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Liverpool bank on stability over signings to end 30-year title wait

LIVERPOOL: Missing out on the Premier League title despite a record-breaking campaign was eased by winning a sixth European Cup for Liverpool last season, but ending a 30-year wait to be crowned English champions is now more important than ever on Merseyside. Jurgen Klopp’s men are expected to strike first blood in the title race when…

Liverpool bank on stability over signings to end 30-year title wait

LIVERPOOL: Missing out on the Premier League title despite a record-breaking campaign was eased by winning a sixth European Cup for Liverpool last season, but ending a 30-year wait to be crowned English champions is now more important than ever on Merseyside.

Jurgen Klopp’s men are expected to strike first blood in the title race when they kick off the Premier League season against newly promoted Norwich under the Friday night lights of Anfield.

However, unlike most of their competitors who have delved into the arms race for talent in another transfer window where Premier League clubs have spent over £1 billion ($1.2 billion), the European champions have been conspicuously quiet in the transfer market.

Teenage talents Sepp van den Berg and Harvey Elliott have been snapped up with an eye to the future, while Spanish goalkeeper Adrian will replace Simon Mignolet as backup to Alisson Becker in three low-key arrivals.

Klopp, though, believes the foundations are already in place for another tilt at the title after spending over £230 million in the past two years on the likes of Alisson, Virgil van Dijk and Mohamed Salah.

“You should never do transfers because other clubs are doing transfers,” Klopp told Sky Sports.

“That makes no sense, it’s not about that. And if you sit back for a second and have a look at the squad, do we need more players?“

On the evidence of last season, there is precious little for Liverpool to improve on. A Premier League points tally of 97 would have won the title in any season bar the last two as Manchester City have set a new bar under Pep Guardiola.

City have further strengthened the squad that won a first ever domestic treble of trophies in England last season with the club record signing of Spanish midfielder Rodri and will be the benchmark for Liverpool to beat. A 1-1 draw between the sides, with City edging a penalty shootout 5-4, in the Community Shield last weekend again highlighted how little there is to separate the English and European champions.

Yet, in contrast to last season when Liverpool were the least affected of England’s big six by the late return to pre-season of players at the World Cup, Klopp has a tougher time in ensuring his side hit the ground running.

The prolific front three of Salah, Roberto Firmino and Sadio Mane were all involved in international tournaments again this summer.

Liverpool have decided against investing heavily in backup for that trio and their presence was missed in a bumpy pre-season that saw an under-strength side beaten by Borussia Dortmund, Sevilla and Napoli. But Klopp believes the squad he has assembled will be bolstered by Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain, Adam Lallana and Rhian Brewster’s return to fitness, while Naby Keita can have a bigger impact in his second season in English football.

“People think that players from other clubs, other countries, are better than the players we have here but without really having the proof, because those players haven’t played here,” he said.

“It means whoever wants to start has to be at his top level. We have proper competition and that’s exactly what you need.”

Winning the Champions League also booked Liverpool’s place in next week’s UEFA Super Cup and Club World Cup in December, meaning they have five trophies to play for this season.

However, it is ending 30 years of hurt by winning a 19th league title come May that will determine whether Liverpool’s season has been a success or failure.

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Floyd Mayweather posts video about heading to Saudi Arabia for talks on Manny Pacquiao rematch

Madison Keys, Daniil Medvedev get first titles in Cincinnati Keys beat Svetlana Kuznetsova for her second title of the season and easily the biggest of her career None of the Big Four — Novak Djokovic, Roger Federer, Rafael Nadal and Andy Murray — made it to the final Updated 19 August 2019 AP August 19,…

Floyd Mayweather posts video about heading to Saudi Arabia for talks on Manny Pacquiao rematch

Madison Keys, Daniil Medvedev get first titles in Cincinnati

Keys beat Svetlana Kuznetsova for her second title of the season and easily the biggest of her career
None of the Big Four — Novak Djokovic, Roger Federer, Rafael Nadal and Andy Murray — made it to the final

Updated 19 August 2019

AP

August 19, 2019 01:48

MASON, Ohio: Two unexpected champions embraced their first Rookwood championship trophies, concluding a week that brought more questions than clarity to the upcoming US Open.Who’s going to be healthy on the women’s side? Will stumbles in the men’s bracket at the Western & Southern Open carry over to New York?And are Madison Keys and Daniil Medvedev capable of carrying their newfound momentum into a Grand Slam event? After winning the biggest tournament title of their careers, they were already getting asked about how it might transfer to the bigger stage.Keys rallied late in both sets and beat Svetlana Kuznetsova 7-5, 7-6 (5) Sunday for her second title of the season and easily the biggest of her career. After flameouts in her last three tournaments and a tough draw for the week, she couldn’t imagine the outcome.Back on the court to receive the trophy , she told the crowd: “If you told me this is where I would be a week ago, I would have laughed in your face!“Yet there she was, back in the Top 10 on a surprising upswing heading to New York.She’ll move up to the No. 10 ranking after a gritty showing that was typical of her week. She broke Kuznetsova to pull even in both sets at 5-5 and then pulled them out with a steady serve.Keys hadn’t made it past the second round in her last three tournaments, including Wimbledon. Now she’s got a good feeling with her favorite Grand Slam event at hand.“It’s definitely a great building block,” Keys said. “I want to do well in New York and have a good end to the season.”At 34, Kuznetsova was the oldest finalist in the Western & Southern Open’s history. She beat three top-10 players in a tournament — Sloane Stephens, Karolina Pliskova and Ashleigh Barty — for the first time in her 19-year career.The 153rd-ranked player got a late start on the season as she completed a seven-month recovery from a knee injury. In her ninth tournament of the season, she got her game together and got her best result in two years.“Honestly, I didn’t expect to be so good at this tournament,” she said.After what happened in Cincinnati during the week, nobody knows what to expect in the women’s bracket in New York.Serena Williams dropped out of Cincinnati because of back spasms that also forced her to withdraw from the final in Toronto. Naomi Osaka, the defending US Open champion, withdrew from her semifinal match on Friday with discomfort in her left knee that left her worried about her condition heading to New York.There’s some intrigue on the men’s side, too.The bracket in Cincinnati was billed as a reunion of the Big Four — Novak Djokovic, Roger Federer, Rafael Nadal and Andy Murray back together for the first time since January. None of them made it to the final.Nadal won the Rogers Cup last Sunday and withdrew from the Western & Southern, citing fatigue. Murray played singles for the first time since hip surgery in January and lost his opening match. Seven-time champion Federer was knocked out in the quarterfinals, and Djokovic lost to Medvedev in the semifinals with the crowd cheering him on.The Russian thanked the crowd for its support after beat David Goffin 7-6 (3), 6-4 for his first Masters 1000 title Sunday. It was his third straight final, but the first time he’d won. Medvedev lost to Nadal on Montreal a week earlier, then went on to reach his sixth final of this season, most on the ATP tour. He’s won twice.“To finally lift the trophy this week is an amazing feeling,” Medvedev said.At age 23, he became the youngest Cincinnati champion since Murray at age 21 in 2008.“Congratulations,” Goffin told him, “and I think you’re ready for New York.”

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Madison Keys, Daniil Medvedev get first titles in Cincinnati

Floyd Mayweather posts video about heading to Saudi Arabia for talks on Manny Pacquiao rematch LONDON: Floyd Mayweather released a video on Sunday saying he was traveling to Saudi Arabia for talks on a rematch with Filipino boxing superstar Manny Pacquiao.Mayweather, the undefeated 50-0 fighter, beat Pacquiao at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas in…

Madison Keys, Daniil Medvedev get first titles in Cincinnati

Floyd Mayweather posts video about heading to Saudi Arabia for talks on Manny Pacquiao rematch

LONDON: Floyd Mayweather released a video on Sunday saying he was traveling to Saudi Arabia for talks on a rematch with Filipino boxing superstar Manny Pacquiao.Mayweather, the undefeated 50-0 fighter, beat Pacquiao at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas in 2015 and it looks like the Kingdom could host the second bout between the two.

Undefeated, 50-0 boxing legend @FloydMayweather released a video on Sunday saying he was heading to #SaudiArabia for talks about a rematch with Filipino superstar @MannyPacquiaohttps://t.co/52EBxiUDsL pic.twitter.com/3yz9DQOFan
— Arab News (@arabnews) August 18, 2019

In the video, Mayweather said: “It’s an honor to come to Saudi Arabia to sit down with you guys to talk about the Mayweather vs Pacquiao rematch. Saudi Arabia — Floyd ‘Money’ Mayweather — I’m on my way.”Mayweather’s last two fights saw him in a bout against MMA champion Conor McGregor in August 2017 and rookie Japanese kickboxer Tenshin Nasukawa on New Year’s Eve, the latter not counting toward his professional record.There has been no official announcement from Saudi authorities.

 

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VAR denies Manchester City again in latest wild Premier League match with Tottenham

Pat Cummins double stuns England after Steve Smith makes brave 92 in second Test following injury LORD’S, London: Australia’s Steve Smith returned to make 92 after a sickening blow to the neck before England captain Joe Root fell for the first golden duck of his Test career as Pat Cummins took two wickets in two…

VAR denies Manchester City again in latest wild Premier League match with Tottenham

Pat Cummins double stuns England after Steve Smith makes brave 92 in second Test following injury

LORD’S, London: Australia’s Steve Smith returned to make 92 after a sickening blow to the neck before England captain Joe Root fell for the first golden duck of his Test career as Pat Cummins took two wickets in two balls on a dramatic fourth day of the second Ashes clash at Lord’s.England were 96-4 in their second innings — a lead of 104 runs — when rain forced an early close on Saturday.But with one day left, Australia know early wickets on Sunday could leave them in a position to press for a victory that would put them 2-0 up in a five-match series.England will now look to Ben Stokes, dropped twice on his way to 16 not out, and Jos Buttler (10 not out), to keep Australia at bay.Smith’s 92 was the centerpiece of Australia’s 250 all out in reply to England’s first innings 258.The star batsman had made 80 when he was felled by a bouncer from fast bowler Jofra Archer, making his Test debut, timed at 92.4 mph.The ball struck him on the side of the neck and head.Smith, fell face forward onto the ground. He was wearing a helmet without the additional neck protection that was introduced following the death of Phillip Hughes after his former Australia team-mate was hit by a bouncer in a 2014 domestic Sheffield Shield match in Sydney.“He doesn’t wear it because it is a personal choice,” Australia coach Justin Langer told Sky Sports after stumps.“We know it is available but he can’t feel comfortable with it on.”Smith, who had marked his comeback Test following a 12-month ball-tampering ban, with innings of 144 and 142 in Australia’s 251-run win in the series opener at Edgbaston, received several minutes of on-field treatment involving both teams’ medical staff.He got to his feet but eventually retired hurt, with Smith receiving a generous round of applause as he returned to the pavilion.“It was a terrible blow,” said Langer. “It looked horrible at the time.”This series has seen the introduction of concussion protocols that allow injured batsmen to be replaced by a substitute — previously restricted to fielding duty alone.But Langer insisted Smith’s health had not been put at undue risk by letting him resume his innings as soon as possible when Peter Siddle’s exit left Australia 218-7 after a break of 46 minutes.“We were, absolutely (happy for Smith to bat again). He went through the concussion testing,” said Langer, himself hit on the head several times during his career as an Australia opening batsman.“We wouldn’t let him go out unless we were confident he could do the job.”Archer had previously struck Smith, then on 70, on his unprotected forearm with another bouncer in a fiery eight-over spell.And it was that injury, not the blow to the neck, which Australia said prevented Smith from fielding on Saturday, although a team spokesman said later that hospital X-rays had revealed no fracture.From the second and third balls he faced on his return, Smith hit two fours off paceman Chris Woakes.But on 92, facing his ninth ball, Smith shouldered arms to a Woakes nip-back delivery and was plumb lbw to leave Australia 234-8.Smith reviewed almost as an after-thought before replays confirmed the end of a 161-ball innings that included 14 fours.Stuart Broad took 4-65 in 27.3 overs and Woakes 3-61 in 19 while Archer finished with figures of 2-59 in 29.“That was serious, serious pace,” said Woakes of Archer. “I was at fine leg and could still tell.“It is never nice to see anyone get hit. Thankfully it looks like Steve is OK.“He is a great player and it took something special from Jofra to get him out of his bubble.”England then suffered an a familiar collapse, Jason Roy, caught and bowled by Cummins (2-16) off a leading edge.Next ball, 9-1 became 9-2 with Root caught behind off a superb delivery.Joe Denly survived the hat-trick before being caught and bowled by Siddle (2-19), who also removed Rory Burns.

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