Georginio Wijnaldum says Liverpool's belief to win is at an all-time high

Press Association Sport 11:35 08/11/2019
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Liverpool midfielder Georginio Wijnaldum admits belief within the squad is so high he struggles to remember the last time he thought they would lose.

The club’s only loss this season was in the 2-0 Champions League reverse against Napoli, a match the Holland midfielder did not feature in until the 66th minute.

Since then they have pulled off some miraculous escapes with late goals against Leicester, Manchester United and Arsenal and have earned a reputation for never giving up.

That will be tested to the limit on Sunday when defending champions Manchester City arrive at Anfield looking to halve the six-point leader Liverpool have over them at the top of the table.

So have they extinguished that losing feeling?

“Difficult. We just create that thing that we know we always can turn things around,” said the Dutchman.

“We always have that feeling, to stay positive. That’s also because of the results we had until now, and the way we came back.

“Our mindset is different, which is quite good, because we keep doing the things we want to do in a game.

“Normally if you are 2-0 down, your body language is going to change, but we still have that mindset that we can still turn it around.

“It’s because of the belief we have in each other, but also the results we have had. We have (turned games around) a lot of times. That gives confidence.

“If it just happened once, it’s not the same. But it happened over and over. We know we are a team that can always come back from difficult situations – but of course we don’t want to let it go that far.”

It has been suggested the amount of physical and emotional energy the players are expending to turn around situations may eventually count against them.

But Wijnaldum believes it has become so ingrained in them now that they can push past the pain in search of victory.

“It’s hard, really hard. You have to go until the end, and you have to go even when you don’t physically see a positive outcome,” he added.

“Especially at the end of the games, you just keep going because you think you can.

“Your body is tired and so you battle with your body like ‘No, we have to go, we have to go on’.

“It’s really hard, but in the end you enjoy it more if you win that way than if it is easy.”

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Fernandinho not intimidated by Man City's poor Anfield record against Liverpool

Press Association Sport 11:22 08/11/2019
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Fernandinho claims Manchester City’s poor record at Anfield will count for nothing this weekend.

The Premier League champions travel to current leaders Liverpool for an eagerly-awaited clash on Sunday.

Despite City’s recent domestic dominance, they have been unable to break a long-running Merseyside hoodoo.

City have won just once at Anfield since 1981 – and that was 16 years ago.

Not even the arrival of Pep Guardiola as manager has brought a change of luck, with the Spaniard’s four trips to the ground including the chastening 3-0 Champions League quarter-final loss in 2018.

There is plenty riding on the latest meeting, with City looking to cut into the Reds’ six-point lead at the summit.

Fernandinho, who has been forced to reinvent himself as a defender this season due to injuries, said: “There’s always a first time in the life, no? We are searching for this first time to win at Anfield.

“We go there and try to win the game. The mentality is always try to win the game. I am confident we can go there and try to win.”

Fernandinho believes City can build on the spirit shown in their hard-fought draw against Atalanta in the Champions League in midweek.

City had travelled to Milan looking for the victory that would secure their place in the last 16 but they were forced to reassess on a night of goalkeeper chaos at the San Siro.

First-choice Ederson was forced off injured at half-time and his replacement Claudio Bravo was sent off for a foul outside the box. City ended up hanging on for a 1-1 draw with right-back Kyle Walker in goal.

Fernandinho said: “As I say to the lads, with a game like this, if you can’t win you don’t lose.

“One man down, both keepers went out for different situations. I think that’s the spirit of the lads, for sure.

“In difficult situations like this we have to stick together and we did. This is important because we are building a team to be champions and sometimes to be champions you have to play games like this.

“Now it is good because everybody is understanding what we are building.

“We had to defend a little bit more than usual but Sunday we go there to try to win the game from the first minute.”

City are still waiting on updates on Ederson, who suffered a thigh injury in the first half.

Along with playmaker David Silva, who missed the trip to Italy with a muscular problem, the Brazilian is doubtful for the weekend.

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Kevin De Bruyne turns focus to Man City's crucial clash with Liverpool

Press Association Sport 18:09 07/11/2019
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Kevin De Bruyne is relishing the challenge as Manchester City prepare for this weekend’s crunch clash at Liverpool.

The Premier League champions head to Anfield on Sunday for their first meeting of the season with the Merseysiders, who lead the table by six points.

They do so on the back of a 1-1 draw with Atalanta in Milan in the Champions League on Wednesday, a result which meant City still have work to do to a secure a last-16 spot.

But with a five-point lead in Group C and two fixtures still to play, that should be a formality. Sunday’s encounter is a far more pressing issue and De Bruyne is looking forward to playing in a formidable Anfield atmosphere.

The Belgian said: “I prefer to play in that than when there is nobody. Professionals want to play in front of 50, 60, 70, 80 thousand people and it makes it worthwhile.

“You train all your life to get to the big stages. I want to compete for titles and to be the best, and to do that you have to win against the best.

“The media will make a lot of it, and people have been talking about it for the whole week, even before the Champions League, but we just do our job, keep calm and prepare ourselves.”

City, who famously pipped Champions League winners Liverpool to the Premier League title by one point last season, have a poor record at Anfield.

City have only won there once since Boxing Day 1981, and that was in 2003.

“I don’t care,” said De Bruyne. “A lot of circumstances will decide the game. What can a player do with statistics like this?

“It’s a game like another. We know it’s a big game – Liverpool are ahead. We have to go back, recover and be ready for next Sunday.”

City will be anxiously awaiting updates on goalkeeper Ederson, who was forced off at half-time against Atalanta with a thigh injury.

His obvious replacement, Claudio Bravo, may also not be high in confidence after being sent off late in the game following his introduction as a substitute.

City ended the game hanging on for a draw with Kyle Walker in goal.

It all seemed so different from early in the game when Raheem Sterling rounded off a fine team move to score the opener after seven minutes.

City failed to build on their advantage and Atalanta responded well to Gabriel Jesus’ missed penalty before half-time, levelling through Mario Pasalic. From then it was they who looked the more likely side.

De Bruyne said: “We dominated (the first half) and in my estimation it should have been 2-0 or 3-0, and the game is over.

“We gave them the opportunity to come back and the second half was more difficult.

“These things happen, but after the red card, we did what we had to do. We weren’t going to play stupid and openly, but we controlled it. It’s a good point.”

The closing moments also gave Walker, who made one save, something to talk about for years to come.

“He’s buzzing,” said De Bruyne. “It happens and you have to improvise, and he did his job.”

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