• Join In The Chat! 

    Comment on the latest news or go to the Forums for some lively banter!

Apr 162021
 

The Argentine boss says he has no new updates to give regarding his future at Elland Road

Marcelo Bielsa has denied reports suggesting that he is close to signing a two-year contract extension at Leeds United.

Argentine publication La Nacion reported that Bielsa is on the verge of committing to a new deal that would see him remain at Elland Road until 2023.

However, the 65-year-old insisted that the “information is not real” at a press conference on Thursday, while also revealing that he will give an update on his future as soon as a final decision is made between him and the club.

What’s been said?

“That information is not real,” Bielsa told reporters ahead of Leeds’ Premier League meeting with Liverpool on Monday night. “I ignore the origin.

“Those things, either the club can say or I can say it, we are the ones who possess the information.

“In all cases, if there was any information to give, then I would give it.”

When does Bielsa’s current contract end?

Bielsa is edging towards the final two months of his current deal at Elland Road, and has previously stated that he will sit down with Leeds’ backroom staff to discuss his next move at the end of the season.

The Argentine tactician was in a similar situation last year, but signed a 12-month renewal one week before the start of the 2020-21 campaign.

What has Bielsa achieved at Leeds?

Bielsa inherited the managerial reins at Leeds in 2018, and guided the team to the Championship play-offs in his first full season, only to see them suffer a semi-final defeat to Derby County.

The Whites bounced back from that disappointment to gain automatic promotion to the Premier League as Championship winners last term, with Bielsa receiving much of the credit for ending the club’s 16-year exile from the top-flight.

The entertaining style of play that has been a staple of his time in Yorkshire has also proved successful in the Premier League, with Leeds currently pushing for a top 10 finish with just seven matches left to play.

What else did Bielsa say?

Leeds will be aiming to pick up a fourth successive victory in the top-flight for the first time in 20 years when Liverpool arrive at Elland Road next week, having upset current league leaders Manchester City last time out.

Bielsa has played down the significance of that potential milestone, though, as he added: “I have always said that the dimension of the institution at Leeds is very big. The sporting past of Leeds is full of very high points.

“To win four games in a row in the Premier League compared to all the things that Leeds have achieved, of course it will give us great happiness, but if you compare it to all the things Leeds have achieved in their sporting history, it’s not so big.

“To be able to be at the height of some of their past successes, some extraordinary things need to be done and we are quite far away from being there.”

Further reading

Apr 152021
 

The 28-year-old has been in fine form since making the move on loan to West Ham and a number of clubs have already enquired about his availability

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has said Jesse Lingard will be welcomed back to Manchester United this summer but Goal can confirm the England international is undecided whether he wants to return.

Lingard has been in remarkable form for West Ham since signing on loan for David Moyes’ side in the January transfer window, and has scored eight goals in nine games.

He has helped to push the Hammers into the Premier League’s top four, and has earned a recall to the England squad after impressing since being able to play regularly again.

What has been said?

“Jesse has been brilliant since he left,” said Solskjaer ahead of United’s Europa League clash against Granada on Thursday.

“Selfishly, we could have kept him because he’s always got a part to play. Jesse is a fantastic lad around the place, he’s Man Utd through and through, and never once did he moan or cause me a problem. He just came in and worked really hard and he deserved a chance to play more football, that’s why we let him go to West Ham because he deserved a chance for what’s he’s done throughout his life for Man Utd.

“We will welcome him back. I hope he’ll go to the Euros with his performances now and the confidence he has got, I don’t think that’s beyond him, and I hope he has a strong finish to the league.

“Then, it was different here because Bruno [Fernandes] the form he has shown and he played arguably in Jesse’s favoured position and that was just a decision we made. I’m delighted for Jesse and wish him all the best for the rest of the season until he comes back.”

What are Lingard’s options?

Goal has learned that his form has prompted enquiries from a number of clubs both in the Premier League and abroad, including West Ham who are keen to keep the 28-year-old on a permanent basis. Ideally, Lingard would like to play for a Champions League club.

While it is believed he has not made a decision on where he wants to play, if he was to return to Old Trafford he would want to be assured of receiving more minutes than he played this season under Solskjaer. Lingard had not started in the Premier League until he moved to West Ham and made just three appearances across the FA Cup and League Cup, with Fernandes favoured in front of him.

It is understood his representatives are against him being used as a bargaining chip in any potential deal for Declan Rice should he decide to stay with the Hammers. The West Ham midfielder is a player who United have monitored but no formal discussions have been had over a transfer.

What has Lingard’s form been like?

Since making the move to West Ham in January, Lingard has netted eight league goals in nine appearances and has pushed his way back into the England fold where he impressed again.

His eight goals put him joint 20th in terms of top goalscorers in the Premier League this season, despite having only started a handful of games. He is averaging 0.90 league goals every 90 minutes and, since he joined West Ham, he is leading the table when it comes to goal involvements with eight scored and three assists provided.

Further Reading

Apr 142021
 

An England international on the books at Old Trafford is not convinced that he deserves to be compared with a Real Madrid and Brazil icon

Manchester United defender Luke Shaw has laughed off the ‘Shawberto Carlos’ nickname bestowed upon him by Red Devils supporters, with the England international reluctant to place himself in a talent bracket alongside a Real Madrid and Brazil icon.

The 25-year-old’s efforts in the 2020-21 campaign have seen him likened to World Cup winner Roberto Carlos by a loyal fan base at Old Trafford.

Shaw has been catching the eye, earning Player of the Month prizes and a recall to the Three Lions fold, but acknowledges that he is some way off earning a standing alongside an all-time great on the left-back roll of honour.

What has been said?

Responding to his new nickname during a Q&A on United’s official website, Shaw said: “I’ll be honest, I’ve seen some things on it on social media and sometimes in my group chats my mates send me some stuff and I just laugh about it!

“I can’t be compared to him, he was unbelievable!

“I’m aware of it and it’s nice to be even mentioned alongside his name, but I just laugh about it!”

Who did Shaw look up to?

Carlos was an obvious role model for Shaw growing up, with the South American superstar raising the bar for all left-backs that have trodden a similar path.

His left foot was a dangerous weapon in the final third, with a reputation established for producing spectacular strikes from crazy angles and dead-ball situations.

Shaw is, however, prepared to admit that he looked a little closer to home for inspiration when carving out his own career.

Ex-Arsenal and Chelsea star Ashley Cole is another to have earned the moniker of ‘best left-back on the planet’, with a man who earned 107 caps for England showing a new generation what can be achieved in what has not always been the most glamorous of positions.

Shaw added on his idols: “I think, looking back at when I was growing up and my sort of era, and watching him a lot and basing my game a lot on him and what I wanted to be like as a player, then I would have to say Ashley Cole [was the best].

“I’ve always been a massive fan of him and thought, when I was growing up, he was one of the best left-backs at that time.

“For me, as an all-round full-back he was one of the best I’ve ever seen with attacking and defending, so I’d say Ashley Cole.”

Further reading

Apr 132021
 

Thomas Tuchel’s side blew away Crystal Palace in their latest Premier League game, with a promising trident established in the final third

Mason Mount is excited by the potential of Chelsea’s new-look front three, with the England international thriving for the Blues alongside Christian Pulisic and Kai Havertz.

The young trio helped the Blues to a crushing 4-1 win over Crystal Palace last time out, with Pulisic and Havertz among the goals as Mount was named Man of the Match.

Thomas Tuchel may have stumbled upon an attacking trident that can go on to rival those elsewhere, such as at Liverpool, with the early indications being a system favouring energetic playmakers and a false nine is the way forward.

What has been said?

Mount told Chelsea’s official website of working alongside USMNT star Pulisic and Germany international Havertz: “I don’t think it has come together like that since our first game together.

“It was always coming; it was always brewing. We started off very sharp. At the top of the pitch our combinations were good, we were creating chances and we took them. That’s something we probably haven’t been doing as much recently.

“We know we have a lot of quality in the team. When we’re on it and we’re creating chances we can score a lot of goals. It hadn’t happened like that but it has now and that’s great for us.

“We came into the game with a lot of confidence after Porto knowing what we can do. As a team we felt very strong. We know what is on the line. We’re still in three competitions so every game is so important.

Has Tuchel got Chelsea firing?

The Blues’ German boss has suffered just one defeat in his Stamford Bridge reign so far. The perfect response to a shock 5-2 setback against West Brom was offered at Selhurst Park, as Chelsea built on their positive Champions Leaue quarter-final outing against Porto.

Havertz starred against the Eagles as he netted one and made another, and the 21-year-old is finally starting to justify the faith that saw £70 million ($96m) invested in his potential.

Mount said: “Him in the box is very dangerous. He opened up on his left [against Palace] and tucked it into the far corner, and that’s what we see in training. It was a brilliant finish and I’m very happy for him.”

Chelsea have a return date with Porto on Tuesday, in a contest that they currently lead 2-0, before taking on Manchester City in the FA Cup semi-finals on Saturday.

Further reading

Apr 122021
 

16′ United have everyone back behind the ball defending now, they are having to soak up a lot of Arsenal pressure, as the visitors continue to push forward.

14′ The hosts are playing well so far, but whenever Arsenal up their game and pick up the pace, they seem to be getting caught out at the back.

12′ Sheffield United are unbeaten in all four home Premier League matches against Arsenal (W2 D2), winning their last two 1-0 in 2006-07 and 2019-20.

10′ CLOSE! United work the ball into the final third and Arsenal fail to clear the danger, despite having more numbers back. It then falls to Osborn, who spots the run of McGoldrick in between Mari and Xhaka and the winger finds him. The striker takes a touch and then fires an effort towards the bottom right corner of the net. However, it flies just wide of the post.

8′ Good move by Arsenal! They work it well down the right wing and Saka gets forward, drilling a low ball into the box towards Lacazette. However, Ampadu gets across brilliantly and makes the block.

7′ Let off for Stevens! Holding chips a ball over the top of the United defence and Stevens fails to deal with it, which allows Pepe to sneak in. However, as he cuts inside, he slips and then the flag goes up for offside.

6′ It is all Arsenal in the opening few minutes of the game, with Sheffield United struggling to get a touch on the ball early on, just sitting deep and soaking up the pressure.

4′ Arsenal are lining up in a bit of a different formation than expected, with Saka expected to play at left-back, but it looks like Xhaka is taking that role, with Saka playing just behind Lacazette up front.

2′ CLOSE! Martinelli finds space in front of goal and then slips the ball through to Saka to his left and he then smashes a powerful strike towards the near post. However, he puts too much on it and it flies narrowly over the crossbar. Not too far away at all.

1′ We’re under way!

The teams are out on the pitch and kick off is just a few minutes away, stay tuned for all the match action!

Meanwhile Mikel Arteta has made five changes to his starting line-up, with Bellerin, Gabriel, Cedric, Rowe and Willian missing from the side that drew in the Europa League in midweek. Chambers, Mari, Pepe, Ceballos and Martinelli all come into the team.

The hosts have made three changes to their side, with Jagielka, Bogle and McBurnie all dropping to the bench and they have been replaced by Ampadu, Egan and Burke.

ARSENAL (4-2-3-1): Bernd Leno; Calum Chambers, Rob Holding, Pablo Mari, Bukayo Saka; Granit Xhaka, Thomas Partey; Nicolas Pepe, Dani Ceballos, Gabriel Martinelli; Alexandre Lacazette.

ARSENAL (4-2-3-1): Bernd Leno; Calum Chambers, Rob Holding, Pablo Mari, Bukayo Saka; Granit Xhaka, Thomas Partey; Nicolas Pepe, Dani Ceballos, Gabriel Martinelli; Alexandre Lacazette.

SHEFFIELD UTD SUBS: Jayden Bogle, Oliver McBurnie, Rhian Brewster, Kean Bryan, Wes Foderingham, Lys Mousset, Phil Jagielka, Max Lowe, Iliman Ndiaye.

SHEFFIELD UTD (3-5-2): Aaron Ramsdale; John Egan, Ethan Ampadu, Enda Stevens; George Baldock, Oliver Norwood, John Lundstram, John Fleck, Ben Osborn; David McGoldrick, Oliver Burke.

The visitors are also without a win in their last four games in all competitions, as they suffered a 3-0 defeat against Liverpool last weekend, to sit 11th in the table and then drew 1-1 with Slavia Prague on Thursday in the Europa League.

Sheffield United have lost three consecutive Premier League defeats and they’ve been knocked out of the FA Cup by Chelsea. Relegation to the Championship almost looks inevitable, with just 14 points to their name this season and only eight games left to play. They suffered a 2-1 defeat against Leeds United last time out.

Hello and welcome to our LIVE match commentary of the Premier League clash between Sheffield United and Arsenal at Brammall Lane.

Apr 112021
 

H. Ziyech

M. Kovačić

Chelsea

83′ Another change for the visitors with Hakim Ziyech replacing Kovacic.

80′ Any hopes of a Palace fightback have surely been shot as Chelsea restore their three-goal buffer. This will provide the Blues with a timely momentum booster ahead of hosting Porto in their Champions League quarter-final second leg on Tuesday.

C. Pulisic

Goal

Chelsea

78′ PULISIC!!! 4-1 CHELSEA! And surely, the three points are in the bag! Another lovely move by the Blues sees the American international meet James’ deflected cross at the far post, before applying the finishing touch.

A. Townsend

J. Ayew

Crystal Palace

76′ Meanwhile, Andros Townsend enters the action for Palace, with Ayew making way.

R. James

C. Hudson-Odoi

Chelsea

76′ Activity on both benches. Chelsea introduce Reece James in favour of Hudson-Odoi.

75′ Mount tries his luck again following a neat move by the visitors. This time from distance, but his effort is always rising.

72′ Good block! A long ball forward sends Mount on his way. The England international unleashes a fierce drive, but Palace throw bodies in the way to deny him.

70′ We are into the final 20 minutes at Selhurst Park. Chelsea still hold a two-goal advantage, but Palace are not out of this yet. We are in for an exciting finish here.

68′ Good save! Guaita to Palace’s rescue once more. A neat move from Chelsea results in Havertz going through. He shoots early, but Guaita is equal to it.

67′ Benteke has now been directly involved in nine goals in his last 11 Premier League appearances against Chelsea; scoring seven and assisting two.

65′ That was Benteke’s first goal at Selhurst Park since finding the net against Chelsea last July. It also takes his Premier League tally for the campaign to six.

J. Schlupp

Assist

Crystal Palace

63′ Schlupp was the provider with a magnificent cross for Benteke to attack.

C. Benteke

Goal

Crystal Palace

63′ BENTEKE!!! 3-1! Hope for Palace! A brilliant move from the hosts results in Benteke powerfully heading home from Schlupp’s inviting cross.

N. Kanté

Jorginho

Chelsea

61′ Chelsea also turn to the bench with N’Golo Kante replacing Jorginho.

J. McCarthy

J. Riedewald

Crystal Palace

59′ Riedewald also makes way for the hosts, with James McCarthy coming on in his place.

J. Schlupp

E. Eze

Crystal Palace

59′ Palace make a double-change. The first sees Eze make way for Jeffrey Schlupp.

57′ Havertz is hitting form at just the right time for Chelsea. With a Champions League quarter-final and FA Cup semi-final on the horizon, Tuchel will hope his compatriot can be a key player for the Blues.

55′ A nice flowing move from Chelsea culminates in Havertz meeting Hudson-Odoi’s cross, but Kouyate does just about enough to put him off.

53′ Palace have looked more threatening during the early stages of this second half. You feel the Eagles must capitalise on every opportunity that falls their way if they are to get anything out of this game.

51′ You must go back to October 2017 for Palace’s last victory over Chelsea in the Premier League. That came courtesy of a 2-1 success at Selhurst Park.

49′ Of course, Chilwell was on target in Chelsea’s win over Porto in midweek, and he would have been looking to do a lot better from that position there.

47′ The Blues threaten early on with Chilwell leading the charge. The England left-back cuts inside onto his right foot, before fires a shot wide of the far post.

46′ Chelsea get the ball rolling in the second half.

Palace have been completely outclassed so far and need a response after the break. The next goal could be crucial in this contest, and it could spark the Eagles into life should they get it.

Goals from Kai Havertz, Christian Pulisic and Kurt Zouma have given Chelsea a commanding 3-0 lead at Selhurst Park. It has been a dominant performance from the Blues, who could have pulled further ahead but for good goalkeeping from Vicente Guaita.

45′ + 2′ HALF-TIME: CRYSTAL PALACE 0-3 CHELSEA

45′ We are going to have a single minute of stoppage time at the end of this first half.

42′ At the other end, Ayew looks to make something happen for Palace. But Azpilicueta reads the situation well with the Chelsea skipper showing good strength to see the ball behind for a goal kick.

40′ Chelsea going through the motions as we enter the last five minutes of the first half. They seem quite satisfied to see their three-goal lead through to half-time, and who can blame them?

38′ Mr Oliver choosing to keep his cards in his pocket on that occasion, but he has not been afraid to brandish them in recent times. In fact, he has shown 15 yellow cards in the last four matches he has officiated, while he recently sent off Tottenham’s Erik Lamela against Arsenal.

36′ A brief altercation breaks out between Mount and Zaha in the centre of the field. However, the situation is quickly defused with both players receiving a stern telling from Mr Oliver.

34′ OFF THE LINE! Almost another for Zouma, who rises to powerfully head a corner towards goal. But Van Aanholt is well-placed on the line to deny his former club.

33′ GOOD REFLEXES! But for Guaita, this could be a lot worse for Palace. Mount exchanges passes with Hudson-Odoi before unleashing a powerful strike that the goalkeeper just about manages to block.

32′ The highest-scoring defender in the Premier League, Zouma now has five goals this season in the English top-flight.

M. Mount

Assist

Chelsea

30′ Mount was the provider with a delightful free-kick delivery that was begging to be attacked.

K. Zouma

Goal

Chelsea

30′ ZOUMA!!! 3-0 CHELSEA! The Blues have a third and Zouma gets in on the act! The centre-half climbs to meet Mount’s deep free-kick and plant a firm header beyond the powerless Guaita.

C. Kouyaté

Yellow Card

Crystal Palace

29′ Kouyate is booked after taking out Chilwell, who was threatening to break away on the counter.

26′ Can Palace hang on? Chelsea have forced another corner and are not looking like slowing down in their quest to kill this game off. The hosts must maintain their concentration levels.

24′ It may have taken Havertz a while to settle since his move to Chelsea, but he certainly appears to have found his feet here. But for Guaita’s intervention, he would have doubled his tally in this game.

22′ Good save! That was brilliant from Havertz! Latching onto a lofted ball forward, the German flicks it over the head of Van Aanholt before Guaita somehow keeps out his volley. What a goal that would have been.

20′ It already looks like a long way back for Palace as the Blues continue to dominate proceedings and push for more goals.

18′ Meanwhile, Chelsea arrived on the back of six consecutive Premier League victories over Palace – their best winning league run in this fixture. Already, it appears that span will continue today.

16′ Coming into this game, Palace were looking to record a fourth successive clean sheet at home in the Premier League for the first time. But the events of the opening 15 minutes here have quickly put paid to that.

14′ These are potentially exciting times for Chelsea. Well in the hunt for a top-four finish, the Blues hold a 2-0 lead ahead of facing Porto in their Champions League quarter-final second leg on Tuesday. Four days later, they take on Manchester City in the FA Cup semi-finals. Should results go their way, Tuchel will have a great chance of landing his first silverware at Stamford Bridge.

12′ Two goals in quick succession mean Palace already have a mountain to climb at Selhurst Park. But take nothing away from Chelsea, who have been ruthless during these early stages.

K. Havertz

Assist

Chelsea

10′ Havertz showed good awareness to pick out Pulisic, who doubles Chelsea’s lead in no time at all.

C. Pulisic

Goal

Chelsea

10′ PULISIC!!! 2-0! Chelsea are flying! Following a stunning move, Havertz turns provider by cutting the ball back to Pulisic, who takes a touch before ramming a ferocious shot past the helpless Guaita.

9′ The Blues’ dominant start is highlighted by the fact that they have enjoyed a whopping 86 per cent of possession so far at Selhurst Park.

C. Hudson-Odoi

Assist

Chelsea

8′ Hudson-Odoi fed the ball into the feet of Havertz, who did the rest in sublime fashion.

K. Havertz

Goal

Chelsea

8′ HAVERTZ!!! 1-0 CHELSEA! The Blues make their early pressure tell! Moments after Guaita does well to deny Pulisic from close range, he is unable to keep out Havertz. Receiving the ball in the box, the German international gets the ball onto his left foot, before neatly bending a shot into the far corner.

7′ Mount is one of Chelsea’s joint-top scorers in the Premier League this season with six goals. That tally is matched by Jorginho and Tammy Abraham.

5′ Another good move by the visitors with Hudson-Odoi cushioning Jorginho’s diagonal ball into the path of Mount, who is unable to keep his volley down.

3′ A positive start by Chelsea, who quickly take control of possession. A neat move down the right results in Van Aanholt doing well to block Hudson-Odoi’s cross.

1′ Referee Michael Oliver blows his whistle and Palace get the match underway.

The players are out and kick-off is imminent.

Can Thomas Tuchel become only the second Chelsea head coach to avoid defeat in each of his first six Premier League away games? The last Blues boss to achieve the feat Luiz Felipe Scolari in 2008.

As for Chelsea, Thomas Tuchel makes five changes from last weekend’s defeat by West Bromwich Albion. Kai Havertz starts in the false number nine role, while there are also recalls for Antonio Rudiger, Callum Hudson-Odoi, Ben Chilwell and Mason Mount. Timo Werner, Marcos Alonso, Reece James and Hakim Ziyech drop to the bench. Thiago Silva is suspended following his red card against the Baggies.

For the third match running, Roy Hodgson names an unchanged starting XI for Palace. James McCarthy is back on the bench following his return to full fitness, while 18-year-old Jesurun Rak-Sakyi is involved in a senior matchday squad for the first time. Michy Batshuayi is ineligible to face his parent club.

SUBS: Kepa Arrizabalaga, Marcos Alonso, N’Golo Kante, Tammy Abraham, Timo Werner, Olivier Giroud, Hakim Ziyech, Reece James, Emerson.

CHELSEA (3-4-3): Edouard Mendy; Cesar Azpilicueta, Kurt Zouma, Antonio Rudiger; Callum Hudson-Odoi, Jorginho, Mateo Kovacic, Ben Chilwell; Mason Mount, Kai Havertz, Christian Pulisic.

SUBS: Jack Butland, Scott Dann, Andros Townsend, Jean-Philippe Mateta, Jeffrey Schlupp, James McCarthy, Tyrick Mitchell, Martin Kelly, Jesurun Rak-Sakyi.

CRYSTAL PALACE (4-4-2): Vicente Guaita; Joel Ward, Cheikhou Kouyate, Patrick van Aanholt; Jordan Ayew, Luka Milivojevic, Jairo Riedewald, Eberechi Eze; Christian Benteke, Wilfried Zaha.

Chelsea can move into the top four with what would be a seventh consecutive league win over Palace, who will pass the 40-point mark should they take the spoils here.

Hello everyone and welcome to live text coverage of the Premier League match between Crystal Palace and Chelsea at Selhurst Park.

Apr 102021
 

The Reds legend admits a big-money addition in the middle of the park has struggled to prove his worth, with movement now possible in the summer

Exit talk around Naby Keita has been sparked after he lasted less than 45 minutes of Liverpool’s defeat to Real Madrid in the Champions League, with John Barnes admitting “things haven’t really worked out” for the Guinean midfielder.

Jurgen Klopp handed the 26-year-old a starting berth against Real, but withdrew the £50 million ($69m) signing  before the interval after seeing his side stumble out of the blocks in what would become a stinging 3-1 loss.

Keita has failed to live up to his price tag throughout struggles for form and fitness on Merseyside and it may be that the reigning Premier League champions look to cut their losses and move in a different direction when the next transfer window opens.

What has been said?

Reds legend Barnes, speaking in association with BonusCodeBets, told Goal: “I don’t know what his future holds at Liverpool because I’m not privy to discussions and how they feel about certain a player, but I do think that it’s fair to say that he’s been inconsistent.

“He’s played well at times, but he’s had quite a few injuries that’s meant that he’s not been given a sustained run in the team.

“I know he’s a good player but things haven’t really worked out. It’s important to say that this happens a lot for lots of different players – you can look at [Xherdan] Shaqiri, you can look at [Divock] Origi, you can look at a lot of players who’s been in the same situation.

“This is just the nature of modern football. Whereby players may cost a lot of money and have big reputations but yet, things don’t work out. So yes, it hasn’t worked out for him and it’ll be interesting to see what Liverpool decides to do.”  

Could Liverpool bring in another midfielder?

While questions are asked of Keita’s future, Liverpool are also preparing to bid farewell to Georginio Wijnaldum with the Netherlands international continuing to run his contract down towards free agency.

Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain is another midfielder who has struggled for regular game time season, with it possible that additions will now be sought in that area of the field.

Barnes added: “I think that’s fair to say. However, it’ll depend on who they lose and who comes in. Because of course players may go, but football clubs are always looking to strengthen anyway. 

“The thing about it is that every single year, this year’s a bit different because of the pandemic, but generally speaking teams always look to strengthen. Teams always sign four or five players and Liverpool aren’t going to be any different.  

“More importantly, depending on which players go, because of course he may look at Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain and squad players, Origi and people like that, who may go and they need to replace them because of course you do need a good solid squad. 

“It’s difficult to get a bigger squad if players don’t leave and what you’ll end up with is spend loads of money, have big wage bills, and 30-40 people in the squad. So I think it’s more important to see which players are going to leave, and then say, who we need to bring in to strengthen the squad.”

The bigger picture

Liverpool are expected to freshen up their ranks in the summer after finding the going tough in 2020-21.

The domestic crown has been ripped from their grasp, while there is no guarantee that elite European competition will be on the agenda for next season.

The Reds have it all to do against Real in the second leg of their continental clash while, ahead of a home date with Aston Villa on Saturday, Klopp’s side find themselves sat seventh in the Premier League table with eight games left.

Further reading

Apr 092021
 

The English midfielder hasn’t given up on being successful at Stamford Bridge despite not having played for the club since 2018

Danny Drinkwater says he’s targeting a return to Chelsea because he has “unfinished business” in west London, but has also admitted that his Blues career has been “nothing but frustrating” up to this point.

Drinkwater earned a £35 million ($48m) move to Chelsea from Leicester City in the summer of 2017, having established himself as one of the most consistent performers in the Premier League at the King Power Stadium.

The one-time England international has been unable to build on that reputation with the Blues, and now finds himself on loan at Turkish club Kasimpasa, but he hasn’t yet given up on making the grade at Stamford Bridge.

What’s been said?

“I want to continue with Chelsea. I feel like I have unfinished business with this club,” Drinkwater said during an interview with Hany Hathout on the Elmatch Program.

Asked if he believes he can rediscover his best form and force his way into Thomas Tuchel’s current Chelsea squad, the midfielder added: “I would like to think so. I don’t know if it is a good idea to go back to Chelsea and start declaring these things. I have got a long way to go.

“I have to try and start enjoying my football again because in this moment it has disappeared. I keep working hard, I keep grafting and I am doing the right things at the right times and I need to stay injury free and see where it takes me.

“It is a short career so I need to keep doing the right things and hope things turn around.”

Drinkwater’s record for Chelsea

Drinkwater has only featured in 23 games across all competitions for the Blues to date, with 22 of those coming in his first season for the club.

The 31-year-old hasn’t played for Chelsea since appearing in the 2018 Community Sheild final, and took in loan spells at Aston Villa and Burnley before joining Kasimpasa on a short-term deal in January.

Pressed on why he has struggled to make an impact at the Bridge, Drinkwater responded: “It was a big price tag at the time but I felt it was exciting. It was a new change, I felt I could play and show my worth. I just think it was a lack of chances.

“My time at Chelsea has been nothing but frustrating. It is a weird position that I am in. It is definitely different but I don’t think I am the first, nor will I be the last. This is part of football.”

How has Drinkwater performed at Kasimpasa?

Drinkwater has been able to build up some rhythm and regain match fitness during his time in Turkey, helping Kasimpasa move away from the Super Lig relegation zone in the process.

The former Leicester star has featured in seven games for the club to date, including their 1-1 draw with Denizlispor on Thursday.

Further reading

Apr 082021
 

The midfielder’s commitment to the club goes beyond his own life as he revealed just how much passion he has for Spurs

Eric Dier says he’s so committed to Tottenham that he’d like to someday have his ashes scattered at the club’s stadium.

Dier has been with Spurs since 2014, having been a regular for the club ever since making the move to London.

And he says that his commitment to the club goes far beyond his own playing career, and even his own life.

What did Dier have to say?

Dier joined Spurs from Sporting CP in 2014 and has since gone on to make 271 total appearances for the club in all competitions.

The 27-year-old midfielder signed a new contract with the club last summer, committing his future to Tottenham for four more years.

But Dier expects to remain loyal to Spurs far beyond those four years as he remains enamored with the club.

When asked by The Evening Standard where he’d like to be buried, he said: “I’d have my ashes scattered in Tottenham Hotspur Stadium.”

Dier’s love for tennis

Dier was born in England, but moved to Portugal at the age of seven, joining the Sporting CP academy soon after.

However, his childhood hero wasn’t any of England or Portugal’s footballing icons, but rather Spanish tennis player Rafael Nadal.

“Growing up, tennis was very big in my family and my brothers and I were huge Nadal fans,” he said.

“I never would have gone for tennis over football, though.”

Looking ahead

Dier has made 31 appearances for Spurs this season as the club looks to make one final surge up the Premier League table in the coming weeks.

Through 30 games, Spurs sit sixth, three points behind fourth-place West Ham and two points behind fifth-place Chelsea.

Next up for Dier and Co. is a clash with Manchester United this weekend, while the club also faces a Carabao Cup finale against Manchester City on April 25.

Further reading