Category Archives: Sports

Liverpool boss Jurgen Klopp is playing dangerous game after Mohamed Salah sub

Now that was baffling. The Premier League’s top goalscorer withdrawn from the fray with Liverpool desperately in need of a goal. Several shakes of the head from Mohamed Salah confirmed Jurgen Klopp is playing a dangerous game.
The Liverpool boss is among the masters of man-management but this immediately felt like he was pressing the wrong button.

Irritating Salah, who has been one of few credible performers this season, is not the way to go when the club’s top-four hopes are in serious doubt.

His agent Ramy Abbas Issa was also evidently furious, as he tweeted a cryptic full stop to make his feelings known.

Klopp allegedly screamed at Salah to track a runner and he didn’t oblige. Klopp then turned to Lijnders and planned the change. It was a rush of blood.

This game was there for the taking for Liverpool but they failed to ask any questions of Edouard Mendy, one of the most unconvincing goalkeepers in the division.

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Sadio Mane’s touch was awful. He squandered a golden opportunity to level things up after Salah’s raking cross field ball split the Chelsea defence apart.

Instead he missed the ball and is clearly sapped of all confidence. As he emerged for the second half, Klopp put an arm of encouragement around him.

It was clear Mane was left on the field in an attempt to play his way out of rough form. Roberto Firmino was also non-existent.

This was by no means Salah’s best performance of the season but he certainly always looked capable of making something happen.

He was bright and alert to loose balls, creating gaps whenever he was in possession.

Liverpool virtually surrendered defeat once he left the field in a quite frankly baffling double substitution.

Curtis Jones, who was full of action once again, was also withdrawn as the returning Diogo Jota and Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain entered the fray.

The introduction of both was more than justified but Liverpool lost their verve once Salah and Jones departed.

Even when Salah is having an off day, he is capable of scoring out of nothing. No player in world football represents a bigger goal threat from the wide areas.

With Jota returning, Salah may feel like he could be the one to make way in the starting XI. In fact, he should be the first name on the team sheet.

We can expect Salah to be in the team from the off against Fulham on Sunday but tonight was an opportunity they could not afford to waste.

Chelsea are now four points clear of Liverpool, who have lost five consecutive home games. If there was one game to lose between now and the end of the season, this wasn’t it. This was win at all costs after Manchester United, Leicester and West Ham’s recent results.

That means keeping Salah on the field, regardless of his performance. Mane and Firmino can count themselves lucky.

Would Salah want to stick around if Liverpool are playing Europa League football next season? It’s certainly not a given.

‘98% of men in the world can’t beat me’: Claressa Shields declares she’s the second greatest boxer of all time behind Muhammad Ali

US boxing star Claressa Shields has compared herself to perhaps the greatest fighter of all time, Muhammad Ali – saying she is second only to him and claiming that “98 percent of men in the world” would be unable to beat her.

The first US boxer to claim gold at two consecutive Olympic Games is set to fight Marie-Eve Dicaire on Friday, when she can unify all four super welterweight championship belts.

Shields insists that people routinely overlook her bold pronouncements about her talent but believes that talking about herself alongside luminaries such as Ali is the only way to make viewers appreciate her.

“I don’t box for a hobby,” Shields said. “It’s not a hobby. It’s my career, and I feel like people underestimate me when I speak about how great I am,” 

But if I didn’t say how great I am, no-one in this room would have ever called me great because they don’t recognize it.

“Only the greats know that they’re great. Like Muhammad Ali. Nobody called him the greatest of all time.

“They actually called him the ‘Louisville Lip’ because he talked too much.
Muhammad Ali is first and Claressa Shields is second.

“I am the greatest woman of all time, and 98 percent of men in the world can’t beat me.”

The 25-year-old can also claim the undisputed junior middleweight championship title and the vacant WBA belt on Friday, as well as defending her WBC and WBO straps.

Shields is the holder of nine championships and the fastest person to ever grab titles across three divisions in boxing.
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Lewis Hamilton suffers big blow ahead of new F1 season after splitting with right-hand man

Lewis Hamilton’s preparations for the new season have been rocked after the departure of trusted aide Marc Hynes. It comes as the Formula One campaign prepares to get underway this month.
Hamilton’s start to the new season has taken a new twist after close pal and right-hand man Hynes was axed with just weeks until the first race gets underway.

The Brit will be looking to break Michael Schumacher’s record of seven world titles this year after equalling that total last term.

But it has been a jumbled start to the campaign after months of speculation over his future as contract talks between him and Mercedes rankled on.

Eventually, Hamilton penned a one-year deal with the Silver Arrows but the latest news will come as a further blow.

Hynes is commonly regarded as the 36-year-old’s right-hand man and has been present throughout his success during his career.

He took care of his business interests and logistics as the driver’s brand continued to grow, particularly over the last seven years.

Hynes was also in charge of Hamilton’s ‘Project 44’ management company after Simon Fuller was dismissed.

But according to the Daily Mail, the 43-year-old has now split from the two-time Sports Personality of the Year winner.

The decision was made last week and talks had been ongoing over the winter while a source insisted the split was ‘amicable’.

With the season set to start on the 28 March, Hamilton is now in a rush to replace his close pal with time running out.

A source told the Daily Mail: “Marc and Lewis have known each other since they were young, as friends first and business partners second, so, while they are parting ways in a business sense, they remain close friends.”

Hamilton will get into Mercedes’ W12 for the first time in Bahrain on March 12, when pre-season testing begins.

US major sports organizations team up for COVID-19 cardiology study

The study included nearly 800 professional athletes who had infections before October and underwent guideline-recommended heart tests.

WASHINGTON — Heart inflammation is uncommon in pro athletes who’ve had mostly mild COVID-19 and most don’t need to be sidelined, a study conducted by major professional sports leagues suggests.

The results are not definitive, outside experts say, and more independent research is needed. But the study published Thursday in JAMA Cardiology is the largest to examine the potential problem. The coronavirus can cause inflammation in many organs, including the heart.
The research involved professional athletes who play football, hockey, soccer, baseball and men’s and women’s basketball. All tested positive for COVID-19 before October and were given guideline-recommended heart tests, nearly 800 total. None had severe COVID-19 and 40% had few or no symptoms — what might be expected from a group of healthy elite athletes with an average age of 25. Severe COVID-19 is more common in older people and those with chronic health conditions.
Almost 4% had abnormal results on heart tests done after they recovered but subsequent MRI exams found heart inflammation in less than 1% of the athletes. These five athletes all had COVID-19 symptoms. Whether their heart problems were caused by the virus is unknown although the researchers think that is likely.
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They were sidelined for about three months and returned to play without any problems, said Dr. Mathew Martinez of Morristown Medical Center in New Jersey. He’s the study’s lead author and team cardiologist for football’s New York Jets.
Two previous smaller studies in college athletes recovering from the virus suggested heart inflammation might be more common. The question is of key interest to athletes, who put extra stress on their hearts during play, and undetected heart inflammation has been linked with sudden death.
Whether mild COVID-19 can cause heart damage ‘’is the million-dollar question,’’ said Dr. Richard Kovacs, co-founder of the American College of Cardiology’s Sports & Exercise Council. And whether severe COVID-19 symptoms increase the chances of having fleeting or long-lasting heart damage ‘’is part of the puzzle,’’ he said.
Kovacs said the study has several weaknesses. Testing was done at centers affiliated or selected by each team, and results were interpreted by team-affiliated cardiologists, increasing the chances of bias. More rigorous research would have had standardized testing done at a central location and more objective specialists interpret the results, he said.
Also, many of the athletes had no previous imaging exams to compare the results with, so there is no way to know for certain if abnormalities found during the study were related to the virus.
’’There is clearly more work to do but I think it is very helpful additional evidence,” said Dr. Donald Lloyd-Jones, president-elect of the American Heart Association.
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Dr. Dial Hewlett, a member of a COVID-19 task force at the National Medical Association, which represents Black physicians, said the study ‘’is extremely timely.’’ Hewlett is a deputy health commissioner for New York’s Westchester County and advises high schools and colleges on when to allow young athletes to return to play after COVID-19 infections.
‘’I’m grateful that we are starting to get some data to help guide us in some of our decisions,’’ Hewlett said.

Liverpool vs Chelsea: From Drogba’s ghost to Anfield woes, 5 talking points ahead of Tuchel’s toughest Premier League test so far

Are Liverpool about to lose a fifth home game in a row? Are Chelsea too defensive to outgun their rivals and bring the best out of the likes of Timo Werner? Here are five factors ahead of the Premier League showdown on Thursday.

Five to forget at non-fortress Anfield?

Liverpool could lose five consecutive home matches for the first time in their history tonight. Since Mohamed Salah’s 90th-minute winner at home to Tottenham – one of only three teams they have beaten in the league since early December – the club have gone almost three months without a home win, making all that talk of their 68-match unbeaten home run until their shock defeat by Burnley seem more like a curse than a cause for celebration right now.

Even the defeat that ended the run seems unsurprising now, followed as it has been by losses to Brighton, Manchester City and neighbours Everton, alongside a loud echo of collective laughter from the clubs that had considered them title rivals just a few months ago.

That said, there is little doubt that this is, on paper, Thomas Tuchel’s toughest league match of his time as Chelsea manager so far. Everyone is expecting Liverpool to shift from wounded animal to restored predator at some point soon, and their six-match winless run at home still seems pretty extraordinary considering the firepower they have within their title-winning ranks. Chelsea’s first league away match under Tuchel was an impressive win at Spurs – tempered by the fact that Tottenham were entering a dire run of form at the time – and they have not entirely convinced since, recording a narrow, hard-fought victory at bottom side Sheffield United and a draw at struggling Southampton on their travels.

Klopp sees more danger in Chelsea

Reading between the lines of Jurgen Klopp’s comments about Chelsea, the Liverpool boss could be interpreted as sensing more of an all-round threat from the visitors under Tuchel. Two quickfire second-half Sadio Mane goals gave his side a 2-0 win at Stamford Bridge when Frank Lampard was in the opposing technical area earlier this season, and Klopp’s conclusion that Chelsea have “changed maybe slightly” since then sounds like an expectation of a much stiffer test to those familiar with his coded diplomacy.

“It’s quite difficult to get more possession than Chelsea,” he said, perhaps with one eye on the elements of tactical mastery deployed by Tuchel in the superb 1-0 win his side earned at Atletico Madrid in the Champions League. “The full package is required, let me say it like this.” Sensibly, Klopp expects Chelsea to use a deep block and then remain patient when they have the ball, looking for counter-attacking opportunities and, if Tuchel has his way, showing a ruthless touch at the right moments in the final third.

Klopp could really do with solving the puzzle, though: a win would move Liverpool into the coveted fourth position that is needed to guarantee Champions League football via the league next season, and a point would take them level with fifth-placed Chelsea, trailing only on goal difference.

Dreams of Didier Drogba

Timo Werner’s statement this week that he wants to emulate Chelsea great Didier Drogba might seem as laughable as a comparison between a Ferrari and a kart, but it isn’t the Premier League newcomer’s fault that he is destined to be asked questions about Drogba once in a while. Tuchel acknowledges that inevitability, and also thinks that being a striker for Chelsea is difficult, which might come as a surprise to forwards around the world who don’t have the privilege of playing in front of creative players worth hundreds of millions of dollars every week.

We shouldn’t over-exaggerate how ineffective or otherwise the Germany forward has been during his debut campaign in England so far, though. Ten goals in all competitions and five in the Premier League far from justifies his huge price tag, yet there has been enough to suggest he will succeed at the club, including his acceptance of his need to improve and his willingness to work for the team.

In fact, Werner has scored one league goal more already this season than Drogba managed in his first at the club, and has already played one more game than the future Chelsea legend did during that campaign. Drogba hit double figures in the Premier League the following season before nearing a goal a game, on average, as he reached his peak in his third year.

Patience and loyalty with strikers is even more precious a commodity now than it was in Drogba’s heyday. At 24, Werner has plenty of time to aim for those heights and remains an investment rather than a finished article.

Are Chelsea too defensive under Tuchel?

If Klopp is more worried about revitalized Chelsea, it isn’t necessarily because of the attacking prowess being shown by Werner and friends. A conservative approach was required to secure that marvellous victory over Atletico, coming as part of a run that has seen Tuchel oversee little more than a goal a game across his tenure to date. No surprise, then, to see Tuchel on the defensive about being on the defensive in the build-up, and emphasizing that Werner – or whoever else plays as his No.9 – can expect an even more difficult task than usual against Liverpool.

“Whoever expects us to create 10 big chances and go out of this match with six expected goals has a high possibility to be hugely disappointed,” warned Tuchel, perhaps providing another reason for fans not to be desperate at being kept away from Anfield this evening. “Do we train always defensive? Not at all. We train always offensive and still we are a super-solid team, defensive-wise. It is very complex – how to be solid and still be capable of scoring, how to not just be offensive-thinking and open up three or four big chances for any opponent. We are on it and it is not so easy. If we find a solution, hopefully everybody will see it.”

Suffice to say, the approach under Lampard that was sometimes perceived as cavalier would be most likely to yield a repeat of the reverse fixture.

Allison tragedy again reminds that there is more to life than football

Liverpool captain Jordan Henderson has spoken about the importance of contextualizing the pressures of the Premier League in the aftershock of goalkeeper Alisson’s father drowning in a terrible incident in Brazil last week. “It is easy to talk about team spirit when the victories are flowing and it almost becomes natural to feel good about one another,” reflected Henderson. “But it matters most at times like this and every single one of the lads has given Ali the kind of love and solidarity that he needs so much right now.”

Klopp has acknowledged how difficult it is to find any words to adequately express his own thoughts on the tragedy. “The world has experienced too much loss recently,” said the philosophical coach, pledging ardent support for Allison as a “wonderful, loving, soulful teammate”. “We have other members of our club who have suffered it. In the city of Liverpool, throughout this country and around the globe, too many have had to deal with the agony of losing a person they love so much. Bereavement is too common just now.

“We must all give Ali as much time as he needs and we must give him space in the appropriate moments also. Our supporters should know that he feels their love and their compassion. I’ve used this phrase, or a version of it, many times previously: football can feel like the most important of the least important things in life. It feels appropriate again tonight. For Ali and all others who have suffered loss, this wonderful game of ours can still bring escape, energy and joy.”

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Gibraltar Open snooker results LIVE: Judd Trump through but Neil Robertson crashes out

The World Snooker Tour continues this week with the Gibraltar Open taking place, marking Stephen Hendry’s return to snooker for the first time in nine years although he suffered defeat in the first round. Judd Trump is looking to defend his title and claim his fifth ranking triumph of the 2020-21 season. Neither Ronnie O’Sullivan or John Higgins are playing in the event after contesting the Players Championship final last weekend. Express Sport provides live scores from the tournament, which is taking place in Milton Keynes.

Gibraltar Open LIVE scores

Thursday March 4

Second round (last 64 – best of seven frames)

Zhou Yuelong 1-4 Alexander Ursenbacher
David Lilley 3-4 Mitchell Mann
Hossein Vafaei 4-1 Allan Taylor
Kyren Wilson 4-0 Fan Zhengyi
Ricky Walden 4-3 Si Jiahui
Chen Zifan 4-3 Leo Fernandez
Chang Bingyu 1-4 Chris Wakelin
Ken Doherty 2-4 Mark Selby
Scott Donaldson 2-4 Joe Perry
Matthew Selt 4-3 Barry Hawkins
Zhao Xintong 4-2 Daniel Wells
Jack Lisowski 4-1 Jak Jones
Judd Trump 4-1 Sunny Akani
Tom Ford vs Jamie Jones
Andrew Higginson vs Stuart Carrington
Tian Pengfei vs Anthony Hamilton

Friday March 5

Second round (last 64 – best of seven frames)

Iulian Boiko vs Mark Allen
Aaron Hill vs Jamie Clarke
Shaun Murphy vs Luca Brecel
Pang Junxu vs Anthony McGill
Lei Peifan vs Dylan Emery
David Gilbert vs Jimmy Robertson
Lu Ning vs Jamie O’Neill
Rod Lawler vs Thepchaiya Un-Nooh
Liang Wengbo vs Robert Milkins
Mark J Williams vs Sohail Vahedi
Oliver Lines vs Fraser Patrick
Ben Woollaston vs Allister Carter
Jimmy White vs Stuart Bingham
Elliot Slessor vs Martin Gould
Alan McManus vs Zhao Jianbo
Xiao Guodong vs Jamie Wilson


Third round (last 32 – best of seven frames)

To be played Friday March 5/Saturday March 6

Fourth round (last 16 – best of seven frames)

To be played Saturday March 6

Quarter-finals (best of seven frames)

To be played Sunday March 7

Semi-finals (best of seven frames)

To be played Sunday March 7

Final (best of seven)

To be played Sunday March 7

Robertson dumped out

World No 3 Neil Robertson crashed out of the first round of the Gibraltar Open on Wednesday to 17-year-old Lei Peifan.

The Australian former world champion suffered a 4-2 loss to his Chinese opponent.

That came just days after Robertson said: “I don’t think the players lower down the rankings are practicing hard enough, especially the younger ones from the UK.

“A lot of tournaments they’re sort of partying, not putting in the hard work, all the time on Instagram checking their followers.

“You can’t be a top sportsman and do all that stuff, you have to put in the hard work.”

Hendry’s return ends in defeat

Stephen Hendry returned to the table for the first time in nine years on Tuesday to face good friend Matthew Selt but was dumped out 4-1.

The seven-time world champion hit a century break however and reflected afterwards: “I was generally quite happy because if you cut out unforced errors, you can do well.

“I thought Matt played fantastic. I can’t remember him missing a ball. It was a tough initiation back into it.

“My game isn’t good enough yet to qualify for the World Championship. I think there is work to be done. I’ve got about a month of practice to get it better.

“My safety has to be tighter and my long game has to be better. It’s not ready yet to qualify for the Crucible.”

Settlement reached allowing all high school sports to resume in California

The settlement allows all high school sports to resume in California. All players and sports will follow protocols put in place for college and professional sports.

SAN DIEGO COUNTY, Calif. — Organizers of the ‘Let Them Play’ announced a settlement has been reached in the lawsuit against the County of San Diego, The State Department of Health and Governor Gavin Newsom. The lawsuit was spearheaded by Scripps Ranch High School football coach Marlon Gardinera on behalf of his son.

The settlement allows all high school sports to resume in California. All players and sports will follow protocols put in place for college and professional sports.
The settlement also includes assistance for school districts regarding testing.
Coach Marlon Gardinera announced that there will be no out-of-pocket costs. Originally Governor Newsom said all sports testing would be provided, He since walked that statement back and said the state is only providing tests for football, water polo and rugby. However, the group has found a partnership to get all the testing that is needed. For more information on testing for high school sports, click here. 
Some spectators will be allowed in the stands to watch contests. As of now, each player will be able to have four immediate family members in attendance. 
A few weeks ago a judge sided with the suit, allowing youth sports to reopen in the county as long as teams follow the same safety protocols that college and professional sports teams are required to follow.
Gardinera told News 8 the settlement will have a statewide impact, and it includes a solution for testing high school student-athletes.
The announcement of the settlement will be made at 10 a.m. where organizers of ‘Let Them Play’ along with the lawyer involved in the suit will be in attendance.
The student’s lawsuit originally stated, “there is no medical evidence that competing in team sports is safe for college and/or professional athletes but not high school athletes.”
“Governor Newsom has favored professional sports and colleges and allowed them to play sports, but he has denied the same right to youths who are being irreparably harmed through his unequal application of the law,” said Brad Hensley, founder of Let Them Play CA, a group of 60,000+ student-athletes, parents and coaches in California fighting the ban on youth sports.
“We are hopeful that the court will determine that Gov. Newsom’s ban on youth sports is unconstitutional,” Hensley added. “We hope the lawsuit demonstrates to the court the State’s ban is arbitrary, irrational, and bears no relation to reducing the spread of, or remediating the risks posed by, COVID-19.”

Tuchel makes it 10: Chelsea’s run goes on as Premier League champions Liverpool lose five in a row at home for the first time ever

Thomas Tuchel has started his tenure as Chelsea boss by going 10 games unbeaten after his side won at Liverpool on Thursday, condemning the reigning champions to a fifth straight home defeat for the first time in their history.

Owner Roman Abramovich and his board of directors increasingly look to have found the right manager in Tuchel for their gifted and expensively assembled squad, although how much of a masterstroke the move can be considered on their part is debatable given that the 2020 Champions League finalist is thought not to have been their first choice to replace Frank Lampard in January.

Neither they nor the tactician will care after Chelsea earned a fifth clean sheet in sixth and a seventh win in nine in all competitions. There were murmurings on social media about his decision to leave Christian Pulisic and Kai Havertz on the bench, only for the mainstay of Chelsea’s midfield this season, England midfielder Mason Mount, to score a superb opener three minutes before half-time.

Collecting possession outside the Liverpool penalty area on the left, Mount pushed the ball to his right, outpacing the uncomfortable-looking Fabinho with apparent ease before bending an unstoppable shot into the left-hand corner of goalkeeper Allison’s net, ensuring that Liverpool would not build on the first clean sheet in eight they secured by beating bottom side Sheffield United on Sunday.

“It’s a massive win. Every win now is big,” a jovial Mount told Sky Sports afterwards, admitting that he had been pleased to score because of Chelsea’s concerns over not producing enough goals.

“We had to be brave, push forward and try to win the ball back up high. Most of the time their defensive line is quite high, and we tried to explore that.

“Me, Timo [Werner] and Hakim [Ziyech] tried to run in behind and in the end that paid off. I’m not the quickest but I have a yard of pace.

“We want to keep pushing. We’re in and around [the top four] and these are the games we want to win.”

Liverpool never really threatened. Home boss Jurgen Klopp emerged for the second half with his arms around Sadio Mane, hoping the livewire striker would recapture the kind of form that saw him score both goals when his side won 2-0 at Chelsea in September.

As it was, they did not have a shot on target all night, and Werner, who was denied a goal by a VAR decision and looked lively in attack with clever movement and rapid running, came closest to scoring a second, breaking free inside the penalty area on the left to shoot against the onrushing Allison’s legs during the second half.

“We had moments where we needed to suffer but we never lost the discipline, attitude, desire to defend, and also courage to defend upfront,” said Tuchel.

“When you play at Anfield, you cannot overthink. You have no time to think so we told the players, ‘we need your best performance but we need nothing extra, super-special.

“‘We need to do things on the highest level – precision in passing and distances, where we want the ball. We need to have courage if we want to escape the pressure.’

“We knew that we had to be top in all aspects of the game. They ask you a lot of questions and we needed to have the answers.”

Asked about the impact he has had in his early days at the club, Tuchel said: “I feel a big part of this group, of the whole club, from the first moments.

“We try to help in the best way possible and we are happy when the team show their qualities.”

Reds fans who feel they have missed out on the joy of congratulating their title-winning team at Anfield now have the consolation of knowing that they have not watched the worst run of home defeats in the club’s history.

Had they been able to attend home games this year, they would have seen one goal in six matches – a Mohamed Salah penalty in the 4-1 drubbing by Manchester City – as part of a run of more than 10 hours without a goal from open play.

Top scorer Salah failed to find the net for a third league match in a row, shaking his head in a visible show of frustration as he sat in the stands after being substituted with little more than 20 minutes of the second half played.

Having seen Liverpool slump from being eight points ahead of Manchester City at one stage to now sitting 22 points behind the league leaders, a jaded-looking Klopp said: “The individual quality of Mason, in that one situation, made the difference. It was a tight, intense game. Both teams had to invest a lot. That’s it, pretty much.

“I’d have to watch [the goal] back. I think we had enough players there, we were just too deep. When Mason comes inside, you cannot defend inside the box or around the six-yard box.

“You have to be in the area where they finish these situations. [Tottenham’s] Son does it like that, Mason does it like that, Sadio Mane does it like that. We didn’t do well there and the details decide these kind of games.

“It’s the quality of Chelsea, it’s the first time in a while that Fabinho played. A lot of things are there that you have to consider but… in the end, we conceded a goal, we made a mistake.

“Everything was really good until the final pass. You are close, but if you are not close enough then it’s not even a chance.

“I know we have lost a lot of games now. We know [that]. It’s not about Anfield or whatever. It happens too often in general. In the decisive moments, we have to improve.

“It’s a massive blow. If you lose that many games, you don’t have the right to go to the Champions League. That’s how it is: we have to win football games.”

Defender Andy Robertson did not sugar-coat Liverpool’s form. “We can’t rely on the past,” he warned. “Last season’s done, the season before is done. We’ve not been anywhere near good enough, the way a Liverpool team should be playing or picking up the results that we should be picking up.

“We need to sort that, we need to start winning games. If we do that, we might start climbing the table. It’s simply not good enough and, right now, games are running out.

“We need to start getting points on the board and putting pressure on the people above us. People will think we’re down and out and we need to start picking up results to show them that we’re not. Just now, we’re not doing that.”

Liverpool had gone 68 matches unbeaten at home before Burnley beat them in January. They are now seven without a win at Anfield, and their crisis is such that even third-bottom Fulham, battling to stay up and narrowly beaten by Tottenham earlier on Thursday, pose a conceivable threat when they visit on Sunday.

Only an early Tosin Adarabioyo own-goal gave Spurs victory after they survived late pressure from the hosts, and that will have been enough for manager Jose Mourinho, whose side have improved on a dire run of form with three wins in a week.

Elsewhere, Everton continued their fine season and temporarily went above Chelsea by winning 1-0 at second-bottom West Brom.

Brazil international Richarlison headed the 65th-minute winner for Carlo Ancelotti’s side, keeping them firmly in contention for the fourth-placed finish that Chelsea are chasing in pursuit of guaranteed Champions League football next season.
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Mesut Ozil stretchered off in nightmare Fenerbahce performance following Arsenal exit

And Ozil’s match took a turn for the worse in the second half when he was forced off the field on a stretcher.

Ozil appeared to roll his ankle following a challenge from Fredy and the former looked in serious pain.

He was unable to continue and had his head in his hands as he was stretchered off down the tunnel.

Fenerbahce did eventually find an equaliser with Enner Valencia scoring 10 minutes from the end.

‘You just have to do it’: Khabib Nurmagomedov reveals message Zlatan sent him before final UFC fight & offers from football clubs

Khabib Nurmagomedov has played a voice message sent to him by Zlatan Ibrahimovic before his fight against Justin Gaethje in October, revealing that he has been invited to Milan and received an offer from Turkish giants Fenerbahce.

AC Milan striker Ibrahimovic is a huge admirer of Russian hero Nurmagomedov, urging the football fan on before his emphatic defense of his UFC lightweight title against Gaethje in what he said was the final fight of his career.

Now Nurmagomedov has revealed what the Sweden legend told him and reiterated his potential interest in spending more time with top football clubs in an attempt to find more inspiring sporting challenges than his dominant UFC reign.

“If you feel young, you are young,” Ibrahimovic could be heard telling Nurmagomedov in the voicemail.

Warning: video contains swearing

“If you train hard, you train hard. And if you know that you are better than everyone, you are better than everyone.

“You just have to do it. People talk when you’re number one. They just want to find something that goes against you. It’s always the same s***.”

While 39-year-old Ibrahimovic has confounded his critics by rivaling the likes of Cristiano Ronaldo at the top of the scoring charts in Italian top flight Serie A, part of the shock around Nurmagomedov’s departure from competing in MMA is due to his age.

At 32, the fitness-loving Dagestani remains well within his prime and could conceivably continue to rule the sport for years, as UFC president Dana White is keen to persuade him.

“To be honest, I want to try something interesting,” Nurmagomedov told YouTube channel KraSava during a football session in the UAE, adding that he had received an offer from local club Al-Wasl, who were once managed by late Argentina legend Diego Maradona.

“Fenerbahce also offered to join them, Zlatan Ibrahimovic invited me to Milan. I’m bored with MMA. I want real competition.”
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