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Liverpool should forget about EPL title if we don’t do better — Klopp

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Manager Jurgen Klopp admitted on Tuesday that Liverpool should forget about catching Manchester City if they drop their standards after a damaging 1-0 defeat at Leicester City.

Ademola Lookman’s winner stunned the second-placed Reds to keep them six points behind Manchester City in the title race.

Kasper Schmeichel saved Mohamed Salah’s first-half penalty kick and Sadio Mane missed a golden chance after the break as the wasteful visitors suffered just their second defeat of the season.

It ended a 10-match unbeaten run and they could be 12 points adrift of Manchester City by the time they play third-placed Chelsea on Sunday.

Klopp said: “To top that, Chelsea and us play against each other. It was not our plan to give Manchester City the chance to run away. If we play like tonight, we cannot think about catching up with Manchester City.

“If we play our football and we can win games, we can see how many points we can get and what that means.

“I don’t have a proper explanation for tonight – to find it is my main concern, not Manchester City.

“We were not ourselves. We started OK, I didn’t like the intensity even in the beginning but it was the start. Then we lost the rhythm and never found it again.

“We forced it a little bit too early, instead of passing the extra pass. We tried to change that at half-time but for some reason it didn’t click.

“When they scored the goal it was clear we were under pressure, we were pushing them but didn’t use the chances. They deserved the three points.”

Leicester City responded to their 6-3 defeat at Manchester City with a resilient and determined display to collect just their third league clean sheet of the season.

This was in spite of a makeshift line-up with midfielders Daniel Amartey and Wilfred Ndidi both playing out of position in central defence.

Schmeichel kept them level in the first half when he saved Salah’s 16th-minute penalty kick after the forward had been tripped by Ndidi.

Salah nodded the rebound onto the bar having missed his first league penalty kick in four years.

The goalkeeper also turned Salah’s fierce close-range effort over while Jordan Henderson and Diogo Jota shot off target.

Liverpool continued to push after the break and Mane should have opened the scoring but he blazed over having been put through by Jota.

It proved costly as substitute Lookman snatched the points on 59 minutes.

Just 178 seconds after replacing Hamza Choudhury, he jinked past Joel Matip to drill inside Alisson Becker’s near post.

Liverpool failed to find a good enough response and Jota headed wide and Virgil Van Dijk was denied by Schmeichel late on.

Victory allowed the Foxes to climb to ninth following the win against manager Brendan Rodgers’ former club.

Rodgers said: “In the context of the game, on the back of Sunday, the players put in a heroic performance. If you think about the recovery time, the players were amazing how they coped with it.

“We had to be resilient, tough and defend for your life at times but also show good moments of football.

“If you look at the weekend, even though the scoreline was 6-3, two were penalty kicks and two were set-pieces. We let ourselves down with the set-pieces so we needed to break the cycle.

“I just thought ‘let’s just go back to the basics again’ —- a bit of an old-school structure, defenders go and defend, guys on the posts. The two centre-halves were amazing.”

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EPL

EPL: Cristiano Ronaldo considering leaving Man United at the end of the season

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A new bombshell report has claimed Cristiano Ronaldo is considering leaving Manchester United at the end of the season if their choice of manager does not suit him.

According to The Daily Star, Ronaldo, who only rejoined the Red Devils in the summer from Juventus, is keeping a close eye on who the club appointed as their next permanent manager at the end of the season.

Ronaldo’s deal at Old Trafford runs until 2023 but the report explains that the Portuguese would be willing to leave 12 months early if the next appointment cannot bring the best out of him.

United have declined even further since Ole Gunnar Solskjaer was sacked and German boss Ralf Rangnick came in to take charge on an interim basis.

The plan for Rangnick at the end of the season is to step into a ‘Senior Football Advisor’ role for the next two years. Even with Rangnick not in contention for the job on a permanent basis, Ronaldo is said to have made his feelings clear that he would not support any decision to appoint the German full-time.

A source told the Star that Ronaldo ‘thought it would be better than this’ and that as a ‘born winner’ he wants ‘to be winning more trophies’.

Rangnick will, more likely, be part of the process to appoint the next manager, a permanent successor to Solskjaer, who was axed in November following a loss to Watford.

Sportsmail reported on Thursday that United are working from a three-man shortlist of Mauricio Pochettino, currently at Paris Saint-Germain, Ajax manager Erik ten Hag and Leicester City boss Brendan Rodgers.

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EPL

Premier League: Manchester United’s Rangnick approves signing £100m star

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Manchester United interim manager, Ralf Rangnick has given his approval for the club to sign £100million rated star, Declan Rice from West Ham United, The Sun reports.

Man United have been linked with Rice for a long time and the latest reports suggest that the Old Trafford club are preparing a big move to finally sign the England international next summer.

The Red Devils have received a major boost in their pursuit to sign Rice, who has been brilliant over the years for the Hammers and is a key player for the national team.

Rice has already made 27 appearances for England’s national team.

He is not only a solid play breaker but can also contribute in goals.

The 22-year-old has scored three goals and registered four assists in all competitions for David Moyes’ men so far this season.

The midfielder was heavily linked with a move to Stamford Bridge, with former Chelsea manager, Frank Lampard, in particular a huge admirer of him.

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EPL

EPL: Arsenal star Ainsley Maitland-Niles to receive €2.5m, join Mourinho at Roma

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Ainsley Maitland-Niles
Arsenal star, Ainsley Maitland-Niles is set to receive €2.5m as his salary at AS Roma after tax.

Corriere Della Sera reports that Maitland-Niles has finally reached an agreement with Roma that will see him join Jose Mourinho’s side on loan for the remainder of the season, with a view to making the deal permanent in the summer of 2022.

The 24-year-old looks set to become a Roma player when the January transfer window opens, as long as Arsenal and the Serie A side can agree to a fee.

On Tuesday, it was reported that Arsenal and Roma were close to agreeing to a deal that would see Maitland-Niles head to Italy for the rest of the season.

If that goes well, Roma plan to purchase him permanently in the summer for a fixed fee in the region of €10m – €15m.

Arsenal wants the latter amount while Mourinho’s side are trying to drive the price down, so the agreement will likely be found somewhere in the middle at around £10m, which is roughly what Maitland-Niles is worth.

So far this season, Maitland-Niles has started just four games – two in the Premier League and two in the League Cup and played the full 90 just three times for the Gunners.

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