The soccer news starts with that foregone conclusion to the 2019-20 Premier League. The title is going to Liverpool, with the best team in England still playing like they have plenty to prove. On Wednesday, Liverpool beat Crystal Palace 4-0 at home, taking full advantage of a mismatch against a team that could still realistically finish in the top half of the table. Palace took three shots, none of them on goal and somehow without putting a foot on the ball in Liverpool's box. That's the level of Liverpool's play before and after the hiatus.
"You shouldn't underestimate how much this team wants it," Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp said. "You should not. This team really wants it. They want to fulfill the wishes of the people at home. We all have a common dream, but we have to work for it and we have to work our way for it. We cannot play like other teams, but we can play pretty good stuff and that's what the boys did tonight. When we spoke after the game, it was a clean sheet but usually with a clean sheet (Liverpool goalkeeper) Ali is massively involved. In this clean sheet, his involvement was not too big. He deserves it anyway. The game was exceptional. Talking football, from so many points of view it was exceptional."
It's worth remembering that some were questioning Klopp and his squad just a few days ago. Liverpool didn't dominate Everton, playing out a scoreless draw in their first game back. Perhaps it's another unnecessary reminder of how silly punditry can get, especially in England and especially with one of the big clubs. If there's nothing to talk about, there's still the economic incentive to keep writing and speaking.
Now, we're back to the general understanding that this is a club putting together a special season. All it took was another dominant performance. Regardless of whether or not Liverpool has already won the title, that's the expectation when they play at 2nd-place Manchester City next Thursday. Liverpool has earned the expectation for not just winning, but how they win. It's the appropriate complement for a team in their situation. It's also a level of difficulty that may or may not carry over into August's postseason Champions League run.
Also in the soccer news, DeAndre Yedlin was on the bench for Newcastle's 1-1 home draw with Aston Villa. Dwight Gayle put Newcastle up in the 68th minute with Villa equalizing in the 83rd. In the Segunda Division, Shaq Moore subbed out in the 89th minute of Tenerife's 4-1 home win over Mirandes. Aitor Sanz scored for Tenerife in the 7th minute with Luis Milla converting a 14th minute penalty. Mirande cut the lead to one in the 47th. Dani Gomez made it 3-1 Tenerife in the 64th with Milla scoring again six minutes into stoppage time. Romain Gall was on the bench for Stabaek's 2-0 home win over Sandefjord. Andreas Hanche-Olsen scored in the 30th minute with Stabaek going a man up in the 59th. Hugo Vetlesen doubled the lead in the 82nd.
Sports Business Journal's John Ourand reports that TNT is dropping the Champions League after triggering an out clause in their deal with UEFA. Inside World Football's Andrew Warshaw updates the situation with Ligue 1 and its relegated clubs. Major League Soccer announced that three clubs will now advance from the six-team Group A at the MLS is Back tournament.
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Logo courtesy of Liverpool