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2018 World Cup: Breakout stars

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Each World Cup there are always players who emerge to steal the show as they become superstars not only in their homeland but across the globe.

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The tournament in Russia this summer will be no different.

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Below is a look at some of the potential “breakout stars” you should keep a close eye on throughout the tournament.


Hirving “Chucky” Lozano (Mexico and PSV Eindhoven)
The El Tri star had a stunning first season in Holland, winning the Eredivisie title and lauded for his speedy attacks out wide. Chucky scored 17 goals in 29 league games and bagged 19 in 34 games in all competitions for the Dutch giants as big clubs across Europe keep a close eye on him. Lozano has already scored seven goals in 26 games for Mexico since making his debut in 2016 and big things are expected from the 22-year-old speedster this summer.


Trent Alexander-Arnold (England and Liverpool)
At just 19 years of age the Liverpool right back has been thrust into the spotlight for club and country in recent months. At the start of the 2017/18 season TAA hadn’t even played a league game for Liverpool but Jurgen Klopp put his faith in the youngster and injuries to Nathaniel Clyne and Joe Gomez have him a chance to shine at Anfield. He grabbed that chance with both hands and played well in the UEFA Champions League final as well as being called up to the England squad for the first-time ever for the World Cup. He will battle with Kieran Trippier for the right wing-back role and his attacking talents mean he is a real threat, even though he’s a little raw defensively.


Leon Goretzka (Germany and Bayern Munich)
After a fine season for Schalke which sealed a move to Bayern Munich (official on July 1), Goretzka rode the positivity surrounding him after his fine displays in the Confederations Cup last summer for Germany. At 23 years of age he is ready to contribute for Die Mannschaft across midfield and his well-time runs from deep make him so tough to track. Goretzka has scored six goals in 15 games for Germany and is a key man for Joachim Low.


Daniel Arzani (Australia and Melbourne City)
The youngster player at the World Cup, Arzani is just 19 years old and has a bright future ahead of him. Bert van Marwijk sprung a bit of a surprise but selecting the Iranian born winger who is able to take on players easily and has something a little different compared to Australia’s other attacking options. If he gets the chance to dazzle on the big stage then Australia could have a new soccer hero to take over the reins as Tim Cahill gets set to depart the game.


Timo Werner (Germany and RB Leipzig)

SOCHI, RUSSIA – JUNE 25: Timo Werner of Germany leaves the pitch after winning the FIFA Confederations Cup Group B match between Germany and Cameroon at Fisht Olympic Stadium on June 25, 2017 in Sochi, Russia. (Photo by Lukas Schulze – FIFA/FIFA via Getty Images)

A lethal predator in the box for Leipzig and Germany, Werner also made his name in the Confed Cup last summer and has scored seven goals in 13 games for Germany since making his debut in 2017. Werner, 22, has scored 21 goals in each of his last two seasons with Leipzig and despite a slight dip in form in 2017/18 Germany are counting on him to finish off the countless chances he will provide. When you think of Werner as a player, think Miroslav Klose but a little quicker.


Jesse Lingard (England and Manchester United)
Yes, he is a little older than most of the other entries in this list but he is pushing Dele Alli all the way to be a starter for England in midfield. He may well end up playing alongside Alli in a more attacking lineup for the Three Lions and Lingard’s penchant for popping up with big goals in big games at club level will give Gareth Southgate faith he can deliver the goods for England.


Sergej Milinkovic-Savic (Serbia and Lazio)

The 23-year-old has been linked with moves to Manchester United and Lazio and the two-way midfielder will be given the keys to Serbia’s hopes. Milinkovic-Savic can pick a pass and stride forward in attack but is also able to sit back and do his defensive work. If he has a good World Cup you expect his transfer fee to rise beyond $175 million. Lazio’s recent resurgence has been led by his displays in central midfield.


Rodrigo Betancur (Uruguay and Juventus)
In his first season at Juventus he made 27 appearances in all competitions and won a Serie A and Italian cup double after joining from Boca Juniors. Betancur, still just 20 years old, is able to play anywhere in midfield but will probably start on the left a three-man Uruguayan midfield. Betancur is calm on the ball and snaps into tackles which fits in nicely with La Celeste’s playing style.

Gomez undergoes ankle surgery, out for CL final, World Cup

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The injuries keep coming for Liverpool.

Already missing three starting-caliber midfielders due to injury, the club reportedly lost defender Joe Gomez for the season, after the 20-year-old underwent ankle surgery. He reportedly played through the injury for the club against West Bromwich Albion and Stoke City in recent weeks.

(Update: Liverpool confirmed the news, stating Gomez will be back for preseason training with Liverpool in July.)

[ MORE: Watch full PL match replays ]

Liverpool has yet to confirm the news, but if true, it’s another blow to Jurgen Klopp‘s side as they head into the home stretch. That leaves Liverpool with just Nathaniel Clyne at right back, though Ragnar Klavan‘s return has given Klopp some depth at centerback behind Dejan Lovren and Virgil Van Dijk.

It’s also another injury blow to Gareth Southgate, who could have taken Gomez to the World Cup as a backup centerback or outside back, such is Gomez’s versatility. Gomez earned man of the match honors in November in a friendly match against Brazil.

Watch Live: Everton v. Liverpool

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The Merseyside Derby takes center stage to kick off the Premier League weekend as Everton host Liverpool (Watch live, 7:30 a.m. ET on NBCSN and online via NBCSports.com) in the 231st meeting between the two teams.

This clash at Goodison Park will be an intriguing one as Everton sit pretty in midtable with nothing to lose, while Jurgen Klopp and Liverpool will still be feeling confident after their 3-0 shellacking of Manchester City in the first leg of their UEFA Champions League quarterfinal in midweek.

Despite some people dubbing this the “Friendly Derby” there is no love lost on the pitch as more red cards have been dished out in meetings between these two teams than any other PL encounter. Everton haven’t beat Liverpool since 2010 and haven’t won any of their last 16 derbies.

In team news Everton make one change as Tom Davies comes in for Dominic Calvert-Lewin.

Liverpool make a host of changes as Dominic Solanke and Danny Ings start up top, Mohamed Salah isn’t in the squad and Roberto Firmino is on the bench. Nathaniel Clyne makes his first start after returning from injury, while Andrew Robertson has been given the weekend off.

LINEUPS

Everton: Pickford, Coleman, Jagielka, Keane, Baines, Rooney, Schneiderlin, Davies, Walcott, Tosun, Bolasie. Subs: Martina, Gueye, Niasse, Funes Mori, Calvert-Lewin, Robles, Baningime

Liverpool: Karius, Clyne, Lovren, van Dijk, Klavan, Wijnaldum, Henderson, Milner, Ings, Solanke, Mane. Subs: Firmino, Moreno, Oxlade-Chamberlain, Mignolet, Masterson, Alexander-Arnold, Jones.

How will Liverpool, Man City line up?

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What an occasion this should be.

The two Premier League teams remaining in the UEFA Champions League meet at Anfield on Wednesday for the first leg of their quarterfinal.

Liverpool v. Manchester City promises so much with Liverpool’s dramatic 4-3 home win over City in January (City’s only PL defeat all season long) still fresh in our minds.

One thing that’s for sure going into these two huge games over the next week: Jurgen Klopp and Pep Guardiola will not waver from their philosophies.

All-out attack is expected and it could well be a classic European encounter between two teams built to entertain first, then worry about the rest later.

Here’s a look at the projected starting lineups for this clash at Anfield.


Liverpool

—– Karius —–

—– Alexander-Arnold —– Lovren —– Van Dijk —– Robertson —–

—– Can —– Henderson —– Oxlade-Chamberlain —–

—– Salah —– Firmino —– Mane —–

Analysis

The only way Liverpool could really be stronger than this is if Nathaniel Clyne (getting back to fitness) or Joe Gomez were available to start at right back. Joel Matip likely being out for the rest of the season is unfortunate and it’s now up to Dejan Lovren to step in and deliver solid displays. In midfield Klopp could go with the experience of James Milner but after Oxlade-Chamberlain’s fine goal and display against City a few months back, surely he will get the nod. The front three picks itself.


Manchester City

——- Ederson —–

—– Walker —– Kompany —– Otamendi —– Laporte —–

—– Fernandinho —–

—– Sterling —– Silva —– De Bruyne —– Sane —–

—– Jesus —–

Analysis

City’s only real concern going into this game is at left back but club-record signing Aymeric Laporte has been steady since he arrived in January and he could get the nod ahead of Fabian Delph and Danilo who are recovering from injury, even though the former Bilbao star is usually a center back. Gabriel Jesus will likely start up top after it was revealed Sergio Aguero is out injured, while John Stones will be City’s best defensive option on the bench as the likes of Ilkay Gundogan and Bernardo Silva hope to be involved at some point but could be saved for the Manchester Derby at the weekend.

Watch Live: Crystal Palace v. Liverpool

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Crystal Palace host Liverpool at Selhurst Park on Saturday (Watch Live, 7:30 a.m. ET on NBCSN and online via NBCSports.com) with the Eagles hoping to cause a big upset.

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Jurgen Klopp and Liverpool will be aiming to cement their place in the top four with Mohamed Salah their main man as he leads the PL with 28 goals.

In team news Palace have Wilfred Zaha fit to start, while Liverpool have Nathaniel Clyne back in their match day squad after his long injury absence.


LINEUPS

Crystal Palace

Liverpool