Sun | Sep 24, 2017

Former big guns clash at Anfield

Published:Friday | January 15, 2016 | 1:00 AM

LONDON (AP):

As English football's most successful teams, Manchester United and Liverpool are the mainstays around the summit of the league.

Rivals come and go but United and Liverpool are always to be found among the chasing pack - at least, for the top prize.

No longer.

When the northwest rivals play on Sunday at Anfield it will be a meeting of mediocrity - by their standards.

For the first time in 35 years, the league could finish without either United or Liverpool - who have 38 titles between them - in the top four.

And it's about cash, not just symbolism. Finishing outside the top four would mean missing out on the Champions League next season.

With only one win in eight league matches, record 20-time champions United have dropped to sixth place, two points behind Tottenham in fourth. Liverpool are three points behind United in ninth after failing to achieve the uplift anticipated in the three months since hiring Jürgen Klopp as manager.

 

While United's draws have added to the pressure on Louis van Gaal, Liverpool's scrambled comebacks to rescue points have been celebrated by Klopp and his squad almost like wins - including Wednesday's 3-3 comeback at home to Arsenal.

"There has been a big improvement recently (in our mental strength) and that's very important when you're at a big club," Liverpool defender Kolo Toure said. "You can't ever give up. When you refuse to lose games, you often find yourself winning them.

"It's always important that if you don't win, you don't lose. We showed character and resilience and we didn't give up until the end of the game. It's very important that we keep things going at home."

 

SQUAD ADDITIONS

 

There's halfway to go in the January transfer window.

Having not signed an outfield player in the summer window, Arsenal recruited midfielder Mohamed Elneny from Basel.

Arsenal expect the Egyptian to be registered in time for Sunday's game against Stoke.

"Arsenal are one of those teams that everyone enjoys watching, and, of course, I would love to play for such a great team," he said.

Elneny arrives after winning three consecutive Swiss league titles at Basel, which he joined from El Mokawloon in Egypt.

Arsenal are seeking their first league title since 2004, but are only ahead of surprise contenders Leicester at the summit on goal difference.

Tomorrow, Arsenal's north London neighbours, Tottenham face Sunderland, which has signed striker Dame N'Doye on loan from Trabzonspor for the rest of the season.

The 30-year-old Senegal international was previously at Hull, scoring five times in 15 appearances before moving to Turkey.

"Having already played in the Premier League, he should have no problems in hitting the ground running, too, which is very important at this stage of the season," Sunderland manager Sam Allardyce said.

 

VARDY GOAL DROUGHT

 

After setting a Premier League record for scoring in 11 consecutive games, injury-hit Jamie Vardy has failed to score for a fifth consecutive match.

The 1-0 victory at Tottenham on Wednesday was secured by a rare goal from Robert Huth, on Vardy's first game back from groin surgery.