Luis Suarez has been in terrific form this campaign, scoring sensational goals and plenty of them. Can he lead Liverpool to success in Europe?

Liverpool 5-1 Norwich: Luis Suárez loves scoring against the Canaries (video)

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Liverpool had this match done and dusted by the fifteenth minute, but Luis Suárez decided to keep heaping misery on poor Norwich all the same. By the 35th minute, the Reds forward had scored a hat trick, his third in as many seasons against the Canaries. In the second half, he added to his tally, picking up yet another goal and notching an assist. The trampled Norwich slide down into 16th, just a point above the drop.

Although the second goal from Suárez wasn’t the sort that drew gasps of astonishment from the crowd, the first and third were absolute beauties. The first goal from the Uruguayan came from a header by Steven Gerrard, which escaped a Norwich player to bounce in front of Suárez. He caught the bounce and smashed his shot in from about 35 yards, sending it looping through the air, over John Ruddy and into the top corner of the net.

The third goal was also pretty fantastic. Picking up a ball from Raheem Sterling, Suárez juggled it on his thigh, flipped it over the head of a hapless Norwich defender, and let his shot rip, this time from about 25 yards out. Ruddy was again unable to do a thing, with the ball flying into the bottom right corner.

Norwich looked utterly defeated by the time Suárez was through, but Chris Hughton’s halftime talk must’ve revived them just a little. Just after the restart Sebastien Bassong went close with a header, but put it just a bit high. Efforts rather petered out after that, and despite Hughton’s attempt to liven things up with his substitutions, it was Liverpool that were coming the closest, with Ryan Bennett forced to clear a Gerrard header. Then Suárez could have had a fourth on a quick counter, but Sterling elected to go it alone, and found himself relieved of the ball.

Eventually, though, the Uruguayan managed to add to his tally, knocking in his fourth with fifteen minutes left to play. It was yet another from distance, this time off a 25 yard free kick. Ruddy could do nothing as the ball bent around the Norwich wall to end up in the top corner.

Norwich did end up with a consolation prize, however: a goal from Bradley Johnson in the 83rd minute. The cross came in from Nathan Redmond and Johnson was able to get above Daniel Agger to flick on the header. It likely troubled Liverpool very little however — particularly since they managed yet another, in the 88th minute. This time it was Suárez providing the assist, sending the cross in for Sterling, who slotted home on the bounce.

Liverpool: Mignolet, Johnson, Flanagan, Agger, Skrtel, Allen, Gerrard, Henderson (Alberto 69), Sterling, Coutinho, Suárez (Aspas 90)

Subs not used: Jones, Toure, Sakho, Moses, Lucas

Norwich: Ruddy, Martin, R Bennett, Bassong, Olsson, Johnson, Fer (Whittaker 72), Howson, Hoolahan (Murphy 62), Redmond, Elmander (Hooper 69)

Subs not used: Nash, Turner, Garrido, Becchio

Pellegrini says announcing departure was mistake; Won’t jump into job

Manchester City's manager Manuel Pellegrini, right, and Bayern Munich's manager Pep Guardiola during the Champions League group D soccer match at the Etihad Stadium in Manchester, England, Wednesday, Oct. 2, 2013. (AP Photo/Clint Hughes)
AP Photo/Clint Hughes
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Former Manchester City boss Manuel Pellegrini thought it was the right thing to do; His club was reportedly looking for his successor, so why not let them do it in the open.

[ MORE: Barcelona could chase Mata ]

What followed Pellegrini’s announcement that he would leave at the end of season were three straight losses and, arguably, City’s chances at a Premier League title.

From Sky Sports:

“After Guardiola said he was coming to England it was my decision [to go public] because all the media was talking about Guardiola here, Guardiola in Arsenal, Guardiola in Manchester United,” he told The Guardian.

“It was not fair for all managers – when everyone knew he was coming here. If I ask if I would do that again… I have some doubts.”

Pellegrini said the announcement didn’t make it difficult for him, but for his players.

The Argentine also said he’ll wait for an interesting job to come calling, and that he could be done managing forever if such an opportunity doesn’t present itself. That said, we think he’ll find a job that’s to his liking given this comment:

“Of course, I would miss it. The challenge keeps me alive.”

Life is a good motivator.

Will upsets continue in Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup’s third round?

SANDY, UT - OCTOBER 1: The U.S. Soccer Championship trophy sits on display before the game between DC United and Real Salt Lake at Rio Tinto Stadium October 1, 2013 in Sandy, Utah. (Photo by Gene Sweeney Jr/Getty Images)
Photo by Gene Sweeney Jr/Getty Images
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The Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup hits the third round on Wednesday, with NASL teams entering the fray and at least one fourth-tier or lower side guaranteed to advance to face MLS competition.

The USASA had three teams win second round matches, and two will face each other on Wednesday. The L.A. Wolves knocked off the USL’s Orange County Blues, while L Maquina FC handed the NPSL’s Sacramento Gold an ouster. They will tangle for the right to a high-profile match-up with the L.A. Galaxy.

[ MORE: USMNT’s Gonzalez wins Liga MX with Pachuca ]

We’ll also see NASL vs. USL geographical rivalries when Carolina faces Charlotte and Rayo OKC meets Oklahoma City.

Wednesday’s third round matches
Chattanooga FC (NPSL) vs. Harrisburg City Islanders (USL)
Fort Lauderdale Strikers (NASL) vs. Richmond Kickers (USL)
Jacksonville Armada (NASL) vs. Charleston Battery (USL)
New York Cosmos (NASL) vs. Jersey Express (PDL)
Carolina RailHawks (NASL) vs. Charlotte Independence (USL)
Miami FC (NASL) vs. Wilmington Hammerheads (USL)
Tampa Bay Rowdies (NASL) vs FC Cincinnati (USL)
Rochester Rhinos (USL) vs. Lansdowne Bhoys FC (USASA)
Indy Eleven (NASL) vs. Louisville City FC (USL)
Saint Louis FC (USL) vs. Minnesota United (NASL)
Rayo OKC (NASL) vs Oklahoma City Energy (USL)
Des Moines Menace (PD) vs. San Antonio FC (USL)
Arizona United (USL) vs. Colorado Springs Switchbacks (USL)
La Maquina (USASA) vs. L.A. Wolves (USASA)
Kitsap Pumas (PDL) vs. Sacramento Republic (USL)

Iranian woman “sneaks” into Persian League match dressed as a man

Persepolis FC
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An Iranian woman wanted to see her favorite team play badly, but knew well the unspoken rule: no females at the stadium.

The Independent has the story of a woman who dressed in layers and filmed herself in case trouble came from her attendance.

[ MORE: Police free kidnapped Mexico striker ]

Persepolis FC is the name of the club, and they play in the Persian Gulf Pro League.

From The Independent:

There is no official ban on women attending sports events in Iran, but they are often refused entry so it is rare for women to attend.

In a third video, the woman explains that she layered five T-shirts and five pairs of trousers to hide her figure and covered her face with face paint.

I recognize that this is the norm over there, but it’s still a striking story.

Report: Barcelona ready to swoop if Mourinho deems Mata surplus at Manchester United

BUCHAREST, ROMANIA - OCTOBER 01: Juan Mata (L) of Chelsea shakes hands with manager Jose Mourinho (R) after being substituted during the UEFA Champions League Group E Match between FC Steaua Bucuresti and Chelsea at the National Arena Stadium on October 1, 2013 in Bucharest, Romania.  (Photo by Michael Steele/Getty Images)
Photo by Michael Steele/Getty Images
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It’s a $40 million question for Manchester United: Will Juan Mata and Jose Mourinho work well together?

Their time at Chelsea was fractured when Mourinho deemed Mata surplus to requirement and shipped the Spaniard to Old Trafford.

[ MORE: Rashford signs new 4-year deal ]

Mata, 28, has been a consistent performer for United, but will his reunion with Mourinho be short-lived? It’s easy to imagine both as ready to move on and Barcelona could be an option if that happens.

Mundo Deportivo says Barcelona could make a bid of close to $40 million in order to help the midfield continue to tick. Mata was a key part of United’s possession-based approach under Louis Van Gaal, and as a player really does fit the bill of a Mourinho-minded mid.

We’re just hoping that if Mata moves, he doesn’t switch anywhere that would change his English language blog posts.