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Liverpool v Ajax - UEFA Champions League
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Despite links to Liverpool in recent months, Schuurs sees his immediate future at the Dutch club.

Ajax centre half Perr Schuurs has been linked with Liverpool over the past few months, and the 21-year-old impressing in both of his club’s Champions League group stage defeats to Jürgen Klopp’s Reds has only added to the chatter.

However, the Dutch youngster was quick to downplay any chance that he could be headed to England, at least in the immediate future, when asked about the Liverpool rumours following Ajax’s 1-0 defeat at Anfield on Tuesday evening.

“I hear and read it too,” said Schuurs of the recent transfer talk. “But this is my first season as a regular player at Ajax, so first I want to play here for a few more seasons and win prizes. I’m not really thinking about that yet.”

Ajax has in recent seasons established itself as perhaps Europe’s premier stepping-stone club, an organization that excels at developing players—and where both club and players are honest that, long-term, they will be heading elsewhere.

There is, though, more often than not patience. At least a few seasons spent at the storied Amsterdam club and a few domestic trophies won. And for Schuurs, who only played four senior games before this season, it is indeed early.

While Liverpool’s defensive injury crisis may have pushed up the timeline on bringing in a centre half—and has certainly made the fans push for that—the reality is that while Schuurs will leave Ajax, it probably won’t be in January.

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Liverpool FC v Ajax Amsterdam: Group D - UEFA Champions League
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Gini Wijnaldum revealed the Reds haven’t been training like normal due to the congested fixture list.

In the midst of an injury crisis and playing two or even three games some weeks with little hope for respite on the horizon, Liverpool have largely abandoned any kind of high-intensity training between matches in an effort to cope.

That’s the revelation this week from veteran midfielder Gini Wijnaldum, one of manager Jürgen Klopp’s three fit senior midfielders at the moment and a player who started the last four games in a punishing ten day run for the Reds.

“I’m blessed to stay fit during this period,” Wijnaldum noted. “I hope I can hold on until the end of the season. It’s really just playing matches and resting at the moment. There’s not really any training because there’s not a lot of time.”

Not much time and with no lessening of the fixture load as the club head into the holiday run—congested in any year but this time around simply a continuation of the kind of busy schedule they’ve faced in October and November.

However, a little rest—and maybe even a few training sessions—could be on the horizon thanks to Tuesday’s Champions League victory that clinches first in their group and should mean no key players face FC Midtjylland next week.

“I think Ajax has played two very good matches, but of course you can see that we are very grown up,” Wijnaldum said of Tuesday’s European clincher for the Reds against the storied Dutch side. “I think that’s why we won the matches.

“In the Premier League you play such matches more often, then you have to be very mature to win them, even if you don’t play well. We did that twice against Ajax.”

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Villareal manager Unai Emery has urged Samuel Chukwueze to improve his game so as to fulfill his huge potential for the club.

 

The Super Eagles forward has been below-par for Emery and he’s said to want more from the Nigerian according to a report in Marca.

 

 

Chukwueze is a talented young attacker with huge promises who could perhaps contribute more consistently for the Yellow Submarines.

 

 

“We need the experience that some players accumulate to translate into improvement,” Emery said.

 

 

“We need Samu to settle after two years of irregularity in the first team. We need him to make the difference and this year he’s doing it to a lesser extent than before.”

 

“I opted for him at Anoeta against Real Sociedad with the idea that he’d win us the game, but it wasn’t to be. We’ll continue to work with him on it.”

 

 

“We set the level high because there are many players with high ability, and I want to help the younger players find that level of performance,” Emery was quoted as saying by Marca.

 

 

Chukwueze has registered one goal and two assists so far this season and has found it difficult to command a regular starter’s berth for Emery’s side this year despite impressing on occasion.

 

 

Next up for the Yellow Submarines is a Europa League clash with Sivasspor before a league game against Elche.

 

 

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Former Nigeria international, Finidi George says he’s disappointed by his omission from the Super Eagles squad to the 2002 World Cup in Korea and Japan.

 

The former Ajax star added that featuring at the Mundial would have afforded him the opportunity to end his international career on a high.

 

 

Finidi and other senior players like Sunday Oliseh, Tijani Babangida, Victor Agali were dropped following a bust-up with NFF officials at the 2002 AFCON in Mali.

 

 

Head coach Shuaibu Amodu and his assistant Stephen Keshi were replaced by Adegboye Onigbinde before the World Cup.

 

 

“It was disappointing being excluded from the team after playing in all the qualifiers for the 2002 World Cup in Korea and Japan,” Finidi told The PUNCH.

 

 

“It was sad. I had wanted to quit the Eagles on a high note. Anyway, that’s in the past now. “I’m not thinking about that now though; it’s sad that it happened.”

 

 

 

On some of his colleagues who went to the World Cup, the 1994 AFCON winner said:”I’m not angry with colleagues who went to the World Cup, but I would have done it differently. I would have taken a different stand on the matter. However, I will not blame anybody for going to the World Cup.”

 

 

 

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Brighton & Hove Albion v Liverpool - Premier League
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Midfield says help.

According to Ian Doyle of the Liverpool Echo, both James Milner and Xherdan Shaqiri are doubtful to play against Wolverhamption Wanderers on Sunday. Milner picked up an injury against Brighton over the weekend, while Shaqiri has been missing in action since a couple of impressive cameo appearances at the start of the season. We continue to be short in the middle of the park, as Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain and Thiago Alcantara continue their rehabilitation. Unless Fabinho moves into midfield, or Naby Keita shrugs off his current injury… we should see Gini Wijnaldum continue his astounding one-man Iron Man tribute act, along with Jordan Henderson and Curtis Jones in midfield. The captain has just recovered from an injury during the last international break, so that’s something to keep an eye on.

Alisson has of course been ruled out for about two weeks. Caoimhin Kelleher’s impressive performance against Ajax should see him remain in goal… if not, Adrian’s available too.

In defence, continuity should take precedence, especially with a five-day rest until the Wolves game. Fabinho and Joel Matip should be patrolling our box, with Nat Phillips and Rhys Williams available to deputise. Andy Robertson’s ankle looked it was bothering him a bit, so Kostas Tsimikas could come in at left-back. Trent Alexander-Arnold is apparently expected to return to training this week, however the expectation is that Neco Williams to continue to fill in until the former is declared fit. The backups should all get some run next week, with the result of the away fixture at FC Midtjylland inconsequential to Liverpool FC

’s position.

Attack is where the shelves are truly well-stocked. Diogo Jota should be chomping at the bit to play against his old team, while Roberto Firmino got a nice rest against Ajax. Mane and Salah are both fit, so maybe Jürgen Klopp throws all them into the starting eleven. Takumi Minamino and Divock Origi are both available to step in if needed.

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