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Updated: 47 min 26 sec ago

Ryan Giggs or Sadio Mane: Assessing Who Should Be Considered the Better Player

18 hours 53 min ago

​Roy Keane and Jamie Carragher debated in the Sky Sports studio on Monday night which players would get in a combined XI of Manchester United’s 1998/99 treble winning side and the current Liverpool team that is running away with the Premier League in 2019/20.

If you haven’t seen the exchange, it is a thoroughly entertaining watch that is well worth 17 minutes of your time. But perhaps the highlight was Keane’s look of utter disbelief when Carragher proposed including Sadio Mane at the expense of Ryan Giggs – it looked as though the former United skipper was genuinely hurt and personally offended

It is pretty much impossible to directly compare players from different eras, especially when Giggs has finished his career and Mane is midway through a potentially defining season.

But allow me to have a go anyway and break down who really is the better player.

Shooting Liverpool FC v Manchester United - Premier League

Where shooting and goals are concerned, Mane has the edge. The Senegal international has never failed to reach double figures in any season throughout his time in the Premier League, even taking a share of the Golden Boot in 2018/19 after scoring 22 goals.

Giggs, who it must be pointed out was an orthodox wide midfielder compared to Mane’s role as an advanced wide forward, only managed double figures twice in the Premier League – 1993/94 and 1995/96. He certainly wasn’t bad in front of goal by any stretch of the imagination, though.

Passing Manchester United's Ryan Giggs (L) trys

Giggs was an underrated passer, largely because of the years he spent lining up alongside David Beckham and Paul Scholes. His crossing was superb and later in his career he was able to more than hold his own in central positions that required a different skillset to wing play.

Mane is more revered for his high press, penetrating movement and shooting than he is for passing ability. But as was the case for Giggs on goalscoring, it doesn’t mean the Liverpool man isn’t good, but he isn’t as good. He also averaged more assists per season than Mane has.

Dribbling Ryan Giggs of Manchester United

You need only look at Giggs’s iconic winning goal in the 1999 FA Cup semi-final replay over Arsenal to see how good a dribbler he was. It was what he was most known for, certainly in the first half of his career and he could run with the ball faster than most could run without it.

Mane has the speed, pace and acceleration to match, although his is often utilised off the ball, making runs that put him into goalscoring positions or can create chances for others. He isn’t a ball carrier in the same way that Giggs was.

This Has Been Tough But There Is an Answer

Sky framed the Keane/Carragher debate around a direct 1999 vs. 2020 comparison, but that just doesn’t work because it isn’t enough to determine who is the better player.

Why this is a difficult task is because Mane is still playing and there is no finite measurement. Due to turn 28 in April, we simply don’t know how long he will be at his current level for and he has only reached this world class standing within the last couple of years.

It is unfair to limit Giggs, who is the single most decorated player in English football history, to a single season comparison when his career was about so much more. By 28, he had already won seven Premier League titles, three FA Cups and the Champions League.

Even when Liverpool mathematically win the Premier League in a matter of weeks, Mane would still have to win it every single year until he’s 40 just to match Giggs’ record.

Manchester United's Welsh midfielder Rya

Both men are/were exceptional players in their own right. But to suggest that Giggs should play second fiddle to anyone in the history of English football, past or present, is ultimately wrong.

While Mane is better at certain things, the better all-round player is always Giggs.

For more from Jamie Spencer, follow him on Twitter and Facebook!


Source : 90min

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Roy Keane Claims Jürgen Klopp Hasn't Coached Liverpool's Dejan Lovren Properly

18 hours 53 min ago

Former Manchester United midfielder Roy Keane has jokingly suggested that Liverpool manager Jürgen Klopp hasn't coached centre-back Dejan Lovren, instead relying upon the transfer market ​for defensive reinforcements. 

Liverpool are top the Premier League, 25 points clear of Manchester City, the largest gap at the top of the table in top-flight English footballing history. 

Klopp has received much praise for the work he's done on Liverpool's team since joining the Reds in 2015, but Keane questioned why the German had to buy the likes of Virgil van Dijk and goalkeeper Alisson instead of coaching the existing players to that level.

Virgil van Dijk,Alisson

Speaking on ​Sky Sports' Monday Night Football, Keane said: “If you took the keeper out, they’d be a lot less of a team.

“We saw over the last few years when ​Liverpool were pretty good going forward, we never thought they were going to win the big prizes unless they bought a centre-half and a keeper.

“Guess what? That’s what they have done. I don’t know why Klopp wasn’t coaching Lovren and all these boys! For what a great coach he is, he still had to go and buy a few players.”

It seems odd that Keane has a grievance with Liverpool's evidently excellent business in the transfer market given the two most influential managers of the Irishman's career, Brian Clough and Sir Alex Ferguson, were famed for their superb player acquisitions. 

Roy Keane,Sir Alex Ferguson

While Keane seems perplexed as to why Klopp didn't coach his existing centre-backs to be as good as Van Dijk, who was voted the UEFA Men's Player of the Year in 2019, the German manager can point towards the form of Joe Gomez as evidence of his ability to improve the players he inherited. 

The 22-year-old Englishman arrived at Anfield three months prior to Klopp's appointment and after some spells out of the side, Gomez has played every minute of Liverpool's last 11 ​Premier League matches, in which the league leaders have conceded just one goal. 

​Lovren himself, while playing fewer games this term, has done a solid job when called up this season as Liverpool can boast the best defensive record in the league, letting in only 15 goals all season.


Source : 90min

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The Liverpool XI That Should Start Against Atlético Madrid in the Champions League

18 hours 53 min ago

This Saturday, ​Liverpool extended their current win streak to 17 in the Premier League and remain unbeaten in 2020, so it's not likely Jurgen Klopp will be needing any advice on team selection. 

Tonight, Atlético Madrid and Champions League knockout football will provide a stern examination of Liverpool's credentials to be in the category of 'greatest sides ever'. 

That type of hyperbolic label is being associated with ​Liverpool because what they're doing presently is unprecedented. Whether it's the ungodly statistics that the team is racking up or simply the eye test, this Liverpool side is a beast never seen before.

Jurgen Klopp

If you're thinking that the setting could be offputting, the Wanda Metropolitano will be particularly familiar for the Reds as it was the scene of their sixth ​European Cup triumph last June against ​Tottenham Hotspur.

Even though ​Atlético appear to be winding down on the Simeone era in what's been a disappointing season, they still should provide a tough test with quality players across the pitch.

Here's who Liverpool should start in their continued journey towards greatness. 

Goalkeeper & Defenders Virgil van Dijk

Alisson Becker​ (GK) - The choice here is between the best goalkeeper in Europe and Adrian, so not really much of a choice. Given how Atléti play, it won't be a bombardment of Alisson's goal but he'll be needed to make one crucial save tonight, most likely at set-pieces.  

Trent Alexander-Arnold (RB) - Cafu made ​headlines this week by claiming that Alexander-Arnold could win the Ballon D'Or in the future. Given the ridiculous form and outrageous statistics the Englishman is putting up, who can disagree? He's a world-class player who will be a nightmare for Atlético to press and track.

Virgil Van Djik (CB) - Atléti's attacking options of Morata, Correa and Vitolo won't be keeping the Dutchman up at night, but given the circumstances, it will require a strong performance. Look no further than Van Djik to be the man to do so. 

Joel Matip (CB) - The first real question mark of Liverpool's lineup is who partners Van Dijk, and the Reds should be selecting the Cameroonian. Matip is a tried and tested defender who was vital in the corresponding fixture of last year's ​Champions League campaign against ​Bayern Munich. His experience will be crucial in what should be an exhilarating night in Madrid.

Andrew Robertson (LB) - The Scot is another shoo-in in this side, offering thrust and work rate that is absolutely vital to the success of this side. A pacy option might be utilised by Atléti to combat Robertson's marauding down the left.

Midfielders James Milner

Jordan Henderson (DM) - ​Henderson's play over the last 12 months has been crucial to the functionality of this Liverpool side. He's a player who understands his role and is the manager's mouthpiece on the pitch - he is a certainty to start tonight.

James Milner (CM) - In a decision between Milner and Fabinho, expect Klopp to select Milner to have the personality for this environment. It's the sign of good man management to select players that are on the fringes of the starting eleven to give a performance on the biggest European stages. It keeps the players hungry - Ferguson did it with Ji-Sung Park and others countless times. Klopp will of course have an eye on completing the job in the Premier League, too.

Gini Wijnaldum (CM) - A crucial bridge between midfield and attack, Wijnaldum's running is vital to Liverpool's overall success. His career at Liverpool showcases the importance of playing a role within the team that suits your natural game. If he's unable to make an imprint on the game, expect him to be sacrificed first by Klopp. 

Forwards Sadio Mane

Sadio Mané (LW) - In his best campaign yet, Mané has been arguably the best player in Europe. His sublime touch and finish against Norwich typified the rarefied form that the Senegalese attacker is in. Expect him to star on Tuesday night.

Roberto Firmino (CF) - Firmino's play this season has led to comparisons to Eric Cantona and Dennis Bergkamp. While we might be getting ahead of ourselves, there's no doubt that what Firmino has been doing on the pitch is a savant-level of understanding. A crucial cog to what Liverpool do and it will be key for Atléti's success to starve the Brazilian of the ball.

Mo Salah (RW) - Just about hitting his stride for this season, Salah has really come into his own recently with a rich vein of goalscoring form. His pace might be muted with a deep Atléti backline so expect some potshots cutting in from the right.


Source : 90min

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Jurgen Klopp Reveals His Favourite to Win This Season's Champions League

18 hours 53 min ago

Liverpool boss Jurgen Klopp has once again dismissed talk that his side are favourites to win the Champions League this season, having recently claimed that Juventus were the frontrunners...before changing his answer in typical Klopp fashion.  

This time, it's Paris Saint-Germain who are the German's chosen ones. 

Klopp's men travel to take on Atlético Madrid in the first leg of their last 16 tussle on Tuesday evening, before they play the second leg on 11 March. Considering the fact that the Reds are currently an astonishing 25 points clear at the top of the Premier League table, many have deemed the Anfield side favourites to retain their status as champions of Europe too. 

FBL-EUR-C1-LIVERPOOL-TRAINING

However, ​Liverpool boss Klopp recently labelled ​Juventus as the team most likely to win the competition as he attempted to swerve away from talk that his side were the favourites. However, Maurizio Sarri later ​dismissed the 52-year-old's claims, saying that Klopp was attempting to shake off the pressure that's on him to retain it. 

The former Borussia Dortmund boss has now apologised for putting Sarri under pressure, admitting that he occasionally doesn't think before he speaks, while he also revealed that he doesn't participate in any mind games. However, just as he finished apologising, he couldn't help himself, immediately following this up by stating that PSG are now the favourites. 

Speaking in his press conference ahead of Tuesday's clash with ​Atlético, he said, as quoted by ​James Pearc​e of The Athletic: "I'm sorry, I didn't want to put Maurizio [Sarri] under pressure, I respect him too much. I don't play these mind games, but sometimes I don't think before I speak. I said I didn't understand why they weren't 10 points clear."

FBL-ITA-SERIEA-JUVENTUS-BRESCIA

And as he smiled and chuckled to himself, Klopp added: "The biggest favourite in the competition is PSG. Now they have the pressure!"

Well, that sure did change fast. 

There's never a dull moment when Klopp is around and while his side are dominating the league, he is still clearly unwilling to be sucked into talk about his team defending their crown. 

Instead, he's shifted the pressure onto, well, anyone else really.  


Source : 90min

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Rafa Benítez Delivers Opinion on How to Beat Jürgen Klopp's Liverpool

18 hours 53 min ago

Former Newcastle United and Liverpool manager Rafa Benítez believes he has the blueprint of how to defeat Jürgen Klopp's runaway league leaders. 

Liverpool are 25 points clear of Manchester City at the top of the Premier League and are in the midst of a 43-game unbeaten run in the competition, stretching back to January 2019. Benítez was glowing in his analysis of Klopp's side but highlighted some area's which the opposition could exploit to halt this unbeaten run. 

Newcastle United,Jurgen Klopp

Speaking about the previous meetings he's had with Klopp's team, Benítez told ​The Athletic: "When our Newcastle United team played ​Liverpool, our quick players weren’t faster than theirs were, so in the end the only way to get something from the game is to be really solid. 

"The problem is that you cannot keep this solidity up forever if they are on top of you all the time. Defending for 90 minutes is impossible, so you have to try to create something on the counter-attack, to be a threat, to give them something to be more worried about."

The former Real Madrid boss continued: "You have to try and get away from their pressing. To beat Liverpool or City you need speed and skill in the wide areas up front; if not, it just comes down to passing the ball — you will not be better than them at that, and they will usually be faster and stronger than you." 

Sadio Mane

Benítez likened this Liverpool side to Klopp's previous team, ​Borussia Dortmund, who the Spaniard faced with Napoli in 2013. 

In preparation for that game Benítez reiterated the importance to bypass the high press employed by Klopp's teams. He explained: "The biggest thing was to play with simplicity. We told the players, 'when you regain possession, you have to play simple passes and get away from their press, which will allow you to get behind them'."

Despite this knowledge, Benítez was never able to claim victory over Klopp's Liverpool while manager of ​Newcastle, but the current Dalian Yifang boss has certainly provided something for their current rivals to think about.


Source : 90min

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VIDEO: Keane & Carragher Pick Their Combined Liverpool (2020) & Man Utd (1999) XI - And it's TV Gold

18 hours 53 min ago

Most of us love picking a combined XI. Jamie Carragher and Roy Keane got the chance to do just that on Sky Sports' Monday Night Football, ​and it was phenomenal.

MNF rarely disappoints, with former players like Carragher, Keane and Gary Neville always bringing insight, criticism and top quality #bantz. You love to see it.

On Monday, Carragher and Keane's task was to build an ultimate XI using players from only this current Liverpool side and Manchester United's treble-winning side of 1999. Obviously, there a whole boat load of talent there, so the pair were probably going to clash once or twice, right?

[embedded content]

Right.

It starts off with a light-hearted debate about goalkeepers, with Keane revealing that he doesn't actually like Peter Schmeichel without any encouragement. That's the kind of tone he was going for throughout.

As the conversation goes on, it becomes emphatically clear that Keane is not there to hype up ​Liverpool. Obviously, winning the ​Champions League means nothing, because all that matters is they haven't won the ​Premier League...yet.

(Even though in Carragher's own rules, only the 99 and current season's achievements count).

He does admit that Virgil van Dijk is pretty alright, but then looks terrified at the prospect of having said something positive about a Liverpool player, so insists that Jaap Stam was better.

Then we come to midfield. Given Keane was part of that 1999 United side, it always seemed likely that he would want himself in this ultimate XI, and he did not disappoint. He claimed he could do 'everything', before looking puzzled as to why people were laughing.

Of course, Carragher takes it all like a champ, laughing along with Keane and making everything both better and worse at the same time. Perfection.

Keane manages to negotiate his way to picking a full United midfield with Paul Scholes and David Beckham. He even gets a cheeky dig at ​Paul Pogba in there for no reason whatsoever, because of course he does.

However, it all kicks off when they come to Ryan Giggs. Keane looks utterly heartbroken at the idea of benching the Welshman, but he then has a panicked realisation that three or four goals in the season might not actually be good enough.

Keane was obviously never going to be happy unless there were 12 United players in this XI, but Carragher led it all fantastically. You've got Carragher throwing out valid points and Keane just defending his mates. Great telly.

For more from Tom Gott, follow him on Twitter!


Source : 90min

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Jürgen Klopp Admits He Cannot Explain His Stunning European Record With Liverpool

18 hours 53 min ago

​Liverpool manager Jürgen Klopp has admitted he does not know how the Reds have made it to the final of every European competition they have competed in under the German.

Since Klopp arrived at Anfield in October 2015, Liverpool have never failed to reach the final of whatever European competition they were in. 

They made it to the Europa League final in 2016, and after a year away from Europe bounced back with two consecutive Champions League finals.

Jurgen Klopp

Their most recent final ended in victory at Wanda Metropolitano, which is where Liverpool will travel to on Tuesday to meet Atlético Madrid. Speaking ahead of the game (via the Liverpool Echo), Klopp insisted that record is indicative of his side's desire to be dominant.

"It’s impressive to be honest, that record! Whenever we have been in a European competition, we have ended up in the final, which is nice - especially when you win the final! But I cannot explain it," he said.

"We want to go as far as possible. We see ourselves as a team who can go to the final, who can win the competition. Not the only team, one of the teams.

Sadio Mane

"When you start, not all teams can win it, but as a club and a team we have the chance to do so. That’s what we tried to show in all these different games. Obviously we always struggled a little bit in the group stages, but came through. And then in the knockout stages, we were quite convincing."

If Liverpool are to reach a third consecutive final, they will first have to go through Diego Simeone's Atlético, and Klopp admitted that facing the Spanish side is going to be an incredibly tough task.

"If there is a team where you have to be at your absolute best at all times, it’s Atlético because they give no presents. Absolutely no presents," he added.

Diego Pablo Simeone

"If you work as hard as possible, then you have a chance. If you don’t do that, then you don’t even have a chance. 

"That’s why Atlético were that often in European finals as well. It shows how long they were together, and now they had to change, they did that, brought in big potential, some experience."

For more from Tom Gott, follow him on Twitter!


Source : 90min

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Atletico Madrid Receive Mixed Injury News Ahead of Champions League Clash With Liverpool

Mon, 02/17/2020 - 00:00

​Atletico Madrid have been dealt a mixed hand with injury news ahead of the first leg of their Champions League tie against Liverpool.

Diego Simeone's side welcome the Premier League leaders to the Wada Metropolitano on Tuesday for their last 16 match, the first meeting between the two sides in nearly a decade.

Atletico are expected to be missing three key players through injury, but have received a boost with the return of their two strikers.

Joao Felix,Kieran Trippier

According to Spanish news outlet ​Cope, Atletico have a fully fit squad bar João Félix, Héctor Herrera and Kieran Trippier, who are all set to be sidelined for the clash.

João Félix was the only one of the three to train in preparation for Tuesday's game, however he was not involved in the first team's session.

The Portuguese forward has been out for the past three weeks with a muscle injury. Herrera meanwhile has a hip problem, and Keiran Trippier is absent after undergoing surgery on a groin injury at the beginning of February.

However, there is more positive news for ​Atletico as strikers Diego Costa and Alvaro Morata are both training normally and expected to be available. 

Costa had been out since November after undergoing an operation to correct a slipped disk. The former Chelsea striker has a mixed record against ​Liverpool, scoring against them twice during his time in the Premier League, but also missing a penalty during a 1-1 draw at Anfield in 2017.

Meanwhile fellow former Chelsea man Morata had been sidelined for a fortnight with a muscle injury sustained in the Madrid derby. 

Alvaro Morata,Diego Costa

The forward made his return to action off the bench during Atletico's 2-2 draw at Valencia on Friday.

The news of more attacking options will be a real boost for Atletico, who have scored just 25 goals in 24 La Liga games this season. 

However, Costa has only found the net twice thus far, while Morata has fared better than his teammate with 10 goals in all competitions.


Source : 90min

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Premier League in Talks Over 'Golden Trophy' for Liverpool - if They Remain Unbeaten

Mon, 02/17/2020 - 00:00

The Premier League have held informal discussions about handing Liverpool a golden Premier League trophy if Jurgen Klopp's side manage to go the entire season unbeaten.

Following their victory over Norwich last time out, the Reds are now just five wins away from their maiden Premier League title. 

Jurgen Klopp's side have won 25 and drawn one of their 26 league games this season, and need to avoid defeat in their 12 remaining matches ​if they are to protect their unbeaten record.

TOPSHOT-FBL-ENG-PR-WOLVES-LIVERPOOL

They would be only the second team in Premier League history to achieve that feat, after ​Arsenal's famous Invincibles of 2003/04. 

Arsene Wenger's side were given a golden trophy to commemorate their unbeaten season, and with Liverpool on course to repeat the 'Invincibles' remarkable campaign, the Premier League have begun discussing their coronation. 

According to the ​Daily Mail, the Premier League are remaining coy on the matter, stating that they 'don't deal in hypotheticals'.

Arsene Wenger

However, the Mail also claims that informal discussions have taken place about handing Liverpool a golden trophy if they do remain unbeaten for the entire campaign. The Premier League will make an announcement at the end of the season.

The golden trophy is a smaller version of the Premier League trophy, but with the trophy's silver body replaced with gold, and the golden crown replaced with silver. The side's W-D-L record is also engraved on the base.

If neither ​Liverpool or City drop points in their next four fixtures, the Reds can seal the title at home to Crystal Palace on 23 March. 

FBL-ENG-PR-CRYSTAL PALACE-LIVERPOOL

Interestingly, that game will be exactly three years to the day that Liverpool last lost a home game at Anfield: against Roy Hodgson's ​Crystal Palace on 23 March 2017.

In their quest to remain undefeated all season, arguably the biggest hurdles standing in Liverpool's way are a visit to Goodison Park on 16 March and a trip to the Etihad on 4 April, while their final home game of the season is against Chelsea on 9 May.


Source : 90min

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5 Teams Who Should Consider Norwich Star Man Emiliano Buendia This Summer

Mon, 02/17/2020 - 00:00

Despite finding themselves rock bottom of the Premier League and seven points from safety with just 10 games left to save their season, Norwich fans have had some moments to cherish this year.

Their 3-2 win over champions Manchester City is the obvious ​highlight, but throughout the campaign Canaries supporters have been treated to the sort of open and attacking football not associated with a relegation scrap - perhaps to their detriment at times.

Key to their style of play are midfielders Todd Cantwell and Emi Buendia, with the latter in particular likely to move on if Norwich fail to beat the drop. 

 29 chances created in one month - more than any other Premier League player since records began!

There are five hours remaining to vote for @Em10Buendia for the @premierleague Player of the Month for December  #ncfc

— Norwich City FC (@NorwichCityFC) January 6, 2020

Even if the East Anglian outfit can pull off an astonishing turnaround and keep themselves in the top flight, such is the impact Buendia has had on the Premier League, he could earn himself a big-money move elsewhere. 

With Jack Grealish attracting all sorts of attention, this summer could see a creative midfielder merry-go-round in the transfer window. 

So, who should be looking to secure the signature of the tricky Argentinian?

Leicester City Brendan Rodgers,James Maddison,Jonny Evans

The Foxes look a safe bet to be playing Champions League football next season. Brendan Rodgers' side find themselves 10 points clear of fifth place, while Manchester City's FFP misdemeanours have only strengthened their hold on a Champions League spot.

​Leicester will need to add numbers over the summer in order to cope with the additional demands of European football. The dropped points over the Christmas period demonstrated how Leicester's relatively small squad struggled to cope with a heavy fixture schedule, which will be a weekly occurrence with Champions League football. 

James Maddison will certainly need someone to share the creative load (if he even stays), and Buendia could follow in the England international's footsteps by swapping East Anglia for the East Midlands. 

Should Maddison leave, amid Man Utd links, Buendia could even be an adequate replacement - the Argentine is one of only three players to play more 'key passes' in the Premier League than Leicester's number 10 this season. 

Liverpool Divock Origi,Emiliano Buendia

This signing would be vintage Jurgen Klopp: recruiting a promising player who has already performed well for an average Premier League side, and making them better. Sadio Mane, Virgil Van Djik, Gini Wijnaldum, Andy Robertson and more can all vouch for that.

Adam Lallana and Xherdan Shaqiri both look likely to move away from Anfield in the summer, leaving a hole that Buendia would be capable of filling. His technical ability combined with his energy means the 23-year-old would slot right into Klopps's all-action pressing style.

However, the​ Reds have been linked with a move for Buendia's teammate Cantwell. Could ​Liverpool raid ​Norwich for both of their attacking midfielders?

Manchester United Harry Maguire,Emiliano Buendia

​United are favourites to sign at least one of Jack Grealish or James Maddison over the summer, but if they fail to make the Champions League, the young English midfielders could have more tempting offers.

Buendia fits a similar mould to the two named targets, and United could line up the Argentinian as an alternative (cheaper) option should they fail to land their first picks.

Though he doesn't fit United's British criteria, the Norwich star is the sort of player United should be looking to recruit. Buendia is not world-class, but he has proven his potential in England and with the right coaching and players around him, he could be something really special.

Unfortunately for Buendia, United currently have an unhelpful recent habit of dealing poorly with talented attacking players from Alexis Sanchez to Angel Di Maria and Memphis Depay.

Manchester City David Silva,Phil Foden

Phil Foden is expected to step into David Silva's shoes when the Spaniard departs the Etihad this summer. 

However, that leaves a vacancy in a role diligently filled by Foden these past few seasons known as the 'understudy'. This involves various substitute cameos and Carabao Cup appearances, while Pep Guardiola insists you're the most talented player he's coached, apologises for your lack of game time and refuses to send you out loan. 

A move like this could go either way for Buendia, with Riyad Mahrez seeing plenty of game time at the Etihad since his arrival from Leicester. However, the likes of Scott Sinclair, Jack Rodwell and (to a degree) Fabian Delph all faded into obscurity and saw their careers stall at City.

Besides, will Pep Guardiola's side need such strength in depth next season anyway if their European football ban is upheld?

Barcelona Lionel Messi

Following some indirect Eric Abidal comments ​and a very direct social media response from a certain someone, I hear Barcelona could be down a diminutive Argentinian this summer...

Sadly for Buendia, ​Messi looks set to stay put. But imagine if Barcelona did opt to replace their talisman with a fella from Norwich. And then signed Grant Hanley for good measure.

Surely ​a better option than Martin Braithwaite.


Source : 90min

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Ernesto Valverde Reflects on Barcelona's Catastrophic Anfield Collapse & Hails Liverpool's Dominance

Mon, 02/17/2020 - 00:00

Ernesto Valverde has broken his silence on Barcelona's infamous Champions League collapse at the hands of Liverpool last season, praising the Premier League dominance that has followed for the Anfield giants. 

The Reds went down 3-0 at Camp Nou in the first leg of their semi-final clash last season, and looked down and out of the competition they would eventually win in Madrid. 

Starting the second leg without two key attackers in Roberto Firmino and Mohamed Salah, few gave them half a chance of a comeback, but what followed was one of the most memorable nights in the competition's history. 

Divock Origi opened the scoring early on before a quickfire double from substitute Gini Wijnaldum remarkably levelled things up in the second half. With Barça disorientated on the ropes, Trent Alexander-Arnold's quick thinking then found Origi free from a corner, and he swept in the unlikeliest of winners.

Champions League success broke a long run without a major trophy for ​Liverpool and gave the Reds the platform on which to build for this season; something that former Barça boss Valverde, who was sacked earlier this season, has now opened up on.

"In Liverpool, they scored a goal we wanted to avoid once we started the match," Valverde said of Origi's opener, as quoted by the ​Star. "One goal would have advanced us. They then scored two goals in a minute.

"These things happen. You always go on the side of the winner. In the away match against Liverpool, we suffered a lot but were able to win [at home] by three goals."

Valverde continued by discussing the complications of winning Europe's premier cup competition, also praising Liverpool's long unbeaten run in the Premier League which stretches back to January 2019. 

TOPSHOT-FBL-EUR-C1-LIVERPOOL-BARCELONA

"Champions League is very complicated to win, Europa League, World Cup, Euro Cup... They are all tournaments that depend on one match or one situation," he added. 

"The league, however, is decided by what you do in the year. Liverpool is very important in the Premier League right now because they have not been beaten in a long time."

For more from Robbie Copeland, follow him on Twitter!


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Steven Gerrard 'Really Interested' in Potential Premier League Punishment for Man City

Mon, 02/17/2020 - 00:00

​Rangers manager and former Liverpool captain Steven Gerrard insists he will keep a look out for the outcome of Manchester City's potential Champions League ban following reports that the Premier League are looking in to any possible Financial Fair Play breaches during the 2013/14 season.

City have been banned from European competition for two seasons, while also being made to pay a fine of €30m. However, the Citizens deny any wrongdoing and will appeal the decision to the Court of Arbitration for Sport.

The Premier League have also begun an investigation following UEFA's decision, and rumours have circulated suggesting that City could face points deductions from previous seasons.

FBL-ENG-PR-MAN CITY-PARADE

Gerrard - who captained ​Liverpool to second place during the 2013/14 season - has admitted he holds a vested interest in the outcome of the Premier League's decision on the matter, with reports suggesting the Reds could inherit the title if City face a points deduction.

As quoted by ​ESPN, the Rangers boss admitted: "I'm really, really interested in it - for obvious reasons.

"From a UEFA point of view, it is obviously a real strong sentence or punishment. I'm sure they will appeal so we will wait and see what the outcome is on that."

Gerrard's memorable slip arguably cost Liverpool the title during a 2-0 home defeat to ​Chelsea back in 2014, with the Reds finishing the season two points behind champions ​City.

Steven Gerrard

The ​Premier League are investigating the incident after UEFA claimed the Citizens had committed 'serious breaches' relating to their sponsorship revenue between 2012 and 2016.

A potential points deduction seems unlikely at present, while the ban could be overturned altogether following an appeal from City. However, regardless of how unlikely it appears at present, Liverpool could still somehow manage to claim two Premier League titles this season if things go their way.


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Liverpool Top Yet Another Table - This Time by Raking in Record Premier League TV Income

Mon, 02/17/2020 - 00:00

Honestly, is there anything they're not going to win this year?

Not content with a run of unprecedented footballing dominance that has seen them win three continental trophies and take 173 points from the 192 available since the beginning of last season, ​Liverpool look certain to add their first ever ​Premier League title to their cabinet this year - and you certainly wouldn't bet against another trophy or two accompanying that before the season is out. 

These preposterous levels of success, however, are by no means limited to the pitch. They've secured a ​mammoth kit manufacturing deal with Nike, and according to the ​Echo, this season will see them rake in more TV revenue than any other Premier League side for the second year running. 

Jordan Henderson

Owing to their popularity with domestic broadcasters, they raked in as much as £152.4m last season, marginally more than Manchester City despite finishing as runners-up to Pep Guardiola's men.

This season, however, changes to the distribution of overseas broadcasting revenue will see teams higher up the table netting a greater share of the pot. This will mean a sharp spike from the £43.2m the Reds received from this stream last season, as they take the biggest share available from the pool worth close to £900m. 

Coupled with the increased demand to see the Anfield giants on TV and the near-certainty of finishing top of the league, this means that Liverpool could see earnings from the Premier League alone surpass £175m - the most any team has ever received from TV revenue in England in a single season, and the most of any team this season by some distance.

Sadio Mane

With their Champions League win last season, Liverpool became the first club ever to surpass £250m from total UK TV revenue, and if they can make it all the way in Europe once again they will all but certainly surpass that figure.

That's a big if, however, with a ​hungry Atlético Madrid side lying in wait to cause an upset on Tuesday. 

For more from Robbie Copeland, follow him on Twitter!


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Liverpool's 10 Greatest Footballers of All Time

Mon, 02/17/2020 - 00:00

Liverpool are one of the greatest clubs to have graced the footballing world, with hundreds of world class players jogging out of Anfield's famous tunnel in red over the years.

While they may currently be strolling to a maiden Premier League title, players other than Mohamed Salah, Sadio Mane and Virgil van Dijk have written themselves down in Merseyside folklore over the years.

No doubt whittling it down to just ten names is a very difficult feat, but without further ado here are the ten greatest footballers in the history of Liverpool Football Club...

10. Robbie Fowler Robbie Fowler of Liverpool

Liverpool Career: 1993-2001, 2006-2007

Fowler is one of the most instinctive poachers to have donned a Liverpool shirt. Earning the nickname 'God' from the Anfield faithful, Fowler netted 183 goals in 369 appearances for the Reds and is currently the seventh highest scorer in ​Premier League history.

Between 1994 and 1997, Fowler was one of the greatest strikers in world football as he netted over 30 goals in all competitions for three successive seasons. No surprise, then, that he won the PFA Young Player of the Year in both 1995 and 1996.

Major Achievements: FA Cup, League Cup (x2), UEFA Cup, European Super Cup, PFA Young Player of the Year (x2)

9. Luis Suarez FBL-ENG-PR-LIVERPOOL-CARDIFF

Liverpool Career:​ 2011-2014

Suarez is one of the best attackers to have graced the Premier League in the modern era. Signing in 2011 from Ajax, the news of Fernando Torres' departure overshadowed his arrival, but Suarez ended up being more prolific than the Spaniard ever was.

Suarez enjoyed the most successful period of his ​Liverpool career during his last season at Anfield, finishing the 2013/14 term as the joint-top scorer in Europe's top five leagues alongside Cristiano Ronaldo with 31.

The Uruguayan became Liverpool's first to surpass 30 goals in a season since Ian Rush in 1986/87.

Major Achievements: League Cup, PFA Player of the Year, Football Writers' Footballer of the Year, Premier League Player of the Year, Premier League Golden Boot, European Golden Shoe

8. Ray Clemence Ray Clemence

Liverpool Career: 1967-1981

​Signed by Bill Shankly from Scunthorpe in June 1967, it took a few years for Clemence to break into the senior team but, when he did, boy oh boy did he impress.

Between 1970 and 1981, 'The Networker' missed just six league matches and was consistently a phenomenal performer as the Reds enjoyed their most successful decade in their history. The Englishman only conceded 16 goals in the 1978/79 season on his way to his fourth league title.

Major Achievements: First Division (x5), FA Cup, League Cup, European Cup (x3), UEFA Cup, European Super Cup

7. Ron Yeats Ron Yeats

Liverpool Career: 1961-1971

As an absolute unit of a defender and a former member of the British Army, Yeats was a force to be reckoned with. Unveiled famously by Bill Shankly as his 'giant centre half' in 1961, Yeats would go on to become one of Liverpool's finest ever defenders.

The Scotsman spent a decade at Anfield, captaining the Reds to three major trophies in the mid 1960s. Yeats left the club in 1971 with 454 appearances and 16 goals to his name.

Major Achievements: First Division (x2), Second Division, FA Cup

6. John Barnes John Barnes

Liverpool Career: 1987-1997

The Jamaican-born Barnes was the star of possibly Liverpool's most exciting ever forward trio. Alongside Peter Beardsley and John Aldridge, he shone at the height of the Reds' glory days, as his side won two league championships and an FA Cup in a three year period.

Winning the FWA Player of the Year two years out of three at the end of the 1980s, Barnes was recognised as one of the best forwards in England's top flight. Netting on 108 occasions for Liverpool, including 24 within the final 15 minutes of games, he was an expert entertainer.

Major Achievements: First Division (x2), FA Cup, League Cup, FWA Footballer of the Year (x2), PFA Player of the Year

5. Alan Hansen Stan Bowles,Alan Hansen

Liverpool Career: 1977-1991

Starring in the centre of the Reds' 1980s defence, Hansen is one of the most decorated players in Liverpool's history. Hansen, alongside Dalglish and Souness, was part of a triumvirate of Scottish players brought in by Bob Paisley within an extraordinary 12 month period in 1977.

Hansen was instantly a hit at Anfield as he won the man of the match award on his debut against Derby County; his first appearance of an eventual 620. He remains Liverpool's tenth most capped player ever, winning a remarkable eight championships in 13 seasons.

Major Achievements: First Division (x8), FA Cup (x2), League Cup (x3), European Cup (x3), European Super Cup, PFA Team of the Century

4. Graeme Souness Graeme Souness

Liverpool Career: 1978-1984

Known for being one of the ultimate midfield maestros of his generation, Souness is a man certain to be in everyone's all-time Liverpool XI. Driving his side forward in the heart of midfield, often alongside Terry McDermott, the Scot dictated play and made football look easy.

Souness won five out of an available six First Division titles with Liverpool between 1978 and 1984 - including three back-to-back - and also won the European Cup on three occasions during the same period. He went on to manage the Reds between 1991 and 1994, winning the FA Cup.

Major Achievements: First Division (x5), League Cup (x3), European Cup (x3), PFA Team of the Century

3. Ian Rush Ian Rush

Liverpool Career: 1980-1986, 1987-1996

Rush is, simply, the greatest goalscorer in Liverpool's history. He netted 346 times in 660 appearances, and in the 1983/84 season famously put four past Coventry City and five past Luton Town.

Merseyside rivals Everton absolutely despised playing against Rush. The Welshman scored a ridiculous 25 goals against the Toffees - ten more than he managed against any other opponent. The definition of a bogey man.

Major Achievements: First Division (x5) FA Cup (x3), League Cup (x5), European Cup, PFA Young Player of the Year, FWA Footballer of the Year, PFA Player of the Year, European Golden Shoe, PFA Team of the Century

2. Steven Gerrard Liverpool's English midfielder Steven Ge

Liverpool Career: 1998-2015

Gerrard is arguably Liverpool's greatest captain, certainly their best ever midfielder and probably the most successful footballer to never win a league title. The ​Premier League aside, 'Stevie G' achieved nearly every other accolade achievable. So many trophies.

He was an almighty leader, strong in the tackle, could hit the ball at ferocious speed, had tremendous vision, scored outrageous goals, and pulled off brilliant passes for fun. There was very little that Gerrard couldn't do. He even netted for Liverpool on that famous night in Istanbul.

Major Achievements: FA Cup (x2), League Cup (x3), ​Champions League, UEFA Cup, PFA Young Player of the Year, PFA Player of the Year, FWA Footballer of the Year, PFA Fans' Player of the Year (x2), European Super Cup

1. Kenny Dalglish Kenny Dalglish

Liverpool Career: 1977-1990

Dalglish is Liverpool's greatest ever footballer and up there with the very best to grace the beautiful game. Even legendary pair Bill Shankly and Bob Paisley deemed him 'King Kenny' as 'the whole team was illuminated' every time he took to the field at Anfield.

Dalglish signed from Celtic in 1977 for a British transfer record fee of £440,000, and it's safe to say he was worth every penny. Making 515 appearances for the club and scoring 172 goals, he was the key man as Liverpool won 15 major trophies in eight years between 1978 and 1986.

Major Achievements: First Division (x6), FA Cup, League Cup (x4), European Cup (x3), European Super Cup, FWA Footballer of the Year (x2), PFA Player of the Year, Ballon d'Or runner-up


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Liverpool 'Frontrunners' for Todd Cantwell Signing - Manchester City, United & Spurs to Lose Out

Mon, 02/17/2020 - 00:00

Liverpool are reported to have stepped up their interest in Norwich City midfielder Todd Cantwell, making them the favourites to sign the 21-year-old ahead of a host of Premier League rivals. 

Cantwell has been a consistent bright spark for the Canaries despite a dismal return in the Premier League, and with six goals and two assists he has contributed to a third of their league goals this season.

The England Under-21 international has been one of the season's surprise packages and is expected to move on in the summer regardless of whether or not Norwich can pull off the greatest of great escapes and overturn a seven-point deficit to escape the relegation zone. 

Roberto Firmino,Todd Cantwell

And with the January transfer window now closed, ​The Athletic report that it's ​Liverpool who have made the first move ahead of a summer switch, and are now considered to be frontrunners for his signature having stepped up their interest. 

Both Manchester clubs and ​Tottenham are said to be keeping tabs on the situation, with Norwich asking for as much as £30m for his signature regardless of their Premier League fate. 

It's believed that Cantwell has impressed the Anfield hierarchy on both occasions he has featured against them this season, having made his top-flight debut at Anfield back in August while also turning in an impressive showing in the 1-0 defeat to the Reds at Carrow Road on Saturday. 

Not at all surprised if Liverpool are after Cantwell. In the first few minutes of the Norwich game at Anfield you could see he was probably a player they would like. Ideal addition with Lallana leaving. https://t.co/PAXfOndcSP

— Jack Sear (@JackSear) February 17, 2020

The report squares with news that came to light last month which named the same four clubs as holding a vested interest in the midfielder, who has featured off either flank and as a no.10 on occasions this season. 

Liverpool were said at the beginning of January to have ​'joined the race' and it seems the Premier League champions-in-waiting have since been proactive in their efforts to recruit him.  

Should ​Norwich indeed go down and see Cantwell head to Anfield, he would become the fourth player in the Jürgen Klopp era to be recruited from a side relegated to the Championship. Gini Wijnaldum, Andy Robertson and Xherdan Shaqiri have set the precedent for Liverpool taking full advantage of the 'relegation discount' market. 

For more from Robbie Copeland, follow him on Twitter!


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Liverpool 'Frontrunners' for Todd Cantwell Signing as Manchester City, United & Spurs to Lose Out

Mon, 02/17/2020 - 00:00

Liverpool are reported to have stepped up their interest in Norwich City midfielder Todd Cantwell, making them the favourites to sign the 21-year-old ahead of a host of Premier League rivals. 

Cantwell has been a consistent bright spark for the Canaries despite a dismal return in the Premier League, and with six goals and two assists he has contributed to a third of their league goals this season.

The England Under-21 international has been one of the season's surprise packages and is expected to move on in the summer regardless of whether or not Norwich can pull off the greatest of great escapes and overturn a seven-point deficit to escape the relegation zone. 

Roberto Firmino,Todd Cantwell

And with the January transfer window now closed, ​The Athletic report that it's ​Liverpool who have made the first move ahead of a summer switch, and are now considered to be frontrunners for his signature having stepped up their interest. 

Both Manchester clubs and ​Tottenham are said to be keeping tabs on the situation, with Norwich asking for as much as £30m for his signature regardless of their Premier League fate. 

It's believed that Cantwell has impressed the Anfield hierarchy on both occasions he has featured against them this season, having made his top-flight debut at Anfield back in August while also turning in an impressive showing in the 1-0 defeat to the Reds at Carrow Road on Saturday. 

Not at all surprised if Liverpool are after Cantwell. In the first few minutes of the Norwich game at Anfield you could see he was probably a player they would like. Ideal addition with Lallana leaving. https://t.co/PAXfOndcSP

— Jack Sear (@JackSear) February 17, 2020

The report squares with news that came to light last month which named the same four clubs as holding a vested interest in the midfielder, who has featured off either flank and as a no.10 on occasions this season. 

Liverpool were said at the beginning of January to have ​'joined the race' and it seems the Premier League champions-in-waiting have since been proactive in their efforts to recruit him.  

Should ​Norwich indeed go down and see Cantwell head to Anfield, he would become the fourth player in the Jürgen Klopp era to be recruited from a side relegated to the Championship. Gini Wijnaldum, Andy Robertson and Xherdan Shaqiri have set the precedent for Liverpool taking full advantage of the 'relegation discount' market. 

For more from Robbie Copeland, follow him on Twitter!


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Joe Gomez Claims Liverpool Feel Like 'Underdogs' Ahead of Atlético Madrid Clash

Mon, 02/17/2020 - 00:00

​Liverpool defender Joe Gomez has revealed that the Reds still feel as though they are the underdogs in their upcoming Champions League clash with Atlético Madrid.

Jürgen Klopp's side, who won the competition last season, will travel to the Wanda Metropolitano to play the first leg of their last-16 tie on Tuesday, before welcoming Atlético to Anfield on 11 March.

​​Despite being the defending champions and runaway leaders in the ​Premier League, Gomez admitted (via the ​Daily Mail) that the team still has a long way to go before they can consider themselves as favourites to win it all.

"It's just about establishing yourself," he said. 'You aren't proven winners until you show you can do it again and again. We went [to Madrid] last season and beat ​Spurs in one game. Now it is about maintaining that reputation in the ​Champions League.

"People might say, 'Oh yeah, they're performing well', but as a team we have still got an underdog mentality.

Virgil Van Dijk,Joel Matip

"We've won the Champions League, but everyone is eager to win it again. The focus within the camp is just one game at a time. It comes right from the gaffer through the spine of the team — the skipper [Jordan Henderson] and Milly [James Milner]."

Returning to the Wanda Metropolitano will certainly bring some excitement for ​Liverpool. It was there that the Reds bested Tottenham and lifted the Champions League trophy last June, but Gomez insisted that the stadium does not matter to them.

"Look, it's just a venue," Gomez said. "It's a pitch with four white lines and two goals. 

Joe Gomez

"You could say the same about Anfield. We have had loads of good games there, too. You can't correlate last June to playing ​Atlético.

"It doesn't need saying to anyone in the team. That's what is making this such a pleasant journey. We just keep going forward."

For more from Tom Gott, follow him on Twitter!


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Why Liverpool Don't Need to Sell Up to Make Room for Jadon Sancho or Timo Werner

Sun, 02/16/2020 - 00:00

Player recruitment at Anfield is such a distant consideration at present that even a 25-point lead at the top of the Premier League is not enough to take any eyes off the ball. 

There is a league title, a Champions League and an FA Cup left to win; 12 potentially history-making weeks that could write this team into the hall of fame as one of the greatest ever. 

But while not a soul at Melwood, save for those paid explicitly to do so, is giving half a thought to who may be coming or going from 1 June, those of us who have a little more separation can see the inescapable truth that there is work to be done this summer, regardless of how unfathomably good this group of players has been. 

FT: Norwich 0 #LFC 1: Sadio Mane fires Klopp’s men 25 points clear at the top of the Premier League. Scrappy contest but the party in the away end is in full swing. Liverpool equal a club record with 17 successive league wins. Next stop Madrid. 

— James Pearce (@JamesPearceLFC) February 15, 2020

Half the football world is in rebuild mode and while it's not quite that drastic in the Reds' case, there will almost certainly be an Adam Lallana-shaped void to fill. Xherdan Shaqiri looks similarly nailed on to leave, while Nathaniel Clyne is a write-off, and there is a growing likelihood that Dejan Lovren will join them on the list of outgoings. 

Resetting would be foolish and unnecessary, but it seems like a minor refresh, even while the current team is operating like an exceptionally well-oiled machine, is on the horizon.

The room freed up on the wage bill, at least, justifies the recruitment of some natural cover at left-back. An injection of youth to aid the long-term progression of an ageing midfield (​Weston McKennie? Yes please), meanwhile, would be welcome. 

Weston McKennie

Most interesting, however, are the reports linking the Reds with another forward; namely Jadon Sancho or Timo Werner. 

Both forwards have set the Bundesliga ablaze this season, and between them have racked up 78 goal involvements in all competitions, split almost down the middle. But while they each carry a menace and pedigree making them mouthwatering prospective additions to the Anfield attacking ranks, with the rumours comes a dilemma; who would they replace? 

After all, surely each of Roberto Firmino, Sadio Mané and Mohamed Salah have iron-forged starting spots, while neither the prolific Sancho nor Werner would settle for a 'Divock Origi' role within the squad. 

Just a reminder that Timo Werner (26) has the most G/As in the Bundesliga this season. More than Robert Lewandoski (25) and Jadon Sancho (25).

Absolute Monster. pic.twitter.com/L0s0odwvkv

— ‎ً (@TheImmortalKop) February 12, 2020

Following that logic, then, one of the current established front three would have to be moved on to accommodate. And if that is the reality, then any ​Liverpool fan with their wits about them would surely rather stick than twist. 

But is football really that simple?. 

The recruitment team will have two major remits this summer; first and foremost to continue building for the years ahead. And while it seems unfathomable now given the form each of the trio are in, there will come a time in the not-too-distant future when Firmino, Mané and Salah are unable to play at the top of their game week-in, week-out. 

We're already seeing very early signs of that; Firmino has lasted 90 minutes in only half of the Reds' league games so far, while Mané's spell on the sidelines with injury has necessitated the deployment of Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain on the left flank. 

FBL-EUR-C1-LIVERPOOL-SALZBURG

They are fearsome and formidable but the time will come when the established triumvirate are no longer the absolute status quo. And while Takumi Minamino and Divock Origi will be licking their lips at that prospect, the brutal reality is that although both have long-term roles to play, neither have the ability within them to become a genuine challenger to a podium place.

So that's one box ticked; what about the second remit? That is simply to improve the current squad. And while that's easier to say than do for anyone, for a club that boasts the most efficient and finely-balanced squad in the world at present, it's a near-impossibility. 

If Liverpool are taking both of those remits seriously, then why wouldn't they be looking at two of the most exciting attacking talents in Germany? At 19 and 23 respectively, they would each serve the club far beyond the current era, while their unquestioned ability offers a massive step up on the current options outside of the holy trinity. 

Only two players have scored 10+ league goals and provided 10+ league assists in Europe's top five divisions this season:

✓ Jadon Sancho: 12 goals, 13 assists
✓ Lionel Messi: 14 goals, 10 assists

Jadon finally has some company.  pic.twitter.com/ot1vKyJQQK

— Squawka Football (@Squawka) February 9, 2020

Of course there are considerations beyond our scope that could either make or break any potential deal. Attitude and personality are just as pivotal to Klopp as on-field contributions, while they would have to take nothing for granted with regards to first-team football, and welcome the chance to try to move the immovable. None of that, of course, is guaranteed, and it may be that neither player ultimately suit. 

In truth, it's Werner who looks more likely with all that in mind. His release clause means he would come in at around half the price of Sancho (​still a hefty £51m, granted) while he seems the more likely of the two to arrive with his feet on the ground and, if necessary, bide his time. 

In any case, however, a deal for either, while holding onto the current front three, could make a lot more sense than it seems. There isn't much available that could improve upon this Liverpool side, but a genuinely world class fourth option to keep the status quo on their toes while simultaneously offering some trusted, like-for-like relief, would do just that. 

Liverpool are very interested in Timo Werner. LFC sees him as a perfect complement to attackers who are currently in the club. Timo himself is open to a new challange (SportBild via @tom_ur) pic.twitter.com/HJRcFLUZ2P

— LFC Transfer Room (@LFCTransferRoom) February 11, 2020

It's a signing that will have to be made in the long-run regardless, and given how incisively proactive the Reds have been in the transfer market of late, don't be surprised if it comes before the 2020/21 season kicks off. 

For more from Robbie Copeland, follow him on Twitter!


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RB Leipzig CEO Insists Timo Werner is Happy There Amid Liverpool Rumours

Sun, 02/16/2020 - 00:00

​The CEO of RB Leipzig Oliver Mintzlaff has addressed rumours that Timo Werner could be joining Liverpool in the summer - stating the German international is 'happy' at the club.

The 23-year-old striker has scored 25 goals and picked up ten assists in 30 appearances in the Bundesliga this season. 

FBL-GER-BUNDESLIGA-LEIPZIG-WERDER BREMEN

​Liverpool have not been the only club interested in Werner - ​Manchester United​Chelsea and ​Bayern Munich have also been linked with the attacker in the past. 

The recruitment chief at Liverpool - Michael Edwards - has done deals with RB Leipzig in the last couple of years with the signings of Naby Keita and Takumi Minamino, which will help the Reds in getting Werner in the summer.

According to Italian journalist Nicolo Schira, the Reds have already opened negotiations as they look to get in the front of the line for Werner. 

However, Mintzlaff played down the speculation and told ​Transfermarkt: "We hear these reports all the time. Someone makes something up, and everyone else copies it. Werner is happy here and wants to play the rest of the season."

How the 23-year-old will fit in Liverpool's system is unknown as Roberto Firmino currently operates as a 'false nine', which is different to the way Werner plays. 

The German also features in a two-man strike partnership so he will have to learn how to lead the line on his own - something he has struggled to do for the German national team, with a return of 11 goals in 29 games.

Germany have lacked a prolific goalscorer since Miroslav Klose retired from international duty back in 2014.

Timo Werner

Playing as a lone forward at Liverpool may benefit him when it comes to featuring for his country in the future too as he becomes the only striker in the lineup.

As Liverpool are the best team in the world at the minute and very likely to be Premier League champions as well as a good chance at Champions League glory, it would be no surprise if Werner is tempted to Anfield.

It is worth keeping in mind that Werner is a young, talented attacker who Klopp can improve and nurture into a world class player with time. 

Either way, this is not definitely not the last you will hear of this particular rumour as we approach April.


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Atlético Madrid vs Liverpool Preview: How to Watch on TV, Live Stream, Kick Off Time & Team News

Sun, 02/16/2020 - 00:00

Atlético Madrid will host high-flying Liverpool at the Wanda Metropolitano in the first leg of the Champions League round of 16 on Tuesday evening.

Diego Simeone’s side go into the match against arguably the best team in world as currently the third best side in Madrid behind Real and Getafe.

Liverpool have looked utterly imperious all season, but one of their two losses this campaign came in this competition, all the way back in mid-September away to Napoli, when the Reds were only five points clear in the Premier League, rather than 25.

Dries Mertens

Whether any team will be able to inflict the same fate upon Liverpool come Tuesday night seems as unlikely as the gap in England's top flight being reduced to single figures again, but if one club, and one manager, was built to crash the party that has been the Reds' season so far, it is Simeone's Atléti. 

How to Watch on TV ​When Is Kick Off? Tuesday 18 February​ ​What Time Is Kick Off? ​20:00 (GMT) ​Where Is It Played? ​Wanda Metropolitano ​TV Channel/Live Stream? ​BT Sport 3 ​Referee? ​Szymon Marciniak Team News

​Atlético have been forced to cope with numerous injuries throughout the season and are set to host Liverpool with the availability of several key players seriously in doubt.

Kieran Trippier will miss a rematch against Liverpool at the Wanda (the stage of Tottenham's Champions League defeat against the same opponents last season) with a hip problem which has seen him ruled out for the last six matches. 

Kieran Trippier

The £113m summer arrival João Felix is also a doubt as his debut campaign in Spain has been plagued with injuries and squandered chances, both of which have gone some way to dampening a promising start for the 20-year-old. 

Diego Costa has been absent with a herniated disc since mid-November, but his strike partner Álvaro Morata returned to action with a second-half cameo on the weekend after hobbling off against Real Madrid two weeks ago. 

As the scorer of more than a quarter of the club's goals this season, Morata's presence up front will be key if Los Rojiblancos have any chance of taking a result to Anfield. 

Sadio Mane

​Liverpool can boast a remarkably short injury list considering the number of games they've played this season, with Nathaniel Clyne the only long-term absentee as they welcomed Sadio Mané and Fabinho back to fold on Saturday in the 1-0 win over Norwich.

The Senegal international was only given half-an-hour against the Canaries after four games on the sidelines but was back to his best as he netted the only goal of the game with 12 minutes to go.

Predicted Lineups ​Atlético Madrid ​Oblak; Arias, Savić, Felipe, Lodi; Koke, Thomas, Llorente, Ñíguez; Correa, Morata ​Liverpool ​Alisson; Alexander-Arnold, Gomez, Van Dijk, Robertson; Henderson, Fabinho, Wijnaldum; Salah, Firmino, Mané Head-to-Head Record Jordan Henderson

These two sides have only ever met four times in competitive fixtures, and not since the 2009/10 Europa League semi-final - a tie Atlético won on away goals after a 2-2 aggregate draw.

The first encounter between the clubs came in the 2008/09 ​Champions League group stage with both games ending 1-1.

These sets of fixtures were several years before Jürgen Klopp arrived on Merseyside and two seasons prior to Simeone's dynasty at the helm of Atléti began back in 2011, so not much to read into from these decade-old results. 

However, the Wanda Metropolitano was the site of Liverpool's Champions League glory last season, with the happy memories of that dreary game still fresh in the minds of the returning players. 

Recent Form

Simeone's side have endured a terrible run of form in recent weeks, winning just one of their last six matches across La Liga and the Spanish Cup (which they were dumped out of by third-tier Cultural Leonesa). 

Despite this they remain fourth in the league, but the pace-setters Real Madrid and Barcelona have already opened up a double-digit point gap at the top, not helped by the fact that Atléti have collected one point from the three matches against the big two. 

Vinicius Jr

While their defence has been characteristically stingy this season, due in part to their excellent goalkeeper Jan Oblak and their ability to limit the opposition to poor chances, it is the attack which has let Los Colchoneros down. 

From 24 league games this season, they only have 25 goals to their name. To put that in perspective, that measly return is one fewer than relegation-threatened West Ham could muster and only one more than a Joelinton-led Newcastle attack registered in the same number of games.

A clean sheet will be vital should Atléti maintain any illusion of progressing as they cannot afford to give Liverpool an away goal, given how poor they have been in that department at any venue. 

Alisson Becker

The Premier League leaders have enjoyed a fair amount of defensive solidity themselves in recent weeks, thanks in no small part to their own goalie, Alisson. Liverpool's last 11 Premier League games have seen the Brazilian shot stopper keep no less than ten clean sheets.

The Reds travel to the Spanish capital yet to taste defeat in the league this season, with 76 points from a possible 78, worrisome reading for any side, let alone an out-of-form Atléti.

Prediction

If this Liverpool team were playing Simeone's title-winning side of 2014 then Tuesday would be a much more even fixture, but this year's fixture points towards a more straightforward outing for Klopp's men. 

Jurgen Klopp

There's no doubt that Simeone's side will muster all the fibra (toughness, streetwisdom) they can to unbalance this all-conquering Liverpool side, but how much of that is left in this incarnation of Atléti is yet to be seen, following the sales of ageing stalwarts Gabi, Diego Godín and Juanfran this summer.

 

It won't be a walk in the park, but Liverpool always seem to pull something out the bag this season, be it a late goal or scruffy set-piece. 

While Atléti may not be at their best, they have tended to find their form in the Champions League, overcoming the likes of Luis Enrique's Barcelona or Pep Guardiola's Bayern Munich, yet this Liverpool side should prove too much for Atlético and maybe anyone else.

Prediction: Atlético Madrid 1-2 Liverpool


Source : 90min

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