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Tyler Morton Reacts to Champions League Debut for Liverpool

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Liverpool FC v FC Porto: Group B - UEFA Champions League
Photo by Clive Brunskill/Getty Images

The young academy product impressed in midfield in Wednesday evening’s 2-0 victory over FC Porto.

Amongst the young Liverpool players in the fringes of the first team to start the 2021-22 season, few likely would have picked midfielder Tyler Morton to establish himself as the standout with the best chance of earning regular minutes.

Following a pair of strong League Cup showings, though, that’s exactly what he’s become, with a Premier League debut off the bench against Arsenal on the weekend followed up by a European debut as one of the starters against FC Porto.

“I loved every minute of it,” the 19-year-old said following Wednesday’s 2-0 victory. “Especially walking out and looking up and seeing everyone. And clapping the fans at the end. That’s what I’m here for and that’s where I’m striving to be.”

Having earned 230 minutes so far this season, Morton might not quite be in line for regular league starts but he’ll be expected to get the nod in the final Champions League match against AC Milan and the League Cup against Leicester City.

If he impresses in those games, then, anything is possible with Liverpool heading into an exceptionally busy holiday period and then set to lose three players including midfielder Naby Keïta to the Africa Cup of Nations in January.

“To get applause at the end off all the fans, that’s what I want and that’s why I want to play for this club,” the Wirral-born holding midfielder added. “I’ll just take it as it is. If I’m playing, if I’m not playing, I’ll always keep a smile on my face.

“That’s how I am, it’s how I have to act, it’s me as a person. But the more opportunities the better, and hopefully more come soon. I’m just really happy with the opportunity that I’ve been given.”

Alisson Becker On “Pleasure and Honour” of Captaining Liverpool Football Club

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Liverpool FC v FC Porto: Group B - UEFA Champions League
Photo by Joe Prior/Visionhaus

The Reds’ goalkeeper was given the armband on Wednesday against Porto in the Champions League.

With Virgil van Dijk, Jordan Henderson, and James Milner all starting on the bench for Wednesday night’s dead rubber match between Liverpool and FC Porto, the captaincy went to goalkeeper Alisson Becker for the first time since he joined the Reds.

“It’s a pleasure, an honour for me, being captain of this team,” the Brazilian shot stopper said following Liverpool’s 2-0 victory. “The players did a vote for this, for extra captains.

“We have an amazing captain, but we have a lot of leaders on the team who are not wearing the band on the arm. But many leaders that play important roles—myself, Sadio, Mo, all the players. It’s really important to have all these players on the team who can [lead] and push the players forward when it’s needed.”

With Liverpool having secured first place in the consensus most difficult Champions League group after just four rounds, there was as expected some rotation and a slight drop-off in their performance levels on Wednesday.

Still, despite that they maybe weren’t at their all out best, the players acquitted themselves well with a solid and composed performance, and in the end took their record to a perfect five wins out of five.

“In a really difficult group, that you can do this—have five wins—is a really important thing,” Alisson added. “The performance we showed tonight as well was something really good.

“Mixing players, giving minutes for the players who are not playing all the time, this is really important for us for this season, for the things we want to achieve. It’s good to count on everyone.”

Thiago Reacts to Champions League Stunner: I’ve Scored Prettier Goals

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Liverpool FC v FC Porto: Group B - UEFA Champions League
Photo by Chris Brunskill/Fantasista/Getty Images

The Spanish international scored a stunner and was named Man of the Match against FC Porto in the Champions League.

Thiago Alcantara had himself a game against Porto, with a goal off a wonderfully struck half-volley from 25 yards. He had assisted Sadio Mane, but a razor-thin offside decision meant that the goal was ruled out. When asked by BT Sport if he’s ever scored a prettier goal, Thiago said:

“I think yeah! But at the end I’m really glad for the goal in an important moment, coming back from an injury, trying to raise confidence.”

“The most important goal is for the team, how the team played, how we create chances and how we defend. We are happy with the young guys and experienced guys.”

“Sure, I think for each player it gives us joy when we touch the ball – whether it’s a nice pass or nice shot – and fortunately it was a goal.”

I don’t know exactly what goal Thiago was thinking of, but since he doesn’t score that many, I’m going to guess he’s referring to that overhead kick he scored for Bayern Munich against Stuttgart.

Speaking of his man-of-the-match performance to Liverpool FC’s official media, Thiago added:

“It is always special to score a goal, it’s always special to help the team and it’s always special to score in this stadium.”

“So I’m really happy for it. I am really glad that the action was the beauty that I like to bring in football. I am happy for it.”

“In the end we are talking about Champions League nights. The games are special against big teams and the small details make the difference. A couple of details we had during the game were the two goals and we were more efficient than them in the last quarter of the pitch.”

The midfield maestro also had kind words for fellow starter Tyler Morton, who was making his first Champions League start/appearance, right after making an appearance at the end of the 4-0 Premier League victory against Arsenal on the weekend. He looked right at home against Porto:

“You know that he has this inner talent that makes him different with his age.

“He has a long path, everybody knows that it is very difficult to arrive to this level of football, but the path will be easier for him because of his talent and also his intelligence – not just during the game, but watching it. He will have an unbelievable future here, I think, in this club.”

Thiago’s had a rough go with injuries since joining the club, but when he’s been able to make it onto the pitch, he’s been mostly excellent. It’s especially nice to see him get his flowers after another frustrating injury interrutped his start to the season. Slowly but surely, Liverpool’s somehow managed to ride out much of the injury woes that were plauguing them just a month or so ago. With the brilliance of players like Thiago now back in the squad, Liverpool seem primed to end the year with a strong run of results.

CAF Names Niger Officials for Rivers United, Al Masry Tie

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The Confederation of African Football (CAF) has confirmed the appointment of Mohamed Ali Moussa from Niger as the center referee for the Total Energies CAF Confederations cup additional playoff round tie between Rivers United and Egyptian club Al Masry on Sunday at the Enyimba International Stadium.

 

The FIFA badge referee is widely regarded as one of the most disciplined referees on the continent and was involved in handling FIFA World Cup qualification (Africa) matches, the most recent on 14th November 2021 involving Zimbabwe and Ethiopia.

 

For Sunday’s game, Moussa will be assisted by compatriots Abdoul Aziz Yacouba and Mahamadou Yahaya Gado as Assistant Referee one and two respectively, while Moussa Ahmadou Alou also from Niger will serve as the fourth official.

 

CAF have also confirmed Sekou Wieh Konneh from Liberia as the Match Commissioner while Pare Lossene from Burkina Faso as the Referee Assessor

 

Rivers United and Al Masry will clash for the 1st time at club level on Sunday in Total Energies CAF Confederations Cup additional playoff round 1st leg encounter that promises lots of fireworks. Kick-off is scheduled for 4 pm. Read more …

ITTF World 2021: Aruna Quadri to face India’s Sathiyan Gnanasekaran

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Nigeria’s Quadri Aruna will face Sathiyan Gnanasekaran of India in round 3 of the ongoing ITTF World 2021 in the USA.

 

Quadri is the only Nigerian left in the single men’s singles event and he will be aiming to reach the last 16 of the competition later today.

 

Meanwhile, the duo of Olajide Omotayo and Bode Abiodun are also through to round 32 in the men’s double.

 

They secured the ticket at the expense of India’s Harmeet Desai and Almaraj Anthony in the round of 64.

 

The Nigerian duo fought from a game down to finish strong to snatch the win and a ticket into the next round. Read more …

Thiago: I’ve Scored Prettier Goals

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Liverpool FC v FC Porto: Group B - UEFA Champions League
Photo by Chris Brunskill/Fantasista/Getty Images

The Spanish international was named Man of the Match.

Thiago Alcantara had himself a game against Porto, with a goal off a wonderfully struck half-volley from 25 yards. He had assisted Sadio Mane, but a razor-thin offside decision meant that the goal was ruled out. When asked by BT Sport if he’s ever scored a prettier goal, Thiago said:

“I think yeah! But at the end I’m really glad for the goal in an important moment, coming back from an injury, trying to raise confidence.”

“The most important goal is for the team, how the team played, how we create chances and how we defend. We are happy with the young guys and experienced guys.”

“Sure, I think for each player it gives us joy when we touch the ball – whether it’s a nice pass or nice shot – and fortunately it was a goal.”

I don’t know exactly what goal Thiago was thinking of, but since he doesn’t score that many, I’m going to guess he’s referring to that overhead kick he scored for Bayern Munich against Stuttgart.

Speaking of his man-of-the-match performance to Liverpool FC’s official media, Thiago added:

“It is always special to score a goal, it’s always special to help the team and it’s always special to score in this stadium.”

“So I’m really happy for it. I am really glad that the action was the beauty that I like to bring in football. I am happy for it.”

“In the end we are talking about Champions League nights. The games are special against big teams and the small details make the difference. A couple of details we had during the game were the two goals and we were more efficient than them in the last quarter of the pitch.”

The midfield maestro also had kind words for fellow starter Tyler Morton, who was making his first Champions League start/appearance, right after making an appearance at the end of the 4-0 Premier League victory against Arsenal on the weekend. He looked right at home against Porto:

“You know that he has this inner talent that makes him different with his age.

“He has a long path, everybody knows that it is very difficult to arrive to this level of football, but the path will be easier for him because of his talent and also his intelligence – not just during the game, but watching it. He will have an unbelievable future here, I think, in this club.”

Thiago’s had a rough go with injuries since joining the club, but when he’s been able to make it onto the pitch, he’s been mostly excellent. It’s especially nice to see him get his flowers after another frustrating injury interrutped his start to the season. Slowly but surely, Liverpool’s somehow managed to ride out much of the injury woes that were plauguing them just a month or so ago. With the brilliance of players like Thiago now back in the squad, Liverpool seem primed to end the year with a strong run of results.

Klopp Clarifies AFCON Remark

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Liverpool FC v FC Porto: Group B - UEFA Champions League
Photo by Clive Brunskill/Getty Images

The coach had to clarify his remark because people love brewing storms in teacups, apparently.

Speaking to the press after Liverpool FC’s 2-0 victory over Porto, manager Jürgen Klopp clarified his comments from the weekend about the Africa Cup of Nations (AFCON).

“I didn’t call it a ‘little continent.”

“What I meant was, I said there’s no international break until March – a little tournament in January.”

“I just meant it’s ironic. A big one – we lose our best players for the tournament.”

“I am not a native speaker but if you want to misunderstand me, it was not my intention. You made something more of it. That is not too cool.”

If you missed the commotion online (mostly on the shouty bird app), Klopp got into some heat after some particularly disingenous commentators deliberately misconstrued the comment as a slight towards Africa and its showpiece tournament. It was pretty clear he was just having a good-natured dig at his own predictment after a reporter had asked him how he feels about having no international football until March.

That was rather obvious, given how Liverpool’s potential AFCON woes have been the subject of much speculation even before the season started. It makes even less sense given Klopp’s vocal history of recognising how important it is to his players to represent their countries.

Anyhoo… now that Klopp has clarified his comments, Liverpool are still set to lose Mohamed Salah, Sadio Mane and Naby Keita when the African Cup of Nations gets underway in January.

Bonke confirms contract talks with Malmo FF

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Super Eagles midfielder Innocent Bonke has confirmed his intention to remain with Swedish giants Malmo FF.

 

The Super Eagles midfielder has less than 12 months on his current contract and some reports suggested that he’s not willing to sign an extension.

 

Bonke has been one of the stand-out performers for Malmo this season and played in all their UEFA Champions League Group games.

 

Speaking on his future, the defensive midfielder rubbishes the reports linking him away from the Club and confirmed that talks are ongoing over a new deal.

 

“Malmö is home for me. I obviously want to stay here,” The Nigeria international said in an interview with Sydsvenskan.

 

“We are in talks but have not reached an agreement yet. It should be good for both the club and for me.”

 

“I appreciate that. I have always felt their support and love. They have always been behind me and the team,” he added.

 

The 25-year-old played all minutes as Malmo FF played a 1-1 draw with Zenith Saint-Petersburg in UEFA Champions League on Tuesday. Read more …

Okereke has everything to become a superstar – Venezia’s coach Paolo Zanetti

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Venezia head coach Paolo Zanetti says Nigerian striker David Okereke is a work in progress and will surely get better in the future.

 

Okereke was the shadow of himself at Club Brugge, but he has discovered his form since joining Venezia on a season long loan.

 

Just before the international break, Okereke led Venezia to their first win over Roma in 20 years, and he followed it up with another match-winning performance away win to Bologna last weekend.

 

The 24-year-old has now registered four goals, and one assist in 12 league games for the newly-promoted side of this campaign.

 

In a chat with Corriere del Veneto, Zanetti said, he’s satisfied with the Nigerian forward and believes, his best is yet to come.

 

“He (Okereke) doesn’t even know how strong he is.

 

“A few days ago, he came to talk to me in the locker room and asked me if I was satisfied with him. He told me that he had caught my eye and that he thought I was not happy with how he was playing.

 

“I think he is not yet fully aware of the qualities he possesses. He is a player who has everything to become a superstar: he has strength, speed, and technique; if he attacks space, he becomes devastating.” He said. Read more …

Ekpo urges focus on world cup qualifiers preparation ahead of obsession on opposition

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Former Nigeria international and member of the Nigeria Football Federation’s Technical study group Friday Ekpo has urged Nigerians that the focus on the final round of world cup qualifiers in Africa should be on preparation rather than the obsession for the choice of who gets paired with Nigeria ahead of the draws which will be conducted later after today’s CAF executive committee meeting in Cairo.

Ekpo speaking in a chat with brila.net stressed that the Federation’s planning as well should be on how the team gets to do well in the Africa cup of nations which will be a good platform to get the team prepared adequately as well as possible friendlies to put the team in top shape.

Read more …

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