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    The Metropolitan Police have requested that the Carabao Cup Final between Liverpool and Chelsea on the 25th of February be moved forward to an earlier timeslot due from its current 4:30pm timeslot due to it sitting in the ‘high risk’ category.
    The two teams met in a couple of showcase finals two years ago with the Carabao Cup final kicking off at 4:30pm while the FA Cup final kicked off 15 minutes later.

    The Met released a statement (per the Echo) which outlined the process.
    “Preparations for the EFL Cup policing operation are underway following the conclusion of the two semi-finals and we are working with partners including the Wembley Stadium, local authority and EFL on agreeing the kick off time.
    “Our partners are aware this match qualifies as a ‘high-risk’ fixture and in accordance with national guidance from the UK Football Policing Unit, this fixture should kick off no later than 3pm.”
    It is thought that the EFL were initially standing by their preference for a 4:30pm kick off due to their contract with Sky Sports, but sources on both sides have indicated that a compromise is likely with the game being brought forward.

    It also has to be noted that when Liverpool and Chelsea met in the two cup finals that no major disturbances were reported, but on a wider scale, incidents are said to be up in the last few years which has led to the more conservative approach in these matters.
    There is a recent precedent for authorities requesting a showcase fixture to be moved from its proposed kick-off time with last years FA Cup final between the two Manchester clubs being moved to a 3pm kick-off, the first time it had been in that timeslot since 2011.
    And Liverpool’s clash with City at the Etihad Stadium on November 25th was switched from a 5:30pm KO to a 12:30pm start due to objections from Greater Manchester Police citing previous incidents between the two sets of fans.

  • It might have seemed quite close in then end, but this to me never felt in any doubt. We had another gear to go to if needed but we just did what was required to get the job done and now we’re in another final. I’ve lost count of how many we’ve had under Klopp, I heard someone say this was his 10th semi final and I can’t remember us losing any, so presumably this is final number 10. It doesn’t matter, it’s a lot anyway.*
    I expected more from Fulham but for once we actually started well and played a good first half. I thought Fulham would come flying at us but they didn’t really get the opportunity as we smothered them in that first half. Their players had no time on the ball and we just kept them penned in for most of the half. It’s the best we’ve started an away game in ages.
    We even scored early! That never happens these days. There was an element of fortune about the goal but Diaz can argue that he made his own luck. The cross field ball by Quansah was ace but it shouldn’t have led directly to a goal. The reason it did was because aggressively attacked it with his chest which took Castagne out and gave him a run into the box. Fulham still had two defenders covering, which ended up being costly as the ball deflected off both of them which might have been why Leno made such a mess of it. He has to save that, but he didn’t and Diaz won’t care in the slightest how it went in.
    It was interesting that Diaz lined up on the left. When I saw the line up I assumed he’d be on the right again but instead we saw Gakpo over on that side. That doesn’t necessarily suit him but Gakpo is almost like the attacking version of Joe Gomez, he just gets moved around all over the place. He isn’t currently as good at it as Gomez but he’s doing his bit and I like his willingness to get stuck into whatever job he’s given.

  • Jurgen Klopp says Joe Gomez has been an unsung hero in his ability to deputise for injured teammates in the back four.
    Versatility has been a trademark of Jurgen Klopp’s spell as manager, asking players to play in a non-preferred position, but the sacrifice has then led to overall success.
    That trait is what led to James Milner earning the respect from everyone at the club, whether the midfielder filled in at Left or Right Back, he did it with a minimum of fuss.
    And Gomez shares that same quality. It is sometimes easy to forget that he is still only 26, but it is clear he is highly regarded from the coaching staff and teammates alike.
    The defender has been through plenty of ups and downs on a personal level through his nine seasons at the Reds but it is his strength of character which is so noteworthy, after every injury setback he has set his goal to return a better player.

    Those forced absences and then the subsequent return to match fitness has seen Gomez only surpass 20 Premier League appearances in a season on three occasions (2017/18, 2019/20 and 2022/23.. He is already sitting on 18 for this season.
    A sign that luck is finally luck is shining on Gomez is that he has made 60 of his 202 appearances for the club in the last season and a half (just under 30%) and with plenty of games on the horizon this campaign, that percentage will surely grow. A sidenote is that he has played the full 90 minutes for the last six fixtures, once again illustrating the confidence he has in his body.
    Gomez has had to fill in for Andy Robertson, Kostas Tsimikas and Trent Alexander-Arnold in recent times, no easy task by any means, but speaking after the Reds booked their ticket for another Carabao Cup final showdown against Chelsea, the manager waxed lyrical about Gomez as the Official Website reported.

    “Without Joe nothing would've happened in the last pretty much 13 [or] 14 weeks since Robbo [Andy Robertson] is out. Yes, because he could play there, but the things we could do with Trent [Alexander-Arnold] when we brought Joey on, I don't exactly [know] how many games [he] played now this year, but I would say 20-something already.
    “He is a life-saver, to be honest, that he was here, that he could play, and people forget how important Joey was in the best years we had. I don't know how many games he played in the year when we became champions and how many games he played when we won the Champions League. A lot and rightly so because he's a top-class player.”
    With Liverpool still fighting on all four fronts this season and key players set to return to action,, competition for spots all over the pitch is set to be intense.
    And that along with a team in fine form is all what a manager could ask for.

  • Another Wembley final against Chelsea awaits after Liverpool handled business in the League Cup semi-final second leg at Fulham to secure a 3-2 aggregate win.
    An early Luis Diaz strike put Jurgen's trophy collecting Reds on course, but a late equaliser meant a tricky ending to an otherwise comfortable night in West London.
    Chris Smith hosts John Brennan and TLW Editor Dave Usher to recap the action, preview the Norwich game and look ahead to the repeat of the 2022 final and add a tenth League Cup to the Champions Wall.

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  • A South American football expert has been surprised by the lack of concrete bids for a midfielder who has been likened to a former Liverpool star.
    Andre Trindade has been a name which has been circulating for a number of months with a number of Premier League clubs believed to be interested with Liverpool apparently at the front of the queue.
    Coming off a season that was imminently forgettable, the optimism in the fanbase for a successful campaign was not helped just before the season kickoff in August when the Reds interest in Moises Caicedo and Romeo Lavia was rebuffed with both players opting to join Chelsea.
    With Liverpool desperately needing a holding midfielder after the departure of Fabinho to the Saudi league, Stefan Bajcetic  still learning his trade in the senior ranks and dealing with a injury setback, and with Trindade staying with his club until the end of the South American season in December, Jurgen Klopp turned to a largely unknown player in Wataru Endo.
    With Liverpool looking to completely revamp their midfield with younger and more dynamic players, signing a 30 year-old seemed to go completely against that mould.
    But while taking time to find his feet in a new league, the Japanese captain has ticked every box and passed every challenge asked of him and before leaving for the Asian Cup he was growing into a pivotal pice of the starting midfield.
    Tim Vickery is the font of all knowledge when it comes to South American footballing talent be it emerging or established.
    And given that the transfer window is well.and truly open, speaking to Sky Sports News (per the Echo), Vickery is somewhat at a loss to explain why a club has not come in for him.

    “ I'm absolutely baffled. Even Fulham - who have been closest recently - I think that they seem to think that signing this player is not a priority. Liverpool were the club who were closest to signing him in the summer. We understand that a big money offer came in.
    “Since then (Andre's) only grown, he's won the Copa Libertadores, he's played well in a bad Brazil side, did well in a losing cause against Manchester City in the final of the Club World Cup.
    "He's a central midfielder who brings you so much. He does remind me of a young Javier Mascherano
    “Given the success of a number of Brazilian central midfielders in English football recently, Joao Gomes or Douglas Luiz, this is the best of the bunch and it is surprising to me that there hasn't been more interest for him this window."

    It is abundantly clear that there will be no incomings during this month, and in truth that makes sense, when you see the team currently operating like a well oiled machine.
    While there are absentees through injury and international commitments, all the key players should be firmly in place again by mid February at the latest.
    The only long term injury being Joel Matip but his role has been expertly filled by Jarrell Quansah, meanwhile it remains to be seen if, or indeed when Thiago Alcantara will play for the club again.
    Endo and Alexis Mac Allister will continue to share the holding midfield role until the end of the season and it remains to be seen come the summer whether the interest for Andre is still there or if they look to focus on other parts of the pitch.

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  • Sports are good for your health, but not only. It calms the mind, helps moderate stress and mood, combat depression, and can help prevent and manage even the most severe mental health problems.
    That's also why more people are now practising sports weekly and even looking at adding them and cannabis to their diet. You can learn more about fast-growing weed seeds of Sensoryseeds online and also about how to best use hemp seeds along with your sports routine.
    Doctor, how does sport promote psychological well-being?
    There have been several studies that have confirmed the benefits of sport not only for physical well-being but also for mental well-being:
    Physical exercise affects serotonin levels, stimulating the hormones adrenalin and noradrenalin, which improve mood; Physical activity releases endorphins, chemicals produced by the brain that regulate mood, reducing stress levels; Participation in team sports improves resilience, empathy, and social skills; Sport improves cognitive development, creativity and concentration; Sport requires setting goals, coordinating with the theme and working to achieve them, increasing self-esteem and confidence in oneself and others, and self-affirmation Sport allows you to spend more time outdoors and free your mind from worries; Playing sports helps improve attention, self-control and problem-solving; Sport improves the perception of one's physical health; Sport allows us to sleep better and thus be more rested.  
    Which mental conditions can benefit from sport?
    Several mental conditions can benefit from physical activity, mainly when performed in a group and outdoors in the sunshine. 
    It is very helpful in managing both acute and chronic stress. For example, walking before returning home after a hard day at work can help us feel better. But even short, intense exercise, for example, 20 minutes of spinning, when medical conditions permit, can help us manage anger. 
    Patients with depression are then the class of patients with psychological disorders that can undoubtedly benefit the most from sporting activity, as many scientific articles have told us and demonstrated. 
    In a study published in 2018, the effect of fluoxetine, a widely used antidepressant that belongs to the category of serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs), and sports activity on brain function was compared. The study aimed to assess the extent to which the intake of fluoxetine, on the one hand, and sporting action, on the other, can alter neuronal activity and brain neurogenesis, i.e. the development of new nerve cells or new neuronal circuits.
    The authors concluded that both fluoxetine and sporting activity stimulate neuronal activity in the hippocampus, increasing the production of new cells. Recall that the hippocampus is the main structure involved in memorising and learning, but it also plays a vital role in managing and understanding emotions.
    Can sport be considered a therapy?
    As mentioned above, yes, but as an adjunct to other psychological, psychotherapeutic or pharmacological therapies. 
    How much exercise is needed to reduce stress?
    Difficult question. There is no absolute rule that we can use for everyone. Some people need relaxation to reduce stress rather than strenuous physical activity. They are generally speaking. However, we only realise how much physical activity we need to do to feel good and rejuvenate. 
    Sometimes, a brisk 20-minute walk (also recommended by cardiologists as cardiovascular prevention) may be enough. Still, the important thing is not to overdo it: our organism, in all its functions, has limits that we must learn to recognise and respect. In recent years, scientific research has alerted us to excess. We can compare our body to a car; no matter how powerful it may be, we cannot expect it to run at full speed all the time; otherwise, the engine will burst, just as it might happen to our organism. 
    Individual or group sport: which to choose?
    Definitely group sport, for several reasons, primarily because it allows us to socialise, to get involved. The lockdown has left 'psychological' marks on all of us that we will carry with us for quite some time and which are even more visible in adolescents. Let us think, for example, of the excessive use of social media, of the various devices we have at our disposal, telephone, tablet, and TV, to say the most common, which steal time and almost lead us to live a parallel reality made up of digital or virtual contact and not actual contact, with the risk that then, in fact, we find it even more difficult to interact, especially for the more introverted. 
    Therefore, group physical activity organised and managed by a coach helps a lot in overcoming those barriers of psychological discomfort. But let's also think about how much our sleeping and waking rhythms have changed; our schedules are different from those we had before the lockdown, and even in this case, doing physical activity consistently, perhaps in the morning, helps our organism to re-establish those lost balances and maybe even to make us feel happier, while also helping us to manage stress.

  • Yet another game in which we turned it on in the second half after an underwhelming opening 45 minutes. It feels like we do this every week and it feels like I’m saying every week “it’s not how you start, it’s how you finish”. I’d have preferred us to win the first half 4-0 and then start resting people for Wednesday, but I’m not complaining. Another win, another clean sheet, the forwards in the goals and five points clear. Great stuff.
    It is weird though the massive discrepancy we’re seeing between halves. Every week I have to listen to my Dad say before the game “we’re always crap in the first half, we’re a second half team”. He’s right of course, but it’s got to the point now where his mind is made up that this is how it’s going to go and he’s looking for the tiniest shred of evidence to set him off. Bournemouth got a corner in the first minute and it started. “I told you, we’re always crap in the first half”. Jesus, it’s one minute into the game, have a day off, Dad for fucks sake!
    I can’t dispute it though. The evidence is there. We hardly ever seem to score in the first half and it always needs Klopp to tell them what they’re doing wrong at half time before they are able to fix it. I actually didn’t think the first half in this one was too bad but Klopp did. He wasn’t happy about it at all and said as much afterwards. 
    My view was that we started the half a bit ropey and ended it a bit ropey but the 35 minutes or so in between was alright. I just thought the front three were shite and that was the problem. My team talk would have been to get the three forwards together and say “stop being shit and we’ll win this easy”. I thought the rest of it was ok, and Mac Allister in particular was outstanding.
    We had situations but they didn’t lead to chances. For most of the half Jota was doing that thing where he decides he’s going to impersonate someone who has won a competition to play in a Premier League game. Then he had a couple of nice touches and grew into the game before half time. He was great in the second half.
    Darwin wasn’t great to begin with either. Starting him on the left made a lot of sense so I don’t have any issue with that, but it wasn’t working and as Klopp said afterwards our left hand side was completely static as Darwin just stayed out wide most of the time and the ball wasn’t getting to him. Nunez on the left has worked well at times but I think it’s dependant on the opponent and how the game is going. I prefer him in the middle but there are some games I think him being wide helps us a lot. This wasn’t one of them though, clearly.
    Then there’s Diaz. He’s shown some nice encouraging signs recently that he’s coming back to form, but he never got into this game playing on the right. I don’t think it was the position he played that was the problem, I just don’t think he got going at all. 

  • Nunez! Nunez! The Reds recorded what feels like a statement victory in a tricky fixture as Darwin Nunez and Diogo Jota put Bournemouth to the sword in a ruthless second half showing.
    Chris Smith is joined by Ian Brown, Julian Richards and TLW Editor Dave Usher to bask in the glow of a big performance from the lads that extended the lead at the top of the table to five points.

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