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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Three reasons Liverpool will secure a top four finish this season

Liverpool kept their impressive unbeaten record against the league’s top sides intact with a 1-1 draw at Manchester City earlier today and remain in fourth place with nine Premier League matches to play.

The Reds are four points clear of Manchester United in fifth and six clear of Arsenal in sixth but their chasing rivals both have two games in hand to try and close that gap. Jurgen Klopp’s men still have a huge challenge on their hands if they are to qualify for next season’s Champions League but they have three big reasons to be optimistic.

1. No distractions

Liverpool’s nine remaining league games are the only matches they have left to play in all competitions this season. That means they have maximum time to prepare for each game and will be able to play full strength sides in every fixture. Roberto Firmino returned to the team at Man City on Sunday, while Jordan Henderson and Daniel Sturridge should be fit again by the time Everton come to Anfield on April 1, so Liverpool have all their key men available for the final stretch.

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In stark contrast, Manchester United still have a minimum of 13 games to play as a result of their Europa League commitments, while they could play as many as 16 more if they reach the final of that competition – something many expect them to do. Arsenal still have 11 Premier League games to play and also have an FA Cup semi-final against Manchester City to contend with. The fact that Liverpool have only one competition to focus on should give them an advantage in the run-in.

2. Goalscoring form

Klopp’s side are the league’s top scorers, having netted 61 times in 29 games so far – an average of 2.1 per game. Not only does that make them the most threatening team in the division, it also means they have a strong chance of having superior goal difference to their nearest rivals. Only Chelsea and Spurs have better goal difference than the Reds at this stage and they will look to keep it that way as they battle with both Manchester clubs as well as Arsenal for the final remaining Champions League spots.

The Reds have only failed to score in one of their last 17 league games and will fancy their chances of outscoring each of their remaining nine opponents until the end of the season.

3. Home comforts

Liverpool will play five of their remaining league fixtures at Anfield, where they have only lost one game all season. The Reds have the fourth best home record in the division this season and have back-to-back home clashes against Everton and Bournemouth coming up after the international break to try and solidify their position in the top four. They are unbeaten in four at home, winning three of those, and have played Chelsea, Spurs and Arsenal in that stretch.

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Their remaining home fixtures see them face just two sides who currently sit in the top ten in Everton and Southampton, while they will be expected to beat Bournemouth, Crystal Palace and Middlesbrough. They have easier home games remaining that Manchester United and Arsenal, who have to play each other at the Emirates Stadium on May 6 in what will prove to be a pivotal match in the race for the top four.

Do you think Liverpool will secure a top four spot in the Premier League this season?

Premier League Preview and Prediction: Liverpool vs Swansea City

Competition: Premier League – Liverpool vs Swansea City

Venue: Anfield – Saturday, January 21 – 12:30 GMT (07:30 ET)

Match Odds: Liverpool 1/4 – Draw 5/1 – Swansea 10/1

Match Preview

Liverpool welcome Premier League strugglers Swansea City to Anfield on Saturday in a game that looks to be a foregone conclusion.

The Merseyside club are sitting third, seven points off top spot and need to get on a run of form again in a bid to close that gap. They have drawn their last two league games which has slightly stuttered their title challenge.

Jurgen Klopp’s side come into this one having secured their place in the next round of the FA Cup, after their replay win against Plymouth on Wednesday Night.

Liverpool have beaten Swansea in their last four meetings at Anfield and will be feeling confident of extending that run here.

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Swansea City are in trouble. They sit bottom of the Premier League and have won just once in their last six domestic outings.

Paul Clement will try to steady what looks a fast sinking ship but will be all too aware of how difficult this tie is going to be. Swansea were thumped 4-0 by Arsenal in their last game and they could be in for a similar scoreline here if their defensive performance doesn’t improve.

There is still plenty of time for Swansea to get out of trouble. There are just ten points separating 11th and bottom place, so a run of positive results would more than likely see them move into a healthier position. Clement has signed both Martin Olsson and Tom Carroll to attempt to improve things, they should both help to lift spirits in the squad.

Swansea did win their last away fixture in the league, which was only the second time they have managed three points on the road this season. City have amassed just seven points away from home in the 16/17 campaign and it is difficult to see them adding to that tally here.

Team News

Liverpool are expecting to be without five for this one as Danny Ings, Joel Matip, Mamadou Sakho, Marko Grujic and Sadio Mane are all set to be unavailable for selection. 

Swansea City have just the three injury concerns as Jefferson Montero, Neil Taylor and Modou Barrow are all out. 

Key Points

Liverpool’s last five: W/W/W/D/D

Swansea City’s last five: L/L/L/W/L

Key Stat: Liverpool have not lost in their last 17 Premier League games at Anfield.

Key Player: Roberto Firmino – The Liverpool forward is going to need to step up and provide even more in the absence of Sadio Mane. He has netted six times this season and will see this as an opportunity to increase his tally.

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Score Prediction

Liverpool 3-0 Swansea City – This should be a routine win for Liverpool so long as they remain focused and patient in breaking their opponents down. Swansea have to try to be tighter at the back, if they let Liverpool in early they know it could be a long afternoon with an unfavourably high scoreline.

Premier League Preview and Prediction: Manchester United vs Liverpool

Competition: Premier League – Manchester United vs. Liverpool

Venue: Old Trafford – Sunday, January 15 – 16:00 GMT (11:00 ET) 

Match Odds: Man Utd 21/20 – Draw 12/5 – Liverpool 13/5

Match Preview

Manchester United face Liverpool for the 50th time in the Premier League on Sunday in what is undoubtedly the weekend’s biggest game.

United are looking as strong as they have done for several years at the moment, having won nine games in a row in all competitions. Six of them have come in the Premier League and Jose Mourinho will be delighted with the progress being made.

The only concern for the Red Devils is that their Premier League rivals are all winning too, so they still find themselves in sixth place ahead of this weekend’s schedule.

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Liverpool enter the weekend in second, only five points higher than United, so this is a huge chance for the home side to close the gap and keep their winning run going.

Jurgen Klopp’s men had a strong festive period themselves but have been disappointing in their last three games in all competitions.

A 2-2 draw at Sunderland was followed by a 0-0 FA Cup draw against Plymouth last weekend. Before the Reds then fell 1-0 at Southampton in the first leg of their EFL Cup semifinal on Wednesday night.

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Sadio Mane is not available as a result of Africa Cup of Nations commitments with Senegal, although Philippe Coutinho has returned from injury, so Klopp needs to ensure he gets his team selection spot on for Sunday’s game.

The reverse fixture at Anfield ended 0-0 back in October but these sides have not drawn a league game at Old Trafford for 17 years, so it looks likely that someone will emerge victorious in what is a vital game at the top end of the table.

Team News

Jose Mourinho will be without Eric Bailly for the next few weeks as the defender has flown out to play for Ivory Coast in the Africa Cup of Nations. Marcos Rojo is a doubt after picking up an injury in last week’s FA Cup game against Reading. Zlatan Ibrahimovic missed the midweek clash with Hull because of illness but should return in time for this huge match.

Liverpool boss Jurgen Klopp will be without Sadio Mane for the rest of the month at least as he is with the Senegal squad for AFCON 2017. Joel Matip, Jordan Henderson and Marko Grujic are all doubts, while Danny Ings and Mamadou Sakho remain out.

Key Points

Man Utd’s last five: W/W/W/W/W

Liverpool’s last five: W/W/W/W/D

Key Stat: This will be the 50th Premier League clash between these long-standing rivals. Manchester United have won 27 of the previous 49 games.

Key Player: Zlatan Ibrahimovic – The United striker should be passed fit to play and the home side need him as he has been in incredible form since moving to the Premier League last summer. He has 13 goals in his first 19 league games this term and has found the net in nine of his last nine PL matches.

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Score Prediction

Manchester United 2-1 Liverpool – Both sides will fancy their chances here, as both are so dangerous going forward, but United look stronger at the minute and Liverpool have looked vulnerable since the turn of the year. The loss of Mane could prove to be a factor as the home side look poised to seal a narrow, but important victory on Sunday.

Premier League Preview and Prediction: Liverpool vs Stoke

Competition: Premier League – Liverpool vs Stoke City

Venue: Anfield – Tuesday, December 27 – 17:15 GMT (12:15 ET)

Match Odds: Liverpool 2/7 – Draw 9/2 – Stoke 9/1

Match Preview

Liverpool welcome Stoke to Anfield on Tuesday evening in what should be another festive treat for Premier League fans across the globe.

The Reds come into the game in high spirits after a dramatic Merseyside Derby win last Monday and can keep the pressure on league leaders Chelsea with a victory here.

Jurgen Klopp’s men have not lost at home this season and have been finding the net with ease more often than not in front of their own fans.

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Liverpool host Manchester City on New Year’s Eve in what is a huge fixture, so they’ll be desperate to take three more points into that crunch tie.

Stoke aren’t expected to offer much of a test and they’ll be deflated given the way they let a two-goal lead slip at home to ten-man Leicester last weekend.

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The Potters have been inconsistent all season and have never won a Premier League game at Anfield. In fact, the last time Stoke won a league match at Liverpool was in 1959, so they aren’t expected to leave with three points here.

Liverpool have won four of their last five meetings with Stoke, with the sole defeat in that time coming in that shock 6-1 loss on the final day of the 2014/15 season.

Team News

Liverpool remain without Philippe Coutinho, although the Brazilian playmaker is expected to be back in time for the New Year’s Eve clash with Manchester City. Joel Matip remains a doubt, so Ragnar Klavan may continue at the back, while Daniel Sturridge will be pushing for a start after making a good impact off the bench in the Merseyside Derby.

Stoke have a host of first-team players out of this one. Marko Arnautovic is suspended, while Ibrahim Afellay, Jack Butland, Geoff Cameron, Phil Bardsley and Stephen Ireland are all ruled out. Xherdan Shaqiri was benched for the draw against Leicester but may return to the starting lineup here.

Key Points

Liverpool’s last five: W/L/D/W/W

Stoke’s last five: W/W/L/D/D

Key Stat: Liverpool are unbeaten in their last 15 home games in the Premier League – the longest active streak in the top flight.

Key Player: Sadio Mane – The Senegalese winger has probably been Liverpool’s best player this season. He’s the top scorer with eight in the Premier League and will look to continue his fine record at Anfield, having contributed to eight goals in seven home league games since joining the club.

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Score Prediction

Liverpool 2-0 Stoke – Liverpool have responded well since their shock defeat at Bournemouth, keeping back-to-back clean sheets since Simon Mignolet earned his place back in goal. The Reds are expected to get past Stoke without too much difficulty here, and can keep the pressure on Chelsea with another three points.

Premier League Preview and Prediction: Bournemouth vs Liverpool

Competition: Premier League – Bournemouth vs. Liverpool

Venue: Vitality Stadium – Sunday, December 4 – 13:30 GMT (08:30 ET)

Match Odds: Bournemouth 16/5 – Draw 29/10 – Liverpool 3/4

Match Preview

Bournemouth welcome Liverpool to the Vitality Stadium on Sunday afternoon in a game that has the makings of one-way traffic.

Eddie Howe’s side are in a respectable 12th position, they’ve picked up 15 points already this season but have struggled over the last five games.

Bournemouth come into this one having played another title contender last weekend. Their 3-1 loss against Arsenal had plenty of talking points and the result may have been very different on another day.

The Cherries need to get back to picking up points on a regular basis. They’ve only taken four points from the last 15 on offer to them and despite being six places above the relegation zone, the gap is just four points.

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Liverpool have been on a superb run of form of late. They trail top spot by just one point and will be hoping results go in their favour this weekend so they can force their way into first place.

Jurgen Klopp has a selection headache ahead of this tie. His squad has been hit by an injury crisis, but he is not phased, and believes in any players he is selecting.

Liverpool come into this tie having progressed to the semifinal of the League Cup with their midweek win over Leeds.

The Reds are unbeaten in their last 11 league games and have picked up 13 points from the last 15 on offer. This is a winnable game for Liverpool, but they will be worked hard by an energetic Bournemouth side.

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Team News

Howe is expecting to be without Lewis Cook and Andrew Surman, while both Artur Boruc and Charlie Daniels are doubts for the visit of Liverpool.

Klopp’s side has been hit with an unenviable injury list. Philippe Coutinho, Danny Ings and Daniel Sturridge are all out, while Adam Lallana, Roberto Firmino and Joel Matip are all doubts.

Key Points

Bournemouth’s last five: D/L/L/W/L

Liverpool’s last five: W/W/W/D/W

Key Stat: Liverpool have scored at least two goals in eight of their last ten Premier League games.

Key Player: James Milner – Liverpool will be looking for Milner to bring a calming presence to the side as they head into the Christmas period with a squad riddled with injuries. The Englishman has plenty of experience and he will be a key figure once again this weekend.

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Score Prediction

Bournemouth 1-3 Liverpool – Bournemouth to become the latest victim of an impressive display from Klopp’s Liverpool. If history is anything to go by Bournemouth will struggle here, they have lost their last five games against Liverpool in all competitions.

Premier League Preview and Prediction: Liverpool vs Watford

Competition: Premier League – Liverpool FC vs. Watford FC

Venue: Anfield – Sunday, November 6 – 14:15 GMT (09:15 ET)

Match Odds: Liverpool 30/100 – Draw 9/2 – Watford 10/1

Match Preview

Liverpool welcome Watford to Anfield for one of five Premier League fixtures on Sunday afternoon with both sides looking to maintain impressive starts to the season respectively.

The Reds are in fine form having suffered just one defeat in all competitions this season, which came way back in August in the second league game at Burnley.

Jurgen Klopp has firmly imprinted his philosophy on this Liverpool side now, with a high energy, intense, pressing style of play.

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With six wins out of their last seven league games, Liverpool will be confident of building on a great start to the campaign this weekend.

Watford arrive in Merseyside boasting a successful run of form themselves having lost just one of their last seven (W4, D2).

The Hornets edged past a resilient Hull side at Vicarage Road last weekend with a 1-0 win, keeping their third consecutive clean sheet in the process.

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Walter Mazzarri is doing a fine job and most Watford fans would’ve bitten your hand off if you’d said they would be seventh in the league with 15 points after ten games.

The previous meeting between these two sides saw Liverpool win 2-0 at Anfield in the penultimate game of last season.

Team News

Liverpool welcome James Milner back to the squad after he missed last weekend’s win at Crystal Palace with illness. There were also doubts over Emre Can and Giorgio Wijnaldum who felt unwell this week but should be fit for action. Danny Ings will miss the rest of the season after undergoing knee surgery.

Watford could be without defender Sebastian Prodl who suffered a muscle injury last weekend, while Craig Cathcart (groin) and Isaac Success (muscle) are out. Stefano Okaka will have a late fitness test as he’s been struggling with a hamstring injury.

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Key Points

Liverpool’s last five: W/W/D/W/W

Watford’s last five: L/D/W/D/W

Key Stat: Watford have only ever won once at Anfield in 12 attempts in all competitions (D1, L0). That sole victory was a 1-0 Premier League success back in August 1999.

Key Player: Adam Lallana – The midfielder is establishing himself as a first-team regular under Jurgen Klopp and has performed consistently. He may not boast an array of goals and assists but his efficiency in the engine room shouldn’t go unnoticed.

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Score Prediction

Liverpool 2-1 Watford – This could be a tight game and although the Reds don’t keep many clean sheets, home advantage combined with confidence of their recent form should be enough to see Liverpool edge it.

Premier League Preview and Prediction: Chelsea vs Liverpool

Competition: Premier League – Chelsea vs. Liverpool

Venue: Stamford Bridge – Friday, September 16 – 20:00 BST (15:00 ET)

Match Odds: Chelsea 5/4 – Draw 5/2 – Liverpool 2/1

Match Preview

Chelsea welcome Liverpool to Stamford Bridge on Friday night in a game that is one you usually do not want to miss.

Chelsea come into this one having drawn in their controversial game against Swansea. Regardless of what happened in that tie, Chelsea should not have allowed their opponents back into the game.

Despite drawing 2-2, there were a lot of positives for Chelsea. They created a huge amount of chances and a number of their players are relishing life under Antonio Conte.

This is arguably Chelsea’s toughest tie of the season so far and they are welcoming a Liverpool side who have been scoring freely.

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Liverpool come into this one having demolished Leicester 4-1 last weekend. Jurgen Klopp’s side looked dangerous in the final third but conceded through a shocking defensive error.

Although Liverpool have scored nine goals in the Premier League this season, they have conceded seven. This will be a concern for Klopp as they face a Chelsea side who have averaged at least two goals a game in their opening four league games.

Liverpool won their last Premier League visit to Stamford Bridge but know they are facing a very different Chelsea side this time around.

This game has the makings of a cracker. In their eight matches combined this season, Liverpool and Chelsea have overseen 29 goals scored/conceded.

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Team News

Chelsea have two injury concerns heading into this tie. Kurt Zouma remains out and captain John Terry is unavailable after rolling his ankle late on against Swansea, which is a huge blow for Chelsea. David Luiz is in line to make his second Chelsea debut in Terry’s absence.

Liverpool are expected to be without Emre Can, while Mamadou Sakho and Joseph Gomez are both doubts.

Key Points

Chelsea’s form: W/W/W/D

Liverpool’s form: W/L/D/W

Key Stat: Home form – Chelsea are unbeaten in 12 of their last 13 games at Stamford Bridge.

Key Player: Diego Costa – The controversial Spaniard has netted in every game in the Premier League so far this season. He looks to be at his confident best and he’ll be looking to cause havoc to a Liverpool defence that has looked suspect at times in their opening four league games.

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Score Prediction

Chelsea 1-1 Liverpool – Both of these sides have been playing in incredibly intense, end-to-end games this season and at some point the pace is bound to drop slightly. Chelsea could well have a slightly more cautious approach considering how their second half unfolded against Swansea, while Liverpool will not want to give Chelsea as many opportunities as they have to opponents so far this season.

Premier League Preview and Prediction: Liverpool vs Leicester City

Competition: Premier League – Liverpool vs. Leicester City

Venue: Anfield – Saturday, September 10 – 17:30 BST (12:30 ET)

Match Odds: Liverpool 8/13 – Draw 3/1 – Leicester 17/4

Match Preview

Liverpool welcome reigning Premier League champions Leicester City to Anfield on Saturday evening in a tie that has the makings of one not to miss. 

Jurgen Klopp will be expecting more from his side than they have already shown this season. They’re sitting 11th on four points.

Liverpool come into this one having picked up a point in their 1-1 draw with Spurs, a game they looked like they could have gone on to win, but a solid result nonetheless.

This will be test for Liverpool but they will fancy their chances, they are unbeaten in their last eight home games and have a strong record against Leicester at Anfield.

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Leicester have had a solid start to their title defence but unsurprisingly look a little off the pace compared to the big-spenders in the transfer window.

Claudio Ranieri’s side come into this one having picked up a convincing win over Swansea at home and will want to get on a run of form now.

Leicester’s response to losing their opener has been impressive and they have looked more like the side that won the league in their last two games.

This is going to be a tough season for Leicester but they know what they’re capable of and will not be fearing travelling to any side.

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Team News

Liverpool are expecting to be without Emre Can, Joe Gomez and Mamadou Sakho for this tie.

Leicester City have just two injury concerns ahead of this tie as Jeffrey Schlupp and Nampalys Mendy are both expected to remain out.

Key Points

Liverpool’s form: W/L/D

Leicester City’s form: L/D/W

Key Stat: Liverpool are unbeaten at home to Leicester in the last five meetings between the sides at Anfield. 

Key Player: Phillippe Coutinho – The Liverpool playmaker will be looking to unlock a solid Leicester defence. As we know, he likes a long-range effort so we can expect to see him take on any opportunity he feels is worth trying.

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Score Prediction

Liverpool 2-2 Leicester City – Neither side will make this easy for the other. Liverpool have been impressive at home but being under pressure suits Leicester and they will be looking forward to counter-attacking a defence who have looked vulnerable so far this season.

Weekend recap: United impress, what do Arsenal and Liverpool lack?

The second Premier League weekend of the season has passed with some surprising results. So here are our top three picks. 

Jose Mourinho’s Manchester United impress:

Manchester United played out the first Friday night football of the season at home to Southampton. Although possession favoured the visitors early on, United dominated on the most part. They barely got out of second gear and Zlatan Ibrahimovic’s two goals showed exactly why he was signed. Paul Pogba looked comfortable on his second debut.

But for some hesitation in decision making in the final third, United could have easily scored two or three more. Southampton had a couple of decent half chances as they broke through United’s defence, something Mourinho will be looking to iron out in training this week.

A relatively easy win with United looking the part.

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More calls for Arsene to spend as Arsenal held:

An all too familiar story for Arsenal fans in this one. They struggled throughout to break down a resilient Leicester and any chances that presented themselves were not taken. Leicester felt they should have had a penalty late on and they had a case.

The return of Laurent Koscielny was welcomed by the Gunners and Petr Cech showed his class once again, but Arsenal are already five points behind the Premier League leaders.

Wenger still needs a centre back and centre forward.

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Klopp’s Liverpool stunned by Burnley:

The shock result of the weekend was undoubtedly Liverpool‘s 2-0 away defeat to newly promoted Burnley. Jurgen Klopp’s side had 26 shots but failed to breach the Burnley backline.

This could well be a one off for Liverpool, they had plenty of chances and 81% possession but it was just ‘one of those games’ – they impressed offensively in their opener but have already shipped in five goals.

Liverpool need to tighten up at the back and take their chances but it is not the time to panic.

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Who impressed you the most this weekend? Should Arsenal and Liverpool be looking to make signings?