12-12-2018 Klopp says £67m Alisson ‘worth double’ after save puts Liverpool through

• Alisson keeps out Napoli in stoppage time• Carlo Ancelotti says Van Dijk deserved red cardJürgen Klopp said he would have paid double for Alisson after the £65m “lifesaver” secured Liverpool’s place in the Champions League knockout with a crucial stoppage-time save against Napoli. Related: Salah and Alisson heroics ensure Liverpool qualify at Napoli’s expense Continue reading...

12-12-2018 Team Sky’s legacy: titles and ambition tarnished by coldness and allegations | Richard Williams

The cycling team, who will lose Sky as a sponsor next year, raised the sport’s profile in Britain but took it away from the humanity treasured by puristsEvery now and then a new force enters a sport with an impact so crushing it reshapes and even deforms the whole competition. So it was with the state-sponsored German grand prix teams in the 1930s, with East African distance runners over the past two decades and with football clubs benefiting today from the sovereign wealth of Arab states. Team Sky’s recent dominance of cycling’s major events can be measured on that scale.Many will mourn the passing of a name that helped bring British riders to the forefront of the sport: first Bradley Wiggins, then Chris Froome and most recently Geraint Thomas. When Wiggins won the Tour de France in 2012 it was the fulfilment of what had long appeared an impossible dream. By the time of Thomas’s recent Tour victory – a sixth for Sky in seven years – it seemed almost commonplace. Froome’s victories in the Vuelta a España in 2017 and this year’s Giro d’Italia meant he and the team held all three grand tour jerseys simultaneously. Continue reading...

12-12-2018 Stalemate at Old Trafford and Wolves at Chelsea's door – Football Weekly Extra

Max Rushden, Barry Glendenning, Amy Lawrence and Mike Calvin discuss ‘four crap goals’ in the game between Manchester United and Arsenal, Morgan Gibbs-White, a very strange game in Brighton, the French for ‘putting your foot in it’ and sprinting managersJoin the conversation on Facebook, Twitter and email.We look back at the last few days of football, starting with Manchester United’s 2-2 draw at home with Arsenal, with the away side the ones to pile late pressure on at the one-time home of Fergie-time. Continue reading...

12-12-2018 Team Sky: Chris Froome hopes team can survive owner withdrawal

Four-time Tour de France winner Chris Froome says Team Sky will "be doing everything we can" to survive Sky's withdrawal.

12-12-2018 Can Sumo survive? The crossroads facing Japan's national sport – video

The ancient Japanese ritual of Sumo is in crisis. Only last week, a Mongolian wrestler was forced to retire after assaulting a teammate – but that's just the tip of the iceberg. Years of controversy and scandal, coupled with the country's declining population, have greatly impacted the sport's ability to attract new talent. The Guardian visits Tokyo's Ryōgoku district, the birthplace of Sumo, to see how this iconic institution is adapting to life in the 21st century, and why - despite women being banned from the ring itself - young female fans are flocking to watch it like never beforeYokozuna, controversies and a 'Dump Truck': a sumo history – in pictures Continue reading...

12-12-2018 What is the smallest football ground a European champion has lost at? | The Knowledge

Plus: the longest delay for any new stadium in history and the worst goal difference you can get away with and still qualify in the Champions League. Mail us or tweet @TheKnowledge_GU“Real Madrid recently lost 3-0 to Eibar in a stadium that holds just 7,000 people,” begins Robin Tucker. “That got me thinking: have any former European champions lost a competitive match in a smaller stadium? This would be only counting results after their first European success, so games such as Liverpool’s 1959 defeat to Worcester City would not count.”A fine question, but it’s not even the smallest stadium a former European champion has lost in this season. The 1986 winners Steaua Bucharest, now snappily known as FCSB, have suffered plenty of turmoil recently, including a defeat earlier this month to Sepsi OSK. That was in front of an estimated 2,500 at the 5,200-capacity Stadionul Municipal. Continue reading...

12-12-2018 The Breakdown | Neath’s sad decline laid bare as they face judgment day in court | Paul Rees

In dire financial trouble off the pitch, short of players and bottom of the Welsh Premiership, the famous club faces a winding-up order in court on ThursdayBack in the day spectators used to clamber up the floodlight pylons at the Gnoll to get a better view because the terraces were so packed. Now, as Neath faces a winding-up order on Thursday for failing to repay a £30,000 loan taken out to cover wages, the lights may go out for good on Wales’s oldest club.Neath are due to entertain Llanelli on Friday night, a fixture that not long ago would have been a highlight of any club weekend. It will be preceded by a bash for supporters in the clubhouse, but if the court hearing goes against a club whose nickname has long been the Mourners, it would turn into a wake. Continue reading...

12-12-2018 Cheltenham deaths review prompts safety changes in racing

A review into the deaths of horses at the Cheltenham Festival warns that welfare issues threaten the future of the sport.

12-12-2018 Laurent Koscielny to face Qarabag on Arsenal return amid injury crisis

• Captain due to play first game for Emery, with Özil to feature• Others’ absence means Koscielny may play at Southampton tooUnai Emery has confirmed Laurent Koscielny will make his comeback against Qarabag and Mesut Özil is also set to feature in the Europa League dead rubber. The 33-year-old Koscielny, the Arsenal captain, has yet to play under Emery having ruptured an achilles in the Europa League semi-final defeat to Atlético Madrid in May.The defender missed France’s World Cup success as he recovered his fitness and featured for 85 minutes in an EFL Trophy match with Portsmouth last week. Continue reading...

12-12-2018 Valencia v Manchester United: Champions League – live!

Updates from the 8pm GMT game at MestallaMan City v Hoffenheim – live with Michael ButlerAnd you can drop Paul an email or tweet @Paul_Doyle 7.16pm GMT “Valencia is playing against Valencia—it’s clearly going to be a draw, then,” quips Ric Arthur from Toronto. A reference there Unied’s right-back, making his third Champions League appearance of the season, which is one fewer than he has made in the Premier League. 7.07pm GMT Pogba, Perreira, Valencia and Lukaku all return as Mourinho makes eight changes to the lineup that started last Saturday’s stroll around Fulham. Youngster James Garner and Mason Greenwood are on the bench. Meanwhile, Valencia give a rare outing to goalkeeper Jaume Domenech and left-back LatoValencia: Domenech; Piccini, Ruben Vezo, Diakhaby, Lato; Soler, Kondogbia, Parejo, Cheryshev; Batshuayi, Mina Continue reading...

12-12-2018 Manchester City v Hoffenheim: Champions League – live!

Champions League updates from the 8pm GMT kick-offValencia v Man Utd – live with Paul DoyleAnd you can email Michael or tweet @michaelbutler18 7.32pm GMT Breaking: two hot takes on tonight’s match. @michaelbutler18 if city draw and Lyon topple the group then we'll know for sure UEFA is bentControl your mind and you control the game ! ⚽ pic.twitter.com/PSueqt3xhA 7.27pm GMT In the early kick-offs in Group G, Real Madrid are 2-0 down at home to CSKA Moscow and Roma are losing 1-0 to Viktoria Plzen. Both would be shock results but don’t actually have an effect on the standings as things stand. If Roma can turn it around and Real lose, they Serie A side would top the group.For the live, up-to-date Champions League tables, click here. Continue reading...

12-12-2018 Celtic: Leigh Griffiths faces spell out to deal with 'ongoing issues'

Celtic striker Leigh Griffiths will be "out of football for a little period of time" as he receives help with "ongoing issues", including some relating to his mental health.

12-12-2018 Cheltenham Festival to reduce field sizes in bid to improve safety

• Changes proposed for meeting after seven deaths this year• Pre-race veterinary checks to be increased at the fixtureThe British Horseracing Authority published a series of recommendations on Wednesday designed to improve the safety and welfare of horses and riders in National Hunt racing as a whole and at the Cheltenham Festival in March in particular. The proposals are the result of a review of the Festival which was launched after seven horses died as a result of injuries sustained at this year’s meeting, including three in the final race, the two-mile Grand Annual Chase.In all, the review makes 17 recommendations, which include increased pre-race veterinary checks on runners, a reduction in the safety limit for two-mile chases from 24 to 20 and detailed analysis of faller rates for both trainers and jockeys both at Cheltenham and in all jump racing. Trainers and jockeys with faller rates “higher than the historical average” will be required to “engage constructively” with the BHA to find ways in which their number of fallers can be reduced. Continue reading...

12-12-2018 Pep Guardiola: Racism is everywhere, not just in football, says Man City boss

Man City manager Pep Guardiola says "racism is everywhere, it's not just in football," after the alleged racial abuse of his forward Raheem Sterling in a game at Chelsea.

12-12-2018 David Squires on … the mistreatment of Raheem Sterling

Our cartoonist on why it’s hard to exaggerate the vilification Raheem Sterling has been subjected to in recent yearsIf you like David’s cartoons, buy his book Goalless Draws Continue reading...

12-12-2018 England’s Joe Cokanasiga faces battle to prove Six Nations fitness after knee injury

• Wing damaged medial ligament in loss to Leinster• Eddie Jones due to name squad on 16 JanuaryThe England wing Joe Cokanasiga is set to be out of action until the new year and faces a battle to prove his fitness for the Six Nations after Bath confirmed he has suffered a torn medial knee ligament. Related: Joe Cokanasiga has power and pace to add to England’s strength in depth Continue reading...