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Champions League: Why I played Wijnaldum as ‘top striker’ against Barcelona – Klopp

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Man United vs Man City: Klopp predicts EPL derby clash after Red Devils’ 4-0 defeat to Everton

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Liverpool manager, Jurgen Klopp has explained why he played midfielder, Georginio Wijnaldum, as a top striker during his side’s 3-0 defeat to Barcelona in the Champions League semi-final first leg on Wednesday.

Klopp said he decided to play Wijnaldum as a centre-forward against the La Liga champions because Liverpool needed a player between the lines who is good enough to keep and pass the ball.

A goal from Luis Suarez and a brace from Lionel Messi gave Ernesto Valverde’s men all three points against the Reds.

Speaking on his decision to play Wijnaldum as a top striker against Barcelona, Klopp was quoted by Metro UK as saying on Friday ahead of Liverpool’s Premier League clash against Newcastle on Saturday: ‘It was quite a big task’. I said to him: ‘What does it say about you?’ He said: ‘I don’t know’. I said: ‘That you can play everything’. When I told him that he plays the position, he was surprised himself.

“It was for different reasons and he needed 30 or 35 minutes to adapt really to it, but then he did brilliantly and the second half was really good.

“We needed this kind of player, an offensive player who is quite good in defending as well, because we cannot ignore the quality of Barcelona obviously. But we needed a player between the lines who is good enough to keep the ball and pass the ball.

“I know for people outside it’s easy to say, ‘[You need] another striker’ or whatever. There are different jobs to do on the pitch. Gini did really well.

“In a game like this, in a really small space, in a completely new position for him, he played it in Holland and he played offensive wing at Newcastle, so he knew about it. He is the player to do it.

“As a football player you have to be educated in a lot of things and he has this education. So it helped, it was really good.”



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Buhari appoints Amokachi as SA on sports

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Buhari appoints Amokachi as SA on sports

Former Super Eagles player and Nigerian Football Ambassador, Daniel Amokachi, has been appointed as Special Assistant on Sports to President Muhammadu Buhari.

“I am pleased to inform you that Muhammadu Buhari, President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria has approved your appointment as Special Assistant on Sports,” the appointment letter dated August 17, 2020, and signed by the Secretary to the Government of the Federation Mr. Boss Mustapha, reads in part.

As special assistant on sports, Amokachi is expected to advise the President on all sports matters.

The former Everton of England forward, who was earlier in the year named Nigeria’s Football Ambassador, is expected to mentor youngsters and promote the game at the grassroots.

Nicknamed “The Bull”, Amokachi began his career in Kaduna with Ranchers Bees Football Club of Kaduna, played for Club Brugge of Belgium, Besiktas of Turkey, Everton of England and Colorado Rapids.

He played in two World Cup finals, USA 1994 and France 1998. He was a member of Nigeria’s 1994 African Cup of Nations winning team and won the 2013 edition in South Africa as assistant to the late Coach Stephen Keshi.

Amockachi also won Gold with team Nigeria in the Football event of the Atlanta 1996 Olympics.

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Tennis: Djokovic confirms US Open participation

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Tennis: Djokovic confirms US Open participation

Novak Djokovic confirmed on Thursday he will play at the US Open, ending speculation about his presence at the first Grand Slam tournament since the season restarted following the coronavirus-enforced shutdown.

“I’m happy to confirm that I’ll participate at #CincyTennis and #USOpen this year,” the 33-year-old world number one tweeted.

“It was not an easy decision to make with all the obstacles and challenges on many sides, but the prospect of competing again makes me really excited,” added the 17-time Grand Slam champion.

The US Open gets underway behind closed doors in New York on Monday August 31, with Djokovic arriving in the United States on Saturday to tune up in the Western and Southern Open, which is normally played in Cincinnati but has been moved to New York this year.

His decision to take part is a major boost for the US Open after a host of headline names pulled out.

Djokovic makes his competitive return after being heavily criticized for hosting a charity tennis event in the Balkans in June at which he and a raft of players tested positive for COVID-19.

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Sam Okwaraji: NFF begins process to retire Eagles No.6 jersey

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Sam Okwaraji: NFF begins process to retire Eagles No.6 jersey

The Nigerian Football Federation (NFF) is pondering a move to retire the Super Eagles No.6 jersey previously worn by the late Sam Okwaraji, The PUNCH reports.

NFF President Amaju Pinnick made this known during an interview on a radio programme Sports Salsa, which was aired on Kennis 104.1 FM on Wednesday.

Okwaraji died of congestive heart failure minutes after he slumped during a 1990 World Cup qualifier between Nigeria and Angola on August 12, 1989, inside the main-bowl of the National Stadium, Lagos.

The game ended 1-0 in favour of the Eagles.

“Someone made a proposal about retiring the jersey (No.6) at the start of the year and I think it is not too much for us to do that,” Pinnick said.

“I will forward the proposal to the executive committee for implementation because it has been said already. So, we will see how we can retire that shirt in honour of a great patriot (Samuel) Okwaraji.

“His (Okwaraji) death was very tragic because he was a player who showed dexterity, professionalism and maturity each time he played for the Eagles.”

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