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.

Too early for Guardiola to concede Premier League title?

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Pep Guardiola suffered his worst-ever league defeat as a manager on Sunday as Manchester City were hammered 4-0 at Everton in the Premier League.

Post-game he was understandably glum.

[ MORE: Klopp slams United ]

Guardiola even appeared to concede the Premier League title, as the preseason favorites for the crown have now fallen 10 points behind leaders Chelsea with 17 games to go.

When asked if City’s title hopes were over after a fifth defeat of the season, the Spaniard’s answer was emphatic.

“Yes. Ten is a lot of points,” Guardiola said. “The second one [Tottenham] is three points. We have to see. I spoke to my players the last three weeks or a month, forget about the table. Focus on the next game and try to do our best to win the games and after that at the end of the season we are going to evaluate how our level and performance was — how was the coach, how was the players and after we are going to decide.”

It seems like Guardiola has already decided that the title race is over for City, but has he thrown in the towel too early?

With just five points separating second-place Tottenham with sixth-place Manchester United, it appears City’s primary focus will now be to finish in the top four as a mammoth battle ensues in the final third of the season.

Yet, we have seen some miraculous comebacks from teams in the past to win the title. These stats could give Pep hope.

In the 1997-98 season, Arsenal were 12 points behind United after 21 games of the season (United had played a game more) but roared back to win the PL by one point. And of course, City’s two PL crowns came courtesy of stunning late surges in the season with thanks to Sergio Aguero’s magic on the final day in 2011-12 and then Liverpool’s collapse in the closing weeks of 2013-14.

Pep, don’t lost the faith. It can be done.

However, if City lose to Tottenham next weekend and Chelsea extend their lead over Pep’s boys to 13 points by beating Hull City, it is curtains.

Such is the dominance of the big boys this season, City pretty much have to go unbeaten for the rest of the season to have a shot at winning the PL. Given their recent defensive displays that seems unlikely.

We all know Pep is an idealist when it comes to how he wants his team to play but now we are seeing he is a realist too.

Conte urges players “money is not everything” amid Costa rumors

LONDON, ENGLAND - JANUARY 04: Antonio Conte, Manager of Chelsea reacts during the Premier League match between Tottenham Hotspur and Chelsea at White Hart Lane on January 4, 2017 in London, England.  (Photo by Julian Finney/Getty Images)
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While new reports are suggesting that China will have to curb its massive spending, Antonio Conte has urged his players that they don’t have to be tempted by the Chinese Super League.

[ MORE: United, Liverpool finish level after late Ibrahimovic equalizer ]

Chelsea currently sits atop the Premier League — seven points clear of Tottenham and Liverpool — but the club has recently been at the center of controversy as star striker Diego Costa has been linked with a move away from the club.

[ MORE: CSL set to limit number of foreign players per team ]

Costa missed his side’s 3-0 win over Leicester City on Saturday after several outlets reported a rift between the Spaniard and Conte.

The Chelsea manager told reporters following the match that Costa wasn’t available due to a back injury he suffered in training, but there has been continued speculation that the 28-year-old could head to China.

Conte has made it clear to his squad though that the quality of competition in England supersedes the money offered abroad.

“The money is not everything,” Conte told reporters. “When you play for a great team like Chelsea, you must be pleased.

“I think we are a great club and it is a great honour to play for Chelsea. For this reason I don’t see [China] as a threat for my players.

The Blues have lost a number of high-profile players over recent seasons to the high spending of Chinese football, including Brazilian duo Oscar and Ramires, as well as John Obi Mikel.

Oscar departed Chelsea this month to join Shanghai SIPG for a reported $72 million.

“I have to look at the past,” Conte said. “Oscar played with us, had a good offer from China and he went.

“But this league is really competitive and every player wants to come and play in this league.

“This league is the first in the world because of a lot of positive things, so I don’t think these offers from China are a threat for our league.”

Report: Ian Harkes expected to sign with DC United

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D.C. United didn’t have a top 10 selection in the MLS SuperDraft, but the club is likely to end up with one of the most talented collegiate players in the game.

[ MORE: Robinson, Ebobisse headline latest U.S. U-20 roster ]

According to the Washington Post, D.C. United is expected to sign Wake Forest attacker Ian Harkes to a multi-year contract.

[ MORE: Galaxy keeper Rowe replaces Frei with USMNT ]

Harkes, 21, came up through D.C.’s academy system before playing all four years for the Demon Deacons. The midfielder has gained significant notoriety over his college career, which concluded with Hermann Trophy honors following his senior senior.

As a former member of the D.C. academy, Harkes didn’t have to declare for the SuperDraft and is expected to sign a Homegrown contract with D.C. United in the coming days.

Harkes has also been considering his options abroad, which included second-division sides in England, where he was born. Ian is the son of former U.S. Men’s National Team star John Harkes, who played both in the United States and England over his professional career.

Bayern Munich signs Suele and Rudy from Hoffenheim

MILAN, ITALY - NOVEMBER 15:  Sebastian Rudy of Germany controls the ball during the International Friendly Match between Italy and Germany at Giuseppe Meazza Stadium on November 15, 2016 in Milan, .  (Photo by Valerio Pennicino/Getty Images)
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MUNICH (AP) German champion Bayern Munich has signed center half Niklas Suele and central midfielder Sebastian Rudy from Hoffenheim, with both players due to complete the season with their current club before joining on July 1.

[ MORE: Ibrahimovic rescues draw for United against Liverpool ]

Bayern said Sunday on its website that Rudy – who is out of contract in the summer – has signed a three-year deal until 2020 while Suele has agreed a five-year deal until June 2022.

[ MORE: Morata to Chelsea? Dybala staying put? ]

“Signing two Germany internationals is an investment in FC Bayern’s future,” Bayern chairman Karl-Heinz Rummenigge said. “Sebastian Rudy joins us on a free transfer. In the case of Niklas Suele we have reached a fair and serious agreement with Hoffenheim.”

The 26-year-old Rudy has played 177 league games for Hoffenheim since joining from Stuttgart in 2010, while the 21-year-old Suele is a homegrown talent and has made 90 league appearances with the club.

“In terms of it being a farewell I feel a little wistful,” Suele said on Bayern’s website, adding that the move gives him the chance of “maturing further with one of the best teams in the world.”

Suele’s signing appears to be linked to the form of long-serving Bayern defender Holger Badstuber, who has been sent on loan to Schalke to get more game time.

The long-serving center-back has struggled with injuries in recent years and is not in Bayern coach Carlo Ancelotti’s plans, having played only three games this season, starting just once.