Liverpool

Tottenham 0-5 Liverpool: Reds pummel erratic Tottenham defense to go second – Video

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Luis Suarez and Jordan Henderson put on a Batman-and-Robin-type display as the Uruguayan starred and his understudy supported well in a Liverpool thrashing of the Spurs back line for a 2-0 win.

Suarez opened the scoring after hard work by Henderson, and it was exactly the opposite for the second which assured victory against a broken Spurs defense giving way too much space to the Reds playmakers.

Both teams showed an attacking edge early, with each side trying to work the ball wide.  Tottenham especially made a point of targeting their right flank, with runs by Mousa Dembele and Paulinho from the midfield tracking towards the touchline.

It was a struggle though for Spurs to find anything of quality, with Liverpool pressing high up the pitch and challenging every Spurs pass.

Liverpool took the first 15 minutes to find their footing, but they began to push in to the Spurs box, with Lloris forced into stopping a cross from Raheem Sterling.

It didn’t take much longer though for Liverpool to open the books on the scoring, 18 minutes to be exact, who else but Luis Suarez with his 16th goal of the season.

Suarez initially sent a low ball into the box for Jordan Henderson, but it was cut out by Michael Dawson. Henderson worked well to get back on the ball, and he found a trailing Suarez.

The Uruguayan dribbled around the one defender left in front of him, and slid the ball by Hugo Lloris to put Liverpool ahead.

Tottenham continued to work possession into the Liverpool third, but they had trouble finding anything to pester Simon Mignolet, finishing without a single shot on target.  Liverpool worked a bit on the counter, and it forced Michael Dawson into an early yellow card challenge.

The latter stages of the second half provided some fireworks, but no goals to show for it.  The Reds continued forward, and a quick spell Phillippe Coutinho hit the bar with a bouncing shot, and then the rebound came well out to Glen Johnson who nearly ripped a stunner past Lloris but it went millimeters over.

source: Getty Images
Paulinho’s 63rd minute red card allowed a bright Liverpool attack even more space to work.

Tottenham came close in the 30th minute as Nacer Chadli latched onto a corner but his header went just over the bar.

Suarez had a golden opportunity to double the lead just after when a long ball from deep in the visitors defense caught the Tottenham back four sleeping, and Suarez got the ball by Lloris who came out of his own box.  Suarez took a bit long to settle though, and it allowed the defenders to recover and get in the way of his attempts.

Andre Villas-Boas saw how his team needed to find more space and were struggling to deal with the pressing Reds midfield, so he swapped Sandro for Louis Holtby.  The substitute got in on the action early, getting a ball from Roberto Soldado on the end line but dragged a shot wide.

Liverpool did cash in on another opportunity before halftime, with Tottenham’s defense again proving nothing better than frantic.  A ball from the wing found Coutinho, and he picked out Henderson for an open shot. Lloris saved, and the ball fell to Suarez who took aim and fired, with Lloris saving again with a jump.

The third attempt would be the charm, as it fell to Henderson and with the goalkeeper on the ground it was an easy finish into the bottom corner for a 2-0 lead.

A heavy touch from Mignolet as the half came to a close nearly gifted a chance to Soldado, but as the two vied for the ball Soldado shoved the Liverpool ‘keeper, and as he slid the ball into the empty net referee Jon Moss pulled it back for the foul.

The second half brought more chances, and also driving rain.  Soldado got things started, blazing just over on 47 minutes.  Liverpool defenders also wanted in, as Mamadou Sakho hit the Spurs crossbar with a header and Martin Skrtel’s rebound attempt went well over.

Spurs frustrating began to show with their lack of creativity, and it ended up hurting them in a big way. Luis Suarez got a ball near the mid line that outran him, and Paulinho’s attempt to get a foot on the ball got his studs way too high, catching Suarez square in the chest with a flying kick.

It was a terribly errant boot by Paulinho, and Jon Moss showed him a straight red for the effort.  Suarez went down injured on the play, as the boot got him not only the chest but his right hand as well, it appeared.

Tottenham were no match for the sparkling Liverpool attack once they handed the visitors a man advantage.

It would be 3-0 after long, with a talismanic goal for a young Liverpool native.

A long ball found Jordan Henderson on the wing, who picked out Suarez on the edge of the box.  The Uruguayan saw Flanagan all alone on the far side of the box, and his cross was perfect for 20-year-old Jon Flanagan to volley home.

Luis Suarez would add his second of the match in the 84th minute, making it 4-0 and Raheem Sterling added a fifth in the dying minutes of regulation.

The win pushes Liverpool up to second in the Premier League table, ahead of Chelsea on goal difference and just two points behind Arsenal for the lead.

Spurs, with the five goals allowed, have conceded 15 goals now in their last five matches, and remain seventh position.

GOALS:

Liverpool – Suarez 18′, 84′; Henderson 40′; Flanagan 75′, Sterling 88′

RED CARDS:

Tottenham – Paulinho 63′

LINEUPS:

Tottenham Hotspur – Lloris; Walker, Capoue, Dawson, Naughton (Fryers 45′); Paulinho, Sandro (Holtby 30′); Lennon, Dembele (Townsend 61′), Chadli; Soldado.

Liverpool Mignolet; Flanagan, Sakho, Skrtel, Johnson; Allen, Lucas (Luis Alberto 79′), Henderson, Sterling, Coutinho; Suarez.

MLS Cup: Toronto FC all about the team

Toronto FC defender Nick Hagglund, center, celebrates his goal against the Montreal Impact with teammates Michael Bradley, right, and Steven Beitashour (33) during the second half of the second leg of MLS Eastern Conference championship series, in Toronto on Wednesday, Nov. 30, 2016. (Frank Gunn/The Canadian Press via AP)
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Toronto, Ontario (AP) Team has been the theme for Toronto FC in the buildup to the MLS Cup final.

From boisterous practices to team-first media interviews, the All for One club motto has been plain to see ahead of the championship game Saturday against the visiting Seattle Sounders.

“You don’t get to this point by mistake or by accident. You get here because a group of special guys who have all bought into a philosophy, an identity,” said Toronto midfielder Will Johnson, an MLS Cup winner with Real Salt Lake and Portland.

“I say the same about Seattle. They’re bought into what they’re good at. We’re bought in, very motivated and want to sacrifice and put aside egos to get to a point as a team to compete for the big trophy.”

[ MORE: Designing the best UCL Round of 16 ]

Star striker Jozy Altidore, no fan of chatting with the media, was downright prickly when a reporter asked him if he had taken time to reflect on his personal journey to the championship game.

“No,” he said definitively. “This isn’t personal, this is a team game. We’re here to try to help Toronto to be a winning team. This has nothing to do with individuals. So it has nothing to do with what I’ve been through. This is what the city’s been through, what the fans have been through, what this club has been through. That’s far more important.”

Fullback Justin Morrow, a seven-year MLS veteran, has never played this deep into the season before.

“Each week we build on top of each other and we get closer as the year goes on. It really feels like it’s a culmination this week,” he said.

[ UCL: Who can Arsenal, Man City, Leicester draw? ]

Coach Greg Vanney has made a point of praising the entire squad, including reserves who function as the scout team in practice. While he has done soccer’s equivalent of shortening his bench for the playoffs, the squad has stayed on point. If anyone has beefs, they have been kept to themselves.

That’s no small feat considering the salaries on the squad range from $7.12 million for star striker Sebastian Giovinco to $51,500 for youngsters Mo Babouli and Tsubasa Endoh.

For Morrow, being part of a tight-knit group allows you to forget that it is your job.

“When teams aren’t doing well, players tend to focus on that – their job and not about the other people on the team,” Morrow said. “And I think when teams are doing well, it becomes about the relationships between the players.”

Report: Atlanta United to acquire Parkhurst; Guardado hopes fading

COLUMBUS, OH - MARCH 12:  Michael Parkhurst #4 of the Columbus Crew SC controls the ball against against the Philadelphia Union on March 12, 2016 at MAPFRE Stadium in Columbus, Ohio.  (Photo by Jamie Sabau/Getty Images)
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Atlanta United is adding MLS experience to its high-flying international acquisitions.

The expansion side is set to acquire Michael Parkhurst from the Columbus Crew, according to a report from The Sporting News.

[ MORE: Mourinho worried about Zorya pitch ]

Parkhurst, 32, has been a fixture for the Crew since returning to MLS after stints with Nordsjælland and FC Augsburg. The 25-times capped American defender would join a relatively loaded expansion unit that reportedly will also add veteran Chicago goalkeeper Sean Johnson.

Unfortunately for Atlanta, it seems the first-year club’s hopes of landing Mexican star Andres Guardado are fading.

From Ives Galarcep for The Sporting News:

The club has one remaining designated player slot it is expected to fill ahead of its inaugural 2017 season, but transfer target Andres Guardado appears less likely to be the player to fill that slot, sources have told Goal USA.

The Crew was a massive disappointment last season, failing to make the playoffs one season after making a run to the MLS Cup Final. Is Parkhurst a good gamble for Atlanta?

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Men in Blazers podcast: Conte v. Pep, Cherries comeback, Spurs-Swans

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Rog and Davo relive the tactical battle between Antonio Conte and Pep Guardiola, marvel at tiny Bournemouth’s comeback win over high-flying Liverpool and duck-and-cover while recapping Spurs 5-0 Swansea.

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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Mourinho accepts Zorya compliment, but says best coach “doesn’t exist”

Manchester United's coach Jose Mourinho, centre, attends a training session with his team at Chernomorets stadium in Odessa, Ukraine, Wednesday, Dec. 7, 2016, ahead of Thursday's Europa League group A soccer match against FC Zorya Luhansk. (AP Photo/Efrem Lukatsky)
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On the eve of his side playing Manchester United in the UEFA Europa League, Zorya Luhansk boss Yuriy Vernydub called counterpart Jose Mourinho the best manager in the world.

And Mourinho disagreed.

Well, in principle.

[ MORE: Designing the best UCL Round of 16 ]

The Portuguese was flattered by Vernydub’s compliments and isn’t one to turn down praise. Yet at the same time, Mourinho thinks a coach’s success is year-to-year. There’s no clear best in the sport, according to Mou.

From ManUtd.com:

“He was nice by saying that but I don’t think he is right. I don’t think there is a best coach in the world. It doesn’t exist in my opinion. Every season one has to win the FIFA Gold Ball but I don’t think there is the best. You can say the best of the year and that I agree. Every year there is one with the most important result. So he is just being nice, no more than that.”

That’s almost meta, Mou.

Conceptually we understand, and Mourinho would feel he was the best in the world three seasons ago but not last year or this year (yet). Yet it’s difficult to say that the bodies of work from Pep Guardiola, Mourinho, Carlo Ancelotti, Unai Emery, Antonio Conte, Luis Enrique, and Jurgen Klopp couldn’t be measured against each other, right?

[ MORE: United, Saints advancement scenarios ]

Onto the little picture Mourinho is worried about a potentially rock hard pitch at Zorya affecting the game. This, from the BBC:

“The pitch is very hard, the pitch is very icy,” said United boss Mourinho.

“They are putting warmth on the top of it, but the pitch is very difficult and people cannot make miracles. Let’s hope everything goes well.”

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