Lucas Leiva

AP Photo/Efrem Lukatsky

Europa League quarterfinal field set

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Longtime Liverpool man Lucas Leiva led Lazio into the UEFA Europa League, as eight teams not await Friday morning’s quarterfinal draw.

[ MORE: Arsenal blasts Milan ]

Three rounds stand between these teams and an automatic berth in the UEFA Champions League, though that does not seem to be an issue for several via league standing (chiefly Atletico Madrid).

AC Milan, Lyon, Borussia Dortmund, and Zenit Saint-Petersburg were among the eight sides dumped out of the tournament on Thursday.

Atletico Madrid
CSKA Moscow
RB Leipzig
RB Salzburg
Sporting Lisbon

Liverpool moves on: “Job done. Let’s go home”

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Even given two youth-heavy lineups, Liverpool won’t forget Plymouth Argyle any time soon.

The Reds were held 0-0 two weeks ago as Plymouth forced a home replay in the third round of the FA Cup, and Liverpool only managed a single goal on Wednesday in advancing to face Wolverhampton.

[ MORE: Costa back for Chelsea ]

Jurgen Klopp admitted he was dreading extra time. The Reds nearly saw it when the League Two side hit a second-half post, but Lucas Leiva‘s first goal in seven years held up over 90 minutes.

Well, his first match goal in seven years.

“It’s that long? I scored last week in training,” Lucas said after the game.

Here’s what Klopp said, via the BBC:

“In the second half it was good, but then it became a bit static. We had a penalty, and 2-0, 3-0, 4-0 would have been OK, but 1-0 I’m fine with that. I was not too concerned for going through, but I thought ‘Oh my God another 30 minutes’, but it is all good, no extra-time, job done, let’s go home. As nice as it is here, we leave as early as possible, so all good.”

On a rare goal for Lucas Leiva, Klopp adds: “Every week in training we play old versus young and he is a top scorer for old, which is unbelievable.”

One thing to note: Liverpool has only scored multiple goals in one of its last six matches. Sure, two were young lineups, but they were also against League Two competitions (and one was a clean sheet).

Look for the Reds to break out soon, perhaps Saturday morning when Swansea City visits Anfield.

FA Cup slate set as Liverpool, Newcastle, Saints win

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The field is set for the fourth round of the FA Cup, as Newcastle United, Liverpool, and Southampton joined 29 other teams in the fourth round.

Newcastle United 3-1 Birmingham City

Matt Ritchie scored twice and Yoan Gouffran also scored as the Magpies clinched a trip to third-tier side Oxford United. David Cotterill scored in the 71st minute to provide an interesting finish, but Newcastle weathered the storm.

USMNT defender DeAndre Yedlin played 75 minutes for Newcastle before coming off for Isaac Hayden. Jonjo Shelvey had two assists in his return from suspension.

[ MORE: Depay off to Lyon ]

Plymouth Argyle 0-1 Liverpool

Jurgen Klopp chose another youth-heavy lineup, but a pair of Premier League vets got the job done for the winner. Philippe Coutinho assisted Lucas Leiva‘s 18th mintue goal to give the Reds a home date with Wolverhampton.

Divock Origi had a late penalty saved by Luke McCormick, but it didn’t come back to haunt the Reds.

Southampton 1-0 Norwich City

Saints got a much-needed albeit ugly win when Shane Long won a tussle in the box to score a stoppage time winner. Southampton will host Arsenal in the fourth round.

Full schedule

January 27
Derby County vs. Leicester City

January 28
Liverpool vs. Wolverhampton
Tottenham Hotspur vs. Wycombe Wanderers
Oxford United vs. Newcastle United
Lincoln City vs. Brighton & Hove Albion
Chelsea vs. Brentford
Rochdale vs. Huddersfield Town
Burnley vs. Bristol City
Blackburn vs. Blackpool
Middlesbrough vs. Accrington Stanley
Crystal Palace vs. Manchester City
Southampton vs. Arsenal
Millwall vs. Watford
Fulham vs. Hull City
Sutton United vs. Leeds United

January 29
Manchester United vs. Wigan Athletic

Report: Liverpool expected to allow Lucas Leiva to join Inter

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With his career winding down at Anfield, Liverpool is expected to allow its longest-tenured player to make an exit.

[ MORE: Liverpool-Stoke meet in lone fixture on Tuesday’s PL docket ]

According to ESPN FC, the Reds are willing to part ways with midfielder Lucas Leiva, who has currently caught the eye of Serie A side Inter Milan. The Italian club is reportedly looking to add the Brazilian in the near future, and could do so with either a loan or permanent transfer.

[ MORE: Guardiola excited to have Toure back; provides injury update on Stones ]

Leiva, 29, joined Liverpool back in 2007 after coming to the Premier League from Brazilian side Gremio and has made over 230 appearances in all competitions for the Reds.

With young defender Joe Gomez back in the mix for Jurgen Klopp‘s side, the club is reportedly more flexible in allowing Leiva to leave Anfield. Leiva has appeared in eight PL matches this season for Liverpool and had been forced to provide defensive cover for Klopp prior to Gomez’s return from injury.

The Reds currently sit third in the PL table heading into Tuesday’s match against Stoke City, nine points off the pace set by league leaders Chelsea.

Liverpool: Leiva speaks on Chapecoense tragedy, knew victims

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Lucas Leiva captained Liverpool in Tuesday’s EFL Cup triumph over Leeds United, and he was playing with a heavy heart.

The 29-year-old Brazilian was on the field hours after learning of the horrible Chapecoense plane crash which claimed 75 lives, many of them soccer players, early Tuesday.

[ MORE: Clubs petition to relegation-proof Chapecoense ]

Naturally, the incident back home stunned Leiva (as it did the rest of the world). Adding to his pain was the fact that he knew several of the victims.

From the BBC:

“It was a terrible accident. I have a few people that I played with, some young players. It’s very hard for me to play tonight because I know a lot of people there, but we just hope the families have the support they need and the victims rest in peace.”

Leiva would’ve been forgiven for begging out of the Liverpool lineup, but honored his peers’ memory in the match. The Reds won 2-0.

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