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Watch film trailer on life of Mane - striker celebrates 28th birthday today

By April 10, 2020
Paul-Andre Walker

Paul-Andre is the Managing Editor at SportsMax.tv. He comes to the role with almost 20 years of experience as journalist. That experience includes all facets of media. He began as a sports Journalist in 2001, quickly moving into radio, where he was an editor before becoming a news editor and then an entertainment editor with one of the biggest media houses in the Caribbean.

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  • Wijnaldum slams 'unacceptable' Everton after Van Dijk injury Wijnaldum slams 'unacceptable' Everton after Van Dijk injury

    Liverpool's Georginio Wijnaldum has blasted Everton's conduct as "completely unacceptable" following injuries to Virgil van Dijk and Thiago Alcantara sustained in Saturday's Merseyside derby.

    Van Dijk is likely to miss most of the campaign after suffering anterior cruciate ligament damage following a wild challenge from Jordan Pickford in the 2-2 draw at Goodison Park.

    With Van Dijk having been flagged offside, Everton's goalkeeper did not receive any punishment for the tackle, while the Football Association confirmed on Monday that Pickford would not face retrospective action.

    Premier League leaders Everton did subsequently have a player sent off, with Richarlison seeing red for a lunge on Thiago late on, and the former Bayern Munich star has not made the trip to Amsterdam to face Ajax in the Champions League.

    Richarlison's red card was the 22nd sending off in a Merseyside derby in the Premier League era, with the Toffees having had 15 players dismissed.

    The incidents left a sour taste for Wijnaldum, with the Dutchman believing Everton – who had four players carded on Saturday compared to Liverpool's two – have a track record of being too robust in derbies.

    "Of course we are upset. The way Pickford went in was completely stupid," he said.

    "I believe he didn't want to injure Virgil, but the way he took the tackle, he didn't care. I think we've had it a lot in the games against Everton.

    "In my opinion, they take it way too far in the games we play against them. Sometimes you go a little over the top, but this was too much.

    "We can talk about the tackle from Richarlison, it was also a nasty one. That's what bothered me the most. Accidents can always happen, you can be unlucky, but the way they were doing it was completely unacceptable. It makes it harder that they don't get punished."

    While Richarlison issued an apology for his tackle on Thiago, it was confirmed on Sunday that Van Dijk will require surgery and Wijnaldum acknowledged that the squad are hugely concerned for their star defender.

    "First of all we're still devastated, it's also different than normal. The way it happened is really hard for us," he added.

    "Everyone has a really bad feeling about it. When we were speaking with the players after Saturday I think none of the players slept because of what happened with Virgil. It's a really hard one to take.

    "People will say that because Virgil is really important part of our team. He had really big performances, a really important player for us, a leader.

    "It's quite normal people will say that, but it's up to us. It's a situation we didn't deal with before, but it's what we have to deal with. Everyone can see what kind of impact he's had."

  • Klopp hits out at Carragher as Van Dijk injury fallout continues Klopp hits out at Carragher as Van Dijk injury fallout continues

    Jurgen Klopp has hit out at Jamie Carragher for suggesting Liverpool took a risk by going into the new campaign with just three senior centre-halves.

    The Reds boss opted against bring in another central defender after selling Dejan Lovren to Zenit over the summer, preferring to ask midfielder Fabinho to occasionally operate as back-up to Joe Gomez, Joel Matip and Virgil van Dijk.

    But, with the latter having sustained a serious knee injury during Saturday's trip to Everton, Klopp's options have already thinned significantly.

    That situation led Liverpool great Carragher, now a television pundit, to declare that his former club must enter the January transfer market to strengthen an area he believes was left "weak", with RB Leipzig's Dayot Upamecano his pick.

    However, Klopp has now angrily dismissed that assessment, and remained tight-lipped over whether the Reds are planning any January moves.

    Klopp said: "We went into the season with three centre-halves, Fabinho and young kids.

    "It’s difficult to have four world class centre-halves. It’s not a position you rotate. If anyone wants to tell us we made a mistake, I think Jamie Carragher. There is a reason why they don’t do this job, they do the other job.

    "It’s our situation. We will see how we react. We are still a little sensitive. We are in a completely different mood.

    "We know since yesterday our vice-captain and the best centre-half in the world will not play for us for a long time. For the future, I have no idea."

    Van Dijk's injury was the result of a poor challenge from Everton goalkeeper Jordan Pickford, which was neither punished by the referee nor video assistant referee, or indeed retrospectively.

    Thiago Alcantara also ended up on the wrong end of a red-card tackle from Richarlison late in the same game, and Klopp was clearly still angered by both situations, expressing frustration that Liverpool have been the only ones left to "deal with the consequences".

    Speaking ahead of Wednesday's Champions League match at Ajax, which Thiago will also miss, Klopp said: "You judge us, you judge everybody. A couple of days ago something happened that should not have happened in a football game. And it’s not the first time. I see it similar to my players.

    "Both challenges were difficult to accept. What we all can do is try to change these kind of things. I spoke the day after, it’s really hard for us, yes he’s a world-class player, injuries happen.

    "In the last four years, we were the leader of the fair play table. People make a joke about it.

    "In this game, a few things came together. I have to say, first the ref didn’t see it. Michael Oliver, I don’t understand – he had the best view. VAR forgets the rules.

    "As a human being, it’s not that I want a player to be punished, but it’s something we all agree on, you have to deal with the consequences. At the moment, only Virgil and Thiago have to deal with the consequences.

    "You keep all these stories up, I’m here for a Champions League. But you asked these questions. We didn’t do anything wrong in the game, or since then, but our players are the ones that suffer and it doesn’t feel right.

    "We all accept injuries can happen, but it should be in a normal challenge."

  • Man Utd and Liverpool in European Premier League talks - report Man Utd and Liverpool in European Premier League talks - report

    Liverpool and Manchester United are in talks over the creation of a breakaway European Premier League, according to a report by Sky News.

    The Premier League giants could be among as many as five English clubs to join the competition, and the report claims more than a dozen teams from England, France, Germany, Italy and Spain have been involved in negotiations.

    Wall Street bank JP Morgan is said to have prepared a $6billion (£4.6bn/€5.1bn) funding package to help launch the competition.

    Sky News said Manchester City, Chelsea, Arsenal and Tottenham had also been approached over joining.

    A Liverpool spokesperson offered no comment on the story when approached by Stats Perform, other than to describe it as "very speculative". City and United are yet to reply to requests for comment.

    FIFA was reported to have given its support to the proposals, although the president of world football's governing body, Gianni Infantino, said last December: "FIFA is not backing any project."

    UEFA has not gone on the record publicly over what appears to be a challenge to the supremacy of its Champions League. Its president, Aleksander Ceferin, last year condemned the concept of world leagues as "selfish and egotistical".

    European football's governing body posted an interestingly timed tweet as the European Premier League reports broke, flagging the confirmed destinations for the next four Champions League finals through to 2024.

    The existing Champions League structure is set to be revamped after the 2024 campaign, with plenty of posturing around the elite club game in Europe focused upon what shape this might take, although the backers of the European Premier League purportedly have ambitions to launch as early as 2022.

    The latest talk of a European league follows the failure of Project Big Picture in England, a raft of proposed reforms initially backed by Liverpool and United that would have sanctioned a substantial coronavirus bailout package and increased financial support for the English Football League in exchange for increased voting rights on Premier League matters for the 'big six' clubs.

    Following an emergency meeting last week, the Premier League said clubs had "unanimously agreed" that Project Big Picture would not be "endorsed or pursued", while committing to a strategic plan to examine the future funding of English football.

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