Arsenal’s 5 best players in February – ranked

The month of February was bloody fantastic for Mikel Arteta’s Arsenal, who shrugged off concerns over their goalscoring ability by finding the back of the net a whopping 18 times.

All of those goals came in the Premier League, leading the Gunners to a maximum 12-point return, though they did draw a blank away at Porto in the Champions League after a rather bizarre change of approach.

They were so bad in Portugal that they failed to register a shot in target – a statistic all the more bewildering considering they did nothing but attack against Liverpool, West Ham United, Burnley and Newcastle United.

Arsenal are front and centre of the Premier League title race as a result, and had a number of standout performers in February who helped take them to the next level.

Honourable mentions

JorginhoJorginho

Jorginho has stepped up to the plate for Arsenal / Marc Atkins/GettyImages

It was a really decent month for Leandro Trossard and Jorginho, who outside of anonymous showings against Porto, showed just how valuable they are to Arsenal.

The latter even scooped 90min’s player of the match awards against Liverpool and Newcastle, with his average rating for the month only brought down by a short cameo away at Burnley.

Martin OdegaardMartin Odegaard

Odegaard caused a stir with his celebrations against Liverpool / IAN KINGTON/GettyImages

Appearances: 5
Average rating: 7.2 (6,9,9,5,7)
Player of the Match: 0

Arsenal captain Martin Odegaard hasn’t hit the goalscoring heights of last season (15 Premier League goals with no penalties) but he put in a couple of outstanding displays in February.

In particular, the Norwegian was at his brilliant best as Arsenal dismantled West Ham at London Stadium, before repeating the trick six days later as Burnley were terrorised at Turf Moor.

GabrielGabriel

Gabriel has been brilliant at both ends for Arsenal / Justin Setterfield/GettyImages

Appearances: 5
Average rating: 7.2 (7,9,8,5,9)
Player of the Match: 0

William Saliba has been labelled the ‘Rolls-Royce’ of Arsenal’s defence, but it’s partner Gabriel who really stood out in February.

Minus an ineffectual display against Porto – where every Gunners player bar one struggled – the Brazilian was superb, particularly impressing against West Ham and Newcastle.

Kai HavertzKai Havertz

Havertz has arrived at the north London party / Marc Atkins/GettyImages

Appearances: 5
Average rating: 7.4 (7,7,8,6,9)
Player of the Match: 0

The longstanding criticism of Kai Havertz is that he doesn’t score enough goals and doesn’t offer Arsenal enough in midfield.

Importantly, the German has the backing of Arteta, and judging by his February displays he’s likely to have a crucial role to play between now and the end of the season.

Havertz scored twice in February, against Burnley and Newcastle, and was also very effective against Liverpool.

Bukayo SakaBukayo Saka

Saka has scored seven goals in his last five Premier League appearances / Visionhaus/GettyImages

Appearances: 5
Average rating: 7.8 (7, 9, 9, 5, 9)
Player of the Match: 1

It’s true Kurt Angle is the only Olympic gold medalist (with a broken freakin’ neck, anyway) in WWE history and it’s true Bukayo Saka is in the form of his life right now.

The 22-year-old has scored seven goals in his five Premier League games, and he turned in three 9/10 performances in a fabulous February. In any other month, Saka would definitely have been Arsenal’s standout performer, but on this occasion…

Declan RiceDeclan Rice

There’s been no Arsenal player more impressive than Rice / Julian Finney/GettyImages

Appearances: 5
Average rating: 8.4 (8,10,8,7,9)
Player of the Match: 2

…he’s been outshone by the sensational Declan Rice.

Signed for £105m, a record fee for a British player, Rice had a lot to prove at the Emirates Stadium (with many saying he wasn’t up to it because he hadn’t played Champions League football), yet he’s somehow now looking like a bit of a bargain.

Rice was colossal in all five of Arsenal’s games in February – he was the only player to stamp any kind of authority on Porto – and deservedly picked up two of 90min’s player of the match awards.

His real standout display was at West Ham, where he scored a stupendous long-range goal to rub excessive amounts of salt into some very open East End wounds.

READ OF ALL ARSENAL’S PLAYER RATINGS FOR FEBRUARY

Every Man Utd reject Sir Jim Ratcliffe needs to sell in 2024 summer transfer window

Having had his purchase of a 25% stake in his boyhood club recently confirmed, the Sir Jim Ratcliffe-led revolution is now officially underway at Old Trafford.

While fixing up the rather decrepit Old Trafford is one of the key priorities for the new ownership group, fixing the first-team squad is certainly one too.

90min understands that the INEOS chairman is planning to have a budget of around £170m for new signings this summer, with around £100m of that figure coming from player sales.

And with that in mind, here are some of the players that Man Utd should let go of this summer.

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Stay up to date with the latest Manchester United news / Visionhaus / Getty Images

Jadon SanchoJadon Sancho

Jadon Sancho is with Dortmund until the summer / Dean Mouhtaropoulos/GettyImages

Fee: £73m

Current role: Completely ostracised by Erik ten Hag and now back at Borussia Dortmund on loan

Why sell? It seems that so long as Ten Hag is Man Utd’s manager then Sancho won’t have a future at Old Trafford. The bust-up between the pair ultimately led to the wide forward re-joining former club Dortmund in January, with Sancho likely believing that, if he re-found his best form, he’d return to the Red Devils and become a regular in their squad once again. Put bluntly, however, Sancho hasn’t played well since his January move, leading many to question if he’s even good enough to be on the books at Man Utd at this stage in his career regardless of his relationship with Ten Hag.

Casemiro is linked with a Saudi Arabia moveCasemiro is linked with a Saudi Arabia move

Casemiro is linked with a Saudi Arabia move / Marc Atkins/GettyImages

Fee: £60m

Current role: Playing a key role in Man Utd’s rather non-existent midfield

Why sell? Casemiro was signed (for a lot of money) as a stop-gap in midfield for Manchester United. But with dominant performances also mixed with regular injury absences and mixed form, as well as pocketing a huge sum in wages, that is already coming to an end. It’s time to part in summer.

Raphael VaraneRaphael Varane

Man Utd fans haven’t seen Raphael Varane at his best / Robbie Jay Barratt – AMA/GettyImages

Fee: £41m

Current role: Man Utd’s injury prone centre-back who is the only fit centre-back at the club

Why sell? Like Casemiro, Varane was signed in the later stages of his career and this summer seems like the right time for him to leave the club. With his huge contract winding down and interest from Saudi Arabia being heavily reported, it makes sense to cut ties with the World Cup winner.

Sofyan AmrabatSofyan Amrabat

Sofyan Amrabat hasn’t had the desired impact / Visionhaus/GettyImages

Fee: £8.5m loan fee + £17.1m buy option

Current role: Five minute cameos at the end of games

Why sell? A player that Manchester United were seemingly desperate to get through the door in the summer, it’s fair to say that Sofyan Amrabat hasn’t exactly shown fans why their club’s transfer gurus were so keen to sign him. And following Kobbie Mainoo’s breakout, it’s hard to imagine Amrabat probably won’t get the chance to either. The Red Devils should cut their losses and let the midfielder return to Fiorentina in the summer without triggering his option.

AntonyAntony

Antony is an undeniable flop at this stage / Shaun Botterill/GettyImages

Fee: £86m

Current role: He’s being given pity minutes by Erik ten Hag at the end of games.

Why sell? Seemingly now behind Amad Diallo and Omari Forson in the winger pecking order, Antony cost Manchester United £86m – despite club scouts previously valuing him at £25m – and has scored zero Premier League goals so far in 2023/24. Need we say more?

Anthony MartialAnthony Martial

Anthony Martial is often injured / Danehouse Photography Ltd/GettyImages

Fee: £58m

Current role: Sitting in the treatment room

Why sell? Ah, the man signed with a Ballon d’Or add-on. Martial’s current contract – a five-year deal signed in 2019 – is set to expire at the end of the 2023/24 season, and 90min understands the club has no intention of taking up an option to extend it by a further year. Judging by the near 100 games he’s missed due to a myriad of injury concerns at Old Trafford, it’s easy to see why that’s the case.

Mason GreenwoodMason Greenwood

Mason Greenwood hasn’t played for Man Utd in more than two years / Alex Caparros/GettyImages

Fee: Academy graduate

Current role: On loan at Getafe

Why sell? While Sir Jim Ratcliffe is seemingly set to make his own decision on Mason Greenwood’s status at Old Trafford beyond this season, the backlash to his comments and the powerful statement previously published by Man Utd fan group ‘Female Fans Against Greenwood’s Return’ is proof that the club need to cut ties with the 22-year-old permanently in the summer.

Donny van de BeekDonny van de Beek

Donny van de Beek is rebuilding his career in Germany / Alex Grimm/GettyImages

Fee: £40m

Current role: On loan at Eintracht Frankfurt

Why sell? A nasty combination of injuries, managerial changes and a lack of form led to Donny van de Beek’s struggles at Man Utd. Now on loan in Germany and getting much more regular gametime, it’s clear his future lies elsewhere this summer.

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Free agents Premier League clubs should sign in 2024

Football may have entered an age of dizzying transfer sagas and record-breaking fees, but top clubs around Europe still scour the free agent market for the best bargains every window.

It’ll be no different for Premier League teams this summer. While the likes of Manchester United, Liverpool, Arsenal and Manchester City among others will undoubtedly part with significant sums of cash to bolster their squads, the more frugal sides in England’s top flight will be digging through the bargain bin for the best value-for-money signings.

So which cheap options should Premier League clubs be monitoring ahead of the summer transfer window? Here are 90min’s top picks.

Oh, and we’ve left Kylian Mbappe off our selections, mainly because it’s clear already where he wants to go once his deal with Paris Saint-Germain runs out.

Josh BrownhillJosh Brownhill

Brownhill would be a low-risk signing / Visionhaus/GettyImages

Burnley’s return to the Premier League hasn’t gone to plan as of yet, with the Clarets staring down the barrel of relegation back to the Championship.

One player set to continue in the English top flight is midfielder Josh Brownhill, who 90min understands has previously been of interest to Southampton and West Ham.

A move to one of the division’s heavy-hitters is unlikely, but a mid-table side in the Premier League could do worse than to bolster their squad with the hard-working 28-year-old.

Wilfred NdidiWilfred Ndidi

Ndidi has spent the season in the Championship / David Rogers/GettyImages

Wilfred Ndidi was regarded as one of the best central midfielders in the Premier League before Leicester’s relegation, impressing with his ball-winning abilities.

Having only turned 27 in December, the Nigeria international will believe he still has a few more excellent seasons in him to offer clubs sniffing around the European places.

Ndidi hasn’t played since late 2023 due to injury, so a return to fitness and form is needed to convince Premier League teams to bring him in.

Gabriel BarbosaGabriel Barbosa

Gabigol could return to European football / Wagner Meier/GettyImages

A slightly more left-field candidate approaching free agency is Gabriel Barbosa, who is winding down the final few months of his deal in Brazil with Flamengo.

The 27-year-old’s first venture into European football didn’t go swimmingly, signing for Inter in 2016. He scored once in ten games and was sent away from San Siro three times on loan, eventually departing permanently to return to his hometown.

There were criticisms of his attitude during his time in Italy, so there may not be a huge queue of clubs lining up for his signature. However, Gabigol’s goal record back in Brazil can’t be disputed, so he may be worth a punt.

FBL-ENG-FACUP-BOURNEMOUTH-SWANSEAFBL-ENG-FACUP-BOURNEMOUTH-SWANSEA

Kelly is expected to leave Bournemouth this summer / JUSTIN TALLIS/GettyImages

Defenders with pace and versatility are all the rage right now. Lloyd Kelly is one such player who has impressed on the south coast at Bournemouth.

Cherries manager Andoni Iraola has largely used the 25-year-old as a squad option, filling in at centre-back and left-back when needed, but he has still attracted interest from some Premier League giants in recent months.

90min understands Tottenham had a late summer bid turned down, while Newcastle and Liverpool were considering moves during the January window.

Luka ModricLuka Modric

Modric’s time at Real Madrid is coming to an end / Angel Martinez/GettyImages

Who says no to a Tottenham return for Luka Modric? Oh, Modric does? OK, forget that then.

The Croatian Ballon d’Or winner may prefer a new challenge once he leaves Real Madrid as expected at the end of the season, but a return to England would be welcomed by fans keen to watch his final swan-song up close.

Where he would end up is a little less obvious. Chelsea need an experienced head in midfield, so perhaps Modric could guide some of their fledgling youngsters having missed out on a move to Stamford Bridge roughly ten years ago.

That said, he might not fancy the ordeal of playing for the current-day Chelsea, which is fair enough.

Leonardo SpinazzolaLeonardo Spinazzola

Spinazzola is out of contract this summer / Soccrates Images/GettyImages

Leonardo Spinazzola’s current resume doesn’t scream ‘future Premier League transfer’ given he’s hot-stepped all over Italy.

However, English sides took notice of the flying wing-back during Euro 2020 before his campaign was curtailed. The 30-year-old showed his attacking intent and quality before his tournament with the ultimately successful Azzurri was cut short by injury.

A stay in Serie A seems more than likely, but stranger moves have happened.

Adrien RabiotAdrien Rabiot

Rabiot could leave Turin this summer / Marco Canoniero/GettyImages

We’ve hit the point in Adrien Rabiot’s time at Juventus where he starts playing like prime Zinedine Zidane, just like he did before leaving Paris Saint-Germain.

Perhaps this writer is biased against the France international, but it matters little either way. The midfielder is out of contract in the summer and, if an extension isn’t agreed with Juve, he’ll be picking up another handsome signing-on bonus at a new club in the summer.

Man Utd have been linked in the past, though whether he would stabilise their worryingly open midfield is another thing entirely.

KokeKoke

Koke is an Atleti stalwart / Nicolò Campo/GettyImages

Having been with Atletico Madrid since the age of eight, it would be a dagger to the hearts of football romantics if club captain Koke were to leave this summer.

Diego Simeone is yet to ditch him from his preferred starting XI given his iconic status in the squad, but club officials are yet to offer new terms that are acceptable for Koke.

A more than tidy operator who can play centrally and out wide, Premier League clubs will be all over the 32-year-old if he’s available on a free.

Toni KroosToni Kroos

Kroos could end up staying at the Bernabeu / Angel Martinez/GettyImages

While Modric’s exit from Real Madrid looks more likely with every passing week, fellow veteran midfielder Toni Kroos is still showing his worth for Carlo Ancelotti.

Kroos, who is set to play for Germany at Euro 2024, says he is still mulling over his next move and has been linked with a return to Bayern Munich, though he quickly dispelled those rumours.

The pass master would fit in like a glove at Man City, having previously played under Pep Guardiola, but there’s every chance he extends his stay in Madrid for another year.

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How Man Utd could line up after 2024 summer transfer window

After a promising debut season at Old Trafford, things have quickly turned nightmarish for Erik ten Hag at Manchester United.

The Red Devils have endured an underwhelming Premier League campaign littered with subpar performances, while they embarrassingly crashed out of the Champions League at the group stage, suffering defeats to the likes of Copenhagen and Galatasaray.

Fresh investment from Sir Jim Ratcliffe has offered hope of a new dawn in Manchester, even if on-field displays still leave a lot to be desired. Whether Ten Hag is part of the new era remains to be seen, but this summer’s transfer window will be crucial to the club’s short and long-term future.

With Man Utd’s squad in desperate need of reinforcements in key areas, here’s how the Red Devils could line up following the 2024 summer window.

Jarrad BranthwaiteJarrad Branthwaite

Branthwaite is on Man Utd’s wishlist / Matt McNulty/GettyImages

Man Utd could do with some fine-tuning in the defensive department, with uncertain futures for a number of their players across the backline. Jonny Evans will leave the club when his deal expires this summer, while Raphael Varane has also been touted with a potential exit despite the Red Devils having the option to extend the World Cup winner’s deal beyond 2024.

There is expected to be significant movement in the market from Man Utd this summer, although Andre Onana is almost certain to be the club’s first-choice goalkeeper having only signed at the start of the season. The Cameroon international’s performances have been questionable but he is starting to show greater consistency between the sticks.

If he can stay fit, Lisandro Martinez will be Man Utd’s strongest centre-back option next season, while Luke Shaw, who has also suffered regularly with injuries of late, is still a great option at left-back.

With Harry Maguire’s future still not entirely assured and the likes of Varane and Victor Lindelof having also failed to blow supporters away this term, a new central defender could be on the club’s wishlist.

One player likely to interest several clubs this summer is Jarrad Branthwaite, with the young Everton starlet having shone for the Toffees this season. The 21-year-old Englishman would likely cost a small fortune, but has shown all the attributes needed to become a fantastic modern day central defender – even if playing two left-footed centre-halves would perhaps be a little unorthodox for Man Utd.

Right-back could also do with an upgrade given the inconsistency of Diogo Dalot and the limitations of Aaron Wan-Bissaka, with Ten Hag potentially tempted to bring Jeremie Frimpong to Old Trafford. The Bayer Leverkusen defender has produced a combined 19 goals and assists from wing-back this season and shows incredible potential at just 23.

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Stay up to date with the latest Manchester United news / Visionhaus / Getty Images

Frenkie De JongFrenkie De Jong

De Jong has been regularly linked with Man Utd / Eric Alonso/GettyImages

If Ten Hag – providing he is still in the Man Utd dugout – persists with his favoured 4-2-3-1 formation, he will need two reliable holding midfielders next term. One of his side’s biggest issues this season has been the fallibility of their midfield, with Casemiro slowing down significantly, Scott McTominay not suited to a deep-lying role and Mason Mount having made a slow and injury-hit start to life up north.

Of course, the Red Devils do boast one of the most exciting young midfielders in the Premier League as part of their two-man base, 18-year-old Kobbie Mainoo having been one of the few shining lights this season. He should continue to be thrust into the first team on a regular basis.

However, who will partner him in the engine room is less certain, with Ten Hag potentially seeking a reunion with his former Ajax star Frenkie de Jong. The Barcelona midfielder has been frequently linked with Old Trafford and would be a significant upgrade to an underperforming central spine, with the Catalan giants perhaps needing to offload the Dutchman in order to ease their financial woes.

Rasmus HojlundRasmus Hojlund

Hojlund has shown his quality in recent weeks / Shaun Botterill/GettyImages

Man Utd have plenty of attacking talent to spread across their front four, with Rasmus Hojlund having proven himself as a reliable source of goals over the last month. The Danish striker was signed for £72m last summer and made an underwhelming start to his career in England, but his pace, power and ruthlessness in front of goal have been pivotal for the Red Devils during recent weeks.

Bruno Fernandes may not be true captain material but the Man Utd skipper still has bags of quality. There are no doubts he’s guaranteed to start when fit, the Portuguese often a difference-maker in the number ten role.

Marcus Rashford’s dwindling form has opened a route to more regular first-team football for young Alejandro Garnacho this season. The 19-year-old Argentine has shown immense promise and will fight with his English teammate for residence on the left flank next term.

One area in which Man Utd have lacked quality under Ten Hag is on the right-hand side of attack, with £85m Antony having been an absolute disaster for the Red Devils. The Brazilian hasn’t merited a spot in the starting lineup next year and the club will need to look for alternatives in the summer market.

One such player who could bolster their attacking options is Pedro Neto of Wolverhampton Wanderers. The 23-year-old Portugal international has had his issues with injuries at Molineux, but would be a wonderful addition to Ten Hag’s squad given his age profile and relentless attacking output.

(4-2-3-1): Onana; Frimpong, Branthwaite, Martinez, Shaw; Mainoo, De Jong; Neto, Fernandes, Garnacho; Hojlund.

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Liverpool 3-0 Southampton: Player ratings as Klopp’s kids deliver again

Liverpool overcame a tough challenge from Southampton in the FA Cup fifth round on Wednesday night, beating the Saints 3-0.

In the absence of 14 first-teamers, Jurgen Klopp once again relied upon youth in his starting XI and two academy graduates found the back of the net. Lewis Koumas opened the scoring for the hosts, before Jayden Danns scored twice after coming off the bench.

Liverpool will now take on Manchester United in the quarter-finals after the Red Devils overcame Nottingham Forest late on at the City Ground.

How the game unfolded

The Liverpool boss was forced to name a youthful XI given the Reds’ litany of absences, with the likes of Mohamed Salah, Darwin Nunez, and Dominik Szoboszlai all missing out once again.

Alexis Mac Allister, Ibrahima Konate, and Luis Diaz all dropped to the bench having started Sunday’s Carabao Cup final.

In the opening exchanges, Southampton attacked with the vigour that Chelsea should’ve in the extended period at Wembley, but missed chance after chance before Cody Gakpo had Liverpool’s first sniff of Joe Lumley’s goal. The Saints pressed superbly, with Kamaldeen Sulemana hitting the post and Sekou Mara twice being denied by Caoimhin Kelleher.

Russell Martin’s free-flowing visitors played with a swagger throughout the first half, regularly beating Liverpool’s press to create four-v-fours in attacking transition. For all their build-up brilliance, however, they couldn’t breach Kelleher’s defences and they were punished just before half-time when Koumas’ deflected effort – just the Reds’ second on target – handed the hosts a 1-0 lead.

Koumas’ strike did little to deter Martin’s men, who remained on top at the start of the second half with Liverpool once again reliant on Kelleher to retain their advantage.

There was certainly more control about the Reds’ second-half display, with Ibrahima Konate’s arrival aiding their ability to contain Sulemana. Still, Shea Charles spurned a gilt-edge chance to draw Southampton level from a set-piece.

Then, another of Liverpool’s young stars doubled their advantage. Substitute Danns coolly finished over Lumley after being fed in behind by Harvey Elliott. The 18-year-old added his second late on after reacting sharply from Conor Bradley’s saved effort.

The scoreline was harsh on the Championship side, who impressed for large swathes of the contest and somehow ended the night without troubling the scorers.

Lewis KoumasLewis Koumas

Lewis Koumas handed Liverpool the lead just before half-time / Justin Setterfield/GettyImages

GK: Caoimhin Kelleher – 9/10 – The Irishman followed up Sunday’s heroics with yet another stellar showing. Kelleher made save after save in this cup tie and was fully deserving of his clean sheet.

RB: Conor Bradley – 7/10 – The Northern Irishman always seemed to be involved. Produced some lovely touches and was involved in Liverpool’s third.

CB: Jarell Quansah – 6/10 – Initially had a tough night dealing with Sulemana in the channel. Grateful for Konate’s introduction, no doubt.

CB: Virgil van Dijk – 7/10 – Wasn’t afforded much protection by his midfield, but defended the transition expertly when the ball went down his flank in the first half.

LB: Kostas Tsimkas – 6/10 – Much more serene in the second period after a frantic opening full of slipping and failed counter-pressing.

CM: Joe Gomez – 7/10 – Gomez’s inverted role means he’s gotten used to popping up in central areas, but this was a different kettle of fish. There were moments of awkwardness in possession, but he grew into the role and impressed in the second half.

CM: James McConnell – 6/10 – McConnell is a gifted passer and he delivered a couple of lovely switches of play. A measured performance but there were brighter showings from Liverpool’s young guns.

CM: Bobby Clark – 8/10 – Guilty of an early giveaway which should’ve resulted in a goal, but Clark seemingly grew in confidence thereafter. Proactive and positive with the ball, the young midfielder teed up Koumas’ opener and should’ve had an assist for Cody Gakpo at the start of the second half.

RW: Harvey Elliott – 7/10 – After a chaotic opening, Elliott settled and delivered a typically industrious display full of creative vigour.

ST: Cody Gakpo – 5/10 – One of few senior members included in the senior XI, Gakpo was guilty of missing several chances on Wednesday night.

LW: Lewis Koumas – 7/10 – Bright and direct, although physically inferior. The Southampton defence had little issue dealing with the teenager before his smart, deflected finish gave Liverpool the lead.

Substitutes

SUB: Ibrahima Konate (46′ for Van Dijk) – 8/10

SUB: Alexis Mac Allister (62′ for McConnell) – 6/10

SUB: Jayden Danns (62′ for Koumas) – 8/10

SUB: Trey Nyoni (83′ for Elliott) – 6/10

SUB: Kaide Gordon (90′ for Gakpo) – N/A

Subs not used: Adrian (GK), Luis Diaz, Callum Scanlon, Amara Nallo

Manager: Jurgen Klopp – 7/10 – Emboldened the youth yet again, and it was Liverpool’s academy that got them over the line on Wednesday night. His side surrendered a ton of chances, however.

Player of the match: Caoimhín Kelleher (Liverpool)

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