Neymar has recently been under scrutiny for a tussle with Colombian forward Carlos Bacca in a 1-0 loss to Los Cafeteros.
The 23-year-old was suspended four games in the wake of the incident because after the match ended, he appeared to headbutt Jeison Murillo and verbally assault head official Enrique Osses in the tunnel.
For the rest of the Copa America tournament, Neymar will not be available to Brazil, Dunga’s team advancing to the quarterfinal earlier today with a triumph over Venezuela.
[RELATED: Peru, Colombia draw in Copa America tilt]
Following Bacca’s mother saying she would have hit Neymar with her high heel, someone close to Neymar, Barcelona defender Jordi Alba, has provided an alternate view point and backed the young Brazilian.
“I think that it is unfair, but those in charge are those in charge. It is clear that he’s a player that’s targeted. I would have exploded before him, for sure. Neymar has a lot of patience.”
Alba added: “I don’t think he’s being persecuted, but he is an important player for Brazil and for Barça and for that reason people do go after him. He has a style of play that everyone would love to have, but not everyone can do it. I’m the first in that regard.”
In the end, Neymar can be “targeted” time and time again, but it’s his responsibility as a prominent figure to deal with commotion properly. If Bacca had hypothetically been harassing Neymar for the entire game, the former Santos man would have to speak up to the referee and make this clear.
But in reality, the frustration of losing seemed to irk Neymar’s patience and thus cause the outburst, which type of occasion we have seen happen with other big names in sports. Hopefully he will learn to control his emotions in the long run.
Harvey Elliott came to Liverpool via Fulham as highly rated as youngsters come. He’s got plenty of maturing still to do both on and off the field, but his talent is undoubtable.
That was on display as Liverpool’s reserve squad took on Wolverhampton Wanderers in a Premier League 2 fixture. Just after halftime, Elliott leveled the score at 2-2 with a stunning bicycle kick at the near post on a corner. The skill it took to essentially catch up to the ball as it floated parallel past him was fabulous, and his strike was true as it caught the Wolves goalkeeper off guard, unable to catch up to the pace of the shot.
The 16-year-old has been a regular for the Liverpool first-team squad in Cup matches but has then taken the field for the U-23 squad to get him some playing time, and clearly it’s done wonders.
Elliott came over from Fulham this past summer for an undisclosed fee given his age. He had already become the youngest player to appear in a Premier League game, coming on for the Whites in a game in May against Wolves with relegation looming.
After weeks of having a game in hand on Premier League title chasers Manchester City and Leicester City, the full extent of Liverpool’s lead will be revealed when the Reds visit West Ham United on Wednesday (Watch live, 2:45 p.m. ET, on NBCSN and NBCSports.com).
[ STREAM: Every PL game live here ]
Once the full-time whistle blows at the London Stadium, all 20 PL sides will have played 24 games. Ahead of kickoff, Jurgen Klopp‘s side leads second-place Man City by a whopping 16 points.
[ MORE: Sign up for NBC Sports Gold ]
West Ham, meanwhile, sit 17th in the table and are only clear of the relegation zone by way of goal differential. That’s something that could very easily change between now and 5 p.m. ET.
It’s time for leg two of the Manchester derby in the semifinals of the EFL Cup (Wednesday, 2:45 p.m. ET) at the Etihad Stadium.
[ LIVE: Man City v. Man United ]
Manchester City lead 3-1 following their first-leg dismantling of Manchester United at Old Trafford. In theory, it’s a mere formality to reach the final at Wembley, where they would take on Aston Villa following their late dramatics on Tuesday.
Click on the link above to follow the action live, while we will have you covered here at Pro Soccer Talk with all of the reaction and analysis.
Watch our transfer deadline day show from 6-8 p.m. ET on Jan. 31, live on NBCSN and online via NBCSports.com.
A roundup of all of the major transfer rumors, most notably those involving Premier League clubs, on Wednesday…
[ MORE: Spurs complete Bergwijn transfer from PSV ]
Barcelona have reportedly had a $110-million bid for Richarlison rejected by Everton. That’s a mind-blowing number for a club like Everton to receive, but the Toffees apparently didn’t have to think long before saying “thanks, but no thanks.” Luis Suarez is expected to miss four months due to a knee injury, leaving the Blaugrana somewhat for a replacement. Everton, however, have no desire to lose a key member of their squad with little to no time to sign a replacement.
After adding winger Steven Bergwijn on Wednesday, Tottenham Hotspur are heavily linked with a number of strikers as options to replace the injured Harry Kane. AC Milan’s Krzysztof Piatek is the most frequently linked (and most expensive) player coming out of the rumor mill, while Chelsea’s Olivier Giroud has come up as an emergency option (he is reportedly open to the idea). However, Jose Mourinho has reportedly been told he has just $13 million to acquire a new forward after spending a combined $108 million on Bergwijn and Gedson Fernandes.
Elsewhere in Tottenham rumors, full back Kyle Walker-Peters is expected to complete a loan move (without an option to buy) to Southampton in the very near future. The 22-year-old has been on the fringe of the first-team squad for what feels like five years now, but has never quite broken through. This could be Spurs putting into the shop window a player who they don’t believe is in their long-term plans in order to drive up his price tag come this summer.
Sheffield United look set to make a big push for a top-six finish, as the Blades are linked with moves for a pair of highly rated young players: Richairo Zivkovic, from Chinese side Changchun Yatai, and Sander Berge, from Genk. Zivkovic was one of the most highly touted youngsters in Europe before moving to China on a big-money deal; Berge has been linked with some of the biggest clubs across Europe in recent years, all the while the 21-year-old has become a fixture for the Belgian side.