Liverpool seek more silverware as Lampard eyes Super Cup boost

Chelsea players during a training session at the Vodafone Park Stadium in Istanbul on Tuesday. (AP)
Updated 13 August 2019

Liverpool seek more silverware as Lampard eyes Super Cup boost

  • Reds hope the match can be prelude to their side finally going all the way in the Premier League

ISTANBUL: Jurgen Klopp wants Liverpool to make winning trophies a habit as they head back to Istanbul —  the scene of one of the club’s greatest triumphs — to take on Premier League rivals Chelsea in the UEFA Super Cup on Wednesday.

The Anfield club memorably defeated AC Milan on penalties to win the Champions League by the Bosphorus back in 2005, and now they face Chelsea in the Turkish city after becoming European champions for the sixth time in June.

The traditional curtain-raiser to the European season may not be taken entirely seriously by everyone, but neither club will turn their noses up at the chance of lifting more silverware, with Liverpool having just ended a seven-year trophy drought and Frank Lampard eager to kick-start his Chelsea managerial career.

The clubs have already won the competition four times between them, but nine of the last 10 winners of the Super Cup have come from Spain.

Among the other protagonists on Wednesday will be Stephanie Frappart, with the French official becoming the first woman to referee a major men’s match in European competition.

Frappart will nevertheless be happy to stay out of the limelight once the match at the Vodafone Park, home of Besiktas, kicks off, with Liverpool favorites against a Chelsea side reeling from their 4-0 defeat at Manchester United in their Premier League opener.

After losing on penalties to Manchester City in the Community Shield, Liverpool began their league campaign with a comfortable 4-1 win over Norwich City with Mohamed Salah, Virgil van Dijk and Divock Origi all scoring.

However, that result was somewhat overshadowed by the loss of Alisson Becker, with Klopp confirming the formidable Brazil goalkeeper will be out for a while with a calf injury.

“I don’t want to make now (an) exact prognosis on when he will be back but it will not be Wednesday for sure, so now then we have to see. It takes a while, it takes a couple weeks for sure, and we have to see,” he told the club’s website.

Spaniard Adrian will deputize in Alisson’s absence, and Klopp is hopeful his team can build on their win over Tottenham Hotspur in the Champions League final in Madrid.

“Stay greedy. That’s very important — I have no doubt about that, but it’s clear that we have to do that,” Klopp told UEFA.com when asked how his side could build on that success.

Reds fans will also be tempted by the possibility of a third successive Champions League final appearance, back in Istanbul at the end of the campaign.

Equally, they will hope the Super Cup can be the prelude to their side finally going all the way in the Premier League.

“We don’t want to just stop at the Champions League, that’s all we’ve won as a group of players,” Andy Robertson told the club’s website.

“We want more but we know how hard that’s going to be. This is our next opportunity to do so and it’d be great if we can take it.”

Chelsea secured their place in this fixture thanks to their comprehensive victory over Arsenal in the Europa League final, but much has changed since then.

Coach Maurizio Sarri and star player Eden Hazard have left, and club legend Lampard is now in charge, handed the reins at Stamford Bridge despite just one season’s managerial experience in the second tier with Derby County.

The prospect of winning a trophy in just his second competitive match with the London club will be an enticing one, although they could be forgiven for coming into this match with a sense of trepidation after their hammering at Old Trafford.

It will be interesting to see if Lampard keeps faith with the likes of youngsters Mason Mount and Tammy Abraham here.

“We know that we can improve. We have to face it, take the responsibility and move forward. We have a trophy to fight for on Wednesday against a good team and we have to be ready for it,” Cesar Azpilicueta said after Sunday’s defeat.


Russia banned from Olympics, World Cup over doping

Updated 09 December 2019

Russia banned from Olympics, World Cup over doping

  • WADA's executive committee handed Russia the four-year suspension
  • Under the sanctions, Russian sportsmen and women will still be allowed to compete at the Olympics next year

LAUSANNE: The World Anti-Doping Agency on Monday banned Russia for four years from major global sporting events including the 2020 Tokyo Olympics and the 2022 World Cup in Qatar, over manipulated doping data.
WADA's executive committee, meeting in Lausanne, handed Russia the four-year suspension after accusing Moscow of falsifying laboratory doping data handed over to investigators earlier this year.
Not only will Russia be ruled out of the next Olympic cycle, but Russian government officials will be barred from attending any major events, while the country will lose the right to host, or even bid, for tournaments.
"WADA's executive committee approved unanimously to assert a non-compliance on the Russian anti-doping agency for a period of four years," WADA spokesman James Fitzgerald said.
Under the sanctions, Russian sportsmen and women will still be allowed to compete at the Olympics next year and the 2022 Beijing Winter Olympics but only if they can demonstrate that they were not part of what WADA believes was a state-sponsored system of doping.
It will be up to FIFA to stipulate how a team of Russian players can take part in the qualifying matches for the 2022 World Cup.
Euro 2020, in which the Russian city of Saint Petersburg will host four matches, is not affected by the ban because it is not defined as a "major event" for anti-doping purposes.
"They are going to have prove they had nothing to do with the non-compliance, (that) they were not involved in the doping schemes as described by the McLaren report, or they did not have their samples affected by the manipulation," Fitzgerald said.
The independent report by sports lawyer Richard McLaren, released in 2016, revealed the significant extent of state-sponsored doping in Russia, notably between 2011 and 2015.
It led to the Russian Anti-Doping Agency (RUSADA) being suspended for nearly three years previously over revelations of a vast state-supported doping programme.
Full disclosure of data from the Moscow laboratory was a key condition of Russia's controversial reinstatement by WADA in September 2018.
RUSADA chief Yury Ganus told AFP Monday that his country had "no chance" of winning an appeal against the ban, dubbing it tragic for clean athletes.
"There is no chance of winning this case in court," Ganus said, with RUSADA's supervisory board set to meet on December 19 to take a decision on whether to appeal the ban.
"This is a tragedy," he added. "Clean athletes are seeing their rights limited."
The WADA decision was widely predicted, with the body's president, Craig Reedie, having made a presentation Saturday to the Olympic Summit, participants of which "strongly condemned those responsible for the manipulation of the data from the Moscow laboratory".
"It was agreed that this was an attack on sport and that these actions should lead to the toughest sanctions against those responsible," the IOC said, asking that the Russian authorities deliver the "fully authenticated raw data".
Positive doping tests contained in data leaked by a whistleblower in 2017 were missing from the laboratory data supplied in January 2019, which prompted a new inquiry.
Former WADA president Dick Pound, who chaired the commission that in 2015 made damning accusations of mass doping in Russian athletics, said Moscow had this time gone "too far".
"The IOC is a little bit tired about what Russia has been doing and so I see the IOC probably focusing more on athletes who are newer," Pound told AFP.
Pound acknowledged the influential role of Russia -- which in recent years hosted the 2014 Sochi Winter Olympics as well as the football World Cup in 2018 -- "on many levels" in the sporting world.
"On the field of play, it is a big, important country. With China and the United States, it's among the sporting giants, so that's influential," he said.
"It's (also) influential because Russia hosts and is willing to host many competitions for international federations, especially those who don't have much money of their own, so they have a considerable influence among the international federations.
"And they've been quite strategic about making sure that they get Russians into positions on international federations. So they have an impact from inside as well as from outside."