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Very good might not be enough for Klopp's Liverpool against Man City

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Very good might not be enough for Jurgen Klopp… his Liverpool side are just not at Manchester City’s level

  • Liverpool traveled to the Emirates with the intention of marking their mark 
  • The game in London finished as a draw and not what Liverpool had wanted 
  • Jurgen Klopp understands he is up against the Manchester City juggernaut 
  • Liverpool looked to be their nearest challengers but they are quite a way off  

Ian Herbert For The Daily Mail

Jurgen Klopp was having a problem with his chair. ‘Is this the height?’ he said, fumbling around with the lever to give himself some elevation at his press conference table, late on Saturday night. ‘Did Unai sit like this or did he put it down?’

Reaching the required level is a godforsaken challenge in what, by all available evidence, is beginning to look like an era of Manchester City dominance when even 100 points might not be enough to win the Premier League

Liverpool delivered on Saturday in ways which would have been unimaginable just 12 months ago, weathering tide after tide of attacks from an Arsenal who bore not the remotest resemblance to the late-Wenger era, then transitioning with counter-attacking football which scaled the heights at times. Yet in the new landscape, the point was not enough.

Jurgen Klopp's Liverpool side are meant to be the ones who are challenging Manchester City

Jurgen Klopp’s Liverpool side are meant to be the ones who are challenging Manchester City

Some perspective is needed because even in the last year, they’ve traveled a distance. The anniversary has only just passed of the game which epitomised the shortcomings of Klopp’s philosophy about Liverpool playing the Liverpool way and not worrying about the rest. 

It was the 4-1 defeat to Tottenham at Wembley, when the side played a suicidally high line on the huge Wembley pitch and did not seem to have done any preparatory to work on how to deal with Harry Kane.

You wondered if they really would be capable of the pragmatism required resolve the defensive problems which at times last season gave them the look of a Kevin Keegan team. 

James Milner took the lead for Liverpool in the Saturday evening kick-off against Arsenal

James Milner took the lead for Liverpool in the Saturday evening kick-off against Arsenal

James Milner took the lead for Liverpool in the Saturday evening kick-off against Arsenal

They have been. Virgin van Dijk made the £75m fee paid out to Southampton for him look very ordinary on Saturday night. He marries that easiness on the ball which Alan Hansen and Phil Thompson always possessed in the days when Liverpool were great. His physicality is even greater than theirs.

Some numbers tell the story. The five points Liverpool have collected at Tottenham, Chelsea and Arsenal this season is four better than last season. Their tally of 27 points out of a possible 33 – the same haul they had after 11 games back in 2002/03 – equals their best ever start to a Premier League season.

Yet the required level is still higher. Five from three against any opposition is inadequate when the City phenomenon exists.

Alexandre Lacazette leveled the Premier League clash to earn the home side a point

Alexandre Lacazette leveled the Premier League clash to earn the home side a point

Alexandre Lacazette leveled the Premier League clash to earn the home side a point

Liverpool can be better. Though there were moments when Mohammed Salah briefly touched the heights on the Emirates turf, the front line was not at its best. Less obvious, though equally significant, the tuning of Liverpool’s gegenpressing was fractionally off.

‘We were too high on the wings,’ Klopp related afterwards. ‘And that’s it. The timing was… the time was not really good. You cannot press with really no formation. You have a compact formation. You force them to pass the ball somewhere.

‘That’s pressing. It’s not that complicated. But actually they had two or three options to pass and that makes life pretty complicated and it makes life pretty uncomfortable for the three in midfield. That’s it.’

This shortcoming, almost imperceptible to the human eye, was very evident to James Milner, the 32-year-old who has turned what seemed set to be a career swansong at Liverpool into the most commanding period of his 16 years in the game. ‘Milly, was the one who saw it first and was quite, how can we say, was not happy,’ Klopp said.

Klopp and Unai Emery both realise just how tough it is to compete at the top of the league

Klopp and Unai Emery both realise just how tough it is to compete at the top of the league

Klopp and Unai Emery both realise just how tough it is to compete at the top of the league

Seeing and trying to plug the problem was still not enough. Arsenal, a side who 12 months would have been extinguished by a goal like Milner’s, were tooled up with extra firepower by Unai Emery in the game’s last quarter. They overloaded Liverpool again and equalised.

Klopp made the best of things, fiddling with that chair, raising a laugh and giving a very good impression of a man who would take a point. Week to week, Liverpool’s fans are doing the same.

An excellent segment on the Anfield Wrap podcast last week focused on how, with City doing what they are, there has to be a more profound measure of Liverpool success than the title. Embrace the days out, enjoy the wonderful football, live in the moment and if we’re second, then live with it, the argument ran.

Yet ambition doesn’t work like that in a city which has waited 28 years for a title and has a very good team. Having contributed to an evening of quite sublime football, Liverpool must raise their level. Very good is no longer enough.



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Arsenal Has A Massive Chance Of Signing This Lethal 26 year Old Forward After The Player Hands In Transfer Request

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Arsenal’s shortcomings and deficiencies are no secret and aside from their defensive woes, they need width and pace. Reports suggests that Wilfred Zaha has handed in a transfer request, despite signing an extension last season and this should not exactly come a surprise.

Zaha was recently in the tabloids, apparently claiming that he wanted to fulfil his Champions League ambitions and although Arsenal have fallen short of qualification at this moment in time, there are many more reasons why the 26 year old would consider a move to the Emirates.

Firstly, a move that keeps him in the capital would be a preferred option.

Secondly, Arsenal have every chance of qualifying for the Champions League within the next season or two and are finalists in the Europa League this season.

Thirdly, Arsenal fit the Zaha profile of attacking and creative football and there’s no doubt that the pair would make a good fit.

Lastly, is the chance to play with Lacazette and Aubameyang, which is surely a mouthwatering prospect.

Wilfred Zaha has been a talisman for Palace and only recently, put pen to paper on a five-year deal worth a club-record £130,000 per week, but he has grown frustrated and tired by his side’s continuous fight against relegation and the level of dependency placed on him.

At a meeting with Palace chairman Steve Parish, Wilfred Zaha revealed his desire to leave the club that embraced him after a disastrous spell at Manchester United.

Zaha has creativity, speed and an eye for goal, all of the things that are essential for a potential Unai Emery big signing. How much would he cost ?

That’s the problem, Palace aren’t going to let him go cheaply and with transfer figures going through the roof, the Ivorian international could cost £80m, which would be far and above what Arsenal could afford.

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The 26 year old will not be short of offers, but it’s unlikely that Liverpool or Manchester City will share an interest. However, another London club could meet Zaha’s European ambitions.

Spurs would benefit from what Wilfred Zaha has to offer and perhaps, Chelsea would have also considered a move had they not been hit with a two window transfer ban by FIFA.

Zaha has scored ten in 34 appearances with five assists, his best in the Premier League, but in a stronger team he could get close to doubling that.

Stay Tuned for more!

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Arsenal send warning over contracts to Ozil and Aubameyang after Ramsey and Sanchez shambles

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‘Sign up or we’ll sell you’: Arsenal send warning over contracts to Mesut Ozil and Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang after Aaron Ramsey shambles

  • Eight players have two years remaining on their current deals at the Emirates
  • They are ready to sell any player who goes into the last two years of his contract
  • Ramsey and Sanchez were allowed to leave without the club receiving a fee 

Arsenal have unveiled a new transfer policy in a bid to stop players running down their contracts.

The Gunners are ready to sell any player who goes into the last two years of his contract after seeing the likes of Aaron Ramsey, Danny Welbeck, Alexis Sanchez and Jack Wilshere leave without receiving a fee.

Managing director Vinai Venkatesham says the club must do more to avoid those situations in the future and has given a clear ultimatum to players with two years left on their deals that they either renew of they will be sold. 

Arsenal will have contract talks with Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang and Mesut Ozil (above)

Arsenal will have contract talks with Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang and Mesut Ozil (above)

And that means a busy summer of transfer negotiations with eight players having two years remaining on their current deals including Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, Mesut Ozil, Henrikh Mkhitaryan and Laurent Koscielny. 

Venkatesham has hinted that the club will need to be creative in the market.

He said: ‘When we are selling players we need to maximise the funds we get to reinvest in the team.

Aaron Ramsey agreed a deal with Juventus after his contract expired at the Emirates

Aaron Ramsey agreed a deal with Juventus after his contract expired at the Emirates

Aaron Ramsey agreed a deal with Juventus after his contract expired at the Emirates

‘We need to be really disciplined when we are dealing with senior players who are not towards the end of their careers. 

‘So that means we have to start making the difficult decisions when they have two years left on the contracts.

‘We’re either going to renew those contracts or we’re going to be selling them.

‘We’re going to have to be brave in those decisions because we can’t be in a situation where we’re allowing players to walk out of the door for free unless they are coming towards the end of their careers

Arsenal have seen the likes of Alexis Sanchez leave the club without receiving a fee

Arsenal have seen the likes of Alexis Sanchez leave the club without receiving a fee

Arsenal have seen the likes of Alexis Sanchez leave the club without receiving a fee

 



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Chelsea striker Olivier Giroud would love to haunt old club Arsenal

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‘My blood is blue now’: Chelsea striker Olivier Giroud would love to haunt old club Arsenal in the Europa League final

  • Olivier Giroud insists he bleeds blue as he prepares for Europa League final 
  • The Chelsea striker is determined to impress against his old club Arsenal 
  • Giroud stressed that he’s happy at Chelsea and is in talks over new one-year deal

The little twists of fate are not lost on Olivier Giroud as he prepares for Baku and an end-of-season reunion with his former club.

Giroud was forced from Arsenal at a time when Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang arrived and overloaded the numbers competing for the one place up front in Arsene Wenger‘s team.

‘I was going to the boss and telling him we can change,’ he said. ‘I would say, ‘We can put two strikers up front’, but Mesut Ozil used to play No 10, like a second striker, and I was OK with that.’

Chelsea striker Olivier Giroud wants to haunt his old club Arsenal in the Europa League final

Chelsea striker Olivier Giroud wants to haunt his old club Arsenal in the Europa League final

Giroud decided it was best to move on and Chelsea paid £18million. Eighteen months later, he is Maurizio Sarri’s single striker, trusted to lead the line in the Europa League if rarely in the Premier League, where Gonzalo Higuain has been preferred.

The Frenchman has been prolific in Europe, with 10 goals and three assists, making him the top striker in the competition ahead of Eintracht Frankfurt’s Luka Jovic.

Eintracht are out, beaten on penalties by Chelsea in the semi-finals and Jovic, who is closing in on a £52.4m move to Real Madrid, can score and assist no more.

Giroud still has one to play, the big one against Arsenal, his former club who are now managed by Unai Emery and have been propelled to the final in Baku by seven goals against Valencia from the £100m twin strike force of Aubameyang and Alexandre Lacazette.

‘It seems things are different,’ smiled Giroud. ‘Sometimes they play two up front. When I was there it never happened.’

Giroud admits it will be 'tough' to play against Arsenal but is looking forward to the occasion

Giroud admits it will be 'tough' to play against Arsenal but is looking forward to the occasion

Giroud admits it will be ‘tough’ to play against Arsenal but is looking forward to the occasion

The prospect of duelling for a trophy with Arsenal, where he spent five and a half years, is sweet for the 32-year-old.

‘I always like playing against my old teams,’ said Giroud. ‘It’s going to be tough, and it could be painful if it’s not going the right way, but you have to put the feelings and memories aside.

‘I enjoyed the years I spent there. It has been a big part of my career, my first club in England and it will always be special, but now I feel my blood is blue. The same as the national team, blue suits me well.

‘I settled in quickly. I felt like part of the family straight away. I knew a few of the players and I’m a sociable person, I always try to communicate. It wasn’t difficult to integrate. I always see it as a new challenge. 

Giroud enjoyed his time at Arsenal but stressed Chelsea are more obsessed with winning

Giroud enjoyed his time at Arsenal but stressed Chelsea are more obsessed with winning

Giroud enjoyed his time at Arsenal but stressed Chelsea are more obsessed with winning

‘I couldn’t have hoped for it to be better. And now I want to win my second trophy with Chelsea. To finish as top scorer and help my team. Our target is to win a trophy every season and this is the last chance.’

This, he believes, is where you find the key cultural difference between the two London rivals, cast at opposite ends of football’s identity spectrum since the turn of the century. One obsessed with winning and the other obsessed with beautiful football, although the lines have become blurred by the end of the Wenger era and Sarri’s arrival at Stamford Bridge.

‘The main difference is Arsenal always tried to give the chances to the young players,’ said Giroud. ‘It felt like more players formed at the club could have the opportunity to play. Maybe you would get more time at Arsenal. They would be more patient.

‘At Chelsea you have to be ready quickly because in terms of trophies it has been the best club in England for the last 10 years.

‘You don’t have time at Chelsea and when you are young it is quite difficult to find your place. You can see we have a very good academy producing very good players and a few of them are in the first team and that is a good example for the future generation.

‘I don’t want to kill the dreams of these young Chelsea players. They are very talented, but it makes sense because Chelsea invest more in every transfer window and they buy more top players in the world who are more experienced.

‘I am just being honest. People who know football and the Premier League and these two clubs, they know Arsene Wenger could not spend too much money. It was the philosophy of the club and because of that — or thanks to that — he would give the opportunity to young players.’

Giroud stated that young players at Chelsea don't have much time to succeed

Giroud stated that young players at Chelsea don't have much time to succeed

Giroud stated that young players at Chelsea don’t have much time to succeed

Giroud with his son Evan at Stamford Bridge following Chelsea's game against Watford

Giroud with his son Evan at Stamford Bridge following Chelsea's game against Watford

Giroud with his son Evan at Stamford Bridge following Chelsea’s game against Watford

Giroud won’t say which method he prefers but he is thriving in Chelsea’s demanding environment. Within six months of his transfer, he won the FA Cup, which he won three times at Arsenal, and kept Lacazette out of the team as France won the World Cup.

Having returned from last week’s trip to the United States to play in the Final Whistle on Hate game, he is finalising contract talks.

His original deal is about to expire but Chelsea want to exercise their option for one more year and, with Higuain set to be sent back to Juventus after the Europa League final, Giroud has been convinced to stay.

‘I feel very happy at the club,’ said Giroud. ‘Maybe I need a bit more game-time but I won’t give up. That’s my mentality. That’s how I’m made. It’s not sorted yet but we are talking about another year.’

The Frenchman insists that he is happy at Chelsea and is in talks regarding a new one-year deal

The Frenchman insists that he is happy at Chelsea and is in talks regarding a new one-year deal

The Frenchman insists that he is happy at Chelsea and is in talks regarding a new one-year deal



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