The Anfield Wrap on Liverpool ahead of U.S. tour: ‘They are in a new phase’
Liverpool are still in the hunt for a top four finish but Jurgen Klopp is now in charge of a big rebuilding process as the Reds are in ‘a new phase’ as they transition from the German’s first seven years in charge.
[ MORE: How to watch Premier League in USA ]
That is the view of Neil Atkinson from The Anfield Wrap (TAW) and it will be intriguing to see how Klopp reshapes his playing philosophy, adds to his squad and how it all slots together over the next few years.
TAW are bringing their show to North America with their ‘TAW Live’ tour taking place from Wednesday, Mar. 22 to Monday, Mar. 27, with shows in Toronto, Detroit, Boston, New York, Philadelphia and Washington D.C.
TAW host Neil Atkinson joined Brad Thomas and Drew Dinsick on NBC Sports’ Soccer Pub to discuss what he thinks of topsy-turvy Liverpool this season and what their identity could become in the future.
Klopp has ‘never had to do this’ before
“I think this is the key question for the next phase of Jurgen Klopp,” Atkinson said. “He has never had to do this before. He’s done seven years at Mainz, seven years at Dortmund and he’s now done seven years at Liverpool. Jurgen has signed his new deal and is staying until 2026 and now what he’s got to do is transition this football team in a way he hasn’t had to do in the past.
“I think that is an interesting challenge. Sides get used to the way you play and players themselves can become a little bit stale and there is also you yourself and how you see the game and how you’re going to interact with the game as a manager. I don’t think he’s had to do this in any of his other jobs. He’s done unbelievable jobs everywhere he has been, including Liverpool, but this is a new phase.”
THE TOUR IS THIS WEEK! 🇺🇸🇨🇦
75% of tickets for our North American tour are now sold with two shows sold out 🚨
🇺🇸 Detroit // Sold Out
🇺🇸 Boston // TEN tickets left
🇺🇸 New York
🇺🇸 DC // Sold Out
Get yours before they're gone 🎟👇https://t.co/oXxrDxB19n pic.twitter.com/rgXqeUCuAn
— The Anfield Wrap (@TheAnfieldWrap) March 20, 2023
Transition has arrived for the Reds. But what will it look like?
“The key question for Liverpool is Liverpool are clearly in transition, that is clear and apparent. That happens to a lot of sides and some sides manage to change and stay at the top, Liverpool haven’t managed to succeed in that. Last season they were beginning that process and last season you saw a bit of transition from Liverpool but not as much as you’ve seen now and they haven’t managed to stay at the top and the Champions League this campaign.
“What is it moving to? Is it simply different players? Or is he looking to change his approach a little bit? Is he looking to add creativity to the side? What does that come at the expense of? I think that is a key question. On the whole I feel like talk of Liverpool’s overall demise is vastly overstated. I think it is a side that will right itself. There have been injury issues this year, I don’t think a number of the players and coaching staff have had their best season by any stretch of the imagination, but I think they will come back strong.”
Top four finish essential this season
“I’m of the view that as long as they can find a way to a top four finish then I feel they will summer strongly and they will be able to come out of the other side and we will really be able to see what the next phase of Jurgen Klopp’s blueprint is. I am absolutely certain he has a blueprint and has a way he wants this team to play and knows which players he wants to keep and move on. I think we will see that again in the summer and Liverpool come again. But it is important for Liverpool to come top four.”
🎥𝗢𝗨𝗧 𝗡𝗢𝗪 | JÜRGEN | Part One: The Challenge
By The Anfield Wrap and supported by ERDINGER
— The Anfield Wrap (@TheAnfieldWrap) December 6, 2022
EURO 2024 qualification schedule: EURO qualifiers results, standings
EURO 2024 qualifying is here, and you’re in the right spot for groups, fixtures, and results.
Italy outlasted England in penalty kicks to win EURO 2020 and is bidding to become the first repeat winner since Spain in 2008 and 2012.
[ MORE: Breaking down Premier League title race ]
England is still seeking its first European Championship and will be favored to emerge from Group C with aforementioned Italy as well as Ukraine, North Macedonia, and Malta.
Netherlands and France are also in a spicy group that has dark horse Republic of Ireland and former champions Greece, as well as Gibraltar.
A number of nations have guaranteed themselves no worse than a playoff spot due to their performances in the UEFA Nations League: Netherlands, Greece, Italy, Spain, Scotland, Georgia, Croatia, Turkey, Serbia, Kazakhstan.
EURO 2024 qualifying schedule
Thursday, March 23
Kazakhstan vs Slovenia — 11am ET
Slovakia vs Luxembourg — 3:45pm ET
Italy vs England — 3:45pm ET
Denmark vs Finland — 3:45pm ET
Portugal vs Liechtenstein — 3:45pm ET
San Marino vs Northern Ireland — 3:45pm ET
North Macedonia vs Malta — 3:45pm ET
Bosnia and Herzegovina vs Iceland — 3:45pm ET
Friday, March 24
Bulgaria vs Montenegro — 1pm ET
Gibraltar vs Greece — 3:45pm ET
Moldova vs Faroe Islands — 3:45pm ET
Serbia vs Lithuania — 3:45pm ET
Austria vs Azerbaijan — 3:45pm ET
Sweden vs Belgium– 3:45pm ET
Czech Republic vs Poland — 3:45pm ET
France vs Netherlands — 3:45pm ET
Saturday, March 25
Scotland vs Cyprus — 10am ET
Israel vs Kosovo — 1pm ET
Armenia vs Turkey — 1pm ET
Belarus vs Switzerland — 1pm ET
Spain vs Norway — 3:45pm ET
Croatia vs Wales — 3:45pm ET
Andorra vs Romania — 3:45pm ET
Sunday, March 26
Kazakhstan vs Denmark — 9am ET
England vs Ukraine — Noon ET
Liechtenstein vs Iceland — Noon ET
Slovenia vs San Marino — Noon ET
Slovakia vs Bosnia and Herzegovina — 2:45pm ET
Northern Ireland vs Finland — 2:45pm ET
Luxembourg vs Portugal — 2:45pm ET
Malta vs Italy — 2:45pm ET
Monday, March 27
Montenegro vs Serbia — 2:45pm ET
Netherlands vs Gibraltar — 2:45pm ET
Poland vs Albania — 2:45pm ET
Austria vs Estonia — 2:45pm ET
Sweden vs Azerbaijan — 2:45pm ET
Moldova vs Czech Republic — 2:45pm ET
Hungary vs Bulgaria — 2:45pm ET
Republic of Ireland vs France — 2:45pm ET
Tuesday, March 28
Georgia vs Norway — Noon ET
Wales vs Latvia — 2:45pm ET
Romania vs Belarus — 2:45pm ET
Switzerland vs Israel — 2:45pm ET
Kosovo vs Andorra — 2:45pm ET
Turkey vs Croatia — 2:45pm ET
Scotland vs Spain — 2:45pm ET
EURO 2024 qualifying standings
Republic of Ireland
Bosnia and Herzegovina
Mesut Ozil retires at 34; World Cup winner won four FA Cups with Arsenal
Enigmatic and undeniably gifted, World Cup winner Mesut Ozil has called time on his playing career at age 34.
Ozil joined Istanbul Basaksehir last summer but appeared just seven times for the first team, totallling 142 minutes due to continued back troubles.
[ MORE: Breaking down Premier League title race ]
The 92-times capped German international is best known for his time at Arsenal and Real Madrid but came through the youth ranks at Schalke before breaking onto the international stage with Werder Bremen.
Ozil registered 54 assists across three La Liga seasons with Real Madrid, and came within one assist of Thierry Henry’s Premier League record when he set up 19 goals in the 2015-16 season.
He finished his Arsenal career with 44 goals and 79 assists in 254 appearances.
Here’s part of his announcement, from Instagram:
“I’ve had the privilege to be a professional football player for almost 17 years now and I feel incredibly thankful for the opportunity but in recent weeks and months, having also suffered some injuries, it’s become more and more clear that it’s time to leave the big stage of football.”
Ozil won the 2014 World Cup with Germany and scored in the 2010 and 2014 editions of football’s top international showcase. He claimed four FA Cups with Arsenal, the German Cup with Werder Bremen, and Copa del Rey and La Liga honors with Real.
Outspoken on social issues, Ozil was the subject of some controversy over statements denouncing Chinese internment camps and the treatment of Uyghurs in the country.
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Premier League top scorers: Who is leading Golden Boot race?
Harry Kane scored twice on Saturday to give him 20 goals on the Premier League season, and impressive figure with 10-plus matches left for the teams of the Premier League this season.
Then Erling Haaland converted a penalty at Crystal Palace to give him 28 on the season, reminding the country that the Golden Boot race remains in fait accompli territory.
[ MORE: How to watch Premier League in USA ]
There is something somewhat dull about knowing the identity of the 2022 Golden Boot winner, the lone curiosity being the final number of his final tally, we get it, but most of what Haaland is doing this season is simply marvelous and to be admired without much fear.
Haaland’s Premier League-leading 28 goals have him seven goals clear of the next closest challenger: Tottenham’s fantastic and firing Harry Kane.
The Norwegian star piled up 20 goals in a single Premier League season faster than any player in history… by seven games (Kevin Phillips of Sunderland did it in 21). Now he’s within five goals of equalling Kevin Phillips’ record for most goals in a debut Premier League season.
And the later this season goes with him projected so far over the current record, the less chucking is accompanied by marking out the pace (especially considering Haaland was not beaten up by the World Cup, as Norway was not in the tournament). And even though Haaland is currently overperforming his expected goals total, it’s clear that projecting him for the Premier League record is rather realistic.
Which records can Haaland break?
Haaland may not be likely to hit 50 goals given the schedule congestion to come for Man City, but the Premier League record is very well under assault and that figure isn’t entirely absurd. He’s played in 23 of Man City’s 24 games, scoring 26 goals.
Mohamed Salah holds the 38-game season record with his 32 goals scored for Liverpool during the 2017-18 season, while Newcastle’s Andy Cole and Blackburn’s Alan Shearer bagged 34 during 42-game seasons in the 20th century’s final decade.
Haaland also could topple the record for goal involvements (goals plus assists) in a single season, including beating the 42-game record. Alan Shearer put up 47 over 42, while Thierry Henry holds the 38-game record with 44.
Other records that Haaland could legitimately tie or topple:
- 30 goals in a first Premier League season (Kevin Phillips, Sunderland, 1999-2000)
- Goals in 24 different Premier League matches (Salah, Liverpool, 2017-18)
- Most goals in a Premier League match (Five tied with five)
- 11-straight Premier League games with a goal (Jamie Vardy, Leicester, 2014-15)
Read on to see the latest Premier League goal totals for the 2022-23 season, as Haaland looks to claim a Golden Boot in his first PL season.
Premier League 2022-23 Golden Boot race
- Erling Haaland, Man City — 28
- Harry Kane, Tottenham — 21
- Ivan Toney, Brentford — 16
- Marcus Rashford, Manchester United — 14
- Gabriel Martinelli, Arsenal — 13
- Bukayo Saka, Arsenal — 12
- Miguel Almiron, Newcastle — 11
- Aleksandar Mitrovic, Fulham — 11
- Mohamed Salah, Liverpool — 11
- Rodrigo, Leeds United — 11
- Martin Odegaard, Arsenal — 10
- James Maddison, Leicester City — 9
- Phil Foden, Man City — 9
- Ollie Watkins, Aston Villa — 9
- Harvey Barnes, Leicester City — 9
- Leandro Trossard — Brighton/Arsenal — 8
- Danny Ings, Aston Villa/West Ham — 8
- Darwin Nunez, Liverpool — 8
- Roberto Firmino, Liverpool — 8
- Callum Wilson, Newcastle — 7
- Brennan Johnson, Nottingham Forest — 7
- Alexis Mac Allister, Brighton — 7
- James Ward-Prowse, Southampton — 7
- Kai Havertz, Chelsea — 7
- Solly March, Brighton — 7
- Wilfried Zaha, Crystal Palace — 6
- Pascal Gross, Brighton — 6
- Kaoru Mitoma, Brighton — 6
- Heung-min Son, Tottenham — 6
- Phillip Billing, Bournemouth — 6
- Alexander Isak, Newcastle — 6