Liverpool aim to maintain perfect record against Newcastle on Saturday

Liverpool’s Mohamed Salah plays against Manchester City in Champions League. Salah has been one of the club’s most successful players. (File/Reuters)
Updated 14 September 2019

Liverpool aim to maintain perfect record against Newcastle on Saturday

  • Klopp’s side enjoy a two-point lead over second-placed Manchester City

LONDON: Liverpool’s sizzling start to the Premier League season has left their title rivals breathless and the red-hot leaders are expected to maintain their perfect record against Newcastle on Saturday.

Jurgen Klopp’s side have seized the early initiative in the league with four successive wins to open up a two-point lead over second-placed Manchester City.

The European champions’ relentless tempo has overwhelmed Norwich, Southampton, Arsenal and Burnley, sending a message that they are determined to make amends for narrowly failing to pip City to the trophy last season.

Arsenal’s Dani Ceballos is new to English football after joining on loan from Real Madrid and the Spain midfielder admitted to being gob-smacked at the intensity Liverpool displayed in their 3-1 victory against the Gunners in August.

“I had never seen anything like it. I’ve not seen up until now a team that plays better, that presses better. That game had quite an impact on me,” Ceballos told the Daily Mail.

“They suck the air out of you. You spend so much time defending and when you want to catch your breath and get on the ball for a bit, they’ve taken it from you again.

“I think Jurgen Klopp now has the team he first had in mind when he started four years ago.”

That glowing testimony underlines the size of the task facing City as they try to stop Liverpool winning their first English crown since 1990.

City may have won the last two Premier League titles in scintillating fashion, but Liverpool look better than ever this term and Newcastle are unlikely to halt their progress at Anfield this weekend.

With City playing Norwich in Saturday’s late game, the champions could be five points behind Liverpool by the time they kick off at Carrow Road.

Pep Guardiola’s team are unbeaten and have already thrashed West Ham and Brighton, but their lone slip — a draw against Tottenham — allowed Liverpool to seize pole position and they can’t afford another against second-bottom Norwich.

Across Manchester, Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s United can only dream of gate-crashing the title race after a disappointing start showed how far they have fallen off the pace.

United have won only once in their first four games, adding to the incentive for their England defender Harry Maguire to inspire a victory against his former
club Leicester.

Maguire is the world’s most expensive defender after his £80 million close-season move from Leicester, but he is yet to play like it, as his creaky showing in England’s midweek Euro 2020 qualifier against Kosovo emphasized.

Leicester will arrive at Old Trafford above Maguire’s men in the table after an impressive unbeaten start.

But, whatever his shortcomings in some areas, Maguire’s personality has made an impression on his new teammates, who expect him to come good soon.

“It’s been seamless,” said United reserve keeper Lee Grant. “Harry has definitely slotted straight in, in terms of the social side and in terms of his mentality and attitude, which has been first class.”

“The most important thing, though, is his quality and he was able to show that against Chelsea. We could all see he is quite at home in front of the Old Trafford crowd and quite at home as a Manchester United player.”

Mauricio Pochettino must hope the closure of the European transfer window lifts the mood at Tottenham, who host fourth-placed Crystal Palace looking to secure only their second win.

Pochettino was concerned that speculation over the futures of several Tottenham players, including Christian Eriksen, had unsettled his squad.

But Eriksen remains with Tottenham in the final year of his contract and Pochettino said: “He was always happy. He never said he wasn’t happy here.

“Everyone of course has aims, goals, challenges. His qualities are there and important for the team.”


Saudi bowlers off to QubicaAMF World Cup

Updated 18 November 2019

Saudi bowlers off to QubicaAMF World Cup

  • First woman from the Kingdom to compete in the championship in Indonesia

JEDDAH: Saudi Arabia is sending its first woman to compete in the 55th QubicaAMF Bowling World Cup that begins in Indonesia.

Mashael Alabdulwahid will join her male teammate Abdulrahman Al-Khilaiwi, under the supervision of coach, Mario Joseph, to take part in the contest in Palembang.

Both players underwent training at a camp in Riyadh to prepare for the event. The training program included participating in the Asian Championship in Kuwait for Abdulrahman, and participating in the GCC 6th women’s bowling tournament for Mashael.

The men’s competition started Sunday at 9 p.m.

The women’s competition will begin at 3 p.m. today, where Mashael will take part in six rounds. The competition will run until Nov. 24.

HIGHLIGHT

  • Mashael Alabdulwahid will join her male teammate Abdulrahman Al-Khilaiwi, under the supervision of coach, Mario Joseph, to take part in the contest in Palembang.
  • Both players underwent training at a camp in Riyadh to prepare for the event. The training program included participating at the Asian Championship in Kuwait for Abdulrahman, and participating at the GCC 6th women’s bowling tournament for Mashael.

The competition continues on Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday and after completing 24 rounds, the top 24 players will be selected to compete for the top eight positions by playing eight runs on Friday. On Saturday, the best four female players and four male players will be chosen to compete in the finals.

Abdulrahman said that he is looking forward to the world cup. “This year there is a new advantage and that is having teammate Mashael joining me for the first time. I’m proud of her! It’s a big thing for Saudi women and for us in the team because this world exposure will help them to learn and give them an incentive to develop their skills,” he said.

The 20-year-old player has been bowling for the past 10 years. Despite his young age, thanks to his perseverance and sense of discipline he managed to win many victories, but the most distinguished were those in 2018. He delivered the bronze medal at the World Cup in Detroit, and two bronzes at the Asian Bowling Championship in the Philippines in the same year, and a gold medal for the trio event at the Arab Bowling Championship in Oman.

Mashael, 32, was only able to play officially last year in February 2018 when the Saudi Bowling Federation (SBF) received the decree to allow women to play in sports. However, she has been playing for fun since early childhood when she used to travel to Egypt with her family and where she managed to learn from the professionals and get hooked on the game. Mashael was chosen to take part in the Egypt Arab Championship and World Bowling Women’s Championship in Las Vegas in August 2018.

Mashael said: “Playing for fun is definitely enjoyable but when you wear your country’s flag that’s a huge responsibility put on your shoulder. You become an ambassador and a role model and when I’m put in that situation, I definitely want to give my all to be fit for that honor, and give the best image worthy of our beloved country.”

The bowlers expressed their gratitude to the Saudi Bowling Federation and its president Bader bin Abdullah Al-Alsheikh for his support and for creating opportunities for them so that they can progress, enrich their experiences and win awards and achievements.