Liverpool boss Jurgen Klopp clashes with Sevilla bench over Eduardo Berrizzo red card

Liverpool were held to a score draw on their first Champions League group match since 2014.

After Saturday's 5-0 defeat to Manchester City, Liverpool were desperate to make amends.

But it was a terrible start from Klopp's side as Wissam Ben Yedder opened the scoring for the visitors after just five minutes.

Goals from Roberto Firmino and Mohamed Salah flipped the score-line, although the former missed a penalty just before half-time.

Liverpool were on top for the majority of the second half and missed several guilt-edge chances and were punished on 72 minutes when Joaquin Correa equalised with Joe Gomez being shown a second yellow card in stoppage time.

But things were getting heated on the touchline between Klopp and Eduardo Berizzo with the Sevilla coach throwing the ball away to stop Liverpool taking a throw.

The second time led to Berizzo being sent to the stands and, before being led down the tunnel by a policeman, he attempted to speak with Klopp who turned his back on the Sevilla boss.

And feelings were clearly still heated after the game when Klopp went to shake hands with the Sevilla bench.

The Liverpool manager could be seen looking flustered as he asked: "What have I done? Why are you shouting?

"I didn't send him off!"

And in his post-match interview on BT Sport Klopp tried to explain it wasn't him who got the Sevilla boss sent off.

"Can I like the situation? Probably not but I don't think I had any influence on the decision from the referee," Klopp said.

"I didn't ask for it or whatever.

"We had a talk between ourselves and we were fine.

"But people on the bench thought I'm responsible for this red card so they didn't like me too much but it's not a problem."

In the midst of all the drama, Philippe Coutinho made his return to the Liverpool side as he came on in the second half for Emre Can but was unable to make an impact on proceedings.

Daniel Sturridge also made his Champions League debut for Liverpool despite being at the club since January 2013, coming on for the final six minutes.

But on a night where there was much anticipation about Liverpool's return to Europe's elite club competition, it ended with the same murmurs of discontent that has cost them dearly in recent years.

A potentially tricky away trip to Spartak Moscow awaits Liverpool in the next round of the tournament in two weeks time.

But their attention will swiftly turn to Saturday's visit of Burnley who have already caused one upset this season after beating Chelsea 3-2 on the opening day of the season.

Source: Daily Express

Sadio Mané - Red Card Interpretation

The Barclays Premier League is the one that keeps on giving, week after week. No sooner have we gotten over one problem when another one comes hurtling along the line. Last weekend was no different and thanks to referees Jon Moss and Mike Jones we had plenty to chat about in the bars and clubs around the length and breath of the country. It was not the fact that these officials had been at the centre of controversy over the weekend, but in the way everyone interpreted their decisions.

https://youtu.be/W9FLJXE6Qs8

Jon Moss took control of arguably the biggest game of the weekend between Manchester City and Liverpool and the fall out from his decision to send off Liverpool's Mane for a challenge on the Manchester City goalkeeper is still going on. As a rule I very rarely have much time for the opinions of ex footballers when it comes to refereeing decisions as in my opinion they have not got an idea about applying the laws of the game. So when Jon Moss sent off Mane, cue the usual moaning as to what most of them saw as a bad decision. In fact this is where there is a strange twist to the story, as in my opinion on the day Jon Moss got it drastically wrong as well. As I was watching the game live on TV like most fans I thought to myself that it was a terrible decision to show a red card. In my opinion the player was only going for the ball and if we can not challenge for the ball anymore we may as well just pack the game in, I actually felt at the time that at worst it deserved a yellow card. The difference with this decision was that the challenge had endangered the City goalkeeper,s safety and that is why Jon sent off Mane. The Liverpool player must surely have felt hard done by, but that is the way the modern game has gone and in fairness we have to be thankful as it gives players better protection. A good friend of mine who is a former referee in South Africa, Errol Sweeney, got slaughtered on social media in the aftermath of the game when he posted that he thought it should only have been a yellow card as well. The laws of the game are laid down in front of people who play the game, but the most important thing is how to apply them. Jon Moss got it spectacularly correct on Saturday, not like quite a few of us who got it wrong or maybe it was our interpretation that was wrong.

If you fast forward from the incident that happened on Saturday and look at the one that happened in the Swansea and Newcastle game on Sunday you will see a totally  different outcome for a similar challenge. The referee in charge of this game was Mike Jones and in my opinion he is an accident waiting to happen every time he enters the field of play. Over the years Mike has given us some great entertainment with the decisions he has got horribly wrong. On Sunday, Mike had a tricky incident to deal with when a high boot by Newcastle,s Matt Ritchie caught a Swansea player around the head area, but it was only punished with a yellow card. The challenge was very similar to the one involving Mane on Saturday but on this ocasssion the colour of the card was different. The fact that the Swansea defender did not hit the ground or indeed need medical attention probably had a huge impact on Mike making his mind up as to what to do. I am not saying on this occasion that Mike was wrong but I also feel he was not correct either.

Both of these games brought about different outcomes for similar decisions, something that needs to be sorted out. Interpretation of the laws of the game are vital if the officials are to become more consistent and the only way they can get these big calls correct is to discuss them at meetings and work shops so as everyone is singing from the same songbook, but this will take a great deal of work and understanding. I do not see consistency improving anytime soon.

By David Meier

Sadio Mané ban appeal was waste of time - Jurgen Klopp

Mane, 25, was shown a straight red card in Liverpool’s 5-0 defeat to Manchester City in the Premier League on Saturday after his high boot caught goalkeeper Ederson in the face.

Liverpool’s excessive punishment appeal was rejected following a hearing by an independent regulatory commission.

The Senegal international will now be suspended for Liverpool’s Premier League matches against Burnley and Leicester, in addition to a trip to the latter in the EFL Cup.

Mane will be available for Liverpool’s opening Champions League fixture against Sevilla tonight, and speaking on the eve of match Klopp admits he knew the appeal would end in failure.

“I didn’t expect something different,” said the Liverpool manager. “It was really our duty to appeal. But it was a waste of time obviously.

“Our appeal was right because I could say if we would appealed the red card but we didn’t.

“We only appealed the length of the suspension. I never thought it would happen but only because I am used to it to things like this. There were a lot of situations which were similar.

“All the other players were lucky only Sadio was not lucky. And obviously Ederson was not lucky. It looks really awful and he was also lucky nothing more serious happened.”

Klopp maintained that Mane did not deliberately set out to injure Ederson and felt he should have had one game knocked off his ban.

“There was not even a percentage of Sadio which wanted to put the goalkeeper in danger. He wanted to get the ball and it’s important he does that in the next few games,” said Klopp.

“We cannot change this and it’s a sport where this happens. It’s like it is. I don’t blame the ref for the decision. If I saw the boy bleeding I would have made the same decision.

“But one game less would have been right, two and a half, not three and half.”

German goalkeeper Loris Karius will start ahead of Simon Mignolet, although Klopp insists this does not mean he will be first choice as he cryptically hinted at regular rotation between the pair.

“I prefer having a group of good goalkeepers, and that means you have to change things,” said Klopp.

“The game against Arsenal was exactly the same, it was very intense, yes we could have said afterwards it was not a goalkeeper game, but we didn’t know that before.

“Could he prove something? I think he did. He was very cool with the ball, I know for some people too cool with the ball but that can happen with no rhythm, so that now he has had the game it helped him a lot, us also and now he will start.

“Why we think number 1, 2, 3 is fixed until the end of all days? I don’t want to bring that in doubt, but how can you ask if he’s number one?

“By the way, it’s not that he shouldn’t be number one. And then are the all players happy with the decision? I don’t know.”

Klopp also confirmed that Philippe Coutinho will be in his squad to face Sevilla having not featured for the Reds this season following injury amid speculation of a move to Barcelona.

The Reds will check on the fitness of Mohamed Salah who did not train through illness.

Source: Daily Express

Yahoo! Daily Fantasy Football Game Week 4

It is Game Week 4 in the English Premier League this week and things are starting to take shape early. After three impressive victories, scoring 10 goals and conceding 0, Manchester United are the early favourites to land the trophy this season.

Defending champions, Chelsea have returned to form after losing 2-3 at home to Burnley on opening day. Two wins have followed, the first a 0-2 away victory v Tottenham Hotspur at Wembley, before hosting big summer spenders Everton at Stamford Bridge, and brushing them aside 2-0.

Tottenham have made an indifferent start to the season, beating Newcastle United 0-2 on opening day, before losing at their make-shift home the following week. A draw with Burnley, again at Wembley means they have accrued 4 points from their first three games but will hope Harry Kane puts August behind him and start firing.

Despite starting the season unbeaten with two wins and a draw, Manchester City have been far less convincing than their neighbours, relying on a Raheem Sterling winner deep into extra-time to beat Bournemouth last time out. After facing two relegation candidates in Brighton & Hove Albion and Bournemouth in their first three games, it was only going to get tougher for Pep Guardiola’s side and a visit from Liverpool this weekend will provide a sterner test. If they can overcome that obstacle with a big performance, they can send a strong message to their fellow title challengers, proving they mean business.

Liverpool have looked strong themselves so far, winning twice on the bounce at home, beating Crystal Palace 1-0 and Arsenal 4-0 the following week. The 3-3 draw with Watford on the opening day of the season will leave a sour taste in their mouth but with Watford unbeaten in their first three starts (1 win, 2 draws) it may not seem that bad of a result as the week’s progress.

The 4-0 loss to Liverpool in their last game has left Arsenal fans reeling and calls for Arsene Wenger to step down are ringing around North London again. Since overcoming Leicester City in a 4-3 thriller on opening day, Arsenal have now lost their last two, with the other loss coming at the hands of Stoke City, at the bet365 Stadium. The Gunners will look for a successful return from the International Break, as they host Bournemouth this week. Keeping Alexis Sanchez may well be key to their season, should the Chilean be in the right mind-set to help his current employers. Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain of course departed for Liverpool, but getting £35m for a want-away player in the last season of his contract looks good business. The Englishman has thus far failed to reach his potential and has a long way to go to prove he is worth the significant money paid for him.

Elsewhere, Huddersfield Town (2 wins, 1 draw), West Bromwich Albion (2 wins, 1 draw) and Southampton (1 win, 2 draws) are all unbeaten. Southampton have played out two bore-draws against Huddersfield and Swansea City, whilst Huddersfield and West Brom have both been more impressive in their two victories.

Huddersfield are the clear surprise package so far this season, keeping three straight clean sheets during their unbeaten run. Whilst any game was expected to be a tough affair for the Yorkshire-based club, we will only find out how good they really can be when they player a bigger opponent. That might have to wait another week though, as they travel to the capital to play West Ham, who are playing at the London Stadium for the first time this season.

West Ham sit alongside Bournemouth and Crystal Palace at the foot of the table, with all three sides sitting on 0 points. Brighton are the other side without a win, although they did get a draw and their first clean-sheet of the season against Watford last time out.

Here are three players in each position that I believe can impress in Game Week 4.

 

Goalkeepers

The Stud:

David De Gea (£16)

Until proven otherwise, the Manchester United defence looks extremely solid, with a rejuvenated Phil Jones partnering Eric Bailly in the centre-half roles, whilst Daley Blind and Antonio Valencia occupy the full-back/wing-back roles.

Stoke City are not the most prolific of scorers but Jese Rodriguez may just provide enough of a threat to force countryman, De Gea into a couple of saves this weekend.

After keeping a clean sheet away to Leicester City in their last game I see no reason why United cannot repeat that and make it four straight games without conceding. Jones looked assured once again for England in mid-week and no other member of that back-four has looked like putting a foot wrong so far either, so it is going to take a huge effort to be the first team to break them down.

The start his side has made will delight Jose Mourinho, who has always prided himself on his team’s ability to defend well and he will hope that continues against Stoke this weekend.

I can see De Gea being called into action enough to accrue some points for saves and he will hopefully add another clean sheet to make him worth the significant outlay.

The Value Play:

Ben Foster (£14)

At £14 West Brom stopper, Ben Foster looks a steal this week as his side face relegation favourites, Brighton. Brighton have still failed to find the net this season and whilst they will have home advantage, West Brom are always a tough side to break down no matter where the game is held.

Tony Pulis has always been a defence-first type manager, following the logic that if you can keep a clean-sheet, you stand a chance. Whilst this is often criticised as a negative mind-set, it often yields results and it has certainly worked so far this season.

Foster and co. kept a clean sheet against both Bournemouth (Home) and Burnley (Away) and Brighton offer less going forward than both sides.

Brighton failed to strengthen up-front before the window closed, missing out on a number of targets and until they prove otherwise, their current crop of strikers do not look up to Premier League standards. It looks set to be another frustrating afternoon for Chris Houghton’s side, and West Brom's unbeaten league run can stretch to four games.

The Baggies have had a very successful transfer window adding talent in key areas, especially defensively with Kieran Gibbs another solid signing from Arsenal at left-back. Gibbs adds further talent to an already serviceable defence, whilst on-loan PSG midfielder Gregorz Krychowiak offers further protection in front of the back-four as well. All in all, these two signings should ensure Pulis’ side become even tougher to beat this season, making Brighton's job even harder this weekend.

The Alternative:

Lukasz Fabianksi (£14)

Swansea have kept two clean sheets this season, against Crystal Palace and Southampton and they will look to do the same when they host Newcastle United this weekend.

Newcastle did run out 3-0 winners’ last time out but that was against a struggling West Ham United and Swansea themselves have looked fairly solid so far.

With Newcastle buoyant from their last win, they will look to take the game to Swansea as they travel to Wales, but Paul Clement’s side will try their best to remain solid.

Manchester United put four past The Swans in their match-up in Game Week 2, but they have been steamrolling through most opponents and Newcastle are nowhere near the same level.

A plucky effort from the away team should see Fabianski called in to action on occasion but hopefully his side can hold firm again, and add their third clean sheet in four games.

Defenders

The Stud:

Daley Blind (£17)

The aforementioned, Daley Blind has put in some impressive performances at left-back this season and as such has become a reliable fantasy option.

The Dutch international is averaging just shy of 10 points so far this season, recording 9+ points every game. He is also averaging three successful crosses each game, and eventually one of those is going to translate into an assist.

Whilst not a typical pacey wing-back, Blind clearly operates well in his new role and has become an enticing fantasy option since making the move from defensive midfield. A good passer of the ball, Blind can be just as useful in the attacking third as he is defensively and that means more fantasy points.

Should United keep up their good form defensively and keep yet another clean sheet, Blind should approach the 10-point mark again and could exceed that should be have his hand in a goal for the first time this season

The Value Play:

Davide Zappacosta (£13)

Davide Zappacosta was brought to the Premier League by Chelsea for around £25m on deadline-day and the Italian will add some much needed depth to the right side of the defence.

Victor Moses has played pretty well in Antonio Conte’s formation, however Zappacosta may well get the nod from now on. With Zappacosta more natural in the role, as opposed to Moses who has made the transition since Conte come in, the manager may well prefer his fellow countryman.

Zappacosta joined up with the Italy squad after his transfer and despite only playing the second half against Israel on Tuesday night, was named Man of the Match.

He has been in training today for his new team and will be in the squad against Leicester City, although it yet to be seen whether he or Moses will start.

Should Zappacosta play 90 minutes, he could well prove a bargain at £13, as he looks to have the same effect as fellow Serie A recruit, Marcos Alonso has had since his arrival at Stamford Bridge.

Zappacosta is known for his deliveries into the box and with Alvaro Morata a convincing aerial threat, he could well have a similar impact to Alonso from a fantasy perspective. He averaged a key pass every 56.9 minutes last season and put in an impressive 167 crosses. Of his crosses 28.7% were successful and this will be incredibly helpful for a Chelsea side that ranked dead-last in the Premier League for successful crosses last season (15.9%). Zappacosta provided more assists from crosses than any defender in Italy’s top league last season, which is no small feat.

There is a good chance Conte leaves him on the bench this week as he lets the new signing settle in, but at £13 he is worth consideration. If he proves to be the sort of player he is expected to be in Conte’s system, which expects a lot from his wing-back’s, he may not be £13 for much longer.

The Alternative:

Matthew Lowton (£13)

Burnley are yet to keep a clean sheet this season but a home match up against a struggling Crystal Palace side may well provide them with a chance to secure one.

If that is the case full-back, Matthew Lowton may well outscore his price this week, given his tendency to get involved offensively as well.

He's already got an assist to his name this season ( v Chelsea) and he may well get the chance to get forward again this week.

Lowton made 4 interceptions last time out, to double his tally for the season and if he can get near that number this week, in addition to keeping a clean sheet he could put together a seriously good fantasy week.

Until Palace show any signs of improvement, it is worth picking players from the defences they face this season.

Midfielders

The Stud:

Paul Pogba (£24)

Paul Pogba has perhaps the easiest match-up of the top midfield options this week and given his form in the first three games you'd expect him to play well.

Pogba received a lot of criticism last season, despite playing solidly throughout. With two goals already to his name in the first three games, it appears the Frenchman is keen to prove to the doubters he is worth his weight in gold.

There is no doubting his abilities and when he goes on the marauding runs everyone know he can, he often looks unstoppable. This combined with his ability to shoot from long range makes him an exciting fantasy option each week.

Stoke are a hard team to break down, especially at home but with so much talent in this year's Manchester United side, it is impossible to contain everyone.

Pogba has taken 9 shots over the first three games in the league this season and although he fired five against Leicester last week without hitting the target, he surely won't be so wasteful again.

At £24 I think Pogba is the best value at the top of the list in midfield.

The Value Play:

Nathan Redmond (£16)

Nathan Redmond scored 7 goals in his debut season for Southampton and he will be hoping for an even better output this time around.

Redmond has not opened his account yet this term, but can get off he mark against Watford this weekend, in what should be a close encounter.

Redmond took 3 shots last time out against Huddersfield and 2 in each of his starts before that, so it is clear he still has an eye for goal.

The winger already has one assist to his name this season, which matches his total for the whole of last season and he will be hoping to improve in that area during this campaign.

At £16 it is worth chancing that Redmond gets forward and gets himself on the scoresheet for the first time this year, in a decent match-up at home.

The Alternative:

Tom Ince (£19)

Tom Ince was always influential in the Championship, most recently with Derby County and while he may not yet have reached the heights expected of him, he has shown promise so far this season.

Heavily involved in all three of Huddersfield's first three games, Ince will be hoping to translate his good form into goals and assists, which will in turn elevate his fantasy potential.

A constant threat to defences on his day, Ince can open his account against a very fragile looking West Ham side. The winger will relish the chance to spoil the occasion, as West Ham play in front of their home fans for the first time this season, where nerves will no doubt creep in.

At £19 he is certainly not the cheapest option this week, but if he can keep showing promise and find the goal scoring touch he showed on a consistent basis in the Championship, he may well end up reaching those lofty expectations and goals surrounding him.

Forwards

The Stud:

Harry Kane (£25)

What’s that? Oh it’s September calling, which means Harry Kane can put the supposed curse that hits him in August behind him and start scoring some goals for Tottenham.

He got two goals for England V Malta last Friday and whilst he drew a blank against Slovakia, he was starved or service, something that shouldn’t be the case with his club side.

With the likes of Christian Eriksen and Deli Alli in behind him, he is always likely to have at least a half chance during a game and given his goalscoring ability, he will soon start to take them.

Tottenham visit Everton this weekend and whilst the latter should be tough opponents, it should be an open game which will play into Kane’s hands.

At £25 it is worth plugging Kane into your side, in the hope that he can get finally open his Premier League account for the season this weekend.

Even without scoring, Kane managed to score 14.00 fantasy points against Burnley last time out and a goal will open the floodgates to some much better scoring.

Kane has won the Premier League Golden Boot for the last two consecutive seasons, so it surely won’t be long before he gets off the mark, as he looks to make it three-in-a-row.

The Value Play:

Chris Wood (£19)

Chris Wood made his Premier League debut for Burnley when they faced Tottenham last time out, with the New Zealand international introduced to the game for the last 33 minutes.

In the short time he was on the field, Wood managed to make an impact for his new side, scoring the equalising goal in added time.

It has already been reported that this could be a make or break game for Frank de Boer, needing a win to save his job so nerves are bound to run through this Palace side. Regardless of the position the manager finds himself in, Palace would still need to improve greatly on their first three performances in order to go to Turf Moor and take all three points.

Palace have conceded six goals in their first three games and I cannot see their fortunes changing this week, so a clean sheet for the away side looks unlikely. With this in mind, having Burnley’s record signing and main focal point of attack in your line-up seems wise.

Should Wood continue to adapt quickly to the Premier League and impress in the same way he did in the Championship in the last two seasons, he will be a valuable player to have in fantasy.

The Alternative:

Alvaro Morata (£23)

Whilst it was reported in the pre-season that Alvaro Morata may struggle to adapt to life in the Premier League, the Spanish striker seems to have found his feet ok.

Morata came on for the last half hour in Chelsea’s season-opener against Burnley and scored a goal and also added an assist, but it was too little too late as the away side took the spoils.

A blank v Tottenham Hotspur saw him score just 4.55 fantasy points but a week later Morata put in a performance very similar to that of his debut, scoring a goal and again adding an assist.

In two of the three league games he has played so far, Morata has exceed 16 points twice and a goal against Leicester City this weekend would see him put up similar numbers once again.

At £23 you are getting one of the league’s most talented strikers at what looks to be a discount price. Leicester are no pushovers but the 2015/16 champions conceded three away to Arsenal in week one, and two at home to Manchester United last time out, so there’s a good chance Chelsea will find the net this week.

Jose Enrique retires at the age of 31

Former Liverpool defender Jose Enrique has retired from football at the age of 31, following a knee injury.

Enrique began his career with Levante, before moving to Valencia, Celta Vigo and Villarreal where he gained interest from the Premier League for some consistent performances with the latter.

A move to Newcastle United materialised in 2007 where he would spent four years, before moving to Anfield with Liverpool.

His time in England started to change towards the latter end of his Liverpool career as injuries started to cause problems, seeing him eventually move to Real Zaragoza last season where he would make 24 appearances, undergoing surgery in the middle of the season.

And, it is that surgery and a recurring problem with his knee that has now seen him call time on his career.

“I could not play without medication, I did not even train…it was really hard, too hard,” Enrique told Marca.

“Often I got dizzy in training on so much medication and after every game my knee swelled like a ball and I could barely manage to walk for three days.”

Enrique then bemoaned the injury problems, saying what he had thought was going to a short injury – turned into something longer and unfix-able.

“Something that was supposed to be for three months ended up turning into two years and despite seeing five doctors in England, the problem was not fixed.

“It hurts me, but so many times they told me that it was a psychological problem that I came to believe it…after surgery, I was never the same, it was frustrating.

“I had been playing for three months with a broken meniscus, I had to escape to Spain because I could not even walk. I could not compete and had a terrible time.

“I had an anxiety attack and thought, ‘what the hell is wrong with me?’ I did not understand it.”

Enrique was capped at international level for Spain at U16, U20 and U21 level but didn’t make receive a senior call up.

Source: La Liga News

Klopp has no Coutinho concerns

Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp has no qualms about putting wantaway playmaker Philippe Coutinho back into his team despite the Brazil international submitting an unsuccessful transfer request.

The 25-year-old, the club's highest-paid player after signing a new five-year, £150,000-a-week contract in January, tried to force an exit by asking to leave after Barcelona had a third bid of £90million up front rejected.

Owners Fenway Sports Group issued a statement insisting Coutinho would remain a Liverpool player when the summer window closed and that has proved to be the case, although since then there have been reports suggesting he does not want to play for the club again.

The player was unavailable for the Reds' first five matches with an apparent back injury but came off the bench to score for Brazil in a World Cup qualifier against Ecuador on Thursday and is expected to feature against Colombia on Tuesday before returning to Melwood.

It remains to be seen whether he will be considered for Saturday's trip to top-four rivals Manchester City but Klopp is happy to still have the player available to him.

"We still have a really good player in the squad who can play," said Klopp, speaking to German media outlet SPORT1 after coaching in Nikolce Noveski's testimonial game at former club Mainz.

"Don't believe everything in the press or that there are offers here and there and that the minute after the offer has been entered, it should already be over.

"We are not like George Orwell where everybody knows everything immediately. We have exactly the situation we wanted and no other."

Source: PA


Please enable JavaScript to view the comments powered by Disqus.Source: Football.co.uk

Virgil van Dijk optimistic of Liverpool move despite Chelsea and Arsenal preparing bids

The Southampton defender is desperate to leave Saints and is not short of offers.

But Mauricio Pellegrino’s side are adamant he won’t be sold before Thursday’s 11pm deadline despite him being exiled from the Argentine’s training regime.

Liverpool remain long-term admirers of Van Dijk and are thought to be prepared to smash their club-record transfer fee to sign him.

And according to the Independent, Van Dijk believes he still has a chance of joining Jurgen Klopp at Anfield.

However, Southampton are refusing to do business with the Reds after the Merseyside outfit were accused of making an illegal approach to sign him earlier in the transfer window.

With Liverpool and Southampton’s negotiations reaching a standstill, Arsenal and Chelsea are keen to take advantage.

Antonio Conte is a big fan of the 26-year-old and believes he would suit his 3-4-3 formation, while Arsenal are in need of defensive reinforcements after taking a 4-0 battering from Liverpool at the weekend.

And the Independent claim Van Dijk’s future could be complicated by late bids from both London clubs.

Van Dijk won’t come cheap though and Arsenal or Chelsea would need to fork out over £70m if Southampton are to even consider selling.

The Dutchman, who hasn’t featured in any of Southampton’s Premier League games this season, is under contract with the south coast club until 2022.

Source: Daily Express

Liverpool Officially Confirm Agreement to Sign Naby Keita in Summer 2018

Liverpool have ​officially announced a deal to sign Naby Keita from German outfit RB Leipzig, with the player set to join the club in summer 2018.

News broke on Monday that Liverpool had finally reached an agreement for their long-term summer target, and Keita is believed to have undergone a medical with the Reds on Monday afternoon. Liverpool are reported to have agreed to pay a premium for the player to lock the deal in until next summer, and they will additionally pay the player's £48m release clause.

Keita told the club's official site on the move: “I am delighted that an agreement has been reached which will allow me to join Liverpool Football Club next summer, when I will become part of a project that excites me greatly.

“My commitment to RBL remains absolute for the remainder of my time at the club. I have given my all every time I have worn the shirt – that will be the case until the final whistle, in my final appearance.

“Having my future resolved means I can now focus on helping RBL achieve great things this season. Until I join my new club, next summer, I will remain an interested supporter from a distance.”

Source: 90min.com

Reds make £66.6m bid for Monaco star Thomas Lemar

Liverpool are on the lookout for any last-minute additions to their squad before the transfer window shuts on Thursday and the Reds are targeting a move for Lemar.

The talented midfielder has been strongly linked with a switch away from the Ligue 1 champions with Arsenal showing interest in recent months.

But French newspaper L'Equipe claim Liverpool have now tabled a bid of €72m (£66.6m).

The report claims Liverpool officials will hold talks with Monaco’s vice president Vadim Vasilyev today over the possibility of a switch.

Lemar remains under contract with Monaco until 2020 but the French club could be prepared to cash in with Liverpool ready to pay a club-record transfer fee.

Reports over the weekend suggested Liverpool had made an enquiry over his availability.

But with the deadline fast approaching the Merseyside outfit have put the wheels in motion with an official bid.

Lemar is a versatile player who can play anywhere across the frontline and usually on the left.

The France international can also be deployed as a left wing-back and would give Klopp options if he decides to experiment with his formation.

Lemar registered 12 goals and 14 assists for Monaco last season as they won the French league and reached the semi-finals of the Champions League.

Growing concerns Philippe Coutinho could be heading to Barcelona has left the Reds eager to find reinforcements with a busy campaign ahead that includes Champions League football.

Reports in Spain suggest the Brazilian is edging closer to a move to Barcelona with owners Fenway Sports Group ready to negotiate.

Lemar's potential arrival and Coutinho's likely departure could also have an impact on Divock Origi's future.

The Belgian has been linked with a loan move and has played just nine minutes of Liverpool's campaign this season.

On the possibility of signing players before the 11pm deadline and Origi leaving on loan, Klopp said: “We will see.

"That's not something to talk about here. If players come in, I think it makes sense to think about what we do on the other side. They're obviously involved in this (the players). I'm not sure, we will see, you have to wait.

“No games now so I hope you can enjoy the next five or six days with all the rumours and all that stuff. I'm not looking forward to it but it's part of the game eh?”

Source: Daily Express

Yahoo! Daily Fantasy Football Game Week 3

It is game week 3 and the first two games of the season have already given some early indications of what we can expect. Manchester United run out 0-4 winners again, this time away to Swansea City and they look like the early favourites.

Chelsea got their season right back on track, as the defending champions beat last year’s runner up 1-2 away to Tottenham Hotspur last week, who still seem to be adjusting to life at Wembley. Elsewhere the other top-4 contenders endured mixed fortunes. Liverpool beat Crystal Palace 1-0, but still have some work to do whilst Arsenal lost 1-0 away to Stoke City. Manchester City and Everton played out a 1-1 draw at the Etihad Stadium on Monday Night to round off the week 2 fixtures.

Newly-promoted, Huddersfield Town once again impressed, keeping a second consecutive clean sheet, beating Newcastle United 1-0 at home. Fellow promoted-side, Brighton & Hove Albion made the now tough trip to Leicester City and failed to find the net again losing 2-0 to the 2015/16 Premier League Champions.

Two more away wins came in the form of Watford beating Bournemouth 0-2 whilst West Bromwich Albion kept their 100% record and another clean sheet, beating Burnley 0-1.

Southampton remain unbeaten, improving on their 0-0 draw in week 1, beating West Ham United 3-2. The Hammers were down to 10-men after 33 minutes as Marko Arnautovic was given his marching orders, but it was West Ham’s other summer signing, Javier Hernandez who almost saved his blushes. Hernandez scored on the stroke of half-time and scored again in the 74th minute to make it 2-2 before Charlie Austin ruined the afternoon scoring a 90th minute penalty for the home side, their second of the day.

Stand-out performers in Gameweek 2 include striker Hernandez (26.05 points), Sadio Mane (22.1 points), Marcos Alonso (23.6 points) and Jack Butland (19 points).

Mane and Alonso were both mentioned as stud options last week whilst value play, Jonas Lossl scored a very respectable 17.50 points as he kept another clean sheet in the Huddersfield goal.

Onto this week and who you should be putting into your line-ups ahead of Gameweek 3.

Goalkeepers

The Stud:

Thibaut Courtois (£15)

Thibaut Courtois looks set to busy again this week, as Chelsea welcome Everton to Stamford Bridge and the Belgian will be looking to keep his first clean sheet of the season.

Last week he made six saves and conceded once against Tottenham Hotspur which was enough for him to accrue 11.00 fantasy points.

Should Chelsea tighten up at the back this week and keep their first clean sheet, Courtois could well be the highest scoring keeper this week, as Everton will no doubt get some efforts in on goal even if they can’t score.

At £15 he is available at a discount in comparison to David De Gea (£17), Ederson (£16) and Hugo Lloris (£16) and may well see the most action of the four, increasing his point-scoring potential.

The Value Play:

Lukasz Fabianski (£13)

Swansea travel to London this weekend to play Crystal Palace and whilst they haven’t been in the best form themselves their opponents are really struggling.

Palace got their season off to a terrible start, losing 0-3 at home to Huddersfield before travelling to Anfield where they lost 1-0 to Liverpool. Whilst that is to be expected away to a top-4 contender, it was the manner in which they lost that raises concern.

Wayne Hennessey had to make 12 saves at Anfield to keep the score respectable and going forward they lacked any real quality. They did improve on their showing against Huddersfield, at least defensively but they still only took 4 shots, with 1 on target. Christian Benteke squandered a good chance to score after linking up with Ruben Loftus-Cheek and the Belgian is off to a frustrating start to the season.

Whilst I expect Palace to improve on their first home performance, I still think they are getting used to life under Frank De Boer and with the influential Wilfried Zaha still rehabbing from his knee injury, Palace’s attacking problems will continue going forward.

It may be hard to see Swansea keeping a clean sheet after losing 0-4 at home to Manchester United last week but they kept one against Southampton on the opening day and will be hoping for another at Selhurst Park, with Palace still looking for their first league goal of the season.

Both sides won in the cup this week, with Palace securing a 2-1 home victory against Ipswich Town, however Swansea secured a 1-4 win on the road against MK Dons and with both Jordan Ayew and Tammy Abraham getting on the scoresheet, their confidence should be higher coming into this game. If Swansea can put Palace under pressure, they could get an early goal and then shut up shop, and mark danger-man, Benteke out of the game.

Swansea have lost just one of their last twelve games against Crystal Palace, providing them with a mental edge that may just see them pick up their first win of the season.

The Alternative:

Heurelho Gomes (£14)

Heurelho Gomes and Watford have got off to a good start in the league, taking four points from a possible six and he will be looking to keep a clean sheet against a Brighton side who have failed to score a goal in the league so far this season.

With Watford the home side, you would expect them to be on the front foot and unless Brighton really take the game to them, it could be routine for The Hornets, in front of their own fans.

The last game at Vicarage Road saw them concede three goals in the 3-3 draw with Liverpool, but Liverpool are a potent attacking force whereas Brighton seem to be far from that at this level. Brighton could of course come out all guns blazing, after defending so much against Manchester City and Leicester but it remains to be seen whether they have attacking players who can really perform in the top-flight.

Watford did well to keep a clean sheet when they travelled to Bournemouth last weekend and will be hoping to do the same on home soil this week against what appear to be inferior opposition.

Defenders

The Stud:

Marcos Alonso (£18)

Until he stops totting up serious points from defence, he is a must-start for me. Whilst a clean sheet may not be expected this week, as Chelsea face a visit from Everton, Alonso should still put points up on the board.

Scoring two goals last week seriously bolstered his points tally but I still think he gives you a safe floor score, even if he doesn’t go near that 20-point mark again this week. He is such a threat in the final-third that he looks a good prospect for a goal or an assist each week, taking the pressure off a good defensive performance, at least in a fantasy sense.

Whilst Everton are a good side and Wayne Rooney has been in good form in front of goal, scoring in each of the first two games, Chelsea are still the superior side and may well welcome Eden Hazard back to the fray this week, which improves them further.

If Hazard does miss out again then like last week, Alonso will be a big feature in the final third once again, thus adding to his scoring potential further.

The Value Play:

Andrew Robertson (£14)

Liverpool kept their first and only clean sheet of the season against Crystal Palace last week and Andrew Robertson started at left-back in that game, playing well on his league debut for his new club.

Alberto Moreno has played the other three games this season, when Liverpool have conceded three against Watford and three goals over their two-legged Championship League qualifier with Hoffenheim.

With Moreno struggling again in mid-week, now is surely the time to implement Robertson into the side on a regular basis. If he starts v Arsenal he will look to get at Hector Bellerin and the rest of the Arsenal defence and get some crosses into the box for the likes of Mane, Mohamed Salah and Roberto Firmino to feast on.

Robertson put up 13.65 fantasy points in Liverpool’s home win v Palace last week and whilst it may be harder to add another clean sheet, he should offer plenty going forward again, in what should be a free-flowing attacking game.

Whilst it is a battle of two unsettled defences and goals are expected, Robertson should have the chance to chalk up some points once again even without a clean sheet. Arsenal are unlikely to go two weeks in a row without scoring, with Stoke frustrating them last week, so a clean sheet isn’t a safe assumption here, but with Robertson likely to be busy all game, his scoring potential is high.

The Alternative:

Kieran Trippier (£15)

Kieran Trippier completed his return from injury, playing 89 minutes in Tottenham’s 1-2 loss to Chelsea at Wembley last week and should now become a fantasy favourite once again.

Tottenham are now playing with a back-three in the centre, with Trippier and Ben Davies/Danny Rose in as wing-back’s on the either flank, giving Trippier a license to roam forward.

Trippier has always been known for his crossing ability and as he should now be in the starting line-up every week, thanks to the departure of Kyle Walker, he should continue to grow and impress for the rest of the season.

With the potential up-side of a clean sheet against a Burnley side who don’t travel well, Trippier has a good chance to score some good points both in an attacking and defensive sense this week.

Burnley had an awful away record last season, winning just once and losing a staggering 14 times, and on away form they finished 19th in the table. Their excellent home form ensured they finished 9th in the home table, thanks to their 10 home wins and 3 draws in their 19 games. They finished 16th in the table overall, but this just proves how much better they were at home last season and with a tough away game this week I expect them to revert back to the form of last season as they find themselves on their travels again.

At £15 Trippier is cheaper then Davies (£17) on the other flank and has every chance of being as effective now that he is injury-free.

Midfielders

The Stud:

Christian Eriksen (£27)

Despite rife speculation of a move to Barcelona, Christian Eriksen is still part of this very impressive Tottenham Hotspur side and whilst his side suffered a setback last week against Chelsea, I think they can get back to winning ways against Burnley this weekend.

Tottenham have of course got to get over the Wembley hoodoo but that will come the more they play there and I don’t want to get too hung up on them losing last week. Chelsea always raise their game against Tottenham, such is the rivalry and this week the latter will be hoping to prove they are too good for Sean Dyche’s men.

Burnley of course got that huge win at Stamford Bridge on the opening day of the season, beating Chelsea 2-3 but they were however brought back down to earth when they hosted West Brom last week, losing 0-1.

Eriksen played brilliantly on the opening day of the season against Newcastle, setting up two goals, whilst taking five shots of his own (3 on target) and hee can repeat this sort of effort this week against Burnley.

The Danish international scored 12 goals in all competitions last season and he can get off the mark in this new season, in a nice match-up this week.

 

The Value Play:

Nathaniel Chalobah (£11)

Nathaniel Chalobah was named in Gareth Southgate’s 28-man England squad for the next two games, and will hope to get the nod in one of the fixtures to earn his first England cap.

With the England news the youngster should be in a buoyant mood as his side host Brighton, who have failed to make an impact on the Premier League so far this season.

Watford have secured 4 points in the first two league games, with Chalobah playing a large part in both games. Whilst he only managed to put up 2.45 points against Liverpool in 90 minutes he did enough to secure 6.50 points against in Bournemouth in the 89 minutes he played and he can greatly surpass that this week.

Chalobah took 5 shots against Bournemouth, two of which were on target and it would have been more had Harry Arter not shouted “leave it”, leading Chalobah to believe one of his team-mates wanted the ball when he was just about to pull the trigger himself.

A home game against Brighton should give Chalobah a license to get more involved in the final-third and if he can’t get on the scoresheet himself, hopefully he will be able to provide an assist. At £11 he can certainly secure you some vital points for a bargain price.

The Alternative:

Henrik Mkhitaryan (£25)

Despite showing flashes of brilliance last season, it was by no means plain sailing for Henrik Mkhitaryan in his debut season with Manchester United but the early signs this season are largely positive.

Often played out wide last season, a positional change in the opening two games has seen him play in the No.10 role behind Romelu Lukaku, as he did behind Pierre Emerick Aubameyang when playing for Borussia Dortmund. Although we are still just two games in the new season, it looks as though the Armenian is flourishing in his new role for his current club so it is time to take notice of him from a fantasy perspective.

In their opening two Premier League games this season, United have run out 4-0 winners both home and away and Mkhitaryan has been a big part of that. He has provided four assists (two in each game) so far this season, so it looks like he will be heavily involved in Manchester United’s attacking-play in his second season with the club.

He will be hoping to turn from provider to scorer this week and get himself off the mark against Leicester City, as he looks to improve on the four goals he scored last year. Primarily the focus though will still remain on his creative side, as he looks to supply £75m-man, Lukaku.

Leicester are United’s toughest test this season, with the 2015/16 season champions bouncing back from their narrow 4-3 opening day defeat to Arsenal, with a 2-0 home win against Brighton last weekend, so the home side will need to be on top of their game to ensure a third straight league victory.

With the opponents in mind, Mkhitaryan will hopefully find another gear from his opening two games and improve again, making him a valuable fantasy option.

Forwards

The Stud:

Javier Hernandez (£25)

West Ham’s biggest signing this window got off the mark last week, scoring two against Southampton and he can do the same this week when they visit Newcastle.

Newcastle have got off to a dismal start this season, conceding three goals over the first two games without scoring and they also lost 2-3 in extra-time to Championship side, Nottingham Forest in the week.

With such a leaky defence on show at the moment, Hernandez should be able to exploit this weakness and ensure he keeps his goal-scoring efforts, on this tough away run for West Ham. The Hammers have not played at home yet this season due to the athletics at the London Stadium and won’t play there now until they welcome Huddersfield on 11/09.

West Ham desperately need to steady the ship and get a result before the club becomes more unsettled and calls for Slaven Bilic’s sacking ring around East London again.

Hernandez gives West Ham that spark they have been lacking for so long and he is genuinely one of the best strikers in the division, when in-form and should show that against a very fragile Newcastle side.

The Value Play:

Shinji Okazaki (£15)

Shinji Okazaki has been a nuisance for defenders since he arrived in the Premier League and he has got off to a good start the campaign, scoring against in both games against Arsenal and Brighton.

Whilst Okazaki has been subbed off in both games and aside from his goal in each game hasn’t offered much fantasy-wise, he is worth chancing this week at a bargain price.

The Japanese forward has scored with both his shots on target this season and has only taken four shots in total. If he can get some more efforts on goal, he could rack up a decent points tally, especially if he adds a third goal of the season.

At the lower-end of the salary cap there are not many striking options this week, but Okazaki at least provides you with a player who has found the net twice this season, even with limited chances.

The Alternative:

Anthony Martial (£22)

Just like Okazaki, Anthony Martial has taken advantage of his limited shots on goal, the difference being Martial has only been on the pitch for 25 minutes over the first two games.

Martial came on for the last ten minutes against West Ham in week one and provided a goal and an assist in that time, as he looked to force his way into the starting XI. A week later, the Frenchman found himself on the bench again, with Jose Mourinho opting for Marcus Rashford and Juan Mata in the wide areas instead.

Despite finding himself on the bench again, Martial came on as a sub and in the 15 minutes he was on the pitch once again found the net for his second goal of the season.

He is making Mourinho’s life very difficult at the moment, almost forcing his manager to give him the nod from the off this week and if he does get handed a start, it would provide him with a chance to prove his worth once again.