Rio Ferdinand encourages United to raise their game, irony ensues

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Rio Ferdinand has issued a rallying cry for Manchester United to raise their game and win all their remaining matches at Old Trafford.

“We have to win every game,” Ferdinand said. “It doesn’t matter what game it is or whoever we play against. Whether it’s a top of the league team or not, we have to get points. Nothing changes – we expect to win every game we play at home.”

Of the five league matches the Red Devils have played at Old Trafford this season, they’ve won only two, defeating bottom-dwellers Crystal Palace 2-0 and coming from behind (twice) to defeat 17th place Stoke City. Not exactly a convincing set of victories to rely on ahead of Sunday’s clash against 1st place Arsenal.

“The onus is on us,” Ferdinand continued. “We’ve had a few bad results at Old Trafford this season already and we can’t continue like that. People say we have to win this weekend against Arsenal, but it doesn’t matter whether it is Cardiff or Swansea or whoever it is, we have to win.”

Ferdinand deserves praise for trying to motivate a seemingly depressed side. A major talent in his day, the former England international has fallen off the rails this season as age and a lack of speed appear to be catching up with him. Since being left in the dust against Manchester City and West Bromwich Albion, Ferdinand has been absent from United’s lineup, recovering from a series of niggly injuries.

The time off has allowed Jonny Evans and Nemanja Vidic to form a partnership but with the former now out with a back injury, Ferdinand could return this Sunday against Arsenal. If David Moyes does name Ferdinand to his starting squad, the focus will no doubt turn to whether the 35-year-old can raise his own game and prove that he still has something left in the tank.

Ten games into the season United’s defense has conceded 13 goals, tied for 6th worse in the league with new-boys Cardiff City.

EURO 2016: Ireland shock Germany, Northern Ireland qualify

Shane Long, Ireland
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A recap of Thursday’s action in 2016 European Championship qualifying:

Ireland 1-0 Germany

Southampton striker Shane Long scored the goal that knocked off the defending world champions and pushed Ireland one step closer to next summer’s European Championship in France. Long, who entered the game in the 65th minute, latched onto Darren Randolph‘s ball over the top in the 70th minute, took one touch to settle and fired for the far post, beating Manuel Neuer for the game’s only goal.

With one game still to play, Ireland (18 points) sit third in Group D, level on points with Sunday’s opponent Poland. While the winner of Sunday’s clash could leapfrog Germany (19), they will more likely finish second in the group and qualify automatically. A draw on Sunday could still see both sides qualify automatically through the ranking of third-place finishers (the top third-place finishers from group play earns an automatic berth at EURO 2016).

Northern Ireland 3-1 Greece

Norther Ireland (20 points) topped Greece (3), 3-1 on Thursday to officially book their place at EURO 2016. Steven Davis scored twice and Josh Magennis added the third for Michael O’Neill’s side.

With one game still to play (Sunday, at Finland), Northern Ireland can finish no lower than second. A draw against Finland, or any points dropped by Romania (17) would see Northern Ireland finish top of Group F.

Portugal 1-0 Denmark

Joao Moutinho scored the only goal of the game to secure Portugal’s (18 points from just seven games) place at next summer’s tournament. The defeat sees Denmark remain second in Group I, a point ahead of third-place Albania, who lost to Serbia on Thursday. Having played all eight of their group games, Denmark can go no higher than 12 points, meaning they would fail to qualify if Albania beat Armenia on Sunday. A draw between Albania and Armenia would see Denmark qualify based on tiebreakers.

Elsewhere in EURO 2016 qualifying action

Group D

Scotland 2-2 Poland
Georgia 4-0 Gibraltar

Group F

Hungary 2-1 Faroe Islands
Romania 1-1 Finland

Group I

Albania 0-2 Serbia

Jurgen Klopp announced as new Liverpool manager

Jurgen Klopp, Liverpool FC
Liverpool Football Club/Getty Images
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Enough with the speculation and reports already, because it’s finally officially official: Jurgen Klopp has been appointed the newest manager of Liverpool Football Club, the Merseyside club announced on Thursday.

[ FOLLOW: All of PST’s PL coverage ]

Klopp will be unveiled to the world at an introductory press conference at Anfield on Friday.

According to early reports, Klopp’s three-year contract could pay him as much as $10 million per season.

[ QUOTE KING: Top 10 “Klopp-isms” from his time at Dortmund ]

The 48-year-old German has been out of work since stepping down at Bundesliga side Borussia Dortmund following a seventh-place finish to the 2014-15 season. Klopp’s seven seasons in charge of Dortmund weren’t without success and silverware, though, as he led Der BVB to back-to-back league titles in 2011 and 2012, a German Cup triumph in 2012 and a UEFA Champions League final appearance in 2013.

PST’s Joe Prince-Wright will be at Anfield on Friday for Klopp’s unveiling, so be sure to follow JPW on Twitter and check back to PST for wall-to-wall coverage of Klopp’s first press conference as Liverpool manager.