Liverpool’s Shaqiri, Salah and Mane to provide sprinkling of stardust Stateside

Liverpool’s International Champions Cup is set to receive an injection of star quality as the Reds touched down in New Jersey for the second leg of their US tour.

Having been beaten by Borussia Dortmund in Charlotte on Sunday evening, the Reds take on Manchester City at the MetLife Stadium in East Rutherford on Wednesday evening.

Their preparations for the game were disrupted on Tuesday when their flight from Charlotte to Newark was heavily delayed due to adverse weather conditions. Jurgen Klopp and his squad trained in North Caroline in the morning, but arrived at their team hotel in Short Hills several hours later than scheduled.

They would be greeted by their new £13million ($17m) signing from Stoke City, Xherdan Shaqiri. The Switzerland international had only a short journey to make, ending his summer holiday in New York to link up with his new team-mates for the first time on Tuesday.

Shaqiri was greeted by only a handful of eager supporters as he arrived at Liverpool’s hotel but was in good spirits, posing for pictures and signing autographs. He will not feature against City, but has an outside chance of doing so in the Reds’ next game, against Manchester United in Michigan on Saturday evening.

Liverpool will, though, be able to call upon the services of Mohamed Salah and Sadio Mane, who are set to play some part against Pep Guardiola’s side. The duo were not considered for selection against Dortmund having returned to training only 24 hours before the squad flew to the States, but have trained hard in the American heat and should be unleashed in the second half on Wednesday. Both players did considerable damage against the Premier League champions last season, of course.

Also returning will be Gini Wijnaldum, who is yet to feature this summer due to a mixture of injury and illness. The Dutchman has, surprisingly, been linked with a move away from Anfield in recent weeks, with Liverpool having strengthened their midfield options considerably, but Goal understands it is highly unlikely that he will leave before the end of the transfer window, with Klopp keen to retain the 27-year-old. Wijnaldum played 49 times in all competitions last season, including in the Champions League final in Kiev.

Another midfielder, Marko Grujic, is in line to play against City too. The Serbian’s future is uncertain with Lazio looking to secure a permanent deal. It is understood, though, that Klopp and Liverpool would prefer the 22-year-old to sign a new contract before joining Cardiff City on loan. Reds staff still have high hopes for the former Red Star Belgrade man, and believe a Premier League loan would boost his chances of being part of Klopp’s senior squad in the coming years. Grujic played 14 times in the Championship for Cardiff last season, helping Neil Warnock’s side win promotion to the top flight for the first time since 2014.

One player who is unlikely to leave, either permanently or on loan, is Daniel Sturridge, with the striker set to be given a surprise chance to resurrect his Reds career. Sturridge has impressed during the five pre-season friendlies so far, and has taken part in all training sessions in between. Th 28-year-old is entering the final year of his contract, but now looks like he will be spending it on Merseyside, a situation which looked unlikely back in May when he ended an unsuccessful loan spell with West Bromwich Albion.

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Barcelona ‘dream’ swayed Malcom in transfer tug-of-war

New Barcelona signing Malcom hailed the stature of the La Liga champions after turning his back on an expected transfer to Roma.

The 21-year-old secured a “dream” €41 million (£36.5m/$48m) move to Camp Nou on Tuesday, just a day after Bordeaux announced they had accepted a bid from Roma.

The Serie A side are now considering their legal options after feeling as though they were forced into an “auction” despite believing negotiations were complete.

Malcom, a Brazil youth international, described his sudden switch to Barca as the fulfilment of a boyhood ambition.

“This is a unique experience. I feel really happy. It’s a dream come true to come to one of the biggest clubs in the world,” he told Barca TV.

“I hope to make the fans happy. I’m really looking forward to meeting my team-mates, to talk to them and find out more about the way we play.

“I’m really excited and in a hurry to get started. It’s difficult to explain the feeling. It’s a dream come true since I was young.”

The former Corinthians forward sparked a race for his signature with 12 Ligue 1 goals in his final season at Bordeaux.

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AC Milan move Mirabelli out amid talk of Gazidis arrival from Arsenal

AC Milan have sacked sporting director Massimiliano Mirabelli amid a period of upheaval under new owners Elliott Management.

Mirabelli follows chief executive Marco Fassone out of San Siro while general secretary Giuseppe Mangiarano also had his contract terminated on Tuesday.

The Rossoneri confirmed a replacement for Mirabelli has already been lined up, with former head coach Leonardo expected to take over the role.

Arsenal CEO Ivan Gazidis is rumoured to be in contention for the position vacated by Fassone on Saturday.

Elliott’s takeover from the beleaguered Li Yonghong led to a raft of changes at board level over the weekend, including the appointment of Paolo Scaroni as executive chairman, and further changes could be seen on the pitch.

Captain Leonardo Bonucci is the subject of intense transfer speculation with Paris Saint-Germain and former club Juventus believed to be keen on the Italy defender.

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Andre Ayew: What does the future hold?


It’s been a miserable few seasons for Andre Ayew, who appeared to have the world at his feet when he left Olympique de Marseille for Swansea City in 2015 and then again when he joined West Ham United a year later.

Injuries, managerial changes and overall instability in East London meant that he never truly realised his potential at the London Stadium, while a return to Swansea in January was followed by relegation six months later.

He’s surely not going to stick around with the Welsh side in the Championship, and a move abroad is surely on the horizon.

The story of last season

Andre Ayew West Ham United

At the start of the campaign, there were hopes that Dede could put his troubled maiden season at West Ham behind him and finally realise the quality that he’d shown during his first year in the Premier League with Swansea.

There were a few fine showings, notably as he came off the bench to single-handedly down Huddersfield Town in September, before also netting in a 2-2 draw with Crystal Palace.

However, with Slaven Bilic replaced by David Moyes, Ayew appeared to lose a key asset at the London Stadium, and he was allowed to leave on transfer deadline day at the end of the winter window—January 31—having not played a full 90 minutes in the top flight since the end of November.

Andre Ayew | 2017-18 stats

There was initial promise back at his former club, and reunited with brother Jordan, but despite contributing an assist as the Irons were put to the sword in early March, the siblings couldn’t do enough to keep the Swans up.

He ended up with just two assists as Carlos Carvalhal’s side lost their way.

What could happen this window?

Andre Ayew

Swansea will surely need to offload some big earners and remould their squad as they embark on second-tier campaign.

Dede, who arrived for a fee of £20 million less than six months ago, appears to be an expensive luxury for the gritty Championship…and he’ll also attract plenty of admirers.

Celtic and Newcastle United are both understood to be monitoring the Ghana international’s services, although the duo look set to miss out following interest from Turkey.

Initially, Besiktas were set to be in pole position to recruit the 28-year-old, but latterly, Fenerbahce look to have usurped them in the race for the forward.

Sky Sports believe that the Super Lig giants are keen to recruit the versatile attacker on a loan deal—at least initially—and expect some movement on this deal imminently.

What to expect next season

Andre, Jordan Ayew

With such intense speculation linking Ayew with an imminent move to Turkey, and with several weeks of the transfer window still to do, it’s increasingly difficult to see how he’ll remain at Swansea.

Either Fener or Besiktas could be ideal destinations for the former OM talisman.

The former, in particular, have a strong track record of excellent African talent, with Ghanaian great Stephen Appiah one of several high-profile continental stars to pass through the club.

Dede would be welcomed as a superstar at any of the Istanbul giants, and certainly has the talent to be one of the Turkish top flight’s outstanding talents.

He’s a player who would surely relish the standing and the chance to return to continental competition, even though it would take him out of the great narratives of Europe’s major leagues a little too prematurely.

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FIFA 19’s Timed Finishing: How will the new gameplay feature work?

As international football has drawn to a close and club football edging nearer and nearer, fans will be eager to get their hands on the launch of FIFA 19 this autumn.

This new edition of the popular video game will introduce three new key features in addition to the World Cup expansion that was part of last year’s release, which paves the way for the game to become its most stellar iteration yet.

Ahead of the autumn release of the new game, Goal takes a look at three new key features in Timed Finishing, Active Touch and Dynamic Tactics.

How will Timed Finishing work in FIFA 19?

One of the new and innovative features to be introduced in FIFA 19 is Timed Finishing, a new technique that enables players to turn any shot into one that is world-class with just one extra tap of a button. Timing is crucial to this new addition, which will be adding a new layer of risk and reward to the method of shooting.

The process for shooting at its very basic remains unchanged, but if users want to make shots unstoppable, they will be able to use the accuracy and power boost of timed finishing in their favour. All users will need to do is to tap the “shoot” button a second time after the first hit of the button.

That is the easy part, however – the challenging part of the addition is the timing of the second tap. If the button is tapped too early or too late, the shot will lessen in quality.

With FIFA Trainer turned on, users will see a coloured bar over the player’s head with sliders. The second tap should come when the sliders hit the green zone in the centre – so if a Timed Finish is successfully unlocked, a short message will appear above the bar that says, “Great Timing!”

How will Active Touch work in FIFA 19?


Active Touch is another great feature to be added to FIFA 19 and will revolutionise the way in which players can handle the ball at their feet, springing open areas of gameplay that have yet to be explored.

With Active Touch, new methods of receiving, striking and moving the ball will come off as completely natural and seamless. It will enable players to find new and creative ways to handle the ball while also achieving closer control, injecting more player skill and personality into ball movement, allowing players to try new tricks, flicks and feints to make their handling of the ball more fluid.

Additionally, with FIFA 19, more tools and animations have been added to the ball control system to allow for more variety and freedom in moving the ball. There are now multiple methods of trapping the ball – called the “disguise trap” – which is a trick used to fool defenders into moving the wrong direction with the very first delicate touch of the ball.

Users will be able to replicate the movements of Toni Kroos and Kylian Mbappe with Active Touch particularly – with Kroos’ ability to creates space and send defenders the wrong way and Mbappe’s endless slew of tricks built into the new game.

How will Dynamic Tactics work in FIFA 19?

In FIFA 19, users will be able to gain more control over team tactics as well as the ability to delve into more intricate tactical details that real-world managers get involved with every week. With Dynamic Tactics, users will have more advanced control of their team’s tactics both before and during matches. Users will be able to make changes and adjustment no matter how small or large, executed by the team during play.

Pre-match tactical preparation will make a comeback with the same in-depth and custom features that are already ingrained – picking players, setting up a formation, assigning roles, giving instructions and customising tactics. But with Dynamic Tactics in the new FIFA 19, users will be able to formulate multiple game plans that can be switched during a match.

Each option that users have when creating pre-match plans will be able to be assigned to one of the custom game plans, so users aren’t always having to return to the pause menu when needing their team to change styles. 

Dynamic Tactics will also allow for more intricate and in-depth tactical customisation, with users able to use an array of sliders to alter the different aspects of the team’s offensive and defensive abilities. Custom game plans will be mapped to the D-Pad (on gaming consoles) so users can quickly alternate between plans.

New tactical changes have also been added to FIFA 19 based on player feedback to help combat some more popular and difficult tactics – such as when a team tends to “park the bus”, users can select the option of “Pressure on Heavy Touch” to enable their players to block opponents and challenge them into making riskier plays.

Will VAR be in FIFA 19?

VAR will not be making an appearance in FIFA 19 – mostly because it has been there all along.

EA Sports is never wrong when it comes to offside, corner kicks, throw-ins or any decision that involves knowing precisely where the ball is, who the players are or which player touched the ball last. With FIFA being a simulation, it is always accurate with its calls for offside and corners.

Additionally, FIFA also automatically decides what is and isn’t a foul and when simulation takes place. Penalties are determined at the exact point of contact, and the motions of referees running over with cards are merely for show. Therefore, there would be no point to have a debate about whether or not a foul or a penalty should be called – FIFA can’t be wrong on their own decisions.

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