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Lincoln City v Liverpool - Carabao Cup Third RoundPhoto by James Williamson – AMA/Getty Images

The promising youngster will be on loan for the remainder of the 2020-21 season.

Liverpool have announced that forward Harvey Elliott will be loaned to Blackburn Rovers for the rest of the 2020-21 season. The move should give the highly touted prospect a chance to get regular first team minutes to continue his development.

Some fans were hoping Elliott, a 17-year-old forward who made eight appearances for Liverpool across all competitions last season, would be able to carve a regular role for himself with the first team this year. Unfortunately for the young Englishman, the path to minutes in the front 3 is much more crowded than many expected.

It seemed as though the club would be moving on from one, or even both, of Xherdan Shaqiri and Divock Origi, but the transfer window closed with both still on Liverpool’s books. In addition, the Reds brought in Diogo Jota to bolster Jürgen Klopp’s attacking depth, and he has already proven to be a clear cut first choice to spell Sadio Mané or Mohamed Salah

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With so many options available for the front three, it makes much more sense to send Elliott out on loan than keep him around for the odd substitute appearance. Even with the injuries that will likely result from this season’s forced fixture congestion (thanks COVID-19!), it’s hard to see a clear path to meaningful minutes for Elliott at Liverpool for the time being.

Elliott will have a chance to see lots of playing time with Blackburn, and regular first team football at a Championship club will almost certainly benefit his development more than a few appearances here or there at the end of matches for LFC. It’s hard to see this as anything but a smart move for all parties involved.

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FBL-ENG-PR-EVERTON-LIVERPOOLPhoto by JON SUPER/POOL/AFP via Getty Images

For the first time in quite some time, some have the Blues as narrow favorites against the Champions. How strong is this Everton side?

Everton have started the 2020/21 season well in the attack in both the Premier League and the Carabao Cup, with 108 shots (47 on target, and 24 goals) — shot numbers second only to Liverpool’s 137, but the Reds fall short of their neighbors where it matters: 53 of their shots have been on target, leading to just 19 goals.

What’s interesting about Everton’s attack thus far in the season, however, is the narrowness of their shot map. Though the Toffees have scored two goals from outside their opponent’s penalty box, every one of their 24 goals have come from spaces within the width of the six-yard box (in other words, focused in narrowly on the center of the pitch). Though the sample size is small (there have only been seven competitive matches played thus far this season, and only four in the Premier League), this concentration on central areas suggests manager Carlo Ancelotti has impressed upon his team the importance of good quality chances: in general, and as you might expect, expected goal (xG) models rate shots in the central areas close to the opposition’s goal as having the highest xG value.

Everton v Brighton & Hove Albion - Premier LeaguePhoto by Emma Simpson/Everton FC via Getty Images

More than xG, though (since many are skeptical of xG and the season has only just begun, so sample sizes are small), the narrow shot map suggests that this Everton side have a finely-worked offensive plan, and will be organized in their approach this weekend. They have not relied on counter attacks, instead favoring smart buildup over high-pressure, reactionary play (though certainly this is a reaction to their opponents’ approach as well). Dominic Calvert-Lewin, their leading goalscorer, is flourishing in part by finding good areas close to the opposition goal (his xG per shot in all competitions is 0.3 and 0.24 in the Premier League, incredibly high numbers suggestive of the quality spaces he has been allowed to find); Everton’s xG per shot overall is 0.19, also on the higher side. This is perhaps concerning for Liverpool, who have been allowing slightly higher-quality shots thus far this season (with the caveat, of course, that the sample size is small).

Bottom line? While Ancelotti’s Everton are far from a finished product, they’re a far more fearsome group than the squad Liverpool faced in 2019/20, as additions to the Toffees have bolstered a side already much-improved when the sides met after the COVID-forced break in the season.

Everton v Brighton & Hove Albion - Premier LeaguePhoto by Jan Kruger/Getty Images

So, Everton look really good, but how scared should we be?

Numbers-wise, it’s hard to know, as the Carabao Cup form is hard to compare to that of the Premier League given the squad rotation involved, and the limited number of games makes it difficult to come to any solid conclusions about Ancelotti’s side. Despite what some have said, Everton have not had a wholly easy start to the league season: while Tottenham performed poorly, Brighton and Hove Albion are no pushovers, and this season’s Crystal Palace looks to have more teeth than last season’s version.

But ignoring the desire for “analysis,” our eyes certainly tell us that the Toffees’ good results are not flattering to deceive, and this Everton side are certainly comparable, if not better, than those the Reds have faced thus far in their challenging start to the season.

As for patterns to expect, the Blues do tend to attack down their right-hand side through to the center with James Rodriguez acting as maestro, a set-up which has worked well for them. That said, if they stick to this pattern of efficiency they will be unable to target the space between Joe Gomez and Trent Alexander-Arnold, which other teams have done with some success. Against Arsenal there was no weakness in this space, largely because Naby Keïta did a fantastic job plugging the holes there — a job often handled quietly but expertly by the then-injured Jordan Henderson. A lot went wrong against Aston Villa before the break, but one of the most notable issues was the gap in this space, as the midfield and defense were disconnected, and these gaps were exploited. It goes without saying that the Reds will need to fix this for the match at Goodison.

While Liverpool’s defensive record has been spoken about at length — and for good reason — it is also worth noting that Everton have only managed two clean sheets thus far this season, both coming early on: one against a lethargic Tottenham Hotspur and the other against League Two Salford City FC in the Second Round of the Carabao Cup. Furthermore, of the goals this Everton side have conceded, only one has come late, after a match could be considered “settled” (Brighton’s Yves Bissouma scored in stoppage time in his side’s 4-2 defeat away at Goodison before the international break).

Other than this late goal, three of the eight goals Everton have conceded have come in the first half, and the other four in the in the 15 minutes following halftime; indeed, it’s worth noting that three of the five second half goals conceded have come within three minutes of the start to the second half (Robert Snodgrass scored 36 seconds after the restart in West Ham’s defeat in the Carabao Cup, making the score at that point 2-1). Though the sample size is small, this period after the restart might be worth targeting for Jürgen Klopp’s side.

Everton v Brighton & Hove Albion - Premier LeaguePhoto by Jan Kruger/Getty Images

Interestingly, Everton are over-performing their xG (Instat has their xG at 18 for the season thus far, in all competitions), while Liverpool, are only slightly overperforming their season xG of 16 (Liverpool have scored two penalties, while Everton have scored one). (As a side note: Last season, StatsBomb showed that Liverpool’s actual goal difference was massively skewed as the side conceded fewer goals than expected and scored around ten more than xG models predicted — while Manchester City scored and conceded as expected with models suggesting a stronger goal difference than Liverpool; the difference in these numbers is largely why Manchester City came into this season as favorites despite Liverpool’s impressive title win and the points gap between the two sides.)

What is Liverpool’s best approach, given all of this? Push for a high-intensity game, disrupting the passing rhythm and organized build-up that a lower-pressure Everton have favored thus far, concentrating on controlling the midfield and limiting James Rodriguez’s ability to connect up with Richarlison and Calvert-Lewin. On the offensive side of things? Everton’s main weakness is, as ever, Jordan Pickford, who has already conceded two more goals than predicted even at this stage in the season.

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Everton v Liverpool - Premier LeaguePhoto by Ian MacNicol/Getty Images

Liverpool head across Stanley Park to face the Premier League’s in-form team


EVERTON vs. LIVERPOOL

| Saturday, October 17th |Premier League | Goodison Park12:30PM GMT/7:30AM EST

Everton, who had a busy transfer window ahead of the 2020/21 season, expect a strong squad with Yerry Mina and Lucas Digne likely to return to full fitness for the Toffees.

Goodison Derbies have been frustrating and low-scoring in the past — the last three fixtures have ended in 0-0 scorelines, and no fixture has finished in four straight scoreless draws in Premier League history — the lack of crowd (and Everton’s strong form) might affect both Everton’s approach and the look of the match.

The Reds will want to look out for Dominic Calvert-Lewin, who has scored six Premier League goals so far in 2020/21, all coming from dangerous areas inside the box and near the center of the goal. The Toffees have been able to work the ball into dangerous positions, and the Reds will need to improve on their defensive performance last time out.


Projected Liverpool Lineup (4-3-3)

Adrián; Alexander-Arnold, Gomez, Van Dijk, Robertson; Henderson, Fabinho, Wijnaldum; Salah, Firmino, Mané


This match marks the five year anniversary of Jürgen Klopp’s tenure at Liverpool, and though celebrations have been ongoing online, this event is yet another reason for Reds fans to mourn fans’ absence from grounds.

The injury situation (made more difficult by a smattering of positive COVID test results) has improved for Liverpool, as Klopp notes that Alisson, though still out, looks “promising,” and captain Jordan Henderson could make his first start of the campaign following his showing for England during the international break. Thiago is available, and could compete for a midfield place, where his ability in possession would come in useful against a challenging Everton midfield. Expect to see Gini Wijnaldum in the starting lineup, as his ability to dictate where the opposition can play the ball might come in handy against an Everton side flourishing under the creative hand of new signing James Rodriguez.

Joel Matip, Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain and Kostas Tsimikas are all injured; Naby Keïta looks unlikely to return to action this weekend.

Everton have won three points against Liverpool since October 2010, but a record of 11 draws and eight losses emphasizes that the Reds have had far from an easy go. Klopp’s side will hope to give their cross-town rivals their first defeat of the 2020/21 campaign.


What the Managers Had to Say

Jurgen Klopp: “Not once did we think ‘ah they don’t win anyway’ – we never had in our mind. We know it’s hardest work for us tomorrow and we will be ready for that.”

Carlo Ancelotti: “To be a challenger for Liverpool could be really good for us. But of course Liverpool are doing so well, I think we are not so far but we are still far from them.”


The Officials

Referee: Michael Oliver Assistants: Stuart Burt, Simon Bennett Fourth official: Paul Tierney VAR: David Coote


Kickoff is set for 12:30PM GMT/7:30AM EST tomorrow, and television listings for the match can be found on LiveSoccerTV. In the meantime, we’ll be keeping you updated with all the buildup to the game, including team news as it’s released, our live matchday thread, and post-match recaps from The Liverpool Offside staff. If you want to join the discussion, sign up for an SB Nation account to have your say on the action as it happens.

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Members of the  Super Eagles teams of 1980, 1994, Atlanta 1996 as well as track and Field and boxing dominated the list of the 60 sports icons that were unveiled during the celebration of Nigeria’s most outstanding sports icons of the last sixty years. The event which took place at the Velodrome of the Moshood Abiola National Stadium Abuja Friday, October 16th will have the pictures of the stars on display for 60 days.

According to the votes cast to pick the outstanding stars through various platforms, Mercurial  Super Eagles players like Nwankwo  Kanu, Austin Jay-Jay Okocha, Daniel Amokachi, Garba Lawal, Emmanuel  Amunike of the famed  1994 and Atlanta 1996 Dream Team were selected by a wide spectrum of Nigerians.

Also selected are the 1980 Green Eagles that won Nigeria’s maiden Nations Cup on home soil with Team captain  Christian Chukwu and Segun Odegbami listed individually. Emmanuel Okala and Mudashiru Lawal were also picked as a symbol of the 1980 Green Eagles.

The Golden Eagles of 1985 that paraded the likes of Captain Nduka Ugbade, Victor  Igbinoba, and coached by  Sebastian Brodricks – Imasuen were also recognized.

 

Nigerian first Olympics medallist Nojeem Maiyegun,  first individual  Gold medallist Chioma Ajunwa,  Mary Onyali, Sunday Bada, Commonwealth Games  Medalists Olawunmi Majekodunmi, Samuel Igun, world boxing champions Hoggan Kid Bassey, Dick Tiger,  Chidi Imoh,   female Wrestler Odunayo  Adekuruoye also made the list.

 

Legendary footballer Teslim Thunder Balogun,  Ace radio commentators Mazi Ernest Okonkwo, Dr. Larry Izamoje, Sports Philanthropist Alhaji Aliko Dangote, Chief Moshood  Abiola, Chief Adebutu Kensington among others also made the icons list.

Notable personalities that graced the memorable event include:

1. Engr. Abubakar Aliyu FNSE – Hon. Minister of State Federal Ministry of Works and Housing

2. Otunba Niyi Adebayo (CON) – Hon. Minister of Industry, Trade and Investment.

3. Dr. Senator Adeleke –  Hon. Minister of State for Health.

4. Dr. (Mrs.) Ahmed S. Zainab – Hon. Minister of Finance Budget and National Planning.

5. Ogbeni Rauf Aregbesola(FMI) –  Minister Interior.

6. Sharon Ikpeazor – Minister of State for Environment.

Below are the names of the unveiled 60 Sports Icons

1. Chioma Ajunwa

2. Mary Onyali

3. Jighere Wellington

4. Odion Aikhoje

5. Duncan Dokiware

6. Austin Okocha

7. Kanu Nwankwo

8. Feyisetan Are

9. Blessing Okagbare

10. Garba Lawal

11. Lucy Ejike

12. Falilat Ogunkoya/Atlanta 96 Women’s 4x400m Quartet

13. Sunday Bada/Sydney 2000 Men’s 4x400m Quartet

14. Football Dream Team, Atlanta 1996 Olympics

15. Emmanuel Amunike

16. Chika Chukwumeriji

17. Davidson Ezinwa

18. Odunayo Adekuoroye

19. Modupe Oshikoya

20. Peter Konyegwachie

21. Olusoji Fasuba

22. Nduka Ugbade/Sebastine Broadricks Emasuen/1985 GOLDEN EAGLETS

23. Hogan Bassey

24. Dick Tiger

25. Samuel Peters

26. Barcelona 92′ quartet (Men’s 4x100m Relay)

27. Funke Oshonaike

28. Segun Odegbami

29. D’Tigress

30. Segun Toriola

31. Roland Ezuruike

32. Mayegun Nojeem

33. SAM IGUN

34. Israel Adesanya

35. Super Eagles 1994

36. Olumide Oyedeji

37. Blessing Oborududu

38. Tompraba Grikpa

39. Chidi Imoh

40. Christian Chukwu

41. Ajibola Adeoye

42. Stephen Keshi

43. Atanda Musa

44. Muda Lawal/Emmanuel Okala/Green Eagles 1980

45. Daniel Amokachi

46. Rashidi Yekini

47. Teslim Thunder Balogun

48. Perpetual Nkwocha

49. Super Falcons

50. Power Mike

51. Flora Ugwunwa

52. Lauretta Onye

53. Sam Okwaraji

54. Nduka Odizor

55. David Izonrite

56. Chief MKO Abiola

57. Dr. Larry Izamoje

58. Mazi. Ernest Okonkwo

59. Alh. Aliko Dangote

60. Chief Sir Kensington Adebutu

 

 

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The Chairman of Adamawa United Emmanuel Zira has stated that his club will swing into actions after hearing that finally ban on contact sports has been lifted.

Zira, in a chat with brila.net the club is expecting the 2020/2021 season calendar in order to start preparations.

 

 

“They have just lifted the ban, we would swing into action as well in preparation for the start of the league which I am sure will be announced very soon.”

 

 

Adamawa United recently announced the appointment of former Flying Eagles boss Ladan Bosso to head its technical crew ahead of the new season.

 

 

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