Liverpool has some significant injury concerns ahead of this weekend’s trip to Crystal Palace, with the international break not serving to give its top players the required rest.
Mohamed Salah and Andy Robertson both sat out key international games hoping to be healthy enough for Liverpool’s return to Premier League play, but that has not come to pass. Sky Sports has confirmed that both will miss the game against Crystal Palace on Saturday.
Salah re-aggrivated his persistent ankle injury near the end of Liverpool’s big win over Manchester City just before the break, and while he reported for international duty with the Egypt squad, he did not appear in either of the country’s Africa Cup of Nations qualifiers against Kenya or Comoros, both of which ended in draws. He has dealt with this ankle problem for over a month now, since it was injured against Leicester City in early October.
Robertson, meanwhile, has played every minute of the Premier League season to date, but withdrew from international duty with Scotland thanks to an ankle problem of his own. That leaves a gaping hole at left-back for Jurgen Klopp to fill, with backup full-back Nathaniel Clyne also out long-term thanks to an ACL tear. Candidates could include James Milner or even Xherdan Shaqiri, while he could also potentially move one of the center-backs in Joe Gomez or Dejan Lovren out wide. Joel Matip is not expected back until the end of the month.
Liverpool kicks off against Crystal Palace at 10:00 a.m. ET live online at NBCSports.com.
Like a college kid on Spring Break, Barcelona vastly underestimated the power of Ibiza.
One of the biggest clubs in the world had loads of trouble in its Copa del Rey Round of 32 meeting at UD Ibiza on Wednesday.
Barcelona barely got past the third-tier side thanks to two Antoine Griezmann goals and a comeback 2-1 win at the Estadi Municipal de Can Misses.
UD Ibiza playing in a 5,000-seat stadium, took a ninth-minute lead and had more shot attempts as late as the 65th minute. New manager Quique Setien was left to sweat it out.
[ MORE: Premier League schedule ]
Somewhat fitting that a man named Pep got the early goal. Josep Caballe Martin has more yellow cards than goals in Segunda B this season.
Lionel Messi, Sergio Busquets, Gerard Pique, and an injured Luis Suarez were among the players left behind, but this wasn’t a massively depleted Barcelona side. Arturo Vidal and Jordi Alba were brought off the bench.
Frenkie de Jong set up Griezmann for a 72nd minute equalizer, and Griezmann added his second off an Alba feed in the fourth minute of stoppage time.
The race for the Premier League’s top-four resumes with as many as three genuine contenders for Champions League qualification in action, all at home, all against bottom-seven competition, on Wednesday.
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The day’s late game, to be shown live on NBCSN, features fifth-place Manchester United hosting Burnley at Old Trafford. Elsewhere, eighth-place Tottenham Hotspur will host Norwich City and third-place Leicester City will host West Ham United.
You can access additional games by purchasing the new “Premier League Pass” via NBC Sports Gold which also includes an extensive selection of shoulder programming such as Premier League News, Premier League Today and NBC Sports originals such as Premier League Download and much more.
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The schedule for the three games on Wednesday is below and you can stream each game live by clicking on the links.
3:15 p.m. ET: Man United v. Burnley — NBCSN [STREAM]
2:30 p.m. ET: Tottenham Hotspur v. Norwich City — NBC Sports Gold [STREAM]
2:30 p.m. ET: Leicester City v. West Ham United — NBC Sports Gold [STREAM]
MALAGA, Spain (AP) Police entered the headquarters of Spanish club Malaga on Wednesday to seize documents related to a court case involving the second-division team.
[ MORE: Christian Eriksen holds talks with Levy; Inter “still confident” ]
Authorities did not release further details because the search-and-seizure action was part of an investigation being conducted under secrecy.
Police would not confirm Spanish media reports that the action was about a case in which Qatari owner Abdullah Bin Nasser Al-Thani is being sued by minority owners over alleged administrative irregularities.
[ MORE: Levy reportedly met with Real Madrid about Gareth Bale ]
Al-Thani took over the club in 2010.
Malaga last month fired coach Victor Sanchez del Amo after an intimate video was released online.
The team from southern Spain is 16th in the 22-team second-division standings.
Gareth Bale‘s agent Jonathan Barnett has called recent reports claiming the Real Madrid superstar could be loaned elsewhere “ridiculous” on the basis that “there are not many clubs that can afford him anyway.”
[ MORE: Daniel Levy reportedly met with Real Madrid about Bale ]
Bale has reportedly been unhappy in Madrid and at odds with manager Zinedine Zidane, leading to months of speculation that he could leave the Santiago Bernabeu. However, due to his nearly $600,000-per-week wages, very few — if any — clubs in the world can afford his wages, let alone the transfer fee required as well.
Therefore, a loan move would seem to make sense, only Barnett seems to be offended that a player of Bale’s caliber would ever be discussed as a loan candidate — quotes from the BBC:
“Why would one of the best players on Earth go on loan? That’s ridiculous. At the moment, he is going to be playing football for Real Madrid and he has got two and a half years left on his contract.
“He is happy and hopefully he will win a couple of more things with Real Madrid.”
“Things can change, but loans are ridiculous and there are not many clubs that can afford him anyway.”
Bale’s contract runs through the summer of 2022. He has scored just two goals in nine league games this season.