Liverpool are currently second in the Premier League. If West Ham decides to spoil Manchester City’s title party and take all three points at the Etihad on Championship Sunday, the Reds could still come away with the title – provided they beat Newcastle, of course.
But that doesn’t mean Brendan Rodgers is content with his team’s performance. “We know the areas we need to improve. We’ve got 99 goals. It’s fairly clear and simple for me – we need to improve defensively away from home,” the Liverpool manager said.
It’s impossible to argue with Rodgers. While the Reds have scored 99 goals, second only to the 100 scored in the league by Manchester City, they’ve also conceded 49. The majority of those have come on the road, with Liverpool falling behind Southampton, Swansea and even Aston Villa in the number of goals they’ve allowed away from home.
Of course, everyone knows what happened against Crystal Palace on Monday, with Palace scoring three in eleven minutes to ultimately draw 3-3 with Liverpool. But the Reds also conceded three at Everton, at Hull, at Stoke and at Cardiff. While they ultimately won the last of those two, there’s no denying the side must improve defensively. And if individuals are unable to do so, they’ll face tough consequences.
“To have that much control and good organisation in the game, and then to let that go with 12 minutes to go, it shouldn’t happen. There’s an element of quality from the opponent, but I analyse the games intensely and a big part of it is concentration. It’s about organisation – concentrating on your job,” said Rodgers.”If you can’t keep your concentration long enough, you’ll lose your place in the squad. It’s as simple as that.”
With Rodgers having already stated he’s set to bring in around six top quality players come summer, you’ve got to wonder just how many of those will be defensively oriented.
A valiant effort from a League One side has rewarded the minnows with a replay set to be played at Wembley Stadium.
Tottenham Hotspur looked on its way towards the FA Cup sixth round on Sunday, but a late finish by Steven Davies gave Rochdale a 2-2 draw with the Premier League club at the Spotland Stadium.
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Harry Kane — who scored his 34th goal on the season in all competitions — converted from the penalty spot in the 88th minute, however, Davies had the final say deep into stoppage time to send the two sides towards a replay.
Ian Henderson’s finish in the 45th minute gave Rochdale a gift at the conclusion of the first stanza, after the hosts capitalized on a Spurs giveaway near midfield.
Meanwhile, Tottenham managed to level the match at 1-1 on the hour mark when Lucas Moura calmly slotted his close-range shot past goalkeeper Josh Lillis after a timely through ball from Moussa Sissoko picked out the former PSG man.
The visitors began pressing on in the second half, with Mauricio Pochettino‘s side having trailed at the halftime break.
The two sides will now meet on either Feb. 27 or 28 in the reverse fixture to decide which team advances. The winner will either meet Sheffield Wednesday or Swansea City in the quarterfinals.
Paul Pogba‘s young career has been bright, but a former Manchester United legend suggests that there was a time where the Frenchman struggled to find his way at Old Trafford.
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The 24-year-old Pogba is now in his second stint with the Red Devils, after spending four seasons in Italy with giants Juventus.
Former United midfielder Paul Scholes says though that back in 2012 — prior to Pogba’s move to Juve — that the physical player wasn’t pleased with the fact that he wasn’t getting regular minutes with the first team.
“Ferguson wanted me initially to come back and coach the reserve team with Warren Joyce,” he told BT Sport. “I said in September I’d come back. So I started helping Joycey, and I was training with the reserves.
“I was training every day with the likes of Pogba, Lingard, all these types of players. They were a really good side and I was really enjoying training. I was getting fit, I felt great, and it got to December time and the team was struggling a bit.
“They had a load of injuries, no central midfield players were fit. They ended up playing Phil Jones and Fabio da Silva in central midfield in a game against Blackburn at Old Trafford.
“Funnily enough that was the end of Pogba, because he thought he should have been playing instead of them. But he wasn’t doing well enough.”
Scholes, who had retired briefly in 2011, came back after just six months for the Red Devils, and ended up playing a year-and-a-half more following the decision to end his playing career.
It is widely believed that Pogba’s decision to head to Juventus was largely due to the impact of Scholes in the United squad.
It’s been a tremendous season for Ian Henderson, particularly in the FA Cup, and now he and his side are one half away from upsetting one of the Premier League giants.
Henderson’s finish on the brink of halftime has put League One side Rochdale up 1-0 against Tottenham Hotspur, as the minnows aim to become the first non-PL side to advance to the quarterfinals in this season’s tournament.
A sloppy giveaway from Spurs near midfield created the attack for the hosts, and allowed Rochdale to capitalize on one of its few attacks during the opening stanza.
LISBON, Portugal (AP) Benfica routed Boavista 4-0 to move ahead of FC Porto at the top of the Portuguese league on Saturday.
Benfica is one point in front of Porto, which has two games to play.
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Ruben Dias opened the scoring for Benfica in the 18th minute when he headed in a pass from Jardel.
Jardel added a goal just before halftime. Boavista’s Nuno Henrique also scored an own goal before Raul Jimenez polished off the victory in the 90th.
Jonas had a penalty saved by Boavista goalkeeper Vagner with the score 0-0.
Porto hosts Rio Ave on Sunday. Sporting Lisbon is three points behind Benfica before visiting Tondela on Monday.