Chelsea manager Maurizio Sarri checked the Blues fixture list, saw Liverpool twice in one week, and groaned. Probably.
After Chelsea drew 0-0 with London rivals West Ham on Sunday, Sarri looked ahead and told reporters that Liverpool has the continuity he craves.
“They are a step forward of us at this moment,” said Sarri when asked about Jurgen Klopp and Liverpool. “We have to play against a very, very good team who have worked with the same coach for three years. We have started to work together 40 days ago, less 10 days for the international break, so for us it is a bit early. We have to work and then, maybe, in one year we will be at the same level as Liverpool.”
Klopp was hired as Liverpool manager on October 8, 2015 and has slowly built the Reds squad into not just a Premier League title contender, but a formidable Champions League power as well, reaching the tournament final last campaign. Sarri believes the Liverpool attack is one of the most dangerous they’ll face, and while it might be entertaining for fans, it will stress him out.
“It will be a really difficult match,” Sarri said. “Maybe spectacular but for us, difficult. I don’t think there is an easy game against Salah, Firmino and Mane.”
Chelsea first faces Liverpool in the Carabao Cup on Wednesday at Anfield, and Sarri says he could make “five or eleven changes” with one less day to rest. Then, the clubs meet in the Premier League on Saturday at Stamford Bridge at 12:30 p.m. ET.
There is plenty more work to be done for the LA Galaxy to complete the unlikely push for a playoff spot, but they passed a major hurdle with a 3-0 victory over the Seattle Sounders on Sunday night at the StubHub Center.
Seattle suffered a 60-minute defensive nightmare, and was never able to recover. It all started just nine minutes in when Brad Smith needlessly barged into the back of Ola Kamara who was chasing down a ball on the right side of the box, and the referee pointed to the spot. Zlatan Ibrahimovic sent Stefan Frei the wrong way with the ensuing penalty, and the Galaxy took the early lead.
Los Angeles found a second just before halftime as Ibrahimovic looked off the defense and then unlocked the back line with a burst forward on the left flank, feeding Romain Alessandrini through who burst towards the end line and crossed to Kamara for an easy tap-in just five minutes before the break.
Past halftime, the home side continued to dominate. Seattle held 55% possession, but failed to record a single shot on target until the 66th minute, finishing with just one among the 14 total attempts on net. LA would cash in on Seattle’s wastefulness for a 3-0 lead on a goal by Emmanuel Boateng in the 52nd minute and put the game out of sight.
The win lifts the Galaxy above the Vancouver Whitecaps and into 7th place in the Western Conference, with Vancouver’s loss to FC Dallas. They now sit just three points back of Seattle in the final playoff spot. The Sounders saw a nine-game winning streak and 12-game unbeaten streak snapped last time out against Philadelphia, and now the sudden slide could have devastating consequences should it continue.
Plenty of big names have been linked with a spot on the inaugural 2020 Inter Miami CF team, but few have actually gained significant traction. Until now.
According to The Mirror in England, David Beckham has already held “preliminary talks” with former Real Madrid manager Zinedine Zidane, who resigned from the Spanish giants after winning three consecutive Champions League titles.
The report states that Zidane still prefers a job in Europe, with Manchester United mentioned as a job he covets, but says the longer Zidane remains on the market without a job, the better a odds Beckham has of convincing the Frenchman to make the switch to the United States.
Capturing Zidane would be a historic signing, but there is precedent for a manager of his caliber to come to Major League Soccer. Atlanta United snagged Tata Martino as manager for the club’s inaugural season, and under his guidance the club immediately became a force to be reckoned with. Before coming to MLS, Martino managed both Barcelona and the Argentinian national team, finishing second in his one La Liga season in charge of Barcelona and reaching (and losing) the finals of both the 2015 and 2016 Copa America tournaments with Argentina.
Zidane, however, not only comes with pedigree both as a former player and a manager, but has the star power Beckham is clearly hoping to bring to Miami. Other names linked with Miami are both Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo, who would be 32 and 35 by the start of the 2020 season.
Beckham and Zidane were once teammates with Real Madrid, playing together for three seasons between 2003 and 2006.
No matter what Jose Mourinho says about his relationship with Paul Pogba, perception is reality for many Premier League fans, and Pogba fractured that perception even further after Manchester United drew 1-1 at Old Trafford.
Mourinho’s tactics – and in particular, his deployment of Pogba – has been criticized since he began at Manchester United for being too defensive and too static. That same criticism eventually led to a split between the club and Mourinho’s predecessor Louis Van Gaal, and it threatens to turn the club against Mourinho as well.
[ MORE: Arsenal tops Everton at the Emirates ]
Following the match on Saturday, Pogba came after the way Manchester United plays at home, which has led to the draw with Wolves plus a loss to Tottenham earlier this season.
“When we are at home we should attack, attack, attack. That’s Old Trafford,” said Pogba on Saturday after the Wolves match. “We are at home and we should play much better against Wolves. We are here to attack. I think teams are scared when they see Manchester United attacking and attacking. That was our mistake.”
The Frenchman did take responsibility, saying the team needs to execute better on the field, but then turned it back on the predetermined style of play. “Maybe the attitude should be better and we should play better because, again, we are at Old Trafford and we should just attack and press like we did against Tottenham, Liverpool, Chelsea and Arsenal last season. When we play like this it’s easier for us.”
Pogba would not say much more, but made it known why he wouldn’t elaborate, and it only served to douse the flames with gas. “Obviously we should show more options of playing but I cannot say that because I’m a player,” Pogba said. “That’s my way of thinking: we should move better, we should move more.”
It’s never a priority until it happens to you.
Everton boss Marco Silva has called for VAR to be introduced in the Premier League after Everton fell 2-0 to Arsenal on Sunday. Alexandre Lacazette scored the opener in the 56th minute, but Everton’s comeback was made far more difficult three minutes later when Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang doubled the Gunners’ lead.
Silva was frustrated that replay showed Aubameyang was clearly offside when he received an off-balance flick from Aaron Ramsey before burying the chance. He declared VAR should be utilized in the Premier League, although he understood the process.
“It will help for sure,” Silva said in the post-match press conference. “I think it’s important. I understand what they’re thinking not stopping the game every time [VAR is used]. They’re trying to find the best way to do that as soon as possible. Maybe next season we’ll have VAR.”
The Premier League voted this summer not to implement VAR this season, deciding instead to continue testing before making the technology available to aid refereeing decisions and cut down on mistakes. VAR was used this summer at the World Cup and received positive reviews. The replay system was most used to help referees determine if fouls occurred during the build-up to goals, whether offside decisions were correct, and whether penalties should be given.
“We had just one player in our box. It’s clear where he is in that moment and it’s clear on the second touch [by Ramsey] where the player who finishes it is, as well. He’s clearly offside. For me, it’s a little bit strange but it’s OK. I make mistakes, my players, as well. Assistant referees can make them.”
Everton’s loss leaves them without a Premier League win since August 18 when they defeated Southampton at home, a run of four games with just two points.