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Jordan Henderson reveals Virgil van Dijk has 'radiated positivity'

Jordan Henderson reveals Virgil van Dijk has ‘radiated positivity’ since suffering season-ending ACL injury and sent ‘upbeat and inspirational’ message to Liverpool team-mates

  • Jordan Henderson has revealed that Virgil van Dijk has ‘radiated positivity’ 
  • Van Dijk remains upbeat despite suffering an anterior cruciate ligament injury 
  • Henderson revealed that van Dijk sent an ‘inspirational’ message to the squad 

Liverpool captain Jordan Henderson has revealed that Virgil van Dijk has ‘radiated positivity’ since suffering an anterior cruciate ligament injury.

Van Dijk is set for a lengthy spell on the sidelines and could miss the rest of the season after suffering the injury following a challenge from Everton goalkeeper Jordan Pickford last weekend. 

The absence of the centre-back for an extended period is certainly a huge blow for Liverpool, but Henderson disclosed that van Dijk sent an ‘upbeat and inspirational’ message to the squad. 

Jordan Henderson has revealed that Virgil van Dijk has remained upbeat despite his injury

Van Dijk is set for a lengthy spell out after suffering an anterior cruciate ligament injury

Henderson told Liverpool’s matchday programme: ‘It’s his presence and personality that will leave a hole on matchdays and in the training sessions. As important as the fans think he is, to us as team-mates it’s even more so.

‘It was typical of Virgil that after digesting the news, one of the first messages he sent to us – all of us – was upbeat and inspirational. The exact content will of course remain private, but there wasn’t one word in there feeling sorry for himself. It was all about looking ahead and making sure he comes back better and stronger.’

Henderson added that van Dijk ‘radiated positivity’ when he returned to the club’s Melwood training ground. 

Henderson disclosed that van Dijk sent a positive message to the squad following his injury

He said: ‘Likewise, when he came to Melwood on Tuesday he just radiated positivity. That’s the big man. And it’s on us to take his lead and only think about the positive impact we can all have from this moment on.’

Henderson has full faith that Liverpool’s remaining centre-back options, including Joe Gomez, Joel Matip and Fabinho, will be able to impress while van Dijk is out. 

He said: ‘I look at the players we have who can play that position and I wouldn’t swap them for anyone else. Joe Gomez, Joel Matip and Fabinho are international-quality players who have produced for us as a team time and time again.

Liverpool won 1-0 away to Ajax in their first assignment since van Dijk’s injury.

On Saturday they are back in Premier League action with a home game against Sheffield United. 




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Police to investigate ‘threats and hate crimes’ against Pickford and Richarlison

Merseyside Police has launched an investigation following a host of "totally unacceptable" tweets directed at Everton duo Jordan Pickford and Richarlison.

The pair were both involved in high profile incidents in Saturday's derby which ended 2-2 at Goodison Park.

Pickford avoided a red but may have ended Virgil van Dijk's season with the Dutchman having to undergo surgery that could end his season.

Richarlison meanwhile was given his marching orders for a late challenge on Thiago that saw him leave the ground.

Nevertheless police have criticised the language used and insisted those responsible are "not beyond the law".

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A Merseyside Police spokesperson said: "We are currently investigating a number of offensive Tweets made in relation to two Everton footballers.

"The language used in the Tweets is totally unacceptable and we are taking the reports extremely seriously.

"Those who use the internet to target others, and who commit criminal offences such as making threats or committing a hate crime in doing so, are not beyond the law.

"Detectives are making enquiries to identify the individuals who posted the Tweets and where we identify offences we will take action to bring those responsible to justice."

Tensions ran high during and after the contest with Liverpool denied a stoppage time win courtesy of a controversial VAR call.

The officiating system has been heavily criticised for its failure to adequately deal with Pickford's tackle on Van Dijk, who was given offside.

Many though feel as if the England goalkeeper should've been sent off.

Anger on the red half of Merseyside is only likely to increase after it was announced that Pickford would receive no retrospective punishment for his reckless tackle.

The on field referee, Michael Oliver, will also not face further action having seen the incident.

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Jordan Ayew: Crystal Palace forward tests positive for coronavirus

Crystal Palace forward Jordan Ayew has tested positive for coronavirus.

The 29-year-old was absent from the Eagles’ matchday squad for the 1-1 draw against Brighton in the Premier League on Sunday.

Ayew played for Ghana in friendlies against Mali and Qatar during the international break and Palace manager Roy Hodgson confirmed post-match the player had returned a positive test during the club’s latest set of tests.

In a Twitter post, Ayew said: “Sadly, I have tested positive for Covid-19 & have begun my quarantine in line with the health guidance. Thankfully, I am feeling fine & do not have any symptoms

“I will be cheering the boys on from home & look forward to being back on the pitch soon.”

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👑 Get well soon, Jordan.#CPFC | https://t.co/utMcYSDkhb https://t.co/8ymALzi7z8

Palace are next in action against Fulham at Craven Cottage on Saturday, before the Eagles travel to face Wolves at Molineux on Friday October 30.

The draw against Brighton saw Palace remain 12th in the Premier League table, with seven points from their first five games of the season.

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Simon Jordan rips into Project Big Picture plans

Rick Parry denies the EFL will be the Premier League’s ‘poodle’ under Project Big Picture, as ex-Palace owner Simon Jordan claims it’s a ‘Machiavellian deal with the devil to push the Big Six towards a European Super League’

  • Former Crystal Palace owner Jordan heavily criticised Project Big Picture
  • He views it as a ‘deal with the devil’ that consolidates Big Six power  
  • EFL chief Rick Parry defended his support for the plans in debate with Jordan 
  • Plans to radically reform English football sent shockwaves through the game
  • Liverpool and Man United led proposals that would consolidate Big Six power
  • Premier League would be cut from 20 to 18 teams with EFL Cup scrapped
  • Nine established top-flight clubs would be afforded a special status 
  • In return the EFL would receive bail-out of £250m amid Covid-19 financial crisis 

Simon Jordan has ripped into EFL chairman Rick Parry for backing the controversial ‘Project Big Picture’ plans drawn up by Liverpool and Manchester United to shake-up English football.

The former Crystal Palace owner described the proposals as a ‘deal with the devil’ and a ‘Machiavellian’ scheme to consolidate power for the established Big Six to the long-term detriment of the EFL.

He argued it would simply push the leading clubs closed to a European Super League in a few years’ time.  

In response, Parry, speaking on talkSPORT, said the Premier League had 25 years to introduce a more egalitarian model that truly helped lower league clubs and denied the EFL had become the Premier League’s ‘poodle’ by supporting the plans. 

Former Crystal Palace owner Simon Jordan has blasted the Project Big Picture plans drawn up by Liverpool and Manchester United and supported by EFL chief Rick Parry

Parry, speaking on talkSPORT, denied the plans will make the EFL the Premier League’s ‘poodle’

Jordan said: ‘This is a deal with the devil. It doesn’t stack up, it doesn’t work and it won’t happen.

‘This is the typical George Orwellian mentality that all animals are equal but some are more equal than others.

‘If you’re Rick Parry, you take what you want from it. They haven’t done their jobs over the last six months during an impending crisis that shows no reduction in speed and you’re starting to steer into desperation territory.

‘This empowers the big six and enables them to steer towards where they’re really going which is to have a better relationship with Juventus and Bayern Munich and Barcelona and the European Club Association.

‘This is all part of this Machiavellian mix being thrown up here.’

In response to Jordan’s comments during the radio debate, Parry said: ‘The Premier League could have come up with a plan at any stage in the last 25 years. 

‘Two of the leading clubs have come up with a plan, it shouldn’t be criticised and should be applauded. There has been some hysterical reaction.

Premier League champions Liverpool are behind the proposals that would radically overhaul the top end of the English game and consolidate the power of the ‘Big Six’

‘Some have alighted on this as a power grab. I don’t see it that way and I see the benefits it will produce.’ 

Jordan said to Parry the plans look like a ‘Trojan horse’ designed to bring the Government back to the table to deliver the bail-out desperately needed by EFL clubs.

Parry said: ‘I don’t see it that way. I don’t underestimate the challenges but that doesn’t suggest we will sit back and do nothing about the longer term.

‘We have numerous alternatives we can consider but in terms of a bigger vision and where the game ought to be going, it does need big ideas and big thinking, however challenging. We are stimulating the debate.’

The radical plans for the biggest shake-up of English football in a generation sent shockwaves through the game on Sunday and plunged the Premier League into civil war.

The Premier League executive launched a scathing attack on Parry for his support of ‘Project Big Picture’, a shake-up hatched by chiefs at Liverpool and Manchester United.

It would see the top-flight reduced from 20 to 18 teams, restrict relegation and give the Big Six unfettered power to make further changes.

There was open hostility from the Premier League and the Government to the proposals, which would also see the scrapping of the EFL Cup and FA Community Shield.

Liverpool, ran by John W Henry (left), are looking to reduce the league from 20 teams to 18

Man United and the Glazers (above) are working with Liverpool to push through the plans

In return the EFL would receive a £250million financial package to support clubs struggling during the Covid-19 pandemic. League clubs would also receive 25 per cent of the Premier League’s annual income going forward.

In addition, the Football Association would receive a £100m payment.

As part of the trade off, voting rights within the Premier League would be changed from the current 14-club majority voting system to hand the Big Six, plus Everton, West Ham and Southampton special status.

Six votes from these nine would be sufficient to pass proposals, effectively concentrating power in their hands.

This would pave the way for a shake-up of broadcasting rights with greater revenues potentially going to the top clubs rather than the current, more equal split.

Premier League and Championship clubs would be able to show in-match highlights on their own digital platforms.

But the proposals, developed by Liverpool owner John W Henry and his United counterpart Joel Glazer, are likely to be killed at birth despite the support of Parry and the EFL.

Chelsea and Tottenham are understood to be on board after their chairman, Bruce Buck and Daniel Levy respectively, were brought into the discussions last week.

But a meeting of the Big Six held on Thursday, which also involved Manchester City and Arsenal, broke up without agreement.

The rest of the Premier League only learned of the controversial plans when the Daily Telegraph reported them on Sunday morning. The reaction was one of shell-shock followed by widespread revulsion.

One Premier League source accused Parry of attempting to mount a hostile takeover of the richest league in the world.

The EFL Cup, won last season by Manchester City, could be scrapped as part of the proposals

Likewise the Community Shield, won by Arsenal back in August, could be scrapped 

He allegedly offered the Big Six a guarantee they could be accommodated in the Championship if the other 14 Premier League clubs refused to co-operate.

Sportsmail has been told Brighton, Burnley, Crystal Palace, Fulham, Sheffield United and West Bromwich Albion would not vote for a smaller Premier League under any circumstances, while given their recent history of relegation, Aston Villa, Newcastle and West Ham are also extremely sceptical.

Liverpool and United are planning to focus their lobbying efforts on the upwardly mobile Premier League clubs who have enjoyed recent success, such as Leicester City, Leeds United and Wolverhampton Wanderers, but there is no guarantee that they will buy into the plan.

The fact that West Ham are opposed to the idea, despite the offer of ‘long-term shareholder’ status along with the Big Six, Everton and Southampton — is indicative of the difficulties facing the reformists.

Everton and West Ham (pictured), as well as Southampton, were invited on board with the ‘Big Six’ to be afforded a special status under the plans

‘In the Premier League’s view, a number of the individual proposals in the plan published today could have a damaging impact on the whole game,’ they said in a statement. ‘We are disappointed to see that Rick Parry, chair of the EFL, has given his on-the-record support.’

The Government’s response was equally dismissive.

A spokesperson for the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport said: ‘We are surprised and disappointed that at a time of crisis, when we have urged the top tiers of professional football to come together and finalise a deal to help lower-league clubs, there appear to be backroom deals being cooked up that would create a closed shop at the very top of the game.

‘Sustainability, integrity and fair competition are absolutely paramount and anything that may undermine them is deeply troubling.

‘Fans must be at the front of all our minds, and this shows why our fan-led review of football governance will be so critical.’   




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Jordan Pickford: Everton goalkeeper backed by Neville Southall amid poor form

Jordan Pickford has received public backing from Everton goalkeeping great Neville Southall following his continued poor form.

Pickford was one of the stars of England’s run to the 2018 World Cup semi-finals but has been struggling for over a year, with another error leading to a Brighton goal in Everton’s victory over the Seagulls last weekend.

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The 26-year-old was also at fault for both of Fleetwood’s goals in Everton’s Carabao Cup win at the League One side last month, and the pressure was further increased on Pickford when the Toffees signed Roma goalkeeper Robin Olsen on loan on Deadline Day.

Both Carlo Ancelotti and his predecessor, Marco Silva, have been forced to field questions over Pickford’s form, but Southall believes the seriousness of his errors has been blown out of proportion.

Southall – who won five major trophies during a 17-year spell at Everton – told Sky Sports News: “I think he’s had probably three bad minutes in six months – if [that].

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“His mistakes aren’t killing us – I think that’s a good thing – and I think once he finds his form, we’ll be flying.

“There’ll be a time when we have that little bump in the road and maybe we’ll have to rely on him. Maybe people will have to change their opinions.

“But I do think, if Mr Ancelotti wants to play you, you must be half-decent. If his job was on the line, there’d be a taxi outside Goodison tomorrow.”

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International Break? Not For Super 6!

During the brief international break, there is still £250,000 up for grabs with Super 6. Play for free, entries by 3pm Saturday.

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