Rumour Has It: Liverpool to ramp up bid to sign Mount as Chelsea talks stall

By Sports Desk April 18, 2023

Liverpool are set for a busy off-season with suggestions that Jurgen Klopp and the club's management want a squad overhaul.

Among the key areas to address is their midfield options, leading to links to numerous players.

It was reported last week Liverpool have pulled out of the race for Borussia Dortmund midfielder Jude Bellingham.

TOP STORY – REDS TO RAMP UP MOUNT INTEREST

Liverpool will ramp up their efforts to sign Mason Mount, amid a lack of a breakthrough in negotiations between the midfielder and Chelsea, reports The Guardian.

The Reds have now moved on from Bellingham given Dortmund's asking price, with Mount in their sights given he is out of contract at the end of this season.

Mount has offered no signs that he will extend his Chelsea deal, with Liverpool eager to capitalise and lure the 24-year-old England international to Anfield.

ROUND-UP

- Chelsea could look to join the race alongside Real Madrid for Manchester City forward Julian Alvarez, according to Fichajes. Alvarez is reportedly unhappy with his lack of game-time on the pitch at City.

- Manchester City are interested in an off-season move for Bayern Munich's Alphonso Davies along with Real Madrid, reports Sky Sports Germany's Florian Plettenberg. Davies' contract runs until 2024 and he has held talks with Bayern on a new deal.

- Man City are also willing to let defender Aymeric Laporte exit in the off-season if he pushes for a move, claims the Daily Mail. Laporte, who is contracted until 2025, has fallen out of favour at City.

- 90min reports Arsenal are tracking Borussia Monchengladbach's Florian Neuhaus, who is contracted until 2024.

- Sport Witness claims Inter's Joaquin Correa has interest from Premier League trio Aston Villa, Everton and West Ham.

- Ex-Tottenham boss Antonio Conte will take over at Roma next season, with Jose Mourinho tipped to move to Paris Saint-Germain, per Calciomercato.

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  • FC Dallas v Minnesota United: Luccin hoping to build on maiden win with focus on freedom for his players FC Dallas v Minnesota United: Luccin hoping to build on maiden win with focus on freedom for his players

    FC Dallas interim head coach Peter Luccin will continue to give his players freedom as they welcome Minnesota United to the Toyota Stadium on Thursday.

    The Frenchman earned a victory in his first game in charge of the Toros over St. Louis City last Sunday, ending a run of five games without a win.  

    Dallas occupy 12th in the Western Conference table and will be looking to win consecutive matches within a single league season in over a year on home turf.

    Luccin was pleased with his new side returning to winning ways, and insists that allowing his players freedom on the pitch is equally as important as the tactics he implements.

    "In the end, I think that is the only way," Luccin said. “I think you saw that the best way is to give them the freedom to play.

    "We are talking so much about tactics, and tactics are very important, but the freedom, I will say sometimes, with the ball, is even more important.

    "We have some players who are very creative. I am not going to tell them how to pass a ball, but the only thing I can help them with is to read moments and what phase we are in."

    Meanwhile, Minnesota suffered just their fourth defeat of the season in a 2-0 defeat away to Seattle Sounders, leaving them in fourth place and two points behind LA Galaxy with a game in hand.

    The Loons travel to Dallas unbeaten in their last five visits to North Texas, winning twice and drawing three times and will be looking to continue that run this time around.

    But an uncharacteristic part of their most recent defeat was their failure to find the back of the net. It was just the fifth time in Minnesota's last 40 league matches that they did not score.

    PLAYERS TO WATCH

    FC Dallas – Petar Musa

    The Croatian is Dallas' top scorer this season with five goals, but has failed to find the back of the net since their draw with Houston in May. However, he will be hopeful of returning to the scoresheet in front of his home supporters.

    Minnesota United – Robin Lod

    Lod has continued to impress for Minnesota, not only in the wide positions but centrally too. The 31-year-old has five goals and eight assists this season for Ramsay's side.

    MATCH PREDICTION: DALLAS WIN

    Having gone five games without a win, Dallas halted their winless run with a victory over St. Louis last time out but have failed to win consecutive matches in a single season in over a year against Austin and Vancouver, but are well-placed to buck that trend.

    Nkosi Tafari's headed goal against St. Louis was the sixth time Dallas have scored from a corner this season, tied for the second most in the MLS and two behind San Jose Earthquakes.

    But Minnesota will be confident of returning to winning ways against their opponents, having lost one of their last 11 games against Dallas. The Loons are also unbeaten in their last five visits to Dallas (W2 D3), the club’s longest road unbeaten run against a team in the MLS.

    OPTA WIN PROBABILITY

    Dallas – 41%

    Draw – 26.7%

    Minnesota – 32.3%

  • FC Cincinnati v Philadelphia Union: Noonan not ready to write off former side despite recent league struggles FC Cincinnati v Philadelphia Union: Noonan not ready to write off former side despite recent league struggles

    FC Cincinnati head coach Pat Noonan expects a tough test against the Philadelphia Union despite their recent form, as he faces his former side this Thursday.

    The Orange and Blue come into the contest as the overwhelming favourites having won eight of their last nine matches, the latest coming in a 4-2 win over San Jose Earthquakes last time out.

    Noonan's side are just two points behind the Eastern Conference league leaders, Inter Miami, but have played two games less than the side directly above them.

    However, Noonan was quick to look past the two sides' differing recent form, insisting the game will be a tougher encounter than many will expect.

    “They've been stable for a long time, and when you're stable and at the top of the league for so long, anytime there's a stretch where you're not winning games, you're not getting results, there's going to be criticism,” Noonan said.

    “That's a part of what we're all dealing with. So I think the compliment there is it's been so long since we've seen them have struggles. But I can tell you, with Jim (Curtin) and with some of those leaders, they're going to be fine.”

    “That's my view of it, and it doesn't make me any more comfortable about Wednesday. If there's anything that you know, anytime their backs are against the wall, these guys step up. Jim knows how to lead that group, so we have to be very cautious about an opponent that, while they might be struggling with results, has been in these situations before and come out on top.”

    The Union come into the encounter at the TQL Stadium having won one of their last 11 league matches, leaving them in eighth place in the East table following their 2-1 defeat to Inter Miami last Saturday.

    Their recent meetings with their opponents have also ended on the wrong end of the scoreline, losing their last three meetings.

    Prior to this run, the Union were unbeaten in their first seven meetings with Cincinnati (W5 D2) and they will be hopeful of gaining a much-needed triumph to gain some belief back into their squad.

    PLAYERS TO WATCH

    FC Cincinnati – Luciano Acosta

    Acosta's creative spark shone in Cincinatti's win victory over San Jose, recording three assists for the second time in his MLS career, last coming in September 2018 with DC United.

    The Argentine became the 13th player in MLS history to have two such games, something no player has done three times, hoping to add to 19 goal contributions from 17 league games this season.

    Philadelphia Union – Mikael Uhre

    Uhre netted his sixth goal of the season on Saturday, becoming the third different Union player with six or more goals (Daniel Gazdag – 10, Julian Carranza – six).

    The only other team with three players with six or more goals this season are Portland (Felipe Mora, Evander, Jonathan Rodriguez).

    MATCH PREDICTION: FC CINCINNATI WIN

    FC Cincinnati have won three of their last five matches against the Union (D1 L1), including eliminating Philadelphia from last season's playoffs.

    FC Cincinnati have won eight of their last nine matches (L1), and are looking to become just the fourth team in the post-shootout era (since 2000) to win nine times in a span of 10 league matches.

    Meanwhile, The Union have won one of their last 11 league matches (D5 L5) following their loss to Inter Miami on Saturday. The eight points Philadelphia have collected over that span are their fewest in any 11-game stretch of league play since 2015.

    OPTA WIN PROBABILITY

    Cincinnati – 50.8%

    Draw – 25%

    Philadelphia – 24.3%

  • San Jose Earthquakes v Portland Timbers: Neville lauds improvements ahead of road trip San Jose Earthquakes v Portland Timbers: Neville lauds improvements ahead of road trip

    Portland Timbers have kept back-to-back shutouts on the road in MLS and Phil Neville is hoping that continues when his side visit San Jose Earthquakes on Thursday.

    The Timbers overcame Austin FC 2-0 before battling to a goalless draw on their trip to St. Louis City, with a 2-2 home draw coming against Houston Dynamo in between.

    That run of form has helped Portland climb up to 10th in the Western Conference and the improvements have not gone unnoticed by head coach Neville.

    "I'm seeing improvements in the whole team defensively, not just in the back four, but the defending starts from the front," the former Inter Miami boss said.

    "I think, maybe, a month ago we wouldn't have kept that St. Louis clean sheet.

    "They are throwing their bodies in the way, using smart play, game management and players are confident in what they are doing, so we are really pleased."

    Neville still believes his side can develop further, however.

    "[Against St. Louis] we had some moments to score some goals, it was the first time our forward players just didn't have that quality in the final third," Neville added.

    "It was a good point, and we've had a rest to get ready for the next one."

    The Earthquakes sit bottom of the West standings after a woeful season up to the midway point.

    Luchi Gonzalez's side could soon jump off the bottom of the table, however, trailing Sporting Kansas City by just three points.

    Yet San Jose will need a minor miracle to save this campaign.

    They have conceded nine goals in their last two matches after a 5-1 thrashing by New York City FC followed a 4-2 home humbling by FC Cincinnati.

    PLAYERS TO WATCH

    San Jose Earthquakes – Jeremy Ebobisse

    Jeremy Ebobisse has not scored in six MLS matches against the Timbers since being traded from Portland to San Jose in 2021.

    Ebobisse has played more matches without scoring against just one other opponent in his MLS career, failing to find the net in 11 career meetings with Minnesota United.

    Portland Timbers – Evander

    Evander remains Neville's go-to player in the Portland attack.

    The Brazilian has seven goals and as many assists, with no team-mate able to match his 14 direct goal contributions this year in MLS.

    MATCH PREDICTION – PORTLAND TIMBERS WIN

    The Opta supercomputer struggled to split these two sides, yet Portland appear the favourites for a narrow victory considering recent form and their head-to-head record.

    The Timbers have won three straight matches against San Jose in all competitions, their fifth three-match winning streak over the Earthquakes.

    However, they have never won four in a row against San Jose – who head into this clash in terrible form.

    The Earthquakes have lost 12 of 17 matches this year and their 11 points are tied for the third-fewest at the halfway point of a season since MLS expanded to a 34-game schedule in 2011 (D.C. United – nine in 2013, Toronto FC – 10 in 2012).

    Portland have also only lost one of their last six matches, recording 11 points in those games (W3 D2), including going unbeaten in a season-high four straight (W2 D2).

    The Timbers have more points in those six matches than they had in their first 12 this season (10 – W2 D4 L6) and will hope to continue that run here.

    OPTA WIN PROBABILITY

    San Jose Earthquakes – 35.2%

    Portland Timbers – 38.9%

    Draw – 26%

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