Stablemates Brave Star and Gandalf duel at Garrison Savannah and Bella Riva shines in Breeders Stakes

By November 21, 2019
Leighton Levy

Leighton Levy is a journalist with 28 years’ experience covering crime, entertainment, and sports. He joined the staff at SportsMax.TV as a content editor two years ago and is enjoying the experience of developing sports content and new ideas. At SportsMax.tv he is pursuing his true passion - sports.

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  • RB Leipzig 0-2 Liverpool: Salah and Mane pounce on errors to take charge of tie RB Leipzig 0-2 Liverpool: Salah and Mane pounce on errors to take charge of tie

    Liverpool took charge of their Champions League last-16 tie with RB Leipzig as they claimed a 2-0 win in the first leg in Budapest.

    Julian Nagelsmann's side, who pipped Manchester United to a place in the knockouts, looked far from comfortable in the unfamiliar surroundings of the Puskas Arena, where Tuesday's game was held to due to coronavirus travel restrictions.

    Mohamed Salah's 24th goal of the season put Liverpool ahead after a mistake by Kevin Kampl, and Sadio Mane doubled the advantage when Nordi Mukiele gifted him an opportunity.

    The Reds are now unbeaten in six away games against Bundesliga opposition stretching back to 2002, and Jurgen Klopp's men will be firm favourites to progress to the quarter-finals.

    Liverpool nearly fell behind after just five minutes, Dani Olmo's diving header hitting the inside of the post from Angelino's cross.

    The away side looked the most threatening as they began to take control, and Peter Gulacsi was alert to block a Salah effort from close range before Roberto Firmino fired a shot into the side-netting.

    Mane then headed over from six yards from a Firmino cross, and the Senegalese thought he had set up his strike partner to nod in the opener after errors from Dayot Upamecano, but the ball had gone out of play.

    Christopher Nkunku had barely been involved in the first half but he could have given Leipzig the lead early in the second, Alisson saving well after the striker ran onto Olmo's throughball.

    It was Salah who broke the deadlock 53 minutes in, drilling past Gulacsi after a dreadful backpass from Kampl, and it soon got worse for Leipzig.

    Mukiele made a complete mess of a simple clearance forward by Curtis Jones, and Mane had time to stride into the box and slot home.

    Angelino had a chance to pull a goal back but sliced his attempt badly, summing up a poor game for last season's semi-finalists.

    What does it mean? Fragile Liverpool give season huge boost

    Injuries and recent form - they had won three of their previous 12 games in all competitions - will have had Liverpool fans feeling a little anxious before meeting the side second in the Bundesliga.

    However, a display of supreme authority, helped by an erratic approach from Leipzig, put Klopp's men in total charge of this tie and could well have provided a timely boost in confidence.

    Leipzig will hope for better in the second leg, but their previous visit to England ended in a 5-0 defeat to Manchester United.

    Salah at menacing best

    Salah should perhaps have scored sooner but he made no mistake with his clearest chance of the game.

    He spent the rest of the game harassing a deeply unsettled Leipzig defence in a hugely impressive, committed performance.

    Nagelsmann's men in a muddle

    Leipzig were on a six-game unbeaten run at home in this competition and it was unfortunate for them that this game had to be relocated to a neutral venue.

    Still, that does not explain the horribly haphazard nature of their performance. Two defensive errors led directly to the goals, Mukiele could have been sent off before his mistake, while Bayern Munich-bound Upamecano misplaced 20 passes from centre-back.

    What's next?

    With the return leg not until March 10, Liverpool's more pressing concern is a derby with Everton on Saturday. Leipzig head to Hertha Berlin in the Bundesliga a day later.

  • Mason Greenwood signs new Manchester United deal Mason Greenwood signs new Manchester United deal

    Mason Greenwood has signed a new contract at Manchester United that ties him to the Premier League giants until June 2025.

    United said the deal includes the option for a further year, emphasising their belief that academy product Greenwood, 19, is poised to play a big part in their future.

    The teenage forward has emerged among Europe's leading players in his age group, having made his debut as a 17-year-old and been a regular within the first-team squad ever since.

    Manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer said Greenwood, who joined United's youth system as a seven-year-old, is primed to be a big part of the team in years to come.

    "Mason is a fantastic talent and yet another fine example of the type of player that our academy produces," Solskjaer said. 

    "He has made great progress this season, showing real maturity and adaptability to his game, which has seen him develop into one of the best young players in the country."

    Solskjaer believes Greenwood, who has scored just once in 18 Premier League appearances this season, has boundless scope for improvement in his game.

    The United boss told the club's website: "Whilst it is easy for people outside of the club to forget that Mason is just 19, it is our job as coaches to ensure he reaches his phenomenal potential and every step we take is to help him along that path.

    "Mason is naturally gifted and has a brilliant attitude; we know how important he is going to be for Manchester United over the coming seasons."

    Greenwood's previous deal, signed in October 2019, would have taken him through to the end of the 2022-23 season.

    Now, along with the likes of Marcus Rashford, he looks like being a long-term piece of United's first-team dressing room.

    Greenwood, who has one England cap, said: "I've worked so hard to reach this level and the last two years have been amazing. 

    "There is so much that I want to achieve in the game and I know that this is the perfect environment to play my football.

    "With the support from the manager, his coaching staff and so many great players to learn from; I know that I am developing every single day. 

    "There is a lot more to come from myself and this team and I am so committed to working hard week in, week out to help the group achieve success.

    "I want to repay the club for the support that everyone has given me over the years and show everyone just what I am capable of."

  • I didn't think Jurgen was that kind of manager - Guardiola surprise at Klopp's COVID jibe I didn't think Jurgen was that kind of manager - Guardiola surprise at Klopp's COVID jibe

    Pep Guardiola expressed disappointment with Jurgen Klopp's attempt at pre-match mind games after the Liverpool manager falsely claimed Manchester City had "a two-week break for COVID reasons".

    Champions Liverpool host Premier League leaders City on Sunday, where Guardiola's men have the chance to go 10 points clear of Klopp's side with a game in hand if they can claim a first win at Anfield since 2003.

    Both men addressed the media on Friday, with Klopp speaking first and suggesting a coronavirus outbreak within the City squad between Christmas and new year actually helped their title bid.

    Asked about Guardiola's recently repeated mantra that his team - currently on a 20-match unbeaten run across all competitions - are playing better because they have managed to "run less" in possession, Klopp focused his attention upon the spike in infections that saw City's scheduled December 28 trip to Everton postponed.

    "The more you keep the ball, the less you have to run, probably. We didn't have a break," he said.

    "I think City had a two-week break for COVID reasons. It's really tough. It's a tough year, season; for some teams, it looks like lesser but, for us, for the reasons you know, it's tough."

    In reality, City had a seven-day break between their 2-0 win over Newcastle United on Boxing Day and a January 3 trip to Chelsea, where a squad heavily depleted by a raft of players being forced to self-isolate secured an impressive 3-1 win.

    Having started his own briefing later than scheduled, Guardiola opted to respond initially with heavy sarcasm.

    "He made a mistake, it was two months off or three months off. Four months we had off. That is why we are in top form right now," he said.

    "Jurgen has to see the calendar again. We had COVID, we had one week and we played with 14 players at Stamford Bridge, Maybe I'm wrong, maybe it was three or four weeks.

    "Tomorrow when I see Jurgen I'll say to him, 'How many weeks or days were we off?'"

    Guardiola famously endured a tempestuous back and fourth with Jose Mourinho when the pair were in charge of Barcelona and Real Madrid a decade ago - an affair he was perhaps referencing when stating he held Klopp, whom he also competed against in the Bundesliga, to higher standards.

    "I'm surprised," he said. "I thought Jurgen was not that type of manager like other ones [for whom] it is usual to do it. I didn't expect that comment. From him, I didn't expect it.

    "He knows it’s not true, come on! Nobody in the Premier League has had two weeks off, everyone knows. In some situation you do it [mind games] for a purpose, but I did not expect he will do it."

    Liverpool have lost their past two home games 1-0 to Burnley and Brighton and Hove Albion.

    Nevertheless, Anfield remains something of a final frontier for Guardiola as City boss, having lost four and drawn one of his five visits to the red side of Stanley Park.

    "They are always an incredibly tough team and remain a tough squad," he said.

    "They know the process, the skills, the routines and methodology they do offensively. No change.

    "They are aggressive and will be more aggressive than ever, I'm pretty sure. They'll rest really well after the game against Brighton and they'll recover in these two weeks off and they will be ready."

    City remain without Kevin De Bruyne (hamstring), Nathan Ake (muscular) and Sergio Aguero, who has endured a prolonged absence after testing positive for coronavirus. He is expected to return in a few weeks.

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