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Glen Johnson has been training with Liverpool over the international break and will be available for selection against Newcastle United.

In Johnson's absence, Brendan Rodgers has set his side out in a 3-5-2 formation. As a natural attacking player, Johnson could flourish in that system, but it remains to be seen if Rodgers reverts to a back four or not.
Source: Liverpool FC
Thu, Oct 17, 2013 11:10:00 AM

Liverpool fielded a strong XI in their trip to Finland and managed a pair of second half goals to beat HJK Helsinki, 0-2.

While we wait to see the much anticipated debuts for Christian Benteke and Roberto Firmino in tomorrow's final preseason match, today's XI looked much closer to what Brendan Rodgers will have in mind when the club open the season next weekend away to Stoke City. After a rather uneventful first half, the Reds began taking control of affairs and Divock Origi would finally break the goalless affair in the 73rd minute. Only five minutes later, Pool doubled the advantage when Coutinho played a 1-2, then fired an angled shot that took a deflection and smashed the back of the net. As much growth as we witnessed in Coutinho last season, he still has a crack at getting even better. If he can add a few goals to the bevvy of assists he is sure to provide, he could move into the top tier of midfield options with David Silva-type numbers. Another interesting note, Joe Gomez got the start again today and is still has an outside chance of supplanting Alberto Moreno at left back.
Source: Guardian
Aug 1 - 4:00 PM

TalkSPORT have offered their eight recommendations for bargain Fantasy League players that will make a difference this season…

Based on the PremierLeague.com version of the game, TalkSPORT has offered a list of eight bargain priced players that they predict will have a big impact this season. Please note: this list does not represent the views of the author (although I do like number one and number six). Leicester keeper Kasper Schmeichel (£4.5m) is first up, with defenders Joel Ward (Palace) and Per Mertesacker (Arsenal) also considered snips at £4.5m and £5.5m. A midfield three of Jonjo Shelvey (Swansea), Mark Noble (West Ham) – both at £5.5m - and Southampton’s Victor Wanyama (at £4.5m) make the list. With the pick of the cut-price forwards thought to be West Brom’s Saido Berahino (£6.5m) and Bournemouth’s Callum Wilson (at just £5.5m). Over to you…
Source: Talksport
Aug 1 - 10:33 AM

Norwich City used goals from Wes Hoolahan and Cameron Jerome to defeat Championship side Brentford, 2-1, but the bigger story is that Youssouf Mulumbu made an early exit with an injury.

No details on the severity or even the exact location of the injury for Mulumbu, but it appeared to be an ankle issue. It happened with just ten minutes remaining in the contest. It would be a major blow to the Canaries should one of their key summer signings need to miss any time. Robbie Brady made his first start for his new club and the XI looked pretty close to what we should expect to see next weekend. The biggest question mark is at striker, where Lewis Grabban started today and through most of a productive preseason while Cameron Jerome, thought to be the preferred option has been working his way in gradually from an injury layoff. Perhaps Grabban has earned a Week 1 start, but with Jerome scoring in a substitute role today, expect the latter to reclaim the job relatively soon.
Aug 1 - 12:19 PM

AFC Bournemouth wrapped up their preseason schedule with a 0-0 draw against Bundesliga side Hoffenheim.

A couple of projected starters played in yesterday's friendly against Cardiff while the rest started today. Tyrone Mings was given another shift to prepare him for the starting gig at left back. Dan Gosling, Matt Ritchie, Callum Wilson and Shaun MacDonald all had shots on target but were denied by the Hoffenheim keeper. It was an encouraging effort from the defense though. If the Cherries can keep some clean sheets in the top flight, Mings and Simon Francis stand to carry very good value for the coming season.
Aug 1 - 12:35 PM

Crystal Palace finish up their preseason schedule with a 1-1 draw against Fulham.

Palace looked the stronger side, as they should, but they conceded a goal early and were unable to convert any of the several chances they created until Souare was able to head in from a Jordon Mutch corner in the 51st minute. The outfield X for Alan Pardew is looking mostly settled, leaving the biggest question at keeper. Wayne Hennessey started the game while Alex McCarthy rode the bench. No sign of incumbent Julian Speroni who is nursing a minor hand injury. Speroni should still be considered top of the depth chart, but the Eagles have three credible options. There are too many keepers that carry no risk at all to try and gamble on one from Palace. Best to allow the season to get underway and wait for one to be established before looking that direction.
Aug 1 - 1:00 PM

Newcastle wrapped up a less-than-impressive preseason with a 0-1 loss to Borussia M'gladbach in front of the St. James' faithful.

That makes three losses and a draw in the Magpies' final four friendlies. While the results "don't matter", it cannot help the morale of a club looking to move ahead from their poor showing last season. On a positive note, the defense wasn't a disaster, as McClaren put forth an experienced line of Daryl Janmaat, Mike Williamson, Steven Taylor and Massadio Haidara. Fabricio Coloccini is still missing from the squad, continuing the speculation that he is on the verge of an exit. Chancel Mbemba then should have a very good shot at starting Week 1 after getting a run out today. Odds are, he will partner Taylor next weekend. Taylor is looking the only 4.0 defender in FPL that will be in a Week 1 XI.
Aug 1 - 1:18 PM

Arsenal forward Chuba Akpom will be joining teammate Isaac Hayden on loan at the KC Stadium for the 2015-16 season.

Akpom has been impressive when he has been given a chance in pre-season matches and in early round Cup matches. A move to relegated Hull City will presumably give him experience as he attempts to make the difficult leap from the Arsenal youth team to the Arsenal senior squad. The talent appears to be there but with Danny Welbeck, Theo Walcott, Alexis Sanchez, Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain and Olivier Giroud ahead of him it was always unlikely he was going to get significant playing time anywhere other than the Arsenal U21 side. Arsenal supporters will have good cause to tune in to Hull City matches this season.
Source: BBC Sport
Aug 1 - 1:40 PM

Swansea City concluded their preseason with a 0-0 result against Deportivo La Coruna at the Liberty Stadium.

Taylor started the Swans' previous friendly a week ago and this was the final test before opening away to Chelsea next weekend. To see him starting again is a good sign that he has held Franck Tabanou off for now for the left back spot. Interestingly, Tabanou came on in the second half and was at the center of the game's biggest controversy. Deportivo had a shot hit off of Tabanou's hand in the area, but no penalty was awarded, resulting in a scuffle that ended with five yellow cards being issued.
Aug 1 - 2:59 PM

Yann Kermorgant will be assessed after the Frenchman took a heavy kick to the foot and limped off during the first half of Friday nights’ home defeat to Cardiff City.

With only 8-days until the PL kick-off Cherries’ boss Eddie Howe will be hoping his withdrawal was more of a precaution. Kermorgant contributed 15-goals and 10-assists during last seasons’ Championship campaign [his best return in professional football] and his experience will be essential both on and off the pitch. Kermorgant becomes the second Bournemouth attacker to pick up a problem within the last 4-days after Christian Atsu pulled up with a back injury midweek although reports suggest that the Chelsea loanee could feature against Hoffenheim today. Should either prove to more serious than initially thought then expect Callum Wilson to assume his a position at the head of a 4-2-3-1 with support coming from Ritchie and Pugh otherwise Howe may opt for a variation on 4-4-2 which served the team so well - when required - last season.

Sunderland’s Sebastien Coates says it was an ‘easy’ decision to leave Liverpool and is looking forward to being the club’s number one center-back, despite strong competition…

Sebastien Coates was the first signing of the Dick Advocaat era, following the manager’s successful rescue mission last season. The Uruguayan says his decision to make his loan move permanent was an ‘easy’ one, after breaking into the team in the final month of the season and making the position his own. ‘The last month changed everything. Playing in the last six games was great’, he told local newspaper the Sunderland Echo. Based on pre-season Coates looks to be the number centre-back choice with John O’Shea, Younes Kaboul and Wes Brown (in that order) battling for the slot alongside him. Despite a poor season last time, Sunderland registered 13 clean sheets – only five teams had more – so Coates might appeal as a FL wildcard, at the right price.
Aug 1 - 9:57 AM

Norwich manager Alex Neil leaves a string of big-hitters on the bench for the final friendly before the business gets under way for real…

Several expected first choice starters were left out for the final friendly v Brentford. The Championship side who only narrowly missed out on promotion to the Premier League themselves, will provide solid opposition in the final tune up for the real business gets underway. But new loan signing from Liverpool Andre Wisdom was left on the bench with last season’s star performers Cameron Jerome, Alex Tettey and Nathan Redmond. Strikers Ricky van Wolfswinkel and Gary Hooper were left out completely. New signing Robbie Brady starts at left-back in a 4-4-1-1 formation with Wes Hoolahan in the ‘number 10’ role behind lone striker Lewis Grabban.
Aug 1 - 10:13 AM




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