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Liverpool Echo
Liverpool Echo
Theo Squires

Jurgen Klopp anger on touchline, Caoimhin Kelleher's nickname and more Liverpool moments missed

With top spot and a place in the Champions League knockout stages already secured, Liverpool’s trip to FC Midtjylland was nothing more than a dead rubber on Wednesday night.

But that didn’t stop Jurgen Klopp ’s much-changed Reds from battling out a topsy-turvy 1-1 draw at the MCH Arena.

In a game dominated by VAR controversy, both sides had goals chalked off as Mohamed Salah ’s 55-second opener was cancelled out by a Alexander Scholz penalty.

But what else went down in Denmark? Here are some of the sub-plots that might have gone under the radar…

Jurgen Klopp’s anger

Jurgen Klopp was apparently pretty unhappy after a tackle from Frank Onyeka during the opening minutes of his side's 1-1 draw with Danish champions FC Midtjylland.

The midfielder was booked for a late stamp on Divock Origi, and committed more fouls (18) than any other player during the Champions League group-stages.

Klopp was reportedly unimpressed by the challenge as he seemingly made his feelings known to Midtjylland coach Brian Priske.

"Why do you play like that? It's exactly like in the first match,” Klopp shouted at Priske, according to Danish site BT .

Priske claimed he did not see the tackle, while Onyeka was later substituted shortly after the hour-mark to avoid getting sent off.

Rhys Williams’ message

Liverpool's Rhys Williams takes a knee and raises a fist in support of racial equality prior to the UEFA Champions League Group D football match FC Midtjylland v Liverpool FC (Photo by Lars Ronbog / FrontZoneSport via Getty Images)

2020 will be remembered for many things when we look back on this craziest of years, but one will be society’s enhanced efforts to stand up to racism and end discrimination.

Football has been no different with teams continuing to take the knee before matches in a sign of solidarity.

However, that hasn’t stopped high-profile incidents with the past week seeing Millwall fans booing their own players for taking the knee before their defeat to Derby County, before Paris Saint-Germain and Istanbul Basaksehir players walked off following an alleged racist comment by the fourth official in reference to Basaksehir coach Pierre Webo.

When the game resumed on Wednesday night, both sets of players and the officials - who also took a knee during the Champions League anthem - wore 'no to racism' T-shirts in the warm-up, with anti-racism banners in the stands.

And Liverpool defender Rhys Williams sent out his own message prior to the Reds’ draw in Denmark.

As both sides took the knee before kick off, the 19-year-old raised his fist in the style of a 'Black Power Salute'.

Williams had done the same before Liverpool’s loss to Atalanta last month, but after Tuesday’s scenes in Paris, his latest message carried extra poignance as the battle for equality continues.

Mistaken identity

Leighton Clarkson put in an impressive display as he made his Champions League debut against Midtjylland. 

While it was the midfielder’s third appearance for Liverpool, it was actually his first for Jurgen Klopp having previously played in cup contests with Aston Villa and Shrewsbury Town when the Reds’ first team had been spared duty last season.

And with Clarkson a newcomer to senior action, perhaps former Liverpool midfielder Nigel Spackman can be forgiven for a case of mistaken identity involving the midfielder.

With Kostas Tsimikas sidelined because of injury in the second half prior to the introduction of Andy Robertson, Liverpool briefly had to play with 10 men as Clarkson tasked with playing left-back.

And the 19-year-old and was on hand to clear off the line from Anders Dreyer, before VAR belatedly awarded the Danes a penalty for a foul from Caoimhin Kelleher on the forward.

However, on summariser duty for BT Sport, Spackman twice praised Tsimikas for Clarkson’s quick-play before the spot-kick was awarded.

“Tsimikas does really well, holds the line,” he said. “He's looking across at the centre-backs. Do I go deeper than them? No, I'm going to hold my line. He does really well in the end.

“It looked well offside when the ball was played. He held the line well, Tsimikas. He did really well, the left-back, to not drop in behind the centre-backs.”

*Who was your Liverpool man of the match against Midtjylland? Vote HERE

Come on, Queevy

Booked for conceding the penalty, Caoimhin Kelleher wasn’t phased by conceding a penalty with the Irishman producing a number of fine saves in the second half to ensure Liverpool remained level.

And the 22-year-old was unfortunate not to preserve his clean sheet, diving the right way as Alexander Scholz’s penalty.

With no crowd in Denmark, all the shouts from both benches and both sets of players could be heard throughout the game, including cries of support for Kelleher.

“Come on, Queevy!” shouted Liverpool’s coaches on the sidelines as he tried in vain to deny Scholz from 12-yards.

While Alisson is likely to reclaim the position against Fulham having recovered from injury, the young goalkeeper has impressed in recent outings in the absence of the Brazilian.

Quick off the mark

While a 1-1 draw against Danish minnows is hardly going to warrant its own chapter in Liverpool’s famous history, the Reds did break a number of records on the night.

The most obvious saw Mohamed Salah overtake Steven Gerrard to become the club’s outright all-time leading goalscorer in the Champions League, but by scoring after 55 seconds, the Egyptian’s strike was also Liverpool’s fastest ever goal in the competition.

With an average age of 23 years and six months, Klopp’s starting XI was the Reds’ youngest ever in the Champions League, while his matchday squad included nine players who were aged 22 or younger with seven still teenagers.

And Trent Alexander-Arnold became Liverpool’s third-ever youngest captain, and their youngest ever in European competition after being handed the armband for the first time.

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