EPL

Klopp makes seven changes for Fulham game, Jota starts with Firmino out

By Sports Desk March 07, 2021

Diogo Jota gets a first Premier League start in 2021 as one of seven changes made by Liverpool boss Jurgen Klopp for the home game against Fulham on Sunday. 

Having suffered a knee injury in December, Jota made a return to first-team action on Thursday, though his appearance off the bench could not help the Reds avoid going down 1-0 to top-four rivals Chelsea at Anfield. 

The Portuguese forward is named in the starting XI to take on relegation-threatened Fulham, with Roberto Firmino ruled out due to what Liverpool announced to be a "minor knock". 

Klopp named Fabinho, Trent Alexander-Arnold, Thiago Alcantara and Sadio Mane on a strong bench, with the second leg of the Champions League last-16 tie against RB Leipzig to come on Wednesday. 

The decision to leave Fabinho out means Nathaniel Phillips and Rhys Williams start together at the heart of the defence. Neco Williams, meanwhile, takes over from Alexander-Arnold at right-back. 

James Milner and Naby Keita come into the Liverpool midfield, while Mohamed Salah – who did not hide his disappointment at being substituted against Chelsea in midweek – starts too, along with Xherdan Shaqiri. 

Related items

  • Tokyo Olympics: Ganna propels Italy to world record and another gold Tokyo Olympics: Ganna propels Italy to world record and another gold

    Filippo Ganna came up with the goods for Italy when it mattered most with a stunning display of power in the final laps of the men's team pursuit final.

    Italy clinched their sixth gold of the Tokyo Olympics by overcoming favourites Denmark in a thrilling race at the Izu Cycling Centre on Wednesday.

    Ganna, the reigning world time trial champion, proved decisive as he hit the front in the final 1,000 metres, with Italy gaining a second on Denmark to cross the line in 3:42.032 and claim their eighth Olympic title in the event.

    It marks a new world record and clocked in at almost eight seconds faster than Great Britain's winning time in Rio five years ago.

    Denmark had looked well set to prove their favourites credentials after a superb opening three kilometres, but they failed to replicate the power shown by Ganna in the final laps and lost by 0.166s.

    The Danes had overcome Team GB on Tuesday to make the final, albeit in contentious fashion, with lead rider Frederik Madsen crashing into the back of Charlie Tanfield.


    FINISHING WITH A FLOURISH

    Team GB had ultimately fallen foul of a somewhat controversial judging call, which meant they had to face off against Switzerland for a seventh-place finish.

    However, the outgoing champions recovered to cruise to victory, setting the fastest Olympic time by a British quartet in the process.

    "I wouldn't say a point to prove, we just wanted to go out on a positive note, not be disappointed because we had disappointment over the last few days and we wanted to overcome that, go out on a high and look forward to Paris," Oliver Wood told BBC Sport.

    There was drama in the bronze medal race too, as Australia triumphed in a trans-Tasman tussle with New Zealand, who had to forfeit when one of their riders fell as a consequence of an overlapping wheel.

    Australia have now won eight medals in the last 10 Olympic Games in the men's team pursuit, more than any other nation.


    SPRINTING THROUGH

    Team GB were able to get over their team disappointment with some fine individual showings from Jack Carlin and Jason Kenny in the men's sprint.

    Carlin set a new Olympic record in his first heat, only to qualify as the third fastest, and though he had to survive a wobble in his second race, he progressed safely through to the quarter-finals.

    He will be joined by Kenny, who showed typical tactical nous to surprise Yuta Wakimoto on the inside. World record holder Nicholas Paul of Trinidad and Tobago also progressed.

    The women's Keirin heats also took place, with the major favourites all making it through.

    Katy Marchant – a bronze medallist in Rio – had to do it the hard way, however, after she was relegated for an infringement in her first heat. The 28-year-old atoned in the repechage to take her place in the quarter-finals.

  • Van Gaal named Netherlands head coach as he returns for a third spell Van Gaal named Netherlands head coach as he returns for a third spell

    Louis van Gaal has returned to football management after being named as the new head coach of the Netherlands.

    The 69-year-old, who announced his retirement in 2019, is back for a third spell in charge of the national team as their World Cup qualifying campaign prepares to resume next month.

    His first appointment since leaving Manchester United back in 2016, he takes over following the departure of Frank de Boer, who stepped down after the Netherlands' last-16 exit from Euro 2020.

    Van Gaal, who will be assisted by Danny Blind and Henk Fraser with Frans Hoek serving as goalkeeping coach, was first in charge between 2000 and 2002 but stepped down after failing to secure qualification for the World Cup.

    He returned for a second stint in 2012, guiding his nation to third place at the World Cup in Brazil two years later before departing for Old Trafford.

    Van Gaal's first match back in charge sees the Dutch travel to Norway on September 1 in a World Cup qualifier.

    Currently second in Group G with six points from three matches, the Netherlands then play back-to-back home games against Montenegro and table-topping Turkey.

    Van Gaal said: "Dutch football has always been close to my heart and the national coach is, in my opinion, a key position for moving our football forward. 

    "Moreover, I consider it an honour to coach the Dutch national team. There is little time until the next qualifiers, which are immediately crucial for participation in the World Cup. 

    "The focus is, therefore, 100 per cent on the players and the approach. After all, that's what I'm assigned to do. It's good to be back. 

    "I have already spoken to a number of players and together with the KNVB (the Dutch Football Association), the technical staff has been assembled. I'm really looking forward to getting the job done together."

    Nico-Jan Hoogma, KNVB director, added: "In the coming months, we will be tasked with qualifying for the World Cup. For this, we have a minimum preparation period. 

    "In view of this job, we were looking for a coach with exceptional qualities, who can also anticipate quickly. 

    "With his experience and track record at the highest level, we have that coach in our eyes with Louis van Gaal. The contact was made quickly and we have spoken many times since then. 

    "In the last few days, we have been able to carefully put the finishing touches together. We are happy that Louis is taking on this job."

    A league winner in three different countries, having secured domestic titles while at Ajax, Barcelona and Bayern Munich, Van Gaal has enjoyed a hugely successful managerial career.

    He also won the Champions League with Ajax in 1995, then guided Bayern to the final 15 years later.

    Van Gaal won 27 of the 44 games he oversaw during his first two spells with the Netherlands, drawing 13 and losing just four.

  • Real Madrid midfielder Kroos set for spell on the sidelines Real Madrid midfielder Kroos set for spell on the sidelines

    Real Madrid look set to be without Toni Kroos for the start of the new season, with the midfielder confirming he has been suffering with a pubic bone issue.

    Madrid confirmed on Tuesday that Kroos, who retired from international football following Germany's disappointing showing at Euro 2020, had been diagnosed with a pubalgia – a strain or tear of the soft tissue in the groin.

    Kroos subsequently revealed on Twitter that he had been suffering with the problem for some time.

    "After several month (sic.) of problems on my pubic bone I think it's time to give it a rest and work on it to be well prepared for a long season. Back asap as always," the 31-year-old tweeted.

    On Wednesday, reports in Spanish publication AS suggested Kroos could be out for around a month.

    Even if the estimation proves incorrect, Kroos seems highly unlikely to be able to play in Carlo Ancelotti's opening LaLiga match of his second stint in charge of Madrid.

    Los Blancos, who face Milan on Sunday in their final pre-season friendly, take on Deportivo Alaves on August 14. They then travel to Levante and Real Betis before the first international break of 2021-22.

    Kroos made 28 league appearances last term, scoring three goals. 

© 2020 SportsMaxTV All Rights Reserved.