Tottenham vs Liverpool: Premier League Dream or Another Reds Nightmare?

Tottenham Hotspur vs Liverpool

Jurgen Klopp and his Liverpool are still undefeated in the Premier League after four gameweeks, but that immaculate record is in peril as they visit fellow title contenders Tottenham at Wembley this Matchday 5.

The Reds may have won four straight to open the 2018/19 season; however, they haven’t faced any top team yet, with three of their past four games against clubs that finished in the lower half of the table last campaign.

Tottenham, currently fifth, finished third last year and certainly pose a huge threat to Liverpool. While Mauricio Pochettino’s men lost to Watford before the international break, they remain a dangerous team—especially when playing at home.

Talking Points

Liverpool have some matters to settle against Tottenham. After all, the last time Klopp and his charges visited Wembley, they got their arses handed to them with a 4-1 blowout.

Sure, that defeat woke up the Reds and sparked them to an 18-game unbeaten run in all competitions. Nonetheless, the Merseyside club will undoubtedly want to get back on the Spurs and take their revenge. Besides, victory here could be crucial in their quest for the English top-flight title.

Fortunately for Liverpool and their fans, they are no longer the same team as last year…literally and figuratively.

Their core of Mo Salah, Sadio Mane and Roberto Firmino is still intact, and they have several fresh faces in every area that can make the difference for them.

Naby Keita and Fabinho bolstered the midfield immensely, while Xherdan Shaqiri added more firepower to an already strong offensive team. For what it’s worth, Shaqiri is in excellent form right now, recently helping Switzerland to a 6-0 thrashing of Iceland.

On the defensive end, Virgil van Dijk continues to anchor the backline following his January transfer. Simon Mignolet manned the post in their match with the Spurs 11 months ago, but the Belgian has to give way to Brazilian keeper and £65-million summer signing Alisson this time around.

Liverpool have only allowed one goal so far with Van Dijk and Alisson, and sure enough, they will be pivotal as the club tries to avenge their loss last year and extend their Premier League lead at the top of the table.

For Tottenham, they will look at that three-goal victory as a source of inspiration. They will also be keen to impress at Wembley after their planned move to the renovated White Hart Lane was delayed. However, psychological and home-court advantage aside, they know they have to step up if they want to take down Liverpool again and get the Premier League 2018 results they desire.

Harry Kane and Tottenham will look to snap the unbeaten streak of Premier League title rivals Liverpool

Harry Kane in action during Tottenham’s Premier League clash against Fulham

Harry Kane, Denmark hero Christian Eriksen and Player of the Month recipient Lucas Moura are capable of holding their own against the Liverpool frontline, but Pochettino needs to prepare his team defensively after keeping just one clean sheet in four matches. If he doesn’t, the Argentine boss knows very well what’s coming.

Dele Alli’s fitness remains a concern for the team, though news that he should be fit for the Saturday clash is a welcome boost to Poch and the Spurs.

Another interesting storyline to watch out for in the game is the meeting between Salah and Kane. The two had a close fight for the Premier League Golden Boot award last year, so it will be exciting to see the two vie it out again and prove their mettle against each other.

History

Tottenham got the better of Liverpool in their two meetings in the 2017/18 campaign. Aside from their huge victory at home, they also played out a 2-2 draw with the Reds in the return fixture at Anfield in the second half of the season.

Overall, the Spurs have beaten Liverpool 14 times, 12 of which being at home.

The good news for Liverpool is that they have won on 23 occasions—out of 52 meetings—against the Spurs. They also beat the North London club seven times on their own turf.

Furthermore, Liverpool have dominated their past 10 games against Tottenham. They have won five times, drawn four and lost just once against the Spurs. During that stretch, they averaged two goals scored and one goal allowed per game.

Betting Tip

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Tottenham Hotspur vs Liverpool Liverpool 1X2 @ 2.49
September 15, 19:30 (GMT+8)

The Premier League 2018 odds are tight between the two, with Asian Handicap betting at us even suggesting a close encounter.

Liverpool have the slight advantage over the Spurs, and it’s hard to argue given their perfect record. However, while the Spurs lost the last time out, they have a penchant for playing better against stronger opposition.

I expect the two teams to bring the heat right from the off, and I predict the first half to end up in a draw. Nevertheless, I think Liverpool have a little more quality and depth—characteristics that should give them the edge in what should be a feisty second half.

A SHORT EXPLANATION ON HOW OUR (??) BETS ARE WORTH:
?? = €20 (Highly confident) ?? = €10 (CONFIDENT) ?? = €5 (SOMEWHAT CONFIDENT)

Disclaimer: Odds are correct at time of publish.

 

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Shaqiri stands ready to impress

Summer signing Xherdan Shaqiri remains confident that he can play an important role for Liverpool this season, with his versatility a useful option for the Reds.

The 26-year-old Switzerland international forward, recruited for around £13million from Stoke City, has only made one competitive appearances for the Merseysiders to date – that an eight-minute outing in the 4-0 Premier League win over West Ham.

However, Shaqiri is happy to bide his time, with Liverpool head coach Jurgen Klopp currently sticking with the impressive front trio of Mohamed Salah, Roberto Firmino and Sadio Mane.

Shaqiri told the Liverpool Echo: "The manager has brought a few players in this summer with very good quality who are going to help a lot.

"This team needed a little competition in various positions, because that makes you better and makes you stronger, so I am looking forward to the season and we have started very well.

"I believe that I can play every position along the frontline and the coach knows that. I played every position in the friendlies – I played as a nine, I played as a ten and I've played as a winger.

"That's really good and I like the football the way the coach plays. It is perfect football for me too."

Having won three out of three in the league so far this season, Liverpool face a big test next Saturday when they head to the King Power Stadium to take on Leicester City.

Last term the Reds won 3-2 in the East Midlands and are 4/9 to take all three points again on Saturday, with the visitors 15/2 to claim a 2-0 victory and 5/4 to keep a clean sheet.

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Premier League: Mo’s at It Again!

Liverpool 1-0 Brighton & Hove Albion

Player of the Year 2018 Mo Salah has picked up where he left off, scoring the only goal of the game to fire Liverpool to the top of the Premier League.

This was a match everyone expected the Reds to win against Brighton, and one goal was enough; Liverpool fans will have wished it had been more comfortable, though. But a win’s a win, and Jurgen Klopp’s team sits proudly at the top of the league for the first time in almost two years.

The Premier League 2018 results from earlier in the day had been pretty good for both teams: relegation favourites Huddersfield and Cardiff played out a goalless draw, a handy result for the Seagulls. But Liverpool will have been particularly interested in Manchester City’s failure to beat newly promoted Wolves, which opened the door.

Anfield has been a fortress for many years, which Brighton boss Chris Hughton knows only too well, and again it proved. And now the Reds have hit the top, the Premier League 2018 odds on the title heading to Liverpool will drop slightly, but remember that these are early days.

Highlights of the game

Liverpool started off like a train, and Brighton keeper Mat Ryan was called into action as early as the ninth minute: he made a superb save at his near post after Roberto Firmino had met wing-back Andy Robertson’s pinpoint cross.

And on 15 minutes, the Reds almost went ahead. And it was local boy Trent Alexander-Arnold who almost blew the roof off Anfield with a blistering dead-ball strike which crashed off the crossbar. Klopp and England fans have high hopes for this young man.

The Reds continued to dominate, and Salah had a sight of goal. The excellent Ryan was equal to his angled drive, but the Egyptian superstar scored on 23 minutes. James Milner was alert to some sloppy Brighton play, winning the ball and finding Sadio Mane, who passed to Firmino. When the Brazilian put Salah in, he fired home in off the post and Anfield erupted.

Liverpool continued to press but went in at the break just a goal up. And then right at the start of the second half, Brighton created their first chance to serve as a reminder to the Reds. The Seagulls stunned Manchester United last week, and Anthony Knockaert had a superb opportunity to put the wind up Liverpool but he fluffed his lines.

Liverpool dominated the second half as they did the first but a second goal just wouldn’t come, and a one-goal lead is always a precarious one. Alexander almost got the goal his excellent play deserved but his shot was deflected wide.

Alisson helped Liverpool become the only team to have not conceded a goal in the Premier League this season

Alisson Becker became the 4th goalkeeper in the last 51 years to keep a clean sheet for Liverpool

And Liverpool keeper Alisson was called on at the death to push a Pascal Gross header past the post to give Liverpool their best start in five years.

The Reds could have scored a few, but in the end, one was just enough.

Key Statistics

With us odds of 1.15 on a home win, we could have expected a landslide, but it just didn’t come. Seventy per cent possession and 22 shots to six tell their own story, while Liverpool kept the ball much better with 87 per cent passing accuracy compared to the Seagulls’ 73 per cent.

Liverpool won with a thoroughly professional display at Crystal Palace on Monday, and Klopp’s team is looking as strong at the back as they are exciting going forward.

Another shutout means Allison is yet to concede a goal for Liverpool, and the Reds’ last home league defeat is as far back as April 2017.

Chris Hughton has now lost all six of his Premier League games against Liverpool, and he needs to improve his side’s away form. They won just two on the road all last season.

But when you’re up against Salah, there’s sometimes not a lot you can do. He has now scored 29 goals in 29 appearances at Anfield in all competitions.

What’s next?

Liverpool are yet to concede a goal in the Premier League this season after 1-0 win over Brighton

Chris Hughton felt Brighton could have left Anfield with a positive result

So it’s three from three for the Reds. But their title credentials are about to be severely tested when they make trips to Leicester City and Spurs. The 2016 champions have made a good start with six points from their first three fixtures, while Mauricio Pochettino’s Spurs won their first two prior to playing Manchester United on Monday.

Brighton fans can take heart having won three points from fixtures against Manchester United and Liverpool, and up next they have Fulham at home followed by Southampton away.

Both teams currently sit below the Seagulls, but there are no easy games in this league.

Disclaimer: Odds are correct at time of publish.

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Liverpool hit four past Hammers

Liverpool began the new Premier League season in style, beating West Ham 4-0 at Anfield with Mohamed Salah again on the scoresheet.

The forward ended the last campaign in heartbreak, coming off injured in the side's Champions League defeat to Real Madrid.

However, he hit 32 goals last league season to win the Golden Boot and began the 2018-19 campaign in similar style, taking just 18 minutes to open his scoring for the new Premier League season.

Liverpool began strongly and were rewarded, the neat move beginning with new signing Naby Keita and Andy Robertson sending in a low cross that evaded the Hammers defence, Salah on hand to slot the ball home.

It was a deserved lead for Klopp's side and it was doubled just before the break, Sadi Mane getting on the end of a cut-back from James Milner.

It got even better for the dominant Reds early in the second half, Mane getting his second after being fed by Roberto Firmino, firing past Lukasz Fabianski in the Hammers goal.

That secured the game but there was time to add gloss to the victory with Daniel Sturridge, seconds after coming on as a substitute, getting Liverpool's fourth just before the end.

It was therefore a disappointing opening for Manuel Pellegrini in his first competitive match in charge of West Ham.

Liverpool's James Milner though, after setting up one of the goals, said he was pleased with the way the team clicked back into gear after a relatively short time-off for those players who were in Russia for the World Cup 2018.

He told Sky Sports afterwards: "There is expectation at the beginning of the season and everyone wants a good start. We've made some new signings and it was going to be a tough start.

"Last year was a long season and with the World Cup boys coming back in with such a short rest, they have done well. I've done it before and know how hard it is."

Liverpool are back in action next Monday night when they travel to Crystal Palace to face another team who won their opening game of the new season.

Roy Hodgson's team are 11/2 for the win with Liverpool 9/20 and the draw 7/2.

Liverpool are 8/1 to win the game 2-1.

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Pellegrini content with options

New West Ham manager Manuel Pellegrini is confident that his club have a much-improved squad heading into the new Premier League season.

The Hammers have made more than ten new signings this summer, having brought in Pellegrini to take charge after finishing in 13th place in the Premier League standings last season.

And the former Manchester City boss is keen to do as well as possible this season, while admitting that he has not been set any sort of definite target by the club hierarchy.

He told reporters: "We talked about the general (situation), but not about a target for where we want to finish.

"It's so difficult to predict results. We will try to play in the best way to be as near the top of the table as we can, but we don't have specific targets.

"When I spoke with the owners, we agreed what the project would be for West Ham in the future. They wanted to invest money, as have most clubs in the Premier League, and I think we have improved the squad.

"The board have worked very well and we have a competitive squad."

West Ham are available at 11/10 to finish in the top half of the table this season, with Southampton priced at 15/8 and Everton 4/11.

Meanwhile, Pellegrini have not made any specific plans to try and nullify Mo Salah when the Irons take on Liverpool at Anfield on Sunday.

He added: "We don't have any special plans just for him because it would be easier if Liverpool were just Mo Salah, but they aren't.

"They have Roberto Firmino, Sadio Mane, Xherdan Shaqiri, but Salah is a great player and we all saw what he did last season."

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Premier League Team Analysis: Retooled Liverpool Ready for Title Chase

Liverpool mean business in the Premier League.

After finishing fourth in the English top flight and reaching the Champions League final in 2017/18, the Reds of Merseyside have now set their sights on higher standards and achievements: the league title and the European crown.

Jurgen Klopp has basically kept the Liverpool core intact—Emre Can the only notable departure—and, in fact, had one of the best summer transfer windows with the addition of four big-name players.

us now takes a look at the ever-exciting Liverpool squad, what’s in store for their fans and what to expect from them in the upcoming 2018/19 EPL season.

Key Strengths

We just don’t throw the word “exciting” freely here. However, Liverpool never fail to entertain with their high-octane offence that ranked second in the Premier League last campaign.

Their heavy metal football anchored on their famed gegenpressing has wowed the club’s supporters over the years, and it’s unlikely Klopp will have a change of heart about his philosophy that emphasises offence more than anything else.

The Liverpool triumvirate of Mo Salah, Roberto Firmino and Sadio Mane remains a threat to any team, and there’s no other way but up for them after breaking the record for the most goals in a single Champions League season by a trio. The record they toppled? Real Madrid’s fabled BBC of Karim Benzema, Gareth Bale and Cristiano Ronaldo!

It’s also worth mentioning that Klopp has bolstered his attacking unit this summer with the arrival of Naby Keita and Xherdan Shaqiri.

Keita was pivotal for RB Leipzig’s Bundesliga rise in 2016/17, and he fits perfectly with Klopp’s style of play that requires players to be fast and dynamic. Shaqiri, on the other hand, adds depth and playmaking on the wings, something which the team lost following the departure of Philippe Coutinho.

The arrival of new reinforcement Xherdan Shaqiri is backed to bolster Liverpool’s Premier League campaign

Switzerland midfielder Xherdan Shaqiri fights for the ball during the World Cup 2018 in Russia

Major Weaknesses and Concerns

For a team that ranks in the top four of the English top flight, it’s quite interesting to see Liverpool finish with 12 draws and five defeats last season.

Now think where they could have been had they won those draws? Just four more victories would have propelled them to second spot in the 2017/18 Premier league! After all, their five draws were the second fewest in the league.

Defence is the culprit for the Reds’ inconsistency. While their offence is remarkable, the backline leaves much to be desired.

Some intriguing statistics: only four of their 12 draws last year went scoreless while the other eight had goals. Out of those eight games, they were on the lead seven times before collapsing and settling for a stalemate.

The addition of Fabinho and Brazil No.1 Alisson Becker should help Liverpool improve on that area, but their depth remains a concern (case on point: Liverpool’s defensive crisis with Virgil van Dijk and Joe Gomez the only centre-backs fit for their opener next week).

Key Players to Watch

Is there any other Liverpool player worth talking about than Salah? After extending his contract with the club, expectations are high on the Egyptian King to impress once again and become a fixture in Premier League 2018 highlights.

But how can he top a 32-goal, Golden Boot-winning season? Well, the answer is probably by scoring as much, or more, and helping the team win silverware—perhaps the ultimate measure of a footballer’s success nowadays besides numbers and individual accolades.

Moreover, Salah has some unfinished business in the Champions League after getting injured in the final, so that’s another storyline to watch.

Besides Salah, new keeper Alisson is one that fans shouldn’t take their eyes off. The former Roma keeper is one of the best goalies in the world and Liverpool will need him to replicate his form with the Gialorrossi last season if they want to contend with Manchester City for the title.

Alisson kept 18 clean sheets in the Serie A this past campaign to help Roma finish third, behind Italian champions Juventus and Napoli.

Fearless Forecast

Liverpool boss Jurgen Klopp is confident on keeping his team intact heading to the new Premier League season

Manager Jurgen Klopp waves to Liverpool fans after his side’s friendly match

Our Premier League 2018 odds have Liverpool as second favourites to win the English trophy, while the other us offers show them in the top five for the Cup trophies. With that said, I predict them to win at least one title this year…probably the FA Cup.

The demands of European football shouldn’t be underestimated, so I don’t expect them to beat Manchester City in the EPL given their lack of depth. Liverpool are way better and more experienced this time around, but my analysis (and well, gut feel) tells me they’ll fight for the second place instead, against Manchester United and Tottenham.

 

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So Can Salah Now Become a Modern Day Great?

He could prove to be the signing of the season.

Not the club record £60 million that Manchester City have parted with to sign Riyad Mahrez—six months after they first wanted him.

Nor the £99.2 million Juventus have splashed to acquire Cristiano Ronaldo, the world number one even if he does turn 34 next birthday.

I am talking about the double Premier League footballer of the year, the king of Egypt Mohamed Salah, who has signed a new contract at Liverpool after his majestic first year there.

It was a campaign which saw him become the first African player to win the honour and incredibly become the first player to score 32 goals in a 38-match Premier League season.

The Premier League betting odds on him now leading Liverpool to their holy grail—a first league title since 1990—are high.

Indeed, many pundits have placed the Merseysiders as second favourites for the Premier League behind last season’s dominant force, Manchester City, who set numerous records on the way to the title.

He clearly was not fit for Egypt in the World Cup, understandably so given his club season ended in heartache with a shoulder injury in the Champions League Final.

Mohamed Salah ready to prove the Premier League betting odds that he's back to help Liverpool

Mohamed Salah leaves the pitch during the Champions League final match between Liverpool and Real Madrid

However, all football highlights will certainly feature Salah prominently in a month’s time when the new season begins in earnest.

No wonder after he was so instrumental in Liverpool’s run to the showpiece final and fourth place in the Premier League with a prolific scoring record which attracted the attention of Europe’s elite.

Yet, after such a stellar season when he won every individual accolade that put even the sensational Kevin de Bruyne in the shade, there is now a weight of expectation on Mo Salah and Liverpool.

Harry Kane has already challenged Salah to repeat his exploits after the England captain was pipped to the Premier League golden boot honour.

Thirty goals in a 38-game league campaign was Kane’s best ever return, though still not enough to earn the top-scorer prize for the third year in a row after tallies of 25 and 29 in the previous seasons.

There is certainly no suggestion Salah will be a one-season wonder, nor that he will leave Liverpool.

The club is in a position of strength in three ways.

First of all, Salah admits he loves the club and wants to win silverware by staying where he is, not by moving to another heavyweight club.

His commitment to the club will be music to the ears of all Liverpool fans, their manager Jurgen Klopp and teammates.

Secondly, Liverpool do not need to sell the player after their massive January windfall following the departure of Philippe Coutinho to Barcelona.

Yes, they have recruited Virgil van Dijk, Naby Keita and Fabinho since then and more recruits are expected. However, money does not seem to be an issue for a club which is back in the Champions League next season.

Thirdly, Salah’s new five-year deal does not include a release clause which so many players and agents now insist upon.

Any potential suitor would have to pay an extortionate fee for the Egyptian who forms part of a potent attacking trio.

Roberto Firmino also signed a contract extension in April and Sadio Mane is tipped to follow suit.

Klopp, who insists world-class talent “has a place” at Anfield, perhaps best sums up the approach to the game—an attribute money can’t buy—when he says: “The key thing to remember is the best thing about Mo is that he never sees himself as being more important than the team or anyone else within it.”

“He recognises his teammates and this club helped him achieve individual success last season. He sees the individual awards come because he is part of something bigger that is special.”

“Mo reflects where we are as a team, I think. Last season was special with many special moments—but we want more. We want to be more successful and achieve more together – as the supporters sang so loudly, ‘we’re never gonna stop’. This has to be the attitude individually and collectively.”

So can he repeat or come close to repeating his success or will he find Premier League life more difficult now he is less of an unknown quantity?

From August 11 onwards, we will find out.

One thing is certain.

Moments of exhilarating brilliance that he displayed last season cannot be sustained over nine months unless you have world-class attributes.

Now they have been proven, can he take the next step and join the pantheon of modern day greats by doing it again and again and, crucially, winning silverware?

 

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Premier League News: Transfer Summer Continues to Heat Up

The World Cup may have taken the attention of the football world, but that doesn’t stop Premier League teams from wheeling and dealing this offseason.

With the new campaign a little over a month away, transfer negotiations continue to heat up in the English top flight. Most clubs have already made significant signings and acquisitions this summer, while there are teams that are closing in on their top targets despite failing to make a splash in the opening of the transfer window.

Today, we take a look at the latest Premier League news and rumours and determine who are the biggest winners and losers of the recent transfers.

Notable Transfers and Signings

One of the biggest moves of the summer isn’t a transfer, but it sure has big implications in the Premier League.

Earlier this month, Liverpool made a statement and basically told their opponents that they are here to compete when they signed Mohamed Salah to a new long-term contract. According to reports, the Egyptian King signed a lucrative deal without a release clause to stay at Anfield until 2023.

Salah scored 44 goals in 52 appearances for the Reds last season and is undoubtedly Liverpool’s most prized asset.

Meanwhile, in terms of transfers, West Ham are making huge waves with their acquisitions. After bringing in Poland keeper Lukasz Fabianski last month, the Hammers are now set to complete a move for former Arsenal midfielder Jack Wilshere.

Premier League news: Former Arsenal's Jack Wilshere close to seal a deal with West Ham United

Jack Wilshere in action against Marcos Alonso during Arsenal’s League Cup first leg match against Chelsea in January

Wilshere is a free agent after leaving Arsenal and is reportedly on his way to London Stadium having undergone a medical. According to the latest updates, the 26-year-old midfielder is close to signing a three-year deal with the club after productive discussions with West Ham boss Manuel Pellegrini.

Talking about Arsenal, new manager Unai Emery is slowly filling up spots following an exodus of players. After getting Swiss international Stephan Lichtsteiner (formerly of Juventus) as a free agent and Germany goalkeeper Bernd Leno from Bayer Leverkusen, the Gunners have agreed to a deal to bring veteran defender Sokratis Papastathopoulos to the Emirates from Borussia Dortmund.

Papastathopoulos, nonetheless, isn’t the only Bundesliga player taking his talents to the Premier League. Highly-rated RB Leipzig defender Bernardo is moving to the English top flight as well after a successful capture from Brighton & Hove Albion.

Elsewhere, Newcastle United sign South Korean midfielder Ki Sung-yueng, fresh from captaining the Korea Republic national team in the World Cup. Meanwhile, Watford officially signed former Barcelona winger Gerard Deulofeu on a permanent deal.

Deulofeu spent the second half of the 2017-18 campaign on loan at Vicarage Road after failing to find his stride in the Barcelona rotation.

Who’s Next?

There are still plenty of big-name stars out there that could find new homes in the coming days. Brazil keeper Alisson, for one, is said to have “agreed terms” to sign for Chelsea.

Alisson started in all of the Selecao’s World Cup matches and conceded just three goals, though the last two against Belgium led to their quarter-final exit in the tournament.

Interestingly, Alisson is tipped to replace Belgium keeper Thibaut Courtois at Stamford Bridge, with the current Blues No.1 keen to return to Spain.

On the other hand, after bringing in Naby Keita and Fabinho, Liverpool are said to be considering a bid for Juventus’ Paulo Dybala amid reports that the Bianconeri are positioned to acquire Real Madrid star Cristiano Ronaldo.

Manchester United, meanwhile, have allegedly prepared a €40 million bid for PSV striker Hirving Lozano.

Chucky, who played hero in Mexico’s opening World Cup victory over Germany, has attracted a wealth of interest after his solid performance in the World Cup. Arsenal have also been linked with the 22-year-old attacker.

Xherdan Shaqiri is also an interesting name that continues to float around. Both Liverpool and United are eager to secure the services of the Swiss winger, but they might have to give up a player as relegated Stoke City are considering a loan signing as part of the deal.

On other news, Dimitri Payet could make a shock return to West Ham after leaving the club two years ago, while newly promoted Fulham F.C. joined Chelsea and Arsenal in the race to sign Jean Michael Seri from Nice.

Perhaps the biggest name to watch this transfer window is Chelsea manager Antonio Conte. The Italian’s future with the club is still in limbo and rumours that he could be sacked soon intensified after sources confirm that the club is leaning on appointing former Napoli boss Maurizio Sarri.

Premier League news: Former Napoli manager Maurizio Sarri close to manage Chelsea in the upcoming season

Maurizio Sarri instructs Napoli players during a Champions League match with Shakhtar Donetsk in September 2017

Winners and Losers

Well, there’s no doubt that the biggest winners here are the EPL fans considering the arrival of quality talents from other leagues.

Sure enough, a move that will alter the Premier League betting odds is yet to be done, but there’s no doubt it has been a great transfer week for the league.

Liverpool and EPL win big by keeping one of their brightest stars in Salah, while West Ham continue to hoard talent that could pay off huge dividends.

Wilshere is a risky signing given his injury history, but he could be a valuable addition to a West Ham team in dire need of playmaking.

Chelsea, perhaps, are the biggest losers as they are yet to make a major signing, unlike their Top 4 rivals. Not to mention that the uncertainty over their manager keeps things difficult for them in making significant acquisitions.

 

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Klopp: Salah deal a major message

Liverpool head coach Jurgen Klopp believes his club have sent out a huge message about their future prospects by handing a new, long-term deal to Mohamed Salah.

The 26-year-old, who has recently been in action at World Cup 2018 with Egypt, enjoyed a spectacular first season at Anfield, scoring 44 goals in all competitions to help the Reds reach the Champions League final and finish in fourth place in the Premier League.

And Klopp is more than happy that a fresh five-year contract has been agreed and signed off, with Salah a crucial figure in the German's plans to build on the success of last season.

He told the club's official website: "I think this news can be seen for what it is – rewarding a person who performed and contributed greatly for the team and the club last season.

"It demonstrates two things very clearly also – his belief in Liverpool and our belief in him.

"We want world-class talent to see they have a home at Anfield where they can fulfil all their professional dreams and ambitions – we are working hard together to achieve this.

"When someone like Mo Salah commits and says this place is my home now, it speaks very loudly I think.

"Equally, our commitment to him says we see his value and want him to grow even more and get even better within our environment."

Despite suffering a shoulder injury in the Champions League final defeat to Real Madrid, Salah was on the scoresheet in both of the games he featured in for Egypt at World Cup 2018, but his side were unable to progress out of the group stage.

Meanwhile, Liverpool are 5/1 to win the Premier League title next season, with Manchester United 7/1 and Manchester City 4/7.

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Saudi Arabia vs Egypt: A Fight for a Consoling Victory

Saudi Arabia vs Egypt

This is probably not the way the two countries facing each other in the final match of the 2018 World Cup group stages. Both had a chance to make it to the knockout stages in what was deemed the “Group of Life” by some pundits, including our knowledgeable pool of football experts here at us.

However, it seems that Saudi Arabia vs Egypt was meant to become a farewell match for the two countries. It does not matter if you think both of these nations were robbed in their previous fixtures in the competition because that’s just the way football goes.

The Green Falcons will be hoping to score their first goal in this year’s edition of the World Cup as well as send their fans home with a smile. The Pharaohs, meanwhile, will be hoping that their fans will also be smiling bittersweet grins as they prepare to leave Russia.

Volgograd will be a witness to an outstanding battle between two World Cup teams that played fantastic football for the entire world!

Talking Points

Saudi Arabia started Russia 2018 on the wrong foot as they fell terribly to an overperforming Russia squad in front of Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman. The simple fact that they weren’t able to score even once against the hosts probably brought the progressive and controversial Crown Prince to tears.

Juan Antonio Pizzi’s men recovered and played much better football against Uruguay, but Luis Suarez’s poach on the 23rd minute of the game meant that they were booted out of the World Cup. Many of the fans who watched at Rostov will testify to the quality of football exhibited by these Green Falcons.

Egypt also suffered the same fate as their Middle Eastern opponents. They also played top-notch football against the South American giants that featured Suarez and Edinson Cavani. However, they robbed of a point by a late header from Jose Gimenez that sent an entire nation to ecstasy and left another in despair.

Things didn’t get any better for the Pharaohs when they played the red-hot hosts for the second game. The Russians didn’t lose their scoring boots and overwhelmed them. While talisman Mohamed Salah finally made his World Cup debut, his efforts mattered little as the Russians also doomed them to an early exit out of Russia.

While these two nations have fallen out of the World Cup race, it wasn’t like they played terrible football. In fact, I have a new-found respect for these minnows in the global stage, and this is especially true for Saudi Arabia.

Many a pundit (yours truly included) only expected the Saudis to make an appearance in the World Cup and quietly bow out into the night. However, the Green Falcons showcased a relentless style of football that made Uruguay, the supposed favourites to come out on top, struggle for goals. They deserve every bit of praise that is coming their way.

Saudi Arabia vs Egypt: Mohamed Salah hopes to end his World Cup 2018 on a good note by winning over KSA

Egypt’s Mohamed Salah joggles the ball before the nation’s World Cup 2018 match against Uruguay

However, their upcoming task of guarding Salah does not get any easier. After brushing off rumours of him leaving the Egypt squad early, everyone and their mothers can be sure that he will be raring to score goal after goal for the Pharaohs.

If they manage to contain Salah and limit Egypt to taking long shots from way out, there is a chance for Saudi Arabia to run away with the last three points in Group A.

History

Saudi Arabia and Egypt have met six times on the international football scene, with Egypt winning four of those engagements. The biggest win the Pharaohs got from their neighbours was their first: a 13-0 win by Egypt during the 1961 Pan-Arab Games. Saudi’s only win against Egypt was a 5-1 triumph during the 1999 FIFA Confederations Cup.

In terms of recent form, Saudi Arabia are definitely trying currently on a five-game losing streak. They have only scored two goals in that stretch while their opponents dumped 13 goals through their defence. Pizzi needs to prioritise defence among his lads if he wants Saudi to win.

Egypt also had a poor run of form in their last five games. They drew against Kuwait and Egypt before losing 3-0 to Belgium in their last game. While it must be noted that Salah was only able to play during their latest game, the inability of Hector Cuper’s men to find goals is nothing short of unacceptable.

What are the odds?

Saudi Arabia vs Egypt: KSA players aim to leave Russia with a win by beating Egypt in their World Cup finale game

Saudi Arabia’s Mohammed Alburayk looks frustrated after missing a free kick during their World Cup 2018 game against Uruguay

There are interesting Saudi Arabia vs Egypt odds available for the ever-ready punter.

There is a high possibility that the two countries will split the honours, and a Draw is at 3.25. Egypt have 1.88 while Saudi Arabia are at 4.50.

The Asian Handicap market also tilts in Egypt’s favour. The Pharaohs have 2.19 for a -0.75 handicap, while the Green Falcons have 2.06 for a +0.50 goal boost.

I don’t we will see much goals here, making Under 2.25 goals at 2.08 a very attractive option. However, there is always the possibility of a Salah hat-trick, so Over 2.75 goals is at 2.47.

For more Saudi Arabia vs Egypt updates, us predictions and other World Cup news, don’t forget to check us Blog.

Disclaimer: Odds are correct at time of publish.

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