READING, ENGLAND – JANUARY 12: Romelu Lukaka of West Bromwich Albion battles with Adrian Mariappa of Reading during the Barclays Premier League match between Reading and West Ham United at the Madejski Stadium on January 12, 2013 in Reading, England. (Photo by Bryn Lennon/Getty Images)
According to reports across England, despite plenty of rumors of first-team managerial offers elsewhere, Steven Gerrard is set to accept a low-pressure position in the Liverpool youth academy.
The reports state that Jurgen Klopp advised Gerrard to take his first managerial job in a low pressure, low publicity role rather than jump right into a first-team role either alongside Klopp or at another club.
The reports also state his position will not be the U-23 coach, recently vacated by the departing Michael Beale, but instead will be a roving role within the academy still without an official title. Gerrard’s position could also allow him to take a similar role with the FA in England’s youth setup alongside his duties at Liverpool.
Gerrard, who retired from playing at the expiry of his LA Galaxy contract last month, apparently was offered a deal by AC Milan to continue his playing career in Serie A, but turned it down in favor of beginning his first foray into the coaching world. He also admitted to speaking with League One side MK Dons about their vacant managerial position, but said it was “a bit soon” for him.
“I’m just taking a bit of time to consider what’s next, exciting times moving forward,” Gerrard said back on November 23. “I spoke to MK Dons. I had a chat with the chairman, it’s a very exciting job for somebody else but it’s a bit soon for me. But it’s true, I did speak to them.”
Liverpool needs to win to keep pace with the top of the league as they travel to Bournemouth live on NBCSN at 8:30 a.m. ET or live online at NBCSports.com.
Chelsea, Arsenal, and Tottenham all won on Saturday, so the Reds need to keep pace, or they risk falling off the pace, currently four points behind the Blues on top. They’ll have to do so today, however, with a number of changes to the squad, mostly at the back where Liverpool has been vulnerable at times this year.
[ WATCH LIVE: Bournemouth vs. Liverpool live on NBCSports.com ]
Midfielder James Milner continues to take on a new position at left-back, preferred to Alberto Moreno, while Joel Matip has picked up an ankle injury, forcing midfielder Lucas into a role alongside Dejan Lovren in the middle of defense. With Philippe Coutinho out until the new year, Georginio Wijnaldum could see a more attacking role in midfield, and Divock Origi makes his first start of the league season.
On the other side, Bouremouth brings Jack Wilshere back into the team after being forced out against his parent club Arsenal last time out. Former Liverpool winger Jordon Ibe starts things on the bench, while goalkeeper Artur Boruc returns from injury to start in net, sending Adam Federici back among the substitutes.
Two who won’t be available for the Cherries are Andrew Surman and Charlie Daniels. The former has been sidelined for a month with a hamstring injury and suffered a setback in his recovery, while Daniels has a hip problem and was expected to return for today, but does not appear in the squad.
Bournemouth has not beaten Liverpool in nine all-time league meetings, losing seven and drawing twice. These two teams are trending in opposite directions, with the Reds unbeaten in eleven, but Bournemouth has lost three of four.
Bournemouth: Boruc; Smith, Francis, Cook, Ake; Arter, Gosling; Stanislas, Wilshere, King; Wilson.
Subs: Federici, Mings, B Smith, Frasier, Pugh, Ibe, Afobe.
Liverpool: Karius; Clyne, Lucas, Lovren, Milner; Can, Henderson, Wijnaldum; Origi, Mane, Firmino.
Subs: Mignolet, Lallana, Klavan, Woodburn, Moreno, Alexander-Arnold, Ejaria.
Chelsea remains atop the Premier League after its eighth straight victory, but Liverpool can keep within striking distance with a victory at Bournemouth on Sunday.
Elsewhere, an important top half clash takes place at Goodison Park as Everton hosts Manchester United.
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Bournemouth vs. Liverpool — 8:30 a.m. ET, on NBCSN and NBCSports.com
The Cherries have lost three of their last four matches, and Sunday’s test against Liverpool won’t make their stretch any easier. Eddie Howe‘s side currently sits in 12th place through 13 matches, but with just four points separating Bournemouth from the drop zone the club needs to begin to string together results once more. In their last five fixtures, Bournemouth has managed just three goals, so Callum Wilson and the attack will need to come out of its dry spell against the Reds — who have allowed the third fewest goals in 2016 (14).
Jurgen Klopp and his side haven’t lost in 15 matches across all competitions, and with another win on Sunday Liverpool can remain close to Chelsea at the top of the PL. While the Reds attack often gets much of the recognition, the Liverpool is beginning to hit its stride after allowing just four goals over the last matches in PL play. Meanwhile, the Reds attack will have to make due without Philippe Coutinho, who remains out injured with an ankle injury.
Everton vs. Manchester United — 11 a.m. ET, on NBCSN and NBCSports.com
The Toffees have hit a rough patch after starting 2016 in fine form, but Sunday’s clash will certainly be a critical fixture for Ronald Koeman‘s side if they are to get back into the mix for the top six. Everton hasn’t won in its last three matches, while only scoring one goal in that span. Koeman’s group currently sits eighth in the table but a victory on Sunday would propel the Toffees up to sixth.
Jose Mourinho has already had his shares of ups and downs in his first season at Manchester United, however, the Red Devils have gone unbeaten in their last five matches across all competitions, bringing a more cheery feel around Old Trafford. With the club’s chances of advancing in the Europa League significant, Mourinho and co. can turn their attention back to the PL as the Red Devils attempt to get back into the title chase. United currently sits 14 points off the pace set by Chelsea, a gap that will have to dwindle down before the holidays if the team is to compete for the Premiership.Follow @MattReedFutbol
Tragedy can only describe the event that transpired just days ago, but the soccer world has rallied around Chapecoense in the days that followed.
The Brazilian club’s interim president Ivan Tozzo has confirmed that Chapecoense will be named Copa Sudamericana champions after CONMEBOL officials agreed to the terms.
Chapecoense was set to face Atletico Nacional in the tournament’s finale, however, Atletico called for CONMEBOL to award Chapeco the title and be awarded the prize money.
“CONMEBOL have testified that they will crown Chapecoense as champions of the Copa Sudamericana,” Tozzo told TV Globo.
“In addition, the club will receive the two million dollar prize. Everything is confirmed. I do not know if there will be a ceremony to receive the cup.”
In total, 71 people on the plane carrying most of the Chapeco squad perished in Monday’s crash, including 19 players.
Tozzo said that while the club is understandable still grieving the devastating event that Chapeco has received an overwhelming amount of support in the time of hardship.
“We are receiving support from all federations,” Tozzo said. “The CBF, CONMEBOL, FIFA, and especially the people of Chapeco. Right now we are beginning to rebuild the team. People want football, people love football in Chapeco.
“Therefore, we must continue this. Let’s talk and do well, let the dust settle and rebuild the team for next year. ”Follow @MattReedFutbol