fbpx 234Radio | ...exporting Africa to the world

Klopp Fires Back At Keane For ‘Sloppy’ Liverpool Jibe

Liverpool’s German manager Jurgen Klopp speaks during a television interview after the English Premier League football match between Liverpool and Arsenal at Anfield in Liverpool, north-west England on September 28, 2020. (Photo by Paul ELLIS / POOL / AFP)

Manchester United great Roy Keane rarely came off second best in a tackle but the outspoken TV pundit was forced to backtrack after Jurgen Klopp took him to task for labelling Liverpool “sloppy” following Monday’s 3-1 win over Arsenal.

Klopp jumped on Keane’s observation after his team’s victory, which maintained the champions’ 100 percent record after three games.

“Did I hear right? Mr Keane said we had a sloppy performance tonight? Did he say that?” said Klopp.

Former United and Republic of Ireland captain Keane did not address the question directly.

“I think they gave up one or two opportunities, which he will be disappointed with,” said the 49-year-old.

Klopp, who won the Champions League with Liverpool in 2019 and their first Premier League title last season, pressed on.

“Did he say that it was sloppy? I want to hear it,” said the 53-year-old German. “I am not sure I heard it right and maybe he was speaking about another game.

“It cannot be this game. Sorry, that is an incredible description of this game.”

Klopp described his team’s performance against in-form Arsenal as “exceptional”.

“This game tonight — there is nothing bad to say,” said Klopp. “It was the opposite of sloppy.”

Keane, unusually for him, sought to calm the situation.

“You might have misheard me,” he said. “There were sloppy moments but I think you have been outstanding and I have been giving the club nothing but praise.

“I am not sure you heard me correctly, you need to hear the rest of it.”

Klopp laughed and said: “I will, 100 percent.”

Keane, though, had the last laugh after the Liverpool boss had left the interview.

“Very sensitive, isn’t he? Imagine if he’d lost.

-AFP

Mane Scores As Liverpool Inflict First Defeat Of The Season On Arsenal

Goals from Andy Robertson and Diogo Jota saw off the Gunners, who had won their opening two league games of the season.

While Manchester City, Chelsea, Manchester United, Tottenham and now Arsenal have all lost in the opening three weeks of the new campaign, Liverpool have taken maximum points to lay down an early marker that they remain the team to beat in the Premier League this season.

Arsenal followed the game plan that had brought them two victories over Liverpool in recent months as they dropped deep then looked to play around the Reds’ press when in possession.

However, unlike when they met at the back end of last season’s Premier League when Jurgen Klopp’s men had already won the league or the Community Shield in August, Liverpool were far sharper in pulling the Gunners out of position.

The only time Arsenal did manage to pierce the Liverpool press before half-time, they opened the scoring completely against the run of play.

Robertson was at fault as he spooned Ainsley Maitland-Niles’s cross into the path of Lacazette, who also failed to make a proper connection, but the ball bounced into the ground and looped over the helpless Alisson Becker.

– Wasteful Arsenal punished –

Liverpool responded immediately to level within three minutes as Mohamed Salah outmuscled Tierney and when his shot was parried across goal by Leno, Mane turned into an empty net.

Robertson them made amends for his previous error as Liverpool’s flying full-backs combined as Alexander-Arnold’s cross was this time converted by the Scotland captain.

However, where Arsenal sides of recent years might have collapsed, as they did in losing 4-0 and 5-1 at Anfield in 2018 and 2019, Mikel Arteta has instilled a new-found belief in the FA Cup winners.

The visitors were more expansive after the break and created a huge chance to level when Dani Ceballos put Lacazette through on goal, but Alisson stood up well to block the French striker’s shot.

“When you come to Anfield you are not going to get 10 chances.  When you are one-on-one with the goalkeeper, you have to score,” said Arteta as Liverpool extended their unbeaten run at home in the Premier League to 61 games.

“It is a really tough place to come for anyone in the world, they set incredible standards.

“They have different weapons. They have been together five years, we have been together a few months. The standards are this and this is what we have to reach.”

Klopp introduced Jota for his league debut 10 minutes from time and the Portuguese international quickly showed why Liverpool spent £41 million ($52 million) to sign him from Wolves.

Jota pounced on David Luiz’s headed clearance to control and fire a sweetly-struck volley found the bottom corner.

Genoa Confirm 14 Coronavirus Cases, Samp’s New Arrival Balde Also Positive

A Sinovac Biotech LTD vaccine candidate for COVID-19 coronavirus is seen on display at the China International Fair for Trade in Services (CIFTIS) in Beijing on September 6, 2020. (Photo by NOEL CELIS / AFP)

Genoa announced on Monday that 14 team and staff members have tested positive for coronavirus shortly after local rivals Sampdoria revealed new signing Keita Balde also has the virus.

Goalkeeper Mattia Perin and midfielder Lasse Schone missed Genoa’s 6-0 Serie A defeat at Napoli on Sunday after contracting Covid-19, and 12 others returned positive tests after the game.

“After today’s tests, the number of positive COVID-19 employees has risen to 14 between team members and staff,” Genoa said in a statement.

“The club has activated all the procedures provided for by the (virus) protocol and informed the relevant authorities. The club will give updates as the situation evolves.”

Italian media report that of the positive cases at Genoa 10 are players and four are staff.

Sampdoria’s new Senegalese signing Balde also tested positive during his medical following his move from Monaco.

The Genoa-based club said Balde had “tested weakly positive” during his medical which did not reveal any other problems.

“It is specified that he has not had contact with the ‘Team Group’ and is self-isolating” the club added of Balde, who arrived in Genoa on Monday morning for his medical.

AFP

Dubai Club Signs Israeli Player For First Time, Weeks After Normalisation Of Ties

Diaa Sabia. Photo: [email protected]

A club in a Gulf country has for the first time signed an Israeli footballer, Diaa Sabia, less than two weeks after the UAE normalised ties with the Jewish state.

Sabia, a 27-year-old Israeli Arab attacking midfielder with China’s Guangzhou R&F, signed a two-year contract with Dubai’s Al-Nasr, the club said in a statement Sunday.

The transfer reportedly cost more than 2.5 million euros ($2.9 million).

“Al-Nasr has completed the procedures with Diaa Sabai … in a contract that extends for two seasons after he successfully passed medical examinations this morning,” it said in a statement.

Al-Nasr tweeted footage of Sabia wearing the number 9 jersey, dribbling and shooting in the emirate’s Al-Maktoum Stadium.

Sabia’s move comes after the United Arab Emirates, of which Dubai is a member, signed a US-brokered accord to normalise ties with Israel on September 15, the first such deal with a Gulf nation.

Sabia — who is of Palestinian origin — was born in northern Israel and rose through the ranks of a youth club before moving to Maccabi Tel Aviv in 2012.

He played for several Israeli clubs until signing in 2014 with Maccabi Netanya, where he stayed for four years.

Sabia has scored 50 goals in 111 games in various competitions, including 24 in the 2018 season, and has 10 caps in the Israeli national team.

He was sold to Guangzhou R&F for more than four million euros.

Thanks largely to five new Israeli Arab players, Palestinian club Shebab Hebron in 2016 won the West Bank’s championship for the first time in 30 years.

Several Israeli Arabs have played in the Palestinian national team.

AFP

Mourinho Laments Fixtures Pile Up, Says Spurs Can’t Compete In League Cup

File photo: Tottenham Hotspur’s Portuguese head coach Jose Mourinho gestures on the touchline during the English Premier League football match between Southampton and Tottenham Hotspur at St Mary’s Stadium in Southampton, southern England on September 20, 2020. (Photo by ANDREW BOYERS / POOL / AFP) .

Jose Mourinho has blamed football chiefs for effectively preventing Tottenham Hotspur from fighting for League Cup success and fears more injuries as his side face three games in six days.

Spurs host Mourinho’s former club Chelsea in the League Cup fourth round on Tuesday before a final Europa League qualifying tie at home to Maccabi Haifa just 48 hours later.

The hectic week is topped off by a trip to Manchester United, another of the Portuguese manager’s former clubs, for a Premier League clash on Sunday.

Mourinho said he would like to mount a challenge for the League Cup but the added financial value of reaching the Europa League group stage meant that competition had to take precedence.

File photo: Tottenham Hotspur’s Portuguese head coach Jose Mourinho takes a team training session at Tottenham Hotspur’s Enfield Training Centre, in north London on November 25, 2019, ahead of their UEFA Champions League Group B football match against Olympiakos.
Daniel LEAL-OLIVAS / AFP

“I think you can imagine that with a game on Thursday, that decides a very important thing for us — I think the EFL (English Football League) made a decision for us,” said the Spurs boss.

“They didn’t even create a problem — they made a decision for us. So that’s the decision.”

Spurs lost Son Heung-min to a hamstring injury at half-time of the 1-1 draw with Newcastle on Sunday.

The South Korea forward had already hit the woodwork twice after scoring four goals in the previous Premier League outing at Southampton.

Mourinho believes Son’s setback will be the first of a number of injury problems his side will have to overcome due to their fixture congestion.

Asked if playing a Chelsea side who had to fight from three goals down to draw at West Brom on Saturday gave Tottenham a good chance of progressing in the League Cup, the Portuguese replied:

“You’re joking or you’re serious? Chelsea played Saturday, they have Sunday and Monday (off) then they play Tuesday and then they play again on the weekend.

“So their fantastic squad, if the manager decides not to rotate, he can perfectly play with the players that he wants.”

AFP

Serena Overcomes Shaky Start In Roland Garros Opener

Serena Williams of the US reacts as she plays against Kristie Ahn of the US during their women’s singles first round tennis match at the Philippe Chatrier court on Day 2 of The Roland Garros 2020 French Open tennis tournament in Paris on September 28, 2020. MARTIN BUREAU / AFP

Serena Williams made a slow but successful start to her latest pursuit of a record-equalling 24th Grand Slam title with a 7-6 (7/2), 6-0 win over Kristie Ahn in the French Open first round.

Serena Williams of the US returns the ball to Kristie Ahn of the US during their women’s singles first round tennis match at the Philippe Chatrier court on Day 2 of The Roland Garros 2020 French Open tennis tournament in Paris on September 28, 2020. MARTIN BUREAU / AFP

World number 102 Ahn served for the opening set at 5-4 but Williams forced a tie-break she dominated before charging through the second set to book a clash with Tsvetana Pironkova for a spot in the last 32.

The American star is chasing an elusive 24th Grand Slam title to match Margaret Court’s all-time mark, but clay is her least favoured surface.

An error-prone beginning from Williams left world number 102 Kristie Ahn serving for the first set before the three-time Roland Garros champion prevailed 7-6 (7/2), 6-0.

Williams, playing at the French Open for the 18th time, dropped serve twice as Ahn moved 5-4 ahead in the opener in a rematch of their first-round encounter at Flushing Meadows.

But the sixth seed forced a tie-break that she sealed with an ace after a 74-minute slog before charging to an ultimately comfortable victory.

“She played very well in the first set, it wasn’t easy for me and she hit a lot of winners,” said Williams. “It was important for me to stay focused.”

Williams seeded sixth here, has not gone beyond the last 16 in Paris since her defeat to Garbine Muguruza in 2016 final. Her last major came at 2017 Australian Open while pregnant.

Meanwhile, Thiem, the runner-up to Rafael Nadal in Paris the past two years, defeated 2014 US Open champion Cilic 6-4, 6-3, 6-3 in their second meeting at a major this month.

“My level was good. I was very happy with the way I played from the beginning to the end basically,” said Thiem.

Having captured his maiden Slam in New York, Thiem is trying to become the only man in the Open era to win his first two majors at successive tournaments.

A steady display from Thiem saw the Austrian break Cilic six times under the roof of Court Philippe Chatrier on another gloomy day at Roland Garros, pushed back from its customary May-June slot due to the coronavirus pandemic.

“I really love this tournament, it’s by far my best Grand Slam tournament so far,” said Thiem, who plays American qualifier Jack Sock in the second round.

“I’m from Austria so I know how it is to play in these cold conditions. I love it when it’s not too fast. I felt well from the first moment I came here.”
AFP