Tag Archives: Liverpool

Ratings: Liverpool 1-1 Chelsea – All The Players Rated Out Of 10

Liverpool

Simon Mignolet – 7

Was caught off guard for Luiz’s free kick and was not watching even though the whistle was blown. Made a good save from a Willian free-kick but had a relatively quiet first half. Saved Costa’s penalty in the 76th minute to keep the scores level.

Nathaniel Clyne – 6

Showed great drive in offensive situations but was very wasteful in possession, good defensively when called upon.

Joel Matip – 6

Looked shaky all evening and gave away a penalty in the second half after fouling Diego Costa but was saved his blushes after Mignolet made a fine save.

Dejan Lovren – 7

Was not overly worked in both halves as Liverpool were the more attacking team, but still managed to keep Diego Costa at bay.

James Milner – 7

Struggled in the first half but got in behind the Chelsea defence and grabbed an assist for Wijnaldum’s header and was much more efficient in the second half.

Emre Can – 5

Had a very quiet first half, struggled to help Liverpool break down Chelsea and failed to make an impact again in the second half in a rather poor showing.

Jordan Henderson – 6

Despite a bright opening 15 minutes, the Liverpool captain struggled to help control the midfield battle throughout the match.

Georginio Wijnaldum – 8

Had a great shot outside the box in the 11th minute and was one of the more promising players in the first half. Scored in the 57th minute to level the scoreline and had a very positive all-round game.

Adam Lallana – 6

Considering he has been so influential for Liverpool this season, he had a very quiet game and struggled somewhat to make anything happen.

Roberto Firmino – 6

Missed a golden chance in the 48th minute, should have scored and showed much more composure and much like most of Liverpool’s attacking trio, had a very quiet night for his standards.

Philippe Coutinho – 5

Much like Eden Hazard, Coutinho had a very quiet evening but did try and press the Chelsea backline in the second half. Was subbed off for Mane in the second half.

Chelsea

Thibault Courtois – 6

Made a good save early on to deny Wijnaldum but had next to nothing to do for the rest of the first half, Wijnaldum finally got the better of him with a header in the second half which helped the Reds get a point.

Cesar Azpilicueta – 6

Had a very quiet first half but was defensively sound when relied upon, much the same in the second half as he helped grind out a point.

David Luiz – 9 (MOTM)

Scored a wonder free-kick in the 24th minute and was excellent defensively and knew when to step into midfield to help build-up play from the back, much the same in the second half despite being under extreme pressure.

Gary Cahill – 7

Had a solid defensive performance throughout and kept the Liverpool attacking threat at bay despite being under pressure for most of the second half.

Victor Moses – 7

Was the more busier wing-back out of the two, both attacking and defensively. Moses did get himself into good positions in the final third but was very wasteful.

N’golo Kante – 8

As always, covered every single blade of grass, was everywhere on the pitch, broke up play, kept things ticking and his high level of energy showed for Chelsea, another good performance by the Frenchman.

Nemanja Matic – 6

Again, much like Alonso, he has a very quiet evening but done enough to help his side take a point. Was ok in possession and was always solid defensively.

Marcos Alonso – 6

Had a very quiet evening in both phases but did not play badly, just was not exceptional either. That said, done well in possession and was committed as always.

Willian – 6

In the 28th minute he nearly scored a free-kick which goes all the way through the box and was unlucky not to be tapped in by David Luiz. Had a somewhat quiet night after that.
Diego Costa – 6

Struggled to get into the game in the first half but was always making runs in behind the Liverpool defence. Missed a penalty in the 76 minute which could have won the game, an off night for the Chelsea hit man.

Eden Hazard – 5

Had a very quiet evening, to the extent where I forgot he was actually playing. Was subbed off after 70 minutes.

Transfers: Liverpool Could Agree Late Deal With Premier League Club For Defender

There was an awkward moment during Liverpool’s summer tour of the United States last year in which club boss, Jürgen Klopp, reciprocated Mamadou Sakho’s teasing, on-camera antics by outing the Frenchman’s poor time-keeping.

It didn’t take long for us all to realise the incident extended beyond the point of a joke between the two Liverpool fan favourites, with Sakho yet to appear for the first team this season and being reduced to Under-23s football since the start of the new campaign.

With the situation surviving the summer transfer window, it seems the Frenchman’s name will now be the most prominent cast member of deadline day in the red half of Merseyside, as the likes of Crystal Palace, Southampton and Galatasaray all reportedly make approaches before the closure of the window.

According to Sky Sports News, Liverpool have asked for a fee of £20 million for their want-away centre back, £4 million north of the fee that saw him arrive from Paris Saint-Germain in the summer of 2013, whereas the defender’s towering £105,000-a-week wages may prove to be a further stumbling block for potential suitors.

But as Sam Allardyce, among others, trawl the back of their sofas for spare change, are the Reds making the correct decision in finally shifting the 26-year-old?

Liverpool’s depth has come into question since the turn of the year, as 2017 welcomed just one win in seven outings for the Premier League title hopefuls.

Within those games, Klopp’s men have shipped in a total of 10 goals, including the combined figure of five conceded at home to lowly-placed Swansea City and Championship side Wolverhampton Wanderers, as concerns over their defence threaten the outcome of this season.

Joël Matip’s absence over eligibility issues and a malleolar injury has been alarming, as the 25-year-old was replaced by another Bundesliga import, Ragnar Klavan, who’s blown hot and cold (very cold) throughout this season.

Could Sakho have steadied the ship?

In comparison with Matip, widely regarded as Klopp’s main man in the defensive sector, Sakho actually challenges the Cameroonian quite closely.

The France international leads the way in tackles won (0.91 per game vs. 0.85), as well the percentage of aerial duels won (61.74% vs 57.14%).

The range of interceptions made per game are almost identical, but the amount of tackles lost by Sakho (0.95 per game) and the leading figure of 0.14 defensive errors made in the same time indicate, as many have often suspected, that the ex-PSG captain doesn’t exactly cut a calming figure when called for duty.

Beyond basic statistics, the argument that Sakho is the inferior defender wouldn’t sound alien to many, whereas the outcome of a match-up between himself and Lovren is a little more debatable. What’s certain is that the six clean sheets amassed by a Matip – Lovren combo has presented itself in good light.

Beyond the duo relied upon by Klopp, Sakho certainly has room to contest it, with Klavan appearing to be the weak link and the injury-ravaged Joe Gomez still returning to full fitness.

The Frenchman is good, but not irreplaceable, however, and meanwhile it would’ve been ideal to have had the 26-year-old shadow those predicted to be ahead of him in the pecking order, the defender’s prolonged isolation is one Liverpool could do without.

In hindsight, the great error is not that Sakho remains an outcast during a moment of instability, but rather that his position hasn’t already been dealt with and rectified with a replacement, be it earlier in the current window or back in the summer.

It’s about putting the story to bed, now, and at anything close to the reported £20 million fee, an overdue Sakho sale should be welcomed without regret.

Klopp Out? Liverpool Fans React To Consecutive Cup Exits On Twitter

Given the geopolitical spectrum, 2017 promises to be a difficult year for us all to stomach, even by 2016’s standards, but Liverpool fans will be the ones gazing at the skies questioning why they are among the first to be feeling the burn.

Jürgen Klopp’s men enchanted the Premier League world with the German’s infamous ‘Gegenpressing’, imported from his days at Borussia Dortmund, as big results over the likes of Arsenal, Chelsea and Manchester City saw the Merseyside club propel themselves into the hat of potential league winners this season.

Among the charge at the upper echelons of the league table, Liverpool were also fighting for multiple domestic honours too, but that scenario has now changed drastically.

Welcoming Wolverhampton Wanderers to Anfield for a fourth round tie of the FA Cup this Saturday, the visitors were on hand to stun the hosts with goals by Richard Stearman and Andi Weimann, whereas a late Divock Origi goal wasn’t enough to see Liverpool into a draw and subsequent cup replay.

The defeat not only concluded the Reds’ elimination from the FA Cup, but also sees them fall out of a consecutive cup competition, after Southampton’s 2-0 win on aggregate in the EFL Cup in midweek.

Liverpool’s 2017 woes go on, having lost once more versus Swansea City in the league, drawing a further three games and winning just once in seven matches since the turn of the year. That game was a 1-0 victory away to Plymouth Argyle in an FA Cup replay. Glamourous.

As a consequence, social media was awash with criticism for the Scouse outfit’s boss, Klopp, ranging from rival fans to former subscribers of the German’s managerial capabilities, whereas others stayed true to their man.

Other more popular figures within Britain’s footballing hub maligned Klopp’s squad selection for the clash versus Wolves, which saw the 2011 and 2012 Bundesliga champion make a total of nine changes to the team that faced Southampton in midweek.

Despite bearing the blame for chopping and changing too much on this occasion, Klopp has felt the force of complaints coming in the opposite direction in recent days, claiming he overworks his first team too much.

The frenetic, self-proclaimed “Heavy Metal football” has been pinned against the German’s management, suggesting he’s both one-dimensional and culpable for the physical mismanagement of his players’ fitness, meanwhile the likes of Daniel Sturridge and Mamadou Sakho aren’t placed into the same equation anywhere near as much as they should be by Klopp.

With first-placed Chelsea waiting in the wings for Tuesday’s main card in the Premier League, calling on rotation made sense, but Klopp has, nonetheless, claimed full responsibility for Saturday’s additional slip-up in Liverpool’s season.

“We put in a very bad performance, we started badly and could not improve,” Klopp told BT Sport following the 2-1 defeat at home to Wolves.

“We tried, but were not good enough in the first half. The second half was better, but not enough. I am responsible, not the young players. You learn a lot about players in games like this, but I am responsible.”

Onto Tuesday night…

Liverpool Fans ‘Really Impressed’ With Teenage Midfielder’s Performance vs. Plymouth

Harry Wilson was the latest in a line of Liverpool youngsters to be given a crack in the first team by Jurgen Klopp. The German has provided the academy players with a number of opportunities of late, most recently in Liverpool’s FA Cup replay with Plymouth.

Wilson has enjoyed a fine season for the Under 23’s so far this season, scoring a total of 19 goals and registering 9 assists. As a result, the Welshman has established quite the name for himself within the club, and fans were intrigued to see what he could do at Home Park.

Coming on in the second half, Wilson conducted himself well, showing little signs of being overwhelmed by the occasion. The 19-year-old almost got a debut goal for the Reds when he closed down Plymouth’s goalkeeper, as the ball ricocheted off the midfielder narrowly missing the back of the net.

Furthermore, Wilson showed some bright moments down the right-hand side, providing further indication of the bright future he has at the club. Brilliantly dummying the ball, Wilson passed it off to Ben Woodburn before Sheyi Ojo’s attempt at goal.

In his 30 minutes on the pitch he completed 15 passes, including 1 key pass. His enthusiasm and determination to impress almost led to a goal and it is that hunger and desire that will surely impress Klopp, a manager who demands such an attitude from all his players.

Here’s how Twitter reacted to Harry Wilson’s performance. Do you agree with these thoughts?

The Welsh duo, which have an average age of 18.5 years old, shows the quality within the club’s academic set up and the youngsters are getting ample opportunities to showcase their ability under Klopp’s tutelage.

Having already made his international bow for Wales, it is clear that Harry Wilson is highly thought of by many. 19 goals for the Liverpool U23’s shows he has the quality to find the back of the net on a continuous basis, and there is few clubs that provide such a chance for young talents to grow as Jurgen Klopp’s Liverpool.

It’ll be interesting to see if Klopp continues to utilise his youth products at the competition progresses into the latter stages.

‘Superb Performance’ Liverpool Fans Heap Praise On Defender After His Performance vs. Manchester United

The news that Nathaniel Clyne was ruled out against Manchester United due to a rib injury sustained against Southampton in midweek definitely shook several Liverpool fans. Clyne has been one of the most consistent figures for Klopp’s side so far this season, and his absence was thought to be a real blow for the Reds in such an important fixture.

As a result, Trent Alexander Arnold was handed his first Premier League appearance for Liverpool, thrown in at the deep end by his manager. Many thought he’d sink and struggle against the pace and trickery of United’s Anthony Martial, but the 18-year-old stood firm throughout the match to do himself, and his manager proud.

Alexander Arnold made three key tackles in the match, and showed a calm and collected presence despite the magnitude of the fixture. It was never going to be an easy task for the youngster but apart from a few wayward passes, he handled the occasion superbly and showed just what a bright future he has at Liverpool.

A look at his defensive statistics help highlight how well he did. Up against Anthony Martial, many thought the youngster would struggle and be easily beaten but he managed 8 clearances, 3 tackles and 2 interceptions – he also committed 0 fouls. That’s very impressive considering who he was up against and the occasion itself would have gotten to many other young players.

Liverpool fans have been quick to praise the defender, who could see more chances at first team action in the coming games if Clyne is sidelined for an extended period of time. He certainly didn’t harm his case today.

Here’s how Twitter reacted to Alexander-Arnold’s performance. Do you agree with these thoughts?

When you consider it was his first Premier League appearance for the club, and the fact that he is only 18 years of age, Arnold’s performance was exemplary. He took a while to settle into the match, initially struggling with the pace of Martial, but he produced what was needed of him.

He wasn’t shying away from tackles, and he didn’t show the fear or nerves of a player making his Premier League bow – that in itself says a lot about his quality.

Few players can come into a side on such a big occasion and do a job, especially an 18 year old. Hats off to Trent Alexander Arnold for putting in a stellar performance for Liverpool. The future looks bright.

Player Ratings For Liverpool’s XI Against Plymouth

Here are the Fresh Football player ratings for Liverpool’s starting eleven vs. Plymouth Argyle from their 0-0 draw on Sunday. 

Loris Karius 6

Karius was asked very few through the match, giving him little chance to impress and stake a claim to replace Simon Mignolet in the starting lineup.

Trent Alexander Arnold 7

Bright in the first fourty five minutes, Alexander Arnold’s overlaps down the right hand side were a resourceful outlet for Liverpool. In the second half he was less involved going forward, but he did his job well defensively and put in a solid display.

Alberto Moreno 6

Moreno defended well in the rare moments he was called upon. Most of the match was spent in the opposition half and despite advancing down the left flank, he failed to produce a quality final ball.

Joe Gomez 6

It was a pretty easy re-introduction to match football for Joe Gomez, with the 19 year old not really tested by Plymouth’s attack. He showed his quality in possession to ensure Liverpool kept probing away in the second half. He has received lots of praise for his performance from Liverpool fans. 

Lucas Leiva 6

Due to the absence of a Plymouth attack, Lucas was able to venture forward into midfield and provide the extra man for the Reds, allowing them to enjoy comfortable possession throughout the match. He produced a rare shot on goal in the second half that was saved by McCormick, and didn’t put a foot wrong.

Kevin Stewart 6

Made a key interception to stifle Plymouth’s counter attack in the second half, with Tanner threatening to race clear on goal in the final ten minutes of the match. However, he showed his inexperience with some poor long range shots towards the end of the match and he will need to improve that decision making if he’s going to break into the side.

Emre Can 7

Kept Liverpool ticking over in midfield, sweeping the ball out wide whenever possible to try and get Divock Origi some service. Can set up Woodburn’s first half chance and was replaced mid-way through the second with Klopp eager to prevent a replay.

Ovie Ejaria 6

Ejaria had minimal impact on the game, especially in the second half. The youngster wasn’t able to make a telling contribution in the final third despite being the furthest forward of the midfield three.

Ben Woodburn 7

Woodburn had the best chance of the first half for Liverpool after being set up by Emre Can but the Plymouth goalkeeper did well to block his shot. He showed little bursts of his ability before being replaced by Roberto Firmino.

Sheyi Ojo 6

Ojo take on his man enough in the game and was often a rather subdued figure within the game. The lack of space in behind the Plymouth back line made it a frustrating afternoon for the youngster.

Divock Origi 5

Origi was largely anonymous for Liverpool as the away side shut off all space, preventing him from running in behind and using his pace. Dropping deeper and deeper in the second half to get involved, he had little chance to really test the Plymouth keeper.

Liverpool Fans Claim This Player Was ‘The Only Positive’ From The Plymouth Game

Whilst a goalless draw against Plymouth was far from what Liverpool will have wanted, there were some positives to be taken, with some youngsters performing particularly well on the afternoon.

Jurgen Klopp made a lot of changes to his side, allowing his youngsters a chance to impress against the visitors, a League 2 side. One youngster was also a player returning from a long-term injury.

Making his first appearance for Liverpool in over 400 days, Joe Gomez put in a solid display for the Reds in their stalemate against Plymouth Argyle.

Since joining the club, Gomez has proven to be one of several exciting young talents. Before sustaining a nasty ACL injury that ruled him out for over a year, the ex-Charlton defender caught the eye of Brendan Rodgers and several fans with his solid, no nonsense style of defending.

The youngster’s ability to play with the ball makes him an ideal fit for Jurgen Klopp’ side and the German seems to have some faith in him with Lucas Leiva rumoured to be heading for the exit door in January. With Liverpool lacking an array of defensive cover, Gomez could see himself gain more chances in the second half of the season.

While not being tested often against Plymouth, Gomez proved to be a calming figure at the back, showing confidence to roam forward with the ball and help the Reds continue to tick over. Clearly it wasn’t the hardest game he will ever play, but given his time on the side-lines, it was a pleasing performance and perhaps a sign of what is to come.

With Lucas looking increasingly likely to move on in January and Mamadou Sakho out of favour at the club, the path is certainly clear for Joe Gomez to establish himself at Liverpool and force his way into Klopp’s first team plans.

The manager has faith in Gomez and if he can regain the form he showed before his injury nightmare, there’s little reason to suggest the defender can’t be a success at Anfield.

Although Gomez didn’t have a lot to do, he won more aerial duels than any other Liverpool player (4) and made a huge 76 touches. He also made 2 interceptions and blocked 1 shot. Gomez tried his best to help Liverpool attack well, completing 83.3% of his passes and being accurate with 3 of his 6 attempted long balls.

The good thing for Gomez is that despite his long injury, he is still just 19. Under Klopp he has a great chance of developing into a top level defender. Today was just the first step in a long journey for him in fulfilling his potential, I’m confident that under Klopp and in this system, he can do just that.

Here’s some more reaction to how Gomez performed on Sunday afternoon.

 

West Ham Plot January Moves For Manchester United, Liverpool & Chelsea Stars In New Year Shake-Up

It is fair to say that this season has not gone to plan for Slaven Bilic and West Ham. In a bid to turn the Hammer’s fortunes around, the club have reportedly sent letters asking their Premier League rivals for help in the January transfer window, according to The Telegraph. 

Tottenham are the only one of the Premier League big hitters not to receive a letter from West Ham chiefs as the Hammers plan some very smart January transfer business. Letters were reportedly sent to Chelsea, Arsenal, Manchester United, Liverpool and Manchester City asking if any of those clubs have fringe players that the Hammers can sign on loan for the rest of the season.

With many players not becoming available that Slaven Bilic will want to sign until the summer transfer window, this plea to sign players with Premier League experience at the top clubs would seem like a good plan. Having sent a general letter to those five clubs, The Telegraph claim that West Ham have further enquiries regarding loan moves for Michy Batshuayi, Daniel Sturridge, Marcus Rashford and Anthony Martial as their search for a striker to sign in January begins.

In addition to this, the Hammers are also going to make enquiries over the availability of Chris Smalling, Branislav Ivanovic, Mamadou Sakho, Mathieu Debuchy and Carl Jenkinson. However, many of the highlighted players above are unlikely realistic targets for West Ham for two reasons.

First of all, it is well documented that clubs are often not prepared to loan out or sell players to Premier League rivals, unless it is at the right price. With loan moves being proposed by the Hammers, it is unlikely that clubs such as Manchester United and Liverpool will allow key players such as Sturridge and Martial to leave the club, even if it is on a loan basis.

Secondly, I feel the wages that West Ham would have to pay these players would not be within their price range, they simply would not be able to compete with the Premier League big boys. Would the players highlighted take a pay cut in favour of a move to West Ham when many get regular game time anyway? Probably not.

Although West Ham’s idea of taking Premier League players on loan for the rest of the season seems good business at first glance, the proposed deals not only look unlikely, but they look impractical as well.

There are some players there that are more realistic though, with the Gunners reportedly willing to allow Debuchy and Jenkinson to leave should the offer be right. But Jenkinson’s most recent spell at West Ham didn’t go too well, so I’m not sure how the fans would feel about that one should it happen. Smalling is also an interesting one should Manchester United sign their reported target, Victor Lindelof. The young central defender is being linked with a big-money move to United and with Eric Bailly already at the club and Marcos Rojo and Phil Jones impressing at the heart of defence at the moment, how much football will Smalling be playing in the new year?

‘By Far The Worst In The League’ Liverpool Fans Have Had Enough Of This Summer Signing Already

Liverpool’s goalkeeper has once again come under severe criticism for a below-par display against West Ham United on Sunday night. 

Liverpool took an early lead through Adam Lallana and it looked as if it would be another straightforward win for the home side, especially considering they were playing against a Hammers side that has been severely lacking confidence and results of late.

But despite Liverpool’s good start to the season, one player who is severely lacking in confidence for them is Loris Karius. The summer signing was viewed as a solution to the problematic Simon Mignolet. But so far, the 23-year-old has offered no real improvement to the Belgian – with errors aplenty in recent weeks.

Last weekend Liverpool played Bournemouth and lost late on with Karius blamed for at least two of the 4 goals. Against West Ham, he was again arguably at fault for both of the Hammers 1st half goals. Playing as a goalkeeper, it is unforgiving when you make a mistake, but Liverpool cannot afford to have a goalkeeper in place that is costing them points each week.

Origi’s goal early in the second half saw Liverpool equalise but they could not find a 3rd goal and ultimately, Karius’ mistakes have cost Liverpool the three points on the day. Jurgen Klopp may need to consider given Mignolet his place back in the eleven, but he is just as much of a problem player it seems. Perhaps Klopp will have to again look to the transfer market to find a more experienced keeper that will at least solve this huge problem in the short term, because at this moment in time, Karius is not performing at a high enough level to be a goalkeeper of a team that wants to win the league.

As you might expect, the reaction to Karius’ performance has caused a lot of frustration on social media, especially from Liverpool fans. It seems some have already given up on their summer signing, despite his young age and the fact he has played very few games in England. Here’s a sample of the reaction on Twitter to the summer signings performance.

Is it time to give up on Karius? No, not in my opinion. He’s a young keeper with ability and he proved that in the Bundesliga, where he was comfortable. He’s only 23 and adapting to a new league and the new amount of pressure and expectation makes it very hard. Unlike players playing in other positions, goalkeepers cannot afford to have a settling in period, if they make a mistake it can cost their team 3 points per mistake, and that is disastrous for the team, especially with Liverpool chasing the title.

‘So Underrated’ Twitter Full Of Praise For Liverpool Star After Performance vs. Leeds

Liverpool qualified for the semi-finals of the League Cup with a hard fought 2-0 win over Leeds on Tuesday night. Jurgen Klopp opted to name a much changed side but a weakened Liverpool team was still enough to break down Gary Monk’s resilient Leeds side. 

With the likes of Roberto Firmino rested from the squad, there was an oppurutnity for several fringe players to take central stage and impress. One player who really did that was forward Divock Origi. The young Belgian has struggled for game time under Klopp, partly due to injuries and partly due to having the likes of Daniel Sturridge and Firmino ahead of him. But the 21-year-old’s recent form may see him move further up the rank at the club.

Origi made the breakthrough against Sunderland at the weekend in the Premier League after coming off the bench, and he did it once again against Leeds when it was looking like the game would go to extra time. Origi was rewarded with a start against Leeds and worked hard all game before scoring Liverpool’s 1st goal in the second half.

He has received plenty of praise for his hard working attitude and also his quality dribbling skills on display on Tuesday night. Origi is a well-rounded striker and he showed that tonight, completing 87% of his passes, a very good amount for a forward. He won 1 aerial duel, had 1 shot (which went in) and made 1 key pass. Impressively Origi completed 4 dribbles and was dispossessed just once.  It is these dribbling attributes that make him a useful asset on the wing as well as through the middle. He also completed 2 crosses and his attempted 2 long balls both found their target.

Here’s some of the reaction from the fans on Twitter. Is he a better option than Sturridge at this moment in time? That’s what the talk of the town is…

In my opinion, Origi deserves to play more often for Liverpool. He’s more suited to Klopp’s style of play than Sturridge and considering he is 6 years younger, I think the Belgian is certainly the player that has the bigger future under Klopp and at Liverpool. I think that Liverpool and Sturridge should and probably will part ways in the coming months, if not in January then in the following summer. If this happens then it will pave the way for Origi to play more regularly. He’s a young lad at just 21, but he has impressed for club and country already, notching up more than 20 caps for a quality Belgium side. I think he has a big future at the club and under Klopp especially, they look a good match.

Has Origi earned a start in the Premier League at the weekend?

3 Must Have Players For Your Fantasy Football Teams This Week ft. Liverpool Midfielder

Another week has come and gone, and Fresh Football returns with its weekly edition of Fantasy Premier League hotpicks, bracing ourselves for the action ahead in Gameweek 13.

In between that time, the current title holders, Leicester City, continue to impress on a continental stage, so much so that the 13 points amassed in Group G by the Foxes has already surpassed their current mark of 12 points in the Premier League.

Arsenal’s murky relationship with the month of November continues, but, in the meantime, the Gunners are also still unbeaten since their 4-3 defeat to Liverpool back in August – an improvement from past seasons.

Elsewhere, the Manchester City continue to show signs of being anything but the finished article under Pep Guardiola, whereas Tottenham Hotspur’s return to the European elite has proven to be short lived; a 2-1 defeat at the hands of AS Monaco sealing their fate.

In fear of a European hangover, but also due to potentially glaring opportunities to pick up points elsewhere, we’re avoiding games between the aforementioned clubs altogether.

So here’s who we’re topping to come up trumps this weekend.

1 – Jonny Evans

Club: West Bromwich Albion
Position: Defender
Price: £4.5m

Tony Pulis and his club appear to have gotten their mojo back. After claiming just two wins from their first 10 league games, West Brom have proceeded to pick up back-to-back victories versus Leicester City and, most recently, Burnley, defeating the newly-promoted side 4-0 on Monday night.

Next up for the Midlands club are Hull City, who continue to slip down the table after winning just once since August. 19th placed Sunderland were the latest side to snatch three points from the Tigers, so one can imagine morale isn’t great at the moment, because the form certainly isn’t.

On the ascendancy, West Brom have every chance of making it three wins on the spin, and failing that, a clean sheet at the very least. We’ll settle for that, tipping Jonny Evans to star.

Report: Liverpool Could Try To Sign Manchester United Defender

Jose Mourinho has had a tough start to his Manchester United career and comments last week made it all that bit tougher when he blasted both Luke Shaw and Chris Smalling for not playing through pain as the Red Devils beat Swansea 3-1 at the Liberty Stadium in an impressive display.

His recent comments have taken their toll on both players and it seems long term admirers of Luke Shaw, Liverpool are now circling the player after being alerted to the current situation and are ready to pounce if given the go ahead (news via The Mirror).

Former Borussia Dortmund manager Jurgen Klopp is believed to be searching for a new left-back after having to make do with versatile midfielder James Milner slotting in at the back for now after abysmal performances from Alberto Moreno.

If United, which is a big if, decided to sell Shaw then Liverpool would reignite their long standing interest in the £29 million rated England International, according to the Daily Mirror.

Ex Southampton team-mate of Shaw, Adam Lallana has publicly stated Jose Mourinho is wrong of his latest blast at Shaw, especially after coming back from the horrific injury he encountered last season.

He said: “He’s a very strong boy. He’s had a horrific leg injury. You don’t come back from that without being mentally and physically strong.”

Shaw has struggled to nail down a starting spot in United’s squad this season after slowly recovering from a injury that could have easily ended the 21-year-old’s career, and after his recent treatment he may find himself down in the pecking order in the United squad.

If things got bad to worse for the England star, and Liverpool did come in for the defender, how would he fit in at Anfield? We take a look.

Jurgen Klopp has already transformed the style of play in which the reds play, in fact, they are playing some of the most beautiful football in the country, scoring goals and creating chances at ease whilst nearly mastering the pressing system in which the German manger is trying to adapt his side too.

Klopp certainly likes his full-backs to join in the attack and that’s why Milner has slotted in so well, he is a player with an engine and has the ability to help out both defensively and offensively whilst remaining above 90% throughout the 90 minutes.

This is why Klopp is no doubt a huge admirer of Shaw, he is a player who loves to attack down the left hand side and is always an outlet for offensive players when on the attack, and being at a young age, he would be able to adapt to the attacking flair that Klopp demands of all his players.

Although Klopp is a pressing, attacking styled manager, he also expects his players to dig deep when the going gets tough and expects his players to be strong and physical, whilst winning their battles which is something Moreno wasn’t able to do consistently. Shaw again is an athlete who would be able to adapt to these demands and fit perfectly into Klopp’s new system at Anfield.

Something that would certainly impress Klopp’s is Shaw’s ability to take on his opponents on the left hand side, he has managed 66.67% take on completion thus far this season which is very impressive, almost as good a stat as some out and out wingers in the league, Liverpool’s James Milner has managed 50%.

Milner though does come out on top with the amount of tackles he has won 1.71 per 90 minutes and forward passes (35.50) compared to Shaw winning 0.68 tackles and (27.50) forward passes.

Another stat which will impress the Merseyside boss is the amount of aerial duels Shaw has won, standing at 6ft 1′ he has managed to win an immense 66.67% aerial duels compared to Milner’s 50%.

For me, Shaw would be an excellent signing for Liverpool, as he would if he was to go to any other Premier League team, but it is very much doubtful that United will give up on their youngster even-though him and the manager have thrown their toys out the pram. Although he is not yet the finished article, and is not starting regular for England it is only a matter of time before he starts challenging more and more for that spot. Yes, if Shaw was transfer listed Klopp would probably personally drive to Manchester himself in bid to tie the deal down, but the rivalry which both clubs possess and the hatred for one another, this deal looks very unlikely to materialise, however much Shaw and Liverpool would make a perfect match.

Liverpool Midfielder Dubbed ‘Best In The Premier League’ On Twitter After Brazil Performance

Philippe Coutinho is in a great run of form for Liverpool at the moment, and on Thursday night he continued that run of form into the international stage with a stunning performance vs. Argentina. 

The Brazilian has previously failed to excel on the international stage, but following his good domestic form, he was rewarded with with a start for Brazil in a crucial qualifying game for the World Cup.

They faced rivals Argentina, whom are struggling in the group and Brazil made sure that continued with a ruthless performance, winning 3-0 on the night and the goals started thanks for Coutinho’s quality quality opener. His individual run was capped off with a beautiful curling effort, finding the top corner.

He has always been a player that is neat and tidy in possession, good to watch and great at beating his man, but if Coutinho was to be critcised for anything it would be his inability to consistently score and assist. This has changed this season and he’s managed 5 goals and 5 assists in the league and he’s now producing on the international stage too. There can be no arguments that if this form is to continue, Coutinho must be considered amongst the best. Here’s what the fans are saying about his performance.

Coutinho starred alongside Neymar and Manchester City’s Gabriel Jesus in a quality attacking force for Brazil. They’ve had some dark days in the recent past, the humiliating home defeat to Germany always springs to mind, but in these three and many others, Brazil have some top class attacking talent capable of causing problems for any team. They look in great shape to qualify for the World Cup and should this kind of form continue, they can be considered serious contenders.

3 Things Klopp Needs To Do To Maintain Liverpool’s Momentum For The Title

Liverpool are flying at the moment, but Jurgen Klopp needs to make sure the team keeps up this momentum to give them any chance of being in the title mix come May. Here’s three things he needs to do to keep them competitive.

1 – Keep things fresh

Hard working style can lead to injuries and Liverpool cannot afford another mid-season collapse fuelled by injuries to key players. There’s a good squad at the club and Klopp needs to rotate tactically to ensure that he takes good care of the squad for the entire season. Although the lack of European football will help this aspect massively, there could still be problems over the winter if the squad is not managed properly. Hard working forwards like Firmino and Mane are doing the job excellently, but their bodies may not be prepared to perform like that twice a week for the entire season. With that style of play working so well, it’s important Klopp keeps that, but interchanges the players within the system.

‘Best Midfielder In England’ Twitter Reacts To Liverpool Players Masterclass vs. Watford

Liverpool moved to the top of the Premier League with an emphatic 6-1 win over Watford on Sunday afternoon. 

Jurgen Klopp’s men kept up their stunning form of late and they had Philippe Coutinho to thank for much of their performance. The Brazilian has been thriving on the left hand side of a dynamic and energetic front three for Klopp – and it is leading to some fantastic results for the Merseyside club.

Here’s some stats from Coutinho’s near-flawless performance. He had 83 touches and made 5 key passes, his passing was fairly reliable with a 82.4% success rate. He attempted 6 crosses and was accurate with 3 and he made 54 passes in total. Dribbling is also an area of Coutinho’s game that is very strong, he completed 3 of these in the game. His most telling contributions of the game were of course his goal and assist. As we’ve seen with lots of individuals performances under Klopp – it is not about perfection with pass completion etc. but a lot about intensity and teamwork and these are areas of Coutinho’s game that have improved a lot under Klopp.

Aged just 24, Coutinho is making great progress at Liverpool and looks better than ever so far this season.

This performance is not a one off for the player, he has been in great form this season and is thriving under the guidance of Klopp. This season he has racked up 5 goals and 5 assists in 11 Premier League appearances this season – it’s a great start to the campaign and if he can keep it up he may be considered the best midfielder in the Premier League, some believe he is already just that…

Here’s some of the best reaction to Coutinho’s performance on Twitter. 

Coutinho is Liverpool’s playmaker and most influential attacking player. Whether he is the actual best midfielder in the league or not remains up for debate – there’s a lot of top quality midfielders. What matters is about team performance for Klopp, not individuals. So long as Coutinho can continue to contribute for the team then Liverpool have every chance of winning the title this season. If he can deliver consistent performances like that and make the difference in the title race then nobody will need to speculate – he can be crowned the best in the league.

‘Like His Old Self Again’ Fans React To Liverpool Players Performance vs. Tottenham

Liverpool made their way into the quarter-finals of the EFL Cup with a 2-1 win over Premier League rivals Tottenham, Daniel Sturridge bagging a brace under the lights at Anfield.

It was Jurgen Klopp’s side that made a fast start, capitalising on a slip from Spurs summer signing Georges-Kevin N’Koudou, and Sturridge was there to take full advantage of another slip from Vorm to fire Liverpool into an early lead.

Spurs enjoyed a good period of play in the first half, with Vincent Janssen’s header at the back post being their best chance in the first period. However, Liverpool went into the break with the lead.

Mauricio Pochettino’s side continued to look for the equaliser, but it was Liverpool creating the better chances in the second half, and it was no surprise to see Daniel Sturridge double the Red’s advantage midway through the second half.

Spurs brought on Erik Lamela and Victor Wanyama either side of the second Liverpool goal, and they both had positive impacts on the game, with the former being brought down in the box for a penalty. Vincent Janssen stepped up and halved the deficit, setting up a nervy last fifteen minutes.

Youngster Sheyon Harrison had a good chance on his debut to put Spurs level, but couldn’t get his first touch spot on as Liverpool held on to advance to the quarter-finals.

Daniel Sturridge was of course the standout player for Liverpool, bagging a brace, but it could have been many more if the striker had been in a more clinical mood in front of goal. Here is how fans on Twitter reacted to Sturridge’s two goals against Spurs.

Liverpool fans will be glad to see Sturridge back amongst the goals, and they will be keen to see him carry the form he showed against Spurs into the Premier League, where they will need his goals. The England international has not scored in the Premier League since 23rd April last season, and Liverpool fans will be glad to see him finally hit the back of the net.

‘He’s The Signing Of The Summer’ Twitter Praises Liverpool Ace After West Brom Performance

Liverpool were one of the only teams in the top half of the table to win in the Premier League at the weekend, and it meant the climbed to joint top of the table.

Their brilliant campaign so far continued – and the scoreline of 2-1 flattered West Brom in all honesty. Liverpool fans have Sadio Mane to thank for getting the 3 points though. The summer signing crucially found the net once and assisted the other goal to help Klopp’s men secure 3 points.

Beyond the goal and assist though, there were some more impressive stats from the former Southampton man. He made 3 key passes and completed 80% of his passes overall, not a bad % for a wide man. He’s only 24 and the only thing I would say that needs definite improvement is his consistency. Mane needs to deliver these kind of performances week in week out to realise his world class potential and perhaps earn the tag of ‘signing of the season’.

Here’s how the fans reacted on Twitter. His goal on the day was particularly impressive, and now many fans are labelling him as a bargain at £30million – perhaps even the signing of the summer. Is that OTT?

So is Mane the signing of the season? I think it’s far too early to be saying things like that. One thing his early form does show us though is that he can hack it at a big club in Liverpool, contrary to what many initially thought. It also shows that those who initially labelled Mane as overpriced were completely wrong. In this market, if £30million can buy you a player of Mane’s quality then you’ve done pretty well.

Mane and Klopp appear the perfect fit. The player has great pace and desire about him to win the ball back quickly and his dynamic attacking approach makes him unpredictable for defenders, and there is nothing that Jurgen loves more than just that.

‘He Was Immense’ Twitter Raves About Manchester United Midfielders Performance vs. Liverpool

Liverpool and Manchester United played out a goalless draw on what had been dubbed ‘Red Monday’ by Sky Sports. The game was seen by many as an largely underwhelming affair, but there was one player that stood out for Manchester United.

Jose Mourinho tried to stop the fast start that was expected to be made by Liverpool, and his team were successful in doing this, but they were unable to capitalise and take all three points away from Anfield.

Zlatan Ibrahimovic, Phillipe Coutinho and Emre Can all had chances to break the deadlock, but it was Ander Herrera who stood out in the midfield more Manchester United, putting in a Man Of The Match display for Jose Mourinho’s side.

The Spaniard completed 74% of his passes playing in his deeper role in midfield, this time alongside Marouane Fellaini instead of record-signing Paul Pogba, who played in a more attacking role on ‘Red Monday’.

Although Herrera created no chances, he stayed strong in the midfield and provided an excellent shield in front of the back four. The 27-year-old won 80% of his aerial duels, and completed five take-ons during then goalless draw. In addition to this, Herrera made a total of 11 interceptions, more than any player in the Premier League this season in a single match.

Here is how fans on social media reacted to the superb performance of Herrera in the Manchester United midfielder.

Player Ratings: Liverpool 0-0 Manchester United (De Gea)

These are Fresh Football’s ratings for Liverpool’s home clash with against Manchester United on Monday night.

Liverpool

Loris Karius – 5

Composed for the most part, in particular with the ball at his feet, but almost landed his team in hot water when playing a stray pass to the opposition on the edge of his box.

Nathaniel Clyne – 5.5

A quiet game from the English right back, as he began coming into the action late on in support of Sadio Mané, but it all seemed a little too late.

Joel Matip – 6.5

Calm and collected throughout, keeping the defensive line in good nick alongside Dejan Lovren and creating one of the few chances of the game when marauding through the middle. Matip’s decent start to his Liverpool career continues.

Dejan Lovren – 6.5

Following on from Matip, Lovren kept up appearances in the back line and helped ensure a conservative Man United side had little chance of sneaking away with a win.

James Milner – 6.5

Top work ethic from Milner, as usual, who tried to glue play together on his side of the pitch as best as he could with Marcus Rashford lurking.

Jordan Henderson – 6

Solid in the middle of the park, but was stuck far too often with the task of getting plays started from deep, which isn’t his style.

Emre Can – 6

Failed to replicate Adam Lallana’s and Georginio Wijnaldum’s shared duties through the middle, which is a shame for Liverpool, but the German did grow into the game in the second half.

Sadio Mané – 4.5

Marked out of the game by Man United’s inclusion of Ashley Young in support for Daley Blind, and when space did arise on the flanks, Mané spurned his chances of inflicting damage through clumsiness on the ball.

Roberto Firmino – 5.5

Ghosted through phases of the game in starvation of the ball at his feet, but the ex-Hoffenheim man looked far better in the false nine role once it was vacated by Daniel Sturridge.

Philippe Coutinho – 7.5

Liverpool’s best hope of shifting a stubborn United side, who was unlucky not to see his shot from range bend around an inspired David De Gea.

Daniel Sturridge – 4

Anonymous throughout the game, largely down to Liverpool’s inability to break through the lines efficiently enough, which led to his substitution in the second half.

Subs:

Adam Lallana – 6.5

A big miss for the Reds, the introduction of a semi-fit Lallana brought life into the game.

Divock Origi – N/A

Alberto Moreno – N/A

Manchester United

David De Gea – 7

At quiet night, attempts wise, but the Spaniard was on his toes to pull off a super save from a Coutinho shot from range.

Antonio Valencia – 6.5

Another solid display at right back for Valencia to add to his recent collection, rounded off by a last-ditch tackle that prevented Roberto Firmino from dispatching a shot inside the box.

Eric Bailly – 5.5

A fairly calm night for the former Villarreal defender.

Chris Smalling – 5.5

Much like Bailly, Smalling didn’t have a great deal to do thanks to the support of Herrera, Fellaini, and the full backs around him.

Daley Blind – 5

Blind was limited throughout due to Mané’s presence, thwarting the Senegalese forward successfully in combination with Young.

Ander Herrera – 6.5

Supported somewhat of a stun-charge on Liverpool really well in the opening stages of the encounter, whereas he also adapted adequately to fulfil his team’s needs in defensive midfield.

Marouane Fellaini – 6

Tucked in nicely next to Herrera and supplemented a hardened barrage for Liverpool to break down.

Marcus Rashford – 6

The young Englishman threatened early on the right flank, but, in accordance to the game, the opportunities to impose himself in attack diminish swiftly.

Paul Pogba – 5.5

Undoubtedly under José Mourinho’s instructions, Pogba spent much of his time breathing down Dejan Lovren’s and Jordan Henderson’s neck to make Liverpool’s task of constructive play more difficult, and did so well.

Ashley Young – 6

Followed Mané closely all game and prevented Liverpool’s man from finding pockets of space.

Zlatan Ibrahimovic – 5.5

Always ready to capitalise on a United attack, but the big Swede will be disappointed not to have done better with his header across goal in the second half.

Subs:

Wayne Rooney – N/A

Luke Shaw – N/A

‘Wasted 90 Minutes Of My Life’ Fans React To Liverpool 0-0 Manchester United

On the day dubbed ‘Red Monday’ by Sky Sports, Liverpool and Manchester United played out a rather underwhelming 0-0 draw at Anfield in front of a packed house, and left many disappointed, taking into account the pre-match build-up. 

Jose Mourinho came to Anfield to stop Liverpool’s early game surge, something that he did successfully in the first half. His team stayed strong at the back, and Zlatan Ibrahimovic should have done much better from an exquisite Paul Pogbs cross from the right wing, but the Swede could only head across goal.

David De Gea managed to produce top-quality saves to keep Emre Can and Phillipe Coutinho out during the second half before Antonio made an excellent last-ditch tackles in the last ten minutes as the game ended goalless.

The game included sixteen shots in total, nine for Liverpool and seven for Mourinho’s men, but neither side could convert any of the total twelve chances that were created during the team. Between the sticks, David De Gea made four saves, and Karius made two.

It was a good tactical battle to watch at Anfield, but a game that offered very little in terms of chances, and fans of Liverpool, Manchester United, and neutrals, were disappointed to say the least with the Monday Night Football offering. They took to Twitter to voice their opinions.

If ever a game has made you realise it’s time to get rid of Sky Sports, this is it! #LIVMUN

Manchester United will have the happier set of fans on the night after picking up a point away against a team that is on great form currently. The way United played should not surprise United fans and under Mourinho they can expect many similar performances. It will be interesting to see if that satisfies the United fans in the long term though as many were disgruntled by Louis van Gaal’s management, even when the team were winning games. The fans and manager must be on a similar wavelength for their relationship to last the long haul.

Martial Starts! Manchester United Team News And Predicted Line-Up To Face Liverpool

Having gone into the international break off the back of a disappointing 1-1 draw with Stoke at Old Trafford, Manchester United will be keen to return to league action with three points. However, they face an uphill task to do this as they face an in-form Liverpool side who have a 100% record from two games at Anfield this season.

In terms of team news, Phil Jones is the only absentee for Jose Mourinho’s side for the Monday night clash, whereas Luke Shaw and Henrikh Mkhitaryan are back in contention to start. Here is our Manchester United predicted line-up to face Liverpool.

Goalkeeper: David De Gea

The Spanish stopper has been very good for United this season, making some very important stops so far. He will have to be at his very best on Monday night to keep a clean sheet against a clinical and vibrant Liverpool attack.

Defence: Antonio Valencia, Eric Bailly, Chris Smalling, Daley Blind

The Manchester United defensive unit will have its hands full all evening. Antonio Valencia will have to keep Coutinho quiet if he resumes his position on the left, and Daley Blind will have an equally as difficult job, having to deal with either Roberto Firmino or Sadio Mane, whoever starts on Monday night.

If Sadio Mane does play down the middle, then his pace looking to get in-behind will terrorise either Chris Smalling or Eric Bailly at the back. The pair’s positioning will have to be perfect if they are to keep the Liverpool attack quiet, and the centre-back duo will for sure look to put in some early strong tackles and set the tone from the start.

Defensive Midfield: Paul Pogba, Ander Herrera

The role of the defensive shield will be key to United if they are to come away from Anfield with a result. Ander Herrera will most likely sit deeper again, whereas Paul Pogba will look to push forward when given the opportunity. However, the Frenchman will need to be very disciplined against Liverpool, but Pogba’s strength on the ball will be key for United to quickly turn defence into attack.

Attacking Midfield: Marcus Rashford, Juan Mata, Anthony Martial

If Manchester United are to come away from Merseyside with anything at all, they will need to attack with pace and make the most of their opportunities, and I feel that the trio of Rashford, Mata and Martial are the right men to do this. Martial and Rashford will provide the pace and the runs down the wings, whereas Mata in the middle will pick out the crucial passes.

Striker: Zlatan Ibrahimovic

I said that United would have to attack with pace, and the former Swedish international is far from the paciest player in the Premier League, but he will be a great target man. He can hold the ball up whilst others join the attack, and he can try and get on the end of any crosses delivered by the likes of Martial and Rashford on the wings.

Who will prevail from the battle at Anfield, Jurgen Klopp’s Liverpool or Jose Mourinho’s Manchester United?

Liverpool – Manchester United Combined XI: Only 3 Liverpool Players Feature, Your Thoughts?

Few have been the times that these two colossal clubs of English football have come into a clash with lofty ambitions as of late, as Liverpool welcome Manchester United to the newly-renovated Anfield stadium on Monday night.

The Jürgen Klopp project and it’s suffocating press system has begun gaining some notable traction in the Premier League, in particularly in big games, whereas Man United and their array of expensive talent look to force their way back into prominence under new boss José Mourinho.

The match-up promises plenty, and in its lead-up, Fresh Football has sought to bring you a combined XI. Here’s how we’d line-up:

GK: David De Gea (Manchester United)

There won’t be many more straightforward choices to be made than including David De Gea, one of the best shot-stoppers in the world and, arguably, the main man between the sticks in Premier League football. Even if we weren’t to see him in such light, Simon Mignolet’s shaky past and new boy Loris Karius don’t offer us any great alternatives from Liverpool’s end.

RB: Nathaniel Clyne (Liverpool)

Nathaniel Clyne’s Man United counterpart, Antonio Valencia, has gained his fair share of plaudits so far this season from a right back position, but his systematic nature in the final third, particularly his over-hit crosses, raises a few question marks. Meanwhile Clyne’s associative play makes him our preferred option, we’re not even sure Valencia, despite good form, is the best right back at his own club.

CB: Eric Bailly (Manchester United)

Among the trickiest of introductions to this combined XI is Eric Bailly, simply because Joël Matip has excelled so much in his short time in the Premier League as well. Whereas the latter might be better at reading the game, we think Bailly’s physicality, especially once his aggression is more refined, sees the Ivorian pip the ex-Schalke man.

CB: Chris Smalling (Manchester United)

As someone who can blend his ability to read the game, bring the ball out from defence and impose himself physically upon attackers, Smalling’s addition is a no-brainer. On his day, he’s one of the very best centre backs in the Premier League.

LB: Luke Shaw (Manchester United)

Alberto Moreno came to mind, who, based on his Liverpool career thus far, is enough to hand the left back slot to just about anyone else. Such is his unreliability that Klopp has chosen to deploy James Milner at left back, a successful invention in the meantime, but we’d prefer to go down the old-fashioned route and opt for a natural left back. It’s also Luke Shaw, by the way, so we’re in good hands.

CM: Daley Blind (Manchester United)

We’re striving for a team that makes sense, here, which in turn sees us scramble a little for a convincing midfielder to play deep in this combined XI. Although talented, Emre Can’s yet to leave his definitive stamp at Anfield, whereas his teammate, Jordan Henderson, is more box-to-box than deep-lying. The same goes for Ander Herrera at United, who’s come into the fold ahead of Michael Carrick and Bastian Schweinsteiger. We’re trusting the versatility of Daley Blind on this one, who’s put in exemplary displays at left back and centre back in the past.

CM: Paul Pogba (Manchester United)

He’s been fairly underwhelming since his blockbuster transfer from Juventus this summer, but it’d take a brave man to overlook his talent in order to shut him out of this combined XI. We wouldn’t dare.

RM: Sadio Mané (Liverpool)

At last, some more Merseyside-based presence, and it goes to their new acquisition. Many an eyebrow was raised at the £34 million price tag of Sadio Mané when joining from Southampton, but the Senegalese winger has been quick to allay any fears and become an instant hit at Anfield. The 24-year-old provides a constant threat with his movement in behind, whereas his trickery and pace make him a real handful across the attacking third.

AM: Philippe Coutinho (Liverpool)

The Brazilian can offer the odd irritation with his relentless attempts at goal from range, but when it works, there’s little left to do but admire. Coutinho’s general low centre of gravity coupled with his dribbling ability and flair are the real reasons why we think he’s best suited to the free role in attacking midfield, however.

LM: Henrikh Mkhitaryan (Manchester United)

Up against the likes of Marcus Rashford and Anthony Martial, our preference is to go with Henrikh Mkhitaryan on this one. Being quick on the turn, the Armenian is lethal in transition, just as he was in his storming 2015/16 season with Borussia Dortmund prior to his transfer to Manchester United. We’re yet to see the versatile wide man exemplify the same prowess at Old Trafford, but should he be given the chance, it’d be no surprise to see him star.

ST: Zlatan Ibrahimovic (Manchester United)

Even with Rashford and Martial in the equation, Daniel Sturridge might well serve as the biggest opposition to Zlatan Ibrahimovic at striker. With both representing different profiles of strikers, this one comes down to consistency, and almost by default, Sturridge’s injury prone history and mix-and-match attendance when fit under Klopp sees Ibrahimovic pip him. Additionally, the Swede’s hold-up play and playmaking ability is quite the sight when coupled with aforementioned runners in the attacking third.

This Liverpool Star Averages The Most Passes In The Premier League Per Game

Liverpool have made a successful start to the season, and have established themselves early on as title contenders going into the second international break of the campaign in October sitting in fourth place, trailing third-placed Arsenal only by goal difference and find themselves just two points off the pace after seven games. 

We all know that Liverpool under German manager Jurgen Klopp like to play possession football, avoiding the use of long ball unless deemed absolutely necessary. That style of play not only requires a team that can keep the ball extremely well with few misplaced passes, but a central midfielder that can pull the string for your team, and Jordan Henderson has been the man that has managed to do that for the boys from Anfield so far this season.

He has completed the most passes per game out of anybody in the league this season, and has featured in all seven of Liverpool’s opening Premier League fixtures up until this point. The England international has managed to complete on average 84.1 passes per game in midfield, the most in the league by far. His nearest competitor is Santi Cazorla of Arsenal, who has completed on average a still impressive 71.9 passes per game. He is closely followed by Manchester United’s record signing Paul Pogba, who has weighed in with an average of 71.2 passes per game.

Henderson has put in a string of quality performances from deep midfield this season for Jurgen Klopp’s side, with the highlight being the wonder-goal he scored at Stamford Bridge back in September. In addition to his remarkable amount of passes, the Englishman also has a pass completion rate of 90%.

In the league this season, Henderson has made on average 1.32 key passes per game, and has assisted one goal. As well as his good work on the ball, Henderson has done his fair share of good work off the ball. He has won on average 2.79 tackles per game, and has won 60% of his total aerial duels.

Henderson has been very good in the midfield for season, but can he and his teammates under the management of Jurgen Klopp lead Liverpool to the Premier League title this season?

Premier League Team of the Week: 4 Tottenham, 2 Chelsea, 1 Liverpool Player Feature

Lee Grant – Stoke City

Not often will a goalkeeper go to Old Trafford and have one of the games of their lives, but that’s exactly what Lee Grant done on Sunday against the Red Devils and saved his side a point.

He made several saves including magnificent stops against Jesse Lingard and Zlatan Ibrahimović but there was little he could do to keep out Anthony Martial’s perfect finish.

An all-round glorious afternoon at the Theatre of Dreams for the Stoke shot stopper.

Kyle Walker – Tottenham Hotspur

Walker found himself against a reborn Raheem Sterling at the weekend but done excellently in keeping his England compatriot quiet throughout.

Walker was brilliant at attacking the line and also defensively solid. Walker showcased his athleticism and proved why he is so key to the Spurs defence, a very strong performance against and in-form City side.

Toby Alderweireld – Tottenham Hotspur

Alderweireld is slowly becoming one of the best defenders in Europe with his consistent outstanding performances, something which he once again showed against Manchester City at the weekend.

Spurs have the best defence record in the league and it is quite obvious why, they are solid and defend as a unit. Alderweireld is slowly becoming on the best bargains in recent years and also helping Spurs grow within each game
The Belgian international managed to keep the best striker in England quiet, in Sergio Aguero, and also dominated their attacking flair with a sublime performance.

Michael Keane – Burnley

As defensive performance goes, Michael Keane was one the best no nonsense defenders over the weekend after an excellent display against an in-form Gunners team.

He continued his consistent solid performances for Burnely which should have saw his side gain a point, with Laurent Koscielny scoring with the last kick… well hand of the game.

His outstanding performances have caught the eye of interim boss Gareth Southgate and he has rightly so been called up to the England side.

James Milner – Liverpool

James Milner continues to impress for Liverpool and has fixed Jurgen Klopp’s defensive problem with the versatile player setting in perfectly at left-back.

He is probably seen as the most reliable player in the squad right now and has been excellent in Liverpool’s recent form, scoring the winner at the weekend from the penalty spot in another all-round complete display.

Dele Alli – Tottenham Hotspur

Alli was influential against Manchester City this weekend and the Englishman ran the show for Spurs in their 2-0 victory.

Alli possessed brilliant skills and passing ability throughout and was a real danger man to his opposition. He was calm and composed when he scored a goal against Claudio Bravo after a clever run in behind the defence.

After that he won the penalty, which Erik Lamela went on to miss and continued to torment the City players.

N’golo Kante – Chelsea

Kante hasn’t shined as much as he would have liked since his big money move from Leicester but consistent performances from the weekends outing will certainly pay that back.

Kante made more interceptions than any other Chelsea player and was their midfield engine, he was also brilliant with his passing abilities and that certainly hurt Hull at the weekend.

With performances like that he will certainly be back to his best before no time.

Joe Allen – Stoke City

Joe Allen was one of the best players of the weekend against Manchester United, he wasn’t scared of the battle against Paul Pogba and others and actually done superbly well throughout.

Allen was pitch-perfect in possession whilst also carving out his team-mates with excellent vision; he also had a hand in the dirty work and tracked back when needed.

He predominantly played at the number 10 role and certainly exposed United’s lack of holding player, he went on to clinch the equalizing goal and help his team leave Old Trafford with a point.

Son Heung Min – Tottenham Hotspur

Another week, another place for Son in our TOTW. The Korean forward has probably made TOTW more than any other player and the game at the weekend proved why.

Son is in the form of his life (at Spurs) and has been a real nuisance for defences to cope with; he constantly got in behind the City defence and put them under extreme pressure form the first minute.

Son will be bitter he couldn’t take the penalty which was missed, but something that won’t be forgotten is his sublime display… again.

Diego Costa – Chelsea

Diego Costa carried on his superb form this weekend as Chelsea got the all-important three points against Hull City after a blip in recent weeks.

The Chelsea man has been in impeccable form thus far this season which has left him top goal-scorer of the league, bagging himself another goal at the weekend.

Christian Benteke – Crystal Palace

His departure from Liverpool will probably work in his favor, with Benteke playing regular football again and starting to find his feet.

Benteke was a handful for Eeverton’s defence and won an incredible nine aerial duels, with one of them being the all-important equalizer, with the Belgian showing very promising signs with his new club.

‘Best Left Back In The League’ Liverpool Fans React To Milner’s Performance On Saturday

Liverpool continued their fine run of form with an impressive comeback 2-1 win over Swansea at the weekend, and in the aftermath of the win there has been a lot of love for this man..

Milner has actually scored FOUR Premier League goals this season, all of which have come from the spot. He’s a very reliable penalty kick taker but his penalties have not been all that he has impressed with this season. The Englishman, traditionally a central midfielder, has been required to reinvent himself as a left-back after Jurgen Klopp surprisingly decided not to dip into the market for a new left-back. But so far, the German tactician’s decision appears to have been the right one.

Milner’s penalty on Saturday was not his only top contribution to the game. He was the WhoScored man of the match, narrowly edging ahead of Coutinho with a rating of 8.26. He played very well at left back and played a vital part in securing the three points for his team. Defensively he won 2 aerial duels, made 4 interceptions and 4 clearances. Perhaps most impressively he made three tackles too. All these stats show that defensively he was very important in Liverpool’s win – and considering he is naturally a midfielder and not a left back, it is very promising that his defensive statistics were so impressive.

Going forward he was also an asset, making two key passes and completing two dribbles in the match. His passing range and experience in midfield will always make him good on the ball and he showed that by attempting and completing 4 long balls. Crossing has always been a quality to Milner’s game and he was stunning in this area once again on Saturday, completing a huge 9 crosses.

Here’s some reaction from Liverpool fans on Twitter

With Klopp opting not to bring in a new left-back, it will be important for Milner to maintain his form for the whole season. His penalty efficiency is just a bonus, what is good is that he has adjusted and is excelling in the left back position. He offers a good balance between defence and attack and also has a huge amount of Premier League experience, something the Liverpool defence naturally lacks. He is a leader and a great role model for the young players at the club too and most importantly, the player appears to have a great working relationship with Klopp.

5 Arsenal Players Named In The Team Of The Week: Liverpool, Tottenham & Man Utd Players Also Feature

Petr Cech – Arsenal

Although Cech wasn’t worked as much as others over the weekend, his professionalism shown through the whole squad on the Gunners 3-0 win over Chelsea. He made a few fantastic saves in the latter stages of the game with Michy Batshuayi being the best when he was through on goal. His calmness helped his back four massively, and the ex-Chelsea goalkeeper helped the Gunners coast to victory.

Hector Bellerin – Arsenal

Defensively, Bellerin has improved massively in the last 12 months and this once again showed against Chelsea on Saturday. Pedro was through on Arsenal’s goal, but Bellerin took charge and absolutely dismantled his fellow Spaniard for pace and recovered with an excellent tackle.

Bellerin kept Eden Hazard quiet all game, disposed play excellently and made inch perfect tackles whilst grabbing and assist for Theo Walcott’s goal.

Virgil Van Dijk – Southampton

Another solid performance by the Saints rock at the back, since his move to St Mary’s last summer he has been one of the most impressive defenders in England, with another sublime performance against West Ham showing his worth, he defended excellently and bullied Simone Zaza who didn’t get a sniff all game.

Laurent Koscielny – Arsenal

Koscielny must have been itching for revenge on Diego Costa who has often got the better of him, but to the Frenchman’s credit, he dealt excellently with the Chelsea man and was much stronger and determined that the forward for the 90 minutes.

Costa can usually bully his opponents but between Mustafi and Koscielny, Costa was left frustrated after being pocketed by the pair, with the latter getting some sweet revenge on Costa form past performances, Inch perfect display.

Ryan Bertrand – Southampton

Ryan Bertrand has all the tools to become a top left-back and he proved once again why in Saints victory over the Hammers, he was influential going forward as well as tracking back, helping in the build up play before Charlie Austin’s goal. The defender completed three key passes in the 90 minutes which just showed how good he was progressing forward.

Son Heung-min – Tottenham Hotspur

A player that nearly left White Hart Lane this summer is now a key man in Spurs superb form, he has once again made our TOTW with four goals in the last two matches. Son is full of confidence and is now starting to deliver on a consistent bases, he is picking up the ball and driving at defences whilst being a threat in the final third which he showcased once again at the weekend in another fine display.

Paul Pogba – Manchester United

Finally, Paul Pogba puts in a Man-of-the-Match performance in a dominating display over last seasons champions Leicester City. With Rooney dropping out of the side, Pogba was given a more advanced role and the whole team played at a much higher tempo with their main man Pogba able to dictate and control the game at his will, with the Frenchman also netting his first goal for Manchester United in a truly superb performance.

Phillipe Coutinho – Liverpool

Coutinho is another who has been superlative this season, he once again ran the show for his Liverpool side with two assists and one goal against a depleted Hull City side. Liverpool are a very dangerous outfit this season and if their Brazilian maestro can keep up his good work they will certainly fight for the title.

Alex Iwobi – Arsenal

The young Gunner has settled in to this Arsenal team and made the left wing spot his own. He was just as good as the likes of Alexis and Ozil on Saturday, highlighting his raw talent and the lads potential is huge. Aged just 20 and considering how much he has developed in the last 12 months, the sky is well and truly the limit for young Alex. Against Chelsea he tortured Ivanovic at right back, causing many Chelsea fans to call for the Serbian to retire.

Alexis Sanchez – Arsenal

Alexis is thriving in the number 9 role at Arsenal and he had another brilliant game against Chelsea. Hunting down Gary Cahill before giving Arsenal the lead was particularly impressive, but what I liked was his improved link up play. Many had doubted that Arsenal could play without Giroud because Alexis could not link the play as well, that was cetainly not the case.

Sergio Aguero – Manchester City

Back from suspension, Aguero again proved why he is perhaps the best player in the Premier League with an impressive brace against Swansea to ensure City maintained their 100% Premier League record. If this guy stays fit it is hard to see another team winning the league, he is just on another level.

Not Aguero: Klopp Names Manchester City Player As His Favourite Non-Liverpool PL Player

Jurgen Klopp appeared as a pundit on Sky Sports’ Monday Night Football where Watford visited Turf Moor to play Burnley. Whilst making his appearance on Sky alongside David Jones and Jamie Carragher, he spoke very highly of a Manchester City player, dubbing him his favourite non-Liverpool Premier League player. 

Speaking on Sky’s show, the Liverpool boss revealed that his favourite non-Liverpool player was David Silva from Manchester City, and the German had some kind words for the Spaniard.

I like David Silva. I like his style of play. He is a wonderful player, he’s everywhere, he’s so skilled and he has a wonderful attitude. Even though I don’t hear his name too often after the wonderful start by Man City and I’m pretty sure he has his role and I like his style of play.

The tricky attacking midfielder is a huge threat to any team when he is in-form, but has yet to get off the mark this season having made five Premier League appearances under new manager Pep Guardiola, but has scored in the Champions League this campaign.

The 30-year-old is know for his tremendous technical ability, but what if the left-footed winger were to be installed into Jurgen Klopp’s side.

From performances this season as well as last season, Liverpool love to play teams away from home, and have made a name for themselves under Jurgen Klopp catching teams on the break, playing an extremely exciting style of play away from home, full of pace and attacking flair.

The pretty football is followed by favourable results, most recently the 2-1 win against Chelsea at Stamford Bridge and on the first week of the season the 4-3 win away at Arsenal. However, last season, inconsistent results have let the Reds down, and they have done this season to a certain extent, the 2-0 loss at Burnley being the result that sticks out like a sore thumb.

For me, David Silva would fit perfectly into a Jurgen Klopp side. The way that Liverpool catch teams on the break would fit Silva’s style of play perfectly. The Spaniard can show the pace required to catch teams on the counter-attack, and would far from look out of place in a Jurgen Klopp starting eleven.

Not only can he show the pace needed to fit the bill in a Klopp squad, Silva also has the technical ability to break open a tight defence at Anfield, where teams have been known to come and ‘park the bus’.

So how does Silva compare to Liverpool’s key man, Philipe Coutinho? Silva provided 11 assists in the Premier League last season, compared to Coutinho, who made just five goals. The Spaniard also made eleven more key passes than Coutinho last season, Silva making a total of 55 over the course of 24 games, Coutinho completed 44 key passes in 26 games. The Manchester City man also created seventeen more chances than the Liverpool midfielder, creating a total of 66 chances.

Although Coutinho scored six more goals than Silva last season, who would you rather have in the squad? 

Fantasy Football: 3 Premier League Players You Need In Your Team This Week (ft. Liverpool, Chelsea)

Following the EFL Cup interlude, the Premier League returns with a series of games to draw our eyes to, in particular the London derby between Arsenal and Chelsea, Leicester City’s visit to Old Trafford ahead of their clash against Manchester United and Tony Pulis’ return to the newly-named Bet365 Stadium, where his West Bromwich Albion side face-off versus former club Stoke City.

As always, Fresh Football will be here to attempt to aid your Fantasy Teams, as we switch our attentions to a list made up entirely of potential goal-getters ahead of Gameweek Six. You can read more advice in our Fantasy Football section. Here are our three hotpicks:

1 – Sadio Mané
Club:
Liverpool
Position: Midfield
Price: £9m

Liverpool, with two wins against Leicester City and Chelsea in their last three Premier League games, have emerged as potential candidates for the league title this season, as they welcome a Hull City side, currently winless in their last three outings prior to this week’s league cup clash, to the newly-renovated Anfield stadium.

The Tigers struggled to cope with Arsenal’s pressing game last weekend in their 4-1 defeat at home, a style so synonymous with Jürgen Klopp’s Liverpool; meanwhile the Reds will be boosted further by the likely returns of Daniel Sturridge, Roberto Firmino, Adam Lallana and Georginio Wijnaldum following a 3-0 win versus Derby County in midweek.

In front of an excited home crowd, we’re tipping Sadio Mané to cause Hull’s defence all sorts of trouble in what *should* be a routine victory for Liverpool.

Premier League Team Of The Week: 2 Liverpool, 2 Arsenal, 2 Watford & 1 Everton Player Feature

Jordan Pickford – Sunderland

Probably the busiest keeper of the weekend having to keep out an onslaught from the Spurs attack was superb throughout and deserved to be on the winning side.

The 22-year-old made more saves (8) than any other goalkeeper in the Premier League over the weekend.

Seamus Coleman – Everton

The Irish International scored a sublime solo effort against Boro with a striker-esque finish. Coleman attacked the line brilliantly and was always an outlet on the right-hand side whilst doing his defensive duties as usual.

That’s Coleman’s first goal of the season and with performances like that he will be sure to score a few more, he also made two tackles whilst helping his team out with six clearances.

Sebastian Prodl – Watford

This was “The battle of the buns” with one worthy winner in Prodl.

The Watford centre-back managed to keep the ever busy Zlatan Ibrahimović at bay and not giving him any time on the ball.

He was outstanding throughout and was an influence defensively, winning one major tackle on Ibrahimović as he looked destined to score after going through on goal.

The 6ft+ defender won most of his aerial duels and looked stronger than Zlatan, especially with his tackles, a fantastic performance.

Joel Matip – Liverpool

Very rarely will a team go to Stamford Bridge and dominate as much as Liverpool did on Friday night.

Liverpool’s defence were solid, they didn’t let Chelsea have any time on the ball and didn’t get dragged into a physical wrestling match with Diego Costa.

Instead, Matip was clever in his approach, he would often budge Costa to let him know he is there, which led to the Chelsea striker giving away possession and becoming frustrated.

Matip had a very professional and solid performance and was dominating in the air and also brilliant in possession just as much without.

José Holebas – Watford

For the second week running Holebas gets into our team of the week.

The consistent performer has carried on his splendid early form and once again showcased his fine abilities against the Red Devils.

He was very strong on and off the ball and gave United next to nothing on the right-hand side, a beast of a performance.

Jordan Henderson – Liverpool

Firstly, you have to say what a special goal that was.

A midfielder who doesn’t score many produced arguably goal of the month against the Blues at Stamford Bridge with a sublime hit from around 30 yards.

Henderson was solid and dominating in midfield; he ran the show and made both Matic and Kante look very lacklustre in the middle of the park.

Francis Coquelin – Arsenal

First things first, Francis Coquelin deserves huge credit for his performance against Hull City with the added pressure Granit Xhaka has brought to him.

Although Xhaka should be starting for the Gunners, Coquelin had his best game of the season against the Tigers in a complete performance showcasing why he should be in contention.

The Frenchman completed 98% of his passes against Hull, which is utterly perfect, and protected the back four superbly.

The Arsenal midfielder made four tackles and four interceptions in the 90 minutes, showing his worth to the Gunners side, a fantastic performance.

Andros Townsend – Crystal Palace

Crystal Palace ran riot against a very depleted Stoke City side yesterday afternoon.

The Palace winger was instrumental throughout and his blistering pace and skills were too much for the Stoke City defence to handle.

He scored his first Palace goal in style, after dribbling it away and blasting it into the back of the net from outside the box. Palace were all round fantastic, with Townsend being the best of the lot.

Kevin De Bruyne – Manchester City

Last week, we said KDB was playing with new freedom and found exhilarating form, he once again showcased this against Bournemouth and if he carries on will find himself a contender for player of the season.

His exquisite early season form continues as did his clinical presence in front of goal, KDB once again showed his deadly eye for goal as he scored another goal for City whilst also adding another assist to his tally this season.

Apart from scoring and assisting, the Belgian international created three clear-cut chances for City in their dominating win over the Cherries.

Alexis Sanchez – Arsenal

Alexis Sanchez continued to lead the Gunners attacking line playing in the number 9 role, days after an unconvincing performance there against PSG.

But, this time Sanchez looked back to his old ways, tormenting defenders and running at the Hull back line without fear in a brilliant display for the Gunners.

Arsenal’s magician scored Arsenal’s first goal in a bizarre scenario with Alex Iwobi feeling robbed of the goal after it hit Sanchez before finding the net.

Alexis went on to miss a penalty later on in the half but this didn’t stop him scoring an excellent goal in the second half and having an all-round brilliant display.

Islam Slimani – Leicester City

Slimani probably dreamt on Friday night about scoring a goal on his Premier League debut, instead, he scored two very well taken goals and looked very much comfortable in his new surroundings.

On top of his goals, he showed very promising signs of excellent link up play between the Foxes deadly duo Jamie Vardy and Riyad Mahrez, which will excite Claudio Ranieri.

Chelsea vs Liverpool: Who’s On Top Of Their Season?

It‘s Week 5 in the Premier League, and the Table is still allowing teams to move up and down with a breakneck speed. However, a few trends are already pretty clear – and one of them is that Chelsea remembered how to play football. This week they‘re meeting Liverpool, who managed to start winning again with the last week‘s 4:1 vs the defending champions – so this ought to be good.

Last season, Liverpool won their first meet back when everyone was still wrapping their heads about how badly Chelsea was playing, and when the Blues recovered, their following match ended in a single-goal draw.  However, so far it seems that Chelsea is holding up better than Klopp‘s lads – so how could this meet go?

According to the UK-licensed bookie TonyBet, it seems like this is going to be one tough fight – but it‘s one where Chelsea are more likely to triumph with the odds of 5/4 for their victory against the 21/10 that Liverpool got. It‘s fair to assume that this is mostly due to a pretty solid performance that the Blues managed so far, and the up-and-down rollercoaster that the Reds seem to already have gotten onto.

However, experiencing constant ups and lows still worked out better for Liverpool last season, when they finished at 8th place – two places above Chelsea and with a ten-point advantage. Now this season, Klopp’s lads seem to be more confident and have been great at netting lots of goals so far – including four last week against Leicester. That means good defence is crucial for Chelsea – and no parking the bus, either.

On the other hand, while Liverpool are generous with scoring goals, they are unfortunately also pretty generous at receiving them. Of course, that’s good news for Chelsea, who will be definitely looking at the chance of clocking a few of their own in, especially since this is a Stamford Bridge game. The Blues have only lost a single match out of their last 13 in their home stadium – and even if Liverpool are a tough challenge, it’s not an impossible one.

Now Chelsea will be still without Kurt Zouma, and John Terry is out after the Swansea game, which is a bit of a hurdle for the Blues. Of course, their opponents aren’t completely healthy either: Emre Can is on the bench, and Mamadou Sakho with Joseph Gomez are still doubtful. These two could still make it in time, however, Klopp may decide to have them sit this one out.

All in all, it looks like this is a perfect recipe for a very hard and a very passionate match. There is no way this could end up being boring, because there’s no way either of the teams is giving up before it even started. Both Chelsea and Liverpool know one another well enough to realise they’re playing in the same league – so don’t forget to tune in and see how this one will go!