Oman ready to cause more shocks in Asian Cup adventure

Oman beat Turkmenistan 3-1 to make the knockout stages. (AFP)
Updated 18 January 2019
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Oman ready to cause more shocks in Asian Cup adventure

  • Pim Verbeek confident Oman can beat Iran in second round.
  • The Reds scraped through to the knockout stages after a 3-1 win over Turkmenistan.

LONDON: Oman may be viewed as one of the minnows but Pim Verbeek has warned the Asian Cup big guns to take them lightly at their peril.
The Reds scraped into the second round thanks to an inspired 3-1 victory over Turkmenistan. That gave them their the first points of the tournament and enabled them to squeeze into the knockout stages as one of the four best third-placed teams.
Before their victory over Turkmenistan Oman had lost 2-1 and 1-0 to Uzbekistan and Japan respectively in their earlier Group F matches. But Verbeek claimed Oman were well worth their place in the business end of the tournament.
“We had a good 2018 and we expected to do well in the Asian Cup. We were unlucky to lose to 
Uzbekistan while we held our own against Japan, who are a very, very good side,” the Dutch coach said.
Having made it to the knockout stages Verbeek is confident his side has what it takes to progress deep in the tournament.
The Gulf outfit will have to be at their very best on Sunday when they face tournament favorites Iran in Abu Dhabi. But Verbeek is only too aware of where his side need to improve ahead of the crunch clash and has backed them to continue the shocks.
“We conceded to Turkmenistan because we lost a little bit of concentration. It was the same against Uzbekistan and this is something that my players must overcome,” the coach said.
“Our dream was to go into the next round and we have achieved that. Now it is all or nothing matches and anything is possible.”


Jurgen Klopp tells Liverpool to beware of Bayern Munich ahead of Champions League clash

Updated 19 February 2019
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Jurgen Klopp tells Liverpool to beware of Bayern Munich ahead of Champions League clash

  • Reds boss worried about resurgent German giants ahead of second-round first-leg clash.
  • Bayern defender Joshua Kimmich claims Liverpool are the favorites.

LONDON: Jurgen Klopp has warned his Liverpool side they will have to be at their very best if they are to beat Bayern Munich.
The Reds head into the Champions League clash as slight favorites after months at the top of the Premier League. But having drawn the German giants in the second round, Klopp has told his players they have to keep their feet on the ground worthy could end up out of the competition before it really gets going.
“It’ll be very tough,” there Liverpool manager said.
“(Bayern are) only two points off Dortmund in the domestic league and have been consistent finalists and semifinalists.
“They’re a world class team but at the same time we’re confident we can cause them problems.
“They’ve got world class players so we know how difficult it will be.
“Everyone has to be at 100 percent otherwise we’ll get nothing from the game.
“Having said that we have confidence we have the ability to hurt them, and it’s up to us to show that.”

After a tough start to the season Bayern are up to second in the Bundesliga. 


Liverpool went al the way to the final last year, before losing to Real Madrid. But the momentum created by that surprise run has been maintained in the Premier League and another trip to the Champions League knockout stages.
Bayern currently lie second in the Bundesliga and are starting to look like their old levels agains after a tough start to the season. For Klopp, who managed Dortmund before arriving at Anfield, that could spell trouble for the Reds.
“After six years of pretty much dominating the league it was clear this year was going to be a tougher situation.
“It’s actually still the same, being at the top of the league and still in the last-16 of the Champions League.
“It’s a normal situation with a high quality team.
“Munich’s situation, from my point of view, makes them even more dangerous and even more of a threat from my point of view.
“This is a competition, in Europe, where they always do well.”
For the Germans the role of underdogs suits them perfectly. At least that is according to Joshua Kimmich.
The defender said: “Liverpool are the favorites.
“They have lost one league game all season and have let in only 15 goals. But when you look at us, we are not as consistent as before.”
Before a ball has been kicked Bayern did receive some good news. Winger Franck Ribery was originally left out of the squad to play at Anfield and did not fly with his teammates. But after becoming a father, the Frenchman has now decided to join up with the squad and will be available for selection. One man who definitely will not make the pitch is Jerome Boateng. The central defender is suffering from a stomach virus.
The Bavarians will also have to wait until Tuesdays to determine whether winger Kingsley Coman will be able to play after picking up an ankle injury on Friday.
The Frenchman scored twice but was injured in the final stages of their 3-2 win at Augsburg.

KEY MAN — ROBERTO FIRMINO 

Of Liverpool’s brilliant attacking trio the Brazilian is perhaps the most underrated and important. When he plays well the Reds usually do likewise. He links up the play well, settling up as many goals as he scores. Liverpool will be hoping he turns up with his A-game tonight, because if he does Bayern Munich could be in for a  long night. 

ARAB NEWS PREDICTS

For once Bayern are not having it all their own way in the Bundesliga. But they are improving and giving Borussia Dortmund something to think about in the race for the title. But home advantage will be key and a resurgent Reds will prove too strong for a Bayern defence that has, on occasions this campaign, looked less than watertight. The only question is can Liverpool get a decisive lead and put the tie to bed before the second leg?