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Jürgen Klopp Speaks On Liverpool’s 2-1 Win Over Brighton As Reds Return To Top Of The Table

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Salah, Captain Dyk

Jürgen Klopp described Liverpool’s 2-1 comeback win over Brighton & Hove Albion at Anfield as a “difficult game, good performance, fantastic result.”

Mohamed Salah scored decisively midway through the second half to secure all three points for Liverpool, after Luis Diaz’s volley cancelled out Danny Welbeck’s second-minute strike.

Klopp’s team thus kept their Premier League title bid on track on a day when the other two main contenders, Manchester City and Arsenal, met at Etihad Stadium.

Read the manager’s post-match press conference in its entirety below.

Liverpool’s response after conceding the early goal…

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From my perspective, it was our best performance against Roberto [De Zerbi’s Brighton]. More possession is preferable to less. A really good game rhythm – aside from the goal, we lose possession of the ball. We can lose the ball high up the pitch, but that does not mean we have to concede; that was excellent work. As far as I could tell, it was also an excellent finish. I really liked the reaction, but I could tell we were rushing to finish. That was not at the same level as the others.

You can not create all the time like we did and then expect one or two of them to be good chances; we did not have enough shots on goal in the first half, and the ones we did have were rollers. We could have done better, but we still managed to score an equaliser off a set piece, which is always a good and very useful asset. We showed the boys a couple of situations at halftime and told them what we should keep doing, where we needed to calm down, and how we could improve our defence. We tried it again and controlled large portions of the game, as much as we could against them. It is not always possible because denial is extremely intense. It is extremely hard work.

The front line had to work hard and be patient at the appropriate times. Wataru [Endo] and Macca [Alexis Mac Allister] were in the right places, and Dom [Szoboszlai] was the surprise act, the chaser and chaos creator, which I thought worked really well. They had possession, but it was not what they wanted, which helps. We scored a fantastic second goal and a fantastic third goal, which was slightly offside but still a good goal. Then you have to get it over the queue. To be completely honest, we have not been in that situation with this team for ten years, so I expected us to be a little more nervous, but I thought the boys were very calm, which I really liked. Yes, they had moments; that is how it goes, and you can not deny them entirely. We won the game, and I think we all agreed we deserved to win, so it was a great afternoon.

Regarding Alexis MacAllister’s performance…

I saw a lot of special performances today. Yes, Macca was incredible, but when you have that kind of talent and character, you should show it. It is Macca; he can do it, so do it. Conor Bradley, Jarell Quansah, Wataru, and Dom are all exceptional performers. That is Joe Gomez. The boys are good, so show it. Yes, I am a huge fan of these boys, but I am no longer surprised if they perform at the highest level because that is exactly what I expect them to do, and when they do, it is fine. If they are unable to do so, I consider why and how we can assist; however, when they do, I am not as surprised as others; I am simply pleased that they can do so more frequently. Great game, so many moments, and then Caoimh [Kelleher] hits the ball out of the corner. I saw that pretty clearly, and I did not expect the hand to come. It was really cool to see him there. As previously stated, the game was difficult, but the performance was excellent, and the outcome was fantastic.

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The team’s previous title-race experience is crucial for overcoming adversity during games.

I enjoyed the atmosphere today. When I speak of being nervous as a group, we were more nervous years ago. So, when we were 1-0 up, nobody in the stands could calm down until we scored the second or third goal. That was a long time ago, but it was something we had to work on together, and I loved the crowd’s reaction today – they were really into the game, which I really like.

So, as a unit, we have to get through this [and] decide whether or not we enjoy it. It will be difficult, nerve-racking at times, and your heart rate will be 180, 200, or whatever if you watch it or participate in it. But if we all enjoy it, we have a chance. If we don’t, we still have a chance; it is just much more difficult, which is why we try to remain optimistic in all of these situations. It is a fantastic situation; the boys brought us in, and we are there. I am not even sure how many points I have, but I got three more today. So we are there with two other teams competing for the biggest prize in English football, and we will see how it turns out. But I have decided to make an extra effort to enjoy it.

Will any of Liverpool’s injured players return for Thursday’s game against Sheffield United?

Curtis Jones is fully trained. So he trained with us yesterday but then had an extra shift because the [matchday] minus one session did not provide Curtis with the intensity he required, so he was with us and then had another shift. He will be undergoing full training. What exactly does this mean for the game? Let me look into that. Nobody else will return. The others are slowly but steadily recovering, but not yet.

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Is Salah back to his sharpness after his injury?

In terms of playing, absolutely. Imagine if Mo had finished off all of the situations in his career; those would have been insane numbers, so it is perfectly fine. Mo, like others, was rushing through the finishing situations in the first half, and the finishes were not as good as they could have been. But then being that calm in the crucial moment when you have to finish the best football situation we played, that makes a real goalscorer, so I am completely satisfied with everything. He could play 90 or so minutes, and now we just have to keep going.

We need every boy. Darwin [Nunez] created so many opportunities for us, and Lucho [Diaz] was fantastic, so they were all very good today. As I previously stated, the two center-halves were outstanding. It was a fantastic football game against a team you know will put in the most effort. Defending them required probably the highest level of intensity in English football, but we performed admirably. I do not think they play many games like that anymore, where someone pressed in the way we did, and I am very pleased with that.

SPORTS

Zinedine Zidane Maybe Heading To Bayern In The New Season–Report

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Zinedine Zidane is on the “verge of becoming Bayern Munich manager”, claims a report in The Sun.

The Frenchman, who has been out of work since leaving Real Madrid in 2021, is said to have held “successful talks” with Bayern, who are searching for a new manager following the announcement that Thomas Tuchel will leave at the end of the season.

Leading Saturday’s Paper Round is speculation linking former Real Madrid boss Zinedine Zidane to the Bayern Munich job, which will be vacant this coming summer. Elsewhere, Arsenal have reportedly made a £38 million offer to Eintracht Frankfurt for defender Willian Pacho, and The Gunners will face competition from Manchester United for RB Leipzig striker Benjamin Sesko.

The Frenchman, who has been out of work since leaving Real Madrid in 2021, is said to have held “successful talks” with Bayern, who are searching for a new manager following the announcement that Thomas Tuchel will leave at the end of the season.

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“The 51-year-old is said to be on the brink of returning to the dugout with Bayern,” states the outlet.

“That’s according to Mundo Deportivo, who claim the former Los Blancos player and gaffer has held successful talks with the German giants.

“And the Spanish newspaper claims the 1998 Ballon d’Or winner is ‘one step away’ from taking charge of the Bavarians.

“An official agreement has not yet been reached, although Mundo claims the deal is ‘practically done’.

“Zidane is said to have asked for a war chest to bolster the squad upon his arrival.”

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Arsenal have reportedly made a £38 million offer to Eintracht Frankfurt for defender Willian Pacho.

The Ecuador international has stood out for Frankfurt this season, appearing in all but one Bundesliga game as the club aims for a top-six finish.

“Arsenal have reportedly tabled a bid for defender Willian Pacho, it’s been claimed,” The Sun writes.

“Pacho, 22, has been a shining light for Bundesliga outfit Eintracht Frankfurt this season.

“And the Ecuadorian’s impressive form is said to have caught the attention of Gunners boss Mikel Arteta.

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“It was claimed earlier this week that the North Londoners have “inquired about” potentially signing him in the summer.

“And now Bolavip are claiming the Premier League big boys have tabled a £38 million bid for the centre-back.

“The offer is said to be short of Frankfurt’s valuation of the player, whom they want a minimum of £43m for.”

It looks set to be a busy summer in the market for Arsenal as they are also allegedly interested in signing RB Leipzig striker Benjamin Sesko.

The Mirror claims the north London side have “stepped up their attempts to sign the forward this summer”.

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The 20-year-old has scored nine goals and grabbed two assists in 26 Bundesliga games so far this season.

“The RB Leipzig striker’s representatives have already been present at Stamford Bridge and Old Trafford this season, with the north London side set to face plenty of competition,” reads the article.

“The 20-year-old Slovenian has a £42.7million release clause in his contract that is set to become active in the coming months after joining his German club from Red Bull Salzburg less than a year ago.

“Arsenal have been widely linked to signing a striker this term with Mikel Arteta’s team keen to add greater firepower to their ranks.

“The Arsenal boss is said to be interested in acquiring a dynamic forward, with Sesko on Edu’s shortlist. Competition for the young striker’s signature is set to be rife, however.

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“Manchester United have already missed out in the past, while PSG and AC Milan held an interest in the Leipzig star.

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SPORTS

Martinez To Miss Europa League Semi-Final First Leg After Double Yellow Card

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Emi Martinez made headlines as Aston Villa progressed to the semi-finals of the UEFA Conference League via a dramatic win over Lille on Thursday.

The match went to a penalty shoot-out where Martinez repeated his 2022 World Cup heroics, making two saves to help the Premier League club go through. However, he picked up a yellow card during the shoot-out and will now miss their next game.

Aston Villa goalkeeper Emi Martinez will miss his team’s UEFA Conference League semi-final first leg through suspension.

The Argentina international was the hero for the Premier League side as they advanced into the final four of the competition following a penalty shoot-out win over Lille on Thursday.

Martinez has become renowned for his antics during shoot-outs and he has now won the last five, both at club and international level.

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The goalkeeper made two saves in the shoot-out but there was controversy when he was booked by the official for his behaviour towards the Lille supporters during the spot kicks.

Martinez had already been booked in the game but was not sent off because bookings are not carried into shoot-outs, which allowed the goalkeeper to continue on the pitch.

However, UEFA has now confirmed that he will be suspended for the first leg against Olympiacos after receiving three yellow cards over both legs in the quarter-final tie.

Unai Emery’s side will welcome Olympiacos to Villa Park for the first leg on May 2 before travelling to Greece for the second leg the following week.

Olympiacos advanced to the semi-finals with their penalty shoot-out victory over Fenerbache.

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Speaking to TNT Sports after the game, Martinez said: “It has been a hell of a ride all of my career. I am a believer and a hard worker and it was my destiny today.

“I always say in all my career, I owe my team-mates in those moments, even when we were watching Real Madrid last night the manager was saying we might go to penalties and in those moments I own my box.

“I just have a bad reputation for time-wasting because the other goalie was doing the same thing.

“I get booked after 30 minutes, and we’re losing the game, so I don’t know what the ref wants from me. There was no ball on the penalty spot, and I asked for a ball from a ball boy and then I got booked.

“I don’t understand the rules.”

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Villa return to Premier League action on Sunday when they host Bournemouth as they continue their bid for a place in next season’s UEFA Champions League.

 

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Females Athletes Dominate 2024 Nigeria’s Olympic Team

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Females Athletes

When the Nigerian Contingent sets sail to participate in the Paris Games, the womenfolk will dominate Team Nigeria.

It is great news that Team Nigeria will have a strong representation of female athletes at the Paris Olympic Games, which will run from July 26 to August 11, in Paris.

This is no doubt a testament to the growing prowess and capabilities of Nigerian women in various sports. A female athlete like Adekuoroye Adegoroye, a wrestling athlete and a talented woman in a male-dominated sport, was among the earliest to wrestle her way to an Olympic ticket.

This was followed by Elizabeth Anyanacho, a Taekwondoist, who has broken into reckon-ing as a gold medal prospect for the country if well managed.

In Canoeing and Cycling, one athlete in each sport has secured the right to don the national co-lours at the Games.

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In Athletics, six persons have so far picked the tickets but the females have the upper hand.  The women include Tobi Amu-san, the world record holder in the 100-metre Hurdles event.

In women’s Basketball, Nigeria will be represented by a 12-member team, known as D’ Tigress that qualified at the expense of regional archrivals Senegal.

In women’s soccer, the 22-member national team, the Super Falcons,  have showcased their talent and earned the opportunity to compete at the Mundi-ale.

The Super Falcons secured a 1-0 win from the first leg at home in Abuja and, in the return leg a week later in Pretoria, held host South Africa to a goalless draw before their passionate home fans, thus picking the ticket.

”It’s wonderful to see women breaking barriers and excelling in their respective sports,” re-marked Mary Onyali, a Silver medalist in the Olympics, who in her heyday dominated the 100, 200 and the relays.

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Their achievements not only highlight their abilities but also inspire and empower other women to pursue their dreams in sports.

The qualification of female athletes in canoeing and cycling further adds to the diversity and representation within Team Nigeria.

As they say in Igbo, one of  Nigeria’s main languages, “Nwanyi Bu Ife“, meaning “women are in-valuable,” re-echoing the importance of  women’s contributions to societal growth and sports too

”The success of these female athletes in qualifying for the Par-is Games is a testament to their hard work, dedication, and skill,” noted Engr. Habu Ahmed Gumel, President, Nigeria Olympic Committee, who doubles as IOC lone member for Nigeria.

They will undoubtedly make Team Nigeria proud and show the world the strength and talent of Nigerian women in sports. ”Whether from males or females, what Nigeria badly desires now is Olympic Gold to break the 1996 Jinx, which was the last time Nigeria won Olympic Gold medals,” restated Gumel.

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