Ahead of Sunday’s clash, is it Liverpool or Manchester United that are favorites?

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Sunday brings one of the most hotly contested Premier League fixtures: Manchester United vs. Liverpool. The reverse fixture, played in September, saw Liverpool trot out 1-0 winners, courtesy of an early goal from Daniel Sturridge.

Little has changed in the past six months. The Merseyside club are currently in second place, seven points off first and eleven points above United. They’ve yet to lose in the league this calendar year, winning seven and drawing two (apparently the Reds don’t enjoy playing clubs from the West Midlands). Oh, and they’ve knocked in 29 goals in those nine matches.

Then there’s Manchester United. The title-holders are currently in sixth, nine points below Manchester City in fourth, although their city rivals have two games in hand. But United have gone six games unbeaten, and after winning their last two matches with a combined 5-0 scoreline, it looks as though they’ve finally got things figured out.

So who’s the favorite for the clash at Old Trafford? Interestingly enough, both managers are reluctant to claim that title.

Brendan Rodgers stated that it would be dangerous to think that his side were the superior team. The Liverpool manager said, “Manchester United] are still the champions and until that changes all we can do is go there and look where we are at. We are second in the league on merit. We have performed consistently for a long period of time and that makes us a very dangerous opponent. We know we are dangerous but I would never disrespect them and what they have done over a long period of time.”

When asked whether Liverpool were the favorites in Sunday’s clash, David Moyes replied, “It may well be. Their league position suggests they’re ahead of us. They possibly do come here favourites.”

But the United manager just couldn’t resist having a little dig at Rodgers’ side. Moyes went on to suggest that Liverpool’s strength this season was aided by an easy fixture list early on, as well as the fact that they had no European games to deal with.

Moyes said, “Liverpool and Brendan might have benefited from being out of Europe. Certainly this year we think it’s been a big benefit. I think Liverpool were an improving side last year. A lot of people questioned it but I always felt they would be there or thereabouts. Their fixture list … gave them a great opportunity to start the season well. They’ve grown in confidence from that.”

Ronaldo explains his new chin hair at World Cup

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Now that Cristiano Ronaldo has taken to sporting a reasonable hairstyle atop his head, people are talking about the foliage on his face.

[ RECAP: Morocco 0-1 Portugal ]

Ronaldo, 33, drew speculation when he stroked his chin following a goal in his hat trick performance against Spain in the World Cup opener. Some said he was demonstrating defiance against Lionel Messi posing with a goat (Greatest Of All Time) in a recent photograph.

Ronaldo scored again on Wednesday, and there was seemingly little doubt his goatee was a wink to the speculators. But what did it mean, CR7? From ESPN:

“This goatee? It’s a joke I had with [Ricardo] Quaresma. “We were in the sauna [before Friday’s match against Spain] and I started to shave and I left the goatee. I said if I score tomorrow, I would leave it for the rest of the tournament. And it gave me luck.

“I scored in that game, I scored in this one, so it stays.”

Personally, I like to imagine Ronaldo starting to get as wild with his facial hair as he did his head hair.

Perhaps a beatnik style, or something like Serj Tankian from System of a Down. Get nuts, C-Ron.

Report: Southampton could sell Tadic to Ajax for $20m

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Could Southampton be selling one of its most creative forces?

Dusan Tadic, 29, is in the middle of a World Cup run with dark horse Serbia, but the Saints star is also being talked about as a purchase item for Ajax.

[ MORE: Serbia tops Costa Rica ]

The celebrated Eredivisie has traditionally been a selling club for the Premier League, but could be a $20 million buy for Ajax.

The report says director of players Marc Overmars and financial director Jeroen Slop have flown to Southampton to work out a deal.

Tadic starred for Dutch sides Groningen and Twente between 2010-14 before moving to St. Mary’s for a reported $12 million.

He’s scored 24 goals with 35 assists in 162 appearances for Saints, 21 and 30 of which came in the Premier League.

Toronto locks down USMNT backstop Bono with extension

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Toronto FC goalkeeper Alex Bono is going to stay Toronto FC goalkeeper Alex Bono.

[ RECAP: Morocco 0-1 Portugal ]

The newly-capped USMNT backstop, 24, has been attracting interest from abroad since breaking past Clint Irwin to win the TFC job and guiding the club to multiple MLS Cup Finals.

Now general manager Tim Bezbatchenko has locked down his young goalkeeper to an undisclosed contract extension. From TorontoFC.com:

“Alex was a big part of our success last season. He set club records for wins and clean sheets and was a critical piece of our championship team,” said Toronto FC Sr. Vice-President, Soccer Operations & General Manager Tim Bezbatchenko. “Since joining the club as a first round pick in 2015, Alex’s ability to make key saves in big moments has been critical to our success.”

The Syracuse-born product of Syracuse University has made 64 appearances for the Reds.

WATCH: World Cup, Day 8 — Argentina on the edge; France aims for berth

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France, Denmark, and Croatia can clinch knockout round berths on Thursday in Russia, the last nation also holding the opportunity to help deprive the World Cup of an extended Lionel Messi run.

[ MORE: Latest 2018 World Cup news ] 

Messi’s Argentina drew Iceland in its opener, the megastar infamously missing a penalty, and will look to beat a Croatian side that looked quite good in dispatching Nigeria.

That’s the final match of the day, which begins with Denmark facing Australia and continues with a tasty match-up between France and Peru.

Below is Thursday’s schedule in full.

Click here for live and on demand coverage of the World Cup online and via the NBC Sports App.


2018 World Cup schedule – Wednesday, June 20

Group C
Denmark vs. Australia: Samara, 8 a.m. ET – LIVE COVERAGE
France vs. Peru: Yekaterinburg, 11 a.m. ET – LIVE COVERAGE

Group D
Argentina vs. Croatia: Nizhny Novgorod, 2 p.m. ET – LIVE COVERAGE