EPL Best XI – Sturridge joins Kane in attack

Daniel Sturridge

Manchester City, Liverpool and Chelsea maintained their unbeaten starts in Week 7 of the 2018-19 season, while Manchester United’s poor run continued with a 3-1 loss at West Ham. Let’s take a look at the top players from the weekend’s games…

GK: Jordan Pickford, Everton – seven points
It’s been a tough start to the season for Jordan Pickford but he finally got his first clean sheet in the 3-0 win over Fulham at Goodison Park, earning himself seven points. He is still on minus points (-3) overall, but this is a start!

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Why the Premier League could possibly go to Liverpool or Chelsea

Last Sunday’s display from Chelsea and Liverpool could be christened as the best game so far this season. Both teams exhibited creativity in attack and resilience at the back. The season is still young, but on the evidence of what we witnessed could any of these two beat City to the league title this season?

Liverpool probably made the best recruits in the English Premier league this summer, bolstering their midfield with Naby Keita and Fabinho and another creative option in Xherdan Shaqiri. The Merseysiders have a world class goalkeeper in Allison Becker, who continue to provide great reflexes in the post. Liverpool have enough quality to compete against anyone for the league title this season and they’ve shown that in their last seven league games.

We saw how they conquered Tottenham Hotspurs at Wembley. It wasn’t just about the results, but the football on display has been mesmerizing. And talk of performance their 3-2 victory over Paris Saint Germain was a testament of their mental fortitude.

Not only have Jurgen Klopp reinvigorated the side that lost to Real Madrid in the Champions League finals last season, there seems to be an oomph about them this season. Established players James Milner, Georginio Wijnaldum, Roberto Firmino, and Jordan Henderson et al are playing at a level a notch higher that we saw in the previous campaign.

This season Mohammed Salah is not showing the same sophistication with opportunities that have come his way. The Egyptian has scored three goals from a total of 20 shots on target. But Sadio Mane seems to have taken much of the responsibility when it comes to goals. So far adorning the number 10 jersey has yielded four, with Roberto Firmino on two.

James Milner has proven that he still cut it for the premier league with his tireless work in midfield, but Gini Widnaldum is currently Liverpool’s most improved player so far this season. The Netherlands international is playing with a lot confidence, hardly giving the ball away. And guess what, he doesn’t look flustered by the presence of Naby Keita on the bench.

The decision to bring Daniel Sturridge back from loan has proven to be an astute one. In the absence of Roberto Firmino, Sturridge can step up and play an important part in Liverpool’s campaign this season as we’ve seen him score vital goals against PSG in the Champions League and Chelsea in the league.

One significant decision by Kloop, is the center back partnership between Van Dyke and Gomes. The pair have started all seven of Liverpool league games and have conceded just three so far. They share the tag of the best defense with the league leaders, Manchester City.


The great thing about Chelsea this season is the arrival of Mauricio Sarri. His style of play is one that Eden Hazard thrives in, and the Belgian is currently in red hot form as he is beginning to replicate his 2015 performance that won him the PFA player of the year. Also, Hazard is buoyed up his inclusion in the FIFPro World Eleven. The Chelsea forward had a great World Cup tournament with his country, winning the bronze medal.

Chelsea meanwhile occasionally telegraphs fear at the back as Antonio Rudiger and David Luis sometimes struggle against quicker attackers. But in midfield enforcer Jorginho, Matteo Kovacic and Ngolo Kante, Chelsea should be able to dominate and control games. There are still concerns about how Sarri is using a Kante’ in midfield. Despite the French man’s reputation as being destructive, the Italian manager prefers a ball playing holding midfielder in Jorginho who currently top the charts for the number of passes in the league and the most in a game.

Willian and Pedro are great attacking outlets for Chelsea. The Spanish forward has found the net three times while the Brazilian ability to carve open compact defense is proving crucial for Chelsea in when in search of a goal. Chelsea do not boost a striker with the quality of Sergio Aguero as both Alvaro Morata and Olivier Giroud are not quite reliable. Sarri may require a proven goal scorer in the January transfer window.

Manchester City are favorite based on their performance last season and Pep Guadiola’s reputation for winning back to back league titles, but the Citizens look beatable this season and it’s hard to envisage them go on a winning run as we saw last season. It will take a Miracle for Manchester United to win the league this season as tensions between Mourinho and Pogba is beginning to have a debilitating effect on the other players. The red devils will probably be fighting a Champions League spot.

Meanwhile Arsenal seems to have turned the corner after their earlier struggles, but despite winning their last four games are not convincing given the defensive vulnerabilities and how wasteful they can be in th attack. Tottenham Hotspur will be hoping to maintain fourth spot by the end of the season.

As it stands Chelsea and Liverpool look set to deny Manchester city a second straight league cup.

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Liverpool vs Chelsea showed Reds new strength

jurgen klopp liverpool premier league

As Jurgen Klopp left Anfield on Wednesday evening his emotions will have been mixed. While defeat to Chelsea and an exit from the Carabao Cup were disappointing, the evening was not a wasted one. The German will have seen plenty of positives from his side. The biggest? His Liverpool team is now one with real strength in depth.

With a tilt at the Premier League and Champions League taking priority this season, the League Cup was unlikely to take precedent for Klopp and his men. The FA Cup will be treated in a similar way. Winning them would be a bonus but they are not important.

His team selection for the clash with Chelsea demonstrated as much. Klopp had insisted beforehand he would not rotate but it was a temptation he did not resist.  Continue reading

Daniel Sturridge shows his worth to Liverpool

Daniel Sturridge Liverpool PSG

It’s four years since Daniel Sturridge was lighting up the Premier League. Playing alongside Luis Suarez in the 2013/14 campaign the striker was nothing short of superb. He ended that campaign with 24 goals to his name as Liverpool came within touching distance of a Premier League title.

The intervening years have not been kind on Sturridge. He has managed to top ten goals in just one season since then. Injuries have consistently taken their toll. At Anfield, he is no longer first choice, the continuing excellence of Roberto Firmino and the partnership he has built with Mohamed Salah and Sadio Mane pushing Sturridge into a backup role. For most, he does not have a future at the club. Last season’s goalless loan spell with West Bromwich Albion felt like the beginning of the end of his time on Merseyside. Continue reading

EPL Weekend Picks – Round 2


With the first round of Premier League action in the bag and the second fast approaching, let’s travel a little into the future and see which players could find themselves starring once again for their respective sides this weekend. For this one, we have gone for a 4-3-3 formation, as adopted by Liverpool in their 4-0 hammering (sorry) of West Ham last weekend.

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Klopp: Liverpool face a tough season despite West Ham win

salahmaneLiverpool manager Jurgen Klopp has commended his players for their performance in Sunday’s 4-0 win over West Ham, but warned that his team face an “unbelievable tough” season ahead of them. The Reds finished 25 points behind champions Man City last term but did overcome Pep Guardiola’s men fairly convincingly in the Champions League quarter-finals, and so there has been hope among the Anfield stands that the Merseysiders could challenge at the top of the league this season. This was about as emphatic a start as they could have hoped for, as well as being their fourth successive four goal return against the Hammers (0-4, 1-4, 4-1 and then 4-0), and the match served as a stark reminder to new West Ham manager Manuel Pellegrini how tough life can be in the Premier League.

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Liverpool back in the Champions League

A 3-0 win over Middlesbrough marked the return of Liverpool into Europe’s elite competition- the Champions League. It was a just reward for manager Jurgen Klopp in a campaign which promised so much early on before Liverpool’s title challenge slowly but steadily fizzled out.

Liverpool’s undoing was the extremely poor record versus the weaker teams while noting the club managed to remain undefeated against the big sides. Chelsea, Manchester City, Tottenham, Arsenal & Manchester United were all unable to defeat Liverpool in the Premier League during the 2016-17 season. However, Liverpool lost to the likes of Burnley, Swansea and Hull City!

While Philippe Coutinho reconfirmed his status as a wanted player, hence the media linking the creative Brazilian with a move to Barcelona, others have failed to produce on a consistent basis, in particular on the defensive end. For Liverpool to be taken seriously in the Champions League and for the club to challenge for the EPL title, Klopp is aware he needs a consistent goalkeeper, at least one centre-back and a left-back. Considering how Klopp has not shown full confidence in either Daniel Sturridge or Divock Origi, the signing of at least one quality goalscorer is a top priority as well.


For now the fans will be pleased to know Liverpool have fended Arsenal’s last ditch attempts to sneak into 4th place in the EPL table. By making the Champions League (Qualifying Round as 4th in England), Liverpool fans will be hoping more funds will be made available to invest in quality players while also keeping in mind that a solid run in Europe can lead to considerable revenue due to TV rights, merchandise sales as well as ticket sales.

How far will Liverpool go in Europe next season? Play Champions League Fantasy Football at https://fantasy-champions-league.com where you can pick your heroes such as Juventus legend Gianluigi Buffon and Real Madrid’s superstar Cristiano Ronaldo for your Team!


Sturridge demands unity ahead of England’s Euro 2016 opener

Daniel Sturridge England

England’s opening 2016 European Championship group game is just days away, and the players will soon be hearing from manager Roy Hodgson if they’ve made the starting eleven for their meeting with Russia. With five strikers in the squad, England are likely to have at least two of them on the bench for their opening group game, and Liverpool’s Daniel Sturridge has demanded a positive attitude from all the players left out.

Sturridge was selected along with Wayne Rooney (Manchester United), Harry Kane (Tottenham Hotspur), Jamie Vardy (Leicester City) and Marcus Rashford (Manchester United) in the 23-man squad for Euro 2016, but the five strikers are potentially fighting for just three spots in the side. As a result, Sturridge has called on his teammates not to put themselves before the team and support whoever makes the eleven, as such unity could boost their hopes of success.

“We can’t win this thing if there’s egos or problems in the camp. It’s about us being here as a team. I look at other countries in many competitions and when they score everyone is off the bench and they are all involved, all jumping on each other celebrating – and that’s how we have to be. We have to be a team. It’s very important, on and off the pitch,” he said.

“We don’t have our mums, dads, kids and all those things here. So we’re our own family and we have to be together. It’s not about ‘I have to play’ or ‘he has to play’. If we’re not here as a nation, and as a team together, we won’t win it. That’s how it is. I’m not here for a holiday, (however), nobody wants to sit on the bench. I want to play, of course, but it’s down to the manager to choose his team and I have to understand that,” Sturridge added.

Roy Hodgson is expected to start with Kane, Vardy and Rooney, given how often the trio have been on the pitch at the same time during their pre-Euro 2016 friendlies. That would leave Sturridge and Rashford on the bench. It speaks volumes of the strength of England’s attack that a player like the Liverpool centre-forward is likely not deemed good enough to lead the line given he was nailed on to be a regular back in 2014.

Nevertheless, he’s promised to respond graciously and will support his teammates if he is indeed named on the bench, while asking the same of the rest of the squad who are disappointed.