Liverpool’s Roberto Firmino and Sadio Mane primed to return against Stoke

first_imgLiverpool manager Juergen Klopp has indicated that Sadio Mane and Roberto Firmino are likely to start in the Premier League clash with Stoke City on Wednesday.The German chose to leave the pair out of the starting 11 in Saturday’s 1-1 draw with champions Chelsea, a decision that drew criticism on social media.Although Mane came on for the final few minutes, Firmino was an unused substitute as Liverpool conceded a late equaliser at Anfield. Both men played the entirety of last week’s draw at Sevilla in the Champions League.”It made sense at this part of the season to use the strength of the squad. It’s not completely unlikely they (Firmino and Mane) will start (against Stoke),” Klopp said in a news conference on Tuesday.”For the last one, maybe we thought against Chelsea maybe he needs a rest or whatever – [but] it was that we needed fresh legs against Chelsea and that’s what we wanted to have. I thought it worked quite well.”It was a very important sign for the squad and from my side that I show the faith in all of the boys. It was very important for me that the boys showed me they are 100 per cent ready, so that was good – really good.”Klopp said that Emre Can, who also missed the Chelsea game with a muscle problem, was now fit and Dejan Lovren was “close” to a return after suffering a series of problems and could feature against Stoke.Sixth-placed Liverpool are 14 points behind the leaders Manchester City, who beat Huddersfield Town 2-1 on Sunday, a gap that Klopp suggested his team were unlikely to breach.advertisement”I saw the game against Huddersfield, It was deserved that City won. They win and if they win nobody else has a chance.”As long as City keep winning then no-one else has a chance. I don’t care about this at the moment. If anyone struggles we need to be there.”This is now a really decisive period of the season. We need to be spot on.”last_img read more

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India look to make 100th T20 International special against Ireland

first_imgIndia will look to start their tour of Ireland and England on a high when the Virat Kohli-led side take on Ireland in first of two Twenty20 Internationals in Dublin on Wednesday.It will a special occasion as the match at the Malahide Cricket Club Ground in Dublin will also be India’s 100th game in the shortest format. India captain Virat Kohli is 17 shy of 2000 runs in T20Is while Rohit Sharma, who made his ODI debut in Ireland, returns to country after 11 years.India, who are on their first international assignment since Nidahas Trophy triumph, start favourites against hosts.The T20Is against Ireland are only a precursor to the sterner tests in England, where the Kohli-led side will tour next to play three T20Is, three One-day Internationals (ODI) and five Test matches.Yuzvendra Chahal not intimidated by England’s tall ODI scoresThis is the first time a full-strength Indian team will be seen in action, since the tour of South Africa earlier this year.Kohli, Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Jasprit Bumrah and Mahendra Singh Dhoni were rested for the T20 tri-series in Sri Lanka in March, while the former trio also missed the one-off Test against Afghanistan in Bengaluru recently.Going into the first T20I, Kohli and the team management will have a sweet dilemma over the selection of the playing XI.With a set opening combination in Shikhar Dhawan and Rohit Sharma, and Kohli at No.3, Lokesh Rahul seems a likely starter for the No.4 spot in the absence of Ajinkya Rahane.advertisementIreland’s Punjab-born Simi Singh says facing India will be specialIt will be interesting to see who among the trio of Suresh Raina, Dinesh Karthik and Manish Pandey get a game with Dhoni and all-rounder Hardik Pandya filling up the No.6 and 7 spots.While Raina also provides a sixth bowling option combined with his batting, India would also not want to drop Karthik, who is in sizzling form since March. It could mean that Pandey eventually warms the bench.On the bowling front, Kohli will be tempted to field both leg-spinners Yuzvendra Chahal and Kuldeep Yadav, giving them an early taste of conditions here.The pace battery will most likely be led by the established duo of Bhuvneshwar Kumar and Jasprit Bumrah even as Umesh Yadav will be eager to be back in the shortest version for India for the first time since 2012.With Pandya as the third seaming option, it will also be interesting to see whether medium pacer Siddharth Kaul makes his India debut after an impressive stint in the Indian Premier League (IPL).For the hosts, skipper Gary Wilson, former captain William Porterfield and all-rounder Kevin O’Brien are the ones to have T20 experience against an Indian team.Meanwhile, 31-year-old Punjab-born off-spinner Simranjit Singh will enjoy the spotlight of playing against his erstwhile nation.Teams:India: Virat Kohli (Captain), Rohit Sharma, Shikhar Dhawan, Lokesh Rahul, Manish Pandey, Suresh Raina, Dinesh Karthik, Mahendra Singh Dhoni (WK), Hardik Pandya, Kuldeep Yadav, Yuzvendra Chahal, Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Jasprit Bumrah, Umesh Yadav, Siddarth Kaul.Ireland: Gary Wilson (Captain & WK), Andrew Balbirnie, Peter Chase, George Dockrell , Josh Little, Andy McBrine, Kevin O’Brien, William Porterfield, Stuart Poynter, Boyd Rankin, James Shannon, Simi Singh, Paul Stirling, Stuart Thompson.(With inputs from IANS)last_img read more

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