Left field

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Things may get worse before they get better at Liverpool … but there is a glimmer of hope

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SOCCER-ENGLAND/CUPA damp squib of a performance from Liverpool in their League Cup defeat by Northampton Town was described by The Telegraph today as one of the most humiliating nights in the club’s history.

Given the (lack of) status the League Cup now enjoys that is probably stretching it a bit far – I don’t think it gets close to the FA Cup defeat by Bristol City , for example – but the whole dismal episode did add weight to the theory that things are likely to get worse before they get better for a club that once prided itself on striving for excellence in everything.

The problems at Anfield have been endlessly discussed. Hodgson is the first new Liverpool manager I can remember not to have significant transfer funds at his disposal and even when money was, apparently, made available by the sale of Javier Mascherano he was unable to find the forward he so obviously needed.

There is no immediate prospect of wealthy new owners coming in and solving the personnel problem, or getting the new stadium plan moving again.

from Reuters Soccer Blog:

Deja vu all over again? Soccer romantics will hope so

SOCCER-ENGLAND/FULHAM-HUGHES‘Plus ca change’ was the defining refrain of the Premier League’s opening weekend, but football fans tired of the established order will hope déjà vu is lurking round the corner for Manchester United and Chelsea.

Neither the champions nor the runners-up broke sweat as they strolled to opening victories that pointed ominously to another two-horse race for the Premier League title.

from Reuters Soccer Blog:

Is there a way to stop end-of-season farces?

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AS Roma are absolutely livid after Inter Milan regained the lead in Serie A with a 2-0 win at Lazio, where the home fans cheered the goals as much as the away supporters.

Lazio fans hate Roma so much that many of them wanted their own side to lose on Sunday as it meant their bitter city rivals were knocked off top spot. This was despite the fact Lazio are not clear of relegation yet.

from Reuters Soccer Blog:

Will Liverpool do United a favour? See what our predictions panel thinks

Liverpool will not be keen on helping Manchester United in their title bid but a victory over Chelsea on Sunday could push the Reds closer to that fourth Champions League spot.

A real dilemma for Liverpool fans, already battered and bruised by a poor season and Thursday's Europa League semi-final elimination at the hands of Atletico Madrid.

from Reuters Soccer Blog:

Should fans have the right to buy into their clubs?

SOCCER-SPAIN/BARCELONA-PRESIDENTInteresting story in the Guardian this morning, saying Britain's Labour government, if re-elected, are ready to unleash plans to give fans the right to buy their clubs when they come up for sale, and to insist that current club owners give up a stake as high as 25 percent to their supporters.

If we can leave the politics aside (there is an election on the way, and the opposition Conservatives have said acting now, after 13 years in power, makes it a pre-vote gimmick) do you think this is a good idea?

from Reuters Soccer Blog:

Predicting another great leap forward from Arsenal

SOCCER-CHAMPIONSNow all that Winter Sports malarkey is out of the way, we can cast all thoughts of the Couver out of our minds and get back to the serious business: the title race run-in, and the predictions league tussle that goes along with it.

Chelsea are the weekend's main absentees, as they toil on in the FA Cup against a stoked City, so could we see another great leap forward from Arsenal?

from Reuters Soccer Blog:

Predictions league foresees more doom for Arsenal

Arsenal's 3-1 defeat at home to Manchester United last weekend has led many of our panel to predict similar gloom for Arsene Wenger's men at Chelsea this Sunday.

It's been a tough run of fixtures for the Gunners but for most of our "experts" here at Reuters Soccer blog, it's been painful throughout the season. Do you think you would be better than our panel at predicting the Premier League scores each weekend? Believe me, it's not hard to beat us.

from Reuters Soccer Blog:

Score predictions come out of the freezer

BRITAIN/Last week's snow-show in all but three of the games means there's been very little movement on the scores front, at least here at Reuters Soccer Blog Towers.

Premier League grounds may be as sludgy as Dutch pea soup  but at least they're fit for purpose once more and as long as the thaw continues we should get a full programme again this weekend. About time too. Here are the weekend's games:

from Reuters Soccer Blog:

UPDATE: A New Year, a new chance to show your prediction skills

SOCCER-ENGLAND/CUPThe good news is, if you missed the midweek fixtures you've hardly been scathed, with one of the two games called off and the other a 3-2 thriller that no one predicted.

So let's start 2010 as we mean to go on with your predictions for the Premier League matches this weekend. Read on after the break for the rules if you're a newbie, and if not ... well, you know what to do.

from Reuters Soccer Blog:

January sale shopping looks tricky for Premier League big four

I have my shopping list for the January sales but my need for a new desk-lamp is not as important as the requirements of the Premier League’s big four.

I’d say I could get my lamp quite cheap if I employ the Arsene Wenger technique of shopping around, making sure I get good value for money.

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