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Free agents 2017: 20 Premier League players out of contract in the summer, including Manchester United, Chelsea and Liverpool stars Featured

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Published in England Premier League
Wednesday, 03 May 2017 12:55

Liverpool midfielder Lucas Leiva is back in the first-team fold and in fine form, in what is probably his last season at the club.

The Brazilian has registered an impressive three assists in his last five Premier League appearances, which could be great timing considering he is out of contract in the summer.

Unless Jurgen Klopp’s mind is changed, the 30-year-old’s decade-long stay at Anfield is set to come to an end, putting a number of clubs on red alert.

Good performances now could be the key to a move in the summer – and Lucas is not the only player set to make a big decision about his future come the end of the season.

Meanwhile, John Terry and Chelsea have already confirmed they will part ways once his contract expires in the off-season. The 36-year-old wants to continue playing and there will be no shortage of interested parties.

With the end of the season just weeks away, talkSPORT has taken a look at some of the Premier League players with contracts expiring in the summer - meaning they are able to be snapped up for free.

Starting with Lucas, click the right arrow, above, to see who might be available* soon.

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  • Morata ruled out of Chelsea's trip to Crystal Palace

    Chelsea striker Alvaro Morata will miss tomorrow's game at Crystal Palace due to the hamstring injury he picked up against Manchester City.

    The Spaniard limped out of Chelsea's 1-0 defeat to City at Stamford Bridge and subsequently missed the international break with Spain.

    The 24-year-old had a scan last week, with Spain's medical staff claiming he had suffered a grade two hamstring injury.
    He won't recover in time for tomorrow's match at Selhurst Park but he could return for Chelsea's Champions League match against Roma on Wednesday.

  • Juan Mata: There is no game like Liverpool v Manchester United

    Manchester United midfielder Juan Mata has revealed that no other game in the Premier League calendar compares to Liverpool against Manchester United.

    The two bitter rivals go head-to-head on Saturday, with the unbeaten United sitting joint top of the table while Liverpool are five places back in seventh.

    Liverpool have won just one of their last seven matches in all competitions and will hope to reignite their season with a victory in front of their own fans.

    Mata has fond memories of Anfield, having scored twice in a 2-1 win during the 2014/15 season – including a stunning scissor kick.
    And the midfielder has revealed he cannot wait for kick off on Saturday lunchtime.

    When asked if the fixture is United’s biggest game of the season, he told Sky Sports: "I believe so, since I came here I always knew the rivalry was big over the years. Everyone in the training ground, fans in the street, they remind you that Liverpool is the game.

    "There is no game like this. Through the history there have been great games, big rivalries, and it is a special game to play in, and we feel very lucky to have the chance to play in these games.

    "The view from Spain I think is that all of the big Premier League games are viewed similarly. Once you are in England you realise United v Liverpool stands out.
    "I have pretty good memories from our games against Liverpool. Every United supporter even now, after a few years, remind me of that goal. When you play for United and score at Anfield and win the game, it stays in peoples' minds."

    The Anfield crowd are sure to provide United with a hostile atmosphere, but Mata is adamant his side can quieten them down if they go into the game with the right attitude.

    "It's tough. It's a tough atmosphere. Obviously, the stadium is full of supporters wanting their team to go over us and win. That's what makes football special. Not speaking about violence at all, but about the atmosphere. You have to have personality to play in these games,” he added.

    "If we manage to impose ourselves in the game to control the emotions from the crowd, and play good football, I think we have a chance to win."

  • Parker: Mourinho has got United right in one season, the same can’t be said of Klopp and Liverpool

    Paul Parker has been impressed with Manchester United’s improvement under Jose Mourinho and expects the Old Trafford club to win their fixture against Liverpool this weekend.

    I think Manchester United will beat Liverpool this weekend. The match represents United’s biggest test this season. However, United are a different proposition to last year. Mourinho’s men have absorbed everything that has been thrown at them. Unlike last season, Mourinho will go there and look for more than a point.

    Mourinho’s default is to be conservative, particularly in away games, so don’t expect swashbuckling attacking play. However, they will actually try to do more with the ball than they did at Anfield last season, when they were more than content to leave Liverpool monopolise possession. Mourinho has more trust in *his* team now. Last season he went there looking not to lose and served up one of the worst ever Premier League games. United started well but then it was 80 minutes of cold custard.

    This time United have a strong backbone - they look solid, they have improved. If you look at Liverpool, they have failed to address the glaring issues from last year. Yes, they signed Mohamed Salah but they still lack a goalkeeper and the defence remains ramshackle. Their centre-halves simply aren’t good enough.

    WHERE KLOPP HAS FAILED, MOURINHO HAS SUCCEEDED

    Both sides had huge issues last season. However, United addressed theirs, while Liverpool have let them fester. United have signed well (more on that below) but Mourinho has also improved the players he inherited, take for example Marouane Fellaini. Klopp has neither improved defensive players at his disposal nor signed better players to address their issues.
    Defensively, the Reds look like they have gone backwards and look more porous than they were back under Brendan Rodgers. At least his side were great going forward; defensively they might not have survived in the second division and they appear to have gotten worse.

    "Mourinho has got Manchester United right in one season but Liverpool still look all at sea after two years into Klopp’s tenure. "
    The pressure will eventually start to ramp up on Klopp – he will definitely get to the end of the season, but if there are no signs of improvement between now and then he might be in trouble. It is pretty poor that they did not have a back-up plan when they missed out on Virgil van Dijk. They identified the problem and did not solve it.

    Every championship-winning team has a standout goalkeeper and back four. Liverpool have neither. Yes, they have Philippe Coutinho, Sadio Mane, Roberto Firmino and Mohamed Salah but when Liverpool dominated the league, it was because of their defence. Not anymore. Klopp brought in a goalkeeper (Loris Karius) that is no better than the one they already had (Simon Mignolet).

    The defence have no trust in Mignolet. You need a keeper with a personality and Simon Mignolet does not have one; he lacks the arrogance that all greats have. Liverpool look worried at set-piece situations and his concentration levels are not good enough.

    MATIC THE KEY TO UNITED TRANSFORMATION

    Mourinho has Romelu Lukaku realising how good he is. And he compares very favourably to Ibrahimovic, the Swede scored great goals for United but was he a great goalscorer? Lukaku has the makings of a great goalscorer and suits them perfectly. He has been in the right place at the right time and has that hunger to play.
    However, the player who has made the real difference to United is Nemanja Matic. He has been a very shrewd signing, who gives United perfect balance. He is a big man but is certainly more brains than brawn, with smart passing and cute interceptions. There is no doubt that he has freed Paul Pogba, too. Pogba no longer feels he has to take on the world to justify his price. Matic has made the rest of the team look and feel better.

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