Misfiring Mane Headlines Bayern’s Woes Ahead Of Leverkusen Clash

mane-bayern
Munich’s Sadio Mane (l) in action against Augsburg’s Andre Hahn (r). Photo: Tom Weller/dpa

 

Bayern Munich’s history of success in German football can often see the term “crisis” thrown around the moment points are dropped, but with the team sitting fifth in the Bundesliga after seven games, there is little doubt all is not well.

Bayern host Bayer Leverkusen on Friday night winless since mid-August, an unfamiliar position for a club which is vying for 11 titles in a row.

Bayern’s struggles are mirrored by those of the misfiring Sadio Mane, with the summer arrival goalless in five matches after scoring five times in his opening six games.

Sporting Director Hasan Salihamidzic has backed the summer arrival to rekindle his early season form, saying the former Liverpool striker “needs a bit of time to get used to the Bundesliga”.

“I know what it’s like to arrive as a newcomer in a team, in another country, another city, a slightly different football culture,” Salihamidzic, who moved from his native Bosnia to play for Hamburg as a 15-year-old, told Germany’s Sportbild.

“Sadio is in this process, everything will soon be more familiar to him and we will soon see that on the pitch.”

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Bayern president Herbert Hainer promised on Wednesday “we’ll see a whole different team on Friday – and a winning team too”, saying his side “will step on the gas” against the visiting Leverkusen.

Munich’s opponents on Friday are also going through a rough patch, with the visitors having won just one from seven to start the season to sit in 15th alongside an early German Cup exit.

Munich manager Julian Nagelsmann hailed as a potential 10-year coach at the club even before winning the Bundesliga title last year, is going through the toughest time, overseeing Bayern’s longest winless run in more than two decades.

Never a good omen, Salihamidzic told the media on Wednesday that Nagelsmann “is under no internal pressure at all” at the club despite the team sitting five points behind leaders Union Berlin.

However, the looming presence of the suddenly jobless Thomas Tuchel – born just an hour away in the Bavarian town of Kulmbach – will give the trigger-happy Munich hierarchy plenty to think about.

One to watch: Urs Fischer (Union Berlin)

Typical of the Swiss coach’s understated nature, Fischer extended his contract with Union Berlin on Wednesday to limited fanfare.

Fischer, who extended for an undisclosed period alongside assistant coach Markus Hoffmann, took over Union in the summer of 2018, with the never-promoted club sitting in the middle of the second division.

Fischer, who won the Swiss league twice and the cup once with Basel, took Union to the first division in his first season in charge, before guiding them to 11th, seventh and fifth in subsequent top-flight seasons.

After seven matchdays, Union currently sit first in the Bundesliga table.

“What we have been able to experience together over the last few years is incredible,” said Fischer.

“I find it hard to put into words. As I have often said, I feel very much at home at Union.”

Union Berlin play away at Frankfurt on Saturday afternoon.

Key stats

Three in four – Bayern Munich have only won three points from their last four games – the first time that has happened in 21 years.

Zero – The amount of German titles won by Bayer Leverkusen in their history. They’ve been second on five occasions (1996–97, 1998–99, 1999–2000, 2001–02, 2010–11) and also lost the 2002 Champions League final to Real Madrid.

19 March, 2022 – The last time top-of-the-table Union Berlin lost a Bundesliga match, going down 4-0 away at Bayern Munich. They are the only unbeaten side in this year’s Bundesliga.

Bundesliga Fixtures (all times 1330 GMT unless stated)

Friday

Bayern Munich v Bayer Leverkusen (1830)

Saturday

Freiburg v Mainz, Cologne v Borussia Dortmund, Wolfsburg v Stuttgart, Eintracht Frankfurt v Union Berlin, RB Leipzig v Bochum, Werder Bremen v Borussia Mönchengladbach (1630)

Sunday

Hertha Berlin v Hoffenheim (1530), Schalke v Augsburg (1730)

AFP

Ruthless Napoli Blow Away Troubled Liverpool In Champions League

Napoli’s players celebrate after their third goal during the UEFA Champions League Group A first leg football match between SSC Napoli and Liverpool FC at the Diego Armando Maradona Stadium in Naples on September 7, 2022. (Photo by Alberto PIZZOLI / AFP)

 

 

Napoli returned to the Champions League in style with Wednesday’s stunning 4-1 win over Liverpool which continued the Reds’ troubled start to the season.

Liverpool were swept away by a whirlwind first-half performance at the Stadio Maradona from Napoli, who were deservedly three goals to the good at the break.

Piotr Zielinski got the ball rolling from the penalty spot in the fifth minute and two more beautifully worked strikes from Andre-Frank Zambo Anguissa and Giovanni Simeone on his Champions League debut left Jurgen Klopp’s side staring at a humiliating defeat.

Poland midfielder Zielinski then added the fourth almost immediately after the restart to ensure Napoli got off to a dream start to Group A.

Luciano Spalletti’s team, who are back in Europe’s top competition after a two-season absence, are second but level with Ajax who performed a demolition job of their own against Rangers.

Napoli built on a strong start to their domestic season which has them second after five games in Serie A and will be encouraged by strong performances from new arrivals, in particular firecracker winger Khvicha Kvaratskhelia.

Georgian Kvaratskhelia has already won over Napoli supporters with his exciting wing play and eye for goal, and although he was only on the field for less than an hour he did considerable damage.

Liverpool meanwhile are kept off the bottom by the Scots and now turn their attentions to trying to improve on seventh place in the Premier League.

READ ALSO: RB Leipzig Sack Coach Tedesco After Shakhtar Thrashing

Napoli Blow Away Reds

Backed by a typically raucous crowd, Napoli came haring out of the traps and could easily have been ahead with less than a minute on the clock.

The lively Victor Osimhen broke onto a long ball from Giovanni Di Lorenzo and nudged it past the onrushing Alisson Becker, but took the ball too wide and instead of trying to lay up his arriving teammates shot off the near post.

They were deservedly ahead shortly afterward when James Milner handled Zielinski’s low shot and allowed the Pole to rifle home the opener.

Napoli would have been further ahead had Osimhen taken a leaf out of Zielinski’s book in the 18th minute, but instead, he wasted his chance from the spot with a fancy run-up after an on-field review of Virgil van Dijk’s clumsy challenge on the Nigerian by referee Carlos del Cerro Grande resulted in another penalty.

However Liverpool were a shambles at the back, constantly caught napping on passes over the top and bewildered by Kvaratskhelia, whose 28th-minute shot was kicked off the line after Osimhen nicked the ball away from Joe Gomez.

And three minutes later Anguissa gave the hosts a lead which more reflected the run of play.

The Cameroon international played a simple one-two with Zielinski to find himself all alone with Alisson before rolling in the second, and from there Liverpool collapsed.

A dream opening half ended with Simeone in tears after making it three just seconds after replacing injured Osimhen, tapping in a simple finish after the irrepressible Kvaratskhelia caused more havoc on the left flank.

Simeone then turned provider for Zielinski to ensure it was a memorable night for the hosts a minute after the break, a first effort denied by Alisson before a follow-up finish was dinked over the Brazilian.

Luis Diaz pulled one back two minutes later but it was all the Reds could conjure up as Napoli shut up shop and saw out a memorable win.

AFP

Havertz Seals Controversial Chelsea Win, Pickford Denies Liverpool

Chelsea's German midfielder Kai Havertz (L) celebrates after scoring his team second goal during the English Premier League football match between Chelsea and West Ham United at Stamford Bridge in London on September 3, 2022. (Photo by Adrian DENNIS / AFP)
Chelsea’s German midfielder Kai Havertz (L) celebrates after scoring his team second goal during the English Premier League football match between Chelsea and West Ham United at Stamford Bridge in London on September 3, 2022. (Photo by Adrian DENNIS / AFP)

 

Kai Havertz scored the late winner as big-spending Chelsea fought back for a controversial 2-1 win against West Ham, while Liverpool boss Jurgen Klopp praised Everton keeper Jordan Pickford’s “spectacular” display in Saturday’s goalless Merseyside derby.

Having embarked on a £250 million ($280 million) spending spree in the summer transfer window, Chelsea are expected to deliver on their new owners’ eye-watering investment.

The early returns had been mixed as Chelsea crashed to defeats against Leeds and Southampton.

So when Michail Antonio gave West Ham a shock 62nd minute lead with a close-range finish, the critics were sharpening their knives at Stamford Bridge.

But Ben Chilwell equalised in the 76th minute, just three minutes after the England left-back replaced Marc Cucurella.

Chilwell headed Thiago Silva’s lofted ball past his marker, spun around and poked his shot through Lukasz Fabianski’s legs from a tight angle.

Kai Havertz cleverly finished off Chilwell’s cross to complete Chelsea’s escape in the 88th minute of a thrilling finale.

There was still more drama as Maxwel Cornet appeared to equalise in stoppage-time, only for the goal to be controversially disallowed by VAR for Jarrod Bowen’s foul on Mendy.

Thomas Tuchel’s side remain unconvincing but they are up to fifth place after their third win in six games, while West Ham boss David Moyes was livid with the officials for denying his team a point.

At Goodison Park, there was more VAR intrigue as Conor Coady thought he had put Everton ahead with a close-range finish from Neal Maupay’s shot in the second half.

But Coady’s goal was correctly disallowed for offside after a VAR check.

There could easily have been goals aplenty but for a man of the match display from Pickford and some fine stops from his Liverpool counterpart Alisson Becker.

“Wow, what can you do? It was a great derby, super intense, with a lot of really spectacular saves,” Klopp said.

“We hit the post three times and Pickford made so many saves. I don’t know how many derbies I’ve been in, but it’s quite a few and they’re always difficult here.”

Everton are now without a victory in their first six games this term, while Liverpool’s momentum was checked after winning their previous two matches.

Kane reaches milestone

Unbeaten Tottenham made it four wins from six games with a 2-1 victory against Fulham in north London.

Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg broke the deadlock for Tottenham in the 40th minute, sweeping home from Richarlison’s pass.

Harry Kane increased Tottenham’s lead in the 74th minute from Ryan Sessegnon’s cross to become the third highest goal-scorer in the Premier League history, with 188 goals taking him past Andy Cole.

Only Alan Shearer (260) and Wayne Rooney (208) are now above Kane in the scoring chart.

Kane’s goal also moved him level with Thierry Henry’s tally of 43 in Premier League London derbies.

Fulham’s Aleksandar Mitrovic curled home in the 82nd minute, but Tottenham held firm.

Managerless Bournemouth came back from two goals down to win 3-2 in a thriller at Nottingham Forest.

The Cherries, who lost 9-0 at Liverpool last weekend, looked on course for another thrashing as Forest led at the break through Cheikhou Kouyate’s header and Brennan Johnson’s penalty.

But Philip Billing’s long-range blast and Dominic Solanke’s acrobatic effort drew them level before Jaidon Anthony sealed the points in the 87th minute.

Ivan Toney scored a hat-trick as Brentford beat Leeds 5-2 at the Community Stadium.

Daniel Podence scored as Wolves beat Southampton 1-0 at Molineux for their first league victory this season.

Podence’s simple finish in first-half stoppage time lifted Bruno Lage’s side out of the relegation zone.

Newcastle striker Alexander Isak wasted the opportunity to mark his home debut with a goal as Crystal Palace drew 0-0 at St James’ Park.

The £60 million ($69 million) man, who scored in his first appearance at Liverpool in midweek, missed two good chances to leave Newcastle without a win since the opening day of the season.

AFP

Liverpool Eye Derby Delight, Arsenal Aim To Extend Perfect Start

Arsenal's Brazilian defender Gabriel Magalhaes (2R) celebrates scoring during the English Premier League football match between Arsenal and Fulham at the Emirates Stadium in London on August 27, 2022. (Photo by Glyn KIRK / AFP)
Arsenal’s Brazilian defender Gabriel Magalhaes (2R) celebrates scoring during the English Premier League football match between Arsenal and Fulham at the Emirates Stadium in London on August 27, 2022. (Photo by Glyn KIRK / AFP)

 

Bolstered by one of their “best nights”, Liverpool will look to pile fresh misery on Merseyside rivals Everton this weekend.

Surprise leaders Arsenal travel to Manchester United aiming to extend the only perfect record in the Premier League this season, while Thomas Tuchel searches for answers to Chelsea’s struggles.

Liverpool Revival Gathers Pace

What a difference a week has made for Liverpool as the angst sparked by their three-match winless run has been replaced by the more familiar sight of Jurgen Klopp punching the air in front of a jubilant Kop.

When a pair of lacklustre draws against Fulham and Crystal Palace were followed by a dismal defeat at Manchester United, Liverpool boss Klopp faced some difficult questions about his injury-hit side’s struggles.

But the critics have been silenced over the last seven days as Liverpool hammered Bournemouth 9-0 to equal the Premier League’s record win, then stole a 2-1 victory against Newcastle thanks to Fabio Carvalho’s opportunistic strike with virtually the last kick of the game.

Releasing the pent-up frustration of Liverpool’s shaky start, Klopp celebrated wildly on the pitch after Carvalho’s goal, to the delight of fans all around Anfield.

Now Klopp wants Liverpool to channel that emotion into another winning performance on Saturday at Goodison Park against an Everton side still waiting for their first league victory this season.

“It’s a massive boost from a frustrating night,” Klopp said. “One of the best nights we ever had, that’s how football is.

“But we have to make sure we use these two days really well. The last two games we got six points, but we have to improve.

“It will not be that Everton open up for us now. We know it will be tough so we have to be ready.”

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Arsenal Must Find Killer Instinct

Granit Xhaka has urged his Arsenal teammates to show the killer instinct required to maintain their blistering form.

Ahead of Sunday’s intriguing test at Manchester United, Mikel Arteta’s side sit two points clear at the top after five successive wins.

But their last two matches — a hard-fought 2-1 victory over Aston Villa on Wednesday and a gritty success by the same score against Fulham four days earlier — have left Xhaka concerned about Arsenal’s ability to turn territorial dominance into easy wins.

Swiss midfielder Xhaka is impressed by Arsenal’s spirit but wants them to show a ruthless edge to avoid the need for more late drama.

“We have to learn, you can’t always concede and come back like against Fulham or Villa, we have to try to finish and to kill the game before that,” Xhaka said.

‘No Excuses’ For Chelsea Slump

Thomas Tuchel insists there are no excuses for big-spending Chelsea’s troubled start to the season.

Tuchel’s men suffered their second defeat in five league games as they blew the lead in a 2-1 loss at Southampton on Tuesday.

Coming so soon after a wretched 3-0 reverse at Leeds, Tuchel felt compelled to question his players’ mental toughness following the Southampton debacle.

Chelsea are already eight points off the top and, aware his summer spending spree on new signings could have unsettled the squad, Tuchel called for renewed focus ahead of Sunday’s London derby against West Ham.

Asked if the change of ownership from Roman Abramovich to the Todd Boehly-led consortium could still be having a lingering effect, Tuchel said: “Yeah maybe, but we know the line is so thin between excuses and explanations.

“So I better not go down this road, because I don’t want to give anybody any chance, myself, players, staff, any room for excuses.

“We need to find solutions, I think what will help is the closing of the transfer window. Then we will know who has a full commitment and what role does everybody need to play.”

Fixtures

Saturday (1400 GMT unless stated)

Everton v Liverpool (1130), Brentford v Leeds, Newcastle v Crystal Palace, Nottingham Forest v Bournemouth, Tottenham v Fulham, Wolves v Southampton, Aston Villa v Manchester City (1630)

Sunday (1400 unless stated)

Brighton v Leicester, Chelsea v West Ham, Manchester United v Arsenal (1530)

AFP

EPL Roundup: Haaland Hits Man City Hat-Trick Against Crystal Palace

Manchester City's Norwegian striker Erling Haaland celebrates scoring his team's second goal during the English Premier League football match between Manchester City and Crystal Palace at the Etihad Stadium in Manchester, north west England, on August 27, 2022. (Photo by Nigel Roddis / AFP)
Manchester City’s Norwegian striker Erling Haaland celebrates scoring his team’s second goal during the English Premier League football match between Manchester City and Crystal Palace at the Etihad Stadium in Manchester, north west England, on August 27, 2022. (Photo by Nigel Roddis / AFP)

 

Liverpool equalled the Premier League’s record win with a 9-0 demolition of Bournemouth, while Erling Haaland’s hat-trick inspired Manchester City’s comeback 4-2 victory against Crystal Palace on Saturday.

On a remarkable day in the top-flight, 10-man Chelsea beat Leicester 2-1, while Manchester United’s revival continued with a 1-0 win at Southampton.

Liverpool stole the spotlight as they recovered from Monday’s lacklustre 2-1 loss at Manchester United in astonishing style.

After three games without a win, the Reds rebounded by equalling Manchester United’s 9-0 wins against Ipswich in 1995 and Southampton in 2021, as well as Leicester’s thrashing of Southampton in 2019.

It took just three minutes for Luis Diaz to strike at Anfield as the Colombia winger headed home Roberto Firmino’s cross.

Three minutes later, Liverpool moved further ahead as Harvey Elliott bagged his first Premier League goal with a  20-yard curler.

Trent Alexander-Arnold rifled into the top corner from 25 yards in the 28th minute.

After providing three assists, Firmino scored himself with close-range volley to put the result beyond doubt by the 31st minute.

Virgil Van Dijk headed in Andrew Robertson’s corner on the stroke of half-time as Liverpool scored five in the first half of a Premier League game for the first time.

Chris Mepham’s own goal from Alexander-Arnold’s 46th minute cross was followed by Firmino grabbing the seventh in the 62nd minute.

Fabio Carvalho’s first goal since his summer move from Fulham made it eight in the 80th minute.

Diaz notched the historic ninth from Kostas Tsimikas’ corner with five minutes left as Liverpool equalled their biggest ever top-flight margin of victory, set against Palace in 1989.

Champions Manchester City staged another impressive rally as they came from 2-0 down to beat Palace at the Etihad Stadium.

Palace went ahead in the fourth minute as Eberechi Eze’s free-kick deflected off John Stones into the net for an own goal.

City fell further behind in the 21st minute when Palace defender Joachim Andersen was left unmarked to head in Eze’s corner.

But the champions came from 3-1 down to draw at Newcastle last weekend and Bernardo Silva gave them hope of a repeat with a 53rd minute effort that deflected in off Jeffrey Schlupp.

City equalised in the 62nd minute when Phil Foden’s cross reached Haaland and the former Borussia Dortmund striker headed his first home goal since joining in the close-season.

In the 70th minute, Haaland got his fifth in four games, prodding home from Stones’ pass after a flowing move. The Norwegian sealed his hat-trick from Silva’s pass in the 81st minute.

Raheem Sterling scored his first goals for Chelsea in a dramatic win over Leicester.

Chelsea midfielder Conor Gallagher was sent off in the 28th minute for a needless foul on Harvey Barnes just moments after being booked.

Sterling struck in the 47th minute, the former Manchester City forward’s shot deflecting off Daniel Amartey into the net.

Sterling doubled his tally in the 63rd minute as he tapped in from Reece James’ cross before Barnes squeezed in a low shot three minutes later.

Erik ten Hag said Manchester United have learned from their dismal start to the season after Bruno Fernandes clinched a hard-fought win against Southampton.

‘More compact’

Ten Hag’s side sat bottom of the Premier League after losing their opening two games.

But United have recovered from that embarrassing start to secure successive league victories for the first time since February.

Fernandes netted in the 55th minute when he met Diogo Dalot’s cross with a volley from just inside the area.

“I think the players learnt some lessons from Brentford. We were more compact on the long balls. Of course we were really happy,” Ten Hag said.

Vitaly Janelt scored an 85th minute equaliser as Brentford drew 1-1 with Everton, who took the lead through Anthony Gordon’s 24th minute opener.

Brighton beat Leeds 1-0 with Pascal Gross’s 66th minute goal at the Amex Stadium.

Arsenal will go back to the top if they beat Fulham in Saturday’s late game.

Liverpool Crush Bournemouth 9-0 To Equal Biggest Premier League Win

Liverpool's English midfielder Harvey Elliott (R) celebrates after scoring their second goal during the English Premier League football match between Liverpool and Bournemouth at Anfield in Liverpool, north west England on August 27, 2022. (Photo by Oli SCARFF / AFP)
Liverpool’s English midfielder Harvey Elliott (R) celebrates after scoring their second goal during the English Premier League football match between Liverpool and Bournemouth at Anfield in Liverpool, north west England on August 27, 2022. (Photo by Oli SCARFF / AFP)

 

Liverpool equalled the Premier League’s record win with a 9-0 demolition of Bournemouth, while Erling Haaland’s hat-trick inspired Manchester City’s comeback 4-2 victory against Crystal Palace on Saturday.

On a remarkable day in the top-flight, 10-man Chelsea beat Leicester 2-1, while Manchester United’s revival continued with a 1-0 win at Southampton.

Liverpool stole the spotlight as they recovered from Monday’s lacklustre 2-1 loss at Manchester United in astonishing style.

After three games without a win, the Reds rebounded by equalling Manchester United’s 9-0 wins against Ipswich in 1995 and Southampton in 2021, as well as Leicester’s thrashing of Southampton in 2019.

It took just three minutes for Luis Diaz to strike at Anfield as the Colombia winger headed home Roberto Firmino’s cross.

Three minutes later, Liverpool moved further ahead as Harvey Elliott bagged his first Premier League goal with a  20-yard curler.

Trent Alexander-Arnold rifled into the top corner from 25 yards in the 28th minute.

After providing three assists, Firmino scored himself with close-range volley to put the result beyond doubt by the 31st minute.

Virgil Van Dijk headed in Andrew Robertson’s corner on the stroke of half-time as Liverpool scored five in the first half of a Premier League game for the first time.

Chris Mepham’s own goal from Alexander-Arnold’s 46th minute cross was followed by Firmino grabbing the seventh in the 62nd minute.

Fabio Carvalho’s first goal since his summer move from Fulham made it eight in the 80th minute.

Diaz notched the historic ninth from Kostas Tsimikas’ corner with five minutes left as Liverpool equalled their biggest ever top-flight margin of victory, set against Palace in 1989.

Champions Manchester City staged another impressive rally as they came from 2-0 down to beat Palace at the Etihad Stadium.

Palace went ahead in the fourth minute as Eberechi Eze’s free-kick deflected off John Stones into the net for an own goal.

City fell further behind in the 21st minute when Palace defender Joachim Andersen was left unmarked to head in Eze’s corner.

But the champions came from 3-1 down to draw at Newcastle last weekend and Bernardo Silva gave them hope of a repeat with a 53rd minute effort that deflected in off Jeffrey Schlupp.

City equalised in the 62nd minute when Phil Foden’s cross reached Haaland and the former Borussia Dortmund striker headed his first home goal since joining in the close-season.

In the 70th minute, Haaland got his fifth in four games, prodding home from Stones’ pass after a flowing move. The Norwegian sealed his hat-trick from Silva’s pass in the 81st minute.

Raheem Sterling scored his first goals for Chelsea in a dramatic win over Leicester.

Chelsea midfielder Conor Gallagher was sent off in the 28th minute for a needless foul on Harvey Barnes just moments after being booked.

Sterling struck in the 47th minute, the former Manchester City forward’s shot deflecting off Daniel Amartey into the net.

Sterling doubled his tally in the 63rd minute as he tapped in from Reece James’ cross before Barnes squeezed in a low shot three minutes later.

Erik ten Hag said Manchester United have learned from their dismal start to the season after Bruno Fernandes clinched a hard-fought win against Southampton.

‘More compact’

Ten Hag’s side sat bottom of the Premier League after losing their opening two games.

But United have recovered from that embarrassing start to secure successive league victories for the first time since February.

Fernandes netted in the 55th minute when he met Diogo Dalot’s cross with a volley from just inside the area.

“I think the players learnt some lessons from Brentford. We were more compact on the long balls. Of course we were really happy,” Ten Hag said.

Vitaly Janelt scored an 85th minute equaliser as Brentford drew 1-1 with Everton, who took the lead through Anthony Gordon’s 24th minute opener.

Brighton beat Leeds 1-0 with Pascal Gross’s 66th minute goal at the Amex Stadium.

Arsenal will go back to the top if they beat Fulham in Saturday’s late game.

AFP

EPL: Troubled Liverpool Look To End Dismal Start, Arsenal On The Up

Arsenal's Brazilian striker Gabriel Jesus (C) and Arsenal's Norwegian midfielder Martin Odegaard (3rd R) celebrate with teammates after winning at the end of the English Premier League football match between Bournemouth and Arsenal at the Vitality Stadium in Bournemouth, southern England on August 20, 2022. (Photo by Glyn KIRK / AFP)
In this file photo, Arsenal’s Brazilian striker Gabriel Jesus (C) and Arsenal’s Norwegian midfielder Martin Odegaard (3rd R) celebrate with teammates after winning at the end of the English Premier League football match between Bournemouth and Arsenal at the Vitality Stadium in Bournemouth, southern England on August 20, 2022. (Photo by Glyn KIRK / AFP)

 

Troubled Liverpool will be desperate to get their first win of the Premier League season when they face Bournemouth on Saturday.

As the Reds splutter, leaders Arsenal, who host Fulham this weekend, have emerged as the Premier League’s only team with a 100 percent winning record after three games.

READ ALSO[FULL LIST] Bayern To Play Barcelona In Champions League, Liverpool Face Ajax

Liverpool must stop the rot

Liverpool's Uruguayan striker Darwin Nunez reacts as he leaves the pitch after being sent off by the referee during the English Premier League football match between Liverpool and Crystal Palace at Anfield stadium, in Liverpool, north west England on August 15, 2022. (Photo by Paul ELLIS / AFP)
Liverpool’s Uruguayan striker Darwin Nunez reacts as he leaves the pitch after being sent off by the referee during the English Premier League football match between Liverpool and Crystal Palace at Anfield stadium, in Liverpool, north west England on August 15, 2022. (Photo by Paul ELLIS / AFP)

 

Just months after coming within two games of an unprecedented quadruple, Liverpool suddenly look vulnerable after making their worst start for 10 years.

Jurgen Klopp’s side were denied the Premier League title by Manchester City on the last day, then lost the Champions League final to Real Madrid, leaving them with the FA and League Cups as consolation prizes for their tilt at football immortality.

At present, Liverpool, beset by injuries, are suffering a heavy hangover from their nearly-historic season.

Unusually error-strewn draws against Fulham and Crystal Palace were followed by Monday’s shock 2-1 defeat at Manchester United, who ended their own spluttering start with a dynamic display that exposed the fault-lines in Klopp’s team.

The sight of James Milner giving Virgil van Dijk a tongue-lashing after Jadon Sancho scored United’s opener was a jarring insight into the stresses of Liverpool’s current predicament.

Toothless in attack without Sadio Mane, now at Bayern Munich, and the suspended Darwin Nunez, Liverpool were out-fought in midfield and creaky at the back.

Facing promoted Bournemouth at Anfield offers an opportunity for Liverpool to get back on track, one they must take to avoid falling even further behind in the nascent title race.

Arsenal urged to keep calm

Arsenal's Brazilian midfielder Gabriel Martinelli (centre right) celebrates with teammates after scoring the opening goal in the English Premier League football match between Crystal Palace and Arsenal at Selhurst Park in south London on August 5, 2022. (Photo by JUSTIN TALLIS / AFP)
Arsenal’s Brazilian midfielder Gabriel Martinelli (centre right) celebrates with teammates after scoring the opening goal in the English Premier League football match between Crystal Palace and Arsenal at Selhurst Park in south London on August 5, 2022. (Photo by JUSTIN TALLIS / AFP)

 

As optimism grows in north London, Oleksandr Zinchenko has warned Arsenal not to get carried away by their surprising surge into pole position.

Ukraine left-back Zinchenko knows exactly what it takes to thrive in the Premier League after his successful spell with champions Manchester City.

Having made the switch to Arsenal in the close-season, Zinchenko and fellow former City star Gabriel Jesus have made an immediate impact on Mikel Arteta’s side with their wealth of title-winning experience.

Arsenal have won their opening three matches for the first time in 18 years.

But after last weekend’s eye-catching 3-0 win at Bournemouth extended Arsenal’s perfect opening, Zinchenko was at pains to urge his team-mates to keep their feet on the ground.

“It’s just the beginning of the season. There’s a lot of games ahead of us, there’s a lot of things to improve,” Zinchenko said ahead of Fulham’s visit to the Emirates Stadium on Saturday.

“We need to analyse what we have done well, what we should improve, what we should change and we know the manager is going to tell us. We need to show our best performance every single week.”

Tuchel’s Chelsea feeling the strain
From touchline rows with rival managers to blaming buses for defeats, Thomas Tuchel has cut an agitated figure during Chelsea’s chaotic start to the season.

Frustrated by Chelsea’s failure to kill off Tottenham in a stormy draw, Tuchel earned a one-game ban after twice clashing with Antonio Conte.

A week later, Tuchel was hot under the collar again as the German made the bizarre claim that a travel snafu that forced his coaching staff to travel to Leeds by bus was partially to blame for a dismal 3-0 defeat.

With only one win from their first three games — and that a narrow 1-0 success at struggling Everton — Tuchel is showing signs of cracking under the strain.

He risked dressing room discontent with a critical assessment of his team’s defending and keeper Edouard Mendy’s costly blunder against Leeds.

In the circumstances, Leicester’s visit to Stamford Bridge on Saturday could be perfectly timed as the Foxes have endured an even worse start.

Brendan Rodgers’ winless team are second bottom, with Wesley Fofana left out amid Chelsea’s attempts to buy the centre-back and James Maddison linked with a move to Newcastle.

EPL Fixtures This Weekend

Saturday (1400 unless stated)

Southampton v Manchester United (1130), Brentford v Everton, Brighton v Leeds, Chelsea v Leicester, Liverpool v Bournemouth, Manchester City v Crystal Palace, Arsenal v Fulham (1630)

Sunday (1300 unless stated)

Aston Villa v West Ham, Wolves v Newcastle, Nottingham Forest v Tottenham (1530)

AFP

UK Police Appeal To Underworld After Girl, 9, Shot Dead

A member of the British Police scientific support unit walks outside a house in the Knotty Ash area in Liverpool on August 23, 2022 after a 9-year-old girl was shot dead overnight by a gunman. (Photo by Paul ELLIS / AFP)

 

 

Police in Liverpool, northwest England, on Wednesday urged criminals to give up a gunman after a nine-year-old girl was shot dead in the crossfire of a suspected gang war.

Olivia Pratt-Korbel was killed on Monday night when the shooter’s intended target, a 35-year-old man, burst into her house to try to escape his attacker.

Merseyside Police said the man was arrested for breaching the terms of his early release from prison.

The force said he was detained in hospital where he was being treated for gunshot wounds and would be questioned about the young girl’s murder.

He will then be returned to prison to serve the rest of his sentence.

Chief Constable Serena Kennedy called the killing “shocking” and appealed to the “criminal fraternity” for information about the gunman.

“This is not the time for anyone who knows who was responsible to stay silent,” added Detective Chief Superintendent Mark Kameen.

Locals in the Dovecot area of Liverpool have blamed rival gangs for the shooting.

Olivia’s death was the third fatal shooting in the nearby area in a week and follows growing concern about gun crime in the city.

It happened on the 15th anniversary of the death of an 11-year-old boy, who was shot dead on the way home from football practice in nearby Croxteth.

Gun crime in England and Wales fell by 14 percent in the year ending March 31, with 5,709 recorded offences. Of those, 35 were homicides, according to a parliamentary research paper published this month.

Concern is high about knife crime, particularly in London, where on August 16, an 87-year-old man was stabbed to death on his mobility scooter.

Detectives said Olivia was standing behind her mother who had opened the door of their home after hearing gunshots in the street outside.

Her mother, Cheryl, tried to close the door when the intended victim forced his way in pursued by his attacker, who then opened fire at the man.

Cheryl was hit in the wrist and Olivia in the chest. As the young girl lay dying, friends picked up the man and took him to hospital for treatment to gunshot wounds to his upper body.

Slow Start Gives Liverpool And Klopp Cause For Concern

Liverpool’s German manager Jurgen Klopp gestures on the touchline during the English Premier League football match between Manchester United and Liverpool at Old Trafford in Manchester, north west England, on August 22, 2022. (Photo by Paul ELLIS / AFP) 

 

 

Three months ago Liverpool stood on the brink of an unprecedented quadruple of trophies. Three games into the new season, they are yet to win a game.

A 2-1 defeat at Old Trafford on Monday saw Jurgen Klopp’s men leapfrogged in the fledgling English Premier League table by a Manchester United side that had spent the past week being ridiculed for losing 4-0 at Brentford.

Liverpool’s worst start for a decade leaves the Reds already trailing defending champions Manchester City by five points and early leaders Arsenal by seven.

“It’s not the nicest thing to look at, that’s clear,” said Klopp on his side slipping to 16th after three games.

Of even more concern for the German is that there does not appear a quick fix for the issues that have caused such a slow start.

An early season injury crisis meant Thiago Alcantara, Naby Keita, Ibrahima Konate, Joel Matip and Diogo Jota were among those unavailable for the trip to Old Trafford.

Darwin Nunez was also missing after Liverpool’s new 75 million euro (£64 million, $77 million) striker served the first of his three-game ban for the red card he received for headbutting Crystal Palace defender Joachim Andersen last week.

Nunez’s arrival from Benfica accounts for most of Liverpool’s spend in the transfer window and the decision not to refresh Klopp’s midfield options is a growing source of frustration among the Reds’ support.

Without Thiago and Keita, the 36-year-old James Milner and Harvey Elliott, 19, lined up either side of captain Jordan Henderson in midfield on Monday.

Klopp admitted before the game that it would be “cool” to have another midfield option.

– Alexander-Arnold targeted –
That is not the only area of concern for Klopp.

Trent Alexander-Arnold’s defensive positioning is being increasingly targeted by the opposition.

Following on from Real Madrid’s winner in last season’s Champions League final and Fulham’s joy on the opening weekend of the season, an attack down Liverpool’s right was the source for United’s first goal.

Virgil van Dijk has also looked far from the world’s best centre-back in recent weeks and was on the receiving end of a telling off from Milner for his role in giving Jadon Sancho the space to slot home the opening goal.

Up front, the loss of Sadio Mane to Bayern Munich is hitting hard with Roberto Firmino looking a spent force as he deputised for Nunez.

Slow starts are also a common theme in Liverpool’s recent struggles.

They have now conceded first in their last seven Premier League games stretching back to the end of last season.

“We’re giving every team a goal start, we can’t keep giving ourselves an uphill battle,” said Andy Robertson.

“In the warm-up it was the quietest I have heard this stadium and they wanted something to lift them and we gave them it.

“Two points from nine is not the start we wanted. We need to pick up our performances individually and collectively.

“It is easy to talk about it in the changing room but we have to go out and do it. We can’t keep conceding goals. They started better than us today. It needs to change.”

A first defeat in 31 games in domestic football stretching back to December is no time for panic.

But City and Liverpool have raised the bar in jousting for the title over the past five years with in excess of 90 points now normally needed to be crowned champions.

To reach those heights again, Klopp’s men have no time to waste in awakening from their early-season slumber.

Man United Beat Liverpool, Record First Win Of Season

Manchester United’s English striker Marcus Rashford (R) celebrates in front of supporters after scoring their second goal during the English Premier League football match between Manchester United and Liverpool at Old Trafford in Manchester, north west England, on August 22, 2022. (Photo by Paul ELLIS / AFP)

 

Erik ten Hag secured his first win as Manchester United manager as goals from Jadon Sancho and Marcus Rashford beat Liverpool 2-1 at Old Trafford on Monday.

United had started the weekend bottom of the Premier League, but moved above Liverpool on a massive night for their new Dutch manager.Liverpool’s expected title challenge is fading fast with Jurgen Klopp’s men yet to win three games into the new season. 

United fans began the evening by marching on Old Trafford in protest at the decade of decline overseen by the club’s owners, the Glazer family.

A social media movement encouraging supporters to boycott the game in the wake of an embarrassing 4-0 defeat at Brentford last weekend failed to materialise.

But even amid the jubilation of a first league win over Liverpool since 2018, chants of “we want Glazers out” persisted throughout the 90 minutes.

Ten Hag responded to the concession of four goals inside 35 minutes at Brentford by dropping Cristiano Ronaldo and captain Harry Maguire among four changes.

After becoming the first United manager in more than a century to lose his first two games, the former Ajax manager got the response he desired in an explosive opening half hour that rocked Liverpool back on their heels.

READ ALSOOdegaard Leads Arsenal To Top Of The Premier League

Anthony Elanga should have opened the scoring when he curled off the base of the post after two passes from Scott McTominay and Bruno Fernandes carved Liverpool wide open.

Defensive disorganisation has been a repeated failing of Liverpool’s winless start to the season and they failed to learn their lesson for the opening goal on 16 minutes.

A neat one-two between Elanga and Christian Eriksen opened up the Liverpool defence once more and when the ball was cut back to Sancho, he left James Milner on the floor before coolly slotting home.

Milner bounced back up to confront Virgil Van Dijk for his role in the goal as the Dutch defender sat off Sancho.

Alisson Becker was then forced to tip Eriksen’s dipping free-kick over before the visitors were able to restore some order in the closing stages of the first half.

United nearly gifted them an equaliser when Fernandes blasted Milner’s header towards his own goal and was fortunate to see the ball rebound back off Lisandro Martinez on the line.

Liverpool’s reluctance to refresh Klopp’s midfield options will face more scrutiny in the final days of the transfer window.

With Thiago Alcantara and Naby Keita out injured, the 36-year-old Milner showed his age and Klopp had precious few options to turn to on the bench with new 75 million euro (£64 million, $77 million) striker Darwin Nunez serving the first of a three-match ban for being sent off on his home debut.

Liverpool’s lack of energy in midfield was exposed for United’s second goal as Jordan Henderson’s poor touch presented possession to Anthony Martial and his perfect through ball set Rashford free to score his first goal since January.

Restoring Rashford’s confidence is one of the many tasks that still lie ahead for Ten Hag.

But the England attacker looked more like his old self and only a fine save from Alisson low to his left denied Rashford his second and United’s third.

United goalkeeper David de Gea’s error opened the floodgates at Brentford but the Spaniard also played his part in a night of redemption with a point-blank save from Luis Diaz.

Mohamed Salah’s header set up a grandstand finish 10 minutes from time, but United summoned a steel rarely seen in recent seasons to see out the closing stages and secure a much-needed boost for their new boss.

AFP

Nunez Sees Red But Liverpool Rally To Clinch Draw Against Palace

Liverpool's Uruguayan striker Darwin Nunez reacts as he leaves the pitch after being sent off by the referee during the English Premier League football match between Liverpool and Crystal Palace at Anfield stadium, in Liverpool, north west England on August 15, 2022. (Photo by Paul ELLIS / AFP)
Liverpool’s Uruguayan striker Darwin Nunez reacts as he leaves the pitch after being sent off by the referee during the English Premier League football match between Liverpool and Crystal Palace at Anfield stadium, in Liverpool, north west England on August 15, 2022. (Photo by Paul ELLIS / AFP)

 

Liverpool fought back with 10 men to prevent a first Premier League defeat in front of fans at Anfield since 2017 in a 1-1 draw on Monday as Darwin Nunez was sent off on his home debut.

Luis Diaz’s sensational strike salvaged a point for the Reds after Wilfried Zaha opened the scoring for Palace in the first half.

But just two games into the season, Liverpool trail leaders Manchester City by four points with their new 75 million euro (£63 million, $77 million) striker largely to blame.

Nunez had scored in his first two appearances against City in the Community Shield and in rescuing a point as a substitute in a 2-2 draw away at Fulham last weekend.

But the Uruguayan’s headbutt on Joachim Andersen just before the hour mark left his side with an uphill challenge in the match and increasing ground to make up already in the title race.

Jurgen Klopp’s men partly dug themselves out of a hole thanks to Diaz’s brilliant equaliser, but they could live to rue another costly draw come the end of the season.

Klopp had lambasted his side for a slow start that cost them two points at newly-promoted Fulham on the opening weekend of the season.

This time Liverpool came flying out the traps, but failed to turn their early dominance into goals.

James Milner, Nunez and Mohamed Salah were all guilty of failing to hit the target with big chances, while Harvey Elliott’s goalbound shot was blocked by Andersen.

Salah should then have done better when he headed Trent Alexander-Arnold’s pinpoint pass tamely into the arms of Vicente Guaita.

Palace had barely been in the opposition’s half for the first half-hour, Patrick Vieira’s gameplan to flood the midfield and play Zaha up front paying off for the opening goal.

Nat Phillips started at the heart of the Liverpool defence in the Premier League for the first time since the final game of the 2020/21 season due to injuries to Ibrahima Konate and Joel Matip.

His lack of pace up against Zaha was exposed as Eberechi Eze wriggled free from the Liverpool press to play the perfect ball in behind for the Ivorian to break the offside trap and curl beyond Alisson Becker into the far corner.

Liverpool should still have been level before half-time as Nunez mishit a glorious chance and the ball floated back off the post.

His nightmare home debut was complete on 57 minutes when he lashed out at Andersen with a headbutt that will also see him miss upcoming games against Manchester United, Bournemouth and Newcastle.

Despite their numerical disadvantage, Liverpool refused to let their proud home unbeaten record either side of the behind-closed-doors era of coronavirus restrictions go.

Diaz led the fightback with a terrific individual run and arrowed finish into the far corner to level on 61 minutes.

The red card did not deter Palace from their plan to sit deep and counter-attack, and it nearly worked.

Zaha should have restored the Eagles’ lead when he hit the post with the goal gaping form Cheick Doucoure’s cross.

Salah had one final chance to complete a remarkable comeback from the 10 men, but his effort from the edge of the area flew inches wide.

AFP

Nunez Saves Liverpool From Opening Day Defeat At Fulham

Liverpool's Uruguayan striker Darwin Nunez celebrates after scoring their first goal during the English Premier League football match between Fulham and Liverpool at Craven Cottage in London on August 6, 2022. (Photo by JUSTIN TALLIS / AFP)
Liverpool’s Uruguayan striker Darwin Nunez celebrates after scoring their first goal during the English Premier League football match between Fulham and Liverpool at Craven Cottage in London on August 6, 2022. (Photo by JUSTIN TALLIS / AFP)

 

Jurgen Klopp admitted Liverpool deserved no more than a 2-2 draw against newly-promoted Fulham in a pulsating start to their Premier League season on Saturday.

Aleksandar Mitrovic twice put the impressive hosts ahead, but Darwin Nunez came off the bench to make a huge impact on his Premier League debut.

The Uruguayan, who arrived at Anfield in a deal that could rise to 100 million euros ($102 million) from Benfica, flicked home to level at 1-1 and then teed up Mohamed Salah for an equaliser 10 minutes from time.

Liverpool’s season had got off to a flying start by getting the better of Manchester City to win the Community Shield in what was billed as an early showdown between the two title contenders.

READ ALSO: Arsenal See Off Palace In Strong Start To Premier League Season

However, the Reds were punished for a sluggish performance in the first hour in what could prove a costly concession of two points.

“The best thing about the game was the result,” said Klopp. “We got a point from a really bad game.

“The result was fine, I don’t think we deserved more than that. The performance can be massively improved.”

Mitrovic scored 43 goals in as many games last season as Fulham romped to the Championship title and gave Liverpool an early warning as he stabbed just wide inside the first minute.

Much to Klopp’s frustration on the touchline, the visitors did not wake from their slumber and were finally punished on 32 minutes when Mitrovic outmuscled Trent Alexander-Arnold at the back post to head in Kenny Tete’s cross.

“We have to respect Liverpool but of course do our job and trust ourselves,” said Fulham boss Marco Silva. “We did a great first half, almost perfect the way we controlled and blocked. Second half, we matched them.”

Liverpool flickered into life before the break as Luis Diaz smashed against the post from a narrow angle.

However, it was not until the introduction of the towering presence of Nunez that the Champions League finalists began to pose a persistent threat.

Nunez was at fault when Fulham were inches away from doubling their lead when he was caught in possession and the ball was fed to Neeskens Kebano, who drilled off the inside of the post.

At the other end, Liverpool’s new striker quickly made his presence felt as an audacious flick from Salah’s cross was saved by Marek Rodak.

Moments later a replica move did deliver Nunez’s first Premier League goal as he backheeled in from Salah’s low cross 26 minutes from time.

At that point there appeared only one winner, but Mitrovic showed a surprising fleetness of foot to turn Virgil van Dijk, who clipped the Serbian striker inside the box.

Mitrovic coolly slotted the resulting penalty low past Alisson Becker, but Fulham failed to hold out in the final 18 minutes for a famous win.

Another long ball into the box towards Nunez caused panic in the Fulham defence and the ball eventually fell kindly to Salah to score on the opening weekend of the Premier League for a sixth consecutive season.

Liverpool could even have snatched victory five minutes into stoppage time when Jordan Henderson’s long range strike came back off the crossbar.

But a point was the least Fulham deserved as they made a strong start in their bid to avoid relegation for a fourth consecutive season when in the top flight.

 

AFP