Alexis Sanchez is the right fit for Manchester United, says Ryan Giggs

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Ryan Giggs says Alexis Sanchez is a ready-made “superstar” who can give Manchester United a lift as they bid to chase down Premier League rivals Manchester City.

Sanchez on Monday sealed a move to United from Arsenal in a swap deal with Henrikh Mkhitaryan, saying he was “thrilled to be joining the biggest club in the world”.

The 29-year-old Chile striker, who came close to joining Manchester City last summer, has signed what is believed to be a four-and-a-half-year contract that will make him the highest-paid player in the Premier League.

It has been widely reported that Sanchez will earn a pre-tax salary of £500,000 ($697,000, 569,000 euros) a week at Old Trafford.

“Manchester United signing Alexis Sanchez is similar to Robin van Persie in the sense that they’re getting a ready-made superstar and you’re seeing the contribution already with Anthony Martial upping his performances,” new Wales manager Giggs said on skysports.com.

“That can happen when top players come in, those around them lift their levels, and there will be some difficult selection decisions for Jose Mourinho.

“However, Sanchez can also play on the right, as he did at Barcelona, so if Martial is flying then he may have to play in a different position, but those sort of decisions are positive for a manager to have to make.”

Attacking riches

United boss Mourinho said Sanchez would “complete our very young and talented group of attacking players” alongside the likes of Romelu Lukaku, Marcus Rashford, in-form Jesse Lingard and Martial, who has scored three goals in his past three Premier League games.

Giggs, United’s most-decorated player, said it was an extra bonus that the former Arsenal man would be able to play in the Champions League — United play Sevilla in the first leg of their last-16 tie on February 21.

“To have somebody like that, who won’t be fazed by playing in the big games, makes the squad look really strong,” he wrote.

United, who have not won the Premier League title since 2013, are second in the table but trail Manchester City by 12 points – a gap that looks impossible to breach even with four months of the season to run. 

Sanchez took a parting shot in an Instagram post at ex-Arsenal players who have criticised his attitude.
“There are people (former club players) who have spoken with no knowledge of what happens inside the club and cause damage,” Sanchez wrote.

“I must say I always gave 100%, until the last day, when I asked to the Mister (Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger) to be in the team, because I wanted to be a contribution.”

Armenia international winger Mkhitaryan, also 29, fell out of favour with United manager Mourinho after just 18 months at Old Trafford.

The Sanchez-Mkhitaryan deal is the latest move of a busy January transfer window during which Liverpool sold Philippe Coutinho to Barcelona for 160 million euros and signed central defender Virgil Van Dijk from Southampton for £75 million.

Reports in Germany say striker Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang could be on his way to Arsenal from Borussia Dortmund.

Provided by AFP Sport

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Jurgen Klopp 'frustrated' by Liverpool's performance in defeat to Swansea

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Jurgen Klopp blamed his players for becoming embroiled in a fight at Swansea City as they lost their unbeaten 18-match run to the Premier League’s bottom club.

Liverpool failed to grab a late draw to extend their lead over fifth-placed Tottenham as they lost to a single goal from Alfie Mawson — and Klopp himself clashed verbally with a home supporter.

It was Liverpool’s first defeat since October, but the points were priceless for Swansea, who cut the gap between themselves and those above the relegation places to just three points.

He said: “I am more frustrated about the performance than the result.

“We were just not good enough, especially in the first half. We didn’t play how we wanted to play.

“We didn’t keep the right positions we needed to, to cause them problems and didn’t stretch them.

“We gave them the opportunity to score and then we did exactly what Swansea wanted.

“They didn’t need to play, they needed to fight and we did exactly what they wanted and their confidence grew.”

Liverpool missed plenty of opportunities for their normally clinical strikers Sadio Mane, Mo Salah and Roberto Firmino.

They also came up against a goalkeeper at the top of his game in Swansea’s Polish number one Lukasz Fabianski.

The only goal came against the run of play in the 41st minute when Mawson swept the ball in at corner and Virgil van Dijk had misplaced a header as he tried to clear.

It summed up an awkward league debut for Van Dijk, who had previously only played in one FA Cup tie since his record £75 million move from Southampton.

The frustrations provoked Klopp into his argument with a Swansea supporter around the hour mark and he admitted: “He was shouting at me all the time but I reacted. I am a human being, not just a professional manager.

“I am sure I am not the first manager who has a problem. He probably has a season ticket.”

Klopp added: “Swansea knew that to win today they needed our help and unfortunately we gave it to them.

“They did the right things to deserve to win a game like this tonight and we didn’t deserve it.

“We could have equalised at the end, but didn’t have that luck.”

For new Swans manager Carlos Carvalhal, this was a tactical triumph as he used a five-man defence to deny Liverpool space and then hit them on the break.

The Portuguese likes to use seafood metaphors to describe players as either lobsters or sardines, but this time he was borrowing motor racing analogies as he left Liverpool on the hard shoulder.

Carvalhal said: “I talked with my players and said this (Liverpool) is a really strong team.

“They are like a Formula One car. But at 4:00pm in London it will be difficult to speed, they would be a car like any other.

“We needed to make sure there was traffic, we could not let them have open roads to drive in.”

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Liverpool suffer shock 1-0 defeat to bottom club Swansea

Phil Blanche 23/01/2018
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Swansea produced one of the shock results of the season as Virgil van Dijk’s Premier League debut for Liverpool turned into a nightmare.

Alfie Mawson struck the 40th-minute winner for bottom club Swansea, pouncing on a poor Van Dijk clearance from a corner that Liverpool’s £75million record signing possibly should not have conceded.

Liverpool came into this contest unbeaten in 18 games and on a high after ending the unbeaten record of league leaders Manchester City, so few saw this 1-0 defeat coming.

It was a frustrating night for Liverpool but they almost rescued a point in stoppage time when Roberto Firmino’s header, from a Van Dijk cross, came back off a post.

Jurgen Klopp’s side dominated possession and territory throughout, but their usual invention and spark were badly missing, with 24-goal man Mohamed Salah suffering a rare off-night.

Swansea remain bottom of the league – albeit on goal difference from West Brom – but it is now only one defeat in six games under new manager Carlos Carvalhal.

The Portuguese has instilled a real sense of belief that his new charges can avoid relegation, ever since Swansea suffered a 5-0 humiliation at Liverpool on Boxing Day.

It was no surprise that Liverpool set up camp in the Swansea half, with the hosts content to soak up pressure and break on the counter-attack.

But there was a lack of intensity about much of Liverpool’s play, even if Swansea goalkeeper Lukasz Fabianski had to bravely block at the feet of Sadio Mane in the eighth minute.

Swansea did break the stranglehold for Jordan Ayew to race onto Sam Clucas’ pass and find the Liverpool net, but referee Neil Swarbrick had correctly ruled that the ball had crossed the line and awarded a corner.

With so little defending to do, Van Dijk’s presence was felt at the other end and he almost repeated his FA Cup goal against Everton when he glanced Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain’s corner narrowly wide.

Sadio Mane had an off night

Sadio Mane had an off night

Van Dijk then released Salah with a delicious ball over the top, but the Egyptian could not control his difficult volley.

Oxlade-Chamberlain tested Fabianski after some intricate Liverpool passing, but Jurgen Klopp’s were stunned five minutes before the break.

Van Dijk made a hash of Clucas’ corner and his attempted clearance struck Federico Fernandez to fall perfectly for Mawson, who swept home his third goal of the season.

Liverpool were clearly rattled as Andrew Robertson and Joel Matip picked up bookings, but Mane should have levelled on the stroke of half-time when he sent Salah’s cross wide.

Klopp’s side were out early for the second half and there was little respite for Swansea as Liverpool began to crank up the heat.

Salah curled wide and Kyle Naughton produced a last-gasp tackle on Robertson with the full-back appearing to have the goal at his mercy.

Fabianski produced a fine fingertip save from Salah’s free-kick before a rare Swansea foray saw the tireless Ayew keep Loris Karius by a post.

Liverpool inevitably kept coming in the closing stages with Danny Ings, on as a substitute, almost scoring his first goal since October 2015, Joe Gomez firing wide and Salah shooting over.

But Swansea held on for only their fifth league win of the season to reduce the gap between them and safety to three points.

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