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In Cleveland, hope dies last

Archive for the category “Liverpool”

A disappointing end to an otherwise great season

brendan rodgers liverpool seasonIt’s taken us  most of a week to come to terms with the fact that Liverpool somehow managed to let the Premier League title slip through their fingers this season.

The club’s first championship since 1990 seem assured following the win over Manchester City in mid-April. But a slip from Steven Gerrard and an embarrassing 10 minutes at Crystal Palace derailed the championship dream, which officially died last Sunday when City easily handled West Ham.

Even though they fell three points shy of the title, it was still an exciting season, one that promises hope for next year as Liverpool makes its return to the Champions League.

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From the editor’s notebook …

Nrendan-Rodgers_AP_2900575bWhile Manchester City’s Edin Dzeko may not have officially buried Liverpool’s title hopes on Saturday, he went as close to putting the final shovel of dirt on the dream as possible.

Dzeko’s two goals helped push City past Everton, 3-2, at Goodison Park and level with Liverpool at the top of the Premier League table. Most importantly, City had a nine-goal lead over Liverpool in goal differential, so it will take one more miracle from Brendan Rodgers’ squad to finish off the dream season with a league title.

Even though his team is in control of its own destiny, Manchester City manager Manuel Pellegrini is not ready to make room in the trophy case just yet.

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Now it gets really interesting

liverpool lose chelseaLiverpool came into the day with a chance to, it not lock up, certainly tighten its grip on the Premier League title.

Ninety minutes later, those championship dreams slipped away just like captain Steven Gerrard’s boot slipped on the Anfield grass at the most inopportune time.

Needing to come out the game with just a single point and playing at home, where they hadn’t lost since Sept. 21 against Southampton, Liverpool were the aggressors in the first half (and in the game as they controlled the ball for 73 percent of the time) but couldn’t find a way past Chelsea goalkeeper Mark Schwarzer, who was making his first start of the season.

“It is totally opposite to how we want to play but give credit to them for winning the game. It is not difficult to coach, putting 10 players on the edge of the 18-yard box. ” – Brendan Rodgers

Just before halftime, Gerrard slipped near midfield while collecting a pass and Chelsea’s Demba Ba had a clear path to the goal. His shot beat Simon Mignolet and Liverpool found itself in a bad position, down 1-0 at halftime.

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From the editor’s notebook …

pettine nfl combineThe NFL certainly did the Cleveland Browns no favors when it came to laying out the 2014 schedule.

The Browns open the season in Pittsburgh, where they haven’t won in more than a decade, followed by home games against New Orleans and Baltimore. The team will also finish the year by playing four of their final six games on the road.

Welcome to the NFL, head coach Mike Pettine!

“Browns at Steelers in Week 1, in your first game as an NFL head coach? It doesn’t get any better than that. I love this division,” Pettine said in a team statement.

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Indians quickly learning that it is no longer 2013

tribe lost in chicagoThe Cleveland Indians won 92 games and captured the second Wild Card slot in the American League in 2013 thanks in large part to two incredible, but ultimately unsustainable stats: their record against Minnesota and the Chicago White Sox (a combined 30-8) to go along with 11 walk-off wins.

Through the first two weekends of this season, it has become evident that it is no longer 2013.

The Tribe had a disappointing weekend in Chicago, dropping three-of-four to the White Sox. Add that to last weekend’s series against the Twins, when the Indians lost two-of-three, and things have taken a turn for the worse early in the season.

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From the editor’s notebook …

tribe carrasco twinsIt was a rough start to the home portion of the 2014 schedule for the Cleveland Indians.

In dropping two-of-three to the Minnesota Twins who are not … very good … the Tribe was done in by its starting pitching and lack of clutch hitting.

Danny Salazar had the best start of the weekend, even through the struggled through 5.2 innings of work in Friday’s home opener. While he gave up seven hits, Salazar managed to find a way to hold the Twins to just two runs and give the offense time to rally.

Carlos Carrasco had his own issues on Saturday, but unlike Salazar, Carrasco doesn’t have the makeup to work himself out of problems. Carrasco followed Salazar’s lead by working just 5.2 innings and giving up seven hits, but he couldn’t keep the Twins off the scoreboard in giving up five runs (four earned).

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Liverpool may just be able to pull off the title quest

liverpool title hopesThings could not have gone better last week for Liverpool, who now sit alone atop the Premier League table for the first time since Christmas Day.

After a week that saw the Reds take nine points from three matches, while Chelsea lost to Crystal Palace and Manchester City drew with Arsenal, the league title is waiting to come home to Anfield for the first time in 24 years.

All Liverpool has to do is reach out and take it  – which is easier said than done.

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Are Pro Days really that important? – Part 2

johnny manziel pro dayA few days ago we raised the question of whether or not there is any real value in attending a college player’s Pro Day.

That was in response to the reaction from a few members of the local media who were furiously trying to manufacture a controversy because Cleveland Browns general manager Ray Farmer and the team’s scouts were attending the various Pro Days – rather than head coach Mike Pettine and offensive coordinator Kyle Shanahan.

We thought about that today at the gym while watching ESPN’s coverage of quarterback Johnny Manziel’s Pro Day at Texas A&M. After watching Manziel do his thing, we came away with two indisputable conclusions.

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Liverpool keeping pressure on Chelsea, but Man City looms

suarez sturridge goalsLiverpool took care of business on Saturday, beating Cardiff City 6-3 in a match that ended up being very entertaining.

The win keeps the pressure on Chelsea, who still sit at the top of the Premier League table after they beat Arsenal 6-0. (Good job, good effort by the Gunners in Arsene Wenger’s 1,000th game in charge).

This weekend’s results leave Liverpool in second place, just four points back of Chelsea and with a game in hand. Liverpool will make that game up on Wednesday night and, if they can pull of their seventh consecutive win, Liverpool will head into the season’s final seven games just one point back of Chelsea.

Despite all that, Liverpool’s title hopes are still a bit dodgy, especially when you do the math and factor in Manchester City.

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From the editor’s notebook …

Man U Liverpool LiveAfter five years of frustration, Liverpool walked out of Old Trafford on Sunday with their first road win against Manchester United since 2009.

The 3-0 beating pushes Liverpool 14 points clear of United in the Premier League table and, more importantly, leaves the Reds just four points back of league-leaders Chelsea (and holding a game in hand). With a spot in next year’s Champions League almost locked up with nine games to go in the season, the question now becomes: can Liverpool claim its first Premier League title in 24 years?

Captain Steven Gerrard thinks so.

“We’ve showed today that we are genuine contenders and we are going to fight to the end for this,” he said in published reports. “We believe it, but I’ve said many times that in football the easiest thing to do is talk the talk. We’ve got to go and treat Cardiff like Manchester United and we’ve got to treat Sunderland like Manchester United. If we do we will win a lot of games until the end of the season. The rest of the teams around us have to believe we’re going for it.”

The win was Liverpool’s fifth consecutive in the league – they haven’t lost since their Dec. 29 match with Chelsea – and the club has taken 26 points out of its past 10 games.

And much of the credit goes to manager Brendan Rodgers.

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