Player ratings from Manchester United’s surprise win over Liverpool

0 Comments

Manchester United vs Liverpool saw the Red Devils defy their horrid start to the new Premier League season in a surprising and potentially galvanizing 2-1 victory at Old Trafford on Monday.

[ MORE: Tuchel furious with referee after Conte fight ]

Erik ten Hag’s side scored its first goal of the season, picked up its first point and alleviated more than a bit of pressure on the new manager.

[ MORE: Recap | 3 things we learned ]

WATCH MANCHESTER UNITED vs LIVERPOOL MATCH REPLAY STREAM

Let’s dig into Manchester United vs Liverpool player ratings.


Manchester United player ratings vs Liverpool

David de Gea: 7 — By virtue of Erik ten Hag green-lighting the long ball on goal kicks, De Gea was infinitely better than his disaster performance against Brentford. Credit to De Gea, who has always responded to his critics defiantly

Diogo Dalot: 7 — The Portuguese right back continues to defy previously-held public opinion by simply remaining at Man United, let alone starting and shutting down Luis Diaz in the club’s biggest game of the season.

Raphael Varane: 7.5 — It’ll be hard for Ten Hag to go back to Harry Maguire alongside Lisandro Martinez after seeing the French-Argentine connection nearly keep a clean sheet and limit Liverpool the way they did.

Lisandro Martinez: 7 — He knew absolutely nothing about it, but the Argentine’s goal-line block and clearance of Bruno Fernandes’ nearly humiliating own goal should buy him a bit of time and good grace as he acclimates to Man United and the Premier League.

Tyrell Malacia: 7 — Mohamed Salah was corralled and kept quiet for 90 minutes, which is no easy task, let alone for a player new to the Premier League and known more for his attacking verve.

Christian Eriksen: 6.5 — Eriksen’s deployment alongside Scott McTominay was an interesting, but perhaps necessary, choice by Ten Hag, with Fred and the Scot struggling badly to fulfill the new manager’s wishes on the ball. Once Casemiro is in the team, Eriksen could thrive in the deeper role, but he’ll need plenty of protecting defensively.

Scott McTominay: 6 — At this point, McTominay is only in the starting lineup because he is at the club and someone has to play the position.

Jadon Sancho: 8 — There were flashes of “the Dortmund Sancho” in the first half, including his goal, and it’s clear he’ll terrorize PL defenders whenever he gets them one-on-one. The confidence of scoring against Liverpool, at Old Trafford, should do wonders for the 22-year-old.

Bruno Fernandes: 6 — There’s no one in the Man United team that needs a natural striker to lead the line (more on that in a moment) than Fernandes. He’s borderline unplayable when he’s combing through the middle and in the channels.

Anthony Elanga: 5 — Given the hook at halftime, perhaps due to injury or wanting to push Marcus Rashford out wide, it’s unclear what Elanga offers this United side right now.

Marcus Rashford: 8 — He didn’t offer a ton other than runs in behind the defense (which were rarely, if ever, found) in the first half when playing center forward, but the extra space out on the left (and the ability to link up with Anthony Martial and Malacia) saw him come alive after the break. He should still be central to Manchester United’s rebuild.

(Halftime sub) Anthony Martial: 7.5 — United are so starved for an actual center forward that Martial, who spent the second half of last season out on loan and, again, just happens to currently be at the club, looked like a revolutionary when dropped into the middle of the field. His through ball for Rashford’s goal was simple enough, but the kind of play that, say, Ronaldo likely wouldn’t make in the same situation.


Liverpool player ratings vs Manchester United

Alisson: 5.5 — Rashford’s goal was taken expertly, but it’s also the kind of save that Alisson typically erases to rescue Liverpool in a dire moment.

Trent Alexander-Arnold: 6 — When the full backs aren’t bombing forward and tucking into midfield to create massive overloads, it’s tough sledding for the rest of the Liverpool attack.

Joe Gomez: 5.5 — If Virgil van Dijk isn’t able to make every play imaginable in the world, Gomez (and anyone who plays alongside him, will struggle.

Virgil van Dijk: 5.5 — For the entirety of Liverpool’s recent run as PL title contenders, Champions League contenders (and winners) and all the rest, Van Dijk showed once or twice every single why he was the best defender in the world. He allowed Liverpool the freedom reckless abandon to press and counter-attack the way they have done. The big Dutchman doesn’t appear to be that player anymore, and it’s crippling the Reds right now.

Andrew Robertson: 6 — When the full backs aren’t bombing forward and tucking into midfield to create massive overloads, it’s tough sledding for the rest of the Liverpool attack.

Jordan Henderson: 6 — Without Fabinho in the midfield, it’s very clear that Henderson should be targeted by opposition attacks through the middle of the field. Man United found lots of joy there on Monday.

James Milner: 5.5 — Everyone knows he’s only in the starting lineup due to the rash of injuries up and down Liverpool’s squad, but explaining his ineffectiveness in what felt like a potentially must-win game doesn’t make it go away.

Harvey Elliott: 5.5 — Similar story to that of Milner. Elliott is one for the future with the ability to help in the here and now, but Monday’s game was much too fast and and physical for him to thrive.

Mohamed Salah: 7 — The Egyptian winger was uncharacteristically silent on Monday, as Malacia and Martinez, with a bit more help from McTominay, offered zero time and space. He wriggled free for a late consolation goal, but it was clear that denying Salah the opportunity to take the game over was defensive objective no. 1.

Roberto Firmino: 6 — If Salah is going to be effectively marked out of the game, Firmino has to have a significant influence on the attack and, much like Van Dijk, he’s not that player anymore. Of course, he doesn’t start if Darwin Nuñez isn’t suspended.

Luis Diaz: 5.5 — Diaz was, perhaps, the worst of the three attackers, all of whom were well below par. The combination of a deep defensive line, a harried press in midfield and Liverpool having no midfield play-maker with Thiago Alcantara out injured, made for some miserable attacking play.

Follow @AndyEdMLS

Three key questions for USMNT in March

0 Comments

The United States men’s national team returns to competitive action with an interim coach at the wheel and a spot in the CONCACAF Nations League finals still uncertain.

The Yanks clobbered Grenada at home in their first CNL group match but could only manage a 1-1 draw with El Salvador thanks in no small part to a sloppy pitch and a red card. The USMNT was also down several first-choice players including Christian Pulisic and Giovanni Reyna.

[ MORE: How to watch Premier League in USA ]

The U.S. will be favored to advance and will hope to be in the catbird seat following Friday’s match with Grenada at Kirani James Athletic Stadium in St. George’s.

Grenada lost 3-1 to El Salvador away but drew Los Cuscatlecos at home and need to beat the visiting U.S. to qualify for Gold Cup.

But the USMNT’s aforementioned 1-1 draw with El Salvador looms large: Even if the Yanks were to falter in Grenada, they’ll be the Group D winner by beating Los Cuscatlecos on March 27 in Orlando.

Three key questions for USMNT in March

1. Center forwards still needed, but is there anyone ready for the task? The Nos. 1, 2, and 3 non-Reyna-related question for Gregg Berhalter when the World Cup ended was why he chose his center forwards, how he used them, and why they didn’t score goals. Haji Wright was the only CF to score at the World Cup and that was the first center forward goal in six USMNT matches. Jesus Ferreira scored four the previous game, but that was against Grenada and the FC Dallas star has three more goals in his 15 other caps. And Timothy Weah, a danger up top when called upon but often a wide man, is injured and will miss the international break.

So where will interim coach Anthony Hudson turn against Grenada and El Salvador?

World Cup cut Ricardo Pepi is back and so is Daryl Dike.

Meet the candidates and their forms:

  • Pepi, 20, is on loan at Dutch side Groningen from Augsburg. He started off hot with Groningen and has nine goals, though he’s scoreless in his last three matches.
  • Dike, 22, is fit and firing for West Bromwich Albion, where he’s scored four times in his last five Championship appearances, all starts.

This is one of those “prove it” camps, with Christian Pulisic and Giovanni Reyna among those helping to cue up chances for their center forwards. If you’re not gonna get the job done against Grenada and El Salvador, you’re missing the boat.

2. Who steps into the Tyler Adams role? Tyler Adams has unflinchingly been Leeds’ most consistent and steady player in a year of tumult, and he’s proven the same time and again in a USMNT shirt.

But he’s not here!

So there will be no “MMA” midfield of Weston McKennie, Yunus Musah, and Adams. The first two pieces are here from Leeds and Valencia, but it’ll be a third piece to complete the trio. Luca de la Torre of Celta Vigo and Alan Sonora of Juarez have been called into camp and Johnny Cardoso is the most defense-minded of the bunch if the team is to go “like-for-like.” Cardoso, 21, is starting for Internacional in Brazil, who trails only Gremio on the Gaucho table.

3. What’s the state of mind? Look, the “youth soccer” and “extremely childish” incident has made for plenty of discussion online, but the U.S. group seemed plenty bonded after Giovanni Reyna’s World Cup camp incidents had happened but were yet to be exposed by Gregg Berhalter at a “private” speech.

So, in theory, Reyna will arrive back into a USMNT camp in need of consistent effort and good attitude but as a member of the fold. The problem may be that the fold thought it left the World Cup with Berhalter either returning as head coach or with a search being conducted for a new coach.

It turns out, it’s only mostly the latter; Berhalter remains a candidate for the U.S. job and has been in Europe to see his “former” players. His assistant, Anthony Hudson, remains in charge of the first team on an interim basis and who can really know how much input Berhalter may currently have on the group.

All of that said, the USMNT is better than both of its opponents, regardless of venues, and should look superior to them even without Adams and Weah. Should is still pretty conditional, so let’s see what statement comes out of these two games in the favorites role, because it’s going to be quite a while before the Yanks are a clear underdog again.

The Anfield Wrap on Liverpool ahead of U.S. tour: ‘They are in a new phase’

0 Comments

Liverpool are still in the hunt for a top four finish but Jurgen Klopp is now in charge of a big rebuilding process as the Reds are in ‘a new phase’ as they transition from the German’s first seven years in charge.

[ MORE: How to watch Premier League in USA

That is the view of Neil Atkinson from The Anfield Wrap (TAW) and it will be intriguing to see how Klopp reshapes his playing philosophy, adds to his squad and how it all slots together over the next few years.

TAW are bringing their show to North America with their ‘TAW Live’ tour taking place from Wednesday, Mar. 22 to Monday, Mar. 27, with shows in Toronto, Detroit, Boston, New York, Philadelphia and Washington D.C.

TAW host Neil Atkinson joined Brad Thomas and Drew Dinsick on NBC Sports’ Soccer Pub to discuss what he thinks of topsy-turvy Liverpool this season and what their identity could become in the future.

Klopp has ‘never had to do this’ before

“I think this is the key question for the next phase of Jurgen Klopp,” Atkinson said. “He has never had to do this before. He’s done seven years at Mainz, seven years at Dortmund and he’s now done seven years at Liverpool. Jurgen has signed his new deal and is staying until 2026 and now what he’s got to do is transition this football team in a way he hasn’t had to do in the past.

“I think that is an interesting challenge. Sides get used to the way you play and players themselves can become a little bit stale and there is also you yourself and how you see the game and how you’re going to interact with the game as a manager. I don’t think he’s had to do this in any of his other jobs. He’s done unbelievable jobs everywhere he has been, including Liverpool, but this is a new phase.”

Transition has arrived for the Reds. But what will it look like?

“The key question for Liverpool is Liverpool are clearly in transition, that is clear and apparent. That happens to a lot of sides and some sides manage to change and stay at the top, Liverpool haven’t managed to succeed in that. Last season they were beginning that process and last season you saw a bit of transition from Liverpool but not as much as you’ve seen now and they haven’t managed to stay at the top and the Champions League this campaign.

“What is it moving to? Is it simply different players? Or is he looking to change his approach a little bit? Is he looking to add creativity to the side? What does that come at the expense of? I think that is a key question. On the whole I feel like talk of Liverpool’s overall demise is vastly overstated. I think it is a side that will right itself. There have been injury issues this year, I don’t think a number of the players and coaching staff have had their best season by any stretch of the imagination, but I think they will come back strong.”

Top four finish essential this season

“I’m of the view that as long as they can find a way to a top four finish then I feel they will summer strongly and they will be able to come out of the other side and we will really be able to see what the next phase of Jurgen Klopp’s blueprint is. I am absolutely certain he has a blueprint and has a way he wants this team to play and knows which players he wants to keep and move on. I think we will see that again in the summer and Liverpool come again. But it is important for Liverpool to come top four.”

EURO 2024 qualification schedule: EURO qualifiers results, standings

0 Comments

EURO 2024 qualifying is here, and you’re in the right spot for groups, fixtures, and results.

Italy outlasted England in penalty kicks to win EURO 2020 and is bidding to become the first repeat winner since Spain in 2008 and 2012.

[ MORE: Breaking down Premier League title race ]

England is still seeking its first European Championship and will be favored to emerge from Group C with aforementioned Italy as well as Ukraine, North Macedonia, and Malta.

Netherlands and France are also in a spicy group that has dark horse Republic of Ireland and former champions Greece, as well as Gibraltar.

A number of nations have guaranteed themselves no worse than a playoff spot due to their performances in the UEFA Nations League: Netherlands, Greece, Italy, Spain, Scotland, Georgia, Croatia, Turkey, Serbia, Kazakhstan.



EURO 2024 qualifying schedule

Thursday, March 23

Kazakhstan vs Slovenia — 11am ET
Slovakia vs Luxembourg — 3:45pm ET
Italy vs England — 3:45pm ET
Denmark vs Finland — 3:45pm ET
Portugal vs Liechtenstein — 3:45pm ET
San Marino vs Northern Ireland — 3:45pm ET
North Macedonia vs Malta — 3:45pm ET
Bosnia and Herzegovina vs Iceland — 3:45pm ET

Friday, March 24

Bulgaria vs Montenegro — 1pm ET
Gibraltar vs Greece — 3:45pm ET
Moldova vs Faroe Islands — 3:45pm ET
Serbia vs Lithuania — 3:45pm ET
Austria vs Azerbaijan — 3:45pm ET
Sweden vs Belgium– 3:45pm ET
Czech Republic vs Poland — 3:45pm ET
France vs Netherlands — 3:45pm ET

Saturday, March 25

Scotland vs Cyprus — 10am ET
Israel vs Kosovo  — 1pm ET
Armenia vs Turkey — 1pm ET
Belarus vs Switzerland  — 1pm ET
Spain vs Norway — 3:45pm ET
Croatia vs Wales — 3:45pm ET
Andorra vs Romania — 3:45pm ET

Sunday, March 26

Kazakhstan vs Denmark — 9am ET
England vs Ukraine — Noon ET
Liechtenstein vs Iceland — Noon ET
Slovenia vs San Marino — Noon ET
Slovakia vs Bosnia and Herzegovina — 2:45pm ET
Northern Ireland vs Finland — 2:45pm ET
Luxembourg vs Portugal — 2:45pm ET
Malta vs Italy — 2:45pm ET

Monday, March 27

Montenegro vs Serbia — 2:45pm ET
Netherlands vs Gibraltar — 2:45pm ET
Poland vs Albania — 2:45pm ET
Austria vs Estonia — 2:45pm ET
Sweden vs Azerbaijan — 2:45pm ET
Moldova vs Czech Republic — 2:45pm ET
Hungary vs Bulgaria — 2:45pm ET
Republic of Ireland vs France — 2:45pm ET

Tuesday, March 28

Georgia vs Norway — Noon ET
Wales vs Latvia — 2:45pm ET
Romania vs Belarus — 2:45pm ET
Switzerland vs Israel — 2:45pm ET
Kosovo vs Andorra — 2:45pm ET
Turkey vs Croatia — 2:45pm ET
Scotland vs Spain — 2:45pm ET


EURO 2024 qualifying standings

Group A

Spain
Scotland
Norway
Georgia
Cyprus

Group B

Netherlands
France
Republic of Ireland
Greece
Gibraltar

Group C

Italy
England
Ukraine
North Macedonia
Malta

Group D

Croatia
Wales
Armenia
Turkey
Latvia

Group E

Poland
Czech Republic
Albania
Faroe Islands
Moldova

Group F

Belgium
Austria
Sweden
Azerbaijan
Estonia

Group G

Hungary
Serbia
Montenegro
Bulgaria
Lithuania

Group H

Denmark
Finland
Slovenia
Kazakhstan
Northern Ireland
San Marino

Group I

Switzerland
Israel
Romania
Kosovo
Belarus
Andorra

Group J

Portugal
Bosnia and Herzegovina
Iceland
Luxembourg
Slovakia
Liechtenstein

Mesut Ozil retires at 34; World Cup winner won four FA Cups with Arsenal

0 Comments

Enigmatic and undeniably gifted, World Cup winner Mesut Ozil has called time on his playing career at age 34.

Ozil joined Istanbul Basaksehir last summer but appeared just seven times for the first team, totallling 142 minutes due to continued back troubles.

[ MORE: Breaking down Premier League title race ]

The 92-times capped German international is best known for his time at Arsenal and Real Madrid but came through the youth ranks at Schalke before breaking onto the international stage with Werder Bremen.

Ozil registered 54 assists across three La Liga seasons with Real Madrid, and came within one assist of Thierry Henry’s Premier League record when he set up 19 goals in the 2015-16 season.

He finished his Arsenal career with 44 goals and 79 assists in 254 appearances.

Here’s part of his announcement, from Instagram:

“I’ve had the privilege to be a professional football player for almost 17 years now and I feel incredibly thankful for the opportunity but in recent weeks and months, having also suffered some injuries, it’s become more and more clear that it’s time to leave the big stage of football.”

Ozil won the 2014 World Cup with Germany and scored in the 2010 and 2014 editions of football’s top international showcase. He claimed four FA Cups with Arsenal, the German Cup with Werder Bremen, and Copa del Rey and La Liga honors with Real.

Outspoken on social issues, Ozil was the subject of some controversy over statements denouncing Chinese internment camps and the treatment of Uyghurs in the country.

 

View this post on Instagram

 

A post shared by Mesut Özil (@m10_official)