Rumour Has It: PSG, Liverpool and Man Utd chasing Barca sensation, Madrid's Asensio wanted at Anfield

By Sports Desk October 08, 2021

Gavi has fast become the talk of Spanish football.

The 17-year-old is a regular for Barcelona and now an international for Luis Enrique's Spain.

His exploits have reportedly attracted interest from Europe's elite.

 

TOP STORY – TRIO CHASING GAVI

Paris Saint-Germain, Liverpool and Manchester United are interested in Barcelona and Spain sensation Gavi, according to El Nacional.

Gavi has enjoyed a rapid rise at Camp Nou this season, while he earned his first international cap in Spain's Nations League semi-final success against Italy on Wednesday.

PSG, Liverpool and United are eyeing Gavi as Barca try to extend the 17-year-old's contract, claims Mundo Deportivo.

 

ROUND-UP

- ABC claims Liverpool have set their sights on Real Madrid attacker Marco Asensio, who is reportedly unhappy at the Santiago Bernabeu.

Juventus and Inter are eyeing Bayern Munich centre-back Niklas Sule, says Calciomercato. The Germany international, who is out of contract at the end of the season, has also been linked with Chelsea.

- Bundesliga champions Bayern are monitoring PSV winger Cody Gakpo. The 22-year-old is seen as an ideal replacement Kingsley Coman, who is reportedly wanted by the likes of Liverpool and United.

Valencia and Real Betis are battling to sign out-of-favour Inter forward Alexis Sanchez, per Calciomercato. The Chilean forward has also emerged as a target for Rayo Vallecano.

Mauro Icardi could swap PSG for Juve as the Serie A side view the former Inter captain as an alternative to Fiorentina star Dusan Vlahovic, according to Gazzetta dello Sport. Vlahovic is set to leave Fiorentina amid links with Manchester City, Tottenham, Atletico Madrid, Arsenal and Inter.

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    Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp hailed two-goal hero Mohamed Salah and "unplayable" Sadio Mane after the Reds routed crosstown rivals Everton 4-1 in the derby.

    Salah bagged a brace as Liverpool crushed Everton in the Premier League to earn Merseyside bragging rights at Goodison Park on Wednesday.

    Jordan Henderson and Salah struck inside the opening 20 minutes and while Demarai Gray pulled a goal back for Everton prior to half-time, Liverpool were in complete control thanks to Salah's second and Diogo Jota.

    Salah has scored 13 Premier League goals this season, nine of which have come away from home – it is more than double the number of any other player so far, while the Egyptian star is the first Liverpool player to register a goal or assist in seven consecutive away appearances in the competition.

    Liverpool's Salah has been directly involved in at least one goal in each of his last 12 Premier League appearances (13 goals, seven assists), the third player to achieve that feat after Stan Collymore (12, March - August 1995) and Jamie Vardy (15, August - December 2015).

    Salah, meanwhile, became the first Liverpool player to score twice away at Everton in the derby since Fernando Torres in September 2008.

    Klopp praised Salah, Mane and Jota afterwards as third-placed Liverpool stayed within two points of leaders Chelsea.

    "Not only him, but of course him as well," Klopp told reporters when asked about Salah. "Scoring these two goals, the first one was a pass from Hendo [Jordan Henderson] and the next one... he put [Seamus] Coleman under pressure.

    "We saw a similar situation in the Chelsea – [Manchester] United game; even Jorginho, one of the best in the world, under pressure and a high ball is really tricky. He went and put that away, absolutely great.

    "Diogo's [Jota] goal, outstanding. The performance of all of the boys was absolutely outstanding. I thought Sadio [Mane] was in moments unplayable as well, so it was just a good performance."

    Liverpool scored four goals in an away league match against Everton for the first time since a 5-0 win in November 1982 under Bob Paisley.

    Klopp's Liverpool have scored at least twice in each of their last 18 games in all competitions, the new longest record in history by an English top-flight side.

    Liverpool captain Henderson, meanwhile, became the first Liverpool player to score and assist at Goodison Park in the same Premier League game since Steven Gerrard in December 2005.

    "Hendo was good, but with his skillset you should be good," added Klopp. "When you can train, when you can play, when you get rhythm and then you have the quality of Hendo, then you will play good football games.

    "Tonight, I think it was for him as well the best performance at Goodison. Obviously since I'm at Liverpool we had to learn these kind of games. We had to learn to play at Old Trafford, we had to learn to play at Goodison, and tonight we showed that we made a big step in our development and that's really good.

    "It doesn't mean anything for the future but it shows us that this is now our benchmark, that's what we have to reach now in each game when we play these kind of teams, because emotions are important in football. We are a very emotional football team but, first and foremost, you need the right mood and mindset. Yes, emotion [is] good but not the only important thing."

  • Messi pleases PSG boss Pochettino despite drawing blank after Ballon d'Or celebration Messi pleases PSG boss Pochettino despite drawing blank after Ballon d'Or celebration

    Paris Saint-Germain head coach Mauricio Pochettino defended Lionel Messi after the seven-time Ballon d'Or winner fired a blank in Wednesday's 0-0 Ligue 1 draw at home to Nice.

    Messi was honoured pre-game in front of the Parc des Princes crowd following his record-extending Ballon d'Or title, but the superstar was unable to fire PSG to glory in the French capital midweek.

    Entering the contest having found the net three times in as many home games for runaway Ligue 1 leaders PSG, Messi attempted six shots, though only one was on target against Nice.

    It was Messi's highest tally without scoring in the league since April 2021 – seven with Barcelona against Real Madrid in LaLiga prior to his blockbuster Paris switch.

    "It must be my fault because with my football eye I always see Leo well, for something he has won seven Ballons d'Or, there is nothing more to say," Pochettino told reporters.

    "It is a pleasure and an honour to have him on our team."

    PSG registered 22 shots on goal – their highest tally without scoring in Ligue 1 since March 2016, with Angel Di Maria and Kylian Mbappe going closest to finding the back of the net, but were unable to break down their stubborn opponents.

    French powerhouse PSG conceded their first 0-0 home draw in Ligue 1 since February 2017 (against Toulouse). This was their first home draw in the top flight since November 2020 (2-2 against Bordeaux), ending a run of 20 games at home without sharing points (W16 L4).

    PSG, however, remain 12 points clear atop the table, though second-placed Marseille have played one game less.

    "When goals are not scored, what is lacking is to hit the mark, you shoot many times and the ball does not go in and other times it does," added Pochettino, who has been heavily linked with Premier League side Manchester United.

    "We have not been able to take advantage of the opportunities we had, but these things happen once or twice a season when you play well and the goalkeeper or the stick or it goes an inch out. You have to accept this kind of thing."

  • Gulf between Reds and Blues laid bare to devastating effect as Liverpool pile misery on Benitez and Everton Gulf between Reds and Blues laid bare to devastating effect as Liverpool pile misery on Benitez and Everton

    The Everton fans who had bravely bothered to stick around until full-time of Wednesday's derby-day surrender to Liverpool made their voices heard in no uncertain times.

    "Sack the board" was the chant aimed in the direction of the directors' boxes, with chairman Bill Kenwright and director of football Marcel Brands bearing the brunt of the ire from the disgruntled Toffees faithful.

    Conversely, there were plenty of songs of support for Everton boss Rafa Benitez – the only issue being they were songs of joy from a buoyant Liverpool away end keen to serenade their legendary former manager as his present employers were ruthlessly dismantled 4-1 at Goodison Park.

    The exodus of home fans began from 20 minutes, by which time Reds captain Jordan Henderson and Mohamed Salah had put Liverpool 2-0 in front – the latter and Joel Matip having already passed up golden opportunities.

    Those who stayed were offered brief hope of a recovery when Demarai Gray halved the deficit before the break, but Salah and the brilliant Diogo Jota offered a brutal reminder of the chasm that exists between Merseyside's heavyweights.

    Cliche lovers never fail to remind us that the form book goes out the window in derby matches. But that fabled window was slammed shut for an Everton side now winless in eight top-flight matches, with six of those ending in defeat.

    What is so maddening for the Blue half of the city is the predictability of it all. Everton's present predicament is the result of muddied thinking, a raft of managerial changes, and a baffling approach in the transfer market that has resulted in a disjointed and dispirited squad.

    Benitez has to take his share of the blame, of course. Attempting a 4-4-2 against Liverpool's attacking juggernaut, allowing Salah and the rest of the Reds' devasting cast the freedom of Goodison Park, is a decision that ranks among the very worst of his illustrious career.

    But the Spaniard's hands have been tied to an extent. Limited funds in the transfer market, the loss of star striker Dominic Calvert-Lewin to injury, and colossally dense thinking in the boardroom have all played a part in the Toffees' increasingly sticky situation.

    Benitez's appointment was met with widespread despair given his association to the Reds, which included leading Liverpool to that famous Champions League comeback in Istanbul in 2005.

    What will rankle even more for a despairing fanbase is the fact Everton's worryingly rapid fall is coinciding with a time where everything at Liverpool from boardroom to dugout is so frighteningly in sync.

    Picking a title winner from Chelsea, Manchester City or Liverpool right now is a tricky task, and for the neutral long may this thrilling race continue.

    But make no mistake about it, Jurgen Klopp and his marauding troops look bang up for the battle of regaining a trophy wrested back in style by Pep Guardiola's City last term.

    In Salah they have a player who many would agree is the best in the world on current form and he has now been directly involved in at least one goal in each of his last 12 Premier League appearances (11 goals, seven assists) – the third player to achieve that feat after Stan Collymore (12) and Jamie Vardy (15).

    The Egyptian's sensational form is in keeping with Liverpool's relentless assaults on their opponents. In this game, the Reds broke the all-time record for consecutive games of scoring two or more goals (18), and the 25 away goals they have scored in their first seven on the road has only been bettered twice (Sunderland, 27 in 1892-93, Manchester United, 26 in 1907-08).

    Moreover, the 43 goals in 14 games they have scored is not only their most at this stage of a league season since 1895-96 (48 goals), it is 10 more than anyone else has managed so far (Chelsea - 33). It is also the first time Liverpool have scored four at Goodison since the famous 4-4 in 1991, Kenny Dalglish's last game of his first spell in charge, and the first time in the league since Ian Rush scored four in a 5-0 win in November 1982.

    It was just over 13 months ago that Liverpool departed Goodison Park with a 2-2 draw and the loss of influential centre-back Virgil van Dijk to a serious knee injury after being clattered by Jordan Pickford.

    It began a raft of injuries, particularly in defence, that ultimately derailed their title defence. But Van Dijk and his team-mates were all smiles on a night when the gulf between the Reds and the Blues, both on and off the pitch, was laid bare in such a devastating manner in front of the watching world.

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