Liverpool's Ox set for first start in League Cup

Liverpool’s coach Juergen Klopp, rear, and player Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain, front, walk on the pitch during heavy rainfall after the English Premier League soccer match between Manchester City and Liverpool at the Etihad Stadium in Manchester, England, on Saturday. (AP)
Updated 18 September 2017
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Liverpool's Ox set for first start in League Cup

LONDON: Liverpool take on Leicester City in the pick of the English League Cup ties this week as manager Jurgen Klopp seeks to eradicate the frustrating defensive blunders dogging his team.
Other all-Premier League ties pit struggling Crystal Palace against Huddersfield, West Brom against Manchester City, Bournemouth against Brighton, while Manchester United face Burton Albion in a low-key start to their title defense.
Liverpool, United and the other teams in European competition only enter the draw for the League Cup, called the Carabao Cup this season after its new sponsors, at the third-round stage
Klopp's Liverpool started the season brightly but have stuttered over the past week, with a 5-0 defeat to Manchester City followed by frustrating draws against Sevilla in the Champions League and Burnley in the Premier League.
The manager is set to make changes for Tuesday’s match at Leicester, handing midfielder Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain, who joined on transfer deadline day from Arsenal, his first start for the club after three substitute appearances.
“It is a fantastic opportunity for Alex because since he has been (here) it has been difficult to train on different things because of game after game after game,” Klopp said at his pre-match press conference on Monday.
“There is no rush but we are in this three-game-a-week rhythm and during the international break he was with the national team.”
“But it is a long-term project so I have no problem. We sat together with him and the analysts and showed him how we want him to play in this position and that position.”
Leicester themselves are looking to kickstart their season after a disappointing start that sees the 2015-16 Premier League champions languishing in 15th place but striker Jamie Vardy, who has a groin problem, is a major doubt.
Also on Tuesday, Roy Hodgson’s Palace play Huddersfield at Selhurst Park after a 1-0 defeat to Southampton saw them become the first Premier League side to lose their first five games and fail to score.
Burton face the daunting task of a trip to Old Trafford on Wednesday, 11 years after they held United to a 0-0 draw at home in the FA Cup before losing the replay 5-0.
Burton boss Nigel Clough hailed the “transformation of the club since the last time we played them as a part-time Conference side,” when he was in his first spell as Burton boss.
“We are only one league behind them after 11 years,” he said. “It’s remarkable how far we have come. The one outstanding memory of the game last time at the Pirelli was when they brought on (Cristiano) Ronaldo and (Wayne) Rooney after 60 minutes.
“I think the tie has financially helped the club to build a solid foundation.”
Elsewhere on Wednesday, Arsenal take on Doncaster Rovers at home and Chelsea host Nottingham Forest.


LeBron James' last-second shot gives Cavs 98-95 win over Pacers in Game 5

James pushes the Cavaliers within one victory of advancing in the Eastern Conference playoffs. (Getty Images/AFP)
Updated 31 min 35 sec ago
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LeBron James' last-second shot gives Cavs 98-95 win over Pacers in Game 5

  • James' 3-pointer buzzer beater puts Cavaliers within one victory of advancing in the Eastern Conference playoffs
  • James finished with 44 points, 10 rebounds, eight assists.

CLEVELAND: LeBron James hit a 3-pointer at the buzzer, a crowning moment for another brilliant performance, to give Cleveland a 98-95 victory over the Indiana Pacers on Wednesday night in Game 5, putting the Cavaliers within one victory of advancing in the Eastern Conference playoffs.
Moments after blocking Victor Oladipo’s possible go-ahead driving layup, James caught the inbounds pass, took two dribbles and dropped the winner over Thaddeus Young.
As Cleveland’s sellout crowd exploded, James hugged rookie teammate Cedi Osman before jumping on the scorer’s table to celebrate another of those moments that will define his career.
James finished with 44 points, 10 rebounds, eight assists and went 15 of 15 from the line.
Kyle Korver added 19 points and Cleveland’s much-maligned defense tightened just in time as the Cavaliers seized their first lead in the first-round series after being down 1-0 and 2-1.
Cleveland can close out Indiana with a win Friday night in Indianapolis.
Domantas Sabonis scored 22 points, and Young had 16 for the Pacers, who battled back to tie it 95-all on Sabonis’ 15-foot jumper with 33 seconds left. Indiana, which held Cleveland without a field goal for more than seven minutes during their fourth-quarter rally forced James into a turnover and had a chance to re-take the lead.
Oladipo, who shot just 2 of 15, drove the left side and was at the rim when James swooped in for a block on a play reminiscent of his Game 7 block on Andre Iguodala in the 2016 NBA Finals.
Oladipo’s shooting woes continued. He’s only 12 of 50 from the field in the last three games. He scored 32 in the Pacers’ Game 1 win, but the Cavs have been double-teaming him ever since.
The third quarter has been a major problem for Cleveland all season. The Cavs had tried everything to try and shake things up after halftime, even doing layup lines at the break in Game 4 like a high school squad.
Turns out, all it took was some defensive intensity.
Down by seven at half, the Cavs swarmed the Pacers in the third quarter, forcing five turnovers in the first six minutes and holding Indiana to one field goal over the first 6:52 while opening with a 19-3 run.
Cleveland outscored Indiana 32-17 in the third, when the Pacers shot just 5 for 16 (31 percent) and committed seven turnovers.
The Cavs were again without starting point guard George Hill, who missed his second straight game with back spasms.
DWYANE’S WORLD
James had enough to worry about with the Pacers that he didn’t want to discuss close friend Dwyane Wade’s future.
Miami’s star is mulling retirement after the Heat were eliminated Tuesday in Philadelphia. James spent four years playing in Miami with Wade, who began this season with the Cavs before being traded.
James said that following his last game against Wade he told him, “’If it’s like our last time going against each other, then it’s been everything and more.” James wants to wait for Wade to make his decision and will then “give a more in-depth analysis of his career if he decides to hang ‘em up.”
TIP-INS:
Pacers: Following Lance Stephenson’s aggressive, wrestling-like takedown of Jeff Green in the waning moments of Game 4, coach Nate McMillan said he reminded the fiery forward to be careful. “The officials are going to be watching that, Lance knows that and there are some times where I think they (the Cavs) are taking advantage.” ... Dropped to 2-12 in their last 14 games in Cleveland. ... James’ triple-double in Game 4 was the sixth against Indiana in the playoffs. James has done it to the Pacers three times.
Cavaliers: With his 21st 40-point game in the playoff, James tied the logo — Jerry West — for the second-most all-time. Michael Jordan scored at least 40 in 38 postseason games. .... Hill’s back has improved in the past few days, but he didn’t look close to playing while sitting stiffly in his locker-room chair before the game. ... Browns Hall of Fame running back Jim Brown sat courtside.
UP NEXT
Game 6 is Friday night at Indianapolis.