Solskjaer praises 'magic' United after Southampton thrashing

Manchester United boss Ole Gunnar Solskjaer praised his side’s “magic” performance as they thrashed Southampton 9-0 on Tuesday night.

Saints side had Alexandre Yankewitz sent off after 79 seconds and Jan Bednarek was dismissed as the game approached its conclusion.

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There were eight different scorers as United equalled the Premier League record for the biggest winning margin.

“We shared the goals between the players,” said Solskjaer. “When the game starts like it does it’s always if you can get the first goal as we have seen so many examples of 10 men closing up shop and getting a draw.

“We’ve been waiting for them to show the magic and it was a night for them to go and enjoy it. We’ve not had many times where we could just enjoy the second half.

“You get lots of confidence from a performance like this, scoring goals is always good for a team.”

The 9-0 win is United’s biggest ever in the Premier League while Saints were also beaten by the same scoreline last season by Leicester.

“Confidence is one think but it was about the mojo and spark, the x-factor,” added Solskjaer. “Mason Greenwood was terrific and his performance was top for a player who did not score a goal.

“The second sending off for them, that rule should be taken away. The other rule is the offside one when play carries on and Aaron Wan-Bissaka was hurt by it. We have called for that to be changed.”

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Cahill scores winner as Palace hit back to beat Newcastle

Newcastle went ahead against Crystal Palace but Roy Hodgson’s side emerged with a 2-1 victory on Tuesday night.

Buoyed by their weekend win at high-flying Everton to snap a run of five successive league defeats, Newcastle made the perfect start when Jonjo Shelvey fired home after two minutes.

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However, Jairo Riedewald’s powerful deflected strike levelled it up after 21 minutes before Gary Cahill’s thumping header put Palace ahead shortly after.

Newcastle toiled away in the driving rain looking for an equaliser in the second half but Palace defended diligently to make sure they headed back south with three points.

Defeat for Steve Bruce’s side left them in 16th spot in the standings on 22 points from 22 games, eight ahead of third-from-bottom Fulham who have played two games fewer.

Palace, who had been overtaken in the standings by Wolverhampton Wanderers earlier on Tuesday, returned to a comfortable 13th place with 29 points.

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Arteta – No excuses for Leno, but may appeal Luiz red

Mikel Arteta said that Arsenal could appeal David Luiz’s red card against Wolves, but admitted that there was no justification for goalkeeper Bernd Leno’s sending off.

Luiz appeared to clip Willian Jose and there were complaints that the coming together was not a foul, with Arteta saying he did not believe the former Chelsea defender had touched Wolves’ new striker.

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“I’ve just seen the replay 10 times in five different angles and I cannot see any contact.”

Asked about appealing the sending off, Arteta told the press: “If I’m sitting here now I would say yes. We have to speak with legal at the club and see what the best thing is to do.”

Arsenal’s boss was more sanguine over the decision to send Leno off for a rush of blood to the head that saw him handball outside the area.

“I imagine he makes the decision in a split of a second and naturally he tries to stop the ball, there’s nothing he can do,” he explained.

After seeing his team lose again this season and missing the chance to close in on the Champions League spots, Arteta rued the fine lines in football after initially taking the lead through Nicolas Pepe.

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“It’s hard enough to win football games in the league. Those big decisions are like that but it’s nothing we can change at the moment,” he said.

“If there is any contact it’s him with David. I don’t know if they have a different angle to what they have or you have. Those big decisions are like that but it’s nothing I can change at the moment.

“It was a big decision and they can justify if they got it right then I put my hands up and apologise. The only thing I’m saying is I’m sitting here and I cannot see any contact and it’s really frustrating because it’s a big moment in the game.”

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Minnows Essen dump Leverkusen out of German Cup

Rot-Wiss Essen from the German fourth division came back in extra-time to beat Bayer Leverkusen 2-1 to qualify for the German Cup quarter-finals.

After being held for 90 minutes, Bundesliga side Leverkusen pulled ahead just before halftime in the extra period through Leon Bailey but Oguzhan Kefkir equalised early in the second half.

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Simon Engelmann snatched an unlikely winner in the 117th minute for Essen, who knocked out second division Fortuna Dusseldorf in the last round and last lifted the Cup back in 1953.

They have not been in the Bundesliga since being relegated in 1977.

Leverkusen, who fell to a third consecutive defeat in all competitions, are fifth in the German top flight.

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Jankewitz sent off 79 seconds into debut, Leno also sees red on wild night

Southampton’s Alexandre Jankewitz was sent off after just 79 seconds on his Premier League debut on the same night that Arsenal were reduced to nine men after two of their players were given their marching orders.

Arsenal were cruising 1-0 up at Wolves before David Luiz conceded a penalty in first-half added time and was given a red. Ruben Neves then scored from the spot to level the scores.

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A brilliant Joao Moutinho goal gave the home side the lead, and the three points, just after the restart, but Arsenal had no chance when goalkeeper Bernd Leno later elected to run out of his box to needlessly slap away a long ball instead of using another part of his body to clear.

That wasn’t the only reckless act of the night, as Jankewitz started his Southampton career disastrously.

Less that two minutes into Southampton’s game against Manchester United at Old Trafford, when the 19-year-old midfielder launched his studs in United midfielder Scott McTominay’s thighs, and Mike Dean issued a straight red with no hesitation.

United took the lead on 18 minutes through Aaron Wan-Bissaka as Southampton struggled to contain the hosts.

Marcus Rashford then added a second shortly afterwards to put United further ahead.

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Blades fight back to beat West Brom in relegation dogfight

Sheffield United scored a late winner through Billy Sharp to secure a 2-1 win over West Brom on Tuesday night.

West Brom took the lead four minutes before the break from a counter-attack, with Blades goalkeeper Aaron Ramsdale initially making two saves but parrying the second into the path of midfielder Matt Phillips who tapped in from close range.

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The home side equalised 11 minutes into the second half when Chris Basham entered the box to control the ball and turned his back to goal to keep defenders at bay as Jayden Bogle pounced and fired a shot that squeezed in at the near post.

The Blades defenders were the architects for the second when Basham overlapped on the right flank and whipped in a cross that was brought down by John Egan in the box and Billy Sharp was on hand to stab home and beat Sam Johnstone in West Brom’s goal.

Victory moved Chris Wilder’s Blades to 11 points from 22 games, 10 points away the safety zone and one behind 19th-placed West Brom.

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What is the Shoot Out? Why are O'Sullivan, Trump and Robertson missing?

What is the Shoot Out?

It’s snooker, but not as we know it. All the matches at the Shoot Out are played over one frame lasting a maximum of 10 minutes and under the constraints of a shot clock encouraging a quickfire thought process and fluid game management skills. Think of it a bit like snooker’s version of a Super Over in 20/20 cricket compared to the Test matches of the elongated World Championship.

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The televised origins of the Shoot Out perhaps lie in the old Pot Black programme on the BBC, staged in various forms from 1969 until 2007, which used to invite the sport’s leading figures to play a frame of snooker with the final traditionally contested over the best of three frames in the late 1970s and 1980s, back in the days when players played safe with safety in mind.

With the demise of Pot Black, last lifted by 1997 world champion Ken Doherty 14 years ago, there was room for a rapid replacement with the Shoot Out first being held in 1990 and won by Welshman Darren Morgan 2-1 against Mike Hallett without ever gaining sufficient traction at the time to progress its popularity.

An invention called Power Snooker was held in 2010 at the O2 in London amid much fanfare, walk-on girls and won by Ronnie O’Sullivan, with Martin Gould successful in Manchester a year later, but it was deemed too complicated, lacked wider appeal and disappeared into obscurity after the Shoot Out was revived in 2011.

Upon its return to the spotlight as a non-ranking tournament, the world’s top 64 competed for a £32,000 top prize that saw 1995 world finalist Nigel Bond defeat Robert Milkins 62-23 in the final.

Despite encouraging attacking play, there is space and time for tactical prowess. Using your time wisely does not always involve potting balls if you can establish a worthwhile lead and can keep the balls relatively safe.

Holt celebrates Shoot Out victory

Between 2011 and 2015, the event was hosted by the Circus Arena in Blackpool before moving to the Hexagon in Reading, the former home of the Grand Prix, in 2016. The switch to the Colosseum in Watford coincided with the contentious decision to award the Shoot Out ranking event status with the winner earning a place in the Champion of Champions later in the year.

Despite several objections to ranking points due its random nature (no player has won it twice over the past decade), 90 out of 125 World Snooker Tour professionals voted to keep the ranking status of the Shoot Out with 35 voting against the proposal weeks after Scotland’s Anthony McGill triumphed in 2017.

Key rules

  • Each frame is 10 minutes
  • Shot clock stops players wasting time
  • First five minutes = 15 seconds per shot
  • Second five minutes = 10 seconds per shot
  • Five-point penalty (or value of ball of pink or black if attempted) for failing to play shot within allocated time
  • Players must hit cushion with any ball or pot a ball with every shot
  • All fouls give opponent ball in hand
  • Players lag for break-off like in pool with the white played from the baulk line off the top cushion. Nearest to the baulk cushion wins the lag
  • Blue ball shoot-out settles tied matches with players aiming to pot blue off its spot from within the D

Where is it being held this time?

The event is usually held at boisterous venues that feel more suitable to darts with players dressed in t-shirts with their surnames plastered on the back, but that is the glitzy selling point of the Shoot Out with the paying public allowed to converse between shots and enjoy a few pints of confidence while the players are scrambling for their lives over only one frame.

The Marshall Arena in Milton Keynes has become the temporary tent if not home of snooker behind closed doors during the pandemic with the Shoot Out the ninth ranking event of the season hosted by MK between Thursday, February 4 and Sunday, February 7.

Who is the defending champion?

Michael ‘The Hitman’ Holt of Nottingham claimed the first ranking title of his 25-year professional career and a £50,000 first prize with victory over Zhou Yeulong 64-1 in the 2020 final. Holt became the first player to reach successive finals at the tournament after losing 74-0 to Thepchaiya Un-Nooh in the 2019 final.

Holt also holds the record for playing the most matches (32) and winning the most matches (23).

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Why does it matter?

Despite its more light-hearted nature, it has serious undertones. The Shoot Out carries with it ranking points which are vital for players battling to protect their World Snooker Tour status and also those armed with aspirations of qualifying for future tournaments.

The top 16 on the one-year list after the Welsh Open qualify for the Players’ Championship later this month while the winner of the event is automatically entered into the invitational Champion of Champions event. A first-round loser at the Champion of Champions collects £12,500 meaning £62,500 is potentially available overall to the winner if you add in the Shoot Out’s £50,000 first prize.

It is also part of the six-event BetVictor European Series that includes the Championship League, European Masters, German Masters, Welsh Open and Gibraltar Open, all LIVE on Eurosport. The winner of the series collects a hefty £150,000 bonus.

Why are the world’s top three players missing?

It is snooker, but not as they know it. Judd Trump, Neil Robertson and O’Sullivan are not keen on the chaotic and unpredictable nature of the tournament which can see players lose a match without playing a shot.

World champion O’Sullivan competed in the 2020 event for the first time in five years, but vowed never to return after losing to world number 104 Billy Castle in the second round.

“I will never play in the Shoot Out again. I love it as an event, but as a player there is no value,” he said. “I played it this year, the first time in five years, because everyone said they were enjoying it and I thought ‘I have got to see what it’s all about’.

As a player I don’t like playing in it, but I can step back and see as a spectator – which is the most important thing at the end of the day – it is enjoyable to watch.

World number one Trump last played in the tournament in 2016, reaching the last 32, a year before it attained ranking event status. Robertson’s solitary appearance came a decade ago when he reached the quarter-finals in Blackpool, but he has never viewed it as a classic form of snooker acceptable to the purist.

Billy Joe Castle ousts Ronnie O’Sullivan at the Shoot Out

Trump leads the BetVictor Series on £120,500 after his German Masters success, ahead of European Masters champion Mark Selby on £88,000, in the race to claim a £150,000 bonus as series winner, but, like Robertson, was not tempted to increase his earnings by competing at the Shoot Out.

Australia’s UK champion Robertson was scathing when World Snooker Tour decided to give the event ranking status in 2016.

“Absolutely nuts. A huge slap in the face to any player who has actually won a proper ranking event,” he said.

Who is playing this year?

Drama as re-spotted blue settles match at the Shoot Out

Former world champions Selby, Doherty, John Higgins, Mark Williams, Stuart Bingham and Shaun Murphy will compete with new Masters champion Yan Bingtao also in action. They are joined by Champion of Champions holder Mark Allen and former world finalists Kyren Wilson, Barry Hawkins and Matthew Stevens.

12-times women’s world champion and Eurosport pundit Reanne Evans faces China’s Si Jiahui with women’s world number four Rebecca Kenna meeting Germany’s Simon Lichtenberg.

Rising snooker stars Connor Benzey (England), Dean Young (Scotland), Dylan Emery (Wales), Robbie McGuigan (Northern Ireland) and Fergal Quinn (Northern Ireland) also gain entry to the tournament via WPBSA nominations.

Anything else I should know?

Ken Doherty, Jimmy White, Barry Pinches, Nigel Bond, Rod Lawler and Alan McManus will all compete this year as the surviving six members of the original Shoot Out event in 1990.

Odds

  • Mark Selby 16/1
  • Kyren Wilson 16/1
  • Jack Lisowski 20/1
  • Yan Bingtao 20/1
  • Mark Allen 20/1
  • Stuart Bingham 20/1
  • John Higgins 22/1
  • Shaun Murphy 25/1
  • Barry Hawkins 25/1
  • Mark Williams 28/1

Former winners

  • 1990 Darren Morgan (Wal)
  • 2011 Nigel Bond (Eng)
  • 2012 Barry Hawkins (Eng)
  • 2013 Martin Gould (Eng)
  • 2014 Dominic Dale (Wal)
  • 2015 Michael White (Wa)
  • 2016 Robin Hull (Fin)
  • 2017 Anthony McGill (Sco)
  • 2018 Michael Georgiou (Cyp)
  • 2019 Thepchaiya Un-Nooh (Tha)
  • 2020 Michael Holt (Eng)

Prize money

The winner will earn £50,000 from a total prize fund of £171,000.

  • Runner-up: £20,000
  • Semi-final: £8,000
  • Quarter-final: £4,000
  • Last 16: £2,000

Draw and results

Round one

Thursday February 4

  • Jamie Jones v Michael Holt (1pm)
  • Steven Hallworth v Declan Lavery (1:15pm)
  • David Grace v Lu Ning (1:30pm)
  • Ken Doherty v Graeme Dott (1:45pm)
  • Oliver Lines v Robbie Williams (2pm)
  • Allan Taylor v Jackson Page (2:15pm)
  • Rebecca Kenna v Simon Lichtenberg (2:30pm)
  • Zhou Yuelong v Ian Burns (2:45pm)
  • Matthew Stevens v Fergal Quinn (3pm)
  • Sam Craigie v Ashley Hugill (3:15pm)
  • Lee Walker v Ashley Carty (3:30pm)
  • Brian Ochoiski v Eden Sharav (3:45pm)
  • Dean Young v Riley Parsons (4pm)
  • Aaron Hill v Andy Hicks (4:15pm)
  • Liang Wenbo v Gao Yang (4:30pm)
  • Mark Allen v Jimmy Robertson (4:45pm)
  • Ali Carter v Mark Williams (7pm)
  • Martin O’Donnell v Ben Woollaston (7:15pm)
  • Anthony Hamilton v Robert Milkins (7:30pm)
  • Andrew Higginson v Mark Joyce (7:45pm)
  • Luca Brecel v Shaun Murphy (8pm)
  • Joe O’Connor v Leo Fernandez (8:15pm)
  • Fraser Patrick v Gerard Greene (8:30pm)
  • Michael White v Mark King (8:45pm)
  • Billy Joe Castle v Mark Selby (9pm)
  • Farakh Ajaib v Hossein Vafaei (9:15pm)
  • Duane Jones v Sean Maddocks (9:30pm)
  • David Gilbert v Lei Peifan (9:45pm)
  • Stuart Carrington v Connor Benzey (10pm)
  • David Lilley v Lu Haotian (10:15pm)
  • Rory McLeod v Stuart Bingham (10:30pm)
  • Kyren Wilson v Robbie McGuigan (10:45pm)

Friday February 5

  • Xi Si v Jimmy White (1pm)
  • Chang Bingyu v Noppon Saengkham (1:15pm)
  • Iulian Boiko v Jordan Brown (1:30pm)
  • Yan Bingtao v Barry Pinches (1:45pm)
  • Ricky Walden v Xiao Guodong (2pm)
  • Zhao Jianbo v Dylan Emery (2:15pm)
  • Alan McManus v Fan Zhengyi (2:30pm)
  • Yuan Sijun v Tom Ford (2:45pm)
  • Jack Lisowski v Peter Devlin (3pm)
  • Zhao Xintong v Peter Lines (3:15pm)
  • Li Hang v James Cahill (3:30pm)
  • Thepchaiya Un-Nooh v Brandon Sargeant (3:45pm)
  • Nigel Bond v Sohail Vahedi (4pm)
  • Tian Pengfei v Mitchell Mann (4:15pm)
  • Joe Perry v Paul Davison (4:30pm)
  • Gary Wilson v Barry Hawkins (4:45pm)
  • John Higgins v Scott Donaldson (7pm)
  • Jak Jones v Ben Hancorn (7:15pm)
  • Chris Wakelin v Igor Figueirido (7:30pm)
  • Pang Junxi v Jamie Clarke (7:45pm)
  • Ryan Day v Matthew Selt (8pm)
  • Liam Highfield v Rod Lawler (8:15pm)
  • Kacper Filipiak v Zak Surety (8:30pm)
  • Luo Honghao v Alexander Ursenbacher (8:45pm)
  • Elliot Slessor v Daniel Wells (9pm)
  • Amine Amiri v Louis Heathcote (9:15pm)
  • Jamie O’Neill v Alex Borg (9:30pm)
  • Chen Zifan v Mark Davis (9:45pm)
  • Akani Songsermsawad v Dominic Dale (10pm)
  • Martin Gould v Kurt Maflin (10:15pm)
  • Jamie Wilson v Lukas Kleckers (10:30pm)
  • Si Jiahui v Reanne Evans (10:45pm)

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Moutinho stunner sees Wolves past nine-man Arsenal

João Moutinho scored one of the goals of the season as Wolves came from behind to beat nine-man Arsenal 2-1 after David Luiz and Bernd Leno were both sent off.

Mike Arteta’s side stormed out of the blocks with the returning Bukayo Saka hitting the post in the first minute and having a goal disallowed for off-side in the build up.

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Nicolas Pepe then had a shot saved onto the bar but opened the scoring with a fine solo effort for his third goal in four games.

It all looked to be going to plan for the Gunners until first half stoppage time when Luiz was sent off for catching Willian Jose in the box and Reuben Neves hammered home the resulting penalty to equalise.

Arteta brought on Gabriel to shore up the back but his side found themselves behind after a stunning 30-yard strike from Moutinho flew in off the post, his first ever goal at Molineux.

Things went from bad to worse for the visitors when Leno was sent off for bizarrely using his arm outside the box, volleyball style, to clear the ball.

And Nuno Esprito Santo’s side held on to win this bizarre game to record their first victory in the league since mid-December.

TALKING POINT

Should David Luiz have been sent off? It looked soft as the defender clipped Jose’s heel accidentally, but he did not get any of the ball and caught the striker from behind in the box. It was more bad luck than bad decision making from the Brazilian. Maybe time for another look at the rulebook.

David Luiz reacts after being sent off for Arsenal

Image credit: Getty Images

MAN OF THE MATCH

Joao Moutinho (Wolves): The 34-year-old scored a memorable first goal at Molineux with a curling finish from distance. And his energy and link-up play with Neves was a threat throughout.

PLAYER RATINGS

WOLVES: Patricio 5, Boly 6, Coady 5, Kilman 7, Semedo 5, Moutinho 9, Neves 8, Neto 8, Traore 7, Podence 7, Willian Jose 6. Subs: Vitinha 5, Dendoncker n/a, Silva n/a.

ARSENAL: Leno 3, Bellerin 6, Holding 5, Luiz 4, Cedric 6, Partey 7, Xhaka 5, Pepe 8, Smith Rowe 6, Saka 8, Lacazette 5. Subs: Gabriel 5, Aubameyang 5, Runnarson n/a.

KEY MOMENTS

10′ – DISALLOWED GOAL FOR ARSENAL! Lacazette cuts it back for Saka in the box who hammers it in first time. It is disallowed by VAr for an off-side against Lacazette.

25′ – GOOD SAVE! Smith Rowe cuts it back to Pepe who makes a late run and hammers it towards goal and its beaten away by the keeper onto the bar.

32′ – GOAL FOR ARSENAL! Pepe ploughs his way through two challenges and fires the ball in from a tight angle.

45’+3 – RED CARD AND WOLVES PENALTY! Luiz is off for catching Jose from behind. Neves steps up and hammers it into the roof of the net. 1-1.

49′ – WOLVES SCORE A BANGER! Moutinho with an arrowing strike from all of 30 yards in off the post.

72′ – RED CARD FOR LENO! The keeper races off his line and uses his arm to put the ball out of play. Bizarre red card.

KEY STAT

Since David Luiz’s Arsenal debut in August 2019, he has received more red cards (3) and conceded more penalties (6) than any other player in the competition.

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Parker: Klopp must handle Kabak and Davies with care

Paul Parker believes Liverpool boss Jurgen Klopp has to take care of Deadline Day signings Ozan Kabak and Ben Davies if his side are to mount a renewed challenge for the Premier League.

At United there were two standout winter arrivals in my time at Old Trafford: William Prunier and Andy Cole.

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I played with Prunier in that 4-0 loss at White Hart Lane, but it just wasn’t real. People just don’t believe what happened when we discuss it. Cole’s time with the club showed what’s more likely to happen to Ben Davies and Ozan Kabak, and how Jurgen Klopp can make sure they settle in as quickly as possible.

When Cole came to United, we already had our own way of playing. At Newcastle United, they had theirs. He was used to running in behind, and there were always crosses coming in from the wings for him to attack. The ball was in front of him. But when he came with us he had to change, because we’d have to play the ball into feet and work from that, and from that he was able to give back to the team.

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I think Cole was clear that there were times that he was struggling to fit in. But what happened was that the boss didn’t just give up – there was a long-term plan to get Cole in and get him buzzing in our side. By signing for United it opened him up to improving his game. He was respected more as a player when he was able to show everyone that there were was more to his game – and he was helped by the fact he knew he wasn’t the finished article when he arrived. Kabak and Davies will have to be helped through and will have to embrace a new way of doing things, and be prepared to learn in order to improve. They’re at a big club too now, and they must be open to showing there is more to them.

How well you adjust, I think, depends on the individual. It’s definitely possible to step up from the lower divisions and make a success of it. I came from two divisions down to join QPR. More recently, Dele Alli joined Spurs from League One. I think what’s most important for Davies is that Klopp doesn’t use his move up as an excuse not to play him.

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Klopp needs to be brave enough to put him in straight away – that’s how you learn. You learn when you’re on the job, and he might be raw but it will do him no good to be stuck playing inconsistently in the under-23s. In the first team he’ll have experienced players around him, and he’s used to regular football, so he can’t miss out. That means it’s up to his boss to help him with any personal troubles he might have as he adjusts.

Klopp will also need to be on hand for Kabak. He’s come from another country and you don’t know how many, if any, of his family are going to make the journey with him. He shouldn’t be left out of the team for too long. If players come from abroad without friends and family then it’s best they are allowed to play and feel like they’re part of a team.

The way Liverpool looked against West Ham, I don’t think anyone can write them off. They applied themselves well, and after beating Spurs I think they might have turned a corner. With some of their young players coming through, then they have added some depth, and perhaps some more belief. If Jordan Henderson can come good again they could be a dangerous side for the second half of the season.

Mohamed Salah of Liverpool scores their side’s second goal past Lukasz Fabianski of West Ham United during the Premier League match between West Ham United and Liverpool at London Stadium on January 31, 2021 in London, England

Image credit: Getty Images

If you look at the way Liverpool are, with their strengths and weaknesses, they have got more about them than United have. In the transfer window, United needed to add to their front line. They might get away with it defensively this season, but they need more for Bruno Fernandes to play off. Another experienced player alongside Edinson Cavani, someone who would run to open up the pitch rather than wait for a pass, could have made the difference for Ole Gunnar Solskjaer.

Manchester City are the favourites despite Liverpool’s transfer window. They’ve tightened up at the back, they’re physically and mentally more resilient. In the past they’ve crumbled against Liverpool, and I don’t think that will happen again – but we’ll find out soon.

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