Rodgers admits defensive issues

first_img Press Association While the misfiring Balotelli, with just one goal in 10 appearances, is creating a cause for concern up front in the continued absence of Daniel Sturridge, the real worries are at the other end of the field. The introduction of £20million centre-half Dejan Lovren and £12million left-back Alberto Moreno appears to have had no effect on the Reds’ vulnerability, particularly in the air, but Rodgers insists it is an issue which is relative to the whole team. “Defensively we need to be better as a team, not just the defence and goalkeeper,” he said ahead of the visit of Hull. “We all pride ourselves on clean sheets but we need to be more competitive and aggressive in those moments as a team. “That was the disappointment against Real Madrid (a 3-0 defeat on Wednesday) and also with the goals we have conceded – a large number of them have been soft and it is our job to improve that quickly. “We need to work harder and make it better. We need to reinforce key principles in that organisation and then it’s you as a player on the field showing that competitive spirit. “The great competitors don’t get done so easily in those situations and that’s something we need to improve upon.” Balotelli is likely to keep his place for the visit of Hull as Rodgers has limited options up front. Under-fire striker Mario Balotelli’s spell in the headlines has helped deflect attention from Liverpool’s real problem but manager Brendan Rodgers knows that is something which cannot be ignored. The Reds have kept just one clean sheet in their last 18 matches and a summer overhaul of the defence has not rectified an increasingly worrying issue. This season Liverpool have conceded 19 times, two more than they have scored, and a weakness at crosses and set-pieces has contributed to some inconsistent performances and indifferent results. The 24-year-old has scored just once in 10 appearances but with Sturridge still sidelined by a calf problem the Italy international will probably start ahead of Rickie Lambert. Midfielder Adam Lallana is pushing for a starting place after impressing as a substitute in the midweek defeat to Real Madrid. Injuries have hit Hull hard in the past week, meaning big changes for the trip. Third-choice goalkeeper Eldin Jakupovic is in line for only his second Premier League start with Allan McGregor (shoulder) and Steve Harper (bicep) both out, while striker Nikica Jelavic (knee) and centre-back Michael Dawson (ankle) are both missing for at least a month. Left-back Andy Robertson has a knock that is set to keep him out too, but Tom Huddlestone should be fine to play through discomfort for the third game in a row. Hull manager Steve Bruce believes Balotelli may not have been too far wrong with his famous ‘why always me?’ statement, claiming the striker has been treated as a “whipping boy” by his critics. Balotelli has been a divisive figure wherever he has plied his trade, from Manchester to Milan, and that is no different now he is with Liverpool. He has endured a slow start to his Reds career, scoring just once in 10 appearances following his £16million summer move. The Italy international was placed firmly in the spotlight after the 3-0 Champions League defeat against Real Madrid, with manager Brendan Rodgers apparently among those unimpressed with his decision to swap shirts with Pepe at half-time. But with Hull heading to Anfield on Saturday, Bruce spoke of his sympathy for Balotelli, who once celebrated a goal in the Manchester derby by unveiling a t-shirt with the slogan ‘why always me?’. “It’s not for me to comment on other people’s players but from the outside he seems to be the whipping boy at the moment,” said the Tigers boss. “That’s always a bit unfair. There’s always a scapegoat and he seems to be the one at the minute that the media are on to, and everyone else too. “I think it’s a bit unfair on the lad. “There’s always one that people pick on. I suppose the changing of the strip (didn’t help) but I thought he did okay in that game. “There’s lots been made of the changing of shirts but we’ve seen it for years haven’t we? “It’s maybe not in our DNA in the English leagues but abroad they all do it and they think it’s nothing.” last_img read more

Van Gaal vows to walk away in 2017

first_imgManchester United manager Louis van Gaal will not break his promise to retire in 2017, even if he is offered a huge contract by a wealthy Qatari club. “I participated in the World Cup and the European Championship too. “The only wish was the Premier League. Now I am here. “Do I have to go to Qatar to earn still more money? I don’t think so. “You have to enjoy also your life and your relationship with your wife.” The only box Van Gaal is yet to tick on his to-do list is to win the Barclays Premier League. “I want to do that in (my) three years (at the club),” Van Gaal said. “If it is this year, then I am very happy. But I cannot say this year we shall be the champions. “We have to fight for it. That is the most important thing. Until the end we have to challenge for the number one. And maybe we are. “The long-term vision is to win the championship or an FA Cup or a Champions League.” One man who knows a thing or two about winning such competitions is Sir Alex Ferguson. United’s most successful manager has been giving Van Gaal advice during the second leg of the club’s tour of the United States in San Jose. Van Gaal insists he has no problem with Ferguson being around during the tour and welcomes his advice. “I don’t think (Ferguson’s presence adds pressure). I talk with him very many times,” Van Gaal said. “We eat together. He is sitting in the board, so he has to judge on me. I know that. But there is nobody in this world who can push me more than myself.” Van Gaal dismissed claims that he is breaking with United’s traditions by spending vast amounts of money on new players. The former Holland coach insists he is committed to the idea of bringing youth players through the ranks at Old Trafford. Arsene Wenger claimed recently there is “no patience” at United for developing players from within. When the Arsenal manager’s words were put to Van Gaal, he pointed out that United ended their 3-1 friendly win over Barcelona on Saturday with a team whose average age was 22. “Y ou have seen the players (on Saturday) in the second half? I think that’s very young,” he said. Van Gaal is enjoying his time in Manchester, but the 63-year-old has promised his wife Truus that this will be his last job in management and he intends to stick to his word. “I will give it (football) up (in 2017),” the United manager said. “I promised that to my wife. We have not many years together any more. That is the reason. “I have to admit I have said to her, when I met her and after our relationship seemed to be very good, that at 55 I shall quit. I am still working and next week I am 64.” There is another reason why Van Gaal is adamant he will walk away from the game that has consumed his life for the last 43 years. After experiencing success with the likes of Barcelona, Bayern Munich and Ajax, the Dutchman feels he has tested himself in the most challenging leagues in the world. Not even huge riches could persuade him to seek another contract at Old Trafford or elsewhere. “I have done everything in my career as a manager. I have been in the Netherlands, my home country, in Spain, which is a fantastic league, and Germany is also a fantastic league,” Van Gaal said. Van Gaal has been a big hit with United fans since he was appointed manager last summer. The Dutchman has restored an air of grandeur at the club since his arrival and after a successful first year in charge, United are now back in the Champions League. Press Associationlast_img read more

Sumner basketball players receive DAC Winter All-Star honors

first_imgSULLIVAN — Two Sumner athletes were named Downeast Athletic Conference Winter All-Stars for the 2016-17 basketball season Wednesday.Forward Kala Young was named a Winter All-Star for the girls’ team. Young, a senior, signed her National Letter of Intent to play for the University of Maine at Machias on Jan. 4. She scored 18 points against Calais on Jan. 25 and added 17 against Searsport two days later.For the Sumner boys’ team, Issiac Christiansen received the honor. Christiansen has been the Tigers’ leading scorer this season; he scored 16 points against Bangor Christian last month and had 18 points and eight rebounds against Bucksport in December. The Sumner boys also received the DAC’s team sportsmanship award.This is placeholder textThis is placeholder textlast_img read more

Infantino re-elected FIFA president unopposed at Paris congress

first_imgPARIS, France (Reuters) – Gianni Infantino was re-elected FIFA president unopposed at the congress of world football’s governing body in Paris yesterday as he claimed to have turned the organisation from being “toxic and almost criminal” back to its core values.Infantino’s re-election was marked by a round of applause from the congress after the statutes were changed earlier in the day to no longer require a vote if there was only one candidate for the position.The 49-year-old Swiss-Italian lawyer now has a four-year mandate to try and accomplish his grandiose plans for football which were partly frustrated in his first term.He has been in charge of FIFA since February 2016, after succeeding Sepp Blatter in the wake of a damaging corruption scandal that Infantino claimed the body had now shaken off.“Nobody talks about crisis at FIFA anymore or rebuilding it from scratch. Nobody talks about scandals or corruption; we talk about football. We can say that we’ve turned the situation around,” he told the congress in a lengthy speech at Paris Expo.“This organisation has gone from being toxic, almost criminal, to being what it should be – an organisation that develops football and is now synonymous with transparency, integrity.”“Today everything is open and transparent. It is not possible at FIFA to make hidden payments or do anything unethical with our money. There is no more place for corruption,” he claimed.Infantino said FIFA’s previously precarious financial situation was now looking rosy with the organisation’s budget increased from $5 billion to $6.4bn and reserves up from $1bn to $2.75bn.This was despite increased spending on development projects in FIFA’s 211-member associations. FIFA spent $1.1bn in the period 2015-18 and will increase the sum to $1.75bn from 2019 to 2022, he added.Infantino claimed 11 areas of progress during his tenure, from financial health, women’s development, the fight against racism and a scandal-free 2026 World Cup bidding process. However, he said the implementation of the Video Assistant Referee (VAR) system had been his major triumph.“It’s the biggest success story. It has become an integral part of football inside one year. It doesn’t change the game, but it helps and cleans the game. It brings justice to the game. It’s not perfect but it’s very close to perfection,” he said.Infantino also used the opportunity to promote the new-look 24-team Club World Cup, which starts in two years’ time but is under threat of a boycott from Europe’s top clubs due to concerns over fixture congestion.“We know that clubs are the heartbeat of the game, they train the players. We need to offer clubs a chance to shine on a world stage and to challenge for a World Cup,” he added.last_img read more

Powerlifter Runita White –National record-holder in 84+ kg category

first_imgTHE Guyana Amateur Powerlifting Federation (GAPF) will be sending nine athletes to compete at this year’s South American Powerlifting and Bench Press Equipped and Classic Championships, set for September 17–22, in Uruguay.Runita WhiteRunita White, Nadina Taharally, Natoya Robinson, Lisa Oudit, Bjorn Williams, Franklin Brisport, Frank Tucker, Noel Cummings and Nairanjan Singh are the athletes who are set to depart Guyana on September 15 for the Spanish-speaking South American country.In a lead-up to the team’s departure, Chronicle Sport will feature every week those medal hopefuls.Today we start with 23-year-old Runita White, the country’s National record-holder in 84+ kg category. She’s also the first woman to squat 400+ lb Unequipped at the Senior Nationals Championship 2018. She started competing in 2018, doing so in both Junior and Open categories.Name: Runita WhiteGym: Buddy’s GymTrainer: Martin WebsterAge: 23Weight Category: 84+ kgFirst Competition: Novices/Juniors National Championship 2018Squat: 145kgBench: 62.5kgDeadlift: 175kgTotal: 382.5kgSecond Competition: Intermediates/Masters National Championship 2018Squat: 165kgBench: 67.5kgDeadlift: 195kgTotal: 427.5kgThird Competition: Senior Nationals Championship 2018Squat: 182.5kgBench: 75kgDeadlift: 196kgTotal: 453.5kglast_img read more

Gauff beats Venus Williams again to advance

first_imgAMERICAN 15-year-old Coco Gauff proved last year’s victory over Venus Williams was no fluke when she beat the seven-time Grand Slam champion once again to reach the Australian Open second round.Gauff announced her arrival last July with victory over her “idol” Williams, 39, in the Wimbledon first round.And just like last time, she did it in straight sets, winning 7-6 (7-5) 6-3.Gauff’s celebrations were slightly delayed because she did not realise the final point had been given her way.“That was really difficult. She played really well and I was really nervous for today’s match – I was a bit shocked when I saw the draw, but glad I was able to get through it,” said Gauff, who was making her Australian Open debut.“I am feeling great. I really like this court and really like this crowd.”Gauff will play Romanian world number 74 Sorana Cirstea next.Gauff, who came through qualifying at Wimbledon and was then awarded a wildcard to the main draw at the US Open in September, was making her first appearance in the main draw of a Grand Slam as a direct qualifier. Her Wimbledon exploits meant the crowd on Margaret Court Arena were already familiar with her name and they shouted it often during the match against the former world number one.“I just want to say thank you guys so much, you were chanting my name and I only thought that would happen at the US Open, so it means a lot,” she said.Gauff had looked to be in control of the first set, breaking in the first game and establishing three set points at 5-3 and 5-4 before being forced into a tie-break, which she won when Williams hit an overhead into the net.The youngest player in the draw then raced to a 3-0 lead and went on to serve out the match, taking victory on her second match point when Williams – the oldest player in the draw – rushed to retrieve a shot at the net but could only get to it with a double bounce.(BBC Sport)last_img read more

Coach Danjuma Rubbishes Reports of Unpaid Camp Allowances in Falconets

first_imgDanjuma said the claim by the reporter that the team was ‘suffering’ before the Sports Minister arrived and gave them personal cash was incorrect.“We had been paid our entitlements before the Sports Minister came. I am aghast at what the reporter was out to achieve. Was the reporter in Austria with the team to ascertain we were ‘suffering?’“No member of the Falconets’ technical crew or the playing body has any negative thing to say about the NFF. They did their very best for us and supported the team at each point during the qualifying series, the training camp and the FIFA World Cup.”On her part, Team Administrator Modupe Shabi was in shock about the claim that Head of Women’s Football, Ruth David misplaced the sum of Euro10,000.“That is fallacy. Miss David handed every money that was meant for the team to me and I did the payment to the players and officials. She did not pay anyone directly and certainly did not misplace any Euro10,000. The entire story is the imagination of the reporter or something he saw in his dream.”Share this:FacebookRedditTwitterPrintPinterestEmailWhatsAppSkypeLinkedInTumblrPocketTelegram Chris Danjuma Head Coach of the Falconets, Chris Danjuma, has described as utter falsehood and a cluster of esoteric jargons, a story in one online publication yesterday that an official of his team claimed players and officials were not paid their entitlements before and during the FIFA Under-20 Women’s World Cup finals in France.“I see this as a silly, mischievous story. I have spoken to my assistants and backroom staff and they all denied talking to the reporter. We were paid our entitlements for the camping in Austria and at the FIFA World Cup, and no money was lost as claimed in the story.“From the very first day I saw the reporter in our camp prior to our departure to the final training camp in Austria, I observed he was a very funny figure just looking for negative stuff to report. It is unfortunate that some persons commit their lives to trying to cause mischief and trouble wherever they see there is peace.”last_img read more

Man Utd Draw Club Brugge, Arsenal Get Olympiakos in Europa League

first_imgManchester United will take on Club Brugge in the last 32 of the Europa League while struggling Arsenal will face Greek side Olympiakos following yesterday’s draw in Nyon.United, who won the competition under Jose Mourinho in 2017, travel to Bruges for the first leg on February 20 before returning to Old Trafford a week later.“There is no easy team at this stage but the team is doing well and hopefully we can get a good result,” United club ambassador Park Ji-Sung told BT Sport. “A couple of years ago we won the trophy and we know how beneficial it is, particularly with qualification to the Champions League.”Arsenal are languishing ninth in the Premier League after sacking coach Unai Emery but finished top of their group in Europe and are also away in the first leg.“We are not doing so well, unfortunately in the Premier League, so this could be a route into the Champions League next year, so I’m sure it will be one of our priorities,” said Arsenal club secretary David Miles.Ajax were drawn with Spanish outfit Getafe following their surprise exit from the group stage of the Champions League, while Serie A leaders Inter Milan travel to Ludogorets.Antonio Conte’s side will be among the favourites for the competition alongside last season’s Champions League semifinalists Ajax after failing to get past Barcelona and Borussia Dortmund in Europe’s top competition.Celtic face FC Copenhagen of Denmark while Steven Gerrard’s Rangers come up against Portuguese outfit Braga.Sevilla travel to Romanian side Cluj with the five-time winners riding high in La Liga, while fellow Spaniards Espanyol travel to Wolverhampton Wanderers, who are enjoying their first European campaign in nearly four decades.Share this:FacebookRedditTwitterPrintPinterestEmailWhatsAppSkypeLinkedInTumblrPocketTelegramlast_img read more

West Ham’s Yarmolenko Stuns Chelsea with Late Winner

first_imgMoyes was angry when Soucek saw a first-half goal ruled out because Michail Antonio was adjudged to be offside and in Chelsea keeper Kepa Arrizabalaga’s line of vision.Chelsea then took the lead through Willian’s penalty but battling West Ham levelled through Soucek’s header right on the stroke of half-time.Man-of-the-match Antonio bundled West Ham in front six minutes after the interval but this eventful affair looked to be heading for a draw when Willian’s superb free-kick with 18 minutes left drew Chelsea level.And yet, with injury-time looming, West Ham broke and the tireless Antonio set up Yarmolenko for a crisp finish that gave Moyes’ men what could be a priceless three points.West Ham manager Moyes needed a big performance to turn around their fortunes in an increasingly fraught battle to avoid the drop.And when he was needed, Antonio stepped up with a performance of determination and quality as he led from the front to see off the challenge of Chelsea as they chase a place in the top four.Share this:FacebookRedditTwitterPrintPinterestEmailWhatsAppSkypeLinkedInTumblrPocketTelegram Andriy Yarmolenko’s last-gasp winner settled an eventful London derby with Chelsea 3-2 and delivered a huge boost to West Ham United’s hopes of avoiding relegation.In a topsy-turvy game, which saw West Ham infuriated when Tomas Soucek’s first-half goal was ruled out by VAR, substitute Yarmolenko made the decisive contribution when the finished off a superb counter attack with a classic left-foot finish.It looked like both sides would have to settle for a point but that late twist not only provides a huge morale lift to David Moyes’ side, putting them three points clear of the relegation places, but also completed a good 24 hours for Manchester United in the race for Champions League places after their win at Brighton and third-placed Leicester City’s loss at Everton.last_img read more

Win and in: Orange looks to end 6-year bowl drought with victory over Louisville

first_img Facebook Twitter Google+ The acknowledgment of Doug Marrone’s four-letter taboo finally came from Ryan Nassib Wednesday. It was prodded out of Andrew Lewis. It was prodded out of Doug Hogue. ‘Everyone knows what our record is,’ Lewis said. ‘Everyone knows how many wins we have to have to become bowl-eligible. It’s in everyone’s mind. ‘Yeah,’ Lewis admitted, ‘we talk about it.’ Doug Marrone referred to the word ‘bowl’ as ‘the four-letter word’ just a week ago. The word is the topic that hovered over the start of summer practice and the beginning of SU’s season, as Marrone said the 2010 season was bowl or bust. And a bowl is the primary goal this program has crept closer and closer to with its surprising start to the season. But getting to a bowl game was the goal that soon turned taboo. Largely because it recently became an afterthought when the Orange (6-2, 3-1 Big East) ascended to the No. 2 spot in the Big East. Largely because the likes of Marrone, Nassib, Lewis and Hogue feel this Orange team can exceed the seven wins needed.AdvertisementThis is placeholder text However, with a win over Louisville (4-4, 1-2 Big East) Saturday (noon, Big East Network), Syracuse will get to the seven wins that will make the team bowl-eligible. The opportunity comes after an offseason in which Marrone’s goal was one most pundits felt was unattainable for SU in the head coach’s second season. With an SU win, bowl is exactly the word that will reverberate across the city of Syracuse for the first time since the days of Paul Pasqualoni. From the time Lewis committed in 2004 as an SU recruit. A bowl is the postseason reward that Syracuse hasn’t earned since 2004. And with a win, SU and Marrone will reach a plateau that will suffice their starving football fan base. Even if their fiery appetite has been doused with six sudden wins. The city might be happy with one more win. But the coach won’t be. ‘We haven’t really accomplished anything,’ Marrone said Monday. To Lewis, that mentality that runs through the entire SU team is exactly why he says he loves this team. Loves this team. Marrone has maintained that he approaches every game and every win the same, and Lewis might be the one player who has bought in the most. This is, after all, the 23-year-old who committed to what was at the time Pasqualoni’s program. He then signed with SU just more than one month after the last time the Orange played in a bowl game. On Dec. 29, 2004, Pasqualoni exited as head coach of the Syracuse football program a 51-14 loser to Georgia Tech in the Champ Sports Bowl. In February of 2005, Lewis signed on to play for new SU head coach Greg Robinson. Then came what is now nearing six years. Six years without a bowl for Syracuse and Lewis, a redshirt senior. Six long years — and Lewis has been through all of them. He was there for the plane ride back from Iowa after the Orange never had a chance, falling 35-0 in 2007. He was there for the torrential boos after Syracuse lost to Akron 42-28 in 2008. Lewis was there for all different kinds of postgames. He has been apart of the Orange program for every postgame since that last postgame — the one in Orlando in 2004 — where bowl actually meant something to SU. ‘(Bowl eligibility) would be huge for the program,’ Lewis said. ‘Huge for the community.’ For the Louisville postgame scene on the Carrier Dome field to be one full of bowl talk, there still is a game that needs to be won. Lewis knows that. Because of it, the starting defensive tackle professes that he and his teammates aren’t looking past the Louisville game, much like they profess they haven’t looked past any SU game all year. Lewis knows he must stop Cardinals running back Bilal Powell if the Louisville running back is able to play. Powell is the Big East’s leading rusher, with 1,067 yards. But Powell exited the Cardinals’ 20-3 loss to Pittsburgh last week with swelling in his knee. Cardinals’ head coach Charlie Strong said Powell was ‘day-to-day’ this week. The Cardinals may also be without their starting quarterback Adam Froman, who has a thigh bruise. The injuries to the Louisville offense would ease the matchup that would secure bowl eligibility for the Orange. But the main hurdle that may keep the Orange from securing a bowl spot this week comes with the Cardinals’ pass defense. Nassib will be tested by what he describes as an ‘athletic’ defense overall. The Cardinals rank second in the Big East in pass defense, giving up 173 yards through the air per game. If Nassib goes for another five-completion performance like he did versus West Virginia, the Cardinals may be able to hold off the bowl celebration. Even if Powell doesn’t play. A loss for Nassib, Lewis and the Orange would mean a delay of at least a week in securing the bowl. For a team that goes week to week, it could be the detrimental blow. The guy who has waited forever, Lewis, doesn’t want a Louisville loss to change the bowl talk. He doesn’t want to take it to the road yet again. ‘(It’s a feeling of) ‘This is it right here. This might be it. This could be it,” Lewis said. ‘But we realize that it may not be it for us. Because if we lose, it’ll be the next week. And if we lose that one, then the next week.’ Lewis cherishes SU’s ‘1-0,’ game-by-game approach. And despite the fact that talk of ‘1-0’ for this team is getting old, Lewis is content with old habits when approaching the win-and-in contest with the Cardinals this weekend. If the Orange win, Lewis professes his celebration after the game will be the same as always. He will take off his helmet, assemble with his teammates, face the Syracuse marching band and start to sing. The Dome fans will be serenaded with the SU alma mater Lewis always belts. Then will come the fight song. That’s it. Just like Marrone, mum was the initial word for Hogue when speaking of bowl eligibility. He said his teammates don’t want to talk about what the game means. But after tip-toeing around everything that his response pertained to, Hogue confronted what will confront SU Saturday. With a win, SU and the city of Syracuse will be talking bowl at an earlier point in the year than any season since 2001. And fans in the Dome won’t only be saying it. They will be shouting it. Screaming it. Singing it, as Lewis sings. The drowning out of six years will fill the Dome if SU wins. Said Hogue: ‘In the back of our heads, we know.’ aolivero@syr.edu Commentscenter_img Published on November 3, 2010 at 12:00 pmlast_img read more