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Champions League Final Preview: Liverpool or Tottenham?



Why Liverpool will win

Jürgen Klopp does not feel reviled. He doesn’t, as he made plain amid his Friday nightly news media bring in Madrid, even feel unfortunate. He may have lost each last he has come to with Liverpool, and six of the seven he has challenged over all, yet he doesn’t see that as a harbinger.

The purpose behind that, put basically, is this is the potentially the first run through — and unquestionably the first run through with Liverpool — that he has gone into a last accountable for the top choice. The bare truth of the Premier League table outlines that Liverpool has been essentially more steady than Tottenham this season: Klopp’s group inevitably completed 26 in front of Spurs.

Toss in that Liverpool had England’s best barrier and two of its three top scorers, and afterward include that it experienced the ceremony, condition and specialist enthusiastic range of a Champions League last a year back, and Liverpool’s tranquil, unassuming certainty is reasonable.

For Klopp, in contrast to his Spurs partner, Mauricio Pochettino, there are no choice quandaries or strategic options: He, his players, and his rivals all expertise Liverpool will attempt to play. Klopp infrequently transforms; he isn’t the kind of supervisor to endeavor to spring an amazement.

This season, he has not expected to. Generally, what Liverpool does works: Even Barcelona, even with a 3-0 lead, even with Lionel Messi, couldn’t help it. Klopp will feel that if his players don’t solidify, if there are no individual slip-ups or snapshots of motivation from Tottenham, Liverpool is sufficiently able to beat Spurs, lastly observe off even the notice of a revile.

It is the nature of a single, winner-takes-all game that every advantage can, in a different light, start to look like a disadvantage. Mauricio Pochettino and Spurs do have choices to make: Do they play with a three-man defense or a four-man back line? Does Harry Kane start, or is he best used from the bench? If he does, who joins him? From one angle, it looks like uncertainty; from another, it looks like unpredictability.

Though Klopp’s record against Pochettino is good — one defeat in nine games — Spurs and Liverpool’s meetings tend to share a pattern. At some point, Pochettino will tweak something, do something unexpected, and as a rule, Liverpool will struggle to react. That happened, certainly, in the last encounter, which Liverpool won by 2-1, but only thanks to a Hugo Lloris mistake and a Moussa Sissoko miss. Spurs dominated for long stretches at Anfield. That will give Pochettino’s team hope.

Not that hope is in short supply. There is a weightlessness about Spurs, thanks, in part, to the chaos and wonder of the team’s run to its first European final in 35 years — the comeback in Amsterdam, the heart-stopping drama of the quarterfinal with Manchester City, even the fact that, after only three group games, the team seemed likely to be eliminated. By meeting every challenge, by surviving every scare, Tottenham has cultivated an air of invincibility. Destiny, Pochettino might call it.


Liverpool Routs City to Seize Control of Premier League Title Race




LIVERPOOL, England—Once he completed his triumph lap around the Anfield pitch, and once he’d run down the passage beating the peak over his heart, Liverpool administrator Jürgen Klopp quieted down enough to convey all the standard admonitions.

Obviously, the Premier League won’t distribute any flatware for an additional a half year. Yet at the same time. As any individual who has fixated on the English soccer standings as much as Klopp has can let you know, this circumstance justified some chest-pounding. After an unequivocal 3-1 triumph over Manchester City on Sunday, Liverpool presently has a nine-point hole over the double cross guarding champions.

It’s just November, however as of now the possibility of a first Liverpool title appears to be nearer than it has in 30 years.

“That is insane. Nine points, you can’t envision that incident,” Klopp said. “In any case, it’s not significant, in light of the fact that who needs to be first in November?”

The solution to his inquiry is straightforward: any individual who needs even a black out possibility of beating Man City.

There are as yet 26 games to play—and another gathering between these different sides in April—yet in a battle that was chosen by a solitary point last season, this is a gap. City isn’t even in runner up now, slipping into fourth behind Leicester City and Chelsea, who are every eight points loose of undefeated Liverpool.

The test for Klopp now is to figure how to keep his group on track with such a great amount of runway in front of it. There is a December with up to nine games on the timetable, remembering an outing to the Club World Cup for Qatar. There is the thing that Liverpool plans to be a profound Champions League hurried to come the following spring. Also, there is the indisputable weight of a city so starved for a group title that a whole age of players have collapsed under the weight.

City manager Pep Guardiola stopped short of conceding the title—he’s eccentric, not crazy—but he did slip into the kind of self-flagellation that has tended to accompany his exits from the Champions League in previous seasons, calling Liverpool “the best team in the world” at the moment.

“We have three teams in front who have more chances to win the Premier League than us,” he added.

More stunning than the gap in the standings is the manner in which Liverpool stretched it here on Sunday. Klopp’s team made Guardiola’s City look bereft of ideas. And even when the scoring opportunities came, City’s strikers seemed oddly blunt. Perhaps fourth place—even for a team with City’s recent history—is no longer so far from the club’s true quality this season.

Which is all an issue when you run into Liverpool, in structure and at home. Quickly of high-grade furor toward the beginning of the game, it played soccer at ice hockey speeds. Everything about its methodology was intended to thump City’s mind boggling passing game topsy turvy. It satisfied faster than anybody expected when a ropy City protection neglected to clear the ball, just for Liverpool midfielder Fabinho to lash the ball in from 25 yards.

“On the off chance that you need to win against Manchester City, which is super hard for each group on the planet, you can’t play the manner in which they play,” Klopp said. “Since they’re certainly the best in the manner play—it has neither rhyme nor reason. So we need to push through our way.”

But for all the craziness of watching Liverpool play at Anfield—and watching Klopp vibrate on the sideline—what characterizes this group more than anything is the quiet that goes through its players. Their squeezing is purposeful and tenacious. They cut cross field goes to one another like they’re holding pitching wedges.

Nothing made it more clear than Liverpool’s second objective in the opening 15 minutes. The fullbacks cut up the field with one taking off 50-yard pass, at that point another, before Mohamed Salah topped off the move with a header. Klopp was so consumed by the development that when the last cross glided into the City punishment zone, he really wanted to emulate heading the ball himself.

“I don’t think I at any point saw an objective like this,” he said.

For Guardiola, a fourth season in England is proving the most challenging of his glittering career. This is his lowest points total after the first 12 games at any of his stops in top-tier management. And never before—not at City, not at Bayern Munich, and not at Barcelona—has he ever been more than three points off the top at this stage of a season, according to Opta Sports

His only solace might be that he stared down a seven-point gap to Liverpool last winter and reeled them in. But in a rivalry settled by such fine margins, nine points, even with more time to spare, is starting to look like too many to spot the defending champion of Europe.

At no point in Liverpool’s recent history has it held a nine-point lead over its most serious challenger. The last time was the final day of the 1989-90 season—which is also the last time Liverpool won the title.

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Jimmy Garoppolo to Erin Andrews: “It Feels Great, Baby”




Jimmy Garoppolo made enough plays during last night’s game against Arizona to preserve San Francisco’s perfect record. He was understandably all smiles during a postgame interview with Fox’s Erin Andrews. Andrews seemed to enjoy it too.

And we love to see pleasant interactions between two professionals, don’t we, folks?

Usually I have a pretty good Spidey sense for how these things are going to play out in the media ecosystem. But this one? It’s a real mystery.

Will Garoppolo be criticized for calling a female reporter “babe” or will it largely be laughed off like it was when Rob Gronkowski did similar? Will there be a glut of thinkpieces asking how the reaction and perception would be different had, say, Lamar Jackson done the same thing? Maaaaaybe.

It’s all very exciting and definitely a worthwhile discussion for someone who is very much not me to have.

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Lakers vs. Jazz odds, line: 2019 NBA picks, Oct. 25 predictions from top-rated computer model




Anthony Davis and the Los Angeles Lakers will host Rudy Gobert and the Utah Jazz on Friday in the second game for both squads. LeBron James and AD couldn’t overcome Kawhi Leonard in their first game despite an unexpected 28-point outburst from offseason acquisition Danny Green. They’ll try to pick up their first win of the season against Donovan Mitchell’s revamped Utah Jazz. Utah’s Bojan Bogdanovic is reportedly out after spraining his ankle in the season-opener, while Rajon Rondo is questionable for the Lakers with a calf injury. Tipoff is at 10:30 p.m ET from the Staples Center. Sportsbooks list the Lakers as 3.5-point home favorites, up a half-point from the opener, while the Over-Under, or total number of points Vegas thinks will be scored, is 216 in the latest Lakers vs. Jazz odds. Before you make any Jazz vs. Lakers picks, see what SportsLine’s advanced computer model has to say.

The SportsLine Projection Model simulates every NBA game 10,000 times, and anyone who followed it last season saw massive returns. The model finished 300-252 on all its top-rated picks. On top-rated against-the-spread and money line NBA picks alone, the model returned a whopping $4,280.

Now it has locked in on Jazz vs. Lakers. We can tell you it’s leaning over, and it also says one side of the spread hits in more than 50 percent of simulations. You can only see that pick at SportsLine.

The model knows that with Davis added to the equation, the Jazz project to be at a serious disadvantage on the majority of defensive possessions. Utah might be in trouble in this game if they can’t lean on their defense because the offense is a work in progress. Their opening night starting five featured only two familiar faces in Gobert and Donovan Mitchell. Previous offensive facilitator Ricky Rubio has been replaced by Mike Conley, who made just 1-of-16 shots in his Jazz debut. It’s clear that it will take Utah some time to work out the kinks on the offensive end, so they will need a strong defensive effort in order to have a chance on the road.

Just because L.A.’s strengths counter Utah’s weaknesses doesn’t mean it will cover the Lakers vs. Jazz spread on Friday.

The model is also well aware that while Utah’s wings might be over-matched physically, the sum is greater than the parts when it comes to the Jazz. This defense is anchored by Gobert, the back-to-back Defensive Player of the Year, but the unit has lacked strong individual defenders after him. Yet, the Jazz have ranked top-three in defensive efficiency in each of the past three years.

The Lakers, on the other hand, are prone to defensive breakdowns as the far less disciplined defensive unit. In their season-opener, the Lakers gave up 25 points on wide-open (no defender within six feet) shots to the Clippers. That’s nothing new for the Lakers, who gave up wide-open looks to opponents at the highest rate (26.6 percent) in the entire NBA last season.

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