Ferguson hails English strength in Champions' League

Arsenal and Tottenham having given his Manchester United side – and Chelsea – hard acts to follow in the Champions' League this week, Sir Alex Ferguson has insisted with good reason that English clubs are still very much a force in European competition. The absence of Premier League representation at the semi-final stage last season caused some to question whether an era had come to end.

Street-wise Suarez promises a brighter future

Liverpool 1 Wigan 1

Suarez: 'Smiley guy' with a darker side who aims to have the last laugh

"A smiley kind of guy," is how Kenny Dalglish described Luis Suarez. A smiley kind of guy who stole the World Cup from Africa with a handball. A smiley kind of guy who, as Ajax and PSV Eindhoven players were debating a sending-off, leaned over and bit his opponent Otman Bakkal, earning a suspension that ensured he never played football in Holland again.

Luiz is granted work permit despite row with Benfica over £25.6m fee

Chelsea's application for a work permit for defender David Luiz was granted yesterday, even though sources in Portugal were claiming the £25.6m transfer has hit a problem.

Mark van Bommel joins AC Milan

Bayern Munich have confirmed the transfer of their captain Mark van Bommel to AC Milan with immediate effect.

Would the 'Cannibal of Ajax' add some more bite to Liverpool's attack?

Luis Suarez was one of the stars of the World Cup but his record in the Netherlands requires close inspection

Kezman signs for South China

Hong Kong club South China have followed up their signing of Nicky Butt with the capture of former Chelsea striker Mateja Kezman.



Ajax play hardball with Liverpool by demanding £21m for Suarez

Liverpool are involved in a tough negotiating battle with Ajax over Luis Suarez with the clubs understood to be more than £8m apart on price for the Uruguay international.

Tottenham fix sights on Suarez as key figures question Beckham bid

Striker is Redknapp's priority as Ajax hint at £17m price tag for Uruguayan / Deal would depend on Keane move

Hodgson will select Reds' big names for knockout ties

Fernando Torres was controversially omitted from Liverpool's Europa League team in midweek but he and Steven Gerrard will be featuring in the competition from now on, said Roy Hodgson yesterday.

Liverpool face Sparta Prague in Europa League

Manchester City will face Greek side Aris Thessaloniki in the first knock-out stages of the Europa League while Liverpool will take on Sparta Prague.

Outside Edge: Stop running down our referees

Scotland's top-flight referees are striking because they're fed up with clubs criticising them, but lower in the leagues it's the players the officials need to watch out for. A footballer in the Southport and District League swore at the referee, David Harkness, for failing to award a free-kick, so Harkness booked him. At which point Joseph Rimmer, a nightclub doorman (why are we not surprised?), stomped off the pitch, climbed into his Range Rover and tried to run Harkness down, before threatening to shoot him. Rimmer has now been shot off to jail for six months. Down in Cornwall's Mining League Division One, the referee was busy with his notebook as Madron FC learnt that it's advisable to field more than seven players when facing the league leaders; Illogan AFC beat them 55-0, leaving Madron with a record of played 10, lost 10 and a goal difference of -203. "I have nothing but admiration for their boys, they came into the bar afterwards," said Illogan's assistant manager. They might have been better off going to the bar beforehand, and staying there.

Mourinho denies Real red cards were planned

Uefa's disciplinary unit has launched an investigation after Real Madrid players Sergio Ramos and Xabi Alonso were sent off in suspiciously similar circumstances in the Champions League on Tuesday.

Football in Brief: Ajax

Ajax

The Dutch club have suspended striker Luis Suarez for two league matches after he bit PSV Eindhoven's Otman Bakkal on the shoulder during their 0-0 draw on Saturday. The Uruguay striker, who was sent off in the World Cup for handball on the goal-line, also faces disciplinary action from the Dutch FA.

Barcelona agree to sign Ibrahim Afellay

Barcelona have confirmed that they have reached an agreement with PSV Eindhoven to sign Netherlands midfielder Ibrahim Afellay in the January transfer window.

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Burgundy, the River Rhone & Provence – MS Swiss Corona - seven nights from £999pp
Lake Maggiore, Orta and the Matterhorn – seven nights from £899pp
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Ferguson: In the heartlands of America, a descent into madness

A descent into madness in America's heartlands

David Usborne arrived in Ferguson, Missouri to be greeted by a scene more redolent of Gaza and Afghanistan
BBC’s filming of raid at Sir Cliff’s home ‘may be result of corruption’

BBC faces corruption allegation over its Sir Cliff police raid coverage

Reporter’s relationship with police under scrutiny as DG is summoned by MPs to explain extensive live broadcast of swoop on singer’s home
Lauded therapist Harley Mille still in limbo as battle to stay in Britain drags on

Lauded therapist still in limbo as battle to stay in Britain drags on

Australian Harley Miller is as frustrated by court delays as she is with the idiosyncrasies of immigration law
Lewis Fry Richardson's weather forecasts changed the world. But could his predictions of war do the same?

Lewis Fry Richardson's weather forecasts changed the world...

But could his predictions of war do the same?
Kate Bush asks fans not to take photos at her London gigs: 'I want to have contact with the audience, not iPhones'

'I want to have contact with the audience, not iPhones'

Kate Bush asks fans not to take photos at her London gigs
Under-35s have rated gardening in their top five favourite leisure activities, but why?

Young at hort

Under-35s have rated gardening in their top five favourite leisure activities. But why are so many people are swapping sweaty clubs for leafy shrubs?
Tim Vine, winner of the Funniest Joke of the Fringe award: 'making a quip as funny as possible is an art'

Beyond a joke

Tim Vine, winner of the Funniest Joke of the Fringe award, has nigh-on 200 in his act. So how are they conceived?
The late Peter O'Toole shines in 'Katherine of Alexandria' despite illness

The late Peter O'Toole shines in 'Katherine of Alexandria' despite illness

Sadly though, the Lawrence of Arabia star is not around to lend his own critique
Wicken Fen in Cambridgeshire: The joy of camping in a wetland nature reserve and sleeping under the stars

A wild night out

Wicken Fen in Cambridgeshire offers a rare chance to camp in a wetland nature reserve
Comic Sans for Cancer exhibition: It’s the font that’s openly ridiculed for its jaunty style, but figures of fun have their fans

Comic Sans for Cancer exhibition

It’s the font that’s openly ridiculed for its jaunty style, but figures of fun have their fans
Besiktas vs Arsenal: Five things we learnt from the Champions League first-leg tie

Besiktas vs Arsenal

Five things we learnt from the Champions League first-leg tie
Rory McIlroy a smash hit on the US talk show circuit

Rory McIlroy a smash hit on the US talk show circuit

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Boy racer Max Verstappen stays relaxed over step up to Formula One

Boy racer Max Verstappen stays relaxed over step up to F1

The 16-year-old will become the sport’s youngest-ever driver when he makes his debut for Toro Rosso next season
Fear brings the enemies of Isis together at last

Fear brings the enemies of Isis together at last

But belated attempts to unite will be to no avail if the Sunni caliphate remains strong in Syria, says Patrick Cockburn
Charlie Gilmour: 'I wondered if I would end up killing myself in jail'

Charlie Gilmour: 'I wondered if I'd end up killing myself in jail'

Following last week's report on prison suicides, the former inmate asks how much progress we have made in the 50 years since the abolition of capital punishment