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Premier League Preview: Liverpool vs. Cardiff City

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  • Third league meeting since 1959
  • Liverpool trails Man City on goal differential
  • Cardiff leads all-time 18W-3D-11L

Cardiff City heads to Liverpool on Saturday in search of its first win at Anfield since 1959 (Watch live at 10 a.m. ET on NBCSN and online via NBCSports.com).

WATCH LIVE, ONLINE, HERE

Cardiff boss Neil Warnock spun a few good quotes in the run-up to the game, as the Bluebirds are enjoying their first week outside the drop zone after a win over Fulham.

The first was praise for Jurgen Klopp… and Liverpool’s budget.

“It must be lovely being in charge of a team like that but he’s created it,” Warnock said. “They haven’t always been like that. He saw what weaknesses there were and he’s shored them up.”

Liverpool is much closer to full fitness than its been in some time, meaning Warnock will prepare for the dangerous trident of Sadio Mane, Roberto Firmino, and Mohamed Salah. They combined for four goals in a midweek Champions League rout of Red Star Belgrade.

Klopp says only Jordan Henderson and Naby Keita remain out for the Reds.

What they’re saying

Klopp on new third, fourth captains Van Dijk, Wijnaldum“I decided (injured Henderson and Milner) will stay, that was 100 percent the logical thing to do, and it would have been like that if we voted.  And I said, the next two, the players can vote for. Now we have two Dutch guys in a row because the team decided no.3 for Virgil and no.4 for Gini. If somebody would have told me in my life that that would have happened – me, a German, and two Dutch guys in such important roles! But no, it was the players’ decision.”

Cardiff boss Neil Warnock on Virgil van Dijk: “I’m delighted he’s playing like he is. We could have bought him at Palace for £6 million but my chief scout told me he was too slow. I think he’s still in a job as well.”

Prediction

Cardiff City has shown itself capable of pouncing on mistakes, but Liverpool seems to be just turning the corner with its top attackers. 4-1 to the hosts.

Finlay goal gives Minnesota win over former club Columbus (video)

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It had to be him.

As Columbus continues to search for itself under new management, it’s no surprise that one of its old heroes broke its heart on Saturday.

[ RECAP: Man City 6-0 Watford ]

Ethan Finlay, he of the 166 Crew appearances before being traded to Minnesota United, said earlier this week, “I’d be lying to you if I said I didn’t want to beat up on them pretty bad.”

So of course Finlay scored a 70th minute tap-in to give his Loons a 1-0 win over Columbus on Saturday in St. Paul. It wasn’t “pretty bad,” but it probably felt pretty good.

The goal was Finlay’s first of the season for United, keeping the hosts unbeaten at home.

Columbus falls to 1-5 away from home under Caleb Porter, and has won just once in its last seven outings.

Brighton ready to pay release clause for Swans manager

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Brighton and Hove Albion is ready to bring one of England’s brightest managerial prospects into the Premier League.

The Seagulls are set to pay a $3 million release clause to lure Graham Potter away from Swansea City, one year after the manager left Swedish club Ostersunds FK.

[ RECAP: Man City 6-0 Watford ]

Potter was 35 when he was hired by the Swedish club in 2010, and helped Ostersunds to three promotions before moving to Wales in 2018.

Swans finished 10th this season, its first in the Championship after relegation from the Premier League.

Brighton regressed in a big way during the second half of this season, and remains in the top flight largely because Cardiff City was unable to take advantage of the Seagulls’ huge struggles.

The report says Swansea offered Potter a new deal to stay at the Liberty Stadium, but the manager wants to try the Premier League.

If he takes the job, Potter will manage against one of his former clubs; Potter played eight times for Southampton in the Premier League.

Pep: Domestic treble harder than winning Champions League

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Manchester City won its third tournament of the season on Saturday, battering Watford 6-0 at Wembley Stadium to add an FA Cup to its League Cup and Premier League titles.

[ RECAP: Man City 6-0 Watford ]

In doing so, City is the first club to win a domestic treble. Manager Pep Guardiola wants to win every competition he enters, but said winning all three is extra special.

“I love the Champions League but it is more difficult to do what we have done than to win the Champions League,” Guardiola said.

Wait, what?

From ManCity.com:

“It’s not easy being there every three days. We lacked a little bit of energy but it’s normal. It’s been so tough this week. We could not have had more energy but we kept it at the right time.”

Well, that makes sense. Whereas Liverpool boss Jurgen Klopp risked less with his cup lineups, knowing his desire for the Premier League and Champions League, Guardiola’s lineups were aimed at winning everything.

And that’s largely why they’ve done it. City might’ve needed penalty kicks to beat Chelsea in the League Cup Final and a John Stones clearance to win the Premier League (or a Vincent Kompany thunderbolt), but the treble is impressive.

AC Milan boss Gattuso insists fifth “not a failure”

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For a solid four months, it appeared AC Milan was on track for a return to the Champions League for the first time in six years. Then, it all fell apart.

Still, manager Gennaro Gattuso is insisting their season is not a failure, adamant that a fifth-placed finish would not be considered a disappointment for the club. His reasoning will not be exactly endearing to fans.

“Fifth place absolutely wouldn’t be a failure, not because I want credit myself, plus what would Roma and Lazio say?” Gattuso said during his pre-match press conference ahead of Sunday’s game against Frosinone. “There’s regret because for two months we’ve had our fate in our hands and we dropped so many points, but it’s not a failure.”

Milan was as high as third place in the Serie A table in mid-March and seemed close to wrapping up a return to Champions League play, but a stretch of one win in seven league matches saw them tumble down into the crowded battle below, with Atalanta, Roma, Torino, and Lazio all in a pack. AC Milan now sits sixth, and while they still remain in the mix for the fourth position, they would need to make up a three-point deficit in just two matches. Fifth-placed Roma drew today, so they can jump to fifth with a win against Frosinone.

Milan was a European powerhouse for decades until the club declined following its 2007 Champions League victory, ultimately falling out of the running for Europe’s top competition, with just a few Europa League appearances since 2014. Gattuso’s comparison to Lazio and Roma, two strong Italian clubs without Milan’s history, is bound to infuriate fans, along with his acceptance of the club’s shortcomings.

The late-season collapse has called Gattuso’s job security into question, but he said that will wait until the end of the season. “Both the club and I have put aside our small talk to reach our objective,” Gattuso said during the presser. “There will be time to talk about the future.”

“There are two games left and we’re still playing for our objective.”