Jordan Pickford believes Everton have the quality to upset Liverpool when the Premier League season resumes.

The Merseyside derby is scheduled for the first weekend when the campaign restarts, with Everton to face Jurgen Klopp's men on June 21.

Liverpool are just two wins away from a first league title since 1990, having opened up a 25-point lead before the season was suspended due to the coronavirus pandemic.

While Everton are 12th in the table, Pickford believes they have a squad capable of beating Liverpool.

"We want to win every game we play and any sort of derby match is massive for the fans and for players," he told Sky Sports News.

"We want to show how good we can be and we have an opportunity to beat them. We know they are a good side, they are top of the league. We just want to do our best and try to beat them.

"We know we have the ability in the squad to beat them. We just want to do it for ourselves and our fans."

The Premier League season will resume on June 17, more than three months after it was suspended.

Pickford, 26, has enjoyed the break, but the England international is ready to go again.

"Obviously it's been difficult but it's nice to spend time with your family and get a nice big break," he said.

"I've not had a break from football since I was probably a 16-year-old – I've been in the England set-up since then – so it's nice for my mind and body to have a reset.

"We're getting ready to go again but it's been a nice eight or nine weeks off, in the sense of giving your body time to relax."

Jurgen Klopp said he felt overwhelmed with pride when his Liverpool players took a knee in support of the Black Lives Matter movement.

The Reds boss spoke of the multicultural representation within his squad and how it was the players who decided on Monday they should group together to show their support for protestors.

The death of George Floyd, an African-American man, in Minneapolis, Minnesota, last week in police custody has ignited debate and sparked demonstrations in the United States and beyond.

Calls for an end to institutional racism and for social change have been heard in cities worldwide.

Liverpool's players, like a number of sports stars with a platform, took the opportunity to show their support. In their case, they went down on one knee around the Anfield centre circle before training on Monday.

Taking the knee has been a symbol of a protest against racial inequality and police brutality in the United States, most powerfully demonstrated by American footballer Colin Kaepernick during his NFL career.

Klopp told German broadcaster Sky Sport: "For us, dealing with each other and Black Lives Matter is very natural - especially if you look at our team: we have players from Africa, from England and so on with a corresponding background. It is already so natural for us that at first we didn't even think about sending a message.

"But then the boys were struck. Then they spontaneously decided on this action. I've been very proud of the guys for a long time, but that was another extraordinary moment.

"When I saw them there and this picture was taken. Then I was really proud because it is also an important message."

Jurgen Klopp has saluted German's handling of the coronavirus pandemic that allowed the country to get back on its feet and become Europe's "land of milk and honey".

The Liverpool manager has watched his homeland emerge from the COVID-19 crisis with far fewer casualties at this stage than France, Spain, Italy and the United Kingdom have suffered.

In football, the Bundesliga resumed on May 16, becoming the first major European league to get back under way, with Serie A, LaLiga and the Premier League yet to start up.

Former Borussia Dortmund and Mainz boss Klopp says behind-closed-doors German football has set an example that every league will follow, such has been its success so far.

He has been in close contact with German Football Association (DFB) chief executive Christian Seifert and saluted his "incredible job".

"The basis for everything was the situation in Germany," Klopp told German broadcaster Sky Sport.

"I hope you see it the same way, that you are, so to speak, the land of milk and honey at this time when everything is going in the right direction.

"Probably not the only one, but [Germany is] now in Europe the country where [it has found] the quickest way to deal with the situation correctly and to take the right measures.

"Coupled with the discipline, which somehow unites us all to a certain extent, it quickly steered the whole thing in the right direction. And that made football possible again."

He has been watching the Bundesliga games and observed "a lot less emotion" due to the absence of supporters, but said that "otherwise it looks good".

When it comes to England, Klopp is keen to find positives as the Premier League edges closer to starting up again.

Liverpool, who are on the brink of the Premier League title, are due to play their first match since March when they face Everton on Sunday, June 21.

Klopp said of the coronavirus situation in England: "We still have a bit of work ahead of us, but here too we are heading in the right direction."

Liverpool will continue their quest for the Premier League title when they face Everton on the first Sunday after the competition resumes.

Fixtures released on Friday show the Merseyside derby will be played at 7:00pm local time on June 21.

Everton are due to be the home team but the game may be moved to a neutral venue over public health concerns, while Liverpool will be looking to build on their lead over second-placed Manchester City.

Liverpool could yet win the title in their clash with Everton, but that would require City to lose at home to Arsenal on the first day of the league's resumption.

That date is Wednesday, June 17, when as well as City's clash with Arsenal, struggling Aston Villa will face European hopefuls Sheffield United.

Liverpool are aiming to win a first English league championship since 1990, having yet to land the trophy during the Premier League era. Jurgen Klopp's team currently hold a 25-point lead, needing a maximum of two wins from their remaining nine games to land the silverware.

The league has been suspended since mid-March due to the COVID-19 crisis, with the last match played having been Leicester's 4-0 home win over Villa on March 9.

All matches will be played behind closed doors when action resumes.

On the first Friday of the resumption, Manchester United head to London to face Tottenham, who are now managed by former Red Devils boss Jose Mourinho.

City then return to action on Monday, June 22, when they host Burnley, followed by a full midweek programme from June 23-25, including Liverpool's clash with Crystal Palace on the Wednesday. City travel to Chelsea on the Thursday.

Another fixture with a venue still to be set is City's home game against Liverpool on Thursday, July 2.

There have been concerns expressed over the possibility of supporters gathering to celebrate Liverpool's expected title success.

Premier League chief executive Richard Masters said: “I am delighted we are able to take another positive step towards the season returning in just under two weeks’ time."

Here are the fixture dates announced by the Premier League for the opening weeks of the return to action (all times local; * = venue tbc):

Wednesday, June 17

Aston Villa v Sheffield United (1800)
Manchester City v Arsenal (2015)

Friday, June 19

Norwich City v Southampton (1800)
Tottenham v Manchester United (2015)

Saturday, June 20

Watford v Leicester City (1230)
Brighton and Hove Albion v Arsenal (1500)
West Ham v Wolves  (1730)
Bournemouth v Crystal Palace (1945)

Sunday, June 21

Newcastle United v Sheffield United (1400)
Aston Villa v Chelsea (1615)
Everton v Liverpool (1900)*

Monday, June 22

Manchester City v Burnley (2000)

Tuesday, June 23

Leicester City v Brighton (1800)
Tottenham v West Ham (2015)

Wednesday, June 24

Manchester United v Sheffield United (1800)
Newcastle United v Aston Villa (1800)
Norwich City v Everton (1800)
Wolves v Bournemouth (1800)
Liverpool v Crystal Palace (2015)

Thursday, June 25

Burnley v Watford (1800)
Southampton v Arsenal (1800)
Chelsea v Manchester City (2015)

Saturday, June 27

Aston Villa v Wolves (1230)

Sunday, June 28

Watford v Southampton (1630)

Monday, June 29

Crystal Palace v Burnley (2000)

Tuesday, June 30

Brighton v Manchester United (2015)

Wednesday, July 1

Arsenal v Norwich City (1800)
Bournemouth v Newcastle United (1800)
Everton v Leicester City (1800)
West Ham v Chelsea (2015)

Thursday, July 2

Sheffield United v Spurs (1800)
Manchester City v Liverpool (2015)*

Liverpool "have slipped up" by reportedly missing out to Chelsea on RB Leipzig striker Timo Werner, according to Reds great Steve Nicol.

Chelsea are reported to have triggered Werner's release clause, believed to be in the region of £54million (€60m), to win the race for his signature.

Liverpool had long been considered the favourites to sign the Germany international, who has scored 31 goals this season, but they are said to have delayed an approach and their Premier League rivals have swooped.

Nicol, who won nine major honours during his time at Anfield, feels that his former club could pay the price as they are in need of competition for Mohamed Salah, Sadio Mane and Roberto Firmino.

"I think it is [a mistake], yes. Regardless of how good you are, you have to make sure you stay where you are at the very least," he told ESPN.

"That means you need competition for places. No question, Werner would have kept the front three - as great as they are and have been - on their toes.

"The front three of Liverpool can now breathe a little easier. I think Liverpool have slipped up here."

Werner described Jurgen Klopp as "the best coach in the world" in February and admitted his style of play would be well suited to Liverpool, but looks to be on his way to Stamford Bridge when the transfer window opens.

"I wouldn't be surprised if Werner had something to do with this," Nicol added.

"At the end of the day, if you want to go somewhere you can make it happen. It looks to me like Werner has changed his mind."

Liverpool "have slipped up" by reportedly missing out to Chelsea on RB Leipzig striker Timo Werner, according to Reds great Steve Nicol.

Chelsea are reported to have triggered Werner's release clause, believed to be in the region of £54million (€60m), to win the race for his signature.

Liverpool had long been considered the favourites to sign the Germany international, who has scored 31 goals this season, but they are said to have delayed an approach and their Premier League rivals have swooped.

Nicol, who won nine major honours during his time at Anfield, feels that his former club could pay the price as they are in need of competition for Mohamed Salah, Sadio Mane and Roberto Firmino.

"I think it is [a mistake], yes. Regardless of how good you are, you have to make sure you stay where you are at the very least," he told ESPN.

"That means you need competition for places. No question, Werner would have kept the front three - as great as they are and have been - on their toes.

"The front three of Liverpool can now breathe a little easier. I think Liverpool have slipped up here."

Werner described Jurgen Klopp as "the best coach in the world" in February and admitted his style of play would be well suited to Liverpool, but looks to be on his way to Stamford Bridge when the transfer window opens.

"I wouldn't be surprised if Werner had something to do with this," Nicol added.

"At the end of the day, if you want to go somewhere you can make it happen. It looks to me like Werner has changed his mind."

Chelsea have reportedly agreed a deal for RB Leipzig star Timo Werner.

Werner, 24, has been heavily linked with a move to Liverpool after an impressive campaign with the Bundesliga club.

But their Premier League rivals are seemingly set to bring in the forward.

 

TOP STORY – CHELSEA AGREE £54M DEAL FOR WERNER

Chelsea have agreed a £54million (€60m) deal for RB Leipzig star Werner, according to The Sun.

The report says the Germany international is set to sign a five-year deal at Chelsea.

However, it also reports there is still a danger of Liverpool making a last-ditch bid for Werner.

ROUND-UP

- Perhaps Paul Pogba will extend his stay at Manchester United. The Daily Mail reports the France midfielder, who has been linked with Real Madrid and Juventus, could extend his contract – which runs until 2021 – at Old Trafford if he forms a good combination with Bruno Fernandes when the Premier League season resumes.

- Having starred for Bayer Leverkusen, Kai Havertz has been linked with a move. The Manchester Evening News reports the attacker is open to a switch to Manchester United.

- On loan at Inter from Chelsea until the end of the season, Victor Moses' future is uncertain. CalcioMercato reports the Serie A club want to hold onto the 29-year-old, either by his loan being extended or with a permanent deal worth less than €12m (£10.8m).

- Could Kurt Zouma be set for a reunion with Jose Mourinho? RMC Sport reports the Chelsea and France defender could join his former manager at Tottenham this close season.

- Perhaps Zouma could arrive at Spurs as a replacement for Jan Vertonghen as the Evening Standard says the Belgium defender is expected to complete the Premier League season before leaving Tottenham on a free transfer.

- Another player coming out of contract is Pedro. The Chelsea attacker has decided to sign with Roma, according to Sport, after links to the likes of Juventus, Valencia, Sevilla and Real Betis.

The arrivals of Lautaro Martinez and Neymar at the end of the season had been the dream for Barcelona.

Forming the best attack in the world had been the idea, prising Inter's Martinez to Camp Nou and re-signing Neymar from Paris Saint-Germain.

But Barca have reportedly been priced out of a deal for Neymar.

 

TOP STORY – PSG SET NEYMAR PRICE

Paris Saint-Germain want €175million in cash for Barcelona target Neymar, according to Sport.

Neymar left Barca for PSG in a world-record €222m transfer in 2017 but the Brazilian superstar continues to be linked with a Camp Nou comeback.

But Barca's hopes have been dealt a blow due to PSG's demands and coronavirus as they prioritise Inter forward Lautaro Martinez.

 

ROUND-UP

- RMC Sport claims Manchester City are interested in Milan midfielder Ismael Bennacer. Pep Guardiola has reportedly talked to Bennacer about a move to the Premier League. City are also interested in Barca's Sergi Roberto, claims Mundo Deportivo.

Real Madrid are keen on signing Borussia Dortmund star Jadon Sancho, AS says. The England international has been tipped to join United, while Chelsea and Liverpool have also been linked.

- Calciomercato claims Napoli are eyeing a move for Lille forward Victor Osimhen. It comes amid uncertainty over the futures of Arkadiusz Milik and Jose Callejon. Milik has been heavily linked to Juventus, while the likes of Sevilla and Real Betis are reportedly interested in bringing former Madrid winger Callejon back to LaLiga.

Sevilla are prepared to wait until the end of the season for Barca's Ivan Rakitic, reports Mundo Deportivo. Barca are willing to sanction Rakitic's transfer and Spanish rivals Sevilla are looking to bring the Croatia international back to Estadio Ramon Sanchez Pizjuan.

- According to L'Equipe, injury-plagued Barca star Ousmane Dembele has no intention of leaving Camp Nou for Juve.

- ESPN says United need more cash to sign Birmingham City sensation Jude Bellingham. The 16-year-old has also been linked to Dortmund.

Fabian Ruiz is wanted by Spain's two biggest clubs – Barca and Madrid. But Mundo Deportivo says the Napoli star is moving further away from a switch to the Santiago Bernabeu due to Madrid not being able to meet the Italian club's valuation. Luka Jovic and James Rodriguez have been mentioned as possible makeweights but Napoli only want cash.

- Lille defender Gabriel has emerged as a possible replacement for Napoli's Kalidou Koulibaly. Le10Sport says Napoli have identified Gabriel as well as Fiorentina pair German Pezzella and Nikola Milenkovic. Sky Sport Italia, meanwhile, says United are offering £71m (€80m) for Koulibaly but Napoli are holding out for at least £89m (€100m).

Pedro is a player in demand. The Chelsea forward is set to become a free agent and AS says Roma are the Spaniard's "priority". Juve, Sevilla, Betis and Valencia have also been credited with interest.

Southampton attacker Moussa Djenepo is hoping to "become the next Sadio Mane" as he uses the Liverpool star as inspiration.

Djenepo, 21, joined the club for a reported £14million from Standard Liege last year, and had scored two goals and provided two assists in 18 Premier League games before the season was suspended due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Mane spent two seasons at St Mary's before joining Liverpool in 2016 and the Senegal international has developed into one of the world's best attackers.

Djenepo is using Mane as inspiration and the Mali international hopes he can exceed what the Liverpool star has achieved.

"Sadio is a big inspiration for me. I like him, he's a very big player," he told talkSPORT.

"But I think I can be better [than him] if I work hard. Sadio is a very big player, and I'm young and I need to learn more.

"In the future we will see. I will do my best to become the next Sadio Mane."

Mane has scored 14 goals and provided seven assists in 26 Premier League games this season.

A number of Premier League stars have put signed shirts up for a charity raffle to raise money for health services in the United Kingdom during the coronavirus pandemic.

Top-flight players launched their '#PlayersTogether' fund in April, an initiative working alongside NHS Charities Together.

In the latest development on Wednesday, players donated over 500 signed jerseys to the Shirts for Heroes raffle on eBay, with each ticket costing £5.

Liverpool captain Jordan Henderson, who was said to be prominent in the initial movement, was among those to post of their involvement on Twitter.

Henderson and team-mate Virgil van Dijk each quickly gathered more than 150 ticket sales.

Manchester City's midfield duo Kevin De Bruyne and David Silva were also involved, along with Manchester United skipper Harry Maguire.

A number of Premier League stars have put signed shirts up for a charity raffle to raise money for health services in the United Kingdom during the coronavirus pandemic.

Top-flight players launched their '#PlayersTogether' fund in April, an initiative in which they would work with NHS Charities Together.

In the latest development on Wednesday, players donated over 500 signed jerseys to the Shirts for Heroes raffle on eBay, with each ticket costing £5.

Liverpool captain Jordan Henderson, who was said to be prominent in the initial movement, was among those to post of their involvement on Twitter.

Henderson and team-mate Virgil van Dijk each quickly gathered more than 150 ticket sales.

Manchester City's midfield duo Kevin De Bruyne and David Silva were also involved, along with Manchester United skipper Harry Maguire.

Emile Heskey believes Liverpool's impending Premier League title triumph is "amazing for football".

Jurgen Klopp's side are 25 points clear of defending champions Manchester City ahead of English football's upcoming restart, needing just two more victories to win the Premier League for the first time and end a 30-year wait for a top-flight championship.

The title would be Liverpool's 19th in all, having dominated the English game in the 1970s and 1980s.

Former Reds striker Heskey believes football will benefit from having one of its grandest clubs on top once more.

"It's huge," Heskey told Stats Perform News.

"It's such a big club, and you don't realise until you go there, until you walk down the streets of Liverpool or anywhere and you realise it's different.

"They are massive and they are so used to winning. If you go back to the 80s, that was their time of winning.

"This is the major one that has eluded Liverpool for 30 years. The Premier League hasn't been won by Liverpool. To get so close on many occasions but fall at that last hurdle...

"But now, being in the prime position to actually take it, is just an amazing feeling for the fans, amazing for the city and amazing for football in general because you've got one of the biggest clubs in the world at the pinnacle again."

The Premier League is set to kick-off again amid the coronavirus pandemic, but Heskey believes Liverpool should have been awarded the title regardless.

"It was a weird one for me," he said. "If you look back at when we went into lockdown, when sport actually locked down, if you think about it, one more week, they could have actually won the league.

"One more week and then, mathematically, we've won it, so you can't take it off us, so give us the league and let's just call off the league.

"Obviously there would be problems with that because relegation is a huge thing as well. With Leeds top of the [Championship] league, trying to get back into the league for 10, 15 years, so you'd have problems there.

"But just think about it, one more week and you could have actually won that."


Emile's book Even Heskey Scored has been shortlisted for Autobiography of the Year at the 2020 Telegraph Sports Book Awards.

Jurgen Klopp has turned Liverpool into an "amazing" side who are a joy to watch, according to Yossi Benayoun.

The Reds are 25 points clear at the Premier League summit and two wins away from a first top-flight title in 30 years.

Klopp has already led the side to Champions League glory and Benayoun, who plied his trade at Anfield between 2007 and 2010, is delighted to see the progress they have made under the German.

"I'm happy to see it, it's amazing to see where Liverpool are at the moment," he told LFCTV's Legends in Lockdown.

"From what I see, they play amazing football. The most special thing is you feel they are a team – everyone knows what they're doing on the pitch, you don't have one or two big stars and everything is on them. The star of the team is the team itself, one unit. They play together. 

"And the commitment the players have is something special. I don't see any other team in Europe that has this commitment from the goalkeeper to the striker to work together, to press. When they decide to press they press everyone, no-one can play against them. It's amazing. 

"Of course, big credit to the manager, to Jurgen Klopp. I think this is the big difference from years before. I really enjoy watching them. Hopefully they will continue like this and make us proud."

After a lengthy coronavirus-enforced shutdown, Liverpool will be able to resume their title pursuit later this month.

However, their Champions League defence was ended just before fixtures were halted, suffering a round-of-16 exit to Atletico Madrid.

Chelsea players took a knee on Tuesday in a powerful statement of support for the Black Lives Matter movement.

The squad assembled for a photograph at their Cobham training base in which each player adopted the stance.

With each player on one knee, they lined up in an H shape, which Chelsea said stood for "humans".

Captain Cesar Azpilicueta was one of a group of Blues players who posted the same message on social media: "Enough is enough. We are all HUMANS. Together we are stronger."

The footballers' reaction follows protests and riots across the United States following the death of George Floyd in Minneapolis.

Floyd, an African-American man, died in police custody last week after an officer kneeled on his neck as he lay on the ground, sparking outrage across the globe.

Demonstrations have taken place around the world as well as in the US, with campaigners determined that Floyd's death should be a turning point in a long struggle against racism and police brutality.

Former US president Barack Obama has supported peaceful protests, while his successor Donald Trump warned he could send in the military to deal with violent disorder.

Fikayo Tomori, Ruben Loftus-Cheek, Antonio Rudiger, Billy Gilmour, Mason Mount and Kepa Arrizabalaga were among the Chelsea stars to put the statement on Twitter, alongside the picture of the kneeling players.

Chelsea matched the example of Liverpool's players, who took a knee on Monday, after a weekend that saw several protests in Germany's Bundesliga.

Borussia Dortmund's England international Jadon Sancho revealed a 'Justice for George Floyd' message on a t-shirt after scoring against Paderborn, while Borussia Monchengladbach star Marcus Thuram took a knee when he netted against Union Berlin.

A number of black sporting greats, including Michael Jordan, Serena Williams, LeBron James and Tiger Woods, have spoken out on the issue.

NBA superstar James supported Liverpool's stance by reposting the Premier League leaders' tweet with his own "#YNWA" message – a reference to the Anfield club's 'You'll Never Walk Alone' anthem.

Jurgen Klopp wants Liverpool to close the season with nine straight wins to smash the Premier League points record.

The Reds only need two more victories to wrap up a first top-flight title in 30 years, but Klopp is eager to do much more than the bare minimum.

Liverpool have 27 points left to play for and the German wants to take them all, which would mean a total of 107 – exceeding Manchester City's all-time best tally of 100 from the 2017-18 campaign.

With fixtures set to resume on June 17 following a lengthy coronavirus-enforced shutdown, Liverpool are tantalisingly close to glory, but Klopp knows there is work to be done.

"It's nice to think about it but we are not champions yet and we know that," he told BBC Sport.

"We know we are close but close is not there. There are 27 points left for us and we will try everything to take them all.

"We are still not champions. We have to play football games and we have to win them.

"We don't want to stop winning after two games or whatever it is. I don't see results written in the stars; we have to work really hard."

Klopp's side lead the way by 25 points but hit patchy form before fixtures were halted, losing their unbeaten league record to Watford, suffering defeat to Chelsea in the FA Cup, and seeing their Champions League defence ended by Atletico Madrid.

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