Chelsea and Liverpool will meet once again in the Carabao Cup final on February 25.

The Wembley clash will be the third final between the clubs in the tournament’s history.

Liverpool are the competition’s most successful team with nine victories while Chelsea who have lifted the trophy five times.

Here, PA news agency takes a look at their previous two finals.

2005: Chelsea 3-2 Liverpool aet – Millennium Stadium

Chelsea lifted their first silverware under Jose Mourinho at the Millennium Stadium in Cardiff, which hosted English cup finals between 2001 to 2006 while the new Wembley was being built. Liverpool opened the scoring inside the first minute of the game after John Arne Riise volleyed home a cross from Fernando Morientes.

The game stayed 1-0 until Steven Gerrard’s attempted headed clearance went into the back of his own net.

Goals from Didier Drogba and Mateja Kezman gave Chelsea a 3-1 lead in extra-time and they held on despite Antonio Nunez quickly pulling one back.

2022: Chelsea 0-0 Liverpool (Liverpool win 11-10 on pens) – Wembley

Liverpool were chasing a quadruple and ticked off the first trophy after a marathon penalty shootout at Wembley. The game remained goalless for 120 minutes but Liverpool prevailed 11-10 on spot-kicks after Chelsea goalkeeper Kepa Arrizabalaga missed his penalty.

The two sides would meet again later in the season in the FA Cup final. This was the first time that the same teams met in both the League Cup final and the FA Cup final of the same season since Arsenal and Sheffield Wednesday in 1993.

That game also remained 0-0 after extra-time and Liverpool won on penalties again when Kostas Tsimikas scored his penalty after Mason Mount had his saved by Allison Becker.

But Jurgen Klopp’s side fell short in their pursuit of both the Premier League and Champions League trophies as their quadruple hopes were dashed.

Lionel Messi and new signing Luis Suarez are set to star as David Beckham-owned Inter Miami kick off Major League Soccer’s biggest season yet.

More eyes are on the United States and Canada’s top division than ever before as the league’s 29th season gets under way in Fort Lauderdale on Wednesday.

It is MLS’ earliest ever start to a campaign and begins with a standalone fixture as Miami play host to Real Salt Lake at newly renamed, and freshly upgraded, Chase Stadium.

Not only is the eight-time Ballon d’Or winner fit for Wednesday’s opener but Suarez is expected to make his competitive debut following his winter switch to Florida from Brazilian side Gremio.

Messi will be involved having overcome the inflamed adductor issue that saw him miss a high-profile pre-season friendly in Hong Kong, sparking fury from expectant ticket-holders.

“They’re playing and they’re ready to play,” Inter Miami coach Tata Martino said of Messi and the former Liverpool striker.

“If they’re required to play 90 minutes, we’re going to look at it always depending on the need of the team.”

Suarez is the latest former Barcelona star to rock up in Miami, where he has joined Messi, Sergio Busquets and Jordi Alba.

“It’s good, very positive,” left-back Alba said on the eve of the MLS opener. “When we got here we found a coach, players and staff who are spectacular. Like a family. They treat us very well.

“For Luis, besides the fact we’re friends, he is going to bring us a lot in attack and is a great player.

“(The younger players) always listen when we talk and we are here to give them advice. We all get along well.

“In all teams you have veterans and young players, building a positive environment for the benefit of the team.”

Messi, Busquets and Alba have already won their first trophy in Miami’s eye-catching pink kit, having roared to victory in the inaugural Leagues Cup last year.

The competition provided a memorable start to their life in North America and Alba is eyeing more silverware this term.

“We have a lot of big players but that doesn’t mean anything, you have to show what you can do,” the former Spain international said. “It is going to be hard.

“Hopefully we can win all the titles. I understand the fans’ enthusiasm and the expectations they have for the team, but we have to show it on the field and we think we’re on a good path.”

Chelsea have the chance to apply balm to a tumultuous spell in their recent history when they face Liverpool in Sunday’s Carabao Cup final.

With there seeming little hope of achieving a European place via their Premier League form, the meeting with the Reds takes on added importance for Mauricio Pochettino’s young side.

Here the PA news agency looks at their route to Wembley.

Second round – Chelsea 2-1 AFC Wimbledon

Entering a round earlier than they are used to on account of having no European football, Pochettino’s side faced a shock when their League Two opponents took the lead via James Tilley’s first-half penalty, awarded after goalkeeper Robert Sanchez had flown from his goal with a reckless punch at a free-kick. Chelsea replied with a spot-kick of their own converted by Noni Madueke in stoppage time before the break. In the second half, Enzo Fernandez took advantage of an error from Alex Bass in the visitors’ goal to score for the first time since his £105million move from Benfica, sparing his side’s blushes.

Third round – Chelsea 1-0 Brighton

The Blues had lost at home to Brighton in the final weeks of the 2022/23 season, but with Roberto De Zerbi’s side juggling Premier League commitments with a first European campaign, Chelsea came out on top to progress to round four thanks to Nicolas Jackson’s goal early in the second half. The game was notable for a full debut for summer signing from Manchester City, Cole Palmer, the 21-year-old setting up the winning goal. He goes into Sunday’s final as the club’s top scorer with 12 in all competitions.

Fourth round – Chelsea 2-0 Blackburn

Benoit Badiashile marked his first appearance of the season after injury by scoring his second Chelsea goal, as Blackburn were dispatched at Stamford Bridge. The defender pounced on an error from Rovers goalkeeper Leopold Wahlstedt who failed to deal with Palmer’s corner, tapping home from close range. Raheem Sterling scored in the second half, set up again by the increasingly influential Palmer, to put his team into the last eight.

Quarter-final – Chelsea 1-1 Newcastle (Chelsea win 4-2 on penalties)

Chelsea looked to be heading out when Callum Wilson took advantage of chaos in their defence to put Newcastle a goal up in the first half, as indifferent Premier League form looked to have caught up with the team’s cup progress. That’s the way it stayed until stoppage time, when Kieran Trippier hesitated in dealing with a cross and Mykhailo Mudryk stole in to rescue his side. A penalty shoot-out followed, with Trippier the villain again for the visitors before goalkeeper Djordje Petrovic saved from Matt Ritchie to send Chelsea through.

Semi-final – Middlesbrough 1-0 Chelsea / Chelsea 6-1 Middlesbrough (6-2 on aggregate)

A calamitous first leg at the Riverside Stadium saw Pochettino’s team return south embarrassed after missing a host of chances against the Championship outfit, with Palmer the principal culprit. Hayden Hackney’s goal was the difference to leave boss Michael Carrick and his players dreaming of Wembley. Those aspirations were extinguished by half-time in the return leg in west London, with Chelsea 4-0 up by the break en route to a 6-1 win that ensured it would be they and not Boro that face Liverpool on Sunday.

Familiarity, so the saying goes, breeds contempt, but for Liverpool and Chelsea it has resulted in a war of attrition.

The two teams have met 17 times since September 2018 and, on the three occasions those have been finals, each one has gone to penalties, with Liverpool victorious in all three.

And, while Sunday’s reunion at Wembley is a repeat of the 2022 Carabao Cup final, which had an epic shoot-out settled by Reds goalkeeper Caoimhin Kelleher scoring his side’s 11th attempt and Kepa Arrizabalaga missing his, there are few similarities with that afternoon.

Injuries and key departures mean Liverpool, the record nine-time winners, will be able to field just five of the starting XI from that day; Chelsea can put out just two after a huge churn of players during a billion-pound spending spree in the interim.

The final represents the first moment of significance in Jurgen Klopp’s long goodbye after his decision to step down at the end of the season.

Meanwhile, Chelsea have burned through three managers in Thomas Tuchel, Graham Potter and Frank Lampard before giving Mauricio Pochettino the chance to arrest their gradual decline.

And it has been a decline.

When the pair met two years ago Liverpool were second in the Premier League table, chasing Manchester City in a brilliant title race which they lost by a point despite racking up 92 of them, while Chelsea were third, albeit 10 points behind.

But, despite their recent upturn in form, this time the Stamford Bridge side are 22 points adrift of the table-topping Reds in 10th.

Liverpool, competing on four fronts, are favourites, having lost just twice to domestic opponents, and, last month’s blip at Arsenal aside, Klopp has restored his squad’s competitiveness, even if they are not quite hitting the heights of that 2021/22 season.

However, injuries have hit at the wrong time, with influential players like full-back Trent Alexander-Arnold, forward Diogo Jota, midfielder Dominik Szoboszlai and goalkeeper Alisson Becker already ruled out of the showpiece.

That may be just the opening Chelsea need after they were ripped apart 4-1 at Anfield barely a month ago.

There followed a 4-2 home defeat to Wolves four days later, after which they became one of the few teams to win at Villa Park while earning a creditable draw at Manchester City last weekend.

They appear to have played themselves into some form and Pochettino will look to build on that as he seeks to redress the balance against Klopp, against whom he has won just once in 12 meetings, and gain a small measure of revenge for the Champions League final defeat in Madrid in 2019 as Tottenham manager.

The Argentinian is desperate to end his trophy drought with English clubs in his seventh season in the country and silence some of the critics who are just starting to question his credentials again, having failed to spark a revival at Stamford Bridge, despite the massive investment in the playing squad.

That January Anfield defeat ended a run of seven successive draws between the two sides and, with all factors considered, that points to another close Wembley encounter – and possibly penalties yet again.

There will be no shortage of sub-plots when Chelsea take on Liverpool for the first silverware of the season in the Carabao Cup final at Wembley on Sunday.

Each coming off tumultuous campaigns last season, fortunes this season have diverged with one challenging on all fronts whilst the other labours to rediscover former glories.

The PA news agency looks at the talking points.

Liverpool’s injury list

It was confirmed on Tuesday that Diogo Jota and Alisson would be out for significant periods while Curtis Jones also joins Trent Alexander-Arnold, Thiago Alcantara and Joel Matip on the absent list for Sunday.

There is no guarantee that Darwin Nunez, who like Jones and Jota was withdrawn in Saturday’s win over Brentford, or Dominik Szoboszlai will be fit as Jurgen Klopp’s squad risks being stretched thin on the run-in, beginning with Sunday’s final.

Chelsea’s young team coming of age

Mauricio Pochettino has talked about the importance of success in the Carabao Cup for the development of his players, who with an average age of just over 23 comprise the youngest squad in the Premier League.

After the semi-final win over Middlesbrough he stated Sunday’s final means more to Chelsea’s current crop than the club’s trophy-laden history would suggest, and that victory at Wembley could accelerate their development. Fresh from an encouraging performance in drawing with Manchester City at the Etihad Stadium, lifting the cup on Sunday could be a watershed moment.

Salah back and in form

Klopp was without Mohamed Salah for almost seven weeks prior to his return to the team as a first-half substitute against Brentford, but his performance at the Gtech Stadium saw him hit the ground running.

An excellent assist for Alexis Mac Allister’s goal that made it 2-0 was followed minutes later by a fine finish of his own to show his manager it is not all bad news on the selection front. It will be a tonic to Klopp’s injury concerns if the Egyptian can help his team and himself to an eighth trophy of his Liverpool career on Sunday.

Chelsea’s best hope of Europe

With a top-six league finish looking out of reach it seems increasingly likely that cup success is Pochettino’s best hope of marking his first season by leading the club back into Europe after a year away.

They still have the FA Cup to play for, with a fifth-round meeting at home to Championship high-fliers Leeds next week, but a win at Wembley on Sunday will ensure at least a place in the Europa Conference League. It may not be a return to the Champions League, a competition the team won was recently as 2021, but it would be progress after a turbulent 18 months on and off the pitch.

Liverpool head to their second Carabao Cup final in three seasons this weekend looking to extend their own competition record of nine victories.

Here, the PA news agency details how they got there.

Fourth round: v Leicester (h) 3-1, September 27

Dominik Szoboszlai’s brilliant strike from the edge of the penalty area was the highlight of a second-half comeback after falling behind to Kasey McAteer’s third-minute goal. Cody Gakpo’s shot on the turn levelled things up just after the break, Szoboszlai smashed home and Diogo Jota’s cheeky backheel clinched victory.

Fifth round: v Bournemouth (a) 2-1, November 1

Darwin Nunez’s goal was worthy of winning any cup tie on a filthy night on the south coast. Gakpo opened the scoring with a scruffy close-range finish only for Justin Kluivert’s far-post header to level things up just past the hour. Nunez’s poor first touch was jeered by home fans but he made them pay by cutting in from the left touchline to whip a vicious shot over Andrei Radu.

Quarter-finals: v West Ham (h) 5-1, December 20

Gakpo made it three in as many cup ties but Curtis Jones was the real star with two goals. Szoboszlai opened the scoring with another long-range strike and Mohamed Salah scored a trademark breakaway before Jones’ driving run completed the scoring. Jarrod Bowen’s curling effort had briefly made it 3-1.

Semi-finals, first leg v Fulham (h) 2-1, January 10

Gakpo’s winner was his fourth successive goalscoring appearance in the competition and his tidy near-post effort gave Liverpool an advantage to take to Craven Cottage. Jones’ deflected shot from the edge of the area in the second half cancelled out Willian’s opener and Gakpo swept home in the 71st minute to turn things around.

Semi-finals, second leg v Fulham (a) 1-1, January 24

Luis Diaz’s early deflected shot beat Bernd Leno at his near post and set Jurgen Klopp’s side on their way to Wembley. Issa Diop’s quick improvisation diverted home a cross with his thigh but they could not make further inroads.

New Port Vale manager Darren Moore was “bitterly disappointed” with the closing stages of the 2-0 League One defeat at Reading as late goals led to Moore’s second successive defeat since taking charge.

Vale offered little throughout a scrappy affair and Reading’s constant second-half pressure paid off through Lewis Wing, in the 76th minute, and Harvey Knibbs seven minutes later.

Vale, now eight games without a win, lie two points from safety but have games in hand over most of the teams above them.

Moore, who succeeded the sacked Andy Crosby last week, said: “I was bitterly disappointed with those last 16 or 17 minutes.

“It was a lapse in concentration that’s once again undone us this evening and we have to be better than that.

“It’s those small percentages that can decide a game and you have to be better at them, in order to drag the game by the scruff of the neck and get that positive result that we need.

“I’m disappointed because we didn’t deserve that tonight but, at the same time, we’ve only got ourselves to blame.

“There was a lot of positives, though. We had just one day to work on our shape, we had two classroom sessions, and the boys applied themselves absolutely spot on.

“Reading didn’t really cause us too much trouble in their rotations and play. We kind of saw a lot of those things off.

“In terms of us with the ball, I was pleased with the back to the middle to the attack.

“If there is one small criticism, it is probably getting those bodies in (to the penalty area) and finishing off what we had maintained throughout the game.

“We needed to commit those bodies forward to get that final contact on the ball. And it will come.”

Reading are now six points clear of the relegation zone.

“It was a good way to respond after Saturday (when they lost 4-1 at leaders Portsmouth),” said manager Ruben Selles.

“We spoke after the game and for me, that game did not reflect the way that we played and the way that we performed. Tonight reflects more the way that we play.

“It took us 15 to 20 minutes to adjust things because it was just Darren’s second game and he changed the formation that Vale usually play.

“We were prepared for a different scenario so early on it was more competitive than we first expected.

“But we adjusted after that and, after half-time, we fully adjusted in the second half. We then dominated the game.

“We stayed patient, we built up the game. When the game is open, we can be very dynamic.”

Northampton boss Jon Brady was full of praise for Tony Springett after he scored a stoppage-time equaliser to clinch a point in a 2-2 League One draw at near-neighbours Oxford.

The on-loan Norwich winger showed good composure with a tidy finish in a crowded goalmouth after collecting Will Hoskins’ left-wing cross for his first league goal.

Brady said: “It was an excellent moment for Tony and I’m really pleased for him. He’s had to be patient for his opportunities.

“He came on today and the little dummy he did just before when the ball comes across goal… he’s calm enough to move the defender and it was an excellent finish.

“It was a fantastic point overall and I’m very pleased for the boys.

“I felt we were very disciplined in our approach tonight and clinical.

“We reduced them to a lot of shots from distance. (Goalkeeper) Louie Moulden came to the fore right at the end but apart from that, they didn’t really trouble us.”

Oxford led through Josh Murphy’s thunderbolt in the fifth minute but Cobblers levelled through Will Hondermarck, 10 minutes before the break.

Will Goodwin scored his first goal for the U’s by diverting in Owen Dale’s cross in the 81st minute to put Oxford 2-1 up, but Springett earned Northampton a point with his composed finish in the third minute of stoppage-time.

Brady added: “The first goal that we conceded, we’ve got to do better.

“Our players are absolutely excellent in terms of discipline and work rate.

“After conceding early tonight we showed immense character out of possession and I can’t really remember them troubling us apart from distance and our own mistakes.

“They can have all the possession they wanted tonight, it was how we dealt with it out of possession and I felt we controlled the game that way.”

The U’s have now drawn five of their last six matches to sit fifth in the table but have played two games more than seventh-placed Stevenage.

Oxford head coach Des Buckingham said: “We picked an attacking line-up and to score after only five or six minutes put us on a good front foot.

“We did enough with the changes we made in the second half to get back in front and then it was a matter of making sure we manage those final few minutes.

“There’s a big hint of offside with Northampton’s second goal, but there were still many things we could have done better after that moment.

“It’s frustrating to leave with what we thought would be three points and end up with the one.

“We’re six games unbeaten and I know people don’t want to hear that because most of them are draws rather than wins.

“The most important thing is we’re picking up results and it keeps us in and around where we want to be.

“We’ll get better and get stronger every week.”

Liam Rosenior described Hull’s performance in their 2-1 victory over Southampton as the culmination of his work as Tigers boss.

Anass Zaroury bagged his first goal for the club since arriving on loan from Burnley before Liverpool loanee Fabio Carvalho put the visitors in control for their fourth straight away win – and first at Southampton since 1951.

Rosenior, whose side made it three wins in a row for the first time since he took over in November 2022 and moved into the play-off places, said: “We’ve come away to an outstanding team, with outstanding players and an outstanding manager, and we had to be brave.

“That first-half performance is exactly what I’ve been working so hard to bring to the club. I have bored all the supporters talking about the process but seeing that first-half performance was top.

“I am so proud of the lads but I don’t want to get carried away. I just see it as the next step for this team.

“From the outside it is a big step but inside I don’t take any notice of runs or what we can and can’t achieve.

“This is a young team that will make mistakes, and we’ll make more mistakes along the way, but when it comes off it is a delight to watch.”

The Tigers struck in the 11th minute when a long ball from goalkeeper Ryan Allsop caught Saints off-guard. Ryan Giles carried before the ball found its way to Jaden Philogene, and Gavin Bazunu parried the winger’s powerful shot into the path of Zaroury to tap in his first goal in five days short of a year.

Philogene then nabbed the ball off Joe Rothwell on the edge of the Saints box before releasing Carvalho for his second goal since arriving from Anfield.

Joe Aribo grabbed an 88th-minute consolation for Saints but their manager Russell Martin was left furious at the first-half horror show.

Saints ended an 11-game winning run at St Mary’s to drop to fourth and Martin said: “First half was rubbish, the second half was very good but that doesn’t matter very much when you’re 2-0 down.

“No one cares if you play well in the second half when you aren’t good in the first half and are behind.

“Hull were good, we knew that from the first game (a last-minute 2-1 win for Saints in October). We had a good chance with Rothwell before they can get into the game, we don’t take it, and somehow that doesn’t spur us on to go more aggressive.

“Their goal is something we worked on in training yesterday as we’ve seen them do it a lot, so to allow that to happen is a nonsense.

“Last week’s defeat (their first after 25 games unbeaten, against Bristol City) was down to a lack of aggression, this week it was a lack of courage. The two things you need is courage and aggression.”

West Brom boss Carlos Corberan praised his Championship play-off chasing side for their patience as they claimed a comprehensive 3-0 victory at Plymouth.

Cedric Kipre broke the deadlock in the 61st minute and goals followed from substitute Mikey Johnston – with a brilliant 76th minute solo effort – and Tom Fellows, who scored a stoppage-time clincher.

Corberan said: “We had to be patient because at half-time we were 0-0. At half-time I wanted them to keep doing the things we did well and tried correcting the things we did not do well.

“I think in the second half we created a lot of chances. We were positive and created a lot of chances and it’s always positive to get goals.

“I said before the game, coming here and winning the game was going to be hard because only Leeds have won here since October. I think before Leeds won here at the weekend, Plymouth had not lost for nine league games here.”

The result saw the Baggies strengthened their hold on fifth place as they bounced back from defeat at promotion contenders Southampton on Friday.

Corberan was pleased with his side’s efforts but warned that Coventry and Norwich, who both sit just four points behind in seventh and eighth respectively, were hot on their heels.

He added: “When you don’t have a specific number nine, it’s important to score goals from different areas of the pitch.

“The important thing is to create chances – clearcut chances – and we did that.

“I think we have attacking players that can create chances and score goals from all over.

“Four points above seventh place tonight is nothing because we know how difficult staying in the play-off positions is going to be.

“From the play-off positions to 10th, we are one of the teams that are going to compete. The team that finds consistency will get a play-off place. You need a strong mentality to win every game.”

Plymouth head coach Ian Foster would not criticise his side after the defeat due to the busy fixture schedule.

He said: “We are disappointed because we have lost a game but I can’t be critical of the players.

“I know that sounds strange after a 3-0 home defeat but it’s our third game in six days.

“We have to give credit to the opposition. They are an excellent side and they showed that tonight.

“We dug in and kept them at bay for as long as we could. We have to take our medicine. They are one of the best sides in the Championship.

“We didn’t have our normal energy. We were guilty of tired passes. We found it really difficult in the second half.

“We have to stick together now, rest and plan accordingly for a massive game on Saturday (at Middlesbrough).

“We asked them for more, but they couldn’t give us more. They had empty tanks.

“We have to dust ourselves down now and go again.

“No one wants to pay money and see us be dismantled the way we were.

“There’s no excuses. We knew the run of games we were coming into and we plan our best for them because we have to respect the opposition.”

Ipswich manager Kieran McKenna described his team’s narrow 4-3 victory over bottom-placed Rotherham as a “bit of a wild game”.

Omari Hutchinson’s effort in the sixth minute of added time after Cafu’s levelling penalty moments earlier left the Tractor Boys behind second-placed Leeds only on goal difference, with Southampton losing to Hull.

Town initially fell behind after just two minutes to Tom Eaves, but responded thanks to a Kieffer Moore strike and Wes Burns’ first-half brace.

Hakeem Odoffin pulled one back for the Millers in the second half before the nail-biting additional time.

McKenna said: “It was a bit of a wild game. Of course it wasn’t a good start and from that moment we never really regained our composure in the game but having said that we have scored four goals at home, we find a way to win the game.

“Every game in the Championship is tough. I knew it was going to be a tough game; the players have found a way to come out on top again and credit to them for that.”

With eight minutes of time added on, McKenna said: “We weren’t managing to keep control of the ball. We were pinned into our box and random things can happen at that point.

“I didn’t think we had that many chances against us and when they got the penalty I thought it was going to be one of those nights but credit to the players they could lie on the floor and give up on the game but we find the spirit to get the ball back, launch another attack and produce another moment of real quality to win the game.”

Rotherham head coach Leam Richardson felt his side deserved a point.

He said: “You saw the good, the bad and the ugly of what we are and why we are in the position we are in.

“I’m disappointed for the players who worked terrifically hard. We started the game very well, we had a crazy 10 minutes. The first goal hurt us, we never really recovered from it, it was like a dazed boxer but the last hour we probably deserved something from the game.

“I don’t think many teams come here and dominate all the stats and score three goals and not win the game so disappointed for the players.”

Sir Jim Ratcliffe says Manchester United’s journey back to the top of world football starts now after completing his £1.3billion deal to become minority owner of the Premier League giants

A year and three months after the club announced a strategic review, and 58 days after a deal was struck, there is finally a new power structure in place at Old Trafford.

Ratcliffe has completed his purchase of 25 per cent of the shares owned by the Glazer family, who have been United’s majority owners since their controversial leveraged buyout in 2005.

The Ineos chairman paid 33 US dollars (£26) for each of those shares and the same price for 25 per cent of Class A shares, with 10 times fewer voting rights, following a tender process.

Ratcliffe takes control of football operations as part of the deal and plans to ramp up United’s rebuild after his team looked under the hood and began to make moves during the ratification process.

“To become co-owner of Manchester United is a great honour and comes with great responsibility,” the British billionaire said.

“This marks the completion of the transaction, but just the beginning of our journey to take Manchester United back to the top of English, European and world football, with world-class facilities for our fans.

“Work to achieve those objectives will accelerate from today.”

Faltering United have not added to their England record 20 league titles since Sir Alex Ferguson retired in 2013, winning just four major trophies in that period.

The Red Devils have lost their way under the Glazer family and Ratcliffe’s involvement brings new hope to Old Trafford.

United co-chairman Joel Glazer said: “I would like to welcome Sir Jim as co-owner and look forward to working closely with him and Ineos Sport to deliver a bright future for Manchester United.”

Ratcliffe’s ownership of United stands at 27.7 per cent as further shares were issued in return for his initial 200m US dollars (£158.5m) capital investment upon completion.

His ownership will increase to 28.9 per cent when he invests a further 100million US dollars (£79.2m) by December 31, 2024.

The outlay from Trawlers Ltd, a company wholly owned by Ratcliffe, is worth a total of 1.65bn US dollars (£1.3bn).

That deal received Premier League and Football Association approval last week and was officially confirmed on Tuesday evening.

The 71-year-old, who was born in Failsworth, Greater Manchester, was a United fan growing up and has been a regular presence around the club since the deal was announced on Christmas Eve.

That included Ratcliffe attending United’s Premier League match against Tottenham on January 14 and the Munich air disaster memorial at Old Trafford on February 6.

Sir Dave Brailsford, Ineos’ director of sport, has been an even greater presence and is set for a key role as Ineos takes control of football operations.

Changes have already started and United raised eyebrows across the football world last month when announcing Manchester City’s Omar Berrada as their new chief executive.

United are hoping to bring in Newcastle sporting director Dan Ashworth as part of their rebuild. The former Football Association technical director has been placed on garden leave after telling the Magpies he was leaving.

The completion of the deal marks the conclusion of a saga which began back in November 2022 when the Glazers announced plans for a strategic review, which could include the sale of the club.

Ratcliffe and Qatari businessman Sheikh Jassim were the front-runners when it became apparent a full sale would be considered, but the latter withdrew last October.

Ratcliffe’s focus shifted to the purchase of a significant minority stake, which has now finally been completed.

Pep Guardiola admitted his side needed the killer instinct of Erling Haaland after they edged out Brentford 1-0 in a nervy encounter that left his side one point behind Premier League leaders Liverpool.

Haaland settled the contest in the 71st minute when he punished a slip from Kristoffer Ajer, running from the halfway line to slot the ball under the unfortunate Mark Flekken, who had another outstanding match against the reigning champions.

After a week in which Guardiola had to answer questions about the Norwegian star, whose misses proved costly in Saturday’s 1-1 draw with Chelsea, Haaland made no mistake with one of the very few clear chances a well-organised Brentford side afforded City on the night.

“If I had to choose one (player), I choose this one,” Guardiola said of the moment.

It was Haaland’s third goal in seven games since returning from the foot injury that sidelined him for two months. Last week, he mourned the death of his grandmother Tone Rascal, mother of his father Alf-Inge, at the age of 80.

Asked if he had needed to speak to the striker, Guardiola said: “We spoke about the moment and I realised this later, but he didn’t say anything about the passing away of his grandmother. We talked about how he feels and of course for his father.

“In this type of game like Brentford, you need Erling. With not much space, you can play with a typical striker.”

City struggled to break down a determined Brentford side. Kevin De Bruyne was kept on the bench throughout the night, not even emerging to warm up with the game in the balance, and Guardiola revealed the Belgian playmaker had a hamstring issue, having already missed five months of the season.

“Today we could not use Kevin because he had niggles in his hamstring and I didn’t want to take risk,” he said, adding: “He’s okay. It’s just a precaution but he didn’t feel comfortable and so after five months off we didn’t take any risk.”

Brentford had defended doggedly before the goal, more than once having all 11 players inside their own box in open play. Bernardo Silva headed a glorious chance wide before Oscar Bobb created space only to shoot straight at Flekken, but otherwise there were few real opportunities.

Having taken six points off City last season, Brentford threatened to do damage to their title bid again this time before Haaland stepped in – he has now scored against all 21 opponents he has faced in the Premier League.

“I think throughout the game we were brilliant, I’m very proud and pleased with the players’ performance,” Bees manager Thomas Frank said. “They believed and it gives me a lot of belief in them going forwards.

“The way we defended the whole game was magnificent in terms of structure, defensive principles, urgency. Before the goal, we gave away the header to Bernardo Silva and the Oscar Bobb chance and it was two big chances. If you can limit City to two big chances, you have done a very good job.

“If (Ajer) doesn’t slip I’m convinced it would not be a goal. Haaland is quick but Kristoffer is as quick. City are good so they don’t need the margins going their way.”

Wales captain Aaron Ramsey is set to miss the Euro 2024 play-off against Finland, Cardiff manager Erol Bulut has revealed.

Ramsey made two substitute appearances for Cardiff earlier this month after spending five months out with a knee injury.

But Ramsey reported a calf problem last week and a scan has now shown that a tendon issue will rule him out until the end of March.

Wales play Finland in the play-off semi-final in Cardiff on March 21.

The winners will host Poland or Estonia in Cardiff five days later for a place at Euro 2024 this summer.

“The last time we spoke about Ramsey I got a report that it was a strain,” Bulut said after Cardiff’s 0-0 draw with Blackburn in the Sky Bet Championship.

“But yesterday (Monday) I hear it was a strain on the tendon. He will be available end of March.

“This is also a disappointing for us. I will support him every way I can. It’s not easy to be out for five months.

“He will be out for four to six weeks.”

Bulut bemoaned Cardiff’s failure in front of goal after drawing a blank for the fourth successive home game.

“Generally I am satisfied,” Bulut said. “Maybe you will ask, ‘Why?’ When we see the last weeks, we lost many points and games.

“It was not easy for my team to go out and play positively, because of the confidence which has been lost. Today it was important to get a bit of confidence back.

“This is the point where the confidence is not where we need it. It’s missing.

“Defensively we were good. The team was really working hard. In front of the goal is the issue. We create a lot, but don’t put the ball in the net and this continues.”

New Blackburn boss John Eustace suggested his players were too nice after Callum Britain’s effort struck the arm of Dimitrios Goutas during the second half.

Goutas’ arm was in an unnatural position, but Rovers players did not appeal and play was waved on.

Eustace said: “It did looked handball to me. We’ve got a really nice group of players and I would like to have seen them appeal a little bit more.

“It possibly goes to VAR in the Premier League and the players can be as nice as they want then.

“I’m delighted with a point and our first clean sheet in 17 games.

“It was important we stop goals going in because we’ve got the worst record in the league.

“It’s a big step to getting that togetherness and belief that we are really good team and we want to get to the 50-point mark as quickly as possible.”

Bolton boss Ian Evatt praised his patient match-winner Carlos Mendes Gomes after seeing his side dispatch Cambridge 2-1 and close in on the League One automatic-promotion places.

Mendes Gomes has had a stop-start season since joining the Trotters from Luton last summer, but found the net in the 63rd minute to secure the points for his side which took them level with second-placed Derby.

Cambridge had hit the front in the first half thanks to an Eoin Toal own goal, but Bolton levelled after the break through Paris Maghoma before Mendes Gomes volleyed the winner from Josh Sheehan’s fine pass.

Evatt said: “Carlos has had injuries and he’s had to wait for that moment, and he’s taken his chance superbly.

“We know he has the quality to do that – he can play a number of positions and can hurt teams in the final third – that’s why we chased him for four years before signing him.”

Overall Evatt was happy with how his side recovered after falling behind early on.

“We gave ourselves a mountain to climb, but the boys showed their character and resilience,” he said.

“It’s tough being at the top of the league – the pressure is on but we keep finding the right solutions.”

Cambridge were rewarded for a bright start in the ninth minute when Sullay Kaikai latched on to a loose pass from Maghoma and drove in a low cross which flicked off Toal and looped over goalkeeper Joel Coleman.

Kaikai then saw a shot parried by Coleman, while at the other end Jack Stevens denied Jon Dadi Bodvarsson and made a comfortable save from Nathan Ogbeta’s effort.

Bolton started the second half on the front foot, and equalised when a 52nd-minute corner was flicked on by Gethin Jones into the path of Maghoma, who touched home.

Eleven minutes later Sheehan was given time and space to pick out the run of Mendes Gomes, who caught the ball perfectly as it dropped over his shoulder to beat Stevens.

Cambridge should have equalised when substitute Jack Lankester shot wide from 12 yards in the 84th minute, and the night got worse for the U’s late on when Lyle Taylor was shown a red card for an off-the-ball clash with Bolton defender Jack Iredale.

United manager Neil Harris said he did not see the red-card incident, but was happy with his side’s efforts.

“I think we played really well in the first half, and finished the game strongly, but the 20 minutes at the start of the second half were disappointing,” he said.

“They’re the best possession-based team in the league and I thought we gave a good account of ourselves, but the disappointment is the equaliser; you can’t get beaten from a set-play so easily.”

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