How smart signings made Liverpool champions again

first_imgBy January 2018, a long pursuit of Virgil van Dijk resulted in the Dutchman becoming the world’s most expensive defender for £75 million ($93 million).Inspired by Salah’s free-scoring form, the instant impact of Van Dijk and growing maturity of full-backs Robertson and academy graduate Trent Alexander-Arnold, Liverpool reached the Champions League final in 2018.Two howlers from Loris Karius against Real Madrid delayed a sixth European Cup win for a year, but what happened afterwards showed the club’s ruthless desire to get back to winning major trophies.Karius has never played another game for Liverpool as another world record fee, this time for a goalkeeper, was splashed on Alisson Becker from Roma.Fabinho, Naby Keita and Xherdan Shaqiri were also recruited in 2018 in a spending spree of more than £160 million.”Maybe this season finally you demand they win,” jibed then Manchester United manager Jose Mourinho.Win is what they have done relentlessly for two years.A mammoth total of 97 points was still not enough to win the title last season due to Manchester City’s own stunning levels of consistency.However, the upgrades for the 2018/19 season were rewarded in silverware with a Champions League triumph. On the way to the trophy Liverpool thumped Barcelona 4-0 in the second leg of the semi-final, even without the injured Salah and Roberto Firmino. Liverpool’s coronation as English champions for the first time in 30 years is the culmination of a dramatic journey since Jurgen Klopp’s appointment as manager in 2015.Klopp is the charismatic face of Liverpool’s transformation from top-four contenders to Champions League winners and now Premier League champions.However, the Reds’ success on the pitch has been made possible by plenty of shrewd work on signings and sales behind the scenes. Topics : Of the 18-man squad named by Klopp in his first match in charge less than five years ago, only James Milner, Adam Lallana and Divock Origi have featured this season, in peripheral roles.The construction of Liverpool’s title-winning squad has been a steady process.In Klopp’s first summer transfer window, Sadio Mane and Georginio Wijnaldum arrived to help secure a return to the Champions League.The next year they were joined by Mohamed Salah, Andy Robertson and Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain. Money well spent The momentum of Madrid rolled into this season, with only the coronavirus pandemic preventing possibly the earliest-ever crowning of English champions.Yet, in an era of sheikhs and oligarchs, Liverpool’s success is not in outspending their rivals, but doing so more efficiently.According to transfer specialists Transfermarkt, Liverpool’s net spend over the past five years is £109 million, less than the outlay of Bournemouth, Aston Villa and Brighton.It is a testament to Klopp’s managerial skill that the departure of Philippe Coutinho to Barcelona for £142 million in January 2018 did not derail his side’s progress.Sporting director Michael Edwards has played a huge role in giving Klopp the resources he wants to work with by extracting maximum value from departures.The sales of Mamadou Sakho, Dominic Solanke, Danny Ward, Danny Ings, Christian Benteke and Jordon Ibe have helped contribute another £120 million.”I must also highlight the role of our sporting director, Michael Edwards in this journey so far,” said Klopp when he signed a contract extension to 2024 earlier this season.”His input and collaboration has been just as important as anyone else’s in getting us into a position to compete for the game’s top titles.”Having climbed the mountain, Liverpool plan on staying there.A host of key players including Salah, Mane, Firmino, Robertson, Alexander-Arnold and Jordan Henderson have signed contract extensions in the past two years.”Liverpool’s squad is young and all the key players are tied down on long contracts. They have huge potential to win more trophies,” former England captain Wayne Rooney, who also skippered Liverpool’s two biggest rivals, Everton and Manchester United, admitted on Sunday.The signing of highly rated 17-year-old Harvey Elliott and using a bargain £8 million buyout clause to secure Takumi Minamino from Red Bull Salzburg in January are further examples of Liverpool’s long-term planning.”For anyone in football who aspires to compete in an environment where every element of the organization is at its very best – from the support of the supporters to the vision of the owners – there can be no better place than this,” said Klopp.last_img read more

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Markets will have to learn to live with Trump, says Ilmarinen CIO

first_imgWhile it is still far from clear which elements of US president-elect Donald Trump’s election campaign pronouncements he intends to carry through into political strategy when he takes office, the markets must now learn to live with fact he will be the next president, says the head of investment at Finland’s third-largest pension fund.Mikko Mursula, CIO at the €36.5bn pensions insurer Ilmarinen, said in his blog: “The market will have to learn to live with Trump, as it will with Brexit. “In both cases, the people voted for change, and what these changes mean in the end will only be clear over a longer period of time – perhaps years from now.”Protectionist rhetoric uttered during the election campaign would clearly be bad for world trade and export-orientated economies including Finland and especially for emerging markets, but if the US economy picks up and deregulation takes place, this would boost the stock market, he said. “But how much in the end was just campaign rhetoric and which decisions Trump and his administration actually execute remains to be seen,” he wrote, adding that ‘unpredictable’ seemed to be the most common word used to describe the future president.“Pension investors are primarily interested in the long-term financial impact,” Mursula wrote.“After most of the initial confusion, it is time to sit down and carefully analyse what the medium and long-term effects of the new US administration will be for the global economy.”He said investors were now waiting for the new president to outline his economic and trade policy direction. “Concrete measures can be expected only after the inauguration, but, what is said in the next few weeks will show what remains of the campaign rhetoric, and clues will also come in the form of the type of team Trump starts to gather around him,” Mursula wrote.last_img read more

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LMC, FIRS Resuscitate NPFL/VAT Wonder Goal

first_imgAhead the start of second round of matches in the Nigeria Professional Football League (2016/17) season, the League Management Company (LMC) and the Federal Inland Revenue Services (FIRS) are partnering to resuscitate the Wonder Goal series.At the turn of the second round of matches last season, the LMC had introduced the Wonder Goal to build affinity between players, their clubs and their community of domicile. It aimed amongst other objectives to create an engagement channel between the clubs and their immediate communities through charity work by players who win the award. It will be recalled that the LMC recently offered FIRS, the NPFL as a platform to engage the football community on the benefits of paying taxes and other government charges such as the Value Added Tax (VAT). Tax education messages are since being displayed on perimeter boards at all NPFL match venues.LMC Chairman, Shehu Dikko, said the re-launched scheme is now to be known as the VAT Wonder Goal and is going to serve as a further tool for educating the football community on the essence of paying the Value Added Tax when they make purchases.Video of goals scored during a specific match-day will be uploaded on the NPFL website, www.npfl.ng, Facebook and YouTube accounts for fans to vote the most exciting and intelligently executed goal.The player whose goal attracts the highest number of votes wins the award and will be presented monetary reward, 50 per cent of which is to be invested in a charity of the player’s choice within the city the club is located.Dikko also announced that the prize money has been increased by 50 per cent from N100,000 to N150,000 out of which the player will invest N75,000 on the selected Charity.Share this:FacebookRedditTwitterPrintPinterestEmailWhatsAppSkypeLinkedInTumblrPocketTelegramlast_img read more

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UNDER-20 WOMEN’S WORLD CUP: Spain Hero, Coll, Rides a Rollercoaster…

first_imgSpain goalkeeper Catalina ‘Cata’ Coll arrived in the mixed zone singing and dancing with her team-mates, shaking off the tension of a match that involved plenty of nervy moments for La Rojita. The suffering was all worth it, however, as the Spanish advanced to their first-ever FIFA U-20 Women’s World Cup final, doing so courtesy of a 1-0 victory over tournament hosts France. This Friday night, they will fight it out with Japan for the title.Wearing a broad smile, half out of delight and half out of relief, the goalkeeper will surely remember Monday’s semi-final for a long, long time. First came an explosion of joy with Patri Guijarro’s goal, promptly dampened by Aitana Bonmati’s sending off. That was followed by Coll’s penalty save and a French siege, though fortunately for the goalkeeper and her team-mates, there was a happy ending.So how did she experience it all from between the posts? Picking up possession from a throw-in, Lucia Rodriguez sent in a cross that Guijarro nodded home after the French defenders had failed to clear. As is usually the case, Coll celebrated alone, not that she cared about that: “I saw the goal on the screen and I was super excited. I couldn’t believe it had gone in.”Things were going perfectly for La Rojita until the 69th minute, when Bonmati – one of the key cogs in the Spanish midfield – picked up a second yellow card and left the field in tears. Then, seven minutes later, the referee awarded France a penalty after Laia Aleixandri had handled the ball inside the Spain box.Coll could scarcely believe it. “I was like, ‘You’ve got to be kidding’, because everything was falling apart: we were 1-0 up, but we’d had Aitana sent off and now this penalty. I believed in myself, though, and it worked out.” She was not the only one who had faith in her abilities, as she went on to reveal: “(Carmen) Menayo came up and said she believed in me, that I was going to stop it, and I did stop it. I’ve always loved penalties and I felt sure of myself.”Though Coll kept out Marie-Antoinette Katoto’s spot-kick, the final whistle was still a good few minutes away. And France spent that time desperately searching for an equaliser. Coll maintained her concentration right to the very end, however. “It’s all a question of keeping a cool head. The team put in a fantastic shift defensively and that’s the reason why we won.”When the full-time whistle finally came, the Rojita outfield players all rushed to the centre circle to celebrate, while Coll, again in solitude, raised her arms in triumph. She was not alone for long, with Lucia Garcia and ‘Misa’ Rodriguez rushing from the bench to celebrate with her. “They’ve given me more support here than anyone else, and Misa’s especially important because she’s a keeper and encourages me and advises me more than anyone. I’m so grateful to her. She’s one of the best team-mates I’ve ever had.”Share this:FacebookRedditTwitterPrintPinterestEmailWhatsAppSkypeLinkedInTumblrPocketTelegramlast_img read more

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Seahawks’ Carson trying to focus on season, not contract

first_img Chris Carson is trying his best not to get caught up in the future.It’s not easy when a regular topic of conversation is what will happen to the Seattle Seahawks’ bruising running back when his rookie contract expires after this season.“Of course, it’s something that is on my mind,” Carson said Tuesday. “You see a lot of guys that are starting to get paid, but I try not to let it distract me from the season. I push it away. But it is something that is on my mind, but I try not to let it affect me.”Carson said there haven’t been talks about his future with Seattle as of yet.Overlooked coming out of Oklahoma State and drafted in the seventh-round, Carson has developed into one of the top backs for a team that prides itself on running the ball, and in a league that seems to be devaluing running backs.On the Seahawks’ side, there are questions about how much the team might want to invest in a back who has suffered season-ending injuries twice in three years.Right now, Carson is healthy, although he’s had to cope with the mental strain during training camp of having to spend time away from the team following deaths in his family.“He looks great. He hasn’t had a snap out here that he didn’t look good,” coach Pete Carroll said. “We don’t have any hesitation with Chris at all. He’s fine and ready to go.”His 2019 season was cut short after he suffered a hip fracture late in the regular season. Before he got hurt, Carson had rushed for a career-high 1,230 yards — fifth in the league — and seven touchdowns.But it was the second time in Carson’s career that he didn’t finish a season. Carson’s rookie season in 2017 ended after just four games due to a fractured leg.When healthy, Carson has been great. But he’s also been knocked around during his three seasons.“Just being a seventh-round draft pick you are always gonna have that chip on your shoulder,” Carson said. “But I know at this point in the game I don’t really have nothing to prove.”Carson should have help in the backfield again this season after Seattle signed veteran Carlos Hyde in free agency. The Seahawks also hope to get Rashaad Penny back around midseason from a torn ACL suffered late last year. And there is depth with second-year running back Travis Homer and rookie Deejay Dallas, who has impressed in camp.Last year, Carson averaged just over 18 carries per game. That would seem to be a good target number for Seattle’s offense, depending on whether the Seahawks let Russell Wilson take a little more control of the offense through the air.Another strong season may land Carson a worthy pay day. The unknown is whether it will be in Seattle.“I guess we’re going to have to see,” Carson said.NOTES: DE Benson Mayowa, WRs John Ursua and Phillip Dorsett and CB Tre Flowers were among players returning to practice Tuesday after sitting out a few days. … CB Shaquill Griffin and OTs Duane Brown and Cedric Ogbuehi all sat out.Image credits: AP Written By FOLLOW US Last Updated: 2nd September, 2020 06:50 IST Seahawks’ Carson Trying To Focus On Season, Not Contract It’s not easy when a regular topic of conversation is what will happen to the Seattle Seahawks’ bruising running back when his rookie contract expires after this season First Published: 2nd September, 2020 06:50 IST COMMENTcenter_img SUBSCRIBE TO US WATCH US LIVE Associated Press Television News LIVE TVlast_img read more

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Rep Webber House approves plan to help preserve jobs in Oakland County

first_img With strong bipartisan support, the state House today approved a plan sponsored by Rep. Michael Webber helping preserve jobs in Oakland County and elsewhere in Michigan.The bipartisan plan would allow Tenneco to keep Michigan Economic Growth Authority credits originally awarded to Federal-Mogul to keep jobs within the state. Tenneco finalized a deal to acquire Federal-Mogul in 2018, and transferring the credits will help the company preserve employment without any additional costs to taxpayers.“This is the smart thing to do for Michigan, its economy and its taxpayers – and it’s particularly important for Oakland County, since the company has a large presence here in Southfield,” Webber said.“Companies change hands,” said Webber, of Rochester Hills. “It’s just a reality in this day and age. This plan reflects that reality while protecting taxpayers and making sure the Legislature has proper oversight moving forward.”Tenneco has retained Federal-Mogul’s Michigan-based jobs, so the company should be able to claim the existing MEGA credit connected to those jobs, according to Webber.“Oakland County is grateful to the Michigan House of Representatives, especially Reps. Michael Webber and Jason Sheppard, for approving legislation to restore Federal-Mogul’s tax credits following the iconic auto supplier’s purchase by Tenneco,” said Mike McCready, deputy director of Oakland County’s Department of Economic Development & Community Affairs. “They are saving hundreds of jobs across the state of Michigan today.”The MEGA credit involved in this legislation is capped at $12 million. Webber’s bill specifically ensures the tax credit can’t be amended to last longer or cost more – an important protection for taxpayers.The legislation applies only to the Tenneco case. The Legislature will maintain oversight on a case-by-case basis moving forward, because each company acquisition is unique.Webber sponsors House Bill 4190 in the package. His bill – along with House Bills 4189 and 4191– now advance to the Senate for further consideration. ### 22May Rep. Webber: House approves plan to help preserve jobs in Oakland Countylast_img read more

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