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Liverpool to make late decision on Mohamed Salah’s availability for Crystal Palace match

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Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp has revealed he will leave it late before deciding whether Mohamed Salah will feature against Crystal Palace in Saturday afternoon’s fixture at Selhurst Park.

We revealed last week that Salah would be a doubt for the trip to south London.

The Egyptian forward missed his country’s international matches during the break with an ankle injury, and was pictured wearing a protective boot on his left foot.

The injury was originally sustained in October’s win over Leicester City following a hefty tackle by midfielder Hamza Choudhury, who was booked for the challenge, and it is proving a difficult knock to fully recover from.

Salah was seen clutching the damaged ankle after a firm but fair tackle by Manchester City‘s Fernandinho during the epic 3-1 win over last season’s champions, which was Liverpool’s last match.

Indeed, he has not lasted 90 minutes in a league game since being stretchered off against Leicester seven weeks ago.

Asked for an update on the back-to-back Premier League golden boot winner in his pre-match press conference, Klopp said:

“Yesterday he trained. He trained the whole time since he was here, but only the things we wanted him to do.

“Today is another important session to see how it looks and we can make the decision. It’s not that it got worse but it’s still kind of there, that’s the problem.

“We have to be sensible with things like this.

“But I didn’t make the decision. If I would have made a decision, I probably wouldn’t have told you now, but it’s true I have to see the session today.”

Full-back Andrew Robertson is also a doubt for the match and, like Salah, will be heavily assessed before any decision is made.

However, Klopp had positive news on central defender Virgil van Dijk, who missed the Netherland’s win against Estonia on Tuesday, revealing:

“In the moment, yes, Virgil is 100 per cent available.”

 

 

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Arsenal

Nuno Espirito Santo emerges as favourite to take over from Unai Emery at Arsenal

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Wolves manager Nuno Espirito Santo has become the favourite to take over from struggling Arsenal manager Unai Emery amid the Gunners’ poor season so far.

The Portuguese manager has been superb at Wolves and has reportedly impressed the Arsenal hierarchy that he is now the number one choice ahead of the likes of Mikel Arteta and Massimiliano Allegri.

This comes following Arsenal’s terrible campaign under Spanish coach Unai Emery with fans already starting to turn on the former Paris Saint-Germain manager.

Santo has led Wolves to 5th place in the Premier League so far, which is three places above the Gunners albeit by just one point.

The 45-year-old has already masterminded a shock win over the reigning champions Manchester City but has been heavily backed in the transfer window.

In the summer, Wolves had a net spend of £85m, which is only £4m less than that of the Gunners, having made the loans of Raul Jimenez and Leander Dendocker permanent as well as signing the likes of Patrick Cutrone.

Wolves have been in decent form in the last five games having just won twice in succession whereas Emery’s side are winless in their last five.

The Gunners are the only side in the top half of the table to have a negative goal difference and have been heavily reliant on individual quality.

The reigning golden boot winner Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang has scored 8 goals out of the 18 Arsenal have scored with his strike partner Alexandre Lacazette chipping with an extra four goals.

With Mesut Ozil and Nicholas Pepe also in attack, Emery has failed to create a system that helps his attackers flourish with the aforementioned duo struggling for form under the Spaniard.

With Emery’s failure to get Arsenal to qualify for the Champions League last season and it looks extremely likely that it will be the same this campaign, fans have lost their faith in the coach.

Reportedly, the board have also lost patience in Emery but are willing to give him a couple of more games to turn their bad form around.

This has resulted in the bookies making Santo evens to secure the Gunners job with former Juventus manager Allegri 4/1 and Manchester City assistant Arteta 8/1.

Fans seem dismayed that the former Porto manager is the favourite to take over as his Wolves side have also struggled for goals despite the heavy investment made over the summer.

Santo’s side have 18 goals in 13 games, which is the same amount that Emery’s side have managed so far.

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Arsenal suffer setback in pursuit of Barcelona defender Samuel Umtiti

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Arsenal have been dealt a blow in their pursuit of Barcelona defender Samuel Umtiti who has stated that a return back to his former club Lyon is still a possibility.

The Gunners have been heavily exposed at the back throughout the season with their goal difference in the Premier League being -1, which is the worst of any side in the top half of the table.

Umtiti, who joined the Blaugrana in 2016, has been unable to secure a starting birth at the club with Gerard Pique and his French compatriot Clement Lenglet being the first choice at centre back.

The French World Cup winner has been on the North London side’s radar but a move never materialised even though rumours suggested that both parties were interested.

The 26-year-old was a crucial cog in France’s World Cup-winning campaign but injuries have meant that Lenglet has now surpassed him at club level.

His injury problems have continued this campaign, having missed 7 games already due to foot and knee-related injuries.

The centre back spoke on the rumours of him leaving the Catalan giants and has stated that there is a possibility of joining his former club Lyon, either as a player or coach.

It was at Lyon where Umtiti showcased his great potential, where he stood out in a team containing Corentin Tolisso and current Arsenal striker Alexandre Lacazette.

The Gunners could use the centre back’s quality massively as they have conceded the joint-most goals in the top 12 positions.

Recent signings David Luiz and Sokratis were bought as short term replacements for the likes of Laurent Koscielny and Per Mertesacker but the duo have failed to live up to the quality they have shown in their previous clubs Chelsea and Borussia Dortmund respectively.

Both defenders are already in their early thirties and have shown their age this season as they have made plenty of errors in defence.

With Calum Chambers featuring more often as a right-back and Rob Holding still trying to become match fit from his horrible injury, Arsenal only have Shkodran Mustafi available.

Umtiti has been heavily rumoured with a move away from the Camp Nou with Europe’s elite such as Manchester City eyeing him up in last summer’s transfer window.

It is reported that the Frenchman is available for a relatively cheap price of £53m as that is his release clause in his contract.

With Lyon lacking that kind of transfer kitty, Arsenal still might have a chance to steal a great defender who is not getting any minutes at Barcelona.

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Pressure ramps up on Unai Emery as Arsenal board are already lining up potential successors

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More pressure is mounting on the shoulders of Arsenal manager Unai Emery as the board are already lining up potential successors following the Gunners’ terrible start to the season.

The mood surrounding the Emirates has been one of disappointment as fans of the club are still surprised that the Spaniard is still at the helm of their club.

The former Paris Saint-Germain manager has led his side to 8th place in the Premier League, sitting behind the likes of Wolves, Sheffield United and Burnley.

Their chances of qualifying for the Champions League is looking slimmer as the weeks go by, having already slipped 8 points behind 4th placed Chelsea.

Therefore, the Europa League is looking like the more plausible way of making it to the biggest European competition.

The Gunners are sitting pretty on the top of their group, having won three and drawn one so far. However, they were lucky to get the draw as a late double from Nicholas Pepe saved Emery, a prominent theme throughout this season.

With the Gunners’ terrible start to this campaign, the board are looking at potential replacements.

Odds for Arsenal’s Next Permanent Manager

3/2- Mauricio Pochettino

3/1- Mikel Arteta

4/1- Rafa Benitez

8/1- Massimiliano Allegri

8/1- Patrick Viera

The recently sacked Mauricio Pochettino is one of the favourites to take over the North London side despite having just managed their arch-nemesis Tottenham Hotspur.

The news comes in light of Arsenal’s most recent result where they welcomed 19th placed Southampton to the Emirates, only to battle for a 2-2 draw.

Despite dominating possession, Emery’s side were unable to create many great opportunities whilst the Saints outshot them and had the better chances.

This has been an ongoing theme for Arsenal this season, which has led them to be the only side in the top half of the table to have a negative goal difference.

The 96th-minute equaliser from Alexandre Lacazette, which was his second of the game, gave Emery and his side an undeserved point.

The fans were heavily unimpressed with the performance and result as boos were ringing loudly as the final whistle was blown.

Emery will need to quickly turn the ship around especially considering that he failed to achieve the club’s objectives last season as well.

The Gunners lost three of their last five games of the season to Crystal Palace, Wolves and Leicester where they only needed to secure two points to leapfrog rivals Spurs and finish in the top four.

They also got trounced 4-1 in the Europa League final at the hands of rivals Chelsea meaning that Emery and his squad failed to qualify to the Champions League.

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