Liverpool forward Mane cleared to face Man City despite Arsenal clash

Sadio Mane will be available for Liverpool’s key Premier League trip to champions Manchester City after avoiding punishment for a confrontation during the weekend win over Arsenal.

The Senegal international wrapped his hands around the neck of Gunners defender Stephan Lichtsteiner during the 5-1 success at Anfield on Sunday.

Referee Micheal Oliver awarded a free-kick for the incident but the Football Association have not deemed the episode worthy of further action.

The FA can take retrospective action for violent conduct and off-the-ball offences even if the officials fully observe the incident.

But Mane’s actions have not been deemed serious enough to warrant an additional reprimand, meaning Jurgen Klopp will have him available to face City at the Etihad Stadium on Thursday.

Mane has scored nine goals in 25 appearances for the Premier League leaders, who are unbeaten in their opening 20 league matches of the campaign.

They lead Pep Guardiola’s men by seven points ahead of their trip to Manchester but Klopp is unconcerned by the prospect of further increasing their advantage.

“We are [hungry],” he told the club’s official website.

Jurgen Klopp Liverpool 2018-19

“We don’t think about the gap, not for a second. What we think about is 54 points – unbelievable, to be honest. That’s really strange and feels strange.

“All we can do is keep going; recover first of all, that’s very important, and then prepare the next game.

“We all know, wow, Man City are a fantastic football team and an away game at City – who can go there and think ‘Probably we will win’? No team in the world, not even us.

“So we have to go there and try everything to get a result. That’s what we will try.”

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Latest Premier League Odds: Liverpool remain firm title favourites after spectacular win over Arsenal

2018 certainly ended on a high for Liverpool backers. Despite Arsenal taking the lead at Anfield through Ainsley Maitland-Niles, the hosts were quick to respond and did so in style.

In just over 30 minutes Jurgen Klopp’s men had established a 4-1 lead going into half-time, effectively ending the game as a contest.

That emphatic performance sees the league leaders as bet365’s 4/7 (1.57) favourites to win their first top-flight title since 1990.

David Silva Bernardo Silva Southampton vs Manchester City Premier League 2018-19

Manchester City got back to winning ways against Southampton but having stalled over the festive period it’s now 13/8 (2.63) that the defending champions retain their crown.

Not only do the Merseyside club boast the best form in the division plus a significant points advantage, but they’ve also turned around the goal difference deficit which was as big as 15 strikes in City’s favour just five games ago.

Despite being underdogs in the outright prices, Manchester City are 21/20 (2.05) to beat Liverpool in their blockbuster clash on Thursday evening at the Etihad Stadium.

The return of Fernandinho and David Silva to the starting line-up at St. Mary’s is sure to have bolstered the hosts’ chances of getting a much-needed victory as they square off against the league leaders.

The visitors are an industry-best price of 13/5 (3.60) to win that game at the time of writing with a stalemate priced at 14/5 (3.80) with the online bookmaker.

Tottenham Wolves 2018-19

Tottenham were as short as 8/1 (9.0) in bet365’s Premier League winner market before their defeat to Wolves at Wembley.

Mauricio Pochettino’s side had won their previous five consecutive Premier League games but have now drifted to 33/1 (34.0) in the outright betting after slipping into third spot over the course of the weekend.

Chelsea are 80/1 (81.0) to win the title while Manchester United are 450/1 (451.0) despite coming out on top in a third straight game under interim boss Ole Gunnar Solskjaer.

bet365 go 9/2 (5.50) about the Red Devils finishing inside the top four. While that is a significant move compared to the 14/1 (15.0) they were in the same market on the day of Jose Mourinho’s departure, there is still plenty of work to do for the Norwegian boss with United eight points behind the Champions League places.

Betting Banner - Best BetCheck out the latest football odds at bet365

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‘He will continue with us for a long time’ – Atletico confident of Hernandez stay

Atletico Madrid president Enrique Cerezo is confident Lucas Hernandez will remain at the club in the long-term despite continued interest from Bayern Munich.

Recent reports in Spain earlier this month suggested Bundesliga champions Bayern were preparing to trigger the defender’s €80 million (£71.8m/$91.5m) release clause in January.

Those reports were swiftly denied by Atletico’s executive director Miguel Angel Gil Marin, though he appeared to leave the door open for a summer switch.

The 22-year-old, who has spent his entire career with Atletico, insists he is happy in the Spanish capital but is also willing to keep his options open for the future.

Cerezo, though, is confident the France defender will remain at the Wanda Metropolitano for years to come.

He also claims the club maintain good relations with Bayern, despite the continued speculation over their apparent move for Lucas.

“Lucas is our player and I am convinced that he will continue with us for a long time,” he told AS. “The relations with Bayern are unbeatable, we maintain a great mutual respect.”

Hernandez isn’t the only Atletico player to be linked with a move away from the Spanish side in recent months.

Forward Antoine Griezmann considered a move to Barcelona over the summer before ultimately deciding to stay. Meanwhile goalkeeper Jan Oblak was heavily linked with a move to Chelsea and Liverpool before their deals to sign Kepa Arrizabalaga and Alisson Becker respectively.

Cerezo, though, insists Los Rojiblancos are capable of holding onto their best players.

“We fight for what we have to fight. We have the best players and we want them to be with us.” he added. “All clubs want to have the best players, but many of them are in Atletico.

“They are with us for the economic part, but also for the sport, because in this club they can go on to eternity. In other clubs they can earn more money but not spend eternity.”

On Oblak, Cerezo said: “Oblak is a magnificent footballer, the best goalkeeper in the world, and he has a long-term contract with us and I trust that he will be here for many years and many years.”

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Fantasy Football: Liverpool trio lead Goal’s Premier League Team of the Week

Matchweek 20 was the last round of Premier League football to be played in 2018 and it certainly did not disappoint.  Wolves, the two Manchester clubs, and Liverpool all scored three or more goals en route to resounding victories.

The latter was surely the most impressive, however, as Liverpool dismantled top six rivals Arsenal to the tune of a 5-1 score line. Roberto Firmino starred in that victory and naturally he leads Goal’s Team of the Week thanks to a hat-trick against the Gunners.

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GK: Neil Etheridge – Cardiff – 1 Game, 6 Saves, 1 Clean Sheet, 1 Pen Save = 15 Points

DEF: David Luiz – Chelsea – 1 Game, 1 Assist, 1 Clean Sheet = 10 Points

It’s been a season of ups and downs for Luiz but fortunately for Chelsea, and his Fantasy owners, it was the former this week. A clean sheet on Sunday was the ninth of the season for the Brazilian, who now trails only Liverpool players in that category.

Wilfried Zaha David Luiz Crystal Palace Chelsea 30122018

What really stood out about his performance against Crystal Palace though was his inch-perfect lofted assist to N’Golo Kante that proved to be the match-winning goal. Considering the lack of attacking returns from teammate Marcos Alonso of late, there’s no reason for Luiz to not be the most owned Chelsea defender.

DEF: Willy Boly – Wolves – 1 Game, 1 Goal, 1 Goal Conceded = 8 Points

DEF: James Tarkowski – Burnley – 1 Game, 1 Clean Sheet = 7 Points

MID: Paul Pogba – Manchester United – 1 Game, 2 Goals, 1 Assist = 17 Points

There’s simply not a Premier League player in better form than Pogba at the moment. Since the interim hiring of Ole Gunnar Solskjaer three weeks ago, the France international has recorded four goals and four assists.

Paul Pogba Manchester United Bournemouth 30122018

For context, he had only managed three of each in the 17 matches he played under ex-manager Jose Mourinho.

While it’s unlikely that the central midfielder will be able to keep up this ridiculous pace, he is one of the best midfielders in Europe and should be a stud in Fantasy through the end of the season.

MID: Mohamed Salah – Liverpool – 1 Game, 1 Assist, 1 Goal = 11 Points

MID: David Silva – Manchester City – 1 Game, 1 Goal,  = 8 Points

MID: N’Golo Kante – Chelsea – 1 Game, 1 Goal = 8 Points

Despite being one of the Premier League’s best players, Kante rarely does much in Fantasy so when he does we have to talk about it. His goal was well taken and, as mentioned above, helped Chelsea pick up all three points against Crystal Palace on Sunday.

N'Golo Kante Crystal Palace - Chelsea Premier League 12302018

The 27-year-old has now been involved in five goals this season (three scored, two assisted) which is as many as he managed over the last two seasons combined (two goals, three assists). He’s certainly not a must-own option, but playing in a more advanced role this season, the 27-year-old definitely offers some improved Fantasy potential.

MID: Sadio Mane – Liverpool – 1 Game, 1 Goal = 8 Points

FOR: Roberto Firmino – Liverpool – 1 Game, 3 Goals = 17 Points

42% of Roberto Firmino’s goals this season were scored at Anfield in the win over Arsenal. After a fantastic season last term, the Reds’ frontman was struggling to find the back of the net, which saw manager Jurgen Klopp push him further back in the formation.

That change seems to be working as the only matches in which Firmino has recorded three or more shots on target have come since the switch. Whether or not that trend continues or not remains to be seen but, the Liverpool forward should prove to be a much more valuable Fantasy asset in the second half of the season than he was in the first.

FOR: Marcus Rashford – Manchester United – 1 Game, 1 Goal, 1 Assist = 10 Points

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Cardiff vs Tottenham Betting Tips: Latest odds, team news, preview and predictions

Tottenham travel to the Cardiff City Stadium for their first Premier League match of 2019 on Tuesday.

Mauricio Pochettino’s side will be aiming to get back to winning ways in the Welsh capital after a shock 3-1 defeat at Wembley against Wolves.

Cardiff meanwhile earned an important 1-0 victory against Leicester last time out to end 2018 three points above the relegation zone.

Neil Etheridge Cardiff City

Latest odds

Cardiff have won four of their last six Premier League matches at home and Neil Warnock’s side are offered at 6/1 (7.00) with William Hill to pick up another three points.

Spurs have won seven of their last eight away games in the top flight and can be backed at 47/100 (1.47) with the draw offered at 17/5 (4.40).

Team news

The hosts are set to be without forward Kenneth Zohore with the Denmark Under 21 international still suffering from a thigh problem.

Spurs for their part are likely to be missing the services of injured trio Eric Dier, Victor Wanyama and Mousa Dembele who have all been absent during the festive period.  Serge Aurier and Jan Vertonghen are nearing a return although both look set to miss the trip to Wales. 

Preview

Generally this season Spurs have responded to defeats immediately by winning their next game and they are understandable favourites to do so once more against Cardiff.

Cardiff v Tottenham Betting Preview

No side has conceded more goals at home this season than the Welsh outfit, while their north London opponents are the top scorers on the road in the division.

Manchester City, Manchester United and Arsenal have all won in Cardiff and given the their superb record on the road, Pochettino’s men will be confident of claiming a win as well. Spurs’ ability to consistently find the back of the net could also lead to a high-scoring game.

Tips and predictions

An away win and over 2.5 goals in the game is priced at evens (2.00) and this selection has paid out in six of Tottenham’s 11 away Premier League matches this term including three of the last five. 

Betting Banner - Best BetTottenham to win and over 2.5 goals at evens (2.00) for a 1pt stake with William Hill

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