Tottenham 0-3 Liverpool: Familiar scenes as Reds storm Spurs in London

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For a side that found themselves beat 9-0 across both fixtures last year against Liverpool, Tottenham failed to rectify last season’s tragedies by again slumping to a listless 3-0 defeat.

Mauricio Pochettino was powerless to stop the Reds attack as Raheem Sterling opened the account inside 10 minutes, while Steven Gerrard and Alberto Moreno finished things off.

Debutant Mario Balotelli nearly got off to a roaring start in just the third minute, as Daniel Sturridge sent in a cross to the far post and Balotelli got a free header on it, but he stuck it right at Hugo Lloris who saved well.

Both teams started well offensively in a very open game early, but it was Liverpool indeed to took advantage.

[VIDEO: Premier League highlights, here]

Sturridge beat a pair of Spurs defenders down the right flank, and he picked out Jordan Henderson who had advanced to an attacking position. Henderson cut the ball across the ball to the far post where Raheem Sterling was lurking, and the 19-year-old winger struck home for the opener inside 10 minutes.

source: AP
Brendan Rodgers liked what he saw from his side yet again at White Hart Lane.

Again the Reds were dangerous minutes later, as Sturridge continued to give Spurs defenders fits. He sliced through the middle of the pitch and lashed at goal, with the shot stinging just wide of the post.

There was a laughable bit of play where ugly mistakes were made by all side, including the referee.

Reds defender Mamadou Sakho made a mistake of his own, passing the ball right to a Spurs player in his own half, and the home side broke but the chance was snuffed out as Dejan Lovern covered with a pinpoint tackle.

Then, off a Spurs corner, Naleb Bentaleb tried to recycle the chance following Liverpool’s clear. Instead, he awkwardly sent the ball careening into his own half and Raheem Sterling collected on the break, but the youngster couldn’t pick out Alberto Moreno streaking down the center as the Spurs defense scrambled to cover.

Then English sensation Eric Dier crunched Balotelli on the touchline, a clear foul and probably a booking, but referee Phil Dowd inexplicably let it go. The tackle – from behind – should have at least produced a yellow and maybe even more.

Balotelli made a bit of a bungle as well after the half-hour mark, twisting a long-range shot well wide after Hugo Lloris had come all the way out of net to cover a Sterling break, leaving the goal wide open. Brendan Rodgers found it pretty funny though, so no harm done.

An open chance fell to Erik Lamela just before halftime, but Simon Mignolet saved before having a furious word or two with his defense.

Just two minutes after halftime, things got much worse for Spurs as Liverpool doubled their lead. Phil Dowd awarded a penalty to Liverpool after Dier lightly tugged Joe Allen, and the Red went to ground. Steven Gerrard made no mistake from the penalty spot, slotting into the bottom corner past Lloris who guessed correctly.

[RELATED: Premier League stats]

Alberto Moreno struck for Liverpool’s third in the 60th minute, as he streaked down the left flank and ripped a vicious strike past Lloris.  The move prompted changes for Brendan Rodgers, who took off Balotelli and Allen for more holding substitutes.

The Reds wanted even more when Sterling found himself all alone against Lloris, but he waited and waited and waited to shoot before producing a very weak effort right at the feet of the goalkeeper.

With the win, Liverpool jump to six points on the year, finding themselves level with Spurs and Manchester City in the second tier of the table behind undefeated Chelsea and Swansea City on a perfect nine.

LINEUPS:

Tottenham: Lloris; Dier, Kaboul, Vertonghen, Rose (Davies 62′); Bentaleb (Dembele 59′), Capoue; Chadli, Eriksen (Townsend 59′), Lamela; Adebayor.

Liverpool: Mignolet; Manquillo, Moreno, Lovren, Sakho; Gerrard, Allen (Can 61′), Henderson, Sterling (Enrique 87′); Sturridge, Balotelli (Markovic 62′).

Goals: Sterling 8′, Gerrard (pen) 48′, Moreno 60′

Champions League score predictions: Round of 16

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The 2019-20 UEFA Champions League is finally back as the Round of 16 kicks off this week and two of the four Premier League clubs are in action.

[ LIVE: Champions League scores

Liverpool and Tottenham Hotspur, the two finalists from last season, are first up and both will be happy enough with their draws in the last 16.

That said, Jurgen Klopp and Liverpool know that Diego Simeone’s Atleti are a very dangerous team to play as they will scrap and battle for every ball against the reigning European champions. As for Spurs and Jose Mourinho, the news that Heung-min Son has broken his arm and could be out for the rest of the season is a huge blow but they host an inconsistent RB Leipzig.

Borussia Dortmund host Paris Saint-Germain and Atalanta host Valencia in the other last 16 ties this week and both should be cracking encounters between two very evenly-matched teams.

[ MORE: Which Premier League team(s) will reach last eight? ]

Next week the other four last 16 first legs take place as Man City and Chelsea are in action against Real Madrid and Bayern Munich respectively. Out of the four Premier League teams still in the competition, Liverpool and Spurs will be the most confident of advancing.

Below we predict the scores for the UCL round of 16 games taking place over the next two days. Feel free to make your own predictions in the comments section below, too.


Tuesday
Atletico Madrid 1-2 Liverpool
Borussia Dortmund 3-2 PSG

Wednesday
Tottenham Hotspur 2-2 RB Leipzig
Atalanta 2-1 Valencia

Lampard issues Chelsea injury update; Pulisic remains out

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Chelsea boss Frank Lampard issued a lengthy injury update after their 2-0 defeat against Man United and USMNT fans will not be happy to hear that Christian Pulisic remains out.

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Ahead of Chelsea’s pivotal top four clash at home against bitter rivals Tottenham Hotspur on Saturday (Watch live, 7:30 a.m. ET on NBCSN and online via NBCSports.com), Lampard could be without as many as five key players.

Andreas Christensen broke his nose and came off at half time against United, while N’Golo Kante was subbed off early after yet another leg injury for the French superstar.

“Callum, no. Pulisic, no. N’Golo, no, from that today. Tammy is a maybe. It is not going our way with injuries at the moment but the players who come in they have to show that. That is what the squad is there for. It is frustrating,” Lampard told Chelsea TV when asked about availability for Saturday.

Lampard then gave an extra update on Kante, who walked through the mixed zone after the game looking okay and told the French journalists who were assembled that it wasn’t too bad.

“It is an adductor injury,” Lampard confirmed. “We will have to assess it and scan it. It doesn’t look great. It is on the same leg [as he injured before].”

With four wins in their last 14 Premier League games Chelsea are not in good form and are just one point ahead of fifth-place Tottenham ahead of their game this weekend.

They also have a nasty habit of dominating matches but are failing to put multiple chances away and with these injuries piling up it certainly makes Chelsea’s decision to not spend in the January window to strengthen their squad, especially in terms of strikers, very surprising.

With Bayern Munich coming up in the first leg of their UEFA Champions League last 16 tie next week, Lampard will hope Chelsea’s luck turns and plenty of players return from injury.

FC Cincinnati coach Jans resigns amid investigation over remarks

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CINCINNATI — FC Cincinnati coach Ron Jans resigned amid an investigation by Major League Soccer of his use of a racial slur in the locker room.

Jans resigned late Monday, FC Cincinnati President Jeff Berding said: “The club had suspended Jans pending the investigation, which was prompted by a complaint from the MLS Players Association.

“As Major League Soccer’s investigation unfolded and some themes emerged, Ron offered his resignation and we agreed that it was the best course of action for everyone involved with FC Cincinnati,” Berding said.

[ MORE: All of PST’s MLS coverage ]

The club designated Yoann Damet as interim head coach while the team conducts a search. Cincinnati is training in Florida for its second season in MLS.

Cincinnati has been through two head coaches during its brief stay in the league. It fired Alan Koch after its 11th first-tier match, which left the expansion club with two wins, seven losses and two draws.

Damet also was the interim head coach while the team conducted a search that resulted in Jans’ hiring last August.

Cincinnati finished with the worst record in MLS in its inaugural season, with six wins, six draws and 22 losses. It scored a league-low 31 goals in 34 matches.

Cincinnati gained entry into MLS after a successful debut under Koch, who led the team to the semifinals of the United Soccer League’s playoffs in both 2017 and 2018.

German fans turn on fellow supporter for racist abuse

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BERLIN — The fans of German soccer club Preußen Münster showed how racist abuse can be handled, shouting “Nazis out! Nazis out!” after one of their own fans targeted a visiting player with monkey chants.

The perpetrator was a 29-year-old man who was forced out of the stadium. And the player, Würzburger Kickers defender Leroy Kwadwo, thanked the opposing fans their “exemplary” reaction.

“I was racially abused by one single spectator. It just makes me sad,” Kwadwo wrote on Saturday, a day after the match. “I indeed have a different skin color, but I was born here in this wonderful land that has given my family and I so much and made so much possible. I am one of you. I live here and can live my calling as a professional with the Würzburger Kickers.

“Something like yesterday just makes me sad and angry because everyone has to know, racism does not belong in OUR world. We all have the opportunity to oppose it and stop it if it happens.”

The incident occurred during a third-division match in Münster.

On Monday, Münster said it would seek to ban the suspect from all German stadiums for three years, the toughest possible sanction permitted under current regulations.

“The least we an do is ensure that this person is no longer allowed in our stadium,” Münster president Christoph Strässer said. “We will not tolerate racism or any form of discrimination. The issue of integration is naturally important to us as a sports club, and Article 1 of the constitution applies primarily, namely: Human dignity is sacrosanct. That goes for everyone in this country.”

The perpetrator also faces legal consequences. Local police said the man would be charged with incitement, which can lead to financial penalties and a jail term of three months to five years if convicted.

Referee Katrin Rafalski stopped the 0-0 draw in the 88th minute after being informed of the racist abuse by Kwadwo. It was followed by a stadium announcement against the abuse and the “Nazis out!” chants from the fans.

The German soccer federation praised the fans’ reaction on Twitter on Saturday.

“So sad and shameful as the racist incident against Leroy Kwadwo was, so exemplary was the immediate reaction to it,” the federation said. “The third division stands together and says, no to racism and discrimination!”

The incident occurred only days after Bundesliga club Schalke was fined 50,000 euros ($54,600) after some of its fans subjected Hertha Berlin player Jordan Torunarigha to racist abuse during a German Cup game on Feb. 4.

Torunarigha, the son of former Nigerian player Ojokojo Torunarigha, was targeted with monkey chants and was eventually sent off in extra time when he picked up a second yellow card after appearing increasingly upset as the game went on. The 22-year-old German defender was consoled by Schalke’s Amine Harit.

Numerous other racist incidents have tarnished European soccer this season.

On Sunday in Portugal, Porto striker Moussa Marega was visibly angered by monkey noises targeting him after he scored his team’s second goal in a 2-1 win at Guimarães. Several Porto and opposition players attempted to dissuade him from walking off the field in the 71st minute, when he demanded to be substituted.