Liverpool

Tottenham 0-3 Liverpool: Familiar scenes as Reds storm Spurs in London

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For a side that found themselves beat 9-0 across both fixtures last year against Liverpool, Tottenham failed to rectify last season’s tragedies by again slumping to a listless 3-0 defeat.

Mauricio Pochettino was powerless to stop the Reds attack as Raheem Sterling opened the account inside 10 minutes, while Steven Gerrard and Alberto Moreno finished things off.

Debutant Mario Balotelli nearly got off to a roaring start in just the third minute, as Daniel Sturridge sent in a cross to the far post and Balotelli got a free header on it, but he stuck it right at Hugo Lloris who saved well.

Both teams started well offensively in a very open game early, but it was Liverpool indeed to took advantage.

[VIDEO: Premier League highlights, here]

Sturridge beat a pair of Spurs defenders down the right flank, and he picked out Jordan Henderson who had advanced to an attacking position. Henderson cut the ball across the ball to the far post where Raheem Sterling was lurking, and the 19-year-old winger struck home for the opener inside 10 minutes.

source: AP
Brendan Rodgers liked what he saw from his side yet again at White Hart Lane.

Again the Reds were dangerous minutes later, as Sturridge continued to give Spurs defenders fits. He sliced through the middle of the pitch and lashed at goal, with the shot stinging just wide of the post.

There was a laughable bit of play where ugly mistakes were made by all side, including the referee.

Reds defender Mamadou Sakho made a mistake of his own, passing the ball right to a Spurs player in his own half, and the home side broke but the chance was snuffed out as Dejan Lovern covered with a pinpoint tackle.

Then, off a Spurs corner, Naleb Bentaleb tried to recycle the chance following Liverpool’s clear. Instead, he awkwardly sent the ball careening into his own half and Raheem Sterling collected on the break, but the youngster couldn’t pick out Alberto Moreno streaking down the center as the Spurs defense scrambled to cover.

Then English sensation Eric Dier crunched Balotelli on the touchline, a clear foul and probably a booking, but referee Phil Dowd inexplicably let it go. The tackle – from behind – should have at least produced a yellow and maybe even more.

Balotelli made a bit of a bungle as well after the half-hour mark, twisting a long-range shot well wide after Hugo Lloris had come all the way out of net to cover a Sterling break, leaving the goal wide open. Brendan Rodgers found it pretty funny though, so no harm done.

An open chance fell to Erik Lamela just before halftime, but Simon Mignolet saved before having a furious word or two with his defense.

Just two minutes after halftime, things got much worse for Spurs as Liverpool doubled their lead. Phil Dowd awarded a penalty to Liverpool after Dier lightly tugged Joe Allen, and the Red went to ground. Steven Gerrard made no mistake from the penalty spot, slotting into the bottom corner past Lloris who guessed correctly.

[RELATED: Premier League stats]

Alberto Moreno struck for Liverpool’s third in the 60th minute, as he streaked down the left flank and ripped a vicious strike past Lloris.  The move prompted changes for Brendan Rodgers, who took off Balotelli and Allen for more holding substitutes.

The Reds wanted even more when Sterling found himself all alone against Lloris, but he waited and waited and waited to shoot before producing a very weak effort right at the feet of the goalkeeper.

With the win, Liverpool jump to six points on the year, finding themselves level with Spurs and Manchester City in the second tier of the table behind undefeated Chelsea and Swansea City on a perfect nine.

LINEUPS:

Tottenham: Lloris; Dier, Kaboul, Vertonghen, Rose (Davies 62′); Bentaleb (Dembele 59′), Capoue; Chadli, Eriksen (Townsend 59′), Lamela; Adebayor.

Liverpool: Mignolet; Manquillo, Moreno, Lovren, Sakho; Gerrard, Allen (Can 61′), Henderson, Sterling (Enrique 87′); Sturridge, Balotelli (Markovic 62′).

Goals: Sterling 8′, Gerrard (pen) 48′, Moreno 60′

El Tri striker Pulido fought kidnappers, used cell phone to call police

HYERES, FRANCE - JUNE 01:  Alan Pulido (no.19) of Mexico celebrates his goal during the Toulon Tournament Final between  Mexico and Turkey at Stade Perruc on June 1, 2012 in Hyeres, France.  (Photo by Matthew Lewis/Getty Images)
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More details have been released regarding Alan Pulido’s kidnapping in Mexico.

The Mexican international and Olympiakos striker was taken at gunpoint early Sunday morning in Tamaulipas. He was then freed on Monday after a police “rescue operation.”

Seen leaving the police station with a bandaged hand, officials have now given information on how Pulido was injured.

[ MORE: PSG defender Aurier arrested ]

The 25-year-old striker cut his hand while punching through a glass pane in an attempt to escape. Officials also said Pulido fought his kidnapper, doing enough to grab a cell phone and notify police of his whereabouts.

From BBC News:

State prosecutor Ismael Quintanilla said the masked gang had taken Pulido to a house in Ciudad Victoria where he eventually found himself alone with one of his abductors.

“They traded blows. He takes it [the phone] and calls [emergency number] 066. It all happened very quickly,” Mr Quintanilla told Imagen radio.

An official report of the calls Pulido made to the emergency operator, obtained by the Associated Press, revealed that he threatened and beat the kidnapper while on the phone, demanding to be told where they were.

In one of the calls, Pulido said police were outside and starting to shoot so he described what he was wearing to avoid being mistaken for a kidnapper.

A wild situation, but the most important thing is that Pulido is safe while one arrest has been made.

Juanfran pens letter to Atleti fans after missing penalty in UCL final

MILAN, ITALY - MAY 28:  Juanfran of Atletico Madrid shows his dejection during the UEFA Champions League Final match between Real Madrid and Club Atletico de Madrid at Stadio Giuseppe Meazza on May 28, 2016 in Milan, Italy.  (Photo by Clive Rose/Getty Images)
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Atletico Madrid lost to Real Madrid in the Champions League final for the second time in three years this Sunday, falling 5-3 on penalty kicks.

After losing the 2014 final in extra-time, Atleti forced a shootout this time around, although Juanfran‘s miss allowed Cristiano Ronaldo to score the game-winning penalty for Real.

[ MORE: Simeone considering Atletico future ]

Juanfran, whose shot beat Keylor Navas but hit the post, had scored the game-winning penalty against PSV Eindhoven to advance to the quarterfinal.

The only player to miss his penalty in the final, the veteran right-back penned an emotional letter thanking Atleti fans for their support, which was posted to the club’s website.

Hello Atléticos,

I have asked the club to address all of you with this letter to tell you everything I feel.

I will never forget your displays of affection when I came to ask for your forgiveness. Seeing my tears reflected in the faces of the thousands of Atléticos that packed that end of the stadium helped me cope with the tremendous sadness I felt in those hard times. As well as the support of my teammates, coaches, and all the people that makes this big family.

I also want to thank you for always believing in us and, above all, for proving that being an Atlético is something very special, different, and that our heart beats stronger than any other.

Two years ago, I told you that we would return to a final, now, I tell you that Gabi, our captain, will lift the Champions League sooner or later, and we will celebrate it all together in Neptuno.

Despite starting his career with Real Madrid, Juanfran is adored by Atleti supporters, having made more than 250 appearances for the club since joining in 2010. Having played the full 120 minutes in the 2014 final loss as well, this result was crushing for the defender.

[ VIDEO: Akinfenwa leaves Wimbledon with epic interview after winning promotion ]

Juanfran still believes Atleti will be back, and they’ve proven over the past few seasons that they are one of the elite clubs in Europe. If the club can hold on to the likes of Juanfran and their world-class backline, he may have a third shot to win the Champions League.

VIDEO: “The Beast” leads Wimbledon to promotion; leaves club with epic interview

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Adebayo Akinfenwa’s time at AFC Wimbledon may be over, but he will never be forgotten.

The striker scored a penalty kick at Wembley on Monday deep into stoppage time to seal Wimbledon’s promotion to League One after a 2-0 win over Plymouth Argyle.

Headed to League One for the first time in club history, the win caps off a remarkable rise for Wimbledon that started in the ninth-tier of English football back in 2002.

[ MORE: Pellegrini rues Pep announcement ]

Akinfenwa, a journeyman striker in England’s lower leagues, has gained cult-hero status due to his large frame, listed at 5-foot-11-inches and weighing in at over 220 pounds, earning him the nickname “The Beast.”

Speaking to Sky Sports amid the promotion celebrations, Akinfenwa asked for other managers to shoot him a text as his contract expires with Wimbledon this summer.

It’s what dreams are made of. I’m more tired now running around [celebrating] than I was the whole game, but it’s a beautiful feeling.

Sidebar, I think I’m technically unemployed. So any managers, hit me up on the WhatsApp and get me a job.

There ain’t no better way to leave this club than to leave them promoted, it’s beautiful. For all them who said I was too big to play football, come on now.

Akinfenwa also joked about his late-match penalty, in which he was seen wrestling the ball away from teammate Callum Kennedy. When asked about the situation, Akinfenwa responded “It was just set up too beautifully, and I’m bigger than Cal, so Cal was unlucky. I’m sorry Cal K, I love you though.”

Saints to offer Shane Long new deal as Liverpool, Spurs show interest

LONDON, ENGLAND - MAY 08:  Shane Long of Southampton is chased down by Kyle Walker of Tottenham Hotspur during the Barclays Premier League match between Tottenham Hotspur and Southampton at White Hart Lane on May 8, 2016 in London, England.  (Photo by Mike Hewitt/Getty Images)
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After scoring ten Premier League goals this season, Shane Long looks set to be rewarded with a new contract at Southampton.

Despite having two years remaining on his current contract, multiple reports state he will get a new deal to fend off interest from Liverpool and Tottenham.

[ FOLLOW: All of PST’s EURO 2016 coverage ]

Spurs’ boss Mauricio Pochettino was in Dublin this past weekend to watch Long play for Ireland, where he was pictured sitting with the player’s agent Pat Dolan. The Saints’ striker scored Ireland’s only goal in a 1-1 draw against the Netherlands.

Liverpool had also reached out to Southampton back in January about a possible move for Long, and it is believed Jurgen Klopp is quite fond of the Irish striker.

[ MORE: Klinsmann aiming for top-four finish at Copa America Centenario ]

Having already inked Virgil Van Dijk, James Ward-Prowse, and Fraser Forster to new deals, Southampton will be eager to lock up Long before EURO 2016 kicks off.

Likely to be the top striker for Ireland at the tournament, a good showing for Long on Europe’s biggest stage could lead to even more interest in the 29-year-old.