Monday Kickoff: Gerrard talks up title chances; Benzema a doubt for El Clasico; and more

Steven Gerrard of Liverpool scores his goal from the penalty spot to make it 0-2

Photo by ISIPhotos.com

By DAN KARELL

Sitting just four points behind English Premier League leading side Chelsea after 29 matches, Liverpool are starting to believe that they can contend for the EPL title this season.

Few would have expected last August for Liverpool to be in second place at this point of the season but based on their current and recent performances, Liverpool captain Steven Gerrard believes that the team can achieve the improbable and win the club’s first title in 24 years.

“We believe that we can win the league,” Gerrard told The Telegraph following Liverpool’s 3-0 victory at Manchester United. “I’ve come here many times and been played off the park. (Man United) are a fantastic team and this is one of the most difficult places to come to, so to come and dominate from start to finish and we are still going away disappointed that we didn’t score more goals.

“I said before the game it’s going to be difficult [to win the title] and we need to take each game as it comes and just try to win them all. We will enjoy tonight but we need to move on very quickly because we know Cardiff [next] are going to be tough. I think we have shown out there that we are genuine contenders and we are going to fight to the end.”

Liverpool’s final nine matches of the season include games against Tottenham, Manchester City, and Chelsea in a match that could determine this year’s EPL winner.

Here are some more stories to kick off your week:

BENZEMA TO MISS SCHALKE MATCH, IS A DOUBT FOR EL CLASICO

Real Madrid could be missing a key cog in their lineup for Sunday’s highly anticipated El Clasico match against Barcelona.

Karim Benzema missed training on Monday and Real Madrid head coach Carlo Ancelotti ruled the Frenchman out of Madrid’s UEFA Champions League match on Tuesday against Schalke 04 but kept hope alive for Benzema to return by Sunday. Benzema was forced off in the 32nd minute of Real Madrid’s 1-0 victory at Malaga, taking a knock to his right quadriceps muscle.

“He is recovering,” Ancelotti told reporters at a press conference, referring to Benzema. “He cannot play tomorrow but we’re confident he can play on Sunday. He is a very important player, not only because of the goals. He has a knock, we hope he recovers We’re lucky that we can replace him if he can’t play.

If Benzema doesn’t play, Ancelotti can play Alvaro Morata as the loan striker or move Cristiano Ronaldo, Gareth Bale, or Angel Di Maria to be the lone man up top.

QUICK KICKS

Chelsea manager Jose Mourinho has asked for Chris Foy to not referee Chelsea matches anymore this season. (REPORT)

A slimmer and fitter Antonio Cassano is hoping for a late World Cup call-up despite not receiving an Italy call-up since 2012. (REPORT)

The German Football Federation (DFB) is investigating Borussia Dortmund manager Jurgen Klopp after he exploded at the referee again this past Saturday. (REPORTBy )

Seven Spanish clubs, including Real Madrid and Barcelona, are under investigation by the European Union for tax advantages from the state or local governments. (REPORT)

Brazilian side Corinthians have surprisingly failed to qualify for the final stages of the Paulista State tournament. (REPORT)

Argentinos Juniors’ Leonardo Pisculichi scored a late goal to steal a point away from Boca Juniors. (REPORT)

Olympiakos won their 41st Greek league title on Saturday with a 2-0 victory against Panthrakikos FC. (REPORT)

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What do you think of these reports? Do you believe in Liverpool’s title chances? Do you expect Benzema to play vs. Barcelona? How big of a loss would it be if he was unfit to play?

Share your thoughts below.

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22 Responses to Monday Kickoff: Gerrard talks up title chances; Benzema a doubt for El Clasico; and more

  1. Bean says:

    Liverpool has a chance, and is playing the most attractive football in Europe, but I think that City will prevail. They are right behind Liverpool, with 3 games in hand as well. It is certainly possible for Liverpool to win the title, and it would be an incredible story, but the Redmen will have to win almost every match, and hope that City stumbles a bit.

    • Paul says:

      Both City and Chelsea still have to play Liverpool, and at Anfield at that… One or both of those games may ultimately decide the title.

    • Tony in Quakeland says:

      Most attractive style in Europe?

      • Expat4455 says:

        Yeah, I noticed that too.

      • Bean says:

        Obviously it is just my opinion. I like Brendon Rodgers style of play. He is bold in the attack, and Liverpool is scoring a ton of goals. Suarez, Sturridge, and Sterling are playing at the highest levels right now and it shows on the pitch, and in results.

      • DanO says:

        He was talking about those away kits…

    • Expat4455 says:

      City have 2 games in hand over Liverpool. And Liverpool trails Chelsea by 4 points with a game in hand. But I do agree, I think the title will be between City and Liverpool.

    • biff says:

      I won’t say Liverpool is playing the MOST attractive soccer Europe, but without a doubt they are playing highly attractive soccer and are in the top half dozen or so teams. Luis Suarez is incredible, and so much fun to watch. And I will say that if I could choose only one top Premier League team for an American to be a starter on, at this point I would choose Liverpool over Chelsea, Man C, and Arsenal. (We don’t even need to mention Man U or Tottenham). It’s too bad that Fulham/Martin Jol had to get ugly in the summer of 2012 and throw a wrench in Liverpool’s plans to sign Dempsey. Maybe it would not have worked out. But maybe it would have been successful. We will never know and it is a shame Clint did not at least get the chance to give it go.

      • well where did u go says:

        agreed, i would have died of delight had Deuce joined Liverpool

        its a shame the chairmans were being cheap

  2. Brain Guy says:

    In other news, Chris Foy told reporters, “Maybe it is helpful if Chelsea don’t send Mourinho to the club’s matches when I officiate.”

  3. NATO says:

    You’ll Never Walk Alone

    Reds to win the title

  4. well where did u go says:

    when we’re discussing the biggest football clubs in Europe where does Liverpool rank?

    they’re bigger than Chelsea/Man City/Arsenal right? the only thing Arsenal have on Liverpool is consistent CL football right? Other than that Chelsea and City are just $$$$$$. No history, NO SOUL

    • Bean says:

      Liverpool have won the Champions League (Europe) 5 times in my lifetime, but Arsenal has not won once.

    • Jay says:

      Liverpool is behind in no specific order. Man U, Arsenal, Juventus, Madrid, Barca, Bayern, AC Milan, in terms of having “soul”. As for money wise. They are behind more teams then that. But in today’s sports culture no matter the sport he who has the funds has the fans.

  5. Expat4455 says:

    Bean, I totally agree with your assessment of Liverpool. And yes, they are playing the best attacking football in the Preemie, by far. It was a very small issue when you said the most attractive in Europe (maybe saying “as attractive” as the best in Europe) . But as I said in a thread yesterday, Rodgers has the only team in the Premier League playing a style approaching Pep and Bayern Munich.

    imo, the race in the Premier, being so close with 4 sides in the running, will come down to the coaches. And I will give the nod to Brendan Rodgers over the other 3, and especially over Pellegrini.

  6. Expat4455 says:

    Furthermore, based on how Rodgers has Liverpool playing today, I would say that if it was Liverpool, and not City, United, Chelsea, Arsenal or the Spurs playing in Europe, Liverpool would have gone farther than any of them.

    Just my opinion.

  7. SSVSGHS46466565 says:

    wasnt it 08-09 when Reds lost the title to United by 4 or 6 points. Too many draws that season. commentators seem to forget that. also 2001 or 2002 Liverpool was also close to the title

  8. I think Benzema wil be soon fine for the EL CLASSICO and the group RONALDO7 BENZEMA9 BALE11 will hold up the trophy after BARÇA DISTRUCTION.BARCA going to fell a prey to LOS BLANCOS so barça be aware of MADRISTIA,,…….