New feature length documentary tells LFC’s 1986 double winning story

Documentary tells the story of an amazing season for Liverpool as Kenny Dalglish stepped up from player to player-manager – 30 years on.

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30 years after Liverpool’s historic League and FA Cup double in Kenny Dalglish’s first season as player manager, a new feature-length documentary has been produced and will air exclusively on the club’s LFCTV GO service.

With a running time close to 90 minutes, the programme features in-depth interviews with the men who played such an important role in that special season, including Kenny of course, his captain Alan Hansen and many more including Jan Molby, Jim Beglin, Ronnie Whelan and Craig Johnston.

The season began after the darkness of what happened in Heysel on May 29th 1985, 39 supporters dying after crowd violence before Liverpool’s European Cup final with Juventus. Liverpool, along with all other English clubs, were now banned from Europe.

Joe Fagan, who had taken the reigns from Bob Paisley, himself taking over from Bill Shankly, had retired and for once Liverpool had broken with tradition by not handing the job onto another member of the famous ‘Boot Room’. Sort of.

As Kenny explains in the documentary, he had the continued support of the Boot Room with the likes of Tom Saunders, Ronnie Moran and Roy Evans a part of his backroom staff, just as they had been for his predecessors. He also had one of those illustrious predecessors on hand as an advisor – a certain Mr Paisley.

“I had fantastic knowledge, help, support,” Kenny says.

“Tom Saunders was there, Ronnie and Roy stayed, old Bob came in to help me.

“If you’re given a managerial job and you’ve got arguably the most successful manager in football history beside you, who’s totally humble, supportive, appreciative and a fantastic help, then you’ve given yourself a bit of a chance.”

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The documentary is narrated by ITV Sport’s Clive Tyldesley, at the time a familiar voice to any Liverpool fan who had to get their LFC fix through the radio, in his case the local commercial station Radio City. For many a young Reds fan he was the voice that described the scenes over what sounded like a telephone line from distant places across Europe as the Reds marched through the continent picking up their first four European Cups. As this documentary explains, those days were now gone and would be for quite some time to come.

Entitled ‘Double Winners ’86 – On The March With Kenny’s Army’, the show is to be released exclusively to LFCTV GO subscribers today, Tuesday 31st May, reliving what still remains one of Liverpool FC’s greatest ever achievements.

The dramatic story of the Reds “forgotten season” is told with the help of extensive archive footage, some of which has rarely been seen due to the 1985 television dispute that kept all Football League and FA Cup matches from television screens until the start of January 1986.

“It was a fairy-tale season for us,” said Dalglish. “It’s unbelievable to consider the amount of success that the football club had enjoyed but they had never won the double.

“It was a fantastic achievement. It doesn’t get any better.”

The documentary will be available to view for current LFCTV GO subscribers from 31st May 2016 at 2pm BST.

Fans can access exclusive official LFC content on LFCTV GO, whether that’s the latest interview from a first team player, the manager or behind-the-scenes access to the Club’s backroom activities, plus full match replays and exclusive live coverage of U21, U18 and Ladies matches through. For details and to subscribe to LFCTV GO, visit: www.liverpoolfc.com/watch.

Liverpool to play four friendlies across the north of England

Liverpool confirmed earlier this week that they will be playing in a big friendly game against Barcelona in August at Wembley and today added four more dates to the pre-season calendar for games that are certainly not going to be quite as high profile.

 

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With construction work continuing on the rebuilt Main Stand there is no chance of the club playing any home friendlies this summer.

The four UK matches are to be held across the north of England, starting very locally across the water at Tranmere Rovers on 8th July. Five days later they head north to the seaside town of Fleetwood before a game around twenty miles from Anfield against former Premier League side Wigan Athletic who have just secured promotion to the Championship after a season in League One.

The final game announced today takes place in Yorkshire, the Reds playing Huddersfield Town on July 20th.

The full fixture list is:

 

  • Tranmere Rovers v LFC, Friday 8 July, Kick-off 7pm BST
  • Fleetwood Town v LFC, Wednesday 13 July, Kick-off 7pm BST
  • Wigan Athletic v LFC, Sunday 17 July, Kick-off 4pm BST
  • Huddersfield Town v LFC, Wednesday 20 July, Kick-off 7.45pm BST

The club will then continue their pre-season preparations Stateside with two International Champions Cup games on the West Coast of the US against Chelsea (July 28th) and AC Milan (July 31st), before rounding it all off with that game against Barcelona in London on August 6th.

The new Premier League season begins a week later.

The club say that tickets for the pre-season friendlies in the UK will soon be on sale and asks fans to keep checking www.liverpoolfc.com/tickets/tickets-availability for latest news.

 

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What can Loris Karius bring to Liverpool?

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Having sealed the signing of goalkeeper Loris Karius for £4.7 million, Sam May takes a look at what the young goalkeeper can bring to Merseyside.

The Reds had been linked with a number of other German goalkeepers in recent times including Timo Horn of Cologne, Marc-André ter Stegen of Barcelona, Berd Leno of Bayer Leverkusen and ex-Manchester United keeper Ron Robert Zieler of Hannover.

Having spent 18 years at Mainz as a player and manager, Jürgen Klopp has strong connections with the Bundesliga outfit and has acted fast to secure the services of one of the best goalkeepers around.

It seems competition in the goalkeeping department is only going to get stronger with Karius being brought in to rival current Reds No.1 Simon Mignolet. With Adam Bogdan set to leave and Danny Ward expected to head out on-loan, 22-year old Karius is a no brainer.

Why Karius?

The German shot stopper has previous experience in England having joined Manchester City in 2009, aged 16. But would later make a permanent move to Mainz in 2012.

Athletic and likes to command his area, he went on to make 96 appearances for Mainz, maturing in the process, developing into one of the finest goalkeeping talents in Europe. Arsenal, Borussia Dortmund and Merseyside rivals Everton were all interested, but Liverpool have acted fast, and decisively for once, which maybe shows how Klopp is going to operate.

The fact is, he could have re-joined former boss Thomas Tuchel at Borussia Dortmund, the manager who game him the break to showcase his talent at the Coface Arena. However, the opportunity of a move to Merseyside to work under Klopp was too good to turn down.

At 6”2’, he commands his box. He has good vocally helping defenders, a great presence, sharp reflexes, and likes to organize the defensive line. He has completed 99 catches, to Mignolet’s 74 this season, highlighting he is more than capable to command a place and rival the 26-year old Belgium shot stopper.

His calm and composed, but also dominant approach, is something that is suited to Klopp’s style of play. Having averaged 2.1 saves per goal, to Mignolet’s 1.27, the facts seem to say that he is the perfect option.

He has a similar style to that of David De Gea at Manchester United and is expected to rise to the top of the Premier League.

Mignolet has improved. He still however seems to be unconvincing amongst Reds supporters. His poor distribution is a weakness and something Klopp isn’t impressed with at times.

It seems Karius will settle into to life on Merseyside quickly, and if given a chance, and performs well then who knows, he could be the Reds keeper for the next 10 years, and join the likes of Clemence, Groballar, Dudek and Reina as a real red No.1.

Follow Sam on Twitter: @Sam95May

What do Liverpool need for the coming season?

Now Jurgen Klopp has had over half a season of Premier League experience, it is now time for him to bring in his own players and take Liverpool to the next level. I will be analysing what positions Klopp will need to invest in and possible candidates.

Signings so far

Loris Karius is the latest Klopp signing, a young promising goalkeeper from ex club Mainz. Karius is a great signing with the inconsistent performances from current number one, Simon Mignolet. A very good shot stopper and confident in possession of the ball whilst delivering good distribution much like ex Liverpool player Pepe Reina. It is not yet clear whether Karius is the new number one goalkeeper but he will definitely be good competition for Mignolet for the coming season. 

New LFC goalkeeper signing Karius

Is Karius the new number one at Liverpool?

Joel Matip was signed in February on a free transfer from FC Schalke 04 and could be the dominant centre back Liverpool are crying for. Over recent seasons, poor defending has been the Reds downfall and Klopp has immediately tried to rectify that. Joel Matip stands at 6 ft 4 inches and is known for his power and heading ability, which can certainly help Liverpool with their inability to defend corners/crosses. On a free, this is a brilliant signing as he is still young but has good experience, collecting nearly 200 appearances for Schalke and 27 for his national team Cameroon. Matip will go straight into the first team and Klopp will hope for him to build a formidablle partnership with the rejuvenated Dejan Lovren.

Marko Grujic is relatively unknown to fans of the Premier League and Liverpool but looks a very promising player. The Serbian made it into the SuperLiga team of the season accumulating six goals and seven assists along the way. A big powerful midfielder, Grujic has been likened to fellow Serbian Nemanja Matic and for sum of £5.1 million, Liverpool may have just found a top European midfielder.

Positions Liverpool need to strengthen this summer

Left Back has been a constant problem for Liverpool since club legend John Arne Riise left the club. The likes of Paul Konchesky, Jose Enrique and Fabio Aurellio have tried to fill the void but have not been up to Liverpool’s expectations. The current left back is Alberto Moreno, whilst Moreno provides a great attacking threat, his ability to defend is often questioned and his abysmal Europa League final performance has many fans wanting Klopp to sign a new left back. Moreno did not convert to a left back until he was 21 and this shows in his current game, a backup left back or playing him higher up the pitch will be more suitable for this coming season.

Potential signings – Jonas Hector, Caner Erkin, Ben Chilwell.

Midfield is a tricky one as Liverpool do possess very good midfielders in, Emre Can, Jordan Henderson, James Milner and Philippe Coutinho. Despite the quality in midfield, it feels like Liverpool are desperate for a proven top class player to add another option for Klopp. There has been much speculation about the potential signing of Mario Gotze, this would be the marquee signing Liverpool fans are begging for. Unfortunately for Liverpool fans, it seems like the deal is not on the cards. Speaking to German newspaper Suddeutsche Zeitung, Gotze’s father Jurgen Gotze stated he has heard nothing about a possible deal to the Reds; “I don’t know anything about an alleged imminent transfer to Liverpool,” he said. “Mario is my son, we talk to each other. I would know about it.” This is a huge setback for everyone involved with Liverpool but this transfer can be resurrected.

Gotze waving goodbye to Bayern fans?

Gotze waving goodbye to Bayern fans?

Potential signings – Mario Gotze is a main target for Klopp and they should do everything they can to secure his services.

Now Liverpool have a world class manager in Jurgen Klopp, fans will need to be patient and give Klopp time to bring in the players he believes can take Liverpool to the next level and bring the Premier League back to Anfield for the first time in over 20 years.

Follow Jake on Twitter.

Competition: Win a personalised Ireland shirt in time for Euro 2016

To celebrate Ireland’s involvement in this summer’s European Championships we are giving away a personalised replica Ireland shirt in a free-to-enter competition.

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The domestic season is now over and done with but fans don’t have to wait long for the return of competitive football with Euro 2016 right around the corner. One of the nations involved this summer is Ireland and memories of slightly older supporters are flooding back from the 1988 tournament when the Irish lads upset another of this summer’s qualifiers, England.

Read on for details of how to enter our competition.

Wales and Northern Ireland are also involved this summer and whether there will be any upsets this time remains to be seen, but if you think there might be one or two red faces you can always Bet on the Euros with Paddy Power, whether it’s for individual games or the tournament as a whole.

The 1988 tournament was held in what was still then West Germany with just eight teams qualifying compared to the 24 sides who are involved in the Euro 2016 finals.

The opening game in Group 2 saw Ireland take on England in a match in which both sides had Liverpool players on the pitch, five Liverpool players starting the match in all.

On the England side Reds legends John Barnes and Peter Beardsley started, with future Liverpool defender Mark Wright, then with Derby, also involved. LFC midfielder Steve McMahon was an unused England sub.

Ireland named three Liverpool players in their Euros squad and all three started the group’s curtain raiser against the English, played at the VfB Arena in Stuttgart. John Aldridge, usually seen in Liverpool colours wearing the No.8 shirt – as worn by his boyhood hero Roger Hunt – was handed the No.9 shirt for Ireland, with Reds teammate Ray Houghton wearing the 8.

Also involved for the Boys in Green was Liverpool and Ireland legend Ronnie Whelan, the midfielder wearing the No.6 shirt for the tournament.

The half a dozen Liverpool players involved in the game on and off the pitch would still have fresh memories of the upset at Wembley in the FA Cup final just a few weeks before when Wimbledon broke Reds hearts with their unlikely victory over hot favourites and league champions Liverpool.

Could Ireland pull off what would be seen, at least in England, as a similar upset?

They did.

It took just six minutes for Jack Charlton’s Ireland to take the lead and, try as England might, they were unable to break the Republic down, thanks in large part to goalkeeper Packie Bonner.

The game ended 1-0 and Ireland were in heaven.

The rest of the tournament didn’t go quite so well for Ireland and their adventure was over soon after, but that victory over England remains one of those games that fans will talk about for a long time afterwards. Also at least Ireland, unlike England, went home with some points on the board. Ireland finished third in the group with three points (it was still two points for a win in those days), Bobby Robson’s side losing all three of their games.

To enter our competition just answer the following question. Leave your answer in the comments before the closing date and we’ll pick a winner at random shortly afterwards.

Q. WHO SCORED IRELAND’S GOAL AGAINST ENGLAND IN THE 1988 EUROPEAN CHAMPIONSHIPS?

As a bonus – just for fun – who got the assist?

Leave your answer in the reply/comments box below.

Please make sure you enter your email address correctly in the space provided – we won’t share this with anyone without your permission, but we will need this to contact you in the event you win the prize! Closing date: 11:59pm (UK & Ireland Time) Monday 30th May 2016. The decision of Anfield Road is final.

Gary McAllister to Celtic Park?

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McAllister could be set for Celtic coaching role, writes Sam May.

Former Liverpool great and first-team coach, Gary McAllister could be heading back to his homeland this summer, to link back up with new Celtic manager Brendan Rodgers.

It is understood the 51-year old Scot, could become the Northern Irishman’s No.2, as the former Kop boss, looks to re-shape his coaching staff ahead of the new campaign. A move would see him leave his ambassadorial role at Anfield.

Having been brought to Liverpool by the former Reds manager Rodgers in 2015, McAllister’s duties were to remind the Reds’ hierarchy of the importance of experience.

McAllister, who signed for the club aged 35, went on to make 87 appearances for Liverpool and helped his side to win the FA Cup, League Cup and UEFA Cup.

Rodgers, 43, could also look to bring in former assistant managers Colin Pascoe and Sean O’Driscoll who both worked with him on Merseyside, whilst Neil Lennon and Malky Mackay have also been noted.

Follow Sam on Twitter: @Sam95May

Liverpool’s hopes of turning “distraction” into Champions League ticket dashed

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When Liverpool qualified for the UEFA Europa League, many of their fans saw the competition as a distraction because they were hoping the Reds would be focussing on another attempt at a Premier League title or at least a top four finish. The league season didn’t work out that way and long before it ended Liverpool’s online sportsbook soccer odds of winning the league title were non-existent and the Europa League was considered Liverpool’s golden ticket to qualify for next season’s Champions League.

Sadly that ticket ultimately went to Sevilla, Liverpool’s amazing adventure in the Europa League coming to an end against the second Spanish side they faced in consecutive ties of the UEFA competition.

In the semi-final of the Europa League, team manager Jürgen Klopp spoke about his team’s strong chances of advancing to the final but also cautioned that the players and fans not to get too far ahead of themselves because the team faced a tough test against Villarreal. That seemed to be proved right when the Reds came home from Spain with a 1-0 deficit. A week later, under the Anfield floodlights, Liverpool put on a display that banished any concerns they might not make the final, a 3-0 win booking them their place in Basel 3-1 on aggregate.

In the quarter-finals, Liverpool pulled off one of the most thrilling comebacks in the tournament’s history against Klopp’s former team Borussia Dortmund, who had a big aggregate lead – including the advantage of away goals – at one point during the second leg of the tie. The Reds mounted a furious comeback in the second half of the game against Dortmund, and eventually won the game 4-3, and advanced to the semis with a 5-4 aggregate win.

Prior to their quarter-final match with Dortmund, Liverpool had knocked off Premier League rivals Manchester United out of Europe with a 3-1 aggregate win in the Round of 16. With the convincing wins against Manchester United and Dortmund, Liverpool fans are excited about their chances of making winning the tournament and qualifying for the Champions League.

Despite his joy about the way his team fought back against Dortmund, Klopp was hoping the comeback wouldn’t be wasted by losing to Villarreal in the semis. He was worried that some of his players might have been overconfident heading into the tied and warned them about the consequences.

Klopp told his players that despite Villarreal being fourth in the Spanish League, they were a very tough side capable of defeating any of the best teams in Europe having already knocked Napoli and Bayer Leverkusen out and easily dispatching Sparta Prague in the quarters.

Despite Klopp’s cautious optimism, Liverpool were favoured to win the tie against Villarreal, and to advance to last week’s Europa League Final, a prediction that turned out to be true. A win in Basel in the final would have earned them that spot in the Champions League next year and would have allowed them to commence the battle to win their sixth Champions League title. That battle will now have to wait.

The game against Sevilla proved to be one game too far, one half too far even, with Liverpool certainly dominating proceedings and looking well in control when the two sides went into the dressing rooms after the first 45 minutes. A Daniel Sturridge goal was the difference between the English and Spanish teams by that point and the Reds fans that made up the majority of the crowd were full of confidence.

Sadly for Liverpool the confidence was obliterated after less than 20 seconds of the restart, Sevilla catching Klopp’s side cold and grabbing an equaliser the Reds never recovered from. There was a great deal of controversy about some of the decisions made by the officials during the game, including an assistant seemingly changing his mind about an offside call, but Klopp’s men showed none of the determination for a comeback that had got them past Dortmund a couple of rounds before.

A competition originally seen a distraction had become far, far, more and with just 45 minutes of a marathon season left it looked like Liverpool were heading into next season’s Champions League. In the end it wasn’t to be, but it’s safe to say that the Reds’ adventure should make more teams take the competition seriously in future.

Liverpool to rival Tottenham for Callum Wilson

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Liverpool and Tottenham are going head to head for Bournemouth striker, Callum Wilson, according to the Sunday Express, writes Sam May.

Wilson, 24, missed part of Bournemouth’s Premier League campaign having picked up a serious knee injury in September against Stoke City.

Scoring five goals in seven appearances, the England Under-21 star, hasn’t netted since his return. This however, hasn’t put off Jürgen Klopp or Mauricio Pochettino.

It is believed, the Spurs boss is to be handed a £60 million transfer kitty as he looks to strengthen his squad and ease the burden on Harry Kane, 22.

Klopp is said to be keen on the Cherries’ Coventry born frontman as he looks to add firepower to his attacking line ahead of the new campaign.

The Reds have also been linked with a move for FC Basle’s Cameroonian striker, Breel Embolo, 19, who has recently been targeted in a £20 million move to Tottenham.

Clearly, both teams are going to try and out smarten each other, when the new season begins.

Five Liverpool Transfer Rumours

Every day brings with it a new transfer rumour. With Liverpool doing better than ever this season, it’s natural that the Anfield rumour mill is working overtime. Here are five transfer rumours that have been making the rounds lately.

1. Joe Allen

First and foremost, fans want to know what’s going to happen with Joe Allen. With the Liverpool midfielder’s contract expiring at the end of this season, there have been rumours that he may be transferring elsewhere. The contract was originally signed in 2012 when he transferred from Swansea for £15million. However, his Europa League performances over the past few weeks may have secured his chances of a contract extension, according to Jurgen Klopp.

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Image Source: Ronnie MacDonald/Wikimedia Commons

 

Clearly the uncertainty of his future at Anfield hasn’t distracted Allen from getting the job done. With Jordan Henderson’s knee injury taking him out of the limelight, Allen has had a chance to shine. On the heels of their victory against Borussia Dortmund, Liverpool squares off against Villarreal on April 28. This will be the first time that the two teams play competitively, with some giving Liverpool the edge and others giving it to Villarreal. Sites like Betsafe slightly favour Villarreal in terms of odds, but could Allen help drive Liverpool to another win?

2. Ryan Sessegnon

He may only be 15, but Ryan Sessegnon has made a splash as captain of Fulham’s under-16 squad. Both Liverpool and Arsenal plan to duke it out for Sessegnon, who is already considered to be one of the country’s most exciting talents. Compared by some to a young Gareth Bale, Sessegnon is classed as a defender. Arsenal has already tried and failed to snare Sessegnon, as a trade for Serge Gnabry until the end of the season. However, Fulham wouldn’t agree to the deal, deeming Sessegnon too valuable. It remains to be seen whether Arsenal will be able to make it work this time, or if Liverpool will be able to outbid them.

3. Theo Walcott

This certainly isn’t the first time that Theo Walcott has been linked to Liverpool, and it probably isn’t the last if things don’t pan out. For example, just last summer there were speculations that he would be part of a swap with Brendan Rodgers. At that time, Walcott had caught Liverpool’s eye as a potential striker, for scoring the opening goal against Aston Villa in the FA Cup final. According to recent reports, he’s now been linked once more with Liverpool. The Star on Sunday claimed that Klopp may be interested in making a play for Walcott, with rumours that the England international player is feeling antsy and on the hunt for new opportunities.

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Image Source: Ronnie MacDonald/Flickr

4. Mario Götze

Bayern Munich forward Mario Götze is rumoured to be more than interested in reuniting with Jurgen Klopp, who he has worked with before at Dortmund. Chief executive officer of Bayern Munich, Karl-Heinz Rummenigge, has stated in a recent interview that he is willing to sit down and work with Götze and discuss his future at the end of the season. This has added credibility to the possibility of a transfer to Liverpool. Klopp has already been painted as quite confident that Liverpool will be able to sign Götze, who has been marked as a high priority for transfer. Just 23 years old, Götze is ready for a change as he has only made 12 appearances at Bayern Munich this season and is hungry for a higher profile role. By the end of the season, he’ll only have a year left on his Bayern contract and Liverpool hope to get a good deal for the transfer as a result. Naturally, Arsenal have also got their eye on World Cup winner Götze, but Klopp’s history with the player gives Liverpool a leg up in negotiations.

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Image Source: By Steindy/Wikimedia Commons

5. Marc Andre ter Stegen

Barcelona goalkeeper Marc-Andre ter Stegen is being pursued by a number of teams, particularly Manchester City and Liverpool. Online reports say that he’s restless and looking for new opportunities, having made only a handful of La Liga appearances this season. According to rumours, Liverpool are prepared to double his salary to £110,000 a week, which would make him the fourth highest paid player on the team. Barcelona would also demand a sizeable sum for the transfer, to the tune of £30million, according to Squawka. Ter Stegen has been the subject of Liverpool transfer rumours since October, but at the moment it seems that Manchester City may be winning out.

Liverpool close on Manchester City wonderkid

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Liverpool are closing in on a deal for Manchester City youngster Rafael Camacho, according to sources, writes Sam May.

Camacho, 15, joined the Sky Blues from Portuguese side Sporting Lisbon since the summer of 2014. The attacking midfielder is seen as one of the best talents to come from Portugal for his age, and scored three goals in five appearances for his country’s under 16s.

Despite this, he is set to leave and is unlikely to win a professional contract at the Ethiad Stadium. The Reds are said to be keen admirers of the teenager, with talks at an advanced stage.

If brought in, he would become the second City youngster to move to Merseyside in recent weeks with Liverpool already signing defender Diego Lattie last month. Lattie, 16, was informed that he wouldn’t be given a professional deal before his departure.

The England Under-17 international has now agreed a three-year-deal with the Reds. Having been released from his Sky Blues contract, Liverpool don’t pay any compensation for the player.

Ex-Reds technical director, Rodolfo Borrell, who spent four years on Merseyside and is now at Manchester City, could be an influence in the players moving to Anfield.

Follow Sam on Twitter: @Sam95May

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