Getty Images

Klopp updates on Mane’s fitness, Salah to Olympics

Leave a comment

Liverpool boss Jurgen Klopp has issued an update on Sadio Mane’s fitness and the potential for Mohamed Salah to play for Egypt in the 2020 Olympics in Tokyo in the summer.

The Reds head to Norwich City on Saturday (Watch live, 12:30 p.m. ET on NBC and online via NBCSports.com) as they aim to keep their unbeaten season going as they waltz towards the Premier League with 24 wins from 25 games so far.

Klopp has been handed a big boost for the final months of the season as Liverpool aim to win the treble of the PL, Champions League and FA Cup with leading goalscorer Sadio Mane fit to play at Carrow Road.

Mane has been out since Jan. 23 with a hamstring injury but the winter break and Klopp given his first team time off for their FA Cup replay win against Shrewsbury came at a good time for the Senegalese winger.

Liverpool’s manager also discussed Mohamed Salah being named in Egypt’s initial 50-man shortlist to play at the 2020 Olympics in Japan this summer and comments from the Egyptian coaching staff that they definitely want him to be one of the three over-aged players allowed in the squad but that the decision is down to Salah, Klopp and Liverpool.

“There has been no decision,” Klopp said. “Do I want to lose the player in pre-season? Of course not. But we have to consider different things. I speak with Mo and we are completely clear about what we want. But we need more information. How would it look? When would the preparation start? All of that stuff and no one has really contacted us yet. We’ve had to play without Mo before. But it is the Olympics, and I’m still a sportsperson and the Olympics are the Olympics.”

Klopp and Liverpool seem to be just fine with Salah missing preseason to play for Egypt at the Olympics.

If Egypt get to the final it would mean Salah missing the opening day of the 2020-21 Premier League season as it kicks off on Aug. 8, the same day as the 2020 Olympic fan.

Liverpool’s star man has always gone above and beyond to play for his country and Salah hasn’t spoken publicly about the Olympics. He isn’t the only high profile player who could miss the start of the league season in 2020-21 for his club team but like Klopp said, the Olympics are the Olympics.

Fernandes scores first goal, says Ronaldo backed Manchester United move

Bruno Fernandes Ronaldo
Photo by Martin Rickett/PA Images via Getty Images)
Leave a comment

It’s probably not a surprise that a young Portuguese player would fancy Manchester United given the heroics of Cristiano Ronaldo at Old Trafford early his career.

Bruno Fernandes admits that those images danced through his head well before he signed with the Red Devils in January.

[ MORE: Premier League schedule ]

It’s also not a shock that United would turn to their former player for a take on the playmaker before buying him from Sporting Lisbon.

Fernandes says he’s grateful that CR7 endorsed BF18. From Sky Sports:

“I know some people asked Cristiano what he thought of me and what I was like as a player and a person,” Fernandes said. “I know he spoke highly of me and gave me a good reference, so I sent him a message after to thank him for his kind words.”

Fernandes has 19 caps and two goals for Portugal, while Ronaldo has a few more with 164 and 99.

He now has a goal and an assist in four appearances for United. Ronaldo finished with 118 goals and 69 assists in 292 appearances for the Red Devils.

Here’s the finish:

Eden Hazard suffers fracture ahead of Man City in UCL, El Clasico

Photo by JOSE JORDAN/AFP via Getty Images
Leave a comment

Eden Hazard is set to miss the Real Madrid’s UEFA Champions League first leg against Man City with a broken fibula.

Hazard had only returned to the lineup for two matches following a three-month absence with an ankle injury.

[ MORE: Premier League schedule ]

The 29-year-old has made just 15 appearances for Real since arriving in a big-money move from Chelsea, scoring once with five assists.

He has never appeared in less than 30 league matches over the course of his career, five times missing one or zero matches.

Of course, all of his absences show that Real is very comfortable playing and winning without Hazard. Zinedine Zidane’s men lost Sunday to drop behind Barcelona in La Liga, but that was just its second loss of the league season.

Real will be taxed in depth like its rivals, with Wednesday’s visit from Man City followed by an El Clasico at the Bernabeu on March 1. Barcelona hosts Napoli on Tuesday.

Whether you like the playmaker or despise him, there must be some sense of sympathy for his latest ailments (even if Man City and Barca fans will likely offer a Jerry Seinfeld-esque, “That’s a shame”).

Watch Live: Manchester United, Wolves host bottom three battlers

Manchester United Watford live stream link
Photo by Leila Coker/MI News/NurPhoto via Getty Images
Leave a comment

A pair of Premier League basement dwellers face stiff tests in their bids to win another season in the top flight.

Manchester United hosts Watford on NBCSN while Wolves welcome Norwich City on CNBC as both home sides aim to improve the health of their top four hopes in 9 a.m. ET kickoffs.

[ WATCH: Man Utd-Watford | Wolves-Norwich ]

Lineups notes from both matches:

LINEUPS

Manchester United

Watford


Wolves

Norwich City

Three Serie A matches suspended due to virus deaths in Italy

coronavirus
Photo by Nicolò Campo/LightRocket via Getty Images
1 Comment

ROME (AP) Three Serie A soccer matches scheduled for Sunday in the northern regions of Lombardy and Veneto were suspended late Saturday after the deaths of two people infected with the virus from China.

On orders from the Italian government, the games called off were: Inter Milan vs. Sampdoria, Atalanta vs. Sassuolo and Hellas Verona vs. Cagliari.

Three other matches in Genoa, Turin and Rome on Sunday are going ahead as scheduled.

[ MORE: Premier League schedule ]

A dozen towns in northern Italy effectively went into lockdown on Saturday after the deaths of two people infected with the coronavirus from China, and a growing cluster of cases with no direct links to the origin of the outbreak abroad.

“The government is working on urgent measures to decisively confront and contain the cases of coronavirus contagion,” read a letter from Sports Minister Vincenzo Spadafora to Italian Olympic Committee president Giovanni Malago shortly before midnight local time on Saturday. “Those measures also include the sports world in order to prevent risks and to better take care of the health of those involved in the events and competition.

“Following measures taken by the cabinet for protective reasons and maximum precaution, on orders of the government I’m asking you to suspend all sports events of every level and discipline planned for the Lombardy and Veneto regions on Sunday.”

The secondary contagions prompted local authorities in the Lombardy and Veneto regions to close schools, businesses and restaurants and to cancel sporting events and Masses.

The mayor of Milan, Italy’s business capital and the regional capital of Lombardy, shuttered public offices.

A 78-year-old man infected with the virus died in Veneto. A postmortem on a 77-year-old woman in Lombardy came back positive, though it wasn’t clear if illness from the virus caused her death.

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

Andrew Dampf on Twitter: https://twitter.com/AndrewDampf