February 2020 - Soccer Wiretap

Jurgen Klopp After Watford Loss: Liverpool Can Play Care Free Again

Feb 29, 2020 9:23 PM

Jurgen Klopp attempted to look for positives following Liverpool's 3-0 loss against Watford.

Liverpool had not lost in 44 matches, and were riding an 18-game win streak into the match.

“The most important thing is congratulations to Watford, well deserved,” said Klopp. “The first half there were football things that didn’t work out for us and overall we didn’t create enough and that’s what leads to a defeat. But it’s just one football game and we have to admit that Watford was the better team.”

Klopp added that he's relieved that his side no longer have to play under the scrutiny of chasing Arsenal's "Invincibles" season.

"I don’t think you can break records because you want to break records. You break records because you are 100% focused on each step.

“It was clear that at some time we would lose a game. We didn’t wait for it but it was clear that it would happen. Tonight it happened. I see it rather positive. Because from now on we can play free football again. We don’t have to defend or try to get the record we just can try to win football games again.”

Sachin Nakrani/The Guardian

Tags: Liverpool, Watford, Game Recap

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Juventus-Inter, 4 Other Serie A Matches Called Off Due To Coronavirus

Feb 29, 2020 5:08 PM

Five Serie A matches were called off due to coronavirus fears this weekend, including Juventus versus Inter.

Udinese vs. Fiorentina, Milan vs. Genoa, Parma vs. SPAL and Sassuolo vs. Brescia were also delayed.

The top-of-the-table clash between Juventus and Inter was supposed to be played behind closed doors, but is called off completely.

There are currently 12 reported deaths in Italy due to the coronavirus.

Lazio briefly is on top of the table after a 2-0 win. 

ESPN

Tags: Internazionale, Juventus, Game Recap

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Newcastle Bans Handshakes Due To Coronavirus Fears

Feb 28, 2020 1:21 PM

Newcastle have banned handshakes between players and staff due to fears over the coronavirus.

“There’s a ritual here that everybody shakes hands with everybody as soon as we see each other every morning. But we’ve stopped that on the advice of our club doctor. Thankfully, we’ve got a superb doctor and he will keep us informed of what we have to do. We’re like everybody else, we’re glued to the TV for where it’s going to go next. Everybody has to be respectful of it, don’t we? It’s been rammed down our throats often enough on TV and the rest of it," said manager Steve Bruce.

Bruce recalled that a bug had swept through the team around Christmas.

“In confined areas, like we’ve got here, you have to be careful. There was a time over Christmas when there was a virus knocking around – not coronavirus – so we’re a bit mindful of the fact a bug can sweep through.

“We had four or five players at Christmas and two of my staff [suffering from the virus], so you stay at home, basically."

Several matches across Italy have been postponed or played behind closed doors due to fears over the virus. 

Louise Taylor/The Guardian

Tags: Newcastle United, IQ

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Aymeric Laporte Out One Month With Hamstring Injury

Feb 28, 2020 1:16 PM

Manchester City defender Aymeric Laporte will miss one month after injuring his hamstring against Real Madrid in their Champions League clash.

Laporte will miss the second leg.

“He has a hamstring injury, so that is normally three weeks or one month, more or less,” said Guardiola. “We tried to avoid it but unfortunately it has happened after four or five months out, then going directly into a big game. It sometimes happens.”

Guardiola added that he is managing off-field distractions as City face a two-year ban from the Champions League.

“Johan Cruyff told me once: ‘The problem with managers at big clubs is that 70% is issues off the pitch and 20-30% is on the pitch.’ At the time I thought he was crazy but he was true. You have to handle it.”

Jamie Jackson/The Guardian

Tags: Manchester City, Real Madrid, Injury, UEFA Champions League

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Real Madrid-Barcelona To Be Played In Front Of Supporters

Feb 28, 2020 1:04 PM

This weekend's match between Real Madrid and Barcelona will be played in front of supporters despite coronavirus concerns.

LaLiga president Javier Tebas confirmed that the league has a protocol to handle the possibility of the virus spreading, including playing matches behind closed doors.

We haven’t considered the possibility of postponing the Clásico or any other games, but as of Sunday evening we have opened a coronavirus commission within LaLiga to monitor the situation and we have a plan in place for different cities regarding whether we can play behind closed doors or not. That situation has not yet arisen in Madrid and neither has the matter of postponing the Clásico,” said Tebas.

There have been 31 confirmed cases of coronavirus in Spain.

“It’s one thing to postpone a game and another not to play it. We have been looking at the possibility of playing games behind closed doors and if that is not possible then we will postpone. If that case arises, we have dates prepared for when we can stage those games. We have presented this plan to UEFA so that they can also bear in mind European ties involving Spanish teams. We are working on precaution, not improvisation," added Tebas. 

Alfredo Matilla/As.com

Tags: Barcelona, Real Madrid, Game Recap

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Mesut Ozil Will Not Leave Arsenal This Summer, Says Agent

Feb 28, 2020 12:54 PM

Mesut Ozil's agent Dr Erkut Sogut said that there is no chance that his client would leave Arsenal this summer.

Ozil's contract expires at the end of next season.

Ozil has been rumored for a move to D.C. United.

"He is going into the end of this contract, he will be 32 years old, he will be a free agent, and it's not a bad situation," said Sogut.

"And he's 32 so he can still go and play in top-level football for the next two or three years."


ESPN

Tags: Arsenal, D.C. United, Transfer Rumor

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Brazil Want Neymar, Vinicius Junior, Rodrygo To Play In Olympics

Feb 28, 2020 12:49 PM

Brazil federation president Rogerio Caboclo has initiated contact with PSG and Real Madrid about releasing Neymar, Vinicius Junior, and Rodrygo for this summer's Olympics.

Brazil won the gold medal for the first time during the 2016 Olympics.

Neymar has recently stated his desire to play in the Olympics, though the Copa America could throw a wrench in the scheduling.

The Copa America final is scheduled 10 days before the start of the Olympics. 

"I am willing to play at both the Copa America and the Olympics. However, I think it is a bit complicated -- ask PSG. The other time [2016], when I was with Barcelona, they would not let me play in both. I hope 100 percent to be able to help Brazil in some way," said Neymar.


ESPN

Tags: Brazil, Paris Saint-Germain, Copa America, IQ

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Borussia Dortmund Looking To Promote 15-Year-Old Striker

Feb 27, 2020 1:07 PM

Borussia Dortmund manager Lucien Favre reportedly is looking to promote 15-year-old striker Youssoufa Moukoko to the first team.

Favre wants to integrate Moukoko into the senior side by March.

The 15-year-old has scored 50 goals for Dortmund's U17s and U19s this season.

Moukoko is also set to make his debut for Germany's U19 side. 

As.com

Tags: Borussia Dortmund, IQ

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Timo Werner To Turn Down Barcelona, Manchester United For Liverpool

Feb 27, 2020 1:04 PM

Timo Werner reportedly wants a move to Liverpool to work under Jurgen Klopp.

Werner has picked Liverpool over Manchester United and Barcelona.

Liverpool are set to lose Mo Salah and Sadio Mane during next season due to the African Nations Cup.

Werner has a $77 million release clause from RB Leipzig.

As.com

Tags: RB Leipzig, Liverpool, Transfer Rumor

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Liverpool Announce Pre-Tax Profit Of $54 Million For 2018-19

Feb 27, 2020 1:02 PM

Liverpool announced that they made a pre-tax profit of $54 million in 2018-19.

They also announced a turnover of $686 million due to increased media, matchday, and commercial revenue.

Liverpool invested $287 million in players during the time, most notably on Alisson, Fabinho, Naby Keïta and Xherdan Shaqiri.

The club's media revenue increased $52 million to $336 million.

“This continued strengthening of the underlying financial sustainability of the club is enabling us to make significant investments both in player recruitment and infrastructure," said Andy Hughes, Liverpool's CEO. "Being able to reinvest over £220m on players during this financial period is a result of a successful business strategy, particularly the significant uplift in commercial revenues.

“The cost of football, however, does continue to rise in transfers and associated fees but what’s critical for us is the consistency of our financial position, enabling us to live within our means and continue to run a sustainable football club.”

Andy Hunter/The Guardian

Tags: Liverpool, IQ

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David Beckham Seeks To Replicate LAFC, Atlanta United

Rodrigo Serrano/As.com

Vinicius Junior: Everyone Knows Gabriel Jesus Fouled Sergio Ramos

Alex Kirkland/ESPN

Rodri: Manchester City Should Have Beaten Real Madrid By More

Rob Dawson/ESPN

Atletico Madrid Fined For Antoine Griezmann Chants

ESPN

Juventus-Inter Match To Be Played Behind Closed Doors

Andrew Cesare Richardson/ESPN

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer: Bruno Fernandes 'Added Some X-Factor Quality'

ESPN

Valencia Could Ban Atalanta Supporters Over Coronavirus Fears

Nacho Sanchis & Conrado Valle/As.com

Manchester City Formally Appeal UEFA Ban To CAS

ESPN

Robert Lewandowski Out 4 Weeks With Fractured Tibia

Nick Ames/The Guardian

Sergio Busquets Hits Out At Lack Of Barcelona Depth

Sam Marsden/ESPN

George Clooney Reportedly Interested In Buying Malaga

Carlos Cariņo/As.com

Manchester United Debts Rise To Over $500 Million

Jamie Jackson/The Guardian

Inter Milan To Play Europa League Match In Empty Stadium

ESPN

Gerard Pique: Barcelona Only Focused On Football

Sam Marsden/ESPN

Zinedine Zidane: We Don't Fear Pep Guardiola Teams

Alex Kirkland/ESPN

FIFA Seeks $1 Billion To Fund 2021 Club World Cup

Tariq Panja/New York Times

Herculez Gomez: Gio Reyna Should Start For USMNT

Rodrigo Serrano/As.com

Koke Compliments Joao Felix Following Villarreal Match

As.com

Serie A Matches Could Be Played Behind Closed Doors Due To Coronavirus

Football Italia

Mikel Arteta Wants To Extend Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang Contract

ESPN