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.

Honduras holds Costa Rica 1-1

AP Photo/Moises Castillo
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Honduras did the United States a favor by taking a point from visiting Costa Rica in Tuesday’s CONCACAF World Cup qualifier in San Pedro Sula.

Anthony Lozano pushed a 35th minute chance past an indecisive Keylor Navas, as Los Catrachos set the stage for a hopeful three points.

[ STREAM: T&T-Mexico, Panama-USMNT ]

Vancouver Whitecaps center back Kendall Waston’s haphazard defending helped allow the goal, but he scored off a late Costa Rica corner kick to ensure Costa Rica will finish the international break in second place.

With four points, Honduras moves ahead of Trinidad and Tobago and the United States before both sides play Tuesday.

Costa Rica beat the U.S. 4-0 in 2016, while the Yanks battered Honduras 6-0 on Friday.

WATCH: Video Assistant calls back Griezmann goal

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France and Spain used the Video Assistant Referee program on Tuesday in a friendly, and the French likely rue that decision.

Antoine Griezmann had an incorrectly allowed goal reverse for offside, while Gerard Deulofeu saw an initially ruled offside goal allowed upon review in Spain’s 2-0 win over France.

[ MORE: Bolivia stuns Messi-less Argentina ]

Here’s an example, as Griezmann’s barely offside goal was overturned in less than a minute (Both calls took less than a minute to decide):

At the risk of sounding like a caveman, I really don’t like these razor thin offside calls being subject to review.

When you consider the improbability of timing the moment of contact with the ball — how many times have you seen a freeze frame conveniently used to make a case? — it just seems to mess with the spirit of sport.

What do you think?

Bolivia stuns Messi-less Argentina in World Cup qualifying

AP Photo/Victor R. Caivano
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Argentina took steps backward Tuesday in its pursuit of a 2018 World Cup berth, on and off the field.

It started as Lionel Messi was suspended four matches for verbally abusing a referee in Argentina’s Friday win over Chile.

Then La Albiceleste made another move in reverse with a shocking 2-0 loss to Bolivia in La Paz. Argentina started Sergio Aguero, Paulo Dybala, and Ezequiel Lavezzi on the bench in what many presumed to be an easy win.

[ MORE: Three keys for USA v Panama ] 

Juan Carlos Arce and Marcelo Martins scored as ninth-place La Verde picked up its third win of qualifying with a win over powerful Argentina.

The bad news kept coming for Argentina (and Everton), as Ramiro Funes Mori left the match in the 36th minute with injury.

Bolivia will finish the international break at least 10 points back of the playoff spot, while Argentina could finish as low as that fifth-place spot.

STREAM: CONCACAF tripleheader concludes with USMNT

AP Photo/Rebecca Blackwell
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CONCACAF’s bottom three sides in the Hex standings look to make the table incredibly tight as World Cup qualifying finds three-straight matches on the docket beginning at 5 p.m. EDT.

Honduras vs. Costa Rica

Los Catrachos were creamed 6-0 by the U.S. on Friday, and return home hoping a wounded Costa Rica remains vulnerable. Honduras is dead last on goal differential, but three points would be huge and put them level with Los Ticos. Costa Rica won its first two matches before falling to Mexico on Friday.

Trinidad and Tobago vs. Mexico

El Tri has two wins and a draw from their first three Hex matches, and will be without Rafa Marquez on Tuesday. A win guarantees Mexico the top spot heading into the next round of matches in June. The Soca Warriors surprised some with their 1-0 win over visiting Panama on Tuesday. Mexico is a different class.

Panama vs. USMNT

Despite its miserable start, the U.S. can find itself as high as second with a win and help from Honduras. The injuries remain plenty for the Yanks, who are without Fabian Johnson, Bobby Wood, Sebastian Lletget, and John Brooks. Panama has allowed just a single goal through three Hex matches, but also has only managed one.