Tuesday Kickoff: Liverpool makes push for Dempsey, Clasico dates set and more

Tuesday Kickoff: Liverpool makes push for Dempsey, Clasico dates set and more

International Soccer

Tuesday Kickoff: Liverpool makes push for Dempsey, Clasico dates set and more

Dempsey (Getty Images)

Liverpool may not be competing in the UEFA Champions League next season, but that's not stopping the Reds from emerging as a reported suitor for U.S. national team star Clint Dempsey.

Multiple reports from England claim that Liverpool is set for a transfer capture of Dempsey in the £7.5 million range that would facilitate his exit from Fulham. Should Dempsey move to Merseyside, he would not get the Champions League soccer for which he has openly expressed his desire, but he would play again in the UEFA Europa League, through Liverpool's Carling Cup triumph.

The reports come after new Liverpool manager Brendan Rodgers claimed the club would be making its first signing of the offseason imminently saying, "The reality is we have only made three or four enquiries about players and hopefully can close out one deal this week which will be a real exciting one for the club, one the supporters will absolutely love."

Speculation was thrown into super speed Monday night, when images circulating the Internet of a Dempsey player profile page on Liverpool's website made the rounds, but those have been said to be fake and manufactured.

Here are a few more stories to get your day going:

CLASICO DATES SET

If you've been dying to know when the season's Barcelona-Real Madrid matches will be taking place, the wait is over. 

La Liga released its fixture schedule for the 2012-2013 season on Tuesday. Barcelona and Real Madrid will meet on October 7 at Camp Nou in their first league meeting of the season, and Real Madrid will host the second bout on March 3. Madrid and Barcelona will open the season against Valencia and Real Sociedad, respectively.

The two regular-season Clasicos are in addition to the two-legged Spanish Supercopa that the bitter rivals will play at the end of August, meaning at least four matchups are in the cards this season and more are possible depending on how the UEFA Champions League and Copa del Rey play out.

ABOUTRIKA MAKES EGYPT OLYMPIC SQUAD, PRAISES BRADLEY

Egyptian veteran Mohamed Aboutrika has been a central figure in helping patch together soccer in the country following the tragedy at Port Said in February, and he'll get the chance to shine on the international stage once again with the Egyptian Olympic team. 

The 33-year-old Aboutrika is one of Egypt's three overage players selected by Olympic coach Hany Ramzy, but before he goes to London to play for Ramzy, he had high praise for Bob Bradley, who came under scrutiny for Egypt's surprise elimination in African Cup of Nations qualifying.

"The political circumstances in Egypt definitely affected the national team’s displays. Bradley should be credited for the work he has done so far and for the fact that he did not abandon the team in such a difficult phase," Aboutrika told FIFA.com. "He is working in exceptional circumstances, and I believe he should remain in charge of the national team."

RANGERS CHALLENGE PLAYERS' TRANSFER STATUS

Five Rangers players have already found new homes with the club not being admitted back to the Scottish Premier League, but those transfers are being challenged by Rangers, who say those players are in breach of their contracts.

Steven Naismith (Everton), Steve Davis (Southampton), Steven Whittaker (Norwich City), Kyle Lafferty (Sion) and Jamie Ness (Stoke City) are all having their moves challenged despite being advised by the Scottish players' union to elect to not carry over their contracts to Rangers when the club moved to a new company, thus making them free agents. 

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Would you want to see Dempsey wind up at Liverpool? Who wins La Liga this year, Barcelona, Real Madrid, or a team from the rest of the field? What do you make of Aboutrika's comments? Think Rangers have any grounds to block the transfers of their players?

Share your thoughts below.

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