Jan 062016
Injuries may force Klopp into market

Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp admitted he may be forced into the transfer market after the club’s injury problems worsened during their League Cup semi-final first-leg win at Stoke.

Philippe Coutinho and Dejan Lovren went off with hamstring injuries and Kolo Toure ended the 1-0 victory with what appeared to be a similar problem.

Klopp had previously said he would not buy new players in January.

But after Tuesday’s game he said: “This is something we have to think about.”

Liverpool have no fit central defenders as Lovren joined Martin Skrtel and Mamadou Sakho on the sidelines, while Toure was clearly struggling at full-time.

Midfielder Lucas had filled in alongside the Ivorian at the Britannia Stadium after Lovren’s first-half injury.

“Two weeks ago we had three centre-backs, which is a good situation, and the season started with five – but now it is zero,” Klopp added.

“It is a strange feeling because on one side it is very, very good then we have these injuries.”

Klopp’s hamstring curse

Sturridge injury not serious – Klopp

Youngsters Divock Origi and Jordan Rossiter have hamstring injuries, while England striker Daniel Sturridge has had a catalogue of problems.

BBC Radio 5 live pundit
Kevin Kilbane, who was at the Britannia Stadium, suggested Klopp’s methods might be responsible.

He said: “I’ve seen it at some clubs before. Perhaps it’s down to the change in training methods. Under Jurgen Klopp they’ll train much harder day in, day out.

“The amount of medical attention footballers get at football clubs now – and also the physical work which is put in – this shouldn’t be happening. I put down the various hamstring injuries down to Klopp’s change in style.”

Klopp, though, pointed to the heavy demands made on Premier League players.

“Maybe I could look at our training methods but we don’t train – we only recover. There is no training,” he said.

“I’m responsible for these things and if you want to make me responsible for our hamstring strains, then OK.”

Victory on Tuesday meant Klopp has taken a big stride towards a Wembley final after only three months at Anfield.

However, impressive 3-1, 4-1 and 6-1 wins at Chelsea, Manchester City and Southampton respectively have been mixed with poor performances in defeats by Newcastle, Watford and West Ham.

“If somebody had told us it would be 1-0 before the game we would have taken it but it is just 1-0 and nothing is decided in the first leg,” Klopp added.

“We showed what we were capable of, although we have shown what we were capable of in other games. We have to show more consistency.”

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Honour to manage Real – Benitez

 Posted by at 2:00 AM
Jan 062016

Rafael Benitez has said it was “an honour and privilege” to manage Real Madrid, a day after he was
sacked by the La Liga club.

Spaniard Benitez, 55, was relieved of his duties following a meeting of the club’s board on Monday and replaced by B team coach Zinedine Zidane.

Benitez lost only three of his 25 games and guided Real into the last 16 of the Champions League.

In a
statement,  Benitez also extended his support to Zidane and the players.

Benitez, who was born in Madrid and played for Real’s B team, said: “I want everyone at the club from the board of directors, executives, workers and all of the fans, to know it has been an honour and privilege to be in charge at this club, where I grew up as a person, player and coach from the lowest categories through to the first team.

“As a Madridista from Madrid, steeped in the traditions and values of this institution, it has been an honour to work for these colours.”

He added: “I would especially like to thank everyone who since my first steps through the door have supported me and made my work easier.

“With all that I have said still in mind, I would like to wish good luck to Zinedine Zidane, my successor, and his staff. To all the players, coaches and staff I wish all the best and also good luck.”

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Jan 052016

Pep Guardiola says he is leaving Bayern Munich to manage in England.

The former Barcelona boss
recently announced he would not extend his contract in Germany when it expires at the end of this season.

Guardiola, 44, has been linked with Premier League clubs
Manchester City, Manchester United, Chelsea and Arsenal.

“I want to experience a new city and I want to work in England,” he said. “I have several offers from England but I haven’t signed anything yet.”

He added: “I have an opportunity to work in England. I think I’m at the right age and I feel it is the right move for me. That is the reason I have taken this decision.”

Munich chief executive Karl-Heinz Rummenigge had suggested Guardiola had
already decided which club he would be joining next season, but at a news conference on Tuesday, the Spaniard said: “I haven’t decided on a new club yet.”

Former Real Madrid and Chelsea manager Carlo Ancelotti, 56, is taking over at the Bundesliga league leaders, with Guardiola describing the Italian as a “perfect choice”.

Why is Guardiola in demand?

  • Barcelona’s most successful manager with 13 trophies in four years including three La Liga titles and two Champions League trophies
  • Took a year’s break before joining Munich in 2013, following the club’s Champions League, Bundesliga and German Cup treble under Jupp Heynckes.
  • Won league twice in his two full seasons with Bayern and are eight points clear in his third campaign – but yet to win the Champions League after being knocked out at the semi-final stage twice.
  • They face Italian giants Juventus in the last 16 of Europe’s elite club competition in February and Guardiola said: “Winning the Champions League would make my time here complete.”

Which English club will Guardiola manage?

BBC Sport Online’s chief football writer Phil McNulty
looks at the options

Manchester United

It is almost inconceivable the most coveted coaching name in world football will not have been discussed as United plan for the future. Guardiola was considered when Sir Alex Ferguson left but he never returned their call.

He would be the dream choice at Old Trafford – but there is the lingering belief he is destined to join old Nou Camp cohorts Txiki Begiristain and Ferran Soriano at Manchester City.

United may still hold appeal but would the club make the call knowing they might end up looking like they have been snubbed for their neighbours?

The clamour among supporters for Louis van Gaal to be sacked before the end of his three-year deal and replaced with an immediately available Jose Mourinho has subsided somewhat with Saturday’s win over Swansea, giving United more time to weigh up their next move.”

Manchester City

The Manchester City job appears to have had Guardiola’s name on it for years – with the pieces seemingly put in place for his arrival at the Etihad.

All it needs is the nod from Guardiola himself.

Begiristain and Soriano are already in place and ready to welcome the man they worked with to bring such success to Barcelona. Guardiola’s arrival would complete the managerial infrastructure you suspect has been the long-held dream to match the fierce ambition of City’s Abu Dhabi owners.

Guardiola may yet be diverted off course by offers from elsewhere – perhaps Manchester United or even Chelsea – but all the smart money is on that dream ticket finally being in place at the Etihad at the start of next season.


Guardiola has long been Roman Abramovich’s dream choice to manage Chelsea and it seems the Russian owner would be prepared to pay any price to get his hands on him at Stamford Bridge.

However, the Catalan has remained tantalisingly out of reach, perhaps put off by the revolving door for managers at Chelsea and Abramovich’s lack of patience when results go wrong.

Guardiola and Chelsea has never seemed a natural fit, despite the perfect London location, and it would take all of Abramovich’s pounds and powers of persuasion to make a difference as he searches for a successor to Mourinho.

It seems the overall package is key to Guardiola, not just finance, so Abramovich may be destined to miss out once more.


It may seem an unlikely scenario, but an Arsenal Premier League and Champions League double this season could usher in the moment that sees Gunners’ boss Arsene Wenger move upstairs, potentially paving the way for Guardiola to take on a London club that is built almost in tribute to his own footballing principles.

And if Arsenal fail to win anything, then maybe it might also be time for Wenger to ponder another role at the club he has served so brilliantly.

In many respects, Arsenal is the perfect fit for Guardiola. It has a 60,000-capacity stadium at a club that is fixed on a sound financial footing. It has the London location that would suit Guardiola and the perfect infrastructure in terms of training facilities and huge transfer funds available to spend.

If the situation arose, might not Guardiola prefer Arsenal ahead of all the other English options? It is the perfect job for any manager with fierce ambition and a desire for success.

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