- World Cup
Liverpool get a World Cup title boost
We're still a month away from kick-off but Liverpool may already have the upper hand in next season's title race after FIFA figures revealing their players have done less work at the World Cup than those from their Premier League rivals.
Brendan Rodgers had 12 players in Brazil for the start of the tournament, if summer signings Adam Lallana and Rickie Lambert are included.
However, seven of those were part of Roy Hodgson's England, who produced the country's worst performance in the competition since 1958 and came home early with their tails between their legs with just a point from three group-stage games.
|Club||Total miles run||Individual player|
|Manchester United||195 miles||Marouane Fellaini - 34 miles|
|Chelsea||195 miles||Oscar - 37 miles|
|Manchester City||172 miles||Pablo Zabaleta - 40 miles|
|Arsenal||136 miles||Mesut Ozil - 36 miles|
|Liverpool||110 miles||Mamadou Sakho - 17 miles|
Out of all of the Liverpool contingent, France's Mamadou Sakho covered the most ground, running a total of 17 miles before his country were knocked out by Germany in the quarter-finals.
Luis Suarez only covered 11 miles in two group games against England and Italy before incurring a four-month ban for his bite on Giorgio Chiellini. However, the striker's move to Barcelona is all but done with Suarez expected to complete the switch this week.
In contrast to Rodgers and Liverpool, new Manchester United manager Louis van Gaal may have a task on his hands with the club's players covering the furthest distance (195 miles) among the Premier League's elite.
Robin van Persie may also need a good rest after running 32 miles so far at the tournament with the Netherlands knocked out in the semi-finals by Argentina. He may have to run a bit further, given his side have a third-place play-off with Brazil, though Van Gaal may do the humane thing and give the poor chap a rest - he is 30, after all.
Van Persie won't be among those to depart for United's pre-season tour of America next Friday, though fellow striker Wayne Rooney will. Rooney shouldn't be too tired, anyway - he ran just 14 miles in Brazil on top of missing United's last three games of the season with a groin injury.
United will also welcome back a reasonably refreshed Juan Mata after Spain's early exit.
Jose Mourinho has most cause for concern, however, as his Chelsea players will return with more than 195 miles under their belts.
The likes of Oscar, Willian and Ramires were part of Brazil's ultimately fruitless campaign that ended with humiliation in the 7-1 semi-final defeat to Germany.
At least, from a club perspective,Fernando Torres and Cesar Azpilicueta suffered first-round exits with Spain and Andre Schurrle has covered just 10 miles with Germany despite their run to the final - his three goals in five appearances have all come from the bench.
Unsurprisingly, Arsenal's German contingent topped their distance charts through Mesut Ozil (36 miles) and Per Mertesacker (27 miles) and will have more work to do on Sunday in the final, but Jack Wilshere and Santi Cazorla were both home nice and early.
Manchester City's tally of 172 miles falls way short of their Manchester rivals and Chelsea although there may be concerns surrounding the exertions of Pablo Zabaleta.
The Argentine has run more than 40 miles - the most by any Premier League player - has the final still to come and even had this semi-final knock to contend with:
Orgulloso de ser ARGENTINO!!!! pic.twitter.com/wvDVZmr7kR— Pablo Zabaleta (@pablo_zabaleta) July 9, 2014
Ultimately, a host of new personnel - with Emre Can also brought on board and Lazar Markovic set for a medical - and the return of a refreshed group of players from Brazil could provide Liverpool with the impetus to go one better than their runners-up finish last season.