Jurgen Klopp doesn’t miss the holiday break.
Not because he’s a scrooge, but because he wants to keep Liverpool’s good form rolling. After an emotional derby win over Everton, Liverpool has won its last two and three of the last five to push them back into second place after Arsenal has faltered.
“Everyone here is on fire,” Klopp said in his pre-match press conference ahead of their post-Christmas matchup with Stoke City. “We are on track. We don’t feel like we need a break. Hopefully our supporters will be recharged and full of good food on 27 December.”
This will be Klopp’s second trudge through the Premier League holiday season, known around Europe for being different from other top flight leagues that take month-long breaks through the end of December and much of January. Last season, Liverpool won both its late-December matches, but faltered in early January.
This time around, Klopp has a different nemesis to battle: injuries. Philippe Countinho continues to miss time with ankle ligament damage, and the Liverpool manager confirmed he will continue to be sidelined and won’t be rushed back. “Everybody was thinking about the [Manchester] City game [on December 30] for example, this will be very unlikely. It was a dream of Phil. It’s not more likely than before, but I don’t want to say impossible.”
More than likely, Klopp said, Coutinho will return sometime in mid-January. “I don’t think it will be a long time.”
The German also spoke about the upcoming match with Stoke, referring to it as a forgotten match between games against Everton and Manchester City. “It’s like if you are the middle of three kids. Stoke is between Everton and Manchester City. A lot of people think we already have the points.” Apologies to all the middle kids out there.
LAUSANNE, Switzerland (AP) Former France winger Florent Malouda has lost his appeal against being ruled ineligible to play for French Guiana at the 2017 Gold Cup.
The Court of Arbitration for Sport says its judges dismissed Malouda’s appeal against North American soccer body CONCACAF.
French Guiana fielded Malouda in a 0-0 draw against Honduras last July despite being told he was not eligible. CONCACAF awarded a 3-0 win to Honduras and suspended Malouda.
The Gold Cup uses FIFA eligibility rules which bar players from transferring allegiance after playing a competitive game for one country.
Malouda played 80 times for France including a 2006 World Cup final loss against Italy.
The French Guiana soccer federation hoped Malouda, now aged 37, could play in the Gold Cup because it is not a FIFA member.
A U.S. Men’s National Team forward will probably have to wait a bit longer to come to Major League Soccer if that is the path that he chooses.
Reports have recently surfaced linking Bobby Wood to MLS at the conclusion of the Bundesliga season, however, MLSSoccer.com is reporting that a move for the American likely won’t come in 2018.
Wood, who remains under contract for three more seasons at Hamburg, is currently fighting relegation in Germany with his club side.
Hamburg currently sits 17th in the German top flight, eight points buried in the relegation zone with four matches remaining.
The MLSSoccer.com report suggests that MLS clubs aren’t willing to compensate Wood at the current rate of his contract in Germany.
Currently, Wood is making “several million dollars” per season, and even if Hamburg is relegated in 2017/18 Wood’s contract wouldn’t decrease to a number that clubs are comfortable paying.
If Wood was to join MLS, he would be considered a Discovery signing as he is not currently on the MLS player allocation list. The Washington Post previously reported that an MLS club has Wood included on their Discovery list, although the team’s identity isn’t known.
Marouane Fellaini‘s time in Manchester looks to be numbered, and a move abroad could have the Belgian in line for one last payday during his career.
The Manchester United midfielder has rejected multiple offers to stay on at Old Trafford ahead of his contract expiring this summer, which would allow Fellaini to pursue other opportunities come June.
Fellaini is being linked to moves to Major League Soccer and the Chinese Super League, as the veteran aims to secure a sizable contract upon leaving the Red Devils after over five-and-a-half years with the club.
The Daily Mail is also reporting that Fellaini would be open to hearing options that could keep him in the Premier League, although it is unclear if there is any serious interest from English sides at this time.
Since the arrivals of Paul Pogba and Nemanja Matic, Fellaini has struggled to find playing time under manager Jose Mourinho.
This season, the Belgium international has appeared in just 14 PL matches and 19 in all competitions. Fellaini has scored four goals in that span.
The Chicago Fire won’t be moving into a new stadium 2019, however, their venue will have a new name donned on the side of it.
For years, the Eastern Conference side has played its home matches at Toyota Park in Bridgeview, Illinois, but starting next season the Fire’s home turf will be called SeatGeek Stadium as part of a rebrand.
SeatGeek is one of the largest online after-market ticket distributors, and was created back in 2009.
Toyota Park will undergo its transformation at the conclusion of the 2018 MLS season.
The venue is also home to the NWSL’s Chicago Red Stars.