Jordan Henderson

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Transfer needs for all 20 Premier League clubs

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Everyone could use a Harry Kane or N'Golo Kante, so we’ll try to avoid saying each side could improve at center midfield or striker unless it’s almost absolutely the *case.

[ ARSENAL-CHELSEA: 4 things | Player ratings ]

*Pretty much everyone really could use a striker. Apologies in advance.

Arsenal

Jack Wilshere‘s return to form and fitness helps their center midfield, but Arsene Wenger seemingly hasn’t found his answer in the middle of the park whether the addition of Mohamed Elneny in the past or Granit Xhaka this season. Laurent Koscielny‘s surprising recent struggles also show just how few answers the club has behind him at center back.

Bournemouth

Need to find that leading scorer either Jermain Defoe or Joshua King was supposed to be, or find the playmaker who puts them in position to start burying goals again.

Brighton and Hove Albion

Offensive players of any kind, as the league’s worst offense has allowed teams to focus on Pascal Gross.

Burnley

A versatile midfielder who can play centrally or on the left would solve multiple problems. Center back insurance would help, too.

Chelsea

Cheekily, we’d suggest bringing some of its many stars back from loan, as Kurt Zouma (Stoke) and Ruben Loftus-Cheek (Crystal Palace) have been mighty influential at their clubs. It’s more about personage than positions with Chelsea, as Alex Sandro of Juventus has been mentioned often. Will Ross Barkley change his mind about the Blues, or vice versa?

Crystal Palace

Still need an answer at striker behind Christian Benteke and Bakary Sako, and the injuries to Scott Dann and Jason Puncheon mean they could use help essentially everywhere.

Everton

The Toffees have made no secret of their need for a finishing center forward. No other team needs a positional upgrade more than Everton at CF.

Huddersfield Town

An upgrade at center back seems the prime need for David Wagner‘s men.

Leicester City

A center back to pair with Harry Maguire, and depth down the right side. Both become secondary to playmaker if Riyad Mahrez leaves the King Power Stadium.

Wes Morgan and Robert Huth (Photo by Michael Regan/Getty Images)

Liverpool

Virgil Van Dijk solves a lot, but the club could stand to upgrade the position beyond him and Joel Matip. Instead, Jurgen Klopp might buy more attackers. An alternative to Jordan Henderson would be nice, but would also be superfluous with Naby Keita arriving in the summer.

Manchester City

Center forward depth in the short-term with Gabriel Jesus injured, and left back cover might be on Guardiola’s mind. Another center back seems likely to arrive this month or this summer.

Manchester United

Jose Mourinho could add anywhere outside of goalkeeper and his attacking trident. Left back remains a priority, especially if he sells Luke Shaw.

Newcastle United

The Magpies need a more effective Premier League striker than Joselu or Dwight Gayle, an improved left back, and a box-to-box center midfielder. Rafa Benitez will reportedly hunt for a goalkeeper, too.

Southampton

Still need a center back, and it wouldn’t be a surprise to see Mauricio Pellegrino attempt to find a solution for any spot besides the one occupied by Oriol Romeu.

Stoke City

The Potters have allowed a league-worst 47 goals, and it’d be worse without Jack Butland. A left back is needed, as is either a defensive mid or right back depending on where they want to deploy Geoff Cameron (which means they also could use cover for both in case injury).

Swansea City

With a new manager you can pick a position, and Swans may want to improve it. The priority will be players who can produce goals, as Fernando Llorente and Gylfi Sigurdsson were not adequately replaced.

Tottenham Hotspur

Another winger? Spurs may have the least amount of needs in the league outside of Man City.

Watford

Full backs might be top of the list.

West Bromwich Albion

The Baggies have to find a better way to utilize big forward Salomon Rondon, who is quite gifted. Maybe it’s a partner striker, maybe a playmaker.

West Ham United

Up the middle, besides forward. The Hammers will look to address center back and center midfield. They are alright out wide and across the top.

Can Van Dijk at CB drastically improve Liverpool’s midfield?

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Virgil Van Dijk might just fix Liverpool.

Perhaps that’s what you’d expect from a $100 million man, but the 26-year-old center back is more than the simplicity of a massive buy.

[ MORE: VVD to the Reds ]

Van Dijk is the prototype to fix what ails Jurgen Klopp‘s Reds.

Liverpool’s defensive record has been much better of late, with the 3-3 draw versus Arsenal their first time allowing multiple goals in league play since Oct. 22 (The Reds went on to batter Swans 5-0 on Boxing Day).

And perhaps the knowledge that “VVD” was headed for Anfield is what kept Klopp’s composure in the face of that rough performance. Klopp is a man who likes to lean on his first choice center backs, and he hasn’t had a lot to like beyond Joel Matip (who’s battled injuries).

[ MORE: Matip with JPW ]

When Borussia Dortmund was functioning at its highest under Klopp, he was able to “set it and forget it” with Neven Subotic and Mats Hummels. Should Van Dijk quickly adapt to Anfield, there’s little question he has the capability to be as impactful on a set-up as Hummels.

Now Liverpool’s work isn’t done, and the club faces an interesting proposition: Van Dijk will be at his absolute best with improved center mids in front of him. Witness how the Dutchman found his next level when Oriol Romeu found his at Southampton, almost symbiotic.

This would be quickly amended should Liverpool convince RB Leipzig to let Naby Keita leave six months early to revolutionize the Reds’ midfield. Jordan Henderson has struggled for fitness and form, and could improve mightily with better center backs or a partner in the midfield. Emre Can, unlikely to stay beyond this season, also fits this in a micro sense.

Klopp will want to find an upgrade from Simon Mignolet and Loris Karius at goalkeeper at some point, and has to navigate the Philippe Coutinho situation in January, but the Reds can make a push higher into the Top Four with Keita or another improvement in front of Van Dijk.

Meta? Milner says Liverpool have to be “more boring”

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The Boring James Milner Twitter account might just implode after Liverpool’s veteran striker said his Reds need to be “more boring.”

The Reds let a 2-0 lead slip in less than five minutes and could only recover for a 3-3 draw at Arsenal on Friday. Milner subbed into the match after 10 minutes following an injury to Jordan Henderson, and said the exciting, flowing Liverpool could’ve used a dose of patience with the lead.

[ MORE: Recap | 3 things | Stars/duds ]

From Sky Sports:

“I think when you’re in position like that, at this level you’ve got to see the game out. You’ve got to be more boring. We were obviously very good going forward, but those are times in the game where you’ve got to tighten up for five minutes. All the goals were our fault and that’s something we need to learn from because it seems to be a theme for us this year.

There’s a debate when it comes to whether teams lose from eschewing the tactics that get them the lead, but Liverpool was befuddled in the five-minute span that started moments after they took a 2-0 lead. Perhaps Milner has a point.

The aforementioned Twitter account, of course, had some fun with that:

Arsenal 3-3 Liverpool: Thriller in London

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  • What in the world did we just see?
  • Reds dominate first 45
  • Coutinho, Salah open 2-0 lead
  • Arsenal answers with three between 53rd-58th 

The festive fixtures got a frenetic start, as Liverpool saved some blushes after allowing three goals in six minutes in a 3-3 draw with Arsenal at the Emirates Stadium on Friday.

Granit Xhaka, Alexis Sanchez, and Mesut Ozl scored to erase a 2-0 Liverpool lead produced by Mohamed Salah and Philippe Coutinho. Roberto Firmino later equalized for the Reds.

Liverpool will meet Christmas in third place, their 35 points one better than Arsenal (unless Burnley hangs a 15-goal win on Tottenham).

[ MORE: Watch full PL match replays ]

Jurgen Klopp last his captain Jordan Henderson after just 10 minutes, though he didn’t lose a ton when James Milner entered for the man with the band.

Soon after, our first real chance of the match: Mohamed Salah and Philippe Coutinho combining for the Brazilian to rip wide of the frame.

Petr Cech was back post to stop a point blank header from Roberto Firmino off another terrific cross from Andrew Robertson.

Coutinho went to the dirty places to male it 1-0, as Salah showed that fine form leads to luck. Following really nice rondo work off a throw-in, Coutinho’s lung-busting run led him into the six to a deflected Salah cross. The Brazilian nodded over Cech with a deft header.

Firmino curled a shot from inside the 18 over the bar and off the back stanchion as Liverpool asked most of the questions.

A slip allowed Salah to test Cech, and the Czech keeper made a save followed by a Mane flying volley over the goal.

[ MORE: Latest Premier League standings ]

[ MORE: Full lineups, stats, box score ]

An injured Nacho Monreal left the match at halftime for Arsenal.

Salah saw a trademarked long dribble end with another fine save by Cech, and Coutinho put an ensuing move wide of the frame.

Fittingly, the Egyptian made it 2-0 after the Reds found gaps in the Arsenal formation and Salah blasted a shot around a diving Cech.

Sanchez made it 2-1 within moments, though, as he ran in front of an awkward Joe Gomez to head a Hector Bellerin cross between the legs of Simon Mignolet. Don’t ignore the touch in traffic from Xhaka during the build-up.

Liverpool’s dominance was erased when Mignolet butchered his parry attempt of a rocket shot from Xhaka. 2-2.

(Insert TV pitchmaster’s voice) But wait, there’s more! Ozil worked a delightful 1-2 with Alexandre Lacazette to lift the Gunners from 0-2 to 3-2 within six minutes!

Klavan interceded to stop Lacazette’s shout at 4-2, but the Gunners had a corner. Ozil’s offering was headed clear for a counter attack.

The Reds leveled it at 3 with 20 minutes to go, as Cech could only get a hand to Firmino’s blast through traffic. Cech had otherwise been very good.

Premier League roundup: Big wins for Man Utd, Liverpool, Chelsea

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Well, that was quite a day in the Premier League.

Liverpool, Chelsea, and Manchester United picked up wins, with the Red Devils managing a 3-1 decision at Arsenal to put an exclamation point on the day’s results.

[ MORE: Gnabry’s terrific Bundesliga lob ]

Club debuts for Sam Allardyce and Alan Pardew were also part of the day, with the former enjoying his day more than the latter.

Chelsea 3-1 Newcastle United — RECAP

An early Dwight Gayle goal put the Magpies on top, but Chelsea came thundering back for a thoroughly comfortable remainder of the contest thanks to a pair of goals from Eden Hazard and another marker from Alvaro Morata.

Watford 1-1 Tottenham Hotspur  — RECAP

Christian Kabasele and Heung-Min Son traded first half goals at Vicarage Road, as Spurs failed to collect a win for the fourth-straight game (two draws).

Everton 2-0 Huddersfield  — RECAP

A sloppy first half from the Toffees in their first match with Sam Allardyce in the dugout changed after the half, as Gylfi Sigurdsson and Dominic Calvert-Lewin scored to move the Toffees up the table with a second consecutive win.

Leicester City 1-0 Burnley — RECAP

Riyad Mahrez, now bright blonde, sent a ball in from the left, and Demarai Gray was back post to tap in the rebound. That was the lone goal of an even match at King Power Stadium, as the Foxes kept up their fine turn of form under Claude Puel.

West Bromwich Albion 0-0 Crystal PalaceRECAP

Alan Pardew, in his West Brom bow, and Roy Hodgson collected a point each for their teams in a match with too few clear cut chances, though West Brom’s young Sam Field came close to scoring in a second-straight match.

Brighton and Hove Albion 1-5 Liverpool  — RECAP

Roberto Firmino scored twice and Liverpool ran rampant at the Amex Stadium, with a Jordan Henderson-conceded penalty the only away goal. Philippe Coutinho scooted a free kick under a wall, Emre Can headed home off a corner, and Shane Duffy had another own goal for the Gulls.

Stoke City 2-1 Swansea CityRECAP

Wilfried Bony scored for his old old club (Swansea) against his old club (Stoke), but Xherdan Shaqiri leveled for the Potters before the break. Soon after, Mame Biram Diouf was Johnny-on-the-spot to convert fine work from Ryan Shawcross and Peter Crouch.

Arsenal 1-3 Manchester UnitedRECAP

The Gunners had a load of the possession but a trio of defensive gaffes allowed United to punish the hosts. Jesse Lingard scored twice and Antonio Valencia also scored, while Alexandre Lacazette briefly had the score line 2-1.

Perhaps more importantly, Paul Pogba was sent off for a tackle on Hector Bellerin and will miss the Manchester Derby.