Paul Pogba

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How will Liverpool, Man United line up?

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Liverpool host Manchester United this Sunday (Watch live, 11:30 a.m. ET on NBCSN and online via NBCSports.com) as the Premier League leaders welcome their bitter rivals to Anfield.

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With Jurgen Klopp‘s side 14 points clear at the top of the table, Man United would love to play the role of spoilers and they are the only team to take points from Liverpool so far this season as they are in a battle for a top four finish. And, just leaving this here, Man United have only lost one of their last 11 Premier League games against Liverpool…

The big team news surrounding this game is whether or not Marcus Rashford will be fit after coming on as a sub in the FA Cup replay against Wolves, then injuring his back and having to come off 16 minutes later.

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has a big decision to make as it is certainly not worth risking Rashford’s long-term fitness, even for a game as important as this one. With Paul Pogba and Scott McTominay injured, United’s midfield will likely be manned by Fred and Matic, with either Jesse Lingard or Andreas Pereira playing ahead of them and Mata starting in place of Rashford on the left. In defense it will be interesting to see if Brandon Williams gets the nod over Luke Shaw as he continues his impressive rise, while the rest of the back four picks itself.

The big worry for United is that if Rashford is out injured, they will lose a lot of their pace on the counter as their plan will likely be to sit back and look to hit Liverpool on the break. The gamble will then be whether or not it makes sense to play Mason Greenwood in attack to replace Rashford, with the teenager showing huge potential but an atmosphere like the one at Anfield may be too risky.

As for Klopp, things are very straightforward for him. Liverpool Joel Matip and Dejan Lovren back in training after their lengthy absences but it is unlikely the two center backs will start given Joe Gomez looks steady once again after a run of games alongside the silky brick wall that is Virgil Van Dijk. Oxlade-Chamberlain will play alongside Henderson and Wijnaldum in midfield with Keita and Milner out injured, while Fabinho is also back in training but is unlikely to be rushed back. The front three and full backs pick themselves.

Below we share our potential starting lineups for both teams for the intense battle at Anfield this Sunday.


LIVERPOOL (4-3-3)

—– Alisson —–

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

—- Henderson —- Wijnaldum —- Chamberlain —-

—- Salah —- Firmino —- Mane —-


MAN UNITED (4-2-3-1)

—– De Gea —–

— Wan-Bissaka — Lindelof — Maguire — Williams —

—- Fred —- Matic —-

—- James —- Pereira —- Mata —-

—– Martial —–

Chelsea, Man United set to battle for Soumare

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Chelsea and Manchester United will battle it out to sign Lille midfielder Boubakary Soumare in the January transfer window.

Our partners at Sky Sports report that Soumare will not be asked to make a decision before Lille’s game against PSG on Jan. 26 about where he will move and add that he will be the only Lille star to be sold this month.

The reported transfer fee for Soumare is in the region of $45 million and he is the latest star to be produced by Lille, as the former PSG academy product has made a name for himself in France’s top-flight. Per the report, Man United and Chelsea have both held talks with Soumare about a move.

Soumare, 20, is a box-to-box midfielder who played his part in their run to the second place in Ligue 1 last season and their qualification to the UEFA Champions League and he’s particularly flourished this season.

Arsenal, Real Madrid and Valencia were all interested in signing Soumare but two Premier League giants have jumped ahead of the pack and both are in need of midfield reinforcements.

Man United’s need for a box-to-box central midfielder is perhaps greater than Chelsea’s as Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has Paul Pogba and Scott McTominay out injured, while Fred and Nemanja Matic are his other central midfield options.

As for Chelsea, they have N’Golo Kante, Mateo Kovacic and Jorginho in that area of the pitch and unless they plan on selling Kante, Frank Lampard is pretty set for midfield options.

Soumare, a French U21 international, has been praised for his defensive abilities and if United’s plan is to continue to sign young talent, then develop them into stars by giving them opportunities in the first team, signing Soumare would slot in well with their new philosophy. It’s also handy as they a need for a new midfielder alongside McTominay, as well as Fred has stepped up in recent months.

Report: Pogba to leave Man United this summer

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Paul Pogba is expected to leave Manchester United this summer, according to a report from our partners at Sky Germany.

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Pogba, 26, is said to favor a move to Real Madrid in the summer and it is believed his former club Juventus are also keen on a deal for the World Cup winner.

After Pogba stated last summer that he wanted to move on, he remained at United but has played just seven times this season in the Premier League amid several lingering foot and ankle injuries after two failed comebacks.

Due to the complications of selling and buying in January, the report states that United are holding on to Pogba until the summer but it also states they want a transfer fee of over $195 million for their star midfielder.

Given Mino Raiola, Pogba’s agent, and Man United having a frosty relationship to put it kindly, this saga will rumble on all summer long. Pogba currently has a contract which runs until the summer of 2021 with an option of a further year.

One thing is for sure, it appears United are already trying to move on from Pogba as they’re in talks with Sporting Lisbon’s attacking central midfielder Bruno Fernandes. The Portuguese international has end product and is a player they wanted to sign in the summer but Sporting’s president refused to sell.

However, with reports stating that Fernandes now wants to move in January, it could appear United and Ole Gunnar Solskjaer are lining up their dominoes to fall ahead of a possible Pogba departure.

Pogba’s quality is undoubted and in his most recent comeback before getting injured he dazzled in United’s 4-1 win against Newcastle and in a brief cameo against Watford.

His talent is undoubted and although this season he’s been injured, the noises around Pogba suggest he is already thinking about his next challenge. Maybe United are now just going to play him sparingly and not risk a further injury to Pogba, given his huge value in the transfer market.

It would be best for everyone concerned if Pogba moves on this summer and it seems increasingly likely that United and his agent will be locked in an almighty battle during the summer window.

Report: Fernandes wants Man United transfer

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Multiple reports claim that Bruno Fernandes wants to complete a transfer from Sporting Lisbon to Manchester United.

Fernandes, 25, was heavily linked with a move to United in the summer but the Portuguese midfielder wasn’t allowed to leave.

It is believed United and Sporting have been in talks in the UK over a $77 million deal but no transfer fee has been agreed.

Talks continue and per The Telegraph Fernandes has made it crystal clear that he wants to complete the move to United. Other reports state that Lisbon want Man United’s Marcos Rojo, who previously played for them, as part of the deal.

What would the Red Devils be getting if they sealed the deal for Fernandes?

He has been a revelation over the past two-and-a-half seasons at Sporting, scoring 39 goals in the Portuguese top-flight. Fernandes fits the bill perfectly for what United need. His creativity, composure on the ball and eye for a goal have been missing from their play in midfield as they sit five points off the top four of the Premier League with 16 games to go.

What this transfer would mean for Paul Pogba‘s future at Man United remains to be seen as Fernandes would be playing in the same attacking midfield position Pogba prefers to play in. This season United’s main problem has been breaking down teams from the bottom half of the table who sit back and defend as their counter-attacking style has worked well against top six teams.

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has spent big to strengthen United’s defense since he arrived and that has worked with Harry Maguire and Aaron Wan-Bissaka impressive since their summer transfers. If United do sign Fernandes this month it could well be the different between them being in the UEFA Champions League or not next season.

Rating Pulisic’s first six months at Chelsea

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USMNT star Christian Pulisic has now been at Chelsea for around six months and it is safe to say the winger has enjoyed a topsy-turvy start to life in the Premier League.

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Pulisic, 21, has scored a hat trick, was left on the bench for over a month, had to deal with injuries and starred during their successful UEFA Champions League group stage campaign. At one point it looked like he would leave Chelsea on loan in January and then shortly after he was indispensable to Frank Lampard‘s side.

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Here’s a look back at Pulisic’s first six months at Chelsea, as we rate each month and give his opening half a season in west London an overall rating.


July – 6/10
Arrived in Japan in preseason, straight from starring for the USMNT at the Gold Cup, and was really good in a preseason win against Barcelona. Ripped it up as he scored twice against RB Salzburg in a preseason win in Austria and generally looked fit and sharp.


August – 6/10
The month started well as he made his Premier League at Man United (Paul Pogba gave him a warm welcome) and was in the starting lineup as Chelsea won a few games as he assisted at Norwich and against Liverpool in the UEFA Super Cup final. A few disappointing results against Sheffield United and Leicester at home saw him doing a lot of defensive work, which isn’t his game at all, as he often took the easy option when on the ball instead of running at defenders.


September – 2/10
A very frustrating month for Pulisic, as he told us, as he spent most of the month on the bench and only played against Grimsby Town in the League Cup. A low point for Pulisic as he was clearly frustrated and Chelsea were playing well with other youngsters shining. Lampard explained why Pulisic wasn’t playing and that he would have to wait his turn to get back in the team.


October – 8/10
A proper comeback month for Pulisic, as he came off the bench and grabbed assists in wins against Southampton and Ajax and then dazzled with a perfect hat trick against Burnley. That hat trick was the youngest by a Chelsea player in PL history and the youngest ever by an American in England’s top-flight. He had truly arrived in the big time.


November – 8/10
Another great month as he really found his stride. Aside from goals and assists he was playing with confidence and creating chances and chaos every time he got on the ball and drifted inside. He scored against Watford and Crystal Palace in fine displays in the Premier League, plus scored a key goal away at Valencia in the Champions League. He was one of the first names on the teamsheet.


December – 7/10
Continued his form from November early in the month but then suffered a bit of knock which saw him left out of the team over the festive period. Failed to score or assist in five games in December but was playing well enough when on the ball. Chelsea’s form took a nosedive with home defeats to Bournemouth, West Ham and Southampton.


January – 3/10
Has only played once so far in January due to ongoing injuries, according to Frank Lampard. Pulisic started the draw at Brighton and had plenty of shots on goal which were just off target or saved. A promising display but he admitted he could do better with his finishing.


Overall score: 40/70
This score feels about right. Pulisic has battled back really well from adversity early in his Chelsea career, as Lampard left him on the bench in September. October and November were superb before a little dip in December as he battled a few knocks. All in all, his first six months at Chelsea have gone a little better than most were expecting. Now he is settled in, the best is yet to come from the Pennsylvanian Messi.