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Liverpool

Is Tottenham’s Victor Wanyama the final piece to Liverpool’s midfield puzzle?

The Kenyan international has watched mostly from the sidelines this season.

Josh Kerr

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Photo: Getty Images

Limited to only six league starts for Spurs this season and after a dismal 90-minute display against relegation-threatened West Brom Albion on Saturday, the 2017/18 Premier League season has been nothing short of a disaster for Kenyan midfielder Victor Wanyama.

The former Southampton star was reunited with his former Saints manager Mauricio Pochettino in the summer of 2016 for a £11 million fee after he managed the 24-year-old Kenya captain during his spell as manager in the south-coast.

The central defensive midfielder had a blistering impact in his debut season for Spurs, featuring in 47 matches across all competitions and scoring five goals as well as helping the club finish a record 2nd place in the Premier League.

However, this season has shown no reflection of Wanyama’s former self and despite being stricken by injuries for large periods of the season it seems the former Celtic player could be falling out of favour in north London.

(Photo by Shaun Botterill/Getty Images)

Reports from the Daily Mail previously suggested that, despite only limited appearances this season, Wanyama could represent a top transfer prospect for Champions League finalists Liverpool.

However, as we know in a post-Neymar era, every club has their selling price. If the Reds were to make a bid in the region of £40 million, it would be difficult for Daniel Levy to say no to such a fee, especially for a player who has spent more of the season on the bench rather than on the pitch.

With Emre Can looking set to leave Merseyside this summer as a free agent, Wanyama, on paper. seems the perfect addition. After all, it was against Liverpool where the Kenyan international reminded onlookers he’s still one of the most talented midfielders in the league.

With his Tottenham side trailing to their top-four rivals, Wanyama struck one of the goals of the season at the Kop end when a Loris Karius punch fell to the midfielder with a point to prove.

The ball dropped to the Kenyan from 30 yards on the half-volley and was cannoned into the top corner, leaving the entirety of Merseyside in pure disbelief. They had just witnessed one of the great Anfield goals, from an opposition player nonetheless, and they couldn’t help but stand and applaud.

(Photo by Clive Brunskill/Getty Images)

For a starting spot, a move to Anfield will undoubtedly be a good proposition for both Liverpool and Wanyama. The question is, will he automatically become a starter at Liverpool?

In Jordan Henderson and James Milner, the pair are demonstrating that English clubs still have a role to play in Europe. The midfield duo have helped fire the Reds all the way to Kiev, with Milner also as the Champions League all-time record assister for a single season.

Liverpool have two players who play the same role as Wanyama. As captain, it’s a certainty Henderson, if fit, would start. However, the 27-year-old’s fitness is not guaranteed and Milner’s age could open the gap for a long-term replacement for the Englishman’s services.

With the Reds’ midfield options getting thinner by the week, a gamble on a big name is needed. If the price is right, the Reds should test Tottenham’s resolve and see if they can tempt the Kenyan midfielder to Merseyside.

I am a freelance sports journalist currently studying sports journalism at Staffordshire University with a passion for all things football. I'm a keen supporter of Liverpool Football Club, as well as my local side Forest Green Rovers. I've worked for online newspaper VAVEL UK as well as a media assistant for Chester FC in the Vanarama National League.

Fulham

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.

Mathew Nash

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Chopping Wood

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.

BURNLEY, ENGLAND – SEPTEMBER 19: Chris Wood of Burnley celebrates after scoring a penalty during the Carabao Cup Third Round match between Burnley and Leeds United at Turf Moor on September 19, 2017 in Burnley, England. (Photo by Nathan Stirk/Getty Images)

No-go Coutinho

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.

Seri-ous money

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.

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Crystal Palace

One winner, one loser as Crystal Palace suffer defeat to Liverpool

Max Cohen

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Palace
Photo: Getty Images

On Monday night Crystal Palace produced a spirited display against Liverpool but ultimately fell to a 2-0 defeat at Selhurst Park.

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.

(Photo by Sebastian Frej/MB Media/Getty Images)

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.

(Photo by Matthew Ashton – AMA/Getty Images)

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.

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Liverpool

Three selection headaches for Jurgen Klopp ahead of Liverpool’s clash with Brighton

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Photo: Getty Images.

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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