Atletico Madrid goalkeeper Jan Oblak insisted there was more to Liverpool than just their brilliant front three and said they were deserved favourites.

Liverpool face Atletico in the first leg of their Champions League last-16 tie at the Wanda Metropolitano on Tuesday.

Sadio Mane, Mohamed Salah and Roberto Firmino again shape as being huge threats to Atletico, who have won just one of their past seven games.

But Oblak, likely to play a key role for the LaLiga side, said there was more to worry about than just Liverpool's forwards.

"We've obviously analysed everything but in the end all three are world-class players," he told a news conference.

"And it's not only them, Liverpool are a team and everyone on the pitch is an amazing player. They are in great form so I need to worry about all of them, not anyone individually.

"I'm worried about Liverpool as a team, we are playing Liverpool, not three great players up front. It will be a very difficult game and all three will cause us problems."

While Atletico are struggling for form, Liverpool are unbeaten in the Premier League and hold a 25-point lead at the top.

Oblak said the reigning European champions deserved favouritism for the last-16 tie.

"It's a team that practically hasn't lost a single game in a year, they are deservedly favourites and I'm sure they're favourites," he said.

"But that doesn't mean that we can give up and let them play how they want. We want to play our best possible game, the best game of the season so far and to get to the second leg alive.

"We are going to do our best and play our best against Liverpool who are in a great place at the moment."

Barcelona are prepared to take a loss on Philippe Coutinho, sparking apparent interest from the Premier League.

Coutinho is on loan at Bayern Munich from Barcelona, and the Bundesliga giants hold an option to buy the Brazil playmaker.

If Bayern opt against purchasing Coutinho, Barca may be willing to sell the 27-year-old and accept a loss.

 

TOP STORY – BARCELONA READY TO SELL COUTINHO FOR £77M AMID PREMIER LEAGUE INTEREST

Coutinho has been told he can leave Barcelona for £77million (€90.7m) at the end of the season, according to the Daily Express.

Barcelona paid Liverpool €120m (£105m) for Coutinho in 2018, but are preparing for change under Quique Setien.

The report says Coutinho has already attracted interest from Liverpool, Manchester United, Manchester City, Chelsea and Tottenham.

Bayern hold an option to buy Coutinho for a reported €120m.

 

ROUND-UP

- Could it be one Brazilian in and another out at Liverpool? The Sun reports Bayern Munich want Roberto Firmino to leave the Premier League giants and join the Bundesliga outfit at the end of the season.

- Staying at Anfield and the Daily Express reports Bayer Leverkusen star Kai Havertz is Liverpool's top midfield target ahead of 2020-21.

- With James Maddison reportedly ready to extend his contract at Leicester City, Manchester United's interest in the attacker has cooled significantly, according to the Daily Express.

- Thiago Silva wants to stay in Paris. Paris United reports the Paris Saint-Germain captain could discuss a new contract with club president Nasser Al-Khelaifi amid uncertainty over his future, with his deal expiring at the end of the season.

- Manchester United have angered Roma. The Daily Express says the Premier League club have increased their asking price for Chris Smalling from €14.1m (£12m) to €20m (£17m), with the defender having impressed during his loan spell with the Serie A outfit.

Serie A strikers Romelu Lukaku and Ciro Immobile lead the line in FIFA Ultimate Team's latest Team of the Week.

Lukaku and Immobile are two of the form front men in European football, and the duo have earned recognition following their latest goalscoring exploits.

Inter striker Lukaku grabbed both goals in a 2-0 away win at Udinese on Sunday.

And Immobile matched that haul as Lazio thrashed SPAL 5-1, the Italy international's brace taking his 2019-20 league tally to 25 already.

The duo are far from the only big names in this week's selection, however, with Roberto Firmino, Jadon Sancho and Hugo Lloris also among the new in-form cards.

Find the full squad below.

TEAM OF THE WEEK

GK: Hugo Lloris (Tottenham) - 89

CB: Matthijs de Ligt (Piemonte Calcio/Juventus) - 87

LB: Alex Telles (Porto) - 87

CB: Yerry Mina (Everton) - 84

CM: Daniel Parejo (Valencia) - 88

RM: Angel Di Maria (Paris Saint-Germain) - 88

CAM: Jadon Sancho (Borussia Dortmund) - 87

CM: Santi Cazorla (Villarreal) - 86

CF: Roberto Firmino (Liverpool) - 88

ST: Ciro Immobile (Lazio) - 90

ST: Romelu Lukaku (Inter) - 88

SUBSTITUTES

GK: Steve Mandanda (Marseille) - 83

CB: Kaan Ayhan (Fortuna Dusseldorf) - 81

RM: Robert Snodgrass (West Ham) - 81

ST: Francesco Caputo (Sassuolo) - 84

RW: Daniel Ginczek (Wolfsburg) - 82

ST: Kasper Dolberg (Nice) - 81

LW: Oussama Idrissi (AZ) - 81

RESERVES

CM: Alexandru Maxim (Gaziantep) - 79

CM: Alexandru Cicaldau (Universitatea Craiova) - 78

LM: Ahmet Engin (Duisburg) - 76

LM: Nathan Thomas (Carlisle United) - 74

LW: Said Benrahma (Brentford) - 80

Liverpool's march towards the Premier League title shows no sign of slowing down, as the Reds claimed a hard-fought 2-1 win over Wolves.

Manchester United are clinging to a top-six position after they slid to a 2-0 home defeat to Burnley, the latest in a string of wretched results this season that have sparked an angry reaction from supporters.

While United toil, neighbours Manchester City ground out a 1-0 win at Sheffield United that continued their resurgent league form, with a winning combination delivering the goal for Pep Guardiola's side.

Leicester City might have expected a challenge from the big clubs behind them by now, but the Foxes continue to sit pretty in third place, and a 4-1 win over West Ham continued to make them look immovable from the top four this season.

The midweek Opta data offers detailed insights into the stories behind those results, revealing a string of telling trends and match facts.

 

MANE INJURY DOES NOT DERAIL LIVERPOOL'S CHARGE

Liverpool lost Sadio Mane to injury during the first half in Thursday's clash with Wolves, yet Roberto Firmino struck late on to claim the win as the Reds became just the fifth side in English Football League history to go 40 straight matches unbeaten.

Jurgen Klopp's side have amassed 67 points from a possible 69 in the Premier League this season; this is at least five more than any side in English top-flight history has ever previously had after as many games of a campaign.

Raul Jimenez drew Wolves level after Jordan Henderson's opener, and the Mexican's header ended a run of 725 minutes without conceding a Premier League goal for Liverpool since Richarlison scored for Everton at Anfield in December.

Jimenez also became the third Premier League player to net 20+ goals in all competitions this season, after Sergio Aguero (21) and Raheem Sterling (20).

Since the start of last season, Liverpool’s Trent Alexander-Arnold has assisted 22 Premier League goals, at least five more than any other player, with 10 of those coming from dead balls, also a league-high.

Firmino, meanwhile, has scored six goals in his last eight games for Liverpool in all competitions, as many as he had in his previous 32 appearances for the club, and all of his 10 Premier League strikes this season have come away from home.

UNITED IN TURMOIL AS CLARETS PUT NEGATIVE SPIN ON OLE REIN

Manchester United may sit fifth, but in terms of points tallies Ole Gunnar Solskjaer's are closer to 14th-placed Newcastle than they are to fourth-placed Chelsea after 24 games.

The league standing is highly vulnerable, given Tottenham, Wolves and even Sheffield United are breathing down United's necks.

Wednesday's 2-0 defeat to Burnley means United now have a negative Premier League win-loss record since manager Solskjaer was given the job on a full-time basis in March.

They had impressed during his caretaker spell, but since Solskjaer went from being a stand-in to the chosen one, their record shows 11 wins and 12 defeats in the Premier League.

United's Old Trafford setback followed their 2-0 loss to Liverpool at Anfield, meaning they have suffered back-to-back league defeats for the second time under their Norwegian boss.

Burnley looked to be in freefall just days ago and relegation was becoming a serious concern, but wins over United and Leicester City have lifted them to 30 points - just four adrift of the Red Devils.

PASSPORTS AT THE READY, LEICESTER LOOK BOOKED IN FOR CHAMPIONS LEAGUE RETURN

Catch them if you can! Leicester City had a wobble with defeats to Southampton and Burnley, but Brendan Rodgers' men now sit 14 points clear of fifth place and surely their destiny is a second season in the Champions League.

In the absence of anything approaching a charge from teams outside the top four, it would take a spectacular collapse for the Foxes to miss out, with a 4-1 win over West Ham on Wednesday emphasising their quality.

Leicester have racked up eight wins in 12 Premier League home games so far, their best record at this stage of a season, and the 52 goals they have banged in amounts to their most in the top flight from their first 24 games since the achieved the same tally in 1930-31.

Rodgers and West Ham boss David Moyes were once rivals on Merseyside, in charge of Liverpool and Everton respectively.

While Rodgers eyes success towards the top of the table, Moyes has taken on a relegation battle with a West Ham side who are outside the bottom three on goal difference alone.

Since the start of October 2019, no team have gained fewer points (11) or lost more games (11) in the Premier League than West Ham, and it gets no easier: Liverpool are their next opponents.

At least that game is a home fixture for the Hammers. Moyes' away record in matches against teams starting the day in the Premier League top four is diabolical, winning just one of 50 such games.

KEVIN KEEN TO HELP - DE BRUYNE IS KING OF THE ASSISTS

When Sergio Aguero turned in a cross from Kevin De Bruyne to give Manchester City a 1-0 victory at Sheffield United, it was more than merely two Premier League greats combining to deadly effect.

History, in fact, was made in that motion, with De Bruyne becoming the first player in the Premier League era to provide 15 or more assists in three different seasons.

The Belgian had 18 in 2016-17, 16 the following season, and after an injury-wracked 2018-19 campaign he already has 15 from 23 appearances this term.

The scale of De Bruyne's achievement can be better appreciated by considering the likes of Ryan Giggs, Cesc Fabregas, Dennis Bergkamp and his own City colleague David Silva have been unable to produce at that level so consistently.

Former Wolfsburg playmaker De Bruyne has entered the top 20 of all-time assist providers in the Premier League, and there is no keeping Aguero down either.

Aguero has been directly involved in 43 goals in 43 Premier League appearances against newly promoted teams - scoring 35 goals and assisting in eight more.

It took City until the 73rd minute to make their breakthrough at Bramall Lane, and a lot of the credit for the hosts' resilience went to goalkeeper Dean Henderson, whose first-half penalty save from Gabriel Jesus means he has stopped four of the last eight spot-kicks he has faced in English league football.

Liverpool moved 16 points clear at the top of the Premier League after Roberto Firmino struck a late winner in a 2-1 defeat of Wolves at Molineux.

The Brazil striker's 10th goal of the season in all competitions six minutes from time was enough to seal a 22nd win from 23 league games this season for Jurgen Klopp's runaway leaders.

There was something of a setback for the visitors, though, who lost Sadio Mane to injury in the first half.

Jurgen Klopp's side had gone 725 minutes without conceding a goal in the top flight, stretching back to the 5-2 win over Everton in December, until Raul Jimenez cancelled out Jordan Henderson's opener.

It looked as though Wolves would be heading for what would have been a deserved point until Firmino fired home from inside the box, as Liverpool stretched their unbeaten league run to 40 matches.

Jurgen Klopp says Roberto Firmino apologised for not adding to his decisive strike in Liverpool's 1-0 win over Tottenham on Saturday.

The result means the Reds have now won 20 of their opening 21 Premier League games of the season to sit 16 points ahead of second-placed Leicester City at the summit.

That lead could be cut to 14 points if Manchester City overcome Aston Villa on Sunday, but Liverpool are firmly on course to be crowned champions of England for the first time in 30 years.

Firmino scored the only goal of the game after 37 minutes at the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium but the Brazil international was in sheepish mood at the final whistle, according to his boss.

"When I went to him and wanted to give him a hug after the game, he wanted to stop and talk first," Klopp said. "He said: 'I know I should have scored more goals'. It was absolutely not what I wanted to say!

"It is true probably. He should have scored immediately with the first chance.

"He is a super player, super. I don't say this for the first time and will hopefully not say it for the last time. [He's] pretty impressive."

Giovani Lo Celso squandered a golden opportunity to snatch a scarcely deserved point for Spurs in the closing stages.

It would have been exceptionally harsh on a Liverpool side who had dominated for long periods, with Klopp keen to highlight his side's impressive "fight" against Jose Mourinho's men.

"We had to play for it and in the end we had to fight for it, really hard," he said.

"We could have closed this game earlier; we should have I would say. The chances were clear. We had moments when we didn't make chances, but they were ones I would say usually would have to be a 100 per cent chance.

"I think we played some exceptional football to bring in Andy Robertson on the touchline but then we didn't find the free player or the defender blocked the last ball. We could have done better in these moments, but then it was only 1-0 and that's normal.

"Against a team like Tottenham, it is not decided and in the end we needed luck in one situation and Alisson in two or three other situations.

"It was intense, really, but I think we deserved the three points. It was not our best game we played so far, but it was a very good one and, as I said, [we played] really good football in a lot of parts of the game and in the end a proper fight. All good."

Liverpool are back in Premier League action next Sunday against bitter rivals Manchester United, who are the only side to have taken points from them this season.

Liverpool's seemingly unstoppable march towards a first Premier League title continued as Roberto Firmino's goal sealed a 1-0 win over Tottenham on Saturday.

Jurgen Klopp's side are now a whopping 16 points ahead of second-place Leicester City – who lost to Southampton earlier in the day – although their lead at the summit could be cut to 14 points if Manchester City overcome Aston Villa on Sunday.

The Reds were dominant in the first half and made the most of their superiority when Firmino expertly drilled home from inside the penalty area after 37 minutes.

Son Hueng-min and Giovani Lo Celso squandered golden opportunities to snatch a scarcely deserved point for Jose Mourinho's men late on, with Liverpool ultimately holding on for yet another three points.

Liverpool twice came agonisingly close to going ahead inside two minutes. Firmino's initial effort was cleared off the line by top-flight debutant Japhet Tanganga, with Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain lashing against the post from the follow-up.

Lucas Moura, Son and Dele Alli all missed the target from promising positions soon after, while at the other end Virgil van Dijk headed straight at Paulo Gazzaniga from just six yards.

There was little the Spurs goalkeeper could do to deny Firmino eight minutes before the interval, the Brazil international controlling Mohamed Salah's pass with a sublime touch before lashing in from 10 yards.

Spurs started the second half with a spring in their step and twice came close before the hour mark, with Serge Aurier testing Alisson and Son seeing an effort deflected narrowly wide.

The game was almost put out of their reach in the 66th minute but Gazzaniga got down sharply to paw away Sadio Mane's header.

Spurs rallied in the closing stages, with Son blazing over from a glorious position and substitute Lo Celso somehow diverting Aurier's cross wide from inside the six-yard box seven minutes from time.

Klopp was visibly furious at his side's defending, but it mattered little in the end as they held on for a win that strengthens their already formidable position at the summit.

 

What does it mean? Relentless Reds march on

Klopp's men have now taken a scarcely believable 88 points from their last 90 available in the Premier League, winning their last 12 matches in a row.

They rarely looked in danger of failing to claim all three points against a Spurs side desperately missing the presence of the injured Harry Kane in attack.

Mourinho, meanwhile, needs to turn his side's fortunes around sharpish. They have now won just one of their last five Premier League games and are nine points behind fourth-placed Chelsea.

Firmino's touch of class

Mane and Salah often steal the headlines, but Firmino once again proved his worth with a superb goal. His first touch was exquisite, and the finish was not bad either. He also created four chances for his team-mates.

Eriksen's Spurs career ending with a whimper

With a move to Inter seemingly on the cards, it was a surprise to see Christian Eriksen named in Mourinho's starting XI.

Despite creating a few chances, he failed to repay his manager's faith, serving up a dismal display where he was often outmuscled and appeared to be lacking intensity. 

What might be one of his last appearances in a Spurs shirt ended with a 69th-minute substitution.

What's next?

Tottenham host Middlesbrough in an FA Cup third-round replay on Tuesday before visiting Watford in the Premier League on Saturday. Liverpool, meanwhile, welcome bitter rivals Manchester United – the only side they have dropped points against this season – to Anfield on Sunday.

Alisson has become the first goalkeeper to win the Samba d'Or Award, beating Liverpool team-mate Roberto Firmino to the prize with Neymar only fifth.

The stopper took 35.54 per cent of the vote for the best Brazilian player in Europe with Firmino in second spot with 23.48 per cent.

Liverpool won the Champions League, the UEFA Super Cup and the Club World Cup in 2019 while Brazil claimed Copa America glory.

Paris Saint-Germain defender Thiago Silva came third with another Liverpool player, midfielder Fabinho, finishing fourth in the voting.

Three-time winner Neymar, who missed Brazil's triumph at the Copa America on home soil, was in fifth place with only 7.57 per cent.

Firmino won the award in 2018 and Alisson is the third player to win the Samba d'Or while representing Philippe Coutinho the 2016 recipient. 

Jurgen Klopp warned his Liverpool players that keeping "exceptional" Wolves winger Adama Traore quiet will be even more difficult than shutting out Jamie Vardy.

Premier League top scorer Vardy was largely anonymous as Liverpool won 4-0 at second-place Leicester City on Thursday to move 13 points clear at the summit with a game in hand on the Foxes.

However, the runaway leaders face a quick turnaround in fixtures as they are back in action on Sunday with a home match against Nuno Espirito Santo's Wolves.

Klopp is expecting a tough test at Anfield and is particularly wary of the threat posed by versatile attacker Traore, who has starred on the right of a front three this term and scored twice in a win at Manchester City in October.

"Finally, Traore has a manager who has found a position for him," Klopp told reporters ahead of the match. "He started as a wing-back and now he can play in the front three.

"He is an exceptional player and was already exceptional as a kid when he played for Barcelona. He's probably the quickest player in the league.

"It makes it really difficult to play against them, but it should be difficult for them, too. That's the plan.

"This year they won against City. In the big space, Jamie Vardy is difficult to defend but I would say Traore is even more difficult to defend because the speed is exceptional."

Traore has a combined six goals and assists in the top flight this season, compared to two in his maiden campaign at Molineux after joining from Middlesbrough in August 2018.

The 23-year-old was part of Barcelona's famed academy and has previously been on Liverpool boss Klopp's radar.

"Of course, everybody knew him," Klopp said. "I think it was in Barcelona - I saw thousands of players, but as a kid he was at Barcelona, right?

"I saw him at Middlesbrough and he was exceptional but someone had to give him the right information, obviously, because that's a big, big challenge.

"He's still very young and now he has found it. Everybody was pretty sure that it will happen and now it happened. Good for Wolves. It makes them really dangerous."

Liverpool boast an in-form attacker of their own, with Roberto Firmino making it four goals in three games with his brace at the King Power Stadium.

That follows a run of six games without scoring, but Klopp was never concerned about a lack of goals from the Brazil international.

"I think in the last three games he's scored four goals and before that it was a little bit like he didn't score that often," Klopp said.

"Journalists told me Bobby Firmino didn't score for a while and I didn't even realise. When I think about Bobby I don't think about scoring, I think about how important he is.

"So we had a bit of a talk and I told him because he looked, for the first time since I've known him, a little bit concerned about that fact.

"I told him that I'm not interested in that number because he's the 'connecter' for our team. He's so important for us. He's not the only one who can play in the position but he can play the position in a very special way."

A pulsing light show, a pitch side fire show and the obligatory Kasabian soundtrack. The King Power Stadium was ready to party like it was 2015-16.

Brendan Rodgers' vibrant Leicester side might have been knocked off their stride at Manchester City last weekend, but this felt like the ideal time to restate their elite credentials before an adoring and clapper-armed public.

Liverpool were just back from their successful but often torrid Club World Cup exertions in Qatar to play their closest challengers in the Premier League away from home.

Any notion this combination of circumstances represented a deck potentially stacked against Jurgen Klopp's formidable side lasted less than a minute, during which time the runaway leaders almost scored twice.

Kasper Schmeichel, who did not enjoy his most distinguished outing, was unsettled by Trent Alexander-Arnold's rasping long-range drive before Jonny Evans uncharacteristically switched off from a Mohamed Salah cross and Sadio Mane bundled wide.

Leicester were rarely able to feel any more comfortable than they were during those discombobulating opening 60 seconds, save for a fleeting second-half rally ignited by Alisson slicing his clearance from an Andy Robertson backpass.

Seemingly affronted by this belated challenge in a game where they should already have been out of sight, Liverpool scored three times in the space of seven minutes to seal an emphatic 4-0 triumph. This was brutal, blistering efficiency from the best team on the planet right now.

Their record this season in the Premier League reads 17 wins and one draw. This is not a title race; it is a procession. The final five months of their 30-year wait for a 19th top-flight crown will be little more than an extended victory lap.

Liverpool have risen imperiously to the implausibly high bar set by Manchester City – the last team to beat them in the Premier League back on January 3.

Pep Guardiola's men amassed 198 points and five of the six major domestic trophies on offer over the past two seasons. City's wobbles this time around have been magnified by the Reds' near perfection and they travel to Wolves on Friday 14 points in arrears having played the same amount of games.

Leicester were unable to bring their considerable quality to bear in a contest where Jamie Vardy and James Maddison existed on the margins. They were beaten 3-1 by City, subjected to a Kevin De Bruyne masterclass, a reminder of Riyad Mahrez's magic and suggestions of Bernardo Silva rediscovering his mojo.

Here, they were swept beneath the red wave, with Alexander-Arnold particularly exceptional.

The cross for Club World Cup hero Roberto Firmino's opener was delicious and when the same players combined for Liverpool's third in the 74th minute it was a 20th assist since the start of last season for the England right-back.

Alexander-Arnold was not done there, completing the scoring with an unerring finish on the break after Mane scatted a bedraggled Leicester backline.

The all-important second goal arrived when Caglar Soyuncu needlessly handled in the area and substitute James Milner confidently converted from 12 yards. Soyuncu has arguably been the standout defender in the Premier League this season but flailed badly five days on from being subjected to De Bruyne's wrath.

It handily encapsulates the gulf between the champions, the leaders and the rest – a gap more likely to grow than shrink given the various grapples with transition the other members of the "big six" are undergoing.

The champions of Europe and the world will be the champions of England. If the wondrous Alexander-Arnold and his team-mates can maintain their levels, the only question is how many records they might smash by the end of the season.

Liverpool opened up a 13-point advantage at the top of the Premier League as Roberto Firmino scored twice in a 4-0 victory at Leicester City.

The Reds showed no sign of fatigue after winning the Club World Cup in Qatar last weekend, with their nearest challengers Leicester overwhelmed at the King Power Stadium.

Former Liverpool boss Brendan Rodgers saw his side fall behind to Firmino's first-half header before Jurgen Klopp's men scored three times in seven second-half minutes.

Substitute James Milner made it 2-0 from the penalty spot before Alexander-Arnold teed up Firmino for his second and then finished the scoring himself as Liverpool moved closer to a long-awaited title.

After a pre-match build up that featured fireworks and flashing lights, Leicester looked completely overawed by the occasion and almost conceded twice in the opening 70 seconds.

Kasper Schmeichel denied Alexander-Arnold's effort from range before Sadio Mane lost Jonny Evans but miscued his attempt from Mohamed Salah's cross.

The Foxes continued to roll the dice, Evans' misplaced pass resulting in another chance for Salah, who was just pushed too wide after Schmeichel rushed out and failed to get near the Liverpool forward.

Wilfred Ndidi was the next to lose possession, recovering to deflect Jordan Henderson's effort wide, before the leaders finally made the breakthrough.

Alexander-Arnold whipped an inviting ball from the left to the back post and Firmino guided his header between Schmeichel's foot and the post.

Schmeichel rescued Evans by denying Mane following another error from the Northern Irishman, with Leicester fortunate to only be trailing by one goal at the break.

Liverpool were relentless after the resumption too, though Firmino side-footed Andy Robertson's delivery wide after Dennis Praet became the latest man in a blue shirt to be dispossessed.

It did not matter as a seven-minute blitz saw the Reds put the game to bed.

First Caglar Soyuncu leant into a corner and the ball struck his arm, with referee Michael Oliver pointing straight to the spot, from where Milner coolly dispatched the penalty.

Firmino then turned home another cross from Alexander-Arnold, who finished past Schmeichel himself to give Liverpool a fourth goal en route to their 17th win out of 18 Premier League games this season.

 

What does it mean? Title firmly in Liverpool's sights

Klopp's side were 10 points clear at Christmas, an advantage only one side - Newcastle United in 1995-96 - had failed to convert into a title triumph. Even if Manchester City reduce the 13 point-gap to 11 on Friday, the Reds have a huge lead at the season's halfway stage.

Leicester had looked like their most likely challengers but back-to-back defeats against City and Liverpool suggest another title bid looks unlikely.

More assists, and a goal, for Alexander-Arnold

No player has provided more Premier League assists since the start of last season than Alexander-Arnold, who moved onto 20 with a couple here.

Furthermore, the right-back got in on the act himself with the fourth goal, having impressed defensively too. 

Soyuncu hands Liverpool crucial second goal

There were plenty of poor performers among the Foxes, including James Maddison, the largely anonymous Jamie Vardy and Evans, but Soyuncu sealed the game for the Reds.

He left referee Oliver with no choice when he needlessly leant into the corner, and Milner made him pay.

What's next?

Leicester travel to West Ham on Saturday while Liverpool round off a memorable 2019 against Wolves on Sunday.

Alisson hailed the importance of Roberto Firmino to Liverpool after the forward's winning goal against Flamengo in the Club World Cup final.

Firmino netted two winners in as many games for the European champions at the tournament, which Liverpool won for the first time thanks to Saturday's 1-0 victory.

The 28-year-old is often questioned due to his lack of goals – he has six this season – despite his vital contributions, but Brazil team-mate Alisson talked up his importance.

"We know and he knows how important he is for the team. And we value him a lot. I think he is one of the most important players for us," the goalkeeper said.

"He doesn't just score, but he assists too. He makes the team play from behind, he helps us a lot and makes a difference.

"We are really happy and I am really happy that he could score, it's important for a striker to score and I'm really happy for everybody and this title."

Liverpool needed extra time to get past Flamengo, with Firmino netting the only goal in the 99th minute.

Divock Origi, who replaced Firmino during extra time, also hailed his fellow forward.

"'Bobby' is an amazing player. He showed it again, the finishing for me was top class and it helped us win the game," he said.

"I told him after the game I'm very happy for him."

Liverpool, who are 10 points clear and have a game in hand in the Premier League, visit second-placed Leicester City on Thursday.

Roberto Firmino struck in extra time to claim a first Club World Cup title for European champions Liverpool as they beat Flamengo 1-0 in Doha on Saturday.

A tightly contested final should have been settled by Firmino long before the 99th minute, but the usually reliable forward twice missed the target when well placed.

Liverpool also had a last-gasp penalty award struck off in normal time following a VAR review, giving Flamengo - victors over the Reds in the 1981 Intercontinental Cup final - a lifeline.

However, the Premier League leaders dominated the additional period, and Firmino finally found the net to tee up yet more celebrations on Merseyside.

Liverpool scored inside two minutes of June's Champions League final, and Firmino should have put them in front after just 40 seconds on Saturday, lifting his finish over the crossbar after breaching the Flamengo back-line.

Naby Keita was similarly wasteful when Jordan Henderson freed Mohamed Salah to tee up the midfielder, before Trent Alexander-Arnold drilled wide in an extremely positive start for Jurgen Klopp's side.

After toiling for the remainder of the first half, Firmino again should have netted at the start of the second, brilliantly lifting the ball over Rodrigo Caio but slamming left-footed into the left-hand post.

Salah stabbed wide as another Liverpool flurry continued, yet Gabriel Barbosa then had two sights of goal in quick succession and tested compatriot Alisson with the second.

While Liverpool were dealt a blow as Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain hobbled off after landing awkwardly, Henderson almost stole victory with an 86th-minute curling try that was touched over by Diego Alves.

There was still room for late drama before extra time, as referee Abdulrahman Al Jassim initially awarded a stoppage-time spot-kick against Rafinha for a foul on Sadio Mane, only to then assess the incident on the pitchside monitor and reverse his decision.

It was a reprieve that lasted only nine minutes into extra time, when Henderson set clear Mane, who squared for the composed Firmino to sit down goalkeeper Alves and rifle into the net.

Salah was denied a swift second by Alves, and substitute Lincoln should have got Flamengo back on level terms in the 119th minute, instead blazing over in front of goal to ensure Klopp's side the title.

 

What does it mean? Christmas cheer for new world champions

Liverpool's wait for a domestic league title may have extended into a 30th year, but 2019 has been hugely successful for the club.

After holding Tottenham at bay in the Champions League final, their class eventually told against tricky foes Flamengo, too. Meanwhile, Leicester City lost at Manchester City, meaning Klopp's men will be 10 points clear at the Premier League summit at Christmas with a game in hand. The coming 12 months should be equally exciting for those of a red persuasion.

Heroic Henderson the man for the big occasion

Captain Henderson was an inspirational figure in the attritional Champions League triumph against Spurs, and he was key again in this final.

The England international was tireless in the middle of midfield but also showed his quality on the ball, playing some wonderful passes from deep - including one that led to the winner.

Controversial late call not costly for Reds

Firmino passed up glaring opportunities at the start of either half in normal time, but Liverpool undoubtedly would have focused their ire on the officials had they fallen short in the additional 30 minutes.

Replays suggested there was contact from Rafinha as Mane missed his kick and, while the foul looked to be just outside the area, meaning Al Jassim was right to overturn the penalty award, the defender surely should have been sent off with a finely poised free-kick given.

What's next?

After this manic week with three matches in five days on two continents, Liverpool return to Premier League action against second-placed Leicester City on Boxing Day. Flamengo's outstanding 2019 season is now over.

Jurgen Klopp suggested the arrival of Takumi Minamino at Liverpool is imminent and admitted he would have liked him in the squad for the Club World Cup semi-final against Monterrey.

Minamino was reportedly due to undergo a medical with the Reds on Wednesday ahead of a January move from Salzburg said to be worth £7.25million.

Klopp was forced to send Sadio Mane and Roberto Firmino on as the Premier League leaders searched for a winner against the CONCACAF Champions League holders, who were level at 1-1 in Doha heading into injury time. 

Firmino turned home a cross from Trent Alexander-Arnold in the 91st minute to seal a 2-1 victory and set up a meeting with Flamengo in the final, but the Liverpool boss conceded having Minamino on a bench that included two goalkeepers would have been a big boost.

However, the German was unwilling to say more with the transfer yet to be confirmed.

"I cannot speak about it, sorry. You are too early!" said Klopp.

He added with a smile: "If he would come – it would have been good if we could bring him on. But he's not yet our player so we have to wait for that, sorry."

Liverpool fielded a team of Under-23 players for their EFL Cup quarter-final against Aston Villa on Tuesday due to their Club World Cup commitments and lost 5-0.

Ahead of a congested festive period Klopp was delighted to have avoided an additional 30 minutes against Monterrey.

"I was actually afraid of the extra time to be honest, so I was more than happy when Bobby scored that goal," said Klopp, who deployed Jordan Henderson at centre-back with Virgil van Dijk absent due to illness.

"We had to do a few changes because we had no other options, but we wanted to do some other changes. It means we left Trent out, we left Bobby out and Sadio out, and that gives you then the opportunity when the game is not decided to make the decision.

"That Bobby scored the goal is just wonderful. He came on and was immediately in the game, a really good situation, pass from Mo, maybe not clear enough but he helped us a lot, Sadio with his power and stuff, Trent [supplied] immediate, dangerous crosses, so it helped.

"Staying on track is part of our game. You for sure cannot plan a goal like this, you only think it's not impossible. It was really a super, super goal."

On the chances of Van Dijk returning for the final, Klopp said: "He was yesterday or the day before on the pitch for a couple of minutes until the media left and then unfortunately he had to leave as well, not because of the media but because he didn't feel well.

"But this morning no training was possible and he couldn't play. It was difficult for Hendo to deal with but he did really good and we will see, I don't know how quick he can recover. We will see."

Roberto Firmino came off the bench and scored a 91st-minute goal to earn Liverpool a 2-1 win over Monterrey and a spot in the Club World Cup final.

Jurgen Klopp opted to name Firmino and Sadio Mane among the substitutes, while Jordan Henderson started at centre-back with Virgil van Dijk - one of the Reds' two first-team centre-backs in the squad - absent due to illness.

Liverpool looked like they would be able to cope without two of their electric front three when Naby Keita put them ahead in the 11th minute, but Rogelio Funes Mori – the twin brother of former Everton defender Ramiro – hit back three minutes later.

Klopp was forced to send on Mane and Firmino in a bid to avoid extra time and the Brazilian turned home fellow substitute Trent Alexander-Arnold's low cross six minutes after coming on to book a meeting with Flamengo on Saturday.

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