Tag Archives: Football

Rhian Brewster

Personal Detail

Rhian Brewster arrived at Liverpool from Chelsea as a 15-year-old and the striker’s eye for goal was abundantly clear as he quickly progressed through the club’s Academy ranks.

After making a blistering start at U18 level, Brewster soon celebrated his U23s debut by finding the net during a 3-0 win over Ipswich Town in the Premier League Cup on January 22, 2017.

In October 2017, Brewster played a major part in helping England U17s to World Cup glory in India. Brewster finished the tournament as top scorer, with seven of his eight goals coming in the quarter-finals, semi-finals and final.

Returning to Liverpool, he was named in a first-team matchday squad for the first time at the age of 17 for a home Premier League clash with Crystal Palace back in April 2017.

Brewster’s 2017-18 season was ended in January after suffering ligament damage to his right ankle following a heavy fall during Liverpool U23s’ encounter with Manchester City in January 2018.

On July 17, 2018, Liverpool announced Brewster had signed a new long-term contract with the club.

At the end of his long road to recovery, Brewster was on the bench for Liverpool’s last two matches of their successful 2018-19 Champions League campaign – the dramatic semi-final second-leg comeback against Barcelona and 2-0 victory over Tottenham Hotspur in the final.

Xherdan Shaqiri

Personal Detail

Switzerland forward Xherdan Shaqiri bolstered Liverpool’s attacking options after arriving from Stoke City in the summer of 2018.

He made quite the first impression when, during his first appearance in a Liverpool shirt, he scored a spectacular bicycle kick against Manchester United in a pre-season friendly in Michigan.

After three brief substitute appearances in competitive matches, Shaqiri made his full Reds debut at home to Southampton in the Premier League on September 22, 2019.

The No.23 had a helping hand in two of the goals in the 3-0 victory before being withdrawn at half-time for tactical reasons.

He would score his first goal for the club a month later against Cardiff City at Anfield as part of a 4-1 win.

A more-than-capable starter and extremely useful option off the bench, Shaqiri’s finest moment in a Liverpool shirt to date arrived when Man United visited Anfield for a Premier League encounter in December 2018.

With the scoreline locked at 1-1, Shaqiri was introduced in the 70th minute. It took him just three minutes to make an impact, firing beyond David de Gea, before scoring again nine minutes from time.

Having started the dramatic second-leg semi-final comeback against Barcelona, the former Bayern Munich man would end his first season with Liverpool in possession of a Champions League winner’s medal after victory over Tottenham Hotspur in Madrid.

Adam Lallana

Personal Detail

Liverpool swooped to sign Southampton captain Adam Lallana shortly after the talented playmaker had returned from the 2014 World Cup in Brazil.

The No.20’s preparations for the 2014-15 campaign were hampered by an injury that ruled him out until September, although upon his return Lallana was soon displaying his outstanding close control and vision, not least with a sublime first goal past West Bromwich Albion at Anfield. He would make 41 appearances in his first season at the club.

A change in manager saw the midfielder’s performances rise. He became a firm favourite of Jürgen Klopp in the 2015-16 campaign.

The England international adapted seamlessly to Klopp’s high-pressing style and scored a last-gasp winner in a thrilling 5-4 victory at Norwich City in January 2016.

He then netted Liverpool’s third goal in a Europa League semi-final with Villarreal to secure a spot in the Basel final.

Lallana’s trajectory continued to rise the following season and that was evidenced when he was rewarded with a new contract in February 2017.

Injuries disrupted his 2017-18 season, limiting him to just 15 outings in all competitions. He did, however, feature in the Champions League final defeat to Real Madrid in Kiev, replacing the injured Mohamed Salah after 30 minutes.

Another frustrating campaign followed for the experienced Lallana. He maintained the manager’s faith, though, and repaid that support with a Man of the Match performance in a 4-2 win over Burnley in March 2019.

Lallana then earned the first medal of his Liverpool career after the Champions League final victory over Tottenham Hotspur in Madrid.

Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain

Personal Detail

Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain joined Liverpool from Arsenal on the final day of the 2017 summer transfer window.

With Jürgen Klopp keen to ensure the midfielder was fully in tune with the team’s style of play, Oxlade-Chamberlain would have to wait until November to receive his first Premier League start for the Reds.

But he then quickly found his feet on Merseyside and added to the attacking dimension of Klopp’s side.

Memorable goals in front of the Kop against Manchester City, both in the Premier League and Champions League, soon followed.

But the England international’s hugely-encouraging first season on Merseyside was cruelly cut short due to a knee ligament injury sustained against AS Roma in the Champions League semi-final first leg at Anfield back in April 2018.

Liverpool believed it was likely Oxlade-Chamberlain would miss the whole 2018-19 season as a result, although the true extent of the injury was only publicly disclosed in the off-season, with the player not wanting the news to distract his teammates from the ongoing European run.

However, one year and two days on from suffering the injury in a tackle, Oxlade-Chamberlain made a return to first-team action with a cameo from the bench against Huddersfield Town at Anfield on April 26, 2019.

He was an unused substitute as the Reds won the 2019 Champions League final in Madrid by beating Tottenham Hotspur.

Jordan Henderson

Personal Detail

Jordan Henderson is Liverpool’s fifth European Cup-winning captain.

The midfielder joined the illustrious list of Emlyn Hughes, Phil Thompson, Graeme Souness and Steven Gerrard by leading the Reds to Champions League glory in Madrid in June 2019.

That 2-0 victory over Tottenham Hotspur marked Henderson’s fifth appearance in a major final since his arrival at Anfield from hometown club Sunderland in the summer of 2011.

Henderson’s standing at Liverpool was underlined when he became the club’s vice-captain in September 2014, before he then took the armband on a permanent basis in July 2015 following Gerrard’s departure.

A player whose physical, mental and footballing gifts enable an ability to excel in a variety of midfield roles, Henderson has made more than 300 appearances for Liverpool under three different managers.

Following Jürgen Klopp’s arrival in October 2015, the England international was primarily positioned as the Reds’ ‘No.6’, the team’s deepest-lying midfielder.

However, a late-season switch to a more advanced post saw Henderson flourish in the latter stages of a 2018-19 campaign that ended with Liverpool boasting a club-record total of 97 points in the Premier League and the crown of European champions.

Speaking in April 2019, Klopp said: “Hendo, from my point of view, is a brilliant player. He’s our skipper, he’s a fantastic character. If I had to write a book about Hendo, it would be 500 pages.

“So I’m very positive. The most difficult job in the last 500 years of football was to replace Steven Gerrard. In the mind of the people it was like if it’s not Stevie, then it’s not good enough.

“And he has dealt with that outstandingly well so he can be really proud. Now we have to think of the future and he is a very important part of our team.”

Henderson signed a new long-term contract with Liverpool in September 2018.

“There is no other place in the world I would rather play football. I want to be here for as long as I can be,” he said after putting pen to paper.

“I’m so privileged to have been a part of this club for so long, and hopefully even longer now.”

Adrian San Miguel

Personal Detail

Liverpool signed experienced goalkeeper Adrian on a free transfer in August 2019.

The Spaniard joined the Reds after six years in the Premier League with West Ham United, for whom he made a total of 150 appearances before embarking on a new chapter on Merseyside.

Adrian – who originally made the move to England from Real Betis – arrived as cover and competition for Alisson Becker following the departure of Simon Mignolet.

“It’s a great step in my career right now, after six good seasons at West Ham,” he said when the deal was completed shortly before the 2019-20 campaign got under way.

“I got experience in the Premier League and I’m coming to a big club to fight for everything. It’s a good challenge, a big challenge for me to face, challenging with big players here.”

He took the vacant No.13 shirt previously worn by new teammate Alisson.

On just his 10th day as a Red, the stopper was the hero when he saved the decisive penalty in a shootout with Chelsea to win the UEFA Super Cup.

Joe Gomez

Personal Detail

A classy, unflappable defender who can operate anywhere across the backline, Joe Gomez has overcome serious injury setbacks to become a Champions League winner and key member of Liverpool’s squad by the age of just 22.

Signed from Charlton Athletic in the summer of 2015, Gomez has featured regularly for the Reds at centre-back, right-back and left-back.

Handed his senior debut for Liverpool on the opening day of the 2015-16 season, aged just 18, Gomez sustained a serious knee injury while on international duty with England U21s shortly after Jürgen Klopp’s arrival in October 2015.

After a 17-month spell on the sidelines, Gomez returned to action in January 2017, and signed a new long-term contract with the club that same month.

The following campaign, 2017-18, saw Gomez make 31 appearances for the Reds as they reached the Champions League final, where they lost out to Real Madrid.

An outstanding start to 2018-19, during which he primarily partnered Virgil van Dijk at the heart of Klopp’s defence, was rewarded with another new deal in December 2018, although his progress had been stymied by a lower-leg fracture sustained a week before he put pen to paper.

Gomez returned to fitness in April, and featured in the quarter-finals, semi-finals and final of the Champions League as Liverpool went one better than 12 months earlier by beating Tottenham Hotspur in Madrid.

The defender has represented England through the age groups and is now an established member of his country’s senior squad.

Naby Keita

Personal Detail

Liverpool secured an agreement with RB Leipzig for the transfer of Naby Keita on August 29, 2017.

However, the dynamic midfielder would not officially become a Liverpool player until July 1, 2018. Therefore, Keita was interested spectator of the Reds from Germany before his arrival on Merseyside.

The Guinea international took command of the No.8 jersey after having it personally handed to him by Anfield legend Steven Gerrard during a visit to Melwood.

After dazzling in pre-season, he was given a start on the opening day of the Premier League campaign and named Man of the Match following the 4-0 win over West Ham United at Anfield.

The Conakry-born player routinely displayed flashes of brilliance in his 33 appearances – of which 22 were starts – throughout 2018-19.

Keita was on the scoresheet three times during his debut campaign and the strike against Huddersfield Town after 15 seconds on April 26, 2019, is Liverpool’s fastest goal in the Premier League.

His first year at the club was ended in early May after suffering injury at Barcelona, but he was present in Madrid to pick up a Champions League winner’s medal.

James Milner

Personal Detail

The ever-dependable James Milner ended his fourth season with Liverpool as a Champions League winner.

Appointed vice-captain upon his arrival from a successful stint with Manchester City in the summer of 2015, Milner’s leadership, experience, professionalism and versatility make him an integral member of Jürgen Klopp’s squad.

While central midfield is his favoured position, Milner – who won 61 England caps during a seven-year international career – regularly fills in elsewhere for the Reds, perhaps most notably in 2016-17, when he spent the entire season as Klopp’s first-choice left-back.

A veteran of more than 500 Premier League appearances, Milner has played in four major finals for Liverpool – most recently the 2019 Champions League showpiece, when his introduction from the bench early in the second half brought with it a typical sense of assurance and nous.

Indeed, Milner played an influential role in the goal that sealed Liverpool’s sixth European Cup, with his corner leading to Divock Origi’s finish.

Milner’s enduring importance to Klopp is evidenced in the fact that he made 45 appearances across all competitions in 2018-19, scoring seven times.

Five of those goals came from the penalty spot, and Milner’s expertise from 12 yards means he is established as Liverpool’s first-choice taker.

Dejan Lovren

Personal Detail

Dejan Lovren’s career since joining Liverpool in the summer of 2014 has included appearances in the finals of both the Champions League and World Cup, plus a European Cup winner’s medal.

The Croatia centre-back – whose front-foot, powerful style of defending is combined with an impressive level of ball-playing technique – also played in the 2016 Europa League final, after scoring an unforgettable Kop-end winner in stoppage time of the dramatic last-eight win over Borussia Dortmund.

Lovren, who signed a new long-term contract in April 2017, is approaching the 200-game mark for the Reds and has been a key defensive figure since Jürgen Klopp’s arrival in October 2015.

He played in all-but one of the club’s games during the 2017-18 Champions League campaign, which ended in defeat to Real Madrid in Kiev.

The defender then played every minute of Croatia’s tilt at the 2018 World Cup which saw them reach the final, where they lost out to France.

Injuries restricted Lovren to 18 appearances for the club across all competitions in 2018-19 and he was an unused substitute for the final victory against Tottenham Hotspur in Madrid.

He did, though play his part in helping Liverpool reach the final, starting twice in Europe during the season, including the 2-0 home win over FC Porto in the quarter-final second leg.

A senior career that began at the age of just 16 in his homeland has also seen Lovren represent Olympique Lyonnais and Southampton prior to his move to Anfield.