EPL

Burnley 0-1 Liverpool: Fabinho decisive as Reds keep City on their toes

By Sports Desk February 13, 2022

Liverpool continue to keep Premier League leaders Manchester City on their toes after claiming a slender 1-0 win at rock-bottom Burnley on Sunday.

City beat Norwich City 4-0 on Saturday to open up a 12-point gap at the top, but the Reds responded at Turf Moor by trimming that lead again, meaning they can still reduce the deficit to six if they win their game in hand.

It was by no means straightforward for Jurgen Klopp's men, however. Alisson was forced into several important saves in the first half as Burnley wasted numerous opportunities.

Liverpool had threatened as well and finally took the lead just before the break through Fabinho, and that ultimately proved decisive as the Reds did a far better job of controlling the contest after half-time.

In an entertaining opening 45, Alisson was the first of the two goalkeepers to be called into meaningful action by Josh Brownhill's 30-yard strike, before also denying Maxwel Cornet from close range.

Nick Pope then brilliantly got down to keep Naby Keita's effort out – Burnley countered from the resulting corner and should have scored, but Wout Weghorst's finish was poor.

Jay Rodriguez was the next to be thwarted by Alisson at point-blank range, with Sadio Mane then blasting at Pope from Trent Alexander-Arnold's delivery into the six-yard box a minute later.

Weghorst subsequently squandered another chance soon after and the Reds capitalised, Fabinho bundling over the line after Mane flicked on a corner.

Aside from a Ben Mee header, chances dried up drastically after the interval with the two teams' combined xG for the second half up to the 80th minute sitting at just 0.15.

Mee nearly turned a Salah pass into his own net late on and Diogo Jota saw an effort deflected wide when he looked destined to score, but it mattered not for the Reds.

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  • Toronto FC v Chicago Fire: Johnson excited to stay on with Reds Toronto FC v Chicago Fire: Johnson excited to stay on with Reds

    Sean Johnson is excited to extend his stay with Toronto FC, after penning a new contract with the club.

    The goalkeeper, who has been included in the United States’ squad for the Copa America, joined Toronto ahead of the 2023 season from New York City FC.

    While last season was a disappointment for the Reds, Toronto are sixth in the Eastern Conference, with 24 points from their 17 games so far in 2024.

    Johnson has kept four clean sheets in 12 MLS appearances, and his good form has been rewarded with a deal that will keep him with Toronto until the end of the 2026 campaign.

    Ahead of Toronto’s meeting with the Chicago Fire, Johnson told club media: “I am excited to extend my time in Toronto – the fans have welcomed me with open arms since arriving.

    “TFC has a rich history of success and I’m committed to giving everything to add some more special moments for the club and the city.”

    “We are happy to announce that Sean has signed an extension with Toronto as he has been an integral part of our evolution both on and off the field,” said Toronto general manager Jason Hernandez.

    “Sean will continue to provide us with the consistency and stability we will need in our group as we continue to push towards reaching our full potential. His leadership has been a fundamental aspect of our team’s identity, and we look forward to Sean helping our club achieve its goals in 2024 and beyond.”

    PLAYERS TO WATCH

    Toronto FC – Federico Bernardeschi

    Bernardeschi had a goal and an assist in Toronto’s draw with D.C. on June 1, taking his total to 11 goal contributions (seven goals, four assists) this season, one more than any Toronto player recorded during the 2023 campaign.

    Chicago Fire – Hugo Cuypers

    Cuypers scored one of the Fire’s two goals in their win over the Galaxy and has been involved in a goal in three straight MLS appearances. No player has been involved in a goal in four straight games for the Fire since Robert Beric in September-October 2020 (five straight).

    MATCH PREDICTION: TORONTO WIN

    Chicago snapped a nine-match winless run with a 2-1 home victory over the LA Galaxy on June 1. It was the Fire’s first multi-goal performance since their previous win, a 2-1 victory over Houston on April 6.

    Toronto have scored 33 goals in its last 11 matches in all competitions (W6 D2 L3). The Reds had totalled 32 goals in their previous 43 matches dating back to March 2023.

    The Reds are unbeaten in 12 straight home matches against the Fire (W7 D5) with Chicago’s last win in Toronto coming in 2012. This is Toronto’s longest home unbeaten run against any opponent in their MLS history.

    OPTA WIN PROBABILITY

    Toronto FC – 44.5%

    Chicago Fire – 28.7%

    Draw – 26.8%

  • Euro 2024 data dive: Rampant Germany claim biggest European Championships win Euro 2024 data dive: Rampant Germany claim biggest European Championships win

    Scotland were no match for Germany as the rampant Euro 2024 hosts made a dream start to the tournament on Friday.

    Florian Wirtz got the ball rolling in the 10th minute, becoming the youngest scorer of an opening goal at the European Championships in the tournament's history.

    The excellent Jamal Musiala soon made it 2-0, rifling home after he was set up by Kai Havertz inside the area.

    In Wirtz (21 years, 42 days) and Musiala (21 years, 109 days), Germany became the first team in European Championship history to have two players aged 21 or younger score in the same match.

    Havertz turned scorer when he slotted in from the penalty spot before half-time, with Scotland defender Ryan Porteous seeing red for a lunge on Ilkay Gundogan, after a VAR review.

    Porteous became the second Scottish player sent off at a major tournament, after Craig Burley in the 1998 World Cup against Morocco.

    It is the first time a player has been sent off in the opening game of the Euros since 2012, when both Sokratis (Greece) and Wojciech Szczesny (Poland) were dismissed in a 1-1 draw.

    Havertz's successfully converted spot-kick also ensured Germany went in at half-time 3-0 up – it is just the third time in European Championship history a team has scored three goals in the first half of a game, along with France vs Belgium in 1984 (3-0 at half-time) and France vs Iceland in 2016 (4-0 at half-time).

    Germany made their numerical advantage count to go on and secure the biggest win by a host nation in their opening match at a European Championship tournament, and their biggest victory ever at the Euros, with an own goal from Antonio Rudiger the only negative.

    Indeed, that own goal was kind to Scotland, who had only one shot, which they failed to get on target, and mustered an xG of only 0.01, in comparison to Germany's 2.17.

    It marks the first time Scotland have failed to have a shot on target in a major tournament match since 1992, when they faced the Netherlands in the Euros.

    Steve Clarke's team put in a sorry performance, and must now pick themselves up to face Switzerland. They will go into that match on Wednesday on the back of suffering their heaviest defeat at a major tournament since they lost 7-0 to Uruguay at the 1954 World Cup.

    Germany, meanwhile, already have one foot in the knockouts, and could get the job done by beating Hungary.

    Musiala really was sensational, completing five of his eight dribble attempts while also having six touches in the opponent's box – four more than Scotland managed altogether.

    And finally, this match was the first match in European Championship history to see a red card, a penalty scored and an own goal scored.

    Euro 2024 has started in style, even if Scotland fans will be in a hurry to forget this result.

  • Nagelsmann hails Germany for handling pressure, admits surprise at Scotland's slow start Nagelsmann hails Germany for handling pressure, admits surprise at Scotland's slow start

    Julian Nagelsmann hailed his Germany players for the way they handled the pressure of being Euro 2024 hosts in their 5-1 win over Scotland, adding he was surprised by the lack of aggression on show from Steve Clarke's men.

    Germany recorded the biggest opening-game win at a European Championship, with Florian Wirtz, Jamal Musiala, Kai Havertz, Niclas Fullkrug and Emre Can scoring.

    The result made Nagelsmann just the second coach to win his first Euros game by four or more goals, after Sweden's Lars Lagerback in 2004 (5-0 versus Bulgaria).

    It was also Germany's biggest victory at the Euros, and the first time Scotland had conceded five or more goals in a competitive game since they were trounced 6-0 by the Netherlands in a Euro 2004 qualifier 21 years ago.

    Germany endured a troubled build-up to their home tournament, with Nagelsmann only having eight games to prepare after Hansi Flick was sacked last year.

    He believes they did an excellent job of handling the pressure that comes with a home opener, telling ITV Sport: "I'm happy, I'm satisfied. 

    "In the first game as the home country… we looked back at the first games of the last tournaments and there can be a kind of pressure.

    "Especially in the first 20 minutes, we were brilliant, we had great ball possession and great counter-pressing. 

    "I was happy with the performance and we stayed focused for the whole game.

    "We conceded one goal, but in the end it's okay. Our players were complaining about conceding that goal, which is a good sign when we were already four goals in the lead."

    Scotland did not attempt a single shot on target and failed to register an effort of any kind until Scott McKenna forced an own goal off Antonio Rudiger in the 87th minute.

    Nagelsmann admits he was expecting more from Clarke's team, who found themselves three goals and a man down by half-time as Ryan Porteous was sent off for a horror challenge on Ilkay Gundogan. 

    "I was kind of surprised that Scotland weren't that aggressive in the first 20 minutes," Nagelsmann said.

    "I think they were surprised by our possession, which was really concentrated. They started the game very well and made one mistake in the first 15 minutes.

    "Then they were kind of surprised, kind of afraid. They felt we had players in the offensive row that could score goals so they defended low. 

    "They didn't make the high pressure like they sometimes did in the qualifiers. I think the first 20 minutes were the key to the game."

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