Another week, another batch of confusing government guidelines – and in the football world it’s much the same, with regard to both matches and transfers.
Elite UK sport will return in June at earliest
Not unexpected, but the UK government has finally announced that no elite-level sport will resume until 1 June at the earliest.
The Premier League won’t necessarily be first back, with many other sports and competitions facing lower resumption barriers in terms of personnel and logistics, but this is at least a hopeful step in the right direction.
Once more, it’s important to point out there is no talk, no discussion, not even any consideration of the fact that rendering the league “null and void” or any variation thereof is any kind of possibility whatsoever.
The dates and caveats are discussed in detail here but clubs and the league continue to discuss return to training dates and other questions surrounding the games resuming.
Back to Melwood
It’s not really the great send-off our famous old training ground would have wanted, is it?! The Reds are back at Melwood now, in fits and spurts, and certainly not back in team training yet.
- The first group of players returned and the plan of action is detailed here
- Extreme measures taken to protect players are detailed by Reds physio
- And West Ham skipper Mark Noble says the season has to restart and Liverpool must be crowned champions
And according to the Mail‘s Dominic King, work has restarted on the club’s new £50 million training facility at Kirkby, following a two-month delay.
King reports that contractors “are gradually increasing the number of staff on the site and have implemented safe systems of work after taking advice from the government.”
However, they are also “assessing the impact COVID-19 on its ability to source materials and sub-contractors” and “Liverpool have not put a deadline on when they want work completed.”
Ignore the latest Saka headlines
We all like a good transfer rumour; the tricky part is deciphering which ones are actually good, and which are made-up b*ll*cks originating from websites with no more credibility than the average four-year-old’s recital of their dream the previous night.
Like the current Ox-Thomas Partey exchange rumour: Bin, due to point of origin.
Elsewhere, there are two others gaining headlines who we have been linked to over and over of late, but these latest headlines tell us nothing new at all.
Bukayo Saka has impressed with Arsenal and the Reds are admirers, but the story being carried by the Mail, among others, that the Reds will bid this summer is pointless and irrelevant.
It comes from Football Insider, which clearly isn’t anything of the sort, and says Arsenal will offer Saka a new deal and even if he doesn’t sign it, they’ll still keep hold of him despite Liverpool’s bid.
Do we have all bases covered with that ‘rumour’ then? So they can be ‘right’ whatever plays out? Good.
As for Werner, that’s Ralf Rangnick saying he’d suit a team which counter-presses and plays into attack quickly: i.e., he should stay where he is, at Leipzig.
And yes, he would suit Liverpool too—that’s kind of why we like him.
But the few outlets out there carrying more than just Rangnick’s comments, but extrapolating them to say the Reds are signing him, are newly bidding, he wants Werner to go there, etc…they are wrong. And pointless. And entirely unhelpful.
Leagues restart latest news
More in-fighting in the Premier League, unfortunately, with Sky now reporting a “majority” of bottom-half clubs want relegation scrapped for the 2019/20 season.
At least 14 clubs have to back any proposals for changes, including playing at neutral venues which is basically a requirement at this stage.
In Spain, LaLiga president Javier Tebas says he is aiming for a 12 June restart date.
Five players have tested positive for coronavirus across the top two divisions in Spain, he added, while also stating that domestic matches needed to be finished by 31 July.
And there are now just five days until the Bundesliga re-kicks off!
Quickfire LFC news
- Van Dijk has explained how he took the longer route to the top after almost missing the cut as a kid (TIA)
- Jurgen Klopp has no plans to distort the league and play the youth side if and when the title is wrapped up (Times)
- Lucas Leiva says he has no regrets about leaving the Reds after thriving in Italy (Goal)
- And former striker Emile Heskey says recruitment for younger first-team players is now crucial for the Reds to stay ahead of the chasing pack (ES)
Around the Prem
- Man City‘s owners have agreed a takeover of Belgian club Lommel, making it nine clubs in the City Football Group. The second division club will be linked with Robinho and Kaka any day now (BBC Sport)
- Man United and Barcelona will fight it out for Lautaro Martinez. Title fights in LaLiga or Serie A, or Europa League in the Prem? Tough one, that (Mail)
- Chelsea will sign Declan Rice if Real Madrid decide to sign N’Golo Kante, meaning yet more jokes about the blues after they released him for free at age 14 (Mirror)
- And Brazilian midfielder Gerson’s agent says Arsenal and Spurs want him, which sounds an awful lot like “Hi all European clubs, we’d like a transfer now” (ESPN)
Stupid rumour of the day
Dayot Upamecano’s agent says a big move is unlikely this summer due to coronavirus, which apparently is bad news for Arsenal as they were after him.
We’d suggest the worse news is that they’ve already been turned down by him once, while teams like Barcelona and Bayern are linked.
Arsenal: you’re not a big move or a big club in the current climate. You’re not getting Upamecano.
Tweet of the day
Virgil van Dijk ? Liverpool:
"Before I made the decision to choose Liverpool, I looked at all the aspects of the clubs; the way of playing, the team-mates, the future as well. The city, the fans everything has got to be a big part of joining a club." pic.twitter.com/YV4uHzps3w
— Goal (@goal) May 10, 2020
What we’re reading
A look back at Kevin Keegan’s “I would love it” interview, but from the Newcastle perspective and the players in his team, on BBC Sport.
And a look back at a behind-closed-doors game with West Ham in the 80s, involving some rather industrious language being heard, in the Guardian.