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Liverpool’s Champions League defence begins with defeat to Napoli

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Liverpool began their Champions League title defence with a 2-0 defeat away to Napoli at the Stadio San Paolo on Tuesday.

Dries Mertens scored from the penalty spot with eight minutes remaining after Andy Robertson tripped Jose Callejon inside the box.

Napoli substitute Fernando Llorente added a second in stoppage time to put the result beyond doubt.

In the other Group E game, Salzburg made an impressive start with a 6-2 victory at home to Genk. (Reuters/)
VO/DOE/MZA

Edited by Dianabasi Effiong/Maharazu Ahmed

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Liverpool will not ease up after sealing EPL title  —- Klopp

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Liverpool will not ease up in their nine remaining English Premier League (EPL) games even after they secure the wins they need, manager Juergen Klopp said.

Liverpool are seeking to seal a first top flight crown in 30 years.

The club have a 25-point lead over second-placed Manchester City as the Premier League prepares to resume this month following the COVID-19 disruption.

Liverpool can also secure the title with a win against Everton in their first match back if Manchester City lose to Arsenal when the league restarts on June 17.

“It’s nice to think about it but we are not champions yet and we know that,” Klopp said.

“We know we’re close, but close is not there. There are 27 points left for us and we will try everything to take them all.

“We don’t want to stop winning after two games …”

The league was suspended on March 13 due to the pandemic, with teams returning to training in small groups before voting last week to return to contact training.

“I have missed it so much it’s unbelievable,” Klopp added.

“I know it’s not the most important thing in life but it is my passion. I hope the people are looking forward to it because we are.”
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Edited By: Olawale Alabi (NAN)
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Liverpool preparing for shorter break between seasons, Klopp says

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Liverpool are preparing for a shorter break between seasons due to the disruption to the current English Premier League (EPL) campaign caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, manager Juergen Klopp has said.

The Premier League hopes to restart the 2019/2020 season —- which usually ends in May —- next month.

With nine rounds of fixtures remaining, the season will spill over into at least July, while the 2020/2021 campaign was set to begin on Aug. 8.

“Today we started with training, good things, not the highest intensity. But the boys look in good shape,” Klopp said.

“We don’t know exactly how long we have, but we have some time to prepare the rest of this season and already the next season because I don’t think there will be a massive break between the two.

“We don’t know exactly but we should prepare for a rather shorter break between the two seasons.”

The league has set June 12 as a tentative date for a restart of action and Klopp said players would be thrust straight into action without playing friendly matches.

“It’s a pre-season for us. We don’t know how long and we will not have test games or friendlies,” he added.

Clubs are scheduled to meet next week when the league will decide on whether they can move to the next phase of training that involves contact.
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Edited By: Olawale Alabi) (NAN)

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Buildings illuminated in blue to mark weekly “Clap for Our Carers” in Liverpool, Britain

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The Royal Liver Building (L) and the Cunard Building (R) are illuminated in blue to mark the weekly “Clap for Our Carers” in Liverpool, Britain on May 7, 2020. (Photo by Jon Super/Xinhua)

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Full moon seen in Liverpool, Britain

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A full moon rises above the Royal Liver Building in Liverpool, Britain on May 7, 2020. (Photo by Jon Super/Xinhua)

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On-loan Liverpool keeper Karius ends Besiktas contract

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Goalkeeper Loris Karius has terminated his contract with Turkish side Besiktas following a dispute over unpaid wages, the on-loan Liverpool goalkeeper said on Monday.

Liverpool loaned German Karius to Besiktas on a two-year deal in August 2018 after paying a world-record fee for a goalkeeper when they signed Brazilian Alisson.

Karius, who was widely criticised for being at fault for two goals when Liverpool lost the 2018 Champions League final to Real Madrid, complained to world soccer’s governing body FIFA last year that Besiktas had not paid him for several months.

“Today I terminated my contract with Besiktas.

“It’s a shame it comes to an end like this but you should know that I have tried everything to solve this situation without any problems.

“I was very patient for months telling the board over and over again.

“Same things happened already last year. Unfortunately they haven’t tried to solve this… problem and even refused my suggestion to help by taking a pay cut,” the 26-year-old said in a post on Instagram on Monday.

The 26-year-old Karius will now return to Liverpool following the termination of his deal in Turkey.

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Liverpool should be awarded Premier League title, ex-manager Houllier says

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Former Liverpool manager Gerard Houllier believes his old club should be awarded the 2019/2020 English Premier League (EPL) title even if the season is not completed because of the COVID-19 crisis.

Liverpool are 25 points clear at the top with nine games left to play in the Premier League.

The competition has been on hold since March 9 as the novel coronavirus spread across the globe.

According to Houllier, who led Liverpool to FA Cup and UEFA Cup glory in 2001 during his six-year spell at Anfield, Juergen Klopp’s team would be deserved champions.

Asked if Liverpool should be awarded their first top-flight title since 1990, the former France coach said: “Yeah.

“That’s what they did in France. They gave it to Paris St-Germain (PSG). They had a 12-point lead and I think Liverpool needed just two games to win the title.

“If there was a difference of maybe two or three points then you could argue it takes some chances away from teams behind, but 25 points there is no way they wouldn’t be champions. They deserve it.”

Houllier, now an adviser to Olympique Lyonnais president Jean-Michel Aulas, added that the Premier League should follow the government’s lead on whether to resume.

“I think they should follow the government’s rules. If the government decides we stop, then we have to abide by that,” he explained.

“Second, maybe (we can) wait a little bit, because we don’t know what it’s going to be like in a fortnight or in three weeks time.”

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Edited By: Kamal Tayo Oropo and Olawale Alabi) (NAN)

 

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Liverpool stadium expansion held up by impact of pandemic  

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Liverpool Football Club’s expansion of their Anfield Road stand has been postponed by a year due to the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, the English Premier League (EPL) club said on Monday.

The club added that the earliest target for completion is now 2023.

Liverpool opened their redeveloped Main Stand in 2016, which raised seating capacity to more than 54,000, and the club were set to begin work on the Anfield Road stand in December.

However, the project has been paused due to delays brought about by lockdown measures in the country.

The original target date for completion was the British summer of 2022, with the stadium’s capacity set to be increased to more than 61,000.

“The complex build programme for Anfield Road is an 18-month process and needs two clear summer closed season windows in order for it to be successful,” Liverpool’s Chief Operating Officer (COO) Andy Hughes said in a statement.

“This is why we are pausing on the project for at least 12 months. So, the earliest we could complete the programme is summer 2023, rather than summer 2022 as originally planned.

“Given the planning application is no longer time-critical, it is our intention to submit our planning application at some stage during the next 12 months.”

Anfield is set to become the third biggest Premier League stadium after the expansion, behind Manchester United’s Old Trafford and Tottenham Hotspur Stadium.

Professional football in England has been suspended indefinitely since mid-March.

The British government’s lockdown measures are in place at least until May 7, when the government is set to review the current restrictions.

British media reported the league was looking at a potential restart in June with an eye on finishing the remaining fixtures in July, albeit without spectators in attendance.

All 20 clubs will discuss the matter in a conference call on Friday.

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Edited By: Chinyere Nwachukwu and Olawale Alabi) (NAN)

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Liverpool great Dalglish tests positive for coronavirus

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Former Liverpool Manager, Kenny Dalglish, has tested positive for Coronavirus after being admitted to hospital for an infection, but is asymptomatic according to a statement by the Merseyside club on behalf of his family on Friday.

Dalglish, 69, who has been in hospital since Wednesday after requiring intravenous antibiotics, is not in immediate danger.

“He would like to take this opportunity to thank the brilliant NHS staff, whose dedication, bravery and sacrifice should be the focus of the nation’s attention at this extraordinary time,” the statement said.

“He would also ask that they are given the space to do their jobs during what is an extremely challenging time for them and that his own family’s privacy is respected.”

Dalglish, who also played for Celtic, is a revered figure at Anfield, having won six English league titles and three European Cups as a player.

He added three more league triumphs as a manager and also led Blackburn Rovers to an unexpected Premier League title in the 1994-95 season.

Edited By: Dianabasi Effiong/Felix Ajide
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Mane credits Klopp with keeping Liverpool spirits high

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Liverpool striker Sadio Mane has praised manager Juergen Klopp for his positivity in the ongoing era of the coronavirus pandemic.

The club’s players presently sit idle with the Premier League on hold and the team face the prospect of missing out on a first championship triumph in 30 years.

The pandemic has placed the future of the 2019/20 campaign in doubt, with Liverpool holding a remarkable 25-point lead at the top of the table, having won 27 of their 29 matches.

The Premier League confirmed last week that the season will only return when the health situation stabilises, leading to some suggestions the campaign could be called null and void.

“He (Klopp) is someone who’s really, really positive and right now he’s more positive than ever, which is his strength and which makes him so special,” Mane told Reuters.

“He’s always sending messages to the players to talk about things and he’s always positive, always positive, which is incredible for him.

“Hopefully this season will be not be made void and Liverpool will become (champions). It has been an unbelievable season for me and my team mates and we are 25 points (ahead in the league), which is incredible.”

Mane has welcomed Liverpool’s about-turn on Monday when the club reversed a decision to furlough some of their non-playing staff due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

“Yes,” the Senegal striker said when asked if he was pleased Liverpool had changed their mind and would continue to pay the staff in full, rather than claiming back 80 percent of their pay up to 2,500 pounds (3,087.25 dollars) per month under the government scheme.

“It’s a really, really good club, like a family —- the coaches, the staff, the players, everybody. The fans as well, you can see how good they are and how passionate they are behind their team.”

Mane has been a benefactor in his home village Bambali in Senegal, recently building a hospital and donating 41,000 pounds towards the country’s fight against the COVID-19 pandemic.

“It’s something I’ve thought about since I was young. In my mind I wanted to do something for my village.

“I grew up there and we were not wealthy and it’s a really, really small village and I know the conditions of life are not optimum.

“It’s a really tough moment, not just for Senegal but for all the world, and I think what is really important is to stick together and try to do the best to fight against this sickness, which is really bad. And in Senegal it is also growing.”

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Edited By: Olawale Alabi)
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