Melbourne Victory v Liverpool

Luis Suárez to talk with Arsenal, despite Liverpool rejecting bid

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Luis Suarez will hold talks with Liverpool’s Premier League rivals Arsenal… but Liverpool have no intention of selling their star striker.

The Reds are holding out for a transfer fee in excess of $75 million, after Arsenal allegedly triggered a clause in Suárez’ contract by offering just £1 pound over the £40 million fee needed for them to speak to the Uruguayan international.

Clever boy Arsene Wenger, very clever indeed.

Apparently the cheeky offer from the Gunners meant Suárez had to be notified of the bid and he now wants to hear what Arsenal can offer him.

However, the transfer fee remains the main stumbling block as Liverpool aren’t budging over their valuation of Suárez.

Is he really worth $75 million. In a word: yes.

Suárez’s talents on the field are undoubted and Arsenal certainly need a game-changer, which is something they’ve been severely lacking since Robin van Persie departed last summer. The 26-year-old Uruguayan has scored 51  goals in 96 since joining Liverpool, has 31 goals in 62 games for Uruguay and scored 49 goals in 48 games at Ajax before joining the Reds.

But don’t expect Arsenal to pay $75 million, perhaps a compromise of $65 million could be agreed.

His record as a poacher in and around the box is sensational. Just this morning we got to see that first-hand, as Suárez played his part in Liverpool’s second goal against the Melbourne Victory in Australia. A delightful jinxing run and cross set up Iago Aspas for a tap in. Will we see that in Arsenal colors next season?

(MORE: John W Henry slams Arsenal’s new Suárez bid via Twitter)

Not if Liverpool’s owner John W Henry has anything to do with it. The American businessmen lashed out at Arsenal’s Suárez bid via Twitter this morning, saying “What do you think they’re smoking over there at Emirates?”

Unimpressed with Arsenal’s tactics would sum it Henry’s mindset, that’s putting it mildly. Welcome to the cut and thrust of the Premier League, John. No mercy is shown when it comes to trying to snatch away top talent from your rivals.

But has Arsenal’s cheeky bid actually done them any good at all? The chances are that Liverpool certainly don’t want to do business with them now, and if they do they’ll rise the price up considerably.

An initial smart move by Arsenal may have backfired spectacularly. But the fact that Suárez wants to talk to them about leaving Anfield leaves Liverpool in an impossible situation.

Once and for all, it is time for Suárez to move on. Arsenal, Real Madrid, Chelsea…whoever, just get this over with.

Chelsea: Conte expects warm reception for Mourinho; Terry is fit

LONDON, ENGLAND - DECEMBER 26:  A fan wears a Chelsea scarf with the image of the club's former manager, Jose Mourinho before the Barclays Premier League match between Chelsea and Watford at Stamford Bridge on December 26, 2015 in London, England.  (Photo by Richard Heathcote/Getty Images)
Photo by Richard Heathcote/Getty Images
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The managers are meeting the media ahead of this week’s Premier League matches, and many eyes are trained on one specific match-up.

Chelsea and Manchester United meet on Sunday, the first time Jose Mourinho will manage against his old side since his unceremonious exit last winger.

[ USWNT: Holiday has tumor removed ]

Mourinho, of course, led Chelsea to the 2014-15 title only to see a miserable start to the following campaign. He was hired at Manchester United this summer, but Conte thinks Mourinho’s Chelsea laurels have earned him some love from Stamford Bridge.

“I have great respect for Mourinho. He deserves a good reception. He was an important man for Chelsea and wrote part of the club’s story.”

Conte also touched on Paul Pogba‘s decision to head back to Old Trafford. The manager guided the French midfielder during their time at Juventus.

“It was Paul Pogba’s dream was to return to Manchester United. I wish him well, but only after this game.”

Conte said John Terry is available to return for Chelsea, and that could be invaluable against a big, strong forward like United’s Zlatan Ibrahimovic. With the Red Devils having played Thursday, Conte will like his chances a bit more than usual.

Canada vs. U.S. among top-notch CONCACAF Champions League quarterfinals

VANCOUVER, CANADA - JUNE 20:  Gershon Koffie #28 of the Vancouver Whitecaps brings the ball up field against Dax McCarty #11 of the New York Red Bulls at B.C. Place on June 20, 2012 in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada. (Photo by Jessica Haydahl/Getty Images)
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The bracket is set for the CONCACAF Champions League quarterfinals, and ensures that at least one MLS vs. Liga MX semifinal will happen next Spring.

No. 1 seed New York Red Bulls will cross the continent to meet No. 8 Vancouver Whitecaps, with the winner moving on to face the victor of Mexico’s Tigres UANL vs. Pumas UNAM.

[ VIDEO: Previewing all 10 PL matches ]

The possibility of an all-Liga MX or all-MLS final still exists, with Pachuca and FC Dallas on opposite sides of the bracket. Arabe Unido gives Panama hope for its first CCL semifinalist, while Saprissa can be Costa Rica’s first semifinalist since 2011.

Of the remaining teams, only Pachuca has won a title in the CCL era (2008-present). Tigres lost in the 2016 final, the only other team to make it that far.

Full schedule
New York Red Bulls (1) vs. Vancouver Whitecaps (8)
Tigres UANL (4) vs. Pumas UNAM (5)
Arabe Unido (2) vs. FC Dallas (7)
Pachuca (3) vs. Saprissa (4)

The first legs will be played in late February, and the bright side to the intra-league quarters will be one MLS side waiting a round before facing a more in-form club playing a traditional season schedule (though that’s an overblown excuse at this point).

Some fans don’t care much for the tournament, while others — myself included — are extremely keen to see an MLS team win the CCL and represent North America in the Club World Cup, where it can get a high profile litmus test in a serious competition (Real Madrid beat Cruz Azul 4-0 in a 2014 semifinal).

Report: USWNT star Holiday has brain tumor removed

Costa Rica v United Staes: Final - 2014 CONCACAF Women's Championship
Photo by Mitchell Leff/Getty Images)
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World Cup champion Lauren Holiday has had a brain tumor removed, one month after giving birth.

Holiday’s husband, Jrue Holiday of the New Orleans Pelicans, announced that his pregnant wife was diagnosed with an operable tumor in September, and Lauren Holiday has publicly thanked fans for support while requesting prayers.

[ MORE: UCL Final in United States? ]

The Holidays welcomed their first child earlier this month, and Jrue left the Pelicans preseason to help his wife.

The BBC added this tidbit:

Unbelievably as a three-year-old, she had open-heart surgery to repair a defect and went on to become one of the world’s most respected football players.

Get well soon, Lauren.

WATCH: FC Dallas rocket goal sends Guatemalan rainwater flying off net

TORONTO, ON - MAY 07:  Carlos Lizarazo #22 of FC Dallas looks on during the second half of an MLS soccer game against Toronto FC at BMO Field on May 7, 2016 in Toronto, Ontario, Canada.  (Photo by Vaughn Ridley/Getty Images)
Photo by Vaughn Ridley/Getty Images
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Carlos Lizarazo’s ridiculous rocket shook rain off the net in an aesthetically pleasing CONCACAF Champions League goal on Thursday.

The Cruz Azul loanee struck a vicious shot for FC Dallas’ fifth goal, which boosted out of the No. 8 seed for the quarterfinals after a 5-2 win at Suchitepéquez in Guatemala.

[ MORE: PST talks with FCD’s Hedges, Zimmerman ]

Lizarazo, 25, had two goals in 10 appearances for FCD heading into the game, with both coming in the Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup.