UEFA Champions League

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Looking ahead to unbeaten Liverpool’s Premier League slate

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Liverpool’s incredible season took a major step toward greatness Sunday with a 3-1 win over Manchester City at Anfield.

The Reds now boast an eight-point lead on the field after 12 matches, and lead Man City by nine points in a bid for its first league title of the Premier League era.

[ MORE: Premier League Club Power Rankings ]

Yes, the Reds totally blew a bigger, later lead last season, but it certainly feels different this time around (especially with Man City needing to navigate more time without Aymeric Laporte).

As we’ve previously noted, Liverpool is unbeaten despite rarely being in top form this season. Jurgen Klopp‘s men will get to their best but are unbeaten despite not finding that form; The system is that good, the talent that deep.

So, assuming that an invincible season isn’t heading to Anfield, when will Liverpool lose its first match?

Looking ahead, if the Reds can manage the unpredictable nature of a Merseyside Derby on Dec. 4, it seems possible if not likely that the Reds will be unbeaten in the Premier League through Boxing Day.

How much longer after that, however, is a tall ask. The Reds’ five-match waltz after the international break is followed by a trip to Qatar which will, presuming an appearance in the Dec. 22 final, see them have three days to adjust to their home time zone and a visit to Leicester.

If the Reds manage to get a result there, they’ll face Wolves twice, Spurs once, and Man United once before the end of January. Then, and only then, might it be worth entertaining an unbeaten season.

Liverpool upcoming schedule (PL matches in italics)

#West Ham fixture still to be rescheduled
*denotes match that depends on previous round

Nov. 23 – at Palace
Nov. 27 – v. Napoli (UCL)
Nov. 30 – v. Brighton
Dec. 4 – v. Everton
Dec. 7 – at Bournemouth
Dec. 10 – at Red Bull Salzburg (UCL)
Dec. 14 – v. Watford
Dec. 17 – at Aston Villa (League Cup)
Dec. 18 –  v. Monterrey, Al-Sadd, or Hienghene Sport (CWC)
Dec. 22 – Club World Cup Final
Dec. 26 – at Leicester City
Dec. 29 – v. Wolves
Jan. 2 – v. Sheffield United
Jan. 4 or 5 – FA Cup third round
Jan. 7 or 8 – League Cup semi first leg*
Jan. 11 – at Spurs
Jan. 19 – v. Manchester United
Jan. 23 – at Wolves
Jan. 25 or 26 – FA Cup fourth round*
Jan. 28 or 29 – League Cup semi second leg*

Arsene Wenger will not manage Bayern Munich

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Arsene Wenger has just popped his famous long jacket back in the cupboard. For now.

After reports suggested that the legendary manager was in the running to take charge of Bayern Munich, it has been revealed that the man who managed Arsenal for 22 years is now out of the running.

According to Raphael Honigstein and other outlets including Sky Sports in Germany, Wenger spoke with Bayern’s chairman Karl-Heinz Rummenigge on the phone over the last 24 hours but he will not be considered for the vacant position.

The Bavarian giants sacked Niko Kovac on Sunday after they lost 5-1 to Eintracht Frankfurt and were said to be keen on making a short-term appointment between now and the end of the season.

Hermann Gerland and Hansi Flick have been placed in caretaker charge of Bayern for the time being, and they beat Olympiacos 2-0 in the UEFA Champions League on Wednesday to secure their spot in the Round of 16.

Perhaps they will continue in charge as they eye Erik Ten Hag, Thomas Tuchel and Ralf Rangnick but all three have ruled themselves out of a mid-season move.

Napoli threatens legal action against players; Ancelotti under threat

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Things are pretty dicey in Naples.

Napoli drew Red Bull Salzburg on Tuesday to dip below Liverpool in Group E of the UEFA Champions League, the result also meaning Napoli is winless in four across all competitions.

[ MORE: Kyle Walker goes in goal ]

Its early season feats not enough to keep it in Serie A’s Top Seven, and manager Carlo Ancelotti was asked to run an emergency training camp.

From The Independent:

Carlo Ancelotti and his players reportedly refused to board a bus to the retreat, which was organized by club chairman Aurelio De Laurentiis, after their draw with RB Salzburg. Ancelotti skipped his post-match media duties, and the president of the club supposedly held an hour-long conference call with the manager after Wednesday morning’s training session.

Not good, and De Laurentiis may be suing his players.

Napoli released a statement saying there would be player or manager interviews “for the foreseeable future,” and that the camp was “entrusted” in the hands of Ancelotti.

The Neapolitan side has been unable to break Juve’s scudetto hold on Serie A under Ancelotti as it did under Rafa Benitez and Maurizio Sarri.

And it’s been a weird stretch of matches. Ancelotti was sent off as Napoli blew two leads in a draw with Atalanta, then lost to Roma. It also drew struggling SPAL.

Napoli next has Genoa before the international break, then snaps back to life with visits to AC Milan and Liverpool. It doesn’t seem like the right time to make a move, with the UCL in the balance.

UCL wrap: Rodrygo scores three for 6-star Real; PSG through

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The Champions League again produced wild moments all over Europe that extended well past Kyle Walker‘s turn in goal for Manchester City.

[ MORE: Atalanta 1-1 Man City | Red Star 0-4 Spurs ]

Several stoppage time markers joined a six-pack of goals in Spain and a big night from a CONCACAF teen.

Real Madrid 6-0 Galatasaray

Rodrygo scored thrice and added an assist, while Karim Benzema had a brace to go with an assist in the easiest of wins at the Bernabeu.

Marcelo had two assists before limping off with injury in the 42nd minute, with Sergio Ramos scoring the other goal for Real. The 13-time champions are on the verge of the knockout rounds.

Bayern Munich 2-0 Olympiacos

Robert Lewandowski and Ivan Perisic were the goal scorers, and Canadian left back Alphonso Davies had a notable 90 minutes. Davies logged 3 shots, 2 successful dribbles, and four tackles to go with 88 percent passing.

PSG 1-0 Club Brugge

Mbaye Diagne saw his penalty saved by Keylor Navas, meaning Mauro Icardi’s 22nd minute goal was all PSG would need on the score sheet to clinch a spot in the knockout rounds.

Lokomotiv Moscow 1-2 Juventus

Two goals in the first 12 minutes had them deadlocked in Russia, but Douglas Costa found the answer in stoppage time.

Bayer Leverkusen 2-1 Atletico Madrid

An own goal and Kevin Volland 55th minute marker gave Bayer a lead it would ride to three valuable points. Bayer joins Lokomotiv on three points in a bid to finish third and continue a European adventure.

Dinamo Zagreb 3-3 Shakhtar Donetsk

This one was pure chaos.

Six different goal scorers found the sheet beginning with Shakhtar’s Alan Patrick in the 13th minute. That was the Ukranian side’s only lead of the night.

It stood 1-1 in the 83rd minute when Dinamo struck twice in six minutes to set up a grandstand stoppage time time that saw a Junior Moraes goal joined by a match-leveling penalty from 19-year-old Tete in the 8th minute of stoppage time.


Apologetic Son happy to show ‘right response’ after Gomes injury

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Heung-Min Son‘s difficult week turned a corner on Wednesday with a two-goal day against Red Star Belgrade in the UEFA Champions League.

The brace and 4-1 win came three days after Son was sent off against Everton for a reckless tackle of Andre Gomes, one that broke the Portuguese midfielder’s ankle.

[ MORE: Ex-Spurs man Walker goes in goal ]

Son was inconsolable as he left the field, and teammates said he remained so into the locker room.

There were smiles again on Wednesday, even if his goal celebrations were understated at best; The first one a hands folded prayer presumably aimed at Gomes.

“Of course it has been a really tough few days but I have realized how lucky I am with all the support I have had from the fans and my teammates. I can say I’m really sorry for the accident and the situation but I had to focus for the team and I had to keep going and it was the right response to all the people who have supported me.”

Son’s red card was overturned on Wednesday.

Spurs boss Mauricio Pochettino said the team was on Son’s side after the incident, which shook all participants at Goodison Park. From Football.London:

“It was a problem for everyone, not only for Sonny, for everyone on the pitch,” Pochettino said. “We feel very sorry about what happened to Andre, but he moved on quickly. We helped him to move on. It was a mix of everything, not only the injury, the red card, how we missed the three points.”

Pochettino praised his side’s performance on Wednesday, and he’ll have to keep his men in the right mindset ahead of Saturday’s Premier League visit from Sheffield United.

As for the UCL, Spurs are back in good position to qualify for a third-straight Round of 16.

The 2019 UCL finalists are five points behind already-qualified Bayern Munich, and can clinch second by beating Olympiacos on the next match day. Failing that, the North Londoners will still have a chance on the final match day at Bayern.