Rebuilding Anfield: Loss of Suarez and Lucas Opens Gateway to Liverpool’s Future

January 3, 2012

“The Football Association recently banned prized Liverpool striker Luis Suarez for eight matches on the grounds that he made derogatory comments toward Patrice Evra during the club’s fixture against Manchester United. While the Anfield outfit may appeal the ban, the Uruguayan’s lengthy suspension is all but a done deal especially after the FA released the evidence on which they based their decision. In addition, the Reds will have to cope with the loss of Lucas Leiva, who has been brilliant for the club in cohesion with Charlie Adam.” EPL Talk

The Suarez Report: The FA’s Commission Finally Has Its Say
“At one hundred and fifteen pages and a little over forty-four thousand words – getting on, for the purposes of comparison, for two and a half times the size of Karl Marx’s Communist Manifesto – at least no-one can argue that the Football Associations independent commission into the allegations of racist language levied against Luis Suarez wasn’t thorough. It is now twenty-four hours since the full report was released by the FA, and the new year means that rigorous analysis it in the mainstream press may be delayed by a couple of days.” twohundredpercent

Liverpool statement in full
It is our strongly held conviction that the Football Association and the panel it selected constructed a highly subjective case against Luis Suarez based on an accusation that was ultimately unsubstantiated.ESPN

Blackburn’s form improves but many questions remain off the field

January 3, 2012

“In the midst of Blackburn Rovers’ defeat to Bolton Wanderers last week, a tall unkempt man strode along the front of the stand toward the home dugout. Steve Kean, wisely, was standing at the front of his technical area, barking instructions and waving his arms to offer a simulacrum of control, as far from the fans as is possible under Premier League regulations. The man stood, unmolested by stewards, just behind the perimeter advertising hoarding. Slowly, he raised his left arm and, with a dramatic flourish, pointed off to his left.” SI – Jonathan Wilson

Top ten Ligue 1 transfer targets

January 3, 2012

“Ligue 1 has proved a fertile hunting ground for Premier League sides in recent years – not least for Newcastle United – and as the January transfer window opens, several names from the French top flight find themselves linked with clubs from the English elite. Football Further runs the rule over the players making the headlines and identifies which of them are likely to be on the move.” Football Further

Ten Ligue 1 players who could move in January transfer window
“Ten Ligue 1 players who could move in the January transfer window…” SI

Hakuna Matata #12: Italy-France ’98 – Di Biagio and the trembling crossbar

January 3, 2012

“On 3rd July 1998 in Stade de France in Saint Denis, the first World Cup ’98 quarter final was played between the hosts, France, and Italy. It was an encounter that would be ultimately be remembered for the Luigi Di Biagio penalty that smashed against the bar to end Italy’s campaign.” The Football Express (Video)

Soccer Cities: Istanbul

January 3, 2012

“Although the passion and fervour of match day can occasionally spill over into hostility, and the casual spectator may need to keep their wits about them at times, the atmosphere at big games in Turkey’s capital is unlike anything anywhere else in Europe, with a memorable show of colour and noise being whipped up inside the stadia several hours before kick-off.” World Soccer

Vargas and Neymar battle for player of the year accolade

January 3, 2012

“In the last competitive game of the South American season, Eduardo Vargas scored a goal that made sure Universidad de Chile won the domestic title, and also highlighted why Napoli are taking him across the Atlantic. Vargas broke from the halfway line. Cobreloa defender Sebastian Roco, worried about his pace, kept backing off. Vargas’ control of the ball at pace was so good that he was able to do two things.” BBC – Tim Vickery