Double Mugsmashers week incoming + the tumbleweeds of the transfer window

It’s Friday and later on Mikel Arteta will meet the press ahead of our trip to Anfield on Monday. That’s a very difficult game as we know, and we’ll be playing the Mugsmashers twice next week because last night they beat Lincoln City 7-2 in their third round Carabao Cup tie.

The dates of the fourth round fixtures haven’t been announced yet, but the games are scheduled to be played ‘in the week commencing September 28th’. Which is the very date we play them in the Premier League. Jurgen Klopp said last night, “Thank God we have two home games. Sorry, Mikel. You have to come to Liverpool twice!”

So, that certainly gives the manager something to think about for a fixture sandwiched between a game against the Champions and a home fixture against Sheffield United – who we know fine well are a good team after our encounters with … Read the rest

4-4-2 diamond: Unleashing Pogba the key to silencing the Seagulls

Manchester United need to get off the mark in the Premier League tomorrow but face a tricky away fixture against Brighton.

The Reds suffered a humiliating 3-1 home defeat to Crystal Palace in their opening fixture last weekend but managed a win and got more game time under their belts against Luton in the Carabao Cup on Tuesday evening.

The defence, with Dean Henderson in goal and Eric Bailly alongside Harry Maguire in the centre-back positions, looked a lot more solid than the De Gea – Lindelof – Maguire triad that let three in against Palace.

Based on his comments at this morning’s press conference, Ole Gunnar Solskjaer may have seen enough there to stick with Bailly alongside Maguire, but we think that he will keep faith once again in David de Gea in goal and that Dean Henderson will drop back to the bench.

Last week for the Palace … Read the rest

Klopp has admitted his coaching initially made Naby Keita worse…

Jurgen Klopp has intimated that Naby Keita will still have a massive role to play this season, despite the signing of Thiago potentially pushing him down the pecking order.

The coach was talking ahead of the Arsenal game on Monday night – and made some very interesting points about Liverpool’s no.8.

Jurgen Klopp admitted that when he tried to coach Keita after a few months of his arrival, the Guinean actually went backwards due to the tactical confusion and the fact he is a very natural, instinctive footballer – but that now – having adapted to England – he’s flying.

“The very beginning was very good. I didn’t speak to him about football – I just wanted him to his natural stuff – that was really good. Then I started coaching him – then it got worse!” Klopp said. 

“Naby had to learn the language, feel settled in the squad. Read the rest

International nightmare could continue for Man United star after this weekend because of this

With international fixtures on the horizon again, it’s time for national team managers to bed down their squad for upcoming games.

Gareth Southgate has matches against Wales, Denmark and Belgium to come, and must select the players to represent the Three Lions by next Thursday.

After a short summer break where he was arrested for allegedly assaulting police officers in Greece, Harry Maguire was left out of England’s last games.

The Man United captain comes back into contention for the triple header, but it’s possible that his national team nightmare could continue.

According to the Daily Mail, Southgate’s right-hand man, Steve Holland, will be in attendance at the AMEX Stadium this weekend, when Brighton and Hove Albion will host the Red Devils.

Effective leadership of Messi: If you want to be followed, give credit not blame.

Lionel Messi’s effective leadership has been representing the Catalans for years now with pride and loyalty. He is not only the greatest footballer but arguably one of the best leaders any team could desire for. Messi’s personification of self-confidence and his perpetual attempts to backing the team is nonpareil. The Blaugrana captain is a leader who plays with the heart on his sleeves. No matter how crucial the circumstances were, he has proven himself to be the strength of the Catalans. During the club’s instability, merry-go-rounds of transfers and constantly increasing managerial issues; Leo’s leadership qualities remained static. 

One-man show within a team

The Argentine is an industrious forwarder who is nevertheless a key asset for FC Barcelona but at the same time: he is the best Captain as well. He has been lifting the club on his shoulders reaching to the heights of success for quite a while now. … Read the rest

Who are you?

The transfer market dominates football discourse and analysis to the point that the shark has been jumped and football matches are, essentially, considered 90-minute exercises to see what a team needs to buy. It gives me pause for thought when I attribute so much weight to Arsenal’s pursuit of a new central midfielder.

However, I do consider this a glaring requirement for Arsenal before the window closes next month and I think the difference between Arteta’s side being a top six team and a top four team probably rests on whether they are able to recruit in … Read the rest

Upamecano breaks silence amid links with Man United

RB Leipzig star Dayot Upamecano has responded to rumours over his future amid links with Manchester United this summer.

The young Frenchman is among the world’s highest-rated prospects and it was understood that Ole Gunnar Solskjaer was keen on his signature.

Upamecano was previously thought of as being unavailable but once news over a release clause surfaced, rumours quickly grew out of control.

The release clause is only in effect from the next summer but the thinking was that United could bid a bit higher than that release clause to secure him this summer instead.

However, nothing to that effect has happened yet and it was more wishful thinking from fans than anything real.

Read the rest

MotM Curtis Jones says he’ll “show up” any time he’s called upon by Jurgen Klopp

Liverpool starlet Curtis Jones dropped a 10/10 performance for the Reds in the EFL Cup on Thursday night, bagging himself an impressive brace inside the first-half.

The midfielder was awarded the Man of the Match award after the full-time whistle for a great all around shift from the 19 year old.

Jones pledged that he will show up any time he’s called upon by manager Jurgen Klopp, in somewhat of an acceptance speech for the award!

I’ve always said, whenever I’m called upon I’ll give 100 per cent. I’m waiting for my turn, and any time I’m called upon I’ll show up, 100 per cent,he’s quoted as saying by Neil Jones.

MORE: (Video) Curtis Jones in insane form with first-half brace, which included Cruyff-turn and brilliant use of instep

We at Empire of the Kop love Jones and everything about him – from the way he … Read the rest

“Special talent” – Liverpool ace earns huge praise from these Reds fans after performance vs Lincoln

Liverpool midfielder Curtis Jones is earning big praise from fans as they react to his performance against Lincoln on Twitter.

The 19-year-old is yet to fully establish himself as a regular for the Liverpool first-team, but he announced himself with a memorable solo goal against Everton in the FA Cup last season.

MORE: Video: Jones’ sublime finishes take Liverpool clear at Lincoln

Since then, Jones has continued to impress when he’s managed to get on the pitch, and he had another eye-catching performance for Liverpool as they thrashed Lincoln City 7-2 in the Carabao Cup this evening.

The teenager scored twice, with both goals well-taken efforts to show once again why he’s such a big prospect and should have a very bright future at Anfield.

Dembélé does not want to leave Barcelona: he will be key

Today, reliable journalist Fabrizio Romano denied reports coming from Tuttosport regarding Ousmane Dembélé’s departure from FC Barcelona. Multiple reports claimed that the French winger was included in a swap deal with Juventus, bringing Douglas Costa to the Camp Nou — which is absolutely not the case.

Ronald Koeman is absolutely counting on Dembélé and wants to get the best out of the player this season. The manager considers the Frenchman a crucial piece of his squad and wants to turn him into a regular starter. To do so, Koeman is already working with Dembélé’s fitness coaches in order to keep the player fit throughout the season. Besides that, Dembélé himself has never thought about leaving Barcelona either.

According to Fabrizio, Dembélé is not an option for Juventus or Manchester United (who he has been linked with as well). Besides that, Juventus’ winger Costa is also not part of any swap … Read the rest