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LLiverpool could cost Man United $28m on top of UEFA revenue as Champions League stakes exposedaa



LLiverpool could cost Man United $28m on top of UEFA revenue as Champions League stakes exposedaa

The financial importance of the Champions League is no secret. Particularly for Liverpool, which has pursued a self-sustaining model under FSG, the riches associated with UEFA’s top competition are hugely significant.

When Liverpool won the competition back in 2019, it banked $120m (£96m/€110m) from UEFA prize money alone, per City AM. Then there’s the value of repeat sellout crowds, not to mention the broadcast revenues. It is the game’s biggest cash cow.

Against all odds, Liverpool could now be in a position to salvage a place at that table next season, and Manchester United is the side that looks most vulnerable to dropping out. Erik ten Hag’s men still need to drop points twice more to open the door to Jürgen Klopp, but consecutive defeats have at least made it interesting.

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Already, Manchester United is operating under a relatively tight budget, having opted to bring in Wout Weghorst in January as the Cristiano Ronaldo replacement. A second consecutive season without a UEFA payday would further impact business, with new Financial Fair Play rules limiting the amount a club can spend in proportion to its revenue.

That cap will begin at 100 per cent before gradually dropping to 70 per cent, in a bid to make clubs more sustainable. The effect of these new rules is yet to be felt, but it makes missing out on a major revenue stream an even more tangible blow.

However, Manchester United is in an especially unfortunate position, with Liverpool able to pile on even more misery if it steals away a Champions League place. That’s because of the nature of the deal the Old Trafford side has negotiated with kit supplier Adidas.

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According to The Athletic, the sports apparel brand has crafted its deal with Manchester United so that a penalty only kicks in if the club misses out on Champions League football two seasons running. That gave the Red Devils a year’s grace, but the looming punishment for another year of exile would be hugely significant.

The contract is believed to include a 30 per cent penalty for consecutive seasons outside of the Champions League, reducing the annual payment from $94m (£75m/€86m) all the way down to $66m (£52.5m/€60m). That would be a $28m cut.

One silver lining for Manchester United is that this reduction would be spread over the remainder of the contract, which runs until the end of 2024/25, meaning the club would not suffer from an immediate $28m hole in its budget. But there is no particularly positive spin on what would be a significant financial loss.

With Ten Hag looking to begin a new era of renewed success at Manchester United, this would be the worst possible end to what had looked like a promising debut campaign. With both financial and sporting implications on the line, Liverpool has even more incentive to deal a bitter blow to its biggest rival.


Mohamed Salah has a secret skill for Liverpool which makes him truly special

If there was a list detailing everything Mohamed Salah brings to Liverpool, it would be a very long one.

His goals and remarkable consistency would of course be at the top and, with that, all the records that come his way. The assists he provides would be on there, too, along with his speed and ingenuity.

Also, his lack of injuries, cutting in on his left, mixing it up on his right and how the ball seems to be super-glued to his foot.

Put simply, defenders across Europe have found him almost impossible to deal with since he moved to Anfield in the summer of 2017.


The genius of Mohamed Salah – by Robbie Fowler (the man whose Liverpool record he beat)

Yet there is still one aspect of his game that is seemingly under-appreciated, or certainly not as widely noticed outside Anfield — his work rate.

Hard work when out of possession is vital at Liverpool. Jurgen Klopp’s obsession with counter-pressing means that if you fail to press to the levels required, then you will not play very often.

And on top of all Salah’s goals and general brilliance, he has always adhered to Klopp’s system and its regimental requirements.

When Liverpool lose the ball near him, the Egyptian very rarely stays still. The amount of recoveries, tackles and interceptions he makes in the attacking half speaks for itself.

And when he loses possession himself, it is exactly the same process. He chases after the ball or puts himself into a position that he hopes will be of benefit to Liverpool as their attempted recovery begins.

This season, Salah has been retrieving the ball around 2.6 times per game. And while this figure is very slightly down on the 2.8 and 2.7 he registered in the past two seasons, it remains an integral part of his game.

A recent example of this was when Salah passed the ball to opponent Harry Kane during Liverpool’s 4-3 win over Tottenham Hotspur on April 30.

As the screengrabs show, Andy Robertson passes the ball to Salah, who dribbles into the box.

He manages to avoid being tackled, but then passes the ball to Kane on the edge of the box.

The Tottenham forward then turns and looks to start a counter-attack.

With the Tottenham players who were trying to stop Salah still stationary, the Egyptian is already on the move and chasing after his wayward pass.

And before Kane can get further up the pitch, Salah steals the ball back.

He then passes to Curtis Jones and Liverpool’s attack begins again.

Salah hates losing the ball and loves winning it back, something he showed shortly after his opening goal against Everton at Anfield on February 13.

An attempted pass to an overlapping Jordan Henderson is cut out by Vitalii Mykolenko.

Yet Salah is already on the move and chases after Mykolenko’s pass to Abdoulaye Doucoure.

When Salah realises Doucoure’s pass is going over his head to Dwight McNeil, he turns and sprints.

Then, as McNeil looks to return the favour, Salah tracks Doucoure’s run and gets his foot on the ball.

He then dodges McNeil’s attempted tackle before passing to Fabinho.

During Liverpool’s 3-0 defeat away to Wolverhampton Wanderers on February 4, Salah attempted a pass to Darwin Nunez, which was intercepted and cleared by Maximilian Kilman.

Thiago then chests down the clearance and takes it towards Trent Alexander-Arnold.

After some passing exchanges with Naby Keita, Salah again receives the ball and looks to feed the onrushing Alexander-Arnold.

However, Wolves again sniff out the pass.

Robertson then wins possession but loses it instantly.

Then, as Wolves break, Salah bursts in and wins it from Hwang Hee-chan.

Liverpool went on to lose the ball shortly afterwards, but this example again highlights Salah’s determination when trying to regain possession. And when he loses it himself, he seems to be even more hell-bent in his pursuit.

During the 4-1 defeat by Manchester City on April 1, Salah dribbles his way into the box before Nathan Ake blocks his shot. However, Salah is the quickest to reclaim the ball.

He plays a pass back into the box immediately, putting his team in a dangerous position.

He also regularly recycles attacks after losing the ball following runs into the penalty box from the right.

In injury time of Liverpool’s 2-2 draw with Arsenal on April 9, Salah’s pass across the six-yard box is blocked by Gabriel.

Salah is in a good starting position, but chases straight after the ball like his life depends on it.

When he gets it back under control, he passes to Henderson and Liverpool keep the pressure on.

Salah’s quick reading of the game is exceptional and one of the key reasons behind his success.

In a less-than-enjoyable trip to Spain to face Real Madrid in the Champions League on March 15, there was a moment early on where Salah made something out of Dani Carvajal’s backpass, as you can see in the below screengrabs.

Before the Real Madrid right-back has even made contact with the ball, Salah races in that direction.

He gets there before Antonio Rudiger and runs at the centre-back. Rudiger recovers with a tackle, but this does not halt Salah, who bounces backwards to collect it.

He then plays a pass into Darwin Nunez who shoots, but it is straight at Madrid goalkeeper Thibaut Courtois.

It is these instinctive interceptions, tackles and recoveries that make the 30-year-old Egyptian so difficult to stop. Even when he is halted, he is almost always attempting to win the ball straight back.

Salah has scored 30 goals and provided 11 assists in all competitions for Liverpool this season. That is 41 goal involvements in 48 games and a lot of it is down to his hunger and willingness to get the ball back when out of possession.

For Salah, who famously wore a T-shirt with the slogan “never give up” on it, there are no lost causes. And this is one part of his game that deserves a lot of credit.

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