Tottenham 0-5 Liverpool: Reds pummel erratic Tottenham defense to go second – Video

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Luis Suarez and Jordan Henderson put on a Batman-and-Robin-type display as the Uruguayan starred and his understudy supported well in a Liverpool thrashing of the Spurs back line for a 2-0 win.

Suarez opened the scoring after hard work by Henderson, and it was exactly the opposite for the second which assured victory against a broken Spurs defense giving way too much space to the Reds playmakers.

Both teams showed an attacking edge early, with each side trying to work the ball wide.  Tottenham especially made a point of targeting their right flank, with runs by Mousa Dembele and Paulinho from the midfield tracking towards the touchline.

It was a struggle though for Spurs to find anything of quality, with Liverpool pressing high up the pitch and challenging every Spurs pass.

Liverpool took the first 15 minutes to find their footing, but they began to push in to the Spurs box, with Lloris forced into stopping a cross from Raheem Sterling.

It didn’t take much longer though for Liverpool to open the books on the scoring, 18 minutes to be exact, who else but Luis Suarez with his 16th goal of the season.

Suarez initially sent a low ball into the box for Jordan Henderson, but it was cut out by Michael Dawson. Henderson worked well to get back on the ball, and he found a trailing Suarez.

The Uruguayan dribbled around the one defender left in front of him, and slid the ball by Hugo Lloris to put Liverpool ahead.

Tottenham continued to work possession into the Liverpool third, but they had trouble finding anything to pester Simon Mignolet, finishing without a single shot on target.  Liverpool worked a bit on the counter, and it forced Michael Dawson into an early yellow card challenge.

The latter stages of the second half provided some fireworks, but no goals to show for it.  The Reds continued forward, and a quick spell Phillippe Coutinho hit the bar with a bouncing shot, and then the rebound came well out to Glen Johnson who nearly ripped a stunner past Lloris but it went millimeters over.

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Paulinho’s 63rd minute red card allowed a bright Liverpool attack even more space to work.

Tottenham came close in the 30th minute as Nacer Chadli latched onto a corner but his header went just over the bar.

Suarez had a golden opportunity to double the lead just after when a long ball from deep in the visitors defense caught the Tottenham back four sleeping, and Suarez got the ball by Lloris who came out of his own box.  Suarez took a bit long to settle though, and it allowed the defenders to recover and get in the way of his attempts.

Andre Villas-Boas saw how his team needed to find more space and were struggling to deal with the pressing Reds midfield, so he swapped Sandro for Louis Holtby.  The substitute got in on the action early, getting a ball from Roberto Soldado on the end line but dragged a shot wide.

Liverpool did cash in on another opportunity before halftime, with Tottenham’s defense again proving nothing better than frantic.  A ball from the wing found Coutinho, and he picked out Henderson for an open shot. Lloris saved, and the ball fell to Suarez who took aim and fired, with Lloris saving again with a jump.

The third attempt would be the charm, as it fell to Henderson and with the goalkeeper on the ground it was an easy finish into the bottom corner for a 2-0 lead.

A heavy touch from Mignolet as the half came to a close nearly gifted a chance to Soldado, but as the two vied for the ball Soldado shoved the Liverpool ‘keeper, and as he slid the ball into the empty net referee Jon Moss pulled it back for the foul.

The second half brought more chances, and also driving rain.  Soldado got things started, blazing just over on 47 minutes.  Liverpool defenders also wanted in, as Mamadou Sakho hit the Spurs crossbar with a header and Martin Skrtel’s rebound attempt went well over.

Spurs frustrating began to show with their lack of creativity, and it ended up hurting them in a big way. Luis Suarez got a ball near the mid line that outran him, and Paulinho’s attempt to get a foot on the ball got his studs way too high, catching Suarez square in the chest with a flying kick.

It was a terribly errant boot by Paulinho, and Jon Moss showed him a straight red for the effort.  Suarez went down injured on the play, as the boot got him not only the chest but his right hand as well, it appeared.

Tottenham were no match for the sparkling Liverpool attack once they handed the visitors a man advantage.

It would be 3-0 after long, with a talismanic goal for a young Liverpool native.

A long ball found Jordan Henderson on the wing, who picked out Suarez on the edge of the box.  The Uruguayan saw Flanagan all alone on the far side of the box, and his cross was perfect for 20-year-old Jon Flanagan to volley home.

Luis Suarez would add his second of the match in the 84th minute, making it 4-0 and Raheem Sterling added a fifth in the dying minutes of regulation.

The win pushes Liverpool up to second in the Premier League table, ahead of Chelsea on goal difference and just two points behind Arsenal for the lead.

Spurs, with the five goals allowed, have conceded 15 goals now in their last five matches, and remain seventh position.

GOALS:

Liverpool – Suarez 18′, 84′; Henderson 40′; Flanagan 75′, Sterling 88′

RED CARDS:

Tottenham – Paulinho 63′

LINEUPS:

Tottenham Hotspur – Lloris; Walker, Capoue, Dawson, Naughton (Fryers 45′); Paulinho, Sandro (Holtby 30′); Lennon, Dembele (Townsend 61′), Chadli; Soldado.

Liverpool Mignolet; Flanagan, Sakho, Skrtel, Johnson; Allen, Lucas (Luis Alberto 79′), Henderson, Sterling, Coutinho; Suarez.

Champions League, Europa League: How to watch, odds, start time, predictions

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The UEFA Champions League and Europa League action has resumed and I’m going to reveal my predictions for this next round as well as the latest odds for Europe’s top two continental tournaments.

[ LIVE: Champions League scores

With Manchester City still in the Champions League and Manchester United and Wolves among the favorites to win the Europa League, there is a lot on the line for Premier League clubs in the coming weeks.

Just because the Premier League season is over, that doesn’t mean the action is over. Far from it. Both Manchester clubs are the bookmakers favorites to seal their respective European glory.

[ LIVE: Europa League scores ]

In the next few days the Europa League and Champions League quarterfinals will take place as the mini tournaments begin.

Man City beat Real Madrid 4-2 on aggregate, while Chelsea lost Bayern 7-1 on aggregate as they crashed out of the Champions League. Man United and Wolves are both in the quarterfinals and favored to go far.

Lisbon, Portugal will host the Champions League games from the quarterfinal stage onwards, while the Europa League games will be hosted around Germany.

Below is a look at my predictions, the odds for the games this week and how to watch and follow all of the fixtures in the USA.


How to watch, stream Champions League and Europa League

Dates: August 5-23
Location: Quarterfinals onwards in Lisbon/Germany
How to watch: CBS Sports
Live updates: UCL here at NBCSports.com & Europa League here at NBCSports.com


JPW’s Champions League predictions

Quarterfinals (August 12-15)
Wednesday, August 12: Atalanta 2-3 PSG
Thursday, August 13: RB Leipzig 1-2 Atletico Madrid
Friday, August 14: Barcelona 1-3 Bayern Munich
Saturday, August 15: Manchester City 3-1 Lyon


JPW’s Europa League predictions

Quarterfinals (August 10-11)
Monday, August 10: Inter Milan 2-1 Bayer Leverkusen
Monday, August 10: Manchester United 3-1 Copenhagen
Tuesday, August 11: Wolves 1-2 Sevilla
Tuesday, August 11: Shakhtar Donetsk 1-2 Basel


Champions League betting odds

Quarterfinals (August 12-15)

(+210) Atalanta v. PSG (+117). Tie: +275
(+225) RB Leipzig v. Atletico Madrid (+135). Tie: +220
(+235) Barcelona v. Bayern Munich (+115). Tie: +255
(-305) Manchester City v. Lyon (+750). Tie: +450

Outright winner
Manchester City (+220)
Bayern Munich (+325)
Paris Saint-Germain (+500)
Atletico Madrid (+800)
Barcelona (+800)
Atalanta (+1000)
RB Leipzig (+1700)
Lyon (+3500)


Europa League betting odds

Quarterfinals (August 10-11)
(+112) Inter Milan v. Bayer Leverkusen (+240). Tie: +250
(-385) Manchester United v. Copenhagen (+1000). Tie: +480
(+235) Wolves v. Sevilla (+120). Tie: +230
(-106) Shakhtar Donetsk v. Basel (+290). Tie: +255

Outright winner
Manchester United (+180)
Inter Milan (+325)
Sevilla (+500)
Bayer Leverkusen (+650)
Wolves (+700)
Shakhtar Donetsk (+1100)
Basel (+2500)
Copenhagen (+6000)

Barcelona reach 13th straight Champions League quarterfinal

Barcelona - Napoli
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Barcelona – Napoli saw Lionel Messi and Co., book the eighth and final place in the UEFA Champions League quarterfinals, by way of a 3-1 victory on the night (4-2 on aggregate) on Saturday.

[ MORE: Champions League predictions ]

It was, as it so often tends to be, Messi who shone brightest and stole the spotlight en route to Barca’s 13th straight Champions League quarterfinal appearance.

[ LIVE: Champions League schedule ]

Barca entered Saturday with the slimmest of advantages, knowing that a scoreless draw would see them through to the quarterfinals after grabbing a vital away goal in the first goal. Lyon knew that no matter what, they needed to score at least once or they would be out. That threat was reinforced, and strengthened, when Clement Lenglet headed the Blaugrana ahead in the 10th minute.

Messi slipped, Messi got back up, Messi slipped again, Messi got back up again, Messi rifled the ball inside the far post to score a(nother) fantastic solo goal and make it 2-0 (3-1) in the 23rd minute. It was only slightly more complicated than that for him (WATCH HERE). Messi put the ball in the back of the net again just a few minutes later, but the goal was taken off the board by way of a somewhat suspect handball decision upon video review.

Nonethless, that was just about that after Luis Suarez converted from the penalty spot early in first-half stoppage time. Messi won the penalty by sneaking around Kalidou Koulibaly and winning the ball in the blink of an eye, forcing the Senegalese center back to foul him on the edge of the box lest Messi walk in on goal for a virtual tap-in.

Lorenzo Insigne converted a penalty kick of his own a couple minutes later before the interval, but the threat level never peaked higher than a 2-out-of-10 for Barca.

Barca will face Bayern Munichin a sensationally mouth-watering, single-leg quarterfinal matchup next Friday.

3 things learned: Bayern Munich v. Chelsea

Bayern Munich - Chelsea
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Bayern Munich – Chelsea, leg no. 2, looked eerily similar to leg no. 1, played back in late February, with the lone exception being the lack of fans inside the Allianz Arena for Thursday’s dead rubber.

[ MORE: Champions League predictions ]

The eight-time Bundesliga champions were simply too good — and too healthy, by comparison — for Frank Lampard and the Blues to put up a reasonable fight from 3-0 down after the first leg. It was an unceremonious end to Lampard’s first season in charge at Chelsea, but a foregone conclusion before they boarded the plane back in London.

[ LIVE: Champions League schedule ]

With their 4-1 victory on the night (7-1 on aggregate), Bayern will face Barcelona in a sensationally mouth-watering quarterfinal matchup next Friday.

Here’s a look at what we learned from the Allianz Arena, as the I’s were dotted and the T’s were crossed in Bayern Munich – Chelsea.


NO DRAMA NECESSARY, BAYERN TAKE CARE OF BUSINESS EARLY

Credit to Bayern for their ruthless efficiency and disinterest in letting the tie descend into drama and tension. Robert Lewandowski scored early (10th minute) and Ivan Perisic did the same in the 24th, bringing the aggregate score to 5-0 with 65 minutes left to play. With so many key players out injured, Chelsea had virtually zero chance of pulling off the impossible comeback prior to kickoff, and Hans-Dieter Flick’s side made sure to keep it that way from the opening whistle. Corentin Tolisso put the tie further out of reach late in the second half (76th), and Lewandowski duplicated his side’s three-goal advantage from the first leg not much later.


CHELSEA’S ISSUES STILL AT THE BACK

For all of the development of young players that Frank Lampard was able to realize this season — and for all of the big-money signings either already confirmed or heavily reported to be imminent this summer — Chelsea still have serious questions to answer with regard to their defense. The below highlight is but one small example in a season full of defensive blunders at missed assignments (you’ll find another one below in the next section). Cesar Azpilicueta remains solid, but he’ll turn 31 this month and probably only has another year or two left to function at the UCL level. Reece James and Fikayo Tomori still have some way to go in their development to be UCL-caliber players. The likes of Kurt Zouma, Antonio Rudiger and Andreas Christensen have all proven, time and again, they’re simply not at that level and probably never will be. All of that is to say, Chelsea need to execute a full-on rebuild of their defense this summer, or it might not matter how many goals they can score every game next season.


BAYERN’S END-OF-SEASON FORM IS TERRIFYING

Pop quiz: When was the last time Bayern simply didn’t win a game, let alone lost one? The answer: Feb. 9 (19 games ago). And their last defeat? Dec. 7 (28 games). They won all nine of their Bundesliga games following the season’s restart, plus another two in the DFB-Pokal and now the second leg against Chelsea in the UCL. Of course, things will suddenly become far more tricky when 1) the likes of Barcelona and Man City factor into the equation in the quarterfinals and the semifinals, and 2) each round is decided over a single leg rather than the traditional home-and-away format of the Champions League. And still, Bayern have the look of serious Champions League contenders, if not favorites, based on their scintillating form dating back to the start of the calendar year.

VIDEO: Messi shreds Napoli to score fantastic solo goal

Lionel Messi goal video
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Lionel Messi has done, once again, as Lionel Messi is known to do: he has scored another fantastic Lionel Messi goal (video below) in the UEFA Champions League round of 16.

[ MORE: Andrea Pirlo named Juventus manager | Sarri sacked ]

One, two, three, four, five defenders in his way? So what, says Messi.

One or two decent attempts to tackle the ball away — and perhaps even succeeding on at least one occasion? Again, so what?

He’ll have the ball back, continue on his merry way and tuck the ball just inside the far post, all while falling down, getting back up and falling down again. The goal put Barcelona 2-0 ahead on the night (3-1 on aggregate). Prior to this post being published, he scored again, but the goal was taken away for a perceived handball upon video review.

Surely we’ve discovered a superhuman soccer league we can send him to by now, just to level the playing field a bit more for the actual humans walking planet Earth.

Anyway, here’s the latest head-shaking, smirk-inducing Messi goal video you came to see.