Tag Archives: Champions League

Emre Can returns to Germany after signing loan deal with Borussia Dortmund

Juventus midfielder Emre Can signed a season-ending loan deal with Borussia Dortmund, returning to play in Germany for the first time since 2014.

There had been reports of Can returning to the Premier League to play for Manchester United, but he will be suiting up for the Black and Yellow for the remainder of the season.

The German international began his senior career with Bayern Munich in 2012 before departing the Bavarians for another short stint in the country, this time with Bayer Leverkusen. Can played most of his career in England for Liverpool, spending four years with the club before leaving the club to join Juventus after his contract expired.

In 185 appearances at the senior club level, the 26-year-old has scored 18 goals. However, this season has been one to forget for Can as he did not seem to fit new manager Maurizio Sarri’s plans for the team, which caused him to only make eight appearances this season.

For the German national team, Can has made 25 appearances, but has only the found the back of the net once for his country. Although Can was excluded from the squad from Germany’s squad in the 2018 FIFA World Cup in Russia, he did make an appearance in the UEFA Euro 2016, starting in a 2-0 semi-final loss to host France.

It is currently a neck-to-neck race for the top spot in the Bundesliga with leaders RB Leipzig only having a four-point differential between them and fourth place Dortmund. 

After the squad landed transfer market gold by signing young talent Erling Haaland, who has scored five goals in two appearances so far, the team is hoping the Can is able to provide solid midfield depth that can carry them to a first-place finish in the league for the first time since 2012.

Also, with the UEFA Euro 2020 right around the corner, this could be Can’s chance to reassert himself back into the squad for a major competition.

Yannick Carrasco returns to Atlético Madrid on short-term loan

After playing a big part in Atlético Madrid’s success during his three-year tenure, Yannick Carrasco is returning to the Spanish capital on a short-term loan from Dalian Professional.

Carrasco, who arrived in Madrid for his first stint in 2015 after departing Monaco, is brought in after the club failed to sign Edinson Cavani away from PSG. However, the squad are getting a player who is accustomed to playing this team’s style, so it could end up being more beneficial in the long run.

The Belgian international had scored 17 goals in 81 appearances for Atlético before his departure in 2018. However, he has not found trouble finding the back of the net with the move as he scored 24 goals in 50 Chinese Super League appearances for Dalian, who are owned by Atlético’s partial owner Dalian Wanda.

The 26-year-old’s biggest moments for the club was during the 2016 UEFA Champions League Final at the San Siro.  After coming on the pitch as a half-time replacement for Augusto Fernández, Carrasco scored a 79th-minute equalizer, making him the first Belgian to score in a European Cup final. However, they ended up losing to arch-rivals Real Madrid in a penalty shoot-out.

The creative winger also is a constant appearer for the Belgium national team. Included in the 2018 FIFA World Cup squad by manager Roberto Martínez, Carrasco helped the squad finish in third place at the most recent edition in Russia. In 41 appearances for his country, he has scored six goals.

As Atlético sit in fifth place at the moment in the La Liga standings, the fans and the team are hoping that Carrasco provides some spark to help them improve their spot. His first test will be on Saturday in The Madrid Derby.

Will Liverpool make it unbeaten?

As of their recent fixture against Sheffield United, Liverpool completed a full calendar year unbeaten in the Premier League and with performances like Thursday’s, their run looks set to continue.

Image result for liverpool fc 2020
A fimilar image; Liverpool’s front three celebrate another Premier League goal.

Nothing but admiration is what has to been given to Liverpool’s perfomances of late, whether it has been a goal fest as such against Mersyside neighbours Everton or a 1-0 against a valiant Wolverhampton. Liverpool’s football has been mature and is evidence of 4 years of Jurgen Klopp’s management and timely building of what can be suggested to be a world class team.

The front three of Mane, Firmino and Salah have been poignant to the Red’s success in front of goal but this season, but its been clear the rest of the team are just as important. Working from the back, Virgil Van Dijk has been at the heart of their defence. Advantageous to the team, Van Dijk’s height to reach defensive headers and composure when passing out from the back under pressure, is a massive part of his game and why he is a world renowned defender.

What is particular about the Liverpool team is their knowledge of spatial awareness with passes and even clearances nearly always find man in red helping to maximise possession. Aswell, as passing their way through teams, Liverpool boast the talent of their two first choice full backs in Trent Alexander-Arnold and Andy Robertson. Their crosses into the penalty area have become staple to the team’s goal scoring opportunities with both players continuing to rack up their personal assists.

It can be argued Liverpool’s success has been formulated from all aspects of their play and management and a new culture brought in by Klopp since his arrival. This season has also seen them be able to cope with absentees of Lovren and Matip in defence due quality in the depths of their sqaud. Which can be contrasted to league rivals Manchester City who have not had an as simple season as reigning champions. Aymeric Laporte’s injury early in the season has made him exempt for the majority of City’s games and their results show they have not been able to cope as well as the City fans would have wanted. Consequently seeing them fall further and further behind League leaders Liverpool.

There is a feeling this is already Liverpool’s year and 13 points ahead it is difficult to see where 4 defeats would come from, even if Liverpool are prevented of an invincible title its hard to see them not lifting the Premier League trophy come spring.

Who is Takumi Minamino and how will he fit in at Liverpool?

Takumi Minamino made history this week when he became Liverpool’s first Japanese signing in their history. 

The reds bought Minamino from Austrian side Red Bull Salzburg for just £7.25 million.

This is widely considered a bargain in today’s transfer market and he will arrive on Merseyside when the January transfer window officially opens on January 1st2020.

This in mind, 24/7 Football has decided to take a look at who he is and what he will bring to the Premier League leaders.

When did Liverpool become aware of Minamino

The Japanese international is just the latest Liverpool signing in recent times to have worked with high profile German coach Ralf Rangnick, the current RB Salzburg head of sport and development.

Rangnick had a hand in the development of Sadio Mane and Naby Keita, who had both played for the Austrian club.

The Merseyside club first became aware of Minamino’s talents when he played against them in the Group Stage in the Champions League this season, the reds full back Andy Robertson said:

“It was difficult to play against RB Salzburg full stop, but I thought he was their main man,” the Scottish international told the Liverpool Echo.

Robertson continued:

“He was the one, especially at Anfield, who caused us problems.

“When we went 3-0 up, he started to dictate the game. He started to run at us a wee bit and he got a goal and an assist.”

RB Salzburg would end up losing that game 4-3 but came back from 3-0 down in impressive fashion with the Japanese international very much at the heart of the Austrian club’s impressive showing.

Previous clubs and current form this season

Minamino began his career in the J League for Cerezo Osaka and became the league’s youngest ever scorer at the age of 18 back in 2013. In that season he was awarded the J League Rookie of the year prize.

In 2015 Minamino moved to RB Salzburg and has also been involved in more goals than any other player in the Austrian Bundesliga since his making his debut for the club.

During this campaign so far, Minamino has managed five goals and six assists in just 11 appearances this season despite having problems with injury.

While in the Champions League group stage he scored two goals and provided three assists, including scoring against Liverpool at Anfield.

Finally for his international side Japan, he has maintained his impressive form by scoring 11 goals in 22 games.

What is his best position?

Positionally Minamino is very adaptable however his regular position tends to be on the right wing.

The new Liverpool man has also played in an attacking midfield role, where he particularly impressed against Jurgen Klopp’s team in Austria.

Tom Middler, the host of the other Bundesliga podcast that is devoted to the Austrian league said:

“He naturally fits the three-up front style that Klopp plays.  He could be good cover for somebody like Roberto Firmino.”

German football expert, Raphael Honigstein said:

“I was probably expecting Liverpool to make a move for Leipzig’s Timo Werner.  Minamino is a lot cheaper but also perhaps has more value in terms of improvement and the places he can go.

“Again, Liverpool have learned as a club that you don’t buy the finished article for £100 million.”

 Summary

 If Minamino proves to be even half as good as the likes of Mane then Klopp would certainly be onto another winner.  

 The Premier league leaders will hope that the Japanese international will help ease the burden on the front three and give them another much needed attacking option. 

 

 

Liverpool to battle Flamengo in the Club World Cup final

The European Champions escaped a close semi-final match in the Club World Cup against Liga MX side Monterrey in Qatar, ultimately needing a stoppage-time winner from substitute Roberto Firmino for the 2-1 victory.

 Liverpool had several key players either unable to play or started on the bench for the match, especially in the center of the defense. The situation was so complicated that midfielder Jordan Henderson had to fill in the void due to Virgil van Dijk (illness), Dejan Lovren (injured), and Joel Matip (injured) not able to suit up for the squad.

The current Premier League leaders got off to a quick start after Naby Keita scored in the 12th-minute, courtesy of an outstanding reverse pass from Mohamed Salah. It was a short lead, however, as Rogelio Funes Mori scored two minutes later for the recent winners of the CONCACAF Champions League.

The Reds were able to squeeze out a narrow victory after Firmino, who only entered the match in the 85th-minute, scored the late goal, causing the side to head into the finals of the competition.

In the finals, Liverpool will face off against Brazilian Série A side Flamengo. They will face off against a familiar opponent in Filipe Luis, who played for the likes of Atlético Madrid and Chelsea before making the move to his home country this season.

The two sides will play on Saturday, the first time they both play against each other in a tournament match since the 1981 Intercontinental Cup, where Flamengo defeated Liverpool 3-0 in Tokyo.