Everton v Newcastle United - Premier League

Romelu Lukaku: ‘I loved it … from Minute 1, I was focused’

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Everton striker Romelu Lukaku made his home debut on Monday, and he had a hand in all three of his team’s goals in a 3-2 win over Newcastle United. He scored twice and added an assist, all in the first half, leaving a deficit too large for the visitors to overcome in the second half.

After the game, both he and manager Roberto Martínez gave the impression that Lukaku feels at home at Goodison Park, despite only being on loan from Chelsea this season.

“I loved it,” Lukaku said. “I was waiting for it for a long time. My teammates helped me, and I felt at ease. At the warm-up and stuff, they kept talking to me, and from Minute 1, I was focused.”

Martínez said Lukaku has a unique style for a target striker, combining physicality and soccer IQ in a way that made him an attractive option for Everton’s possession-based style.

“He’s powerful, but he’s very knowledgeable,” Martínez said. “For a No. 9 to have that awareness around him technically, he’s very gifted. So that always brings a very strong package.”

It leads to Lukaku attracting attention from opposition defenses, which in turn opens up spaces for teammates to run through. His passing ability was on display on Everton’s second goal against Newcastle, which Ross Barkley finished off Lukaku’s slipped through ball.

Lukaku said the result against Newcastle was particularly important, coming off the back of a 2-1 loss at Fulham in the League Cup nearly a week prior.

“After the defeat of the last game, where we created so many chances, I think we worked hard in training, and we had to confirm the good form we were in,” he said. “We started well. The second half, we missed chances, but we still have to work. The season is still very far [from finished], and I think we can improve on it.”

His manager agreed, adding that while Everton sits in fourth place following Monday’s win, he believes his team has a long way to go before it can be considered a finished product.

“We were disappointed with the first three games,” Martínez said. “I thought we were really dominant, really good, and we should have got more points. It’s a great target, to get into the top four. …

“You could see the potential today. Some of the signs were terrific as a team, and then all the other aspects that we need to work and develop, and we’re looking forward to that.”

Jurgen Klopp coy over links with Liverpool

LONDON, ENGLAND - NOVEMBER 25:  Jurgen Klopp manager of Borussia Dortmund speaks during a Borussia Dortmund press conference, ahead of the UEFA Champions League Group D match against Arsenal, at Emirates Stadium on November 25, 2014 in London, England.  (Photo by Ian Walton/Getty Images)
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Based on all the reports, it seems like a matter of when, not if, Jurgen Klopp will be named the next manager at Liverpool.

The former Borussia Dortmund boss had been heavily linked with the Liverpool job even before Brendan Rodgers was fired, and now that Rodgers is out, Klopp’s name is once again grabbing all the headlines.

While some reports state he could be appointed manager by the end of the week, nothing is official yet as Klopp is still in Germany, unemployed as of today.

[ REPORTS: Nigel Pearson approached by Sunderland ]

Klopp was approached by a reporter from German news outlet Bild in Leverkusen, and was asked about the vacant Liverpool job. While he did not confirm he was in talks with the club, he didn’t deny the links either.

There’s nothing to say. Neither a definite yes nor a definite no. I’m going home now.

It is believed that a deal between the club and the manager is in the works, with a few details still needed to be worked out before anything is made official.

[ MORE: JPW’s Premier League Playback: Rodgers gone, but not forgotten ]

One of the biggest roadblocks in the deal is Liverpool’s use of a transfer committee when buying new players, while Klopp is supposedly keen on having full control over the team’s signings. The club has said no moves are made without the manager’s approval, although it is reported that Rodgers was limited on what players he could bring in, having multiple moves shot down by the committee.

Former Real Madrid boss Carlo Ancelotti is still in the running for the vacant position, but at this time, Klopp is the out-and-out favorite to take over.

Reports: Sunderland reaches out to Nigel Pearson

WEST BROMWICH, ENGLAND - APRIL 11:  Nigel Pearson, manager of Leicester City during the Barclays Premier League match between West Bromwich Albion and Leicester City at The Hawthorns on April 11, 2015 in West Bromwich, England.  (Photo by Michael Regan/Getty Images)
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Sunderland is without a win and without a manager, as the Black Cats are in desperate need of some help.

After manager Dick Advocaat resigned following Sunderland’s 2-2 draw against West Ham, the club has been searching for a replacement to help lead the club off the bottom of the table.

Reports out of England state the North East club has approached former Leicester City boss Nigel Pearson, who has been out of work after being fired over the summer.

[ MORE: Latest Premier League standings ]

Pearson knows what it takes to win with a team in a relegation battle, as he led Leicester to a 14th place finish last season after sitting bottom of the table at Christmas. Still in last place in March, the Foxes won seven of their final nine matches to stay up in the Premier League.

However, Pearson was sacked over the summer after having a fall-out with the Leicester board, and it was well-documented that he had a tumultuous relationship with the club’s owners.

It is being reported that Sunderland’s technical director Lee Congerton approached Pearson about the job, but that club owner Ellis Short would rather bring former West Ham manager Sam Allardyce on board.

[ REPORTS: Liverpool could appoint Jurgen Klopp manager by end of the week ]

When you look at Nigel Pearson, he is a polar opposite of Dick Advocaat. Advocaat came to Sunderland towards the end of his managerial career, with experience winning titles with major clubs throughout Europe. However, he had never managed in the Premier League, and had no experience with a club fighting for survival.

Pearson, on the other hand, is fresh off a relegation battle and his fiery attitude may be what’s needed to turn Sunderland around. While Pearson may not always see eye-to-eye with the media or the board, he is fiercely loyal to his players and is a no-nonsense type-manager.

With the Premier League on an international break, Sunderland has a bit of time to figure things out, but expect Pearson’s name to continue to be linked with the job.