Ian Rush: Liverpool Should Pursue Kylian Mbappe on a Free Next Summer

Ian Rush: Liverpool Should Pursue Kylian Mbappe on a Free Next Summer
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The Premier League is back this weekend after what was an eventful international break during which a few things caught my eye.

I couldn’t help notice Kylian Mbappe was on fire for France, scoring five goals in two games. He looks on a mission to make up for what was a disappointing Euros campaign for him personally.

He’s also in fine form for Paris Saint-Germain with six goals and six assists in 12 games in Ligue 1 this season. His form is all the more remarkable given the fact he’s made it clear he wants to leave PSG.

The French champions refused to bow to Real Madrid in the summer but Mbappe now looks increasingly likely to run down his contract and leave PSG on a free transfer next year.

Reports suggest the Bernabeu is where he’s destined to end up but when a player becomes a free agent you never know what direction they might take. We all thought Gini Wijnaldum was heading for Barcelona last summer only for PSG to snap him up.

Could Liverpool hijack Mbappe’s proposed move to Real Madrid? I know he’s an admirer of Liverpool and in my opinion it would be great if the club could sign someone like him, but Real Madrid’s interest is strong and genuine.

For me, if you want to play in the best league in the world and for the best club in that division, then there’s only one option and that’s the Premier League and Liverpool FC. It’s as simple as that.

Ultimately, it will come down to what him and his agent believe is right for them, but if the opportunity is there I’d personally love to see Liverpool go in for him.

I always say you should only sign players who are better than what you already have in that position. Is Mbappe better than what we currently have in his position? In my opinion yes, I think he’d make Liverpool a stronger team.

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Van Dijk Set For Big Stage

The World Cup is all about watching the best players in the game and that’s why I’m delighted the Netherlands have qualified so we can see Virgil van Dijk on the biggest stage of all.

He was very unlucky to miss out on the Euros in the summer because of his injury but now he’ll be eager to make up for lost time and I’m looking forward to him showing the world that he’s the best defender in the game.

I have no doubt that van Dijk is the best player in the world in his position, so it’s only right that he has a chance to play in the World Cup.

I watch him week-in-week-out when he plays for Liverpool and I believe he’s getting back to his full match fitness now and he’s back looking after players around him, which is great to see. Roll on Qatar 2022 so we can all watch him do his thing with the eyes of the world on him.

Wales One Step Closer

As for my own country, Wales have made the playoffs and secured a home tie in the draw after holding Belgium to a 1-1 draw on Tuesday.

I was at that game and it was fantastic, the atmosphere was incredible – a bit like being at Liverpool on a European night – Wales were excellent. In fact, I thought they were the better team against a nation ranked No. 1 in the world.

There’s a long way to go but the point was so important to get us that home tie in the playoffs, which will be a big advantage for Wales when the games come around in March.

There’s some big nations in there – Portugal and Italy will worry a lot of teams – but I think Wales have some fantastic players and some good youngsters coming through too. We’ll need a little bit of luck, but there’s every reason to be optimistic.

It’s also a last chance to play in a World Cup for Gareth Bale and Aaron Ramsey and Wales will need their experience to get through the playoffs and should be able to call on their experience from the Euros to help.

To get to Qatar would be a massive boost for the country.

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Qatar 2022 Schedule

The Premier League schedule around next year’s World Cup has been released and it’s as hectic as we all expected it would be with the league pausing from November 13 to December 26.

Much has been made about player welfare around a winter World Cup but I think the players will be happier than we’re led to believe.

That’s because November is around the time that a lot of players really hit peak match fitness in the season and therefore produce their best form, so we could find ourselves watching a lot of players at the peak of their powers, and that bodes well for the tournament.

I actually think this is as good a chance as England have had for some time because they’ve got a great squad and when you look at their performances at World Cups in the past – which normally take place in June and July – they tend to run out of steam.

Most of England’s players play in the Premier League, the toughest league in the world, so for the majority of your squad to have endured a long, rigorous season and then be asked to perform for their country in the biggest tournament in world football – that’s a big ask.

But with this tournament taking place over November and December, that might actually work in favour of players who play in the Premier League, and England have more Premier League based players than any other country of course.

So on that basis I actually think they have a great opportunity to win the World Cup next year.

Trent Form On The Up

Trent Alexander Arnold England

A hat-trick of assists in the space of 10 minutes did Trent Alexander-Arnold’s England career no harm and looks to have given Gareth Southgate a bit of a selection headache. There’s no such debate at Liverpool where Trent is one of the first names on the team-sheet.

People tend to forget that when he went through that rough period last season he had actually been recovering from Covid, but I think he’s finally over that now and he’s back to the sort of form he was in two years ago.

If you’re a centre-forward, his crossing is exactly the kind of service you crave – I’d have loved to have played in the same side as him. He’s such a fantastic player and I think he and Liverpool’s other full-backs look bigger and stronger this season.

Andy Robertson, Kostas Tsimikas, Neco Williams and a young lad by the name of Owen Beck – a 19-year-old left-back – are all very focussed on getting forward, but they’re very skillful in what they do and they’ve also strengthened themselves up.

I reckon that’s down to Liverpool’s training capacity, they want their full-backs to be big and strong.

There’s been an ongoing debate about whether or not England or Liverpool could utilise his skills better in midfield, but there’s no point fixing what isn’t broken.

I’m happy with where he is playing right now, to tell you the truth, because he’s probably the best right-back in the world, so why put him in midfield? You have to play to your strengths and right now he’s the best in his position in world football in my opinion.

Arsenal Visit To Anfield

Liverpool host Arsenal at Anfield this Saturday and I think this has the potential to be a great game but with Liverpool being at home I’d expect them to take all three points.

Liverpool lost their last game before the international break but, to be honest, it had been coming for four of five games before that and West Ham got them at just the right moment, ending their unbeaten run.

The international break was actually good timing for Liverpool and I think they’ll come back and have adjusted and should be strong favourites to beat Arsenal at home.

In contrast, the break probably came at a bad time for Arsenal who have been building real momentum over the past few months and had come into some really good form.

Arsenal have a really good young team and I really like some of their players like Bukayo Saka and they have a really good young manager behind them.

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I actually got to know Mikel Arteta when he was doing his coaching badges in Wales and I have a lot of belief in him as a manager. In fact, I’ve thought from day one of this season that he can get Arsenal into the top four this year.

I’m predicting Chelsea, Manchester City, Liverpool and Arsenal will make up the top four – not necessarily in that order. I think Arsenal are only missing one thing and that’s experience. They have a very talented, youthful side.

Arteta just needed some time to implement what he wanted but anyone would have needed time in that job – there’s a lot of pressure – but to be fair to Arsenal they gave him time and a chance to prove himself and I think we’re seeing the rewards from that.

It’s refreshing to see a club give a manager a chance. We’ve seen the likes of Norwich and Aston Villa give up on their managers recently and although it creates a great opportunity for someone else, it can sometimes happen too soon for me.

But that’s football as it is today. It wasn’t always like that – as we know, Sir Alex Ferguson was given a lot of time to get it right at Manchester United and after he survived by the skin of his teeth he went on to become the most successful manager in the club’s history.

I appreciate it when clubs give managers time so I have a lot of respect for what Arsenal and Mikel Arteta are doing right now.