About the authorFreddie TaylorShare the loveHave your say Klopp reveals Liverpool duo Keita & TAA could face Newcastleby Freddie Taylor10 months agoSend to a friendShare the loveLiverpool boss Jurgen Klopp has given his update on the fitness of key players.As the Reds prepare for a clash against Newcastle United on Boxing Day, the likes of Naby Keita and Trent Alexander-Arnold were fitness doubts.But Klopp believes these players could be fit and ready to go for the game.Klopp told his pre-match press conference at Melwood: “Trent is back in training, in full training. We will see.”Nothing new [on Keita] because it is pretty early, [but] nobody said to me so far he cannot train. I expect him back in training.”The Reds will still be without key defenders in Joe Gomez and Joel Matip.
About the authorPaul VegasShare the loveHave your say Chelsea fight-back for Valencia UYL drawby Paul Vegasa month agoSend to a friendShare the loveChelsea U19s twice came from behind to draw 3-3 with Valencia in the UEFA Youth League on Tuesday.Valencia took the lead on two occasions through Hugo Gonzalez Sotos and then Koba Koindredi.Tino Anjorin equalised twice to get Chelsea back in the game before Armando Broja’s goal just after the hour mark put Andy Myers’s side ahead.However, Koindredi struck again with six minutes left to seal a point in the first group stage game of the season.Ajax defeated Lille 4-0 in the other game in Group H.
About the authorCarlos VolcanoShare the loveHave your say Atletico Madrid fullback Kieran Trippier amazed by home atmosphereby Carlos Volcanoa month agoSend to a friendShare the loveAtletico Madrid fullback Kieran Trippier was delighted to be part of their fight-back against Juventus.Trippier really enjoyed Atletico Madrid’s comeback 2-2 draw with Juventus on Wednesday night, with the right-back hailing the atmosphere of the Estadio Wanda Metropolitano.Los Rojiblancos haven’t lost at home in Europe in two years and Trippier understands why.”When we went 2-0 down, we knew we’d get opportunities,” he told The Guardian.”We kept on going and going and the crowd were fantastic as well.”I’ve never experienced anything like it.”The summer signing went on to discuss the Atleti mentality in more detail.”It shows great mentality to pull it back against a fantastic team,” he said.”Since I came here, the mentality of the group, the coaching staff and Diego Simeone, it’s immense.”In training it’s 100 miles an hour.”It’s never stop and we do the exact same in games.”
The 2015 NCAA Tournament tips off tonight, and as such, we figured we’d finally weigh in on which teams we believe will be advancing over the next couple of weeks. Kentucky, the odds-on favorite to win it all, takes it home in two of our four brackets. The Arizona Wildcats win the championship in the other two.Without further ado, here are all four of our brackets, pen-on-paper style.Matt Lombardi:It’s hard to go against Kentucky, but I believe Arizona has what it takes to take the Wildcats down. Arizona is my pick to win it all this year. A few surprises? I like Texas over Notre Dame in the Round of 32, and I like Utah to reach the Final Four out of the South. I have three teams nicknamed the Wildcats reaching the final weekend. Andrew Holleran:I’m picking Kentucky because, well, it is the best team in the country – by far – and even on a bad shooting night, the Wildcats will dominate the boards and defend well. I like Gonzaga on the opposite side; this is Mark Few’s best team and the one that will finally let him break past the Sweet 16. Arizona is long and athletic, and should match up fairly well with John Calipari’s squad, but ultimately fall short. Virginia has been struggling, but I trust their guard play and defense to get it done in a weak East Region. In the title game, Gonzaga will hang with UK for about 30 minutes before the Wildcats’ size takes over. Karl Anthony-Towns will be the Most Outstanding Player and Calipari will cut the nets down for the second time.Matt Hladik:I have one of the other packs of Wildcats winning the whole thing. Kentucky is the best team in the field, but in a one-game elimination, anything can happen. Arizona has the length, depth and athleticism to take down UK, and they’re efficient on offense and defense. I have them knocking off UK before taking down Duke in the final. The Blue Devils lack depth and have some glaring deficiencies on defense, but their region is manageable and they’ll take down Iowa State and then UVa before falling to Arizona. Instead of Kentucky’s Karl-Anthony Towns or Duke’s Jahlil Okafor, it will be U of A freshman star and tournament MOP Stanley Johnson cutting down the nets in Indy.Dan Lyons:In a bracket contest, I am very tempted to take a team other than Kentucky, because I anticipate most to just ride with the No. 1 overall seed. However, if I am just going with straight predictions, there is no team that is as impressive as John Calipari’s bunch. In the West, I like Arizona, one of the only teams that can compare to Kentucky’s raw athleticism, to knock off Wisconsin and make a Final Four. The South is probably the most intriguing region this year, and I like the red-hot Iowa State Cyclones, coming off their wild run through the Big-12 Tournament, to win a high-scoring affair with Duke. The East is a bit perplexing, but I feel most confident in Virginia rounding into form ahead of Villanova, an underwhelming three-seed Oklahoma, and inconsistent Louisville. In the final, I will take Kentucky over Iowa State to complete this crazy undefeated season.Now you know who we’ve got – who do you have?
EAST LANSING, MI – OCTOBER 29: Head coach Jim Harbaugh of the Michigan Wolverines looks on during warm ups prior to playing the Michigan State Spartans at Spartan Stadium on October 29, 2016 in East Lansing, Michigan. (Photo by Gregory Shamus/Getty Images)It’s the moment we’ve been all been waiting for since Michigan officially hired Jim Harbaugh to be its head coach back in December of 2014. Saturday, in Ann Arbor, the Wolverines will meet Ohio State for the first time under Harbaugh’s command. ESPN’s Holly Rowe snapped an awesome photo of the two shaking hands at midfield before the contest. Check it out:So this just happened! Very good cordial chat between Coaches Meyer and Harbaugh @ESPNCFB pic.twitter.com/jUIpG8W8gf— Holly Rowe (@sportsiren) November 28, 2015Can Michigan pull off what looked unthinkable just eleven months ago? We’ll find out.
Neymar could turn out against fifth-tier minnows Pontivy GSI in the Coupe de France, Paris Saint-Germain head coach Thomas Tuchel has confirmed.Three of PSG’s South American stars – Edinson Cavani, Marquinhos and Angel Di Maria – have been granted extended leave alongside Marco Verratti and are due to return to training in Paris on Monday.But Neymar, who was given permission to leave early before the mid-season break by Tuchel, and captain Thiago Silva are in contention for the game against Pontivy of the Championnat National 3 in Lorient. Article continues below Editors’ Picks ‘There is no creativity’ – Can Solskjaer get Man Utd scoring freely again? ‘Everyone legged it on to the pitch!’ – How Foden went from Man City superfan to future superstar Emery out of jail – for now – as brilliant Pepe papers over Arsenal’s cracks What is Manchester United’s ownership situation and how would Kevin Glazer’s sale of shares affect the club? “Yes, the South Americans will be well back. We said a lot about them, that [all] the South Americans arrive on January 7, but no, it’s wrong,” Tuchel told a pre-match news conference.”It is the case for Edinson Cavani, but it was a negotiation between him and me, just like Marquinhos, it’s my decision.”With Di Maria and Verratti it’s different. They have family and private things that will make them also arrive on January 7. These are the only four to come back later.”Thiago Silva could have arrived later but I talked to him about the need for him to come back sooner because he’s my captain and it was not a problem for him to come back on January 4. “Finally, Neymar was gone before the others, so we agreed to come back on January 4.”Theyyyy’re BACK!The Parisians returned to training today ahead of Sunday’s @coupedefrance tie GSI Pontivy #AllezParis pic.twitter.com/cjiSRUwP66— Paris Saint-Germain (@PSG_English) January 4, 2019Tuchel conceded he is a little in the dark over what to expect against Pontivy, who have only been beaten once since starting this season with back-to-back losses and are undefeated in eight outings across all competitions.”It’s very difficult to prepare for this kind of game. They haven’t played since the draw was made. It’s difficult to find video of Pontivy,” the former Borussia Dortmund boss added.”We’re favourites and we want to win. It’s not just another game. I expect of the players that they play with intensity and rigour to reach the next round.”
Chelsea have reached an agreement with Juventus over the January transfer of Gonzalo Higuain, Goal understands, with the Argentine’s loan deal with AC Milan set to be cut short.The deal will see the Blues handed an option to buy the striker outright for £32.5 million (€36m) upon the completion of a six-month loan, with a series of performance related bonuses being paid to Juventus on the basis of goals scored and appearances.Higuain and Chelsea boss Maurizio Sarri have been pushing for a reunion since the Italian took the reins at Stamford Bridge and it appears now that the pair will finally get their wish after talks between the Premier League side and the Serie A champions. Article continues below Editors’ Picks ‘There is no creativity’ – Can Solskjaer get Man Utd scoring freely again? ‘Everyone legged it on to the pitch!’ – How Foden went from Man City superfan to future superstar Emery out of jail – for now – as brilliant Pepe papers over Arsenal’s cracks What is Manchester United’s ownership situation and how would Kevin Glazer’s sale of shares affect the club? The 31-year-old was left on the bench for Milan’s Supercoppa Italiana loss to Juventus on Wednesday evening in Saudi Arabia, with Rossoneri boss Gennaro Gattuso attributing a fever to the forward’s absence from the starting eleven.Higuain had earlier missed a photo opportunity to receive treatment as talks continued behind the scenes, Milan director Leonardo having stayed in Italy to work on the San Siro side’s transfer matters – Genoa’s Krzysztof Piatek is the club’s main target to replace the outgoing Higuain.But while the Argentine’s move to London is all but finalised, the deal will be paused until Alvaro Morata’s future is solidified, as talks over a move away from Chelsea continue.Atletico Madrid remain at the head of the pack for the Spaniard’s signature as Sevilla have pulled out of the race, but have yet to come to an agreement over the cost of a proposed loan arrangement, with an option to buy and wage contributions still being thrashed out.Chelsea are also looking to offload Michy Batshuayi – valued at £40m ($51m) – on a permanent basis, though the most interested party, Monaco, had been hoping only to secure the Belgian’s services on loan.Monaco have agreed a deal to take over Batshuayi’s loan spell with Valencia , but his parent club are exploring their options and have offered the striker to a variety of clubs, with Everton interested in a move for the 25-year-old.The Toffees’ valuation of Batshuayi falls well short of Chelsea’s asking price, however, as the Merseyside club look to sign their man for around £18m ($23m).Chelsea are also looking to sign a replacement for Cesc Fabregas, now at Monaco, and are locked in talks with Zenit for Leandro Paredes for what might be their only other incoming signing in January.
Cristiano Ronaldo scored a penalty with two minutes remaining as defending champions Juventus somehow avoided their first Serie A defeat of the season with a come-from-behind 2-1 win away to Lazio.Substitute Joao Cancelo’s first Juventus goal looked to have salvaged a fortunate point, but the visitors then went one better as he won a late penalty which was converted by Ronaldo, the forward’s 15th league goal of the campaign.Cancelo, having just come off the bench, had struck with 16 minutes left, cancelling out Emre Can’s earlier own goal as Juve moved to 21 games unbeaten in the top flight this season. Article continues below Editors’ Picks ‘There is no creativity’ – Can Solskjaer get Man Utd scoring freely again? ‘Everyone legged it on to the pitch!’ – How Foden went from Man City superfan to future superstar Emery out of jail – for now – as brilliant Pepe papers over Arsenal’s cracks What is Manchester United’s ownership situation and how would Kevin Glazer’s sale of shares affect the club? They go 11 points clear of Napoli – who drew with AC Milan on Saturday – at the top of the table, despite having been second best for much of Sunday’s match at Stadio Olimpico.0 – For the first time since Opta collects this data (2004/05) Juventus have not even attempted a shot in the first half of a Serie A game. Harmless.— OptaPaolo (@OptaPaolo) January 27, 2019 Massimiliano Allegri’s men failed to register a single shot during a first half where they lost an emotional Leonardo Bonucci to injury, with Wojciech Szczesny making a superb save from Marco Parolo and Daniele Rugani clearing a Ciro Immobile effort off the line to somehow keep the match level.Can’s mistake just before the hour mark eventually gave Lazio the lead, with Juve never looking likely to respond until Cancelo’s impact from the bench.Lazio should have led when Wallace mistimed a free header, while Joaquin Correa – having earlier caused panic in the Juve defence with a fine solo run that caused Bonucci’s injury – forced a save from Szczesny.Szczesny was tested again by Luis Alberto, and had to be at full stretch to make a magnificent one-handed stop from Parolo’s 18-yard strike.Juve had two penalty claims for handball against Wallace turned down prior to losing Bonucci, who had limped through much of the half, before Immobile’s flicked finish saw Rugani forced into a crucial clearance, atoning for his own poor header.Luis Alberto fired just wide after the break, but he then contributed to an opener that had long been coming. His excellent 59th-minute corner towards a cluster of players around the six-yard box led to a stooping Can diverting it into his own net.It should have been game over when Immobile was played in by Correa, but the striker blazed over, and that glaring miss proved costly as Juve turned the tables.Federico Bernardeschi’s fine work down the left set up Paulo Dybala, whose shot was parried by Thomas Strakosha, but Cancelo found the bottom corner with the rebound.Lazio then fumed when Senad Lulic was adjudged to have tugged down Cancelo off the ball prior to a Bernardeschi cross, Ronaldo keeping his cool to send the match-winning spot-kick straight down the middle as Juve escaped with the points.FT: WHAT A TURNAROUND IN THE CAPITAL!!!!!!!! #LazioJuve #FinoAllaFine #ForzaJuve pic.twitter.com/PxhcnbnjS1 — JuventusFC (@juventusfcen) January 27, 2019 What does it mean? Juve, somehow, extend lead Lazio remain three points adrift of the top four, while Juve extend their lead at the top of the table, a sickening blow to Napoli, who looked like they were about to be offered a glimmer of hope in the Scudetto race as Allegri’s men struggled throughout.In 10 matches against teams in the top four this season, Lazio have now lost nine and drawn one. They proved they are more than capable of matching it with the big boys in this one, but paid the price for failing to build more of an advantage in an opening 70 minutes they completely dominated.Cancelo contribution crucial Cancelo only had 20 minutes to make an impression, but he made full use of his time on the pitch. He scored the equaliser and won the decisive penalty, sparking life into a Juve side that offered nothing going forward before he came on, despite having Ronaldo, Dybala and Douglas Costa in attacking areas. Bernardeschi, who also came off the bench, had a hand in both goals too.Can clueless for Juve The own goal was poor, with Can getting himself into an awkward position and misjudging his attempted clearance, but the former Liverpool midfielder also produced a disappointing all-round display as he continues to struggle to establish himself with the Italian champions.He was booked before the break for a petulant tug on Correa, and had another mistake that led to a Luis Alberto chance. Going forward, he failed to create an opportunity for his team-mates.Key Opta Facts:- The only other Serie A season, in the three points era, with at least 11 points of difference between first and second team after 21 matchdays was 2006-07.- Lazio have scored at home against Juventus in Serie A for the first time since January 2014.- Ronaldo is the first player in the three points era (1994-95) to score in eight Serie A away games in a row.- Juventus have gained the most points from losing positions in Serie A this season (13).What’s next? After a tough double-header against Napoli and Juve, another big game is up next for Lazio when they travel to Inter in the Coppa Italia quarter-finals on Thursday. Juve are away to Atalanta in the same competition a day earlier, prior to a home league game against Parma on Saturday. read more
Pep Guardiola has been concerned with his Manchester City side “forgetting to play” in recent weeks but when they do remember to get the ball into the box they can be sure Sergio Aguero will be there to do the damage.Of course, he cannot simply wait around for chances to fall his way these days and his recently discovered defensive contribution is almost as impressive as the sheer amount of goals he continues to score at the top level.Aguero’s hat-trick against Arsenal takes him up to 14 Premier League goals for this season and it would be a surprise if he did not pass the 20 mark, given he has done so in the past four seasons in a row. Article continues below Editors’ Picks ‘There is no creativity’ – Can Solskjaer get Man Utd scoring freely again? ‘Everyone legged it on to the pitch!’ – How Foden went from Man City superfan to future superstar Emery out of jail – for now – as brilliant Pepe papers over Arsenal’s cracks What is Manchester United’s ownership situation and how would Kevin Glazer’s sale of shares affect the club? Aguero now has 10 Premier League hat-tricks, more than anybody else bar Alan Shearer, who scored an almost unreasonable amount for Blackburn and Newcastle – not to mention the ones he got for Southampton in the old Division One.Shearer still tops the all-time Premier League scoring charts with 260, which is 52 ahead of Wayne Rooney, whose English top-flight career spanned the best part of 15 years. Given Aguero has ‘only’ been in England for eight years he may not reach those numbers, but there is every chance he can end his career in the top three.The 30-year-old is eighth in the current standings but Sunday’s hat-trick means he is now just 27 behind Andrew Cole, who currently occupies third place. That amount should not be beyond him, considering his efforts in recent years.And ‘efforts’ is the operative word. It was hard work rather than goals that saved him from Guardiola’s axe, with the Catalan spending his first 18 months in charge at the Etihad Stadium urging one of the club’s biggest legends to do much more off the ball – both defensively and offensively – if he wanted to stay at the club, never mind on the team sheet.Aguero and Guardiola have not always enjoyed the warmest of relationships but it is now one that works perfectly; Guardiola is delighted with Aguero’s performances, and Aguero is delighted to be playing.That was not always the case, of course, as Gabriel Jesus was regularly preferred to lead the line, most notably in Manchester derbies.Guardiola believed that Aguero felt entitled to a place in the starting line-up, owing to his exploits for the club in the early years of the Sheikh Mansour era, and that he did not work hard enough to win the ball back, or link up with his team-mates outside the box.Aguero was already an iconic Premier League goalscorer at that point but since Guardiola arrived in Manchester he has gone to another level. He is a much more complete player than he ever was and while the Catalan coach deserves credit for insisting on those changes, Aguero deserves just as much for responding to the challenge, and not pushing for a big-money transfer elsewhere.In one sense this is all ancient history now; with all the disagreements and contract mysteries no longer relevant, there is little danger of Aguero leaving the club in anything other than a dignified and managed way.Yet all of that is relevant to his reformation as a striker, in explaining how an already great goalscorer took his game up another couple of levels.Aguero is already City’s all-time leading scorer, of course, and with every passing goal he makes the task of overhauling him more and more daunting for whoever dares to one day fill his boots. Check out Goal’s Premier League 2019-20 fantasy football podcast for game tips, debate and rivalries.
Venezuela striker Salomon Rondon has admitted that he was disappointed to leave Newcastle United this summer and had hoped to stay there permanently.The hard-working frontman hit 11 goals and registered 7 assists en route to winning the Magpies player of the season while on loan from West Bromwich Albion.And Rondon says he enjoyed working under Rafa Benitez on Tyneside and wished the pair could have stayed, but they have now reunited at Dalian Yifang in the Chinese Super League. Article continues below Editors’ Picks Emery out of jail – for now – as brilliant Pepe papers over Arsenal’s cracks What is Manchester United’s ownership situation and how would Kevin Glazer’s sale of shares affect the club? Ox-rated! Dream night in Genk for Liverpool ace after injury nightmare Messi a man for all Champions League seasons – but will this really be Barcelona’s? “It was a beautiful year for me last season. I loved it because the supporters were behind me all the time,” Rondon told The Sun.“I enjoyed playing with the number 9 shirt, I scored goals and the atmosphere at St James’ Park was amazing. Always, I will remember that season.“Was I disappointed to leave? Yes, because I was waiting for something. I was waiting for Rafa.“When I went to the Copa America, I thought Rafa would sign for Newcastle. But he didn’t and when Rafa said he was going, my possibility to stay at Newcastle went down straight away.“Rafa brought me to Newcastle and he fought with the owners to bring me there.“So when Rafa said goodbye, I felt I would have to say goodbye as well. I understood in that moment I would not sign for Newcastle.”Rondon also hinted that the reason for Newcastle’s hesitance to sign him permanently had something to with his age – the forward turns 30 later this year.“Maybe a few years ago, Newcastle would have given me a contract,” Rondon continued.“But it looks like the owner’s rule is that, ‘Because he’s 29, when I sell I don’t get more money from what I’ve invested in him’.“I get that because, for the owner, it is a business.“But I showed to all of them that even though I am 29, I am still scoring goals, I still assist my team-mates, I am still working really hard, I still feel like a young guy.“I have had 12 years in Europe and no bad injuries, I try to eat properly, and I am professional.“When you hear the comments about my age, those people don’t know about football.”