Premier League Playback: Liverpool can’t get rid of Luis Suarez hangover



With Luis Suarez set to return to soccer later this week following his four month ban, how Liverpool wish he was still theirs. Suarez now belongs to Barcelona but despite the $128 million Liverpool sold the Uruguayan superstar for this summer, the hangover from his departure remains.

That was clear for everyone to see as Liverpool struggled to victory at QPR on Sunday, as they somehow left Loftus Road with all three points after four goals were scored in a frantic final eight minutes. I was at the game and took in the incredible finale as QPR deserved more and Liverpool’s fans, players and manager knew they got out of jail. Relief was the overriding emotion of those wearing red as Liverpool produced another display devoid of dynamism and fluidity.

[Related: Watch full match replays]

Click to enlarge – Sterling’s heatmap vs. QPR

Speaking to reporters after the match, Rodgers admitted his side were “nowhere near what I would expect from a team of mine” and pointed to Suarez’s absence, four months on from his departure, as one of the main reasons for the Reds’ struggles early in the campaign.

“I think it’s been most of the season, to be honest,” Rodgers said. “It’s not something that’s new. It’s not rocket science. If you look over the core of the team, we scored 101 goals last year and the dynamic of the team has changed. We’ve lost over 75 percent of that. That just takes time. There’s no magic wand to make it work instantly… I’ve said it before, Luis [Suarez] is irreplaceable.”

[Related: Three things we learned in Liverpool’s pulsating win over QPR]

It’s not all doom and gloom. Liverpool ground out the win and are now in fifth spot with 13 points from their opening eight games. Hardly a disaster, but their form is nowhere near where it was last season. One player who is doing his best to turn that around and potentially replace Suarez is Raheem Sterling. The 19-year-old winger was sublime on Sunday, having a hand in all three of Liverpool’s goals after a week of turmoil following his very public admission of tiredness while on international duty with England. Steven Gerrard said Sterling will become the best player in England, while Rodgers lauded his starlet as his pace and tenacity led the Reds to victory despite a lackluster display, especially defensively.

source: Getty Images
Rodgers and Liverpool performed poorly, as life after Luis is hitting the Reds hard.

“I thought he [Sterling] was outstanding today” Rodgers beamed. “His cleverness on the first goal… I always say to the players that ‘the best players come alive when the game goes dead.’ The bright players come alive. The breakaways for the other two was just all about his speed, technique, courage to run with the ball. I thought he was excellent.”

Sterling, 19, has a lot of pressure on his shoulders right now. With Daniel Sturridge out injured for at least another three to four weeks after coming so close to returning this weekend, and Suarez one, Sterling is Liverpool’s main man with Mario Balotelli’s poor start to his Anfield career continuing. Defensively, Liverpool were bullied by Bobby Zamora and Charlie Austin, especially aerially, while Gerrard started in an advanced role supporting Balotelli but was placed back in his ‘quarterback role’ in front of the back four for the second half as the Reds struggled to get any rhythm going.

[Related: Liverpool must improve, and they know it, despite late win]

Liverpool face Real Madrid at Anfield on Wednesday in a massive UEFA Champions League clash. If they have any chance of shocking the reigning European Champions, Sterling must shine bright. That will be the case for most of this season, as the young English winger continues to suggest there might just be life after Luis Suarez for Liverpool.

Premier League Schedule – Week 8

Result Recap & Highlights
Arsenal 2-2 Hull City Recap and watch here
Burnley 1-3 West Ham Recap and watch here
Crystal Palace 1-2 Chelsea Recap and watch here
Everton 3-0 Aston Villa Recap and watch here
Man City 4-1 Tottenham Recap and watch here
Newcastle 1-0 Leicester Recap and watch here
QPR 2-3 Liverpool Recap and watch here
Southampton 8-0 Sunderland Recap and watch here
Stoke 2-1 Swansea Recap and watch here
WBA-Man United (Mon, 3pm ET) Recap and watch here


After scoring all four of Manchester City’s goals again Tottenham on Saturday, plus missing a penalty kick, is Sergio Aguero one of the best strikers in the world?

[VIDEO: Premier League highlights]

The Argentine forward now has nine goals in eight appearances this season in the PL and became City’s all-time leading PL scored after his explosion on Saturday. Aguero now has 61 PL goals in 95 PL games for City and has the best goals per minute ratio of any player in PL history, with a goal arriving every 108 minutes he’s on the pitch.

[Related: Where does Aguero rank?]

Aguero, 26, is finally fully fit after hamstring issues last season and over the summer for Argentina during the World Cup. He is now top of the scoring charts in the PL alongside Chelsea’s Diego Costa and questions are being asked as to just how good Aguero is.

His manager Manuel Pellegrini called him “one of the top four strikers in the world” and on current form, it’s hard to argue with him. With Lionel Messi, Cristiano Ronaldo and perhaps Gareth Bale ahead of him, a stellar season for Aguero would enter him into the pantheon of the games greatest attacking talents… if he isn’t in it already. His predatory instincts, ability to finish with both foot and bamboozle defenders with his low center of gravity make him one of the toughest players to mark. If Aguero can stay fit this term, he will spearhead City’s title charge.

Watch all the PL goals from Saturday, including Aguero’s four, in the video below.


Southampton eight, Sunderland nil. That scoreline sent shock waves through the global soccer community for two reasons. Number one: Southampton were very, very good. Number two: Sunderland were very, very poor.

[Related: Latest Premier League standings]

Following the stunning result at St Mary’s, Sunderland manager Gus Poyet admitted it was his “most embarrassing” moment ever in soccer. While Saints’ fans and players are dreaming of shocking everyone this season, despite Ronald Koeman saying his side “were not perfect” in his teams biggest-ever win in the PL, and their largest victory since 1921.

Dusan Tadic tore Sunderland apart with four assists, while red-hot Graziano Pelle scored another two for Saints. Here’s more on Southampton’s great start (they sit in third place with 16 points on the board) as talk of a top four finish starts to gather momentum.

Tadic addressed that, as the Serbian international winger notched his seventh assist of the season and his first PL goal of the campaign. The form of Tadic and Pelle have Koeman’s side dreaming of bettering their eighth place finish from last year.

“It feels like I’m dreaming. Southampton is the most beautiful city in England and everything is great,” Tadic said. “We have fabulous fans who are with the club 24 hours a day. It is something special to be playing for Southampton. Can we keep up our form for a long time? I hope so. Secretly each one of us hopes that we can finish in a position that leads to the Champions League, but we are all aware that it is going to be extremely hard.”

As for Sunderland… it was shambolic. Their fans made a 700-mile round trip to the South Coast to see their team get slaughtered and down tools midway through the second half. Goalkeeper Vito Mannone made two howling errors, plus Santiago Vergini scored the best own goal you will ever see as he ridiculously hammered into his own net from distance to start the romp. Mannone has issued an apology to Sunderland’s fans and said he and the players are working on reimbursing them for the cost of their ticket and travel. That’s the least they can do after shoddy defending and players simply giving up.

[RELATED: Premier League stats]

On a lighter not, this rather cheeky Southampton fan became an overnight celebrity after snapping a picture next to Sunderland’s Vergini outside the stadium after the game. A picture paints a thousand words…

Premier League Star Performers – Week 8

Player Reason
1. Sergio Aguero (Man City) 4 goals, ripped Spurs apart
2. Dusan Tadic (Saints) 4 assists, 1 goal, handful
3. Alexis Sanchez (Arsenal) 1 goal, 1 assist, savior
4. Cesc Fabregas (Chelsea) 1 goal, another classy display
5. Bobby Zamora (QPR) Didn’t deserve to lose, superb


“We were great today, we hit the bar twice and I think we could have been home and gone at half time. We were miles the better team,” Harry Redknapp said postgame. “We never gave up. I thought we were excellent today. You don’t always get what you deserve in life. We didn’t get what we deserved today. To get beat… it was an absolute injustice.”

Leroy Fer hit the crossbar twice in the first half. Austin and Zamora ran Liverpool’s defense ragged all afternoon, but QPR only scored when Eduardo Vargas jumped off the bench to equalize twice in a crazy finale which saw the newly-promoted side lose, once again.

[Related: Premier League schedule]

QPR should have been 3-0 up at half time as they battered Liverpool with their best performance of the season. Instead, they lost, as missed chances cost them dear and naive defending, plus two own goals, succumbed Redknapp’s men to a sixth defeat in their opening eight games.

I was present in the postgame press conference and the QPR manager was visibly agitated as reporters asked him about speculation surrounding his future as QPR boss. Lashing out and swearing at a squeaky advertisement board behind his chair on the podium wasn’t the only thing which irked Redknapp. Asked about Moroccan playmaker Adel Tarabbt’s absence from the matcday squad, here’s what Harry had to say as he exploded.

“He’s not fit to play football unfortunately. He played in a reserve game the other day and I could have run about more than he did. I can’t pick him,” Redknapp ranted. “I can’t keep protecting people, who don’t want to run about and train, and are about three stone overweight. What am I supposed to keep saying? Keep getting your 60, 70 grand a week and don’t train? What’s the game coming to? I pick people who want to try, who deserve to be at a good football club like QPR, who come in every day and want to work, train and show a good attitude. When he starts doing that, if he ever can do it, maybe he’ll get a game.”

If QPR play like they did against Liverpool, things will turn around quickly and Redknapp’s frustration will dissipate. But they have to start finishing chances or relegation beckons.


Swansea City lost 2-1 to Stoke City on Sunday and their young manager Garry Monk was not a happy man after the defeat. Not because of his teams performance, but because of the decision to hand Stoke a penalty kick just before half time after an apparent foul by Angel Rangel on Stoke’s Victor Moses. Monk was livid. Watch the video above to see his scathing attack on Moses, who he branded a “cheat” and called for him to receive a ban for diving. Monk also laid into the referee and the referees association after failing to get in touch following his previous complaints about officiating.

[Related: Premier League all-access]

Stoke’s manager Mark Hughes slammed Monk for calling Moses a cheat and suggested the young manager should hide his true feelings when standing in front of the camera. Yes, perhaps Monk’s inexperience as a manger showed on Sunday when he vented his frustration at Moses and the referee and an FA charge is surely on the way, but don’t we want honesty from managers?

As for Moses, he went down very easily under the challenge and the diving dilemma reared its ugly head once again. According to reports, Monk fines his players if he sees them diving in training and if they do it in a game he has said he won’t play them in the next match. It’s an admirable stance from the Swansea boss, but will the rest of the PL and soccer in general follow suit? It’s the only way this endless gamesmanship will be eradicated from the beautiful game. Monk’s rant may make divers thinks twice… but probably not.


Tim Howard won the battle of the USMNT ‘keepers on Saturday. Everton hammered Aston Villa 3-0 and Howard’s U.S. teammate Brad Guzan had a day to forget.

Guzan let Romelu Lukaku’s shot squirm underneath him just after half time and looked to the sky in disbelief. Howard, for the third time in 12 months, beat his long-time number two. With Guzan now the USA’s first-choice goalkeeper during Howard’s year-long break from national team duty, he will have to redeem himself for Villa and Jurgen Klinsmann’s side in the coming months. Right now, it seems like Howard will step in as a starter next September when his sabbatical ends.

Elsewhere, USMNT man Geoff Cameron returned to action after six weeks out with a hernia injury. Cameron jumped off the bench and played a key part in the Potters’ game-winner. Playing in midfield, he intercepted the ball, nutmegged Wilfried Bony and then played the ball forward to start the move for Stoke’s winner. As for Jozy Altidore, he didn’t make the bench as Sunderland were hammered 8-0 at Southampton. His situation in the PL continues to worsen.

Premier League Playback comes out every Monday as PST’s Editor and Lead Writer takes an alternative look at all the action from the weekend. Read the full archive, here

Reports: Tottenham Hotspur to hire Celtic’s Ange Postecoglou as next manager


Multiple reports say that Ange Postecoglou will be leaving Celtic to become the next manager of Tottenham Hotspur.

Celtic had reportedly granted permission for Spurs to speak with their trophy-collecting boss, and things apparently progressed quickly as the 57-year-old looks set to oversee the club’s big rebuild.

[ MORE: Recalling Zlatan’s “unicorn” career ]

Spurs suffered through an inconsistent 2022-23 season with Antonio Conte at the helm, followed by Cristian Stellini and Ryan Mason in interim stints.

Tottenham will not have European football this season and is at risk of losing legendary center forward Harry Kane. The club has eight players including Kane going into the final year of their contracts, including Ivan Perisic, Davinson Sanchez, Eric Dier, and Hugo Lloris.

Spurs finished eighth last season, 15 points off the top four despite spending much of the season inside of it. The club’s finished fourth just once in the past four seasons despite qualifying for the Champions League the previous four seasons.

Ironically, Celtic is being linked with pursuit of Brendan Rodgers and Jesse Marsch if Postecoglou departs this week.

Who is Ange Postecoglou?

Postecoglou, 57, was born in Greece and moved to Australia at a young age, starring for South Melbourne as a player and earning for caps for the Socceroos.

He is coming off a domestic treble with Celtic and won five of six trophies available to him in his two seasons with the Bhoys.

At Celtic, Postecoglou played with a 4-3-3 for much of the first half of his tenure but played a lot of this campaign in a 4-2-3-1.

Postecoglou won trophies as a manager with South Melbourne, Brisbane Roar, and Yokohama F. Marinos, claiming the Asian Cup during his stint as Australia national team coach.

He said he expects tricky early times wherever he goes.

“Wherever I’ve been, the initial part is always rocky, because my ideas are… well they’re not extreme to me but I can see how they can be seen as extreme from the outside. It takes a while. Usually it can take me six months, it can take me a year to really bed them in, depending on how many opportunities I have to change the playing squad and the staff and all those kinds of things.”

Five players to watch in the Premier League’s summer transfer window


There’s going to be turnover in the Premier League this offseason, and it seems likely the big boys will again be looking to the top young talents in other leagues to get in when the getting is good.

There will be big price tags attached to some players this summer, but in the case of the players below we may be talking about players just a window away from having unattainably high price tags for most clubs.

[ TRANSFER NEWS: Arsenal | Liverpool | Chelsea | Tottenham | Man City | Man United ] 

Most of these names have danced through ProSoccerTalk‘s transfer rumor mill at least once during the past season or two, and in one case have been on the radar for a half-decade or so.

Here’s a look at five players who may well find their way to the Premier League in the very near future, and could move somewhere this summer.

Xavi Simons, PSV Eindhoven

At times the teen hype around Xavi Simons coming out of Barcelona’s academy was akin to the recruitment of Martin Odegaard out of Norway so many years ago. But Simons couldn’t break through at Barca and his move to Paris Saint-Germain didn’t take off as expected. So Simons, who just turned 20 in April, landed at PSV Eindhoven. All he did was lead the Eredivisie in goals. PSG has a buyback clause but Simons would have to want to go there… and there are plenty of rumored suitors for the playmaker. Simons chipped in eight assists and was Fotmob’s highest-rated Eredivisie player.

Possible fits: Chelsea, Arsenal, Liverpool

Jurrien Timber, Ajax

Still 21 for a couple more weeks, Timber got Mancunian tongues wagging when he attended the FA Cup Final between Manchester United and Manchester City. The star center back played under United boss Erik ten Hag at Ajax and now has 15 caps for the Netherlands senior team. He has a ridiculous passing and ball progression profile for his position, and has showed enough attacking acumen to get any team excited about him.

Possible fits: Manchester United, Manchester City

Randal Kolo Muani, Eintracht Frankfurt

The 24-year-old has acknowledged dreams of playing in the Premier League following a blockbuster first season at Eintracht, where he scored 23 goals with 17 assists amongst all competitions. Moving to a new country did not slow him at all after his time at Nantes, and he was linked with a number of PL sides even before he admitted his interest in the league.

Possible fits: Tottenham Hotspur, Manchester United

Sepe Elye Wahi, Montpellier

The 20-year-old nearly scored as many goals as his age in his third season with Montpellier’s first team, and has attracted interest from Paris Saint-Germain, Arsenal, and Chelsea amongst others. Wahi is still very raw when it comes to passing the ball but part of his statistical deficiencies could have to do with his club’s relative struggles. A eager presser, his best traits are finishing and that’s the stat that drives the bus for him.

Possible fits: Tottenham, Chelsea, Arsenal

Gabriel Veiga, Celta Vigo

Here’s another playmaker linked with Arsenal, but you can see why he could fit in Mikel Arteta’s system. His 11 goals were 13th in La Liga this season and his four assists means he had a goal contribution on 15 of Celta’s 43 league goals. An eager dribbler, he delivered 80 shot creating actions this season and ranked in the 99th percentile for midfielders when it came to non-penalty goals.

Possible fits: Newcastle, Arsenal, Man CIty

How many times has a team won the treble? Man City goes for history


There’s been a lot of treble talk these days, talk that’s found a new level of buzz since Manchester City moved within one win of joining the club.

It’s an elite club, by the way, of teams that have won their domestic league, top domestic cup, and the European Cup.

Nine times in history has a team won the treble, and only once has it been done by a Premier League club.

[ MORE: Recalling Zlatan’s “unicorn” career ]

That’s why Man City’s defeat of Manchester United earlier this month in the FA Cup Final rings so true for the Citizens; The blue side of Manchester would join the red side as treble supporters, as United won the treble in 1998-99.

Man City goes for the third jewel of its treble crown on Saturday versus Inter Milan in Istanbul when it kicks off the UEFA Champions League Final.

For more treble trivia, head below the jump.

How many times has the treble been won?

Bayern Munich and Barcelona have each done it twice, with Bayern doing it in 2012-13 and 2019-20 and Barca pulling it off in 2008-09 and 2014-15.

Celtic was the first to win a treble, doing it in 1966-67, while Ajax was the next in 1971-72.

PSV Eindhoven then won it in 1987-88 before Man United made it happen 11 years later. Inter Milan is the only Italian team to pull it off, winning in 2009-10.


Manchester City vs Inter Milan: How to watch Champions League Final, odds, predictions


Manchester City is on the chase for a historic treble and standing in the way is Inter Milan, one of Europe’s precious few clubs to claim such an honor.

[ LIVE: Manchester City vs Inter Milan ]

The Premier League winners three times running have an FA Cup under their belt after beating Manchester United on June 3 and the final jewel in their treble crown awaits with a win in Istanbul on June 10.

[ MORE: How to watch Premier League in USA ]

Pep Guardiola could lead a second club to a treble after he did it with Barcelona in 2008-09, and they would give heated rivals United domestic company on the treble stage right down the road.

Guardiola says it’s now okay to talk about the treble. We agree, and we’ve laid out why the achievement is so special after the jump.

Here’s everything you need to know ahead of Manchester City vs Inter Milan.

How to watch Manchester City vs Inter Milan live, stream link and start time

Dates: 3pm ET June 10, 2023
Online: Live updates via
How to watch: TUDN, Paramount+

What Premier League clubs have won the treble?

Manchester United won the Premier League, FA Cup, and Champions League in 1998-99.

Sir Alex Ferguson’s Red Devils are the lone Premier League club to win it.

That’s it. For now.

How many times has the treble been won?

Nine times in history has a team won its domestic league, top domestic cup, and the European Cup.

Bayern Munich and Barcelona have each done it twice, with Bayern doing it in 2012-13 and 2019-20 and Barca pulling it off in 2008-09 and 2014-15.

Celtic was the first to win a treble, doing it in 1966-67, while Ajax was the next in 1971-72.

PSV Eindhoven then won it in 1987-88 before Man United made it happen 11 years later. Inter Milan is the only Italian team to pull it off, winning in 2009-10.


Champions League Final odds (Betting odds provided by our partner, BetMGM )

BetMGM is our Official Sports Betting Partner and we may receive compensation if you place a bet on BetMGM for the first time after clicking our links. 

Man City (-250) vs Inter Milan (+625) | Draw over 120 mins (+380)

Over 2.5 goals (-160). Under 2.5 goals (+110)

Champions League Final predictions

Joe Prince-Wright: Man City 2-1 Inter Milan
Andy Edwards: Man City 3-1 Inter Milan
Nick Mendola: Man City 2-0 Inter Milan

Manchester City team news, injuries, lineup options


Inter Milan team news, injuries, lineup options

QUESTIONABLE: Henrikh Mkhitaryan, Joaquin Correa. OUT: Dalbert.