Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain ready to fight for his place at Liverpool

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Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain

Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain accepts he faces a fight for a regular first-team place at Liverpool but insists he is ready to seize his chance.

The £35million deadline-day signing from Arsenal scored his first goal for his new club in the 7-0 Champions League rout of Maribor – the Reds’ biggest away win in European football.

Oxlade-Chamberlain has been restricted to just one start, a disappointing individual and team display in the Carabao Cup exit at Leicester, since his move north having been a regular for Arsene Wenger’s side this season.

But there has been a notable upturn in his performances in the last couple of matches coming off the bench, against Manchester United at the weekend and then in Maribor where he was handed his first goal on a plate by Daniel Sturridge late on in the demolition of the Slovenian champions.

Jurgen Klopp has also spoken of the progress the 24-year-old has made recently, having spent the last six weeks adjusting to his new surroundings and the demands his manager is putting on him.

“It’s a competitive team that I’ve come into,” Oxlade-Chamberlain told BT Sport. “Everyone’s fighting for their place and I’m just ready for when I get the opportunity.

“I need to keep developing and learning a new style of play here and get used to that and then whenever I get my opportunities try to do as well as I can.”

Liverpool’s win in Maribor finally kick-started their Champions League campaign after two disappointing draws at home to Sevilla and away to Spartak Moscow and now lead Group E on goal difference from the Russians.

It also ended a run of one win in their last eight matches and provided a much-needed confidence boost heading into Sunday’s encounter with Tottenham at Wembley.

“We’re in an important part of the season where we want to get off to a good start and we’ve got a few results that haven’t gone our way,” added Oxlade-Chamberlain.

“Every week it feels like we’ve got a lot of goals in us and it’s just not clicking at the right moment. “I think we create a lot of opportunities and I hear people saying the stats are always Liverpool have 20 shots a game.

“So if we keep doing those things that’s the important thing, that we keep creating chances and keep trying and hopefully it will come off for us.”

Klopp was delighted to finally get the full reward for their efforts having regularly stated that little needed correcting in terms of their attacking play which a stroke of luck would not alter.

He was more focused on ensuring the defensive side – and not necessarily the much-criticised back four and goalkeeper – and noticed an improvement in that in Maribor with their pressure on the opposition when not in possession creating several turnovers which led to goals or scoring opportunities.

“The performance was very active,” said the German. “Good – or even better. From the first second it was exactly what we wanted to do.

“We wanted to show the best counter-pressing in the last few weeks – I really thought that protecting our offensive movements were really good but we could have done better in counter-pressing.

“Last night was really good. A few of the goals came from counter-pressing situations.”

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Kevin De Bruyne in no rush to pen new Manchester City contract

Andy Hampson 18/10/2017
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Kevin De Bruyne

Kevin De Bruyne insists there is no rush to sign a new contract with Manchester City.

The Belgian midfielder has been in brilliant form in the first two months of the season and delivered another masterful performance as City beat Napoli 2-1 in the Champions League on Tuesday.

De Bruyne’s agent Patrick De Koster has said he intends to begin discussions with City over improved terms in the coming months.

The outcome for De Bruyne, who is currently paid a reported £115,000 per week on a contract that runs until 2021, could be a huge increase in wages. De Koster referenced Paris St Germain’s latest big-money signings when he discussed the potential deal that he could seek.

In an interview with CRC Radio in Italy that has been widely reported, De Koster said: “His salary? I cannot say. But if you think what Neymar and Kylian Mbappe are being paid, you can picture.”

Brazil star Neymar, signed for £200.6million from Barcelona in the summer, earns a reported £500,000 per week in the French capital, while Mbappe is on £300,000.

None of this, however, is of any immediate concern to De Bruyne.

The 26-year-old said: “My agent went already one time to Txiki (Begiristain, director of football).

“Talks are coming. I’m patient anyway, I don’t stress. I think I read something in the press but I have time.”

De Bruyne, who played a lead role in Saturday’s 7-2 thrashing of Stoke, was again heavily influential as City claimed a hard-fought win over the Serie A leaders at the Etihad Stadium.

The victory, City’s third in Group F, was set up in a dazzling opening half-hour. Raheem Sterling opened the scoring with his eighth goal of the season after nine minutes and De Bruyne set up Gabriel Jesus for the second soon after.

De Bruyne then hit the bar and Jesus was denied a second on the line by defender Kalidou Koulibaly.

The rest of the contest was more evenly fought with Napoli awarded two penalties. Ederson saved the first from Dries Mertens but Amadou Diawara scored the second. Marek Hamsik had the best of a number of Napoli chances but John Stones managed to block him.

De Bruyne said: “The second half was more difficult. They were playing really good football. In the end it’s a great result for us. We handled it quite well and we’re very happy with the nine points.”

The former Chelsea and Wolfsburg player continues to attract praise for his performances.

But he said: “I don’t care. I have to do the things that I do. In football you are going to have highs and lows and you have to live in the middle. I just like to enjoy my football, that’s a big part of me.”

De Bruyne was also involved in a spat at half-time with team-mates Fernandinho and David Silva, who tried to prevent him speaking to the officials.

He said: “It happens. There’s nothing wrong. After one minute, it’s over. At home I get some arguments with my wife! I think it’s normal, it’s necessary.”

Provided by Press Association Sport

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Liverpool's Mohamed Salah and Leicester's Riyad Mahrez feature in our Arab Premier League footballers watch

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In this column, we track the best Arab football talents plying their trade in the Premier League and round-up their accomplishments every week.

Liverpool star Mohamed Salah is never far from the headlines after a series of devastating displays for the Reds, and he features this week following Jurgen Klopp side’s 0-0 draw against Manchester United.

Meanwhile, Riyad Mahrez scored in Leicester’s 1-1 draw at home to West Brom and Ahmed Hegazi performed well at the King Power Stadium.

Here’s a look at how these Arab footballers fared this weekend.

RIYAD MAHREZ | LEICESTER 1-1 WEST BROM

Not his best day in a Leicester jersey, but still looked solid in the Foxes 1-1 draw against West Brom at the King Power Stadium.

Although he missed the home side’s best chance of the game from eight yards out, he took his goal well to force a draw with ten minutes remaining.

Receiving possession 12-yards-out, Mahrez stroked the ball from home with a powerful right foot effort for his first goal of the season.

With Arsenal and Tottenham reportedly battling for his signature, the Algerian needs to step up to prove his €50 million price tag.

The 26-year-old was linked with a host of clubs over the summer, but is yet to replicate his stellar form from the Foxes’ Premier League title winning campaign 17 months ago.

Rating – 7/10

KEY STATS

Minutes – 90

Goal – 1

Shots – 2

Shots on target – 1

Key Passes – 0

Passing Accuracy – 86.5%

Touches – 67

Passes – 37

Riyad Mahrez.

Riyad Mahrez.

MOHAMED SALAH | LIVERPOOL 0-0 MAN UNITED

After firing to Egypt to a first World Cup since 1990 last week, it was no surprise that Salah started full of confidence against United, showing plenty of class and pace.

The 25-year-old stands out because his ability to dribble and cause problems, but he failed to engineer any breakthrough from dangerous attacking positions.

He did offer a threat when collecting the ball from deep but didn’t get into the right positions to trouble the United defence.

Worked himself into the ground and should have been named man-of-the-match, but instead it was awarded to Joe Gomez.

Rating – 8/10

KEY STATS

Minutes – 77

Shots – 4

Shots on target – 1

Key Passes – 2

Passing Accuracy – 90%

Touches – 52

Passes – 20

Mo Salah.

Mo Salah.

AHMED HEGAZI |LEICESTER 1-1 WEST BROM

It took time for the Egyptian to get into the contest but he recovered well to produce a solid performance.

His only key error during the game – besides an early yellow card for two tackles – was a sloppy back pass which nearly led to a goal from Jamie Vardy, but the Englishman’s touch took the ball too far.

Overall, though, Hegazi has been a totemic presence at the back this season for Tony Pulis’s side with commanding displays against West Ham and Arsenal.

Rating – 6/10

KEY STATS

Minutes – 90

Tackles – 1

Clearances – 8

Blocks – 1

Passing Accuracy – 70.6%

Touches – 48

Passes – 34

Aerials Won – 3

Ahmed Hegazi.

Ahmed Hegazi.

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