5 great Liverpool-Chelsea clashes

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Liverpool face Chelsea at Anfield on Sunday, in what has been one of the most entertaining, controversial fixtures over the last decade. Here are five of the most memorable Liverpool vs Chelsea matches at Anfield in recent times:-

LIVERPOOL 1-0 CHELSEA- 2005 (Champions League)

Many believe this was the loudest atmosphere Anfield had ever witnessed, as the two sides met in the Champions League semifinal second leg. The first leg had been a tight 0-0 draw, so it was all to play for. Just a few minutes into the game came one of the most controversial moments in recent memory, as Luis Garcia’s bundled effort was judged to have crossed the line by the referee. Anfield went wild, Chelsea’s players were incensed and eventually, after an incredibly tense finale, Liverpool progressed to the final.

LIVERPOOL 1-4 CHELSEA- 2005 (Premier League)

Jose Mourinho’s side visited Anfield early in the 2005/06 season as champions, still smarting from their defeat at the same ground a few months previously. England’s dynamic midfield duo of Frank Lampard and Steven Gerrard exchanged goals before a bit of genius from Didier Drogba set up Damian Duff to give them a half-time lead. The highly impressive visitors then bossed the second half, with further goals from Joe Cole and Geremi, and Chelsea had their revenge.

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LIVERPOOL 1-0 CHELSEA- 2007 (Champions league)

Two years on from their thrilling semifinal, the two sides met again at the same stage. This time a Cole goal had given Chelsea a 1-0 advantage from the first leg, and many fancied them to progress to the Champions League final this time around. Things did not pan out that way, however, and Daniel Agger’s brilliantly worked goal took the game to extra-time and penalties. In the shootout it was Liverpool ‘keeper Pepe Reina who proved to be the hero, saving from Arjen Robben and Geremi. Dirk Kuyt scored the winning kick to send Rafa Benitez’s side through to face Milan in Athens.

LIVERPOOL 2-0 CHELSEA- 2009 (Premier League)

Having led the Premier League title race at Christmas of the 2008/09 season, Liverpool had an awful January. Both sides knew that defeat for one of them would effectively end their title hopes, with Manchester United leading the way. Frank Lampard was sent off in the second half for a foul on Xabi Alonso, and with the game heading for a stalemate Fernando Torres scored two priceless goals in the last few minutes of the game. Anfield went wild, while Chelsea’s title dreams were finished.

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LIVERPOOL 1-3 CHELSEA- 2009 (Champions League)

Yet another Champions League meeting, but this time in a quarterfinal first leg. Torres gave Liverpool a dream start, but from that point on it was all Chelsea, now coached by Guus Hiddink. Defender Branislav Ivanovic showed his threat in the air, scoring two headers either side of the interval to put his side in control. Drogba then put the icing on the cake with a lethal finish to give Chelsea a priceless away win. The epic 4-4 draw in the return leg was enough to see Hiddink’s side progress to the last four…..just.

Gareth Barry’s historic longevity: Incredible stats, top goals

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Gareth Barry is expected to make Premier League history on Monday.

If Barry, 36, appears (he is expected to start) for West Bromwich Albion in their game against Arsenal (Watch live, 3 p.m. ET on NBCSN and online via NBCSports.com) at the Emirates Stadium he will make his 633rd appearance in the PL, breaking Ryan Giggs‘ record.

After making his PL debut in the 1997-98 campaign for Aston Villa, Barry has gone on to play for Manchester City, Everton and now West Brom who he signed for in the summer.

In a recent interview the left-footer said he could go on playing until the age of 40 but he only has a contract through the end of this season at the Hawthorns after turning down a new two-year deal at Everton.

The midfielder, a former England international, won an FA Cup and a Premier League title while at Man City and has played as a left back, center back and in central midfield. Steady, composed and dependable, Barry is the kind of seasoned pro who are worth their weight in gold.

In the video above you can watch Barry’s top five goals in the Premier League, while below are some incredible stats from his near 20-year career in England’s top-flight.

  • Most starts in Premier League history: 600
  • Most minutes played: 52,871
  • Most yellow cards: 119
  • Ranked 10th all-time in wins with 261
  • 17 current PL players were not born when Barry made his Premier League debut on May 3, 1998

Trio of USWNT players stay in locker room for national anthem

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USWNT players Megan Rapinoe, Sydney Leroux and Becky Sauerbrunn were among players from both the Seattle Reign and FC Kansas City who did not appear for the national anthem at a NWSL game on Sunday.

Rapinoe was the first USWNT player to kneel during the national anthem as she joined the protests led by NFL quarterback Colin Kaepernick calling for racial equality and against police brutality.

With several NFL teams on Sunday taking a knee during the anthem and the Pitstburgh Steelers, Tennessee Titans and Seattle Seahawks staying in the locker room during the playing of the Star Spangled Banner, U.S. President Donald Trump has responded angrily to sports teams who decided to kneel during the national anthem.

Here’s more info from Sounder At Heart on SB Nation:

This time Megan Rapinoe is not alone. Several players from both teams joined her, staying in the locker room during the flag and anthem ceremony.

Elli Reed, Megan Rapinoe, Madalyn Schiffel, Lauren Barnes and Diana Matheson from the Reign did not take the field. Former Sounders/Reign player Sydney Leroux was among the FCKC starters who were not out for the ceremonies. Yael Averbuch, Becky Sauerbrunn, and Desiree Scott round out that group. Sauerbrunn is currently the United States captain. Leroux and Rapinoe are both regulars with the USWNT.

With U.S. Soccer bringing in a new bylaw earlier this year which states players must stand for the national anthem, could we see male and female U.S. stars following this option by not going out onto the pitch for the national anthem in upcoming international games?

All eyes will be on USWNT captain Sauerbrunn, plus midfielder Rapinoe and Leroux, during the anthem when Jill Ellis’ side play against South Korea on Oct. 19 and Oct. 22.

The actions of Bruce Arena’s USMNT side will also be heavily scrutinized ahead of their upcoming World Cup qualifiers against Panama and Trinidad & Tobago on Oct. 6 and Oct. 10 respectively.

Valencia coach Marcelino pulls muscle celebrating winner

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MADRID (AP) It was a bittersweet celebration for Valencia coach Marcelino after his team’s winning goal against Real Sociedad in the Spanish league on Sunday.

Marcelino pulled a thigh muscle in his left leg while celebrating Simone Zaza‘s 85th-minute winner at Anoeta Stadium.

Marcelino put his hand on the back of his leg and immediately started limping, visibly in pain.

Television images later showed him wincing in pain on the bench, and he limped every time he went out to the coach’s area to give instructions to his players.

“I’m older, I need to control myself in certain situations,” the 52-year-old Marcelino said, with a smile. “When it’s the coach getting injured, it’s not a problem.”

Valencia won 3-2 to stay unbeaten and move to fourth place in the standings.

Antonio Conte admits he misses Italy, plans to return home

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This is not exactly what Chelsea’s fans will want to hear on a Monday morning after a resounding 4-0 win at Stoke as the Blues moved up to third in the Premier League table.

[ VIDEO: Premier League highlights ]

Antonio Conte, who delivered the Premier League title in his first season in charge of the Blues, and his first season in England, in 2016-17, has been speaking of his desire to return to his homeland.

Conte, 48, spoke to Italian radio station RadioUno about his experience in the Premier League and left the door wide-open for a return to Serie A in the coming months as he admitted he misses Italy.

“I miss it, that’s beyond doubt,” Conte said. “Italy is my homeland, so once I have had some good experiences, formative experiences, important and life-changing experiences, I’ll be back. I don’t know when but that’s the aim.

“It’s always difficult to predict the future. Us managers have the most precarious job of all. Today you’re working, tomorrow you’re out. I want to succeed, to finish one project and make the right decision about the next. This experience has given me so much, has improved me so much, but perhaps in the future I won’t be a manager. Perhaps I’ll work as a director of football. I don’t know.”

Conte has been linked with the managers job at Inter Milan and with comments like this, those links will not go away.

Adding further fuel to the fire was his decision to only signed an improved contract over the summer rather than extending his stay at Stamford Bridge. Conte’s current deal is due to expire at the end of the 2018-19 season.

After a tough summer and a tough start to the season which saw a feud with Diego Costa dominate the talk surrounding Chelsea, a loss to Arsenal in the Community Shield, an opening day defeat at home to Burnley, plus some questionable dealings in the transfer market, the pressure was piling on Conte.

His team have responded with five wins in their next six games in all competitions and are right up there with the early pacesetters in the Premier League.

That said, the fact that Conte was under any pressure whatsoever was a joke considering what he had achieved last season when nobody expected Chelsea to seriously challenge for the title. Therein lies why he could want out when his current deal at Chelsea is up, or maybe even sooner than that.

In situations like this I often think about what Eric Cantona did: leave before anybody else expects you to and you’ll go out, and remain, a hero.