Two problems dominate all others before Tuesday’s Champions League semi-final at Anfield – at least in determining how the game will be won. Can Roma stop Mohamed Salah and can Liverpool defend set plays? A key factor in Roma’s success against Barcelona was Eusebio Di Francesco’s switch to a 3-5-2, having fielded a 4-3-3 in every other game bar one this season. It not only wrong-footed Barcelona but meant Roma had three against two at the back and in midfield, something that was possible because the two wing-backs, Alessandro Florenzi and Aleksandar Kolarov, had the energy to drive back Barça’s wide men, Sergi Roberto and Andrés Iniesta. It forced them to defend rather than tucking in to offer support to the two central midfielders, Sergio Busquets and Ivan Rakitic. That had two principal benefits. First it meant Juan Jesus could step with confidence from the backline to deal with Lionel Messi, knowing he always had two players behind him who had just one central forward, Luis Suárez, to contain. It also meant that at the back of midfield Daniele De Rossi, protected by Kevin Strootman and Radja Nainggolan, had time and space to make the play. And that is why this match will be so different from Roma’s task against Barça. Quite apart from anything else there is no chance that De Rossi will have as much time on the ball as he had then. The sight of him measuring his pass over the defence for Edin Dzeko in the second minute as no one closed him down should shame Barça. Whether that was a facet of their attitude or a conscious decision to release Suárez and Messi from defensive responsibility, it allowed Roma’s creative fulcrum to go about his business unchallenged. Roberto Firmino will not allow it. Liverpool will be aggressive, fearsomely so, in their press and how Roma handle that will go a long way to determining whether they have a chance in the game. The worry for Di Francesco must be the way Tottenham – after their dozy 10 minutes in Turin and before their dozy 10 minutes at Wembley – were able almost to bully Juventus in their last-16 meeting, something that St. Louis Blues Jersey confirmed the impression the Premier League is a George Gervin Womens Jersey different level from Serie A in terms of pace and power. Even more concerning must be the fact that, aggressively as Spurs press, Liverpool are far more ferocious. As well as everything else this will be a serious physical examination. As for shape, there would seem little obvious benefit for Di Francesco in opting for a back three again. It might conceivably offer greater defensive cover and, appealing as the thought of having Juan Jesus on the left of three central defenders to block Salah’s incursions from the Liverpool right may be, it causes far more problems elsewhere. Firmino’s habit of dropping deep means that having two players to pick him up is probably one and a half too many, while Sadio Mané’s pace makes him ideally suited to exploiting the space behind a wing-back. To play a back three would be to risk the wing-backs being driven back and it becoming a back Authentic Laurent Duvernay-Tardif Jersey five, which in turn would essentially surrender the flanks to Liverpool’s attack-minded full-backs, Trent Alexander-Arnold and Andrew Robertson. And that would make certain a disparity that already seems likely in midfield, where Roma’s obvious quality risks being overrun by the greater pace and energy of whichever trio Jürgen Klopp selects. Di Francesco is more likely to opt for his familiar 4-3-3, sitting the back seven relatively deep to frustrate Liverpool. Dzeko, who has been in fine form, is the outlet, operating in a role in which he thrives as the roving lone front man, although Liverpool have been less vulnerable in the air since the arrival of Virgil van Dijk. Saturday’s draw against West Brom, albeit with a much-changed backline, demonstrated that foible has not entirely gone away. With Dzeko and Kostas Manolas on hand Roma have the aerial power to trouble Liverpool from set plays. cheap jerseyswholesale nfl jerseys wholesale jerseys cheap jerseys free shipping wholesale jerseys
.Post in Deciding if Salah deserved PFA
When it to choosing between Mohamed Salah Chandler Jones Jersey and Kevin De Bruyne, perhaps it was the element of surprise that convinced the Egyptian’s fellow professionals to vote for him. Even though his potential shone brightly during his early years with Basel, particularly when he ripped Chelsea and Tottenham to shreds in Europe, few people could have anticipated Salah hitting these extraordinary heights when he joined Liverpool last summer. For all his speed and skill, the former Roma winger had a reputation for being a little rash and selfish in the final third when he arrived in England. He had struggled during his brief spell with Chelsea – not that he was given much of a chance to impress by José Mourinho – and in the era of mega fees at the highest level, it was a reflection of Salah’s rough edges that Liverpool got him for £36.9m. Alexandre Lacazette, for instance, joined Arsenal for £52.7m. Neymar went to Paris Saint-Germain for €222m, Ousmane Dembélé to Barcelona for £97m, Romelu Lukaku to Manchester United for £75m and Álvaro Morata to Chelsea for £60m. Salah cost less than Gylfi Sigurdsson, a £45m signing for Everton from Swansea. True, some of those figures sum up how the transfer market has spiralled out of control. Yet Salah’s fee also hinted at the slight air of uncertainty that hung over him when he returned to England. He had not won anything since helping Basel to secure the Swiss title in 2013 and there were some who feared that he would blow hot and cold for Liverpool, for whom the past 20 years is littered with expensive signings who did not possess the elite talent to bring the glory days back to Anfield. In that context Salah probably would have been seen as a hit if he had enjoyed a promising debut season, scoring 15 goals, say, or simply helping Liverpool challenge for the top four. Instead, he has surpassed even the most optimistic predictions. He has been the talismanic figure in Jürgen Klopp’s freewheeling side, earning comparisons to Lionel Messi because of the way he cuts in from the right flank to use his left foot to devastating effect and ensuring that Liverpool have not suffered because of Philippe Coutinho’s move to Barcelona in January. Salah has 31 goals in the Premier League – equalling the record Jaelen Strong Jerseyset by Cristiano Ronaldo, Alan Shearer and Luis Suárez – and 41 overall. His finishing has been imaginative, ruthless and varied, he has scored home and away against Liverpool’s rivals and he produced when Klopp needed him most in the Champions League quarter-final victory against City. He is a deserving recipient of the Professional Footballers’ Association player of the year award. But as is the way with these individual prizes, not everyone is in agreement. For while giving the gong to Salah is not quite as controversial as the time Tottenham’s David Ginola picked up more votes than any of Manchester United’s treble winners in 1999, there are many who believe that De Bruyne has been unfairly overlooked. The Belgian, after all, has been the finest player in the league’s best team. Would City have won the title without De Bruyne? Probably. But would they have won it by such a huge margin and with such an attractive style of football? Would the new champions be on course to break the points record set by Chelsea in 2005? Probably not. Nobody has been as beautiful to watch as De Bruyne, who looked like he had a point to prove during City’s 5-0 win against Swansea on Sunday, and it is worth remembering that the 26-year-old has regularly stepped up in the big matches, scoring the winner at Stamford Bridge, playing a key role in the 5-0 victory against Liverpool in September, dominating at Old Trafford in December and starring in the League Cup final. He has produced an array of sublime assists, none better than the eerily good no-look pass in the 7-2 win against Stoke, and his ability to run games from central midfield has drawn comparisons to Andrés Iniesta and Paul Scholes.
Virgil van Dijk has admitted Liverpool let their standards slip against West Bromwich Albion but is adamant Roma will a welcome and contrasting proposition at Anfield on Tuesday evening. His manager, Jürgen Klopp, described Saturday’s 2-2 draw as “useless” for both teams but Van Dijk has urged calm and his team-mates to seize the opportunity in front of them in the Champions League, with passage to the final in Kiev on 26 May at stake. Liverpool squandered a two-goal lead at the Hawthorns after struggling to cope with set pieces late on but Van Dijk is confident they will rise to the occasion in the semi-final first leg. “We need to do better,” he said. “You have to tell each other the truth Igor Larionov Youth jersey you cannot be nice and happy when we want to achieve so much as a team and a club. A draw is not good enough but there is no reason to panic. There is no need to stress.” Asked if Liverpool’s standards dropped after goals from Danny Ings and Mohamed Salah, who scored his 31st Premier League goal of the season, had put them in control. Van Dijk said: “I think so. [But] I don’t worry at all. They [West Brom] are fighting for their lives so in the end they are very direct, balls into the channel, work hard, trying to get fouls and free-kicks and we didn’t cope with that how we should have. To concede two goals from set pieces as well where we have always the same roles to do and we didn’t do that. So it is disappointing but I am not worried at all.” Klopp used the trip to West Brom to make five changes, with Roberto among those starting Danton Heinen Youth jersey on the bench, while Daniele De Rossi and the Roma top-scorer Edin Dzeko will arrive on Merseyside refreshed after being rested for their comfortable 3-0 win over Spal on Saturday. After witnessing Roma’s extraordinary comeback against Barcelona to advance from the quarter-finals on away goals, Liverpool, who will hold their pre-match team meeting on Monday, will not be taking anything for granted against the Serie A side. “It will be hard work and we need to be ready for anything and then obviously the tough game in Rome,” Van Dijk said. “That will be a hard one as well, but we need to enjoy that because not many players, teams come to this stage and have the chance of Jarran Reed Youth jerseygetting to a final. We will prepare as well as we can and see what happens. “I have not played against Dzeko before but everyone knows the result against Barcelona. They are a very good team and we have to be ready. I don’t fear anyone. We play a different style to Roma. It will be a different game to this one. The system we played at the end today won’t be the same.” Klopp cut an agitated figure at full time on Saturday, gesticulating with Joe Gomez and Ragnar Klavan, both of whom are unlikely to feature against Roma, with Trent Alexander-Arnold and Dejan Lovren expected to be in defence. Andrew Robertson and Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain are also expected to return. While Klopp acknowledged a point at West Brom was not the worst outcome, he hopes his players can use any frustration as a catalyst to help them build a first-leg lead. “I don’t have to tell them that was not good enough, we can do better,” Klopp said. “It is Roma and it will be a completely different game. I like the attitude of the boys. I am sure the boys will be ready.” Asked how Roma would differ from West Brom, Klopp replied: “They have set pieces as well but they don’t play only set pieces. Their boys play sometimes on the ground and then you can play football.” cheap nfl jerseyswholesale nfl jerseys cheap jerseys cheap nfl jerseys wholesale nfl jerseys cheap jerseys
The Matildas were left ruing numerous missed chances after losing the Asian Cup final 1-0 to Japan. After dominating for the majority of the match, Australia were left shattered Womens Chris Jones Jersey as Frankfurt forward Kumi Yokoyama raced clear on the break to score the winner in the 84th minute.  Getting to the final had not been plain sailing for either side, who drew 1-1 in their final Group B game to progress on goal difference. While Japan dispatched China in their semi-final, Alen Stacic’s much-changed side needed a 91st-minute equaliser from Alanna Kennedy before . If concerns about the Matildas’ erratic form throughout the tournament had dominated the build-up, then Australia quickly put those worries to bed in the showpiece game in Amman. Stacic’s star players were on the pitch from the off and their strength showed. Bursting out of the blocks, they were more recognisable as the buccaneering side of recent years. Defending champions Japan proved equal to the task though, and what resulted was an end-to-end battle from start to finish. After just 14 minutes, a high ball into the area was fumbled by Japanese goalkeeper Ayaka Yamashita and Tameka Butt blasted the ball at defender Saki Kumagai’s arm. The referee pointed to the spot but Yamashita made amends, saving Elise Kellond-Knight’s penalty to keep the level. Both sides missed plenty of chances in the remainder of the first half. Forward Mana Iwabuchi was the linchpin of the Japanese attack but Emi Nakajima and Aya Sameshima Chase Headley Jersey were both caught offside when racing onto her pinpoint through balls. Portland Thorns’ Clare Polkinghorne was magnificent at the back for Australia, nullifying the direct threat of Iwabuchi. The second half got off to a cagey start, but after five minutes the Matildas started to stretch their legs and push at the Japanese defence. After 52 minutes Emily van Egmond caught Yamashita off her line but her stunning long-range strike struck the crossbar. Sam Kerr struggled to find space in the box as Nana Ichise and Kumagai kept her crowded out. With Japan defending deep, space was at a premium and Seattle Reign’s Steph Catley epitomised the effort of the Aussie side as T.J. Yeldon Womens Jersey a smart step-over and nutmeg saw her weave her way past three players. With the Matildas creating chance after chance, they ran the risk of being punished for their wastefulness up front. With 10 minutes left on the clock the game started to open up, Kellond-Knight going in the book as she stopped Yokoyama – a substitute who came on for Yuika Sagasawa and had three goals in the tournament already – from racing clear on the break. From another breakaway four minutes later, Australia were punished. With just six minutes of normal time to play Yokoyama sped away and then cut inside, leaving Polkinghorne and Kennedy in her wake, and fired a screamer past the outstretched Lydia Williams to put Japan ahead against the run of play. The Matildas piled forward in the closing minutes but were unable to find the reply to Yokoyama’s fourth goal of the competition – and a goal worthy of winning the tournament – as the holders retained their trophy with an incredible defensive display. wholesale nfl jerseys wholesale jerseys cheap nfl jerseys cheap jerseys wholesale nfl jerseys cheap jerseys china
Arsène Wenger took the seismic decision to walk away from Arsenal on his own terms because he was mindful of the very real threat that he would be sacked at the end of the season. The club’s majority shareholder, Stan Kroenke, and other directors had grown increasingly concerned by the team’s dismal Premier League performance and the huge number of fans who have chosen to stay away from home matches in recent weeks. The Guardian understands the club began a drive to cold call Red Members of their supporter scheme on Wednesday to offer season tickets for 2018-19 in the face of record numbers of non-renewals. Red Members are below Gold and Silver members in terms of priority. Wenger had routinely said he would fulfil the remaining year on his contract but the wagons have circled for some time. The chief executive, Ivan Gazidis, has made a series of appointments on the technical side as part of his “catalyst for change” agenda – most notably those of the head of football relations, Raúl Sanllehí, and the head of recruitment, Sven Mislintat. The impression has been that Gazidis was putting a succession plan into place while Wenger was in the building. Wenger has felt the pressure from board level, although there was a sense of shock among the squad when he informed them before a community event and a training session on Friday morning that he would step down from what he has referred to as his life’s work at the end of the season. Wenger walked into the dressing room at London Colney and he announced: “I have some bad news.” He talked about how he had enjoyed his long service at the club and now was the time to go out on a high by winning the Europa League. Arsenal face Danny Woodhead JerseyAtlético Madrid in the semi-final – the first leg is in London next Thursday – and, were Wenger to win a first European trophy, it would return the club to next season’s Champions League. None of the players said anything in the immediate aftermath of Wenger’s speech. There was merely stunned silence. Per Mertesacker, the squad’s most vocal member, then stood up to deliver a rallying cry, urging them to do Wenger proud in the season’s final matches. The hope at the club is that the timing of announcement will galvanise players and fans for the Europa League – their shot at saving the season. It also offers Wenger the chance to enjoy a measure of goodwill from supporters over his final weeks, even those who have hounded him relentlessly. The transformation of the mood from angst to an outpouring of affection was a feature of an extraordinary day. Arsenal face West Ham United at the Emirates on Sunday. Gazidis said the benefit of the decision was that it would enable them to approach managerial candidates proactively without it feeling as though they were going behind Wenger’s back. Gazidis insisted no approaches had been made and that the process – the difficulty of which he did not underestimate – would to all intents start from here. The decision to wait so long has meant their missing out on one potential candidate: Thomas Tuchel, the former Borussia Dortmund manager. He has chosen his next career move and it is not Arsenal. Even if the London club were to approach him, it would be Zemgus Girgensons Womens Jersey too late. It is believed that Tuchel is primed to replace Unai Emery at Paris Saint-Germain.