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Liverpool players to face intense ‘pre-season’

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London: Juergen Klopp says he will fill the three-week gap before the Champions League final against Tottenham Hotspur by putting his Liverpool players through a two-week “pre-season”.

The two Premier League clubs played their final domestic games of the season and are in the unusual position of having a long wait for the June 1 clash in Madrid.

Klopp has given his team a few days off to recover from a gruelling Premier League campaign in which they pushed Manchester City to the final day in the title race, eventually losing out by one point.

 

They will reconvene next week to prepare for the showpiece meeting at Atletico Madrid’s Wanda Metropolitano Stadium.

“We have to do a couple of things in preparation for the Champions League, media stuff,” Klopp told the club’s website.

“We have to do that, then the boys will have a couple of days off and then we have two proper weeks as a pre-season for the Champions League final.

“We will do that, we will play that, (hopefully) win it, come home and then the people get what they deserve.”

Liverpool, who defeated Barcelona to reach their second consecutive Champions League final, are bidding for their sixth European Cup, which would be their first piece of silverware under Klopp.

Tottenham, who produced a superb comeback to beat Ajax Amsterdam in the semi-final and reach their first Champions League final, will hope to use the gap to their advantage with top striker Harry Kane recovering from an ankle injury.

Manager Mauricio Pochettino, also seeking his first silverware after five years at Tottenham, said at the weekend after they clinched a top-four spot with a 2-2 draw at home to Everton that he would not put his players through a pre-season regime.

They were given Monday and Tuesday off before beginning the build-up to the final.

“We have our idea, we have our plan,” he said. “We need to be natural. It is not a pre-season, but it is not going to be a holiday. The most important thing is that we apply common sense, we have the plan and we are going to deliver the plan so the players arrive in the best condition to win the final.”


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TRAU FC qualify for I-League, beat Ozone FC to win second division league

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NEW DELHI: The All India Football Federation (AIFF) lauded Manipur club Tiddim Road Athletic Union FC for winning the Hero 2nd Division League 2018-19, and qualifying to the next edition of Hero I-League.

They are the second club from the state after NEROCA FC, to have qualified for the Hero I-League from the second tier in three years.

TRAU FC defeated Ozone FC 2-1 at the Khuman Lampak Stadium in Imphal to clinch the championship with one match left. The Manipuri side has amassed 15 points from five matches (so far), whereas second-placed Chhinga Veng FC are on 10 points having played an equal number of matches.

 

Sunando Dhar, CEO, I-League said: “Congratulations TRAU FC for the achievement. I’m sure the Hero I-League will be more competitive and challenging next season with their inclusion. I wish them all the best for the next endeavour.”

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I want more responsibility at PSG or elsewhere: Mbappe

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London: Paris Saint-Germain forward Kylian Mbappe has thrown his future at the club into doubt by claiming he has reached what he sees as a “turning point” in his career.

Speaking after accepting the Ligue 1 Player of the Year Award this evening, the 20-year-old French international suggested he would like a bigger role going forward after claiming the Ligue 1 title with PSG this season.

However, Mbappe said that role could come either at PSG or “maybe somewhere else”, casting his future into doubt while hinting that he could leave the club in search of a new challenge.

 

“Of course there were some disappointments [this season] but it’s part of football, we managed to win this league,” he said after accepting the award on Sunday.

“I would like to thank the players, the coach, the club again. It’s important for me because I come to a first or a second turning point in my career.

“I discovered a lot of things here. I feel it’s time to have more responsibility. I hope it may be Paris Saint-Germain, it will be with great pleasure, or it may be elsewhere for a new project, but I would like to say thank you.

Mbappe went on to clarify his comments when asked if he was saying that he wasn’t guaranteed to stay at PSG next season.

“I said what I had to say. When you are in such an occasion you can send messages, I think I have sent mine,” he said.

“If I speak more it will be too much and that is not the message I wish to send.”

Mbappe joined PSG in 2017 from Monaco, having won the league the season prior.

Since joining the club, Mbappe has won the league twice while also claiming a Coupe de France and a Coupe de la Ligue title.

Mbappe, who was a part of France’s World Cup-winning team in 2018, has scored 59 goals in 86 matches for the club while leading the league in scoring this campaign with 32 goals in Ligue 1 play and a total of 38 in all competitions.

Those achievements helped him claim the Ligue 1 Player of the Year award as well as the Young Player of the Year award.

“This is the only trophy I missed,” he said.

“I would first like to dedicate it to the president, Nasser [Al-Khelaifi], who is watching us, I know he had a tragedy this year so I would like to pay tribute to him, he has always been an honest man with me from the first day until today.

“I would also like to thank all the people who are here. It is the fourth year that I am here in this league.

“I have lived a lot many things that are rich in emotion: AS Monaco, where I was trained, where we managed to win the title, then Paris Saint-Germain for a totally different project, where I managed to adapt from the first year, to change positions this year.”

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Asif Ali’s daughter loses battle with cancer

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Islamabad: Pakistan batsman Asif Ali’s daughter, who suffered from stage four cancer, died in a hospital in the United States , Pakistan Super League (PSL) side Islamabad United has said.

Ali is currently on tour with the Pakistan national team in England and played in the 54-run defeat by the hosts in their final one-day international of the series.

“ISLU family pays its deepest condolences to @AasifAli2018 on the tragic loss of his daughter. Our thoughts and prayers go out to Asif & his family,” the PSL franchise said on Twitter on Monday.

 

“Asif is a great example of strength & courage. He is an inspiration to us.”

Dean Jones, who coached Islamabad to the PSL title last year, also sent his condolences to the cricketer’s family. “On behalf of my family and the @IsbUnited players and families… we send our condolences and love to @AasifAli2018 and his family on the passing of his beautiful daughter,” Jones said on Twitter.

Jones had broken down in tears at a media conference in March when talking about Ali and his daughter’s condition.

The 27-year-old Ali was not named in Pakistan’s World Cup squad but made the 17-man group for the series in England where the middle-order batsman hit two half-centuries in four innings.

Former captain and chairman of Pakistan’s selection committee Inzamam-ul-Haq said last month that Ali could be drafted into the side before the World Cup.

Teams have until May 23 to submit their final squads for the tournament which begins on May 30. Pakistan’s first game is against West Indies on May 31.

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