Liverpool vs Manchester United - The BIG one!
The big one this weekend is undoubtedly Liverpool v Manchester United. This is the BIG derby and make no mistake, with supporters from America’s New York to South Africa’s Cape Town to China’s Shanghai down to Sydney in Australia… everyone across the world will be watching this one with a TV audience of hundreds of millions. But shockingly for Liverpool fans, they have suffered the loss of Sadio Mane and manager Jurgen Klopp has been working tirelessly on the training field this week planning how best to cope with losing his talented attacker. Mane was injured playing for Senegal in their World Cup qualifying win over Cape Verde. The hamstring injury will keep him out of the United game plus two Champions League games and next week’s visit to Spurs. So far this season Mane has been suspended for three games, and now the injury so his playing time has been limited. During those times Liverpool have averaged only 1.6 goals against 2.2 goals when Mane was in the team and they won just once in seven games while he was on African Nations Cup duty in January. However, to even up the odds, United are also missing in-form Marouane Fellaini because of ligament damage sustained during Belgium’s World Cup match this week. This gives manager Jose Mourhino a headache in midfield because he is also without Paul Pogba and Michael Carrick so his options are limited. Liverpool are currently in 7th position in the Premier League table and 7 points behind second placed United. I was very surprised to hear that not only has Sergio Aguero been at Manchester City’s wonderful Etihed Stadium training ground this week but he also is doing light training to keep fit. He exercised with other City players not involved in this week’s international matches. Following his car accident in Amsterdam which left him with a broken rib and cuts and bruises, he was expected to be out for up to six weeks but I am told that this is likely to be reviewed by City’s medical staff. Aguero is only one goal short of breaking attacking forward Eric Brook’s record of 177 goals for City which he achieved way back in the 1930’s! Spurs’ star Rose wants Mourhino I have learned that Tottenham Hotspurs’ right back Danny Rose has decided his career is destined for Manchester United. Reds’ boss Jose Mourhino thinks that Luke Shaw is not up to the task and has discarded him with Ashley Young, Matteo Darmian, Marcos Rojo and Daley Blind all filling as cover for the position. Mourhino has recognized that, despite a wretched season during which he has been injured since January, Rose at 27 has lightning speed and can attack as well as effectively defend and would be a good fit in the United team. Rose has been approached by Chelsea but said he wants to play for Mourhino and United is his target. Rose was a ring leader recently in attacking the wage structure at Spurs who do not pay their players the mega salaries of other clubs. He knows that he can double his current £75,000 a week salary if he joins another big club.
There is a debate going on around the Premier League and on TV. Is Tottenham’s Harry Kane worth more than the world’s most expensive player Paris St Germain’s Neymar? The overwhelming vote at the moment is yes! After failing to score in August Harry has now hit 14 winners in 9 matches making him the most prolific scorer in Europe. He is certainly in the world’s top five. Real Madrid have shown interest in the star striker but supporters and the media have already said that no price is high enough for Harry. Selling Harry would pay for most of Spur’s new stadium but when you have the best player why sell him and become a weaker team. Let’s hope Spur’s owner Daniel Levy is not tempted by Harry’s £250million valuation which is being talked about. Harry has also been added to the list for this year’s Ballon ‘dor award which recognises the world’s best player. Real Madrid’s Cristiano Ronaldo currently holds the title and is a strong contender again this time around but Harry Kane is right up there with the best. Liverpool owner John Henry has made it clear that he will sell the Reds for the right price. And that price is £1billion! I have learned from behind the scenes that British businesswoman Amanda Staveley is the front runner in preliminary talks. She has close links with many Middle-Eastern billionaire investors and was instrumental in Sheikh Mansour buying Manchester City. However, I understand that Staveley is also interested in buying Mike Ashley’s owning stake in Newcastle and was in the director’s box at St James Park recently. Ashley has apparently dropped the asking price for the Newcastle club from £450million to £350million. Ashley has conceded that manager Rafa Benitez is right and the squad needs strengthening in the January transfer period but he does not want to inject any more personal money and therefore is looking for a quicker sale than previously expected.
Everton boss Ronald Koeman, I have been told from inside the club, has been given until the end of October to turn around the fortunes of the Toffees. After spending £150million in the transfer window and adding Wayne Rooney to his squad for £300,000 a week, both supporters and the club board are getting fed up with watching the team lose or draw to clubs who spent less and have less resources and less talented players. Oumar Niasse’s late winner against Bournemouth probably saved his boss his job last week. Losing three successive matches against Chelsea, Man Utd and Spurs was bad enough but Everton also failed to score a goal. Therefore three vital matches will decide the manager’s fate I understand. Those matches are two away visits to Brighton and Leicester and one at Goodison Park, their home ground, to Arsenal.