On this day in sport: Liverpool win the league and Cam Newton arrives in NFL

By Sports Desk April 28, 2020

Liverpool are hoping 2020 will see them end a league title drought that has now spanned 30 years.

On this day three decades ago, Liverpool were crowned First Division champions and they remarkably have not won the English top flight since.

NFL free agent Cam Newton can also reflect on this date in sporting history, given it is nine years to the day since he was drafted by the Carolina Panthers.

Here we look back on some of the most memorable moments from the world of sport to take place on April 28.

1990 - Liverpool's most recent league title is won

On April 28, 1990, Liverpool were crowned English champions after a 2-1 victory over QPR.

It looked like the Reds, who went into their penultimate match of the campaign two points clear of title rivals Aston Villa, could be denied when QPR went ahead through a Roy Wegerle header.

But Ian Rush equalised before half-time and a John Barnes penalty had Liverpool on the brink with 25 minutes to go.

At full-time, their victory combined with Villa's 3-3 draw against Norwich City ensured Liverpool were champions for an 18th time.

It meant Kenny Dalglish's side would not see their fate go down to the final day, something they were eager to avoid a year on from their heart-breaking loss to Arsenal.

Few would have believed at that stage there would be a 30-year title drought to follow.

However, Liverpool were on the brink of finally ending that long wait under Jurgen Klopp before the coronavirus pandemic halted the Premier League season.
 

2011 - Cam Newton number one in star-studded NFL draft

Newton was the first overall pick by the Panthers nine years ago.

The quarterback went on to win the NFL MVP award in the 2015 season but ultimately could not guide the Panthers to Super Bowl glory prior to his emotional departure ahead of the 2020 season.

Having been released by the Panthers in March, Newton remains without a team but is eager to continue his NFL career.

An impressive draft class in 2011 saw Von Miller, who would go on to torment Newton and win the MVP award as the Denver Broncos beat the Carolina Panthers at Super Bowl 50, selected at two.

We also saw two star wide receivers enter the league, with A. J. Green taken by the Cincinnati Bengals at four, while the Atlanta Falcons traded up to land Julio Jones at six.

Houston Texans great J. J. Watt was a tremendous pick up at number 11, while the Seattle Seahawks got some incredible value in cornerback Richard Sherman, who was the 154th pick.
 

2007 - Cricket World Cup glory for Australia

Australia won an unprecedented third consecutive Cricket World Cup crown on this day 13 years ago.

The Aussies beat Sri Lanka by 53 runs via the Duckworth–Lewis method in Bridgetown, Barbados.

It remains the only time the final has been settled in that fashion, rain having delayed the start of proceedings.

Australia recorded an impressive score of 281-4 in their 38 overs, helped by Adam Gilchrist smashing 149 runs from 104 balls.

Sri Lanka had a revised 36-over target of 269 but could only manage 215-8.

India and England won two of the next three tournaments, but Australia's 2015 win means they stand alone with five trophies. Their seven total appearances in the final is also a record.

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  • From Rule 5 pick to MLB sensation: Rapid rise of history-making Tigers rookie Akil Baddoo From Rule 5 pick to MLB sensation: Rapid rise of history-making Tigers rookie Akil Baddoo

    Akil Baddoo is the name on everyone's lips.

    Baddoo has shattered records from his very first pitch in MLB this month amid an incredible rise from unheralded Rule 5 pick to the biggest sensation in baseball.

    The 22-year-old Detroit Tigers outfielder is already the first player in modern MLB history (dating back to 1901) to hit a grand slam, another home run and a walk-off hit in his first three career games.

    But Baddoo's story is one of perseverance. Let's rewind back to May 2019. He was forced to undergo Tommy John surgery.

    If sitting out the 2019 campaign was not bad enough, he missed last season when the minor leagues were shut down due to the coronavirus pandemic.

    During the winter's Rule five draft in December, Baddoo was taken by the Tigers, having initially been drafted out of high school by the Minnesota Twins in 2016.

    The Rule 5 draft aims at preventing franchises from stockpiling too many young players on their minor league affiliate teams when other clubs would be prepared to play them in the major leagues. If chosen, a player must be kept on the selecting team's major league active roster for the entire season.

    "If you think about it, he's gone through so much," Baddoo's mother Akilah said. "And then this opportunity came, and it was like, 'This can't be a joke. There's a plan for you. You got to know that'."

    In the least likely of places, the Tigers appear to have landed a gem, and Baddoo is making the most of his opportunity, immediately becoming a cult hero in Detroit.

    Baddoo had 233 career minor leagues games to his name, but none above Class A as he earned a place on the Opening Day roster after hitting .325 in Spring Training with five home runs. However, the Maryland native looked like a man for the big stage.

    In his opening at-bat on April 4, Baddoo homered in a memorable maiden outing for the Tigers, driving to left field in the bottom of the third inning against the Cleveland Indians.

    "I'm just living in the moment," Baddoo said post-game after becoming the ninth player in Tigers franchise history to hit a home run in his first major league at-bat and only the second to do so on the first pitch, following George Vico in 1948. "I got a good pitch to hit, and I was able to hit it in front of my family and everyone."

    If that was not enough, Baddoo continued the fairy-tale week by hitting his first career grand slam against the Twins the following day. He became the first Tiger to homer in each of his first two MLB games and the first player in major league history to homer out of the ninth spot of the batting order in his first two career games. Baddoo was also the first player in franchise history to hit a slam within his opening two games.

    Baddoo has continually showed maturity beyond his years as the rookie adds to his growing legend. Taking over Motor City, he then delivered a walk-off shot to sink his old team the Twins 24 hours later.

    His game-winning hit saw him become the first Detroit player with a walk-off shot within his first three MLB games since 1998.

    Baddoo is yet to drop off, his history-making season continuing with a homer against the Houston Astros on Tuesday. Through eight games, he took his tally to four home runs, a double and a triple. According to Stats Perform, his slugging percentage at the time – 1.043 – was the highest in American League (AL) history after eight games.

    After his RBI double against the Astros on Wednesday, Baddoo has now driven in at least one run in seven of his first nine career games, the second Tiger in franchise history to do so, following Dale Alexander in 1929.

    Since 1920, only George Shuba (eight) managed more RBIs in his first nine career games across MLB, according to Stats Perform.

    As it stands, Baddoo's slugging percentage stands at .963 (which ranks eighth all-time through first nine career games since 1901) with 11 RBI. If you combine his RBI and SLG percentage, he is one of four players to have 11-plus RBI and a 900-plus SLG over his first nine career games, after Trevor Story (13/.974 – 38/39 in 2016), Taylor Teagarden (12/1.000 – 29/29 in 2008) and Dave Kingman (11/1.105 – 21/19 in 1971).

    Baddoo was rated as Detroit's fifth outfielder before the start of the season, so how does he compare to his team-mates?

    Counting only plate appearances while playing outfielder, Baddoo's .370 average, .379 on-base percentage, .963 SLG, 1.342 OPS, four homers and 11 RBI are more than the team's other outfielders combined –.190 AVG, .277 OBP, .330 SLG, .607 OPS, three home runs and nine RBI.

    As for the team who left their prospect unprotected, Minnesota's outfielders have tallied a .263 AVG, .331 OBS and .474 SLG so far this season – numbers surpassed by Baddoo.

    Baddoo is flying the flag for Rule 5 picks – Roberto Clemente is the only player out of that unheralded draft to earn Hall of Fame honours.

    Following an 18-season career, Clemente – who died in a plane crash at the age of 38 in 1972 – was a 15-time All-Star, two-time World Series champion, 1966 National League (NL) MVP, World Series MVP and 12-time Gold Glove winner.

    Is Baddoo destined for a Hall of Fame career?

    At the same stage of their careers, Baddoo trumps Clemente in all categories: AVG (.370 to .316), OBP (.379 to .325), SLG (.963 to .500), OPS (1.342 to .825), home runs (four to one), RBI (11 to six) and runs (five to three).

    "Obviously he has the talent to do a lot of different things, I knew he'd give me everything he's got," Tigers manager AJ Hinch has said previously. "That was evident from the beginning."

  • Rumour Has It: Declan Rice eyeing Man Utd move Rumour Has It: Declan Rice eyeing Man Utd move

    Declan Rice may be looking to make a move to Manchester United from resurgent West Ham. 

    The 22-year-old midfielder talked to United players during last month's international break as England won their opening three World Cup qualifiers.

    The Red Devils could be in need of midfield help if Paul Pogba leaves at the end of the season.

     

    TOP STORY - RICE TO RED DEVILS

    England international Declan Rice is interested in swapping West Ham for Manchester United, the Manchester Evening News reports. 

    During the recent international break, he spoke with Harry Maguire and Luke Shaw about the atmosphere at the club. 

    Rice is under contract with the Hammers through to 2024 but could be prised away for the right price. 

    David Moyes has said Rice could net £100 million for the London club. 

     

    ROUND-UP

    - Barcelona have made prolific Borussia Dortmund striker Erling Haaland their primary transfer target, according to Marca. Barca are willing to wait until the end of next season to get their man.

    - Brest defender Romain Perraud has the attention of Leeds United and Lyon, according to the Daily Mail. Perraud would shore up the defence of either club while serving as a potential asset going forward; he has three goals and six assists this season.

    - Goal reports Jesse Lingard is yet to decide whether he wants to make West Ham his permanent home as he continues to enjoy a stunning spell on loan from Manchester United.

    - Lyon center back and Danish international Joachim Andersen, currently on loan to Fulham, is drawing interest from Tottenham and Manchester United, B.T. reports, with Chelsea, Leicester City and Crystal Palace also potential destinations.

    Charles De Ketelaere may be on the move from Bruges, with Milan and Atalanta both potential landing spots, according to Calciomercato. 

  • Courtois anticipates 'special' Chelsea reunion in Champions League semis Courtois anticipates 'special' Chelsea reunion in Champions League semis

    Thibault Courtois' clean sheet against Liverpool has the Real Madrid goalkeeper anticipating a Champions League semi-final reunion with Chelsea in search of silverware.

    After Madrid held Liverpool to a goalless draw on Wednesday, the LaLiga champions progressed to the semi-finals for the first time since 2018 via a 3-1 aggregate success.

    Madrid will now face Thomas Tuchel's Chelsea for a spot in the decider – Los Blancos have qualified for the semis of the European Cup/Champions League for the 30th time, at least 10 more than any other team.

    "We came into today off the back of two really difficult games and maybe we just lacked the legs in attack but defensively we ran as if we had twelve men on the pitch," Courtois said.

    "It was unbelievable. Everyone has to put that effort in when we're taken to the limit.

    "We had to dig in and give it our all and that's what we did. That's crucial for the team's desire and in order to show we're a unit."

    Courtois spent four seasons at Chelsea following a loan period with Atletico Madrid before joining Real Madrid in 2018.

    He won two Premier League titles and other honours during his time at Stamford Bridge.

    Madrid have faced Chelsea more often without winning than any other side in their entire history, failing to win in all three games against the Premier League outfit (D1 L2), while their upcoming semi-final encounter will be their first ever Champions League meeting.

    "It's a special game against my former club. Since [Thomas] Tuchel came in, they've played 3-5-2, 3-4-3 and they're doing well, not conceding many goals," Belgium international Courtois said.

    "It's going to be a tough match but I hope we can come through it. 

    "We're hungry to win another Champions League and we have to try and go into it on a high. We might get some of our injured players back but everyone who played today showed we're a fantastic team."

    While Madrid hope to add to their record 13 European titles, Courtois is seeking his first. 

    Courtois has reached the Champions League final once before, but that 2014 showdown against Madrid ended in heartbreaking fashion as Atletico conceded an equaliser in stoppage time, then three more in a 4-1 extra-time defeat.

    Now he and his team will be hoping to maintain the stingy defence they displayed midweek, even without the injured Sergio Ramos, Raphael Varane and Dani Carvajal. 

    The Spanish giants have now progressed from 11 of their 12 two-legged knockout ties in the Champions League under Zinedine Zidane, with the club's only elimination coming against Manchester City in last season's round of 16.

    "Me and [Eder] Militao are part of the squad and we're here for a reason. We're well prepared for games like the one tonight," said Madrid defender Nacho.

    "We've played three of the most demanding games together and we've produced high-level performances. So I'm pleased for myself, for Militao and especially for the whole team."

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