It was never going to work out. I wanted to believe that it could I really did. Combine tonight’s first half debacle of a performance with his overall lack of production in numerous opportunities I’ve decided the Mario Balotelli experiment at Liverpool is a failure.
I can give you all the X’s and O’s as to why he won’t work with the style of play that Brendan Rodgers and this Liverpool side are accustomed to playing. He is stagnant and lazy on the field, refusing to work into space and combine with dynamic, faster players around him, and instead demands balls played at his feet, or settles for being a weak target in the air. He has ability, he has flair, yet fails to exploit his talents at the right time. (His one goal for Liverpool this season backs this up.)
However, it is more than that. Balotelli doesn’t get Liverpool and he doesn’t get being a member of a team. I was willing to look past his prior antics with Man City (Why Always Me Shirts, constant rows with the manager, conflicts on the field with teammates…) but I can’t look past them when he does it at Anfield. To take your shirt off at halftime to trade with an opponent that has defended you with less effort than sneezing is absolutely ludicrous. This is a place that accepted Luis Suarez back with open arms after multiple suspensions for classless acts which he repaid in effort and production that put Liverpool back in the Champions League. Fans of Liverpool were willing to give Balotelli a pass and a chance to shine and instead he repaid them with a gesture of selfishness and ignorance.
Some people are standing up for Balotelli even still, saying it is unfair to blame Liverpool’s failures tonight on him. Maybe so, but the definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results… and the only results Balotelli fans receive is more insanity.
By Keith Allison (Flickr)
I have had a rough past few sports weekend. The Orioles have really been my only saving grace as Liverpool, Virginia Tech, and the 49ers have been inconsistent to poor in their past few performances leaving me to begin my work weeks with even more animosity and rage than usual. So here’s what I’m looking forward to:
West Bromwich @ Liverpool: Liverpool are struggling lately. Settling for a point last weekend against Merseyside rival Everton, losing to Basel Wednesday in Champions League and with only 6 points this season, the Reds need 3 points from this matchup.
Virginia Tech @ UNC: Dear Brewer… please don’t throw more than one interception. The fall from the excitement peak that was the Ohio St. game has been long and rough. I want to believe the Hokies can challenge for the ACC although I know they’re far from it.
Tons of other ranked matchups including a handful of SEC matchups that should make for great television and solidify how bad I am at College Pick Em.
Orioles @ Tigers: Up 2-0 after a huge comeback in game two the O’s are yet again pulling me through my other teams’ mediocre performances
Kansas City @ San Francisco: Big matchup as the Chiefs are coming off of mollywhopping New England all over the field. Alex Smith returns and I’ve never been more excited for him to throw interceptions.
More football and baseball postseason games and quality EPL matchups as well.
What are you excited for this weekend?
By Eddie Janssens from Brussels, Belgium
I’m not panicking… yet. That being said Liverpool must start turning around this slow start so they are not chasing valuable points at the end of the season. Here are my thoughts on issues/fixes that need to occur and quickly:
A) Back line and Mignolet must play better. Mignolet is constantly out of position in the net and that is allowing opposing teams the ability to get goals they should not be scoring. I’m losing faith in Lovren fast. He constantly is caught too high when his other center back (Skrtel or Sahko) steps to pressure the ball. He was too expensive to suck this much.
B) Injuries are upsetting the flow of the team. Lallana not being able to start the season has delayed his return to first team form. Sturridge who was supposed to carry the scoring load in replace of Suarez has missed a couple of games and his return is still in limbo. Joe Allen being out in the midfield is also hurting their depth since Coutinho is out of form.
C) The focus must still be on the EPL season. Remaining in the top four and obtaining the pay check from Champions League play should still be the most important goal for the season. We can’t afford to rest players like Sterling against teams like Aston Villa. These teams are content to sit in and counter and with Sturridge out and Sterling on the bench the rest of the squad lack the pace and creativity to get behind teams.
Last year’s EPL champions Man City only had 9 points in 6 results. Getting the win against Everton at home next weekend would put Liverpool at 9 points in 6 fixtures. It is a long season and there is still plenty of time for Liverpool to turn around this horrid start. However, with multiple competitions in the next two months between regular season games, league cups, and Champions League, staying healthy and returning to form is extremely important if they want to maintain the new standard that fans expect.
Back in August, Frank Ribéry retired from international duty with the French national team. Ribéry, 31, missed this past World Cup due to a thigh injury and cited that he felt it was time for younger players to be given more prominent roles with the national team. Perhaps a little young but a player should be able to step down whenever he feels it is his time to walk away right?
Wrong. UEFA President Michael Platini has publicly stated that if Ribéry refuses an international call up for his national team he will be suspended 3 games from his club team Bayern Munich. This is the most insane thing ever! Yes FIFA has statutes that require a player to play for the national team should he be called however most nations tend to respect retirement requests. Platini has stated this statute and also the fact that the EURO 2016 competition is in France so Ribéry should want to play. It should be noted that Platini is also French so there is clearly some behind the scenes motivation for Platini pushing this issue with Ribéry.
So should Kevin Durant be suspended for 3 games for not playing for Team USA? Should Lebron? Forcing a player to play when he has officially retired from international duty is ridiculous. What happens when Ribéry is hurt in that international duty and is forced to miss weeks or months of club duty for Bayern? Expect quite the fatty law suit on your hands Mr. Platini.
“Sturridge v Swansea” by Dean Jones – Flickr
We are three weeks into the EPL season and this weekend’s international break brings up a few questions after the first few rounds of action from the regular season:
1) How much will international duty cost club teams? Chelsea’s Diego Costa, Arsenal’s new signing Danny Welbeck, and Liverpool’s Daniel Sturridge have all taken knocks while serving their countries. With Champions League starting and Cup action taking place teams are looking at 4 and 5 matches in the next 3 weeks. Could these injuries be costly for any of these three teams?
2) Can Manchester United’s 3 forwards work together? Falcao, Rooney, and RVP all on the same squad sounds VanTastic (yep that happened.) Former United player Paul Scholes disagreed earlier this week and said manager Van Gaal will have to leave one out but who?
3) How good are Tottenham? Their opening two games posted two clean sheets and 4 goals with the team showing a lot of attacking flair and creativity. Their last game against Liverpool showed must have been deja vu as they were once again shut out (3-0) and have been outscored by Liverpool 12-0 in their last 3 meetings. Their next 5 matchups include matches against Arsenal, Southampton, and Man City. How many points they gain there could set the tone for the rest of the season.
4) Can Leiscester City stay up? With a brutal opening schedule (Everton, Chelsea, Arsenal) for a newly promoted team the Foxes managed to garner 2 points. Two draws in those three matches have to leave the team and fans of Leiscester feeling fantastic. Their next 3 matches find them facing Stoke City and Crystal Palace on the road, while hosting Manchester United in between. King Power Stadium has been insane in their support for their local team and the main question is can Leiscester take that momentum with them on the road?
Feel free to weigh in!
By Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff
Oh wait no he’s not. He’s a human being that reached out to Mo’ne Davis to congratulate her on her success in the Little League World Series. Subsequently some coward of a coach that has yet to be revealed turned Auriemma in to the NCAA for a secondary rules violation.
Auriemma reached out to congratulate Davis on her team’s performance in the LLWS in a 2 minute phone conversation. Davis was quoted numerous times by ESPN stating that her goal was to play basketball at the University of Connecticut. So it might be safe to assume that a 13 year old girl might view Auriemma as a role model more than anything and probably somebody she has idolized some time. I can only imagine how exciting and meaningful it was to Davis to have Auriemma call to congratulate her on her success. If Coach K called me to congratulate me on not falling off my stationary bike, I would probably scream like a 13 year old girl.
However some idiot coach reported Auriemma to the NCAA for contacting Davis. Well that person deserves a good throat punch for jackassary (yep made up the word). The NCAA deserves a kick to the crotch.
A) If you think that is why Auriemma is ahead of you in the coaching game… don’t worry you won’t be a coach long enough for Davis to play at UCONN and beat you. You should probably focus on making your program better so maybe young girls can aspire to play for you… you mediocre twit.
B) If you are or work for the NCAA and have anything at all to do with this and can actually justify any type of punishment or scolding for this… please find the earliest plane to Crimea… your presence as a shield is requested there.
Am I the only person that thinks this is the most asinine thing in the world?
By Steindy (talk) 21:31, 22 November 2013 (UTC) (Own work)
The USMNT held off the Czech Republic 1-0 Tuesday night in Prague in their first action since the loss to Belgium in the World Cup this past summer. The game honestly lacked for much excitement for the first 65-70 minutes minus the only goal scored by Alejandro Bedoya. (I may have nodded off for 5 minutes in the first half)
A few thoughts on the game/team:
1) The attacking trio of Altidore, Green, and Gyan was lacking in creativity and opportunities. I was excited to see Gyan play for the first time and think he could be a valuable asset down the road as he gains more experience on the team. He was strong with the ball and dynamic at times but overall the trio were not nearly as productive in creating opportunities in the final third.
2) Diskerud and Bedoya played well in the center mid. The two (and mostly a blunder by Cech) led to the only goal scored in the game. Diskerud’s shot was parried by after Cech’s distribution put his center back under pressure and his parry on the ensuing shot by Diskerud was finished by Bedoya.
3) Fabian Johnson has become a high class quality outside back. His ability to read the game both offensively and defensively is outstanding. A couple of times Johnson was able to clean up some breakdowns by different players on the field and he also is a great presence streaking down the flank to maintain possession or attack down the wing.
4) I don’t think any major questions were answered with regards to who will takeover for Tim Howard. Brad Guzan is slated in the position for now and wasn’t tested much in the first half. Nick Rimando made a couple of great reaction saves in the second half but was really more exposed due to the inexperience all over the field in front of him. Time will tell to see who Howard will have to unseat when he returns in 2015.
5) Maybe the biggest news of the game was Klinsmann’s bold prediction/goal of making the semi-final in the 2018 World Cup in Russia. The optimist fan in me wants to completely buy into that prediction. I believe in Klinsmann and think he is doing great things with US Soccer but the realist in me doesn’t see any way. Yes we had a chance to beat Belgium (Damn you Wondo!)… but overall we were still out classed in that game. I don’t see the players in the program that are going to really elevate our status into the elite class of teams in the world cup.
Christmas in September. The EPL transfer window closes at the end of the day and with it brings a slew of rumors, negotiations, hopes, dreams, and tears. Or if you’re an Arsenal fan… it just reaffirms your anger towards stagnation.
Here are my thoughts on the final day of the transfer window:
I think Manchester United made some great moves on the last day. Everyone will look at the Falcao deal is their major signing but I think signing Daley Blind from Ajax fills a major need for the club. Their defensive unit with Evans, Jones, Blackett and defensive mids has been a joke. Blind can fill in a defensive mid position, center back, or outside back and immediately make them better on the pitch. Offloading Hernandez was another positive move for a player who wouldn’t see much time considering the team’s lack of competitions this season. Bring back a healthy Luke Shaw, with Di Maria, Rooney, and Falcao and United are now back in the hunt. As a Liverpool supporter this makes me want to vomit.
Arsenal signing Danny Welbeck is a decent signing. I think they are overpaying for him and he has been average for Manchester United. However losing Giroud puts Arsenal in a situation of dire need as Sonogo doesn’t look to be able to carry the load of both domestic and European competition. Its a little surprising that Man U would let a decent player go to a Premier League Rival.
Actually like what Hull City is doing on the market. At only 24 years old, Abel Hernandez could be a big reason they are able to avoid relegation as he really came into his own last season with Palermo finding the net 14 times in 28 appearances. Combine that signing with Mohamed Diamme in the midfield, they are certainly adding strength and depth to a squad that is already competitive. Towards the end of the window they also solidified a season long loan of Gaston Ramirez and Hatem Ben Arfa. Hull City could definitely be a team to be reckoned with after the international break.