Liverpool 2-0 Newcastle United: Sterling’s stunner boosts Liverpool’s top-four chase

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There might just be a way into the Premier League’s top-four places for Liverpool after all, as Manchester City’s freefall continues and the Reds find themselves back on track, thanks to a 2-0 home victory over Newcastle United on Monday.

Raheem Sterling and Joe Allen provided the goals for Brendan Rodgers’ side, as Liverpool once again passed Southampton for fifth in the league standings, just four points behind Man City for the final UEFA Champions League place.

[ RELATED: Watch full match replays ]

Speaking of Sterling, perhaps it’s time for the Liverpool board to take out their checkbook, sign a blank check, hand it to Sterling and tell him, “You fill in the number, just don’t leave us.” The 20-year-old answered his most recent critics when he opened the scoring with a stunning goal (9th minute) after blowing by a pair of Newcastle defenders and beating Tim Krul with a curling effort to the far post.

Liverpool were inches from doubling their lead in the 36th minute as Lucas Leiva’s header of Jordan Henderson’s free kick was destined to find the back of the net at the near post, if not for Krul’s sprawling effort to get a hand on the ball. Lucas was ruled to have been offside on the play, but replays showed he was very much level with the last Newcastle defender.

[ RELATED: Latest Premier League standings ]

Ayoze Perez nearly equalized for the visitors with barely a minute remaining in the first half, but Simon Mignolet’s diving save kept out Perez’s looping header to the Belgian ‘keeper’s right-hand post.

Sterling, however, might want to have a second thought about the dollar figure he scribbles on the aforementioned blank check, as his 57th-minute miss was perhaps the Miss of the Season in the Premier League. Henderson broke down the right wing, whipped the ball into the center of the penalty area, where Ryan Taylor’s clearance was a poor mishit. The ball then fell to Sterling at the far post with only Krul and a half-empty net in front of him. Instead of slotting the ball under the Dutch ‘keeper, Sterling went for the near post finish and pulled his shot agonizingly wide from six yards.

[ VIDEO: Premier League highlights ]

As the game wore on, Liverpool continued to let Newcastle hang around, only a goal down. In the 70th minute, Liverpool put the game to bed when Joe Allen bagged his first league goal of the season, doubling the lead to 2-0. Emre Can’s floated cross evaded Allen on the first try, but took a Liverpool bounce off the thigh of Michael Williamson and landed at the feet of Allen, whose snap-shot found the top corner.

Moussa Sissoko saw yellow twice in the span of five minutes (78th and 83rd), the second of which could have easily been a straight red for putting his studs into the shin of Lucas, only compounding Newcastle’s joyless night at Anfield.

The Reds’ chase for the top-four goes on a week’s hiatus, as Sunday’s FA Cup semifinal against Aston Villa looms large, while Newcastle, who are creeping ever closer to the relegation zone, host a struggling Tottenham Hotspur side at St James’ Park next week.

LINEUPS

Liverpool: Mignolet, Johnson, Can, Lovren, Moreno, Allen, Lucas, Henderson, Ibe (Borini 58′), Coutinho, Sterling (Lambert 88′)

Goals: Sterling (9′), Allen (70′)

Newcastle United: Krul, Taylor, Janmaat, Williamson, Colback, Anita, Abeid (Armstrong 75′), Sissoko, Cabella, Obertan (Gutierrez 67′), Perez (Gouffran 86′)

Russell hat trick snaps Sporting KC’s win streak (video)

AP Photo/Charlie Riedel
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Struggling, short-handed Sporting KC needed a star show to kickstart its summer, and Johnny Russell was ready to go.

Maybe the 29-year-old Scotsman was feeding off the buzz of his old club Derby County preparing for the Championship Playoff Final, but Russell scored thrice as Sporting took care of Seattle 3-2 in Washington on Sunday.

[ MORE: USWNT wins final match before World Cup (video) ]

The right winger scored his fifth, sixth, and seventh goals of the MLS season as Sporting won its first match since March 30.

Russell scored 35 goals with 34 assists in 205 matches with the Rams, but has destroyed that mark with KC. He now has 19 and 16 in 55.

Seattle loses ground on LAFC in the race for the Supporters’ Shield, while KC is now within four points of the playoff places.

 

 

Report: Newcastle in takeover talks with UAE billionaire

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Reports out of Northeast England say Newcastle United supporters who want owner Mike Ashley out at all costs have new hope.

United Arab Emirates billionaire Sheikh Khaled bin Zayed Al Nehayan is said to be in talks with Ashley about a takeover of the St. James’ Park-based club, though there’s a lot of work to do for a deal to be complete.

[ MORE: USWNT wins final match before World Cup (video) ]

One report goes as far as to say Ashley has agreed to accept $444 million for the Premier League club.

Sheikh Khaled, 61, was educated at American colleges Boston University and Michigan State. He’s the cousin of Manchester City owner Sheikh Mansour bin Zayed Al Nahyan, and was turned down with a $2.5 billion bid for Liverpool last season.

From The Chronicle:

NUFC have confirmed some talks with Sheikh Khaled. But say there is still “some way” to go on a deal. Newcastle United refusing to make any further comment at this time.

Takeover talks are nothing new at Newcastle, and there does seem to be some heat to these reports, but Ashley and his crew have spun these stories of interest in the past. And with Magpies supporters waiting for news on Rafa Benitez‘s new deal, some will be way of a smoke screen for an inability to reach an agreement with the celebrated Newcastle manager.

Wondolowski scores 149th, 150th goals; Earthquakes win

Chris Young/The Canadian Press via AP
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TORONTO (AP) Chris Wondolowski scored his 149th and 150th MLS goals in the San Jose Earthquakes’ 2-1 victory over Toronto FC on Sunday night.

The MLS career goals leader scored both from close range.

[ MORE: Kante to miss Europa League final ]

Wondolowski got a yard’s separation from Drew Moor and deftly redirected in Cristian Espinoza’s cross in the 37th minute to tie it at 1. The go-ahead goal in the 81st minute was a virtual replay, with Espinoza finding Wondolowski in space.

The San Jose striker has six goals in two games. He scored all four goals in a 4-1 victory over Chicago last weekend to surpass Landon Donovan’s league record of 145 goals and up his career total to 148.

Richie Laryea opened the scoring for Toronto (5-6-2) in the 28th minute

San Jose (5-6-2) won for the first time in six road games this season.

Chairman Mubarak: Other clubs are ‘jealous’ of Man City’s success

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Manchester City chairman Khaldoon Al Mubarak believes that other clubs — namely those who have fallen miles back of the back-to-back Premier League champions — are “jealous” of the club’s success.

[ MORE: Chelsea’s N’Golo Kante to miss Europa League final with new injury ]

The root of the perceived jealousy is, of course, Man City’s seemingly unlimited spending power which dwarves that of just about — if not — every other club in the PL. There’s a growing sense around the league — and around the world — that clubs like City, just to name one, are doing the game a disservice by distorting the transfer market and building an infallible super-team with the aid of unprecedented financial resources.

Mubarak believes that these feelings also stem from other clubs’ failed dealings in the transfer market: spending comparable — if not more — money on players who don’t justify that price tag the same way some of City’s big-money buys have done — quotes from the BBC:

“With success, there is a certain level of jealousy, envy, whatever you call it. That’s part of the game.

“It’s not easy for our competition, we know that. But the reality is, we didn’t buy the most expensive player in the Premier League [Paul Pogba], we didn’t buy the most expensive goalkeeper [Kepa Arrizabalaga], we didn’t buy the most expensive midfielder, we didn’t buy the most expensive striker [Romelu Lukaku].

“People make decisions, they’ve got to live by them. This is a well-run club.”

City’s financial dealings have regularly been in the headlines of late, as they are believed to have circumvented FFP rules by lying about sponsorship deals so as to balance a larger expenditure on transfer fees and player wages with revenue generated by the club.