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‘No one can replace Steven Gerrard – this title win is for him,’ says Henderson – The Guardian

Jordan Henderson said he could never equal Steven Gerrard’s contribution to Liverpool despite captaining the club to their first Premier League title

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Transfer news LIVE: Liverpool, Arsenal, Man Utd and Chelsea latest rumours – Mirror.co.uk

Manchester United and Chelsea have both been linked with a £100m transfer for Declan Rice. Liverpool and Arsenal, meanwhile, are keeping their cards close to their chest

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Transfer season is very nearly upon us as the Premier League nears its conclusion for another year and managers look to the market.
Already England’s biggest clubs have been linked to a whole host of stars from on the continent and beyond, despite financial problems caused be the coronavirus pandemic.
Chelsea have already been active ahead of the window, snapping up Hakim Ziyech from Ajax and Timo Werner from RB Leipzig.
But the Blues don’t appear to be done there. Frank Lampard and co. are also looking to strengthen in other areas, and have been linked with everyone from goalkeepers Andre Onana and Jan Oblak to attacking player Kai Havertz and holding midfielder Declan Rice.
Manchester United are of course also in the market, and are also linked with a transfer for West Ham’s Rice – which could set either club back an eye-watering £100million.
The Red Devils have also been linked with Jadon Sancho for some time now, another potential £100million+ transfer target.
Liverpool won’t have the money of the aforementioned teams this summer but will be keeping a eye on the market, Jurgen Klopp confirmed last week.
Arsenal, too, will have little money to spend, but of the original top four clubs are perhaps in more need of strengthening.
For all your latest transfer news and needs throughout the day, stick with us here at Mirror Football.

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Frank Lampard: Chelsea boss backs young squad for Premier League success – Sky Sports

Chelsea boss Frank Lampard says experience can be “overrated” and believes that his squad’s youthfulness could aid their Premier League titles hopes next season.

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Chelsea head coach Frank Lampard says that experience can be “overrated” and believes that his squad’s youthfulness could help them challenge for the Premier League title in the future.
In his first campaign as a Premier League boss, Lampard has guided Chelsea to third place with three games remaining, leaving them in control of their hopes of Champions League qualification.
Chelsea academy products such as Mason Mount, Tammy Abraham, Reece James and Fikayo Tomori have been successfully integrated to the first-team this season, but the signings of talented attacking duo Hakim Ziyech and Timo Werner – with more arrivals possible – are likely to see expectations rise at Stamford Bridge.
Asked whether the need to step up from top-four contenders to title challengers could see some players let go by the club, Lampard was keen to focus on the positives of having a young squad.
He told Sky Sports News: “I think it’s part of the situation we’re in and the process we’re in here at the minute with the lot of younger players we have and players that are probably playing their first year in the Premier League, let alone playing for Champions League spots and what have you, which is a lot of pressure, is them adapting to that.”
“They need to be helped by the players that have been there and done that and won World Cups or won Premier Leagues like some of the players have in our squad.
“In certain times, experience is overrated, in my opinion. It’s good to have it within the group but sometimes it doesn’t necessarily mean that it’s the answer and that gives you success.
“Sometimes it’s a bit of innocence, a bit of youthfulness and a bit of real desire without the feelings of past campaigns and successes and failures that can be something really positive within.”
Chelsea’s top-four hopes appeared to have been dented as they slumped to a 3-0 defeat to Sheffield United on Saturday, but Leicester lost 4-1 to Bournemouth on Sunday before Manchester United drew 2-2 with Southampton on Monday night to leave Lampard’s side third – a point ahead of both of their rivals.
Monday’s confirmation of Manchester City overturning their two-year ban from European competition ensured only the top four will qualify for next season’s Champions League, intensifying the race.
Chelsea face Norwich, live on Sky Sports, on Tuesday evening, before finishing the season with matches against champions Liverpool, and Wolves, who retain slim hopes of a top-four finish as they sit four points behind Leicester and United in sixth.
“There’s twists and turns every game,” Lampard said. “These three games are so important for all of us.
“I did expect Manchester United to be in the race. They can’t not be in the race with the quality of players they’ve had this season and the second half of the season with the incoming of Fernandes and his impact, and the way they’re playing they were always going to be in the race.
“Leicester are a fantastic team as well, so I think the race remains on. Wolves are there, Wolves are pushing. It is what it is, it’s who performs over these three games, it’s so tight.”
‘I’m not a gung-ho coach’
Following what was a humbling defeat to Sheffield United, Lampard also insisted that he is not a “gung-ho” coach and has the answers to Chelsea’s defensive frailties.
Chelsea have conceded 49 goals this season – more than any other side in the top half of the table, and their poor goal difference could yet cost them in the final standings.
While Lampard believes he can solve Chelsea’s defensive conundrum, he believes the era of stand-out partnerships like the one between his former team-mates John Terry and Ricardo Carvalho, are a thing of the past.
“In terms of defensively, there is a way that I want us to play and it’s not gung-ho, it’s not crazy,” said Lampard.
“A lot of the goals are the balls that come into our box that maybe we don’t defend right at that moment and that’s something that has to improve and I feel I know the answers to it.
“Some of it is work and that’s something we will see and it’s part of the process we are in. I don’t like it, I hate conceding goals but we have to work harder on it.
“I don’t think any team in modern football are going to say ‘We’ve got that one defensive partnership’.
“You go back and talk about a John Terry-Ricardo Carvalho partnership, but in the modern day, I don’t think you will find too many clubs to name the two.
“It’s a difficult season and a demanding season, so I’m not saying I just want to pick two centre-backs because you need competition of probably four centre-backs within a squad and then you need them knocking on the door.
“You want to be able to say to players ‘You are not doing enough’ or the two that are playing keep deserving to play.
“I don’t think it’s about just a partnership. Can we be more settled if we improve? Yes, for sure.
“Will it be just two players who are going to be your centre backs? I don’t think that’s going to be the case.”

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Manchester United unbeaten run is masking a problem that is going to hold them back – Manchester Evening News

Man Utd are now 18 games unbeaten in all competitions but that streak is hiding an issue in Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s side.

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The good news is that the Manchester United attack, for so long a concern this season, is now firing on all cylinders. The bad news is that the defence is struggling to match the level of improvement shown at the other end of the pitch.
United have now plundered 48 goals in 18 unbeaten games and the triumvirate of Anthony Martial, Marcus Rashford and Mason Greenwood have scored 58 goals between them this season. Their numbers and performances, with notable contributions from Bruno Fernandes and Paul Pogba, are looking worthy of a side ready to mount a title challenge.
But the bigger problem facing Ole Gunnar Solskjaer now comes at the other end of the pitch. Those 18 unbeaten games in all competitions have actually produced 12 clean sheets, but when United are breached they can look leaky defensively and it’s a back four that isn’t as convincing as the front three are.
The weight of shut outs is difficult to argue against but Solskjaer has never hidden his ambition to take United back to the very top of the game, so he shouldn’t and won’t shy away from confronting the difficult truth of whether this defence is good enough to sustain a title challenge.
We’ve seen the impact Bruno Fernandes has had on United’s attack, transforming the style of play and the creativity in the side since his switch from Sporting Lisbon. At times it’s looked like Harry Maguire will have the same impact on the defence, but the suspicion remains that this is a defence being held together by a sticking plaster for now.
The £80million centre back has emerged as a captain of substance and is still clearly United’s best central defender, but he’s looked flustered at times and there have been occasions recently when he hasn’t defended with the confidence and the composure of someone billeted as the world’s most expensive centre back should.
He was beaten too easily by Steven Bergwijn at Tottenham and by Junior Stanislas for Bournemouth’s first goal at Old Trafford. He wasn’t responsible for either of Southampton’s goals in last night’s 2-2 draw, but there were moments of impetuosity that could have been costly, notably when bundling Danny Ings over near the byline in the first half and then just about stopping short of doing the same to Stuart Armstrong in the penalty area in the second half. Gary Neville had it right when he called it “rash” defending and it all looked a little too harum-scarum for a centre back who should be a calm and commanding presence.
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Alongside him Victor Lindelof continues to have moments when he doesn’t look up the job. He was rash at times against Southampton and his decision making is still uncertain, while the Swede has never quite shaken off the idea that he can be bullied by strikers. He did have competition from Eric Bailly before the season was suspended but Bailly was shaky when called upon against Norwich City and conceded an unfortunate penalty against Bournemouth after replacing Lindelof at half-time.
United would have hoped spending £80million on Maguire would have fixed their defensive problems, but centrally too many questions remain. It would be no surprise if they are forced into the transfer market again before emerging as genuine title contenders and it might be that it becomes an issue that needs solving this summer, considering the strides forward that have been taken in midfield and attack.
At full-back United appear to be better served. The draw with Southampton wasn’t Aaron Wan-Bissaka’s best night, but he has shown enough this season defensively to show his value and he’s improved going forward. The lack of competition may become an issue, however, if Diogo Dalot doesn’t improve.
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Luke Shaw has been one of United’s better performers in 2020 and he’s been a starter in every one of those 18 unbeaten games, although that status will be challenged after he was forced off against his former club. Until then he had been United’s best defender and it looked dangerous when getting into attacking positions.
It was with Shaw and his replacement Brandon Williams off the pitch – the latter with a nasty cut to his head – that Southampton managed to steal a point. For the second successive Old Trafford game United had conceded twice to opposition from the South Coast and this time their attack didn’t get them out of the mess.
After the 5-2 demolition of Bournemouth there was an acceptance defensive mistakes had been made, but they were made again on Monday night. They could yet prove costly to United’s ambitions for next season.

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