Klopp is the third quickest Liverpool FC manager to hit the 100-point-milestone

Jürgen Klopp today reflected on reaching the 100-point milestone with Liverpool last weekend and insisted: ‘We’re really ready for the all the challenges still to come.’

The boss achieved his league century with the 3-1 win over Arsenal on Saturday, doing so in just 57 matches at the helm.

Klopp is the third quickest manager to hit the 100 mark in top-flight matches in the Reds history, with only Kenny Dalglish (48) and David Ashworth (56) doing it in fewer.

And asked what he’s learned over the course of wracking up those points, Klopp said in his pre-Burnley press conference:

“I understand the language better, that’s the main improvement for me!

“I’ve learned a lot about the league, I’ve learned a lot about the club and I’ve learned a lot about my players.

“Yes, we have improved and we are able to play good football. We have struggled in a few moments, you know about the reasons – a few injuries, too many, that’s how it is and it’s not let us develop as much as would have been possible I would think. But everything is on a good way.

“The atmosphere within the club is fantastic and we are really close together, really ready for all of what is coming up, in this season, the next season and the season after that. That is all good.

“100 points sounds a lot, but a minute ago we spoke about the matches where we didn’t get the points, so obviously it could have been even quicker and that would have been nice! It is like it is and it’s all in a good way.

“We are still all full of power, full of joy for the job and challenge.”

Brilliant new This Girl Can advert to celebrate active women

I love the This Girl Can campaign.  It is a celebration of active women who are doing their thing no matter how well they do it, how they look or even how red their face gets.  Developed by Sport England, to help women overcome the fear of judgement that is stopping too many women and girls from joining in.

Even by their standards though the new advert is awesome:

The ad uses extracts from Maya Angelou’s Phenomenal Women poem alongside real women taking part in sport.

Leaked Arsenal kit for 2017-2018 season

Arsenal fans are likely to already be dreaming of the 2017/18 season after seeing their hopes for this campaign dashed before the end of February, with back-to-back Premier League defeats against Watford and Chelsea accompanied by a drubbing against Bayern Munich in the Champions League- ending any chance of success in either competition/

Big changes could occur behind the scenes this summer as question marks remain regarding the future of long-serving manager Arsene Wenger, whilst the Gunners also face the risk of losing Alexis Sanchez and Mesut Ozil- both of whom enter the final 12 months of their contracts this summer.

Arsenal’s changes could also occur on the field too, specifically regarding the playing kits, as leaked images circulated on social media this week that suggest a major kit change will occur for the 2017/18 season.

The Gunners home strip remains largely unchanged, excluding a smart-looking trim to the collar, but the choice of turquoise for the away jersey will certainly raise some eyebrows- as it’s a far-cry from the usual blue or yellow colours for Arsenal’s travelling strip.

There’s also the small matter of the black and pink combo of the third kit shown in the image, with it not being clear as to whether that jersey would be the alternate option for the Gunners or the goalkeeping shirt.

Either way, the changes are unlikely to go down well with a large majority of supporters.

Liverpool FC: Philippe Coutinho signs new 5-year deal

Brilliant news this morning from Liverpool FC – just days after opening fresh contract negotiation talks with Philippe Coutinho the talented 24-year old Brazilian has put pen to paper.

Coutinho’s new deal will keep him at the club until the summer of 2022, and will reportedly make him the highest-paid player at the club, bringing in around £150,000 per week. It’s nearly twice as much as he was making on his previous contract, one which he extended just last February.  From the club’s perspective, the news is even better, as the new contract does not include a release clause.

Coutinho explained:

“I am very happy to sign a new contract here.  It is a club that I am very grateful to and this shows my happiness here. I will work much harder to repay the belief shown in me.

“I signed this new contract to stay here for a few more years because it’s a great honour for me. It gives me great happiness because I was welcomed here with open arms by everyone at the club and the supporters right from my first day. I am very thankful to this football club for everything.”

Securing Coutinho’s services until 2022 is a major boost for Jurgen Klopp and a ringing endorsement of the direction the club is heading in with the German at the helm.  He has blossomed into arguably the club’s biggest asset and the new deal reflects both his importance and influence.

Rooney nominates Klopp for Award, snubs Mourinho

The stars were out on Monday night for the inaugural The Best FIFA Awards™ in Zurich, the first since the global body announced the end of its six-year association with France Football magazine’s Ballon d’Or last December.

The Awards are voted for by fans alongside selected journalists, national team coaches and captains.  Unsurprisingly Real Madrid’s Cristiano Ronaldo was voted the Men’s Player of the Year, while Claudio Ranieri’s historic climb to the summit of the Premier League with Leicester City last term saw him take home Best Men’s Manager.

However, a breakdown of the voting revealed that Manchester United’s Wayne Rooney, as captain of the England national squad, named Jürgen Klopp, manager of bitter rivals Liverpool on his list of coach of the year, snubbing his own boss in José Mourinho in the process.

These votes tend to be largely symbolic in nature, often with people voting for their teammates and fellow countrymen, for example, Wales manager Chris Coleman nominating Gareth Bale for Player of the Year.  It is therefore some surprise that the former Evertonian moved beyond the enduring enmity between these two arch-rival clubs, let alone what it will do to Mourinho’s frail ego.

The boy with the plastic bag Messi jersey has finally met his hero

In February, the internet fell in love with a five-year-old boy in a homemade plastic bag Lionel Messi jersey named Murtaza Ahmadi. Now, almost a year later, Ahmadi has finally met his idol.

The Argentine soccer star and the young Afghan super fan shared a warm embrace on Tuesday, in a heartwarming encounter captured on video tweeted by the Qatar 2022 Supreme Committee.

Messi is seen smiling and picking up the boy, whose blue and white striped plastic shirt and gleeful expression while wearing it melted hearts online at the start of the year.

Not only did the six-year-old boy get to meet his hero, but he also got to walk out on to the pitch alongside Messi on Tuesday night, when Barcelona played Al Ahli in Dohar.

An ecstatic Ahmadi didn’t want to let go of his hero.

The young boy’s journey to meeting his idol started back in January, when a photo of him wearing the plastic shirt with Messi’s name was first spotted online by fans.

Before long, Twitter lit up with a search for for his identity. Among others, Turkish sports website Fanatik tweeted out the viral picture while wondering who the young boy was.

Ahmadi was soon identified as the boy with the plastic Messi jersey. From their farm in Jaghori, his father Arif Ahmadi told CNN how passionate the then five-year-old was about Messi and football.

“When he suddenly wakes up in the middle of the night, he starts crying that he wants to go to Messi,”

Ahmadi added that his son started asking for a jersey.

“I told him that we were living in a poor village far from the city and it was impossible for me to get him the shirt.  He kept crying for days asking for the shirt until his brother Hamayon helped him make one from the plastic bag to make him happy.”

“He stopped crying after wearing that plastic bag shirt.”

Once it was known who Ahmadi was, he gained the attention of organizations like the Afghanistan Football Federation and UNICEF, which presented him with a brand new autographed Messi jersey.

 

Bournemouth deserved their win over Liverpool

Jürgen Klopp, the Liverpool manager, showed true class by praising Bournemouth following their victory over Liverpool.

After the match Klopp could be seen congratulating the Bournemouth coaching staff and players. He was full of praise for the tenacity shown by the Cherries, and thought the win was completely deserved.

“I think for a long part of the game we were the better side and we would have deserved to win, but in the decisive moment we gave the game away to Bournemouth. We opened the door and they ran through with all their heads.”

Losing a game that your side led twice by two goals is not a good feeling, but Klopp saw what all of us saw: a side that just wasn’t playing, first at 2-0 up, and again at 3-1 up. Even before our opening scores, he wasn’t happy with the passing and movement of the squad, but he thinks this could prove an important lesson going forward.

“Of course it can [help]. No way is without rocks and stones. All the time you have to jump over hurdles and things like this. I didn’t need this today. But now we have it and we strike back.”

A big part of Jürgen’s personality is his deep love for football. You might even call him a football romantic. This was what led him to take the reins of Liverpool, and today, to appreciate what Bournemouth did to his side in the closing stages of the match.

“Oh, I like these stories in football. I like it more when I’m involved in the positive side, and I even can respect it when I’m involved on the other side. Jordan Ibe as a little bit of the game changer. When he came in he did really well. He’s still a little bit our boy even if he’s a Bournemouth player now. Of course I can give credit for it, that’s not problem.”

Very classy from the Liverpool boss. I certainly think that Liverpool have no reason to panic after seeing their 15-game unbeaten run end at Bournemouth – the key is the work done on the training ground this week.

Carragher Has “Great Hope” for Liverpool Title Challenge

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Jamie Carragher believes Liverpool’s performances in the opening 10 Premier League games have created ‘great hope’ for the remainder of the season.

Pos Team P W D L GF GA GD Pts
2 Manchester City 11 7 3 1 25 10 15 24
3 Arsenal 10 7 2 1 23 10 13 23
4 Liverpool 10 7 2 1 24 13 11 23
5 Tottenham Hotspur 10 5 5 0 14 5 9 20
6 Everton 11 5 3 3 15 12 3 18

The Reds legend was encouraged by the manner with which Jürgen Klopp’s side claimed a 4-2 victory from a tricky contest at Crystal Palace on Saturday.

That win – the team’s seventh of the campaign – ensured Carragher’s former club maintained pace with leaders Arsenal and Manchester City on 23 points.

The ex-Red and Sky pundit thinks Liverpool are positioned to turn a lack of European football to their advantage.

Having overcome one of their biggest bogey teams last weekend and level on points with league leaders Manchester City and Arsenal with a quarter of the season gone, Liverpool look genuine title contenders. There’s a long way to go, and a lot can change, but at the start of November the Reds are one of the frontrunners.

Given their difficult start to the season—playing all of August away from home and facing Arsenal, Tottenham, Leicester, and Chelsea before the end of September—that’s not something even the club’s most hopeful fans were expecting when the season started, and Jamie Carragher thinks that’s a huge mark in their favour.

On Monday Night Football Carragher said:

“They had a tough start so to now be so close to the top of the table gives you great hope going forward.  I think with the start Liverpool had, if someone had said they’d be around the top four, a couple of points off, I think most Liverpool fans would have been delighted.”

The delight wouldn’t have been with just being near the top four. Instead, it would have been for navigating a difficult start and being well positioned to push on as the season wore on given their advantage of not being in Europe this season, an advantage they used to good effect during their 2013-14 title challenge.

“I go back to that season with Brendan Rodgers.  That’s what nearly took Liverpool to the title—that extra energy, intensity, closing people down, fast football. Against Crystal Palace, the defence wasn’t great, but their intensity and the way they closed people down was reminiscent of a couple of years ago.”

True as that may be, a second half push still requires a strong foundation.  Despite the difficult start Liverpool are positioned well and with a good squad to move forwards with.

 

 

James Corden’s hilarious attempt at managing a football club

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James Corden has many talents: carpool karaoke, acting, and arguably comedy.

Coaching football, however, is clearly not his forte.

In this skit for his show, Corden takes over as the head coach of Arsenal Football Club — to the apparent bafflement and irritation of the club’s elite players.

Corden leads the team in a chorus of “Baa Baa Black Sheep,” forces them to undergo a wacky sport psychology session, and introduces some… unique new celebratory dances.

“I think I’m never going to get this hour back in my life,” footballer Héctor Bellerín says. Unclear whether the quote is an intentional part of the skit or a genuine sentiment!

Wales and their team photo formations

Wales employ the 3-8 formation before the Georgia World Cup qualifier. Photograph: Andrew Couldridge/Reuters
Wales employ the 3-8 formation before the Georgia World Cup qualifier. Photograph: Andrew Couldridge/Reuters

Anyone passing a glance over Wales’s pre-match team photos in recent months would notice there’s something just not quite right about them.

From the numbers not stacking up (four at the back, seven at the front anyone?) to the lopsided nature of the players’ arrangement when a more traditional six-plus-five formation is put into practice, it would appear members of the Welsh national team have a curiously skewed idea of what symmetry is.  Then again, it’s more likely that they’re just having a bit a team in-joke.

 

The 4-7 formation (before the Austria game at Euro 2016). Photograph: Leonhard Foeger/Reuters
The 4-7 formation (before the Austria game at Euro 2016). Photograph: Leonhard Foeger/Reuters
Another lopsided effort from 2015 (before Belgium in the Euro 2016 qualifiers). Photograph: Getty Images
Another lopsided effort from 2015 (before Belgium in the Euro 2016 qualifiers). Photograph: Getty Images
Just loose (before a friendly with Australia in Cardiff in 2011). Photograph: Michael Steele/Getty Images
Just loose (before a friendly with Australia in Cardiff in 2011). Photograph: Michael Steele/Getty Images

Man United break another record… their squad is worth 100% more than Liverpool’s

CIES Football Observatory revealing that they have the most valuable squad of players in world football.

cies-football-squads

As their research into Europe’s top five leagues shows, Man United’s first-team squad cost €718m (£628m) to assemble, putting them ahead of Real Madrid and Manchester City.

Interestingly, Liverpool’s €356m (£311m) is less than half of Man United’s outlay, while title-winning Leicester have a squad worth just 18% of the Manchester rivals’ ranks.