Liverpool ‘Not Considering’ Nicolas Pepe Transfer Despite Reports of Imminent Anfield Switch

?The transfer saga surrounding Lille star Nicolas Pepe will almost certainly be one of the most exciting stories of the summer, but a fresh report has claimed that Liverpool have no intention of joining the race for his signature.

The Reds are one of many sides who had previously been linked with the Ivorian, with some reports even suggesting a deal was nearing completion.

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However, according to the ?Liverpool Echo, such claims are far from the mark, as ?Liverpool are actually not interested in Pepe in the slightest.

RMC Sport journalist ?Mohamed Bouhafsi, who has become a fan favourite at Anfield through his reliable transfer updates, has previously suggested that Liverpool are well placed to sign Pepe this summer, but the Echo’s report claims this is not the case.

Not only has there been no contact between Liverpool and Pepe, but the Echo insist he has never been under consideration by club officials. As such, they state that a move for Pepe simply will not happen this summer.

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They do note that Jurgen Klopp is looking for versatile attackers to help add some much-needed depth. Daniel Sturridge will soon leave the club, whilst there have been doubts about the future of ?Champions League hero ?Divock Origi, who has been stuck behind ?Mohamed Salah, ?Roberto Firmino and ?Sadio Mane in the pecking order at Anfield.

They have been linked with the likes of Memphis Depay and Felipe Anderson this summer, although the Echo add that Klopp does not want to spend heavily this summer, instead preferring sensible investment on either young prospects or players who could act as deputies to his first-team stars.

Jurgen Klopp

If true, not only would Liverpool be out of the running for Pepe, but they would also pass on the chances to sign the likes of Matthijs de Ligt and ?Paulo Dybala, both of whom have been heavily linked with moves to the club.

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Gareth Southgate ‘Delighted’ as Jordan Pickford & Trent Alexander-Arnold Shine for England

?Gareth Southgate has spoken of his delight at England securing a third-placed finish in the UEFA Nations League after they needed penalties to get past Switzerland following a 0-0 draw.

The Three Lions were dominant throughout, with Trent Alexander-Arnold and Harry Maguire impressing in defence. However, going forward, England left a lot to be desired, and needed penalties to get the win.

Speaking to ITV after the game, Southgate confessed that he was incredibly relieved to see England rewarded for their dominance eventually.

He said: “I don’t think we’ve ever had to work so hard for a win! I’m most pleased with the performance, really, because we deserved to win. We owed the supporters a performance, and we owed ourselves a performance, and I think we delivered that, and i’m delighted.

“So many thousands of fans stayed here for a third-place playoff and they gave us incredible backing, so i’m really pleased for them.”

Xherdan Shaqiri,Eric Dier

Southgate then discussed goalkeeper ?Pickford, who netted his side’s fifth penalty, before saving Josip Drmic’s effort to seal the victory, and Southgate admitted that Pickford has worked on taking penalties in training.

“We’ve worked at it, I think we’ve got the reward for the work that we did on it. We said to the players that it might be necessary, and it was.

“[Pickford]’s got good technique. He’s got the added advantage of that he can go and make a difference with his gloves on as well. That’s pleasing because it’s another good experience for us in a tournament.”

Finally, he discussed ?Alexander-Arnold, who enjoyed another outstanding performance on the right side of England’s defence.

He said: “His quality with the ball, the delivery with his crosses, the delivery of his wide free-kicks, the ability to pick out a pass or a long through pass. He’s still early stages, there’s still some work to do with him defensively, but he’s maturing really well.”

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Man Utd ‘Agree Personal Terms’ With Aaron Wan-Bissaka Ahead of Potential £60m Deal

?Manchester United are thought to have agreed personal terms with Crystal Palace wonderkid Aaron Wan-Bissaka, with the two clubs now left negotiating a transfer fee.

United failed in a ?£40m bid for the right-back over the weekend, with Palace refusing to budge from their £60m valuation for one of England’s brightest young prospects.


The two clubs are locked in negotiations as ?United remain eager to avoid paying that full fee but, according to Gazzetta dello Sport journalist ?Nicolo Schira, the Red Devils have already agreed terms with Wan-Bissaka, as they look to push through a move.

Schira claims that, should he move to Old Trafford, Wan-Bissaka will pen a five-year deal, and he will instantly become Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s first-choice right-back.

With ?Antonio Valencia leaving the club this summer, United’s only recognised right-back is young Diogo Dalot, who has been tipped to feature in a more advanced role going forward. 33-year-old Ashley Young was often used in the position, but many fans have called for him to be replaced in the lineup. As a result, strengthening in that position is one of Solskjaer’s top priorities.

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?Chelsea starlet Reece James and Paris Saint-Germain’s Thomas Meunier have also been linked with a switch to Old Trafford, but Wan-Bissaka is thought to be one of United’s ‘principle’ transfer targets.

The 21-year-old was one of the ?Premier League’s outstanding performers last season, showcasing his outstanding one-on-one defending skills in each of his 35 appearances for ?Palace.

?Manchester City and Chelsea have both been linked with Wan-Bissaka in the past, as have ?Bundesliga giants ?Bayern Munich, and it appears as though United are determined not to miss out on the youngster’s signature.

The Red Devils are on the lookout for young, English stars who can help improve the team instantly. Alongside Wan-Bissaka, they have been heavily linked with the likes of ?Borussia Dortmund’s Jadon Sancho and ?West Ham’s Declan Rice, as they look to create a new home-grown core.

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Germany vs Estonia Preview: Where to Watch, Live Stream, Kick Off Time & Team News

Germany welcome Estonia to Mainz on Tuesday night for their Euro 2020 Qualification Group C clash, with the Germans looking to regain top spot from Northern Ireland, and Estonia hoping to pick up the first points of their qualifying campaign. 

Germany will again play the fixture without manager Joachim Low, who suffered a contused artery that has sidelined him for a month. They will instead be led by assistant manager Marcus Sorg who oversaw Germany’s 2-0 win over Belarus on Saturday evening.

Marcus Sorg

Low may well count himself fortunate to still be manager of the national team at all, having followed up an embarrassing bottom of the group finish in the 2018 World Cup with relegation to the second tier of the newly created Nations League.

However, having a World Cup win on your resume buys you a certain amount of time. Germany have slowly begun to grind back into gear and will still be favourites to qualify as group winners, having already won they trickiest fixture away to the Netherlands. 

Having already succumbed twice to Northern Ireland, any faint hopes Estonia may have had of a remarkable top two finish have all but faded already. They will enter the fixture as clear underdogs, and with the pressure removed, may just fancy causing an upset. 

Check out 90min’s preview of the game below.


Where to Watch

?When Is Kick-Off? Tuesday 11 June?
?What Time Is Kick Off? ?19:45 (BST)
?Where Is it Played? OPEL Arena, Mainz?
?TV Channel/Live Stream? ?Sky Sports Red Button/Sky Go Extra 
?Referee? ?Ali Palabiyik


Team News 

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Germany will continue to be without Spanish-based pair Marc Andre ter Stegen and Toni Kroos, who were both left out of the Euro 2020 qualifiers squad due to a knee problem and a muscular issue, respectively. 

Germany Training & Press Conference In Venlo

The only other concern for Marcus Sorg is the continued injury of Arsenal’s Bernd Leno, which means Bayern Munich’s backup goalkeeper Sven Ulreich may win his first international cap, having been called up to the national squad for the first time last week. With the match against Belarus having occurred just three days prior to this fixture, expect Germany to rotate somewhat, and give the likes of Julian Brandt and Leon Goretzka an opportunity to impress. 

The best that can be said for Estonia is they have no fresh injury concerns, and are likely to persevere with the side that came up just short against Northern Ireland last time out. 


Predicted Lineups 

?Germany Neuer; Schulz, Tah, Sule, Ginter, Klostermann; Sane, Kimmich, Gortezka, Brandt; Reus?
?Estonia ? Lepmets; Pikk, Vihmann, Mets, Sinyavskiy; Dmitrijev, Sappinen, Kait, Vassiljev, Teniste; Zenjov.

Head to Head Record 

As one might expect, the head to head record between these two sides is heavily in Germany’s favour – who have won every game played between the two sides. 

However, this figure is slightly misleading as the teams have only faced each other on three occasions; the most recent occurring in 1939. 

Whilst results from over 80 years ago do not seem relevant to a modern day fixture, the fact that the sides have met so infrequently highlights the gulf in class between the teams – with Estonia having failed to qualify for a single World Cup or European Championship.


Recent Form 

Since their dismal World Cup performance and only marginally better Nations League campaign, Germany have steadied the ship, going unbeaten in their last five fixtures including an impressive 3-2 victory away against a resurgent Dutch side. 

Low was brutal in the fallout of the World Cup fiasco, axing long term servants including Mats Hummels in favour of promoting a crop of talented youngsters. Whilst his new-look team is not yet performing at the level of his great World Cup winning side, there are signs that Low is building another squad that can compete for international honours.

Like Germany, Estonia suffered a miserable Nations League campaign – winning just one game and being relegated to Division D. However, their more recent form is much improved, having picked up two wins in their last five, including a 2-1 victory away against their Scandinavian rivals, Finland. 

Here’s how the two sides have fared in their previous five fixtures: 

?Germany Estonia?
?Belarus 0-2 Germany (08/06/19) ?Estonia 1-2 Northern Ireland (08/06/19)
?Netherlands 2-3 Germany (24/03/19) ?Gibraltar 0-1 Estonia (26/03/19)
?Germany 1-1 Serbia (20/03/19) Northern Ireland 2-0 Estonia (21/03/19)?
?Germany 2-2 Netherlands (19/11/19) ?Estonia 0-0 Iceland (15/01/19)
?Germany 3-0 Russia (15/11/19) ? Finland 1-2 Estonia (11/01/19)

Prediction 

Whilst Estonia’s recent performances may give their fans a faint glimmer of hope, the gulf between the two sides combined with the fact that the fixture is taking place in Germany makes Die Mannschaft firm favourites for this tie. Having spent the last two fixtures on the road, Germany will be looking forward to playing in front of their home fans, and will be targeting a big win against their unheralded opposition. Expect the Germans to dominate from start to finish, with Marco Reus to grab a brace. 

Prediction: Germany 4-0 Estonia?

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Portugal 1-0 Netherlands: Report, Ratings & Reaction as Hosts Secure Inaugural Nations League Glory

Goncalo Guedes’ second-half strike was enough to earn Portugal a deserved victory over the Netherlands, handing them the Nations League trophy in the competition’s maiden instalment.

Boos were ringing around the Estádio do Dragão five minutes in after Bernardo Silva went tumbling in the box under pressure from Daley Blind and Virgil van Dijk, but referee Alberto Undiano Mallenco saw no infringement.

Daley Blind,Virgil van Dijk,Bernardo Silva

The Dutch were seeing more of the ball, happy to keep possession in midfield, probing for their moment looking to pounce on Portuguese mistakes. For all their control, it was Jasper Cillessen who was the busier of the two goalkeepers, however. The ?Barcelona stopper kept out efforts from Bruno Fernandes and ?Cristiano Ronaldo, with the Dutchman standing firm on both occasions.

The introduction of England’s tormentor Quincy Promes after half time promised to open the game at the backdrop of an electric atmosphere in Porto. But, however deafening the atmosphere was before, it was turned up to the maximum with half an hour remaining.

Goncalo Guedes’ fierce drive from the edge of box was too strong for Cillessen, who couldn’t get a strong enough hand on the strike to stop it from nestling into the bottom corner.

Ronald Koeman’s side fought back, but their lack of potency up front was far too clear, failing to test Rui Patricio as Portugal looked comfortable in defence. It proved too little too late for the Oranje, who fell at the final hurdle to hand Portugal victory in the first ever edition of the Nations League.


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Key Talking Point

There were question marks whether or not the extra day of rest that Portugal had over their opponents would play a role, and despite having less of the ball in the first period they did appear the livelier of the sides in the final third.

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With so much attacking talent at his disposal, Fernando Santos will have been pleased with the way his forwards went about their work in the first half, carving open plenty of chances with just the all-important goal lacking.

It was much of the same for the remaining 45 minutes until the crucial opener was scored, where from then on Portugal were happy to sit back and soak up the Dutch pressure. After their surprise Euro 2016 victory, question marks persisted over the future of the Portuguese side. What has been evident from this tournament, however, is that there is a talented squad with an exciting attacking force ready to ruffle some feathers in next year’s showpiece event.


Player Ratings

Starting XI: Patrício (7); Guerreiro (7), Dias (7), Fonte (7), Semedo (7); Silva (7), Carvalho (6), Pereira (7), Fernandes (8); Guedes (7), Ronaldo (7)

Substitutes: Silva (8), Neves (N/A)


STAR MAN – Bruno Fernandes

In a team blessed with attacking talent, it was the Sporting CP man who caused the most havoc for the Netherlands with some instinctive and creative play in midfield.

Cristiano Ronaldo,Bruno Fernandes

Seeing plenty of the ball, he found himself in great positions, coming close on a few occasions during a first period where all the chances fell the hosts’ way. Rumours have naturally been aplenty this summer as to where the 24-year-old may end up, and its easy to see why given the pure class he demonstrates when in possession.


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Key Talking Point

Before a ball had even been kicked, the battle on everyone’s lips was VVD vs CR7. A footballing titan, otherworldly some might say, against the Premier League’s best player on a huge European stage such as this. 

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In a first half where Ronaldo was given license to roam all across the front line, the ?Liverpool man was doing a decent job of marshalling the 34-year-old, although it was up front where their real issues lied. Unable to forge any meaningful effort of note, Ronald Koeman had plenty to ponder over at the half.

Introducing Promes for the ineffective Ryan Babel saw the Oranje pose more danger up front, but the stats don’t lie, with the Dutch unable to really trouble Rui Patricio. Koeman’s final throw of the dice saw Luuk de Jong enter the fray and the addition of an out-and-out centre forward provided them with a much-needed target man, but it was too little too late.

This is a young and exciting side that Koeman possesses, and while it proved too much for them on Sunday, they have the makings of a side ready for tournament success in the coming years.


Player Ratings

Starting XI: Cillessen (6); Dumfries (7), De Ligt (7), Van Dijk (8), Blind (7); De Roon (7), De Jong (6), Wijnaldum (7); Bergwijn (5), Depay (6), Babel (6).

Substitutes: Promes (7), Van de Beek (8), De Jong (N/A)


STAR MAN – Virgil van Dijk

Koeman’s men struggled to create at the business end of the pitch, with Portugal weaving their way into dangerous positions throughout the match. Nevertheless, for all their struggles up front, when they were up against it, that man was there.

Van Dijk stood strong to the Portuguese barrage, keeping Ronaldo in check on more than one occasion and reaffirming to the world he is one magnificent footballer.

His outstanding positional ability makes defending seem effortless for him, almost nonchalant, as he blocked, cleared or controlled anything that came in his way.


Looking Ahead

Portugal now face a three-month wait before their next international fixture when they take on Serbia in Euro 2020 qualifying.

The same applies for the Netherlands, as they wait three months before a mouthwatering clash with Germany as they bid to qualify for next year’s European Championships.

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