Klopp: Liverpool win “not an opera… but really nice song”

Leave a comment

Leave it to Jurgen Klopp, the master of heavy metal football, to describe Liverpool’s 1-0 defeat of Brighton and Hove Albion at the Amex Stadium on Saturday in musical terms.

“I liked the performance,” he said. “It wasn’t an opera of football but it was a really nice song.”

Call it “Clampdown,” as the Reds held Brighton without a goal at home for the first time since March.

[ VIDEO: Premier League highlights ]

Brighton limited Liverpool’s chances on the day, falling victim to the referee’s whistle when Pascal Gross was mismatched on Mohamed Salah and dragged his fellow forward down in the box.

Salah finished his chance, and Liverpool increased its table lead before Man City plays Wolves on Monday.

“It was clear that we had the ball a lot but it is really difficult,” Klopp said. “Chris Hughton is a smart fox. They close the space perfectly. It is really difficult to stay 100% for the whole game. It is a challenge but this is a proper football game which we won and I like that.”

And, as Liverpool chases its first top-flight title in the Premier League era, Klopp was again asked about his team’s long-term focus.

“We have to win each game. That is how it is. We are Liverpool and we have to win football games. That’s nothing new. You don’t want to draw games here but you have to work in each step of the game. Try to create and if you find a way then use it.”

Liverpool is at home for its next two matches, Jan . 19 versus Crystal Palace and 11 days later against Leicester City.

Ronaldo pleads guilty to tax fraud at Madrid court

Photo by Tullio M. Puglia/Getty Images
Leave a comment

MADRID (AP) Cristiano Ronaldo has pleaded guilty to tax fraud and received a two-year suspended sentence.

The Juventus forward, who was facing charges stemming from his days at Real Madrid, was in court for about 45 minutes and signed an agreement which will cost him nearly 19 million euros ($21.6 million) in fines.

[ MORE: Latest on Emiliano Sala ]

Ronaldo arrived at court in a black van and was wearing a black sports coat and black pants. He walked up some stairs leading to the court house and even stopped to sign an autograph.

Ronaldo made the deal to plead guilty with Spain’s state prosecutor and tax authorities last year.

In Spain, a judge can suspend sentences for two years or less for first-time offenders.

In 2017, a state prosecutor accused Ronaldo of four counts of tax fraud from 2011-14 worth 14.7 million euros ($16.7 million). Ronaldo was accused of having used shell companies outside Spain to hide income made from image rights.

More AP soccer: https://apnews.com/apf-Soccer and https://twitter.com/AP-Sports

Tales Azzoni on Twitter: http://twitter.com/tazzoni

Transfer rumor roundup: Man Utd wants Bergwijn; Bournemouth after $16m CB

Photo by Emilio Andreoli/Getty Images
Leave a comment

Manchester United is hoping to beat a host of teams to $32 million PSV Eindhoven attacker Steven Bergwijn.

The 21-year-old has 10 goals and nine assists this season after breaking out with nine and 11 last season.

[ MORE: Latest on Emiliano Sala ]

Bergwijn plays across the top of attack as a center forward or wing. He has a goal or an assist in 13 of his last 14 Eredivisie matches.

Inter Milan, West Ham United, and Tottenham Hotspur are among the other clubs linked with Bergwijn.

Bournemouth have reportedly seen a near $16 million bid for Brentford defender Chris Mepham, a Welsh international viewed as a piece to help fill the void caused by Simon Francis‘ long-term injury.

Mepham, 21, was with Chelsea’s academy before moving to Brentford. Standing 6-foot-3, he has 48 appearances with a goal for the Bees.

Rafa Benitez and Newcastle continue to seek reinforcements in the market, with The Daily Mail reporting that the Magpies are nearing a breakthrough at left back in the form of Milad Mohammadi.

The 25-year-old Iranian plays for Russian side Akhmat Grozny, and is currently on international duty with Iran at the Asian Cup. He’s one of the mid-table side’s top performing players this season.

The Magpies have also joined West Ham in tracking Josh Maja, the Sunderland striker who is out-of-contract this summer. Maja, 20, has 15 goals in 24 League One matches this season.

Cardiff record signing Sala aboard missing flight

AP Photo/David Vincent
Leave a comment

Cardiff City record signing Emiliano Sala was on a flight that disappeared en route to Wales, Sky Sports is reporting.

The plane disappeared from radar Monday night, and authorities suspended the search because of treacherous conditions before resuming Tuesday morning with “five aircrafts and two lifeboats.”

Here’s Cardiff chairman Mehmet Dalman:

“We are very concerned by the latest news that a light aircraft lost contact over the Channel last night. We are awaiting confirmation before we can say anything further. We are very concerned for the safety of Emiliano Sala.”

Sala signed a three-and-a-half year deal with Cardiff just three days ago on what was announced a club record purchase from Nantes in Ligue 1.

The Argentine forward, 28, has scored 12 goals in each of his last three seasons at Nantes, the latest dozen coming in 16 matches before his sale to Cardiff.

Cardiff City canceled morning training, while Nantes has postponed its French Cup match. Chairman Waldermar Kita said that Sala is “loved by everyone.”

“He absolutely wanted to say goodbye to his friends, which is normal,” said Kita. “This is a nice boy, polite and loved by everyone, he is very respectful and courteous, I think of his family, and I hope he is somewhere. I am still hoping that it is not finished.”

Eibar defeats Espanyol 3-0 to end winless streak in La Liga

Photo by Juan Manuel Serrano Arce/Getty Images
Leave a comment

MADRID (AP) Eibar routed Espanyol 3-0 to end a seven-match winless streak and move further away from the relegation zone in the Spanish league on Monday.

Sergi Enrich scored in the first half, and Pablo De Blasis and Charles added a goal each in the second to give the hosts their first win since November when they defeated Real Madrid 3-0 at home.

The victory moved Eibar from 16th to 11th in the league, five points clear from the relegation zone after 20 matches.

Espanyol, which has won only one of its last nine league matches, dropped to 13th ahead of its home game against third-place Real Madrid on Sunday.

Eibar visits Leganes on Saturday.

Barcelona has a five-point lead over second-placed Atletico Madrid.

More AP soccer: https://apnews.com/apf-Soccer and https://twitter.com/AP-Sports