Dejan Lovren

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Liverpool, Chelsea battle in UEFA Super Cup

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The Premier League takes a stranglehold of the latest UEFA competition as Champions League winners Liverpool meet Europa League title holders Chelsea in the Super Cup on Wednesday at 3:00 p.m. ET.

The matchup is the first between two Premier League clubs in the Super Cup, and represents the first time since 2013 that a Spanish side will not be competing.

The two clubs come into the matchup on very different ends of the spectrum. Liverpool obliterated Norwich City 4-1 in its Premier League opener, looking to kickstart a league campaign they hope will see them end up on top of Manchester City in the title race. Chelsea, meanwhile, was hammered 4-0 by Manchester United in Frank Lampard‘s competitive debut over the weekend, although Blues fans will be encouraged by the bright moments in the match as Chelsea struck the post twice and were only beaten against the run of play.

While history will see the first English Super Cup winner, they will also witness the first female referee in a major UEFA final as French official Stephanie Frappart will take charge of the match.

Liverpool has some key missing parts as goalkeeper Alisson who is out with a calf injury suffered in the Norwich win. They are also without defender Dejan Lovren who is officially ill, although his absence is due to his reported upcoming move to Roma. Jurgen Klopp will also have to decide whether to start Sadio Mane, who made the bench against Norwich City after en extended summer participating in the Africa Cup of Nations. European hero Divock Origi started in his place over the weekend, and he could be in contention to contribute to another European success.

The Blues, meanwhile, are hoping to have a key contributor back to full participation as N’Golo Kante could start after he was on the bench for the Manchester United loss. Kante’s ability to break up counter-attacks was sorely missed against the Red Devils, and while he could return to full fitness for the match, Lampard may also look to ease his star midfielder back in with a Premier League game against Leicester City coming up on Sunday. Antonio Rudiger is still injured, and Christian Pulisic could get a chance to start his first competitive match in Blue.

Report: Liverpool looking to offload Dejan Lovren

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According to a report by ESPN correspondent Melissa Reddy, Liverpool is in talks to sell defender Dejan Lovren to Serie A side Roma.

The club confirmed its 23-man squad for the UEFA Super Cup against Chelsea on Tuesday morning, and the 30-year-old Croatian was not among the group. The official release claims that Lovren is ill, but the ESPN report states the absence is due to an impending deal.

The report states that Roma is interested in a deal for around $18 million and that “positive negotiations” are under way. The club reportedly expects to recoup the entire $24 million fee paid to acquire Lovren from Southampton five years ago thanks to add-ons. His contract expires in the summer of 2021, having signed an extension in April of 2017.

Lovren saw his playing time sharply decline last season due to a combination of injury troubles and poor form, falling behind Joe Gomez and Joel Matip for a starting place alongside Virgil Van Dijk. Still, Lovren has been generally a regular in the squad since joining n the summer of 2014, making 170 total appearances for the club in his four seasons.

A potential sale of Lovren nonetheless would be surprising in the sense that Liverpool is somewhat thin in central defense, and the club has only brought on 17-year-old Sepp van den Berg in that position this summer. With just van Dijk, Gomez, Matip, and van den Berg on the books, offloading Lovren after the transfer deadline would leave the defending Champions League title winners vulnerable in a position they faced an injury crisis just last year. Van de Berg is reportedly highly thought of at Anfield and the club could be clearing a path for the Dutch youngster, while Fabinho deputized at center-back out of necessity last season and could be an option again if needed.

LIVE – Man City v. Liverpool in Community Shield

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David Silva captains domestic treble-winning Manchester City against Liverpool in the Community Shield on Sunday at Wembley Stadium.

Liverpool qualified by virtue of its league standing, runners-up to Man City.

[ FOLLOW: JPW live at Wembley ]

Claudio Bravo starts between the sticks for City, who has Sergio Aguero on the bench and Aymeric Laporte in the 18.

As for Liverpool, the Reds are full strength aside from Sadio Mane, who is not in the 18. Divock Origi is in the front three, and Joe Gomez starts at center back ahead of Dejan Lovren.

LINEUPS

Man City: Bravo, Walker, Stones, Otamendi, Zinchenko, Rodri, Silva (C), De Bruyne, Sane, Bernardo, Sterling. Subs: Ederson, Gundogan, Jesus, Aguero, Angelino, Foden, Garcia.

Liverpool: Alisson; Alexander-Arnold, Gomez, Van Dijk, Robertson; Fabinho, Henderson, Wijnaldum; Salah, Origi, Firmino. Subs: Mignolet, Lovren, Keita, Oxlade-Chamberlain, Lallana, Shaqiri, Matip.

Transfer Rumor Roundup: Haller nearing West Ham move, Lovren to AC Milan

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According to multiple reports across England, West Ham is close to its marquee Marko Arnautovic replacement as Sebastian Haller is nearly a Hammer.

Haller’s club Eintracht Frankfurt confirmed that the 25-year-old is on his way to London for a medical and will be a Hammer before long. His signature would represent a club-record fee of $55.9 million according to both the BBC and Sky Sports, far surpassing the $44.7 million paid for Felipe Anderson.

Haller is a goalscorer as well as a contributor, bagging 24 goals in 60 Bundesliga appearances for Eintracht Frankfurt in his two years with the club and also assisting 13 more. The analytics folks love the move.

With Lucas Perez, Arnautovic and Andy Carroll all having departed the club this summer, the addition of Haller is a much-needed boost to the West Ham attack that includes Felipe, Robert Snodgrass, and Javier Hernandez.


Divisive Liverpool defender Dejan Lovren, who infamously declared not so long ago that he is the best defender in the world, is rumored to be considering a move away from Anfield after last season’s Champions League winning campaign.

According to Nicolo Schira of Gazzetta dello Sport, Lovren is a target for AC Milan, although he would likely be asked to take a serious pay cut from his current Anfield salary. The report says that Liverpool wants at least $22 million for Lovren’s services, and that AC Milan would offer him a contract of $13.6 million over four years. That’s a significant drop from the $5.6 million a year he makes currently.

Still, if a deal can be struck, it may be enticing for Lovren considering his playing time at Liverpool has dipped in the past year. Now 30 years old, Lovren appeared in just 13 games for Liverpool last season, partially due to a pair of injuries but also having lost his place to Joel Matip. He was on the bench behind Matip for the final three matches of the Champions League run after starting the final next to Virgil Van Dijk the year before.


According to French publication L’Equipe, Southampton is in talks with OGC Nice to offload winger Sofiane Boufal. The Moroccan international joined Saints in 2016 from Lille but spent last season on loan with Spanish club Celta Vigo where hee scored just three goals in 35 league appearances.

With those struggles, his value has reportedly dropped to just $11.2 million, having been purchased for $21 million three years ago. L’Equipe says that while fellow French clubs Marseille and Bordeaux were interested, neither wanted to commit to a permanent transfer, with both wishing for a loan with an option to buy, whereas Nice has gone the extra mile.

Boufal was with the Moroccan squad in the Africa Cup of Nations this summer, appearing in three of their four matches, with all three appearances off the bench. He did not score or assist a goal.


Over the past few days there have been reports that should Leicester City cash in on Harry Maguire to Manchester United, they could pounce for Brighton defender Lewis Dunk as his replacement for about half the reported fee they would receive from the Red Devils. Now, with more time to think, that price may have spooked the Foxes.

According to Rob Dorsett of Sky Sports, Leicester City may decide to stick with internal replacements instead of spend big on a defender they don’t believe to be of accurate value in the market. Dorsett mentions 23-year-old Caglar Soyuncu and 22-year-old Filip Benkovic as possible options to receive more playing time.

Benkovic, a Dinamo Zagreb youth product who arrived at Leicester City last summer, received his Croatian international debut this summer as a reward for a solid loan spell at Celtic last season. Aside from an ankle injury that sidelined him for all of February, Benkovic was a regular in the Celtic lineup and helped them post a glittering defensive record en route to the Scottish Premiership title, conceding just 20 goals in 38 matches. Celtic also lost every Europa League match that Benkovic missed, while they won three and lost one of the four he played.

Soyuncu joined Leicester last summer as well, coming over from German side Freiburg, but only saw the field for six Premier League matches, starting four. Of the four matches he started, the club conceded just one goal in every game, and he also started the EFL Cup loss to Manchester City that saw the league champions score just once in regulation before losing on penalties.


Kieran Trippier is reportedly receiving interest from major European clubs and could be considering an exit from Tottenham this summer, despite the season drawing closer. According to Daily Telegraph reporter Matt Law, Trippier has particularly interested Atletico Madrid, who could be in for a $25 million move.

Given Trippier’s growth at Tottenham and importance to Mauricio Pochettino‘s setup, selling a player of Trippier’s quality for that low a price seems a poor decision for Spurs, but if the player has his head turned after a run to the Champions League final there may not be much the club can do.

A right-back by trade, Trippier was recently deployed by Pochettino as part of a three-center-back system that saw the England international transform into one of the most versatile defenders in the Premier League, maintaining a strong defensive stance but also swinging out wide to perform wing-back duties at times and becoming one of the Premier League’s best free-kick takers.

Trippier’s name has cropped up a few times this summer, but nothing remotely concrete has taken hold and it would at this point be surprising if Daniel Levy allows an England international in his prime with three years left on his contract to depart so cheaply.

Report: Liverpool signs Dutch teen Sepp van den Berg

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According to a report by Matt Law of The Telegraph, Liverpool has secured the $2 million signing of 17-year-old center-back Sepp van den Berg from Dutch club PEC Zwolle.

The report states that van den Berg is set for a medical with the club on Wednesday and that the Reds beat Bayern Munich and Ajax to the deal. It also states that Sampdoria was unsuccessful with a larger bid of $2.9 million back in January, and Liverpool has pounced with van den Berg set to enter the final year of his contract.

While van den Berg was a member of the PEC Zwolle first team last season, making 15 Eredivisie appearances and racking up 901 league minutes, the report states that van den Berg will take a season to integrate himself to the new squad and surroundings before challenging for a first-team spot with Liverpool. However, according to a report by the BBC, there is “belief” that van den Berg could potentially earn himself a place on the Liverpool first team that currently sports Virgil Van Dijk, Joel Matip, Joe Gomez, and Dejan Lovren at his position.

It will help van den Berg immensely that Liverpool already sports Dutch international defender van Dijk as part of the roster as well as another current Dutch international in Georginio Wijnaldum. The youngster is currently a starter on the Dutch U-19 squad that narrowly missed out on qualification for the U-19 Euros later this summer, finishing a point behind Spain for the Group 4 lead after a brutal 1-0 loss to Spain back in March on a 90th minute goal.

Van den Berg would constitute Liverpool’s first signing of the summer should he join, with the Reds at this point not expected to be major players for any significantly large deals this summer.