Gordon Taylor EXCLUSIVE: PFA helping Bury players after club’s expulsion from the EFL – ‘We’ve got to look after them’

28 Aug

Gordon Taylor has told talkSPORT the Professional Footballers’ Association are in constant contact with Bury players and are helping them through their financial difficulties.

The Shakers were expelled from the English Football League on Tuesday and now the 134-year-old club is facing liquidation after a late takeover bid collapsed just hours before the 5pm deadline.

Bury were promoted to League One last season but have been unable to begin their new campaign having had their first six fixtures called off by the EFL.

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Bury have been kicked out of the EFL and the 134-year-old club now faced being liquidated[/caption]

The club’s financial woes have spiralled since the end of the last term, which has led to the departure of the majority of their first-team squad.

Now only four professional players remain at the club.

Among them is Irish midfielder Stephen Dawson, who told talkSPORT on Wednesday he has been forced to sell his house having not been paid for months and now facing the likelihood of having no employer.

PFA chief executive Taylor also joined the station on this dark day for English football, and he said the players’ union are ‘looking after’ the players caught in the middle of Bury’s financial woes.

Speaking to talkSPORT host Jim White, Taylor said: “We’ve made loans to players, we’ve made 50 per cent loans of their wages to help keep them going with their mortgages and their bills.

“This is at the lower end of the football scale, remember. We did that for March, April, May and June. It’s something we are prepared to do because that’s one reason why we have reserves.

“We’ve been in contact with the players throughout the day, we’ve got to reassure them.

Stephen Dawson has been open with talkSPORT about his financial struggles throughout Bury’s crisis
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“There are just four professionals there are the moment, but there are also 11 first-year scholars and five second-year scholars who are our apprentices for the future, so we’ve got to look after them.

“We’ve got to see all these players can get clubs. There are no restrictions, there is no compensation [due from clubs interested in signing them].

“For the scholars, they’ve got to keep their education program going and they should be able to join another club even though they’ve reached the maximum number of scholars as a special provision because their welfare is particular important.”

Listen back to talkSPORT’s interview with Gordon Taylor IN FULL above

Paul Pogba abuse: ‘Social media boycott would not work as players won’t want to quit’, says former Manchester United star Paul Parker

21 Aug

Former Manchester United defender Paul Parker believes calls for a social media boycott to combat online racism will not work, as players will not want to quit.

Phil Neville is among the many high-profile names in football to suggest players should come off all forms of social media after a week which has seen United midfielder Paul Pogba, Chelsea starlet Tammy Abraham and Reading striker Yakou Meite suffer racial abuse online.

Pogba is the latest star to be targeted by trolls after he missed a penalty in Man United’s 1-1 draw with Wolves on Monday.

Pogba was subjected to racial abuse on social media after he missed a spot kick against Wolves
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Manchester United have condemned the ‘disgusting’ comments made about the midfielder on social media, while a number of his team-mates including Harry Maguire and Marcus Rashford also spoke out against the abuse the France international suffered.

Young England striker Abraham was also targeted by racist trolls after he missed a vital penalty in Chelsea’s UEFA Super Cup defeat to Liverpool.

And following a statement from Kick It Out urging Twitter to do more to battle online trolls, the social media giants replied with a statement of their own insisting they are ‘deeply committed to improving the health of the conversation’ on their platform.

But others believe enough is enough and players should take matters into their own hands by boycotting all social media until more is done to combat online abuse.

Parker, however, doesn’t believe that would work.

“That seems the most logical thing to do, but a lot of players are not going to do it,” the former United and England defender told Wednesday’s Alan Brazil Sports Breakfast.

“Financially, they make a lot of money out of social media, it gives them awareness, it gets them out there and a lot of them maybe don’t want to come off social media because of what goes with it.

“But a lot of players are getting the worst kind of things back and it seems some people are on there for one reason and one reason only, and that’s just to abuse.”

talkSPORT were also joined by PFA Deputy Chief Executive Bobby Barnes on Wednesday and he believes social media companies like Twitter and Facebook can surely do more to combat abuse with the tools and expertise at their disposal.

The former West Ham winger said: “The social media companies can quite comfortably target market you, they can use different methods to tap into your preferences, why can’t they put filters in place to make sure when this sort of filth does come online that it comes down as quickly as it’s gone up?

“I don’t think any of us were hugely surprised with what happened with Paul Pogba.

“I don’t think it would have been a huge step for the social media companies to be alert and take it down as soon as they see it.

Tammy Abraham missed a penalty in the shootout against Liverpool and was then targeted by trolls
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“We have to start identifying those who are behind the keyboard. It seems that you can just sit at your computer and say what you like with impunity.

“We’re actually in dialogue with all of the social media companies at the moment and the message we’re sending is that not only do we want the filth taking down, we want active attempts to prosecute and also want to make sure those sites that it emanates from are permanently closed down.”

Listen back to Paul Parker and Bobby Barnes on the Alan Brazil Sports Breakfast IN FULL above

Gordon Taylor EXCLUSIVE: PFA chief executive provides update on Bolton and Bury amid doubts over both clubs’ futures

30 Jul

The Professional Footballers’ Association have been working with Bury and Bolton to ensure they survive as football clubs, the union’s chief executive Gordon Taylor has confirmed to talkSPORT.

It was announced by the English Football League on Monday that the Shakers’ opening game of the season, against MK Dons, has been suspended as the club could not provide the necessary assurances they would be able to start the 2019/20 campaign.

Steve Dale, Bury’s owner, agreed a Company Voluntary Agreement to reduce the club’s debts earlier this month, meaning they begin the League One season with a 12-point deduction, and a further deduction could occur due to their inability to fulfil a fixture.

The EFL on the same day had to make a decision over whether to allow Bolton’s first match of the season to go ahead following their relegation from the Championship, and it was confirmed Wanderers provided enough proof to assure the governing body they would be able to take on Wycombe on Saturday.

The Trotters remain in administration, though the Football Ventures consortium are close to completing their takeover with the Bolton News reporting they will loan money from the PFA to settle with the club’s creditors.

And Taylor, who told talkSPORT earlier this month the PFA have been loaning money to Bolton’s unpaid players, joined Jim White on Tuesday to provide an update on both Wanderers and Bury amid doubts over both clubs’ futures.

“It’s not been an easy time,” Taylor said of Bolton. “They’ve been in administration since May and they are struggling to get things over the line.

“We’ve got the season coming and there have been a lot of efforts made by the new consortium.

A consortium are allegedly close to completing their takeover of Bolton, who were placed in administration by Ken Anderson
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“We’ve got our players, many of whom have left the club and are owed wages for five months, and many who are at the club, and basically it’s about whether we think it’s a glass that’s half full or half empty.

“As we’ve got the season coming we’ve showed some faith and working with the League and the Premier League and the individuals concerned we are doing our best to get it over the line. There was a board meeting at the League yesterday that approved it so at the moment it is fingers crossed.”

On the Shakers, whose plight appears worse than Bolton’s at this moment in time, Taylor added: “We are trying to work with Bury but we need a lot more information.

“We’ve already loaned a considerable amount of money to the club and it’s not the debt that Bolton have got but it is still significant enough for [Bury] not to be accepted by the League.

“That is another club we are working with at the moment to try and get that sorted.”

Asked if Bury, who were founded 134 years ago, will survive, Taylor replied: “I hope so.

“Football has a tremendous capacity that when things look very bad to get out of it. I was just reminded when Manchester City won the FA Cup this year that we were looking at previous record scores in the final and it was Bury Football Club at the beginning of the 20th century.

“We are a long time on from that, but they do have a legacy and it’s one they’ve created. They’ve got a good history, and I hope that legacy and feeling for the game in the north west can help it survive.”

Taylor joined Jim White on talkSPORT the same day as Roland Duchatelet, the much-maligned Charlton owner, who opined the EFL is not fit for purpose given the struggles numerous clubs have gone through over recent years.

The PFA chief executive could not agree with this claim, however – though he did suggest more intense checks must be made before prospective buyers are allowed to take control of EFL clubs.

“That is a difficult thing to say [that the EFL is not fit for purpose],” finished Taylor.

The PFA have been working with both Bury and Bolton to assist players who have gone unpaid for months
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“The EFL has thrived with the breakaway of the Premier League. In the early 1990s there was a feeling the Football League would contract, and we should be very proud in this country that we’ve got more full time clubs than anywhere else in the world.

“We’ve got Financial Fair Play now and there has never before been more money coming into the game from the media and consequently sponsors, but with some of the ownership the due diligence needs to be done a lot more closely with greater scrutiny, to show they’ve got the wherewithal and plans for the club – plans which are football plans.”

Gordon Taylor EXCLUSIVE: Bolton Wanderers are in a ‘real financial mess’ and could CEASE TO EXIST as a club, says PFA chief executive

18 Jul

Gordon Taylor has told talkSPORT the PFA is providing loans to help out Bolton’s unpaid players, and has slammed for English Football League for failing one of their historic founding clubs.

The Professional Footballers’ Association chief executive joined Jim White on Thursday to share the latest on the ongoing financial crisis at the Greater Manchester club.

The Trotters, who were relegated to League One and placed in administration at the end of last season, have been left with just SIX players in their first-team squad.

Bolton endured a season to forget as they were relegated to League One – and they’ll start the new campaign on -12 points
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Many of their team were released at the end of their contracts, but they – along with the players still on their books and members of club staff – have not been paid their wages for almost FIVE MONTHS.

Bolton’s player spokesperson revealed the extent of their misery on Thursday – saying they have been left ‘desperate and stressed’ about their financial woes and have not even had hot water for showers at their training ground.

Taylor says the players’ union has supported and will continue to support those who have been left out of pocket, but he conceded the cash-strapped club has been left in a ‘real financial mess’.

And the PFA chief told talkSPORT they may take the issue to FIFA, and that there is a very real possibility Bolton Wanderers may fold for good.

Speaking to Jim White, Taylor said: “We’ve made loans to the players and we’ll make more loans to the players.

“We’re dealing with the administrators but they’ve been involved since May now and we’re still not confident it will be resolved.

“I’ve explained to them the main thing at any football clubs is the players, and they’ve got a football creditors rule to make sure they’re paid their money.

“We’ve said to the EFL, ‘you’ve got to be strong enough to enforce your own regulations otherwise you’re leaving us no alternative but to go to FIFA’, the world governing body, where they will give those clubs sanctions and will determine whether they exist or not.

“That’s how serious the situation is now. The game is not looking after its players, there are contracts that are not being honoured and there are sanctions that should be put in place.

“The administrations have said we’ll defer the wages and it may be two years, but the average career is eight years so that’s a quarter of their careers – we can’t have that!

“We’re seriously considering now going to FIFA to get this matter resolved in the hope that would be the necessary pressure on them.

“The season is coming upon us, the club has got to have proper friendly games and it’s totally unsatisfactory. It’s extremely frustrating for us.”

On the PFA’s support of the unpaid Bolton players, Taylor added: “We will loan the players money; we don’t want to see any players in hardship, that’s what our funds are for.

“But it shouldn’t need to go to that, otherwise we’re just going to have more and more clubs with the same situation and the EFL is not grasping the nettle.

“We’ve already loaned a considerable amount of money and will loan them more money, but we need to know the administrators have got the resources.

Former Bolton chairman Ken Anderson has been hammered for his handling of the club’s finances

“It’s happening at Bolton and there are similar situations at Bury, Macclesfield and Notts County.

“The game has never had more money going into it and yet I can’t recall when we’ve had four clubs where players have been owned money for such a length of time.”

Bolton avoided a winding-up order when former chairman Ken Anderson put the club into administration back in May, but, according to Taylor, it may not be enough to save the club’s future.

The Trotters were one of the 12 founding clubs of the original Football League in 1888, but Taylor believes they could soon cease to exist because of their financial plight.

“I’m afraid so, because it has got into a real financial mess,” he told Jim White.

“Administrators have been in place since May and we’re now in July – that’s indicative of the problem.

Gordon Taylor says the PFA will continue to help financially support the out-of-pocket Bolton players
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“There has not been enough good assessment from the EFL with one of its original founding clubs, it’s as simple as that.

“They were very positive when it was announced the takeover was going through, but that’s hasn’t got over the line yet.

“I’m not so certain the potential buyers are real football people and understand how the game works, so from that point of view I am not filled with a high amount of confidence at the moment I’m afraid.”

Listen back to talkSPORT’s interview with Gordon Taylor IN FULL above

Peter Crouch ‘proud to be the PFA Player of the Year trophy’

29 Apr

Peter Crouch has made a hilarious comparison between himself and the PFA Player of the Year trophy.

Liverpool defender Virgil van Dijk beat Raheem Sterling, Bernardo Silva, Sergio Aguero, Sadio Mane and Eden Hazard to win the award on Sunday.

Virgil van Dijk has been a rock at the back for Liverpool this season

The trophy resembles the long legs of 6ft 7ins Crouch, a similarity which was pointed out by the Burnley striker.

With a picture of the award attached, he tweeted: “Extremely proud to be the Pfa player of the year trophy.”

Van Dijk joined Liverpool in a £75million deal from Southampton in January 2018 and has been an ever-present at the heart of the Premier League‘s tightest defence this campaign.

The 27-year-old has helped Liverpool keep 19 clean sheets and concede only 20 times, while also scoring three goals.

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The Reds have lost just once in the league this term but trail leaders Manchester City by one point with two games to go.

Van Dijk said: “It’s pretty difficult to put into words. I think it’s the highest honour you can get as a player to get voted player of the year by the players you play against every week.

“It’s special. I’m very proud and honoured to receive it. If you see the standard of strikers or playmakers we have in the league, it’s unbelievable.

“If you see the shortlist and the quality there is, it’s very special that the players in the league voted for me. I won’t take it for granted. It’s just very special.”

Virgil van Dijk: PFA winner focused on Lionel Messi and Barcelona, dismissing Ballon d’Or talk

29 Apr

Virgil van Dijk has dismissed the idea he is in contention to win the Ballon d’Or award and is instead focused on dealing with ‘out of this world’ Lionel Messi.

The Liverpool centre-back was crowned PFA Players’ Player of the Year on Sunday for his standout Premier League season, but faces a tough test in the Champions League semi-final on Wednesday.

Van Dijk has won the top individual prize in English football this season

The 27-year-old’s rock-solid form at the heart of the Reds’ defence has helped keep his side in contention for their first league title in 29 years and seen them once again progress to the semi-finals of the Champions League.

Spanish title-winners Barcelona await Van Dijk in the last four of the European competition, with the first leg at the Nou Camp, a game you can listen to live on talkSPORT.



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And the world’s most expensive defender admits he still has plenty to prove to be considered alongside the continent’s elite players, including Barca’s five-time Ballon d’Or winner Messi.

“Nah, that’s not something that’s on my mind at all,” Van Dijk replied when asked about winning the Ballon d’Or at the end of the year.

Lionel Messi secured his 10th LaLiga title with Barcelona on Saturday.

“There are currently players walking around in this football world that are out of this world basically and they’ve been doing it for many years.

Liverpool face Messi and Barcelona, who won LaLiga at the weekend

“I’m very happy how I perform at the moment, how consistent I’m performing, that I’m fit as well. I think I just need to not look too far ahead.

“Right now we’re in a tight title race, in the Champions League semi-finals against a fantastic team, where probably the best players are playing so we just take it game by game.

“For us now it’s time to focus on Barcelona midweek and then we have a big game at Newcastle away as well so I won’t look too far ahead and the only goals I will set are personal goals with Liverpool.”

While Argentina forward Messi secured his 10th LaLiga title with Barca this weekend, Van Dijk became only the fourth defender – after Gary Pallister, Paul McGrath and John Terry – to win the PFA award.

Van Dijk is the first defender to win the award since John Terry in 2005

Signed from Southampton for £75million in January 2018, he has played a pivotal role in turning Liverpool’s defence into the tightest in the division, conceding only 20 goals in 36 games and contributing to a league-high 20 clean sheets this term.

Jurgen Klopp’s second-placed side sit only a point behind leaders Manchester City with two fixtures remaining.

Holland international Van Dijk, part of the team beaten in last year’s Champions League final by Real Madrid, has previously spoken of becoming “a legend of Liverpool“.

The former Celtic and Saints man feels he must lift silverware to accomplish that dream.

“All the players in the league, I think, want to play for trophies, want to get trophies,” he said.

“I can only speak for myself and my team – we definitely want to get a trophy and we’re working hard every day for it and hopefully in the future that will happen.

“That’s what we’re definitely looking for.”

‘My life was at risk’ – How PFA Player of the Year Virgil van Dijk nearly DIED in 2012 after suffering with appendicitis, peritonitis and a kidney infection

29 Apr

PFA Player of the Year Virgil van Dijk may well be the best defender in the world at this moment in time, but is lucky to be alive.

The Liverpool centre-half was crowned as the best player in the Premier League by his colleagues on Sunday evening after a stellar season.

Virgil van Dijk is lucky to be alive after required life-saving surgery in 2012

Physically imposing, calm on the ball and a natural leader of men, Van Dijk is a worthy winner of the prestigious award.

However, it could have all been so different. While at Groningen in the Netherlands, the 27-year-old required life-saving surgery after a ruptured appendix caused appendicitis, peritonitis and a kidney infection.

His reserve team coach and mentor Dick Lukkien reveals just how close Van Dijk came to death.

“Virgil was ill, but we didn’t know the extent – at first we thought he had the flu,” Lukkien told FourFourTwo. “He was at home for a few days and in lots of pain.

Van Dijk impressed his coaches at Groningen with his physical abilities and technical skills

“He went to the local hospital but they couldn’t find anything, so sent him back home again. The pain got worse and when his mum travelled to see him, she realised how bad the situation was.

“She took him to another hospital, which turned out to be crucial.”

After making his first team debut in May 2011, it became clear just how special Van Dijk was. During a Europa League qualifying game just a month later, the Dutchman scored twice while playing as an auxiliary forward.

Although he had been ambitiously targeting a move to La Liga, Van Dijk was now battling appendicitis, peritonitis and a kidney infection. Surgeons performed a life-saving operation, but he was still in serious danger.

The 27-year-old always wanted a move to La Liga

“I still remember lying in that bed,” he recalled a few months later. “The only thing I could see were tubes dangling out from me.

“My body was broken and I couldn’t do anything. At such a moment, the worst scenarios are whizzing around your head. For the first time in my life, football was very much a side issue. My life was at risk.

My mum and I prayed to God and discussed possible scenarios. At some point I had to sign some papers. It was a kind of testament. If I died, a part of my money would go to my mum.

“Of course, nobody wanted to talk about it, but we had to do that. It could have been over.”

Seven years on, Van Dijk is now Netherlands captain and considered one of the best in the world

Thankfully, the youngster pulled through. But it came at a physical price as the surgery drained his 6ft 4ins frame.

“I was shocked,” says Lukkien. “When he returned to the club he had changed from a big man into a shrivelled person. Luckily he managed to recover quite quickly.”

His recovery has seen him earn moves to Celtic, Southampton and then finally to Anfield. At £75million, critics baulked at the price Jurgen Klopp paid.

But Van Djk has been proving his critics wrong all his life.

How the PFA Team of the Year should have looked according to stats including West Ham, Everton and Newcastle United stars

25 Apr

The official PFA Team of the Season has caused outrage in some quarters as fans have unsurprisingly queried the inclusion and/or admission of their favourite stars.

Manchester City and Liverpool’s thrilling battle for Premier League supremacy has unsurprisingly led to the teams to dominate the official XI.

Sergio Aguero and Virgil van Dijk made it into the PFA Team of the Year

England forward Raheem Sterling is among six City representatives while fellow Britons Trent Alexander-Arnold and Andy Robertson are two of four inclusions from Liverpool.

However, Mohamed Salah is not among that number while Chelsea playmaker Eden Hazard is also a surprise omission, despite being on the six-man shortlist for the Players’ Player of the Year award.

Manchester United midfielder Paul Pogba is surprisingly the only member of the XI, which was voted for by their fellow players, not to feature for the top-two clubs battling for the title.

Statistically speaking, Hazard has enjoyed his best ever season at Stamford Bridge after leading Belgium to a World Cup semi-final.

Eden Hazard vies with Trent Alexander-Arnold for possession

With 29 goal involvements, 89 chances created and 122 dribbles, the 28-year-old can consider himself unlucky to have not been included in the team.

Here at talkSPORT.com, it got us thinking about all the other players who have not got the credit for their wonderful performances this season.

Thanks to WhoScored.com, we can analyse statistics and look at statistically the best players for each position to determine who really deserved to be included in the team.

Check it out below!

GK. Lukasz Fabianski (West Ham United)  -7.0 WhoScored rating

Lukasz Fabianski

RB. Ricardo Pereira (Leicester City) – 7.3 WhoScored rating

Ricardo Pereira

CB. Virgil van Dijk (Liverpool) – 7.4 WhoScored rating

Virgil van Dijk

CB. Fabian Schar (Newcastle United) – 7.3 WhoScored rating

Fabian Schar

LB. Lucas Digne (Everton) – 7.4 WhoScored rating

Lucas Digne

RW. Raheem Sterling (Manchester City) – 7.7 WhoScored rating

Raheem Sterling

CM. Paul Pogba (Manchester United) – 7.4 WhoScored rating

Paul Pogba

CM. Fernandinho (Manchester City) – 7.3 WhoScored rating

Fernandinho

RW. Eden Hazard (Chelsea) – 7.8 WhoScored rating

Eden Hazard has had 29 goal involvements – the most in the Premier League

ST. Sergio Aguero (Manchester City) – 7.5 WhoScored rating

Sergio Aguero

ST. Mohamed Salah (Liverpool) – 7.5 WhoScored rating

Mohamed Salah

And here’s how that WhoScored.com Team of the Season so far looks…

Here’s how the PFA Team should have looked, according to stats

‘Paul Pogba should do the decent thing and take himself out of Team of the Year’ – Even Manchester United fans can’t believe midfielder makes PFA XI

25 Apr

You can never keep Paul Pogba out of the news whether it’s a positive or negative story.

And what’s the latest talking point about the Manchester United midfielder? His inclusion in the Professional Footballers’ Association Team of the Year.

Pogba divides opinion to say the least


Pogba has been in great form at points this season but there have also been matches where he’s looked a shadow of the £89million star from Juventus the Red Devils recruited.

Below you can see the confirmed Premier League’s 2018/19 Team of the Year.

The PFA’s Team of the Year

The Frenchman’s place in the ultimate XI has come as a bit of a surprise especially when you consider Chelsea star Eden Hazard failed to make the cut.

In fact, even some United fans have taken to Twitter to voice their surprise at seeing Pogba in the team as they feel he’s not been consistent enough this season.

One fan even tweeted the 26-year-old to say he should do the decent thing and take himself out of the XI!

Below you can see the best tweets from these Manchester United fans on Pogba.

 

Liverpool star Virgil van Dijk beats Eden Hazard and Raheem Sterling to be crowned PFA Players’ Player of the Year – reports

24 Apr

Virgil van Dijk will be crowned as the PFA Player’s Player of the Year, according to reports.

The Liverpool defender is on a six-man shortlist for the prestigious award, where the winner will be crowned on Thursday.

However, the Daily Mail are reporting Van Dijk has beaten closest competitor Raheem Sterling to the trophy.

Virgil van Dijk will be crowned PFA Players’ Player of the Season on Thursday

Anfield teammate Sadio Mane was also on the shortlist, with Manchester City trio Sterling, Bernardo Silva and Sergio Aguero in contention for the honour.

Chelsea talisman Eden Hazard was awarded the final spot on the shortlist, but it is the Dutch defender who will win the award.

Last season, Mohamed Salah was crowned the best player in the Premier League according to his fellow professionals after a spectacular debut season on Merseyside.

But Van Dijk’s form at the back for the best defence in the top-flight will see him succeed his teammate.

Sergio Aguero and Raheem Sterling are set to miss out

The 2019 PFA Awards will be held at the Grosvenor House Hotel in London on Sunday, April 28.

Van Dijk has made 44 appearances in all competitions for Liverpool so far this season.

The defender joined the Reds from Southampton for £75million in January 2018 from Southampton and has been imperious for Jurgen Klopp’s men ever since.