Liverpool linked with Emre Can as they look to shore up defense

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Liverpool have made some shrewd overseas transfers the last few summers, and they look to pull another one off as reports have them on the verge of pulling the trigger on a $17 million move for young Bayer Leverkusen midfielder Emre Can.

The 20-year-old made 24 Bundesliga appearances for Bayer at both left-back and defensive midfield, and while he isn’t strong going forward, he would be sure to help Liverpool improve their defensive record.

The Reds conceded 50 goals this Premier League season, just seventh in the league despite their second-place finish.

Brendan Rodgers will look to improve upon that record with plenty more fixtures on the horizon next season thanks to their Champions League berth.  Rodgers reportedly has a good relationship with Can’s agent, the same man who represented Nuri Sahin and Samed Yesil during their deals to Liverpool.

Bayer faded down the stretch of the Bundesliga season, but were second for a long while and still finished in fourth with just 41 league goals allowed.

At 6’2″, the Bayern Munich youth product is a beast in the air, and also completed 68% of take-ons in the Bundesliga this year. However, the youngster needs to improve on his passing, with just a 78% success rate this past season, according to Squawka statistics.  If he could do that, he would delight those who compare him to the likes of Bastian Schweinsteiger.

The Reds are ready to make a splash somewhere next year, but will need to get deeper if they wish to seriously challenge for either the Premier League or Champions League title.

Rodgers has been linked heavily with a number of Bundesliga stars, including Bayern Munich’s Javi Martinez and Dortmund’s Ilkay Gundogan.  They have also recently been connected to wantaway Manchester City defender Micah Richards.

Stampede at stadium in Honduras kills multiple people

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TEGUCIGALPA, Honduras (AP) Officials in Honduras say thousands of soccer fans trying to force their way into a stadium for a championship match stampeded in panic when police fired tear gas, and at least four people and an unborn fetus were killed in the crush and 25 others were injured.

A spokesman for University Teaching Hospital says the victims died from suffocation and multiple broken bones from being trampled Sunday. Spokesman Miguel Osorio says a fetus died when its mother suffered severe injuries.

The stampede happened at the National Stadium as fans tried to push their way into the jammed venue to see the game between Motagua and Honduras Progreso.

About 600 police officers were guarding the stadium and used water cannon and tear gas trying to push back the crowds.

LIVE, at the half: Huddersfield miss glorious chances v. Reading

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It is tough to explain how Huddersfield Town aren’t ahead at half time of the Championship playoff final at Wembley Stadium on Monday.

[ LIVE: Follow the action from Wembley

The Terriers had two glorious chances early on but Michael Hefele headed wide and then Izzy Brown — on loan from Chelsea — somehow put his effort wide from a yard out.

Reading only had a few forays forward but Jaap Stam’s men held firm with the score locked at 0-0 at the break.

Will David Wagner’s Huddersfield live to rue those missed chances?

Follow the second half live from Wembley by clicking on the link above.


 

LIVE: Playoff final – Huddersfield v. Reading for PL spot

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The richest game in world soccer is here.

[ LIVE: Follow the action from Wembley ]

Huddersfield Town and Reading clash at Wembley Stadium in the Championship playoff final, one win away from the Premier League with the final promotion spot up for grabs after Newcastle United and Brighton & Hove Albion clinched automatic promotion.

Whoever wins this match will alter the path of their club for the foreseeable future.

The winner will not only receive a place in the PL but also a huge sum of $218 million for next season and if they stay up for just one season in the Premier League it is estimated to be worth $372 million.

Below is the team news…

Click on the link above to follow live updates from Wembley, while we will have analysis, reaction and more during and after the game.

VIDEO: Watch Francesco Totti’s emotional Roma farewell

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After a 25-year career at AS Roma, Francesco Totti was handed a fitting farewell on Sunday.

The hometown hero, now 40 years of age, called time on his incredible Roma career and looked overwhelmed.

[ MORE: Totti’s incredible career

Coming on for the 786th and final appearance of his stunning career, the all-time leading scorer for Roma (307 goals in all competitions) helped his team secured a dramatic last-gasp 3-2 win over Genoa to seal second place in the Serie A table and an automatic spot in the UEFA Champions League next season.

Totti spurned big money moves to Real Madrid and Barcelona where he could have won the biggest trophies and individual titles in the game to stay at Roma. He won just one Scudetto with Roma but famously said that was worth 10 league titles had he played for another team.

[ MORE: Serie A final day roundup ]

Following the game it was all about Totti as his teammates and manager broke down in tears, and so too did Totti as he went on a lap of honor with his wife and children at a sold-out Stadio Olimpico.

Rome’s favorite son said goodbye and there wasn’t a dry eye in the house.

Watch the emotional farewell in the videos below.

I know. I have something in my eye too…