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Champions League: Sergio Ramos criticises Jurgen Klopp in final row

Wed, 15/08/2018 - 01:14

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Real Madrid captain Sergio Ramos has told Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp "some of us have been operating at a very high level for many years - I'm not sure he can say the same".

Klopp was critical of Ramos after Real's Champions League win for a challenge on Liverpool forward Mohamed Salah that injured his shoulder.

He said the 32-year-old was "brutal" in his performance in the final.

But Ramos said: "I have no intention of hurting a player deliberately."

He added: "He will be wanting to explain not winning the final, but it's not the first that he has lost."

Klopp won his first final as a manager, the 2012 German Cup with Borussia Dortmund, but has lost his last six - including May's Champions League final and the Europa League final against Sevilla in 2016.

Salah landed heavily on his shoulder midway through the first half against Real, leading to the PFA Player of the Year being substituted. He later needed surgery on the injury.

Many Liverpool supporters blamed Ramos for the clash, which went unpunished by the referee, and a petition was raised calling for Fifa and Uefa to punish the Spain international.

Klopp also said a challenge from Ramos on Liverpool goalkeeper Loris Karius led to him suffering concussion before making two mistakes in the game.

Speaking before Real's Uefa Super Cup match against Atletico Madrid in Tallinn on Wednesday Ramos said he still rated Klopp.

"When we voted on the best managers I voted for him, so he can relax," Ramos said.

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Video apparently shows Mo Salah using a phone while driving

Mon, 13/08/2018 - 21:08

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Liverpool striker Mo Salah has been referred to the police by his club after he was apparently filmed using a mobile phone while driving.

Merseyside Police confirmed in a tweet that the video had been passed to the "relevant department".

A spokesman for the Premier League club said they had alerted police after discussions with the player.

They added that any follow-up action on the Egypt international would be dealt with "internally".

The video, which has been circulated on Twitter, appears to show the player, who scored 44 goals for Liverpool last season, using his phone while behind the wheel as his car is surrounded by fans, including children.

The spokesman said: "The club, after discussion with the player, have made Merseyside Police aware of the footage and the circumstances surrounding it's capture."

"We have spoken to the player also and will deal with any follow-up internally.

"Neither the club or player will be making any further comment on this matter."

Skip Twitter post by @MerPolCC

ℹ️ We have been made aware of a video believed to show a footballer using a mobile phone whilst driving. This has been passed to the relevant department. Thanks for letting us know 👍

— MerPolCC (@MerPolCC) August 13, 2018

End of Twitter post by @MerPolCC

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Liverpool 4-0 West Ham: Manuel Pellegrini says Hammers must stay positive

Sun, 12/08/2018 - 18:37

West Ham United manager Manuel Pellegrini says it is important for his side not to become despondent after 4-0 defeat against Liverpool at Anfield.

MATCH REPORT Liverpool 4-0 West Ham

Watch highlights on Match of the Day 2, BBC One and online, Sunday 12 August, 2230 BST.

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Jurgen Klopp - Liverpool are 'still Rocky Balboa, not Ivan Drago'

Fri, 10/08/2018 - 14:47

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Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp says the Reds are "still Rocky Balboa and not Ivan Drago".
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Liverpool v West Ham United

Fri, 10/08/2018 - 14:11
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Kane, Lukaku, Hazard, Salah: Which Premier League stars scored at the 2018 FIFA World Cup?

Fri, 10/08/2018 - 08:31

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As the 2018-19 Premier League season gets under way, we take a club-by-club look back on all the England-based scorers at the 2018 World Cup in Russia.
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Premier League predictions: Lawro v Inbetweeners star Joe Thomas on opening weekend

Fri, 10/08/2018 - 00:32
Lawro's predictions

The Premier League is back, but who will enjoy a fast start to the season, and who will suffer the pain of a defeat on the opening weekend?

BBC Sport's football expert Mark Lawrenson has made his predictions for the first 10 games of the new campaign, which include Manchester United hosting Leicester on Friday night, newly-promoted Wolves against Everton on Saturday and champions Manchester City's trip to Arsenal on Sunday.

Lawro is making predictions for all 380 top-flight matches this season, against a variety of guests.

His first guest for the 2018-19 campaign is actor Joe Thomas.

The former star of 'The Inbetweeners' is in a new film called 'The Festival' - and is also looking forward to seeing how Tottenham fare in the forthcoming campaign.

Joe Thomas

"My favourite times as a Spurs fan were the Paul Gascoigne and Gary Lineker era of the early 1990s, but this is a good time too," Thomas said.

"We have quite a few England players and I think expectations are going to be quite high for the likes of Kieran Trippier and Harry Kane to follow up what they did at the World Cup.

"The first target is the top four but then we will see what happens beyond that.

"There is a lot of excitement around the new stadium because there is a sense that, once we move in, things are going to be a bit more settled."

You can hear more from Thomas on Football Focus at 12:00 BST on Saturday on BBC One and the BBC Sport website.

Premier League predictions - week 1ResultLawroJoeFRIDAYMan Utd v Leicesterx-x1-01-0SATURDAYNewcastle v Tottenhamx-x1-11-2Bournemouth v Cardiffx-x1-11-2Fulham v Crystal Palacex-x2-11-1Huddersfield v Chelseax-x0-20-2Watford v Brightonx-x1-05-0Wolves v Evertonx-x2-12-2SUNDAYLiverpool v West Hamx-x2-03-1Southampton v Burnleyx-x2-10-2Arsenal v Man Cityx-x0-22-3

A correct result (picking a win, draw or defeat) is worth 10 points. The exact score earns 40 points.

LAWRO'S PREDICTIONS

All kick-offs 15:00 BST unless stated.

FRIDAY Man Utd v Leicester

Man Utd v Leicester (20:00 BST)

The atmosphere at Old Trafford will be interesting, because Manchester United have not had the greatest pre-season.

But does that matter if you win your first game? I would suggest not, and I do think United will start with a victory.

Jose Mourinho did not get the new centre-half he wanted, because Harry Maguire will be playing in this game in a Leicester shirt.

Even so, when I look at their squad, United are basically nailed on to finish in the top three. They might not have become a better team since last season, when they were runners-up, but they have not become a bad one either.

 Man City 1st, Man Utd 2nd, Tottenham 3rd, Liverpool in 4th, Chelsea in 5th and Arsenal 6th

The only concern I would have is if Paul Pogba is genuinely unhappy at the club, amid the rumours that his agent has been touting him to the likes of Barcelona and Juventus.

That situation becomes a problem for Mourinho if he has a great player who is a World Cup winner, but cannot find him a role in his team that makes him happy playing for United.

Leicester have been more active in the transfer market but I was surprised they did not do more to bolster their attack over the summer, because they rely so heavily on Jamie Vardy.

The Foxes lost five of their last seven games last season and the first few weeks of this campaign are going to be crucial for their manager Claude Puel because, if they start poorly, he will be under pressure again.

Lawro's prediction: 1-0

Joe's prediction: This should be a United home win, but I think it might be quite tight. 1-0

SATURDAY Newcastle v Tottenham

Newcastle v Tottenham (12:30 BST)

Mourinho may be unhappy about not making enough signings, but Tottenham did not bring in any new faces whatsoever.

This is a big season for Spurs with their move into their new ground, but I am not sure about how it will go for them.

Newcastle have had a difficult summer, with their fans and the manager Rafa Benitez questioning the level of investment in the team.

It was never going to be any different, though, was it? Magpies owner Mike Ashley wants to sell up and he was never going to say 'Here's £150m Rafa, go and enjoy yourself'.

As for the game, I am going for a draw. We already know Rafa will set his side up to get a point and I think he would take that result now.

Lawro's prediction: 1-1

Joe's prediction: Spurs have been good on the road recently, and I fancy us to win this one. 1-2

Bournemouth v Cardiff

Bournemouth v Cardiff

His team's survival is probably the only aim for Cardiff manager Neil Warnock this season and he has bought in some interesting players to try to achieve it.

A lot of them are from the Championship, including Preston left-back Greg Cunningham, Bristol City striker Bobby Reid and Norwich winger Josh Murphy, and Warnock has been very clever there.

Between them, they have not played much in the Premier League, if at all, but they will have something to prove.

And although I think Cardiff will struggle, if they end up going down then they will have a very good team at that level.

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This is Bournemouth's fourth season in the top flight, and they have just spent big by their standards by bringing in Colombia midfielder Jefferson Lerma for £25m.

Last year, the Cherries had to wait until the middle of September to get their first win, but it never felt like they panicked.

You know what style of football you are getting from Eddie Howe's side, but it is the same with Warnock's teams and I think they will scrap their way to a point on Saturday.

Lawro's prediction: 1-1

Joe's prediction: Bournemouth can be a bit shaky at the back sometimes and I actually think Cardiff could sneak this one. They need to do well in their first few fixtures, and I am backing them to make a winning start. 1-2

Fulham v Crystal Palace

Fulham v Crystal Palace

Keeping hold of c was massive for Crystal Palace because he makes such a difference to their team.

It is going to be interesting to see how new Eagles midfielder Max Meyer gets on in the Premier League too, after his arrival from Schalke.

Max Meyer signs for Crystal Palace

Fulham have signed a lot of players following their promotion so I am not sure what to expect from them.

But it is sure to be a good atmosphere at their first game back in the top flight since 2014, and I am backing them to start with a win.

Lawro's prediction: 2-1

Joe's prediction: This one is hard to call but it is obviously one that Fulham will be targeting, as a newly-promoted team at home on the opening day. 1-1

Huddersfield v Chelsea

Huddersfield v Chelsea

Huddersfield basically swam the channel to stay up last season and I think the next few months are going to be a similar story for them.

I know the Terriers have strengthened their squad, but they are not going to come out and play open attacking football, and I think they probably already know they will be fighting to keep their head above the water again.

This might be a good time for them to play Chelsea, who are in a mess at the moment.

The Blues at least managed to replace goalkeeper Thibaut Courtois, who is on his way to Real Madrid, but they look short up front with Alvaro Morata and Olivier Giroud.

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For their sake, I hope it does not quickly turn into a season where, a few weeks in, Eden Hazard starts to wonder why he did not also leave for Real.

It is going to take their new manager Maurizio Sarri a while to settle in and sort things out, which is why I don't think they will finish in the top four, but I am still backing them to win this game.

Lawro's prediction: 0-2

Joe's prediction: Chelsea are an interesting one with a new manager who is quite technical, and they might take a bit of time to bed in. Having said that, I still think they will have too much for Huddersfield. 0-2

Watford v Brighton

Watford v Brighton

Every year I seem to say Watford will have a tough season and they always come good.

And although their fans would probably be delighted if I tipped them to have a rough time again, I actually think they will stay up.

Brighton did well to beat the drop last time out after winning promotion, and I think they will build on that this year.

It looks like they have made some good signings that might have gone under the radar - a bit like Pascal Gross did when he joined them a year ago.

Seagulls manager Chris Hughton has got a plan in place, and his teams are always very steady. I am going with a Watford win here, but I don't see Brighton going down this season.

Lawro's prediction: 1-0

Joe's prediction: One of my colleagues on 'The Festival' is a Watford fan so I have got to back them here. 5-0

Wolves v Everton

Wolves v Everton (17:30 BST)

I look at Wolves and what they have done over the summer in the transfer market and think they are going to go for it again after winning promotion.

They have got some very talented Portuguese players and they are a team that I can see scoring lots of goals and having a decent season.

Richarlison

I am still waiting to be convinced by Everton manager Marco Silva after his time in charge of Hull and Watford, but he has signed some interesting players.

I think Everton will have a less turbulent season than last time but it might take Silva a while to work out what his best team is. That's why I am going for Wolves to win this one.

Lawro's prediction: 2-1

Joe's prediction: This is another home game for a promoted team, and I think they will give Everton a test. 2-2

SUNDAY Liverpool v West Ham

Liverpool v West Ham (13:30 BST)

Both of these teams have had a busy summer in the transfer market and, after struggling last season, West Ham have got to be aiming for the top 10 this time.

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Liverpool are aspiring to finish a bit higher, obviously, and when I look at the signings that all the teams have made, they look like they have done the best business.

I think the Reds will push City for the title this season and I am backing them to begin with a win.

Lawro's top-four prediction1. Man City2. Liverpool3. Man Utd4. Arsenal

Lawro's prediction: 2-0

Joe's prediction: 3-1

Southampton v Burnley

Southampton v Burnley (13:30 BST)

Burnley are usually very steady but are they going to be able to deal with the demands of Europa League football too?

If they get to the group stage, then continuously playing Thursday-Sunday is a difficult one to adjust to.

Southampton only scored 37 goals in 38 league games last season and that area is my biggest concern with them at the moment.

Mohamed Elyounoussi

Saints boss Mark Hughes has brought in Mohamed Elyounoussi and Danny Ings to give him more options up front but how their season goes will depend on whether they can find a regular goalscorer, who can stay fit.

Do I think they will beat Burnley? I do.

The Clarets, who were in action in Turkey on Thursday night, have already had a few games in the Europa League but they have not had the chance to find any rhythm and I don't feel as if starting their season early has given them any advantage.

Lawro's prediction: 2-1

Joe's prediction: If they can kick on where they left off last season then his was the kind of game that Burnley were winning (they did indeed triumph 1-0 at St Mary's Stadium in November) so let's say they will win again on Sunday too. 0-2

Arsenal v Man City

Arsenal v Man City (16:00 BST)

What a game this is to start the season for both teams.

New Arsenal manager Unai Emery might not have made any really big stand-out signings, but, with the players he has brought in, I think he has addressed the fact that they have been weak defensively through the middle of midfield and at the back.

But while Emery might not work out his best team for a few weeks, we know all about City - who looked very smooth in their win over Chelsea in the Community Shield last weekend.

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City should win this game too, but Emery deserves time to work things out and by that I mean longer than the first few weeks of the season when his side also play Chelsea (away), West Ham (home) and Cardiff (away).

When a manager leaves after being at a club for more than 20 years, like Arsene Wenger was, there is always going to be a lot of change going on and we should leave Emery alone to get on with it.

Lawro's prediction: 0-2

Joe's prediction: Well, I think Arsenal will score - but so will City. What a game this could be. 2-3

Lawro was speaking to BBC Sport's Chris Bevan.

How did Lawro do last season?

In Lawro's league table based on his 2017-18 weekly predictions, Manchester City finished champions - just as they did in reality.

Overall, he had seven teams out of 20 in their correct positions, with four more only one or two places out (see bottom of the page).

Total scores at the end of the 2017-18 seasonLawro3,410Guests2,820Lawro v Guests - the final totalP38W23D3L12 Lawro's League Table +/- DENOTE POSITION DIFFERENCE BETWEEN LAWRO'S TABLE AND ACTUAL POSITIONPOSTEAMPWDLPTS+/-1Man City3831619902Man Utd3830719703Tottenham3830719704Liverpool38231508405Chelsea3824958106Arsenal38191366807Leicester381681456+28Burnley3812121448-19West Ham3810171147+410Southampton3812101646+711Bournemouth3811101743+112West Brom381271943+813Stoke388131737+614Crystal Palace38982135-315Everton388111935-716Newcastle387102131-617Brighton384132125-218Swansea38662624019Watford38572622-520Huddersfield382132319-4GUEST LEADERBOARD - FINAL STANDINGS 2017-18SCOREGUEST LEADERBOARD160Justin Hawkins, Chris Shiflett130James Anderson*, Joe Johnson*120Russel Leetch*, Will Poulter, Moeen Ali110Aron Baynes*100Noreen Khan, Cesaro & Seamus, Wretch 3291Lawro (average after 38 weeks)90John Bishop, Arni and Justin from The Vaccines, Pete Wentz80John Cena, Darren Campbell70Plan B, Brendan Foster*, Mark Strong60Jimmy from Django Django, Will Ferrell, Nish Kumar, Non Stanford, Rick Witter50Steve Cram, Michael Dapaah, Russell Howard, Channing Tatum, Joe Root, Margot Robbie and Allison Janney, Dario Saric, Osi Umenyiora and Jason Bell,40James Bay, Craig David, Ed Lay30Elis James, Rhys James, Felix White20Charlie Cooper, Richard Osman, Emmanuel Sanders and Josh Norman

* Shows weeks where Lawro had more than one guest, and only the highest score contributed to the guest total.

Lawro's best score: 170 points (week 30 v Arni and Justin from The Vaccines)

Lawro's worst score: 40 points (week four v Umenyiora and Bell, week five v Non Stanford, week 21 v Darren Campbell and week 23 v Saric and Baynes)

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Transfer news: Liverpool's Danny Ings joins Southampton on loan

Thu, 09/08/2018 - 22:45
Breaking news

Southampton have signed Liverpool striker Danny Ings on a season-long loan, ahead of a permanent move next summer.

The 26-year-old scored four goals in 25 appearances for Liverpool after moving from Burnley in June 2015.

Ings's progress at Anfield was hampered by two serious knee injuries sustained during his time at the club.

Saints manager Mark Hughes says he fought off "significant competition" to land the former Bournemouth striker.

More to follow.

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Man Utd: Why it is dangerous to write off Jose Mourinho - Alan Shearer

Thu, 09/08/2018 - 02:18
Match of the Day

Alan Shearer joins Gary Lineker and Ian Wright on the first Match of the Day of the season at 22:20 BST on Saturday on BBC One and the BBC Sport website for highlights of seven Premier League games. Here, he looks at the contenders in the title race, and the prospects for his former club Newcastle.

It has been a difficult pre-season for Manchester United, and we will find out how it has affected their players when they get the new Premier League campaign started against Leicester on Friday night.

This time last year, everything at United seemed very upbeat and optimistic, but now there seems to be a different mood around the club, and their manager.

Jose Mourinho has had the grumps all summer and when you compare his character now to the way he was when he first arrived in the Premier League with Chelsea in 2004, it is chalk and cheese.

Back then he was happy, witty and arrogant, and seemed to always speak with a smile.

These days, he is far more likely to have a frown on his face - and it seems as if he wants to fight everyone.

I can understand his frustration, because every manager wants a bigger and better pool of players than they have already got.

Jose is no different - he has made it clear he wants to get another central defender in before Thursday's deadline.

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But he has already spent an awful lot of money in his two years in charge of United and, if you look at their squad, they have so much quality there.

The spine of their side, with David de Gea, Eric Bailly, Paul Pogba, Nemanja Matic, Alexis Sanchez and Romelu Lukaku is particularly strong, even before you get on to players like Marcus Rashford, Jesse Lingard and Anthony Martial.

'It would be dangerous to write off Man Utd or Mourinho'

Their team is definitely already good enough to challenge champions Manchester City for the title, but can Jose get the best out them, and can they play in a style that can keep their fans happy?

Like any big club, they need some silverware - in his first season at Old Trafford, 2016-17, Mourinho won two trophies - the League Cup and Europa League - but he won nothing last season.

So, the pressure is on and there is even speculation he might not last much longer in his job.

But despite his current downbeat demeanour, it would be dangerous to write United or Mourinho off.

We have only seen him when he has appeared in front of the TV cameras this summer and heard what he has told the media, and I suspect he will behave very differently on the training ground with his players.

I am still expecting them to be very strong this season, and I actually think that, along with Liverpool, they will be a lot closer to Manchester City this time.

 Man City 1st, Man Utd 2nd, Tottenham 3rd, Liverpool in 4th, Chelsea in 5th and Arsenal 6th 'Liverpool must handle expectation after spending big'

Liverpool have spent a fortune to try to close the gap and it looks like they have identified their weaknesses, and tried to rectify them.

Of course, when managers spend big they have to deliver success and in Jurgen Klopp's case, that means a first trophy since he took charge of the Reds in October 2015.

Klopp will know that too, but he would rather have spent that money - and have to handle the pressure that comes with it - than not.

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Tottenham, in contrast, have not spent anything so far this summer but they also need to win something after coming so close in the past few seasons, otherwise they could have nothing to show for all their good work.

They have not had the same finances to throw at their team as the clubs around them but they have still got themselves into a position where they are contenders.

I am sure if they don't take that next step and actually win something with the team they have got now, then in years to come they will look back with regret.

Those teams would make up my top four, with Chelsea and Arsenal remaining outside the Champions League places.

Shearer's top-four prediction1. Man City2. Liverpool3. Man Utd4. Tottenham

There is still time for the Blues to buy players but as things stand now, with Alvaro Morata and Olivier Giroud as their main strikers, I don't think they have the firepower to challenge for the title again.

With Arsenal, it is a matter of wait and see under their new manager Unai Emery. For starters, it will be very strange looking at the Emirates dugout and not seeing Arsene Wenger in there after so many years.

It might do them the world of good to freshen things up, but I don't see them challenging for the title.

'Teams will know what Man City do - but can they stop them?'

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At the top, Manchester City remain the team to beat.

I said at the end of last season that to go down as an all-time great team, they need to be serial winners and defend their title, and I think they will do that.

Complacency has been an issue with City after their title wins in the past, and their captain Vincent Kompany has admitted they were missing an edge to their play the season after they won the Premier League in 2012 and 2014.

I have been there myself, with Blackburn in 1995, and I know how difficult it is to repeat the levels that got you your initial success.

On top of that, the opposing teams know what you are all about, and your style of play.

The difference with City is that it is one thing knowing what they do, but it is something else to try to stop it.

They set record after record last season for points and goals, and put down a marker for the new campaign with their performance in the Community Shield last weekend.

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There is no way Pep Guardiola will allow them to lose their drive for more trophies. You can see how demanding a coach he is from the repeated success he had with Barcelona and Bayern.

I don't care how good you are, though, you still need to freshen up your squad and City have done that by bringing in Riyad Mahrez from Leicester.

Not only that, they have also got Benjamin Mendy back - after he missed virtually all of last season with a knee injury - which is like having another new player.

Of course, they will want to do better in the Champions League - they have not gone further than the semi-finals in the 10 years since Sheikh Mansour bought the club and started investing billions of pounds.

But I don't think Europe will be a distraction for them, because they have not managed back-to-back Premier League titles yet either.

They will want to win both, and they have got the players and the squad to do it. It is a challenge they will relish.

A season of struggle for Newcastle?

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Sadly I think my old club Newcastle are more likely to be near the bottom of the table than the top.

They are facing the same old problems, with the manager Rafa Benitez and the fans demanding more investment in the team. Quite rightly, they are asking where the money has gone.

The fan in me hopes they have got too much to go down, but I fear it will be a long old season.

Alan Shearer was speaking to BBC Sport's Chris Bevan.

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Premier League 2018-19: BBC Sport pundits pick champions and top four

Wed, 08/08/2018 - 08:38
You can follow the new season on Match of the Day, Final Score, Football Focus, Radio 5 live and Match of the Day 2

No team has managed a successful defence of the Premier League title since Manchester United in 2009 - but will this season be different?

That is the aim of Manchester City boss Pep Guardiola, a winner of three consecutive league titles in both Spain (Barcelona, 2008-11) and Germany (Bayern Munich, 2013-16), who saw his side finish 19 points clear of the pack last time out.

But who will challenge them in 2018-19? Can big-spending Liverpool mount a serious challenge? Will Manchester United narrow the gap? Can Tottenham improve? And are Chelsea and Arsenal contenders after changing their managers in the summer?

We asked 24 BBC TV and radio pundits to pick their top four with explanations for their selections.

The predictions were made on the basis of how each squad shaped up on Wednesday, 8 August, before the opening weekend of the season, but two days before the deadline for incoming transfers and with the potential for players to leave up until the transfer window shuts in the rest of Europe at the end of August.

Predictor1st2nd3rd4thIan WrightLiverpoolMan CityMan UtdArsenalRuud GullitLiverpoolMan CityChelseaMan UtdMartin KeownLiverpoolMan CityTottenhamMan UtdDion DublinMan CityMan UtdLiverpoolTottenhamAlex ScottMan CityLiverpoolMan UtdArsenalJoleon LescottMan CityLiverpoolMan UtdArsenalMark LawrensonMan CityLiverpoolMan UtdArsenalMatthew UpsonMan CityLiverpoolMan UtdArsenalAlan ShearerMan CityLiverpoolMan UtdTottenhamDanny MurphyMan CityLiverpoolMan UtdTottenhamPat NevinMan CityLiverpoolMan UtdTottenhamLindsay JohnsonMan CityLiverpoolMan UtdTottenhamCharlie AdamMan CityLiverpoolMan UtdTottenhamDanny MillsMan CityLiverpoolMan UtdChelseaMark SchwarzerMan CityLiverpoolMan UtdChelseaRachel Brown-FinnisMan CityLiverpoolChelseaTottenhamSue SmithMan CityLiverpoolChelseaTottenhamPaul InceMan CityLiverpoolChelseaMan UtdKevin KilbaneMan CityLiverpoolChelseaMan UtdStephen WarnockMan CityLiverpoolChelseaMan UtdJermaine JenasMan CityLiverpoolTottenhamMan UtdChris SuttonMan CityLiverpoolTottenhamMan UtdChris WaddleMan CityLiverpoolTottenhamChelseaLeon OsmanMan CityLiverpoolTottenhamArsenal

Six teams feature in the forecasted top fours, and only Manchester City and Liverpool feature in all 24.

In terms of who will win it, Manchester City are favourites, with 21 votes. Liverpool get the other three.

Overall predicted ranking, using all BBC predictions(using system of 4 pts for a 1st place, 3 pts for 2nd, 2 pts for 3rd and 1 pt for 4th)1. Man City2. Liverpool3. Man Utd4. Tottenham5. Chelsea6. Arsenal93 pts74 pts34 pts18 pts15 pts6 ptsMan City - a well-oiled machine managed by a serial winner

This is the third season running where City have featured in everyone's forecasted top four. Last season, only 5% of people we asked thought Guardiola's side would finish lower than third. This season, no-one thinks they will finish below second.

Alan Shearer: It has been a long time since anyone won back-to-back titles but I think City will win the Premier League again because of Pep - he won't want their standards slipping. He will play exactly the same way and they are going to be very hard to stop, although I think Liverpool and United will both be a lot closer to them this time.

Shearer joins Ian Wright and Gary Lineker on Match of the Day at 22:20 BST on Saturday on BBC One and the BBC Sport website for highlights of seven Premier League games (including Friday night's season opener).

 Man City 1st, Man Utd 2nd, Tottenham 3rd, Liverpool in 4th, Chelsea in 5th and Arsenal 6th

Chris Sutton: Pep will not allow City to become complacent. Their consistency levels last season, when they won 32 out of their 38 league games, including a run of 18 wins in a row, were unbelievable.

Paul Ince: Guardiola is a serial winner - you can see that from the way he rants and raves on the touchline demanding more even when his team are two or 3-0 up. That is his mentality, and his players buy into it.

Matthew Upson: City are about to start their third season under Guardiola and it is clear they are a well-oiled machine. They know his philosophy and the way he wants to play. As we saw in the Community Shield, when they were missing Kevin de Bruyne and David Silva, the personnel does not really matter - when one player steps out another one steps in - and that is their great strength.

Upson and Alex Scott are the guests on Football Focus on BBC One and the BBC Sport website at 12:00 BST on Saturday.

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Sue Smith: If anything City will be stronger because their problem area was left-back last season. Benjamin Mendy is now back and fit and is a real threat down that flank. Look through the rest of the team and it is top quality throughout.

Lindsay Johnson: I cannot see City not winning the title because they have improved an already very strong squad by bringing in Riyad Mahrez, and they seem to be a happy camp.

Jermaine Jenas: I still think City will win the league, but everyone has had a couple of years now to look at this Guardiola side and work out what they are about, like Liverpool did against them last season. It is hard for Pep to keep thinking up new things and if other teams do clock how to cause them problems then that will make life a lot more difficult - and it will not matter how big the gap was in the past.

Liverpool - Man City's Kryptonite have done the best business of the summer

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Only 43% people we asked thought Liverpool would make it into the top four last season, and only 13% thought they would be higher than third - they finished fourth. This year 14% think they will win the title and 96% think they will finish in the top two.

Ian Wright: I want this season's title race to be more spicy and I think it will be. If Liverpool can get some impetus, then we don't know how Manchester City will react under pressure if a team can stay close to them at the end of the season.

You also have to consider that Liverpool are City's Kryptonite. That's why I am backing Jurgen Klopp's side to pip them to the title.

When Liverpool are doing well in the league, the league seems better. And, when they have got a good team, with the crowd at Anfield they are literally unstoppable - as we saw against City in the Champions League last season.

Ruud Gullit: If City have to battle for the league, we don't know if they can do that. They will be up there at the top but I am backing Liverpool to win it. They are contenders because of the way they play, and how they control games but they also want to entertain and they want to attack - they play the right way.

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Stephen Warnock: Liverpool have arguably done the best business in the window so far, albeit the most expensive. They are going to be stronger everywhere but, if they had not signed Alisson, I would not be backing them to finish second. Getting the goalkeeper right is that important, you only have to look at how many points David de Gea earned United with his saves last season.

Danny Murphy: Getting their signings done so early was beneficial because it gives Klopp time to show what he wants from them, and get them up to the fitness levels he requires for the way he wants to play.

Kevin Kilbane: Alisson is the signing of the summer. I have heard people say that they are one or two players short of a title-winning team but I don't agree with that - there have been a couple of seasons over the past three or four years when they have been serious contenders but have been one short, and it was a keeper they needed.

I have tipped City because of the way they played last season, and how they play but it would not surprise me if Liverpool won the league.

Join Kevin, Jason Mohammed and Dion Dublin for Final Score on Saturday, from 14:30 BST on the Red Button and from 16:30 on BBC One.

Joleon Lescott: As well as all their signings, it looks like Daniel Sturridge is back in contention at Liverpool now and I think both parties have to recognise the part he can play this season. Klopp has got to see that Sturridge has the close control to unlock teams who sit deep, and Daniel has to realise that when Liverpool are playing on the counter-attack, he has got a lot of work to do off the ball and, like Firmino, is not there just to score goals.

 passing accuracy - Alisson 79%, Karius 67%, Mignolet 69%; shots saved - Alisson 79%, Karius 69%, Mignolet 59%; clean sheets - Alisson 17 in 37 games, Karius 10 in 19, Mignolet 7 in 19

Chris Waddle: They have spent some big money and Klopp cannot keep saying 'we are building'. This is the year for me where Liverpool have got to come out and say 'we are competing for the Premier League title'. I know they won't but they are in a place now where they are trying to win everything City and United are trying to win, so why deny it?

Danny Mills: I suppose the one problem they face is whether they are going to be so heavily reliant on Mo Salah's goals again. I still think he will score loads, but I cannot see him getting as many as he did last season.

Manchester United - lots of quality, but lacking harmony

Last season, 33% of people we asked thought United would be champions - they finished second. This time, no-one thinks they will win the title, and only one pundit - Dion Dublin - thinks they will finish second.

Dion Dublin: United have got so much quality in their squad and they definitely progressed under Jose Mourinho last season. What they are missing at the moment is harmony, but if he can find that and get all his good players smiling and happy, they will be very close.

You can listen to Dion Dublin and Conor McNamara's commentary of United's opening game of the season against Leicester on BBC Radio 5 live and the BBC Sport website on Friday. Build-up from Old Trafford starts at 18:30 BST.

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Ruud Gullit: United already had the players to challenge City last season, but they couldn't do it. So are they going to do it now? Are these players going to perform? You have to ask why so many of their players underachieved.

Chris Waddle: Jose always seems to get out of bed the wrong side every morning. He just has to get on with things and start smiling. If he does that, it will rub off on the team.

Chris Sutton: United just seem to be an unhappy camp and it all comes down to the manager. I wonder what the owners make of him telling fans not to turn up to their tour games in the United States, plus his criticism of his players and all his comments about needing new players but not getting them - he has basically been telling the centre-halves already at the club that they are hopeless.

It has resulted in a negative feeling about the club, at a time when almost every other club in the land has an air of positivity going into the new season. I think Mourinho's frustration probably comes from him looking at City and Liverpool, and the way they play, and he is probably jealous. You wonder about the impact it will have on United at the start of the season, and what it means for his own future too.

Jermaine Jenas: I don't see it ending well. There are too many internal issues with existing players, issues over their style of play, and also issues with potential signings supposedly saying they do not want to go and play there for him because of that style of play. United fans are not convinced by the football they play under him, or where they are heading under his leadership, so it is going to be an interesting few months.

Danny Mills: You have to be very careful with the way you read Mourinho because of the way he plays the media, and deflects attention from other things. Don't write them off on the back of him messing about in a press conference, saying I haven't got this or that. In fact, write them off at your peril.

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Paul Ince: Last season, from a footballing point of view, United weren't great. Their fans were moaning that they did not attack enough and although I think Mourinho has tried to address that, they really need to hit the ground running this time.

The signs are not great, though. Everything should be geared towards the first game of the season but instead it is all about Mourinho. There are some positives, and I am expecting a big season from Paul Pogba after his World Cup, but I definitely think they need another striker as back-up to Romelu Lukaku - someone in a similar mould to the Belgian.

Ian Wright: It is blatantly obvious that United need central defenders, which is why he has shown an interest in Leicester's Harry Maguire and Tottenham's Toby Alderweireld. I am not sure whether he will get either of them before Thursday's deadline though.

Tottenham - will this season be 'like Groundhog Day?'

Last time out, 55% of people thought Tottenham would finish outside the top four - they finished third and are the only team to make the top three in each of the past three seasons. This time, 46% think they will miss out on the Champions League spots, and no-one thinks they will break into the top two.

Joleon Lescott: Are Spurs trying to win the league? Do they believe they can win it? I think they hope they can, but they won't expect it, like the City players do. They remind me of Arsenal a few years ago, when they were just content with finishing in the top four.

Jermaine Jenas: This is a team whose manager knows them inside out and vice versa, and I can see them making a fast start to the season because of that connection. Spurs have also got a group of young players who have been together for a long time and their experience of falling short of winning a trophy will be with them. I just think that, along with them moving into their new stadium mean there are a lot of positives for them.

Ian Wright: Tottenham have a lot of players who came back late to pre-season after the World Cup and having to wait a few games to get into their new ground is going to be another disruption. I just think they might make a stuttering start that other teams might take advantage of.

Chris Waddle: Spurs will definitely be in the top four and I think they have an outside chance of winning the title because their strongest XI is as good as anyone's in the Premier League, but my worry is that they will be affected by fatigue and injuries, and their squad is not good enough. They are also going to be going into their new stadium, and even if it only takes them a few weeks to settle in, it will be an issue.

Chris Sutton: Tottenham have not signed anyone yet but I still think they have got good strength in depth in their squad. On top of that they are strong defensively and have lots of creative options and have the best striker in the league in Harry Kane.

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Stephen Warnock: Spurs don't make my top four because I think they have to strengthen. If Kane gets injured, then they are in massive trouble. A couple of quality late signings could tip things in their favour though.

Kevin Kilbane: How do Spurs make that step-up, that improvement they need to go from third-place to champions? It is hard to see them making the signings that would make that happen, and I think this season might be like Groundhog Day for them, where they are just challenging for a Champions League place. It is top four at best for them, because I don't think they have got enough to seriously challenge Liverpool and City over the course of the season.

Danny Murphy: For the fans, and just to push everyone in the squad, you always need to buy at least one big name, someone who is going to come in and make them better. Of the players Spurs have being linked with this summer, Wilfried Zaha and Anthony Martial would fit the bill, but it looks unlikely either of them will be arriving now.

Chelsea - 'things are complicated right now'

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Only one BBC pundit predicted Chelsea would finish outside the top four last season - their former manager Ruud Gullit. They finished fifth. This season, Gullit thinks they will finish third, but 63% think they will miss out on the top four.

Mark Lawrenson: I look at Chelsea and it is just a mess, isn't it? The whole thing.

Ian Wright: They have got a new keeper lined up to replace Thibaut Courtois and I think Eden Hazard will stay, but who is going to score all the goals?

At the moment it looks like they will be relying on Olivier Giroud because it is not happening for Alvaro Morata and we have seen that Michy Batshuayi is not going to do it at this level. So they need another striker which is why, as things stand, they don't make my top four.

Pat Nevin: Things are complicated with Chelsea. I think they are in exactly the same situation they were in before the season started last year, which is they need to buy. I suspect they will try to bring one more centre-back in but, if David Luiz is back to his best after his injuries last season, then that will not be a problem.

The last couple days of the Premier League transfer window could change everything because they could sell one of their big outfield players and get in three others, and that would completely change the picture.

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Stephen Warnock: Keeping Hazard is crucial for Chelsea. He is their match-winner and almost irreplaceable, especially at this stage of the transfer window. Without him, I would not pick them to finish third, but I do think the way Maurizio Sarri plays suits the players he has got, and not having Champions League football will help them a lot.

Ruud Gullit: Players want to win trophies - you know your career is short. Hazard came to Chelsea to win things, not just to play well and earn a lot of money, and he still wants to win trophies - major ones - now.

Chelsea have to create that opportunity for him - if they can't, then you cannot blame him if he does want to leave. Can they do it this season? It is too early to tell.

Matthew Upson: What Sarri saw in the Community Shield will have told him a lot about what his players are capable of, in terms of fitting into his system or reaching the required standards. He has issues to tackle right through his team and, with Thursday being the transfer deadline for incoming players, there is not much time to decide whether to address them in the transfer market.

Read more from Upson here on the issues faced by new Chelsea manager Maurizio Sarri.

Arsenal - A good start under Emery will be crucial

Some 70% of BBC pundits, presenters and commentators predicted Arsenal would finish outside the top four last season, and they finished sixth. This season, 75% think they will miss out on Champions League football again, and no-one thinks they will finish higher than fourth.

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Ian Wright: I have faith in Arsenal finishing fourth because I think their attacking players will cause all the other teams problems - but I am still worried about the defensive side of things and the way the players start the season under Unai Emery, and grasp what he wants from them, is going to be so crucial.

They start against a City team who know exactly what they are doing, but this might be a good time to play them because some of their players are late back from the World Cup. Arsenal are going to play this pressing game and could they catch City off guard? If they do, have they got enough defensively to stop City even if City are rocked by a couple of punches? That might just be my wishful thinking.

After that, they play Chelsea, West Ham and Cardiff, and depending on results, that could be an unbelievable opening, or a case of 'uh oh'. By the time they get to West Ham, when they will be up against Jack Wilshere, well there is a story waiting to be written there, isn't there?

Martin Keown: It will be a really close battle to make the top four; Arsenal and Chelsea will push Manchester United all of the way and have an outside chance of claiming a Champions League place. Emery has had longer with his team than anyone else - they've largely all been together for the whole of pre-season - and they could potentially cause an upset against City on day one.

Stephen Warnock: Emery has a fantastic record and his appointment is a massive coup for Arsenal. He has signed some excellent players, but a lot depends on how quickly they adapt to the Premier League.

Unai Emery managerial honours

Kevin Kilbane: They won't challenge for the title but I think Emery will make them more pragmatic and harder to beat. That will be the biggest difference with Arsenal this season compared to when Arsene Wenger was in charge and they played more off the cuff. It is a change that they have been crying out for.

Jermaine Jenas: After 22 years of Wenger running the club, from the way they train to the way they play, the initial shock of playing under Emery will be great for them. That change might feel good to the players in the early stages but nobody really knows how they are going to translate that to the pitch, or which style of play they will adopt and they are a bit of an unknown quantity.

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Liverpool 3-1 Torino: Reds end pre-season with victory at Anfield

Tue, 07/08/2018 - 23:25
Roberto Firmino scores the opening goal at Anfield

Liverpool concluded their preparations for the new season with a victory over Italian side Torino at Anfield.

Jurgen Klopp's side were too clever, quick and powerful for their opponents throughout the game, despite making numerous changes at the break and further substitutions throughout the second half.

Roberto Firmino and Georginio Wijnaldum were on target in the first half for a strong-starting Reds XI that featured three summer signings - goalkeeper Alisson and midfielders Naby Keita and Fabinho, the latter of whom missed the chance to open the scoring from the penalty spot after Sadio Mane had been fouled in the box.

The visitors rarely threatened but pulled a goal back through Andrea Belotti's powerful close-range header.

With West Ham visiting Anfield for the Premier League opener on Sunday, Klopp withdrew most of his first string, giving run-outs to the likes of Daniel Sturridge, Adam Lallana, Danny Ings and Marko Grujic, along with another off-season recruit, Xherdan Shaqiri.

It was Sturridge who rounded off the scoring, steering in a header from Shaqiri's neat chipped cross late in the match.

Despite the restricted game-time for most, there was enough quality to demonstrate Liverpool's readiness for the coming campaign.

Firmino's deflected opener from inside the box came from the eagerness and awareness of Mohamed Salah, who harried and picked up the loose ball before supplying a neat pass to his fellow forward.

The second goal was better, with Wijnaldum driving into the box and receiving Firmino's pinpoint pass in his stride before stroking in a low shot.

And while Sturridge and Shaqiri may not start Sunday's game, they have the predatory instinct and creative ability to make a significant impact from the bench if required.

There was also another promising display from 21-year-old Nathaniel Phillips, who played almost the full 90 minutes at centre-back, and a nice moment midway through the second half when Loris Karius, whose errors contributed to Liverpool's defeat in last season's Champions League final, replaced Alisson to huge cheers from the home crowd.

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James Milner: Liverpool midfielder has 15 stitches in 'crazy cut'

Sat, 04/08/2018 - 23:25
Liverpool's James Milner suffers head injury

Liverpool midfielder James Milner had 15 stitches after sustaining a "crazy cut" to his head during his side's 5-0 friendly win over Napoli in Dublin.

Milner, 32, left the field in the second half after a collision with Portuguese defender Mario Rui.

"He's quite positive because he's not been given a mirror yet," said Reds boss Jurgen Klopp.

Liverpool's first Premier League game of 2018-19 is against West Ham at Anfield on 12 August (13:30 BST).

It is not yet clear whether Milner, who scored the first goal against Napoli, will miss that game.

"I knew that he would get stitches because we saw it on the pitch," added Klopp.

"He's in the dressing room so I have to see him first before I can say more. That's obviously the big shadow over that game."

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Marko Grujic: Cardiff City fail to re-sign Liverpool midfielder on loan

Sat, 04/08/2018 - 13:19
Marko Grujic celebrates scoring a goal with Kadeem Harris of Cardiff City in their 2-1 win over Barnsley.

Cardiff City have missed out on re-signing Liverpool midfielder Marko Grujic on loan.

Grujic, 22, joined Cardiff in January and played 14 times as they secured promotion to the Premier League.

Bluebirds manager Neil Warnock had been confident in re-signing the Serbia international for a second spell.

"Grujic looks like he will stay put... I think he would be better off here but it is a contract issue, I understand his point of view," Warnock said.

"Liverpool have four competitions before Christmas and he can play in those without being named in the 25-man squad."

Grujic has made eight substitute appearances in the Premier League for Liverpool since joining from Red Star Belgrade for £5.1m in January 2016, when he became Jurgen Klopp's first signing as Reds boss.

Warnock admitted that Cardiff had cooled their interest on other potential signings in the expectation that Grujic would return to Cardiff City Stadium rather than remain at Anfield.

"I have missed out on a couple of targets waiting for him, it is disappointing as everything was agreed with Liverpool. But sometimes fate intervenes," Warnock said.

"We need a couple of midfielders and a striker. We are really short in midfield."

Cardiff have signed four players so far this summer, all from the Championship, with forward Bobby Reid joining from Bristol City, winger Josh Murphy from Norwich City, defender Greg Cunningham from Preston North End and goalkeeper Alex Smithies from Queens Park Rangers.

Warnock has been in negotiations with Villareal over signing midfielder Alfred N'Diaye, but says links to Watford striker Troy Deeney are unlikely to lead to his signing.

"We have been linked with Alfred N'Diaye, we have spoken to the club involved but I think the package is a bit beyond us," Warnock said.

"Troy Deeney, I read we offered £15m! That is ridiculous really.

"It makes me smile really. We get calls from agents and I think 'that will be in the newspapers tomorrow'."

Cardiff, the bookmakers' favourites to be relegated, will need to move swiftly if they are to bolster their squad before the transfer window closes on 9 August.

The Bluebirds begin their Premier League campaign on Saturday, 11 August away to Bournemouth

*Listen to the extended interview with Warnock on BBC Radio Wales Sport from 14:00 BST

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Paul Taylor and Herbie Kane: Doncaster sign striker and Liverpool midfielder

Thu, 02/08/2018 - 20:42
Paul Taylor plays for Bradford City in League One.

Doncaster have signed ex-Bradford City striker Paul Taylor on a one-year deal and Liverpool midfielder Herbie Kane on loan until January.

Taylor, 30, scored six goals in 27 league appearances for the Bantams last season before leaving the club by mutual consent in April.

Kane, 19, is yet to make his senior debut for the Reds.

Both players could feature in Doncaster's League One opener at Southend on Saturday.

Find all the latest football transfers on our dedicated page.

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Ben Woodburn: Liverpool forward joins Sheffield United on loan

Wed, 01/08/2018 - 14:09
Ben Woodburn in action for Liverpool

Championship side Sheffield United have signed Liverpool forward Ben Woodburn on a season-long loan deal.

The 18-year-old Wales international has scored one goal in 11 appearances for the Reds since making his first-team debut in November 2016.

"Ben is a great signing for us, he is an exciting player with undoubted quality," said Blades boss Chris Wilder on the club website.

"It's his first loan and I'm sure it will be a great one for all parties."

He added: "He's been involved with Liverpool throughout their pre-season and I'm delighted they've trusted us with one of their outstanding young prospects."

Woodburn, who is Liverpool's all-time youngest goalscorer - netting aged 17 years and 45 days against Leeds United in November 2016 - becomes the Blades' fourth signing of the summer transfer window.

He has won seven caps for Wales, scoring one goal.

Find all the latest football transfers on our dedicated page.

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Liverpool 'one or two players from winning Premier League' - Charlie Adam

Mon, 30/07/2018 - 23:58
Xherdan Shaqiri

Liverpool are "one or two players" short of having a team capable of winning the Premier League, says former Reds midfielder Charlie Adam.

Jurgen Klopp's side finished fourth in England's top flight last season and have spent nearly £170m this summer.

They also paid £75m for centre-back Virgil van Dijk in January, but Adam says they need another defender to challenge champions Manchester City.

"Liverpool have done excellent business so far," he told BBC Radio 5 live.

Guinea midfielder Naby Keita has arrived from RB Leipzig for about £50m, Brazil midfielder Fabinho has joined from Monaco in a deal that could be worth more than £40m, and Switzerland winger Xherdan Shaqiri has come in for £13m.

Liverpool have also made Alisson the world's most expensive goalkeeper, recruiting the Brazilian from Roma in a deal the Italian club said is worth up to £66.8m.

However, the Reds have also raised significant funds, including through the £142m sale of Philippe Coutinho to Barcelona in January.

"Liverpool are one or two players from the title," said Adam on The Monday Night Club. "He [Klopp] has added quality to the squad, I still think they could do with another centre-half.

"They have brought Shaqiri in, a good replacement if Mohamed Salah needs a rest. Daniel Sturridge is to come back in - if he stays fit he could be in that team as well.

"The goalkeeper situation was a big problem for them last season. He has seen that problem and got that deal done," he said.

He [Alisson] is going to be worth six to eight points over the season. It adds a total belief and confidence."

Liverpool signings 'Shaqiri may get frustrated on the bench'

Shaqiri has arrived at Anfield from Adam's current club Stoke, and the Scot described the deal as "a great move" for both the Switzerland international and for Liverpool.

However, Adam - who spent the 2011-12 season with the Reds - has warned that the 26-year-old may get frustrated if he finds game time hard to come by under Klopp.

"He's got to try and replace Salah, the best player in the Premier League and has a chance for the Ballon d'Or," said the 32-year-old.

"It's only going to last six months and he won't be happy sitting on bench. He'll want to play in the bigger games.

"He might get frustrated at not playing as much as he wants - it's how long he waits and what Klopp does with him.

"He will fit in at Liverpool, he's a top player. He deserves to be there."

Adam and Shaqiri were part of the Potters side relegated from the Premier League last season, and the midfielder feels the Swiss could have done more to aid the team's fight against the drop.

"He's a big player, at times he did well for us," he added.

"But in critical situations, I felt tracking back and what we needed for the team in a relegation battle just wasn't there.

"He has got it in him, but he probably knew we were going to get relegated, he was going to the World Cup and had this big move - this move was probably done three, four months ago.

"He is a match-winner, but at times it was difficult to play in the same team. The manager would let him get away with certain things. We fell short, it's not just him, there are others."

The new season begins 'We were told to be water carriers for Shaqiri'

Adam also said that former Stoke boss Paul Lambert suggested Shaqiri's team-mates were "water carriers" for the midfielder.

"He was the world-class player that we had in our team. Basically, we had to get him the ball to go and make something happen, which was difficult to take.

"We knew he was a match-winner, but we felt we should have had more respect from that point of view.

"When you have players that knew they were going to get a move whether they were relegated or not, it was inevitable what was going to happen.

"He felt Shaq was one who would keep us up - but we had others in teams who could win games."

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Liverpool: Jurgen Klopp says 'outstanding' Daniel Sturridge has role to play if fit

Sun, 29/07/2018 - 10:31
Daniel Sturridge celebrates with Xherdan Shaqiri

Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp has said he is prepared to put striker Daniel Sturridge on an individual training programme to ensure he stays fit.

Sturridge has impressed on the Reds' three-match tour of the United States.

The 28-year-old scored from Xherdan Shaqiri's lay-off as Liverpool beat Manchester United 4-1 in front of 101,254 fans at the Michigan Stadium.

Klopp said: "Daniel is an outstanding player. If he is fit, he will play a role in the team."

Sturridge has started just 23 Premier League games in the last three seasons.

He went to West Brom on loan for the second half of last term but made only six appearances as the Baggies were relegated to the Championship.

"I am completely open to individualising training," Klopp said.

"When I came here I was very excited about the fact I would be working together with him. Since then he has had a few injury issues.

"Does he have to play 50-something games? No. But hopefully he will play a few really good ones. That is the plan."

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Man Utd 1-4 Liverpool: Xherdan Shaqiri scores stunning overhead kick

Sun, 29/07/2018 - 02:50
Daniel Sturridge and Xherdan Shaqiri

Xherdan Shaqiri scored an exquisite overhead kick as Liverpool thrashed Manchester United 4-1 in the International Champions Cup in front of 101,254 fans in Ann Arbor.

Jose Mourinho named a starting XI including five players who did not feature in the Premier League for United last season, while Liverpool fielded a strong side featuring Mohamed Salah and Sadio Mane.

Jurgen Klopp's team took the lead on 26 minutes when Mane stroked home from the penalty spot after Salah was brought down by Demetri Mitchell.

But their advantage did not last long as United levelled through Andreas Pereira's superb free-kick from 25 yards.

Liverpool substitute Daniel Sturridge continued his impressive pre-season form when he scored with his first touch after 66 minutes before Sheyi Ojo added his side's second spot-kick of the game six minutes later.

Shaqiri, who arrived for £13m from Stoke City earlier this summer, then added gloss to Liverpool's win by firing home Ben Woodburn's cross in acrobatic fashion.

Liverpool round off their pre-season preparations with a trip to Dublin to face Napoli on Saturday (18:00 BST), before hosting Torino at Anfield on 7 August (19:30 BST).

United continue their International Champions Cup (ICC) campaign against Real Madrid in Miami on Wednesday (01:05 BST), before facing Bayern Munich in a friendly at the Allianz Arena the following Sunday (19:15 BST).

Liverpool's attacking options shine through Sadio Mane

Such is the excitement surrounding Liverpool's current crop of players, footage released by the ICC on Friday showed fans waiting up to eight hours to catch a glimpse of their heroes outside the team hotel.

Salah went close after nine minutes as he met Mane's through ball to direct a looping header goalwards, only to be denied by a leaping Lee Grant.

Showing no signs of the shoulder injury which forced him to be substituted early during the Champions League final and then struggle at the World Cup in Russia, the Egyptian was a menace throughout.

That menace came to fruition after 26 minutes when Demetri Mitchell fouled the forward in the penalty area to hand Mane the chance to score from the spot. He duly obliged.

After a sharp opening 45 minutes, Salah and Mane were replaced by Sturridge and Shaqiri, and it did not take long for them to show their own qualities.

They combined for Liverpool's second, with Shaqiri laying off for Sturridge to apply a trademark delicate finish.

And although Shaqiri arguably stole the show late on with his spectacular overhead effort, Liverpool's attacking depth shone through.

With Roberto Firmino - who scored 27 goals last season - still to return, Klopp's forward line looks a force to be reckoned with in 2018-19.

Sanchez left frustrated Alexis Sanchez

Seconds before Liverpool took the lead, Matteo Darmian galloped away down the right flank with Alexis Sanchez and Juan Mata seemingly in acres of space in front of him, only for Alberto Moreno to cut out his attempted pass.

Sanchez's scream of anguish was audible over the near-capacity Michigan Stadium crowd.

It was a theme that continued throughout, and despite moments of brilliance with the ball at his feet, the Chilean's frustrations were too often on show for all to see.

Though several heavy challenges from Liverpool's centre-backs did little to help his mood, Sanchez's irritation threatened to boil over towards the end of the first half after he was penalised for handball.

Without the likes of Romelu Lukaku, Marcus Rashford, Jesse Lingard and Paul Pogba - who are taking breaks following their World Cup exploits - Sanchez may have felt United's attacking threat rested solely on his shoulders.

Sanchez summed up his game with 15 minutes left, as after brilliantly holding off two Liverpool defenders, he could only fire high and wide with just the goalkeeper to beat.

The Chilean was substituted shortly after as Mourinho opted to give some of his younger players a run-out, and again Sanchez did little to hide his frustration.

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Interest from Cardiff City means a lot - Marko Grujic

Sat, 28/07/2018 - 17:12
Marko Grujic battles with Tomiwa Dele-Bashiru

Liverpool midfielder Marko Grujic is flattered by Cardiff City's interest in re-signing him on loan.

The Serbia international spent the second half of last season on loan with the Bluebirds, losing just one of the 13 games he featured in.

Cardiff manager Neil Warnock is still optimistic of signing the 22-year-old despite it taking longer than hoped.

"It means a lot to me because it means I showed some good games and some good stuff with them," said Grujic.

"We will see what is the best for me and the club [Liverpool], I don't know yet. I am training and preparing like I am going to stay here.

"I want to be a Liverpool player. I said the same when I came two years ago, so my goal in the next few years is to play for this shirt."

Grujic is part of Liverpool's pre-season tour of the United States and came on after 65 minutes in Liverpool's 4-1 win over Manchester United on Saturday.

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Manchester United v Liverpool: Jurgen Klopp laughs off title-winning jibe

Fri, 27/07/2018 - 23:45
Jose Mourinho and Jurgen Klopp on the touchline

Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp has quipped that one of his "life goals is to make Jose Mourinho smile" after the Manchester United manager suggested Liverpool "had to win the Premier League" this season.

Mourinho claimed the Anfield club are "big candidates" for the title having spent £170m on four players this summer.

But Klopp has dismissed those comments before Saturday's meeting between the two sides in Michigan in the International Champions Cup.

"It's a free world and I have no problem with Jose," said the German.

"We are responsible for our fans, our owners and nobody else. I am not too interested in Man Utd."

Klopp's response follows Mourinho's suggestion Liverpool will have set a "Premier League record" this season, after spending nearly £250m in the last 12 months.

That figure includes world-record fees for £66.8m goalkeeper Alisson from Roma and £75m defender Virgil van Dijk from Southampton in January.

This summer, Guinea midfielder Naby Keita has arrived from RB Leipzig for about £50m, Brazil midfielder Fabinho has joined from Monaco in a deal that could be worth more than £40m, and Switzerland winger Xherdan Shaqiri has come in from Stoke for £13m.

However the Reds have also raised significant funds, including through the £142m sale of Philippe Coutinho to Barcelona in January.

When asked about Liverpool's spending, Mourinho said: "I don't see another team getting close to that level of investment - a team that was a finalist in the Champions League, you have to say are a big candidate. You have to win."

Asked whether he had to win the Premier League this season, Klopp said: "I don't think so.

"Do I get the sack if not? Depends on the football we play.

"A big part of the job is to play football that our people like. It happened last year and the year before but now we want to make the next step.

"Our opponents have not slept and they too have brought better players in."

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