Klopp at a loss to explain ‘unacceptable’ Liverpool form

Klopp at a loss to explain ‘unacceptable’ Liverpool form
Liverpool’s Joel Matip scores an own goal during their Premier League match against Wolverhampton Wanderers at Molineux Stadium, Wolverhampton on February 4, 2023. (Reuters)
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Updated 04 February 2023

Klopp at a loss to explain ‘unacceptable’ Liverpool form

Klopp at a loss to explain ‘unacceptable’ Liverpool form
  • The Reds have taken just one point from their last four Premier League games to all
  • "Conceding early goals is not unfamiliar to us but the way we conceded them today was not acceptable," said Klopp

WOLVERHAMPTON, United Kingdom: Jurgen Klopp branded the goals Liverpool conceded in a 3-0 defeat to Wolves as “horrible” with the German admitting to being at a loss to explain his side’s disastrous form.
The Reds have taken just one point from their last four Premier League games to all but end any hope of catching the top four for a place in next season’s Champions League.
Klopp’s men trailed 2-0 inside 12 minutes at Molineux as Joel Matip’s own goal and Craig Dawson’s strike on his debut put Wolves on course to climb out of the relegation zone.
Ruben Neves added a third 19 minutes from time after Liverpool had dominated the early stages of the second half without reward.
“Conceding early goals is not unfamiliar to us but the way we conceded them today was not acceptable,” said Klopp.
“When you see the whole game, throughout the game in moments we played an outstanding game without scoring and a good away game without scoring.
“The third goal I don’t count because it was the first time they passed the halfway line in the second half. The other two goals, going into a game with all the things we said during the week and before the game, then this is the start, is horrible.”
Already out of both domestic cups, Liverpool sit 10th in the Premier League.
The Champions League appears to be their last chance of salvaging their season with a last 16 tie against Real Madrid to come later this month in a repeat of last season’s final.
Klopp’s side came close to winning an unprecedented quadruple of trophies last season.
But he appears incapable of stopping the rot as for the third consecutive away league game, Liverpool conceded three times.
“We better change it. That’s true, 100 percent. I have no words for it really, I’m sorry,” he added.
“You do yourself no favors in these moments, giving easy balls away.
“We were passive in the (first) two goals, everything we wanted to do was be compact and active but we were compact and passive. I can’t explain it. I think why would you do that? But they did it anyway.”


Saudi national team in training ahead of Bolivia friendly

Saudi national team in training ahead of Bolivia friendly
Updated 27 March 2023

Saudi national team in training ahead of Bolivia friendly

Saudi national team in training ahead of Bolivia friendly
  • The Green Falcons are holding one final training session before the Bolivia match on Monday evening, open to the media

JEDDAH: The Saudi Arabia national team continued their training camp on Sunday ahead of Tuesday's friendly with Bolivia at the Prince Abdullah Al-Faisal stadium.

The training session was held under the supervision of head coach Herve Renard, and included possession exercises and mini-matches.

Players Hassan Al-Tambukti, Abdel-Rahman Al-Aboud and Riyad Sharahili had to miss out on the training session due to injury.

The Green Falcons are holding one final training session before the Bolivia match on Monday evening, which is open to the media.


Ireland wait on captain ahead of France clash

Ireland wait on captain ahead of France clash
Updated 27 March 2023

Ireland wait on captain ahead of France clash

Ireland wait on captain ahead of France clash
  • Seamus Coleman to be given chance to prove his fitness ahead of Euro 2024 qualifier on Monday

DUBLIN: Republic of Ireland captain Seamus Coleman will be given every chance to prove his fitness ahead of Monday’s Euro 2024 qualifier against France.

The 34-year-old Everton defender has a slight thigh strain and Ireland manager Stephen Kenny is prepared to wait until as late as possible before deciding if his skipper can take part in the Lansdowne Road tie.

“No, he is not ruled out, we will have to see how today goes. We train today,” said Kenny, at a pre-match news conference on Sunday.

“Seamus is a very good player. It’s not so much his experience, it’s that he’s playing well at the moment. Experience is a factor, but his performances for Everton have been very good.

“For footballing reasons, he merits his place in the team because he has been playing very well for Everton and had an injury-free run and been able to train regularly over the last number of months and performed very well for Everton.

“He is the captain, of course, but we’ll have to see on that.”

Republic left wing-back Callum O’Dowda suffered a groin injury during Wednesday’s 3-2 friendly victory over Latvia and while he too has yet to be ruled out, Preston’s Robbie Brady has been drafted in as cover.

Earlier, Morocco stunned Brazil 2-1 on Saturday as the north African side recorded a first ever win over the five-time world champions.

Midfielder Sofiane Boufal, in the 29th minute, gave Morocco the lead before Brazil skipper Casemiro levelled in the 67th minute in Tangiers.

But Abdelhamid Sabiri struck the winner in the 79th minute as Morocco showed that becoming the first Arab or African nation to reach the World Cup semifinals last year was no fluke.

Only 10 of the 23-man squad that took Brazil to a disappointing quarter-final exit at the World Cup made the trip to Morocco for the game.

The injured Neymar was again missing with his number 10 shirt passing to Real Madrid youngster Rodrygo.

Brazil also had a new manager in the dugout with interim coach Ramon Menezes having replaced Tite who stepped down after the World Cup quarter-final exit at the hands of Croatia.

The Brazilian Football Confederation hopes to be able to announce the name of its new coach before the start of qualifying for the 2026 World Cup in September.

According to Brazilian media, the federation’s first choice is Carlo Ancelotti, currently in charge of Real Madrid.

However, he is not expected to make a decision on his future before the end of the European season.

Before kick-off at the Ibn Batouta stadium on Saturday, both teams paid tribute to Pele, who died last December at the age of 82.

Until Saturday, Morocco had suffered defeats in their only two other meetings with Brazil — 2-0 in a 1997 friendly and 3-0 in the group stage of the 1998 World Cup in France.


Manager Conte leaves Tottenham ‘by mutual consent’

Manager Conte leaves Tottenham ‘by mutual consent’
Updated 27 March 2023

Manager Conte leaves Tottenham ‘by mutual consent’

Manager Conte leaves Tottenham ‘by mutual consent’
  • The Italian launched into a rant about the club before the international break following a 3-3 draw at Southampton

LONDON: Manager Antonio Conte has left Tottenham “by mutual consent,” the Premier League club announced on Sunday.
The Italian, who took over in November 2021, launched into a rant about the club before the international break following a 3-3 draw at Southampton.
Conte leaves with Spurs fourth in the Premier League table.


Morocco stun Brazil and win for first time in friendly international

Morocco stun Brazil and win for first time in friendly international
Updated 26 March 2023

Morocco stun Brazil and win for first time in friendly international

Morocco stun Brazil and win for first time in friendly international
  • Abdelhamid Sabiri struck the winner as Morocco showed that becoming the first Arab or African nation to reach the World Cup semifinals last year was no fluke

TANGIERS, MOROCCO: Morocco stunned Brazil 2-1 in a friendly international on Saturday as the north African side recorded a first ever win over the five-time world champions.

Midfielder Sofiane Boufal, a former Southampton star, but now playing with Al-Rayyan in Qatar, gave Morocco the lead after 29 minutes, scoring with a powerful turn and drive from a pass by Bilal El Khannous.

Brazil skipper Casemiro leveled in the 67th minute when his weak shot was fumbled by goalkeeper Yassine Bounou.

But on-loan Sampdoria midfielder Abdelhamid Sabiri struck the winner with a volley in the 79th minute as Morocco showed that becoming the first Arab or African nation to reach the World Cup semifinals last year was no fluke.

“I wouldn’t say we lacked understanding, it’s about putting into practice the ideas of a new coach,” said Manchester United’s Casemiro.

“I think we played a good game and did everything as far as possible to win.”

Only 10 of the 23-man squad that took Brazil to a disappointing quarter-final exit at the World Cup made the trip to Morocco for the game.

The injured Neymar was again missing with his number 10 shirt passing to Real Madrid youngster Rodrygo.

Brazil also had a new manager in the dugout with interim coach Ramon Menezes having replaced Tite who stepped down after the World Cup last-eight exit at the hands of Croatia.

The Brazilian Football Confederation (CBF) hopes to be able to announce the name of its new coach before the start of qualifying for the 2026 World Cup in September.

According to Brazilian media, the CBF’s first choice is Carlo Ancelotti, currently in charge of Real Madrid.

However, he is not expected to make a decision on his future before the end of the European season.

Before kickoff at the Ibn Batouta stadium, both teams paid tribute to Pele, who died last December at the age of 82.

Until Saturday, Morocco had suffered defeats in their only two other meetings with Brazil — 2-0 in a 1997 friendly and 3-0 in the group stages of the 1998 World Cup in France.


Broadhead to the rescue as Wales draw Euro 2024 qualifier with Croatia

Broadhead to the rescue as Wales draw Euro 2024 qualifier with Croatia
Updated 26 March 2023

Broadhead to the rescue as Wales draw Euro 2024 qualifier with Croatia

Broadhead to the rescue as Wales draw Euro 2024 qualifier with Croatia
  • Wales have now gone nine games without a win but this result will doubtless feel like a victory for Rob Page’s men

SPLIT, Croatia: Debutant Nathan Broadhead proved an unlikely savior as Wales started life without Gareth Bale by snatching a 1-1 draw in a Euro 2024 qualifier against World Cup semifinalists Croatia in Split on Saturday.

Andrej Kramaric’s first-half strike looked like it would be enough to give group favorites Croatia a winning start to their campaign.

And the hosts were still in front until the third and final minute of stoppage time when Croatia failed to clear Connor Roberts’ long throw and substitute Broadhead squeezed the ball in at the far post.

Wales have now gone nine games without a win but this result will doubtless feel like a victory for Rob Page’s men.

There was no disguising the joy felt by the 24-year-old Broadhead, who now plays his club football for English third-tier side Ipswich following a January move from Premier League strugglers Everton.

“I got a bit overwhelmed to be honest, a bit emotional,” Broadhead told S4C. “I’ve been waiting for this moment for so long.

“We needed a point, we came here to try and win but to get a point is good as well. We are made up.”