Getty Images

Tite praises Klopp, set to experiment playing Liverpool style

Leave a comment

Jurgen Klopp probably never thought his formation and attacking style would influence the famous Brazilian National Team, but it appears he has.

[READ: Calls for new USMNT head coach grow]

Speaking to the media ahead of Brazil’s friendly match with Uruguay in London at the Emirates Stadium on Friday, Brazil manager Tite praised both Klopp and Liverpool striker Roberto Firmino, who seems set to take the No. 9 role permanently from Manchester City’s Gabriel Jesus.

“Klopp does an extraordinary job, it’s beautiful to see them play, especially on the counter,” Tite said. “Even losing players like (Philippe) Coutinho, (Klopp) maintains the high level and reorganizes the team.”

After playing a 4-3-3 or 4-2-3-1 at the World Cup with Jesus at the top, Tite is taking these last two friendlies of 2018 to experiment playing a front three in the mold of Klopp, with Firmino dropping back to connect with the midfield, allowing the two wide players to cut inside and make runs forward at the defense. In Brazil’s version of Klopp’s Liverpool, Neymar figures to be in Sadio Mane‘s left wing position while Douglas Costa will start on the right wing.

“If you bring Firmino, he plays inside the area and goes out to make smart combinations,” Tite said in a separate interview. “They call it false 9, but for me it’s true 9.”

One of the drawbacks of this is that while Firmino likes to drop back and combine, so does Neymar, which could leave not enough targets forward, or could be perfect with Marcelo overlapping on the left wing. Between Neymar and Firmino, the pair will have to communicate to decide who is dropping and who is drifting out wide or holding the line up top to create spaces in midfield for one of the two to connect and create.

Four things we learned from Man City v. Man United

Leave a comment

MANCHESTER — Manchester City beat Manchester United 3-1 at the Etihad Stadium on Sunday, with Pep Guardiola‘s men moving 12 points ahead of United in the process and regaining their spot atop the Premier League table.

[ MORE: Player ratings

Goals from David Silva, Sergio Aguero and Bernardo Silva did the damage as Jose Mourinho’s men succumbed to the fluid, almost unstoppable, City attack.

Here’s what we learned from the Manchester Derby.


STERLING LEADS IMPERIOUS CITY

The past few months have underlined just how good Sterling is. After agreeing a new long-term contract at Man City earlier in the week, the 23-year-old put in a superb display which showcased his main areas of improvement. Passing and movement.

For City’s first goal his cross was weighted perfectly to unlock United’s eight-man defense on the edge of their own box, as he outrageously picked out Bernardo Silva with a stealthy swing of his right boot.

In the past Sterling could be guilty of unnecessary dribbles and wayward passes, but there is now so much more purpose to his play. His improvement under Guardiola in the past two years is stark, with only Mohamed Salah involved in more PL goals than Sterling since the start of last season.

With veterans Aguero and Silva on the scoresheet to help deliver the win, City know their attack is in safe hands for the future as Sterling will lead the likes of Gabriel Jesus, Bernardo Silva, Leroy Sane and Riyad Mahrez in the future. The scary thing is, he still has plenty of room for improvement as he was guilty of not shooting as he tried to set up his teammates.


SLOW START FOR UNITED ONCE AGAIN

Add the Manchester Derby to the list of games where United have started slowly this season. That list is now almost longer than Mourinho’s arm as slow starts against Newcastle, Chelsea, Bournemouth and Juventus in recent weeks has seem them rally from losing positions.

Mourinho’s men were no doubt hampered by the loss of Pogba through injury (more on that below) but there’s no doubting that their slow starts must be eradicated if they’re going to have any chance of at least finishing in the top four. Over the course of a 10-month season at home and in Europe, United have to start getting on the front foot at the start of games. The reason they currently sit in eighth place in the Premier League, seven points off the top four, is because they continue to put themselves in poor positions early on.

What is causing them to do this again and again?

Mourinho will ponder that over the international break but it is clear that many of United’s players are tentative from the get-go and that is a surefire sign of not being comfortable with how they are playing and who they are playing alongside. United’s players grow into games and seem to grow in belief after the half time break, and they did that against City as more attacking players coming off the bench gave them fresh impetus. However, there are only so many times you can launch a comeback and United looked jaded due to their recent heroics and the wizardry of City’s attackers.


RASH EDERSON

Man City’s Brazilian goalkeeper is superb with his feet and he commands his area with ease. But over the past few weeks he has got it wrong. Big time. On Sunday he raced out of his goal and took down Romelu Lukaku to concede a penalty kick in a carbon copy of the PK he gave away last week against Southampton as he took out Danny Ings.

Ederson was visibly upset with his mistake and although Pep Guardiola tried to get his head up and applaud him from the sidelines, some of City’s technical staff in the stand were far from impressed with “Eddie” for another rash decision to rush off his line. Ederson is a forward-thinking goalkeeper and that is exactly what Guardiola wants in his way of playing. But if Ederson continues to make costly errors, a sense of shakiness could impact City’s defenders. Those are the small things which add up and Ederson’s decision making has to be a little better than it has been in recent weeks.


POGBA, DE BRUYNE BADLY MISSED

Two players who can turn a game on its head in an instance were missing for the Manchester Derby through injury and it was a such a shame. Sure, this encounter was a very good spectacle. But with KDB and Pogba, you always know a moment of magic via an outstanding pass or sensational goal are just around the corner.

The midfield battle was a little too predictable on Sunday, with Fernandinho clogging up the gaps and the two Silva’s buzzing around ahead of him playing short passes. For United, the trio of Marouane Fellaini, Ander Herrera and Nemanja Matic did their job but they all struggled to get up and support Marcus Rashford in attack the way Pogba does with his rangy, slaloming runs. De Bruyne and Pogba being back fit and available for the next Manchester Derby will give this intriguing, feisty clash yet another layer.

Champions League wrap: Real breaks out for five, Roma keeps pace

AP Photo/Petr David Josek
Leave a comment

What a day!

We’ve written it before, but this season’s UEFA Champions League has brought loads of entertainment on nearly every match day.

[ MORE: Kane backs Rooney for captain ]

Wednesday was no different, with last-minute drama in Italy and France.


Bayern Munich 2-0 AEK Athens

Robert Lewandowski scored twice, first with a penalty, then with a header, as the reigning German champions are within a result of the knockout rounds.

Benfica 1-1 Ajax

The Dusan Tadic signing continues to pay dividends, as the Serbian star’s 61st minute goal leveled things in Portugal after Jonas gave Benfica a halftime lead.

Group E
Team GP W D L GF GA GD Home Away PTS
Bayern Munich 4 3 1 0 7 1 6 1-1-0 2-0-0 10
Ajax 4 2 2 0 6 2 4 2-0-0 0-2-0 8
Benfica 4 1 1 2 4 6 -2 0-1-1 1-0-1 4
AEK Athens 4 0 0 4 2 10 -8 0-0-2 0-0-2 0

Manchester City 6-0 Shakhtar Donetsk RECAP

Gabriel Jesus struck for three, including two penalties, as Man City ran all over the visiting Ukrainian powers at the Etihad Stadium. David Silva scored and starred again, as did two-goal man Raheem Sterling.

Lyon 2-2 Hoffenheim

If these two draw each other in any competition, buckle up. After a 3-3 draw in Germany two weeks ago, Lyon opened up a 2-0 lead at halftime through Nabil Fekir and Tanguy Ndombele. But Andrej Kramaric scored in the 65th minute to set up Pavel Kaderabek’s stunning equalizer in stoppage time.

Group F
Team GP W D L GF GA GD Home Away PTS
Manchester City 4 3 0 1 12 3 9 1-0-1 2-0-0 9
Lyon 4 1 3 0 9 8 1 0-2-0 1-1-0 6
1899 Hoffenheim 4 0 3 1 8 9 -1 0-1-1 0-2-0 3
Shakhtar Donetsk 4 0 2 2 4 13 -9 0-1-1 0-1-1 2

CSKA Moscow 1-2 AS Roma

Arnor Sigurdsson’s 50th minute goal briefly gave the hosts level footing following Kostas Manolas’ fourth minute opener, but Lorenzo Pellegrini nabbed a winner for i Lupi in the 59th minute to stay level with Real on nine points.

Viktoria Plzen 0-5 Real Madrid

Santiago Solari’s Champions League debut as manager went pretty well, with Karim Benzema scoring twice en route to a 4-0 halftime lead for Real. Gareth Bale, Casemiro, and Toni Kroos also scored for the group leaders, who visit Rome on Nov. 27.

Group G
Team GP W D L GF GA GD Home Away PTS
Real Madrid 4 3 0 1 10 2 8 2-0-0 1-0-1 9
Roma 4 3 0 1 10 4 6 2-0-0 1-0-1 9
CSKA Moscow 4 1 1 2 4 7 -3 1-0-1 0-1-1 4
Viktoria Plzen 4 0 1 3 3 14 -11 0-1-1 0-0-2 1

Valencia 3-1 Young Boys

Santi Mina scored twice as the Spanish hosts stayed within striking distance of Manchester United.

Juventus 1-2 Manchester UnitedRECAP

Cristiano Ronaldo scored an absolute beauty, which has largely been lost in the sauce of United’s furious five-minute comeback and Jose Mourinho’s mostly hilarious post-match antics (Not sporting? Of course not, but don’t deny us the humor of it). So, wow, here it is:

Group H
Team GP W D L GF GA GD Home Away PTS
Juventus 4 3 0 1 7 2 5 1-0-1 2-0-0 9
Manchester United 4 2 1 1 5 2 3 0-1-1 2-0-0 7
València 4 1 2 1 4 4 0 1-0-1 0-2-0 5
Young Boys 4 0 1 3 2 10 -8 0-1-1 0-0-2 1

Sterling on controversial PK: ‘Apologies to the ref’

Photo by Laurence Griffiths/Getty Images
1 Comment

Raheem Sterling looked set to make the blooper reel after tripping on his own feet while attempting a shot, only to be awarded a penalty kick.

[ RECAP: Man City 6-0 Shakhtar Donetsk ]

In real time it may have even looked more like a dive, as the in-form English striker hit the grass with his kick attempt and sent himself hurtling to the turf.

The ref, however, pointed to the spot.

When you’re in form, you’re in form, we guess. Here’s Raheem:

“I went to chip the ball and don’t know what happened. I didn’t feel contact. I scuffed the ball. Apologies to the ref.”

And Pep Guardiola admitted that Sterling could’ve said something to the referee.

“Raheem could have told the referee. We don’t like to score in that situation. … The game is so fast these days. It takes 10 seconds for somebody to say something to the referee.

The way City ended up pouring it on, there’s some comfort in the fact that it wasn’t likely to matter much. The Premier League champions scored six times, including three from Gabriel Jesus, in a blowout win.

Full marks to Sterling for owning it.

 

Man City strikes for six versus Shakhtar

(Photo by Clive Brunskill/Getty Images)
Leave a comment
  • Sterling wins controversial penalty
  • Jesus nabs hat trick
  • Silva scores, draws PK

Gabriel Jesus registered a hat trick with two goals from the spot as Manchester City bashed Shakhtar Donetsk 6-0 at the Etihad Stadium to clinch a spot in the UEFA Champions League knockout rounds.

David Silva, Riyad Mahrez and Raheem Sterling also scored for City, who has to wait to clinch a knockout round berth thanks to Lyon’s 2-2 draw with Hoffenheim.

City can clinch the group with a win at Lyon on Nov. 27.

[ MORE: Champions League scores ]

City took the lead in the 13th minute, as Riyad Mahrez toyed with a couple of defenders near the right edge of the box before crossing for an easy Silva tap-in.

Mykola Matvyenko was whistled for a penalty when clumsy Raheem Sterling struck the ground attempting to a shoot, and Jesus made it 2-0 in the 24th.

It stayed that way into the break, and Sterling roared out of the break with this dribble and rocket combo. Fitting for the JPW’s reigning Premier League Player Power Rankings leader.

Taras Stepanenko took down David Silva in the box, allowing Jesus to become the first player from an English club to score two penalties in one UCL match since 2011 (Opta).

[ MORE: Champions League standings ]

[ MORE: Full lineups, stats, box score ]