Eduardo Berizzo

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Sevilla fires manager Berizzo one week after cancer surgery return

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Sevilla doesn’t care about timing.

Yes, it’s the holiday season and, sure, their manager has just come back from cancer surgery, but this is La Liga and they’ve got a season to save at Sevilla.

Eduardo Berizzo, a week returned from prostate cancer surgery, has been fired by the fifth place La Liga club, which is set to meet Manchester United next in the UEFA Champions League.

[ ARSENAL-LIVERPOOL: Recap | 3 things | Stars/duds ]

You’ll remember that Berizzo reportedly told his players of his diagnosis at halftime of a 3-3 comeback against Liverpool in the UEFA Champions League.

Here to answer the media’s awkward questions is Sevilla chairman Jose Castro.

“It’s a complicated and painful decision because it always is when you need to dismiss somebody, even more so with someone like Eduardo – a great person and a magnificent professional. But there are moments when you have to take appropriate decisions for the club. There had been a bad run of results and the impressions we were getting from our game give us reason to make this decision – because the reality is we weren’t seeing the project as in the ascendancy. There is an important budget and a responsibility to the club members to always achieve the maximum. We didn’t see ourselves as on the ideal road for that.”

Now he’s out of a job, with Sevilla out of action until a Copa del Rey match on Jan. 3. They restart La Liga play on Jan. 6.

The 48-year-old Berizzo led O’Higgins to a Chilean title before taking over at Celta Vigo, where he led the club to the semifinals of the Europa League. He’s also denied making a now infamous and bizarre rant against homosexuality in football stemming from his time in France.

In this first season at Sevilla, he finished 14W-6D-7L and, of course, missed time with cancer surgery. All seven losses came on the road, with defeats at Barcelona, Spartak Moscow, Real Madrid, Atletico Madrid, Athletic Bilbao, Valencia, and Real Sociedad.

Sevilla manager reportedly told team of cancer diagnosis at half

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When it comes to locker room tales, few compare to this one.

Any big comeback, especially one as high profile as Sevilla’s stunning second half against Liverpool, inspires the question, “What was said in the team room at halftime?!?”

Down 3-0 at halftime and in danger of bowing out of the UEFA Champions League, Sevilla manager Eduardo Berizzo gave his team some very serious news.

[ MORE: Liverpool fan trouble in Sevilla ]

According to Spanish reports relayed by The Telegraph, Berizzo informed his players of his prostate cancer diagnosis.

Sevilla confirmed that Berizzo is battling adenocarcinoma, saying, “Future medical tests will determine a course of treatment. Sevilla FC wants to show maximum support to its manager in these moments and wishes him a prompt recovery.”

It adds extra weight to Ever Banega’s postgame comments:

“We have to go out there with that attitude, for the fans that always back us and for the coach who has turned this around. He is the most important of all of us, he has us on the right path and we are with him to the hilt.”

Our best to Berizzo, and — sorry Reds supporters — it’s pretty cool Sevilla was able to rally after such stunning news.

Klopp on dominant Liverpool’s late lost lead, Sevilla scuffle

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That little touch line altercation between Liverpool’s Jurgen Klopp and Sevilla’s bench staff? No big deal, says Klopp.

The Reds’ boss says Sevilla’s staff accused him of lobbying for manager Eduardo Berizzo to be sent off, which he was, in Liverpool’s 2-2 draw with Sevilla at Anfield in UEFA Champions League play on Wednesday.

[ MORE: Pulisic on Wembley loss, Lalas rant ]

“The coach was no problem, but I do not think I had any decision on the referee,” Klopp said. “I did not ask for it. The people on their bench thought I was responsible for his red card and did not like me too much.”

Klopp’s men went down early when Dejan Lovren‘s weak intervention went awry, allowing a pass to Wissam Ben Yedder on the doorstep.

Roberto Firmino and Mohamed Saleh gave the hosts a 2-1 lead, before Firmino missed a penalty. The Reds dominated the game and chances, but Joaquin Correa made sure both sides earned points with a late goal.

Klopp’s diagnosis was an odd one, at least considering the result.

“It was pretty much a winning performance for 85-86 minutes and the team played well against a side who play well. We had answers for everything apart from the goals. I have to see them again. That is not the good thing. It was an exciting game from my side, everyone saw our desire and passion but we got a point.”

I get the underlying point, but doesn’t Klopp’s assertion that they were fine apart from the goals meet the general criticism of his teams’ defensive performances? And doesn’t it sound like the old “Apart from that, Mrs. Lincoln, how was the play?” cliche?

Anyway, a draw with Sevilla is not the end of the world, especially in a group with Maribor and Spartak Moscow. Essentially, the Reds have three-plus months to sort out their back line, and may just need the January transfer window.