Suarez accepts 10 match ban as his Premiership future hangs by a thread

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Luis Suarez has accepted the FA’s 10-match ban after deciding not to appeal the punishment for biting Chelsea defender Branislav Ivanovic.

Liverpool received the independent panel’s written reasoning for the length of Suarez’ suspension and had until noontime Friday to contest ruling. In deciding against doing so, the 26 year old will now miss the remaining four games of the Premier League season and the first six domestic games of next term, assuming he remains at Anfield.

The FA confirmed Suarez’ decision to accept the ban in a statement: “Liverpool forward Luis Suarez has not appealed the suspension issued to him by an independent regulatory commission this week.

“A three-person independent regulatory commission upheld the FA’s claim that a suspension of three matches was clearly insufficient and the player will now serve a further seven first-team matches in addition to the standard three.

“The suspension begins with immediate effect and applies to Liverpool FC’s next 10 domestic first-team fixtures.

“The FA intends to publicise the independent regulatory commission’s written reasons in due course.”

Liverpool’s managing director, Ian Ayre, and manager, Brendan Rodgers, have both been vociferous in noting their discontent with the FA’s decision and “the differing standards that have been applied across various previous incidents.” Nevertheless, both men claim they respect the FA and accept the decision.

Only time will tell the ultimate implications of Suarez’ ban. The striker is reportedly considering his future in the English game after the regulatory commission’s punishment is said to have left him feeling distraught. Merely one week ago the Uruguayan pledged his loyalty to the Anfield club but the events of past week mean Suarez may now be open to offers from his list of admirers, which includes Bayern Munich, Atlético Madrid and Juventus.

On Friday morning Suarez issued the following statement over Twitter: “I am truly very sorry about the incident with Branislav Ivanovic. I hope that all the people who I have offended at Anfield last Sunday will grant me forgiveness. I know that all the things that are happening to me in England will help me improve my conduct on the field. Right now I just want to focus on becoming a better footballer on and off the field.

“I would like to explain to everybody that I decided to accept the ban because whilst 10 games is clearly greater than those bans given in past cases where players have actually been seriously hurt, I acknowledge that my actions were not acceptable on the football pitch so I do not want to give the wrong impression to people by making an appeal. I really want to learn from what has happened in the last two and a half years, many things have been said and written about me, I just tried to do my best on the field. I hope to come back early to play. Luis Alberto Suarez.”

If Suarez does decide to leave England in the summer, Liverpool could be forced to accept a reduced sum for his services as the biting incident – in addition to his ban for racially abusing Patrice Evra – has left him one of world football’s biggest liabilities. What’s more, Suarez can expect that any club that decides to sign him will be sure to include strict contractual provisions outlining financial ramifications that will result from any future bans or suspensions the player may receive.

Europa League Preview: Everton, Milan look to make group stage

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Everton look to make it back into the Europa League group stage for the first time since the 2014-2015 season and it has a two-goal advantage heading into the second leg of its tie.

Ronald Koeman and co. travel to Croatia to face Hadjuk Split Thursday having won the first leg at Goodison Park, 2-0. Everton is coming off a hard-fought draw on Monday with Manchester City and will be on short rest heading into the match.

Elsewhere in Europa League action, AC Milan take its 6-0 aggregate lead to Skopje, Macedonia as the legendary club looks to return to the group stage of a European competition for the first time since 2013-2014.

Here’s a look at all of Thursday’s Europa League matches, with the current aggregate scores:

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EFL Cup Rewind: Southampton, Newcastle knocked out by Championship sides

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Last season, Southampton made it to the EFL Cup final. This year, it’s a different story.

The Saints were bounced by Wolverhampton Wanderers, 2-0 at home on Wednesday in the second round of the cup. Joining Southampton of Premier League sides going home early was Newcastle, which lost 3-2 after extra time at home against Nottingham Forest.

Four other Premier League sides did advance to the third round, as Stoke City, Huddersfield Town, West Ham United and Burnley all won their fixtures.

Here’s a look at the rest of Wednesday’s EFL Cup action:

Blackburn 0-2 Burnley

Cheltenham 0-2 West Ham

Huddersfield 2-1 Rotherham

Newcastle 2-3 Nottingham Forest

Southampton 0-2 Wolverhampton

Stoke City 4-0 Rochdale

Breaking down who each Premier League team could face in the UCL Group Stage

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The UEFA Champions League group stage lineup is complete, with five Premier League clubs making the list.

On Wednesday, Liverpool joined Chelsea, Tottenham, Manchester City and Manchester United in the group stage after beating Hoffenheim, 6-3 on aggregate in the playoff qualification round.

Thursday’s Champions League draw (2 p.m. ET) will place clubs into groups of four, where they’ll play three matches at home and away.

Here’s a look at the four coefficient pots and who each Premier League club could face:

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Follow Live – Texas Derby, Cascadia Cup headline busy night of MLS action

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Welcome to MLS Rivalry Week.

The surging Houston Dynamo could move to first place in the Western Conference with a win over rivals FC Dallas while the current first-place side, the Seattle Sounders travel north and across the border to face Vancouver Whitecaps FC.

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The Dynamo have made an impressive turnaround under coach Wilmer Cabrera and he’ll have the trio of Ricardo Clark, Alberth Elis and star forward Erick Torres available to face Dallas after missing the Dynamo’s match at Vancouver last weekend, which ended 2-1 in favor of the Whitecaps.

FC Dallas are in its worst form of the season, winless in its last four games, but the team will be extra motivated to beat its rivals.

El Capitan is on the line after draws between FC Dallas and the Dynamo in two matches earlier this season.

Meanwhile up in Vancouver, the Whitecaps host a Sounders squad that pulled out a last-gasp victory last weekend over Minnesota United. While the team is in great form on the road recently (two wins and two draws), the top story heading into the game is the unexpected absence of Joevin Jones, who left the Sounders for his home in Trinidad and Tobago ahead of the upcoming international break.

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On the other side, Fredy Montero faces his former club and carries an interesting record into Wednesday’s match. Of his 35 MLS goals, 11 have been scored against Cascadia Cup competition.

Here’s a look at Wednesday’s action:

Full schedule

Columbus Crew vs. LA Galaxy – 7:30 p.m. ET

D.C. United vs. Atlanta United – 7:30 p.m.ET

FC Dallas vs. Houston Dynamo – 8 p.m. ET

Toronto FC vs. Philadelphia Union – 8 p.m. ET

Real Salt Lake vs. San Jose Earthquakes – 10 p.m. ET

Vancouver Whitecaps vs. Seattle Sounders – 10 p.m. ET

Portland Timbers vs. Colorado Rapids – 10:30 p.m. ET