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Liverpool: “We could have scored more” in rout of Porto


Sure, sending Porto to its worst home loss in history is impressive, but Liverpool midfielder James Milner gave a frank assessment of his side’s 5-0 first leg UEFA Champions League Round of 16 win on Wednesday.

“I thought we could have scored more,” Milner said.

[ RECAP: Porto 0-5 Liverpool ]

Sadio Mane scored thrice for Liverpool, and Mohamed Salah and Roberto Firmino also netted for the Reds in the victory.

Mane had been going through a bit of a dry patch, and this will go a long way toward reclaiming his status as one of the club’s best finishers.

Here’s Milner, from the BBC:

“Sadio Mane does his job and does a great job for the team. People see his flair and the goals that he scores but he does a great job working for the team.”

Mane was a bit less effusive than Milner when it came to the Reds’ win.

“Honestly it was not an easy game even if we scored five,” Mane said. “We played great football from the beginning to the end.”

Champions League Weds preview: Real hosts PSG; Liverpool away

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  • Real Madrid are two-time defending champions
  • PSG blanked by Real in 2015-16 UCL group stage
  • Liverpool has eliminated Porto from 2001, 2007 European tournaments

Two of the world’s highest-profile sides meet at the Bernabeu, and Jurgen Klopp tests his UEFA Champions League mettle with an away first leg in Wednesday’s Round of 16 duels.

[ PL PLAYBACK: Moving week arrives ]

Two managerial seats which are seemingly always hot will be as fiery as ever when Paris Saint-Germain visits Real Madrid.

PSG is cruising through Ligue 1, but winning a Champions League medal has been 1a and 1b for Les Parisiens for some time. Manager Unai Emery is no stranger to European success and then some, a verifiable Europa League legend at Sevilla, and sends a trident led by spotlight-craving Neymar and featuring ruthless Edinson Cavani and Kylian Mbappe into the fray.

Not one of the three will feel too out of place in such a big spot, nor will Zinedine Zidane. But Real Madrid‘s manager works under the employ of Florentino Perez, who had the fidelity of Henry VIII without the spousal executions or the singable song.

Real has won three of four in La Liga to steady a wobbly ship, but is out of the Copa del Rey and sits 17 points back of Barcelona with a match-in-hand. The glory-hungry crowd will be champing at the bit for their side in the UCL, which is hoping to see the first threepeating UCL champions since Bayern Munich more than 40 years ago. Suffice to say, their whistles are prepared for the slightest sign of failure.

Then, there’s Liverpool, who at times this season have been the most irrepressible side in the Premier League and have rollicked through 2018 aside from a sadly typical stumble against Swansea City — which doesn’t look so bad given Swans’ continued success — and a bombing out of the FA Cup.

The Champions League, however, has been anything but a cakewalk for the Reds despite a seemingly simple group. After impressing in a qualifying tie with Hoffenheim, the Reds threw away a 2-1 home lead against Sevilla, drew at Spartak Moscow, and then tossed aside a 3-0 away lead at Sevilla over the first five matches of the group stage before pile-driving Spartak at Anfield to waltz into the Round of 16.

Opponents Porto aren’t short on confidence, and first-year manager Sergio Conceicao has the side on top of Portugal’s top flight in a congested three-team race for first. He’s won Serie A, Primera Liga, and Cup Winners’ Cup glory as a player, but would love to put some high managerial lines on his resume.

Vincent Aboubakar and Moussa Merega have combined for 31 league goals between the two, with Algerian playmaker Yacine Brahimi rested at the weekend with five goals and six assists on his resume. There’s also Mexico’s trio of Porto stars, including captain Hector Herrera, Diego Reyes, and Jesus Corona.

Report: Chicago Fire chasing former Colombian wonderkid Quintero

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The Chicago Fire could make a big splash this MLS offseason or next summer with the latest name rumored to head to the Windy City.

According to a report from The Athletic, the Fire are in negotiations once more to sign Colombian playmaker Juan Fernando Quintero. The Fire nearly signed Quintero last July but reportedly couldn’t agree on a transfer fee with Quintero’s parent club, Porto.

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Quintero is currently in the midst of a career revival. Following his impressive debut for Los Cafeteros at the 2014 World Cup, Quintero was hailed as the next star after James Rodriguez for Colombia. But he nearly fell off the map for both club and country, and there were rumors he was ready to quit soccer to pursue a music career.

In January 2017, he returned on loan to his native Colombia to play for Indepediente Medellin, arch rivals of his former side Atletico Nacional. Since coming home, he’s found some of his old form that made jaws drop both in South America and abroad, scoring 13 goals in 25 league matches and another two goals in five Copa Sudamericana matches.

The report states that it appeared Quintero would move to Sevilla in the upcoming transfer window with his loan to Indepediente complete, but Sevilla has reportedly turned its sights on Wesley Sneijder, leaving Quintero available for a club like the Fire.

The Fire meanwhile are looking to make a splash this offseason, with Real Madrid legend Iker Casillas even mentioned as a possible signing.

Bastian Schweinsteiger is currently a free agent, though there’s a chance he could return for another season as well.


UCL AT HALF: More Ronaldo history, Liverpool rolling (video)

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As it stands, Liverpool, Sevilla, Shakhtar Donetsk, and Porto will claim the final four places in the UEFA Champions League knockout rounds.

[ MORE: Dele’s new agent ]

Two teams, Liverpool and Porto, are doing so in style.

Tottenham Hotspur 2-0 APOEL Nicosia

Fernando Llorente has Spurs’ opener and set up Heung-Min Son for Tottenham’s second before the break as a mostly second-choice side is carrying play at Wembley Stadium.

RB Leipzig 0-1 Besiktas

An Alvaro Negredo penalty kick has the group winners leading on the road.

Liverpool 3-0 Spartak Moscow

Philippe Coutinho has two, including the cherry on top of this nice team goal, and Roberto Firmino also player a part in the Reds scoring thrice in the first 19 minutes.

Porto 3-0 Monaco

Porto is down a man but up three goals. Vincent Aboubakar has bested his UEFA Champions League single season record with his fourth and fifth goals of the group stage. Yacine Brahimi has the other goal.

Shakhtar Donetsk 2-0 Manchester City

Tosin Adarabioyo and Phil Foden are part of a young City back four, and the Premier League leaders’ unbeaten run in all competitions is in danger thanks to Bernard’s 26th minute arrow from the left and an Ismaily goal six minutes later.

Feyenoord 1-1 Napoli

They’ve traded goals at De Kuip, with Napoli opening the scoring in the second minute.

Maribor 1-0 Sevilla

Brazilian attacker Marcos Tavares has the Slovenian hosts on top.

Real Madrid 2-1 Borussia Dortmund

Borja Mayoral opened the scoring, then Cristiano Ronaldo made his next bit of history to make it 2-0 in the 12th minute. Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang pulled one back late.

Newcastle linked with trio of players from three leagues

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Newcastle United could be on the verge of not just its first, but its second and third new names of the offseason.

That doesn’t count their purchase of Christian Atsu from Chelsea after the Ghanaian spent last season on loan at St. James Park.

So who are the names reportedly heading to Rafa Benitez in Northeast England?

[ REPORT: Whitecaps bid for Besiktas’ Hutchinson ]

  • Cameroon striker Vincent Aboubakar could make his way to England after the Magpies reportedly offered him $3 million per year in wages. Rennes was also said to be interested in the Porto striker, who spent last season on loan at Besiktas (The Express).
  • The same report says Newcastle have triggered an $11 million release clause from Eibar defender Florian Lejeune. The 26-year-old is a center back who can also handled defensive midfielder, and was by far Eibar’s best player last season according to advanced stats site Squawka.
  • Torino midfielder Afriyie Acquah has said he’s got a move to England planned to the tune of “90 percent complete.” Fans are connecting the dots after Acquah followed Newcastle United on Twitter on Monday. 2017!

Lejeune is especially interesting given he signed for Manchester City but never made an appearance for them. Aboubakar has 57 caps with 17 goals for Cameroon, and is coming off his best club season since 2013. Acquah is a bit of an unknown at club level, and has 18 caps for Ghana.