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Atletico Madrid
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Leg 2Aggregate: 3 - 0
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Ajax Amsterdam
Vitesse Arnhem
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Athletic Bilbao
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Deportivo La Coruña
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50-50 Challenge: United vs. Liverpool

50-50 Challenge

Liverpool and Arsenal shun defensive midfielders; creativity over destruction

ESPN FC's Alejandro Moreno, Craig Burley and Stuart Holden are in agreement the pressure is piled on Liverpool ahead of their Capital One Cup match against Bournemouth, with a clash against Arsenal looming.

The defensive midfielder is not a footballing dinosaur or dodo, a species consigned to extinction by the changing of the times. How could it be when Chelsea's Nemanja Matic is perhaps the most influential player of the season?

Yet it has no counterpart at two of the supposed elite: The defensive midfielder seems a dying breed at Liverpool and Arsenal. Matic highlights a philosophical divide in football. This summer Chelsea paid 21 million pounds to re-sign the man they sold for a sixth of that...

Three Points: Liverpool recover from bad week by beating Bournemouth

Markovic made the most of his wide role, scoring one goal and helping set up another.

BOURNEMOUTH, England -- Two goals by Raheem Sterling, his first since mid-September, helped Liverpool find some respectability after a tough week. Three observations from Liverpool's 3-1 win at Bournemouth...

1. A green shoot of progress, but familiar problems too

A win, a chance to renew hostilities with Chelsea in the semifinals and a vastly improved performance across the board. There was much to please Brendan Rodgers on Tuesday night and yet well-known issues remain.

AFC BournemouthAFC Bournemouth
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Liverpool were...

 By Steven Kelly

Player Ratings: Raheem Sterling powers Liverpool to Bournemouth win

The ESPN FC crew analyse Liverpool's Capital One Cup performance against Bournemouth and look ahead to their semifinal against Chelsea.

Liverpool moved into the semifinal of the Capital One Cup with a mostly commanding, occasionally nervous 3-1 win over Bournemouth.

It might not seem like much in the scheme of things but beforehand this was predicted as the least shocking potential "shock result" in years. Apart from a nervous 15 minutes in the second half Liverpool put such doom-laden talk to bed and often looked assured in possession with a cutting edge rarely seen all season.

Raheem Sterling looked more confident in the striker's...

 By Dave Usher

Liverpool should be wary of upset risk Bournemouth present

ESPN FC's Alejandro Moreno, Craig Burley and Stuart Holden are in agreement the pressure is piled on Liverpool ahead of their Capital One Cup match against Bournemouth, with a clash against Arsenal looming.

Liverpool fans were more than happy to be matched up with Championship side Bournemouth when the draw for the Capital One Cup quarterfinals was made a few weeks ago. The mood has changed somewhat since and it seems few people would be surprised if Brendan Rodgers' men came unstuck on the south coast against Eddie Howe's high flyers.

Confidence is in short supply at Anfield right now, but at least they know what to expect having beaten Bournemouth in the FA Cup back in January. The 2-0 scoreline...

Not world-class Adel Taarabt says Mario Balotelli is not world-class

Adel Taarabt and Mario Balotelli played together at AC Milan.

The adage goes that it is best not to throw stones if you live in a glass house, but Queens Park Rangers midfielder Adel Taarabt doesn't seem to care.

Indeed, Taarabt has taken a dig at Liverpool striker Mario Balotelli -- who has yet to score a Premier League goal for his new club -- saying his former AC Milan teammate is not a world-class player.

The Moroccan is the same player who spent the second half of the 2013-14 season on loan from QPR at Milan, having failed to pull up any trees in the...

Do Liverpool regret passing on Villarreal striker Luciano Vietto?

ESPN FC's Stu Holden and Craig Burley delve deeper into Liverpool's worst league start in 50 years, citing Brendan Rodgers appears to be a man short of ideas.

In October 2011, Luciano Vietto was given his first team debut for Racing Club in Argentina. He only entered the field for five minutes towards the end of the game against Lanus, but for a 17-year-old kid that was a huge moment that will stay in his heart forever. Diego Simeone was the coach that day, and even though he left Racing just a few weeks later to take charge at Atletico Madrid, he remains a hero for the youngster.

"Simeone trusted me, and I will be thankful to him for the rest of my...