Dominic Solanke scores on first Liverpool goal as Reds beat Crystal Palace in Hong Kong

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Dominic Solanke

New signing Dominic Solanke came off the bench to score as Liverpool beat Crystal Palace 2-0 in a preseason game in Hong Kong on Wednesday.

The 19-year-old suggested he could prove a summer bargain at just $4 million as he linked up well with fellow striker Divock Origi, who also got on the scoresheet in the Premier League Asia Trophy win.

“It’s been a smart move for him and for us,” Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp told reporters.

“He saw the opportunity and we could see it also. You could see immediately he is a smart player. He’s a skilled boy and we are happy about this. We will help him all we can.”

Origi set up the first goal for Liverpool on the hour mark with a clever back-heel that found Solanke unmarked and the teenager made no mistake, finishing coolly in the stifling Hong Kong heat.

Origi then rifled home Liverpool’s second in the 79th minute, to the delight of a crowd of 40,000.

Klopp’s new-look front line proved a welcome distraction for the German coach following reports that Leipzig had rejected a huge bid of $86 million for star midfielder Naby Keita.

Klopp bristled when asked about the Keita situation as rumours circled that the Guinea international’s agent had been spotted in Hong Kong.

“Are we in Macau?” asked Klopp in reference to the world’s largest gambling hub, situated just across the Pearl River Delta from Hong Kong.

“What do you know? Sixty-six million (pounds) turned down today? I don’t think about this.

“Today both teams played good football,” added Klopp, turning his attention back to events on the pitch.

“In the second half we made some changes and we scored — nice. We changed the formation and it was nice to watch.”

Liverpool will face Leicester City in the Asia Trophy final on Saturday after the Foxes won the earlier match 7-6 on penalties over West Bromwich Albion following a 1-1 stalemate in normal time.

New signing Jay Rodriguez gave West Brom the lead with a stunning strike after nine minutes, only for Riyad Mahrez to squeeze the ball past Ben Foster to level things up midway through the first half.

Provided by AFP

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Manchester United, Tottenham, Manchester City - Top 20 clubs with the most academy graduate minutes in the 2016-17 EPL

Sport360 staff 19/07/2017

Manchester United’s academy made the single biggest contribution to last season’s Premier League of any youth set-up, a Press Association Sport study has found.

Their graduates racked up more than twice as many top-flight minutes played as the next best academy.

Players who finished their youth careers in the United academy were on the field for a total of 44,055 minutes in the study. Tottenham were second, with a total of 19,995.

The Red Devils’ reputation for developing home-grown talent extends back to the ‘Busby Babes’ of the 1950s and continued through the ‘Class of ’92’ group which played a part in the United side that dominated domestic football in the 1990s and won the treble in 1999.

The study shows that the United academy is still the number one producer of top-flight talent in England.

In their own line-up, France midfielder Paul Pogba – who rejoined United last summer in an £89million deal – racked up 2,609 minutes while England internationals Marcus Rashford and Jesse Lingard played 1,702 and 1,367 minutes respectively.

Other non-United players to make significant contributions to the Red Devils academy total included Burnley duo Michael Keane and Tom Heaton, who each played 3,150 minutes. England defender Keane has since joined Everton.

Bournemouth striker Joshua King played 2,721 minutes, while Leicester pair Danny Simpson (2,990) and Danny Drinkwater (2,466) were also key to the high total for United.

Stoke defender Ryan Shawcross played 3,150 minutes while relegated Sunderland used five United academy products during the season – John O’Shea, Donald Love, Paddy McNair, Darron Gibson and Adnan Januzaj. West Brom duo Jonny Evans (2,638) and Darren Fletcher (3,235) also came through the United system.

Burnley v Stoke City - Premier League

The biggest contributor to Tottenham’s total who still plays for the club was Harry Kane, with 2,536 minutes played in a season disrupted by injury.

Spurs graduates Charlie Daniels and Adam Smith each played over 3,000 minutes for Bournemouth, and Andros Townsend played 2,528 minutes for Crystal Palace.

Manchester City graduates managed 16,226 minutes to place the club third, but almost all of those were played by players who have moved on from the Etihad Stadium. Kelechi Iheanacho (526 minutes) was the only City youth product to feature in their first team in the Premier League under Pep Guardiola all season.

City graduate Ben Mee at Burnley played 3,016 minutes while Leicester goalkeeper Kasper Schmeichel featured for 2,667 minutes.

Adam Clayton at Middlesbrough, another City youth player, played 2,806 minutes and Stoke midfielder Glenn Whelan played 2,278.

Southampton finished fourth in the study, with 14,340 minutes, while West Ham were fifth on 13,907.

Of last season’s European qualifiers from the Premier League, Liverpool are the only one not to feature in the top 10, ranking 17th in the study with 8,753 minutes.

League One champions Sheffield United made a surprise appearance in the top 10, finishing eighth on 13,564 minutes – one place and 119 minutes ahead of Chelsea. Full-backs Kyle Walker (2,704 minutes) and Kyle Naughton (2,718) featured extensively for Tottenham and Swansea respectively, with Harry Maguire playing 2,306 minutes for Hull and fellow centre-back Phil Jagielka 2,250 for Everton.

The only club from outside England to feature in the top 10 were Dutch side Ajax, who were 10th. Graduates from Barcelona’s La Masia finishing school made the 12th-biggest contribution, while the largest representation from outside Europe came from the youth set-up at Argentinian giants River Plate.

At the other end of the scale, relegated Hull produced the fewest minutes of any Premier League team – just 501, shared between their own players Josh Tymon (325) and Jarrod Bowen (176).

The Tigers were the only club not to have a graduate feature for any other top-flight team and their youth products also lagged over 1,000 total minutes behind those of Watford, the second-lowest ranked Premier League club in the study with 1,513 minutes.

Almost exactly half of the Hornets’ total came from Manchester United winger Ashley Young (757 minutes), with the rest from their own players led by Adrian Mariappa (561).

Provided by Press Association

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Manchester United boss Jose Mourinho targets 15-year stay at Old Trafford

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Eye on the future: Jose Mourinho.

Manchester United manager Jose Mourinho has revealed he is targeting a 15-year stay at Old Trafford, telling ESPN in an interview on Tuesday he wants to restore the stability of the Alex Ferguson era.

Mourinho, who took over the Premier League giants last year, told the network’s website that he is desperate to deliver sustained success over a long-term period just as Ferguson did over nearly three decades.

United have not won the Premier League title since Ferguson’s retirement in 2013, with the club struggling to rediscover its dominance under David Moyes and Louis van Gaal.

Mourinho has never spent longer than three years as manager of a club during his trophy-laden career. But the 54-year-old, speaking as his team prepare to face Manchester City in Houston on Thursday in the latest leg of their US tour, insisted he saw United as a long-term project.

“I am ready for this,” Mourinho told ESPN. “I am ready for the next 15, I would say. Here? Yes, why not?

“I have to admit that it is very difficult because of the pressure around our jobs, everybody putting pressure on managers and things that people say — that we have to win, but in reality only one can win and every year it is getting more difficult.

“This club, for so many years, was Sir Alex. People got used to it; people understood the great consequences of that stability.

“After David [Moyes] and Mr. [Louis] Van Gaal, I come to my second year and hopefully I can stay and give that stability that the club wants. I will try, but again, I will have to try to deserve that, but that’s what I try every day that I work.”

Mourinho believes Ferguson’s 27-year reign at United will never be emulated in the modern game.

“I think Sir Alex’s career is unique,” Mourinho said. “I don’t think it is possible to emulate. Nobody is going to be in the same club for so many years, be in the same league for so many years. I think [Arsenal manager Arsene] Wenger will be the last with a similar story in terms of staying at a club for so many years.

“But I what I try to do in modern football nowadays is to try to deserve to stay in the club, because in this moment, it is about success. You have success, you stay in the club. You don’t have success, you don’t stay.”

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