Jurgen Klopp said Virgil van Dijk and Joe Gomez can play "sensationally well" together amid Liverpool's injuries in defence.

With Joel Matip and Dejan Lovren injured, Van Dijk and Gomez started in the centre of defence in the European champions' 2-0 Premier League win over Watford on Saturday.

Gomez, 22, had been a regular alongside Van Dijk before he suffered a fractured leg in December last year.

Klopp said he had spoken regularly with Gomez and believes the England international's partnership with Van Dijk can flourish.

"We spoke, we spoke a lot," the Liverpool manager told UK newspapers.

"In a very good team, which we obviously are, the train doesn't wait. That means other players showed up, and I don't think anybody thought really we should put Joel on the bench. It is just that the boys are incredibly talented.

"The boy is still young, that is not the reason – it's just that you keep rhythm and you keep players together. But these two, Joe and Virg, they like each other a lot, and they can play sensationally well together."

Gomez and Van Dijk helped their side hold out Watford as Liverpool moved 10 points clear atop the Premier League.

Klopp praised his centre-backs for dealing with tricky conditions and the dangerous Troy Deeney.

"It was an especially difficult game – Deeney – and as you can imagine they play the ball in one direction. The balls that came into Virgil were only because of the wind, all the others came to Joe, and Deeney goes up," he said.

"But from this outstanding skilled boy who has this kind of improvement in these moments, he showed resilience. They all showed again the resilience.

"We really showed again we are ready to fight in each game."

Liverpool visit Aston Villa in an EFL Cup quarter-final on Tuesday, while they take on Monterrey at the Club World Cup a day later.

Points were dropped by several Premier League sides with top-six aspirations on a weekend when leaders Liverpool were rescued by Mohamed Salah's finishing as they extended their winning streak and their cushion at the top.

The Reds beat Watford 2-0 at Anfield to move 10 points clear of Leicester City, who were held to a 1-1 draw at home by struggling Norwich City.

There was also frustration for a top-four side at Stamford Bridge, where Chelsea failed to score for the second time in three Premier League home games as they succumbed 1-0 to Bournemouth.

Manchester City suffered no such slip-up when they travelled to Arsenal on Sunday, as a 3-0 win for the third-placed defending champions moved them to 14 points behind Liverpool.

Tottenham nudged up to fifth after beating Wolves 2-1 to offer further evidence that Jose Mourinho has addressed some of the problems his side faced on the road under Mauricio Pochettino.

Take a deep dive into the big stories of the weekend in our Premier League Data Diary.

REDS STREAK RANKS THIRD AFTER TRICKY HORNETS TEST

Goals from Mohamed Salah and some wayward Watford finishing ensured Liverpool claimed a 2-0 win at Anfield to extend their unbeaten Premier League run to 34 games.

Only Arsenal (49 between May 2003 and October 2004) and Chelsea (40 between October 2004 and October 2005) can boast longer undefeated sequences in the competition, and the Reds have won their last 16 league games at Anfield.

Five more consecutive home wins would see Jurgen Klopp's men match the record (21) set by Bill Shankly's title-winning Liverpool side between January and December 1972.

Salah's double takes his goal tally to 84 in 126 appearances for Liverpool, eclipsing Luis Suarez's record of 82 goals in 133 games for the Reds.

Watford have taken just nine points from 17 league games this season, and the omens for them are not good: all of the nine teams to accumulate nine points or fewer after 17 Premier League matches have been eventually relegated.

 

HONEYMOON PERIOD A DISTANT MEMORY FOR LAMPARD

After seeing Chelsea lose just two of his first 12 Premier League games in charge, Frank Lampard watched his charges slip to a fourth defeat in five against Bournemouth on Saturday.

The 1-0 reverse at Stamford Bridge came courtesy of Dan Gosling's first league goal since April and left the Blues with just one fewer home defeat (five) in all competitions this season than they suffered in 62 games over 2017-18 and 2018-19 combined.

Chelsea have lost two of their last three top-flight home games, as many as they had in their previous 28 at Stamford Bridge, and failed to score in both of those defeats.

Since their promotion in 2015, no side has won more Premier League away game at Chelsea than Bournemouth (three, level with Liverpool).

 

MOURINHO'S MEN MAKE PROGRESS ON THE ROAD

Prior to Jose Mourinho's arrival as Tottenham boss, Spurs had failed to win a Premier League away game this season. But since he took charge they have won two out of three in the league on the road.

Lucas Moura's spectacular solo goal gave them the lead at Molineux and the Brazilian has now scored three goals in five top-flight appearances under Mourinho.

Wolves pulled level after 67 minutes of a scintillating game, Adama Traore scoring his fourth goal in 26 appearances in all competitions this season - twice as many goals as he scored in his previous 82 matches.

But Jan Vertonghen restored Tottenham's lead in second-half stoppage-time, inflicting a third home league defeat for Wolves in 2019 while extending Mourinho's record of not losing Premier League games when his side score first to 54 games since October 2015.

 

CHAMPIONS CRUISE AGAINST SHOT-SHY GUNNERS

Arsenal shipped three goals in 40 first-half minutes as they lost 3-0 at home to Manchester City, which left the Gunners with one win from their last nine Premier League matches.

Freddie Ljungberg's men are without a win at home in six games across all competitions - the club's longest such run since an eight-game streak between December 1994 and February 1995.

Kevin De Bruyne produced a masterclass at the Emirates, scoring either side of Raheem Sterling's tap-in, which he set up, to take his goal involvement tally to 19 in the league this season (seven goals and 12 assists).

Sterling's effort was his seventh away goal in the league this season - his joint-highest return on the road in a single campaign (also seven in 2017-18).

While City were prolific, Arsenal mustered just one shot on target all game - their joint-fewest in a Premier League game at Emirates Stadium (one v Everton in 2010, and v Chelsea in 2015 and 2016).

Manchester City midfielder Kevin De Bruyne vowed the champions will "keep fighting" for the Premier League title despite the huge gap to leaders Liverpool even after crushing Arsenal.

The Belgium international scored two goals and provided an assist in City's clinical 3-0 win at Emirates Stadium on Sunday.

City are 14 points adrift of table-topping Liverpool and four behind second-placed Leicester City, who they face next weekend.

But while manager Pep Guardiola has acknowledged a third straight City championship is "not realistic", De Bruyne was encouraged by the response to last week's Manchester derby defeat.

"We keep fighting," De Bruyne told Sky Sports. "I think every time you lose a game, the only reaction you can show is to win the next one. 

"Every time we lose points, we come back with a good reaction. We know we have not been at our best this year, but there are still a lot of games to play for us."

De Bruyne fell short in his bid for a stunning hat-trick, seeing one effort saved spectacularly by Bernd Leno, but he was content with his work.

He said of the goals: "For the first, the ball came with the bounce and I tried to keep composed, not lean backward, and keep it as low as possible, and, fortunately, it went low enough and under the bar.

"I think the second goal and the shot [that was saved] after were similar, but the goalkeeper doesn't see the ball [for the goal] and it gives him less reaction time.

"It would have been nice to get a third, but to score two goals and win after the struggles we have had is good. It's good to come back with a win."

Alongside De Bruyne, teenager Phil Foden made a long-awaited first Premier League start of the season.

He acknowledged the merits of featuring in the same midfield as the two-goal star, adding: "When you have a guy like this, anything can happen. It's a pleasure to play with him. 

"I can't be in a better position than I am to learn from him."

Guardiola added: "Kevin made incredible goals and assists. The first and third goals - both were fantastic.

"The reaction was always there to losing the derby. We played much better than this in the past and lost or drew, and here we win. That is football."

Georginio Wijnaldum will travel with Liverpool to the Club World Cup despite appearing to injure his hamstring in Saturday's Premier League win over Watford.

The midfielder's participation in Qatar became uncertain after he limped off in the 59th minute of the 2-0 victory at Anfield.

Liverpool confirmed Wijnaldum had suffered a muscle problem but the 29-year-old will still fly out on Sunday as part of a 20-man selection.

Jurgen Klopp will be without defender Dejan Lovren, who has been left behind as he recovers from a muscle issue sustained in the Champions League game against Salzburg.

Young midfielder Harvey Elliott and striker Rhian Brewster have also been trimmed from the initial 23-man squad announced earlier this month.

Liverpool begin the tournament with a semi-final against Mexican side Monterrey in Doha on Wednesday.

Captain and midfielder Jordan Henderson said the European champions had every intention of returning with the silverware.

"Well, we want to go there and win," Henderson told his club's website after the victory over the Hornets. 

"Big games coming up, so we've got to recover well. There's a big game Wednesday and hopefully we can do a job to get into the final on the weekend."

Liverpool's Club World Cup squad:

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

Liverpool's Club World Cup semi-final opponents Monterrey will have to up their game when they face Jurgen Klopp's Reds, the Mexican side's head coach Antonio Mohamed has said.

Monterrey beat Xavi's Al Sadd 3-2 in Qatar on Saturday to seal a last-four clash against Champions League holders Liverpool.

Leonel Vangioni scored a stunning goal, Rogelio Funes Mori made it seven goals in his past five matches and Carlos Rodriguez also found the net, yet Mohamed was not pleased with the level of performance.

Abdelkarim Hassan scored Al Sadd's second goal - after Baghdad Bounedjah got their first - to give them hope and Mohamed insisted a similar performance against Liverpool in the semi-final will result in defeat.

"It was a difficult match and we have to flip the page, it's a new chapter now," Mohamed said at a news conference.

"We have to play better and perform better if we want to compete against Liverpool. Liverpool are a team that forces you to play better and top your performance.

"We have no other option. If we play like today we will not be able to defeat Liverpool, so we have to raise the bar."

Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp has revealed his opposition to suggestions the Champions League should expand in a move that could mean more games for Europe's elite teams.

According to a Daily Mail report, leading Premier League clubs including Liverpool are backing plans that could see the Champions League significantly restructured.

The group stage could grow from a six-match commitment to 10 games per team, the British newspaper said. Such a step could boost earnings potential but also have an impact on existing domestic football schedules.

Klopp's team lead the Premier League, and in the coming week they head to Qatar to compete in the Club World Cup, after earning a place in that event by winning the Champions League.

Injuries are beginning to take a toll at Anfield, with Georginio Wijnaldum joining the casualty list on Saturday when he suffered a muscle problem in the 2-0 win over Watford.

One Liverpool team will face Aston Villa in the EFL Cup on Tuesday, before another plays Monterrey at the Club World Cup a day later.

"The fixtures are like they are. You all like watching us suffering - that's how it is," Klopp said. "You look a little bit concerned, but at the end nobody cares really."

He added: "Today I read an article [saying that] the top clubs want to do more games in the Champions League or whatever. I am not involved in these plans. So that's absolute b******s as well.

"That's how it is. We can talk about everything but we have to cut off games, not be putting more in.

"Until then we have to do what we do and we will do that and we are quite positive about it.

"We need each point we can get because it's a tough and long season. You [the media] can make early judgements... but we can't. We just have to recover and play the next game."

Klopp dismissed the idea his team were off their game against Watford, who had enough chances to win the match rather than leave empty-handed in Nigel Pearson's first game as Hornets manager.

"No, just a difficult game. It was not an off-day," Klopp said. "We scored sensational goals.

"It was just a difficult game and I'm completely fine with that."

Klopp also cast a questioning look at the arrangements in place for FIFA's Club World Cup.

The opening matches have been played at Doha's Jassim Bin Hamad Stadium, but all games from now on will be contested at the city's Khalifa International Stadium, with five fixtures due to be played on the same pitch in five days.

That scenario has come about because FIFA said in early December that the Education City Stadium, which had been due to host Liverpool's semi-final against Monterrey, plus the third-place play-off and final, was not ready in time to stage games at the tournament.

That venue is being built primarily for the 2022 World Cup.

Klopp recognised Liverpool would be going into a warmer climate after their seven-hour flight to the Middle East, but added: "I think it's raining there. Perhaps it doesn't help the pitch - the one pitch we are playing all on ... it's sensationally good organisation - where all the games are on one pitch and it's raining.

"I'm not sure if the people in Qatar are used to a lot of rain. We will see how the pitch will be. That's a bit of a problem."

Liverpool kept their first home clean sheet of the Premier League season in a 2-0 win over Watford as Mohamed Salah's double rescued the off-key Reds.

The manner in which Jurgen Klopp's men can win when out of sorts must be hard to swallow for second-placed Leicester, who drew 1-1 at home to Norwich City, and third-placed Manchester City, who travel to Arsenal on Sunday.

Chelsea failed to put pressure on the top three as they succumbed to a 1-0 home defeat to Bournemouth, but Sheffield United moved up to fifth after brushing Aston Villa aside in a 2-0 win.

Chris Wood's goal was enough to bring Burnley's three-match losing streak to an end and condemn Newcastle United to a first defeat in four league outings.

 

Watford make Reds work for 16th straight home win

New manager Nigel Pearson left Anfield with every reason to be proud of his Watford side's performance on an afternoon when the Hornets had enough chances to claim a shock victory against the Premier League leaders.

Abdoulaye Doucoure and Etienne Capoue were guilty of wasteful finishing that let Liverpool off the hook and Salah made Watford pay in spectacular style.

The Egypt international curled a spectacular opener into the top corner after 38 minutes and then wrapped up a hard-fought win with a cheeky tap-in in the last minute.

The satisfaction Jurgen Klopp took from an ugly win was dulled by an injury to Georginio Wijnaldum, who suffered a muscle strain that looks set to rule him out of Liverpool's trip to Qatar for the Club World Cup.

Liverpool have now won 16 straight home Premier League games, with their lead up to 10 points.

Four defeats in five for Lampard's Blues

Bournemouth arrived at Stamford Bridge in the midst of a five-game Premier League losing streak but emerged with all three points after Dan Gosling's late goal clinched a surprise 1-0 victory over Chelsea.

Any hopes the Blues had of a return to strong domestic form following their 2-1 midweek victory over Lille began to fade as chances went begging while Bournemouth grew in confidence.

As the Cherries piled forward, Jefferson Lerma's looping header into the box six minutes from time found Gosling unmarked and he lifted the ball over Kepa Arrizabalaga and over the line.

Chelsea had 18 shots at goal throughout the match but failed to force an equaliser and Frank Lampard's men trudged off the field with a record of one win and four defeats in their last five Premier League outings.

Foxes come up short as winning streak ends

Teemu Pukki's third goal in four Premier League matches gave Norwich City the lead at King Power Stadium, where Leicester City's eight-match Premier League winning streak came grinding to a halt.

The Finland international fired Norwich ahead after 26 minutes, but their advantage did not last long, with Tim Krul palming Jamie Vardy's header into his own net seven minutes before half-time.

Daniel Farke's Norwich fought hard for their share of the points in a second half that saw Leicester heap pressure on their goal, attempting 12 shots on goal.

Ben Chilwell's cross forced a late corner from which substitute Harvey Barnes fired agonisingly wide for the hosts, who remain second in the table.

Blades up to fifth after victory over Villa

Any doubts over which of this season's promoted sides has the best chance of a top-half finish appeared to be resolved at Bramall Lane, where Fleck scored both of Sheffield United's goals in a 2-0 win over Aston Villa.

Chris Wilder's men have proved themselves extremely tough to beat and Villa's hopes of inflicting what would have been only United's second defeat in 10 league games suffered a blow when Scotland international Fleck finished a neat passing move with a goal after 50 minutes.

Fleck coolly slotted home his second 23 minutes later before Jack Grealish hit the crossbar with a penalty, leaving Villa winless in four Premier League matches and in trouble towards the foot of the table.

Jurgen Klopp said Georginio Wijnaldum missing Liverpool's Club World Cup bid was "the more likely scenario" after the midfielder sustained a hamstring injury against Watford.

Wijnaldum left the field after just under an hour of Liverpool's 2-0 victory at Anfield, the fly in the ointment on an otherwise satisfactory afternoon's work for the Premier League leaders.

Klopp said that injuries are his side's major concern as they look to maintain their lead at the top of the table while negotiating a trip to Qatar during a packed December schedule.

"It looks like with each game you lose one player and that's not too cool," Klopp told BT Sport. "That's our main problem.

"The fixtures are like they are, we know that, but losing players in this type of situation is not cool. We'll deal with it but it makes life not easy."

Asked whether Wijnaldum had a chance of travelling to Qatar with the squad on Sunday, Klopp said: "I have no idea. Today we'll make an assessment and make a decision.

"If he cannot train and has to do rehab then he'll stay here and that's the more likely scenario at the moment."

Despite having to cope without the injured Joel Matip, Dejan Lovren and Fabinho, Klopp dismissed the suggestion that fatigue is currently an issue for Liverpool.

The Reds' performance against Watford was at times disjointed and only poor finishing prevented the Hornets from taking a first-half lead.

But Klopp praised his side's response and the performance of goalkeeper Alisson, saying: "The most important thing you have to show in this period of the season is resilience. The boys were ready for a big fight.

"They [Watford] had a completely new set-up and did really well. They had their chances.

"Could the game have been easier for us? Of course, if we keep the ball smarter and move passes around.

"The boys are not tired but it's intense to be constantly in charge of a game. We have to defend at some moments with passion instead of organisation because that was not always perfect, but when we did let them in Ali [Alisson] was there."

In a week of deliberation over who might lead the country, English football remains in little doubt over its elect group of players.

But while many feel the current Liverpool side is born to rule, they were asked some tricky questions by a Watford team recently revived by a change of leadership.

There was a high turnout but no landslide victory against Watford at Anfield, where the Reds chalked up their 16th consecutive Premier League home win by a 2-0 scoreline thanks to Mohamed Salah's double.

And while their seat at the top of the table looks safe, canvass for opinion around Merseyside and you will find even the most dyed-in-the-wool Reds reluctant to suggest the balance of power has swung decisively in their favour.

But six more home league wins in a row would see Jurgen Klopp's men eclipse the all-time record streak of 21 set by Bill Shankly's title-winning team of 1972-73, who saw governance of the top flight as their birthright.

For a home crowd watching a team guaranteed to be top of the Premier League table at Christmas, Anfield was strangely subdued during the opening exchanges between Klopp's rotated side and visitors Watford.

New boss Nigel Pearson looked to have assembled a strong opposition during a cagey opening spell that saw the incumbent leaders fail to muster a shot on goal for 22 minutes - the longest wait for a Reds attempt in a home league game since October 2016 against Manchester United.

Pearson could hardly be accused of the kind of negative campaigning Jose Mourinho so often employed during his time at United, with Watford offering a more incisive threat in the opening half-hour thanks to the positive endeavours of Will Hughes and Gerard Deulofeu.

With Andy Robertson on the bench, Liverpool looked momentarily vulnerable at left-back when Etienne Capoue skipped beyond stand-in James Milner before teeing up Abdoulaye Doucoure for a wasteful miss that was punished at the other end just 58 seconds later.

Roberto Firmino's overhead kick launched Sadio Mane down the Liverpool left and he in turn released Mohamed Salah, who fooled Kiko Femenia before nonchalantly curling home with his right foot.

It was not the first time Liverpool's Egyptian king has lorded it over Watford, and a last-minute tap-in means Salah has eight goals and one assist in five Premier League appearances against the Hornets.

But Klopp's cabinet includes many inspirational leaders. Some credit for this win must also go to Mane, so often the player who helps lay the foundations upon which Salah excels.

Mane has set up four goals against Watford in the Premier League, more than he has managed against any other side in the top tier. All four of those assists have been for Salah, too.

Klopp will hope Mane makes a habit of teeing up goals during the busy weeks ahead; the Senegal international has three assists in his past two Premier League games, as many as he managed in his previous 56 appearances.

Clean sheets also help – Klopp will certainly vote for shut-outs to become another long-running trend.

James Milner hailed Liverpool's battling qualities after they maintained their remarkable Premier League form with a scrappy 2-0 win over rock-bottom Watford.

Two goals from Mohamed Salah earned a 16th win in 17 league games for the runaway leaders at a windy Anfield, but Liverpool certainly did not have things all their own way as their struggling opponents offered a consistent threat on the counter-attack.

In their first game under new head coach Nigel Pearson, Watford were guilty of two awful misses - from Abdoulaye Doucoure and Ismaila Sarr - either side of Salah's first-half opener and the visitors remained in the contest until the Egypt international struck again in the final minute of normal time.

"They were always going to be up for it, a new manager coming in. We know what Nige is like as well," Milner told BT Sport. "They're having a bad time but we knew it would be tough and it proved to be that."

Asked about the breezy conditions, Milner, who followed manager Jurgen Klopp in signing a contract extension on Friday, added:  "It's not nice, obviously. It affects everything, the touch, the longer passes, crosses, but you have to deal with it. It's the same for both teams and sometimes you've just got to scrap it out.

"It can't always be pretty and nice football, and that's an important result, to get those three points in the way we did, battling it out."

Salah's first goal came 58 seconds after Doucoure had mis-kicked at the other end with a clear sight of goal, the Liverpool forward cutting in from the left following a slick break and beating Ben Foster with a glorious curling finish.

"I've been practicing with my right foot," said a smiling Salah, who went on to seal victory with a cute flick from Divock Origi's scuffed shot.

"We played against a tough team today. I think they should be better positioned than what they are. Hopefully we keep on winning in the next few games."

Salah's late second quelled any nerves among the home fans and he added: "I think now we have more experience. We've played together for three or four years, so we know when we can make the game calm, when we can make it fast.

"Sometimes the crowd, they get panicky a little bit, but we have experience. We have won a few games 1-0 so it's fine."

 

Liverpool made hard work of beating rock-bottom Watford 2-0 in the Premier League on Saturday and also suffered another injury blow as Georginio Wijnaldum limped off ahead his side's Club World Cup trip.

A day on from manager Jurgen Klopp signing a contract extension to 2024, the runaway leaders were well below their brilliant best but nevertheless claimed victory through two goals from Mohamed Salah, the second coming in the 90th minute.

Abdoulaye Doucoure and Ismaila Sarr were guilty of horrible misses for Watford either side of Salah's first strike seven minutes before half-time and there were several other presentable chances for Watford in their first game under Nigel Pearson.

However, Liverpool - who also had a goal ruled out by VAR - ultimately did enough to claim victory and will now hope for a positive update on Wijnaldum as they prepare for a Club World Cup semi-final on Wednesday.

Liverpool's previous three home games against Watford had yielded an aggregate score of 16-1, but this was certainly no cakewalk.

Despite having less than 30 per cent possession in the first period, Watford regularly threatened on the counter-attack, enjoying success down the flanks.

However, both Doucoure and Sarr mis-kicked horribly when given clear sights of goal in the Liverpool box and the first of those misses was punished inside 58 seconds as the hosts scored from their only shot on target prior to half-time.

An incisive Liverpool break ended with Salah latching on to Sadio Mane's pass into the left channel, before cutting inside Kiko Femenia all too easily and curling a gorgeous finish beyond Ben Foster into the top right-hand corner.

Watford continued to look dangerous after the break and Alisson was forced into stops from Sarr and Gerard Deulofeu either side of Mane seeing a 50th-minute goal ruled out for offside following a VAR review.

A lack of quality in the final third was prevalent thereafter, with Roberto Firmino particularly sloppy, but Liverpool – now 11 points clear at the top of the table ahead of Leicester City's clash with Norwich City - eventually added a second as Salah flicked home a scuffed shot from substitute Divock Origi.

What does it mean? Ugly win no problem amid hectic schedule

Liverpool may not have been particularly impressive, but Klopp is unlikely to mind one bit. December is an intense month for the league leaders and securing another win - their 16th from 17 league games - was essentially all that matters.

Deulofeu's efforts go unrewarded

So much of Watford's best play came down the flanks, with Deulofeu particularly influential. The tricky winger should have crowned an impressive performance with a second-half goal, but failed to beat Alisson after being put through one-on-one.

Sarr has a shocker

If Doucoure's spurned chance was clumsy, the midfielder failing to make clean contact when unmarked by the penalty spot, Sarr's subsequent mis-kick was a real shocker. Alisson palmed a Deulofeu cross straight into the winger's path, but Sarr almost missed the ball completely having had time to settle himself. The effort summed up Sarr's general lack of quality in the final third as he wasted a host of promising opportunities.

What's next?

Liverpool's senior squad now head to the Club World Cup in Qatar as their youngsters face Aston Villa in the EFL Cup. The Reds' next Premier League meeting is a tantalising Boxing Day clash at second-placed Leicester, while Watford host Manchester United next Sunday.

Liverpool's injury problems worsened ahead of the Club World Cup as Georginio Wijnaldum was forced off with an apparent hamstring problem in the second half of Saturday's Premier League clash with Watford.

Already missing Dejan Lovren, Joel Matip and Fabinho amid a hectic run of fixtures, Jurgen Klopp saw Wijnaldum pull up lame early in the second half on Saturday, with the Reds a goal to the good.

Wijnaldum was unable to continue after brief on-field treatment and limped off to be replaced by Andy Robertson, with James Milner switching from left-back to midfield.

Liverpool will head to Qatar after the Watford game for two Club World Cup fixtures, starting with a semi-final contest on Wednesday. It now remains to be seen whether Wijnaldum will be fit for that trip.

The runaway Premier League leaders then face second-placed Leicester City on Boxing Day in a key domestic contest.

Trent Alexander-Arnold believes Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp's unwavering belief has helped shape his life for the better.

Klopp extended his contract with the Premier League leaders on Friday, agreeing a deal that keeps him at the club until 2024.

The German arrived at Anfield in October 2015 and handed a teenage Alexander-Arnold his professional debut 12 months later, in an EFL Cup tie against Tottenham.

The Merseysider has gone on to win the Champions League and cement a regular starting berth at right-back.

"He is someone who has really made me who I am today," Alexander-Arnold told Spanish newspaper AS when asked about Klopp.

"Someone who has pushed me to get better every day, someone who has given me so many opportunities that I will never be able to repay all that confidence. He has helped me in every way."

Alexander-Arnold's early exposure to first-team football helped him win a place in Gareth Southgate's England squad for the 2018 World Cup.

The 21-year-old appears certain to be involved at Euro 2020 after appearing in three qualifiers, including two in November.

He was on the bench when the Three Lions encountered racist abuse during their infamous away game against Bulgaria, which the visitors won 6-0.

"It was something that, personally, I had never faced before, nor my team-mates, although they told us what could happen," Alexander-Arnold said of the ugly scenes in Sofia.

"The worst happened before the break, when the match stopped. In the changing room we decided to go out and play football and win, and make our country proud of us. It's disappointing, something that shouldn't happen in football these days."

Now an emerging leader in a Liverpool side charging towards a first Premier League title, Alexander-Arnold said wearing the armband was a definite personal ambition.

"Yes, of course," he said. "Whether it comes true or not, it is not really my decision. I don't choose who the captain is. But yes, I would love to captain Liverpool."

Jurgen Klopp said he could not imagine leaving Liverpool in 2022 after the manager opted to extend his contract.

The German, who led the Premier League giants to Champions League glory last season, extended his deal at Anfield until 2024 on Friday.

Klopp said the position Liverpool were in meant he could not see himself leaving at the end of his previous contract.

"I couldn't imagine I would leave," he told UK newspapers ahead of hosting Watford on Saturday.

"That was the moment I thought we can start thinking about how long do I want to stay? I have no clue how long it will be in the end, but it was not possible for me to imagine that I would leave in 2022 because of the people we have and what we have created here.

"It was not that I went to the club and said, 'come on, let's have a new contract'. The club started the talks and then we realised – together with my family – that it is the right thing to do.

"I liked the idea more and more."

Klopp has been in charge at Liverpool since October 2015, with last season's European success his first piece of silverware.

Asked if he felt a wider responsibility to Liverpool as a whole, Klopp said: "Yes, I feel responsible for a lot of things but I don't think too much about it. 

"People make more of it than it is. I try to help this football club to be in the best possible place and then that has an impact on all the rest of things in the city, I guess. 

"I don't feel responsible for all things in Liverpool - thank God, not. There is already enough I feel responsible for."

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