Liverpool attack a nightmare for defenders - Alexander-Arnold

Carl Markham 28/12/2017
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Academy graduate Trent Alexander-Arnold hailed the “crazy” attacking options Liverpool have at their disposal and admits it is a nightmare for defenders – even in training.

Jurgen Klopp‘s side took their Premier League tally to 46 goals in 20 matches with a 5-0 win over bottom club Swansea and made it an incredible 75 in all competitions over 29 games. Only Paris St Germain and Manchester City from Europe’s top five league have scored more this season.

Mohamed Salah leads the goalscoring with 21, Roberto Firmino has 16, Philippe Coutinho 12, with Sadio Mane contributing seven after injuries and suspension disrupted the first half of his campaign.

“It is crazy because as a defender you know if you do your job and keep clean sheets it is a solid foundation for the attackers and midfielders to go and do what they do best, and that is score goals and create chances,” said Alexander-Arnold.

“When you are not involved in the goal you are almost like a fan with a different perspective.

“But I don’t think it comes as a surprise to anyone who is playing or on the bench to see it happen because it happens day in, day out.

“With the level being so high in training it is almost like it is a match situation, because the players you play against are sometimes better than the players you play against at the weekend.

“It is a nightmare because there is no real way to stop them as every one brings a different aspect to the pitch and it is crazy to play against.”

In a goal-heavy season, Alexander-Arnold himself has three after the Liverpool-born 19-year-old smashed home a half-volley in front of the Kop against Swansea for his first at Anfield.

“I’ve been dreaming of that since I was a little lad and to see it come true is incredible,” said the full-back, who has been at the club since the age of six.

“I just thought ‘Win it back for the team’ and then I thought ‘There could be a shot off’ and it kind of opened up for me so I just hit it and it was a good finish in the end. 

“Obviously you have an idea of the picture of the celebration but not specifically the goal, so just any way the goal went in would have been special.”

It has been a breakthrough 12 months for Alexander-Arnold after making his first Premier League start at Old Trafford in January, signing a new contract in the summer, playing in the Champions League and scoring his first goals for the club.

“Obviously I am really proud. It started well in January with the Man United game and I’ve pushed on really well since then,” he added.

“To be doing what I’m doing now is a dream come true – I don’t think anyone pictured me doing what I have just done to be fair.

“It all came from the manager’s trust and every time I get that chance I try to repay him on the pitch.”

Provided by Press Association Sport

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Harry Kane: 'I want to get even better'

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Hot-shot: Kane.

Harry Kane insists he still has room for improvement after the Tottenham striker’s treble set a Premier League record and took him above Lionel Messi to finish as Europe’s leading scorer.

Kane’s 22nd-minute header in Tuesday’s 5-2 win over Southampton at Wembley was his 37th goal of the year, moving him past Alan Shearer’s previous Premier League record, which was set when he played for Blackburn in 1995.

But Kane wasn’t happy to settle for that milestone and he scored twice more to claim his eighth treble of the year.

His second goal took him to 55 for club and country in 2017 – lifting him above Barcelona great Messi to become Europe’s top-scorer over the last 12 months in the five major countries (England, Spain, Italy, Germany and France).

Messi, who has 54 goals this year, can’t catch Kane as Barcelona don’t play again until 2018.

To sum up the magnitude of the achievement, it’s the first time either Messi or Real Madrid’s Cristiano Ronaldo have not led the way in nine years.

“I’m very proud. Messi and Ronaldo have dominated football for so long and they’re two of the greatest players ever so it’s an honour to even be compared to them,” said Kane.

“I’ll keep working harder, it’s about finding little percents to get better and doing things on the training ground to make you better.

“There’s a great staff here and a great manager here who will keep pushing me, don’t you worry about that!”

Barcelona's Argentinian forward Lionel Messi celebrates after scoring during the Spanish League "Clasico" football match Real Madrid CF vs FC Barcelona at the Santiago Bernabeu stadium in Madrid on December 23, 2017. / AFP PHOTO / OSCAR DEL POZO (Photo credit should read OSCAR DEL POZO/AFP/Getty Images)

Genius: Messi.

Tottenham manager Mauricio Pochettino paid tribute to Kane, who is now one of the most sought-after players in world football and put him the same bracket and Ronaldo and Messi.

“It’s a massive achievement and we feel it’s our achievement, something we share with his team-mates and the club,” he said.

“At 24 to score these goals. Not only a massive talent, how he is as a person and a professional it’s amazing to work with him.

“For me, he’s world class. Of course Messi and Cristiano are different. He’s one of the best.

“It’s difficult to say he’s the best but he’s shown to everyone he’s one of the best.

“The secret is work hard every day. That is the big secret of the big players like Harry, Ronaldo and Messi and company. You cannot afford not to work everyday.”

Kane might have been the game’s hot topic, but Dele Alli showed signs of rediscovering his best form, scoring one and creating two for Kane and another for Son Heung-Min.

“I’m happy he scored and helped the team, but we expect more and we will push him to be better,” added Pochettino.

Southampton scored consolations through Sofiane Boufal and Dusan Tadic.

By that point they had been blown away and are heading into a relegation fight after just one win in 11 games.

“It’s important to know how people react,” said Southampton manager Mauricio Pellegrino.

“You can realise how people really are. Which are the players who want to fight 100 per cent for the club. It will help me draw a lot of conclusions.”

Pellegrino is resigned to losing defender Virgil van Dijk next month, with Manchester City favourites for his signature, as he once again left him the Dutchman out in a move which backfired.

“I decided it’s best for the team as there around there a lot speculation,” he added.

“We win, draw and lose, with and without Virgil. In this squad I have a lot of players that can play. We are used to changes.

“We can’t use this as an excuse. We have to wait until January. I can’t control the market and we’ll see what happens.”

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Kompany tells Man City not to take their foot off the gas in pursuit of Premier League title

Alam Khan 27/12/2017
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Vincent Kompany has urged Manchester City to drive home their Premier League dominance by keeping their ‘foot on the gas’ – and ensure they do not become one of football’s fall guys.

The Etihad outfit head to Newcastle on the back of a 4-0 success over Bournemouth that stretched their lead to 13 points.

Kompany’s stylish side are expected to extend their record winning run to 18 games on Tyneside, but the skipper won’t take anything for granted – and especially that the championship race is over.

He has not forgotten how City themselves overturned an eight-point deficit to neighbours Manchester United in 2012 to triumph on a dramatic final day.

Newcastle, then led by Kevin Keegan, also infamously threw away a 12-point advantage over United in 1996, having topped the table from August until March.

“Yeah, I do [look at that],” says Kompany when reflecting on the 2012 comeback and the risk of complacency.

“I don’t know if everyone will remember, but it was six games left and we were eight points behind, so that’s why I am always the first guy to come in and say ‘no guys, we can’t really take the foot off the gas’. I really don’t want that.

“We push, we push, we push, and no one has the right to let their performance down, their guard down.

“We have to [keep this up]. It’s the first thing you think about. I was saying when you are on such a run you almost want to put it aside straight away and think about the next one because you know how little it takes to lose that special feeling.

“I think we all have a role to say something and there are a lot of experienced players in the team. We do mention it, but the manager will have mentioned it many times before as well.

“But then ultimately it’s the same for everything. We all have that feeling and we don’t want it to go away.”

City will no doubt come under increasing pressure in the second half of the campaign.

Not only with many tipping them to go through the season unbeaten, but from a chasing pack led by United, reigning champions Chelsea, Liverpool, Arsenal and Spurs.

“It’s the first time we have been ahead like this,” added Kompany, who also led City to success in 2014.

“Honestly I don’t know [how it will be different]. It’s just that thing where you still feel it’s a bit too early to draw any conclusions.

“We are in a position where we can just focus on our football, not anything else and winning the game and having the performance at the same time. It’s a bit different, but you can be in a position where the team, you kind of competing with, wins a game early doors and you have to play in the evening and you have to win it’s a different feeling. But the desire to win is there.”

Having only returned to action against Bournemouth after missing three games with a muscle injury, Kompany will be assessed before being considered to face Newcastle.

Boss Pep Guardiola said: “Every time he comes back we are happy and praying he’s going to stay [fit]”

Eliaquim Mangala is in line to deputise and Ilkay Gundogan, Bernardo Silva and Gabriel Jesus are also pushing for starts as Guardiola looks to rotate his squad.

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