Credit: Liverpool Football Club

Watch Live: Tottenham vs. Liverpool (Lineups)


The Mario Balotelli Show returns to the Premier League on an appropriate stage: the city of London.

Liverpool travels to White Hart Lane in England’s capital at 8:30am ET live on NBCSN or live online at NBC Sports Live Extra.

Balotelli, still just 24 years old, returns to the English top flight after leaving Manchester City just two years ago for his home country of Italy, a move which he said he regrets.

Back in the league where he launched “Why Always Me,” Balotelli is in the starting lineup for his new club, starting up front next to Daniel Sturridge to form a potentially new partnership in the absence of former partner Luis Suarez.

WATCH LIVE: Tottenham Hotspur vs. Liverpool on NBC Sports Live Extra

Elsewhere in the Reds starting lineup, Brendan Rodgers has shaken up his defense after allowing a trio of goals to the defending champions Manchester City last week.  Martin Skrtel and Glen Johnson are both unfit to play and are not in the starting lineup. In their places, Javi Manquillo and Mamadou Sakho slot in the lineup, with Alberto Moreno passing a fitness test and former Southampton player Dejan Lovern rounding out the back four.

Spurs have a new signing of their own in Federico Fazio, but he cannot make the Spurs squad for this big matchup. With the central defender not ready to go just yet, Younes Kaboul will wear the captain’s armband while Mauricio Pochettino still decides on a permanent skipper, and plays next to Jan Vertonghen.

The lineups from Pochettino is an unchanged from a team that was victorious at Loftus Road last season.

This fixture last year doomed Andre Villas Boas to the sack, as Liverpool stormed Spurs 5-0 at White Hart Lane, and again 4-0 at Anfield in the reverse fixture, so things can only go up for Spurs against fellow top-four candidates.


Tottenham: Lloris; Dier, Kaboul, Vertonghen, Rose; Bentaleb, Capoue; Chadli, Eriksen, Lamela; Adebayor.
Bench: Friedel, Chiriches, Davies, Dembele, Holtby, Townsend, Kane.

Liverpool: Mignolet; Manquillo, Moreno, Lovren, Sakho; Gerrard, Allen, Henderson, Sterling; Sturridge, Balotelli.
Bench: Jones, Enrique, Toure, Lambert, Coutinho, Can, Markovic.

Ferguson still being asked about Moyes: “We chose a good football man”

David Moyes Alex Ferguson
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In some ways absence makes the heart grow fonder, but it seems Sir Alex Ferguson‘s life after Manchester United has been filled with second guessing.

Whether the sales of Paul Pogba and Gerard Pique or the appointment of David Moyes, “Fergie” apparently can’t rest on his title-winning laurels.

[ MORE: Tax evasion charges dropped against Messi, but not his father ]

One thing that seems to bug him more than anything, though, is the idea that he hand-picked David Moyes to be his successor, and should be responsible for his failings.

In a new documentary, Ferguson both defends the appointment of Moyes and explains the process behind his choice.

From the BBC:

“I don’t think we made a mistake at all. I think we chose a good football man,” Ferguson says. “Unfortunately it didn’t work for David.

“Jose Mourinho was going back to Chelsea, Carlo Ancelotti was going to Real Madrid, Jurgen Klopp had signed a contract with Dortmund, Louis Van Gaal was staying with Holland for the World Cup.”

The article also makes another key point, according to Ferguson: the manager claims he only gave United a few months notice that he’d be stepping down. That certainly didn’t provide a lot of lead time to secure a big boss.

What do you make it of it? If your answer is, “When can we stop talking about Moyes and United?” I tend to be with you, but it’s a talking point.

Tax evasion charges against Messi dropped; Case vs father continues

FILE - In this Sept. 27, 2013 file photo, Barcelona F.C. star Lionel Messi, left, arrives at a court to answer questions in a tax fraud case in Gava, near Barcelona, Spain. Barcelona prosecutors are calling for the arrest of Messi's father in a tax fraud case. Prosecutors have cleared Messi of wrongdoing but are seeking an 18-month prison sentence for his father, Jorge Horacio Messi, for allegedly defrauding Spain's tax office of 4 million euros ($4.5 million) in unpaid taxes from 2007-09. (AP Photo/Emilio Morenatti, File)
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Lionel Messi will not face charges that he and his father defrauded the government in millions of unpaid taxes, though his father is not so lucky.

Messi’s father, Jorge, could face 18 months in jail and an approximate $2.25 million fine despite a voluntary payment of $5.5 million in 2013 to “correct” the missed taxes.

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

The Barcleona star had plead ignorance to the charges, something that failed to impress prosecutors. But, it apparently worked out in his favor on Tuesday.

From the BBC:

Prosecutors allege that Jorge avoiding paying tax on his son’s earnings by using offshore companies in Belize and Uruguay between 2007 and 2009.

Messi’s lawyers argued that the player had “never devoted a minute of his life to reading, studying or analysing” the contracts, El Pais newspaper reported.