Mohamed Salah posted an incredible video to dismiss suggestions he had fallen out with Liverpool team-mate Sadio Mane.

Mane reacted angrily after being substituted during Liverpool's 3-0 win over Burnley on August 31, supposedly because Salah had failed to pass to him for a scoring opportunity.

However, the Egypt international moved to play down any supposed animosity between the star forwards.

After a video of two toddlers running to one another and hugging went viral, Salah tweeted it with his and Mane's heads superimposed on the children and manager Jurgen Klopp also walking down the street smiling.

With Liverpool returning to action against Newcastle United on Saturday, Salah's video seemed perfectly timed for the Premier League leaders.

Jurgen Klopp believes the "sensational" rapport between Liverpool's players will go along way to deterring them from seeking new opportunities elsewhere.

Liverpool opted to remain quiet during the close-season transfer market as they successfully focused on keeping together the core of the side that won the Champions League.

LaLiga giants Real Madrid have been intermittently linked to forwards Mohamed Salah and Sadio Mane but the latter, scorer of two goals this term, recently gave an interview in which he spoke of being entirely happy with the Reds.

Klopp said: "First and foremost we have to make sure it stays like this, that we are all like this with each other.

"We have a wonderful atmosphere inside the group, a sensational atmosphere at Melwood, we all know the atmosphere we have at Anfield.

"No matter where we go in the world people are happy to see us, at least our supporters are. That's absolutely special but we worked hard for that and we have to keep that. How can we keep that? Focus on the next step, trust the next step, improve, try to fight as much as you can, run as far as you can, jump as high as you can, all that stuff.

"That's what we have to do, then it can stay like this. It's nice. This club is wonderful, it was always wonderful, just the atmosphere was not always like this because of different things.

"Now we have quite a good basis and we have to use it and improve it, and then the boys have no reason to leave.

"If they look left and right and see the quality players they have in the dressing room and, on top of that, they like each other, it helps a lot. It's not the most important thing, but it helps a lot.

"They want to use the opportunity the club gave this team and I'm happy about that, obviously."

Liverpool won each of their opening four Premier League games before the international break and are now preparing to entertain Newcastle United at Anfield on Saturday.

Avoiding defeat would extend the club's unbeaten home run to 43 league games.

Klopp asked his players to forget about the streak and instead focus on replicating the levels they reached in last month's 3-1 victory over Arsenal.

"Each team could have [beaten us] but in most of the games we were better and deserve the win or three points or draw," the German said.

"So that's good, but all I'm concerned about really is how can we be again in a similar or a better mood or shape than we were against Arsenal because that was, attitude-wise, a really high level, the highest level to be honest.

"That's what we have to do again, not worry about what happened in the last two and a half years."

Naby Keita is close to returning for Liverpool but Jurgen Klopp is unsure when Alisson will be ready to replace Adrian in goal.

Alisson has been out of action since he suffered a calf injury in the Reds' opening 4-1 Premier League win over Norwich City in August.

Klopp initially indicated the European champions are expected to be without the Brazil international for the "next few weeks".

Speaking ahead of Saturday's home Premier League game against Newcastle United, Klopp issued an update on Alisson and midfielder Keita.

"Funnily enough, we had lunch again so he looked good," Klopp told reporters of Alisson's progress.

"He's improving but as normal we cannot put any pressure on it. It was a really serious injury in the calf and it is now much better of course.

"That's good for us, good for him, but we don't know exactly. The target was always after the next international break he could be ready, but we don't know.

"That's no pressure on it. Hopefully everything will be fine for the rest of the season, that's the plan.

"Naby is close, much closer than Ali. I think he could be in training when we come back from Napoli next week [in the Champions League].

"Clyney [Nathaniel Clyne] and [teenage striker] Paul Glatzel are obviously far away still but doing big steps. It looks quite okay at the moment."

Liverpool are top of the Premier League table having taken maximum points from their first four games of the season before the international break, a run that saw Klopp claim the August manager of the month award.

Mohamed Salah and Sadio Mane were among the Reds stars given a break from international duty, which was welcomed by Klopp.

"It was perfect for the boys who didn't have to go," Klopp added. "There's always that challenge.

"I'm really happy boys being named for their national team, it's really nice, a big honour and all that stuff but I've said it 500 times - if you see the players who didn't have to go this time, for different reasons, everything is different.

"It's in a very intense period to have five or six days off. They train, they always train, but they don't have to be here and we do proper football sessions because usually we only have three players here and it makes no sense, this time we could have had five.

"Could have trained but it still makes no sense - then Sadio and Mo would not have had the time off they needed. It's really tough always to have two games when we speak about the international break, then they have another week with two games which is not easy.

"But we can't change that so we don't think too much about it. They are refreshed, that's how it is, hopefully we can use that."

Norwich City striker Teemu Pukki has won the Premier League Player of the Month award for August following a flying start to the new season.

The former Celtic flop scored five times in Norwich's first three games on returning to the top flight, including a hat-trick in the 3-1 win over Newcastle United.

His superb form continued over the international break with two more goals for Finland in the Euro 2020 qualifiers against Greece and Italy.

Pukki opened his Premier League account with a consolation strike in a 4-1 loss to Liverpool, who have compiled a perfect record after four games.

Reds boss Jurgen Klopp scooped the Manager of the Month award for leading the European champions to victory over the Canaries and defeats of Southampton, Arsenal and Burnley.

Liverpool face Newcastle on Saturday as Norwich entertain champions Manchester City.

Dani Ceballos has admitted to being left in awe of Liverpool's high-pressing prowess following Arsenal's suffocating 3-1 defeat at Anfield in August.

Mohamed Salah scored twice and Joel Matip once when the Gunners, previously unbeaten, travelled to Merseyside for their third match of the new Premier League season.

Spain international Ceballos lasted only an hour but the European champions made a big impression on the midfielder, who is on loan at Arsenal from Real Madrid.

"I've never seen anything like what I saw at Anfield," Ceballos told the Guardian.

"I haven't seen a team that plays better, that presses like them, the way the fans carry them along.

“They take the air from you. You spend so much time defending and when you want to do something with the ball, when you want to breathe, they're back on top of you. They're very well-drilled."

Ceballos was dropped to the bench for Arsenal's next match, the 2-2 draw against Tottenham, but sliding out of the starting XI did nothing to dent his enthusiasm for life in north London.

"I love the city, I love the Premier League and love Arsenal," he said.

"I'm just really, really happy to be part of this great club. I've hardly noticed any difference in size between Real Madrid and Arsenal. And the fans are very passionate, they love the players."

Ceballos believes Arsenal's front three can propel them to success, saluting the "direct" qualities of Nicolas Pepe and describing Alexandre Lacazette as "the best player".

"You can compare [Pierre-Emerick] Aubameyang to Cristiano [Ronaldo] when he was at Madrid in the sense that he plays close to the goal, he lives for scoring," Ceballos added.

Arrigo Sacchi believes the Premier League is enjoying a "golden age" of coaching with Pep Guardiola, Jurgen Klopp and Mauricio Pochettino.

Former AC Milan boss Sacchi, who won the European Cup in 1989 and 1990 with the Rossoneri, is seen as one of football's great innovators, yet he is watching English football with great admiration for the top managers.

Guardiola has guided Manchester City to consecutive Premier League titles, winning a treble last season, while Klopp's Liverpool defeated Pochettino's Tottenham in the 2018-19 Champions League final.

Sacchi told the Daily Mail: "[Guardiola, Klopp and Pochettino are] my favourites and all three have the same philosophical system, even though they are very different.

"England has a crazy, brilliant championship. It is experiencing a golden age."

The Italian, now 73, also drew comparisons between City, Liverpool and his great Milan side.

"Their football is similar to mine and I really appreciate their values, culture and mentality," Sacchi said. "My Milan team innovated, the teams of Guardiola and Klopp continue to innovate.

"They think like me. We have the duty to make the public enjoy football, to be excited by it. Making great football is more difficult than talking about it.

"I like the desire they have to dominate. Football must be domination and beauty, music and culture.

"I enjoy watching them. The problem in the Premier League is that they play too often and there is too much competition. Perhaps this is why the [England] national team never achieves great results."

Virgil van Dijk should not be considered better than Lionel Messi even if he does win the Ballon d'Or, according to former Netherlands star Rafael van der Vaart.

Liverpool star Van Dijk is among the favourites for the world's top individual prizes after an outstanding 2019, helping the Reds to win the Champions League last season in Madrid.

If he was to take home the gong, Van Dijk would be the first defender to win the Ballon d'Or since Italy's World Cup-winning captain Fabio Cannavaro in 2006.

But Van der Vaart, Van Dijk's countryman, claims a defender's importance to his team can see them rewarded for an outstanding year even if they do not match up to five-time winner Messi.

Asked if a defender could win the coveted award, Van der Vaart told reporters: "Yeah, of course. Why not?

"You can't compare players. If you choose a defender, it doesn't mean he is better than Messi. You have to see what he wins, how important he is for his own team. We will see what happens."

Netherlands have two of European football's foremost centre-backs, with Matthijs de Ligt having left Ajax for Juventus in the close season.

The 20-year-old endured a tough Bianconeri debut in a 4-3 win over Napoli, but Van der Vaart expects him to prove his worth.

"He could have played somewhere else - Bayern Munich or maybe for Barcelona - and now he's had a difficult start at Juventus," the former Real Madrid midfielder said.

"It's not easy - [Giorgio] Chiellini is injured now, it's going to be difficult for him, but he has so much talent.

"He also played two games for the national team and was by far the best man on the pitch [in the past week]. He's a great talent."

And Van der Vaart is hopeful of a bright future for Netherlands under head coach Ronald Koeman.

He added: "We are lucky that we have so many good talents at the moment, with De Ligt, [Frenkie] De Jong, Van Dijk, some special players.

"[Koeman] is a guy who brought stability to the team. You can see everyone likes to play for Netherlands again and, for a long time, it was not like that."

Manchester City remain favourites to win the Premier League ahead of Liverpool, according to Jamie Carragher.

Liverpool have made a perfect start to the league campaign, winning their opening four matches to hold a two-point lead at the top early in the season.

Jurgen Klopp's men pushed City all the way last season before Pep Guardiola's side defended their title.

Carragher, who won the Champions League during a stellar career at Liverpool, believes City are still favourites.

"I think it's a bit early yet. I think we've got to probably wait until Christmas," he said on Wednesday.

"I do feel around about Christmas time Liverpool and City will have a substantial gap and it looks like there's a little bit of a gap at this moment.

"But I still think City are favourites and are the best team in the Premier League at this moment because they won the Premier League and they proved that last season.

"So I think it's still on Liverpool to overtake City but they're more than capable."

Liverpool (12 points) and Manchester City (10) are ahead of Leicester City (eight) through four games.

Manchester City make the trip to Norwich City on Saturday, while Liverpool host Newcastle United on the same day.

Alisson is making steady progress as he continues his recovery from a calf injury, according to Liverpool's goalkeeping coach.

The Brazil international had to be substituted during the opening fixture of the Premier League season against Norwich City, which Jurgen Klopp's men won 4-1.

Adrian has since deputised for the Reds, who have a 100 per cent record and are top of the table, two points clear of champions Manchester City, after four rounds of games.

The international break has given Alisson time to work on his fitness but John Achterberg indicated a return to action may not be imminent.

"In the last few days he has been out on the pitch to do some catching and footwork, as well as small passing drills," he told the Mirror.

"He has made steady progress. It needs time and we cannot look too far ahead, so we take each day as it comes, see how he feels, and then make progress from that.

"Ali has been working with Dave [Rydings, rehabilitation fitness coach] in the gym a lot to improve the strength and try to keep the fitness levels up."

Liverpool are at home to Newcastle United on Saturday.

 

Carlo Ancelotti launched a searing attack on the local council over the state of Napoli's Stadio San Paolo, claiming the ground's redevelopment has left his players with inadequate dressing room facilities.

After playing their first two games of the season away from home, Napoli are scheduled to play Sampdoria at San Paolo on Saturday before the visit of Liverpool in the Champions League three days later.

But according to Ancelotti the work has fallen short of what was promised, and suggested the council of the municipality of Naples, which owns the ground, showed a lack of regard for his team.

In a statement published on the club's official website, Ancelotti said: "I saw the conditions of the San Paolo dressing rooms. There are no words.

"I accepted the club's request to play the first two games away from home to allow the work to be completed, as was promised. In two months you can build a house - they have not been able to redo the changing rooms!

"Where should we change to play against Sampdoria and Liverpool?"

The planned redevelopment works included big screen displays, upgraded lights and a new surveillance system, as well as new changing rooms.

The council reportedly said the failure to complete the works entirely would not affect Ancelotti's team, but the Napoli coach disagreed vehemently.

"I am outraged by the incorrectness and inadequacy of those who had to carry out these jobs," he said.

"How have the region, municipality and commissioners been able to disregard the commitments made?

"I see a contempt and a non-attachment to the city team. I am dismayed."

Liverpool have announced teenage striker Paul Glatzel has signed a new long-term contract after firing the team to FA Youth Cup glory last term.

Glatzel captained the Reds to victory in the competition, scoring eight goals in their run to the final, where he converted the winning penalty to down Manchester City.

The 18-year-old trained with Jurgen Klopp's first-team squad ahead of the 2019-20 campaign but is recovering from knee surgery after he was injured in a pre-season friendly.

"It's a great feeling obviously," Glatzel, who has represented both England and Germany at youth level, told Liverpool's official website.

"I was disappointed to get my injury at the start of the season, but it's a great feeling and it shows that the club has got faith in me. Now I can just focus on my rehab and get back on the pitch.

"I've been at the club for so long and I just want to keep going and see where it takes me. Hopefully I can crack on now and keep going. The contract makes it easier.

"Mentally, it's good to be able to focus on the rehab and know that there's people that have faith in me and they know I'll come back from my injury stronger and I'll be ready when I'm back on the pitch."

Glatzel scored 28 goals for Liverpool's Under-18s in 2018-19.

Virgil van Dijk has a claim of being the best centre-back in Premier League history, according to former Manchester City captain Vincent Kompany.

Van Dijk was named UEFA Men's Player of the Year last month and the Liverpool defender is firmly in Ballon d'Or contention after inspiring Jurgen Klopp's team to Champions League glory last season.

Liverpool and Van Dijk missed out to City by a point in an unrelenting Premier League title race in 2018-19 that ended with Kompany lifting the trophy for the fourth time in his career.

Now in the early stages of his tenure as player-manager at Anderlecht, Kompany is back in Manchester for his testimonial at the Etihad Stadium on Wednesday – a match where the proceeds will go to his Tackle4MCR charity that aims to address the problem of homelessness in the city.

Somewhat fittingly and unfortunately, the frequently injury-ravaged 33-year-old will not be able to feature for a Manchester City All-Stars XI against his Premier League All-Stars due to a hamstring strain.

When discussing where he stood among the Premier League's finest central defenders, Kompany said such setbacks – calf strains were a persistent feature of his 11 years in east Manchester – meant he was fighting a losing battle against some of the greats.

"I never try to put me in any of these categories because these guys have been consistently at the top of their powers," he told a pre-match news conference.

"My journey was completely different. I've never been able to deal with the same tools. I've had a lot of injuries, a lot of comebacks.

"For me not to play this game because of an injury… surely the irony has not escaped anyone?

"That's been my journey at City; that's how they know me. I was always fighting my own battles. I could never compete with anybody else because I could not get the volume of games, but I was able to be substantial for my team and that's the only thing that mattered to me."

Although he was drawn to credit some of his contemporaries from earlier in the decade, Kompany cannot help but be impressed by Van Dijk's prowess.

"I go back to players that really impressed me when I played against them, central defenders [but] I would bring it back to Virgil van Dijk," he said.

"It's a weird one because he hasn't been on the scene for as long as John Terry, Rio Ferdinand – these guys were there for a long, long time - but the signs he showed in the last few years make it obvious that if he had been at the top level for longer, he would be further as well.

"Being a defender is how you make your team more solid. The Liverpool before Van Dijk and after, it is a completely different set-up. I'll give him that [accolade] because of that."

Aymeric Laporte looked primed to assume Kompany's mantle of being City's defensive lynchpin but a knee injury means the France international is facing a lengthy spell on the sidelines.

It leaves Pep Guardiola short of senior centre-backs after deciding not to replace Kompany, but the ex-skipper believes there is no undue cause for concern.

"Losing Laporte, you lose a big player," he added. "You need them in the bigger games so that's where we'll see [if it has an impact].

"But the key strength of this Manchester City team and what Pep has been able to do is that it is relying more on the system than the individuals.

"If you go back through the last two years, in which the team won five of the available six domestic trophies, they've had to deal with long spells of Fernandinho out, long spells of Kevin De Bruyne out, long spells of myself being out.

"Sergio Aguero as well – big players – and the team has never seemed to collapse."

Liverpool cruised to a 3-0 Premier League victory over Burnley before the international break, but it was not their free-flowing football that made the headlines.

Instead, most of the post-match talk centred on Sadio Mane's furious reaction, the forward seemingly livid with team-mate Mohamed Salah after being substituted at Turf Moor.

The Senegal forward was apparently angry at Salah for taking a shot moments earlier rather than setting up his team-mate for a simple finish.

It has led to some suggesting the Egypt international is greedy, with former Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger saying: "Salah is a bit obsessed with finishing himself."

An assessment of the Opta data suggests Salah might not be quite as selfish as Mane – and many others – think.

 

SALAH THE SURPRISE TEAM PLAYER?

Liverpool enjoyed a stunning 2018-19 Premier League campaign, finishing just a point behind champions Manchester City with a whopping 97 points.

Central to their success was the exhilarating front three of Salah, Mane and Roberto Firmino, who plundered 56 goals between them.

Their finishing prowess has never been in question, but how does their relationship in normal play stack up?

Firstly, and perhaps surprisingly, the trio were only responsible for assisting nine of those strikes.

While it is Salah's generosity that has been called into question, the stats suggest the Egyptian was even more of a team player than Mane last season. The Egyptian passed to the other two forwards 48 times more than Mane (258 passes v 210 passes).

Firmino was the top assist maker of the trio, laying on five goals for the pair. All three of Salah's assists were for Mane, while the latter was responsible for creating just one goal for his fellow forwards (to Salah).

Mane can perhaps count himself unlucky to not have had more assists to his name, given he created 20 chances for Salah.

FIRMINO STUCK IN THE MIDDLE

Klopp's side have started this season as they finished the last, winning all four of their games - and they sit top of the Premier League table.

It was looking like a serene start until Mane's outburst, but does he have a point?

The stats show that Salah has passed to Firmino 10 times more than Mane and has yet to create a chance for the latter. He has created three for the Brazilian.

However, it appears the Egyptian might have cause to feel equally aggrieved with Mane, given he has received just five passes from him this season – one fewer than in the opposite direction and 15 fewer than Firmino has been on the receiving end of.

When compared to Firmino's passing stats, the pair came off unfavourably. This, however, can be explained by the fact they play on opposite sides of the pitch, with Firmino largely tasked with feeding the potent pair.

Only Salah knows if he deliberately overlooks his team-mates in favour of scoring himself, but as long as the Reds continue to sweep aside all before them in the Premier League, Klopp is hardly likely to care.

Nabil Fekir claims lies told about his knee gave Liverpool an excuse to abort his expected transfer from Lyon last year.

France international Fekir appeared certain to join the Premier League club ahead of the 2018 World Cup.

The attacker underwent a medical but Liverpool backed out at the last moment, reportedly due to concerns over knee problems dating back to 2015.

Fekir's former agent, Jean-Pierre Bernes, described the knee issue as "part" of the reason the move collapsed.

The pair ended their professional relationship in April.

"Lots of lies were told and that affected me," Fekir told L'Equipe.

"Especially those claimed about my family. It hurt both them and me. Especially when you know that what's being said is false.

"When you are a good person in life you always end up being happy and at peace, and today I am happy and at peace. Others are not, but let's not go into detail.

"My knee is good. I had a quick medical check at Clairefontaine, my knee wasn't even mentioned.

"If my knee had been in such a bad state, why would [Lyon president Jean-Michel] Aulas have made an offer [of a new contract]?"

Fekir continued: "You want the truth? Even I don't know, I assure you!

"I did my medical and then [Liverpool] decided not to sign me. At some point they wanted to have me believe it was because of my knee, but an excuse needed to be found because the medical tests that I did at Clairefontaine were very clear.

"My knee is perfectly fine and I feel fine. There are no issues at all with my knee."

Fekir spent the 2018-19 season at Lyon before leaving for LaLiga side Real Betis, for whom he has scored two goals in three games.

EA Sports has revealed the 10 highest-rated players on FIFA 20 ahead of the game's release later this month, with Lionel Messi back on top after Cristiano Ronaldo ranked first last year.

Messi enjoyed another stellar campaign for Barcelona in 2018-19, scoring 36 goals in 34 LaLiga matches, inspiring the club's title defence and run to the Champions League semi-finals.

Ronaldo's first season at Juventus – who will be known as Piemonte Calcio on FIFA 20 – went as smoothly as might have been expected, with the forward finishing as the club's top-scorer as they claimed an eighth successive Scudetto, though that was not enough to retain his crown as FIFA's highest-rated player.

Neither Ronaldo nor Messi were able to win the Champions League, however, with that honour falling to Liverpool, who have two representatives in the top 10.

Find out who they are and which other players join Messi and Ronaldo in the 10 below.

10. Marc-Andre ter Stegen, Barcelona – 90

Germany international Ter Stegen has developed into one of the globe's most well-rounded goalkeepers after an initially slow start to life at Camp Nou. He is one of three players with a rating of 90, making him the second best keeper on the game.

9. Luka Modric, Real Madrid – 90

Last year's Ballon d'Or winner, Modric's 2019 has not been particularly outstanding, as he has found himself out of the Madrid team a little more due to suspect form. He may be down one rating point from FIFA 19, but he still reaches 90.

8. Mohamed Salah, Liverpool – 90

A crucial part of Liverpool's Champions League winning side, Salah has truly established himself as one the world's primary stars over the last couple of years. He was not even in the top 20 in FIFA 19, however.

7. Virgil van Dijk, Liverpool – 91

The most important player in Liverpool's Champions League success? Until recently the most expensive defender ever, Van Dijk's influence on the Reds is undeniable. That is reflected in the fact he will be FIFA 20's best defender.

6. Jan Oblak, Atletico Madrid – 91

Widely regarded as the best goalkeeper in the world for his quality and consistency, Oblak replaces David de Gea – who had a shaky 2018-19 – as the top-ranked keeper on FIFA.

5. Kevin De Bruyne, Manchester City – 91

Even though injuries have plagued De Bruyne in recent times, robbing him of a chunk of last season, the Belgium star remains one of most highly regarded players on the game, with the City star beginning 2019-20 in ominous fashion.

4. Eden Hazard, Real Madrid – 91

After helping Chelsea to Europa League success, enjoying a generally fine individual campaign as the Premier League's most creative player with 15 assists, he earned his dream move to Real Madrid. He's yet to feature due to injury, but he'll be hopeful of elevating himself to the next level now.

3. Neymar, Paris Saint-Germain – 92

Perhaps a controversial choice to some, Neymar missed a big part of last season through injury and only won Ligue 1 and the Trophee des Champions, as he was also absent for Brazil's Copa America success. Nevertheless, his skill is undoubtable and he comes in at number three.

2. Cristiano Ronaldo, Piemonte Calcio (Juventus) – 93

The best-ranked player on FIFA 19, Ronaldo's rating drops one to 93 despite enjoying a solid season in Serie A. Cynics might suggest Juve's exclusivity deal with FIFA rival Pro Evolution Soccer has something to do with it.

1.Lionel Messi, Barcelona – 94

The world's best player comes in at number one with a rating of 94 after he enjoyed another spell-binding season on all fronts, impressing even though Barca failed in the Champions League.

Page 4 of 113
© 2018 SportsMaxTV All Rights Reserved.