THE Premier League returns today with a bumper schedule of matches with Man City, Chelsea and Liverpool in action.
On the transfer front we’ve the latest on Sergio Aguero’s future with Tottenham and Leeds reportedly interested, while Kylian Mbappe could be set for Real Madrid.
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Stay up to date with all the latest football news in our rolling blog…
SIMPLY THE TRENT
Trent Alexander-Arnold – with Gareth Southgate in the stands – has just hit the winner for Liverpool against Aston Villa.
A message to the England boss?
Liverpool picked up a late and dramatic 2-1 win over Aston Villa at Anfield.
Villa opened the scoring with Ollie Watkins on 43 minutes before the Reds saw Roberto Firmino’s equaliser getting chalked off because Diogo Jota was marginally offside in the build-up.
Mohamed Salah did what Firmino couldn’t in the second half before Trent Alexander-Arnold’s late winner on stoppage time.
Liverpool are now on their way back to the top four
Liverpool equalised against Aston Villa with the usual suspect Mohamed Salah.
The Reds worked hard for an equaliser and finally got it when Salah picked the ball up from the far post after Emiliano Martinez saved Andy Robertson’s shot and turned home from close range.
We are currently on 74 minutes and the Merseysiders need a win to work their way back to the top four.
Reminding you that Villa opened the scoring with Ollie Watkins before Liverpool saw Roberto Firmino’s equaliser being disallowed because Diogo Jota was marginally offside
NEVE-S SAY NO
Manchester United have reportedly added Wolves star Ruben Neves to their summer transfer list.
That is according to 90Min, who report that the Wolverhampton club is prepared to sell their star midfielder.
Wolves are facing the prospect of having to let a handful of key players go at the end of the season because parent company Fosun are looking to restructure their commitment to the club.
That is why super agent Jorge Mendes has been instructed to seek potential buyers that will meet Wolves’ asking prices for some of their top Portuguese stars.
Neves appears to be one of them and although United are keeping an eye on potential midfield acquisitions they are still primarily looking for a centre-back and a winger
It’s half-time at Anfield with Liverpool trailing 1-0 following Ollie Watkins’ opener.
Roberto Firmino equalised for the Reds but a lengthy VAR review chalked it off because Diogo Jota was just inches offside in the build-up.
The reigning Premier League champions haven’t been taking their chances in the first half and are facing an uphill battle in the second half
Leeds have emerged as surprise candidates to sign Manchester City legend Sergio Aguero in the summer.
According to 90Min, the Whites are keeping tabs on Aguero, who has stated he will be leaving City at the end of the season when his contract expires.
The Elland Road outfit can’t offer him Champions League football but the prospect of him not having to move from his home in the north west could be a major catalyst.
The star striker has reportedly received offers from other Premier League clubs as well as teams in Spain, France, Italy, the Middle East and the US.
Reports suggest that the Argentina international has also been approached by Chelsea, Arsenal, Tottenham and West Ham
It’s been 16 minutes since Liverpool’s clash with Aston Villa kicked off at Anfield with the score still goalless.
Reds boss Jurgen Klopp has started with Alisson, Alexander-Arnold, Nat Phillips, Kabak, Robertson, Wijnaldum, Fabinho, Milner, Salah, Jota and Firmino.
Villa manager Dean Smith, on the other hand, opted for Martinez, Cash, Konsa, Mings, Targett, Luiz, McGinn, Trezeguet, Nakamba, Traore and Watkins.
Chelsea take on Crystal Palace at Selhurst Park at 5.30pm.
Leeds stunned high-fliers Manchester City at the Etihad with a shock 2-1 win, despite playing with 10 men for 45 minutes.
Liam Cooper was sent off following an ugly lunge on Gabriel Jesus, which was upgraded from a yellow card to a red after VAR intervened.
Cooper was sent off just four minutes after Stuart Dallas opened the scoring for the visitors.
City equalised with Ferran Torres after 76 minutes but Marcelo Bielsa’s men wouldn’t be denied as they got a late winner during stoppage time with Dallas
Manchester United ace Edinson Cavani appears to be ‘closer than ever’ to a move to Boca Juniors in the summer.
That is according to ESPN, who claim Cavani is looking to cut his two-year deal with United in favour of a move to South America.
A source told ESPN: “He has the option to continue in Manchester, where he feels very welcome, but the option to return to South America at this point is very real.
“Those close to him think that ‘he ultimately will be the one making the decision’ and that ‘it seems he has it [decision] all very clear”
Manchester United have joined the race for young Sheffield United prospect Kyron Gordon.
Gordon has impressed at centre-back with the Under-23s and while training with the first team this season.
And thus, the 18-year-old has turned many heads around the Premier League so far.
According to the Daily Mail, United, Leeds as well as Liverpool and Everton are reportedly keeping tabs on Gordon
Bayern Munich superstar Robert Lewandowski praised Borussia Dortmund talisman Erling Haaland by saying he has what it takes to become the “best forward in the world”.
Haaland has been linked with a host of Europe’s top hitters, with the likes of Manchester United, Manchester City, Liverpool and Chelsea being among them.
Lewandowski told CBS: “He’s a great player. He has great potential, but he’s still very young.
“In the future, he has the chance to become the best forward in the world, for sure”
Manchester United would be open to a part-exchange player-plus-cash deal with Tottenham for star striker Harry Kane.
That is according to The Athletic, who claim that United can’t afford Spurs’ asking price, which is said to be in the region of £120million, due to the financial impact of the coronavirus pandemic.
That is why the Red Devils would only be open to a move if Spurs would accept a part exchange.
Kane is reportedly set on leaving Tottenham if they fail to qualify for the Champions League
Former Chelsea manager Frank Lampard revealed that he tried to sign West Ham ace Declan Rice in the summer transfer window.
Lampard said during Q&A for the Willow Foundation: “I have probably given it away with how I spoke about him, but I think it’s common knowledge that I was a big fan of his.
“It didn’t happen for various reasons, but we brought in a lot of players in the summer. But I was a big fan of him.
“For understandable reasons, West Ham know the player that they have on their hands”
BAK NEXT SEASON
Liverpool appear keen on triggering Ozan Kabak’s buyout clause in the summer.
The Reds signed Kabak on loan, with an option to buy, during the January transfer window from Schalke.
According to talkSPORT, the club’s hierarchy has been so impressed that they want the centre-back to sign a permanent deal with the reigning Premier League champions.
That means Liverpool are likely to pay a fee in the region of £18million for the Turkey international in the summer
SHOCK KANE UPDATE
Tottenham star striker Harry Kane is going to push for an exit from the club if Spurs fail to qualify for next season’s Champions League competition.
That is according to The Athletic, who claim Kane is growing increasinly frustrated with the north Londoners’ lack of silverware and general direction.
The England captain has said he will clarify his future after this summer’s delayed Euro 2020 tournament.
However, the 27-year-old appears reluctant to spend another year outside of Europe’s elite competition and may have to look for a different club if Tottenham fail to finish in the top four
WHAT WOULD ALEX DO?
Tottenham manager Jose Mourinho has hit back at his Manchester United successor Ole Gunnar Solskjaer following his claim that trophies are for egos.
Mourinho clashes with his former club on Sunday at the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium and believes Solskjaer’s legendary boss Sir Alex Ferguson would disagree with the Norwegian coach, who said before United’s FA Cup quarter-final exit at Leicester that cups are an ‘ego thing’.
The former Chelsea manager retorted with the following statement: “It’s his opinion. But I’m pretty sure his big boss Sir Alex had a different opinion about it.
“But I respect what Solskjaer thinks. I think different. It’s not a problem, he’s not being disrespectful.
“But, I repeat, I believe that his big boss, and the biggest in Premier League history, has a different view in relation to that”
Manchester United have reportedly cooled off their interest in Borussia Dortmund talisman Erling Haaland.
That is according to ESPN, who claim the “road show” that Haaland’s agent Mino Raiola and his father Alf-Inge put together in Madrid and Barcelona reminded United the reason why they pulled back last year.
The Manchester giants were interested in the star striker while he played for Red Bull Salzburg.
But they ultimately decided to hold fire and thus the Norway international went to Dortmund instead
THOM TO SHINE
Arsenal manager Mikel Arteta has urged £45million signing Thomas Partey to step up on the pitch and prove to the world exactly why the club splashed the cash for him last summer.
Arteta said: “Hopefully we will see the best version of Thomas at Sheffield United on Sunday and against Slavia Prague next week.
“Now that he has got a sequence of two or three games I think we’ll see him finishing the season in a really strong way.
“It’s very difficult to make a proper assessment of Thomas’ performances so far because he has missed six months and that is a long time.
“He is still adapting to our way of playing, which is different to what he did at Atletico, but he we can all see what he brings to the team.
“It’s about him finding the level of consistency that we need from him because he has the capacity that we can build a team that can play around him.
“The biggest difficulty he has had so far is that he has not been fit. Then every time he recovered, he missed the next game.
“He has not had time to prepare himself physically to play at the highest level and that has obviously had an impact because the Premier League demands real fitness”
KANE HE BE SIGNED?
Manchester United have been long-term admirers of Tottenham megastar Harry Kane, according to reports.
However, landing Kane will be no easy feat for any Premier League team as Spurs are not willing to let their star striker join a domestic rival.
Plus, the England international is rated at about £120million, which poses as a sky-high fee amid the coronavirus pandemic’s financial impact.
Kane has stated recently that he will clarify his future after the summer’s delayed Euro 2020
Manchester City legend Sergio Aguero is set to leave the club once his contract runs out in the summer following 10 years of glittering service at the Etihad.
And City boss Pep Guardiola hinted that he wouldn’t mind if Auguero joined a rival club ahead of next season.
Guardiola said: “The best for him, we wish – all of us. Find the best for Sergio for the last years in his career, for sure.
“We’ll be delighted with the decision he takes, the best for him and his family and his career. My preference is his preference. His preference is my preference. The best for him is the best for us”
CRYSTAL PALACE VS CHELSEA
Chelsea take on Crystal Palace at Selhurst Park later on in the afternoon as they look to return to the Premier League’s top four.
The Blues boast almost a full squad with Thiago Silva set to miss the encounter due to the red card he received in last weekend’s thrashing to West Brom.
N’Golo Kante and Christian Pulisic have returned from injury and could be part of Thomas Tuchel’s starting line-up as they came off the bench on Wednesday’s Champions League win against Porto.
Palace will be without Michy Batshuayi as he is not eligible to face his parent club and joins Connor Wickham on the sidelines after he picked up a slight knock during training.
Nathaniel Clyne (muscle), James Tomkins (eye), Mamadou Sakho (thigh) and James McArthur (calf) are still out
TO BE FRANK
Frank Lampard revealed he has received some ‘flattering’ offers to return to management – but ‘they were not quite right’ for the Blues legend.
Lampard returned to Stamford Bridge in the summer of 2019 and in his first season secured the club and top four finish and a place in the FA Cup final.
But 18 months later and he was forced to clear out his locker as Chelsea’s form suffered, leading to his firing.
Lampard, who was replaced by German Thomas Tuchel, has now spoken out for the first time since being sacked by Blues owner Roman Abramovich.
Speaking at a Q&A hosted by the London Football Awards in aid of the Willow Foundation, he said: “Football has consumed my life firstly as a player and then as a manager.
“Nobody wants to lose their job. But when you go into this career, it can happen, no matter how good you think you are.
“It’s given me a lot more time to be at home. It’s been great to be around the family.
“I’ve had some opportunities that have come up in the last six weeks, two months, that have been flattering, but not the right thing.
“They were not quite right.”
GOOD MORNING FOOTY FANS
There will be a two-minute silence before every EFL game this weekend after the death of Prince Philip.
An EFL statement read: “Following the sad passing of His Royal Highness The Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh, the EFL can confirm that there will be a two-minute silence ahead of all EFL fixtures taking place tonight and across the weekend (9-10 April).
“Players, coaches, and match officials will also be wearing armbands as a mark of respect to the late Duke.”
In the Premier League, Wolves broke Fulham hearts with a smash-and-grab win at Craven Cottage last night.
Adama Traore smashed a 92nd-minute winner into the top corner to give Nuno Espirito Santo a 1-0 victory.
The move leaves Fulham three points from safety with just six games left having played two fewer than Newcastle in 17th.
Wolves moved up to 12th with the win.
Elsewhere, Jose Mourinho told Ole Gunnar Solskjaer that Sir Alex Ferguson would never have stood for his claim that trophies are for egos.
Tottenham boss Mourinho took a dig at his Manchester United successor ahead of their Prem clash this weekend.
Solskjaer — potless since he took over from the Portuguese in December 2018 — said before United’s FA Cup quarter-final exit at Leicester that cups are an “ego thing”.
He also argued how a league finish is the true barometer of progress. But Mourinho hit back: “It’s his opinion. But I’m pretty sure his big boss Sir Alex had a different opinion about it.
“But I respect what Solskjaer thinks. I think different. It’s not a problem, he’s not being disrespectful.
“But, I repeat, I believe that his big boss, and the biggest in Premier League history, has a different view in relation to that.”
At Man City, Pep Guardiola will have no problem if Sergio Aguero decides to stay in the Premier League this summer.
At Chelsea, Thomas Tuchel has told Tammy Abraham there is no easy way back into the team.
And Frank Lampard revealed he has received some ‘flattering’ offers to return to management – but ‘they were not quite right’ for the Blues legend.
At Arsenal Mikel Arteta has urged Thomas Partey to step up and show just why Arsenal put so much effort into signing him.
And finally, Troy Deeney says footballers should continue taking the knee next season.
‘HAVE TO STAND FOR SOMETHING’
Reading captain Liam Moore has vowed to quit Twitter after receiving disgusting racist abuse.
The centre-back was the subject of a vile social media poll and declared his intention to deactivate his account as a result.
The poll from a now deleted account called Veljko Paunovic talks Reading FC asked: “Should a n***** be captain of Reading FC?” And the available listed answers read: ‘No’, ‘Not him’ and ‘N***** is a name’.
Moore, 28, saw the horrendous post and hit out at Twitter for letting it happen. He wrote: “2021 and I’m not f****** surprised in the slightest. Twitter you’re as much to blame for making it so easy to abuse people.”
And in a separate post, the Jamaican international wrote: “I have enjoyed engaging with many of you on here over the years but tonight was just another example of Twitter being toxic. You have to stand for something and for that reason I am deactivating my account. Thanks for your support.”
Moore has more than 87,000 followers and hundreds of them commented messages of support.
IT’S THE KNEE FOR DEENEY – EXCLUSIVE
Troy Deeney says footballers should continue taking the knee next season.
Watford captain and SunSport columnist Deeney is part of a Premier League advisory group discussing the issue. Players have taken the knee to highlight the need for racial equality since football came out of lockdown last June.
And, as black players continue to be targeted on social media, Deeney urged his fellow pros to continue the practice. He said: “It’s my personal belief that taking a knee has made a real difference — that it has highlighted the issue and provoked conversation.
“I think taking the knee in front of full houses will have even more of an impact. There need to be further talks about what happens if some supporters boo or show dissent in other ways.
“But in my view that would only add to the difficult and necessary conversations on racism continuing. A lot more discussions are needed between players, clubs and the leagues.
“I would like unity on this and I’d like us to continue reinforcing the key message of civil rights and equality. People of colour simply want the same rights as everyone else. We’re not asking for reparation for what has happened in the past — just equality going forward.”
Source: Soccer - thesun.co.uk