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Friday, 14 December, 2018

Van Dijk signing is excellent for Liverpool

The Premier League legend answers the week's big questions

Liverpool defender Virgil van Dijk
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1 What's your best bet for this weekend?
I fancy Brighton at a nice price at Newcastle. The Magpies are struggling to perform at St James’ Park – they haven’t won any of their last five home matches and haven’t scored in four of those.

They can hit teams on the counter away – hence the win at West Ham – but an organised Albion can frustrate them and are more than capable of winning there.

2 Which favourites look most vulnerable?
I’m a layer of Manchester United against most teams at the moment, especially ones as well-organised defensively as Southampton.

Saints got hit for five at Tottenham on Boxing Day but that was a rare collapse from a well-drilled side. When the teams met at St Mary’s earlier this season Southampton were excellent and unlucky to lose, just as they had been in the League Cup final.

3 What do you make of the Van Dijk signing for Liverpool?
It’s an excellent signing for both club and player. Van Dijk needed to get away from Southampton and he’s gone to a club that needs a top-class centre-back to organise them defensively.

He’s quick, physically strong, quick and confident on the ball and the fans will get behind him. The problem of a lack of defensive midfielders won’t go away, however, so Van Dijk will be busy.

4 Is Carlos Carvalhal the right pick for Swansea?
I think he’s a good fit. He twice took an unfancied team in Sheffield Wednesday to the playoffs and was unlucky to lose his job at Hillsborough.

Swansea certainly saw the potential pretty much straight away, and who can blame them? He takes over a team who showed in glimpses at the end of last season that they know how to beat the noose, and it’s up to Carvalhal to instil some confidence.

5 Give us a player or team to follow in 2018
Watch out for Dennis Geiger at Hoffenheim. Bundesliga watchers will already know what a class act Geiger is. He captained Germany at the European Under-19s and has made a massive impact in his first full season in the first team.

I think he’s potentially better than Julian Weigl from Dortmund who everybody raves about. He plays in the same position but is physically stronger even though he’s not very tall. He could be special.

6 Who wins the FA Cup?
I’m going to say Tottenham, a side who are knocking loudly on several doors and now need to win a trophy. Mauricio Pochettino is working wonders at Wembley and while all eyes at Spurs are on Champions League progress, they need to be realistic.

Drawing Juventus may well be a blessing because it has probably dampened expectations and made them realise that domestic cups are the way to go.

Premier League previews

Man Utd v Southampton

Chelsea v Stoke

Liverpool v Leicester

Bournemouth v Everton

Huddersfield v Burnley

Newcastle v Brighton

Watford v Swansea

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He’s quick, physically strong, quick and confident on the ball and the fans will get behind him
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