Champions League hits and misses: Liverpool send reminder to Man City, Heung-Min Son delivers for Spurs | Football News

Are you watching Man City? Sparks may fly on Sunday

Jurgen Klopp
Jurgen Klopp enjoyed a good night in Glasgow as his side thrashed Rangers 7-1

Was that sparky enough for you, Didi?

Those were not the words of Jurgen Klopp but you get the impression he would have liked to have gone down that Didi Hamman route when pressed after Liverpool’s rampant showing at Ibrox which ended up being Rangers’ biggest-ever home defeat in a competitive home match. Klopp admitted the 7-1 thrashing had “changed the mood” within the dressing room but is this result going to be the catalyst for a game-changer for Liverpool?

In terms of spark levels, this performance was New Year’s Eve firework night levels of colour and excitement. Well, for 45 minutes it was.

Klopp’s decision to bench Mohamed Salah actually looked a foolish move at the end of the first half. His boys were stagnating in attack with Darwin Nunez fumbling and stumbling across the front line and they were being cut open at the other end. Few would have predicted what was to come after the break. Roberto Firmino provided the foundations for the sharp change in intensity as his hot streak continues.

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Jurgen Klopp says Mohamed Salah’s six-minute hat-trick was ‘typical’ but reserved praise for the whole side after their 7-1 win at Rangers

Only Erling Haaland (23) has more goal involvements for a Premier League club in all competitions this season than Firmino, who has eight goals and four assists to his name. He dazzled but it was his old mate Salah who provided the main story, bursting back to goalscoring form in devastating fashion. Yes, here was a player who has not scored in the Premier League since August 22.

Benching Salah, eh? Perhaps Klopp does know what he’s doing. It was as easy as one, two, three.

Mo Salah came off the bench to score a second-half hat-trick for Liverpool at Rangers in the Champions League
Mo Salah came off the bench to score a second-half hat-trick for Liverpool at Rangers in the Champions League

And, like the team itself, something has just not clicked so far for the Egyptian. Klopp will be hoping this is just the start, with Liverpool’s great rivals coming into view this Sunday. Manchester City are at Anfield – live on Sky Sports – and Liverpool may have found their spark at just the right time.
Lewis Jones

Spurs’ nervy ending overshadows sensational Son

Heung-Min Son salutes the fans after scoring twice in Tottenham's 3-2 victory over Eintracht Frankfurt
Heung-Min Son salutes the fans after scoring twice in Tottenham’s 3-2 victory over Eintracht Frankfurt

For 87 minutes Spurs’ 3-2 win over Eintracht Frankfurt looked like being all about Heung-Min Son.

He was in electric form as he scored two goals, including a superb first-time thunderous volley, to help Spurs take full control against Frankfurt.

He even forced the German side’s red card as Tuta was sent off for two yellow cards in the space of three minutes for fouls on the South Korean.

From there it should have been game over but two minutes after Son came off, Spurs somehow nearly threw away victory to undo all of his good work.

The 10 men of Frankfurt made it 3-2 in the 87th minute through Faride Alidou’s header and the mood of the game completely changed as Spurs needlessly clung on. The performance up until then had been fairly convincing with the front three of Kane, Son and Richarlison all clicking together nicely.

But the final few minutes will serve as a reminder for Spurs and head coach Antonio Conte that there is much work to be done if the club are to compete for trophies this season.

The Italian acknowledged that this win could well be a big step in their learning under him.

He said in his post-match press conference: “We are talking about a really good performance but the final part we have to take a big lesson, everybody.

“In the last part of the game, everybody conceded the game ended and for this reason we made a big mistake.”
Declan Olley

Rested Haaland a frightening thought

Haaland, Man City
Manchester City striker Erling Haaland was an unused substitute against Copenhagen on Tuesday

The first time Erling Haaland has not been in the starting line-up and the first time Manchester City have failed to score this season. Coincidence? Probably.

Going down to 10 men against Copenhagen was the real problem for Pep Guardiola, but the goalless draw will not concern him too much. They are still in pole position to win their Champions League group.

It will be interesting to know what Haaland thought of Guardiola’s decision to leave him on the bench, though. The City boss suggested the Norwegian was “tired”, but the 22-year-old is looking to create history and Tuesday night would have been another perfect opportunity to add to his remarkable Champions League goal tally.

With 28 goals in 22 games, his next strike will see him equal the totals of David Trezeguet (58 appearances), Roy Makaay (61 appearances) and Patrick Kluivert (71 appearances).

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Manchester City manager Pep Guardiola says he doesn’t understand the handball law and believes it was a good point against Copenhagen

In the past week alone in all competitions, Haaland has scored two goals against Copenhagen, three against Manchester United and one against Southampton. He has 20 already this season.

But after starting all of City’s 13 games before their trip to Denmark, perhaps he did need a break. Or perhaps Guardiola had one eye on City’s next fixture.

His star striker is now refreshed for Liverpool on Sunday, live on Sky Sports. A frightening thought for Jurgen Klopp’s side.
Dan Sansom

Sunday 16th October 4:00pm

Kick off 4:30pm

Mason climbs every Mount-ain

Mason Mount was only on the pitch for 45 minutes at the San Siro as Chelsea cruised to victory in Milan. That was still enough for him to walk away with the man of the match award, in a fine reminder of his worth to the club – and why three managers in a row have now seen fit to make him a focal point in their midfield.

Mount has been validly criticised for his lack of goal contributions in the early weeks of the season, but the Blues hadn’t exactly been firing on all cylinders themselves. Just as he had recovered from a slow start to 2021/22, now Mount is flying again.

Jeered by some when he came on for England at Wembley last month, his goal against Germany was a catalyst to provide three assists across his next four games, and by the time he took to the pitch in Milan his confidence was clearly restored.

Even so, the performance he produced was up there with his best in a Chelsea shirt. Alive to everything, half a second quicker than his adversaries and the architect of both goals – and Fikayo Tomori’s red card – the only thing missing was a strike of his own, and even that was only denied by Ciprian Tatarusanu’s smart handiwork.

Mount is always energetic, and always an asset without the ball, but when he is wasteful with it his contribution can be overlooked, and his output does dwindle.

The same could not be said since Graham Potter’s arrival. If there is any player the new manager would have loved to work with when he first arrived at Stamford Bridge, it would be him. “I’m really pleased for him and have been really pleased with him from the start,” he told BT Sport after full-time. And you can tell he meant it.
Ron Walker

England’s unexpected right-back worry

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Chelsea head coach Graham Potter was delighted with his side’s Champions League win against AC Milan

England’s embarrassment of riches at right-back is suddenly looking a little awkward. Firstly, Kyle Walker picks up an abdominal problem, then Trent Alexander-Arnold is forced off against Arsenal. Now Reece James goes off injured against AC Milan in Italy.

In contrast to Alexander-Arnold, who was enduring a torrid time of it for Liverpool on Sunday, James was in imperious form for Chelsea in the San Siro. It was his pass in behind Fikayo Tomori that led to the moment that took the game away from Milan.

It was an awkward landing that saw him substituted on the hour mark and the hope will be that it is not quite as bad as it looked. But what should be England’s strongest area of the pitch has suddenly become even more complicated for Gareth Southgate.

A squad of 26 players might allow room for several who are not at optimum fitness but in the same position? The England boss is expected to name his provisional squad next week and could now be doing so with uncertainty over the fitness of his full-backs.
Adam Bate

Celtic rue missed chances once again

Kyogo Furuhashi missed a change to put Celtic in front
Kyogo Furuhashi missed a change to put Celtic in front

It was the same old story for Celtic in the Champions League, missed opportunities cost them vital points once again.

The result also means they have equalled Monaco’s unwanted record of seven consecutive home defeats in the group stage of the competition.

Ange Postecoglou has spoken repeatedly about the step up in quality and his work in progress, but had Celtic taken some of their chances in any of their games so far they would find themselves in a very different position.

There was no Callum McGregor for the hosts, but that did not stop Postecoglou sticking to his philosophy of fast, attacking football.

Timo Werner opened the scoring at Celtic Park
Timo Werner opened the scoring at Celtic Park

Matt O’Riley played in a deeper midfield role and impressed, with Greg Taylor also one of Celtic’s standouts, but it was not enough.

Celtic’s Champions League hopes are over and it will be tough for them to secure the consolation of Europa League football. To achieve that they need at least four points from their final two group matches – at home to Shakhtar Donetsk and away to Real Madrid.

Alison Conroy

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