The 227th edition of the Merseyside derby (Watch live, Monday, 3 p.m. ET, on NBCSN and online via NBCSports.com) arrives at a point of the 2016-17 Premier League season in which Everton and Liverpool each find themselves at something of a crossroads with regards to the campaign as a whole.
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For Everton, a magnificent start (four wins and a draw from their first five games) to Ronald Koeman‘s first season at Goodison Park has quickly been forgotten as panic begins to set in, with the Toffees winners of just two of their last 11 league games. As momentum goes, Tuesday’s home triumph over title-chasing Arsenal will have done wonders for the blue half of Merseyside.
As for the Reds, their title quest could all but come to an end on Monday. Should Jurgen Klopp‘s men fail to secure three points, they’ll enter the busy holiday period eight points behind leaders Chelsea, at best. A win would move Liverpool back into second in the league table, just six points back of the Blues. While the game is massive, it’s all been pretty straightforward with the players well aware what’s at stake, according to Klopp — quotes from the AP:
“Very, very, very, very big. The good thing around the derby is that I don’t have to say a lot because everybody knows what it is. For me, it’s pretty special because it’s my first time at Goodison Park.
“I like how Liverpool lives with this, the city, lives with these two big clubs. This is the game you want to have. How I said a few times – football is not the most important thing in the world, but on Monday night I’d say for 90 minutes in and around Liverpool, probably it is. So let’s do our best.”
[ MORE: PL roundup — Chelsea win 11th straight; Man Utd streaking ]
Neither the importance nor the intensity of the Merseyside derby are lost on Liverpool striker Divock Origi, either — quotes from the Guardian: “It will be a war, so we go there in a very positive way. You want to win this game, you know it will not be easy, it is a derby so it will be special and a very big and important game for us as a club also. We have to prepare it well.”
Chelsea is looking to make a big transfer splash as it searches for potential replacements for Michy Batshuayi and David Luiz.
According to multiple reports, Chelsea is attempting a double signing from AS Roma, forward Edin Dzeko and midfielder Emerson Palmieri. The Brazilian left-back is rated by Roma at $30.5 million but he could join Chelsea on loan. However the interest in Dzeko is much newer, and it’s unclear whether Roma would allow Dzeko to leave, especially in the middle of the season.
[READ: MLS SuperDraft 2018 Live Tracker]
With Roma preparing to face Inter Milan this weekend, talks between the two clubs have been put on hold until next week.
Dzeko’s agent confirmed that Conte is interested in the Bosnia and Herzegovina international but stated Dzeko’s desire is to remain at Roma.
After failing to beat out Sergio Aguero in the starting lineup for Manchester City, it would be interesting to see Dzeko give the Premier League another go, although he’d likely play second-fiddle again, this time to Alvaro Morata.
Here are some more transfer rumors from around Europe and the Premier League:
For a few dozen players, hearing their name called up to the big stage will validate all the hard work and sacrifices they’ve made since they were children.
Starting at 11:00 a.m. when Los Angeles FC is on the clock at the Pennsylvania Convention Center in Philadelphia, the 2018 MLS SuperDraft will be underway. Many of the top college prospects will soon find out whether they’ll be headed to the Pacific Northwest, New England, the Southeast, Southern California or anywhere in between.
[MORE: 2018 MLS Mock Draft]
This year’s draft class is loaded with attacking talent, from Generation Adidas trio Ema Twumasi (Wake Forest), Mason Toye (Indiana) and Francis Atuahene (Michigan) to Twumasi’s college teammate Jon Bakero.
But potential No. 1 overall pick is a three-time national champion, Thomas Hilliard-Arce, who could become the anchor of a backline for a decade.
Follow along below as we update the picks live as we hear them:
MUNICH (AP) Bayern Munich signed Germany midfielder Leon Goretzka on Friday on a free transfer from Bundesliga rival Schalke effective from next season.
Bayern said the 22-year-old Goretzka signed a four-year deal from July 1 through June 2022.
Schalke, which Goretzka joined in 2013 from hometown club Bochum, said the player informed the club this week of his wish to join Bayern when his contract expired.
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“We think we did everything in the last months to convince Leon to stay with us,” Schalke sporting director Christian Heidel said. “In the end, it wasn’t enough.”
Schalke had long been engaged in trying to get Goretzka to extend his contract, but was aware of reported interest from Bayern, Real Madrid, Barcelona, Juventus and Liverpool.
“We’re very happy that Leon Goretzka, a German international with big potential, has decided in favor of Bayern despite big-name international competitors. This way it’s ensured that Leon Goretzka remains in the Bundesliga,” Bayern chairman Karl-Heinz Rummenigge said.
Goretzka scored 19 goals and set up 13 more in 130 appearances for Schalke.
The club had previously expressed its displeasure with Bayern making public statements about its player after Goretzka was praised by sporting director Hasan Salihamidzic and coach Jupp Heynckes.
Heidel said “we don’t need to hear every day from the Munich people how good our player is.”
Goretzka has six goals in 12 games for Germany.
The most famous soccer player in the world had a scare last night as he was hospitalized in Brazil for “severe exhaustion.”
Pele, 77, was set to travel to London this weekend to be honored by the Football Writers Association, though it looks like that trip has now been postponed.
In the early hours of Thursday morning, Pele collapsed and was taken to a hospital in Brazil where he has undergone a series of tests which appear to point to severe exhaustion,” a FWA statement said. “He remains on fluids while doctors monitor his recovery.
“Thankfully, there is no suggestion of anything more serious than exhaustion.”
Here’s to hoping Pele makes a full recovery.
[MORE: USMNT centerback heads to Championship club]