Milan defender Fikayo Tomori has dismissed suggestions Inter and Juventus are favourites to take the Rossoneri's Serie A crown next season, declaring: "They also said it last year."

However, the England international acknowledged Inter's loan signing of Romelu Lukaku – who he described as "special" – represents a major coup for Milan's cross-city rivals.

Tomori enjoyed a stellar campaign as Stefano Pioli's men ended an 11-year wait to win the Scudetto last season, contributing to 13 clean sheets in 31 Serie A appearances. 

Meanwhile, the former Chelsea defender topped the Rossoneri charts for blocks (23), interceptions (45), clearances (77) and tackles (73) in his first campaign since making a permanent move to San Siro last June. 

No team conceded fewer Serie A goals (31) or recorded more wins (26) than Milan last term, but Inter's signing of Lukaku and Juventus' moves for Paul Pogba and Angel Di Maria have seen the Derby d'Italia rivals touted as title favourites for 2022-23.

Speaking to Sky Sports Italia, however, Tomori suggested it would be unwise to write off Milan, smiling: "Are they the favourites? They also said it last year and then we won.

"When I arrived in Milan I knew the team was strong and we could win the Scudetto. 

"I knew it was a special club, especially in the Champions League. We are excited and we are still hungry to win."

 

Lukaku's return to Inter, for whom he scored 24 Serie A goals during a 2020-21 Scudetto triumph under Antonio Conte, represents a significant coup for Milan's rivals.

And Tomori labelled the striker "a special player" as he revealed his high hopes for another Belgian attacker, new Milan arrival Divock Origi.

"The first time I faced him in the derby was my debut in Milan," Tomori said of Lukaku. "I am not afraid but I respect him, he is strong and will be like this again this year. Romelu is a special player.

"Origi is strong and fast, a good sign, I played against him last year [in the Champions League]."

Despite enjoying a dream campaign during his first full season at San Siro, Tomori is still targeting individual improvements, and has no shortage of defensive role models to look up to in Milan.

"I saw [Alessandro] Nesta, [Jaap] Stam, Cafu, all very strong. But the one I liked the most is Paolo Maldini, also because he is back here while we do the interview!" The defender continued.

"[Franco] Baresi is not as tall as me, but he had leadership, and then the position of the body, the voice on the pitch... the same thing for Maldini and Nesta. 

"Personality on the pitch, ability to read the different moments of the match… I want to show these characteristics too."

Milan begin their title defence at home to Udinese on August 13.

Divock Origi is drawing inspiration from the feats of Milan striking greats Marco van Basten, Andriy Shevchenko and Filippo Inzaghi after joining the Serie A champions from Liverpool. 

Origi signed a four-year deal with the 2021-22 Scudetto winners on Tuesday, having enjoyed a trophy-laden eight-year stint at Anfield before departing on a free transfer.

The Belgium international scored 41 goals in 176 appearances as he earned cult-hero status at Liverpool, netting seven goals in 10 games against Merseyside rivals Everton and adding a crucial second goal to seal the Reds' 2019 Champions League final win over Tottenham.

In his first media conference in Milan, the 27-year-old hailed the Rossoneri's title-winners as he targeted making a valuable contribution next term.

"I spoke with the club towards the end of the season, but I was just concentrating on finishing the season with Liverpool," he said.

"Once that was done, I understood and shared the vision of the club, the people here made me realise the special journey this squad is on and the history being written, and I want to play my part in continuing it in the coming years.

"There are many players that have played their role in Milan's history that I admire, therefore, it's quite difficult to choose. 

"For example, I'm thinking of Van Basten, Shevchenko, Inzaghi, who have all been part of this wonderful club. I don't like to compare myself with others because we all have our own story to tell and path to take. 

"I believe it's possible to take inspiration from any player, in any position, and even from outside the footballing world. My goal is just to continuously grow as a player."

Origi scored in San Siro during a 2-1 Champions League win for Liverpool last December and says the sense of history surrounding Milan's famous home was a key attraction.

"I absolutely felt the atmosphere in the game in San Siro," he added. "In this stadium, you are able to feel the sense of history and the culture of the club. 

"This is also why it is an honour and a pleasure to be here, to have the opportunity to play in this magical stadium. 

"When Milan got the first goal, you could hear the backing and push given by the fans, that feeling between the crowd and players is special."

Origi won six major trophies – including Premier League and Champions League titles – at Liverpool, and emphasised his gratitude for former boss Jurgen Klopp's contribution to his career as he looked forward to the challenge of featuring in another major league.

"I am extremely grateful and appreciative of my time at Liverpool, it's a club that has provided me with everything," Origi added.

"Me and Klopp have shared an incredible experience together, we've won lots, and I'm very proud to have had him as my coach. With coach [Stefano] Pioli, I hope it will be the same and I can't wait to start working with him. 

"My time at Liverpool was very emotional, especially the goodbyes, but now it's time to start a new journey, giving this club the best version of me.

"Serie A and the Premier League are two completely different leagues. I have been fortunate to be able to play in different national championships – Germany, France, England – and also in international football. 

"The Italian league is very tactical, maybe in England, it's more physical. I think I'm going to learn a lot tactically in Italy, but at the same time contribute in the way I can from my experiences."

Divock Origi has joined Milan after his contract expired at Liverpool.

Origi signed for Liverpool from Lille after impressing for Belgium at the 2014 World Cup, but immediately rejoined the Ligue 1 side on loan.

He was used sparingly throughout his eight-year stint with the Reds, leaving on loan to Wolfsburg in 2017-18, yet still scored some crucial goals for Jurgen Klopp's team.

His most memorable was a strike in the 2018-19 Champions League final against Tottenham.

Origi will hope to be offered more chances at Milan, who lifted the Scudetto in the 2021-22 campaign, after signing a four-year contract at San Siro.

The 27-year-old developed a reputation as somewhat of a super-sub during his time at Anfield, scoring 22 goals in 107 Premier League appearances for Liverpool, while only starting 34 of those matches.

As well as his goal against Spurs in Madrid, Origi also produced the winner in the iconic semi-final comeback against Barcelona in the same competition.

Stefano Pioli has added both quality and depth to his attacking ranks, which already included Zlatan Ibrahimovic and Rafael Leao, as Milan look to defend their Serie A title in the 2022-23 campaign.

Milan reportedly remain in talks with Chelsea over a move for playmaker Hakim Ziyech, though midfielder Franck Kessie has left on a free transfer, joining Barca.

Chelsea boss Thomas Tuchel is eager to bring in two attacking players this off-season following their third-place Premier League finish last term.

The club's new owners are set to back Tuchel's plans, with the Blues linked to Raheem Sterling, Barcelona's Ousmane Dembele and Everton's Richarlison.

However, Chelsea could be set for their first splash of the window by signing a superstar from Elland Road.

TOP STORY – CHELSEA TO WIN RAPHINHA RACE

Chelsea are set to win the race to sign Leeds United's Brazilian forward Raphinha claims The Guardian.

Raphinha is being pursued by Arsenal and Barcelona along with the Blues, who are set to complete a £55million deal for the 25-year-old.

The winger is contracted with Leeds until 2024 and may follow Kalvin Phillips out of Elland Road with the England midfielder set to complete his move to Manchester City.

 

 

ROUND-UP

- The Mail reports Chelsea are also interested in a move for Inter defender Milan Skriniar who has been linked with Paris Saint-Germain. L'Equipe claims that PSG's initial offer for the Slovakian was worth €50m.

- Portugal midfielder Renato Sanches is eager to join PSG from Lille according to Le Parisien, with a €10m offer on the table. Sanches has one year remaining on his contract.

- Univision reports that LAFC are not pursuing Atletico Madrid forward Luis Suarez amid speculation linking the Uruguayan with the MLS club after they recently landed Gareth Bale and Giorgio Chiellini.

- Milan are looking into swooping to sign Juventus' Paulo Dybala who has been heavily linked with Inter, claims RadioRadio.

- Liverpool's Divock Origi is set to join Milan on a four-year deal pending a medical as widely reported by the Italian media.

- Argentinean outlet Relevo reports that Angel Di Maria is set to sign a deal with Juventus on Wednesday, having left PSG as a free agent.

Romelu Lukaku completing his return to Inter would make the Nerazzurri favourites to win Serie A next season, according to Milan legend Alessandro Costacurta.

Lukaku is reportedly nearing an Inter comeback less than a year after making a club-record £97.5million move to Chelsea, where he scored just eight Premier League goals as Thomas Tuchel's men finished third.

The Belgian had scored 30 goals and added 11 assists during his final season with Inter, helping the Nerazzurri end an 11-year wait for a league title as they finished 12 points clear of local rivals Milan.

While the Rossoneri fought back to end their own long Scudetto drought last month, Costacurta believes the return of Lukaku would shift the balance of power in Inter's favour.

"I think they also were [favourites] last year," he told TuttoMercato.

"Inter were the strongest last year and with Lukaku the gap with the others is getting wider."

 

Costacurta also expects Juventus to be back in the title mix after they finished fourth in consecutive Serie A seasons, but claims the return of Federico Chiesa, who sustained an anterior cruciate ligament injury in January, is more important to their prospects than the potential arrival of Paul Pogba.  

"A lot will depend on the recovery of Chiesa, one of the best players in Europe. If he recovers well, Juve will fight against Inter," the former defender said.

"This will be the blow, the one that most of all can shift the balance. More than Pogba."

Meanwhile, Milan are reportedly looking to bolster their own attack with moves for departing Liverpool forward Divock Origi and Real Madrid's Marco Asensio, and Costacurta, who won five European Cup/Champions League titles with the Rossoneri, believes both would be useful additions.

"I have never been in love with him [Origi], but he is a wonderful player," he said.

"Like [Olivier] Giroud, he will be able to help. They are not extraordinary players, but [you need] to have players like that, like Giroud last year." 

On Asensio, Costacurta added: "He is an excellent player, he has a lot of quality."

Costacurta's glittering playing career saw him establish a fearsome defensive partnership with Milan's current technical director Paolo Maldini, and although reports have suggested the Rossoneri legend could leave in the absence of a new contract offer, Costacurta remains confident his old friend will extend his stay.

"I can't imagine a Milan without Paolo Maldini," he said. "I don't think they [the club] are morons and so I imagine that as soon as they can, Maldini will sign. 

"I don't even ask myself the problem. A radical change of strategy would be harmful. 

"It seems to me that everything is going very well. The limited budget leads to a lot of ideas, I wouldn't worry much about it."

Liverpool have confirmed Divock Origi will leave Anfield when his contract expires as the striker reportedly closes in on a move to Milan.

Origi moved to Anfield from Lille in 2014 but was immediately loaned back to the Ligue 1 side.

That set the precedent for an eight-year stay with the Reds in which the Belgium international was used sparingly, but he scored some crucial goals for Jurgen Klopp's side.

"He [Origi] is a legend on and off the pitch. Fantastic footballer, a world-class striker and is our best finisher," Reds manager Klopp said of Origi after he scored in a Merseyside derby win over Everton in April. 

"Everyone would say the same. You see this in training. It is a really hard decision to make to leave him out. Everyone loves Divock here."

Origi scored 22 goals in 107 Premier League appearances for Liverpool, only starting 34 of those matches.

He developed a reputation of being a super-sub, popping up with late strikes against Everton and in the iconic 4-0 thrashing of Barcelona in a Champions League semi-final.

Origi also scored the game-clinching second in the 2019 Champions League final win over Tottenham, securing his legendary status among the Reds faithful.

The 27-year-old has reportedly agreed to join Serie A champions Milan when his Liverpool contract expires at the end of this month.

Liverpool striker Divock Origi said he always tried to put the team first as he bid an emotional farewell at Anfield on Sunday.

The Reds beat Wolves 3-1 on the final day of the Premier League season, though were denied the title after a Manchester City comeback victory against Aston Villa.

Origi could not be a part of the game after suffering a muscle injury, but was presented with a guard of honour from his team-mates as well as some parting gifts after the win.

The Belgian is out of contract at the end of the season, with reports suggesting he is set to move to Serie A champions Milan.

Speaking to Sky Sports as the players took their end of campaign lap of honour, Origi was full of praise for the club he has played for since 2015.

"Unbelievable years I've had here," he told Sky Sports. "To be able to soak this in with all the fans... I just feel amazing. This goes beyond words.

"It's an unbelievable club. It goes beyond something I could expect. When you experience it, that's when you know how big this club is, how unbelievable the people are, the atmospheres, the Champions League nights... the people, the staff, the players - it's been a joy."

Origi made 107 Premier League appearances for Liverpool, scoring 22 goals, though only 34 of those appearances were starts.

The 27-year-old developed a reputation as a super-sub, scoring some iconic late goals for the Reds against the likes of Everton, Barcelona and even earlier this season in the reverse fixture against Wolves. 

"I'm always trying to put the team first and I knew trying to be the best Divock I can be, trying to be the best player I can be and then trying to help the team as much as possible, and trust that the coach will make the right decisions [was me putting the team first]," he added.

"If it depends on me, I want to be on the pitch every single minute but even more than that, I want to win and we have an unbelievable group, we achieved so many great things.

"Hopefully one more important game where we can achieve a bit more, but yeah it's been an honour and a joy."

Origi did not rule himself out of being involved in Saturday's Champions League final against Real Madrid in Paris, but fittingly put the team first.

"We are assessing right now so don't want to say too much, but the focus is now on the team," he said.

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.

Divock Origi will leave Anfield a "Liverpool legend" with tributes from Jordan Henderson and Jurgen Klopp, who described the striker as "one of the most important players I ever had".

Despite being a fringe player for much of his time on Merseyside, Origi has become a Liverpool icon thanks to a series of vital goals.

Most notably, the Belgium international scored twice in an epic Champions League semi-final comeback against Barcelona, before making sure of the Reds' final triumph with another strike versus Tottenham.

Origi has also enjoyed a sensational record in derbies against Everton, scoring six times in the Premier League – twice as many as he has netted against any other team in the competition.

However, his contract is up at the end of the season, and while James Milner, in the same situation, could yet stay at Liverpool, Klopp confirmed the imminent departure of an Anfield favourite.

Asked if Origi and Milner could expect special receptions against Wolves in the final home game of the season, Klopp said: "We can only do that if we know it definitely."

But he added to his press officer: "I think that's only Div, right?"

Captain Henderson had suggested as much in his pre-match programme notes, published ahead of Klopp's news conference.

Pointing out Origi had scored the winner in the reverse fixture at Wolves, Henderson wrote: "It looks like today [Sunday] will be Divock's last at Anfield for Liverpool, so I hope he gets the kind of send-off he deserves.

"Actually I know that he will because he has been such a special player for us, but he is also an incredible person who has taken this city and its people to his heart. 

"His legacy will be his achievements for this club, but it will also be the good causes he has supported, like the local students he is helping to put through university.

"Today should be a celebration no matter what happens, and as club captain I will certainly be celebrating Divock and wishing him all the best for the future. The big fella deserves nothing less."

Klopp added: "I expect Divock to get a special reception or farewell or whatever. He is and will be for me forever a Liverpool legend, one of the most important players I ever had.

"That sounds completely strange [with] the amount of games he had, but it is and was a pure joy to work together with him. It's not over yet, just because it's the last Premier League game.

"He deserves all good thoughts we can generate somehow for his future. Wherever he will go, he will be a success 100 per cent.

"He is an outstanding player, outstanding boy, everybody in the team loves him. He's such a relaxed guy, a lovable guy

"It will be a harsh moment when he actually leaves. For us, it will not be now, but whenever he leaves, it will be harsh. Since I'm here, Div is here.

"I remember so many things about Div that are incredible. Important goals, injuries, bad injuries, all these kind of things, ups and downs, so he is a Liverpool legend, no doubt."

Klopp had been asked about the possibility of other exits, with Takumi Minamino among those on the fringes, and he replied: "I don't want to see anyone leave, but that's life, that's the situation.

"Nobody came to me and said, 'I want to go', no agent called me. We will see what happens. Honestly, it's not the time."

Indeed, Klopp said he has "no idea who wants to go" and urged focus instead on the final two matches of the season, which could yet add Premier League and Champions League titles to their EFL Cup and FA Cup wins.

Henderson said: "The final home game of the season is always a special occasion. It's something that the players, staff and our families all look forward to, particularly if it has been a decent campaign, because Anfield feels even more festive than usual. 

"It is also something that is especially true today as we head towards the last game of a season which will go down as one of the most incredible in the history of this great club.

"As things stand, it is not yet incredible in terms of trophies. Up to now we have won the two domestic cups and, while that is absolutely brilliant, we still want more, and we are also well aware that previous Liverpool teams have won more.

"But in terms of playing every possible game in every competition, fighting to the very end in all four, and creating stories and memories that will live with all of us forever, it could only be described as incredible."

Divock Origi kept up his run of scoring against Everton as his late goal helped Liverpool claim a 2-0 win in the Merseyside derby.

The Reds were made to work hard by struggling Everton, who went into Sunday's match in the relegation zone after Burnley had defeated Wolves earlier on.

Liverpool are now back within a point of their Premier League title rivals Manchester City, while third-placed Chelsea moved five points clear of fourth-placed Arsenal with a last-gasp win over West Ham.

Brighton and Hove Albion and Southampton played out a 2-2 draw in the day's other game. Here, using Opta data, Stats Perform checks the best facts from Sunday's action.

 

Chelsea 1-0 West Ham: Pulisic spares Jorginho's blushes

Chelsea turned in a below-par performance against West Ham, but got over the line thanks to Christian Pulisic's last-gasp winner.

The Blues had lost their previous two matches at Stamford Bridge and looked set to be on their way to a third home game without a win when Jorginho sent a poor penalty straight at Lukasz Fabianski.

Jorginho had converted each of his last 13 penalties for Chelsea, excluding shoot-outs, with this being his first failure to score from the spot for the Blues since Boxing Day 2020.

But Pulisic swept in from Marcos Alonso's cross to win it. The United States international has been directly involved in 10 goals in 32 appearances for Chelsea across all competitions this term (seven goals, three assists), matching his tally from last season when he made 43 appearances.

Burnley 1-0 Wolves: Clarets out of the bottom three

Burnley claimed a second win on the bounce to lift themselves above Everton and move out of the relegation zone.

They have now won three home Premier League games in a row for the first time since a run of five between December 2016 and January 2017, and that is the same number of victories as they managed across the 26 games beforehand.

Indeed, Burnley have picked up seven points in their three Premier League games under Mike Jackson (W2 D1), the same number of points as Sean Dyche picked up during his final eight league games at the club (W2 D1 L5).

Wolves, meanwhile, have now suffered more defeats in their last five away league games (four) than they had in their first 12 on the road this season (W7 D2 L3).

Matej Vydra grabbed Burnley's winner. Four of his eight top-flight goals for the Clarets have been ones to claim three points.

Brighton and Hove Albion 2-2 Southampton: Ward-Prowse closes on free-kick record

James Ward-Prowse scored both of Southampton's goals as they came from behind to rescue a point in the south coast derby against Southampton.

Despite scoring as many goals on Sunday as they did in their previous seven home Premier League matches, Brighton failed to win a game in which they led by at least two goals for just a third time in the competition (P23 W20 D2 L1), having won each of their previous 13 such matches.

But after an own goal put Brighton further ahead, Ward-Prowse's excellent free-kick halved the deficit. He has now scored 14 direct free-kick goals in the top flight, just four shy of David Beckham's record, while only the Manchester United great and Laurent Robert (both five) have netted more free-kicks in a single season.

Ward-Prowse doubled his tally and restored parity with another long-range effort, and 44 per cent of his league goals for the Saints have come from outside the box (17/39).

Liverpool 2-0 Everton: Origi strikes again to give Toffees the Blues

It took Liverpool until the 62nd minute to break the deadlock at Anfield, though they were arguably fortunate not to have conceded a penalty not long before.

Nevertheless, Liverpool's dominance finally told as Everton's back-to-the-wall display was broken – Andy Robertson heading in before Origi scored late on. The striker has now netted six times in nine league appearances against Everton, scoring once every 62 minutes on average.

Liverpool have lost just one of their last 23 Premier League games against Everton (W10 D12), completing the league double over their neighbours for the first time since 2016-17. They now have 79 points, 50 more than Everton, which is the joint-largest margin they have held in the competition (along with the 2019-20 season).

Everton will end the day in the relegation zone for the first time since December 2019 (also after a derby defeat at Anfield), while this is the furthest into a season, after 32 games or more, the Toffees have found themselves in the bottom three since 1998-99.

They have lost 11 of their last 12 Premier League away games (D1), including each of the last seven in a row. It is their longest run of consecutive away defeats since a run of eight between April and October 1994.

Origi has now scored 11 goals as a substitute in the Premier League, the outright most by a Liverpool player, overtaking Daniel Sturridge's 10. 

Liverpool recorded a possession figure of 82.7 per cent against Everton – only Man City (83 per cent v Swansea City in April 2018) have recorded a higher such figure in a Premier League game since Opta started collecting this data (2003-04). 

Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp was ecstatic with the efforts of Divock Origi in his side's 2-0 win against Everton on Sunday.

Origi was subbed on in the 60th minute with the game goalless before Liverpool broke the deadlock just two minutes later through an Andy Robertson header.

The Belgium striker capped off his performance by sealing victory from close range in the 85th minute.

Origi has scored six goals against Everton in all competitions for Liverpool, which is twice as many goals as he has scored against any other side for the Reds, who remain a point behind Premier League leaders Manchester City.

His finish also marked the striker's 11th goal as a substitute in the Premier League, the outright most by a Liverpool player, overtaking Daniel Sturridge's 10.

Speaking to Sky Sports after the victory, Klopp heaped praise on Origi.

"[Origi] is a world-class striker," he said. "He's our best finisher, definitely – he always was, and everybody [at Liverpool] would say the same. 

"You see him do these kinds of things in training, and then he's not in the squad because of the quality of other players. It's really hard. 

"We will never miss a player like him because if he leaves, he will explode wherever he goes… he is a legend and will stay a legend forever. 

"He doesn't always make the squad which is ridiculous, but he is there when we need him every time… everything that we did in the second half, without Divock, wouldn't have happened."

Klopp went on to highlight the depth of this Liverpool squad, with players that are unlucky to not be playing more minutes.

"The group lives because of the boys that don't always play – they are the strongest players ever," he added.

"[Alex] Oxlade-Chamberlain, [Harvey] Elliot, [Takumi] Minamino, even Rhys Williams. They are in great shape, but the way they behave is why we do these kinds of things."

Liverpool moved back to within a point of Premier League leaders Manchester City with a battling 2-0 win over Everton on Sunday thanks to second-half goals from Andy Robertson and Divock Origi.

The Reds were frustrated for the best part of an hour by Merseyside rivals Everton, who dropped into the relegation zone ahead of kick-off following Burnley's earlier win over Wolves.

Neither side registered an attempt on target in an at times feisty first half, but Robertson made the all-important breakthrough after 62 minutes with a header from close range.

Origi added a late second against his favourite opponents as Jurgen Klopp's side made certain of a 12th win in their past 13 top-flight outings to stay within touching distance of City with five games left to go.

The records and statistics are there to be broken, so we are told, and never was that more true than on Everton's most recent trip to fierce rivals Liverpool in February 2021.

An early Richarlison strike and Gylfi Sigurdsson's late sealer from the penalty spot earned Everton a 2-0 win, snapping the Toffees' 22-year wait for victory at Anfield.

That success, coming on the back of a 20-game winless run away to Liverpool in the Premier League, gave Everton bragging rights and moved them level on points with the Reds.

Fourteen months on from that game, though, and the fortunes of the rival clubs could not be much different.

While Liverpool are still on track for an unprecedented quadruple of Premier League, FA Cup, EFL Cup and Champions League, relegation is a real possibility for Everton.

The stakes could not be much higher in this latest encounter at Anfield, then, in a contest that will have huge permutations at both ends of the division.


Liverpool targeting rare derby double

That aforementioned defeat in this corresponding fixture last season was the only time Liverpool have lost to Everton in their past 22 Premier League encounters.

The Reds eased to a 4-1 win when the sides last met four months ago, but only once in the past 10 seasons – in 2016-17 – have they completed the league double in this fixture.

While Everton have struggled for victories against their neighbours, they have at least managed to claim plenty of draws down the years.

Indeed, no Premier League fixture has finished level more often than this one, with the sides playing out 24 draws in total.

Red cards and late drama

The Merseyside derby is also out in front in another couple of categories, namely the most red cards issued, proving this game lives up to its reputation as being a fierce contest.

Twenty-two red cards have been dished out in 59 previous Premier League encounters, which is five more than any other fixture.

Liverpool versus Everton has also witnessed the most 90th-minute winners in the competition's history, with five goals being scored in added time at the end of a game.

They don't like Sundays

On the form book alone, Everton do not stand a chance this weekend. 

The Toffees have lost 10 of their last 11 away league games, including each of the last six, which is their worst-such run since going eight without a point in 1994.

Unsurprisingly, then, Everton have won fewer away points than any Premier League side this term with just six, whereas Liverpool's 42 home points is more than anyone else.

Yet Sunday may just be the best time for Frank Lampard's men to face the team from across Stanley Park.

Having won 14 straight home Premier League matches on that day of the week, Liverpool have since won just two of their last seven Sunday fixtures, losing two of those.

Salah out to shine

Amid ongoing questions over his future, Mohamed Salah returned to form by scoring his first goals in seven matches for Liverpool in the midweek win over Manchester United.

Everton need no telling of Salah's eye for goal as the Egypt international was on target twice in December's reverse fixture, with Jordan Henderson and Diogo Jota also netting.

Salah is now out to become the first Liverpool player since Dick Forshaw in 1925-26 to score multiple goals in both league meetings with Everton in a single campaign.

All eyes may be on Salah, but back-up striker Divock Origi has also inflicted his fair share of pain on Everton.

Origi's five Premier League goals against Everton are the most he has managed against a single side, and three of those have proved to be the winning strike.

New investment at Milan could see the Italian powerhouse target the best players across Europe's top clubs.

Milan have entered into exclusive talks with Bahrain-based asset manager Investcorp over a takeover.

The Rossoneri have been linked with Real Madrid's Marco Asensio and Isco and Liverpool's Divock Origi already.

TOP STORY – STERLING ON MILAN WISH LIST

Milan are monitoring Manchester City forward Raheem Sterling, according to Gazzetta dello Sport.

The England international is among a list of players that Milan would like to sign amid a reported lucrative takeover by a Bahrain-based organisation.

Sterling's current contract with City expires in 2023, but the Daily Mail claims he would turn down the Italian move.

 

ROUND-UP

 Christian Eriksen is gaining interest from former employers Tottenham after a good run of form, although his agent is set to meet with Brentford at the end of this season to formalise his future, claims Fabrizio Romano.

– Chelsea coach Thomas Tuchel and goalkeeper Kepa Arrizabalaga will hold talks at the end of this season to discuss his future having struggled for opportunities, reports Football.London.

– Jose Mourinho's Roma will open talks with Nemanja Matic's representatives as the Serbian midfielder prepares to leave Manchester United, reports Nicolo Schira.

– Manchester Evening News claims Manchester United have revived their interest in Villarreal defender Pau Torres.

Paris Saint-Germain have reportedly opened talks with Tottenham head coach Antonio Conte, who has a clause to leave Spurs at the end of the season.

Conte's contract with the North London club runs until the end of the 2022-23 season, after replacing Nuno Espirito Santo in November last year.

However, while the specific terms of that contract are unclear, it reportedly allows for a departure pending certain circumstances. 

TOP STORY – PSG TARGET CONTE AS POCH REPLACEMENT

According to Calciomercato, Paris Saint-Germain are set to part ways with Mauricio Pochettino and are already in the process of looking for his replacement.

Their primary target appears to be Antonio Conte  - who is reportedly tempted by the contract - which is forcing Tottenham into action, to persuade him to see out his deal. 

The 52-year-old is not the only candidate according to the report, with Massimiliano Allegri and Zinedine Zidane also among the potential hires.

Tottenham accounted for Brighton and Hove Albion on Wednesday, but earlier last week, Conte said he would discuss his future with Spurs at the end of the season. 

ROUND-UP

- Per reports from Kicker, Robert Lewandowski is yet to extend his contract at Bayern Munich, despite Bayern sporting director Hasan Salihamidzic's public claims the club wants him to stay. With the Polish striker entering the final 18 months of his current deal, agent Pini Zahavi is looking to secure his future at Sabenerstrasse.

- According to Globo, Edinson Cavani's potential move to Botafogo has fallen through due to the Uruguayan striker's wage demands. Battling injury, Cavani's playing time at Manchester United has failed to see continuity under Ralf Rangnick.

- Nicolo Schira is reporting Milan are getting closer to signing Divock Origi from Liverpool, in order to bolster their stocks up front. Origi's representatives and Milan have met and are looking to progress discussions.

- The Mirror is reporting Lord Sebastian Coe is joining a consortium for the potential takeover of Chelsea, after Roman Abramovich's assets were frozen by the United Kingdom government.

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