Reuters Soccer Blog

World Soccer views and news

Where’s the new Gary McAllister when Liverpool need him?

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Liverpool’s run of four straight defeats has generated a lot of discussion about what has gone wrong, but precious little about how to put it right, aside from the suggestion that it might be nice to see Kenny Dalglish back in the dugout.

So let’s leave aside for a moment Rafa’s handling of big players and whether he should have kept hold of Sami Hyypia and Xabi Alonso, and consider what the club’s next moves should be.

As many have noted, without Fernando Torres they look impossibly ordinary in attack, and when Andriy Voronin was brought on with a few minutes to go against Lyon it seemed to many fans an indictment of the Spanish coach’s transfer dealings.

Certainly Liverpool could do with another top class forward but with money short the chances of them landing David Villa or someone similar in the transfer window are remote. And in any case, I’m not sure pitching in a player like Villa at the halfway stage of the season would provide the answer.

Forget the World Cup, the predictions league is back (UPDATE)

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TUESDAY UPDATE:

The scores are in and it hasn’t been quite as bad a week as usual for most of the Reuters Panel. Still, we’re not tearing up any trees, as the big man would have said, so still plenty of chance to make us look like fools. Here’s the updated table:

Reuters Soccer Blog panel: Patrick Johnston 89, Paul Radford 77, Simon Evans 71 (shocker), Kevin Fylan 65, Mike Collett 64 (outstanding performance), Mitch Phillips 62 (another shocker), Miles Evans 60, Julien Pretot 57, Neil Maidment 43, Mark Meadows 42, Justin Palmer 36, Asia Sports Desk 35, Martyn Herman 7

Best. Premier League. Ever… ?

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The Ballon d’Or shortlist was announced on Sunday, but what about the Ballon de Plage? Liverpool’s inflatable nemesis must surely get a category of its own in the end-of-season awards.

Sunderland’s absurd winning goal at the Stadium of Light was symbolic not just of Liverpool’s woes but of a season that just keeps rattling along in ever more gloriously unpredictable style.

Elder statesmen may hold key to United’s title bid

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Manchester United have a rich tradition of developing precocious young talents and relying on them to do a job that could be considered beyond their years.

But despite a squad packed to the rafters with players under the age of 25, United fans are hailing the evergreen talents of a 35-year-old left winger and eagerly anticipating the return of a reliable Dutch keeper three years his senior.

Wenger deserves to stand with Fergie after reaching landmark

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Arsene Wenger has not collected trophies quite as greedily as his Manchester United counterpart Alex Ferguson but in terms of his impact on English football he has no equal.

Ferguson transformed an under-achieving United into the most succesful club in English football but Wenger has set the benchmark for modern-day club football in terms of style.

Feared by the Blues, Loved by the Reds, Ryan Giggs, Ryan Giggs…

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Manchester United played Stoke City off the park on Saturday yet for 62 minutes they lacked the cutting edge to turn their superiority into goals.

Enter Ryan Giggs.

The veteran Welshman was introduced as a substitute for the often infuriating Nani after 57 minutes and took just five more to provide the pass from which Dimitar Berbatov broke the
deadlock.

Who can make a late spurt after City v West Ham?

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We’ll be updating the points to the prediction league on Tuesday after Manchester City v West Ham later so please check back to see how appallingly badly we’ve all done.

Personally I was very pleased with Portsmouth 0-1 Everton which gave me a full five points, especially given my dismal showing so far.

Soccer scores and the power of the pub

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Let’s be honest here, people, predicting the English football scores has proved to be a lot trickier than many of us imagined.

You’d have thought that the frankly obsessive interest most of us here at Reuters Soccer Blog Heights take in football would see us approach this competition with the pitiless, sweeping brilliance of Celta Vigo in their ‘EuroCelta‘ heydey of 1998-2000*.

Why our predictions panel rates a less than perfect 10

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People can be divided into 10 types: those who understand binary and those who don’t.

I mention this only because a look down our scores for this week would reveal a great many ones and zeroes, and very few fives.

United beware: City look ready to make a lot more noise

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Rarely can a defeat, and such a heart-breaking one at that, have been greeted with so much enthusiasm by the losers as Manchester City’s 4-3 reverse at Old Trafford.

Sports professionals are forever banging on about “taking the positives” from setbacks but for everyone connected with City, their performance and the whole occasion on Sunday showed that they really will be a force to be reckoned with over the next few months and years.

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