Parker prunes his squad

Fulham have released nine players, including former Liverpool stars Ryan Babel and Lazar Markovic, after being relegated from the Premier League.

Babel scored five goals in 16 Premier League appearances for the club after moving to Craven Cottage from Besiktas in January.

The 32-year-old played for Liverpool between 2007 and 2011 before signing for Ajax.

Markovic also signed for the Cottagers in January but only made one substitute appearance for the club.

The 25-year-old joined Liverpool for £20million five years ago but failed to establish himself at Anfield and was loaned out to Fenerbahce, Sporting Lisbon. Hull City and Anderlecht before his short-lived spell with Fulham.

The other players that Scott Parker has decided will leave the Cottagers this summer following the expiry of their contracts are Elijah Adebayo, Robert Atkinson, Aron Davies, Jose Garrido, Christopher Kelly, Scott Armsworth and Showkat Tahir.

In addition, Calum Chambers, Sergio Rico, Andre Schurrle, Havard Nordtveit, Luciano Vietto, and Timothy Fosu-Mensah, who were on loan at Fulham this season, will return to their parent clubs.

Floyd Ayite, Stefan Johansen, Neeskens Kebano, Denis Odoi, Magnus Norman, Mattias Kait, Jon Dagur Thorsteinsson and Jerome Opokuh have had options activated in their contracts which keep them at the club until the end of next season.

Meanwhile, Aston Villa and Derby will meet in the Championship play-off final on Monday 27th May. The Villans are 8/13 to secure promotion, with the Rams available at 13/10.

Van Dijk keen to end on a high

Virgil van Dijk is keen to end the season on a high when Liverpool take on Tottenham in the Champions League final on 1st June in Madrid.

Jurgen Klopp's side had to settle for second place in the final Premier League table, one point behind champions Manchester City, despite only losing once all season and picking up 97 points.

Netherlands international Van Dijk, who won the PFA Player of the Year award last month, said of the Reds' failure to win the Premier League title: "Frustrated is the right word. I think we are all going to be a little disappointed because we were so close.

"To get 97 points and play football like we have played all season, we have to be very proud. We work so hard every day to be challenging as close as possible but City were just a tiny little bit better than us.

"But we have to look on the positive side and remember we are still in Madrid. Hopefully we can end the season on a high. It is fantastic to be in the Champions League final twice in a row. Hopefully we can be a little bit better this time."

Liverpool beat Wolves 2-0 on the final day of the Premier League campaign and are 1/2 to win the Champions League final against Tottenham, having lost to Real Madrid in last season's final. Meanwhile, the Reds are 11/4 to win the 2019/20 Premier League.

Benitez pleased for Mitrovic

Newcastle United boss Rafael Benitez insists he remains a fan of Aleksandar Mitrovic even though he sold the Serbia international to Fulham last summer.

The Cottagers entertain Benitez's team on Sunday and Mitrovic, who is being linked with a move away from Fulham this summer, is 6/4 to score at any time against his former team.

Benitez sold Mitrovic to Fulham for £27million and replaced him with Salomon Rondon, who has enjoyed a fine campaign since moving to St James' Park on loan from West Brom.

Former Liverpool, Real Madrid and Chelsea boss Benitez said: "I've said so many times that my relationship with Mitro is much better than maybe people think. I am a professional and I had to analyse whether, in my opinion, we needed him.

"But I'm really pleased he's done well there and is scoring goals – although hopefully not this weekend. He's a good player and he suits the style they play there.

"He loves football, he's very competitive, I think he's a good player. He will score goals for sure."

Mitrovic has netted 11 goals this season even though Fulham have been relegated from the Premier League. However, he has only found the net once – against Bournemouth – in his last 12 league appearances for the Cottagers.

The 24-year-old scored 12 times in the second half of last season for Fulham as they were promoted from the Championship via the play-offs.

Fulham are 17/10 to beat Newcastle on Sunday.

Klopp backs trio to feature

Liverpool boss Jurgen Klopp has urged Mo Salah, Andy Robertson and Jordan Henderson to play through the pain when the Reds entertain Wolves on Sunday.

Klopp is confident that the trio will all be able to feature in the final Premier League game of the campaign, which Liverpool are 3/10 to win, although Roberto Firmino definitely misses out.

Egypt international Salah missed the Champions League semi-final second-leg victory against Barcelona after being concussed in last weekend's 3-2 win at Newcastle United, while Robertson was forced off at half-time against the La Liga champions with a calf problem.

Henderson suffered a knee injury in the closing stages of the first half against Barcelona on Tuesday but Firmino remains sidelined with a muscle injury.

"The famous three words of this week in the dressing room: 'It's only pain'," said former Borussia Dortmund boss Klopp.

"Very important for all the young lads to learn. I've said that already to the boys. Hendo said, 'It's only pain', Robbo said, 'It's only pain' – but it was real pain, wow!

"Unfortunately, Robbo could deal with the pain but only the rest of his body couldn't because he couldn't really activate the muscle anymore, some nerve hit or whatever. They should be fine [for Sunday].

"Bobby not [available] for the weekend, but we have time [before the Champions League final] and that should be enough. Mo looked good around the celebrations after the game, to be honest!"

Liverpool, who start Sunday's match one point behind leaders Manchester City, are 3/1 to win the Premier League title.

Pep: I have no nerves at all

Pep Guardiola says he will not need to motivate his Manchester City players when they take on Brighton in their final Premier League game of the campaign.

City will win the Premier League title for the second season in a row if they beat the Seagulls on Sunday.

They head into the final round of fixtures one point clear of second-placed Liverpool, who take on Wolves at Anfield in their final game.

Jurgen Klopp's team have only lost one top-flight match this season – at Manchester City – and reached the Champions League final on Tuesday by recording an amazing semi-final triumph against Bareclona.

Liverpool were seven points ahead of City in January but Guardiola's team have won 13 top-flight matches in a row, the latest coming on Monday when they edged to a 1-0 victory against Leicester.

Guardiola said: "I am so happy – no nerves at all. I was nervous before Liverpool, seven points behind, and we could have been 10 points behind.

"It was, 'Ah, it will be so difficult'. But not now, no way. I sleep like a little boy. It is a dream, a privilege, I love it.

"I would say that I don't have to say anything to motivate [the players]. I think my speech will be zero.

"They want to win the Premier League. What I saw in the training sessions – they want to win it. We are going to go out there at Brighton at three o'clock to win the game.

"It is just about Brighton, how they defend, their strengths and weak points, what we have to do and on Sunday, 'Guys, go out and play'. That is all."

Manchester City are 1/6 to beat Brighton on Sunday and 5/1 to win the match from behind.

Legend Speroni to leave Palace

Veteran goalkeeper Julian Speroni will leave Crystal Palace this summer when his contract expires after spending the last 15 years at Selhurst Park.

The 39-year-old Argentinian shot-stopper moved to the Eagles from Dundee in the summer of 2004 and has featured in 371 league games for the club, with his latest coming in the 4-3 defeat at Liverpool in January.

His only other first-team appearance this term came in the FA Cup fourth-round victory over Tottenham.

Speroni was named Palace's player of the season on four occasions and has kept 112 clean sheets during his time at Selhurst Park.

Chairman Steve Parish said: "Julian has devoted the best 15 years of his playing career to our club and will go down in the record books but, perhaps more importantly, will be remembered as a true club legend by all Palace fans and everyone at the club.

"You just don't get many people like Julian in elite football any more – he is a model professional, ultra-committed, immensely loyal, and has set impeccable standards to his team-mates down the years. His contribution to this club cannot be overstated and we will be eternally grateful for his service."

Palace can be backed at 5/6 to beat Bournemouth on Sunday in the final Premier League match of the campaign and at 12/5 to keep a clean sheet against the Cherries.

Kompany has no plans to quit

Vincent Kompany said after scoring an incredible goal against Leicester City that he is unsure whether he will be handed a new contract by Manchester City.

However, the 33-year-old Belgian is adamant he is not ready to retire.

Kompany scored the only goal on Monday against the Foxes in the 70th minute with a sublime 30-yard strike – the 1-0 win keeping Pep Guardiola's team in line to retain their Premier League crown.

If they beat Brighton on Sunday they will definitely finish top even if Liverpool overcome Wolves at Anfield.

Kompany, whose contract expires in the summer, said when asked about his future: "I do not know at this point.

"Absolutely not [am I going to retire]. I am going to play."

Meanwhile, Guardiola is keen to hold talks with club captain Kompany in the summer.

The former Barcelona and Bayern Munich boss said: "This club has over a century of history and not a lot in the trophy cabinet but there are players who help us to be who we are today – Joe Hart, Pablo Zabaleta, Vincent Kompany.

"When he is fit he is an incredible centre-back. Not just for the goal. He is our leader many times. We'll finish the season and after we are going to talk. We are going to take a beer together and decide what is best, especially for the club."

Manchester City are 1/10 to win the Premier League title this season while Liverpool can be backed at 6/1. City are 14/1 to beat Brighton 1-0 on Sunday.

Pep hails ‘incredible’ Liverpool

Manchester City boss Pep Guardiola has praised the current Liverpool team who he thinks are one of the best sides he has ever faced in his managerial career.

Guardiola's side entertain Leicester City on Monday knowing that victory against the Foxes and at Brighton on Sunday will confirm them as Premier League champions for the second campaign in a row.

However, Liverpool's 3-2 win at Newcastle United on Friday means Jurgen Klopp's team still have the chance to win the title if Manchester City slip up.

Guardiola said: "It is the toughest league I've ever played as a manager. There are no doubts. That's why being there is incredible. Only one will take the prize.

"You have to give credit to how huge our rival is. In my career as a manager, we have played against incredible sides. One is Luis Enrique's Barcelona with Leo Messi, Luis Suarez and Neymar, and the other is Liverpool.

"They are the best two sides I've played as a manager. Last season was incredible but this season, we are up against an incredible team. They're physical and have improved their positional game, and defensively, they concede few goals. That's why I'm so delighted."

Liverpool face Wolves on Sunday as they attempt to win their first league title since 1990.

The current odds have Manchester City at 2/9 to win the Premier League title while Liverpool can be backed at 3/1.

Welbeck to exit Gunners

Former Manchester United star Danny Welbeck will leave Arsenal this summer, head coach Unai Emery has confirmed.

The 28-year-old has endured an injury-ravaged time since joining the Gunners almost five years ago and has only started 46 Premier League goals for the club.

He has not played since breaking his ankle against Sporting Lisbon on 8th November.

After the 1-1 with Brighton on Sunday, which virtually ended his team's chances of securing a top-four finish, Emery said of Welbeck: "I spoke with the club about this situation. The decision is he's going to leave."

It was already known that Aaron Ramsey and Petr Cech will also be leaving the club at the end of this season.

Meanwhile, Emery is now determined to win the Europa League which would hand them a place in next season's Champions League.

The Gunners won the first leg of their semi-final tie with Valencia 3-1 and are 1/4 to qualify for the Europa League final and 15/8 to win the competition.

Former Los Che and Sevilla boss Emery said: "I think we worked and tried [against Brighton] but didn't get the result for taking chances next week. Now our way is to be strong in our focus for Thursday.

"I think we can speak now about the different situations and issues in the season, but it's better to focus for Thursday against Valencia – and we are going to do the analysis also in the Premier League, because it's our first target and we didn't take this position like we wanted."

Matic retains faith in De Gea

Manchester United midfielder Nemanja Matic has backed David De Gea to respond to his critics by performing well in the last two games of the season.

The Spanish goalkeeper has made several high-profiles errors recently, most notably in key games against Everton, Barcelona and Chelsea.

However, United boss Ole Gunnar Solskjaer confirmed on Friday that De Gea would be in goal for Sunday's Premier League clash at Huddersfield Town, although his decision was made for him as second-choice shot-stopper Sergio Romero suffered a knee injury in training earlier in the week.

Matic retains faith in De Gea though, saying: "Players make mistakes in every game and when a goalkeeper makes a mistake everyone sees that. When you are one of the best goalkeepers in the world people talk so much about his mistakes.

"When a goalkeeper at a 'smaller' club makes a mistake, it is spoken about for one or two days, but one of De Gea's mistakes is being spoken about for seven days.

"I'm very confident that this mistake won't affect his career. He doesn't read newspapers. He is one of the best goalkeepers in the world and will be for years to come. I am very happy to have him in the team."

United, who end the season with a home game against Cardiff City, are 10/1 to finish in the top four and 1/3 to beat the Terriers on Sunday.