Watch Live: Everton vs. Liverpool (Lineups and Discuss)

Leave a comment

Good morning and welcome to the Merseyside Derby! Yes, today is the day that Everton and Liverpool come together at Goodison Park to determine whether the blue side or the red side of town will carry the season’s first bragging rights (7:45 am ET, watch live on NBCSN and online via NBC Sports Live Extra).

While any meeting between these two rivals is considered a big event, this match carries some big implications. If Everton win, they pull even with Liverpool on points. Should the Reds walk away with a victory, they’ll go above Arsenal and back into first place — temporarily, at least, pending the outcome of the Gunners’ clash with Southampton.

As much as the hosts would like to put one over on their rivals, Everton also could really just do with a win. Roberto Martinez’s men seem to have gone backward, sitting on two straight goalless draws. And yes, Romelu Lukaku was involved in both. The Toffees could really use some help today from their on-loan Belgian, who starts alone up top, while Ross Barkley replaces Leon Osman, who drops to the bench.

Liverpool, of course, will be starting Luis Suarez up top, as it’s hard to argue with eight goals in seven matches. Daniel Sturridge, too, has eight goals, his from eleven games, but he’ll start on the bench today, thanks to a lingering knock not made any better by his time spent in the England side. It’s Joe Allen that takes his place, while Philippe Coutinho also gets the nod today.

Lineups

Everton Starting XI: Howard, Baines, Distin, Jagielka, Coleman, Barry, McCarthy, Pienaar, Barkley, Mirallas, Lukaku

Subs: Robles, Heitinga, Jelavic, Deulofeu, Naismith, Osman, Stones

Liverpool Starting XI: Mignolet, Johnson, Flanagan, Agger, Skrtel, Lucas, Gerrard, Allen, Henderson, Coutinho, Suarez

Subs: Jones, Toure, Alberto, Moses, Sturridge, Sakho, Sterling

Report: Newcastle activates $12m release clause of ex-Arsenal youth

Photo by Burak Kara/Getty Images
Leave a comment

Reports out of Turkey say Newcastle United have finally struck the transfer market for a new No. 10.

[ MORE: West Ham adds Diop ]

Aksam reports that Rafa Benitez got the Magpies hierarchy to activate a near $12 million release clause for Besiktas midfielder Oguzhan Ozyakup.

The 25-year-old was part of Arsenal’s youth set-up until 2012, making two League Cup appearances in 2011-12 before moving to Besiktas.

Dutch-born Ozyakup is 35-times capped with a goal for Turkey, twice captaining the Crescent-Stars.

Ozyakup lost playing time to Talisca this season, and registered just four assists in 24 appearances. In 219 appearances for Besiktas, he’s posted 27 goals with 50 assists.

Like the move for Newcastle?

Lukaku pens inspiring post on hard-scrabble upbringing

AP Photo/Matthias Schrader
Leave a comment

Manchester United and Belgium striker Romelu Lukaku has an inspiring and emotional post in The Players’ Tribune which tugs at the heart strings and explains his competitive fire.

[ MORE: West Ham adds Diop ]

Lukaku talks about how his family’s poverty caused him to become a fierce competitor in the hopes of meeting his dreams head-on and providing for his family.

The Belgian, 25, scored twice in his side’s 3-0 World Cup-opening win over Panama earlier this week, and is now far removed from his youth, but he tells his story as if it lives fresh in his mind.

From The Players’ Tribune:

There were even times when my mum had to “borrow” bread from the bakery down the street. The bakers knew me and my little brother, so they’d let her take a loaf of bread on Monday and pay them back on Friday.

Lukaku also talks about racism in football, his debut for Anderlecht, and that aforementioned competitive drive. It’s 100 percent worth the read.

West Ham signs club record center back from Toulouse

whufc.com
Leave a comment

West Ham has reportedly set a club record with its latest signing under new manager Manuel Pellegrini.

Issa Diop is the player, the 21-year-old Toulouse captain and center back costing the Irons around $29 million.

[ MORE: Arsenal signs Leno ]

Diop scored three goals with an assist and eight yellow cards in 31 Ligue 1 matches this season, giving the young defender 95 apps, six goals, three assists, and 23 yellows since debuting with the senior team at 18.

Capped by France at every level below the senior team, Diop’s 2.2 interceptions per game ranked sixth in Ligue 1.

Toulose finished 18th in Ligue 1, but won its promotion/relegation playoff to stay in the French top flight.

From WHUFC.com:

“I am very happy to sign for such a historic, English club, and I hope to show my best here. I am a very ambitious player and West Ham is a very ambitious club, as we’ve seen with the appointment of the new coach. I hope to help the team win lots of games and make the fans happy.”

Layla’s Occasionally Unbiased Football Show: Episode 3

Leave a comment

In the third episode of Layla’s Occasionally Unbiased Football Show, England pulls out a massive win while VAR finds its way into the World Cup spotlight.

[ LIVE: World Cup scores ] 

There will be plenty more to come over the next few weeks, with the show coming via the Men In Blazers.

Click play on the video above to watch the first episode in full.