Rumours linking Neymar to Barcelona refuse to subside.

Neymar left Barcelona for Paris Saint-Germain in a world-record €222million transfer in 2017, but the Brazilian star wants to move back to Camp Nou.

Barca are desperate to make it happen by any means necessary.

 

TOP STORY – BARCA TO INVOKE CLAUSE IN NEYMAR PURSUIT

Barcelona are plotting an audacious plan to re-sign Neymar from Paris Saint-Germain, according to ESPN.

The report says LaLiga champions could invoke a little-known FIFA clause – Article 17 – in order to lure Neymar back to Camp Nou.

Article 17 states that players can leave their contracts "without just cause" once the three-year protection period ends.

 

ROUND-UP

Marc-Andre ter Stegen to leave Barca? The Germany international has been in contract negotiations with the Spanish giants, however, Sport says he is being tempted by Bayern Munich.

- Sport also claims that Barca have put Antoine Griezmann on the transfer market. It comes as Barca look to sign Inter's Lautaro Martinez at the end of the season, while keeping costs down amid the coronavirus pandemic. Manchester United, PSG, Chelsea and Arsenal are possible suitors for Griezmann. The same publication reports Barca's stars have agreed to take a pay cut to help the club deal with the COVID-19 crisis.

Real Madrid are interested in signing Wolves striker Raul Jimenez, AS reports. Madrid are eyeing a striker with Karim Benzema ageing and big-money recruit Luka Jovic so far failing to convince Zinedine Zidane. Mexico international Jimenez previously spent a year at Atletico Madrid in 2014-15.

- Gazzetta dello Sport says Arsenal and Tottenham are set to rival Serie A side Lazio for Liverpool defender Dejan Lovren.

- With Lovren set to leave, AS suggests Liverpool have lined up three possible replacements – RB Leipzig centre-back Dayot Upamecano, Atletico Madrid defender Jose Maria Gimenez and Inter's Alessandro Bastoni.

- Calciomercato says Mauro Icardi – on loan at PSG from Inter – wants to return to Italy at the end of the season amid strong links to Juventus. The Argentina striker is also open to joining Madrid.

Inter are working on a renewal to tie down star midfielder Marcelo Brozovic, reports Tuttosport. The Croatia international is contracted until 2022.

Juve, United and Barca are all tracking PSG's highly rated 17-year-old Edouard Michut, according to Calciomercato.

Liverpool fan Sean Cox has returned home almost two years after suffering life-changing injuries as a result of an attack outside Anfield.

The father-of-three was assaulted prior to the Champions League semi-final fixture against Roma in April 2018.

A Roma fan, Simone Mastrelli, was jailed for three and a half years in February 2019 after entering a guilty plea to unlawfully and maliciously inflicting grievous bodily harm.

Cox was left in a coma with serious brain injuries and underwent extensive rehabilitation.

A Facebook post from his wife Martina confirmed he had returned to his family home in County Meath.

"This is a day we as a family have been looking forward to for a long time," she wrote.

"While Sean still has a long road to travel, having him home with us is an incredibly important step as we come together as a family unit again.

"I can't thank enough those who have helped Sean along the way over the past two years. Without a doubt this support has made today possible.

"In particular, I would like to thank the incredible staff in Marymount Care Centre in Lucan for the care and support they have provided to Sean over the past number of months.

"At a time when staying at home takes on new meaning for all of us, it's clear that there is no other place that Sean would rather be."

March 22 is probably not a date that is circled in the calendars for South Africa cricket fans and Steven Gerrard.

Those of a Proteas persuasion will remember it as the day their rotten luck at Cricket World Cups began.

Whereas for Liverpool legend Gerrard it was the afternoon the red mist descended in one of the biggest club rivalries.

We take a look at the major events that happened on this day in sport.

 

1906 - The first rugby union international between France and England

The Parc des Prince hosted the inaugural Le Crunch as England defeated France 35-8, beginning a 16-game winless run in the fixture for Les Bleus.

A 24-17 victory for France in the Six Nations last month gave them their 41st win in the 106 meetings between the two nations.

England have beaten Les Bleus on 58 occasions, including in the Rugby World Cup semi-finals in 2003 and 2007. 

1992 - Proteas eliminated from Cricket World Cup in farcical fashion

No one does Cricket World Cup semi-final heartache quite like South Africa.

There was the dramatic 1999 tie against Australia that resulted in the Proteas being eliminated due to an inferior net run rate at the Super Six stage. Then, six years ago, Grant Elliott's heroics helped New Zealand reach the final.

But perhaps nothing compares to the farce of 1992, when South Africa fell foul of new rain rules.

When the heavens opened and play was stopped, South Africa needed 22 runs from 13 balls to beat England.

However, when they returned, the implementation of some bizarre rules meant they required an insurmountable 21 off one delivery. The rules were soon scrapped, but that was no shred of comfort to South Africa.

 

2015 - Steven Gerrard sent off 38 seconds after coming on against Manchester United

It was a case of 'Gone in 38 seconds' for Liverpool captain Gerrard five years ago as he made an unforgettable immediate impact.

Shortly after coming on as a half-time substitute in the Premier League match at Anfield, Gerrard stamped on Manchester United midfielder Ander Herrera, prompting referee Martin Atkinson to send him off the field moments after he had arrived.

"I need to accept it; the decision was right," Gerrard told Sky Sports after. "I've let down my team-mates and the fans."

United, who were leading 1-0 at the time, claimed a 2-1 victory thanks to Juan Mata's brace.

Football may be on hiatus in most of Europe and across the globe due to coronavirus, but Fabian Ruiz's future is still making headlines.

The Napoli and Spain star has established himself as one of the best midfielders on the continent since arriving from Real Betis in 2018.

Now, Liverpool are desperate to prise Fabian to Anfield but they have competition.

 

TOP STORY – REDS MAKE FABIAN TOP TARGET

Napoli midfielder Fabian Ruiz is Liverpool's top transfer target, reports The Express.

Fabian has attracted interest from his homeland, where LaLiga giants Barcelona and Real Madrid are battling for the Spain international's signature.

However, Premier League leaders Liverpool are ready to pay £74million (€80m) for Fabian.

 

ROUND-UP

- The Mirror says Manchester United – led by executive vice-chairman Ed Woodward – have re-opened talks with star midfielder Paul Pogba's agent Rino Raiola. It comes amid uncertainty over Pogba, who continues to be linked to Madrid and former club Juventus.

Zlatan Ibrahimovic will leave Milan at the end of the season, reports Sport Mediaset. The 38-year-old return to San Siro on a one-year and had been discussing a renewal before chief football officer Zvonimir Boban was sacked, angering the Swede.

Liverpool and Arsenal are among a number of clubs monitoring Eintracht Frankfurt's Evan Ndicka, claims Sky Sports. The defender has also been linked to Milan, Inter, Valencia and Sevilla.

- According to The Mirror, Chelsea, United, Arsenal and Tottenham have enquired about Barca's Philippe Coutinho, who is on loan at Bayern Munich.

United are confident of beating Borussia Dortmund to the signing of Birmingham City's 16-year-old sensation Jude Bellingham.

- Celtic striker Odsonne Edouard is being eyed by Arsenal, The Mirror reports, amid doubts over Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang. Aubameyang has been linked to Paris Saint-Germain and United.

Luckless Liverpool are in limbo as they bid to become champions of England for the first time in 30 years.

The Reds are 25 points clear at the top of the Premier League, needing only two more wins to clinch the title, yet the season has been suspended amid the coronavirus pandemic.

Jurgen Klopp's dominant side should have been sealing silverware on Saturday in their match against Crystal Palace but now instead must wait to see if the campaign can be completed at all.

Liverpool supporters might well feel they are cursed, and former goalkeeper Bruce Grobbelaar agreed last year as he splashed urine on the Anfield goalposts in an attempt to lift an apparent hex.

Such hoodoos are relatively commonplace in sport, though. We take a look at some notable examples.
 

LIVERPOOL (1990-present)

It seemed inconceivable when Liverpool won their 18th title in 1990 – an 11th in 18 seasons – that number 19 would not swiftly follow. But when Reds supporters mocked rivals Manchester United after their eighth success in 1993, with a banner that read, 'Come back when you've won 18', they were made to eat their words.

The Old Trafford club had 20 championships by the time manager Alex Ferguson departed, a 2009 United banner teasing: 'You told us to come back when we've won 18 – we are back'.

Indeed, Liverpool were runners-up to United in 2008-09, as Rafael Benitez infamously went public with criticism of Ferguson. Even when the Scot retired and United slumped in 2013-14, Liverpool collapsed on the home straight and were pipped by Manchester City, who denied them again last season.

This is surely now their year – as long as the campaign does indeed resume.

BOSTON RED SOX (1918-2004)

Liverpool might find some comfort in the knowledge their owner has experience in ending curses for sporting giants.

John W Henry took over the Boston Red Sox in 2002 with the aim of finally ending the Curse of the Bambino, which stemmed from the team's sale of star player Babe Ruth to rivals the New York Yankees some 83 years earlier.

Ruth had featured in three of Boston's five World Series triumphs and went on to win four more with the Yankees. Meanwhile, the Red Sox remarkably did not claim baseball's greatest prize again until 2004.

That miserable run was finally ended under Henry, though, after Boston had overturned a 3-0 deficit against the Yankees in the American League Championship Series.
 

ATLANTA, GEORGIA (1995-2018)

The city of Boston could at least be comforted by titles for the Patriots, the Celtics or the Bruins. Atlanta's distress crossed several sports in increasingly spectacular fashion.

The Atlanta Braves won the World Series just once in 1995 within a stretch that returned 15 straight division titles. Meanwhile, the Atlanta Falcons lost two Super Bowls, including a record-breaking collapse against Tom Brady's New England Patriots after leading 28-3. Even the University of Georgia ceded a big advantage to lose the College Football Playoff National Championship.

Atlanta United finally provided some respite with MLS Cup glory in 2018, and president Darren Eales told Stats Perform: "It was great to break the curse.

"It's been a long time since 1995 when the Braves won a championship. I'd heard so much in the week up to the game about Atlanta's curse in sport. I didn't get too excited until the referee blew his whistle."
 

DRAKE (2013-2019)

One of the more bizarre apparent curses of recent years related not to a team or a city but to a sole individual: Drake.

The Canadian rapper found an awful knack for backing athletes before big defeats. Serena Williams suffered a huge upset against Roberta Vinci at the US Open, where she had his support, while Anthony Joshua was pictured with Drake prior to his shock loss to Andy Ruiz Jr.

The Toronto Raptors fan came up with a solution for the 2019 NBA playoffs, however. Drake turned out in Philadelphia 76ers shorts as they dramatically lost to the Raptors, seemingly reversing the curse, before Toronto went on to beat the Golden State Warriors in the Finals.
 

BENFICA (1962-present)

Liverpool's is not the only ongoing 'curse' – and Benfica's is not set to end for another 42 years!

Head coach Bela Guttmann led the Portuguese giants to back-to-back European Cup successes in 1961 and 1962 but then left the club after reportedly asking for a pay rise. It is alleged he declared "not in a hundred years from now will Benfica ever be European champion".

So it has proven, as Benfica lost European Cup finals in 1963, 1965, 1968, 1988 and 1990 and then came up short in successive Europa League finals in 2013 and 2014.

As the world continues to battle against the coronavirus pandemic, football fans across the globe face another weekend scratching around for something to fill the void.

The domestic calendar in England was halted last week in a bid to reduce social gatherings and the Football Association confirmed its leagues would not return until at least the end of April.

While we cannot say for sure how this weekend's Premier League fixtures would have gone, our friends at Opta have come up with a system to predict the outcomes.

What chance would your team have had? Take a look below.

 

Predictor explainer:

The Opta Predictor estimates the probability of each match outcome (win, draw or loss) given each team's attacking and defensive quality. The team's attacking and defensive qualities are based on four years of historic results, with more weighting given to their most recent results. The model will take into account the quality of the opposition that a team scores or concedes against and reward them accordingly.


 

BURNLEY v WATFORD

Home win: 49 per cent
Draw: 26 per cent
Away win: 25 per cent

Watford may have handed Liverpool their first defeat of the Premier League season, but with just one victory in their past three visits to Turf Moor it is Burnley who are expected to win by the predictor. Sean Dyche's side have gone unbeaten in seven top-flight matches to move into a more comfortable position in the middle of the table.

CHELSEA v MANCHESTER CITY

Home win: 30 per cent
Draw: 24 per cent
Away win: 46 per cent

Manchester City are the pick to prevail at Stamford Bridge, a ground where Pep Guardiola has lost on two of his three Premier League visits. Kevin De Bruyne's winner in September 2017 fired City's charge to a 100-point title romp but goals from N'Golo Kante and David Luiz saw the Blues hand Guardiola's men the first league defeat of their triumphant 2018-19 campaign. Kante and De Bruyne were both on target when the sides met at the Etihad Stadium back in November, before Riyad Mahrez sealed a 2-1 comeback win for the hosts.

LEICESTER CITY v BRIGHTON

Home win: 62 per cent
Draw: 22 per cent
Away win: 16 per cent

Brighton won at Arsenal back in December, but that was just one of two away victories for the Seagulls so far in the Premier League this season, so their prospects at Leicester were inevitably looking bleak. After a worrying slump, Leicester looked to have rediscovered their mojo by the time the league ground to a halt, with Jamie Vardy back on the goal trail following a drought. Leicester’s nine wins at the King Power Stadium this term looked highly likely to become 10.

LIVERPOOL v CRYSTAL PALACE

Home win: 76 per cent win
Draw: 16 per cent
Away win: 8 per cent

A predicted triumph for Liverpool at Anfield is by no means a surprise given they are on a top-flight record of 22 straight home wins. With just an eight per cent chance of winning, Palace had the lowest chance of victory in this round of fixtures. However, with City predicted to come out on top against Chelsea, the Reds' wait to clinch the Premier League title would have continued.

MANCHESTER UNITED v SHEFFIELD UNITED

Home win: 48 per cent
Draw: 30 per cent
Away win: 22 per cent

The halt in football action came at a bad time for Manchester United, who were on a magnificent roll - 11 matches unbeaten with eight victories. The Opta predictor backed the hosts to continue that run, but at 48 per cent, a home win was seen as far from a certainty. Amid an amazing season, Sheffield United are just two points behind Ole Gunnar Solskjaer's men and at 30 per cent, it is the most likely contest on the matchday to end in a draw. That was also the outcome in a thrilling 3-3 draw at Bramall Lane in November.

NEWCASTLE UNITED v ASTON VILLA

Home win: 54 per cent
Draw: 24 per cent
Away win: 22 per cent

The predicted win for Newcastle is something Aston Villa – second from bottom and 10 points shy of Steve Bruce's men – could ill afford in reality. Newcastle are unbeaten in five matches at St James' Park, although that run includes three consecutive 0-0 draws. Villa have lost four in succession in the Premier League and only won three times in the top flight since beating the Magpies 2-0 in the corresponding fixture on November 25.

NORWICH CITY v EVERTON

Home win: 28 per cent
Draw: 26 per cent
Away win: 46 per cent

Norwich prop up the Premier League table and the predictor reflects as such, with Everton having a greater chance of victory on the road. The Toffees' last win at Carrow Road came in 2004, though, and Everton were beaten 2-0 at home by Daniel Farke's side back in November, Todd Cantwell and Dennis Srbeny with the goals at Goodison Park.

SOUTHAMPTON v ARSENAL

Home win: 28 per cent
Draw: 24 per cent
Away win: 48 per cent

Southampton’s resurgence during December and January had given way to a worrying patch of form over February and early March. Ralph Hasenhuttl's men did beat Aston Villa at home, but this Arsenal side under Mikel Arteta’s leadership are a different prospect to the team Saints held 2-2 in north London back in November. The Gunners are unbeaten in the Premier League in 2020, and they would have fancied claiming all three points on offer at St Mary's.

TOTTENHAM v WEST HAM

Home win: 70 per cent
Draw: 17 per cent
Away win: 13 per cent

The Hammers were not predicted to fare particularly well at the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium, but they did defy the odds with a 1-0 win at the same venue in April 2019, Michail Antonio scoring the winner. Tottenham were the victors in the reverse fixture this season, a 3-2 triumph in Jose Mourinho's first match in charge.

WOLVES V BOURNEMOUTH

Home win: 58 per cent
Draw: 23 per cent
Away win: 19 per cent

Wolves are unbeaten in all three of their Premier League matches against Bournemouth, including a 2-1 win in the reverse fixture, and the predictor has them as the more likely winners on this matchday. That would come as a welcome relief to Wolves, who have won just one of their last five home top-flight matches, while Eddie Howe's men would be primed for a seventh consecutive away loss.

The Premier League has been suspended until at least April 30 due to the coronavirus pandemic, so what does that mean for the rest of the season?

Decisions made by UEFA and CONMEBOL to push back Euro 2020 and the Copa America until 2021 opened the door for domestic competition to continue longer than initially planned.

Upon announcing a four-week extension to the initially planned hiatus on Thursday, the Football Association (FA) revealed it would allow its leagues to continue beyond the June 1 deadline set out in its regulations.

The eventual run-in could prove to be heavily congested. Some Premier League teams are still competing on three fronts, others possess a game in hand, while UEFA is still hoping for a round of international matches in June.

If no games are cut out, we look at how the calendar for English teams could hypothetically shape up if competitions across Europe were able to resume following April 30.

 

May 2/3 - Matchday 30

May 7 - Postponed Europa League last-16 first legs and unplayed matchday 29 games

May 9/10 - Matchday 31

May 12/13/14 - FA Cup quarter-finals

May 16/17 - Matchday 32

May 19/20/21 - Champions League and Europa League last-16 second legs

May 23/24 - Matchday 33

May 26/27/28 - Champions League and Europa League quarter-final first legs

May 30/31 - Matchday 34

June 2/3/4 - Champions League and Europa League quarter-final second legs

June 6/7 - Matchday 35

June 13/14 - International week

June 20/21 - Matchday 36

June 23/24/25 - Champions League and Europa League semi-final first legs

June 27/28 - Matchday 37

June 30/July 1/2 - FA Cup semi-finals

July 4 - Matchday 38

July 7/8/9 - Champions League and Europa League semi-final second legs

July 11 - FA Cup final

July 15 - Europa League final

July 18 - Champions League final

Things have not worked out for Philippe Coutinho since his big-money exit from Liverpool.

Coutinho failed to establish himself at LaLiga champions Barcelona, while the Brazilian star has struggled to convince during his loan spell with Bayern Munich.

Now, a Premier League club are reportedly ready to hand Coutinho a lifeline.

 

TOP STORY – CHELSEA LEAD COUTINHO RACE

Chelsea are favourites to bring Barcelona's Philippe Coutinho back to the Premier League, according to AS.

Coutinho left Liverpool for Barcelona in a deal reportedly worth €160million (£151m) in 2018, however, he has not been able to match the lofty heights he reached at Anfield.

The 27-year-old was shipped out to Bundesliga powerhouses Bayern Munich at the start of the season, and Frank Lampard's Chelsea have reportedly sounded out Barca about a transfer.

 

ROUND-UP

- Where will Paul Pogba be playing in 2020-21? Linked to former club Juventus and Real Madrid, Manchester United manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has previously insisted the Frenchman will be at Old Trafford next season. However, The Sun says United are now willing to sell Pogba for £100m (€105m).

United are desperate to beat Borussia Dortmund to Jude Bellingham's signature. Dortmund are reportedly favourites to sign Birmingham City's 16-year-old sensation. However, the Mirror claims United are prepared to outlay £30m to sign Bellingham, who toured the club's training facilities last week.

- Mundo Deportivo claims Barca are considering swap deals to facilitate the signings of Inter forward Lautaro Martinez and Paris Saint-Germain's Neymar. The report says Ousmane Dembele and Coutinho could be moved on.

- The Athletic says Liverpool are willing to pay RB Leipzig striker Timo Werner's release clause, but Barca are set to provide competition.

Chelsea are chasing CSKA Moscow striker Fedor Chalov, reports the Daily Star. Brighton and Hove Albion, West Ham and Crystal Palace are also interested.

- According to Gazzetta dello Sport, Gianluigi Donnarumma is happy to extend his Milan contract but CEO Ivan Gazidis is open to cashing in on the 21-year-old Italy goalkeeper.

Liverpool great John Barnes insists the Reds cannot be arbitrarily handed the Premier League title amid the coronavirus pandemic.

Barnes won the league with Liverpool in 1988 and 1990, the latter of which was the last time the club tasted top-flight success.

Jurgen Klopp's team are on the brink of ending that drought as they lead Manchester City by 25 points with nine games left to play.

But despite the huge advantage, Barnes is adamant the season must be completed in order for the Reds to receive the trophy.

"If you are going to give Liverpool the title, then who would get promoted and relegated?" Barnes told Sky Sports.

"You can't just give Liverpool the title because we are so far ahead.

"What would Leeds and West Brom say? What would Fulham say if they don't come up and you promote those two? Do the bottom three in the Premier League not get relegated?"

Barnes thinks UEFA made the right call on Tuesday by postponing Euro 2020 for a year to allow domestic seasons to conclude.

He feels the completion of the 2019-20 campaign must take precedent, even if it means skipping the 2020-21 season entirely.

"Safety is the most important thing so allow this season to take as long as it does, there's no need to rush back as you are delaying the Euros to 2021," added former England international Barnes.

"If you have to play one game a week from October, and mean the season goes on until next January or February, then you can kick-start the next season at the right time rather than play catch-up for years.

"It's a sensible decision with [the Euros] and I think delaying for a year was the only solution.

"Leagues have to be finished, not just from Liverpool's point of view or any other club in any country. It's obviously bigger than that, you are talking about promotion and relegation all the way down the divisions.

"So I think if the leagues can even be delayed - you don't have to rush back to them - maybe you have to write off a season. We don't know what's going to happen on April 3, maybe they delay it further.

"Even if we have to start in July or August, what we have to do is finish these games even if it takes up until December, which writes off the [next] season.

"These are desperate times and this is an unusual circumstance."

The varied character traits of Jurgen Klopp have been laid bare by a one-time colleague who described the Liverpool boss as "crazy" and "egocentric", but also "special".

Those are the words of former Borussia Dortmund physiotherapist Frank Zollner, who was at the Bundesliga club for 17 years and worked with Klopp at Signal Iduna Park.

Klopp has since guided Liverpool to a Champions League title and, prior to the coronavirus outbreak, was on the brink of delivering the Reds’ first top-flight crown in 30 years.

Reflecting on his experiences with Klopp, Zollner recalled a man with a changing temperament.

"He's a special guy," Zollner told Goal and SPOX of Klopp. "There were so many days when you'd think: 'Great guy!', but sometimes you'd think: 'What an egocentric!'.

"One time, Jakub Blaszczykowski called me when he was coming back from the [Poland] national team. He said he couldn't train because of a muscle injury but would still come to the team meeting.

"Before the meeting, I went to Klopp with Kuba [Blaszczykowski] and told him what was going on. He then went pretty crazy, probably because he had only just learned about Kuba's injury at that moment.

"Zeljko Buvac [Klopp's former assistant] would often appear at such moments and say: 'Kloppo, smoke a cigarette now and calm down!'. He was one of the best assistant coaches I've ever worked under. But Kloppo had the balls to apologise when the way he treated someone was too much."

The coronavirus crisis continues to challenge decision-makers in football's corridors of power and could soon leave some of the game's biggest clubs facing contract conundrums.

Manchester United, Milan and Paris Saint-Germain are among the major European outfits who are due to farewell high-profile players when free agency comes into force on June 30.

Domestic leagues across the world appear increasingly likely to run beyond that deadline, meaning sides up and down the divisions could be forced to renegotiate deals beyond the typical expiry date.

It remains to be seen how governing bodies will approach the unfamiliar territory but Edinson Cavani, Mario Gotze and Zlatan Ibrahimovic will be watching closely like dozens more across Europe's top five leagues.

These are the stars and solid supporting cast members whose contract situations are worth monitoring in England, France, Germany, Italy and Spain.

LaLiga

Athletic Bilbao: Aritz Aduriz (retiring), Benat, Mikel San Jose
Atletico Madrid: Antonio Adan
Espanyol: Ander Iturraspe
Granada: Roberto Soldado
Real Valladolid: Hatem Ben Arfa
Sevilla: Ever Banega (joining Al Shabab at end of contract), Nolito
Valencia: Ezequiel Garay
Villarreal: Santi Cazorla 

Premier League

Bournemouth: Ryan Fraser
Burnley: Joe Hart
Chelsea: Olivier Giroud, Pedro, Willian
Liverpool: Adam Lallana, Nathaniel Clyne
Manchester City: David Silva (confirmed he will leave at end of contract)
Manchester United: Nemanja Matic, Timothy Fosu-Mensah, Odion Ighalo (loan ends)
Newcastle United: Matty Longstaff
Tottenham: Jan Vertonghen, Japhet Tanganga

Serie A

Atalanta: Jose Luis Palomino
Hellas Verona: Fabio Borini
Inter: Ashley Young
Juventus: Gianluigi Buffon
Milan: Lucas Biglia, Giacomo Bonaventura, Zlatan Ibrahimovic
Napoli: Jose Callejon, Dries Mertens

Bundesliga

Bayer Leverkusen: Charles Aranguiz
Borussia Dortmund: Mario Gotze, Lukasz Piszczek
Hertha Berlin: Salomon Kalou
Schalke: Benjamin Stambouli
Wolfsburg: Robin Knoche

Ligue 1

Lille: Loic Remy
Monaco: Jemerson
Nice: Walter Benitez, Arnaud Lusamba
Paris Saint-Germain: Edinson Cavani, Thomas Meunier, Tanguy Kouassi, Layvin Kurzawa, Thiago Silva

Liverpool cannot be handed the Premier League title if the season is not completed due to the coronavirus pandemic, according to Alan Shearer.

Debate has already started over what should happen if the Premier League, which has been suspended until April 3, cannot resume.

Liverpool are 25 points clear at the top – Manchester City have played one game less – with nine matches remaining in their season.

But Shearer, the top goalscorer in Premier League history, said there was no way Liverpool should be crowned champions if the campaign was not completed.

"If, and it is a huge if, the season cannot be completed then there is no way you can have a winner or loser," he wrote in The Sun.

"As harsh and as horrible as that would be for some clubs, none more so than Liverpool, it is the only outcome.

"If you cannot complete the fixtures then you cannot go handing out titles or consider relegating anybody."

Liverpool are just two wins away from wrapping up what would be their first league title since 1990.

But Shearer said while it was obvious Jurgen Klopp's men were set for the title, it could not be awarded.

"For Liverpool, it would be incredibly harsh," he continued.

"But I cannot see how it would be fair to hand them the title – despite the fact it is obvious nobody is going to catch them.

"They only need six points to wrap it up but they haven't got them yet so for that reason it has to be declared null and void.

"It would be very different if the season was suspended after they had got the points to win it.

"But they haven't and however horrible a scenario it would be, it's the only option."

Karren Brady has hit back after she was criticised for suggesting the Premier League season should be declared null and void, saying she was merely thinking of players and fans amid the coronavirus pandemic.

The West Ham vice-chairman was accused of putting her own club's interests first in her initial comments, made in a newspaper column, with the Hammers only outside the Premier League relegation zone by virtue of goal difference.

Her suggestion riled Liverpool supporters in particular, given the expectation they will claim their first league title in 30 years should the season be completed, and former Reds defender Jamie Carragher was among those to express disdain for her suggestion.

But Brady defended herself on Twitter on Sunday, saying: "Everyone agrees that LFC deserve to win the title.

"The Premier League and EFL are doing all we can to ensure the season is finished. Including suspending games, isolating players, and if required playing games behind closed doors and into the summer months.

"My point was safety of fans, players, staff come first and if the remaining games just cannot be played the only fair and reasonable thing is to declare [the] season null and void."

Matches in the Premier League and EFL have been suspended until April 3 at the earliest, with most top-tier clubs facing nine remaining fixtures.

Brady indicated that she feels awarding Liverpool the title, or indeed relegating the clubs currently in the bottom three, would be unjust if the remaining fixtures cannot be fulfilled.

She added: "Who knows who would have gone down or come up if the PL/EFL games have not actually been played in full?"

Sports stars were coming to terms on Sunday with another day of being sidelined amid the coronavirus pandemic.

Competitions including the Premier League, the NBA and Formula One were off as sport attempts to combat the spread of the virus.

There have been over 160,000 confirmed cases and more than 6,000 deaths worldwide.

Without work to keep them busy, athletes were finding other ways to entertain themselves - and often posting evidence online.

Tyson Fury would not have been in boxing action this weekend, as it is just weeks since his stunning world heavyweight title defeat of Deontay Wilder, but he was still impacted by coronavirus.

The Briton had been set to run the Liverpool Half Marathon but was advised not to, amid the crisis.

That did little to stop Fury, though, who continued with the run at home instead, dressed as Batman with strength and conditioning coach Kristian Blacklock as his sidekick Robin.

In the United States, Giannis Antetokounmpo has been vocal in bemoaning his boredom while the NBA is paused, but the world received evidence of how he has been using his time.

The Greek Freak's girlfriend uploaded a video of the reigning MVP playing Deep Purple's Smoke on the Water on guitar, and the Milwaukee Bucks ace replied: "If anyone wants a guitarist for their group, I'm free. Inbox me for booking."

Elsewhere, Liverpool midfielder Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain stayed active this weekend.

His popstar girlfriend Perrie Edwards - a member of Little Mix - posted a video of the pair dancing at home with the caption: "Precautionary self isolation can be fun!"

Football's most famous popstar WAG had also featured in a social media post on Saturday.

David Beckham had been anticipating Inter Miami's first home match against his former club LA Galaxy before the 2020 MLS season was suspended.

Beckham instead took his family to see his expansion club's stadium, though, and wife Victoria was enjoying herself as the tannoy blasted out Spice Girls songs.

Robert Lewandowski and Gabriel Jesus shared clips of their workouts, but Dries Mertens' was a little different.

The Napoli star was filmed lifting a giant wine bottle in his exercises, posting the video with the caption: "My greatest advice in life, 'A little bit of wine is the solution to a lot of problems'."

And Barcelona B midfielder Riqui Puig joined a campaign to keep people in their homes in Spain, skilfully juggling toilet roll in an apparent reference to the stockpiling prompted by the virus.

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