Premier League Stock Exchange: Liverpool overtake Manchester City for the first time

Alex Rea 17/12/2018
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The festive period is quickly approaching and for some the gifts have come early.

For others, they’ve entered the naughty list after a struggle in Gameweek 17.

Keeping tabs on all 20 Premier League teams is the Sport360 Stock Exchange (360SE), our season-long measurement for top-flight sides as we track each club throughout the campaign and take into account their results to assign positions.

We initially used reputation and squad worth to determine the starting price but from Gameweek 2 onward, we’ve examined their output to create a new value.

The total points gained for the season are used as a tiebreaker, but sides which have produced big wins against strong opposition get a big boost and vice versa.

Without further ado, here’s the rankings after GW17.

1. Liverpool: 560 / 572 / +12

Total for 2018/19: +97

We have a new leader atop the 360SE. Liverpool were utterly dominant against Manchester United. The chasm of quality mirrored by the mentality and the Reds were rewarded for their persistence, 36 attempts on goal to United’s six tells the story, with substitute Xherdan Shaqiri’s two deflected strikes securing a vital victory. Alisson was the late hero against Napoli, but his error for the equaliser was a timely reminder of the refinement he requires. Aside from that mistake, Liverpool were superb.

Shaqirir celebrates his second goal

Shaqirir celebrates his second goal

2. Manchester City: 567 / 572 / +5

Total for 2018/19: +76

If you want justification for the size of the task at hand for Liverpool in the title race then just peek at City’s bench against Everton. Raheem Sterling, Kevin De Bruyne, John Stones and Sergio Aguero provided Pep Guardiola with genuine elite talent in almost every key area. A confident again Gabriel Jesus (21) scored twice, Leroy Sane (22) grabbed a pair of assists with Sterling (24) rising from the bench to add shine to a 3-1 win, a young trio forming the present and future of this juggernaut of a team.

3. Chelsea: 490 / 494 / +4

Total for 2018/19: +64

In the first half, Chelsea looked like they were about to thrash Brighton after Eden Hazard powered his side to a 2-0 lead. Operating as a false nine through the middle, the Belgian battered Brighton with an assist and then a neatly taken goal for himself. Solly March made it very awkward after the break, but Hazard had already caused enough damage to see them home away from home.

4. Arsenal: 486 / 480 / -6

Total for 2018/19: +36

Arsenal’s 22-game unbeaten streak went south after the home side plotted their course to goal by going north. Ralph Hasenhuttl spotted a weakness in Arsenal’s backline and his new charges repeatedly ripped at that frailty by scoring three headed-goals. The high press also crippled Arsenal’s ability to build from the back, although Henrikh Mkhitaryan’s brace looked like it would have been enough to avoid defeat. Injuries didn’t help Arsenal from a defensive perspective and that caught up with them.

5. Tottenham Hotspur: 462 / 466 / +4

Total for 2018/19: +46

Spurs came on strong in the final moments of a testing clash with Burnley, but it looked like they would limp to a 0-0 draw. Chances came and went, their luck it seemed was out until substitute Christian Eriksen collected and coolly finished in stoppage time to sweep up a precious three points. It’s Tottenham’s highest points total in the Premier League through 17 games but the gap to the top stands at six. Not insurmountable, of course, but the top two are separating from the rest of the pack.

6. Manchester United: 450 / 442 / -8

Total for 2018/19: -16

Arguably the least motivated Manchester United side to visit Anfield in the last decade, Jose Mourinho’s bedraggled outfit were absolutely putrid. Their meek acceptance of Liverpool’s authority and command of the game will have vexed one half of the fan base and saddened the other. A shake of the head from Sir Alex Ferguson in the stand is perhaps the best illustration of their performance.

7. Everton: 386 / 386 / 0

Total for 2018/19: +15

Credit and criticism for Marco Silva in equal measure. The game at Manchester City may have transpired in different circumstances had Richarlison been able to finish an awkward opportunity early on. However, they were punished for tactical ineptitude, their bravery in opting to play out from the back repeatedly punished by a clinical City side.

8. West Ham: 370 / 375 / +5

Total for 2018/19: +13

Fulham created chances, West Ham scored the goals. The away side didn’t manufacture a massive amount of opportunities at Craven Cottage but Robert Snodgrass and Michail Antonio did the damage. Four-straight wins and 11 goals scored in those fixtures, it’s good times for Manuel Pellegrini’s Hammers. They lost their first four games but Pellegrini pleaded for patience and that has paid off as his side entered the top half of the table.

West Ham United's Chilean manager Manuel Pellegrini

West Ham United’s Chilean manager Manuel Pellegrini

9. Wolves: 342 / 352 / +10

Total for 2018/19: +55

A very good technical side with a pleasing style of football, Wolves secured a third win on the bounce at Bournemouth, the first time they have achieved such a feat in the Premier League. Despite being the home side, Wolves played largely on the counter and that plan worked a treat with two goals and a clean sheet. They sit seventh in the league table, a massively credible position to be in for the newly-promoted outfit at this stage of the season.

10. Leicester City: 356 / 351 / -5

Total for 2018/19: -3

Leicester travelled to a ground which has been cursed in terms of goals scored this season, only that hex fell upon the visitors rather than Crystal Palace. Jamie Vardy was desperately unfortunate not to equalise in the second half when Vicente Guaita’s smart stop bounced off the post and into his waiting arms as opposed to the frontman’s feet. A second-straight defeat having previously gone seven games unbeaten in all competitions will be deeply disappointing for Claude Puel.

11. Bournemouth: 332 / 324 / -6

Total for 2018/19: +46

Bournemouth play some gorgeous passing football so it will enrage Eddie Howe that his side gifted Wolves a crucial opener through an ambitiously awful backwards pass from Charlie Daniels. Even despite the initial knockback, they controlled much of the fixture without fashioning anything particularly clear-cut. In their push for an equaliser, Ivan Cavaleiro punished them on the counter-attack for a morale-sapping 2-0 defeat.

12. Watford: 300 / 305 / +5

Total for 2018/19: +55

Few games will rival Watford’s 3-2 victory over Cardiff for quality of goals. Indeed, all three from the home side were delicious while Junior Hoilett’s opener for Cardiff was thumping. Watford dominated for the first hour and a bit, creating the better chances with visiting goalkeeper Neil Etheridge in fine form. A late collapse marked them up but the knockout blow had already been landed. Keep an eye on Domingos Quina, the 19-year-old – outside of his stunning strike – was splendid in midfield.

13. Brighton: 299 / 300 / +1

Total for 2018/19: +50

It was always going to be a tough encounter for Brighton with Chelsea visiting, but a change in mentality in the second half saw them make a good game of it after going two down. They poured men forward after trying to sit in and keep it compact, maybe that opposite philosophy from the start would have seen them avoid defeat. For their endeavour in the second half, though, Brighton deserve a small reward with a point stock boost.

14. Crystal Palace: 292 / 300 / +3

Total for 2018/19: +9

Without their crown jewel, Palace have lacked genuine threat in attacking threats, so when Wilfried Zaha was ruled out through suspension, their rotten record looked like it may continue against Leicester. Not since May 2016 had they managed to win without Zaha but thanks to Luka Milivojevic’s sumptuous strike, a 1-0 win was secured and a small stock increase as a result.

Luka Milivojevic celebrates his winner

Luka Milivojevic celebrates his winner

15. Newcastle United: 291 / 297 / +6

Total for 2018/19: +7

Counter-attacking football at its finest. Rafael Benitez had a plan to exploit Huddersfield’s high line and his team executed. A finely crafted move out the back was finished by Salomon Rondon for the striker’s fourth goal in his last six Premier League games. Rondon is proving to be a precious asset, much like this manager who is remarkably guiding his side further away from the drop zone.

16. Burnley: 273 / 273 / 0

Total for 2018/19: -16

Each week brings improvement for Burnley, if not the results to match. After troubling Liverpool for an hour and beating Brighton, Sean Dyche’s side continued their positive trajectory with a stoic performance against Tottenham. They had forced Spurs into hitting it long thanks to their organisation behind the ball, but lost concentration in the final moments to squander what would have been a deserved point.

17. Fulham: 264 / 260 / -4

Total for 2018/19: -30

Fulham’s sheet is dirtier than a cow bed right now. They just cannot keep teams out and are still the only Premier League side not to remain unblemished. Claudio Ranieri has brought about a renewed sense of optimism since taking over the helm. Optimism, but still not defensive organisation. West Ham scored twice and it was all too easy. The Italian will need to drag his side to January and hope reinforcements can help mount a survival effort.

18. Southampton: 250 / 255 / +15

Total for 2018/19: -5

Passion and purpose. Survival is built on those two fundamental aspects and on the basis of Ralph Hasenhuttl’s first game in charge, Southampton will have both under his management. Players complained of cramp towards the end of their victory over Arsenal having installed a new-look high-intensity press. It worked, though, as the side which couldn’t win, beat a side which couldn’t lose.

Danny Ings opens the scoring for Southampton

Danny Ings opens the scoring for Southampton

19. Huddersfield Town: 241 / 240 / -1

Total for 2018/19: +1

Four-straight defeats by a solitary goal tells you where the crux of Huddersfield’s problems lie. They create chances, but scoring has been a chronic illness all season long and despite promising performances are nestled in the bottom three. In a huge fixture for the shape of the relegation tussle, David Wagner’s men came out second best against a visiting Newcastle side.

20. Cardiff City: 226 / 228 / +2

Total for 2018/19: +28

It’s now 11 defeats for Cardiff this season and although they remain outside the relegation zone, only Fulham have tasted more losses. A late fightback at Watford to recover from a 3-0 deficit offers some encouragement, however, the visits of Tottenham and Manchester United in two of their next four games will be rather concerning for Neil Warnock. A slight stock boost for their character in the closing stages, though.

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Liverpool are getting peak Xherdan Shaqiri after star showing against Man United

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Xherdan Shaqiri

Xherdan Shaqiri believes Liverpool will benefit from his peak years at the club and while he is disappointed not to start every week, he feels Jurgen Klopp’s management suits him.

The Switzerland midfielder came off the bench to score twice in the final 20 minutes in the 3-1 victory over Manchester United which took the Reds back to the top of the Premier League.

Shaqiri has now netted five goals in 13 league appearances for the Reds, seven of which have been starts, and is just three goals short of his best Premier League tally of eight, achieved during Stoke’s relegation last season.

The 27-year-old is well on his way to the most prolific campaign of his career and he feels Liverpool are about to see the very best of him.

And he rejected suggestions his summer move to Anfield was make-or-break for him to succeed at a big club after indifferent spells at Bayern Munich and Inter Milan.

“No. I don’t think that far. For me, I just want to improve, I’m 27, my best age to perform at a high level, so I hope the best times are coming,” he said.

“I’m in a good way and I want to help this club to try to achieve a lot of things and we are in a good way.

“Obviously I’d be lying if I said you are not disappointed when you are on the bench – every player is disappointed when he’s on the bench.

“But I always stay positive and try to help the team when I come on and you saw when I came on I tried to help the team and to have an impact.

“I scored two goals and we won the game and that’s, for me, the most important thing in the end.”

Jurgen Klopp embraces Xherdan Shaqiri after his superb performance against Red Star Belgrade.

Shaqiri believes he is flourishing under Klopp’s tutelage, in which the Reds boss has usually played him as part of an attacking quartet alongside Mohamed Salah, Roberto Firmino and Sadio Mane in a 4-2-3-1 system.

“Of course the style, how they play, it’s for me too,” he added.

“I have to go on the pitch and perform and I have qualities to be in the team, to have an impact, to decide games.

“I want that too so I try to perform always when I am on the pitch, to help the team, to score goals, to give assists, and I’m very happy at the moment with my performances.

“It was a beautiful feeling to score two goals against Manchester United, an important game against a big rival for Liverpool, and to score in front of the Kop again was good.”

Victory not only restored unbeaten Liverpool’s one-point advantage over Manchester City at the top of the table but has given them the chance to extend that gap to four points when they play Wolves on Friday night.

“We try to stay there as long as we can. If you win games you can stay there, and if you don’t win you go below,” he said.

“If we keep going like this, we don’t know what will happen in the end but I hope we can have a nice end of the season.

“Every team in the Premier League can win a game, every team is beatable, but you need to have a very high level of performance to win a game.

“If you play only with 80 per cent, you can lose a game, so you have to be always 100 per cent and we manage that very well.”

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Steven Gerrard says Liverpool starlet has "made wrong decision"

Andy Newport 17/12/2018
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Ovie Ejaria

Steven Gerrard has told Ovie Ejaria he has made the wrong decision in quitting Rangers to return to Liverpool.

The Anfield youngster has called time on his season-long move after growing “unsettled” in Glasgow.

Gerrard held talks with the 21-year-old on Friday after the Londoner was left out of the squad which travelled to Austria for Thursday’s Europa League clash with Rapid Vienna.

But the former Liverpool skipper was unable to persuade Ejaria to stay at Ibrox amid reports the playmaker was struggling with the physical nature of Scottish football.

“Look he’s a Liverpool player so I first and foremost have to respect the kid and the privacy,” he said after watching Rangers beat Hamilton 1-0 to move back to the top of the Scottish Premiership. “I’d like to thank Liverpool for the opportunity to have him here for half the season.

“Am I disappointed he’s gone? Yes. Do I think it’s the right decision? No, because I think he had an incredible opportunity here.

“But I’m never going to stand in a player’s way who is not happy and who is not settled because I have people who are desperate to wear the shirt and who would run through brick walls to wear it.

“It is what it is. I have to accept the decision. I’m sad about it, I wish him all the best. He’s a nice kid, very quiet. He told me it was 100 per cent football reasons and I have respect that.”

Rangers manager Steven Gerrard

Rangers manager Steven Gerrard

Gerrard was Liverpool’s under-18s coach before taking over at Rangers in the summer and he used his Liverpool links to good effect as he started his rebuilding project at Ibrox.

As well as Ejaria, Rangers have also taken wideman Ryan Kent on a 12-month loan deal. Liverpool have already said in a statement they believe Ejaria’s stint in Glasgow – where he made 28 appearances – would be “extremely beneficial for his career”.

And Gerrard is confident his early return will not put off his old side from sending their best young talent north in future.

“I don’t think there will be a problem, no,” he said. “That’s because we’ve just sent one player back who’s played 25 times, 11 times in Europe, who wore the number 10 for Glasgow Rangers in front of 51,000 people.

“We’ve got another Liverpool player here (Kent) who has played around played probably around 20 times, who has reignited his career after two bad loans.

“He’s doing unbelievably well and I want him fit as soon as possible. He’s having the time of his life.

“Kids are different, characters are different. I have to accept that.”

Provided by Press Association Sport 

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