Spain 6-1 Argentina: the scoreline was simply mind-boggling, as even in an international friendly, it is exceedingly rare to see such a lopsided scoreline between two sides of the highest quality.
And Isco, the man at the heart of the ticking Spain machine last night, should be the target of the Premier League elite this summer.
At 25 years of age, the Real Madrid midfielder is in the midst of his peak as an attacking midfielder. He is prolific on the international level, scoring 10 goals in 26 caps.
But, frustratingly, Zinedine Zidane seems to have a distrust of the Spanish magician’s qualities.
In 25 total appearances this season, Isco has completed the full 90 minutes just eight times – a startlingly low number for a player of his quality.
He has fallen down the Madrid pecking order, as Zidane has preferred the likes of Mateo Kovacic, Luka Modric, Casemiro, and Toni Kroos over the Spaniard.
Isco seems to have little option but to seek pastures new this summer.
A player in the peak of his powers needs to be the star of a side, rather than an option deemed fit only for sparing substitute appearances.
And luckily for the creative midfielder, there will be a multitude of Premier League sides vying for his signature, including Liverpool, who have held shown a long-standing interest.
For Jurgen Klopp’s side, Isco’s arrival could finally provide a long-term replacement for Philippe Coutinho and possibly facilitate a genuine title challenge next season.
The Reds have been long-term admirers of the Spanish midfielder, with Don Balon reporting Jurgen Klopp’s interest last summer, when Philippe Coutinho’s future at the club began to look uncertain.
Therefore, reports by Spanish journalist Josep Pedrerol, that suggest Zinedine Zidane is ready to sell Isco if he is still the manager at the Bernabeu next season, will be music to the ears of the Anfield faithful.
The Frenchman has made his distaste for the 26-year-old’s performances known, through his constant utilisation as a substitute and it speaks volumes that he hasn’t played a full 90 minutes since the 0-0 Madrid derby in mid-November.
Combined with a world-class attack consisting of Mohamed Salah, Roberto Firmino, and Sadio Mane, the Reds truly could stake a claim for the most dynamic frontline in England with the Spaniard among their ranks.
However, the Merseyside outfit will likely have competition for Isco’s signature, should he leave Madrid this summer.
Jose Mourinho would also be keen on a top-class central midfielder after his opinions appear to have soured on United’s record signing Paul Pogba.
Meanwhile, Manchester City would welcome a player who would fit perfectly into Pep Guardiola’s slick possessions style, and add a dose of flair in the centre of midfield.
Isco has the potential to be one of the best attacking midfielders in the world, right up there with the likes of Kevin de Bruyne, Andres Iniesta, and Luka Modric.
However, he needs to be the star of the show to trust flourish at the upper levels of world football. A move to England would be the perfect way to fulfill his sky-high potential.
On this day: Leeds cash in on Wood, Coutinho told he’s staying and Seri’s Barca links
What were the big stories in football a year ago today? Including Leeds United, Liverpool and Fulham.
One year ago today and Leeds United lost their talismanic striker Chris Wood to Burnley. After a tumultuous summer of rumours and conjecture, the club’s leading scorer left in a club record £15 million deal.
In his two seasons at Leeds the New Zealand international scored an impressive 44 goals in 88 games for the Whites.
Leeds were desperate not to lose the player and ended up paying for his absence. They failed to replace him, with nearest replica Pierre-Michel Lasogga falling short of expectations.
Wood has since gone on to establish himself at Burnley, scoring 11 goals in 26 games during his first season at Turf Moor.
Leeds now have Kemar Roofe firing and also signed Patrick Bamford this summer.
A year ago today and Liverpool had managed to keep hold of Philippe Coutinho. The Brazilian had been heavily linked with a move to Barcelona throughout last summer.
However, as reported by Sky Sports a year ago, Liverpool made it clear Coutinho was going nowhere.
In the end, it proved to just be a stall. Coutinho completed the inevitable switch to Barcelona in January for a fee of £146 million.
However, many Liverpool fans would perhaps argue the club are now performing better than they ever did when Coutinho was at Anfield.
Signed by Fulham this summer, a year ago today it seemed Jean-Michael Seri was on his way to Barcelona.
Marca suggested that Barcelona had met the apparent £36.6 million release clause in his contract at Nice. Unfortunately, that clause had expired.
With Barcelona not willing to pay more, they moved on.
Seri joined Fulham this summer for a club record fee.
One winner, one loser as Crystal Palace suffer defeat to Liverpool
The Eagles gave the Reds a run for their money all night, yet James Milner’s penalty and Sadio Mane’s breakaway finish handed Liverpool all three points.
Here is one winner and one loser from the final match of the Premier League week, as the performance spelled good news for Palace’s season but will be a blow for Aaron Wan-Bissaka.
Winner: Crystal Palace’s top-half ambitions
Just a week earlier, Liverpool had dealt West Ham a harsh footballing lesson by thrashing the east Londoners 4-0 at Anfield. The Reds’ front three was unplayable and the new-look squad appeared to have genuine title ambitions.
But when the Merseyside club made the trip to SE25, they found a far more difficult opponent in Crystal Palace. Roy Hodgson’s side made life uncomfortable all match for Liverpool, playing an aggressive style that denied Liverpool time on the ball and resulted in numerous chances for Palace to take the lead.
In the end, Liverpool only made a breakthrough by way of a penalty, after Andros Townsend had rattled the bar earlier. And although Palace went down to ten men and let in a second goal, the Eagles nonetheless continued to attack and pile on pressure.
Although Crystal Palace took no points from the match, their encouraging performance against one of the league’s top sides is reason to believe they can crack the upper half of the table this campaign.
Loser: Aaron Wan-Bissaka
The 20-year-old right back continued right where he had left off against Fulham, turning in a brilliant display in the opening half against Liverpool. His superb pace held Mane in check and his adventurous attacking play was a lethal combination with Townsend on the right wing.
Yet unfortunately for the youngster, his night ended prematurely when he took down Mohamed Salah as the Egyptian was through on goal late in the match. A three-match ban will follow, cruelly denying Wan-Bissaka a run in the team just as he was hitting outstanding form.
Three selection headaches for Jurgen Klopp ahead of Liverpool’s clash with Brighton
After labouring to a convincing win over Crystal Palace, Liverpool boss Jurgen Klopp has decisions to make ahead of returning to Merseyside and facing Brighton & Hove Albion on Saturday in the late kick-off.
The Reds have remained unchanged in their two Premier League games to date, but the German could make changes to his side in the third league fixture of the campaign despite two consecutive defeats without conceding.
Here are some of the toughest calls that he may have to make…
Should Georgino Wijnaldum continue in midfield?
Few expected Georgino Wijnaldum to be starting both of Liverpool’s first two Premier League fixtures after the signings made this summer, and with Jordan Henderson having built up fitness after returning to training late after the World Cup and with Fabinho itching to make his debut, the Dutchman is under pressure.
It would be harsh to say that the former Newcastle man has put a foot wrong in his two appearances to date, in fact he was one of the stand out performers at Selhurst Park, but he knows that retaining his place won’t be easy.
Could Dejan Lovren return?
Dejan Lovren’s call up for the Croatia squad has led to speculation that a Liverpool return may be imminent after a spell on the sidelines with a stomach problem. Joe Gomez was impressive against West Ham and again against Crystal Palace, but knows that Lovren may surpass him upon his return.
With Joel Matip also returning to the bench on Monday night, Klopp has a decision to make in central defence alongside Virgil Van Dijk, even if it is too soon for Lovren to come into the team.
An opportunity to rest?
It may still be early on in the campaign, but Brighton & Hove Albion at Anfield should, on paper, be one of the easier fixtures on Liverpool’s calendar. Providing a rest to the likes of Mohamed Salah and Sadio Mane, who have come straight from a World Cup campaign, may be an investment for the long term.
With the likes of Jordan Henderson, Xherdan Shaqiri and Daniel Sturridge all on the bench and itching to get on, Klopp could consider making some changes to a team which he is yet to alter in the Premier League.
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