Napoli vs Liverpool Champions League Preview

Napoli vs Liverpool Preview: Resolving Klopp’s Selection Dilemma

Caught in the middle of an extremely difficult run, Liverpool head over to Serie A hotshots Napoli looking to get back to winning ways and restore the momentum after a win-less double against Chelsea.

The 2-1 Carabao Cup elimination at Anfield was followed by a nervy 1-1 draw. Daniel Sturridge neutralized Eden Hazard’s opener with his 50th Premier League goal in a Liverpool shirt, as the Reds failed to record their fourth away win on the bounce.

Stamford Bridge is one of the most difficult grounds to play at in the division, and with Maurizio Sarri’s Chelsea looking like one of the strongest sides in the Premier League, Liverpool should be applauded for the way they replied after going down.

Saturday’s trip to west London was an overall positive affair for Liverpool supporters who saw a team never ready to give up. Twelve’s effective time possession chart tells us that the Reds finished the game with 55% possession to their name as opposed to Chelsea’s 42% which is a fine indicator of Liverpool’s desire and drive. Read More

Roma vs Lazio Serie A Preview

Roma vs Lazio Preview: Get set for a cracking Derby della Capitale

As rivalries go, there are few bigger ones than the Derby della Capitale.

Arguably the fiercest city derby in the country, the Rome derby is also one of the most hotly contested matches in Europe.

Until a couple of days ago it seemed the first meeting between Rome’s greatest sides – Roma and Lazio – would be a one-sided affair with Roma struggling to hit top gear and Lazio going on a full-throttle stretch, but the midweek Serie A round set the tone right for Saturday’s encounter.

Win-less since the opening day of the season and their 1-0 victory at Torino, Giallorossi lost three matches – including the Champions League opener at Santiago Bernabeu – and were held to a frustrating 2-2 stalemate against Chievo. With an axe hanging over manager Eusebio Di Francesco’s neck, Roma needed an instant response and that’s exactly what their fans got. Read More

Liverpool vs Southampton

Liverpool vs Southampton Preview: Ode to the One-Eyed King

Anfield rarely disappoints you on a Champions League night.

It could be argued that the Reds were unfortunate to be put in a strong group with the likes of Paris Saint-Germain, Napoli and even Crvena Zvezda who showed this week that passion can get you places even when all the odds are stacked against you.

In a way, it was the case with Liverpool as well, who pulled off a coup against an expensive PSG side, packed with some of the world’s most expensive players. Kylian Mbappe and Neymar were, however, given the taste of a genuine football atmosphere where fans and players breathe like one – holding each other’s back and moving forward hand in hand towards unimaginable heights. Read More

Real Madrid vs Roma Champions League Preview

Real Madrid vs Roma Preview: New Era Begins for Los Blancos

With their eyes firmly set on the midweek Champions League action, both Real Madrid and AS Roma will be determined to put their respective domestic draws behind them as Europe’s elite competition returns to the spotlight. Real Madrid vs Roma could be a cracker.

The reigning European champions kick off their title defence and start pursuit of their fourth consecutive Champions League title through the beginning of a new era at Santiago Bernabeu. All of their previous four European crowns were in large amounts won thanks to the formidable goal scoring exploits of the man who is now residing in Turin (and will be hoping to spread his ketchup in Valencia). Read More

Leicester City vs Liverpool Premier League Preview

Leicester City vs Liverpool Preview: Summer Additions Make Difference for Reds

Round four of the 2018/19 season kicks off on Saturday lunchtime with Leicester City vs Liverpool at the King Power Stadium. The former league champions from 2015/16 will play host to the current table-toppers.

The Foxes prepare to welcome Liverpool on the back of successive victories against Wolves and Southampton, but they will face a daunting task of halting the rampant Reds and their perfect start to the campaign. Leicester will be looking at Harry Maguire to maintain his fine run of form, but will it be enough to stop the inspired Liverpool?

Rampant Reds

It feels great being a Liverpool supporter at the moment. The Reds have made a sensational start to the new season with three straight victories, despite putting in a slightly below-par performance against Brighton and Hove Albion last time out. Read More

Steven N’Zonzi

Roma vs Atalanta Preview: Giallorossi Ready to Unleash Steven N’Zonzi

Fresh off the back of a nail-biting 1-0 win over Torino in their Serie A opener last week, Roma play host to Gian Piero Gasperini’s Atalanta on Monday night.

The Giallorossi are now in for their first home test – a proper one it might be added – and will be hoping their summer recruit Steven N’Zonzi will be fit to make his Calcio bow and help Roma grab another three points. The former Sevilla star is one of the high-profile players Roma brought in this summer as the Monchi model is slowly taking shape at the Stadio Olimpico. Read More

Sterling and Lingard hold the key for England

It all started as a joke.

Disappointed and disillusioned following their team’s chronic lack of success on the international stage, the England supporters had little faith in Gareth Southgate’s team and the ‘It’s Coming Home’ shout was their way to fight the disappointment that was expected to ensue.

Successive wins over Tunisia and Panama sparked a newfound hope and the catchphrase from the Lightning Seeds hit song “Three Lions” slowly started shaping into a genuine possibility as England stands in front of it’s first World Cup semi-final since 1990.

The Three Lions have struggled to go past the quarter-finals ever since Italy and all the supporters initially wanted to do was to be lighthearted about another probable disappointment in Russia.

Gareth Southgate had different ideas, however. Never truly given managerial recognition and the credit he obviously deserves, the former England international is doing wonders with a young and exciting side.

Waistcoat Revolution

There are a couple of parallels to be drawn between the Velvet Revolution from Czechoslovakia in 1989 and the unobtrusive manner with which Gareth Southgate led his England side back to global prominence.

The waistcoat-wearing tactician reshaped the way England defend and go forward, their off-ball movement and – most importantly – he instilled a winning mentality the Three Lions lacked in the past.

England’s quarter-final success against Sweden might have been all about Jordans – and Harry Maguire’s masculine maturity – but as England stands in front of it’s biggest challenge yet in the tournament, it is to be argued that Raheem Sterling and Jesse Lingard hold the key to the final.

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Hosts Retain Respect as Russian World Cup Fairy Tale Ends

Vassiliy from Vladivostok got up at 4:00 in the morning to watch his team lock horns with Croatia in the quarter-final of the World Cup. More than two hours of gruelling battle later as Russia were waving their goodbyes following a penalty shootout heartbreak, Vassiliy returned to bed feeling proud.

There wasn’t a single reason for him to feel disappointed or angry as the team he wholeheartedly cheered throughout the World Cup fairy tale in one of Russia’s 11 time zones reached the end of the road. Read More

Spain 1-1 Russia (3-4 pens): Form Loses to Essence as Hosts Shock La Roja

If football is more than merely a sport – art or even a way of life – then a philosophical description of the match at Luzhniki between Spain and Russia is befitting.  

Aristotle and Plato were the first ones to touch on the subject of essence, which in philosophical terms is the property that makes substance what it is in it’s fundamental core, compared to form which in the simplest of terms is a reflection of essence.

Apply it to the match in which the host nation of the World Cup successfully eliminated one of the remaining favourites to lift the title and you’ll see a victory of essence over form in a dramatic penalty shootout. Read More

Serbia Bow Out, Emotionally Sucker Punched and Disgraced

My late grandma was a grounded, hard-working woman who had little belief in emotion.

“Dreaming is free of charge”, she would often tell my high school self, just to remind me that a wish upon a star is actually an earned achievement and a result of effort, work and commitment.

So where did it all go wrong with Serbia’s World Cup dream when all of my granny’s prerequisites seemed to be there?

Mladen Krstajic’s men fell victim to an emotional trick – a sucker punch – which led them to believe they are worth more than they actually are. And don’t get me wrong, there’s nothing wrong with believing in yourself but, at a competition such as the World Cup, identifying your own limitations is a more significant component in relation to achieving success.

With a managerial novice holding the reins of a talented squad – a mixture of exciting World Cup winning youth and seasoned stars – Serbia failed to identify it’s flaws and repair them.

One such problem was leaving Nikola Milenkovic too exposed in the heart of defence against Brazil.

Mladen Krstajic decided to go with Antonio Rukavina instead of Branislav Ivanovic – speed over strength and stamina – deploying the Villarreal defender to chase down Neymar.

By pushing Sergej Milinkovic-Savic further to the back and slotting him into the defensive midfield position he wanted to help the Fiorentina youngster Milenkovic guard the goal. But at the same time, Serbia lost that cutting edge as Lazio hotshot SMS was forced to cover great distances in order to engage himself in going forward from behind, to help Adem Ljajic break Brazil’s backline.

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