MLSGB’s predicted England lineup vs Malta

Take a look at MLSGB‘s predicted England lineup vs Malta for their World Cup Qualifier on Friday evening. Gareth Southgate will set up to attack so 3-5-2 is the most likely formation. Although England should win comfortably they are still going to have to get goals early to ensure it is not a dragged out affair.

England lineup vs Malta: Defence

We expect Joe Hart to start in goal. Jordan Pickford’s withdrawal from the squad means the West Ham man is the front-runner to take the number one shirt. Burnley’s Tom Heaton will feel hard done by, but Hart’s experience makes his inclusion more likely.

John Stones, Gary Cahill and Michael Keane have all made strong starts to the Premier League season. The three of them are comfortable on the ball so they are capable of helping to break Malta down.

Kyle Walker and Ryan Bertrand are the obvious choices for wing-backs. The pair have great attacking ability and love to get forward. Even if they are caught out of position there is enough cover with the three behind them.

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England lineup vs Malta: Midfield

Southgate has a difficult choice for the two midfielders in the holding role given how many options he has. However we feel it will be Eric Dier and Jordan Henderson who make the cut. Dele Alli will sit in front of the two, providing the necessary flare and qualities to unlock the Malta backline.

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England lineup vs Malta: Attack

The attacking pairing is Southgate’s most difficult selection for us. Harry Kane start despite the fact he failed to find the back of the net in August. Kane’s partner for this one could be any of the other attacking options in the squad. Jamie Vardy will be hoping for some minutes but we think Marcus Rashford’s impressive start to the season will earn him a place in the starting XI.

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What would your England lineup be for the game against Malta?

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Premier League Predictions: Week 3 – Liverpool and Arsenal to produce goals, while Spurs can finally end Wembley hoodoo

Premier League Predictions: Week 3 – The third weekend of action is upon us. The 2017/18 Premier League campaign is off to a flyer, with only three sides able to pick up maximum points through the opening two games. Manchester United are the early pace-setters but Huddersfield and West Brom have also won both games, without conceding a single goal.

The season’s first international break will come into effect after this weekend’s matches, so it’s important for teams to try and head into the break off the back of a positive result. There is also the small matter of transfer deadline day looming. Results this weekend could yet decide which clubs are forced to dip into the market before the window slams shut next Thursday.

The standout fixture this weekend takes place at Anfield on Sunday afternoon. Liverpool welcome Arsenal in what should be a great contest. That is one of four games on Sunday, with six taking place on Saturday. Bournemouth and Manchester City get the weekend up and running on Saturday lunchtime.

Read on for predicted scores in all ten of Week 3’s Premier League fixtures below…

Bournemouth 0-3 Manchester City

Many expected Manchester City to come out firing this season. Their 2-0 win at Brighton was comfortable. But their home opener against Everton was anything but. Pep Guardiola’s team looking stronger on paper, but must ensure they put games to bed, considering the number of chances they create. Bournemouth have started the campaign with back-to-back defeats. They have yet to score a Premier League goal and you’d expect Jermain Defoe to come into the starting lineup on Saturday. Regardless of if he does, City should bounce back with a win here.

Crystal Palace 1-1 Swansea

Crystal Palace haven’t started the season well. They have lost both of their opening games and are sitting 19th. They did however put in a strong performance last weekend, narrowly losing to Liverpool. Swansea are another side looking for their first win of the new season. They have one point on the board, but come into this one having suffered a 4-0 defeat to Manchester United. Low-scoring draw looks likely.

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Huddersfield 2-1 Southampton

Huddersfield have surprised everyone with the way they’ve started life in the Premier League. They’ve won both games without conceding a goal and look comfortable in the top flight. Southampton will arguably give them their toughest test yet, but there’s no reason why the Terriers can’t stay unbeaten heading into the international break. Southampton have looked far from convincing under new manager Mauricio Pellegrino. A 0-0 draw at Swansea was followed by a nervous 3-2 win over 10-man West Ham last week. A 2-0 home loss to Wolves in the Carabao Cup on Wednesday night proved their vulnerabilities. Huddersfield could well make it three wins from three…

Newcastle 2-2 West Ham

The Toon Army have returned to the Premier League in unfavourable form. They have lost their first two and the problems for Rafa Benitez’s side are there for all to see. West Ham prop up the table having conceded a league-high seven goals. We expect both sides to pick up their first points of the season here and given that neither look capable of defending at this stage, expect goals.

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Watford 2-1 Brighton

Brighton have struggled in their opening two games, losing both matches 2-0 to Manchester City and Leicester. The trip to Watford offers them their best chance of picking up their first points of the campaign. However, the Hornets look good under new manager Marco Silva. They played Bournemouth off the park last Saturday. If they can play like that here, Brighton are unlikely to get up and running.

Manchester United 4-0 Leicester

It may look a bold prediction on paper, but why not? Manchester United have been in free goal-scoring form in their opening two. Jose Mourinho’s side look incredibly ruthless and morale is high in the camp. Leicester City have started brightly, but Old Trafford is going to be a fortress this season and United may well steamroll for their third 4-0 win in a row.

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Chelsea 1-1 Everton

Chelsea bounced back from their opening weekend loss to Burnley in impressive fashion. They defended well against Spurs and took their two chances well. It’s hard to know which Chelsea will turn up on Sunday, but Everton will be no pushovers. They impressed in their 1-1 draw at Man City on Monday. Ronald Koeman’s men look like a strong unit and will be desperate to break into the top six this season. A strong showing at the reigning champions would reaffirm those hopes.

West Brom 2-0 Stoke

West Brom are early season high-flyers. They have won both their games 1-0 and are one of only three who have not conceded. Stoke picked up a classy win over Arsenal last weekend but know this is going to be a tough game against a side brimming with confidence. We expect West Brom to continue their good run of form and remain difficult to breakdown at the back.

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Tottenham 2-0 Burnley

Tottenham’s Wembley woes continued with that 2-1 loss to Chelsea last weekend. Although Mauricio Pochettino was quick to dismiss claims the stadium is the problem. Spurs played well but must take their chances to prove that they can handle playing at their temporary home. Burnley have already enjoyed a trip to London this season. They stunned Chelsea on opening weekend but proved their vulnerable as they fell 1-0 to West Brom last week. This could be closer than many expect but ultimately Spurs should prevail.

Liverpool 2-2 Arsenal

The standout fixture of the weekend. Liverpool come into it having overcome Crystal Palace. They remain unbeaten but have conceded three in two. Arsenal have looked troubled in defence. While they have picked up three points they have shown similar weaknesses that Arsene Wenger desperately needs to address before the window closes. Expect goals in an entertaining game from two sides who need to improve.

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Premier League Preview and Prediction: Tottenham vs Chelsea

Premier League: Tottenham Hotspur vs Chelsea FC

Wembley Stadium – Sunday, August 20 – 16:00 BST (11:00 ET)

Match Odds: Spurs 21/20 – Draw 5/2 – Chelsea 5/2

Tottenham vs Chelsea: Preview

Tottenham host Chelsea as they take to the field for their first Premier League game at Wembley this season. The home side will need to try and make the national stadium a fortress for the 2017/18 campaign, while work is finished on their new stadium.

Mauricio Pochettino’s men got off to a winning start at Newcastle last week. That 2-0 victory was fairly straightforward in the end, although it was certainly a closer game before Jonjo Shelvey’s red card.

The worry for Spurs is that they were so poor at Wembley last season, compared to White Hart Lane. They didn’t lose a single home game in the top flight last term. They only won one of five at Wembley in cup competitions.

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The fact is, if Spurs could have hand-picked an opponent for their home opener at the national stadium, it wouldn’t have been Chelsea. They’d have been a long way down the list. But this game also serves as the perfect chance for Tottenham to lay down a benchmark.

Chelsea will be desperate for a positive showing after last weekend’s shambolic defeat to Burnley. The Blues lost at home on the opening day for the first time in 24 years. They were a man down and three goals down at halftime before some parity was restored in the second half.

Although Cesc Fabregas was also sent off late on, leaving Antonio Conte with a selection dilemma ahead of their trip to Wembley. The Italian manager does not seem impressed with the club’s transfer business this summer. Things are not looking rosy for the reigning champions, but they still know how important a game this is.

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If the Blues can bounce back and defeat Spurs on Sunday, many will have forgotten about their horror start to the campaign. But a second successive defeat would leave Conte with a lot to think about, and very little time to make any transfers.

The two London rivals met three times in total last season. Chelsea came back to win 2-1 in the Premier League at Stamford Bridge in November. Before Spurs won 2-0 at White Hart Lane in January. The Blues then emerged as 4-2 winners in their FA Cup Semi-Final clash at Wembley in April, going on to face Arsenal in the final.

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Tottenham vs Chelsea: Team News

Spurs boss Mauricio Pochettino has no fresh injury concerns ahead of their first home game of the season. Kyle Walker-Peters picked up man of the match on his Premier League debut last weekend. He should keep his place at right-back, with Kieran Trippier still injured. Moussa Sissoko might make way for Heung-Min Son in the starting lineup. Danny Rose, Erik Lamela and Georges-Kevin Nkoudou remain out injured.

Chelsea have a potential crisis on their hands for their second outing of the campaign. The Blues are without the suspended duo of Gary Cahill and Cesc Fabregas. Both picked up red cards in the 3-2 loss to Burnley and will miss out here. Diego Costa is still out in Brazil. Pedro should be fit enough to start. While Eden Hazard and Tiemoue Bakayoko both played in a secret friendly against QPR U20s on Thursday and might be in contention. Andreas Christensen might be called into start, if Antonio Conte remains with such a dilemma on his hands.

Tottenham vs Chelsea: Key Points

Spurs’ form: W

Chelsea’s form: L

Key Stat: Tottenham won one of just five home games at Wembley last season. While they failed to keep a single clean sheet at the national stadium in their five outings in 2016/17.

Key Player: Harry Kane – The Spurs star has still never scored a Premier League goal in the month of August. He hit the post against Newcastle last week and looked sharp, despite not finding the back of the net. The visit of Chelsea means he is in for a tough afternoon, but he has scored four goals in eight games against the Blues.

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Tottenham vs Chelsea: Prediction

Tottenham 2-0 Chelsea – Chelsea are unlikely to be as poor at the back as they were against Burnley last weekend. Bad ill discipline cost them and they can’t afford to make similar mistakes here. Spurs got off to a good start against Newcastle without really impressing. However, they will be desperate to get off to a winning start at Wembley. And given the current state of both teams coming into Sunday, it’s hard not to see the hosts winning.

Is it time for Zlatan Ibrahimovic to move to MLS?

Zlatan Ibrahimovic may be 35 years old and recovering from a serious knee injury but that doesn’t stop the Swede from being linked with some of the biggest clubs on the planet. Such is the pedigree of the striker who left Manchester United at the end of last season. The man who calls himself Zlatan has long been linked with a move to MLS and with the list of likely European destinations apparently growing shorter, is it now the right time for Zlatan to move to the States? LA Galaxy have been interested in the past but after the signing of Jonathan dos Santos, their new city neighbours LAFC could be the right destination for Ibrahimovic.

Career

There haven’t been many more successful players in Europe in the last few decades. He’s won trophies with six clubs, league titles with five and despite his age, Zlatan Ibrahimovic isn’t done yet. After spells in Sweden and the Netherlands, Ibrahimovic moved to Serie A in 2004 where his career really took off. He spent two years at Juventus before the Swede moved to Inter Milan where he won three consecutive league titles. After a less-than successful year at Barcelona, he returned to Italy with city rivals AC, helping the Milan side win the double in 2011.

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The forward then spent four incredibly successful seasons with PSG before moving to Manchester United for a single year just last summer. His move to Manchester United was something of a surprise. Ibrahimovic has long been linked with a move to the MLS, according to Bleacher Report and those links have returned now his time in England is seemingly over. His spell at Manchester United was cut short following a nasty knee injury picked up in April.

Links to MLS and injuries

LA Galaxy have long been admirers of Sweden’s all-time leading goalscorer, with reports earlier this year suggesting he had signed a pre-contract agreement with the club. It was believed at the time that Galaxy had ‘blown United out of the water’ with the deal offered to the Swede but that was back in March. The situation has changed immensely since then and the player’s injury a month later probably had a lot to do with that. The Galaxy looked elsewhere and completed the signing of Villarreal midfielder and brother of Giovani, Jonathan dos Santos in late July. That takes them to three Designated Players and effectively rules them out of a big-money move for Ibrahimovic unless they sell one of their current stars.

Galaxy were undoubtedly put off by Ibrahimovic’s injury but is it as bad as feared? Players far younger than Ibrahimovic had their careers ruined by similar injuries but the Swede’s agent gave these incredible quotes about the problem a few months ago.

“His knee is so strong that the doctors said they had never seen anything like it,” Mino Raiola said back in May.

“He has a knee that it is almost impossible for a football player with a 20-year career to have. It was quite clean, there was no harm in it.

“Zlatan is so strong that the doctor wants him back after his career to research on him.”

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It remains to be seen whether that’s true or an agent just trying to squeeze one last big money move from his client. Still, Zlatan Ibrahimovic is an incredible athlete. At 35 years old and after four seasons in France, the Swede came into the Premier League and controlled Manchester United at times last season. He scored a bucket load of goals and looked just as fit and strong as he did a decade ago. He would be a coup for almost any club on the planet but how many could actually sign him?

The Next Move

As of August 1, Manchester United are 31/50 favourites to re-sign the Swede, with any MLS club at 5/4 according to Betway. Italian sides AC Milan and Juventus are out at 6/1 and 8/1 respectively before a big jump out to 20/1 for Russian side Zenit St. Petersburg. Manchester United have, of course, signed Romelu Lukaku which makes a move for Ibrahimovic appear unlikely so the States now looks like the best bet.

Few sides could afford the Swede whose signing would carry many pros and cons. He’s a worldwide name and is the player MLS fans would like to see join the league most, according to a recent poll. Despite that, he won’t be able to play for a while and would require a huge contract which limits the number of realistic options. The best one out there is Los Angeles FC. The LA side will join MLS next season and they are in need of a star player after the appointment of head coach Bob Bradley. Zlatan Ibrahimovic would be perfect and could spend the next few months helping the club grow while recuperating from his injury ahead of the side’s MLS debut next season.

It’s unclear how likely a move is but Zlatan Ibrahimovic would be an ideal signing for LAFC. He’s one of the most successful players of the last twenty years and carries with him a global recognition. He may be recuperating from a nasty knee injury but LAFC won’t be playing until next March so he won’t be missing much for now. Ibrahimovic is just the sort of name that LAFC – and MLS – needs and would be a fantastic coup for both the club and the league.

Premier League Preview and Prediction: Man Utd vs West Ham

Premier League: Manchester United vs West Ham

Old Trafford – Sunday, August 13 – 16:00 BST (11:00 ET)

Match Odds: Man Utd 30/100 – Draw 17/4 – West Ham 9/1

Man Utd vs West Ham: Preview

Manchester United open their Premier League season against West Ham on Sunday afternoon. The two sides have made some strong signings this summer and will be raring to go in the opening weekend’s final fixture.

Man Utd have spent big on bringing in Romelu Lukaku, Victor Lindelof and Nemanja Matic. Jose Mourinho knew he had to strengthen the squad after last year’s fifth-placed finish. The Red Devils did qualify for the Champions League as a result of their Europa League win.

But the aim will be the mount a serious title challenge this season. Mourinho has assembled a strong squad and knows his side need to get off to a winning start here.

United fell 2-1 to Real Madrid in the UEFA Super Cup on Tuesday night. They put in a strong display, despite losing, and will be looking to hit the ground running against the Hammers on Sunday.

West Ham’s main summer signing will be a familiar face to the Old Trafford crowd. Former United striker Javier Hernandez has joined the Hammers for around £16m, in what is surely going to be one of the best deals of the window.

Slaven Bilic has also brought in Pablo Zabaleta, Joe Hart, Marko Arnautovic and Sead Haksabanovic. West Ham will surely improve on last season’s 11th-placed finish.

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The Hammers couldn’t have been handed a much tougher opening game. West Ham will have to wait a month until their first home game of the campaign, with away trips to Southampton and Newcastle to come following Sunday’s game at Old Trafford. That’s due to the ongoing athletics World Championships currently taking place at the London Stadium.

These two sides met three times last season. The pair drew 1-1 in the Premier League at Old Trafford, before United won 4-1 in the League Cup three days later. The Red Devils then beat the Hammers 2-0 at London Stadium in January.

Man Utd vs West Ham: Team News

Manchester United have no new injury concerns heading into the new season. Jose Mourinho is expected to give debuts to Nemanja Matic and Romelu Lukaku. Though Victor Lindelof might have to start on the bench, with Eric Bailly and Phil Jones available again after being suspended for Tuesday’s UEFA Super Cup game. Marcos Rojo, Luke Shaw and Ashley Young are injured.

West Ham could welcome back Aaron Cresswell and Manuel Lanzini after recent injuries. But Slaven Bilic will be without Sofiane Feghouli, Cheikhou Kouyate, Diafra Sakho, Andy Carroll and Michail Antonio. Joe Hart, Pablo Zabaleta, Marko Arnautovic and Javier Hernandez are expected to make their league debuts for the visitors.

Man Utd vs West Ham: Key Points

Man Utd’s preseason form: W/L/W/W/L

West Ham’s preseason form: W/L/D/D/L

Key Stat: Manchester United are unbeaten in their last nine home Premier League games against West Ham. Their last league defeat to the Hammers at Old Trafford came on the final day of the 2006/07 season.

Key Player: Romelu Lukaku – Manchester United’s big summer signing loves playing against West Ham. The powerful striker has scored in nine of his last ten games against the Hammers in all competitions.

Man Utd vs West Ham: Prediction

Manchester United 2-1 West Ham – United struggled for goals against teams like West Ham throughout last season. However, the signing of Lukaku is meant to fix those problems. Things are unlikely to be perfect for either side in the opener, but the hosts look primed to get off to a winning start. West Ham are a stronger side than they were last term. But the hosts have spent big. Expectations are high and they need to prove they can kick on, starting on Sunday.

Premier League Preview and Prediction: Arsenal vs Leicester City

Premier League: Arsenal vs Leicester City

Emirates Stadium – Friday, August 11 – 19:45 BST (14:45 ET)

Match Odds: Arsenal 4/9 – Draw 100/30 – Leicester 11/2

Arsenal vs Leicester City: Preview

The 2017/18 Premier League season kicks off on Friday evening as Arsenal welcome Leicester City to the Emirates Stadium.

Arsenal will be feeling confident ahead of this one as they came from behind to win the Community Shield last weekend against Chelsea on penalties. This game will have more of a competitive edge than the usual curtain raiser, but we can expect Arsene Wenger’s side to be up for it.

The Gunners really need to mount a title challenge for the long haul this season. Wenger’s extended contract did not please every Arsenal fan, so there is added pressure to deliver.

There have been a number of changes to the Arsenal squad in the transfer window. The defensive addition of Sead Kolasinac looks to be a strong signing. While Alexandre Lacazette has come in to lead the line, he should add the killer instinct Arsenal fans have been calling for.

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Leicester City have had a busy transfer window so far, with Kelechi Iheanacho their biggest signing. He has proved to be a deadly finisher in his Premier League career, needing just a sniff of a chance.

Craig Shakespeare’s efforts to guide Leicester to stability last season earned him the job on a permanent basis. He will be looking to prove to the board he is the right man for the long term, but knows how big of a task this opener will be. The Foxes finished 12th last season and will be hoping to better that position once again.

They’ve spent big on some quality additions to the squad but are looking increasingly likely to lose Riyad Mahrez. Their key playmaker has made it clear he wants a new challenge but has been respectful of the club, so there shouldn’t be unrest in the squad.

Arsenal vs Leicester City

Arsenal vs Leicester City: Team News

Arsenal will be without some familiar faces for the opener. Alexis Sanchez is injured and his future with The Gunners remains up in the air. Santi Cazorla will also miss out, while Shkodran Mustafi, Jack Wilshere, Per Mertesacker, Mesut Ozil, Aaron Ramsey, Francis Coquelin and Gabriel Paulista are all doubts. New boy Kolasinac is expected to make his debut.

Leicester City are expecting to be without new signing Vicente Iborra. While there are doubts surrounding the fitness of Islam Slimani, Robert Huth, Kelechi Iheanacho and Danny Drinkwater.

Arsenal vs Leicester City: Key Points

Key Stat: Arsenal have won their last seven home games against Leicester in all competitions.

Key Player: Alexandre Lacazette – There is pressure on Arsenal’s marquee signing to score the goals to push them towards the title. He scored 129 times in 275 games for Lyon so has a big reputation.

Arsenal vs Leicester City: Prediction

Arsenal 3-1 Leicester City – Goals in the opener. There is pressure on the Arsenal squad to prove they are title contenders this season, so they need to hit the ground running. Although they have key players absent, they should be able to pick up three points on Friday night. Leicester are going to cause teams trouble this season, but they are up against it here.

Matic to Man Utd: Should Chelsea be selling him?

Matic to Man Utd: The Serbian midfielder is close to a reunion with Jose Mourinho, but are Chelsea making the right decision to sell him to Premier League title rivals?

Matic to Man Utd: Pro’s for Chelsea

The reported fee for Matic to Man Utd is £40m. A similar amount to what Chelsea have paid for Tiemoue Bakayoko, meaning the Blues would break even in terms of transfer spend.

Antonio Conte is stamping his mark on his squad for the new season. He is signing the players he wants and allowing those he doesn’t want to leave the club. So if he is able to do so while balancing the books, he’ll be even happier.

Matic to Man Utd: Con’s for Chelsea

Chelsea are losing an established midfielder. At 28 Matic is in his prime with plenty still to offer. He’s also won two Premier League titles with Chelsea over the past three seasons.

Matic’s replacement is unproven in the Premier League. Bakayoko may need time to adapt to his new surroundings and has far less experience.

Chelsea’s squad depth will be tested unless they sign more midfielders. Conte has already allowed Ruben Loftus-Cheek and Nathaniel Chalobah to depart the club. With the demand of more games this season compared to last, Chelsea are going to need to ensure their squad can handle the busy schedule.

Matic to Man Utd: Pro’s & Con’s for United

Signing Matic will work for United. He is a grafter and will free up the likes of Paul Pogba to have more of an impact on the game in the final third.

Matic registered seven assists for Chelsea in the Premier League last season, more than any other Manchester United player. This shows his creative edge even though his main job is to provide extra cover for the defence. Plus, Mourinho knows Matic well. The Serbian has played a total of 90 games under the Portuguese head coach in the past.

However, another midfielder gives Mourinho a selection dilemma. He has at least four players who can play in a similar role. So adding Matic to the squad could lead to some discontent among those vying for a place in the starting lineup.

Photos of Matic in Man Utd training wear have appeared online over the weekend, suggesting a deal is all but done. Although the legitimacy of these is yet to be stated, it certainly looks like Matic has played his final game for Chelsea.

Coutinho to Barca? Three reasons why Liverpool need to stand firm

Philippe Coutinho’s future at Liverpool has been cast into doubt as Barcelona are ready to splash the cash on the Brazilian. The La Liga giants have already had a £72 million bid rejected, but they’ll do whatever they can to bring Coutinho to Barca this summer.

An improved £80 million bid is being lined up, according to the Daily Mirror, so this could well be a transfer saga that lasts for the remainder of the window.

Barcelona have long been admirers of Coutinho. Many feel he is the perfect man to replace Andres Iniesta at the Nou Camp. But it’s Neymar’s potential world-record move to PSG that has accelerated the chase for the Liverpool playmaker.

Paris Saint-Germain are seemingly set to trigger Neymar’s £196m release clause, shattering the transfer record by £107m. That would leave Barcelona with a big void to fill in their squad, but a lot of money to fill it with.

But no matter what, Liverpool won’t want to lose their star attacker. Here are three reasons Liverpool need to hold on to Coutinho this summer:

1. ‘Not a selling club’

The club have insisted they are “not a selling club” and won’t be forced to sell. Jurgen Klopp made that very clear after news of the initial bid surfaced. He spoke directly to Coutinho about the issue during the team’s preseason tour at the Premier League Asia Trophy in Hong Kong, and he believes the Reds have no reason to part ways with the Brazilian.

It’s now crucial for Liverpool to stand by that statement. Their fans will be concerned with interest from a club as big as Barca. But if Liverpool want to continue improving, as they have made clear, they must stand by their word.

2. A worrying trend following big sales

Liverpool’s three biggest sales in club history are Fernando Torres, Raheem Sterling and Luis Suarez. All three were sold over the past seven seasons, but the Reds have tended to struggle after losing key men.

In Torres’s final season at Anfield, Liverpool finished 6th. The following season, they finish 8th. In Luis Suarez’s final season at the club, Liverpool hand one hand on the 2013/14 Premier League title before a late collapse saw them finish runners-up. After he left for Barcelona in the summer of 2014, Liverpool went on to finish 6th. That was in Raheem Sterling’s final season. Then, after he departed for Man City Liverpool ended up finishing 8th in the first season without him.

The trend is that Liverpool have worse seasons after losing star players. Yes, that will be the case for most clubs. Yes, it’s difficult to build once a star man has left. But some clubs cope, Liverpool have so far proven they cannot. Losing Coutinho to Barca would be potentially disastrous for what Klopp is building.

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3. Irreplaceable

The reason the Coutinho to Barca rumours have picked up so much pace is because there are arguably very few, if any suitable replacements for Neymar at the Nou Camp. Coutinho is excellent on the ball. He is highly versatile. He has the ability to beat a man with ease. And he is as good at finding the back of the net as he is a teammate. Barcelona know that he would be well suited to replacing the goals and assists Neymar provides.

So if Liverpool were to sell, there is no obvious answer as to who they’d bring in as his replacement. Yes, they’d have a big stack of cash to spend. But given the inflated prices during the current transfer window, Liverpool would likely have to settle for someone a lot less talented that Coutinho if they needed to replace him.

Real Salt Lake vs Man Utd: Preseason Scout Report

Real Salt Lake vs Man Utd: Match outlook

Real Salt Lake welcome Manchester United to Rio Tinto Stadium on Monday night for the Red Devils’ second game of their US tour. The game kicks off at 8pm local time, which will be 3am in the UK.

It will be the Premier League giants’ first ever game in Utah. And comes off the back of Saturday’s convincing 5-2 win over LA Galaxy at StubHub Center.

Big-money signings Romelu Lukaku and Victor Lindelof made their unofficial debuts for Man Utd at the weekend. Lukaku didn’t get on the scoresheet but the £75m signing will no doubt be planning to find the net against RSL.

Mourinho has said he will once again field two different sides in each half of Monday night’s game. United still have five games to play after their clash with RSL, including friendlies against Man City and Real Madrid before the end of the week.

Real Salt Lake have had a tough MLS campaign so far this season. They are currently at the halfway stage but their hopes of making the playoffs look slim.

But Monday’s friendly gives the team the chance to put aside their league form and enjoy playing against some of the world’s top players.

MLS veteran goalkeeper Nick Rimando can’t wait to be tested by the likes of Lukaku and Marcus Rashford.

“I think the city deserves a team like Manchester United come here. The fans deserve it,” he said.

“For me to be able to play against such great players is exciting for sure. They have huge players and to step onto the field with them is going to be great.”

Real Salt Lake vs Man Utd: RSL scout report

Real Salt Lake’s league form has been poor in 2017. They’ve taken 20 points from 20 games and sit ninth in the Western Conference. They are only two points off the bottom and four points adrift of the playoff places at the midway point.

They have the joint-worst goal difference in MLS this season and have lost as many home games as they have won this term. That will give Manchester United hope of bettering their result from the LA Galaxy game on Saturday.

Interestingly though, RSL did run out 6-2 winners at LA Galaxy in their latest outing before the MLS Gold Cup break set in two weeks ago. So they have proven they can be a really dangerous attacking outfit. The problem is they can’t seem to keep goals out.

Head coach Mike Petke will undoubtedly be looking ahead to Wednesday night’s MLS battle with the Portland Timbers. He will likely give plenty of fringe players a chance to impress against United on Monday night, and is unlikely to play anyone for more than 45 minutes.

Real Salt Lake vs Man Utd: Man Utd scout report

Manchester United got their US tour off to the perfect start with that 5-2 win at the Galaxy on Saturday. Mourinho rotated his squad and experimented with three at the back.

He has admitted the team will return to a tradition four-man defence at Rio Tinto Stadium, but 22 players are likely to feature as he continues to test things ahead of the 2017/18 Premier League season, which is now just 25 days away.

Lukaku will be looking to score his first United goal following his £75m move to the Red Devils last week. He could be handed a start here, and will look to do better than he did in LA on Saturday.

Man Utd are expected to cruise to victory, given the quality they have throughout the squad. But RSL will offer an attacking threat, which United will look to contain after conceding two late goals against the Galaxy.

Diego Costa staying? Chelsea’s striker crisis could be solved

Chelsea have shown little intent in the summer transfer window so far. The main talk has been about the future of their controversial striker. Antonio Conte has been looking to offload him, but is Diego Costa staying?

The Blues have struggled so far to bring in a replacement for Costa. They have seemingly missed out on bringing Romelu Lukaku back to Stamford Bridge. With the Belgian closing in on a move to Manchester United, so Chelsea are running out of options.

It is reported that Chelsea manager Antonio Conte could be set for a U-turn on his decision to sell the Spaniard. If Diego Costa’s staying, Chelsea’s striker crisis could be solved. Chelsea’s preseason is days away and a solution before then would be ideal.

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Diego Costa staying: Positives

Costa is a two-time Premier League champion, he has proven his worth. His goalscoring record speaks for itself, with 58 in 210 appearances meaning he averages just under a goal every other game.

Chelsea’s number 19 has a great relationship with his teammates and the fans. Although no players have crossed Conte’s decision, they have spoken of their fondness of Costa.

With the possibility of Diego Costa staying, Chelsea do not have to spend money on a new striker. This means they can spend money elsewhere in the team and try to sign other players they need. And if he does stay for the rest of his contract, Chelsea won’t need to sign a striker until 2019.

Is Diego Costa staying at Chelsea?

Diego Costa enjoying his holiday. Via: @diego.costa on Instagram

Diego Costa staying: Negatives

Costa and Antonio Conte already have a rocky relationship. It will be difficult for them to see eye to eye and problems will more than likely happen again. If the pair clash midseason it would be impossible to see anything positive come from Diego Costa staying.

The Spaniard has already asked to leave Chelsea more than once since signing in 2014. He clearly feels he has unfinished business at Atletico. Once their transfer ban is over, Costa will probably look to force a move again. So this might leave Chelsea with the same problem of needing to sign a new striker in January.

Is Diego Costa staying? Would this be good for Chelsea?