Sport has many different forms, of course – competitive, friendly, amateur, professional – as well as different disciplines of course such as tennis, rugby, basketball and of course football. One thing every sport shares is that it really takes that special something to crown a champion. Patty Berg – record holding female PGA golfer – once stated “what does it take to be a champion? Desire, dedication, determination, concentration and a will to win.” Apt words indeed, and words which could well be applied to Jurgen Klopp’s Liverpool side as they maintained their pursuit of a first-ever Premier League title by beating Chelsea 2-0 at Anfield on Sunday. The Reds have looked sublime this season, but this game showed a grit and determination lacking in recent years.
Are you not entertained?
It’s going right to the end, isn’t it?
We haven’t had a title race this close since the 2013/14 when it went to the final day between… Liverpool and Manchester City.
There’s something different about this Liverpool team, though. While Brendan Rodgers’ attacking juggernaut was overflowing with creativity and lethal finishing, Klopp’s team displays a gladiator-like fighting spirit and a refusal to give in. Marrying just the right amount of technical ability with bucketloads full of courage, Klopp may just have got the mix right.
With the Premier League now very much entering the business end of the season, and with just a few matches remaining to decide the respective fates of several teams, there was a full schedule of games in England’s top-flight this past weekend. Once again, the spread of fixtures was great with Newcastle winning at Leicester on Friday night, six games taking place on Saturday, title challengers Man City and Liverpool winning their respective games on Sunday and Arsenal travelling to Watford on Monday. Results this weekend meant that both City and Liverpool are guaranteed to finish first and second in either combination. With that in mind, let’s take a look and see which players performed the best in their position, using a 4-3-3 formation.
Liverpool have not been as close to winning the league- their first real chance since 1990 as they are this season. Can it be done, could they really do it? Make no mistake Liverpool want this much more than the Champions League, as they have had to wait 29 years to claim another title.
There are two players that have been brought into the club by manager Jurgen Klopp that have appeared to make all the difference. One is Sadio Mane who was bought for £34m from Southampton in 2016 and the other is Brazilian goalkeeper Alisson who smashed the goalkeeper transfer fee last summer as Liverpool splashed out an initial £56m which will rise to £66m and will make him the worlds most expensive goalkeeper.
While the figures seem crazy for a goalkeeper we have to consider how Alisson’s arrival has hugely helped the Reds this season. Liverpool have conceded 18 goals which is the best record in the league, only Manchester City come close having conceded 21. At Anfield the record is even more remarkable as the club have only conceded 9 goals. But here is the real stat that would whet any fans appetite for a goalkeeper and that is Alisson has kept 17 clean sheets. In short Alisson has been outstanding and has done his job almost flawlessly well.
Another player that has made a major difference is Sadio Mane. Now when we talk about strikers our attentions as far as Liverpool go is going to turn to Mohamed Salah who has been superb for Liverpool since they bought him from Roma, and nobody is going to forget his goals for the club last season. Indeed he has 17 this season and could well end up the top goal scorer once again. But Mane has matched the Egyptian this season that there can be no doubt.
Mane also has 17 goals but his form has been absolutely electric in 2019, as he has been scoring week in and week out. What has been incredible is that he has been scoring in the most important goals in the lead up to the title challenge. Would it be a surprise if Mane was voted the best Premier League player of the season? Win or lose the league Mane may just get the vote.
Jurgen Klopp has spent many millions on bringing in players but at the same time the German also has to be applauded given that he has been able to identify Liverpool’s weaknesses, target the players needed and bring them in. All that remains is winning trophies and with the club still in the hunt for the Premier League title and the Champions League anything could happen.
This weekend’s Premier League action has one or two tasty fixtures coming at a great time, with arguably the match of the round closing out the weekend’s proceedings when Arsenal take on Manchester United at the Emirates in Sunday’s 4.30pm kickoff. Conversely, getting things underway with the Saturday lunchtime kickoff will be Crystal Palace hosting rivals Brighton at Selhurst Park. With the exception of Man City taking on Watford on Saturday and Chelsea hosting Wolves on Sunday, just about every other game sees a top-half side taking on a bottom-half side, and so there could be one or two surprises in store for fans attending a game in England’s top-flight this weekend.
It’s that time of year again. The Christmas leftovers are all gone, the decorations are back under the stairs for another year and lots of us are feeling our willpower beginning to weaken in the face of Dry January.
So what we need most of all is some kind of distraction to take our minds off the weather and the general gloom that brings in the start of the New Year. So what better to do than start fine tuning our fantasy football squad in preparation for the rest of the season?
It could be that your team’s already riding high in which case you may not need this advice. But if you really want to move up to a higher level then we’ve picked five players who could bring success whether you’re a relative fantasy football novice or a seasoned pro.
When the captain of the Gabonese team signed for Arsenal just within last January’s transfer window it was for a record-breaking £56 million. Now, a year later, he’s certainly proved to be a good buy as he heads the list of Premier league scorers with a total of 14 goals to his name, many of them snatched from inside the box. With 10 goals scored last season no-one’s betting that he won’t double that total for this one.
For a 23 year old the winger and attacking midfielder Leroy Sané shows incredible maturity for his age and he has already gained experience in Germany as well as for Manchester City. His early days for the latter were beset with reported breathing difficulties but he seems to have put all that behind him now. As well as regularly assisting goals he also knows just when to score them with his 72nd winner against league challengers Liverpool being a case in point.
With Chelsea enjoying a very good season, secure near the top of the table, much of that has to be down to Hazard. Now in his sixth season at Stamford Bridge he’s part of the furniture, and what a valuable part too. Not only is he well up with the League’s leading goal scorers, he also tops the list of assists too with 10 to his name after 22 matches played.
The Brazilian stated his professional career in 2015 with Fluminense but a series of outstanding performances saw Watford’s Marco Silva snapping him up for £11.2 million.
A year later, Silva brought him into the Everton set-up where he’s continued to thrive, albeit with the occasional lapse of discipline. As an out and out forward, he’s never far from the action and there’s every reason to suppose that he’ll be adding to his 9 goal tally so far the season.
No matter how many goals your fantasy league team may be scoring, it can all be undone without a safe pair of hands between the posts. And few are safer than the Brazilian Alisson. When Klopp paid the thick end of £70 million for him there were a few raised eyebrows but the number of clean sheets Liverpool have seen since his arrival is testament to his value. He won’t be cheap for you either, but he’ll almost certainly be worth it.
Of course, you may have your own favourites to add to your squad to see you through the rest o the season so don’t take our selection as definitive. Just try to create as balanced a squad as possible and remember, past performance is never any guarantee of future performance. So you have been warned!
Liverpool and Everton’s fierce Merseyside derby was going to end 0-0 and then in the 96th minute Everton goalkeeper Jordan Pickford made the error of the season to gift the Reds a goal and they won 1-0. At that point Jurgen Klopp, the Liverpool manager ran onto the pitch and broke FA rules, but should he be punished?
We need to look as always from both views of the argument. What Klopp did was wrong and disrespectful, that there can be no doubt. Liverpool didn’t score a magnificent last minute goal, it all stemmed from an error by Pickford where if he was given the choice another 99 times he would have used his common sense as one of the best goalkeepers in Europe and let the ball go out of play. Klopp celebrating like he did just seemed out of place and wrong.
And yet he celebrated not to rub Pickford’s nose in it but for three things: 1) a last minute winner, 2) a win in a derby game, 3) Liverpool still keeping in touch with Manchester City. Had the game as expected ended 0-0 Liverpool would have found themselves 4 points adrift to Pep Guardiola’s team.
Klopp is a lovable figure and unless you were an Everton fan let’s face it the sight of him running onto the pitch like a fan and then embracing goalkeeper Alisson was funny. But still Klopp seemed to lose control of himself. This was an important game true, but it wasn’t a cup final or a game that decided the league.
Marco Silva, the Everton manager was clearly not happy with what had happened and the fires have been stoked more with Klopp claiming that he apologised to Silva. Yet Silva has denied this, so the plot thickens.
As for Klopp, the FA will inevitably open up a case against the German, again should he be punished? The answer needs to come in two parts because Klopp is facing a fine and touchline ban. One should presume that romanticism still exists in football despite the money poured into it which has bridged a gap between the players and fans. In that way Klopp should not be punished with a touchline ban and put his team at a slight if psychological disadvantage for their next Premier League game.
But Klopp should be fined, nothing too serious, but he has to pay for breaking the rules as anyone else would do too. And it might make sense for him to apologise for the second or in Silva’s case the first time again to Everton.
The 12th weekend of the 2018-19 Premier League season saw Manchester City, Liverpool and Chelsea maintain their unbeaten starts, while struggling Cardiff and Newcastle picked up their second victories of the campaign. Let’s take a look at the top EFL Fantasy points scorers from the weekend’s games…
GK: Alisson, Liverpool – seven points
Liverpool ran out 2-0 winners against Fulham on Sunday, meaning Alisson kept yet another clean sheet. He now has 49 points for the season, making him the Reds’ highest scorer.
The 12th week of the 2018-19 Premier League season sees Manchester City take on Manchester United, while Liverpool host Fulham and Chelsea welcome Everton to Stamford Bridge. Let’s take a look at 11 players who you should consider for your EPL Fantasy team this weekend…
GK – Alisson (Liverpool)
Alisson is an expensive addition at 10.00m but he’s worth every last million. The Liverpool goalkeeper has 42 points this season and he’s likely to add to that tally against Fulham on Sunday.
The 10th week of the 2018-19 Premier League season sees Liverpool face Cardiff, Arsenal travel to Crystal Palace and Tottenham host Manchester City. Let’s take a look at some of the players who you should consider adding to your EPL Fantasy team before the weekend.
GK – Alisson (Liverpool)
With six clean sheets from nine matches, Alisson’s points total of 42 has only been bettered this season by Manchester City’s Ederson. The Liverpool goalkeeper, valued at 10.00m, is likely to add to his tally against Cardiff on Saturday.