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Would Liverpool’s Sheyi Ojo give Newcastle a boost on their return to the Premier League?



Sheyi Ojo Newcastle United

With Newcastle looking to make some strong additions to their squad this summer ahead of their return to the Premier League, The Times claim that they have been looking at Liverpool’s Sheyi Ojo.

It is understood that the Magpies are still in the hunt for the 20-year-old winger, despite the fact that Liverpool have already turned down a loan offer this summer, as per the Mirror in late June.

But fresh reports have alleged that Newcastle boss Rafael Benitez isn’t giving up his pursuit of Ojo just yet as he looks to build a youthful and experienced squad to secure top-flight survival next year.

What does the 20-year-old have to offer the Magpies?

Full of youthful exuberance and naivety, Sheyi Ojo has endured a frustrating start to life at Anfield since bursting on to the scene in 2016 and has only managed to feature 13 times in the 15 months since then.

Jurgen Klopp only awarded him two appearances throughout the whole of last season – in the FA Cup double-header with then League Two side Plymouth – and with the recent summer signing of Roma’s Mohamed Salah taking place there’s a big chance that he’ll feature equally little next year.

It’s a shame to see a player of his raw potential being stifled, but during England’s Under-20 World Cup triumph at the start of last month he proved that a lack of first-team football hasn’t knocked him back.

Used primarily as an impact substitute around the hour mark he displayed all of the qualities that have made him so desirable from a young age, running with intent and easily dribbling past his man.

During England’s 3-1 victory over Italy in the semi-final it was his arrival that changed the game completely and put England in the driving seat, running rings around the Italians by switching between both flanks at will and delivering dangerous balls into the box – earning himself two assists.

He’s a player that just revels with having the ball at his feet – if anything, one of his main critiques is trying to do too much sometimes – but more often than not he has the brute power to get to the by-line.

It is claimed that Klopp is more than happy to let him find first-team football at a different club for next season, despite those contradictory reports in the Mirror, but the most recent developments have now seen the Daily Mail’s Craig Hope suggest that Liverpool’s demands are too high for Newcastle to consider.

This, if true, could all-but see the Magpies’ interest end in the promising youngster, and see manager Benitez delve back into his transfer wish-list and find another man to enhance his attacking options.

Sheyi Ojo to Newcastle United
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The Boot Room's Verdict
It’s a potential deal where it seems like every party involved would be a winner, with Newcastle having an exciting option in their ranks and Liverpool giving a youngster more top-flight experience. But if what the Daily Mail are saying is true, and Liverpool are making demands that Newcastle can’t meet, then the possibility of Ojo playing at St James’ Park next season could be dead in the water.

Will is a Multimedia Journalism graduate from the University of Salford, specialising in the art of sports. Long-time suffering Northampton Town fan who once saw us win a league title. Find him on Twitter - @96PearsonW.

English Premier League

Jurgen Klopp has Arjen Robben with an edge in Mohamed Salah



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.

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Three Liverpool men who need to capitalise on rotation



Photo: Getty Images.

With the Champions League semi-finals occupying all of Liverpool‘s mind and attention, it has represented a fresh chance for some players on the fringes of the squad.

For three men in particular, the next few seemingly meaningless Premier League fixtures could represent a chance to rescue their Anfield careers.

Danny Ings

The ex-Burnley striker had rotten luck in picking up a serious knee injury in training days after Jurgen Klopp’s appointment and has only just started his first two Premier League games under the German coach up against Everton and West Brom.

His poachers’ finish at The Hawthorns was an emotional moment for the striker and whilst it seems inevitable that his future lies on loan next season at least, good form from the Englishmen could see him make a case to be a back-up option in 2018/19.

With Dominic Solanke not pulling up trees when given the chance earlier on in the campaign, Danny Ings may feel that there is a place up for grabs.

(Photo by Nigel Roddis/Getty Images)

Ragnar Klavan

The Estonian central defender was never signed as a long-term solution at the back and whilst usually reliable, he has let the team down at times.

The arrival of Virgil Van Dijk has pushed him further down the pecking order and it still looks likely that another defender may arrive in the summer to join the Dutchman in favour of Dejan Lovren or Joel Matip.

Klavan has seen the latter half of this season disrupted by injury but by leading the way in an inexperienced backline in the upcoming league fixtures could be pivotal to defining his Anfield future.

Alberto Moreno

The Spaniard has always been a controversial figure on Merseyside, but at the start of this season he appeared to be on the right track and became a regular in Jurgen Klopp’s selections.

An injury picked up in the Champions League forced him onto the sidelines and led to the emergence of Andrew Robertson, who rapidly became a fan favourite and one of the first names on the team-sheet.

The left-back had shown his defensive improvements earlier on in the season and will need to maintain that if he is to convince Klopp that he is worth keeping around for 2018/19.

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Statistics show Jordan Henderson’s display against Roma was his best for Liverpool



Photo: Getty Images.

In the build-up to the Champions League semi-final, there was one joke which was repeatedly told, “imagine the sight of Jordan Henderson lifting the Champions League trophy”. On Tuesday night, the Liverpool captain showed just why it’s a distinct possibility.

The midfielder completely dominated the experienced Italian trio of Daniele De Rossi, Kevin Strootman and Radja Nainggolan, teaming up perfectly with James Milner and Georgino Wijnaldum, who replaced the injured Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain, to put their stomp on the game and dictate the tempo.

Sitting deep and playing balls over the top, Henderson showed what he can do as a playmaker with his impressive range of passing on show once again, completing as many passes in the final third as Sadio Mane.

Of his 54 passes, only 16 were backwards, compared to 22 forwards, and Henderson was consistently looking to move the ball forward and find a breakthrough against Roma’s high defensive line.

(Photo credit should read FILIPPO MONTEFORTE/AFP/Getty Images)

Defensively, Henderson was even more impressive. No player completed more ball recoveries than Henderson’s 12, so much so that the next best tally on his team was seven, almost half of what the captain contributed.

The location of his recoveries too showed his influence, playing in the holding midfield role and breaking up play before looking to rapidly start counter-attacks.

Restricting himself to an entirely central role, Henderson got the better of the likes of De Rossi and Strootman and put them on edge right from the off, causing them to be sloppy in possession and panic, which only got worse as the goals started flowing for the Reds.

In addition, he was successful in more tackles than any other Liverpool player as he made the midfield his own in arguably the highest profile fixture he has ever played in.

Many have questioned the credentials of the former Sunderland man, who is also in contention for the England captaincy, but performances like on Tuesday should soon convince any doubters that he is a key piece of Jurgen Klopp’s puzzle. Post-match, a number of fans and pundits aired their praise for his display.

The tie may only be at half-time but Jordan Henderson must show such leadership on the field of play again in Rome after his team lost their focus in the closing stages of their first leg clash.

Leading by example is pivotal to Henderson’s style and displays like his performance on Tuesday night at Anfield go a long way to justifying his role as captain of Liverpool.

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