Tag Archives: Europe

Will Liverpool make it unbeaten?

As of their recent fixture against Sheffield United, Liverpool completed a full calendar year unbeaten in the Premier League and with performances like Thursday’s, their run looks set to continue.

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A fimilar image; Liverpool’s front three celebrate another Premier League goal.

Nothing but admiration is what has to been given to Liverpool’s perfomances of late, whether it has been a goal fest as such against Mersyside neighbours Everton or a 1-0 against a valiant Wolverhampton. Liverpool’s football has been mature and is evidence of 4 years of Jurgen Klopp’s management and timely building of what can be suggested to be a world class team.

The front three of Mane, Firmino and Salah have been poignant to the Red’s success in front of goal but this season, but its been clear the rest of the team are just as important. Working from the back, Virgil Van Dijk has been at the heart of their defence. Advantageous to the team, Van Dijk’s height to reach defensive headers and composure when passing out from the back under pressure, is a massive part of his game and why he is a world renowned defender.

What is particular about the Liverpool team is their knowledge of spatial awareness with passes and even clearances nearly always find man in red helping to maximise possession. Aswell, as passing their way through teams, Liverpool boast the talent of their two first choice full backs in Trent Alexander-Arnold and Andy Robertson. Their crosses into the penalty area have become staple to the team’s goal scoring opportunities with both players continuing to rack up their personal assists.

It can be argued Liverpool’s success has been formulated from all aspects of their play and management and a new culture brought in by Klopp since his arrival. This season has also seen them be able to cope with absentees of Lovren and Matip in defence due quality in the depths of their sqaud. Which can be contrasted to league rivals Manchester City who have not had an as simple season as reigning champions. Aymeric Laporte’s injury early in the season has made him exempt for the majority of City’s games and their results show they have not been able to cope as well as the City fans would have wanted. Consequently seeing them fall further and further behind League leaders Liverpool.

There is a feeling this is already Liverpool’s year and 13 points ahead it is difficult to see where 4 defeats would come from, even if Liverpool are prevented of an invincible title its hard to see them not lifting the Premier League trophy come spring.

Racism Must Be Kicked Out.

Chelsea defeated Tottenham 2-0 in the late Sunday kick off, however the game arose a different sort of matter which needs to be defeated.

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Antonio Rudiger; the latest Premier League player subject to alleged racism

Tottenham striker Son-Heung Min was seen to kick out at Rudiger in the aftermath of a tackle, a tackle which subsequntly led to Son’s dismissal. But what happened following the sending off is a much higher priority issue.

The Chelsea man reported receiving racially stimulated abuse from a Tottenham supporter, Rudiger followed procedure of informing his captain who then reported the issue to the Referee. Television pictures show Rudiger displaying the monkey-like actions which was the abuse he received. During the game, the Tottenham public announcement system gave plea to immediately stop racially inclined abuse as it was interfering with play. Unfortunately, these strategies do not seem efficient. Yes, an announcemnent is an immediate reaction but it is not a strong enough deterrent and does not justify the upset directly caused to Rudiger.

With multiple examples of racism towards players already this season, it is imperative that stronger action is taken. A possible deterrent may be that players decide to leave the pitch if made to feel uncomfortable due to verbal or physical racially fuelled abuse. Empowering the players to leave the pitch and stop the entertainment will make an example of the extremity of the spectators action to receive the punishement they deserve. It will also hopefully deter others from acting irresponsibly. Players have previously been reluctant to do this, as exampled in England’s recent international match in Bulgaria where the players continued the game despite a copious volume of racism in the stands, as those players who had been subject to racism and their team mates refuse to let the racists win by causing their exit from the pitch.

Another deterrent has to come from the sanction given by those in high power, which have been critiqued as very minimal. On Sunday night The Proffessional Footballers’ Association called for Government enquiry into the alleged abuse. A Downing Street spokesperson said they were working very closely with the footballing authorities to tackle the issue. It is clear something needs to be implemented urgently and although publication of statements follows protocol, it is simply not enough to just say what action they will take. As a country, this issue needs to be actively eradicated as soon as possible.

During the mean time of national debate to implicate an effective strategy to end racism in football, the clubs themselves can respond to any form of racism within their club and ultimately anyone found guilty racist behaviour should be punished heavily. It would be most effective to sanction a life ban from football, we do not want these people in the game.

Racism of any kind is out of order, and the people in charge of running the league need to do something about it – before the name of English football is tarnished for the worse.

Liverpool to battle Flamengo in the Club World Cup final

The European Champions escaped a close semi-final match in the Club World Cup against Liga MX side Monterrey in Qatar, ultimately needing a stoppage-time winner from substitute Roberto Firmino for the 2-1 victory.

 Liverpool had several key players either unable to play or started on the bench for the match, especially in the center of the defense. The situation was so complicated that midfielder Jordan Henderson had to fill in the void due to Virgil van Dijk (illness), Dejan Lovren (injured), and Joel Matip (injured) not able to suit up for the squad.

The current Premier League leaders got off to a quick start after Naby Keita scored in the 12th-minute, courtesy of an outstanding reverse pass from Mohamed Salah. It was a short lead, however, as Rogelio Funes Mori scored two minutes later for the recent winners of the CONCACAF Champions League.

The Reds were able to squeeze out a narrow victory after Firmino, who only entered the match in the 85th-minute, scored the late goal, causing the side to head into the finals of the competition.

In the finals, Liverpool will face off against Brazilian Série A side Flamengo. They will face off against a familiar opponent in Filipe Luis, who played for the likes of Atlético Madrid and Chelsea before making the move to his home country this season.

The two sides will play on Saturday, the first time they both play against each other in a tournament match since the 1981 Intercontinental Cup, where Flamengo defeated Liverpool 3-0 in Tokyo.

Zlatan Ibrahimović set to return to A.C. Milan

After starring for the MLS’ LA Galaxy for the past two seasons, Zlatan Ibrahimović has reportedly agreed to a principle deal, returning to A.C. Milan for at least until the end of this season.

Ibrahimović, who scored 42 goals in 61 appearances for the Serie A side from 2010 to 2012, will be brought in for some much-needed assistance as Stefano Pioli’s Milan are currently in 11th place in the league with a record of 5-2-7. The Lion has several years of Serie A experience under his belt, playing for the likes of Juventus (2004 to 2006), Inter Milan (2006 to 2009), as well as Milan. 

However, critics wonder if Ibrahimović, 38, will be able to play at a high level in one of the top leagues in the world. Even though the Swedish international played a pivotal role for the Galaxy as he accumulated 52 goals in 56 appearances for the club, the North American league is considered a place where Europe’s biggest stars come to retire. 

This move back to the San Siro will be a huge step in Ibrahimović’s career to see if he still has the ability to play a top-level league. Do you think he will shine again in Italy?

Chelsea Women’s land international superstar Sam Kerr

Manager Emma Hayes and the Chelsea Women’s side, who are currently the leaders of the WSL at 4-1-0, improved their squad drastically by signing Australian sensation Sam Kerr on a two-and-a-half-year contract.

The Blues competed against several of European’s top clubs, including FC Barcelona, PSG, and Champions League winners Lyon, but were able to sway the prolific scorer into playing in England. She will officially join the squad in January 2020.

Kerr, 26, was rotating her playing time between the Perth Glory of Australia’s W-League (whose season runs from October to April) and the Chicago Red Stars of the NWSL (whose season ran from April to October), which was taking a toll on the striker. 

The Australian international had a strong campaign in her home country’s league last season as she won the Golden Boot Award for the second consecutive year in the league with 13 goals. Kerr also had an MVP season in the U.S. as she accumulated a league-record 18 goals along with five assists – leading the Red Stars to the championship game before ultimately losing to the North Carolina Courage. She is currently the all-time leading scorer in both leagues (64 in W-League, 65 in NWSL).

However, Kerr is most known for being the face of soccer Down Under, where she has been striving for the Matildas since her international debut at a mere 15 years of age. The captain of the squad has scored 38 goals in 83 appearances, leading Australia to the Round of 16 in the most recent edition of FIFA’s Women’s World Cup before falling to Norway in penalties.

 This signing for Chelsea was a huge step towards league and European dominance as they look to compete with these powerhouses by signing one of the best goal scorers in women’s soccer history.