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In Cleveland, hope dies last

Archive for the category “Liverpool”

From the editor’s notebook …

jd martinez indiansIf the Cleveland Indians come up short this season in their quest to return to the playoffs, there will be plenty of moments and miss opportunities for Tribe fans to point to as they review the season.

The biggest one may be J.D. Martinez of the Detroit Tigers.

Friday night, Martinez had a three-run homer and a triple as the Tigers beat the Indians for the fourth time in the past five meetings. On the season, Martinez is batting .327 against the Tribe, with six home runs and 18 RBI.

It’s not just the Indians that Martinez has been tormenting as he has clearly taken a liking to the American League Central. He’s batting .432 against Kansas City, with five home runs and 15 RBI; .324 against Minnesota; and .319 against the White Sox.

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From the editor’s notebook …

browns final rosterThe final roster cuts have been made, the practice squad players have been signed and the Cleveland Browns have begun preparations for Sunday’s season-opening game against Pittsburgh.

We’re less than a week away from Browns football, whether anyone is ready for it or not.

The only real surprise among the player cuts was MarQueis Gray, who seemed like he might be able to help the team as a fullback. But the Browns apparently decided that if they were going with a fullback on the roster, why not have Ray Agnew – someone who has actually played the position – over trying to convert a play like Gray to the spot. It’s a radical idea, we know, but it just may be crazy enough to work.

The Browns didn’t waste any time parting ways with cornerback Leon McFadden -who was selected about three rounds too early in the 2013 NFL Draft – and guard Garrett Gilkey, leaving Barkevious Mingo and Armonty Bryant as the only players remaining from the one and only draft from Joe Banner and Mike Lombardi. So much for that duo’s continued claims that they set the team up for long-term success.

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Liverpool solves one problem, but have they created another?

italy world cupExciting (and mildly surprising) news out of Anfield today as Liverpool has reportedly completed a £16 million transfer of talented (but controversial) striker Mario Balotelli.

The 24-year-old Balotelli will join the club from AC Milan and, if everything goes according to plan, could be on the bench for Monday’s showdown with Manchester City – the team that beat Liverpool for the Premier League title last season and Balotelli’s former club.

Despite saying just a few weeks ago that he had no interest in the Italian international, Liverpool manager Brendan Rodgers has obviously decided that Balotelli’s ability to find the back of the net – 34 goals in 50 games at AC Milan – is just what the club needs to fill in the gap on offense left by Luis Suárez.

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Liverpool ready to kick off Premier League title chase

European Football - UEFA Champions League - Semi-Final 2nd Leg MD12 - Liverpool FC v Chelsea FCThree months after seeing their title chase slip away, Liverpool return to action on Sunday against Southampton for the start of the 2014-15 Premier League season.

While a new season always brings fresh hope for the 20 clubs in England’s top flight, Liverpool has legitimate reasons to believe the upcoming season will be a good one after finishing in second place last year, just two points off the pace of Manchester City.

As Liverpool kicks-off the nine-month marathon that is the Premier League season, let’s do a quick Thumbs up/Thumbs down about the club.

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From the editor’s notebook …

browns open training campThe Cleveland Browns had their first full day of training camp on Saturday, and with it came the annual hoopla of hope and optimism that this year will be different.

For a team that has made going either 4-12 or 5-11 each season into an art form, the Browns don’t have as many roster questions as one would expect heading into the 2014 NFL season. With a few exceptions, we pretty much know who will be on the roster; it is just a question in a few spots of who will be the starter and who take on a backup role.

But that doesn’t mean there are not questions that need answered, of course. The Browns once again have a new coaching staff, led by head coach Mike Pettine, which also means a new offense under coordinator Kyle Shanahan and a new defense under coordinator Jim O’Neil.

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From the editor’s notebook …

luis suarez back sideLiverpool made it official on Friday, agreeing to a £75 million pound deal with Barcelona for striker Luis Suárez.

And so ends one of the more bizarre three years for a player and a club.

It’s hard to know how much Liverpool will miss Suárez, who is as talented as anyone playing the game when he wants to be. But the fact that the club no longer trust that Suárez won’t do something stupid on the pitch makes the move a necessary one. After his latest incident at the World Cup, it seems pretty clear that club officials decided they needed to do something while they could still get top value for Suárez. And it is not hard to think they felt a bit betrayed, as well, as the club has done nothing but support Suárez from the moment he arrived from Ajax in January 2011.

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Why are we still surprised by Luis Suárez?

luis suarez latest banOver the past couple of years we have written more words about Luis Suárez than we ever imagined possible.

From suspensions to transfer rumors to key goals at the most opportune time, we thought we had seen it all and there was nothing left that could surprise us.

But that all changed on Monday while watching Uruguay’s game on Monday when Suárez and Italy’s Giorgio Chiellini clashed in front of the Italian goal with just a few minutes left in the game. Suddenly, Suárez was on the ground holding his mouth, while Chiellini was chasing the ref, pulling at his shirt collar to show something on his shoulder, and we were left in disbelief.

Did Suárez really do what we think he just did? Did Suárez really just bite Chiellini during a win-or-go-home World Cup game?

Unbelievable.

How is it that Suárez continues to surprise us? And what does it mean for Liverpool?

Find out in our latest post at World Soccer Talk.

(Photo courtesy of Getty Images)

 

From the editor’s notebook …

Emre Can liverpoolLiverpool continued its summer makeover with the news on Thursday that they have agreed on a transfer deal for Emre Can from the German club Bayer Leverkusen.

The 20-year-old Can for four goals in 39 games with Leverkusen last season after joining the club from Bayern Munich. He was a key figure as Leverkusen finished in fourth place in the Bundesliga.

“Emre Can has developed very quickly at Bayer 04 Leverkusen over the past 12 months,” Michael Schade, the club’s chief executive, said in a statement. “We wanted to keep Emre at Leverkusen but the release clause is part of his contract. So we wish him all the best and lots of success in his time in the Premier League.”

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5 things to like about Liverpool’s signing of Rickie Lambert

rickie lambert liverpoolThe more we look at it, the more we like the move by Liverpool to acquire striker Rickie Lambert from Southampton.

“I’ve seen Rickie Lambert over the years and he’s one of those players that probably never got the recognition for what a really good footballer he is,” Liverpool manager Brendan Rodgers told Sky Sports News. “It’s only late on in his career … that people are really starting to focus on his qualities. He was probably seen as the traditional big number nine, a British striker that is good in the air. But he’s one of the most accomplished footballers I’ve seen.”

We look at five reasons to like the signing in our latest post at World Soccer Talk.

From the editor’s notebook …

manziel las vegas“There is something un-American about a young man not wanting to spend time with the ladies.” – Joe Namath

When the Cleveland Browns selected quarterback Johnny Manziel in the NFL Draft a few weeks ago the team knew what it was getting itself into with Manziel, who is a modern-day Joe Namath in terms of publicity.

Last week it was Peter King’s Monday Morning Quarterback report that Manziel “never had a playbook” while at Texas A&M. Of course, the Aggies had a weekly game plan with actual plays that Manziel was expected to learn and execute, which, as Eric Davis pointed out one morning on the NFL Network, is the same as having an actual playbook! (That is one of the reasons we enjoy the NFL Network over ESPN; instead of trying to be the loudest (and stupidest) person in the conversation, Davis, Steve Wyche, Terrell Davis and the rest of the rotating panel on NFL A.M. actually talk to one another in an effort to make sense.)

Then, over the weekend, came the news that Manziel spent his holiday in Las Vegas; hanging out with New England’s Rob Gronkowski, attending a UFC fight, joining in at a pool party and generally doing the kinds of things that people do when they visit Las Vegas.

Manziel also did one more thing over the weekend (at least according to him) – he studied his playbook as he prepares for the next round of OTAs with the Browns.

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