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5 players who regretted leaving Liverpool as Gini Wijnaldum admits he’s not happy at PSG

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The grass isn’t always greener on the other side as Gini Wijnaldum is currently finding out at PSG.

Five years at Liverpool came to an end in the summer when the Dutchman’s contract ran out.

Wijnaldum had been hugely successful at Anfield but was among a host of star names to move to Paris.

Lionel Messi, Sergio Ramos and Gianluigi Donnarumma all headed to the Parc des Princes as PSG eye European glory.

Mauricio Pochettino has a host of stars to pick from and that has meant Wijnaldum has not played as much as he’d like.

He told NOS : “I can’t say I’m completely happy because the situation is not what I wanted.

The 30-year-old is certainly not the first man to leave Liverpool and wonder whether he’d made the right call.

Over the years a host of names have departed Anfield and come to regret it, we take a look at a few.

Philippe Coutinho

The Brazilian pushed for a move in the summer of 2017 and eventually joined Barcelona six months later.

At Liverpool he had put his injury troubles behind him and become a leading light during his five years.

All in all he scored 54 goals and made a mega £142m move to the Nou Camp, but maybe he wished he hadn’t.

Barcelona have never seen the best of Coutinho, who has had to battle against fan displeasure almost throughout his time at the Nou Camp.

A loan move away to Bayern Munich for the 2019-20 season has done little to help him rediscover his best form, and a career that promised so much will probably never hit the heights it should have.

Emre Can

Another who left Liverpool and headed to a European giant in search of glory.

Can moved to Juventus in 2018 when his contract expired but spent just 18 months in Turin before moving back to his homeland with Borussia Dortmund, where he has been ever since.

The German’s versatility was a plus and he played regularly under Jurgen Klopp, but still wanted to seek pastures new.

During his Juventus spell he told Kicker: “I’m just an ambitious guy who always wants to compete at the highest level, but I’m also learning from this tough time when things are not going the way I was hoping.

“I’m not playing games from the start, so I’m not happy, but I will stay strong and keep working on myself.”

Peter Crouch

The striker spent three years at Liverpool after joining them in 2005 from Southampton.

Under Rafa Benitez he was in and out of the starting XI but continued to produce when called upon.

Crouch scored 18 times in the 2006/07 season, finishing as the club’s top scorer, but a lack of consistent game time saw him move to Portsmouth a year later.

He continued to be a success as his career went on, but with hindsight would’ve like to have remained at Anfield.

Crouch told the Daily Mail: “It’s something I have thought a lot about… It would have been brilliant to be a one-club man or to spend 10 years at a particular place.

“My biggest club regret is leaving Liverpool too early but circumstances meant I had little option.”

Michael Owen

Liverpool’s 2001 Ballon d’Or winner was one of Europe’s deadliest marksman having burst onto the scene as a youngster.

But when Benitez arrived in 2004 he decided to offload Owen to Real Madrid. He would return to England, having spells at Newcastle, Manchester United and Stoke City.

He has confessed though that on numerous occasions he made efforts to rejoin the Merseyside outfit.

“At every stage – every summer – I was on the phone to Carra (Jamie Carragher) telling him to find a way to get me back,” says Owen in the book Ring of Fire.

“‘Does Rafa want me?’ I’d say. ‘Does Kenny want me? Does Brendan want me?’ It was circumstance that stopped it happening.

“Whenever I was available, Liverpool had too many strikers. And when Liverpool wanted me, I was injured. By the end, I wasn’t the player I had been before and they simply didn’t fancy me. I wasn’t good enough.”

HAVE YOUR SAY! Who is the one player you wish had stayed at Liverpool? Comment below

Ryan Babel

The Dutchman showed glimpses of his quality whilst at Liverpool, but regrets leaving in 2011.

His move to Germany was motivated by a desire to play on a more regular basis, but departing such a dominant side certainly left a mark on Babel.

He confessed recently: “I spent almost four years at ­Liverpool under Rafa Benitez and Kenny Dalglish. When I left to go and play in Germany, where TSG ­Hoffenheim had become a big force, it was to become the ­biggest regret of my career.

“The only reason I left was because I wanted to have more playing minutes to keep my place in the Holland team, but you don’t realise how dominating the playing style is at Liverpool until you play in a different team and league.

“I was brought up with really attacking football at Ajax. In the academy, you learn to play that way. When I moved to ­Liverpool, it was exactly the same. It is in the DNA of the club to play attacking football.”

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Every Premier League player expected to be at AFCON and games they will miss

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Premier League players expected to be at 2022 AFCON and games they will miss

The Africa Cup of Nations is set to hamper Premier League clubs up and down the country in and around the New Year.

The continental tournament is always held midway through the season and sees established stars head away for a number of weeks.

Around 40 players will depart after the games on Boxing Day with some not returning until the second week of February.

Premier League clubs have contested the laws around players jetting off to represent their nations during the pandemic, but any hopes of keeping their players for the entirety of the Festive period looks slim.

FIFA rules state “players must be released and start travel to their representative team no later than Monday morning the week preceding the week when the relevant final competition starts.”

The African Cup of Nations officially begins on January 9 and concludes on February 6.

Cameroon kick off the tournament against Burkina Faso which means December 27 – 13 days previous – is the date players will be leaving their clubs.

A heavily stocked schedule means team’s with players whose countries go deep into the tournament may miss up to eight games across the Premier League and FA Cup.

There is an apparent grey area, based on certain nations beginning their tournament after the official January 9 start dates.

In those circumstances there is hope that agreements can be met which could see players stay for an extra day or two, which in some cases may be crucial.

Jurgen Klopp will be without the duo for festive games at Leicester and Chelsea – played across the space of five days.

Arsenal, Chelsea, Crystal Palace and Leicester will also lose key players for the duration of the tournament.

The Blues will see Edouard Mendy leave in what is a major blow whilst the likes of Wilfried Zaha, Thomas Partey, Wilfred Ndidi and Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang will all jet off.

Mikel Arteta will therefore have to endure a game with Manchester City and a north London derby minus some of his leading lights.

The Foxes meanwhile could be without Ndidi and Kelechi Iheanacho for both their games with Liverpool, such is the proximity of the two fixtures.

Here are Premier league players that will feature in the competition:

Arsenal

Thomas Partey (Ghana)

Mohamed Elneny (Egypt)

Pierre Emerick Aubameyang (Gabon)

Nicolas Pepe (Ivory Coast)

Aston Villa

Mahmoud Trezeguet (Egypt)

Bertrand Traore (Burkina Faso)

Marvelous Nakamba (Zimbabwe)

Brentford

Julian Jeanvier (Guinea)

Frank Onyeka (Nigeria)

Tariqe Fosu-Henry (Ghana)

Brighton

Yves Bissouma (Mali)

Burnley

Maxwel Cornet (Ivory Coast)

Chelsea

Edouard Mendy (Senegal)

Hakim Ziyech (Morocco)

Crystal Palace

Cheikhou Kouyate (Senegal)

Jeffrey Schlupp (Ghana)

Jordan Ayew (Ghana)

Wilfried Zaha (Ivory Coast)

Everton

Jean-Philippe Gbamin (Ivory Coast)

Alex Iwobi (Nigeria)

Leicester City

Daniel Amartey (Ghana)

Nampalys Mendy (Senegal)

Wilfred Ndidi (Nigeria)

Kelechi Iheanacho (Nigeria)

Liverpool

Mohamed Salah (Egypt)

Naby Keita (Guinea)

Sadio Mane (Senegal)

Manchester City

Riyad Mahrez (Algeria)

Manchester United

Eric Bailly (Ivory Coast)

Amad Diallo (Ivory Coast)

Southampton

Moussa Djenepo (Mali)

Mohammed Salisu (Ghana)

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Jose Mourinho uses Man Utd excuse after Roma suffer European embarrassment

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Thursday night was a low point in the managerial career of Jose Mourinho as his Roma crashed to a humiliating 6-1 defeat against Bodo/Glimt.

Mourinho’s side were strong favourites going into the Europa Conference League encounter but were humbled by the Scandinavian hosts, who blew them away in the second half.

It was the first match of Mourinho’s entire managerial career – which has spanned over 1,000 matches – that he had overseen his side concede six goals or more in one match.

That it came against a team who had significantly fewer resources than his own and were huge outsiders for the match, made it all the more painful.

Striker Erik Botheim and midfielder Patrick Berg had given Bodoe/Glimt a two-goal advantage in the first half, but Carles Perez pulled one back for Roma – who were then expected to launch a fighting comeback.

Instead, the Italian side collapsed in the second half as Botheim added two more goals to complete his hat-trick while goals from Amahl Pellegrino and Ola Solbakken piled the misery on the visiting team.

The Portuguese boss was predictably in an awful mood after the defeat and did not hold back on his criticism of the players that he selected for Roma.

Mourinho explained on Sky Italy: “The initial XI of today of Bodo Glimt had better quality than us. Now you can stop asking why we play always the same players.

“I did it with good intentions, to give an opportunity to those who work hard and to rotate the squad on a synthetic pitch in cold weather. I decided to rest many players.

“If I could always play with the same XI, then I would. It’s risky, because we have a huge gap in quality between the two groups of players.

“I knew the limits of this squad, it is not new to me, but I still expected a better response.

“As I said, it’s my choice to play them, so my responsibility.”

This is the same excuse that the Portuguese boss used during his tenure at Old Trafford, when he claimed that a poor loss for United away against Brighton actually vindicated his approach.

The trip to the South Coast saw United without their regular striker Romelu Lukaku, who was injured for the game having been a virtual ever-present for the side in attack over the course of that season.

Lukaku has played the entire 90 minutes in 30 Premier League games that season to indicate how not only was he preferred in attack over others, but that he was never rested in matches.

Instead, Marcus Rashford and Anthony Martial were given rare starts under Mourinho but the side went down to a 1-0 defeat, leaving the manager to aim a thinly-veiled dig at the two forwards.

He suggested that neither of those players deserved to be in the strongest side at United and their performances were the reason why he did not trust them above the Belgian striker.

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EPL: Chelsea facing striker crisis with Lukaku, Werner injured

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Chelsea manager, Thomas Tuchel is facing a striker crisis after Romelu Lukaku and Timo Werner both went off injured against Malmo on Wednesday night.

The Blues went on to win 4-0 in the Champions League clash, thanks to goals from Jorginho (2), Andreas Christensen and Kai Havertz.

However, their emphatic victory was marred by the knocks picked up by their key frontmen.

Lukaku was forced off with a suspected ankle injury in the 20th minute, as he went down under a challenge inside the box.

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