Trent Alexander-Arnold's masterful showing against Leicester was "not perfect" according to Jurgen Klopp, who is reluctant to label the Liverpool star the best full-back in world football.

The freshly-crowned world champions romped to a 4-0 win at Leicester City on Boxing Day – their nearest challengers in the Premier League table – to open up a 13-point advantage at the summit.

Alexander-Arnold supplied assists for both of Roberto Firmino's goals before completing the scoring with a stylish breakaway strike.

Such brilliance prompted post-match questions over whether the 21-year-old is the best in his position globally, but Klopp was keen not to add to the hyperbole.

"I am not too interested to be honest," he replied at a post-match news conference.

"He played a really good game, but not a perfect game. It was not perfect, but it was really good and it was decisive and helped us a lot.

"We know how important these crosses are for us, how important these things are for us, so that's absolutely exceptional.

"But I can't compare because at the moment I watch pretty much only Liverpool games so I don't see the others."

One possible blot on Liverpool's outing was the sight of Jordan Henderson hobbling off late on, cutting short another fine individual showing.

However, Klopp was pleased to report his captain's knock sustained in a challenge with Ayoze Perez is not serious.

"Yes [it was a kick] on the shin," he said. "It was bleeding but he told me afterwards, 'I could have carried on!'. So obviously it is not so bad this time."

Liverpool are back in action on Sunday against Wolves, who entertain reigning champions Manchester City at Molineux on Friday.

Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp left in-form duo Sadio Mane and Trent Alexander-Arnold on the bench for Saturday's Premier League clash with Bournemouth.

Mane made way as one of seven changes from the side that beat Everton 5-2 in the Merseyside derby on Wednesday.

Alexander-Arnold was left out of the starting line-up in a league game for the first time this season and replaced at right-back by Joe Gomez.

Roberto Firmino and Mohamed Salah were both selected in attack as midfielder Naby Keita made his first Premier League start since April.

Goalkeeper Alisson returned to the team after serving a one-match suspension, while captain Jordan Henderson and Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain were also both restored to the side.

Mane and Alexander-Arnold were joined on the bench by midweek goal heroes Divock Origi and Xherdan Shaqiri.

Neither Georginio Wijnaldum nor Adam Lallana made the matchday squad, though, reportedly due to minor knocks.

Barcelona forward Antoine Griezmann has been voted 18th in the final list for the 2019 Ballon d'Or, a fall of 15 places from last year.

Griezmann finished behind only Luka Modric and Cristiano Ronaldo 12 months ago after winning the World Cup with France and impressing for Atletico Madrid at club level.

However, an underwhelming end to his Atletico career and a tough start to life at Barcelona - who he joined in a €120million deal in July - has seen him drop down the list.

It marks the second time the 28-year-old has slipped from third to 18th, having done likewise in 2017.

Griezmann's Barcelona team-mate Marc-Andre ter Stegen finished 24th and Frenkie de Jong, who spent the first half of the year with Champions League semi-finalists Ajax, was voted 11th in the standings.

Three Liverpool players missed out on the top 10, with Georginio Wijnaldum, Trent Alexander-Arnold and Roberto Firmino in 26th, 19th and 17th, respectively.

Fellow Premier League side Manchester City were also heavily represented in the 30-11 rankings, as were Dutch champions Ajax following their run to the final four of last season's Champions League.

Lionel Messi and Virgil van Dijk are the frontrunners to win the most prestigious individual accolade in world football during Monday's ceremony.

Ballon d'Or 30-11 list in full:

=28. Marquinhos (Paris Saint-Germain)

=28. Donny van de Beek (Ajax)

=28. Joao Felix (Atletico Madrid)

=26. Georginio Wijnaldum (Liverpool)

=26. Karim Benzema (Real Madrid)

=24. Kalidou Koulibaly (Napoli)

=24. Marc-Andre ter Stegen (Barcelona)

23. Hugo Lloris (Tottenham)

22. Son Heung-min (Tottenham)

=20. Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang (Arsenal)

=20. Dusan Tadic (Ajax)

19. Trent Alexander-Arnold (Liverpool)

18. Antoine Griezmann (Barcelona)

17. Roberto Firmino (Liverpool)

16. Sergio Aguero (Manchester City)

15. Matthijs de Ligt (Ajax)

14. Kevin De Bruyne (Manchester City)

13. Eden Hazard (Real Madrid)

12. Raheem Sterling (Manchester City)

11. Frenkie de Jong (Barcelona)

Liverpool defender Trent Alexander-Arnold emphasised the value of results over performances following another narrow Premier League victory.

Virgil van Dijk scored two first-half goals, but the title favourites were made to work for Saturday's 2-1 triumph over Brighton and Hove Albion.

Alisson's dismissal for handling the ball outside his box led to a nervy final 15 minutes for substitute goalkeeper Adrian, who saved at full stretch from Aaron Mooy and almost spilled a tame Pascal Gross header into his own net.

Seven of Liverpool's past nine top-flight fixtures have been won by the Reds by a single-goal margin, the exceptions being a 1-1 draw with Manchester United and the 3-1 victory against Manchester City.

But having surged 11 points clear of Pep Guardiola's City side, Alexander-Arnold was paying little thought to the manner of the victory.

"We haven't performed the way we wanted to, but the run we're on is really good," Alexander-Arnold told Liverpool's website.

"We've managed to get another three points, which is important. For us, it's about keeping the momentum up and trying to stretch that run on.

"[It was] a difficult day for us, probably one of the most difficult games we've had at Anfield so far this season. They played really well and executed their game plan.

"But we managed to score two set-pieces and that was massive for us. We know how big a three points that was today."

Alisson's red card means 32-year-old Adrian will have to deputise in Wednesday's Merseyside derby.

Alexander-Arnold insisted he and his team-mates have full faith in the experienced Spaniard.

"We have had setbacks throughout the course of the season, we have had injuries and suspensions," the right-back said.

"We'll be looking to Adrian to come in and do a shift for us like he did at the start of the season.

"We've all got the trust in him and he knows how good he is as a 'keeper and how much we need him. So he'll be raring to go. It's not too much of a blow when you know you've got such a quality 'keeper waiting in the ranks."

Harry Winks and Mason Mount scored their first senior international goals as England rounded off Euro 2020 qualifying with a 4-0 victory in Kosovo, where Harry Kane and Marcus Rashford were also among the goals.

Tottenham's Winks provided the finish to a rare moment of first-half quality, although his combination with Declan Rice and Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain in midfield did not always deliver the cohesion England need in their engine room.

Kane added a second 11 minutes from time and substitute Rashford swept home four minutes later.

Mount's late strike added gloss to the scoreline but Bernard Challandes' impressive Kosovo side can still reach the European Championship via a play-off place secured by virtue of their Nations League performance.

After matching England for long spells at Stadiumi Fadil Vokrri they will be confident of making it count.

Trent Alexander-Arnold conceded he feared a VAR intervention for handball prior to Liverpool's opener in their crucial 3-1 over Manchester City at Anfield.

City's players and manager Pep Guardiola were left seething when referee Michael Oliver did not award a penalty against the Reds full-back, who appeared to handle in the area, early in the blockbuster contest at Anfield.

Fabinho rifled Liverpool into a sixth-minute lead shortly after, before Mohamed Salah and Sadio Mane goals took the game away from City, who earned a consolation through Bernardo Silva.

Asked by Sky Sports if he feared the worse, Alexander-Arnold replied: "Obviously, yeah you know there's VAR, I think it has hit me arm, but I think it's hit Bernardo Silva's first. 

"It's one of those you have to carry on playing, we went down the other end and punished them. They complained but you have to keep on playing."

Liverpool's win sees them head into the international break with an eight-point lead at the top of the table, while the gap of nine to champions City is potentially more significant.

The Reds earned 97 points last term and were still pipped to the title by City and Alexander-Arnold says Liverpool will need similar levels of astounding consistency to triumph this time around.

"We're on a good run, we are still unbeaten, at home we have the advantage with the fans so every time we are here we want to pick up the three points we feel we should," he added.

"We picked up a lot last season to get to 97 points and it wasn't enough and we know we have to do something similar this time."

The end of the match became a little terse between the rival teams but Alexander-Arnold says that is to be expected in a game of this magnitude.

"It was always going to be a feisty contest," he said. "It was just about desire at the end of the day because both teams wanted to win." 

Mohamed Salah stuck twice as holders Liverpool survived a major Champions League scare to defeat Salzburg 4-3 at Anfield.

Sadio Mane, Andrew Robertson and Salah goals had seemingly put Jurgen Klopp's side in complete control in what was their first European game on home soil since triumphing in last season's competition. 

They were left stunned, however, when the visitors responded via goals from Hwang Hee-chan, Takumi Minamino and substitute Erling Haaland.

But Salah's sixth goal of the campaign with 21 minutes remaining got the Reds out of jail as they got up and running in Group E.

The visitors served an early warning via Minamino's long-range shot, yet by the ninth minute the Reds were ahead after Mane drove towards goal down the left before playing a one-two with Roberto Firmino and slotting inside the right post.

Robertson doubled the advantage in the 25th minute, finishing a slick move he had started near the halfway line when he swept home Trent Alexander-Arnold's cross from six yards out.

Liverpool made it three 11 minutes later and had Salzburg goalkeeper Cican Stankovic to thank as he parried Firmino's header into Salah's path and the Egypt forward made no mistake from close range.

Salzburg gave themselves some hope six minutes before the break thanks to a superb individual goal from Hwang, who cut inside Virgil van Dijk before firing home.

The home side made a complacent start to the second half and they were punished when Minamino sent a rasping volley into the ground and beyond Adrian.

That was enough to prompt the introduction of in-form Haaland and he soon had his goal, tapping in from close range for his 15th of the campaign to silence Anfield.

But Salah came to the rescue when he latched onto Firmino's flick-on to have the final say in a pulsating match.

Manchester City star Kevin De Bruyne is the standout player for the first FIFA 20 Ultimate Team Team of the Week since the new game's full release.

While Bernardo Silva got a hat-trick in City's 8-0 demolition of Watford on Saturday, De Bruyne was still the best player on the pitch.

The Belgian got the eighth goal, a pair of assists and generally ran the show, as City swept their visitors aside with remarkable ease.

Leicester City midfielder James Maddison and Liverpool full-back Trent Alexander-Arnold are the other Premier League representatives in the starting XI, while the latter's former Reds team-mate Philippe Coutinho is also included after getting a goal and an assist in Bayern Munich's 4-0 win over Cologne.

Find out the full squad of 23 below.

FUT Team of the Week

GK: Benjamin Lecomte (Monaco) – 84

RB: Trent Alexander Arnold (Liverpool) – 85

CB: Thiago Silva (Paris Saint-Germain) – 88

CB: Willi Orban (RB Leipzig) – 84

LB: Aleksandar Kolarov (Roma) – 84

CDM: Marcelo Brozovic (Inter) – 84

CM: Kevin De Bruyne (Manchester City) – 92

CM: James Maddison (Leicester City) – 82

CAM: Philippe Coutinho (Bayern Munich) – 87

ST: Willian Jose (Real Sociedad) – 84

LW: Youcef Atal (Nice) – 81

SUBSTITUTES

GK: Ruben Blanco (Celta Vigo) – 81

LB: Aaron Cresswell (West Ham) – 81

CM: Nikola Vlasic (CSKA Moscow) – 81

LM: Carlos Eduardo (Al Hilal) – 81

LM: Amine Harit (Schalke) – 81

ST: Marcus Thuram (Borussia Monchengladbach) – 81

LW: Francesco Caputo (Sassuolo) – 81

RESERVES

CB: Chey Dunkley (Wigan Athletic) – 78

LM: Tarique Fosu (Burton Albion) – 76

LW: Casimir Ninga (Angers) – 79

ST: Ismael Sosa (Leon) – 79

ST: Erik Exposito (Slask Wroclaw) – 75

Lionel Messi, Cristiano Ronaldo and five Liverpool players have been shortlisted for 2018-19 Champions League positional awards. 

Liverpool defeated Tottenham in the Champions League final and have seen goalkeeper Alisson, defenders Trent Alexander-Arnold and Virgil van Dijk, midfielder Jordan Henderson and forward Sadio Mane named among the contenders in their respective categories.

Tottenham also have representation through keeper Hugo Lloris and midfielder Christian Eriksen.

Barcelona superstar Messi, who was the top scorer in last season's competition with 12 goals, will vie with Mane and old adversary Ronaldo for the forward award.

Midfielder Frenkie de Jong and defender Matthijs de Ligt – who are now at Barcelona and Juventus respectively – were also nominated after playing pivotal roles in Ajax's run to the semi-finals.

The awards will be presented during the 2019-20 Champions League group stage draw in Monaco on Thursday 29 August.

The shortlisting jury comprised the coaches of the 32 clubs from last season's group stage and journalists from each of UEFA's 55 member associations.

 

Full list of nominees for 2018-19 Champions League position awards:
  
Goalkeepers: Alisson (Liverpool), Hugo Lloris (Tottenham Hotspur); Marc-Andre ter Stegen (Barcelona).
 
Defenders: Trent Alexander-Arnold (Liverpool), Matthijs de Ligt (Ajax, now Juventus), Virgil van Dijk (Liverpool).
 
Midfielders: Frenkie de Jong (Ajax, now Barcelona), Christian Eriksen (Tottenham), Jordan Henderson (Liverpool).
 
Forwards: Sadio Mane (Liverpool), Lionel Messi (Barcelona), Cristiano Ronaldo (Juventus).

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