Phil Neville

Double hit for Everton: Loss at Reading, Phil Neville likely out until 2013

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If Everton fans needed more bad news after watching their team lose to Reading (a team that hadn’t won since being promoted), manager David Moyes was more than willing to oblige:


The Toffees may have more depth than they’ve had in recent seasons (meaning, they have some depth this year), but they’re still very thin in central midfield. Moyes’s first choice pair of Darron Gibson and Phil Neville were already compromised by Gibson’s thigh injury. With Neville out, the Toffees look set to rely on Thomas Hitzlsperger and Leon Osman, a duo unlikely to keep Everton near the top of the league. Osman is a quality wide option, but deployed in the middle with a player who hasn’t been good since 2008-09? It’s not something that will inspire confidence with games against Arsenal, Manchester City and Tottenham on the horizon.

On Saturday, Osman and Hitzlsperger were fine, albiet against one of the league’s worst teams. It’s also possible they’ll be fine going forward, but should they falter, there are a few alternatives. Netherlands international John Heitenga can be moved from defense into midfield, while Marouane Fellaini is also capable of playing at the base of midfield. It’s not like David Moyes has to live-and-die with Osman and Hitzlsperger.

Still, the Neville injury is a big blow for a team that had been one of the league’s pleasant surprises. Should the Toffees fight through this, that surprise will become all the more acute. Regression, however, would be understandable.

Klopp to the Kop: Multiple reports say deal agreed at Liverpool

TURIN, ITALY - FEBRUARY 24:  Borussia Dortmund coach Jurgen Klopp shouts to his players during the UEFA Champions League Round of 16 match between Juventus and Borussia Dortmund at Juventus Arena on February 24, 2015 in Turin, Italy.  (Photo by Marco Luzzani/Getty Images)
Marco Luzzani/Getty Images

Jurgen Klopp is on his way to Liverpool to sign a contract naming him the next coach of the Reds.

The celebrated manager, 48, has been on “hiatus” from football since leaving Borussia Dortmund last season.

[ MORE: Messi to stand trial in Spain ]

Reports starting emerging earlier today that an agreement was imminent, and now the BBC is among those reporting that Klopp will be rolled out Friday morning.

From the BBC:

No contract has yet been signed but that is viewed as a formality when Klopp arrives in Liverpool later on Thursday. He will be officially unveiled by Liverpool on Friday morning at 10:00 BST.

There’s not much to say besides this: Klopp’s addition to the Premier League will give more color and brilliance to the country’s footballing scene. Only a certain class of manager can be instantly expected to find a better system for an inherited group of players.

This could and should be a game changer on Merseyside.

Appeal rejected! Lionel Messi will face court trial in Spain

VIGO, SPAIN - SEPTEMBER 23:  Lionel Messi looks dejected after the La Liga match between Celta Vigo and FC Barcelona at Estadio Balaidos on September 23, 2015 in Vigo, Spain.  (Photo by Alex Caparros/Getty Images)
Alex Caparros/Getty Images
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It was a mere 48 hours ago that Lionel Messi looked close to in the clear when it came to tax evasion charges.

Now the question is whether a Spanish court will lock away the greatest active footballer, as a judge rejected the prosecutors’ (!!!) request to drop the charges.

[ WATCH: Hilarious spoof pegs Messi, Ronaldo as “Friends” ]

Messi and his father have already made a $5.5 million corrective payment, but there’s principle in play here. And the judge wants to know how Messi can claim he had no idea what was being done with his money.

From the BBC:

Lawyers acting on behalf of the tax authorities demanded 22-month jail sentences for both defendants.

“There are rational signs that the criminality was committed by both accused parties,” wrote the judge in a court filing, according to the AFP news agency.

Can you imagine one of the world’s richer men ending up in a Spanish prison? It’s very difficult to consider. In some ways it’s more plausible that he would buy his own island and start the “Messi Isle Premiership”.

Still, we won’t laugh off the idea, especially with FIFA apparently going down. Messi in prison. That’s something. Sepp in Switzerland. Lionel in Spain.