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Player ratings: Liverpool v. Man City

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Liverpool battered Manchester City 3-0 at Anfield on Wednesday in the first leg of their UEFA Champions League quarterfinal.

[ MORE: Recap | 3 things we learned ]

Jurgen Klopp‘s men have one foot in the semifinals as Pep Guardiola got his tactics badly wrong and his team froze in the cauldron of Anfield.

Here’s a mark out of 10 for the players who took part in the all-Premier League battle.


Liverpool

Loris Karius – 6 – He really didn’t have much to do. No shots on target from City and a dodgy kick early on. All good apart from that.

Trent Alexander-Arnold – 7 – Solid display after a shaky one at Palace at the weekend. Dealt with the threat of Leroy Sane superbly.

Dejan Lovren – 7 – Did what he had to do well enough. Wasn’t tested by Gabriel Jesus who hardly had any service.

Virgil Van Dijk – 7 – See above. A few loose passes but had little to do apart from keeping his position and clearing a few crosses.

Andrew Robertson – 8 – Some fine surging runs from left back and dealt with Gundogan well. Another terrific display.

James Milner – 9 – Great pass to set up Salah on his way to scoring the first and an all-action display. A proper leader.

Jordan Henderson – 8 – Didn’t put a foot wrong and led Liverpool from the heart of their midfield. Captain’s display.

Alex Oxalde-Chamberlain – 9 – A wonderful goal for Liverpool’s second and a committed, tireless display. Terrific.

Sadio Mane – 8 – Headed home their third goal and caused so many problems with his pace. Well and truly back to his best.

Roberto Firmino – 7 – Did so well to set up Salah for his goal and his runs in-behind rattled Kompany and Otamendi.

Mohamed Salah – 8 – Came off injured in the second half with what looked like a slight groin strain. Calm finish to make it 1-0, then set up Mane with a peach of a cross for Liverpool’s third. Same old Salah, always scoring and that’s 38 for the season now.

Subs
Georginio Wijnaldum on for Mohamed Salah (53′) – 6 – Solid enough and added extra legs to midfield as Liverpool tired.
Dominic Solanke on for Roberto Firmino (71′) – 6 – One good run behind the City defense and tried his best to hold up the ball.
Alberto Moreno on for Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain – 6 – Late sub to help Liverpool keep a clean sheet.


Manchester City

Ederson – 6 – Didn’t have a lot to do apart from picking the ball out of his net three times.

Kyle Walker – 4 – Really poor first half display. Caught napping by Firmino for the first and let Mane go for the third goal. Maybe he should just play as a right-sided center back going forward?

Vincent Kompany – 4 – Not a great night for the City skipper. Struggled to deal with the movement of Firmino and couldn’t galvanize City’s shaky backline.

Nicolas Otamendi – 3 – A poor night for the Argentine center back. Came waltzing out of the back to give the ball away for Liverpool’s killer third goal.

Aymeric Laporte – 5 – Did okay out of position at left back after a slow start but dealing with the threat of Salah never easy. Caught out of position by Milner for Liverpool’s first goal.

Fernandinho – 4 – Failed to shield City’s backline and looked nervous in possession. Lost the battle to Milner and Henderson and couldn’t cope with the Ox running at him.

Ilkay Gundogan – 4 – Started on the right instead of Sterling and it didn’t work. Failed to protect Walker and didn’t add anything going forward.

David Silva – 6 – Did better in the second half as he tried to drag City back into the game and didn’t anticipate a loose ball falling his way in the box as he could have scored.

Kevin De Bruyne – 5 – A rare off night for KDB as he couldn’t get on the ball in the first half and then struggled out wide in the second half early on, then moved back into the center.

Leroy Sane – 6 – A rare bright spark for City in the first half and he was always a threat but couldn’t do it all on his own.

Gabriel Jesus – 4 – Hardly touched the ball all game long. An isolated figure and seemed to freeze on the big night.

Sub
Raheem Sterling on for Ilkay Gundogan (57′) – 4 – Didn’t impact the game at all and was predictably booed by fans of his former club. Should have started. Could have easily won a penalty kick late on after Robertson caught him in the box.

6 clubs fined, risk FIFA transfer bans for debts to players

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ZURICH (AP) Clubs from Russia and Qatar are among six fined by FIFA and warned they risk one-year transfer bans for failing to settle debts to players.

[ MORE: Steffen to England? ]

FIFA says the clubs also face deductions of six league points if they fail to pay the debts in 30 to 90 days.

The clubs are: Kuban of Russia; Al Arabi and Al Kharaitiyat of Qatar; Zamalek of Egypt; Al Jazira of the United Arab Emirates; and Mersin Idman Yurdu of Turkey.

FIFA says all failed to comply with rulings by FIFA or the Court of Arbitration for Sport “to pay significant overdue amounts of money to players.”

They were fined between 15,000 and 30,000 Swiss francs ($15,000 and $30,000).

FIFA says national soccer federations face disciplinary cases if they fail to enforce the verdicts.

Premier League friendlies: Liverpool meets BVB; Everton in Portugal

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The Premier League is three weeks and one day from opening its 2018-19 slate, when Leicester City will visit Old Trafford for a Friday afternoon match with Manchester United.

The end of the World Cup has eyeballs trained on friendlies, with 19 Premier League teams doing work over the weekend.

[ MORE: Transfer rumor roundup ]

The International Champions Cup has a pair of matches on the docket.

Friday sees Pep Guardiola and Manchester City, sans many of their World Cup stars, mixing it up with Christian Pulisic and Borussia Dortmund in Chicago.

Then Sunday will see Borussia Dortmund switching gears and time zones, tangling with Liverpool in North Carolina as Pulisic renews acquaintances with old pal Jurgen Klopp.

Manchester United takes on San Jose on Sunday, two days after facing Club America.

Other marquee friendlies of the weekend include Bournemouth facing American back Shaq Moore and Levante on Friday, with Fulham hosting Lyon on Saturday, and Everton meeting Lille and Porto on consecutive Portuguese days Saturday and Sunday.

Friday

Bournemouth vs. Levante
Burnley vs. Macclesfield Town
Burnley vs. Curzon Ashton
Cardiff City vs Torquay
Manchester City vs. Borussia Dortmund (in Chicago)

Saturday

Brighton and Hove Albion vs. AFC Wimbledon
Crystal Palace vs. Oxford United
Everton vs. Lille
Fulham vs. Lyon
Huddersfield Town vs. Real Betis
Huddersfield Town vs. Roy-Weiss Essen or Werder Bremen
Leicester City vs. Notts County
Southampton vs. Derby County
Watford vs. Fortuna Dusseldorf
West Ham United vs. Preston North End

Sunday

Everton vs. Porto
Huddersfield Town vs. Darmstadt
Liverpool vs. Borussia Dortmund (in North Carolina)
Manchester United vs. San Jose Earthquakes (in Santa Clara)
Wolverhampton vs. TBD

Transfer rumor roundup: Japan, South Africa strikers to Premier League

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Percy Tau’s name isn’t yet widely known outside of South Africa, what with Bafana Bafana absent from the World Cup.

But the 24-year-old Mamelodi Sundowns winger may soon get to test his skills on a much bigger stage.

[ USMNT: More accolades for Pulisic ]

Tau, who has five goals in 12 caps, will reportedly join Brighton and Hove Albion in the Premier League if a medical goes well, with Sky Sports saying it’ll will be the biggest transfer fee yet for a South African Premier League player.


Yoshinori Muto could be bringing his 25 caps to the Premier League.

The 26-year-old striker made just one appearance at the World Cup, but has had a nice run with Mainz since joining from FC Tokyo. He’s bagged 23 goals in 71 appearances.

Bild report says there have been no formal offers for Muto, but that Newcastle United and West Ham are interested in the striker. Newcastle badly needs a striker, but West Ham has been spending money and Magpies owner Mike Ashley hasn’t green lit much in recent seasons.

Open Cup draw postponed as Portland protests LAFC win

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The Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup draw is not going as planned, as the Portland Timbers protest the roster of victorious LAFC.

[ RECAP: Four USOC semifinalists minted ]

Philadelphia, Chicago, and Houston were the other sides to get a place in the final four teams.

LAFC’s victory had already been marred by Adama Diomande‘s claims of a racial slur hurled his way, and now their victory may be in question altogether as U.S. Soccer issued a press release saying Thursday’s scheduled draw was postponed.

From a U.S. Soccer press release:

The decision comes as a result of a protest filed by the Portland Timbers in relation to the number of foreign players fielded by Los Angeles Football Club during Wednesday night’s Quarterfinal at Banc of America Stadium in Los Angeles, Calif.

The rule says a maximum five players without green cards can be in the 18. Portland started only two Americans, Jeff Attinella and Zarek Valentin, but have green cards for many others and rules are rules.

Will the Timbers take a semifinal berth via protest?