Wolves winger Adama Traore would have no problem forgetting his ties to Barcelona if a move to Real Madrid presented itself, though a return to Camp Nou appeals more.

Traore, 23, spent most of his formative years in Barca's academy and had been considered one of La Masia's crown jewels for a long time.

The rapid forward even made his first-team debut in LaLiga as a 17-year-old in November 2013, playing seven minutes in a 4-0 win over Granada.

Barca allowed him to leave for Aston Villa in 2015, with Traore revealing the following year he had become frustrated with a lack of development at the Catalan club, as they kept him in the second team instead of helping him push on.

Concerns over his footballing mindset and end product became apparent at Villa and persisted after moves to Middlesbrough and Wolves, but this season he has taken on a key role at Molineux, even earning a Spain call-up.

As such, talk of a move to a bigger club has surfaced in recent times, and he would not close the door on a potential switch to Madrid, even though it is not a priority.

"If I do not have the option of Barca and I have to go to Real Madrid, I do not close any doors," he said on La Sexta show Jugones, before hinting at a previous issue with La Blaugrana.

"There was a misunderstanding with Barca. Something happened that I didn't like, but I prefer to keep it for myself."

And while Traore is open to returning to Spain, he has a goal to achieve in the Premier League first.

"Yes, why not [return to Spain]," he said. "But I made a promise to become one of the best in England."

Liverpool cannot afford to take their foot off the gas in pursuit of a maiden Premier League title, according to midfielder Adam Lallana.

Jurgen Klopp's side restored their 13-point lead at the top of the table, with a game in hand still to play, courtesy of a slender 1-0 win over Wolves at Anfield on Sunday.

Sadio Mane scored the only goal of the game, the 42nd-minute strike awarded by the Video Assistant Referee after match official Anthony Taylor initially blew for handball against Lallana in the build-up.

Wolves then had a goal ruled out by VAR for a marginal offside against Jonny after Pedro Neto had fired home, while Diogo Jota had two good chances to score in the second half.

Lallana conceded Liverpool had to ride their luck to pick up a 10th league win in a row and has urged his team-mates to not become complacent.

"It was a massive three points, a gritty three points at times," he told Liverpool's official website.

"We'll look back when we analyse the game and we can do better, we can improve better mentally and physically. I think we can make life easier for us, keep the ball better.

"But that's the attitude we want to have. We don't want to just win and think, 'Ah, we got away with that'.  I think we can be better and I think it's important we have that attitude moving forward.

"We can't take our foot off the gas. We've got a couple of huge games at home in the next week - Sheffield United, who have had a fantastic season, and then the derby in the cup. 

"It's important we recover because we've had a few injuries and it's important that we get everybody back fit as quickly as possible. We want to maintain that form going into the New Year and keep Anfield a fortress."

Lallana made just his third league start of the season in the win over Wolves, coming into the side as the only change from the 4-0 win at Leicester City on Boxing Day.

And with youngsters Neco Williams, Harvey Elliott and Curtis Jones among the subs, Lallana talked up the importance of everyone chipping in over the coming weeks.

"It's a squad game and I've said before that we're going to need everybody," he said.

"We've got a few injuries at the time being and three or four kids on the bench - it's a great experience for them being involved and so close to what's been a special season so far."

Liverpool are investigating an alleged incident involving Wolves defender Jonny Castro Otto and a ball boy during Sunday's clash at Anfield.

The Spanish wing-back is reported to have made contact with the youngster when attempting to retrieve the ball during Wolves' contentious 1-0 Premier League defeat.

A short statement from the Reds said a probe has been launched.

"The club is aware of the incident and will follow established protocols in terms of gathering the relevant information," the statement read.

"While that process takes place we will be making no further comment."

Liverpool maintained their unbeaten record in the Premier League this season in a VAR-controversy filled fixture.

Sadio Mane's opener was allowed to stand having initially been ruled out for handball against Adam Lallana, while Wolves saw an equaliser from Pedro Neto chalked off by VAR with Jonny deemed offside by the narrowest of margins.

Jurgen Klopp's side lead the table by 13 points from nearest challengers Leicester City and have a game in hand.

Erling Haaland's decision to join Borussia Dortmund brought an end to one of Europe's most fascinating transfer stories.

Manchester United had been in the frame for his signature but were reportedly put off by a key demand from the striker's representatives.

As often seems to be the case for the Red Devils, Mino Raiola's involvement led to complications.



According to The Guardian, United abandoned their bid for the highly sought-after Haaland after learning of a request from his agent, Raiola, and father Alf-Inge Haaland.

The pair reportedly asked for a share of any future transfer fee for the 19-year-old, a stipulation the Old Trafford outfit were unwilling to meet despite their firm interest.

Haaland settled on Dortmund after the Bundesliga side activated his Salzburg buyout clause.

He had been linked to RB Leipzig, Juventus and several more top European clubs after emerging as a Champions League star.



- Haaland's arrival at Dortmund could lead LaLiga side  Atletico Madrid to narrow the transfer focus on Spanish striker Paco Alcacer, according to Marca. The former Barcelona player has struggled to cement a place in BVB's starting XI and represents a cheaper option in terms of wages than Paris Saint-Germain's Edinson Cavani, an apparent favourite of Diego Simeone.

- AS, meanwhile, reports on potential movements elsewhere in the Spanish capital. The newspaper claims Real Madrid are preparing to recall Jesus Vallejo from his loan spell at Wolves, with a view to finding him more playing time. That could lead to a short-term switch to Leganes or Eintracht Frankfurt.

- Juventus are close to extending Wojciech Szczesny's contract yet the Serie A champions remain admirers of Milan star Gianluigi Donnarumma and Barcelona's Marc-Andre ter Stegen, according to CalcioMercato.

- Tammy Abraham wants a better deal at Stamford Bridge but Chelsea are not yet prepared to accept his demand for parity with Callum Hudson-Odoi's £180,000 per week salary, reports The Athletic.

- Manchester City are set to beat Premier League rivals United, Arsenal and Liverpool to the January signing of Barcelona's teenage left-back Juan Larios, says the Daily Star.

Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp said the runaway Premier League leaders will not celebrate prematurely, insisting the title race is still not over.

The Reds will enter the New Year with a 13-point lead atop the table following Sunday's 1-0 victory over Wolves at Anfield.

Liverpool recorded a 17th successive Premier League home win and extended their unbeaten domestic run on Merseyside to 50 matches thanks to Sadio Mane's goal.

As Liverpool close in on a first league crown since 1990, Klopp told reporters his side are not getting carried away following 19 matches.

"I think our fans are exactly like the team is," said Klopp, whose Liverpool have won 18 and drawn one of their 19 league fixtures this season to be ahead of Leicester City and two-time reigning champions Manchester City.

"They are not interested in the moment. They don't want to celebrate now. They take it like it is. They dig in a game, like today, today I liked it a lot. All the fans were really in the game. This was a game where the crowd can be nervous, they weren't, so that's good.

"We are a unit so we fight until somebody says 'it's enough' and 'you have enough points' or not. We will see. But it's not about belief. If we were not confident it would be really crazy but it's not about knowing, or wanting to know, that it's already done. Imagine, really, if you asked me and I sat here and said 'yeah, actually, I think it's done'. But we still play of course but I think it's done. That would be really crazy.

"But, since five, six or seven weeks ago we are still asking that question constantly. And I, as a normal human being, have the same answer. Because it's not done. So discuss it if you want, ask me if you want, but don't expect a different answer."


Jurgen Klopp told Liverpool's players to expect another half-season of tight battles after a 1-0 victory over Wolves at Anfield moved them 13 points clear at the top of the Premier League.

Sadio Mane's goal proved the difference between the two teams as Liverpool survived a scare when Pedro Neto had an equaliser ruled out for offside following the latest in a string of controversial VAR rulings.

The Reds have played half of their fixtures for the season and look destined to win their first domestic league title for 30 years, but Klopp said the second half of the season would bring with it a shift in intensity.

"We are halfway there," Klopp told reporters. "We still have 19 games to play and probably 18 or 19 of them will be like this tonight, for different reasons.

"We will now face teams who fight for the league with all they have, then the fight for the Champions League and European spots is reopened again so they will fight with all they have and we have to be ready.

"Who cares about points in December? We just created a basis which we will work with from now on, that’s all."

Klopp underlined the importance of squad strength after seeing his players collect a 17th consecutive Premier League home victory and extend their unbeaten domestic run at Anfield to 50 matches.

The result means Liverpool can reflect on having won all but one of their nine matches in all competitions across the month of December, and Klopp praised the contribution of Naby Keita and James Milner from the bench in the second half against Wolves.

"Naby and Millie helped immediately, you could see that," said Klopp, who will prepare his players for the visit of Sheffield United at Anfield on Thursday.

"My God, Adam Lallana and Gini [Georginio Wijnaldum], what they played today effort-wise, miles-wise, was really great, but then fresh players there in the half-space helped obviously.

"Then we caused them problems again but didn't finish them off, it was not a game for two or three goals for us tonight, so we had to fight until the end. As I said, no problem with that."

Liverpool ended 2019 with a 13-point lead at the top of the Premier League after extending their unbeaten home record to 50 top-flight matches with victory over Wolves at Anfield.

It was a happy end to the year for the Reds' local rivals too, with Everton boss Carlo Ancelotti making it two wins from two games in charge as his side beat Newcastle United at St. James' Park.

But uncertainty reigned in north London as the decade in football came to a close, with Arsenal letting slip the lead as they lost at home to Chelsea, and Tottenham being held to a draw by struggling Norwich City.

Our Opta-powered review features all the key stats and facts from a fascinating weekend of action.


Dominic Calvert-Lewin's brace helped Everton to a 2-1 victory at Newcastle United and extended the Toffees' unbeaten Premier League run to five matches under caretaker boss Duncan Ferguson and new manager Carlo Ancelotti.

Calvert-Lewin netted either side of Fabian Schar's equaliser to take his tally to eight league goals this season and he is currently Everton's top scorer.

The result spread some additional festive cheer around the blue half of Merseyside following Everton's 1-0 win over Burnley on Boxing Day and made former Chelsea boss Ancelotti the fifth-fastest manager to reach 50 Premier League wins, doing so in his 78th match.

It was Newcastle's first home defeat in the league since the opening weekend, when Arsenal won 1-0 at St. James' Park, and Schar's goal was his sixth of 2019, making him the Magpies' top league scorer in the calendar year.


After falling behind to a Mario Vrancic goal in the 18th minute at Carrow Road, Tottenham dragged themselves back into the game only to be undone again by a Serge Aurier own goal.

Aurier's blunder was Tottenham's fourth own goal of 2019 - their most in a Premier League calendar year - but Harry Kane scored his 20th top-flight penalty for Spurs to earn his side a point from a 2-2 draw.

Earlier in the game Christian Eriksen scored his eighth direct free-kick for Tottenham to cancel out Vrancic's opener, netting from outside the penalty area for the 23rd time in a Spurs shirt.

Vrancic's strike came courtesy of an Emiliano Buendia assist, and only Kevin de Bruyne (70) has created more chances this season than Buendia's 57.


Mikel Arteta was on course for victory in his first home game in charge of Arsenal but a late Chelsea turnaround left the Gunners with their worst run of home results in 60 years.

The last time Arsenal lost four consecutive home matches in all competitions was in December 1959, but goals from Jorginho and Tammy Abraham condemned Arteta to his first defeat and forced the Emirates Stadium crowd to endure a fourth loss on the bounce.

Jorginho's goal came courtesy of an error from Bernd Leno, whose attempted punch failed and allowed the Italian midfielder an easy finish.

That was Leno's seventh error leading to a goal since August 2018 and he has committed more than any other Premier League player during that period.

Abraham's winner, scored through the legs of Leno, took his league goal tally to eight away from home this season and only Raheem Sterling and Jamie Vardy (nine each) have plundered more on the road.


Liverpool were made to work hard for three points by a Wolves side who were left feeling hard done by after their 1-0 defeat at Anfield on Sunday.

Sadio Mane's goal in the 42nd minute was all that separated the two teams at the final whistle, condemning Wolves to their first defeat in eight Premier League away games.

Pedro Neto had a goal ruled out for the tightest of offside rulings, meaning Wolves failed to score in a league away game for the first time since they drew 0-0 with Leicester City on the opening day of the season.

For Jurgen Klopp's men it was business as usual and they are now unbeaten in their last 50 home league games - only Chelsea (86 between 2004 and 2008) and Liverpool (63 between 1978 and 1980) have gone more than 50 home games without defeat in top-flight history before this team.

The result was Liverpool's 17th consecutive Premier League home victory, and only Manchester United (19, ending in October 2011) and Manchester City (20, ending in March 2012) have had longer winning home runs in the competition's history.

Exasperated Wolves captain Conor Coady declared VAR is "not working" after his side were on the wrong end of two decisions in a 1-0 Premier League defeat to Liverpool at Anfield.

Sadio Mane's decisive goal in the first half was ultimately awarded following a VAR review, with referee Anthony Taylor having initially penalised Adam Lallana for handball in the build-up.

However, Wolves, who had a goal of their own disallowed for offside shortly after Mane's strike, were adamant Virgil van Dijk had got away with a handball of his own before lofting a pass forward to Lallana.

"Decisions are killing us, it's constantly against us," Coady, who also felt Wolves were hard done by in their 3-2 win over Manchester City on Friday, told Sky Sports. "It's ridiculous. People talk about VAR but they don't ask us [the players] about the situation. For me, it's not working.

"I speak to Anthony Taylor during the game. He's a great fella to speak to, he really is, he's fine to speak to. But you ask him questions and you don't really get an answer.

"We thought Van Dijk had handballed it as well in the lead-up to the goal. That's what we thought. Then he [Taylor] tells me that Van Dijk is too far away. I can't get my head around it. Van Dijk plays the pass for the goal.

"He's a fantastic player, an unbelievable player and it's a brilliant pass, but, by the sounds of it, he handballed it. So I don't know where we're going wrong and what the confusion is, but for me it's not good, because that's twice on the spin now – against Liverpool and Manchester City, the two best teams on the planet."

Asked how VAR is affecting the game, Coady added: "The crowd don't like it. No one likes it. No one asks the players about it. They came in and did a presentation at the start of the season and told us what was going to happen, but it's still confusing, you still don't get your head around it.

"You don't get answers on the pitch, they'll tell you we are checking for a penalty, we're checking for a handball, we're checking for offside. Ok, so who is offside? [They say] we don't know. So how far offside? [They say] we don't know."

Referencing Pedro Neto's goal for Wolves that was disallowed when VAR adjudged Jonny Castro Otto to be offside in the build-up, Coady added: "I've just heard it's an armpit or something again, is it? Armpits are becoming quite the rage in the Premier League at the minute."

Virgil van Dijk says Liverpool "can still improve" after they ended 2019 with yet another win to open up a 13-point lead at the top of the Premier League.

Liverpool, who also have a game in hand on nearest rivals Leicester City, beat Wolves 1-0 at Anfield on Sunday thanks to Sadio Mane's first-half strike, which was awarded following a VAR review.

As a result, Jurgen Klopp's side have amassed a remarkable 55 points from a possible 57 at the halfway stage of the campaign, while their only league defeat in the calendar year came at Manchester City on January 3.

Liverpool have also won the Champions League, UEFA Super Cup and Club World Cup in 2019, yet Van Dijk told Sky Sports: "We feel like we can still improve and, the games we've played, we can do better, but we can't complain about the position we're in right now – 2019 has been very promising and hopefully we can keep it going and be positive and enjoy the ride.

"We want to just keep continuing what we are doing at the moment and then we'll see at the end of the road where we're gonna be."

Mane's goal was initially ruled out by referee Anthony Taylor for a handball by Adam Lallana, before VAR determined the ball had come off the midfielder's shoulder.

However, Wolves, who also had a goal of their own chalked off for offside by VAR, were apparently enraged by an incident earlier in the build-up, where the ball appeared to strike the arm of Van Dijk.

Asked if he had handled the ball, Van Dijk replied: "I need to see it back; I can't remember it clearly.

"I just heard from you guys that it was complaints [from Wolves] about apparently a handball. I thought it was complaints about a handball for Adam, but what can we do? The game is over, they made a decision and the goal stood."

Liverpool went 50 top-flight games unbeaten at home for the second time in their history after they beat Wolves 1-0 at Anfield on Sunday.

The runaway Premier League leaders extended the gap at the top to 13 points thanks to Sadio Mane's goal, albeit Wolves had an equaliser controversially disallowed by VAR.

It brings up a half-century of successive league matches at Anfield without a defeat for Jurgen Klopp's side, who have won 40 games and drawn the remaining 10 and last lost on home turf in the league in a 2-1 defeat to Crystal Palace in April 2017.

Liverpool have achieved the feat previously, going 63 league games unbeaten at home between 1978 and 1980.

The record such run is held by Chelsea, who did not lose any of 86 consecutive league matches at Stamford Bridge between 2004 and 2008.

Sunday's result also ensured the European champions lost just once in the Premier League in 2019 – a 2-1 defeat to Manchester City on January 3, in their first match of the year.

Liverpool will begin the new year leading the Premier League by 13 points, with a game in hand on nearest rivals Leicester City, after rounding off a sensational 2019 with a 1-0 victory over Wolves at Anfield in which they benefited from two VAR decisions in quick succession.

Sadio Mane's first-half goal ultimately secured an 18th win from 19 Premier League games for Jurgen Klopp's side, whose only dropped points so far this season came courtesy of a draw at Manchester United in October.

However, Mane's strike was only awarded after a VAR check, referee Anthony Taylor having initially penalised Adam Lallana for handball, and Wolves thought they had drawn level in first-half injury time, only for Pedro Neto's strike to be retrospectively ruled out for offside.

An aggrieved Wolves showed more ambition after falling behind, with Adama Traore and Raul Jimenez both introduced from the bench in the second period, but Liverpool goalkeeper Alisson had little to do as the hosts maintained their relentless form.

After winning the Champions League and Club World Cup this year, Liverpool will now enter 2020 as overwhelming favourites to end their 30-year wait for a domestic league title.

Mohamed Salah and Georginio Wijnaldum both fired over from presentable positions inside the Wolves box as Liverpool dominated the first period against opponents who were content to play a containing game less than 48 hours on from their 3-2 win over Manchester City, while a Roberto Firmino header flashed narrowly wide.

The Reds did find the breakthrough after 42 minutes when Lallana diverted Virgil van Dijk's lofted ball into Mane's path and the striker stroked home a first-time finish. After a lengthy delay, VAR ruled Lallana had not used his hand, the ball instead striking the top of his shoulder, although it also appeared the ball had hit Van Dijk on the arm earlier in the move.

Wolves' frustrations at the decision were soon heightened when Neto found the bottom-left corner from Jonny Castro Otto's deflected cross, only for VAR to once more rule against them, with the latter player adjudged offside by the narrowest of margins.

The visitors understandably took more chances after the break and Alisson was forced to stand firm at his near post after Diogo Jota had caught Van Dijk in possession before shooting powerfully at goal.

Although Liverpool's own threat faded, they faced few other moments of alarm until the closing minutes, when Joao Moutinho and Romain Saiss both shot wastefully over and Ruben Vinagre sliced an even better chance wide.


What does it mean? Liverpool round off 2019 in fitting fashion

This year will go down as one of Liverpool's most memorable, no mean feat for a club with such a history of success. As if a sixth European title and a maiden Club World Cup win were not enough, Klopp's side have been astonishingly consistent in domestic action, their only league defeat in the calendar year coming at Manchester City on January 3. Liverpool finished a point behind City with 97 points last term. They will surely not be beaten this time around.

Mane the man once again

Salah and Firmino both failed to take their first chances, but Mane was clinical for Liverpool's opener. The Senegal forward has been involved in 30 Premier League goals this year (24 goals, six assists), a tally only topped by Leicester's Jamie Vardy (34).

Dendoncker endures dismal day

Leandro Dendoncker completed fewer than half of his attempted passes and was particularly inaccurate in the opposition half before he was understandably withdrawn 13 minutes in the second half.

What's next?

Liverpool, who are now unbeaten in 50 home top-flight matches, welcome Sheffield United to Anfield on Thursday, while Wolves have one day fewer to recover before they face Watford at Vicarage Road.

Jordan Henderson clinched his status as the player with the most Premier League appearances in the 2010s when he lined up against Wolves on Sunday.

Liverpool's captain was selected in Jurgen Klopp's starting XI for the Anfield fixture, as the Reds looked to extend their lead at the top of the table.

It brought up a 308th appearance in the top flight since the start of 2010 for the 29-year-old, who made the move from Sunderland to Liverpool in 2011.

Team-mate James Milner, named as a substitute against Wolves, began the game with 306 Premier League appearances during this decade.

Watford goalkeeper Ben Foster has also played 306 Premier League games since January 1, 2010.

Could Gareth Bale's time in Madrid be coming to an end?

Linked to the Chinese Super League previously, former club Tottenham have emerged as a possible destination for Real Madrid's Bale.

A Spurs star could move in the opposite direction as part of the deal…



Tottenham want to bring Gareth Bale back to North London in a swap deal that would see want-away midfielder Christian Eriksen join Real Madrid, claims The Sun.

It is said that LaLiga giants Madrid would receive £25.7million (€30m) as well as Eriksen in a deal that could reunite Bale with the club he left in 2013.

Eriksen has been linked to Manchester United, Atletico Madrid, Juventus, Inter and other clubs in Europe as his contract runs out at the end of the season.


- Chelsea have pulled out of the race to sign Jadon Sancho from Borussia Dortmund, paving the way for the England winger to join Liverpool, according to the Daily Express. United and Madrid have also been linked to the 19-year-old.

United and Ligue 1 champions Paris Saint-Germain are in the race to sign Leicester City's in-form right-back Ricardo Pereira in January, according to the Daily Mail.

- Wolves' push for a top-five Premier League finish this season could be bolstered by the addition of South Korean forward Hwang Hee-chan, should the Molineux club persuade Salzburg to part with the £23m (€26.9m)-rated forward in a deal mooted by Sky Sports News.

- Sky in Germany reports that Werder Bremen are keen on re-signing Southampton defender Jannik Vestergaard in January.

- Le10sport claims PSG sounded out Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp as a possible replacement for Thomas Tuchel. The report says PSG sporting director Leonardo spoke to Klopp but the German made it clear he is happy at Anfield.

- Sky Sports News claims David Moyes is poised for a return to West Ham to replace Manuel Pellegrini following his sacking. Moyes spent a brief period in charge of West Ham in 2018.

Arsenal have set their sights on RB Leipzig centre-back Dayot Upamecano. A move for the 21-year-old depends on whether Leipzig can sign Tanguy Kouassi from PSG, according to Le Parisien.

Liverpool captain Jordan Henderson is available for his side's clash with Wolves on Sunday, according to manager Jurgen Klopp.

England midfielder Henderson suffered a kick on the shin in Liverpool's 4-0 victory at Leicester City on Boxing Day but Klopp described the injury as "only pain" as he confirmed the Reds have no new fitness concerns for the visit of Nuno Espirito Santo's in-form side.

The runaway Premier League leaders played a full-strength side at King Power Stadium, with Henderson alongside Naby Keita and Georginio Wijnaldum in Klopp's midfield three, and the Liverpool boss said the same squad of players would be in contention against Wolves.

Assessing his players' recovery, Klopp told the club's official website his charges were "quite OK", adding: "The boys we had available should be available again.

"The only problem is that we are training later this afternoon so I still have to wait for all the information, that's how it is in this period. But it looks like they should be all fine."

Henderson has started 14 of Liverpool's 18 league games this season, scoring once in October's 2-1 victory over Tottenham.

James Milner and Adam Lallana could feature against Wolves should Klopp choose to rest his skipper, but when asked whether Henderson is fit to be involved the Liverpool manager replied: "Yeah, it's only pain!"

Raul Jimenez hopes Wolves can repeat their upset win over Manchester City when they visit Liverpool on Sunday.

Wolves stunned City 3-2 in the Premier League on Friday, denting the champions' title chances while moving up to fifth in the table.

Jimenez, who scored the equaliser as Wolves came from 2-0 down, hopes his team can deliver again when they make the trip to Anfield.

"Why not?" the forward said, via the club's website, about repeating the result.

"It will be a tough game, but we know that."

Trailing 2-0 and playing against 10 men, Wolves scored through Adama Traore before Jimenez's equaliser and Matt Doherty's 89th-minute winner.

Jimenez praised his team, who also recorded a 2-0 win over City in October.

"It's never easy to come back from two goals, especially against a team like Manchester City," he said.

"It's difficult, but with our heart and our football, we knew this was a very good opportunity for us to win this game.

"It wasn't a perfect match, but we played very well against a very good team in Manchester City. It's difficult to win or even draw against them, but we've won both games.

"So, we are very excited, very happy, and we will enjoy this."

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