What does the future hold for Andre Silva?

Silva has scored 18 Bundesliga goals this season, second only to Bayern Munich's Robert Lewandowski.

He could find himself at Manchester United if Eintracht Frankfurt reportedly pursue a permanent deal for Luka Jovic.

 

TOP STORY – SILVA BOUND FOR MANCHESTER?

Manchester United could be offered the chance to sign Eintracht Frankfurt star Andre Silva if Edinson Cavani leaves Old Trafford, according to The Sun.

Silva is taking the Bundesliga by storm this season, but Eintracht are reportedly looking to raise funds to re-sign Luka Jovic – who is currently on loan in Frankfurt – permanently from Real Madrid.

Portugal international Silva could become available if veteran forward Cavani departs after the former Paris Saint-Germain star arrived on a one-year deal at the start of the season.

 

ROUND-UP

- Eurosport claims Chelsea are growing increasingly confident of winning the race to sign Borussia Dortmund star Erling Haaland. The Norway international forward has been linked with Madrid, BarcelonaManchester City, Liverpool and United, as well as Paris Saint-Germain and Juventus.

Everton have joined United and Bayern Munich in trying to sign Norwich City full-back Max Aarons, reports Fabrizio Romano.

Tottenham will target Burnley goalkeeper Nick Pope if PSG make a move for Hugo Lloris, says the Daily Mail.

- The Sun claims United veteran Juan Mata is being tracked by Serie A trio, Juventus, Inter and Roma.

Juventus, Bayern Munich, Paris Saint-Germain and now Manchester United are all reportedly chasing Milan goalkeeper Gianluigi Donnarumma.

Days out from his 22nd birthday, Donnarumma has reportedly closed a deal with the Red Devils.

Is David de Gea's future in doubt?

 

TOP STORY – RED DEVILS SWOOP FOR RECORD-BREAKER

Milan goalkeeper Gianluigi Donnarumma has agreed to a provisional deal with Manchester United, according to Todo Fichajes.

The report claims the deal would make the Italy star the best paid goalkeeper ever in world football.

United have had goalkeeping issues this season, with number one keeper David de Gea making a number of errors, while understudy Dean Henderson has made a handful of appearances.

Donnarumma, who celebrates his 22nd birthday on Thursday, became the youngest player in Serie A history to reach 200 appearances in Sunday's 3-0 derby defeat to leaders Inter.

The 21-year-old's current deal with the Rossoneri expires at the end of this season and he has been linked with a host of clubs including Serie A champions Juventus, Champions League holders Bayern Munich and Ligue 1 giants Paris Saint-Germain.

There are similarities between Yokohama F.Marinos manager Ange Postecoglou and Liverpool boss Jurgen Klopp.

Pressing is a vital feature of Postecoglou and Klopp's teams, with both managers enforcing a high-octane brand of attacking football.

Postecoglou and Klopp were also coming off drought-ending title triumphs as the coronavirus pandemic set in.

In 2019, F.Marinos boss Postecoglou guided the Japanese club to their first J.League title since 2004, while Klopp ended Liverpool's 30-year league drought in the Premier League last season.

But F.Marinos were unable to back it up, finishing ninth and 36 points adrift of champions Kawasaki Frontale last year. Klopp has already publicly conceded Liverpool's title defence is over – the Reds are sixth and 19 points behind runaway leaders Manchester City with 13 matches remaining in 2020-21.

The struggles are no coincidence amid demanding schedules and mounting injury lists as a result of COVID-19.

"Absolutely," Postecoglou told Stats Perform News when asked if he could relate to Klopp as he prepares for Friday's season opener against Kawasaki. "Not so much on the success bit, but you look at their football, it's high intensity and it's just not sustainable when you have such a congested fixture list.

"It's not just them. Any team around the world who play that play that high intensity, particularly with the pressing aspect not so much in possession, have found it very difficult. Liverpool are a classic example of that. Even like a club like Southampton, who pride themselves on that pressing aspect have struggled this season.

"The way you struggle, it's not just about the results, but you lose players to injuries, trying to maintain that kind of intensity. Rotation of players affects the fluency of how you play. What I found last year especially, you can kind of rotate the front half of your team and still sort of get some stability and consistency in results but if you have to change centre-backs and defenders regularly, you're going to struggle. That's definitely where we struggled last year. I don't think there was more than half-a-dozen games where we had the same centre-back pairing and goalkeeper in a row because of the injuries we had. We conceded a lot of goals.

"You look at Liverpool and most of their injury problems have been at the back. The converse of that, I look at Kawasaki who were so dominant in our league. They were really stable in terms of their back four and didn't really make changes. Had more depth in the front third where they could rotate players. Their game was based around keeping the ball, they weren’t as aggressive in the process. I think data wise they were the lowest-running team in the league. That was definitely the way to go last year. They had the quality to do it also, it's not an easy way to play.

"Even reading about Pep Guardiola's comments that his trying to get his team to run less through this period and they've been more effective. There's definitely a correlation there with the amount of running you need to do to play your style of game. The more it is, the more effective it is during this period."

Having changed the landscape of Australian football following back-to-back A-League titles and a record 36-match unbeaten streak at Brisbane Roar, plus a ground-breaking 2015 Asian Cup triumph with the Socceroos, Postecoglou took Japan and Asia by storm in 2019.

Cut from the same cloth as Guardiola and Maurizio Sarri – an emphasis on attacking football, with an unrelenting belief in their philosophy – Postecoglou's F.Marinos dazzled their way to J.League glory in 2019, ahead of FC Tokyo.

However, F.Marinos – who are part of the City Football Group – were unable to go back-to-back after, as Postecoglou says, the J.League "congested a season into really five months" while the club also juggled Asian Champions League commitments.

F.Marinos made a red-hot start to the season before the 2020 campaign was initially suspended due to coronavirus. Their title defence quickly turned pear-shaped.

While their attacking and possession numbers were around the same mark from 2019 to 2020 – only champions Kawasaki scored more goals – the same could not be said in terms of F.Marinos' defence.

F.Marinos conceded 59 goals last season, having only shipped 38 as they ended their 15-year wait for J.League silverware. Outside the box, 11 goals were conceded – up from three the year prior, while they allowed 47 shots from outside the box (21 in 2019).

There were also big differences in saves to shots ratio (69.1 per cent to 61.9 per cent), saves to shots ratio inside box (65.6 per cent to 55.0 per cent) and saves to shots ratio outside box (85.7 per cent to 76.6 per cent).

"We all had to deal with something that was unique," Postecoglou said when discussing the impact of COVID-19 on football. "None of us in our lifetime had gone through something like that or remotely like that. At the beginning, it was kind of surreal because you thought it would pass but then it kept being part of almost your existence where you have these restrictions placed upon you. To be fair here in Japan, they dealt with it pretty well. We didn't really have any major lockdown. Life, for the most part, was fairly normal. It definitely affected our football season.

"It took a heavy toll on players and staff, not just us but all clubs. We had the added challenge of being in the ACL [Asian Champions League], which affected our schedule even further. Playing without fans and empty stadiums, there was a surreal feeling about. The predominant feeling was lets just get through it the best way we can and make the most of it. We were still able to do what we love, work in a normal sense."

The absence of fans due to the coronavirus crisis also cannot be understated. While a limited amount of supporters returned for J.League matches at the backend of the 2020 season after fixtures were initially staged behind closed doors, Postecoglou said: "It actually affects football games. Supporters, they don't just provide the theatre and atmosphere, they have an effect on the players and coaches.

"Anyone who knows and has played in a stadium away from home with a passionate support, it can be intimidating, it can affect your game. If you're chasing the game, having the support in the stadium can lift you or make your opposition nervous. It definitely affects. In the beginning, it felt like every game was a friendly game – it had that sort of lack of cutting edge and little bit of intensity that you feel in real games. Eventually, I think players and coaches got used to it and games sort of turned back to a normal mode."

While 2020 did not go according to plan, Postecoglou is not dwelling on the past season.

"It was such an outlier of a season," the former Australia boss added. "Are those kind of circumstances ever going to happen again? If they ever do, there is certain things you'd probably do differently – the way we trained and played games. If you try to make a major shift from what happened last year, even though this year is looking like a very affected year for all of us, we kind of expect things to get back to some kind of normal in the near future.

"If you just react to what happened last year and change in any meaningful way what you do, I'm not entirely convinced that's a good sample to sort of say we can do things better purely focusing on what happened last year. In a footballing sense, if we are in that situation of playing so many games, we probably would've played differently and tried to play with less intensity because having so many games made it difficult for our players."

Postecoglou, like Manchester City manager Guardiola and ex-Chelsea and Juventus boss Sarri, pushes the boundaries. His approach never waivers and success follows the highly rated 55-year-old in his pursuit of excellence.

All eyes will be once again on his free-flowing F.Marinos team, with Postecoglou steadfast in his beliefs as he attempts to establish the historic Yokohama-based club – the longest-serving team in the Japanese top flight along with Kashima Antlers, having played in the J.League every year since its inception in 1992 – among Japan's elite.

"To me, it's just about 'can we play our football?' To be fair, we did even last year. It's a super competitive league. We had some fantastic success, but we aren't one of the big clubs yet. For us to be a big club, we need to have a certain level of performance year in, year out," said Postecoglou.

"Last year I thought our performances were quite good and stuck true to the football we wanted to play but the results weren't. We were inconsistent. This year is about maintaining our football and just getting more consistent with our results. If we are going to become one of the big clubs in Japan, we need to finish in those top spots regularly and win silverware. That's our target. It all begins and ends with me with our football. What I do know, when our football is good and we are stable, the results tend to follow."

Postecoglou heads into 2021 on the back of a contract extension following F.Marinos' run to the Champions League last 16, having topped their group.

F.Marinos finished 12th in his first season in 2018 – narrowly avoiding relegation but only being outscored by champions Kawasaki – while they also reached the J.League Cup final as Postecoglou turned the club on their head, leaving a pragmatic approach behind in favour of his entertaining football.

Three years on in his Japan journey, what does the future hold for the ambitious Australian – who has been tipped to make the move to Europe following a brief spell in Greece in 2008?

"Just keep doing what I have been – looking at challenging things and what excite me," he said. "I've been coaching for a while now and I've been pretty fortunate that the clubs I've worked at, we've had some sort of success. I like to think I've left my mark at those clubs. That's what I'm looking for future. Hopefully I have 10-15 years of coaching left in me, whatever the next project is and wherever it is, it's something that will excite me.

"For me, the passion lies in the football. That was the whole challenge of coming to Japan – could I adopt to a different culture, language, the difficulty of the competition, could my ideas work here? It's been hugely satisfying to see that it works, both on a personal basis but for the club because they enjoy the success. Whatever the next move is, it will be a similar scenario."

Real Madrid, Manchester United, Barcelona, Manchester City, Chelsea and Juventus.

Europe's elite are lining up to sign Erling Haaland, but who will he join?

Whoever it is, Haaland is set to command a mammoth contract.

 

TOP STORY – HAALAND ASKING FOR LUCRATIVE DEAL

Borussia Dortmund star Erling Haaland wants a contract in the region of £78million (€90m) as speculation intensifies over his future, according to the Daily Star.

Haaland is a player in demand following his exploits for Bundesliga side Dortmund, linked with the likes of Real Madrid, Manchester United, Barcelona, Manchester City, Chelsea and Juventus.

The report claims Haaland wants a five-year deal worth around £300,000 (€346,000) per week.

 

ROUND-UP

- Should Kylian Mbappe leave for Madrid, Ligue 1 champions Paris Saint-Germain want to replace him with Tottenham star Harry Kane, claims the Mirror.

- Bild says Chelsea, Liverpool and United are interested in signing RB Leipzig defender Ibrahima Konate. His centre-back partner Dayot Upamecano is set to join Bayern Munich at the end of the season, having been linked with the Premier League's elite.

Liverpool are preparing a £40m bid for Brighton and Hove Albion defender Ben White, reports Football Insider. Jurgen Klopp is desperate to bolster his injury-hit defence amid a difficult 2020-21 campaign.

- The Daily Mail says United are considering a move for Everton youngster Jarrad Branthwaite. The 18-year-old defender has impressed since joining the Toffees.

Leipzig lead the race to sign Ajax sensation Brian Brobbey, according to Diario AS. United, Milan and Bayern have also been linked.

Milan and Inter target Odilon Kossounou – who plays for Club Brugge - is also wanted by Premier League duo Arsenal and Wolves, claims The Sun.

- Calciomercato reports Juventus are eyeing Leicester City winger Timothy Castagne, who arrived from Atalanta at the start of the season.

Manchester United's opening-day 3-1 defeat to Crystal Palace was a chastening reminder of the team's frailties, but there was a somewhat surprising voice behind the subsequent call-to-action for the club's hierarchy.

Luke Shaw provided undoubtedly the most honest assessment of the situation among United players, this from a player who had rarely come across as a natural leader during his time at the club.

"We have a very good group, but personally I think we need more players to strengthen the squad," he told Norway's TV2. "It can give us a boost. When you look around at how other teams are strengthening their teams, then we must also do it to keep up with the others."

Perhaps the fact he wasn't speaking to a British outlet resulted in a more relaxed, open response from Shaw, who then also went on to criticise their pre-season.

But it was a new, authoritative look for a player who has always seemingly preferred to keep away from the media spotlight, and few United fans would have disagreed with him.

What happened next, however, he probably didn't expect – among the four players signed on deadline day in October was a new left-back, a Brazil international with the kind of attack-minded profile many had hoped Shaw would develop at United.

While Shaw definitely showed signs of progress in 2019-20, Alex Telles' arrival was the clearest sign that his position was no longer assured – he needed to respond.

 

A SHAW THING

The fact Telles has made just six Premier League starts in his debut season at Old Trafford is as good a starting point as any when highlighting Shaw's improved standing, and in fairness to the new signing, he's hardly put a foot wrong.

Telles has looked a solid acquisition and certainly fits the bill as a forward-thinking full-back who is also capable defensively, but Shaw has reached a level he has arguably never shown before in his career.

As an attacking outlet, Shaw's output has improved almost across the board, as such he has made himself almost undroppable.

 

His five assists is already a personal high for a Premier League season, having only managed seven in total before 2020-21, but that's just the tip of the iceberg. He is creating 2.3 chances per 90 minutes, which is up from one last term and well clear of his previous best of 1.2 each game for an entire campaign.

Undoubtedly one reason for that is the fact he is taking more set-pieces, yet his average of 1.4 open play chances created per 90 minutes remains a frequency he has never matched before over the course of a season, proving his increased familiarity with dead-ball duties isn't skewing the data.

A quick glance at his average position activity maps shows his involvement in the left-hand channel of the attacking third is up on each of the past two seasons, as well as his final year with Southampton.

 

This shows Shaw is embracing greater attacking responsibility, and where that is reflected most is the number of passes (including crosses) he is playing into the box each game (7.4). His last season with Saints had been his best in this regard (4.4), yet he's way up on that, and his productivity here is more than two-and-a-half times what it was in 2019-20 (2.9).

Shaw's early days with Southampton appeared to promise much. Finally, he appears to be back on track, not that it's been smooth sailing.

 

COPING, OUTLASTING, PROGRESSING

Shaw's relationship with Jose Mourinho became something of a distraction at times during the Portuguese's ill-fated reign.

Granted, Shaw wasn't the only player Mourinho seemed to have a problem with, but his treatment of Shaw in particular did leave a sour taste.

In two-and-a-half years playing for Mourinho, Shaw only made 33 Premier League appearances. While he did have injury and fitness problems, the manager's attitude seemingly did little to endear himself to the player.

Mourinho publicly criticised him after a 2016 defeat to Watford, saying: "For the second goal, [Nordin] Amrabat on the right side, our left-back is 25 metres distance from him, instead of five metres. But even at 25 metres, then you have to jump and go press. But no, we wait."

Mourinho then used Shaw's positive performance against Everton in 2017 against him. He said: "He had a good performance, but it was his body with my brain. He was in front of me and I was making every decision for him."

This isn't to say Shaw has been faultless this season. In fact, his defensive focus has been questionable at times in 2020-21, such as against Tottenham and Manchester City, for example.

But it's fair to say the greater attacking impetus he is showing this term compared to under Mourinho means he is more than making up for the occasional defensive lapse, and it's not like he's being beaten time after time – on average Shaw is dribbled past once every two games, the second lowest frequency for a single season in his entire career.

The difference? Well, according to the man himself, belief and competition.

"I feel really good, obviously big credit to Ole for that for believing in me and pushing me," Shaw said last month. "Alex [Telles] as well, we have a great relationship and he pushes me each day in training. We get on really well. It's nice to have that type of competition, but we push each other to get the best from ourselves. When he plays, I want the best for him, and it's the same the other way round. It's a positive way for both of us to look at it and push each other."

 

THE BEST?

There was a time – not even that long ago – when the very suggestion of Shaw being among the Premier League's best full-backs would have drawn a chuckle of derision in response.

Granted, across the four seasons prior to 2020-21, Shaw's best record of open play chances created per 90 minutes was 0.2, but there can be no doubt he is now at least in the conversation.

 

Liverpool's Andy Robertson is generally seen as the standard-bearer for left-backs in England's top flight, and Shaw compares well from an attacking sense with the Scotland international.

Shaw's 40 chances created this term is one more than Robertson, while the latter is just ahead in terms of key passes in open play (29 to 24) – though the United man has made 20 appearances to his rival's 24.

Robertson is proving a more regular source of service, with his 213 passes into the box and 201 total crosses/corners far more than Shaw's respective numbers (129 and 105), but the United left-back's deliveries are far more reliable.

Shaw's 37 successful crosses/corners is just five fewer than Robertson despite playing almost half the amount of overall deliveries.

But what really highlights Shaw's growth is his xA (expected assists) figures. His xA per 90, so the amount of assists he would ordinarily be expected to get per game, is 0.21 in 2020-21. Not only is that better than his previous best by some distance (0.12), Joao Cancelo (0.24) is the only full-back doing better here this term.

 

Shaw has made himself almost indispensable to United, his influence all the more important given Aaron Wan-Bissaka isn't particularly refined as an attacking outlet and they very rarely play with conventional wingers on either flank.

Therefore, Shaw offers the kind of threat from the wings that arguably no one else in the United squad does – and as his xA record shows, he is proving a consistent danger that marks him out as one of the league's best.

After being plagued by questions relating to his mentality for years, it's fair to say he is responding in the ideal fashion, with Telles' signing seemingly an important catalyst.

While it might be a little early to declare him outright the Premier League's best, his current trajectory at least shows that to be a realistic aim.

Jurgen Klopp said losing star captain Jordan Henderson to injury was a "massive blow" after Liverpool's faltering Premier League title defence hit a new low on Saturday.

Henderson suffered a groin injury as champions Liverpool were upstaged by Everton 2-0 in Saturday's Merseyside derby at Anfield.

After Richarlison put Everton ahead in the second minute, Henderson was forced off the field by the half-hour mark as Liverpool's injury crisis mounts.

Gylfi Sigurdsson's penalty with seven minutes remaining condemned Liverpool to their first home defeat to neighbours Everton since 1999.

"It's a massive blow losing Hendo [Jordan Henderson] again, massive, but Nate [Nathan Phillips] played a super game," Liverpool manager Klopp told reporters post-match.

"Again, we got used to it, unfortunately, that we have to change things,

"We just try to set up again for the next game and as long as we have 11 players we will do that.

"The boys are still full of desire, I see that. But to change a football game, a result, to get the result you have to be decisive in the right moments, defensively and offensively and that's what we are lacking."

Liverpool were already without Fabinho – himself a stand-in for Joe Gomez, Joel Matip and Virgil van Dijk.

Van Dijk sustained a potentially season-ending knee injury in October's reverse fixture at Goodison Park.

Liverpool have lost four consecutive home league games for only the second time, last doing so back in December 1923 – when they were also defending top-flight champions.

Everton picked up their first win over Liverpool in 24 meetings in all competitions (D12 L11) – ending what was the Reds' longest ever unbeaten run against a single opponent.

Everton ended over 21 years of hurt as they beat Liverpool at Anfield for the first time this century in Saturday's headline Premier League game.

That triumph over defending champions Liverpool came after Chelsea had drawn with Southampton, while Burnley and West Brom also shared the spoils at Turf Moor.

In the day's other game, Fulham boosted their survival bid with a 1-0 victory over lowly Sheffield United.

Using Opta data, we look at key facts from the four Premier League games.

LIVERPOOL 0-2 EVERTON: RICHARLISON AND SIGURDSSON SEAL DERBY BRAGGING RIGHTS

Everton picked up their first win over Liverpool in 24 meetings in all competitions (D12 L11) – ending what was Liverpool's longest ever unbeaten run against a single opponent.

Richarlison's third-minute goal was teed up by James Rodriguez, who has provided more assists in all competitions this season than any other player for Everton (eight). It was the Toffees' second-fastest Premier League goal scored against Liverpool, behind only Olivier Dacourt's first-minute strike in April 1999.

Brazil forward Richarlison became only the third Everton player to score in successive Premier League appearances at Anfield for the club, after Tim Cahill in March 2006 and Kevin Campbell in October 2000.

Liverpool dominated possession, with Jordan Pickford making six saves, including standout stops from Jordan Henderson and Mohamed Salah.

Meanwhile, Liverpool have lost four consecutive home league games for only the second time, last doing so back in December 1923 – when they were also defending top-flight champions. The result ended Everton's run of 23 winless Anfield clashes with Liverpool without a win in all competitions (D10 L13) since a 1-0 victory in September 1999.

Reds boss Jurgen Klopp has suffered four consecutive league defeats for the first time since November 2014 when he was in charge at Borussia Dortmund, while he has lost four in a row at home in league competition for the very first time in his managerial career.

Gylfi Sigurdsson's penalty settled the contest, and the Iceland playmaker has now scored five away goals against Liverpool in all competitions – more than he has away at any other opponent in his career in England.

SOUTHAMPTON 1-1 CHELSEA: SAINTS HALT LOSING STREAK AS TUCHEL STALLS

Southampton ended a run of six successive Premier League defeats, the club's worst losing run in their league history, as they earned a point against Chelsea.

Blues boss Thomas Tuchel became the 16th manager in Premier League history to avoid defeat in his first six games in the competition (W4 D2) and the first since Maurizio Sarri in September 2018, also with Chelsea. However, he did see his side's four-match winning streak come to an end.

Southampton took the lead through Takumi Minamino, who became the first opposition player to score against Tuchel's Chelsea in all competitions, ending a run of 572 minutes without such a goal for the German manager (Antonio Rudiger scored an own goal against Sheffield United).

The draw means Saints have lost 18 points from leading positions in the Premier League this season, more than any other side.

Mason Mount's penalty pulled Chelsea level – Southampton have now conceded five goals from the spot this term. Only in 1993-94 and 2016-17 (both six) did Saints concede more goals from the spot in a Premier League campaign.

Mount became the 25th different player to score a penalty for Chelsea in the Premier League, with the Blues having more penalty scorers than any other team in the competition's history.

FULHAM 1-0 SHEFFIELD UNITED: LOOKMAN LIFTS COTTAGERS

Fulham's resurgence continued as they picked up just their second victory in 14 Premier League home games (W2 D4 L8) and first since beating West Brom in November.

Scott Parker's team have now taken seven points from their last three league matches and are just three points from safety.

Lowly Sheffield United, meanwhile, missed out on the chance to move off the bottom, and the Blades have only won two of their 28 Premier League games in London (D8 L18), winning at Chelsea in October 1992 (2-1) and Crystal Palace in February 2020 (1-0).

Ademola Lookman scored the winner, and the on-loan winger has been directly involved in more Premier League goals than any other Fulham player this season (four goals, three assists).

BURNLEY 0-0 WEST BROM: NO GIVE AT TURF MOOR

A clean sheet finally arrived for West Brom, as they registered their first in 15 Premier League games since a 1-0 win at home to Sheffield United in November.

The Baggies had the best chances to snatch a much-needed win, but ultimately Sam Allardyce – whose side lost Semi Ajayi to a red card in the first half – had to settle for a draw.

The last two occasions West Brom have received a red card and avoided defeat in a Premier League game have both been against Burnley (they won 1-0 in August 2017).

Burnley have won just one of their eight Premier League meetings with West Brom (D4 L3), earning a 2-1 success at the Hawthorns in March 2018.

Since the start of last season, Burnley have kept 24 clean sheets in the Premier League – only Manchester City (31) have had more in this period.

Jurgen Klopp questioned the decision to award Everton a late penalty that condemned Liverpool to a 2-0 defeat in the Merseyside derby at Anfield.

Carlo Ancelotti's visitors sealed a first win at the home of their near neighbours in almost 22 years on Saturday thanks to strikes from Richarlison and Gylfi Sigurdsson.

It was Sigurdsson's 83rd-minute spot-kick, after Dominic Calvert-Lewin was adjudged to have been fouled in the box, that most irked the losing manager.

Referee Chris Kavanagh was asked to inspect the incident at the pitchside monitor but stuck with his original decision, much to Klopp's dismay.

Asked about the incident at his post-match press conference, the Liverpool boss said: "I really think it's unfair to ask me because everybody asks me, which means everybody thinks it was not a penalty.

"But that's not really important because the ref thought it's a penalty. I wanted to talk to him after the first few interviews I had but he left already.

"I [wanted to ask] what did he see? Because the VAR calls you over in a situation like that, then I think he is in doubt about the decision.

"But he needed only a second; he went there, watched it from three, four yards and, yeah, penalty.

"He saw, obviously, something all the people didn't see. I didn't see it back yet but everybody who sees it tells me the same: 'How can it be a penalty?'"

As they contend with the disappointment of derby defeat, Liverpool must also count the cost of yet another injury blow following Jordan Henderson's first-half withdrawal.

On his captain, Klopp added: "It's the groin/adductor region and nobody in the medical department was kind of positive about it.

"So, it doesn't look good but we have to wait for the scan tomorrow, hopefully."

As for the game as a whole, Klopp highlighted an early moment of defensive sloppiness and profligacy at the other end of the pitch as the reason for Liverpool's downfall.

Asked about how much the result had hurt, he said: "A lot. A lot. But we conceded a completely unnecessary first goal, let's not forget that, and that's a big part of the game.

"There are two big parts, you have to defend and you have to score, and in one situation we didn't defend well enough so they could score.

"We made a mistake, if you want. And we didn't use things we created and that's why we have the result."

Graeme Souness slammed Liverpool as an "easy touch" as he reflected on their first Merseyside derby defeat at Anfield since 1999.

Jurgen Klopp's side were on the backfoot from just the third minute on Saturday as Richarlison coolly finished at the Kop end after getting on the end of a James Rodriguez throughball.

The hosts created a number of chances in response but, after failing to take them, saw their fate sealed when Gylfi Sigurdsson converted a late penalty.

Souness believes Everton were good value for their first win against the Reds in over a decade, and was disappointed with the manner of the reigning Premier League champions' performance.

He told Sky Sports: "It was a shadow of a Liverpool team. 

"It was thoroughly deserved by Everton. They were set out to be hard to play against them. They did the business, Everton. 

"The goalkeeper's made a really good couple of saves, which is why goalkeepers are in goal. 

"They deserved it today, but I’m really disappointed with my team [Liverpool]. They didn’t look as if they had any fight, any energy about them and the best team took the points today.

"The first 10 minutes of the second half – I expected a reaction and we got that, kicking into an empty Kop, but after 10 minutes that faded as well. 

"No Liverpool player can come off there and think, 'I've had a good game tonight'. They look like a shadow of a team. 

"You think of the team that Liverpool have been for three years, that nobody wanted to play against, always on the front foot, super aggressive and now everybody wants to play against them. 

"They're an easy touch. That hurts me to say that – they're an easy touch."

Seamus Coleman called on Everton to use their long-awaited Merseyside derby win to propel themselves in the challenge for Europe after Carlo Ancelotti's team claimed a 2-0 victory at Anfield.

Premier League champions Liverpool suffered their first home defeat to their city rivals since September 1999 as Richarlison's early strike and Gylfi Sigurdsson's late penalty secured all three points for the Toffees.

It also ended a decade-long wait for a win over their neighbours in any competition home or away for Everton, while they have won eight of their 12 away league games this season (D2 L2) – only in 2008-09 have they won more on the road in a Premier League campaign (nine).

Liverpool on the other hand have lost their last four home games in the league, and their last four top-flight matches overall in the top flight.

Among defending Premier League champions, only Leicester City in 2016-17 (21) and Chelsea in 2015-16 (30) have had fewer points after 25 games the season after winning the Premier League title than Liverpool's 40 this campaign.

Yet Liverpool's struggles are of little concern to Coleman, who was the only player involved on Saturday to have featured in Everton's last win over Liverpool in October 2010.

"It's an amazing feeling. Coming here over the years and letting ourselves down but more importantly letting the Blue side of the city down," Coleman told Sky Sports.

"It's been hard, we can put a face on it and try and brush it off but when I've been in the city for 10 years it's difficult to take, you feel sorry for the fans and get fed up of coming out with the same cliches after losing to them, so to be honest, thanks to the manager for the way he set us up, the players put in an unbelievable shift against the champions – we're delighted."

Everton were set up in a defensive shape by Ancelotti but offered a threat on the break, and Coleman explained how the Italian came up with a masterplan.

"I had to follow Andy Robertson, I think the last time I had to do a job like that I was at Stamford Bridge trying to follow Ashley Cole around the pitch!" Coleman said.

"For the team it was about staying compact, it is difficult to be brave and we probably didn't play as much as we'd like. We got the result."

However, Coleman knows Everton cannot rest on their derby triumph. The Toffees are seventh, but level on points with Liverpool with a game in hand, and only three points off the top four.

While they are in brilliant form on the road, Everton have lost four of their previous five home league matches, including defeats to strugglers Fulham and Newcastle United.

"For us now, move on from it as quickly as possible, because it can't just be a celebration," Coleman added.

"That goes back to the likes of Fulham and Newcastle at home, we need to start being better all round. All credit, enjoy it. We've got 10 days now until the next game. That's for all the Evertonians over the last number of years who have struggled."

Ancelotti, meanwhile, echoed the club captain's thoughts.

He added: "Really pleased. Really happy for the club and supporters.

"I can only imagine if our supporters were there tonight, but I hope for sure they are going to celebrate. It was a good performance. A lot of fight, a lot of spirit – really happy!

"We did really well away. At home we have had a lot of problems, we need to find more consistency at home and we are working on this.

"We are fighting for Europe and now we are in a good position. This kind of performance can improve the belief of the team."

Liverpool fans are sure to already be feeling sufficient hurt from Saturday's 2-0 defeat to Everton.

The Reds came into this Merseyside derby having not lost to their rivals in over a decade, while you had to go back as far as 1999 for a loss at Anfield.

But this is a result that held significance beyond local bragging rights - it could well be the one that condemns Jurgen Klopp's side to Europa League football next term.

It is not necessarily that the gap is too big, with Liverpool still just three points behind fourth place despite their recent woeful run.

Nor is it that the opposition are too good - Chelsea also dropped points on Saturday, Everton still trail their neighbours, and Leicester City showed last year that they are capable of a late-season collapse.

Yet it is almost impossible to imagine the reigning champions making any of that pay as they contend with injury problems that simply refuse to ease.

Klopp started this game with his 17th different centre-back partnership of the season in defence, none of whom had made it through three consecutive games.

And that dreadful record was extended in the first half as Jordan Henderson limped off to be replaced by Nat Phillips.

The long-term absences of Virgil van Dijk, Joe Gomez and Joel Matip have not just left a hole in the defence, they have also put too much demand on their replacements.

It is no coincidence that two of them - Henderson and Fabinho - are both now sidelined with muscle problems. 

Throw in the fact they are also being desperately missed in midfield and that the acquisition of the inexperienced Ozan Kabak now looks like little more than desperation and it does not add up to a solid foundation.

Of course, the problems don't just stop there, as one goal in almost nine hours of football at Anfield underlines.

The loss of Diogo Jota as a rotational option during a season more relentless than any other is no doubt part of that - again, it comes back to injuries.

Things may ease slightly on that front in the coming days, with Jota, James Milner and Fabinho close to returning, though Klopp must now wait nervously on Henderson.

Still, these players will come back into a Liverpool team that has just lost four on the bounce in the league at home for the first time since 1923 and is well short of confidence.

Only a huge change in fortunes on the fitness front will allow the Reds to put together the sort of turnaround in form that would make a top-four finish a possibility.

But supporters won't be holding their breath, and the consequences of that are sure to be far-reaching.

The reluctance of the club's owners, Fenway Sports Group, to spend during a pandemic was evident in the buy-now-pay-later deals agreed for Jota and Thiago Alcantara over the summer.

There was a notable lack of risk, too, attached to the mid-season loan of Kabak, who arrived from Schalke only with an option to buy attached.

And the Americans are unlikely to be willing to sanction any big-money deals if Champions League money is not present on next season's accounts.

If there is one upside for Liverpool, it is that clubs across Europe who might covet the likes of Mohamed Salah and Sadio Mane are unlikely to be able to finance such moves themselves.

But either way, it is likely that more pain awaits, not just across the remainder of this season, but into the summer as well.

Liverpool suffered a fourth straight Premier League defeat as Everton ended their miserable run at Anfield with a 2-0 victory on Saturday.

In a match that Liverpool went on to dominate after a lacklustre first-half display, Richarlison's third-minute goal and Gylfi Sigurdsson's late penalty proved enough for Everton to claim a first away win over their Merseyside rivals since September 1999.

Liverpool's efforts were not helped by the loss of Jordan Henderson to injury, with Sadio Mane missing two presentable chances that might have made Everton pay for profligate finishing from Seamus Coleman and Richarlison.

The centre of derby drama in recent meetings, Jordan Pickford also played a pivotal role, making a wonderful save from Mohamed Salah, setting the stage for Sigurdsson to condemn Jurgen Klopp's champions to a fourth successive home reverse.

Everton made a blistering start in the blustery conditions – James Rodriguez sliipping a pass through to Richarlison, who finished crisply across Alisson and into the left corner to put the Toffees ahead in a Merseyside derby for the first time since 2010.

Henderson had a winner disallowed by VAR in October's reverse fixture, and his wicked volley would have restored parity if not for Pickford's finger-tip save, with Everton's goalkeeper then denying Trent Alexander-Arnold.

Liverpool were dealt a blow on the half-hour as Henderson succumbed to injury, and Coleman should have compounded the hosts' frustration when he met Lucas Digne's cross, only to head straight at Alisson.

Mane twice missed from close range early in the second half, before Michael Keane's last-ditch tackle denied Liverpool's number 10.

A rare Everton attack resulted in Richarlison racing behind Liverpool's defence, only for the Brazilian to hesitate when one-on-one with Alisson.

Salah seemed set to punish Everton when Liverpool carved out another chance, but Pickford rushed out to smother the angle.

And that proved vital, with Calvert-Lewin soon adjudged to have been fouled by Alexander-Arnold at the other end of the pitch after Alisson's fine save.

After a long wait for a VAR check, Sigurdsson slotted in the resulting penalty as Carlo Ancelotti masterminded the Toffees' first derby victory in over a decade.

Jordan Henderson suffered an apparent groin injury in the Merseyside derby as Liverpool's injury woes continued.

With Liverpool trailing to Richarlison's early strike at Anfield, captain Henderson was forced off in the 30th minute. That was shortly after he went close to equalising with a superb volley which was well saved by Jordan Pickford.

Henderson pulled up while tussling with Abdoulaye Doucoure and, though he attempted to carry on, he had to make way for Nathaniel Phillips.

It resulted in another makeshift, untested centre-back pairing of Phillips and Ozan Kabak for Liverpool boss Jurgen Klopp, who was already unable to call on Fabinho, himself a stand-in for Joe Gomez, Joel Matip and Virgil van Dijk.

Van Dijk sustained a potentially season-ending knee injury in October's reverse fixture at Goodison Park.

Liverpool's defence was immediately tested after Henderson's departure, with Alisson keeping out Seamus Coleman's close-range header.

Jurgen Klopp named an unchanged starting XI for Liverpool's meeting with Everton at Anfield.

With James Milner, Fabinho and Diogo Jota still sidelined, the Reds boss had few rotational options available to him ahead of Saturday's Merseyside derby.

And that was reflected in Klopp naming the same team that earned a 2-0 win over RB Leipzig in the first leg of the sides' Champions League last-16 tie on Wednesday, which meant skipper Jordan Henderson once again was named as the partner for Ozan Kobak in the centre of defence.

There was, though, one new face among the squad, with Naby Keita sufficiently fit to claim a place on the bench after his recent injury.

As for Everton, they were able to welcome back the influential Dominic Calvert-Lewin from a two-game absence necessitated by a muscle problem, though he was only fit enough for the bench.

The same goes for midfielder Allan, who has been out since mid-December due to a hamstring issue.

With Yerry Mina ruled out due to injury, Carlo Ancelotti named Seamus Coleman in starting XI, with Ben Godfrey moving inside to the centre of a three-man defence.

Justin Kluivert was sorely missed by RB Leipzig against Liverpool and his injuries are increasingly frustrating head coach Julian Nagelsmann.

Winger Kluivert joined Leipzig from Roma on a season-long loan at the start of the 2020-21 campaign.

However, the 21-year-old - son of former Barcelona striker Patrick - has so far been limited to just three starts and 452 minutes of action in a Leipzig shirt across all competitions.

An ankle issue has provided Kluivert's latest setback, with his last appearance coming in January and his last start before Christmas.

Prior to being named in the line-up against Werder Bremen on December 12, Kluivert had scored in consecutive matches against Bayern Munich and Manchester United - his only goals so far this season.

Nagelsmann was impressed by the Netherlands international's performances in those games and believes his dribbling ability could be a real asset; he leads Leipzig with 5.4 dribbles attempted and 2.6 completed per 90 minutes this term.

But the coach was again without Kluivert as Leipzig lost their Champions League first leg 2-0 against Liverpool on Tuesday, with the German team attempting just 11 dribbles and failing to execute a single fast break.

"At the stage when we played Bayern and Manchester [United], it was the Justin we were hoping for," Nagelsmann said. "After that, he was gone again.

"He just trains very little, I don't see him much in training. That's the problem. He has to become more stable in terms of his body.

"Since he's been here, he's had far too few training sessions and therefore too little impact on the game.

"He basically has skills that would have done us good in the game against Liverpool. They would also do us good in the Bundesliga, like his deep runs and fast dribbling. He's also a goalscorer and has a good finish.

"But he simply has to become more stable. He's a little too injury-prone these days."

Leipzig would reportedly have to pay in excess of €10million to make Kluivert's move permanent.

Nagelsmann is not ruling out the possibility but would like to see more from the player over the coming months, referring again to the standard set in a 3-3 draw with Bayern.

Kluivert scored with his only shot at Allianz Arena, playing 78 minutes after being named in Nagelsmann's starting line-up.

"Obviously, we hope he has an even bigger impact on a successful season, that he stays healthy and that he can train more and get fit again for the games," Nagelsmann added.

"He's welcome to do as well as he did against Bayern Munich.

"In the course of the second half of the season, we will then decide what we do and what he wants to do. And how big his influence was and how it then continues beyond the summer or not, we will decide then."

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