Premier League Playback: Brendan Rodgers gone, but not forgotten

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LIVERPOOL RIGHT TO REMOVE RODGERS

Gone, but not forgotten. Those are likely to be the sentiments flowing through the minds of Liverpool fans as they sip on their Monday morning coffee less than 24 hours after Brendan Rodgers was fired as Liverpool’s manager.

[ MORE: Klopp, Ancelotti next for Liverpool? ]

On Sunday following Liverpool’s 1-1 draw with Everton in the Merseyside derby, Rodgers, 42, lost his job just eight matches into his fourth season in charge at Anfield. The writing has been on the wall for quite some time. With the likes of Luis Suarez, Raheem Sterling and Steven Gerrard departing over the past 12 months, plus over $400 million spent on new signings, delivering a sixth place finish last season then overseeing a struggling start to this campaign proved too much for Liverpool’s American owners, the Fenway Sports Group (FSG), to handle.

[ MORE: Timeline of Rodgers’ demise at Anfield ]

When Rodgers’ assistant coaches were fired in the summer alarm bells began to ring. In truth, his player recruitment has been his biggest downfall although FSG must take some of the blame as the transfer committee at Liverpool — which Rodgers is only a part of — has sanctioned deals for the likes of Mario Balotelli, Dejan Lovren and Lazar Markovic, and many more who just haven’t been up to scratch as the Reds paid over the top following the $200 million raised by selling Suarez and Sterling over the past two summers.

Premier League Schedule – Week 8

Result Recap & Highlights
Arsenal 3-0 Man Utd Recap, watch here
Aston Villa 0-1 Stoke Recap, watch here
B’mouth 1-1 Watford Recap, watch here
Chelsea 1-3 Saints Recap, watch here
C. Palace 2-0 WBA Recap, watch here
Everton 1-1 Liverpool Recap, watch here
Man City 6-1 N’castle Recap, watch here
Norwich 1-2 Leicester Recap, watch here
S’land 2-2 West Ham Recap, watch here
Swansea 2-2 Spurs Recap, watch here

Rodgers leaves Liverpool as the only manager in charge for three or more seasons since 1959 to not win a trophy with the Reds. His failure to win silverware despite his much idolized philosophy of cultivating attractive play with young players is what ultimately cost him his job, and yet, he came so close. It is that factor which means that years from now, maybe even decades, Rodgers’ name will still be mentioned on the Kop. The 2013-14 season will always be revered among Liverpool’s fans despite the heartbreak of coming agonizingly close to winning the Premier League title.

[ MORE: Twitter reacts to Rodgers firing

The Northern Irishman brought belief back to Anfield. True, you can say that any manager in control of a team which possessed Suarez, Sterling and Daniel Sturridge in attack, plus Gerrard and Philippe Coutinho feeding them chances would have done that. The fact of the matter is that Rodgers could not deliver the title with those players and that will be the legacy he leaves behind at Anfield. The defending, throughout his time at Anfield but particularly during that season, was shocking, but the dynamic play up front, led by Suarez, was sublime.

[ MORE: Watch full PL match replays

I was there throughout most of the highs and lows of that title chase. The electricity in the air around the pubs in Liverpool before and after the demolition of Everton in the Merseyside derby in January 2014. The euphoria in the streets around Anfield before and after Coutinho’s late winner against Manchester City in April 2014. The agony of Gerrard’s slip in the defeat to Chelsea in the penultimate home game. And then, the utter disbelief after letting a 3-0 lead slip at Crystal Palace to draw 3-3 in the penultimate game of the season. Those moments, that ride towards the title which ultimately ended in tears and disappointment, should never be forgotten. Rodgers engineered a side which was capable of ripping teams apart and he came within a few goals either way of doing what no Liverpool manager in the last 25 years has managed to do. He came the closest to delivering success in the Premier League and despite the way things have unraveled in the 18 months since that dramatic title race climaxed — the 6-1 defeat at Stoke, the realization that the players who arrived were not good enough — you cannot take that away from him.

[ VIDEO: Premier League highlights

Were FSG and owner John W. Henry right to remove Rodgers from his role? Yes. His time was up. He looked dejected and defensive in multiple post-match press conferences over the past six months and he was fighting a losing battle as fans continued to question his decisions and had lost belief in not only his managerial abilities, but the players he selected. Talk of Jurgen Klopp and Carlo Ancelotti coming in to replace Rodgers is rife (you can read more on the contenders for the vacant position at Anfield, here) but for now, let’s remember the joy Rodgers’ swashbuckling side of the 2013-14 season brought and how Liverpool’s fans were made to feel like, for at least a few months, the glory days were once again returning to Anfield.

The reaction to his firing was mixed, but many believe Rodgers’ time was up at Anfield.

Take a look at the video above to see Thierry Henry and Jamie Carragher reacting to the news, while Major League Baseball’s Brendan Rodgers had to let the world know he was not his namesake, who is now out of a job.

MOURINHO NEXT TO GO?

In the video above Jose Mourinho delivered a crystal clear message — who looks to be feeling the pressure with bags under his eyes, over-analyzing situations and having his back up after being criticized for the way he handled the Eva Carneiro situation — as the Chelsea boss was in a defiant mood following yet another defeat for his side on Saturday. Simply put, his message to Chelsea’s board was the following: stick with me, or sack me.

[ MORE: Three things we learned from Chelsea’s defeat ]

Southampton were the latest team to prevail from Mourinho’s misery — it is now five defeats in 11 games in all competitions for the west London club this season — and in truth Ronald Koeman’s side were well worth their 3-1 victory at Stamford Bridge as they won at Chelsea for the first time in 13 years with a magnificent comeback orchestrated by Graziano Pelle and Sadio Mane.

However, somewhat inevitably and in keeping with the current season, this result was all about one man: Mourinho.

[ MORE: Mourinho goes on incredible post-match rant ]

Having the audacity to call out the referee for not awarding Radamel Falcao a penalty kick when the score was 1-1 early in the second half was just the tip of the iceberg. Mourinho was clutching at straws as he went on an incredible seven minute and nine second rant on Sky Sports in the UK when asked one simple question to start off. It was enthralling viewing. Encapsulating. Entertaining. And, moreover, indicative of the situation he know finds himself in. Eight weeks into the season, Mourinho is pleading with Chelsea’s board not to sack him and is adamant he will not resign.

“When I was contacted to come back, I was told ‘we had so many managers. We know you are the best,’” Mourinho revealed in his post-match press conference. “I think it is time for the club to act in a different way, to mark a position of stability, a position of trust. Three months ago we were all together in the buzz of the cups. It is time for all of us to be together now in the bottom of the league.”

John Terry has jumped to Mourinho’s defense and it is true that the players are not performing anywhere near the level they did when winning the title last season. But we all know that at Chelsea, or at any other club for that matter, when the team stops winning the manager is held accountable. That is why Mourinho is so worried and has called for a change in tact from Roman Abramovich and the board to bring stability and let him turn things around at the Bridge. It is reported that Mourinho has met with the directors after the defeat to Southampton and Chelsea then released the following statement on Monday. The fact that they even had to say anything at all proves just how bad the situation has got at the Bridge.

“The club wants to make it clear that Jose continues to have our full support.

“As Jose has said himself, results have not been good enough and the team’s performances must improve. However, we believe that we have the right manager to turn this season around and that he has the squad with which to do it.”

With a run of six winnable games coming up in the league (Aston Villa, Liverpool, Norwich at home and trips to West Ham, Stoke and Tottenham), it’s now or never for “The Special One” to save Chelsea’s season with the Blues only seven points off the top four despite their disastrous start.

And just in case any of you were wondering, despite his confused and ultra-defensive state, he still hasn’t lost his ego.

“No way I resign. No way,” Mourinho added. “Why? Because Chelsea cannot have a better manager than me. There are many managers in the world that belong to my level, but not better. There is no chance I run away. Why? For two reasons. One: because I have my professional pride and I know that I am very good in my job. Second: I like this club very much and if that’s not the case it could be different. In the accumulation of both situations I want the best for my club and the best for my club is for me to stay. So, I stay.”

OZIL, WALCOTT, SANCHEZ: ARSENAL’S HOLY TRINITY?

19 minutes into Arsenal’s clash with Manchester United at the Emirates Stadium on Sunday the game was over. Arsenal scored three times in a blistering 12 minute spell, as the attacking trio of Mesut Ozil, Theo Walcott and Alexis Sanchez possessed the perfect mixture of pace, trickery and guile to blow away United’s makeshift defense.

[ MORE: Three things we learned from Arsenal’s win ]

Arsenal rode that early 3-0 lead to victory, as Arsene Wenger was delighted with the way Walcott led the line in a central role (his fifth-straight start in that position ahead of Olivier Giroud) as his pace in-behind terrified United into forgetting about the mercurial talents of Ozil and Sanchez. The latter scored twice, grabbing the headlines, but Ozil’s ability to find the right ball at the right time, plus calmly slot home Arsenal’s second himself, just seconds after assisting on Sanchez’s opener, is why Wenger paid $62 million for him in 2013. Now, for Ozil and Arsenal, it is all about consistency. When asked in his post-match press conference if this trio is the answer to Arsenal’s attack, the French boss was optimistic.

“I hope and I believe it can,” Wenger said. “I must say, Walcott had a hugely committed performance today and a very convincing one. He didn’t score but I like to praise the strikers when they don’t score but contribute and give assists. He was involved in two goals and he showed that he can fight and commit and protect the ball as well. He is gaining aspects of his game as a center forward and is improving.”

In that blistering 20 minute spell we saw all that is good about the Gunners. The fact that it was coming off the back of a shock 3-2 UEFA Champions League defeat at home to Olympiakos says it all. If Arsenal’s front three can stay fit and in form, with Petr Cech marshaling an improved defensive unit, this title race could become a two-horse affair between Arsenal and Manchester City.

FIVE-STAR AGUERO

Speaking of City, they were losing 1-0 to Newcastle United at home just before half time on Saturday, as things were not looking good for the Citizens. Then, Sergio Aguero happened. The Argentine striker scored once before the break and four times just after it, as the predatory striker score five times in a blistering 20 minute spell which led City to a 6-1 demolition of Newcastle which looked far from believable after a labored first half display. That’s the difference a finisher of Aguero’s caliber possesses, and Manuel Pellegrini will now be praying his star striker can stay fit for the entire season, as David Silva and Kevin De Bruyne look like the perfect creators to set him up for multiple scoring chances week in, week out.

Due to the huge talking points surrounding Rodgers, Chelsea and Arsenal, Aguero’s achievement has gone somewhat unnoticed. So I urge you to click play on the video above to see all five of Aguero’s goals. The PL’s Golden Boot winner from last season joins an elite list of Andy Cole, Jermain Defoe, Dimitar Berbatov and Alan Shearer as the only men to score five times in one game in PL history.

MAGIC MANE

We have already mentioned Mourinho’s Chelsea getting outplayed by Southampton at Stamford Bridge on Saturday, but a final word must go to the brilliance of Sadio Mane which ignited Saints and inflicted pain on Chelsea’s defense.

[ MORE: How brave Saints battered Chelsea ]

Mane, 23, ran rings around Chelsea’s entire back four. He should have had a penalty kick in the first half (but his theatrical dive probably cost him that) and in the second half he scored Saints’ second and set up Pelle for Saints’ third with a blistering run at the heart of Chelsea’s defense. Teams cannot cope with Mane’s pace and direct running, as the Senegalese international is thriving in a central role which allows him to feed off Pelle’s knockdowns and run at center backs like Terry and Gary Cahill (voted the two best in the PL last season) who do not know what to do.

I spoke to Koeman about Mane’s performance after the game on Saturday, and Southampton’s manager believed Mane was “impossible” to defend.

“He played fantastic but I think the whole team performance was impressive after going 1-0 down we looked comfortable,” Koeman said. “Of course, to win against teams like Chelsea you need your best players on that high level and Sadio was very dangerous in his movements. It was impossible to have a good defending against him. I think the whole team performance was perfect.”

Mane now has four assists and two goals in his last five PL matches and after Manchester United tried to make a late bid to sign him in the summer, Saints will be expecting plenty more bids for the flying attacker in the upcoming transfer windows. If they are truly going to become a team capable of perennially challenging for a spot in the top six, Southampton must keep hold of Mane. But as Chelsea’s defense proved on Saturday, that can prove very difficult.

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

USMNT vs Iran player ratings out of 10

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Christian Pulisic was injured scoring the lone goal of a 1-0 win over Iran as the United States men’s national team advanced to the World Cup’s Round of 16 on Tuesday.

WATCH IRAN vs USA FULL MATCH REPLAY

Fortunately for the USMNT, his exit from the match did not stop the Yanks from delivering a spot in the knockout rounds.

While the attack sputtered without him, the defenders and midfielders largely stepped into the fold as Yunus Musah and Co. helped Matt Turner keep a second clean sheet in three games.

[ LIVE: World Cup 2022 schedule, how to watch, scores, hub ]


Iran vs USA player ratings out of 10

Matt Turner: 6.5 — Some nervy moments late but the Arsenal backup again showed command of his box even when his body didn’t follow-through on good decisions.

Antonee Robinson: 9 — There’s an argument to be made that “Jedi” was the player of the round for the USMNT. He made a few rescue tackles and crosses from the left were few and far between.

Tim Ream: 8 — Quick, someone ask the coach if the guy who played every minute of the group stage is now a good fit for his system.

Cameron Carter-Vickers: 7 — Terrific when the U.S. had the ball and mostly good at the back, too. Is a good fit as a RCB in the back three, if that’s something Berhalter pulls out again.

Sergino Dest (Off 82′): 9 — While Pulisic’s goal was the moment of the game and Musah delivered several other moments, the fullbacks were the story of the entirety. Dest’s assist was massive, too (obviously).

USMNT player ratings
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Tyler Adams: 8 — He rarely has bad games in a USMNT shirt, and there’s a reason he has the captain’s arm band when most teams would’ve automatically allocated it to Pulisic.

Yunus Musah: 8.5 — It’s fair to say the U.S. hasn’t had as a complete a midfield duo in Musah and Adams in two decades, if not longer. Musah was monstrous

Weston McKennie (Off 65′): 6.5 –Still working his way to match sharpness over the hour-plus, and you can pen him in for a start and a sub in every game the rest of the way.

Tim Weah (Off 82′): 7.5 — The team’s second-biggest threat, could’ve had this match salted away at the hour mark with a hat trick on another day.

Josh Sargent (On 75′): 7 — Yeoman’s work from the Norwich City man, who limped off after landing awkwardly on the ball.

Christian Pulisic (Off HT): 8 — Scoring a round-clinching goal in a World Cup game is a really good way to cement your status in a national team program. His abdominal injury required a precautionary trip to the hospital. Fingers are crossed. So are toes. And any new appendages that might evolve.

Subs

Brenden Aaronson (On HT): 7 — A busy boy in his half, had Iran just as enraged as he’s had Premier League opponents

Kellyn Acosta (On 65′): 6.5  — Job done.

Haji Wright (On 75′): 6.5 — See above.

Walker Zimmerman (On 82′): 8 — A goal-line clearance and all the aerials duels you knew would be won when he was plugged into the lineup, were won. Three clearances in 10-plus minutes.

Shaq Moore (On 82′): 6 — Wyd, Gregg? Moore’s only job should’ve been to shut down crosses. He didn’t.


FotMob player ratings

USMNT player ratings
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USMNT tops Iran to set up World Cup date with Netherlands

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Christian Pulisic was injured scoring the lone goal of a 1-0 win over Iran as the United States men’s national team advanced to the World Cup’s Round of 16 on Tuesday.

The Yanks, runners-up in Group B, will play Group A winners Netherlands at 10am ET Saturday.

[ MORE: USMNT player ratings vs Iran ]

Pulisic walked off the field on his power and appeared to have taken a hard shot to the midsection. We’ll update his condition as soon as it becomes available.

WATCH IRAN vs USA FULL MATCH REPLAY

England won the group while Iran bows out along with Wales.

[ LIVE: World Cup 2022 schedule, how to watch, scores, hub ]


What we learned from Iran vs USA

It’s difficult not to feel good for Christian Pulisic, no longer the young sparkplug hopeful of reaching his potential.

The next great American player actually became the next great American player, and our enduring World Cup-related memory of him was in qualification; The teenage goal scorer who didn’t find a teammate to also score in Couva as the Yanks crashed out of the tournament.

Now the enduring World Cup image of him, rightly so, is as a gamer. Pulisic scored a round-sealing goal while getting kicked in the nether region.

Then his teammates needed to hold on tight.

They mostly did! The USMNT stayed firm after Gregg Berhalter stopped going for the second goal, removing several attackers in favor of Walker Zimmerman and Shaq Moore.

It was nervy, but they did it. And the U.S. moves forward…


Stars of the Show

Christian Pulisic

Antonee Robinson

Tyler Adams

Majid Hosseini

Tim Ream

USMNT player ratings
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Christian Pulisic goal video: Dest cues up USMNT star

How to watch Iran vs USA live, stream link and start time

Kick off: 2pm ET, Tuesday Nov. 29
Stadium: Al Thumama Stadium, Al Khor
TV channels en Español: Telemundo
Streaming en Español: Peacock (all 64 matches)


Key storylines, players to watch closely

For Iran, it’s about riding the momentum of a huge win after finding inspiration in a huge loss. There’s an ocean’s worth of difference in emotion between the 6-2 tournament-opening loss to England in Al Rayyan and the 2-0 triumph over Wales In the same city. Can Mehdi Taremi or Sardar Azmoun succeed where Harry Kane and Raheem Sterling could not and break down the USMNT defense for a goal?

Meanwhile, the Yanks may still be lamenting a 1-1 draw with Wales as much as they are celebrating a strong performance that kept them unbeaten against England at the World Cup after a scoreless draw with Gareth Southgate’s men In Al Khor. Gregg Berhalter has to find a way to unlock the USMNT’s final-third woes when they hit Al Khor on Tuesday.

There has also been some off-field tension brewing between the U.S. and Iran surrounding this game, as Gregg Berhalter and captain Tyler Adams responded to in a tense press conference amid questions from the Iranian press.


Iran quick facts

Current FIFA world ranking: 20
World Cup titles: 0
World Cup appearances: 5
How they qualified: Qualified automatically from AFC (Won Group A)
Coach: Dragan Skocic
Key players: Ehsan Hajsafi, Sardar Azmoun, Mehdi Taremi

USA quick facts

Current FIFA world ranking: 16
World Cup titles: 0
World Cup appearances: 9
How they qualified: Qualified automatically from CONCACAF (3rd place)
Coach: Gregg Berhalter
Key players: Christian Pulisic, Weston McKennie, Tyler Adams

Australia vs Denmark: How to watch live, stream link, team news

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This will be an epic battle in Group D as Australia and Denmark can both reach the last 16 of the World Cup heading into their final group game.

STREAM LIVE AUSTRALIA v DENMARK

After their superb win against Tunisia last time out, Australia know a win against Denmark puts them in the last 16 of the World Cup for just the second time in their history. Graham Arnold has had plenty of criticism for the way his team play but they were totally committed against Tunisia and always carried a threat on the counter. They will have to put in a very similar display against the talented Danes but a point could well be enough as Tunisia would have to beat France in the other game in Group D to complicate matters further for Australia and Denmark.

[ LIVE: World Cup 2022 schedule, how to watch, scores, hub

As for Denmark, they have had a very poor tournament so far. They were woeful in attack against Tunisia in an opening game stalemate, while they were beaten by France last time out and Kasper Hjulmand has failed to get his team going in attack. Christian Eriksen and Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg are trying to drive Denmark on from midfield but they just haven’t look dangerous going forward. They have to win against Australia and then hope Tunisia doesn’t beat France and it goes down to goal difference. 

[ MORE: Group D standings, schedule, scores ]

Here is everything you need for Australia vs Denmark.


How to watch Australia vs Denmark live, stream link and start time

Kick off: 10am ET – Wednesday, November 30
Stadium: Al Janoub Stadium, Al Wakrah
TV channels en Español: Telemundo
Streaming en Español: Peacock (all 64 matches)


Key storylines, players to watch closely

Australia will set up exactly the same as they did against Tunisia as they will whip in balls to Mitchell Duke who was the hero with his superb flicked header. Both Duke and Arnold pointed to the ‘Aussie Spirit’ getting them the win against Tunisia and there is a real grit and determination about this team.

Denmark know they have to win, so they will go for a more attack-minded lineup and they have the quality to beat Australia. They will likely start Braithwaite and Dolberg as they try to get something going in attack and this is basically a knockout game in the group stage.


Australia quick facts

Current FIFA world ranking: 38
World Cup titles: 0
World Cup appearances: 5
How they qualified: Qualified from AFC via the intercontinental playoffs
Coach: Graham Arnold
Key players: Mathew Ryan, Aaron Mooy, Mathew Leckie

Denmark quick facts

Current FIFA world ranking: 10
World Cup titles: 0
World Cup appearances: 5
How they qualified: Qualified automatically from UEFA (Won Group F)
Coach: Kasper Hjulmand
Key players: Kasper Schmeichel, Simon Kjaer, Christian Eriksen


World Cup 2022 odds: Favorites, underdogs, group stage winners

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The World Cup 2022 odds are already intriguing.

Who’s going to lift the World Cup trophy on Sunday, Dec. 18, and what are the current betting odds for them to do so?

[ LIVE: World Cup 2022 schedule, how to watch, scores, hub

Odds for not only who will be crowned world champions this winter in Qatar, but also for each one of the eight groups, were posted.

Check out the 2022 World Cup winners betting odds below, provided by our partner, PointsBet.


World Cup 2022 schedule, start time, dates, how to watch live

  • When: November 20, 2022 to December 18, 2022
  • Group stage game kick-off times: 5am, 8am, 10am, 11am, 2pm (all ET)
  • Location: Qatar
  • TV channels en Español: Telemundo, Universo, Peacock
  • Streaming en Español: Peacock (all 64 matches)

Follow along with ProSoccerTalk for the latest news, scores, storylines, and updates surrounding the 2022 World Cup, and be sure to subscribe to NBC Sports on YouTube!


World Cup 2022 odds – winners (As of November 29)

PointsBet is our Official Sports Betting Partner and we may receive compensation if you place a bet on PointsBet for the first time after clicking our links. Here are the odds provided by our partner, PointsBet.

Brazil +250
France +550
Spain +650
Argentina +800
England +900
Germany +1200
Portugal +1200
Netherlands +1400
Croatia +5000
Belgium +6600
Denmark +6600
Uruguay +8000
Switzerland +8000
USA +10000
Morocco +10000
Serbia +15000
Senegal +15000
Poland +20000
Saudi Arabia +30000
Mexico +50000
Australia +50000
Ghana +50000
Japan +50000
South Korea +75000
Cameroon +100000
Costa Rica +100000
Tunisia +200000
Qatar – Eliminated
Canada – Eliminated
Ecuador – Eliminated
Wales – Eliminated
Iran – Eliminated


World Cup odds – group stage winners (At start of tournament, November 20)

PointsBet is our Official Sports Betting Partner and we may receive compensation if you place a bet on PointsBet for the first time after clicking our links. Here are the odds provided by our partner, PointsBet.

Group A

Netherlands -223
Senegal +400
Ecuador +550
Qatar +1600

Group B

England -304
Wales +550
USA +600
Iran +1800

Group C

Argentina -223
Poland +450
Mexico +450
Saudi Arabia +2500

Group D

France -250
Denmark +275
Tunisia +1400
Australia +2000

Group E

Spain -112
Germany +110
Japan +1200
Costa Rica +5000

Group F

Belgium -200
Croatia +250
Morocco +1000
Canada +1200

Group G

Brazil -250
Switzerland +500
Serbia +600
Cameroon +1200

Group H

Portugal -154
Uruguay +200
Ghana +1100
South Korea +1100


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