Daniel Sturridge

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Sturridge, Moreno to leave Liverpool; Jagielka departing Everton

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Liverpool has confirmed that striker Daniel Sturridge and defender Alberto Moreno will depart the club this summer at the expiration of their contracts, while Everton captain Phil Jagielka is also set to depart Merseyside after 12 years with the Toffees.

Both Liverpool had seen their playing time decrease over the past few seasons, as injuries and poor form took their toll.

Sturridge joined Liverpool in January of 2013 from Chelsea and made an immediate impact, scoring 10 goals in 14 games to finish the 2012/13 season before logging a massive 22 goals in 29 league appearances the following year. However, injury problems began to set in, and Sturridge struggled to find the field consistently from that point on, dealing with constant hip and hamstring issues. The England international topped the 20 appearance mark just once from 2014 on, seeing time in 18 Premier League matches in the most recent campaign, mostly as a substitute. The 29-year-old finishes his Reds career with 160 appearances across all competitions, scoring 68 goals and assisting 26 more.

Moreno, still just 26 years old, joined Liverpool from his boyhood club Sevilla in the summer of 2014 and was a first-team regular for two years, making 50 Premier League appearances in his first two seasons with the club, including 32 of them during Jurgen Klopp‘s first season with the club. He was replaced, however, by James Milner at left-back in the 2016/17 season and while he returned to first-team action to start the 2017/18 campaign, an ankle injury in December ended that run and he never regained his place in the side. The rise of Andy Robertson in the Liverpool squad confirmed Moreno’s status as a backup, and he made just two Premier League appearances last season.

“The most important words to say to these two remarkable players is ‘thank you’” said Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp. “They were here when I arrived as manager and during that period they – as much as anyone – helped to establish us as a team that would be heading in the right direction. Without them we wouldn’t be the team and club we are in this moment.”

Everton is also set to lose a longtime player as Phil Jagielka confirmed his departure. With the 36-year-old’s contract set to expire this summer and just seven Premier League appearances last season, he is set to leave the club he joined in 2007 from Sheffield United and captained for the last six seasons.

“All I can say is thanks to all the players I’ve played alongside, all the staff that have helped me in their own way, the chairman and of course the amazing fans,” Jagielka wrote on Instagram. “Wishing everyone associated with this special clubs the very best for the future!”

Jagielka accumulated 385 appearances for the club over his 12-year career, scoring 19 goals and assisting 11 more. He made at least 25 Premier League appearances in nine of his 12 seasons at the club, with his 2014/15 campaign amassing 37 appearances and four goals as Everton finished 10th, winning the club’s Goal of the Season award that year for an equalizing stoppage-time howitzer against derby rivals Liverpool. He won Premier League Player of the Month in February 2009 and was twice Everton’s Player of the Season.

How will Spurs, Liverpool line up for Champions League final?

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There are major selection decisions for both Mauricio Pochettino and Jurgen Klopp ahead of the UEFA Champions League final, as key players for Tottenham and Liverpool have returned to fitness ahead of this game.

Pochettino and Klopp will have a restless night…

The showpiece event in Madrid’s Wanda Metropolitano Stadium on Saturday sees two familiar Premier League foes collide as Liverpool beat Spurs 2-1 on both occasions in the PL this season.

Given those tactical battles, the second game closer than the first, it will be intriguing to see what formation and personnel both managers go with.

Here’s a look at the latest team news and projected lineups for the mammoth clash in the Spanish capital.


TOTTENHAM

—– Lloris —–

—- Trippier —- Alderweireld —- Vertonghen —- Rose —-

—– Winks —- Sissoko —–

—- Eriksen —- Alli —- Son —-

—– Kane —–


LIVERPOOL

—– Alisson —–

—- Alexander-Arnold —- Gomez —- Van Dijk —- Robertson —-

—– Henderson —- Fabinho —- Wijnaldum —–

—- Salah —- Firmino —- Mane —-


Analysis of team news, starting lineups

There is one name which has dominated the team news ahead of this game: Harry Kane. Will he start? Is he fit enough to only be on the bench? Do Tottenham risk the balance of their team if their leading goalscorer cannot drop deep and drag defenders into awkward pockets if he isn’t fully fit? Pochettino will have had sleepless nights figuring out if his star striker, who has been out since early April, should. Come straight back into the team for the biggest game in Spurs’ history. Tottenham’s manager knows it is a decision which will make or break not only the final but perhaps his entire career as a boss. This is massive.

The rest of Spurs’ lineup hardly picks itself as injuries have mounted up over the final months of the season. But Kieran Trippier, Toby Alderweireld and Jan Vertonghen will be at right back and at both center back spots respectively. The latter has recovered from injury, while Danny Rose has stepped in well for the injured Ben Davies at left back. Rose’s pace going forward may well force both Mohamed Salah and Trent Alexander-Arnold to be more defensive.

In midfield Moussa Sissoko will start alongside one of Eric Dier, Harry Winks or Victor Wanyama, and that is a huge call. Wanyama is a true destroyer and has shielded Spurs’ defense well against Liverpool in the past, while Dier is handy to have coming off the bench with his poise on the ball and flexibility to play as a center back, at full back or in midfield. Winks has the skill on the ball to dictate the tempo of the game, but he has been out with a recent injury. Up top Eriksen, Alli and Son will support either Moura and Kane, and at this point it would seem harsh for Moura to lose his spot in the starting lineup after his heroic second half hat trick at Ajax in the semifinal to get Spurs to Madrid. Pochettino’s decision to go with Kane or Moura up top from the start will render all of his other decisions as minor.

Liverpool’s potential starting lineup decisions are very easy for Klopp.

He really has only one dilemma: who starts alongside Virgil Van Dijk at center back?

Joe Gomez has shaken off the rust since returning from injury, but Joel Matip has been steady enough for most of the season and will likely get the nod, while Dejan Lovren has been the odd man out. Gomez would be my pick, but it would be harsh on Matip to leave him out. With Naby Keita out injured, it is between Fabinho and Milner for a spot alongside Henderson and Wijnaldum in midfield. With Roberto Firmino’s return to fitness, that means the likes of Daniel Sturridge, Divock Origi and Xherdan Shaqiri will have to be content with making a contribution off the bench if needed.

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. Plus, Aaron Ramsey has already signed for Juventus, so he’s not available to pick up on a free transfer.

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


Top 10 Premier League goals of the 2018-19 season

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The 2018/19 Premier League season has come to a conclusion, and what a thrill ride it was. Manchester City won the title on the last day of the season, but there was so much more that this campaign brought to the table.

What’s the one thing everyone wants to see when the season is over? The best goals of course! So here they are, the top 10 goals of the season, ranked. What do you think should be higher on the list, and what was left off?

10. Andre Schurrle vs. Burnley

It was a tough season for Fulham, but they will have the January Goal of the Month to savor. On-loan Andre Schurrle delivered a thrilling volley that opened the scoring for the Whites just two minutes into the match.

9. Gylfi Sigurdsson vs. Leicester City

It was a season of ups and downs for Everton, perfectly encapsulated by this looping strike from Gylfi Sigurdsson who blasted it from way outside the box and somehow got the ball to hook from top to bottom, burying into the upper-left corner giving the Toffees a lead on the road.

8. Daniel Sturridge vs. Chelsea

If you want a combination of great goal and big, late moment, this is the goal for you. With Liverpool looking to stay unbeaten in the seventh match of the season, Daniel Sturridge came through this this massive moment.

7. Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang vs. Leicester City

A wonderful team goal that featured 15 passes saw Arsenal through against Leicester City at the Emirates. Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang tapped home for one of his league-leading 22 on the season, but it was the buildup that made it so fantastic.

6. Mohamed Salah vs. Chelsea

An utterly sensational strike that put Liverpool 2-0 up on Chelsea and took out the frustration of a difficult three-month stretch for the Egyptian. It would be higher on this list if it weren’t for the huge amount of outrageous strikes this season. One thing is for sure…it’s better than the one he won the Puskas Award for!

5. Aaron Ramsey vs. Fulham

A backheel goal is fifth on the list? That’s how good the goals were this season. Ramsey had three different touches in the buildup all while sprinting two-thirds of the pitch to be in position at the end of make the final, brilliant touch.

4. Heung-Min Son vs. Chelsea

With an absolutely blistering run down the right-hand side, Heung-Min Son roasted multiple defenders before finding his way to the penalty spot and blasting a strike past Kepa Arrizabalaga to put Spurs 3-0 up over Chelsea in late November, securing a third successive win for Spurs.

3. Eden Hazard vs. West Ham

It’s looking like Eden Hazard will play his last game for Chelsea in the Europa League final this summer before moving to Real Madrid, but Blues fans will always have moments like this to savor from the Belgian’s time at Stamford Bridge. Hazard weaved and meandered through defenders leaving baffled Hammers players in his wake.

2. Andros Townsend vs. Manchester City

The unquestioned Goal of the Season for months before Vincent Kompany happened, Townsend’s strike was an absolute blast that featured just enough curl to find its way into the top corner from miles away. It left Man City stunned in a famous win over the eventual champions as part of their mid-season slump.

1. Vincent Kompany vs. Leicester City

Every kid dreams of this moment: your team struggling to put the ball in the back of the net, not much time on the clock, your title chase on the line. Vincent Kompany, Manchester City’s captain who had battled injuries and form to even find his way onto the field, blasted a howitzer to savor that not only inched Manchester City one win away from securing the Premier League title, but also left mouths agape all across the globe. A stunner that will be remembered for years to come – a goal that finds itself on par with Sergio Aguero’s last-gasp title winner in Manchester City lore.

Honorable mention: Anthony Knockaert vs. Crystal Palace, Fabian Schar vs. Burnley, Jean-Michael Seri vs. Burnley, Andre Schurrle vs. Cardiff City, Sergio Aguero vs. Chelsea.

Salah, Firmino ruled out due to injury

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Liverpool’s task against Barcelona just got even tougher.

Trailing 3-0 from the first leg of their UEFA Champions League semifinal at the Nou Camp, Jurgen Klopp will now be without Mohamed Salah and Roberto Firmino for the second leg at Anfield on Tuesday.

Salah suffered a heavy blow to the head which led to a concussion in the 3-2 win at Newcastle on Saturday, while Firmino suffered a reaction to a recent groin/thigh injury after coming on late against Barca last week.

“Two of the world’s best strikers are not available tomorrow night and we have to score four goals,” said Klopp. “It doesn’t make life easier but as long as we will try for 90 minutes to celebrate the Champions League campaign to give it a proper finish. That’s the plan. If we can do it, wonderful. If we can’t do it, let’s fail in the most beautiful way.”

Overhauling a 3-0 deficit is a long shot, especially without two key strikers, as Sadio Mane is set to be joined up top by two from Divock Origi, Daniel Sturridge or Xherdan Shaqiri. Origi, Shaqiri and Sturridge have all had their moments this season, but replacing Salah and Firmino is almost impossible.

The big question remains if either Salah or Firmino will be fit for the final day of the season on Sunday, as Liverpool host Wolves knowing a win could seal their first league title in 29 years.

Klopp revealed Salah could be fit for the season finale, as his concussion could be over in the next few days, but there is no chance he will be risked to play against Barcelona.

“It’s not good enough from a medical point of view,” Klopp said about Salah. “He is desperate to play but we cannot do it. It’s a concussion. That means he would not even be allowed to play.”