The Reds look likely to be playing their final match of Group D at the Signal Iduna Park.
Nobody wants to talk about the Champions League right now, Jürgen Klopp least of all, but in all probability, yesterdays anemic loss to Atalanta will have done little to stop Liverpool from advancing to the knockout stages of the competition, requiring just one more win from their final two matches — or a draw in their next game — to wrap things up.
Despite facing Danish opposition in the final game of the group stage, though, the Reds will not be traveling to Denmark two weeks from now. Concerns regarding the mandatory 14-day quarantine for travelers arriving in the UK from Denmark have seen the two clubs co-operate with UEFA to find an alternative venue, and although nothing is official quite yet, it appears that Signal Iduna Park will be hosting Midtjylland and Liverpool on December ninth.
Reds fans will largely remember the stadium for hosting the 1-1 draw with Borussia Dortmund back in 2016, the appetiser to Liverpool’s famous 4-3 comeback win at Anfield in the Europa League quarter finals, while the Reds manager will have all sorts of wild and wonderful memories from his seven years as Dortmund manager, including two Bundesliga title wins.
Changes may still take place, but Dortmund’s official site have announced the news so it would appear things are quite settled. In the end, it will matter little for the Reds where the match take place — no supporters will be allowed in the ground — as long as they get the result they require. And, if they can get the job done against Ajax next Tuesday, the result won’t even make a difference.
James Milner knows how poorly Liverpool played on Wednesday. And that they need to move on from it quickly.
Liverpool’s match against Atalanta in the Champions League wasn’t a must win game and with manager Jürgen Klopp sending out a heavily changed side, in the end the players put in a performance that seemed to suggest they knew as much.
Having just come off a demolition of title aspirants Leicester City over the weekend, the Reds were painfully flat against Atalanta in a game that would have been nice to win but wasn’t necessary. Now, though, they will need to show a reaction.
“We know it was a poor performance, pretty flat,” veteran James Milner said following Wednesday evening’s 2-0 defeat in the Champions League. “Obviously lot of changes again and we just never got going tonight, which is disappointing.
“I think there were a lot of players who haven’t played together and the schedule is busy, we keep saying it. Sometimes you just have to try to get a win without being at your best and maybe not having the level that we would like to have.
“We couldn’t do that tonight. We didn’t create enough, didn’t keep the ball enough, we just didn’t have that sharpness really so it’s disappointing. But we’re still top of the group so we have to recover and go again at the weekend, another big game.”
In Europe, the Reds need three points from their final two games to clinch a place in the knockout rounds. Four points would clinch first. Things are a lot tighter in the league, though, where they now turn their attention ahead of Saturday.
Roughly a quarter of the way in, the top of the table is as congested as the fixture list—while opponents Brighton will see the Reds’ short turnaround from Wednesday and dream of a famous victory to claw themselves away from relegation places.
“We just need to get over this pretty quickly,” Milner added. “Look where we can improve and go again.”
Wednesday’s team selection made it seem as though Klopp already had one eye on Brighton.
On Wednesday night in the Champions League, a heavily changed Liverpool side put in one of the worst performances of the Jürgen Klopp era. There will, of course, have been plenty of reasons for it.
An injury crisis, an overloaded fixture list, and players knowing that they only need win one of their final three group games to advance in Europe seemed to have everyone involved in Red looking ahead of Saturday.
Saturday and an unkindly early kickoff against Brighton, a scheduling choice by the league and broadcasters Klopp has hit out against and that seemed to inform his team selection against Atalanta.
“We go in a few hours to Brighton and play there, so that’s the first thing we have to think about and when that’s over we think about Ajax,” he said. “My concern, what I think about at the moment, is not Ajax.”
If Liverpool’s injury-riddled squad survive Brighton—and hopefully more than survive as there’s less wiggle room in the league where they’re level on points in first with Tottenham—they will move on to Ajax.
Currently, Liverpool have nine points in their group while Ajax and Atalanta have seven. A win against either Ajax or Midtjylland in the final two games would assure the Reds of at least finishing second.
Four points gives them the tiebreaker against Ajax or Midtjylland and ensures a first place finish. Before that, though, comes Brighton and Saturday’s early kickoff as the unrelenting fixture list continues.
Former chairman of Gombe United FC, Shuaibu Gara Gombe, has given a pat on the back to the Presidential Task Force (PTF) on Covid-19 for stopping the Edo 2020 National Sports Festival insisting that holding the festival this year would have been a disaster.
Gara Gombe stressed that, he just can not understand why some people were hellbent on holding the festival at a time when the International Olympics Committee (IOC) even postponed the world’s biggest sports fiesta, the Tokyo 2020 Olympics.
“Why are some people desperate to go to Benin…have you seen a sports festival that is organized in batches as Sunday Dare and his co travelers wanted to do…have you seen a festival without fans…these are fundamental questions begging for answers.
Continuing Gara Gombe pointed out that the crime rate in Edo and other parts of the country has gone up since after the #Endsars protests.
“The Crime rate in Edo in particular has been high since after #Endsars protests. Government needs to take care of that and then the Covid 19 thing is still here with us and some people for selfish reasons want the sports festival to go ahead. It would have been a disaster if PTF had not moved in to stop it,” Gara Gombe insisted.
He stressed that the Sports ministry should concentrate on how to prepare the nation’s athletes for the Olympics rather than Organising a festival in which none of the athletes to be discovered there would be featuring for Nigeria at the Olympics.