Liverpool beat off competition from Premier League rivals Newcastle United to sign Schalke defender Ozan Kabak, according to reports.

The Reds’ resources in central defence are currently stretched to the limit with Virgil Van Dijk and Joe Gomez unlikely to play again this season due to serious knee injuries, while the injury-plagued Joel Matip was sidelined on Thursday by an ankle ligament problem which the club are yet to diagnosis the extent of.

Fabinho, who has stood in at the back for the majority of matches this season, will not return until Sunday’s visit of Manchester City and so fellow midfielder Jordan Henderson has had to fill in for the last four league matches.


DEADLINE DAY BLOG: January deadline day 2021 – follow it LIVE with F365


It is understood that Liverpool are set to announce the signing of Preston defender Ben Davies and Kabak from Bundesliga outfit Schalke.

The Reds and Schalke are understood to have reached an agreement for Kabak to join the Merseysiders on loan until the end of the season with Liverpool holding an option to make the move permanent if they wish.

And BBC journalist Ian Dennis claims that Newcastle United ‘had agreed a deal with the Turkish defender’ only for Liverpool to blow the Magpies ‘out of the water once they registered their interest’.

Meanwhile, Paul Merson has claimed that Kabak’s agent should be “knighted” for getting his player a move to Liverpool.

He said: “If you were his agent, you’d look to be knighted. He’s gone to the champions, they’ve won one game all season, they’re struggling at the bottom of the league.”

 

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Posted in EPL, FA Premier League

Keep your mails coming to theeditor@football365.com…

 

Red tinted conclusions from the Manchester derby
Here we go:

1. The derby clearly showed the gulf in class between these sides, both on the field and off it. Maguire looked like a player worth half his transfer fee, and at fault for the goal that unravelled United’s tactical plan for the game. On the other end, Ruben Dias looks like a steal and is surely the long term successor to Kompany, both as a leader and a defender. He sits right next to Van Dijk in that ‘elite CB’ category.

2. Is it just me, or did City play a bit like peak Barcelona yesterday? Their CB’s spent way too long passing the ball among themselves,near their box and no amount of Utd pressing got close. Their move to stretch the Utd forwards and create space in the middle for KDB and Gundogan over and over again was art, pure and simple. Utd tried their best, but City were on a whole new level. As a fan of the side in red, watching the team in blue was equal parts thrilling & terrifying.

3. F365 were spot on when they said Utd needed a new CDM in the Jan window. Matic just doesn’t have the pace anymore, and McFred are very similar in their interception style to stem the tide against teams that attack like City. The fact that Utd started bypassing their midfield in favour of long balls from the 1st half itself was because both of them had to stay back to help the defence. A top quality CDM like Fernandinho or a younger Matic would’ve been priceless.

4. Rashford for all his running, has been awful in the box the past few matches. Goal aside, his decision making in the final third has been poor. He got lucky with that deflected goal against Wolves, but his overall play has been a bit off. Maybe it’s because he has shifted to the right, or he needs a break, or he gets that extra attention from defenders, it looks like he is being run into the ground. Atm, the only (competent) right/left sided attackers at Utd are Martial,Rashford and Greenwood. Being made to rotate across that front-line every alternate match along with the tactical changes that come from playing with a striker like Cavani, must not be helping Martial and Rashford’s rhythm at all.

5. Which brings me to my next point, Ed Woodward and the inaction. It seems the one thing the Utd board is good at, is NOT striking when the iron is hot. OGS got the job due to results against the top 6. This year, results prove that the top 6 have figured out their tactics to nullify Utd, and sooner, rather than later, the Utd style needs to evolve. Getting a top quality right winger and a decent CDM is more crucial than ever. Diallo, just 18, still doesn’t have the paperwork to complete his move, and there are no signs he will be good enough to even feature for the team soon, let alone play enough minutes to sufficiently contribute. What are they waiting for?

6. Ohh and onto Pogba. How much of his new position on the left is due to Raiola’s comments on his contract situation? Pogba didn’t have the raw pace or a target man upfront to make a genuine contribution to the match. But he did put in a shift, play in some nice passes, and show off his ability. I am starting to really like how OGS is getting Pogba to play to his potential (if only to maximize his resale value to ship him off in the summer)

7. Utd losing wasn’t a bad result btw. We’ve definitely had a bit of luck go our way in the close wins at Villa and Wolves. Hopefully, this loss will not let complacency creep in and keep the players hungry for next couple of weeks. Until the next loss and a subsequent knee jerk reaction and calls for a new manager obviously.

8. I think everyone saw what a top class coach with world class talent can do. But for Utd, the very best thing to do is keep patience with OGS, and allow him to rectify the failures of previous managers/Woodward. So far, Utd are doling out a fortune for players that are surplus to requirements weekly; Romero~70k, Lingard~100k, Jones~75k, Rojo~80k and a wantaway Pogba~290k. That’s about (uses elementary Maths) GBP 30 Mil/year!!! Or about a sixth of their annual wage bill. Just getting these players off, and selling Pogba should generate a potential transfer windfall for the next transfer window. Do I trust Ole to spend that money right? On present record, just about.
Sarthak (Why did Pep have to torment us United fans not once but TWICE? First with Barca, now City)

 

Trent, Fabinho, and Liverpool’s centre-back problems
I’ve seen a few opinions flying about regarding Trent Alexander-Arnold’s form, the need for defensive reinforcements or otherwise, and what have you.

I think it’s all related. Trent’s defending has never been his strong point. He’s usually offered so much going forward that it hasn’t mattered. The last couple of weeks seem to have been very different however.

I can see two main reasons for this. Firstly, with both van Dijk and Joe Gomez missing the defensive unit is a lot slower. Gomez’s recovery speed is excellent, so he could cover for Trent more effectively. Joel Matip has a bit more positional sense so he helps a bit in that regard. But on that one basic point Trent has less help than he did last year. Secondly, part of the strategy used to be that when we have the ball, Fabinho would drop in from the base of midfield to make a third defender and allow the fullbacks to bomb on. With him already playing at centre back, that obviously doesn’t happen any more. Henderson could do it to a point, but that’s not his natural game, nor is it Thiago’s, Wijnaldum’s or even Milner’s.

As a short term strategy to turn our form around, we need to get Fabinho back into midfield as soon as possible. For that we need a stopgap signing at centre back, as even if you throw Phillips and Williams at it, we’d still be vulnerable if either of them got injured too. I find it hard to believe that there’s nobody in Michael Edward’s little black book that could do the job, it’s just about if the money is right. If we want to retain the title, then FSG might have to eat an unexpected outlay.
Pierre, LFC, Bristol

 

What other moments would Twitter have made worse?
I’m sure we can all agree social media started off as a fun, frivolous and rather simple means of connecting with friends.

Now, well, it’s a simmering cesspool of hate and a constant reminder of and exposure to the worst human beings you can imagine.

With that said, how do you think Twitter would’ve reacted to football’s most talked about moments from before it existed? No doubt it would’ve made them spiteful, joyless occasions.

For instance, having lit up Euro 2004 Manchester United make Wayne Rooney the most expensive teenager in history.

How would Twitter have perceived of his debut Champions League hat trick?

Arsenal fans would’ve backed in Jose Antonio Reyes (rest in peace) to be the better player; so to would Liverpool fans re: Milan Baros; all and sundry would’ve derided the opposition as farmers, so it doesn’t really count, and suggested that the goalkeeping for all three goals was suspect; I’m sure someone would’ve said that though United scored six, Fenerbahce’s xG was actually 11…

Let’s have some fun!
Sean Peter-Budge

 

Harry Maguire isn’t tired…
I haven’t written into the mailbox for a while, but Aman’s mail coaxed me out of my shell. And I would say that he had a point, that is until you actually look down that list of most minutes played, and in second spot you have Maguires opposite number in the Semi Final – Ruben Dias.

Bear in mind that Dias is still just 23, and playing in a new league, his imperious form and solid partnership developed with Stones is even more impressive.

I’m sorry, but it’s not because Maguire is tired. He’s just not very good.
Martin Todoroski, MCFC

 

Klopp, rants, Benitez and penalties
In reply to Ferg Cork (Corcaigh Abú).

The Benitez facts rant was in 2009 i think, 11 years ago. My memory may be failing me as i age, but i distinctly remember the narrative at the time was that Benitez “fell” for a Fergie mind game by reacting with his prepared facts. But i could be wrong.

It’s really just banter, don’t take it too personally and become an affected victim. I know Klopp didn’t rant.

In regards to the FACT that United have gotten more penos under Ole than Pool have under Klopp, one could point out in return (thanks to Ved Sen) that Pool have won more penalties in the whole of the premier league era than United.

Do you see us whinging?

In regards to VAR proving we probably should have had more penos before VAR, i am alluding to the fact that this conspiracy theory about refs favouring United is not new, its nearly 30 years old. So it’s possible refs were reluctant to award us penos pre VAR in fear of being seen as complicit in the grand penalty conspiracy.
Kiki, Cork (Manchester United)

 

 

 

Poor Ferg is getting wound up about penalties, rants and facts when he should relax a little and just consider this opinion:

1) Klopp was whinging that Utd have had more penalties since 2018 than Liverpool have had, trying to hint that the big, best team who attacks most, should get more penalties.

2) Klopp never looked at the wider picture and seen that Liverpool have actually had MORE penalties than Utd over the Prem era, despite Utd clearly being a very attacking team winning multiple league titles, and prone to being fouled alot.

3) Klopp clearly targeted Utd in his little whingefest, because they play Utd next. This is pretty much proven because City and Leicester have more penalties than anybody since Klopp joined Liverpool. Klopp has Utd in his head because they play them in less than a fortnight.

It was a calculated rant, and Ole called it correct.
Gary B (Liverpools style of play with tonnes of crosses leads to less pens, simple as that)

 

How many times have we to say this…do a little research!!!

“United have gotten more penalties since Ole took over in 2018 than Klopp has since October 2015.
That’s all he said.
It is 100% correct.”

And then he links to a misleading article from Football365 (Shame on ye guys – Klopp’s quote was 2 years(ie under Ole), yet ye agreed with him by including 2 and a half season of which almost half was under Jose)

Ole is about to manage his 76th game in charge of Man U(both temporary and permanent), so against burnley it will be exactly 2 years worth of games(obviously not 2 years worth of time – thanks Covid)

In that time, 75 matches, Manchester United have been awarded 6 penalties this season, 14 penalties last season and 7 penalties the season before. Total = 27 penalties.*

Under Klopp, Liverpool have been awarded 30.

so 100% incorrect.

*5 penalties were awarded in the 17 games Jose was in charge.

Oh and since we are comparing Klopp and Ole, after 38 PL games(1 seasons worth) both had gained 65 points. After 76 PL games(2 seasons worth) Klopp had achieved 137 points. Ole has already exceeded that total(139) and still has 1 game left. Not saying Ole is a better(or even as good a manager) than Klopp. Just stating some correct facts.

Klopp’s next signing(after 76 PL games) was VVD…so maybe the next United signing could be crucial. The difference between taking them to the next level or not.
johnnybruff

 

Shaw against Villa…
So Ved Sen’s latest ‘the lady doth protest too much’ missive harps on about some decisions that didn’t go Man U’s way including one assertion that Shaw should’ve had a penalty against Villa.  Assume this is the incident being referred to?

Where Pogba bemoaned the fact that he didn’t dive.  As that’s what they’re clearly instructed to do, enter the penalty area at speed and upon any sort of contact (regardless who initiates it) hit the deck, Pogba showed him how it was done later in that match and earned them 3 points.

Martial tried the ‘boot the ball forward then try to initiate contact before throwing yourself to the ground’ methodology last night but failed, although who knows what would’ve happened had VAR been around.

You may say that penalties are a non-issue due to some selective examples but in a tight season where one team is buying cheap penalties to win matches and a rival struggling for form is being denied in close matches it can make a big difference.
James Outram, Wirral

 

Teach them young…
I’m in lockdown like the rest of the nation, but it has afforded me some time to make preparations for coaching our squad of under 11’s once things get back to normal. I’m pondering whether I need to teach the kids the art of “buying” free kicks. It struck me after Martial’s dive last night that it would be a disservice for me not to do this, because simulation is now an accepted part of the game. I, naturally, will need to teach them that they should perhaps do this sparingly until they get better at it and should primarily consider doing this when they are in the penalty area. I’ve drawn up 4 specific exercises that include falling without getting hurt (I have an old Norman Wisdom DVD that should help with this), dangling a leg and for the less gymnastic lads, an appropriate “faux” aggressive response to an opponent’s dive. Does anyone else have any other ideas about what I should include in my “gamesmanship” coaching schedule?
Dale (watching too much Man Utd) Marlow

 

A team of right-backs…
Following the article about KWP, it really is a shame that players like him, James Justin and Tariq Lamptey may never get proper England plaudits due to the depth, age and calibre of right back options.

The national team is so lacking in depth and quality in some areas it does seem unfair that we have so many top class right backs. For no reason at all here is a proposed XI of English right backs:

GK: Kyle Walker – To my knowledge the only right back with experience as a GK

RB: Tariq Lamptey – Takes the honour of being the right back in a team of right backs purely because I am unaware of him playing anywhere else.

CB: Arron Wan-Bissaka – Has the tackling ability and is also 6ft.

CB: James Justin – Part of Leicester’s makeshift back three earlier this season

LB: Kyle Walker-Peters – Has played this role for the England u20s in the world cup winning campaign.

CM: Trent Alexander-Arnold – Because people still think it is his natural position.

CM: Reece James – Played here during his loan season at Wigan.

RW: Matty Cash – Played in midfield before switching to fullback at Forest.

AM: Kieran Trippier – The cultured foreign based player is automatically the slotted in as chief playmaker. Plus no.10s traditionally have scrapes with authority.

LW: Ainsley Maitland-Niles – Can play pretty much anywhere and has often looked better on the left than on the right.

ST: James Tavernier – Has to have the best finishing ability of the bunch.

Subs:

George Baldock

Luke Ayling

Max Aarons

Jaydon Bogle

Nathaniel Clyne

Matt Lowton

Jonjoe Kenny

Joel Ward
Joe, Midlands

 

 

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Posted in EPL, FA Premier League

Liverpool want to bring Torino defender Gleison Bremer to the Premier League in January, according to reports in Italy.

The Reds are rumoured to be particularly keen on bringing a new centre-back to the club in January after serious injuries to Virgil van Dijk and Joe Gomez have left them short at the back.

Last night Liverpool had to start their match with Newcastle United with Fabinho – who is a midfielder by trade – and the relatively inexperienced Nathaniel Phillips as their two centre-backs,


OPINION: Liverpool enter 2021 just like the rest of us – weary and uncertain


Joel Matip, who came off injured in their match against West Brom, is expected to be out for around three weeks in another blow to Jurgen Klopp’s rearguard.

There have been calls for Jordan Henderson to play there, while youngster Rhys Williams has played a handful of matches this term.

The Liverpool Echo claimed back in November that Klopp would be extremely interested in the Torino defender Bremer, while Everton were also keen.

And now Corriere Granata journalist Matteo Pedrosi (via Sport Witness) has said that there have been ‘requests’ via ‘intermediaries’ for Bremer.

Those requests have come from England ‘above all, with some insistence’ from the Reds with Liverpool understood to be ‘desperate’ to find centre-back cover.

Like the Echo mentioned in November, Everton have also ‘knocked on the door’ for Bremer but it’s the Reds that ‘press the most’ for the Brazilian.

If Torino receive a ‘concrete and indispensable’ offer from a club they already have a replacement lined up for the 23-year-old.

 

 

The post ‘Desperate’ Liverpool ‘press the most’ for Brazilian defender appeared first on Football News -.

Posted in EPL, FA Premier League

Liverpool star Fabinho admits a second Premier League title would be more special than the first as it would put Jurgen Klopp’s side “further in to football history”.

The Reds ended a 30-year wait to be crowned champions of England in July with a whopping 18-point advantage over Manchester City.

Liverpool have made light of injury problems this season to hold a four-point lead over Christmas in the chase for successive titles.


MAILBOX: Man Utd are the real deal; Dele Alli to Liverpool?


“This team will be remembered for how well we play, the quality of our football and for winning the title,” Fabinho said in an interview with the Daily Mail.

“But to fight for the second one would put us further in to football history. It would put us up there with teams in the Premier League that have won back to back titles. Teams like Manchester City.

“It would put us on the higher level and put us with the best teams in the history of the league.

“Taking into account everything that has happened this year, the difficulties of no fans in the stadiums and the busy run of fixtures and injuries we have had, it all adds to making the second title more special than the first one if we could do it.

“It would show that we have this constant desire at the club to be winners.”

Long-term injuries to Virgil Van Dijk and Joe Gomez has forced the Brazilian midfielder to drop deeper into central defence.

 

Yet the 27-year-old has hardly put a foot wrong since Liverpool’s last domestic defeat, the 7-2 horror show away to Aston Villa at the start of October.

Fabinho said that plans for him to play at the back had been in operation almost from the day he arrived at Liverpool in July 2018.

“Back then the coach saw the need for someone to be available so I started working on that position, getting used to it, working with potential partners,” said Fabinho, who is set to make his 100th Liverpool appearance against West Brom on Sunday.

“We had three centre-backs at the time so it was all just a test for me, just to be prepared. The coach had identified that there could be a need further down the line.

“So when I came in I felt good and comfortable and over time it’s got easier.

“When Virgil got injured I expected to come in as centre-back and even the other players were joking. They were saying: ‘Fabinho the defender is back, he is here’.

“Yes I was nervous at first but I think I have grown in to it.”

 

The post Fabinho explains why second Liverpool title would be ‘more special’ appeared first on Football News -.

Posted in EPL, FA Premier League

Liverpool will need to pay at least €30 million (£26.7m) if they want to sign young Ajax defender Perr Schuurs, according to reports.

The Reds were first linked with the 20-year-old at the start of November following injuries to several defenders.

Virgil Van Dijk is set to miss the rest of this campaign, while Fabinho is only just back in training.


READ: Klopp refuses to rule out Salah after positive coronavirus test


Schuurs emerged as a target for Reds officials to improve their centre back options for the future.

According to Italian source Sempre Milan (via the Liverpool Echo), Ajax have now told Liverpool their asking price.

The €30 million fee being cited is good considering the player’s potential.

Schuurs has already been likened to Juventus wonderkid Matthijs De Ligt due to his playing style and size.

The report states that Liverpool face competition from Italian side AC Milan for the player’s signature.

Schuurs first came to prominence during the 2019/20 campaign, when he played in the Champions League for the Dutch club.

He’s since played against Liverpool in this season’s competition, which the Reds won 1-0.

Schuurs was impressive during that match and didn’t seem to be overwhelmed by Liverpool’s front three.

He is a calming presence at centre back, similar in a way to Van Dijk.

Standing at 6ft 3in, Schuurs is also a threat from set pieces.

Schuurs could be brought in to provide boss Jurgen Klopp with extra options.

The German has suffered since selling Dejan Lovren in the summer.

Injuries to Van Dijk, Fabinho and Joe Gomez mean they are currently relying on the inexperienced Nat Phillips and Rhys Williams.

Joel Matip is their only senior centre back, which could cost them in their next few games.

Schuurs is one potential signing alongside Dayot Upamecano from RB Leipzig.

The post Ajax set asking price for Liverpool defensive target Schuurs appeared first on Football News -.

Posted in EPL, FA Premier League

England’s Nations League ambitions were extinguished in Belgium as the world’s top-ranked team punished Gareth Southgate’s side in Sunday’s crunch group clash.

The penultimate match of a challenging year was always going to provide the Three Lions’ toughest test – and acted as a reminder of the work required before the rearranged European Championship.

Southgate’s absentee-hit side could not find a way past another of the favourites for next summer’s tournament, with Youri Tielemans’ deflected strike and a fine Dries Mertens free-kick seeing Belgium run out 2-0 victors.


READ MORE: Grealish great, Dier dire and more England player ratings


The defeat ends England’s hopes of reaching a second successive Nations League finals and means Wednesday’s final Group A2 match against relegated Iceland will only offer the chance to fine-tune ahead of the Euros.

Southgate was without Raheem Sterling and Marcus Rashford in attack and the likes of Harry Maguire, Joe Gomez and Conor Coady at the back at Den Dreef, where the Three Lions could not quite get to grips with Belgium.

The hosts ruthlessly exploited lax play when Leicester’s Tielemans scored in the 10th minute and they extended their lead after Romelu Lukaku’s goal-line clearance stopped Harry Kane capping his 50th appearance with a goal.

Declan Rice was adjudged to have fouled Kevin De Bruyne and Mertens bent home superbly as England went into half-time facing a two-goal deficit for the first time since August 2009.

Southgate’s men penned Belgium back in the second half as Jack Grealish shone on his first competitive start, but the home side held firm to win Roberto Martinez’s 50th match in charge.

England wore black armbands in Leuven following the death of Ray Clemence on Sunday at the age of 72, with the Football Association planning a larger tribute to the former goalkeeper against Iceland.

The Three Lions had hoped to be going into Wednesday’s match with a chance of reaching the Nations League finals, but they failed to heed Southgate’s pre-match demand to be switched on from the outset.

While Kane dragged wide and Grealish proved a handful in the early stages, such positive work was undone when Jan Vertonghen got ahead of Mason Mount to intercept a pass by Eric Dier.

The ball was moved on quickly and Tielemans got away a shot that the outstretched Jordan Pickford could only tip onto the inside of the post following a slight deflection off Tyrone Mings.

England responded well to Belgium’s 10th-minute opener. Grealish was thwarted when meeting a cross from Kieran Trippier, whose resulting corner was met by a Kane header bound for the net until Lukaku cleared off the line.

Grealish had a shot blocked as the visitors looked to stage another comeback against Belgium, only for their uphill battle to steepen when Rice was adjudged to have fouled De Bruyne as he attempted to take a shot.

The Belgium star stood over the tantalisingly-placed free-kick, but it was Mertens that swept in to bend a superb right-footed effort over the wall and into the top left-hand corner midway through the first half.

Mount tried his luck either side of a Kane shot denied by Thibaut Courtois towards the end of a first half that saw England’s defensive troubles worsen as Ben Chilwell limped off.

Harry Winks replaced Jordan Henderson for a second period that started with poor free-kick attempts by Mount and Trippier.

The visitors were, though, looking improved and Kane scuffed a shot after being found by a fine Mount flick, with treatment for Trippier giving Belgium a break from mounting pressure.

Jadon Sancho and Dominic Calvert-Lewin were introduced to change the dynamics, with England continuing to push forwards against a side that seemed happy to sit back.

Pickford stopped Lukaku adding gloss to the scoreline after a move involving De Bruyne and Mertens on a rare Belgium attack, while a sumptuous Grealish flick led to a Kane cross-shot that landed on the roof of the net.

The England skipper continued to lead the visitors’ attempts but there was no finishing touch, with Lukaku bending wide at the end.

 

The post Belgium 2-0 England: Never fancied the Nations League anyway appeared first on Football News -.

Posted in EPL, FA Premier League

Liverpool captain Jordan Henderson will miss Monday’s clash with Arsenal as he has not fully recovered from the knock which forced him off at half-time of Sunday’s win at Chelsea.

The absence of the England midfielder increases the chance of Jurgen Klopp handing a first start for new signing Thiago Alcantara, who was Henderson’s replacement at Stamford Bridge.

“We will see, we will see. We have a few days to train, some boys have to recover from last night (the 7-2 Carabao Cup win over Lincoln, so we will see how we set up against Arsenal,” said Reds boss Klopp when asked about the Spain international’s ability to start after only 45 minutes game time.


MAILBOX: Liverpool’s ‘perplexing footballer’ who could be next Ings or Joelinton


“I have an idea, but why should I make the decision today when we have time until Monday? But he is in contention, for sure. Yeah, let’s see.”

Klopp received some good news with Joe Gomez set to return to training, giving the manager the option of restoring his first-choice centre-back partnership at Anfield, having played midfielder Fabinho there last weekend.

He added: “Joe should be back today in training. Billy the Kid (17-year-old centre-back Billy Koumetio) is back in training. Joel (Matip) is not. Hendo is not yet, this game is for sure too early.”

While much of the focus has been on Liverpool’s new arrivals, with Diogo Jota making a second-half debut against Lincoln and set for inclusion in Monday’s Premier League squad, attention is now turning to fringe players who may be offloaded.

Harry Wilson, who spent last season on loan at Bournemouth, is attracting interest from Burnley while young striker Rhian Brewster, who would normally have been expected to play in the Carabao Cup but was left out at Lincoln, is a target for Sheffield United.

Klopp, however, would not be drawn on any departures.

“It should not surprise you transfers or these kind of things we don’t really speak about,” he said.

“He was not in the squad you can make of it what you want. There is nothing to say about it otherwise we would have to speak about it constantly.”

 

The post Liverpool could start Thiago after Henderson ruled out of Arsenal game appeared first on Football365.

Posted in EPL, FA Premier League

While Virgil van Dijk often takes the limelight, Joe Gomez has also been responsible for Liverpool’s defensive prowess over the last two seasons.

Joel Matip and Dejan Lovren have partnered Van Dijk with mixed success, but Jurgen Klopp’s side look a lot stronger with Gomez in the team.

We’ve taken a closer look at Liverpool’s Premier League record with and without the England international starting at centre-back since the start of the 2018-19 season.

Read the full article here.

The post Comparing Liverpool’s record with and without Joe Gomez at CB appeared first on Football365.

Posted in EPL, FA Premier League

We’re up to the Gs and this midfield – including Steven Gerrard and Paul Gascoigne – is rather bloody good…


 

Goalkeeper: Shay Given
The finest Irish goalkeeper
of the Premier League era, Shay Given was Newcastle United’s No. 1 for over a decade. He made 451 appearances in the top flight, one more than F-Team keeper Brad Friedel. Those eligible for the back-up spot in the side include Gunn senior and junior, Chelsea Europa League-winning hero Rob Green, Heurelho Gomes, Frode Grodas, Paul Gerrard and Liverpool’s 1984 European champion Bruce Grobbelaar. If you want a goalkeeper challenge, try naming the ‘G’ goalkeeper who is former club mate of Shay Given and is now living the life of a third choice ‘keeper.

 

Right-back: Geremi
Cameroon international Geremi played with Given at Newcastle United after spending four successful years at Chelsea as a utility player. He won two Premier League titles during Jose Mourinho’s first spell at Stamford Bridge, adding them to the La Liga and Champions League winner’s medals he already had from his time at Real Madrid. Though not a regular goalscorer, Geremi was capable of the odd screamer and had the ability to hit a sweet free-kick in his locker, once curling a beauty into the top corner against Chelsea whilst on loan at Middlesbrough.

 

Centre-back: William Gallas
Another Premier League winner with Chelsea, William Gallas arrived in England in 2001 after joining from a struggling Marseille side. Gallas traded clubs with World Cup winner Frank Leboeuf and partnered the D-Team‘s Marcel Desailly at the back. Gallas bagged a title-clinching goal against Manchester United in 2006 as Chelsea became perennial Champions League qualifiers during the Frenchman’s stay. He made the short trip to north London to sign for Arsenal in 2006, just after the club came agonisingly close to winning European football’s top prize. He may have taken over Dennis Bergkamp’s shirt at the Emirates but he categorically will not be permitted to wear the number 10 shirt for the G-Team. He completed a London hat-trick in 2010 by signing for Spurs and won the last of his 84 international caps in the same year.

 

Centre-back: Joe Gomez
Still only 22, Joe Gomez looks set to become a mainstay of Liverpool and England’s backlines for the next decade alongside A-Team star Trent Alexander Arnold. Like his team-mate, Gomez made his national debut at an early age, coming on as a substitute for Phil Jones in a friendly against Germany when he was 20. The swap certainly contained some symbolism, with England’s supposed next great centre-back replacing the old next great centre-back. The oft-ridiculed Jones certainly hasn’t had the career many expected after promising signs in his youth and Gomez will be keen to make sure he doesn’t become a punchline in the coming years. Playing next to Virgil van Dijk and under Jurgen Klopp, it’s hard to see anything else than a stellar career ahead.

 

Left-back: Ricardo Gardner
A legend at Bolton Wanderers with over 250 Premier League appearances to his name, Ricardo Gardner played under five different managers during his long stay at the club. He is best remembered as part of the Sam Allardyce side that regularly finished in the top half during the mid-noughties after winning promotion to the top flight in 2001. Other G defenders include golden oldie Richard Gough, Michael Gray, Kieran Gibbs, Gael Givet and Ricardo’s fellow Gardner, Anthony.

 

Right wing: David Ginola
Ginola may have to put up with being shunted out to the right wing in the G-Team because of Ryan Giggs’ existence but back in the 1998/99 season Ginola managed to overshadow Giggs and his fellow Treble winners by winning the FWA and PFA Player of the Year awards. The Frenchman won his only trophy in England that campaign as Spurs lifted the League Cup but he was worth much more than a solitary medal. As one of the main acts of Newcastle’s ‘Entertainers’ side in the mid-nineties, Ginola came unbearably close to Premier League glory in the 1995/96 season as the Magpies narrowly lost out to Giggs and his Manchester United team-mates. At national level, Ginola became a scapegoat for a France side that failed to qualify for the 1994 World Cup and he ended up with just 17 caps for his country. Talk about undercapped.

 

Defensive midfield: Ruud Gullit
Premier League fans weren’t accustomed to seeing Ballon d’Or winners in their sides during the mid-nineties as Serie A and La Liga reigned supreme. However, Ruud Gullit’s arrival and subsequent influence on English football changed things forever as a foreign revolution swept the nation. Signed by Chelsea at the start of the 1995/96 season, Gullit was a genuine all-time great who had won European Cups, league titles and a European Championship at international level, as well as numerous personal accolades. After moving into management at Stamford Bridge and winning the FA Cup he guided the side near to the top of the table before he was surprisingly sacked. A brief and unhappy spell at Newcastle saw the Dutchman leave the Premier League for good but the English game had changed drastically since his arrival. At the time of his departure an English club had recently won the Champions League and Chelsea had a cosmopolitan squad ready to compete at home and abroad. It was a far cry away from the handful of first-season foreigners in 1992.

 

Attacking midfield: Paul Gascoigne
It’s tough to forget the modern image of Gascoigne but at his peak he was peerless amongst his England team-mates. Whilst he clearly wasn’t the consummate professional, the circus surrounding him was well worth it (unless your name is Glenn Hoddle) to see one of the country’s most natural talents of all time produce moments of magic. He may not have broken the British transfer record in the Premier League era but back in 1988 Tottenham paid a huge sum to sign the Geordie from Newcastle United. He famously shot down Arsenal in the 1991 FA Cup semi-final for Spurs before injuring himself early on in the Wembley showpiece against Nottingham Forest as his club lifted the trophy. At international level he was famous for his tears in 1990 and for his genius against Scotland in 1996. The key incidents of Gazza’s career summed up a player who had the talent to win it all but also possessed demons that held him back.

 

Attacking midfield: Steven Gerrard
A no-brainer; who wouldn’t have Steven Gerrard in a G-Team? Well, maybe El-Hadji Diouf, who seems to have a lot more time for the former Liverpool captain’s mum than he does for his former club-mate. The Liverpool immortal gets the captain’s armband but he may not be too happy with the side’s home ground, with the G-Team playing at Goodison Park. Merseyside-born Gerrard may have been pictured wearing an Everton kit as a boy but he was Liverpool through and through by the time he made his club debut as a teenager in 1998. 504 Premier League appearances later, Gerrard left Anfield as one of Liverpool’s all-time greats in 2015 having captained the club to Champions League glory in 2005.

 

Left wing: Ryan Giggs
Ginola, Gullit, Gascoigne, Gerrard and finally Welsh wonder Ryan Giggs. G-Team manager Pep Guardiola would surely be delighted by the talent at his disposal in midfield. The Man City boss would have one of his current players as back-up, with Ilkay Gundogan an excellent option on the bench as well as Aston Villa star Jack Grealish. Other midfielders include Great Danes Thomas Gravesen and Jesper Gronkjaer, Serge Gnabry, Northern Ireland’s Keith Gillespie, Luis Garcia and England’s late debutant Steve Guppy.

 

Forward: Eidur Gudjohnsen
The Iceland great gets in the G-Team ahead of current Stamford Bridge bench-warmer Olivier Giroud. Gudjohnsen spent over a decade playing for English clubs, but is best remembered for his Premier League-winning spell at Chelsea. Other attacking options include the Gayles of Dwight and Marcus, Asamoah Gyan and rising star Mason Greenwood. Another up and coming player may feature for the G-Team in the future but Billy Gilmour would have to really do something special in his career to get in this midfield.

James Wiles – whose Instagram has a whole load more XIs

 

We could not keep away from the camera for long so we made a Football365 Isolation Show. Watch it, subscribe and share until we get back in the studio/pub and produce something a little slicker…

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Posted in EPL, FA Premier League

Duncan the Third
‘MIKEL ARTETA is daring to dream of Champions League qualification,’ writes Duncan Wright in The Sun. ‘Arteta’s Arsenal are now six points adrift of fifth spot in the Premier League – and with Manchester City’s Uefa ban that could be enough to secure a place in Europe’s top club competition.

‘The fact four of their next five league games are against sides in the bottom half, means the Gunners have a real chance of stringing a run of results together.’

All very positive, all very realistic when you look at the league table and take into account a run of Arsenal form which has seen them lose just once in 11 matches. Arsenal really are in the race for a Champions League spot as they have earned more points than Chelsea, Leicester, Manchester United and Wolves since Arteta was appointed, scoring more goals than Tottenham and conceding fewer than all but Liverpool.

So presumably it was a different Duncan Wright whose piece on The Sun website is headlined ‘Arsenal STILL won’t get Champions League spot despite 4-0 hammering of Newcastle’.

The challenge is to guess at what point in the 90-minute match Wright stopped actually writing about Arsenal’s performance? Actually, it’s not a challenge; it’s there in the opening line:

‘IT took 32 minutes for the Arsenal fans to remember they had to boo Danny Rose – and the same amount of time to prove why they can forget a surprise run for Champions League qualification.’

Oh. Well a football match takes place over 90 minutes so writing them off at 0-0 with two-thirds of the game to play sounds ridiculous…

‘And throughout all that opening third of this match, the evidence was there for all to see that this Arsenal side haven’t a hope in hell of returning to Europe’s top competition next season.’

This is just weird now.

‘What they needed was to set about Newcastle with the kind of intensity and desire which signalled they believed they could bridge the gap over the remaining 12 matches of the campaign.

‘Instead, to a man Arsenal were so woeful in the opening half an hour you thought it was Steve Bruce’s men who were sniffing a late assault on the big prize.’

No. What they needed was to win the football match over 90 minutes. Which they did. Wright’s Sun colleague Mark Irwin calls it a ‘dominant display’ and he is a miserable sod.

‘No matter that Arteta’s men improved markedly after that, finally deciding to turn up for work when only an hour of the match remained.

‘That 32 minutes is all the reason you need to know why Arsenal have no chance of making it back into the Champions League next year – or any time soon.’

Jesus. ‘Only an hour of the match remained’ is accidental comic genius. They were drawing 0-0 and then they won 4-0, for f***’s sake.

‘When the prize suddenly opens itself up, this mis-match of players cannot even raise themselves to get going from kick-off against a side who probably turned up just hoping for a point.

‘They had no drive, no belief and no leaders when they had the chance to set the tone for what could be a massive month to make a push.’

And then they won 4-0. We can’t help thinking that might be important.

‘After all, Everton, Brighton, West Ham Southampton and Norwich are the next up in the league – a run of fixtures which offers every chance of maximum points for a side with lofty ambitions.

‘Six points is all they need to make up on fifth spot, and on paper you cannot rule them out.

‘But you cannot ignore what is in front of you – despite their 4-0 win, Arsenal haven’t got what it takes to do the job.’

‘Despite their 4-0 win’, Arsenal are crap. And you ‘cannot rule them out’ but then you absolutely can. Because you want to get your piece finished by half-time.

 

Will somebody think of the kids?
‘When will English football start trusting young English footballers?’ is the question in the Daily Mail. And what a bloody odd question to ask in the midst of a season which has seen a glut of young English players be given regular Premier League football. Nine English players under the age of 22 have played over 1000 minutes of Premier League football this season; the figure was exactly the same over the entirety of last season.

Only this weekend, Bukayo Saka and Eddie Nketiah started for Arsenal, Trent Alexander-Arnold and Joe Gomez (now an ancient 22) both started for the champions-elect Liverpool, Todd Cantwell and Max Aarons were in the Norwich line-up, Dwight McNeil continued to defy the odds for Burnley and Leicester literally started with four English players aged 23 and under. It’s almost like if players are good enough they will play in the Premier League, regardless of their age or nationality.

So what has prompted this column from Ian Ladyman? That would be a comment from Frank Lampard that suggested that Mason Mount and Fikayo Tomori would probably have gone on loan if he had been able to buy players last summer. The Mail man calls this ‘jarring’; apparently it was a revelation that ‘jumped off the page’. For him but for nobody else, we would suggest.

‘Instead, Mount has started 22 of Chelsea’s Premier League games while Tomori has started 14. Both have been fundamental to a progressive Chelsea season and both have – as a result – played for England. They have been part of what has made Chelsea so watchable over the past six months. In short, they have been good enough.’

Well, Tomori is clearly not good enough as he has not started in the Premier League in 2020. He cannot get into a Chelsea team that has not made any central defensive signings, so of course he would have gone on loan for another season elsewhere if they had brought in reinforcements. Of course. This should surprise nobody but Ladyman.

As for describing this as a ‘progressive Chelsea season’…this is a Chelsea side nine points adrift of their points total from the same stage last season. They would literally be outside of the top six in most other seasons that are not absolutely bat-shit. Mason Mount has been ‘fundamental’ to this Chelsea season but this Chelsea season has been ordinary by their usual standards.

This Chelsea side is beloved of certain journalists because there is ‘clarity’; they are ‘watchable’ and there is less ‘drama and confusion’. But we suspect that Chelsea would prefer to be winning more than three of their last ten Premier League games.

 

You are my one and only…
With Manchester City briefing the media that Pep Guardiola intends to stay at the club for another season regardless of whether the club are in the Champions League, and crucially with neither Manchester United nor Liverpool playing on Sunday, The Sun and the Daily Mirror both lead their back-page football coverage on quotes from Alessandro Del Piero on Guardiola potentially going to Juventus.

Does Del Piero know Guardiola? We certainly don’t get that impression.

Is Del Piero invested in the concept of one of the world’s greatest coaches coming to Juventus? Of course he bloody is.

And he makes no attempt to hide the latter or claim the former as he talks about the Spaniard potentially joining Juventus.

“Every club in the world would love him as a coach and I would love to see Pep in Italy.

“He has won in Spain, Germany and England. If we follow that path I think maybe it is his destiny to go to Juve.”

So there’s an ‘if’, an ‘I think’ and a ‘maybe’ in just one sentence. Do those caveats make it to the back page? Do they balls.

We are told that ‘JUVENTUS legend Alessandro Del Piero claims it is Pep Guardiola’s destiny to boss the Italian club’ (The Sun) and ‘ALESSANDRO DEL PIERO and Ruud Gullit believe Pep Guardiola is destined to manage Juventus’ (Daily Mirror). He doesn’t either ‘claim’ or ‘believe’, he ‘thinks’ that ‘maybe’ something could happen ‘if we follow that path’.

Still, you have to justify a jolly to the Laureus Awards in Berlin somehow.

 

Recommended reading of the day
Jonathan Wilson on the Manchester City ban

Rory Smith on Russia’s problems

Daniel Storey on Liverpool and their normalised brilliance

 

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Posted in EPL, FA Premier League