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Salah’s season in stats

Sat, 30/12/2017 - 23:48
Adam Bate

Comment and Analysis @ghostgoal

Last Updated: 30/12/17 9:04pm

Mohamed Salah has now scored 17 Premier League goals this seasonMohamed Salah has now scored 17 Premier League goals this season Mohamed Salah has now scored 17 Premier League goals this season

Mohamed Salah came to the rescue yet again as he scored two second-half goals in Liverpool’s come-from-behind 2-1 win over Leicester at Anfield on Saturday.

The Egypt international shrugged off the attentions of Christian Fuchs to level things soon after the break and then wriggled free of Harry Maguire to win it for Jurgen Klopp's team.

Highlights of Liverpool's 2-1 Premier League win over Leicester CityHighlights of Liverpool's 2-1 Premier League win over Leicester City To watch Premier League action on your mobile now download the Football Score Centre on iPhone or Android

That strike took his tally to 17 for the Premier League season, just one behind current top scorer Harry Kane. Here, we taker a deeper look at Salah's extraordinary run of form…

GOALS PLUS ASSISTS

While Salah is only one goal behind the leader in the race for the Golden Boot, the Liverpool man has five assists to Kane's one.

As a result, he has directly contributed to three more goals than any other player in the Premier League this season.

LIVERPOOL HISTORY

Liverpool have had some superb goal-getters over the years but the Kop has been starved of such figures in recent seasons - as their list of Premier League top scorers shows.

Philippe Coutinho and Sadio Mane topped the list with 13 last season. Roberto Firmino got 10 in the year prior to that. Steven Gerrard bowed out as top scorer with nine in 2014/15.

Salah had surpassed each of those totals even before the game against Leicester and so is Liverpool's best Premier League goalscorer in a single season since Luis Suarez.

POTENTIAL FOR MORE

Can he threaten Suarez's tally of 31 in the Uruguayan's final season at the club? He will need some fortune with injuries but the signs are that if he plays then he will get opportunities.

This is no lucky streak. According to Opta, Salah also tops the list for most clear-cut opportunities missed, having squandered 15 big chances already this season.

If Salah continues to get the opportunities - and there are plenty of creators in this Liverpool team - history beckons for Anfield's newest hero.

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Salah doubt for Burnley with knock

Sat, 30/12/2017 - 21:30
By Lyall Thomas

Last Updated: 30/12/17 6:33pm

Salah was limping after being substituted in the 83rd minute against LeicesterSalah was limping after being substituted in the 83rd minute against Leicester Salah was limping after being substituted in the 83rd minute against Leicester

Mohamed Salah is a doubt for Liverpool's trip to Burnley after picking up a so far unspecified knock against Leicester.

The Egypt international scored both goals as the Reds came from behind to beat the Foxes 2-1 at Anfield, but he limped off as he was replaced by Gini Wijnaldum on 83 minutes.

Manager Jurgen Klopp said: "I don't know exactly [what the problem is]. He was limping and that's never a good sign.

"We will have to see what the problem is and what he can do for the next game."

Liverpool 2-1 LeicesterLiverpool 2-1 Leicester To watch Premier League action on your mobile now download the Football Score Centre on iPhone or Android

Salah took his tally to 23 for the season on Saturday as he continued his superb form since signing from Roma in the summer.

Klopp said: "He's still a young player. He can improve. He's so important for us but he knows and I know he couldn't score without the other boys playing fantastic passes.

"I think he can keep the standard [for the rest of the season], but it's normal that they can keep the standard in the moment, and it's not only a run. The boys show their quality."

Liverpool travel to Turf Moor on New Year's Day, having extended their lead in fourth to four points.

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Salah sparks Liverpool comeback

Sat, 30/12/2017 - 20:10
By James Walker-Roberts

Last Updated: 30/12/17 7:04pm

Liverpool 2-1 LeicesterLiverpool 2-1 Leicester To watch Premier League action on your mobile now download the Football Score Centre on iPhone or Android

Mohamed Salah continued his impressive season as he scored twice to help Liverpool come from behind and beat Leicester 2-1 at Anfield on Saturday.

With £75m signing Virgil van Dijk watching in the stands, Liverpool's need for defensive improvement was highlighted in just the third minute as they lost possession around their own box and were punished by Jamie Vardy.

Salah wasted two good chances to score before half-time, but made amends in the second half as he levelled in the 52nd minute and then netted the winner in the 76th minute.

Player ratings

Liverpool: Karius (6), Gomez (7), Matip (6), Lovren (6), Robertson (7), Milner (6), Can (6), Coutinho (7), Salah (8), Firmino (6), Mane (6)

Subs: Oxlade-Chamberlain (5), Wijnaldum (5), Klavan (5)

Leicester: Schmeichel (6), Amartey (7), Morgan (6), Maguire (6), Fuchs (6), Gray (5), Ndidi (5), Iborra (6), Albrighton (5), Mahrez (4), Vardy (6)

Subs: Slimani (5), Okazaki (5), James (5)

Man of the match: Mohamed Salah

The victory will see Liverpool end 2017 in fourth position in the Premier League, while Salah has now scored 17 league goals - one fewer than leading scorer Harry Kane - and his 23 in all competitions equals Roger Hunt's club record for goals scored before the end of the year.

Leicester, meanwhile, have now not won in five matches, despite taking an early lead at Anfield when Joel Matip's pass out of defence was cut out and Vicente Iborra played through for Mahrez to tee up Vardy for a tap-in from eight yards.

Liverpool's new record signing Virgil van Dijk visited Anfield before the game Liverpool's new record signing Virgil van Dijk visited Anfield before the game

Salah spurned two good opportunities to reply as he placed a shot wide from inside the box and then missed the target after racing clear down the right side.

Liverpool continued to press and probe but without any reward until the second half.

Karius replaced Mignolet in goal for Liverpool while Mane, Milner, Lovren and Gomez started ahead of Wijnaldum, Oxlade-Chamberlain, Klavan and Alexander-Arnold. Leicester made four changes as Fuchs, Gray, Iborra and Amartey came in for Chilwell, King, Dragovic and Okazaki.

Salah eventually levelled for the hosts in the 52nd minute when he collected Sadio Mane's backheel and controlled well before finishing down the middle of the goal.

Liverpool continued to look the more threatening side and Salah went close again as he lobbed an effort over the bar.

Salah celebrates scoring his second goalSalah celebrates scoring his second goal Salah celebrates scoring his second goal

Leicester's best moments came from Christian Fuchs' long throws, but, after one resulted in Wilfried Ndidi firing just wide from the edge of the box, Salah completed the turnaround when he spun away from Harry Maguire and shot past Schmeichel.

Opta stats
  • Liverpool have scored 77 goals in their 30 games in all competitions this season - their highest ever total at this stage of a campaign as a top-flight club.
  • Liverpool have gone 15 games in all competitions without defeat (W10 D5) - their joint-longest unbeaten run under Jurgen Klopp (also a 15-game run ending in November 2016).
  • Salah (23 goals) has scored more goals in all club competitions this season than eight Premier League clubs (Crystal Palace, Burnley, Brighton, Swansea, WBA, Huddersfield, Southampton & Newcastle).
  • Since August 2014, Vardy has scored more goals in the Premier League against 'big six' opposition than any other player (22 goals in 41 apps).
  • Vardy (7) has scored more Premier League goals against Liverpool than versus any other team. In fact, only Andrew Cole (11) and Thierry Henry (8) have scored more Premier League goals versus Liverpool than Jamie Vardy.
The managers

Jurgen Klopp: "Our reaction to going 1-0 down was the best reaction we have showed, it was a big step and the mentality was fantastic today. The crowd were fantastic and helped us a lot. It can happen at Anfield that people are not that patient but today they saw that the team tried everything so it was one of the best atmospheres we have had so far, and we needed it. This game was pretty much perfect apart from the situation around the first goal."

Liverpool boss Jurgen Klopp says his side were pretty much perfect Liverpool boss Jurgen Klopp says his side were pretty much perfect

Claude Puel: "It's a big disappointment as a squad because they gave their best. We had a fantastic start to the game with the goal and we tried to keep this result and perhaps to score again. Liverpool pushed and tried to come back into the game but it was a good opportunity for us to get a result and it's a big disappointment because we had the feeling to go back with a good result."

Leicester boss Claude Puel says it was a big disappointment to lose Leicester boss Claude Puel says it was a big disappointment to lose Man of the match - Mohamed Salah

It looked like it was going to be a rare off day for Salah after he twice failed to hit the target from good positions in the first half.

However, he responded well after the break to secure victory for Liverpool. He showed excellent close control for the first goal and turned away well from Maguire for the second.

The double brings the curtain down on a remarkable second half of 2017 for the 25-year-old.

What's next?

Liverpool next travel to Burnley on Monday before hosting Merseyside rivals Everton in the third round of the FA Cup on Friday. Leicester host Huddersfield on New Year's Day and then go to Fleetwood Town in the FA Cup on Saturday.

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Juventus continue to track Can

Fri, 29/12/2017 - 20:50
By Sky in Italy

Last Updated: 29/12/17 8:14pm

Emre Can's four-year contract at Liverpool expires next summerEmre Can's four-year contract at Liverpool expires next summer Emre Can's four-year contract at Liverpool expires next summer

Juventus are continuing to monitor Emre Can’s situation at Liverpool with a view to signing him on a free transfer when his contract expires next summer, according to Sky in Italy.

Can, who can sign a pre-contract agreement with a European club next month, said in October that it is "always an honour to receive an offer from such a renowned club".

The 23-year-old Germany international has been an instrumental part of Liverpool's season so far, scoring four goals in 23 appearances from midfield, but he has not agreed a new contract with the club.

Jurgen Klopp has said he will not pressure Can to sign a new dealJurgen Klopp has said he will not pressure Can to sign a new deal Jurgen Klopp has said he will not pressure Can to sign a new deal

Reds manager Jurgen Klopp has insisted he will not put pressure on Can to recommit, stating in November that "we have to respect his contract is ending and that's how it is".

But the German also said he would welcome the player signing a new contract at the end of the season.

Can joined Liverpool in a £10m deal from Bayer Leverkusen in 2014 and he has made over 100 appearances since, scoring 12 goals in all competitions.

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Klopp offers Brewster support

Fri, 29/12/2017 - 19:30
By Joe Shread

Last Updated: 29/12/17 4:33pm

Jurgen Klopp offers support to Rhian Brewster Jurgen Klopp offers support to Rhian Brewster

Jurgen Klopp says Liverpool will give Rhian Brewster all the support he needs after the 17-year-old revealed the extent of the racial abuse he has suffered in recent years.

Brewster highlighted seven incidents where either he or a team-mate suffered racial abuse during a match, and Klopp manager praised his bravery in speaking out.

When asked what Liverpool's response would be, Klopp said: "All the support he needs and wants.

Rhian Brewster highlighted seven different occasions where he has experienced racism on the fieldRhian Brewster highlighted seven different occasions where he has experienced racism on the field Rhian Brewster highlighted seven different occasions where he has experienced racism on the field

"It's quite interesting because I'm really long in this business and I've never faced a situation like that. You think it doesn't happen but obviously it happens all the time.

"I'm really happy that he's brave enough to do what he did because it's such an important thing.

"I really can't believe that people still have these thoughts in their mind. Obviously we needed a 17-year-old boy to shout out."

The most recent incident occurred during Liverpool's U19 UEFA Youth League match against Spartak Moscow.

Speaking to The Guardian, Brewster said: "I jumped to my feet and the ref came running over because obviously he realised something had been said.

Steven Gerrard became Liverpool U18s manager in the summerSteven Gerrard became Liverpool U18s manager in the summer Steven Gerrard became Liverpool U18s manager in the summer

"He [the referee] said to me he couldn't do anything because he hadn't heard it and 'the only thing I can do is report it'. I said: 'Come on, then - let's go and report it.'

"He started doing something else and I said: 'No, now.' We went over to the fourth official and told him. I told Steven (Gerrard) what had happened and we made a complaint there."

The Spartak player who is accused of abusing Brewster, Leonid Mironov, has been referred to UEFA's control, ethics and disciplinary body, although no date has been set for the hearing.

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Klopp: Price is last consideration

Fri, 29/12/2017 - 17:51
By Joe Shread

Last Updated: 29/12/17 4:48pm

WATCH: Jurgen Klopp is asked about the fees being spent in the transfer market WATCH: Jurgen Klopp is asked about the fees being spent in the transfer market

Jurgen Klopp says the price is the last thing he thinks of when signing a player, following the £75m purchase of Virgil van Dijk.

Liverpool announced on Wednesday that Van Dijk would join them from Southampton on January 1 for what is a world-record fee for a defender.

The £75m fee also blitzes Liverpool's previous record for money spent on a player, but Reds boss Klopp says that is not a consideration for him.

When asked about the money currently being spent in the transfer market, the German said: "I'm surprised by the development in the last two years.

Van Dijk will join Liverpool on January 1 and will wear the No 4 shirtVan Dijk will join Liverpool on January 1 and will wear the No 4 shirt Van Dijk will join Liverpool on January 1 and will wear the No 4 shirt

"The last half of the year changed everything. As a club we cannot change that.

"The last thing I think about is the price. Not because I like throwing money around but because we are only thinking about the player.

"It's not nice, but that's the market and the world and we have to adapt to the market."

The January transfer window opens on Monday and several of Liverpool's fringe players have been linked with loan moves away from the club, including Danny Ings.

A number of Premier League sides are interested in Danny Ings, including StokeA number of Premier League sides are interested in Danny Ings, including Stoke A number of Premier League sides are interested in Danny Ings, including Stoke

However, Klopp insists that, while there is interest in some of his players, they will only leave if it suits the club.

He said: "First thing we have to make sure is we have the squad we need for the second half of the season.

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Pete Graves is joined by Dharmesh Sheth and Kaveh Solhekol to discuss the futures of Alexis Sanchez, Mesut Ozil, Antoine Griezmann and Philippe Coutinho.

"The perfect situation is for the club and the player, but if not the club needs to come first.

"There's a few interested in players of ours, but nothing's decided so far."

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Stoke face fight for Ings loan

Thu, 28/12/2017 - 21:10
By Rob Dorsett and Bryan Swanson

Last Updated: 28/12/17 7:55pm

Danny Ings has struggled with injuries since signing for Liverpool from BurnleyDanny Ings has struggled with injuries since signing for Liverpool from Burnley Danny Ings has struggled with injuries since signing for Liverpool from Burnley

Stoke are interested in taking Liverpool striker Danny Ings on loan but are likely to face competition from Newcastle, West Ham and West Brom, Sky Sports News has been told.

It is understood Liverpool have yet to decide whether they will allow the 25-year-old forward to go out on loan in January.

LISTEN: Transfer Talk podcast

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Ings, whose contract at Anfield expires in June 2020, was used as a late substitute by Jurgen Klopp in the Premier League games against Everton and Bournemouth in December.

Ings has made just eight league starts since joining from Burnley in June 2015, mostly due to injury problems. He suffered a cruciate ligament injury in his first season and was on his way back when he sustained a second knee injury in November 2016.

Ings has scored two league goals since joining Liverpool in 2015Ings has scored two league goals since joining Liverpool in 2015 Ings has scored two league goals since joining Liverpool in 2015

The England international made his comeback in the EFL Cup defeat at Leicester in September.

Mark Hughes' Stoke sit 13th in the Premier League with two wins from their last six games, two points above 15th-placed Newcastle and 17th-placed West Ham.

Meanwhile, Alan Pardew will be looking to add to West Brom's attacking options in January given the Baggies languish in the relegation zone on 15 points.

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Klopp: Forget Van Dijk fee

Thu, 28/12/2017 - 16:10
By Tony Tighe

Last Updated: 28/12/17 7:18pm

Liverpool boss Jurgen Klopp reacts to the signing of Virgil van Dijk from Southampton Liverpool boss Jurgen Klopp reacts to the signing of Virgil van Dijk from Southampton

Jurgen Klopp has told Liverpool fans to forget about the £75m transfer fee they paid for Virgil van Dijk and instead focus on his quality.

Van Dijk will complete his move to Anfield on January 1 after Liverpool agreed to pay Southampton a world-record sum for a defender.

When asked what the 26-year-old will bring to the club, Klopp told Sky Sports: "Quality. That's why we got him, that's why we were interested in him. It's quite difficult at the moment because technically he's still a Southampton player.

"We don't make the prices, the market does. Liverpool supporters should forget about the price.

Van Dijk will join Liverpool from Southampton on January 1Van Dijk will join Liverpool from Southampton on January 1 Van Dijk will join Liverpool from Southampton on January 1

"We only talk about the player and what he can bring in; the quality, the mentality, the character. That is why we are really happy about it."

Van Dijk handed in a transfer request last summer in an attempt to force a move to Liverpool, only for Southampton to report the Reds for an alleged illegal approach.

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The Netherlands international has made 12 appearances for Saints this season after recovering from a long-term knee injury and Klopp has called for patience as he acclimatises to Liverpool's style of play.

"Virgil hasn't had the best first half to the season at Southampton," said Klopp.

"He was out injured for a long time and we all know about the things that happened last summer.

"He's a tall player - they always need a little bit longer especially after being out for around nine months - but that's no problem. We already have quality here in that position so we don't have to rush anything.

"He needs to adapt to our style of play. It's a completely different game, but we are 100 per cent sure he will do it."

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Premier League build-up recap

Thu, 28/12/2017 - 12:45

SWANSEA APPOINT CARVALHAL 

Swansea have appointed Carlos Carvalhal as their manager until the end of the season with the option of an extension.

His first game in charge is away at Watford on Saturday.

Here's what Swansea chairman Huw Jenkins has had to say in the last few minutes.

“We are very pleased with the appointment. “We felt we needed to get the managerial situation resolved as soon as possible and while the timing is not always perfect, we can look forward to the second half of the campaign with renewed optimism.

“Carlos’ time at Sheffield Wednesday, which included securing two consecutive play-off places, highlighted that he has great character and personality to lead the squad and the football club, which is vital at such a crucial time.

 “He has built up a lot of experience over the years which will ensure the team is structured and organised.

 “He is driven and ambitious and while he has a big challenge ahead of him, I know he will tackle it without fear.”

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How Van Dijk will help

Wed, 27/12/2017 - 23:30

Last Updated: 27/12/17 8:39pm

Virgil van Dijk has agreed a £75m move from Southampton to LiverpoolVirgil van Dijk has agreed a £75m move from Southampton to Liverpool Virgil van Dijk has agreed a £75m move from Southampton to Liverpool

Virgil van Dijk has agreed a £75m move from Southampton to Liverpool, a world record deal for a defender. But what is it about the Dutchman that makes him so important for Jurgen Klopp? Adam Bate examines the reasons why he can have a big impact…

It was after the 4-1 defeat to Tottenham at Wembley in October that former Liverpool manager Graeme Souness identified the problem that was undermining his old club. "You are only as strong as your weakest link," Souness told Sky Sports.

"Today Dejan Lovren was their weakest link and after 10 minutes, they're 2-0 down to one of the best teams in this country this season. One man does not solve all your problems. But if [Virgil van Dijk] is in there today, they are not 2-0 down after 10 minutes."

Liverpool agree Van Dijk deal

Liverpool have agreed a £75m deal to sign Virgil van Dijk from Southampton in January.

Few would argue that a fully focused and in-form Van Dijk would represent a significant upgrade on Liverpool's centre-backs. "I think he would improve anybody," added Souness. But what is it in particular that Van Dijk can add to Jurgen Klopp's team?

1. Cut out the mistakes

The Liverpool manager has taken plenty of criticism for failing to address the team's defensive weaknesses and the loss of a two-goal lead at Arsenal was seen as a prime example of this. But Klopp was adamant afterwards that the issue was not systemic.

Instead, he pointed to individual errors. The question, of course, is whether these mistakes are a direct consequence of his style of play or simply because the players that he has trusted to do the job are not good enough.

Gary Neville reacts to Liverpool agreeing a £75m deal to sign Van Dijk Gary Neville reacts to Liverpool agreeing a £75m deal to sign Van Dijk

For example, it seems fair to assume that David de Gea could be dropped into a Klopp team and not cough up the sort of errors that Simon Mignolet has allowed to become a habit. So could it be the same for a top-class defender imported from elsewhere?

According to Opta, Van Dijk is one of only four centre-backs to play more than 60 Premier League games in the last three seasons without making a single error leading to a goal. Lovren has made three such mistakes. An error-free defender would make a big difference.

2. One-on-one defending

On the face of it, Van Dijk faces a tough challenge to maintain that record at Liverpool because of the team's attacking intent and the consequences that brings for the defenders. Liverpool legend Jamie Carragher made that point himself recently.

"I always think how difficult it would be to play for Jurgen Klopp at centre-back," Carragher told Sky Sports. "I don't think there is a top-class holding midfielder and if your full-backs are leaving you isolated as well then it is not easy."

Jamie Carragher says Van Dijk must now lead Liverpool to trophies Jamie Carragher says Van Dijk must now lead Liverpool to trophies

However, those circumstances will not be completely alien to Van Dijk having played in a Celtic side that was completely dominant domestically and a progressive Southampton side too. Former Saints boss Claude Puel praised Van Dijk's defending in these situations.

"The quality and the capacity to defend one against one is important with our game because we try to have the ball with good possession and good control of the game," said Puel last season. "Van Dijk is fantastic," he added. The statistics also indicate that this is a strength.

Despite making significantly more combined tackles and interceptions per 90 minutes than Liverpool's centre-backs last season, Van Dijk was beaten on remarkably few occasions. In fact, he was dribbled past only six times last term. That happened to Lovren 17 times.

3. Playing from the back

While these defensive qualities will be the most important aspect of Van Dijk's job at Liverpool, there will be a responsibility to construct attacks too and Klopp is entitled to expect the Dutchman to bring a major improvement in this respect as well.

The potency of Liverpool's forward players is not in doubt but if the team does have a weakness in terms of creativity it is that opponents can sometimes cut off the supply to those furthest forward. Liverpool's passing in deeper areas is too slow too often.

Van Dijk's accurate long passing was the best by any defender last seasonVan Dijk's accurate long passing was the best by any defender last season Van Dijk's accurate long passing was the best by any defender last season

David Silva and Kevin De Bruyne can create from midfield for Manchester City but Jordan Henderson, James Milner and Emre Can do not possess this range of passing. Meanwhile, John Stones and Nicolas Otamendi can bring the ball out better than Liverpool's defenders.

Van Dijk could change that. His long-pass accuracy was the best by any defender in the Premier League last season and far superior to any of the other options at Klopp's disposal. If Van Dijk can help to spring the Liverpool counter-attack, this could be invaluable.

Conclusion

It is true that Van Dijk's form has dipped during what the player himself admits has been "a difficult last few months" but that cannot mask the fact that Liverpool have acquired one of the most complete defenders in the Premier League in what should be his prime.

Speaking last year to those who were pivotal in Van Dijk's development at FC Groningen, they regarded his graduation to one of the biggest clubs as inevitable. "It hasn't surprised me because I knew what he was capable of," his old coach Dick Lukkien told Sky Sports.

The making of Van Dijk

Van Dijk's journey to the Premier League in the words of his mentors at FC Groningen.

"I think he's a player for one of the top six teams in Europe. I think he can make another step. I see him as one of the top European defenders. I'm very proud of him."

His manager at Groningen, former Rangers winger Pieter Huistra, echoed those sentiments as well.

"It was obvious to see that he'd become a good player," Huistra told Sky Sports. "He's still quite young in his career so I think he will improve further. He has bigger things ahead. I'm certain about that." The time has come to find out just how good Virgil van Dijk could be.

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Nev on 'incredible' Van Dijk fee

Wed, 27/12/2017 - 21:30

Last Updated: 27/12/17 6:38pm

Gary Neville gives his reaction to Virgil van Dijk's fee Gary Neville gives his reaction to Virgil van Dijk's fee

Gary Neville says the £75m fee paid by Liverpool for Virgil van Dijk is "incredible", but will prove a good deal if he helps his new club win trophies.

It was announced on Wednesday evening that a deal has been agreed between Liverpool and Southampton to make Van Dijk the most expensive defender in history.

And former Manchester United centre-back Neville told Sky Sports: "It's a lot of money! When I first heard it I thought 'wow, £75m'. I'm not surprised by the actual transfer but that is an incredible amount of money.

"Liverpool need defenders and have to pay to get him. That's the way the market is and it isn't going to change."

Van Dijk will complete the move on January 1, having been pursued by Liverpool in the summer and handing in a transfer request in an effort to leave St Mary's.

Van Dijk will join Liverpool on January 1Van Dijk will join Liverpool on January 1 Van Dijk will join Liverpool on January 1

Liverpool ended their pursuit on that occasion as Southampton complained the Reds had made an illegal approach for the centre-back.

But, having been criticised at times this season for their defending, Liverpool have now got their man for a fee that eclipses Manchester City's £53m deal to sign full-back Kyle Walker in July.

"It sounds like a fantastic deal for Southampton," said Neville. "But if Liverpool can stop their creaking in big matches when put under pressure then it will be a good deal for Liverpool as well because people will forget about the money that has been spent in a year or two if they can win trophies and get the defence right.

"Liverpool have to get the defence right, in the bigger matches they do stress quite quickly and can crack, so from their point of view, paying that sort of money hopefully it pays off, but for Southampton they would snap your hand off for £75m.

LISTEN: Transfer Talk podcast

Click here to listen to the latest Transfer Talk podcast where the futures of Alexis Sanchez, Mesut Ozil, Virgil van Dijk, Antoine Griezmann and Philippe Coutinho were discussed

"Over the last few years they have lost some good players for good money but nothing at this level. It seems like a fantastic sell.

"I was surprised in the summer when I saw £50m for Kyle Walker but he has done brilliantly and it's just the way the market has shifted to an incredible level that shocked me."

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Liverpool agree £75m Van Dijk deal

Wed, 27/12/2017 - 20:50

Last Updated: 27/12/17 7:15pm

Virgil van Dijk will join Liverpool on January 1Virgil van Dijk will join Liverpool on January 1 Virgil van Dijk will join Liverpool on January 1

Liverpool have agreed a £75m deal to sign Virgil van Dijk from Southampton.

Liverpool confirmed Van Dijk will complete a move on January 1, 2018, having been left out of Southampton's side for their 5-2 defeat at Tottenham on Boxing Day.

The agreed fee for Van Dijk is a world-record sum for a defender, topping Manchester City's deal to sign Kyle Walker in July.

Van Dijk, who will wear No 4 at Liverpool, said he was delighted to be joining "one of the biggest clubs in world football" on Instagram.

"I can't wait to pull on the famous red shirt for the first time in front of the Kop and will give everything I have to try and help this great club achieve something special in the years to come," he said.

LISTEN: Transfer Talk podcast

Click here to listen to the latest Transfer Talk podcast where the futures of Alexis Sanchez, Mesut Ozil, Virgil van Dijk, Antoine Griezmann and Philippe Coutinho were discussed

Southampton confirmed the world-record deal and sent their best wishes to Van Dijk, who admitted he owed a debt to the south coast club.

Van Dijk added: "I would also like to take this opportunity to say thank you to Les Reed, the board, manager, players, fans and everyone at Southampton.

"I will always be indebted to the club for giving me the opportunity to play in the Premier League and despite a difficult last few months I have thoroughly enjoyed my time at Saints and have made friends for life at the club."

Sky Sports' Gary Neville reacts to Liverpool agreeing a world record £75m fee for a defender for Van Dijk Sky Sports' Gary Neville reacts to Liverpool agreeing a world record £75m fee for a defender for Van Dijk

Van Dijk was keen on a move to Anfield last summer and handed in a transfer request at St Mary's, but Liverpool ended their pursuit when Southampton complained the Merseyside club had made an illegal approach for the centre-back.

Manchester City had opened discussions with Southampton over a move for Van Dijk, according to Sky sources, but Mauricio Pellegrino said he was unaware of the club's interest.

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Liverpool cruise past Swansea

Tue, 26/12/2017 - 22:30
By James Walker-Roberts

Last Updated: 26/12/17 8:02pm

Liverpool 5-0 SwanseaLiverpool 5-0 Swansea To watch Premier League action on your mobile now download the Football Score Centre on iPhone or Android

Roberto Firmino scored twice as Liverpool eased to a 5-0 victory over struggling Swansea at Anfield on Boxing Day.

Philippe Coutinho's brilliant early strike laid the platform for a win which was sealed with a burst of goals after half-time.

Firmino made it 2-0 in the 52nd minute before scoring again 14 minutes later, shortly after Trent Alexander-Arnold netted his first Premier League goal for the club. Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain then rounded off a comfortable win in the 82nd minute.

The victory sees Liverpool move up to fourth in the Premier League, five points behind second-placed Manchester United, while managerless Swansea stay bottom of the table, five points from safety.

Player ratings

Liverpool: Mignolet (6), Alexander-Arnold (8), Matip (7), Klavan (7), Robertson (7), Oxlade-Chamberlain (8), Can (6), Wijnaldum (6), Salah (7), Firmino (8), Coutinho (8)

Subs: Milner (5), Lallana (6), Solanke (6)

Swansea: Fabianski (5), Naughton (3), Fernandez (4), Mawson (4), Olsson (4), Fer (3), Roque (3), Carroll (4), Routledge (3), Ayew (3), McBurnie (4)

Subs: Abraham (5), Clucas (5), Sanches (5)

Man of the match: Roberto Firmino

Having drawn their previous three Premier League games at Anfield, Liverpool made the perfect start as Coutinho fired a brilliant shot into the top corner from 25 yards after six minutes.

But the hosts did not initially show the required intensity to build on the goal and Swansea stayed in the first half despite rarely threatening themselves.

Trent Alexander-Arnold celebrates after making it 3-0Trent Alexander-Arnold celebrates after making it 3-0 Trent Alexander-Arnold celebrates after making it 3-0

The Swans were also guilty of giving the ball away cheaply on several occasions, but were not punished as Oxlade-Chamberlain and Firmino fired off target and the latter then spurned an excellent one-on-one chance in injury-time.

However, Liverpool soon put the result beyond doubt as they raised the tempo in the second half.

Alexander-Arnold, Oxlade-Chamberlain, Wijnaldum and Matip started for Liverpool in place of Lovren, Gomez, Henderson and Mane. Routledge, Fer and McBurnie came into the Swansea XI, with the latter making his first start of the season.

Firmino tapped in from Coutinho's free-kick to make it 2-0 before Alexander-Arnold fired into the roof of the net after collecting a clearance just outside the box.

Salah teed up Firmino to score another in the 66th minute and Oxlade-Chamberlain lobbed the fifth into the far corner after Swansea failed to clear their lines.

Opta stats
  • Only PSG (89) and Manchester City (77) have scored more goals in the big five European leagues this season (in all competitions) than Liverpool (75)
  • Only Manchester City in 95/96 and Derby in 07/08 scored fewer goals in their first 20 games of a Premier League campaign (10 each) than Swansea have this season (11).
  • This is the fourth time this season that Liverpool have scored 5+ goals in a match in all competitions; no Premier League team has hit the five-goal mark more often than the Reds in 2017/18 (also 4 times for Man City).
  • Philippe Coutinho has scored 19 Premier League goals from outside the box - one more than Robbie Fowler and second only to Steven Gerrard (33) among Liverpool players
  • Roberto Firmino has been directly involved in more goals in all comps for Liverpool under Jurgen Klopp than any other player (39 goals, 25 assists)
Man of the match - Roberto Firmino

Brazilian duo Coutinho and Firmino were Liverpool's star performers. The former scored a brilliant opener and looked a threat whenever he picked up the ball. However, Firmino takes the man-of-the-match award after recovering from a bad miss just before half-time to score twice in the win.

What's next?

Liverpool are at home again on Saturday when they host Leicester. They then face a trip to Burnley on New Year's Day before a Merseyside derby against Everton in the FA Cup on Friday, January 5. Swansea travel to Watford on Saturday and then host Tottenham, live on Sky Sports Premier League, on Tuesday, January 2.

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Premier League reaction

Tue, 26/12/2017 - 13:33

'SKY'S THE LIMIT FOR TRENT'

Jamie Redknapp was effusive in his praise for Trent Alexander-Arnold after a fine individual performance was capped with his first goal for Liverpool, a feeling the former Reds midfielder can empathise with but says was far better than his maiden strike.

"His goal's a lot better than mine, and it's a special feeling for that young man," he said. "It's something he'll remember for the rest of his life. 

"He has all the attributes to go right to the top, and I'm talking as England's right back. The sky's the limit for him, it really is."

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Klopp: We work hard on defending

Tue, 26/12/2017 - 11:50
By Matthew Treadwell

Last Updated: 26/12/17 8:53am

Jurgen Klopp says his Liverpool side work hard on defendingJurgen Klopp says his Liverpool side work hard on defending Jurgen Klopp says his Liverpool side work hard on defending

Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp says his side work hard on keeping out the opposition, insisting they are committed to defensive aspects of the game.

Klopp's side took a two-goal advantage against Arsenal on December 22 only to concede three goals in the space of five minutes, before a goal from Roberto Firmino salvage a point as they drew 3-3 at The Emirates.

But despite their apparent frailties at the back, Klopp was keen to emphasise their commitment to defensive work ahead of their Boxing Day fixture against Swansea - live on Sky Sports.

"We have an absolutely defending approach," he said. "We played 4-5-1 and [against Arsenal] everyone has a responsibility to defend.

"We can line up quite offensively, player-wise, but there's nobody on the pitch who is not involved in defending.

Arsenal 3-3 Liverpool Arsenal 3-3 Liverpool

"That they will cross, that they will shoot, it happens in a football game. I want to defend first of all; that's the basis for everything.

"But the best thing is to defend with 10 offensive players, because then when you have the ball, it's much more likely that you will score."

Reds goalkeeper Simon Mignolet was at fault for Arsenal's second goal as he weakly palmed a 30-yard shot from Granit Xhaka into the net.

Mignolet has come under criticism for a number of blunders this season but Klopp was quick to defend the Belgium international.

Liverpool vs Swansea

December 26, 2017, 5:15pm

Live on

"Everyone saw the mistake. It's quite difficult to judge because it will definitely never happen again," added Klopp.

"He's never conceded a goal like that, so you don't have to make a big thing of it."

Despite the frustration of conceding a commanding position to draw at Arsenal, Liverpool have now gone 13 matches unbeaten in all competitions as they prepare to welcome to Anfield bottom club Swansea, who will be playing for the first time since Paul Clement was sacked as manager.

"I don't know how many it is now; I don't think about or count this," Klopp said of that run.

"But I really think performance-wise we are in a really good way; that's what we need to keep.

Liverpool salvage dramatic draw

Roberto Firmino's late equaliser earned Liverpool a point in a thrilling 3-3 draw against Arsenal.

"So even when it still feels completely, maximum average, unbelievable not to win at Arsenal, the performance was still good.

"We should have had three points, but we got one. We were the much better side, so that's something we can take forward."

Watch Liverpool v Swansea on Boxing Day. Coverage begins on Sky Sports Premier League and Sky Sports Main Event at 5:15pm.

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Klopp targets top-four finish

Mon, 25/12/2017 - 19:00

Last Updated: 25/12/17 6:48pm

Jurgen Klopp has urged Liverpool to stay motivated in their bid to secure Champions League qualification for next season.

Klopp has acknowledged ahead of Liverpool's Boxing Day clash with bottom side Swansea at Anfield, live on Sky Sports Premier League, that a title challenge is beyond them given they trail leaders Manchester City by 20 points.

Liverpool vs Swansea

December 26, 2017, 5:15pm

Live on

But the German believes there is still plenty for the fourth-placed Reds to play for and says they should not get complacent just because City are so far ahead.

"We have to qualify for the Champions League. We have to finish as high as possible," Klopp said.

"It looks like we could be second, third or fourth this year, that's a fantastic situation. Not the dream but a fantastic situation.

"That's what we are working on and for this we have to improve in all departments.

Jurgen Klopp says Liverpool's defensive problems are down to individual errors and not their attacking approach. Jurgen Klopp says Liverpool's defensive problems are down to individual errors and not their attacking approach.

"This year, I don't think that anyone apart from Manchester City and maybe Manchester United are thinking too much about how they can win the league.

"In a very difficult league, performance-wise we are really consistent so far. If we stay consistent and avoid our mistakes, mistakes like in the 3-3 draw with Arsenal, we will win much more games than we lose or draw.

"As it was and so it will be against Swansea, we have to perform first of all and then we have to see how the other team can react."

Arsenal 3-3 Liverpool Arsenal 3-3 Liverpool

Even though Swansea are at the foot of the table, Klopp does not want his players to assume the result will be a foregone conclusion.

"They are under pressure and that's clear because they fight for the league, 100 per cent, and that will not change before Boxing Day," Klopp added.

"But we will be ready and we will perform, if possible, like against Arsenal but avoid the mistakes we made.

"I don't really remember the game from last year, to be honest. I remember that we lost it. But that's not the plan!"

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Salah: My top 10 goals

Mon, 25/12/2017 - 19:00

Last Updated: 25/12/17 4:08pm

Mohamed Salah reveals his favourite goals for Liverpool and assesses his start to life at Anfield Mohamed Salah reveals his favourite goals for Liverpool and assesses his start to life at Anfield

Mohamed Salah has been one of the signings of the season in the Premier League, but what are his favourite goals for Liverpool?

The Egypt international has been a revelation for the Reds after joining from Roma in the summer, scoring 15 goals to top the Premier League scoring charts alongside Harry Kane at Christmas.

In an exclusive interview with Sky Sports, Salah talks us through his top 10 goals for Liverpool, assesses his start to life at Anfield, and discusses his ambitions for 2018...

Liverpool vs Swansea

December 26, 2017, 5:15pm

Live on

Debut goal - Watford 3-3 Liverpool

It was a great feeling for me to score in my first game for Liverpool. I was very happy. First of all I was thinking if it was a offside or not, but then I looked to the linesman and he said goal so I was very happy.

Salah netted in his first Premier League game against Watford Salah netted in his first Premier League game against Watford First Premier League goal at Anfield - Liverpool 4-0 Arsenal

I always like to score in the big games. I like the way I scored this goal - the speed, on the counter-attack - and the result was good for us. I always like to score at Anfield, especially in these kind of games. I was thinking if someone was on the other side I would have passed, 100 per cent, but I was fast, maybe faster than anyone at that moment, so I took the decision to shoot. I missed some chances before, but this was good.

Watch Salah's goal against Arsenal Watch Salah's goal against Arsenal Burnley boost - Liverpool 1-1 Burnley

With the boss [Jurgen Klopp] now I play closer to the goal than I have with any other club. I am always in front of the goal and close to it so I can score. I expected the ball from Emre [Can], I made the run, got the ball, controlled it and it was a good finish also. The run is the kind of thing that the boss has always told me in training.

Salah equalised for Liverpool in a 1-1 draw against Burnley Salah equalised for Liverpool in a 1-1 draw against Burnley Lifeline at Wembley - Tottenham 4-1 Liverpool

I expected the ball from [Jordan] Henderson because he always likes to play this ball behind the centre-backs. The score was not good for us at the time as it was 2-0 to them, and I had to score. We had a bad start in the game - I don't want to say we were nervous but it was a bad start.

I expected the ball and made the run and I want to shoot with my left foot but the ball was on my right foot and I was a little bit lucky, but in the end a goal is a goal. They scored two goals in 12 minutes at the start so it was not easy for us to accept that it was 2-0. It was a difficult game for us.

Salah scored in a losing effort at Wembley Salah scored in a losing effort at Wembley Southampton double - Liverpool 3-0 Southampton

I'm playing like a No 9 for the first goal. I am always changing with [Roberto] Firmino, that game I think we were playing like two strikers, so Firmino goes and the centre-back goes with him and then I go behind him. The quality of the players makes everything easier for me because we have great players in front, also at the back and in midfield. We have very good quality and they make it easier for me.

You can see the pass from [Philippe] Coutinho. He always tries to do that. He did in Sevilla and I missed it. He is magic and a great player. I am very happy to play alongside this kind of player. Firmino, Coutinho, Sadio [Mane], Ox [Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain], Dom [Dominic Solanke], Studge [Daniel Sturridge]; they are all fantastic.

I am always trying to improve and see my weakness and work on it.

Mohamed Salah

With the second goal, sometimes I take the corner, sometimes it is Coutinho. We are not fighting for it, but I took it and then Firmino reacts very quickly. I get the ball from Gini [Wijnaldum] and I took the decision to shoot.

I am always trying to improve and see my weakness and work on it. I am always trying to score from many different ways in training and alone in training afterwards, the coaches help me a lot to do that. I have to try that in the game. You cannot score 10 goals from 10 shots, that's impossible, but I am trying. I miss many chances but I always keep trying and sometimes you score easy goals or difficult goals, but in the end I am trying to score.

Watch Salah's double against Southampton Watch Salah's double against Southampton Super sub - Stoke 0-3 Liverpool

It was too cold in Stoke! But this game was special. I was on the bench and then come on and score two goals to help the team with a good result. Sadio scored the first goal and the second goal for me he did everything. He played a great ball and then I took the decision to volley and it was a good finish, but Sadio did everything for that goal.

Sadio and myself are very close, maybe he is my closest friend in the team. He is a great guy, fantastic player and very fast, with quality and confidence. I am very happy to share everything with him.

Salah netted twice after coming off the bench against Stoke Salah netted twice after coming off the bench against Stoke Derby delight - Liverpool 1-1 Everton

The first derby was special for me and it was a very good goal. I get the ball from Joe [Gomez] and it was a nice skill and nice finish. I am sure if someone was in a better position I would pass the ball but in the end I want to score and help the team to get the points. You can see the reaction of the fans, it's very nice!

They are a good team but we were unlucky to lose two points in that game.

Watch highlights of Liverpool's draw with Everton Watch highlights of Liverpool's draw with Everton Cherry on top - Bournemouth 0-4 Liverpool

In this game I missed two or three chances before, but in my mind I always want to score to help the team, not for personal goals, but to get points, to help the team achieve something and win something. In that game I was happy because it was 2-0 and then I scored the third goal.

I like the run I did and the boss asks us to do that all the time. We work on different tactics and I like to score in different ways. The Everton goal was different to this and I am trying different ways to score and help the team win.

Salah scored in Liverpool's 4-0 win over Bournemouth Salah scored in Liverpool's 4-0 win over Bournemouth Salah on…

How quickly did you settle in at Liverpool? At the beginning when I signed for Liverpool it was a bit different to Rome. But soon I knew what the coach wanted from me and the quality of players makes everything easier for me. From the first day I knew what I wanted to do and I scored goals in the pre-season so I had a good start.

What's the togetherness like in the team? Anyone in the team can score and everyone will run to him because we are happy for each other. You can see that. We all want to score but in the end if someone is in a better position then they will give the ball. In the end we play for the team.

Did you expect to score so many goals? Honestly, yes. I always say nothing is by luck. You work, you expect more and you will get what you deserve.

I came here to win titles. To win something for the club, for us, for the fans. I would love to win something here. We are working hard every day to win something and I am sure we will this year.

Mohamed Salah's ambitions for 2018

Favourite goal? The goal against Southampton was good and Everton I like a lot. Watford was a special moment too. It was a good feeling to start with a goal in the Premier League and I wanted to do it in the first game. But it has to be Everton because I am using everything for this goal - power, skill, finishing. That's my best goal so far.

Ambitions for 2018? I am always saying I want to win titles here. I came here to win titles. To win something for the club, for us, for the fans. I would love to win something here. We are working hard every day to win something and I am sure we will this year.

Watch the exclusive interview with Mo Salah on Christmas Day on Sky Sports News and On Demand.

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Categories: LFC NEWS

Sky Live: Liverpool v Swansea

Sun, 24/12/2017 - 15:10

Last Updated: 24/12/17 12:13pm

Watch Liverpool v Swansea on Sky Sports Premier LeagueWatch Liverpool v Swansea on Sky Sports Premier League Watch Liverpool v Swansea on Sky Sports Premier League

Swansea worked hard to earn a point against Crystal Palace on Saturday, but their bid to scramble off the foot of the Premier League table doesn't get any easier as they travel to Anfield on Boxing Day, live on Sky Sports Premier League.

Liverpool will have the extra day's rest following their barnstorming 3-3 draw with Arsenal on Friday Night Football - a result which extended their unbeaten league run to 10 games - but given the tight battle that is building for the Champions League spots behind Manchester City, this is a must-win game for Jurgen Klopp's side.

Arsenal 3-3 Liverpool Arsenal 3-3 Liverpool

The German admitted to Liverpool's "obvious problems" in defence after their implosion at the Emirates, although shot-shy Swansea are unlikely to pose the attacking threat of the Gunners.

Liverpool vs Swansea

December 26, 2017, 5:15pm

Live on

In the other dugout, Leon Britton is set to take charge of his second game as temporary boss, having reiterated after the 1-1 draw with Palace that he has no interest in taking the job full-time.

"The fans have been great with me, as player or manager, you could hear them being very vocal which I appreciate, but in terms of the job, nothing has changed and I'm not looking for the job full time," he said.

Swansea 1-1 Crystal Palace Swansea 1-1 Crystal Palace

"They need to make the right decision, make sure it's clear what they want, whether that's before Liverpool, after Liverpool or in January. They have to make sure they take their time and get the right man."

Team news

Liverpool midfielder Jordan Henderson will sit out the game at Anfield after injuring his right hamstring early in the draw with Arsenal and has been ruled out by Klopp.

Liverpool captain Jordan Henderson receives treatment against ArsenalLiverpool captain Jordan Henderson receives treatment against Arsenal Liverpool captain Jordan Henderson receives treatment against Arsenal

However, Liverpool's boss insisted that while a few knocks were sustained against the Gunners, no others players were expected to miss out against the Swans.

Kyle Naughton has joined the Swansea casualty list after suffering a groin injury in Saturday's 1-1 draw against Crystal Palace, with Angel Rangel set to deputise.

Watch a preview of Boxing Day's Premier League games including Tottenham v Southampton and Liverpool v Swansea Watch a preview of Boxing Day's Premier League games including Tottenham v Southampton and Liverpool v Swansea

Swansea are already without Wilfried Bony (hamstring), Ki Sung-yueng (calf) and Kyle Bartley (knee ligaments), while Leroy Fer (back) will be assessed on Christmas Day.

Opta stats

Liverpool have lost two of their last three Premier League games against Swansea - including this exact fixture last season - having lost just one of the previous nine against them in the competition (W5 D3).

Swansea's 3-2 victory at Anfield last season was their only win in 16 total league visits there (D3 L12).

Jurgen Klopp says Liverpool's defensive problems are down to individual errors and not their attacking approach Jurgen Klopp says Liverpool's defensive problems are down to individual errors and not their attacking approach

After the first three Premier League meetings between these sides produced just one goal, the following nine have seen 35 scored, at a rate of 3.9 per game (22 for Liverpool, 13 for Swansea).

The Reds haven't lost a home league game on Boxing Day since 1986 (0-1 vs Man Utd), winning seven and drawing three of their 10 at Anfield since then.

A proud Leon Britton credits his Swansea side after they came back from a goal down to draw 1-1 against Crystal Palace A proud Leon Britton credits his Swansea side after they came back from a goal down to draw 1-1 against Crystal Palace Merson's prediction

It was not the worst result in the world for Swansea on Saturday the way Palace have been playing (1-1), but I just think Liverpool are irresistible, are they not?

PAUL PREDICTS: 4-0 (17/2 with Sky Bet)

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Merson's Boxing Day predictions

Sun, 24/12/2017 - 14:50
Paul Merson

Football Expert & Columnist @PaulMerse

Last Updated: 24/12/17 12:38pm

Paul Merson gives his Premier League Boxing Day predictions - how will he get on?

There are eight Premier League clashes on Boxing Day - including Tottenham v Southampton and Liverpool v Swansea City both live on Sky Sports - as well as a couple more on Wednesday and Thursday.

The Magic Man gives us his predictions for all the fixtures...

Tottenham v Southampton (Tuesday, 12.30pm, live on Sky Sports Premier League) Tottenham vs So'ton

December 26, 2017, 12:00pm

Live on

They absolutely ripped Burnley apart, considering what Burnley have been doing and considering they had not won away from home since September, it was a big result. Southampton have gone - no Charlie Austin, no Virgil van Dijk, so I cannot see anything other than a Tottenham win.

PAUL PREDICTS: 3-0 (15/2 with Sky Bet)

Burnley 0-3 Tottenham Burnley 0-3 Tottenham Bournemouth v West Ham (Tuesday, 3pm)

It is six games without a win now for Bournemouth, and Newcastle go to West Ham and win, and yet they had kept clean sheets against three top teams. They have played Chelsea, Arsenal and Stoke, who scored three goals on Saturday, and kept clean sheets. And then they go and let in three goals against Newcastle, who cannot win for toffee, and that was a poor result for West Ham. So it is so hard to predict. This is a big game for Bournemouth. I think they are in major, major trouble because I did not think they would go down. I thought they would have too much.

PAUL PREDICTS: 2-1 (9/1 with Sky Bet)

West Ham 2-3 Newcastle West Ham 2-3 Newcastle Chelsea v Brighton & Hove Albion(Tuesday, 3pm)

Brighton did well on Saturday (in beating Watford 1-0), they just do not put their chances away. Chris Hughton must sit there on tenterhooks - he needs to watch a game where he can relax for once! I watched them against Burnley when they should have been two or three up, but missed a penalty, drew 0-0 and were hanging on at the end. On Saturday they had chance after chance to kill the game, while Chelsea were unlucky against Everton, let's be honest, they should have won. Brighton have got bigger games over Christmas than this and you will find some teams will rest players for bigger games. With three games coming up really quickly, you are not going to put all your first-team players out in this game, get beat 3-0 and then they are all tired for the big games coming up.

PAUL PREDICTS: 3-0 (5/1 with Sky Bet)

Everton 0-0 Chelsea Everton 0-0 Chelsea Huddersfield Town v Stoke City(Tuesday, 3pm)

West Brom were a bit unlucky against Stoke on Saturday, but it was a big result for them. I am pleased for Mark Hughes, he is a good manager. And when you are a chairman or an owner of a club, then you should not worry about your manager as when the chips were down and they needed a win, they turned up for their manager and that is a big statement for me. That is what all chairmen and owners should look at - if you go five or six games without a win and then the pressure is on and they turn in a performance and win… you can only get the sack if you lose the players and he has not done that, no way and what a result that was. But this is a tough game for Stoke as Huddersfield are alright at home, they are a handful and are hard to beat, they suffocate you and I just do not think Stoke have got much pace on the counter-attack. So I think they will squeeze Stoke and win 2-0.

PAUL PREDICTS: 2-0 (9/1 with Sky Bet)

Southampton 1-1 Huddersfield Southampton 1-1 Huddersfield Manchester United v Burnley (Tuesday, 3pm)

It is alright saying we missed chance after chance, but Man Utd's final pass was sometimes atrocious and if I was the manager, I would have been fuming. At the highest level, that was poor. To just let players drop off and get the ball against 10 men…. But I am going to go for Man Utd, they are going to beat someone soon, so I am going to go 4-0 as I think losing to Spurs will have affected Burnley on Saturday. They got well beaten and I just think Man Utd are waiting for the goals to start flowing, while James Tarkowski is a big miss for Burnley - you saw that on Saturday.

PAUL PREDICTS: 4-0 (10/1 with Sky Bet)

Leicester 2-2 Manchester Utd Leicester 2-2 Manchester Utd Watford v Leicester City (Tuesday, 3pm)

I watched Watford on Saturday (losing 1-0 at Brighton) and they are all over the place defensively and Brighton really should have won 3-0 or 4-0. They were a much better team and I just cannot believe what has happened to Watford. And I am going to go for Leicester to win this, Watford are all over the place and have hit a brick wall at the moment, while Riyad Mahrez looks like he has the bit between his teeth, Leicester look pacy, so I am going to go for them to win 2-1.

PAUL PREDICTS: 1-2 (9/1 with Sky Bet)

Brighton 1-0 Watford Brighton 1-0 Watford West Brom v Everton (Tuesday, 3pm)

Sam Allardyce just does what it says on the tin and that is what they were hoping for at West Brom, was it not? It is alright West Brom saying they were unlucky, but I just do not see it. I think Everton will go there and frustrate them and win 2-1. It was easy when West Brom were 2-0 down at home to Man Utd the other week, as then they started playing. And that would be a shocking result for West Brom.

PAUL PREDICTS: 1-2 (11/1 with Sky Bet)

Stoke 3-1 West Brom Stoke 3-1 West Brom Liverpool v Swansea City (Tuesday, 5.30pm, live on Sky Sports Premier League) Liverpool vs Swansea

December 26, 2017, 5:15pm

Live on

It was not the worst result in the world for Swansea on Saturday the way Palace have been playing (1-1), but I just think Liverpool are irresistible, are they not?

PAUL PREDICTS: 4-0 (17/2 with Sky Bet)

Swansea 1-1 Crystal Palace Swansea 1-1 Crystal Palace Newcastle v Manchester City (Wednesday, 7.45pm, live on Sky Sports Premier League) Newcastle vs Man City

December 27, 2017, 7:30pm

Live on

Man City played in second gear and still beat Bournemouth 4-0 on Saturday! They won 4-0 in second gear, so I am going to go for another 4-0 win. I think City will just rip them apart and Newcastle have had their result (beating West Ham). The problem is that Newcastle will sit 10 men behind the ball, but you are going to get broken down though before the end of the game. And City are just relentless, relentless, but it is no disrespect to Newcastle, who had a massive football result at West Ham on Saturday, but City will beat better teams than Newcastle by more than 4-0.

PAUL PREDICTS: 0-4 (10/1 with Sky Bet)

Manchester City 4-0 Bournemouth Manchester City 4-0 Bournemouth Crystal Palace v Arsenal (Thursday, 8pm, live on Sky Sports Premier League) C Palace vs Arsenal

December 28, 2017, 7:30pm

Live on

This will be a good game. You look at Arsenal against Liverpool and it was an entertaining game. But seriously, you are not going to win anything at all playing like that. I am going to go 3-2 to Arsenal though…

PAUL PREDICTS: 2-3 (20/1 with Sky Bet)

Arsenal 3-3 Liverpool Arsenal 3-3 Liverpool Super 6 £1m jackpot

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