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Updated: 7 hours 27 min ago

Premier League predictions: Lawro v former Wales rugby captain Sam Warburton

Thu, 09/19/2019 - 16:32
Lawro's predictions

Liverpool are top of the table with five wins out of five - but will their 100% start survive Sunday's trip to Stamford Bridge?

"I am sure Chelsea will have a good spell in the game, but I just think Liverpool will have too much nous for them," said BBC football expert Mark Lawrenson.

"Good sides are able to bounce back and win, and that's what I am expecting Jurgen Klopp's side to do after their defeat at Napoli on Tuesday."

Snapshot showing top of Premier League table - 1st Liverpool, 2nd Man City, 3rd Tottenham, 4th Man Utd, 5th Leicester & 6th Chelsea

Lawro is making predictions for all 380 top-flight matches this season, against a variety of guests.

This week he is up against former Wales and British and Irish Lions rugby captain Sam Warburton.

"Football was my first sport, I love it," Warburton told BBC Sport. "When I was younger my dream was to play professionally.

"I have been a big Tottenham fan since I was about six. My dad was born in London, near Wembley, but moved to Wales at a young age and he brainwashed me and all my family to support Spurs."

Warburton, who has released a book called 'Open Side', thinks Tottenham will beat Leicester on Saturday, and is backing New Zealand to win the rugby World Cup, which starts on Friday.

Premier League predictions - week sixResultLawroSamFRIDAYSouthampton v Bournemouthx-x2-11-1SATURDAYLeicester v Tottenhamx-x1-11-2Burnley v Norwichx-x2-03-2Everton v Sheff Utdx-x2-02-0Man City v Watfordx-x3-04-0Newcastle v Brightonx-x2-02-1SUNDAYCrystal Palace v Wolvesx-x2-12-2West Ham v Man Utdx-x2-11-2Arsenal v Aston Villax-x2-03-1Chelsea v Liverpoolx-x0-20-1

A correct result (picking a win, draw or defeat) is worth 10 points. The exact score earns 40 points.


All kick-offs 15:00 BST unless stated.

FRIDAY Southampton v Bournemouth Southampton v Bournemouth (20:00 BST)

Both of these sides had good results last time out, with Southampton winning at Sheffield United and Bournemouth beating Everton.

I was a bit worried about Saints after they lost their first two games but they have really picked up since then and, like Bournemouth, their aim for this season has to be to get into the top 10.

I am going to go with Southampton to edge this one, but it should be a good game and I am expecting the Cherries to create a few chances.

Eddie Howe's side have always got goals in them, and they are slowly sorting out their defensive issues too.

Lawro's prediction: 2-1

Sam's prediction: 1-1

SATURDAY Leicester v Tottenham Leicester v Tottenham (12:30 BST)

I was surprised by Leicester's lack of threat in their defeat at Manchester United last week.

The Foxes were very neat and tidy, but there was not much of an end product, and they will have to put that right here.

Tottenham have got their own issues, after throwing away a 2-0 lead against Olympiakos on Wednesday night.

They did the same at Arsenal in the Premier League at the start of September and this time Mauricio Pochettino gave his side a bit of a shellacking afterwards.

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Spurs have been very up and down so far this season, but I don't think they have too much to worry about - they are a good side, with some quality players.

Sometimes you just start the season slowly - it happened to Liverpool sometimes in my time there - but the most important thing is how you finish the campaign, not how you start it.

You just know Spurs are going to have a run where they win loads of games, but they might have to wait a bit longer to get up and running.

Lawro's prediction: 1-1

Sam's prediction: 1-2

Burnley v Norwich Burnley v Norwich

Norwich's win over Manchester City last week was a fabulous performance and result, and one of the biggest upsets we have seen in the Premier League for a long time.

Forget how poor Manchester City were at the back, because Norwich's gameplan was absolutely perfect, and they stuck to it. Well done to them.

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This is a totally different test, however.

After playing the champions in your own ground, with the whole place jumping, a trip to Turf Moor is going to take a bit of an adjustment, and it is going to be a completely different game.

The Clarets might not be great in terms of creativity but they give everything for their manager, Sean Dyche, and I can see them making life very difficult for the Canaries.

It's not all bad news for Norwich, though. I have gone for them to draw a blank - so that normally means Teemu Pukki will score.

Lawro's prediction: 2-0

Sam's prediction: 3-2

Everton v Sheff Utd Everton v Sheff Utd

Everton were not good enough against Bournemouth last weekend but they are usually much better at Goodison Park.

This will be a decent contest, though. Sheffield United were a little bit unlucky to lose at home to Southampton, after having a goal ruled out for offside by the video assistant referee that would have changed the complexion of the game.

The Blades were still very competitive and, if Everton show any of the defensive weaknesses that cost them against the Cherries, then Chris Wilder's side can capitalise.

Lawro's prediction: 2-0

Sam's prediction: 2-0

Man City v Watford Man City v Watford

I presume Fernandinho will fill in at the back for Manchester City, the same way as he did in their win over Shakhtar Donetsk on Wednesday, because they don't have anyone else to partner Nicolas Otamendi.

That all went pretty smoothly, and they definitely looked a better defensive unit than they did last weekend against Norwich, when they defended abysmally.

I cannot see it being much of an issue against the Hornets at the Etihad to be honest.

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Watford showed a bit of spirit to come back from 2-0 down for a point against Arsenal last weekend, in Quique Sanchez Flores's first game back in charge.

But I do not see them keeping City quiet. It won't quite be a repeat of the scoreline from last season's FA Cup final, but I see Pep Guardiola's side winning comfortably.

Lawro's prediction: 3-0

Sam's prediction: 4-0

Newcastle v Brighton Newcastle v Brighton (17:30 BST)

Steve Bruce is still waiting for his first win at St James' Park as Newcastle manager and this will obviously be a very good time to get it.

Both of these teams are in the bottom five, and it is important to beat the teams around you, especially at home.

Lawro's prediction: 2-0

Sam's prediction: 2-1

SUNDAY Crystal Palace v Wolves Crystal Palace v Wolves (14:00 BST)

Wolves are still winless in the Premier League and seem to be feeling the effects of their early start to the season in the Europa League.

 15th Sheff Utd, 16th Brighton, 17th Aston Villa, 18th Newcastle, 19th Wolves & 20th Watford

Crystal Palace got taken apart at Tottenham last time out but I am expecting to see a reaction from them here. Wolves will just have to ride this rough patch out.

Lawro's prediction: 2-1

Sam's prediction: 2-2

West Ham v Man Utd West Ham v Man Utd (14:00 BST)

West Ham got a point with 10 men against Aston Villa on Monday, and played some good stuff at times as well.

I think the Hammers are an improving team, and I am expecting them to have a real go at Manchester United, who are yet to convince me with their performances this season.

I can't remember a game where they have impressed me over the 90 minutes - even in their 4-0 win over Chelsea on the opening weekend, the scoreline did not tell the full story.

Clearly they are still building too and, if they end up in the top four this season, they will have done brilliantly.

Lawro's prediction: 2-1

Sam's prediction: 1-2

Arsenal v Aston Villa Arsenal v Aston Villa (16:30 BST)

It was a case of 'same old Arsenal' with their defensive collapse against Watford on Sunday.

The Gunners still have a weakness at the back but, from what I've seen of them so far this season, I don't think Aston Villa have got the attacking power to take advantage.

Lawro's prediction: 2-0

Sam's prediction: 3-1

Chelsea v Liverpool Chelsea v Liverpool (16:30 BST)

It doesn't look like Mason Mount will be fit for Chelsea after he was injured in midweek, which does not help Frank Lampard's side.

Mount and the rest of the Blues' youngsters have come in and done really well but Tuesday's defeat by Valencia was another example of how they are up one minute, and down the next.

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You could argue that their win over Wolves last weekend was the best they have played over an entire game - in others they have only done well in parts - so consistency is something they are still searching for.

Liverpool need to improve on their performance against Napoli but this is a good fixture for them to do it.

When you go and play one of the other big boys, you know you need to concentrate fully.

Their players will not need their manager to remind them that in this fixture last year, it took a late wonder goal from Daniel Sturridge to snatch a point - so they need to be at the top of their game.

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Lawro's prediction: 0-2

Sam's prediction: 0-1

Lawro was speaking to BBC Sport's Chris Bevan

How did Lawro do last week?

From the last set of Premier League fixtures, Lawro got seven correct results, including one exact score, out of 10 matches for a total of 100 points.

That meant he beat all three of the hosts of MOTDx that he faced, maintaining his 100% record against guests this season.

Craig Mitch got the best guest score with four correct results, including one perfect score, for a total of 70 points. Chelcee Grimes and Reece Parkinson both managed five correct results, but with no perfect scores, for a tally of 50 points apiece.

Lawro's League Table graphic +/- DENOTE POSITION DIFFERENCE BETWEEN LAWRO'S TABLE AND ACTUAL POSITIONTEAMPWDLPTS+/-1Man City550015+1=2Chelsea541013+4=2Liverpool541013-14Man Utd53201105Tottenham531110-26Leicester53029-1=7Arsenal522180=7Aston Villa52218+10=7Everton52218+4=10Sheff Utd52127+5=10Watford52127+1012Newcastle52036+613Burnley51225+1=14Bournemouth51134-5=14West Ham51124-6=14Wolves51134+517Southampton51043-7=18Brighton50232-2=18Crystal Palace50232-620Norwich50050-7GUEST LEADERBOARD 2019-20ScoreGuest leaderboard100Adam Peaty96Lawro (average after five weeks)90Helen Housby, Jo Harten70Craig Mitch60Stefan Ratchford50Chelcee Grimes, Reece Parkinson40Stephen FryTotal scores after week fiveLawro480Guests360Lawro v GuestsP5W5D0L0

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Liverpool CEO Peter Moore stays with fan 'ambushed' before Napoli game

Wed, 09/18/2019 - 08:39
Liverpool fans inside Napoli's San Paolo Stadium

Liverpool chief executive Peter Moore has stayed in hospital with a fan who was "ambushed" in a bar in Naples before the Reds' Champions League loss to Napoli on Tuesday.

The fan collapsed at half-time due to "significant blood loss" according to a post on social media.

Merseyside Police say two Liverpool fans were reportedly assaulted at a bar before the match at 18:00 local time.

They were attacked by a group on scooters and suffered cuts and grazes.

The two men from the UK, aged 26 and 46, were treated at the scene before attending the game.

Moore had responded to a tweet asking for supporters to visit the injured fan, who has now been discharged from hospital.

"I'm at the hospital with him right now," Moore tweeted just before 01:00. "We will not leave him until we are comfortable that he's fine."

He later added: "The hospital staff and the police have now helped Steven and have been very co-operative. He's been seen and will be monitored throughout the night. He asked me to thank everyone for their concern."

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Champions League: I'm not a bad loser, but penalty rules are unclear - Jurgen Klopp

Wed, 09/18/2019 - 08:38

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Liverpool boss Jurgen Klopp says he is "not a bad loser" but is unhappy with the rules around penalties after his side lost their opening Champions League game away at Napoli.
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Champions League: A tale of two penalties - Jurgen Klopp & Frank Lampard on losses

Wed, 09/18/2019 - 00:08
Jurgen Klopp and Frank Lampard

Liverpool boss Jurgen Klopp and Chelsea manager Frank Lampard were both left to reflect on key penalty incidents as they began their Champions League campaigns with defeats.

Ross Barkley missed a late chance to equalise for Chelsea from the spot as they lost 1-0 at home to Valencia.

Meanwhile, Napoli's first goal in their 2-0 win over holders Liverpool came from a dubious spot-kick.

"For me it's clear and obvious, no penalty," said Klopp.

German referee Felix Brych pointed to the spot with eight minutes left when Andy Robertson was judged to have fouled Jose Callejon.

Dries Mertens converted the spot-kick before former Tottenham striker Fernando Llorente sealed the win with a second goal in stoppage-time.

"Callejon jumps before he has any contact," added Klopp. "But we cannot change that so we have to be critical with ourselves.

"We did well in a lot of moments, we played a lot of good football but we didn't finish off."

'I don't know what the conversation was' Ross Barkley misses a penalty against Valencia

Chelsea boss Lampard was also left to rue a key penalty incident when he saw Barkley's late effort clip the top of the bar.

There were confusing scenes moments earlier when it initially looked like Jorginho, who scored for Chelsea in their Super Cup defeat to Liverpool last month, was about to take the penalty.

However, Barkley was insistent and ended up taking the ball after discussions with several of his team-mates including Brazilian captain Cesar Azpilicueta.

"Ross is a penalty taker," said Lampard. "He scored a couple in pre-season and he was today when he came on and he missed it.

"I don't know what the conversation was. Jorginho and Willian were the penalty takers on the pitch and when Ross comes on he becomes the penalty taker and he missed it."

The miss capped a frustrating night for Chelsea, who also saw midfielder Mason Mount forced off with an ankle injury during the first half.

"We probably should have won, or at least got a draw," added Lampard. "We created enough chances, we had the penalty, and we conceded with their one shot on goal.

"It's a harsh lesson but that's Champions League football. We should have got more tonight."

'They've killed everybody on the pitch' Dries Mertens scores a penalty against Liverpool

Like Lampard, Klopp felt his side deserved at least a point, with defeat meaning they are the first winners of the competition to lose the opening game of the following campaign since AC Milan in 1994.

"This was a much better game than we played last time when we lost 1-0 in the last minute [to Napoli last season]," said Klopp. "It was an open game, in moments we controlled the game, but we had a lot of counter-attacks and didn't finish them off.

"That's a problem. Then in the second half we had this wild game, we were running, they were running. They've killed everybody on the pitch, started controlling again and then we've conceded a penalty. Of course that doesn't help and I've seen it now, I don't think that's a penalty."

Despite the defeat Lampard is confident his side can progress from the group, though he wants his side to bounce back quickly when they host Liverpool in the Premier League this weekend.

"That is the reality of the Champions League. It means the next two games against Lille and Ajax are more important, particularly being back to back away from home," said the former England midfielder.

"We will have strong focus on those games to try to get a result but in context it is one game done in a group where teams will take points off each other. There is no reason to be too downbeat now.

"It wasn't a bad performance tonight. Liverpool are the best team in the country on form and we have to be ready for it."

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Napoli 2-0 Liverpool: Two late goals condemn Reds to defeat in Naples

Tue, 09/17/2019 - 23:12
Dries Mertens

Dries Mertens' penalty and a late Fernando Llorente goal condemned Liverpool to defeat in their Group E Champions League opener against Napoli.

Belgian forward Mertens scored from the penalty spot after Liverpool defender Andy Robertson was judged to have fouled Jose Callejon.

Former Tottenham forward Llorente then capitalised on a mistake from Virgil van Dijk in stoppage-time to roll the ball past Liverpool keeper Adrian.

Jurgen Klopp's side are the first winners of the competition to lose the opening game of the following campaign since AC Milan in 1994.

Goalkeeper Adrian had earlier made two keys saves for Liverpool, who initially struggled to impose themselves in the intimidating atmosphere of the San Paolo Stadium.

The 32-year-old, deputising for the injured Alisson, twice saved from compatriot Fabian Ruiz during the first period and produced an outstanding point-blank save from Mertens' volley just after the break.

However, unlike the corresponding fixture last term, when Liverpool failed to register a shot on target in their 1-0 defeat, Klopp's side did produce moments of slick football to threaten the hosts.

A flashing Mohamed Salah drive was superbly tipped to safety by Napoli goalkeeper Alex Meret, who also saved Sadio Mane's toe-poked shot with the score at 0-0.

But while Klopp's side have made a blistering start to the Premier League, averaging three goals per game, their failure to exploit several good breaks consigned them to a sixth defeat away from home in their last eight matches in the competition.

Koulibaly snuffs out Liverpool threat

Liverpool's failure to puncture the home defence was largely down to the impressive form of Kalidou Koulibaly, at the heart of the Napoli defence.

The Senegal international repeatedly demonstrated why he has been mentioned in dispatches as a target of the Premier League's biggest clubs, throughout the summer.

Named the best defender in Serie A last term, the 28-year-old made several key interceptions and dispossessed both Roberto Firmino and Salah in one-versus-one situations.

And he continued in that vein, patrolling behind left-back Mario Rui to snuff out the danger posed by the Egyptian's pace and trickery.

His reading of the game was exemplary throughout, ensuring he was rarely caught out of possession and was able to spring Napoli attacks.

Conservative Liverpool fail to sparkle

Klopp's team lost all three away games in last season's group stage, but overwhelmed teams at Anfield with their pace, energy and the brilliance of forwards, Mane, Salah and Firmino.

And initially Jordan Henderson's searching second-minute pass into the path of Salah seemed a precursor to the narrative that has served Liverpool so well.

However, on a warm evening in Naples, Klopp's side appeared to take a more conservative approach exemplified by full-backs Robertson and Trent Alexander-Arnold's failure to press forward.

In midfield Fabinho snapped away but their was an absence of sparkle in possession with Henderson and James Milner delivering solid displays but not the sort of service that Liverpool's attacking triumvirate are accustomed to.

Only goalkeeper Adrian touched the ball less than Salah and Firmino.

And that lack of involvement perhaps also contributed to Mane's indecision, when racing towards goal, with the Senegalese forward over-hitting a pass to Salah that could have put the Egyptian in on goal.

Man of the match - Kalidou Koulibaly (Napoli) Kalidou Koulibaly Napoli maintain record against English clubs - the stats
  • Napoli have now won five of their six Champions League home games against English opposition (L1 - a 2-4 defeat to Man City in November 2017).
  • Liverpool have lost their opening Champions League match of a new campaign for only the second time (P12 W6 D4 L2), and for the first time since a 0-2 defeat to Valencia in September 2002.
  • Liverpool had more shots in the opening 22 minutes of this match (five) than they managed through the entirety of this exact fixture in the competition last season (four).
  • Liverpool have lost six of their last eight away games in the Champions League (W2), as many as in their previous 25 such matches in the competition.
  • Since the start of last season, only Nicolas Tagliafico (six) has received more yellow cards in the Champions League than Liverpool's Andy Robertson (four).
  • Napoli striker Dries Mertens has scored more Champions league goals than any other Belgian in the competition (11).
  • Since a 2-0 win over Udinese as Borussia Dortmund boss, Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp has lost on his last five visits to Italian sides in all competitions (P5 W0 D0 L5).
  • Napoli striker Fernando Llorente has now scored a Champions League goal for four different clubs (Juventus, Sevilla, Spurs and Napoli) - the joint-most sides of all Spaniards alongside Fernando Morientes.
'It should hurt' - what they said

Liverpool boss Jurgen Klopp, speaking to BT Sport: "It should hurt because there were opportunities for us. It was an open game with a lot of counter attacks, but we didn't finish them off and that is a problem.

"In the second half it was a wild game, they were running and we were running.

"I don't think it's a penalty. What can I say, for me, it is clear and obvious no penalty. He jumps before any contact, we can't change that.

"We played a lot of good football but didn't finish it off. We controlled moments but had not enough chances in the end. We made decisions that were not right and have to accept the result. It was very often the final ball that was not right."

Napoli manager Carlo Ancelotti: "The strategy was to play a complete game. High pressure if possible, but also defending deeper if needed. We did everything well. We have to get used to the different moments of the game.

"When Liverpool were in control we did well in defending and then took our chances. It was a very balanced game. So we did well, because I consider them the best team in Europe."

What's next?

Liverpool travel to Chelsea in the Premier League on Sunday, 22 September (16:30 BST) and do not play in the Champions League again until Wednesday, 2 October (20:00 BST) when they host RB Salzburg at Anfield.

  • 1Meret
  • 22Di Lorenzo
  • 44Manolas
  • 26Koulibaly
  • 6Mário Rui
  • 7Callejón
  • 5Marques LoureiroSubstituted forElmasat 75'minutes
  • 8Ruiz
  • 24InsigneSubstituted forZielinskiat 66'minutes
  • 14Mertens
  • 11LozanoSubstituted forLlorenteat 69'minutesBooked at 90mins
  • 9Llorente
  • 12Elmas
  • 19Maksimovic
  • 20Zielinski
  • 25Ospina
  • 31Ghoulam
  • 99Milik
  • 13Adrián
  • 66Alexander-Arnold
  • 32Matip
  • 4van Dijk
  • 26RobertsonBooked at 57mins
  • 14HendersonSubstituted forShaqiriat 87'minutes
  • 3Fabinho
  • 7MilnerBooked at 61minsSubstituted forWijnaldumat 66'minutes
  • 11Salah
  • 9Firmino
  • 10Mané
  • 5Wijnaldum
  • 6Lovren
  • 12Gomez
  • 15Oxlade-Chamberlain
  • 20Lallana
  • 23Shaqiri
  • 62Kelleher
Dr. Felix Brych
Match StatsHome TeamNapoliAway TeamLiverpool
Shots on Target
Live TextPosted at

Match ends, Napoli 2, Liverpool 0.

Full TimePosted at 90'+6'

Second Half ends, Napoli 2, Liverpool 0.

Goal!Posted at 90'+2'

Goal! Napoli 2, Liverpool 0. Fernando Llorente (Napoli) right footed shot from the centre of the box to the bottom left corner.

BookingPosted at 90'

Fernando Llorente (Napoli) is shown the yellow card for a bad foul.

Posted at 89'

Georginio Wijnaldum (Liverpool) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

Posted at 89'

Foul by Fernando Llorente (Napoli).

SubstitutionPosted at 87'

Substitution, Liverpool. Xherdan Shaqiri replaces Jordan Henderson.

Posted at 86'

Attempt missed. Fabinho (Liverpool) header from the centre of the box misses to the left. Assisted by Jordan Henderson with a cross following a corner.

Posted at 86'

Corner, Liverpool. Conceded by Kostas Manolas.

Posted at 86'

Corner, Liverpool. Conceded by Giovanni Di Lorenzo.

Goal!Posted at 82'

Goal! Napoli 1, Liverpool 0. Dries Mertens (Napoli) converts the penalty with a right footed shot to the bottom left corner.

Posted at 80'

Penalty conceded by Andrew Robertson (Liverpool) after a foul in the penalty area.

Posted at 80'

Penalty Napoli. José Callejón draws a foul in the penalty area.

Posted at 78'

Foul by Fernando Llorente (Napoli).

Posted at 78'

Virgil van Dijk (Liverpool) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

SubstitutionPosted at 75'

Substitution, Napoli. Eljif Elmas replaces Allan.

Posted at 74'

Attempt saved. Sadio Mané (Liverpool) right footed shot from the centre of the box is saved in the centre of the goal. Assisted by Roberto Firmino.

SubstitutionPosted at 69'

Substitution, Napoli. Fernando Llorente replaces Hirving Lozano.

SubstitutionPosted at 66'

Substitution, Napoli. Piotr Zielinski replaces Lorenzo Insigne.

SubstitutionPosted at 66'

Substitution, Liverpool. Georginio Wijnaldum replaces James Milner.

Posted at 66'

José Callejón (Napoli) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

Posted at 66'

Foul by Joel Matip (Liverpool).

Posted at 65'

Corner, Liverpool. Conceded by Alex Meret.

Posted at 65'

Attempt saved. Mohamed Salah (Liverpool) left footed shot from the left side of the box is saved in the bottom right corner.

Posted at 64'

Attempt blocked. Dries Mertens (Napoli) right footed shot from outside the box is blocked. Assisted by Lorenzo Insigne.

BookingPosted at 61'

James Milner (Liverpool) is shown the yellow card.

Posted at 61'

José Callejón (Napoli) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

Posted at 61'

Foul by James Milner (Liverpool).

Posted at 59'

Attempt missed. Mohamed Salah (Liverpool) left footed shot from the left side of the box misses to the left. Assisted by Roberto Firmino.

Posted at 58'

Allan (Napoli) wins a free kick on the right wing.

Posted at 58'

Foul by Fabinho (Liverpool).

BookingPosted at 57'

Andrew Robertson (Liverpool) is shown the yellow card.

Posted at 57'

José Callejón (Napoli) wins a free kick on the right wing.

Posted at 57'

Foul by Andrew Robertson (Liverpool).

Posted at 56'

Allan (Napoli) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

Posted at 56'

Foul by James Milner (Liverpool).

Posted at 55'

Giovanni Di Lorenzo (Napoli) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

Posted at 55'

Foul by Sadio Mané (Liverpool).

Posted at 54'

Corner, Napoli. Conceded by Trent Alexander-Arnold.

Posted at 54'

Attempt blocked. Lorenzo Insigne (Napoli) right footed shot from the left side of the box is blocked. Assisted by Dries Mertens.

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Ex-Liverpool FC's Steve Harkness banned from driving

Tue, 09/17/2019 - 17:33

Former Liverpool footballer Steve Harkness has been banned from driving for three years.

Harkness, 48, who played for the club from 1989 to 1999, was pulled over in St Helens, Merseyside, on Monday.

Checks showed he was already serving a driving ban, and the car he was in was insured for a female driver.

Harkness, who admitted driving while disqualified and without insurance, was also given a nine-week jail term, suspended for two years.

Liverpool Magistrates' Court also ordered Harkness to do 100 hours of unpaid work in the community.

'Nobody above law'

Harkness admitted he was banned from driving when stopped by officers at St Helens Linkway, the court heard.

But he made no further comment in interview.

The Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) did not give a reason for Harkness's original driving ban.

"Events like this and other recent high-profile cases involving current and retired sportsmen underline the fact that nobody is above the law, and that driving while disqualified is a matter which the courts take very seriously," Andrew Page, from Mersey-Cheshire CPS said.

"Mr Harkness was told in no uncertain terms what the consequences would be if he were to offend again during the period of his community order or drive again during the period of his disqualification."

He added: "He faces a real possibility of jail if he does this again."

The defender made more than 100 appearances for Liverpool FC, scoring three goals, before spells with Benfica and Sheffield Wednesday.

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Liverpool: How hard is it for Champions League holders to retain title?

Mon, 09/16/2019 - 20:41
Jurgen Klopp celebrates winning the Champions League

Liverpool begin their pursuit of a third straight Champions League final when they face Napoli in Italy on Tuesday.

The European champions - and runners-up in 2018 - will hope to play 13 games in the competition between now and the final on 30 May 2020 in Istanbul, the scene of one of the greatest nights in the club's history 14 years ago.

But just how difficult is it to retain the Champions League? And is a tilt at doing so likely to come at the expense of the other holy grail at Anfield - a first league title in a generation?

How hard is it?

If it was easy, everyone would do it. Retaining the Champions League trophy has eluded even the greatest of club sides in the modern era.

Before Zinedine Zidane took Real Madrid to three straight wins in 2016, 2017 and 2018, no side had won the trophy back to back since Frank Rijkaard's goal in Vienna was enough for Arrigo Sacchi's grand AC Milan team to take the honour in 1990.

Even Pep Guardiola's Barcelona - perhaps the finest club side this century - 'only' managed to win the trophy twice in a three-year spell. In fact, Barcelona have never managed two finals in two years.

Since the European Cup began in 1956, 11 sides have made it to consecutive finals, with the first 30 years littered with dynasties.

Liverpool are already in the midst of a third different spell of straight finals, more than any other club.

Only Valencia have managed successive finals without winning either, while Real's run of five straight at the competition's birth looks safe - for a few years at least.

How do defending champions normally fare?

Since the Champions League began in 1992, only one defending champion has gone out in the group stage.

That ignominy is Chelsea's, who were out of the tournament six months after winning it in 2012.

Hindsight would suggest that Roberto di Matteo's Blues were unfortunate, as a usually safe haul of 10 points saw them eliminated on head-to-head away goals by Shakhtar Donetsk, whose two goals in defeat at Stamford Bridge proved the difference.

Scorer of those two goals? Willian - who, of course, joined Chelsea in 2013.

So it would be a mighty shock if the Reds failed to make it out of Group E where, along with Napoli, they face Red Bull Salzburg and Genk.

But don't forget they were uncomfortably close to being eliminated at the group stage last year. Needing to beat - you've guessed it - Napoli by two clear goals or 1-0 to progress. They duly won 1-0 win, helped by a brilliant late save by Alisson, to claw themselves over the line.

Once over that hurdle, much depends on the draw - but in the past 10 years, the previous season's finalists have reached the last eight on six occasions, lost in the semi-finals five times and won the trophy four times.

Does it affect league ambitions?

As if you didn't know, Liverpool haven't won the league title since 1990. They go into this first week of the Champions League with an early - but still possibly significant - five-point lead at the top of the Premier League.

Is it possible to focus on both?

Recent history suggests so. After all, if you have the best team in Europe there's a good chance you'll have the best team in your own country.

In the past 10 years, the Champions League winners have won their domestic title in the same season on five occasions. Barcelona are the real masters of the art - in each of their five Champions League-winning years they have also won La Liga.

Of course, squad management is likely to be crucial. After dispatching Newcastle on Saturday, Klopp bridled at a question which suggested he may choose to focus more on the league this year. But he did opt to start without captain Jordan Henderson and forward Roberto Firmino against the Magpies. Did he have one eye on Napoli?

"Any advice on how we could do it differently?" the German asked. "I am interested, what do we do? We don't make the difference between competitions, we never did. It's about availability, who is in which shape - that's how we make decisions if we can.

"Most of the time we couldn't make too many changes, to be honest. We always had to bring whoever could at least walk. We cannot go to Napoli and say we play with 60, 70, 80% of what we usually do. They are, unfortunately, really good. That's a proper opponent. They caused us problems already and we now have to make sure the problems will not be that big this time."

Last year's run to the final in Madrid certainly didn't affect Liverpool's performance in the league. After all, they collected 97 points and lost only once all season.

They won 10 of their 12 Premier League fixtures following European action, though were perhaps fortunate to be at Anfield for eight of those games, including all six during the group stage.

This year, the fixture computer has handed the Reds five home games after their six Champions League group matches, with next weekend's trip to Chelsea the only away day. In contrast, six of Manchester City's 12 group fixtures over the past two seasons have been followed by away games.

While they seem to have benefited on the travel front, Liverpool do have matches against Chelsea, last year's Champions League runners-up Tottenham and title rivals Manchester City immediately after European games - so it's hardly a cakewalk.

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Liverpool 3-1 Newcastle: Mohamed Salah & Sadio Mane put Burnley issue behind them in style

Sat, 09/14/2019 - 17:27
Liverpool's Sadio Mane celebrates with team-mate Roberto Firmino

Problems? What problems?

Liverpool's Premier League rivals may have hoped to have spotted a potential issue brewing at Anfield before the international break when Sadio Mane made a very public point of expressing his dissatisfaction with Mohamed Salah, when the Egyptian failed to pass to him during the 3-0 win at Burnley.

Manager Jurgen Klopp had already laughed off the row, while before Saturday's 3-1 home victory over Newcastle, Salah had sent out the ultimate modern-day olive branch in the form of a meme of the pair hugging.

By full-time at Anfield, the only question surrounding Liverpool's stellar front three is how any side in Europe can hope to keep them quiet.

Mane, Salah and Roberto Firmino all missed the Reds' pre-season tour of the United States, and Firmino was playing for Brazil in Los Angeles in the early hours of Wednesday morning.

But it just doesn't seem to matter.

Salah and Mane - changing of the guard? Liverpool's Sadio Mane and Mohamed Salah

Salah had been the quieter of Liverpool's trident when he scored the third goal on Saturday, collecting a fine backheel from Firmino, driving past Fabian Schar and burying a shot into the corner.

He has scored four goals already in the Premier League this season - taking his total to 58 in 79 for the Reds. He is not having a quiet season, but is Mane now eclipsing him?

Against Newcastle Mane was a menace, especially once he switched to the left of the front three after half an hour. His first goal was fantastic, taking a touch inside the area and flashing a drive into the top corner without hesitation.

Both forwards have scored 26 times in the league since the start of last season, with Mane's goals coming more frequently, at a rate of one every 132 minutes to Salah's 142.

But interestingly, considering Mane's complaints, Salah offers far more to the team in terms of assists - with the Egypt international having set up 10 league goals since the start of the 2018-19 campaign compared with Mane's two.

Mane has made more chances for Salah in the same time period though - 23 to 17.

One thing is for sure, they both love playing at Anfield.

Mane has never lost a Premier League home game in which he has found the net, winning 33 and drawing two of his previous 35 games when doing so.

And Salah has been directly involved in 50 league goals for Liverpool at Anfield, scoring 36 and providing 14 assists in 41 appearances.

As a pair, the two don't tend to gel all that well. Only one pass was played between them - from Mane to Salah - on Saturday. They need a link man in the middle. Luckily they have a brilliant one.

Firmino adds to Klopp's armoury Liverpool's Roberto Firmino in possession against Newcastle

Firmino played an hour as Brazil were beaten by Peru in the United States little more than 72 hours before Saturday's 12:30 BST kick-off at Anfield.

Anyone who has recently completed a long-haul transatlantic flight can attest to what it takes out of you, so it was no real surprise the 27-year-old was handed a break against Steve Bruce's side.

That was the plan anyway. But Champions League hero Divock Origi only lasted 36 minutes before coming off with an ankle injury, with Firmino then coming on between his two team-mates.

The impact was both immediate and long-lasting. Firmino robbed Christian Atsu of the ball, looked up and played Mane in for his second goal. Clinical.

After the break, Firmino was playing a different game to the Magpies defenders. With flicks and backheels, he pulled them apart and could have ended the day with four or five assists.

He finished the match with four key passes and only an offside flag prevented him from laying on Mane for a hat-trick after another flowing move.

"It was my idea to start Sadio in the centre and Divock on the wing, but it didn't really work," Klopp said afterwards.

"Bobby then came on in his natural position. We used Mo more often, had one-twos in the box, played balls into his feet and then we were in charge of the game. They were wonderful goals. Really sensational. Nice football."

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Newcastle boss Bruce perhaps summed it up best when asked about the attacking options available to his counterpart.

"The introduction of Firmino, with his movement and the way he plays, was key," he said.

"The front three are as good as you get. You can understand why they are European champions and lost once last year.

"They are an excellent, excellent team with pace and creativity, and at the top end of the pitch they damage you."

Origi will go for a scan on his injured ankle, while Xherdan Shaqiri also came on for the last few minutes.

Premier League - you have been warned.

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Liverpool 3-1 Newcastle: Jurgen Klopp says Reds scored wonderful goals

Sat, 09/14/2019 - 15:40

Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp praises the quality of his side's goals and their second-half performance in the 3-1 victory against Newcastle at Anfield.

MATCH REPORT: Liverpool 3-1 Newcastle

Watch highlights of all of Saturday's Premier League fixtures on Match of the Day at 22:45 BST on BBC One and BBC iPlayer.

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Liverpool v Newcastle United

Fri, 09/13/2019 - 10:53
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Premier League predictions: Lawro v MOTDx stars Chelcee Grimes, Craig Mitch and Reece Parkinson

Thu, 09/12/2019 - 17:20
Lawro's predictions

After making a stuttering start to the new season, the next test for Manchester United is the visit of in-form Leicester on Saturday.

How will United's new £80m centre-back Harry Maguire get on against his former club, with Foxes striker Jamie Vardy looking to maintain his electric form at Old Trafford?

"Maguire versus Vardy is going to be an interesting battle," said BBC football expert Mark Lawrenson.

"United are very up and down form-wise but it might help them that Leicester are unlikely to sit in and defend the same way Crystal Palace did when they beat United last month.

"So, there will be more space for United to exploit, but they will have to be careful because Vardy is such a dangerous player."

Lawro is making predictions for all 380 top-flight matches this season, against a variety of guests.

This week he is up against Chelcee Grimes, Craig Mitch and Reece Parkinson, co-hosts of the BBC's new football show, MOTDx.

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MOTDx, which showcases the lifestyle and culture of the Premier League, starts on Thursday at 19:00 BST on BBC Two and is available on BBC iPlayer.

Premier League predictions - week fiveResultLawroChelceeCraigReeceSATURDAYLiverpool v Newcastlex-x3-0Brighton v Burnleyx-x1-1Man Utd v Leicesterx-x2-1Sheff Utd v Southamptonx-x2-1Tottenham v Crystal Palacex-x2-0Wolves v Chelseax-x1-2Norwich v Man Cityx-x0-2SUNDAYBournemouth v Evertonx-x2-1Watford v Arsenalx-x1-1MONDAYAston Villa v West Hamx-x2-1

Chelcee, Craig and Reece will make their predictions on Friday.

A correct result (picking a win, draw or defeat) is worth 10 points. The exact score earns 40 points.


All kick-offs 15:00 BST unless stated.

SATURDAY Liverpool v Newcastle Liverpool v Newcastle (12:30 BST)

Newcastle's best performance of the season came in their win at Tottenham before the international break, when they circled the wagons.

I am sure Magpies boss Steve Bruce is going to set up his side the same way, camped in their own half to try to stifle Liverpool, but I don't see it working this time.

The Reds are playing extremely well, and they have got more ways of scoring than most other teams that Newcastle will face. Jurgen Klopp's side will find a way through.

Lawro's prediction: 3-0

Brighton v Burnley Brighton v Burnley

You can already see how Brighton are a more adventurous side this season with Graham Potter in charge. Even in their defeat by Manchester City last time out, they had a bit of a go.

I think the players appreciate having the freedom to attack, and the Seagulls fans will definitely enjoy watching them.

It will be the same approach against Burnley, but I think the Clarets will be a tough nut to crack - they usually are.

Sean Dyche's side are a team that I don't expect to be in the top eight or the bottom six. They are in mid-table at the moment, and that is where I think they will finish.

Lawro's prediction: 1-1

Man Utd v Leicester Man Utd v Leicester

Leicester are looking very lively and have made a positive start to the season, so this will be a test for United.

I am expecting Ole Gunnar Solskjaer's side to win at home, but United are such a disjointed team at the moment that we don't really know what kind of level they will be at.

Lawro's prediction: 2-1

Sheff Utd v Southampton Sheff Utd v Southampton

Sheffield United have made the best start of the three promoted teams, and I've been impressed by what I've seen from them.

Chris Wilder's side have still got a physicality about the way they play, because the majority of the team is the one that came up from the Championship, but they are inventive to go with it.

I just think people might underestimate them a little bit. When they don't play well, generally, they are still difficult to play against - and if they can do that all season, then they will stay in the Premier League.

I think their good start will continue this weekend too. Southampton are another team who have had some very mixed performances and results this season, which is why I am backing the Blades to pick up another three points.

Lawro's prediction: 2-1

Tottenham v Crystal Palace Tottenham v Crystal Palace

Tottenham have not really hit their stride yet, but they are still a good side and it is obviously a boost for them that they kept hold of Christian Eriksen.

This should be a good game, because Crystal Palace are flying high at the moment and have already won at Old Trafford this season.

 1st Liverpool, 2nd Man City, 3rd Leicester, 4th Crystal Palace, 5th Arsenal, 6th Everton

It will be up to Spurs to break them down. They didn't manage that against Newcastle last month, but I think they will have more joy this time.

Lawro's prediction: 2-0

Wolves v Chelsea Wolves v Chelsea

Chelsea have played well in parts of all their games so far, but they have been ordinary for parts of all of them too.

There is nothing wrong with the Blues' attacking play under Frank Lampard, but they have some improving to do at the back.

They make too many mistakes and are probably too easy to get at when they haven't got the ball, so it is imperative that they make more use of N'Golo Kante as a shield in front of their defence.

I am confident Lampard will get it right though. This is a tricky one for Chelsea, because I really rate Wolves and the way they play, but I just have a feeling the Blues will edge it.

Lawro's prediction: 1-2

Norwich v Man City Norwich v Man City (17:30 BST)

Norwich do not lack a goal threat with Teemu Pukki in the team, but it is a concern to see them concede so many - 10 goals in four games so far.

That is especially worrying when they have to play Manchester City next, because we know how good Pep Guardiola's side are going forward.

It would be massive confidence boost for the Canaries if they can pick up a point here, but I just don't see it happening.

Lawro's prediction: 0-2

SUNDAY Bournemouth v Everton Bournemouth v Everton (14:00 BST)

It looks like this season will be the same old story for Bournemouth - they will always score goals, but they have got a soft centre as well.

And while Everton have made a decent start to the season, I am yet to be convinced by them away from home.

So I am predicting goals - this fixture has served up some high-scoring thrillers in the past - and a Cherries win, just.

Lawro's prediction: 2-1

Watford v Arsenal Watford v Arsenal (16:30 BST)

Quique Sanchez Flores is back in charge of Watford after Javi Gracia was sacked over the international break, and at least he will not need time to get to know his squad - there are still several players there from his previous stint in charge.

It is a surprise to see a manager sacked after four games of the season, then replaced by the man he had succeeded, but this is Watford. They don't follow the manual - they write it themselves.

But Sanchez Flores should give Watford a lift - I think he is one of the best managers they have had in the past few years.

 15th Bournemouth, 16th Brighton, 17th Wolves, 18th Aston Villa, 19th Norwich, 20th Watford

But even allowing for the 'new-manager bounce' and the fact that I think we will see a reaction from the Watford players, I don't see them getting their first win of the season.

They will cause Arsenal some problems though. The Gunners have got lots of quality going forward but their defensive issues remain.

Unless they can play brilliant attacking football for 90-plus minutes, which is almost impossible, they are going to concede goals. That is where Unai Emery's side are at right now.

Lawro's prediction: 1-1

MONDAY Aston Villa v West Ham Aston Villa v West Ham (20:00 BST)

Aston Villa have only got three points to show from their first four games, but I have seen plenty of encouraging signs from Dean Smith's side. They are still settling down, but I think he has bought some very talented players over the summer.

Villa will also be angry after they were denied an equaliser against Crystal Palace last time out for what was judged to be a dive by Jack Grealish.

That is an example of how, with a little bit more luck, they would have picked up more points.

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West Ham are improving too, and are unbeaten since the opening day, with new signing Sebastien Haller getting among the goals.

This one will be close, but I am going to go with Villa to make their home advantage count.

Lawro's prediction: 2-1

Lawro was speaking to BBC Sport's Chris Bevan

How did Lawro do last week?

From the last set of Premier League fixtures (before the international break), Lawro got five correct results, including one exact score, out of 10 matches for a total of 80 points.

He beat actor and comedian Stephen Fry, who got four correct results, with no exact scores, for a tally of 40 points.

Lawro's League Table graphic +/- DENOTE POSITION DIFFERENCE BETWEEN LAWRO'S TABLE AND ACTUAL POSITIONTEAMPWDLPTS+/-1Man City440012+1=2Chelsea431010+9=2Liverpool431010-14Leicester43019-1=5Everton42208+1=5Man Utd42208+3=7Arsenal42117-2=7Tottenham42117+2=9Newcastle42026+5=9Watford42026+1111Aston Villa41215+7=12Burnley411240=12Sheff Utd41124-2=12West Ham41124-5=12Wolves41124+516Southampton41033-317Crystal Palace40222-13=18Bournemouth40131-3=18Brighton40131-220Norwich40040-1GUEST LEADERBOARD 2019-20ScoreGuest leaderboard100Adam Peaty95Lawro (average after four weeks)90Helen Housby, Jo Harten60Stefan Ratchford40Stephen FryTotal scores after week fourLawro380Guests290Lawro v GuestsP4W4D0L0

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MOTDx: Chelcee Grimes & Jay Hines rank the 2019-20 Premier League kits

Wed, 09/11/2019 - 06:15

Chelcee Grimes and stylist Jay Hines run the rule over the Premier League kits for the 2019-20 season. Which kit will be crowned the league's best and which deserve to go down?

Watch our brand new football show, MOTDx, starting Thursday 19:00 BST on BBC Two and available on BBC iPlayer.

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Michael Owen: Former England and Liverpool striker busts internet rumours

Tue, 09/10/2019 - 08:11

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Former England striker Michael Owen reveals how he 'hates watching films' and didn't commute to Newcastle every day in a helicopter as he busts internet rumours.
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WSL: Champions Arsenal survive spirited West Ham fightback on opening day

Sun, 09/08/2019 - 17:27
Kenza Dali (left) and Jill Roord (right)

Reigning Women's Super League champions Arsenal got the new season off to a winning start start as they narrowly beat a spirited West Ham 2-1 at Boreham Wood.

Despite being without last season's top scorer Vivianne Miedema, who was nursing a slight hamstring injury, the Gunners had just enough to beat their London rivals on an afternoon when there were also away wins for Everton and Reading.

Beth Mead - who was taking Miedema's place in the centre of the attack - put Arsenal ahead early on with a low effort into the bottom corner from 18 yards, before debutant Jill Roord made it 2-0 as she fired home from Mead's lay-off from inside the area.

Danielle van de Donk swept the ball over the bar from five yards out seconds after the restart as Arsenal, who now face Fiorentina in the Champions League on Thursday, looked as though they would dominate.

But to West Ham's credit they got back into the game and pulled one back when Martha Thomas, who had earlier missed the target after a goalkeeping error, arrowed a header into the bottom corner from a superb Erin Simon cross.

And the Hammers' France international forward Kenza Dali was twice denied by the woodwork as the visitors searched for an equaliser.

First the debutant's free-kick struck the post after deflecting off the wall with 12 minutes to go, while a mix-up between Katie McCabe and goalkeeper Manuela Zinsberger saw the Austrian pick up the Irish defender's pass and Dali struck the crossbar with the resulting indirect free-kick.

The match also saw the return of Jordan Nobbs as the England and Arsenal midfielder came on in the second half for her first competitive game since suffering a serious knee ligament injury last November which forced her to miss this summer's World Cup.

And Nobbs almost marked her appearance with a goal when her curling effort from the edge of the box with 15 minutes left drifted just wide.

Toffees get sweet start to new season Everton score against Birmingham City

Everton won just three games in the WSL last season and finished second-from-bottom, but they got the 2019-20 campaign off to a great start with a 1-0 win at Birmingham City.

The Blues had the better of a goalless first half as Brianna Visalli, Claudia Walker and Lucy Staniforth all had chances to score.

But having survived the first half Everton flourished as they got the opener just a minute after the restart when Hannah Cain's cross from the left was turned past her own goalkeeper by Blues skipper Kerys Harrop.

Molly Pike and Gabby George both had chances to increase the lead soon after as Everton grew in confidence.

Chloe Arthur's long-range effort clipped the Everton post with 30 minutes to go, but despite a number of promising attacks, the visitors' stubborn defence stood up well to keep Birmingham out.

Williams returns to haunt Reds Fara Williams

England's record appearance-maker Fara Williams was a lynchpin of the Liverpool side which won back-to-back WSL titles in 2013 and 2014, but there was little room for sentiment as she helped Reading come away from Merseyside with all three points.

The midfielder's stunning 25-yard free-kick into the top corner late in the first half gave Reading the lead as the Royals dominated the opening period.

Becky Jane skimmed the top of the bar for the Reds on the hour before Liverpool goalkeeper Anke Preuss saved well from Jade Moore's volley.

Rinsola Babajide shot just wide as Liverpool pressed for a late equaliser while at the other end Preuss was forced into a good save from Angharad James' effort.

BBC Sport has launched #ChangeTheGame this summer to showcase female athletes in a way they never have been before. Through more live women's sport available to watch across the BBC this summer, complemented by our journalism, we are aiming to turn up the volume on women's sport and alter perceptions. Find out more here.

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Women's Super League highlights: Liverpool 0-1 Reading

Sun, 09/08/2019 - 17:07

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Farah Williams' spectacular free-kick gives Reading a 1-0 win over Liverpool
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Sean Cox: Injured Liverpool fan to return to Anfield

Fri, 09/06/2019 - 09:59

A Liverpool fan who was left in a coma after being attacked outside Anfield stadium is to return to the ground.

Sean Cox, 53, was left with brain injuries after being struck ahead of the Champions League semi-final against Roma in April 2018.

Mr Cox, from Dunboyne in Ireland, will begin rehabilitation in England next week and attend a Liverpool match in October.

His family said it would be an "emotional return".

Mr Cox's wife Martina said he had made progress since the attack but it had been "extremely slow" and "his speech remains very challenged".

The rehabilitation programme at a specialist neurological centre will focus on developing his speech and movement.

"He finds it very difficult to express himself verbally and, while it seems he can hear and understand more, his speech remains very challenged," Mrs Cox said.

"It is unlikely that he ever will walk again which is difficult to accept for someone as active as Sean used to be."

She added he remained an "avid sports fan" and was "always in a great mood" when watching Dublin GAA or Liverpool on television.

The father of three and his family will attend the game in October as a guest of Liverpool FC chief executive Peter Moore.

Liverpool comedian John Bishop will also host a show in January in Dublin to raise funds for Mr Cox's future care, the Support Sean campaign has announced.

Simone Mastrelli, 30, from Rome, was jailed for three-and-a-half years in February after pleading guilty to attacking Mr Cox.

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Rangers: Ryan Kent has found 'a home' at Ibrox after £7m Liverpool exit

Tue, 09/03/2019 - 11:07
Ryan Kent

Ryan Kent says he wants to put right "unfinished business" from last year after signing a permanent deal with Rangers.

The winger completed a £7m transfer from Liverpool late on deadline day, penning a four-year contract.

Kent scored six goals in 43 appearances for Rangers last season as the club finished nine points behind Scottish Premiership winners Celtic.

"I'm over the moon," Kent told Rangers TV.

"I got a feel for what it was to be a Rangers player, I felt like there was unfinished business from last year and I am hoping to put that right.

"I knew, if I kept myself correct, something good would happen soon and I have been ticking over, keeping myself to myself and this has happened now.

"After last season, I have evolved even more as a player and I think now if I could add that final end product to my game then it is going to be a good season for me and for the team."

Kent admits he is happy to have found a "home" after a period of uncertainty in his career.

Prior to coming on loan to Rangers last season, the Englishman spent temporary spells at Coventry City, Barnsley, Freiburg and Bristol City, while he also played for Liverpool during pre-season.

"I won't lie - it has been incredibly tough over the summer, but I am a mentally strong person as it is anyway," he said.

"It was massively important to find a home. For the past four years now, I have been on the move to different places and last year was the first time I have felt content with the football club I am at.

"The fans and the people within the team, the coaches, the players, everybody welcomed me with open arms and not just as a player but as a friend. My home is here now."

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Ryan Kent: Liverpool and Rangers in talks about permanent transfer for winger

Mon, 09/02/2019 - 12:43
Ryan Kent (centre) in action for Liverpool against Sevilla

Liverpool are in talks with Rangers about the permanent transfer of winger Ryan Kent to the Ibrox club.

The 22-year-old Englishman spent last season on loan to Steven Gerrard's side, making 43 appearances and scoring six goals.

He featured for Liverpool during pre-season but his only competitive game for the English Premier League came in January 2016.

The European champions were reluctant to let the player go out on loan again.

Now it seems Rangers are making a move to bring him north of the border for a transfer fee.

Gerrard has already signed four wingers this summer - Jordan Jones from Kilmarnock, Jake Hastie from Motherwell and Brandon Barker from Manchester City, plus Sheyi Ojo on loan from Liverpool.

Rangers' move comes a day after they fell three points behind Celtic at the top of the Scottish Premiership after losing 2-0 at home to the reigning champions.

Jones and Ojo came on as substitutes in that game at Ibrox.

More to follow.

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Premier League stats: Sergio Aguero, Jamie Vardy & the maths behind Mane's moan

Mon, 09/02/2019 - 10:53
Mohamed Salah, Sadio Mane, Roberto Firmino

Blink and you missed it - we are already 10% of the way through the 2019-20 Premier League season.

The latest round of matches gave us masterclass performances in attack from Sergio Aguero and Jamie Vardy, while on-field tensions were exposed at early leaders Liverpool.

BBC Sport takes a look at the weekend's key stats.

Is there more to Mane's meltdown?

Liverpool are top of the table with a 100% record and claimed a first clean sheet of the season to boot at Burnley - but Sadio Mane's substitution provided the biggest talking point from the Reds' win at Turf Moor.

The Senegal international gestured to the bench as he was withdrawn, seemingly irritated by team-mate Mohamed Salah's decision not to pass to him when in space moments before - with the Egyptian's sight of goal ultimately snuffed out by the home side.

But was Mane's reaction indicative of a broader complaint?

Liverpool in the Premier League since 2017-18PassesChances createdAssistsSalah to Mane172254Salah to Firmino277345Firmino to Mane222265Firmino to Salah256337Mane to Salah177437Mane to Firmino209172

Since the start of the 2017-18 season, Liverpool's front three have generated a total of 178 chances for one another - 59 each by Salah and Roberto Firmino, with Mane generating the remaining 60.

At first glance, that seems to show a fairly even split among the trio - but almost a quarter of the total were Mane providing an opening for Salah (43).

By contrast, back-to-back Premier League Golden Boot winner Salah has created just 25 chances for Mane, compared with 34 for Firmino.

Statistics also suggest the Brazilian forward slightly favours picking out Salah (33 chances) over Mane (26).

Aguero closing in on Etihad landmark Sergio Aguero

Over at Etihad Stadium, it was the Sergio Aguero show as Manchester City's all-time leading goalscorer struck his 169th and 170th Premier League goals in the champions' 4-0 win over Brighton.

It also brought the Argentine to within one of a century of home league goals on his home ground.

Only Thierry Henry at Highbury (114) and Wayne Rooney at Old Trafford (101) have scored more at a single venue in Premier League history.

PlayerVenueGoalsThierry HenryHighbury114Wayne RooneyOld Trafford101Sergio AgueroEtihad Stadium99Alan ShearerSt James' Park97Robbie FowlerAnfield85

Kevin de Bruyne set up Aguero's first against the Seagulls, after earlier opening the scoring for the hosts just 68 seconds after referee Jonathan Moss had blown for kick-off.

It will come as little surprise that the Belgian's finish was the quickest of the Premier League season so far - but it only added to the champions' impressive tally of quick goals.

Since the start of last season, City have struck 13 times in the opening 10 minutes of games, six ahead of Liverpool, Everton and Tottenham (seven) in joint second on the list.

Is Rodgers bringing Vardy back to the party? Brendan Rodgers; Jamie Vardy

Jamie Vardy scored two and created another as Brendan Rodgers' Leicester City climbed to third in the formative Premier League table with a 3-1 home win over Bournemouth.

The former England international evoked memories of his club's 2015-16 title season as he opened the scoring - racing on to a forward ball and taking a touch before lobbing over Aaron Ramsdale.

After also scoring in the Foxes' 2-1 win at Sheffield United last weekend, it means Vardy has now been directly involved in 14 goals in 14 Premier League games under Rodgers (12 goals, two assists).

And Vardy's prolific form under the former Liverpool and Celtic boss elevates him into an exclusive list of Premier League players to have notched at least one goal or assist per game under a specific manager.

But it is not Rodgers' only appearance, with his management of Luis Suarez at Anfield yielding a stunning return of 1.08 goals or assists per match in 66 league games.

Player (minimum 10 appearances)ManagerAppearancesGoalsAssistsGoals + assistsRate of goals or assists per matchAlan ShearerKevin Keegan18155201.11Alan ShearerRay Harford35317381.09Jurgen KlinsmannOsvaldo Ardiles1285131.08Pierre-Emerick AubameyangArsene Wenger13104141.08Luis SuarezBrendan Rodgers665417711.08Chris SuttonJohn Deehan18127191.06Andrew ColeKevin Keegan584316591.02Matthew le TissierAlan Ball573423571.00Les FerdinandRay Wilkins25187251.00Jamie VardyBrendan Rodgers14122141.00Diego CostaGuus Hiddink1495141.00Abraham proving his worth

Frank Lampard named the youngest Chelsea starting 11 in the Premier League era in Saturday's 2-2 draw with Sheffield United.

The Blues side, which ultimately saw a two-goal lead slip at Stamford Bridge, had an average age of 24 years and 158 days.

But, while the west London club's wait for a first home league win goes on, the goalscoring form of Tammy Abraham continued.

Tammy Abraham

Even without the 21-year-old's two goals against the Blades, he has scored more than any other English player in the top two tiers since the start of last season (including play-offs).

A tally of 30 goals in that time - including 26 in Aston Villa's 2018-19 promotion - places him well ahead of senior England internationals Raheem Sterling (22) and Harry Kane (19).

National boss Gareth Southgate overlooked Abraham in his squad for this month's Euro 2020 qualifying matches against Bulgaria and Kosovo - but surely will be unable to resist him for his next squad in October if he maintains his form.

Premier League and Championship goals by English players since the 2018-19 seasonGoalsTammy Abraham30Jarrod Bowen25Billy Sharp24Dwight Gayle24Che Adams22Jay Rodriguez22Raheem Sterling22Jamie Vardy21Lewis Grabban20Harry Kane19

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Bobby Duncan: Liverpool agree deal to sell forward to Fiorentina

Mon, 09/02/2019 - 08:59
Bobby Duncan

Liverpool forward Bobby Duncan is close to joining Italian side Fiorentina on a permanent transfer.

Fiorentina had a loan move rejected but have now agreed a fee of 2m euros (£1.8m) with a 20% sell-on clause.

Duncan, 18, joined Liverpool from Manchester City in 2018 and scored 32 goals in all competitions for the club's under-18 side last season.

Last week, the Reds rejected accusations made by the Duncan's agent of "mentally bullying" the teenager.

More to follow.

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