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Liverpool’s confidence and persistence yields another dramatic win but title race has far to go

When Trent Alexander-Arnold readied to take a corner as the clock ticked down at Villa Park, with seconds left in his 100th appearance for Liverpool, there was apprehension among the home supporters and expectation in the away end.

It was the 95th minute, seven after Andy Robertson cancelled out Trezeguet’s first-half opener for Aston Villa and there were just 60 seconds remaining for the league leaders to rescue three points. Liverpool were several levels below their best, without rhythm or surety in their play, all afternoon and the fixture was ready to be filed under “just one of those days.”cheap nike nfl jersey

“We made it difficult for ourselves,” Jurgen Klopp admitted post-match. “We started playing football good but not exactly like we should have done. Aston Villa were ready today for a proper fight, a proper battle, defend with all they have, try to find spaces for counter-attacks and be there and have good set pieces.4

“We played good football, but didn’t finish the situations and then we conceded a goal, then it is not so easy to change these wrong decisions, this wrong path, immediately. We needed a bit of time.”

Liverpool’s poor decision-making aligned with marginal calls — Villa’s goal was ruled just onside by VAR, but Roberto Firmino’s armpit (yes, you read that correctly) was deemed to be offside when he had the ball in the back of the net — compounded the sense that it may not quite be their afternoon. But in those dying moments, the emotions of both fan bases were understandable. Dean Smith’s men have ceded 11 points in games in which they have gone ahead this season, more than any other Premier League side. Liverpool, by contrast, are the champions of division in winning points from losing positions.cheap nike nfl jerseys wholesale

It turns out that Villa supporters were justified for feeling the way they did: Sadio Mane’s deft header from Alexander-Arnold’s corner dissected Conor Hourihane and Jonathan Kodjia before nestling into the far corner to make it 2-1 to the league leaders.

Prior to that moment, Liverpool did not need to dig that deep or look too far to believe they could conjure another rescue act. They were decisive at the death during a ridiculous 5-5 draw with Arsenal in the Carabao Cup on Wednesday night, in which they triumphed on penalties. Their winner against Leicester City at Anfield last month arrived after 95 minutes. Their equaliser against Manchester United at Old Trafford in the next fixture materialised in the 85th minute. The “Fergie Time” concept, coined when Sir Alex Ferguson’s sides had a habit of producing late goals, has been replaced by “Klopp o’clock.”

Since the start of last season, no other Premier League team has scored more goals in the division during the last 10 minutes than Liverpool’s 23. In September 2017, after his side had conceded 13 goals from seven matches, Klopp admitted that lapses in defence had become “a self-fulfilling prophecy” for them as players got sucked into the narrative around them. That has since been positively replaced by Liverpool’s powers of recovery: since the German labelled his squad “f—ing mentality monsters” in April after Mohamed Salah and Jordan Henderson scored late goals in a 3-1 victory at Southampton, they have continually found ways to win even with time running out.

Raptors’ Masai Ujiri won’t be charged for shoving deputy

California prosecutors announced Tuesday that they won’t charge Toronto Raptors president Masai Ujiri for shoving a sheriff’s deputy after the deciding game of the NBA Finals in Oakland in June.

The Alameda County district attorney’s office announced the decision Tuesday afternoon, when the Raptors were in Toronto receiving their championship rings for defeating the Golden State Warriors.

The DA’s office said it met with Ujiri and his attorneys on Monday and decided the matter was better handled “outside of the courtroom.”nike nfl jerseys for cheap

“I am extremely pleased with the decision,” Ujiri said in a statement issued through the team from Toronto, where the Raptors opened their regular season against the New Orleans Pelicans.

“While these past months have been difficult waiting for a determination on this matter, I understand the nature of the process and am appreciative of the efforts of all involved,” Ujiri said. “I am happy that this is now behind me and I look forward to the task of bringing another Championship to the City of Toronto.”6

The Raptors had just won their first title after taking Game 6 of the NBA Finals at Oracle Arena on June 13 when Ujiri went onto the court to join his celebrating team.

A sheriff’s deputy stopped him because Ujiri didn’t provide the proper on-court credential, leading to a shoving match that was partially captured on video.cheap nike nfl jerseys china

Several bystanders intervened, and Ujiri got onto the court without displaying any credentials.

An attorney for the deputy contended that the deputy suffered a concussion. The sheriff’s office said only that he was placed on medical leave. The office filed a report of misdemeanor battery with the district attorney’s office.

An effort Tuesday to contact a spokesman for the sheriff’s office was unsuccessful. Messages to the Deputy Sheriffs’ Association of Alameda County seeking comment from the deputy weren’t immediately returned.

Ujiri attorney Robert Beles said his client is gratified and said the DA’s office conducted a thorough investigation.

“It was definitely the right conclusion,” he said, calling Ujiri “a decent human being and a good man.”

Source: Patriots expected to re-sign TE Benjamin Watson

The New England Patriots are expected to re-sign veteran tight end Benjamin Watson, a league source told ESPN’s Field Yates.

When the Patriots released Watson on Oct. 7, head coach Bill Belichick said the team didn’t have a roster spot for him upon his return from a four-game NFL suspension for performance-enhancing drugs. But injuries have altered the picture, so Watson, who spent training camp with the club and has experience with the system, will return and project as an immediate contributor.cheap nike nfl jerseys china

His return comes after fullback Jakob Johnson (shoulder) and tight end Matt LaCosse (knee) were knocked out of Thursday’s win over the New York Giants. Coupled with an injury to receiver Josh Gordon (knee), it forced the Patriots into one personnel grouping for the entire second half, a situation that quarterback Tom Brady said he couldn’t remember ever happening in his 20-year career.5

Watson, 38, joins LaCosse and second-year player Ryan Izzo as tight ends on the roster. His return should please Brady.

“Ben’s a great player. He’s been a great player for this team, for other teams. He’s had an incredible career,” Brady said last week. “He was right next to me [in the locker room], and for as great as a player he was, he was 10 times a better person, just the highest integrity. I can’t say enough good things about Ben, what he’s meant to me, my family, our team.”nike nfl jerseys cheap paypal

Is Christian Pulisic’s lack of playing time at Chelsea cause for alarm?

When Christian Pulisic’s $73 million move to Chelsea was announced in January, there were equal parts excitement and trepidation.

The anticipation came from having the American heading to one of the world’s biggest clubs for a fee more than three times the previous record for a U.S. international. If Pulisic could break through with the Blues, there was a chance that he could live up to the predictions — or hopes — that he would become the first transcendent American star.cheap nfl nike jerseys china

But the enthusiasm was tempered by concern over how much he would actually play, especially coming off a season with Borussia Dortmund in which his time decreased due to a combination of injury and the emergence of Jadon Sancho. When Maurizio Sarri — Chelsea’s manager when Pulisic’s transfer was agreed upon — returned to his native Italy and Frank Lampard came in to replace him, the American’s position looked even more vulnerable.3

Just six weeks into the season, Pulisic has shown flashes of ability, like when he set up Olivier Giroud’s goal against Liverpool in the UEFA Super Cup, but has found minutes harder to come by recently. When he has featured, he struggled to make much of an impact, often opting to play it safe.buy nike nfl jerseys cheap

“OK” is the word that keeps coming up from those assessing the American’s performances. That hasn’t been enough to keep Pulisic in Chelsea’s starting lineup, even as he returned from international duty early. In fact, heading into Wednesday’s Carabao Cup match against Grimsby Town (ESPN+, 2:45 p.m. ET), he has been an unused substitute three games in a row.

The lack of minutes has, in some cases, been circumstantial. During last weekend’s 2-1 defeat to Liverpool, Lampard was forced to burn two substitutes in the first half when defenders Emerson Palmieri and Andreas Christensen were injured.

But other signs are more disheartening. When Mason Mount was injured early in Chelsea’s 1-0 Champions League defeat to Valencia, Pedro was summoned, not Pulisic. The return of Willian, hurt at the start the season, has also made minutes tougher to come by. With Callum Hudson-Odoi also on the mend, the competition is set to get more intense.

“It’s so early,” said former U.S. international Landon Donovan, who enjoyed two loan spells in England with Everton. “You don’t want to get carried away, but the signs don’t look great so far for Pulisic, especially when you have Pedro, Ross Barkley and Michy Batshuayi also not starting in [the Liverpool] match. You would think he’s moving down the pecking order.”

As wild-card race heats up, you gotta believe … in Pete Alonso

In his rookie season for the record books, Pete Alonso is tied with the Reds’ Eugenio Suarez for the major league lead with 47 home runs, shattering the New York Mets’ team record of 41, and he has a chance to break Aaron Judge’s rookie mark of 52. He ranks in the top 10 in the majors in RBIs and second with nine home runs in “late and close” situations, has the third hardest-hit ball of the season at 118.3 mph, has hit better against winning teams (.987 OPS) than losing teams (.871 OPS) and has even survived getting hit by 20 pitches.cheap nfl jerseys china nike

In a Mets season typically full of injuries and various soap opera subplots, Alonso has been the constant: He’s been mashing all year long.

Those are just the numbers. Alonso’s impact for the Mets goes beyond the home runs hit and the runs driven in. Mets broadcaster Ron Darling put it perfectly the other day in describing how Alonso has become the face of the franchise: “Some people come to New York and play for the New York baseball team, and some become New Yorkers.”5

Alonso has not only successfully navigated major league pitching, but he’s successfully navigated New York like few players before him. That’s not an easy task. I don’t always completely buy into the “It’s tougher to play in New York (or Boston) than other cities,” but there’s something to the mantra. There’s more media and a portion of that media can be unrelentingly critical even when things are going right. The fans are passionate, but also quick to turn on you when things go wrong.nike nfl jerseys cheap china

Like Mike Piazza, however, Alonso simply has that “it” factor, that larger-than-life personality. He has embraced New York and Mets fans have embraced him. Yes, 47 home runs goes a long way to winning over the fans, but what’s not to love?

If there’s one area of improvement for Alonso, it’s cutting down on his chase rate. At 31%, he’s above the league average of 28.8%. As he sees a steady of diet of sliders and curveballs, he should learn to lay off some of those pitches and either see a higher walk rate or see more fastballs that he might pummel.

For now, it’s about getting into one final hot streak these last two weeks. The Mets have a tough path to the wild card, but if anyone can carry them to the postseason, it’s the big kid with the big heart and the big swing.

The Boomers and Lithuania: A rivalry forged over two decades

The intertwined histories of the Boomers and the Lithuanian national team in major tournaments is perhaps summed up with a nod and a smile.

Mark Bradtke, legendary Boomer (and now team manager), recalls sitting one row behind Lithuanian basketball royalty, the great Arvydas Sabonis, at the FIBA World Cup draw in Shenzhen, back on a Saturday evening in March.cheap nfl jerseys china nike

Once it was confirmed that the Boomers would indeed be drawn with Lithuania in Group H, Sabonis would turn to Bradtke, and shake his head in tacit understanding: oh, we’re back at it again.

“They understand the significance as well as us,” says Bradtke. “It’s just another chapter in the history of Australia versus Lithuania.”

This rivalry, perhaps the Boomers’ greatest in international basketball, has been largely forged through the Summer Games.

“Unfortunately, most of my memories of Lithuania on the court are bad,” says Luc Longley.5

In their first Olympics since regaining independence, in Barcelona 1992, Lithuania defeated the Australians in their final group encounter, relegating the Boomers to third in their group, and a dreaded crossover quarter-final matchup with eventual silver medallists, Croatia. Croatia would ultimately bundle out the Australians.

Mitch Creek was 3 months old when Lithuania would advance through to the bronze medal game in Barcelona and win an historic medal.

“I didn’t get to see it when I was really young,” he says of the seemingly inevitable clashes between these two sides in three straight Olympics. “For me, it was more like the archives, watching the VHS tapes, watching footage online, and watching those battles play out.”cheap nike nfl jerseys wholesale

Four years later at Atlanta, a surging Boomers team would encounter Lithuania once again, this time in the bronze medal game. In a tense and torrid affair, the Baltic Giants would once again prevail, behind the dominance of their Hall of Fame centre, Sabonis, to win a second consequence medal, and deny the Boomers their first.

“I know the year that I didn’t play, Atlanta, because I had an ankle clean-up, [Arvydas] Sabonis hurt them in the bronze game when they came fourth that year as well,” recalls Longley.

“He was slowing down a bit there, but extremely talented, would shoot the three-ball back then,” says Bradtke, who had the onerous task of playing against one of the greatest ever centres. “[He was] a really good passer, and they had awesome shooters around him as well. It was a tough cover for all teams. He was my biggest challenge in opponent and he got the better of me every single time.”

Sanchez: I have no regrets over Man Utd move

Alexis Sanchez has said he has no regrets over his decision to join Manchester United last year.

The Chile international signed for Inter Milan on a season-long loan after 18 months at Old Trafford where he managed only five goals in 45 appearances.
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The forward has joined up with Romelu Lukaku at Inter after the Belgium international also joined the Nerazzurri this summer.

“I’m very happy I went to Manchester United,” he told BBC Sport. “It’s the club that’s won the most in England.

“When I went to Arsenal it was fantastic — I was happy there — but United were growing at the time, they were buying players to win something.7

“I wanted to join them and win everything. I don’t regret going there.”

United manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has said Sanchez could feature for the club after his loan spell in Serie A but the forward said he needs regular minutes on the pitch to feel happy.

“I think that I’m happy when I play for my national team,” he added. “I was happy at Manchester United too, but I’ve always said to my friends I want to play.cheap nfl nike jerseys china

“If they would let me play I’ll do my best. Sometimes I’d play 60 minutes then I wouldn’t play the next game — and I didn’t know why.”

Meanwhile, Inter have confirmed Sanchez will wear the No. 7 shirt at the club this season.

Ibrahimovic: ‘If United need me, I’m here’

LA Galaxy forward Zlatan Ibrahimovic has joked about returning to Manchester United after claiming he is still good enough to play in the Premier League.

Ibrahimovic, 37, has scored 46 goals in 49 games for Galaxy since arriving from Old Trafford in 2018 but after United sold Romelu Lukaku this summer with Alexis Sanchez set to follow, he hinted at a comeback.nike nfl jerseys cheap china

“Nah, I did my job in Europe. I enjoyed it, I have 33 trophies that I brought with me here and hopefully I can get something here. And then we will see where that adventure finishes.”

The former Paris Saint-Germain, AC Milan, Barcelona and Juventus striker added that he still checks for United’s results and was aware of the 2-1 defeat to Crystal Palace on Saturday.6

“I look, I look, I look,” he added. “I saw the last game and I think they were unlucky. If they score the penalty, it’s a different game but a game in England is not finished until its finished.

“Anything can happen, especially in the last minutes where everything is in the heat of the moment.”

Ibrahimovic said he is not surprised to see Wayne Rooney depart Major League Soccer but is not sure what he will do when his own contract is up at the end of the year.

“No, I’m not surprised [that he’s going back],” Ibrahimovic said. “Absolutely not.cheap nfl nike jerseys from china

“I think he came, he tried, he did his best and, yeah, he had patience. You need a lot of patience and it has finished, the patience. I mean, my deal is until December 31. What happens afterwards I don’t know.

“I’m in a different position than Wazza. Wazza is much younger than me. I am old but still dominating, still making the difference. Let’s see what happens. I have to be feeling good physically.”

Man United held to draw by 10-man Saints

Manchester United’s patchy start to the Premier League season continued with a 1-1 draw at 10-man Southampton after a Jannik Vestergaard header cancelled out a brilliant Daniel James goal for the visitors on Saturday.china nike nfl jerseys cheap

The result left United on five points from four games after last weekend’s shock 2-1 home defeat by Crystal Palace while Southampton, who stretched their winless league streak at home against United to nine games, have four points.

Wales winger James, signed from Swansea City during the close season, netted the third goal of his United career with a 10th-minute rocket into the top corner which gave Saints keeper Angus Gunn no chance.4

The visitors dominated the opening half and livewire James forced a reflex save from Gunn with another piledriver from 20 metres midway through the first half after Marcus Rashford had headed well wide from close range.

But United faded after the break and Vestergaard equalised in the 58th minute when he rose above Victor Lindelof to head home emphatically a Kevin Danso cross from the right after visiting keeper David De Gea had saved a Danny Ings effort.cheap nike nfl jerseys free shipping

The home side were forced to hang on in the closing stages after Danso was sent off in the 73rd minute for a second bookable foul when he hacked down Scott McTominay, with Gunn denying Rashford and substitute Mason Greenwood.

Vikings’ Mike Zimmer ‘proud, happy’ to face former QB Teddy Bridgewater

Before Bridgewater lines up under center in the Saints’ preseason opener, he’ll exchange customary hugs and high fives with the people who saw him through one of the worst times of his life. On the sideline opposite the New Orleans bench will be his former coaches and teammates from Minnesota; the ones he has kept in touch with this summer, such as Adam Thielen, Xavier Rhodes and Dalvin Cook, and others who routinely gushed about his presence as a leader in the locker room during his four seasons with the Vikings. The defenders once used to steering clear of the red No. 5 jersey in practice will now have free rein to get after the quarterback.

Perhaps the most emotional moment of the night will be the embrace Bridgewater inevitably shares with his former coach. Few outside of Mike Zimmer know the full extent of Bridgewater’s painstaking journey and all that it took for the quarterback to get back on the field.china nike nfl jerseys cheap

Football may be a grown man’s game, but it is rarely sans emotion. All the what-ifs Zimmer has contemplated over the years of what their journey together could have been will never dissipate. While the coach’s main objective Friday is to test the strength of his team in its first live action of the season, seeing Bridgewater’s perseverance pay off is a feeling he is sure not to forget.6

“I’m so happy for him,” Zimmer said. “He texted me the day after the Super Bowl this year. I wish him all the best in the world. I want to hit him like any other quarterback, but I don’t want to hurt him. He’s a great kid. I’m proud of him that he’s been able to overcome that injury and I’ve heard that he’s been doing pretty good down there. So I’m proud of him to overcome that injury because when we got the statistics back when his knee got hurt, it was not really a very positive outlook for him to make it back.”

During training camp ahead of the 2017 season, just a year removed from when Bridgewater dislocated his left knee and tore his ACL when he planted his foot wrong in practice, Zimmer wasn’t sure whether the quarterback would ever be the same player the Vikings drafted with the 32nd overall pick in 2014.cheap nfl nike jerseys from china

After more than a year of extensive rehab, Bridgewater made his way back to the active roster but saw action only in the waning minutes of a fourth-quarter win over the Bengals in December 2017. The news the Vikings got from their medical staff at the end of the 2017 season wasn’t as positive as Zimmer had hoped for the player who had, for a while, put an end to the revolving door the franchise had at quarterback for more than a decade.

The two parties eventually moved on, with the Vikings turning the chapter towards the Kirk Cousins era and Bridgewater ending up with the Saints last August via a trade with the Jets.

As the Vikings got ready to play the Saints in Week 8 last season, Zimmer asked New Orleans coach Sean Payton about the strides his former quarterback was making. The Saints signed Bridgewater to back up Drew Brees, but Payton noted the promise he saw in Bridgewater from the start.