Costa of Atletico Madrid fights for the ball with Avila of Sporting Cristal during their Euroamericana cup soccer match in Lima

Liverpool lodge $32 milion bid for Diego Costa?

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Drum up those Luis Suarez speculations, there’s been an indirect yet significant development.

It would seem that manager Brendan Rodgers is picking his targets carefully, since Anfield hasn’t exactly been at the forefront of many transfer rumors outside of Suarez this summer.

It also would seem he has found someone he really, really likes.

The Guardian (and many others) are reporting that Liverpool have submitted a €25 million ($32.5 million) bid for Atletico Madrid striker Diego Costa.

With Luis Suarez very possibly on the way out as his transfer saga continues, Costa would represent a hand-picked and very capable replacement.

Rodgers has been coerced by the media to give the public a lot of information (I use that word with extreme caution) about the situation surrounding Suarez, although not all of it is entirely…well…believable. Rodgers’ claim that Suarez is “happy” at Anfield could behind the scenes be fueling some movement.

The swoop for Costa would work very well for both parties, it would seem.  Liverpool would obviously gain leverage on Suarez and a replacement for if he were in fact to depart, and a talented one at that.

For Costa, the move would make him the leading number 9 at Liverpool – at least given the amount bid for his services – and would represent a chance for him to firmly remove himself from Radamel Falcao’s shadow.  Primarily a winger at Atletico, Costa is certainly capable of playing up front.  Costa’s had to play second-fiddle to Falcao since his move to Atletico in 2010, even being forced out on loan to Rayo Vallecano for half of the 2011/12 season.

While Liverpool aren’t exactly the biggest stage in England anymore, they certainly represent an opportunity for Costa to really step into the spotlight on his own.

The 24-year-old scored 10 La Liga goals and assisted 12 others last season in 31 appearances (24 starts), and banged in 20 total in all competitions mostly playing on the left wing.  Falcao’s departure for Monaco seemed to have opened up the front for Costa to slide into, but Atletico purchased David Villa from Barcelona, so that door quickly shut.

The biggest knock to Costa’s talents is his discipline, but a chance of scenery could quell that part of his game.

It remains to be seen whether Costa’s arrival would see him slide up front if Suarez goes, or if new boy Iago Aspas would take the number 9 role, but the chance for the Brazilian is there.  The Reds have also purchased left winger Luis Alberto from Sevilla, so Costa would certainly have competition at either position.

UPDATE: According to Spanish outfit AS, Atletico refute the claims of a bid and say Costa is not for sale. Something to keep an eye on.

Pep Guardiola: “Maybe I’m not good enough”

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Pep Guardiola has admitted he “may not be good enough” for his players at Manchester City.

Ahead of City’s clash against Tottenham Hotspur on Saturday (Watch live, 12:30 p.m. ET on NBC and online via NBCSports.com) Guardiola has been defended his squad after severe criticism from the media.

[ VIDEO: Premier League highlights

City were hammered 4-0 at Everton last weekend, their worst league defeat since 2008 and Guardiola’s worst-ever league defeat as a manager.

With plenty pointing the finger of blame at goalkeeper Claudio Bravo and City’s defense, their manager put himself in the firing line.

“They are good players. I have respect for the guys, so why would I say the guys are not good? So I don’t understand the lack of respect for the professionals when they have been amazing players, and [people saying] they are not good enough for me. Maybe I am not good enough for them,” Guardiola said. “They are Manchester City players, top players. They have a lot of quality. They have shown that many times in the past and this season.”

Mind games.

Guardiola, 46, is no doubt facing the biggest challenge of his season as City look to at least seal a top four spot in this his debut season in England. The former Barcelona and Bayern Munich manager has already “said goodbye to the title” and if they lose against red-hot Tottenham at the Etihad Stadium then more questions will be asked of his tactics and if they can work in the Premier League.

So far the possession-based slow build up style has been hot and cold for City, with plenty of counter-attacking teams in the PL (Chelsea, Spurs, Everton, Leicester etc.) having a field day against a shaky defense.

Despite being 10 points off the pace, Guardiola is sticking by his philosophy. One thing really sticks out to me from his first few press conferences in England: “We will see if my style of play can work in the Premier League.”

So far, it’s not.

Watch Live: Liverpool vs. Swansea City (Lineups, Stream)

SWANSEA, WALES - MARCH 16:  Kyle Naughton of Swansea City is closed down by Philippe Coutinho of Liverpool during the Barclays Premier League match between Swansea City and Liverpool at Liberty Stadium on March 16, 2015 in Swansea, Wales.  (Photo by Mike Hewitt/Getty Images)
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Liverpool host Swansea City to Anfield on Saturday (Watch live, 7:30 a.m. ET on NBCSN and online via NBCSports.com) with the Reds aiming to stretch their unbeaten run at home in the Premier League to 18 games.

WATCH LIVE ONLINE HERE

Jurgen Klopp is a little concerned with the number of games his team have had to play over the past few weeks, but a victory against the struggling Swans would momentarily move his side just four points behind leaders Chelsea who play on Sunday.

As for Swansea, new manager Paul Clement knows a win would take his team out of the relegation zone and with new signings arriving that would be a massive boost. It would also be a massive ask for the Welsh side to get anything at Anfield but this may be a good time to play Liveprool after their midweek trip to Plymouth in the FA Cup and the EFL Cup semifinal second leg against Southampton coming up on Wednesday.

In team news Liverpool start with Philippe Coutinho once again, while Joel Matip is on the bench after the Reds finally settled the dispute with Cameroon. Swansea hand debuts to new signings Martin Olsson and Tom Carroll.

LINEUPS

Liverpool: Mignolet; Clyne, Lovren, Klavan, Milner; Can, Henderson, Wijnaldum; Lallana, Coutinho, Firmino. Subs: Karius, Sturridge, Moreno, Lucas, Origi, Matip, Woodburn

Swansea City: Fabianski; Olsson, Mawson, Fernandez, Naughton; Cork, Carroll, Fer; Sigurdsson, Llorente, Routledge. Subs: Nordfeldt, Rangel, Amat, Fulton, Dyer, Borja, McBurnie

Viktoria Plzen set to sign midfielder Andreas Ivanschitz

Obafemi Martins, Oniel Fisher, Andreas Ivanschitz
Darryl Dyck/The Canadian Press via AP)
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PRAGUE (AP) Czech champion Viktoria Plzen is close to signing Austrian midfielder Andreas Ivanschitz.

Plzen says Ivanschitz agreed terms for a contract lasting 1 + seasons and will sign it when the team returns from a training camp in Spain. Ivanschitz has already joined the squad at the Oliva Nova resort, the club says.

Ivanschitz helped the Seattle Sounders win their first MLS Cup in December.

[ NEW HOMES: Fonte | Berahino ]

No financial details were given.

The 33-year-old Ivanschitz also played for Rapid Vienna and Red Bull Salzburg in Austria, Mainz in the Bundesliga, Levante in Spain and Panathinaikos in Athens.

Ivanschitz played 69 games for Austria in 2003-14, scoring 12 goals.

FIFA allows Matip to represent Liverpool during AFCON

LONDON, ENGLAND - OCTOBER 29: Joel Matip of Liverpool heads to score his team's third goal during the Premier League match between Crystal Palace and Liverpool at Selhurst Park on October 29, 2016 in London, England.  (Photo by Christopher Lee/Getty Images)
Photo by Christopher Lee/Getty Images
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Joel Matip is going to get to play for Liverpool during AFCON after all.

The center back had turned down the chance to represent Cameroon at the Africa Cup of Nations, and Liverpool was forced to apply to FIFA for a waiver.

[ PL PREVIEW: Swansea vs. Liverpool ]

Matip suffered an ankle injury in December, adding to his desire to stay at Anfield. He declared himself internationally retired and was one of six Cameroon players who refused call-ups for AFCON.

He last played for the Reds on Dec. 11, and can be selected by Jurgen Klopp against Swansea City on Saturday.