Reuters Soccer Blog

World Soccer views and news

Liverpool might not win the title, but an Emmy is in the bag

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Medical dramaI’m not sure why exactly, but the best TV shows seem to be the ones that repeat the same formula week after week. Just take the American medical mystery drama House MD, which remains utterly compelling despite every episode having essentially the same plot.

Amid the snappy dialogue and cynical one-liners from Hugh Laurie (“Everybody lies”), what happens is this: a patient comes in with odd symptoms (“It’s autoimmune!”, “No, it must be an infection!”) gets given the wrong treatment by the baffled doctors (“Start the patient on broad-spectrum antibiotics!”), and comes close to snuffing it before a last-gasp epiphany from diagnostic genius Dr House, or sometimes one of his cohorts, saves the day. Phew!

Watching Liverpool this season is essentially like watching House — cracking entertainment, with the same crowd-pleasing plot recurring most weeks. (more…)

Friday afternoon question: Which is the best derby?

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A typical Milan derby

Families will be divided and bars will be filled with talk of nothing else this weekend when Everton host Liverpool on Saturday and the Milan derby takes place a day later.

Despite the plethora of foreign players on show at Goodison and the San Siro, as well as Spanish, Scottish and Portuguese managers, the two derbies will still sum up what is great about being a football fan.

Will English clubs dominate Europe again?

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The Champions League trophy gets packed awayBayern Munich chairman Karl-Heinz Rummenigge sounded a familiar note this week when he predicted that English clubs would once again dominate the Champions League (see here or here for the story).

I suspect most people would agree with him but here are some reasons why it might not be as simple as that:

Liverpool must lose inferiority complex when it comes to United

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Gerrard controls the ballIf Liverpool are serious about a title challenge, and there hasn’t been much evidence to support their case yet, they should prove it by shrugging off their inferiority complex when it comes to playing Manchester United.

Long after Manchester United had usurped Liverpool as England’s top club, there was still a feeling at Anfield that they were at least equal to their chief rivals when it came to a one-off game.

Losing for your country should hurt more, shouldn’t it?

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Carragher has his penalty savedKev Fylan blogged about England’s fear factor being the root cause of their continual failures but Jamie Carragher’s autobiography reveals another possible explanation when he admits that he just didn’t care enough about playing for the national team.

The Liverpool defender, who retired from international football principally because he got fed up with playing out of position, said:

Strange results signify little… but we can all dream, can’t we?

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Van NReal Madrid and Barcelona lose their opening matches in Spain, Bayern Munich have to wait until their third game to taste victory under Juergen Klinsmann, AC Milan lose while Juve and Inter can only draw in Italy and three games in, not one of the big four in England’s Premier League can muster a 100 percent record…

It would be nice, wouldn’t it, to read something in to all this.

Smaller clubs that are nimbler in the transfer market have made a series of astute buys while we were watching the Olympics and the soccer superpowers were trying to prise away each other’s big stars, you might say. Once great names like Atletico Madrid, Schalke 04, Lazio and Manchester City are at or near the top of their leagues and are ready to rise again!

No sign of Everton progressing

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Moyes watches his boys

The usual new season optimism was in short supply at Everton on Saturday.

Never mind the last-minute defeat by Paul Ince’s Blackburn, that was merely salt in the wounds for a club whose preparations for the 2008/09 campaign could barely have been worse.

After recording sixth and fifth-placed finishes in the previous two seasons, Everton’s hopes of continuing that momentum look doomed already when you consider the scant options available to manager David Moyes.

Vlog on the pitch – Why is Benitez looking closer to home?

Robbie Keane’s arrival at Liverpool and the long pursuit of Gareth Barry suggest Rafa Benitez is looking more at British Isles players than in the past.

Vlogonthepitch host Owen Wyatt went to his local pub to canvass the opinions of two Liverpool fans.

Eto’o proves transfer talk is not always tittle-tattle

Very few people believed the story that Samuel Eto’o was considering a move to Uzbekistan’s Kuruvchi.

All of sudden it turned out to be true with Barcelona’s Cameroon striker speaking at a news conference in the country’s capital. Despite mega money being thrown in his direction, Eto’o will probably not end up there but at least they got him to go out and talk. Even if it was just a publicity stunt, it worked.

If not a salary cap, then what’s the solution?

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Grant celebrates as Ferguson looks on

Kevin Keegan thinks the Premier League is getting boring — see our latest Vlog on the Pitch — but, not for the first time, Sir Alex Ferguson sees things a bit differently.

“The League is murder for me and Avram Grant and nerve-racking for fans and players,” Ferguson said. “It would be impossible to make the Premier League any more exciting.”

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