Ryan Kent

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Gerrard’s Rangers clinch place in Europa League Round of 16

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Steven Gerrard put another bullet line on his managerial resume with a place in the Europa League Round of 16.

Rangers kept an away clean sheet at Sporting Braga to win 1-0 on Wednesday, 4-2 on aggregate.

[ MORE: Premier League schedule ]

Former Liverpool youth Ryan Kent was the goal scorer, giving him 13 goals and 13 assists in his two seasons in Glasgow.

“This is no fluke,” Gerrard preened. “This has come from sheer hard graft. We knew there was an opportunity. We need to enjoy tonight. We’ll be really proud when the draw is made.”

Gerrard admitted that the goal was to cede possession to the hosts, but keep the ball with their back five. Braga had 69 percent of the ball and a 13-9 edge in shots, but Rangers put five of nine shots on target.

Rangers reach the Round of 16 for the first time since 2011, when it lost to PSV Eindhoven 1-0 over two legs. The last time it went farther was the 2008 UEFA Cup Final loss to Zenit Saint-Petersburg.

Rangers are 12 points off Celtic with a match-in-hand in the race for the Scottish Premiership. Celtic will bid to move to the Round of 16 when they host Copenhagen on Thursday following a 1-1 draw in Denmark.

Rangers beat Celtic to take charge of title race

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Rangers beat bitter rivals Celtic 2-1 in the Old Firm derby at Celtic Park on Sunday as Steven Gerrard‘s side now have the chance to jump ahead of their Glasgow rivals and move to the top of the Scottish Premiership.

Rangers took the lead in the first half after Alan McGregor saved a penalty kick from Ryan Christie as Ryan Kent then made it 1-0 three minutes later, but Odsonne Edouard equalized for Celtic just before the break in a typically tight, feisty encounter.

Nikola Katic scored the winner for Rangers who had top goalscorer Alfredo Morales sent off late on, as Gerrard and his players celebrated wildly at the final whistle.

After losing the Scottish League Cup final in extra time to 10-man Celtic earlier this month after missing a penalty kick, this victory would have tasted sweet for Gerrard and Co.

Celtic have won the Scottish title for the last eight seasons on the trot but they are now two points ahead of Rangers but the latter have a game in hand.

Could this be the year Rangers finally break Celtic’s stranglehold on the Scottish title? The ‘Gers last won the title in 2011 and since then they’ve been relegated to the fourth tier, promoted back to the top-flight and now they seem to be serious contenders for Celtic.

With both teams in the knockout round of the UEFA Europa League in the second half of this season it will be intriguing to see who handles the domestic and European games better.

Transfer Deadline Day in Europe: Deals galore

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Transfer Deadline Day has arrived across Europe, and plenty of deals are being wrapped up in Spain, Italy, France and elsewhere ahead of the summer window closing.

[ MORE: Latest transfer news

Plenty of Premier League clubs are moving players on to trim their squads after the first few weeks of the season.

Below we look at the top deals developing, as the clock ticks down we roundup the transactions.


Mauro Icardi (Inter Milan to Paris Saint-Germain)
The Argentine striker is close to a loan move to PSG, as his wife and agent, Wanda Nara, has been seen in discussions with Les Parisiens officials in the French capital. Sky in Italy are reporting that Icardi, 26, will actually sign a new deal at Inter Milan before heading to PSG. A lethal finisher, Icardi is a totally different option up top and will compliment Neymar, Kylian Mbappe and Edinson Cavani well. His character is often questioned but his goalscoring record speaks for itself with 124 goals in 219 appearances for Inter.


Javier ‘Chicharito‘ Hernandez (West Ham to Sevilla)
Hernandez, 31, has joined Sevilla on a three-year contract, as the La Liga side paid $9.6 million for Mexico’s all-time leading goalscorer. This is a great move for Chicharito, who never settled down at West Ham. Sevilla are in the Europa League and will pushing for Champions League qualification once again.


Matteo Darmian (Man United to Parma)
The Italian defender has finally left Man United. After four years at Old Trafford, Darmian returns to Italy for a transfer fee of $4.5 million. The 29-year-old arrived at United in the summer of 2015 and won the FA Cup and Europa League with the Red Devils. He made 92 appearances in all competitions for United and heads back to Italy to play for Parma, as he struggled to hold down a regular spot at United.


Henrikh Mkhitaryan (Arsenal to AS Roma)
A season-long loan move for Mkhitaryan who is a bit-part player at Arsenal. After Ceballos’ arrival this summer, the writing was on the wall, and the emergence of several youngsters and Mesut Ozil hanging around also pushed him towards the Emirates exit door. A chance to regain his confidence after a rough few years.


Keylor Navas (Real Madrid to PSG) & Alphonse Areola (PSG to Real Madrid)
The Costa Rican goalkeeper is no longer the starter at Real and he is heading to Paris Saint-Germain. Navas, 32, still has plenty of good years ahead of him and performed well for Real when Thibaut Courtois was out injured last season. After five years and 11 trophies at Real, Navas is set to be the starter at PSG and has signed a four-year deal. Alphonse Areola, 26, moves in the opposite direction to challenge Courtois at Real Madrid. Areola arrives on a season-long loan deal.


Ryan Kent (Liverpool to Glasgow Rangers)
Liverpool want $8.4 million for the young midfielder who excelled on loan at Steven Gerrard‘s side last season. Kent, 22, has been a Liverpool player his entire career but just can’t break into Jurgen Klopp‘s first team. Now is the right time for him to move on a permanent basis and Gerrard will get the best out of him. Kent will be key in Rangers pushing Celtic all the way for the Scottish title.


Fernando Llorente (Free agent, Napoli)
He finally announced his move on deadline day, as the veteran striker was out of contract after being at Tottenham Hotspur. Napoli is a great landing spot for him, as he will continue to play in the UEFA Champions League and his experience off the bench in tight situations was crucial for Spurs last season. At 34, he continues to age like a fine wine…


Asmir Begovic (Bournemouth to Qarabag)
A shock move for out of favor Bournemouth goalkeeper Asmir Begovic, as he sealed a loan move to Azerbaijani champions Qarabag until January. Begovic, 32, has yet to play in the Premier League this season after losing his place in the Bournemouth lineup late last season. He will play in the Europa League for Qarabag.


Florin Andone (Brighton to Galatasaray)
His last act as a Brighton player, at least for this season, was getting a silly red card against Southampton. Andone has joined Galatasaray and the Romanian forward joins Falcao and several others in sealing late move to the Turkish giants. Andone, 26, scored for Brighton on the opening day in their win at Watford, but his tackle against Saints was a straight red card and cost his team dear. They have a few attacking options, but this is a bit of a strange move for the Seagulls.


Mario Lemina (Southampton to Galatasaray)
The Gabonese midfielder is leaving Saints for Turkey, with Galatasaray confirming they are in talks over a season-long loan move. The former Juventus midfielder has been frozen out by Southampton this summer after saying he wants to leave and although the Premier League side wanted a permanent deal, Lemina will initially leave on loan.


Wesley Hoedt (Southampton Royal Antwerp)
Another Saints player will be heading out on loan, as Dutch defender Hoedt is heading to Belgium. Antwerp will initially sign Hoedt on loan and have an option to buy him permanently. Hoedt, 25, is not part of Ralph Hasenhuttl‘s plans and after being signed as a replacement for Virgil Van Dijk he just hasn’t settled at Saints.


Marcus Edwards (Tottenham to Vitoria)
The Spurs youngster has left on a permanent deal and many at Tottenham will be disappointed by this. Edwards, 20, has been on the fringes of Spurs’ first team under Mauricio Pochettino but the winger failed to kick on after loan moves at Norwich and Excelsior. The England youth international will now play for Vitoria who are in the Europa League, and has signed a four-year deal.

Klopp dismisses Bale talk, says focus is introducing prospects

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Jurgen Klopp‘s summer on comments on transfers have been difficult to interpret, and that’s not necessarily his fault.

The Liverpool man is coming off a UEFA Champions League win and a Premier League campaign which would’ve been enough to finish first in almost any other season, so naturally neutrals and supporters alike have been wondering what Liverpool can do to chase down Manchester City. Klopp even had to rubbish talk of adding Gareth Bale from Real Madrid.

[ MORE: Key questions for every PL team ]

Klopp has sometimes mentioned that Liverpool has to spend, and used other occasions to play down the idea of the Reds adding anyone at all. Often, he’s now mentioned healthy Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain and young Rhian Brewster as additions for the 2019-20 season.

In a feature with The Liverpool Echo, Klopp makes it all a bit more clear: Of course the Reds would add, and even add big, if the right piece was available, but this season is about the Liverpool program and not short-term fixes.

“Having too much quality doesn’t help with the development of players. It’s good for everybody on the outside, because they can say ‘well if he can’t play, then he can play or he could play’.

“You have to create a situation where you need the player, you need the boys. That’s what we try. We have 100% always long-term plans. That’s what is really good about this football club.”

And if this season is, in fact, about making Brewster and Ryan Kent, for example, more regular contributors to the team while continuing the starring roles of 2018-19, then that can fit nicely into a system.

It’s the luxury of having consistency in the ranks, and not plugging holes, which is why Man City, Liverpool, and — maybe — Spurs will have a distinct edge over the first half of the PL season.

Gerrard takes blame as another Morelos red costs Rangers in derby

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Alfredo Morelos has 29 goals and 11 assists this season for Rangers, but it’ll be difficult to remember the campaign for anything other than a color other than his side’s blue or the green-and-white of his rivals Celtic.

Red, as in the color of the card shown to him for elbowing Scott Brown in the Old Firm Derby on Sunday, giving him five dismissals on the season and helping Celtic earn a 2-1 win over Steven Gerrard‘s feisty visitors.

[ MORE: Celtic top Rangers ]

Morelos had just been clipped on the back of the leg during off-the-ball play, and threw his elbow back at Brown. The wily Celtic captain made the most of the contact and red was shown in the 31st minute.

Early reports say Rangers will fine Morelos a week’s wages, and Gerrard said he “can’t defend him anymore.”

But he’s also pretty angry with Brown, whose altercation with Ryan Kent after Celtic’s second goal helped up the venom in an already vicious rivalry.

From the BBC:

“You’re playing against a player who loves to antagonize. Morelos and Kent are both provoked. Celtic fans have the right to celebrate but to do it right in your face, Halliday has the right to protect his own people.

“The guy who antagonized it all from the beginning deserves to be punished as well. When you’re provoked, it’s only fair that both sides get punished in my view.

Morelos’ first red came in the 12th minute on Opening Day, a 1-1 draw at Aberdeen. Remarkably, he’s twice more been sent off against Aberdeen in league play plus Sunday’s red and another in the last match of Europa League qualifying.

Those are all big games. Rangers are understandably 1W-1D-2L in the four league matches, and have dropped four points in matches he missed through suspension.

Now Rangers are 13 points behind their Glasgow neighbors.

“The gap was already big and it’s even bigger now. The buck stops with me and I’m ready for that. We will move forward from this and try to finish the season as strong as we can.”