EPL

Liverpool v Manchester City: Rodri returns, Bravo in for Ederson

By Sports Desk November 10, 2019

Rodri made a surprise return to the Manchester City starting line-up for Sunday's blockbuster Premier League clash against Liverpool, with Claudio Bravo replacing injured goalkeeper Ederson as expected for the champions.

Spain midfielder Rodri has not featured since suffering a hamstring injury during City's 5-1 Champions League win over Atalanta last month but makes an ahead-of-schedule return at Anfield, where leaders Liverpool are aiming to extend their six-point advantage over Pep Guardiola's side.

A fitness setback during this week's return versus Atalanta might have the greatest impact upon City's prospects, with Ederson's thigh problem heralding a first top-flight appearance since May 2018 for Chile international Bravo, who was sent off after being introduced as a substitute at San Siro on Wednesday.

Angelino is the other eyebrow-raising inclusion in the City XI, with fellow left-back Benjamin Mendy not in the matchday squad.

David Silva, who limped out of last weekend's 2-1 win over Southampton, makes the bench.

By contrast, Liverpool line up as expected – Dejan Lovren partnering Virgil van Dijk at centre-back in Joel Matip's continued absence, while Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain's impressive Champions League outings have not been enough to dislodged either of Jordan Henderson or Georginio Wijnaldum in central midfield.

Fernandinho lines up at centre-back once more for Manchester City and, along with John Stones, the captain must lead the defensive effort to contain Mohamed Salah, Roberto Firmino and Sadio Mane.

Raheem Sterling – against his former team – and Bernardo Silva will flank Sergio Aguero in the City attack, with the club's all-time record scorer still searching for a first Anfield goal.

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    Hungary head coach Marco Rossi believes Salzburg star Dominik Szoboszlai is the "ideal player" for Serie A side Napoli.

    Szoboszlai is a player in demand and tipped to leave Salzburg following his exploits for the Austrian champions – the Hungary international linked to Napoli, Milan, Inter, Lazio and Premier League outfit Arsenal.

    The 19-year-old midfielder has scored 12 goals across all competitions in 2019-20, supplying 10 league assists for Salzburg in Austria.

    Amid growing speculation, Hungary's Italian boss Rossi feels Szoboszlai would thrive with Gennaro Gattuso's Napoli.

    "He's a 19-year-old who made his debut for the national team at the age of 18. He's a very elegant and talented player, rich in technique," Rossi told CalcioNapoli24.

    "He plays between the lines and is good at assisting in the final third. He has great physicality and is tall but, despite its height, also has an excellent burst of pace.

    "If he decides to accept an offer from Serie A, it would complement his technical expertise with a couple of things where he still needs to improve, for example his defensive game.

    "Tactically speaking, Salzburg have played him high up on the left and he's posted good numbers there, but in possession he often plays between the lines to make room for the full-back.

    "In a 4-3-3, instead, he could be a box-to-box midfielder, capable of supporting the centre-forward.

    "Szoboszlai expresses himself best in a team who play positionally. In Italy, Napoli must play football and not counterattack because they're among the best teams in Italy, [even if] they might suffer in a couple of games every season.

    "Dominik would be the ideal player for [Napoli’s] style of play."

  • Mourinho revels in 200th Premier League win after Spurs beat Everton Mourinho revels in 200th Premier League win after Spurs beat Everton

    Jose Mourinho said not many managers have been fortunate to work for three of the biggest clubs in the world as the Tottenham head coach revelled in his 200th Premier League victory.

    Mourinho celebrated a milestone on Monday, recording his 200th Premier League win as a manager after Spurs edged Everton 1-0 in London.

    The Portuguese achieved the feat in 326 games in the English top flight, with only Manchester United legend Alex Ferguson (322) reaching that tally in fewer matches.

    Mourinho won 140 Premier League games across two spells at Chelsea – where he claimed three league titles – another 50 during his time at United and Monday marked his 10th with Spurs since replacing Mauricio Pochettino.

    "Not many managers work in three of the top football clubs in the country, and in the world," Mourinho told reporters post-match.

    "I was lucky enough to work for three of the biggest clubs in the country. When you are at one of these big clubs it's easier to have these results."

    Tottenham bounced back from their 3-1 loss to Sheffield United last time out, a 24th-minute Michael Keane own goal handing Mourinho's men a timely boost at Tottenham Hotspur Stadium.

    Spurs are eighth in the Premier League, nine points adrift of the top four and a point behind seventh-placed Arsenal with Sunday's London derby looming.

    "I think the game against Arsenal will always be important because it's Arsenal," Mourinho said when asked if Tottenham's passion had come at a good time following a clash between team-mates Hugo Lloris and Son Heung-min.

    "My mentality is only important if we win against Bournemouth [on Thursday]. To play against Arsenal, they're our big rivals and just because we want to win our matches against our rivals that doesn't make me very, very happy.

    "I want the game against Arsenal to be played as if we're playing to win something. We need to be win against Bournemouth and then we play against Arsenal. Then the game becomes big because it's Arsenal but it's big because we have then objectives on the table."

    Tottenham goalkeeper Lloris and star forward Son were involved in a flare-up at half-time as the players made their way off the pitch.

    The incident related to Son's failure to track back as Everton's Richarlison went close to scoring – Lloris playing down the clash post-match.

    Mourinho added: "When I was arriving [to the tunnel] I just saw the back of it. I was not in there. When I arrived in dressing room everything was over and they were hugging each other.

    "What happened was the last minute of the first half a Richardson shot was diagonal from right side, Hugo thought that in that minute of the game the attacking players should do a little bit more and he was arguing with Sonny and Sonny with him.

    "When I arrived at half-time I just wanted the players to understand that I was very happy with that. Very happy with that. When I told them that I think they realised that nothing wrong and let's move on."

  • Lloris explains bust-up with Spurs team-mate Son Lloris explains bust-up with Spurs team-mate Son

    Hugo Lloris insisted there was no problem between him and Son Heung-min after the Tottenham team-mates clashed during Monday's win over Everton.

    The duo were involved in a flare-up at half-time of Spurs' scrappy 1-0 triumph, which marked head coach Jose Mourinho's 200th Premier League victory.

    Captain Lloris admitted the incident, which happened as the players made their way off the pitch, related to Son's failure to track back as Richarlison went close to scoring for the Toffees.

    France goalkeeper Lloris suggested there was nothing serious to it, with the pair embracing at full-time.

    "It just belongs to the changing room – outside you can say whatever you want," he told Sky Sports.

    "What happened between me and Sonny is part of football sometimes. There's no problem. At the end of the game you could see we were more than happy.

    "[It was related to] a chance [for Richarlison] a few seconds before half-time. But it's part of football – we move on."

    Mourinho felt the incident, which he curiously described as "beautiful", was a manifestation of his desire to see his players be "more demanding of each other".

    "It's beautiful. It's probably as a consequence of our meetings," he said.

    "If you want to blame someone for that, it's me. I was critical of my boys – they were not critical enough with themselves. I asked them to be more demanding of each other.

    "Son is an amazing kid, everybody likes Son but the captain told him you have to do more and give more to the team.

    "It's something needed for the team to grow up – to grow up you need big personalities. When you have that reaction I had no doubts."

    Michael Keane's first-half own goal proved the difference as Spurs bounced back from their 3-1 defeat to Sheffield United last time out.

    The win leaves them seven points behind fifth-placed Manchester United and nine adrift of the top four in their pursuit of Champions League football and Mourinho knows his side must improve on Monday's display.

    "It was not an artistic performance," he said. "Hugo didn't have to make great saves. Richarlison and [Dominic] Calvert-Lewin are a couple of the best strikers in England and we controlled them very well.

    "We were speaking a lot about our attitude. The way we played against Sheffield United, someone in front who doesn't know we are fighting for a European place probably thinks we're a mid-table team.

    "Today we tried to score more goals and had couple of chances with Son that could have killed the game."

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