Another look at the Diego Costa to Liverpool situation

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Liverpool appear to be on their way to a fifth purchase in this summer’s transfer market, having submitted a $32 million (£21m) offer to Atletico Madrid for striker Diego Costa.

The bid is widely believed to have triggered the 24 year old’s release clause meaning the Reds may soon have a fifth top striker on their books come next week.

No transfer swoop would be complete, of course, without its fair share of controversy.

The first potential stumbling block in the Reds move is the aforementioned release clause. While many sources ‘believe’ it has been triggered, no one is totally convinced that such a clause actually exists.

If there is a clause and Liverpool have triggered it, then Costa is headed to the Kop pending personal terms and a medical.

If there is no such clause, then the issue is whether Los Colchoneros are willing to part with the Brazilian marksman.

The BBC and Sky Sports claim Atletico boss Diego Simeone has hinted that Costa could be allowed to move following David Villa’s arrival from Barcelona. The signing of Leo Baptistao from Rayo Vallecano only helps this point, as some believe the mere presence of the two arrivals may render Costa surplus goods.

But The Guardian notes that as of late Thursday, Atleti are denying having received an offer telling Spanish newspaper AS that the striker was not for sale.

If this feels like a bargaining standpoint that’s because it probably is.

As for Liverpool, pre-existing issues have (justifiably) made them weary of speaking to journalists in any sort of direct manner. Manager Brendan Rodgers did note earlier this week, however, that the club would bring in new signings if they were of “the right quality.”

Which makes sense, because bringing in players who are crap tends not to sit well with supporters.

So, is Diego Costa the right quality?

The powerful (6’2″) striker enjoyed a breakout season last year, firing 10 goals in 37 La Liga appearances and 20 in 44 games in all competitions. His style is raw and built on power.

He likes to drive at defenses, bullying them through the use of sheer athleticism and desire. He is a hustler. He breathes down the neck of opponents while on defense and selflessly drops deep to operate as a second striker in support of the front line.

Costa lacks the typical technique and agility seen in most Brazilian footballers. Instead, he is the product of a street soccer upbringing that didn’t see him play for an organized team until he was 16 years old when he found himself fed up with not being able to afford to take girls on dates. Thus, his late-blooming breakout.

In short, he is lightning in a bottle. It’s a fury that is both his blessing and his downfall with Costa prone to fiery outbursts and, at times, overly-focusing on winding opposing players up rather than winning the match.

It’s a temperament that many will note Liverpool already has in the likes of Luis Suarez, Iago Aspas, and, to some extent, Daniel Sturridge. Some feel that the bid for Costa could indicate Liverpool’s desire for the Brazilian to succeed Suarez although higher-ups at Anfield scoff at the notion.

Either way, if Costa makes his way to Liverpool competition for spots up front will be fierce.

A drastic difference to where Liverpool found themselves at the beginning of last year.

Chelsea needs to wait “48 hours” to assess Mount

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Mason Mount‘s move from the Championship to the Premier League has been nearly seamless.

His adjustment to the Champions League was cut down too quickly to get an understanding of whether it would be too big of a jump.

[ MORE: Match recap | Barkley drama ]

Mount, 20, was chopped down by Valencia’s Francis Coquelin, the former Arsenal man, and had to leave the game after just 16 minutes.

Here’s Frank Lampard, from ChelseaFC.com:

“He’s got an ankle injury but we don’t know how bad it is. We’ll have to assess it in the next 48 hours to see the scale of the injury. It was a shame because he started the game well and it meant we had to make the change early on.”

Mount scored nine times with four assists on loan under Lampard at Derby County last season, and has already chipped in three goals for Chelsea this season.

Lampard turned to Pedro off the bench on Tuesday, but any lengthy absence for Mount will spell more time for American youngster Christian Pulisic.

UEFA Champions League Wednesday preview: Man City, Spurs debut

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Manchester City and Tottenham Hotspur begin their UEFA Champions League campaigns on very different results and with very different vibes.

City is coming off a stunning 3-2 loss to injury-hit Norwich City, and is set up in Ukraine to face Shakhtar Donetsk for the third-straight season, a side which beat Pep Guardiola once in four tries between 2017/18 and 2018/19 in the UCL.

[ MORE: UCL Tues. wrap ]

But on Wednesday, Guardiola’s men are going to carry a similar feel to one of his old Barcelona teams, as Pep seemingly will have Fernandinho pull a Javier Mascherano and drop into the back line.

Yes, Fernandinho and Nicolas Otamendi are Manchester City’s hopes at center back, now that John Stones has joined Aymeric Laporte on the shelf.

“For me as a manager it’s an incredible challenge,” said Pep Guardiola. “But I believe a lot, people don’t know the spirit and resolve to solve this problem. The players going to come back with Dinho, Eric Garcia, Taylor Harwood-Bellis. … It’s happened, but what we are not going to do is complain. We have to have 11 players on the pitch and I like it, to find a solution. For the players as well to find an incredible step forward.”

Spurs, meanwhile, will simply be trying to build on any momentum gained by a 4-0 demolition of Crystal Palace at the weekend, a win which came after manager Mauricio Pochettino begged his side to “re-focus” after a relatively poor start to the season.

Now a bit more relaxed, Spurs head to Greece as the clear favorites against stingy Olympiacos. These are, after all, the finalists of last season’s tournament.

Pochettino won’t be sleeping on the challenge, from The London Evening Standard:

“They have good players and if we are not focused and don’t take our best game we are going to suffer. But last season we played in the final of Champions League, so it’s normal people think before the game, Tottenham is one step above Olympiacos but in the end you need to show it on the pitch.”

Spurs are one of two early kickoffs on Tuesday.

Full UCL Wednesday schedule

12:55 p.m. ET
Club Brugge v. Galatasaray
Olympiacos v. Tottenham Hotspur

3 p.m. ET
Bayer Leverkusen v. Lokomotiv Moscow
Paris Saint-Germain v. Real Madrid
Atletico Madrid v. Juventus
Dinamo Zagreb v. Atalanta
Bayern Munich v. Red Star Belgrade
Shakhtar Donetsk v. Manchester City

American coach Marsch speaks after landmark Champions League day

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Jesse Marsch made his UEFA Champions League debut on Tuesday, a historic first for not just the Wisconsin native but also his country.

Marsch, 45, oversaw Red Bull Salzburg’s 6-2 demolition of Genk, becoming the first American to win a UCL match as manager.

[ MORE: Champions League Tues. wrap ]

“We knew we were going into the match full of confidence,” he said, via the Salzburg site. “We knew too that we could put in a performance of this quality. I wasn’t pleased with a few situations, such as conceding for 3-1. That shows our incredible mentality though as it prompted us to give a few more percent and immediately score two goals.”

The ex-New York Red Bulls manager and RB Leipzig assistant manager got another three goals from incredible 19-year-old striker Erling Braut Haland, who nows has 17 goals in nine matches this season.

“It is an absolute joy to work with this team. We have a lot of players who just know how to battle, and that rubs off on the others. You can see that on the pitch on nights like tonight.”

There will be tougher nights ahead for Marsch, who is in a group with Liverpool and Napoli, but Tuesday was a fine start for the tactician. And it was a banner moment for American coaches abroad, who’ve been led by past and present USMNT coaches Bob Bradley and Gregg Berhalter.

Maybe one day that’ll be Marsch’s title… but it seems like he may have some loftier ground to cover on his path through world soccer.

Klopp: Liverpool made wrong decisions; Penalty also incorrect

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Liverpool boss Jurgen Klopp is going to bat for his left back after Andrew Robertson gave away what became the decisive penalty in a 2-0 loss to Napoli in UEFA Champions League action on Tuesday.

“I don’t think it’s a penalty,” Klopp said. “What can I say, for me, it is clear and obvious no penalty. He jumps before any contact, we can’t change that.”

[ RECAP: Napoli 2-0 Liverpool ]

For what it’s worth: It sure seemed like both a foul on Robertson and a comical embellishment from Callejon, but we digress.

Liverpool just didn’t have it on the day, like when Sadio Mane played a terrible pass to Mohamed Salah on what could’ve been an easy 1-0 lead.

In the moments they did have it, there was Napoli goalkeeper Alex Meret making a splendid save.

“We played a lot of good football but didn’t finish it off. We controlled moments but had not enough chances in the end. We made decisions that were not right and have to accept the result. It was very often the final ball that was not right.”

Also, forgive Klopp if he has stopped enjoying the beautiful country of Italy.