Liverpool are unbalanced and inconsistent… Jurgen Klopp needs reinforcements

t has been a curate’s-egg of a season for Liverpool that has encompassed a change of manager, a Wembley final and a run to the quarter-finals of the Europa League.

While the Reds have proved excellent in the cups and in one-off cup games, they have struggled to find rhythm and consistency throughout a disappointing league campaign.

The 3-2 defeat by Southampton on Sunday betrayed a soft-underbelly from a side who squandered the chance to record four consecutive league wins and reigniting their charge towards the top four by blowing a two-goal lead in the second-half.

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Philippe Coutinho wondergoal showed the Brazilian has become the fulcrum of Liverpool’s attack

Philippe Coutinho showed quick feet and a deftness of touch to race past Guillermo Varela before supplying a delightful dink over David de Gea to finish off Manchester United’s hopes of a remarkable Europa League fightback on Thursday.

Liverpool had been outplayed for much of the first-half at Old Trafford and had wasted golden opportunities to score a crucial away goal.

But when it mattered most the Brazilian magician stepped up and delivered, and he’s made a habit of doing exactly that since joining the Anfield club in 2013.

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Pep Guardiola’s Bayern Munich legacy is at stake as Juventus aim to end European dream

Wednesday night will see the conclusion of an epic Champions League double-header, with Bayern Munich and Juventus locked at 2-2 following a thrilling first leg in Turin in February.

Though many eyes will be trained on Arsenal’s attempts to overturn a 2-0 deficit away at Barcelona, Pep Guardiola and Massimiliano Allegri will be locking horns in a tie with huge ramifications at the Allianz Arena.

The incoming Manchester City boss needs a win to keep alive his dreams of a maiden – and final – Champions League triumph in Germany, but standing in their way are one of the form teams in Europe…

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Sponsors deserting, a career at stake – what next for Maria Sharapova after doping scandal?

In-depth: After Maria Sharapova admitted to failing a drugs test at the Australian Open, what future in the game awaits the 29-year-old?

Sharapova fails drugs test – the background

Why Tottenham should embrace treble challenge

Tottenham host Crystal Palace in the fifth round of the FA Cup on Sunday, sandwiched in between their Europa League last-32 tie with Fiorentina.

A credible 1-1 draw in Italy puts Spurs in the driving seat for the return leg at White Hart Lane next Thursday before the bread-and-butter of the league campaign resumes against Swansea three days later.

Pep Guardiola may have gone by the time Manchester City’s academy flourishes

With Manchester City fighting for silverware on all four fronts this season, Manuel Pellegrini is set to take the unprecedented step of playing a weakened side in the FA Cup fifth round tie against Chelsea.

City face the Premier League champions at Stamford Bridge on Sunday before travelling to Dynamo Kiev for a Champions League Last 16 tie on Wednesday.

The schedule doesn’t let up as Pellegrini then takes his injury-hit side to face Liverpool in the final of the Capital One Cup on February 28, before a league game at Anfield on March 2.

John Barnes interview: Daniel Sturridge can inspire Liverpool to Capital One Cup glory

John Barnes believes Jurgen Klopp can mount a title challenge at Liverpool next season, but it will take more than Capital One Cup glory against Manchester City to turn the club around.

The Reds head to Wembley on February 28 to face Manchester City as the German looks to claim his first piece of silverware since taking over from Brendan Rodgers in October.

But the former winger believes an improvement in league performances is required for Liverpool to show they are making progress under the German.

Full article here.

Breaking down the title run-in: do Premier League favourites Leicester have the advantage?

A 3-1 win at Manchester City made Leicester favourites for the Premier League title for the first time this season, but does the run-in favour their chances?

With Leicester now five points clear at the top of the table as the final third of the season approaches, Claudio Ranieri’s men have become the team to beat.

Instead of Jamie Vardy, it was the unlikely figure of Robert Huth who bagged the goals that fired the Foxes to their biggest win of the season yet at the Etihad Stadium on Saturday.

With momentum now firmly in their favour, can Leicester keep it together for the final 13 games of the most unpredictable Premier League campaign in memory? Or will the pressure of the situation derail what should be a fairly straightforward final straight? Let’s take a look at the run-in for each of the top four clubs.

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Which of the new generation of managers has the best chance of success?

After revealing the qualities Zinedine Zidane possesses to become a top-class manager, how does Carlo Ancelotti’s formula fare for young, up-and-coming coaches?

Speaking about his former assistant at Real Madrid, the Italian identified the four key ingredients of the coaching recipe.

“The best thing you can say about Zidane is that he doesn’t have experience, just like when I started coaching or my professional playing career,” the 56-year-old said.

“Zidane has everything you need to be a great coach. He has the ability, charisma, personality and knows football inside-out. He has the profile of a Real Madrid coach.”

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High time for Roberto Martinez to realise Everton’s potential

But in typical fashion, the former Wigan manager leapt to the defender’s defence on Tuesday, telling the press: ” John Stones can become one of the greatest players England has ever seen.”

Martinez has never been far from hyperbole when speaking about members of his exciting, if flawed, Everton side.

Full Article Here.