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How will Liverpool deal with injury to Sadio Mane?

Jake Jackman

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Mane

The next couple of weeks are going to be crucial for Liverpool’s season as they attempt to bounce back from a disappointing run of form with back-to-back Premier League matches against other top-six sides. Their next two league fixtures are against Manchester United and Tottenham. Although they are still in touching distance with the leading pack, two losses would provide a significant setback, especially given they have won only one of their last seven matches across all competitions.

Jurgen Klopp will feel that the international break came at a good time for his side as they were in the midst of an awful run of results. However, they have been dealt a major blow as Sadio Mane has suffered a hamstring injury during a match for Senegal. Given his travelling, he may not have started the match against Manchester United anyway, but BBC Sport report that the attacker will be missing for up to six weeks. This rules him out of the two important Premier League matches coming up, as well as a number of other fixtures.

Last season, Liverpool struggled for the periods that Mane was unavailable for and that will be a concern heading into the next six weeks. During his three-match suspension in September, the Reds failed to win two of the three matches which provides further evidence for the theory that the Senegal attacker is the most important player in their attack. However, they did manage to beat Leicester City and that was their only victory since the end of August. That will provide hope that they can pick up results in his absence.

Mane is currently on a high after he received a nomination for the Ballon d’Or. He will see this as a bad time to pick up an injury as it does see his momentum stall for the time being. This season, aside from the red card, has started well for him, as he has scored three goals in five matches. He is currently scoring at a rate of one every 121.7 minutes, which is an impressive strike rate considering the team has yet to hit top form.

Can they replace him?

Jurgen Klopp will be disappointed that the injury has come at this time, but the Reds are now better prepared to cope without Mane. During the summer, they added Mohamed Salah, who is the player most similar to the Senegal attacker in the squad. The new signing has contributed four goals and one assist in the Premier League already, with a goal involvement every 103 minutes. His end product lacks consistency, but his pace and dynamism means that he will be crucial for the period of time that his fellow attacker is missing for.

Although Salah will take on a more prominent role, he was already a regular in the starting eleven and it will be interesting to see how the team lines up in Mane’s absence. Against Leicester, they started with a front three of Philippe Coutinho, Roberto Firmino and Salah. This is likely to be the make-up of the attack for the foreseeable future.

This will mean that Coutinho is shifted to left-wing and Emre Can will be given an opportunity to reclaim his spot in the centre of midfield. Many believe the Brazilian is less effective in a wide position, but the alternative is to put Firmino out wide and that is not beneficial to the team. No other player has been effective in the centre-forward role. Daniel Sturridge is a great player, but he doesn’t offer enough in Klopp’s system.

Firmino is excellent at making intelligent runs to open up space for his team-mates to exploit. His finishing may not be as effective as Liverpool want it to be, but his overall game is reason enough to keep him in a central position. During the match against Newcastle, Sturridge was wasteful and offered little to the build-up play. After that performance, Klopp is unlikely to start with him again anytime soon, regardless of the injury to Mane.

The injury comes at a bad time, but Liverpool should have enough squad depth to be competitive at the very least. Salah’s arrival means that Mane is not as integral as he once was. They managed to pick up a win without him against Leicester City and if they are to challenge at the top of the league, they will need to replicate that success during the next set of matches.

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.

West Ham United

Manuel Pellegrini move for former player Willy Caballero makes sense

The Argentine goalkeeper is currently at Chelsea but West Ham may make a move.

Mathew Coull

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West Ham United need a new goalkeeper this summer. Last year they signed Joe Hart to replace a reasonably in form Adrian. The England stopper flopped at the London Stadium. Adrian, however, has not shown some of his previous better form since coming back into the side.

The Hammers can now start planning for the upcoming season and begin thinking about potential transfer options. They have appointed a new manager and Manuel Pellegrini is expected to get plenty of backing in the transfer market this summer.

One player that he might want to consider signing is a man he has worked with on two separate occasions in the past.

Willy Caballero is currently the back-up to Thibaut Courtois at Chelsea. The Argentine stopper may be 36-years-old, but he still has plenty to offer. When it comes to saving penalties, there may not be anyone better in world football today.

(Photo by David Ramos/Getty Images)

Pellegrini is the man who first brought the veteran stopper to England. The Chilean signed his fellow South American as back-up to Joe Hart back in 2014. He has also previously worked with him at Malaga and, as reported by The Sun, a reunion at West Ham does now seem like a possibility.

It would be a smart piece of business for West Ham. Caballero is surely not happy sitting on the bench at Stamford Bridge. At West Ham, regardless of whether they bring in another new face or not, he is more likely to get first-team football and enjoy the latter stages of his career.

It is a deal that makes sense on paper and would not come at a heavy price for West Ham. Fans should hope that Pellegrini can put this one together in the coming weeks.

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Everton

Everton should forget Luis Muriel and target his team-mate Wissam Ben Yedder instead

Everton are said to be interested in the Colombian striker again this summer.

Mathew Coull

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Everton are reportedly interested in the signature of Sevilla striker Luis Muriel. It is being reported in Spain that the Toffees are keen on signing the Colombian international this summer in order to strengthen their attacking options.

Fichajes and Estadio Deportivo in Spain have both reported the news and Everton have of course been linked before. Last summer, before Muriel made his switch to Spain it was reported by numerous sources, including Marca, that Everton wanted to bring the forward in from Sampdoria.

On the one hand, Everton fans will be happy the club are looking into new recruits for next season. However, Muriel is not the player at Sevilla that Everton should be targeting.

(Photo by Aitor Alcalde/Getty Images)

The 27-year-old managed just nine goals and four assists in 46 appearances for the Spanish side last season. That sort of form should hardly have Everton reaching for the chequebook.

If Everton are going to look at a forward from Sevilla, then they should be targeting French striker Wissam Ben Yedder instead.

The 27-year-old has been a far more impressive player this season, despite often coming on from the bench. He scored 22 goals and assisted five in 42 games, a much better rate than the man Everton are apparently chasing.

He also clearly loves English opposition. He scored a famous double against Manchester United to knock the Red Devils out of the Champions League and also scored three times in two appearances against Everton’s Merseyside rivals Liverpool in the Group Stage.

(Photo credit should read CRISTINA QUICLER/AFP/Getty Images)

Everton do need to make improvements across the camp, but it is hard to see how Muriel would make a significant difference to the Everton strikeforce.

Ben Yedder, on the other hand, would be a much more impactful arrival and he could hopefully continue his fine form against English sides but in an Everton kit.

With talk of Everton flop Sandro Ramirez heading the other way as part of the Muriel deal a fee could easily be negotiated to bring in the French forward.

If Everton are targeting a Sevilla striker this summer, then Ben Yedder is the man they should be going for, not Muriel.

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Tottenham Hotspur

Alderweireld out, De Ligt in and £25m up would represent a Tottenham transfer masterstroke

Tottenham Hotspur look set to lose the Belgian this summer.

Mathew Coull

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It seems just a matter of time now before Tottenham Hotspur lose their Belgian defender Toby Alderweireld. The 29-year-old has rejected the club’s offer of a new contract, reported by the Mirror to be worth around £120k-a-week. Despite the doubling of is wages he is said to be unhappy at the length of any deal and now appears set to leave.

The Mirror report this morning that Spurs want a fee near the £75 million Liverpool paid for Virgil van Dijk. Tottenham still consider Alderweireld to be among the best defenders in the Premier League, despite an injury struck campaign. Therefore, a fee must match that paid for the Dutchman.

Spurs, according to the same report, have also identified the man they want to replace Alderweireld in North London. Once again they will apparently turn to Ajax. Following on from bringing Davinson Sanchez to the club last summer, 12 months on they are set to target Matthijs De Ligt.

(Photo credit should read ADRIAN DENNIS/AFP/Getty Images)

The fee for the 18-year-old is said to be in the £50 million region and if these two deals pan out as reported than Daniel Levy and co have done fantastic business for Tottenham Hotspur.

Alderweireld is undoubtedly a world-class defender. However, injury concerns are a concern, especially as he approaches his 30s. A fee of £75 million would be more than fair compensation for his services at this place in time.

As for De Ligt, he is probably the best young defender in world football. Despite his tender age, he is already a full Dutch international, recently making headlines for a stunning performance v Portugal. He kept Cristiano Ronaldo out at one end whilst his marauding style in a back-three also saw him bag two assists in a 3-0 win for the Dutch.

(Photo by Dean Mouhtaropoulos/Getty Images)

Many in his homeland are comparing him to Dutch legend Ronald Koeman and the similarities are obvious to see.

Some of the biggest clubs in world football are keen on De Ligt. Tottenham do however have an advantage due to their good working relationship with the Dutch champions – who they have done business with over Christian Eriksen, Jan Vertonghen and Sanchez.

If Tottenham can bring in De Ligt and still have £25 million to spare from the Alderweireld deal then there is no doubt they have pulled off a masterstroke in the transfer market. Such a scenario will definitely pay off in the future when De Ligt is lighting up the Premier League.

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