Arsene Wenger dominated the headlines on Friday after he confirmed that he will leave Arsenal at the end of the season, bringing an end to an incredible 22-year reign that yielded three Premier League titles and a record 7 FA Cup triumphs.
Wenger took charge of Arsenal in 1996 and he is currently the Premier League’s longest-serving manager after overseeing a record 823 games.
After the news broke out, Jurgen Klopp paid a classy tribute to Wenger in his press conference ahead of the West Brom game on Saturday.
“First of all, I heard it when I came in this morning. I was surprised but it’s his decision, first of all we have to respect that and I have no problem with respecting that,” Klopp told in his pre-match presser (h/t Liverpoolfc.com)
“Today we could probably say he was, and is still, an influencer in football. He has a fantastic career, outstanding personality, [he’s] just a really big player in that business. We usually change overnight and he was there for so long, 22 years – that’s long!
“[He has been] very, very successful, that’s how it is. Maybe in the last few months not everybody was happy anymore about this or that result, but that’s normal and part of the business. But he always developed teams, brought fantastic players in, was a dominating guy in the mid-90s, early 2000s when he was really winning pretty much everything and played wonderful football.”
Wenger’s departure from Arsenal may be overdue but his legacy is undeniable. The French manager built Arsenal into one of the formidable sides in English football, ended Manchester United’s lengthy dominance in the league and revolutionised the game.
He brought a different flair to the Arsenal team and made them champions of England on three occasions. That Arsenal team which consisted of the likes of Patrick Vieira, Thierry Henry, Dennis Bergkamp and Sol Campbell to name a few, made waves whenever they took the field.
Klopp added that Wenger was a “role model” for him when he made his name as a manager at Mainz and Dortmund, citing that he hopes to meet the 68-year-old again one day.
Wenger has seen a lot of ups and downs in his 22-year reign as Arsenal boss. The 1998 double winners and 2004 “Invincibles” stand out, while his later years, especially the last five, saw him receive a lot of criticism not only from Arsenal fans but from the entire football fraternity.
It is indeed going to be difficult to see Arsenal without their most iconic and loved personality from next season onwards.
Speaking about tomorrow’s game, Liverpool cannot afford to take West Brom lightly as the Baggies pulled off an upset last weekend against Manchester United.
Although relegation looms large for the Baggies, Klopp and co. must ensure that they remain focused and get three points on board to secure our position in the top-four.
Newcastle United interested in signing highly-rated 21-year-old Liverpool starlet
Newcastle United are interested in Dominic Solanke, according to the Newcastle Chronicle (h/t Liverpool Echo). The report claims that the club is also looking at another Liverpool striker, Divock Origi.
The club already have a couple of players on loan from English sides, Salomon Rondon and Kenedy, and would not be allowed to make another loan move in the January window.
Solanke has struggled for game time this season and hasn’t played a single minute of football for the senior side. The 21-year-old did score a goal for the Reds in the Premier League last season and made 21 appearances in the competition.
However, only five of those were starts and the youngster hasn’t featured in any of the cup games this season either. Minutes on the pitch will be tough for the Englishman as Liverpool prefer Roberto Firmino to lead the attack.
Daniel Sturridge has seen a revival in his Anfield career this season and has four goals to his name in all competitions.
Solanke does need time on the pitch to get better and it will be interesting to see if we are willing to let him leave in the winter window or not.
Liverpool injury update: Reds confirm that star attacker has undergone a successful surgery
The Senegalese star’s surgery was supervised by our medics and was successful. The report adds that Mane’s recovery will be monitored in the coming days ahead of our clash against Huddersfield on Saturday.
The 26-year-old is on a bit of a goal drought as he hasn’t scored for club or country since September 1. Mane’s last goal came in the 2-1 win over Leicester and the 26-year-old doesn’t even have an assist to his name since scoring that goal against the Foxes.
Liverpool need their top stars to be firing but have a number of injury concerns ahead of the Huddersfield clash. Virgil van Dijk, Naby Keita, Mohamed Salah and James Milner all have issues that the club have to keep an eye on but we could see a couple of them start against the Terriers.
The Reds haven’t won a game since their 3-0 triumph over Southampton on 22nd September, but we should start as favourites against a win-less Huddersfield.
It will be interesting to see what Jurgen Klopp does with his team. We don’t have tough fixtures until te game against Arsenal November 3, and this is the ideal time for the manager to rotate the squad.
Mane is an important player for the team but he should only play when he is 100% fit.
Barcelona interested in January swoop for 29-year-old Liverpool star
The Croatian has a couple of starts for the Reds this season, with one coming in the 0-0 draw against Manchester City last week.
The 29-year-old has seen his spot in the starting XI taken up by Joe Gomez. Liverpool seem to prefer a centre-back pairing of Gomez and Virgil van Dijk, and that has seen us concede just three goals in eight Premier League games.
The La Liga champions are facing a bit of a crisis at the back, as per the report. Samuel Umtiti and Thomas Vermaelen are out for a while and that only leaves Gerard Pique and Clement Lenglet as the fit central defenders in the team.
Barcelona haven’t looked invincible this season and have conceded nine goals in eight games. They sit second in the league behind Sevilla and have won just four of their opening eight games in the competition.
Lovren, for his part, recently came back from an injury he picked up during the World Cup. The Croatian looked in decent touch against Manchester City and selling him in January would be a big risk taken by the Reds.
Liverpool only have Joel Matip as their other senior central defender and we need to keep the Croatian at the club until the end of the season just in case there’s an injury crisis.
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