Liverpool hold nerve to beat Burnley as Jurgen Klopp warns Manchester City ‘nobody gets rid of us’

Roberto Firmino had a good day in front of goal as the Brazilian bagged a brace at Anfield. (AFP)
Updated 10 March 2019
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Liverpool hold nerve to beat Burnley as Jurgen Klopp warns Manchester City ‘nobody gets rid of us’

  • Reds beat visitors at Anfield to move to a point behind City in race for the title.
  • Goals from Firmino and Mane enough to see off challenge of Burnley.

LONDON: Liverpool have what it takes to beat both the pressure and Manchester City in the battle for the Premier League title.

That was the message from Reds boss Jurgen Klopp after he saw his side beat Burnley 4-2 at Anfield.

 After going behind in the sixth minute in the windy conditions, Liverpool stormed back though a brace from Roberto Firmino and a Sadio Mane double to maintain their title charge and move to just a point behind City, who beat Watford 3-1 on Saturday.

Having witnessed the Reds avoid a potential banana skin, Klopp warned their rivals it will take a lot to get in the way of his side and their title dream.

“Nobody gets rid of us,” the Liverpool boss said.

“You had to be on the pitch to realize how windy it was. You have to deal with it and we did that well, we played our own game.

“We scored really good goals, we forced it more. The three points is good, obviously, it is all good.

“We created chances. I am completely happy with the performance — you have to be ready for a fight with Burnley, and we fought and played well.”

Coming into the match all the pressure was on the Reds who, by their own admission have not been firing on all cylinders recently. Last week a lackluster 0-0 draw with Everton allowed City to top the table and coming into the match Klopp was complaining about the timing of the clash, just three days before Liverpool’s crucial Champions League meeting with Bayern Munich.

But despite the distractions and the windy conditions, the hosts looked more like their old attacking selves and deserved the three points, having gone 1-0 down after a controversial Burnley opener. Ashley Westwood scored direct from a corner, although it appeared Reds’ goalkeeper Alisson had been impeded by James Tarkowski.

“Are we allowed to talk about the conditions?” Klopp joked.

“We played our game. The first Burnley goal was maybe a little bit of the wind. In most countries it would not be allowed that goal — you cannot treat the goalie like that in the six-yard box.

“At 3-1 up, all the balls Burnley got were from us. I’m completely happy with the performance, especially as it was against a tough Burnley side.”

Liverpool’s tally of 73 points from their opening 30 league games this season is their joint-best total at this stage of a league campaign (adjusting for three points for a win), level with the 1904-05 second tier season and 1987-88 in the top flight.

 Beaten only once all season, it would be overstating the importance of the match to say that was a vital test of character, Liverpool have been in imperious form since the start of the season and a run of four draws in six matches does not change that. But with just eight matches of the season left any slip-up could prove significant.

In the day’s other matches Chelsea needed an injury-time equalizer to snatch a point at home to Wolverhampton. The visitors to Stamford Bridge went ahead thanks to a 54th-minute goal from Raul Jimenez. But Hazard, whose future with the Blues is still the subject of speculation, curled a shot into the bottom corner two minutes after the 90 minutes were up to spare Chelsea’s blushes.

In the late kick-off Arsenal beat Manchester United 2-0 to leapfrog over the Old Trafford club into fourth. Goals from Granit Xhaka and Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang were enough to give the Gunners all three points at a wet and windy Emirates Stadium.


Leonard scores 35, Raptors beat Bucks 105-99 for 3-2 lead

Updated 24 May 2019
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Leonard scores 35, Raptors beat Bucks 105-99 for 3-2 lead

  • Leonard hit the 30-point mark for the fourth time in the series

MILWAUKEE: Kawhi Leonard scored 35 points and the Toronto Raptors beat the Milwaukee Bucks 105-99 on Thursday night to take a 3-2 lead in the Eastern Conference finals.
Leonard showed no obvious signs of the leg soreness that bothered him in Toronto’s victories in the previous two games, hitting the 30-point mark for the fourth time in the series. He made five 3-pointers and had seven rebounds and nine assists.
Fred VanVleet scored 21 points, hitting seven 3s. Kyle Lowry added 17 as the Raptors put themselves in position to advance to the NBA Finals for the first time. A victory at home Saturday would set up a matchup with two-time defending champion Golden State.
“This was a super-hard win tonight,” Raptors coach Nick Nurse said.
The Raptors battled out of an early 14-point hole, then got 15 points from Leonard in the fourth quarter to send the top-seeded Bucks to their first three-game losing streak of the season.
“We weathered the storm early,” Leonard said.
Giannis Antetokounmpo had 24 points for Milwaukee hours after being announced as a unanimous first-team, All-NBA selection. Eric Bledsoe scored 20 and Malcolm Brogdon added 18 points and 11 rebounds in his return to the starting lineup.
“It’s first to four. We’ve got to go to Toronto, get a game. I think the group will be ready,” Bucks coach Mike Budenholzer said.
The Raptors were clinging to a two-point lead in the closing minute after Khris Middleton drove around Leonard on the baseline for a layup.
Toronto was initially called for a shot-clock violation when Leonard missed a fadeaway jumper with 35 seconds left. That got overturned by a replay review, and Brook Lopez was called for a foul, instead, for bumping Marc Gasol after he retrieved the loose ball.
Gasol hit both free throws to make it 100-97. Another replay review went in Toronto’s favor when officials determined a ball went out of bounds off Brogdon with 26.8 seconds left. Brogdon pulled his hand away, thinking his dribble had gone off Pascal Siakam’s foot.
Siakam then drove for a dunk, making it 102-97, and the Raptors hung on from there.
Milwaukee was leading 81-79 with about 8 1/2 minutes left when Leonard nailed back-to-back 3-pointers. He hit two free throws before Siakam threw down a put-back dunk to make it 89-81.
The Bucks tied it at 93-all with 2:44 left on a 3-pointer by Lopez. VanVleet answered with one of his own before Antetokounmpo threw down an alley-oop dunk to cut it to 96-95 with just over two minutes remaining.
The Bucks set a fast pace early on and led by 10 after the first quarter, delighting the towel-waving fans chanting “Fear The Deer! Fear the Deer!” They withstood a 16-2 run by Toronto to start the second, with Antetokounmpo nailing a 3 to stop it.
The Bucks also went on a 14-2 run early in the third, with the Greek Freak throwing down a hard dunk off a feed by Middleton for a 63-51 lead. But the Raptors got right back into it.

Tip-ins

Raptors: Lowry now has 1,126 points in 66 playoff games for Toronto, surpassing DeMar DeRozan (1,117) as the franchise’s postseason scoring leader.
Bucks: Brogdon started all 64 games he played in during the regular season, before missing basically all of the first two rounds because of a heel injury. With Brogdon back in the lineup, Nikola Mirotic came off the bench.

Up next

Game 6 is at Toronto on Saturday.