VAR to be used in Premier League next season

VAR was used at the World Cup earlier this year (Getty Images)Video assistant referees (VAR) will be used in the Premier League from the start of next season.

The decision was made following a vote from all 20 Premier League clubs and now the use of video replays will be used to assist officials during matches once next season begins.

VAR was used at the World Cup this summer, while the technology is now being used in La Liga, Serie A, Ligue 1 and the Bundesliga.

In April, Premier League clubs voted against implementing VAR for the start of this season after officials struggled with the technology during FA Cup games.

But a statement from the Premier League on Thursday read: ‘Premier League clubs have agreed in principle to introduce Video Assistant Referees (VAR) to the competition in the 2019/20 season.

VAR is already being used in Serie A (AP Photo)‘At a Shareholders’ Meeting today, clubs were provided with an update on the non-live VAR trials being undertaken by the League and Professional Game Match Officials (PGMOL) this season.

‘Key learnings from VAR’s use in the FA Cup and Carabao Cup, and other leagues across the world, were discussed in detail.

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‘The Premier League’s non-live testing programme will remain in place for the rest of this season, with a continued emphasis on those Saturday afternoons which have several matches being played concurrently, and developing a clear protocol for communicating VAR decisions to fans.

‘The League will now formally make a request to the International Football Association Board and FIFA to use VAR next season.’

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Alexis Sanchez poses problem for Jose Mourinho as Maurizio Sarri ponders Olivier Giroud recall

All eyes will be on the Etihad this Sunday as champions Manchester City host rivals Manchester United in the pick of this weekend’s Premier League fixtures.

Jose Mourinho’s men trail their city rivals by nine points and can ill-afford that gap to widen in their pursuit of a top four finish.

Chelsea take on Everton at Stamford Bridge and Maurizio Sarri’s side do so as the only remaining unbeaten side in Europe following United’s win against Juventus on Wednesday.

Newcastle’s long wait for a Premier League win this season ended last week against Watford and they face in-form Bournemouth at St James’ Park, while Tottenham face a tricky trip to Selhurst Park to play Crystal Palace.

Here’s four things to look out for in what is sure to be an intriguing weekend of Premier League football…

Jose Mourinho can keep feel-good factor going with Alexis Sanchez up front

Dropping Alexis Sanchez for Romelu Lukaku would represent a backwards step for Jose Mourinho (Picture: Getty)Manchester United forward Romelu Lukaku returned to training on Friday after missing the Red Devils’ wins against Juventus and Bournemouth.

Mourinho’s men have looked undeniably sharper in attack in Lukaku’s absence and Alexis Sanchez has had two of his better games for the club in a central striker role.

The Chilean prefers playing on the left but his runs in behind have created a new energy up front for United, providing more room and options for midfield.

Mourinho is keen to get Lukaku fit for the trip to the Etihad but starting him would be more than just a fitness gamble.

Romelu Lukaku is expected to be fit to face Manchester United (Picture: Getty)United’s strides in recent weeks have owed to Mourinho removing the shackles from his side and letting them play with the handbrake off.

Lukaku represents a more methodical, slower and ultimately inferior option to Sanchez up front and reverting back to the Belgian could undo much of the progress Mourinho has made with United in the last month.

Raheem Sterling can lay demons to rest against Manchester United

Raheem Sterling took his tally for the season to seven against Shakhtar (Picture: Getty)Scarcely has the phrase ‘a game of two halves’ ever been more relevant than Manchester United’s 3-2 win against Manchester City last April.

Pep Guardiola’s men had the opportunity to wrap up the title with a win against their arch rivals at the Etihad and raced into a two-goal lead.

City blew United away during the opening 45 minutes and Raheem Sterling squandered three brilliant opportunities to put the game to bed before the interval.

United pulled off a miraculous comeback in the second half to deny City a famous victory and Sterling will be keen to right some wrongs against the Red Devils.

Sterling squandered three brilliant chances (Picture: Getty)The 23-year-old was criticised in some quarters this week for failing to challenge a penalty decision that he was awarded against Shakhtar Donestsk on Tuesday when replays showed he had tripped himself up.

It overshadowed what was a brilliant performance by Sterling and one in which he scored an astonishing goal to take his tally for the season to seven.

He’s City’s in form man at the moment and few would bet against him getting revenge on United on Sunday.

Maurizio Sarri must choose between Alvaro Morata and Olivier Giroud

Olivier Giroud was back among the goals on Thursday (Picture: Getty)Five goals in the last month have helped Morata emerge from his slumber at Stamford Bridge.

The Spaniard endured a torturous debut campaign at the club and contemplated leaving in the summer after just one year in west London.

Olivier Giroud’s arrival in January darkened Morata’s mood and Sarri is yet to pick his first choice striker this term.

Morata scored twice against Palace last Sunday (Picture: Getty)Eden Hazard has been Chelsea’s standout player so far this campaign and the Belgian’s made no secret of how much he likes [prefers] to play with Giroud.

The Frenchman returned from injury on Thursday and scored the only goal in Chelsea’s 1-0 win against BATE Borisov but can Sarri afford to drop Morata after his double against Crystal Palace last week?

Removing the Spaniard now will kill his confidence but the Italian must choose between his heart and his head as the Blues aim to keep pace with Manchester City.

Leicester City return to King Power stadium for first time since Vichai Srivaddhanaprabha’s death

Leicester City take on Burnley at the King Power (Picture: Getty)Claude Puel insists his players will have to deal ‘step by step’ with their emotions as the Foxes prepare for their first home game since owner Vichai Srivaddhanaprabha tragically lost his life in a helicopter accident.

The Leicester squad unanimously decided to play last week against Cardiff but their fixture at the King Power against Burnley will be emotionally charged given it’s the first since the Thai passed away.

The Foxes are set to wear special commemorative shirts embroidered with their former owner’s name.

The Leicester squad were in Thailand this week for the funeral (Picture: AP)Puel is hopeful that his squad will feel inspired to put in a performance for Srivaddhanaprabha.

‘The players have shown great maturity, it is like a family. It is important to honour our chairman and play a good game,’ said Puel.

‘We will manage the moment step by step but I feel in my players’ focus and soul. They have learned a lot about themselves in all this and I am proud of them all.’

The club will present supporters at the match with scarves, banners, pin badges and a special commemorative matchday programme.

MORE: Marco Silva provides Richarlison injury update ahead of Chelsea vs Everton

Chelsea and Liverpool issued warning over Leon Bailey transfer

Bayer Leverkusen insists they will not sell Leon Bailey in January (REX)Bayer Leverkusen’s sporting director Jonas Boldt insists the club have no intention of selling Leon Bailey in the January transfer window.

The 21-year-old has revealed that Chelsea, Manchester United, Liverpool and Manchester City have all expressed an interest in signing him.

Bailey still has over four years remaining on his current deal with Leverkusen and while the German club admit the winger will be sold at some stage, he will not be leaving midway through the season.

‘The conversation was good. We all know that Leon will eventually leave,’ Boldt told Bild.

‘But we have made it clear that a winter transfer is out of the question. He also knows that he has our backing.’

Bailey says he is in no rush to leave Bayer Leverkusen (Getty Images)Speaking to FourFourTwo, Bailey admits he is in no rush to leave Leverkusen, despite several teams being keen to sign him.

‘Manchester United, City, Chelsea, Liverpool – a lot of clubs were interested,’ Bailey said,

‘But the most important thing as a pro is taking things a step at a time and not rushing to the top too quickly. Because once you get there, where do you go next?

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‘I believe the right timing is important, and it was the right moment to be at Bayer Leverkusen. They are a tremendous club with so much history.

‘A lot of good players have come from there; they can get into the Champions League and are always doing well. So why not them?

‘It was the perfect move for me and I’m happy I made it. My focus isn’t really on moving anywhere yet.’

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Rio Ferdinand aims dig at Jurgen Klopp as Liverpool suffer Champions League defeat against Red Star Belgrade

Rio Ferdinand’s trolled Jurgen Klopp (Picture :Getty)Manchester United legend Rio Ferdinand took a dig at Jurgen Klopp’s record at Liverpool as the Reds suffered a shock 2-0 defeat to Red Star Belgrade in the Champions League.

Milan Pavkov’s first half brace left the Reds in a precarious position in their Champions League group and they face tough tests against Napoli and Paris Saint-Germain in their final two games.

The defeat means Liverpool have won just three of their last nine matches and, while they’re still in a good position in the Premier League, much of their early season momentum has been lost.

Klopp’s certainly turned Liverpool into a more formidable outfit since his appointment in 2015 but Ferdinand aimed a dig at the German after researching his record against his top six counterparts.

Liverpool lost against Red Star Belgrade (Picture: Getty)

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Taking to his Instagram page, Ferdinand listed Klopp’s record against Pep Guardiola, Mauricio Pochettino, Antonio Conte, Arsene Wenger and Jose Mourinho since 2014.

The records show Klopp’s got the lowest win percentage – a somewhat surprising statistic given the positivity that follows him around in the Premier League.

Ferdinand accompanied the photo with a caption of ‘Klopp’ followed by the ‘eyes’ emoji.

Klopp’s win percentage of 54.7% was slightly behind that of Wenger, Pochettino and Mourinho, while Conte and Guardiola were way out in front.

The German has lost three finals with Liverpool after losing two in his first season at the club and last season’s Champions League final defeat to Real Madrid.

MORE: Neymar hits out at referee Bjorn Kuipers after PSG’s draw with Napoli draw: ‘What he told me was disrespectful’

Leon Bailey rejected transfer offers from Manchester United and Chelsea

Bailey is a rising star at Bayer Leverkusen (Picture: Getty)Leon Bailey claims he turned down offers from a host of Premier League sides before signing for Bayer Leverkusen.

The 21-year-old is one of the most promising young forwards in Europe and was wanted by several top clubs in January 2017 when he was still a Genk player.

Manchester United, Chelsea and Liverpool made transfer offers to Bailey, but were rejected in favour of a switch to Germany.

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Bailey explained it was not the right time to make such a big move.

‘Manchester United, City, Chelsea, Liverpool – a lot of clubs were interested,’ Bailey told FourFourTwo.

‘But the most important thing as a pro is taking things a step at a time and not rushing to the top too quickly. Because once you get there, where do you go next?

Bayern Munich to use major advantage over Liverpool and Man Utd in race to sign Arsenal star Aaron Ramsey

Aaron Ramsey is destined to leave Arsenal on a free transfer in the summer (Picture: Getty)Bayern Munich will look to take the opportunity to steal ahead of Premier League rivals Liverpool and Manchester United by starting talks with Aaron Ramsey about a potential summer move in January.

The Arsenal midfielder’s decade-long stint in north London is set to come to and end in June when his current contract expires.

Ramsey was close to penning a new deal last month but the offer was withdrawn on the advice of Unai Emery, who would reportedly prefer to use the funds available to him to strengthen other areas of his squad, rather than reward the 27-year-old with a significant pay rise.

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The Wales international’s situation has alerted the likes of Liverpool, United and Chelsea, while Serie A giants Juventus and AC Milan are also keeping close tabs.

According the Express, however, Bayern are keen to make the first move and with Ramsey able to speak to foreign clubs when the transfer window reopens in January, the Bundesliga giants are at a significant advantage.

Unai Emery believes Aaron Ramsey is surplus to requirements at Arsenal (Picture: Getty)

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Ramsey has struggled to establish himself in Unai Emery’s line-up this season and again started on the bench during Saturday’s 1-1 draw against Liverpool.

Speaking about Ramsey’s mindset ahead of yesterday’s match, Emery said: ‘The most important thing for me with Aaron is, I spoke with him last week, his spirit, his quality, his confidence, his focus to us in training, in matches like today.

‘He played for 20 minutes against Crystal Palace, he played with this spirit.

‘He’s focused with us, with the training and in every match like today also. He is working very well.’

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Rio Ferdinand and Martin Keown rave about Arsenal midfielder Lucas Torreira after Liverpool draw

Lucas Torreira impressed in Arsenal’s draw with Liverpool (Picture: Getty)Rio Ferdinand and Martin Keown singled out Lucas Torreira for praise after Arsenal’s hard-fought draw with Liverpool.

Frenchman Alexandre Lacazette earned Unai Emery’s side a point at the Emirates after James Milner had fired the visitors ahead with his 50th Premier League goal.

Torreira produced another impressive display for the Gunners and received praise from both Ferdinand and Keown after the draw.

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Arsenal signed the Uruguayan midfielder from Sampdoria in the summer and has developed into a key player under new manager Emery.

‘The thing with Torreira is he knows that position,’ former Manchester United and England defender Ferdinand told BT Sport.

‘They’ve brought in many players to play in that position over the years to almost make things tick. But they were all pretenders.

‘Torreira is not someone who is going to split a defence with a pass. He’ll play the shorter passes to keep the momentum of the game going.

Former Manchester United and England star Rio Ferdinand (Picture: Getty)‘He wants to get on the ball so he can make the other plays like Ozil. He can shield and that’s an important role in a team like this that wants to attack’

Arsenal hero Keown added: ‘We used to use our midfielders as barriers. That’s what Torreira does. He could be the glue for this Arsenal team.’

Emery was proud of his team’s performance against Liverpool, who were joint-top before this weekend’s round of fixtures, but said Arsenal ‘maybe’ deserved the three points.

‘We wanted to win but the performance is good, we push and we work the match, doing our tactics and with our supporters pushing us with energy,’ he said.

Alexandre Lacazette secured Arsenal a point (Picture: Reuters)‘For the supporters it is a great match and a good spectacle but I am only 50% happy because we wanted to win.

‘Today the balance was good in our speed and intensity. We worked very well for the 90 minutes and the two goals is the difference in the match.

‘This is a point and a draw, maybe we deserve a little more.

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‘Every match is a good test for us, it is very important we continue our process and not to lose, our test is Thursday against Sporting Lisbon and Sunday against Wolves, to be in a good position in the table.

‘I think today the supporters pushed a lot for us and the players feel it on the pitch to help us and that is a good combination.’

MORE: Unai Emery rates Liverpool title chances after Arsenal fight back to force draw

Michael Owen’s Premier League predictions, including Chelsea and Manchester City

Michael Owen has delivered his predictions for the Premier League weekend (Picture: Getty/PA)Defending champions Manchester City can move back to the top of the Premier League when they welcome Southampton to the Etihad on Sunday.

Jurgen Klopp’s Liverpool were held to a 1-1 draw by Arsenal at the Emirates on Saturday, meaning City will reclaim top spot for themselves if they beat the Saints.

Chelsea could also move above Liverpool with victory over struggling Crystal Palace at Stamford Bridge.

On Monday evening, newly-promoted Fulham make the trip to Huddersfield Town, with both clubs currently in the relegation zone.

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Manchester City v Southampton

Champions City have conceded just three times in their first 10 Premier League games of the season and they entertain a Southampton side who have failed to score in their last five league games.

I can’t see past another comfortable home win and I would imagine City would want to maintain their proud defensive record.

Michael’s Prediction: Manchester City 3-0 Southampton

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Chelsea v Crystal Palace

Maurizio Sarri became the first Chelsea manager to go unbeaten in his first 10 Premier League games when they thrashed Burnley 4-0 at Turf Moor on Sunday.

They can maintain their excellent start to the season at the expense of Roy Hodgson’s Crystal Palace in this London derby.

The Eagles thoroughly deserved their point against Arsenal on Sunday and could have won at Goodison but for a missed penalty in their last away league game.

They are likely to find this Blues side a different proposition however.

Michael’s Prediction: Chelsea 2-0 Crystal Palace

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Huddersfield Town v Fulham

A massive game near the foot of the table and something must give at the John Smith’s Stadium. The hosts have failed to score in their last seven home Premier League games whilst Fulham are the only side in the division without a clean sheet this term.

The Terriers have hit the woodwork (6) more times than they have scored goals (4) so far this term and they may have to settle for a point against the Cottagers in a game that is sure to be tense.

Michael’s Prediction: Huddersfield Town 1-1 Fulham

Fulham face fellow relegation-battlers Huddersfield Town (Picture: Getty)Michael Owen is a brand ambassador for BetVictor. For more tips from Michael read his column here.

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Michael Owen’s Premier League predictions, including Arsenal v Liverpool, Man Utd and Chelsea

Michael Owen has delivered his predictions for the Premier League weekend (Picture: Getty/PA)Arsenal face high-flying Liverpool this weekend in the Premier League’s stand-out fixture.

The Gunners had won 11 consecutive games in all competitions before drawing to Crystal Palace last weekend.

Liverpool, meanwhile, are currently joint-top of the table, alongside defending champions Manchester City.

City welcome Southampton to the Etihad on Sunday, while Manchester United, Chelsea and Tottenham are all in action over the weekend.

Leicester City also play their first game since a helicopter crash outside the King Power Stadium led to the deaths of their chairman, Vichai Srivaddhanaprabha, and four other people.

Ahead of the weekend’s fixtures, former England striker Michael Owen has delivered his predictions for every Premier League game.

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Bournemouth v Manchester United

Bournemouth begin the weekend sixth in the table and have kept three successive clean sheets in the Premier League.

Eddie Howe’s side will look forward to the visit of Manchester United despite the fact that they have only won one of the six Premier League games played between the clubs.

United had fortune on their side against Everton on Sunday but the bottom line is they are beginning to get results in the Premier League and the outstanding recent form of Anthony Martial is a big plus.

This is a big test for the Cherries, but if there is to be a winner at the Vitality Stadium I feel it will be the hosts.

Michael’s Prediction: Bournemouth 1-1 Manchester United

Anthony Martial is enjoying a fine run for Manchester United (Picture: Getty)Cardiff City v Leicester City

It is sure to be a difficult week for all at Leicester City following Saturday evening’s tragedy.

The players must be prepared mentally as well as physically for their visit to south Wales.

I don’t expect to see many goals at the Cardiff City Stadium in a game that is likely to prove difficult for both players and supporters of both clubs.

Michael’s Prediction: Cardiff City 0-1 Leicester City

Leicester is in mourning following the tragic helicopter crash (Picture: Rex Features)Everton v Brighton

I am sure Marco Silva would have felt United were there for the taking at Old Trafford on Sunday, but his Everton side fell short in one or two key areas and they are not yet good enough to mount a serious challenge to break into the top six.

Brighton rode their luck at home to Wolves at the weekend – scored with their only shot on target – and only had one shot on target until deep into injury time when winning 1-0 at St James’s Park in their last away game.

I expect to see Everton get back to winning ways and it would not surprise me to see Ademola Lookman get a start for the Blues with Theo Walcott disappointing at Old Trafford at the weekend.

Michael’s Prediction: Everton 2-1 Brighton

Everton were beaten by Manchester United last weekend (Picture: Getty)Newcastle United v Watford

Under normal circumstances a good point for Newcastle at Southampton at the weekend.

But another blank in front of goal and United have failed to win any of their opening 10 matches of a league season for just the second time in their history – last doing so 120 years ago, back in the 1898-99 top-flight campaign.

The Magpies have lost their first five Premier League home games, but I feel they can at least take a point against a Hornets side who have bounced back in recent games after their own poor run.

Nineteen points from their first 10 games is Watford’s best-ever start to a Premier League campaign, but I feel they will have to make do with a draw at St James’s Park.

Michael’s Prediction: Newcastle United 1-1 Watford

Watford have made a fine start to the new season (Picture: Getty)West Ham v Burnley

West Ham have picked up just eight points from their first ten league games, but they have also thrown away eight points from winning positions after their 1-1 draw at Leicester on Saturday – more than any other side.

The Clarets are also on eight points in the table after they were roundly beaten by Chelsea at Turf Moor on Sunday.

This promises to be tight and tense, but I feel it will be the hosts who keep the points in the capital.

Michael’s Prediction: West Ham 2-1 Burnley

Manuel Pellegrini is turning things around at West Ham (Picture: Getty)Arsenal v Liverpool

Arsenal’s long winning run came to an end at Selhurst Park on Sunday and this is their first game against a “big six” club since their losses to Manchester City and Chelsea at the beginning of the season.

The Gunners have not led at halftime in any of their Premier League games so far this season and they will need to be at the top of their game from the off against a Liverpool side who will try and hit the hosts hard on the break.

A big game for both clubs – Arsenal will move to within a point of the Reds with a win, but the gap will be seven if Jurgen Klopp’s side take the points. A Liverpool win for me.

Michael’s Prediction: Arsenal 1-3 Liverpool

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Wolves v Tottenham

Wolves play some lovely football, but they are struggling for goals of late and they need to bounce back having lost back-to-back league games for the first time under Nuno Espirito Santo.

Spurs huffed and puffed but only had the one gilt-edged opportunity against City on Monday night and I think they will lose further ground in the battle for a Champions League spot at Molineux as they may have to settle for a draw.

Michael’s Prediction: Wolves 1-1 Tottenham

Tottenham lost to Manchester City on Monday night (Picture: Getty)Manchester City v Southampton

Champions City have conceded just three times in their first 10 Premier League games of the season and they entertain a Southampton side who have failed to score in their last five league games.

I can’t see past another comfortable home win and I would imagine City would want to maintain their proud defensive record.

Michael’s Prediction: Manchester City 3-0 Southampton

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Chelsea v Crystal Palace

Maurizio Sarri became the first Chelsea manager to go unbeaten in his first 10 Premier League games when they thrashed Burnley 4-0 at Turf Moor on Sunday.

They can maintain their excellent start to the season at the expense of Roy Hodgson’s Crystal Palace in this London derby.

The Eagles thoroughly deserved their point against Arsenal on Sunday and could have won at Goodison but for a missed penalty in their last away league game.

They are likely to find this Blues side a different proposition however.

Michael’s Prediction: Chelsea 2-0 Crystal Palace

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Huddersfield Town v Fulham

A massive game near the foot of the table and something must give at the John Smith’s Stadium. The hosts have failed to score in their last seven home Premier League games whilst Fulham are the only side in the division without a clean sheet this term.

The Terriers have hit the woodwork (6) more times than they have scored goals (4) so far this term and they may have to settle for a point against the Cottagers in a game that is sure to be tense.

Michael’s Prediction: Huddersfield Town 1-1 Fulham

Michael’s weekend wager: Everton, Liverpool and Chelsea at 4/1

Michael Owen is a brand ambassador for BetVictor. For more tips from Michael read his column here.

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Paul Merson tells Liverpool to sign Aaron Ramsey and blasts ‘pathetic’ Arsenal

Liverpool should sign Aaron Ramsey from Arsenal, says Paul Merson (Picture: Rex Features)Paul Merson has told Liverpool to sign Arsenal midfielder Aaron Ramsey to boost their hopes of winning a Premier League title.

Ramsey will leave the Emirates next summer after Arsenal informed the Wales international he would not be offered a new contract.

The 27-year-old has won three FA Cup trophies in his ten-year spell at Arsenal but is set to move on, with a number of clubs interested in securing his services.

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Liverpool are not currently believed to be in the running to sign Ramsey, but Merson says he can help Jurgen Klopp win the Premier League.

And the Arsenal legend has branded his former club ‘pathetic’ for the way they have handled Ramsey’s contract situation.

‘Arsenal are pathetic for the way they’ve treated Aaron Ramsey – and he could be playing for Liverpool soon instead of against them,’ Merson told the Daily Star.

‘I don’t understand what my old club are doing. How can you let a player that good run down his contract like this? It’s a nonsense.

Klopp has been urged to sign Ramsey (Picture: Getty)‘It makes no financial sense to lose him on a free so they might as well sell him for whatever they can get now in January.

‘If Liverpool want him they might as well do a deal now. He would fit in there and he would help them challenge for the title.

‘Manchester City are a much stronger, deeper team than Liverpool at the moment, but Ramsey could help change that.’

Since being signed by Arsene Wenger from Cardiff City in 2008, Ramsey has developed into an influential figure at the Emirates.

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His influence has waned somewhat under new manager Unai Emery, but Merson still believes Arsenal have made a mistake.

He added: ‘Whoever gets him will be getting a very good player. He makes good runs, scores goals, and has the vision to pick a pass.

‘He’s a proven player and because of his contract you could get him on the cheap while it will could cost Arsenal around £40m to replace him.

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‘Maybe Unai Emery has someone else in the pipeline he knows can replace Ramsey, or maybe he thinks he can get a better player on less wages.

‘But it just seems strange. It makes no financial sense and I cannot believe what they have done letting it get this far.’

Ramsey will be hoping to help Arsenal continue their impressive run against Liverpool on Saturday afternon.

MORE: Ruben Loftus-Cheek responds after Jamie Redknapp questions his Chelsea future