Brendan Rodgers to face his son in FA Cup match

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When Liverpool host Oldham Athletic tomorrow in the FA Cup, it will serve as much more than a simple cup tie between Premier League giants and League One minnows.

Narrative is everything.

Liverpool manager Brendan Rodgers will face his own son in a family battle frought with redemption and friendly competition – along with actual competition.

Anton Rodgers, 20 years old and manning the central midfield for Oldham, has journeyed a long way to simply get the opportunity to play his father at legendary Anfield.

The young’in began in Chelsea’s academy before making his way to Brighton & Hove Albion (on his father’s advice) on his first professional contract. He fittingly debuted in the FA Cup against conference side Wrexham as a 63rd minute substitute.

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Anton Rodgers plays for Oldham in their FA Cup win over Wolverhampton Wanderers.

That was his only appearance at Brighton, before they shipped him off to Exeter for a 2-month loan and ultimately released him in May of this season.

Not, however, before a very difficult period in the family’s lives. Anton and three teammates at Brighton were charged – and ultimately cleared after a retrial – of sexual assault and voyeurism of a teenage girl during their time at the club.

“As parents, both his mum and I found it really, really difficult, especially when you know the innocence of your son,” said the elder Rodgers to the Guardian.

Now, with it all behind them, the pair can focus on not just their individual careers, but the relationship between the two.

But Brendan Rodgers is well aware of how fate can play a part in these matches. With Oldham having bombed Liverpool out of the Cup last season, the 40-year-old manager is taking no chances.

“It is also a situation that I will want the players to pay attention to,” said Rodgers, “because the footballing gods sometimes come into it as well. With the footballing gods, he could end up getting a goal.”

Now with Oldham, Anton has featured in seven league matches this season (two starts), and with Lee Johnson’s good relationship with the family, it’s certainly possible Anton could get a runout – if not a start – against his dad.

However much he plays, no question there will be a sense of family to the match’s atmosphere.

Soccer world reacts to the Manchester attacks

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NBC News is reporting that at least 19 people have been killed and another 50 are injured following a possible suicide bombing at an Ariana Grande concert in Manchester.

Multiple senior U.S. intelligence officials who are monitoring British authorities told NBC News that preliminary reports indicate that a single explosion took place outside the arena on the southwest side opposite the train station. The explosion occurred as the concert ended, catching people as they exited.

Soccer personalities around the world are reacting to the horrible event.

Juventus purchases Cuadrado from Chelsea

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If you didn’t realize Juan Cuadrado still belonged to Chelsea, you’re forgiven.

The Colombian attacker will complete his second season at Juventus after the UEFA Champions League Final against Real Madrid, and won’t be headed back to Chelsea afterwards.

Juve has purchased Cuadrado, and the fee is $22 million, and Juve will pay it over three seasons. Cuadrado, 28, is now signed through 2020 with The Old Lady.

Cuadrado first went on loan to Juve in Aug. 2015, and has eight goals and 18 assists in 83 career appearances with the club.

Chelsea bought Cuadrado from Fiorentina for around $32 million in the January 2015 transfer window, but made just 14 appearances with the club.

Report: Jermain Defoe meeting with Bournemouth

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Sky Sports is reporting that Jermain Defoe may head back to the south of England following Sunderland’s relegation.

Defoe, 34, spent two seasons with Portsmouth between 2008-09, scoring 15 goals in 31 appearances.

[ MORE: ‘The Moment’ of each PL club’s season ]

The 56-times capped England striker had a clause in his Sunderland contract allowing him to leave the Stadium of Light were the Black Cats to be relegated, as they were this season. He’d have little interest in dropping into the Championship given his desire to stay a part of the England squad ahead of the 2018 World Cup.

Bournemouth’s strike corps includes Joshua King, who scored the most goals of any player not on a Top Seven side this season. King’s 16 goals were one more than Defoe’s 15, though the latter scored just one goal following a brace against Crystal Palace on Feb. 4.

Chelsea’s Conte wins pair of top managerial honors

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Antonio Conte took league and national honors from the League Managers Association on Monday night.

The Chelsea boss was named Premier League Manager of the Year and Manager of the Year after leading the Blues to the PL title and an FA Cup Final in his first year on the job.

Brighton and Hove Albion boss Chris Hughton nabbed another Championship boss of the year award after leading the Gulls to the Premier League. He also won the honor with Newcastle United in 2010.

The League One winner is Chris Wilder of Sheffield United. Wilder won the honor with Northampton Town last season.

In League Two, Paul Cook of Portsmouth was named the winner.