Soccer

We Miss The Premier League, too: Luis Suarez's memorable day for Liverpool

We Miss The Premier League, too: Luis Suarez's memorable day for Liverpool

Weekend mornings haven’t been the same since the English Premier League paused its season. The hope is the EPL is back on NBC sometime soon. Until then, NBC Sports Washington is devoting a week of stories to each of the Big 6 clubs in England: Liverpool, Manchester United, Chelsea, Arsenal, Tottenham and Manchester City. Because we miss the Premier League, too. 

Our second week continues with a look at one of the memorable Premier League days of recent vintage for Liverpool, which has won Champions League titles but had to wait 30 years – and a few extra months - for its inevitable league championship this season.

Unlike many of the Premier League’s biggest clubs, there is no recent league trophy lift to speak of for Liverpool FC. 

That should come shortly after the league returns to play with the Reds sitting just 6 points shy of securing their first Premier League title. There have, however, been plenty of electric moments at Anfield and across Europe for the red side of Liverpool to be excited about over the years. 

Today we look back at one of the best individual performances in the side’s PL history as we revisit Luis Suarez’s dominant four-goal showing against Norwich on Dec. 4, 2013. 

Liverpool entered the night sitting in fourth place against an overmatched Norwich side that would be relegated at season’s end. The Reds had suffered an embarrassing setback with a 3-1 defeat at Hull City on the weekend and were eager to get back into the win column. 

Suarez, the Uruguayan striker, must have been excited to see the Canaries’ yellow-and-green kits standing across from him as he had tallied seven goals in his previous three matches against Norwich. 

Suarez was active early and got onto the scoreboard with an unforgettable strike just 15 minutes in. As a goal kick was headed back into the Norwich end, Suarez turned on a bouncing ball about 40 yards from net and, with barely a look, unleashed a dipping half-volley over the outstretched Jon Ruddy in goal for his first of the night. 

Few players in the world would even think of shooting there as Ruddy really wasn’t very far off his line at the time, but such was the magic of Luis Suarez. 

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The next Suarez strike came 14 minutes later as Philippe Coutinho curled in a low corner and Suarez held off his mark to volley with his left foot into the roof of the net from six yards out. Although not as spectacular as his first goal, the finish was top-class with a defender in his back pocket and doubled the Reds lead heading towards the half.
 
Suarez however would not go into the half with just two. He wanted more. Five minutes later, Suarez dazzled again to find the back of the net. At a sprint towards the net with three defenders surrounding him, Suarez scooped and flicked the ball over Leroy Fer to create a pocket of space at the top of the box before punishing another half-volley into the side netting. 

The goal gave him a record third hat trick against Norwich, the first time any Premier League player had scored three hat tricks against the same club in the league’s history.
 
But he wasn’t done. Suarez lined up for a free kick about 10 yards outside the 18-yard box in the 75th minute. With a four-man wall facing him, Suarez approached with his right and curled the ball around the wall and just inside the left post past a diving Ruddy. 

Just because, Suarez added the assist on Liverpool’s 5th goal to complete one of the best performances in the club’s storied Premier League history and become the first player since Chelsea’s Frank Lampard in 2010 to score four goals and add an assist.

That 2013-14 season? It was a wonderful campaigned summed up neatly by Suarez’s brilliance that December day. Liverpool won 26 games with six draws and just six losses. It just wasn’t quite enough, though. 

Chelsea nipped them for the title with 86 points to 84. Suarez left at the end of the year for Barcelona, where he plays to this day. Liverpool’s wait would continue. Last year the Reds again finished second in the Premier League, the best league season in club history outshined by a single point by Manchester City. They consoled themselves with their second Champions League title since 2005, a wonderful memory in its own right. But no one is catching them in the Premier League this time. When players return to the field, Liverpool will be champions of England again at last. 
 

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Washington DC launches bid to host 2026 FIFA World Cup matches

Washington DC launches bid to host 2026 FIFA World Cup matches

It’s still six years out, but Washington, D.C. is making a push to bring the 2026 FIFA World Cup to the nation’s capital.

With North America selected as the location of choice for the 2026 World Cup rather than one country in particular, D.C. officials announced Tuesday their intention to make Washington one of the 16 host cities for the 80-match tournament.

“Right now, as countries around the world continue to respond to this pandemic, the 2026 FIFA World Cup is something we can all look forward to,” D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser said in a statement. “And when the tournament comes to North America, it only makes sense for DC — the Sports Capital and District of Champions — to host. We are already a city united by the game, and in 2026, we look forward to uniting the world.”

According to The Washington Post, 10 cities from the U.S. are expected to land matches for the tournament with Canada and Mexico splitting the other six. It will be the first time in World Cup history that the tournament will be shared by more than two countries.

The District established a group called DC2026, which announced a 40-member advisory board that includes D.C. United goalkeeper Bill Hamid, three-time MLS champion Eddie Pope, Washington Spirit stars Joanna Lohman and Andi Sullivan, two-time gold medalist Brianna Scurry, EventsDC chairman Max Brown, chef José Andrés and D.C. United general partner Gregory O’Dell.

“As a native Washingtonian, I am proud to be a Co-Chair of DC’s official bid committee to host the 2026 FIFA World Cup,” Hamid said in a statement. “I could not think of a more vibrant, inclusive or passionate soccer city to host FIFA World Cup matches in 2026. With our deep soccer roots and diversity, the culture of our city gives us our foundation to successfully highlight the matches and leave a lasting impact on the future of the game.”

DC2026 plans to tout D.C.’s “unparalleled roots to the sport of soccer and world-class hosting capabilities” as part of its pitch. In a three-page press release, the group laid out advantages such as the metro system and three local airports that would allow it to host the increased number of tourists.

The city last hosted the World Cup in 1994, when it made RFK Stadium one of nine U.S. venues for the tournament. It’s also held Olympic soccer games (1996) as well as the 1999 and 2003 FIFA Women’s World Cup.

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WATCH: American Christian Pulisic nets second goal for Chelsea in as many games

WATCH: American Christian Pulisic nets second goal for Chelsea in as many games

The Premier League restart has gone as good as possible for Christian Pulisic.

The United States National Team star netted his second goal in as many games for Chelsea on Thursday, giving the Blues a 1-0 lead over Manchester City shortly before halftime.

Pulisic gained possession of the ball off of a poor City turnover, and suddenly, he was one-on-one with defender Benjamin Mendy. The American winger used a brilliant hesitation move to dribble past Mendy before curling his shot past keeper Ederson for the goal.

Pulisic's goal comes on the heels of his solid outing on Sunday, where he scored Chelsea's first goal in a 2-1 victory over Aston Villa. Thursday's finish was Pulisic's eighth goal in 25 appearances since arriving at Chelsea from German side Borussia Dortmund this past summer.

Pulisic had previously been sidelined since January 1 with an adductor injury but was close to returning before the season was paused in mid-March due to the coronavirus pandemic. The Premier League's resumption gives the American star a chance to rewrite the narrative on an otherwise incomplete first season with the Blues.

Besides Chelsea supporters, no one is happier about Pulisic's goal than Liverpool fans. Should Chelsea win or draw, Liverpool will clinch their first-ever Premier League title (and first league title in 30 years).

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