EPL

Manchester United v Liverpool: The memorable Premier League meetings in their storied rivalry

By Sports Desk October 19, 2019

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  • Matic stunned at speed of Bruno Fernandes' adaptation with Man Utd Matic stunned at speed of Bruno Fernandes' adaptation with Man Utd

    Bruno Fernandes' start at Manchester United has shocked Nemanja Matic, who did not expect the Portugal international to adapt to life at Old Trafford so quickly.

    United are unbeaten in 18 games across all competitions having been boosted by the arrival of Fernandes from Sporting CP in January after a lengthy transfer saga.

    The midfielder has more than lived up to the hype, scoring seven goals and adding a further seven assists in just 11 Premier League outings.

    Fernandes was short of his brilliant best in Monday's dramatic 2-2 home draw with Southampton, but still laid on an assist for Anthony Martial.

    His immediate importance to United has been acknowledged by midfield colleague Matic, who knew United were getting a capable player from the Primeira Liga, but did not expect him to shine so quickly.

    "Obviously he is a player with a lot of quality," Matic said to Stats Perform News.

    "I have to say that he was the best player in Sporting Lisbon, one of the biggest Portuguese clubs. 

    "To play and be the best player of Sporting is not easy, because there is a lot of pressure on you, there is a big expectation from the supporters to play for that club.

    "I know because I played for Benfica, so the pressure is high and when you play on that level there then you are ready for the Premier League. 

    "I didn't expect him to adapt that quick, I knew that he will be good for us but he adapted from the first minute that he stepped on the pitch - he was great.

    "I like him because he wants to take responsibility, he always looks to receive the ball, he always finds good space to receive the ball and to hurt the opponent. It is always good to play with him." 

    Matic continued: "If we take risks from the back and lose the ball we are in trouble, for him and in his position he needs to take the risks because we bought him because of that.

    "He is doing well, he takes the risk and it is very important that when he takes the risk 50 per cent of the time he is successful.

    "He is a player with quality, and of course when he takes a risk I am not afraid that he is going to do bad, most of the time he is going to do it correctly."

    While Fernandes has impressed Matic, he stressed the whole team deserved credit for United's impressive revival under Ole Gunnnar Solskjaer this season.

    "If I mention him then I have to say the rest of the squad is also great," added Matic, who signed a new contract with United this month.

    "At the moment everyone is playing well, everyone is ready and the games we played these last few months is teamwork.

    "I think everyone on the pitch is doing great. Everyone on the pitch knows their job, so hopefully we can continue like that."

  • Liverpool couldn't have expected Salah, Mane and Firmino to be this good – Klopp Liverpool couldn't have expected Salah, Mane and Firmino to be this good – Klopp

    Jurgen Klopp saluted Mohamed Salah ahead of a Liverpool milestone, but acknowledged he did not expect the Egyptian and his fellow forwards to be as effective as they have become.

    Salah joined the Reds from Roma three years ago in a deal that reportedly cost an initial £34million.

    In 105 Premier League matches, Salah – who is generally deployed from the right – has scored 73 goals, including a record-setting 32 in 2017-18.

    The Egypt star has helped turned Liverpool into European and domestic champions, his understanding with Roberto Firmino and Sadio Mane in attack making them a deadly trio that has scored 250 times under Klopp.

    Speaking ahead of Wednesday's trip to Arsenal, in which Salah is expected to make his 150th appearance, Klopp said: "First and foremost, that means he played 50 games a year, each season, 50 games, and still counting. Unbelievable. That's a big number.

    "Obviously he was lucky and we were lucky that he could play all these games, because he was not injured, which is good.

    "I was very positive in the moment when it was clear that we signed him. I remember our talk, when we first met face to face, when we spoke.

    "'What's your favourite position?' 'It would be right wing, but Sadio Mane is playing there and he played a pretty good season.' 'Yes, he does, but he can play the other wing as well.'

    "That was pretty much the start. The idea was clear how we want to play with the boys up front, but it worked out in a manner which we couldn't have expected. They scored now 250 goals since they [joined the club], that's an incredible number.

    "It was a good day for Liverpool [when Salah signed] and a very good day as well for Mo because it fits really well and that's very important in life. You cannot change the world alone, but together, with the right people around you, you have a better chance to do it."

    Salah's future seems certain to lie at Anfield, and Dejan Lovren appears likely to stay put for the time being as well.

    The 31-year-old has been a fringe player this season, but Klopp insists he still appreciates what the Croatian offers.

    Although the German would not comment specifically on reports the Reds are to trigger a one-year extension option to keep Lovren until 2022, it seems a departure is unlikely.

    "Dejan played outstanding games for us, is a very important part of the squad, absolutely no problem," Klopp said.

    "It's always like this – we have four centre-halves and we play usually with two of them, but we needed all four always, so a very, very important role. He played the Champions League final for us, played a lot of big games, and was always a very reliable player.

    "Dejan was always either in the team or close to the team, or not available. There was nothing else, we never had problems. It's all good, but [I've] nothing to say about the contract situation because it's nothing to discuss in public. It's just how it is.

    "The situation is absolutely clear – Dejan is a player of Liverpool and we need him. In this moment again, with Joel [Matip] injured we have again only three centre-halves.

    "You need the quality we have on the centre-half position to be successful, and that's why there's nothing really to discuss."

  • 'Sometimes experience is overrated' - Lampard puts faith in Chelsea youngsters 'Sometimes experience is overrated' - Lampard puts faith in Chelsea youngsters

    Frank Lampard believes the "innocence" in his Chelsea ranks can drive the Blues to success - providing World Cup and Premier League winners also step up.

    Lampard's team are in a battle to qualify for next season's Champions League, as they, Manchester United and Leicester City go head to head for two places.

    Wolves have a distant chance of breaking into the top four too, but Lampard's team hold the upper hand of those chasing top-four positions.

    They welcome Norwich City to Stamford Bridge on Tuesday, and head coach Lampard feels young players will be key to his hopes of bringing silverware and success to Chelsea.

    He went so far as to claim experience is sometimes an "overrated" commodity in football.

    "They need to be helped by the players that have been there and done that and won World Cups or won Premier Leagues, like some of the players have in our squad," Lampard told Sky Sports News.

    "In certain times, experience is overrated, in my opinion. It's good to have it within the group but sometimes it doesn't necessarily mean that it's the answer and that gives you success."

    Lampard has had World Cup winners Pedro, N'Golo Kante and Olivier Giroud in his ranks this season, but also bright young talents such as Mason Mount, Christian Pulisic, Tammy Abraham and Fikayo Tomori, with new signings Hakim Ziyech and Timo Werner joining for the 2020-21 campaign.

    The Chelsea boss said: "Sometimes it's a bit of innocence, a bit of youthfulness and a bit of real desire without the feelings of past campaigns and successes and failures that can be something really positive within."

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