Trophy matters for Wijnaldum

Liverpool midfielder Georginio Wijnaldum has challenged his side to make their season complete by beating Tottenham in the Champions League final.

The Reds narrowly missed out on the Premier League title at the weekend, as they were pipped at the post by Manchester City, despite the Reds losing just one game in the league all season.

However, they can make up for that failure in 1st June in Madrid, when they play out an all-Premier League final against Spurs.

And, with Liverpool having lost out to Real Madrid in the Champions League final 12 months ago, there is added motivation in play for Wijnaldum and his colleagues.

The Dutchman told his club's official website: "Overall I think we had a good season and now is the challenge to finish with a title to make the season complete.

"It would be really sad if we finish the season without a title. I think this season deserves one.

"The last couple of games were basically games where we could only win and look at what Man City were doing. They won also, so fair enough that they are champions.

"But now we have a game that we can control, so we have to bring that to a good end. It would be really special."

Liverpool claimed 2-1 victories in both league meetings with Spurs this season, with Wijnaldum on the scoresheet in the success at Wembley back in September.

The Reds are 15/2 to secure a 2-1 victory in normal time in Madrid and are 1/2 to lift the trophy, with the Merseysiders 19/20 to triumph in 90 minutes.

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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.

Poch plays down Alli’s absence

Tottenham boss Mauricio Pochettino is confident about the chances of Dele Alli being able to play in next month's Champions League final against Liverpool.

The England international had to be substituted at half time on Sunday as Spurs drew 2-2 with Everton but Pochettino insists it was just a precaution.

Pochettino said: "He didn't start in the warm-up, he was feeling strange and then his performance was very poor in the first half because he couldn't cope with the situation.

"So because of caution, he was out. I think it is not a problem. We need to assess him, but I think he was tired, but for the circumstance again we played with him.

"I think in a normal condition he was for sure not starting the game, but we started with him and, before that problem starts something, at half-time we made the change."

The 2-2 draw against the Toffees ensured that Spurs finished fourth, a fourth consecutive top-four Premier League finish for the club.

They face Liverpool in Madrid in the Champions League final on 1st June and are available at 6/4 to lift the trophy while they can be backed at 12/1 to win the 2019/20 Premier League title.

Vettel Helps Hamilton Seal Spanish Grand Prix Hat-Trick

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Spanish Grand Prix 2019

Mercedes’ perfect season continues. For the fifth race in a row, the two Silver Arrow drivers finished on the top two steps of the podium as they dominated the Spanish Grand Prix. This time, Lewis Hamilton took back top spot from team-mate Valtteri Bottas to pick up his third win of the season.

Meanwhile, there’s even more trouble for Ferrari. After all their scheming to upgrade their engine a couple of races earlier in Spain, the Prancing Horse were once again woefully off the pace in Barcelona as they failed to even grab a podium finish.

Ferrari’s loss was Red Bull’s gain as Max Verstappen stepped in to score his second top-three finish of the season.

Highlights of the game

Spanish Grand Prix featured a fierce battle between Valtteri Bottas, Lewis Hamilton and Sebastian Vettel

Valtteri Bottas, Lewis Hamilton and Sebastian Vettel in action at the start of the Spanish Grand Prix

For the third race in a row, Bottas got the better of Hamilton in qualifying. The Finn was unable to make that advantage count in China, where Hamilton quickly overtook him and strolled to a win. But Bottas was able to hold off his team-mate to get the impressive win in Azerbaijan.

But unfortunately for Bottas, Hamilton did a repeat of Shanghai in Spain as he once again started well and took over the race lead within the first lap.

Although, Hamilton did have some help from Sebastian Vettel. The Ferrari driver immediately produced Spanish Grand Prix 2019 highlights as tried to overtake Bottas on the outside heading into the first corner.

But in doing so, he gave Hamilton the opportunity to sneak up on his team-mate on the other side, which the defending champion took. After the race, Vettel himself owned up to the fact that he did Hamilton “a favour” with his move on Bottas.

Once ahead, it didn’t take Hamilton long to build his advantage over Bottas and the rest of the field.

Meanwhile, not only did Vettel fail to overtake the Mercedes, but he also dropped from third to fourth as Max Verstappen edged out in front. Vettel also picked up a flat spot on his tyre after going through the side of the road during his attempted overtake.

With Vettel struggling for pace due to his tyre problem, he began defending his fourth place from Charles Leclerc, who looked the faster of the two Ferraris. But with the German keeping his team-mate up, Verstappen was able to build his lead for third.

In lap 13, though, Ferrari finally ordered Vettel to let Leclerc through, which is a reversal from previous team orders this season. But despite being let through, Leclerc was unable to make up significant ground on Verstappen.

Vettel comes to pit and change tyres in lap 20, but a slow stop cost him some valuable places as he re-entered all the way down in tenth. Leclerc comes in six laps later as Ferrari are once again sloppy during the stop. And confusingly, Leclerc is on hard tyres as opposed to Vettel’s medium.

There are no such problems during Mercedes’ pit as both Hamilton and Bottas retain their one-two position after their first scheduled stops.

Thanks to his new tyres, Vettel finally begins to roll as he sets some fastest laps. And eventually, the team orders Leclerc to give way to the German once again. However, Vettel was also unable to gain enough ground on Verstappen in third.

Meanwhile, a safety car allows Hamilton to enter the pits and change his worn-out tyres. And once the race restarts, Hamilton bangs out some fastest laps as he just about secures victory.

Key Statistics

With the win, Hamilton has now won in Barcelona three years in a row, the first driver to do so since Michael Schumacher won four years on the bounce from 2001 to 2004.

Meanwhile, Mercedes have extended their record for most consecutive one-two finishes to start a season to five.

As for Ferrari, despite their recent impressive performances during pre-testing in Barcelona, they have now failed to finish in the top three in the race since 2017.

Max Verstappen, who started in fourth and finished in third, has kept up his impressive streak of not finishing lower than he started, which is now at 14 races.

What’s next?

Mercedes will now look to extend their amazing stretch of dominance this season in the Monaco Grand Prix on May 26. Given their incredible performance thus far, don’t be surprised to see the Spanish Grand Prix 2019 betting odds leaning heavily in the two Mercedes drivers’ favour once again.

Mercedes have won this race four out of the last six years, but only once by Hamilton. Nico Rosberg had a hat-trick of wins from 2013 to 2015.

Red Bull’s Daniel Ricciardo is the reigning champion at Monaco as he led from pole and fended off both Sebastian Vettel and Lewis Hamilton. Although, his us odds to repeat will likely be sky high as Mercedes continue to roll this season.

 

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Premier League: Spurs Find The Toffees A Little sticky!

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Tottenham Hotspur 2-2 Everton

Spurs and Everton played out an entertaining 2-2 draw in the final match of the league season, in front of 60,000 happy fans at the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium.

It was always going to be a challenge for Spurs, to come back to Premier League matters after their epic achievement in Amsterdam on Wednesday.

And Arsenal’s slip up against Brighton last weekend had already virtually confirmed the Whites’ top four place, bar a spectacular last day swing in goal difference. But then we have seen two remarkable turnarounds over the last few dramatic days.

Not today though as Spurs got the point they needed to make sure, while the final day Premier League 2019 results revealed that Arsenal won at Burnley, while the top of the table clash was finally decided as Manchester City won back-to-back titles.

Mauricio Pochettino’s team were pegged back after taking an early lead, as Everton struck twice in three minutes, but Christian Eriksen stepped up with a fine free kick to win a point.

Highlights of the game

You know what…if anyone thought Spurs would be tired they were in for a surprise, as the Whites went ahead while Everton was sleeping. As a corner swung in Yerry Mina fluffed his clearance and when the ball bounced off Fernando Llorente into the path of Eric Dier, the England man slammed the ball home.

For the visitors, Michael Keane had a header from a corner but Hugo Lloris gathered easily, and then when Theo Walcott found himself in space he stabbed the ball straight at the Spurs keeper.

Everton had a good spell around the half hour mark but Spurs held onto their lead. Christian Eriksen has consistently been their best midfielder during Pochettino’s tenure and he took control in the middle and then found Erik Lamela with a beautifully weighted pass. He pulled the ball back for Dele Alli but he fired wide.

us Premier League: Tottenham Hotspur will now focus on their Champions League clash

Erik Dier celebrates with Tottenham Hotspur after scoring a goal against Everton

Even though they went into the break behind the Toffees fans cheered as the news came that Manchester City had gone 1-2 ahead at Brighton.

In the second half Spurs did begin to flag and Everton should have been ahead on the hour, Cenk Tosun put Bernard through on goal but the Brazilian fired wide when he should have scored. But Spurs didn’t heed the warning and they were behind as the Toffees struck twice in three minutes.

First Gylfi Sigurdsson put Walcott through on the right, and the former Arsenal winger cut inside and slid his shot low into the corner. Then, minutes later, Keane met a Sigurdsson corner which Lloris parried but Tosun was first to the rebound.

Then Spurs awoke again and it was Eriksen who restored parity with a brilliant low free-kick which left Jordan Pickford scrabbling as the ball settled in the corner.

Key statistics

The pre-match Spurs vs Everton betting odds had the draw available at 3.15 and while the hosts enjoyed 55 per cent possession, the Toffees won the shot count 17 to 11, and had much the better of the second half.

That was the 20th Premier League draw between these two top flight stalwarts, but the Whites are now unbeaten in 13 league games against the Toffees.

First Half 1X2 Lazio @ 3.15 Atalanta Asian Handicap -0.25 @ 2.29 Over 2.75 @ 2.05 Third Line text CLICK HEREDisclaimer: Odds are correct at time of publish.Coppa Italia

 

And Christian Eriksen has scored in each of his last four league appearances against Everton; they must be getting a little tired of him!

What’s next?

That’s it for Marco Silva’s Everton for another season. Eighth place isn’t a bad return but the Toffees, from boardroom to fan, will expect more of their talented team and head coach next season. It won’t be easy to break into the top six and with Wolves making a strong debut season in the top flight, finishing seventh, Silva’s team must find a way of developing the consistency of the very top teams.

So with fourth place in the bag, finishing a point ahead of North London Rivals Arsenal, Pochettino’s team can prepare for its next huge challenge.

It’s time for all of us us Premier League fans to catch our breath and look forward to another great season not too far away. But Spurs fans all have the 1st June in their diary when their team heads to Madrid for the Champions League final.

Liverpool will be favourites, but could the weight of a tumultuous league campaign, which eventually fell agonisingly short, weigh heavily on the Reds’ shoulders?

Either way; it’s going to be a cracker…that’s for sure!

 

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Klopp hails “special” season

Jurgen Klopp said it had been a special season as his Liverpool side finished the Premier League campaign on 97 points but without the title.

The final day of the league season began with Manchester City top by a point from Liverpool and that is the way it ended with City recovering from going a goal down at Brighton to win 4-1.

Liverpool kept their hopes alive by beating Wolves 2-0 at Anfield but were powerless to influence events on the south coast, Pep Guardiola's side winning their 14th successive league game to finish on 98 points, one ahead of Liverpool.

Liverpool's 97 points was the third highest English top flight total in history but their wait for a first title since 1990 goes on.

They finished 25 points ahead of Chelsea who finished third, underlining the dominance of the top two throughout the campaign.

Klopp congratulated Manchester City afterwards and said he was proud of his team for making it such a thrilling title race.

He told the BBC: "It's clear we had to work hard and City too. Our target during the week was to get 97 points, we got that – that's special.

"The season is a very long, hard one. You have to deal with setbacks. We were always competitive. City got the points they have because we were there. They have 198 points in two years, that's special.

"We made such big steps. It's only the first step. Always after a good year we lost key players [in the past] but we won't [this time] so we'll be there again."

As Klopp mentioned in his post-match comments Liverpool do have the consolation of a Champions League final to look forward to and, after beating Barcelona in such memorable fashion in midweek, they will face Tottenham in Madrid on 1st June.

Liverpool are 19/20 to win with Spurs, who finished fourth in the Premier League, 14/5.

Liverpool are 3/1 to win the Premier League title next season with City 8/11 to make it three in a row.

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Pochettino calls for Spurs change

Tottenham boss Mauricio Pochettino says the club needs to implement changes if they are to challenge for titles in the future.

Spurs have done a remarkable job to finish in the Premier League's top four this season, while also securing a place in the Champions League final.

Pochettino feels his side have worked wonders to achieve what they have so far and, if they want these achievements to be a regular occurrence, then they must change the way the club runs.

"I know very well how this business works," Pochettino said. "And we know we need to operate in a different way – that doesn't mean to spend more or less money.

"But if we expect every season to be in the final of the Champions League, we need to create a plan. And the plan maybe is different to what has happened in the last five years.

"If we believe that if we operate in the same way that we have operated in the last five years we are going to be every season in the final of the Champions League, and in the top four and competing against projects like Liverpool or Manchester City or Manchester United, I think we are very naive," he said.

"If you want to expect the same from Liverpool, from Manchester City or Manchester United and Chelsea, and you put the same expectation on Tottenham, give me different tools to work."

Tottenham are 14/5 to win, 5/2 to draw and 19/20 to lose to Liverpool in the Champions League final on 1st June.

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Premier League: Super Spurs Return Home

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Tottenham Hotspur vs Everton

Well…what a week that was! The Champions League semi-finals erupted into life, first with Liverpool’s incredible comeback against Barcelona, then Spurs’ heroics in Amsterdam.

So the two Premier League giants will meet in the final of Europe’s major competition in Madrid, but only once domestic matters are over. Of course, Liverpool is in a final day shootout for the title with Manchester City but Premier League Spurs vs Everton will be more of a celebration than a battle.

The £1 billion Tottenham Hotspur Stadium will be bouncing, with fans welcoming their heroes home and hoping for a final league win, though not at the expense of more injuries! A draw will be enough to guarantee Spurs a top four finish for the fourth consecutive season.

Much of the pre-match Spurs vs Everton news is around the high profile absentees on both sides. But this will be a great game for the neutrals, as Everton is a side packed with talent and in good form. A top seven position is out of the Toffees’ reach though, so they can play without a care in the world.

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Talking Points

Spurs boss Mauricio Pochettino has a fine balancing act to perform. He needs to protect his best players, but at the same time keep the Spurs fans entertained; and third place is worth taking if they have the chance.

Lucas Moura scored a stunning second half hat-trick to fire Spurs to the Champions League final and leave the young Ajax team in despair, so the home fans will want to see him in action in the continued absence of the injured Harry Kane. And Poch will be without the excellent Heung-Min Son who starts a three match ban after his red card at Bournemouth last week.

Juan Foyth was also sent off in defeat to Eddie Howe’s Cherries and he’ll be missing from the Spurs defence, alongside Jan Vertonghen who picked up an ankle injury in the win over Ajax.

Spurs have looked tired in the latter stages of the Premier League run in, and these missing players might give Marco Silva’s Everton some hope.

Travel sick Toffees

The Toffees have come up with some superb results in recent weeks, not least the 4-0 destruction of Manchester United, and come into this game on the back of a comfortable home win over Burnley. But that victory against the granite hard Clarets came at a cost, as joint leading scorer Richarlison was substituted with a rib injury which will keep him out of this game. Gylfi Sigurdsson has scored 13 goals to match Richarlison and the Icelandic attacking midfielder is showing the form which persuaded Everton to bring him to Goodison Park. But Everton aren’t as good on the road, recently losing at Fulham and drawing at Crystal Palace last time they left Merseyside. And they arrive in North London with more injury worries.

Central midfielder Andre Gomes is reportedly set to move to Tottenham Hotspur next Premier League season

Central midfielder Andre Gomes is reportedly set to move to Tottenham Hotspur next Premier League season

Striker Dominic Calvert-Lewin joins Richarlison on the physio’s table after receiving a knock in training and that could mean a start for Turkish international Cenk Tosun. Full back Seamus Coleman is also doubtful; but midfielder Andre Gomes is set to return after suspension, though it could be his last game for Everton, as a move to Spurs has been rumoured in the Spanish press.

History

If we’re relying on past meetings to work out where the value in the Spurs vs Everton betting odds lay, then a home win will be a popular bet.

Spurs has won 25 of the 52 meetings in the Premier League era, with Everton winning eight and their have been 19 draws. In fact, the Whites are unbeaten in their last 12 Premier League games against Everton. In the last meeting, back in December, Spurs destroyed the Toffees at Goodison Park with a 2-6 score line which showcased Pochettino’s team at its attacking best. At that point, two days before Christmas, the Whites were still in the title chase; but they simply couldn’t keep pace with Liverpool and Manchester City in the New Year.

Christian Eriksen has scored in each of his last three league appearances against Everton, but he may have his work cut out on Sunday, as the Toffees have kept eight clean sheets in their last ten Premier League games.

Betting Tip

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Tottenham Hotspur vs Everton 2-3 Goals @ 1.92
May 12, 22:00 (GMT+8)

Spurs are the marginal favourites at us, with the latest odds on a home win at 2.23, while the draw is available at 3.15 and Everton at 3.30 to win.

So all three results are possible, and as there is no huge pressure on either side we should see a free flowing game. Marco Silva won’t want to see his team’s excellent defensive run end with an unnecessary crash though, while Mauricio Pochettino would love to see his side sign off with a victory.

I’m expecting a close game with Spurs possibly edging it.

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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Poch calls for final flourish

Mauricio Pochettino has urged his Tottenham stars to refocus on the Premier League as they look to secure a top-four finish.

Spurs head into the final day of the season off the back of a historic week which has seen them reach the Champions League final for the first time after coming from behind to beat Ajax in Amsterdam on Wednesday.

They now have European football's showpiece occasion to look forward to against Liverpool on 1st June but before that, they need to seal a top-four finish by avoiding defeat against Everton.

Spurs, 6/4 to win the Champions League, sit fourth in the table, three points clear of Arsenal with a superior goal difference but Pochettino is keen to ensure they do not let the unthinkable happen.

A Champions League place was his team's goal at the start of the season and they cannot overlook Sunday's fixture against a Toffees side who have lost just one of their last seven.

The Argentine coach acknowledges that Wednesday's exploits are likely to create a celebratory atmosphere at the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium but says there will be no excuses if his team fail in their primary objective.

"It's our responsibility to create the atmosphere of competition because Sunday is an important day for us," he said. "To be ready is our first priority. To finish in the right way, in front of our fans, is the most important thing now.

"We're in a good position, it's almost but it's not done. We need to take the game, be competitive with all energy and to finish in the right way will be a massive boost to prepare for the Champions League final against Liverpool in Madrid."

Tottenham are 6/5 to win on Sunday, with Everton 5/2 and the draw 5/2.

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Kane targets Madrid involvement

Star striker Harry Kane hopes to be fit in time to feature for Tottenham Hotspur in their Champions League final showdown with Liverpool in Madrid.

Kane has not featured for Spurs since suffering an ankle injury in the 1-0 win over Manchester City in the first leg of the Champions League quarter-final in early April, but now has an extra motivation to try and return to contention in the near future.

That comes thanks to a remarkable comeback against Ajax, with a second-half hat-trick from Lucas Moura helping the Londoners recover from a three-goal aggregate deficit to win 3-2 on the night in Amsterdam and progress by virtue of away goals.

Afterwards, an elated Kane said: "Rehab is going well. I started straight line running this week and I have to start training even harder to prove myself to the gaffer."

Meanwhile, Spurs head coach Mauricio Pochettino was gushing in his praise of his players, who set up an all-Premier League final in the most dramatic of circumstances.

He added: "I said before my players were heroes – now they are superheroes. The most important thing I want to say is congratulations to them.

"To go to the final is close to a miracle. Nobody believed in us in the beginning of the season, but we fully deserve to win tonight and to be there."

Tottenham are available at 6/4 to win the Champions League, with Liverpool priced at 1/2.

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