Klopp apologizes to official, reveals true feelings on Costa

Leave a comment

Jurgen Klopp wears his heart on his sleeve.

[ MORE: Grades for January window ]

It’s why Liverpool fans and neutrals love him but sometimes his emotions boil over. That happened at Anfield on Tuesday as Liverpool drew 1-1 with Chelsea and Klopp screamed furiously in the face of the fourth official.

With the game level with 14 minutes to go, Chelsea were awarded a penalty kick after Diego Costa was fouled in the box by Joel Matip. It was a clear penalty kick but Klopp vented his frustration to the fourth official.

He explained that his beef was with a foul not being called on Costa earlier in the play as he appeared to nudge Dejan Lovren off the ball. Still, he realized his reaction (see in the video above) towards fourth official Neil Swarbrick was unnecessary.

“I turned to him [Swarbrick] and said: ‘Nobody can beat us.’ Obviously that is absolutely not true but that’s what I said in this moment,” Klopp said. “I went back to the fourth official and said: ‘Sorry – you are the wrong person to speak to.’ He said: ‘No problem, I like your passion.’ I have never heard that from an official before. That was cool.”

With Arsene Wenger receiving a four-match touchline ban for slightly pushing a fourth official, some would argue Klopp should be charged by the FA. Let’s see how this plays out.

As for Costa — the man who won and then had his penalty kick brilliantly saved by Simon Mignolet — Klopp revealed his true feelings about Chelsea’s leading goalscorer.

“If I had played against Costa we could never be friends,” Klopp added. “That’s how it is but when you have him in your team it’s much more fun. I don’t know if it was a dive for the penalty. No one has said anything to me.”

In a way that was a back-handed compliment for Costa from Klopp and although Liverpool remain 10 points behind league leaders Chelsea, they showed spirit and determination to battle back into the game and grab a point. Roberto Firmino had two wonderful chances at the start and end of the second half which he made a mess of, but overall a draw was a fair result as Pedro went close twice late on.

What must be the most frustrating thing for Klopp is that Liverpool has the best record in the PL against the current top six this season, but they’ve dropped 15 points against teams from outside the top six.

That’s what has likely cost them a shot at the title but Klopp’s side are still well and truly in the top four hunt and clinching a spot in the UEFA Champions League would be a great achievement.

Report: Minnesota United chasing Ecuadorian national teamer

Photo by Steve Dykes/Getty Images
Leave a comment

Minnesota United may be hoping another Ibarra can cure what ails its attack.

Romario Ibarra, 23, is on the Loons’ radar according to The Athletic‘s Kristian Dyer and Jeff Rueter, who say Minnesota would like to land the Ecuadorian when the summer transfer window opens on July 10.

[ MORE: Modric urges humility ]

Ibarra was limited to eight matches for Universidad Católica this season as he battled through a lingering metatarsal fracture. But he’s scored against Argentina and Chile in each of his appearances for the national team, both World Cup qualifiers.

From The Athletic:

Sources say that Ibarra’s contract is unlikely to make him a designated player, leaving Quintero as the club’s sole DP. (It could depend, in part, on the size of the transfer fee.) Based on league standards, his salary will likely be drawn from Targeted Allocation Money (TAM) contract seems likely.

Ibarra’s older brother Renato plays for Club America, and has 36 caps.

Minnesota is six points outside the West’s final playoff spot, and has scored just 17 goals in 14 matches.

Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup quarterfinal field set

Sean Meagher/The Oregonian via AP
Leave a comment

The 2018 Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup is down to one non-MLS entrant after LAFC fought past Sacramento Republic’s dogged effort to make it two, twice equalizing en route to a 3-2 win.

[ MORE: TFC extends Bono ]

Louisville City won a battle of USL sides in Wednesday’s final day of fifth round action, knocking off Nashville SC by a 2-1 score.

Now attention turns to the quarterfinals, where USL champions Louisville City will face the Chicago Fire on July 18.

All four quarterfinals will be staged on that day, and the winner of Louisville-Chicago will face the winner of the duel between Philadelphia Union and Orlando City.

The other side of the bracket shows Houston Dynamo against Sporting KC, and LAFC against the Portland Timbers.

Chicago and KC have won the cup an MLS-best four times each, while Philadelphia has finished second twice.

The remaining quarterfinalists have not advanced to a USOC final.

Sprawling translated Emery interview talks PSG, Guardiola, more

AP Photo/Thibault Camus
Leave a comment

Arsenal manager Unai Emery has given a sprawling interview, translated by France Football News, in which he discusses his history and his philosophies.

The interview was conducted after Emery was dismissed by Paris Saint-Germain but before he was hired by the Gunners.

[ MORE: Sampaoli defends Messi ]

It’s a fascinating read, with Emery going deep into his relationship with Neymar, the need for PSG to get an “A-ha” goal for its history books, and much, much more.

The interview is with Marti Perarnau, the author of “Pep Confidential,” and there are plenty of good nuggets regarding the Manchester City boss, as well as Rafa Benitez, Zinedine Zidane, PSG, Real Madrid, and Barcelona.

It’s fairly clear that Emery figured he’d be going to a new league, and he certainly seems like a guy fit for a project like succeeding Arsene Wenger at Arsenal. For one thing, he’s proud of his team’s style.

That’s something valued by the North London set, and Emery pointed out that Diego Simeone at Atletico Madrid and Pep Guardiola at Man City had to fail before they succeeded.

Let me say this: PSG played well and won. Many people don’t value that enough and believe that it is easy. But what happened to us? We lacked competitiveness in important moments. Why? Because this team is not confronted with enough moments of adversity in the league. Being competitive also means being faced with adversity. One has to suffer like Simeone’s team to win. One has to suffer like Pep’s team to win in England.

My team had two basic principles: having possession and pressing. That was the basis. Having the ball, and winning it back as fast as possible. I should add a little nuance. I’m talking about having possession and not positioning because there are moments where you can win the ball through positioning, and others where moving out of position can surprise the opponent. And like Guardiola says, if you have to win with a long ball from the goalkeeper towards the striker and that the forward scores with his ass, then so be it! We work like that as well.

And here’s just a quick nugget on the importance of playmaking, and how good players make a coach look better.

During his first match against Toulouse at the Parc des Princes, we get corner. Neymar takes it quickly and Kurzawa scores. We hadn’t worked that at all with him. Afterwards, I told Neymar, “My work is limited to your strokes of genius.”

Love it. Arsenal seems like it’s in good hands. Read the full interview here.

Khedira laughs off Swedish reporter’s offer of tickets home

AP Photo/Matthias Schrader
Leave a comment

Juventus midfielder Sami Khedira brushed off a gesture from a Swedish reporter, trading a bit of banter ahead of Germany’s big World Cup match against Sweden on Saturday.

Germany fell 1-0 to Mexico in its opener while Sweden beat South Korea, leading a playful Swede to hand Khedira boarding passes for a flight home to Germany.

[ MORE: Latest 2018 World Cup news ] 

Khedira’s reply? He joked that Sweden won’t be a problem and he’ll use the tickets after the World Cup Final.

From Goal.com:

“After this bad start, we know that it’s super difficult, but we know that we are a strong team. We analysed the game, we saw Sweden play and we are sure that we are winning this game.

“I think we’ll need them [plane tickets] on the 16th of July.”