≡ Menu

logo_euro_2016It’s crunch time in qualification for next summer’s European Championships and by next Tuesday night we will know the identity of 20 of the 24 nations heading to France.

Just four countries – England, Iceland, Czech Republic and Austria – as well as hosts France, have booked their place at the finals already and so it’s all to play for.

Between Thursday and Tuesday, we will have six nights of international football and undoubtedly plenty of twists and turns along the way.

Here’s the state of play in each of the qualifying groups with two rounds of fixtures left to play.

Jurgen-Klopp2Jurgen Klopp is expected to be unveiled as Liverpool‘s new manager on Friday on a three-year contract.

It is clear that Klopp is the man that Fenway Sports Group want to replace Brendan Rodgers and with ongoing talks between the club and his advisors since Sunday, Liverpool are so confident of landing the charismatic German that they have begun planning his introductory press conference.

The former Dortmund boss is expected to bring his long-term assistants Zelkjo Buvac and Peter Krawietz with him to Anfield, But I expect Klopp to retain Gary McAllister, who was appointed by Rodgers in the summer, to give him a link to Liverpool’s famous history.

Rafa-Real-Madrid1The decision by Real Madrid president Florentino Pérez to replace Carlo Ancelotti with Rafa Benitez was met with skepticism by Madrid fans this summer. After Sunday’s Madrid derby, the feelings of the Madridista’s has not changed after Rafa parked the bus at the Vicente Calderón in an attempt to get a 1-0 win. A move that backfired when Atletico scored late to tie the match.

In the wake of the Madrid derby, MARCA (the unofficial mouthpiece of the club) has been hammering Benitez hard for his tactics with one headline that summed up fans feeling:

First big disappointment

Branislav Ivanovic has taken the brunt of criticism from Chelsea fans for his play this season, but according to data from whoscored.com, Ivanovic is only the fourth worst performing Chelsea player this season.

According to the stats, the Chelsea player who has underperformed the most, compared to last season is captain John Terry, whose rating has dropped from 7.03 to 6.07. Terry was brilliant last season, but this season he has really struggled, winning fewer than half as many aerials per game as last season. Tackles, interceptions and clearances are all down, the last of those three dramatically so. That Mourinho dropped him is a logical move, despite what the newspapers say.

FILE - Jose Mourinho to leave Real Madrid At End of SeasonRumors are running rampant about who will be the new boss at Liverpool and one of the wilder ones links current Chelsea boss Jose Mourinho with the job.

The Blues boss is under mounting pressure after the Premier League champions suffered a shock 3-1 home defeat to Southampton on Saturday.

In an attempt to dampen speculation on their manager’s future, Chelsea have released a statement giving the Special One a vote of confidence. The statement said:

“The club wants to make it clear that Jose continues to have our full support.

Ancelotti-trophyCross one name off the list of possible successors to Brendan Rodgers as Carlo Ancelotti has reportedly ruled himself out of the running to be the next Liverpool boss.

The former Chelsea, Paris St Germain and Real Madrid manager, who has been recovering from back surgery, was immediately named as one of the main contenders to take over from Rodgers, who was sacked on Sunday just hours after a 1-1 draw with Everton in the Merseyside derby.

But Ancelotti told the Daily Express:

“I have not had any offer from Liverpool.”

lvg-newLouis van Gaal admitted he had no answers as he called Manchester United‘s display at Arsenal on Sunday the worst of his Old Trafford reign.

United were 3-0 down inside 20 minutes for the first time in the Premier League era, and it stayed that way as an Alexis Sanchez double and Mesut Ozil’s goal took Arsenal into second on goal difference.

And a shellshocked Van Gaal did not mince his words in the aftermath of the game as he promised to get to the bottom of his side’s awful start.

agudelo-nerevsThe best teams in Major League Soccer are jockeying for position for the MLS Cup but the New England Revolution are heading in the wrong direction, winless in their last three games.

The Revs hopes for the top seed in the eastern conference look to be all but over after Saturday night’s 3-1 defeat to the Chicago Fire.

Juan Agudelo gave the Revs a 1-0 halftime advantage, but the Fire scored three times in the second half to seal the win and extend New England’s winless streak to three games.

Mourinho12On the day that Liverpool sacked manager Brendan Rodgers, despite them being four points ahead of Chelsea in the table, the Chelsea board have issued their manager Jose Mourinho a stay of execution by deciding not to fire him at a board meeting on Sunday.

Instead he has been given the support of the board as they attempt to turn their season around. Despite Roman Abramovich being furious at Chelsea’s current form, the newspapers are reporting that there is no immediate danger of Mourinho losing his job.

Liverpool Sack Brendan Rodgers

Rodgers-TaxiLiverpool have sacked manager Brendan Rodgers, barely an hour after the Red’s 1-1 draw with Everton in the Merseyside derby.

A statement issued by the club read:

Liverpool Football Club has announced that Brendan Rodgers will leave his post with immediate effect after having his contract terminated. The process to appoint a new manager is underway.

The Northern Irishman joined Liverpool FC in June 2012 and helped the club mount a memorable title challenge in his second season, as well as helping to develop many exciting young players. LFC’s ownership have paid tribute and thanked Rodgers for his contribution.