Derby VAR ‘forgot the rules’

The Daily Mail have been told that Saturday’s video assistant referee David Coote forgot the rules and did not review Jordan Pickford’s challenge on Liverpool defender Virgil van Dijk because he thought the offside nullified the offence. With Van Dijk facing a lengthy spell out due to an ACL injury sustained from Pickford’s tackle, the fallout from the 2-2 derby draw is continuing with Liverpool seeking answers on the officials’ handling of the match. The revelation that Coote, the game’s VAR at Stockley Park, was unaware he could review the incident will not sit well with the red half of Merseyside.

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Paper Round’s view: It is difficult to remember a match which finished on Saturday that still makes back-page headlines come Tuesday. Some will make the point that it is because Liverpool are concerned, but either way it tells you of the ramifications the decisions in this match have had.

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'Singled out' Real Madrid duo facing the axe - Euro Papers

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Champions League expanding to 36 teams?

UEFA will consider proposals to expand the Champions League to 36 teams from the 2024-25 season, the Telegraph reports. The new format would see either six groups of six, with each team playing 10 matches home and away, or each team facing 10 different opponents using a seeding system used in US sports leagues to ensure the fixture list is fair. The latter ‘Swiss system’ is said to be growing in support to replace the “stale” current format of playing three opponents home and away in the groups.

Paper Round’s view: Stale would be a bit overboard but there may be support given the proposals would welcome four more teams into the competition. The Swiss system would throw up an interesting set of fixtures, too, and would perhaps be worth witnessing just for the outrage when English clubs draw certain teams but not others.

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A new deal for Son?

With the transfer window closed Tottenham will now turn their attentions to negotiating new contracts, starting with Heung-min Son, the Daily Mail reports. Son has started the season with eight goals in seven games and is set for a pay rise on his current £150,000-a-week wages despite the fact he has more than two years remaining on his current deal. Chairman Daniel Levy is keen on avoiding key players reaching the final year of their contracts following the ongoing Christian Eriksen saga last season.

Heung-Min Son of Tottenham Hotspur celebrates with teammates after scoring his team's first goal during the Premier League match between Tottenham Hotspur and West Ham United at Tottenham Hotspur Stadium

Image credit: Getty Images

Paper Round’s view: It does seem early but the reasoning makes sense, and at 28 Son still has plenty of years left at the top if his current performances are anything to go by. Just how he will play once, or if, Gareth Bale is fully fit alongside Harry Kane too is certainly something to look forward to.

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Jones for £20m?

Manchester United are willing to sell Phil Jones but will demand £20m for the defender in January, The Sun reports. Jones has not featured this season, and was left out of the Champions League squad, having also played just twice in the Premier League last term. Fulham were among the clubs who were interested in the 28-year-old this past summer, but the asking price could put clubs off as the player seeks more game-time elsewhere despite the fact he “loves being at United”.

FA Cup Fourth Round - Tranmere Rovers v Manchester United - Prenton Park, Birkenhead, Britain - January 26, 2020 Manchester United's Phil Jones

Image credit: Reuters

Paper Round’s view: £20m. Come on now. If, as the report states, he’s earning almost £100,000-a-week and not playing at all, then why not sell for cheaper - you’re not going to find any takers at that price.

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