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Skrtel's stapled head wound

The Toe Poke

Liverpool, Arsenal entertain the neutrals, but who cares about them?

Late derby drama, a dodgy red and Santi Cazorla's wardrobe malfunction. It was a big weekend in the Premier League!

If last week's game involving Manchester United and Liverpool was billed as a contest between the Dog and Duck and The Red Lion, then Liverpool's match with Arsenal on Sunday further enhanced the Premier League's stature as the World's Best Pub League (WBPL: trademark pending).

So many passes went astray (I'm looking at you, Santi Cazorla and Alexis Sanchez), so many shots were scuffed (thank you, Philippe Coutinho and Lazar Markovic) and so many tackles were reckless (ciao, Fabio Borini) that...

 By Chris Wright

Martin Skrtel shows off his stapled head wound

The observant among you may have noticed that when Liverpool defender Martin Skrtel took to the sky to head home his side's 97th-minute equaliser against Arsenal on Sunday evening, he did so sporting a rather large black bandage around his cranium.

This was because the Slovakian centre-back had his head accidentally scrawled and bloodied by Olivier Giroud's studs which caused the game to be delayed for a fair old while shortly after the restart.


- The Wall: Newspaper's De Gea tribute
- Cheeky t-shirt: Man Utd fans poke fun at Gerrard
- Mud, glorious mud: Club World Cup farce
- Foot flap: West Brom player's gruesome injury
- Wenger is Frozen: Funny Arsenal manager parody
- Pecs appeal: Crouch copies Ronaldo
- Him again: Crouch goes crowd surfing

- World Cup bonanza: Gotze's boot sells for millions

Skrtel received a temporary patch-up and duly played...

 By Andy Mitten

Darren Fletcher's future looks unlikely to be at Manchester United

Ten-man Aston Villa managed to hold red-hot Manchester United to a 1-1 draw at Villa Park.

On Boxing Day 2002, a slim teen wearing a Manchester United suit and tie enters a service station on the A1 motorway near Newcastle. His attire attracts attention, but his face doesn't register with weary festive travellers.

The boy who later maintains that he can eat anything without putting on weight ignores the fast-food outlets and uses the service station toilets to change into less formal clothing.

It's still 10 weeks before Fletcher will make his Manchester United first-team debut, but Sir...

 By Tim Vickery

CWC reminds us of gulf between South American clubs, national teams

San Lorenzo head coach Edgardo Bauza believes Real Madrid will continue to break records after Los Blancos' 2-0 victory in the final of the FIFA Club World Cup.

The year of club football came to a close in South America with a "Super Sunday."

In Chile, Palestino qualified for the Copa Libertadores for the first time since the mid-1970s with a surprise 9-2 aggregate thumping of Santiago Wanderers. Bolivar made sure of the title in Bolivia with a last-day league win. In Colombia, Santa Fe overcame Medellin 3-2 in a two-legged final. In Peru, after nearly three games of deadlock, Sporting Cristal found an extra-time goal to beat Juan Aurich.

And there was...

 By Richard Hall

Inter struggling to get past fear factor

ESPN FC's Craig Burley joins Alexis Nunes to discuss the Europa League draw and which British sides need to take this competition seriously.

Inter Milan had to fight back to earn a 2-2 draw against Lazio after going two goals down in the San Siro. Mateo Kovacic's wonder strike and Rodrigo Palacio's first of the season enabled Roberto Mancini's men to regain some pride. The Inter coach bemoaned his team's start, accusing them of "playing with fear," but also praised their spirit.

This fear factor was borne under the stewardship of former manager Walter Mazzarri, and the Tuscan coach would often wonder why his team played in such a way....

 By Steven Kelly

Is this improvement at Liverpool or a case of 'The Emperor's New Clothes'?

Liverpool manager Brendan Rodgers believes his players are returning to their best form despite defensive mistakes in their match against Arsenal.

These are relatively hard times to be a Liverpool fan, and in times of struggle, people always want to see some progress. Absolutely any cause for optimism will be grabbed tightly with both hands.

Economists used to call them "the green shoots of recovery." There may be trouble and woe almost everywhere you turn, but one tiny fragment of quality can be nourished. The only problem is when people believe in it so completely, they almost blot out the rest of the picture.


- Three Points: Skrtel the hero vs. Arsenal
- Player Ratings: Lallana, Coutinho lead LFC
- TOTW: Silva, Austin, Benteke feature
- Jolly: Liverpool, Arsenal look beatable
- Transfer Talk: Torres could be set for Anfield return
- Capital One Cup semis: LFC vs. Chelsea

Liverpool boss Brendan Rodgers...