Jurgen Klopp needs to sign this goalkeeper and centre-back for Liverpool this summer

Liverpool continued their impressive record against sides in the top half of the Premier League at the weekend with their draw away at Manchester City, but their inconsistent form throughout the season has threatened their chances of finishing in the top four. Fans and pundits alike have called for Jurgen Klopp to tighten up his defence by signing a new goalkeeper and world-class defender in the summer. Are these two players the ideal fit for the Reds?

Joe Hart

The England international has found himself exiled from Pep Guardiola’s plans and it seems unlikely he will feature for City in the future. A whole host of clubs will be battling it out to sign the experienced Premier League winner but Liverpool need him more than most.

Hart’s winning mentality and consistent outstanding performances at the highest level will give the Liverpool defence more confidence. He has had – and has overcome – critics in the past and his own self-belief is exactly what makes him a top ‘keeper. Hart dominates his penalty area and commands his defenders into the position he wants them. A leader on and off the field would no doubt push Liverpool in the right direction.

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Kostas Manolas

The Roma centre-back is making a name for himself in one of the toughest defences in Europe. The Italian side have conceded just 26 goals in 29 Serie A games this season and Manolas is being linked with a move to many of Europe’s elite clubs in the coming months. Liverpool are reported to be interested in his services and he would certainly add some steel to their defence.

Klopp’s defence is lacking a leader and Manolas has captaincy potential. At just 25 he has the best part of eight years to play at the top and by signing him Liverpool would have no trouble attracting other players who would love the chance to form a formidable centre-back partnership with the Greek international.

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Will Liverpool sign Hart and Manolas? Who would you like to see Klopp bring in to improve his defence in the summer?

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Premier League Preview and Prediction: Manchester City vs Sunderland

Competition: Premier League – Manchester City vs. Sunderland

Venue: Etihad Stadium – Saturday, August 13 – 17:30 BST (12:30 ET)

Match Odds: Man City 1/4 – Draw 19/4 – Sunderland 11/1

Match Preview

Manchester City kick off their 2016/17 Premier League campaign and new era under manager Pep Guardiola at home against Sunderland on Saturday evening.

It’s certainly an exciting time to be a City fan and they will be expecting their side to get off to a winning start here. Fans will be demanding much more than last seasons finish of 4th, they scraped into a Champions League playoff place and given Guardiola’s winning mentality, that would be a complete failure this time around.

Guardiola has made some big money signings throughout the summer transfer window and he will be expecting the new additions, along with the quality in the current squad, to make a strong challenge to win the Premier League.

Manchester City have a strong home record against Sunderland. They have won 11 of the last 13 meetings between the sides in all competitions. And if previous results are anything to go by we could be in for a goal-fest here, as City have scored at least three goals against Sunderland in seven of their last eight home meetings.

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Sunderland will be looking to avoid another relegation battle this season and the club have replaced Sam Allardyce with David Moyes. It is a good appointment for the club, as despite his struggles at Manchester United, Moyes has a wealth of Premier League experience.

The Black Cats stayed up by two points at the end of last season, thanks to the guidance of Allardyce, and it is now time for them to try and push to the next level. A mid-table finish will be an achievable target if Sunderland can iron out their defensive issues that nearly cost them last season.

Moyes has just started to make some summer signings, while some long-term servants have departed the club. There is quality in the Sunderland side, but they have to build a team around a core of players to prove tougher opposition this season.

Sunderland couldn’t have had it much more difficult in their opening game. The buzz around City will be a huge task for them to deal with, but if they can take anything away from their opening weekend fixture confidence will be sky-high. This will be an interesting tie to watch.

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Team News

Manchester City have added the likes of Ilkay Gundogan (£21m), Nolito (£13.8m), Leroy Sane (£37m) and most recently John Stones (£47.5m) to their squad. Guardiola already has some selection headaches as Gundogan, Sane and captain Vincent Kompany are unlikely to feature until September through injuries. Stones has a huge task ahead of him to step up to the mark and fill in for Kompany in the heart of the City defence. We can expect Guardiola to setup with a 4-2-3-1 formation, with Sergio Aguero leading the line. Nolito could make his debut out on the left flank, while David Silva is likley to start in the number ten role. Kevin De Bruyne will more than likely start on the right. So far City have only seen two players depart, goalkeeper Richard Wright and Martin Demichelis are their completed outs.

Sunderland have released Wes Brown, Steve Harper and Danny Graham ahead of this season. Their completed ins are former United players Donald Love and Paddy McNair. David Moyes must utilise Jermaine Defoe and build a team to feed their frontman. He netted 15 goals in 33 appearances last season and if they can supply him he will be able to cause opposition defenders headaches like he has done his whole career. There are some concerns about Defoe’s fitness as well as Sebastian Larsson, Jan Kirchhoff and Billy Jones, all four players will be racing to get fit for their opener.

Key Points

Manchester City’s last five: N/A

Sunderland’s last five: N/A

Key Stat: Guardiola saw his Bayern side lose just twice last season, once at home and once away, and they won 15 of their 17 home games. If that is anything to go by we could expect City to become a formidable force at home this season.

Key Player: Sergio Aguero – The obvious choice but Aguero is so integral to City. If Guardiola can get his squad playing his style, Aguero will score for fun. The Argentine goal-machine is so deadly and he will be relishing the battle to win the golden boot this season and fire City to silverware.

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Score Prediction

Manchester City 3-0 Sunderland – City to start off with a bang. This is going to be a very difficult task for Sunderland. While many people have tipped Guardiola to find the Premier League very difficult to adapt to, he will have his side ready to go here. Sunderland will be pleased to get one of the toughest places to visit out of the way so early on.

Manchester City superstar talks up potential SHOCK MLS switch

Manchester City goalkeeper Joe Hart could one day make the move to Major League Soccer after revealing “America appeals to me”.

Hart is City’s and England’s number one goalkeeper and a real star in the Premier League so the talk of a potential MLS move comes a surprise.

“America is something that appeals to me. It’s a great relationship we’ve got with NYCFC,” he is quoted as saying by the Telegraph’s Bob Williams.

The 28-year-old shot-stopper has been City’s number one for the past seven seasons and looks likely to remain the man between the sticks at the Etihad for the foreseeable future.

He still has four years left on his current contract and so a move away from the club is unlikely to take place anytime soon, but his glowing talk of America is something that could lead to an MLS move.

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New York City are official partners of Manchester City and so a move across the pond to the expansion franchise could be an easy move for Hart to make.

Frank Lampard will complete his move to NYCFC in July and Hart could be another England International to make the move in the future.

Could you see Joe Hart ever making the move to MLS? 

Manchester City star says his club will ‘fight to the end’ for the title

England and Manchester City goalkeeper Joe Hart has fired a warning to Chelsea, claiming his club will fight to the end for the Premier League title.

The 27-year-old stopper has said Manchester City have a history of late season resurgences, and thinks that could be a factor in the title race.

Speaking ahead of City’s tie on Monday night against Crystal Palace, Hart knows his side won’t give up.

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“We will never give up. It’s kind of how we do it. We like to do it a different way,” he is quoted as saying by the Daily Mirror.

“We’ve not necessarily reached the standard week in, week out that we wanted to, but the beauty of football is that you get another chance – and that starts on Monday.”

In 2012, City came from eight points behind leaders Manchester United to win the league and again in 2014, where they were nine points behind Liverpool.

Hart knows his side are capable of a late upset and becoming league champions in 2012 “set a DNA” for the team.

“We’ve proved it and the fans have proved it. That is one thing that is part of Manchester City, which we’ve taken with us from the olden days. We’ll never give up while anything is possible. We’ll go for it.

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“We know that the way we won the league the first time set a DNA.

“We have definitely moved on as a team since then. That was a massive achievement, but now we expect it of ourselves.”

Manchester City will need to win all of their remaining games and hope for a Chelsea slip-up after they extended their lead at the top of the table yesterday to nine points, with a game in hand.

Arsenal and Manchester United both moved ahead of City yesterday so the pressure is really on Pellegrini’s men to get a result at Crystal Palace on Monday night.

Can Manchester City still win the Premier League this season?

Stats: Is Simon Mignolet the best goalkeeper in the Premier League?

Liverpool goalkeeper Simon Mignolet continued his fine form last night as he kept his 11th clean sheet of the season in the 1-0 away win at Swansea City in the Premier League and many fans believe that the Belgian stopper is the best goalkeeper in the league at the moment, but what do the statistics say?

Well before we look at the comparisons between Mignolet and some of the league’s finest shot-stoppers, it’s worth noting that Mignolet and his Liverpool teammates kept their sixth straight clean sheet away from home in the league, equalling a record going back 43 years to Bill Shankly’s side of 1971/72.

That impressive run of form has seen Liverpool fly up the table and they are currently just two points behind fourth-placed Manchester United, who they face in a key clash on Sunday.

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The Reds have not lost in the league since mid-December, when they were defeated 3-0 by United and Brendan Rodgers’ side boast the best recent form in the league.

Confidence is clearly flowing through the team and that has led to improved performances. Simon Mignolet is evidence of that as he looked out of sorts and out of favour when Rodgers said he had dropped the Belgian “indefinitely” back in December.

But he has turned things around and looks back to his best. Some are now suggesting that Mignolet is the Premier League’s best goalkeeper at the moment but how does he compare to some of the league’s finest ‘keepers?

Simon Mignolet stats compared to Premier League's best goalkeepers Thibaut Courtois, Joe Hart, David de Gea, Hugo Lloris and Fraser Forster

Simon Mignolet stats compared to Premier League’s best goalkeepers (Stats via Opta)

Mignolet has kept an impressive 11 clean sheets so far this season, a number only bettered by Southampton’s Fraser Forster.

Forster has been in fine form throughout the season as he and his Saints teammates have conceded the fewest goals in the Premier League, and Forster is averaging almost three saves per every goal conceded – the best record in the top flight.

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Mignolet is averaging just 1.9 saves per goal, which is the same number as Tottenham’s Hugo Lloris, but less than David De Gea, Joe Hart and Thibaut Courtois.

Lloris is averaging more than three saves per game, more than any of the other five ‘keepers looked at above, and has also made more saves inside the penalty area with 67 this season.

So although his performances of late have been mighty impressive, Liverpool’s Mignolet is not statistically the best goalkeeper in the Premier League.

He will go up against David De Gea on Sunday as two of the league’s top stoppers do battle at Anfield with both looking to keep another clean sheet in the race for Champions League football.