Four more Premier League matches dot the festive fixture list on Tuesday, with two perceived relegation six-pointers on this list if you feel it’s late enough in the season to deem matches such.
[ MORE: Van Dijk on Liverpool move ]
Spurs and Man City are also on the docket, the former visiting Wales to test Carlos Carvalhal’s winning unit from the weekend.
Southampton vs. Crystal Palace — 2:45 p.m. ET on NBC Sports Gold [ STREAM ]
It’s been eight weeks since Saints have tasted victory, an emphatic home win over Everton. Now the club is back at St. Mary’s with a chance to sweep Crystal Palace and ease increasing relegation concerns in the south. For Palace, the flying Eagles just ended Manchester City’s PL-record winning streak and have been as good as any non-traditional power over the past couple months.
Swansea City vs. Tottenham Hotspur — 2:45 p.m. ET on NBCSN [ STREAM ]
Spurs play the first of two matches in three days in Wales, and have watched their Top Four rivals build some distance on the table. A win at Swans would boost them ahead of Arsenal and into fifth place, though the hosts are aiming to get out of the drop zone with a surprise win and a little help from Saints.
West Ham vs. West Brom — 2:45 p.m. ET on NBC Sports Gold [ STREAM ]
Winner leaves the drop zone in this one, and David Moyes‘ Irons will feel good about their chances at the London Stadium. Alan Pardew‘s 19th place Baggies have not win since August when they were still Tony Pulis‘ Baggies, and their league-high 10 draws are the only things keeping them afloat.
Manchester City vs. Watford — 3 p.m. ET on NBC Sports Gold [ STREAM ]
City may have fortunately drawn Crystal Palace, but the end of their 18-match win streak does not defy their undefeated march through the first 21 matches of the Premier League season. Watford has struggled mightily since Marco Silva rose their star into top half contention, now barely hanging inside the top half ahead of a rematch with the side that beat them 6-0 at Vicarage Road in mid-September.
Zlatan Ibrahimovic is a man on fire, and the LA Galaxy are rounding into form.
The Galaxy overcame an early deficit in Chester to clobber the Philadelphia Union 3-1 on Saturday behind a goal and an assist from their world-class striker.
[ MORE: Neymar on diving ]
Romain Alessandrini had two assists, while Michael Ciani and Ola Kamara also scored for LA. CJ Sapong scored for Philly, assisted by Borek Dockal.
Unbeaten-in-seven LA moves into fourth in the West with the win, while Philadelphia remains three points back of sixth in the East.
Ibrahimovic has now scored in six of his last seven matches, and has 12 goals an two assists in 21 matches overall.
Let’s start with the assist, which we must’ve seen two dozen times when the big Swede was with Paris Saint-Germain.
Ibrahimovic takes a difficult pass out of the air with absurd touch, then waits for the right time to send an impeccable through ball into the path of Kamara.
As for the goal, you almost feel for Mark McKenzie.
The Union’s Homegrown defender has to choose between Alessandrini darting into his box and allowing Ibrahimovic a lick of space.
He gives it, understandably, then rushes to close down Ibrahimovic.
It wasn’t fast enough. Boom.
Two hopes of the USMNT’s future — one more immediate than the other — squared off in the International Champions Cup on Saturday.
Paris Saint-Germain teenager Timothy Weah, 18, went 90 minutes and scored his side’s only goal in the 3-1 loss in Austria.
[ MORE: Neymar on diving ]
On the other side of the field was 62nd minute substitute Chris Richards, far less known to the American supporter.
Richards is on loan from FC Dallas, where he’s a Homegrown Player. The 18-year-old center back is going to play for Bayern’s U-19 side following a successful trial in April.
Both Bayern and PSG were without key pieces, as Weah went up against a decent Bayern back line of Juan Bernat, Javi Martinez, Josip Stanisic, and Rafinha.
Arjen Robben, Sandro Wagner, and Franck Ribery were the biggest names in Bayern’s XI, while David Alaba, Kingsley Coman, and Serge Gnabry came off the bench.
For PSG, Gianluigi Buffon started as did Adrien Rabiot.
Weah’s goal is below, and here’s what he had to say about it:
“It’s an amazing feeling and getting a well-done job. Me scoring goals, I was really happy to get my first goal for PSG and first goal in this competition. We’re going to Singapore with our head on our shoulders. We’re going to be really humble and keep playing.”
Jurgen Klopp admits he’d love to work with Christian Pulisic again, but isn’t going to butt his nose into Borussia Dortmund’s business.
Speaking ahead of Liverpool’s International Champions Cup match against BVB, Klopp was asked about his interest in the American teenager.
[ MORE: Josef Martinez bags 3 more ]
Klopp was quick to point out that Pulisic is under contract to Dortmund and not for sale, as much as he’s aware.
From The Liverpool Echo:
“He had not his best season last year but he was still a decisive player but it’s important in that age group that there’s no rush. He still has 14 or 15 years to play in his career and that’s good and he wants to be the best Pulisic he can be. For this, there is still space for development.
“If – at one point – he will join us, I don’t know. I like him, it’s not that that could be the problem, but we respect contracts still and there’s no market I know about at the moment. We did our business and Dortmund are doing theirs. All good.”
Also all good? Klopp’s evolution on spending after blasting other Premier League clubs for big money buys in the past.
Klopp said he would quit football if transfer fees like Paul Pogba‘s became the norm. Well, they have, and no club has spent as much money as the Reds this summer.
“That’s the problem these days, hey? Whatever b.s. you say, nobody will forget it. On the other side, it’s still kind of true. I couldn’t have imagined since then that the world would change like it has. Two years ago £100million was a crazy number. Since then the world has changed completely.”
He said he’s going to do whatever it takes to make Liverpool successful, and Klopp now has the world’s most expensive goalkeeper and most expensive defender in his squad.
In Major League Soccer’s forgiving playoff structure, there’s almost always a way back into the mix.
When your team has a talent like Nicolas Lodeiro, your chances get magnified quite a bit.
[ MORE: Josef Martinez bags 3 more ]
Lodeiro scored twice, once from the spot, and Seattle debuted its new Designated Player in a 2-0 Cascadia Cup win over Vancouver on Saturday.
Seattle is now eight points back of the West’s final playoff spot with 15 to play in its season. And the Sounders join Portland on three Cascadia Cup points, with the Timbers beating Seattle in the other cup match of the season.
Raul Ruidiaz came off the bench for the Sounders, and showed early glimpses of why Seattle wanted the World Cup participant from Peru.
The ‘Caps finished the match with 10 men thanks to a red card on Efrain Juarez, who saw yellow and then made contact with the referee.
The second goal took a vicious turn on its way to making goalkeeper Stefan Marinovic look capital-A awkward.