Former Liverpool winger Xherdan Shaqiri believes his old club can win the quadruple this season, as the EFL Cup winners prepare to host Inter in the Champions League.

The 30-year-old, who is now plying his trade in Major League Soccer after joining Chicago Fire in February, won the Champions League, Premier League, and FIFA Club World cup titles in a three-year spell at Anfield.

Jurgen Klopp's side defeated Chelsea to win the EFL Cup last month, and are preparing for a Champions League second-leg clash with the Italian champions, boasting a 2-0 lead from the first leg at San Siro.

With the Reds sitting just six points behind Premier League leaders Manchester City and advancing to the quarter-finals of the FA Cup, recent talk has surrounded the prospect of Klopp's men completing an unprecedented quadruple this term.

Shaqiri, who scored eight goals in 63 appearances for the club, has talked up their chances of doing so, as long as the Reds can keep their key players fit.

"They must do everything perfect, to win everything", Shaqiri told Sky Sports. 

"But if one team can do it, then for sure Liverpool is one of them.

"I think it's important to go from competition to competition, because there are so many with the Carabao [EFL Cup], FA Cup, and they are still in all of these competitions.

"Everyone needs to be fit and healthy, because injuries as you know are always difficult to deal with, but Liverpool have a great team and they dealt until now with everything.

"I'm really looking forward to the end of the season, [to see] how they're going to finish, but everything is possible." 

Liverpool's recent EFL Cup triumph represented the 10th major trophy of Klopp's coaching career, and the in-form Anfield side have not lost a game in any competition since a 1-0 reverse to Leicester City on December 28th. 

Georginio Wijnaldum only joined Paris Saint-Germain in June but is reportedly unsettled.

The 31-year-old Dutch midfielder had signed a three-year deal with the Parisians.

Wijnaldum has been linked with several clubs given his situation.

TOP STORY – VILLA PLOT WIJNALDUM MOVE

Steven Gerrard's Aston Villa are considering a move for PSG's Wijnaldum , claims Sport.

Gerrard is keeping tabs on ex-Liverpool midfielder Wijnaldum, who is reportedly ready to leave PSG whom he joined less than 12 months ago.

The Villans were quoted with a £21million price tag for Wijnaldum who is contracted until 2024.

 

ROUND-UP

- Marca claims that 35-year-old Luis Suarez will leave Atletico Madrid at the end of this season, with Inter, Ajax and Sevilla pursuing him along with unnamed Brazilian clubs.

- Newcastle United will table a £50m offer for Bayer Leverkusen's French winger Moussa Diaby,  according to the Mail. Leverkusen have set a £75m valuation for Diaby.

- PSG want to re-sign Italy international forward Moise Kean, who is currently on loan at Juventus from Everton, claims Calciomercato. Kean was on loan at PSG last season, netting 17 goals in 41 appearances.

- Football Insider reports that Arsenal are monitoring Aston Villa striker Ollie Watkins as a cut-price forward option if moves for Alexander Isak, Dominic Calvert-Lewin or Darwin Nunez fail to materialise.

Yimmi Chara scored a spectacular bicycle kick goal for the second game running as 10-man Portland Timbers drew 1-1 with LAFC in the MLS on Sunday.

Chara, whose acrobatic strike earned a 2-2 draw with reigning Supporters' Shield winners New England Revolution last week, netted in the 18th minute.

Christhian Paredes' effort was blocked by LAFC defender Mamadou Fall, with the loose ball falling towards Chara with his back to goal, with his bicycle strike looping over goalkeeper Maxime Crepeau.

Carlos Vela came closest to a first-half equalizer with a stinging left-foot strike which was well saved by Timbers goalkeeper Aljaz Ivacic with his outstretched right hand.

Portland lost Claudio Bravo in the 62nd minute after receiving his second booking and Fall made them pay with a 93rd-minute equaliser tapping in Brian Rodriguez' ball across goal,

Inter Miami were hammered 5-1 by Austin with doubles to Sebastian Driussi and substitute Ethan Finlay.

Austin raced to a 2-0 lead inside half an hour with strikes from Driussi and Julio Cascante, before Driussi tapped home a third early in the second half.

Gonzalo Higuain set up half-time substitute Leonardo Campana to pull one back before Finlay's late double rounded out an emphatic win.

FIFA has called for "swift justice" after Mexican football was shamed by a mass brawl between supporters in the Liga MX game between Queretaro and Atlas.

The world governing body said the violence was "barbaric" and "tragic", with 26 supporters reported to have been hospitalised after Saturday's top-flight fixture.

Violence broke out just beyond the hour mark at Estadio Corregidora, with visitors Atlas leading 1-0, forcing fans to stream onto the pitch to escape the trouble.

Any hope of restarting the match was extinguished as fighting spread around the upper bowl of the stadium.

Mexican newspaper El Universal reported three supporters were in a serious condition in hospital on Sunday, with a further three having been discharged. Quoting Mauricio Kuri, governor of the state of Queretaro, the report said two of those taken to hospital were women.

League authorities called off the weekend's remaining games, while Atlas executive president Jose Riestra said the episode was "truly unfortunate, very far from the values ​​that football represents".

Now FIFA has expressed its dismay and called for those responsible to be held to account.

In a statement on Sunday, it said: "FIFA is shocked at the tragic incident that took place at La Corregidora stadium in the city of Queretaro during the fixture between Queretaro and Atlas. The violence at the La Corregidora stadium was unacceptable and intolerable.

"FIFA joins the Mexican Football Association and CONCACAF in condemning this barbaric incident and encouraging the local authorities to bring swift justice to those responsible. Our thoughts are with all those who suffered its consequences.

"Once again FIFA would like to stress that violence should have absolutely no place in football and we will continue working with all parties to eradicate it from our game."

Kuri denied reports there had been deaths.

He said on Twitter: "I know that the images of the stadium are disturbing and that the names of people who are supposed to have died have been released; but today we confirm that fortunately they are ALIVE and receiving medical attention.

"We have no reason to lie, we will continue to make all verified information available to the public."

Kuri added: "This violent and angry minority does not represent Queretanos or our values. It is a tragedy that will be punished with the full weight of the law.

"Rest assured that we will handle the results with all transparency and clarity. We will not allow impunity to stain Queretaro."

Milan coach Stefano Pioli thinks Inter remain Scudetto favourites despite seeing his Rossoneri side beat Napoli 1-0 to go top of Serie A on Sunday.

Both teams knew they could breathe new life into their respective title challenges with a win at the Stadio Diego Armando Maradona, but it was the visitors who left with the victory.

Olivier Giroud's instinctive finish early in the second half following Davide Calabria's wayward shot proved decisive, that goal being enough to return Milan to the summit with 60 points, two clear of Inter.

But Inter do still have a game in hand, and as such Pioli recognises the defending champions have to still be considered the team to beat.

Speaking to DAZN after the game, Pioli said: "For sure, we've not done as well against the so-called smaller teams, however, we won't have many direct clashes [with title rivals].

"But since the calendar tells us we have many of these games to come, honestly we have to do more.

"It is clear that there are difficulties for everyone, we are not a perfect team. We have to show that we have learned the lessons [against lesser sides]. Attitude and quality will be important in the next matches.

"The favourites are still Inter. Inter are a very strong team and the standings are still virtual. I'm sorry that there are games left over to be played, it would be more correct if we had all played the same number of games at this point in the championship.

"We have to concentrate on getting a lot of points."

Giroud once again proved his value to Milan, with the Frenchman scoring his eighth Serie A goal despite starting just 12 games.

There were many who questioned his signing when Milan spent just €1million in acquiring him from Chelsea at the start of the season, but for Pioli there was never any doubt what Giroud could add.

"My idea and the club's idea was to include players of experience, who had already won something, who know what it means to work to win," Pioli added.

"There is always a great need for people with stature. A video call was enough for us to understand what a professional he was.

"The more players with charisma and personality you have – especially for us who have a very young team – the better."

Jan Oblak believes Atletico Madrid have turned a corner after battling to a 3-1 victory at Real Betis on Sunday.

Atleti followed up victories over Osasuna and Celta Vigo in LaLiga with three more points at Estadio Benito Villamarin to move above their opponents into fourth place.

Two goals for in-form Joao Felix, either side of Cristian Tello's equaliser deep in first-half stoppage time, was followed up by a late strike by Thomas Lemar.

After winning three league games in a row for the first time this term, Oblak feels confident his side can hold off the chasing pack and secure a Champions League berth.

"This is a different Atletico, we have to continue like this," Oblak told Movistar. "Only in this way can we reach the Champions League. 

"There's a long way to go. All the players and the coaching staff are involved in that. If we continue like this, we have no doubt [of finishing in the top four]."

 

Joao Felix has now scored four goals in his last four appearances in all competitions for Atletico, compared to three goals in his first 23 outings at club level this campaign.

He has scored two or more goals on five occasions for Los Colchoneros, though this is the first such occasion he has managed that since November 2020 against Cadiz.

While his output in front of goal has improved drastically in recent weeks, the Portugal international insists he has performed at a consistent level all campaign.

"Nothing has changed," he said. "I was also doing things well before, but goals were missing. Now they are arriving and I'm hoping to keep it up.

"As a team we are well-connected and clear about our objective. We are performing well and our attitude is good. When that is the case, the quality shows."

Atletico are two points better off than Betis, who slipped from third to fifth this weekend, and are level with Barcelona – 2-1 winners against Elche earlier on Sunday – in third.

Reflecting on a huge victory for his side with the pressure on, head coach Diego Simeone said: "We were facing a rival who is in a very good moment. 

"You have to play with humility, with the same spirit, and go game by game. We will now try to get better."

Joao Felix scored twice as Atletico Madrid beat Real Betis 3-1 at Estadio Benito Villamarin to climb above their opponents into fourth place in LaLiga.

Barcelona's 2-1 win over Elche earlier on Sunday had knocked Betis down to fourth, and Atleti were out of the Champions League qualification berths entirely.

That increased the pressure on Diego Simeone's men to pick up a third win in a row, and they went in front inside two minutes thanks to Joao Felix's tap-in.

Betis substitute Cristian Tello equalised from the final kick of the first half, but Joao Felix netted another just after the hour mark and Thomas Lemar sealed the win for Atleti late on.

Joao Felix opened his account from close range with just 74 seconds on the clock – Atleti's earliest league goal since July 2020 – after being picked out by Angel Correa.

The visitors wasted a big chance to add a second when Yannick Carrasco somehow failed to pick out either Joao Felix or Renan Lodi alongside him in a three-on-one attack.

Soon after Jose Maria Gimenez's headed clearance ricocheted off Paul Akouokou and flew over the bar, Tello had Betis on level terms with a curling first-time shot from 20 yards.

Gimenez headed against the base of the post for Simeone's side, who were having to adjust to losing Correa and Sime Vrsaljko to injury inside the opening half an hour.

Atleti restored their lead with 61 minutes on the clock through another simple finish for Joao Felix, this time after being teed up by Marcos Llorente.

Copa del Rey finalists Betis pushed for a leveller, but tiredness crept in and Antoine Griezmann pulled the ball back for Lemar to seal three vital points for Atletico in the 80th minute.

 

Olivier Giroud provided the decisive touch as Milan claimed a potentially vital victory in the Serie A title race, beating fellow Scudetto hopefuls Napoli 1-0 at Stadio Diego Armando Maradona.

Milan's record in Naples is dreadful, having gone into Sunday's clash with one win in their most recent 14 visits, but the rare success here put them back to the top of the table.

Both teams had penalty shouts controversially turned down inside the opening 15 minutes, though otherwise there were few major flashpoints in an even first half.

Proceedings opened up following Giroud's 49th-minute poacher's effort, yet Milan held firm to leave with a valuable win that puts them three points clear of Napoli and two ahead of Inter.

A ferocious start saw Amir Rrahmani blaze over from inside the box for the hosts and Milan's Ismael Bennacer have a penalty claim ignored after being nudged over by Kalidou Koulibaly inside the first five minutes.

Napoli then thought they were unfairly denied a spot-kick soon after, with Victor Osimhen seemingly tripped from behind by Fikayo Tomori in the box.

A closely contested first half finished goalless and the breakthrough arrived soon after the restart, Giroud instinctively turning in Davide Calabria's wayward shot.

Napoli substitute Adam Ounas almost levelled with 15 minutes to go when his curling left-footed effort went agonisingly wide.

Osimhen tested Mike Maignan from a tight angle following a surging run, and that proved to be the final chance for the hosts, who were fortunate not to concede again in stoppage time when Alexis Saelemaekers wasted a glorious opportunity.

Weston McKennie will not return to action for Juventus until next season, head coach Massimiliano Allegri has confirmed.

The United States international fractured the second and third metatarsals in his left foot during last week's 1-1 draw with Villarreal in the Champions League.

Juve announced the following day that McKennie would likely sit out the next eight weeks, meaning he would be back in time for the closing stages of the campaign.

However, speaking after Juve's 1-0 win over Spezia on Sunday, Allegri said he does not expect the 23-year-old to return to action again this term.

"The season is over for Weston because of his injury. He'll be back next season," Allegri told DAZN.

McKennie has featured in 28 of the Bianconeri's 39 matches this season in all competitions, his 1,954 minutes on the field the eighth most of any Juve outfield player.

The 23-year-old, who has four goals to his name, will also miss the USA's upcoming triple-header of World Cup qualifying fixtures.

Juve won in McKennie's absence against Spezia on Sunday thanks to Alvaro Morata's 21st-minute strike at the Allianz Stadium.

 

Morata slotted home the only goal of the game after being played in by Manuel Locatelli – the Spain striker's first Serie A goal since netting against Bologna on December 18.

The victory extends Juve's unbeaten run to 14 Serie A matches – their best such streak since March 2019 when going 31 without defeat – and tightens their hold on fourth place.

"It's always important for the forwards. I'm happy with the goal and the performance," Allegri said at his post-match news conference when asked about Morata's goal. 

"Today, after so many matches with the same players, all you have to do is congratulate the boys. It wasn't easy to win. We dropped in the second half. 

"For the first time we are mathematically fourth in the rankings. In the first half we had to finish the game, in the second it was normal that we would suffer a little."

Juventus have now won four Serie A matches by a 1-0 scoreline this season, a tally only sixth-placed Roma can better with five.

And the manner of this latest slender victory was particularly pleasing for Allegri.

"If you want to reach your objectives, you have to play these games with suffering and it was important to bring home the three points," he said. 

"I have never seen a team win every game easily. You get to the Champions League and all your targets through performances like this, winning 1-0 with suffering.

"People forget quickly in football, but in my five years we had a lot of 1-0 results spent sitting in our own half for the final 20 minutes. 

"The important thing is not to let anything go in those moments."

Xavi was left disappointed Barcelona's victory at Elche was not more comfortable despite an ending that prompted a heated discussion with his coaching counterpart.

Barca were forced to come from behind to prevail in Sunday's contest and stretch their unbeaten run in LaLiga to 11 matches.

Fidel gave Elche a 44th-minute lead at the end of a first half in which Frenkie De Jong saw an effort cleared off the line and another saved by Edgar Badia.

Ferran Torres' first league goal for Barca on the hour mark restored parity, but the Blaugrana needed a contentious Memphis Depay penalty to tilt the game in their favour, referee Alejandro Jose Hernandez Hernandez pointing to the spot in the 82nd minute after consultation with the VAR, adjudging Antonio Barragan had handled in the area.

Shortly after, Elche were left apoplectic as the ball struck Jordi Alba on the arm in the area, yet the referee was unmoved despite huge appeals for a penalty of their own.

Unused substitute Javier Pastore was sent off for his protestations, while Elche boss Francisco Rodriguez and striker Pere Milla were seen in an animated conversation with Xavi after the final whistle.

Asked what was happening during that exchange, Xavi replied: "Nothing, no more. Don't give it more importance. They are situations resulting from tension. 

"Better to talk about the match and the situations of the match itself. Maximum respect for Elche and Francisco. And with Pere Milla we even have friends in common."

He added: "I went into the break angry because I think we didn't deserve to lose at that moment. 

"Edgar Badia has made a great game. I was upset but I was hoping that if we attacked better, we could win the game. But I think we should have won by more than one goal."

Xavi's assessment is reflected by the statistics. Barca's expected goals (xG) tally of 4.2 was the fourth-highest for a team in a single LaLiga game this season. By contrast, Elche finished with an xG of 0.9.

The win took Barca third, placing the pressure on top-four rivals Real Betis and Atletico Madrid ahead of their meeting at the Benito Villamarin on Sunday.

Alvaro Morata scored the only goal of the game as in-form Juventus boosted their bid to qualify for the Champions League with a victory over Spezia.

Massimiliano Allegri's side headed into the clash at the Allianz Stadium on a 13-game unbeaten streak in the league and took the lead when Morata struck in the first half.

Spezia rarely troubled their hosts, barring an Emmanuel Gyasi second-half chance, as Juve moved six points clear of fifth-placed Atalanta, who fell to a 1-0 defeat at Roma on Saturday.

The Bianconeri are just five points adrift of leaders Inter, while they were four behind Napoli and Milan ahead of their clash later on Sunday.

 

A wayward Ivan Provedel pass after 21 minutes allowed Dusan Vlahovic and Manuel Locatelli to combine through the middle, with the latter finding Morata to coolly slot home.

Provedel somewhat atoned for his mistake with a smart stop to deny Juan Cuadrado, who was teed up by Arthur, as Juve dominated the first half.

An unmarked Gyasi should have restored parity after the interval, but he could only head into Wojciech Szczesny's hands from close range following Salvador Ferrer's delivery.

Spezia continued to grow into the encounter as they searched for a first league goal in three appearances in Piemonte, with Szczesny forced to keep out Kevin Agudelo's effort.

But Allegri's side defended resolutely to see out victory and make it 14 games unbeaten in Serie A - their longest such streak since December 2019 under Maurizio Sarri.

Roy Keane has questioned why Cristiano Ronaldo was omitted from Manchester United's squad for Sunday's derby showdown with Manchester City.

Ronaldo leads the scoring charts for United this term with 15 goals across all competitions, but he played no part against Premier League leaders City at the Etihad Stadium.

Ralf Rangnick put the Portugal international's absence for the contest down to a hip flexor injury that kept him out of training on Friday.

But former United midfielder Keane suggested there may be other reasons behind the five-time Ballon d'Or winner being left out by Rangnick for such an important game.

"There seems to be more to the Ronaldo story when a manager comes out and talks about a hip flexor... I don't get it," Keane told Sky Sports ahead of the match. 

"We talk about Ronaldo being a machine and very rarely getting injured but every now and again he comes out with that... a hip flexor? It doesn't add up to me.

"It's a surprise to hear Ronaldo has a hip injury but United have pace, quality. They still have important players and they still have to come out and play with pride."

Ronaldo had played in 30 of United's 37 games this term prior to the City game, a tally bettered only by Jadon Sancho (31), David de Gea (35) and Bruno Fernandes (36).

United had won 11 of the 20 Premier League games Ronaldo had featured in before Sunday, compared to two wins from the seven games he has not played a part in.

Luke Shaw and Raphael Varane also missed the City match after testing positive for coronavirus, while Edinson Cavani failed to recover from injury in time.

Arsenal boosted their Premier League top-four hopes with a 3-2 win at Watford, as Bukayo Saka starred in a match containing five terrific goals.

Martin Odegaard opened the scoring when he capped a scintillating move on five minutes, before Watford's Cucho Hernandez went one better with a fantastic overhead kick after 11 minutes.

The lively Saka finished into the top corner after half an hour, before Gabriel Martinelli wrapped up the three points by finishing sweetly from outside the area after the break – although Moussa Sissoko's late response did keep the Gunners on their toes.

Prior to Manchester United's derby against Manchester City later on Sunday, Arsenal moved up to fourth in their pursuit of Champions League qualification for the first time since 2016.

Watford had the ball in the net after just 17 seconds in a frantic opening, but Emmanuel Dennis was narrowly offside and the visitors took an early lead instead, with Odegaard finishing neatly on his left foot after playing a superb give-and-go with Saka.

The Hornets needed just six minutes to respond, however, as Hernandez met Kiko Femenia's right-wing cross in acrobatic style to give Aaron Ramsdale little chance.

After Ramsdale almost spilled Dennis' shot to Joao Pedro, Arsenal reclaimed the lead when Saka bent a shot into the top corner from Alexandre Lacazette's backheel.

Joan Laporta has denied that Barcelona have held negotiations with Erling Haaland to try to lure the Borussia Dortmund striker to Camp Nou.

It was reported by L'Esportiu that Barca head coach Xavi and sporting advisor Jordi Cruyff had travelled to Munich to meet Haaland this week.

Xavi did not deny meeting the sought-after Norway international, stating he "cannot give details" over a potential move for the 21-year-old and the Blaugrana are "working for the present and the future" in the transfer market.

Laporta insisted the Catalan giants would not engage in official talks with Haaland – who has a €75million release clause that kicks in at the end of this season – without Dortmund's permission.

The Barca president told reporters: "At Barça we don't negotiate with the player, when we have to negotiate we will do it with Borussia Dortmund if the circumstance arises. 

"Xavi hasn't denied it? Well, I categorically deny it. If we negotiate, we would do it with Borussia Dortmund. We are working on many players who can improve the squad next season according to what the coach, the director of football and the technical secretary say.

"We are working and planning, but not negotiating with players. Neither meeting nor negotiating."

 

But Laporta does not believe it would be an issue if Xavi has spoken to Haaland in Bavaria.

He added: "I am convinced that conversations can be held between athletes, they can talk about football, which is what they know.

"Coming to Barca is attractive because the team is under construction and they fall in love [with the club] because there are very young players, with a lot of talent, who have a present and a future, but the economic issues are valued by other people in the club."

Schalke have sacked Dimitrios Grammozis ahead of the run-in to the 2. Bundesliga campaign, with the club citing a loss of confidence in the coach's ability to earn them promotion this term.

Grammozis originally arrived in March last year as the successor to Christian Gross, but he was unable to keep Schalke in the Bundesliga with an 18th-placed finish.

The former Darmstadt coach was tasked with ensuring a swift return to the top flight this season, yet the seven-time German champions slipped six points off the automatic promotion places with Saturday's 4-3 defeat at home to Hansa Rostock.

Nils Froling's 95th-minute winner for Hansa also left Schalke four points behind Werder Bremen, who occupy the play-off place in third and have a game in hand.

Simon Terodde had equalised three times in scoring a hat-trick but could not rescue Schalke from a fourth home league defeat of the season – their most in a single 2. Bundesliga campaign.

"We have come to a point in the season where big decisions need to be made," sporting director Rouven Schroder noted in a statement on Grammozis' dismissal.

"We no longer believed that we would have a high chance of achieving our goal of returning to the Bundesliga with the current set-up.

"We therefore decided that the team needed a fresh impulse for the end of the season."

Grammozis was the fifth different coach to lead Schalke since Domenico Tedesco's departure in 2019.

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