No shame in second for Liverpool

Liverpool second Premier League Klopp Van Dijk Robertson Salah Mane

Bill Shankly famously said that finishing second is nothing. Even he, though, would have been tempted to revise that statement when discussing this current Liverpool team. Describing this team as failures would be cruel in the extreme.

While the overarching desire is to look back at this past season and mourn the death of another potential title win, the reaction should be the opposite. Liverpool should be celebrating a glorious campaign and the fact that it happened in the first place. Jurgen Klopp’s side have impressed beyond belief over the past year. Suggestions that they have done anything but succeed this season are not worth listening to. Klopp will certainly be sharing that message among his group.  Continue reading

How Barcelona can beat Liverpool

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The time has come. Barcelona’s biggest, and potentially most difficult game of the season is upon us.

For the second season in a row, Liverpool have reached the Champions League semifinals, and they are at least Barca’s equal in this two-legged affair.

The Reds have history on their side too, as the Catalans have never beaten them over two legs in European competition. Continue reading

Predicted lineups for this weekend’s EPL games

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After all the midweek Champions League drama, it’s a return to English Premier League action this weekend with all 20 teams involved.

Here are our predicted lineups for those EPL fixtures so have a read in preparation for another EPL fantasy football round.

Manchester City v Spurs

Manchester City XI: Ederson, Walker, Kompany, Laporte, Mendy, De Bruyne, Fernandinho, D. Silva, B. Silva, Aguero, Sterling

Spurs XI: Lloris, Trippier, Alderweireld, Vertonghen, Davies, Winks, Wanyama, Alli, Eriksen, Moura, Son Continue reading

EPL Game of the Weekend – Liverpool vs Chelsea

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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.

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Is it Safe to go without Mohamed Salah in the Premier League Run-in?

After 33 games played, Mohamed Salah was the highest scoring player in the official
Fantasy Premier League game with 216 points. The closest rival to the Liverpool man
was Raheem Sterling on 201. Despite this impressive tally and dominance of the game,
a lot of fantasy managers still see this season as a let-down compared to Salah’s debut
campaign at Anfield. Now, some players are questioning whether it might make more
sense to go without Salah for the remaining fixtures and use the spare funds to
strengthen in other areas. Is this a risky option, or could it make the difference
between winning and losing a mini-league?

There is no Denying the Egyptian’s Explosive Potential

Liverpool still have it all to play for in a title race which is going to go right down to the wire. The Reds need to win all of their remaining games and hope that quadruple-chasing Manchester City slip up at some point. As of the 7th of April, Jürgen Klopp’s men can be backed at 6/4 with Betway, while the Champions can be found at 8/15. For this reason, the Egyptian star is likely to be selected by Klopp in every single game despite the fact that the Merseyside outfit are also competing in the Champions League. Salah managed to bag himself 32 goals and 12 assists in the 2017-18 campaign, which has made his 18 goals and ten assists after 33 games seem like slim pickings this time out. Those figures, however, are still exceptional and are superior to Eden Hazard’s returns in each of his seven seasons at Chelsea.

The main problem with ditching Salah is the player’s potential for explosive returns. He has registered more than ten points in seven matches this season, and scored a hat-trick on one occasion. With Salah still being in 36 percent of all teams, a huge haul could represent major drops in rank for those who don’t have the player in their sides. And for people who still have the triple captain chip in hand, there is the temptation to deploy the tactic for Liverpool’s home game against already relegated Huddersfield Town on the 26th of April. If the tricky speedster hits form before then, a lot of fantasy managers without the player are likely to be hiding behind sofas during that match.

The other side of the Salah argument is the fact that those who hold him have tied up a significant amount of funds in the player. The £13.2 million outlay for the 26-year-old could maybe be put to better use if redistributed in other areas of fantasy teams.

Sadio Mane Represents a Cheaper Alternative

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Because Sadio Mane is a whopping £3.1 million cheaper than his attack partner, a large portion of managers have chosen to opt for the Senegal international instead of Salah in recent weeks. Those who signed the player before gameweek 23 reaped the rewards, as he hit top form and bagged nine goals and one assist in the nine games that followed. This red hot streak makes Mane look like an even better option in the Liverpool attack than Salah at present, but the one downside is the fact that he also has a history of going on dry spells. Between gameweek five and twenty, the player who can be purchased for £10.1 million only registered attacking returns in three games.

Another major option in midfield is Salah’s title rival Raheem Sterling. The England international is already in a high proportion of squads and on current form represents a more attractive asset than the Egyptian. The only problem is City manager Pep Guardiola’s penchant for rotation. Sterling has missed four games this season to rest for important games, and with the Champions League in its final stages he is likely to sit out some of the easier top flight matches to stay fresh for Europe.

With all things considered, those managers who still have Salah should probably hold on to him in case he brings in a big haul. But for people without him, Mane could be the better choice in the Liverpool attack and signing him can free up funds to be used elsewhere.

Liverpool and Manchester City prepare for epic season finale

Virgil van Dijk and Raheem Sterling

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.

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Five players that Zinedine Zidane will want to buy in the summer for Real Madrid

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With Zinedine Zidane back at Real Madrid his hands will be tied for the next two months with the transfer window shut and there will be players in the squad that will be playing for their futures. A clear out will happen at the club as Zidane will try and return Madrid back to the pinnacle of European football and win another Champions League and try to topple Barcelona’s dominance in the Spanish La Liga.

So who will be on Zidane’s wish list? It has been reported that he could have up to 500m euros to spend, that is of course hear say, but at the end of the day we all know that Madrid President Florentino Perez has been holding out and that the club will be spending big money this summer.

We name five players below that should be topping his list.

Kylian Mbappe

Mbappe is the best centre forward in Europe, once we consider his rate of goals and his age. Still only 20 the French international and World Cup winner is having another superb season for PSG and is simply a devastating goal machine. He is the genuine article and would fit into Madrid no problem. The problem is that he cost PSG around £150m, and so could cost Madrid over £200m.

Neymar

Sticking with PSG, Neymar’s name has been mentioned on more than one occasion. The world’s most expensive player at £197m may be available on a loan deal to buy given that for the second consecutive season he has picked up a long term injury. The sticking point is that he is an ex Barcelona player, which could provide some tensions- Madrid would surely love this to rile up their enemies though.

Paul Pogba

Paul Pogba is a new link but it does make sense. Zidane would have watched the French national team last summer and saw just how potentially great Pogba is. His surging runs were fantastic and he could imagine that at Madrid. If Pogba is happy he plays great football. Again a transfer would easily topple the £100m mark.

Sadio Mane

Mane has arguably been Liverpool’s best player this season. He has stepped up this season when at times Mohamed Salah has gone quiet and has scored 17 goals so far. Don’t be fooled into thinking he would come cheap. Liverpool do not sell their players cheap- just look at Phillipe Coutinho for that. Mane would provide that bit of quality when all guns aren’t firing.

Eden Hazard

Last but not least there is Eden Hazard who has been linked to Madrid for over a year. It would actually feel like a shock if this deal was to fall through- but it could given that Zidane is back at the club. If he’s not an admirer then Hazard won’t be coming. Still the Chelsea player could add a lot of pace and depth to the team and would be a great buy for them, and Chelsea could do with the transfer fee.

 

Focus turns back to the EPL title race this weekend

Klopp and Guardiola

Like any good story, there are sure to be plenty more twists in the tale of the title race over the next seven weeks.

It’s looking very likely that the matter may only be decided on Sunday, May 12th, the final matchday of the Premier League season.

As we approach the end of the last international break during this league campaign, the players and managers at Liverpool and Manchester City will be gearing up for that final sprint.

They will know all too well that whoever can hit the ground running in the best possible manner this weekend will carry an advantage that may be hard for their opponents to overcome between now and May.

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If Liverpool win the Premier League it will be down to Sadio Mane and Alisson

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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.

EPL Best XI – Week 31

nobleThere was only half a round of games in the Premier League this past weekend, what with FA Cup action also going on, and so with just ten teams taking part picking a best XI may be slightly different to usual. Sunday’s action was fun-packed, as Everton raised some eyebrows by beating Chelsea 2-0 at Goodison Park – their first home victory since mid-January – putting a big dent in Chelsea’s top-four ambitions. Liverpool were tested more than many will have been expecting at Craven Cottage, a late James Milner penalty putting them top of the table with a 2-1 win against Fulham. On Saturday, Bournemouth played out a 2-2 draw at home to Newcastle, Leicester won 2-1 at Burnley and West Ham beat Huddersfield in a 4-3 thriller.

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