BREAKING NEWS: Real Madrid and Liverpool to play repeat of last season's final in last 16

By Sports Desk November 07, 2022

Real Madrid and Liverpool will contest a repeat of last season's Champions League final during the round of 16 following Monday's draw.

Madrid reached the knockout stages as Group F winners, an outcome they will have been hoping would secure them a favourable tie.

But by being paired with Liverpool, Carlo Ancelotti's men were given arguably the hardest draw possible in what will be a repeat of the 2021-22 and 2017-18 finals.

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  • Joe Gomez knows trophies will not make Reds boss Jurgen Klopp change his mind Joe Gomez knows trophies will not make Reds boss Jurgen Klopp change his mind

    Liverpool defender Joe Gomez admits winning more trophies will not change manager Jurgen Klopp’s mind about leaving at the end of the season.

    Klopp rated the 1-0 Carabao Cup victory over Chelsea as “the most special” silverware he had won after his team overcame an injury crisis – 11 first-team absentees became 12 when Ryan Gravenberch was carried off after 30 minutes – to triumph with four academy players on the pitch at the end.

    The German was emotional as he celebrated on the pitch with his squad and backroom staff in front of their fans after being encouraged by matchwinner and captain Virgil van Dijk to join him in lifting the trophy at the presentation.

    But Gomez said even the manner in which they won the game, deep into extra time, and the scenes afterwards will not persuade Klopp to change his mind.

    “Nah, definitely not,” said the defender.

    “Understanding how long he’s been here, I think he knows he has done everything he can. He has won it all. Everyone respects his decision and we understand it.

    “He is one of the wisest men we know and when he says he’s ready, he’s ready. It is what it is, we can’t dwell on that, we just have to do him justice.”

    Asked whether there was extra incentive for the squad to give their much-loved boss a trophy-laden farewell – they are still competing in three other competitions – Gomez added: “It’s kind of like it is obvious, it doesn’t need to be spoken about.

    “Everyone knows about the importance and we get that aura anyway in team meetings at the minute.

    “We know it’s that last hurrah and we just want to give our all for him. We always did but now when the finishing line is in sight it adds that extra emphasis.

    “It’s special and hopefully it’s the first of a few we can get this year.”

    Liverpool currently lead the Premier League by a point from Manchester City and are one of the favourites for the FA Cup and Europa League as for the second time in three seasons they attempt to chase an unprecedented quadruple.

    Two years ago they finished with a domestic cup double, missing out on the title by a point and losing the Champions League final by a solitary Real Madrid goal, but Gomez is hoping they can do even better.

    “We don’t want to get ahead of ourselves but we are in every competition and we are going to try to win every game. That’s the target and we will go again,” he said.

    “We have a game again in three days (a home FA Cup tie against Southampton) so we’ll have to band the boys together and see what we can do.”

  • Luka Modric fires Real Madrid to victory over Sevilla with brilliant late winner Luka Modric fires Real Madrid to victory over Sevilla with brilliant late winner

    Luka Modric rolled back the years with a stunning late winner for Real Madrid against Sevilla and spoil Sergio Ramos’ return to the Santiago Bernabeu.

    The 38-year-old Modric – a 75th-minute substitute – had been on the pitch six minutes when he superbly controlled Loic Bade’s tired header and curled home from 20 yards to secure a 1-0 win.

    The goal was clouded in controversy, however, as Sevilla felt Antonio Rudiger was offside in the build-up, with replacement referee Carlos Fernandez Buergo adjudging that the German defender was not interfering with play.

    Modric’s former team-mate Ramos must have thought he would be part of a Sevilla clean sheet on his return to the club he represented 671 times and won 22 major honours for between 2005 and 2021.

    Lucas Vazquez saw his 10th-minute effort disallowed for offside on a largely frustrating night for Real.

    But Los Blancos finally found a way through to extend their LaLiga lead over Barcelona to eight points and nine to Girona, who have a game in hand against Rayo Vallecano on Monday.

    England midfielder Jude Bellingham was absent for a third successive Real game because of an ankle sprain, while Dani Carvajal and Eduardo Camavinga missed out through suspension.

    Sevilla should have been ahead inside eight minutes as Isaac Romero crossed and Youssef En-Nesyri smashed wide from 10 yards.

    There was almost instant controversy as Nacho went in to the back of En-Nesyri but play was allowed to continue.

    Vinicius Junior found Vazquez with a delightful pass and the former Spain international fired in off a post.

    Sevilla players were enraged that the game was not stopped for a foul on En-Nesyri and surrounded referee Isidro Diaz de Mera.

    Two minutes elapsed before Diaz de Mera went to the VAR monitor, booking an animated Real manager Carlo Ancelotti on his way, and eventually disallowed the goal.

    Sevilla’s organised 5-3-2 shape – with Ramos at the heart of the defence – caused further frustration as Real struggled to make headway.

    Brahim Diaz dribbled into the visitors’ penalty area for Aurelien Tchouameni to ripple the side-netting with a deflected attempt.

    Fede Valverde forced Sevilla goalkeeper Orjan Nyland to tip over in spectacular fashion and then scuffed against the post just after the break.

    The contest began to open up and Real goalkeeper Andriy Lunin denied Romero with an outstanding reaction stop.

    Real asked most of the second-half questions and Rodrygo shot wide after a fantastic run, while Nyland’s agility kept Vinicius at bay.

    There was a refereeing change as Diaz de Mera suffered a calf injury and fourth official Buergo took charge of LaLiga action for the first time.

    But the biggest alteration saw Modric strike an absolute beauty off a post and keep Real in command at the top.

  • Pep Guardiola still expects more from outstanding Phil Foden Pep Guardiola still expects more from outstanding Phil Foden

    Manchester City boss Pep Guardiola has lavished praise on “top-class” Phil Foden for his outstanding form, but insisted the attacker can still improve.

    Foden struck the only goal in Saturday’s 1-0 win at Bournemouth to move the Premier League champions to within one point of leaders Liverpool after 26 fixtures.

    It was Foden’s 16th effort in all competitions this campaign, which equals his previous best tally from the 2020-21 season and made it six goal involvements during February after he hit a hat-trick at Brentford earlier this month.

    “Forget about the goals. Of course they’re important, but do you know how he played? How he controls and accelerates. He has become already a top-class football player,” Guardiola explained.

    “He was before a little boy, good actions. Now he has become already a world-class top player. So good. He can play everywhere, especially in the central positions, which is really, really good.

    “In the middle, I think in the (Club) World Cup in Saudi Arabia, he play really good, he understand more the game. His work ethic and how he runs, everything. He has become a top, top class player.

    “He’s young and can improve. Always I had the feeling that Phil always had the sense of goal.

    “Always had this sense of he can score. I met him when he is 16-years-old, he train with us and a little bit like Cole Palmer, arrive there and always have the feeling they can score.

    “Phil has this incredible ability, this incredible ability to do it.”

    Foden’s latest decisive effort made it 15 wins from 17 matches for City who remain in the hunt to achieve another treble after last season’s Premier League, FA Cup and Champions League triumphs.

    Next up for Guardiola’s side is a trip to Luton on Tuesday for an FA Cup fifth-round tie, which is the final fixture of a busy February where they have juggled three competitions.

    City’s schedule shows no sign of easing though with league encounters to come against Manchester United, Liverpool and Arsenal in March.

    Guardiola added: “We are tired, but we recover. We’ll sleep good, we’ll eat good and we will be ready for Luton. We want to go through. I know it’s very difficult but it is what it is.

    “We played Champions League and all the teams have a long week in the Champions League because the schedule is there. (Then) we played against Brentford and Brentford is dentist. Going to the dentist without anaesthetic.

    “Do you know why we played against Brentford (last week)? We played the World Cup in Saudi Arabia, two games.

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    “I see the schedule, (every) three days and after Tuesday to Sunday, then we have Champions League and then we have another one. United, then maybe I don’t know FA Cup or Brighton, then after Liverpool, Arsenal, Aston Villa. So, yeah still we are there.

    “One point behind after being champions for everything. That is good. I don’t know what is going to happen with my players after they win everything, how they would react? Oh my god. Better than is possible. Impossible, impossible.

    “Every year it’s tough, but I love that it is tough. Okay, we accept it. We accept the challenge, that’s for sure.

    “We accept the challenge to be good. I know Arsenal and Liverpool, what a team they (both) are.

    “And step by step, as much as we are there, we can arrive the last games being there and everything can happen.

    “With these players, with this genetic personality and mentality, no matter what competition always they perform and give everything.”

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