x Abu Dhabi, UAEThursday 18 January 2018

Premier League team-by-team: Liverpool to Wolves

The Manchester City manager confirms Roque Santa Cruz is almost certain to return to Blackburn while John Henry will be at Anfield for Sunday's Merseyside derby.

Liverpool’s Daniel Agger after his side lost 2-1 away to Blackpool on Wednesday night.
Liverpool’s Daniel Agger after his side lost 2-1 away to Blackpool on Wednesday night.


John Henry, Liverpool's principal owner, will be at Anfield for Sunday's Merseyside derby as part of an extended visit to assess progress at the club since his October purchase. The previous derby at Everton's Goodison Park on October 17 was Henry's first match, coming just two days after New England Sports Ventures completed their £300 million (Dh1.72 billion) takeover. It is a chance for Henry to spend time with Kenny Dalglish, the club's caretaker manager, and to also address the issue of the chief executive's post, which has been vacant since Christian Purslow stepped down in October.

Manchester City

Roberto Mancini, the City manager, has confirmed Roque Santa Cruz is almost certain to return to Blackburn Rovers within the coming days - and paved the way for Shaun Wright-Phillips's departure, too. Mancini has already stated that Edin Dzeko will probably be the only new face during the winter transfer window, so most of the attention is set to be on the players who will leave. Wayne Bridge was first man out of the exit door on Wednesday, joining West Ham United for the remainder of the season. Santa Cruz's departure was always on the cards and it seems Wright-Phillips will be leaving too. "He has two or three options," said Mancini.

Manchester United

Tomasz Kuszczak believes he is good enough to replace goalkeeper Edwin van der Sar on a long-term basis at Manchester United. Van der Sar, 40, is debating whether to retire from football at the end of the season and Kuszczak, 28, is determined to take his pace - or move on. "I know I have not got the biggest name in the world, and I do not want this to sound arrogant ... I think I am good enough," he told the Manchester Evening News. "If Sir Alex Ferguson decides I am not good enough, then I will look for another club. I am realistic about my situation. It would not frighten me to take over as Edwin's successor. Why should it?"

Newcastle United

Midfielder Danny Gosling has declared himself ready for Sunday's derby match with Sunderland after returning from a long injury lay-off. Gosling last played in a Premier League game in March 2010, for Everton, when he damaged knee ligaments against Wolves. He joined Newcastle in the summer and played 70 minutes of a reserve match on Wednesday. "I would love to play at the Stadium of Light against our arch rivals," he told The Chronicle. "To play any game in the first team at this club is an honour, and I'm sure it will happen for me sooner rather than later. I don't know if it will happen on Sunday, I really don't."

Stoke City

Tony Pulis admits he finds social networking sites "strange" but says he will not prevent his players sharing their thoughts with a global audience. In a week where Liverpool's Ryan Babel has run into trouble on Twitter, Tuncay, who is known to be frustrated at making only three starts in the league this season, posted his top 10 goals on Facebook. "I think he is selling himself to his manager, I am hoping so," said Pulis. "Someone said, though, he hasn't put on all his misses. Social networking is just the way of the world. I find it strange but I am traditional. I can't be leaning over them all the time, saying 'you can't do this, you can't do that.' "


Steve Bruce, the Sunderland manager, has made a bid for Stephane Sessegnon, the Paris Saint-Germain midfielder, as he attempts to bolster his squad during the transfer window. According to the Press Association, Sunderland have tabled an offer for a permanent deal for the Benin international. It emerged last week the Wearsiders had made enquiries over loan deals for both Sessegnon and Inter Milan's Sulley Muntari. Bruce wants to add to his squad for the second half of the season with injuries having robbed him of the likes of Lee Cattermole, Danny Welbeck and Fraizer Campbell in recent weeks.

Tottenham Hotspur

Ossie Ardiles, the former Tottenham manager, is confident the club will be able to hang on to Gareth Bale, their star winger, in the summer. Bale has seen his stock rise incredibly after a series of fine performances over the past 12 months and Manchester City manager Roberto Mancini predicted on Wednesday that Bale would be the subject of a series of bids from Europe's big clubs. "All the best teams in the world will be after him," said Ardiles. "Players in the past like [Dimitar] Berbatov had to leave because they wanted to play in the Champions League. He left because we couldn't give him that platform, but now we can."

West Bromwich Albion

West Brom goalkeeper Scott Carson has been left out of the starting line-up for the visit of Blackpool tomorrow, manager Roberto Di Matteo has confirmed. Boaz Myhill will instead be given a chance to impress in what will be his first Premier League start of the season following his summer transfer from Hull City. Carson has come in for some criticism in recent weeks after his blunder against Fulham on January 5 led to the opening goal in a 3-0 defeat."Scott is very disappointed. He is club captain as well and it is the first time he has been left out," said Di Matteo. "But it is something he needs to get through".

West Ham United

Mark Noble, the West Ham midfielder, is relishing the chance to test himself against Arsenal at home tomorrow. "Arsenal are a fantastic side and it is a lovely game to play in," Noble told the club's website. "Everyone admires the way they play but they are coming here and we are looking forward to it. They play fantastic football and you want to play against the best. If you look at 90 per cent of our games this year you wouldn't think we would be struggling in the league. We have made mistakes, probably a bit of naivety and not taking chances as we should have."

Wigan Athletic

Roberto Martinez has confirmed Wigan are close to completing a deal to send striker Mauro Boselli out on loan for the rest of the season, although nothing had been finalised. "Mauro has been adapting to the British game and, at the moment, it has been really, really difficult," said the Wigan manager. "We need to have Mauro at his best, the Mauro Boselli that we signed, the goalscorer. He has got a magnificent reputation in world football and at the moment he needs to find a little bit of football happiness and to play games, to allow him to be himself."


Mick McCarthy takes his Wolves side to Manchester City tomorrow hoping to complete a league double after securing all three points at home in October. "We beat them here and they'll want to turn that result around and blight that," McCarthy told the club's website. "It's their home game against fourth bottom of the league. They'll want to beat us and they'll see it as three points. But it doesn't always work out that way." City will have £27m striker Edin Dzeko available and McCarthy joked: "If they hadn't have signed him, we'd have won easily."