Assistant national basketball coach Christopher Okoh has urged that the preparation for the FIBA women’s world cup qualifiers must be good after the draws were held yesterday in Geneva Switzerland.
Okoh speaking in a chat with brila.net stressed that the draws seem good in that the team only needs to beat Mali to earn the third and final qualifying spot and will be good to qualify irrespective of the results against the other two teams France and China.
Former Coach of Nigeria women national team Scot Nnaji has stated that the Nigerian team has got a real chance of qualifying for the FIBA women world cup following Tuesday’s draws that houses Nigeria in Group B of the women world cup qualifiers alongside France, China, and Mali with games to be played in Belgrade.
Nnaji speaking in a chat with brila.net said beating Mali will be crucial to Nigeria’s world cup qualifying aspirations with the top three teams qualifying for the FIBA women’s world cup in Australia next year.
Coach of Nigeria Premier basketball league side Kano Pillars Sanni Ahmed has stated that he is hopeful the Nigerian delegation to the FIBA world cup qualifiers in Angola’s city of Benguela will be able to offer good representation ahead of the qualifiers which is scheduled to be played between Friday 26th Nov – Sunday 28th Nov 2021.
Ahmed speaking in a chat with brila.net said the utmost importance is to ensure that Nigeria is there in the running for world cup qualification notwithstanding the current leadership crisis rocking the governance of the game in Nigeria.
Former Nigerian international Julius Aghahowa has stated that he is hopeful of a divine recovery for Napoli and Super Eagles striker Victor Osihmen after the Napoli striker was ruled out of participating at the Africa cup of nations following a three month expected time of return as released by the Italian Serie A club.
Aghahowa speaking in a chat with brila.net said he is hoping to see Osihmen beat the recovery time and be able to join the rest of the Super Eagles squad to the Africa cup of nations next year in Cameroon.
The Reds have the luxury of a dead rubber at the earliest possible stage of the competition and are likely to take advantage.
Liverpool vs Porto
| Wednesday, November 24th | Champions League | Anfield 8PM BST / 3PM EST
With qualification to the knockout stage of the competition already wrapped up, Liverpool have the rare opportunity to manage the minutes of their stars, but the Reds will still want to win it in front of their fans, and tomorrow’s opponents have everything to play for, so expect fireworks nonetheless.
Porto sit second in Group A, one point ahead of Atlético Madrid, who they will face in the final match of the group stage, and will be looking to take an advantage into that fixture by picking up a result at Anfield.
Since they were demolished 5-1 by the Reds in their own backyard in September, the dragões have won four straight, taking them to the top of an historically close Primeira Liga table, and they produced a 5-1 win of their own at the weekend, hammering Feirense as they advanced to the fifth round of the Portuguese cup.
Sérgio Conceicao has a full squad to choose from as well, and if Liverpool show any weakness or disinterest tomorrow night, the dragons will be ready to pounce.
While Jürgen Klopp has traditionally been hesitant to overly rotate his squad in competitions that matter — to his detriment last year, as Diogo Jota missed eight weeks following an injury sustained in a dead rubber against Midtjylland — indications from today’s press conference are that the German is more amenable to the idea this year.
As such, it wouldn’t be shocking to see a number of starters rested tomorrow night and fringe players and youths being given a chance to shine.
Neco Williams had a tremendously productive international break and could be in line to replace Trent Alexander-Arnold, while Kostas Tsimikas is likely to start again, as Andy Robertson’s fitness is in doubt. Further experience for Ibrahima Konaté and some game time for Joe Gomez wouldn’t go amiss either.
James Milner trained today following his hamstring trouble and could start, while another appearance for young starlet Tyler Morton remains a possibility. Jordan Henderson is likely to be given a few more days to recover before being thrown back into the fray, and as such, at least one of Fabinho, Thiago or Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain will retain their place.
Takumi Minamino could nab a starting position following his goal at the weekend, and Divock Origi is reportedly back in training following a bout with illness, but Sadio Mané, Diogo Jota and Mohamed Salah will all want to be involved as much as possible and are likely to feature at some point.
What the Managers Said
Jürgen Klopp: “We prepare for an incredibly strong and competitive team tomorrow. We need an exceptional atmosphere tomorrow. We have to win it together.”
Sérgio Conceição: “[Liverpool] are one of the best teams in the world. You look how they play, their principles, and regardless of who plays, they will not change. It’s down to us. We can’t control the opponent’s strategy, which will likely be the same as how they play every week. But we have our strengths, our ability, our tactics, our ambition.”
The Officials (GER)
Referee: Felix Zwayer Assistant referees: Marco Achmüller, Mike Pickel Fourth official: Sven Jablonski VAR: Bastian Dankert, Harm Osmers
Kickoff is set for 8PM GMT/3PM EST tomorrow, and television listings for the match can be found on LiveSoccerTV.
In the meantime, and as always, we’ll be keeping you updated with all the buildup to the game, including team news as it’s released, our live matchday thread, and post-match recaps from The Liverpool Offside staff. If you want to join the discussion, sign up for an SB Nation account to have your say on the action as it happens.
Despite his consistently stellar play, the Liverpool centre half insists there are plenty of things he’d like to improve about his game.
There has never been any real question about Joël Matip’s qualities as a centre half. When fit, the Bochum-born 30-year-old is amongst the best not just in the Premier League but in all of football.
Matip, though, might take issue with that, with the defender who signed for Liverpool on a free from Schalke in 2016 saying he continues to be highly critical when it comes to his performances.
“I’m very critical about my own performances,” Matip said of his thinking. “I’m never really satisfied with myself. If I had to make a list of things I’d improve about myself, we’d be here for a long time.
“So, I’m never really satisfied. But you have to view everything within the right context. I’m far from a perfectionist, but neither am I ever satisfied. I think that’s a good way to improve yourself.”
After a solid outing against Arsenal on the weekend that few on the outside could have found anything to be unsatisfied about, Matip will likely be given the night off against FC Porto on Wednesday.
He’ll then likely come back in when the Reds face Southampton at Anfield on Saturday and then Everton mid-week as the league fixture list begins to congest as it always does over the holiday period.
“You have to keep trying and have the bravery to try things that maybe didn’t work before,” Matip added of his approach. “You have to improve and ask yourself what you can do to improve even more.
“There is nothing about myself where I’d say, ‘You are perfect at this, you don’t have to work on that anymore.’ That’s not how I work.”
Wednesday’s Champions League tie against FC Porto comes with the Reds already qualified for the knockout rounds.
With Liverpool having won the consensus toughest group in the Champions League with two games to spare, there is plenty of uncertainty about the kind of team manager Jürgen Klopp will send out against Porto.
At his pre-match press conference ahead of Wednesday night’s clash, the Liverpool boss admitted that their status as having already qualified will impact his team selection—but says he still wants to win the game.
“We always respect the competition, obviously, but also we have to think about ourselves, our players, and our schedule,” Klopp said of the challenge. “Everyone expects us to win each match so there is pressure.
“We don’t have to win the game tomorrow but we want to win the game tomorrow. In the Champions League we usually fight until the last second of the last group game and we will still try to win tomorrow night.”
However, while rotation is likely, it won’t be a squad of limited youth and reserve players, with Klopp being asked about an injury to Diogo Jota in a meaningless final Champions League group game last season.
The German manager noted that while Jota’s injury was obviously a blow, at the time it made sense to give the Portuguese forward the start and that in similar circumstances he would make the same call again.
“We respect the integrity of the competition,” Klopp noted. “Diogo was unlucky [last season]. If I leave everybody out we won’t have a team, so we have to line up a team to try to win a football game.”