Photo by Michael Regan/Getty Images

Klopp “angry” at fixture time switches around UCL matches

2 Comments

What’s five hours on a match day?

For Jurgen Klopp, the answer is a lot.

[ MORE: Liverpool “not the favorites” vs. City ]

While most were expecting to discuss Liverpool’s draw of Manchester City in the UEFA Champions League quarterfinals — and they got that, too — Klopp used part of his Friday press conference to complain about the shifting of the Premier League kickoff time between the two legs.

Klopp’s Liverpool will now contest the Merseyside Derby in the early match on April 7 instead of April 8, with the Manchester Derby staged five hours later.

Derbies and the UCL
April 4 – Liverpool vs. Manchester City
April 7 – Everton vs. Liverpool — 7:30 a.m. ET
April 7 – Manchester City vs. Manchester United — 12:30 p.m. ET
April 10 – Manchester City vs. Liverpool

This, of course, also gives Liverpool five more hours rest than Man City, but Klopp’s not going to let that get in the way of his narrative.

“I know countries where they cancel whole match days so teams can be in the best shape. We play Wednesday night against Manchester City and then play Everton at 1230 three days later. That’s not too cool but obviously we have to go the hard way, I am used to that.

“We play Wednesday night and then at 1230 means the players get up on Thursday and have lunch or breakfast and then we train and next day we are on second-day recovery and then you start at 1230.

“It is not perfect. We take it like it is but if I cannot be angry about something like that anymore and have to be politically correct and say nothing then I am dead because that doesn’t work.”

Moving the matches is interesting, but would only serve to congest both sides’ schedules at another time, so… Whatever, Jurgen. He’s one of the most colorful characters in the football world, so we’re happy he exists, but if these words were coming out of Jose Mourinho’s mouth the world would be frothing at his attitude.

Keeping in mind that derbies are derbies and both of these are fierce ones, maybe Pep Guardiola should mention that Klopp has to go against Sam Allardyce and Everton in between fixtures while Pep matches wits with Jose Mourinho with (probably) a chance to clinch the Premier League.

Puel insists Chelsea hasn’t inquired about goalkeeper Schmeichel

Dan Mullan/Getty Images
Leave a comment

Chelsea could very be in the market for a goalkeeper over the summer, but Leicester City’s manager insists that their number one isn’t being targeted by the Blues; or at least not yet.

[ MORE: Klopp discusses Christian Pulisic, Liverpool’s spending ]

With the Blues likely set to lose Belgium international Thibaut Courtois to Real Madrid, new manager Maurizio Sarri would have to look elsewhere to solidify the team’s goalkeeping situation.

One player that has drawn significant interest after a strong World Cup performance for Denmark is Leicester’s Kasper Schmeichel, who played a big role in the Foxes’ 2015/16 Premier League title.

Although Schmeichel would be a viable replacement for Courtois at Stamford Bridge, Leicester boss Claude Puel says Chelsea hasn’t expressed its interest to this point.

“No, there is no problem with this,” the Frenchman told Sky Sports. “There is a lot of speculation at this moment, it is normal.

“I think he [Ward] can bring more competition to the squad and more possibilities. It is a good thing to have competition between players in the squad to develop desire.

“It gives good focus and concentration.”

The Foxes recently brought in young Liverpool keeper Danny Ward, which raised further questions about the future of Schmeichel at Leicester.

FC Dallas, Houston play to 1-1 after scoring early goals

Twitter/@reuters
Leave a comment

HOUSTON (AP) FC Dallas and the Houston Dynamo each scored early goals in a 1-1 draw Saturday night.

Matt Hedges put Dallas (11-3-6) ahead 47 seconds into the game with his first goal of the season, converting a header off a cross from Santiago Mosquera.

Houston (7-6-6) tied it in the eight on Mauro Manotas’ 10th goal of the season. He scored on a header off Romell Quioto’s cross.

Houston goalkeeper Joe Willis stuffed Roland Lamah‘s penalty kick at the 61st minute to keep the score knotted. Ten minutes later, Lamah missed an open look and sent a short shot high that ricocheted off the top of the post.

In stoppage time, Houston’s Alberth Elis missed high and wide to the right just outside the box.

Houston is unbeaten in four games.

MLS 3 Things: Resurgent Zardes, Toronto up, New England down

AP Photo/Andres Kudacki
Leave a comment

A busy Saturday in Major League Soccer sees three interesting results bolstering the story lines of the final few months of the season.

[ MORE: Unstoppable Josef | Zlatan, too ]

1) Imagine a world with the reigning champs as your reward for finishing first.

With 14 matches to play, Toronto FC has Jozy Altidore back in the fold and has pulled to within eight points of the Eastern Conference’s final playoff spot after a 2-1 win over the Chicago Fire on Saturday.

Sebastian Giovinco looks like Sebastian Giovinco in scoring another outstanding goal, just his fifth of the season, while Jonathan Osorio also scored in the win.

Before you watch Seba’s goal, picture you’ve won the No. 1 seed in the Eastern Conference playoffs. Now picture TFC as your semifinal reward.

2) New England is well and truly slumping

Brad Friedel‘s Revs are slipping after losing a third-straight league match, and New England has gained a solitary point since the calendar turned to July following a 2-0 loss at Red Bull Arena.

Fourth through ninth in the East are separated by nine points, and New England is very much in that mix now. Friedel is certainly at the most trying time of his tenure.

Second half goals from Bradley Wright-Phillips and Daniel Royer did the trick for RBNY, who have claimed 15 of the last 18 points available to them (The lone blemish is the Hudson River Derby).

The Red Bulls are now 8-1-1 at home this season, while New England is 1-4-4 away from Foxboro.

3) Gyasi Zardes’ return to form is surprising and wonderful

Columbus has its second win since May 19, and will be feeling much better about itself following a 3-2 comeback win over Orlando City which included a pair of equalizers.

One of those came in the 88th minute, as Gyasi Zardes completed his brace by converting a penalty won by new arrival Patrick Mullins.

The Crew won late via a rare Wil Trapp goal — the USMNT midfielder has just two in 161 matches — but let’s focus on Zardes.

Zardes’ 13th goal of the season continues an amazing turnaround under striker whisperer Gregg Berhalter. It’s Zardes’ second double-digit season, and his first since 2014. He is firmly in frame for another USMNT look, this time as a center forward, but first there’s plenty to like about the big man.

Surging Galaxy ride Ibrahimovic magic to 3-1 win (video)

Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images
Leave a comment

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 and 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.