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50-50: Liverpool vs. Real Madrid

Champions League 1 day ago
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14 hours ago

Steve McManaman says Mario Balotelli reflects Liverpool's struggles

Does Mario Balotelli need to be volatile to be effective? The ESPN FC crew discuss.

Former Liverpool and Real Madrid winger Steve McManaman expects Mario Balotelli to start for the Anfield side when his former clubs meet in the Champions League on Wednesday but believes a drop in quality up front has been a fundamental reason for the Premier League side's struggles so far this season.

Balotelli has scored just once in nine games since his August move from AC Milan, and McManaman says the reservations he had about the signing at the time have been borne out by the Italian's performances...

 By Michael Cox
16 hours ago

Liverpool and Real Madrid's midfields have evolved since their last meeting

Liverpool boss Brendan Rodgers addressed Mario Balotelli's goal-scoring slump and says it's only a matter of time before he starts turning them in.

Liverpool's 5-0 aggregate victory over Real Madrid in the 2008-09 Champions League was arguably the genuine highlight of Rafael Benitez's six-year reign at Anfield.

OK, it didn't involve actually winning a trophy, like in the 2005 European Cup final, but as an exhibition of pure footballing brilliance, it was unparalleled. Even the most ardent Liverpool fan recognises Liverpool were far from brilliant in 2005, but defeating Real Madrid 5-0 was truly extraordinary.

The two performances were notable...

John Brewin profile picture  By John Brewin
1 day ago

Blame for woes of Arsenal and Liverpool lie at managers' feet

ESPN FC analyst Craig Burley sounds off on Arsene Wenger's lack of accountability, discusses Sunderland's disgraceful loss to Southampton and congratulates Sergio Aguero on joining some elite company with his four-goal game.

Arsene Wenger was ratty and dismissive, Brendan Rodgers apologetic yet defensive. Both had their reasons to be so. Arsenal and Liverpool had made injury-time escapes at the weekend, and neither manager was willing to explain why his team had got itself into such a mess.

A year ago this week, Arsenal topped the Premier League and Liverpool were just behind in third, before the collapse of a thrilling late-season run left them just short of champion Manchester City. This season, for both, has been...

1 day ago

Champions League 50-50 Challenge: Liverpool vs. Real Madrid

ESPN FC's Steve Nicol gives his take on Brendan Rodgers' comments on a struggling Mario Balotelli.

It's a clash of European royalty at Anfield on Wednesday as five-time winners Liverpool welcome holders and 10-time champions Real Madrid. Steven Kelly (Liverpool) and Rob Train (Real Madrid) preview the week's big clash in Europe.

So, is Cristiano Ronaldo the greatest player to have played at Anfield?

Steven Kelly: North-west England rivalry dictates that I should probably say "no" here! It's also easy to play the age card and confess that I'm old enough to remember Johan Cruyff visiting Anfield...

2 days ago

Mario Balotelli is the most infuriating player in football

Does Mario Balotelli need to be volatile to be effective? The ESPN FC crew discuss.

As Leroy Fer somehow hit the crossbar from Bobby Zamora's delivery and almost all of Loftus Road looked on while trying to work out how exactly the midfielder had missed, there was one man looking elsewhere.

Mario Balotelli had his eyes on the ground, as he nursed a blow to his head.

The pain came from an off-the-ball incident with QPR's Richard Dunne just moments before, but Brendan Rodgers evidently felt that the Italian should have got over it by then. He absolutely berated Balotelli from...

 By Dave Usher
2 days ago

Lucky Liverpool steal three points from Queens Park Rangers

ESPN FC's Craig Burley recaps the thrilling Premier League match between QPR and Liverpool in which QPR's two own goals gifted Liverpool a 3-2 victory.

Over the past 12 months, Liverpool have gained a reputation as the Premier League's great entertainer, but even by their heart-stopping standards, the finish to this game was quite remarkable.

With three minutes to go, the Reds led 1-0 courtesy of a Richard Dunne own goal and looked to be on their way to a largely undeserved victory against a spirited Queens Park Rangers side. What happened after that showed the best and worst of Brendan Rodgers' side and demonstrated why Liverpool are usually such...