Klopp gives update on Mane ahead of Liverpool vs. Chelsea

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Jurgen Klopp and Liverpool is stuck in a rut.

Getting Sadio Mane back should help with that.

[ MORE: Payet slammed by Hammers ]

On Saturday Mane missed the decisive penalty kick against Cameroon as Senegal were knocked out of the Africa Cup of Nations 2017 at the quarterfinal stage.

Bad news for Mane internationally is good news for Liverpool as their lightning-quick forward, and top scorer this season, is on his way back to England and is in contention to play against Chelsea on Tuesday (Watch live, 3 p.m. ET on NBCSN and online via NBCSports.com).

If Mane can play some part at Anfield for the ailing Reds — Klopp’s side have lost three games at home in a week heading into this game — it will be a massive boost as they host the Premier League leaders knowing only a win will do to keep their fading title hopes alive.

“Ray Haughan and our team management did an outstanding job to bring him back as soon as possible and he is now on his way,” Klopp said. “We had the plane there but he was not allowed to go in the plane and we had to wait to get him from A to B. I spoke to him and it is all good so far. We will be in tomorrow morning and I will make a decision. I will have to look into his eyes and see if it is possible.”

Something else Klopp doesn’t know is possible is if his team can recover from a brutal seven days which has seen them dumped out of two cup competitions and suffer a defeat to then bottom of the table Swansea City.

With Liverpool the heavy favorites in all three of their recent home defeats to Swansea, Southampton and Wolverhampton Wanderers, Klopp knows his side will be underdogs against Chelsea on Tuesday as Antonio Conte‘s side looked to stretch their lead above Liverpool to 13 points and all but end the Reds’ title hopes for another season.

Klopp is staying positive despite the high stakes being obvious.

“It’s very important we build on the good things,” Klopp said. “Is it allowed to go for the best position in the Premier League? I really think we should try everything to make the best of the base we made. Stay positive. It’s possible we could qualify for Champions League.”

Despite all the early season euphoria surrounding this Liverpool team and their dynamic attack, there’s been plenty of talk about a second half of the season collapse with many questioning Klopp’s Gegenpressing tactics and the lack of a winter break in England impacting his team. That said, when you look at Mane’s absence, plus Joel Matip and Phillipe Coutinho missing, there has been plenty of adversity for them to battle through and quite frankly the likes of Divock Origi, Daniel Sturridge and Ragnar Klavan (all of whom are classified as squad players) have struggled to plug the gaps and step up to the plate when needed.

Liverpool will need to be bold and brave to get a result against Chelsea on Tuesday. If they win they’ll blow the title race open again. If they lose, it’s game over for their own title hopes and it will be an uphill battle to regain momentum and challenge for the top four spot that Klopp and the Kop crave.

Finishing in the top four should have always been Liverpool’s main target this season. Now it’s the only target they have left. The pressure is on.

10-man Real Madrid comes back to draw 10-man Arsenal

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Maybe Zinedine Zidane ought to rethink his stance on Gareth Bale?

Of course it’s just preseason, but the on-the-market Real Match forward subbed into Tuesday’s match in Maryland on Tuesday and spearheaded a comeback 2-2 draw against Arsenal.

Real won in penalties, as all International Champions Cup matches must have a winner.

[ MORE: Rich new deal for Hudson-Odoi ]

Real was down a man after 10 minutes when Nacho Fernandez handled a ball on the goal line, and Arsenal also went down a man when Sokratis Papastathopoulos saw his second yellow of the contest in the 40th minute.

Alexandre Lacazette converted a penalty, then set-up Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang for a goal 14 minutes later as the Gunners handled their business early.

The chemistry between two remains very real.

Real started new boys Eden Hazard, Ferland Mendy, and Luka Jovic in addition to Toni Kroos, Luka Modric, Karim Benzema, and Sergio Ramos.

Bale came in for Hazard at halftime and poked a 57th minute rebound home and Marcelo set up Marco Asensio two minutes later to complete the comeback.

Asensio, sadly, would only last a few more minutes, needing to be stretchered off with injury.

Champions League wrap: PSV strikes late to win thriller (video)

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Five first legs of the UEFA Champions League’s second qualifying round are in the books, including a thrilling back-and-forth with a show-stopping stoppage time winner.

[ MORE: Rodgers talks down Maguire sale ]


PSV Eindhoven 3-2 FC Basel

Bruma scored a debut opener for the Dutch hosts, who fell behind 2-1 in the 79th minute before Sam Lammers and Donyell Malen struck in the 89th minute and second minute of stoppage, respectively, to put PSV ahead.

Basel will be okay taken two away goals home via Albian Aljeti and Omar Alderete.

Lammers came in for Mexican star Hirving Lozano in the 79th minute to score the leveler within 10 minutes before Malen, who went the full 90, kept his focus to deliver this clever winner.

The New Saints 0-2 Copenhagen

Pieros Sotiriou and Robert Skov scored on either side of halftime to give the Danish powers a healthy advantage heading into the second leg.

Elsewhere
FK Sutjeska 0-1 APOEL Nicosia
Saburtalo 0-2 Dinamo Zagreb
Viktoria Plzen 0-0 Olympiacos

Wednesday
BATE Borisov v. Rosenborg — 1 p.m. ET
Ferencvaros v. Valletta — 2 p.m. ET
CFR Cluj v. Maccabi Tel-Aviv — 2 p.m. ET
Maribor v. AIK — 2:15 p.m. ET
Red Star Belgrade v. HJK Helsinki — 2:45 p.m. ET
Dundalk v. Qarabag — 2:45 p.m. ET
Celtic v. Nomme Kalju — 2:45 p.m. ET

Rodgers says no close bids for Maguire

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Those tired of seeing Harry Maguire‘s name in the headlines, hoping his transfer saga had concluded with weekend reports that Manchester United agreed to a fee with Leicester City, well, they are going to be sorely disappointed.

[ MORE: Who is Newcastle’s new $50M forward? ]

Leicester City boss Brendan Rodgers credited Maguire for his professionalism — the center back scored in a friendly win on Tuesday — and said that the club’s vice chairman Aiyawatt “Top” Srivaddhanaprabha has not received a fitting bid for the 26 year old’s services.

From The Leicester Mercury:

“There’s no big pressure to sell any player. If a player does leave Leicester City, then the player would need to be met because we have a top-level player, coveted by top-level clubs and I respect that,” Rodgers said. “Harry is on a long contract here and there’s been no valuation or near to that which would make Top have a look.”

Nooooooooooo.

Look, we’ve still got a few weeks until the close of the window, and every supporter has a target they want their club to acquire and some have some assets they hope stay in the same shirt at the deadline.

The Maguire story is getting a bit tedious now. He wants to go to Manchester United, but Rodgers is happy to keep him at Leicester. Maguire’s not the player who will quit on the club if he’s not sold, and Leicester’s hope of landing a replacement will dip as the deadline draws nearer and clubs like Burnley (James Tarkowski) realize their replacements options have been lessened by the wait.

Janssen leaves Spurs for Liga MX in $8M deal

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Vincent Janssen‘s less-than-ideal tenure with Tottenham Hotspur has come to its end, and he’s moving his way to this side of the Atlantic.

Liga MX side Monterrey has agreed to buy Janssen, Spurs announced Tuesday. The deal is for a reported $8 million.

[ MORE: Rich new deal for Hudson-Odoi ]

The Dutchman turned 25 this summer. He played just 42 times for Spurs after arriving from AZ Alkmaar for around $25 million in 2016, scoring six times, but did manage five goals and four assists in a half-year loan to Fenerbahce in 2017-18.

Janssen saw his time with the Netherlands national team peter out during his tenure at Spurs. After a red-hot start, he has not been capped since 2017. Janssen has seven goals in 17 caps.

His time at Spurs cannot be labeled as anything but a gigantic bust, but Janssen is still pretty young and has a chance to recapture his career momentum.

And he looks pretty happy about it.