Transfers Coutinho sale timing stuns Carragher, with Liverpool risking top-four finish Chris Burton 23:35 1/13/18 FacebookTwitterRedditcopy Comments(0) Getty Images Transfers Liverpool Philippe Coutinho Barcelona Primera División Premier League The Reds legend believes those at Anfield should have fought harder to keep the Brazilian until the summer, rather than bowing to Barcelona’s demands Liverpool’s decision to sell Philippe Coutinho to Barcelona during the winter window has stunned Jamie Carragher, with a top-four risk taken at Anfield.The Reds were able to fend off advances from Camp Nou last summer, but eventually bowed to pressure when interest was rekindled in January.A €160 million deal means they have been handsomely rewarded for parting with a Brazilian playmaker, but they have lost a key cog in a devastating attacking arsenal. Article continues below Editors’ Picks Lyon treble & England heartbreak: The full story behind Lucy Bronze’s dramatic 2019 Liverpool v Man City is now the league’s biggest rivalry and the bitterness is growing Megan Rapinoe: Born & brilliant in the U.S.A. A Liverpool legend in the making: Behind Virgil van Dijk’s remarkable rise to world’s best player Carragher believes a gamble has been taken on Champions League qualification, with it difficult to see why Liverpool did not fight harder to keep Coutinho until the summer.The Reds legend wrote in a column for the Daily Telegraph: “I cannot understand Liverpool’s decision to sell Coutinho now. Not mid-season.“No matter how much I hear about boyhood dreams; efforts to convince him to stay; and how much family, representatives, or even sponsors pushed for it, why this month?“The financial reward is vast. So is the risk.“But I still fear a mid-season deal unnecessarily jeopardises Liverpool’s Champions League place for next season. “If they do not finish in the top four, everyone will point at Coutinho’s sale.”Carragher added: “Regardless of how much Coutinho agitated, Liverpool could have stood firm.“While some players, such as Alexis Sanchez and Virgil van Dijk, lost form after being denied their summer move, Coutinho was the opposite.“He has never played better for Liverpool than between September and December this season.“I am sure the Brazilian would have recovered from his disappointment for four more months.”Liverpool sit inside the Premier League’s top four at present, but only three points clear of Tottenham and five ahead of Arsenal.That battle looks set to go down to the wire once again, with the Reds now unable to call upon the mercurial talents of a player who had contributed 12 goals and eight assists to their cause across all competitions. Subscribe to Goal’s Liverpool Correspondent Neil Jones’ weekly email bringing you the best Liverpool FC writing from around the web
MLS Montreal Impact 2018 season preview: Roster, projected lineup, schedule, national TV and more Ben Valentine 22:09 2/13/18 FacebookTwitterRedditcopy Comments(0) Jean-Yves Ahern/USA Today MLS Montreal Impact After a disappointing 2017 sparked an offseason overhaul, the Impact look to return to postseason in 2018 In November 2016, the Montreal Impact were an extra time away from the MLS Cup final.It might be easy to forget how close that group of players came to the league’s top trophy given how 2017 went and the turnover on the roster this winter. Veteran stars Didier Drogba (departed after 2016), Laurent Ciman, Patrice Bernier and Ambroise Oyongo are among those gone from that squad, along with coach Mauro Biello.It’s a a new day in Montreal as former Ligue 1 and Premier League manager Remi Garde steps into the head coach role. And with him enters a bunch of new faces, one from a familiar place (owner Joey Saputo’s other club, Serie A’s Bologna), others from MLS and some from beyond. Article continues below Editors’ Picks Lyon treble & England heartbreak: The full story behind Lucy Bronze’s dramatic 2019 Liverpool v Man City is now the league’s biggest rivalry and the bitterness is growing Megan Rapinoe: Born & brilliant in the U.S.A. A Liverpool legend in the making: Behind Virgil van Dijk’s remarkable rise to world’s best player It will be a new coach with an overhauled XI, though star Ignacio Piatti remains. Will it be enough to get the Impact back to the playoffs?How did the Montreal Impact perform in 20172017 finish: Ninth in Eastern Conference (11-17-6), missed the playoffsThings unraveled for the Impact last season after finishing strong in 2015 under then-interim boss Biello and making a deep playoff run in 2016. While the Impact had good pieces, such as Piatti, on-loan midfielder Blerim Dzemaili and youngster Ballou Jean-Yves Tabla, it just never came together in 2017. Montreal mustered an average attack and below average defense en route to a disappointing campaign. Montreal Impact’s key offseason lossesBlerim Dzemaili was a big midseason addition for the Impact, but he’s off to Europe once more. So too is Ballou Jean-Yves Tabla, who signed on with the B side of La Liga giant Barcelona. Laurent Ciman was traded to Los Angeles, Patrice Bernier and Andres Romero retired.Also departing was Hernan Bernardello, who rejoined Newell’s Old Boys. Ambroise Oyongo signed with Montpellier of Ligue 1. Midseason acquisition Shaun Francis and Hassoun Camara have also left the club.Montreal Impact’s key offseason additionsThe team’s conveyer belt with Bologna continued as Dzemaili left, with Algeria international Saphir Taider coming into that midfield slot. Canada international Michael Petrasso has come back home, coming in from Championship side Queens Park Rangers, while 20-year-old midfielder Jeisson Vargas joins up from Universidad Catolica.The Impact also made use of the expansion draft by acquiring two LAFC selections, Jukka Raitala and former Toronto FC spark plug Raheem Edwards. They also brought in Ligue 2 veteran Zakaria Diallo on free transfer. Full Montreal Impact roster entering 2018 seasonGoalkeepers: Jason Beaulieu, Evan Bush, Clement Diop, James PantemisDefenders: Victor Cabrera, Zakaria Diallo, Chris Duvall, Kyle Fisher, Daniel Lovitz, Thomas Meilleur-Giguere, Michael Petrasso, Jukka RaitalaMidfielders: Louis Beland-Goyette, David Choiniere, Marco Donadel, Raheem Edwards, Dominic Oduro, Ignacio Piatti, Samuel Piette, Shamit Shome, Saphir Taïder, Jeisson VargasForwards: Anthony Jackson-Hamel, Matteo Mancosu, Michael SalazarMontreal Impact’s projected starting lineupBush started 31 of the Impact’s 34 games in goal last season, and Diop is unlikely to challenge him. The team also added 20-year-old homegrown signing Pantemis.The back line looks to be Petrasso, Cabrera, Diallo and probably Raitala, though Lovitz did start 19 games for the Impact last season. Duvall would be the choice if Petrasso can’t stay fit.The midfield will have last year’s midseason acquisition Piette in a holding role, with Taider in a central midfield slot. Vargas will likely take up an advanced role. While Vargas can play a variety of attacking midfield positions, it seems likely Piatti will remain on the left side. Edwards could start anywhere wide, with Odoro another option at striker or on the right side.The Impact are a bit bereft of great attacking options after Mancosu scored six goals in 26 games last season. Jackson-Hamel, who scored nine times in 21 games (11 starts) is another option, though he fared better a substitute than a starter.Montreal Impact’s national TV coverageVancouver Whitecaps vs. Montreal Impact – Sunday, March 4, at 6 p.m. ET on TSNNew England Revolution vs. Montreal Impact – Friday, April 6, at 7:30 p.m. ET on TSNToronto FC vs. Montreal Impact – Saturday, Aug. 25, at 8 p.m. ET on TSNMontreal Impact vs. Toronto FC – Sunday, Oct. 21, TBD on TSN
MLS Familiar faces in new places – Nagbe, Kljestan and the biggest MLS names with new homes in 2018 Ben Valentine 22:00 3/1/18 FacebookTwitterRedditcopy Comments(0) Christopher Hanewinckel MLS Orlando City New York RB LA Galaxy Every year in professional sports brings change, and that change opens up new opportunity for players who have found a new place to call home. Making the most of a change of scenery is something a host of players in Major League Soccer will be looking to do in 2018 as they have traded their old addresses for new ones.Some of those players decided to move on via free agency, while others found themselves on the move thanks to trades, with some requested and some not. Editors’ Picks Lyon treble & England heartbreak: The full story behind Lucy Bronze’s dramatic 2019 Liverpool v Man City is now the league’s biggest rivalry and the bitterness is growing Megan Rapinoe: Born & brilliant in the U.S.A. A Liverpool legend in the making: Behind Virgil van Dijk’s remarkable rise to world’s best player But they’ll all be looking to make their new teams and new fans happy to see them in their new colors with some likely aiming to make their old employers regret moving them on.Here is Goal’s list of 15 familiar MLS faces who this year will strive to make an impact after changing teams this offseason.
Liverpool ‘Liverpool should keep faith in Karius’ – James feels the pain of German goalkeeper Chris Burton 07:22 5/31/18 FacebookTwitterRedditcopy Comments(0) Getty Liverpool Real Madrid v Liverpool Real Madrid UEFA Champions League It is expected that the Reds will seek to bolster their ranks this summer following a horror showing from their No. 1 in the Champions League final Liverpool have been urged to keep faith in Loris Karius, with David James considering the German to be a “talented goalkeeper” and an “important buy”.The Reds’ 24-year-old custodian has plenty of bridges to rebuild at Anfield if he is to be given another opportunity to prove his worth, with a horror showing in the Champions League final still fresh in the memory.Having been responsible for two goals in a 3-1 defeat to Real Madrid, the expectation is that Karius will be replaced this summer as Jurgen Klopp dips back into the transfer market. Article continues below Editors’ Picks Goalkeeper crisis! Walker to the rescue but City sweating on Ederson injury ahead of Liverpool clash Out of his depth! Emery on borrowed time after another abysmal Arsenal display Diving, tactical fouls & the emerging war of words between Guardiola & Klopp Sorry, Cristiano! Pjanic is Juventus’ most important player right now James, though, is hoping to see a man still adjusting to life in the spotlight kept on by Liverpool, with the former England international all too aware of the pressure life between the sticks can bring.The ex-Reds keeper told the Daily Mirror: “Yeah, he’s got time on his side for sure.“He’s a talented goalkeeper. Unfortunately, it was a Champions League final where it didn’t quite go right for him.“If you want to be playing in those games, you have to expect things like this. Playing for Liverpool comes with a tremendous upside, but if there is a downside, then every mistake is going to be amplified more than anyone else’s.“Goalkeeper is a tough position to play at Liverpool.“I hope Karius is given an opportunity to set the record straight and prove why he was such an important buy. I hope he’s able to bounce back and prove what a good goalkeeper he could be.”James, who made a few high-profile errors in his playing career, has also sought to defend Karius from the criticism which has come his way after gifting goals to Karim Benzema and Gareth Bale.Before the first of those errors he was caught by an elbow from Sergio Ramos, with it suggested that his concentration may have been rocked as a result.James added: “I have analysed all the goals and one thing I don’t think anyone has picked up on is that three minutes before the first goal, he actually suffered a blow to the head.“I wonder whether that had any influence on his game because it was literally three minutes beforehand he got smashed and ended up in the back of the goal, but they didn’t show that in the replays.“It can take a while to get over something like that. If that had any influence on it, then that becomes an exceptional circumstance.“If you analyse the performance as just as a performance and strip away all the external influences — ie, it being a cup final — then as a goalkeeper coach you’ve got to work out how he can improve.“I’d like to think there was something which was an influence on the performance — ie, a blow to the head — more than anything else.” Subscribe to Goal’s Liverpool Correspondent Neil Jones’ weekly email bringing you the best Liverpool FC writing from around the web
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