Argentina v Iran: Group F - 2014 FIFA World Cup Brazil

Argentina have Agüero, di María available for the final

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Argentina have received a boost ahead of this afternoon’s World Cup final against Germany. Ángel di María and Sergio Agüero are both fit, and could play a role in helping the side to the trophy.

The news isn’t all rosy, however. While di María, who’d picked up a thigh injury, returned to training yesterday, he’s unlikely to be fit enough to start. The Real Madrid man scored against Switzerland to put the albiceleste through to the quarterfinals, but came off against Belgium after providing a pass that allowed Gonzalo Higuaín to score the only goal. He played no role in the semifinal against Netherlands.


Agüero, however, could well start. The forward came off after just 38 minutes played in Argentina’s eventual 3-2 win over Nigeria. He sat out the first two games of the knockout round, but returned in the 82nd minute against Netherlands.

Alejandro Sabella now has a dilemma. In the first game, against Bosnia and Herzegovina, he elected to go with a less attacking lineup, fielding five defenders. Argentina won, but certainly didn’t look their best. Yet since that game, the supposed Fantastic Four (di María, Higuaín, Agüero and Lionel Messi, of course) have yet to live up to their billing. The albiceleste have come this far by switching to a more organized, defensive system.

Will Sabella play it cautious? If so, Agüero could still start, stepping in for Ezequiel Lavezzi. If Argentina pin their hopes on this attack finally gelling, Agüero will of course play, but Lavezzi should remain in the lineup.

Either way, Argentina have a tough match ahead of them. It remains to be seen if they can come close to matching the Germany side that thrashed Brazil 7-1. Then again, they do have Messi, who is always capable of moments of magic.

Klopp to the Kop: Multiple reports say deal agreed at Liverpool

TURIN, ITALY - FEBRUARY 24:  Borussia Dortmund coach Jurgen Klopp shouts to his players during the UEFA Champions League Round of 16 match between Juventus and Borussia Dortmund at Juventus Arena on February 24, 2015 in Turin, Italy.  (Photo by Marco Luzzani/Getty Images)
Marco Luzzani/Getty Images

Jurgen Klopp is on his way to Liverpool to sign a contract naming him the next coach of the Reds.

The celebrated manager, 48, has been on “hiatus” from football since leaving Borussia Dortmund last season.

[ MORE: Messi to stand trial in Spain ]

Reports starting emerging earlier today that an agreement was imminent, and now the BBC is among those reporting that Klopp will be rolled out Friday morning.

From the BBC:

No contract has yet been signed but that is viewed as a formality when Klopp arrives in Liverpool later on Thursday. He will be officially unveiled by Liverpool on Friday morning at 10:00 BST.

There’s not much to say besides this: Klopp’s addition to the Premier League will give more color and brilliance to the country’s footballing scene. Only a certain class of manager can be instantly expected to find a better system for an inherited group of players.

This could and should be a game changer on Merseyside.

Appeal rejected! Lionel Messi will face court trial in Spain

VIGO, SPAIN - SEPTEMBER 23:  Lionel Messi looks dejected after the La Liga match between Celta Vigo and FC Barcelona at Estadio Balaidos on September 23, 2015 in Vigo, Spain.  (Photo by Alex Caparros/Getty Images)
Alex Caparros/Getty Images
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It was a mere 48 hours ago that Lionel Messi looked close to in the clear when it came to tax evasion charges.

Now the question is whether a Spanish court will lock away the greatest active footballer, as a judge rejected the prosecutors’ (!!!) request to drop the charges.

[ WATCH: Hilarious spoof pegs Messi, Ronaldo as “Friends” ]

Messi and his father have already made a $5.5 million corrective payment, but there’s principle in play here. And the judge wants to know how Messi can claim he had no idea what was being done with his money.

From the BBC:

Lawyers acting on behalf of the tax authorities demanded 22-month jail sentences for both defendants.

“There are rational signs that the criminality was committed by both accused parties,” wrote the judge in a court filing, according to the AFP news agency.

Can you imagine one of the world’s richer men ending up in a Spanish prison? It’s very difficult to consider. In some ways it’s more plausible that he would buy his own island and start the “Messi Isle Premiership”.

Still, we won’t laugh off the idea, especially with FIFA apparently going down. Messi in prison. That’s something. Sepp in Switzerland. Lionel in Spain.