Liverpool looking to build on Bayern success

NEXT STEP Liverpool’s Roberto Firmino keeps Fulham’s Andre-Frank Zambo Anguissa at bay in a Premier League match in November. The two sides meet in the second round today. Picture: EPA
NEXT STEP Liverpool’s Roberto Firmino keeps Fulham’s Andre-Frank Zambo Anguissa at bay in a Premier League match in November. The two sides meet in the second round today. Picture: EPA

After a stunning away win at Bayern Munich to advance to the quarterfinals of the Champions League, Liverpool are looking to end an almost perfect week with victory at Fulham this afternoon.

Three points would take the Reds back to where they want to be at the end of the season – at the top of the table, two points ahead of rivals Manchester City, who were in FA Cup action yesterday.

It is unclear whether Liverpool coach Jürgen Klopp will be able to call on midfielder Jordan Henderson.

The captain lasted just 13 minutes against Bayern before having to be substituted after rolling his ankle.

Klopp is also sweating over the availability of Naby Keïta, who missed the trip to Germany due to a muscle injury.

When asked before the game against Bayern whether it would rather make sense to concentrate on the Premier League, Klopp dismissed such speculation: “A win would change the world rather than hinder our title bid.”

After the game, he said: “It is a fantastic sign that we again set a mark for Liverpool – for this wonderful club – that we really are back on the landscape on international, top-class football.

“Now we have to concentrate on Fulham. The game against Bayern was important, but more important games will come.”

With an international break coming up next weekend, a victory will see Manchester City having to play catch-up when they return to league action.

Fulham, on the other hand, have very little to play for as they are all but doomed for relegation. At 13 points behind safety and with just eight matches remaining, they need more than a footballing miracle to survive.

They do, however, have pride at stake and victory against a title challenging team will no doubt go down well with their fans.

Today’s late game will see Chelsea return to league action.

The Blues scored a convincing 5-0 win at Dynamo Kiev on Thursday and will take some confidence from that result as they are embroiled in a tense battle to finish in the top four to qualify for the Champions League.

Maurizio Sarri gave some bit players, including Andreas Christensen and 18-year-old Callum Hudson-Odoi, a chance to play in the Ukraine, but it seems unlikely that he will have them start the match at Goodison Park against Everton.

With the winner of the Europa League receiving a place in next season’s Champions League, Chelsea know that they have two opportunities – either by winning the Europe League cup or finishing in the top four in the domestic league – to make it into the lucrative competition, but they will be wary of putting all their eggs into one basket.

In the other big match today, Championship side Millwall are hoping to continue their fairy tale FA Cup run as they take on Premier League side Brighton & Hove Albion in the quarterfinal at The Den.

The Lions have once before gone all the way to Wembley, qualifying for the final in 2004, when – as a second-tier team – they lost the final 3-0 to Manchester United.

Brighton secured an important Premier League win at Crystal Palace last week, prompting defender Lewis Dunk to say that it was the best preparation they could have hoped for, comparing Selhurst Park with The Dell.

“They’re both places where you’re going to get stick. You ignore it when you’re playing as your focus is on the game. I don’t think it will be so personal at Millwall, but you’ll still get stick – it’s part and parcel of football,” said Dunk.

“You’ve got to thrive under the pressure that is put on top of you. If you crumble, you’re going to lose and are not going to perform well. You have to thrive, and we showed that at Palace.”

With five points separating the Seagulls from the relegation zone, Dunk believes the side can concentrate on the FA Cup.

“Now our focus is on the FA Cup and we can do special things. If we can get to Wembley and a semifinal, you never know what can happen,” he said.

“It will depend on the draw, but then we could go again and be in a final like we were once before.”

Brighton have also been to a FA Cup final, with a brilliant Gary Bailey save for Manchester United denying them victory in the 1983 final.

The game ended 1-1 and United went on to win the replay 4-0.

E-Editions

All your favourite publications in one place.
Read now
Voting Booth
Will the move to alert level 1 change the way you approach your personal and professional life?
Please select an option Oops! Something went wrong, please try again later.
Results
No, already living the ‘new normal’
46% - 37 votes
Yes, I can finally emigrate
20% - 16 votes
Yes, my business can finally thrive
4% - 3 votes
I just wanna do the Jerusalem challenge
9% - 7 votes
No, I am still scared
22% - 18 votes
Vote