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Liverpool fans outraged as UEFA snub Champions League success in new rankings

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Liverpool fans are in uproar after UEFA’s latest club rankings have the Reds as only the eighth-best team in Europe.

Jurgen Klopp’s men have improved on their 11th place last season, but many supporters were convinced their side would be closer to the top after clinching the Champions League trophy last term.

The Merseyside club secured their sixth success in Europe’s highest competition with victory over Tottenham in May, with Mohamed Salah and Divock Origi netting to hand the Reds a 2-0 win in Madrid.

In addition, Liverpool took Manchester City to the final day of the season in their pursuit of a maiden Premier League title, eventually being pipped to the crown by Pep Guardiola’s juggernaut by a solitary point.

But the hugely successful season was not enough to take Liverpool past their Premier League rivals in UEFA’s standings, with City sat in sixth in the charts – the English sides sandwiching French champions Paris Saint-Germain.

Tottenham improved on their 17th place last season to be ranked 12th by the UEFA, but Mauricio Pochettino’s men were leapfrogged by Manchester United, who rose from 18th to 10th.

Arsenal remained in ninth ahead of Chelsea, who dropped from 12th to 14th, despite the Gunners being comfortably beaten by Maurizio Sarri’s side in the Europa League final last season.

Real Madrid stay at the summit of the UEFA rankings despite a disappointing Round of 16 exit to Ajax in last year’s Champions League, while the same performance was enough for Atletico Madrid to rise from 4th to second.

Barcelona, Bayern Munich and Juventus fill out the top five, while last season’s surprise package Ajax drop one place to 21st.

The rankings have not gone down well with football fans alike, with Liverpool fans left particularly aggrieved by their disappointing position in the charts.

One fan wrote: “Liverpool 8th and Arsenal! Hahahaha 9th! Ahahahaha. Great job UEFA.”

Another added: “UEFA couldn’t run a bath! Absolute state of these rankings!”

“I don’t know what goes into these rankings that you have Barcelona and Athletico ahead of Liverpool,” a third complained.

Another fan wrote: “These rankings are absolutely ridiculous!! How is Madrid top? And come on Liverpool so low?!

“If a team that has played in three European final in five years and current European champions are behind a team that has never been to the final… I don’t get the logic UEFA used in rankings,’ wrote a fifth fan.

Another put: “I don’t know what goes into these rankings that you have Barcelona and Atletico ahead of Liverpool.”

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Crystal Palace hero Wilfried Zaha opens up on failed Arsenal and Everton summer transfers

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Crystal Palace forward Wilfried Zaha has said that he will always love the club despite wanting to leave in the summer.

Arsenal wanted to sign Zaha but Palace wanted in excess of £70million for him, something which the Gunners could not afford in full.

Once that move fell through, Everton then came in for the Ivorian’s signature.

But Palace wouldn’t listen to their offers either – one of which was said to be £50m plus Cenk Tosun and James McCarthy.

Zaha’s brother Judicael spoke publicly about his sibling’s desire to leave Palace for Arsenal – who he supported as a child.

The former Manchester United winger ended up staying with Palace – the club he professes to love regardless of his summer wishes.

“To be honest what happened in the summer happened,” he told Palace fan site HLTCO.

“Obviously there were things that I was told that did not happen and I was not happy about it.

“I’m still a Palace player and I’m still at Palace and want to do well for the club.

“It’s an honour to play for Palace in the Premier League

“I love Crystal Palace. I feel like the fans and everything in the stadium is different to every club, it is a proper family club. Crystal Palace fans care about your well being.

“I will always love Crystal Palace – whatever happens.

“Even years back when I went to Manchester United I followed everything that happened at Palace. It will not end tomorrow if I ever move.

“I’ve been at Palace since I was eight. Palace is a special place.”

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Kieran Tierney close to Arsenal debut as Unai Emery provides injury update on three stars

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Arsenal manager Unai Emery has offered updates on the fitness of defensive trio Rob Holding, Hector Bellerin and Kieran Tierney.

The Gunners take on Aston Villa at the Emirates tomorrow (4.30pm) looking to respond to their disappointment against Watford a week ago.

Arsenal squandered a two-goal lead to draw 2-2 at Vicarage Road in their second successive draw, both by the same score-line.

A much-changed side recovered to beat Eintracht Frankfurt in their opening Europa League group stage game on Thursday but now getting back on track domestically is their chief ambition.

Their mid-week clean sheet will however have been more than welcome for Emery, whose side have once again struggled defensively this season.

David Luiz, signed from Chelsea for £8million in the summer, gave away a second penalty in just three games at Watford and Arsenal have already leaked eight goals in five league matches.

Such are their problems at the back that Arsenal fans are clamouring for the returns of several stars, with Holding and Bellerin long-term absentees while another summer addition – left-back Tierney – has yet to make his debut due to fitness issues.

But the Spanish boss has revealed the trio are all increasingly closer to 100 per cent, with former Celtic star Tierney closing in on his first appearance after moving south of the border for £25m.

Emery said: ”[Holding] is ready to play. We are playing on Sunday against Aston Villa and on Tuesday against Nottingham Forest [in the Carabao Cup]. These two matches I can decide whether or not to play.

“Hector Bellerin has had a long injury. He needs to go through a process, then we will see how he’s feeling. When he’s confident enough to play, he can start with us.

“With Kieran Tierney, his injury was shorter than Bellerin’s, but the same [process].

“He’ll play [Friday night], we’ll see how he finishes that match and then we have two matches Sunday and Tuesday so, maybe, maybe, he’ll be ready to play some minutes with us.”

Both Bellerin and Tierney lasted an hour of action unscathed as Arsenal’s under-23s drew 2-2 with Wolves last night.

Looking ahead to their return to Premier League action tomorrow, Arsenal have lost just one of their last 20 home games in the division, winning 20.

The Londoners are on a six-match winning streak against Villa, keeping a clean sheet in their past five meetings.

Villa, meanwhile, have lost their last nine away games in the top flight and are one game away from matching their club record of 10 straight defeats on the road set back in 1925.

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Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang question asked over Arsenal future amid Gunners’ struggles

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Arsenal have a problem stopping other teams taking shots against them this season and can’t rely on Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang continually rescuing them in matches.

That is the view of former Liverpool and England striker, turned football pundit, Peter Crouch.

Arsenal have joined several clubs in the Premier League who have made an indifferent start to the season.

While they currently sit eighth in the table after five games, they are still only two points off second placed Manchester City who are on 10.

The Gunners success has been aided by goals from Aubameyang, who has six goals in six games for Arsenal in all competitions, however, it is the team’s defensive frailties that concerns Crouch.

He thinks a player of Aubameyang’s quality should be competing for trophies and is worried about the player’s future if the club keep relying on him to get them “out of hole” rather than helping them to win games.

“As things stand, [Arsenal] are miles away from being in the conversation for the title,” Crouch said via the Daily Mail.

“They have a chance of finishing in the top four this season, but you wouldn’t be in a hurry to put money on them and they look the most vulnerable in terms of losing their place in the top six.

“Yes, they are exciting and will score lots of goals but you wonder how Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang will feel. 

“He’s genuinely world class and should be challenging for the biggest trophies but it can’t keep falling to him to get Arsenal out of a hole.”

After six games Arsenal’s opponents have taken 120 shots against them, of which 96 have come during Premier League games.

Although Arsenal beat Frankfurt 3-0 in the Europa League on Thursday the German side still managed to take 24 shots against the Gunners.

And while Frankfurt, who sit ninth in the Bundesliga, failed to capitalise on their opportunities, other teams have shown they can.

Last weekend Arsenal visited Vicarage Road to take on Watford and ended up coming away with a draw against a team who currently sit bottom of the table.

The Gunners took a 2-0 lead into the break, thanks to a brace from Aubameyang, however, a second-half comeback from the Hornets saw the points shared at the end of the game.

During the match Watford had 31 shots on goal, a new a club-record for a Premier League game, and Arsenal ended up succumbing to the pressure at the back as two defensive errors helped their opponents get back into the game.

And while Crouch doesn’t think Arsenal should part ways with boss Unai Emery, he thinks until the Gunners’ defensive problems are fixed they are going to struggle this season.

“When Emery first arrived in England, I backed him,” he added.

“I thought it was ridiculous that people wanted to criticise him after just one game (a 2-0 defeat to Manchester City) and said a coach with his track record deserved respect.

“I still believe he deserves a proper opportunity to turn things around.

Hiring and firing quickly is no way to run a club and I don’t think Arsenal would ever go down that route. 

“There is no denying, though, they are being compromised by the way they are playing. Until they stop the shots coming in, they will be vulnerable to shooting themselves in the foot.”

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