While speculation continues about the future of Borussia Dortmund’s Ousmane Dembele the French forward joined his team mates for the club’s official photograph for the upcoming season on Wednesday (August 9).
Following the world record transfer of Neymar to Paris St. Germain, Barcelona have been heavily linked with a move for the 20-year-old as a replacement for the Brazilian.
Some media outlets have spoken about an agreement between Dembele and the Catalan team although Dortmund have not confirmed this.
With rumours of a transfer fee of between 120 and 150 million euros, should the move take place it would make Dembele the second most expensive player in the world after Neymar.
Liverpool manager, Jurgen Klopp, has promised that Liverpool will give everything to lift the Europa League trophy.
This came after the Reds booked a place in the final with a 3-0 victory over Villarreal at Anfield.
A Bruno Soriano own goal in the seventh minute was followed by Daniel Sturridge and Adam Lallana strikes in the second half, which overturned a deficit from the first leg in Spain.
The Reds therefore progress to a meeting with Sevilla in Basel on May 18 – and deservedly so according to Klopp, who was delighted with his team’s display.
During his post-match press conference, Kloop was full of praises for his players admitting excitedly that their performance surpassed his expectations on the night.
“The problem is I’m not a native speaker so I don’t have the right words for this performance. It was nice to watch and nice to be part of it; the whole performance, not from the first, second (but) from 6.45pm when we drove through the road again. It’s nice.
“The first half-hour… what power! The will was obvious, I would say. Then for 15 minutes we lost a little bit of patience, that’s normal. We tried (to be) a little bit different and it made not too much sense. In the second half, (it was) back to the plan – still very emotional plus very smart, wonderful goals, well deserved.”
Kloop also had good words for striker Daniel Sturridge, who he admitted had a great game but mainly because he had a great team to play with, maintaining that the entire team was outstanding.
The 2016 Europa League final is Liverpool’s first European final since 2007 and Kloop considers this a great feat considering how the season has been for the club and particularly how difficult the Europa League started for them.
“When I came here, the tournament didn’t sound too nice for the people – three draws or something like that. It was a difficult group I thought and we came through with a nice game in Russia. That was good. We felt really comfortable in this tournament…
“I think, especially in 2016, the team has showed a lot of times what they are capable of and what they could be capable of in the future. That’s a really good sign. That’s more important for me as a manager.
“But then when you perform in the right moments like we did tonight, or against Dortmund or against United or Augsburg then you want to have more. That’s what we try now.
“Europe is big and a lot of teams want to go to finals, it’s not too easy. Now we are there. It’s a great opportunity and we will take it as an opportunity,” he said.
He admitted, however, that while outstanding performances are required, the club would also need some luck to win the title.
Liverpool have qualified for the Europa League semi-finals with a dramatic fight back to defeat Borussia Dortmund 4-3 at Anfield.
Goals from Origi, Coutinho, Sakho and Lovren helped Klopp triumph in the dying minutes of the game against his former club on Thursday night.
Two quick goals by Henrikh Mkhitaryan in the fifth minute and Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang in the ninth minute half had left Liverpool shocked and on the verge of exit without a fight.
Pressure mounted for the fans as the setback was followed by series of missed chances that left the Anfield faithful frustrated.
The second half started well for Liverpool and the early pressure paid off in the 48th minute through Origi but just when Liverpool thought they were launching a comeback, Marco Reus silenced the home fans with a lovely finish, which left Klopp visibly furious.
Two goals down and three away goals already for Dortmund with less than 30 minutes to play, Liverpool needed three goals without conceding any more goals to win on aggregate, having drawn the first leg 1-1 in Germany.
They made it 3-4 on aggregate in the 66th minute after James Milner played a one-two with Coutinho on the edge of the box, with the Brazilian star guiding home a great strike.
The Brazilian turned the provider of the equalizer in the 77th minutes as he whipped a corner in from the left-hand side with Sturridge managing to do enough to let the ball run past him at the near post!
Former PSG centre-back, Mamadou Sakho was quickest to react and turned home a close-range finish to make it 4-4 on aggregate.
Anfield went wild and they could only pray a complete miracle. One more goal and Liverpool would be in the semis. Both coaches made changes to make the best of the final minutes of the game.
There were four minutes of stoppage time and the pressure got to Schmelzer who picked up a yellow card for petulance, with Dortmund’s tempers flaring after a free-kick was awarded to Liverpool.
The Reds, however, maintained focus and the free-kick was taken short by Milner to Sturridge, with the latter then feeding the former to the right byline. He hung up a lovely cross, with Lovren rising highest at the back post to guide home a thumping header.
It was the 91st minutes and Liverpool had done the unthinkable; fighting back from being 1-3 down to defeat Dortmund 4-3 and qualifying for the semi-final 5-4 on aggregate.
This could go down as one of the greatest nights in Europa League history.
Liverpool coach, Jurgen Klopp, has expressed sympathy for embattled Chelsea boss, Jose Mourinho, after his side beat Chelsea 3-1 at Stamford Bridge.
Liverpool’s fans, celebrating a first league win for their manger, taunted Mourinho, chanting: “you are getting sacked in the morning”, while home fans looked stunned as they filed away into the streets of West London.
Meanwhile, Mourinho believed he would be given time to turn Chelsea’s miserable season around after their 6th defeat of the season.
He lauded his players’ resilient performance.
Chelsea have only 11 points from 11 games, leaving them in 15th position.
They have lost nine times, including their midweek defeat on penalties by Stoke City in the League Cup which they won last season.
However klopp said he had a similar situation with German club Dortmund last year, adding that he could understand how it feels to be in that position.
As the footballing world gears up for the biggest and last game of the season – the Champions League finals at Wembley, there are many things we can look forward to which will make the match as interesting and pulsating as it is billed to be.
The might of Bundesliga will be on full display and the stadium could be mistaken for one in Germany. Legions of German fans are expected to make the atmosphere quite electric and lively.
This week’s episode of Sport Palava takes a look at a few aspects of the match that will be in spotlight on the big day.
19 year old Mario Gotze dashed Arsene Wenger’s hope of getting him to wear the Gunners jersey even for at least a season as he decided to sign a contract extension of two years with his present club BVB until 2016.
On the club’s official website,the German said he is always comfortable in Dortmund being his hometown as he also wants to be amongst those who will complete development presently going on in the club since he is part of the players who started the recent resurgence.
Young Mario Gotze also attracted the likes of Real Madrid and Manchester United as he has been tagged a hot prospect for the future by analysts.
The 19 year old joined Dortmund at age 9 and got his first appearance with the senior squad of Dortmund at age 17 which also earned him a place for his international cap for his homecountry Germany with the senior side.
Arsenal and Dortmund met in the group stages of the UEFA Champions League at the begining of the season and the two legged match marked the start of Wenger’s interest in Mario Gotze even though the youngster had little impact but was seen as a future potential by Arsene wenger.
According to Arsene Wenger ‘Mario Gotze is a very talented player with a great attitude but he is a plyer of the future’.
Wenger has started hunting for Mario’s alike in the transfer market as his hopes of signing the German ended without a passmark.