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Updated list of MLS coaching dismissals (plus the ongoing dismissal “watch list”)

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If we lined up every MLS manager, and then asked each one to step forward who remains on the payroll at his current position, surely by this afternoon one of them would be halted, then greeted with …

“Uh, not so fast there, Coach So-and-So!”

We warned you that this would be an MLS off-season of coaching upheaval like no other – and so it has begun. Here is where things stands so far:

MLS managers ALREADY OUT

FC Dallas – Schellas Hydmnan: Out on Oct. 18

His dismissal (and make no mistake, the man didn’t choose to quit on his own) was announced with two matches remaining. Boiling it down: He never got the personnel right in 2013, and remained loyal to a diminished David Ferreira for way too long.

Vancouver Whitecaps – Martin Rennie: Out on Oct. 28

His record in two years fell just below .500, and failing to make the playoffs this year (missed it by two spots in the MLS West standings, in fact) was the final nail. Boiling it down: His personnel choices were all over the place.

Chicago Fire – Frank Klopas: Out on Oct. 29

It was a bit of a house cleaning at Toyota Park; Klopas (pictured above) is out along with president of soccer operations Javier Leon were jettisoned, and more front office axes may soon fall. The club could have kicked Klopas back upstairs to his former role as technical director, his position until moving to the bench in 2011. Boiling it down: Similar to Dallas, too many questionable personnel moves.

(MORE: Top Five American coaching candidates to fill MLS spots)

MLS managers in some kind of GREY AREA

Columbus Crew – Brian Bliss: The interim manager apparently will not be retained. The team has not officially said so, but it seems clear from their impressive wish list of candidates that they want something different. Something splashier, too.

Mark Watson – San Jose Earthquakes: His team’s big push for the post-season will probably be sufficient convince Earthquakes’ leaders to give their interim man a chance in 2014. Word of warning, though: they must quality for next year’s playoffs, or the organization will definitely want a name hire ahead of the new stadium opening in 2015.

MLS managerial employment WATCH LIST

Seattle Sounders – Sigi Schmid: Seems like advancing past tonight’s elimination match is an absolute must. Perhaps even getting into the conference finals will be needed for a club with such big ambition.

(MORE: Previewing the Sounders-Rapids playoff contest)

D.C. United – Ben Olsen: Club leaders have indicated that Olsen will hold onto his job. That’s a tough sell to fans, seeing as the club just became, statistically speaking, the worst team in MLS history. Still, it would be nice to see what Olsen could do with a better roster. Tough to say how much of the awful personnel choices around RFK are his fault.

Philadelphia – John Hackworth: On the plus side, his team has lots of young talent, some of which just wasn’t quite ready this year. On the minus side, that long, slow, late-season fade was tough on the eyes. So is the style around PPL Park.

Toronto FC – Ryan Nelsen: It doesn’t seem fair to the first-year head coach to bring him over, have him manage through high-level organizational changeover and then let him go. But who knows? A record of 6-17-11 and ninth-place finish out of 10 is never going to provide the most stable of footing.

Chivas USA – Jose Luis Real: Seriously, who knows what the Goats erratic ownership will come up with next, strategy-wise?

AFCON wrap: Tunisia joins Senegal in knockout rounds (video)

Tunisia's Wahbi Khazri smiles during a press conference in Libreville, Gabon, Saturday, Jan. 21, 2017, ahead of their African Cup of Nations Group B soccer match against Zimbabwe. (AP Photo/Sunday Alamba)
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Half of the field is set for the 2017 Africa Cup of Nations knockout rounds, as Group B completed his final day of group play on Monday in Gabon.

[ FIFA: World Cup draw date at Kremlin ]

Senegal will move onto play Cameroon on Saturday, while Tunisia will take on Burkina Faso.

Senegal 2-2 Algeria

Leicester City’s Islam Slimani scored twice, but it wasn’t enough to get Algeria into the knockout rounds of AFCON.

Papakouly Diop and Moussa Sow answered Slimani’s goals, and Senegal enforced its hold on the group it had already clinched after two matches.

Algeria needed a win and help, and looked to get it when Riyad Mahrez and Islam Slimani carried over their chemistry from the Foxes of England to the Fennecs of Algeria.

Zimbabwe 2-4 Tunisia

Sunderland’s Wahbi Khazri scored of the fourth of Tunisia’s first half goals as the Eagles of Carthage emphatically clinched their knockout round spot. Tunisia lost in the quarterfinals in 2015.

Lille’s Naïm Sliti was also among the goal scorers for Tunisia, with Youssef Msakni (Lekhwiya) and Taha Yassine Khenissi (Esperance de Tunis) also netting markers.

Tendai Ndoro (Orlando Pirates) and Knowledge Musona (Oostende) scored for Zimbabwe.

Three USMNT players leave camp, two with injuries

Kekuta Manneh chases the ball during practice of the U.S. men's national soccer team Wednesday, Jan. 11, 2017, in Carson, Calif. Manneh has become a U.S. citizen, moving the Vancouver Whitecaps forward closer to eligibility for the men's national team. U.S. Soccer announced Manneh received his citizenship Wednesday, after the opening practice of January training camp under new coach Bruce Arena. (AP Photo/Jae C. Hong)
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Less than a week from Bruce Arena’s second debut as USMNT boss, we know three players who won’t be in the Starting XI.

Injuries have felled FC Dallas duo Kellyn Acosta and Matt Hedges, while Vancouver attacker Kekuta Manneh is leaving the squad to join his ‘Caps teammates for preseason in Wales.

[ MORE: JPW’s Premier League Playback ]

Acosta has a mild left ankle sprain and Hedges has a mild right knee sprain.

While Manneh may have been a long shot to see significant playing time on Sunday against Serbia or Feb. 4 versus Jamaica, Hedges had a chance to start at center back and Acosta has been capped before as well.

FIFA going to Kremlin for World Cup draw in December

SAINT PETERSBURG, RUSSIA - JULY 25:  Vladimir Putin, President of Russia speaks as FIFA President Joseph S. Blatter looks on during the Preliminary Draw of the 2018 FIFA World Cup in Russia at The Konstantin Palace on July 25, 2015 in Saint Petersburg, Russia.  (Photo by Shaun Botterill/Getty Images)
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ZURICH (AP) FIFA says it will stage the 2018 World Cup draw on Dec. 1 at a Kremlin concert hall in Moscow.

Russian President Vladimir Putin has been allowing FIFA to use high-profile venues for World Cup ceremonies.

In July 2015, the qualifying program draw was made on the grounds of one of Putin’s official residences, Konstantin Palace near St. Petersburg. The summer was home built at the direction of Peter the Great.

The World Cup in Russia kicks off on June 14 at Luzhniki Stadium in the Russian capital, and returns there for the final on July 15.

Jurgen Klopp discusses Liverpool’s title chances

LIVERPOOL, ENGLAND - JANUARY 21: Jurgen Klopp, Manager of Liverpool reacts during the Premier League match between Liverpool and Swansea City at Anfield on January 21, 2017 in Liverpool, England.  (Photo by Julian Finney/Getty Images)
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It was a disappointing weekend for Liverpool boss Jurgen Klopp.

[ MORE: New odds for title contenders ]

The German coach watched on as his side lost 3-2 to Swansea City on Saturday in the Premier League and the Reds fell 10 points behind leaders Chelsea with 16 games to go.

Klopp’s men have only won once in six outings in all competitions in January, and ahead of their EFL Cup semifinal second leg against Southampton at Anfield (they trail 1-0 from the first leg) he was asked if they still have hope of overhauling Chelsea and winning the Premier League.

Speaking to the media, Klopp revealed that his team are good enough to at least be in the top four battle.

“We fight in each game, that’s maybe the most important thing. Then we have to see what happens around,” Klopp said. “Of course, in cup competitions the target is to win the competition. In the Premier League, it’s probably the same but it’s not that easy to plan or whatever. In this case, if Chelsea win all their games – which they pretty much do – there is no chance for any other team. For us, it’s still absolutely important to finish the season as well as possible – whatever that means. We’ll see after the season.

“You can imagine we have the quality to fight for the Champions League, that’s what we should do. If we do this and we are then close enough in the decisive moment of the season, you can still fight for a little bit more. But in this moment, it’s nothing we have to think about or we should think about. We now have two games and then we play Chelsea, so that’s when I’ll think about Chelsea but not how we can get them or whatever. We fight for everything we are able to, that’s all.”

He’s right. Liverpool finishing in the top four this season would be a great achievement at this stage of his project.

Perhaps more worrying for Klopp is that his side may now capitulate and finish outside of the top four for a second-straight season.

There’s no doubting that Liverpool have exceeded the expectations of most people so far in 2016-17 but Klopp’s men faded badly last season to finish in eighth place and with no wins in their last three games in the Premier League the pressure is on.

Without leading scorer Sadio Mane, who is away at the Africa Cup of Nations with Senegal, they’ve struggled to break opponents down and their defensive issues came to the fore against Swansea with sloppy mistakes costing them dear.

No team in the top seven has conceded more than Liverpool and with the Reds in fourth place and just four points ahead of sixth-place Manchester United and two points ahead of Manchester City who sit in fifth, all of a sudden they are looking over their shoulders instead of up at Chelsea.

Liverpool has lost momentum.

Boy do they need a big win in the EFL Cup against Southampton on Wednesday to regain some confidence and take that into their next PL clash, which just so happens to be against Chelsea at Anfield on Jan. 31.

Whatever he says publicly, Klopp must know that Liverpool cannot afford to lose to Chelsea. If they do and fall 13 points behind the Blues, the Kop can kiss goodbye to their title hopes for another season.