16 min: Gomez overhits a long diagonal from the back. Again. That’s another aspect to Van Dijk’s absence that Liverpool will surely rue.
14 min: Further to what I was saying six minutes ago, Alexaner-Arnold had just curled over a lovely inviting delivery for Minamino. Who misses it completely.
13 min: Origi is shunted to the ground by Onyeka. Freekick to Liverpool wide on the right, a chance for them to put the ball in the visitors’ box for the first time. Alexander-Arnold sends it towards the penalty spot, but Scholz heads it away.
11 min: Andersson flings in a long throw from the right, which is a favourite tactic of this team. Liverpool saw it coming and clear without bother.
8 min: Gomez nuts away a cross from the left as Midtjylland continue to have the upper hand. “I haven’t seen much critical appraisal of Minamino so far from the footy reports and also haven’t seen many highlights from his few minutes on the pitch,” hollers Brian O’Toole all the way from Australia. “Can he cut the mustard?” He’s done nothing so far today but he’s generally looked a very nifty player to me: quick and dynamic with great feet and a jagged wit.
6 min: Sisto tries to trick Alisson bu eschewing the cross and curling a low shot around the wall. But the keeper watched it eery yard of the way and made an easy save
5 min: The visitors continue their bright start. They’re energetic and there’s a cohesion to him that Liverpool have lacked so far. An now they have a freekick wide on the right in a very useful crossing position…
3 min: Liverpool’s defence is unpicked by a long, straight ball from the back! Robertson was the most guilty, since he was deeper than his teammates and allowed Dreyer to run off him and on to the pass. Alisson comes to his rescue, standing up and blocking Dreyer’s shot from 16 yards. The forward rather lost his cool there: he was clean through and should have picked a spot the keeper couldn’t reach.
at 4.10pm EDT
2 min: Anderson, the 31-year-old goalkeeper making his first appearance after the season because Midytjylland’s first-choice goalkeeper is injured, settles any early nerves by coming to claim a cross.
1 min: They’re off! The visitors did the honours but were hounded into losing possession quickly, and now they’re on the back foot…
The teams are on the pitch, the toss has been taken. Kickoff is imminent …
Champions League results from earlier today
Lokomotiv Moscow 1-2 Bayern Munich
Shakhtar 0-0 Internazionale
“You mention Eggen’s goal,” notes FourTWoThreOne. “Never forget Des Lynam signing off that night with ‘so it’s Eggen for Brondby, and Egg on the face for Liverpool’.”
Klopp’s pre-match thoughts
On the new central defensive partnership between Gomez an Fabinho, he says: “It’s getting better and better. We don’t have time for training so we use the game to get used to each other. The alternatives are great talents but really young.” He also hints that, ideally, he would like to remove Henderson early today because of the “absolutely ridiculous” schedule coming up. “Managing the intensity is difficult, football is always intense. But that’s life nowadays, we’ll try to deal with it.”
Liverpool v Denmark: the facts
This is only Liverpool’s fifth game against a Danish club, and the first since they lost 1-0 at home to Brondby in the 1995-96 Uefa Cup second round second leg, going out by the same aggregate scoreline. They had eased past OB in their sole previous tie, in the first round of their victorious campaign in the 1983-84 European Cup (6-0 on aggregate).
Dan Eggen’s goal for Brondby in that 1995 tie is therefore the only one Liverpool have conceded in their four games against clubs from Denmark.
“Liverpool are saving their big guns for West Ham,” notes Frank Zelko. “I bet that sentence hasn’t been written in a while.” Indeed. But ‘big guns’ is a phrase that apples more aptly to West Ham, who are probably the tallest and brawniest side in the league these days. They’ll sure be looking to exploit the absence of Van Dijk.
As you can see from the line-ups below, Klopp has decided to rest his first-choice front three, with Mohamed Salah and Roberto Firmino on the bench while Sadio Mané gets a night off. In come Divock Origi, Tajumi Minamino and Diogo Jota, as well as Xherdan Shaqiri.
Liverpool: Alisson; Alexander-Arnold, Fabinho, Gomez, Robertson; Milner, Henderson; Shaqiri, Minamino, Jota; Origi
Subs: Adrian, Kelleher, Jones, Cain, Firmino, N Williams, R Williams, Wijnaldum, Salah
Midtjylland: Andersen; Andersson, Sviatchenko, Scholz, Paulinho; Onyeka, Cajuste; Dreyer, Sisto, Mabil; Kaba
Subs: M Anderson, Cools, Evander, Dyhr, Isaksen, Kraev, Madsen, Ottesen, Pfeiffer, Thorsen, Vibe
Referee: P Razkowski (Poland)
at 3.22pm EDT
Hello. Nothing can be taken for granted in this world any more. So let’s start with the case for today’s visitors winning at Anfield. Danish champions Midtjylland are a crafty side run by people who’ve proven they can make modest resources go far thanks to shrewd recruitment and advanced maths. They earned this date by winning knockout ties against Ludogorets, Young Boys and Slavia Prague. And they’ve got more rehearsed moves than a big-label boy band, so watch out for them trying to take advantage of Van Dijk-less Liverpool at set-pieces. Although this is Midtjylland’s first ever participation in the Champions League group stages, they have knocked an English team out of a continental competition before, beating Sadio Mané’s Southampton in the Europa League back in 2015.
All that being said, it would be a shock if Liverpool – even with all their injuries and even if Jürgen Klopp mixes the side up a tad – failed to beat a side that lost 4-0 at home to Atalanta last week. Liverpool may not have sparkled while overcoming Ajax at the same time and they clearly have defensive issues, but they should still have enough firepower to send the visitors back to Denmark with nothing more than stories of the time they saw Divock Oirigi hurtling past them on his way to another goal. Right? Let’s see.
at 1.25pm EDT