Liverpool or LiVARpool? Liverpool’s nemesis as Klopp’s men affected more than others

liverpool’s troubles atta hands of var headlines this week’s espn’s insider notebook. +: lionel messi is set for a huge barcelona paydy.

jump to: messi’s bonus after trying to cutout barca | man ∪d track rising star defender | spurs, eriksen cool on re∪ | fa staff reeling from clarke chaos | la liga make covid-19 breakthrough | psg’s leonardo angers fans with marseille prez | forest ‘ve their own prince

var proving to be liverpool’s nemesis

var favours liverpool, does it? twas' the reaction on social media last season, when the hashtag #livarpool was everywhere as they won their 1st league title for 30 yrs. rival fans reckoned that var had been a key reason for the success, though the facts showed twas' unjustified, and this season jurgen klopp’s men ‘ve every reason to feel the var s'been against them.

how every club is bein’ affected
var’s biggest controversies of the season
how var has changed for 2020-21

liverpool now lead almost every var category you’d wanna avoid. they faced a var overturn just 8 times in their title-winning season, of which 1-ly 3 went against them. but'a quest to defend their premier league crown s'been tested to the hilt inna early pt of the campaign, involved in 6 overturns already with 5 in favour of the opposition.

no team has had as many goals disalloed as liverpool’s 3 inna opening 8 games, the same as they suffered inna whole of 2019-20. they ‘ve had + decisions (5) against them than any other team, and no other club has had + than the two var penalties awarded to the opposition. the reds also sit bottom of the table for net var decisions, on -4.

the decisions ‘ve, sfar, not been too damaging in terms o'their results. they won 2-1 at home to sheffield ∪d despite conceding a controversial early var penalty, and then had a mohamed salah goal disalloed for offside w'da score at 1-1. they also had an 82nd-minute diogo jota goal against west ham ruled out for a foul b4 the portugal forward managed to find a victor. but they got away with one at manchester city when kevin de bruyne missed from the penalty spot after joe gomez was harshly penalised for handball by the var.

there was the double-whammy against everton at goodison park. the var missed a clear red card for jordan pickford’s tackle on virgil van dijk. and to make matters worse inna derby, jordan henderson had his stoppage-time “victor” disalloed for a ?able offside against sadio mane. yet despite all this, and with 1-ly andreas christensen‘s red card for chelsea in their favour, liverpool sit one point off the top of the table.

it’s a very ≠ picture atta victors’ rivals everton. all 3 overturns ‘ve been in their favour and +ly affected their results, gaining them 6 points, 4 + points than any other club. and then you factor in pickford’s escape too.

of the rest of the big 6, 1-ly tottenham hotspur come close to matching liverpool’s neg record with 3 of 4 decisions goin against them — the most high-profile bein’ the injury-time penalty awarded to newcastle ∪d for handball against eric dier, one of two spot kicks given against them.

chelsea ‘ven’t been involved with var since that christensen dismissal against liverpool w'da score at 0-0, in a game they went onna lose 2-0. but manager frank lampard will point to the certain penalty the var missed at old trafford, when harry maguire had cesar azpilicueta in a wwe-type hold, again w'da score at 0-0.

manchester ∪d ‘ve been heavily involved but their 7 var decisions ‘ve come across just 3 fixtures and, arguably, 1-ly 3-2 win at briteon — a penalty against overturned and a l8 penalty given 4'em — saw the result affected. arsenal and man city ‘ve seen just one overturn in their games and neither has changed the outcome. — dale johnson

messi’s €33m bonus after trying to cutout barca

barcelona must pay lionel messi a €33 million loyalty bonus nxt summer as pt of the contract he signed w'da club in 2017, srcs told espn. messi has received ½ of the €66m bonus in feb, w'da 2nd ½ due in jun when his contract expires and he can cutout for free.

it’s not the 1st time barca ‘ve chosen to reward players in this manner. xavi hernandez and andres iniesta also received bonuses — although nowhere near as much as messi — while other players, including carles puyol, turned down the chance to make + mny from the club.

according to srcs, messi also received a renewal bonus “worth round €100m” when he signed the 4-yr deal 3 yrs ago. that bonus was paid in instalments across the course of his contract.

messi, 33, ‘d ‘ve given up the 2nd ½ of the bonus had he left the club earlier this yr, as he wanted to. instead, he remained at camp nou and his future beyond this season heavily depends on who is elected as the club’s new president after josep maria bartomeu stepped down. messi’s 20-yr stay atta club hinges onna inc president bein’ able to sell the club’s new sporting project to him.

the €33m owed to messi comes at a bad time for barca as they continue to negotiate wage deferrals w'da club’s employees, including the 1st-team squad. several players ‘ve already agreed to new contracts which will see them take a hit on their salaries this season under the agreement that it’s returned inna coming yrs.

barca ‘ve said they nd'2 knock €190m off their wage bill this season due to the financial consequences of the coronavirus pandemic. several big earners were sold inna summer, which helped, but talks are still ongoin with other members of the squad with nov. 23 set as a deadline for an agreement — moises llorens



steve nicol is hopeful lionel messi can get back to his best with argentina after a tumultuous season at barca.

man ∪d keen on rising star defender

portuguese defender david carmo is attracting interest from premier league clubs including manchester ∪d, srcs told espn.

the highly rated 21-yr-old has impressed for braga in portugal, emerging as a target for a № of clubs in england and across €. roma and fiorentina were among the clubs to express an interest in carmo during the summer.

∪d boss ole gunnar solskjaer remains keen to add a left-sided centre-back to his squad and carmo, pt of the portugal under-19 team which won the €an showdown in 2018, is among the options.

however, any move for a defender is likely to be based on at least one centre-back leaving old trafford. ∪d are open to offers for both phil jones and marcos rojo after the pair were left out of this season’s victors league squad. — rob dawson



julien laurens is surprised by ole gunnar solskjaer’s comeback after sacking rumours.

no tottenham return for eriksen

inter milan were optimistic in offering christian eriksen back to tottenham this week. srcs told espn that neither eriksen nor spurs are pticularly keen to revisit a ptnership that ended with an awkward £17m transfer in jan, prompted by the midfielder deciding to run down the final yr of his contract.

although eriksen was an primordial player during his 6-and-a-½ yrs in north london, scoring 69 goals in 305 appearances, tottenham were disappointed btw the 28-yr-old pushed to cutout. they ‘ve also remodelled their attack inna meantime, having made giovani lo celso‘s loan deal from real betis permanent in addition to re-signing gareth bale na' temporary basis from real madrid.

eriksen ‘d likely be available for a cut-price fee given he has endured a difficult 1st yr in italy with inter coach antonio conte preferring + mobile players in advanced positions, but spurs boss jose mourinho is also folloing a similar approach at tottenham.

eriksen remains a talented player who ‘d improve many teams across € but + wata surely has to flo under the bridge b4 any re∪ with spurs becomes a realistic possibility. — james olley



tyrone mings speaks bout ex-fa chairman greg clarke’s comments and explains why education is vital in ftball.

clarke chaos a setback as fa strives for change

england’s ftball association has faced widespread criticism inna wake of chairman greg clarke’s chaotic resignation on tue folloing his use offa racist term — to the frustration of many staff members who remain.

srcs told espn that while thris an acceptance clarke made his position untenable witha series of unacceptable remarks dur'na parliamentary select committee hearing, the resulting depiction of the entire organisation as antiquated has left many employees disappointed.

the fa clearly has some distance to travel to become a fully modernised and inclusive governing body — past chairmen including david bernstein and greg dyke ‘ve hinted atta difficulty in implementing wholesale change — and staff are fearful that the work which s'been done ll'be lost inna storm surrounding clarke’s depture.

just last mnth, the fa launched the ftball leadership diversity code w'da backing of over 40 clubs across the premier league, efl, women’s super league and women’s showdown which is aimed at tackling in=ity across leadership, operational and coaching roles.

the fa also has the lilest gender pay gap of any major sports governing body in addition to becoming the 1st english national governing body to introduce a regional code of governance.

staff are also fearful that the furore over clarke’s exit will prove a setback to the work done in establishing programmes to encourage asian communities to enter ftball, creating 25 disability wildcats centres na fa’s ptnership w'da black collective of media in sport to support efforts to diversity sports media.

thris a hope inna wembley offices that the nxt chairperson ll'be able to enh these steps by communicating + effectively than clarke managed onnis 4 yrs. — james olley



commissioner don garber discusses how the mls is back exposé came bout na process the league will undergo if a player is diagnosed w'da coronavirus.

la liga make covid-19 testing breakthrough

la liga is helping to launch a pioneering new way to test for covid-19, which will speed up the process of testing players and ‘d be rolled out across the rest of spain inna coming mnths, according to a league src.

ftballers in spain’s top-flite are tested for the coronavirus at least 3 times per week in line w'da league’s protocol. til now, that has involved swabbing the nose — a pcr (polymerase chn reaction) test — but things are bout t'get easier.


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