Liverpool set up their trophy presentation as Premier League champions with a thrilling 5-3 win over Chelsea to deny the Blues sealing their place in next season’s Champions League.
Sweet first half strikes from Naby Keita, Trent Alexander-Arnold and Georginio Wijnaldum ensured a night to remember for Jurgen Klopp’s men was accompanied by a positive result after just two wins in five previous games since they clinched a first title in 30 years.
Olivier Giroud pulled a goal back just before half-time, but Liverpool looked to be cruising when Roberto Firmino’s first league goal at Anfield this season made it 4-1 early in the second half.
The introduction of Christian Pulisic transformed Chelsea on the hour mark as he set up Tammy Abraham then smashed home himself into the top corner to cut the deficit to a single goal before Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain gave Liverpool breathing space six minutes from time.
Defeat sees Chelsea slip to fourth and leaves Frank Lampard’s men still needing a point at home to Wolves at Stamford Bridge on Sunday to secure a place in the Champions League.
Chelsea have already bolstered their attacking options for next season with the signings of Timo Werner and Hakim Ziyech, while they are reportedly closing in on a deal for the 90-million euro ($103 million, £81 million) rated Kai Havertz of Bayer Leverkusen.
But it is at the other end Lampard clearly has to find solutions as they completed an entire league season with just one clean sheet away from home and have now conceded 54 times in the Premier League this season.
A 1-1 draw with Burnley in their last home outing denied Liverpool the first ever perfect Premier League home record, but they matched the best ever return of 18 wins and one draw to complete three full league seasons without defeat at Anfield.
Despite pleas for fans to stay away on the night Liverpool finally get their hands on the trophy, supporters greeted the team bus on arrival and the Reds looked more like they did for much of the season prior to the coronavirus shutdown.
Keita is one of very few big money signings in Klopp’s time in charge not to reach his full potential in two seasons since a move from RB Leipzig, but the Guinean showed what he is capable of by crashing a shot in off the underside of the bar from outside the area.
Chelsea were incensed with the award of a free-kick that led to Liverpool’s second when Mateo Kovacic was penalised for bringing down Sadio Mane. But there no doubt about the quality of Alexander-Arnold’s strike as he curled home his third free-kick of the season, two of which have come against the Blues.
Wijnaldum then smashed into the roof of the net after Chelsea failed to clear a corner before Giroud pulled a goal back at the other end by sliding in after Alisson Becker saved Willian’s initial effort.
The second half was interrupted by the constant crackling of fireworks lit by fans outside the stadium, but there were plenty on the pitch too.
Alexander-Arnold crossed for Firmino to finally end his Anfield drought before Mohamed Salah missed two huge chances to score against his old club.
Pulisic was surprisingly left on the bench by Lampard from the start and he changed the came after he was introduced alongside Abraham and Callum Hudson-Odoi.
The American skipped past four challenges before squaring for Abraham and then fired powerfully into the roof of the net with the Liverpool defence all over the place.
But Chelsea were undone again at the other end as a blistering break from inside their own box saw Liverpool surge forward and Oxlade-Chamberlain smashed home Andy Robertson’s cross at the back post.
Olympics: Disqualified Nigerian Athletes Protest in Tokyo
Frustrated Nigerian athletes took to the streets of Tokyo on Friday to display their displeasure to the world following their disqualification from the Olympics taking place in the Japanese capital city.
Due to no fault of theirs, the 10 athletes were ruled out of participating in the track and field event because they did not undergo enough out-of-competition doping tests before the Games.
The Athletics Integrity Unit of World Athletics mandates high-risk countries (which Nigeria is classed under due to lax doping controls) to test their athletes at least three times in the months leading to major competitions.
However, the divided Athletics Federation of Nigeria did not perform its duties and of the 20 athletes across the world barred by the AIU for non-compliance, 10 were Nigerians.
The 10 affected athletes include Favour Ofili, Ruth Usoro, Rosemary Chukwuma, Knowledge Omovoh, Chidi Okezie, Chioma Onyekwere and Yinka Ajayi.
The disqualified 10 are part of the 23 Team Nigeria athletes taken to the Games, and they staged a peaceful protest in Tokyo on Friday, the opening day of track and field events.
The athletes, decked in their Team Nigeria tracksuits, carried placards on which they expressed their grievances.
Their placards had hand-written inscriptions such as ‘All we wanted to do was compete’, ‘Why should we suffer because of someone else’s negligence, and ‘We’re not just alternates but potential medallists’, apparently referring to the sports ministry’s suggestion that the disqualified athletes were dispensable.
Basketball: Australia Defeat Nigeria 108-69 in Exhibition Game
Australia trounced Nigeria 108-69 to win their third game in a row at the Las Vegas exhibition series on Wednesday as both teams continue their preparation for the Olympics.
The loss is Mike Brown’s first since taking over as coach of D’Tigers in 2020.
The efficient Aussies displayed grit and technical prowess as they swept D’Tigers apart in the first quarter taking a 13-point lead to end 26-13. The third ranked nation in the world continued their dominance in the second quarter ending with a comfortable 20-point lead – 49-29.
The Australians opened a 38-point lead to end the quarter 84-46, then clocking the 100-point mark to win by 39 points ending the game 108-69.
The Australians made it three wins in a row with Chris Gouding scoring 21 points, three rebounds and four steals. He hit 100 per cent accuracy from the three-point line making all seven attempts.
Josh Okogie and Obi Emegano led D’Tigers in scoring with 10 points a piece while Jahlil Okafor had seven points and five rebounds and Ike Iroegbu also scored seven points in a game they will want to forget in a hurry.
Nigeria have had an impressive run during the exhibition series beating powerhouses USA and Argentina before suffering their first loss.
D’Tigers will face the Boomers in their first game at the Olympics on July 25 and will be hoping to get a better return.
Italy Win Euro 2020, Deny England First Trophy in 55 Years
Italy have beaten England on penalties to win the Euro 2020, denying the Three Lions their first major trophy in 55 years.
The Italians defeated England 3-2 on penalties in Sunday’s Euro 2020 final as Marcus Rashford, Jadon Sancho and Bukayo Saka missed in the shoot-out following a 1-1 draw after extra time at Wembley.
Luke Shaw scored for England inside two minutes, the fastest ever goal in a European Championship final, but Leonardo Bonucci bundled in an equaliser at a corner midway through the second half.
Needing to score to keep England alive in the shoot-out, Saka’s spot-kick was saved by Italy goalkeeper Gianluigi Donnarumma as the Azzurri won the tournament for the second time.
Politics1 year ago
Electricity Tariff Hike: Review Is A Painful Adjustment – President Buhari
Politics1 year ago
Party Crisis: Progressives Governors’ Forum DG Calls For Constitutional Review
Politics1 year ago
PGF Boss, Lukman Denies Media Report of Division Among APC Governors
Investigation1 year ago
NDDC Spent 1.3trn Between 2015 And 2019 – Senate Report
Politics2 years ago
Ignore Tinubu’s Comment, He Cannot Speak for South-West – Activist
News3 years ago
Armed Forces Need N9bn Annually For Shoes, Boots, Says DG Defence Research
Politics1 year ago
South-South Zone Is Completely PDP, Says Wike Ahead Of Edo Election
Politics1 year ago
Edo Refinery, Other Projects Will Earn Gov. Obaseki Second Term – Gideon Ikhine