EPL

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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  • Klopp eyeing perfect run-in from Champions League-chasing Liverpool Klopp eyeing perfect run-in from Champions League-chasing Liverpool

    Jurgen Klopp believes four wins from the final four games of the season will be enough to secure Liverpool a place in the Premier League top four.

    But the German is taking nothing for granted as his side ready themselves for a rescheduled visit to rivals Manchester United on Thursday evening.

    The Reds moved within six points of fourth-placed Leicester City with a game in hand on Saturday as they claimed a hard-fought 2-0 win over Southampton.

    Speaking at full-time, Klopp shared his belief that Champions League qualification remains in the champions' hands, though he does not expect earning the required results to be a straightforward task.

    "Yes. If we do that, I think it will be enough," he told Sky Sports. "But that's a big if. We play Manchester United on Thursday.

    "I know they play Tuesday and they play Sunday and they have a big schedule, but if you look at the squad they have, they can make changes, there's no doubt about that.

    "It's of course not good for them to play three games in a week. It's absolutely crazy, I really don't understand that. But it's how it is.

    "All the other games, we will see. If West Brom is still fighting for the league, Burnley maybe as well, all these kinds of things.

    "All the teams have their targets, and if they don't have the targets any more because they reached them already, then they can play completely without pressure – and that's not nice as well.

    "We will have pressure. As long as we win, we will have pressure, because then we can reach something. If not, then not."

    Thiago Alcantara later echoed his manager's sentiments, admitting that Liverpool are far from favourites to leapfrog Leicester and West Ham into fourth spot before the season's close.

    But the Spaniard, who grabbed his first goal for the club to seal victory over Southampton, promised that he and his team-mates will give everything in pursuit of that aim.

    Asked about his maiden strike, he said: "It's an amazing feeling.

    "But the most important thing is the three points and that we keep fighting for this small miracle that we can have.

    "We try to be as objective as possible. There is a very small chance, but I think we've had chances in the past.

    "The door is sometimes closed for us, but the window is open – so we try to get through the window."

  • Liverpool 2-0 Southampton: Mane and Thiago keep Reds in hunt for Champions League Liverpool 2-0 Southampton: Mane and Thiago keep Reds in hunt for Champions League

    Liverpool kept themselves in the hunt for a top-four Premier League finish as they earned a 2-0 win over Southampton at Anfield.

    Sadio Mane's 31st-minute header and a late Thiago Alcantara strike - his first for the club - proved the difference as the hosts ensured their slim hopes of clinching Champions League qualification remain alive.

    The Saints, meanwhile, failed to make themselves mathematically safe from relegation as they suffered defeat, though with 10 points separating them from 18th-placed Fulham, it is highly unlikely they will be dragged into the mix.

    Liverpool's last two outings - 1-1 draws against Leeds United and Newcastle United - were largely defined by a failure to take their opportunities, rather than any issues creating them.

    And Jurgen Klopp could have been forgiven for worrying that a familiar pattern was once again emerging as his team missed chance after chance in the opening 25 minutes.

    Mohamed Salah was guilty of twice finding Fraser Forster's gloves when he might have done better, while Diogo Jota and Mane each shot over from good positions.

    And when Alisson did brilliantly to close the angle on a Che Adams one-on-one created by Nathan Tella just after Georginio Wijnaldum hit the bar, it looked like the Reds were in for another forgettable outing.

    However, from the resulting attack, Liverpool went ahead, Salah sending in an inswinging cross that Mane simply could not fail to head home from close range.

    The fragility of that lead was underlined before the break when Tella headed straight at Alisson with the goal at his mercy, and the Brazilian needed to show sharp reactions again to deny substitute Michael Obafemi just past the hour mark as the Saints pushed.

    Clearly enjoying his starring role, the goalkeeper even gave himself another huge stop to make as he passed the ball to the feet of Adams before getting down to block the subsequent shot.

    A nervous finish could have been avoided had Mane stayed onside before lashing home a recycled ball beyond Forster late in the second half, but the hosts wrapped things up in the 90th minute through Thiago's low finish from the edge of the box.

    What does it mean? Reds still in top-four running

    Chelsea may well be out of reach for Liverpool as they look to sneak into the Champions League places late in the season, but Klopp's squad have every reason to believe they can catch Leicester City.

    The fading Foxes are now just six points ahead of the Reds having played a game more and must take on Manchester United, Chelsea and Tottenham in their final three games.

    Alisson the hero

    It always felt like Liverpool's goalkeeper could be in for a busy game with such an inexperienced centre-back pairing ahead of him, Nathaniel Phillips partnering Rhys Williams in defence.

    But the Brazilian was more than up to the task, with almost all of his six saves across the 90 minutes coming in situations where the opposing player looked the clear favourite to win the duel.

    Wijnaldum toils

    A Liverpool team that has prided itself on midfield solidity in recent years lacked that for large periods of this game, and the typically reliable Wijnaldum cannot escape his share of the blame for that.

    The Dutchman made just 41 passes, zero tackles and zero interceptions in an anonymous showing that perhaps shows why Klopp might be willing to let him go this summer.

    What's next?

    Southampton are back in action as early as Tuesday when they host Crystal Palace, while Liverpool head to Old Trafford on Thursday in order to fulfil their postponed meeting with bitter rivals Manchester United.

  • Barcelona, Real Madrid and Juventus hit out at 'unacceptable' UEFA warnings over Super League Barcelona, Real Madrid and Juventus hit out at 'unacceptable' UEFA warnings over Super League

    Barcelona, Real Madrid and Juventus have described warnings from UEFA as "intolerable" and "unacceptable" as the three clubs continue to back a breakaway European Super League.

    Spain's biggest two clubs and Italian outfit Juve are the only three remaining of the 12 European giants who signed up for the controversial project, with all others having withdrawn just days after the competition was announced last month.

    UEFA on Friday stated that Manchester United, Liverpool, Manchester City, Tottenham, Arsenal, Chelsea, Milan, Inter Milan and Atletico Madrid would not face Champions League or Europa League bans after pulling out of the proposed Super League.

    The governing body warned that the three remaining rebel clubs could be sanctioned due to their unwavering stance.

    UEFA stated: "UEFA has reserved all rights to take whatever action it deems appropriate against those clubs that have so far refused to renounce the so-called 'Super League'. The matter will promptly be referred to the competent UEFA disciplinary bodies."

    Barca, Madrid and Juve released a joint statement on Saturday to make it clear they are not happy with UEFA's actions.

    The statement said: "The founding clubs have suffered, and continue to suffer, unacceptable third-party pressures, threats, and offenses to abandon the project and therefore desist from their right and duty to provide solutions to the football ecosystem via concrete proposals and constructive dialogue.

    "This is intolerable under the rule of law and tribunals have already ruled in favour of the Super League proposal, ordering FIFA and UEFA to, either directly or through their affiliated bodies, refrain from taking any action which may hinder this initiative in any way while court proceedings are pending."

    The three clubs defended the Super League proposal by stating that "structural reforms are vital to ensure our sport remains appealing and survives in the long-term".

    They added that the founding clubs agreed that the new competition would only take place if it was "recognised by UEFA and/or FIFA or if, in accordance with applicable laws and regulations, it was deemed to be a competition duly compatible for all purposes with the continuity of the founding clubs in their respective domestic competitions".

    Juve, Barca and Madrid claim the Super League provided "a unique opportunity to offer fans around the world the best possible show and to reinforce global interest in the sport".

    The trio of clubs say they are "ready to reconsider the proposed approach" but it would be "highly irresponsible" if they abandoned a mission to "provide effective and sustainable answers to the existential questions that threaten the football industry".

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