Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger issues Mesut Ozil warning to Liverpool

Mesut Ozil scored the winner for Arsenal against Newcastle United (Picture: Getty)Arsene Wenger believes Mesut Ozil is enjoying his best run of form in an Arsenal shirt ahead of a hectic festive period which will see his side face West Ham, Liverpool, Crystal Palace and West Brom.

Ozil, who is currently involved in a contract stand-off with the Gunners, scored a spectacular winner against Newcastle United on Saturday to help Arsenal to a tenth league win of the season.

The German superstar now has three goals and five assists for the campaign and Wenger insists he is in the form of his life ahead of Tuesday’s Carabao Cup clash with West Ham and Friday’s Premier League fixture against Liverpool.

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Asked whether Ozil was enjoying his most consistent spell for the club, Wenger said: ‘Yes. Certainly, I think he takes responsibilities and that is what you want from him.

‘He is mature, he guides the team, they are aware he is on the ball a lot – always your heart rate goes down when he has the ball.

The Gunners are currently fifth in the Premier League (Picture: Getty)

Arsene Wenger believes Ozil wants to stay at the Emirates (Picture: Getty)‘Not only his goal but I would say more important is the quality and the influence he has on the collective game.

‘You cannot score a goal like that every week, but you can play like he plays usually every week. So that is more important. If he adds that to his game then that is even more important.’

Ozil is yet to put pen to paper on a contract extension at the Emirates but Wenger remains confident that the 29-year-old, who has been linked with Manchester United and Barcelona, wants to stay put.

And the French boss refused to be drawn into whether Ozil staying was more or less important than a clarification over Alexis Sanchez’s future.

Arsenal 2017/18 fixtures

West Ham United (H) – Tues Dec 19 (EFL Cup)Liverpool (H) – Fri Dec 22Crystal Palace (A) – Thurs Dec 28West Brom (A) – Sun Dec 31Chelsea (H) – Wed Jan 3

Alexis Sanchez has been linked with Manchester City (Picture: Getty)More: Football

‘I believe he [Ozil] wants to stay,’ Wenger said after Saturday’s narrow win over Newcastle. ‘I wouldn’t like to compare. You want nobody to leave and see where we stand on that.

‘But at the moment it is very difficult to say. Until the end of the season we know what the situation is, but after that I cannot tell you.’

MORE: Antonio Conte intends to see out Chelsea contract in bid to reclaim Premier League title

Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain steps in when Philippe Coutinho gets asked about Barcelona links

Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain was unhappy with the reporter’s line of questioning (Picture: Sky Sports)Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain jumped to the defence of Philippe Coutinho when a reporter asked the Brazilian about rumours he’s set to leave Liverpool for Barcelona.

Coutinho scored Liverpool’s opening goal in a 4-0 victory over Bournemouth on Sunday afternoon and summer signing, Oxlade-Chamberlain, was named man of the match for his display at Dean Court.

Mohamed Salah emulates Liverpool legend with 20th goal of the season before Xmas

It’s no secret that Coutinho was desperate to complete a move to the Nou Camp ahead of the 2017/18 campaign, but the Reds rejected several offers from the Catalan giants.

The Brazil international has responded to the failed move in style with a string of fine displays this term – he’s now scored 10 goals in all competitions for the Merseyside giants.

Asked about the links with Barca after Liverpool’s win at Bournemouth, Coutinho replied: ‘I always say the same thing. I try to enjoy the moment.

‘I like to play football and, every time when I go on the pitch, I try my best.’

At that moment, Oxlade-Chamberlain stepped in, saying: ‘He’s a Liverpool player right now and he’s doing really well for us.

‘He’s been the most professional person I’ve seen all season. He’s been top quality from the start.

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‘Every time he gets on the pitch he gives his all for the club and that’s the most important thing right now.

‘It’s not fair to ask those kind of questions. He gives us his all and that’s all we can ask of him.’

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MORE: Mohamed Salah embarrasses Eden Hazard with incredible stat

Mohamed Salah embarrasses Eden Hazard with incredible stat

Salah was in stunning form (Picture: Reuters)Mohamed Salah smashed home his 20th goal of the season in style to put Liverpool 3-0 up against Bournemouth and to continue his remarkable debut campaign in the Premier League.

By adding to Philippe Coutinho and Dejan Lovren’s first half goals, the Egyptian became the first Liverpool star to score 20 before Christmas since Ian Rush in 1986-87, while he became the joint-second fastest player to hit 20 goals after arriving at the club – matching Daniel Sturridge’s effort of 26 games and only falling behind George Allan (19) in 1895.

Perhaps most impressively, though, is the fact he’s done it all as a winger.

Hazard’s best goalscoring efforts have been surpassed (Picture: AFP/Getty Images)While one might expect Rush and Sturridge to be among the goals, for a wide man to already have notched that total is simply fantastic.

Many have debated whether Salah is a better player than Chelsea winger Eden Hazard, and while the Blues ace has been one of the top performers in the Premier League for some years, the Egyptian has blown away his best scoring season before even reaching the halfway stage.

Salah enjoyed the moment (Picture: Reuters)Hazard’s best goalscoring Premier League season came in 2014-15, where he banged in 19 goals in an entire campaign in 52 matches.

In half the total of games and before Christmas, Salah has already surpassed that total… Ouch!

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Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain shakes head in disbelief after Mohamed Salah’s goal versus Bournemouth

Mohamed Salah cannot stop scoring for (Picture: Reuters)Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain was all of us when Mohamed Salah fired in his 20th goal of the season.

The winger has been a revelation on Merseyside this season and scored another superb solo goal against Bournemouth on Sunday.

Salah danced past a few Cherries before curling in his effort to become the first Red to score 20 goals before Christmas since Ian Rush did the same in 1986.

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Liverpool fans and players alike have swooned over Salah and Oxlade-Chamberlain was caught expressing is admiration for his team-mate.

After hugging Salah, Oxlade-Chamberlain turns away to walk back to the halfway line and cameras caught a little shake of the head from the winger.

Oxlade-Chamberlain was clearly impressed with Salah and like the rest of the Reds faithful, cannot believe the Egyptian is still scoring.

Salah leads the Premier League’s scoring charts and fired in Liverpool’s third against Bournemouth.

(Picture: PA)

(Picture: Reuters)It was 3-0 to Liverpool before half-time and Salah had twice before cut in on his left foot and looked for the far corner.

Salah hit his mark at the third attempt and Liverpool were firmly in control at Dean Court.

MORE: Mohamed Salah emulates Liverpool legend with 20th goal of the season before Xmas

Mohamed Salah emulates Liverpool legend with 20th goal of the season before Xmas

Salah has been in stunning form (Picture: Getty)Mohamed Salah has been in unstoppable form since arriving at Anfield this summer, and he’s on for a remarkable goalscoring season in his first year at Liverpool.

The Egyptian banged in his 20th goal in just 26 games in all competitions to put Jurgen Klopp’s men 3-0 up against Bournemouth before half-time.

For Salah to have 20 goals under his belt before we’ve even reached Christmas is some feat and he’s banged in 10 goals in his last 10 matches.

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Luis Suarez and Daniel Sturridge were the last players to break the 20-goal mark in a Liverpool shirt back in the 2013-14 season but Salah is barely even halfway through the campaign.

And the last Liverpool player to notch 20 goals before Christmas was legendary striker Ian Rush way back in 1986/87.

His 20 goals in a season for Liverpool was the fourth quickest ever time by date (17th December) – only beaten by Ian Rush (8th November 1986) and Roger Hunt (25th November 1961 and 15th December 1965).

Rush was the last player to score 20 goals so quickly in a season (Picture: AFP/Getty)Salah has scored 20 goals in a Liverpool shirt faster than any other player in more than a century, with George Allan hitting that figure in 19 games, .

Only George Allan has banged in 20 Liverpool goals faster (19 games) than Salah, with Daniel Sturridge also needing 26 games.

Games taken to score 20 Liverpool goals

George Allan (19)Mohamed Salah (26)Daniel Sturridge (26)Fernando Torres (31)Robbie Fowler (36)Michael Owen (38)Luis Suárez (51)

For context, it took Suarez 51 games to score 20 goals, Michael Owen needed 36, Robbie Fowler 36 and Fernando Torres 31.

Seriously impressive.

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Bournemouth v Liverpool TV channel, kick-off time, date and odds

Mohamed Salah has been in great form this season (Photo by Andrew Powell/Liverpool FC via Getty Images)Liverpool currently sit fifth in the league table, but could climb into the top four if they get a result this weekend.

Jurgen Klopp will be hoping to see an improved performance from his side after drawing three of their last five league games.

Bournemouth currently sit 14th in the Premier League after a mixed run of form, but they have now gone five games without a win.

Eddie Howe saw his team earn a win and a draw against Liverpool last season and he will be hoping for a similar result this weekend.

Bournemouth defender Nathan Ake (Photo by Dan Istitene/Getty Images)When is Bournemouth v Liverpool?

The match is on Sunday October 17th with kick-off at 16:30.

What TV channel is Bournemouth v Liverpool on?

The game will be shown live on Sky Sports Main Event and Sky Sports Premier League from 16:15.

What are the odds? (Courtesy of Sky Bet)

Bournemouth – 5/1

Draw – 7/2

Liverpool – 1/2

Head-to-head in last five meetings

05 Apr 2017 – Premier League

Liverpool 2-2 Bournemouth

04 Dec 2016 – Premier League

Bournemouth 4-3 Liverpool

17 Apr 2016 – Premier League

Bournemouth 1-2 Liverpool

28 Oct 2015 – League Cup

Liverpool 1-0 Bournemouth

17 Aug 2015 – Premier League

Liverpool 1-0 Bournemouth

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Liverpool scouts nagged Jurgen Klopp until he signed Mohamed Salah

Mohamed Salah as barely missed a minute this season (Picture: Getty)Jurgen Klopp has admitted the Liverpool scouting department relentlessly pestered him until he signed Mohamed Salah.

The attacker has been an incredible success at Liverpool this season and is one goal away from scoring his 20th goal of the campaign.

Salah cost £34million in the summer, but the transfer fee looks a snip with the winger currently leading the Premier League‘s scoring chart.

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But, Klopp has revealed it was the Reds’ scouts who were desperate to sign the Egypt international.

He said: ‘Our scouting department did a ­fantastic job around Mo. They just didn’t get out of our ears about him.

(Picture: Getty)

Liverpool 2017/18 Fixtures

AFC Bournemouth (A) – Sat Dec 17Arsenal (A) – Fri Dec 22Swansea City (H) – Tues Dec 26Leicester City (H) – Sat Dec 30Burnley (A) – Mon Jan 1Man City – Sun Jan 14

(Picture: Getty)‘It was 100 per cent, he is ready, he is ready. They did a great job, absolutely.

‘There is only a short period of the season we have played so far, but already I have been asked if I am surprised by what he is doing.

‘I could be surprised if I had thought about it because I didn’t set out the number of goals I expected from him when we signed him.

(Picture: Getty)

(Picture: Getty)‘I didn’t tell him that you have to do this. We knew what we were getting was a very offensive-minded midfielder who plays a lot of games as a striker, but also has the ability to make goals, to set up goals.’

Salah has started every game in the Champions League and all but two of Liverpool’s Premier League games this season.

While Klopp has heavily rotated his side this season, Salah has remained in the starting line-up, but the Liverpool boss insisted the goalscorer is naturally fit.

‘He had time out already. In the last international break he did not play for Egypt, he didn’t start at Stoke, we take him off as soon as possible,’ Klopp said.

‘I am not sure he played a lot more minutes than other players in our team, but it is true he starts often.

‘It’s because he is in a very very good moment and it is difficult to think about leaving him out.

‘He is always a natural fit player. We talk a lot to the medical department and it is really rare that any issues with him.

(Picture: REUTERS)More: Liverpool FC

(Picture: Getty)‘You don’t hear that’s he had a problem here or a problem there, that’s a big thing.

‘When you hear the name of a player twice from the medical department it is pretty clear he is not in the squad or on the bench.

‘That’s how it works these times. We and he have been lucky so far that there is nothing around him.’

MORE: Liverpool and Arsenal transfer target Julian Draxler drops big hint over his future

Antonio Conte praises Virgil van Dijk after Chelsea’s win over Southampton

Antonio Conte has praised Virgil van Dijk. (AFP/Getty Images)Antonio Conte admits Virgil van Dijk is a ‘really good player’ but has refused to comment on Chelsea‘s reported interest in the Southampton centre-back.

The Dutchman was targeted by the Premier League champions and Liverpool in the summer, but Southampton stood firm and refused to sell the defender.

Van Dijk, who has admitted he would be open to leaving in the January transfer window, was dropped for Southampton’s 1-0 defeat at Stamford Bridge on Saturday after his poor performance in the 4-1 loss to Leicester City on Wednesday night.

When asked about Chelsea’s interest in Van Dijk, Conte replied: ‘I don’t like to talk about other players.

Van Dijk was benched for the defeat to Chelsea. (AFP/Getty Images)More: Football

‘It’s a lack of respect for my players and other team.

‘He is a really good player, I wish him the best.’

Manchester City are also reportedly keen on a move for Van Dijk, with Pep Guardiola looking to reinforce his options in central defence during the January window.

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Liverpool and Arsenal transfer target Julian Draxler drops big hint over his future

Julian Draxler is beginning to recapture his best form for Paris Saint-Germain (Picture: Getty)Julian Draxler insists his future remains at Paris Saint-Germain and has never once contemplated leaving the Ligue 1 leaders.

The Germany international moved to the French capital almost a year ago but has taken time to establish himself as a first team regular under Unai Emery.

Despite having adjusted well to a new midfield role following the summer arrivals of Kyilan Mbappe and Neymar, the former Wolfsburg star continues to be linked with a move away, with Arsenal and Liverpool even reported to have explored the option of taking the 24-year-old on loan in January.

Draxler, however, insists he is happy at the Parc des Princes and is delighted to be playing alongside some of the biggest stars in world football.

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‘I think it’s very important that Paris can buy this type of great player, like Neymar and Kylian Mbappe,’ Draxler told This is Paris on beIN SPORTS.

‘It’s a great feeling to play alongside these players. On the one hand it was great that we could get them, but, from my point of view, it was mixed because each player has their own personal objectives and you always want to play every match.

‘Both Neymar and Kylian play in my position on the wings, so you think about every option.

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‘But I have confidence in my abilities and I have the quality to play here and I never considered leaving Paris Saint-Germain after just six months.

‘I am very happy to have found a new position on the pitch and it’s really amazing to play with them.’

Liverpool lead race to sign Domingos Quina with West Ham prepared to sell

Liverpool are keen on signing Domingos Quina from West Ham. (Getty Images)Liverpool are leading the race to sign Domingos Quina from West Ham, according to reports.

The 18-year-old made the move across London from Chelsea‘s academy last year but has made only four senior appearances for the Hammers, including two in the Carabao Cup this season.

The Daily Mail claims that West Ham ready to listen to offers for the midfielder in the January transfer window as he will not feature in David Moyes‘ plans.

The report also claims that Liverpool lead the charge to sign Quina next month and have ‘concrete interest’ in the Portugal Under-20 international.

West Ham are ready to cash in on Quina in January. (Getty Images)More: Football

West Ham were able to sign Quina on a free transfer from Chelsea in 2016 as he had not signed a professional deal with the Premier League champions and was never officially registered with their academy.

Arsenal had also shown an interest in signing Quina before his switch to West Ham.

Quina, who was born in born in Guinea-Bissau, began his career with Benfica’s academy before making the move to Chelsea.

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