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Jon Flanagan: Rangers sign ex-Liverpool full-back on two-year deal

Thu, 21/06/2018 - 16:13
Jon Flanagan

Rangers have completed the signing of Jon Flanagan on a two-year contract after the right-back was released by Liverpool.

The 25-year-old is a former Anfield team-mate of Rangers manager Steven Gerrard.

And he says the lure of linking up again with his former Liverpool captain was instrumental in his decision to move to Scotland.

"I'm delighted to be here," Flanagan told Rangers TV.

"When I spoke to Stevie, it was a no-brainer for me. The size of the club, what the fans are about, I'm just delighted to be here and hopefully I can show all the fans what I'm about.

"I played with him at Liverpool for many years and he was a big part of me coming here.

"I know all about the club, but Stevie was a massive influence on me coming here as well."

Flanagan played only one game for Liverpool last season, a 2-0 EFL Cup defeat by Leicester City in September, before a spell on loan with Bolton Wanderers, for whom he featured in nine Championship matches.

Steven Gerrard, Jon Flanagan

That came after he was sentenced to 40 hours of unpaid work and 12 months community service after pleading guilty to assaulting his girlfriend in December.

Flanagan, whose one England cap came as a substitute in a friendly against Ecuador in 2014, also had a season-long loan with the Reds' Premier League rivals, Burnley, making 10 appearances during the 2016-17 campaign.

He becomes Rangers' seventh signing of the summer.

Goalkeeper Allan McGregor, defenders Connor Goldson and Nikola Katic, midfielders Scott Arfield and Ovie Ejaria, and winger Jamie Murphy have been signed since Gerrard's announcement as manager in May.

Murphy's transfer from Brighton & Hove Albion came after a season-long loan.

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Emre Can: Juventus set to sign midfielder from Liverpool

Thu, 21/06/2018 - 12:35
Emre Can arrives at Turin airport

Emre Can is set to finalise his move to Juventus from Liverpool after arriving in Turin on Thursday.

The 24-year-old Germany international is expected to have a medical with the Italian champions.

Liverpool announced on 8 June that Can, who joined from Bayer Leverkusen in July 2014, would leave the club when his contract expires this summer.

He made his 167th and final Liverpool appearance in last month's Champions League final defeat by Real Madrid.

Can, who scored 14 goals for Liverpool, has 20 caps for Germany but missed out on Joachim Low's World Cup squad.

Emre Can tweet by Juventus

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Sadio Mane: Liverpool winger one of world's best, says Senegal coach

Mon, 18/06/2018 - 23:15
Sadio Mane

Liverpool winger Sadio Mane is one of the best players in the world, says his Senegal coach Aliou Cisse.

Senegal will play their first World Cup match since 2002 when 26-year-old Mane and his countrymen take on Poland in Moscow on Tuesday (16:00 BST).

Cisse captained the 2002 team to the quarter-finals, beating defending champions France in the group phase.

"Mane is unique and cannot be compared to any other Senegal player. He can make the difference," Cisse, 42, said.

"He's already one of the best - you can't say he's not. He plays for one of the most iconic clubs, one of the best in Europe, and he's top-notch for them.

"He's absolutely unique because he is so unpredictable, that's what makes him great."

Cisse, who spent four seasons in the Premier League with Birmingham and Portsmouth, says Mane has taken his move to Liverpool in his stride.

Mane has scored 33 goals in two seasons since moving to Anfield for £34m from Southampton.

Aliou Cisse

"Despite everything that has happened for him over the last two years, he hasn't changed - he's just as humble as he was when I first met him at the 2012 Olympics," Cisse said.

"Senegal isn't only Sadio Mane, though, he has a good team built around him and I think it should be a little plus for him that we're all behind him."

Cisse said he was confident Africa will eventually celebrate a World Cup winning team.

"I'm sure Senegal, Nigeria or another team will be able to win the World Cup just like Brazil and Germany - we have no complexes about this," he said.

"You can see African players with all the best teams in Europe - we just need more African coaches."

'Team bigger than individuals' - Diao Salif Diao

Salif Diao also played for Liverpool and Senegal and believes Mane and his team-mates can prosper in Russia if they put team ethic above individuals.

"This squad has more quality in depth compared to the 2002 squad but that 2002 team maybe had more maturity," said the former midfielder.

"The togetherness has to be massive and stronger. Thinking about the national team and the flag and families back home.

"When African teams go to the World Cup they're representing their own countries and Africa so the pressure is even more.

"You can't do it all on your own so you really need to think of the team effort. The team is bigger than the individuals."

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Rhian Brewster: Liverpool forward agrees new contract

Mon, 18/06/2018 - 15:13
Rhian Brewster

Liverpool forward Rhian Brewster has agreed a new contract with the club.

It is understood the 18-year-old, who had been linked with a move to Germany, has agreed a five-year deal that will keep him at Anfield until 2023.

Brewster starred during England's Under-17 World Cup success in India in 2017, scoring eight goals to win the tournament's Golden Boot.

He is yet to play for Liverpool's first team, and finished last season with a knee injury suffered in January.

Brewster had attracted interest from Borussia Monchengladbach, which annoyed Liverpool enough for them to cancel a planned pre-season friendly with the Bundesliga outfit.

He is expected to be fit by the time Liverpool head to the United States towards the end of next month on their pre-season tour.

Brewster joined the Liverpool youth set-up from Chelsea in 2014.

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Premier League fixtures 2018-19: Man City visit Arsenal on opening weekend

Thu, 14/06/2018 - 11:35
Manchester City celebrate

Champions Manchester City will travel to Arsenal on the weekend of 11-12 August for their opening match of the 2018-19 Premier League season.

Tottenham visit Newcastle first, then play Fulham at Wembley while their new £850m stadium is completed.

Manchester United host Leicester City, Liverpool entertain West Ham, and Championship winners Wolverhampton Wanderers welcome Everton to Molineux.

Promoted Fulham host Crystal Palace, while Cardiff visit Bournemouth.

The three other fixtures on the opening weekend see Chelsea travel to Huddersfield, Southampton host Burnley, and Watford take on Brighton at Vicarage Road.

The opening weekend in fullArsenal v Manchester CityBournemouth v Cardiff CityFulham v Crystal PalaceHuddersfield Town v ChelseaLiverpool v West Ham UnitedManchester United v Leicester CityNewcastle United v Tottenham HotspurSouthampton v BurnleyWatford v BrightonWolverhampton Wanderers v EvertonNew Arsenal boss Emery's tricky spells

Arsenal go into the season under new management after Unai Emery succeeded Arsene Wenger, who has left after 22 years in charge.

And the Spaniard has been given a testing opening to life in the Premier League.

After the opening-weekend game at Etihad Stadium, the Gunners travel to fellow top-six contenders Chelsea.

Emery also has a tough start to December, with a home north London derby against Tottenham on 1 December followed by a trip to Manchester United.

Spurs set for Liverpool showpiece

Tottenham begin the season with three away games in their opening four league matches as they wait to play at their new home.

Their one home fixture in that run - against promoted Fulham - will take place at Wembley on the weekend of 18-19 August.

Spurs' first match at their new stadium - built on land adjacent to their former home White Hart Lane - will be against Liverpool on the weekend of 15-16 September.

Prior to that they will run a series of test events.

Manager Mauricio Pochettino said the new stadium would be "worth the wait", adding: "We discussed the timings and the ability to play away games and I think it is a good solution to have an earlier home game.

"Wembley was great for us last season and we are even more used to that than we are the new stadium."

Reds pre-Europe travels

The Premier League has released dates for all 380 matches, but none have been allotted kick-off times as broadcasters are yet to decide which games will be televised.

The Champions League group stage will commence on 18-19 September, and last season's beaten finalists Liverpool face an away Premier League fixture before all of their six group games. That includes trips to Arsenal, Chelsea and Tottenham.

Manchester United and Spurs are away four times before group games, while Manchester City are on the road twice before European fixtures.

Fulham's London start

Four rounds of Premier League fixtures are scheduled before the first international break, which is on the weekend of 8-9 September.

Few supporters will relish the new campaign more than those of Wolves, Cardiff City and Fulham, who all return to the Premier League from the Championship.

Wolves, who won the Championship by nine points, follow the visit of Everton with a trip to 2016-17 champions Leicester, and visit Liverpool on the final day of the campaign.

Fulham begin with London derbies against Crystal Palace and Tottenham, while Cardiff follow their opener at Bournemouth with a home game against Newcastle.

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Nabil Fekir: Liverpool target staying at Lyon, says Ligue 1 club

Sat, 09/06/2018 - 21:23
Breaking news

France forward Nabil Fekir will not be joining Liverpool and will instead be staying at Lyon, the French club have announced.

The two clubs had been discussing a deal for the playmaker worth 60m euros (£52.75m) - 55m (£48.35m) plus a maximum of 5m (£4.4m) add-ons.

However, Lyon said on Saturday that talks about the transfer of their captain "had not succeeded".

Fekir had been one of Reds boss Jurgen Klopp's prime summer targets.

More to follow.

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Sir Kenny Dalglish 'surprised and embarrassed' to be knighted

Sat, 09/06/2018 - 18:25

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Liverpool and Scotland legend Kenny Dalglish admits to feeling "humbled" after he was knighted in the Queen's Birthday Honours list.
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Queen's Birthday Honours: Kenny Dalglish knighted, Anthony Joshua becomes OBE

Sat, 09/06/2018 - 00:30
Kenny Dalglish celebrates winning the European Cup with Liverpool in 1978

Liverpool and Scotland legend Kenny Dalglish has been knighted in the Queen's Birthday Honours list.

The 67-year-old, who won the European Cup three times while playing for the Reds and later managed the club, said he was "humbled but gratified".

He was also recognised for supporting Hillsborough victims and his charity work with the Marina Dalglish Appeal.

"I thought it was a tax bill," Dalglish told BBC Radio Merseyside. "For the family, it's a huge honour."

Dalglish, who started his career at Celtic, is Scotland's most-capped player, having made 102 appearances for his country.

He said: "It won't make any difference to me, I'll just maybe need to change my passport!

"But just because we're a wee bit embarrassed about it doesn't underestimate how pleased and proud we are to have received it.

"I hope everyone who came into our lives enjoys it as well."

Dalglish is the only sporting figure knighted in the Queen's Birthday Honours list.

World heavyweight boxing champion Anthony Joshua and two-time Olympic skeleton champion Lizzy Yarnold are appointed OBEs, as is Bournemouth's former England striker Jermain Defoe.

From 'King Kenny' to 'Sir Kenny' Kenny Dalglish attends the funeral of Gary Church

Born in the east end of Glasgow and the son of an engineer, Dalglish made his Celtic debut in 1968. He won four Scottish league titles and four Scottish Cups before joining Liverpool in 1977.

In his first season at Anfield he scored the only goal in the 1978 European Cup final, and also lifted the trophy in 1981 and 1984.

Dalglish won six league titles as a Liverpool player, scoring 172 goals in 515 appearances.

He became player-manager in 1985, and was on the touchline for their ill-fated FA Cup semi-final against Nottingham Forest at Hillsborough on 15 April 1989.

Ninety-six Liverpool fans died as a result of a crush in the away end of the ground.

Dalglish helped support the bereaved families and made sure the club was represented at the funerals of all 96 victims, attending many himself.

Having won three titles as Liverpool manager, he left in 1991, leading Blackburn to the Premier League title four years later. He also managed Newcastle and Celtic, and had a second spell as Liverpool boss from 2011-2012.

After his wife Marina recovered from breast cancer, they set up the Marina Dalglish Appeal in 2005, and the charity has raised more than £10m.

Kenny was made an MBE in 1984, and Marina in 2009.

In 2011, relatives of the Hillsborough victims called for a man they call 'King Kenny' to be knighted. Their wish has been granted.

'Bradley was my best friend'

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Former Tottenham and West Ham striker Defoe, who has played 57 times for England, has been honoured for his work with the charitable foundation he established in 2013.

The foundation supports homeless, vulnerable and abused children in St Lucia - where his grandparents were born - and has expanded to work elsewhere in the Caribbean and in the UK.

While playing for Sunderland between 2015 and 2017, the London-born 35-year-old befriended terminally ill fan Bradley Lowery, who died aged six in July 2017.

Boxer Joshua is also made an OBE, three months after beating Joseph Parker to maintain his bid to unify the world heavyweight titles.

The 28-year-old from Watford was made an MBE in the 2013 New Year Honours, after winning Olympic gold at London 2012.

Lizzy Yarnold celebrates winning gold at Pyeongchang 2018

Yarnold, too, has now been made both an OBE and MBE.

The 29-year-old from Kent became the first Briton to successfully defend a Winter Olympics title when she won gold at the Pyeongchang Games in February.

Bill Sweeney, chief executive of the British Olympic Association, said: "Lizzy Yarnold and Anthony Joshua are great examples of athletes that were able to fulfil not only their Olympic ambitions, but give so much back to their communities and country."

Elsewhere, former world curling champion Mike Hay has been made an OBE.

Team GB's chef de mission at both the 2014 and 2018 Winter Olympics, the Scot was made an MBE after coaching Britain's women's curling team to Olympic gold in 2002.

Former British athlete Diane Modahl, seven-time Paralympic wheelchair basketball player Simon Munn and three-time Olympic equestrian medallist William Fox-Pitt are among those made MBEs.

Sir Craig Reedie, the Scottish president of the World Anti-Doping Agency who was knighted in 2005, has become a knight grand cross.

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Queen's Birthday Honours list

Knighthood

Kenny Dalglish MBE, for services to football, charity and the city of Liverpool.

Knight Grand Cross of the Order of the British Empire (GBE)

Sir Craig Reedie CBE (World Anti-Doping Agency president) for services to sport.

Officers of the Order of the British Empire (OBE)

Sarah Clarke (former All England Lawn Tennis Club championships director), for services to sports administration.

Jermain Defoe (footballer), for services to the Jermain Defoe Foundation.

Mike Hay MBE (Great Britain and Northern Ireland 2018 Winter Olympic Games chef de mission), for services to sport.

Anthony Joshua MBE (boxer), for services to sport.

Richard Leman, for services to hockey.

Ian Ritchie (former Rugby Football Union chief executive), for services to sports administration.

Lucinda Russell (racehorse trainer), for services to horse racing.

Jeff Savory, for services to disability sport.

Roisin Wood (Kick It Out chief executive), for services to tackling discrimination and exclusion in football.

Lizzy Yarnold MBE (skeleton double Olympic champion), for services to Winter Olympic sport.

Members of the Order of the British Empire (MBE)

Sara Booth, for services to women's football.

Chris Brindley (chair GreaterSport), for services to sport in Greater Manchester.

Steve Elworthy (former England and Wales Cricket Board director of events), for services to cricket.

Jess Fishlock (footballer), for services to women's football and the LGBT community.

Menna Fitzpatrick, for services to Winter Paralympic sport.

David Gourlay (Scotland Lawn Bowls head coach), for services to bowls.

Aphroditi Catherine Hutchison (former Netball Scotland chair), for services to netball.

Alex Jackson, for services to cross country running in Scotland.

Jennifer Kehoe, for services to Winter Paralympic sport.

Kirsty Letton, for services to curling.

Ewan MacPherson (Royal Yachting Association Scotland chairman), for voluntary service to sailing.

Colin McEachran, for services to Target Shooting and Commonwealth Games Scotland.

Diane Modahl (founder of Diane Modahl Sports Foundation), for services to sport and to young people in north west England.

Dai Morris, for services to rugby in Wales.

Simon Munn, for services to wheelchair basketball.

William Fox-Pitt, for services to equestrian.

Sue Redfern, for services to women's cricket in the UK and abroad.

Gordon Robertson, for services to disability athletics.

Ronnie Sloan (SportsAid Scotland chairman) for services to sport and charity.

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Liverpool: Emre Can and Jon Flanagan to leave Anfield

Fri, 08/06/2018 - 19:42
Emre Can's last goal for Liverpool was in a 4-1 win over West Ham on 24 February

Germany midfielder Emre Can will leave Liverpool when his contract expires this summer.

Can, 24, moved to Anfield from Bayer Leverkusen in July 2014 for £10m.

The Germany player has been linked with a move to Italian champions Juventus.

Right-back Jon Flanagan, 25, who spent the end of the 2017-18 season on loan at Championship club Bolton, is also leaving Anfield after failing to make a first-team appearance in Jurgen Klopp's team last season.

Can was signed by Brendan Rodgers and made his 167th and final appearance for Liverpool in last month's Champions League final defeat by Real Madrid.

Academy graduate Flanagan departs having featured in 51 senior games following his 2011 debut against Manchester City.

Flanagan has one England cap after playing in a friendly against Ecuador in 2014.

Liverpool, who finished fourth in the Premier League in 2017-18, have agreed to sign Monaco's central midfielder Fabinho in a deal that could be worth more than £40m.

Another central midfielder, Naby Keita, is arriving from RB Leipzig in July in a transfer worth £52.75m while the Reds are also close to agreeing a deal for France playmaker Nabil Fekir.

Liverpool are also considering whether to activate the £12m release clause in Xherdan Shaqiri's contract, with the Switzerland midfielder poised to leave Stoke City following their relegation to the Championship.

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Nabil Fekir: Liverpool close to £53m deal for Lyon and France attacker

Thu, 07/06/2018 - 23:29
Nabil Fekir

Liverpool are close to sealing a £53m deal for France forward Nabil Fekir.

The 24-year-old Lyon captain has been one of Reds manager Jurgen Klopp's prime summer transfer targets and has his heart set on a move to Anfield.

The clubs are yet to agree a fee, but talks could conclude on Friday about a deal that may amount to 60m euros - 55m plus a maximum of 5m add-ons.

Fekir is due to fly to Russia with France's World Cup squad after their game against the USA on Saturday.

Lyon president Jean-Michel Aulas has a reputation for being a tough negotiator, and Friday is emerging as a key day in talks as Liverpool move to get the deal completed before the weekend.

Fekir's proposed arrival would be the latest ambitious statement from the Champions League finalists after the £39m signing of Brazilian midfielder Fabinho from Monaco, and with Naby Keita arriving from RB Leipzig in July in a deal worth £52.75m.

The Reds are also considering whether to active the £12m release clause in Xherdan Shaqiri's contract as he is poised to leave Stoke City following their relegation to the Championship.

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Adebayo Akinfenwa destroys boot in message to Sergio Ramos

Thu, 07/06/2018 - 19:50

Wycombe Wanderers striker Adebayo Akinfenwa has given a (jokey) warning to Real Madrid defender Sergio Ramos.

Ramos is facing criticism after Liverpool's Mohamed Salah was injured in the Champions League final following a tussle between the two.

Ramos also collided with Loris Karius, the Reds' goalkeeper.

Akinfenwa tweeted that he'll always have Liverpool's back - with a video showing him breaking a football boot with his bare hands.

Liverpool fans in turn appear to have Akinfenwa's back thanks to the video.

Ramos has denied any responsibility for either Liverpool player's injuries, in an interview with Spanish sports newspaper AS.

"I see the play well, he grabs my arm first and I fell to the other side," he said.

"The injury happened to the other arm and they said that I gave him a judo hold.

"After, the goalkeeper said that I dazed him with a clash.

"I am only missing Firmino saying that he got a cold because a drop of my sweat landed on him."

The Spanish footballer also suggested that if he were in Mo Salah's shoes he would have continued playing with a hurt shoulder.

"He could have played if he got an injection for the second half. I have done it sometimes but when Ramos does something like this, it sticks a little bit more."

Egyptian forward Salah has had surgery on his shoulder and is hoping to recover in time for the World Cup.

He says he's "confident" that he'll make it in time.

Akinfenwa - whose nickname is The Beast - acknowledged in his video that he probably won't cross paths with Sergio Ramos on the pitch.

"Look brother, I'm never going to play against you because I'm never going to make it to the Champions League, and you're lucky."

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Rangers sign Liverpool midfielder Ovie Ejaria on a season-long loan

Thu, 07/06/2018 - 14:32
Ovie Ejaria (centre) in action for Sunderland

Liverpool midfielder Ovie Ejaria has joined Rangers on a season-long loan after signing a new long-term contract at Anfield.

The 20-year-old, who can also play as a forward, has been at Liverpool since 2014.

He spent the second half of last season on loan at Sunderland in the English Championship, making 11 appearances.

"I really want to be a regular at Liverpool football club, a massive club, so that's my aim," said Ejaria.

He told the Liverpool website: "I'm just going to keep working hard and see where that takes me."

Ejaria was part of the England squad which won the FIFA Under-20 World Cup in South Korea in 2017, and was selected for this year's Toulon Tournament but had to withdraw through injury.

He becomes Rangers manager Steven Gerrard's fourth signing ahead of the new season.

Midfielders Jamie Murphy and Scott Arfield have made the move to Ibrox, while goalkeeper Allan McGregor has returned to Rangers for a second spell at the club.

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Rangers: Steven Gerrard's Ibrox coaching team confirmed

Thu, 07/06/2018 - 13:50
Gary McAllister and Steven Gerrard

Rangers have confirmed new manager Steven Gerrard's backroom team, with ex-Liverpool team-mate and former Scotland captain Gary McAllister appointed assistant manager.

McAllister previously had spells in charge of Leeds and Coventry.

He is one of three coaches to leave Anfield to join Gerrard at Ibrox.

Michael Beale becomes first-team coach, Tom Culshaw takes up the role of technical coach with Jordan Milson appointed head of performance.

Gerrard confirmed he would bring McAllister to Ibrox as his number two when he was unveiled as Rangers manager last month.

"He's a long-time friend of mine," Gerrard said.

"I have huge respect for Gary and he ticks the box where, maybe I'm not the most experienced manager right now, but he's been in the game for a very long time and as a partnership I feel will be very strong.

"He will be a rock and a very big support and as soon as I asked him it was a 'yes' straight away.

"I learned so much from Gary and I couldn't ask for anyone better to take on this challenge with me."

Meanwhile, Carlos Pena has joined Mexican side Necaxa on loan after his club Cruz Azul cancelled his deal with Rangers six months early.

The 28-year-old scored five goals in 14 outings for Rangers, but moved back to Mexico to join up with ex-Rangers manager Pedro Caixinha.

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Loris Karius: How did Liverpool goalkeeper play on with concussion?

Tue, 05/06/2018 - 21:39
Loris Karius lets in Gareth Bale's second goal in the Champions League final defeat by Real Madrid

Liverpool's Champions League final defeat by Real Madrid was defined by many factors, but none more so than the two errors by goalkeeper Loris Karius.

Throwing the ball directly at Karim Benzema was bad enough, but letting Gareth Bale's shot slip through his fingers was inexplicable.

But now, perhaps, an explanation has emerged, after the 24-year-old German was diagnosed with concussion by medical experts in Boston five days after the match.

Real defender Sergio Ramos, already cast as the villain by some Liverpool fans for his involvement in the incident that led to Mohamed Salah's injury-enforced withdrawal from the final, was pictured colliding with Karius moments before his first mistake.

So how did Karius continue the game with concussion, how might it have affected him and why are medics "handcuffed" in their treatment of the problem?

Is this just an excuse? Loris Karius

According to medical experts in Boston, no.

The team at Massachusetts General Hospital, which included leading NFL head injury expert Dr Ross Zafonte, concluded it was "possible" the injury "would affect performance".

Zafonte added that Karius had suffered from "visual spatial dysfunction", a process which hampers a person's ability to process visual information about where objects are in space.

Meanwhile, the fact that Karius did not show any symptoms during the game is "not surprising", according to British neurosurgeon Dr Willie Stewart, who has been at the forefront of improving assessment of head injuries in sport and is leading a new study into the links between heading footballs and head trauma.

"People tend to associate the signs of concussion with a loss of consciousness or staggering around. But for many, concussion symptoms can quite easily be missed by the medical team, referees, team-mates and the player," Stewart tells BBC Sport.

"It can take hours and days for symptoms to develop, which is why we try to promote a very low threshold for concern so that if there is any doubt that a player is concussed they should be removed from the field of play."

Could the medical team have done more?

Despite Ramos' collision with Karius being looped endlessly on social media, the incident was missed by many in real time, including the Liverpool medical team.

Karius made a complaint to the referee, who took no action, but appeared to show no signs of injury and did not receive any treatment during the game.

Once there was an issue, Liverpool referred him to a hospital which has close links to the club's Boston-based owners. The German was already on holiday in the United States at the time.

"I don't think they had much to work with at all," says Stewart of Liverpool's medics.

"It's only with the benefit of hindsight you go back and say maybe that slight blow could have been a significant injury, maybe it's something else that we don't know about.

"In a fast-moving game where something fairly innocuous seems to happen it can be difficult to spot. What we are trying to encourage is if you see a player who is not behaving as they might be expected to, that's where suspicion should be raised.

"Maybe it could be argued that the two significant errors [by Karius] should have drawn attention to people on the sidelines that something wasn't quite right.

"But football is operating in the last century in terms of brain injury management, when the rest of sport has moved on. The medical staff don't have a good opportunity to check the player properly and check the video about what might have happened."

Did the concussion lead to Karius' errors? Loris Karius

Only a few minutes separated Karius' collision with Ramos and him gifting the ball Benzema, leading to the first goal.

Were the two incidents directly linked?

"I can't say about the case specifically," Stewart adds. "But what I can say is that one of things that happens to people with concussion is deep down in the brain the very fine nerve fibres get damaged, and the fibres that come from the eyes and spread to the brain are in the area where damage can occur.

"So it's not that unusual for people with concussion to have subtle visual symptoms, such as the eyes not moving as quickly as they should or not focusing as well as they should. You get a sense of double vision or difficulty tracking objects and that can lead to problems in a fast-moving match."

Bale's second goal might have been straight at Karius, but it was certainly moving and potentially difficult to track.

No-one will know if it was concussion or the pressure of the match that led to Karius' mistakes from an objective point of view.

That is part of the problem, says Stewart, as diagnosis relies on someone's opinion.

"There are no objective diagnostic tests," he adds.

Why are medics being 'handcuffed' on concussion?

Football is not alone in having to deal with this growing problem.

English rugby union's latest annual injury audit showed concussion was the most reported injury for the sixth successive season in 2016-17.

But Stewart says that despite greater resources, football is lagging behind other sports that have chosen to modernise by having video screens to check on any potential head injuries.

"In terms of its immediate pitchside management and the way the medics are left to deal with this, they are handcuffed," says Stewart.

"Football doesn't allow an interchange for a player to be assessed to see if he has a brain injury; doesn't allow significant time for the medics to assess the player; doesn't have a video review of events to be able say if there was a glancing blow on my goalkeeper's head which I didn't notice.

"It's unacceptable in 2018 that it should be this way."

What are the existing Uefa regulations?

Head injury protocol is covered under Article 47 of the governing body's Champions League regulations:

  • 47.01: In the event of a suspected concussion the referee stops the game to allow the injured player to be assessed by the team doctor, in accordance with Law 5 of the IFAB Laws of the Game. In principle this should take no more than three minutes, unless a serious incident requires the player to be treated on the field of play or immobilised on the field for immediate transfer to hospital (e.g. spinal injury).
  • 47.02: Any player suffering a head injury that requires assessment for potential concussion will only be allowed to continue playing after the assessment, on specific confirmation by the team doctor to the referee of the player's fitness to do so.

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Sergio Ramos: Mohamed Salah 'arm grab' led to shoulder injury

Tue, 05/06/2018 - 18:02
Sergio Ramos and Mohamed Salah

Real Madrid defender Sergio Ramos says an initial "arm grab" by Mohamed Salah led to the Liverpool forward's injury in the Champions League final.

Salah, 25, left the field in tears with a shoulder injury and has since had surgery on the problem.

Spaniard Ramos also collided with Reds goalkeeper Loris Karius, who suffered concussion in the 3-1 defeat in Kiev.

"I am only missing Roberto Firmino saying he got a cold because a drop of my sweat landed on him," said Ramos.

Ramos also claimed Salah could have played on in the match "if he got an injection for the second half".

Salah landed heavily on his shoulder midway through the first half against Real. Despite the injury he has been selected for Egypt's upcoming World Cup campaign in Russia.

Many Liverpool supporters blamed Ramos for the clash, which went unpunished by the referee, saying he inflicted a judo-style move on his opponent and a petition was raised calling for Fifa and Uefa to punish the Spain international.

An Egyptian lawyer also filed a lawsuit worth £874m against Ramos for the "physical and psychological harm" caused to the people of Egypt.

Two major errors by Karius helped Real to victory and doctors who assessed the German in the USA say it was "possible" the injury "would affect performance".

Ramos, 32, told AS: "Bloody hell, they have given this Salah thing a lot of attention. I didn't want to speak because everything is magnified.

"I see the play well, he grabs my arm first and I fell to the other side, the injury happened to the other arm and they said that I gave him a judo hold. After that the goalkeeper said I dazed him with a clash.

"I spoke with Salah through messages, he was quite good. He could have played if he got an injection for the second half, I have done it sometimes but when Ramos does something like this, it sticks a little bit more.

"I don't know if it is because you are at Madrid for so long and win for so long that people look at it a different way."

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Roma fined following crowd disturbances at Liverpool Champions League tie

Tue, 05/06/2018 - 16:53
Liverpool fans light flares before the Champions League semi-final with Roma at Anfield

Roma have been fined 50,000 euros (£43,632) by Uefa following crowd disturbances at the Champions League semi-final first leg against Liverpool at Anfield.

The Italian club have also been banned from selling tickets to their fans for their next European away game.

Liverpool fan Sean Cox suffered serious head injuries in an attack outside Anfield before the 24 April tie.

Charges against Liverpool will be dealt with by Uefa at a later date.

BBC Sport understands that Liverpool requested more time to Uefa to make their submissions.

Roma were given a two-match ban on selling away tickets, with the second deferred under a probationary period of two years.

Cox, from Dunboyne, County Meath, Republic of Ireland, was attacked outside The Albert pub in Walton Breck Road, next to the ground, less than an hour before the match.

He had surgery at Liverpool's Walton Centre but has since been moved back to Dublin in Beaumont Hospital.

Italian Daniele Sciusco, 29, pleaded guilty to violent disorder over the incident.

Compatriot Filippo Lombardi, 21, has pleaded not guilty to the same charge and another of inflicting grievous bodily harm.

He has been remanded in custody for trial at Preston Crown Court in October.

Uefa opened disciplinary proceedings against both Liverpool and Roma following the game, which Liverpool won 5-2.

Liverpool have been charged with setting off fireworks and throwing objects while both clubs were charged for crowd disturbances based on incidents that took place outside the stadium.

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Loris Karius: Liverpool keeper referred for concussion tests by club

Tue, 05/06/2018 - 14:47
Liverpool goalkeeper Loris Karius after the Champions League final defeat by Real Madrid

Liverpool goalkeeper Loris Karius was referred to medical experts in Boston after contacting the club while on holiday in the United States.

The 24-year-old German visited Massachusetts General Hospital and was diagnosed with concussion five days after the Champions League final.

Karius made errors for the first and third goals his side conceded in the 3-1 defeat by Real Madrid on 26 May.

Dr Ross Zafonte said it was "possible" the injury "would affect performance".

Shortly before his mistake for Real's opening goal, Karius collided with Spanish defender Sergio Ramos - but in a statement released with the player's permission, doctors did not say if that incident was the cause of the concussion.

Karius appeared to show no signs of injury and did not request any treatment during the game in Kiev, Ukraine.

The collision occurred early in the second half. Minutes later, the German threw the ball into the path of Real striker Karim Benzema, who stuck out his leg and scored.

Real's third goal came when Karius let a long-range shot by forward Gareth Bale slip through his hands.

Dr Zafonte, who is a leading expert in head injuries in the NFL, said Karius' assessment involved reviewing "game film", a "physical examination" and "objective metrics".

He added it was "likely" that "visual spatial dysfunction" - which hampers a person's ability to process visual information about where objects are in space - would have occurred immediately after the event that caused the concussion.

'Football needs urgent review'

Following the incident, brain injury association Headway has called for football's concussion protocols to be "urgently reviewed".

New head injury measures were introduced by the Premier League and European governing body Uefa in 2014 which said only the doctor can decide whether a player should continue after a potential concussion.

Premier League rules were updated after Tottenham received criticism for allowing goalkeeper Hugo Lloris to continue playing after losing consciousness.

Headway chief executive Peter McCabe said: "It is alarming to hear that a player has played nearly half a match with a potential concussion.

"It is also very worrying that it has taken so long for this to be identified.

"Why wasn't the game stopped immediately so he could be examined on the pitch and what role did the fourth official play? Why wasn't he assessed immediately after the game or on his return to Liverpool?

"Football has recently made good progress regarding concussion but if mistakes have been made, especially in such a high-profile game with the world looking on, it is only right that the concussion protocols should be urgently reviewed and this matter given the correct scrutiny."

In the aftermath of the game, Karius received death threats, prompting a police investigation, and the goalkeeper told fans he was "infinitely sorry".

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Loris Karius: Liverpool keeper concussed during Champions League final - doctors

Mon, 04/06/2018 - 22:36
Karius underwent tests five days after the Champions League final defeat

Liverpool goalkeeper Loris Karius sustained a concussion during last month's Champions League final defeat by Real Madrid, doctors have said.

Karius, 24, was at fault for the Spanish side's first and third goals in their 3-1 victory in Kiev on 26 May.

The German had tests at hospitals in Boston in the United States, and medics said the impact of the concussion was "likely" to have been felt immediately.

Dr Ross Zafonte said it was "possible" the injury "would affect performance".

He came to his conclusion after reviewing "game film", a "physical examination" and "objective metrics".

Dr Zafonte said Karius had suffered from "visual spatial dysfunction", a process which hampers a person's ability to process visual information about where objects are in space.

He said it was "likely" that would have occurred immediately after the event that caused the concussion.

Karius collided with Real defender Sergio Ramos early in the second half of the final - when the score was goalless - although doctors have not pinpointed the moment he was concussed.

Minutes after that collision, Karius threw the ball against Real striker Karim Benzema, and it rolled home to give the Spaniards the lead.

Liverpool equalised through Sadio Mane, but Gareth Bale scored a stunning overhead kick then netted Real's third when Karius let a shot from long range slip through his hands.

In the aftermath of the game, Karius received death threats, prompting a police investigation, and told fans he was "infinitely sorry".

After being assessed at Massachusetts General Hospital and Spaulding Rehabilitation Hospital, he is said to have shown "significant and steady improvement since the concussive event".

"We expect him to make a full recovery based on the results of the examination," added Dr Zafonte.

Karius, who joined Liverpool for £4.75m from Mainz in 2016, was reportedly on holiday in the US when he was tested.

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Manchester City boss Pep Guardiola banned for two Champions League games

Mon, 04/06/2018 - 19:29
Pep Guardiola

Manchester City manager Pep Guardiola has been suspended for two Champions League matches by Uefa for his conduct in the defeat by Liverpool.

The 47-year-old was sent off at half-time in the quarter-final second leg at Etihad Stadium on 10 April for complaining about a decision.

He misses one match next season, with a second game deferred for a year.

Liverpool were fined 30,000 euros (£25,450) over crowd incidents during the quarter-finals and semi-finals.

Former Barcelona boss Guardiola said he "did not insult" referee Mateu Lahoz when protesting that a disallowed goal shortly before half-time should have stood.

City were leading 1-0 - but trailing 3-1 on aggregate - when Leroy Sane was adjudged offside despite firing in after the ball deflected into his path off Liverpool midfielder James Milner's knee.

Liverpool won the match 2-1 to seal a 5-1 aggregate victory. They lost the final 3-1 to Real Madrid.

Guardiola will miss City's first game of the Champions League next season, although a second match will only be added if he receives disciplinary action for a further offence next season.

European football's governing body fined Liverpool 20,000 euros (£17,500) for crowd disturbances, acts of damage, the throwing of objects and setting off of fireworks during the first leg against City at Anfield on 4 April.

Reds supporters attacked City's team bus on its way to the stadium, prompting a police investigation.

They were also fined 6,000 euros (£5,200) for fans setting off fireworks and throwing objects during the second leg and a further 3,000 euros (£2,600) for use of fireworks during the semi-final second leg at Roma.

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Football Focus: Eggheads' Premier League predictions

Fri, 01/06/2018 - 02:02

Will three brains from Eggheads be better than Mark Lawrenson's one in predicting this weekend's Premier League fixtures?

Eggheads presenter Jeremy Vine, a Chelsea fan, thinks he knows the answer.

Watch Saturday's Football Focus at 11:30 GMT on BBC One.

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