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“Their defence remains a problem” – Three things learnt from Liverpool 2-2 Sevilla

Jake Jackman

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Liverpool

Liverpool dominated their first Champions League fixture of the season against Sevilla, but they didn’t have enough to earn the three points. They fell to an early deficit, as Wissam Ben Yedder opened the scoring with only minutes gone in the match. Roberto Firmino and Mohamed Salah struck to turn it around for the hosts. They missed a great chance to put the result beyond doubt as Firmino hit the post from the penalty spot. This allowed Sevilla to get back on level terms, which they did through Joaquin Correa. Here are three things that we learnt from the contest:

Their defence remains a problem

The Reds were the better team throughout and should have won the game, but they gave up two silly goals. Sevilla had only two shots on target and they both ended up in the back of the net. Liverpool continue to concede clear-cut chances to opposition teams and it is both a fault of the system and the individuals on the pitch. Dejan Lovren was very poor this evening, while Joe Gomez added insult to injury by picking up a silly red card.

Their inability to sign any centre-backs during the summer now looks to be a huge mistake. Although Joel Matip looks to be a good defender, they don’t have anybody to partner him in the back four. Lovren continues to make positional errors and doesn’t look to be good enough for this level. Their poor defence will prevent them from going far in the competition.

Mohamed Salah continues to impress

The overriding feeling of the night will be one of disappointment, but Liverpool will be pleased with the performance of Mohamed Salah. He already looks to be value for money and showed that he could deliver at the highest level with an excellent performance. During the match, he completed two dribbles, two key passes and attempted three shots. Sevilla found him difficult to handle and that is an encouraging sign that he can thrive in the Champions League.

His goal signified everything that Jurgen Klopp demands from his players. He worked hard to win the ball back in the final third, before driving forwards and unleashing a powerful effort on goal. It went in thanks to a heavy deflection, but he deserved that slice of luck. Salah looks to be a huge talent and is now ready to do well in England after an ill-fated stint at Chelsea.

Philippe Coutinho is slowly making his way back

The Brazilian made his first appearance of the season after his move to Barcelona failed to materialise. He will have to work hard to get back into the supporters’ good books after he tried to push for a move away from the club. Coutinho is currently looking in from the outside and he couldn’t make any impact after coming on.

He was only given a matter of minutes on the pitch, but his movement and touch looked rusty. After a stop-start pre-season, it is going to take him some time to get back into his rhythm on the pitch. It was a good sign to see him back in the squad and getting some minutes on the pitch, as he will be important over the coming weeks. The suspension to Sadio Mane means that he may have to come into the starting eleven.

Jake is a journalist based in the South East. He is a Newcastle United fan and has a keen interest in Dutch football. Jake can be found on Twitter here - @jakejackmann.

Liverpool

Brendan Rodgers’ mistake with Suso could cost Liverpool £34m to rectify

The Spaniard left Liverpool in 2015 after failing to have first-team assurances at Anfield.

Mathew Coull

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It is being reported this summer that Liverpool are keen on bringing Spanish attacker Suso to the club from AC Milan. Of course, it would be a return to the club for the 24-year-old.

The 24-year-old winger first joined Liverpool in 2014 from his boyhood club Cadiz. It was something of an under-the-radar signing but which soon had Liverpool fans very excited.

Suso put in a string of fantastic performances with the club’s youth-team and Liverpool fans felt they had a special talent on their hands at Melwood.

However, Suso found himself hitting a glass ceiling at Liverpool. The signing of players like Daniel Sturridge and Philippe Coutinho left the Spaniard struggling for football. After a loan spell in his homeland with Almeria in 2013-14, the attacker had clearly decided his future was no longer with Liverpool.

(Photo by Chris Brunskill/Getty Images)

He decided to let his contract expire on Merseyside and in January 2015 AC Milan paid a compensation fee to end that deal early and bring him to Italy.

Suso has since gone on to establish himself as a star in Italian football. After initial struggles, which saw him loaned out to Genoa in 2016, he has now begun to fulfil his potential at the San Siro.

The past two seasons he has been a regular and the club’s best assist maker. Such good form even saw him make his debut for the senior Spanish national team last year.

Now it is being reported Liverpool are one of the teams interested in activating his release clause. As reported by Calciomercato this month, the Spaniard has a €40 million (£35 million) release clause in his contract at the San Siro. Considering the compensation paid to Liverpool in 2015 was reported by the Daily Mail to be just £1 million, Liverpool will not be taking the re-signing of Suso lightly. It would be at the cost of £34 million, considering they had the Spaniard in their clutches just three years ago.

Fans at Anfield rarely see their club having to rebuy a player. It is certainly more of a ‘Chelsea thing’ to do, with Nemanja Matic and David Luiz both returning to the club at a cost in recent times.

(Photo by Michael Steele/Getty Images)

At the time of Suso’s departure, Liverpool fans were not impressed that the club had allowed the situation to spiral out of their control. The finger was pointed swiftly at Brendan Rodgers for not giving the Spaniard, who was highly-rated among the fanbase, a chance. He clearly did not offer him the vision of a first-team future at Anfield.

But if Liverpool’s current boss Jurgen Klopp believes Suso has developed into a player that can truly give the Reds another edge, then they simply must bite the bullet. Just look at how one former Premier League ‘flop’ has performed since returning to England via Anfield? Another Mohamed Salah would be a very welcome moment for Liverpool fans.

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Wilfried Zaha would be an underwhelming signing for Liverpool

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Photo: Getty Images.

Liverpool have become the latest top six club to be linked with Crystal Palace ace Wilfried Zaha as the Liverpool Echo included the Reds as one of many sides believed to be chasing the Ivory Coast winger.

However, if the club do make a move for the 25-year-old, it would show a lack of ambition after what many have perceived to be a season of progress as Liverpool have reached the Champions League final whilst retaining their top four spot.

On paper, a wideman with strength and pace who scores goals would be ready-made for Jurgen Klopp’s attacking set-up and could provide a much needed rotation option alongside the likes of Mohamed Salah, Roberto Firmino and Sadio Mane up-front.

Despite that, it would be a huge gamble to invest in Zaha. One reason for that is that he has showed his best form at Selhurst Park in the second half of 2017/18 as Roy Hodgson gave the winger a free role in attack, allowing him freedom to switch between flanks and centrally in a number ten role.

(during the Premier League match between Crystal Palace and Liverpool at Selhurst Park on March 31, 2018 in London, England.

At Anfield, Zaha would not possess such an option, and if he tried to maintain many of the key traits of his game of cutting inside and drifting around near the opposition box, he would be standing on the toes of established regulars like Salah and Firmino.

Then there is the concern over Zaha’s ability to adapt. His previous spell at Manchester United hinted at the fact that he has struggled with the associated pressure of being at a big club like Liverpool or their north-western rivals, which will be a concern for any club paying the astronomical transfer fee that Crystal Palace would demand for his services.

The winger has undoubted potential, but as Champions League finalists and with money to spend, Liverpool can afford to go after established stars rather than taking expensive gambles on unproven men who have a history of inconsistency.

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Liverpool

Swansea approach for Liverpool youngster Yan Dhanda could prove a shrewd piece of business

Josh Kerr

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Photo: Getty Images

Swansea City’s recent relegation to the Championship has only been a matter of days and already the club are lining up potential deals for next season.

According to BBC Sport, the Swans are very close to signing the talented Liverpool youngster Yan Dhanda, with the Birmingham-born forward out of contract in the summer.

The 19-year-old is highly rated and has been one of Liverpool’s most promising prospects for many years.

However, he looks set for an Anfield exit and a move to the Swans comes at a time during which the South Wales outfit are looking to establish a squad that can target promotion next season.

Dhanda’s arrival would represent a shrewd piece of business.

Having joined Liverpool from West Brom in 2013, Dhanda was once one of the Baggies most prized possessions and a star of the club’s academy system.

His move to Merseyside,  at the age of 15, angered former Baggies chairman Jeremy Peace at the time, who was quick to show his discomfort with the bigger sides stealing their best talents.

However, Swansea will be delighted if the Liverpool midfielder moves to the Liberty Stadium.

After all, the Championship could be the perfect platform for the teenager considering the likes of Nottingham Forest and Leeds have previously shown an interest in his talents.

A move to Wales could be the perfect opportunity for Dhanda to showcase what the likes of Leeds and Forest were missing out on.

The youngster was a regular feature in the Reds’ Premier League 2 campaign, and his jump to the Championship could be the perfect opportunity for him to establish himself in the senior game.

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