Jurgen Klopp is not feeling the pressure despite Liverpool's worrying form, believing the shock home defeat to Burnley can act as a catalyst to "change things properly". 

The reigning champions were downed by a late Ashley Barnes penalty as their 68-game unbeaten run at home in the Premier League come to a stunning end on Thursday. 

Klopp watched on as his team endured a fourth successive league outing without scoring, leaving them six points off the pace in the title race. 

Ahead of Sunday's FA Cup tie with league leaders Manchester United, Klopp explained how Liverpool have not used the right tools of late, something the Reds will work hard to correct as they look to get back to somewhere near their best.

"I don't feel the pressure from outside, I deal with the pressure I put on myself my entire life. I'm used to that already," Klopp told the media while previewing the trip to Old Trafford. 

"When you have had the success we've had, there are two directions then. One is you keep going exactly on the same level, which is difficult with the challenges you have around. The other one is it gets a little bit less. 

"At the moment, it feels like a lot less. That's what we have to change, we are not like this where we think that just because we try, we should get everything. We are really ready for the fight; we are ready for the battle, 100 per cent. 

"But, in the moment, we don't use the right tools. That is true as well. That is what we absolutely have to adjust and improve, and that's what we are doing. 

"The only problem is the tests we face are constantly in the public and on television, so everybody watches each little step in whatever direction. That is obviously nice when you have a good run, and when not in a good a run it's not exactly the same, you don't get the same joy with it." 

Liverpool are on a five-game winless streak in the Premier League and while the loss to struggling Burnley was disappointing, Klopp hopes it can be turned into a positive, offering something of a reset point during what is an arduous season amid the ongoing coronavirus pandemic. 

The Reds had 27 attempts at goal on Thursday, six of which were on target, while they have now had 87 efforts since previously finding the net in the league, a run that started after Sadio Mane's early opener in the 1-1 draw with West Brom on December 27.

Klopp's side are the first English top-flight team since West Ham in 1967 to have failed to find the net in four successive league matches, yet still be the division's top scorers.

"In these moments, I'm not in doubt about us as a group at all," Klopp – who also confirmed Mohamed Salah is set to start against United – said. 

"But these moments are where you need the group to come close together and do the right things. That's what we do. 

"We lost that game [to Burnley] and it was a really low point. It was not like I thought, 'Oh, who cares?' – it was a game we lost.  

"When I think back, I cannot find a reason why we lost that game, but we lost it. With all the things that happened – the penalty, the chance we had, all these kind of things – but it happened. 

"Sometimes, you need a really low point to change things properly. That, for sure, is what we will try now, 100 per cent. 

"If we would have won in a bad game, somehow 1-0, the world would have said it's not the football that we usually play but it's a result. But, in the long term, it wouldn't be a real help. That game can be a real help, if we use it."

Liverpool have only reached the FA Cup fifth round once in Klopp's five previous seasons at the club, doing so last term before they were knocked out by top-flight rivals Chelsea.

After thrashing Crystal Palace 7-0 on December 19, Liverpool were six points clear at the Premier League summit. 

Roberto Firmino, Sadio Mane and Mohamed Salah were all on target in the clinical rout at Selhurst Park, after which Jurgen Klopp said: "It was really difficult to play against us."

The reigning champions had seemingly found top gear again. 

Fast forward to January 21 and, following a stunning 1-0 loss to Burnley at Anfield, Liverpool were left to wonder just where it had all gone so badly wrong.  

For a fourth successive outing in the league they had failed to score, while the shock result sees them stuck in fourth position in the table, six points behind leaders Manchester United. 

Never mind moving through the gears: the wheels have well and truly come off. 

BARNES HARMS AILING CHAMPIONS

Ashley Barnes' penalty condemned the Reds to a first home defeat in the league since April 23, 2017. It had been three years and 273 days since former Liverpool player Christian Benteke struck twice for Palace in a 2-1 triumph. 

The run of 68 games unbeaten was the second longest in English top-flight history. During the streak, there were 55 wins, 176 goals scored and 36 clean sheets. A total of 43 players were used, too.

Joel Matip, Georginio Wijnaldum, Firmino and Divock Origi were also in the starting XI that were beaten by Palace, managed by Sam Allardyce, nearly four years ago, while Trent Alexander-Arnold came on as a late substitute.


GOAL-SHY LIVERPOOL MISS CAPTAIN

Since Mane's early strike in the 1-1 draw against West Brom on December 27, Liverpool have registered 87 shots in the Premier League without managing to find the net. Eighty. Seven. Shots.

It was not for a lack of trying against Burnley, admittedly. They had 27 total attempts, their most in a single league match without scoring since April 2013 versus Reading (28).  

The absence of Jordan Henderson did not help. Even prior to kick-off, Liverpool had lost more of their 11 Premier League games without their captain (3) than they had in 45 games with him (2) since the start of last season.

KLOPP STREAK CAUSES CONCERN

This is not yet uncharted territory for Klopp at Liverpool; he previously went five league games without a win between January and February in 2017. 

That barren run four years ago included fixtures against Sunderland and Hull City – clubs now in the third tier of English football – and a home defeat to current Championship side Swansea City, who were celebrating at Anfield thanks to goals from Fernando Llorente (two) and Gylfi Sigurdsson.

However, Klopp has never previously gone four without a goal during his Reds tenure. The previous time that happened in his coaching career was while in charge of Mainz, who suffered a drought in the Bundesliga late in 2006.


POPE SAVES ALL AS REDS PAY THE PENALTY

Nick Pope excelled when Burnley ended Liverpool's 100 per cent home record in their title-winning campaign – and the goalkeeper was once again in outstanding form on Merseyside.

The England international made six saves to keep a clean sheet, having produced eight in his side's 1-1 draw in July at the same ground. Since the start of the 2019-20 season, no keeper has made more saves against a single opponent in the Premier League than Pope against Liverpool (19).

Barnes' penalty was the second spot-kick Liverpool have conceded at home this season too – they had only given up two penalty goals at Anfield under Klopp before 2020-21.

There is plenty for the German to ponder, then. While retaining the trophy is far from out of reach, what appeared to be a temporary blip is in danger of turning into a full-blown crisis.

Legendary Manchester United boss Alex Ferguson joked he is glad to have retired so he does not have to go up against Jurgen Klopp's "phenomenal" Liverpool side.

Ferguson guided United to 13 Premier League titles during his illustrious 27-year tenure at Old Trafford, succeeding in his aim of 'knocking Liverpool off their perch' as English football's most successful club.

United have yet to win the title since the Scotsman retired in 2013, while Liverpool ended a three-decade wait to be crowned champions of England last season by finishing top of the pile - 33 points better off than the Red Devils.

Liverpool also went all the way in the Champions League two seasons ago and, ahead of Sunday's top-of-the-table showdown between the bitter rivals, Ferguson revealed he is a big admirer of Klopp's work over the past few years.

"I've always considered the Manchester United and Liverpool derby the game of the season," said Ferguson, speaking in aid of Sports United Against Dementia and the League Managers' Association's charity In The Game.

"Quite simply, they are the two most successful teams in Britain when you add up all the trophies they’ve won together.

"It's obvious that you have to beat Liverpool to win anything. It's similar to when I was at Aberdeen - you had to beat Rangers and Celtic to win anything and you can add a mental attitude to that.

"In reality, it is the game. Liverpool's success over the 70s and 80s was phenomenal.

"To do that, I had to take a road that was always going to be difficult, it meant I had to wait in terms of building the club. Eventually, it turned out fantastically for us.

"Now I've retired, and thank goodness I've retired actually when I see Liverpool's performance over the last two seasons - they've been phenomenal. I've got great respect for Liverpool, I always have."

Jordan Henderson wrote his name in Liverpool folklore by captaining the club to their first ever Premier League triumph, a year on from lifting the Champions League trophy.

Ferguson previously criticised Henderson for his running style, but the 79-year-old has now clarified his past comments and revealed United were close to signing the midfielder before he arrived at Anfield in 2011. 

"We were ready to make a bid for him," he said. "There was criticism from Brendan Rodgers about my assessment of Jordan. 

"The actual story was we were ready to make a bid for him at Sunderland. I spoke to Steve Bruce. Our scouting and medical department said they weren't happy with his running style.

"They said he could be the type to get injuries. I had to make sure players would always be available. But we loved Jordan as a player.

"He has proved that now. All the stories I hear about him tell me that I missed out on a really good person."

Jurgen Klopp said everything "clicked" for his Liverpool side in their record-breaking 7-0 win over Crystal Palace at Selhurst Park on Saturday. 

The result was their biggest ever away win in the top flight and it marked Klopp's 127th Premier League victory as Reds boss, overtaking Rafael Benitez's 126 in charge of the Merseyside club. 

The champions were in devastating form against Roy Hodgson's men, powering to victory thanks to braces from Roberto Firmino and Mohamed Salah and further goals from Takumi Minamino, Sadio Mane and Jordan Henderson. 

Liverpool's dominant win stretched their lead at the summit to six points, although Tottenham could reduce that back to three with a win over Leicester City on Sunday.

While Klopp was impressed with his side's performance, he refused to get carried away and said their focus would soon switch to taking on West Brom next Sunday.

"It was hard work and there was a lot of counter-attacking from Crystal Palace in the first half where we needed a toe or a foot to defend," he told BT Sport. 

"Our finishing in the first half was clinical. Then, 3-0 up at half-time the game was not finished but we controlled the game and scored wonderful goals.

"The boys are capable of this but it doesn't happen every week. Today it clicked. This is a very intense period, the boys should be very proud of it. 

"We take a day off tomorrow, then prepare for West Brom, and goal difference wise it is good because of the funny result at Villa [when they lost 7-2].

"Christmas will be good, but the season is not finished, there are a few games to come but we will be ready."

Henderson opened his account for the season with a sumptuous strike from distance and praised the Reds' finishing, their seven goals coming from just eight shots on target.

"I thought we were ruthless today and took our chances which is always important," he said. "We dominated the game for large periods but I still thought we were sloppy at times. 

"Overall, we're delighted with the performance. To finish this week off with the win after midweek [when they beat Tottenham 2-1] is important and we managed to do that.

"It was coming I felt as over the last few games we have had chances and not taken them which has cost us at times.

"Overall, the performance level, we have to be happy. Now we have a week leading to the next game. Then another tough test again."

Robert Firmino and Mohamed Salah scored twice as Liverpool ended a five-game winless run away from home in the Premier League with an emphatic 7-0 win over Crystal Palace at Selhurst Park.

Jurgen Klopp's champions had drawn four and lost one of their top-flight games on the road following a 2-0 win at Chelsea on September 20, but a return to winning ways away from Anfield was never in doubt after Takumi Minamino's opener after 125 seconds. 

They followed that up with fine goals from Sadio Mane and Firmino before half-time, while Jordan Henderson, Firmino and a brace from substitute Salah sealed a stunning victory in the second period. 

The dominant win stretched Liverpool's lead at the summit to six points, although Tottenham could reduce that back to three with a win over Leicester City on Sunday.

Liverpool wasted little time asserting their authority on the game, Minamino lashing his first Premier League goal into Vicente Guaita's bottom-right corner from 10 yards after being teed up by Mane.

The Reds doubled their advantage against the run of play 10 minutes before the interval, Mane flashing a fine strike past Guaita from 15 yards after collecting Firmino's pass.

They then capped a wonderful first half in the 44th minute, Firmino controlling Andy Robertson's cross before superbly flicking past a helpless Guaita with the outside of his foot.

Things went from bad to worse for Palace after the restart as Henderson grabbed his first goal of the season, the captain expertly whipping into the far corner from 22 yards after being set up by Trent Alexander-Arnold. 

Firmino then added his second in the 68th minute, lifting over Guaita from Salah's incisive pass before the Egypt international added a sixth with a close-range header nine minutes from time.

Salah added further gloss to the scoreline three minutes later, curling into Guatia's top-right corner from outside the penalty area.

Jordan Henderson was at a loss to explain Liverpool's slow start against Fulham as the depleted Premier League champions dropped further points in their title defence.

Bobby De Cordova-Reid gave the hosts a deserved 25th-minute lead at Craven Cottage, with Liverpool fortunate not to concede again during a rocky start to proceedings.

Only Sheffield United and West Brom - who occupy the bottom two spots in the table - have given up more away goals in the English top flight this season than Liverpool, whose tally of 12 is already as many as they conceded in the entire 2018-19 campaign.

A clearly animated Jurgen Klopp was not pleased with what he saw for much of the first half, albeit his team did improve prior to the break.

The Reds went on to dominate after the interval but still needed a penalty for handball to draw level, Mohamed Salah firing home from the spot after Aboubakar Kamara had blocked Georginio Wijnaldum's free-kick with an arm.

Asked to explain the reason behind the sluggish beginning to proceedings, captain Henderson told Sky Sports: "I'm not sure, to be honest.

"It was everyone, not just a few of us. They started really well so give credit to them, but we will have to look it.

"That's not like us, we need to move on quickly with another big game coming up. We can't start like that going forward."

Liverpool have now dropped 11 points after 12 games - in 2019-20 it took them until the 35th match, by which time a first league championship in 30 years was already sewn up, to reach that number.

Injuries have not helped this term. Diogo Jota became the latest casualty in the 1-1 Champions League draw with Midtjylland in midweek, a knee problem expected to keep him sidelined for at least six weeks, while Joel Matip was withdrawn at half-time against Fulham with a back issue.

Defenders Virgil van Dijk and Joe Gomez are long-term absentees, though there was some good news for Liverpool at Fulham with Alisson back in action. Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain, meanwhile, was an unused substitute having not featured at all yet in the season.

"Injuries are difficult as a player, I’ve suffered a few in my career," Henderson said of Liverpool's current situation. "When you see your team-mate getting injured, it isn't nice.

"I look at Joe Gomez [who suffered a serious knee injury while training with the England squad] and the way it happened and it was hard to take. It's tough, it's tough for players, but it's happened to a lot of other teams as well.

"It makes us stronger in the dressing room to keep fighting, keep going with whatever team, whatever 18 or squad, that play in a weekend or midweek, that they give everything to get three points."

The draw in the capital means Tottenham - who were pegged back in a 1-1 result at Crystal Palace earlier on Sunday - remain on top of the table ahead of a midweek trip to Anfield.

Henderson has been impressed by what he has seen from Jose Mourinho's Spurs so far, but promised Liverpool will be up for the challenge.

"Every game is big, but yes, Spurs are doing really well, great team, great manager," Henderson said. "It will be another tough game, but we will recover, get ready and give it everything again."

Trent Alexander-Arnold will be a future Liverpool captain and "the face of this club", but Jurgen Klopp did not hand him the armband at Midtjylland for his leadership skills.

Academy graduate Alexander-Arnold skippered the Reds for the first time in the 1-1 Champions League draw in midweek as regular captain Jordan Henderson started from the bench.

It was the latest landmark occasion for the England right-back, who joined Liverpool aged six and made his first-team debut in 2016.

Alexander-Arnold has since played 102 Premier League matches, scoring six goals and providing 27 assists from 174 chances created.

Since his top-flight bow, no defender in the competition has forged more opportunities for team-mates, while only Liverpool colleague Andy Robertson (33) has laid on more assists.

The 22-year-old's appearance in Denmark was his 32nd in the Champions League and this longevity gave Klopp a "logical" decision when naming his captain - a role Alexander-Arnold is set to become used to when Henderson retires.

Klopp explained: "German and English people are really similar - we have a few differences. But how you see the captaincy here in this country is completely different to Germany.

"I try to understand it, even though I spent the most time educated a different way. Being a captain, it's not so important who wears the armband, it's more important how you behave all around.

"And yes, Trent is somebody who will be in this kind of role in the future. All the younger boys in the team have a similar pathway to his pathway, 100 per cent.

"The reason [he was captain]? I didn't think he was the best leader in the line-up of the last game, he's the longest in the club. When the players come, the four captains, it's clear that it's not even a decision, it's Trent.

"When I told him, it means a lot to him - that's cool and it will be his role in the future when other people have finished their careers and stuff like this.

"He prepares himself already for this. He will be in the future the face of this club, with some others hopefully, one of the faces of this club. That's really nice.

"When I realised how much it meant to him, I was really happy. I made the decision, but the decision was a logical one because of the time he was in the club."

Alexander-Arnold's defensive colleague Virgil van Dijk would certainly be considered a leader, but Klopp says he has not asked the injured centre-back to offer advice to his deputies - including versatile midfielder Fabinho.

Liverpool have not lost any of the six league games Van Dijk has missed this season, earning more points (2.3) and conceding fewer goals (0.7) per game in his absence than with the former Southampton man involved (2.0 and 2.6 respectively).

"Virgil was the first few weeks after he got injured not in a situation to talk to people and to tell them how to play the centre-half position," the manager said.

"Now he is back here and it's all different and he's fine. He was around the last game against Wolves, which was really nice.

"Now the boys speak to each other, but what they speak about to each other, I don't know, you'll have to ask them.

"But I didn't ask Virg to explain to the other guys the centre-half position. So far that's my job and we did that as good as we could."

In fact, Klopp suggested with a smile his own vocal approach might have played a role in convincing Fabinho to join the club in 2018.

"I couldn't tell you what I said to him, because it's too long ago," he said. "But it was obviously convincing enough, so it came together.

"I remember actually - I have to picture in my mind when I met him first - a pretty shy boy.

"Maybe he thought it would be the best to be around a pretty vocal, loud manager. That might have been the reason why he joined us."

Jurgen Klopp praised "top talent" Caoimhin Kelleher after the goalkeeper helped Liverpool overcome Ajax 1-0 in the Champions League.

Starting as Alisson deals with a hamstring injury, Kelleher became just the second goalkeeper to keep a clean sheet on his debut for Liverpool in the Champions League.

Kelleher, 22, made four saves as Curtis Jones' 58th-minute goal proved to be enough to send the Premier League champions into the last 16 from Group D.

Klopp hailed the shot-stopper and said the Irishman's distribution was a key reason he decided to start Kelleher over Adrian.

"Top. Top, top, top," the Liverpool manager told a news conference.

"It is a situation, which I have to say, it was easy to decide for Caoimhin because he just deserves it, but it was difficult to decide against Adrian because he did really well for us: a lot of clean sheets, what a season last year, Super Cup final and all these kind of things.

"He did a really good job, but we needed the package of Caoimhin – and he is a top talent anyway, but a really good shot-stopper and a top footballer, so I like that.

"We needed that for the pressing of Ajax, we needed his chips from him into the half-spaces and these kinds of things. That was really good, but of course in the end it is all about saving, keeping the ball out of the net, and he did that at least twice in an exceptional manner. I am pretty sure he will either sleep really well or not at all, but he will enjoy both."

Kelleher completed 30 of 42 passes for Liverpool, who have further injury concerns over Jordan Henderson and Andy Robertson.

But Klopp was optimistic about the pair ahead of Sunday's clash at home to Wolves.

"We have now two days more than we had last week until the next game," he said.

"I don't know, things like this show up the next day slightly different. In the moment I am rather positive about it but I don't know.

"But that's a problem of the next few days and not tonight."

Thiago Alcantara is still suffering from the knee injury sustained against Everton and is a "few weeks" from returning for Liverpool, manager Jurgen Klopp confirmed.

The Spain international has not featured for the Reds since the 2-2 draw in the Merseyside derby at Goodison Park on October 17.

Thiago has only played twice for Liverpool since arriving from Bayern Munich in a deal that could reportedly cost up to £25million.

Still, his performances against Everton and Chelsea highlight the impact of his absence. Thiago has attempted (107) and completed (98) more passes per 90 minutes than any other Liverpool midfielder this season.

Significantly, the former Barcelona man attempted 21 passes into the attacking third on average in those two games, at least eight more than any other Reds midfielder in 2020-21.

Liverpool enjoyed a five-game winning streak in all competitions after the draw with the Toffees, but Klopp's side have since won only once in four matches, a run that includes a 2-0 home defeat to Atalanta in their previous Champions League match.

They therefore head into Tuesday's game with Ajax knowing they require a draw to guarantee their place in the last 16 before matchday six.

While captain Jordan Henderson is fit to start, James Milner (hamstring) is set to miss out and Thiago will certainly not be involved.

 "Thiago we have to maybe clarify it a little bit," Klopp told reporters on Monday.

"On that day when Thiago got injured in that challenge in the Everton game, there was another bad injury [to Virgil van Dijk] and after the scans it was like one was really bad news and the other one was really good news because nothing was broken, nothing was ruptured and stuff like this.

"But, as we realise now, it was still a massive impact on the knee. The problem is in a situation like that, nothing is ruptured and nothing is broken and that means everybody thinks, 'Okay, you can go after a few days', but the impact on the leg was that big that it is still not okay.

"It is not massive and he trains from time to time, not in the moment because we just have to realise that we have to go a few further steps. I can't say exactly when he will be fine, but it will take a few weeks still with Thiago."

Klopp was involved in a heated exchange with BT Sport reporter Des Kelly after Saturday's 1-1 draw with Brighton and Hove Albion, offering the broadcaster "congratulations" after Milner's injury.

The Liverpool boss has spoken often of the risk to players' welfare during the packed 2020-21 schedule, which has seen his side play three times in seven days since the international break.

Speaking to UEFA.com, Klopp reiterated his concern about the mental and physical state of players attempting to be at their best every three days.

"For the players, it's incredibly intense what we are doing," he said. "We're all happy and it's without any alternative that we play. It's great – love it, fantastic – but it's all on the backs of the players.

"They have to deliver. You watch the game and if they don't play well, you still think: 'That's not really good!' You don't think about what they go through in the week, because we all have normal lives, obviously, left and right of the games we play.

"And that's pretty much the same for all of us, where you cannot see friends, you cannot see your family, and all these things. Recovery is not only sleep, it's not only treatment. It's really giving yourself a bit of freedom to think about things you want to think about and not what you have to think about.

"In the world out there at the moment, the biggest problem is that we don't have this time often enough and it keeps us quite tense. That doesn't help if then you have a game to play every three days at 110 per cent, in the best way."

James Milner claimed to be "falling out of love with the game" after more VAR controversy in Liverpool's 1-1 Premier League draw with Brighton and Hove Albion on Saturday. 

Diogo Jota's 60th-minute strike appeared to be sending the visitors three points clear at the top of the Premier League but VAR, which had earlier disallowed goals for Mohamed Salah and Sadio Mane, intervened in stoppage time. 

Andy Robertson swung out a foot and clipped Danny Welbeck in the penalty area, and though referee Stuart Attwell did not spot the infringement initially, he changed his mind after viewing the pitch-side monitor.

Pascal Gross slammed home from the spot to seal a point for the Seagulls and extend the Reds' winless run on the road in the top flight to four games.

Milner, who went off with a hamstring injury with 16 minutes remaining, was furious with the decision and took to Twitter to express his frustration with a sardonic reference to the "clear and obvious" error protocol to which VAR supposedly adheres. 

"It's 'clear and obvious' we need a serious discussion about VAR," he wrote. "Sure I'm not alone in feeling like they are falling out of love with the game in its current state."

While Liverpool boss Jurgen Klopp said "the decisions were correct," Jordan Henderson claimed Welbeck conceded the late spot-kick should not have been given.

"Danny Welbeck said to me it wasn't a penalty,” he told BT Sport. “There were four or five [Brighton players] who felt it wasn't a penalty.

"To overturn it, it has to be clear and obvious. Is that a clear and obvious penalty, to go to the screen and overturn it?"

Liverpool, who are a point clear at the top of the league after playing a game more than Tottenham in second, host Ajax in the Champions League on Tuesday before Wolves visit Anfield in the Premier League on Sunday.

Liverpool captain Jordan Henderson was left seething after the Reds were penalised late on in a dramatic 1-1 draw at Brighton and Hove Albion.

Diogo Jota's 60th-minute strike – his eighth goal in his past eight Liverpool appearances in all competitions – appeared to be sending the visitors three points clear at the top of the Premier League.

However, after VAR had intervened to disallow goals for Mohamed Salah and Sadio Mane, Liverpool were delivered a hammer blow by the technology in stoppage time.

Andy Robertson swung out a foot and clipped Danny Welbeck in the area, and though referee Stuart Attwell did not spot the infringement initially, he changed his mind after viewing the pitch-side monitor.

Neal Maupay became the first Premier League player to start, miss a penalty and then be subbed off before half-time since Dennis Bergkamp for Arsenal in April 1998 when he failed to hit the mark from 12 yards in the first half, but Pascal Gross made no such mistake.

Liverpool have now dropped six points from winning positions this season, more than they did in the entirety of 2019-20 (five), but Henderson – who had a late winner contentiously ruled out in October's Merseyside derby – was furious with the penalty award.

While Klopp diplomatically said "the decisions were correct," Henderson told BT Sport: "It was ours. It should be three points, in my opinion.

"I've seen the replay. Who would be happy? It's not a penalty. It feels like we're standing here every week and discussing incidents. I don't want to get into trouble, but for me it's not a penalty.

"Danny Welbeck said to me it wasn't a penalty. There were four or five [Brighton players] who felt it wasn't a penalty.

"To overturn it, it has to be clear and obvious. Is that a clear and obvious penalty, to go to the screen and overturn it? Obviously, the referees know better than us, but I thought the lads were brilliant today and deserved the three points.

"We had a couple of goals ruled off for offside. Overall, we've got to be positive and take the performance out of it, because the result isn't anything else but an error in my opinion.

"You'd rather get beat by two or three than end up like that. It feels like two points taken away from us."

Though Henderson claimed Welbeck said it was not a penalty, the former Manchester United and Arsenal forward seemed to take a different stance.

"We tried to stick in it until the end, we knew we could create some opportunities and in the end, we got a soft penalty, but it's one that we'll take," Welbeck told BT Sport.

"In today's game, with the VAR, I've touched the ball before him and wanted to get round him, but he's kicked me and then the ball.

"The referee's been over to the screen and made his decision."

Sadio Mane has been afforded a rest for Liverpool's Premier League trip to Brighton and Hove Albion, and is joined on the bench by the returning Jordan Henderson.

Liverpool captain Henderson last played for the club in their 1-1 draw at Manchester City at the start of November, subsequently suffering a hamstring injury on international duty.

Henderson's return is a welcome boost for boss Jurgen Klopp, who is without a host of players across the pitch, including fellow midfielders Naby Keita, Xherdan Shaqiri, Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain and Thiago Alcantara.

Mane's move to the bench is slightly more surprising but is likely a decision made with next week's Champions League clash with Ajax in mind – the 2-0 home defeat by Atalanta meaning the Reds are still yet to secure their place in the last 16.

Takumi Minamino gets his first Premier League start of the season in Mane's place, while youngsters Neco Williams and Nathaniel Phillips come into their depleted defence.

Former Red Adam Lallana is among the Brighton substitutes.

Injured duo Jordan Henderson and Raheem Sterling have returned to their respective clubs to undergo further assessment after withdrawing from the England squad.

Liverpool captain Henderson was replaced in the second half of England's 2-0 loss to Belgium on Sunday with what boss Gareth Southgate described as "a bit of tightness".

Manchester City attacker Sterling played no part against Belgium because of a "small niggle" picked up in training.

Both players have been ruled out of Wednesday's Nations League clash with Iceland and Southgate has decided against calling up any replacements.

"Jordan Henderson and Raheem Sterling will miss England's forthcoming UEFA Nations League fixture against Iceland," an England statement read on Monday.

"The pair have returned to their respective clubs for further assessment. Gareth Southgate will continue his preparations for Wednesday with a 22-man squad."

Ben Chilwell also left the field early against Belgium with a back problem but remains part of Southgate's squad for the Iceland match at Wembley.

England can no longer finish top of Group A2 with one game to play and are safe from relegation, leaving them in a direct battle for second with Denmark, who are three points better off and could still qualify for the Finals with a win over Belgium.

 

Jordan Henderson was withdrawn from England's 2-0 defeat in Belgium due to injury – potentially adding to Liverpool's selection woes.

Reds captain Henderson made way for Harry Winks at half-time at Den Dreef, as the Three Lions were denied the possibility of a return to the Nations League Finals.

Speaking after the match, England manager Gareth Southgate confirmed Henderson was taken off due to muscular tightness, although he refused to confirm whether or not this was in the hamstring.

"Jordan had a bit of tightness at half-time and felt he couldn't carry on," he said.

"Probably medically I would have to leave that [a diagnosis] for now but, yeah, we will just have to assess him when we get back."

Liverpool take on Premier League leaders Leicester City when they return to action in seven days' time, with injuries already threatening to take a significant toll upon their title defence.

Jurgen Klopp could be without both of his first-choice centre-back pairing for the remainder of the season after Joe Gomez was forced to undergo knee surgery last week, joining Virgil van Dijk as a long-term absentee.

That means Fabinho – himself a recent hamstring injury victim – is likely to play most of the campaign as a makeshift central defender, meaning Klopp can ill afford to have his midfield options further thinned out by Henderson being sidelined, especially given recent signing Thiago Alcantara has not featured since being on the receiving end of Richarlison's wild lunge during the Merseyside derby

Trent Alexander-Arnold is facing a month out after sustaining a calf strain against Manchester City before the international break, while Mohamed Salah tested positive for coronavirus during his time away with Egypt. The star forward was asymptomatic.

England host Iceland in their concluding Nations League fixture on Wednesday, a match Raheem Sterling will sit out.

The Manchester City forward missed out against Belgium due to a calf problem and will not be ready for midweek, although Southgate suggested Sterling will be ready to return for Pep Guardiola's side versus Tottenham next weekend.

"Raheem missed training on Friday, a small problem with the calf," he explained. "He trained yesterday, wasn't happy with it and so he won't be ready for Wednesday, but I imagine he will be ready by the weekend."

Jordan Henderson has questioned the "harsh" penalty call that went against Liverpool in their 1-1 draw with Manchester City and says his side have to be happy with a point.

City were awarded a penalty after Kevin De Bruyne's cross hit Joe Gomez on the arm, with referee Craig Pawson pointing to the spot after a lengthy wait that involved him checking the pitchside monitor.

However, De Bruyne was unable to convert from 12 yards - the first time a player has missed the target entirely from the spot in a Premier League game since City's Riyad Mahrez against Liverpool in October 2018.

It was the second controversial penalty call of the day after Max Kilman was penalised for handling Dennis Praet's cross in Leicester City's 1-0 win over Wolves.

And while Henderson understands why City were given a penalty, he does not agree with the current handball laws.

"People will say I am biased because it is against us, but I saw one similar in the Leicester game as well," he told Sky Sports. "Joe is running back to his own goal, where is he going to put his arms? 

"I think it is so difficult for defenders. I felt it was harsh, but they have been pretty consistent. In the Leicester game they gave it and they gave it [for Man City] but for us as players I think it is harsh.

"Hopefully the refs can look at it. They shouldn't have been given in both games."

Gomez was equally frustrated at the decision, arguing that he had no chance of moving his arm away from the ball.

"On a personal note, it's frustrating," he said. "I think everyone knows the power that Kevin De Bruyne can hit the ball with. 

"In that moment, I'm just running towards goal. I'm not going to run with my hands behind my back and I'm not going to dispute the ball hitting my hand, but I've not made an attempt to try and handle it. 

"Then it's frustrating when the referee goes over and looks in slow motion at something that has happened in real time when De Bruyne has hit the ball as hard as he has. 

"I've got to accept his decision, but I think there are enough conversations going on around that rule at the minute. 

"You have to look at the scenario with some common sense and just think, what could I have done?"

Mohamed Salah had earlier fired Liverpool ahead from the penalty spot after Kyle Walker lunged in on Sadio Mane, but Gabriel Jesus equalised 18 minutes later in a high-quality first half.

The second period was less eventful, with the sides managing just one shot on target between them compared to four in the first half, and neither team managed to sneak a victory.

The draw ultimately suits Liverpool more than City, keeping the champions five points in front of their opponents having played one game more.

City failed to register a shot on target after Jesus' leveller and had just seven shots overall, which is their lowest in a league game on home soil since February 2010 - also against Liverpool (five).

And Jesus, who has now scored in three successive games for City, concedes it feels like an opportunity missed for his side to close the gap.

"Both teams wanted to win. Sometimes when it's like this you have to control the ball more," he said. "We have to keep playing like this and try to convert the chances.

"We played at home and we have to win the games here. The result is not good for us and maybe it's good for them."

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