Player ratings: Manchester United vs. Liverpool

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Bitter rivals Manchester United and Liverpool shared the spoils at Old Trafford on Sunday in a 1-1 draw.

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Who stood out? Which star names had an off day?

 [ MORE: Klopp blasts “long ball” United ]  

Below we dish out marks out of 10 for the players from both teams.


Manchester United

David De Gea: 6 – Didn’t have much to do throughout but his distribution was sublime.

Antonio Valencia: 7 – Put in yet another solid shift at right back and clipped in a great ball for Zlatan’s goal.

Phil Jones: 5 – Looked uneasy on the ball when under pressure in the first half. Shaky.

Marcos Rojo: 6 – Very similar to Jones. He’s been solid in recent weeks and improve in second half.

Matteo Darmian: 6 – A few good surges forward and nullified the threat of Origi and Firmino out wide.

Michael Carrick: 5 – Never got a chance to dictate the tempo and had Adam Lallana to worry about. Hooked off at half time.

Ander Herrera: 6 – Spaniard locked down central midfield in the second half when Carrick went off.

Anthony Martial: 5 – Looked shaky in possession and never got at Alexander-Arnold. Subbed off.

Paul Pogba: 4 – Had a nightmare. Gave a PK away, missed a glorious chance and the day his Emoji was launched (the advertising boards during the game showed it) it was a day he will want to forget quickly.

Henrikh Mkhitaryan: 6 – Missed a glorious chance when through one-on-one in the first half but kept plugging away and made dangerous runs in-behind.

Zlatan Ibrahimovic: 7 – Tremendous finish for his goal and drilled a low free kick which Mignolet saved. 10 goals in his last 10 games for Zlatan.

Subs
Wayne Rooney on for Carrick in 45th minute: 6 – Clipped in a lovely cross in the move for the equalizer and made things happen.
Juan Mata on for Martial in 65th minute: 5 – Didn’t really impact the game.
Marouane Fellaini on for Darmian in 76th minute: 6 – His presence caused problems and his header hit the post in the lead up to Zlatan’s goal.


Liverpool

Simon Mignolet: 8 – Impressive display from the Belgian who denied Zlatan and Mkhitaryan in the first half. Couldn’t do much more with the goal.

Trent Alexander-Arnold: 6 – What a debut for the 18-year-old standing in for Clyne. Did little wrong but couldn’t get forward.

Dejan Lovren: 7 – Croatian center back caused problems in the box at the other end and was almost punished for a short back pass. Handled Zlatan fairly well.

Ragnar Klavan: 6 – A few shaky clearances but a solid enough display.

James Milner: 6 – Slotted home the penalty kick but had problems with the runs of Mkhitaryan and Valencia.

Emre Can: 6 – Was good in the first half but went missing in the second as United gathered steam.

Jordan Henderson: 6 – Same as above. English midfielder looked to tire as the game went on.

Georginio Wijnaldum: 6 – Popped up with a couple of decent efforts in the box but couldn’t get control of the game with Henderson and Can.

Adam Lallana: 7 – Tireless display from the playmaker. He stopped Carrick playing and kept probing late on.

Divock Origi: 5 – Kept giving the ball away and although his pace caused problems he rarely got involved.

Roberto Firmino: 6 – The Brazilian worked his socks off and put Rojo and Jones under pressure.

Subs
Coutinho on for Origi in 60th minute: 7 – Made a big difference when he came on, calmed Liverpool down considerably.

Alaves seeks new coach after Fernandez resigns

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MADRID (AP) Spanish club Alaves says coach Abelardo Fernandez has resigned.

Alaves says it was Fernandez’s decision to leave after leading the modest Basque Country team to an 11th-place finish in the Spanish league.

[ MORE: La Liga results, stats

Fernandez said in a news conference on Monday the club did everything it could to try to keep him, but he felt he “would not be at 100 percent next season” and decided it was best to resign.

Fernandez joined Alaves at the end of 2017, helping the team finish 14th in the league last season, comfortably escaping relegation.

The club had a surprising start to this season, being as high as second in the standings and remaining in the fight for the final Champions League place until about 10 rounds to go.

More AP soccer: https://apnews.com/apf-Soccer and https://twitter.com/AP-Sports

Transfer rumor roundup: Felix to Man United; Sane to Bayern

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The Premier League transfer window is officially open again and that means one thing: transfer reports are going to start kicking up a few notches.

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Here’s a look at some of the latest gossip from around the PL…


Benfica’s teenage superstar Joao Felix reportedly has a release clause of $130 million, and Manchester United are among the host of clubs ready to trigger it.

A report from the Daily Record says that United and Real Madrid are both ready to seal the deal for the 19-year-old attacking midfielder. Per the report United have opened talks with Benfica and their representatives were in Lisbon to see him play for the final time this season.

Felix has burst onto the scene in Europe this season and has helped Benfica win the Portuguese league title. His 20 goals and 11 assists in all competitions this season prove his pedigree, and United certainly need to rebuild their squad. Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has constantly spoken about adding young, hungry, talented players this summer, and Felix is touted as the best young playmaker in Europe right now.

This transfer deal would make Felix the most expensive signing in United and Premier League history, and it does make you wonder if a deal is being lined up to offload Paul Pogba to Real Madrid and replace him with Felix.


Manchester City are struggling to keep hold of one of their stars, as a report from the Daily Mirror says that Bayern Munich are increasingly confident of signing Leroy Sane this summer.

Sane, 23, has failed to agree a new contract at City despite being in talks with the club for 18 months and Pep Guardiola has admitted he could leave this summer in search of more game time. Raheem Sterling and Bernardo Silva are City’s main starters in the wide attacking midfield roles, which has meant Sane and Riyad Mahrez have had to fight for minutes off the bench and starts here and there during their historic 2018-19 season.

That has often led to Sane looking pretty unhappy on the sidelines, but when he has got the chance to play he has been pretty good with his best-ever season in terms of goals scored with 16 across all competitions. Coming off the back of his shock omission from Germany’s 2018 World Cup squad, Sane has bounced back well and scored a pivotal goal in Man City’s PL win against Liverpool and a stunning free kick late on against his old club Schalke in the UEFA Champions League Round of 16.

Sane moving to Bayern would make sense as legendary wingers Franck Ribery and Arjen Robben are moving on, with Serge Gnabry and Kingsley Coman set to take their mantle and any summer move for Callum Hudson-Odoi now in doubt after his serious injury. The German international has delivered in his three seasons at City, but Guardiola often seems enraged by his penchant for drifting inside with his runs and with the ball instead of staying wide on the touchline.

It seems like the stars are aligning for Sane to return to Germany and be a star at Bayern.

Out of contract Premier League Best XI

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With the 2018-19 season in the books, Premier League clubs are already turning their attention to next season.

Players are coming towards the end of their contracts, with the PL’s summer transfer now open which means some players can move on free transfers when their deals expire, usually on July 1.

Which players are available to pick up at the end of their deals on freebies?

There is always a lot of chatter at this time of the year about who will stay, which players have a one-year option to extend their deals, and which clubs also have that option. Olivier Giroud will stay at Chelsea for one more season, but he would have been the top striker available on a freebie this summer, while Ander Herrera is expected to sign for PSG after announcing he will leave Man United when his contract expires.

However, there is a lot of uncertainty surrounding several star names at some of the PL’s biggest clubs. If you are a newly promoted club (Norwich, Sheffield United and one of Aston Villa and Derby County) you are no doubt looking at this list of experienced PL players and getting pretty excited.

Take a look at our “Out of Contract Best XI” below, as several players have yet to agree new deals with their current clubs.


Premier League, Out of Contract Best XI – 4-4-2 formation

—– Michel Vorm —–

Danny SimpsonGary CahillPhil JagielkaNacho Monreal — 

Antonio ValenciaMohamed DiameJuan MataAlberto Moreno — 

—- Daniel Sturridge —- Fernando Llorente —- 

On the bench
Willy Caballero
Leighton Baines
Danny Williams
Ander Herrera (expected to join PSG on free transfer)
Samir Nasri
Bakary Sako
Andy Carroll


Mbappe to stay at Paris Saint-Germain

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It appears that one of the transfer sagas of the summer is over before it truly began.

Kylian Mbappe, 20, hinted at leaving Paris Saint-Germain this summer for “a new project” in another country during his acceptance speech after being crowned the Ligue 1 Player of the Year on Sunday.

He has since stood by those comments, telling French outlet L’Equipe: “When I say something, I mean it. I said it. If it is at PSG, that’s good, if it is elsewhere, it is elsewhere.”

With Real Madrid leading the long list of clubs hoping to sign the Frenchman, who arrived at PSG in the summer of 2017 on loan from Monaco and then the move was made permanent for a fee of $210 million. That makes Mbappe the second most-expensive player in history behind his PSG teammate Neymar.

But PSG aren’t having any of this departure talk from Mbappe. Nope. Nada.

The French champions released a statement on Tuesday dismissing Mbappe’s comments and drawing their line firmly in the sand.

“Very strong ties have united Paris Saint-Germain and Kylian Mbappe for two years and this story will continue together also next season. With the shared ambition to write the history of European football, in the year of the 50th anniversary of PSG,a long awaited moment to write together a big page in the history of our club and in which everyone will have to do his part, always giving value to the collective.”

So, Monsieur Mbappe, over to you…

At 20 years of age he has plenty of time to move to Spain or England in the future but there’s no doubting Mbappe’s quality to move on and be a star for Real Madrid, Barcelona, Man City, whoever he wants.

Those three are probably the only three clubs who can afford his transfer fee and wages combined, but his 32 Ligue 1 goals this season show his quality and we all saw how good he was for France at the 2018 World Cup last summer. Real need a new hero and if they offer Gareth Bale and a large chunk of cash to PSG for Mbappe, could Les Parisiens really turn that down?

After all, PSG have Neymar and Edinson Cavani up front, so losing Mbappe would hardly hit them in terms of their attacking prowess. But Mbappe is a local kid who is the rising star in the game. Selling him before they’ve conquered the UEFA Champions League, their holy grail, would be unthinkable.

Mbappe’s comments suggest he isn’t totally happy at PSG, but unless Real Madrid put down an offer the French champs can’t refuse, he’s staying in the French capital.