Jurgen Klopp feels Liverpool's seven nominees for the Ballon d'Or are fully deserving of the accolade, though he does not feel any personal pride for the players' individual achievements.

Virgil van Dijk, Mohamed Salah, Sadio Mane, Alisson, Trent Alexander-Arnold, Roberto Firmino and Georginio Wijnaldum were all named on a 30-man shortlist for the annual award on Monday.

The nominations follow on from an incredible 2018-19 campaign for the Champions League winners, with Klopp's side also finishing second to Manchester City in a thrilling Premier League title race.

Speaking ahead of his team's European game against Genk on Wednesday, Klopp has no doubt Liverpool's stars are worthy contenders for the honour.

"It's nice. I don't understand or know too much about these kinds of things. When you win it is big but when you don't win it hopefully it doesn't hurt too much," Klopp told a news conference.

"It's a very good sign but after last season it is normal that a lot of players have to be nominated.

"I'm proud in general of the boys 100 per cent, but I didn't feel proud in that moment. I'm happy when they win things. I'm not sure if I should be proud in a moment like this, I had not so much to do with that. I'm proud of the football we play but no more."

Klopp is also unsure if the success of Liverpool's nominees will result in more top-level players wishing to join the club, though suggested none of his current squad will be leaving Anfield in the near future.

"Our seven players all deserve it. If that's the sign for us from now on, and if we will be a destination for players, I do not know," Klopp added.

"We all feel comfortable with each other, want to work together for the next couple of years or more. But we don't know, we will see what the future brings.

Liverpool sit second in Group E heading into Wednesday's clash in Belgium, having lost to Napoli before beating Salzburg. 

Despite making it to the final in 2017-18 and again last season, the Reds have won just one of their six away group stage matches under Klopp, who acknowledged that record must improve.

"Last year we were lucky the group was so tight that we could lose our away games and still have the chance to make it out of the group," Klopp said.

"That will not happen this year. We don't rely on home games all the time but obviously European nights at Anfield are really special. However, other teams can make a special atmosphere as well.

"We could have won away games, performance wise, but for reasons we didn't win. Historically it is not good, the last two years. We know we have to improve and we try again and again until it works out."

Mohamed Salah looks set to play but Liverpool will be without two first-choice defenders for the Champions League game against Genk on Wednesday.

Egypt star Salah took part in the club's final training session before departing for Belgium and has now been named in the 19-man travelling party.

The 27-year-old forward suffered an ankle injury in the Premier League win over Leicester City before the international break and missed the weekend draw with Manchester United.

Trent Alexander-Arnold and Joel Matip completed 90 minutes at Old Trafford but neither will be available for the European champions' third Group E game.

Alexander-Arnold remains on Merseyside due to a virus while centre-back Matip has a sore knee, the Reds confirmed.

Liverpool beat Salzburg 4-3 in their most recent Champions League match after losing 2-0 at Napoli, who drew 0-0 with Genk last time out.

Mohamed Salah could return for Liverpool against Genk on Wednesday after returning to first-team training.

The Egypt star has been sidelined with an ankle injury sustained during the 2-1 Premier League win over Leicester City and missed the 1-1 draw with Manchester United on Sunday.

Manager Jurgen Klopp said the forward could not have been risked for the game at Old Trafford as he had not yet resumed team training.

However, Salah was involved in the section of training open to the media at Melwood on Tuesday as Liverpool prepare for their trip to Belgium.

It means the 27-year-old is likely at least to be ready for next Sunday's Premier League clash with Tottenham at Anfield.

Liverpool are a point off the top in Group E after two matches, having lost 2-0 to Napoli before beating Salzburg 4-3 on matchday two.

David de Gea passed a late fitness test and was named in Manchester United's starting line-up against Liverpool, who welcomed Alisson back from injury but were deprived of Mohamed Salah for the clash at Old Trafford.

United boss Ole Gunnar Solskjaer picked De Gea after the goalkeeper recovered from a groin problem picked up while on international duty for Spain, and Aaron Wan-Bissaka was passed fit in defence while Paul Pogba missed out in midfield.

Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp handed Alisson his first start of the season after he recovered from an ankle injury, with Adrian dropping to the bench.

"Mo was not ready, he could not train with the team so I don't know where it came from, people saying he could play. Pretty much no chance for today, maybe for Wednesday [against Genk in the Champions League] we have to see," Klopp told Sky Sports.

"It’s a difference but not a massive difference if we cover it well. Mo makes the runs in behind so we have to cover these runs with somebody else.

"We played before without Mo, we don’t want to do it but it was clear we would have to do it at some point over the season. Today is the day we have to do that. We knew it for a few days so we could train for it.

Klopp had hoped Salah would bounce back from an ankle injury sustained in the Reds' victory over Leicester City but he missed out, and Divock Origi started alongside Sadio Mane and Roberto Firmino in attack for the league leaders.

Jurgen Klopp urged his players to show their "biggest balls" against Manchester United as the Liverpool manager aims to break new ground on Sunday.

The European champions have won all eight of their Premier League matches this season but will have to make history to secure three points against their bitter rivals.

Liverpool, riding high in top spot, have failed to win at Old Trafford in four visits with Klopp in charge. 

Last season's stalemate was one of three draws on the German's record and the result proved costly as Manchester City pipped the Reds to the title by a solitary point.

"Winning there would be a big next step," Klopp said. "It's not a step we have to make otherwise we cannot develop, no.

"But, of course, for our own history with me it is obviously something we have not achieved yet.

"This team wrote their own story and made their own history and this would be another step. But we cannot make it by simply talking about it.

"We have to go there and play the best football we can play, with the biggest balls, being ready for each challenge, fighting for every ball, all that stuff.

"That is what we have to do. If we can play our game, we are really an uncomfortable opponent."

Klopp will not be the only key Liverpool figure seeking to end a curious drought in one of the division's showpiece fixtures.

Star forward Mohamed Salah is yet to register a single goal in four Premier League appearances against United but should get the chance to open his account facing a team languishing in 14th.

"It is difficult to know what he's thinking," Klopp said of Salah, who will undergo a fitness test on the ankle he injured against Leicester City before the international break.

"If someone had told me he'd never scored against United I would have said: 'Really?'.

"I suppose the more you go without scoring against an opponent there may be one moment when you start scoring against them.

"All these games are big tests. I don't see it as a specific test for him, but, yes, it is a big test. And sometimes there will be old-school challenges and you have to be ready for them."

Liverpool could equal an English top-flight record in grand fashion when their title assault takes them to a wounded Manchester United on Sunday.

The Premier League leaders are sure to target three points knowing victory against their bitter rivals would be the perfect way to level Manchester City's benchmark of 18 consecutive wins at this level.

Recent trips to Old Trafford have not been particularly profitable but the Red Devils, beaten 1-0 by Newcastle United last time out, look to be little more than a mid-table outfit at present.

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer's men will not have won a match inside 90 minutes for a month in all competitions by the time the game kicks off, and the expected absence of David de Gea presents a further hurdle.

 

POTENTIAL BREAKTHROUGHS FOR KLOPP AND SALAH

Liverpool have won five Premier League matches at Old Trafford but none under Jurgen Klopp.

The German's three draws and single defeat in four attempts add up to his longest winless streak in away games against a Premier League opponent.

He might never have a better opportunity to halt the trend.

United are lurching from one bitter blow to another and have laboured in home games against Crystal Palace, Astana, Rochdale and Arsenal this season, losing to the Eagles.

Those subpar showings, coupled with Liverpool's own outstanding form, will have Klopp's men supremely confident of delivering victory for their manager.

But with the missed chance of last season's 0-0 draw still fresh in the memory, there will be pressure on the visitors to take the initiative in attack.

Mohamed Salah, who is recovering from an ankle injury, will hope to be fit as he, like Klopp, has something to prove in this fixture.

Though prolific since his arrival on Merseyside, the Egyptian has failed to either score or assist a single goal in each of his four Premier League appearances against United.

HEAD-TO-HEAD: SCOTT MCTOMINAY V FABINHO

Scott McTominay this week shared insights into his warm relationship with Jose Mourinho, and the Scotland international will hope to make his former manager proud in a key battle.

His opposite number, Fabinho, provides just the kind of shield United's defence will need if Salah, Sadio Mane and Roberto Firmino are to be kept quiet.

Liverpool's midfield anchor has won 12 tackles this term, five more than McTominay, at a success rate of 60 per cent.

McTominay's tackle success rate, at 44 per cent, is less impressive and, while the 22-year-old has certainly been one of United's best performers this season, his numbers lag behind Fabinho's in several departments.

The Brazilian has created three more scoring chances in 61 fewer minutes on the pitch and his passing accuracy of 87 per cent is comfortably superior to McTominay's 81 per cent.

FORM GUIDE

Liverpool's long Premier League winning streak dates back to March and includes away wins over Southampton, Burnley, Chelsea and Sheffield United this season.

James Milner's last-gasp penalty kept the run alive in a hard-earned 2-1 triumph over Leicester City at Anfield before the international break.

United, meanwhile, are searching for answers following a string of lacklustre performances since outmuscling Chelsea on the opening weekend.

The four goals scored that day hinted at a bright future but United have failed to net more than once in any of their subsequent 10 matches in all competitions.

HISTORY SAYS…

Victory will not come easily for Liverpool, who have not travelled to Old Trafford while top of the table since October 1996.

On that occasion, a David Beckham goal gave United a 1-0 win.

Results more recently have been similarly close, with four of the past six Premier League meetings ending level.

Liverpool, the heavy favourites, must snap a five-match winless streak in away games against United in order to preserve their perfect start in the league.

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