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With international week looming in a fortnight, Iceland’s Euro qualifier versus Israel comes into sharp focus. Iceland’s manager, Åge Hareide, the Norwegian who has also managed Denmarkm has had this to say.


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Max Rushden on taking a battering from the critics. We attempted to redress the balance on the next pod. It wasn’t a great success.

Fancy some quiz action? It’s a tough one this week.

Sporting director transfer latest: there’s a lot of it about these days.

Fenway Sports Group’s principal owner, John W Henry, and president, Mike Gordon, were among the senior executives who held talks with Edwards about returning to the club he left in 2022. The 44-year-old, a consultant at the sports advisory business Ludonautics, is regarded by FSG as the ideal candidate to lead Liverpool’s transition when Klopp steps down after nine hugely successful years as manager this summer. However, the club’s owners will need to offer a more powerful role than sporting director to tempt Edwards back.

Edwards has rejected numerous approaches from clubs, including Chelsea, since ending a 10-year association with Liverpool and playing a key role in the club’s transformation under Klopp. He turned down an initial approach from FSG in January regarding resuming his career as Liverpool’s sporting director and is likely to want total control in a more far-reaching position, such as head of football operations, to accept the invitation to return.

Welch inducted into Hall of Fame

Rebecca Welch, the first woman to referee a Premier League match, is to be inducted into the National Football Museum’s Hall of Fame.

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The 40-year-old made history when she was selected to take charge of the Fulham v Burnley game on December 23. She was also the referee for the Bournemouth v Nottingham Forest fixture last month.

Welch will become the first female referee to be inducted into the Hall of Fame, with the museum confirming her induction on International Women’s Day.

“It’s quite overwhelming, I was very honoured to be asked,” Welch said. “My journey started 13 years ago and now here I am having refereed in one of the biggest leagues in the world, being inducted to the Hall of Fame alongside legends of the game, it doesn’t feel real to me. It’s great for young boys and young girls to see female representation at the top of the game because it makes them believe that they can be there as well.”

Rebecca Welch has reffed two Premier League matches this season. Photograph: Bradley Collyer/PA

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Newcastle will be without Kieran Trippier at Chelsea on Monday, and he will miss England duty, too. Eddie Howe has been speaking this morning: “We are running out of games and the season seems like it has gone so quickly, we are here now with minimal games left and we are trying to maximise on every game.

“We have a bit of form behind us and we are still trying to recapture our best performance levels. We have high expectations of ourselves and we are not where we want to be, but hopefully we can get back to 100% as quickly as possible.”

The big talking point for West Ham’s game at Freiburg was the penalty that never was.

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One of Roberto de Zerbi’s pat responses is to point to the limitations and inexperience of his Brighton team. He did just that after that 4-0 loss to Roma.

“We played our game. We gave our best. Maybe our best now is this performance. I think Roma is much better in terms of experience to play this type of game and we suffer a lot. Too much I think.

“We are not used to playing this competition and today we paid everything. We paid [for] a squad not so long, we paid to play away in this stadium, we paid with too many injured players and for us, it is the first time so we have to improve.

“We have to progress and if we want to compete in this level, from the owner to the coach to the players we have to progress to reach one level higher.”

Salient plotlines as the 2024 campaign unfurls are the first full season of Lionel Messi in Miami, the controversial withdrawal of most MLS clubs from the US Open Cup and the use of replacement referees because of a labor dispute.

For the first of these, the league’s official channels very much have you covered. But fans watching MLS on Apple TV, which streams every match, would learn little about the other two newsworthy narratives. Which is just how the league wants it.

Great piece from Tom Dart on Apple TV as MLS Pravda.

Kelly Simmons has written a fine piece on the Women’s FA Cup. Perhaps best to use her tweet for her reasons for writing it.

I’ve written about the need for focus on the @AdobeWFACup
The last round of the men’s fa cup saw 4 live games on BBC/ITV and this weekend’s Women’s QFs sees none! ( one on bbc iPlayer)
Time for new thinking?

— Kelly Simmons OBE (@KellySimmo1) March 8, 2024

There is another world, to quote Morrissey. There is a better world. And that might just be the Championship, its rule run over by our expert in this large field, Ben Fisher.

There are issues of finance at hand there, too, of course.

Modern football, eh?

Just how poor are Liverpool compared to City?

Liverpool’s turnover was £594m.

Here’s our traditional curtain-raiser for the weekend’s action.

Some element of beef before the big one? Yeah, sort of, after Erling Haaland kissed off to a remark from Trent Alexander-Arnold.

Trent, speaking to 442 mag: ““Looking back on this era, although [City] have won more titles than us and have probably been more successful, our trophies will mean more to us and our fan base because of the situations at both clubs financially.”

“How both clubs have built their teams and the manner in which we’ve done it, probably means more to our fans. It’s tough. We’re up against a machine that’s built to win — that’s the simplest way to describe City and their organisation.”

Haaland, speaking to Sky Sports: “nice feeling, I don’t think he knows exactly this feelings. So yeah, that is what I felt last season and it was quite nice. They can talk as much as they want, or he can talk as much as he wants. I don’t know why he does that, but I do not mind.”


Morning, all. Klopp v Guardiola for the last time at Anfield. That’s about the size of it. This is massive. Plenty of that to come through the day, as well as buildup to the rest of the Premier League weekend. It could be a big one at either end of the table. Also, some reaction to last night’s Europa League: when is a penalty not a penalty, and just how did Roberto De Zerbi think his return to Italy went? Plus breaking news throughout the day from me and the team. Join me.

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