Dejan Lovren wants Jurgen Klopp's Liverpool to be held in similar regard to Pep Guardiola's Barcelona, convinced they can leave a legacy that marks them out as an all-time great team.

After narrowly missing out on the Premier League title last season, despite a remarkable haul of 97 points, Liverpool look destined to end their 30-year wait for the title this term.

The Reds are incredibly 22 points clear of defending champions Manchester City after 25 matches, with Klopp's side only failing to win once so far in the league.

Not only are they on course to be crowned champions, they are still in the hunt for the FA Cup and also the Champions League, a trophy they lifted in 2019.

Should they close out the season as emphatically as they have performed so far then records will tumble, but Lovren has warned their rivals that Liverpool will still be "greedy" for more in the future.

"I've been there from the beginning with Jurgen and it took quite a while, two or three years to build everything up," Lovren told Sky Sports.

"Let's say, we clicked this year - maybe even last year - but we missed out by one point.

"Now we understand each other, what we need, what we want. And I especially want that we are remembered maybe like the Barcelona team that won in four years [about] 20 trophies.

"Why should we not do that? I think we can do it and I want that we are remembered as one of the best teams that have played - not only for this year, but for many, many years.

"We are still hungry, still greedy and this is what makes us special to be honest.

"I think many other teams would go easy now with a 22-point lead, but we don't look at these 22 points. We are just focused game by game and this I think is the simplest way to be the best.

"It is a good experience also for the younger ones, to understand that even if you are on top you still need to work as hard as if you were in the middle of the table or in last position."

Liverpool return to Premier League action on Saturday when they travel to rock-bottom Norwich City.

Emmanuel Adebayor has reunited with former Manchester City team-mate Roque Santa Cruz at OIlimpia, and Yaya Toure is also being linked with a switch to South America.

The ex-Real Madrid, Arsenal and Tottenham attacker, 35, has joined the reigning Primera Division champions for the 2020 campaign, having played alongside Santa Cruz at the Etihad Stadium between 2009 and 2010.

Olimpia president Marco Trovato last Friday said he wanted 20,000 new members to sign up in order to announce the arrival of Adebayor on Monday, though the deadline was extended by 24 hours.

Shortly after revealing that 14,922 people had signed up with the club, Olimpia made the former Togo international's arrival official.

Toure could be the next big-name veteran to arrive in South America, with Rodrigo Codas, an agent who played a role in Adebayor's move to Olimpia, claiming the Ivorian's representative has asked him to help evaluate the market.

Toure, who arrived at City from Barcelona in 2010 and won three Premier League titles, spent 2019 playing in China's second tier with Qingdao Huanghai and is reportedly a target for Olimpia's rivals Libertad, though a switch to Brazil appears more likely.

"I want to be cautious about Yaya," Codas told Fox Sports Argentina. "He is a player that is willing to come to South America.

"He is very friendly with Adebayor, the same with Roque or Carlos Tevez in South America.

"I think that Yaya would be going, if all goes well, to Brazil. Because of the country and the finances, and because of the power of Brazilian football.

"The coronavirus scares many players who are in China and want to leave."

Chelsea have promoted highly rated midfielder Billy Gilmour to their first-team squad on a permanent basis.

Gilmour, 18, has made five appearances for Chelsea's senior side this term but been predominately used in the club's Under-23s.

However, the Scotland youth international has demonstrated such great promise to the coaching staff that they have decided his talents will be better served solely in the first-team squad.

Frank Lampard has been praised for his use of young players this term and Gilmour is regarded as one of Chelsea's brightest prospects.

Lampard made Gilmour aware of his decision during Chelsea's trip to Leicester City at the start of February.

"It's a massive moment for me and I'm really happy," Gilmour told Chelsea's official website.

"I went with the squad to Leicester and, even though I wasn't involved, the gaffer [Lampard] pulled me afterwards to tell me that after the winter break I'd be with the first-team permanently.

"It's a dream come true for me. It's the first big step I think, moving into the first-team dressing room at a club like Chelsea. It's massive for me.

"Knowing that the manager has such faith in you is massive, it gives me so much confidence when I step onto the field. It's really good knowing that he trusts in you and likes the way you play, and I think that's the same for everyone here.

"Age isn't really an issue here. The gaffer has shown that if you work hard and perform well, then you will get opportunities. Hopefully I can keep pushing on and work hard every day in training."

Chelsea are next in action at home to Manchester United on Monday.

Manchester City's Premier League clash with West Ham, which was postponed on Sunday, will now take place on February 19.

Safety fears amid the threat of Storm Ciara forced the game to be called off at the weekend around five hours prior to kick-off time at the Etihad Stadium.

Now the teams will try again next Wednesday, with the fixture to get underway at 19:30 GMT.

Both Manchester City and West Ham are enjoying a mid-season break, though the rearranged fixture will see them return to action earlier than initially planned.

After hosting the Hammers, City travel to Leicester City in league action on February 22, four days before the first leg of their last-16 Champions League tie with Real Madrid.

Odion Ighalo is "desperate" to make his Manchester United debut and will be included in the squad to face Chelsea.

United boss Ole Gunnar Solskjaer confirmed the former Watford striker would be in the frame to feature in next Monday's Premier League clash at Stamford Bridge.

The Shanghai Shenhua loanee was a surprise deadline-day addition at Old Trafford, with Solskjaer's attacking options depleted in the absence of the injured Marcus Rashford.

"He [Ighalo] is going to travel with us [to Chelsea]," Solskjaer told the club's official website on Tuesday.

"We will just see his fitness work this week and I think we will get him sharp.

"We want to integrate him as quickly as we can because, of course, he is desperate to play for us."

Solskjaer was speaking from Spain during United's mid-season break, with Ighalo having been left back in England for "reasons out of the club's control", with the coronavirus thought to be a factor after the striker arrived from China.

Another new signing finding his feet at United is Bruno Fernandes, who made his debut in the 0-0 draw against Wolves at the start of this month, and Solskjaer is excited to see what the Portugal midfielder will bring.

"He is a very, very good footballer and his brain is obviously quicker than many others," said the Norwegian.

"He has got loads of attributes that we are going to get used to. We will get used to him and he will get used to us.

"His passing range, his deliveries, his movements – I am just pleased to see him here enjoying himself."

Juventus are reportedly lining up an incredible move for Manchester City manager Pep Guardiola.

Guardiola has been in charge of City since 2016 and is contracted to remain at the helm of the Premier League champions until the end of next season.

However, Juve seemingly have other ideas.

 

TOP STORY – JUVENTUS PLAN TO MAKE MOVE FOR GUARDIOLA

Juventus will give Guardiola whatever it takes to join them ahead of the 2020-21 campaign, according to The Sun.

The Serie A giants were linked with a stunning move for the Spaniard last year, but did not get their man.

Guardiola apparently intends to honour his contract at City, but Juve are prepared to give him whatever he wants.

ROUND-UP

- Philippe Coutinho has no plans to return to Barcelona and wants to make his move to Bayern Munich permanent, according to Catalunya Radio. The Bundesliga club hold an option to buy the attacker, but are reportedly yet to make a decision over whether they will make the move permanent.

- Barcelona are not yet giving up on signing Willian Jose from Real Sociedad. Marca reports the LaLiga giants are still considering the attacker amid a negotiable price despite Willian Jose's buyout clause being set at €70million.

- Jose Mourinho is planning for next season at Tottenham. The Daily Express reports the Spurs head coach is looking to spend £120m on defenders ahead of 2020-21, with Benfica's Ruben Dias and Bournemouth's Nathan Ake leading the list of targets.

- Liverpool tried to sign Villarreal attacker Samuel Chukwueze during January, according to France Football, which reports the European champions offered £29.6m (€35m) for the Nigeria international. Staying at Anfield and the Daily Express says Liverpool are set to offer 18-year-old full-back Neco Williams a new contract.

- Amid surprise reports Barcelona tried to bring Andres Iniesta back to Camp Nou in January, Marca says the LaLiga club's sporting management never considered a return to the club for the Vissel Kobe midfielder.

- Inter are set to decide in the next 48 hours whether to sign goalkeeper Emiliano Viviano after the 34-year-old completed medicals at the Serie A high-flyers, according to CalcioMercato. Inter goalkeeper Samir Handanovic suffered a finger injury last week.

Bruno Fernandes has settled so well at Manchester United it is like he has been around for two years, according to team-mate Diogo Dalot.

Fernandes made his debut for United in a 0-0 draw with Wolves on February 1, having joined the Premier League club from Sporting CP in January.

Dalot said his Portuguese compatriot had settled well at United, who are in Spain during their mid-season break.

"Perfectly. I mean, it is like he has been here for two years already," the full-back told the club's website.

"He is getting on very well with the lads, it is very good to have him here, it is very good for me, very good for the team, he is a fantastic player and a fantastic person.

"So, it is one more to help the team."

United have endured a tough season and are eighth in the Premier League table, but remain alive in the FA Cup and Europa League.

Dalot hopes United – who visit Chelsea on February 17 – can push for a top-four finish and win silverware this season.

"That is why we are here. Man United always fights for trophies and to win games," he said.

"Those competitions, we want to win them with everything we have and the fight for the top four in the Premier League, because that is what we want as players.

"I think we have everything to do that."

Ed Woodward believes the next transfer window will be an "important opportunity" for Manchester United as he accepts the club are "not yet where we want to be".

United have undergone an extensive resetting of the playing squad and transfer strategy under Ole Gunnar Solskjaer, who admitted this month he had to "tear the house down" after inheriting a disjointed and unhappy dressing room.

Solskjaer has focused on encouraging more opportunities for United academy players while prioritising the signings of younger, hungrier talent, as highlighted by last year's arrivals of Daniel James, Aaron Wan-Bissaka and Harry Maguire, now club captain.

United also spent an initial fee of roughly £47million to sign Bruno Fernandes in January, and brought in Odion Ighalo on loan, to strengthen the squad ahead of the final months of the season.

However, United and Woodward have still come in for heavy criticism, with Solskjaer's side underwhelming on the pitch and facing a battle to qualify for the Champions League.

The Red Devils are eighth in the Premier League and could be nine points off the top four if they lose to Chelsea on February 17.

Woodward insists they can still have a positive season, though, as he looks ahead to a potentially vital next stage of their rebuild.

The United executive vice-chairman told a fans forum: "The signing this week of Bruno Fernandes and return of key players from injury will be a boost to Ole and the squad as we head into the second half of the season. We remain in contention in the Europa League and the FA Cup, as well as for Champions League qualification, so there is still lots to play for.

"However, as a club and a board, we do recognise that we are not yet where we want to be. It is the overwhelming priority of everyone at the club to get us back to regularly challenging for Premier League and Champions League titles. Although progress may not always be smooth, everyone across the club is focused and committed on playing their part in helping achieve those aims.

"Significant work has already been done – and investments made – to strengthen the academy and we're pleased with the progress being made behind the scenes to ensure we have the right players, the right infrastructure, and the right culture to sustain long-term success.

"Similarly, there has been extensive work on our recruitment process, with considerable investment in scouting, data and analytics. The recruitment department is working to a clear plan and philosophy, along with Ole and his coaching staff. Our focus is on bringing in a combination of experience and the best young players with potential to develop further, fusing graduates from our academy with high-quality acquisitions.

"Our recruitment process focuses on analysis and selection of players over the course of a season, with a view to the following summer transfer window. As part of the rebuild, we see this coming summer as an important opportunity."

Woodward appeared keen to point out that Solskjaer has been backed substantially in the transfer market, despite some suggestions the United board have not made enough funds available.

"We had consistently taken the view that – because January is not an optimal time in terms of availability of players – we would only buy in January if players we had already targeted for the summer became available and we were pleased that this strategy played out with the signing of Bruno Fernandes this week," Woodward said.

"Bruno Fernandes and the players we brought last summer are evidence that our process is the right one. There has been no shortage of investment in players over the past few years, with over £200million spent since Ole became manager; our aim is to ensure that we continue to achieve consistency in quality of recruitment.

"Off the pitch, it is important to note that the commercial elements of the club are geared to ensuring we have a self-sustaining model, which supports investment in the playing side.

"Meanwhile we continuously look for ways to improve the experience of fans - from the £11million investment to transform facilities for disabled supporters at Old Trafford, improvements in security, engagement with fan groups around stadium atmosphere or a potential rail seating trial, to ongoing reviews of match-day catering and beverage provision."

Unai Emery felt Arsenal were "on a downward slope for two years" prior to his arrival and slammed the attitude of star men during his time with the Gunners.

Emery was sacked last November after just 18 months in charge at the Emirates Stadium following the London club's worst winless run since 1992.

The former Paris Saint-Germain boss insisted he stopped the rot after replacing Arsene Wenger, but believed the attitude of some key men left a lot to be desired.

Emery felt he would have made Arsenal a force if he was given more time in the role. 

"Arsenal was a club on a downward slope for two years when I arrived," the Spaniard told France Football.

"We stopped that slide and even started to straighten the club out with a Europa League final and fifth place in the league, only one place behind Tottenham, even though we only took one point in the last five games.

"We had Champions League qualification in our hands and it went wrong at the end. But it was a good season and we had the idea to continue this progress.

"But we lost our four captains: [Laurent] Koscielny, [Petr] Cech, [Aaron] Ramsey and [Nacho] Monreal.

"We were missing personalities for this season to stay on track, and some stars did not have the right attitude and asked for more than they gave.

"Considering all that, it would have taken more time to transition successfully into the new Arsenal that I wanted."

Arsenal are unbeaten in seven matches under Emery's replacement Mikel Arteta, though four of those contests have been drawn.

Daniel James is seeing early signs of what he hopes can be a special on-pitch connection with new Manchester United addition Bruno Fernandes.

Fernandes arrived at Old Trafford towards the end of the January transfer window after a protracted saga with Sporting CP culminated in a deal worth up to €80million.

The midfielder won praise for a largely positive display as he made his debut in United's 0-0 draw with Wolves on February 1 and is now with Ole Gunnar Solskjaer's men at a training camp in southern Spain during their mid-season break.

Winger James feels Fernandes is already settling in impressively and thinks the Wolves game provided an indication of a potentially productive connection.

"He is settling in great," James told the club's official website about Fernandes.

"I know quite a few of the boys speak his language and he speaks great English as well.

"As soon as he came in he put his stamp on the game and he showed what he is about in that last game, on his debut.

"He was great, with the balls he played in behind and, for me, if we can get that bond, especially playing it in behind, I think that will be great."

United return to Premier League action away at Chelsea on February 17, with James feeling the benefits of a break in the schedule following a hectic period.

"We have a little break and it is nice to come out here and train, get a little bit of fitness and get a bit back into our legs," he said.

"It is great. Obviously, these warm-weather camps always help and always benefit us when we get back home. 

"It is obviously a little bit warmer than it is at home. It is good to get here and get the last few weeks out of our legs, which will really benefit us when we go back."

United will pursue two trophies in the second half of the season, with their Europa League tie against Club Brugge beginning on February 20 and an FA Cup fifth-round tie at Derby County to follow in March.

James added: "That is why I am at this club, to win trophies. We have got a great chance in both of them. 

"Obviously we have got the Premier League game on Monday and then we have got that Europa League game on Thursday, so we will go into both of those with our heads held high."

Mesut Ozil admits he is unsure about his long-term future despite enjoying a more positive spell at Arsenal.

The 31-year-old has started all but one of the Gunners' Premier League matches since Mikel Arteta took charge in December, having endured a difficult time under former head coach Unai Emery.

With a year left on his contract, Ozil has been linked with a move to DC United in MLS as well as Fenerbahce in Turkey.

The playmaker appears uncertain what the future holds, although he is determined to give us all for Arsenal for the rest of the season.

"After this season I have one more year and after that I don't know what will happen because I can't see the future," he told reporters during Arsenal's training camp in Dubai.

"What I can do is give everything for the team, for myself, to be successful and let's see what happens in the future."

Arsenal sit 10th in the Premier League, 10 points off the top four, having won only one out of eight league games since Arteta's appointment on December 20.

However, Ozil insists there are signs of improvement under the former Manchester City assistant, and he believes Champions League qualification is still possible.

"We know it is a hard season for us, but we want to win games to take the points to be maybe at the end of the season in the top four," he said.

"Our goal is to be in the Champions League. This year, we had difficult times, but I think we're in a good way.

"In just the two months Mikel is here we improve a lot."

Arsenal face Newcastle United at home in their next league match on February 16.

Joshua King conceded it would have been "a dream come true" had his proposed move from Bournemouth to Manchester United gone through on transfer deadline day.

The Norway striker was linked with a return to United on the last day of the January transfer window, but talks broke down after Bournemouth reportedly put a £40million price-tag on the 28-year-old.

Cherries boss Eddie Howe explained King had endured a trying couple of days as the possibility of re-joining his former club emerged.

And while King has returned his focus to helping Bournemouth avoid relegation from the Premier League, he did not hide how much he would have loved to go back to Old Trafford.

"How close it was I have no complete answer to," King told reporters. "I have to watch what I say.

"I had some faith that it was going to happen and it was a bit sensitive for me considering that I moved to England as a 16-year-old to achieve my dream and wanted to reach that goal at Manchester United.

"When you hear that you are connected to United and a bid comes in, then the feelings you had as a 16-year-old come back to you.

"But why it did not happen, I do not know. I'm a Bournemouth player and I really enjoy it here. But it had been a dream come true, I will not lie.

"That didn't happen and I'm going to give everything to Bournemouth as long as I’m in this club."

King, who scored the winner against United in a November Premier League clash, was grateful to the support shown to him by Howe.

"The coach was absolutely fantastic with me during those days," he added.

"He was very helpful with me. I have respect for how he behaved with me during the little episode."

United ultimately signed former Watford striker Odion Ighalo on loan from Shanghai Shenhua.

Jose Mourinho is relishing his first full season at Tottenham despite claims he is regretting taking over as manager.

Mourinho replaced Mauricio Pochettino in November but has found consistency hard to come by at Spurs.

He has won 10 of his 19 matches in charge, with sixth-placed Tottenham still four points behind his former club Chelsea in the race for the top four.

The Portuguese conceded it has not been a straightforward start to his tenure but is enjoying the challenge and looking forward to implementing his vision from the start of next season.

"Contrary to some people who want to be in the news and tell things that are not true - I am really happy at the club," Mourinho told Sky Sports.

"Difficult? Yes, but if it was not difficult it wouldn't be for me.

"I like the players and who they are. I like very much the relationship I have with them. If you see a bad face from me it is because of a bad result. I cannot change myself.

"That's just me. The reality is that I am happy and I look forward to what is coming, and even more for what is coming next season. I want to start working with them in July."

Barcelona are prepared to take a loss on Philippe Coutinho, sparking apparent interest from the Premier League.

Coutinho is on loan at Bayern Munich from Barcelona, and the Bundesliga giants hold an option to buy the Brazil playmaker.

If Bayern opt against purchasing Coutinho, Barca may be willing to sell the 27-year-old and accept a loss.

 

TOP STORY – BARCELONA READY TO SELL COUTINHO FOR £77M AMID PREMIER LEAGUE INTEREST

Coutinho has been told he can leave Barcelona for £77million (€90.7m) at the end of the season, according to the Daily Express.

Barcelona paid Liverpool €120m (£105m) for Coutinho in 2018, but are preparing for change under Quique Setien.

The report says Coutinho has already attracted interest from Liverpool, Manchester United, Manchester City, Chelsea and Tottenham.

Bayern hold an option to buy Coutinho for a reported €120m.

 

ROUND-UP

- Could it be one Brazilian in and another out at Liverpool? The Sun reports Bayern Munich want Roberto Firmino to leave the Premier League giants and join the Bundesliga outfit at the end of the season.

- Staying at Anfield and the Daily Express reports Bayer Leverkusen star Kai Havertz is Liverpool's top midfield target ahead of 2020-21.

- With James Maddison reportedly ready to extend his contract at Leicester City, Manchester United's interest in the attacker has cooled significantly, according to the Daily Express.

- Thiago Silva wants to stay in Paris. Paris United reports the Paris Saint-Germain captain could discuss a new contract with club president Nasser Al-Khelaifi amid uncertainty over his future, with his deal expiring at the end of the season.

- Manchester United have angered Roma. The Daily Express says the Premier League club have increased their asking price for Chris Smalling from €14.1m (£12m) to €20m (£17m), with the defender having impressed during his loan spell with the Serie A outfit.

Dele Alli has issued an apology after posting a video in which appeared to make a joke about the coronavirus outbreak while mocking an Asian man.

Tottenham midfielder Alli shared a video on his official Snapchat account on Saturday, which showed him wearing a facemask in an airport departure lounge.

The coronavirus outbreak in China has impacted thousands and has caused hundreds of deaths, with travel restrictions having been implemented in an attempt to mitigate its spread.

England international Alli captioned his video with the message: "Corona whattt [sic], please listen with volume."

Alli then zoomed the camera towards a man of Asian appearance before turning it towards a bottle of antiseptic hand wash and captioning: "This virus gunna have to be quicker than that to catch me."

Following complaints, the 23-year-old deleted the video and on Sunday apologised for his actions.

"I'd like to apologise for the video I posted on Snapchat [on Saturday], it wasn't funny," Alli said in a video posted on Chinese social media platform Weibo.

"I realised that immediately and took it down. I let myself down and the club. I don't want you guys to have that impression of me.

"It isn't something that should be joked about. Sending all my love and thoughts and prayers for everyone in China."

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