Deadline Day: Liverpool sign two defenders as Minamino joins Southampton

By Sports Desk February 01, 2021

Liverpool's need for defensive reinforcements was always likely to dominate the headlines on transfer deadline day and so it proved as the Premier League champions made two late signings.

Centre-back Ben Davies arrived from Preston North End, while Liverpool made a further addition to the heart of their backline with the loan signing of Ozan Kabak from Bundesliga strugglers Schalke until the end of the season.

Those signings came on a day that saw Joel Matip ruled out for the rest of the season with an ankle ligament injury. Virgil van Dijk and Joe Gomez are long-term absentees and Liverpool were forced to play Jordan Henderson and Nathaniel Phillips at centre-back in Sunday's win at West Ham.

Heading for the Anfield exit door is Takumi Minamino, the forward moving to Southampton on a six-month loan deal having only joined Liverpool last January.

It came after Southampton loaned veteran Shane Long to promotion-chasing Championship side Bournemouth.

Bournemouth also sanctioned the departure of Joshua King to Everton for a nominal fee until the end of the season.

There were outgoings at Arsenal as well, with Shkodran Mustafi signing for Schalke on a short-term deal and Joe Willock going on loan to Newcastle United, who let DeAndre Yedlin leave for Galatasaray.

Arsenal also sent Ainsley Maitland-Niles to West Brom on loan.

Turkish giants Galatasaray acquired Gedson Fernandes on a temporary deal from Benfica following an unsuccessful stint at Tottenham.

In Serie A, Parma landed Bayern Munich's teenage forward Joshua Zirkzee in a loan deal that contains the option to sign the 19-year-old permanently.

Atalanta are firmly in contention for a top-four finish in Serie A and bolstered their ranks for that push with the capture of Ukraine midfielder Viktor Kovalenko from Shakhtar Donetsk.

Roma can afford to have hopes of a title challenge and brought in teenage full-back Bryan Reynolds from MLS outfit Dallas on an initial loan deal, with an obligation to buy, to help them.

Frozen out at Juventus, midfielder Sami Khedira is back in the Bundesliga following a switch to Hertha Berlin, but one of European football's most exciting talents is heading to Italy after Udinese signed Jayden Braaf on loan from Manchester City with an option to buy.

Elsewhere, Everton defender Jonjoe Kenny joined Celtic on loan for the rest of the season, Brighton and Hove Albion signed highly rated midfielder Moises Caicedo from Independiente del Valle, West Brom loaned Okay Yokuslu from Celta Vigo and defender Teden Mengi moved from Manchester United to Wayne Rooney's Derby County on a temporary basis.

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  • Napoli strike late to edge narrow Serie A victory over Juventus Napoli strike late to edge narrow Serie A victory over Juventus

    Giacomo Raspadori’s late goal earned a Napoli a second-straight Serie A win for the first time since September as they recorded a 2-1 victory over Juventus, who lost further ground on the league leaders as a result.

    A frantic first-half was on show for supporters inside the Diego Armando Maradona Stadium but Khvicha Kvaratskhelia’s strike three minutes before the break put Napoli a goal up at half-time.

    Excitement levels in the second period did not drop and Juventus thought they would take a share of the spoils when Federico Chiesa’s beauty levelled things up.

    However, Giacomo Raspadori’s rebound from Victor Osimhen’s missed penalty gave Napoli a second win on the bounce, while – as a result – Juventus dropped further behind leaders Inter Milan.

    The visitors were first to test the waters and Dusan Vlahovic aimed and fired just wide of the far post in the 11th minute.

    Napoli came closest to opening the scoring when Frank Anguissa was denied by Wojciech Szczesny from six yards and Matteo Politano’s follow up was also kept out by the Poland goalkeeper.

    The game was already teeing up to be an end-to-end thriller, this time Chiesa picked out Samuel Iling-Junior but his first-time effort went marginally wide.

    Juventus came within inches of breaking the deadlock in the 34th minute when Vlahovic latched onto Chiesa’s through ball, he dinked it over the onrushing Alex Meret and onto the post.

    Back came Napoli and Mathias Olivera’s goalbound header was cleared off the line by Alex Sandro with the score somehow still at 0-0.

    Three minutes before the break, Napoli had a breakthrough. Moments after Anguissa had a shot blocked, a defensive header fell into the path of Kvaratskhelia, who proved too powerful for Szczesny and volleyed the ball into the bottom corner.

    Juventus could have had an equaliser almost straight away after Daniele Rugani capitalised on some loose possession in the home defence, the ball fell kindly to Vlahovic but he could not take advantage and skied his effort over the crossbar.

    Chances continued to come for Serbia international Vlahovic but he failed to find the back of the net, this time he broke the line but tamely hit his shot into the firm grasp of Meret.

    Juventus went in search of an equaliser, Southampton loanee Carlos Alcaraz decided to have a crack this time but his shot deflected kindly for Meret.

    The visitors found an equaliser in the 82nd minute when Chiesa found space just inside the box and cracked a daisycutter into the bottom-left corner to level things up at one apiece.

    Napoli were given the chance to retake the lead after Osimhen was brought down inside the box by Joseph Nonge, with referee Maurizio Mariani awarding a penalty following a VAR check.

    From the resulting spot-kick, Osimhen saw his strike saved by Szczesny but Raspadori was on hand to smash home his rebound via the post to save the blushes of the Nigeria striker.

    Juventus missed a golden opportunity to snatch an equaliser at the death when Chiesa’s driven cross was diverted over the crossbar by Rugani with the goal at his mercy.

    Napoli held on for maximum points to move up to seventh and leave their second-placed opponents 12 points off the lead.

  • Now he is winning games – Pep Guardiola talks up Phil Foden’s impact on Man City Now he is winning games – Pep Guardiola talks up Phil Foden’s impact on Man City

    Pep Guardiola praised fantastic Phil Foden and said the Manchester City midfielder is developing into a world-class player after his wonderful, derby-winning display against Manchester United.

    Nobody expected anything other than embarrassment at the Etihad Stadium for Erik ten Hag’s stumbling Red Devils, yet Marcus Rashford’s scorcher gave them a shock half-time lead.

    United were under the cosh for large periods before and after the break, finally buckling as 23-year-old Foden scored a superb leveller in the 56th minute before then firing City ahead 10 minutes from time.

    Erling Haaland added gloss in stoppage time but there was no doubt who the star of the show was in Sunday’s important 3-1 victory for Guardiola’s title-chasing team.

    “He is right now this season (one of the best players in the Premier League),” the City boss said of man-of-the-match Foden.

    “He’s been the best so far. I always had the feeling he would score goals, in training sessions, always I had the feeling but now he is winning games.

    “To become a world-class player at that age you have to win games and he always played good, always had an incredible work ethic. Doesn’t matter what position, he doesn’t complain.

    “He lives to play football but now he is winning games. He played a false nine at Bournemouth and was unbelievable. Today after he missed the first chance against (Andre) Onana he became a little bit anxious. That is for his age, he will learn on that.

    “But Rashford scored an unbelievable goal and Phil scored an unbelievable goal too.”

    Foden helped the treble winners get out of a hole on Sunday after City fell behind for the 12th time in the league this season.

    It was their first-ever Premier League comeback win against United and means they have recovered 21 points from losing positions this term.

    The result put them back within one point of leaders Liverpool ahead of next weekend’s mouth-watering battle between the sides at Anfield.

    “We have Copenhagen on our mind and we will have time after to talk about Liverpool,” Guardiola said ahead of Wednesday’s Champions League last-16 second leg at the Etihad Stadium.

    “We have a lot of points still to play for and different places to go.”

    United bowed out of Europe before Christmas so there are no distractions before Saturday lunchtime’s return to Premier League action at home to embattled Everton.

    The injury-hit Red Devils have regressed during Ten Hag’s second season and sit an eye-watering 19 points behind leaders Liverpool, who they face in the FA Cup quarter-finals.

    Similarly concerning is the fact that sixth-placed United are 11 points off Aston Villa in fourth and six behind fifth-placed Tottenham, which could yet be enough for Champions League qualification.

    But Ten Hag does not believe United are that far behind City when not beset by injuries and felt key decisions hurt his battling side on Sunday.

    “On defining moments, we didn’t have it on our side because just before the 1-1, I think Rashford was on another break,” Ten Hag said.

    “And just before 2-1, there was (Alejandro) Garnacho in a breakthrough. I think we were really close to win or at least get a draw here.

    “I will not say it was a tackle (on Rashford) from Kyle Walker. They both run, but Rashy confirmed to me it was contact.

    “I saw it back, it was very soft, but you will understand when you are on a full-speed run, if you get a little touch then you are out of control and I think that is what happened.”

    Asked if this match highlighted a chasm between the teams, under-fire Ten Hag said: “No, I don’t think so. Absolutely not. We have many problems in injuries and, still, we had an opportunity because it was really small margins.

    “We could have scored a second goal in a debatable moment and in the second debatable moment, so you see it’s not that big. Especially when we have everyone on board we can be competitive.

    “I think also we showed, for instance, in the cup final against them when it’s really close but don’t forget City, in this moment, are the best team in the world.”

  • ‘We call him the sniper’ – Phil Foden lives up to nickname in Manchester derby ‘We call him the sniper’ – Phil Foden lives up to nickname in Manchester derby

    Manchester City captain Kyle Walker lauded “sniper” Phil Foden after his brace helped secure a 3-1 come-from-behind victory over Manchester United at the Etihad Stadium.

    Foden cancelled out Marcus Rashford’s brilliant first-half opener with a fine strike of his own 11 minutes after the break.

    And the Stockport-born playmaker added another finish in the 80th minute before Erling Haaland wrapped up a Manchester derby victory in stoppage time.

    Walker, asked about Foden’s stunning equaliser, told Sky Sports: “You know when he comes in on his left foot…we call him the sniper, because he likes to shoot.

    “He likes a shot, so when he comes in on that left foot, you know he has the quality and the calmness and composure to pick his spot and I thought he took his goal fantastically well.”

    Foden then switched over to the left side, from where he scored his second and earned City a big victory in their Premier League title challenge.

    Walker added: “The second, probably coming off the left-hand side, you don’t really see Phil in that position but for him to find the corner as he has done, I think that just shows his flexibility.

    “He’s even been trusted down the middle as well this year, which I think is a big part of the responsibility he has taken on. We lean on him and we need important players like him.

    “He loves a shot, he practices, he puts in the work and he’s always doing extra shooting. His goals are coming, he’s reaping the rewards and he needs to keep these standards up.

    “I think this season he’s been nothing short of first class. That’s the standard he sets for himself, that’s the standard we set for him, the manager (Pep Guardiola) and that’s the standard he has to keep up now.”

    Foden, who now has 18 goals in all competitions for City this season, said: “That’s my aim, to turn up in the big games.

    “That’s what I want to do and I think this season I’m proving that. I just need to keep working hard on the training pitch and keep putting performances like that in, keep working hard.

    “I understand what it means for the fans, a derby at the Etihad, it means everything for me. To score as well is even better, but overall to get the win was the most important thing today.”

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