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Alisson’s error costs Liverpool to fall again, beaten 1-3 by Leicester



It never rains but pours, for Liverpool, and no thanks yet again to Alisson Becker’s error.

If anything could sum up the Reds’ season then here it was, all wrapped in one horrific, seven-minute bundle.

All of a sudden, the world’s best goalkeeper has started making mistakes.

After his two howlers against Manchester City last weekend came another at the King Power Stadium, as Leicester struck a crucial blow in the battle for a top-four place with a 3-1 victory that was as farcical as it could be damaging, for Jurgen Klopp’s champions.

Liverpool looked on course for three vital points, 1-0 up with just 12 minutes remaining. Mo Salah’s wonderful finish, from a sublime Roberto Firmino assist, had given them a deserved advantage, reward for an enterprising and surprisingly-confident performance away from home.

They’d even had a bit of fortune, too, with Jamie Vardy hitting the crossbar when clean through and VAR overturning a penalty awarded for a foul on Harvey Barnes by Thiago Alcantara. Things were looking up.

And then they weren’t.

First, James Maddison’s free-kick, awarded instead of the Barnes spot-kick, found its way into the far corner. Up went the flag, but after a lengthy review, VAR deemed that Firmino had played Leicester’s onrushing men, none of whom got a touch, onside. It was 1-1.

OK, so a point away from home to a rival can’t be sniffed at, yeah? Think again. Within three minutes, the Reds’ world had caved in.

There appeared to be little danger when Youri Tielemans aimed a diagonal in the vague direction of Barnes, right to left.

Ozan Kabak, the debutant, looked to have it covered, but Alisson raced from his line to confuse the situation. Kabak, stretching, got to the ball, but steered it against his goalkeeper and straight to Jamie Vardy, who virtually walked the ball home for 2-1.

Vardy strummed the corner flag like a guitar, while goalkeeper and defender simply looked at one another. Everyone else, meanwhile, wondered what the hell had just occurred. “A misunderstanding,” Klopp called it. You could say that.

There were only nine minutes remaining and yet somehow it got worse for his side. Alisson had to make a genuinely incredible double-save to deny Barnes and Vardy almost immediately, and he was left exposed once more as Barnes latched onto Wilfried Ndidi’s pass to finish confidently for his 12th goal of the season.

From 1-0 up to 3-1 down, in the space of seven absurd minutes; Klopp looked like he could strangle someone on the touchline, and no wonder.

He argued with somebody behind him in the stands, and looked incredulously at those on the pitch; no answers, no explanation. What on earth is happening to his team?

They had looked decent for the most part, too. They’d pressed well, created opportunities and fashioned a superb goal for themselves.

They’d done the hard bit but, as against City last week, they finished the game dreadfully and paid the price, conceding three times in the blink of an eye.

They’re under pressure now for a Champions League spot, make no mistake about that. They are woefully out of form and their destiny is no longer in their own hands. If the teams below them win their games in hand, they could fall to ninth. Ninth!

Everton, who face the Reds next weekend, will be licking their lips. They haven’t won at Anfield since 1999, but they may never have a better chance to end that particular hoodoo.



Messi to finish his career at Barca – Koeman



Ronald Koeman says Lionel Messi “has to finish his career at Barcelona”, with the Blaugrana boss expecting a contract extension for the mercurial Argentine to be announced “soon”.

The six-time Ballon d’Or winner is yet to make an official decision on his future, with the 33-year-old still seeing his current deal run down towards free agency.

The expectation is, however, that he will extend a career-long association with the Liga heavyweights, with fresh terms on the table and ready to be signed.

Koeman told Sport when asked for an update on a long-running saga in Catalunya: “Messi has to finish his career at Barcelona, so I hope we can make it official soon.”

Barca president Joan Laporta has stated on a regular basis, even before he returned to office at Camp Nou, that he believes Messi will stay put.

That message has been reiterated, although he has suggested that paperwork will not be completed imminently by a man currently away on Copa America duty with his country.

“The renewal isn’t at an advanced stage,” Laporta has admitted.

“It’s okay, I believe that Leo’s boots will stay on Camp Nou’s pitch.

“I can’t contemplate a no from Messi; he wants to stay. We’re doing what we can but there’s no need to seduce him.”

While waiting on a call from Messi, Barca are working hard to put more pieces of a trophy-winning puzzle in place alongside their iconic captain.

Deals have been done for Sergio Aguero, Eric Garcia and Emerson Royal, while Memphis Depay is expected to complete a switch from Lyon as a free agent.

Koeman is pleased with progress being made on the recruitment front, with the Dutchman adding: “We are working on building a competitive team, one that will be much stronger than in previous seasons.”

Ronald Koeman is already looking ahead to next season at Barcelona and he was spotted in Amsterdam for the Netherlands’ game against Austria at Euro 2020 on Thursday evening.

Although Koeman himself is Dutch and was their coach during qualifying, meaning he could well have been attending just to see his team play, it’s said that he was there to watch Memphis Depay.

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The domestic seasons might have ended, but Ronald Koeman is already looking ahead to next season at Barcelona and he was spotted in Amsterdam for the Netherlands’ game against Austria at Euro 2020 on Thursday evening.

Although Koeman himself is Dutch and was their coach during qualifying, meaning he could well have been attending just to see his team play, it’s said that he was there to watch Memphis Depay.

Memphis is expected to join Barcelona in the coming days or weeks. Koeman himself said on Wednesday that talks were going in the right direction and he took the chance to watch the player on Thursday night.

Koeman will return to Catalonia to take Barcelona’s pre-season training from July 12.

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Eriksen discharged from hospital after operation



Denmark’s Christian Eriksen has been released from hospital after undergoing a successful operation, the Danish Football Association confirmed in a statement on Friday.

Eriksen was admitted to hospital after he collapsed due to cardiac arrest in the 43rd minute of Denmark’s opening Euro 2020 game against Finland on June 12.

The FA announced on Thursday that he would receive an implantable cardioverter defibrillator (ICD), a small electronic device that is a type of pacemaker and can prevent fatal cardiac arrests by discharging a jolt to restore a regular heart rhythm.

“Christian Eriksen has been through a successful operation and was today discharged from Rigshospitalet,” the FA said in a statement on Twitter.

“Today he also visited the national team in Helsingor — and from there he will go home and spend time with his family.”

The incident reverberated through football, with many players sending well-wishes to Eriksen and his teammates.

The game between Belgium and Denmark on Thursday was stopped in the 10th minute as a tribute to Eriksen.

A banner was also displayed among fans in one of the stands, which read: “All of Denmark is with you, Christian.”

Before kickoff, a large flag in the shape of a Denmark shirt with Eriksen’s name on the back was unfurled on the pitch. Eriksen wears the No. 10 shirt for his country.

“Thank you for the massive number of greetings — it has been incredible to see and feel,” Eriksen said in a statement following his release from hospital.

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French Open: Djokovic beats Tsitsipas to win 19th Grand Slam



Novak Djokovic on Sunday came from behind to beat Stefanos Tsitsipas 6-7 (6-8) 2-6 6-3 6-2 6-4 to win the 2021 edition of the French Open.
The Serbian top seed Djokovic by the victory has claimed his 19th Grand Slam title.
His opponent, the Greek fifth seed Tsitsipas, was appearing in maiden major final.
“I tried my best,” says Stefanos Tsitsipas, but his speech is almost drowned out by the fifth seed’s adoring fans in the Chatrier crowd.
He says, “I had a good run and am happy with myself, but let’s give it to Novak because he has shown us over the past couple of years what a great champion he is.
“I am inspired by the things he has achieved and I hope one day I can maybe do half of what he has done so far!
“I would like to thank the Greek fans who came, my team who have been constantly backing me up and helping me achieve my dreams. It is a difficult journey and takes a lot of work every day.
“I hope to be back next year and put out a good show again.”

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