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Liverpool stars to go head to head for spot at World Cup as Africa’s playoff fixtures confirmed

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Liverpool stars to go head to head for spot at World Cup as Africa’s playoff fixtures confirmed

Friends are set to become enemies when World Cup qualifying in Africa continues in the playoff round after Egypt and Senegal were drawn together, pitting star Liverpool duo Mohamed Salah and Sadio Mané against one another in the pathway to Qatar 2022.

The pair of CAF giants entered the playoff round after each comfortably topped their groups by at least a seven-point margin, as qualifying performances went off without a hitch.

But the greatest football tournament in the world is set to be one superstar lighter when the pair clash in the headline playoff tie alongside other high-level clashes in Cameroon vs Algeria and Ghana vs Nigeria.

Egypt fans could well be confident that Salah comes out on top when the dynamic Liverpool pair put friendship aside, with the Pharaohs owning the rub of the green over Les Lions de la Téranga in their historic head-to-head (6-2-4).

Senegal is likely to be viewed as the favorite, however, with current FIFA rankings listing them as the 20th ranked side in the world while Egypt is just inside the top-50 (45).

Liverpool a ‘serious’ contender for Zakaria

Unrelated to World Cup qualifying, Liverpool are one of a trio of clubs that have made a ‘serious’ move for Borussia Mönchengladbach’s Swiss international midfielder Denis Zakaria.

The 25-year-old native of Geneva is out of contract at Borussia Park in the summer and Die Fohlen have consigned themselves to losing out on the holding midfielder.

Liverpool stars to go head to head for spot at World Cup as Africa’s playoff fixtures confirmed

MOENCHENGLADBACH, GERMANY – DECEMBER 18: Denis Zakaria of Borussia Moenchengladbach in action during the Bundesliga match between TSG Hoffenheim and Borussia Moenchengladbach at Borussia-Park on December 18, 2021 in Moenchengladbach, Germany. (Photo by Christian Verheyen/Borussia Moenchengladbach via Getty Images)

Not surprisingly, Gladbach would prefer there to be a resolution of the situation before the January window closes which would allow them to secure some sort of fee for Zakaria, rather than having to lose him for nothing in six months’ time.

But Liverpool will be made to contend with interest from Bundesliga giants Bayern Munich and Borussia Dortmund if they are to land the Swiss international, which will be no easy task despite their recent record of success both at home and abroad.


This article was edited by
Conor Laird.

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Premier League table

# Team MP D P
1 Manchester City 22 41 56
2 Liverpool FC 21 37 45
3 Chelsea FC 23 28 44
4 West Ham United 22 11 37
5 Tottenham Hotspur 19 4 36
6 Arsenal FC 20 8 35
7 Manchester United 21 5 35
8 Wolverhampton Wanderers 20 2 31
9 Brighton & Hove Albion 21 0 29
10 Leicester City 19 -3 25
11 Crystal Palace 21 -1 24
12 Southampton FC 21 -8 24
13 Aston Villa 20 -5 23
14 Brentford FC 22 -11 23
15 Leeds United 20 -15 22
16 Everton FC 19 -10 19
17 Norwich City 22 -32 16
18 Watford FC 20 -17 14
19 Newcastle United 20 -23 12
20 Burnley FC 17 -11 11
Player Team Goals
Salah, Mohamed Liverpool FC 16
Jota, Diogo Liverpool FC 10
Vardy, Jamie Leicester City 9
Antonio, Michail West Ham United 8
Dennis, Emmanuel Watford FC 8
Ronaldo, Cristiano Manchester United 8
Son, Heung Min Tottenham Hotspur 8
Smith-Rowe, Emile Arsenal FC 8
Raphinha Leeds United 8
Mane, Sadio Liverpool FC 8
Fernandes, Bruno Manchester United 7
Mount, Mason Chelsea FC 7
Gallagher, Conor Crystal Palace 7
Sterling, Raheem Manchester City 7
Maupay, Neal Brighton & Hove Albion 7
Silva, Bernardo Manchester City 7
Bowen, Jarrod West Ham United 6
Mahrez, Riyad Manchester City 6
Saka, Bukayo Arsenal FC 6
Maddison, James Leicester City 6





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Franck Kessie bids farewell to AC Milan ahead of Barcelona switch

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Franck Kessie bids farewell to AC Milan ahead of imminent Barcelona switch

 

AC Milan star Franck Kessie has taken to social media on Friday, to bid an emotional farewell to all associated with the club.

It has of course long been common knowledge that all-action midfielder Kessie’s time at the San Siro is primed to come to a close at the end of the month.

This comes with the Ivorian international having opted against putting pen to paper on a new contract in Milan, to instead take his talents to Spain.

Kessie’s next landing spot? La Liga heavyweights Barcelona.

As confirmed by a host of reliable sources, the 25-year-old earlier this year committed to a pre-contract agreement with the Blaugrana, set to tie him to the Catalan capital through the summer of 2026.

And now, as alluded to above, Kessie has for the first time made public his intention to bid AC Milan farewell.

In a post on his official Instagram account, the ex-Atalanta talent sent a personal message to all associated with the Rossoneri, first taking the time to celebrate the club’s first Scudetto triumph in over a decade:

“After five years, I couldn’t hope to end this great experience in a better way!”

“[It is] a unique emotion – we are champions of Italy!”

And, from here, Kessie went on to reveal his pride at having donned the colours of such a historic club, concluding that:

”[I am] proud to have worn this glorious jersey and to have shared this journey with fantastic companions! Thanks for everything! Thank you all!”

 

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Arsenal fans send message to club as Serge Gnabry’s price-tag revealed

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Arsenal fans send message to club as Serge Gnabry’s price-tag revealed

 

Supporters of Premier League outfit Arsenal have taken to social media in numbers on Friday evening, to send a message to the club over an alleged summer transfer target.

The player in question? Serge Gnabry.

For those not aware, recent days have seen wide-man Gnabry tipped for a shock return to the Emirates.

The German international of course spent four years on Arsenal’s books early in his career, ultimately failing to make the grade before sealing a return to his home country.

Gnabry, though, has since gone on to establish himself as one of the most highly-regarded wingers in Europe, with his haul of 17 goals across all competitions this past season a testament to as much.

Arsenal fans send message to club as Serge Gnabry’s price-tag revealed

MUNICH, GERMANY – MAY 08: Serge Gnabry in action during the Bundesliga match between FC Bayern München and VfB Stuttgart at Allianz Arena on May 08, 2022 in Munich, Germany. (Photo by Martin Hangen ATPImages/Getty Images)

Amid suggestions that Bayern Munich would be open to parting with the 26-year-old this summer, in a bid to avoid losing him for free in a year’s time, a whole host of clubs have therefore been tipped as potential landing spots ahead of the transfer window swinging open.

And one such club understood to be expressing a particularly keen interest in Gnabry comes in the form of the aforementioned Arsenal.

With Nicolas Pepe inching towards the exit door in north London, Mikel Arteta and co. are said to have identified the Bayern star as a potentially game-changing replacement.

And, as alluded to above, if the latest activity across social media on Friday evening is anything to go by, then it appears as though the Gunners faithful are very much in favour of a Gnabry-shaped reunion over the coming weeks.

On the back of reports spreading that the German is set to be available for a fee of around €40 million this summer, Arsenal’s supporters have flooded to Twitter, to send a crystal clear demand to the powers that be at the Emirates:

 

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Chelsea to return for Jules Koundé as Sevilla name price for Frenchman

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Sevilla name their price for Jules Koundé as Chelsea remain keen on French international

Chelsea are set to return for highly-rated French international center-back Jules Koundé as the club are in the final stages of having a completed takeover bid usher in a new era at Stamford Bridge.

The Blues have a long-standing interest in the 23-year-old Sevilla standout dating back to last summer, and the need for Chelsea to secure new options at the heart of the defense has become urgent with Antonio Rüdiger Real Madrid-bound this summer, and the German international set to be followed out the door by Andreas Christensen who will be without a club come July and with Barcelona still sniffing around the Danish defender.

Now, according to multiple outlets, including The Telegraph, AS, and transfer insider Fabrizio Romano, Chelsea plan to make Koundé one of two center-back signings this summer but will be made to pay at least €65million for the former Girondins Bordeaux academy product as Sevilla will look to extract maximum financial compensation in the wake of also parting ways with Aston Villa-bound Diego Carlos.

Though there is certainly an avenue for Koundé to access to secure a move to the Premier League outfit, who Chelsea intend to target as their second recruit in the center of defense remains to be seen after Bundesliga outfit RB Leipzig have ruled out a summer departure for highly-touted youngster Joško Gvardiol, who is happy in Saxony and has no intention of considering a move away from the club after just one year of service.

Should a deal for Koundé be found, Chelsea still must negotiate the summer market expertly to replace two key pieces under manager Thomas Tuchel, with just Thiago Silva, Malang Sarr, and Trevoh Chalobah the other available center-back options as the Blues look to close the gap to Manchester City and Liverpool in 2022-23.


This article was edited by
Conor Laird.

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