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ESPN – #FCtalkingpoints: Lampard, Rodgers, transfers, Real Madrid, West Ham

ESPN FC analyst Craig Burley breaks down all the drama at Anfield, which culminated with Martin Skrtel's stoppage-time equaliser that earned Liverpool a draw against Arsenal. Football always inspires debate, and this weekend was no exception. Here are five burning questions on the ESPN FC radar following the weekend. Vote and comment below or on Twitter using the hashtag #FCtalkingpoints. Brendan Rodgers is no stranger to off-the-wall comments, but his latest following Liverpool's 2-2 draw with Arsenal is borderline insane. “Our performance today was better than when we won here 5-1 last year,” said Rodgers. Agree Disagree That is insane 11% Agree 23% Disagree 66% That is insane $('.article-module.poll[data-poll-id=”4637414″]').each(function(i) { var pollId = $(this).data('poll-id'); FC.Poll.polls[pollId] = new FC.Poll().init($(this), pollId); }); Transfer season is almost upon us again and there has been no shortage of tasty rumours floating through ESPN FC's Transfer Talk blog of late….

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ESPN – Andy Carroll has West Ham dreaming of Europe after towering display

Sam Allardyce said before the match he couldn't have signed Wilfried Bony as he had committed to landing Andy Carroll and the former Liverpool striker turned the match around with two headers. LONDON — A trio of thoughts as Andy Carroll inspired West Ham to a 3-1 win over Swansea to move up to third in the Premier League for the time being. West Ham fans dreaming of Europe A few minutes after a resurgent Andy Carroll had claimed his second goal of the game and Swansea goalkeeper Lukasz Fabianski had been sent off to pretty much secure an eventual 3-1 West Ham United win, Upton Park erupted in an ear-catching chant. “Barcelona,” the entire ground roared, “we're coming for you!” West Ham United Swansea City 3 1 FT Game Details GameCast Lineups and Stats It's…

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GUARDIAN – Champions League: who will finish behind Chelsea and Manchester City? | Andy Hunter

With Chelsea and the champions set for top two slots in the Premier League, nine clubs are chasing the other two Champions League places• Match report: Sunderland 0-0 Chelsea• Match report: Southampton 0-3 Manchester CityThose expecting an end to Southampton’s remarkable response to the summer exodus from the club, and a repeat of last season’s decline once a daunting run of fixtures arrived, should not feel too smug just yet. Sunday’s comprehensive defeat by Manchester City followed the loss of the influential Morgan Schneiderlin at half-time and Ronald Koeman’s team still have the best defensive record in the Premier League. They remain a team with genuine European prospects. Continue reading…

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GUARDIAN – Brendan Rodgers says Europe is disrupting Liverpools routine | Sachin Nakrani

Consecutive league defeats for the first time since December arrived thanks to Sam Allardyces clear thinking for West HamIt was at 7.34pm on Saturday, precisely eight minutes after the match had ended, that an email landed from a well-known bookmakers offering odds of 9-1 on Liverpools manager, Brendan Rodgers, being sacked before the end of the season. The emails heading was: Could Rodgers Be On His Way? and the obvious answer from anyone exasperated with footballs thirst for knee-jerk reactions has to be No, dont be so ridiculous.Liverpool were undoubtedly poor against West Ham and three defeats in five fixtures is a disappointing start for a club with title-winning aspirations. But these remain early days and Rodgers remains the man who led them to second place last campaign on the back of consistently thrilling, goal-laden displays. If his position really is under threat, then heaven help practically every other manager working in this country. Continue reading…

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GUARDIAN – West Ham 3-1 Liverpool | Premier League match report

Liverpools period of adjustment continues to prove painful. This was a third league defeat in four, a game effectively surrendered in a frenetic first seven minutes when West Ham had been rampant as an attacking force and the visitors merely dazed and confused. The blur of tactical tweaks and substitutions thereafter never struck upon the correct blend to recover parity. If this squad is still becoming accustomed to each others foibles, then the actual teams constant shape-shifting can leave them looking dizzied at times.It was West Hams energy which held sway, with their resistance admirable once Liverpools desperation had whipped up late pressure and a fine third goal guided in by Morgan Amalfitano in the dying moments. Sam Allardyce fights a constant battle for acceptance in these parts, but this was an eye-catching victory to cherish, and only this clubs third in 23 league meetings with Liverpool. His own recruits are propelling his team, while Liverpools still strive to adapt. It was December before Brendan Rodgers side lost a third league game last term. Life is proving more sobering this time around. Continue reading…

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GUARDIAN – From Torres to Suárez: the hits and misses of transfer deadline day | Toby Moses

Is Manchester Uniteds loan of Radamel Falcao going to make all the difference as they seek a Champions League return, or will it just be another in a long list of failed last-minute signings? Transfer window club-by-club ins and outs Interactive: how much have clubs spent?Jim White has packed away his yellow tie and Premier League chairman are putting down their pens with quivering hands as the biannual jamboree that is transfer deadline day has come to a close, with a record 835m worth of transfers having been signed off.The final day was a hectic muddle of desperate clubs attempting to squeeze one last vital transfer over the line. But is a last minute panic buy ever worth it? Here are ten deadline day deals which had mixed results. Continue reading…

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