Liverpool back in Champions League and close in on £12m winger

Afternoon Bulletin

Comfortable win puts Liverpool back into Champions League

Liverpool secured a Champions League return with a 3-0 final-day win over already relegated Middlesbrough to claim fourth place in the Premier League.

Despite dominating possession, the home side had failed to truly threaten Guzan – making his last Boro appearance before departing for Atlanta United – until Georginio Wijnaldum’s thunderbolt breaks the deadline on the brink of half-time.

Shortly after the restart, Philippe Coutinho curled home from a superb free-kick to double the lead. Adam Lallana added the third in the 56th minute as the visiting side extended their winless streak at Anfield to 22 games.

Liverpool have plenty of chances to add on to their lead. However with the lack of urgency that characterised the final 20 minutes, it became evident that Liverpool’s work was done. The substitution of Sturridge could yet prove to be his final Reds outing as Origi came on for the England striker late on.

Liverpool will now enter the qualifying round for the Champions League in August at the expense of Arsenal as Arsenal have failed to qualify for the Champions League for the first time since Arsene Wenger took over as manager in 1996. 10-men Arsenal overcame 7th placed Everton 3-1 at Emirates Stadium but the result was not enough to lift them into the top four.

Liverpool’s Coutinho called up for Brazil squad

The 24 man squad for Brazil’s June friendlies against Argentina and Australia in Melbourne was announced on Sunday. The game against Argentina will be played on June 9th, followed by an exhibition game against Australia on June 13th. Both matches will be played in Melbourne’s MCG stadium.

With Brazil already qualified for the World Cup, The Brazilian coach uses the opportunity to rest some of his established players and look to include some fringe players. Dani Alves, Marcelo, Roberto Firmino and Neymar are all spared while Coutinho is being selected together with Willian, Gabriel Jesus as well as Chelsea defender David Luiz.

Liverpool edge closer to £12m winger

Liverpool are reportedly set to win the race for winger Demarai Gray’s signature having agreed a fee of £12million with Leicester City.

The 20-year-old was a £8.5milllion signing from Birmingham 18 months ago, helping the King Power Stadium outfit over the line in the race for the Premier League title. Due to the lack of first-team opportunities, Gray is now looking to leave Leicester City

Liverpool are now said to be in pole position to land Gray having activated the release clause in his contract and a deal is expected to be finalised during the early part of the summer transfer window.