Liverpool set for tough test against Manchester United


Liverpool go head-to-head with Manchester United on Sunday aiming to continue their march towards the Premier League title.

The Reds have taken 61 points from a possible 63 this season and it would be a big surprise if they blew what is undoubtedly a golden opportunity to claim top spot.

Jurgen Klopp’s side head into the weekend with a 14-point lead over Manchester City and with the added advantage of a game in hand over the reigning champions.

Liverpool would need to suffer a spectacular collapse over the next few months for City to bridge the gap and that doesn’t seem likely given their current form.

They are favourites to pick up another three points this weekend and many bookmakers offer free bets for new customers who want to wager on them to do just that.

The Reds can be backed at odds of around 2/5 to beat United and are likely to be the cornerstone of many doubles and trebles this weekend.

Liverpool’s options for the game have been boosted by the news that Joel Matip, Dejan Lovren and Fabinho are closing in on a return to first team action.

It is doubtful whether any of the trio will start the game against United, but having them back in the squad is certainly positive news as the title race continues.

The additional competition for places can only help Liverpool, particularly after they failed to produce their best form at Tottenham Hotspur last weekend.

Jose Mourinho’s side created enough chances to take at least a point from the game and Klopp has admitted that there were aspects of the performance that could have been improved.

However, grinding out results when you’re not at your best is the mark of championship-winning teams and Liverpool managed to get the job done.

While the Reds appear to be gliding towards a first-ever Premier League title, United have endured an inconsistent campaign in the top flight.

Their 4-0 victory over Norwich City last weekend left them fifth in the table, five points behind fourth-placed Chelsea.

With the Red Devils still harbouring hopes of finishing in the top four, they are sure to be fired up for Sunday’s clash at Anfield.

They remain the only side to take a point off Liverpool this term and could perhaps count themselves unfortunate not to have won the first meeting back in October.

Marcus Rashford put United ahead in the first half and they looked to be on their way to victory until Adam Lallana popped up with a late equaliser for the Reds.

Rashford has continued in good form since then, taking his tally to 19 for the season in all competitions with a double against Norwich.

The 22-year-old will need to be watched closely by Liverpool’s backline and odds of around 2/1 to score anytime look generous given his current level of performances.

With trips to Wolverhampton Wanderers and West Ham United to come during the rest of January, the Reds are heading into a crucial phase in the title race.

City were relentless on the run-in last season and it is important that Liverpool don’t give them any opportunities to close the gap over the coming weeks.

Carragher Drops Sancho Hint


Liverpool icon Jamie Carragher has dropped a hint that highly-rated youngster Jadon Sancho may make the switch to Anfield in the future.

The English starlet has been strongly linked with a move away from his current club Borussia Dortmund after finding things difficult during the current Bundesliga campaign.

Sancho has been linked with moves to both Liverpool and Manchester United, and it is believed that the Old Trafford outfit are leading the pack in the chase for the 19-year-old.

Carragher, however, expects to see a ‘big summer’ from his old club, and singled out Sancho as one player that would fit the bill to bolster an area of the squad that is still of concern to some fans.

The Reds have been in scintillating form this season – they sit eight points clear at the top of the table and are listed at 2/5 to win the league with Powerplay Canada – and a large part of this success has been the attacking trio of Salah, Mane & Firmino. The backup options in attack pale in comparison however, and many would agree that one more quality signing in that area wouldn’t go amiss.

“I think Liverpool still lack one player which is an attacking player to really support the front three and almost make it like a front four,” Carragher told Viasport.

“At the moment there’s still a big difference when one of the front three doesn’t play.

“We saw that at the weekend again when Salah was out – that time Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain played in the front three and that didn’t work. We’ve seen [Divock] Origi – that doesn’t work.

“Maybe there’s talk of a man in the Bundesliga coming to England from Borussia Dortmund, maybe he’s someone who Liverpool may be looking at in Sancho, who a lot of other Premier League clubs are looking at.

“I would like to see an attacking player come in, someone with a bit more quality, maybe someone who could help them in the coming months going forward.

“I don’t think it’s an area which Klopp really looks at but I would expect it to be a really big summer for Liverpool, especially considering they didn’t sign anyone last summer.”

If the need for a solid backup doesn’t appeal to Klopp then perhaps pipping the club’s biggest rivals to the signing could. There is no doubting the player’s talent, and his young age fits with Liverpool’s transfer policy, so maybe a summer move could be in the pipeline?

Just How Important Are These Two Players?


It can be definitely argued that the two recent good seasons for Jurgen Klopp’s Liverpool are mainly due to the signings and subsequent good form of Mohamed Salah and Virgil Van Dijk. Both players joined during the 2017-2018 season for big money, with Salah coming in the summer for over £35 million while Van Dijk joined in the winter transfer window for £70 million. The Dutchman’s fee being a world record for a defender until Harry Maguire’s move to Manchester United.

Since their transfers, Liverpool have finished in 4th and 2nd positions within the English Premier League and reached two Champions League Finals in a row, winning the second against Tottenham Hotspur. While the two years before their arrival, The Reds did not even appear in the Champions League.

The main criticism aimed at the club was in regards to their shaky defensive record, where they were unable to keep clean sheets and lots of errors stopped them from taking points against the top teams in the League. Virgil Van Dijk has singlehandedly turned this on its head with his calmness at the back contributing to 45 clean sheets since he has arrived. Much has been made of the fact that players just can’t get past the big Dutchman, with him just having the intelligence to be in the right place at the right time. Something that Liverpool’s defence did not have before him. He has also made those around him better, with Joel Matip in particular looking a completely different player since being partnered with Van Dijk.

At the other end of the pitch, Egyptian king Mohamed Salah has been the firepower that Liverpool has lacked ever since Luis Suarez left for Barcelona in 2014. After a relatively uninspiring stint at Chelsea, not much was expected of Salah even with the high transfer fee, and there was plenty of surprise that Liverpool had made their move for him. After scoring 44 goals in all competitions in his first season at the club, he followed this up with 27 in his second campaign. Salah, according to betting comparison site, is the 12th highest paid player in World Football and Liverpool are arguably getting their money’s worth.

Other players at the club have definitely made contributions to the club’s recent success. Players such as Alisson, Roberto Firmino and Sadio Mane would be disappointed at being in their team mate’s shadows but in terms of all round contribution you cannot look further than Salah and Van Dijk. Liverpool would definitely be worse off without these two players in their squad.

As long as Van Dijk stopping the opposition at the back and Salah is banging them in up top, Liverpool are not going to be far away from their first ever Premier League trophy.

Salah & Robertson Doubtful for Palace Clash


Mohamed Salah and Andrew Robertson are both facing a race against time to be fit for the trip to Crystal Palace this weekend, with the outlook not looking hopeful for either player.

Salah has had an ongoing problem with his ankle this season and had to miss the recent international fixtures for Egypt, having aggravated the injury in the match against Manchester City.

Robertson also picked up an ankle injury in the game against City, and also had to miss international duty. Both players are doubtful for Saturday’s clash at Selhurst Park.

One piece of positive news is that centre back Joe Gomez is likely to be fit for the fixture, having withdrawn from England duty last week.

The player returned home early following a clash of knees, but the Liverpool Echo reports that he will be fit to play a role on Saturday. With Joel Matip also looking doubtful the 22-year-old may well end up featuring.

Should Robertson miss the game he will no doubt be replaced by James Milner – the only senior player with experience at left back following the departure of Alberto Moreno. If Salah is forced to sit this one out the replacement will most likely be Divock Origi, given that Xherdan Shaqiri is returning from injury himself and the fact Jurgen Klopp seems reluctant to give youngsters Harvey Elliott or Rhian Brewster their chance at the highest level yet.

Despite their injury woes Liverpool are still expected to return victorious from London, with bettingformat listing the club as one of the weekend’s top picks. With title challengers Manchester City & Chelsea playing each other later in the day the Reds will be keen to avoid any slip ups & potentially open up a double digit lead over two of their main rivals.

Benitez Credits FSG for Club’s Position


Former Liverpool manager Rafa Benitez thinks that Fenway Sports Group have been a key factor in the club’s position as serious title contenders.

When FSG took over ownership of the club in October 2010 it was in bad shape, having been run into the ground by previous owners George Gillett and Tom Hicks. Benitez had recently departed the club having made some poor transfer decisions in his final few windows, and his replacement Roy Hodgson had given the squad a significant further downgrade with the players he brought in during his short tenure.

However the club has seen a steady rise in fortunes over the nine years that have followed, most notably since the appointment of Jurgen Klopp as manager in 2015.

The Reds achieved their highest ever points total last season and find themselves eight points clear at the top of the league in the current campaign. For the first time in 30 years they are the bookies favourites to win the title, and have reported a record-breaking increase in bets placed on the league trophy finally returning to Anfield.

Klopp has managed to take some players already at the club to new levels, but the main factor in his success has been his forays into the transfer market – with the club regularly spending big money to secure the players the manager has wanted. Benitez believes it is FSG’s willingness to put their money where their mouth is that has been crucial.

During his time at the helm Benitez was often forced to opt for his second or third choice signings, but he says that the current Liverpool set-up is a much smoother operation than the one he had to work with during his difficult final years.

Speaking to Four-Four-Two, Benitez said: “My memories of Liverpool are really good with (former owner) David Moores, but he couldn’t spend the money to compete against the other teams.

“When he decided to sell, I think it was to the wrong people. It was very clear – I knew that and the fans knew that, then afterwards, was the proof.

“Now I think they have a model that is more competitive. They make the right decisions, which means they are able to compete with Manchester City.”

Benitez almost clinched the Premier League title with Liverpool in 2009, but ultimately missed out to Manchester United by four points. He currently coaches Dalian Yifang in the Chinese Super League.

Liverpool vs New Balance as Sportswear Firm Takes Reds to High Court


Liverpool has a new opponent in the form of New Balance, as the sportswear giant tries to prevent the Kop from agreeing to a new shirt manufacturing deal with Nike. While Liverpool currently has a deal in place with New Balance, that deal, worth an estimated £50 million a year, comes to an end in May of next year.

The reds are sitting at the top of the Premier League and could do without such distraction. Fans are counting on their beloved Kop to go all the way this year, and many will be putting their money where their mouths are. Reds fans like to have a flutter on their team- in fact, even when there’s no football on, they’re known for enjoying an online casino experience, whether it’s the slots or classic table games like blackjack and roulette – so are unlikely to be put off by the dispute with New Balance. It’s unlikely to stop them buying Liverpool shirts, either, even if we don’t know as yet what sportswear brand will be on them in the near future. The Boston-based New Balance, who has been with the reds since 2015, filed their surge earlier in September.

Matching clause

The reds were all set to sign on the dotted line on a long-term knitwear deal with Nike worth around £70 million a year, according to reports. That would be a £25 million increase on their current deal. Since then, however, New Balance has sought to enforce a clause in its contract with Liverpool, which allows them to match Nike’s offer and renew its current contract.

Liverpool has said that it won’t comment on the dispute while legal proceedings are underway. Nike also declined to comment. And while New Balance gave no immediate response, they later gave a statement to sports news website The Athletic, in which it confirmed the reports. The dispute, which will be heard in the UK High Court, will resolve to clarify the terms of the clause. Liverpool’s argument is that Nike’s distribution network is greater than New Balance’s and that New Balance can’t adequately fulfil its proposed terms.

Eye-popping numbers

Liverpool’s proposed deal is among the biggest in the Premier League. Earlier in 2019, Football Group (the owner of Manchester City) signed £65 million 10-year deal with Puma. The club with the largest deal is Manchester United, who have a £75 million per year contract with Adidas. Sportswear manufacturers are offering increasingly high figures to the biggest clubs in the world as a result of fans’ insatiable hunger to wear the shirts of their favourite players, so the eye-opening numbers merely reflect a club’s worldwide popularity. The deals pay in the long-term, as clubs typically receive a small percentage of shirt sales, with the majority of proceeds going to the supplier.

Nike’s base figure offer is vastly higher than the current New Balance deal and includes an additional fluctuating amount based on global sales. Liverpool has been involved in negations with multiple sportswear manufacturers over a number of months. They’re seeking to make the most of their commercial value with a strong side currently flying high in the Premier League, not to mention being the current European trophy holders. The suggestion is that the potential of Nike’s overall offer left the competition in their wake. The reds are hoping that their success on the pitch will ultimately secure them a deal with Nike that could close in on Adidas’s £110 million a year deal with Real Madrid or the £100 million a year that Nike currently has in place with Barcelona.

Fiorentina Make Duncan Loan Bid


Fiorentina have made an offer to loan Liverpool forward Bobby Duncan, according to Sky Sports.

The teenager, who is the cousin of Reds legend Steven Gerrard, was signed from Manchester City last summer and has impressed in the Liverpool youth setup – including scoring a goal against his former club in the FA Youth Cup Final. He featured in the first team during pre-season, scoring in the victory Tranmere Rovers.

It was reported on Tuesday by ComeOn that the club rejected a loan offer from FC Nordsjælland, but a move to Serie A would see an opportunity for the youngster to gain experience at a higher level and might be more appealing.

One potential sticking point is that it’s reported Fiorentina want an option to buy as part of the deal. Duncan – who scored 25 goals for the U18s last season – is highly rated and expected to have a future in the first team at Anfield.

“These boys are our future if they want to be our future but this pre-season is, for them, exciting of course,” said Jurgen Klopp in June, speaking about Duncan and U18 captain Paul Glatzel.

“When you are already in the club then the door is always open for you to the first team: the thing is you have to go through by yourself.”

It remains to be seen whether a move to Italy will materialise, but most likely the option to buy will have to be shelved if the deal is to proceed.

Reds Not Expected To Make Any Big Signings


Liverpool are not expected to make any big money signings during the current transfer window, following a number of big-money summer signings.

That’s according to the Mirror’s David Maddock, who report as saying the recent signing of Sepp van den Berg sets the bar for the Reds’ transfer activity this summer.

Liverpool agreed a £1.3 million deal with PEC Zwolle for van den Berg – rising to £4.4 million with add-ons – numbers that are dwarfed by the figures paid for stars such as Alisson, Fabinho & Keita.

Whilst the 17-year-old is definitely a promising talent for the future, he is not the marquee signing many fans may have been hoping for. And it appears those hoping for a big-name arrival might end up disappointed.

“The Reds are adamant there will be no signings to come anywhere near” the prices paid for the top signings in recent windows, and there is likely to be just one more deal “in the region of £20 million” to come according to Maddock.

This signing is likely to be a versatile forward to fill the gap left by Daniel Sturridge’s departure.

The bookies seem to be in agreement, with the best online betting sites listing long odds on all the big names Liverpool have been linked with in the media.

Beyond the aforementioned £20 million signing, Maddock believes fans can only expect to see further signings in the mould of van den Berg – young players with potential to break into the first team over the coming years.

He did however leave a get-out clause that may give more optimistic fans a glimmer of hope. “That could change of course, if a huge name becomes available at the right price, but that seems beyond unlikely at this stage of the summer.”

Camacho Joins Sporting CP


Rafa Camacho has completed a transfer to Sporting CP in a deal which could net the Reds £7 million.

Sporting will pay an initial £5 million with a further £2 million in add-ons, in what has to be considered yet another good piece of business by the Liverpool transfer committee.

Michael Edwards and his team have also secured a 20 percent sell-on clause and a buy-back option, a sensible move with the player potentially facing a bright future.

Camacho joined from Man City at the end of the 2015/16 season, and made his Liverpool debut at the start of this year. The player was very much on the periphery of the squad though, and his desire for first-team football is believed to be the main reason behind his departure.

The 19-year-old refused to sign a new contract this season, and a move has been on the cards for some time. USA online casinos at one point stopped taking bets on the player’s departure, and a transfer to Wolves was widely touted until recently.

Ultimately it was the Lisbon club that made a move for Camacho though, and both clubs confirmed his departure for Portugal on a five-year deal.

Given the youngster’s lack of experience at the highest level – combined with the fact he was in the last year of his contract – you have to say that the Reds’ transfer team have pulled a blinder once again. Pokies Online were predicting a move in the region of £3 million for the player, so to potentially receive more than double that figure is a great result.

Whilst Liverpool may have wanted to hang on to Camacho, not only have they ensured they will benefit financially should the player make the grade but also that they have a replacement in the squad – recent signing Sepp van den Berg can play at right back, where Camacho played in his two senior appearances.

How does the current Liverpool lineup compare to the greatest teams of all time?


Under the expert guidance of Jurgen Klopp, Liverpool are experiencing a real renaissance of late. The last few seasons had seen steady progress but it is the season just finished that really caught everyone’s attention. The team Klopp has put together looked the real deal and this saw them not only clinch another Champion’s League trophy but also to push Manchester City to the wire in the Premier League.

It was only City’s own brilliance that stopped Liverpool taking the league trophy, too – in any other season a record of 30 wins, 1 loss and 97 points would have easily been enough. With this in mind, many fans may already be thinking of using sportsbooks at some online casinos to put a wager on for them to actually do it next time around.

But how does this Liverpool side stack up against the very best from the past?

Liverpool’s 1980’s team

Whilst this current side has a long way to go to match the Liverpool we saw in the 80’s, the quality levels are similar in the playing squads. It can be difficult to judge a modern three-man front line with a traditional strike partnership, but I would go as far as to say the trio of Mane, Firmino & Salah is stronger than any pairing the club had through the heady heights of yesteryear. One area in which the current squad lags behind though is the lack of a midfield general a la Souness, there are some good players in the centre of the park but none quite in the leader’s mould of the aforementioned Scotsman or more recently Steven Gerrard.

1990’s Manchester Utd team

In many ways these two sides are very evenly matched. Defence was one area you may have questioned in the past but the addition of Van Dijk and Alisson has resolved this for Liverpool. Midfield is also evenly matched when you see Jordan Henderson providing the leadership that players like Keane were famous for in the 1990’s Manchester United side. Perhaps the one area where Liverpool shade it is up front with Salah, Firmino and Mane pipping Cole and Yorke.

Jose Mourinho Chelsea side 2005/06

This is again a very even contest but one that Liverpool just about shade. Certainly Salah and Firmino are both preferred to Robben or Cole in attack while the sheer pace and finishing of Mane puts him on Drogba’s level. It is perhaps the options Liverpool have in midfield that gets them the nod. With the leadership qualities of Henderson along with the creativity of Shaqiri and Wijnaldum, they are a little more mobile and able to open teams up.

AC Milan team of the 1980’s

The superb AC Milan team of the 1980’s under Arrigo Sacchi were a team of tough warriors who never gave an inch in any game they played. However, the current Liverpool team would no doubt be fitter and quicker as the game has moved on a lot over the years. It would be the wide areas were the Merseyside team could dominate with Roberson and Alexander-Arnold raiding down the flanks. Van Dijk could certainly compare to a great like Baresi in terms of talent while the midfield battle between old pro’s like Milner and Rijkaard would have been superb to watch. Tough to call but Liverpool still have enough fresh, pacey talent to edge it. They just need to keep Gullit and Van Basten quiet!

Current side deserves its place

When you compare the players Liverpool now have and how they have gelled as a team, they certainly do deserve to stand tall against the great sides from football’s past. The way they blew most teams away last year and their Champion’s League triumph is proof of this. Hopefully, manager Klopp can build on this and establish a dynasty that will keep Liverpool at the top of the game for many years to come.