Liverpool 0-3 Real Madrid: Reigning champions roll Reds aside with ease

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LIVERPOOL – Real Madrid beat Liverpool 3-0 at Anfield on Wednesday, as the reigning European champions dominated the Group B clash.

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Cristiano Ronaldo opened the scoring with a sumptuous goal, then a double from Karim Benzema made it 3-0 to the visitors before half time. That was how things remained, as a poor defensive display from Liverpool was taken advantage of by Real.

Liverpool are now third in Group B with three points, while Real remain top with nine.

Early on the home crowd got right behind Liverpool as Balotelli and Sterling caused Real Madrid’s defense plenty of problems. Steven Gerrard sent in a shot from 30-yards out which Iker Casillas parried away to safety as Ronaldo was marshaled closely in the opening stages. But not close enough.

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Despite a positive start for the home side, they were 1-0 down with 23 minutes on the clock as Real showed exactly why they are the reigning champions of Europe. Ronaldo picked the ball up 35-yards out, played the ball into James who dinked the ball perfectly into the Portuguese forward’s path as he hooked the ball home to silence Anfield. 1-0 to Real as Ronaldo scored his first-ever goal at Anfield. Soon after Ronaldo went close with a swerving shot which has Simon Mignolet scrambling to his far post.

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On the half hour mark it was 2-0 to Real as Kroos was given plenty of time on the left and picked out Benzema at the back post who headed home to send the away fans into raptures. Things got worse for Liverpool before half time as James’ corner from the left saw Pepe get to the loose ball in front of Mignolet and Benzema tapped home his second of the match to make it 3-0. Joe Allen came close to pulling a goal back for Liverpool after good work from Balotelli, then Philippe Coutinho hammered a long-range shot against the post. But a poor first half saw Liverpool trailing 3-0 at the interval.

At half time Balotelli was replaced by Adam Lallana and the former Southampton player looked lively and fluid going forward. Lallana linked up well with Sterling on several occasions cutting in from the left and Liverpool had plenty of possession.

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With the home side throwing men forward in search of a goal, Real looked increasingly dangerous on the break. Ronaldo saw a thunderous effort saved by Mignolet and then the Belgian ‘keeper denied the Portuguese superstar again after he went through one-on-one. For one more night, Raul’s record of 71 goals in the UEFA Champions League remained intact. Liverpool came close through Sterling late on, but Real left Anfield with all three points and a deserved victory.

LINEUPS

Liverpool: Mignolet; Johnson, Lovren, Skrtel, Moreno; Gerrard, Allen, Henderson (Can, 67′); Sterling, Balotelli (Lallana, 46′), Coutinho (Markovic, 67′)

Real Madrid: Casillas, Arbeloa, Varane, Pepe, Marcelo (Nacho, 85′), Kroos (Illarramendi 82′), Modric, Rodriguez, Isco, Ronaldo (Khedira, 75′), Benzema

Goals: Ronaldo (23′), Benzema (30′, 41′)

Watch Live: Watford v. Arsenal

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Mesut Ozil makes his first start of the season as Arsenal visits Watford and new/old manager Quique Sanchez Flores on Sunday at Vicarage Road (Watch live at 11:30 a.m. ET on NBCSN and online via NBCSports.com).

Ozil has two goals and four assists in nine appearances against Watford.

Dani Ceballos is also starting for the Gunners, who will be without Alexandre Lacazette for the next few weeks.

WATCH LIVE, ONLINE, HERE

Gerard Deulofeu heads into the Starting XI for the Hornets, who will have in-form Will Hughes on the other side of the field.

LINEUPS

Watford

Arsenal

World record-holding manager Gutendorf dies at 93

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The world record holder for most teams managed has died at the age of 93.

Rudi Gutendorf, who managed in the United States with the NASL’s St. Louis Stars (1968), last managed in 2003 when he led the Samoa national team.

[ MORE: Maguire shining for Man Utd ]

Those are two of 55 teams he led onto the pitch, 22 of which were national teams. He led teams from CONCACAF (Trinidad and Tobago), CAF (Ghana), CONMEBOL (Chile), OFC (Fiji), and AFC (Australia).

The German-born Gutendorf did a lot of his club work in Europe, leading clubs as big as Hamburg, Schalke, Real Valladolid, and Hertha Berlin.

Gutendorf managed Rwanda in the wake of the country’s dark civil war. From DW.com:

“Such hate, you cannot believe. I was able to unite these two tribes to play football, and good football,” he said in a 2013 interview of the mixed Rwandan team of Hutu and Tutsi players.

What a fascinating career Gutendorf had, and the stories he’s told.

Man Utd’s Maguire “showed what a man he is” versus Leicester

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Manchester United is still working to find its form as a team, but center back Harry Maguire continued his run of fine performances when the Red Devils beat his former team on Saturday.

United beat Leicester City 1-0 on the day, a Marcus Rashford penalty the difference, but Maguire and fellow new back Aaron Wan-Bissaka were again exceptional.

[ RECAP: Man Utd 1-0 Leicester City ]

Ashley Young has been through a few iterations of Manchester United, and the long-time club offered up lofty words to credit Maguire’s contributions to the team.

“Again he showed today what a man he is,” Young said. “You know, I think the manager’s said about him, he talks non-stop, he’s a real leader and he can play as well.”

Maguire won five aerial battles and two tackles while completing 83 percent of his passes and managing two shots against his former side (WhoScored). On the season, only Anthony Martial has consistently been more important to the team.

He also did not record a loss of possession, and seemingly was unbothered by plenty of criticism from the traveling fans. From The Manchester Evening News:

“I don’t think it bothers (Maguire) whatsoever,” said Manchester United boss Ole Gunnar Solskjaer. “You’ve got to be that way and when you play, when you coach, when you manage, we don’t get carried away when we win a game that we maybe didn’t deserve to win, but we don’t get in the dumps when we don’t win.”

Solskjaer also loved Maguire and Victor Lindelof for their performance against pesky Leicester star Jamie Vardy.

“I’ve got loads of admiration for Vardy,” Solskjaer said. “I think he’s my type of centre forward, runs in in behind, harasses and you’ve got to be spot on with the decision-making, when to stay up, when to drop off, and both of them proved their worth today. There were a couple of races and Harry did well.”

Maguire didn’t love being on the other side of Vardy, either.

“It was tough playing against Jamie,” he said. “I’ve played with him for two years and he is a top player who can terrorize defenses when he is on his game. … We knew it was important to get the win, especially after the international break. We have to build on a solid base and we want to keep clean sheets, especially at Old Trafford. We are always going to score goals with the attacking talent we have.”

United hosts Kazakhstan’s Astana on Thursday in the Europa League before visiting West Ham United on Sept. 22.

Watch Live: Bournemouth v. Everton

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Dominic Calvert-Lewin gets the start up top as Everton looks to take down hosts Bournemouth at the Vitality Stadium on Sunday (Watch live at 9 a.m. ET on NBCSN and online via NBCSports.com).

Alex Iwobi, Gylfi Sigurdsson, and Richarlison join Calvert-Lewin in attack for the Toffees, who can go fourth with a win.

WATCH LIVE, ONLINE, HERE

Bournemouth enters the day in 16th, a point ahead of the bottom three, but can rise into the top half with a win. Early season vibes.

LINEUPS

Bournemouth: Ramsdale, Rico, Ake, Cook, Stacey, Solanke, Billing, L. S. Cook, Wilson, King, Wilson. Subs: Boruc, Surman, Lerma, Ibe, Fraser, Simpson, Mepham.

Everton: Pickford, Digne, Mina, Keane, Coleman, Delph, Schneiderlin, Iwobi, Sigurdsson, Richarlison, Calvert-Lewin. Subs: Stekelenburg, Holgate, Walcott, Sidibe, Bernard, Davies, Kean.