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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