A few minutes ago we talked FA Cup Saturday. Here are some quick hits to get you up to date on the ever-active affairs around Anfield:
- With Pepe Reina and Doni suspended, Brad Jones will start in goal for Liverpool. The Australia is only one-year removed from a tragic loss. Peter Gulacsi has been recalled from his loan at Hull City to backup Jones. (Coincidentally, Steve had some Thursday thoughts on the value of backup `keepers.)
- From the same, linked article, Dalglish’s thoughts on this weekend’s 23rd anniversary of Hillsborough and the match’s planned moment of silence:
“A minute’s silence at Wembley – it’s ironic that it’s Liverpool and Everton at Wembley again because that was the final that year,” Dalglish said. “It’s going to be very emotive for everybody. The Evertonians were affected by Hillsborough as well as the Liverpool fans, with family members who never came home. It will be poignant and I’m sure both sets of fans will grace the minute’s silence with the dignity they’ve shown since 1989.”
- Andy Carroll’s Tuesday winner at Ewood Park creates a small selection quandary. If the goal is rewarded with faith from Dalglish, Carroll could start with Suarez up top, leaving Liverpool with Craig Bellamy, Dirk Kuyt, and Maxi Rodríguez as attacking-esque options from the bench.
- At the back, Daniel Agger’s return to health creates another pre-match question. Will the Danish international resume his place along side Martin Skrtel?
- On Thursday, Liverpool parted ways with Damien Comolli, who was serving as director of football. “[M]utual consent” was cited, but chairman Tom Warner also noted “it was important to make this change expeditiously” with the approaching transfer window. With Kenny Dalglish having last say on a number of transfer busts, it remains to be seen if this is the first domino.
- And finally, some thoughts from Steven Gerrard:
Borussia Dortmund substitute and USMNT phenom Christian Pulisic subbed into Tuesday’s UEFA Champions League match versus Real Madrid and made a difference.
Given 17 minutes to work, Pulisic needed about 10. The 18-year-old American sent in a cross that Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang couldn’t volley but fell to another BVB player.
[ MORE: Big Sam canned ]
That was Andre Schurrle, and the ex-Wolfsburg and Chelsea man lashed a shot behind Navas to make it 2-2 at the Westfalenstadion.
Pulisic does well here, real well, and had a chance to make it 2-2 himself that was smothered by Navas.
A 67-day reign as a national team blown up by allegations of corruption? We’ve seen similar situations in world soccer, but certainly not at a high-profile, traditional headline-grabber like the England national team.
[ MORE: Big Sam canned ]
English legend Alan Shearer called the Three Lions a “laughing stock”, adding that, “I’m angry, I’m sad, I’m staggered at the misjudgement from a guy who admitted this was his dream job.”
The UEFA Champions League’s group stage hits its second round of matches Tuesday, with two Premier League teams in play and a bevy of big names from outside England.
[ MORE: Dempsey out for 2016 ]
Leicester City 1-0 Porto
The chemistry between Algeria and now Leicester City teammates Riyad Mahrez and Islam Slimani is very real.
The former fed the latter for an opening goal on Tuesday in UEFA Champions League play at King Power Stadium, as the Foxes have opened up a 1-0 lead on Porto.
You can imagine the visitors aren’t too pleased with having to meet up with Slimani, who they just managed to see out of their league only to watch him arrive in their UCL group.
And how about the mad dabbing kid shown just after Slimani’s celebration? Wild nights in Leicester.
CSKA Moscow 0-0 Tottenham Hotspur
Spurs are controlling the play, but have yet to find a goal in Russia.
Dinamo Zagreb 0-2 Juventus
Gonzalo Higuain and Miralem Pjanic have the goals for The Old Lady.
Borussia Dortmund 1-1 Real Madrid
Cristiano Ronaldo got on the scoresheet, though the hosts have been by far the more dangerous side. USMNT teenager Christian Pulisic is on the bench for BVB.
Thomas Tuchel’s side threatened to score through a Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang rocketed a shot just over the frame, and the Gabonese man made it 1-1 soon after when Keylor Navas punched Raphael Guerriero’s free kick off Raphael Varane. Aubameyang touched it over the line for an academic marker.
Here’s Ronaldo’s goal:
Sevilla 0-0 Lyon
Monaco 0-0 Bayer Leverkusen
Copenhagen 0-0 Club Brugge
Sporting CP 2-0 Legia Warsaw
The Seattle Sounders may yet make a playoff appearance, but it will be without Clint Dempsey.
The USMNT star recently returned to training with the team after dealing with an irregular heartbeat.
[ MORE: Big Sam canned ]
Sounders general manager Garth Lagerway made the announcement on Tuesday.
“If we prioritize this now, hopefully we can get Dempsey back in 2017.”
That does not seem to bode well for his participation with the United States men’s national team, which has October friendlies with Cuba and New Zealand before the first two matches of the final round of CONCACAF World Cup qualifying in November.
Fortunately for the Sounders, both Jordan Morris and Nicolas Lodeiro have their upped their games in his absence, and Andreas Ivanschitz has been decent as well.
Seattle is five points back of fifth place Sporting KC, and three back of sixth place Portland. The Sounders have played two less matches than both sides.