Xherdan Shaqiri is looking forward to playing a significant part in Liverpool’s season having spent most of 2019 watching from the sidelines.The Switzerland international made his first Premier League start since January – and his first start in any match since the 4-0 Champions League semi-final second leg comeback against Barcelona in May – in the 5-2 Merseyside derby victory on Wednesday.Shaqiri fell out of favour with Jurgen Klopp in the second half of last season, making just 10 appearances from the turn of the year, and a calf injury in the first few months of this campaign restricted him to just 25 minutes of action.However, with the manager looking to rest key players, Shaqiri was one of five changes against Everton and he responded with a goal.“I think for everyone it’s good to come back, for me especially when I’ve been injured for a few weeks,” he said.“I’ve been injured (but) thank God I don’t have knee problems or something. I had some muscle problems so I just needed a few weeks to recover well.“I worked very hard in training and when I was injured with the physios and the fitness coaches to come back.“Everybody knows that it’s a busy period now with a lot of games coming up, (so) I’m very happy to be back. I’m feeling fresh, feeling good, and I think you saw that.“I’m ready, I think the coach saw that too in training. I trained very well and he gave me the chance and I think I played very well.“At the end of the day it’s important to win games with my team, we won it as a team, and obviously when I can contribute it’s always good. Let’s hope for more games.”
Pep Guardiola vowed to hit the accelerator as Manchester City moved within two wins of retaining the Premier League title with a hard-fought victory at Burnley.Sergio Aguero scrambled the only goal of a tense clash at Turf Moor on Sunday to lift the champions back above Liverpool to the top of the table.City are clear favourites and have their destiny in their hands but, with Liverpool just a point behind, Guardiola knows there is still little room for error in their remaining games against Leicester and Brighton.The City boss said: “We don’t have a game until next Monday, so now we have time for recovery, to rest and enjoy – unfortunately – the semi-finals of the Champions League (on TV).“Then we go to the Leicester game, full gas with our fans, try to win and then go to the last one to try to win, to get the points we need to get back-to-back (titles).“Let’s keep going. Just two games. It’s tough for Liverpool and it’s tough for us, with 92 points and (we’re) still not champions. They push us, we push them.” Whatever the outcome of the race, Guardiola is convinced his side’s place in history is secure.He said: “We have 192 points over two seasons. Maybe one team in history will make 100 points in a season but then to make 92, 95 or 98 the next year, I bet that is not going to happen often.”City knew that anything less than victory over the Clarets would hand the initiative to Liverpool and the fine margins between success and failure were evident in the awarding of Aguero’s goal by goal-line technology.Aguero’s winner at Turf Moor only just crossed the line (Nick Potts/PA)The Argentinian’s scrappy 63rd-minute effort amid a goalmouth scramble was found to have crossed the line by a mere 29.5mm before Burnley defender Matt Lowton hoofed the ball clear. There was a brief delay before referee Paul Tierney awarded the goal.The goal rewarded City for a sustained spell of pressure but Burnley had made the game uncomfortable for them at times and they continued to do so until the end. City endured some nervy moments in defence in the latter stages and finished with four centre-halves on the field, with Guardiola joking that he was “trembling”.KING KUN 👑 pic.twitter.com/O2JaQlczq8— Manchester City (@ManCity) April 28, 2019But overall City created the best chances and Guardiola had no doubt victory was earned.“We deserved to win, we created a lot of chances,” he said. “The result, 1-0, is ‘short’. Our performance, I’m so delighted for the way we controlled them.“It is not easy against them because they are so solid, they defend (with) 10 players in the box, but we did it.”Aguero’s goal saw him become only the second player after Thierry Henry to score at least 20 Premier League goals in five consecutive seasons.20 – Sergio Agüero is only the second player in @premierleague history to score 20+ goals in five consecutive campaigns, after Thierry Henry between 2001-02 and 2005-06. Legends. #BURMCI pic.twitter.com/5o0MSDtcgL— OptaJoe (@OptaJoe) April 28, 2019“He is a legend,” Guardiola said. “He does that all the time, important goals.”Results elsewhere meant Burnley knew before the weekend they were already safe from relegation.Manager Sean Dyche said: “People say it has been a poor season. It has been a fantastic season for us.“This is Burnley. It’s not a walk in the park. Every season…finance, structure, trying to keep our players… every year is tough.”
Karim Benzema scored a last-gasp winner to secure victory and spare Real Madrid’s blushes against LaLiga bottom club Huesca.After falling behind early on, Zinedine Zidane’s side thought they had turned things around through Isco and Dani Ceballos – only for the lowly visitors to hit back.But Benzema settled the game with a stunning 89th-minute strike as Madrid won 3-2 in front of a sparse Bernabeu crowd. View this post on Instagram Real Madrid 3-2 Huesca ⚽ 3′ Hernández ⚽ 25′ @IscoAlarcon ⚽ 62′ @DaniFuli10 ⚽ 74′ Etxeita ⚽ 89′ @KarimBenzema #Emirates | #RMLigaA post shared by Real Madrid C.F. (@realmadrid) on Mar 31, 2019 at 1:39pm PDTHuesca, with only five league wins all season, hit the front with just three minutes on the clock as Watford loanee Cucho Hernandez stroked home the opener.He then passed up a superb chance to stun Madrid further still as he headed over when well-placed.Benzema missed a good opportunity to level from close-range before wasting another chance by shooting straight at Huesca goalkeeper Roberto Santamaria.Zinedine Zidane’s side secured a 3-2 victory over bottom side Huesca (Nick Potts/PA)Luca Zidane, son of manager Zinedine, was making his first appearance of the season and was almost beaten by a Moi Gomez effort which flew narrowly wide.Isco, out of favour under former boss Santiago Solari, equalised for the hosts as he finished into an open goal after Benzema’s parried shot was rolled into his path by Brahim Diaz.Not to be overawed, Huesca should have restored their lead soon after but Ezequiel Avila blazed over when in a good position.📸⚽ GET IN! This is how @DaniCeballos46 fired us ahead just after the hour mark! #HalaMadrid pic.twitter.com/5WQAcNHnSd— Real Madrid C.F. 🇬🇧🇺🇸 (@realmadriden) March 31, 2019Gareth Bale played a big part in the goal which put Madrid in front, sending in a perfect cross with the outside of his foot for Benzema to head back across goal where Ceballos converted.Although his wonderful ball had led to Ceballos’ goal, Bale was guilty of missing a fine chance to wrap up the points as he stretched out to reach Alvaro Odriozola’s cross only to send his effort over the top.Moments later and the visitors took their chance to level, Xabier Etxeita powering a header past Zidane to equalise.⚽️¡¡¡¡GOOOOOOOOOOOOOL DE ETXEITAAAAAAAA!!!! ¡VAMOOOOSS!2-2 🔺 | #RealMadridHuesca pic.twitter.com/S17Z3jCdo2— SD Huesca (@SDHuesca) March 31, 2019But, as the game progressed towards its conclusion, Huesca fell deeper and deeper and were made to pay as Marcelo played the ball to Benzema and the France striker curled home a superb winning goal.
Everton manager Marco Silva felt his side did what they needed to do against Lincoln as he targets a run in the Carabao Cup.The Premier League side were pushed all the way by their League One opponents but advanced to the third round after two late goals gave them a 4-2 victory at Sincil Bank.Headers from Alex Iwobi and Richarlison in the final 10 minutes finally swung the tie decisively in Everton’s favour.Harry Anderson had put the hosts in front after only 21 seconds before a superb Lucas Digne free-kick and Gylfi Sigurdsson’s penalty turned the game on its head. However, a thunderous volley from Bruno Andrade levelled things up again before the late drama.“It was important that we were serious and respected the competition and respected Lincoln,” said Silva.“We started in the worst way but after that we did our best to stay in the competition. We were losing but we were playing the way we wanted to play.“We scored a great goal with Luca but even before that, we had created a lot of chances and we were doing the right things.“We showed personality to keep playing the way we should play and we did some things really well. We did our obligation and we deserved to go through to the next round.”The third-round draw took place after Everton’s win at Sincil Bank, with Silva’s side facing a trip to Hillsborough to play Sheffield Wednesday.He added: “It will be another tough match. Sheffield Wednesday is a Championship club who have started well and we will do our best to stay in the competition.”Moise Keane was one of four players to make their full debut for Everton on Wednesday night. The striker, signed from Juventus this month, was one of five changes to the team as fellow summer recruits Fabian Delph, Iwobi and Djibril Sidibe also made their first starts for the Blues.The other change from the Premier League defeat at Aston Villa saw Mason Holgate selected in defence.Lincoln manager Danny Cowley was pleased that Silva fielded such a strong side and he felt his Lincoln team can be proud of their performance.“Everton showed us respect with the team they brought here and I must say, they were excellent. They ask so many questions of you defensively” he said. “The fact we managed to stay in the game as long as we did is testament to our players. For us to be as competitive as we were against a very good team is credit to our players.“At 2-2 it was all to play for but – in the end – it wasn’t mean to be.”
What the papers sayThere is speculation in several publications that Manchester United will look to sign Harry Kane from Tottenham in January. The Red Devils have scored just 11 goals in all competitions this season – four of which came against Chelsea in their opening match. In the same period, England striker Kane has scored 11 goals on his own for club and country.Wilfried Zaha is to sue his agent over a failed transfer away from Crystal Palace in the summer, the Daily Mail reports.Lyon striker Moussa Dembele is being linked with a move back to Britain (Mark Kerton/PA)Evertonare weighing up a January move for reported Manchester Unitedtarget Moussa Dembele, according to the Daily Star.The 23-year-old former Celtic and Fulham striker could cost £40m to prise from Lyon.Liverpool are set to receive just £4.5m of the £84m Barcelona still owe for Philippe Coutinho, the Daily Mirror says, citing reports in Spain. Coutinho joined Bayern Munich on a season-long loan this summer with an option to make the move permanent.Philippe Coutinho is currently on loan at Bayern Munich from Barcelona (John Walton/PA)Both Chelsea and Arsenal are interested in signing 17-year-old Anderlecht striker Jeremy Doku, The Sun reports.Social media round-upMesut Ozil’s Arsenal future now in serious doubt https://t.co/EJDX9pfXve— The Sun Football ⚽ (@TheSunFootball) October 8, 2019Ole Gunnar Solskjaer fighting to save Man Utd job as Ed Woodward loses patience with poor form | @DiscoMirrorhttps://t.co/5oAaLwTqto pic.twitter.com/SU5Upron80— Mirror Football (@MirrorFootball) October 7, 2019Players to watchJordan Hugill: West Hamare happy to let the striker go in January, according toFootball Insider. Hugill, 27, is enjoying a strong season on loan in the Championship atQPR.Mipo Odubeko:The Hammers, meanwhile, have tabled a “lucrative” offer for the former Manchester United academy graduate, talksport.com reports.Ben Chilwell: Chelsea and Manchester City are both prepared to splash out £50m to bring in Leicester’s marauding left-back, The Sun reports.
Swansea have announced that they will not be extending the contract of manager Carlos Carvalhal. The Swans were relegated from the Premier League on Sunday, the end of their seven-year stay in the top flight confirmed by a 2-1 home defeat to Stoke. Carvalhal was appointed as Paul Clement’s successor in December, just three days after leaving Sheffield Wednesday. Carvalhal won five of his first nine league games as Swansea climbed to 13th place, but they were condemned to the Sky Bet Championship after picking up only three points from the last 27 on offer.RelatedFantasy Premier League tips: How best to navigate the tricky winter break scheduleFantasy Premier League tips: Captain Mohamed Salah in GW25 but avoid Sergio AgueroWe can confirm that the club will not be extending Carlos Carvalhal’s contract.Everyone at the #Swans would like to thank Carlos for his efforts and wish him all the best for the future.?➡️ https://t.co/XfNOHX6wfBpic.twitter.com/gq3weAXKFL— Swansea City AFC (@SwansOfficial) May 18, 2018In a statement on Swansea’s website, Carvalhal said: “First of all, I must thank the chairman Huw Jenkins and majority owners Stephen Kaplan and Jason Levien for their full support.“It has been a big pleasure to manage Swansea City, and I am very grateful for the way not only the club but the city welcomed me.“From the players to the chefs, the physios and staff, I really enjoyed working with you all. But most of all, I must thank the supporters. They were absolutely fantastic during my time here.“While Swansea and myself will go in a different direction, I wish the club all the best. I am sure I will be a Jack forever.”
Frank Lampard has called for control from his Chelsea stars in Sunday’s derby clash at Tottenham.Blues boss Lampard continues to challenge his team to show more fight, but has warned them not to overstep the mark at the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium.Chelsea slumped to a fourth loss in five Premier League games in last weekend’s 1-0 reverse to injury-hit Bournemouth.Lampard saw his side lose at home to Bournemouth last time out (Martin Rickett/PA)Former England midfielder Lampard wants Chelsea to be more daring to hit back to form, but also admitted the derby intensity can be tough to negotiate.Asked if he would fear passion spilling over, Lampard said: “We hope it doesn’t. That’s what happens when a game is so hot and the feeling is so big. But control that side of it.“As long as it’s not us instigating things across the line. Being competitive? Show it.”Lampard was attacked by a fan when Chelsea won 2-1 at Spurs in the 2007 FA Cup quarter-final.Lampard played many derby clashes against Tottenham (Sean Dempsey/PA)Now the Stamford Bridge manager, the 41-year-old expects no repeat this weekend – but accepted derby days require different levels of mental fortitude from players.Lampard challenges Chelsea to show “balls” in the wake of that Bournemouth blow, and will not shy away from that just because of the added pressure of local rivalry.“There will always be a question of a player in a team,” said Lampard. “Courage and bravery come in different ways.“Against Bournemouth they needed to find a pass to be brave. Tottenham will be different: courage will be the atmosphere, the feeling, the physical nature of a Jose Mourinho team. Can we fight against them? It’s a different kind of courage.”
Manchester City and Chelsea meet in Sunday’s Community Shield with the battle between the two managers likely to be one of the main features.New Chelsea boss Maurizio Sarri is continuing to shape the Blues into his image and counts City manager Pep Guardiola as a close friend and the best coach in the world.Here, Football Paradise takes a more in-depth look at the pair ahead of their Wembley showdown.ExperiencePep Guardiola led Mancester City to the Premier League title last season (Martin Rickett/PA)Guardiola heads into the game on the back of a fine second season in England, winning the Carabao Cup and breaking records en route to the Premier League title.Those triumphs are added to a haul of winners’ medals for a man who also enjoyed huge success at Barcelona and Bayern Munich.In contrast, Sarri has had to work his way up from lower-league managerial jobs and is yet to win a major competition despite enjoying an impressive spell at home-town club Napoli which saw him land the Chelsea role.TacticsSarri became known for his attacking approach while at Napoli (Scott Heavey/PA)The approach known as “Sarri-ball” will grace Stamford Bridge this season as the Blues move away from a mainly defensive outlook.A high-octane set-up and such an alteration to their work under Antonio Conte means Chelsea’s players are likely to need more time to adapt to Sarri’s attempts to bring a thrilling style.Guardiola’s charges, meanwhile, are now fully versed in the Spaniard’s own unique, fast-paced outlook which blew their Premier League rivals out of the water, but with the similar philosophies it could make for a memorable meeting.DemeanourDespite leading his side to Premier League glory, Guardiola sometimes appears difficult to please (Martin Rickett/PA)Chelsea fans have been used to Conte bouncing up and down in his technical area over the past two years, either in delight or despair.Sarri will also bark his orders but appears to do it in a more controlled manner, although he will not be able to light up a cigarette as he did on occasion while managing in Italy.Guardiola often looks subdued in the dugout, especially considering the exciting play he encourages on the pitch, but is not shy to vent his frustrations if he is not happy with what he is seeing.Approach to the gameThe Community Shield sees FA Cup holders take on Premier League champions (Andrew Matthews/PA)Sarri has only been in his new position since July 14 and will still be fine-tuning his approach and looking at players who could make an impact.He has not been able to work with the likes of Eden Hazard and N’Golo Kante so this should be seen as another pre-season work-out – even if winning the Community Shield will prove Sarri can deliver trophies.City are also without a number of key players following their World Cup exploits but Guardiola will want to be successful and keep the winning feeling flowing heading into the new campaign.
Abdullah Al-Sharbatly starred on the grass arena in Sustainable City to take the glory in the CSI2-star Sustainable City Grand Prix. The four-day event, which took place between 13thFebruary to 16thFebruary saw riders from 28 countries participate in the competition drawing a huge massive crowd. Al-Sharbatly put on a series of spectacular performances in various competitions and ended up winning three of them. The KSA rider won the CSI2-star Sustainable City Grand Prix riding on his horse, Woulon L, after completing the second round in 42.78 seconds, and remained in first place until the end of the competition. The Grand Prix consisted of two rounds, with two different designs of courses, in which obstacles are placed at a height of 145 cm, with19 male and female riders participating in the main round. In the second round, the ten best-ranked riders from the first round participated. Three riders completed the second round with a clean performance without committing any faults. Second place went to the Irish rider, Shane Breen, who rode Colmar and took 43.08 seconds to complete the second round. Ireland’s David Simpson with Foudre F came in third after completing the second round without faults in 44.18 seconds.Victory: The Grand Prix winnersRelatedMeet ‘Ahmed Abdullah’: Al Wahda striker Sebastian Tagliabue on his unprecedented UAE adventureAhead of Bunyodkor decider, a look at top-five clutch Al Ain moments in AFC Champions LeagueHeld under the supervision of the UAE Equestrian and Racing Federation (UAEERF), this Sustainable City competition highlighted the success of the shows in the UAE. Al-Sharbatlywon his first prize in the championship with his horse Quinlan, moving from the second place in the CSI2-star Small Tour in which jumps were set at a height of 125 cm, to first place of the Special Two Phases of CSI2-star Big Tour in which obstacles were placed at a height of 140 cm. 25 male and female riders participated in the competition, of which nine managed to complete the two rounds without any faults. Al-Sharbatlyrecorded the best time in the second round in 26.21 seconds. Dimitri Natsis of Greece riding ‘Dyrein’ came second, taking 28.01 seconds to complete the second round while the third place went to the Bahraini rider Khalid Hilal Al Khatri with ‘Sierra’, who took 29.28 seconds to complete the second round.Al-Sharbatly completed his double after winning a competition in the CSI2-star Medium Tour of two rounds in which obstacles were placed at a height of 135 cm. 34 male and female riders participated in the competition, of which 25 riders competed, and 14 managed to complete the first round without any faults, while a further 11 completed the second round without faults. Al-Sharbatly on his horse ‘Carrerra’ bagged first place, after completing the second round in 24.55 seconds. Syria’s Hisham Ghrayb with ‘K.Abrax’ came second after completing the round in 24.64 seconds and the third place went to the UAE rider, Arif Ahmed Jassim Ali Ahli, who rode on ‘Elise’ and completed the second round in 25.13 seconds.UAE rider Moh`d Shafi M. Al Remeithi riding on ‘Venus De Vy’ bagged first place in the CSI2-star Medium Tour competition which consisted of One Round with Jump-off, in which jumps were placed at a height of 135 cm. 26 male and female riders participated in the competition, of which eight competed in the main round. Al Remeithi, the last participant in the Jump-off round, was the only one who managed to complete the round without faults, in 45.36 seconds. The second place went to Syrian rider, Hisham Ghrayb, with ‘K.Abrax’ who completed the jump-off round with the best time in 33.49 seconds, but with four penalty points. Denmark’s Tina Lund with ‘Beyond Fellow Dancing K’ came in third after completing the round in 38.72 seconds, with four faults.
Zinedine Zidane insists he is “optimistic” about Real Madrid’s prospects this season and has appealed to fans to get behind the club.Real travel to Celta Vigo on Saturday and have not lost on the opening day of the previous 10 campaigns, but Zidane is already under pressure after a mediocre end to last season and some underwhelming pre-season performances – including a 7-3 thrashing by city rivals Atletico.After he returned for a second spell in charge at the Bernabeu in March, Madrid won just five of their last 11 games of the season, prompting Zidane to admit: “The best thing for us is that it’s over.”Hazard medical report.#RealMadrid— Real Madrid C.F. 🇬🇧🇺🇸 (@realmadriden) August 16, 2019Zidane promised changes would be made andEder Militao, Ferland Mendy, Luka Jovic, Rodrygo and Eden Hazard all signed for a total close to 300 million euros, but Hazard (thigh) has been ruled out for several weeks and Gareth Bale’s contentious move to China fell through.Other high-profile targets such as Paul Pogba and Neymar seem unlikely to make the move and boost Real’s bid to win the title for just the second time in eight years.“He plays for Manchester United and you have to respect that,” Zidane said of Pogba in his pre-match press conference.Speculation continues to link Paul Pogba with a move to Madrid (Martin Rickett/PA)“We’re here thinking about tomorrow’s game.Neymar is not a Real Madrid player and I just said that the important players are the ones who are here.”As for Welsh star Bale, Zidane added: “It seemed he was leaving and now he’s here with us. The dynamics and things change, but I will count on him. “He has a good record and is an important player and I hope that all the players want to make it difficult for me to pick the team.“When things don’t go how they should or the results are not what they wanted, people will always talk about it.Zidane insists he is optimistic ahead of the new season (Adam Davy/PA)“I’d like to say to the fans that this is just the beginning, we need the fans that are always behind the team and we’re going to try to give them what they want by playing good football, and that’s it.“We’re optimistic as theleagueseason begins. Everyone can say what they want about what they have seen so far, with the new players and those that were here before, but now the league starts, which is the big competition and we’re very optimistic.“We want to make the fans happy, play good football and that’s what it’s all about. Things are going to be done little by little, starting with tomorrow’s game.”
After Manchester City and Bournemouth were both held earlier on Saturday, the Reds took their chance to take top spot on the Premier League table – at least until Watford, Spurs and Chelsea are in action later in the weekend – by defeating Brighton 1-0 at Anfield. The Seagulls arrived full of confidence after their victory over Manchester United last weekend and will count themselves unlucky to go away empty handed. Here are our player ratings for Liverpool: Alisson – 7: Almost caught out twice playing the ball in his own area – needs to learn he will have less time in the Premier League, two strong punches to turn defence into attack, great save on 88 minutesTrent Alexander-Arnold – 6: Early free kick which he smashed against the bar, worked hard down the right and tracked back well, won’t be pleased with some sloppy distribution and a missed late chance, replaced on 88 minutes by Matip.RelatedFantasy Premier League tips: Captain Mohamed Salah in GW25 but avoid Sergio AgueroFantasy Premier League tips: How best to navigate the tricky winter break scheduleJoe Gomez – 7: Had to be on guard to deal with the runs of Glenn Murray, nice move with Salah to put a header on target but directed it straight at Ryan, some questionable moments especially around the Brighton corner chanceLiverpool have kept seven consecutive clean sheets at home in the Premier League for the first time since the 2006/07 season (9 games).Virgil van Dijk has played every single minute. pic.twitter.com/hV0fIw8wVR— Squawka Football (@Squawka) August 25, 2018Virgil van Dijk – 7: Very little to do defensively in first half, so took the opportunity to bomb forward, caught flat footed in second half and poor clearance led to corner where Brighton almost equalised, also mis-judged cross from which Gross almost got the equaliser, some cracks in the previously perfect armourAndrew Robertson – 8: Superb cross to Firmino early on, and kept them coming during the match, great tussle with opposite number Martin Montoya , great run near the end almost set up the clincherJames Milner – 7: Superb tackle on Yves Bissouma to set-up Salah’s opening goal, usual rugged defence and excellent distribution to the wide men, gave away free kick in dangerous position.Gini Wijnaldum – 8: Sat in the defensive midfield role with Milner and Keita in more forward roles, still got forward well with one shot stinging Ryan’s palms, some classy touches and worked hard right to the endNaby Keita – 6: Nimble feet won a free kick on 13 minutes which TAA blasted against the bar, lifted his work rate in the middle of the park when Brighton were pushing hard for an equaliser early in the second half, subbed by Henderson on 66 minutesSadio Mane – 5: Strangely off kilter showing from previously in-form finisher, missed an early chance set up by Salah and some loose passing in the first half gave the ball away, missed another header on 34 minutes, quiet second half saw him subbed for Sturridge on 79 minutesRoberto Firmino – 7: Looked like he is coming back to his best with some sharp touches, great header on nine minutes saved brilliantly by Mat Ryan, lovely assist for Salah’s opener⚽️⚽️⚽️⚽️⚽️⚽️⚽️⚽️⚽️⚽️⚽️⚽️⚽️⚽️⚽️⚽️⚽️⚽️⚽️⚽️⚽️⚽️⚽️⚽️⚽️⚽️⚽️⚽️⚽️@MoSalah now has scored 29 goals in 29 Anfield appearances. ? pic.twitter.com/1kvS5BYMTT— Liverpool FC (@LFC) August 25, 2018Mohamed Salah – 7: Double teamed all day, cut back to set up Mane superbly in just fourth minute, deadly finish with his first chance on 23 minutes, will be disappointed he didn’t do better with some other opportunitiesSubs:Jordan Henderson – 7: On for Keita on 66 minutes, steadying influence in the middle of the park, full of running, closed down wellDaniel Sturridge – 7: On for Mane on 79 minutes, some great touches and held up play nicely at the end,Joel Matip – NA: On for TAA in 88th minute, present for one corner, first appearance since MarchOverall – 6: Not Liverpool’s best but these were the sort of matches that the Reds were drawing last season, rode their luck to secure three points even when they perhaps did not deserve it, wins like this are the difference between competing for the Premier League or not
Emiliano Sala will forever remain in the thoughts of Cardiff City, the club said, as his body was formally identified after being recovered from underwater wreckage in the English Channel. Sala was identified by the Dorset coroner a day after his body was pulled from the plane, which had been flown by pilot David Ibbotson. The families of both men have been informed, police said. Cardiff said in a statement: “We offer our most heartfelt sympathies and condolences to the family of Emiliano.“He and David will forever remain in our thoughts.”RelatedBrooks Koepka and Dustin Johnson lead our players to watch at the Saudi InternationalVictor Perez overtakes Green & McDowell to lead the Saudi International heading into round threeOther tributes were paid by Arsenal player Mesut Ozil, Manchester City’s Benjamin Mendy and Paris Saint-Germain footballer Kylian Mbappe.Ozil tweeted: “No words to describe how sad this is. Thoughts and prayers go out to his family and also to the family of the pilot. #RIPsala”.Diego Maradona posted a tribute on Instagram.He told how many had kept a “light of hope” for the footballer, adding: “I send a big hug to your family and friends”.Former Nantes team-mate Gabriel Boschilia said on Instagram it had been a pleasure to play alongside Sala.The Piper Malibu N264DB plane lost contact with air traffic control over the Channel, north of Guernsey, on Monday January 21.Sala had been travelling from Nantes in France to Cardiff, where he was due to begin training with his new club last month.Cardiff players shared their sadness at the news of his death.Joe Bennett said simply: “RIP Emiliano”, alongside several heart emojis, while Sol Bamba described the news as “tragic”.Oumar Niasse tweeted: “RIP @EmilianoSala1 Forever in our thoughts”.No words to describe how sad this is. ? Thoughts and prayers go out to his family and also to the family of the pilot. ❤?? #RIPsala pic.twitter.com/Uirj6etfZk— Mesut Özil (@MesutOzil1088) February 7, 2019An initial search and rescue operation failed to locate the plane but it was later discovered by the Air Accident Investigation Branch (AAIB) and privately funded search teams.Shipwreck hunting expert David Mearns, who assisted in the second search, said his thoughts were with the family and friends of both Sala and Mr Ibbotson.He tweeted: “Rest in Peace Emiliano.“I was glad to provide some small comfort to Romina, Mercedes and the whole Sala family during the past two weeks but my heart goes out to the family and friends of David Ibbotson whose loss is the same.”The aircraft remains 67 metres underwater 21 miles off the coast of Guernsey in the English Channel as poor weather conditions stopped efforts to recover it.Dorset Police said in a statement: “The body brought to Portland Port today, Thursday February 7 2019, has been formally identified by HM Coroner for Dorset as that of professional footballer Emiliano Sala.“The families of Mr Sala and the pilot David Ibbotson have been updated with this news and will continue to be supported by specially-trained family liaison officers.“Our thoughts remain with them at this difficult time.“HM Coroner will continue to investigate the circumstances of this death supported by Dorset Police.”The AAIB has said it expects to publish an interim report within the month.Cardiff had signed Sala for a club record £15 million and he was due to start training last month.Nantes has demanded payment from Cardiff for the player’s transfer.Copy provided by Press Association Sport
Tottenham boss Mauricio Pochettino is likely to persist with Fernando Llorente for the FA Cup fourth round at Crystal Palace. Llorente has started the last two games following the injury to Harry Kane and has endured a mixed time. He scored an own goal and missed two good chances in the 2-1 win at Fulham before making up for an abject first-half performance in the Carabao Cup semi-final against Chelsea by scoring the goal that sent the tie to penalties. The 33-year-old Spaniard has never started three games in a row in his previous 18 months at the club but is set to be given the nod by Pochettino at Selhurst Park.The Argentinian said: “He scored on Thursday, no? His performance was good. I am happy with him. To manage is when you don’t play too many games and it’s normal that you’re in a different physical level and we need to assess him for Sunday to see if he’s ready to play again.RelatedWATCH: Pep Guardiola defends old foe Jose Mourinho ahead of Man City’s clash with TottenhamWATCH: ‘Lack of energy,’ says Ole Gunnar Solskjaer after Manchester United draw with WolvesDefeat for Sonny and South Korea in the quarter-finals of the Asian Cup. Commiserations. #AsianCup2019. pic.twitter.com/1U07JRibBI— Tottenham Hotspur (@SpursOfficial) 25 January 2019“But if he’s ready he’s going to play again for sure.”Llorente may keep his shirt but Spurs will otherwise rotate as they manage a period of four games in 10 days.Hugo Lloris and Kieran Trippier are likely to come back into the side after missing out at Chelsea while Pochettino, who admits struggling with the quick turnaround, could make other changes.“It is difficult because when you are focusing on a semi-final against Chelsea on a Thursday and you didn’t sleep properly,” he said.“It is our responsibility to think but we are still disappointed from Thursday. But we are going to be completely recovered with full energy.Spurs celebrate Fernando Llorente’s goal against Chelsea.“Palace is going to be a difficult game, of course we are going to rotate because we need to rotate because we have two Premier League games on Wednesday and Saturday.“It is going to be tough too, we are going to need full energy in every game. Sunday is going to be a game we need full energy in.”Spurs’ hopes of winning silverware were dealt a blow with that loss at Chelsea, but that does not put more pressure on the FA Cup, according to Pochettino.“I think it’s the same,” he added. “It’s important. Always when you are going to play, it’s the most important game that you have ahead.“Palace now is our most important game for sure.”
Les Ferdinand has accused world football’s authorities of not doing enough to tackle racist abuse “because it does not affect them”.Former England striker Ferdinand has claimed the game’s governing bodies have handed out “irrelevant” punishments because they have “never been racially abused”.Bulgaria were ordered to play two matches behind closed doors – one suspended for two years – after their fans’ racially abused England players in their 6-0 Euro 2020 qualifying win in Sofia in October.‘We feel Uefa’s entire disciplinary process in response to racial discrimination should be overhauled.’Our statement in response to Uefa’s ruling on the racist abuse directed at England players. #KickItOut pic.twitter.com/HvazZ8xjs4— Kick It Out (@kickitout) October 29, 2019“For me, UEFA, FIFA and all the people involved in this may as well have stood in the stands with those people that were making the Nazi chants, or the Nazi salutes and the monkey chants,” Ferdinand said in an interview with CNN World Sport.“[They] may as well have stood in the stands with them, for the punishment that’s handed out to these people.“The people in power can solve this problem if they want to but they don’t really want to solve it because it doesn’t affect them.”Kick It Out have called for an overhaul of UEFA’s disciplinary processin response to racial discrimination and Ferdinandagreesfootball’s governing bodies are still far too lenient.“The people trying to resolve the issues are probably middle class, well-educated, Caucasian people, who’ve never been racially abused,” he said.Former striker Les Ferdinand wants authorities to do more about racism in the game (Scott Heppell/PA)“So, when you’re handing out a punishment for something you have no idea about, the punishments become very, very lenient, as we keep seeing time and time and time again.“They can’t (make these decisions) and that’s why the punishment is what it is because they have no idea what being racially abused feels like. So, they hand out punishments that are just irrelevant.”Former QPR, Newcastle and Tottenham forward Ferdinand has urged the authorities to tackle racist abuse in the same way they dealt with England’s hooligan problem in the 1980s.“England were kicked out of European football because of hooliganism,” he said.“After the Heysel disaster, we were kicked out of Europe for five years. Now, I know for a fact it wasn’t a majority of England supporters that were going and causing problems – it was a minority. “But the minority got the majority punished. So sometimes, you have to punish the majority because of the minority to make any change.”Ferdinand has also accused the governing bodies of “passing the parcel” over QPR’s complaint last summer following the racist abuse of their players during an under-18s friendly in Spain.QPR players walked off the pitch after several members of their side had been allegedly abused byNerviron players in August.“What’s happened is we’ve found that different jurisdictions have decided it isn’t their problem,” Ferdinand added.“So, you need to go to UEFA, you need to go to the Spanish FA, you need to go to FIFA and then FIFA say: ‘It’s not our problem, you need to go to UEFA.’“UEFA say: ‘It’s not our problem…’ So, no one wants to take responsibility for it, no one wants to say: ‘Well look, this is happening and as a governing body, we need to do something about it. We need to stamp authority’.“What they’re doing, they’re trying to pass the parcel, so it’s got nothing to do with them. Even our FA are going to pay lip service to this and say: ‘Yeah, we’re right behind you’ but nothing is going to be done about it.”
A nightmarish performance saw Manchester United defeated away to Brighton with a stoppage-time penalty from Paul Pogba limiting the embarrassment to a 3-2 scoreline, more than the visitors deserved. Strikes from Glenn Murray and Shane Duffy gave the hosts a deserving 2-0 lead before Romelu Lukaku pulled one back for the away side. However, a rash challenge from Eric Bailly led to Pascal Gross restoring Brighton’s two-goal advantage in the first half. Pogba halved the deficit from the spot when Marouane Fellaini was brought down in injury time, but United’s performance reeked of a team completely lacking in direction. SAME CITY, POLES APARTIt won’t have helped Jose Mourinho that Premier League audiences were still catching their breath after the entertainment Manchester City provided against Huddersfield when his side took to the pitch at Brighton and produced a display which was in complete contrast.RelatedWATCH: Pep Guardiola defends old foe Jose Mourinho ahead of Man City’s clash with TottenhamWATCH: Jose Mourinho reveals Inter are yet to make Tottenham an offer for Christian EriksenCity were fluid, completely in sync and simply irresistible as they put six goals past their hapless visitors. United on the other hand were ponderous on the ball, all over the place at the back and couldn’t have been more disjointed if they tried.When the Citizens are in possession, the man on the ball has several options for short passes. You could connect the surrounding blue shirts and draw a rhombus to denote the plethora of passing avenues he has to chose from. United, however, are so rigid in their structure, that players are far too spaced out, making it difficult to keep the ball moving, let alone string together a series of quick passes.While Pep Guardiola has been all smiles at the start of the campaign, Mourinho seems to sport a perpetual scowl. The body language on the pitch says a lot about the moods in the two camps as well. Paul Pogba retained the captain’s armband but his performance was hardly worthy of it during a time when his relationship with the manager has been strained. Anthony Martial, also lambasted by Mourinho in pre-season, didn’t look like he wanted to play for the man in the dugout.Even with Liverpool strengthening over the summer, few would bet on them toppling City this season. But many more would now put United outside of the top four, come the end of the season.With the Red Devils toiling against modest opposition, who would blame them? Brighton couldn’t muster a single shot on target away to Watford in the opening week, yet scored three past David De Gea.During the closing stages at the Amex Stadium, chants of “just like Brighton, your city is blue” resonated around the arena. It has to be said, not one player in a red shirt showed anything to the contrary.Disjointed: Manchester United.UNITED IN REGRESSIONAfter the consistent highs and glory days under Sir Alex Ferguson, the depths of despair to which United sunk with his successor David Moyes was a reality check. The accomplished Louis van Gaal came in and steadied the ship, slowly improving performances before the team seemed to hit a wall and began to regress.Mourinho to his credit, showed signs of promise during spells of his first two seasons but as the second began to draw to a close, the style of play deteriorated. As evidenced by their latest display, United don’t only seem to be getting worse.There’s no identity to the team and their approach is only distinguishable when facing tough opposition as they engineer ways to counter their strategies. Mourinho needs to take stock of how he operates because at the moment, like his predecessor, he is starting to take United backwards.Jose Mourinho is taking United backwards.CENTRE-BACKS SAGAIt all makes sense now. While United fans were crying out for signings in attack over the summer, the club appeared to be consumed with their pursuits of several high-profile centre-backs. Of course, none came to fruition but the intention to sign a defender despite boasting several within their ranks has now come into clarity.Bailly has largely been impressive for United and seemingly only held back by injuries, while Victor Lindelof looked very good for Sweden at the World Cup.However, Mourinho must’ve seen things in training that we didn’t. They certainly came to the fore at Brighton.The pair were disastrous at the back with the Ivorian proving particularly disappointing as he made several rash challenges, including one that conceded a penalty at a crucial juncture in the contest.Having said that, Mourinho’s tactics are doing them no favours. Even against Brighton, the team seems to sit off and invite the opposition into their defensive third. It’s no wonder the defensive comes under increasing pressure.Disastrous: Eric Bailly.