1 Saudi Arabian club Al Nassr have announced the signing of Modibo Maiga from West Ham – although the London club say nothing has been confirmed.A tweet from Al Nassr’s official account on Monday said that the 27-year-old Mali international had signed a two-year contract.But there has been no notification from the Hammers and, when contacted by Press Association Sport, a spokesman said nothing has been confirmed yet.The tweet from @AlNassrSaudiFCe read: “#ALNASSR signed a 2 year contract with former @whufc_official’s forward, Modibo Maiga. Congratulations.”Maiga joined West Ham for £4.7million from Sochaux three years ago but has since had loans at QPR and Metz.If he does leave, he does so having scored in West Ham’s 4-3 defeat to Bournemouth in the Premier League last weekend. Modibo Maiga
1 It’s that time millions of football fans look forward to… unless you’re a Liverpool fan.That’s right, the Champions League group stage draw has come around, and United fans can return to the competition following a year’s absence spent watching a combination of Emmerdale, Coronation Street and Liverpool embarrassing themselves on Tuesday and Wednesday nights.Due to format changes made by UEFA, which sees only league champions placed in Pot 1 this season, neither Manchester club will be among the giants in the draw (although that really makes no change for City).However, the rest of the pot seedings are decided by UEFA’s questionable club coefficient ranking and both sides have made it into Pot 2, therefore minimising the damage that can be done by missing out on a place in Pot 1… right?WRONG! Remember that questionable coefficient ranking we mentioned? It’s put everybody in danger as the impressive German duo of Borussia Monchengladbach and Wolfsburg are stuck all the way down in Pot 4, while their less impressive Ukranian equivalent of Shakhtar Donestsk and Dynamo Kyiv can look down on the Germans from Pot 3.It’s all very confusing, but we’re going to make it much simpler for you right now by showing you the best and worst possible scenarios that today’s draw could throw up for United and City.Manchester United and Manchester City’s best case scenario group could look like this:PSV Eindhoven (Netherlands – Pot 1)Manchester United/Manchester City (Pot 2)Dynamo Kyiv (Ukraine – Pot 3)Gent (Belgium – Pot 4)OR Manchester United and Manchester City’s worst case scenario groups could look like this:Barcelona (Spain – Pot 1)Manchester United/Manchester City (Pot 2)Roma (Italy – Pot 3)Wolfsburg (Germany – Pot 4)Follow the Champions League draw from 16:45 (BST), live on talkSPORT.com.
This week, Tom Rennie is joined by the former Liverpool midfielder David Thompson who says Brendan Rodgers still has the support of plenty of Reds fans. He says it’s probably about 50/50 for those that want him and those that don’t… with Rodgers future dependent on the fitness of Daniel Sturridge. Liverpool head to Goodison this weekend for the Merseyside derby, with the Toffee’s equalling their best start under Roberto Martinez after beating West Brom on Monday.Also on the show, the current Norwich City goalkeeping coach Dean Kiely, also once of West Brom, Charlton & the Republic of Ireland. Dean’s got concerns about the Baggies ahead of the ‘Tony Pulis Derby’ on Saturday, as West Brom go to high-flying Crystal Palace. Dean also tells us that Norwich City are adapting well to Premier League life ahead of their game against Leicester.The former Liverpool & England midfielder Danny Murphy gives us his ‘three to watch’, there’s tweets of the week & Gareth Wheeler from TSN 1050 in Canada (one of talkSPORT’s Global Audio Partners) plays the predictor game ‘Tom against the World’.
1 Zidane at Bishop’s Stortford and other great Football Manager moments Now Football Manager 2016 is finally out, fans of the game can settle down and begin trying to capture those special moments all over again.Everyone has one and here, talkSPORT asked users on Twitter what their finest hour as a fake manager is.From Zinedine Zidane gracing the Bishop’s Stortford turf to Yaya Sanogo firing Sheffield Wednesday to Champions League glory, have a look at some of the responses.Have a better moment? Join the debate @talkSPORT using #FMBestMoment
Roberto Firmino and Philippe Coutinho celebrating Liverpool’s third goal Liverpool humbled Manchester City at the Etihad Stadium as Philippe Coutinho and Roberto Firmino ran riot on Saturday evening.The first goal came after only seven minutes through an own goal by Eliaquim Mangala before Coutinho doubled the lead 13 minutes later.The Reds were 3-0 up after 30 minutes as Firmino scored before Sergio Aguero scored a stunner before half time.Martin Skrtel powered in the final goal with 10 minutes remaining on an evening where Liverpool could conceivably have scored eight or nine.The win leaves Liverpool six points adrift of the Champions League places, while Manchester City drop down to third.Liverpool broke the deadlock after only seven minutes when Coutinho robbed Bacary Sagna of the ball on City’s right before Firmino sent in a low cross which was clumsily turned past Joe Hart by Mangala as he tried to sort out his feet.Manchester City’s defensive frailties in the absence of Vincent Kompany were highlighted again for the second goal as Firmino took advantage of Mangala’s indecision to run into the box before delivering a low pass across goal for Coutinho to stroke home.Jurgen Klopp’s high intensity pressing tactic when playing away from home had City like rabbits in a headlight as Coutinho skilfully chipped the ball over the dreadful Mangala and linked with Firmino who volleyed just wide of Hart’s far post. For as bad as Mangala had been, Liverpool’s Brazilian attacking duo of Coutinho and Firmino had been every bit as brilliant as they combined again for Liverpool’s third.Emre Can produced a lovely backheel to set Coutinho free in the box, before the Brazilian squared to his fellow countryman Firmino to knock the ball into an empty net.Liverpool looked like they would score with every attack but Sergio Aguero, so often the hero for City, gave Manuel Pellegrini’s side a lifeline on the stroke of half time as he ran at the Reds defence before curling in a beautiful right-footed shot past Simon Mignolet from 25 yards.Manchester City replaced Yaya Toure and Jesus Navas with Fernandinho and Fabian Delph at the break and were far more competitive with energy levels similar to those exhibited by Liverpool in the first half.In a scrappy second half, it took a moment of genius from Adam Lallana to carve out the first clear-cut chance as the Englishman cleverly dummied Coutinho’s pass but Hart saved well at Firmino’s feet.City’s best chance came through Raheem Sterling who latched on to a poor backpass from James Milner but the former Red took the ball too wide before setting up Aguero who saw his shot stopped by fantastically Mignolet.Liverpool’s fourth goal was a thunderbolt of a volley by Skrtel after confusion from the corner, six years to the day the defender scored his first for the Reds, also against Manchester City.The result was proof of the hard work put in by Klopp and the players on the training ground as their high intensity pressing could easily have led to another four goals being scored by the Reds. 1
Here are the top transfer-related stories in Wednesday’s newspapers…Arsenal, Tottenham and Liverpool are facing a three-way battle to sign Brazil forward Alexandre Pato, with his current parent club Corinthians making a number of top colubs throughout Europe aware of the 26-year-old’s availability. (London Evening Standard) Former England boss Sven-Goran Eriksson wants Manchester United striker Wayne Rooney to join him at Chinese side Shanghai SIPG. (The Sun) Ex-United and Arsenal forward Robin van Persie has responded to reports linking him with a move to Chelsea, insisting he remains committed to Turkish club Fenerbahce. (Turkish Football) The Red Devils have been told by Southampton that the Saints not sell forward Sadio Mane in January, although the 23-year-old Senegal international may leave at the end of the season. (Daily Mail) Arsenal are preparing a new move for Inter Milan forward Mauro Icardi, 22, when the January transfer window opens. The Gunners had a £32m bid for the Argentine rejected in the summer. (Tuttosport) Paris Saint-Germain are ready to break the bank to beat Man United to the signing of Cristiano Ronaldo, with the French giants willing to pay the Portuguese superstar a deal worth a staggering £250,000-a-week AFTER tax. (Daily Mirror)Birmingham City want to sign Czech-born striker Libor Kozak, 26, from neighbours Aston Villa. Kozak, a £7m signing from Lazio in September 2013, has yet to make a Premier League appearance this season. (Birmingham Mail) Newcastle United will give Steve McClaren full backing behind the scenes despite the Magpies’ precarious Premier League position, with the side currently 17th in the table, one point above the bottom-three. (Newcastle Chronicle)Aston Villa rebel Jack Grealish has been banished to train with the club’s under-21s side after the 20-year-old was caught in a Manchester nightclub hours after Saturday’s humiliating 4-0 defeat to Everton. (Daily Telegraph)And here are the latest football headlines on talkSPORT.com…‘Liverpool asked me to stop criticising Simon Mignolet, but Jurgen Klopp wants to replace him’, admits legendary Reds goalkeeperRay Parlour: Arsenal MUST spend in January to strengthen injury-hit squadArsenal and Tottenham news: English clubs offered to ‘shower Lorenzo Insigne with money’, claims Napoli star’s agentEx-Arsenal midfielder linked with January return, but Besiktas president insists he will NOT be leaving Turkish club Borussia Monchengladbach star insists he has no plans to quit club amid interest from Arsenal and Liverpool Liverpool and Manchester United on alert amid claims Lucas Biglia is ready to leave Lazio in January Former Tottenham youngster Josh Chamberlain scores from halfway line during FA Vase clash
Wales manager Chris Coleman has revealed he would rather avoid playing England when the Euro 2016 draw is made on Saturday.England are among the top seeds for the draw while Wales are in the bottom pot, meaning they face a tough task to qualify from the group stages.Wales are at their first European Championships and their first major tournament since the 1958 World Cup, where they were eliminated by Pele’s Brazil.And while Coleman is confident of making an impact in France next summer, he would prefer to face rivals England later on in the tournament, labelling the two countries being drawn together as a “distraction”.“I’m a little bit anxious to see who we are going to draw,” said Coleman.“We don’t really want to play England in the group stage because it will all be about ‘we’ve got to beat England’.“It’s not about beating England if they are in our group, it’s part of it, but it’s all about getting out of the group. That’s the main thing.“I think because England are England, and everyone wants to play England and everybody wants to beat England, it’s a distraction I think we can do without.“What happens after the group stages, of course we will take anything that comes along.“If we could be choosy, then I’d prefer it if we missed England out because I do believe it would be the old Battle of Britain, there would be so much hype surrounding it.“I would love to have a game against England at some point because we always want to play the best teams and England are one of the best teams.”
Sheffield Wednesday manager Carlos Carvalhal 1 Gary Hooper’s quickfire double secured Sheffield Wednesday a 2-0 win against Yorkshire rivals Leeds in the Sky Bet Championship.On-loan striker Hooper, scheduled to return to parent club Norwich, signed off in style if this was his last match for Wednesday with two goals in three minutes early in the second half before being replaced late on to a standing ovation.Leeds can have few complaints after slipping to back-to-back defeats, despite having a 78th-minute ‘goal’ from Liam Cooper controversially disallowed by referee Anthony Taylor.There was no place in Leeds’ squad for Sam Byram, destined for Merseyside after a reported £3.7million bid was accepted this week from Everton, while Wednesday’s third-choice goalkeeper Lewis Price made a rare start due to injuries to both Keiren Westwood and Joe Wildsmith.Leeds were also without Chris Wood again, the striker missing his fourth game due to a hamstring problem, while Sam Hutchinson returned for Wednesday.The home side worked the first opening in the seventh minute when Gary Hooper headed Leeds-born right-back Jack Hunt’s cross off target and soon after Fernando Forestieri was muscled out following Barry Bannan’s excellent ball in to the area.But despite Wednesday’s promising start Leeds should have taken a 13th-minute lead. Price stood tall to block Souleymane Doukara’s close-range effort after initially parrying Stuart Dallas’ angled low drive.Leeds threatened again in the 36th minute through midfielder Lewis Cook, whose crisp low shot flashed past Price’s right-hand post, while Forestieri’s thumping effort was well held by Marco Silvestre.Doukara’s low 18-yard shot was gathered by Price after another Leeds counter-attack shortly before half-time.After a goalless first period Wednesday appeared to have put the game beyond Leeds within five minutes of the restart.Hooper scrambled the ball home from close range in the 47th minute despite the attentions of Leeds defenders Scott Wootton and Giuseppe Bellusci, following Forestieri’s cutback, and the same combination contrived to put Wednesday two up three minutes later.Silvestre failed to gather Forestieri’s 20-yard shot and Hooper followed up the rebound to steer home his sixth goal in as many games.Forestieri was inches away from making it 3-0 in the 64th minute with a rising 20-yard effort before Doukara crashed a shot just wide at the other end after being played in by Luke Murphy.Leeds looked to have hauled themselves back into the game in the 78th minute when Cooper turned the ball home following substitute Alex Mowatt’s free-kick.But referee Taylor deemed Wednesday had not completed Forestieri’s substitution before the free-kick was taken and after consulting with his linesman ordered it to be retaken.Cooper almost scored from it anyway, his goalbound header at the far post cleared from under the crossbar by Wednesday defender Daniel Pudil, and from there on in the home side comfortably held on to their two-goal advantage.
Daniel Sturridge 1 Slaven Bilic has rubbished reports West Ham are plotting a move for Liverpool striker Daniel Sturridge.The Hammers boss is looking to boost his attacking options this month and has been linked with a shock raid on the Reds.Injury-hit Sturridge has has hardly featured for Liverpool in recent seasons and there have been suggestions that Jurgen Klopp is running out of patience with the 26-year-old.But Bilic won’t be making any attempt to lure the former Chelsea star back to London, telling reporters on Thursday: “That is only a rumour and there is nothing behind it.“I am not talking about who we want – Daniel Sturridge is a big player and a big name – but that is only paper talk.”Dietmar Hamann claimed Sturridge’s issues were more mental than physical on talkSPORT earlier this week and Klopp is clearly frustrated by the striker’s continued absence.But when it was put to Bilic that the England international may become available, he replied: “What if? I would take Lionel Messi also, but it is only an ‘if’ so there is nothing in it.”Bilic, however, does admit he wants a new striker, with Andy Carroll and Diafra Sakho both sidelined through injury and Mauro Zarate and Nikica Jelavic set to leave the club in January.“We are not panicking,” added the Croatian. “We know that we have a couple of players that are injured.“On the other hand there are a couple of players that may leave the club. Maybe Zarate, maybe Jelavic and if that happens, and it may happen, then we are going to try and get one striker.”
1 Gabi (left) and Diego Costa (right) Atletico Madrid captain Gabi says Chelsea striker Diego Costa would be welcomed back to the Vicente Calderon after claiming Jackson Martinez “didn’t suit the team”.The 29-year-old Colombian joined Chinese club Guangzhou Evergrande for £31.7million earlier this month after scoring just three goals in 22 games following his summer move from Porto.And midfielder Gabi feels Costa, who scored 54 goals in 114 Atletico appearances before joining Chelsea in July 2014, would prove the perfect replacement.“Bringing (Costa) back wouldn’t be a bad thing,” Gabi told Radio Marca.“Costa or (Alvaro) Morata (for Spain)? Costa.“Jackson Martinez’s way of working didn’t suit the team.”Second-placed Atletico currently trail Primera Division leaders Barcelona by three points having played a game more.Diego Simeone’s side head to mid-table Getafe on Sunday, while Barcelona host seventh-placed Celta Vigo.Atletico have won only one of their last five games in all competitions and Gabi feels the Colchoneros suffer by not having a Lionel Messi or Luiz Suarez in their ranks.“Barca are favourites (on all fronts) and will continue breaking records very forcefully.“We don’t have a Messi, Suarez or Cristiano (Ronaldo).“At the moment (Antoine) Griezmann isn’t making the same differences as those guys. He’s not currently on Messi’s level.“All those players are worth 100 million euros. We have less chances (of success) than them.”