After sitting out the win over Southampton at the weekend with a hip problem, Liverpool defender Mamadou Sakho is facing a late fitness test ahead of the second leg of the Reds Europa League tie with Turkish side Besiktas on Thursday.
The French defender missed out on quite a bit of the first half of the season with injuries and poor judgement seeing him sidelined for long stretches of time. His return to the side in the 2-2 draw with Arsenal at the end of December signalled a significant turn around in Liverpool’s fortunes and they remain unbeaten in the league since then with the 2-0 win over the Saints their tenth match on the hop without a loss.
Video courtesy of True Kop LFC
Former Liverpool defender and current Sky Sports talking head Jamie Carragher has never made a secret of his bias towards the Reds, and with the Anfield outfit keeping up sustained pressure on the top four, he’s backed his old side to snag a spot in next seasons Champions League at the expense of bitter rivals Manchester United.
Things are just going from bad to worse for Besiktas ahead of the second leg of their Europa League Round of 32 tie with Liverpool on Thursday.
Going into the first leg, goalkeeper Tolga Zengin was ruled out for a month after damaging knee ligaments early in their dramatic 3-2 victory over Bursaspor. Understudy Cenk Gonen did a great job during the meeting at Anfield and almost made it out of the match with a clean-sheet only for Mario Balotelli’s late penalty to hand the hosts the win. The Turkish side were always going to be under the kosh in the second leg, but the pressure is being turned up that much more with news that not only is Demba Ba struggling with a knock, but attacking midfielder Gokhan Tore is as well.
The winter transfer window may be behind us, but the rumour mill never closes completely with the agent of Lyon playmaker Yoann Gourcuff suggesting that Liverpool could re-ignite the apparent interest they showed in the 28-year old last month.
While it seems plausible that the Reds would be interested in signing the Ligue One sides prolific hit-man Alexandre Lacazette rather than an ageing central midfielder, Gourcuff’s agent Didier Poulmaire has suggested otherwise. In his younger days, while plying his trade with fellow French side Bordeaux, the tricky attacker was a hot property on the European market, but a series of injuries and his exile from the national team have made him look less like Zinedine Zidane — who he drew comparisons too — and more like Bruno Cheyrou.
Video courtesy of Official Brighton & Hove Albion FC
Liverpool loanee Joao Teixeira bagged himself a brace as relegation threatened Brighton & Hove Albion secured a thrilling 4-3 win over fellow Championship strugglers Birmingham City. The 22-year old has been enjoying his time with the East Sussex club and is just behind defender Lewis Dunk as their top scorer with his double on Saturday inching him closer to the summit with six goals to his name.