football Sports News


Liverpool ensured the Premier League title race will go to the final day of the season by coming from behind to beat Southampton 2-1 at St Mary’s.

Joel Matip’s crucial second-half winner moved the Reds a single point behind leaders Manchester City to set up a tantalising finale on Sunday.

Jurgen Klopp’s men knew they had to be victorious on the south coast to remain in contention to become top-flight champions for only the second time in 32 years and were stunned by Nathan Redmond’s superb solo opener.

But the much-changed visitors controlled proceedings for almost the entire evening and levelled through former Saints loanee Takumi Minamino before Matip completed the turnaround with the aid of a deflection off Kyle Walker-Peters.

The Reds, who remain in contention for an unprecedented quadruple, will welcome Wolves to Anfield in five days’ time, hoping Steven Gerrard’s Aston Villa can do them a major favour away to City.

Defeat for 15th-placed Southampton was an eighth in 11 games.

Klopp bemoaned the scheduling of this must-win fixture due to it coming three days after the Reds’ gruelling FA Cup final win over Chelsea.

The German opted for nine changes from that penalty shoot-out success, with goalkeeper Alisson Becker and defender Ibrahima Konate the only men retained and Sadio Mane joining injured duo Virgil van Dijk and Mohamed Salah in being given the night off.

His rejigged side enjoyed plenty of early possession but were rocked by Redmond’s fine 13th-minute effort.

After Lyanco dispossessed Diogo Jota just outside Saints’ box, Redmond received the ball from Nathan Tella and ran almost half the length of the pitch before cutting in from the left and delightfully curling home from the edge of the area via a slight deflection off James Milner.

Klopp felt the robust challenge on Jota was a foul and he had cause for further frustration minutes later as Roberto Firmino’s precise headed finish from a Kostas Tsimikas free-kick was flagged for offside.

Choruses of ‘God Save the Queen’ rang out from sections of the home support following the fallout of Liverpool fans booing the national anthem at Wembley at the weekend before the visitors soon levelled.

Japan international Minamino claimed the 27th-minute equaliser, beating recalled Southampton goalkeeper Alex McCarthy at his near post with a powerful, rising drive into the roof of the net after being expertly slipped in by Jota.

Liverpool were forced into a change at the break as captain Jordan Henderson replaced the injured Joe Gomez, pushing the versatile Milner to right-back.

The enforced alteration had little impact on the flow of the game and, after going close through Jota and Harvey Elliott, the visitors decisively edged ahead in the 67th minute.

Tsimikas’ outswinging corner from the left was inadvertently flicked on by Saints winger Mohamed Elyounoussi and Matip held off Walker-Peters to send a looping header beyond McCarthy and into the right corner in front of the delirious travelling fans.

Southampton rarely threatened a costly equaliser, although Liverpool keeper Alisson fumbled a Redmond effort from distance late on.

football Sports News


Everton blew a chance to secure their Premier League status as Brentford twice came from behind to earn a 3-2 win against nine men at Goodison Park.

Leeds’ draw against Brighton meant victory for the Toffees would put an end to the spectre of a first relegation since 1951, and that seemed the most likely outcome when Dominic Calvert-Lewin marked his first start in five weeks with a 10th-minute opener.

But, in keeping with Everton’s season, things were not going to be that simple – Jarrad Branthwaite was sent off for a foul on Ivan Toney eight minutes later, and Brentford levelled through a Seamus Coleman own goal.

Though Richarlison restored Everton’s lead just before the break, the pressure told in the second half as two goals in three minutes from Yoane Wissa and Rico Henry gave Brentford their first league double over Everton since 1936, and left Frank Lampard’s side still only two points above the bottom three.

Everton’s misery was compounded by a late red card for substitute Salomon Rondon for a poor challenge on Henry.

It was a deflating afternoon for Everton fans, who had given their players a huge reception before the match, the team buses barely able to reach the doors of Goodison amid a fog of blue flares, but who left in their droves before the final whistle.

It had felt so different at the start. There were less than three minutes gone when Calvert-Lewin flicked the ball on, Anthony Gordon broke through and, when his shot was saved, Richarlison headed just wide.

When Gordon won a free-kick on the right, the academy product whipped in a low ball which found its way into the far corner of the net via a combination of Richarlison and Calvert-Lewin.

The roof almost came off the stadium but the mood changed eight minutes later.

Richarlison was appealing for a penalty for a shirt pull but Brentford pumped the ball long for Toney to run at goal. He got goal side of Branthwaite, who clipped his heels to earn a red card and give Brentford a free-kick that Christian Eriksen fired narrowly wide.

Everton were forced on to the back foot as Alex Iwobi shifted to right-back and Brentford pushed forward.

Mathias Jensen fired just wide after Andre Gomes fluffed a clearance but the pressure soon told – Wissa pinged in a cross and captain Coleman inadvertently turned the ball into his own net.

It threatened to unravel for Everton there and then as Bryan Mbeumo tested Jordan Pickford from range, but Richarlison is always a threat in any situation, and the Brazilian turned things around for his side again.

He barged his way into the box, was brought down by a combination of Mads Bech Sorensen and Kristoffer Ajer, and picked himself up to convert the penalty in first-half stoppage time.

Everton dropped deeper to defend after the break but Brentford soon found the gaps.

Toney could not get out of the way of a Jensen shot, taking a painful blow to the face for his troubles. Pickford then awkwardly punched an Eriksen free-kick into a crowd, grateful to see Iwobi hook it clear.

The pressure was telling. Vitalii Mykolenko squared up to Toney and appeared to thrust his head towards him, but Michael Oliver was content to give both players a talking to.

That was perhaps a let-off for Everton, but greater punishment was coming. Brentford levelled in the 62nd minute with Wissa meeting Eriksen’s corner at the near post to head home.

Everton fans were barely done venting their frustration at the poor marking when they saw worse – Henry getting free of Gordon to meet Christian Norgaard’s deep ball and power a header inside the far post, leaving Everton to look to their final fixtures against Crystal Palace and Arsenal for salvation.

football Slides Sports News


Alisson Becker was the spot-kick hero as Liverpool secured another penalty shoot-out triumph against Chelsea to win the FA Cup and keep their quest for an unprecedented quadruple alive.

Just 76 days after the Reds edged past Thomas Tuchel’s men on penalties following a scoreless Carabao Cup final, Wembley witnessed another gripping clash between these sides that went down to the wire.

Nothing could split them after 90 minutes and extra time again, with Alisson coming up trumps in the shoot-out as Liverpool won their first FA Cup since 2006.

Edouard Mendy prevented Sadio Mane striking the winner after Cesar Azpilicueta had hit the post, only for the Brazil goalkeeper to deny Mason Mount before Kostas Tsimikas struck to seal a 6-5 win.

While the quadruple may eventually prove out of reach given Manchester City’s Premier League advantage, Jurgen Klopp’s Reds still have a shot at Champions League glory to come as a superb season heads towards a memorable conclusion.

Wembley was rocking to Liverpool’s beat at full-time, just as it was in the opening minutes as they flew out the blocks.

But Chelsea saw out the early storm and began to ask questions at the other end in a first half that saw Reds star Mohamed Salah limp off injured.

Marcos Alonso’s audacious free-kick hit the bar during a rampant Chelsea start to a topsy-turvy second period, which ended with Luis Diaz and Andrew Robertson striking the post for Liverpool.

That pulsating half made way for a tepid period of extra time between exhausted sides that raised themselves for penalties, which ended with red smoke and Liverpool cheers filling the air.

football Sports News


Manchester City bounced back from their European heartbreak to move a step closer to retaining the Premier League title by thrashing Newcastle 5-0 on Sunday.

Raheem Sterling struck twice while Joao Cancelo, Rodri and Phil Foden were also on target at the Etihad Stadium as City powered three points clear of Liverpool at the top of the table.

The performance and result were an emphatic response after City’s Champions League hopes were shattered by Real Madrid’s dramatic semi-final fightback at the Bernabeu in midweek.

Many had wondered how Pep Guardiola would rouse his squad after that devastating loss but Liverpool’s failure to beat Tottenham on Saturday probably did his job for him.

With a chance to give themselves more breathing space, City looked vibrant from the outset.

Initially Newcastle met their fire with their own in a frantic opening and the visitors should have taken an early lead.

Chris Wood had a glorious opportunity as he was picked out unmarked by Alain Saint-Maximin but he headed tamely at Ederson.

A goal then might have set nerves jangling but City responded well with Aymeric Laporte and Cancelo both going close.

The hosts then claimed the lead in the 19th minute after a fine piece of vision from Ilkay Gundogan.

The German, who brought a calming influence after a hectic start, clipped a fine ball across the box to pick out Cancelo at the far post. Cancelo showed great awareness himself to head back across goal and Sterling dived in to head home.

City had a moment of alarm soon after when Joelinton scrambled the ball into the net following a corner but it was disallowed for offside.

The champions upped the tempo with Gundogan firing wide and Oleksandr Zinchenko almost teeing up Gabriel Jesus.

The second goal came following a corner seven minutes before the break. Martin Dubravka failed to hold Gundogan’s volley from the edge of the area and, although the keeper reacted quickly to deny Ruben Dias on the rebound, he could not prevent Laporte tucking in.

With that City appeared to break the spirit of Newcastle and the home side took firm control of the game with a third just after the hour.

It came from a corner as Rodri found space at the near post to head home Kevin De Bruyne’s cross.

The crowd celebrated what seemed a significant goal in the title race and City appeared hungry for more as Zinchenko forced a fine save from Dubravka.

With the job done, City eased off with their midweek trip to Wolves in mind.

There was little to alarm them until Newcastle belatedly showed some spark in the closing minutes.

Callum Wilson, returning from injury, came off the bench to test Ederson and Saint-Maximin also had a chance.

That only served to fire up City more and Foden made it 4-0 in the last minute before Sterling completed the rout in injury time.

football Sports News


Tottenham blew a huge hole in Liverpool’s Premier League – and quadruple – hopes as Son Heung-min’s 20th goal of the season earned them a 1-1 draw at Anfield to gift the advantage to Manchester City.

Despite Luis Diaz’s 74th-minute equaliser and manager Jurgen Klopp going for broke, knowing he had no other option, the hosts now require their title rivals to lose one of their four remaining matches.

Even though the point took Liverpool top of the table, it was only courtesy of a superior goal difference of one and Pep Guardiola’s side will go three points clear with a win at home to Newcastle on Sunday.

The draw did little for Spurs’ top-four hopes either as they remain a point behind north London rivals Arsenal, who host struggling Leeds a couple of hours before City kick off.

Liverpool’s chances of overhauling City, who have only the title to focus on after their dramatic Champions League exit to Real Madrid in midweek, in this pulsating race were always balanced on a knife edge as they knew one slip-up would probably mean their hopes were over.

Tottenham were seen as the biggest challenge of their remaining four matches and so it proved as Antonio Conte brought a disciplined game plan to Anfield.

The tactics were evident from the off – five at the back, four in midfield, double-up on Mohamed Salah and Diaz and look to hit the space behind their opponents’ full-backs, particularly Andy Robertson.

It was fine in theory, but Liverpool’s recovery of possession was up with the best it has been all season and Spurs barely had a moment’s peace.

The three biggest cheers in the opening 12 minutes were for team combination which retrieved a lost ball, Trent Alexander-Arnold dispossessing Harry Kane down by the corner flag in front of the Kop and Jordan Henderson sliding in to block a Kane shot from a rare Spurs counter.

Tottenham’s plan also relied on them not conceding set-pieces in dangerous areas, but that was easier said than done, with Virgil Van Dijk missing the target with one header from a corner and hitting the crossbar with another late in the half.

Hugo Lloris only just managed to claw away Ryan Sessegnon’s header back across goal with Salah lurking, while the France goalkeeper also got down well to blow a low Diaz effort after a quick exchange with Sadio Mane.

Tottenham’s one effort of any threat saw Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg hit Alisson’s right-hand post from distance, although the Liverpool goalkeeper looked like he had it covered all the way.

But the visitors decided to open the game up in the second half and it paid dividends in the 56th minute when Kane was allowed to run from deep and pick out Sessegnon on the left of the penalty area and his low cross was turned in by Son at the far post.

The South Korean became the fifth different Spurs player to score 20-plus Premier League goals in a season, following in the footsteps of Teddy Sheringham, Jurgen Klinsmann, Gareth Bale and Kane.

Ibrahima Konate flicked a header over as Liverpool continued to squander set-piece opportunities, while being fortunate to escape conceding another when Son diverted wide from close range.

Almost immediately Klopp switched to 4-2-4, replacing Henderson with forward Diogo Jota and introducing the fresh legs of Kostas Tsimikas at left-back for the tired Robertson.

Ben Davies’ flying block to repel Salah’s drive felt like a pivotal moment, but with 16 minutes remaining Diaz’s low strike deflected off Rodrigo Bentancur and inside Lloris’ right-hand post.

Anfield erupted and, encouraged by the cacophony of noise, the hosts redoubled their efforts.

Conte sent on Davison Sanchez for Sessegnon and later the more defence-minded Harry Winks replaced Dejan Kulusevski, but surprisingly Liverpool did not test Lloris nearly as much as they would have hoped and, as their seconds ticked away, so seemingly did their title hopes.

football Slides Sports News


Liverpool forward Mohamed Salah is preparing for a “revenge” mission against Real Madrid when they meet in the Champions League final later this month.

Salah, who was crowned the Football Writers’ Association’s Footballer of the Year on Thursday night, was part of the Liverpool side beaten by Madrid in the 2018 final in Kyiv.

The same two sides will face off in Paris on May 28 after Real’s remarkable comeback victory over Manchester City on Wednesday and Liverpool’s professional job in Villarreal the night before.

Asked if he saw this next meeting as a revenge mission for four years ago, the Egypt forward replied: “Yes, we lost in the final, it was a sad day for all of us and I think it is revenge time.

“I’m so excited, I said before the game that I wanted to play Madrid in the final.

“I’m sure it is going to be a tough game, they beat a lot of good teams so we just need to focus on the game.”

Liverpool could yet end the season with an unprecedented quadruple, sitting a point behind Premier League leaders Manchester City and facing an FA Cup final against Chelsea having already won the Carabao Cup.

Salah is hoping his FWA award can be the start of a memorable end to the campaign, adding: “It feels great.

“First of all I want to thank everyone who voted for me, of course journalists are a big part of the football family and hopefully we can win some more (trophies) this year.”

Chelsea striker Sam Kerr received the women’s award after a fine season in the Women’s Super League.

Salah and Kerr received their trophies at the Footballer of the Year dinner in London on Thursday.

Salah took 48 per cent of the vote in the men’s category, ahead of Manchester City playmaker Kevin De Bruyne and West Ham midfielder Declan Rice.

Salah has scored 30 goals for the Reds this season, 22 in the Premier League, as Jurgen Klopp’s side chase further domestic and European success.

The 29-year-old wins the FWA award, which has been presented since 1948, for the second time having also been named the 2018 Footballer of the Year.

The Women’s Footballer of the Year vote was open to the full FWA membership for the first time, with the award, which was introduced from 2018, having previously been decided by an expert panel.

Australian striker Kerr, who has scored 18 goals in the Women’s Super League to help Chelsea top the table, claimed 40 per cent of the vote, with Arsenal’s Vivianne Miedema in second place and Lauren Hemp of Manchester City placing third.

The Blues are a point ahead of Arsenal heading into the final WSL match of the season and could clinch the title against Manchester United on Sunday.

Comparing this season to previous years, Kerr said: “I think it’s the same. I think every year I strive to be the best player I can be and I think as I get older I appreciate it more.

“It still is enjoyable, but you can’t really compare (seasons).”

football Slides Sports News


Everton boss Frank Lampard has been charged by the Football Association following his comments after his side’s defeat in the Merseyside derby last month.

Lampard claimed Liverpool would have been awarded a spot-kick had Mohamed Salah gone down like Anthony Gordon did in a challenge that referee Stuart Attwell did not penalise.

Gordon, who had been booked for diving in the first half at Anfield, fell after apparent contact from Joel Matip, but Attwell neither awarded a penalty nor issued a second yellow card.

The Toffees subsequently contacted the Professional Game Match Officials Board for a second time this season with concerns over the decision.

Lampard said in his post-match interview: “It is a penalty for me. You don’t get them here. If that was Mo Salah at the other end he gets a penalty. I’m not trying to create conflict; it’s just the reality of football.

“I have played in teams in the top half of the league – you get them. That was a penalty for sure. It’s a clear foul.”

The FA has taken exception to those comments, citing an implication of “bias and/or attack the integrity of the match referee or referees generally”.

An FA statement read: “Frank Lampard has been charged with a breach of FA Rule E3 in relation to post-match media comments that he made following Everton FC’s Premier League match against Liverpool FC on Sunday 24th April.

“It is alleged the manager’s comments constitute improper conduct as they imply bias and/or attack the integrity of the match referee – or referees generally – and/or bring the game into disrepute contrary to FA Rule E3.1.

“Frank Lampard has until Monday 9 May 2022 to provide a response.”

In March, the club received an apology, following another official complaint, from PGMOL chief Mike Riley following the failure to award a handball against Rodri in the home defeat to Manchester City.

On that occasion referee Paul Tierney was unsighted and the VAR, Chris Kavanagh, decided there was insufficient evidence to show the ball had hit the City midfielder on the arm despite television replays being fairly conclusive.

football Slides Sports News

Reds come back to book final spot

Liverpool overcame a spirited Villarreal performance to book their spot in the Champions League final with a 3-2 away win, netting three second-half goals after seeing their first-leg lead wiped out in Spain.

Boulaye Dia handed Unai Emery’s men an early lead in front of a boisterous home crowd, before Francis Coquelin stunned the below-par visitors by wiping out their aggregate lead on the stroke of half-time.

But Liverpool grew into the game after their dismal start, and after Geronimo Rulli failed to make a routine stop from Fabinho’s effort, half-time substitute Luis Diaz headed home to send Jurgen Klopp’s men to the final.

Sadio Mane raced clear to round Rulli and roll home a late third to make the result safe before Etienne Capoue was sent off late on, keeping the Reds on course to cap an incredible season by winning four major trophies.

After failing to record a single shot on target at Anfield, the Yellow Submarine needed just three minutes to open the scoring, Dia tapping home after Capoue turned Pervis Estupinan’s delivery across goal.

Gerard Moreno saw a close-range header blocked as the visitors produced a dreadful first-half performance, and the Reds’ advantage, which looked to be decisive prior to kick-off, was wiped out when Coquelin sparked wild scenes by heading Capoue’s cross into the top-left corner.

Trent Alexander-Arnold struck the top of the crossbar with a deflected effort as Liverpool improved after the break, before Fabinho drilled a low shot through the legs of Rulli to restore the visitors’ aggregate lead after 62 minutes.

Diaz went close to bending home a superb second moments later, but was on hand to nod home Alexander-Arnold’s cross after 67 minutes and put the Reds back in full command of the tie.

The tie was settled once and for all when Mane took advantage of another Rulli error after 74 minutes, rounding the keeper well outside his area before rolling home to secure Liverpool’s progress, with Capoue then dismissed for a second yellow card after fouling Curtis Jones.

Slides Sports News


Liverpool manager Juergen Klopp has signed a two-year contract extension that will keep him at Anfield until 2026, the Premier League club said on Thursday.

Klopp, whose previous contract was due to expire in 2024, has helped Liverpool win the Champions League and Premier League titles since arriving in Merseyside in 2015.

“There is a freshness about us as a club still and this energises me,” Klopp said in a statement. “There are so many words I could use to describe how I am feeling about this news… delighted, humbled, blessed, privileged and excited would be a start.”

football Slides Sports News


Liverpool’s 2-0 victory in a testing 240th Merseyside derby kept their quadruple bid on track while pushing Everton slightly closer to their first relegation in 71 years.

Andy Robertson’s second goal of the season produced the vital breakthrough after 62 minutes of dogged resistance from the visitors and Divock Origi enhanced his derby legacy with his sixth goal in nine cross-city matches.

This was far from the humiliation many predicted – and Toffees fans feared – as Everton showed they can be organised and put up a fight but the one thing manager Frank Lampard could not bridge was the gulf in class.

Victory reduced the gap to leaders Manchester City back to one point, while leaving their near neighbours now two points from safety.

They had started the game in the bottom three after Burnley’s victory over Wolves and things got worse for them before a ball was even kicked at Anfield.

An injury to Ben Godfrey in the warm-up meant the visitors took the field having changed both centre-backs from the midweek draw with Leicester, Michael Keane the late replacement alongside Mason Holgate with Yerry Mina rested completely following his comeback against the Foxes after two months out with a thigh problem.

But that did not alter their tactics, which were understandably evident from the off: get behind the ball in a 4-5-1, eat up as much time as possible at restarts and frustrate the life out of their opponents.

It could have been an approach straight out of Lampard’s former mentor Jose Mourinho’s playbook, who famously came here in 2014 with Chelsea to derail a Reds title bid.

It certainly worked for 45 minutes as they limited Liverpool to just three shots, none of which were on target, despite 86 percent possession.

The fact Everton completed only 32 passes in the first half – the fewest by a team in the opening period of a Premier League game since Watford’s 30 in November 2006 – was inconsequential to the overall game plan.

Richarlison, who was frequently on the floor and ate up a lot of time for treatment, and goalkeeper Jordan Pickford, who collapsed to the floor like a weary marathon runner at the end of 26.2 miles every time he collected the ball in two hands, drew most of the ire from Anfield.

Youngster Anthony Gordon also trod a fine line, with his booking for a dive in the penalty area from a non-existent Naby Keita challenge his worst offence.

Half of the 12 Premier League bookings for simulation this season have been for Everton players, with three alone against Liverpool. But it was all part of the ploy to disrupt and disturb and their hosts fell into the frustration trap.

The game had a more old-school derby feel about it, with Diogo Jota and Seamus Coleman involved in one confrontation which saw the Liverpool player pushing a hand towards the defender’s face in retaliation to a challenge, and Sadio Mane in the middle of a melee of 21 players after Abdoulaye Doucoure was booked for chopping down Fabinho.

Incredibly, Everton had the better chances early in the second half as Gordon and Alex Iwobi both directed attempts wide.

Prior to that, Joel Matip’s tangle with Gordon inside the area looked like it could have risked a penalty but referee Stuart Atwell was not in the least bit interested.

Jurgen Klopp sent on Luis Diaz and Origi just before the hour and the latter, who has made a habit of making his own personal derby history, combined with Mohamed Salah for Robertson to head home unmarked at the far post.

The deluge looked like it would start with Diaz and Salah, who volleyed over, having chances before Demarai Gray whistled a shot past Alisson Becker’s right-hand post to show the visitors were not yet done.

Robertson then proved his worth at the other end with a vital block to prevent an Iwobi equaliser.

Fittingly Origi, who has barely played this season, finished things off with a close-range header five minutes from time.

The party rolls on at Anfield, with a Champions League semi-final first leg at home to Villarreal on Wednesday, but things do not get any easier for Everton with Chelsea up next at Goodison at the weekend.