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Jurgen Klopp has Arjen Robben with an edge in Mohamed Salah

Mathew Nash

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Jurgen Klopp is edging closer to his second Champions League final as a manager. The Liverpool boss guided his side to a 5-2 win over AS Roma in the first-leg of their Champions League semi-final last night.  

It means Roma need to win by three clear goals in the return leg to have any chance of progressing. Liverpool are now on the cusp of something exciting but, of course, Klopp has been stung in the Champions League final before.

He took his heavy-metal football to Wembley in 2013 to take on domestic rivals Bayern Munich. Goals from Mario Mandzukic and Ilkay Gundogan had the even affair level until the final minute of the 90 when Arjen Robben scored a dramatic winner.

It was a sickener for Klopp and the perfect end to the season for Robben, who had struggled with injury problems throughout the campaign.

(during the UEFA Champions League Semi Final First Leg match between Liverpool and A.S. Roma at Anfield on April 24, 2018 in Liverpool, United Kingdom.

Watching Liverpool cut through the Roma defence last night, it was hard not to make comparisons between Klopp’s current superstar and the man who ended his Champions League dream five years ago.

Mohamed Salah plays just like Robben from the right-hand side of an attacking triumvirate. Defenders know exactly what Salah wants to do. He wants the ball on his left foot to get a strike at goal. But the Egyptian wizard shifts the ball with such pace that opposing forces cannot stop him doing so, just as Roma found out last night.

Then, much like Robben, he is also a threat running centrally from the wing. His lobbed finish over Alisson Becker last night was the perfect example. His run was very similar to the one Robben conducted to score that late winner at Wembley that left Klopp flabbergasted.

But the best and most flattering comparison you can give Salah regarding Robben is his brain. Roberto Firmino’s first goal was crafted throughout the game by Salah. After constantly coming inside and having Juan Jesus changing direction the Brazilian felt he had learned Salah’s game. He showed the Liverpool star the outside, daring him to go on his right foot. It was exactly what Salah wanted. He ghosted past the defender and produced a sublime low cross on his right foot to find Firmino.

(Photo credit should read CHRISTOF STACHE/AFP/Getty Images)

That goal, where the mental fragility of the opponent was exposed, was vintage Robben.

The difference between Salah and Robben, however, is a killer instinct. The Dutchman’s highest tally for a season is just 23 goals. Salah has 44 goals this season alone.

What Klopp has is Robben with an edge, a dangerous prospect for anyone who stands in Liverpool’s way before the end of the season.

On this occasion, it could be Salah making Klopp jubilant in a Champions League final come May. With Bayern Munich facing Real Madrid in the semi-final, it could be at the detriment of his 2013 nemesis.

Arsenal

Could Arsenal’s new project lure Newcastle captain Jamaal Lascelles to London?

The Newcastle captain had a terrific debut season in the Premier League.

Liam Thomas

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Jamaal Lascelles
Photo: Getty Images

Newcastle captain Jamaal Lascelles enjoyed a terrific debut season in the Premier League and as such has found himself the subject of many transfer rumours since the window reopened on the 17th May.

However, according to the Chronicle Live, it would take a hefty transfer fee to make Newcastle part ways with one of their prized assets and captain.

Despite this, Arsenal should consider making a move for Lascelles to strengthen their defence and there’s no hiding the fact new Gunners boss Unai Emery is concerned about his sides defensive frailties.

(Photo by Ian MacNicol/Getty Images)

At 24 years of age, Lascelles has the youth and energy needed to survive the harsh Premier League calendar and this is something Arsenal’s defence has lacked in recent seasons; a defence which under Arsene Wenger became lazy and lax.

New Arsenal boss Unai Emery has already invested in Borussia Dortmund’s Sokratis Papastathopoulos to strengthen his back line, but it might take a considerable amount of persuasion to convince Lascelles to follow suit and make the Emirates stadium his new home.

However, it’s not every day a club of Arsenal’s statue come knocking, and to be part of the clubs new exciting chapter may be the perfect antidote to lure Lascelles away from St James’ Park.

“Nothing changes. The speculation might not even be true. Since I was a kid, there’s always been teams interested, speculation, paper talk and stuff on Twitter, and things like that. It doesn’t mean anything to me.”

Newcastle captain, Jamaal Lascelles, regarding the speculation surrounding his future.

But what would Lascelles bring to Arsenal back line? Leadership and stability, two traits that Arsenal’s centre back duo of Laurent Koscielny and Shkodran Mustafi ultimately lacked throughout the 2017/18 Premier League season and two qualities that the Gunners desperately need to be reincorporated into their defence.

It remains to be seen whether or not the new Arsenal boss will break the bank to bring the talented centre back to North London. However, there are not many other defenders in Europe who could come in and do the job as well as the 24-year-old Newcastle captain would.

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Liverpool

Three reasons Jasper Cillessen is the man to solve Liverpool’s goalkeeping woes

Liverpool look poised to make a move for the Barcelona shot stopper.

Liam Thomas

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Jasper Cillessen
Photo: Getty Images

Liverpool will look to sign Barcelona outcast Jasper Cillessen before the transfer window shuts in a bid to solve their goalkeeping woes, according to Mundo Deportivo.

Cilleseen’s talent is undeniable, and despite a massive lack of game time at Barcelona, the Dutch international is still highly rated amongst Europe’s elite goalkeepers.

Reports suggest Cillessen will listen to offers from Europe’s biggest clubs. However, if given the opportunity for some game time with the Spanish giants he would be happy to stay in Catalonia.

(Photo by David Ramos/Getty Images)

Nevertheless, Liverpool’s interest in the 29-year-old could prove to be the golden opportunity for Cillessen to get the first team action he has been craving.

But is the Dutchman the man to solve Liverpool’s problem position? Here are three reasons why he is the right man to do so.

1. A cheaper alternative to Alisson

Liverpool have been linked with some of the hottest goalkeeping talents in Europe since the transfer window reopened and one name in particular that has been thrown into the Reds hat is Roma goalkeeper, Alisson Becker.

However, Jurgen Klopp seems reluctant to fork out over £60 million for the Brazilian’s services and Cillessen would be available for a much lower price.

This doesn’t take anything away from the Dutchman’s talent. In fact, Cillissen is more tried and tested on the big stage than Alisson.

2. Winning mentality

Cillessen would bring to Anfield with him a thirst for silverware, a trait that Jurgen Klopp seems to be trying to incorporate into his side.

One La Liga title,  two Spanish cups and three Dutch league titles already sit proudly in the Dutch shot-stoppers trophy cabinet, and it is this winning mentality that Liverpool have been craving to have between their sticks.

3. The chance to be Liverpool’s number one for years to come

If it is first team action that Cillessen wants so badly, he may not have a better opportunity to get that than at Liverpool.

Cillissen would have the chance to rise to the occasion and take over a position that currently has no front runner and the fact that the Reds could just be on the cusp of greatness could make them and the Dutchman a match made in heaven.

The chance to be number one for one of Europe’s biggest clubs can only be motivational for a player of Cillessen’s ability and ambition.

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Watford

Watford should end their interest in Sunderland outcast Jack Rodwell

The former Sunderland midfielder is reportedly training with the Hornets.

Max Cohen

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Jack Rodwell
Photo: Getty Images

Jack Rodwell is reportedly on trial with Watford during their pre-season training camp in Austria, according to Sky Sports.

However, Watford should end their interest in the Sunderland outcast as he has not played competitive football since September and the club is already well-stocked in the midfield department.

The ex-Manchester City and Everton central midfielder had an embarrassingly public falling out at the Stadium of Light, as Rodwell was frozen out of the first team for almost all of last season.

The 27-year-old was once one of the most promising prospects in English football, but a 2012 big-money move to City resulted in only 25 first team appearances over two years.

After  a transfer to Sunderland, his fortunes did not improve and Rodwell was on the losing side for much of his matches in the Northeast.

As he barely featured for the Black Cats during their relegation campaign in the Championship last year, it came as a surprise that he is currently on trial with Premier League outfit Watford.

(Photo by Mark Runnacles/Getty Images)

Although he would be available on a relatively low-risk free transfer this summer, there is no need for the Hornets to be targeting Rodwell.

As noted by the Watford Observer, the club’s midfield is already full of talent that many would agree are easily better than Rodwell, especially when considering his lack of first team action.

Watford possess the likes of Nathaniel Chalobah, Etienne Capoue, Will Hughes, Tom Cleverley, and Abdoulaye Doucoure in the centre of midfield— it is unclear where Rodwell would fit in if he was signed.

Jack Rodwell has barely played professional football in over a year, and considering Watford’s wealth of options in his favoured position, the Premier League club has no reason to pursue the signing of the free agent.

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