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Liverpool to hire former Steven Gerrard, captain as youth coach


Former Liverpool and England captain Steven Gerrard is to return to the Premier League club as a youth coach. Gerrard, 36, who made his Liverpool debut in 1998, will begin the job in February. The midfielder left Anfield at the end of the 2014-15 season to join MLS side LA Galaxy and retired as a player in November after a 19-year career. "It feels like completing the circle, returning to the place where it all began," Gerrard said. "However, this isn't a decision based on emotion - it's about what I can offer and contribute," he added.

"When I knew coming back was a serious option I wanted to make sure it was a substantive role. "This gives me a great opportunity to learn and develop as a coach, while at the same time offering my knowledge, ideas and experience to the young players at an important period of their development." Liverpool said he would bring "experience and expertise" to the role, as well as "unparalleled knowledge of the fabric and ethos" of the club.

Gerrard had been linked with the manager's job at League One side MK Donsafter announcing he would leave LA Galaxy, but said the opportunity came "too soon" for him. He is also working towards his Uefa A coaching licence, which is required to manage in the Premier League. Gerrard played 710 times for the Reds, winning nine trophies. He is England's fourth most-capped player with 114 appearances and captained the side at three of the six major tournaments he played at.

20 January, 2017  tobi   Sport News |

Neymar wakes Barcelona from Anoeta nightmare


A Neymar penalty conversion helped Barcelona earn a long-awaited 1-0 win over Real Sociedad in their Copa del Rey quarterfinal first leg on Thursday night at Anoeta in San Sebastian.
For Barcelona, it was their first victory on Real Sociedad's home turf in nearly 10 years and halted a wretched winless streak in San Sebastian of eight matches. The Brazilian was the hero on the night for Barcelona, as he both drew and scored the penalty that hands the reigning Copa del Rey champions an edge going into next week's return leg at the Camp Nou.
It was far from Barcelona's best, but all the ghosts that seem to appear any time they take the field in San Sebastian never surfaced. The Catalonians delivered a strong performance in defence while doing enough in attack to limit the hosts' chances.
Manager Luis Enrique made a few changes from the weekend team that downed Las Palmas, with the most notable insertion being the out of favour Ivan Rakitic back in the starting XI. Also returning to the line-up were goalkeeper Jasper Cillessen and left-back Lucas Digne.
Real Sociedad have always liked to jump on Barcelona early whenever the two teams meet at Anoeta and Thursday was no different as the Basques pressured the Catalonians in the match's initial moments. A Samuel Umtiti giveaway deep in the Barcelona half gave Real Sociedad the game's first chance, but Mikel Oyarzabal fired over the crossbar.
The match had an electric feel to it in the first half, with both teams fiercely battling for every ball and looking to strike quickly. One such run into the Real Sociedad area yielded a penalty for Barcelona after Aritz Elustondo tripped Neymar and the Brazilian coolly converted the spot kick 60 seconds later to give Barcelona a 1-0 lead.
Real Sociedad looked to respond and Mexican striker Carlos Vela set up Asier Illarramendi with a chance to pull the hosts level, but the former Real Madrid man's shot deflected off Gerard Pique and out for a corner kick.
Barcelona looked to add to their lead to start the second half and Neymar had two great looks at goal but failed to convert. First the Brazilian's touch let him down and allowed Real Sociedad goalkeeper Rulli to save in a one-on-one and then minutes later the Brazilian flashed a shot wide from the left after good work from Messi.
The hosts remained relentless in their pursuit of an equaliser and just after the hour mark their chance came when Zurutuza dished to Yuri on the left but the shot back across goal rolled inches wide of Cillessen's far post and out of the reach of the hard-charging Oyarzabal.
But time was running out on Real Sociedad and outside of a 90th minute Illarramendi header that was thumped wide, Eusebio's men were unable to muster a serious look at goal, thus ending Barcelona's Anoeta curse.
Up next for Barcelona is a return to La Liga action on Sunday away at Eibar.

Match Sheet:

0.- Real Sociedad: Rulli; Aritz, Navas, Iñigo, Yuri; Prieto (Canales, min. 76), Illarramendi, Zurutuza; Vela (Juanmi, min. 72), Willian José (David Concha, min. 80), Oyarzabal

1.- FC Barcelona: Cillessen; Sergi Roberto, Piqué, Umtiti, Digne; Busquets, Rakitic (Denis Suarez, min. 69), Iniesta (Andre Gomes, min. 46); Messi, Suárez, Neymar

Goals: 0-1, min. 20: Neymar (p);

Referee: Gonzalez Gonzalez (Castilla-Leon).

Yellow Cards: Messi (Min. 43) for Barcelona, Neymar (Min. 63) for Barcelona, Illarramendi (Min. 93) for Real Sociedad

Stadium: Anoeta

Attendance: 28,461

Mane helps Senegal reach last eight with Zimbabwe win


Senegal qualified for the African Nations Cup quarter-finals by beating Zimbabwe 2-0 with early goals from Sadio Mane and Henri Saivet in their Group B encounter on Thursday.
They became the first team to reach the last eight after a second straight win, having beaten Tunisia 2-0 on Sunday, and have now emerged as tournament favourites.
Mane, the continent's most expensive player after his 35 million pounds move to Premier League club Liverpool last year, scored after nine minutes with a back post tap-in after Senegal had missed three good chances.
A stunning curling free kick from Saivet four minutes later effectively wrapped up the points and first place in the group.
Earlier, Tunisia beat Algeria 2-1 in Franceville and a draw in their final game will be enough to see them progress.
Mane, who scored an early penalty in Senegal's opening game against Tunisia, was unmarked and needed a simple touch to score after Lazio's Diao Balde Keita drilled the ball across goal.
By then Zimbabwe were already teetering from a furious onslaught that might have delivered a goal even earlier had Mame Biram Diouf not missed several times.
It was a pattern that continued for the Stoke City striker during the match but it mattered little as Saivet hit a wickedly swerving free kick from outside the area to double the lead.
Diouf's worst miss came shortly after halftime as he shot wide after being set up by Everton's Idrissa Gueye, another of the Premier League players in the winning lineup.

MANE THWARTED

Mane was clean through just after the hour but his initial effort was smothered by goalkeeper Tatenda Mkuruva and although he regained possession to chip the ball towards goal the lively forward's second attempt was cleared off the line.
Nyasha Mushekwi had Zimbabwe's first decent effort in the 72nd minute as they were thoroughly outplayed.
Only Tunisia can also reach six points in the group but Senegal would still be first with a better head-to-head record.
Senegal last reached the knockout phase in 2006, having flopped in the first round at the three tournaments since.
Algeria and Zimbabwe have one point each but could still reach the quarter-finals with wins in their final games against Senegal and Tunisia respectively in which case qualification would be settled by goal difference.
Tunisia will qualify with at least a draw against Zimbabwe even if Algeria win because of the head-to-head tiebreaker.

Drinkwater confident of Leicester's top half finish


Leicester City can still finish in the top half of this season's Premier League after a feeble start to their title defence, according to midfielder Danny Drinkwater.
Leicester have failed to build on last season's fairytale title triumph and, despite a fine Champions League campaign, the Foxes are languishing in 15th in the standings after 21 games, five points ahead of the bottom three.
"We knew what we achieved was unbelievable and something that probably won't happen again. But we needed to set a new target and hopefully reach it -- and the target is still there to reach," Drinkwater told Sky Sports.
"Come the end of the season, if we are in the top half and we've got through to the quarter finals of the Champions League, for a team like Leicester City, I can't see many people complaining.
"You can understand the frustrations of the fans at the minute but we'll get there... Looking at the first half of the season, it can only improve."
Drinkwater, who was a surprise exclusion from England's Euro 2016 squad, admits that on his current form he will have a hard time convincing national team manager Gareth Southgate he deserves a call-up.
"I'll be the first to admit my form has dropped... It's important and the sooner I can get my own form back, showing what I can do, hopefully that will come with it," he added.
"I've spoken to Southgate and he seems like someone who's a perfect fit for the England job so that's good for the players and for the fans as well."
Leicester travel to face 13th placed Southampton on Sunday.


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