Watford star Abdoulaye Doucoure welcomes interest from Arsenal and Liverpool

Watford’s Abdoulaye Doucoure has been linked with Arsenal and Tottenham (Picture: Getty)Watford midfielder Abdoulaye Doucoure insists he welcomes interest from the likes of Arsenal and Liverpool ahead of the summer transfer window.

French star Doucoure has been one of Watford’s stand-out players this season, scoring seven goals as the Hornets have climbed away from the relegation battle into 11th.

His performances at Vicarage Road have attracted the attention of a number of clubs, with Arsenal and Liverpool rumoured to be interested in securing his signature in the summer.

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Speaking to French outlet L’Equipe, Doucoure says it is a ‘pleasure’ to be linked with such clubs and admits he will ‘see what the state of play is’ at the end of the season.

‘I’m coming to an important step,’ the 25-year-old, who joined Watford from Rennes in 2016, said. ‘It’s a pleasure to see these big clubs interested in me.

Arsene Wenger is said to be an admirer of the French midfielder (Picture: Getty)

Doucoure has impressed for mid-table Watford this season (Picture: Getty)‘We’ll see what the state of play is in the summer and then we can ask questions.’

Doucoure also said he is hopeful of earning a place in France’s squad for the World Cup in Russia. He is yet to be capped but may be looked at by manager Didier Deschamps.

‘Why not? If I’m playing well,’ he said. ‘Morgan Schneiderlin was playing well with Southampton and was part of the squad in 2014. I’m playing in the best league in the world.’

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Just last week, Doucoure talked up a potential move in the summer, claiming Arsenal, Liverpool and Tottenham are interested in striking a deal with Watford.

He told Telefoot: ‘It’s true that these clubs are interested. But I’m at Watford for the moment and I want to finish my season well.’

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Jurgen Klopp speaks out after Mohamed Salah incredibly matches Luis Suarez record

Salah scored his 31st of the season (Picture: Getty)Jurgen Klopp praised Mohamed Salah for his ‘desire for goals’ after the Egyptian banged in his 31st of the season.

The 25-year-old has enjoyed an incredible debut campaign at Anfield and was in explosive form once more as Liverpool ran out 4-1 winners against West Ham in the Premier League.

Salah notched the Reds second of the afternoon, with Emre Can, Roberto Firmino and Sadio Mane all getting on the scoresheet, as Liverpool rose above Manchester United into second place in the Premier League.

Most impressively, though, Salah matched Luis Suarez’s record goal haul season during his time at Liverpool.

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Suarez’s total has been matched by Salah (Picture: PA)The Uruguayan, who now plays for Barcelona, thumped home 31 goals in the entirety of Liverpool’s 2013-14 title-chasing season and yet the Egypt international has already matched that total.

And Salah’s manager was full of praise for the attacker after another fine afternoon’s work.

‘In football it’s all about doing the right thing in the right moment. And I like Mo’s desire for goals, you could see that.

‘Flexibilty, being fluent, depends on all the players around. You cannot just have one player flexible. That’s how it is.

Klopp was delighted (Picture: Getty)‘If you see how we change positions, how Roberto (Firmino) immediately defends each moment for Mo. Sadio does the same.

‘It’s really important. If you didn’t do that – because you cannot score from every situation – you can cause yourself problems.

‘Yes he is doing well, he scored from not the biggest chance we had in the game. It was a nice goal.’

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Roberto Firmino scores outrageous no-look goal as Liverpool destroy West Ham

Robert Firmino scored Liverpool’s third goal against West Ham (Picture: Getty)Roberto Firmino pulled off another outrageous no-look goal in Liverpool’s 4-1 victory over West Ham.

Emre Can opened the scoring for Liverpool with a header in the 29th minute before Mohamed Salah, Firmino and Sadio Mane secured three points for the Merseyside giants.

Michail Antonio scored West Ham’s only goal in the 59th minute but it was too little too late for David Moyes’ men.

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The pick of the goals was arguably Firmino’s goal as he once again brought out the no-look finish which he has made his own in recent months.

Cheeky as you like…

Jurgen Klopp handed Firmino a break as Liverpool’s squad departed for a training camp in Marbella last week.

Speaking about Firmino ahead of the clash with West Ham, Klopp said: ‘Roberto is a pure footballer, he wants to play and he wants to work.

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‘For one session in Marbella I took him out and said ‘thank you’ because he doesn’t rest so I have to do it for him.

‘Some players feel a bit less good and slow down but he can’t do that.

‘I think he feels best when he is on the pitch and hopefully it stays like this.’

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Liverpool fans direct Luis Suarez chant at Patrice Evra on his debut for West Ham

Patrice Evra was also booed by Liverpool fans at Anfield (Picture: Getty)Liverpool supporters were heard booing and chanting Luis Suarez’s name at Patrice Evra as the defender made his West Ham debut at Anfield.

Suarez, now turning out for Barcelona, was charged with racially abusing Evra during Manchester United’s 1-1 draw with Liverpool on Merseyside back in 2011.

The Uruguayan striker has since claimed that the suspension he received after the incident is a ‘stain’ on his character and insisted that his use of the Spanish word ‘negro’ was misunderstood.

Suarez was handed an eight-match suspension and fined £40,000 and Evra has revealed that the forward never apologised.

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An FA statement at the time said: ‘It is alleged that Suarez used abusive and/or insulting words and/or behaviour towards Manchester United’s Patrice Evra contrary to FA rules.

‘It is further alleged that this included a reference to the ethnic origin and/or colour and/or race of Patrice Evra.’

Patrice Evra made his debut for West Ham on Merseyside (Picture: Getty)

Luis Suarez was charged with racially abusing Patrice Evra (Picture: Getty)Liverpool controversially issued a statement of ‘total support’ for Suarez and players warmed up wearing T-shirts featuring photographs of the striker ahead of their clash with Wigan in 2011.

The Reds were widely slammed for their response to the incident and fans of the club have been criticised for directing a Suarez song at Evra on Saturday afternoon.

Evra, who completed a move to West Ham in the January transfer window, was making his debut for the London outfit.

Here’s how some reacted to Liverpool fans directing the Suarez song at Evra…

The Liverpool fans singing Suarez at Evra. Trying to taunt him by singing the name of the man who racially abused him? Really? #LIVWHU
— Kenneth Uyabeme (@reallyone) February 24, 2018

Lfc fans chanting suarez to evra is embarrassing for the club!
— Liam Stones (@stonesliam1) February 24, 2018

Actually embarrassed our fans are chanting the Suarez song to Evra. Disgraceful!
— Samuel Ball (@Leumas_7_) February 24, 2018

Those Liverpool fans that are making Suarez chants towards Evra, are a bunch of embarrassing supporters. Honestly.
— Timmy Robson (@WaveyTimz277) February 24, 2018

Liverpool fans chanting Luis Suarez at Evra is effectively racist. Will the FA do anything? Of course they won’t.
Disgusting that in 2018 such thinly veiled racism is still prevalent in football grounds
— Mark Goldbridge (@markgoldbridge) February 24, 2018

I’m hearing reports that Patrice Evra is being booed at Anfield, with fans chanting for Suarez? Can anyone confirm for me? Would be very disappointed to hear this. #LIVWHU #PremierLeague
— Clive Gritt MBE (@TheCliveGritt) February 24, 2018

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Michael Owen’s predictions, including Manchester United v Chelsea and Carabao Cup final

The visit of Chelsea to Old Trafford on Sunday and the Carabao Cup Final between Arsenal and Manchester City later in the day are the highlights of another wonderful weekend of action.

Brand Ambassador Michael Owen again shared his thoughts exclusively with BetVictor.

Leicester City v Stoke City

Leicester City have only lost one of their eight Premier League home games under Claude Puel and I expect them to improve on that record against a Stoke City side who begin the weekend just one place off the foot of the table.

Stoke have gone eight away games in the Premier League without a win although they did play well in the first half at the Vitality Stadium in their last away game. Jamie Vardy has scored in three of his five Premier League games against the Potters including in the last two at the King Power Stadium.

Prediction: Leicester City 2-1 Stoke City

Bournemouth v Newcastle United

Eddie Howe’s side host Newcastle at Dean Court (Picture: Getty)Bournemouth have won their last three Premier League home games, but I feel they may have to settle for a point against a Newcastle side who defended well and took their opportunity in a terrific win against Manchester United last time.

The Cherries will make club history – a fourth successive home win in the Premier League – if they beat United but I feel the Magpies will take a point back home from the south coast.

Prediction: Bournemouth 1-1 Newcastle United

Brighton v Swansea City

Glenn Murray is one of Brighton’s key players for the remainder of the campaign (Picture: Getty)Swansea have won 14 points in seven games since Carlos Carvalhal took charge at the Liberty Stadium and if there is to be a winner at the Amex I feel the Swans might take all three points.

Only three Englishmen (Kane, Sterling and Rooney) have scored more Premier League goals than Brighton’s Glenn Murray (8) has so far this season and the striker has found the back of the net with three of his last four shots.

His goals between now and the end of the season will play a crucial part in the Seagulls’ fight to maintain their Premier League status.

Prediction: Brighton 1-2 Swansea City

Burnley v Southampton

Mauricio Pellegrino is under pressure at Southampton (Picture: Getty)Turf Moor averages just over two goals per game in the history of the Premier League and I expect to see another tight, close affair at the weekend.

If we are to see a goal that might be enough to split the teams and it is worth noting that the Clarets have only picked up five points from the last thirty on offer.

Prediction: Burnley 0-0 Southampton

Liverpool v West Ham

Mohamed Salah will be bursting with confidence ahead of the clash with West Ham (Picture: Getty)West Ham went 45 games without a win at Liverpool before August 2015 but they are unbeaten in their last three ahead of the Hammers’ visit to Anfield.

That said the Reds have scored four in their last two Premier League games against the Irons and it should be noted that West Ham boss David Moyes is without a win in 14 previous visits to Anfield as a manager with Everton, Manchester United and Sunderland. I cannot see past a home win.

Prediction: Liverpool 3-1 West Ham

West Brom v Huddersfield

Alan Pardew’s side have lost their last four matches in all competitions (Picture: Getty)A must win game for bottom-of-the-table West Brom who go into the weekend five points adrift of Stoke who are one place in front of the Albion.

The Baggies have had their share of Great Escapes in the past and they will never give up, but I think they need to gain all three points to have a realistic chance of survival and I feel they will.

The atmosphere is likely to be a very tense and an early goal might calm the nerves for the locals at the Hawthorns.

Prediction: West Brom 1-0 Huddersfield

Watford v Everton

Everton’s squad have been training in Dubai (Picture: Getty)There were five goals and a missed penalty in the reverse fixture at Goodison back in November and I think both sides will find the back of the net at Vicarage Road.

The Blues have shipped at least four in their last two away league games and you have to go back to February 1961 for the last time Everton conceded four or more goals in three successive away league games. I would suggest Sam Allardyce has been working on the Blues’ defensive shape and system in Dubai where the players enjoyed some warm-weather training last week.

Prediction: Watford 1-1 Everton

Manchester United v Chelsea

Willian has scored three goals in two matches for the Blues (Picture: Getty)Chelsea will be looking to do the double over Manchester United for the fourth time in Premier League history at Old Trafford, but they were beaten 4-1 at Watford in their last away league game and they remain vulnerable at present despite the brilliance of Eden Hazard and Willian.

I do not expect to see many goals in what promises to be a tight tense affair – on and off the pitch.

Prediction: Manchester United 1-1 Chelsea

Crystal Palace v Tottenham

Can Crystal Palace stop Harry Kane scoring at Selhurst Park? (Picture: Getty)Crystal Palace have lost their last five Premier League games against Spurs and Harry Kane has scored twice and had one assist in his three Premier League appearances at Selhurst Park. Eagles’ boss Roy Hodgson needs to find a way to keep the England striker quiet but that is easier said than done.

Spurs have picked up more league points than any other side so far in 2018 (15) and are the only side unbeaten in the Premier League so far this year. Palace have only kept one clean sheet in their last 27 London derbies and Spurs are likely to be too classy for the hosts on Sunday.

Prediction: Crystal Palace 0-2 Tottenham

League Cup Final

Arsenal v Manchester City

Arsene Wenger and Pep Guardiola come face-to-face at Wembley (Picture: Getty)The first time these clubs have met in a major final although Arsenal have beaten City on the two previous occasions they have met at Wembley in the 2014 Community Shield and last season’s FA Cup semi-final.

Pep Guardiola has only lost one of his six previous major finals and I think City can bounce back after their shock reverse to Wigan Athletic in the FA Cup earlier in the week.

I expect to see chances at both ends but it is City to land their first but not last piece of silverware this season.

Prediction: Arsenal 1-3 Manchester City

Michael’s weekend wager: Leicester West Brom and Liverpool at 7/2

Michael Owen is a Brand Ambassador for BetVictor. For more tips from Michael read his column here.

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Liverpool star Mohamed Salah reveals why he is a completely different player to the one who flopped at Chelsea

Mohamed Salah has scored 30 goal in all competitions for Liverpool this season (Picture: Getty)Mohamed Salah believes he is a completely different player to the one who struggled to make an impact during his short-lived Chelsea career.

The Egypt international was signed by Jose Mourinho in January 2014 but was hardly given an opportunity to impress at Stamford Bridge.

Salah subsequently resurrected his career in Serie A with both Fiorentina and Roma before returning to the Premier League last summer following a £35million move to Liverpool.

The 25-year-old has been in sensational form, scoring 30 goals in all competitions, spearheading a Liverpool forward that has earned a reputation as one of Europe’s most potent attacks.

Explaining his development, Salah told the BBC: ‘It’s easy to play with this kind of quality.

Salah was given few opportunities at Chelsea, making just 13 league appearances (Picture: Getty)More: Football

‘If you look at me now and five years ago, everything has changed both mentally and physically.

‘I’m trying to improve myself every day. I always like to put myself under pressure to improve more.

‘I give all my life to football, I only think about football. This is what is on my mind all the time.’

Liverpool are currently 18 points adrift of runaway leaders Manchester City but Salah insists it is his goal to win the Premier League with Liverpool at some point in his career.

He added: ‘I can tell the fans we work 100% to try and win something for the club..

‘It’s a long time since the club won the league. It’s my dream to win the Premier League – but I want to win it with this club.’

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Dani Ceballos wanted to quit Real Madrid for Liverpool in January

Dani Ceballos wanted to join Liverpool in January. (Getty Images)Real Madrid blocked Dani Ceballos from joining Liverpool in the January transfer window, according to reports in Spain.

Jurgen Klopp’s side opted to sell Philippe Coutinho to Barcelona in a £142 million deal last month and were reportedly in the market for a replacement.

Monaco refused to sell Thomas Lemar, while Liverpool also attempted to bring Naby Keita’s transfer forward.

But according to Spanish TV show El Chiringuito, Liverpool were also trying to sign Ceballos but their efforts were rejected by Madrid.

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Ceballos has started only two games in La Liga this season. (Getty Images)The report claims that the midfielder wanted to join Anfield and a transfer could go through this summer.

Ceballos joined in a £14.5 million deal from Real Madrid last summer but has failed to secure a regular role under Zinedine Zidane.

Reports have claimed that tensions between Ceballos and Zidane were raised even further on Wednesday evening after the 21-year-old was brought on for just 29 seconds in the 3-1 win over Leganes.

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Is Liverpool vs West Ham on TV? Date, kick-off time, odds and team news

Liverpool go into the game in great shape (Picture: EPA)In-form Liverpool host West Ham at Anfield in the Premier League this weekend.

The Reds will be going into the game as favourites following their scintillating Champions League performance against Porto in midweek.

Jurgen Klopp’s men will want to apply pressure on Manchester Utd as they sit two points below their rivals.

A win will see them climb into second position with the Red Devils facing Chelsea on Sunday.

David Moyes have turned around West Ham’s early season woes and they currently sit in 12th position, a win at Anfield should see them propel to the top half of the league.

Sadio Mane has been in wonderful form (Picture: AFP/Getty)What time is Liverpool vs West Ham kick-off?

This Premier League game will be held on Saturday 24 February.

The game will be played at Anfield.

Kick-off is at 3.00pm.

What channel can I watch it on?

The match will be not be televised live on TV in the UK.

Highlights can be watched on Match of the Day at 10.30pm.

West Ham United manager David Moyes has turned his side’s fortunes around (Picture: AFP/Getty Images)Team news

The Hammers are still missing Arthur Masuaku who is serving his six-match suspension.

Patrice Evra is available to make his debut, despite being banned from all European competitions, and Andy Carroll and Pedro Obiang are all sidelined with injuries.

Manuel Lanzini has returned to training and is hopeful of returning to first-team action at Anfield after his hamstring injury.

Elsewhere, Winston Reid is struggling this a throat infection.

Manuel Lanzini will give the Hammers a fitness boost (Picture: Getty Images)Liverpool will have a full strength squad, after they came through their 5-0 Champions League win against Porto last week unscathed.

Nathaniel Clyne made his return to first team training but is unlikely to be risked.

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What are the odds? (Courtesy of Betfair)

Liverpool – 2/9

Draw – 6/1

West Ham – 14/1

Pre-match Opta stats

Liverpool have won their last two Premier League matches against West Ham, 4-0 in May 2017 and 4-1 in November 2017 – they haven’t scored 4+ goals in three consecutive PL games versus a single opponent since doing so versus Norwich between 2012 and 2013.
West Ham are unbeaten in their last three away games in all competitions at Liverpool, drawing the last two (W1 D2).
David Moyes has never won against Liverpool at Anfield in all competitions as a manager (D7 L7), failing to win with Everton, Man Utd and Sunderland.

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Marko Arnautovic ‘not afraid’ of £75m defender Virgil van Dijk as West Ham prepare for Liverpool clash

Marko Arnautovic is enjoying a productive run for West Ham (Picture: Getty)West Ham striker Marko Arnautovic insists he is ‘not afraid’ of Virgil van Dijk and is ready to test himself against Liverpool’s £75m defender.

Van Dijk joined the Reds in January from Southampton in a deal that eclipsed the £50m Manchester City spent on Kyle Walker last summer.

Liverpool are enjoying a fine run and thrashed Porto 5-0 in the Champions League last week to put one foot in the draw for the quarter-finals.

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But Arnautovic, who has scored eight goals this season, will do everything he can to ensure Liverpool – and Van Dijk – endure a difficult afternoon on Saturday.

‘I’m a football player and I have respect for every opponent, every defender and every team, but I’m not afraid of anyone and I’m not afraid to take them on and to make things happen,’ he told West Ham’s official website.

‘I’m fit and I will do my best like I always do. I played at Anfield twice when I was with Stoke and it’s a hard place to go, we all know that Liverpool is one of the best teams in the Premier League.

The Austrian has scored seven goals in his last 11 games (Picture: Getty)‘But I think we have also done well in the last few games and you can always make something happen. It’s not going to be easy, as it’s another Premier League game and we know football can be crazy.

‘It’s going to be hard, but they are all hard and we will go there and try to take something out of the game.

‘It doesn’t motivate me only because it is against one of the top teams, as I try to do my best to be at my maximum in every game but, in this game, we need not just one man to perform, but all eleven men to perform.’

West Ham ensured a dismal start to the 2017-18 campaign under Slaven Bilic but results have picked up since David Moyes was appointed manager in November.

Ex-Liverpool star Dietmar Hamann slams ’embarrassing’ Manchester United and ‘anti-football’ Jose Mourinho

Jose Mourinho has been slammed by ex-Liverpool midfielder Dietmar Hamann. (Getty Images)Ex-Liverpool midfielder Dietmar Hamann has slammed Manchester United’s ’embarrassing’ display against Sevilla and has described the performance as ‘anti-football’.

Jose Mourinho’s side played out a goalless draw in the first leg of their Champions League last-16 tie in Spain on Wednesday evening.

United were reliant on another brilliant performance by David De Gea, whose sublime reflex save to deny Luis Muriel shortly before half-time kept the score level.

Mourinho’s attack, meanwhile, struggled to trouble Sevilla and Scott McTominay registered the only shot on target for United during the match.

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David De Gea pulled off a sublime save to deny Luis Muriel (Reuters)‘A good Sevilla performance,’ Hamann told RTE.

‘De Gea came to the rescue a few times, from Manchester United’s point of view, it was dreadful, it was anti-football in a way.

‘For a club the size of United, for the money they’ve spent in recent years, I thought it was an embarrassing performance.’

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