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Are the Reds really improving?


Injuries threaten to derail Arsenal


VOTE: The best of 2014

ESPN FC Awards
 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...

Liverpool have something to build on,
plus: don't mock the Club World Cup!

The ESPN FC discuss Liverpool's recent upturn in form following victory over Bournemouth and a spirited draw vs. Arsenal.

It had been a while since we saw Liverpool so comprehensively outplay an opponent as they did Arsenal in Sunday's 2-2 draw. (No, Bournemouth in the League Cup with half a dozen changes doesn't count.) Rodgers' 3-4-2-1 system worked for long stretches, befuddling the Gunners' midfield and giving Liverpool the kind of territorial dominance rarely seen in the Arsene Wenger Era.

Lazar Markovic ran rampant down his flank, Jordan Henderson was tidy on the other. Philippe Coutinho found space and Raheem...

 By Nick Miller

Has Mauricio Pochettino cracked the code to make Spurs a success?

Tottenham Hotspur boss Mauricio Pochettino praised Erik Lamela's strong performance in their 2-1 win over Burnley.

A few years ago, a comedian and fan of NFL team the Cleveland Browns recorded a YouTube video in which he dubbed his team's stadium the Factory of Sadness, reflecting their consistent failure and ability to bring down the mood of an entire city. That title could apply to quite a few Premier League sides, but perhaps the most apposite comparison is Tottenham Hotspur.

Being a Spurs fan this past decade or so must be like living through perpetual limbo, never really calamitously bad but never quite...

Arsenal's ridiculous list of injuries will wreck their season if it doesn't improve

Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger showed signs of frustration after his side's 2-2 draw against Liverpool.

Make no mistake, the biggest problem Arsenal have right now is the injury crisis. Maybe crisis is the wrong word; it makes it sound like a short-term issue.

The injury situation. The injury saga. The injury chronicle. Whatever name you want to use, it's an ongoing problem that is having a negative impact on the team's performances and results.

For Sunday's 2-2 draw at Liverpool, the Gunners were without midfielders Aaron Ramsey, Mikel Arteta, Jack Wilshere, Mesut Ozil and Tomas Rosicky. So manager...

Vote for the 2014 ESPN FC Awards

Cristiano Ronaldo, James Rodriguez and Manuel Neuer, along with Philipp Lahm and Lionel Messi have all had standout years. Who will win ESPN FC's Player of the Year award?

As 2014 draws to a close, ESPN FC is asking you to vote in the second edition of our annual awards. A year ago, Cristiano Ronaldo won the 2013 Belonged To award and this year, in addition to that accolade, we have added nine other categories. Vote now!

Here are the ballots for this year's awards (voting closes at midnight on Dec. 29).

Who did 2014 belong to?

Cristiano Ronaldo: If Ronaldo's superstar performances last year earned him the Ballon d'Or and our own ESPN FC award, a case could be made that he is even...

 By Chris Wright

Ecuadorian player sent-off for horror lunge on his little brother

Over in Ecuador, Emelec clinched their second successive Primera A title on Sunday evening with a 4-1 victory over SC Barcelona in the second instalment of the two-legged play-off final between the sides.

With the first game finishing 1-1 on Thursday, Emelec cruised it on their home turf, winning 3-0 largely thanks to a brace from Miller Bolanos -- though the 24-year-old attacking midfielder was fairly lucky to still be on the pitch by the time he lumped home his first goal in the 81st minute.


- 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