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MessagePosté le: Jeu 5 Avr 2018 - 04:45    Sujet du message: Liverpool show defensive improvement against Man City Répondre en citant

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sb0bet Liverpool have one foot in the Champions League semi-finals after their stunning 3-0 win over Manchester City at Anfield. The first-half was an attacking masterclass, but did the second show they have fixed their defence? Nick Wright examines the improvement.

Manchester City will be glad to see the back of Anfield for one season. Three months on from their last visit, when their unbeaten start to the Premier League campaign was ended so emphatically, they endured an even more traumatic night on Merseyside. Pep Guardiola knew what to expect but he did not know how to stop it.

In his defence, few sides could have coped with Liverpool's first-half performance. While City patiently probed in the opening stages, Jurgen Klopp's men prepared to pounce. Then, in the space of just 19 minutes, three City mistakes were ruthlessly punished. Liverpool's pressing was too much for Guardiola's side. Their finishing was clinical.

Liverpool's breathless first-half display evoked memories of that 4-3 win in January, but this time there was never any danger of a late collapse. The game will be remembered for Mohamed Salah's 38th goal of the season and for Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain's stunning second, but it also showed how far Liverpool have come in a defensive sense.

Manchester City barely got close to Liverpool's goal in the first half, and even in the second, when the hosts dropped deeper and Salah was forced off with an injury, they could not find a way through. Liverpool became only the fourth side all season to prevent City from scoring. They are the first to not even allow them a shot on target.

Goalkeeper Loris Karius was identified as a weakness before the game, but behind a back four of Trent Alexander-Arnold, Dejan Lovren, Virgil van Dijk and Andrew Robertson, he was a bystander throughout. Liverpool, so often exposed in the past, were disciplined and well-drilled. For the first time all season, City seemed to run out of ideas. sb0bet

It owed a lot to the £75m man in the middle. Van Dijk dominated Gabriel Jesus, winning every one of the duels he competed and marshalling the defence with the kind of authority Liverpool have so often lacked under Klopp. It was not the first time he has made a difference, either. In his last eight starts, Liverpool have kept five clean sheets and only conceded four goals.

The improvement can be seen at full-back, too, where Klopp has turned a problem position into a strength, with Alexander-Arnold moving to the top of the pecking order on the right and Robertson nailing down his spot on the left. Robertson has been one of Liverpool's most consistent performers in recent weeks, but it was Alexander-Arnold who shone brightest against City.

The 19-year-old's inexperience was exposed by Marcus Rashford and Wilfried Zaha recently, but up against Leroy Sane, he barely put a foot wrong. According to Opta, he made more clearances (10), more interceptions (seven) and more ball recoveries (10) than any of his team-mates. He prevented Sane from creating a single chance. Going forward, he also played a key role in Salah's opener.

Alexander-Arnold's display rewarded Klopp's faith and so too did Lovren's. The Croat has been a much-criticised figure since his arrival at Liverpool, but he was faultless when the pressure mounted on Wednesday night. An impeccably timed interception from a Sane cut-back and a brave header from an Aymeric Laporte cross were among his most important interventions. sb0bet
 


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MessagePosté le: Mer 25 Avr 2018 - 05:03    Sujet du message: Real Madrid's transformation in the Champions League is no m Répondre en citant

 
sbo128 Real Madrid have us spellbound. So much so that they are starting to believe the stories about their special ability in the Champions League. "This competition is the hardest to win," Toni Kroos says. "Maybe that unleashes special powers in us." For people watching a mediocre Los Blancos side show up week in and week out for a lost La Liga campaign, their form in that competition and their form in Europe are hard to correlate. They stand in stark juxtaposition, and that helps to compound the myth that Real Madrid in Europe transform into something otherworldly.

You could argue that Jupp Heynckes returned the modern-day Madrid to the formidable side they are now in Europe. During the three decades and more between 1966 and 1998, Los Blancos did not win a single European Cup to add to the six they already had sitting in their trophy cabinet at the Santiago Bernabeu. Since the German helped them to a 1-0 win over Juventus in the European Cup final that year, they have gone on to win another five. So, while Real Madrid thrive on everyone speaking about how their destiny and that of the Champions League trophy are intertwined, the Bayern Munich manager knows the truth. They have exceptionally talented players who thrive on pressure, but as far as the ingredients for European success go, it's not so much witchcraft and sorcery as it is belief, luck, flashes of brilliance and myriad other factors.

However hard it is to play against Cristiano Ronaldo or anyone else, once you starting bringing these special powers into it, psychology becomes as important as, if not more important than, the football. "The most important thing at the moment is the psychology," Heynckes said before Wednesday's first leg of the Champions League semifinal. And he would know. Heynckes and former Real Madrid attacker James Rodriguez might be willing to share some insider secrets. But the secret is that there is no secret. It's just Real's unbending belief that they are the best and biggest team in Europe. And if Bayern can somehow bend their own minds to believe the same about themselves, they might be able to do what no team has done in the last 35 months: knock Real Madrid out of Europe. sbo128

Bayern have already wrapped up the league title in Germany for the sixth consecutive season. They have a DFB-Pokal Cup final to look forward to also, but they know that lasting legacies are built in the European Cup. As for Real Madrid, every single one of their eggs is in a Champions League-shaped basket. Futures hang in the balance, careers could be made or broken, contracts are on the line and, as counterintuitive as it sounds, it's that pressure that puts Real Madrid at ease. Bayern will look to do what neither Paris Saint-Germain nor Juventus could do against Los Blancos in the first legs of their respective ties: keep it close. As far as records at home go this season, Real Madrid are poor. They have earned 2.13 points per game away from home in the league this season and just two at the Bernabeu. That was on display in their last outing in the Champions League, when Juventus beat them 3-1 and lost the tie only because of the first 90 minutes at their own stadium and a fortuitous, if not also deserved, late penalty call. sbo128



 


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MessagePosté le: Jeu 26 Avr 2018 - 06:43    Sujet du message: Alexandre Lacazette reveals bond with Antoine Griezmann ahea Répondre en citant

 
sbobet222 Alexandre Lacazette says he shares a "strong bond" with Antoine Griezmann ahead of Arsenal's Europa League semi-final first leg against Atletico Madrid. The Gunners will be looking to end Arsene Wenger's reign on a high, after the Frenchman revealed he would be leaving the club at the end of the season.

Both sides are set to field France internationals in their forward lines, in the shape of Lacazette and Griezmann. "Griezzy is a very good player who I met nearly 10 years ago now," Lacazette told Arsenal's official website. "We developed a strong bond and we see each other every year, either on national duty or elsewhere. We get on really well.

"You can't really explain why you get on well with someone, it's instinctive. Perhaps we share the same values and the same jokes. "We laugh a lot. We like to, quote-unquote, poke fun at people but always respectfully and in a kind manner. We are both jokers. "In every day life, we both have a laugh, we are always pretty lively. We talk about our current lives and our families. Normal stuff. sbobet222

"For faults, I would say he would stress that I like to relax and I'm very slow on the uptake - quote-unquote!" Lacazette missed time earlier this year due to injury, but has been in good form since returning to the side. The summer signing from Lyon scored twice in the 4-1 first-leg defeat of CSKA Moscow in Arsenal's Europa League quarter-final and added another double during Sunday's 4-1 defeat of West Ham. sbobet222
 


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