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Liverpool make their move for Oxlade-Chamberlain

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Liverpool are in talks with Arsenal to sign Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain.

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After Arsenal agreed a fee of $45 million with Chelsea on Tuesday for the 24-year-old it appears that the Ox prefers a move to Liverpool over Chelsea.

That has led Liverpool to step up their interest in Oxlade-Chamberlain and multiple reports state Jurgen Klopp‘s side have reached out to speak with the Gunners about agreeing a fee for the England international.

It is believe the Ox would prefer to play at Liverpool as they plan to use him in his preferred central role instead of at wing-back where Chelsea wanted him to play.

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As Nick Mendola pointed out late on Tuesday, the Ox may struggle to play in midfield at Liverpool with Emre Can, Jordan Henderson, Georginio Wijnaldum and Adam Lallana around.

That said, his versatility is a huge bonus for any manager with the Ox available to play at wing back, as an attacking winger or a central midfield player.

The fact that Oxlade-Chamberlain has selected Liverpool over Chelsea also seems to suggest that he fancies his chances of becoming a regular in Klopp’s side over Antonio Conte‘s midfield and he believes he can improve as a player under the German manager at Anfield.

However, with Naby Keita on the way next season for a club-record deal, plus the possibility of Philippe Coutinho sticking around, will Oxlade-Chamberlain really be better off for game time moving to Liverpool ahead of joining Chelsea or staying at Arsenal?

Only time will tell, but with the UEFA Champions League, Premier League and cup competitions, he will surely get plenty of time to impress this season.

Oxlade-Chamberlain axes Chelsea move, reportedly favors Liverpool

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Arsenal and Chelsea reportedly agreed a $52 million fee for Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain, only to see the player reject the idea of moving to Stamford Bridge.

The BBC’s David Ornstein says that Oxlade-Chamberlain learned that Chelsea would use him at wingback, not his preferred center mid, and pulled out of the deal.

[ MORE: Arsenal can find its fix quickly ]

Ornstein also says that Oxlade-Chamberlain prefers a move to Liverpool, and that the Reds bid for “The Ox” will be less than the fee agreed with Chelsea.

The 24-year-old Oxlade-Chamberlain is a product of the vaunted Southampton academy, and made his first 43 senior appearances for Saints before moving to Arsenal.

He has 198 appearances with 20 goals for Arsenal, but has been used in virtually every position by Arsene Wenger.

Oxlade-Chamberlain is also out of contract after the season, and several reports say he’s willing to play out his deal.

Couple things:

  1. So Oxlade-Chamberlain believed that Chelsea looked at N'Golo Kante, Tieumoue Bakayoko, Cesc Fabregas, and David Luiz, and figured he’d be in the mix to play centrally?
  2. Klopp either must believe Oxlade-Chamberlain can get over this central midfield preference, or that “The Ox” is worth taking minutes from Emre Can, Georginio Wijnaldum, and Adam Lallana.

PL Sunday preview: Liverpool host Arsenal; Chelsea vs. Everton

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Four games featuring four of last season’s top-five sides, as well as the no. 1 hopeful to join those very Premier League elites this season, will bring the third week of the 2017-18 season to a close on Sunday…

[ MORE: Saturday’s PL roundup — United keep 100% record; City win late ]

Chelsea vs. Everton — 8:30 a.m. ET, on CNBC and NBCSports.com

Chelsea are the defending PL champions, but also one of a handful of sides which appear to be far from finished with their transfer dealings as the deadline for the summer window looms large (Thursday), while Everton spent big (and early, and often) well before August arrived. Despite Chelsea’s 2-1 victory over Tottenham last weekend, Antonio Conte‘s Blues look far from settled ahead of Sunday’s visit by Ronald Koeman‘s Toffees.

Conte feels another central midfield is required to bolster his squad, as is fullback/wingback depth beyond starters Marcos Alonso and Victor Moses — only time will tell is Roman Abramovich grants his manager’s wishes during the final five days of the transfer window. Everton’s first two results — victory over Stoke City, and a 1-1 draw with Manchester City on Monday — were each achieved courtesy of goals scored by Wayne Rooney, who’s made the intended, immediate impact at the start of his second spell at the club. Chelsea won both PL meetings between the two sides last season, by a combined score of 8-0.

INJURIES: Chelsea — OUT: Eden Hazard (ankle), Gary Cahill (suspension) | Everton — OUT: Davy Klaassen (foot), Ross Barkley (hamstring), Morgan Schneiderlin (suspension), Ramiro Funes Mori (knee), Seamus Coleman (leg), James McCarthy (knee), Yannick Bolasie (knee); QUESTIONABLE: Sandro Ramirez (heel)

[ MORE: Mourinho’s moves pay off as United stay perfect ]

West Bromwich Albion vs. Stoke City — 8:30 a.m. ET, on NBC Sports Gold

Three sides entered this third weekend of the PL season with six points from their first two games. You might have guessed one of them — Manchester United — but probably not the other, at least not prior to the start of the season: Huddersfield (dropped points against Southampton on Saturday) and West Brom. The Baggies welcome Stoke to The Hawthorns on Sunday, as Tony Pulis looks to extended his unbeaten record against the Potters after winning four of his first five meetings with his former club. The arrival of 20-year-old Oliver Burke from RB Leipzig this week has Pulis believing his side, and his new signing, have only begun to scratch the surface.

“We’re really pleased to get him in – the lad has got a tremendous talent,” Pulis said. “He’s got a fantastic, raw ability but he has now also got the experience of going away from the comfort of his own area to a foreign country and experiencing life. He’s gained the experience of playing for a top club in the Bundesliga with top coaches. That will have broadened his horizons and been good for his development.”

INJURIES: West Brom — OUT: Hal Robson-Kanu (suspension); QUESTIONABLE: Jommy Evans (hamstring), Claudio Yacob (hamstring), Gareth McAuley (thigh) | Stoke — OUT: Ibrahim Afellay (knee); QUESTIONABLE: Xherdan Shaqiri (hamstring)

[ MORE: Bilic in trouble as West Ham fall to 3rd straight defeat ]

Liverpool vs. Arsenal — 11 a.m. ET, on NBCSN and NBCSports.com

The weekend’s marquee matchup pits a pair of teams, Liverpool and Arsenal, expected to finish the season fighting one another for a top-four finish and UEFA Champions League qualification. The theories go as follows: Liverpool could struggle to replicate last season’s fourth-place finish once the current campaign’s Champions League begins, while Arsenal will struggle to rebound from finishing fifth last season because their summer signings were massively impacted by the lack of CL football, not to mention they have the Europa League to slog into this time around.

Whether he stays or leaves for Barcelona, the next five days will signal the end of the Philippe Coutinho transfer saga (the star Brazilian will not be available for selection on Sunday). The ay Jurgen Klopp sees it, continuously competing in the CL is the only way for Liverpool to return to the very top of the game.

“It’s a big influence on the transfer market, especially if we do it more often,” he said. “If you talk to a player, they really often (mention it) … especially players we talk to because we don’t have to talk to players which are not better than our players because it’s difficult to find. Or even if you try to extend a contract with a player in the squad, ‘Yeah, I want to play Champions League’ and I always think, ‘It’s your job to do it with us together, so don’t ask that we do a job and you cannot play Champions League — do it with us together.'”

INJURIES: Liverpool — OUT: Philippe Coutinho (back), Adam Lallana (thigh), Nathaniel Clyne (hamstring), Mamadou Sakho (knee) | Arsenal — OUT: Santi Cazorla (achilles), Calum Chambers (groin), Jack Wilshere (fitness)

[ MORE: Spurs have a new right back on the way, for $30 million ]

Tottenham Hotspur vs. Burnley — 11 a.m. ET, on NBC Sports Gold

The only narrative you need to know — and the only one Tottenham hope to squash on Sunday — is Spurs’ dreadful record at Wembley, which is to serve as their home this season, since it was rebuilt and opened in 2007. In 11 games at England’s national stadium, Spurs have won just twice, and lost eight times. Last weekend’s loss to Chelsea ended Mauricio Pochettino‘s 19-game home unbeaten run (14 straight wins) which covered the entirety of the 2016-17 season, the club’s final campaign at White Hart Lane.

Of course, Spurs have rarely, if ever, faced an opponent the size of Burnley at Wembley. The step down in quality (all due respect to the Clarets) could be exactly what Spurs need to hush talk of the Wembley hex and send them into the international break with renewed confidence. Putting the month of August into the rearview mirror should also help Harry Kane, who’s yet to score a first-team goal for Spurs during the opening month of the season at any point in his career, after being held goal-less by Newcastle United and Chelsea.

INJURIES: Tottenham — OUT: Danny Rose (knee), Erik Lamela (hip) | Burnley — OUT: Jonathan Walters (ankle)

Premier League Preview: Liverpool vs. Crystal Palace

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  • Liverpool will still be without Philippe Coutinho due to a back injury.
  • Adam Lallana, Nathaniel Clyne also miss out, but Daniel Sturridge is fit.
  • Crystal Palace has won three-straight games against Liverpool in the Premier League.
  • Both teams have scored in each of the last 10 meetings in all competitions between Liverpool and Crystal Palace, averaging 3.9 goals per match.

For the second-consecutive week, Liverpool will have to play without Philippe Coutinho, who is still missing with a back injury.

However, that didn’t seem to be an issue last week against Watford as Liverpool scored three goals, but it was the leaky defense that allowed Watford to score three goals themselves. (Watch live at 10:00 a.m. ET Saturday on NBCSN and online via NBCSports.com).

[ FOLLOW: All of PST’s PL coverage ]

Crystal Palace meanwhile also allowed three goals last week but couldn’t score any of its own as it was humbled, 3-0 to Huddersfield. Crystal Palace’s squad is still struggling to adjust to manager Frank De Boer‘s free-flowing style of play and Wilfried Zaha will miss Saturday’s encounter.

But working in Crystal Palace’s favor is Christian Benteke and the club’s three straight wins over Liverpool. It will surely be an open and exciting match at Anfield.

What they’re saying

Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp on Crystal Palace: “We played Crystal Palace a few weeks ago. I’m not 100 per cent sure about the line-ups in that game, but Phil and Zaha were on the pitch and they will not be [this weekend]. I’m not sure if Adam played in this game, but that’s how it is…The only thing we know is it’s a tough game, probably both teams were not overly happy – we were not really disappointed about our first game, but it was how a first game can be, there are things to improve and it’s always like this, but even then we could’ve won which I think everybody knows.”

Crystal Palace manager Frank De Boer on his system of play: “I am not a manager who suddenly after a defeat decides to change things around and as I say I did see some very positive points so I am not going to change the system. We don’t need to use adapting to a change in style of our play as an excuse, it’s not so difficult and quite easy to play. The Premier League is so competitive that you have to work hard as a team to get a result because if you don’t you get punished. The players don’t want to use the new system as an excuse and I think everybody understands what we want but we have to execute it better.”

Prediction

Liverpool’s centerback pair of Joel Matip and Dejan Lovren looked better midweek in the UEFA Champions League against Hoffenheim, but it’s another challenge to face Benteke and a motivated Crystal Palace team. Still, the speed of thought and pace on the field of Mo Salah and Sadio Mane should prove to be the difference. Liverpool 3-2 Crystal Palace

LIVE – UEFA Champions League playoff: Liverpool face Hoffenheim

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Liverpool’s quest to reach the UEFA Champions League group stage for the first time since 2014 begins on Tuesday.

[ LIVE: Champions League scores

Jurgen Klopp‘s men travel to Germany to face Julien Nagelsmann’s Hoffenheim as the fourth-place teams from the Premier League and Bundesliga do battle over two legs for a spot in the UCL group stages.

With injuries to Adam Lallana and Daniel Sturridge, plus the Philippe Coutinho saga rumbling on, Klopp has plenty on his mind as Liverpool look to recover from their poor defensive display in their 3-3 draw at Watford on Saturday in their opening game of the Premier League season.

The second leg is at Anfield next Wednesday and Klopp and Co. will be hoping to have a healthy lead to take back to Merseyside with them. Upstarts Hoffenheim will be thinking otherwise with Sandro Wagner the main danger man for Liverpool to stop at the Rhein-Neckar-Arena.

Elsewhere Copenhagen head to Azerbaijan to play Qarabag, Sporting Lisbon host Steaua Bucharest, Swiss side Young Boys take on CSKA Moscow and Slavia Prague head to Nicosia, Cyprus to play APOEL.

Below is the full schedule for Tuesday’s games, which kick off at 2:45 p.m. ET unless otherwise stated, while you can click on the link above to follow live commentary on all five matches.


Tuesday’s UEFA Champions League playoff first legs

Hoffenheim vs. Liverpool
Qarabag vs. FC Copenhagen – 12 p.m. ET
APOEL vs. Slavia Prague
Sporting CP vs. Steaua Bucharest
BSC Young Boys vs. CSKA Moscow