. I have so many memories and have so many people to thank at Liverpool. I have to improve as a player. In my head, I always think this. I understand the size of the task ahead, the cost of the transfer, the status of the deal but this is about ambition, dreams. I want to play with the best player in the world. But I will return to Liverpool to say goodbye, to my team-mates, to staff and to the people who helped me and my family. I owe them a lot. Now I am looking forward. It’s time.”
In further Coutinho related news, the Reds have announced that fans who have purchased a 2017/18 replica shirt printed with the player’s name and number via official outlets will receive a £50 voucher. Click here for further details and full terms and conditions.
Mohamed Salah has been crowned 2017 CAF African Player of the Year. The former Roma attacker beat Anfield colleague Sadio Mané and Borussia Dortmund forward Pierre Emerick Aubameyang to the title at a ceremony in Accra, Ghana held on Thursday. In doing so he became the first ever Egyptian to lift the trophy.
The 25-year-old has also made it back-to-back PFA Player of the Month awards after winning the accolade for performances in December. Liverpool’s No.11, who scored six goals and provided four assists during his eight appearances last month, earned 50% of the public vote in the poll.
In yet another accolade for the former Chelsea speedster, Salah’s goal in the home league draw with Everton has been named LFC Goal of the Month for December.
Promising local lad Trent Alexander-Arnold has praised manager Jürgen Klopp’s man-management. “He knows how often and how long players can play for and how much the body can withstand on the pitch,” commented the defender in quotes carried by the official website. “He knows when to take a player off and when to put another one on and I think that’s something he does really well. His decision-making off the pitch is really good because he also knows when to give us a ‘down day’ and when to push other players because they need that little bit more in the tank. I think that has paid off and it shows with the physical numbers we come out with on a weekend. We run a lot in games and our numbers are really good. That’s down to the manager and the staff.”
Reds striker Divock Origi is open to making his loan move to Wolfsburg permanent. As reported by Sportbuzzer [translation required], the Belgium international striker, who has scored four goals in 15 appearances for Martin Schmidt’s side, told journalists in Germany: “I think everything’s possible. I focus on the here and now. I have a good relationship with Liverpool, but feel really well here at Wolfsburg. We’ll sit down at the end of the season, and see what’s next. Right now, I am here for another six months, and I am open for everything.”
Young winger Ryan Kent has returned early from his season-long loan at Freiburg. The 21-year-old made just six appearances for the Bundesliga outfit during the opening half of the season and cancelling the deal was reportedly a mutual decision. Kent is now re-registered as a Liverpool player but, according to the Liverpool ECHO, another loan move, possibly to the Championship, looks likely.
Liverpool U23s scheduled meeting with Arsenal at Prenton Park on Sunday was called off due to a frozen pitch. The Reds remain top of the Premier League 2 table, two points ahead of Leicester City with a game in hand. A new date will be confirmed in due course.
U23 captain Corey Whelan has joined League Two side Yeovil Town until the end of the season. The Republic of Ireland U21 international defender is yet to make his competitive debut for the Reds but signed a new deal at the end of 2017 and is well regarded within the club.
Liverpool U18s made it 12 league matches unbeaten with a comprehensive 6-1 away thrashing of Blackburn Rovers on Saturday. The U18 Premier League North table toppers were impressive throughout and took the spoils courtesy of a Rafael Camacho hat-trick, Liam Millar’s brace and an effort from Edvard Tagseth. LFC U18s: Jaros, Larouci, Lewis (N Williams 60′), R Williams, Boyes, Clayton, Tagseth, Dixon-Bonner, Millar, Jones (Longstaff 73′), Camacho (Glatzel 60′).
Liverpool Ladies were also in scintillating form over the weekend, thumping Yeovil Town Ladies 8-0 in the Women’s Super League at the Select Security Stadium in Widnes. Bethany England took the headlines with four goals. Caroline Weir, Jess Clarke, Laura Coombs and an own-goal rounded out the scoring. The female Reds are currently third in the standings with 12 points from six fixtures. LFC Ladies: Chamberlain, Harris, Greenwood (Johnson 76′), Stoney (Turner 66′), Bonner, Ingle, Hodson, Coombs, Clarke, Weir, England (Longhurst 61′).
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