Arsenal star Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang has one weakness, says Liverpool boss Jurgen Klopp

David Cooper 24/08/2019
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Jurgen Klopp and Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang

Liverpool’s front three faces its own stiff competition on Saturday evening as Unai Emery’s Arsenal bring their own speed demons to Anfield.

Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang heads up the trio alongside Alexandre Lacazette and club-record signing Nicolas Pepe, rivalling that of Liverpool’s prolific forward line of Mohamed Salah, Roberto Firmino and Sadio Mane.

Reds boss Jurgen Klopp is hyper aware of the challenge facing his side with Aubameyang one of his key weapons during their time at Borussia Dortmund.

The German signed Aubameyang from Saint-Etienne in 2013 with the Gabon international enjoying a stellar career in the Bundesliga before moving to Arsenal last summer.

And Klopp has admitted his former charge is supremely talented, bar one area.

“Everybody knows everything about everybody, that is how it is and there are no surprises,” he said (h/t Goal) ahead of Saturday’s clash.

“Auba has actually no real weaknesses apart from his fashion style.

“When we played them so far we could kind of defend him but it is never possible to do it 100 per cent properly because of the speed he has. It’s just difficult.

“We know that, we have to work with it, deal with it. We did it in the past, we have to do it again and create our own moments.”

Klopp played a massive role in turning Aubameyang into one of the most fearsome forwards on the planet with a positional change at the heart of his emergence.

“He played as a winger at Saint-Etienne at that time, we needed a number nine because Robert Lewandowski was leaving us,” he said.

“We thought long about it, then he came in and played on the wing. Later on we realised he is a really good central striker, a number nine as well.

“It was not immediate like this. He developed incredibly and became a goal machine and I have to say his finishing is incredible. Combine that with the speed and it is really interesting.”

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Liverpool extend Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain's deal until 2023

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Liverpool midfielder Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain is keen to make up for lost time having signed a contract extension.

The 26-year-old, who made just two appearances last season after being sidelined with a serious knee injury, has agreed a deal which, PA news agency understands, will take him up to 2023.

Oxlade-Chamberlain, who moved to Anfield from Arsenal in the summer of 2017 for £35million, has already made more appearances this campaign than he did in the whole of the previous one.

“I feel like I missed out on a year, which I obviously did, so it’s really exciting for me to be able to sign,” he told liverpoolfc.com.

“It’s something that I feel is an opportunity to give that year back and make up for lost time – and hopefully put in some good performances to make amends for not being around last year.

“You’ve got to count your blessings every time you get an opportunity like this, you don’t get the chance to play for Liverpool Football Club every day.

“I am really excited to be able to extend my time here.”

Oxlade-Chamberlain had finally found his form when his season was prematurely ended by a knee injury in a Champions League semi-final first leg in April 2018.

He has already shown signs of reaching those levels again in his three appearances this season and he is keen to return to top form.

“I hope that I can do some special things like I did before I got injured and, most of all, be a part of this group of players that go on to hopefully win more things,” he added.

“I’m really excited to see what the future holds for us all and I look forward to seeing them every game moving forward.

“I can promise the supporters that I’ll give them absolutely everything moving forward.

“There might be times where I have bad games and good games and moments where it’s not so good, but I’ll always work through those moments and give my everything to correct them and keep pushing this team forward.”

Away from the first-team squad, Liverpool have abandoned existing plans for the redevelopment of Anfield in favour of a more ambitious project.

The club had outlined planning permission, due to expire next month, to expand the Anfield Road stand by 4,000 seats to lift the ground’s capacity to over 58,000.

However, with the demand for tickets still outstripping supply, those plans have been shelved – planning permission will be allowed to lapse – as Liverpool consider a grander scheme which would take the number of seats beyond 60,000.

The club remain committed to the redevelopment but now want to consider a scheme which pursues “a vision in keeping with the club’s aspirations”.

“The progress that has been made during ongoing feasibility studies has resulted in us being in a position to allow the outline planning permission to lapse,” said chief operating officer Andy Hughes.

“We are committed to working with local residents, planning officials and others as we now focus on the detail behind any proposed redevelopment for Anfield Road.

“Throughout this process we have been clear that our objective is to find the best possible solution for Anfield Road and that remains the case.”

Liverpool completed a £110million rebuild of the Main Stand at Anfield in 2016 which raised the capacity by 9,000.

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Liverpool boss Jurgen Klopp urges Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain to be patient in recovery from injury

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Liverpool boss Jurgen Klopp has urged midfielder Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain to be patient as he works his way back to full fitness after injury.

A knee ligament injury sustained during Liverpool’s Champions League match with Roma last April kept the former Arsenal man out for 16 months.

He started in Liverpool’s 2-1 win over Southampton last weekend in what was his first start in over 16 months.

“He needs to be patient in the right way, and everything will be fine 100 per cent,” Klopp said, according to Goal.

“We only talk about Ox because everybody knows how good he is.

“We need to make sure that he can show that on the pitch as well. When I make the decision that he is now ready then it is my responsibility of course, and the boy only has to try to do his best. That’s what Ox obviously did.

“What did I say to Ox after the game in Istanbul? Nothing. It’s a completely normal situation,” he added.

“He had a difficult game and we have a sensational offensive option on the bench, so I thought it made sense to use that. That was all, nothing else. With Ox, with patience in the right way, everything should be fine.”

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