Liverpool finalize new deal that gives manager a chance to build the next great team

Liverpool are working on extending Klopp's contract, which expires in 2024 (Author: Gardener)

KloppIt's the kind of revelation that would surely have rung the death knell for the rest of the Premier League. Liverpool are in talks with Jurgen Klopp to extend his manager's tenure beyond 2024, sources close to the club have confirmed to CBS Sports and there is optimism they will be finalized quickly in a new deal for the German. Manchester City's sheer financial strength means they could weather the storm that is to come if Pep Guardiola finally decides to venture into new territory. Meanwhile, it was remarkable at Anfield on Wednesday night that the last man to fall in Liverpool's quest for the quadruple saw a team molded in their manager's image. "Your qualities as a team are written all over Jurgen Klopp's face: smile, energy, power," Villarreal head coach Unai Emery told CBS Sports after the Reds won the first leg of their Champions League semi-final. Crediting Klopp for all of Liverpool's excellence in recent years is reductive. No wonder Liverpool are working to strike while the iron is hot. Last month Klopp said he would sign a new contract 'if I have the energy for it'. He was "full of energy" at the time. A few weeks later his agent Marc Kosicke was at Anfield with Mike Gordon, president of the owner's Fenway Sports Group. CBS Sports understand talks became an immediate priority for Liverpool after the Klopp camp was believed to be a sign of encouragement. An extension could see Klopp up to a decade at Liverpool. It also seems to signal a willingness to start the process of building the next big juggernaut in red. No one should be in a hurry to give up the players who have achieved so much, it's just that time will tell with this great team. Eight of the 11 who brushed aside Villarreal on Wednesday night are now aged 28 or over. By the time Klopp's current contract expires, 12 of his current squad will be aged 30 or over. Greats like Robert Lewandowski and Cristiano Ronaldo prove again and again that the fourth decade of life does not necessarily mean the end of a career in top-flight football. Just a few weeks ago, Klopp predicted the same for Salah, adding: "There is no mid-20s peak. The big advantage of early 30s, mid-30s is that the player can see things properly after learning in his career. " That could prove true for the Egyptian, a top sportsman who since returning to England almost five years ago has shown an ever-growing range of weapons to test his defense with. Few managers in the Premier League have achieved the kind of transcendent greatness that Liverpool have under Klopp Arsene Wenger's Invincibles are from the Arsenal side who made the double six years earlier That could yet be the big carrot Liverpool can dangle in front of Klopp, an opportunity to forge once more but this time with the fundamentals he has and his front office colleagues have laid. In a matter of months, Luis Diaz, 25, has flown up the pecking order and has looked every inch into the future and present of this magnificent attack against Villarreal. Further back, Ibrahima Konate dealt with what little his opponents had to offer with a confidence that belied his 22 years. In midfield, Curtis Jones has played more than 70 games at just 21 and seems to be the archetype of the Liverpool midfielder: intelligent under pressure, reliable in possession and with a venomous long-range shot that even Thiago wouldn't falter in. Then there's the small matter of the best years yet to come for Trent Alexander-Arnold, a player who at 23 is on his way to redefining our ideas of what could be possible with a full-back. Not only have Liverpool well-established their title-winning core for now, they're not far from having a squad that can last into the latter part of this decade.


Quadruple no longer just a dream for the relentless Liverpool

LIVERPOOL, England (AP) — Eight wins. The 'quadruple' - that seemingly mythical achievement of winning all four major trophies in one season - is the goal all top teams in England set themselves at the start of each season. (Author: Gardener)

LiverpoolThe 'quadruple' - that seemingly mythical achievement of winning all four major trophies in one season - is the goal all top teams in England set themselves at the start of each season. But with the strains on the squad and the vagaries of luck and injuries, the idea of ​​actually winning the Champions League, Premier League, FA Cup and League Cup is usually written off before it even gets started. In fact, earlier this season UK bookmakers were offering odds of 3,000-1 for Liverpool to complete the quadruple. Having beaten Chelsea on penalties in the final in February, Liverpool are already League Cup winners. Liverpool are through to the FA Cup final - where they will meet Chelsea again - and are huge favorites to reach the Champions League final after a 2nd-0 win over Villarreal in the semi-final first leg on Wednesday. The recent hard-fought Premier League title race with Manchester City could hardly be closer as Liverpool sit a point adrift of second place with five games to go. Winning the European Cup, domestic league and two domestic cup competitions is something no team in the top five leagues in European football – England, Spain, Italy, Germany and France – has achieved. It's impossible for most these days as England are the only of the five countries left with two cup competitions after France abolished their League Cup - the Coupe de la Ligue - in 2020. The amazing Scottish team won all three domestic trophies before beating Inter Milan in the European Cup final in Lisbon. Given the grueling nature of the English season, Liverpool's performance would certainly top that, especially given the quality of opposition Klopp's side face at Guardiola's City. Aside from Celtic, eight teams have reached the treble of European Cup, domestic league and domestic cup: Ajax (1971-72), PSV Eindhoven (1987-88), Manchester United (1998-99), Barcelona (2008-09), Inter Milan (2009–10), Bayern Munich (2012–13), Barcelona (2014–15) and Bayern again (2019–20). For many, Guardiola's brilliant 2009 Barcelona team of Lionel Messi, Xavi Hernandez and Andres Iniesta is the benchmark for winning six trophies this calendar year: the treble along with the Spanish Super Cup, Club World Cup and UEFA Super Cup. Here's what Klopp's team faces on their journey to greatness: This seems like the hardest trophy for Liverpool's players to win because it's not in their hands. If City win their remaining five games, Guardiola's team will retain their title. However, Liverpool can continue to exert maximum pressure as they play ahead of City in the next three rounds of the game. Liverpool's next game – against a resurgent Newcastle on Saturday – could be their most difficult game to win as it comes amid a narrow six-day turnaround between games against Villarreal in the Champions League semi-finals. City's run-in includes games against Leeds, Newcastle, Wolverhampton, West Ham and Aston Villa, which the leaders are expected to win. Leeds and Newcastle could be the most dangerous as they face either side of City's second leg against Real Madrid in the Champions League semifinals. City won the domestic treble in 2018/19 but lost to Tottenham in the quarter-finals of the Champions League. Liverpool meet Chelsea in the final at Wembley on 14 May and it will be the first time since 1993 (Sheffield Wednesday and Arsenal) that the same two sides have met in both of England's domestic cup finals. Chelsea look pretty secure in third place in the Premier League and are out of the Champions League, allowing manager Thomas Tuchel to rest his best players ahead of the final - a luxury Klopp may not have open to him. If Liverpool beat Villarreal in the second leg on Tuesday, Klopp's side will play either Madrid or City in the final in Paris on May 28. For Liverpool, who would be vying for their seventh European Cup, it would be their third title final in five years.


"Klopp is the next manager likely to build a dynasty"

As Liverpool boss Jurgen Klopp signs a contract extension until 2026, BBC Sport examines the significance of his presence at Anfield when a quadruple is at stake. (Author: Gardener)

KloppLiverpool are in almost a flood of good news as they chase immortality and a historic quadruple, but the announcement that manager Jurgen Klopp has extended his Anfield contract may be their best yet. Add to that the fact that they play Chelsea in the FA Cup final at Wembley in May and are just a point behind leaders and reigning champions Manchester City to clinch their second Premier League title under the charismatic German. Klopp's decision to confirm his intention to stay at Liverpool until 2026 and set up the Premier League's longest-serving manager for a ten-year tenure at Anfield is even more cause for celebration, as just weeks ago he spoke again fulfilling his promise to fulfill his current contract until 2024 and then leave. Klopp has been thinking clearly, no doubt aided by the world-class team he has assembled who are currently trying to pull off a feat that not even the great Liverpool teams of the past have been able to pull off, namely a stunning clean win over all four major trophies. After Klopp hinted he might be ready to change his plans, Liverpool moved at lightning speed to ensure he got pen to paper. In fact, he is irreplaceable in the current Liverpool setup. It comes after Klopp had time and patience to renew himself, guiding Liverpool to the 2018 Champions League final where they lost to Real Madrid before winning it against Tottenham the following year and then their long-awaited first league title since 30 years added 2019-20. Liverpool's current side draw positive comparisons to all Anfield teams of the past, although they have yet to confirm that status by adding the League Cup won against Chelsea at Wembley. Klopp's leadership and management, revered by the Kop and a source of inspiration for his players, means these four trophies come closer to the fore with every win. Manchester City is the most likely obstacle in the league and Champions League and while Chelsea will offer a formidable opponent in the FA Cup final, Klopp has instilled such faith and passion in Liverpool's players and fans that what has lasted so long once thought impossible, now it is possible. Question marks over Klopp's long-term future after 2024 were the only cloud on Liverpool's horizon but now that has been removed, everyone linked to the club will be overjoyed. Klopp looked tired last season as football was played behind closed doors amid the pandemic, losing the crowd participation he loves at Anfield and ending up in perhaps their worst home game in club history, losing six straight in the Premier League reflected. This season he has found renewed energy, helped by the return of world-leading centre-back Virgil van Dijk after a serious knee injury that kept him out for most of last season. It's easy to see why Klopp won't leave anytime soon. Along with his reliable back-up team and the structures developed by owners FSG, Klopp not only has a team for now, but has cleverly built it up for years to come. For so long, Liverpool's attacking trio of Roberto Firmino, Sadio Mane and Mohamed Salah have been at the heart of the intense, pressing, forefoot style that has always been Klopp's modus operandi. They're still there, although Salah's contract remains an issue, but Klopp have brought in the prolific Diogo Jota from Wolves. Ibrahima Konate has been a standout defensive addition to RB Leipzig, while Thiago Alcantara is now fit and at his best after an indifferent first season at Liverpool in which he was plagued by fitness and form issues. Firmino doesn't feature that often these days, while 36-year-old James Milner was a marginal figure, albeit still hugely influential within the squad. Liverpool's manager has seen a gradual evolution from one standout team to another. Klopp can look to golden days with Liverpool's younger generation as Harvey Elliott has already proven his class, while Fulham's brilliant teenager Fabio Carvalho is due to arrive at the end of the season. He leaves in the summer but Julian Ward is promoted internally and has a close relationship with Klopp. Klopp is now the next manager likely to build a dynasty at a club like Sir Alex Ferguson at Manchester United and Arsene Wenger at Arsenal. He obviously can't match their trophy haul just yet, or their longevity anywhere, but Klopp's extended presence at Liverpool - at least until 2026 under the terms of his new deal - is as much a guarantee of success as it gets. Klopp weighs contract decisions very carefully. He doesn't sign long-term contracts unless he has full intentions of honoring them. The fact that he is fairly certain of staying at Liverpool for another four years has caused understandable joy from fans, players and everyone at Anfield. Jürgen Klopp built it. * Our coverage of your Premier League club is bigger and better than ever - follow your team and sign up for notifications on the BBC Sport app to make sure you don't miss a moment


Liverpool boss Klopp signs new contract until 2026

Jurgen Klopp extends his Liverpool contract by two years. (Author: Gardener)

KloppPlease use a supported version for the best MSN experience. Jurgen Klopp extends his Liverpool contract by two years. Penn Relays return to Franklin Field for the first time since 2019 Riggs Vs Old Hickory Country Club 1st Hole Presented By Whoop Riggs Vs Old Hickory Country Club 1st Hole Presented By Whoop Riggs Vs Old Hickory Country Club 1st Hole Presented By Whoop In NYC, job ads have to say what they pay Liverpool's Klopp says job not done after Villarreal win Zverev calls his game at Munich Open 'miserable, worst in the last 7 years', apologizes to crowd Life at Chelsea will continue after Rudiger exit says Tuchel City Guardiola says his side were exceptional after goal fest with Real Liverpool won't make the mistake of underestimating Villarreal says Klopp FILE Olympic snowboarding champion Kim takes break for mental health City needs forgetting history when he faces Real, Guardiola says 'My instinctive love of nature': Ellie Goulding on her anti-climate activism andel CNN10: Today's Big Stories Explained in 10 Minutes Energy company says this red state is #1 in wind turbines New drone video shows Russian military vehicles and troops on civilian-strewn road from Bucha Marine veteran Trevor Reed drove home, after a prisoner swap with Russia secured his release Economist: Europe must choose between peace and air conditioning She was depressed but instead took a pill her doctor prescribed this Beautiful hotel designed to immerse you in nature See Trevor Reed's alleged first steps at Russian airport after publication “Doesn't give Russia the right to attack”: Blinken pushes back Rand Paul Military analyst: “Putin's intention has always been to take over Moldova, Georgia and the Baltics. See Viola Davis as Michelle Obama in new trailer. See Viola Davis as Michelle Obama in new trailer What he thinks will stop Putin One of the most influential figures in the Paris food scene shows off his mother's home cooking One of the i Influential figures in the Paris food scene shows off his mother's home cooking. Meet the first-generation immigrant who now cooks for the French President. Meet the first-generation immigrant who now cooks for the French president Meet two people working toward representation in the Paris art world 'We really shouldn't panic': CNN reporter breaks down US job shrinkage Economy on 'We really shouldn't panic': CNN reporter breaks down US economy shrinking He was tortured by Russians for 8 days and left to die in the woods. He was tortured by Russians for 8 days and left to die in the forest. CNN documentary looks back on legacy of LA riots Bonds of Cousins ​​Developed Before Our Eyes Bonds of Royal Cousins ​​Developed Before Our Eyes Pole Vaulter Shirks Scheme vaulting over a tree instead of making money Liberating free yourself from things you don't need anyway what to do if you can't afford a wedding present inherited items worth more than you think princess anne still takes precedence over kate middleton small business owners say that mistakes are the road to success Happen Travel for business and leisure is growing in popularity The importance of packing your shoes when you travel Alternatives to Airbnb vacation rentals to consider How to ensure you have fun at the beach this year Prince Harry receives a gift for his small business, Dad Bod. Owners still believe in the American Dream Americans have more goals this year A lifetime of brisk walking can make you 16 years younger by middle age Queen cavorts for royal fans to celebrate platinum anniversary These dogs are enjoying a restaurant in Dubai See Check out its health benefits This is the moment an octopus steals a dive cam Underwater princess Anne could make history as royal thanks to Megxit Breakfast ideas on the go This DJ is taking his music to new heights in the Swiss Alps! This 11-Month-Old Baby Gets All the Attention Because of His Size Trip Stacking, What Is It and Should You Do It? Don't try this at home! Breathtaking moment British army parachutes into stadium at 130mph Prince William and Kate dodge sticky question over Harry's comments about protecting the Queen How soon is it too early to quit a new job? How to make an Instagram-worthy trip when money is tight A new way for the nose you want How to save money on printer ink How to clean and care for nonstick pans The best way to cook chicken wings at home What NOT in an air fryer How to clean and care for pillows How to find the best ergonomic mouse How to cook a holiday meal in an air fryer How to properly de-tap a toilet


Liverpool have opponents in a stranglehold thanks to obsessive Klopp

The home win against Villarreal was the latest example of how the well-trained counter-pressing increases the pressure until teams collapse (Author: Gardener)

KloppYou could say I'm obsessed with the counter-press," began Jurgen Klopp, reflecting on Tuesday's 4-0 win at Anfield against Manchester United the day before last, a game in which there was so much going on for his Liverpool man's side admire gave performance, especially in the first half. So much so that working on the ball almost felt secondary. Not for Klopp. "The counter-press was on a completely, completely different level," the manager continued. But there's really no reason to be biased as it's worth pondering, especially after Wednesday night's final Anfield illustration when Villarreal were placed in a chokehold and eventually knocked out. Unai Emery's minnows had reached the Champions League semi-final first leg 0-0 and the manager expressed satisfaction with their defence. But it took its toll; everything goes against Liverpool. Take Villarreal's attempts to play from behind. There were times when central defender Pau Torres looked a picture of composure while in possession, going past an opponent and making a nice pass. They helped Villarreal construct encouraging sequences even if they felt risky, moments where they withstood the first waves of Liverpool pressure. And then Liverpool won the ball back. It drains opponents, both mentally and physically, and it says a lot about Villarreal's determination that they didn't panic in the first half as Liverpool's counter-press forced turnovers even from high up. And when the pressure is that great it's inevitable that they collapse, especially when Liverpool have such varied attacking talents to dish out the penalty. When Villarreal did so in the 53rd minute and Jordan Henderson's cross was deflected by Pervis Estupiñán to sail in, they couldn't shake their heads clearly to prevent an immediate second. They failed to attack Mohamed Salah - a manifestation of the attack's impact - allowing him to turn and play Sadio Mané. "We wanted to play a better game over the 90 minutes, create better chances," said Emery, aware his team's only shot came late from substitute Boulaye Dia and it was a tame one. “We had to be able to win the ball and counterattack or suck them in and come out. We wanted to avoid that intense pressure and get away from our goal. It's difficult to get out of the pressure they put you under. We tried to play our game but they didn't let us." The main positive that Villarreal management and players seemed to identify was that it was only 2-0. Next Tuesday's return at the Estadio de la Cerámica will be different, they believe, in front of their own fans; possibly with key striker Gerard Moreno back from injury. They will also hark back to how they were able to beat Juventus and Bayern Munich in two games in previous rounds. "Liverpool didn't feel any threat from us, we didn't let them suffer but we know we can cause them some problems," Emery said. “Next week we will be able to get more out of our attacking game. We'll bring the game more to them.” Goalkeeper Gerónimo Rulli promised that he and his teammates would give their lives to reach the final in Paris against either Manchester City or Real Madrid. "No doubt you will see another Villarreal next Tuesday," said Rulli. But what is clear is that they will need a remarkable turnaround, something even more dramatic than what they achieved in the return legs at Juventus and Bayern, who had led them 1-1 and 1-0 respectively. Emery said Liverpool are a "huge step up" over Juventus and Bayern and there is confirmation at Villarreal that Klopp's squad is at a different level than them in sporting terms. The numbers are against Villarreal. Liverpool have missed just one major result since January 2 – the 2-2 Premier League draw at Manchester City on April 10 – and the last time they lost by two goals or more was 1: 3 defeat at Real Madrid in the Bundesliga Champions League quarter-final first leg last April. What should worry Villarreal even more is the mentality Klopp has instilled. Juventus and Bayern were overconfident against Villarreal, with Bayern in particular making it clear that they expected progress, which served to anger their opponents. There was no chance Liverpool were guilty of complacency and so the question is whether they can show the same energy and relentlessness away from Anfield. Klopp said after the first leg that 2-0 was not his favorite result. On the other hand, his team were 2-0 up against United at half-time and he said the same thing. He needn't have worried.


What your favorite team should be doing in today's NFL Draft, plus Bucks and Warriors keep rolling

One of the most dramatic NFL offseasons of all time will add another chapter tonight (Author: Gardener)

NFLHappy Thursday everyone and welcome to one of the best days on the NFL calendar. What Happens In Vegas Over The Next Three Days... The NFL Draft starts tonight in Sin City and I'm excited to see what happens. It's been a wild off-season, and tonight it's going to be even crazier. We have so many mock drafts including five from our experts here. These five include four different #1 overall tips. We also have NFL insider Jason La Canfora's top 10 (plus one) and NFL pundit Josh Edwards' three-round mock of what every team should be doing — not what it will be doing. If every team listened to Josh, the top 5 would break down as follows: Josh has Travon Walker -- the #1 overall favorite on Caesars Sportsbook -- ahead of the Giants and Aidan Hutchinson -- the #1-2 overall favorite -- to to the Seahawks at nine. Of course, Josh thinks that should happen, not what will happen. A position not mentioned above that will feature heavily tonight? Wide receiver. Caesars Sportsbook currently has the over/under at 6.5 drafted tonight. If the over hits, it would tie (or beat) the record of seven set in 2004. So what's fueling the rise of the wide receiver? Our college football reporter Dennis Dodd took a look. * Dodd: “Welcome to the age of the wideout. In case you haven't noticed, they are the best and quickest route to the end zone. Without Nick Saban's receivers making the difference, there might not be an Alabama dynasty. The X and Y are key to offensive ABCs. There's a reason five-receiver sets employ as many passers as offensive linemen. Tonight we have instant analysis and grades for each selection and much more. You can follow all of our NFL Draft coverage here. ALSO GOOD MORNING TO THE MILWAUKEE BUCKS AND GOLDEN STATE WARRIORS When the Bucks lost Game 2 to the Bulls and Khris Middleton through an MCL sprain, things could have gotten dicey. Instead, the reigning champions showed their championship prowess: three straight wins for a total of 70 points - crowned by last night's 116-100 triumph - to end the five-game streak. * Giannis Antetokounmpo had 33 points and nine rebounds. * The Bucks kept the Bulls at 100 points or less for the fourth consecutive season. * Milwaukee have now won 20 of their last 22 games (regular season and postseason) against Chicago. Milwaukee's upcoming series against the Celtics should be absolutely amazing. Hopefully Middleton can be at least partially back, but even if he can't, the Bucks are very capable. They showed that in the opening round. That wasn't the only 3v6 series to end in five games last night. The Warriors finished the Nuggets with a 102-98 win. * Nikola Jokic ended Denver's historic season on a masterful game with 30 points, 19 rebounds and eight assists. It wasn't the Warriors' finest performance of all time, but finding ways to win ugly is crucial in the playoffs, writes NBA reporter Colin Ward-Henninger. * Ward-Henninger: "The game wasn't pretty, but when it came down to crucial time, Curry took what defense gave him and found a way to help his team win the playoffs, and that's what the Warriors will need, as they continue their march towards the familiar NBA Finals soil." Next up, Golden State meets the winner of Memphis-Minnesota. They then fell to the six seeds and were blown out in the first round. * Also likely are MVP Nikola Jokic and the Nuggets done That's not Jokic's fault, of course - he's averaged a 30-point double-double this series - but Denver needs a healthy Jamal Murray and a healthy Michael Porter Jr. to really fight. We are halfway to an all-English UEFA Champions League final A day after Manchester City beat Real Madrid 4-3 in the first leg, Liverpool beat Villarreal 2-0 behind an own goal by Pervis Estupiñán after a Jordan Henderson cross in the 53rd minute and a goal from Sadio Mané just two minutes later. This, of course, is something best left to professionals in demolition work. Liverpool may have yet proven themselves as such, not just in this competition but in every one they've played in. There's no point in pretending the quadruple isn't an extremely vivid prospect a month and a day before the Champions League final." * FA Cup (Liverpool meets Chelsea in the final on May 14) * Premier League ( Liverpool are a point behind Manchester City with five games remaining) *UEFA Champions League (Liverpool are 90 minutes away from a spot in the May 28 final) Remember you can watch the Champions League on Paramount+ Two days ago the big one came out Announcement that NCAA President Mark Emmert is stepping down His final date is June 30, 2023 or whenever his successor is officially named, whichever comes first Dodd has a list of candidates, and at the top of that list is...* Dodd: "If he's interested, Dan Gavitt has to be the No. 1 candidate. Right now, the NCAA is doing one thing really well — hosting their basketball tournaments. Gavitt runs those tournaments. S. Secretary of State and former US Secretary of Defense. I'll admit it, we're less than a month into the offseason and I already miss college basketball. I plan to fill most of the off-season with reliving the best games of the season. Luckily, I know where to start: The Best Games by Our College Basketball Experts from the Men's NCAA Tournament. There was plenty to choose from, but David Cobb's pick was my personal favorite: Arizona's 85-80 overtime win over TCU. * Cobb: “TCU had the ball in the closing seconds in a 75 tie when it was revealed Horned Frogs point guard Mike Miles was fouled near midfield by Arizona winger Dalen Terry. Instead, the officials allowed play to continue when Terry's jab sent Miles to the floor. As the basketball broke loose, Terry picked it up and raced for the basket to score a potential game-winning layup on the buzzer. * We also look at the NFL draft.


How Liverpool, Klopp and Mane set UCL standards

Liverpool's Champions League stats this season are mighty impressive - and there could be more to come if they reach the final. (Author: Gardener)

LiverpoolIan Darke and Steve Nicol discuss Liverpool's chances of winning the Premier League, Champions League, FA Cup and League Cup this season. Ian Darke and Steve Nicol discuss Liverpool's chances of winning the Premier League, Champions League, FA Cup and League Cup this season. Liverpool capitalized on the advantage in the Champions League semifinals game against Villarreal by clinching a comfortable 2-0 win at Anfield in a midweek tie that saw their opponent barely able to put on a glove. With a quadruple victory still possible, the Reds dominated the action, although it took 53 minutes and a pinch of luck before they finally broke through Unai Emery's stubborn yellow block. - Ogden: Liverpool dominate but shy away from comeback With Villarreal's cover down, Liverpool needed just 133 seconds to score their second goal of the night when Mohamed Salah squirmed into a gap at the edge of the box and slotted a pass in the way by Sadio Mane, who duly slipped behind the defensive line to thrust home from close range. It took Mane his tally in knockout matches in the Champions League to 14, leveling him with former Chelsea striker Didier Drogba as Africa's highest-scoring player in the final stages of the competition. The hard-working Spain international finished the game with an incredible 96.1% pass rate from 103 attempts (his highest in the competition this season), which in turn produced a frenetic passing map that looked more like a work of abstract line art. With a first-leg win over Villarreal to mark their ninth Champions League win this season, Liverpool have now won more European games in a single season than ever before (preliminary qualifiers excluded). In fact, the Reds have only had to win eight games en route since they last lifted the trophy when they beat Tottenham in the 2018/19 final. 9 – Liverpool have won nine UEFA Champions League games this season; most games they have ever won in a single campaign in European competition (excluding qualifiers). - OptaJoe (@OptaJoe) April 27, 2022 The result against Emery's side also maintained Liverpool's impressive record of never losing in a Champions League or European Cup semi-final at Anfield, having won 10 and two of which had drawn dozens of the last four games are played on Merseyside. 🔴 Liverpool have never lost in the European Cup semi-finals at Anfield (W10 L2)#UCL - UEFA Champions League (@ChampionsLeague) 27 In the local football landscape, Jurgen Klopp's exuberant team has more wins in Europe this season (nine wins in 11 games) than rivals Everton in the Premier League (eight in 32). Liverpool have now won more games in CL this season than Everton in PL – Duncan Alexander (@oilysailor) April 27, 2022 As for Klopp, the Reds manager now boasts one of the best records in the Champions League If it When it comes to the home win in the semi-finals, the German has won all four games. He joins Euro luminaries Marcello Lippi and Ottmar Hitzfeld as the only manager in the history of the competition to boast a 100 per cent track record of home games in the semi-finals. 4 - Jürgen Klopp has won each of his four home games in the Champions League semi-finals - this is the combined best 100% home win rate of any coach in the competition (Marcello Lippi and Ottmar Hitzfeld also 4/ 4). #LIVVIL #UCL - OptaFranz (@OptaFranz) April 27, 2022 Liverpool are due to travel to Spain for the second leg next week but given their rampant form it looks almost certain they will face Manchester City or Real Madrid in the final in Paris on May 28th. 1 – Villarreal have only managed one shot in this game; fewest shots (1) and shots on target (0) by a team in a UEFA Champions League semi-final since data became available (2003–04), tied with Inter v Barcelona 2009–10 (1 shot, 0 on target). - OptaJoe (@OptaJoe) April 27, 2022 Given that Villarreal managed just a single shot on Alisson's goal in the first leg at Anfield - the lowest tally ever by a side in a Champions League semi-finals - it doesn't look like a potential upset is brewing.


Liverpool dominated Villarreal but Klopp's side are aware that Champions League comebacks are possible

Liverpool have beaten Villarreal and are ready to book another Champions League final spot. But the Anfield side know very well that the work is not done yet. (Author: Gardener)

KloppLiverpool's 2-0 win over Villarreal at Anfield was the most one-sided semi-final you're likely to see and could and should have been so much more for the six-time European champions. Unai Emery's side have 90 minutes left in next Tuesday's second leg to salvage that tie and reach the Champions League final in Paris on May 28, but it defies all logic and statistical evidence to believe that Liverpool will lose a seemingly unthinkable Villarreal fightback.- Stream ESPN FC Daily on ESPN+ Get instant access "It's 2-0 at half time [in a draw]," said Jurgen Klopp. We have to be 100 per cent in the right mood and play the second leg the same as the first leg. The result is ok, but we're not there yet. "This competition has certainly given us many notable returns in recent years, including Liverpool, who came from a 3-0 deficit against Barcelona and won 4-0 in the return. If Villarreal is able to beat Klopp's team at the Estadio de Eliminating la Ceramica will put it in the same league of shocks as that memorable night at Anfield in May 2019. Last season's Europa League winners still have a glimmer of hope in the second leg as the 'Yellow Submarine' have in the Arsenal, Manchester United, Juventus and Bayern Munich's European ambitions ended in the past 12 months so Liverpool won't take them lightly , but the reason Klopp's side were so strong in the first leg was precisely because Liverpool didn't have Villarreal had underestimated Juventus and Bayern both failed to recognize the danger of Villarreal on the c counterattack and paid a heavy price, but Liverpool makes the difference e made no such mistake and her defensive focus was just as important as her offensive flair. By the end of the game, Liverpool had registered 20 shots on goal compared to Villarreal. According to official UEFA statistics, Liverpool had 93 attacks (Villarreal only managed 15) and completed 645 passes as opposed to 182 by Emery's team. In terms of possession, Liverpool had 68% over the 90 minutes. The fact that they only won 2-0 was due to missed chances and Villarreal's organization and defensive discipline. In the first half, the Spanish team delivered a master class at defusing the atmosphere, slowing down the game, wasting time and denying Liverpool the space to play at their usual breathtaking pace. Villarreal's approach frustrated the home side and reassured the crowd - an achievement in itself on a Champions League night at Anfield - but there was always a sense that if Liverpool continued to pour forward, the dam would burst. It was all about game management and patience, something made easier by the presence of Thiago Alcantara in Liverpool's midfield, with the former Barcelona and Bayern player ensuring no one in the red jersey was in Villarreal's attempts to stifle the game panicked. In the blink of an eye, Villarreal was no longer tight in the tie but had to hold on with his fingertips. Andy Robertson had then ruled out an offside goal and Virgil van Dijk and Luis Diaz both came close to scoring, but Villarreal only wanted to lose by a two-goal margin. This Liverpool team are too good to give up a two-goal advantage in a Champions League semi-final, despite conceding seven goals in Liverpool's last two away semi-final games under Klopp in 2018 and 2019. While Premier League rivals Manchester City have to defend a one-goal lead against Real Madrid Liverpool's challenge is nothing more than routine following next Wednesday's 4-3 first-leg win at the Santiago Bernabeu. Klopp will remind his players of that night against Barcelona when nobody gave Liverpool a chance and urge them to beware of Villarreal's own miraculous comeback. "I looked at Villarreal and the way they are organized was a lesson for me," said Klopp. It's going to be difficult but the best way to deal with a 2-0 lead is to ignore it and start again from 0-0 "[Liverpool] will suffer more than they did at Villarreal tonight," said Emery after that game . That could turn out to be the case, but the reality is that Liverpool and their fans can start making plans for Paris.


Liverpool beat Villarreal 2-0 and are on course for the Champions League final

LIVERPOOL, England (AP) - Liverpool appear to be one European giant too many for Villarreal. Champions League semi-final victories are seldom as routine as Liverpool's 2-0 first-leg win on Wednesday against the Spanish underdogs, who appear to have finally succumbed to a fairytale run that has already spelled European football kings with Juventus and Bayern Munich . (Author: Gardener)

the Champions LeagueLIVERPOOL, England (AP) - Liverpool appear to be one European giant too many for Villarreal. Champions League semi-final victories are seldom as routine as Liverpool's 2-0 first-leg win on Wednesday against the Spanish underdogs, who appear to have finally succumbed to a fairytale run that has already spelled European football kings with Juventus and Bayern Munich . Liverpool, who are still on course to an unprecedented quadrupling of key trophies, proved a bigger test. The six-time European champions slowly dismantled Villarreal's limited challenge another night as they were carried away by the power of Anfield. The goals came early in the second half - and within 133 seconds of each other - when Villarreal left-back Pervis Estupinan unknowingly deflected a Jordan Henderson cross into his own net in the 53rd minute, with goalkeeper Geronimo Rulli only managing to tipping a looped ball into its own net. One goal can quickly become two on those energetic European nights at Anfield and it happened again as Villarreal were still shaken to concede the first goal when Sadio Mane ran on Mohamed Salah's through ball and pushed a low finish past Rulli . The second leg takes place at the Estadio de la Cerámica on Tuesday and only one big surprise will prevent Villarreal – a side that sits only seventh in the Spanish league and is filled with players who didn't make it in England – as well as purely eliminated in 2006 in his only other appearance in the semifinals. Liverpool coach Jürgen Klopp struck a cautious note despite the one-sided nature of the first leg. Klopp has built an impressive winning machine that looks even more complete than the side that won the Champions League in 2019, a year after they also reached the final and lost to Real Madrid under the German coach. As his players completed a lap of honor at Anfield after the final whistle, Klopp waved to the crowd and tapped the club crest on the front of his thick coat. Another win. Probably another Champions League final. And amazingly, the quad still represents a team who have already won the English League Cup, are in the FA Cup final and are just a point behind Manchester City in the Premier League title race. There could yet be a Champions League final between the two North West rivals if City go into the second leg of the semi-finals in Spain next Wednesday with a 4-3 lead over Real Madrid. A sea of ​​yellow-clad Villarreal fans – at around 5,000, they made up almost 10% of the city's population in eastern Spain – swarmed from Liverpool city center to Anfield before the game. Liverpool snapped up tackles and pressed high from the first whistle, meaning Villarreal's players barely got out of their half-time throughout the game. "The reality is they are at their best moment," said Villarreal manager Unai Emery of Liverpool. "They're some of the favorites to win this competition." But when Emery set up his team and his back four was shielded by a deep and narrow midfield four, Liverpool were initially short on space, which quickly became an attack. There were plenty of half-chances - Mane headed wide from his face, Salah curled up and then volleyed over, and Thiago Alcantara smashed in a long-range shot from the outside of the post - but Villarreal held on until half-time. The two goals came between disallowed efforts by Fabinho and then Andrew Robertson and only Liverpool's players took their foot off the gas, preventing an even bigger win. "We had a perfect performance right up to the first goal," said Rulli, who described Liverpool as the best team in the world. Klopp took the opportunity to eliminate a number of key players early, with a potentially tough Premier League game against Newcastle on Saturday sandwiched between the six-day turnaround for the Villarreal games. Liverpool's quadruple charge is likely to last well into May.


Golden State outlives Denver's Nikola Jokic in Game 5 to win a series

Golden State will face either Memphis or Minnesota in the West Semifinals (Author: Gardener)

Golden StateThe Golden State Warriors advance to the Western Conference Semifinals after beating Nikola Jokic and the Denver Nuggets 102-98 in Game 5 to win their first-round series. Stephen Curry finished top of the team with 30 points while Gary Payton II made it big in the fourth quarter. The Warriors outperformed the Nuggets' offense late, holding them to just 20 points in the fourth and improving to 20-8 in closeout games under Steve Kerr. They are also now 16-1 all-time when they hold a 3-1 series lead - the only loss came in the 2016 Finals. Michael Malone's Nuggets have had success in elimination games in the past, even being able to find holes in 3-1 overcome series. However, Denver failed to force a Game 6 and extend its postseason. Jokic ended the defeat with 30 points, 19 rebounds and eight assists. The Warriors meet the winner between the Memphis Grizzlies and the Minnesota Timberwolves. Here are the biggest takeaways from Game 5. Speaking to the media after Game 5, Nuggets head coach Mike Malone had nothing but praise for Nikola Jokic. "The guy is the definition of a warrior," Malone said of the reigning MVP. The phrasing might have been a bit odd given their Golden State opponents, but the spirit lingered through the end of the game and throughout the season, really. Jokic, who played virtually the entire season without star teammates Michael Porter Jr. and Jamal Murray, has had to carry the Nuggets at historic levels this season. A team that had nothing to do with sniffing the playoffs managed to secure a 6th place finish thanks to their MVP. In Game 4, he repelled a sweep with a 37-point blast. But with his season on Wednesday, his body finally broke down. If he hadn't played another minute for the rest of the evening, his offseason break would have been well deserved. Aside from Monte Morris' garbage-time layup, Jokic was the only nugget to score in the final eight minutes and six seconds of the game. You couldn't ask for a better summary of his season. Jokic carried the nuggets as far as he could. They couldn't carry him the last few steps it took them tonight and their season ended as a result. But when those teams meet again next season, with Murray and Porter back in the fold and maybe a few upgrades scattered throughout the rest of the roster, don't be surprised if the outcome is different. Even in the circumstances, Jokic stared at a top 15 player of all time in Stephen Curry and was in no way inferior. If his team can match Curry next season, it could be one of the best series of the 2023 postseason. The last four seasons have not been good for DeMarcus Cousins. In that span, he's somehow managed to play for the Curry-era Warriors, LeBron James Lakers, James Harden Rockets, Kawhi Leonard Clippers, Giannis Antetokounmpo Bucks, and Jokic Nuggets... without ever winning a championship. He's been on four teams in the last two years alone and hasn't even started in a squad this season. But as this series proved, Cousins ​​still has a place in the league. He may not be a 30-minute player anymore and his defense can border on the disastrous, but the numbers don't lie. Before Cousins ​​arrived in January, the Nuggets were outscored by 217 points in the 823 minutes they played without Jokic. That dropped to just 38 points in 662 minutes. He was at his best in Game 5, scoring 19 points on 8-of-12 shooting to keep Denver afloat during the minutes Jokic had to rest. Once again, Denver kept pace in the non-Jokic minutes. For the entire series, the Nuggets actually won the minutes Cousins ​​played in a threesome. He's a very special player at this point in his career, but that specificity is very valuable to Denver. The nuggets are built around Jokic's unique gifts. But in Cousins ​​they have the best facsimile they could ask for from a minimum salary, a playmaker center through which to run offense and which can eliminate mismatches. There are encounters where he cannot play at all. But Cousins ​​proved he shouldn't wait until mid-season to land a job next year. If anything, Denver should make it their primary backup center immediately. There's a reason the Warriors are now both starting alongside their three established Superstars. Most teams are so desperate for players like this that they kill them. If Denver had Wiggins or Poole tonight, they would have played 45 minutes each. Neither of them finished the game. Instead, they relied on mid-money earning Kevon Looney, minimum salary home run swing Otto Porter, and training camp surprise Gary Payton II as their role players in the fourth quarter. It helps warriors hold their ground defensively against a raging Jokic. The warriors advanced. Golden State's mantra since Steve Kerr's arrival has been "strength in numbers," but it's always felt a bit forced. It could be argued that Anderson Varejao's excessive minutes in Game 7 of the 2016 NBA Finals cost Golden State a championship. Their starters have only ever played limited minutes to engage the entire roster. But this team is something completely different. There's nothing forced about this season's depth. The warriors are the rare contenders with so many stars they don't even have to use them all. Their talent surplus is so vast that they can choose roleplayers for specific circumstances without worrying about a talent deficit. There will be a role waiting for Andre Iguodala on his return. Golden State's depth is perhaps its greatest weapon. The warriors can play however they want.