EPL

Salah and Van Dijk on Liverpool bench for final Premier League title chance

By Sports Desk May 22, 2022

Mohamed Salah and Virgil van Dijk have been named among the substitutes for Liverpool's final game of the Premier League season against Wolves at Anfield.

The Reds need to win and hope Manchester City drop points against Aston Villa in order to win the title on the final day – otherwise Pep Guardiola's men will be champions once again.

Divock Origi misses out with a muscle injury in what would have been his final home appearance for Liverpool, with the striker leaving the club at the end of the season, reportedly on his way to Milan.

Salah and Van Dijk both suffered injuries in last week's FA Cup final win against Chelsea, although manager Jurgen Klopp indicated his confidence that both would be fit for next week's Champions League final against Real Madrid.

Klopp said on Friday both would be in contention against Wolves, along with Fabinho, but none of the trio make the starting XI. Fabinho, injured at Aston Villa before the cup final, misses out completely.

Ibrahima Konate and Joel Matip continue to pair up in defence, while Jordan Henderson, Thiago Alcantara and Naby Keita make up the three-man midfield. James Milner – out of contract as things stand – is on the bench.

Luis Diaz, Diogo Jota and Sadio Mane start in attack, with Liverpool looking to end the season undefeated at home.

With Son Heung-min only a goal behind Salah in the Golden Boot race, Liverpool's talisman will hope to appear at some stage.

Related items

  • Daniel Farke says seven-goal thriller was ‘good advertisement’ for Championship Daniel Farke says seven-goal thriller was ‘good advertisement’ for Championship

    Leeds manager Daniel Farke believes Leeds’ 4-3 victory over Middlesbrough was a “good advertisement” for Championship football.

    An end-to-end encounter at the Riverside produced five goals in just the first half, starting with the hosts taking an early lead through Isaiah Jones.

    Leeds netted two goals in 11 minutes when Summerville slotted home from the spot and Patrick Bamford came back to haunt the Riverside after bundling a goal home.

    Emmanuel Latte Lath drew Boro level on the 30 minute mark but Wilfried Gnonto restored the visitors’ advantage in a frenetic first 45 minutes.

    Summerville bagged his second of the game after the break with a curling strike and there was late drama when Latte Lath scored a looping header in the 87th minute but Leeds held on for the three points.

    Reflecting on a thrilling clash, Farke believes his players showed “great mentality” to see out victory.

    He said: “First of all a good advertisement for Championship football, I think all the supporters have enjoyed the game.

    “(It was) a great piece of football from two good sides who really went for it to win this game.

    “To start the game with this unlucky goal, deflected pass that normally wouldn’t have been a chance, they scored out of this.

    “Middlesbrough played today with freedom because it was more or less their last highlight, they could go for it and had a really good shape, then they are 1-0 up after just a few moments.

    “To show such a reaction in the first half to come back to create so many chances, to score fantastic goals, was great for us to have.

    “Compliments to Middlesbrough, they showed a fantastic performance, but great mentality from our players to lead 3-2 at half-time.

    “We needed to show some steel and resilience in the last minutes to dig in and grind out this important result for us and we did.

    “Many compliments for the heart, the mentality and the character of our players today and for their offensive quality.”

    The result means Leeds climb to second in the table, overtaking Ipswich who have three games left this season compared to the Yorkshire club’s two.

    Boro remain ninth in the table and boss Michael Carrick praised his side for their “incredible effort” but believes Gnonto’s goal, which appeared to be offside, was a “massive decision” in the game.

    “I enjoyed the game, I thought we did a lot of good things,” he said.

    “They’ve got some good quality and they’ve showed it all season. At the top end of the pitch they’re really dangerous.

    “I thought we defended largely in shape really well, we were really good with the ball and dominated and controlled large parts of the game.

    “I was really pleased with the boys and the effort was an incredible effort all the way to the end. We went for it, we had to go for it, we threw everything at them.

    “The offside goal is a massive decision. We asked the boys to defend well and hold the line together, the line’s impeccable really and I think there’s three of them in the line around the edge of the box hold the line.

    “You expect offsides given, which it was too clear not to be.”

  • Mikel Arteta says Mauricio Pochettino was ‘like a father’ to him as young player Mikel Arteta says Mauricio Pochettino was ‘like a father’ to him as young player

    Mikel Arteta said Mauricio Pochettino was “like a father” to him in his early playing days ahead of their meeting in Arsenal’s clash against Chelsea in the Premier League.

    Arteta played alongside the Chelsea boss at Paris St Germain before their rise as coaches in Europe’s top divisions.

    The Arsenal manager talked up the influence Pochettino had on him as a player, admitting he was inspired by the Argentinian as a teenager.

    The pair will face off at the Emirates on Tuesday.

    When asked how influential Pochettino was for Arteta as a player, he said: “He’s one of the most.

    “I was 17 or 18 in Paris with no experience in professional football. He doesn’t like me saying it but to me he was like a father, he took me under his arm, he gave me incredible advice and protected me, he inspired me and I learned so much in our two years together.”

    Arteta’s top-of-the-table Gunners have come a long way since he took over in 2019.

    They sit one point ahead of Manchester City, who have a game in hand, and lead Liverpool on goal difference as they continue their bid for Premier League glory with five games remaining.

    Arteta sought the opinion of Pochettino before leaving Manchester City as Pep Guardiola’s assistant to become manager of the north London side.

    “When I had to make a decision I asked him and explained the situation and he gave me some advice and he was needed,” Arteta added.

    “I admire what he’s done in his career and he’s someone I’ve looked to because he was impactful to me in the most important stage of my career. As a role model I can’t pick anyone better.

    “He doesn’t need to help me about tactics. The best influence he has had on me is the way he speaks about his life, his professionalism, his family and who he was as a figure in the dressing room and the passion and love he has for the game.

    “That for me is the most important things which I learnt from him.”

    A league title will be Arsenal’s first since 2003-04.

    Arteta, whose side were dumped out of the Champions League by Bayern Munich last week, noted that there are further steps he wants his team to make in their development.

    He said: “We need to see how we can make another step or two forward because that’s what this team is demanding to keep moving forward in a ruthless way because we’re not satisfied.

    “You can see the team really wants it. We will try to be as fresh as possible but I think we can cope with that.”

  • Mauricio Pochettino says Enzo Fernandez will be ‘much better’ next season Mauricio Pochettino says Enzo Fernandez will be ‘much better’ next season

    Mauricio Pochettino believes it is unfair to compare the impact of Enzo Fernandez at Chelsea to that of Arsenal’s Declan Rice, as the teams prepare to face each other at the Emirates Stadium on Tuesday.

    England international Rice joined Mikel Arteta’s side from West Ham last summer for £100million, less than the £107m it cost to take World Cup winner Fernandez from Benfica to Stamford Bridge in January 2023.

    The fee for the Argentinian was a British record at the time, though the club have since surpassed it in signing fellow midfielder Moises Caicedo from Brighton for £115m.

    Rice has won plaudits for his transformational effect on Arsenal’s midfield, helping to forge a sturdier, more cohesive side than the one that fell away in the final weeks of last season’s Premier League title race.

    By contrast, Chelsea’s league position has not markedly improved in the 15 months since Fernandez arrived in west London, and despite clear flashes of his obvious talent and range of passing, question marks have remained over whether the club got value for money.

    However, his countryman Pochettino called for perspective on the obstacles that his player has had to contend with since arriving in England.

    “Declan Rice was playing for West Ham, an English guy who knows the Premier League, knows the language,” said the 52-year-old.

    “For Enzo, after the World Cup to arrive here, in a team that was inconsistent, difficult to get positive results, always it was really difficult.

    “In summer he was involved in too many games and he arrived late in pre-season, hasn’t had a holiday in the last two years.

    “Too many negative things happened. (It was) difficult for him to adapt, his family. It’s not easy to adapt and perform so quick.”

    Fernandez was responsible for creating Chelsea’s best chance of Saturday’s FA Cup semi-final defeat to Manchester City, hitting an incisive, raking pass from deep that sent Nicolas Jackson through on goal, but the striker could not finish.

    He has scored three Premier League goals and made four assists since moving from Portugal in the immediate aftermath of Argentina’s 2022 World Cup triumph, but Pochettino insisted the best is yet to come from the 23-year-old.

    “For sure he is going to be much better next season, after the experience of the whole season in this squad and this team,” he said.

    “He’s more experienced, he gets better feelings. The whole season is good for him to learn. Even if he is a world champion, he needs to adapt to the Premier League and to this club. For me, there is no doubt that he is going to be much better.”

    Pochettino said there have been no discussions over the future of striker Romelu Lukaku, currently on a season-long loan at Roma, but appeared to hint that the door could be open for a return.

    The 30-year-old has scored 18 goals for the Serie A side this campaign after telling Chelsea last summer that he wanted to leave.

    “He’s a Chelsea player, so for sure we will pay attention,” said Pochettino. “It’s an option. But still we did not take any decision.”

© 2023 SportsMaxTV All Rights Reserved.