Boris Becker fears Alexander Zverev's injury problems may impact his fellow German's chances of winning a first grand slam at the upcoming French Open.

Zverev reached the semi-finals at Roland Garros last year, but his chances of winning a maiden grand slam title were ended when an ankle injury forced him to retire from his last-four clash with eventual champion Rafael Nadal.

Zverev subsequently required surgery to repair damaged ligaments before a bone edema suffered in September further delayed his return to the court.

The German finally made his competitive comeback in December but struggled at the Australian Open the following month, crashing out in the second round to unheralded American Michael Mmoh.

With the 26-year-old heading to Roland Garros later this month looking to reach the semi-finals for the third straight year, Becker has serious doubts over his compatriot's chances of claiming victory.

Asked whether he felt Zverev could come out on top, Becker told Stats Perform: "I hope so. I hope so.

"At the moment he is in a bit of a crisis because he had a very severe injury last year in the semi-final against Nadal. 

"He literally broke his ankle. He was out for seven months and just came back this year. So he's still struggling.

"I think for the title, I don't think anybody German [will win] this year. I think it'll be a Spaniard, it'll be a Serbian, it'll be an Italian, somebody like that."

The French Open was the only grand slam singles title that evaded Becker during his hugely successful career, with the tennis great winning three Wimbledon titles, two Australian Open crowns and the 1989 US Open.

The former world number one believes the beauty of tennis lies in individuals coping with pressure, explaining there is no opportunity to exploit the talents of others to reach the pinnacle of the sport.

"Tennis is a very important sport," Becker said. "It's an individual sport. You can actually see it with one player, whether he's winning or losing.

"In a team, sometimes people can hide behind the likes of [Lionel] Messi or [Kylian] Mbappe. You're still a World Cup winner, even though you know it was either Mbappe or Messi, right?

"In tennis, it's not possible. You have to be the better player and that is why tennis is such a powerful sport, because you see who is better with your own eyes."

Lionel Messi has paid for Paris Saint-Germain's "obsession" with winning the Champions League, suggests Ander Herrera.

Messi moved to Parc des Princes in 2021 from Barcelona, and helped PSG to a Ligue 1 success in his first season.

PSG are on the brink of retaining their crown, though Messi's future at the club is far from certain.

Messi has been unable to drag PSG closer to their ultimate goal – winning the Champions League. Earlier in May, Messi was targeted by sections of the club's fanbase after he was suspended for taking an unauthorised trip to Saudi Arabia.

Herrera, who played with Messi last season, sees the PSG's dogmatic pursuit of European glory as the main issue. 

"I was admiring Leo before [I knew] him, and after knowing him, I admire him even more as footballer and as a person," he told Stats Perform.

"I understand that Paris is a place that [does] not have much patience. There is an obsession to win the Champions League that doesn't help.

"I think that [they are] the only team in the world that, if [they] do not win the Champions League, it is a failure. All the rest can [have] good seasons without winning [it].

"In Paris, this patience and calm does not exist. You perceive that there is an obsession to win the Champions League, and at the end, who pays for it?

"[It is] the best ones [in] the team. They are the ones that receive the [criticism]."

Herrera also weighed in on speculation over the future of his former Manchester United team-mate David De Gea, amid questions over the goalkeeper's place at Old Trafford.

De Gea has come in for criticism after several key errors this term, but yet also claimed the Golden Glove once again for his Premier League performances.

The Spaniard's contract runs out at the end of the season, but includes an option for a further year, and Herrera feels United would be foolish to not keep his compatriot on.

"Of course David should continue," he added. "He has the record [for most clean sheets] in the club's history.

"He has been, four or five years, the best [in] the Premier League. A couple of mistakes won't affect his performance and his wining mentality."

There is "no better pairing" than Marcelo Bielsa and Uruguay, so says Ander Herrera.

Former Argentina, Athletic Bilbao and Leeds United boss Bielsa agreed to become Uruguay coach earlier this week.

The enigmatic Argentine, who was interviewed by Everton but reportedly turned the Premier League club down in January, was sacked by Leeds last year.

Bielsa is still a legend in the eyes of many Leeds fans, but is now back in work on the international scene, having taken charge of Uruguay, whose former coach Diego Alonso resigned following a group-stage exit from the World Cup in Qatar.

Ex-Manchester United and Paris Saint-Germain midfielder Herrera, who is now back at Athletic Bilbao, came through under Bielsa during the latter's stint in the Basque country between 2011 and 2013.

And he thinks that the combination of Bielsa and Uruguay is perfect.

Herrera told Stats Perform: "He is a coach that will be capable of getting the best from the players and as we say in Spain, he strikes a chord on his speeches.

"He connects with this sentimental aspect that the Uruguayan footballer already has for his country and national team.

"I couldn't find a better pairing than Uruguay and Marcelo for this moment of the Uruguayan national team."

Herrera loved working under Bielsa, though knows not every player will feel the same.

"He has demonstrated that he is a great coach in clubs and national teams, but I think that is true that the intensity that Marcelo [Bielsa] has, not all the players in a club can absorb it, let's say," Herrera added.

"But in my case yes, I did it with pleasure, I live for football, but you have to understand and respect the ones that take this as a profession.

"So maybe for a national team he can be ideal."

Bielsa is famous for the level of detail he goes into, not only when assessing his opponents, but also his own players.

"He doesn't do anything for nothing as we say, so if Marcelo has chosen Uruguay's project he must have studied deeply," Herrera explained.

"I am convinced that he must have watched the under-15 and the under-16 teams, all the players who could be selected and might be of help for the coming qualifying process for the next World Cup and Copa America.

"I think that with the character of Uruguayan footballers, it is a job that will fit like a hand in a glove for him."

Herrera, who sees similarities between the Basque attitude and that of Uruguayans, also had words of advice for younger players set to be coached by Bielsa.

"I would advise them to have their ears very open, try to be like a sponge because they will remember this period the rest of their lives," he said.

"For football lovers, addicts, who understand this profession as a way of life, the experience [with Bielsa] will be useful for them for the rest of their career.

"No doubt that sometimes there will be tough days, there will be days when they will really end up feeling exhausted.

"He [Bielsa] will go into detail, I am sure of this. To each of the Uruguayan players that he will call up he must have seen them 100 times, I am more than convinced."

Rafael Nadal missing the French Open this year would be a huge disappointment, though Emmanuel Cruze would prefer to look on the bright side.

Cruze is the head of the Villa Primrose Club, the host of the Bordeaux Challenger event, which Nadal declined an invitation to as he continues his recovery from injury.

The 36-year-old has not played since going out in the second round of the Australian Open in January.

Nadal has since dropped to 14th in the ATP rankings, and it is not yet clear if he will be fit to feature at Roland Garros, where he won a record-extending 14th French Open title last year.

However, Cruze told Stats Perform that while it would be sad to see Nadal miss the season's second major, it might signal a changing of the guard in Paris.

"We would all be very disappointed for the tournament, but maybe it will be a new era that will open for all the players, and especially you are talking about Spanish players," said Cruze.

"We need to keep in mind that [Carlos] Alcaraz is really performing extremely well, and is still very young also.

"Is he the future Nadal? We don't know, but definitely if Nadal is not playing at the French Open, it will be much more open for all other players.

"[It will be exciting] for the tournament itself, because if he's there and in good shape, people will say 'Okay, Nadal will win another title, and it's going to be boring'.

"We are not sure that he will be able to play the French Open and then for the next generation it's really something that will be very important for them, to be able to play the French without the pressure of Nadal."

Cruze is unsure if Nadal would be among the favourites even if he mustered a comeback in time for the tournament, which begins on May 29.

"He is over 30 and it's always more and more difficult to come back after a major injury, we have seen with [Roger] Federer, he wants to try to come back and win Wimbledon for the last time and finally was unable to do so because when you are out for six months and you are over 30, I think it's really difficult," he said.

"But [Nadal] is such a character and such a fantastic player [that] you never know. You never know. I'm not a doctor, I'm in the wine business so nothing to do with that, even if wine sometimes helps!"

As for Nadal's legacy in France, Cruze believes there should be a permanent tribute to the 22-time grand slam champion at Roland Garros.

"I think as soon as Nadal retires, he almost deserves a statue, because he is a legend," Cruze added.

"How could you imagine winning 14 times at the French Open, which probably is one of the most difficult [surfaces] because you're playing on clay courts, you spend sometimes three or four hours on the court, which is not the same on grass or on hard courts, so I think for French tennis lovers, he will be a legend for years.

"He's a legend, but normally with a legend, it is because you stopped your career, but he is already a legend, even if he is still playing."

Looking to the future, Cruze sees Nadal's compatriot Alcaraz as a possible heir apparent.

"I've never seen him physically, only on TV and that's it, but he's a very young guy and is performing extremely well," Cruze said of the world number two.

"I don't know about on grass, but for hard courts, he seems to be fine, so if he's fine with a hard court, he would normally be a good player on grass, so yeah he could be the next legend, why not? But so far the real [legend] is still Rafael Nadal, up until he retires."

Carly Telford has backed her former England team-mate Chloe Kelly to be the Lionesses' crucial player at the upcoming Women's World Cup.

Manchester City attacker Kelly scored the winner as England beat Germany to win the Women's Euros in 2022.

The 25-year-old did not make a start for Sarina Wiegman's team in last year's tournament, with all six of her appearances coming from the bench.

But ex-England and Chelsea goalkeeper Telford reckons Kelly will be an even more pivotal figure at the World Cup, which will take place across July and August in Australia and New Zealand.

"For the Lionesses, she's going to be probably one of our most important players," Telford told Stats Perform. "With her fitness, with her assists, hopefully with lots of goals.

"She's just a really nice kid. And she's thriving in her role and I think she's probably going to be given a lot more responsibility because she's probably going to be a starter for England, which she should be in her form.

"She's ultra-competitive. So I like to think Sarina [will] give her a lot of responsibility at this World Cup because I think she'll be ready for it."

 

Kelly has scored five goals in the Women's Super League for City this season, while providing nine assists in the competition.

It has been a pleasure to watch for Telford, who explained that Kelly has become an even stronger player since sustaining a serious knee injury in 2021.

"She's probably been Manchester City's best player, most consistent player, the most important in terms of her roles in goals and assists," Telford added.

"If you come off the back of a huge injury like that, you're probably thinking 'Am I going to come back the player I was, am I even going to come back at all?'

"She's probably come back a better player than what she was, probably a more rounded person because she's gone through some heartache and had to probably have lots of self-reflective moments like, 'Are you doing the right things?' She's come off the back of that and she's flying."

Boris Becker believes Novak Djokovic can secure a record-breaking triumph at the French Open, where the tennis great hopes Rafael Nadal will return to action.

Djokovic moved level with Nadal for the most grand slam singles titles among male players after clinching his 22nd major with January's success at the Australian Open.

The Serbian will have his sights on a landmark 23rd major triumph at Roland Garros, where the tournament starts on May 28, and Becker sees no reason for Djokovic not to break the record in Paris.

Former world number one Becker, a six-time major winner, told Stats Perform: "Do I believe Novak can win 23? Absolutely, I can.

"But it's not easy. Competition doesn't sleep."

 

Djokovic has made light work of said competition in recent years, though a return for 14-time French Open winner Nadal would throw the upcoming major wide open.

However, the Spaniard has not featured since sustaining a hip injury at the Australian Open in January, most recently pulling out of the Italian Open as he had not fully recovered.

"The question is Nadal, can he come back? Can he play in the French Open? I personally hope so," Becker added.

"I think tennis needs Nadal. We need him. And so hopefully he comes back and plays as a 14-time winner of Roland Garros.

"But Novak is healthy, he's fit. He wants to play so he's one of the favourites."

Erling Haaland can be the "cutting edge" that helps Manchester City finally win the Champions League, so says Les Ferdinand.

Haaland has enjoyed a record-breaking first season at City, smashing past the Premier League single-season goals mark of 34, which had been shared by Andy Cole and Alan Shearer since the mid-1990s.

But it is in UEFA's flagship club competition where the striker has further underlined his superb form, with 12 goals so far en route to City's semi-final tie with Real Madrid.

Pep Guardiola's side have still not won the biggest prize in club football under his watch, but Ferdinand believes with Haaland spearheading their attack, now might finally be the time to end their wait.

"He comes alive in the Champions League," Ferdinand told Stats Perform. "I'm not saying he doesn't play well in the other games, but it's almost like he's desperate to win the Champions League.

"Manchester City are desperate to win that Champions League [title], and he looks like he could be the cutting edge they've needed for the last few years in that competition.

"All the best players in the world come calling when it's needed. They're able to produce. You talk about [Cristiano] Ronaldo or [Lionel] Messi, in the big games, they came to the fore.

"I think you've seen [that] with Haaland. There are a lot of centre-forwards out there who will score goals, [especially] when the team's up.

"But he scores that first, all-important goal as well. That's what is always majorly important for a team."

Despite his free-scoring form, Haaland faced accusations earlier in the season of weakening City, though Ferdinand scoffed at the suggestion.

"I know part of the reason for signing Haaland was to try and have a really good assault on the Champions League," he added.

"I think that's where they fell short in terms of a centre-forward.

"But for someone that is going to score over 50-odd goals or 60-odd goals in all competitions, it's hard to say that he's weakened Manchester City."

City face Madrid at Santiago Bernabeu on Tuesday, before welcoming Los Blancos to the Etihad Stadium for the second leg on May 17.

It is a repeat of last season's semi-final, in which City missed multiple chances to put the tie to bed before paying the price in a thrilling second leg.

Joel Embiid has been set the challenge of winning multiple MVP awards by his former high school coach.

Embiid was named the league's MVP for the first time on Tuesday, edging out competition from Nikola Jokic and Giannis Antetokounmpo.

The Philadelphia 76ers star returned from injury against the Boston Celtics on Wednesday, though could not inspire his team to victory in Game 2 of their playoff series, with the Sixers going down 121-87.

While there is plenty of time remaining for Embiid to take control of that series, Justin Harden – who coached the 29-year-old during his senior year at The Rock School in Florida – says the Philadelphia talisman must continue to improve if he is to be named MVP again.

"Well, in order to get a second MVP he is going to have to be better, right? Because that's just kind of how it goes, you have got to be better than what you were before," Harden told Stats Perform.

"And you know, Nikola Jokic can attest to that. And Giannis can attest to that. And certainly, LeBron [James] can attest to that."

Harden, though, has full faith in 76ers coach Doc Rivers' ability to develop Embiid even further.

He said: "I trust Doc Rivers and what he's done and been able to do.

"But I think he [Embiid] carries a heavy burden as it is. I don't want to add any more to it, but just stay healthy. When you have a bunch of guys flying around at your feet, it's hard to stay healthy, but I hope he does."

As for the legacy Embiid could leave, Harden hopes his former student aims for the stars.

"I think there's no question, he's a top 10 player right now," he said.

"Some would question if he's a top-five player, but if he continues to play as he's been playing, then you start to get mentioned along with the likes of Shaquille O'Neal, Hakeem Olajuwon. 

"They are the guys who won an MVP, who were centres who also led their teams to championships.

"I hope he's able to accomplish that, because every great player gets judged by their team's accomplishments, right? And whether they win a championship or not, that somehow knocks them down.

"I think that he's going to be considered one of the greatest and when you consider his footwork, his touch, his ability to shoot the mid-range and the three-pointers, really, you've only ever seen one guy in Hakeem Olajuwon like him.

"His idol is Hakeem Olajuwon, I'm sure it's just a great feeling to know that you're being compared to your idol. So that's pretty awesome for him."

The Sixers are aiming to win their first NBA title since 1983, but first they must get past the Celtics and advance to their first conference finals series since 2001.

Philadelphia hosts Game 3 of the series, which is tied at 1-1, on Friday.

Andrew Cole is thrilled to have seen Erling Haaland break the long-standing Premier League record he shared with Alan Shearer.

Haaland netted his 35th league goal of the season in Manchester City's 3-0 win over West Ham on Wednesday.

That saw the 22-year-old set the new record for goals in a single Premier League season, which was previously set by Cole, who was then at Newcastle United, in the 1993-94 campaign, and matched by Alan Shearer a year later – the duo both scored 34 times.

Cole, who spent time with both Manchester clubs in his career though is remembered best for his time at United, is not precious over his place in the record books being taken.

He told Stats Perform: "Records are there to be broken, it's that simple. When people have mentioned it to me it's not as if I'm going home and crying and saying, 'Oh no!' 

"It doesn't bother me in the slightest, I don't care - if someone deserved to break that record, go ahead, do it.

"I'm not going to sit here rocking myself to sleep. It doesn't bother me because I'm not so conceited.

"His first season at City has been absolutely phenomenal. It's ridiculous. I take my hat off to him and fair play to him."

Asked if he expected Haaland to hit the ground running in such fearsome fashion in his first season in England, Cole replied: "I'm not surprised, put it that way.

"If you look at what Man City have done throughout the years, they've been screaming out for someone who just wants to run into the box and score goals.

"Maybe the volume of goals he's scored, but it's not surprising in the slightest that he finds himself in the position that you find yourself. Because when you play for a team, like Man City that create so many chances, you just need the number nine to finish them off. That's exactly what we've got now.

"If you're playing a team that creates many chances for you, it's not hard. When I did it at Newcastle the team was built for me, being built for me to score goals."

Erling Haaland must consistently deliver over the coming years to be considered a Premier League great, so says Les Ferdinand.

Haaland scored City's second goal in a 3-0 win over West Ham on Wednesday, taking his total for the season to 51 across all competitions.

In the top flight alone, Haaland has now netted 35 times, seeing him break the Premier League record of 34, which had been held by Alan Shearer and Andrew Cole, albeit that duo hit those tallies over the course of a 42-game season.

According to Opta, Haaland's league goals have come from an xG of 26, showing the brilliance of his finishing. Essentially, he has scored nine more goals than would have been anticipated given the quality of chances he has been provided with and the position from which he has been shooting.

According to Ferdinand, the next challenge for Haaland will be replicating his extraordinary form in seasons to come.

"It's a bit early to say as these guys did it consistently over the years," Ferdinand told Stats Perform.

"Haaland has done it this season and he's been phenomenal this season, but he'll get judged over what he does over the next X amount of years.

"I think a lot of strikers will say, you can have an exceptional year but can you repeat it, can you repeat it and can you repeat it?

"It looks like he can but until he's done it, it's hard to put him in that category of those great strikers. Although he's having an absolutely phenomenal season this year."

Asked what makes Haaland so special, Ferdinand said: "His pace, his power, his ability to score off his left foot, right foot, and head.

"You know, I always used to say Harry Kane, and so sorry to keep going back to Harry Kane but he's current. I used to say he's the complete centre-forward and Haaland is fast becoming that."

And while Ferdinand is wary of labelling the Norwegian a Premier League great just yet, he sees no reason why the 22-year-old will not fulfil his potential.

"I think in the side that he's playing in, if you looked at him from his [Borussia] Dortmund days, do you think he's improved from there? I think he has," Ferdinand added.

"I think with the manager and the coaching staff that they've got at Man City and the players that he's playing with at the moment, you can't not improve. I think the better quality of the player you play with, the better you become.

"It'll certainly raise the bar for him. Because, as a centre-forward, once you've scored 20 goals the next season, you want to score 22, 24 or 25.

"You want to score as many as you can so [now] he's broken the record of 34 he'll be looking to beat the record that he sets. Then that's the benchmark for people to try and get to."

Indeed, Ferdinand does not feel Haaland will find matters more difficult next season.

"Looking at the way he plays, his attributes, and the team that he's playing for, no. I really don't," he said.

When it came to offering advice on how defenders might stop Haaland, Ferdinand only had one idea.

"Kick him early doors, that's what used to happen," he quipped. "I mean, you can't do that anymore.

"You’ve got to find a way, but like I said it's so difficult because you're playing against a City side where, okay Haaland is scoring all of these goals but there are goals throughout that team. So you say, 'Right let's go man-to-man on him.' Then you're leaving the door open for someone else to get in too, so he's going to be so, so hard to stop."

The next target in Haaland's sights is Ron Davies' 37-goal haul from the 1966-67 campaign.

Davies was the last player to net more than Haaland in a single season in the English top flight.

Harry Kane may struggle to resist the temptation to leave Tottenham in search of major honours at the end of the season, believes former Spurs striker Frederic Kanoute.

While Kane has hit 25 Premier League goals during another fine individual campaign, his quest to win a first major trophy never looked likely to end during a frustrating season for Spurs.

Tottenham sit nine points adrift of the top four after Sunday's dramatic 4-3 defeat at Liverpool, and chairman Daniel Levy has already sacked two head coaches in the form of Antonio Conte and his interim replacement Cristian Stellini.

With Kane about to enter the final 12 months of his contract, reports have suggested he could be targeted by Manchester United in the upcoming transfer window, while Paris Saint-Germain are also said to hold an interest in the 29-year-old.

Kane wanted to leave Tottenham for Manchester City in 2021, and Kanoute believes the England captain could be enticed by the prospect of an exit this time around.

Speaking to Stats Perform at LaLiga x Bloomsbury Football League event, Kanoute said: "I can't speak on his behalf but, obviously, the fans would be really, really disappointed if he leaves the club because he's been fantastic.

"At the same time, I think they understand as well that it could be a good opportunity, a huge opportunity for him to win trophies.

"I think he will be a little bit conflicted in the next choice he is going to have to make."

Tottenham are yet to name Conte's permanent successor, with Ryan Mason taking the reins as acting head coach following Stellini's exit.

With the likes of Julian Nagelsmann, Xabi Alonso and Vincent Kompany linked with the role, Kanoute has urged Spurs to look to the future with their next appointment.

"I wish all the best for Mason and I hope he's going to do a great job, but we all think it's going to be temporary," he said.

"Obviously the next appointment is going to be super important as I think it should be a long-term appointment, but as we know nowadays in football, there's not much patience. 

"I just hope the new coach will start with a few wins that will bring some positive momentum for the club.

"It's obvious that they're missing silverware and that's all the Tottenham fans are hoping that Tottenham can finally win a trophy, but I think there's a kind of unsettlement in the team. 

"If you want a trophy, you have to build it up, to have a certain stability with the coach, with the philosophy of what kind of football you want to deliver to the fans.

"I think they're still to reach that stability, so they can finally thrive in their football."

Joel Embiid's 2023 MVP win shows the influence the 1992 United States men's team had on growing basketball globally, believes former coach Justin Harden.

The Philadelphia 76ers man claimed the league's top individual honour after back-to-back finalist finishes behind Denver Nuggets center Nikola Jokic in 2020-21 and 2021-22.

Embiid, who hails from Cameroon, averaged 33.1 points, 10.2 rebounds and 4.2 assists over 66 games, becoming the third straight international player to win the award following Giannis Antetokounmpo and Jokic.

Harden, who coached Embiid during his senior year at The Rock School in Florida, feels his success underlines how the United States team that conquered the 1992 Olympic Games helped grow the sport globally.

Commonly referred to as the 'Dream Team', the squad was the first to feature professional NBA players, with a team including Michael Jordan, Magic Johnson and Larry Bird cruising to gold medal success in Barcelona.

"When you think about who's in the top ten players [in the NBA], a good host of them are international players," Harden told Stats Perform.

"From Nikola Jokic to Giannis [Antetokounmpo] to Luka Doncic, [and] then you've got a guy who is undoubtedly going to be the number one pick [in Victor] Wembanyama.

"I can imagine he's going to be great too. I think it just is a testament to the Dream Team and their influence on what they did for international basketball playing in Barcelona.

"There's great coaching all throughout the world. The United States is not necessarily the epicentre or the only option for great basketball to be played.

"It's awesome to see that these guys are going to be MVP. Luka could be the next MVP, and then you have four in a row that are international guys.

"I think it's really neat to see that our game has become such a global sport, because when Joel was here, we had 13 guys on our team, and seven of them were international players, five of them from the continent of Africa.

"We've always cherished what international players can bring to our programme."

Having known Embiid from such a young age, Harden is proud of both the player and the man Embiid has become, saying: "I'm super excited for him. I mean, this is like a breakthrough moment. 

"He's had a couple of runner-up finishes, and so it's good to see him be able to break through and have another great season, I think his third in a row.

"I think this was the best one because he withstood from being injured. I think the last two seasons were hampered by his injuries and so out of his control, but his play was certainly great.

"I'm super excited for him. He's a good guy. I knew him when he was a boy, a young boy becoming a man.

"Now he's a grown man. He's got a family. As much as I'm excited to see him win MVP, I'm also equally excited to see him as a father and as a husband."

Liverpool can challenge for Premier League titles again but only if they back Jurgen Klopp in the transfer market, says former Reds defender Kolo Toure.

Since arriving at Anfield in 2015, Klopp's Liverpool have been hugely competitive both domestically and in Europe, winning the Premier League and Champions League while finishing runners-up in those competitions a combined four times.

But this season has been a far cry from those past successes, with Liverpool fighting to finish in the European places rather than competing for the Premier League title and crashing out of the Champions League at the round-of-16 stage.

The Reds splashed out over £100million on forwards Darwin Nunez and Cody Gakpo this season, but Toure believes Klopp must be provided with further spending power to freshen up the squad and get Liverpool back in silverware contention.

Speaking to Stats Perform, Toure said: "They have to look for somebody who has legs again and refresh the team, refresh the squad a little bit, bring in players who have the right mentality.

"They can go again because they have a top manager with them having Jurgen [Klopp], and [they have to] keep him there and make sure they sign the right players for him, then they will bounce again and go and fight for the Premier League, definitely."

Gakpo and Nunez have combined for just 15 Premier League goals this term as Liverpool have failed to keep up with title challengers Manchester City and Arsenal.

Toure feels the pair must do more to fit into Klopp's style of play, saying: "It's been a tough campaign for Liverpool, definitely, but every team goes in a cycle. When you sign players, sometimes they fit, sometimes they don't fit because of whatever reason, you don't know.

"He's signed a few players right now, [Cody] Gakpo and the other striker, [Darwin] Nunez and it's up to them to make sure they can fit in the team. Jurgen is such an incredible manager, he knows how he wants his team to play. But, when you sign players you expect them to fit in your team.

"At the moment, those players have to show that, they have to show more for the team. They haven't done that this season so well. Gakpo needed time to adapt, but he is looking to have the right chemistry in the team, and bringing in new players to refresh the team, to make sure the team can go again. This season will be a transition for them, but next season they're going to be better, definitely."

Liverpool's failure to live up to their past glories under Klopp has seen his job questioned by some, with the German himself saying last month his previous successes were the only reason he had not been sacked.

But Toure, who played under Klopp for one season at Anfield, says the former Borussia Dortmund coach still has more to extract from these players.

"In his time it feels like he has squeezed the team, it feels like he has taken everything out of the team, and it feels like he can't do any more – he would say that," Toure added.

"At the moment, he knows he can still up that team, and that's what he's tried to do. He can help them.

"I think Jurgen is such an intelligent manager and if he feels he has squeezed the team to the maximum, he will just feel it and say definitely. For me, I still feel like this Liverpool team don't need a lot to come back to the top of the league there with the other [teams]."

Sevilla great Freddie Kanoute fancies his former side's chances for Europa League glory as they aim to atone for their "very bad" start to the season.

Kanoute remains Sevilla's highest-scoring non-Spanish player in history after netting 136 goals in 290 matches, lifting two UEFA Cups, a UEFA Super Cup and two Copa del Rey trophies during his time there.

The former striker has watched on as his old club struggled this term, dismissing coaches Julen Lopetegui – who is now at Wolves – in October and Jorge Sampaoli in March.

Sevilla have finally settled under the stewardship of Jose Luis Mendilibar, the LaLiga side reaching the Europa League semi-finals where they will face Juventus in a two-legged affair across this month.

Mendilibar's team also sit 11th in the Spanish top flight and Kanoute remains relieved to see an upturn in form for Sevilla, who overcame Manchester United in the Europa League quarter-final last month.

Kanoute, speaking to Stats Perform at LaLiga x Bloomsbury Football League event, said: "There are no other words, very bad at the beginning, they were struggling a lot, a couple of changes of coaches, which always unsettles the team.

"In the last few weeks, they've been improving, winning some important games and, at least they're not in the relegation battle anymore.

"I think they are ending the season quite well and it also reflects what they're doing in the Europa League, so hopefully they're going to have a great end of the season."

Kanoute played in the Premier League for West Ham and then Tottenham before his move in 2005 to Sevilla's Ramon Sanchez Pizjuan.

The former Mali international scored 43 goals in 144 Premier League appearances but Kanoute believes there is little difference between two of Europe's top divisions now.

"My record says that I've scored more goals in LaLiga, it's not necessarily harder in the Premier League," he added. "I think it depends on your style. It depends on the kind of football you're playing.

"It depends on your understanding of the game, but I would say there are fewer and fewer differences between the style because football now is so global and you have so much influence from foreign coaches even here in the Premier League.

"I would say personally, where I enjoyed my football the most was in La Liga because that's where I could win some silverware, but apart from that, it depends on each individual."

Sevilla great Freddie Kanoute fancies his former side's chances for Europa League glory to atone for their "very bad" start to the season.

Kanoute remains Sevilla's highest-scoring non-Spanish player in history after netting 136 goals in 290 matches, lifting two UEFA Cups, a UEFA Super Cup and two Copa del Rey trophies during his time there.

The former striker has watched on as his old club struggled this term, dismissing coaches Julen Lopetegui – who is now at Wolves – in October and Jorge Sampaoli in March.

Sevilla have finally settled under the stewardship of Jose Luis Mendilibar, the LaLiga side reaching the Europa League semi-finals where they will face Juventus in a two-legged affair across this month.

Mendilibar's team also sit 11th in the Spanish top flight and Kanoute remains relieved to see an upturn in form for Sevilla, who overcame Manchester United in the Europa League quarter-final last month.

Kanoute, speaking to Stats Perform at LaLiga x Bloomsbury Football League event, said: "There are no other words, very bad at the beginning, they were struggling a lot, a couple of changes of coaches, which always unsettles the team.

"In the last few weeks, they've been improving, winning some important games and, at least they're not in the relegation battle anymore.

"I think they are ending the season quite well and it also reflects what they're doing in the Europa League, so hopefully they're going to have a great end of the season."

Kanoute played in the Premier League for West Ham and then Tottenham before his move in 2005 to Sevilla's Ramon Sanchez Pizjuan.

The former Mali international scored 43 goals in 144 Premier League appearances but Kanoute believes there is little difference between two of Europe's top divisions now.

"My record says that I've scored more goals in LaLiga, it's not necessarily harder in the Premier League," he added. "I think it depends on your style. It depends on the kind of football you're playing.

"It depends on your understanding of the game, but I would say there are fewer and fewer differences between the style because football now is so global and you have so much influence from foreign coaches even here in the Premier League.

"I would say personally, where I enjoyed my football the most was in La Liga because that's where I could win some silverware, but apart from that, it depends on each individual."

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