Jurgen Klopp: Liverpool success helps and hinders with transfers

Stand Red presents: The Boot Room

Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp discussed the Premier League leaders’ approach to transfers.

While they hold a 19-point lead atop the Premier League, Liverpool have been linked with moves for numerous players, including RB Leipzig star Timo Werner.

Klopp is unfazed by suggestions his team are the world’s best, but said it could help with signings.

“It’s easier if players see you as that. If they see you are successful, it’s easier to get into talks with players,” he told UK newspapers.

“But on the other side, it’s more difficult the better your team is because they ask questions like, ‘where and when would I play?’

“We need players who want to be part of this, who want to fight for their spot, who want to make the next step together with us, who want to develop and improve so that’s it.

“We have these players and whoever wants to join us needs to have exactly this kind of attitude.”

Liverpool are still unbeaten in the Premier League ahead of hosting West Ham at Anfield on Monday.

 

Klopp said finding the right players to add to his side, who were Champions League winners last season, was difficult.

“The age group of the team is good in the moment. In two or three years, maybe it’ll be different but for the moment, it’s good,” he said.

“It depends on what you want. Is it a good age for selling? Probably not. But is it a good age for performing? Yes.

“So there are a lot of things we have to think about. It’s an interesting period.”

Patrick Reed produces fine finish to win WGC-Mexico Championship

‘I can wait to go home and celebrate’ – Reed after winning WGC

American Patrick Reed produced a fine finish to win the WGC-Mexico Championship.

Patrick Reed secured the WGC-Mexico Championship with a one-stroke victory on Sunday.

The American produced a fine finish at Club de Golf Chapultepec, birdieing four of his remaining seven holes on his way to a four-under 67 in the final round.

Reed finished at 18 under, a shot clear of Bryson DeChambeau, who carded a six-under 65.

It marked Reed’s eighth PGA Tour win and first of 2020, and second World Golf Championships success, with the other coming in 2014 when this event was called the WGC-Cadillac Championship.

Reed made three straight birdies from holes 15 to 17 to grab control, closing out victory despite a bogey at the par-four 18th.

 

“It’s very rewarding,” he told NBC.

“My team and I we’ve worked so hard through the end of last year and also the beginning of this year and we kept on feeling like we were playing some good golf, just we weren’t quite able to get over that hump.

“To come back and win my second World Golf Championship, especially with how I had to finish basically 15 onwards. The last hole was ugly but it was what I needed just to get the job done and at the end of the day just putting yourself in these positions on Sunday is just unbelievable, it’s a great feeling.

“I can’t wait to go home and celebrate with the little ones and my wife and bring them home a trophy.”

 

Spaniard Jon Rahm (67) and South African Erik van Rooyen (70) finished tied for third at 15 under.

World number one Rory McIlroy could only manage a closing three-under 68 to end up fifth a further shot back.

Overnight leader Justin Thomas struggled to a two-over 73 that saw him finish tied for sixth alongside Hideki Matsuyama (67) and Tyrrell Hatton (68).

Thomas made three bogeys on his front nine before adding a double-bogey at the par-four 10th and dropping another shot at 13.

Thomas Tuchel excuses Neymar’s ‘human’ reaction after PSG red card

Sanchez to PSG?

Paris Saint-Germain forward Neymar was exempt from blame for his sending off in a 4-3 win over Bordeaux on Sunday after head coach Thomas Tuchel refused to criticize a reckless tackle.

Brazil international Neymar was shown a second yellow card for a late challenge on Bordeaux’s Yacine Adli in added time of the Ligue 1 clash at the Parc des Princes.

The 28-year-old had an angry exchange with referee Willy Delajod and then appeared to sarcastically applaud the officials as he left the pitch.

However, Tuchel believed Neymar’s reaction was a natural one given he felt the PSG player had been fouled beforehand by Bordeaux’s Youssouf Sabaly.

Neymar is now set to miss PSG’s next Ligue 1 fixture at home to Dijon on Saturday.

“We have to talk about the whole situation,” Tuchel said of Neymar’s challenge in his post-match media conference.

“He is nervous and he reacts. It is human. He must not, but it is human. And the Bordeaux player does not even get a yellow card.”

PSG secured the points after a chaotic win thanks to two goals from Marquinhos and one apiece for Edinson Cavani – his 200th in all competitions for the club – and Kylian Mbappe.

It helped PSG increase their lead to 13 points over second-placed Marseille at the top of Ligue 1.

 

And Tuchel acknowledged the win helped boost morale as they produced a positive reaction to a 2-1 defeat to Borussia Dortmund in the first leg of their last-16 Champions League tie.

“The victory is the most important thing now because there are things to improve, it is clear,” added the German coach.

“The players lack a little confidence after a defeat. It’s like that. We can see that a lot of teams in Europe after a defeat it’s always a little difficult to regain spirit and confidence.”

Brazilian defender Marquinhos feels PSG must work hard to improve their defensive performances after leaking seven goals in their past two Ligue 1 games.

“On the one hand we are really very strong offensively, but on the other we concede a lot of goals,” he told Canal+.

“As defenders we really have to think about what we can do best. In this match it was mainly on set-pieces. We really have to work better collectively.”

Reilly Opelka serves up second title at Delray Beach Open

Monfils beats Fucsovics to reach last 16 at Dubai Tennis Championships

Reilly Opelka overcame both Milos Raonic and Yoshihito Nishioka on Sunday to triumph at the Delray Beach Open.

With Saturday’s play affected by rain, the big-serving American had only hours to prepare for the final after an impressive defeat of Raonic in 127 hard-hitting minutes.

Opelka edged the ace count 19 to 16 and also saved a match point against the Canadian in their semi-final, eventually coming out on top 4-6 7-6 (8-6) 6-3.

The world number 54 broke Raonic for the first time at 3-3 in the final set and then again to love to book his place in the final, where he showed no signs of tiredness when seizing the initiative by claiming the third of three set points to forge ahead against Nishioka.

However, Nishioka’s return game began to click into gear and he levelled the match when Opelka sent a forehand long to lose a tense tie-break.

An immediate break put Opelka in charge of the decider, though, and he moved 5-2 up when a furious Nishioka sent a backhand wide having previously saved three break points.

Opelka secured his second ATP Tour title with a 27th ace, once again prevailing in a three-set tussle.

 

 

Juventus vs Inter in doubt with Italian PM considering postponing Week 26 Serie A fixtures due to coronavirus

‘We’ve been rightfully praised’ Inzaghi as high-flying Lazio face Genoa

Upcoming fixtures across Italy’s leagues are in doubt, with Serie A leaders Juventus scheduled to host Inter in Turin on March 1.

The outbreak of coronavirus in Italy forced four top-flight matches to be postponed over the weekend, including Sunday’s clash between Scudetto hopefuls Inter and Sampdoria.

Italy’s move came as part of preventative measures against the spread of the coronavirus, officially named COVID-19 which originated in China, after two people died and dozens more reportedly tested positive.

Now, upcoming fixtures across Italy’s leagues are in doubt, with Serie A leaders Juve scheduled to host Inter in Turin on March 1.

“I don’t think that in just one week we’d be able to slow down the contagion so much that we could resume sporting events,” Conte told Rai.

“We are constantly monitoring the situation and will evaluate. We’ll see the evolution of the contagion and evaluate postponing all next week’s matches.”

Juve are a point clear atop the table following Saturday’s 2-1 victory away at bottom side SPAL.

Cristiano Ronaldo marked his 1,000th career appearance with a goal, scoring in an 11th consecutive top-flight match – matching a feat previously achieved by Gabriel Batistuta and Fabio Quagliarella.

In-form Lazio were also in action on Saturday and edged Genoa 3-2 to extend their unbeaten streak to 20 games, while Inter are six points off the pace with a game in hand.

Edinson Cavani emotional after reaching PSG milestone: It’s a very special moment

Sanchez to PSG?

Paris Saint-Germain forward Edinson Cavani was delighted to score his 200th goal for the runaway Ligue 1 leaders on Sunday.

Cavani – PSG’s all-time leading scorer – netted his side’s first in a thrilling 4-3 victory, bringing up his personal milestone in the 25th minute at the Parc des Princes.

The Uruguayan forward was linked with a move away in January, while his contract expires with the French club at the end of the season.

PSG held a presentation for Cavani, who has seven goals this season, after the game and the 33-year-old was “a little emotional”.

“It’s the team-mates who give you the goals,” Cavani told Canal+.

“It’s a very special moment after a difficult month in January, but I’m here to give my best and try to have a great season with the team.

 

“But I’m like that, a little emotional. I looked at my family who is there, always behind me, pushing me, giving me love.

“In the end, that’s what makes you move on. It gives me a lot of emotion and that’s why I’m a little like that.

“We have to push again and I hope to continue to make beautiful things here.”

Defender Marquinhos scored a brace for PSG and Kylian Mbappe also found the net, though the hosts had Neymar sent off in additional time.

PSG are 13 points clear of nearest rivals Marseille in the Ligue 1 table.

Pep Guardiola: Real Madrid are the club Manchester City want to emulate

Napoli’s Gattuso calls Messi the ‘greatest player of all time’ ahead of UCL v Barcelona

Just two of Manchester City’s current squad have ever won the Champions League, as Pep Guardiola highlighted ahead of their trip to Madrid.

City travel to the Santiago Bernabeu on Wednesday for their Champions League last-16 first-leg clash with Zinedine Zidane’s Madrid and Guardiola highlighted the relative inexperience of his players when it comes to winning European titles.

Madrid emerged as champions in four of the last six editions of the Champions League and have retained many of the players who spearheaded those triumphs, while Claudio Bravo and Scott Carson are the only City players to have won the competition.

City manager Guardiola cast aside his intense rivalry with Madrid, which dates back to his time as Barca head coach, and told reporters: “I have an incredible admiration for this club.

“The players who have played there have played so many times in the [Champions League] final and I don’t know how many times each one has lifted it.

“Maybe Claudio [Bravo] has won the Champions League and someone else. We don’t have many players who have won it. But we need the desire to win it and be ourselves, We could win it or lose it.

“But we must be ourselves in the 180 minutes against Real Madrid. It is the real, real test.”

 

Madrid face City having failed to win either of their last two matches and Zidane’s men will be under pressure to recover from a 1-0 LaLiga defeat at Levante on Saturday.

In contrast, City go into the game on the back of two straight Premier League wins without conceding a goal, but Guardiola said Madrid’s historic success in the Champions League would be a factor in the tie.

“You have players who come to Madrid and pull on the shirt, they know they are defending their history,” said Guardiola, who won the Champions League twice as coach of Barcelona. “That makes an extra thing. Not just the spectators and media.

“They are the club we want to emulate and imitate and we have to be there. I want to go there and at the end of the game I want to say ‘we were what we are’. This is the most important thing in these types of competitions.

“We need to go and try and do it at one of the biggest, nicest and most prestigious stadiums. After that, we will try with our weapons and try to score the goals. If we cannot, we will congratulate them and try and improve for the next time.

“For us being here is exciting, so good and we will try to do our best, knowing we play against a team who have won 13 Champions Leagues and it is a king.”

Cristian Garin wins Rio Open to continue fine run

Monfils beats Fucsovics to reach last 16 at Dubai Tennis Championships

Cristian Garin continued his tremendous form on Sunday, winning the Rio Open final against Gianluca Mager.

The Chilean third seed proved too good for qualifier Mager in the decider, winning 7-6 (7-3) 7-5 after one hour, 34 minutes on the clay in Brazil.

The title win was the fourth of Garin’s career and second this month, adding to his Cordoba Open success.

But it was his first at ATP 500 level, having earlier beaten fifth seed Borna Coric in the semi-finals.

 

Mager, who needed almost three hours to win his semi over Attila Balazs, recovered from a break down in the first set before being edged in a tie-break.

The Italian started the second set well, going a break up and appearing set to force a decider.

But Garin came from 5-3 down, winning 16 of the last 20 points and four straight games to clinch the title.

Elise Mertens begins Qatar Open defence in style, Garbine Muguruza & Jelena Ostapenko battle through

Kiki Bertens defeats Karolina Muchova at the Qatar Open

Having triumphed in Doha last year, Elise Mertens kicked off the defence of her WTA Qatar Open title in style on Sunday.

The Belgian, seeded 16th in Doha, produced a dominant display to triumph 6-1 6-2 and set up a meeting with either Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova or Yulia Putintseva.

Australian Open runner-up Garbine Muguruza endured a much tougher outing at the WTA Premier 5 event than Mertens, requiring three sets to see off Daria Kasatkina.

The two-time grand slam champion prevailed 7-5 5-7 6-3 after two hours and 49 minutes, with Ajla Tomljanovic up next for the Spaniard.

 

Jelena Ostapenko, who won the French Open in 2017, was pushed all the way in a 7-5 2-6 7-5 victory over Jil Teichmann, while top seed Ash Barty learned that she will face Laura Siegemund following the German’s defeat of Yaroslava Shvedova.

Elsewhere in the draw, Veronika Kudermetova dumped out Kristina Mladenovic despite losing the second set 6-0, Svetlana Kuznetsova ousted Cagla Buyukakcay, and Karolina Muchova was too strong for Magda Linette.

Tomljanovic beat fellow Australian Priscilla Hon, and there were also wins for Bernarda Pera, Alison Van Uytvanck, Amanda Anisimova and Ons Jabeur.

Emphatic win over Deontay Wilder justifies trainer switch, says Tyson Fury

Rematch for Wilder if he wants it – WBC heavyweight champion Fury

Hailing the impact of new trainer Javan ‘SugarHill’ Steward, Tyson Fury said: “I know I can do better. I’ve only just started.”

Fourteen months on from contesting a thrilling draw with Wilder in Los Angeles, Fury was an emphatic victor in Las Vegas on Saturday as he recorded a seventh-round TKO to claim the WBC heavyweight title.

Prior to the rematch, many observers expressed surprise at Fury ending his partnership with Ben Davison, the trainer who played such a key role in helping him shed weight and return to the highest level after he had suffered from depression following his first heavyweight championship win over Wladimir Klitschko in 2015.

However, while Fury (30-0-1) praised Davison following his success against Wilder, the 31-year-old felt he had proven a point by executing an entirely different gameplan under the tuition of Javan ‘SugarHill’ Steward and Andy Lee.

“When I made the decision to move from Ben Davison, who’d done a fantastic job by the way, I did it for a reason,” said Fury in a post-fight news conference. “Everybody was like this is a bad move, really bad move, but it worked out for the best.

 

“I believe in SugarHill, I believe in the style that he teaches and I knew we’d get it right on the night. Everything that I did in the ring, we practiced in the gym, setting up on the jab and landing the detonation right-hander.

“We didn’t mind revealing the gameplan, we had nothing to hide. I said what I was going to do, run across the ring to him, put him on the back foot and unload big shots on him.

“Everybody knows I’m a master slick boxer and I can jab and move for 12 rounds, but that didn’t work last time, I got a draw. A draw is a failure to me, because all I do is win, win, win. This time I wanted the knockout and I think the only way I could guarantee that I was going to get a win was the knockout.

“When me and SugarHill spoke, he told me that I would knock him out and I believed in what he said.

“I’m my own worst critic, even though it was a fantastic performance and I got a great win, I know I can do better. I’ve only just started, me and SugarHill with this style, I’ve had seven weeks to perfect a style that takes years, but I’m a quick learner and I aim to get back to work straight away.

“We’re going to be putting people to sleep left, right and centre.”

The 6ft 9in Fury weighed in at 19st 7lb for Saturday’s bout, 42lbs heavier than his considerably shorter opponent.

“With this weight alone and technique we can knock out anybody,” he added.

“When I jumped on the scales at 270 pounds, everyone thought he’s not come for a fight, he’s underestimated Wilder, he’s turned up for a payday. But tonight when I was in there I felt like a beast, this is my weight for sure.”

Deontay Wilder trainer caught out by towel throw, but ‘absolutely’ expects third Fury fight

Rematch for Wilder if he wants it – WBC heavyweight champion Fury

Deontay Wilder’s head trainer, Jay Deas, has said it was not his decision to throw in the towel and concede defeat in Saturday’s much-anticipated rematch with Tyson Fury.

Fourteen months on from their drawn first meeting, Wilder was on the receiving end of a heavy beating in Las Vegas as he lost his unbeaten record and WBC heavyweight title to a dominant opponent.

However, although Fury bossed the fight, twice sending his bloodied opponent to the canvas, both Wilder and Deas felt the ‘Bronze Bomber’ should have been afforded an opportunity to go out on his shield.

Co-trainer Mark Breland threw in the towel during round seven, a decision that was questioned by Deas in a post-fight news conference that Wilder missed in order to go to hospital for treatment on his injured ear.

“[Wilder] had a small cut inside the ear, [it] may have affected his equilibrium, so he’s just going to get a couple of stitches there,” explained Deas.

Discussing the fight’s ending, Deas added: “I’m the head coach of the team but we do things a little bit differently – 99 per cent of the time the head coach of the team is the guy that’s also the lead in the corner. Ours is a little bit more like a football team, American football, where the head coach doesn’t necessarily call the plays.

“Ours is a little bit like that, so what happened during the round was Mark [Breland] said something about throwing the towel in and I told him ‘don’t do that’, I didn’t think he should do that.

“Then the fight went a little bit longer and then I saw the towel go in. I haven’t talked to Mark about it but we’ll talk about it, figure out exactly what went on there.”

 

Wilder, who hinted he had been hampered by an injury in the lead-up to the contest, expressed his unhappiness in the ring, stating: “I make no excuses tonight. I just wish my corner would have let me go out on my shield – I’m a warrior and that’s what I do.”

The nature of Wilder’s loss has led to questions over whether he will activate a clause to fight Fury for a third time, but Deas is convinced the bout will take place.

“I think so, absolutely,” added the trainer. “Knowing him like I do, he will want the rematch.

“These guys have put on two tremendous fights. The public will want it. We’ll want it, they’ll want it. It seems natural. I think it’s what you’ll see happen.”

Tyson Fury warns Deontay Wilder and Anthony Joshua: Whoever’s next will get the same treatment

Rematch for Wilder if he wants it – WBC heavyweight champion Fury

Tyson Fury expects Deontay Wilder to agree to a third fight between the pair but vowed that his next opponent, even if it is Anthony Joshua, will get the same treatment as the dethroned WBC champion.

Fury produced a dominant performance at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas on Saturday to become a heavyweight champion for the second time, 14 months on from a thrilling draw with Wilder in Los Angeles.

The Briton, a former WBA, WBO, and IBF title-holder, knocked down his opponent in the third and fifth rounds before the American’s corner threw in the towel in the seventh.

In his post-fight media conference, questions naturally turned to talk of Anthony Joshua, who holds every other major belt in the division.

Promoter Eddie Hearn told talkSPORT on Sunday that Joshua wants to fight Fury next.

That appears unlikely, however, as Joshua’s mandatory defense of his IBF title against Kubrat Pulev is reportedly set to be confirmed, while Wilder can enact a rematch clause with Fury.

Asked if he would fight Joshua next should Wilder decline the opportunity to immediately complete a trilogy, Fury said: “Deontay will need time to recover from the fight, but I’m sure that he’ll take a rematch.

“He’s a dynamite puncher and any time you can take somebody out with that danger, then you’re always in a fight so I’m pretty sure we’ll do it again, if he wants to.

 

“If he doesn’t want to, then these are my promoters and whatever they want to do I’m happy with. Whoever’s next will get the same treatment, that’s for sure.”

Despite the one-sided nature of the contest, Fury did express admiration for some changes Wilder made from their first meeting.

He added: “I felt like Deontay’s jab had improved and he did take his time more like he said he would. He was using his jab quite well actually.

“I was very impressed with his double jab that he was using and credit to his team for applying that in this fight because when you’ve got two giant guys, I think the jab is very important, it sets everything up.

“I thought he was definitely an improved fighter to what I thought before, and he was heavier, I wasn’t able to bully him around as I did last time in close because he was lot heavier than he ever was.

“I did see improvements in his game, but tonight was my night and I was never going to let anybody take it from me.”

Timo Werner hails Jurgen Klopp as Liverpool rumours intensify

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Jurgen Klopp is the best coach in the world, according to Timo Werner, who has once more talked up a move from Leipzig to Liverpool.

RB Leipzig forward Werner has been heavily linked with a switch to Anfield after starring in his club’s push for a maiden Bundesliga title.

The 23-year-old, who has scored 27 goals for Leipzig in all competitions this season, said on Wednesday he was “very proud” to be linked with European champions Liverpool.

Werner has now talked up the runaway Premier League leaders once again after scoring in a 5-0 thrashing of Schalke on Saturday, a victory that kept Leipzig just a point behind Bundesliga front-runners Bayern Munich.

 

“Jurgen Klopp is the best coach in the world,” Werner told Sky Germany.

“There is a lot to suggest that my style of play would suit there [Liverpool].”

The Germany international did insist his focus was strictly on his current club for the remainder of the campaign.

“I’m not worried about that [a move to Liverpool], because we have so much to do with Leipzig,” he added.

“It’s difficult to think about where to play next year. You have to worry about it after the season. Inquiries come in, you don’t have to lie that it is so.”

Tyson Fury versus Anthony Joshua ‘has to happen this year’, says Eddie Hearn

Rematch for Wilder if he wants it – WBC heavyweight champion Fury

Anthony Joshua’s promoter, Eddie Hearn, says a unification fight between his fighter and Tyson Fury “has to happen this year” after the latter produced a phenomenal performance to dethrone Deontay Wilder.

In a much-anticipated rematch in Las Vegas, Fury knocked the previously undefeated Wilder down twice and won via TKO in the seventh round when the American’s corner threw in the towel.

Fury now holds the WBC heavyweight strap, just over four years after he sensationally beat Wladimir Klitschko to become a world champion for the first time.

The other major belts in the division belong to Joshua, who avenged his shock loss to Andy Ruiz Jr. in December, and Hearn feels the two Britons must now meet in 2020.

Responding to a Twitter user who wrote, “Not a chance Eddie Hearn is letting Joshua anywhere near Tyson now,” the promoter replied: “Of course I am! And AJ wants it bad..this fight is gonna and has to happen this year!”

 

Wilder now has 30 days to demand a third fight with Fury through a rematch clause, although the one-sided nature of Saturday’s bout would appear to reduce the chances of the two meeting again.

In a follow-up tweet, Hearn suggested Joshua now represented a much more enticing option for Fury, given the winner would become the undisputed heavyweight champion of the world.

“No need for a third let’s go straight to it in the Summer! #undisputed,” wrote Hearn, while DAZN USA’s Twitter account shared a mocked-up image of Fury and Joshua together in the ring.

 

Reports in recent weeks have suggested Joshua will return to the ring in June against Kubrat Pulev.