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Klopp says Liverpool don’t have enough players to rotate

LIVERPOOL (Agencies): Liverpool manager Juergen Klopp says his mounting injury list ahead of Tuesday’s Champions League clash with Ajax Amsterdam means he does not have enough fit players to rotate his squad.

The latest player to be sidelined at Anfield is utility man James Milner who suffered a hamstring injury in Saturday’s 1-1 draw at Brighton & Hove Albion.

Klopp said Spanish midfielder Thiago Alcantara remains out for a few more weeks and full back Trent Alexander-Arnold has not yet been given the green light to return to full training. Central defenders Virgil van Dijk and Joe Gomez both remain out with a long-term injuries while forward Xherdan Shaqiri and midfielder Naby Keita are also missing for Tuesday’s game.

Asked if the busy schedule meant he would have to prioritise between European and domestic competition, Klopp said he never made such choices and that in any case he was in no position to rotate his squad. “I don’t have enough players to prioritise. It’s not about the competition it’s about the players. On Saturday the fittest players played,” he said.

Liverpool will go through to the knockout stage from Group D if they avoid defeat by Ajax and will be group winners if they win and Atalanta fail to beat Midtjylland.

Asked about dealing with a fixture pile-up while facing a lengthy injury list, Klopp said he had no choice but to cope with the circumstances. “It’s not a perfect situation but obviously not enough people want to offer us any kind of help (with the fixture scheduling), not only for us but for (all) football people. We just have to deal with it,” he said.

“I said it always – as long as we can line up with 11 players, we will fight with all we have and that’s still the case,” he added.

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PCB Challengers face PCB Dynamites in National Triangular T20 final today

F.P. Report

KARACHI: PCB Challengers and PCB Dynamites will be aiming to annex the National Triangular T20 Women’s Cricket Championship trophy as well as Rs1million, the winning prize money, when they contest the tournament final at the Pindi Cricket Stadium on Tuesday.

Muneeba Ali-led PCB Challengers overcame Rameen Shamim-led PCB Dynamites in the last group match, played on Sunday, by five wickets in a low-scoring contest, which turned out to be a rehearsal for the two finalists.

The much-anticipated contest will be streamed live on the PCB’s YouTube channel and both captains are looking forward to it with an eye on the tournament trophy.

“Our confidence is high,” PCB Challengers captain Muneeba Ali said. “And we are keenly looking forward to the final and lifting the trophy. It has been a team effort that has helped us dominate the event and I really feel we have it in us to finish the event with the trophy in our hands.

“We have played aggressive cricket and tried to impose ourselves on the opposition which has provided us success. We plan to play the same brand of cricket in the final without adding any extra pressure on ourselves.”

PCB Dynamites captain Rameen Shamim said: “We will surely bounce back in the final as we have learned from the defeat against PCB Challengers on Sunday. Our batting did not click in that match as we posted a low total but we still possess enough quality in our ranks to turn the tables on the day, which matters the most.

“Overall, it has been an exciting tournament where we have seen some good performances from our players. Our wicketkeeper has been doing a great job behind the stumps, which has uplifted our fielding unit.

“We all are focused on winning the trophy and it should be an entertaining final between two quality sides.” The tournament has produced quality contests with the three teams fighting tooth and nail for their progression in the final.

PCB Blasters crashed out of the tournament as they failed to win any of their four group matches. Their players, however, dominate the batting and bowling charts.

Javeria Khan is the highest run-getter in the tournament to date with 134 runs in three matches at an average of 67, while Hafsa Amjad has the most scalps (four).

Javeria is followed by the PCB Dynamites duo of Nahida Khan (115 runs at 57.50) and Ayesha Zafar (110 runs at 36.67) on which Rameen will be pinning hopes.

Following Hafsa on the bowling list are Saba Nazir (PCB Challengers), Fatima Sana (PCB Challengers), Kainat Imtiaz (PCB Dynamites), Nashra Sandhu (PCB Dynamites) and Anam Amin (PCB Blasters) with three wickets each.

The runner-up will pocket Rs500,000, while the player of the championship will bag Rs50,000.

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Maradona’s doctor investigated for manslaughter

BOGOTA (Agencies): Diego Maradona’s doctor is being investigated for possible manslaughter following the football legend’s death, Argentine prosecutors said Sunday. Maradona died of a heart attack Wednesday at his home on the outskirts of the capital, Buenos Aires.

Police raided the home and clinic of Leopoldo Luque on Sunday morning as they try to establish whether there was negligence in Maradona’s medical treatment, according to several local news outlets.

Luque denies any wrongdoing. “There was no medical error on anyone’s part. Diego had a heart attack. In a patient with his condition, it is the most common thing in the world to die like that. Everything possible was done to prevent that event,” said Luque in an impromptu press conference at his home.

Maradona had undergone surgery for a brain blood clot earlier in November. Luque had allowed him to leave the hospital eight days later. The doctor said he had done “everything he could, up to the impossible.”

“They took his medical history and the tests I did. Electronic devices. Hard drives I had 20 years ago. All the phones. The truth is that I was surprised because when Diego died, I arrived at his place and the prosecutor’s office was already working. They didn’t take me to testify. I didn’t think this was the way,” he said.

The raid came after Maradona’s family members reportedly told investigators they had witnessed a fight between Maradona and his personal physician. Luque said those types of encounters with his patient were normal. “What I explained to Diego was difficult. Many times he dismissed me. And then he would call me back.” An investigation was requested after Maradona’s daughters Dalma and Giannina questioned the medication their father was given.

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Spurs back on top, Arsenal lose, Cavani inspires Man Utd win

LONDON (Agencies): Tottenham Hotspur returned to the top of the Premier League as they ground out a 0-0 draw at Chelsea on Sunday but there was more woe for north London rivals Arsenal who suffered a fifth defeat in their opening 10 matches.

Edinson Cavani came off the bench to score twice for Manchester United who overturned a 2-0 halftime deficit at Southampton to win 3-2 — a club-record eighth successive away league win moving them into the top half. When Spurs briefly led the table before the international break it was pointed out that their next run of fixtures would give a better indication of whether they are title contenders.

After last week’s 2-0 home win against Manchester City, their disciplined display at Chelsea to earn a point has perhaps persuaded a few more that they have a shot. “If we’re contenders then they have to be contenders,” Chelsea manager Frank Lampard said after his side missed the chance to move top with a victory. Timo Werner had a goal ruled out for Chelsea in the first half and Tammy Abraham should have done better with a header after the break but Tottenham, especially in the first half, always looked capable of snatching a goal.

They are now unbeaten in nine league games since an opening-day defeat at home to Everton and have kept three consecutive clean sheets. However, manager Jose Mourinho contines to downplay his side’s chances of finishing above the likes of champions Liverpool, Manchester City and Chelsea. “We’re not even in the (title) race so we’re not a horse. We’re a pony,” the Portuguese said. Spurs have 21 points from 10 games, above Liverpool on goal difference. Leicester City can also get to 21 on Monday if they win at home to struggling Fulham. Third-placed Chelsea have 19.

JIMENEZ INJURY

Arsenal’s 2-1 defeat at home to Wolverhampton Wanderers left them in 14th place with 13 points. Although the result was overshadowed by a sickening clash of heads between Wolves’ Raul Jimenez and Arsenal’s Brazilian defender David Luiz that left the Mexican forward in hospital.

During a 10-minute stoppage Jimenez needed oxygen and was taken off on a stretcher before being rushed to hospital. Wolves manager Nuno Espirito Santo said he had been very worried but offered some good news, saying the 29-year-old Jimenez was conscious and talking.

For Arsenal boss Mikel Arteta it is a case of back to the drawing board. His misfiring side have three points fewer after 10 games this term than they did last season under his Spanish compatriot Unai Emery who was sacked exactly a year ago. It is their worst points haul after 10 games of a Premier League season and they have scored only 10 times.

“It’s my responsibility for the team to score more goals. There are no excuses — we have to improve,” Arteta said. United appeared to be heading for defeat when James Ward-Prowse scored a stunning free kick, having set up Jan Bednarek to open the scoring in the first half at St Mary’s. But Uruguayan Cavani, 33, came on at the start of the second half and flipped the match on its head with a virtuoso display.

First he set up Bruno Fernandes to give United hope and then struck with two headed goals, the second in stoppage time. “Sometimes when we scored goals it’s hard to be the perfect goal,” United’s Ole Gunnar Solskjaer said as his side moved up to eighth place, five points off top spot with a game in hand.

“Edinson has been around the block, scored so many goals, he’s played football so long, been between both posts, he’s seen this game before, he’s seen that cross before, he knows exactly what moment to move.”

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Raza Hasan sent home after Covid-19 protocol breach

F.P. Report

KARACHI: Raza Hasan of Northern’s Second XI has been sent home following a breach of the Pakistan Cricket Board’s Covid-19 protocols.

The decision means he will not be allowed to take any further part in the 2020-21 domestic season. Raza had left the bio-secure premises at a local hotel without seeking a prior clearance from the medical team as well as the PCB’s High Performance department.

“It is sad and unfortunate that despite several reminders and educational programmes on the significance and importance of respecting and following Covid-19 protocols, Raza Hasan decided to take matters in his hand and overstepped the line,” PCB Director High Performance, Nadeem Khan said.

“As such, he has been expelled from the tournament and will not be allowed for the remaining season.”

“The PCB has a zero-tolerance approach towards Covid-19 breaches as these are designed to not only ensure health and safety of all participants but to also demonstrate to the world that we can successfully organise and deliver domestic competitions.

“I sincerely hope Raza Hasan will use this time to reflect on his irresponsible actions and the potential damage his breach could have caused to the event in general and Pakistan cricket in particular.”

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ICC doesn’t have mandate to influence Indo-Pak bilateral ties: Barclay

WLLINGTON (Agencies): The newly appointed chairman of the International Cricket Council (ICC) Greg Barclay has claimed that he intends on doing his best to bring India and Pakistan closer in terms of cricketing matters while admitting that the sport’s governing body did not have the mandate to influence bilateral ties to a significant degree.

Barclay, who has previously served as a representative for New Zealand Cricket (NZC) on the board of the ICC, has first-hand knowledge about the issues in communication that arise between the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) and the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI).

“I would love nothing more than for India and Pakistan to be able to continue cricketing relations as they were previously. I am also enough of a realist to understand that there are geo-political issues at play here. I think all we can do at the ICC is to continue to help and support in any way that we can to bring about outcomes that would see India and Pakistan in a position where they can play cricket regularly against each other and in their home territories,” Barclay was quoted as saying by Press Trust of India.

“Beyond that, I do not think I have the mandate or ability to influence the outcomes more than that. That is really being done at a level way beyond where we would be operating,” he added. The ICC chief was adamant that the ICC would do whatever it can to facilitate and support discussion between the two sides.

“Rest assured that from the cricketing point of view, we would love to get those countries back together again on a regular basis. The ICC will do whatever it can to help facilitate and support an outcome that might see that happen,” he said.

The PCB has reached out to their counterparts in the BCCI many times over the past years however the Indian government’s policies have been a major obstacle for any bilateral assignments between the sides. The two teams clash in ICC events while no indications have been provided for the resumption of any bilateral fixtures.

Both countries have not played a bilateral cricket series since 2012, due to strained relations between the two neighbours. Pakistan last toured India for ODIs and T20Is in 2012-13, while the two sides last played a Test match in 2007. The Men in Blue toured Pakistan in 2006 and have not visited there since.

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Australia take ODI series against India: Smith scores second century

Monitoring Desk

SYDNEY: Another pulsating Steve Smith century and two flying outfield catches clinched the one-day international (ODI) series for Australia with a 51-run victory over India in Sydney on Sunday.

Smith tormented India with his second blistering hundred in as many matches as Australia posted another huge target, reaching 389-4 off 50 overs.

The Australians then restricted India to 338-9 from their 50 overs with Virat Kohli falling on 89 to a magnificent Moises Henriques catch when the master batsman was closing in on a century.

Smith followed up his 105 off 66 balls in Friday’s first ODI victory with an equally dominant 104 off 64 balls as the Indians couldn’t stem the runs on a slow-paced Sydney Cricket Ground pitch in searing conditions.

The total surpassed Australia’s 374 for six which set up Friday’s 66-run crushing win in the first ODI on the same ground and was the third-highest total scored against India.

“I felt good from ball one. Got myself in and went hard,” Smith said. “It was another great foundation set by Finchy and Davey (Warner). That enabled myself and Maxi (Glenn Maxwell) to go hard at the back end.”

It was India’s fifth consecutive ODI defeat — for the first time since January 2016 — with the tourists now bidding to prevent a series whitewash in Wednesday’s final game in Canberra.

“They have outplayed us. We were ineffective with the ball, and didn’t hit the areas,” Kohli said.

“They have a strong batting lineup, they know the conditions and the angles well.

“The chase felt steep. They took the chances that they created in the field, which was the difference.”

Australia’s win may have come at a cost, however, with David Warner injuring his groin in a fielding tumble and likely to be out for the next ODI — and possibly the following T20 series.

Australia’s top order made India pay after skipper Aaron Finch won his second toss of the series to subject the tourists to another afternoon of toil under a hot sun.

Warner hit 83 off 77 balls, Finch 60 off 69, Marnus Labuschagne 70 off 60 and Glenn Maxwell bludgeoned a crowd-pleasing unbeaten 63 from 29 balls.

Smith put on a batting clinic with a full array of quirky shot-making as he raced to triple figures, laced with 14 fours and two sixes.

He fell two balls later stretching for a wide slower delivery off Hardik Pandya and getting a thick edge to Mohammed Shami at third man.

Finch and Warner brought up their 12th century opening stand off 16 overs before Finch mistimed Shami and spooned a catch to Kohli via his pads.

Courtesy: Arab News

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Cavani inspired Manchester United’s fightback

Monitoring Desk

SOUTHAMPTON: Edinson Cavani inspired Manchester United’s thrilling fightback from two goals down to snatch a dramatic 3-2 win against Southampton on Sunday.

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s side were facing a dismal defeat after first half goals from Jan Bednarek and James Ward-Prowse put Southampton in control at St. Mary’s.

Adding to Solskjaer’s problems, United lost goalkeeper David de Gea to a knee injury at halftime.

But Uruguay striker Cavani sparked United’s escape act after coming on at the interval.

Cavani set up Bruno Fernandes to reduce the deficit and the former Paris Saint-Germain star grabbed the equalizer from his teammate’s deflected shot.

The 33-year-old netted again in the final moments as his third goal since signing as a free agent in October extended United’s winning to four games in all competitions.

United climbed to seventh place, two points adrift of the Champions League places, after setting a club record of eight successive away Premier League wins.

It was exactly the kind of influential display Solskjaer was hoping for from Cavani when he moved for him after United’s failed pursuit of Borussia Dortmund’s Jadon Sancho.

Written off as a panic buy in some quarters, Cavani proved his age should be no barrier to making an impact in the Premier League.

He is only the second player to be directly involved in three goals in a Premier League game after coming on as a substitute for United since Solskjaer scored four against Nottingham Forest in 1999.

United had started brightly and Mason Greenwood rounded Saints keeper Alex McCarthy, only to shoot into the side-netting with the empty goal at his mercy.

Fernandes needed treatment after a heavy challenge from Oriel Romeu, but he almost exacted immediate revenge when his deflected effort clipped the outside of the post.

Southampton took the lead against the run of play in the 23rd minute.

Ward-Prowse curled a corner to the near post and Bednarek got in front of Marcus Rashford to glance his header past De Gea from close range.

Kyle Walker-Peters nearly caught out De Gea with a low drive from an acute angle that skimmed across goal and struck the far post.

United were almost gifted an equalizer when McCarthy’s woeful pass was seized on by Greenwood, but the keeper redeemed himself with a brilliant double save, repelling the teenager’s shot and then blocking Fernandes’s follow-up.

Ward-Prowse doubled Southampton’s lead in the 33rd minute.

Taking aim from the left side of the United area, Ward-Prowse curled a superb free kick over the wall and past De Gea, whose despairing attempt to claw it out sent him clattering into the post.

David Beckham is the only English player to have scored more direct free kicks than Ward-Prowse’s nine in the Premier League era.

De Gea might have felt he could have done better having got a hand to it, but Dean Henderson made his first Premier League appearance for United when he replaced the injured Spaniard at half-time.

It was Cavani’s introduction that proved decisive after a curious late arrival on the pitch as he sorted out his boots.

Cavani linked up with Fernandes to reduce the deficit in the 59th minute as his cross reached the Portugal midfielder, who swivelled to fire home from 10 yards.

Since his United debut in January, Fernandes has been involved in a league-high 25 goals, scoring 15 and providing 10 assists.

Courtesy: Arab News

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Diego Maradona death probe launched as police raid doctor’s home

Monitoring Desk

Police in Argentina have launched an investigation into Diego Maradona’s death.

Less than four days after the football legend suffered a fatal heart attack, officers raided the home and private clinic of one of his doctors.

They are working to establish whether the sporting great was treated with negligence prior to his death at the age of 60.

His daughters have reportedly demanded to know what medication their father was taking.

On Sunday, several officers were seen stationed outside the house of neurologist Dr Leopoldo Luque in Buenos Aires.

Afterwards, Dr Luque told reporters that he had given investigators all records of his treatment of the footballer, as well as computers, hard drives and mobile phones.

Growing tearful, he defended his treatment of the troubled star, who died on Wednesday.

“I know what I did. I know how I did it…. I am absolutely sure that I did the best for Diego, the best I could,” he said.

The doctor added that he was not Maradona’s chief physician, but part of a medical team.

The 60-year-old, one of the greatest footballers of all time, was buried on Thursday in a private ceremony attended by just two dozen people.

It followed a public vigil at the country’s presidential palace where tens of thousands of weeping fans lined up to file past his coffin.

Maradona died in a house outside the Argentinian capital where he had been recovering from a brain operation on November 3.

He had suffered from a long series of medical issues, some related to overindulgence in drugs and alcohol. He was reportedly near death in 2000 and 2004.

Dr Luque described the former sportsman as a difficult patient, revealing that he had kicked the doctor out out of his house several times.

“Diego did what he wanted,” Dr Luque said. “Diego needed help. There was no way of getting through to him.”

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Broncos and 49ers the latest NFL teams impacted by coronavirus crisis

SAN FRANCISCO (Axios): The COVID-19 pandemic has thrown the NFL season into chaos, with all Denver Broncos quarterbacks sidelined, the San Francisco 49ers left without a home or practice ground and much of the Baltimore Ravens team unavailable, per AP.

Driving the news: The Broncos confirmed in a statement Saturday night that quarterbacks Drew Lock, Brett Rypien and Blake Bortles were identified as “high-risk COVID-19 close contacts” and will follow the NFL’s mandatory five-day quarantine, making them ineligible for Sunday’s game against New Orleans.

Multiple outlets reported that Denver’s No. 3 quarterback Jeff Driskel tested positive for the virus earlier this week.

In San Francisco, the Santa Clara County Public Health Department announced new measures to combat a surge in coronavirus cases in the area — including prohibiting from Monday contact sports from holding games and practices for three weeks.

The 49ers said in a statement officials are aware of the emergency directive affecting the team. “We are working with the NFL and our partners on operational plans and will share details as they are confirmed,” the statement added.

In Baltimore, the Ravens added six more players to their COVID-19 list of those who have either tested positive for the coronavirus or been deemed high-risk close contacts of an infected person.

The Ravens-Pittsburgh Steelers game originally scheduled for Thanksgiving Day has been rescheduled for a second time, from Sunday to Tuesday, after three Baltimore players tested positive for the virus.

In Pittsburgh, the Steelers announced they had placed running back James Conner on the Reserve/COVID-19 List Saturday. Three other Pittsburgh players were added to the list Friday.

The big picture: The NFL has said it will prohibit all in-person team activities on Monday and Tuesday “in response to the continuous increase in positivity rates throughout the country” and because “a number of players and staff celebrated the Thanksgiving holiday with out-of-town guests.”

The coronavirus crisis has seen cases spike across America, with over 13.2 million people confirmed to have tested positive for the virus in the U.S. by Saturday night.