Steven Gerrard

Liverpool players rolling the dice before Merseyside derby

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The extraordinary international efforts of Luis Suarez, Daniel Sturridge and Steven Gerrard are raising question marks around Liverpool ahead of this weekend’s rivalry match with Everton.

The match, set to kick-off on Saturday at 7:45am ET on NBCSN and NBC Live Extra, will be the 221st meeting between the two clubs and is one that Liverpool has dominated in the modern era.

Since the formation of the Premier League in 1992, Liverpool has won 18 of the 42 league encounters, drawn 15 and lost only nine. Perhaps more poignant, Everton has only taken three points off their neighbors once in the last 13 league meetings (a 2-0 victory on October 17, 2010).

And while the majority of both sides remain away on international duty, the commitments and decisions of Suarez, Sturridge and Gerrard are creating an uneasy feeling among Kopites.

Suarez, who is on duty with Uruguay, plays at home to Jordan on Wednesday evening, one day later than most international sides. The tight schedule means the striker will hop a plane on Thursday and make the trip from Montevideo to London, a flight that takes over 13 hours. At the earliest that means Suarez will be back in Liverpool by late Thursday night, giving him 24 hours to get acclimated and have a quick training session ahead of Saturday’s kick-off.

It’s a turn-around that Brendan Rodgers won’t be happy with but fortunately, Uruguay won the first leg of the two legged clash with Jordan 5-0, meaning it’s unlikely the striker will need to go the full 90.

While Suarez’ situation is a minor concern that of Sturridge and Gerrard deserves greater weight.

Both players were unable to go in England’s 0-2 loss to Chile last Friday, Sturridge due to a thigh injury and Gerrard due to an ongoing hip issue. But both have pushed to get themselves healthy – with Gerrard going so far as to receive pain killing injections – and are currently set to start against Germany.

It’s a decision that boggles the mind. Granted, Germany is a long-time rival of England so both Sturridge and Gerrard will naturally be motivated to play but it’s just a friendly. The match means nothing. Perhaps if either player was not guaranteed a spot on the England squad going to Brazil you could understand the urgency. But that’s clearly not the case.

Making matters even more odd is the fact that Germany coach Joachim Low has already noted his intent to play fringe players as he seeks to solidify his squad for World Cup 2014. Notably, Lowe has already sent home Manuel Neuer, Phillip Lahm and Mesut Ozil not because they are injured but merely because they needed rest.

So what’s the point in risking the health of Sturridge and Gerrard in this game?

It’s a question many a Liverpool supporter may be asking himself ahead of Saturday’s matchup.

Report: Man United offer job to Mourinho but there’s a catch

Chelsea's manager Jose Mourinho, center left, makes his way from the opposition dugout after greeting Manchester United manager Louis van Gaal, centre right, during their English Premier League soccer match between Manchester United and Chelsea at Old Trafford Stadium, Manchester, England, Sunday Oct. 26, 2014. (AP Photo/Jon Super)
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Manchester United want Jose Mourinho to become their new manager.

But hold your horses, Jose. You will have to wait a while.

[ MORE: Leicester news after PL win ] 

With Louis Van Gaal‘s current contract as United’s boss running out in the summer of 2017, it is believed that executive vice chairman Ed Woodward has been sounding out Mourinho’s camp for quite some time.

Mourinho, 53, has been without a job since he was fired by Chelsea last December following a disastrous start to the Premier League campaign which saw the reigning champs lingering above the relegation zone

Journalist Duncan Castles is well known as being close to Mourinho’s camp and he reported the following late on Wednesday:

Numerous other reports are stating similar things and it is believed Mourinho isn’t happy about been asked to wait another year. Previously he’s stated he will be in a new job this July.

Mourinho is also said to have held talks with United recently and has concerns about their transfer policy and the structures in place at Old Trafford.

With Van Gaal, 64, currently steering United to fifth place and within four points of Manchester City and having a game in hand, if he manages to finish in fourth and also win the FA Cup — they play Crystal Palace in the final at Wembley on May 21 — then he could well remain at Old Trafford for another year. He’s told journalists recently that he will be back for another season and as far as he’s concerned he will honor his contract.

However if United fail to finish in the top four and qualify for the UEFA Champions League it would be a huge shock to not see Mourinho replace his old mentor, LVG, this summer.

If these antics — asking Mourinho to wait around for another year — from Woodward and United’s board are true, then it could scupper their chances of getting the “Special One” to take charge altogether.

It’s a delicate, tricky situation and after nearly six months of speculation we don’t seem any closer to seeing Mourinho taking over the Red Devils.

Bayern’s Vidal says “ugly” Atletico not deserved UCL finalists

MADRID, SPAIN - APRIL 27: Juanfran of Atletico Madrid and Arturo Vidal of Bayern Munich argue during the UEFA Champions League semi final first leg match between Club Atletico de Madrid and FC Bayern Muenchen at Vincente Calderon on April 27, 2016 in Madrid, Spain.  (Photo by Gonzalo Arroyo Moreno/Getty Images)
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Bayern Munich midfielder Arturo Vidal has declared “ugly” Atletico Madrid unworthy finalists in the UEFA Champions League.

Bayern was eliminated in the Champions League semifinal by Atleti on Tuesday, with Diego Simeone’s Spanish side advancing on away goals.

[ FOLLOW: All of PST’s UCL coverage ]

However, Vidal believed Bayern were the better team in the second leg, saying Atletico played “ugly football” to get through.

Today ugly football – Atletico – played against the best football in the world. The only time they saw the ball was for the goal.

They are going to be dreaming about us right up to the final. They did not have the ball, they took on the best team in the world, they took their chances and got to the final.

The best does not always win in football, like today. They are not deserved finalists.

Bayern Munich controlled more than 70-percent of possession and had 33 shots compared to Atletico’s nine, but those stats mean little as Antoine Griezmann’s away goal was enough to send Atleti to the final.

[ MORE: Former England striker Joe Cole headed to NASL’s Tampa Bay Rowdies ]

Atletico may not play the most attractive football, but after eliminating Barcelona and Bayern Munich in consecutive legs, it’s hard to argue anyone deserves this more than Simeone’s men.

Europa League preview: Liverpool, Shakhtar look to overcome Spanish foes

VILLARREAL, SPAIN - APRIL 28:  Cedric Bakambu of Villarreal is watched by the Liverpool defence during the UEFA Europa League semi final first leg match between Villarreal CF and Liverpool at Estadio El Madrigal on April 28, 2016 in Villarreal, Spain.  (Photo by David Ramos/Getty Images)
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The second leg of the Europa League semifinals kick off tomorrow, with two La Liga sides looking to make it an all-Spanish final.

[ MORE: Premier League Playback ]

Villarreal holds a 1-0 lead over Liverpool, while Sevilla scored two away goals in their 2-2 draw at Shakhtar Donetsk.

Liverpool vs. Villarreal – 3:05 p.m. ET
Villarreal won first leg 1-0

Adrian Lopez’s late winner in the first leg has given Villarreal a slight lead, while the Spanish side did well not to concede an away goal. However, Liverpool have overcome deficits at Anfield before, including their memorable 4-3 victory over Borussia Dortmund in the quarterfinals. Emre Can is back fit for the Reds, as manager Jurgen Klopp will hope his fellow German can help the team to a cup final in his first year in charge.

[ RELATED: Liverpool preparing for another big Thursday night at Anfield ]

Sevilla vs. Shakhtar Donetsk – 3:05 p.m. ET
First leg ended 2-2 draw 

Sevilla are looking to become the first team to win three consecutive Europa League titles as the two-time defending champions face off against Shakhtar Donetsk. Sevilla are in the driver’s seat after scoring two away goals in Ukraine, and will feel confident of advancing to the final with a great home record at the Ramon Sanchez Pizjuan Stadium.

Men in Blazers podcast: Celebrating Leicester’s title with Arlo White

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In the latest Men in Blazers podcast, Rog and Davo celebrate Leicester City’s improbable Premier League title with Leicester’s own Arlo White.

All of the MiB content — pods, videos and stories can be seen here, but to really stay in touch, follow, subscribe, click here:

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