Month: March 2016

Transfer rumours: Ibe and Allen out, Gotze for Liverpool

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The transfer market is closed, but the rumours never stop; now, the headlines say that Jordan Ibe and Joe Allen would be leaving Liverpool while Mario Gotze is heading in.

Watford f.c., one of Liverpool’s opponents in the Premier League will be considering a summer move for the pair Liverpool players, as both had been experiencing frustrating times in Anfield.

Joe Allen, 26, will enter the final 12 months of his Liverpool contract this summer but there had been no talks for an extension so far. Initial discussions were held towards the end of last season, but there were no furtherance of new deals since Jurgen Klopp replaced Brendan Rodgers.

The former Swansea City midfielder has impressed when given the opportunity by Klopp but has started only 10 of the manager’s 38 games and has admitted he is fighting for his future alongside Jordan Ibe at Anfield.

Ibe has also been experiencing a season to forget at Liverpool. England under-21 manager, Gareth Southgate also claimed that the winger had suffered a loss of confidence following his dismissal against Switzerland on Sunday.

The 20-year-old likewise had been restricted to a very small role under Klopp.

With the German coach rubbing his hands in anticipation of the transfer market that opens in a few months, Watford would be interested in testing both Ibe’s and Allen’s resolve to remain at Anfield.

On the other hand, having already closed deals for Joel Matip and Marko Grujic, Jurgen Klopp would look to tempt his fellow countryman Mario Gotze to Merseyside. There is also something of insurance to a deal as Klopp had previously worked with the German World Cup winner in Dortmund.

Liverpool’s interest in the player is already keenly established by fans and the fact he has struggled to regain a starting place in Pep Guardiola’s Bayern team following a long-term hamstring injury has only increased the speculation.

But even German coach Joachim Low had been positive about Gotze’s determination to stay ahead and in the game, saying that the forward’s goal against Italy in a recent friendly would boost his confidence.

“Mario earned this [performance] himself,” Löw told reporters.

“I can understand why he may be playing less at Bayern at the moment because they have a great squad and he was injured for a long time.”

Either way, by summer, Jurgen Klopp’s Liverpool would look a very different team. He most certainly would not hold back make huge changes to his team roster ahead of his full season in charge of Anfield.

Inspired England takes comeback win against Germany

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A youthful and inspired England side resurged from sure defeat to take the friendly game against Germany by 3-2, offering hopes for the youngsters in the summer.

It was an exhilarating second half for the Three Lions as England had begun by conceding two goals from the Germans on either side of the break. Toni Kroos scored Germany’s first with a swerving shot that beat Jack Butland at his near post from outside the box.

Mario Gomez then doubled the lead at 57th minute with a header past substitute keeper Fraser Forster.

But England responded in style, as Harry Kane displayed tenacity and skill to hold a cross from the right corner, turns, evades two opposing players and slot in diagonally to the far corner 4 minutes later.

Then, at 71 minutes after play, Jamie Vardy equalized after being just subbed in for 3 minutes with an improvised back heel touch to flick in Nathaniel Clyne’s right wing cross into the German net.

The crowd in the Olympiastadion charged up with nervous energy as the game entered the dying minutes, as an energetic England chased after a winner relentlessly. Dele Alli missed a chance uncharacteristically over an exposed net, but his Tottenham teammate Eric Dier headed in Jordan Henderson’s corner.

This win against the World Cup winners had raised hopes for England’s Euro chances, as coach Roy Hodgson describes the win as his “finest night as England manager”. Still, he admits that there is work to ahead for the team.

“It is a friendly game and we have got an awful long way to go before we can claim to be anything like Germany with all they have achieved,” Hodgson said.

German midfielder Sami Khedira admits that Germany is in need of reflection after the defeat.

“We all need to take a look at ourselves and work hard now,” he said. “We did a lot right up until the second goal, then after that we were much worse – and England punished us.”

“However, we played well for an hour. We need to play well for 90 minutes against Italy [in Tuesday’s friendly] and in the European Championship.”

Xavi – Cristiano Ronaldo amongst but not the best

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With the next El Clasico coming in little more than a week, the first shots were fired as Catalan legend Xavi Hernandez rates Cristiano Ronaldo amongst the greatest he played against at Real Madrid, but not the best.

The World Cup winning Spaniard, who is currently playing for Al Sadd SC in the Qatar Stars League, has been a frequent opponent of the Portugese ace throughout his 17-year career with Barcelona.

He was asked to list his greatest adversaries throughout his Madrid encounters, in which he had included Cristiano Ronaldo. However, he chose to place the other Ronaldo, the former Brazil striker nicknamed the ‘phenomenon’, alongside current Madrid coach Zinedine Zidane as the best players he faced in Real Madrid.

“Lots of players but the ones I can’t forget are Ronaldo ‘the phenomenon’, Luis Figo, Raul, Fernando Hierro, Roberto Carlos, Zidane and in the later years Cristiano Ronaldo, Mesut Ozil,” Xavi said.

“However, the best out of all these I would say were Zidane and Ronaldo the Brazilian.”

Xavi also lauded his former teammate, Lionel Messi as “simply better” than Ronaldo.

When asked about the differences between Lionel Messi and Ronaldo, he had said: “Ronaldo is a goalscorer, and Messi is also a goalscorer; however, Messi is a much better team player than Ronaldo.”

“I think Messi is the best footballer in the world. In football, there are two important elements: fitness and intelligence. Ronaldo is very fit but Messi has both the fitness as well as the intelligence, so simply put he is better.”

He had also insisted Algerian Riyad Mahrez, who had performed brilliantly for Leicester City this season, was good enough for Barcelona.