UEFA Champions League

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Barcelona to keep goalkeeper Ter Stegen until 2022

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BARCELONA, Spain (AP) Barcelona says it has reached a deal to extend the contract of goalkeeper Marc-Andre ter Stegen until June 2022.

The club said the new agreement, which has a buyout clause of 180 million euros ($201 million), will be signed on Tuesday.

[ MORE: Yaya to stay at Man City ]

Ter Stegen has been with the club since 2014, helping it win nine titles in three seasons.

The German goalkeeper has played 93 matches with Barcelona, conceding 90 goals in 71 wins, 10 draws and 12 losses.

Barcelona has already renewed the contracts of Javier Mascherano, Luis Suarez, Neymar, Sergio Busquets and Ivan Rakitic. It is still working on new deals for Andres Iniesta and Lionel Messi.

“Three trophies and CL”: Mourinho relieved after “most difficult season”

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Don’t try to tell Jose Mourinho that his first season at Manchester United wasn’t a raging success, because all you’d get in return is a simple shake of the head before he walks away.

[ MORE: Pogba, Mkhitaryan fire Man United to Europa League trophy ]

Following Wednesday’s Europa League final victory over Ajax, one which put Man United into next season’s UEFA Champions League, Mourinho was adamant that the club’s 2016-17 season was a success, despite the fact the Red Devils finished sixth in the Premier League.

“Three trophies in one season and the Champions League,” as Mourinho put it, in his “most difficult season as a manager” — quotes from the BBC:

“We totally deserved the win. I am so happy to see the boys with the crutches with the trophy and now I am on holiday. I don’t want to see any international friendlies, I am selfish. I can’t do it.

“For me, enough is enough. It has been a very hard last few months, we were short of numbers.

“Three trophies in one season and the Champions League. I am very happy in my most difficult season as a manager.”

[ WATCH: Pogba gives United an early lead ]

As for his summer shopping list and Wayne Rooney‘s future at the club, well… Mourinho was much clearer about one than the other — quotes from the BBC:

“Ed Woodward has my list, what I want, what I would like for more than two months. So now it’s up to him and the owners. But I don’t care about football for now.

“Wayne Rooney was ready to play, he was a big option. But I didn’t need to attack at 2-0. I told him yesterday that he could be the key man but he can perfectly be here next season. He is a very important player for us. If he stays next season I’d be very happy.”

Klopp: “A club like Liverpool needs to be in the Champions League”

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Jurgen Klopp‘s first full season in the Premier League is over and, by just about any reasonable expectations, it was a hugely successful campaign.

[ RECAP: Liverpool take care of business on final day, finish 4th ]

Liverpool are back in the UEFA Champions League next season — a competition which Klopp said in emphatic terms following Sunday’s season final against Middlesbrough that Liverpool “needs to be in.” On the whole, Klopp seems just as jovial in May, after 38 games, as he did in August — quotes from the BBC:

“It is a long season and when our timing got better we were unbelievably dangerous. I could not imagine this morning it would be like this. I couldn’t think it would be really tight until the end. I am really happy about this. I think people deserve this opportunity for us to be able to qualify for the Champions League.

“I asked for the results at half time and not before, so I had no idea about the Arsenal score. You have no influence and again the boys delivered.

“We are Liverpool. We have to deliver. We did it again. We have to improve and we will but for now, today, it is a big relief.

“A club like Liverpool needs to be in the Champions League. Other clubs have the same target so it is not easy to be there consistently. I am proud of the boys, we worked a lot and everything is good. Now we have to build on it.”

[ MORE: Man City win to finish 3rd | Arsenal 5th | Man United 6th ]

Three major roadblocks stand out in thinking back on Liverpool’s season: 1) early defensive struggles; 2) long-term injuries to key players through the campaign; 3) their five games without a win to begin the 2017 calendar year.

With some marked improvement in those departments, and some serious investment in the transfer window this summer, the Reds should be able to continue their climb toward title contention in Klopp’s second full season in the PL.

Klopp: We need fast start vs. Boro as UCL hangs in balance

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Jurgen Klopp knows the import of qualifying for the UEFA Champions League, which is why his Reds will come charging out of the gates on Sunday against relegated Middlesbrough.

Liverpool has everything to play for at Anfield, a win guaranteeing that Arsenal cannot catch it for fourth-place in the Premier League.

[ WENGER: Decision soon after FA Cup Final ]

Klopp reiterated what everybody knows, that top players are wooed by UCL play. More importantly, its absence can make the difference between both players finding Anfield as desirable as the Etihad Stadium, or Westfalenstadion, or the Vicente Calderon.

So, yeah, go get ’em, boys. From Sky Sports:

“The best thing would be if we are 4-0 up after two minutes but that won’t be possible.

“Football games develop – and that always depends on the start. The start is important but if it is not good it does not mean we will stop. We will fight, that’s clear. But Middlesbrough are a football playing side. They have good players. They are good counter-attacking, quick wingers, very experienced striker.”

There would almost zero question about this fixture and Arsenal’s hopes — the Gunners host Middlesbrough — but Liverpool has a number of question marks regarding their record against lower half sides.

Arsenal’s Top Four scenarios; Wenger reacts to win

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Arsene Wenger says he’s entered a final week of the Premier League season like this “many times”, with important positional standing on the line.

Given the tumult at the Emirates Stadium, it’s difficult not to smirk at that suggestion from the long-tenured boss. Wenger has faced criticism all year and his red-hot Gunners still have kept themselves in the mix to finish in the Top Four yet again.

[ EXCLUSIVE: Krueger on Saints future ]

Wenger, 67, saw his club win again on Tuesday, beating Sunderland 2-0 for a fourth-straight win. That stretch has seen the Gunners allow just a single goal and control the proceedings against all comers.

Arsenal needs a win on Sunday versus Everton, plus:

— A draw or loss from Liverpool versus Middlesbrough

or

— A Man City loss -and- a five-goal flip in differential between the sides.

Wenger admitted that his club’s tremendous form is actually a bit frustrating given how late it’s come in the season:

“Yes of course. We had a different patch after the Bayern game because it was difficult for us to recover for this, but on the other hand it was a good mental test for the team and we responded in a good way because that’s all we can do.”

“We had plenty of shots on goal but we needed to be patient. Their keeper kept them in the game. We missed some good chances and we were frustrated at halftime not to lose all our nerves and keep our composure.”

 

Wenger points out that Arsenal has more points this season (72) than it did when the Gunners finished second in the Premier League last year (71).