James Milner has extended his contract with Liverpool to prolong his stay at the club beyond the end of this season.

Liverpool have not announced the exact length of the agreement but it is reported to be a two-and-a-half year deal.

The fresh terms for vice-captain Milner came on the same day the club renewed manager Jurgen Klopp's contract until 2024.

Milner, who turns 34 in January, joined the European champions in 2015 on a free transfer from Manchester City and came off the bench in their Champions League final win over Tottenham last season.

His previous deal with Premier League leaders Liverpool was due to expire at the end of the season but he will now remain part of Klopp's squad going forward.

"I've been lucky and privileged to play for this club for four and a half years now," Milner said. "It has been an amazing time seeing how the club is changing and developing."

The fresh terms for Milner capped a productive day for the Reds – who begin their Club World Cup campaign next week – after Klopp's long-term extension.

"Obviously the gaffer waited to sign his dependent on whether I signed mine, so that makes me a feel bit more important!" he joked.

Milner added: "We had discussions with the club and this was obviously the ideal for me, this was what I wanted to do – stay and play at the highest level as long as I can.

"Liverpool is an unbelievable place to be and we're a very, very good football team. I enjoy being part of this football club and hopefully we can keep improving."

Milner has played 198 games for Liverpool, 21 of those appearances coming this season.

"Obviously winning a trophy last year, it's easy to sit back or take your foot off the gas, and we've gone the other way," said Milner.

"You can see the drive in the squad to keep pushing and to try to play at the intensity that we play at every couple of days, which we are at the moment.

"We'll keep striving to keep improving and getting success for this club."

Jurgen Klopp signed a new contract with Liverpool on Friday that keeps him tied down to the European champions for another four-and-a-half years.

The German coach guided the Reds to Champions League success last season and is on course to end the club's long wait for a maiden Premier League crown this term.

Now in his fifth campaign at Anfield, and with potentially at least three more to come, we look at the work Klopp has done so far on Merseyside.


FINAL HEARTACHE CAPS MIXED FIRST SEASON

Liverpool experienced two cup final defeats in Klopp's first campaign at the helm, losing on penalties to Manchester City in the EFL Cup and 3-1 to Sevilla in the Europa League.

Despite falling short on both occasions and enduring largely mixed results in the Premier League - beating City 4-1 away a month before going down 3-0 to Watford - supporters were willing to stay patient.

KLOPP REPAYS LIVERPOOL FAITH

Rewarded with a six-year extension ahead of his first full season at Anfield, Klopp repaid the faith shown in him by guiding the Reds back into the Champions League with a fourth-placed finish in the Premier League.

Liverpool's improving consistency saw them racked up 16 more points in 2016-17 than they had 12 months prior, providing clear evidence that things were on the up.

TOTTENHAM HUMBLING PROVES TURNING POINT

Klopp may be considered a Liverpool legend now, but a 4-1 loss away to Tottenham in October 2017 - making it three wins in their first nine league games in 2017-18 - led to questions being asked of the German.

Results quickly improved, but there was still the feeling Liverpool might be a little fragile at the back until, in January 2018, they spent a then club-record fee on Virgil van Dijk.

While the signings of Sadio Mane and Mohamed Salah thrilled Liverpool fans, this arrival would take them to the next level.

A STEP TOO FAR IN KIEV

Another final for Liverpool, another heartbreaking defeat - even as Van Dijk starred.

A Gareth-Bale inspired Real Madrid came out on top in the 2018 Champions League final, ending a magical run that had seen the Reds produce attacking masterclasses to overcome Porto, Manchester City and Roma en route to the Kiev showpiece.

Having come so close to glory, Klopp again made big moves in the transfer market. In came Brazil international goalkeeper Alisson - replacing final flop Loris Karius - as well as midfield reinforcements in Fabinho, Naby Keita and Xherdan Shaqiri.

REDEMPTION IN MADRID SOFTENS DOMESTIC BLOW

Despite accruing 97 points in 2018-19, Liverpool were remarkably pipped to the Premier League title by Pep Guardiola's City side.

The blow of finishing as runners-up with nearly a century of points was softened three weeks later, however, as goals from Salah and Divock Origi earned Klopp's men a 2-0 win in the Champions League final against Tottenham.

Buoyed by that first major European success in 14 years - and indeed the subsequent victory over Chelsea in the UEFA Super Cup - Liverpool have started 2019-20 in remarkable form and are firmly in contention for a clean sweep of silverware.

Jurgen Klopp saluted his players after adding the Premier League Manager of the Month award to the long-term Liverpool contract extension he signed on Friday.

The German claimed the prize for the third time this term in a quick reminder of why the Reds handed him a deal running through to 2024.

Klopp guided the European champions to four successive victories in November, including a crucial 3-1 win over title rivals Manchester City.

Liverpool sit eight points clear of second-placed Leicester City after 16 matches, with champions City 14 points behind the leaders.

"It feels really good," Klopp said. "But I don't take it personally. My players are responsible for that, obviously, because they have so far played an outstanding season."

Among the most impressive performers for Liverpool has been Sadio Mane, who was named Player of the Month.

Mane found the net three times and registered one assist in November.

Among the goals was a late winner in the 2-1 victory at Aston Villa, as the Reds came from behind with two strikes in the closing stages.

The Senegal international has been in fine form throughout the season, elevating himself to become arguably Liverpool's most crucial player in attack, with nine goals and four assists in his 15 league outings.

Mane's stellar record has helped the club charge to a 46-point haul that has them on track to to win their first league title in 30 years.

Jurgen Klopp is the best manager in world football and would be Liverpool's first-choice candidate if searching for a new boss in 2019, the club's owners Fenway Sports Group (FSG) said following his contract extension.

Liverpool confirmed on Friday that Klopp has signed a new four-and-a-half-year contract to keep him at the club until 2024, as they surge towards an historic first Premier League title.

Klopp joined the Reds in 2015 and quickly began to oversee a steady improvement in their fortunes, reaching two finals in his first year.

Although they fell at the last hurdle on both of those occasions in the EFL Cup and Europa League, two years later Klopp guided Liverpool to a first Champions League final since 2007.

Another final defeat did little to deter them and they lifted European football's biggest prize earlier this year in Madrid, while they are coasting towards a first league title in 30 years having dropped only two points in 16 Premier League matches this term.

Klopp's commitment - which was announced shortly before he was confirmed as the Premier League's Manager of the Month for November - unsurprisingly left FSG's leadership team in triumphant mood.

"We feel this represents one of the big moments of our stewardship of Liverpool so far, as we believe there is no better manager than Jurgen," a statement on behalf of FSG principal owner John Henry, chairman Tom Werner and president Mike Gordon read.

"The decision also keeps with the club's overall strategy of building from a position of strength.

"It means Jurgen will oversee the ongoing transition from Melwood to the new Kirkby training base as the club continues to pursue a vision of being elite in all facets of the industry.

"It also provides us with continuity with the existing football operations management structure, overseen by sporting director Michael Edwards, whose input into the project cannot be overestimated.

"He has been – and will continue to be – as indispensably important as anyone else to the direction of Liverpool. In Jurgen and Michael, we are blessed with world-class leadership.

"This is a collective partnership that has seen the club reach and then re-establish itself as an elite performer at home and abroad.

"Back in 2015, we used the phrase 'ideal fit' when we appointed Jurgen. This continues to apply today and, if anything, the circumstances make it more pertinent. We consider him to be the best there is.

"If Liverpool were looking to appoint the most outstanding, elite manager for our current status today, Jurgen would be the first choice – no question. We believe this deal cements a relationship built on trust and mutual benefit: Jurgen has delivered for LFC, and LFC has delivered for Jurgen.

"Both parties have come to the conclusion that by continuing to work together and build on the work of the last four years, the opportunity exists to maximise each other's potential."

Jurgen Klopp has signed a new two-year contract extension with Liverpool, keeping him on Merseyside until 2024, the club confirmed on Friday.

The German sees the agreement as an indicator of where the club is heading, convinced Liverpool's development will only continue.

"For me, personally, this is a statement of intent, one which is built on my knowledge of what we as a partnership have achieved so far and what is still there for us to achieve," Klopp said.

"When I see the development of the club and the collaborative work that continues to take place, I feel my contribution can only grow.

"People see what happens on the pitch as a measure of our progress and, although it is the best measure, it's not the only measure. I have seen the commitment from ownership through to every aspect and function of the club you can think of.

"When the call came in autumn 2015, I felt we were perfect for each other; if anything, now I feel I underestimated that.

"It is only with a total belief that the collaboration remains totally complementary on both sides that I am able to make this commitment to 2024. If I didn't, I would not be re-signing."

Klopp has overseen a steady improvement since joining the club in 2015, making them top-four regulars again before building from that platform and restoring fans' faith in Liverpool's ability to challenge for major honours.

The Reds were beaten in both the EFL Cup and Europa League finals in the manager's first season, and they have shown immense progress from there.

In 2017-18, Liverpool reached the Champions League final for the first time since 2006-07, although they were defeated 3-1 by Real Madrid.

Klopp's men were not to be deterred and returned the following year, going all the way and winning 2-0 against Tottenham in the final in June, becoming champions of Europe for a sixth time.

And while Liverpool missed out on a maiden Premier League title in 2018-19 - chasing a first top-flight championship since 1989-90 - as they finished a point adrift of champions Manchester City, the Reds are well on course to put that right in 2020.

The European champions sit eight points clear at the top of the league table after 16 games.

Klopp insists all of the focus should not be on him, however, as he paid tribute to sporting director Michael Edwards.

"This club is in such a good place, I couldn't contemplate leaving," he continued. "I must also highlight the role of Michael Edwards in this journey so far.

"His input and collaboration has been just as important as anyone else's in getting us into a position to compete for the game's top titles.

"For anyone in football who aspires to compete in an environment where every element of the organisation is at its very best - from the support of the supporters to the vision of the owners - there can be no better place than this."

Klopp's assistants Peter Krawietz and Pepijn Lijnders have also extended their respective contracts until 2024.

Liverpool forward Mohamed Salah is finally back to "100 per cent" fitness, according to manager Jurgen Klopp.

The Egypt international scored the final goal of Liverpool's 3-0 win over Bournemouth as they clocked up their 15th victory out of 16 Premier League fixtures this term.

It was Salah's 63rd strike in his 100th Premier League appearance, and only three players - Alan Shearer (79), Ruud van Nistelrooy (68) and Sergio Aguero (64) - have bettered that tally in their first century of games.

Salah had been struggling with an ankle problem since a clash with Leicester City's Hamza Choudhury back in October, but Klopp is confident the player is now fully fit.

"He looks now 100 per cent," Klopp said in his post-match news conference after the win over the Cherries.

"It's long ago that he got that knock, but you carry things like this with you when have game after game after game. Mo was absolutely strong."

Meanwhile, Klopp urged his Liverpool defence to follow up their first clean sheet in 14 games in all competitions with another when they play in a crunch Champions League match next week.

European champions Liverpool head to Salzburg, where they know a point will be enough to return to the last 16.

Klopp added: "I forgot how a clean sheet feels, to be honest. It's great, we should have them more often. 

"It was the most-used word in the dressing room by the boys, 'clean sheet, clean sheet, clean sheet'. Obviously, everybody was desperate for that. Now we have it, so let's have it more often. 

"The next game where a clean sheet would be useful is already around the corner - against Salzburg on Tuesday."

Bournemouth have been beaten in each of their past five games, and Cherries boss Eddie Howe lamented the loss of two more players from his already injury-stricken squad.

Defender Nathan Ake and striker Callum Wilson were both taken off with apparent hamstring injuries and will be assessed by the club's medical team over the next few days.

"The squad is stretched," Howe said. "It is there to cope with the injuries, but the difficulty for us is we are getting injuries but not getting players back.

"The mentality of the group is strong but damaged in confidence. We can always do better. We can always question ourselves and say we could have done better, but the quality of the opposition was very strong."

Jurgen Klopp said a first clean sheet in 14 games meant Liverpool's 3-0 win over Bournemouth on Saturday was a "perfect" peformance.

Klopp's side cruised to an emphatic victory over the Cherries thanks to goals from Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain, Naby Keita and Mohamed Salah.

It was Liverpool's 15th Premier League win of the season and put them 11 points clear at the top of the table, although that gap will be cut to eight should Leicester City beat Aston Villa on Sunday.

However, the manner of Liverpool's first shutout in all competitions since a 1-0 win over Sheffield United on September 29 particularly pleased the German.

"It was a professional performance, controlled, scoring wonderful goals. It was a perfect game," Klopp told the BBC's Match Of The Day.

"We didn't want to make it overly exciting again so we wanted to control Bournemouth.

"The most used word in the dressing room at the moment is clean sheet – finally! There were wonderful performances; it was a really good game for a lot of players.

"We asked is it possible to enjoy all these games. The answer is 'yes'. 

"There will be moments especially between the games where we have to switch the machine off, then we really can recover. And then switch it on again and have to be there."

The only sour note for the Reds was an injury to centre-back Dejan Lovren, who limped out in the first half, but Klopp is optimistic the Croatia international's injury was not a serious one.

"Lovren was hopefully cramp," Klopp said. "We didn't want to take any risks, but apart from that it was all round nearly perfect day.

"We have only three days and play Salzburg in an all-or-nothing game. It is the next big game for us."

Naby Keita scored on his first Premier League start of the season as Liverpool consolidated their position at the top of table with a comfortable 3-0 win at Bournemouth on Saturday.

Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain had given Jurgen Klopp's side the lead with his league goal since January 2018 before Keita added a second just before half-time.

Mohamed Salah made it three shortly after the break, and the Reds kept a rare clean sheet, ending a run of 13 matches in all competitions without one.

Liverpool moved 11 points ahead of second-placed Leicester City, who play on Sunday, and 14 clear of champions Manchester City ahead of their derby clash with Manchester United later in the day.

After a low-key start, Bournemouth lost defender Nathan Ake to an apparent hamstring injury following a challenge on Salah just after the half-hour mark.

And Liverpool took full advantage moments later when captain Jordan Henderson lifted a high ball over the top of the reshuffled Bournemouth defence and Oxlade-Chamberlain cushioned a first-time finish past goalkeeper Aaron Ramsdale

Liverpool suffered an injury setback of their own when Dejan Lovren departed clutching the back of his leg, but the Reds added a second goal on the stroke of half-time.

A superbly crafted team move culminated in Salah's backheel for Keita, who poked inside the right-hand post.

Liverpool then ended the game as a contest nine minutes into the second period when Jack Simpson lost possession to Keita, who returned the first-half favour and fed Salah to apply a cool finish.

Bournemouth's day got worse when leading marksman Callum Wilson limped limped off - also seemingly suffering with a hamstring problem - and Liverpool cruised through to full-time.

Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp left in-form duo Sadio Mane and Trent Alexander-Arnold on the bench for Saturday's Premier League clash with Bournemouth.

Mane made way as one of seven changes from the side that beat Everton 5-2 in the Merseyside derby on Wednesday.

Alexander-Arnold was left out of the starting line-up in a league game for the first time this season and replaced at right-back by Joe Gomez.

Roberto Firmino and Mohamed Salah were both selected in attack as midfielder Naby Keita made his first Premier League start since April.

Goalkeeper Alisson returned to the team after serving a one-match suspension, while captain Jordan Henderson and Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain were also both restored to the side.

Mane and Alexander-Arnold were joined on the bench by midweek goal heroes Divock Origi and Xherdan Shaqiri.

Neither Georginio Wijnaldum nor Adam Lallana made the matchday squad, though, reportedly due to minor knocks.

Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp claimed some people are willing the club to fail during a gruelling schedule of fixtures.

The Reds are eight points clear at the top of the Premier League and face a crunch game against Salzburg to make the knockout phase of the Champions League on Tuesday.

Liverpool also have the Club World Cup and an EFL Cup quarter-final on the horizon before an intense festive period.

Klopp's squad will be tested to its full capabilities, but he has backed his players to respond to the challenge and accept being rotated.

"When you are in a good position there are a lot who celebrate early, some hope you fail," Klopp told a news conference ahead Saturday's Premier League clash with Bournemouth.

"We are in a difficult situation with the games but accepted it. We have to deal with it.

"These players have a desire to show that they are good enough and they can deliver in moments like this. It is not that complicated; you just need players who understand the situation.

"I know when you're a football supporter, you want to play the best 11 all the time but this is not FIFA or the PlayStation. It's just how it is."

Liverpool will be forced to field separate teams in fixtures for the Club World Cup and EFL Cup, which take place a day apart on different continents.

Klopp has selected a strong 23-man squad for the trip to Qatar for the former and will give the club's youngsters a chance in the quarter-final of the latter against Aston Villa.

The Liverpool boss said he ruled out the possibility of splitting his squad in two.

Klopp continued: "For us, there was absolutely no chance to do it differently, in the moment when it was clear when it would be played and all the other dates were absolutely not possible for us to play it later.

"We won the game against Arsenal, a very exciting game and I loved it, and in that moment it was clear, now we have to find a solution and the solution will not be perfect. But we try to make it as perfect as possible.

"We go with a specific squad to Qatar and try our best there. And the other ones will play here. If somebody thought I should have done it differently, I cannot change that.

"I know everybody thinks 'no chance' but football is a wonderful game.

"If you want, I'm responsible even for that game [against Villa], not being there. So they have no pressure, they just should fight for each inch on the pitch and enjoy themselves."

Klopp also expressed sympathy with sacked Everton manager Marco Silva after a 5-2 defeat in the Merseyside derby on Wednesday spelled the end of his tenure at Goodison Park.

The German felt Silva was not solely to blame for the club's struggles on the pitch.

"Marco is a great manager, but they thought they needed change. But we all accept this when we take a job," Klopp added.

"It is for sure not all Silva's fault. That is the situation of a coach and we all accept that. 

"I feel for him. Since I'm in England, Everton are how we all know, ambitious with big history. I said when I came in that we don't carry our history as a backpack.

"One club from the same city that has positive development and you try to catch them, that is what the manager always tries."

Liverpool cruised to a 5-2 victory in the Merseyside derby against Everton as they consolidated their lead at the top of the Premier League, despite a much-changed team.

Meanwhile, Tottenham head coach Jose Mourinho endured an unhappy return to Old Trafford as his side lost 2-1 to Manchester United - the Portuguese has not won there as a visiting boss in his past five attempts.

Defending champions Manchester City thrashed Burnley 4-1 as Pep Guardiola made it eight wins in his nine games against the Clarets.

A midweek round of Premier League fixtures brought a range of milestones and telling stats, the best of which are below.

KLOPP ECLIPSES SHANKLY, PAISLEY AND DALGLISH 

Liverpool boss Jurgen Klopp will likely need to deliver the Premier League title to secure his place in the pantheon of Anfield greats.

However, the German has put down a few markers suggesting he is ready to join the Kop's hall of fame by becoming the fastest Liverpool manager to 100 league victories. Klopp completed the feat in 159 games – quicker than Bill Shankly, Bob Paisley and Kenny Dalglish.

Liverpool secured the win over Everton thanks to a brace from Divock Origi, and one goal apiece for Sadio Mane, Xherdan Shaqiri and Georginio Wijnaldum.

They are now unbeaten in their past 32 Premier League games which is their longest run without defeat in top-flight history.

Marco Silva's final match at the helm saw him become the first Everton manager to concede five league goals against Liverpool in a single match since Howard Kendall in November 1982.

 

MORE OF THE SAME FOR MOURINHO 

United's 2-1 win over Tottenham, secured courtesy of two goals from Marcus Rashford – taking his tally to nine in 10 games – made Mourinho's return to his old club a miserable one.

Mourinho has won none of his past five away Premier League matches against the Red Devils (D3 L2), failing to beat four different managers in that time – Alex Ferguson, David Moyes, Louis van Gaal and current United boss Ole Gunnar Solskjaer.

It was also Tottenham 35th Premier League defeat against United – more than they have suffered against any other team. 

Spurs' defence must also be a concern for Mourinho. They have conceded twice in their four matches in all competitions under the Portuguese – they only had a run of conceding two or more goals in four consecutive games once under Mauricio Pochettino, doing so in February and March 2015.

Midfielder Dele Alli has started to rediscover some of his old form, though, and his equaliser for Spurs was his third goal in as many appearances for the club in all competitions – the first time since March 2017 he has enjoyed such a purple patch.

 

CITY THREE AND EASY UNDER PEP

Gabriel Jesus' brace and one apiece for midfielders Rodri and Riyad Mahrez gave City some much-needed confidence with a 4-1 thrashing of Burnley – although they remain 11 points behind leaders Liverpool.

Jesus is now the third highest-scoring Brazilian player in Premier League history (32 goals), trailing only Philippe Coutinho (41) and Roberto Firmino (52).

It was the 36th time City have won a Premier League game by three or more goals under Guardiola – the most of any team in the competition since the start of the 2016-17 season.

David Silva's creative skills remain key for City and he took his tally to six assists from open play in the league this season – just one fewer than he managed in 33 games last season.

Burnley have now conceded 11 goals in their three home games against 'big six' opposition in the Premier League this season, compared to only two goals in five home games against the rest.

 

LJUNGBERG'S LOSS A DROUGHT-BREAKING BOOST FOR BRIGHTON

Managerless, beaten at home by Brighton and Hove Albion and now nine games without victory in all competitions – Gunners fans have every right to be gloomy.

Arsenal's 2-1 loss to the Seagulls made this their longest winless streak since a run of 10 between February and March of 1977.

Mesut Ozil registered his first assist in the league since February when his corner was met by Alexandre Lacazette, but the French forward's 25th English top-flight goal at Emirates Stadium failed to avert a first defeat for interim boss Freddie Ljungberg.

Adam Webster had opened the scoring before the interval and Brighton were able to celebrate their first Premier League away win over 'big six' opposition following Neal Maupay's 80th-minute header.

Arsenal, booed off at full-time, have faced 52 shots on target in home league games this season, four more than in the entire Invincibles campaign of 2003-04.

Liverpool will take a strong squad to the Club World Cup later this month as expected, meaning a youthful selection will contest the EFL Cup clash with Aston Villa.

Jurgen Klopp's European champions are due to play their Club World Cup semi-final in Qatar on December 18, the day after going up against Villa in the EFL Cup quarter-finals.

Liverpool had attempted to get the trip to Villa Park rescheduled on account of the fixture clash, but the EFL were unable to facilitate such a move following discussions.

As such, Klopp previously stated he would have to name two separate squads for the matches.

Thursday's confirmation of a strong first-choice squad heading to Doha means Villa can expect to face a young side in the EFL Cup, though Harvey Elliott, Neco Williams and Curtis Jones will also join the travelling Club World Cup party.

The only first-team players not selected are Joel Matip, Nathaniel Clyne and Fabinho, who are recovering from injuries.

 

Liverpool's Club World Cup squad:

Alisson, Andy Lonergan, Adrian; Virgil van Dijk, Joe Gomez, Dejan Lovren, Andy Robertson, Alexander-Arnold, Neco Williams; Georginio Wijnaldum, James Milner, Naby Keita, Curtis Jones, Jordan Henderson, Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain, Harvey Elliott, Adam Lallana, Xherdan Shaqiri; Roberto Firmino, Sadio Mane, Mohamed Salah, Rhian Brewster, Divock Origi.

Jurgen Klopp has sympathy for Marco Silva but says he is not surprised the Everton manager's position is subject to fevered speculation.

Silva has overseen a poor start to the season, with a last-gasp defeat to Leicester City on Sunday leaving them languishing 17th in the Premier League.

The Portuguese takes his beleaguered side to Anfield for the Merseyside derby on Wednesday knowing another defeat could see him lose his job.

Klopp saw enough in the defeat to the Foxes to suggest the Toffees are capable of turning a corner but knows a club with Everton's ambitions can only remain patient for so long.

"Of course, I have sympathy [with Silva] because I know how difficult the life of a manager can be," the German told a media conference.

"The last thing Marco needs now is that I feel sorry for him, but I am really on his side because I know about the job.

"The last game against Leicester was really good in a changed system. They caused Leicester a lot of problems and had their chances. In all other situations that would be a positive sign."

Asked if Everton are unfortunate to be just one place outside the relegation zone, Klopp responded: "The table tells the full truth at the end of the season. Come on, if you go through that squad, I'd say that is a really good squad but it is not 100 per cent right and not clicking.

"There is a lot of pressure there as Everton are a very ambitious club, rightly so, and if it doesn't go the right way the pressure increases pretty quickly.

"They are not the only ones in this situation; this league is really difficult for all of us and we have to respect that."

Klopp considers himself to be fortunate that his position at Liverpool has not been under threat since arriving in October 2015 and says owners can sometimes be too quick to dismiss a manager.

"In general, if you are in the job like mine then there is pressure there," he explained. "You have to deliver and if it doesn't work out they have to try something else.

"The most important thing before you sign a manager is that the people who sign the manager look for the right things. There are a lot of really good managers out there, but it needs to fit to the club and the ambitions. If it does, then everybody can be happy at the end.

"But, in general, the pressure comes too quickly and the decisions are made too quickly, because people are not patient enough."

Liverpool boss Jurgen Klopp hailed Lionel Messi as "probably the best player I have seen in my life" but thinks Virgil van Dijk should have been awarded the Ballon d'Or.

Barcelona superstar Messi the prestigious honour for a record sixth time on Monday, with organisers France Football declaring his seven-point margin over Van Dijk to be one of the narrowest in the award's 63-year history.

The Barcelona captain finished top of the count with 686 points, just ahead of Van Dijk's 679.

While recognising Messi as the greatest player of his generation, Klopp feels Van Dijk should have been rewarded with the prize for his stellar contribution to Liverpool's Champions League win last season.

He told a media conference: "The decisions are made by journalists, right? I see it slightly different. Lionel Messi is probably the best player I have seen in my life, but last season I cannot remember a more impressive season by a defender ever.

"It would have been right if Virgil had won as well. We won the Champions League and he had an outstanding season."

Van Dijk is likely to line up at the heart of Liverpool's defence for the Merseyside derby against Everton at Anfield on Wednesday.

Monday's FA Cup third-round draw conjured up the exact same fixture for the first week of January, with Klopp revealing he would have preferred an easier tie to kick off their cup campaign.

"I didn't run through my living room and celebrate," he said. "It's not exactly what you wish for, but we have no problem playing Everton. It's a big game against big opponents. Obviously, we start the hard way. We cannot change that and we have time to prepare for that Everton game after this one."

Klopp confirmed Liverpool have no new injury concerns for Wednesday's game but says Joel Matip has still not recovered from a knee injury, which has kept him out since the 1-1 draw with Manchester United on October 20.

"Joel needs a bit more time," he explained. "It's healing but not exactly what we wish for."

Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp has told his players to forget about their 11-point lead at the top of the Premier League and focus on the visit of Everton.

The Reds capitalised on Manchester City's 2-2 draw at Newcastle with a 2-1 win over Brighton and Hove Albion at Anfield on Saturday.

It was Liverpool's 13th win from 14 league games this season and gives them an even bigger cushion over defending champions City, although Leicester can cut the gap to eight points on Sunday.

With just over a third of the season gone, Liverpool fans are already dreaming of ending their 30-year wait for the league title.

However, Klopp only has eyes for Wednesday's Merseyside derby with Everton.

"We don't think about the points gap or whatever," Klopp said in his post-match press conference.

"People told me tonight already that we are 11 points ahead but Leicester play on Sunday, so it still could be eight. That's how I see it.

"None of these 13 games we won were easy, we didn't feel that for a second. We only have to make sure we are ready always – and always for the next game.

"Result-wise, it is an incredible period for sure, but we don't want to think about the last 14 games – we actually are concerned about the next one, which is on Wednesday against Everton and is a big one."

Liverpool secured victory thanks to a brace of first-half headers from defender Virgil van Dijk. 

However, a red card for goalkeeper Alisson – who will miss the clash with Everton – and a goal from Lewis Dunk set up a tense finale.

Klopp hailed the contribution of second-choice keeper Adrian after he came off the bench at a chilly Anfield and made an important late save from Aaron Mooy.

"We had to bring on a frozen goalkeeper pretty much!" added the German.

"Everybody sitting here is probably not really warm yet, but imagine you go there in shorts, a really thin shirt and some gloves which are not made for keeping you warm.

"We kept on fighting and Adrian especially helped us a lot.

"With his cold feet, he couldn't shoot the ball as far as he wanted. In the end, it kept it a bit interesting but it's only important that we won the game and that's what we did."

Brighton head coach Graham Potter praised the positive endeavour shown by his side, who made life difficult for Liverpool in the closing stages.

"I thought it was a performance of great heart, courage and quality against a fantastic team, and at times the Anfield crowd had to get behind their side because we were really in the game, especially after the sending-off," Potter said.

"It's never easy when you are playing against the European champions and the top team in the Premier League but, at the end, we were pushing strong."

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